The L2 Box
Late a night a week since I'd spoken to the perplexing Duo, I was still recording around town. It helps me take my mind off of Trowa. Whenever I think about him, I get even more depressed. I had been indirectly rejected. And although Trowa hadn't meant to, it still hurt like a bitch. Sometimes, I couldn't tell if it was the disease or Trowa that was causing my pain. It felt slimy inside, so disgusting. It felt like I was rotting from inside out, like my body was turning into pulp, and sloshed around when I moved, making me sick to my stomach.
I can't believe something like love could affect me like this. This had been my first experience with love, and I don't think I EVER want to experience it again if it hurts this bad. I don't want to believe that losing him could make me feel to sick, so I hope it's the disease that makes me feel like this. I don't want ill feelings towards Trowa and Quatre. Because, even though I lost my love, I still have my best friends. But -call me crazed if you want- I think it's a comfort that I have this disease. At least all my suffering would end soon. For now, while I am still alive and walking, I go out to try to get the thoughts out of my mind. Work always helped me concentrate on other things.
Interrupting my thoughts, Duo suddenly appeared beside me. I wonder how he does that. Appear out of the blue when I hadn't noticed him before. I'm usually a very observant person.
"500 bucks. I'll do it." I heard the boy finally agree. The edges of my lips up tilted into a faint, satisfied smile of victory. He just made my day a whole lot better.
"Good, why don't we-"
"But I still want to interview myself." I frowned, still uncertain about that. My camera was one of my most prized possessions. I didn't want a street mongrel -even if it was Duo- to take it away and sell it off to someone else. I didn't know Duo enough to trust him. I don't trust anyone save my best friends. We had a staring contest for a moment, as immature as it sounds. Duo brings out many odd things in me. He gave me a look, leaving me stunned speechless as I got a glimpse of those eyes again, those windows to the soul. It looked like Duo really wanted to do this. His eyes practically sent a message to "please let me do it". And I couldn't refuse that look and gave in with a defeated sigh.
"Fine, you can borrow the camera, but you better give it back. And if you so much as leave a fingerprint on it, I'll hunt you down." Duo gave a big grin in return.
"Great! Now tell me how to work this camera."
"Yuy, I really think you need to get out more. and I don't just mean going out to record more." Wufei, one of my closest friends, advised. He was traveling to L1, but the shuttle had been delayed for a day, so he dropped by to visit me on L2.
For a moment, I had thought Wufie had found about my sickness; but I didn't think Relena would tell Wufie things like that. So far, she had been the only one to find out. And despite her looks, she was more intelligent than the others perceived. Besides, the two barely knew each other so she had no reason to tell Wufei. And Wufei knew better than to invade my privacy. Besides, he had better things to spend his time on, like his feisty wife, Merian.
"I'm fine, Wufei." I insisted, busy hooking up some cables to a projector.
"No you're not. You collapsed at the New Years party, remember? I think you need a break. You're stressing yourself out too much. I think you've gotten thinner and more pale." I can't but feel grateful. Wufei's observant, intelligent, and very big hearted, always concerned about his friends. He'd blush if I told him that and modestly say that he didn't deserve such compliments. I grinned again; Merian has trained him well.
"Are you listening to me? You should go see a doctor. You seem a little ill."
//If you only knew the truth.// I thought, but gave Wufie a silent reply. Wufie gave a defeated sigh, then tried to change the conversation.
"What have you got there, anyway?" He asked as I hooked up the last cable and got up, brushing the dust from my hands.
"Watch." I hit the switch and the tape began played. A little static appeared before some images began to show.
"Hey, is this thing working?" I heard Duo's voice from the speakers. I pressed a button so the recording was projected onto a wall. The camera view turned around a couple time until it settled on Duo's face. He was holding the camera on himself, a little shaky, but it was enough for me. I could still see Duo perfectly. So could Wufei, because he was staring at Duo's face; having the same repulsed reaction as I did when I first saw the scar. His brows creased as he continued to stare at the disfigured face. It was a close-up, which made it even worse. I could see every white line that rose from his face. It sort of looked like half of his face was melting and would have been like a radiation burn if it had been redder.
"Let's see.. Where to start.. Well, my name's Duo Maxwell. I'm 22 years old. Surprise huh? Everyone thinks I'm 16 or somethin'." Yea, I had thought he was 17 or 18. He had seemed very young, maybe it was because he was so small from malnurtrition. "I work a little here and there on the streets, selling little trinkets and stuff." He paused to think about what else to say.
