Part 8 - Past Interlude
It was quite late in the night, almost midnight. The moon was at its fullest and shone upon two figures on the deck of the ship.
"Do you believe in mermaids, Heero?" The braided boy asked his companion.
Heero snorted, not bothering to look at his lover, and kept gazing at the ripples of the sea. "Mermaids are not real, Duo. You know it."
The other boy chuckled and looked at the sea. "The bubbles there could very well be a mermaid."
"You're drunk, aren't you? How many bottles of wine did you manage to finish? The bubbles are caused by the ship's engine, Duo."
"I'm not that drunk. Sister Helen once told me a story about mermaids. You haven't heard it, have you?"
"No," said the short haired boy.
"I really wonder how you grew up, Heero. Let me tell you the story then. The mermaid was a daughter of the sea king. She liked swimming to the surface though her father forbade her to. One day, she helped a prince when the storm wrecked his ship and fell in love with him."
"With his face, you mean. She obviously didn't know about his character," Heero snorted.
Duo chuckled, still looking at the sea. "True, I agree with you but the me in the past accepted that love-at-first-sight story. I listened to sister Helen's story in rapture about how she sacrificed her voice to gain human legs and was given a week to seduce the prince into loving her or she would die."
"So you are interested, huh?" Duo smirked at his Japanese lover, who shot him a death glare. "The prince found her on the shore and brought her home. He stayed with her and took her around. She was happy to be with him and enjoyed her days, so certain that he loved her."
Duo snorted, "He introduced his betrothed to her at the end of the week and told the mermaid that he would marry tomorrow and hoped the mermaid would attend the ceremony. He had come to think the mermaid as his sister."
"The mermaid didn't think him as a brother, huh?"
"Damn right. She was brokenhearted. I didn't know how she could stand and watch the wedding ceremony without crying but she did," The braided boy grinned at his lover, "Maybe she asked for your help in making her face emotionless."
The Japanese boy glared.
Duo chuckled, "Maybe not. Anyway, the wedding was held on a ship. As the prince and his wife enjoyed their wedding night, the mermaid cried alone out on the ships deck. She was startled when her mermaid sisters appeared. They gave her a knife and told her if she killed the prince with it, she wouldn't die and would be turned back in to a mermaid instead."
"....did she kill him?"
The braided boy shook his head, "No. She did slip into the princes room, but upon seeing how happy the prince was, she couldn't bring herself to kill him. She watched him sleep and when it was almost dawn, she left him and jumped into the ocean. The prince woke up and found the knife on his pillow. As realization dawned to him, he dashed out but all he could see was the bubbles the mermaid had become."
"... .I thought fairytales end happily."
"This one doesn't," Duo said as his eyes fixed on the bubbles. "I cried after listening to that story, you know? … protesting that the idiot prince should have noticed the mermaid's feelings, that he should have married her instead of his betrothed. Sister Helen had a hard time trying to calm me down and get me back to sleep."
"The prince is really a baka."
"Right! If I were him, I would have noticed the mermaid and married her instead of my betrothed!"
The boys were silent after that. They gazed at the bubbles but their eyes looked past them, lost in their own thoughts. Minutes passed before Duo finally moved. He shifted closer to his Japanese lover and sneaked an arm around his waist. "So are you happy with the cruise?"
"Very happy," Heero answered as he relaxed his body and leaned against his lover.
They stood like that until Duo broke the silence with his hiccups.
"You're really drunk." The Japanese boy made to withdraw, "Let's go back to our room."
"I'm not drunk!" Duo protested and tightened his arm around his lover's waist. "Let's dance first!"
"Dance?" Heero looked at the braided boy with a raised eyebrow. "Here?"
Violet eyes twinkled. "Yes here." Duo put both arms on Heero's waist and pulled the boy so there was no space between their bodies. He rested his head on Heero's shoulder and whispered, "slow dance."
Heero made a protesting sound, but in the end he relented and put his arms around Duo's neck. Together they swayed and swung to the music only their ears could hear while the moonlight shone upon the two of them.
"Happy birthday, Heero." Duo whispered lovingly.
"Thank you, Duo." The Japanese boy sighed happily and rested his head on his lover's shoulder.
A sharp pain suddenly appeared and the Japanese boy cried out in agony. He broke the dance and held his stomach where the pain throbbed violently.
"Heero?" His lover's voice seemed far away as Heero twisted and struggled to overcome the pain. He was startled when his feet didn't meet the floor and felt himself falling into the sea. It couldn't be possible, there should be railing around the ship to prevent this kind of accident. Heero cried out as he felt his body sink into the water and turn into bubbles.
Prussian blue eyes snapped open and saw the steel ceiling of the laboratory. A sharp pain in his stomach distracted him then. He brought his hands upon his swelling stomach and gritted his teeth, riding the pain he knew would last for an hour. When the torture was finally over, the boy's eyes were dull with pain and he was sweating. He lay on his narrow cold bed, panting from his ordeal while his mind replayed his dream turned nightmare. It was exactly like in his memory, except instead of falling into the sea, he had dragged his drunk lover into their room after the birthday wishing. He closed his eyes in pain and turned slowly toward his nightstand.
The digital alarm clock there showed that it was past midnight.
Exactly a year after the moment in his dream.
However, this year there was no one celebrating his birthday with him.
As the exhaustion lulled him back to sleep again, the boy formed his birthday wish.
May the prince spare a little time away from his wife to give the mermaid a birthday greeting.
"... I thought fairytales end happily."
"This one doesn't..."