Disclaimer: i won the GW boys at an auction! oh wait, that was a dream... crud.

Genre: POV, angst, and in my tradition, weird.
Pairing: 1x2x1.
Warning: Angst. no beta so bit of grammar stuff, i'm sure.

Note: A response to Jana's challenge! (Just Me by Five for Fighting)
// lyrics //


Just Me
by 0083


//I canít stand to fly
Iím not that naÔve//

This is my story of a love-struck boy. A boy who could not hold on to the best things in life, a boy who could not stand to see himself in the light of day. I donít know how it will end, but I know how it began. It began with a revolution, an idea of peace and a large machine of mass murder. It began with me. I was a lone orphan, the dregs of society, willing to lt it all on myself and my partner. I wanted to make sure no one else did what I had to do, go through the things I did. So it started with me, Deathscythe, and determination. But somewhere along the way, I screwed up. In the revolution, I fell in love with another boy. A boy with the same determination, the same ntensity. A boy whose cobalt blue eyes held a wildness and a furious control I will never encounter again. Heero Yuy, the veritable force of nature. At first meeting, all I knew of him was that his dedication would allow him to shoot an innocent girl and decimate two mobile suits that held the key to our future goals. He was willing to sacrifice everything around him to achieve whatever he had in mind. That was why I had to get him out of that blasted hospital - he was a once in a lifetime find. He was just like me. There would be people who argued that he and I were nothing alike, that he was an emotionless, silent boy so unlike my talkative and friendly outlook. But that was just the surface, just our way to present our facades to the unknowing world. In the inside, we shared the same goals, wanted the same things. Perhaps that is why we became lovers so early on in the war. And perhaps that is why I walked away from him after the fighting was over. Two people so alike and so intense cannot survive in the coolness of peace, I reasoned. I went as far as to tell him to find someone who could calm the fires of his heart rather than inflame them. I thought I knew so much better, so much more. But I was wrong. After all, how much could a sixteen year old really know about something as complicated as love? How much could anyone know? I was young, stupid, and I daresay, naÔve about the whole thing. So I lost him to the streams of time and space. But Iím older and hopefully a bit wiser now.

//Iím just out to find
The better part of me//

The shuttle ride will take a while, giving me enough time to reminisce, to think about everything. Enough time to form in my head the things I must say to Heero. An apology, a plea for understanding, a desperate need to be in his life again. All those things and more. Funny thing is, ever since I walked away from him all those years ago, I havenít been in anything that flies. Shuttles, planes, whatever, if it took wing, I did not go on it. They all reminded me of Heero, my own love, my heartís flight. Here, I must take a short break in my reminiscing to laugh a little. The romantic cheesiness that latched onto my heart at the thought of Heero controls and I can feel my face realign itself into a goofy smile. Who knew that I, the infamous and feared pilot of Gundam 02, would ever get the goofy smile or utter words of poetry too sweet even for a schoolgirl? Not me, of course. Not then. But now, why the hell not? I am going to see Heero, right now. This shuttle will lead me to him, to my salvation. We have peace, we have stability. But I need him more than those things just because I am not entirely whole without him. Why I didnít see it during the war, I will never know. I see it now, though, and I am on this flight to find my wings. My Heero. So I close my eyes and think back to all the times we shared.

//Iím more than a bird...Iím more than a plane
More than some pretty face beside a train//

Heero and I were never the free souls we longed to be because of the missions. The missions were all important during the war, they were the keys to our success. Even knowing that, we stilled hoped to be more than just tools for a war one day. We talked of our hopes and fears with each other and found that we shared the same sentiments. For the war, we would concentrate our energies and intensity on achieving peace, but afterwards, we wanted to do things teenagers did. Fun, frivolous things that we did not get to do now. Like dating. We slept with each other, surely enough. Whenever we were together, we screwed each other through the floor. But a date we never had. Never went out for a quiet dinner, never held hands at the movies. And we wanted those things, those things that we were supposed to do in our young years. True freedom is not something that soldiers are allowed. So right beside our goal for peace was our goal for freedom. Not many people realized that peace and freedom did not come together, but we did. Two separate goals, two separate needs. We wanted them both so badly, but we both knew that we would sacrifice our freedom for the peace. Soldiers first, always. But even soldiers can wish for more.

