Now there's no point in placing the blame
And you should know I suffer the same
If I lose you
My heart will be broken
Love is a bird, she needs to fly
Let all the hurt inside of you die
When your heart's not open
AN: Sorry for the delay! Blame it on vacation, writer’s block and a strange phobia for ending this fic -_-; This isn’t exactly the end but we’re getting there! Thanks for sticking with me ^_^ Chapter 21 is imminent! If you haven’t done so yet don’t forget to stop by The Spy and The Silencer to read Trowa’s translated Episode Zero.
The Price of Redemption
By Midii Une
It was so cold but snowflakes seemed to melt on her face, the wetness running down her cheeks like tears.
“Nanashi! Wait,” she screamed. She watched him walk away and her heart broke in two. The little girl stood alone in the silent woods with death all around her and she knew she had lost the most precious thing in her life. She had made the wrong choice and he would never forgive her. He would never, never love her as she loved him. She had had his trust and thrown it away like so much garbage.
The snow swirled around her as she stood looking after the boy, the delicate flakes changing to heavy wet clumps that slapped against her face. The snow accumulated in deep drifts that wouldn’t let her run. But she heard someone behind her, calling her name, getting closer and closer. A bullet rushed past her cheek, so close she could feel the heat and then she was falling, falling endlessly into a cold dark place. It was so cold that her silent tears froze on her cheeks as she huddled breathlessly in the dark. Someone was calling her name. Was it Trowa? Had Nanashi come back to find her and forgive her at last?
Strong arms surrounded her and she clung to him, pressing her face against the cold leather of his jacket. He smelled faintly of citrus and pine from the woods. The sullen gray clouds parted and moonlight flooded the woods, she looked up into his face.
“Ma toute douce,” he whispered, dropping a kiss on her forehead. “How I loved you. Why did you betray me?”
The moonlight made the woods as bright as day and his golden eyes glittered at her angrily. He pushed her back down into the snow and towered over her, the moon fading behind a cloud again leaving only his eyes visible.
“Midii, you always betray everyone. Especially the ones you love.”
He pointed a gun at her heart, she felt the barrel pressed hard against her chest and she closed her eyes. “Richard, no . . .
Trowa had started to doze himself when Midii flung out an arm and smacked him across the face.
“Midii,” he whispered, reaching to turn on the dim bedside light so he could check on her. He put his hand on her head, it was perfectly cool, but when he touched her she arched her back and tossed her head to knock off his hand. Her lips moved but nothing came out.
A nightmare. Pagan’s traditional hot milk was better than any sleeping pill it seemed, minutes after she drank it she was sound asleep, no surprise after the day they’d had. In a way Trowa had been relieved. They’d be much better able to face her past tomorrow.
Outside one of the trees that surrounded the vice foreign minister’s estate stood shimmering with coated ice under the sliver of moon in the starry sky. The snow had stopped but the tree strained under the heavy unaccustomed weight of its white splendor. A branch broke with a sharp resounding crack that echoed through the clear night.
“Richard! No . . .” Midii screamed, her eyes flying open as she placed her hands over her heart, expecting to feel her own blood wet and warm beneath her fingertips. Trowa pulled her close whispering soothing sounds against her hair as her breathing returned to normal. She looked over his shoulder re-orienting herself to the room, it was warm and safe with dark wood paneling and a small fire crackling in the fireplace. She was far far away from the woods in her dream. But a question nagged at her. Where exactly was Richard?
“Trowa,” she croaked and he handed her a glass of ice water. It tasted so good, she drank it quickly as if she’d just finished running a marathon. He took the glass and started asking her the familiar questions to monitor her concussion but she shook her head.
“I need to know,” she said, staring at the window as if she expected someone to leap through it at any moment. “What happened to Richard. Where is he?”
“He can’t hurt you anymore Midii. It’s all over. I shot him. He died in the woods,” Trowa said comfortingly, surprised when she turned pale and clenched her eyes shut, sudden tears springing from beneath her long black lashes. His long fingers stroked her cheek softly but she turned away and began crying, her shoulders shaking with her sobs. He reached to grab her shoulder and turn her back but a memory stopped him.
They had been lovers a long time ago, she had said . . . it must have hurt her to betray someone she once cared for . . . he remembered how it hurt when he thought she was betraying them in Brussels . . . he hadn’t known what to do . . .
