Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respective copyright owners, like Sunrise, Bandai. Plot, if you can call it that, belongs to me.

Pairings: J/Heero, Duo/Heero
Rating: PG
500 words

Warnings: Unrequited cross-generational love. Second person Heero POV.

Don't dwell on the wounds you have taken. Don't dwell on the wounds you wish you had.

Dusk Falls, the Sun Rises
by Ponderosa

Open your eyes.

Each day when you wake, it is the same: the sky is made of mist. It stretches endless above the ocean, a thick, steel-grey blanket. His hair was the same colour, falling in waves down a spine curving with age.

When you were in training, the first meal of the day was served at 0500 sharp. You don't rise that early anymore, but you still eat alone, your skin prickling against the cold. You can afford the luxury of heat; the cold wakes you faster.

Stop dreaming away the hours.

"Today will be difficult," he would tell you. He never lied; each day was more difficult than the one before. He prepared you for the tasks to come. You shouldered the burden willingly.

You have no burdens now. You have only your regrets and the arduous task of shedding them.

Burn them away like the morning fog.

The mail is a pile of scattered bills on the rug beneath the door. It has sat there for days. There is one envelope that does not belong.

Your arm twinges; sometimes the cold finds its way into where your bones failed to properly mend. You rub warmth into it and avoid where your skin is puckered with scar tissue. You have only three scars on the surface of your skin. Two, really, when the one is twinned. Entrance. Exit.

Don't dwell on the wounds you have taken.

His is on your chest. You broke a rib in the simulator. He had stood at the hatch and studied you with his lips in a thin line beneath his moustache. You remember him saying, "Boy, can you continue?" as blood leaked down your side.

You hadn't been able to find the breath to say yes. Your head was thick with nausea as you nodded instead. You could have given up. You could have walked away. Sometimes you think he expected that one day you wouldn't report for training at 0500.

Don't dwell on the wounds you wish you had.

"Get out," he'd told you.

You'd said no. He made you. Even then. Later. When you thought the pound of your heart would break your ribs all over again. The shame you carry would have been his.

Walk to the door.

The sun slips in, golden on the floorboards. The cry of the circling gulls pierces the silence of the place you call your home.

Your fingers find your arm.

Keep going, a few steps more.

You will always remember him as a time of day.

Each tick of the clock echoes the beat of your heart. It is a countdown. You used to think you knew what it was counting down to.

Warm yourself with the thought of eyes like dusk.

Your name is written out in a slanted, scrawling hand. Your name is black ink on lipstick red paper. Your name is yours now.

The letter is heavy in your hands.

Clouds will part.

"Today will be difficult," you say.


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