It's Too Late—Goodbye

Author's Notes/Disclaimer: on July 7 2002, WolfPilot06 issued a challenge here's the URL of the original challenge: http://www.gwaddiction.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=31950#31950 for an angst story using certain lines, and this is my response.  I hope it was worth the wait!  Oh, and there's the usual…  Don't own them.  Don't particularly want them.  1-3 pairing.  Or something like it.  (Hey, I tried!)

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It was past midnight when someone knocked loudly on the door of my hotel room, and I had barely enough time to get out of bed before the door opened of its own accord.  I considered that with slight amusement, vividly remembering having bolted the door shut earlier that evening, before I turned my attention to the young man standing in my doorway.

"Heero."  I said it in a blank tone, betraying none of the feelings that roiled inside my head, but I could tell that Heero could feel the annoyance behind my words.  He had gotten used to it during the many years that he had known me since the war.

He was soaked all the way through and I glanced quickly towards the window.  The rain was coming down in sheets and it dripped from Heero's shoulders, hair, skin, and clothes into a puddle on the floor.  My first urge was to scold him for that, but I ignored it.  Just as Heero had gotten to be adept at sensing my carefully concealed emotions, I had gotten very good at ignoring urges of all kinds.

Heero's coat was old, patched at the elbows, faded, and far too big for him, making me wonder where he had found it.  I couldn't remember seeing anything like it back at the house.  I didn't ask, though.  It was such an unusual occasion when Heero bothered putting a coat on that I had never been sure whether or not he owned a coat at all, so I prudently stayed quiet.  For all I knew he had pulled the thing out of a trash can on his way here, and I truly did not want to know the truth of the matter.

Heero dug for something in his pocket and stubbornly thrust a soggy piece of paper my way.  "I found the note you left."

I nodded.  I had spent a great deal of time on that note.  I had been composing it in my head for perhaps more than a week and had discovered, upon writing it, that it didn't send the proper message across to the paper.  So I had redrafted it several times until I had finally found a version I thought was acceptable and said what I wanted it to.  It had taken at least two hours.

Heero scowled when I didn't say anything.  "Why are you doing this to me?"

"You're the one who instructed me to follow my heart."

He examined me carefully, blue eyes mournful.  Perhaps he wasn't sure if I was teasing him or not.  "Another time I might have agreed, but now… things are different."

"One is supposed to stop following orders given by their heart once a situation changes?"  I pondered this.  "That's an interesting philosophy."

He ignored that, much to his credit; his usual reaction to criticism like that was to argue violently.  "Trowa, we can make it work.  It would be easy to fix things."  When I didn't answer, he went on.  "If you're still brooding about what I did…" His voice trailed off as he met my gaze.  "Oh.  You are."  He frowned.  "It was three years ago.  It's time to forget that."

"Time doesn't matter.  It rarely does in such matters."

"It was entirely coincidental; I've told you that countless times."  We were silent a moment or two, I processing that information for the thousandth time, he probably working out what else to say.  Finally he sighed, defeat flickering in his eyes.  "Is it too late to… to apologize?"

I nodded an affirmative.  I knew very well just how hard it must have been for him to put his affection for me before his stubborn pride, but there was no doubt in my mind what the answer to that question was.

"It's too late.  Goodbye."  I tried to usher him out of the door, but he pushed past me and seated himself on the edge of the hotel bed I had been using.  The rainwater still dripped from his body and I partially dreaded having to try and sleep with that entire portion of the bed sopping wet.

"Things were fine between us before," he accused pointedly.  "So far back as a month ago.  We were happy then, weren't we?  In love, at least?"

I shook my head.  "Before…  I thought I might have loved you.  And afterwards I tried to love you—please believe me when I say that.  I can't."

He was quiet a moment.  "You can't love me or you can't believe it when you say that you tried to at all?"

I didn't answer for a long while.  "Perhaps both.  Perhaps not."

He watched me for a long time, saying nothing.  "Why?"

I wasn't entirely sure what to tell him.  How does one explain to a person that their jealousy and possessiveness, although they at first can be remarkably charming, is in reality overwhelming and suffocating?  How does one explain that looking into their eyes, the dubbed window of the soul, forces one to face too much pain and too many horrible, long-buried memories?  That every time one looks at him makes feelings and fears resurface after years of locking those up inside, where one couldn't possibly remember them?  How does one tell a person that lying in their arms each night after a long, hard day does nothing to provide comfort, only to put one in a state of unease and force them to lie awake each night, wondering how things could have been?  How does one explain how hard it is to pretend one is in love with a person who can't see or fix his own faults or his own bloody past?  How can one tell another that pretending to be someone they're not can threaten to drive them mad?

How could I tell Heero Yuy all that and more?

After awhile, Heero must have picked up on my obvious unease, for he stood and sighed, heading back towards the door.  Before he left, however, he turned back to face me and spoke softly.  "If you change your mind, all you have to do is follow the stars.  The night's sentinels.  I'll be waiting for you."

He left then, and I sat on my bed, as far away from the wet spots as I could, slightly dumbfounded.  It had surprised me when he came knocking on my door—perhaps it shouldn't have, as I knew all too well of his possessiveness—but it had surprised me even more when he had tried so hard to bring me back to his arms and his bed.  Heero knew better than that.

As much as I wanted to, I knew that I could never love him; in truth, I found it hard to believe that anyone ever could.  Heero had his subtleties and he had his good traits, but every time one looks at him they are forced to face the truth of what reality, to Heero, truly is.  Reality through Heero's eyes is hurt and pain and things people would rather forget.  His eyes, beautiful as they are, are full of memories, and the majority of them are not joyful ones.  He was a killer, despite the poetic words and turns of phrases he can throw at a person, and he never let's anyone forget that they, too, have bloody skeletons in their closets.  I used to believe that I could change that, but over the past three years I had faced the fact: no one could ever change that.  It was an aspect of Heero Yuy that was cast in stone.

I learned that lesson the hard way, when he had "accidentally" destroyed the only home I had ever known because of petty jealousy.  I learned that from when he held me in his arms at night and dreamed those awful nightmares of his.  I learned that when he decided to try and steal me away from the world.

He had told me to follow the stars.  Amusing, really, when you remember who he is; a child of the stars, one without a home and without a past.  Much like I am, I suppose.  And wasn't he the one who had once told me that the stars held no significance within their depths?

"The stars are like sentinels in the night.  They shine so brightly, guiding us through the darkness.  But, you know, they're really just bunches of burning gas."  Yes.  Those had been his words.  As I repeated them, I smiled.  He believed in so little that he couldn't bear to let anyone else believe such petty things.

I couldn't love him, I knew that.  As I lay in the bed, the night turned to dawn, and dawn to daybreak, I sighed.  I had tried; I had tried awfully hard.  But perhaps it had been too late for trying; perhaps Heero and I were both too far beyond hope.  Perhaps we had already taken different paths, long ago, and were now too far apart to even touch fingertips.  Things such as that are always possible.

The stars didn't come out that night, or the next, or the one after that, but it didn't matter.  I had already made up my mind.

Sorry, Heero.  It's too late.

Goodbye.

--Owari--