"And there’s no cure
And no way to be sure
Why everything’s turned inside out
Instilling so much doubt
It makes me so tired
I feel so uninspired
My head is battling with my heart
My logic has been torn apart" - Bic Runga, Sway
Heero was trapped in a prison of his own devising. For the past two days, he’d barely slept, watching the shadows creep across the living room walls. He was in hell, his own personal demons of doubt and confusion tormenting him on a regular basis.
Deep down Heero knew what was bothering him most of all. He was afraid. He was scared to death that he loved Duo. Not just any love, not the kind for a brother, or a friend. But love like they wrote it in romance books, love like it was seen in movies, the kind of love more over, that didn’t occur everyday. And the worst part of Heero’s fear, was that Duo might love him in return, and that thought alone made him hide in his house for two days.
The first night it wasn’t too bad, or so he thought. He went to bed and lay staring at the ceiling, trying not to think of Duo’s laughter, when the light blinked on across the way. Heero turned over, showing his back to the window, and closed his eyes against the brightness. His mistake was burying his face in his pillow. The scent on it was faint, yet it drilled right through his mind, tunneling to his heart in seconds. After realizing that for ten minutes he’d done nothing but lay and inhale, he went downstairs to sleep on the couch, determined to avoid any reminder of Duo.
The next day it only got worse. He’d gone into the kitchen intent upon drinking at least a pot of coffee and doing as much schoolwork as possible. He’d been skipping class, and had no intention upon leaving the house, at least not any time soon. So there he was, reaching for the sugar to add to his coffee, when the next thing he knew there was a clattering sound. He glanced down at the small pile of spilled spice, inhaling the scent of cinnamon that wafted up from it, feeling himself grow hard just from the familiar smell tickling his nose.
It hadn’t gotten any better after that. Walking through the living room he’d caught himself just standing there, staring vacantly at a wall, eyes the color of soft storm clouds flowing through his mind. He was starting to forget his reasoning behind doing this to himself. Forgetting what the point was. But then he heard that soft innocent laughter again, remembered the feeling of never being able to live up to it. Heart turning to stone, his resolve toughened.
But when someone knocked on the front door, Heero felt his knees tremble.
He stood beside the door, refusing to answer, unable to open it, knowing he had to. The knock came again on the door, harder now, more urgent.
"Heero?!" Duo sounded worried, which in turn worried Heero. He glared at the door, as if somehow it was to blame for all his problems. Steeling his resolve, bolstering the coldness, he proceeded to do the hardest thing he’d ever had to do in his life. He opened the door, squinted at the sunlight, and glared at Duo.
"What?" He nearly flinched as a wounded look crossed Duo’s face before the customary smile replaced it.
"Where have you been? I’ve been worried about you. I…" Duo searched the chiseled features for a moment, smile disappearing. "What’s wrong?"
Erasing every ounce of emotion from his voice Heero turned his eyes away from that pained amethyst gaze, staring across the lawn. "I can’t see you anymore Duo." Then, feeling like a rat, but unwilling to see or hear what he’d caused, Heero turned tail and closed the door behind himself, locking it and sinking to the floor. In his mind rang utter confusion, and stark terror. What on earth had he just done?
Duo blinked at the door, he tilted his head and idly smacked his temple. Shaking himself, he blinked again. Nothing had sunk in yet, shock moving faster then thought could. He stood still, not hearing anything but the last few words Heero had said. "I’ve gone crazy." He mumbled, eyes searching the ground, the sky, his own hands, anything that would tell him he’d flipped. Nothing changed or shifted, mutating into something horrible come to wreak havoc upon the earth.
The breeze drifted over the grass, the water glimmered out in the bay, and Duo knew for a fact that he’d just heard the most bizarre thing he’d ever heard before. "He can’t see me anymore?" He twisted, looking over his shoulder at his house, wondering whether there might be a witness, someone who could tell him if he’d just experienced what he thought he had. No one looked out at him; a few seagulls went by over his head. He shifted from foot to foot, waiting, for what he had no idea, but waiting. Well, he must have heard wrong; maybe Heero had an evil twin? He shook his head, shoving his hands in his pockets and frowning at the thought.
