There was nothing in the world ANYONE could say that would make me forget the horrible atrocities I've committed. Sure, we're in the middle of a galaxy-wide war, and it's brother against brother, but basic rules should still apply. Though, what those ARE, the doctors CONVENIENTLY forgot to tell us five.

Well...four now. My eyes blur, mostly on their own. I tried to hide it, to stifle it, but sometimes humans just can't control their own emotions. I am no exception. Even though I thought I was.

What can I say? It just hurts too much to think about. But at the same time, it's ALL I can think about.

Hands touched my head, and I barely recognize they are mine. My actions seem unnoticed, even though I'm the one carrying them out.

Fingers rub my temples, as if trying to move the pain in my head somewhere else in my body. Make it easier to deal with. But also, at the same time, I don't want to make things easier on myself. I deserve this hell, even though I can't say I do. I don't WANT it, but I know it's the punishment I DESERVE. How can that be such a paradox??

A quiet, regrettable sigh. When did things get so complicated? When did I get so complicated? Why did my mindset have to change from something that was once so clear to me, into someone caring and kind? I was so sure of everything in my life, that's all I needed to know. Then it changed and I've never been the same...

My jaw clenches as tears tried to fall past my eyes. Even shut, they gathered behind my lids. I won't cry, I harshly tell myself. Crying is NOT going to change things, no matter how much I want it to. Crying will only temporarily relieve the pain, but it'll be back when I am done. Things won't change. I have to remind myself of that...and hope I can accept things as they are now.

Still, they slip past the corners of my eyes, slowly dripping down my skin. I barely feel it, barely feel ANYTHING. The wind on Earth ruffles the lace at my neck, but I barely feel that either.

When did I become so numb? Just before I regained my 'proper' mindset again? When I realized what I'd done? It seems so long ago that I can't even remember correctly.

My head droops against the weight of such a tired brain. Everything felt so heavy all of a sudden, and sleep seemed to beckon me to its open arms. Into comforting, peaceful darkness...

My eyes snap open with a sudden all-encompassing panic that forces my head up and my limbs away from the balcony railing.

As if running for my life, I left the natural outdoors and my room. Not the darkness, my mind pleaded, not again! To fall into that...what if I hurt someone else?? I can't forgive myself NOW...how would I change that if I lost the fight within me?? I would die inside more than I have already.

I didn't even know where my legs were taking me until I nearly stumble upon something I didn't even see. I blindly look down, not really seeing until I force my eyes to focus. A tree root. Apparently I was so consumed by fear and pain, and the all-knowing numbing sadness, that my body carried me outside. How did THAT happen? And how did no one not notice me in such an apparent state? There were plenty of people swarming the large area, but yet no one stopped me. Or perhaps, no one WISHED to stop me...

My head shook. Did it really matter? ...What DID anymore? With that thought in mind, taking over everything I previously thought, tears burn again.

No! I won't let them escape! In the privacy of my room I might be able to let these things slip into the emptiness that surrounds me, MAYBE let tears fall without shame and guilt. But outside, with people to see and question, I won't be anything but the polished gentleman people have come to believe I am. I won't endure their questions without breaking down completely.

A soft, scornful snort as I look into the blue skies of early afternoon. A polished gentleman, yea RIGHT... If people only saw who I was and how I acted BEFORE the war, maybe they'd look at me with pity instead. More so than now. When I found something to believe. My head drops from the returning weight. At least I THOUGHT I did...

Heels dig into my eyes, trying to block it all out. When did I start to think this way? Why wouldn't it STOP? There seemed no end to the questions and perturbed things my mind could think up. Life, as I began to cherish, seemed to hold no meaning once again. I was back where I started. Now that the only person I considered a good friend, possibly my first and BEST friend, was gone.

No...not gone... It was still so hard for me to believe he was dead. To be dead was permanent. To just say 'gone' would put that at a maybe status. It wasn't 'for sure', and it wasn't quite so painful as this.

