Love the Rain
I sit down on the edge of my bed, my flimsy hospital gown drooping over one shoulder so that I have to adjust it once more. The movement hurts my arm and I grimace for a moment, cringing, trying to wince away from the pain. At least my broken arm is healing more or less well. My ribs are practically a lost case three of them are broken, and they're knitting together slowly. Every single move causes agony as the broken pieces of bone rub against each other.
I shut my eyes tight and freeze for a moment. That helps to ease the pain, a lot of the time. The physical pain, at least.
I sigh deeply, stubbornly ignoring the jarring protest from my injured midsection, and open my eyes. Outside, its a beautiful day. I should be glad I'm even alive and able to appreciate it. The sky has never been a more beautiful shade of blue, pure like crystal, and the suns warmth streams in through the window to where even I can feel it. I reach out with my good hand longingly, stretching it towards the window. I want to go outside so badly. But my doctor won't let me; she says I haven't healed enough yet.
I don't want to stay in this ugly hospital room, with the smell of antiseptic heavy in the air. I don't like this room, with its ugly white walls and its bleached-clean sheets. It doesn't smell of healing, it smells of what happens when humans try to duplicate miracles. The smell of a hospital is not a pretty one.
And even when my body heals, I know that my heart won't. I'll still have that dull, persistent background ache all my life, just remembering why I'm here remembering that I'm in the hospital now because of Trowa. Because he lashed into me.
Yes. Trowa beat me half to death. Quiet, reticent Trowa.
I don't blame him. Not that much. I must have shocked him. I should have gone about it in a slower way. Trowa, of all people, needs to take things very slowly. I should have understood that. But if I had gone another day without telling him that what I felt for him was far past mere friendship, I would have exploded or wilted or something.
I let my hand go limp, let it drop away from the warmth of the sunlight beaming through the window, and it drops down onto my thigh. My reward is a fresh twist of pain, but I try not to cry out. The pain is a lot better than it was early on. And at least now that heartache is being pushed into the background. Itll never fade, mind you. But I'm able to put it aside, so that I can deal with life without a broken heart in the way.
I guess all the songs people sing are true. I really do feel like my heart has broken into two pieces. Rip! right down the center. And the pathetic thing is that I still love him, both halves of my heart still love him completely. I have to wonder if I'll become obsessive-compulsive over Trowa, like Relena is over Heero. The girl does not let a day go past without bombarding his email address with ton after cyber ton of messages. Duo's never exactly happy over that, either.
Normally, that would make me laugh. Remembering the combination of disgust, incredulity, and irritation on Duos face whenever he leans over Heeros shoulder and sees forty messages from "email@example.com".
Normally, I'd laugh. But I haven't laughed since Trowa landed me here. All I've been able to do is blame myself.
"Duo, should I do it?" I ask nervously, wringing my fingers in anxiety.
Duo rolls his eyes. "Look, Quatre, how much more sleep are ya gonna lose over this? Just tell Trowa youre head-over-heels for him, grab him by his unibang and drag him to the nearest room. Hell, drag him into the hallway if you feel like it."
I gape at him, forgetting even to twist my fingers as I stare unbelievingly at Duo. Just when I think I understand him, he pops out with something like that.
But I smile, at the thought of me dragging Trowa anywhere by his bangs. It is a comical image. I'd need a stepladder on wheels.
Duo grins at me. "Are you seeing my sense here?"
I sigh, and the smile fades, and I start to fiddle with my fingers again. "Duo, its not just about the sex, I mean, I really love him," I confess in a low voice, my face burning, my eyes down. "How you feel about Heero? Thats how I feel about Trowa. Except I'm not half as vocal."
Duo cocks an eyebrow, thinking about that. "Hmm, but all jokes aside, Quatre, if you feel that strongly about Trowa, you've got to tell him or you won't be able to take it anymore." He grabs my shoulder and his indigo eyes are serious now, boring into mine. "You've got to tell him. Look, you're supposed to weigh like ninety pounds, and you weigh like eighty now, don't you? And look at you you're not sleeping very well, are you?"
I flush again. Pale skin is a curse to bear. That's a good enough answer for Duo.