"Well let's start from the beginning. Want to know about my family? Well, I was an only son in my poor family. It was just me an' my parents. I think, no, I KNOW, that my family was one messed up, dysfunctional, screwed up, hellhole." Duo's eyes darkened just thinking about his family. "My mother was a bitch. She ignored me half the time saying I was an accident and she should have practiced safe sex, or some shit like that." He said that very quickly as if to get that part over with. But his nose scrunched up when he began to talk about his father. "Dad was even worse. He'd get drunk a lot." This time, Duo looked away from the camera, as if he could avoid our condemning stares. "Sometimes he'd beat my mother. Damn Bastard." He paused, like this was giving him difficulty. "Sometimes he'd come to my room and he'd rape me." I heard Wufei give a small gasp of disbelief and disgust.
"I think Mom knew what the sick sunvabitch was doin' to me, but she never made an effort to help me. For a time, I thought it was because I hadn't been a good son, and they were punishing me, so I tried to make things better. Maybe if I were a good kid, they'd love me." Duo's voice choked a bit but he continued.
"But.My mom committed suicide.. And that left me alone with that fucker, no pun intended. It became a weekly thing for him to have his way with me and stick his dick down my throat or in my ass." He paused again, giving a burdened sigh, and bit his trembling, lower lip, trying to continue. ".I had to run away. I couldn't take it." Duo's face was deadly serious, I knew he wasn't lying, and the entire story made me even more nauseous.
I watched the image; overwhelmed, wanting, for some odd reason, to wrap my arms around the poor boy and fiercely protect him to make all the bad things go away. Wufie watched, looking a little pale at the revelation. Duo's mutilated faced had an expression of depressing sadness for a moment, but quickly reverted back to his normal smiling self, eyes converting from dark brooding blue to the sparkling purple, as though his confession had been nothing. I couldn't believe it. It was like he had just transformed into a grinning jack o' lantern.
"Never would have guessed, huh? I guess I hide it pretty well. I act like it never happened or it wasn't anything important, right? I haven't committed suicide or anything. I figured that the past is the past and there's nothing I can do about. It's just... God. It's just real hard to talk about it, y'know? It makes me rethink everything and realize that is was really fucked up." He gave a dry, sad chuckle. "I don't think I've ever told anyone about my past, and look'it. I'm telling you everything and I don't even know you."
"I thought I had escaped from all the bad things after leaving my dad. I lived in an orphanage at Maxwell Church for a while." There was a sparkle in his eyes. It wasn't the joy kind of sparkle, but the kind that tears create when light hits it. But, Duo refused to let even one single tear out and kept that smile on his face. "Let me tell you, shit happens. I was alone again about a year after Maxwell Church.
"Soon, I needed money and food, so I had joined a local whorehouse and turned tricks. And it was the easiest way to make money, even if it was cheating." Duo smiled at the camera, leaning in as if to share a secret. "You see, the customers had to pay first and didn't get refunds, but when they came into the room and saw me, they were so horrified at my disfigured face that they didn't want to do anything. They didn't even want to touch me with a stick!" Duo ran a finger along some lines of his scar. "But one day, a guy came. and he was angry that we had tricked him and wanted his money's worth. He wanted to fuck." There was a maniacal gleam in the cobalt eyes that made I almost shiver. "So.. I took a knife. and cut his dick off." The braided boy made a swishing movement with his arm, demonstrating his description. Wufie, and even I had to wince at the statement. Wufie paused the tape, keeping the image of Duo's maniacal expression on the screen.
"Heero.. Why did you want to interview him? And how do you even know if he's telling the truth?"
"I just want to know." I answered, walking close to the image. "I want to know what makes this person." I motioned to the image of Duo. "Of all the people, have you ever seen a person like this? He must have gone through a lot, even to get that scar. So why is he still alive? Why doesn't he just go kill himself? I mean, I would have committed suicide long ago. I want to know!" I put my hand on the face on the wall, as though I could really touch Duo's skin. "What makes this tick? What is it inside this person that makes him so strong?" He was so much stronger than me. His life had been far worse and he is still fighting. I, instead, had admitted defeat and was accepting death. Wufei looked at me for a long time.
"You're being overly enthusiastic over some stranger." He finally commented, raising an eyebrow. I unsuccessfully hid a slight blush.
"It's not what you think, Wufei. I'm not interested in him like that."
//You're not? You chased him around the entire city the first time you two met, you went to go look for him the very next day, and he leaves you smiling every time you two have met. No, I don't love him or anything. Not even a little interested? I've had enough of love. Look at what love's gotten me into with Trowa!// I found myself arguing. Ignoring that, I hit the play button again.
The crazy gleam disappeared and he we was back to "normal". "Needless to say, they fired me and no other whorehouse wanted me because they heard I went berserk on a costumer." He went on describing what happened after leaving the prostitution business up until he met me. Half an hour later into the interview, he finally came to the million-dollar question:
"You probably wanted the interview to know how I got this scar, didn't you?" I nodded, even though I was watching something on tape. "It's one helluva scar huh?" I nodded again. "Accidents happen. Well. here's what I have to say about it:....." There was a long pause, like Duo was contemplating something. I realized I was holding my breath for the final moment.
".Nothing" and the screen went blank.