I am a miserable soldier, and a worse human being. The mistakes
I made on this last mission are not to be forgiven. I used Quatre Winner
like a cross between a damn security blanket, and a throw-away doll. I
was worse than useless, and quite frankly… Duo would have been better
off working alone.
He would not now be lying in a drugged stupor, his burned hands wrapped
up like something out of a horror movie. In pain, and in fear of his place
in the rest of this damn war.
There was no reason for Quatre to have even been there, he hadn’t
been part of the original plan. He’d only been included because… because…
God save me, because I’d recommended it. I’d spun it out so
that it made tactical sense, though I doubt the request would have been
granted if things hadn’t been quiet elsewhere. But the only tactical
part of it had been my need to have a buffer between myself and Duo Maxwell.
I’d stayed with him once before, playing ‘room-mates’ in
some boarding school and it had almost killed me. Having him right there,
day after day, night after night… it had filled me with thoughts
that I should not have been having. Had made a million words fight to slip
out past my defenses. Had left me completely terrified of being around
him like that again.
And because I hadn’t been able to face the possibility of spending
days on end, trapped in close quarters with the man I was apparently completely
obsessed with… I had put Quatre Winner’s life in jeopardy and
caused Duo to sacrifice himself to save him.
While I’d stood around with my head up my ass.
I had never panicked before in my life, but I hadn’t known exactly
where Duo was when that blast had gone off, and there had been nothing
in my head but screaming denial , while I’d tried to figure out where
he was, and then why in the hell he wasn’t following me out of that
I will never confess it to another living soul, but… I’d practically
forgotten that Quatre Winner even existed. All that had mattered to me
was Duo’s safety. Damn the others… damn the mission… damn
the whole war; all I’d cared about was getting Duo out of that place
in one piece.
And it had all just gone to hell so fast. So very, very fast.
But then it had somehow come out all right and we’d gotten out.
Against all odds, and… despite me. I’d been so angry at myself;
I’d piled mistake on top of mistake, but it seemed like we’d
averted disaster, and I’d just wanted away from the whole damn mess.
I had wanted to put it all behind me and pretend that I hadn’t just
spent days being not much more than excess baggage on what had been a pretty
damn important mission. A mission that had only succeeded because Duo had
stepped up and done his job, while I’d floundered around distracted
by hormones and jealousy and a growing, dawning horror that… that
Damn me to hell, but… I’d fallen in love with another man.
A man who should have been a teammate. A man who should have been able
to count on me to have his back.
But no matter how hard I’d tried, I hadn’t been able to come
close to maintaining any sort of objectivity. If I hadn’t been acting
the cold bastard, to try to retain some semblance of professionalism, I’d
just been falling all over my own bad decisions. I’d second guessed
my every move, fearing I was allowing my feelings to cloud my judgment,
and in the end, I really hadn’t done much of anything.
Nothing I’d done on the mission though, shone the harsh light of
day on how messed up I was, like what I did after.
Duo had been in rough shape by the time we’d figured out what had
happened, and between the pain, the shock, and the strong drugs Wufei had
given him, had been drifting in and out so badly, we’d been afraid
to leave him alone.
It had been my watch when he’d started having nightmares. I had
only meant to wake him, but he’d been raving and I’d realized
it wasn’t the fire he was dreaming about, but that bastard Jensen.
And it had awoken a protectiveness within me like I’d never felt
before. I just wanted to gather him into my arms and save him from all
the ugliness in the world. Protect him from all the dangers.
And then he’d opened his eyes and… smiled at me. It was the
most beautiful smile. Open and soft, a tender look that I’d never
seen on his face before. It felt like it was something special, meant only
for me and… it was. Only not really.
I ended up lying on the edge of his sick bed that night, with his head
pillowed on my shoulder, and I held him and I whispered to him and I knew
he wouldn’t remember a bit of it.
I told him I loved him and then I told him goodbye.
Because it wasn’t the time and it wasn’t the place, and that
smile… that beautiful, soft smile had been for some imaginary Heero
Yuy. Not the real one. Not the one with all the flaws, who had made so
many, many mistakes.
Not the one with the lonely ache in his chest who dreamed about the feel
of a tousled head resting on his shoulder for years after.
Fiction : GW :