A Wrench to the Heart 8/?
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.”