Life feels empty, my love
It pains me so to give you up
~ Epica, Twin Flames
You jolt up when the cell door opens, crawling back into the shadows the corners provide. Your narrowed gaze takes in the silhouettes in the doorway, two large, burly men holding a slumped body. You do your best to keep your expression neutral, but fear claws at your throat.
“We’ll come back for you later, Hot Stuff!” One of the men says with a leer in your direction.
You fight to keep from shivering as the other laughs at the remark. They throw the slumped body into the cell and close the door. When you hear the lock click in place you scramble forward.
“Wufei!” You try to keep your voice under control as you wrap your arms around his torso and pull him upright.
His hair and face are wet, his breathing uneven, and he can barely contain a sound of pain when you force him to move back with you to the back of the cell, the wall farthest away from the door. He manages to get his feet to cooperate and pushes them against the ground to shove his weight along. Biting back a cry at the searing pain in your thighs, you collapse against the wall with him sitting between your legs, his back against your front. Ignoring the sticky feeling of blood between your thighs, you hold him tightly; glad to know he is alive and conscious.
“What did they do?” you ask when he leans his head back against your shoulder.
His chest is heaving with his breathing and he coughs, hunching forward until he manages to get his breathing under control. “Waterboarding.”
You swallow thickly and hold him, resting a cheek against his slumped shoulder. You don’t say you’re sorry. It’s of no use. You know that in a few hours the men will come back and drag one of you out. It’s a never ending cycle that has become your life for the past two weeks.
“I think they broke a rib,” he murmurs, while slowly relaxing back into your arms.
“Left or right side?” you ask.
You carefully pull up his shirt. The fabric is dirty and heavy from sweat, blood, and water, and it sticks to his skin. Cuts and bruises cover his body, some fresh and nearly black, others are showing signs of fading. You know they’ll be covered with more bruises soon. The worst is the burn mark from the flat side of a knife across his stomach. The wound looks ugly and you fear it’s getting infected.
You slide your fingers along his sides carefully, feeling the bumps of his ribs underneath his skin. He arches away from your prodding fingers and grits his teeth when you encounter the fracture on his right side. By the feel of it, the bone isn’t shattered, but it’s giving him a lot of pain.
“I’m sorry,” you whisper, while lowering his shirt down again.
You close your eyes and hold him, praying that this predicament will end before the men will come back to get you. Every time they drag you out, you are sure you won’t be able to survive another round of beating, torture, or… You sob into Wufei’s shoulder and pray the nausea won’t worsen. You’re not sure if you’ll be fast enough to reach the toilet in the corner.
“Shh…” Wufei brings up a hand and reaches back to cradle your head.
His touch calms you. His is the only touch that won’t hurt you here in this place. You had come to rely on him to get through the days in the cell, had come to rely on him to keep you sane after each torture session that ended. You had lost any feeling of time. In the beginning, you had tried to keep up a day and night rhythm, but the bastards keeping you here like to wake you up in the middle of the night, dragging you out by your hair for what they deem fun. The time in the cell passes by in darkness. The only light that filters into the room comes from the hallway, falling into the cell through some iron bars above the door.
The bunker had been abandoned after the war, so all the furniture had been taken away, leaving you only with a toilet and a sink in the corner that, thankfully, still work. There are no beds, no mattresses. You spend the time lying or sitting on the cold, hard floor, sharing body heat. You barely get any sleep. When you sleep, the nightmares creep up on you, so Wufei usually has to wake you up. Your body is weakened by the lack of sleep, the lack of food. But even so, you know that Wufei´s body is in a worse state than yours. They consider him the danger. He is the stronger one out of the two of you, so they made a point of starving him the first week, making sure he was too weak to fight back. And that was the point when they had started targeting you. They figured that Wufei felt protective of you, and knew he would feel responsible if anything happened to you. They hoped he would crack and spill information if they beat you.
Your training kept you from telling and you had sworn to each other in the darkness of the cell that neither of you would break. You both had kept silent, even during the joined torture sessions, when you had been forced to watch them beat Wufei endlessly, watched how they had held a white hot knife to his skin. Even when the leader of the terrorists had gotten fed up with your silence and had dragged you by your hair to the desk and had made Wufei watch as he cut loose your cargo pants and had made you bend over the desk.
That had been a moment where you had been absolutely sure it would be the breaking point for your partner. And so you had pleaded him with your eyes not to say anything. You had held the eye contact the entire time. Wufei had tried to stop it, throwing off the men holding him down and charging at your attacker. He hadn’t gotten very far. The men had beaten him with such brutality you had feared for his life.
It wasn’t until they had thrown you back into the cell that you had broken down. You had sobbed and wailed, knowing you would forever feel dirty and violated. Wufei had held you, whispering calming words in your ear. You had felt utterly broken and it was through sheer will and determination that you had managed to calm down. Sheer will and determination that had kept you from showing your captors how deep the pain and humiliation ran. Sheer will and determination that had kept your mind clear, or else you would have gone insane. You aren’t sure if surviving this predicament would be a good thing. You feel so fragile and tainted, and you wonder if you will ever be normal again.
And Wufei… he feels so guilty and powerless. He is just as much a victim as you were. He would always have to live with the knowledge that you had been raped under his watch, and he had not been able to do anything to stop it.
After the rape, the beatings have become harsher, more cruel. There are more bruises and burns on your body than you can count. Today they had dragged Wufei out again, and now they had started breaking bones. Your stomach turns at the thought of what they could possibly have in store for you.
“You can sleep,” you tell him softly.
“You won’t mind?” he asks.
“No,” you murmur.
He moves, very carefully, and maneuvers himself until he is lying down on his good side, with his back to the door. He always sleeps between you and the door, a protective barrier, although he can’t do much. The terrorists have guns and knives, yours have been stripped away. Attacking them without weapons is useless because your bodies lack the strength. But even so, Wufei insists on protecting you. It makes you feel a little safer.
When he is as comfortable as he can get, you lie down beside him and snuggle up against him. He wraps his arm around you, holding you close. It makes you feel a little guilty, knowing that he’s got someone waiting back home. But in this situation all the barriers are stripped away. In the darkness of the cell, he had become your steady center. You know that, if you managed to get out alive, that bond can never be broken. You will always be bound to him by what had happened.
You reach up and touch his cheek. Even in the dim light you can see that his skin is nearly black with bruises. “They really got you this time, didn’t they?”
He grunts, but doesn’t open his eyes. You snuggle into his chest, seeking his warmth to keep your sore body from cramping up. You have just a few hours until they come back for you. Every time when they take one of you out, you fear it’s the last time you will see Wufei. You close your eyes, but sleep won’t come. Instead, you just lie listening to his breathing and the other sounds around you. There is always noise in the bunker. Down the hallway, someone is playing music, some loud, gritty rock that makes your head pound. You hear footsteps and tense up. Next to you, Wufei shifts. He is aware too. The footsteps pass by the door and you breathe a sigh of relief. They’re not coming for you yet.
Wufei’s hand slips into your hair and he tucks your head under his chin. “They won’t be here for a while yet.”
You bite down on your bottom lip. “I’m scared.”
He swallows thickly and tightens his grip on you. “They won’t kill us without having any information. As long as we’re alive they have the power to negotiate.”
“I know…” you whisper.
“And besides…” He cups your cheeks and makes you look at him. “You’re not gonna leave me here all by myself, right?”
