"If I Am" music and lyrics by Nine Days
fanfiction by: Icicle Raindream
Disclaimer: Nothing is being made off this fiction, seeing as I own nothing of Gundam Wing and am only trying to express my ideas as gracefully as I can.
Notes: You guys wouldn't believe how many times I wrote, and re-wrote, and re-wrote, and then revised, and read over the phone, and revised again, this fic. I was at the mall, picking up the first released Fushigi Yuugi OAV (yay!), when suddenly, out in the hall, this song starts blaring. I knew I had this song on my computer, but I'd never listened to it fully. I went home immediately and put it on, and found myself falling in love with it. I knew I just had to write a story. Unfortunately, the story didn't come to me as easily as my ideas usually do. I had to fight with this one, please be gentle. I tried my very best. Just do what I did…imagine the song from Heero's point of view. Maybe that'll help. Anyway, if you like at all, drop me a line, okay? "^-^"
The sun was high overhead. Its rays beamed from the sky, glittering around the cotton puffs of clouds clumped together, falling to the earth in glorious streams of gold. The grass beneath my feet was lush and green, swaying in the gentle breeze that tousled my hair, pulled playfully at my long locks. To my left, I could hear the sweet roar of the ocean. The water, as the waves rippled and crashed laughingly against the shore, against the jagged rocks that protruded from the ground over forty feet below. The birds tweeted joyously nearby as the flock passed over me, briefly shadowing my form in their presence. My dress ruffled around my legs, caressing my skin with soft cloth. I lifted my arm and held my hand out, feeling the wind slip between my fingers. My clammy fingers.
There was no more than a foot between my body and the edge of the cliff. I merely stood, weighing my options, listening to my heart beat, closing my eyes against the sun, thinking. About my life, and everyone who was in it. And everyone who wasn't.
So you're standing on a ledge
It looks like you might fall
so far down, and maybe you were thinking about jumping
and you could have it all,
if you learned a little patience
My heart fluttered inside my chest, a movement of the organ of its own will. I felt dead inside, I had nothing left there, and so there was no way that just because he suddenly showed up I was going to expand with hope, fill my body with it. Hope and life and dreams and tomorrow were nothing anymore, they had wilted into dry leaves of emptiness. They meant nothing in the grand scheme of things. It was all gone…for me, for him, and for my brother and his beloved partner.
I faced him as he walked slowly towards me. His hands were slipped low in the deep pockets of his black slacks and the wind ruffled his hair against his forehead, which hung into his eyes as usual. The rich blue shirt rippled as the breeze took hold of it, hanging untucked and leaving Heero looking virtually like a fashion calamity heading for disaster. But that's just what he was. I had come to accept it.
But not anymore.
I studied him as he drew nearer. He had no one. He had no one he could call family, no mother or father or any siblings…hell, this guy didn't even have friends. No home, no next of kin, no offspring to carry out his name. Nobody.
And yet, he still walked tall. He held himself high even as the world sat upon his shoulders. He walked with confidence, a posture so unbent he gave the illusion that it would never be so, could never be so. He wouldn't let it. He walked almost proud, brushing off the demons as they whispered in his ears, stepping away from the dark shadows that clawed for him. He let nothing touch him. He wasn't going to beg for mercy, it didn't suit him to act so.
But though I cannot fly
I'm not content to crawl
My eyes narrowed at him and he didn't miss a beat. He stopped in his tracks, facing me, about five feet away. He stood, as if mesmerized by my appearance, or as if he were analyzing me. Perhaps he was.
It was a few minutes before he took another step, but it was too close for me and he had to know it. I raised a hand and outstretched a finger towards him. It shook slightly as I growled, "Don't you come any closer to me, Heero Yuy."
He stopped moving instantly. He stared more. Then he shook his head, and spoke.
"Don't you get it, Relena?"
I didn't answer.
"You have everything."
I raised an eyebrow at that statement, but for the life of me I couldn't think of a spontaneous retort. I let the words sink into my head instead, staring at his eyes, held by their intense gaze. He was trying to tell me.
