Story Notes:Originally published in 2000. Lyrics from "Gone Away" by The Offspring.
The rain fell as it had always fallen. The sun shone as it had always shined. Winter was still cold and summer was still hot, but to the Survivor, everything seemed to feel the same. That numbing, inexplicable emptiness which drilled out more and more of his soul with each passing day, eating away at his life so as to pull him closer to the Grave that had already claimed his true love.
To Duo Maxwell Yuy, it was an endless carnival of Hell.
Maybe in another life
I could find you there...
They were nineteen, or rather, Heero was nineteen while Duo was still eighteen when they had married.
The word still gave Duo chills when he remembered. Of course, Quatre and Trowa and Wufei had attended, though Wufei was aghast at the news of their engagement and had initially refused to go. Quatre and Trowa had pleaded and begged on his part, finally managing to coax him into it.
It was a small, simple ceremony. Duo wore black while Heero wore white. There was no bouquet, no garter, no flashy pictures, even though Duo had decided to wear a white rose on his suit. They had placed the thin gold rings on each other’s hands, exchanged their vows and kissed....much to Wufei’s embarrassment.
Then they proceeded to have a quiet little party all to themselves. Heero danced with Duo, who tried to teach Heero how to tango to the tune of La Cumparsita and put a red rose in his teeth, grinning incessantly to avoid pricking his lips on the thorns. Quatre took pictures with a Kodak disposable camera.
They had a cake, one side chocolate and the other vanilla, just because Heero didn’t like chocolate. That was when Heero smothered Duo’s face in frosting as he fed him a slice of cake. He could still hear Heero’s laughter.
It was decided that Duo take Heero’s surname, making him Duo Maxwell Yuy. By this time in the far ahead future, it was legal for two men or women to marry; it was all about finding a reverend willing to do the service. They had found one eventually, though Duo would have really wanted Father Maxwell to do the service.....or maybe not. He might have had a heart attack had he found out that the child so much like a son to him had grown up and decided to marry another man.
Duo had planned on breaking the tradition of being carried over the threshold, but Heero was adamant. He had hauled Duo into his arms and carried the screeching, struggling and laughing burden through the front door of their apartment. Duo’s flailing caused him to knock himself damn near out on the doorframe and had spent the first part of their honeymoon with a bag of ice on his forehead.
They spent the night and all of the following day in bed. It had decided to rain that day, so the new lovers had snuggled down under the blankets and whispered stories of their past to each other. Duo had thought Heero would never stop petting his hair. He had once remarked it was Duo’s best asset, and joked that if he ever cut it he would divorce him so fast he wouldn’t know what hit him. Duo pretended to be offended, and Heero had chuckled and kissed him before making love to him again.
Those were the days, as brief and short-lived as they were. Duo had never recalled being so happy before in his life....just as he had never recalled being so empty when Heero died.
Pulled away before your time
I can’t deal, it’s so unfair...
Duo, red-eyed from his days crying, went through their wedding photos. He smiled fondly at the memories, but there was sadness in his smile. There. A picture of the two of them doing the tango on the dance floor. Here’s a funny one-- a picture Quatre had accidentally taken while examining the shutter lens. His eyes were half closed and his pupils looked like pinpricks. It made Duo laugh.
A photograph of Heero offering Duo a piece of cake by hand.....right before he smeared it all over his mouth. Then there was the following picture of Heero licking off the frosting. A rather seductive pose. Duo sniffed sadly as he went through the other keepsakes in the large hatbox. Two statues of grooms, one in black and one in white that had been on the cake. They were a gift from Catherine, who had even gone so far as to give the groom in black a long braid. She now had Trowa and Quatre’s wedding gift to plan for.
Duo felt his heart clench in his chest and he swallowed. He could only pray that Quatre or Trowa wouldn’t go through what he had been through -- losing the one person he loved.
“You go on without me,” Heero admonished. “ Hurry! I’ve got to cut the wires!”
Duo shook his head, refusing to leave his side.
“I’m not leaving without you!” he cried.
“Oh, yes you are.”
And he shoved Duo into the cockpit of the docked spacecraft. Duo had latched his hands onto the port frame and tried to pull himself up.
“You’ll die, Heero!” he sobbed. “PLEASE! Don’t do this-UNH!”
He struck Duo across the face, causing his lip to start bleeding. He stared grimly down at his husband and pressed the button, shutting the port door. Duo glanced up at Heero’s vanishing face and threw himself against the metal door, pounding on it and screaming.
The shuttle began to take off in auto pilot, and Duo raced to the view screen, opening all frequencies.
“Heero! Goddammit, I know you can hear me!” he wept.
Static. Then, Heero’s calm voice: “Don’t worry, Duo. I’ll be back.”
There was a pause. More static. A click. Then, a photo of their wedding day filled every screen in the small room. It was the only decent photo of them. Duo had his arms latched around Heero’s neck lovingly, and both of them were laughing.
Duo drew back, mouth open in horror.
“Ai shiteiru, Duo.”
And he watched the satellite erupt inwardly, collapsing and folding into itself. He went completely numb. There came the sound of heavy metal imploding, and the screens went blank. Then nothing. Silence.