"Quatre, you're a beautiful person, and you're wearing yourself down. If Trowa can't appreciate you, then you'll just have to get over it, but you're never going to know unless you tell him."
I plunk down into one of my big, huge armchairs. "You're right, and everything you say makes sense, but I'm scared. I dont know what I'm going to do if he rejects me or something. I mean, I don't think Trowa's that type"
That earns a big sigh from Duo, who puts a hand on his hips. His mouth twinges sarcastically as he informs me, "Does Heero look like the type of guy who'll swing for the likes of me, Quat? Ya know, I am a guy, despite the braid and them big ol eyes. If Heero can overcome stupid society stereotypes and shit like that because he feels something for me, then Trowa will do the same if he feels something for you."
"But you're different," I argue desperately. "I mean, youre all, charming. You walk down the street and you have a small fan club. You can have anyone you want at any time. I'm not like that, Duo, people don't gravitate towards me."
Another exaggerated sigh. "I'm glad you think that highly of me," Duo says dryly. "But listen. You're going to tell Trowa that you love him today. Got it? Today. This is getting to the point of being unhealthy, and I dont want to see you in the hospital. You're telling him today and getting it off your chest. If he responds in a good way, I'll be ecstatic for the two of you. If he rejects you, then me and the others will help you out. Either way, you'll have someone to talk to."
I draw in a deep breath, finding that my palms are slick with perspiration, even though this particular estate has a magnificent air-conditioning system. "Okay, I'll tell him today." I manage to summon a smile and put it on for Duo, smiling up at him. "Thanks for your help. Sorry I bothered you about it."
"A bother?" Duo squawks indignantly. He waves off my explanations. "Why would it be a bother, Quat-man? No way, totally my pleasure!"
He turns to go then. But before he leaves, he stops and cocks an eye towards me. "You know, Quatre, you're wrong," he says. "People do gravitate towards you. But you draw the few genuine people left in the world, because you're so pure yourself."
He leaves before I can think up something to say, my shocked mouth opening and closing and finally shutting when I remind myself that looking like a landed fish is not a good thing.
I slump into the chair. Just the thought of him makes me blush. I want to tell him, I need to tell him, I can't tell him, but can I live with all the ifs? Well, I promised Duo I'd tell him today, and knowing Duo, he'll be on my case for all of next month if I don't do as I said. Plus, what he said, me being "pure", how can I just let that pass by and not do anything about it? I have to prove myself worthy of Duo's obviously high opinion of me.
Somehow, I instinctively know where Trowa will be. He's in the solarium, playing on his flute. I rarely get to see or hear him do that; as a matter of fact, this would only be the second time. I remember when I first heard him play; I had been playing my violin, and to my surprise, Trowa had opened a cabinet, quietly removed a flute and played the same music as me. I remember the irregular beating of my heart as he played, coaxing sweet, airy whispers out of the instrument one second and plaintive cries the next.
He's playing it again. Even the birds have fallen silent, enjoying his song which rivals the power of their own. It echoes through the air, winds itself around the tendrils of vines, makes the leaves tremble in anticipation, makes the earth stop moving until the only things alive are him and me, him playing like a master and me a peasant stopped to hear.
He finishes the melody, and slowly time begins to move again. He opens his eyes, revealing that dark jungle green. Every time I see their deep green in my mind, I think a jungle, unreadable, wild, yet beautiful. The sunlight shines brightly on his sleek brown hair and casts shadows on his skin.
I stand there and take it all in until I can't stand it anymore, I have to break the silence before I drop to the floor overwhelmed by the proportions of quiet, unconscious, slightly blurring grandeur Trowa always manages to leave in his wake. "Trowa?" I call out tentatively.
One of those unreadable jungle eyes widen slightly. I've startled him, and I get the distinct feeling of a naturalist accidentally frightening a rare and delicate bird. He looks around, then relaxes again when he sees its just Quatre.
"Did you want something?" he asks me.
I sit down in the wicker chair besides him. "Trowa, I need to talk to you," I say, my calm voice belying my heart, which is beginning to beat very roughly, sometimes skipping a few beats, sometimes beating thirty times when there should only be one beat.