//Itís not easy to be me//

I used to laugh at Heero, you know. For having a girl follow him around, begging silently for the strength to go on. Relena, as it turned out, was the strongest of us all. She needed Heero only fleetingly, to siphon strength when her father died and for an occasional rescue. But I needed Heero every day. When he was not near, I thought of him. When he was near, I breathed his essence to be content. Being so absorbed in him allowed me to understand Relena, feel in sync with her even. We both needed Heero. Itís my idiocy that kept me from understanding that Heero needed me just as badly. I refused to see through his faÁade, too afraid to see what I didnít want to see. Always so afraid that his eyes would not hold me dear, that his eyes would not reflect my visage. Why was it that I found it easier to face down death during battles than to look deeply into my loverís eyes? The answer, of course, came too late and well, here I am, trying to fix my mistakes. The shuttle is almost too quiet and I can hear my brain turning its little wheels. I can hear my heart thump in its frantic rhythm, the blood rushing through my veins in a hyper velocity. Remembering is hard. Especially when I can see how I fucked up so bad.

//Wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees//

I never cried during the war, not once. Not because tears are for the weak or because I canít cry. No, not it at all. I couldnít cry because that would have meant the end of fighting for me. Countless times, I berated myself for my insane need to keep the tears back, but it was for the best. If I had cried when Heero self-destructed, there would have been no way for me to fight alongside Quatre at that base to shoot ourselves into space. If I had cried when I saw Heero alive and healthy, we would not have made out alive from that Oz facility. Tears are not for soldiers, they are for those who can find the time to grieve and mourn, for those with the strength to pick themselves up afterwards. That wasnít me. Quatre could do it, Wufei managed it. But Heero and I were not suited for the emotional pounding that came with tears. I told you, we were soldiers first, didnít I? But there were times in the darkness, in the slight moments of quietude that Heero and I shared, that we wanted to cry. Rail against everything, scream and rip at our hair. Instead, we held onto each other. We survived the war because of each other. Then I walked away.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

//Find a way to lie
About a home Iíll never see//

What I envied so much about the others was that they had families. Quatre had his huge family and his loyal following of the Maguanacs. Wufei had a clan, I mean, sure they blew themselves and their colony to little chunky bits, but still, he had those ties. Trowa found his family in the circus, without the bearded ladies and the wolf boy. Then there was me. And Heero. No families, either of us, just each other. I had the Maxwell church, but that didnít last at all. I have friends, but friends and families are different. Heero was the home I wanted. He was the one who made me feel like I truly belonged somewhere. And I know he felt that way about me. We were each otherís safe houses in the war, someone we could go to and just be ourselves. No soldiers, no wars, just us. Then I lost my home. I need to find him, find that part of me, even if he refuses me. I must know if I still belong, if he still belongs. No more lies, no more pretenses. Just me, Duo Maxwell, walking steadily towards the picket fences and the gingerbread house. I wonder what Heero will think of that comparison and I smile a little.

//It may sound absurd...but donít be naive
Even Heroes have the right to bleed//

Heero once told me that in the Japanese culture, two people who were destined for each other were tied together with red strings of fate. It seemed so apt, that we were tied to each other like that. Two soldiers tied to each other with thin, bloody strips of fate. I should have seen then that we belonged together more than anyone else. Our blood and the blood of those we have killed tied us together, made sure that we found each other. Red strings that extended straight out of our hearts to pierce the other, ribbons of uncanny strength and beauty. That was our love. And soon, I hope to retie the strings that I severed with my words.

//I may be disturbed...but wonít you concede
Even Heroes have the right to dream//

More than once, Heero and I have pulled stunts that could seem crazy. His self destruct, my attempt to break into the Lunar Base, his break-in to the base to rescue me. We did crazy things, yes, but with calculated risk on our side. Why? Because we needed to do them. When it was five against the whole freaking world, what did we have besides the crazy things? Was it not crazy to send five teenagers barely out of their diapers to save the earth? Was it not crazy to load onto our too young shoulders the responsibility for saving the world? Was it not crazy that we believed that we could do it? But damn it, we had to, I had to. We all dreamed of a new world where peace was the norm. And secretly, Heero and I dreamed for ourselves. And you know, we could have been free with each other after the war. We could have gone on those dates, made our way through the streets hand in hand. We could have had our dream. I know that now.

