Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is owned by Bandai, Sunrise and Sotsu Agency and probably a host of other folks I know nothing about.
Pairings: eventually 2x1 (a little O+2 in this part, but not too much)
Comments: This fic takes place four years after Endless Waltz, so the pilots are all about 20 now. New Types are a part of the other varied Gundam universes, and though it was never "officially" part of GW, Quatre's empathy could be seen as sort of proof that New Types exist in this variation of the Gundam universe as well. (I like to think so, anyway!) Not sure when the next part will be out--soon I hope :) C&C much welcomed! (Doumo arigatou, Suzume-san to Anne-san to Sharona-san!)
When Duo woke again, he was alone in an infirmary room, the white walls blank and monotonous, the bedside desk empty except for a plastic pitcher of water and a few small paper cups. No obvious lighting, no power or data outlets anywhere he could see, a small shelf near the door. That was it. A window dominated one wall, and from the look of it, he was on earth; few of the colony simulations could ever really match the way the sky and sun and clouds really looked from planetside. He wasn't bound down anymore, and he didn't feel drugged, just weak. Foolish, whoever these people were. They should have realized that Heero was a special case--Duo was an idiot around the man. He wasn't an idiot for anyone else. Leaving him loose and undrugged was begging for him to take out the nearest security guard just so that he could get his hands on real clothes instead of a paper hospital gown.
*I see you're finally awake, Duo.*
The voice was low, soft, accentless, an unfamiliar man's voice; it seemed to come from everwhere at once. Without meaning to, Duo searched for the source. The speakers had to be hidden, but even hidden speakers meant wires, and wires meant access to the basic power systems that ran through this place.
*Already planning your escape? Don't you want to know what's going on first?* The voice was amused.
"Yeah, sure," Duo muttered, "Why don't you tell me what's going on? I'd like that. And while you're at it, you can tell me where Yuy is, 'cause I'm going to have to kill him."
*I can't let you do that. I'm rather fond of Heero.* The voice was warmer when it uttered Heero's name, pulling out the out the sound of it in a sort of verbal carress.
"Whatever." Great, the bad guys had a thing for Yuy. He thought he was the only man foolish enough to have a thing for the pilot. A non-thing now. He couldn't forgive Heero for the moon base. Shooting him, sure. But killing the Preventers? No.
*Interesting. You know, he broke orders just to let them go. I've never seen Heero Yuy disobey orders. Not ours or anyone else's. I didn't think he had it in him, though he's probably regretting it by now.*
Duo sat up in the bed, gathering the green paper gown about himself. He smelled faintly of disinfectant soap. His hair was still in a braid, though it was neater than it should have been, unless someone had undone it, washed it, and re-braided it. He never let anyone touch his hair, never let anyone see it down. That some stranger had done that while he was out cold made him feel violated, angry.
*You shouldn't be so upset. He wouldn't let anyone else touch you. I tried to talk him out of playing with your hair, but he seemed determined that you not wake up with it bloody.*
That made Duo freeze. He hadn't said anything out loud. He hadn't done anything to indicate what he'd been thinking. Perhaps it was just some kind of lucky guess, but suddenly he felt like he was in the Zero system again, and something foreign was playing inside his mind.
*Ah, you do catch on quickly. Heero was certain that you would be the most adaptable out of the remaining pilots. The best suited to what we needed.*
Duo bolted to his feel, his face tight with fury, fists clenched at his sides. "Damn you! Get the fuck out of my head!"
"I'm afraid that isn't possible, Duo."
Duo's first thought was that the voice sounded different when it was coming from someone solid. The man the voice belonged to seemed vaguely familiar, his hair a dark, dusty gold, his face young and angular, oriental but of obviously mixed parentage, his eyes old, grey. In a strange way, he was beautiful--fragile even, in spite of the easy threat he held his body with and the taser he held casually in his hand. Duo knew him from somewhere, but exactly where escaped him at the moment.
