3-7-2002

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

Warning: This part contains some NC lemon OC X 1 Also, unlike the rest of the fic, the "Interludes" chapters are from Kael's POV.

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!)

If you've missed the first bits, I've provided an archive link at the bottom of this e-mail.

 

Growing Wings
Chapter 8

 

Duo woke from dreams of angels and fire to discover that he was hungry and his back was killing him. He was on an unfamiliar couch staring at an equally unfamiliar ceiling. Probably Kael's. But he didn't hear him moving around anywhere, and he didn't hear him in the back recesses of his mind which immediately improved his mood. Propping himself up on his elbows, he took a more complete survey of the room: lamps, tables, bookshelves, computer, potted tree, two doors, window-- Wait a second... Computer? He scanned the room again, carefully. No cameras. He was sure of it. Unlikely that Kael would leave him in a room with a computer with access to the outside, but that didn't mean that he couldn't learn a lot from whatever was on the harddrive.

He pushed the blankets back. Still naked. No longer covered with soot. He supposed he should be grateful for being clean, but he really hated the idea of being unconscious while Kael handled him. And his hair...

Yeah, yeah. Shoulda thought of that when you passed out, Maxwell. Asshole like Kael's not gonna let you ruin his couch to preserve your modesty. Just be glad you weren't awake for the big show.

The thought made him cringe.

Still, modesty wasn't something he could afford right now. He had to sort out what was going on, figure out what that whole fire thing was, find out who these people were, when they planned to take over the world (didn't they always want to take over the world?), then get the hell out of Dodge. Maybe get Heero out too, because maybe, just maybe, he hadn't gone all dark-side on them after all. What was it Kael had said? "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." So it was possible that the Preventers, some of them at least, were still alive, that Heero had brought him here for a reason other than simple betrayal. Hard to tell when Yuy always played things so close to the chest. He wasn't as bad as Trowa, who could actually act, but almost.

He pushed himself up, letting the blankets drop to the floor. Aside from the soreness a body could expect from spending the night on a couch too short to accommodate it, he felt fine. It was time to find out what he could. He just wished he'd had a chance to really talk to Heero, to try to understand--

And that was when Heero pushed the door in the middle of the far wall open, pushed his way silently into the room, and shut it behind him. He stood frozen for a moment staring at Duo, his normally impassive face twisted with something that Duo would have sworn was guilt, even shame. Then the statement was gone, replaced with his familiar stoicism.

For some reason, in spite of the insanity of the past few days, in spite of being shot, brought here, made to believe the Preventers were dead, in spite of the strange impossibility of the fire room and the fact that he was currently naked, all he wanted to do was go to the other pilot, crush him to his chest and kiss him until they both ran out of air. He didn't, of course. Heero would probably have just shot him if he tried. But he wanted to so badly that his hands shook from holding himself back.

Ach, Maxwell, you've got it bad.

That was when he realized that Heero hadn't snuck into the room from the sliding hallway door, that he looked dishevelled, and that--if this was Kael's living room, and that was Kael's kitchen--Heero had just come out of Kael's bedroom.

Heero's sleeping with him.

His stomach felt like it was turning over inside him.

Sleeping with him.

Heero had looked guilty, ashamed. Had come from Kael's bedroom. Abruptly, Duo remembered the blankets on the couch, grabbed one and wrapped it loosely around his waist. Heero still hadn't moved from his spot in front of the door. Kael was probably still asleep in there. Heero looked almost protective from his spot guarding the door.

Guess I wasn't supposed to be awake yet.

With an effort, he stilled his hands, his stomach, his mind. Dismissing the bitterness was harder. What Heero did and with whom wasn't important right now. The way he was acting, you'd think he was just a fifteen-year-old kid still. Hell, it was possible--probable even--that Heero was sleeping with Kael just to get information. No matter what, it wasn't his business. He hadn't seen Yuy in two years. He had no clue what motivated the Japanese man now anymore than he ever had. Right now, Duo's priority was finding out why he was here, what game Heero was really playing.

"Yuy," he said it softly, pleased that his voice came out smoothly. "What's going on?"

Good, Maxwell, good. Another minute and you'll be back to normal.

He felt his heart steady back into its normal rhythm, his breathing slow. It was amazing what a bit of focus could do for a guy. Heero frowned and moved away from the door, one hand tucked back behind him. "Now isn't the time. I'll explain when we're out of here."

Was he holding a weapon?

Duo shook his head, pacing back instinctively, cursing the blanket inside his head when he almost fell over it, but he still wasn't willing to give it up. He hadn't had enough time to search the room for weapons.

Do you need another weapon, Duo? Didn't you make that fire happen? Couldn't you do it again--if you wanted?