//Itís not easy to be me//

And knowing is half the battle, right?

So I ignore the other half of the battle which would consist of mind numbing terror of rejection, endless hours of sweaty anticipation and useless planning.

//Up, up and away...away from me
Itís all right...You can all sleep sound tonight
Iím not crazy...or anything...//

The shuttle is almost there. Almost near Heero. The pilot is making some noise on the speaker, telling the passengers that we will touch down in about an hour or so. An hour. So short a time in the big scheme of things, but when that was all that separated me from my dream, it could stretch to an eternity. Heero.. Is he waiting for me? Will he still remember how I felt about him, still feel for him? I can drive myself nuts with the Ďwhat ifsí and Ďwill heísí but I canít. The earth is far behind me now, along with the quiet suffering I lived through. The earth can rest easy now that I have left it. It is no longer tainted by my grief and regret. L1 looms before me. I wonder, will I have love and hope there, or will I have.. I stop myself. No more questions. After all, this is my story of a boy, not a questionnaire.

//I canít stand to fly
Iím not that naÔve//

I feel the bump as the shuttle touches down. The landing jostles me around a little, egging on the nervous butterflies beating around my stomach to a full out stampede. My mouth is a dry desert, sandy with nerves and a bit of dread. I will face Heero soon. And I will be facing him as just Duo Maxwell without my supporting cast of Shinigami and the soldier. It will be just me, a boy, a man, a scared yet joyous youth who will step out of the shuttle to greet my one love. Iím not as stupid as I was when I left Heero, nor so young. But I am as scared now as I was when I left him. Different kind of fear, but itís still so strong. Thank the god above that I am more courageous.

//Men werenít meant to ride
With clouds between their knees//

My nerves are tingling as I get up from my seat and join the stately file of people getting off the shuttle. I once said to Heero that there was a very fine line between courage and idiocy. Iím hoping that Iím not going to cross that line. I feel strangely at home as my feet touch the landing pad of the shuttle. The gravity that pulls at me feels so normal and so right. Maybe I was never meant to be airborne. After all, even Deathscythe was not a natural flying machine. Wing was the flyer. I was the hider. But Iím no longer hiding and Heero is no longer flying. I take a deep breath and fill my lungs with the sweet stale air of the colony. I realize that L1 is calling to me, practically welcoming me. Maybe Heero is, too, from somewhere inside this giant hunk of civilized metal can.

//Iím only a man in a silly red sheet
Digging for kryptonite on this one way street//

I walk down the winding streets of L1, clutching a piece of paper with my right hand while my left fidgets nervously. The numbers and letters on the paper spelled out Heeroís address which I had committed to memory. My feet trudged quickly at a shuffling pace towards Heeroís house, practically dragging my numbed brain behind its wake. Iím going to see my love. My one weakness. My one chance at happiness. My one possibility of damnation.

I missed him so.

//Only a man in a funny red sheet
Looking for special things inside of me//

The door stares at me and I stare right back. 243. Yep, thatís Heeroís door and all I have to do is knock. Then it will all end. Or begin. I donít know which. But the best part of my heart and soul is beyond this fake polymer wood door, just waiting for me to gather up my courage and knock. I can hear in my head a voice from a long dead memory. ĎLove is precious, Duo. It is a gift from God. Never let go.í Sister Helen, always good with the advice that I never followed.

Until now.

Knock. Knock.

Whoís there?

Duo.

Duo who?

Duo Maxwell, the one whose heart you hold.

The door opens.

//Itís not easy to be me.//

I donít know how my story will end. But I hope for a new chapter in my life, a clean slate with the one I love. It has been a hard journey, looking for an ending and a new beginning. But then again, nothing worthwhile is ever easy, is it.

owari

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