by DSM - The Violet Eyed Devil
Contrary to popular belief, Duo isn't a bad student. He doesn't act out in
class solely for a desire to be the centre of attention. He doesn't attack
teachers with his arsenal of smart arsed comments and witty dialogue…at
least not at every given opportunity. He doesn't forgo homework to attend
party after party like the wild social butterfly people seem to believe he
I can't remember the last time Duo actually attended a party.
In fact, despite a personality that would sometimes speak differently, Duo
is an outstanding student. He throws himself entirely into any and every
project the teachers assign to us and though he seems to do the main bulk of
his work a lot later than all the other students, Duo's assignments are
always clearly thought out and exemplify just how highly intelligent he
really is. It is more common to find him in my dorm room at night, sprawled
on my bed and surrounded by text books than it is to find him dancing the
night away at some teenage rave. He sits and studies on my bed while I type
and study at my desk, a routine that began when we first found ourselves
taking refuge in the same boarding school at the start of the war. Joint
rooms, separate rooms it doesn't matter.
It's because of this that I see Duo in an entire different light than most
of our fellow students.
Perhaps it's his sheer vibrancy that misleads people. Maybe it's his habit
for allowing every seemingly inconsequential happening to capture his full
attention and when Duo gives something his full attention it is quite
possible to lose any contact with him until he surfaces for air. Some
mistake this for carelessness, an easy going nature that paints Duo as some
one with a non-existent attention span. Others see it as laziness and climb
new heights to capture Duo's attention. If it wasn't for the workload Duo
consistently stays on top off, teachers would consider him a disaster
waiting to happen. It takes any teacher one look at his energy and they've
labelled him a handful. One moment at the receiving end of a smart mouthed
comment and they've decided he's a trouble maker.
It takes no longer than a handful of lessons for them to realise he can't be
quite so easily classified.
It takes no longer than a week…given he has the chance to remain in the
school for so long…for the teachers to realise that Duo will more than
likely be one of their brightest and best students.
Which is why I am sitting here, staring at a recently slammed classroom
door, and wondering what went so terribly wrong with our recently graded
assignment that caused the violent exit Duo just made from the room.
Once the teacher regains her ability to speak, she continues on with the
class but I pay no attention to the scratching chalk across the blackboard
and continue to stare at the closed door. Her voice is a slightly annoying
hum in the background as I fight the urge to chase after my partner…my
friend…and find out what rattled him so thoroughly. I am well aware of the
darker side to Duo's personality. It is impossible to fight a war along side
another and not see deeper into their soul than others, even if that soul is
safeguarded against any prying eyes. I have witnessed Duo's spectacular
temper on many occasion but never in the presence of any one other than
myself, our comrades and our enemies. But at the sight of his kaleidoscope
eyes narrowing and burning with that eternal flame, I knew that something
about the paper before him bothered Duo. The moment he slammed his hands
down on the desk, screwed his graded paper in to the tightest ball I have
seen and stalked out of class, pausing only to toss his paper in the
wastebasket and slam the door behind him, I knew that something was horribly
I glance down at my own marked paper, the neatly printed A minus staring
back at me in cheerful gold ink. Mrs McIntire insists on marking each of our
papers in various bold and shiny pens rather than the usual red or black ink
most of my other teachers use and I have yet to determine why. My own mark
surprises me very little. I vary rarely receive below A grades in my classes
with the exception of history (which I find mind numbingly boring) and art
(because I am highly unskilled in the area as much as I hate admit it) and a
simple English paper on a topic of ‘high importance to us as individuals'
hardly requires a great deal of strenuous thinking.
I wrote on Peace.
Hardly a surprising fact I'm sure.
But now, as I glance down at my paper and the usual comments of “well
written” and “a nicely constructed argument…if not a little unconventional”
I can't help but look towards the wastebasket sitting innocently unaware in
the corner and wonder just what Duo discussed for his topic and why whatever
mark or comments the teacher has written sent Duo storming from the room and
disappearing off into the bowels of the school.
