By the Black Rose

AN: Another thank you to Psyche and Stella for beta-ing this time out.  Much appreciated. 

This is the 2nd of 2 prologues prior to the series portion of this "arc".  If that makes any sense.  I believe this and So Far Down can stand on their own, which is why this is an "arc" not a series.  The way this is 'planned out' is like this:

The Broken Arc

So Far Down


One Last Breath (series)

And anything else I feel like adding to it along the way.

Thanks so much for reading!  Love, Rose



Part of the Broken Arc

Heero's POV

            The shadow people can't get in unless you invite them.  I found out at least that much.  I've hacked the Preventer's mainframes, ESUN's servers, and every national security storage facility from all the regions on earth, and came up empty; but I'm sure they're left over from the war – always following me.  How they know I was once a gundam pilot I can't guess, but they do.

They think I don't know they're out there.  But I see them. I feel them.

Out of the corner of my eye, I catch the shifting darkness move just outside my window when I haven't slept for days.  I pass them in the hazy, early morning streets on my way to work, and find them again on my way home. Their phantom shapes hover near me, chilling and constant.  They're always there, I know.  There are just times when I can see them more clearly. 

It helps me to see them; the rush makes me quicker, fearless, and so aware.  I can out run them, and out think them, just like my enemies during the war.  But the shadow people are different.  The enemy wanted to kill me no matter what.  But the shadows… They only want to kill me when I don't want to die.

Not now.   It's been too long and I can't see them.  They blend in with the everyday scenery that I still can't force myself to recognize. 

Not now, when the emptiness has finally scooped out my insides, leaving only my cold, beating heart behind. I'd rip the thing out if I could – disgusting, beating, unnatural thing that it is. I wouldn't feel it. I'm still so frozen, and all it does is trap me in this skin. 

I need a fix. 

I don't need it. I quit.  For fourteen days, I have not taken a hit.  And like a relentless enemy, the emptiness returned.  I just want to feel…something, and staying in this apartment, the walls are starting to close in.  I can't stand always being so numb….It's hard to breathe.

I don't need it. 

It thinks I can't see how it steals from me. 

My memories were the first to go. They have faded into old newspaper print, washed out and mottled, nearly impossible to make out even if I concentrate. But the remembrance of that first rush swims in neon color and brilliant emotion. I felt then.  I'll feel now….One hit. That's all I need to fight the emptiness.

I don't need it.  I DO NOT!  Look at what it's done to me.  There are needle marks all along my legs.  Mixed with scars. They make my skin seem unnatural.  And it calls for the drug to corrupt everything beneath it. 

I can't remember why I tried it.  Someone told me it would make me feel alive. At the time, I was planning to go back to my apartment and put a gun in my mouth.  It didn't seem like anything would hurt.

And it doesn't.

I don't need it. I only want it. The pain of the needle lets me know I'm real. The rush - just a little more than last time. I was so close to feeling like the first one. 

My stomach rumbles, telling me it's hungry.  I've eaten a lot over the last two weeks without my meth fix.  I'll eat, then sleep, and get up to go to work in the morning.  Just another day, a blur of light and dark.  I can make it fifteen days.

I can make it fifteen days.


"Yuy, you're late."


"At least you don't make excuses like the rest of these bums.  But you look like shit."

It's hard to go through the files I regularly check each day and still make it up in the morning. Not nearly as easy as it used to be.  When I'm tweaking, I can stay up all night, staring at that computer screen, and still have the energy to clean the entire restaurant before anyone else arrives. These days, getting dressed takes more effort than it should. 

I could use a fix.

Instead, I don my apron and grab the mop. 

Thirty days.  I've made it thirty days. 

The floor is filthy from yesterday's crowd. Once the fingers of the mop have scrubbed it over, the surface becomes clean again.  If only people were like that.  If only our pasts could be washed away and our souls made clean….

"Good job, Yuy.  You may not be the most talkative guy, or very friendly to the customers, but you do good work."


"Oh, and be on time tomorrow.  We've got a special party renting the place out for lunch."

"Who?" I ask though I don't really care.  I know he wants to tell me.

"The ESUN Foreign Minister and her department."

The mop falls from my hand and clatters to the floor.  I feel like I could do the same.

Relena can't come here; she can't see me.  But it's too early to move on. I just got into town and haven't decided where to go next. 

For once, the day passes quickly;  I'm too absorbed in my thoughts to notice much around me. 

The world is grey without my fix; grey and empty.


            It's been three years since I saw Relena last.  The vision that lingers in mind - at least the clearest one I have - is of blond hair cascading down over her features as she slept in a chair in my hospital room.  Dim light filtered in through the window I later exited from, ending my stay after collapsing in the ESUN Presidential mansion.  And even that memory is vague. 

The remembrance of seeing Duo just two weeks ago seems like a year has passed since then.  I'm tired, always tired. For a long time after the war ended, I just didn't feel anything.  I've been so numb for so long.  Maybe back then it was a blessing, but now….

Thirty days, I made it thirty days.  But I can't let her see me like this.  It was one thing to show the evidence of my slow demise to Duo, who knows and has come to resemble death himself.  It was a moment of weakness on my part, but he needed to find strength someplace else. 

Damn these people who think I'm strong, who expect me to be something I have never been.  Relena was always the guiltiest in this regard.

            I never wanted to meet her again. It wasn't supposed to happen.  I had up and disappeared on purpose.  She didn't need someone like me. She never needed me.  She should have a life filled with love and family. Bright lights and swirled emotions.  Happiness. 

All the things I've never felt. Never had.

            I walk through the gloom of the damp streets, pushing my way through the nameless, faceless crowd.  They're all shadows.  Every step drains my strength until I'm ready to fall, to crawl on my hands and knees.  But I have to get there.  This dismal march has a purpose.

I needed this.  I craved this.  But only the drug can give it to me.  It makes the world spin and feel alive.

            I can feel….

The tourniquet bite into my leg.

            The prick of the needle in my flesh.

            The meth burn through my veins.

            The rush of energy!

The world moves faster.

            And I'm alive.