Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fic: A Wrench to the Heart 9/?

A Wrench to the Heart 9/?



Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing.

Note: OH man.. I struggled with this chapter.



The house was set fairly far back from all the other houses. It didn’t really seem like a presidential mansion or any such status place, but in the context of the colony, Alexander could see how Duo’s house was a place of status. While the main train line ran in and out, the line went through a couple of kilometers of forest land in both directions, all around it. The house itself kept with the slightly Victorian flair, done in blue and white, with ornate trim and wind vanes, even though no wind blue on the space station  Watching from inside Duo’s private car on the train, he knew he’d never seen it before, but it still felt like coming home.

“Are there no cars on this colony,” Alexander asked Quatre. It was only them, Amira, and Duo in the car.

“No,” Quatre said, now strong enough to roll his own chair back from the table he and Alexander. “Duo loves cars way too much not to have roads. The train lines were designed so you can’t see the roads while on the train.”

“Who designed this colony?” Heero asked, also rising, dropping his napkin back on the small table.

“Duo, mostly,” Quatre said as the train came to a slightly rocking stop. “After The Rage, we recovered him in a life pod, along with all the other survivors. He was in a dreadful state. He didn’t speak in coherent sentences for two years after he was recovered. The physical damage alone would have killed him had he not had access to care on L4. After he began to fully recover, I suggested this colony and the group home as a focus for him. It has been a wonderful success. He’s raised over a hundred children that wouldn’t have been a good fit anywhere else. This colony is a haven for art and science. It has launched two deep  space exploration vessels.”

Alexander really didn’t know what to say to that. Then other staff were entering the car, transferring Duo’s sleeping form to a hovering stretcher. In sleep the man looked so peaceful, beautiful, like Sleeping Beauty. He wanted so much to reach out and touch that slightly blushing cheek, those lips.

“You didn’t cause his attack,” Quatre said firmly. “The tumor is at war with rest of his brain. It was just bad timing.”
“Bad timing,” Alexander agreed, following Quatre out of the train car.

A young opened the door for them and started at Duo worriedly was he was brought in. She had dark circles under her eyes and her clothes all looked a little larger than they should be. She held out her hand to Quatre. “Welcome to Tintagel. I’m Charlotte, Duo’s personal assistant.”

“Yes, of course,” Quatre said, “I’m Quatre Raberba Winner. The gentleman behind me is Professor Alexander Tanaka. He will be staying for a while. I’ll be here for a little while. See that a room is made up for both of us.”

“Yes, sir,” she said, her eyes wide, her breath half held as Quatre held her hand. When he let go, slightly flustered she turned to Alexander, who looked exactly like Heero Yuy, so much so that she nearly forgot how to speak. Quatre was one thing, but someone that knew both Duo and Quatre who looked that much like Heero Yuy - It was like a Roman meeting Romulus or Remus. She reached for his hand and he shook, just a normal handshake, but she couldn’t quite get air into her throat. “Professor Tanaka.”

“Charlotte San,” he replied politely, much more concerned with getting his hand back and dispelling any misplaced hero worship. “I look like Heero Yuy. I have often been mistaken for him.”

“I see,” she said, nodding like that make perfect sense. She closed the door. “School won’t be out for another couple of hours. I thought Duo was coming home tomorrow.”

“We made good time,” Quatre said, already moving on from his conversation with her.

“Sister Maria,” he greeted a woman in a rocking chair with a small baby in her arms. “I appreciate you being able to help out at such short notice.”

“My pleasure,” Sister Maria said sweetly. The baby in her arm, with just a touch of bright red hair, laughed and waved her little fist at Quatre. “You didn’t tell me he had a newborn here though.”

“That’s because he doesn’t,” Quatre said, reaching out to tickle the baby’s foot, “Does he, Julia?”

The baby’s eyes focused on Quatre.  Quatre glared back, blue eyes narrowing reproachfully.

When a black cat jumped down from Sister Maria’s arms, she yipped so loudly it was more scream than yip.  She watched as the baby, now a black cat ran and jumped onto Duo’s belly, curling up and glaring back at Quatre.

