Promises Under the Influence
by Uru-Chan

The dull haze of twilight blurred the prickled line of the horizon, softening an endless expanse of cracked pavement. Shadows collected in the angular nooks and crannies of a dingy all-terrain vehicle, pooling in thick, filthy, smears. The wheel thrummed irritably beneath Heero's callused palms, bucking gently beneath his fingertips.

There was something comforting in the simplicity of the thing, wheel and axis, a jumbled assortment of outdated cogs and wires. He found security in the dull metal clang of the tire iron in back, and the rattle of tools in their grease-smeared cardboard box. Machines, he reflected, operated on a profoundly, and refreshingly, logical course. Unlike certain American pilots...

Heero scowled, activating the headlights with an audible "snap". It was disgraceful, ridiculous, this preoccupation with Duo Maxwell. He'd formulated dozens of excuses for his behavior that night, and failed to sell himself on any one of them. You wanted him, he admitted bleakly. He nee‹wanted you, he amended quickly. He distracted you, it was obvious he wanted you to do it, he couldn't keep his hands off you! It was only natural that you reacted, you needed the release‹he asked for it god-damnit! You were drunk, both of you, you didn't mean what you said! Heero gazed fiercely down the weak yellow low-beams, watching the light coagulate on the pavement. He'll get over it, he muttered fiercely, scarcely aware that he'd taken the blame.

The road narrowed abruptly, plummeting from the encompassing gloom of mangled forest. A bruised sky erupted above, dusted with a careless smattering of stars. The fall of sickly light, the thick, musty scent of the cab--these sensations toyed cruelly with Heero's memory. It was simplicity itself to substitute a dusty, shadow-gray mattress, the flickering of a bar-sign beyond a grimy window. He'd awakened well before dawn, knotted in fabric and the sweep of Duo's unbound hair, the boy's cheek nestled against his breast. I didn't dream last night, he mused, both in awe, and a kind of heady anxiety. My first kiss...He wanted to wake me from a nightmare. Ironic, really; I'd been dreaming about him.

Heero sealed himself from the inevitable babble of memory, the promises of dream-wraiths tormenting him as they had in those pre-dawn hours with Duo. "Iie! Please, Heero yamete! Ai shiteiru.. The Japanese boy shook his head, violently dislodging the image of a beautiful, pleading, dying --Iie! I didn't dream that night with him. I won't think about it now.

Dark brows furrowed in annoyance, and he grasped the wheel until his knuckles blanched. He'd abandoned Duo, fleeing to his bedroom, clutching his laptop like the mechanical lifeline it was. It was his intention to leave the braided-boy; the mission merely provided a face-saving excuse. This was weakness, he knew, a blemish on the reputation of a flawless soldier. But it was comforting, knowing he wouldn't have to face Duo in the morning.

The Japanese boy glanced briefly at the passenger seat, eyeing the jagged profile of Trowa Barton. The fine mouth hardened in a scowl of disapproval. The surreal events of the previous night unfurled in the cage of his thoughts. Shouldering his pack, he'd padded along the silent corridor to retrieve the Heavyarms pilot. A thick wedge of light marked the entrance to Quatre's room, and Heero couldn't resist the temptation to glance within. Golden light flooded the room, and almost appeared to emanate from the angelic, sleep-mussed boy ensconced in the bed. He'd watched the pack slide from Trowa's slight shoulder, as the boy extended one slim, elegant hand. Quatre turned into the touch, warming his cheek against it's surface.

"It's only for a little while, ne?" he'd heard the blonde boy murmur, lips spreading in a fragile, hopeful smile. "I'm not worried." Liar, Heero mused, glancing once more at the sleeping pilot, his expression grim. Trowa's response still galled him, a thing so impractical, so senseless, he found it cruel.

"I'll be back, Angel," he'd replied, the words more of an exhalation. "I promise." Heero's lip curled in response to the memory. He'd turned away at the sight of that achingly tender kiss, ashamed for having eavesdropped in the first place. He recalled Trowa's expression when he joined the Japanese boy in the hallway, completely at odds with his own scowl of displeasure.

"Why did you tell him that?" he'd snarled, eyeing the other pilot accusingly. "We're Gundam pilots, we're fucking expendable--how can you promise something like that?"

"He knows," Trowa had responded with characteristic brevity. "It's better this way; better to say it now, while you can."

"What good does that do?" the Wing pilot had argued irritably. "It's not going to hurt him any less. Don't be a fool, Trowa; don't make promises you can't keep." The Heavyarms pilot had shrugged in response, examining Heero with his one visible eye.

"Of course it'll hurt. But at least he'll have no regrets." Heero recalled the animalistic tilt of the boy's head, a calculating stare that made him distinctly uneasy. "So you didn't say goodbye to Duo," he'd replied matter of factly, fisting the doorknob before him.

"What makes you think we're together?" Heero's cheeks grew suspiciously warm at the embarrassing memory.

"Duo makes a lot of noise." Oh, god, does he ever...

"Heero?" The Japanese pilot started as Trowa drew himself up, shifting uncomfortably in his seat.

"Ah?"

"It's been six hours. Do you want me to relieve you?"

"Iie," Heero grunted in response, peering stubbornly through the cracked windshield. Trowa shrugged, settling back into his seat with a long sigh.

The headlights flooded the infinite stretch of weathered pavement. The dry mustiness of the ancient truck assaulted his senses. And now, it was the iron bed, and the flickering yellow sign, a small town flashing "poverty" and " sex" in neon through a bedroom window. He'd cheapened Duo, left him soiled and naked on the sheets, clothed in the fantastic blasphemy of a golden crucifix. Yamete! Please, Heero, please

"I don't want to sleep," Heero whispered, terrified by the dream, and it's implications. Duo peered back at him from the space behind his eyes, lips crimson-stained and turned in a beautific smile. If this is what you want, Heero.... Sayounara. Ai shiteiru.


On to part four. Back to part two.