The world was on fire...
"You're no one, none of you exist. You understand?" We do,
fully. "Names are unacceptable; you are only of value if you do not
exist. Identity leaves trails that we cannot afford. You are not
bound by laws anymore; you are not soldiers and you are not
civilians. No rank, no number, no code name. You are expendable.
You have undertaken this." Yes, we have.
The vacuum of space was filthy, strewn with stardust and galaxy bits
and the mechanical dreams of humanity, mingled with its blood and
tears. Flares burned like isolated streaks of light across the
starry void, and disappeared into the bloated blue of Earth's seas.
Sounds could not travel through the vacuum, but soldiers swore they
could still hear them, like a whining or a low scratching buzz deep
in their heads like a bee. It sounded like weapons sizzling in the
Bullets shaped by the mechanical hand of war explode in soft tissues
and spread through the spaces like ants in a maze of tunnels. Flesh
and bone are easily destroyed in fire, a shapeless orange monster
hatching from black wired bombs and rainbow striped gasoline. Heero
Yuy knew these things; he felt sometimes that he had created these
Burn, the thought rose through his head like a bottle floating up to
the surface of water. The windows blew outward like a violent
sneeze. The smoke rose behind its vanguard, white to grey to not
there against the cloudy sky. Burn, Heero's thoughts repeated. You
have to burn. The glow of orange writhed, like a serpent uncoiling
from an egg, a mother in the throes of the bittersweet pain of
birth. Bells rang, clanging and squealing like trumpets, a marching
band, an elegy. Burn to ashes. Shouts and screams made harmonies.
Heero thought they were beautiful as he rolled off his stomach and
packed away his binoculars. The litany subsided in his mind, sunken
below the surface and bubbled away. A new one rose in its place,
more unyielding than the former. Save me.
Heero first spotted Duo through the haze of smoke and against the
sound of gunfire. He was shielded by an apartment building tower,
spreading the brains of his enemies with single shots. A hail of
bullets chipped at the brick he hid behind. As he reloaded his gun,
he spotted the boy, standing on the opposite apartment complex,
smoking a cigarette. He was a soldier, green fatigues and a rounded
helmet a size too big. His brown hair fell over his shoulder in a
braid. Heero raised his gun to eliminate the threat, but as his
vision sharpened into the crosshairs of his sight, the boy was gone.
A new rain of bullets showered the wall. Heero turned back to
It's strange what desire will make foolish people do...
During the quiet times, when temporary truces were announced before
they were deliberately broken, Heero took the time to study his
surroundings. The boy appeared every now and then, and Heero was
sure he was being spied upon. He caught sight of the telltale hair
once as he walked back to the shelter after the bars had all closed.
He had slowed down and sped up and cut across alleys only to double
back on his own heels and hide in the fire escape of some building.
But the boy did not follow. Heero prowled afterwards, stalked the
streets in the dark, sidestepped the haloes of light the lamps
painted on the ground. But he could never corner the boy.
I'd never dreamed...
Nightmares in the cool silent spaces of sleep. Moist and smoky like
asphyxiation. Heero never remembered any of them after waking up;
only the feeling that despite however many hours he had slept, he was
always tired. But he rose nonetheless, always.
Fuzzy thoughts ran like liquid through Heero's grasp. The world
blurred and smeared and ran incomprehensible, distorted and far
away. They dragged his body through the halls and cells and bright
fluorescent rooms, but his mind stayed somewhere far behind him, like
a dim loop of nostalgia for that one vague memory he had had of
having an ice cream on a hot summer day.
Words washed over him, clipped and sharp like swords, sometimes oily
and cajoling like beggars. Sometimes the boy talked to Heero too,
making promises and deals and sly, subtle prods. Sodium pentathol,
Heero realised with clarity between the bouts of hallucination and
drifting away, that was a faint memory long ago too.
He shared a cell with a few other men, uniformed with established
files. He was the curious nobody, who neither spoke nor seemed to
hear. No name, no rank, no number. He was forfeit.
"... that I'd meet somebody like you, and I'd never dreamed..."
A radio barely on the cusp of hearing crooned to him, as he rode the
nausea and dizziness. He couldn't be sure anymore of anything, as
his thoughts never seemed to be able to coalesce into something
solid. It eluded him like his mystery acquaintance, like a girl who
led guys on with her hips and her voice and always slipped out of
their reach with the deftness of a lioness. Heero knew those types,
and listened to the whispery music. For the first time, he felt
unbearably sad, but that too passed and he forgot everything but for
the small snatch of the refrain in his head.
"that I'd need somebody..."
A loner they called him; highly brassed men and women looked down at
him with incredulity. A loner? A resistance cell of one?
Impossible. Who are you boy? Your name, your age. You're just a
fucking child. Ah well, children talk more easily than adults, if
you used the right approach.
The first blow knocked Heero clean off his chair and slammed his head
against the wall. The pain flared through his eyes like fire and
smouldered as a slow consuming pain. Words pricked him through the
periods of clarity. Name? Accomplices? Plans?
The first and only answer he ever gave was his name. "Heero Yuy," he
said, "my name's Heero Yuy, like the pacifist." And he thought this
was too suddenly funny and laughed until he couldn't breath and his
stomach hurt. And then the soldiers had broken a few more ribs and
he couldn't laugh or breathe at all for a while.
When he awoke, someone was talking to him. "But I wanna fall in
love." It was a guard, and he leaned back on a chair nearby. "I'm
so fucking sick of war sluts," the boy whined. "Well, maybe not sick
exactly..." he amended soon after, and both boys laughed.