Quatre motioned for the health workers to leave the cat alone. “Miss Charlotte, please show them to the elevator and up to Duo’s room.”

“Of course,” she said motioning for them to follow her.
Alexander’s mouth hung open. “What was that all about?”

“Tintagel hosts unusual children. Julia is pretty much a permanent resident, though Duo keeps telling me that her condition continues to improve. He’s always been very optimistic.”

The cat purred as the medical staff guided Duo’s off to the elevator.


<><>

“I know you’re awake,” Alexander said gently. “You’ve been awake for ten hours, but you don’t open your eyes. Why?”

Duo lay in his own bed, a monitor bracelet on his arm. His heart rate sped up a little at the sound of Alexander’s voice. When Alexander ran fingers over the back of Duo’s hand. “What are you afraid of?”

“That when I open my eyes, you’ll be gone. I know I’m insane. I’m really sorry, Heero. I just...,” Duo reached up to scrub his face. “I don’t know what happened. My Heero’s actually gone.”

Alexander touched the tips of his fingers to Duo’s lips. “So you didn’t like that kiss? It was my first kiss, I think, though I guess that can’t be true. I think I must have kissed you before.”

Violet eyes snapped open, crossing to look at the fingertips on his lips, then snapping up to look at Alexander.  “Wait,” Duo said, jerking up into a sitting position and realizing he was in his own bed, his own room. “Are you really here?”

“I am.”

“Do... you remember?”

“No.” Alexander said, his fingers templeing, blue eyes calm. “Heidegger said that Every man is born as many men and dies as a single one, but we don’t really die anymore, unless we wish to.  Whatever man I am, I am drawn to you, Duo. I find my being in relation to you.  I wasn’t alive until I kissed you. My entire life was like following a recipe that someone else selected. Please forgive me, for not remembering Heero, but please give me a chance to see who I will be.”

Duo ran a hand through his mussed up hair and stared at Heero.  Sitting lotus style, hands holding the back of his head, he said in a hushed voice, “You know I’m probably fucking dying, right? Fuckin’ sorry about having an attack when we kissed. That was unfortunate and I fucked up your life. That was really selfish of me.”

“Duo,” Alexander said softly, scooting to the edge of his seat. “You’re depressed. It’s a lingering effect of the illness. We are not going to let you die. We’re going to find or create an encryption key, completely cure you. Many people love you. I think I have loved you from before I existed. Whatever happened on The Rage, we survived. I was lost, but you never stopped looking for me. You’re a little lost too, but we will learn to steer the boat together.”

“No, look, Alexander... Sometimes I lose time. I’ll be in one place.. And ... like I found out about you when I was camping.. Then when I woke up I was on L1. I think sometimes I kill people,” Duo said, holding up his hands. He’d broken out into a cold sweat, eyes tingling with tears that he didn’t want to cry. “I think I’m dangerous, Alexander.”

Alexander reached out to gently run his fingers over Duo’s hand, then when Duo didn’t pull away, to lace their fingers together. “Did you that I can take apart and put back together more firearms than I knew existed? My hands just move through it like I’ve been doing it all my life. It feels as natural as brushing my teeth.”

“Not surprised,” Duo admitted, staring at their entwined hands. “Are you... are you staying?” Duo looked up, a tear slipping down his face.

“Yeah. I’m staying. “I believe you offered me a job.”

“But.. your parents? My god, that’s a strange thing to say. Are they really your parents? You remembering being a child?”

Alexander arched an eyebrow. “Mother has a collection of my baby teeth. They will be here this afternoon. You’ve been unconscious for two weeks, just to let you know.”

“Oh that’s shit.” He scrubbed hard at his face. “Ty’s gonna be so pissy with me. Oh god, have you been here all that time?”

“I have. Mr. Winner also hired a doctor to stay here with us and another aide to help with the children. They have all been very somber. I think they fear if you are not able to take care of them, that they will not be safe anymore.”

“Wull,” Duo said swinging his legs over the bed. “We’ll have to make sure that doesn’t happen, won’t we?”

Alexander smiled, giving Duo’s hand a little squeeze. “That we will.”

Saturday, April 16, 2016

fic: A Wrench to the Heart 8/?