That thought alone nearly breaks your heart. The idea that you might die and leave him to the mercy of your captors… you just couldn’t stand it. You gaze up at him and see the reassurance in his eyes. Even in times like this his belief in you is unwavering. You know he admires your strong will and he is fueling it with his trust. You need it to get through this. You reach up and curl your fingers around his wrist. It feels rather intimate to touch him like this, but not wrong. Nothing is wrong about seeking reassurance and human contact while being kept prisoner in such bad conditions.
You shift and press your forehead against his. “Your trust in me still baffles me.”
His lips twitch, but he doesn’t smile. Instead he shifts and presses a kiss against your forehead. The gesture makes you tremble. Not with fear. You’d never fear Wufei. But the gesture is so kind, so gentle. You can’t help but enjoy it, crave it even. With each day that passes, you feel more connected to him. And it confuses you greatly. You don’t allow yourself to think about what it might mean. All your focus is on survival and getting out of this hellhole alive. But you are uncomfortably aware that your platonic feelings for him have changed into something different.
It’s because he is the only one who doesn’t hurt you here, you tell yourself. But no matter how much you try, you can’t seem to put a stop to it.
“I chose a strong partner,” he says, sounding a little proud.
You give him a small smile. You continue to stare at him until your eyes start to feel heavy. You drift off, knowing that when you wake up it will be your turn to be dragged out of the cell.
You jolt awake when the lock on the cell door clicks off. You hear the men in the hallway, laughing arrogantly. You know you have to move quickly. You can’t risk them attacking Wufei while he is in such a state. Wufei is awake too but he is holding on to you tightly, not letting go yet.
“I have to move,” you tell him.
“Not yet,” he says.
“Wufei…” You meet his gaze and freeze.
He is obviously in a lot of pain and not thinking clearly. It becomes even clearer when he pulls you closer. Before you can blink, he presses his lips against yours. The contact is brief and he pulls back before you can react.
“Come back to me,” he urges.
“I promise,” you whisper.
He lets you go and you quickly scramble up. Your cargo pants scrape your painful thighs, the dried blood on the fabric not helping matters. You move closer to the door, and hear Wufei shifting into the shadows behind you. The door swings open and you feel sick to your stomach when you see the leader standing in the door opening. It would have been easier if it had been one of the others. They would beat you and hurt you, but they weren’t interested in anything else.
He gives you a leering smile and mentions you over with the gun in his hand. “Come here.”
You swallow thickly. Normally you don’t move, provoke the men into stepping into the cell, but now you won’t risk it. Wufei’s breathing is shallow and quick in the corner, and you know you have to move before one of them decides to come in.
When you take the first step, the men start laughing.
“She wants it!” one of them calls out.
The leader grins. “Come here, my sweet.”
A shudder of disgust runs down your spine. You reach him and he is quick to grab your hair, yanking you closer. The whimper nearly escapes you, but you manage to hold it in. Your hair has been grabbed and yanked so often the past few days that your scalp has become painful and extremely sensitive. But you endure, because you need to keep them focused on you.
You’re dragged out and the door is slammed shut and locked once more. You’re knocked around between the men as they drag you down the hallway to the room that they keep for their torture sessions. You swallow thickly when the leader grabs you and hauls you into the room. The other men don’t enter and close the door behind you.
Your heart starts beating wildly when you realize that you’re alone with him. That can only mean one thing. And you’re determined to put up as much fight as you can muster. Wufei is counting on you to return to the cell, so you have to stay strong.
“I am becoming very annoyed with the two of you,” the man says, while circling around you. “It seems that, no matter how hard we beat you, we won’t get any information.”
You remain silent and direct your stony glare at the wall in front of you.
The sudden slap to the back of your head nearly makes you lose your balance. “Answer me, bitch!”
You find your footing and straighten, staring ahead again. You won’t give him the satisfaction of seeing your pain. Pain and fear empower him.
He glares at you. “So impassive. I’ll beat that out of you.”
You brace yourself for the first punch, and endure each one he throws at you. You’re knocked to the ground more times than you can count and you taste blood in your mouth. Your nose is bleeding too, and your thighs are in agony. The cigarette burns are bleeding again. The man grabs your hair again and yanks you back to your feet. His intend is clear when he starts pulling you over to the desk. And that is when you can’t remain impassive anymore. You start fighting him, but that only makes him laugh. You’re so weak you can barely throw a decent punch. Your nails claw at his hands and arms, but he doesn’t seem to feel anything. He drags you, kicking and screaming, to the hard, splintering wood.
Oh God, no…
You can’t go through this a second time. Not when Wufei is not there to keep you grounded. You scream when he slams you face down onto the desk. You feel tears burning in your eyes, strong will be damned. You can’t…
With one hand, he keeps you pushed against the desk, while the other cups your ass. “I’ll fucking make you talk, bitch. I’ll keep you here for days if I have to.”
You retch, your body convulsing, but there is nothing in your stomach to throw up. It makes the sick bastard laugh.
“I think I’m close to breaking you.”
You feel how he grabs the waistband of your pants and the fabric gives way beneath his force. He is fumbling with his own pants. Your breathing is labored with panic, your mind close to shutting down. You can’t survive this.
A wave of nausea washes over you when you feel him position himself. No… no, please, no… You don’t plead out loud. But in your mind you’re screaming. The tears are streaming down your face and your body is frozen. You can’t stop him. You’re too weak. Wufei, I’m sorry…
The door flies open. You barely have time to register what’s happening, before the dull thud of a gun with a silencer breaks through the stunned silence that has fallen over the room. You gaze wide eyed at the door opening, where Heero Yuy stands in full Preventer uniform. Wufei is behind him, holding a gun of his own, but he is not pointing it at anyone. His horrified gaze is focused on you. You can feel the man behind you convulse with the impact of the bullet. The next moment he collapses forward, on top of you.
Your mind clicks and you start screaming. Heero is by your side quickly, prying the dead man’s weight away from you. You’re incoherent, barely register that he is pulling up your pants. He pulls you off the desk. Wufei is there to catch you and you collapse into his arms, a grunt escaping him as your sudden weight in his arms jars his ribs.
“Shhh…” He buries his face in your hair. “I’ve got you. You’re safe.”
You sob into his shoulder, holding onto him tightly.
Heero secures the door, while talking into his earpiece. When he bolts the door, you suddenly realize you’re not completely safe yet. Heero had gone in first, securing you and Wufei and freeing the way for the rest of the Preventer team to come in. Soon the bunker is filled with the sounds of gunfire, dead bodies hitting the ground and the nearly inhumane screams of the dying. You huddle in Wufei’s arms, trying to calm your erratic breathing. You are shaking so badly that your knees give out beneath you. Wufei grunts in pain when your full weight comes to rest on him. He staggers and together you slip down to the floor.
He cups your cheeks and makes you look at him, wiping away the blood from your face. “Are you okay?” he asks.
“Yes… He-he didn’t…”
He closes his eyes and rests his forehead against your shoulder. He breathes a sigh of relief. “Thank God…”
You wrap your arms around him and hold him. You need the comfort, you need his closeness. Heero stays by the door and watches you in silence.
All of a sudden the gunshots fade and the bunker is left in a deadly silence. A little while later, running footsteps approach the door. You tense up when Heero opens the door. The team of Preventer Agent pours into the room.
“Jesus Christ.” It’s Duo Maxwell. He is quick to move forward. “Let’s get them out of here.”
He is quick to lift you out of Wufei’s arms, and Heero helps Wufei up from the floor.
“This okay?” Duo asks, as he carries you out of the room.
You turn your face into his shoulder to avoid looking at the bodies that litter the floors. “Yeah.”
Over Duo’s shoulder, your gaze meets Wufei’s. He gives you a small encouraging smile as he stumbles along under Heero’s support. Heero’s face is set in grim lines. It’s obvious he is angry.
