Heero Yuy v. 2.0
cannot bear very much reality."
The face in front of me is almost perfect, but the color of the eyes are a little off. I squint, critiquing the marvelous creature in front of me; I can find little fault-- maybe just the eyes, though. I shrug. Heero's eyes shift from black to a grey-blue and the current data has to suffice, until I get another picture.
I type in my command. E_COLOR: #336699
I click: ZOOM OUT.
He stands, the result of countless hours of rendering. The dimensions and measurements are perfect. One hand rests on his hip; the other one rests by his side. The expression is typically deadpan. I grimace: that was the hardest part of this program-- the photos I collected weren't sufficient to provide a wide range of facial expression. Heero smiling is rare, but Heero smiling on film occurs as often as the aurora borealis is seen in the night skies of Tijuana.
I tap the control panel. The menu comes up. I choose: VIEW > CHANGE. The gridwork for five other Heeros appear, projected in front my eyes. I frown, and tap again. Colors fill the grids. The eyes are last, and I grin, faintly. #336699 suits him better than my last selection. I type something into the program, and the third image overlays itself on the original model. The face is the same, but his mouth looks less severe and his eyes are a little kinder. I click on something and the control panel disappears, leaving only Heero and me, standing in grey space. He looks at me expectantly.
I say, crisply, "Play."
The program begins to run.
"Hello, Duo." The voice is tinny-- a little hollow-- I sigh, wistful; the sound was the single most difficult task to manage.
"Pause," I say, simply. Heero freezes, his mouth half-open. I find myself vaguely anticipating the next digital syllables to roll off of his plush tongue. Then I grin maniacally and curse my own stupidity. A small voice inside me says, You know what he's going to say next. After you, you programmed him.
My bedroom appears, as messy and scattered as it really is. There's a crumpled candy bar wrapper on the carpet. One of the lights is on. I climb onto my bed, relishing in the feel of the stiff sheets, more out of a programmer's pride than actual comfort.
Heero still stands, motionless, but his pixilated eyes blink.
"What are you doing here, Heero?" I drawl, awaiting his response.
"I came to look for you." His voice is unsurprisingly warm. I changed the pitch for this sequence.
"Now you've found me."
He smiles, and even here, with my mannequin lover, it takes my breath away. This too may only be pride. Since no pictures exist of Heero smiling in the flesh, they were only renderings made from scratch and memory.
Heero walks over to the bed and purrs, "Yes, I have."
I surrender to him on my perfect, off-white sheets.
Later-- minutes, hours, days, however time ran here-- Heero runs his hand through my unbraided hair. My head rests on his chest.
"Duo?" The voice sounds more metallic than ever, now.
There is a brief, programmed hesitation, and then softly (the volume drops), hyuy1.exe asks, "Do you love me?"
I prop myself up on my elbow, and lean down to kiss him sweetly. "I love you," I answer so earnestly, I'm not sure which Heero I'm addressing-- the one laying here, or the one Outside somewhere. I added this question right before I changed his eye color. Tweaking, the programmer in me reasoned. Indulging, the romantic in me said.
I murmur, "Do you love me?"
Heero freezes. The bedroom is still functional (thanks to the loop), but hyuy1.exe has terminated. I sit, twisting the sheets, and abruptly kiss his fixed cheek. His #336699 eyes are immovable.
"Exit," I command. The program blanks out to black.
Suddenly, I am sitting in a tall chair with goggles on. I scowl, and rip them off. I stare at the computer screen in front of me, thoughtfully, click 'Save,' and then shut down.
I sit in Quatre's parlor, looking distantly outside. The taste of coffee is surprisingly warm and delightful; better than the programmed taste of Heero's skin.
"I guess nothing beats the real thing," I say, aloud.
My eyes focus on Heero, who sits on the lawn outside, a seemingly permanent fixture with the grass. More mechanical than his imitation.
My mouth twitches.
But I take what I can get, I add silently.
"Beta version two, test phase: resume."
Our mouths collide, a chemical reaction, producing programmed heat. His body is warm against me, intoxicating my senses. I've fine-tuned and adjusted the program a thousand times, modified his body temperature, fiddled with the smooth-rough texture of his tongue, changed the skin swatches, and honed his nude body, until I had something that fit against me; the intrinsic way his collarbones presses against me, the fine angles of his cheekbones, the smooth and ruffled hair-- the mechanics of his body works with mine, matching, with corresponding and inverse actions. And there he is, beneath me, muscled and supple flesh, inviting me with set hungry eyes, burning lips, calloused fingers running over my face. I spent a long time tinkering with this sequence.
