Work. Yeah… all kinds of work. I had lots to do. All
kinds of things. And at that moment I needed to do work with a sharp heavy
object. I found myself in the woodpile with my ax, a good sized chunk of
tree and the motivation to turn the entire thing into woodchips.
The… anger had surprised me. I couldn’t remember
if I’d ever felt angry before. I remembered the pain and the betrayal
and the hurt… but not so much on the anger.
But when Heero had so carefully told me that… after
everything I’d given up… after all I’d done to make sure
Trowa was happy… that the fucking assholes hadn’t even stayed
together? Yeah… anger.
Kind of a lot of it.
The damn tree never stood a chance. It was a big ass hunk
of sycamore that had come down over at the Richardson place during the last
storm. They’d let me have it for the hauling away and cleaning up
part. I’d been hacking at it for months, but I attacked it that day
like I was planning on finishing the job that very afternoon.
The dogs know to stay clear when I’m in the woodpile,
and thankfully, Heero seemed to get it too.
I chopped and hacked and splintered and probably looked like
I’d never seen a piece of cord wood before in my life, because it
was more about the working off the temper and less about usable firewood.
Is that… just nuts? That almost a year later, I really
got mad for the first time? And… not so much for myself, but for Trowa?
Or maybe not. Maybe it was me.
How the hell could they have fucked it up after I made sure
they had nothing to fuck it up over? I got out of their way… I capitulated.
I folded. I left the table. So how did they manage to not win the pot?
Dealer folds, winner takes all. Winner. Son of a bitch, Winner.
There was a branch with his name on it and I didn’t
do much more thinking until I’d turned it into those small little
pieces that you use to get the fire started in the first place.
As cold as it was, the sweat was running into my eyes, and
my shoulders were taking serious umbrage.
I didn’t get the thing completely dismembered that day,
but I made serious inroads and when I was done… done because I couldn’t
raise my damn arms any more… I just sat on what was left for long
enough that Reason braved the forbidden zone and came to lean against my
I sank my sore hands into his fur and we watched the sun go
The anger was still there underneath the exhaustion and I
worried at it a little, trying to understand it. Not flaring so much…
just smoldering below the surface, it was a bit easier to think past it.
It was like the rest of the world hadn’t been following
the same script I’d been given. I’d played my part, but…
nobody else had. That was not how I’d intended for things to come
out. I was supposed to take the damn bullet and everybody else was supposed
to go back to normal. Trowa would have his Quatre, and Quatre wouldn’t
ever have to deal with me again. They were supposed to be happy. Trowa was
not supposed to be alone. Heero was not supposed to be gallivanting all
over hell’s half acre, wasting his time looking for me.
It made the last eight months sort of… a joke. A big
damn joke. One that wasn’t really all that funny.
Heero, I suppose, should get points for staying the hell out
of my way for as long as he did, but when it started to get dark, he came
to stand in the doorway. I could feel him watching me for a while before
he finally spoke. ‘I don’t suppose there’s a pizza delivery
place around here?’ he asked and I imagine he was going for neutral
I snorted. ‘And how are you going to call?’
‘My cell still has a charge,’ he ventured, and
it made me chuckle.
‘I… really don’t know, Heero,’ I had
to confess. ‘There’s nothing in town, and Twin Forks is probably
I swear he sighed, but then he surprised me. ‘I…
figured out your plumbing system and heated you enough water for a bath.’
‘What?’ I asked, finally turning to look at him.
‘I figured you might want one,’ he ventured. ‘So
I took the… uh… time to haul water from the well and fill the
tub. It’s not steaming, but it’s better than straight out of
That was for damn sure. I’d done that on more than one
occasion when I just couldn’t work up the energy to heat that much
water. It was a hell of a lot of work just hauling that much in. I couldn’t
believe I hadn’t even noticed him doing it.
‘Uh… thanks,’ I muttered, and he retreated
into the house.
I went around and fed the animals before going inside, knowing
I wouldn’t want to go back out once I was clean. Reason seemed almost
relieved with the return to routine and went to curl in his house for the
night when I ordered him to, without any protest.
I had gathered clean clothes and was heading for the bathroom
before it hit me that Heero… was planning on staying the night. It
stopped me in the middle of my trek toward the tub, and I just looked at
him, not sure if I should say something or not.
‘I can try to have dinner ready,’ he suggested,
looking uncertain. ‘But I’m not so sure it would be edible.
I can’t say I’ve got a lot of experience with a wood burning
I gave him a tired little smile and didn’t tell him
that it was pretty hit or miss for me too. ‘There’s a skill
to it,’ I confirmed. ‘I’ll manage something when I’m
‘Take your time,’ he told me and there was this
odd tone to his voice that made me think maybe I’d worried him with
the whole wood chopping thing.
He’d said the water wasn’t steaming, but he’d
done his best and I sank into it with a barely contained groan. It had been
a very long damn time since I’d bothered to fill the old claw-foot
tub. Baths were usually done with a couple of buckets of cold water, kneeling
in the bottom of the tub. I’d forgotten how good it felt to just soak.
Especially when I’d abused the crap out of myself, and my arms and
back were killing me.
I took the time to unbind my hair, ducking under and giving
it a good washing. Nothing quite as uncomfortable as washing your hair in
cold water, which is what I usually did, and God knows I probably did a
half-assed job in the rush of brain freeze.
And then I just sort of sat and soaked some more, mind totally
refusing to stop churning, no matter how much I wished it would.
I still couldn’t believe how things had worked out back
home. That part just made me want to throw my head back and scream. I very
well might have if Heero hadn’t been in the house. I wanted Quatre
Winner in front of me for just five damn minutes. He’s a tough little
SOB, but the mood I was in, I had no doubt I could pound him into paste.
And right then that sounded like a very fun way to finish off the evening.
But speaking of the evening…
The whole idea that Heero was going to be spending the night
was sort of… unsettling. I was already just a little weirded out that
he’d obviously been poking around the place enough to have figured
out that there was no running water, where the well was, and how one went
about heating water for a bath.
Kinda strange to have had him think of that too. Been a long
time since I’d had to worry about offending anybody… the boys
are really not all that concerned with personal hygiene.
It was kind of… God, I really didn’t want to admit
it… but it was kind of warming to have him there. To know that he’d
been searching for me. That he really had been worried about me.
Until it crossed my mind to wonder what Wufei thought of him
Go to Chapter eight:
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