Briefly, an image of Heero on fire flashed in front of his eyes. He shuddered, still backing away from the other man. He might, possibly, be able to kill Heero, but not like that. Never like that. His voice came out harsher than he'd wanted, threatening, "Not good enough. Drop whatever you've got and I'll consider it."

Heero held out both of his hands in an uneasy capitulation, a silenced gun loose in one of them. Duo stared at it for a moment; Yuy wouldn't have needed the silencer for shooting him. Heero's voice was soft, just shy of pleading. "I can't, Duo--we don't have time. They're going to come looking for him, and we have to be gone before then."

Come looking for him...

Duo reached out, caught the loose gun barrel in his hand. It was still hot.

"You killed him?"

Heero's face was blank, but he nodded sharply.

Duo sighed. He didn't need to see the body--if Heero said somebody was dead, they were dead. It was harder trying not to show the relief he felt. Rationalization or not, seeing Heero coming out of that room had hurt like hell. Finding out he was wrong made him feel giddy--or was it the knowledge that Kael was dead that did that?

He grinned, a tight, sharp baring of teeth that only Heero and the other pilots knew. It was a dangerous statement on him. "Bastard had it coming." He paused, "You'll give me the rest when we're away from here."

It wasn't a question, but Heero answered anyway: "Aa."

"You got a plan for getting out of here, or are we just gonna fall down a cliff again?"

Heero stilled, watched him for a moment, then, "Aa."

For Heero, that was downright verbose. "Fine. Not sure how far I'm gonna get naked, but I'll give it a shot. Not so good at running in sheets. You got a gun for me, too?"

Heero shook his head, held up a hand, and slipped silently back into Kael's bedroom. When he came back out, he had clothes, Kael's undoubtably, in his hand, and a second gun tucked into his belt. The clothes he tossed to Duo before circling the room, watching out the window while Duo dropped his blanket and pulled them on in quick jerks. He hated wearing anything of Kael's, but nothing of Heero's would have fit. Heero looked back from the window once Duo had the clothes on, nodded, and tossed him the second gun and a heavy-handled switchblade.

Duo caught them neatly, pocketed the knife and sighted down the gun. He pulled back the pin and checked the chamber--it was loaded and ready--and snapped the safety off. It wasn't silenced, so he'd have to be careful when and where he used it, but it felt better to be armed.

"Got it all planned out, Yuy. 'M impressed."

Heero didn't acknowledge the comment. Some things never did change.

The run out of the base was so quiet it was eerie. Heero knew which of the long halls had patrols and which didn't. He knew when the patrols were timed and how to get around them quietly. He even had a ride ready: a small all-terrain vehicle that sat only the two of them. The lack of roads wasn't going to be a problem. Less than an hour after he woke on Kael's couch, Duo was on his way to freedom.

 

Chapter 9

He couldn't remember how many years it had been since he'd huddled out in the cold under the sky, waiting for the moon to go down before it was safe to move again. Four years? Five? Had this all started with his wish to be out under the stars again? Strange that Une's office seemed so distant, and the war seemed so close.

It was Heero's presence that brought it back, made it seem like they were still in the middle of the fighting, like Deathscythe and Wing were hidden up the mountain under cover tarps. It helped that Yuy still didn't know how to hunt--or cook. And somehow, the notion that the pair of them might possibly starve on the side of a mountain made Duo smile.

If Duo hadn't taken the time to learn to fish from Trowa, the pair of them would have starved--for the night.

But they probably wouldn't have died.

He skinned the fish easily in the dark, shucking the skin, bone, and innards back into the stream with a flick of his blade. Sushi wasn't his favorite, but he hadn't eaten for two days, so it would have to do. Yuy, on the other hand, would be delighted when he saw Duo's haul.

Gathering the fillets, he made his way back to where Heero waited, perched in the lower boughs of one of the larger pine trees. "Yuy," he called softly up to him, "Dinner."

Heero's face was pale in the shadow of the tree's branches, mottled with the shifting shadows. He had never been able to see as well as Duo did in the dark, something else that had reassuringly not changed. A little louder, Duo said, "Come on, Heero. Gimme your hand."

When Heero offered his hand, Duo accepted it, pulling himself up into the tree beside Heero. Leaning back against the truck, he craned his head back to watch the bits and patches of sky wash over them. "Here. Eat." He offered half of his catch to Heero, trying to eat the remains slowly enough to appreciate them.

They ate in silence for several minutes before Heero surprised him by offering, "You wanted to know what's going on."

He closed his eyes against the night. "Yeah, Yuy, I want to know what's going on."

"He told you about NewTypes."

"Yeah."

