Disclaimer: Don't own the characters. This is my first Gundam Wing fic so be nice and R/R.
Dedication: For Amanda. Happy birthday and thanks for all the support.
The sky looks clear tonight, clear and full of stars. For a second, a very brief second, I almost forget where I am. I am in a real city, looking up at a real sky. What city? New York, Tokyo, Los Angeles, take your pick. It's fun to imagine things differently from the way they actually are. But eventually, you sober up and come back to reality. I am not in New York, Tokyo, or Los Angeles. I am not staring up at a real sky. I am in space, on L2 where I grew up. The sky is not real, the summer temperature is not real, the cool breeze that pushes my bangs out of my eyes is not real. It's all just climate control, an incredible simulation so we don't lose touch with what Earth, home, feels like.
As I lie here on this bench in a park feeling like some derelict junkie or homeless man and stare up at the sky I wonder something. Was my life just a dream too? Was it all just a nightmare that one day I'll be able to wake up from? And if I do wake up, will I be just a normal kid with a normal life free of wars and battles? And if I do wake up, will they all be alive? Will I be able to listen to Solo's stories again or let Sister Helen braid my hair? I think it'd be nice to wake up from this nightmare of a life if that could happen.
As far back as I can remember, and trust me it's pretty far, I have never lied to anyone. It's just not me. I'm an honest guy. Sure sometimes I run or hide but I don't lie. Well, at least not with my mouth. You see, there's so many different ways to lie. Take this lovely weather L2 is having for instance. Isn't it just a lie? There's no breeze in space, no grass or trees. This park, this sky, this place is a lie. Earth got too small for all of us so people created space colonies. But they didn't like facing the truth that space is cold and empty so they made the colonies little homes away from home. People are good at deception, so good they can deceive themselves when they want to.
I never lie. Or do I? When people look at me I wonder sometimes what they see. Most people just see what's on the surface. Yeah, there's Duo Maxwell the cocky, smartass Gundam pilot. He's always quick with his mouth and always takes everything with a smile. Life's just peaches and roses for the kid. At least, that's what he'd like everyone to think. But what would happen if someone looked deeper than that? Would they see a kid who's lost every person he's ever cared about? Would they see a kid who's had a life the exact opposite of peaches and roses? You see, I'm not so cocky sometimes. Sometimes I'm very, very lonely and very scared. But I don't let people see that, see the Shinigami inside me, because quite frankly I don't like seeing it myself. But isn't wearing a mask like lying?
Masks and deceptions are interesting things. This weather on L2, if I didn't know better I'd swear I was really on Earth. And if I didn't know better, didn't have such a damn good memory, I'd swear I was just a cocky, smartass kid. But I remember. Every night when I am haunted by what happened at Maxwell Church I remember. Every nightmare I have where I see Solo die in my arms I remember. I am not just a cocky, smartass kid. I'm just wearing that mask and hoping that it sticks well enough so that one day even I can't tell it's fake. Masks are funny things, you see. You wear one long enough and sooner or later you forget which side of you is real. Am I Duo Maxwell and my life's peaches and roses or am I Shinigami, damned to lose everyone I care about most? Maybe I'm both at the same time. Is that like lying? Maybe so but I've found that sometimes deceptions are necessary evils.