He just looks at me unreadably and settles back slightly in his chair, shifting his tall, slim body into a position of comfort with natural, aesthetic grace.
I bite my lip. Here it goes. "Trowa, I love you," I confess, all of a sudden breathless, the words falling out of my lips without me being to stop their tumble.
Trowa bolts up, knocking his chair over, and I shrink into my seat, not able to look at him. "What?What did you say?" he demands of me.
I shut my eyes miserably. I knew it. There's fear in his voice. "I said I love you, Trowa," I say very quietly, almost inaudibly. "I can't sleep because I love you, I can't concentrate on anything during the day, because you're not by my side, it drives me crazy, sometimes, Trowa, that you're so close and yet I can't do anything"
I look up, unable to resist.
Trowa has one hand over his mouth and has turned white white as in the total opposite of black, white as in absence of any color, the white you turn when all the blood has rushed from your head. His green eyes are wide with shock.
The birds fall silent for the second time. I can hear his breathing, ragged.
"You, love me?" Trowa whispers. I note the tiny trembles that are running up and down his frame.
"Yeah," I whisper back, looking down shyly.
I've said it! Yes, at last, at least I said it. What a weight off my chest! And now I'll know what he thinks Duo'll be pleased, I know that much. God, yes, I do love you, Trowa, so much you can't imagine
My world explodes into fragments of black and red, which fall from the nonexistent sky like shards of glass.
What's going on? Theres an intense pain running through my ribs, and I hear a weak cry run through the air. Then there's more pain. Just so much more pain, BOOM, I can hear the sound of fist and feet against human flesh, and I hear a cry in the air that slowly becomes weaker and weaker.
There's pain in my arm. In my stomach. I force my eyes open, just once. My vision is already beginning to blur. I'm going to fall unconscious in a few seconds.
I see... I see blood... my blood spread on the solarium grounds... I... I see Trowa... and the blood on his fists matches the blood on the grounds... he looks so scared
Don't worry, Trowa, please don't be scared. I still love you.
I smile through my pain, and my star-filled skies collapse into blackness as my head drops back to the floor.
That memory. That's probably why I'm healing so slowly. It's said that one has to be emotionally healthy before their body can heal itself. Emotionally healthy I am not.
I haven't even told anyone what happened, though I think perhaps the other pilots have guessed it was Trowa, especially since Trowa left soon after. Duo, at least, can probably figure it out. He's a lot smarter than people give him credit for; perhaps a blessing, since so many people slip so much important information when he gives them his "stupid kid" act.
I guess he gave me my answer, I think ruefully. Trowa doesnt love me back, as I had hoped and wished so badly. I must have been acting like a love-stricken schoolgirl around him. At least I didn't giggle.
Thinking about him makes me ache. My broken heart rushes back to the forefront, as if to reproach me for trying to push it away. I was so stupid, to even imagine that someone strong like Trowa would fall for the likes of me. So stupid.
I feel something warm trickle down my face. A damp spot spreads on the lap of my hospital gown.
Tears. I'm crying.
The crybaby. I should be able to accept the fact that Trowa feels nothing for me and bravely move on.
Thats my logic speaking to me.
But my heart is telling me something differently. Both broken halves are crying out to me, and their tears stumble out of my eyes. You'll never get over him, Quatre... you still love him, even though he's done this to you... you STILL love him!
"It's true!" I cry out into the still air of the room. "I still do!"
I hate it when I cry, because when I cry I find myself having trouble breathing regularly, and the aberrations in my breathing make my stomach hurt. But I can't help it. I feel warmth rushing down my face faster and faster. I reach up to wipe at my eyes, then wipe my hands on my gown. The pain in my arm and ribs is nothing compared to the ache in my chest, the ache radiating out from where my heart is kept.
I remember the fear in Trowas eyes when I told him what I felt. Hes scared of me now. I bite back the hoarse whimper that threatens to escape from my throat. Trowas frightened of me. Homophobic.
I dont blame Trowa for anything that has happened, and I wish that he were here so that I could tell him. More useless dreaming. Trowas never going to come back. Why would he?
I get up and draw the shades across the window. The room falls into darkness as I turn off the lamp and silently lie down on my bed, on my back, staring up at the featureless smooth ceiling.