I knew it was only this painful because I did it myself. I brought this pain onto myself as a sort of penance for what I did. I killed the one person I considered my best friend, and was reciprocated in turn. Though he never showed emotion, his eyes were my answer. His long-trained soldier instincts softened whenever we were together. I didn't mind, even though it let in room for mistakes on missions. But that didn't matter. It just meant I didn't have to be alone for a brief amount of time. I was alone for so long in my life, never considering myself much of anything...to find someone that felt the same way and could RELATE to how I felt was a gift from Allah.

And now...he was...gone.

With a small shake, knowing I was still unable to accept this horrible turn of events, which was probably normal, I continue to let my feet take me wherever they wanted. I amble around outside, feeling the quietness of nature, but minutely comforted by the sounds of birds and ruffling of leaves. It was all so peaceful...hadn't I been that way at a time? Yes I had...with HIM.

Hands clasped behind my back, head down, my jaw clenched. This tirade was NEVER going to end if I didn't find something productive to occupy my time. But it was early afternoon and classes were out for lunch. A small smile tipped my lips, a rarity. I doubt I listened to anything said in class, since my mind wouldn't stop now. What made me think it would stop LATER? This would ALWAYS plague me until I found a means to end it. How do you find closure, when you realize you're a murderer? Unintentional...but the ends don't justify the means.

Something blew into my line of vision, tickling my nose where it landed. Shaking my head, a small piece of white fluff slowly fell and soon blew with the continuing breeze. Looking at my surroundings and taking them in for the first time, I look around and blink in awe and wonder.

The first thing that came to my mind was that it was snowing. SNOWING? In the middle of SPRING?? The temperature was too warm for THAT to happen, and these fluffs of white didn't quickly fall to the ground and melt. With narrowing, thoughtful eyes, I walk to the nearest cluster against a tree trunk and squat to see better. It didn't melt, but gathered in loose clumps that still blew and shifted with the wind. How ODD...

It was a delightful puzzle I wholly embraced.

"Quatre?"

Startling, I quickly stand and whirl around. I felt a lot better, if not a little embarrassed by my actions, to find my reason for being here.

"Relena..." I quietly greet, hoping I safely tuck everything away.

Maybe being around Heero too much helped me to do that, but it felt safer to keep her concern to a minimum. She had too much on her shoulders to add my problems to hers. I wouldn't LET her make them her own.

"What're you doing?" She asked, a small smile on her lips. "I saw you leave to the gardens and you looked a little preoccupied. Is something wrong?"

Nothing that your search won't cure. But to say that would expel my problems and dump them to the wad she already dealt with. I wasn't going to open my mouth and be so obvious, even if my emotions already were. Instead, a distraction, something to take BOTH our minds off the problems in our lives... Ahh...something that burned in my brain already.

"What is this?" I reach down and grab part of the shifting fluff, finding it easily crushed in my palm. It weighed nothing and I force a loose fist to keep from squashing such a unique thing.

She stopped and picked a piece from my hand. With careful fingers, she brought it close to inspect.

"Ahh, the cotton seeds are falling already." She idly commented, eyes pleased. Her fingers stretched to the air and opened, sending the seed flying away with the breeze.

Opening my palm, I let them slowly fly off my hand, watching with small carefree.

"This is cotton?" I ask, amused and intrigued at such a beautiful thing. It was so odd to see the clothes I was wearing were made from this substance.

She nodded. "Yes, there're cottonwood trees around here somewhere..." Her gaze lifted to the limbs above us, sunlight cutting through.

With the small seeds flying around us, sticking to our hair and clothes, it seemed like a mystical land and not the real world. It was very beautiful and I was glad to see something untouched from the hostile world of war.

"There's one...and another there..."

I look where she pointed, having never seen such a tree shape. On the colonies, there were mostly maple and oak, or such trees that didn't 'litter' the ground as these were doing. The colonies were made out of order and precision. To have cottonwood seeds flying everywhere would make a great annoyance for everyone, and it would destroy such meticulous gardening.

