|cozzybob (cozzybob) wrote in gw_rewrite,|
@ 2008-04-29 22:06:00
|Entry tags:||colonies, duo, helen, howard, noin, prequel, professor g, solo, zechs|
Origins Pt 5
Origins 5: Birthday
Pair: Solo, Duo, Zechs, Noin, others
Warning: death of a child, violence, massive angst, very crappy birthdays. Un-beta'd.
Time: AC 185
Note: I realize the timing is a bit off for Zechs, but I couldn't resist. We'll pretend he's older than he actually is, yes? You can hurt me if you really, really want to.
Previous parts here.
On Solo's ninth birthday, Rose was killed in a drive-by shooting. He'd held her tiny body in his arms while she asked him prayers that he could barely remember, making up most of it on the fly just so that she could die with a smile on her face. Rose was one of the few children in Solo's group that actually did believe in God, in spite of everything. She often said it wasn't God's fault that they suffered as they did, it was the fault of everybody else. “After all,” she said, “you ignore God all the time. If you ignore Him, you're not hearin' what He's sayin', are you? People die 'cause they don't listen, Solo. I try to pay attention for all of us.”
Duo had often said that Rose was a little misled and she didn't really know what she was talking about, but Solo could tell that his brother was more or less jealous of the fact that Rose could be so accepting. Duo thought it was naive, but at least Rose was innocent. Duo, hardly older than Rose at all, had never been innocent a day in his life. That's why when Rose died of multiple gunshot wounds to the chest, Duo had vanished out into the streets, his own gun clenched in a tiny, five-year-old fist.
The others had only been wounded, Solo hadn't been shot at all. He didn't know why their shelter had been attacked, but they were living with a rather shady drug dealer, and the reason behind such a senseless death could take a lifetime to figure out. Already, Solo could hear the sirens wailing in the distance, coming to either rescue them or stand around indifferently while children were reduced to this: tiny corpses and bloodstained, calloused hands.
The world faded away. His vision had dwindled down to the salty, blurry form of her body, and his thoughts running around in circles, damning Rose's God, damning the fucking colony, damning his miserable excuse for a life. Damning himself, because rather than jumping front of her to shield her from the bullets that had come ripping through the windows and walls, Solo had stared in horror, and watched her fall to the ground, shielding him from harm.
An adult hand laid on his shoulder. Solo looked up, and shrank back to see a masked man in uniform, with the coldest, most barren blue eyes Solo had ever seen in his life. The man had long pale hair that he tossed back with a gloved hand, and sighed.
Solo found himself reaching for the mask, but the man pulled away, shaking his head. “Do you know who did this?”
The voice was furious, but it took a moment for Solo to realize that the masked man wasn't angry at him, but at Rose's body. The man stared at the girl with his harsh blue eyes, and Solo found himself screaming.
“Leave her alone!!” Solo leapt over Rose and clung to her, glaring at the masked man for all his worth. He felt his chest soak in Rose's blood, as if he'd bathed in it, but he didn't dare let go so some Alliance bastard could get his grubby hands on her.
The man tilted his head slightly, and called behind him. “Noin, tell the general the sector is clear.”
“Zechs, you have to be--”
“Just do it.” The eyes behind that mask narrowed on Solo, and the lips grit into a hard fury. “I don't want the children caught in this,” he muttered. “One of them is already dead because of us.”
Because of them? “What? You killed her? You bastard!” Solo wailed on this Zechs bastard and wailed him with an angry fist. “You killed Rose! You killed her!”
Zechs grabbed his fists almost too easily, and held him steady. Despite the confidence of his pose, it was obvious he was unsure of himself and it showed in his voice, thick with nervous guilt. “There was a skirmish, it was a few stray bullets! We couldn't have known--”
“Shut up! You fucker. You don't even—you don't even care that she's—you killed her!”
“I did no such thing!”
“Zechs! Stop arguing with the kid! We have to go!”
Zechs gestured at the body. “What about her?” Solo was shocked to see tears in the man's eyes. He stopped fighting, then, and stared in horror. The man didn't seem like much of a man, anymore—he wasn't all that much older than Solo, really. He tried to imagine himself in uniform, failed to even consider it. It seemed like everyone had their life's story.