I don't deserve the sunlight.
I'm still crying.
The next morning I wake up, and its pouring outside. Totally unprecedented. Yesterday's sunny skies couldn't have lasted forever, I guess. A pity.
Rain bangs in torrents against the window with a persistent, tat-tat-tat noise, streaking it with watery silver streams. No ones outside, cavorting on the lawn. The weathers too horrible for it. There won't be any visitors today.
I sigh inwardly. Sometimes the others come separately, sometimes they sneak in so that they're all gathered in my room. But they always find ways to cheer me up. Even Wufei has contributed, with stories about the stuffy elders on the L5 colony his clan was exiled to. Heero contributes indirectly by responding to Duos barbs. I laugh so hard during those times that I have to ask them to stop before I break another rib.
The other guys are my friends. Yet I still haven't found the courage to tell them why I'm here. How can I tell them, when it hurts me so just to remind myself?
They wouldn't be frightened of me. They wouldn't be frightened the way Trowa was.
The door swings open, and I glance towards it. A nurse, dressed in that same white that everything in this hospital is covered in. A person could get snow blindness in here.
"Mr. Winner?" asks the nurse, looking up from her little clipboard. She's a small, pretty girl, with sympathetic brown eyes and dark brown hair to her shoulders.
"Just Quatre," I tell her with a smile.
The girl smiles back. "Alright, then, Quatre. You have a visitor," she informs me. "Do you wish to receive him?"
I shrug. "If they got over here just to see me in this lousy weather, how could I refuse? Sure, tell him to come right in."
"That I will, sir I mean, Quatre." The girl giggles, a soft tinkling sound in the quiet of the room. "But youve only got a half-hour for visitors. Youre not in ICU, but you're still a pretty serious case. I'll bring him in."
I nod, offering another smile. The girl grins before she scrawls something on her clipboard and leaves.
The clack of heels coming back down the hallway a moment later is accompanied by slightly slower footsteps, as if the walker takes longer strides than most. The heels clacking is mingling with the sound of sneakers, squeaking slightly on the polished floor.
The nurse opens the door and I freeze as I stare disbelievingly at a tall, slim, all-too familiar figure.
"I'll leave you two be," the nurse says. She winks at me and adds, "Remember, a half-hour only!"
Then she leaves, closing the door behind her with a soft click.
"Trowa" I breathe, unable to move, almost unable to think.
He's here, he's really here!
He's wearing his usual outfit, those tight gray jeans and the green turtleneck which brings out the color of his eyes. His eyes are still like I remember them still like a jungle, that deep green I'd love to let myself drown in. One emerald eye is hidden by the glossy bangs which hang down over his beautiful, angular face. He looks even thinner than I remember then again, Trowa never did take care of himself very well. It was either Catherine, who force-fed him soup, or I, who had to resort to less discreet ways, who managed to keep Trowa healthy.
He looks so scared. I think Im the only person who has ever seen him afraid. It makes me want to get up and... I dont know, do something to reassure him that everything's alright.
He sits down on the chair besides my bed and for a moment studies me. I blush under the scrutiny of his intense green eyes. They seem to travel over every plane of my body, seem to be able to see the tear streaks long since dried yet often traveled.
Finally, he tears his eyes away from me. I sit on the edge of my bed, waiting.
Maybe waiting for a reason. For an absolution. I want Trowa to forgive me for causing him even a moments fleeting pain.
I don't care about myself. I care about Trowa.
"Quatre," he says softly.
It's the voice from all my dreams. That soft, quiet voice, hesitant yet sure, small yet strong, a million paradoxes, the million facets of an emerald.
"Yes?" I ask.
He looks down, and begins to fiddle with his hands in his lap, long fingers nervous and uncomfortable. "I... I came here to apologize. I know it means nothing for me to apologize... but what I did was completely uncalled for. It was wrong. You had done nothing to me."
"It's alright, Trowa," I tell him. He looks so guilty. I just want to reach out and brush his face, his hair, want to touch him. My fingers are straining. My mind isn't controlling them. "It was my fault."
His eyes widen. "How is it your fault? You didn't do anything!"