He was halfway across the lawn when it hit him, stumbling him in his footsteps, shocking him more then a bolt of lightning could have. He felt his legs grow weak, his vision suddenly blurring at the edges. He fell to his knees, his mind feeling too tight, full with a scream.
A shadow fell over him and he glanced up, wondering, hoping. Eyes as clear as the ocean over a sandbar gazed back at him. Then Quatre held out a hand, steadying Duo, comforting in a mere touch. "Come with me, I think you need to rest."
The strange words enhanced the feeling of disassociation within Duo, adding a dreamlike quality to his hazy vision. When he spoke, his voice was slurred with a fatigue born in minutes. "Thanks."
Quatre helped Duo up the stairs, bypassing the bedroom and climbing up to his attic room. The blond boy carefully sat Duo down in a chair by the window. Then settled on the edge of his bed and watched, waiting.
Quatre hadn’t known Duo for long, but the past few days he’d sensed something different already, a shadow over the face of his new friend. He didn’t always sense the emotions and changes within others; it only seemed to strike him occasionally. His family used to tease him about being a mystic, laughing when he proclaimed one of his sisters would drown. They lived in a desert enclave, a veritable oasis ruled by his family for centuries. They laughed right up until the day his sister Mirala fell into one of the many wells, nearly dying. She hadn’t died of course, but after that day, no one had ever laughed at one of ‘Quatre’s little predictions’ again.
His various tutors often complained to his parents that he seemed unfocused, drifting off in the middle of lessons, staring out the windows with a dreamy look on his face. Eventually they’d wound up forcing him to take his lessons in the middle of the giant structure, where there were no windows, nothing to distract the boy from his studies. It wasn’t that he was a bad student; he just decided he liked to study things that couldn’t be taught by a tutor.
A small sound in the room brought him back from his thoughts. Duo had curled up in the chair, his hands tightened into fists, eyes closed. Quatre could feel the pain and confusion as if it was his own, no tears fell from Duo’s eyes, and yet he felt like crying. Sympathy, empathy, whatever they wanted to call it, he could feel the emotions writhing inside the boy’s mind, and it hurt.
"He loves you." Quatre felt baffled by his own words, and reached out to steady himself against the bed. "It’s confusing him, he’s running as fast as he can, and …" He paused, concentrating on an image floating just out of reach. "And he must conquer his own fear." He concluded softly, looking up to meet a puzzled set of eyes.
"How do you do that?" Duo slumped further down in the chair, feeling a shiver go up his spine.
"I don’t know." Quatre played with the edge of the quilt on his bed, carefully keeping his eyes averted from the boy across from him.
"If…if you’re right, what do I do?"
"Wait. I think it’s all you can do for now. As an ancient source of wisdom once said," Quatre smiled and lifted his head, eyes glinting with mischief. "If you love something, set it free. If it comes back it’s yours, if it doesn’t, it was never yours to begin with. Or something like that." He concluded, shaking his head and staring at his feet.
Duo smiled at him in response. "Since when is that ancient wisdom?"
"It’s from the sixties, close enough."
Heero sat on his dock and gazed at the stars. Not the stars reflected in the bay, and not the stars glinting overhead in the night sky, instead he watched the stars so perfectly painted within the back porch of Duo’s house. He’d been outside on the dock for hours, hands clasped around his knees, not a thought in his head, only imagery managing to wind it’s way through his mind. Visions of the boy next door.
"What if you made a mistake, and you didn’t know how to fix it?" A voice asked him softly.
He turned to glare at the figure standing on the dock across the way, black silhouette in the night. "What if it’s none of your business?" He snapped, his emotions so confused and churned he had no patience for advice.
"But it is my business, you’ve made it that way. He’s still waiting for you, the past few days he’s been waiting. And I know you don’t mean what you said to him."
"You don’t understand, I can’t give him what he needs." Heero said almost desperately.