The woman, Noin, sighed at him. “It can't be helped. We'll take care of it later.” She took Zechs' hand and tugged on it. “We have to go, Zechs. I'm sorry.”
Solo didn't wait for them to run away from their problems. Solo ran away first. He left both the gang and Rose's body behind, and went to find Duo.
He found Duo at the roof of an office building, overlooking a closed off area of the colony that had been devoted to the Alliance. He had his arms folded with most-causality, his gun resting in a holster at his hip. Duo leant on the guard-rail off the edge of the roof, his pose appearing relaxed if it wasn't for the tears running down his face.
Solo stood next to him and fingered the younger boy's hair. “This is getting pretty long, you know. Ever think of gettin' it cut?”
“No,” Duo said miserably.
“But it's such a pain in the ass to work with--”
“I like it this way.” There was stifled sob, a small hand running to cover the misery on Duo's face. “Just shut up.”
“Shut up, Solo. She's dead. I'm no idiot. Don't need to go on 'bout the facts of life to me, yeah?”
“Doesn't matter. Knew she wasn't gonna last long. Not with that God Loves Everyone bullshit runnin' 'round her brain. She was so--”
Now Solo was crying all over again. “She was innocent,” he said.
Duo said nothing. He glared at the Alliance base, as if plotting the best way to destroy it.
“Duo, God had nothing to do with this. It was--”
“I know that, stupid. I'm just saying that she was... she was a fool. That's all. Can't live long thinkin' God's gonna take care of us. God couldn't give a shit. Not here.”
“You really shouldn't think like that--”
And then Duo turned on him, fists balled at his sides, looking indignant. “Why the hell not, huh? The only God out here is death, Solo. And He's not even a very nice God, he's a psychotic, jealous, pissed off motherfucker that hates the air we breathe!”
Solo took a step back. He'd never had that venom targeted at him, before, and it was a little disconcerting. “Duo--”
It was only then, that Duo seemed to realize just how angry he really was, and then the younger boy had such a disgusted, self-hate fluttering across his face that Solo sighed again and grasped the other boy by the chin.
“It can't be helped,” Solo said. “This is just the way it is. It's not about God or Death or anything else, it's about people. It's about us. We did this, Duo.”
“We killed Rose?” Duo's voice had gone wobbly, staring at the blood all over Solo's chest, and Solo gathered all the strength in his soul, reaching out, hugging Duo, mindless of the bloodstains. As they embraced tightly, they shared the remnants of Rose between them. For a brief moment, Solo wondered if Rose could soak herself into their skin, so she'd be with them always, whispering selfless faith into their thoughts. But then the comforting notion was lost in the fact that Solo didn't believe in a God or a Death, and he certainly didn't believe in ghosts, spirits or Heaven. There was only hell in his world, and hell began with the letter L and ended with the number 2.
The only thing left of Rose was the memory of his own cowardice, his failure to save her life.
Duo began to shake in his arms, holding back the sobs and the desire to scream out his pain to the world. Solo didn't hold back. He screamed enough for both of them.
Later, in his ear, Duo whispered, “Happy birthday. I forgot.”
They held each other like letting go would the end of the world for both of them, and Solo, oddly, found himself giggling, but it had nothing to do with joy. “I'm nine today,” he said hoarsely.
Duo dug into his pocket, and placed something into Solo's palm. It was little wooden carving of a sheep.
“Pretty useless, I know,” Duo said, “...and you prob'ly don't want anything after... after Rose... but...” His breath hitched. “I carved it with the knife Juan gave me. I just... I saw found this table leg, and I remembered seeing a picture of one, in a book once... from Earth, and...”
“It's nice.” Solo fingered the little wooden sheep, his eyes wet, having cried out all the tears. “I like it.”
“Y-Yeah... I think they're... they're cute. I wanna... I wanna go to Earth, Solo. I wanna get away from here. I wanna leave. I don't wanna be here anymore. I don't want--”
“I know,” Solo said.
“I want to leave now.”
“We can't, Duo.”
“Because we can't.”
Duo pulled away. He folded his arms again in an insecure fashion and glared back down at the base. He said nothing.
Solo answered his silent screaming. “We just can't.”
But he wrapped a fist around his tiny wooden present, and dreamed about the far-away hills of Earth anyway.