"Yeah I did," I insist. "I was stupid, to move so quickly. Besides, I should have known that... well"
I feel tears well up in my eyes. Great. A display of weakness in front of the strongest person I know.
"Should have known what?" he asks gently, sliding his chair until he's in front of me, dark green eyes peering into mine.
The tears fall. "You wouldn't love me back. You wouldn't love another boy."
To my very great surprise, Trowa cups my chin. His hand is callused, feels slightly rough, hesitant... wonderful
Then his hesitation must have taken over him, and he quickly removes his hand. "I'm sorry, Quatre. I have no right to do that after the wrong I've done to you" He sighs. "I came here because I wanted to tell you something."
I nod. His touch burns, invisible, where his hand had been.
"I hit you... I did this to you... because I, I this is hard to say, Quatre, but I"
"It's okay if youre afraid of people like me," I assure him. "If you want to say you're homophobic, it's alright. I understand and we'll stay as acquaintances." I have to force my mouth to say that.
"No. That's not what I came here to say," he says. "That's the last thing I'd want to happen."
He looks at me again. And in the jungle depths of his eyes, I see fear.
"Why are you so afraid?" The words slip out unbidden and I wish I could bite my tongue off at the sudden pain his clear eyes radiate.
"Maybe this will be hard to believe, especially after what I did to you," Trowa answers after a silence. "Quatre... you see, I've... I've loved you since the first time we made music together and I... I had given up on you feeling the same way."
He bites his lip. "I was frightened out of my mind when you told me that you loved me. I didn't know how I was supposed to deal with that. So I beat you... then I ran away. Being myself, asinine, idiotic. A fool, for running away from you."
"Trowa" I can't speak. This is beyond my dreams. Trowa loves me
"Trowa, I dont blame you for anything that's happened," I rush to tell him, the words eagerly spilling out of my mouth. "But if it helps to make you feel any better, I forgive you a thousand times over."
He looks up, into my eyes, and the fear is almost gone. "Really, Quatre?" he whispers, looking for all the world like a little boy, hope shining from his face.
"With all my heart, Trowa," I answer, my heart in question dancing as it repairs itself instantly.
I reach out with my good hand to touch his cheek. It's satin under my touch. Trowa leans into the caress and closes his eyes, placing his hand on top of mine.
I'm in heaven.
"Quatre, I don't think I can ever forgive myself for hurting you. I don't think I can ever, ever make up for hurting you," he murmurs softly. "But I'll do whatever I can to try."
I lean over and place a kiss on his lips in response, something I've wanted to do for a long, long time. Trowa responds immediately, opening his mouth slightly to let me in. My tongue meets his, and we stay locked together like that, eyes closed, letting emotions speak for themselves.
We pull back after one endless moment, panting slightly. As much as I wish we didn't have to, there's only so long a person can go without asphyxiating. My ribs and my arm hurt, but I don't care. My heart is singing, back together again.
The passion in that kiss could not be faked. Trowa loves me, he loves me! I can still taste him on my lips he loves me!
Trowas smiling slightly, and brings up one finger to his lips, running it along the bottom lip. Hes obviously thinking the same thing I am, but relative to him.
"Quatre, you never cease to amaze me," he says, still with that tiny smile. The smile then slowly fades. "How can you forgive me so easily, when I still can't forgive myself? How can you be so forgiving after what I've done to you?"
I place my head on his shoulder, on the soft fabric of his turtleneck, and wind my good arm around his neck, fingering the fine hair at the nape of it. "Because I love you, and I've been waiting forever for this to happen," I whisper in his ear. "I'll forgive you anything and everything, Trowa. All you have to do is ask. And if you want, love, I'll teach you how to forgive yourself. Do you?"
He nods, and puts his arms around me, very gently. He's so sweet. He remembers that I'm injured.
"Trowa, are you still scared of love?"
"A little," he answers truthfully.
"Aa. Don't worry. I'll remember to go slowly." I kiss his neck softly. "So you can get used to it."
"I don't deserve anyone," he whispers, in such a low voice that I don't think he meant for me to hear it. The soft whisper is strife-torn, and I know Trowas speaking from his soul. "I deserve to die for what I've done to you. I don't deserve to be happy like this."