A Wrench to the Heart 8/?

By Max

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing.


The door opened and Alexander moved to stand by the bed, glaring. “My financing will come through,” he challenged, arms across his chest.

“That is not going to be necessary,” Quatre said. His attendant pushed his wheelchair in. She was a tall woman in a face scarf, and modest clothing that were clearly designed to not restrict her movements should there be conflict.  “I have resolved the financial concerns.”

Alexander’s blue eyes narrowed at the strange man. He was so old, older than old, and yet there was something familiar about him, so familiar the deja vu gave him nausea.  “Do I know you?”

“Yes, and no,” Quatre said, moving around the other side of the bed. It took him a moment to get his hands onto the bed so he could take hold of Duo’s hand, rubbing the back with his thumb. “I really should have known better.”

“Do you know what’s wrong with him,” Alexander asked. He could leave now, he told himself. The man’s family was here. He didn’t need to stay anymore. He took a deep breath and accepted it... he was not going to leave. He didn’t want to leave. A new understanding of the world settled into him and he knew he would be resigning the job he’d been working towards for ten years. He’d be moving the wilds of L2. Maybe insanity was contagious.

“Not completely, but enough to start finding a solution, if there is one.  You can go now, if you like. I’ll make sure he’s taken care of. I’m sorry he bothered you.”

“No,” Alexander said, sitting down in the closest chair. “Tell me about him.”

Quatre leaned back in his chair and his attendant reached out to lift Duo’s limp hand back onto the hospital bed.

“He’s reckless,” Quatre said, bent old fingers lacing together under his chin. “He’s loyal. He’s as old I am, but he loves technology and we were able to arrest his aging many years ago. He has a brain tumor caused by use of an illegal brain altering device. It was an act of violence and my family will pursue his attackers until the universe is no more. He and I were in the war together and he is as much my family as anyone who bears my blood.”

While Quatre had been speaking, Alexander stood and paced slowly, filled with nervous energy he didn’t understand. “I’m Professor Alexander Tanaka. Why does he think I’m Heero Yuy?”
Quatre took a deep breath, leaned back. His attendant rubbed his temples gently and he sat there for a what felt like a horrible amount of time to Alexander. “L1 is so self righteous. They won’t let me smoke, no matter who I am.”

“And who are you?” Alexander snapped. He could remember this man. He knew this man. It was there, right there, just at the edge of his mind, but it fell off the edge like the edge of the known world fell away and there were only sea monsters past that thought. It was almost physically painful.

“I am Quatre Raberba Winner.  Amira, close the door. Do not let anyone enter.”

Her dark eyes eyed Alexander as if she weren’t sure if she were going to kill him rather than leave him alone with her boss. She pulled a small embroidered bag from the storage space under his seat and held it out to him. “Master.”

“Alexander is not a risk.”

The woman bowed and moved to close and guard the door.

“Come help me with this,” Quatre stated, his bent fingers having trouble opening the bag.

Alexander rolled his eyes, but moved to be helpful. He leaned over and opened the handmade little bag. Inside was a custom golden vaporizer. “If you turn this on, they will be in here to throw us both out, and then they will ship Duo in a glorified escape pod.”

“They will not,” Quatre said, smiling as he lit up his vaporizer. “Their security staffing company was very recently acquired by someone with a keen interest and all of the staff have been withdrawn  and forbidden from this floor. My personal security staff will support this floor while I’m here. In fifteen minutes, my medical staff will be here and we will remove Duo and take him home.”

“And he won’t be back?”

“He probably will. I’ve built him a very nice fishbowl, but he’s very hard to contain.”

“Maybe he could ... just stay here?”

Quatre took a very long slow draw on his vaporizer. “He runs a group home for children who do not fit well into the system. There are twelve, thirteen, something like that. They would never survive here and he will never leave them permanently, not even for you.”

“What does he need to be well?” Alexander moved to the foot of the bed where he touched the edge of Duo’s foot, like he was touching a door that he hadn’t opened in a very great deal of time.
“Is it something I can give him?”
“Not as far as I know. What I know is that he and Heero were on The Rage. Heero was a Preventer and Duo had been serving in the medical corps of the Preventers. They were working on a missing persons case. The Rage was destroyed on that voyage with a loss of nearly five hundred passengers and crew.”

