I whisper up the stairs, every movement shadowed with silence. Heero is already gone, and I don't want to wake the others; don't want Trowa fussing over a few minor cuts and bruises, don't want Quatre looking me in the eye and seeing the remains of a satisfied, blood-drenched Shinigami give way to a worn, hollowed out Duo Maxwell. I only ever show them what I want them to see, and tonight, this jester's mask feels heavy.
I reach the room, with an achingly empty bed on Heero's side. Three days, oh well. I sigh in relief as I ghost towards my own rumpled unmade-
Piece of paper! On the sheets.
I stare at it as if it might explode. I recognize it only too well.
Damn, he must have wanted his book back. Baka, why'd you leave it there!
Hmm, because I wanted him to see it if I got nailed, and that can happen any minute of any given day when you live like we do.
Since the letter showed no intention of turning into a frag grenade and ripping my arm off, I creep nearer and pick it up, glancing over my own scrawl automatically. Hmm why'd he leave it out like this? I flip it over briefly. There's writing on the other side.
My eyes are closed in a flash. I take a deep breath, another. Then I open my eyes and read the short, curt sentences innocent of any endearment or preamble.
"I do not understand entirely the data contained in this letter."
- does not compute, I grimace, that's what I thought.
"Our present relation is satisfactory and serves a purpose. Development of an emotional relation is unnecessary."
Wow, lookit that! He's saying he doesn't have to love me to fuck me. He IS a guy after all! My smile tries to make a stab at amused but fails and tumbles into sour.
"It is also unacceptable. There is a chance that it will impair our efficiency in our cause. It will interfere with the proper conduct-"
I don't even bother reading to the end of that sentence as my temper ignites. Fuck you, Heero Yuy! I am willing to live and die for the colonies, and I'll go down bathed in blood and giving OZ the finger! If you don't know that-
No, he said 'there is a chance'. If he actually thought I would fail, the letter would have been a whole lot shorter. 'Leave, or die' would have summed it up.
I realize my fingers have nearly made holes in the notepaper. I smooth it out, trying to get my usual good cheer back, my eyes automatically scanning the rest of the letter.
I see the last two words, and blink. My heart stops. My mind too, for an instant.
I drag my eyes back to the place I'd left off, skipping over a curt threat of cutting off any contact if he thought our efficiency would suffer. I knew that. I wanted to know how Heero had gotten to those last words in just one short paragraph.
"You mention making some sort of plans for after the war. I do not understand how you can plan for such an unlikely contingency. You know the probabilities of both our survivals. I can calculate them for you on my return if you wish."
No that's ok, babe, I can guess. Sheesh.
"Idle speculation is meaningless. If you wish to continue our present arrangement, you will not mention this again. You will not make plans for this. We will not discuss any of this again."
Abrupt and to the point. But then there were the last two words.
My eyes roam over every inch of the letter, memorising not only the words but the way their neat, crisp letters align over the page in military precision. It had been dangerous to leave this for Heero; if the safe-house had been captured, this could have been used against either of us. The idea of OZ interrogators going over this, especially over those last two words, is not something to think about. I'll burn it -Heero would order me to when he gets back, anyway. I want to keep it with me, so I have to do it in memory.
The words are all Heero Yuy, Perfect Soldier all right.
The last two words are also Heero; they're from that little percent of Heero that I am the only one to know about. Those words might be a slip; or they might be a deliberate promise not to blow his perfect-soldier brains out the moment peace is won, it doesn't matter. They are here and they are mine.
My eyes linger over that curt signature before crumpling up the paper and heading towards the bathroom, lighter flicking on and off. The words still burn in front of my eyes.
On to chapter eight
Back to chapter six