The Preventers pile into the chopper waiting outside, and you’re quick to scramble over so you can sit next to Wufei. He wraps his arm around your shoulder, and you are glad for the contact. None speaks and that makes you wonder. But the mystery is cleared at soon as the chopper lands on the local Preventer Base. Commander Une is waiting next to the hangar, and she approaches the chopper after it has landed. You are not surprised she is here. Wufei is one of her most prized agents, so naturally she would appear after such a disastrous mission.
Heero is out the next moment and snapping at her. “Don’t give me bullshit about going against protocol.”
“Agent Yuy,” she starts cooly, but Heero interrupts her.
“He had her bent over his desk, ready to rape her!” he snaps.
The other agents freeze and all turn to look at you. Wufei takes your hand and pulls you along with him.
“I told you right away we had to go and get them out,” Heero continues.
“We will talk later,” Une tells him. “Agent Chang and Agent -L/N- need medical attention.”
She mentions you to follow her and you do so in silence. You don’t know what to think or say. Your mind is incapable of handling the situation. Inside the base Une directs you to a medical room. As soon as she opens the door, Sally Po comes storming out.
“Thank God!” She wraps herself around Wufei.
“Sally!” he protests. “Take it easy.”
“I’m sorry!” Her face is pale with worry and she cups his cheeks. “What have they done?”
“Take a look at -Y/N- first. I’ll be fine.”
He seats himself in one of the chairs, while Sally directs you to the place behind the curtain. Commander Une stays behind, and you hear her quietly talking to Wufei.
“Are you okay, -Y/N-?” Sally asks you.
“I don’t know,” you say. Your voice sounds small. “I want a pregnancy and a STD test.”
Her mouth falls open. You notice the deadly silence that falls over the room, and then Une’s footsteps as she make her way around the curtain. Her face is pale, her eyes wide with concern and shock.
“Agent Yuy said…” she starts, but you interrupt her.
“Agent Yuy doesn’t know it had already happened.”
“They…” Sally says, and then shakes her head.
You hang your head in shame. Tears fill your eyes and you no longer know what to do. The drive for survival is gone and nothing is left. Nothing but shame and humiliation. Sally wraps her arms around you and holds you.
“I’m so sorry,” she whispers. You hear the tears in her voice and swallow thickly. “Come over here.”
She makes you sit down on the examination table and takes your hands. “We can do the tests later if you want.”
“No.” You shake your head. “Do them now. I… I’m nauseous a lot. I want to be sure.”
Sally instructs you to undress and you do so. She is quick and efficient in her examination. She checks you over for fractures before handing you a large, fluffy robe. She checks your head and eyes and concludes you don’t have a concussion. Then she makes you lie down on the table. She takes note of the burns on your thighs and sighs.
“These look bad,” she says. “I’ll need to disinfect and treat them after you’ve cleaned up.”
You nod and direct your gaze at the ceiling when she takes the rape kit from the counter. The commander sits down on the edge of the table and wraps her arm around your shoulder. The gesture is kind and unexpected, and tears brim in your eyes once more. You feel so dirty. Sally looks up when you sob.
“-Y/N-,” she says softly. “It’s okay.”
You press your hands over your face, hiding the shame from both women.
“We can do this later,” Commander Une says.
“No…” You vehemently shake your head. “I-I need to know.”
Sally takes the necessary swabs as quickly as possible and then stores the rape kit away.
“I’ll need your clothes for evidence,” she says. You nod and take the pregnancy test that she hands over to you. “Stay here while I examine Wufei. I’ll go with you to the showers.”
You’re grateful for her care. Commander Une gently guides you to the other side of the curtain and makes you sit down in the chair behind the desk. She then gets you a cup of water.
“Here,” she says softly, while taking the other chair. “I’ll need to know what happened, but that can wait.”
You nod and sip the water slowly. The fresh taste is welcome after the stale water that the cell had provided. You huddle in the robe, feeling small and insignificant. You clutch the pregnancy test in your hand, your white knuckled grip crushing the package. What if your fears are confirmed? The thought alone makes you sick.
Wufei emerges from behind the curtain and Sally follows him.
“You can both stay in the sick bay tonight,” she says. “It’s quiet there and you both need rest.”
You nod, glad to know that you will be away from prying eyes and concern. You set course for the showers and with each step you take, dread becomes like a heavy stone in your stomach. Sally is behind you and she barges into the women’s changing room after you.
“Shower first,” she tells you.
She shakes her head. “Shower first.”
You nod meekly and hand her the pregnancy test. You take one of the towels from the stack in the corner and lock yourself up in one of the cubicles. You turn the water as hot as you can stand and let it pour over your beaten body. You scrub your skin vigorously; ignoring the pain it causes you, because no matter how much you try… you can’t seem to get clean. When Sally knocks on the door of the stall you turn of the water and dry yourself. The burns on your thighs sting. You’re not looking forward to the idea to getting them treated at all. More pain… You shake your head and exit the stall. Sally is waiting next to the door and she is holding your bag with an extra change of clothes. You give her a grateful look and quickly get dressed, before taking the pregnancy test from her.
“Take your time, okay?” she says gently.
You nod and enter one of the toilet stalls, praying with all your might that the test comes out negative. When you emerge from the toilet Sally is quick to take the test from you. She makes you sit down on the bench lining the wall and slips her arm around your shoulders.
“When will I get the results from the STD test?” you ask her.
You need to talk. You can’t wait in silence for the pregnancy test result. You need to keep your mind occupied or else the terrible memories will creep up on you. Your mind, overcome with fatigue and the aftermath of being rescued, simply can’t handle them.
“About a week,” Sally says. “I’ll tell the lab to make it a priority case.”
“Thanks,” you say softly.
“I think it’s ready.”
Your heart lurches in your chest and you swallow thickly, taking the test from Sally. You take a deep breath and look at the display. The relief at seeing the negative sign makes a sob escape your throat and you clasp a hand over your mouth. Sally gives you a relieved smile and wraps you up in her embrace.
“Thank God…” she whispers.
The tears come, hot on your cheeks and stinging your eyes. Sally lets you cry onto her shoulder, rocking you from side to side to soothe you.
“I got you,” she murmurs.
But it’s not her you want to hear the words from. You long for the safety of Wufei’s arms. And that makes you feel terribly guilty, because Sally has been so nice and caring… How would you ever explain to her that Wufei had come to mean so much more to you?
You do your best to calm down and lean back against the wall with a sigh.
“Better?” Sally asks.
“Alright. Let’s go to the sick bay to get you settled in. You can have some soup.”
Before you leave the dressing room, you splash some water onto your face. The sick bay is deserted, except for Wufei, who is already there, sitting on one of the beds. One look at your face has him approaching you. The look in his eyes is haunted.
You’re quick to ease his mind. “The test was negative.”
The relief is so painstakingly clear that it makes tears form in your eyes again. He pulls you into his arms and holds you. You carefully wrap your arms around his waist and hide your face against his shoulder. He presses a kiss against your temple.
“It will be okay,” he promises you.
You squeeze your eyes shut. “I don’t know…”
He cups your cheeks and makes you look at him. “It will be. You’re strong.”
You bite your lip, not knowing what to say. Right now, you feel anything but strong.
“You both need rest,” Sally says, and gently steers you in the direction of the bed next to Wufei’s. “And I still need to treat those burns. Yours too, Wufei.”
He grimaces and sits down on his own bed. You strip off the sweatpants and climb onto the bed, and Sally gets to work immediately. You hiss and bitch at the sting of the disinfectant, your fists curling in the sheets.