To give me a little credit,
Have in me a little faith
I wanna be with you forever, if tomorrow's not too late
I wanted to ignore his words. I dropped my hand and folded my arms as the tears welled in my eyes. I cursed them mentally but spouted off verbally with an uncertain, "I have nothing!" My voice wobbled.
Heero didn't answer. Perhaps he believed me, even if I didn't know if I believed in myself or my words. He just shook his head, intent on persisting with his own answer.
I looked away, feeling slightly defeated, seeing as I was never one to break Heero down. The breeze rustled through my clothes again and I closed my eyes, holding the tears in.
But it's always too late when you got nothing
so you say
And you should never let the sun set on tomorrow
before the sun rises today
His voice opened my eyes again.
"It's time to go home."
I took a step back from him, shaking my head. "I'm not going anywhere," I spat. "And this time, you can't make me."
"Is this the path you truly want to take?" Heero gestured behind me with his chin nonchalantly.
I glanced over my shoulder, where the edge of the grassy cliff had become increasingly closer to my feet. My heart pounded and I swallowed hard, but I stood my ground. I wasn't about to be outdone by fear. Not when I had my mind set.
"Relena, look at me."
Heero's voice was tender and it caused me to look at him faster than I meant to. I stood, clutching the sides of my cotton dress with both my hands, awaiting his continuation of words.
"This isn't what you want, you have to believe me on that. I've been down this road before and it's not suited to you. You have a job, a duty you need to perform for this world before it's your time, unless you're steadfastly willing to let down everyone who has ever come to know you as their savior."
I blinked at him, trying to digest his words. They didn't slide easily down my throat and suddenly I felt like I was choking. And when did he get to be so close to me? I could reach out and grab his shirt now if I wanted to. Instead, I shook my head roughly, trying to clear it and spit up the words that were making me sick.
"You bastard," I hissed. "You're the one who did this to me."
Heero looked momentarily away. "I know," he replied, deathly soft. He looked back at me, piercing my eyes with that cobalt gaze. "But you can't let one person crumble everything you've worked for."
"There's nothing left!" I shouted at him. "I'm working for nothing! It's all scrap now, junk! What's worth working for? Can you tell me?" I whipped my hand up and seized his shirt, squeezing the soft material harshly between my fingers.
Heero didn't flinch. He was seemingly unmoved as I twisted his shirt roughly in my hand. He didn't even glance down at it. He just stared at me.
And abruptly, I found my brain receiving his message, the words that swirled within his darkened eyes, what he couldn't say out loud.
If I am another waste of everything you dreamed of
I will let you down
If I am only here to watch you as you suffer
I will let you down
It made me angry and I bared my teeth at him.
"Don't you dare," I warned. "Don't you dare do this to me again." I released his shirt and slapped him with all my might, as if I were trying to get my point entirely across, making sure he fully understood how serious I was. He still didn't flinch. He absorbed it instead and I realized that I probably hurt myself more than I did him with that stunt. My palm stung as I dropped it to my side again.
"Come home," Heero coaxed, his voice barely loud enough over the wind.
I bit my lip as the tears welled again. "I don't have a home," I responded, my voice shaking. "It's all gone now. Now that I lost Milliardo, I don't have anything--"
I felt Heero take my hand and squeeze it. He shook his head in denial, his eyes unable to connect with mine. He looked away into the grass instead, allowing me to witness the large red mark across his cheek. It looked like it had been burned onto his skin, a branded welt sore from being new.
"Relena. See it my way."
So you're walking on the edge
and you wait for your turn to fall
But you're so far gone that you don't see the hands upheld to catch you
and you could find the fault
in the heart that you've been handed
I felt his fingers sift through mine, opening my palm and flattening his against it, uncaring of the clammy atmosphere of my skin. His was warm, covering the whole of my hand, fingers stretched over fingers.
I almost didn't catch his words. "What…?"
"For what I said, I apologize. It wasn't what I meant to say to you. I didn't know that you would turn on me, but…" Heero suddenly snapped his face in the direction of mine and locked his eyes on me again. They narrowed. "Neither of us can fly."
The wind blew so ferociously against me then that I almost toppled into him, fighting to keep my stance. I held involuntarily harder onto his hand.
"Tell me you won't do this."
But though you cannot fly,
You're not content to crawl
"It's too late," I told him sadly. "What's said is said and it can't be undone."