The other one, leaning against a support column, clucked his tongue
and crossed his arms. "Good luck, mate. You're only gonna get your
heart broken. Or some girl in trouble."
"Yeah, right," the other sighed and realised that Heero was looking
straight at him, blue eyes unfocused and burning. "Well, our little
pacifist's awake, is he? Feel like making some peace today? Maybe
blow a few of our brains out?"
They thought this was hilarious and their laughs echoed in Heero's
ears even after they had gone. This world, Heero's memory tried to
tell him. This world is... The thought trailed off and refused to be
He awoke to the cold blast of ice water on his face. A woman smiled
cruelly at him through her lipstick. She sat across from him in her
drab tan uniform, and drank water slowly from a Styrofoam cup. She
made nasty comments about his mother, slipped papers out of manila
folders and read them and wrote down random scribbles. When she
left, she backhanded him something fierce and told him that her
little girl was gonna see the bastard who killed her daddy hang by
his balls. When he asked the woman her daughter's name, she punched
him in the face and cut open his lip with her wedding ring. She left
the room in satiated spite.
This world is only gonna break your heart. Heero spat out a mouthful
of blood before they dragged him back to his cell. He made out a
boy's face in one of cells he passed, the same bright eyes and braid
peering out at him from behind the bars. That night he felt the boy
over him, like a blanket or a wet pillowcase. Suffocating him, and
smothering him like a baby in the womb, without sound and sight
except for the sound of a heart somewhere nearby and the feeling he
couldn't breathe. He felt like he was dying, and hated it though it
felt so secure. I wanna fall in love, he realised, I wanna know
someone cares for me. The other prisoners snored.
He woke up briefly with the boy's voice in his ear, low and warm like
a jungle call. "My name's Duo. I'm the only one Heero," he said,
and traced the shell of Heero's ears with his words. "The only one
who knows, who cares. I'll break you out." And his hands, larger
than Heero thought they could be, were warm and soothing against the
bruises and infected wounds. "But I need your help, Heero. I can't
do it alone. You promise me Heero?" Heero nodded and sank back
under the call of sleep. Somewhere, a voice was singing him a
What a wicked game...
The radio was on again when he awoke to the lightless morning of the
cell. The news was scratchy but intelligible, listing names and
numbers and battles and victories. A hospital was accidentally
levelled, and a firefight ended badly when the alliance troops were
ambushed by a resistance cadre. It was estimated a thousand people
died. Heero heard the news, and smiled his broken mouth and panted
with laughter between his clenched teeth. Innocent people were dying
out there and he was a dead man walking. It was inexplicably funny.
Until a guard heard him and kicked him soundly in the head through
the bars. He subsided with his lips still twisted open in silent
He was brought into the interrogation room without chains for once,
dragged like a sack of seed and dumped against the far wall. The
chairs and table were gone and there only stood two soldiers and Duo
in the room. Duo smiled at him and placed his fist over his heart.
Heero knew that he would have to fulfil his promise.
To play, to make me feel this way.
What a wicked thing to do to let me dream of you.
Heero wouldn't talk; he couldn't remember what to say. The soldiers
knew he was unbreakable; he was as unbreakable as a shattered vase.
They told him they were there to execute him, that he was guilty of
sabotage and espionage and homicide. They raised their guns and
poked him in the chest raise him up from his slumped position.
Duo walked between the soldiers with his eyes never leaving Heero's.
He crouched at Heero's side and whispered in his ear. "You promised,
you remember? I'll set you free Heero, if you keep your promise. I
can't help you unless you help me first."
Heero nodded and rose up from his broken legs without warning. He
pulled and brought the first soldier down to his side. His bones
creaked as he rolled away from the resulting fire. He snatched up
the fallen gun and it felt safe in his hand. He emptied the entire
clip into the other soldier. The body thumped against the ground and
What a wicked thing to say you never felt this way...
Duo breathed in his ear, raw and hungry, with a breathiness made up
of malice and enjoyment. "I won't help you unless you fulfil the
bargain Heero. A life for a life, Heero. Two lives for me and I'll
set you free." Heero cracked the butt of the gun across the first
soldier's face. The warmth of the stainless steel slipped from his
grasp and he found the soldier's wildly beating neck fit his palms
like gloves. He squeezed, and stinging tears rolled down the side of
his nose and slid over his cheeks. "Help me, Duo. Help me." He
wrung the last breath from the man below him, crushing the throat
with his hands. Duo's face was radiant and glowing, smiling at him.
Heero shook his head wildly and felt the cartilage under his hands
give. The tears were thicker than ever. "Save me, Duo. Please..."
The door burst open and Duo was no longer by his side. A snap
cracked in Heero's head and fire ravaged his stomach. His fingers
felt like weights and lost their hold on the still warm flesh as he
slunk down to lay at the dead soldier's side. His own blood spread
out beneath him, warm and sticky. It smelled like fear.
The second bullet lodged closer to his heart than the first and he
felt it take away the pain. The years of training and war, a
collection of bursts of colour and light and sound, cooled in his
head. Duo was there, a faded boy smoking a cigarette on the top of
an apartment building. And a singular feeling, through all the
fighting, that there was hope of a person waiting to comfort him. I
wanna fall in love, he heard himself plead. Duo, I wanna fall in
love. Darkness was closing in over his eyes, and Duo, suddenly back
by his side, looked down at him and kissed him on the forehead.
The world glowed around Duo's body as he faded from view. His voice
lingered as the last thought in Heero's head. "This world is only
gonna break your heart, Heero. Nobody loves no-one. And I'm no-
AN: Um, forgive me? *twisting hands nervously* Please?