When Duo approached me this morning with a very determined attitude, I thought that I was about to finally learn what's been bothering him these last few weeks. Instead, he surprised me by asking if he could borrow some of the books in my library for a while. It was easy enough to say yes, but I had to ask which books. "Tom Sawyer", he said. I asked if he'd ever read something of Twain before, he answered no, and that he only knew the names of a few of the really old authors, like James Joyce. Duo claimed two paragraphs of Ulysses were enough to cure him from any desire to read more. Apparently, Sister Helen's library had been limited to the pride of Ireland and the Bible, and between the two of them, I can see why a young Duo would turn to comics instead.
This sudden spark of academic interest seems to originate with a dare from Wufei. I told him to get Huckleberry Finn while he was at it, and maybe some books by Jules Verne. I had to restrain myself from not overloading him with authors and titles - there are so many I think he'd enjoy.
I forgot to angle for the deeper purpose, though - not that I think Duo would have taken the bait.
I've tried to get Rashid help me judge whether our guests are happy here or not - I realize that there isn't all that much to do here, other than enjoy the sun, the pool, the cultivated grounds, the library, the occasional game, and quiet reminiscing about our past. It feels odd, being able to do that. None of us are even old enough to vote yet, but we've been through so much already.
Heero is the only one that still accepts my chess challenges, unless I'm to play two opponents at once. Playing against Heero is sort of like playing against a dedicated machine. Heero is brilliant, but he overanalyses every single move, and it's fairly easy to follow his eyes and see which pieces trouble him the most. All in all, his talents makes him a good chess player, but the same skills keeps him from becoming great. I'm reluctant to accept Duo's offers on a poker tournament, because I know he'd rob me blind in cards.
Talking to Wufei has become sort of a non-issue due to his reading stint, though we did have a quick debate over whether Clausewitz or Jomini had the best theory - roughly, does victory come from drill and numbers, or the occasional inspiring daredevil hero?
As for Trowa... In the past, I always had an easier time with Trowa, it was as if I could connect immediately with him. I could almost know what was on his mind without a single word being exchanged. Now... I find that almost impossible, and though I want to ask what's troubling him, I find myself unable to. I'm starting to think I'm his problem.
Yesterday, I followed him - stalked him, if you must. I'm glad I did, because I got to overhear his flute play again, reminding me of that day more than two years ago. It's as if times were simpler, even happier back then. Ridiculous, I know, with the war and everything. Perhaps it hadn't fully dawned on us what we were in for - what war was really like. When you're just attacking another machine, it's easy to forget there is someone inside that machine, someone not likely to escape unhurt with you hacking at his mobile suit.
The first time I had to shoot someone up close, with a pistol, was hard. And easy. And necessary. And meaningless. And I hope I never have to do anything like it ever again.
It's a subject I'm still debating whether to bring up with the others. Do they feel the same? I think Heero does, with that vow of his. For Wufei, the fight isn't over yet - but he's fighting so he eventually won't have to do such things. That is the paradox of war.
No wonder we're kids sounding like bitter, old men at times.
I'm tempted to start calling people - Catherine and Hilde, for starters. Perhaps they can clue me in to what I'm missing. Still, to do that might be very counter-productive, once the guys find out.
Rashid just warned me that there is a sandstorm coming in. The Maganacs are already helping the servants secure the grounds and cover the pool. Rashid also told me that Sally called and left a message for Wufei. He wouldn't disclose the details, which suggests recruiting him to spy on the others is a futile gambit. I just hope whatever Sally had to say wasn't along the line of 'new mission', because this storm appears to be rather fierce. For better or worse, we're all stuck here for the time being.