“They say that Heero Yuy died on that flight,” Alexander said, staggering a little to sit down in a chair by the window.

“That is what they say,” Quatre said softly. “On that flight, attackers attempted to overwrite Duo’s memories and personality with data of their choice. The attempt failed. However the malicious patterning can not be removed without the original encryption key.”

“Is that what happened to....” Alexander turned to look at his reflection in the mirror for a moment, “Is that what happened to Heero Yuy?”

Quatre took another long inhale on his vape.  From the sounds of it, there were several medical people and several of Quatre’s personal security outside were having strongly worded conversations outside the door. “From what we were able to understand, Heero Yuy’s mind was completely reformatted.”

“If he was,” Alexander said softly, “alive... and you had the encryption key... could you put him back to being him?”

“We don’t have Heero’s mind file. Duo has his mind file. It’s corrupt, but it’s present. Heero’s gone.”

“Forever,” Alexander ask, feeling an overwhelming sadness without any reason he understood.

“If I kiss him again, will he die?”

“I don’t know,” Quatre said softly. “I suspect he might die if you don’t, but it’ll take longer.”

“I’m Heero Yuy,” Alexander said, trying to see if that felt true.

“You have his body, anyway.” Quatre said. “You have a nice life, Alexander. You’ve been happy. Duo’s life is chaotic and occasionally dangerous. His life is not professorial, if you know what I mean.”

“And until the moment I kissed him,” Alexander said, relieved that he was saying it outloud, “I was dead.”

Friday, April 15, 2016

Fic: A Wrench to the Heart 7/?

A Wrench to the Heart 7/?

By Max

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing

Warning: Duo’s having quite a break down. There will be law enforcement.



Duo didn’t actually run all the way to Alexander Tanaka’s house. He caught a public light rail and then a ride share. Nothing moved fast enough.  As he ran down the street towards Tanaka’s house, towards Heero’s house... his mind was too filled with light to think clearly.  Love made his heart hurt.  Reality bent.


The moment he actually laid eyes on Heero’s house, then he wasn’t on the colony at all. He was on the boarding deck of a cruiseliner. There were pretty Japanese lanterns swinging in a virtual breeze and a sweep of Milky Way above them, muted and glittering like it looked through Earth’s atmosphere, though he knew they were boarding off of Main.L1. He was walking backwards swaying his hips to the Hawaiian music and Heero was only a step behind him.

Heero’s hair was longer, pulled into a ponytail. He was taller than wartime Heero, the Heero that Duo normally remembered. Duo knew he’d sank down on the grass in front of Alexander Tanaka’s house and he tried really, really hard to keep aware of both realities. On the lawn, he held his head with both hands, on the boarding deck, he held out both hands to Heero, felt those strong warm hands take his and pull him close.

Heero pulled him close, arms around him, those smooth thin lips against his ear, “My life would not be worth living without you.”

And with that, Duo lost all connection to the lawn, to anything outside of Heero’s arms. “Don’t let me go, Heero. I’m so scared. I think I’m losing my mind.”

“Don’t be afraid,” Heero said, tugging Duo’s braid gently. “This is it. We’re getting married.on this trip. No more politics. No more war. No more interference. Just you and me. We’re going to build a new life.”

Tears ran down his face, which was the lawn experience leeching into the ship experience. “Don’t leave me, Heero. Don’t let me go!”

The boarding deck reached the highest point and Heero turned Duo around, hands on his shoulders. “Don’t be nervous. Everything is going to work out.”  
The ship’s name was written in great black and gold letters, elegant and antique-y. “The Rage.”

Duo wanted to fight, dig in his heels, not get on the ship, but he was walking forward, laughing in the one experience, crying in the other. Staff members reached out grab his hands, shaking, welcoming him, “Welcome aboard Dr. Maxwell, Commander Yuy! We’re so happy to have you with us! Congratulations!”