“These look like cigarette burns,” Sally notes.
“They are,” you grumble.
She applies an ointment and then wraps bandages around both your thighs. You slip into the sweatpants again and settle under the sheets. You look up when Heero enters the room, carrying a tray with two steaming bowls on it.
Sally treats Wufei’s wound with the same kind of efficiency, and then kisses Wufei’s cheek. “Get some rest.”
“Yeah…” he says quietly.
You take the bowl that Heero hands you.
“Take it easy,” he tells you. “You’re stomach needs to get used to food again. Eat slowly or else you might throw up.”
You nod and dip the spoon into the soup, taking small sips. Sally stays close, keeping an eye on you as you eat. When she notices the soup is staying down, she gives a satisfied nod.
“If you feel okay tomorrow, you can have some oatmeal for breakfast.”
Wufei glares at her. “Oatmeal?”
You find his disgruntled reaction funny and can barely hide a snicker. Heero is smirking when he takes your empty bowl from you.
“Yes, Wufei. Oatmeal,” Sally says sternly. “You are under my care so you’ll do as I say.”
He hands his bowl over to Heero and sighs. “Fine.”
“Get some rest.”
Heero rests his hand on your shoulder for a moment, before leaving the room with Sally trailing behind him. She turns off the light before closing the door. You sigh and get more comfortable under the sheets.
“How are you feeling?” you ask Wufei.
He shrugs. “Better. Heero taped my ribs for me.”
You turn your head so you can look at him. Moonlight pours in through the windows, so you can make out his features in the darkness. He is looking at you. He holds out his hand and you reach across the distance between your beds, grasping on firmly.
He gives you a small smile. “I’m glad we were on time to stop him.”
You swallow thickly. “Me too… I… I don’t think I could have gone through it a second time.”
Worry flashes into his gaze. He realizes that your mental state is far more fragile than he had thought before. You can’t blame him. In the cell, survival was everything that mattered. Now that you’re out, it’s finally clear how affected you are by the whole ordeal.
He gives your hand a squeeze. “I could stay with you when we get back, if you want.”
“What is Sally going to think of that?” you ask him.
He looks lost for a moment. But then his eyes get a determined glint. “She’ll understand.”
Will she? You bite your lip. Will she understand the bond that had formed? Will she understand that in a moment of weakness, Wufei had kissed you?
You tear your gaze away from his and look at the ceiling. “I don’t know, Wufei…”
“It’s okay,” he says, his tone turning gentle. “You don’t have to decide now.”
You give him a small smile. The fatigue is creeping up on you, and you feel your eyelids getting heavy. You fall asleep with your hands entwined.
You are back in the bunker, punches raining down on your battered body. Across from you Wufei is struggling to break free of his captors, but it’s of no use. The leader steps forward and grabs your hair.
“Talk now, or it will cost you,” he says.
You glare at him through the blood that’s dripping into your eyes from the cut above your eyebrow. You spit on his boots in an act of defiance. You don’t speak, just turn your gaze away and look at Wufei again.
The man swears and makes another grab for your hair. “Fine then.”
He pulls you to your feet and drags you with him to the desk that he had been sitting on. He makes you face Wufei, and stands behind you. You shiver in disgust when he leans in and buries his nose in your hair.
“Last chance,” he warns you. “I’ll make him watch. Bet he’d enjoy it too.”
Your eyes widen in horror at the implication. Wufei starts struggling again and it is clear he has heard every word the man has spoken to you. You swallow thickly, but keep your mouth shut. You had sworn to silence, and so you will keep it. You will not give in.
You feel the tip of a knife prodding at your lower back. The blade slides down, breaking the skin and you bite down on your bottom lip to keep yourself from making any sounds. The knife cuts through your belt and the waistband of your pants. You struggle, your wide eyes filled with horror.
Wufei’s voice… He sounds like he is calling you from a distance. You struggle with reality; not knowing what is real any more.
“-Y/N-, wake up.” Hands grab your arms and give you a gentle shake.
You surface abruptly, your eyes wide, your body drenched in sweat. “Oh God.”
Wufei is sitting on the edge of your bed, lines of concern marring his face. He pulls you into his arms and you gratefully rest your head against his shoulder. Your breathing is labored, your lungs burning. Your fingers twist in the fabric of his shirt and you hold on tightly.
“I’ve got you,” he murmurs into your hair.
You squeeze your eyes shut, a sob escaping you. “I… I can’t…”
“Shh…” His hold on you tightens, his lips press against your temple. “It’s okay.”
You struggle to calm down, but it’s hard. It’s so hard to relive that horror every time you close your eyes. The burden of it is terrible. Shame churns in your belly like a heavy stone.
“I’m so sorry I couldn’t protect you,” he whispers.
The words are heartfelt and you can easily hear the shame in his tone. It settles you a little. He carries part of your burden and shame. You manage to get your breathing under control and sigh. His scent fills your nostrils. He no longer smells like blood, sweat, and gunpowder. Now, its shower gel and shampoo, combined with his own unique scent. Something you could breathe in for hours.
He lowers you down on the mattress, and pulls back the sheets. “Move over a bit.”
“What?!?” You blink, wondering what he is planning.
“I’ll sleep here,” he says.
“No, you can’t!” you protest.
“Why not?” he questions.
You’re back at the base. Sally is here. People will talk. The arguments circle around wildly in your head. You bite your lip and shake your head.
“-Y/N-,” Wufei says quietly. “You need to rest.”
“I sleep,” you tell him.
He shakes his head at your stubbornness and sighs. “You’ll suffer from nightmares again.”
“Yes, and I don’t see how you sleeping here is going to change that.” But the moment the words are out, you regret them because you see how deep they cut. You reach out and rest a hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s just… Sally is here…” You fidget with the blanket as you speak, not knowing where to look. “So much has changed and it makes me feel awkward when I rely on you with her around.”
He cups your cheek and makes you look at him. “We’ve been through hell. It’s okay to rely on me.”
“I know…” You sigh. “I’m such a mess.”
He makes you scoot back and maneuvers himself onto the bed. You notice how he grimaces as his movements jar his ribs. When he is finally comfortable, you snuggle closer. It does feel good to have him hold you. You feel completely safe with him.
“Go to sleep,” he murmurs into your hair.
“Hmm?” He pulls back so he can look at you.
You bite your lip and reach up to touch his cheek. “Thank you.”
He gives you a small smile and takes your hand in his, clutching it against his chest. “You’re welcome.”
You sleep undisturbed for the rest of the night.
“… sleeping in her bed?”
“She had a nightmare.”
“I see. Did she sleep for the rest of the night?” There is a moment of silence and then Sally speaks again. “Good. They’ll bring you breakfast soon. I’ll be back for some tests later and then I can determine whether or not we can fly back to Brussels.”
You hear her footsteps leave the room. You curl in to yourself, your face hidden against Wufei’s chest. You don’t want to open your eyes. You don’t want to face the world. You just want to stay in the safe cocoon Wufei created for you.
“I know you’re awake,” he tells you.
He tugs you closer and nuzzles your hair. “How are you feeling?”
You swallow thickly and squeeze your eyes shut. How are you to answer this? Numb? Dirty? Disgusting? Those words would only make him feel more guilty. “I don’t know.”
You trail your hand up along his side until you can feel the outline of the tape beneath the fabric of his shirt. “Do they still hurt as badly?”
He grunts. “They will for some time.”
“Hmm… And when they start to heal it gets worse.”
You finally dare to open your eyes and look at him. But when you do, your eyes are drenched. “Wufei? How can I go back to normal?”
“You’ll have to deal,” he says simply. “You’ll have to work through it or you won’t be able to function.”
