Fear the Dark

Disclaimer: This is one of those ones where you really don't know what you're going to be writing.  We call it a free-flow fic, where basically you write down whatever comes to mind.  And this just so happened to come to mind.  It hasn't been beta-d or anything, so the spelling mistakes and crap are still in there.  If you find any, I apologize.  Also, I own nothing, as said in every other fic I've ever written.  Nothing, I say!

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Perfect soldiers aren't afraid of the dark.  They never hesitate to kill, they never bother with emotion, they eliminate all obstacles, and they are definitely not afraid.  Of anything at all.  Especially not the dark.  That's what I had always been told, by both Odin Lowe and Doctor J.  Perfect soldiers aren't afraid.  Well, Doctor J's exact words had been something more along the lines of "go to sleep you little bastard before I give you something to scream about!" but the main point had still been there.  Perfect soldiers aren't afraid of anything.

And yet…

As I cower here on my bed tonight, hoping the sun will come up soon, my mind races to every dark corner to check for something I know can't be there, something that isn't quite normal, just so I can prove that my fear is justified.  Yet that only sends cold chills up and down my spine, so I turn my thoughts to other things, lighter things.

There is a boy over in the next room that knows exactly what can and cannot drive me beyond all semblance of sanity.  He teases and prates, but he knows that, in his determination to thwart me, if he could just find my one weakness, he would have me melting in his cupped palms.  He knows that if he twitches his ass or winks seductively, he has extremely little hope of even catching my attention.  Ignoring me has the same effect.  I hate to think what he would do if he knew I feared the dark…

The others all wonder why I put up with him.  His constant chatter and endless optimism is an annoyance.  They, who can barely sit with him for twenty minutes, ask me why I bother.  They all know that he's trying to compete with me by finding out about that weakness of mine, and yet I'm with him every minute of every day.  They believe it's because I want to keep an eye on him, but that's only half right.

I stay by him so I can pretend I don't care about what he thinks.  So I can pretend I don't want him.  I stay there so he never gives up trying to find out my weakness.  If it weren't for the challenge he constantly presents and my desire not to be lowered in his eyes, I would have broken down a long while ago.  I would have quit being the perfect soldier, or perhaps have stopped my ridiculously childish fear all together by ending my life all together.  It wouldn't take much; a small mistake in a mission resulting in total obliteration of my person.  A misfired gun shot.  Falling just right, making sure I break my neck on the way down.  No, it wouldn't take much at all.

And I would do it, too, if I wasn't so uncertain as to how he would react to my death.  Even perfect soldiers are vain, and I like to think he would be devastated if I died.  I don't want to think about that devastation would lead to, but the idea of him caring whether or not I live matters, somehow.  I care for him too much to do such a thing to him.  Sometimes I believe that, like it does for me, the challenge he has issued for himself is all that keeps him going…

Something moves in the dark, jostling me out of my thoughts, and I clutch the bed sheets close around my neck, silently cursing my silly fears.  If Duo ever found out…

I don't know how this fear ever came upon me.  All I know is that the dark has frightened me for as long as I can remember.  Perhaps it stems from my childhood experiences, or maybe it simply is something natural that I cannot grow out of.  I would blame it solely on Doctor J, except he tried every method he could to cure me of this weakness.  Some of his attempts at curing me were more traumatizing than the ailment itself, but he did try.  Perfect soldiers aren't afraid of the dark, and Doctor J wanted to make sure I knew that.  I do, still, but it doesn't keep the fear away.

The sound comes again, and, cursing mildly under my breath, I reach for the light switch, my hand trembling despite myself.  I should know better, but still…

The light comes on, and I squint around the room, trying to see what could possibly make such a noise.  Nothing is there.  I'm about to turn out the light- grudgingly, but nonetheless determined to try again at besting this fear of mine- but something catches my attention, over by the door.  A something clothed in black, huddled sleepily against the wall, clutching a pillow and blanket to him.  I frown.

"Duo?"

The braided boy looks over at me sheepishly.  "Sorry.  Did I wake you up, Heero?"

I ignore the question.  "Why are you in here?"

"Well…" Duo sighs.  "Don't make fun of me or anything, but I had a bad dream of sorts, and I thought that maybe sleeping in your room tonight would help me sleep.  Good vibes or something."  He scratches the back of his head nervously.  "Don't kill me, okay?  I rather like living, and I'd kind of like to stay alive for just a little longer, and I don't think sneaking into your room at midnight to get a good nights sleep is worthy of the death penalty or anything, so don't kill me, okay?"

I ignore this question as well, and try not to wince at the horrible grammar he is using.  "Hn."

His grin is sheepish.  "I'm really sorry if I woke you up or something.  I'll leave now, if you want.  I guess."  He looks at me hopefully.  "Unless you don't mind if I stay?  If you let me stay I'll stop poking you during breakfast."

It's a tempting offer, but I know that it makes no difference.  I made my decision long before he threw in that little favor.  "Hn."  I eye the pillow and blanket on my floor, enjoying the way I'm making him shift nervously.  I frown, trying to figure out how he could possibly think that iI/i have 'good vibes,' and I look at him.  "Why are you sleeping on the floor?"  I move over on the bed, making room if he wants to hop up.  "Get in and go to sleep."

He grins, hopping to his feet.  "Thanks, Heero," he says, climbing into the bed beside me.  I turn off the light, conquering my fear because Duo is there and only because he is there.

And as I listen to him breath in the dark, his breathes slow and deep, and feel his sleeping warmth beside me, a thought runs through my head, and I almost smile.

Perfect soldiers aren't afraid of anything.

And, maybe, with Duo beside me, neither am I.

-Owari-