“I need to ask you something,” he said, his voice hesitant. “It’s been tearing me up inside. Why did Eva Ketto tell me you were sleeping with him? Is that why you’re upset? Did you do it because of the mission?”
Midii turned to look at him sadly. “You think I slept with Richard and still you’re here,” she said. “I wouldn’t do that Trowa. She wanted you to hate me because she though it was my fault Stefan died. I have other methods to get information from a man as you know. I’m a spy not a whore. Yes I slept with him when I was 15. I was scared and alone and he cared for me. He told me what I wanted to hear, that I wasn’t unworthy of love and I so desperately wanted to be loved. I changed and he didn’t but that girl will always be part of me too and she’s wondering why I deserve this chance while Richard and Stefan had to die.”
“He was trying to kill you Midii,” Trowa said, touching the blonde hair that spread across the pillow. “You don’t have to feel this way. It was him or you. He was beyond redemption.”
“But he said I betrayed him. He said I betray everyone,” she cried.
“I told you I understood. You did it for your family, you didn’t have a choice,” Trowa patiently reminded her, sliding beneath the covers and curving his body around hers, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close.
The room was silent except for the crackle of the fire and the sound of Midii’s tears subsiding. “Go back to sleep,” Trowa said, reaching for the light. “We’ll talk in the morning.”
“It isn’t true,” Midii blurted suddenly, curling up tighter and pulling her knees to her chest. “My father was never sick and he didn’t use the money to take care of my brothers. I did it for nothing! Betrayed you for nothing, betrayed Richard and Stefan for nothing. I tricked so many people into believing me and taking me in and they died for NOTHING!”
“What do you mean,” he asked, and she could feel the fingers that stroked her arm softly go still and his voice was hard.
I knew this would happen, I knew it that night in Brussels, Midii thought sadly. He can never forgive me.
“I think I felt it, looking back,” she said. “It felt so wrong what I had to do. I didn’t want to do it but I went and I hoped something would happen so that I wouldn’t have to use the device and then I met you. But I couldn’t stop, I was too afraid. I was worried about Papa and my brothers. Sometimes I felt like I hated you, you made it so hard for me to do what I had come to do. But I loved you, so I gave you the cross. When you turned from me and walked away I knew I had made the wrong choice but it was too late. We were supposed to be together but I ruined it. I hurt you so much you can never trust me.”
“Why,” Trowa asked, firmly turning her until she lay on her back. She wouldn’t look at him, she stared at the ceiling but at least he could see her face.
“That night in Brussels I found out. I wanted to die! I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me forever. My father never loved me. He betrayed me, he tricked me into working for the Alliance because of gambling debts. He didn’t care what horrible things I did or what happened to me. He never loved me and he made me betray you, and you were the one I really loved.”
She felt fresh hot tears roll down her cheeks as the bed dipped and creaked and he got out. She slid her eyes toward him and saw him pick up his shirt from the floor and pull it over his head. Midii flung her arm up over her eyes, she didn’t want to see him walk away from her again.
Trowa looked out the window and pressed his forehead against the glass. It was so cool and his skin felt like it was burning.
Was this it? Midii’s confession. Her whole life was based on a horrible lie and she was apologizing to him. He could see everything so clearly now, everything she’d done in the past few months was because of him. Because when it came right down to it she hadn’t trusted him to love her. It had never really been about him trusting her at all. She didn’t trust him and that was the root of their problems. He thought of his own arrogance in accepting her love that day without giving her in return what she needed the most.
Midii loved him. She had always loved him and he had taken advantage of that. She had protested that they couldn’t love without trust but he had insisted and she had given in. She had been uneasy then because she didn’t trust him to love her in spite of everything. She thought she’d betrayed them but it was they who had betrayed her. Her father, Ichiban and especially himself.
The room was so quiet Midii thought she was alone. The worst had happened. She had told the truth and he didn’t love her anymore. He had never really loved her of course because she had never had the courage to tell the truth. Maybe there was no real Midii after all, her whole life merely an act as she tried to be what everyone wanted her to be. The only real thing had been her love for Nanashi. He couldn’t go this time, he just couldn’t.
“I don’t care if you trust me or even love me anymore. I just want to be near you,” she thought desperately. He was goodness and strength and her only reason to live. She tossed back the heavy comforter and blanket and jumped out of the bed.
