Cuts Deeper Than...
* * *
I do not know if it will stop at bone.
This knife, cuts deeper than the deepest part,
I know that it can rend the soul within my bones.
-- 'A Season of the Flesh' by Heath Rat Su
* * *
The first cut is always the worst.
In the brief moment of anticipation, before the coolness of the blade actually kisses the skin and the first line of crimson wells up to trail over a pale wrist, into the cup of a palm. That hurt is worse in the mind than it could ever be in reality.
The next cut loses something. Not as sharp, nor as sweet, the fresh page of the skin has already been written on in blurry scarlet ink and by the fourth cut it's finished, all the tension seeping away and all that's left is to wait for the bleeding to end before hiding the cuts away in neatly wrapped bandages, until they heal. Until the next time.
Wrinkling his nose at the sharp scent of the antiseptic, Duo carefully cleaned the shallow cuts he'd made, wiping the distinct lines of red into milky pink before gently patting his wrist dry.
Sitting in his bed, Heero was doing whatever it was he did his laptop, but he looked up occasionally, watching Duo's progress with a strange expression. Not quite of disgust, but something that Duo couldn't place.
Shrugging mentally, Duo wound the long strip of gauze around his wrist, making a tidy little white package around his wrist. He rubbed his fingers over it lightly, testing it for any bleed through before he was satisfied, unrolling the long sleeve of his school uniform shirt and buttoning it over the bandage.
"Why do you do that?" Heero asked suddenly, pausing in his typing.
Duo shrugged, hopping off his bed to dig through the stack of papers on his desk. They had history class in a few minutes, and even if they weren't staying at this school very long they didn't need the extra attention that failing students were wont to draw. Duo made a face, studying his homework. If this was easy to him, then the superman over there was probably going out of his mind with boredom.
Glancing back at the superman in question, Duo realized that Heero was still staring. He shrugged again before finally saying, "It feels good."
"How can hurting yourself possibly feel good?"
Duo snorted. "I don't mean it feels good like that. Yeah, the cuts hurt but it makes me feel better inside. This is something I can...control, I guess. It's mine," he paused, searching for words to explain. He picked up the straight razor he'd used, absently wiping it clean before tucking it into his back pocket. "People can hurt me and things can hurt me and I can't stop them. But I can still hurt myself too, if I want to, I guess. No one can take that away from me."
He'd wondered about it himself, from time to time. It wasn't that he wanted to kill himself, it was actually the furthest thing from his mind. But there was something about it, about pain that you could cause yourself, or stop, anytime you wanted to. Something about the sight of your own blood, drawn by your own hand. Duo shrugged again, more to himself than to Heero that time.
"And what happens if someday you cut too deep?" Heero asked, his voice still as calm and even as it ever was. Probably trying to integrate this new knowledge on human nature into his little mental databanks, Duo thought sourly.
"Eh, I'm not going to cut too deep," he replied cheerfully, unrolling his sleeve again. "I've been doing this a long time." He peeled back the bandage and showed Heero what lay beneath it.
Silvery scars ran along his wrist, intermixed with ones still pink and healing, like pale garlands wound around his arm and intermixing with garish lines of rust that he had just drawn. Heero studied them as intently as if they were hieroglyphics, a single finger poised over them as if to touch.
"Why do you only cut your left wrist?" Heero asked, softly "You don't trust your left hand to make cuts?"
Duo rolled his eyes. Trust Heero to automatically assume it was about weakness. Grinning cheekily, Duo ran his tongue lightly over his teeth before he answered. "Nah, it's because I jerk off with my right hand."
The almost touch of Heero's finger switched so abruptly to a sudden, painful grip that Duo didn't have time to react, finding himself slammed into the wall on the other side of the room, pinned by Heero's weight against his own. A sudden flash of silver and he saw Heero had pinched the razor from his pocket, the cool, sharp edge resting just above the cuts he'd made only minutes before. "And what happens if I take away your control of this? What if I cut you?"
Duo never flinched, let his wrist go lax in Heero's grip. "Is that what you want? Go ahead. You won't be the first person who hurt me, and you won't be the last." He laughed, unable to help the bitter edge that crept into it. "What are you going to teach me, Heero? That people can hurt me, no matter what I do?" He shook his head slightly. "I've known that all along."
He waited for it, the first delicate edge of pain as the blade pushed through the upper layer of skin, making its way to the eager blood pulsing below. Closing his eyes, he let his head fall back against the wall, waiting, the growing agony of anticipation worse than any he'd ever inflicted on himself.
The sudden clatter of metal on the floor tiles startled him, but before he could do more than blink the heat of Heero's mouth covered his own. Hot, harsh pressure, a sharp contrast to the softness of the tongue probing between his lips.
He felt Heero drop his wrist, Heero's hands sliding instead to cup his face. His own hands moved to rest limply against Heero's arms, stunned into pliancy as Heero's tongue thrust against his own, promising things that Duo would have never guessed that Heero even knew about.
His knees buckling, Duo slid down the wall, one of Heero's hands pushedinto his hair, gripping tightly to hold him up, as if to prevent him from escaping. As if he could.
As if he even wanted to.
His limp grip on Heero tightened until he was clutching the other boy against him, his own tongue flickering out to taste the sweet, dark heat of Heero's mouth and he could smell the cloying scent of the cheap shampoo that Heero used, taste the dark bitterness of the black coffee Heero usually drank.
The frantic touches lightened, slowly, imperceptibly turning to the most delicate of touches as Heero finally pulled back but not away, instead lifting Duo's wrist again so that he could rest his cheek against the still smooth skin below his elbow, lips tracing a path upward to press gently against the fresh cuts.
"I don't want to hurt you," he murmured. "I don't want to control you."
For once in his admittedly not-that-long lifespan, Duo found himself at a loss for words, not even recognizing this boy as the one he'd come to this school with.
Heero lifted his head, piercing him with eyes that were suddenly too blue to even look natural, like this was some kind of otherworldly being who had taken over Heero Yuy for just a time.
With the way Heero was acting, Duo could almost believe it was true.
'Don't do it again.' The words shone in Heero's eyes as clearly as if he'd spoken them aloud, begging, pleading with him and Duo dimly wondered at what he'd done. A few simple lines drawn into his skin and he'd woken a Heero that he hadn't even known existed.
"Don't ask me to lie to you." Aloud, faintly terrified of this Heero, but still compelled to honesty, even now.
Heero sighed heavily; his hands dropped as he finally backed away and released the other boy. "Then don't make me watch."
Duo nodded, slowly, and they stared at each other, neither wanting to break eye contact.
The shrill sound of a bell and they both jumped slightly, turning in unison towards the clock.
"Shit! We're late for class!" Duo snatched his books off the desk, his flight out the door halted by Heero's hand on his arm.
"Promise?" Heero asked softly, eyes still shining with strange vulnerability.
"Yeah," Duo said, smiling a little in spite of himself. Figuring fair was fair, he leaned forward and gave Heero a loud, smacking kiss on the lips before pulling back again, and grinning.
"Yeah, I promise. Now, come on, spandex boy, we're late for class!"
He ran out the door, glancing back over his shoulder in time to see Heero actually smile at him, before he reached for his own books. Tearing down the empty hallway, Duo suddenly wished he'd made Heero promise too.
'Don't hurt me,' he asked silently to the footsteps that were coming up behind him. 'Don't control me.' He knew all about Heero now and he knew himself, too, and he knew without a single word that Heero could cut him deeper than any razor.