McIntire's voice is progressing from mildly annoying hum to irritating drone
and any attempt to take notes or pay attention is thwarted by the mere
existence of a crumpled piece of paper sitting in a wastebasket just in my
line of sight. I can't concentrate in the slightest and it both amuses and
irritates me when I realise that even without his presence in the room, Duo
I glance at the clock. There is far too much time left in this class for my
liking and if I wasn't concerned about jeopardising my cover, I would reach
into that wastebasket, retrieve the assignment and sate my curiosity.
Class is moving at a snail pace and I have learned more about the surface of
that wastebasket, its dents, its stains, its slightly visible contents than
I have about whatever long dead author McIntire has seen fit to ramble on
about in that uninteresting tone of voice she adopts when she lecturers. She
is glancing at me, every so often, from the corner of her eye with a mildly
irritated glare and I pretend to listen to her while continuing my
contemplation of all thing wastebasket, assignment and Duo.
The bell surprises me even though I am anticipating it and I am at the
wastebasket as soon as I have retrieved more books and the last dregs of
students trickle out from the classroom.
The paper, is thankfully, laying on the top of the rubbish. Although I have
done my fair share of ‘dumpster diving' as Duo has so aptly named it, I have
no desire to waste time digging through other people's rubbish when I don't
particularly have to. Not even to satisfy a healthy dose of morbid
Mrs McIntire casts me a irritated glance as she tidies her books and
materials and looks pointedly at the now opened door.
“Mr. Yuy. If you have quite finished rummaging through the trash would you
please go to your next class?”
I grunt an affirmative in her vague direction and smoothing out the crumpled
pages in my hand, pocket Duo's assignment and head out into the hall. It is
only when I am free from the crowded hallways and out into the open air that
I dare to pull the pieces of paper from my pocket and end this bizarre
It is the bold ‘D' staring up in me in blood red that first captures my
attention. In all my time acquainted with Duo, I have never known him to
receive a mark lower than a B and that in itself is rather rare. His grades
remain consistently high, just as my own and to see the evidence of anything
different makes my curiosity grow rather than ebb.
It is the title that next captures my attention and suddenly the picture is
becoming a great deal more clearer.
Duo wrote his paper on Death.
Duo's life experiences with the Death now so intrinsically intertwined with
his very being are displayed on this page in my hand for all to see. Hidden,
concealed but still very real. McIntire's comments range from the benign “An
interesting topic” to the downright intrusive “Perhaps you should consider
seeing the school Councillor”.
In our business, I wouldn't be surprise if we were all diagnosed as
I finish reading the paper and suddenly my feet are taking me to the only
place I know that Duo runs and hides before my head has consciously given
them the command to move. I am striding double time towards the dormitories
with tendrils of concern wisping around my mind and all I know is some
innate need to be certain that Duo is safe from harm…even if at the moment
the harm my mind is comprehending may be himself.
Duo, like with everything he does, poured his very heart and soul into that
paper. Something tugs at my heart…a heart many deny existence…at the thought
of the pain of revealing your soul on paper only to have someone who's
opinion shouldn't really matter grade it as lacking.
Duo's soul is far from lacking.
After returning the paper to my pocket, I enter Duo's room without knocking.
It is swallowed in darkness, the curtains drawn and the lights off. I can
see a huddled form cocooned within the many blankets on Duo's bed and hear
the rugged breathing of someone fighting off tears.
Duo never cries…but that doesn't mean he has never wanted to.
I am at the bedside in an instant and reaching to pull the blankets from his
body when his voice, muffled from within his haven, drifts up from the bed.
“Go away, Heero.”
I contemplate his request. I could leave, let Duo wallow in misery and wait
until he feels ready to talk only I know that as much as Duo's mouth is
quite happy to run away without his brain at times, the boy can be
stubbornly secretive about his personal issues. The very likelihood of Duo
coming to me to share his problems is the same very likelihood I'd let
anyone else near my Gundam. The other option is to ignore any protest and
refuse to leave his presence until I have the information I came for and
risk losing the semblance of Duo's trust I have somehow managed to gain.
