Disclaimers: Nope, don't own it. Don't own the song either. That belongs to Dido.

Pairing: 2+1/1+2, 3+4 mentioned
Warnings: tad angsty, POV, slight lime/implied lemon
Rating: R
Setting: post EW
Spoilers: ep. 10 mostly
Comments: to chibirei@hotmail.com
Dedication: For Shi-chan, who has helped cheer me up a lot lately, and just for being a really neat friend. Thanks dear! ^__^

Notes: For 'Moments of Rapture' Contest


Here With Me
by Caroline

//I didn't hear you leave,
I wonder how am I still here//

The soft click of the door being closed brings me out of my sleep. I blink groggily at the wall, staring at the clock, trying to make sense of the time as the cobwebs of sleep still cloud my mind. The first rays of dawn are just peeking through the curtains. I stretch, feeling my bones pop - and realize he is gone.

I roll over into his spot, still slightly warm from his body. I clutch his pillow to my chest, breathing in his scent, trying hard not to let the tears fall. Boys don't cry. At least, that's what I've always thought. I've only cried three times in my life, but every time he leaves, it becomes harder and harder to keep the tears at bay.

I hear his car start up, hear him pulling out of the driveway below. I want to rush to the window just to catch one last glimpse of him, but I can't. I'm too afraid it really will be my last glimpse. Instead, I lie in our bed, staring upwards, noticing not for the first time the crack running across the ceiling. I can feel a similar crack running across my heart. It wouldn't take much to break it.

I don't know how much longer I can do this. Each time he leaves, I become more and more of an emotional wreck. I can barely get out of bed. But I must. I can't let this inane yet rational fear of losing him rule my life. But it's hard.

Dear God, it's so hard.

//And I don't want to move a thing,
it might change my memory//

I sit up, drawing the sheets around me, suddenly cold. I notice some clothes lying across the foot of our bed - his shirt and pajama boxers. I reach for them, thinking to put them on, but stop. My hand hovers just above, unable to touch them. *He* left them there. I draw my hand away, staring at the gray cotton material. I'm afraid to touch them, afraid to move them, as if by moving them, I'd somehow change the course of events and he wouldn't come back to me. Like how a butterfly can flap its wings in the Amazon and cause a rainstorm in North America. Silly, I know. But I don't want to take that chance.

I leave his clothes where they are, wrapping the sheet around me instead. I ponder getting out of bed and starting my day, but I have no energy. He took it with him. I lie back down, gazing up at the crack in the ceiling once more, and wonder how long it will be until he comes back.

If he comes back.

//Oh I am what I am,
I'll do what I want,
but I can't hide//

I may run and hide but I never lie. I snort softly, watching the rising sun creep up the wall. That may be the biggest lie of all. Ex-street rat, former Gundam pilot - you'd think nothing in this world could scare me after all I've been through. But there *is* one thing I'm afraid of.


It's kinda funny actually, Death afraid of death. But it's true. I'm afraid death will come and take my lover away from me. I die a little each time he leaves me. I can't run, I can't hide from this overwhelming feeling of dread. I don't want to lose him. I *can't* lose him. And yet, when he asks if everything is okay with me, I look him in the eye - and lie. I don't want him to worry about me. He needs to focus all his energy and concentration on his mission. He can't have any outside distractions. Concentrate on the mission and get it over with… so he can come home to me safe and sound.

//And I won't go, I won't sleep,
I can't breathe, until you're resting here with me//

I roll over, trying to find a cool spot on the sheets. I'd rather be warm. I'd rather be wrapped in his arms, drawing heat from his body. I close my eyes but sleep won't come. I am hyper-aware of every little sound - the drip in the bathroom, the ticking of the clock. Had he been here, lying next to me, my head pillowed on his chest, the sound of his heartbeat would have been able to put me to sleep in an instant. But he is gone, and the silence is deafening.

I shiver slightly in the cool morning air, regretting a little not putting his clothes on. It's chilly. I hope he dressed warmly for whatever assignment he's been sent on. My breath catches in my throat. For a moment, I can't breathe. I ache for him. The war has been over for almost two years and he still has to fight. Granted this time it's in a uniform and with an organization with government support, but it's not fair. The war is over. He deserves a normal life.

We all do.

I can see it in his eyes. He dies a little inside every time he leaves, too. But it's in his nature to complete The Mission. He's stronger than I am. God knows I couldn't do what he does day after day. I tried. But the war had taken too much out of me. I didn't have anything left to give - nothing except him.

And they took even that.

//I won't leave, and I can't hide,
I cannot be, until you're resting here with me//

I sigh and bury my head under a pillow. I really should get up. But I don't want to. I don't have to go to work today, but I don't want to mope around the house all day worrying about him. I can mope just fine from the bed. Besides, the bed still smells like him.