“Was that how it was for you after the war?”
“And how it will be again.” He cups your cheeks and gives you an encouraging look. “And it will be like that for you too. It will be hard, but you’re strong. You’ll get through it.”
You take a shuddering breath and exhale, shifting your gaze towards his chest. “I don’t feel strong right now.”
“Look at me,” he urges.
You swallow thickly and hesitate.
“-Y/N-,” he tries again, his voice patient but strong, compelling you to meet his gaze again. “Look at me. Are you a victim or a survivor?”
You stare at him with wide eyes, as his words spark something inside of you. You take a gulp of air before speaking. “I’m a survivor.”
“There.” He gives you a small smile. “That’s your first step.”
You give him a nod and curl into him, burying your face into his chest. You have no idea how long that road ahead of you is. You’re just glad he is there for you to guide you along.
After three days of hiding away in the sick bay, Sally gives you clearance for travel. You’re glad to leave the base and head back to Brussels. You can’t wait get away from all the pitying stares. The Commander had already left for Brussels a few days prior and during the shuttle flight back, you get an email from her on your tablet.
You sigh as you read its contents.
“What is it?” Heero asks from his seat across from you.
Both of you are trying to ignore Wufei’s and Sally’s bickering in the back of the cabin. Sally is obviously not agreeing with Wufei’s plans to stay with you.
You raise your gaze from the tablet and meet Heero’s eyes. “Commander Une has emailed me a proposal for my rehabilitation program. I’m not sure if I’m liking it.”
Heero frowns. “May I?”
You nod and hand him the tablet. You watch as he scans the email’s content in silence. When he has finished he looks up again.
“What do you think?” you ask him.
“Three months of paid leave in which you will follow an intensive counseling program with a psychiatrist is more than she offers us,” he says quietly. “Do it and see where it leads you.”
You bite your lip and nod. Heero reaches out and places his hand on top of your knee. You try not to shy away. You’d never have done it in the past, and you are determined not to do it now.
“I wanted to try and get you out sooner,” Heero said quietly. “But Une insisted on waiting, because she was negotiating with these rebels. Getting Wufei out was her top priority.”
You gaze at him in astonishment. “And what about me?”
Heero gives you a knowing look. Anger flares instantly. All of a sudden, you realize that Une had only comforted you at the base because she felt guilty. She knew that if she had let Heero get in sooner, your imprisonment would have ended earlier. But she had been determined to get out Wufei. Wufei, because he was her most prized agent. In her eyes you were not as important, disposable and insignificant.
“She doesn’t give a shit about what would have happened to me.”
“We did,” Heero says and he gives your knee a gentle squeeze.
You give him a grateful look. “Thank you, Heero.”
“I still was too late, wasn’t I?”
You shake your head. “It doesn’t matter. You stopped it from happening a second time.”
That seems to ease his mind a bit. He leans back in his chair. “We’re almost there.”
You take a deep breath to calm the rage in your belly. Heero’s words have left you reeling. You know you will have to tell Wufei about this. He has a right to know. And he would want to know. If you keep this from him, he would get angry.
The shuttle touches the ground and you are up as soon as it draws to a halt next to the hangar. It’s already late and darkness has fallen. Wufei emerges from the back cabin, a grim look on his face.
“Heero, can you drop me and -Y/N- off at her place?” he asks.
You are ready to protest, but swallow your words when he looks at you. You realize that he needs to be close to you. Sally, as much as she tries and wants to, could never understand the helplessness.
Heero nods. “Sure thing.”
You grab your bag and follow Heero out of the shuttle. There are agents milling about in the hangar, some giving you questioning looks. You duck your head and avoid their stares. Wufei rests a hand on your shoulder and propels you forward, through the long and narrow corridors of the base.
Heero leads the way to his car and you heave a relieved sigh when you sink into the back seat. “I might as well write it on my forehead.”
Heero gives you a concerned look over his shoulder. “You okay?”
You shrug. “Just get me home.”
The drive is spend in silence, all three of you lost in your own thoughts. You are glad when Heero pulls to a stop in front of your condo.
You reach out and rest a hand on his shoulder. “Thank you, Heero. For everything.”
He gives you a small smile. “You’re welcome. Call me if you need anything, okay?”
You nod and lean in to kiss his cheek. You grab your bag and get out of the car. Wufei is already waiting on the curb and follows you to the door. You breathe a sigh of relief when you close and lock the door behind you.
“There is something I need to tell you,” you say as you mention him to follow you into the living room.
“What is it?” he questions.
“Heero told me that he wanted to come and get us out sooner, but that Une wouldn’t allow it because she was still negotiating. Her top priority was to get you out,” you tell him. “Apparently I’m not important enough.”
His gaze narrows. “What?”
“She was just acting nice because she felt guilty. Fucking bitch.” You move to open the door to your bedroom and throw your bag inside. Anger is apparent in your every move.
Wufei reaches for you and rests a hand on your shoulder. “I’m sorry. I could look into this and see if you can bring this to court.”
You frown and shake your head. “I’m not sure if I want to.”
“Think about it,” he tells you. “If what Heero told you is true, you have a solid case.”
“Everybody will know…” The shame comes back full force and you swallow thickly. You reach for him, huddling against his chest. “I don’t think I could bear it.”
He wraps his arms around you. “Just give it some time. We should go to sleep.”
You nod and hold open the door to your bedroom. “Would you…?”
He gives you a small smile and nods. “Of course.”
You change in the bathroom and venture out again. Wufei is standing next to your bed, examining the tape on his ribs and the bandage across his stomach. You bite your lip as you take in the bruises on his skin. You know your body is in a similar state, but to see it on him is confronting. Your proud, strong partner had been reduced to a mere human, incapable of protecting. Knowledge that doesn’t sit easy with him, you know.
You crawl under the comforter and huddle in the warmth it provides. Wufei joins you and turns over on his side so he can look at you. You reach for his hand and entwine your fingers with his.
“Thank you,” you murmur.
He gives you a small smile. “I’ll stay here as long as you need me.”
The words make you feel at ease and guilty at the same time. “What about Sally?”
He frowns. “What about her?”
“She doesn’t like it that you’re staying here,” you said softly.
“She’ll have to deal,” he says stubbornly.
You swallow thickly. “It makes me feel a little guilty. She’s been so nice and caring. I can understand that she wants some time alone with you.”
He looks hesitant to speak. His eyes are trained on your face, an intent look in them. “How am I supposed to be with her now? After what happened, after what I’ve seen?”
You reach out and touch his cheek. “I don’t know. But you can’t keep her at a distance. You need her.”
“And what about you?” he asks. “You think I should just leave you by yourself?”
That idea scares you. And you realize that he knows it as well.
“I’m sorry…” you whisper.
He tucks your head under his chin and holds you. “It’s okay. Go to sleep.”
You nod meekly and curl into him. It takes some time for you to drift off, the restlessness hard to let go. But when you finally fall asleep, it’s deep and dreamless.
Days pass and your body starts to heal. You rest and sleep, thanks to Wufei’s presence. Being around him calms you and makes you feel more secure about yourself. Sally comes by every day to check on you. After a week of rest, she encourages you to go and take a walk outside.
“Fresh air will do you good,” she tells you with an encouraging smile.
You bite your lip and look at Wufei. “What about you?”
He shrugs. “We could walk around the block. I’ll be okay.”
“Okay,” Sally says. “Let’s go.”