*From back when you joined the Preventers, Duo, back when the Preventers were first formed. Heero and I trained together once. He taught me infiltration.*
In a flash, he had the memory, himself a little drunk, visiting Heero's room late at night with god-only-knew-what in mind. When Heero had opened the door, he had seen this man sprawled out in one of the chairs, in Duo's favorite chair really, staring intently at building schematics that he and Heero were obviously going over. When he looked up at Duo, his statement had been politely interested, but Duo had felt tension spring to life in the room. Drunk as he was, it had made something in Duo want to attack the man. Heero didn't belong with anyone but him. The man had smiled, goading him, aware of the competition even though Heero had missed the exchange entirely while he stood impatiently in the doorway, frowning at Duo. "You're drunk," he had said, crossing his arms in front of his chest. Duo had scowled, protested, "I am not. I've had a drink; there's a difference, Yuy." A long-suffering sound. "What do you want, Duo?" Behind Heero, the stranger had smiled at him, winked. Heero may have missed it, but someone knew what Duo wanted. It left a bitter taste in Duo's mouth. "Nothing. You're busy. I'll catch ya in the morning." Heero had blinked, nodded, and shut the door.
*Ironic, yes? He taught me how to get into enemy camps, and all the while I was infiltrating his.* He watched Duo with half-lidded eyes. *It was worth it, too.*
"Kael." Duo breathed the name, took a step in his direction. "You always were a bastard."
*Careful, Maxwell. You didn't win then, and you won't win now--and you have a lot more to lose this time.*
Kael smiled at him, the same pleasant smile he's been able to wear years ago. "Follow me. It's time to show you what you're here for."
"I'm not playing your games, Kael. You can damn well tell me what's going on right here."
For a second, he thought he'd pushed the man too far. After all, there were only so many ways you could defend yourself in an empty room armed only with a plastic water pitcher and a green paper hospital gown. Shinigami he might once have been, but that was in his Gundam or with a gun, not in a hand-to-hand fight against someone who had an advantage and was smart enough not to let him get his hands on it.
But then Kael set the taser down on the shelf and smiled, leaning indolently against a wall. "You want to know what's going on? All right then--telling you now won't change anything. Sit down."
Duo glared but eased himself back onto the bed. The man was being smart again--sitting down would make it that much harder for Duo to move quickly if an opportunity presented itself.
*Better. I would almost think someone has already taught you how to behave, Duo.*
With a growl, Duo came half-way to his feet, only to have the taser turned on him. It wasn't set on its highest setting, but it was more than strong enough to pull the breath out of his lungs and fold him back down on the floor, limp and sweating. Struggling to move produced only weak tremors in the muscles of his arms and legs. He had no idea how long it would take to get his ability to move back. Yeah. You're gonna go far like this, Maxwell. Think maybe the God of Death can put up with this prick long enough to hear what he has to say?
Kael must have been reading his thoughts again because he smiled, leaning over Duo to tuck a bit of his hair back behind his ear. *I'm not allowed to kill you yet, Duo. But believe me when I tell you that I will enjoy hurting you. Please, continue to give me reasons to do so.*
He crouched down next to him, idly sliding his hand down Duo's side, his fingers hot through the papery fabric. Duo closed his eyes. He did not need this. Not now. Not ever. Kael's hand stilled, and his voice was very, very low and close to his ear, his words whispered like a lover's caress, "Because of your reaction to the Zero system and your ability to pilot Deathscythe certain scientists think you might be a New Type."
Duo focused on the words. They were English but so vague they were almost meaningless. The way Kael said them though, they had a great deal of significance. "What--?"
"A New Type, Duo, is what happens after a few generations of colonists breed in space. The new environment--it causes genetic anomolies, strangenesses. Like the color of your eyes. Like your ability to pilot a machine that should have killed you. Only a true New Type is more than just a genetic oddity--a true New Type can manifest some interesting, even inhuman abilities."
*Like reading your mind, Maxwell. That's right--I'm a New Type.*
"These scientists think they've developed chemicals to bring a latent New Type ability out. You're here so they can test that theory and exploit that ability--if it exists. It will take a few weeks, and when you're done you may be crazy, or you may be broken, or you may just be like Heero... Amenable."
"If you manifest an ability, you'll be quite valuable. If you don't manifest an ability, they're going to either kill you or give you to me as an amusement."
Duo clamped down on his anger and focused, as completely as he could, on thinking a single thing: I'd like to see you try that, asshole.
*I already have, Duo. How do you think I got Heero?*
Duo's eyes snapped open.
Kael stood towering over him, his face thoughtful. "You know, I don't think you're going to be able to walk like an obedient lab rat, so I'm going to have to carry you." He leaned down, caught Duo's braid in his hand, and levered his head up with it.
Duo tried to fight it, tried to get his muscles to do something other than spasm painfully, but he couldn't move.
"I'm going to kill you, Kael."
*I sincerely hope you try, kitten.*