"You aren't going to like it." Heero sighed, shifted. "The Preventers knew about NewTypes years ago. Une, Po, Peacecraft--they don't know. Most of them don't know. But the powerful people who put up the money to make the organization did. And they worried about them. NewTypes were able to do things they couldn't contain, couldn't stop, and if the NewTypes were ever united, there would be very little to stop them from taking what they wanted.

"They watched all of us, Zechs and Wufei even more than the rest of us because they had proven to be... unstable. But it wasn't a Gundam pilot that first showed signs of being a NewType. It was Kael. He got pinned down in a firefight, trapped. His partner got shot, and he panicked. He brought the house down. People were dropping everywhere, screaming."

Duo frowned and opened his eyes, peering at Heero's face in the dark. "You sound like you were there."

"I was Kael's partner."

"But--"

"Kael was protecting Relena."

Oh.

"He protected her, but she was in shock afterward. They sent her to the hospital, brought Kael in for debriefing. He was unstable, incoherent, dangerous--everything that they were afraid of. And his power... You've seen what he does. They sedated him, called me in to finish him off."

Heero drew a long breath. "And I couldn't do it. Kael had served them with everything he had. By an accident of birth, he had a power he couldn't control, and they were going to kill him for it, pretend he never existed. If they were willing to kill Kael, then who wouldn't they eliminate? I let him go and covered the evidence."

"Hell of a time to question orders, Yuy."

Heero scowled, shook his head, and continued, "I didn't become a Preventer to become an assassin again."

Fair enough, Heero, fair enough. None of us need to go back to that.

"I didn't know what had happened to him until I was sent here to infiltrate this operation. He knew what I was here for, knew who I was. And even if he hadn't, he could have read my mind. They caught me immediately." He laughed humorlessly in the dark. "I never did have Trowa's knack for espionage."

Duo laughed, too. "Come on, Heero. You used to sign us up in boarding schools, for God's sake--under our real names. Espionage, my ass." He pillowed his head on his arms, trying to ignore the strong fish-smell of his hands. "Go on. You've been gone for two years. What do you know now, and why'd you bring me here?"

Heero grunted his assent. "Hai. I found out that they were making NewTypes here--inducing them, they called it. They wanted to create a team of NewType fighters to take on the Preventers, take on the New Earth Sphere Alliance, make a place on earth and in the Colonies for NewTypes--at least, that's what they say. They tried inducing me. It didn't seem to work. I healed fast before. I heal faster now. That was it. It wasn't what they were hoping for in their Shadow Army. They wanted talents that were... loud, obvious. They wanted talents that would prove to the population that NewTypes were real and were a force to be reckoned with."

Duo made a small, rude sound. "Suicide."

"Aa. Kael... took charge of me when my talents proved non-existant. He was supposed to get in my head, play with my loyalties. They would have preferred a NewType, but they were willing to settle for a Gundam pilot, for a while at least. I was able to keep Kael out of my mind for the most part and to gather information on their plans. I was getting ready to disappear, bring what I knew back to the Preventers, when the orders came down to make another attempt on a different Gundam pilot."

"They only had two possible options: you or Zechs."

Duo frowned. "Why us? Wufei's probably a better fighter, and--"

"Your face. The public knows you, would recognize you. Same with Zechs. If they saw you and knew you were a NewType, then who else might be? They said it would give the Shadow Army a tremendous edge if the Colonies and the New Earth Sphere Alliance had to fight against public paranoia. That was why they chose me initially."

"Oh. And they decided against Zechs, 'cause everybody knows he's a crazy bastard anyway."

"Iie. I persuaded them to choose you."

"What?!"

"I needed someone I could trust down here, someone who could stand the process and walk away from it sane. I needed one of us to be a real NewType, not whatever I am. And Zechs is too unreliable."

Duo snorted. "Thanks--I think." He turned the facts he had over in his mind. "Okay, so that's why they thought you were working with them--'cause you were willing to bring them one of your own. And that's why you let me believe you were working with them--so Kael wouldn't see something in my head. I get alla that. But, Heero--most of the scientists, the guards, the others... They weren't NewTypes. What gives? Why would they care?"

Heero was silent for a long moment, and the moon had finally set, so Duo couldn't read his statement. "I don't think they do. I think they want just the opposite of what they say. I think they're planning to use a NewType to assassinate one of the Colony leaders--I believe the target is Quatre--to unite the Colonies and the New Earth Sphere against the growing NewType population. They wanted one of us, one of Quatre's fellow pilots, to prove just how little we could be trusted. If the assassination were to succeed, the rest of the NewTypes would be collected, registered. They'd end up little better than slaves.

"So instead of committing the assassination, a NewType has to stop it--a recognizable NewType--and that's why I needed you."