By Jaelyn 06/25/99
I own none of these charas.

Tick.. TOCK... tick ...TOCK... tick ...TOCK...

Trowa shuffled slowly into the cold kitchen, pausing briefly to fumble for a match and light one of the, short stubby candles they used for light.  He cursed as frigid, trembling fingers failed more than once to find the burned-down nub of the wick.


Some hideout, this tiny, half thrown together tin shack, out in the middle of  no where...it didn't even have heat and it creaked and groaned like an old woman with rheumatism everytime the wind blew.  Whoever put it together hadn't bothered with a fireplace either; they were forced to huddle close together for warmth, sharing the small radiant heater  they had in their supplies.  It barely kept them from freezing.


The candle gave enough illumination to find the battery-run  microwave,  the milk,  and the chocolate.  2 minutes later, hot cocoa in a steaming mug warmed his hands, chasing away some of the chill.  Maybe the warm, sweet milk would help him back to sleep.  Maybe not.

TICK...tock... TICK...tock...TICK...tock...TICK...tock...

He glanced up at the clock positioned precariously over the doorframe leading to the bedroom.  It was something of an anomaly in this place; he thought for sure it was an antique, carved of cherry, with brass chimes.  It never lost time.  Its delicately constructed hands gave the time as 2:30.  AM.  He sighed softly, suppressing a shiver.  In this, the deepest darkest part of the night, when no one was awake except him ,  the seconds past like minutes and the minutes like hours and the hours like all eternity.

TICK...tock... TICK...tock...TICK...tock...TICK...tock...

Sound startled him in the magnified silence; a bed creaking, a soft curse,  the soft, padding, sounds of someone making their way through the dark.  His companion shortly materialized, rendered a fantastical creature by the candle-born shadows wrapped as he was in the blanket from the bed.  He approached the table where Trowa sat, blinking at him  sleepy-eyed before slumping into the seat opposite the other boy.

TICK...tock... TICK...tock...TICK...tock...TICK...tock...

For a wonder, the other was in no hurry to speak.  The silence grew long, only the clock with its steady beat aware of the passing of time.  Trowa looked at the other boy from under concealing bangs: the candle light made him nearly a stranger, casting his long, loosely braided hair in darker shades, softening his features, making him appear younger, all but genderless.

TICK...tock... TICK...tock...TICK...tock...TICK...tock...

"You were talking in you sleep."  He finally said, without preamble, his dark violet eyes meeting Trowa's.   Trowa stiffened, shoulders hunching forward, drawing into himself. His face spasmed before becoming smooth and mask-like.  Long, slender fingers wrapped themselves tighter about his mug.

"It's nothing." He murmured, taking a sip of the hot, sweet liquid.

"You were crying..."  The voice was quiet, insistent, almost disembodied. It lacked the sharp edged brightness, the cheery, annoying, edge it had during the daylight hours.  Duo's warm breath created puffs of swirling mist in the cold.  Trowa shivered, suddenly as chilled as when he had first awakened.

"It's nothing." He barely managed to whisper.

"That's not true," Duo countered. Entreaty edged the simple words.

"It is."  The words were spoken in a sure, almost light tone.  Trowa rose from his seat, moving slowly, making his way back to the microwave.  His chocolate was growing cold.


Trowa went about preparing the chocolate in deliberate steps...Just so much milk. This much vanilla.  Stir.  Microwave.  Not too long.  He didn't want it too hot.  If only they had some mint...That would have been  good...A faint beep, beep, beep told him it was ready...


"Duo...please.  I'm sorry I've disturbed your sleep; as I've said:  it's not important."  He turned back to his companion.  The boy watched him, his usually expressive face, closed.  "Would you like some hot chocolate?"

TICK...tock... TICK...tock...TICK...tock...TICK...tock...

They sipped their cocoa in silence. No sounds intruded except the ticking of the clock and the moaning of the cabin as it was rocked by the wind.  The candles occasionally flickered, making the shadows waver, and writhe.  It wasn't difficult at all, Trowa thought, all but entranced by the cold and the darkness and the silence,  to imagine demons hiding in those shadows. Those candle-wrought shadows shifted and morphed into grasping, too familiar hands...the growling wind murmured with a soft, malignantly seductive voice...


Trowa convulsed . "No...!"


Leave me alone.

Trowa!  Hey, man! Are you alright?!  Trowa!!

