Your Heart is an Empty Room

By Masamune Don't own the characters, they are property of Bandai and I don't use them for any sort of profit. The lyrics are from Death Cab for Cutie's newest CD, Plans. Track is 'Your Heart is an Empty Room'. Other quotes are cited.

Warnings: 1x2/2x1. Yaoi/Shounen-ai, if any tinge or notion of homosexuality creates a negative effect on you, do not read this. Story is full of angst and ultra sadness

Lyrics enclosed in s

Heero's POV

Your Heart is an Empty Room

Fire that's closest kept burns most of all.

William Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Lucetta, at I, ii)

When people ask, I say that it was all lost in the fire. But that simply isn't true. I couldn't completely destroy it. It was the first time I understood what it meant for something to exist. And I tried so hard... I think I ended up scarring myself in the effort to purge it all in the flames.

I kept telling myself I couldn't live like that any longer. Not with him.

So one day I told him he had to leave. He did. He hardly even put up a fight. I don't think he said more than those seven words to me during the hour or so he took to collect the few small items that he could actually lay claim to.

"I will always love you Heero. Goodbye."

(It might be good to clarify that Duo is the one leaving here. Also, I'm kinda wanting Heero to remember some sort of expression. How Duo's manner was. This part just seems so abrupt)

After he left, I was by myself again. That's what I'd wanted. A fresh start.

After he left, I was alone. Was that what I'd wanted? A lonely start...

Was I alone? Or would he always be with me? A clean start?

And one night, days, months, long after he'd left, I looked around. I was surrounded by him.

He was in the shower, meticulously washing his long hair, always clogging the drains...

He was in the kitchen, buying the junk food I never ate, but still bought...

He was in the doorway, swinging it wide open, smiling so brightly...

He was on the porch, staring up at the moon and asking me what I thought about aliens...

He was in bed with me, wrapped up in my arms, breathing softly into the nape of my neck...

I could almost see him. Close my eyes and he was there. Turn off the TV and his voice was murmuring in my ear. I sprayed the place with Ozium daily; the smell remained. I changed my diet; it still tasted like the food he liked to cook.

I would sleep and dream of him, and upon waking I'd find him all over me.

I went into the shower. His shampoo was still there. I threw it out.

I went into the kitchen. The junk food was still there. I threw it out.

I went to the doorway. I changed the locks and had it painted. Then I kicked it into splinters.

I went onto the porch. I looked up at the stars and wondered where he was. I cried to the aliens.

I went back inside. I stared at the bed.

He was inside of me.

I picked up a match and set the mattress on fire.

Burn it down till the embers smoke on the ground
And start new when your heart is an empty room
With walls of the deepest blue

"We should paint this a different color," I said, frowning at the poor state of the walls and ceilings. They were chipped and peeling, stained and marked with negligence and overuse.

"But where will we find enough black paint?" Duo joked.

I rolled my eyes. He laughed, "Well it certainly is a fixer-upper isn't it? I suppose Bob Villa isn't still in the business... Guess we'll have to do it ourselves!"

"You don't want to hire someone?" I asked.

"Come on Heero!" He incredulously wagged a finger at me. "That's so impersonal! I mean, figures you'd say something like that... I shouldn't be surprised or anything... But that's soooo boring!"

"Seems like a waste of time to me..." I grumbled, trying to find a place free enough from dust bunnies to put my good suits. I wound up taking everything to the dry cleaners later that week. "We should just hire some professionals."

"Is Mr. Perfect saying he can't do a little handy work?" Duo slapped himself in exaggerated shock. "Mission: Make your new home feel like home. Answer: Mission rejected, I have no applicable paint roller experience, not to mention any sense of style to attempt interior decoration. Will self-destruct in ten seconds. Ten, nine..."

"Oh stop it Duo," I couldn't help but smile. He always found a way to make me smile.

"Eight, seven..."

"You really think it's worth it, taking all the time to do it all ourselves?"

"Six, five..." Duo looked at me with those big, beautiful, twinkling violet eyes. He wanted to, and he wanted me to want to also.

"But we both need to get situated with our new jobs... You need to FIND a job first!"

"Four, three..." It really meant a lot to him, making the new place ours. Ours. Something the two of us could create and maintain together.

"Two, one..."

