Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing characters

(A/N: I wrote this with Catherine and Trowa in mind for this story, but it became the POV of a lover. Except for the part at the end it can be read as any of the characters with a lover of your choice.)

Little Things: Life with Trowa

Breathe loudly when you walk down the halls or into a room, hum or whistle whenever you are walking around the house in socks or bare feet. Don't try to hug or touch him from behind.

There are things you have to do when you're married to someone like him. Little things. Things that have become habit for me. The other women that live near don't understand. Some are horrified when I tell them some of the rules to follow to live with him, but I understand. There is no way to take the war away from someone. It follows them forever, every night, every shadow, every suspicious sound and time melts away. It doesn't matter where we are, it doesn't matter that we picked one of the safest suburbias in the world to live in, because the war is inside him. I understand, so I do the little things, I follow the rules…so I can protect him, so I can keep the war from coming out.

Keep the blinds on the windows open. Leave the knives out on the kitchen counter, all of them in plain view, not in knife protectors.

At first it was hard. Hard to find the things that made him cringe or jump, the things that transported him back to his world of kill or be killed, that made his muscles tense and his heart harden. He has such iron self-control, he would almost never let me in. Even when something bothered him, he wouldn't let me see it, he would try to be strong, or rather he would be strong. He would hide the fear behind a smile, a soft touch; all too often I was taken in, swept away in his arms, arms that I feel so safe in that it never occurred to me that he might not feel safe.

Keep a slush fund for vacations or freak out moments so you'll always have something to cover the bills, no matter where on Earth you go. Stand a couple feet back from the bed when you wake him up.

It came out at night, though. His barriers were down. At least he felt safe enough to sleep with me, I thought, but the nightmares would still come, and I would look up to him standing there with a knife held up to some invisible intruder, his face a mask of pain. Everything would disappear when I looked up blearily at him, the knife, the pain, the sweat, the tears, and I would go back to sleep as if it was just a dream. He would never, ever try to hurt me, and that I think was what was the most painful for him. He just didn't know what to do when I cried the tears he wouldn't. He would just stand there, anguish filling his green eyes and furrowed brows, watching, holding, patting my back, lost.

Don't ever touch his neck, even when you're kissing him. Show your hands when you go to hug him, open, palms up, arms out wide, go slow.

The other women don't understand how I can live with him, how I can do the things I do, how I can stand not being able to touch him without thinking…they just don't know him. It's a way of life, something I have to adjust to. Everyone is capable of adapting, it is the great human trait, the great trait of animals, of evolution. They don't know me, it's not that I can handle it, it's not that I'm taking care of him because I pity him, or think he's weak as even he sometimes seems to think. I love all that he is. He's worth it.

Let him have his back to the wall at parties and when he needs it. Never slam the door. Always make sure he has a seat on the aisle, or facing the door of the restaurant.

When we are out with friends I watch him. When we are with Duo, Heero or the others, I know he's fine. He relaxes a bit. I think he knows that Heero is tense enough for the both of them, and Duo always makes him laugh. Sometimes I'm jealous of how easy it is for him to relax around Duo, but then I see that even together, they all sit facing the exit, they all scan the waiter for weapons. I look at his face and his eyes, feel him beside me. If he tenses, or his face tightens, I will know, even if he still laughs with our friends and neighbors, even if he still pretends he's fine. That's when I suggest we go outside, take a walk in the moonlight, under the stars. I love the nights where all we do is walk on the banks of the marsh. He is so much more peaceful there.

(A/N: Most of the notes and advice are real tips for families to help a family member who is experiencing PTSD. Please know that I have the utmost respect for families that go through what they do to help the ones they love. Anyway, I tried out a different more lyrical style for this. Please review and let me know what you think!)