You get up to pull on your jacket and shoes. You can tell that Sally keeps a close eye on you as you walk outside. You stay a bit ahead of them, giving them some time together. Close to the corner of the street you glance back at them. Sally has her hand entwined with Wufei’s but he seems a little distant from her. His gaze is trained on you. You gulp and tear your eyes away from them, while rounding the corner.
There is a group of young men hanging along the curb. Your heart starts beating faster when they notice you. You wonder if they see the fading bruises, your stiff way of walking, and the sudden flash of fear that sparks in your stomach. It’s confronting to discover that all your training, all your hard work, has never prepared you for this. You try to keep your breathing under control as you pass the men. One of them gives you a wink, which causes your heart to leap into your throat. You duck your head and hurry on.
“-Y/N-! Wait up!”
It’s Wufei, but you ignore him and round the next corner. You stop walking and press your hand over your mouth, squeezing your eyes shut. You take deep breaths, desperate to calm down.
“Hey.” Wufei catches up with you and gently grabs your arm. “Are you okay?”
You nod. “Sorry… I just freaked out.”
“Breathe,” he instructs you. “It’ll pass.”
Sally takes your other side and wraps a comforting arm around your waist. “You’re doing great, -Y/N-.”
“I’ll have to practice,” you say, once you get your breathing under control. “It’s ridiculous. Why am I afraid?”
Wufei slips his arm around your shoulders and leads you along. You huddle in between him and Sally, glad for their support. There is something oddly comforting about them working together to encourage you. Their belief in you makes you feel a little stronger.
A weird determination takes hold of you, and once you reach your house again, you speak up. “I want to try this again tomorrow.”
Sally gives you a grin. “Good. See? There is a little more color to your cheeks already.”
You give her a small smile. “Thank you, Sally.”
She hugs you. “You’re welcome.”
She then turns her attention to Wufei, and you’re quick to open the door and get inside. You don’t want to get in between them any more than you already have. But the heavy feeling in your stomach tells you otherwise.
You shake off the feeling and make yourself comfortable on the couch. You pull the throw from the back of the couch and huddle in it, glad for the warmth it provides. You hear the front door close and soon Wufei comes walking into the living room.
You frown when you notice the expression on his face. He seems angry, and you quickly sit up.
“What’s the matter?” you ask him.
He shakes his head. “It’s nothing.”
He comes to sit beside you and holds out his hand. You don’t hesitate and reach for it, the contact making you feel a little more secure.
“Are you okay?” he asks.
You nod. “Yeah… Sorry about that little episode. I don’t know what came over me.”
“You managed to get it under control fairly quickly,” he said.
“I did.” You give a small smile. “I really want to try again tomorrow.”
“We could walk a little further, if you want,” he offers.
You nod and shift, so you can rest your head against his shoulder. “Thank you, Wufei.”
“You’re welcome.” He nuzzles your hair.
You sigh. For the first time, you feel a little stronger.
Your sleep is restless, full of dreams. Dreams of Wufei, of his face, of his scent, the safety of his arms. Your body twists and turns in the sheets, and you jerk awake with a start. You lie staring at the ceiling with wide eyes, as realization comes crashing on down on you like a ton of bricks. The reality makes your heart skip a beat and with it comes an incredible anger.
You´re in love with Wufei.
How? And above all, why? Why, after everything that had happened?
You knew before, back in the cell, that your feelings for him had changed, but you had written it off as a result of the situation. You had expected it to go back to normal after getting home. But the feelings only seem deeper. And the situation is, frankly, impossible. Sooner or later he would return home to Sally and pick up his life with her again. There is no way you could get in between that. In between them. The thought alone sickens you. So, how could you be so selfish, so stupid, to let yourself fall in love with him?
You sit up and pull your knees up to your chest, resting your chin on top of them. You’re lost.
Even if Wufei is to return your feelings, being with him is impossible. You no longer are sure if you are capable of trusting a man, even an honest man like Wufei. The therapy sessions have made that very clear to you, even after only two appointments.
You feel utterly devastated with your discovery, but tears won’t come. And to you, that is a relief. You are so done with crying, with the emotional burden. Closing yourself off seems like such a better option.
You turn your head to look at Wufei and sigh. He too, is sleeping restlessly, a light sheen of sweat on his skin. A frown mars his handsome face, locks of hair sticking to his damp forehead. You reach out and gently run your finger along his cheek. He inhales sharply at your touch, as if it hurts him.
“Wufei,” you say softly, while turning your body towards him. “Wufei, wake up.”
He shifts and you’re quick to grab his shoulders, pinning him to the mattress. He jerks awake and gasps, his obsidian eyes wild with horror.
“Hey,” you tell him quietly. “It’s okay.”
He takes a ragged breath and tries to sit up, but you firmly push him back. It would only aggravate his ribs if he moves like that, now that they have started to heal.
“Breathe,” you instruct him. “I’ve got you.”
He closes his eyes and reaches for your hand, bringing it up to his face to press it against his cheek. You ignore the fluttering in your chest and give him a concerned look. The past few weeks, he had had a few nightmares, but not as bad as tonight.
“Are you okay?” you ask.
He nods and sighs. “Yeah. Sorry.”
“Don’t be.” After all the times he has comforted you after a nightmare, it seems only fair that you return the favor.
“Those therapy sessions are not helping me sleep,” he grouses.
“For now, no. But they help you deal.” You reach up with your free hand and gently push his hair back.
In the darkness his eyes meet yours and you feel yourself drowning in their intensity. It’s something you can’t help. You are powerless against it. He moves, carefully pushing himself up into a seated position. He keeps hold of your hand and turns his face to kiss your fingers, his gaze never leaving yours. You swallow thickly at the storm of emotions his actions cause and take a shaky breath. This is wrong. This is so wrong. But yet it feels right.
You are suddenly, very aware of him. And of yourself and your body. Warmth pulses through you, settling in your belly. Your breathing deepens and goosebumps rise on your arms. It only seems to intensify when he pulls you closer towards him. His fingers skim up along your arm and shoulder. Your eyes drift shut as the traces your jawline, and then your cheek. Your lips part of their own volition, a silent invitation. His fingers hook around your chin, tipping your head up. He leans in, and the memory of that kiss in the cell flits through your mind. You remember the press of his lips against yours, the warmth of them.
And you remember the helplessness from a few minutes ago. You lean forward and rest your head against his shoulder. Shame, white hot, spreads through you. How could you?!?
He doesn’t speak, and for that you’re glad. You don’t want to know what had gone on in his mind. Neither did you want to explain what had gone on in yours. He pulls you with him when he carefully lies back down, and you are very careful to keep your face pressed into his neck to avoid eye contact.
You can’t be with him. But for now he holds you and that is enough. It is all you will allow.
As the therapy sessions progress, you feel yourself getting stronger. It doesn’t mean that the trauma is gone, but at least you’re dealing. You send Wufei home. It’s not easy, but you have to. You no longer are able to be around him. It’s too confusing, too confronting. The first three nights you suffer from nightmares, waking up in tears and realizing with a sinking feeling that he is not there to comfort you.
But it’s for the best. You need to learn to depend on yourself again. You need to learn that what happened to you doesn’t define you. You are stronger than this. The determination adds a defiant spark to your eyes that is met with approval from your therapist. She seems happy with your progress.
But it all comes crashing down around you when she starts addressing your feelings for Wufei, making you feel devastated once more.
“Why do you think you love him?” she asks during the third session on the subject.
You sigh with anger. You are exhausted, but she persists. “I don’t know.”
“Of course you do.” She gives you an encouraging look.
You sigh again. Why do you love Wufei? “Because… he makes me feel safe. Because he cares.”
“And do you think he returns your feelings?”
You think back to that near kiss a few weeks ago. “There is something.”
