Story Notes:Originally published in 2000. Lyrics from "Innocent" by Fuel.
It was three in the morning.
I should be asleep already.
My body felt tired and my eyelids were heavy, but I couldn’t stop tossing and turning. The problem didn’t lie in my bed, although a probable part of it was lying on my bed. Duo was snoring softly next to me, and I reached over and nudged him in the ribs.
“Mmf. Nodda gen, ‘Ro. M’ nodda machine...”
Still unadjusted to our...relationship together, if indeed it was right to call the odd quirk between us a relationship, I reached over and smacked him. Not hard enough to hurt, but enough for him to cringe and make a fuss, calling me a few crude names before throwing the blankets over his head and retreating back into hibernation.
I settled back into the feather pillows.
Nope. Definitely not the bed. The bed was fine, but I had slept more soundly in my pilot’s seat or on solid granite. And the problem didn’t lie in my health; I never got sick, and as Duo once said, I eat only enough to keep myself alive. Something I expected a glutton like him to say.
Maybe the problem was internally. I always hear people say that a guilty conscience gets no rest...
A sudden snore made me turn my head. The way that moron was sleeping, he must have the conscience of Jesus Christ or something. I didn’t have the heart to smack him again ( I have a hard enough time finding the heart to love him ) so I simply closed my eyes and thought.
Thought about Life.
Thought about Death...which is snoring like a bulldozer next to me.
Thought about the time in between, and what it was like before...
Before I became a soldier...
Satan, you know where I lie
Gently I go into that good night...
Didn’t that make all of us a little alike? I know for a fact Quatre didn’t abandon his humanity, at least not intentionally, but didn’t we all when we accepted our fate as Gundam pilots? As soldiers? As killers?
And then there was the politics of it all. I hate politics, I’ll tell you now. I think it’s one of the quickest roads to war, or to Hell at least. I remember we were all so frustrated back then, so confused, we didn’t know whose side we were on...
All our lives get complicated
Search for pleasures overrated...
We were told to fight with our bodies and minds. Never our hearts. Never our souls. Never our damned emotions, a conviction which I chose to follow, orders or not. If you haven’t got emotions, if you haven’t got a heart, if you haven’t got a soul, what kind of person are you?
A soldier, that’s what.
A perfect soldier.
Never armed with our souls
For what the future would hold...
How in the hell could I have possibly had the slightest bearing on what was going to happen to me after the war? I didn’t. I just went with the flow. Drifting. Like a piece of driftwood in the waters of Time. Useless. A rebel without a cause. A soldier without a war. A clock without an hour hand.
I’ll admit it. I had been keeping my eye on Duo for a while. A friendly eye. He seemed to thrive on this new peace, and went about gathering up the shambles war had made his life into with a merry grin on his face. I could have never imagined him asking me to stay with him, although I had secretly entertained the thought in my mind. I’d have never gathered the nerve to ask him, but I think he sensed it. Either that or he loved me first.
I rolled over on my side and pulled the blanket down off Duo’s face. He blinked sleepily and gazed at me. It sounded like he tried to say something, but it was of no language I could discern, Japanese or English. I took it as his asking why I had done it.
“You’ll suffocate yourself that way, baka,” I muttered, reaching over and caressing his cheek with a tenderness that even I didn’t know I possessed.
He cracked a half-hearted smile and closed his eyes. I withdrew my hand and rolled over onto my back, staring at the ceiling. When we were innocent... Innocent...
Was I ever innocent...?
The earliest memories I had was growing up in that military academy for children who were orphaned . I guess that was how I became so detached from all that was around me. That academy was hell, in no uncertain terms. If you were evil and you died, you went to that academy. I’m not kidding. That was where I learned perhaps the most important lesson of my life: Death hurts less than mistakes. I have scars to prove it. Maybe I’ll get the nostalgic inclination to show you sometime. Or maybe you could just ask Duo. He’s seen them. Of course you’d have to count on his rather graphic descriptions...
Then I remember joining something like a young soldiers-in-training corps, where I first met Odin Lowe, and I traveled with him for some time. When he died, I had nowhere to go, no one to turn to. That was when Dr. J took me in, and trained me to be an assassin. But after that accident with the girl and her dog, his superiors didn’t like the way I responded under the effects of guilt and remorse, and sent me back to be “reprogrammed”.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t regret crying for the little girl. I only wish I had more reasons to cry, and another life I could live for the one she never got a chance to.
Angels, lend me your might
Forfeit all my lives just to get one right...
I closed my eyes and felt something hot run down the sides of my cheeks.
God, no. I’m not crying again...
I wiped them away quickly and Duo stirred. I hoped he wouldn’t notice. Not that I’m a big fan of machoism and that boys-don’t-cry bull. I’ll cry, I just....not in front of other people. Too bad. He noticed.
“Heero,” he murmured. “Why’re you cryin’?”
“I’m not crying,” I retorted. “There’s a uhh...eyelash in my eye.”
“Both of ‘em?”
God, he caught on quickly.
“Yes. Now go back to sleep.”
He looked at me strangely, then wrapped his arms around me and cuddled against my chest. Somehow he managed to do this while striking my heart in just the right place, and I lay there quietly as tears ran down the sides of my face and soaked the pillows.
Why did I have to be the one he loved? I knew I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t deserve the dirt I walked on, much less his complete adoration. I wanted to kill him and love him at the same time, but I didn’t know which to do.
All those colours long since faded
All our smiles confiscated...
I tried to remember the last time I had truly smiled, the last time I had been happy...and I couldn’t. I think I laughed once back in 195, but it was more of the mad laughter than happy laughter. I also think I scared a few people when I did.