Don't touch me!  I don't want you to touch me!


Awareness slammed into him when he felt a firm hand grab his arm.  Serpent like he recoiled, jerking his hand back from Duo's grip, his cocoa spilling in steaming runnels to the floor.  "Don't touch me! Don't ever touch me!"  he almost didn't recognize his voice--it was a high panicked streak.

"Trowa.." Duo began, the blanket having slid from around his thin shoulders, leaving him to shiver in the frosty air "God, man...your face...talk to me, you were somewhere else..."

"Shut up,"  His voice was cold and clipped.  He bent to pick up the broken shards of the mug , to wipe up the hissing spill.  A hand grasps his shoulder.  He spins, voicing a snarl,  his fist connecting with flesh and bone with a satisfying 'thock'.


"What do you want?  I told you--keep away from me!" He glared down at his fellow pilot, fingers curved still into furious fists. Duo's eyes were wide, his hand going to his already swelling cheek.  Trowa's frantic hands searched for some thing  else on which to vent his rage.  He grasped the back of the rickety chair, hurling  it into the floor, watching it shatter into comforting pieces.

"What are you looking to hear?!"  He picked  up  a piece of the chair, breaking it across his knee. His eyes burned into Duo's, searching for hated pity, or worse, disgust.  "Do you want to hear that some bastard...that some bastard....That I let...let..." He couldn't say it, couldn't breath!  God, his throat hurt!  Something wet struck his clenched fists...first one drop then  another, and another....he hurled the shard with an angry cry across the room.


Duo rose slowly to his feet, using the table  momentarily for balance.  Those eyes had lost their shock, and had narrowed to violet slits.  He approached Trowa cautiously .

"Trowa"  His voice was quiet, firm.  The mouth set in equally firm lines.  Trowa stumbled away from him, all most tripping over the remains of the chair.  Duo reached for him....

With an angry snarl he threw another lightening blow...again the sound of flesh hitting flesh.  He blinked as at his fist, caught and held in Duo's hand. He tried to jerk away but Shinigami's pilot held him with a grip akin to a steel vice. Duo's other hand came up, forcing Trowa's arm slowly down...

"Let me..." Trowa began to struggle

"Trowa...Listen to me...LISTEN!"  Duo gave him a hard, little shake. "You don't have to tell me anything...I --I can guess..." Purple eyes met green.  "But what ever  happened...It's not your fault, ok?  Do you get it?  It was never your fault."


Trowa went still, feeling the fight, the fear drain out of him like blood.  Duo released him, his hands settling limply at his sides.  Trowa took in his stance, his tired, fatigued expression, searching for a lie, for deception.  Why should he believe him? Trust him?  Who had ever bothered giving him truth?  After an eternity, Duo sighed, retrieving the blanket, wrapping it tightly about him.  He glanced up at he clock.

"Gahhh...would you look at that...it's after Three in the morning...."  he rubbed a hand sleepily across his face, his eyes, wincing only slightly as the he accidentally brushed  the blossoming bruise across his cheek. "I'm going to bed."  He picked up his mug, downing the last of his cocoa, then shuffled toward the small bedroom, stepping over a fragment of the chair.

"Good night"  was the last thing Trowa heard  before he disappeared into the darkness.


Trowa looked around at the mess surrounding him.  With a sigh, he bent to clean up the shattered pieces.

It was almost four when he padded into the cabin's bedroom.  The wind had died down to an occasional sigh that only cause the windows to quiver a tiny bit.  His roommate was sound asleep, the whispering of his breath the only sign that he was alive.   He was asleep on his side, nested in a mound of blankets, only  the snaking end of  his braid giving proof that a boy existed under all of that.  Quietly, so as not to wake him, Trowa slipped under the covers.  For long minutes he lay awake, too cold to sleep.  The blankets only did so much.  He turned onto his side.  Duo's back was to him.  He hadn't so much as twitched since Trowa had come to bed.

"I hate your smile..."Trowa whispered, fingering a strand of silken hair.  He wrapped it around his finger.  "I envy your quiet sleep..."  He scooted closer, not close enough to touch, but close enough to feel the warmth of the living, breathing body next to him.  Gradually the ice left his bones and his eyes grew heavy, his breathing slowed, deepened. The tension left his body. As the week light of predawn touched the sky, his fingers lost their grip on the soft lock of hair and he was lost in dreamless sleep.

Thanks for reading!

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