I feel so… so *empty* without him near me. That feeling scaresthe living daylights out of me. When did I become so dependent on him? No, that's not quite right. I'm not dependent - I can take care of myself, thankyouverymuch - I just *need* him. He's somehow become a part of me. He's the missing piece in my jigsaw puzzled soul. I'm not whole without him, nor he without me. He completes me in ways I didn't know were missing. If I lost him, I'd lose a big part of myself. He's all I have - he and a battered old cross are all I have left that managed to survive both wars. But the cross can be replaced should something happen to it. *He* can't.

I sit up, knowing that dwelling on what might happen is only making me sick. I reach out and grab my hairbrush and begin to half-heartedly brush my hair out. Rolling around on the bed puts such tangles in my hair. I smile softly as I remember the previous morning. He brushed my hair for me - the first time in weeks he'd been home in the morning to do so. He spent nearly an hour attending to it, brushing it, braiding it, and unbraiding it to begin all over again.

I often joke with him that he loves my hair more than me. Of course, I know that's not true. He loves me. I only have to look into his eyes to see it. He doesn't always say the words, but he doesn't have to. We've moved beyond words. A simple touch can convey more than a thousand declarations of love. And his eyes - he says he loves me every time he looks at me. Simple words are now empty, hollow. What we have doesn't need words any longer.

I braid my own hair this morning as I do so many mornings. I fumble in my night stand for a tie, grabbing one at random, and tying off the end of my braid. I should get up and fix some breakfast, but I'm not really that hungry. I lie back down, trying to imagine him lying next to me. But I know he's not. And I don't even know how long it will be before he's lying next to me once more.

//I don't want to call my friends,
they might wake me from this dream//

I reach for the phone, thinking to call Quatre, but I hesitate. My hand floats above the phone for a moment before I draw it back. Quatre doesn't need me bothering him. He and Trowa don't see much of each other during the day. The last thing they need is me spoiling their morning because I'm feeling insecure and lonely. No, I won't disturb them.

I roll over, trying to swallow the lump that has formed in my throat. It's hard not to be jealous of Quatre and Trowa. Sure, their lives are hectic and they hardly see one another at all during the day, but at least they know they'll be in each other's arms at night. I don't even have that much.

I flop over on my back. The crack on the ceiling appears to be mocking me. I close my eyes, clutching my braid like a security blanket. I miss him so much, but there's nothing I can do. Nothing but lie here and pray that he'll be all right.

//And I don't want to leave this bed,
risk forgetting all that's been//

I stretch languidly, feeling the cool sheets slide across my skin. I do it again, this time imagining that it's his hands ghosting across my body as they did last night. I should have known he would be leaving me again today. He always makes love to me with such tenderness before a mission, as though he wants to imprint himself into my memory - just in case. He moves over me, inside me, until I can't tell where I end and he begins. He keeps me wrapped in his embrace, hands clasped, fingers intertwined, as if he doesn't want to let go.

I don't want to let go either.

He smothers me with his body, surrounding me as I surround him. Even after it's over, he won't let go. I feel safest when in his arms. The world can't touch us. But our times together are few and far between. His missions are becoming longer; his time at home, shorter.

I fiddle with my hair tie, picking little threads off it. With a start, I realize which one I had chosen. I wonder if I picked it out subconsciously. It's so old; I know I should replace it. But I don't want to. It reminds me of him. I was wearing it the day he first kissed me.

//Oh I am what I am,
I'll do what I want,
But I can't hide//

The memory comes unbidden to my mind. It was early on, during the first war, right after that horrible "mistake" involving the Alliance doves. OZ had come up with a new type of mobile suit. They were taking two routes: one by land, one by air. One or both would be a trap. But it was our duty, our mission. We had to go.

I went by his room to say good-bye. We'd been schoolmates and sometimes roommates for a while, and I wanted to see him one last time. I was already in love with him by then; I think I fell in love with him the moment I first saw him - and shot him. And… I thinkhe had started to feel something for me other than annoyance. I'd caught him staring at me once or twice, just as he caught me staring at him. I think I confused him. I know I confused myself.

I'd had a bad feeling about the mission from the moment I received it. It was not going to go well. I wanted - needed - to see him one more time.

I went to his room, opened the door, and slipped inside. We stared at each other for the longest moment before either one of us said anything.

"Don't go," I blurted out before I could stop myself.

"I have to. The mission…" he began, looking at me with what I thought might have been regret in his eyes.

I shook my head. "This isn't going to end well. Please don't go."

He stood up and crossed the room, saying my name softly. I stared into those bottomless blue eyes of his, pleading with him silently not to go. I knew it was futile, but I had to try.

"Please," I said again, my voice barely above a whisper.

He looked at me, his gaze never wavering. "It is my mission. I must complete it."

I sighed, defeated, fiddling nervously with the tie to my school uniform. If we were going to do this, if we were actually going to go ahead with this foolish, suicidal mission, I at least had to let him know how I felt. I might not see him again. Quickly, before I could lose my nerve, I leaned forward and brushed my lips against his. The kiss was fleeting, but I could feel him jump in surprise. I pulled back, gave him a sad smile, and turned to go.