“Heero. I said…go away.”
I pause, fighting the urge to pull away those blankets just to reveal the
boy underneath. Fighting the urge to see Duo just to satisfy my need to make
sure he is safe. But logic determines that I should honor Duo's request and
my feet now in tune with my brain begin to lead me toward the door.
My shirt meets some resistance.
I turn and see a pale hand, bright in this darkness, holding onto the edge
of my shirt and I wonder if Duo is even aware that he has prevented my
leaving when he explicitly requested it. I turn to leave again when a tug,
more forceful than the first has me turning back to the figure on the bed. A
dishevelled head of chestnut hair is visible now as well a two violet eyes,
sparkling unnaturally in the non existent light. I cock a eyebrow in
question and am met with silence.
And another tug on my shirt.
I fulfil the unspoken request and not bothering to ponder the contradictory
nature of my friend, settle next to him on the bed. We stay in silence, Duo
still mostly buried under the blankets, back towards me and I half falling
from my perch on the bed beside him.
“Her opinion shouldn't matter.” I break the silence.
“Then why does it?”
“I don't know.”
I reach, with a little difficulty into my pocket and reach over him to place
the assignment on the bed in the curve Duo's huddled form creates. The
rustle of the pages captures his attention and he plucks them from the bed,
turning towards me, placing the pages on my lap.
“Why do you have this?”
My eyes have fully adjusted to the darkness now and I can clearly see the
lines of his face as he looks at me with eyes filled with emotions I'd take
a lifetime to fully decipher. The look in those eyes tugs at something
within my stomach and it clenches painfully in response.
My hand moves without command.
Duo's eyes widen a little at the unexpected contact and I wonder at the
smoothness of his skin, the softness to the tendrils of hair escaping his
braid. His own hand reaches from within the confines of the blankets to
reach up and cover the one now resting over his assignment.
“Why, Heero? Why did you get this from the trash?”
“Because someone's soul is far too precious to throw away.”
The wonder, the absolute bittersweet awe I see shining on Duo's face and the
lone tear that manages to escape from ironclad barriers tugs at my heart and
my body reacts without thought to tug his own into my arms. He reaches up to
harshly swipe the tear from his eyes and after a moment where he feels like
lead in my embrace he relaxes and allows this rare moment of comfort I am
And then he's letting me past the barriers he's so carefully constructed and
the floodgates are wide open and pouring free. He speaks of his childhood in
school and the intense desire just to prove that he wasn't the street trash
people only ever saw him as. The desire to learn that burnt so brightly
within him and the hurt and the frustration when all anyone ever saw was a
boy from the orphanage. A boy they said smelt like a sewer.
I can hardly comprehend Duo ever smelling as distasteful as a sewer. Not
when I am resting my nose against his hair and it smells so sweetly of
vanilla and musk and Duo.
I understand now why Duo throws himself so completely into his schoolwork
and why nothing less than top marks will suffice. I understand his thirst
for knowledge and his desire to be popular and accepted when I myself
haven't cared ether way what our fellow classmates have thought of me one
way or the other.
No one's opinion has truly mattered to me. I do my job, I complete my
mission and I follow my orders. With that I have always been content.
It's different now, I realise, staring down at Duo as he settles into
silence his hand still resting over mine, the other once again holding onto
my shirt. Looking at him like this, curled in my arms and out from behind
that wall he's forever hiding behind, that feeling in my stomach and my
heart finally tugs something in my mind and my own wall crumbles under the
force of that single pull.
I understand now.
I tug on his braid, where my free hand has crept without my knowing, and I
press my lips to his hair. I don't have time to worry about my actions
because Duo is gazing at me with the most achingly beautiful smile I have
ever had the privilege to witness and his hand has left mine to pull my face
down to his.
And as his lips meet mine, I feel them tug into a smile.