“But it’s holding you back?” She is busy taking notes.
“Of course. He is in a relationship with someone else.” You lean back in your seat and purse your lips in thought.
“But if he weren’t… Would you pursue a relationship with him?”
You shake your head. “I’m not ready for that. And besides that, what man wants damaged goods?”
Your anger turns you cynical. The lack of sleep doesn’t help either. It’s just too much today. You lean forward and press your face into your hands. All your progress is gone.
“-Y/N-,” Megan sounds sympathetic. “You’ll get through this.”
You turn your gaze towards her, your eyes drenched. “I feel so fucking powerless.”
She reaches out and gently pats your knee. “Can you tell me why?”
“Because it just happened. Why did I have to fall in love with Wufei?” the first tear spills down your cheek. “Why couldn’t I just be stronger?”
She offers you a tissue, which you gratefully accept.
“I just want to go back to who I was before, but I can’t anymore.” You sigh. “And it’s not helping that he cares so much about my wellbeing.”
“In what way?”
“He calls me every day. He went back to work and dove into the information that Heero gave me on the mission’s return flight. He insists I bring it to court.”
“It sounds like he wants to fight for you.”
“I don’t want him to!” Frustration makes you raise your voice. “God… it’s just makes it all the harder.”
“Have you thought of taking a vacation?”
You shake your head. “No.”
“I want you to think about it for our next session. Think of where you’d go and what you would do to relax. Maybe a change of scenery would do you good.”
You bite your lip as you contemplate her words. “Maybe.”
“Just think about it and tell me next time.”
You nod and get up from your seat. It’s time to head home and get your feelings under control.
You are glad once the door falls shut behind you. You quickly strip off your coat and head to the guest bedroom. The scent of paint greets you when you open the door. You idly gaze at the canvas that awaits you.
Painting, you discovered, had helped you deal. In the past you had drawn and painted as a hobby, but now it really was an outlet. It was easier to let the emotions flow out through your brush than to talk about them. The first few canvasses you had created had been dark, angry, full of hate. This one was born from sadness. The shape of a lone woman, hunched over as she huddled in herself represented your state of mind. It is confronting to see it, but in a way also oddly comforting. You had created a representation of your feelings.
You go to work, preparing paint and brushes, tying back your hair. You take a deep breath as you take a brush and dip it in a dark, moody blue. As you work, you think about Megan’s proposition. A vacation sounded nice, you muse. It would be good to get away from everything, to relax.
But what would await you on your return? The situation would still be the same. You won’t solve anything by running away. You freeze. Unless you make your run permanent. The thought is frightening, but also utterly liberating. You would get away from everything. You have enough money saved up to last for a while. You’ll go and find a nice place to live. You could always look into work. Wufei will no longer mess with your head. A clean slate, so you could heal and start over.
You mull over the idea as your brush swirls over the canvas. Wouldn’t it be nice, you muse quietly, if you could live somewhere where nobody knew you? Nobody would know of what had happened to you. You could rediscover yourself, let go of the past. The notion seems wonderful.
You are just cleaning the last of your brushes as the doorbell rings. You quickly rinse off your hands and grab a clean towel on your way to the front door.
Wufei is standing on the door step, a dark look on his face.
“Hey,” you say softly as you step back to let him in. “What are you doing here?”
He steps inside and it is then that you notice the duffel bag. You give him a puzzled look.
“Sally and I…” He sighs. “It’s just not working anymore.”
“Oh…” You swallow thickly and quickly look elsewhere. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Could I stay the night?”
“Sure,” you say, albeit a bit reluctantly.
“Heero will return from his mission tomorrow, so I could go to his place then,” he offers, as if he knows you no longer want to be around him.
You nod. “Okay.”
He frowns at your meek answers and reaches out to tip your face up. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah…” You step back and go back into the living room. “Rough session.”
“I see…” He follows you and halts next to you by the window. “There’s paint on your cheek.”
“Oh…” You flush with embarrassment and quickly reach up to wipe away the streak of blue. “I was painting earlier. It helps with the healing, I guess.”
You can tell that his curiosity is piqued, but as you don’t elaborate any further, he lets the subject rest for the moment.
“So, you and Sally…” you say.
He sighs. “Yeah…”
“I’m sorry. I can’t help but feel guilty.” You turn towards him and give him an honest look.
“Don’t be,” he says. “It’s not your fault. I think I changed too much.”
Despite your reluctance to be close to him, you still want to comfort him so you reach for his hand. His fingers curl around yours, his palm rough.
“It wasn’t like you changed out of free will,” you say quietly.
He shrugs. “It still happened.”
You rest your head against his shoulder and sigh when he turns his head to drop a kiss on top of your hair. The affection was apparent in the gesture and you had to admit you had missed being around him.
“Your three months are almost up,” he says. “Are you ready to get back to work?”
You contemplate telling him about your idea to move away, but know that he would only fight to keep you here. So you remain silent as your heart breaks at the thought of leaving him behind.
You wake up in the middle of the night. It’s a gradual shift into awareness, and you grumble to yourself as you sit up. It’s impossible to sleep, knowing Wufei is sleeping on the couch. You hadn’t dared to offer him the guest bedroom, since it was filled with paintings of the black emotions you had worked through the past couple of weeks.
Your awareness of him makes you restless.
You get up and leave your bedroom, heading towards the kitchen for a glass of water. As you step into the living room, you freeze. Wufei is awake, and his gaze shifts towards you as you enter the room.
“Can’t sleep?” he asks.
“No.” You go to the kitchen and retrieve two glasses from the cupboard, filling them before returning to the living room.
He sits up to make room for you and you sink down on the cough next to him, offering him one of the glasses.
“What about you?” you ask him.
He sips his water and shrugs. “I’m overthinking things.”
“Sally?” you question.
“Not really…” His answer is vague and it puzzles you.
His gaze shifts to meet yours and you are acutely reminded of that near kiss. Your heart starts beating faster.
“I’ve been meaning to ask you something,” you say softly.
“Back in the cell…”
His eyes darken with remembrance and you reach out to touch his hand. He turns his palm underneath yours and the warmth of it makes tingles run up your arm.
“Yes?” he prompts you.
“You… you kissed me.” You are uncomfortably aware of the fact that your voice sounds husky. It’s the first time you’re speaking about that particular moment and your heart races in anticipation of his answer.
“I did,” he muses quietly. His lips twitch up in a small smirk.
“Because I felt like it.”
That doesn’t tell you anything at all. Your eyebrows draw together in a frown. When he reaches out to smooth the line between them with his thump, heat rushes to your cheeks. His smirk widens when he notices.
“Why do you want to know?” he asks.
You shrug and shift to put your glass on the coffee table. He puts his glass down as well and leans in closer.
“I…” You can feel the heat of his body and it’s distracting. It’s impossible to concentrate on the conversation any longer.
His fingers caress over your cheek and slide into your hair. He pulls you closer towards him. His eyes, near black, fill your vision as he leans in. His breath caresses over your lips. You sit frozen, staring at him with eyes that are large and afraid.
“No…” you whisper.
He lets go of you immediately. You scramble away from him until the arm of the couch forces you to stop. The fear in nearly paralyzing. He holds out his hand to you as if to soothe a frightened animal.
“It’s okay,” he says softly, his expression devastated when he realizes you are afraid. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.”
You shake your head and quickly get up. “I’m sorry.”
“-Y/N-.” He grabs your arm before you can flee the room.
You swallow thickly before meeting his gaze. “I’m not afraid of you. I know you’d never…”
But before he had been in a relationship. Now there was nothing to hold him back, and he had been intend on kissing you. You had seen it in his eyes and are glad you had put a stop to it before it could happen. You are not capable of intimacy. Even a kiss seems too much.