A hand reached out and grabbed my wrist before I could reach the door. I turned back to him, wincing when I saw the furious expression on his face. I dropped my gaze.

"Gomen. I didn't mean…"

The rest of my words were lost as I suddenly found myself up against the wall, staring into his eyes ever so briefly before his mouth descended to mine.

He attacked my mouth with an almost brutal hunger. I sucked in my breath, parting my lips in surprise. He took the opportunity to slip his tongue inside my mouth, moving against mine in a slow dance of dominance, possessing me in nearly every sense of the word. I was barely aware of sliding down the wall. His knee slid between mine, supporting me from below, keeping me from falling all the way down to the floor. The sensation was exquisite. I blocked everything else out. Nothing existed beyond him.

He pulled away with one last nip at my bottom lip, pulling me up to prop me up against the wall. It's a good thing that wall was there. I don't think I could have supported myself on my own. He cupped my cheek, gave me a look full of sorrow and regret - and then he was gone.

//And I won't go, I won't sleep,
I can't breathe, until you're resting here with me//

My eyes are closed. Oh how I wish I could fall back into the blissful arms of sleep instead of rehashing these painful memories over and over. But sadly, it's not to be.

My chest feels tight again. My eyes feel wet. I squeeze them tightly together. I. Will. Not. Cry. I'm stronger than this. I have to be. For him.

I cried when Solo died in my arms. I cried when the church burned, taking my only family with it. And I cried the day I let *him* walk out of that room without ever really telling him how I felt. I had been right; it had been a trap. Our mission had gone horribly wrong. The colonies were threatened with destruction. We were given no choice but to surrender - no choice but the one *he* chose to take.

When his Gundam exploded in a fiery ball of light and smoke, I felt my heart shrivel up and die along with him. Tears splashed down unabated over my face as Quatre and I raced to safety. I didn't eat or sleep for a week afterwards. I wasn't even aware of the passage of time. Quatre said I was in a near catatonic state. I don't really remember. All I knew was that once again I had lost the most precious thing in my life. Or so I had thought.

You cannot imagine my joy at discovering he was alive. In one fell swoop, just by hearing his voice, my heart was mended, made whole again. I still feel that same joy each time he comes home. But those joys are fewer and fewer nowadays. I have to take them when I can get them, because I never know when he'll be called away again.

Shivering, I curl myself into the tightest ball possible, hugging his pillow tightly to my chest. I want him home. I want to feel his lips on mine, his body spooning against me, keeping me warm. I know he has to help keep the peace we fought so hard for, but sometimes… sometimes I just need him here with me.

Is that really too much to ask?

//I won't leave, and I can't hide,
I cannot be, until you're resting here with me//

I must have dozed off finally. I don't really sleep well when he's away. Too many nightmares. But I don't hear the bedroom door open. I don't hear him discard his clothes and cross the room. I don't feel him pull the sheets back. I don't feel him until he curls up behind me and wraps an arm around my waist.

My eyes fly open, my breathing stops. Surely this is a dream. I crane my neck to look behind me, eyes open wide as I realize he really is there. He drops a kiss onto my bare shoulder and moves even closer.

"Still lazing about in bed?" he asks, finding my hand with his.

"Wh-what are you doing here?" I stammer, not understanding at all. He'd left only two hours ago. He shouldn't have been back so soon.

"Why? Expecting someone else?" he teases.

I turn so I'm facing him, our arms wrapped around each other. "No! Baka," I admonish with a trembling voice. "I just thought you had another mission."

"I did. A personal one." He leans in and kisses me long and deep. Breaking away, he looks me in the eye and says, "I quit."

I blink at him, not sure I heard that correctly. "You… what?"

"I quit. I couldn't stand being away from you any longer. So I went in early today to hand in my resignation."

"But… but… the Preventers… Une… Relena…"

"Will just have to carry on without me." He moves one hand up to brush and errant lock of hair out of my face. "They will be fine, koi. They have enough agents to handle things without me now. I only agreed to work for them until they got the organization off its feet."

"But Une wouldn't just let you leave like that… would she?" I ask in a small voice, terrified that there was some kind of catch to this.

"She had no choice. I agreed to be on call as a consultant from time to time, but I will no longer be sent on long missions." He kisses me again. "I'll no longer be leaving you behind."

My breath catches in my throat. I feel the tears slipping down my cheeks. But this time I don't try to hold them back. For the first time, I'm crying tears of joy.

"Do…do you really mean it?"

"Aa. I'm here to stay." My heart soars. No more separation, no more lying in bed worrying if he'll be coming home. This can't be real. This must be a dream. He tangles our limbs together and rests my head against his chest. I smile as I hear the familiar, soothing beat of his heart - beating for me, for us. "Let's take a nap, koi. It's still early and I'm tired."

"Aa," I answer, closing my eyes and feeling his breathing slow beneath my head. For a moment, I don't think I'll be able to fall asleep. I'm too elated. But his body is warm and safe next to mine. I drift off, knowing there will be no nightmares this time. I can sleep easy, knowing he's here with me.


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