Promises Under The Influence
by Uru-Chan

**Frightened of the shadow on the wall; I think it looks a bit too much like me; Search my life for evidence of truth; Can you hear me; Can you hear me now?**

"Baka," Duo panted breathlessly, "baka, ne?" He scrubbed at his eyes with one hand, smearing the tears into his rainslicked cheek. Bare feet hit the pavement with a wet "smack", drenching his ankles as he leapt from gutter to curb.

You wanted to get him drunk--you planned it, the American hissed angrily, 'cause you figured maybe, just maybe, he'd be so wasted he'd fuck you! God, why the hell did you let him do it? 'Mr. Perfect Soldier', you should've known how he'd take it--and you opened your legs for him, didn't you! Did you really think he loved you? Baka!! God, the only thing I hate more than myself is this damn town. Kuso! Why am I running, anyway? It's not like there's any place to go.

The American stumbled forward, breath ragged, eyeing the slumped roof of a cheap motel. He slipped beneath the tattered awning, crumbling immediately into a heap of rain soaked limbs. Duo placed his cheek upon his drawn knees, arms clutching his legs to his body.

Ch'. I promised Quatre I wouldn't run anymore. The motel 'vacancy' light buzzed on, flooding the wan figure with harsh violet light. Duo clutched at the leather jacked he'd snatched on his way out. He shifted on the cool, rain-scented pavement, tugging at a pair of jagged black sweat-shorts. Duo was suddenly struck with the absurdity of it all, this soiled, tattered figure huddled in the shadow of a seedy motel.

"Kind of wish somebody'd take me home tonight," he muttered, coiling a lock of chestnut about his fingers. Liar. You're hoping Heero'll have a change of heart. You're hoping he'll be the one to take you home. A small, bitter smile curled at the American's lip. But you know better, don't you? Not even Quatre can save you tonight.

**Terrified my tongue will now betray; All the lies that I've been taught to say; Searched your eyes for evidence of love; Can you hear me; Can you hear me now? **

The anxious, melencholy lyrics burst from the door of a club across the street, muting as the door slammed shut. The man glanced up from the meandering search for his car, glazed eyes fixing on Duo. The American's cheeks flushed beneath his scrutiny, the suggestive tilt of the man's lips. Oh God, he's coming over here...Duo pinpointed the moment he discovered his gender. One hand raked through sweat-dampened blonde hair, grey eyes wide in embarassment. Ha. Serves you right. Wait a minute...

"You're a boy, right?"

"Nani? Last time I checked. Oi, man, you gotta car, right? I'm soaked, you know‹wanna gimme a lift back to my place? It's not far. I don't have a dime, but I got this friend who's loaded and I bet he can hook you up, if‹"

"You talk a lot, don't you."

"Aa," Duo replied uneasily, shifting beneath that decidedly hungry gaze. That's what Heero says anyway. Heero...

"I'll give you a ride, kid," the man murmured, fingering a lock of Duo's hair. "But I don't want your money."

Do I want a ride that bad?? It'd serve Heero right if I slept with him‹and he's handsome enough too, but...Baka. Heero doesn't care who you fuck. He doesn't care about you.

"C'mon, kid. What's it gonna be. I'll take real good care of you..."

Oh, I'm sure you will... Kuso!

"Ano... well, that's all right. You look pretty wasted, man‹you'd prob'ly just crash us up! I think I'll just walk home‹good for you, and all that. Thanks anyway!" Duo made his escape along the weed encrusted sidewalk, mud squishing between his toes. Moonbeams slithered along the narrow expanse of the pavement, punctuated by globes of yellow lamplight.

At least it's stopped raining. Violet eyes surveyed the bruised horizon with it's jagged range of low income houses. The slender needle of a church steeple caught his gaze, and Duo's features brightened with relief. Confession...God, I'd given up on that. What kind of penance could make me clean? Iie; how could I burden anyone with the things I've done? He clenched his lower lip between his teeth, envisioning the night he'd spent with Heero. Maybe just for tonight.

**Can you hear the child in tears; whose paradise was taken from his hands; Can you hold him in your arms; And tell him that you'll try to understand; When there's no way in hell you can; Can you hear me; Can you hear me now?**

White paint flaked off onto the palms of his hands as he shoved at the church door. His nostrils flinched at the sharp aroma of urine, sweat, and cheap beer. Duo's head jerked up at the sound of whistling from the broken line of pews. Homeless men leered at him from a bed of ratty blankets and newspaper, licking chapped lips with discolored tongues. The American ignored them, launching himself instead at the confession booth. I need this, oh please, God, make me clean‹

"There ain't nobody in there," a weary voice issued from the pulpit. The priest pushed at his glasses, shuffling a stack of papers.

"Could you then?" Duo pleaded, uncertain in these bizarre surroundings.

"Could I what? Be your confessor? Forget it kid, I'm not that kinda priest."

"What kind of priest are you?" the American countered, face flushed with anger and frustration.

"Gimme forty bucks and I'll marry you, twice that and I'll bury you. That's all we do here, kid."

"Hey, boy! I'll be your confessor!"

"Me too! Hey, pretty boy, come over here, tell us all about it!"

"Shut up, Brodey, or you're sleepin' outside tonight," the priest muttered irritably. "Get lost kid. There's nothin' here for you." Nothing here for me. No salvation. No redemption. No relief. For the rest of my life, there will be no relief.

**Afraid to break the silence in the room; Disbelieving faces stare me down; Search the world for evidence of faith; Can you hear me; Can you hear me now?**

The clatter of cutlery issued from the 24 hour diner as a waitress bussed a table. She glanced warily at the boy outside, perched motionlessly on the curb. He'd declined her offer to come inside already; she'd retaliated by pressing a steaming cup of coffee into his hands. "Must be woman trouble," she muttered, hefting her plastic tub. Tucking a graying lock beneath her hairnet, she retreated into the kitchen.

Duo gazed impassively at the looming shadow of their borrowed house. Trembling fingers clutched at the crucifix at his breast, threatening to snap the chain. He wanted to tear the thing from his throat and fling it into the gutter. He could just imagine the gleam of gold as it was swept along, swirling madly into the storm drain.

Why can't I let it go? He mused miserably, rubbing his thumb against the cross. It was all so typically Heero, he continued, a bitter laugh escaping his lips. It hurt when he took me; it hurt when he let me go. Slender fingers caressed the bruise at his cheek, stroking it's damp, blossoming surface. Duo no baka. Don't pretend anymore. You're Death. You know nobody can love you. Just look at all the evidence.

**Can you hear the child in tears; Whose innocence was stolen from his hands; Can you hold him in your arms; And tell him that you'll try to understand; When there's no way in hell you can; Can you hear me; Can you hear me now? Do you feel me; Do you fear me now?


Evidence by Tara Maclean

On to part seven. Back to part five.