Trowa turned from the window when he heard a loud thud shake the floor. Midii was sprawled on the floor, the nightgown strap falling over her shoulder and the skirt up around her thighs. She was trying to push herself up when she looked up and found him looking at her.
“You’re still here,” she said wonderingly, looking up at him through the long strands of hair that had fallen over her face as her ankle had given way beneath her. Trowa got down on the floor next to her and tilted her face to his. His fingers slid easily over her warm wet skin and he thought he’d do anything if only she’d believe in him. Was this how she had felt when she’d taken Sally’s mission? But her mistrust was so subtle, the result of a lifetime of discovering that there was no one she could count on, it might take a lifetime just to prove his love.
A lifetime with her.
They sat there on the floor in breathless silence, neither one knowing what to say. His hand was in her hair, she could feel his fingers moving against her skin, his thumb was smearing the tears on her cheek.
There were no words. Her teary eyes sparkled in the firelight, deep pools of sorrow and pain in her small, pale face. Trowa’s thumb moved lower to brush her trembling lips and Midii closed her eyes, leaning her cheek against the hand that was making love to her face with light feathery touches. She felt his breath on her lips and his other hand circling her waist, pulling her closer. He was kissing her, soft comforting kisses. Her lips were salty and sweet beneath his.
She had finally made it out of the woods, a refugee of a war that had attacked her from the inside.
“Let’s not waste this chance. We can make the right choice now, Midii. I made you think you couldn’t tell me this and maybe you were right. Ever since we met again I’ve handled this all wrong. The feelings came too fast and we never formed a base of trust for our relationship. I should have listened to you in Provence but you swept me away.”
“Trowa, no! Don’t blame yourself. How could I expect anyone to trust me after what I did? It was enough that you loved me and wanted to be with me. It was more than I deserved. I’ve hurt so many people,” she protested.
He swept her in his arms, enjoying the look of startled surprise and the lopsided smile his gesture caused.
“I want to know everything about you. We’ll start again from the very beginning,” he said, an idea forming in his mind.
“Fall in love all over again,” Midii whispered, a real smile appearing on her face.
He picked her up and put her back in bed, drawing the covers up, careful not to touch her too intimately. Like strangers, she thought.
“I noticed you at work today,” Trowa said, his face completely serious. “I was wondering, hoping you would have coffee with me?”
Midii looked a bit skeptical of his game, their day at ‘work’ had involved a deadly game of chase with her former lover through the frozen woods, but she held out her hand to him. A warm glow spread from their touching hands and she shivered when he drew his hand away lightly trailing his fingers against her palm.
“Can we make it breakfast,” she said. “I can’t remember when I last ate.”
“Breakfast in bed isn’t a proper first date,” Trowa agreed. “But I suppose we can break a few rules.”
Midii nodded, she was suddenly starving and she noticed that the sky was already fading from black to a grayish-pink at the horizon.
“Tell me about your family,” he asked, studying her intently with his emerald eyes as they waited for breakfast to come.
She leaned back against the pillows and looked at the ceiling. “You don’t have to now,” he said, afraid to push too far.
“I want to,” she answered softly. “It’s just so hard.”
“I overheard that after my mother died my father became more and more addicted to gambling. You know that where I grew up wasn’t far from Monte Carlo and it must have lured him like a magnet. I remember he was often away, I always believed he was visiting the doctor. I stayed with my brothers. Thierry was the youngest and my favorite. He was only a little older than two when I went away. Anyway, I did some research and it seems my father died in Monte Carlo in a fight. I-I guess I didn’t earn enough money to pay his debts.”
“Before I moved to L3 I looked for my brothers but I couldn’t find any trace. The people that knew our family said they had been gone long before my father died. Finally I was able to track down Thierry, he had been adopted. I went to see him but I couldn’t knock on their door. They were good people, a regular happy family. I saw him walking home from school, he looked happy, he had friends. And I, well, I was me. I couldn’t ruin everything for him so I just left without saying anything. I knew he was better off without me in his life, trouble seemed to follow me. I hadn’t gone to school, I couldn’t get a job without lying so I just kept on living like I had. Cathy was the first real friend I ever had, I could almost tell her the truth. I did tell her the truth, as best I could.”
