Pins and Needles
The morning came as it always did, and Heero found himself alone on Duo’s bed. He could hear the water running in the bathroom, and with a heavy heart, he rose and dressed himself. He put on his black and green uniform, put on his military issue boots right foot first. In his head, thoughts buzzed, but he paid them no heed.
He took out his gun and held it loosely in his right hand. Here was the means to end it all. One shot. Laughing bitterly, he grabbed his mask and goggles, stood and waited for Duo to emerge from the bathroom. He would allow Duo a moment to realize everything, to see him as he truly was, before he killed him. As a last gift to Duo, he would offer him a view of the truth.
Still, he was not prepared when Duo stepped out of the bathroom in nothing but a white robe that flowed to his feet, his hair unbound and free behind him.
And that smile..
“Can I tell you my fairy tale, Heero?”
Of all the responses he had expected, that had not been one of them. Heero had been sure that as soon as Duo walked into the bedroom to find him dressed in his military fatigues, holding a gun, mask and goggles in his hands, that he would have raged for the betrayal or run away. He had been prepared for all those, had responses to each scenario. It was the mission to kill this man, Duo Maxwell, Death of the rebellion. There was much more than just his pride on the line – peace and order lay in his hands as well. But to have his lover, the terrorist and treasonous rebel, ask him that.. it left him dumbfounded.
“It goes something like this,” Duo said, his hands smoothing the soft silk of his thin, white robe, his bare toes crushing into the fabric of the carpet.
“Once upon a time..”
Heero winced at the words. Damn it, Duo believed in fairy tales.. even if he claimed he didn’t believe in happily ever after..
“There was me, Duo.”
Duo’s eyes shifted to Heero’s, and Heero found himself unable to breathe properly. Duo’s eyes held no censure, no betrayal, no anger, just a soft, amethyst light of love and trust. Oh gods, please, don’t let him ask me for happily ever after because.. because he could not give that to him.
Unlike fairy tales, this had to end in blood. Duo’s blood.
“Duo lived all his life in the basement, shackled by irons, naked and lonely all his life.”
Was this a fairy tale? It sounded too morbid, too dark. But then again, Duo believed in the real fairy tales.
“One day, the one he trusted the most, the only person he had known in his life, came down to the basement because he finally realized that Duo was there.”
Hadn’t he planned on getting information out of Duo and then killing him from the very moment he had found out who he was? Betrayal of his trust and heart had always been the plan, the only outcome available.
“He told Duo to go outside and follow the path to Grandmother’s house. He told Duo that he would find something wonderful there. So he gave Duo a dress of paper to cover the scars and the blood and sent him out.”
Scars and blood. Duo had too many scars, lost too much blood. Today, he would lose all of it.
“But when Duo got to the path, he saw that it forked into two. One was the path of pins, and the other, the path of needles.”
Heero willed his eyes not to fill, his face not to break. How was he supposed to have known that he would really, truly love this man? How was he supposed to have foreseen that Duo would love him back? Love and duty, they could not be reconciled and for the greater good, love would have to go. It was his duty.
“While Duo wondered which path to take, a wolf came upon him and asked him, will you take the path of pins or the path of needles?”
Why was Duo telling him this story? How the hell was this a fairy tale?
“Duo replied that he would take the path of pins for it was safer, even if it was longer. The wolf told Duo that it was a good idea. As soon as Duo set off on the path of pins, the wolf ran down the path of needles to get to Grandmother’s house before Duo.”
This would be the final moment of his life and Duo knew it. He knew it, damn it, and instead of yelling at him, running away or even hating him, he kept telling the fairy tale with that unbearable love shining out of his eyes.
“The wolf, when he got to the Grandmother’s house, knew that something wonderful was there. Precious and beautiful thing. At the end of the path was something worth living for, worth dying for.”
The story seeped its way into Heero’s brain, the words ringing in his head like bells. Duo would die for peace and Heero.. he would live for it. It was already determined.
“The wolf settled down, his body filled with this wondrous thing, and waited for Duo to come for he knew that both paths led here, and only here. And Duo did come. He came and found the same wonderful thing the wolf had found.”
Duo blinked, the tears now flowing freely down his face as he memorized the loved features of Heero’s face. He wanted to take the image with him to his grave, and when he was in hell, he wanted the solace of Heero’s blue, the color of his eyes.
“The wolf was on the bed, thinking he had fooled Duo because he was wearing human skin. But Duo wasn’t fooled. He wasn’t fooled at all, but it didn’t matter because he already knew the wolf and his nature. It didn’t matter because.. Duo had found something beautiful with the wolf.”
Somehow, Heero found the energy to move his left arm. Just his left arm nothing else. He could no longer bear to face Duo, not with that look in his purple eyes. He had to cover it up, not look upon it. He had to put on his mask and goggles, make his entire world red, blood red, so that when Duo bled.. he would not see.
“Duo went up to the wolf in human skin. Duo knew that the paper dress covered none of his scars and the blood from the wolf, but he did not care. Duo wanted the wolf to see him, all that he was. Then, he put his arms around the wolf and said the final words.”
