Breaking Free - Part 2
Duo's Friendship Arc 12
by Dyna Dee
The three silent pilots listened to Quatre's footsteps running up the stairs to his room and slammed the door behind him as they watched Duo fade into the distance.
"Well, that's that." Trowa said quietly, then turned and walked back into the kitchen to finish dinner.
Heero waited until the figure in black disappeared from view, then walked back into the house and exchanged a thoughtful and worried look with Wufei. He then silently turned and walked slowly up the stairs to his room, now void of any trace of his roommate.
Dinner that evening was a quiet affair. Duo's chatter and spark were missed, but not remarked on.
Quatre reluctantly joined the other three, persuaded by Trowa to come downstairs and eat. He sat woodenly in his chair, head bowed as Trowa filled his plate. He pushed his food around on his plate, eating several small bites, not noticing the texture or flavor. Finally pushing his plate away from in front of him, he looked up accusingly to the other three at the table.
"You guys could have stopped him from going." He quietly accused them. "Not a one of you asked him to stay." he said sadly.
"It was his choice." Heero replied without looking up from his half-eaten plate of food.
Quatre's head snapped up, his eyes sparked with anger, his face white and drawn. "If I remember right, you told him to go." his voice snapped. "Did you guys ever think of talking it out? Finding out what was upsetting him and how to deal with it? No!" he answered the question himself, his voice filled with uncharacteristic sarcasm. "You reinforced his feelings of being controlled by saying do it my way or leave, or even worse, be replaced!"
The Arabian stood abruptly. "I should have gone with him, but he wouldn't let me." He said sullenly then turned to leave when Trowa stayed him by taking a firm hold of his forearm.
"Let me go, Trowa." he spoke sharply, his voice full of emotion.
"Quatre, none of us are happy that he's gone, " the Heavyarms's pilot spoke softly, "but we all realize his recklessness today stems from his frustration. He's dangerous to the team until he can figure this out."
Wufei put his fork down and looked at the agitated boy. "You're angry with us because we didn't keep him here. But how long would it have taken him to decide we were still trying to control or confine him again by that act?" He shook his head. "He needed to do this and we needed to let him go. Hopefully, he'll find his way back to us."
Quatre sat down, feeling defeated and wrung out from the day's events. He looked resigned. Bringing his left hand up to the table, he opened it to reveal a seahorse. "This is the gift he left me." he said quietly as he let the memories of their trip to the aquarium come to mind. "I bought this for him the day we went to the aquarium. Remember how enthralled he was with the sea dragon? Since we couldn't find anything in the gift shop like it, he said this would serve as a reminder as it vaguely resembled the delicate creature he watched and remembers even now with awe." A wistful smile crossed his face as he remembered the day and incident.
"He left me packets of bubble bath." Trowa volunteered, his green eyes a bit dazed with a memory. "I think he wants me to remember the fun we had together as we all climbed into that Jacuzzi bathtub in our boxers. We almost drowned in bubbles when he turned the jets on." A smile grew on his face as he remembered all of them, as well as the entire bathroom floor, covered in seemingly millions of bubbles. Even getting out and haphazardly slip-sliding and falling across the slippery bathroom floor had kept them laughing for hours.
"What did he leave you, Wufei?" Quatre asked, curious.
The Shenlong pilot looked a bit embarrassed as he replied. "A large package of Peanut M&M's." He blushed, "It's a personal joke between us." Then his mouth closed, signaling that was all he was going to say in way of an explanation.
"Heero?" Quatre asked.
"A book." he answered, no explanation followed.
Quatre stared at the perfect soldier whose emotions and sentiments were firmly clamped down. He felt his anger returning. "Will you even miss him, Heero?" he asked. "Will you miss his jokes or his laughter and teasing? How about his smile and mischievousness? What about his music, or our dancing in the kitchen while doing dishes, or the corny movies? Will you miss him at all?" His voice had risen in volume along with his anger and frustration as he spoke when seeing no visible reaction from the Japanese pilot at his words. "You're probably glad he's gone, aren't you? Now you can have absolutely no distractions from your precious laptop and missions." he said in disgust.
During his little rant, a part of the Arabian's brain registered how out of character he had been today, so angry and upset. He felt the pounding in his head increase and knew he was beginning to pay for all the emotions he'd felt this disturbing day, his and everyone else's. Quatre's eyes opened wide when Heero stood abruptly, knocking his chair back to fall and crash against the floor. He turned his troubled dark blue eyes to stare down at the angry blonde.
"Yes!" he growled sternly as if it physically hurt to admit his feelings out loud. He then turned and stepped over the legs of the chair. "I will miss him." he said in a barely audible voice as he walked out of the kitchen.
The three remaining at the table slowly cleared the half-filled plates from on top of the table and began to wash up. They did so in near silence, each of their minds going over the unpleasant day.
Wufei made his way upstairs. The silence was unnerving and somehow felt unnatural. He stopped in front of Heero's room and paused for just a moment. Taking a deep breath, he knocked on the door. No answer. Cautiously turning the nob, he peeked his head around the corner of the door, not wanting to intrude or risking Heero shooting him, but he was concerned. He saw the Japanese boy sitting cross legged on the double bed, his head bowed over a book with faded gold edges on well worn, thin pages, and a black edge around the inside cover.
"You okay, Heero?" He asked.
The other boy nodded without raising his head.
"Is that his gift to you?" he walked cautiously towards the bed, curious about the book. Heero closed the cover as he approached so he could see the black cover and the gold printing on it..
"A Bible? Why would he leave you a Bible?" Wufei asked, perplexed as Duo was not overly religious.
Heero looked up and answered. "He was told the stories from this book at the orphanage as a child." he explained quietly. "He was reminded of them when he heard them again in the shelters during the hurricane and tornado while in the U.S. He said they brought him a different perspective on his life, on the war, and battles we fight. Sometimes at night, he'll tell me a story and then who the people reminded him of and why."
"May I?" Wufei held out his hand to see the book. Heero handed it to him. He leafed through the beginning pages and came upon a hand written message.
"He inscribed it for you." Wufei voiced his discovery. "Did you see it?"
Heero looked up, a hint of surprise on his face. "No, read it to me?"
Wufei wondered if the personal message should be read by Hero alone, but he held up the book and read as directed.
You are Able, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, David and more.
You are my hero, and always my friend.
Wufei looked up to see if Heero was affected by the words of the neatly written message. He noted that his friend's mouth was compressed into a line, and his eyes were curiously bright as he reached for the book and brought it back to his lap to study the inscription.
"I'm not familiar with those all of those names or stories." Wufei said. "But I'm curious. Will you tell me about them, and why they're important to Duo?"
Heero took a deep breath and answered quietly, not looking up from the book. "I think Duo would like me to, but another day, alright?"
"Sure." Wufei reached out to the boy on the bed to give his shoulder an understanding touch before he turned and left the room, quietly closing the door behind him.