Heero nodded, agreeing fully although I could tell he didn't want to.
"You didn't mean it?"
"No, I didn't mean it."
The words. The words he had spoken after the announcement of my brother and his wife's death. Their ship, a small shuttle built from scrapped remains salvaged from mobile suits from the end of the war, had had an unfortunate accident in which something just up and decided to explode, taking them with it. I had lost my only blood-connection in this world, my brother…his body floating through the bitter vastness of space.
And Heero…what he had said…it had scarred my broken soul once the words had left his mouth.
"They should have been more careful when they built it."
And now I felt as if I had nothing. My job was a joke--I spent three million hours a day sitting in stuffy conferences bartering ideas back and forth with men and women who were twice my age. And just because they took me seriously didn't mean I had to. And just because they took me seriously didn't mean this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
And it's always too late when you got nothing
so you say
But you should never let the sun set on tomorrow
before the sun rises
I stared at Heero now, silent as the dead. The wind blew against me, ran through his hair, ruffled our clothes, shot from over the side of the cliff. I could see it in his eyes again, that unspoken message I didn't want to accept.
If I am another waste of everything you hope for
I will let you down
If I am only here to watch you as you suffer
I will let you down
I tugged on his hand and he stepped closer to me, almost so that our noses collided. I could feel the heat from his face, carrying through the wind to bathe mine. I closed my eyes and bit my lip, letting the tears finally fall, breaking through the barrier of my bullheadedness, feeling the shock of cold as wind met salty tracks lining my cheeks.
Heero squeezed my hand harder, perhaps at the sight of my snapped dignity, my split pride, my demolished confidence. It was too hard for me right now. I needed him.
And he knew it. Somehow, without my saying so, he knew it. I understood that he knew it when he pulled me to him and encased me in his warm embrace, settling my head on his shoulder, where I wept shamefully until I was content. His heat warmed me from the inside out and I wanted to absorb his rationality, what kept him going strong even though his life had not gone his way. My fingers gouged into the back of his shirt as I fought to catch my breath.
"Hush," I told him, sniffling. "You don't have to say anything more."
It seemed that our lives as we knew them were taking another route, the path left untraveled, following fate in the footsteps she had already printed for us. We couldn't do anything about it but help each other out.
And answers we find are never what we had in mind
So we make it up as we go along
You don't talk of dreams, I won't mention tomorrow
We won't make promises we can't keep
I unwound my arms from his neck and brought my hands up, scrubbing my cheeks free of tears. Heero stood before me, his hands deposited back into his pockets, a blanket of calm settled over him. That peace he always seemed to carry within him had surfaced at just the right time, when I had needed it the most. A clarifying mist that unclogged my deluded head and broke up the particles of despair.
I took a step back from him, my eyes on his face, he staring diligently back at me. I stood by the edge of the cliff, so close I could see the deep blue of the ocean, spreading out forty feet below, ending on the shore in white chuckles as the waves crashed against the sanded rocks. I faced the water fully, the breeze still blowing through my dress, feeling as if it were trying to hold me upright so I wouldn't tumble off this ledge.
Heero stood next to me, silent, looking down at the water as I was. We looked down together as I scuffed my shoe against the dirt, kicking up a medium sized rock. The round stone bounced off my shoe and rolled to the edge, running out of ground, falling end over end until it splashed into the water below, a soft sploosh as if it had spread wings at the last moment and dropped gently into the waves. A peaceful descent.
I hooked my arm through Heero's, fresh tears blurring my eyesight as I slid my hand down his arm and clamped it around his wrist, inside his pocket where it was warm from body heat. Then we turned around together, seeing as we both could not fly, but were not content to crawl. We stood tall, even with the world on our shoulders and the demons in our ears and the shadows clawing at our legs. We left the field together, the cliff behind…the echo of the jovial waves reverberating in our minds, meeting the shore with each pump of our heavy hearts.
What's the saying…let bygones be bygones? I understood that now. Heero and I knew why we had been destined to cross paths in our lifetimes. Another unspoken message, a vow never to be broken.
I will never leave you
I will not let you down…
I will never leave you
I will not let you…down