"You deserve more than I can ever give you," I assure him, and just rest my head against his shoulders. He stiffens slightly at my words, then relaxes when I touch him.
Tears fall again, but this time they're tears of joy. Their warmth is welcome now. They fall on his strong shoulder.
And I'm glad. If it took a beating to get this, I rejoice and am proud. This will just draw us closer together. I know Trowa will protect me against anything bad, against anything horrible that ever threatens me again.
Trowa carefully wipes away my tears, moving slowly as to not jar my arm. "You're beautiful, Quatre," he tells me, leaning his head back on mine. "So beautiful, you're, you're like an angel."
"How poetic," I murmur with a tiny laugh.
He quietly removes my head from his shoulder. I open my mouth to protest but my protest is still-born, as Trowa gives me another kiss. Deep and eloquent without needing words. Its stronger than the first one, more desperate, as if he thinks Im going to disappear if he doesnt ascertain my reality. He takes my face in his hands and kisses me over and over, as if he just can't get enough. He devours every inch of my face and neck, pressing down hard with strength enough to bruise. I'm flaming up like pine timber at his touch, the sound of my heart beating in my ears, the pain my ribs feel eclipsed by the sensation of his lips. I'll never get tired of this. Every single kiss is a new declaration of love, and I only hope I give him the same sort of feeling he gives me. I want him to know my happiness. Somehow, I think he does.
"Mmmm... Trowa.." I manage after he pauses from another barrage on my senses. "I'd love to go further but I"
"Yes?" he asks me, obviously doing his best to restrain himself.
I grin sheepishly. "Sorry, but I'm starting to hurt... you know, my ribs and stuff still aren't fully healed"
He nods. "Got it. Whatever you say goes, Quatre."
He kneels down, and carefully places his hand against the bandages on my stomach. "I'm so sorry, Quatre," he repeats, looking guilt-stricken. "I... I can't believe anyone would be so cold as to hurt you, especially me"
"Trowa, its okay, I'm telling you. You don't need to apologize anymore. I forgive you."
He looks up at me and this time, his smile is wide. Now I know why he doesnt smile so often. Its because he doesnt want to waste it on unnecessary things. His smile is rare and emotional and true.
I lean down and give him a soft kiss. Our previous rounds have left my lips quite delicate.
At that moment, the nurse chooses to come in. Her eyes go as round as the moon. "Q-Quatre," she stammers, her cheeks turning a brilliant red.
Trowas head snaps around, breaking the kiss, and if I didnt know any better, I'd swear I saw a slight blush. I smile. "Yes, miss?" I ask politely.
"Er, I'm sorry," she apologizes quickly. "I, I, I, didnt know, uh, I had no idea that, umm"
"It's not a problem," I say dismissively, unable to resist grinning like the village idiot.
"Well, uh, your time is up, Mr. Mr. Barton," she stuttered. The poor girl. Probably the last thing she expected was to see her male patient kissing his male visitor.
I follow Trowa with my eyes as he stands up. Everything he does is so graceful. Just standing up is graceful for him. "Bye, Trowa," I say, a little sadly. Weve just discovered each other a half-hour is not sufficient time.
"I have to go talk to the other pilots now," Trowa tells me, his voice quiet and uniform now that another person is here too. "I need them to forgive me as well. Then I need to talk to your sisters."
"They'll forgive you, Trowa." I'm certain they will. And if not, then I'll step in... If I can forgive Trowa, then the others can as well, and I'll make sure to tell them that. Trowas a gifted pilot and we need him. Our guerilla army can't stay down to four. We need him; I need him.
"I'll be back tomorrow," he tells me, a note of tenderness lacing itself around his words.
"Promise?" I ask.
"I swear, Quatre. I'll be back tomorrow. And every day after that until you're discharged from here."
The nurse leads him out then, still blushing furiously. I can hear her asking, "Are you two actually t-t-together?"
I miss Trowa's response, unfortunately, if he even has one. Trowa has the gift of being antisocial for the most part. Not to Heero's extent; he's just naturally quiet, and he won't say a word unless its really necessary. I wonder how he'll answer.
Pat-pat-pat, goes the rain against the window, and I think I'll love the rain for the rest of my life.