Story Notes:Originally published in 2000. Lyrics from "I Am A Rock" by Simon and Garfunkle.
A winter’s day in a deep and dark December...
He couldn’t remember it being this cold before. What did it matter? Coldness was irrelevant and meant nothing to him. Still, he shivered even though he tried to suppress it and felt foolish. Shivering was a sign of weakness and he despised weakness.
In the stillness of the small apartment, it was impossible to feel unlonely. Yet how could he bring himself to admit that, just once, he longed for someone, anyone to talk to?
He shook his head stubbornly, erasing his thoughts.
I am alone...
Pulling the sleeves of his sweater down over his hands, he crossed his arms and sat down at the window seat overlooking the empty street.
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
He stared bitterly through the frosty panes and leaned close, watching his breath condense into misty droplets. A few flakes of snow fluttered onto the frozen ground from the girth of heavy gray clouds that hung low in the sky. A car went by, kicking up a muddy slush of ice and dirt onto the kerb....then it disappeared, and everything was still again.
I am a rock
I am an island.
He couldn’t stop himself from thinking this time, no matter how hard he tried. It was humiliating to slip back into the groove of being unable to master one’s mind, and it made him feel helpless...a rare thing. The memories of his fellow fighters came back to him in chronicles, all starting and ending at the same place.
I’ve built walls, and a fortress deep and mighty
That none may penetrate...
He suddenly clenched his teeth and struck the window with his palm in frustration.
Don’t be weak! Don’t give in to stupid clichés! Don’t be fooled by its charming exterior for it is a paragon of weakness!
I have no need for friendship-
friendship causes pain
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
He stood up and walked away from the window. So absorbed was he in his anger that he failed to see the end table, and walked right into it. He cursed and winced, and looked down to see that wretched picture in its wretched frame that so easily uprooted his emotions gazing up at him vacantly.
Duo had his arm slung over Heero’s shoulder, flashing a victory sign and grinning stupidly. Heero actually looked happy for once, and even Trowa was cracking a smile to match that of Quatre....and there he was. The loner. The one at the end, part of his left side cut off by the picture’s edge. Did he do it on purpose? Of course he did. It wasn’t his fancy to cohort with a bunch of moronically happy fools. He never needed them anyway.
But did he not admire the strength of their friendship, the limits at which they test each other’s faith, the trials and the sacrifices they would commit for the sake of a thing he could not fathom?
“Friendship,” he muttered darkly. A versatile thing. Here one day, gone the next. A fair-weather friend, some say. It leaves room for treason and betrayal and causes nothing but pain and angst.....just like her.
His hands shook suddenly and he closed his eyes, sinking down onto the couch and resting his elbows on his knees.
Don’t think about it and it will go away. Don’t think about it...
Don’t talk of love
Well I’ve heard the word before...
He opened his eyes and stared at the floor, unable to stop the flood of memories, as sad and wonderful as they were.
It’s sleeping in my memory...
Forget it, he told himself. Just forget it. Leave it alone. Don’t wake it up.
I wouldn’t disturb the slumber
of feelings that have died
If I never loved I never would have cried.
He grimaced it seemed, as if in pain....but twin tears trickled down his cheeks in a thing much more powerful than any strike of fist or blade. He did not allow himself to show his weakness. He would not, ever. Wiping the tears from his eyes with his sleeve, he stood up and paced back across the room.
Don’t think about it, leave it alone, let it be, forget about it....
He went to his room and paused in front of the large bookshelf. With desperation, he grabbed a thick hardback and went back out into the living room.
Read something, take your mind off it, anything.
I have my books and my poetry to protect me...
Feeling safer with the weight of the text in his hands, he breathed a little easier now, knowing that the hideousness he felt would soon be leaving him.
I am shielded in my armour
Hiding in my room
Safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me.
But when he turned it over and read the title, he felt his stomach twist into a knot and sink deep into him. It was....the book. The one Meiran had given to him, and the one he had never read. He had forgotten about it and after her death, had shoved it into a dusty corner of the shelf, never wanting to touch it or even read one word of it.
But his hands moved against his will, opening the cover. A hand-written message was on the first blank page, and upon reading it, he smiled and let the hot tears spill over his cheeks. Maybe he was ready now. Maybe....maybe....he......
With shaking fingers, Wufei turned the page and began to read.
And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries.