Part 8 [FiND ME]


"I don't remember my parents very well.

"I know that they were both mostly Japanese, with slight European roots, which is why I have my blue eyes. My mother was small and delicate; she reminded me of a willow tree. My father was somewhat taller; imposing, cold. I don't think he ever loved me, nor I him. But I don't remember if I loved my mother.

"I don't know why I was suddenly without parents. I just know that when I was 4, I found myself on the streets, alone and afraid.

"Heero Yuy is not my name. I have no name. I don't remember the names of my parents, nor do I remember the name they gave me.

"I was named by the street gang I joined. As a 4 year old waif, some kid thought I was perfect to pick on. I was a vicious child and though he was nearly twice my size, I knocked him out. That earned his respect for me. He introduced me to his friends and his people. I got along well with them; I learned the rules, and I obeyed.

"By the time I was 6, I knew the streets of Tokyo like the back of my hand, could navigate the countryside around, and knew anyone and everyone I should know of - on the streets and off.

"The name Heero Yuy means 'one and only'. I was a loner, and I was a leader. I was one of the youngest, but one of the best. I could fight, I could steal, and I could charm my way into any passerby's heart. But I worked alone. The only interaction I had with the rest of the gang was the little necessarily to maintain the bonds. Usually I liked to be by myself.

"Even then I thought myself to be dangerous to the rest of the world.

"It was a typical street brat's life. I took what I wanted, from who I wanted, and felt no remorse, ever. They had things I thought they didn't deserve to had, so I took those things from them. I was heartless, ruthless, and completely cold. I was 8.

"It never occurred to me that I might be skilled in anything. It never occurred to me to try and pull myself out of the gutter; to try and make something better of my life; to become someone. I was a street kid, and apparently always would be. I didn't care.

"When I was 10, Treize found me on the street, beating up a group of kids, all older than me. He told me he saw potential in me, and offered me a position as a trained assassin. I refused. I didn't trust anyone then and even now I rarely trust people. I figured he might be lying and that uncertainty was enough to make me run from him. He didn't follow. He understood.

"Treize later told me he was in Japan for a series of assassinations, so he'd been there for a month or so when he'd met me, and had been due to stay for another few months. So it isn't too much of a surprise when I saw him again a month later.

"But that was after I'd heard the street talk about the assassinations. How even the street kids couldn't find out the killer, and the neatness of the kills, and the absence of any evidence. And I found myself impressed. And somehow I knew it was Treize.

"So the next time he found me, I trusted him no more, but I'd thought it over. Considered the different lifestyle I could lead. I would be somewhat safe, somewhat protected, and fed. I would not have problems finding food if I was a paid assassin, ne? And there was something in him that told me I could trust him. So I did.

"And he brought me to San Francisco. The whole plane ride to America I was mulling over exactly what I'd gotten myself into. If I wanted to run away from whatever situation I'd be put into, I'd be at a serious disadvantage. I had learned some English on the streets, but probably not enough, and not well. Also, I wouldn't know the city of San Francisco at all, and I could easily get lost. But still, I went with him.

"And he brought me here. To a real office on the top floor of a tall building in a completely different city form what I'd been use to. To people who were at least somewhat like me, and who had lived lives just as painful and broken as mine. As a 10-year-old, I was trained to kill and to work with computers; I found my natural talents. Hacking and killing.

"And when I was 11, I was given my first mission.

"I always wondered what my parents would think of me if they could see me now. I don't remember what my father did for a job, and I don't remember what their personalities or opinions were like. I have no idea how they'd view me now. And over the years, I've stopped caring about the opinions of 2 dead people I know longer myself related to.

"I was told to kiss a certain politician, his wife, and their oldest daughter. There was a son, I believe, but he was too young to worry about. They were in San Francisco at the time and I had an older person named Tobias as my backup on that mission. It never occurred to me that I'd be putting a young boy in a situation similar to what I'd grown up in.

"Amazingly, that mission went off well, and we returned to the base safely. That was the day that changed me completely. I was a trained assassin, and I was that to the core. The first mission I had been slightly nervous on, but afterwards I was always cool and collected. Somewhere along the line, I'd completely destroyed any emotions I'd had, or muffled them so entirely that I didn't even remember them.

"I felt something once. A year or so later, I had to blow up a group of buildings to get rid of a faction that was rising in New York City. The would be threatening Operation S, this group of assassins and killers. I managed to destroy all the buildings, but I'd miscalculated and added too many explosives. Several other buildings in the vicinity where destroyed, including a church and a preschool. Seeing the charred bodies of the little children - so more innocent than I'd been at their age - and the remains of a beautiful alter dedicated to a holier being... I think I almost cried.

"And that was the last time I ever felt that way.

"I never believed in a God. I still don't, now. But I feel drawn to people who can put their lives and their faith in some thing they cannot see. I used to sneer at it. Now I simply respect it.

"And here I am now. I am an 18-year-old who has never known what a typical 18-year-old knows. Schooling, dating, and such were never options for me. I learned whatever lessons I need to know, and picked up whatever I deemed useful. I never thought I had enough emotion or feeling inside of me to enter a relationship of any sort, and I even scorned them in the beginning.

"I have changed, but I am not sure whether for the better or the worse."

Comforting arms wrapped around him from behind, holding him closely. A chin rested on his shoulder and the face pressed its cheek to his.

"For the better, I'm sure," Wufei said.

"Good night?" Michelle asked from the doorway of the building, as Duo strolled in tiredly. She took another drag from her cigarette and looked at him inquiringly.

"The guy's got a limitless energy supply and a libido the size of Mars," Duo reported, before heading straight to his room.

Michelle began to laugh.

"And he paid me 8,000 credits," Duo added, calling over his shoulder. "We should go out for dinner tonight, too."

"Duo," Michelle answered reprovingly. "I eat too well around you."

Duo snickered before closing the door behind him.

Upon entering the room, he stripped and walked over to the bathroom, undoing his hair on the way. He figured on a quick shower - hair be damned - and he'd wash more properly later.

One hot shower later, Duo was completely ready to turn in. He hadn't been exaggerating about Heero's energy levels and he was completely worn out. A grab at a towel, wrap it loosely around his dripping hair, throw self into bed. It didn't take long for Duo to fall asleep.


"No dinner today," Joe said firmly. "Two amazing meals in a row is not healthy." His eyes twinkled. "Thanks for the offer, though." He took his girlfriend's arm and began leading her away.

Sugar stopped for a moment, smiling. "Damn, boy, you've got to be hella talented to be bringing in a cash flow like that!"

Duo grinned his typical grin. "Damned straight, Shug!"

Bella came drifting down the hallway. "What was your pay?" Customary remark.

"Eight thousand. Damn, more nights like this and I think I could get myself an apartment," he joked. Bella laughed.

"Wow, Koi; talented, aren't you?"

Duo smirked slightly demonically. "But he's beautiful."

"I know." Bella's eyes twinkled - she'd seen him too, and agreed heartily. "He needs to smile a little more."

"*That* I can agree with!" Duo giggled. He gestured for Bella to enter the room instead of standing in the doorway.

"How was it," she demanded immediately.

Duo hesitated, thinking on how to describe Heero. "His name's Heero," he began. "He's... man, he seems more troubled than most of my marks, and that's saying a lot! He has this... haunting aura around him, y'know?"

Bella looked at him thoughtfully. "Yeah, I kinda noticed that about him. Kinda looks a little creepy, too, though."

With a shudder, Duo told her, "He's an assassin."

Her jaw dropped, and she blinked rapidly twice. "Uh, say that again?"

"Assassin. Want me to spell it out for you?" Duo giggled slightly. "He had a gun broken down on his desk and another one on his back. Stronger than a lion, I swear, and has a libido to rival mine!"

Bella began to laugh at his final statement. "Damn, Koi. Kept you busy, eh?"

"Damn straight, he did!" Duo gave an exaggerated yawn. "I'm *exhausted*!"

"Did you sleep?" She glanced at a clock which cheerfully told her it was 4:17 pm.

"Yep." Duo walked to the couch and threw himself on it. Bella more gracefully lowered herself onto the floor in front of the couch. She looked up at him expectantly.

"But damn, is he beautiful," Duo said, somewhat softly, looking out into space. He smirked. "And pays nice. Hope he comes back tonight?"

"Think he won't?"

Duo shrugged. "He looked lost. I knew he'd come last night because of it, but he still looked lost this morning and God help me, I just wanted to hug him and tell him to cry. He probably would've killed me if I did," he added wryly. "But," he added, more seriously, "he realized I may not be able to make him forget whoever - sorry *whom*ever - he wants to forget." His voice grew slightly husky and thoughtful so Bella decided not to comment on the little grammar lesson.

"Got a thing for him?" The words were crude and brusque, but Duo felt the underlying comfort and warmth.

"I wish it was that simple," was Duo's artless answer. The guile left his voice for a moment, and he was lost in thought. Bella waited it out.

He jerked back into reality in less than a minute, and colored sheepishly. "Sorry. You know you shouldn't let me do that."

Eyes met and re-spoke a tacit agreement made long ago. She nodded and looked away first.

"Want to be left alone for now?"

Duo nodded. "Yes please."

Bella silently rose and left. She understood.

Duo closed the door behind her and took a deep breath to steady himself. He walked himself to the bathroom, to take a real shower. As he clicked shut the bathroom door behind him, Duo's mask fell. He could almost hear it shatter.

It took a few moments to get the water to the desert hotness Duo liked his shower at. Stepping into the steaming water, he let the rivulets cascading down his body soothe him, and he closed his eyes. He wanted to clean away the filth of his nighttimes. Burn away the top layer of skin, if necessary. Pretend the nights never happened. That the beautiful boy wasn't him; he was a torn soul hidden somewhere underneath.


Heero shoved the filthy sheets into a corner, confident that room service would find them and take them out to be cleaned. He surveyed the room. The floor was still a mess; perhaps room service would take care of that, too. At the moment, all he wanted to do was get out of that room.

So after glancing once around the rooms to see that everything was okay, Heero grabbed a jacket and made his way out the door, tucking the gun firmly in its holster in his back. He locked the door and walked to the elevator, having no intention of walking down all those stairs. He had no real destination, but he just wanted to get somewhere. The room was stifling.

Once on the street, Heero was momentarily lost. Then he remembered all those places Quatre's man had suggested. Empire State Building. That had sounded at least remotely interesting. A hundred and two floors high, and a chance to see basically the whole city. A chance to let his thoughts wander.

He asked directions from several people passing by before one helpful person told him which subway to take, where to get off, and where to go from there. Heero thanked him and made his way to the subway entrance.

The Empire State Building *was* impressive, in it's own way. Heero leaned his neck back in an attempt to see the whole of it. All he got was a crick in his neck. He shrugged and made his way inside.

'Shimatta!' he thought as he walked in. 'So many people!' Still. Standing around for hours on end was a good way to lose oneself in thought without merely sitting in a chair in front of a laptop.

Two hours later Heero couldn't believe he'd thought that. Being squeezed like sardines into tiny elevators, having to change elevators every few floors, waiting for the next elevator up, breathing the thrice breathed air... it was enough to make Heero want to pull out the gun and start firing erratically. It would leave less people sharing the disgusting air and elevator space with him, he reasoned. It would also hastily put him under arrest, and Trowa and Treize would not be pleased. This would probably be the last vacation he had in a while.

After another half an hour, Heero found himself at the top, with what felt like thousands of other people, all cramming to fit in the same 5 square feet. With some elbowing and shoving, Heero managed to make it to the edge, where he could see out.

The city was... something he was sure he would always remember. Old and new, dirty and pristine, a study of opposites, depending on where one looked.

'It's so ugly and so beautiful at the same time. He wanted to come here. He said he'd heard that the city was supposed to be amazing. That 5th Avenue would take my breath away. And it probably would have, if he'd been here with me.'

More memories. Always more memories.

He broke his gaze away from the view and slowly began to make his way downward. Several hours wasted, and still no closer to his goal. It was amazingly difficult to forget someone, he realized painfully.

Another hour later found him listlessly wandering the streets of New York. He really didn't know what he was doing there. Sightseeing didn't do anything for him; it only made him remember, made his heart clench and wonder what it would be like if *he* were here with Heero.

Carefully staying away from one place. One foot in front of the other, admiring the stores or other buildings lining the streets. Realizing it was getting somewhat dark, and Heero should probably get inside soon. It would get chilly soon, and he didn't want to be outside with his light jacket on.

"You can't be telling me you've never gone swimming for fun," Trowa said flatly.

Heero's lip twisted slightly. "I'm sorry, I haven't. Only in training, to make sure I know *how* to swim."

"You're coming, then." Trowa said it, and he said it like it was final.

Quatre had invited Trowa and his friend Heero to a countryside estate for a few days. Heero hadn't realized countryside estates existed in California until then. Quatre had to assure him that it was countryside only in name; it was really a secluded estate in the middle of a large piece of land, far from any source of civilization.

Heero had initially balked at the invitation, but Trowa had pointed out so many tempting reasons to go. His newest one was mention of an indoor Olympic-sized pool, and two outdoor pools. Heero went swimming once a week to practice, but he'd never exactly swum in fun. It would certainly be a new experience.

Which was why on Wednesday evening Heero found himself in his apartment, packing clothing - and his swimsuit - into a suitcase.

The phone rang and Heero was visibly relieved. He hated packing.

"Heero, have you finished packing yet?"

Heero groaned. Figures it would be Trowa talking about that which he so detested. "Almost," he growled.

"Good." Trowa was actually smiling, something that happened so rarely that Heero stopped and stared for a moment.

'I'm glad for you, Trowa. And I'm damned glad that this Winner boy makes you smile like that. You deserve to smile more. We live lives that have no time or reason for smiling, but he makes you smile regardless. That boy is a treasure, then, Trowa, and I mean nothing of his money.'

"Will you be ready in half an hour?" Even his voice was lighter, airier, happier.

"Aa. Are you coming to pick me up?"

"Yes. Quatre and I will come by. So don't be alarmed if some fancy car shows up at your door." He smirked. "I tried to tell him to bring a not-so-conspicuous car: the least conspicuous thing he had was still far fancier than anything I've owned or dreamed of owning."

"Figures," was Heero's brusque answer. "He has enough money to buy our souls, much less a bunch of nice cars."

Trowa smiled again. "Yes, I know. But... but Heero, you understand... that is not why I love him so?"

This time Heero almost smiled. "You love him because he makes you smile. Above everything, that is why, ne?"

His friend blushed slightly. He chuckled lightly and said, "Heero, you know me too well, I see."

"I have to pack now." Heero turned to hide the trace of emotion. "I'll see you in half an hour." He began to apply himself busily to his suitcase again, folding and shoving things in, trying to make sure he had everything.

"Of course. Bye." The vidphone clicked off.

Heero stopped pretending to pack. He threw in a few things, closed the suitcase, and sat on it. He waited.

It didn't take long, either. It wasn't much over 20 minutes when a beautiful, sleek, 2-year-old car pulled up in front of his apartment building. Heero snickered. It was certainly too conspicuous.

In moments his doorbell was ringing and Heero made his way over to the door. He opened it to Trowa, who merely waited at the door as Heero went to fetch his suitcase. They walked down the stairs together after Heero had closed and locked his door.

Heero followed Trowa to the elegant car, which was waiting for them. Quatre was already nestled in the back, with plenty of room for both Trowa and Heero. Plenty of room, but Trowa nevertheless decided to sit as close to Quatre as was physically possible. Heero hid a smile.

The ride in itself was fairly uneventful. Heero was prepared to sit for some hours, which Trowa had warned him about. Quatre and Trowa weren't speaking, just sitting close together and reveling in their closeness. While part of Heero yearned to have something similar, the other part scorned the weakness Trowa showed in being so attached to any one person. In their profession, nearly anyone was target. What would Trowa do if he beloved boyfriend was ever a target of a mission? Would he abort?

Heero decided to stop thinking about such things. Quatre obviously made Trowa happy, and Heero was sincerely glad for that. Enough said, then.

Heero was relieved to see that room service had tidied his rooms in his absence. The bed was clean, as was the floor. And the lingering smell of sex, lust, and sweat had since dissipated or been cleared out. In its place was the faint scent of lemons and various other cleaning fluids. Better.

He threw off his jacket and threw himself on the bed, still thinking.

'Kami-sama, I've spent all day thinking and here I am, thinking some more. I'm surprised my head hasn't exploded from the constant pressure it's been under today. In fact, I nearly expected a raging headache.'

The soft satin wrapped around him slightly as he tossed on the bed. The swishing of the sheets brought back memories - more recent memories - and Heero frowned slightly at the thoughts.

Of course, though, the main question was thus: What would he do that night?


---you'll have to excuse the last flashback of this section. ugh, i don't like it much, but it's late and i really wanna send this part out tonight! :::cries::: ah well.


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