“Are you alright?” Heero asked, much more irritated and matter of fact than the Heero holding onto his shoulders, who he desperately wanted to Heero what Heero was saying. It was important. It was so important.  It sounded like... “Soon this will be real,” in Heero’s words, whispered in his ear, but Heero was also picking him up.

“I love you,” Duo whispered.

“Oh, yes, I do remember you,” Heero said as he carried him.

Duo wrapped his arms around Heero’s shoulders, buried his face against Heero’s neck. This was so much better than any memory. “Heero! I found you!”

“Try to stay calm,” Heero said, soothing, authoritarian, confident. “You’re having some kind of seizure. I’ve already called emergency response. They should be here shortly,” Heero continued as he set Duo down on his couch.

“No.. No! I’m not having a seizure.  You’re Heero Yuy! I’m Duo Maxwell.”

Heero squatted down in front of him, not trying to get his hands back. “My name is Alexander Tanaka. I teach astronautics at  University L1 now.  I’m only 45. I’ve never met Duo Maxwell,”  Alexander said gently. “You were here twenty years ago and I remember you from that. You look exactly the same.”

“Technology and medical science,” Duo said, feeling grounded now, some sense of wholeness returning to him. He reached out very cautiously to touch a small scar on Heero’s face. “I gave you that, but you don’t remember, do you? Do remember being on The Rage?”

Alexander leaned into Duo’s touch, just slightly, blue eyes confused. “I was on The Rage. It was a graduation present from my dad. My parents are coming up next week, from Tokyo.Earth to celebrate my promotion. I’m really sorry that I’m not the man you’re looking. Anyone would be lucky to have you look at them with that much love.”

“But... you are,”  Duo said scooting a little closer. “Look.. we were both on The Rage. I remember being on it with you. Something happened on that ship. Come to Camelot.L2. You can teach there. You’ll remember.”

Alexander stood up and took a step back. “After you came the last time, I looked up Heero Yuy’s life. He had a miserable life. He was deranged and suicidal. I have family. I have a nephew. I don’t have nightmares. I don’t take dangerous jobs. I bicycle to work and lecture intelligent students.  I’m not Heero Yuy. I’ve never killed anyone. I’ve never piloted a Gundam. I’m Professor  Alexander Tanaka and there is no way I’d move into the L2 cluster,” he said, wrinkling his nose.

“Well...what I stayed here with you for a little while? I’ll call you  Alexander? I can get a job. I’m a doctor. I can get my license back. We can...date?”

“I would like you to consider that you’re stalking me. I think you might be schizophrenic. You need help, not a date. Look, I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but I’d like it if you didn’t come back to my house. I have a good life. You should go have a good life. Your Heero wouldn’t want you to chase after ghosts.”

“You’re wrong,” Duo said, trying really hard not to cry. “Maybe you’re not my Heero. My Heero would know that I would never stop looking for him. I would never abandon him, even if he asked me to. My Heero would never give up on who he was to live a comfortable lie.”

“I’m not your Heero,” Alexander said apologetically. “I kind of wish I was.”

Duo stood up, willing his body to be relaxed, non-threatening.  Heero had often been a bit jump at times of stress. “Kiss me.”

“What?” Alexander asked, arching an eyebrow in a very Heero sign of irritation.

“I said... kiss me. You’re not Heero and it won’t make any difference, right? You know you want to,” Duo said, cajoling just the way that used to work so well with Heero.”

Alexander took a small step closer, a bit more color in his face. “Why would I kiss you? I don’t want to take advantage of you when you clearly are mentally unstable,” but he kept moving closer as he spoke until his last words were spoken brushing against Duo’s lips.

Duo held perfectly still as if a butterfly were landing on his lips. An electric butterfly. He hadn’t realized he’d closed his eyes until their lips touched and both of them had their wide open, blue into violet. Alexander’s hand flew into Duo’s hair, fingers sinking into the warm brown tangles left from racing halfway across the colony.  Those fingers pressed, pulling Duo to him and the kiss that started out a brush of butterfly turned into a shooting star, burning into each other as their tongues caressed, danced, so familiar....