I remember that once upon a time when I made Trowa laugh, who is perhaps the only other person I know as stoic as myself. But I had him beat. I haven’t laughed yet, although he’s got a lot more reasons to be withdrawn than me. Trowa’s had a rough past, what with being abandoned and lost and left without a name. And I understand that he and the real Trowa Barton had some kind of liaison in the past, but he’s never willing to talk about it, at least not to me.
Well, I sure hope he’s happy now. He’s got that nice Winner boy to make him smile. Last time I heard from him, he and Quatre had moved out of his father’s estate and now had a place of their own. I blush just thinking about some of the things that go on in that house...
Never were we told
We’d be bought and sold...
I had stopped crying and pulled myself together by this time. I looked down at Duo, sleeping peacefully, and felt a little envious. A little? Hell, what I would give to be him. I’ll bet he’s never been bought and sold into war like I was. I’ll bet he’s never been forced to destroy the people closest to him. I’ll bet he was still a virgin when we met. He certainly acted like one the first time. I’ll bet he was still stupid enough to believe in true love and the strengths of the heart and spirit... I’ll bet he was still innocent...
When we were innocent...
“How would you define innocence?”
He grumbled and stirred, eyes still closed and slurred,
“Uncorrupted by...evil n’ sin n’ all them other...pleasant things...”
I paused before asking my next question.
“Are you innocent?”
I heard him give a short, harsh laugh and he nestled his cheek against my chest.
“Do I strike you as innocent?”
He was quiet for a moment, but I knew he had heard me. It takes a while for him to react when he’s half asleep. Finally, he said,
“Deprived, maybe. Corrupted, possibly. Frightened of yourself and what you’ve become, definitely.”
His reply took me by surprise. He read me like a book. How could he do that? I asked him so, and he sat up with a snarl, his hair disheveled and falling down his back, free from its usual braid.
“What the hell is this?” he grumbled. “Jeopardy at...four AM?”
“Jeopardy tells you the answers, Brilliance. You have to ask the questions-”
He grasped my chin in his hands and I looked up to see his face above mine.
“Talking is my bitch. Silence is yours. I’ll remind you of that tomorrow morning.”
“Why not now?”
He paused. I could tell what he was thinking behind those lavender eyes of his, and I wondered if I had accidentally ingested some testosterone of some sort. I rarely acted this way with him. He was always the seme, and it was he who usually initiated the whole... love-making process, not me. I guess I felt I needed to be loved right now more than anything.
I closed my eyes and nodded gently, knowing the night was going to be shot for sleeping at this point. Duo didn’t seem to mind; he tugged off my pajamas and his own, touching and kissing tenderly, as he always did. He was never rough or violent, not like me. Rough was all I knew how to be.
He took me into his mouth, and I reflexively clutched the covers in my fists. I had come so far from where I was to begin with. It blew my mind. Much like Duo was doing at the moment, although it wasn’t my mind he was blowing...
This prayer for me tonight
This far down that line and still ain’t got it right...
It was becoming difficult for me to think clearly now, the only thing more rare than my asking Duo to make love to me. I felt the world fall away from me piece by piece, replaced by golden ecstasy. Somehow, in my subconscious, I knew this wasn’t going to make it right but it made me feel good, which is why I did it.
And while confessions not yet stated
Our next sin is contemplated...
I was in a realm where remorse and guilt were nonexistent. I wish I could always stay here, but I suppose it would get old. I couldn’t imagine how, but I imagined it would. Was this what sin felt like? If so, I wanted to sin every day of my life.
I arched my back and moaned. I was painfully aroused now, but was unprepared for the cold lube being slathered onto my person. I was shocked.
“What...?” I managed to pant.
Duo, sweaty but astonishingly sexy, grinned weakly from on top of me and muttered huskily,
“I want you in me this time.”
I didn’t know what to say. I had never been seme, only uke. I had no will or desire to have Duo any other way, but I didn’t react quick enough. He lowered his body and impaled himself on me, and I gasped at the sensation. I had never known the feeling of his body closing around mine, rippling over every contour of my sex could be so appealing.
I thrust upward, driving myself in deeper when I heard Duo groan. I opened my eyes. He didn’t look at all well. In fact, he looked on the verge of physical collapse.
“Daijobu desu ka?” I asked, forgetting that he was American, and spoke English. But I had taught him enough that he knew what it meant. He nodded, but said in a trembly voice,
“G-go easy in me. I’ve- I’m not used to this.”
It was hard to listen to him. After he made that delightful noise, I wanted to hear it again. Ignoring his admonishments to an extent, I rooted into him, and was rewarded by his voice crying out my name. This made me ecstatic. I did it again and again and again, until he fell upon me, sweating and trembling and crying as the orgasm jolted through his limbs.
It was infectious. I was the next to experience it, and it brought me back to sanity and the real world when it left, several moments later. Now I would have no trouble sleeping.
I looked over at the clock. Quarter till five. I settled back into the covers, not caring that they were soiled with the mess we had made. I gathered Duo into my arms and held his hot, clammy body against mine, petting his hair like a cat until he drifted off to sleep.
How was I to know I would end up here? No one ever told me. No one trained me for this. No one briefed me, or gave me a set of instructions to follow. They should have taught me to love. I sure could have used that just now...
Never did we know
What the future would hold
Or that we’d be bought and sold...
My thoughts once again returned to that time, that place in my missing childhood. I tried to forget, knowing that was the easiest way to remember. It worked, but I don’t think I benefited much from knowing.
I looked down at Duo, sleeping gently in my arms. I leaned down and kissed his forehead. It was best not to dwell on the days of futures passed. I am now. I am here, and here is where I am. And here is who I’m with, and there is nothing that I can do to change that now.
We were innocent.