“Hee......Heero.....” he murmured, then sank to his knees in shock. “Hee.....ro...”
He opened his mouth and screamed.
Duo didn’t want consolation. Not now. Nothing he could do could change the past. What was done was done. Quatre and Trowa were sympathetic towards him and Wufei surprised them all by giving Duo a huge hug and crying along with him.
The four remaining pilots stayed for a few days with Duo, to keep him company and assure him that there was indeed a point in living through a tragedy like this. Quatre had made all of Duo’s favourite dishes to no avail; the former Deathscythe pilot seemed to have lost all interest in food, and living for that matter.
Everyone was afraid to say anything, for fear it would upset Duo. So, Silence was the fifth guest at this grim and dark reunion. Relena had learned of Heero’s demise shortly after the accident and had attended the small memorial service in his honour. She remembered seeing Duo there, looking more dead than alive. In her heart, she knew Heero had truly loved him, but she couldn’t help but feel the bitter sting of jealousy.
If it weren’t for him, Heero would still be alive...
As if sensing her thoughts, Duo looked pathetically up at her and she regretted thinking such acrimonious things.
And it feels
And it feels like
Heaven’s so far away...
At the wake of the funeral, Duo sat on the couch and went into a daze. Hilde showed up, much to Quatre’s disgust. “How dare she show her face here?” he muttered to Trowa. “ After all the horrible things she said about Heero...”
She sat next to Duo on the couch and took her hat off. There was an uncomfortable silence.
“Duo, I....” she began softly. “ I’m really sorry.”
He didn’t respond. Just kept staring ahead. She shifted her weight.
“I know I said some things I shouldn’t have...and I know you must have hated me for it-”
“I still do.”
His response made her quiver in fear. She was losing him. She had come with the hope of winning him back to her side, but Hilde no longer held an interest to him. All he thought about was Heero.
“I can understand that,” she stammered.
Duo turned his head and gazed at her emotionlessly.
He turned back around and resumed staring straight ahead.
“I think you should be leaving,” he said darkly.
Hilde bit back her tears, her hatred and stood up. Wordlessly, she put her hat back on and made her way through the small crowd of friends and family and towards the door. It closed behind her gently and Duo sighed.
Everyone hates me. I don’t blame them. I hate me, too.
He looked around the room at the people...Professor G and Doctor J had shown up, both deeply saddened by the loss, but especially Doctor J. Heero had been like a son to him. Then there were the others: Catherine came and brought flowers, Relena had left a while ago, not feeling comfortable in Duo’s presence. There was five or six of Quatre’s sisters floating around somewhere and Dorothy had shown up and given an eloquent speech. Some close friends of Duo’s from the Sweepers were there and Noin and Sally had appeared and sandwiched Duo in a bear hug.
Sure, it made him feel better to know that so many people were willing to come so far to console him, but at the same time he wished they would just leave him alone. He knew what they were all thinking:
If it weren’t for you and that suicidal mission of yours, Heero would still be alive now.
Why did you have to take Heero along with you?
Why didn’t you stop him from doing that? How could you stand by and watch him kill himself?
And it feels
Yeah it feels like
The world has grown cold...
Duo closed his eyes and clenched his teeth.
It wasn’t my fault! I tried to stop him, but he wouldn’t listen! You actually think I could stand by and watch him get blown to pieces? He had wanted to come with me, I didn’t make him! It wasn’t a suicide mission! IT WASN’T MY FAULT!
Now that you’ve gone away...
He looked up and felt tears slide down his face as he gazed at Quatre. The blond kneeled down in front of him and put a gentle hand on his knee.
“I know you’re sick of people asking if you’re alright. I went through the same thing when I lost my father,” he whispered. “I went crazy. I killed a lot of innocent people, but it couldn’t make up for the loss that I felt. Only you can make up for your loss.”
He tapped his finger against Duo’s chest, indicating an internal power.
“Only you can save yourself from the insanity. And Duo.....I don’t feel like attending another funeral...... do you understand me?”
Duo pulled his lips tight and nodded, then leaned forward and gave Quatre a crushing hug. The blond felt his heart ache for his friend, even though he knew it was only a fraction of what Duo was going through. He hugged him back.
Professor G, watching the display of close camaraderie, shook his head and whispered, “Poor kid.”
Whether it was Heero or Duo he was talking about still remains a question.
A year had slipped by without warning.
A whole year, to the day.......the day Heero had gone away.
Duo walked alone. There wasn’t a day that passed when Heero didn’t enter his mind. The moment found him slowly making his way along a narrow path. The light of the setting sun bathed everything in a reddish-orange glow and he came to the site of the memorial.
It was set in a peaceful place overlooking the sea. Duo could hold back on his tears by this time, but it didn’t mean he felt no sorrow or remorse. He always felt like that. It had become his most common emotion.
He took a single white rose and placed it on the memorial and mouthed the words ‘I love you’ to Heero. Then he turned around and left before he could start breaking down again.
Leaving flowers on your grave
Show that I still care...