"That’s where you’re wrong, you are what he needs. He doesn’t need someone who’s exactly like himself, a twin in emotions. He needs you." The figure turned, blond hair glinting for a moment as he sat down on the dock, dangling his feet over the water. "You’ve made a mistake, and your fear is what did it to you, so get over it and get over here."
"If you don’t, I’ll call Hilde up and tell her to come live with us."
"You’re way too good with the threats sometimes Mil."
"I know." Milliard’s teeth flashed as he grinned in the dark. "But she did leave us her number, and I like her."
"She liked you, all of you. She kept telling me not to make a stupid mistake." He shook his head, staring back up the hill again at the two dark houses. "But I went and made a mistake anyway."
"The good news is it’s something that can be fixed, you just need a plan."
"Why are you helping me like this?"
"Because he’s my little brother, maybe not by blood, but he’s been my little bro since the day he arrived here. I want to see him happy more than anything, and you Heero Yuy, you make him happy."
"I make him happy?" Heero asked, trying not to show how much the answer meant to him.
"You’re kidding me right?" Mil sounded amazed.
"This could be harder than I thought." Came the barely audible response. "He loves you."
"Love." Heero said quietly, the word meant so much and yet so little to him.
"Yes, love. Don’t tell me you don’t know love when it comes up and bites you on the ass?"
"Well, he hasn’t done that yet."
Mil rolled his eyes, shifting to a more comfortable position on the cold wood of the dock. "When Treize and I were in college we met this guy. Oo-fae, ok he’d kill me if he ever heard me say his name like that, but it was so much fun to make him get that expression on his face. At any rate, Wufei was a lot like you."
"There’s a point to this right?" Heero asked dryly.
"Yes, so shut up so I can get to it."
"Alright, go on."
"Wufei once told me something I’ll never forget. He used to like to compare everything to some ancient bit of Chinese lore or wisdom. It drove Treize absolutely batty, he had a thing for Wufei and sometimes he’d get one of these proverbs as an answer to his more ‘probing’ questions. So one day we were lying around our dorm room discussing the ethics of genetic manipulation, don’t ask. And Treize bursts out that he thinks he loves Wufei. Well, I’d never seen our friend turn so many different shades before, and he turned in his seat very slowly, giving Treize one of his typically obscure looks, and said. ‘Love is like a yin-yang and you are not my yin nor my yang.’ Needless to say, Treize was not happy with that response and asked Wufei to clarify what he meant."
Despite himself, Heero was interested in the story and leaned closer to the dock opposite his own, eyes bright with humor. "So what did he say?"
"Who? Wufei? Ah well, he proceeded to give Treize a lecture on what he thought love should be. He said ‘The yin-yang symbol can be compared to almost anything in life; it can be compared to life itself. But love is one of it’s more virtuous guises.’ And he took out a piece of paper and drew a little circle on it, outlining two curled tear drop shapes inside the circle, then two more tiny dots within each tear drop. ‘Say these are two people.’ He gestured to the two half curled tears. ‘One is black and one is white, but within each lays a part of the other.’ And he pointed at the little dots. ‘In each person lies a core that matches someone else in the world.’ And he colored in one of the tear shapes so that it was dark, matching the dot in the other half. ‘When the two meet, they are meant for each other, one half serving to fill what the other half needs, they compliment each other.’ Treize left him alone for about three days after that, crushed to the bone."
"So did you love Wufei too?"
"Of course, but he wasn’t my yin nor my yang, he was just someone that floated around the edges. My compliment, my soul mate, my bloody twin at heart was and always will be that split browed devil." Mil chuckled softly, smiling to himself.
"So what happened to Wufei?"
"We ended the school year and the last we saw of him he was flying back to his homeland, betrothed to some girl his parents had picked out for him."
"I wonder if she was his other half."
"Who knows, sometimes I wonder myself."
"So what you’re trying to tell me is that Duo is my other half?"
"Basically, so get used to the idea, because if you don’t…" Mil leaned forward slightly, eyes filled with threats. "I do still have Hilde’s number, and I believe there’s one more empty room in that house up there."
Heero’s eyes followed the long, graceful finger that gestured up towards the houses. "It’s not going to be easy is it?"
"Nothing worthwhile ever is."