“She’s that way. It’s like she wants to be everyone’s big sister,” Trowa agreed. “She was my first real friend too. I went to the circus to hide my identity, I wanted to fade into the woodwork but Cathrine wouldn’t have it. She adopted me and her goal in life seemed to be to make me smile. She even saved my life once.”
Midii wondered vaguely why no romantic feelings had ever sprung up between the two of them. They complemented each other so well while at times she and Trowa seemed to do nothing but aggravate each other’s weaknesses. Will he love the real me, she wondered.
“I’ve never seen you eat like that,” Trowa said, semi-shocked by the way Midii was devouring everything in sight. She threw him a mock scowl and added an extra dab of butter to her croissant.
“Just pass the strawberry jam and don’t criticize,” she said sweetly. “I can’t help it if being happy makes me hungry!”
Their fingers touched as he passed the dainty china jam pot and were surprised when both of them blushed. It really was like starting over, Midii thought. I’m so nervous. She quivered with excitement that made a shiver go down her spine. How strange to have nothing to hide and be free just to love him. So strange to have no guilt to hide behind that she felt almost shy.
“You’ve got butter on your cheek,” she said, breaking the awkward moment. Trowa’s heart pounded as she leaned forward and carefully dabbed his cheek with the pale pink linen napkin embroidered with an elaborate Y and the initials H and R surrounding it.
He took the napkin from Midii and waved it at her. “Do you think something like this would be a good gift for Quatre’s wedding,” he asked.
The look on his face was so serious that Midii couldn’t help but laugh. She fell back on the pillows and laughed until tears came to her eyes.
“Hey! Watch out, you’ll spill everything. I think you hit your head harder than we originally thought,” he scolded as he removed the tray.
“S-sorry,” she gasped. “It’s just such a normal, wonderful discussion to be having. What present to get our friends for their wedding. And you! You of all people considering pale pink monogrammed napkins!”
“Well I thought it was a good idea,” Trowa insisted. “I have to get something special. I’m the best man, if Quatre still wants me. I have to ask his forgiveness too. I almost lost you both. I thought I was doing the right thing for both of you by leaving.”
“I missed you and I know Quatre did. I’ll be honest Trowa, it broke my heart when I woke up and you weren’t there. I thought it meant you didn’t care for me anymore,” Midii said, the laughter fading from her face as their emotions swung from giddy joy to serious thought from moment to moment. “But I understand, I hurt you first and I don’t blame you for leaving. And of course Quatre will forgive you, he already has.”
“I didn’t leave because you hurt me,” Trowa confessed. “I left because I had hurt you, put you in danger by not trusting you. I thought you’d be better off.”
She stared at him as he looked down at the midnight blue blanket, absently brushing the croissant crumbs off and avoiding her eyes.
The mattress dipped and Midii crawled behind him and hugged him close, pressing her cheek against his back. “I’m never better without you. I love you,” she whispered, feeling his hands close over hers.
“I love you too Midii. So much. When I came back here I just hoped we’d be able to fix things, I never hoped it would be like it was before. I never dreamed it could be better.”
She rose on her knees and knelt behind him, he could feel her lips tickling his neck and the soft caress of her breath against his ear.
It felt so right with no secrets between them, only the peaceful silence. Trowa felt Midii yawn and laid her back on the bed.
“We’ve been up all night,” he said, pushing her hair out of her face with both hands as she gazed up at him sleepily. “Sally will kill me. You’re supposed to be resting.”
She patted the rumpled white sheet with her hand. “Stay with me. Just hold me please. I want to be close to you.”
There were things he should be discussing with Heero and reports to write. But he had new priorities. Top priority would be earning her trust. He crawled beneath the blanket and held her in his arms. She sighed and snuggled closer, the movement of her body spurring erotic memories of past encounters as she slipped her knee between his thighs to get closer. They lay in a comfortable tangle and he felt such an urge to kiss her into oblivion and show her with his body just how much she meant but that had never really worked in the past. They had their whole life ahead of them. It was like building a mobile suit, or building anything for that matter. Before their relationship could go further he had to lay the groundwork.
For now it was enough to hold her while she slept and accept the certain measure of trust that meant.
Next time on The Price of Redemption (or the new POR Lite as I like to call it -_-‘). . . Diarmid gets an eyeful . . . Midii has a memorable physical therapy session. . . Trowa has awesome self-control . . . Quatre’s sheltered sister Safira looks forward to the wedding (all those Preventers, so little time ^_~)