Euphoria breathed into Duo’s being, a joy at coming home, that all the wishes he’d ever had were fulfilled. Heero’s kiss, touch, acceptance. Another flashback hit him like ice water and he went limp in Heero’s arms. They were in the stateroom... beautiful room... surreal. Heero smiled, this loving beautiful smile. “I didn’t know you... actually liked me back.”
Everything was so out of joint, so crazy... but instead of responding to Heero’s admission, Duo spun towards their stateroom door, his hand on a pistol holstered at the small of his back. The doorknob rattled and then he screamed.  The scream filled Alexander’s little house until Duo ran out of breath. Shaking hard, he was only still on his feet because of Heero’s hands on his arms.

“Your eyes are bleeding,” Heero/Alexander said horrified.

“Cool,” Duo whispered before passing out.

<><><>

Alexander paced in the insane man’s hospital room.  L1 was not charitable, per se.  L1 used a market economy and they expected to be paid in currency.  The bursar’s office for Camelot.L2 which was officially listed as an educational station, offered payment in natural natural resources, freshly mined or synthesized. Apparently Duo’s weight in gold was not sufficient to pay for his medical care. The hospital administrator had made it abundantly clear that the moment Alexander walked out of the room or fell asleep, they were putting the illegal alien, whose visa was now well and truly expired, into an emergency medical transport and shooting him back to Camelot.

The deposit that they required to secure Duo’s care required that Alexander take out a mortgage on his house, which to his great surprise, he was actually eager to do. He had no sane way to explain why the care of some deranged savage from the L2 cluster, why this man’s well being mattered to him, but it did. Why it mattered enough to be willing to pay for the man’s well being with his house, he really did not understand. He knew nothing about him, other than he’d found his way to his house twice and made insane claims.

Poor insane man.

Alexander touched fingertips to his lips and remembered that kiss though. It was the first kiss he’d ever had and it felt like a kiss he’d always known. It felt like the kiss he’d been waiting for, why nothing else had ever been good enough to even try.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Fic: A Wrench to the Heart 6/?

A Wrench to the Heart 6/?

By Max

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing



Duo grabbed the silly chef hat from his head and stomped to the frontdoor.  Hair wild standing on end and lightly covered in pancake mix, he pulled open the door and glared. “What do you want?”

Dr. Angela Ledbetter smiled, a tray of candy apples held in both hands. As she stared at Duo her expression transitioned from forced cheerfulness to complete bewilderment.  “Dr. Maxwell... I.. I thought we might not have gotten off to a great start. I understand it’s a holiday on Camelot... to celebrate the life of Heero Yuy and I thought I might come by and spend some time with you and the kids.”

They stared at each other for a moment.

She smiled nervously.

He took a slow breath.  He had not slept enough.  He had to have the ‘are you staying or going’ conversation with the new assistant and it was the day everyone talked about Heero Yuy. ‘I don’t think he’s really dead,’ was like the last thing one could stay today and if he was anywhere near any kind of a messaging system, he was going to have all kinds of questions he didn’t want to answer. “Yeah. It’s a holiday. We’re going camping.”

“How lovely! I love camping! Is there a place to fish, as well?” Her smile became genuine and confident. “Have you ever been to Earth?”

Duo rolled his eyes. “Yes. Yes, I have. It was an experience I’ll never forget.”

“May I please come with you? Maybe we can talk about Earth?”

“No talking about Earth,” Duo said firmly. “You can come. Might as well. Do you like pancakes, Dr. Ledbetter?”

“I do! Let me cook! You don’t look like you’ve eaten yet.”  She pushed her tray of candied apples into his hands  “I think you’re really doing amazing work. Your name sake would be so proud!”  She smiled, waiting for his permission to talk over the kitchen.

Duo’s thoughts went to Father Maxwell and the man’s guidance and leadership.  In that moment, remembering the older priest was only pleasant. Duo smirked, smiled, shrugged. “Okay. Fine. You can make me breakfast. We’re walking today though, gonna be walking ten miles in, and back. No data connection, other than the first aid kit, and I don’t let anyone else know I’m bringing that.”

“Sounds very intense, but that’s okay with me. What do you like to be called. When I’m not at school, I liked to be called Angela, okay?”

