Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is owned by Bandai, Sunrise and Sotsu Agency and probably a host of other folks I know nothing about.
Comments: This fic takes place about 4 years after Endless Waltz, so all of the pilots are about 20 years old. I'm using the NewType idea from the other Gundam universes, so but it doesn't show up too much in this part. Chapter 12 was delayed slightly by a conspiracy of friends, bootleg DVDs of LOTR, and lobster tails but has at last made it. :) Chapter 13 is another Kael interlude and I'm going to try to have it up tonight.
Thank you Suzume, Heather, Stacy, Kotenyo-san, and Brighnasa! I love getting feedback so if you like it or hate it (or just hate Kael), let me know :)
He left Heero sleeping on the couch after arguing with the Japanese pilot for the better part of ten minutes. He had been perfectly willing to give up his bed and sleep on the couch, had honestly preferred that option, but Heero had pointed out that Duo was taller. Then he had laid down on the couch, pulled the folded blankets over himself, and gone to sleep. It had certainly ended the discussion effectively.
If it hadn't been so frustrating, Duo would have found it funny.
Heero was a strange one--always had been--but Duo knew him well enough to know when to give him space, especially now that he had an idea about what had happened between the Wing pilot and Kael. Heero's strange apology made sense to him finally as he put the disparate memories together: the hate and fury on Heero's face when they woke up together on the mountain, the desperate passion in the shuttleport kiss, the fear in his face at the hostel. Kael had indeed had Heero, and had damaged him badly. He had been blind to miss it before.
Which brought him to a decision: if he had a NewType ability, then he was going to learn how to use it. If Kael ever touched Heero again, he'd make sure the bastard burned. It was a satisfying thought.
Ten minutes and eight blocks later, he pushed the hatch door closed behind him, locking it absently. Ready to step into the darkness of the chamber, he froze, still as stone. Something was wrong; some bit of sound or scent was ever-so-slightly off. He eased his gun out, flicked the safety off, and braced it with both hands, ready to fire.
Then he realized what it was.
The last time he had been there, Deathscythe had waited for him. In the early hours of the morning, powered down, the servos on the Gundam had whirred and hummed quietly in the room, filling it with a barely perceptible whisper of white noise. Some might have found the sound irritating. Others wouldn't have noticed it. Duo had learned to associate the sound with warmth, safety. Hard to believe he'd grown so fond of something that was really nothing more than a machine. But Deathscythe was as much a home as he'd had since Maxwell Church. Even more than Heero, Deathscythe had been Duo's partner. The mobile suit had saved his life more times than he could count, and though he had never made peace with the Zero system, it had gotten in his head, warning him of what he would become had he continued on his furious path: a murderer, a colony destroyer, a dark, avenging soldier--truly a God of Death. Sometimes at night, he still heard Hilde's phantom scream.
He shivered there in the cool hold, wondering if some trace of Zero's prophesy still remained. Was he still fated to destroy the colony he had grown up on?
As it had so many years ago, the question left him shaken, uneasy.
He tried to brush off the odd feeling of heaviness. Deathscythe was gone, destroyed well and truly at his own hands, leaving the room empty, hollow, like its heart had been removed. Deathscythe was gone, and Earth and the colonies were safe from what he could have become. He did not need to relive old night fears. Lowering the gun, he scanned the room, really listening this time. In the silence, he could hear his own heartbeat. No one was there. He shook his head, holstering the gun again before working his way across the room. The switch box was where he remembered it. He flipped it open and powered up the lights. Ah. Better.
The bright, recessed lighting was built into the ceiling on the other side of huge panels of clear acrylic--clear, non-burning acrylic. As a matter of fact, everything in the room was high-temper steel or heavy acrylic, shining and polished. There was no rust here. He had altered the hanger years ago so it could bear up to the heat from Deathscythe's afterburners. He had also sealed it off, insulated it and rerouted power to it so that no one could trace the place. It was the perfect place to hide a mobile suit or just to hide. Now the cavernous room would serve a different purpose entirely.
He slid the pack off his shoulder, pulled out several of the explosive caps, and dropped them lightly to the ground. First, he had to learn if he could call the fire under some semblance of control, then he needed to see if he had some kind of range with it. The hangar was large enough to suit both purposes.
Best to start with one or two caps only, and igniting too many of the them at once would damage even this place. Pacing back, he frowned. He knew the flames wouldn't hurt him, but they'd certainly put a dent in everything else, and he hadn't thought to bring an extra set of clothes with him.
Of course, the idea of returning to Heero Yuy naked and covered in soot was not entirely unappealing.
He grinned and pulled off his clothes. Nice as the idea was, it wasn't the sort of thing to help Heero pull himself back together again. Folding the clothes carelessly, he placed everything--clothes, pack, boots, and gun--into one of the access panels and shut it.
There was no more delaying.
He bowed his head, closed his eyes, and tried to remember. They had drugged him, intubated him, and... And the room had just fallen away. It was like there was no division in time between the not-burning and the burning.
He shivered again.
No good. That wasn't going to help. They had used drugs that time, and even if he knew what they had used, he wasn't going to make himself dependent on a needle to use this weapon.
On the mountainside, it had happened again. That had been anger, pure and simple. Thinking of Kael, it was easy enough to call again. He let the heat sweep up and through him, let his fury at the other man boil inside of himself, imagined the vicious satisfaction of using the flames on him--
--and the whole hangar combusted, the air lighting up in a storm of ozone, burning away so fast that the thundering clap of pressure was pulled away in the rush of vacuum. Then the flames were gone, the detonation caps vanished as if they had never existed, and the air...
It happened so fast that he almost wasn't sure what it was that had happened, had only moments to understand, push himself to the switch box and open the ventilation shafts. Though the flame and heat apparently wouldn't hurt him in the slightest, the vacuum from lack of air would.
Then he collapsed, the world spinning around him in a blinding swirl of dark colors.
He didn't know how much later it was when he woke. It could have been minutes or days. He really had no sense of it. Just like last time, he realized. Something about using his talent like that must shut him down.
This was not going to work unless he could get it under better control. Maybe it was time to call in Quatre.