He walked down to the shore, staring as the sun set over the horizon. He sat down in the sand and watched the sun sink below the infinite waves of blue. Dusk fell. One by one the stars began to appear in the deep purple sky. Duo watched with dull, glassy eyes.
But black roses and Hail Marys
Can’t bring back what’s taken from me...
It was getting late. He stood up slowly and brushed the sand off of his pants. He gazed one last time at the stars. He clenched his fists suddenly and threw them towards Heaven, screaming in anguish, “HEEEEERROOOOOOOOOO!!”
I reach to the sky
And call out your name...
His scream ended but the echo still survived. Panting and shaking, he stared up at the infinite reaches of space. He knew Heero wouldn’t answer him, even if he had heard. At that moment, Duo would have suddenly given anything to swap his fate with Heero’s.
I should have been the one to die. Not Heero. He didn’t deserve to die like that. No one did.
And if I could trade
Fighting back on the sobs threatening to wrack his body till it ached, Duo slid to his hands and knees. His hands clenched the sand and he sobbed loudly, knowing that no one would be around to see how weak he had become.
I let my husband die. I’m a widow now...
He looked down at his clothes, the same shade of midnight black that he wore every single day.
...a black widow...
He sat back on his legs and threw back his head, howling sobs of regret to the heavens. They simply stared back, uncaring and undaunted.
And it feels
And it feels like
Heaven’s so far away...
His mind, now corrupted with sorrow, traced back to thoughts he had dared not to dwell on. Thoughts that frightened and excited him in a mad way at the same time.
I....I’ll kill myself. Then we can be together. Together! We-!
He stumbled to his feet hurriedly and ran from the beach. Time flashed and sparkled, standing still when he had chosen to take his life.
He burst through his apartment door, slamming and locking it behind him.
How should he do it? Painlessly? Yes, painless.
Duo crashed through the kitchen door and he opened a cabinet. There had to be something he could take. Sleeping pills, Tylenol, cyanide.... He happened upon a bottle of sleeping pills, way in the back. He opened it and discovered there were only two left.
He threw the bottle to the floor. There had to be another way. Suffocation. Drowning. Hanging...none of these seemed to appeal to him. He glanced about the kitchen in search of something, anything. Then, his eyes fell upon a small knife lying on the counter.
He clamored for it, grasping it tightly in his fist. He gazed at the gleam of the cold silver steel a moment before sitting down upon the floor. He looked at the knife, clenched in his right hand. Then at his pale, exposed left wrist.
So. This was how.
He swallowed and placed the tip of the knife above the pale blue vein. Then, with a surgeon’s preciseness, he slit it long-ways up his arm. He hissed in pain as he watched the dark red blood begin to run down his arm in rivulets. When he had reached two or three inches he stopped, considering what he had just done.
Duo swapped the blade into his other hand and repeated the same thing with his other wrist. Then he dropped the blade and watched the pool of blood that began to collect around him.
He began to sway, feeling dizzy.
And it stings
Yeah it stings now...
I’m coming, Heero. No more loneliness. No more despair. We can be together again...
He slumped down onto the floor and closed his eyes, a warm sleep overtaking him.
His world faded and he entered blackness. He felt Heero all around him. Heero above and below, inside and out. The familiar voice of his lover entered his mind, echoing strangely.
You’re wrong, Duo. You don’t belong with me yet. You’re not supposed to die-
But Heero! I WANT to die! I want to be with you! I can’t go on anymore! I can’t live if you’re not here...
Baka. Now’s not your time. Quatre’s on his way now. He’ll find you-
BUT I DON’T WANT HIM TO! Heero, PLEASE! Let me stay with you! I want to be with you-!
There came the sound of the kitchen door opening, and Duo knew in his mind that it was Quatre. A bitter feeling swept over him.
Heero, don’t you love me?! I thought you loved me!
Then let me die-
No. You must live for both of us now. You must carry on....for my sake.
NO! No, no, no, no!
He felt himself awaken slowly from his rendezvous with the spirit of his former husband. He blinked. Everything was so blurry...
“Duo?! Are you alright? Hang on! I’m calling an ambulance!”
He heard Quatre’s footsteps fade and he rolled over onto his stomach. He felt the lake of blood soak his shirt with the warm liquid and he suddenly regretted suicide.
Now they’re going to think I’m crazy.....depressed.....they’re going to lock me up in a rubber room and throw away the key.
He closed his eyes.
Heero. Why did you do this to me? How could you?
He shivered suddenly as he heard Quatre’s voice on the phone. He lifted his spinning head and felt the blood run down his cheek and neck.
You must live for both of us now...
If that was what Heero said, then so be it. He would live. For himself. And for Heero.
The paramedics arrived a millennium later, rushing into the room and staunching the flow of blood.
“God, this kid’s torn up. It’s gonna take a miracle for him to survive-”
“I will....survive,” Duo rasped.
“Kid? You’re still conscious? Can you remember your name?”
He closed his eyes and grinned slightly.
“Trio,” he replied. “Trio Maxwell Yuy.”
The world is so cold
Now that you’ve gone away.