"Fine. We'll go to Home Depot and pick out some paint..."

"Self-destruct sequence malfunction," Duo said in his best robotic imitation. "User input error, Heero Yuy never lets Duo have any fun. Surely this is an error."

"But I'm picking out the paint." I asserted quickly. "Blue should do fine."

Fall fades how it ages when you're away
Spring blooms and you find the love that's true
But you don't know what now to do
Cause the chase is all you know
And she stopped running months ago

"Heero!"

"Hn."

"Where you even listening to what I said?"

"If I did that, then my brain would be filled with all your inane nonsense..."

"I'm being serious..." Duo turned away from me, looking out over the countryside, towards the East where the sun would rise in six or seven hours. He was offended. I'd hurt him.

"About aliens?" I asked, unable to mask the incredulous tone in my voice.

"Yes Heero! Aliens!" Duo turned back to me, looking heated and frustrated. I met his gaze, feeling that anything I'd say would sound trite. I had been completely ignoring his often long-winded wonderings about extraterrestrial life forms... I thought it was all bullshit...

"You never pay a damn to what I say..."

"That's not true," I said immediately, knowing that it was sometimes really true. Lately, it was more often true than not. Did Duo know I knew that he knew that my words were the lies?

Time passed. How long? It was one of those nights were you couldn't tell what season it was. It was surely too warm for winter, too cold for summer. But that was all you could tell. There was no wind and a full moon.

I sidestepped over to Duo, simply wrapping my arm around his shoulder, feeling the lengths of his hair tickle my wrist. He leaned into me easily, instantly. He was shivering slightly. I remember thinking it wasn't that cold... The heat from his body and that from mine radiated and flowed from one into another. I could feel his heartbeat as if it were my own. It began to lull me to sleep, and only the smell of his shampoo kept me awake.

"I turned down the job in New York," Duo said finally.

"I know."

He pulled away from me. He looked at me sideways, repeating, "You know?"

Clearly I had said the wrong thing. But I had never had any doubt in my mind that he would turn down the New York offer. Even though it was where he'd always wanted to live, even though it was an opportunity of a lifetime for him. My job was here and...

"I see..." Duo said, moving even farther away from me. It still wasn't far enough for me to grab him in my arms in one bound. "Naturally you figured I wouldn't be able to leave you, that I wouldn't have the guts to ask you to change jobs..."

I didn't say anything.

He was right. I knew him well enough, maybe too well for him.

I just walked over and embraced him in a hug.

He didn't push away. I knew he would never leave me.

I wanted to say something in his ears, something romantic.

He didn't need to hear any dreamy whispers. I knew he just wanted to be with me.

Forever.

And no matter how much he talked, or how he felt, or how insensitive I was, I knew that in the end he wouldn't put up a real fight, he wouldn't say how he felt, he wouldn't ask me to change who I was, or how I treated him, or how I should treat him.

Never.

And all you see is where else you could be
When you're at home

And out on the street
Are so many possibilities to not be alone

"Heero, what's wrong?"

"Nothing," I told him.

I couldn't stay at my job much longer, I'd go crazy. I told myself.

"You left late again last night..."

"I needed some air," I told him.

Maybe I could find what I was looking for at the bar on Maple. I told myself.

"Are you getting tired of me?" Ashamed, afraid, so unlike the cocky Gundam pilot I used to know.

"No," I told him.

I was tired of this. I told myself, 'I need a change'.

Is this really what love is?

"Is there anything I can do?"

"No," I told him.

No, I told myself.

The flames and smoke climbed out of every window
And disappeared with everything that you held dear
And you shed not a single tear for the things that you didn't need
Cause you knew you were finally free

I stood and watched the mattress burn. It had this exciting flare, and for a moment I honestly believed I was turning a huge corner. At least, that's what I really wanted to believe.

The fire alarm rang out, blaring neutrally for me to exit the house.

I stood out on the grass of the front yard and watched it burn.

The attic burned, all the random stuff and trinkets we'd stashed away, maybe half-expecting to go through them when we were old and gray, dusting off the layers of years and reveling in the warm memories that those once discarded things reminded us of. They burned.

The bedroom burned. Duo had often joked that we'd have to take a torch to that queen size double Seely to cleanse all the grime and gunk from our countless erotic episodes. He had been so right. It was the place both of us felt most secure, a place where we were always supposed to know that, just on the other side, the other was there. Where we made love. It burned.