“Yeah, sure thing, Angela. I’m Duo. Pretty much everyone calls me Duo.”

“Very nice to actually meet you, Duo. I’m sorry about my first impression. It was stupid of me,”  Angela said.

Duo motioned towards the kitchen. “Ima take a moment and I’ll be right there.”


<><>

Duo closed the bathroom door and leaned on it.  He wanted the day to stop right there. It had started out well enough and he’d had real high hopes, been very excited about it. Walking all day and showing the kids plants, bugs, fishing, looking at start, and just not being in the greater world for a couple of days. After a moment of leaning against the bathroom door, he opened up the first aid kit, “Low nag,” he whispered and the screen resolved into Heero’s face.  “Tell me I’m doing okay.”

“Hi Duo,” the AI said in Heero’s 15 year old voice, “You’re doing good. I’m proud of you.”

“Do you still love me?”

“I’m only a simulation, Duo.”

“Fuck it. Tell me you love me anyway or that I’m loveable that it’s good I’m alive. Do you think the real Heero could have loved me?”

“As far as I understand human intentions, I believe he intended to form a long term relationship with you. I have found a receipt for a ring in your size that he purchased three months prior to his last known contact. The ring was never picked up, but your name is also on the receipt.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about this before,” Duo demanded, hands on the wall to the sides of the drab looking med kit.

“You didn’t ask a question to which that was a plausible answer.”

“What is a connection between Heero and the poet Emily Dickinson?”

“I don’t know of any connection between them. You might ask Relena. She has his effects and two books by Emily Dickinson were listed as property transferred to her.”

“Dat so,” Duo said, “Thanks, Heero.” Duo said, fingers brushing over the smooth screen.

The feeling when things were going to fuzzy always started like a buzz in his mind, like the air was a little too thin to really work in his lungs. He pressed his fingers to his temples. “Stop. Just calm down, calm down,” he whispered.

He blinked and he was in a hotel room.  The air was drier, purer.  He wasn’t on Camelot.L2.  Head spinning, he sat down on the bed and ran both hands through his hair.  The hotel wasn’t the best, wasn’t completely skanky either. Written on the mirror, in blue marker, “Alexander Tanaka.”

The flashback swallowed him and he was at the camp ground, back against his favorite big rock. On the surface, he’d been chipper and charming all day, teaching plant recognition, biology, evolution, survival, how to purify water, and by the end of the day, he’d set up the nice temporary shelters he’d build for each of them. One good thing about getting them to walk so far was that they were all out like rocks, or so he thought. He hadn’t had a shelter for Angela, so he’d given her his and he honestly expected her to be in it.  So he thought he was alone when he had the breakdown. He turned the first aid box, back against that rock, thinking he’d just get simulated Heero to talk to him.

Angela wasn’t in the shelter though. She was standing right beside him and the only thing prevented her from getting her nosy ass shot was that Duo hadn’t carried a gun in a long time.

“I know him. That’s Professor Tanaka. I met him when I did an exchange into the L1 cluster. Nice, man, brilliant, doesn’t talk much.”

Duo felt all over the sense of being reborn in the flashback that he’d had the moment she said it. “That’s Heero Yuy.”

“Oh there might be some resemblance. All the photos from that period always show him so much more dignified and noble.”

“Ya think so?” Duo asked, remembering a time when he caught Heero picking his nose. “Nobel, uh?”

“It was a different time,” she said.

From that moment, to making sure the kids were taken care of, getting passage, getting through immigration on this upstart L1 donut - he’d actually had to call Quatre to get him to apply pressure on L1 immigration.  As it was, they gave him a three day visa.  So they were still a little mad about that protest to draw attention to Heero not being dead. Just because there had been public nudity and he took over the colony’s media outlets for nearly an hour. That was at least twenty some odd years before. They really ought to be more forgiving.  

By the time his thoughts cleared enough to function enough again, he’d lost another hour. According to his calendar, he had twelve hours before his visa expired and they were after him. And they would be.

The local map though was good enough to give him the address for one Professor Alexander Tanaka. Duo ran out the door. He’d run all the way if he had to. Once Heero saw him! He’d remember... he’d explain! Everything would be okay!