But only on their end. Having grown up on the colonies, even with the busy childhood I had, this fascinated and pleased me greatly. If only EVERYONE could see such magic.

I suddenly realize such a simple thing of nature kept my thoughts from turning melancholy and gave me a perfectly good, if short, distraction from my sadness. I smile and look to the trees, eyes shining with gratitude. It was a small release and I DID feel a little more at peace, even if thinking about Trowa brought along pain as well... Out here, with such an odd twist of nature, brought me a feeling of deep serenity that I never felt before. It was nice. If only to stay out here for eternity...

"Quatre?"

My attention regrettably jerked back to the present a second time, and my hostess.

"Yes Relena?" I gave an apologetic smile, though I didn't really mean it. One glance into her eyes found her just as enthralled as I was with this beauty.

The seeds continued to fall around us, some falling into her hair. It made me smile, knowing her purposely pristine person would be a little messy upon returning inside. And she wouldn't even know it.

"Did you want to talk about it?"

If she knew what 'it' was, then she knew how I felt already. One look into my eyes would tell her that. But talking about it wouldn't make things any easier in the end. It was like crying, it only dampened the situation until I was alone and realized, once again, how horrible I acted and what I did to my best friend.

With a small shake, I deny her help.

"Thank you, but no thank you Relena." The small smile appeared again as I look around. The Sanc mansion seemed to disappear with as deep into the forest as we were in. It almost DID appear like I stepped into a fairytale. "If you don't mind, I'd like to stay out here a while longer."

She gave a compassionate look, and I knew she understood my pain, even though no words were spoken. That was a gift she seemed to have. It must be what she used to judge Heero on...since she thought him no threat by her actions.

"Then I'll leave you with the trees." She inanely joked, a hand resting on my shoulder. She gave a quick, meaningful squeeze, which almost brought tears to my eyes.

We knew each other through the wrong methods, but the right purpose. Maybe, if things were different, we could be even closer than we were now. But for now...this would have to suffice. Not saying goodbye, she turned and silently walked back up the dirt path.

Now left alone, I feel as if the previously dark thoughts that kept my mind prisoner were a little easier to bear. Why WAS that? Could it be that I was out in nature? Trowa held an ability to charm animals. He had something inside him that captured their trust. He never expressed his love of nature, but it was clear in his actions.

Those thoughts in mind, I walk to the closest cottonwood and sat next to the trunk, leaning against it. Arms resting over drawn knees, I look around as the 'snow' continued to fall. It was so beautiful, in an age-old, simplistic way. I lived here for a week at least; how did I miss such majesty?

It did no good to dwell on such matters, since I was here now and calmed more than I thought possible. If only Trowa were here to see this...

My lips pressed together as such a harsh emotion of sorrow sears my heart and almost made it hard to breathe. My throat clogs. I will NOT cry, I tell myself again. Crying does no good... No good at all...

The tears came anyway and I decided to let them. They were going to whether I held them back or not, so who was I to keep such things inside me? After all, the logical side of me pointed out, it'll continue to build until it consumes you anyway. Just like it did when you lost your mind...

NO. Thinking about THAT incident would cause more tears and bring more grief and guilt than I knew was possible a single person could feel.

My head rests against the bark, feeling it through my hair. I didn't care if I looked a mess when I returned. For some odd reason, I was comfortable in this position.

My eyes drop to my school shoes, still wearing my uniform. Nothing seemed to matter once again. Old habits die hard I guess... But I knew things were this way once again due to someone OTHER than myself. It would just take time to get over it, as it did with any sad, and horrible event. But...

Red rimmed, teary eyes took in the falling seeds, seeing them gently travel, as if they had all the time in the world. ...Maybe out here, in this place, I could forget and FORGIVE myself, if only for a little while...