The shower burned. The 5' by 4' by 9' compartment of Plexiglas and tile where we took mischievous showers together and where Duo let me wash his hair, always correcting my clumsy fingers had also been a place of sanctuary and cleanliness. It burned.

Some neighbors came out, giving gasps and whispering incessantly. One of my neighbors came up to me and asked if there was anything his family could do for me. I turned him away without gratitude.

The police and fire department came and took me away.

I don't remember what I told the police or fire people. Although I can't recall their questions, or my answers, I'm confident I lied expertly. Duo always said he hated lying. Maybe that was part of it.

I could never tell when Duo was lying. And when I did, he acted as if he could never tell.

I couldn't tell if he knew, that I knew, that maybe he suspected that I constantly feared not knowing.

Or maybe it was his not knowing?

My words were always true, but my emotions were a bald-faced forgery.

Duo's words were always silly and when I'd often tell people that you had to take his speech with a grain of salt, I meant more like an industrial-strength soup ladle full of salt.

But his heart never cold; it was never bitter with suspicion or rife with misdirected anger.

Duo would never have wanted to destroy all those reminders of our life together.

Duo would have cried his eyes out.

Cause all you see is where else you could be
When you're at home

And out on the street
Are so many possibilities to not be alone

I wanted Duo back.

But that just wasn't possible anymore.

I couldn't get him out of my life, out of everywhere I turned and in every person who actually gave me a good feeling. Some, maybe could have been people who I could have started that new life with... But they weren't Duo.

It was impossible to find him. I dated a couple guys, guys that certainly looked like him, with long brown hair, but never like Duo's. Nothing could compare. My glances were drawn by young, slender youths with sass and smart-ass attitudes. I even had intercourse with one, one with breathtaking, expressive Prussian blue eyes that were almost the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. But he wasn't Duo.

It was impossible to hear his voice. When other people talked and reminded me of something he'd said, I'd hear it as if it was the silvery sweet sound of his. I would laugh at the jokes or nod at the suggestions when I was reminded of him...

But the voice was not his.

I went back out and bought as many of those shampoos, incense sticks (that's what I'd blamed the fire on, Mountain Hazel scent), the cologne he liked to wear on special occasions, the soaps he washed with, the lubes and massage waxes he liked us to use on special nights, everything I could remember. I locked the doors, covered the windows, toweled the cracks at the top and bottom of the doors, taped the windows shut. I could wake to the smell of that unforgettable aroma he'd leave on the other side of the pillow.

But it wasn't his.

I bought the junk food, candy bars and spicy sauces he'd loved. I ate at the lousy take-out places he'd love to order from, drank the sodas he'd constantly slurp, I let the popcorn get stale and then ate it. I insisted that other people do those things and then kissed them.

But they never tasted like Duo's.

Still, I could feel him. No, not all my senses were robbed of the joy of Duo. I could still feel him.

Obviously not with my hands... nor with the sensuous friction between his smooth body, naked against mine. I couldn't touch him. I couldn't pull his hair or hold him in my arms.

But... and it would always start just before waking up, just in that fleeting instant between slumber and awareness, I could feel it descend on me, floating softly above my head. I could feel him mouthing my name against my lips. He would kiss me. I felt it and woke up.

And it stayed with me throughout the day, every day. That feeling of him would never depart.

It was especially strong when I would go, on the last day of every month, to Duo's gravestone. Car crash, number one cause of death for men under 30. I could never think of the right thing to bring, so I always brought him flowers.

And all you see is where else you could be
When you're at home there

And on the street
Are so many possibilities to not be alone

What does a thing's 'existing' really mean? Where it is? How long will it last? How can you get rid of it? Can you ever really get rid of it? Can you escape it's 'existing' once it's become something you've experienced? Maybe it's always thereafter with you? Maybe it exists in your own existence?

I would have been better off putting the match to myself.

owari

MasamuneReforged '05

E'en from the tomb the voice of nature cries, E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires.

Thomas Gray, Elegy in a Country Churchyard (st. 23), Gray says it was suggested by Plutarch. you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing it! Feedback, questions or just communication are encouraged and appreciated.