Would this be the happily ever after? Would Duo tell him that the wolf and the boy found the wonderful thing with each other, that they overcame the laws of nature and man to be together? Was it possible?
“Oh, Heero, what big eyes you have.”
Duo advanced upon Heero, his feet whispering across the carpeting. Heero watched him carefully as he put on his mask and infrared goggles, hiding his tear blurred eyes from his lover, his friend, who looked upon him with such sorrowful love in his beautiful violet eyes.
“Oh, Heero, what big hands you have.”
Heero watched as Duo stopped in front of him, his body encased in nothing but the white silk robe that caressed his skin so delicately. He almost flinched when Duo’s hands slowly reached out towards him, unwilling to let his lover touch him in fear that his resolve would break, but they only gripped his right hand gently. The hand with the gun.
“Oh, Heero, what big teeth you have.”
There were tears gathering in his goggles, the moisture making small, salty seas in the convex lenses, but he refused to acknowledge them. His muscles refused to cooperate with him, remaining lax like a puppet’s body on broken strings, as Duo raised his hand, the gun, to dig into his chest, just where his heart beat.
“Heero, my love, this is what is at the end of our paths.”
He felt Duo’s finger pressing upon his trigger finger, the pressure of the springs bending, coiling, retracting. This was the end, it had to be. Without Duo, the rebellion would crumble easily. Without Duo, the terror wreaked by the Dragon and his faction would come to an end. Without Duo, the threat would finally be over after five, long years. Without Duo.. Without him..
The gun fired and Heero’s eyes widened in shock as the recoil threw his arm back. Stunned, he watched the blood blossom on the white, white robe already stained red in his vision by his goggles, the liquid flowering out into the fabric, soaking into the silk. He saw his lover fall to his knees, never breaking eye contact with him, his twilight purple eyes pleading with him, begging him for something. And still, Heero could not move, could not unlock his muscles to follow his will. All he could do was watch Duo bleed. Watch him die. Watch him..
“Didn’t I tell you, my love,” Duo gasped, the blood bubbling on his lips, “that I believed in fairy tales? I knew.. this would be how it ended.. without happily.. ever.. just me.. and you.. and death.”
Then Duo slumped forward, his body finally giving out as the blood drained onto the carpet. All of a sudden, Heero found that his muscles could move, that he could finally kneel down before Duo and hold his bleeding, inert body in his arms. He loved this man, this terror to the government called Death, this gentle boy with a scarred soul, his friend, his lover, his enemy. He loved him and had sacrificed him.
Without Duo, the fanatic Dragon had no teeth. Without Duo, the world could search for peace once again. Without Duo, he was now free from the debilitating lies he had told the gentle boy. Without Duo, he was.. he was..
“Oh dear god,” Heero whispered as the full impact dawned on him. Duo was bleeding. Duo had made him shoot him, through the heart.
Heero threw the gun away from him, heard it impact against the wall. With his free hand, he pressed down upon the wound that still spurted blood, watching the thick, red liquid flow between his fingers, not stopping, not slowing. Panic gripped him.
“Damn it, Duo,” he yelled, “snap out of it! Fairy tales don’t end like this! I don’t care what you believe, just wake up! Stop bleeding.. please..”
He pleaded, he prayed, he begged. But nothing was working. Duo wasn’t stirring, not opening those eyes that had fascinated him. What could he do, what must he do?
“Get away from him, you goddamned son of a bitch!”
Heero jerked his head up to the voice that had intruded upon his prayers and saw a man with black hair and dark brown eyes filled with rage looming over them. Who the hell was this guy and why should he tell him to get away from Duo?
He did not get a chance to ask any questions of this man, for in the next instant, he felt a stinging pain in his left chest, a sudden sensation that had him reflexively grab for the feeling. What was this feeling? Why didn’t it hurt as much as when he had held Duo bleeding in his arms? Heero saw the smoking gun barrel held by the man with dark hair and he saw that the same man had dragged Duo away from him. Away from him. No.
“Give.. give him back, damn you. You can’t..”
Heero coughed and could only stare in surprise as he felt his lungs fill with a viscous liquid. Ah, so that was it. He had been shot, it had penetrated through his lungs. That was what the lesser hurt in his chest was, a bullet wound.
The lights were dimming, his infrared goggles doing nothing to compensate for the loss of light. He could not focus properly enough to go after that bastard that had dragged Duo away from him. Where was he, Duo, the man that he had loved and killed? Why was he leaving him here, when plainly, they were supposed to be together?
Heero collapsed, his mind jumbled and confused, his heart breaking and weeping, as he finally saw the fairy tale Duo had told him unfold its conclusion. His lover had been right, as Heero himself had been right. There was no happily ever after. Just Duo.. the wolf in man’s skin.. and death.
// Once upon a time.. in a land far, far away.. there was Duo and there was Heero.
Once upon a time, they met.
Once upon a time, they fell in love.
Once upon a time, they walked different paths to the same destination.
Once upon a time, they held each other, spent a lifetime together in a short moment.
Once upon a time, they shared a fairy tale. //
Notes: this is little red riding hood, the bloody version of it. if the story seemed too sparse, if it's confusing and you got questions, send them to me! i shall try my best to answer them.