“I’m sorry,” you say, while directing your gaze at the ground. “I just can’t…”
His fingers hook under your chin and he forces you to meet his gaze. “I understand.”
“Do you?” Your eyes narrow. “Do you truly?”
Does he really understand how you feel? How much the idea of sex frightens you? How dirty it makes you feel that you long to be close to him even after what happened? How it feels like your body betrays you?
His eyes narrow too. “Don’t get angry with me.”
You feel the familiar burn of tears and blink rapidly. “You claim to understand, but you don’t know shit.”
“I do understand!” he snaps. “I was there, remember? How do you think it makes me feel, every time I touch you, knowing that he…”
He abruptly turns away from you. You stand behind him in shocked silence and the tears spill down your cheeks.
He takes a shaky breath and his voice sounds strangled with emotions as he speaks again. “I don’t want to remind you constantly.”
“You don’t…” you manage to choke out. “Back there you were the only one who didn’t hurt me. I know I can trust you. It’s me I don’t trust.”
He turns back towards you. There is a slightly wild look to his eyes, but the sudden anger from before is gone.
“I…” you pause and take a deep breath. “Your touch doesn’t remind me of the rape. Not really. It makes me feel… a whole lot of other things and… I shouldn’t, right? I’ve been reading more into things than I should have and now I’m lost… I…”
You know you’re not making sense and shake your head. But he remains silent, patiently waiting for you to gather your thoughts. “I am not ready to be with anyone. I should focus on me first.”
He pulls you into his arms and buries his face into your hair. “You haven’t been reading more into things.”
Your fingers curl into the fabric of his shirt. “Haven’t I?”
“No.” He sighs.
The heat of his body is beckoning and you snuggle into him. But a small voice in the back of your head is reminding you of the plans you made earlier today. You can’t give him hope. It would be cruel. Especially now that you know he has feelings for you too.
“I’m sorry for getting angry,” you whisper. “I didn’t realize how much the whole ordeal made you second guess yourself.”
“You couldn’t know.” His lips press against your temple in a tender kiss. “Go back to bed. You need your rest.”
You nod and slowly disentangle yourself from him. You are tempted to ask him to sleep next to you, but you firmly remind yourself that you need to keep your distance. You are not that selfish.
Wufei leaves for Heero’s place the next day. As soon as he is gone, you grab your phone and dial Megan’s number. You are glad when she picks up and explain your plan to her. She seems skeptical at first, but as you assure her you’re not running away from your emotions, she becomes more supportive. She even offers to help you find a local psychologist when you have moved.
After the phone call, you start forming your plan. The condo has to be sold, your belongings packed and moved. You need to resign from Preventer. And most importantly, you need to figure out where you want to go.
You feel like you are making the right decision for yourself. You need to get away, figure out what you want from now on. But the thought of not seeing Wufei again is heavy on your heart.
“Agent -L/N-!” Commander Une looks up in surprise when you enter her office. “I was not expecting you here so soon.”
You still have a full week before you are supposed to start working again. Little does Une know that you have entirely different plans. You have come here with a purpose.
You come to a halt in front of her desk and place the envelope on top of it. “I came to bring you this.”
A frown forms on her face as she gazes at the envelope. “What is it?”
“My letter of resignation.” You deliver the new with a coolness that even impresses you.
Her mouth falls open in shock and she gapes at you. “Excuse me?”
“I’m quitting,” you announce.
She stands up and gazes at you in astonishment. “Why?”
Anger starts to boil in your stomach. You can’t believe she is playing like she doesn’t know what you’re talking about. “I will no longer risk my life for an organization that is not willing to get me out of precarious situations.”
Une sputters. “That’s nonsense!”
“Heero told me,” you snap coolly. “You’re lucky I’m not bringing this to court.”
Color drains from her face. “I see.”
“I’ll settle everything with HRM.”
She quietly reaches for the letter. “I’ll see to it that they receive a copy of your letter.”
“Good.” You swiftly turn around and storm out of her office, before she can say anything else.
You take the elevator down and head into the HRM department. You announce your retirement and turn in your uniform, badge, and weapon. Just as you push the items across the desk of the HRM manager, the door flies open and Wufei comes barging into the office.
“July, I need… -Y/N-?” He stares at you in surprise.
You had successfully avoided him the past two weeks as you had set your plans into motion. He had not been happy with you, and he had expressed the sentiment over the phone a lot. You had wanted to see him too, but phone calls were safer. You had feared that seeing him would make your determination to leave waver.
“Hey,” you say quietly.
His gaze zeroes in on the items on July’s desk and his eyes widen as he realizes the implication. You quickly get up and brush past him. You’re halfway down the hallway when you hear him call after you.
You break out into a run and take the staircase down. He catches up with you on the steps outside. You halt when he grabs your arm.
“You’re quitting.” His tone is accusing and you know why. Partners are supposed to tell each other when they make such decisions. In a way, this is betrayal at its worst.
You know your guilt is reflected in your gaze as you turn around to look at him. “I’m leaving.”
His mouth falls open in shock. “What?”
You swallow thickly. “I can’t stay here anymore.”
He reaches for your hand and pulls you towards him. “Why didn’t you tell me?” he murmurs into your hair. “I would have…”
“Because I knew you would try to stop me.”
“Don’t go.” He is nearly pleading and that breaks your heart.
Tears gather in your eyes and you cup his cheeks as you gaze up at him. “I’m sorry. I have to do this.”
He takes a shaky breath and rests his forehead against yours. You close your eyes and allow yourself to bask in the safety of his arms one final time.
“Stay…” he whispers. “I need you.”
You open your eyes and gaze into his. There are so many emotions swirling in the dark depts. In the past he wouldn’t have allowed you to see, but now… Everything has changed. For him too.
You give him a sad smile. “I shouldn’t want to be with you because of what happened. That’s not fair to either of us.”
Your voice is choked with emotion. You had made the decision and it’s tearing you up inside. But you need to do this. You can’t stay here and be with Wufei in this manner. You couldn’t do it and watch it fall to pieces around you.
His fingers caress over your cheek. “Will you come back?”
“I don’t know,” you say honestly. “I need to find me first.”
The first tear escapes your control and runs down your cheek. There is tenderness in his touch as he wipes it away.
“I can wait…” he says.
You shake your head. “No. Don’t make me any promises. I won’t be making them either.”
He sighs and kisses your forehead. “Alright. But keep in touch, okay? Otherwise I’ll worry.”
You reach for him and lean in to press your lips against his. This time there is no fear, just longing and a need to give him at least this. He pulls you closer and kisses you back and you sigh as the warmth of his body seeps into yours. It closure, a healing of sorts.
You give him a small smile when you pull back. “I’ll miss you.”
He caresses your cheek and tucks a lock of hair behind your ear. “I’ll miss you too.”
You steel yourself and pull away from him. “Bye.”
You turn around and continue down the stairs. As you reach the final step, you look up and come face to face with Sally. You swallow thickly as you see the expression on her face. Torn, sad, pained. It’s clear she has seen you and Wufei. But it’s no longer your concern, so you hurry past her. You have a plane to catch.
The pain around your heart seems to ease with every step. The decision to leave has proved to be the right one. A heavy weight has been lifted off your shoulders. You know for sure, you’ll still struggle with the trauma, with your feelings for Wufei. It won’t be easy. But you’ll find yourself again.
You’ll make Wufei proud.
And maybe… maybe in another time and place, you’ll be right for him after all…
- End part 1 -