And now the same tuned-and-programmed tongue flicks against my throat and all I feel is e-Heero and our working layers pressing against each other. The frames of his expression flicker slightly, programming still a little incomplete for seamless motion.
"Duo?" The man-made need in his voice makes me shiver.
The alarm goes off. I swear, a string of curses flowing from my lips. e-Heero still looks at me with his pleading eyes. I say, flatly, "Stop. Exit." The alarm triggers only when an urgent message is received, with the highest priority. No sense in risking discovery. I snarl, silently, tearing off the goggles, and click on the keyboard. I scan the message text, my fists clenching and unclenching reflexively.
e-Heero's tinny voice would be beckoning me, now.
I pull off the suit and dress.
Walk upstairs, briskly.
IF DM_ANS.WAV = DM_143503.WAV
RUN SUB 143503
ELSEIF DM_ANS.WAV = DM_143504.WAV
RUN SUB 143504
I slide gracefully into an armchair in Quatre's library. Quatre, Trowa, Wufei, and Heero are all gathered there. "Hey," I greet them carelessly.
Whispering, I want you. Waiting for the .wav files to check, match.
"We're worried about you." Quatre's eyes gleam, as he pulls himself out of his seat. "You've lost a lot of weight."
In the back of his #336699 eyes, information is being scanned and processed. Lightbulbs go on, subprograms called, sequences run. And with the IF statement executed, e-Heero pulls me down with androgynous grace and my pupils dilate at such masculine beauty. He is too exquisite to be natural.
Quatre continues. "You're pale. You've spent weeks hiding, underground." I ignore the raw edge in his voice; worry filed sharp. "I don't see you eat. Don't hear you sleep. I hear your keyboard clicking as you type, meticulously, hour after hour; fifteen minutes of silence, a sigh, another click of your mouse or the whirl of your computer."
e-Heero is exactly that. I glow inwardly with the pride of creator and lover. I constructed him, out of bits of photos and voice recordings, weeks of programming, perfecting a mercilessly beautiful creature to rival even his fleshed brother. I programmed the beating of his heart-- his bone structure. I constructed each little nuance and pixel and frame.
I reply, absentmindedly, "Yes?"
e-Heero whispers, I need you. The .wav file plays back in my head, driving me to distraction.
"We want you back."
My conscious mind snaps back to the library, back to my folded limbs in the armchair, and back to the four boys that stand, gathered around me. My fingers go up to my face, to trace the sharp contours and papery texture of my skin.
"We?" I ask.
Heero-- the one that resides in this half of my reality, the Perfect Soldier, the effulgently beautiful and starkly, painfully handsome, the warm-blooded and non-digital, non-programmed, breathing, living, erratic and flawed in his humanity, the one I don't need special equipment to see, touch, feel-- Heero reaches out and strokes my delicate wrist. "We." He stares at me with eyes that defy color-coding.
e-Heero purrs in my ears: I need you now.
My voice is monotonous in my ears. "I'm searching for a way to feel real. I'm synthetic, here, on the Outside. It's more real in there because reality doesn't cater to individuals. But there." A tinge of longing fills my voice box. "In there. what's real is subjective."
They look at me like I've gone mad. Perhaps I have.
I slam the door on my way out.
e-Heero looks at me and I drown in the glance.
His body is firm beneath mine.
"You're real, aren't you?" I murmur, lost in something that, broken down, is only binary code.
e-Heero takes a breath and opens his mouth.
The program freezes.
Shit. I didn't program this answer.
ERROR. NO MATCH.
Shit. I fumble for the controls.
The program ignores me. "Pause!" I hiss.
"Goddammit," I mutter. I run a rendered hand through my hair. "Fine, fine. Exit."
My mock-god disappears. I take off the goggles and rub my eyes, glaring hatefully at the error message that shows on the screen. I click somewhere with my mouse and the text window is gone. "Man, even in a subjective non-reality, I still get screwed," I say to myself, wryly. My eyes widen as they see the reflection in my computer: Heero stands behind me, eyes sympathetic and worried.
Hallucination. The product of an overworked, overstressed, obsessive mind. I freeze, afraid to turn around, afraid he'll disappear.
He puts a hand on my shoulder and I have to choke back the sob that threatens to rip out of my throat.
"Heero?" I force myself not to tremble.
"How long have you been here?" I ask, quietly.
I turn around. "How did you get in?"
He quirks an eyebrow. I smile, slightly. Stupid question to ask an ex-Gundam pilot.
"Gomen, Duo." He looks towards the screen and sees the highlighted icon. "Duo? Hyuy2.exe?"
He double clicks on it and a small vidscreen appears. His digital likeness sits on a bed, the same burning intensity in his eyes.
I look at Heero and mentally correct myself: almost the same burning intensity.
"Run it." A command, nothing less.
"Hello, Heero." My voice is vacant. The microphone catches it, barely.
"Where have you been?"
"You've come back." He stands.
"Did you miss me?" He coos, kissing me.
"Yes," I whisper, and bow my head.
The real Heero is silent.
"Exit," I say, curtly.
The computer returns to my desktop.
"I missed you more."
I swivel my chair to face Heero. "What?" I ask, incredulous.
Heero snorts. "I think I missed you more than he... could."
"He loves me," I mutter, aware of how insane I sound.
"Some things are easy to say, baka."
He sounds almost affectionate.
I suddenly realize that the slick wetness that coats my cheeks are my tears.
"You take what you can get."
Heero gives me a strange little smile. He turns around and pulls his shirt off.
I gasp, but not because my programmed sequences and reality seem to be blurring at the edges. I gasp because Heero's back is littered with scars; old, new, pink tissue marring his perfect flesh.
"This is the reality I have to offer," he says, quietly.
And suddenly, here it is: the answer to all questions, asked and unasked, here, written in wounds etched on his back. I reach out with a gloved hand and hesitate, pausing to peel off the black material, to touch his skin, trembling. My fingers brush his spine and abruptly jerk back.
He turns around and waits for a response. I am torn between the security of my own reality and the mere concept of actuality with this Heero. I stand, and clutch his shoulder. "You're real," I say, roughly, staring into his glittering eyes.
"Disappointingly so," he replies.
I reach for his hand, checking his pulse. Inconsistent. Irregular.
I'm used a steady beat and pulse.
His words are slow, like they have to be dragged from his throat painfully. "I don't... have particularly pleasant things to offer, Duo. I'm not a good conversationalist. The closest I have to a hobby also qualifies me as a terrorist. And... there's been a lot of... scarring."
I know he's not talking about the puckered marks on his back. He continues.
"However... whatever I have to offer... I do." Heero gives me a tenuous glance, and something breaks inside of me. I kiss the inside of his wrist, and nuzzle his arms with my cheek.
"I want you back." His voice cracks a little with this last declaration.
I pause in my chewing. "Yeash?" A slice of half-chewed pepperoni falls out of my mouth. Heero shakes his head. "Never mind." He eyes the two empty pizza boxes mournfully. Pepperoni, onions, and anchovies. Heero declined the slice I offered him at first, so I thought it wise to just inhale everything.
"I was so starved," I announce, between bites.
"You don't know what you're missing, Yuy."
He looks at me dubiously. "Spare me your sympathy," he says, dryly.
The last slice disappears. I turn towards Heero and flutter my eyelashes. "Heero-chan?" I coo, mercilessly.
There's a long-suffering expression on his face. "Yes?"
I grin impishly. "Would you like a kiss?"
He gently tilts my chin up, and leans in, his breath hot against my cheek. "Duo?"
"Yes?" I close my eyes and pucker my lips.
"Your breath smells like anchovies," he whispers. "And you have tomato sauce on your nose."
I glare at him, but there's more. "And there's something stuck between your front teeth. Oh, and you smell rather funny." He concludes by kissing my cheek.
"Reality's a bitch."
There's a pause.
I click on hyuy2.exe with my mouse, and tap 'Delete.'
The computer asks: are you sure?
I look at Heero's sprawled form on my bed. Moonlight and shadows play across his face.
I bite my lip.
His face tightens momentarily-- struggling with a nightmare?-- but the lines smooth and his expression is peaceful. "Duo," he breathes, still sound asleep.
I click 'Yes.'
The icon disappears. The computer's still shutting down as I rest, arms flung over my little flesh-and-blood paramour, and watch a smile no graphics program could imitate creep over his face.
I'm such a shameless tech-girl. ::grins::
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