Title : Change Of Heart ( Part 1/? )
Author : Minky
Archive : Err...not sure if Tyr-san is still accepting fics.
Genre : AU and definitely OOC
Rating : You decide ^_^
Pairings : 1+2 ( did I mention I am a rabid 1x2/1+2 fan? )
Standard disclaimer : I don't own any of the GW characters. This fic is written purely for entertainment purposes. I am not making a single cent out of it. So, don't bother to sue me.
Change Of Heart
By Minky ( June 2001)
It will be another three weeks to Christmas, a time of giving, and a day of celebration. Of fun and laughter, of wine and parties. To the children, Christmas should be a magical time of Santa Claus...reindeer...bright lights...and wishes upon a star. For some children, though, Christmas is an all-too-real reminder of a world that has neglected them. A simple little gift, no matter how small, can be the bright light that shows a child that someone cares.
It was with this belief that a group of orphans from the Maxwell church was outside a shopping mall, selling flags to raise money for the church, to try to bring in a little bright light for all these underprivileged children.
Please help the orphans of Maxwell church. Give them a warm Christmas this year, please donate generously, the kids called out, rushing up to everyone in their sight, shoving their donation cans towards them.
Situated at the third floor of an old abandoned building across the street, a certain dark-haired Japanese boy observed the merriment with little interest. After all, these celebrations held no significant meaning to him at all. All these so-called joyous feelings were foreign to him; the desolation in his heart had long ago isolated him from the real world.
Target on sight, a voice came over a small earphone attached to his left ear.
A well-dressed man stood alone at a corner of the street, ignoring the crowd around him. He kept looking at his watch, glancing around him, obviously waiting for someone. A little orphan girl saw the man and ran towards him.
Sir, would you please donate some money for our church? the girl asked, pushing up the donation can to the man.
Go away kid, get lost! The girl was shoved away and fell to the ground, crying.
Hey! an older boy in the group yelled. You dont have to do that even if you dont want to donate anything. The boy with an unusual long braid of hair glared at the man angrily as he picked the little girl up.
Standing behind a partially hidden window, the young assassin, Heero Yuy, took an aim on his target and was about to fire when his view was obstructed by the longhaired boy. He was having some sort of argument with the man.
Baka! Get out of the way! Heero cursed under his breath as he took another aim. He saw the man shoving the boy away and took the opportunity to fire at him.
Heero fired three shots at his target when suddenly the boy came back into the view again. Two of the shots hit the man who fell onto the ground immediately. But one bullet went off course. Heero watched helplessly as the bullet hit the back of the longhaired boy. He stared in silent horror as the boy collapsed to the ground, motionless.
Kso, Heero almost yelled out as a horrified crowd began to surround his target and the boy.
Clear out, Yuy, the voice instructed over the earphone.
Call the ambulance! someone shouted amidst the screams and gasps from the crowd and the cries of anguish from the terrified children.
Clear out now, Yuy! the voice came over his earphone again but the stunned assassin just stared out at the street now overcrowded with curious pedestrians.
Exasperated, Chang Wufei, his partner in crime, rushed over to him from his observation post at the rooftop and quickly pulled the silent boy away. He dragged the Japanese youth into a car parked in the back lane and drove away immediately before someone noticed them. He didnt slow down until they reached the main street, blocks away from the shopping mall.
Driving along the highway, Wufei took a glance at Heero who was sitting in a stone silence; disturbed look masked over his face. He had never seen such an expression on him before. Heero was an excellent assassin, a professional hit man who held no emotion for his targets, no hesitation over his assignment. But today, that mistake seemed to trouble him a lot and it began to worry Wufei.
You okay, Yuy? Wufei asked in concern.
I shot the boy, Heero whispered, his voice sounded suspiciously shaky.
Just his luck, Wufei remarked nonchalantly.
Taken aback by his words, Heero turned and stared at him. He is just an innocent bystander.
There is nothing we can do about it. We have a mission to accomplish and you know the organizations rules very well. We must achieve our goals regardless of anything, even if it means that we have to kill an innocent. Thats the rule, Yuy, thats the rule.
To hell with the rules! Heero growled softly.
Stop brooding over it, Yuy. We got to hurry. Lady Une is expecting us with the status of this mission.
Heero just looked away in silence.
It was almost twilight when Heero finally dragged himself into his apartment wearily. He and Wufei had spent the whole afternoon at the headquarters. Lady Une was very pleased with their work. She didnt mention a word about the boy Heero shot by mistake. Like Wufei, she wasnt bothered about killing an innocent as long as the assignment was carried out accordingly.
Heero flopped onto his bed; his mind was in total disarray. Reaching out for the remote control, he flipped through the channels on the TV until he hit the local news broadcast.
This afternoon, at the Parkway Mall, a man was shot in the midst of crowded weekend shoppers. Paramedics pronounced the man dead on the spot. Another victim, an eighteen-year-old boy who was severely injured, was rushed to the St. Maria hospital. The paramedics reported his condition as critical. The police are still investigating the case. They found no evidence at the scene of the crime. They suspected this to be the works of organized professional killers. The police are looking for eyewitnesses. Anyone...
Heero flicked the TV off and ran into the bathroom. He turned on the tap and kept splashing cold water onto his face.
Eighteen...he is eighteen just like me and what have I done to him?
Heero stared at his own reflection on the mirror and suddenly felt so weary. He dropped himself on the bed still fully clothed but he couldnt sleep at all. He was tossing and turning the whole night. He kept seeing visions of the fallen boy, hearing the screams and cries.
Why am I feeling so conscience stricken? I have killed countless people without feeling any guilt before so why the exception this time? he kept questioning himself.
Finally, unable to stand the nagging feeling anymore, Heero got up from the bed and left his apartment.
It was just after midnight when Heero reached the hospital. It was deserted due to late hours. Noticing that the nurse in-charge was not at the counter, he quickly went behind the counter and checked the patient records. He found the injured boys record and ward number.
As Heero slipped quietly into the ward, he felt a sudden chill running down his spine. He approached the bed slowly and looked at the unconscious boy. Lying motionlessly on the bed, his face was ghastly pale against the white pillowcase. An oxygen mask was placed over his mouth and nostril to assist his breathing while tubes carrying medication and drips were pierced into his hand and arm.
A wave of guilt rushed up Heeros heart. Im sorry, he whispered softly.
Hearing the soft approaching footsteps outside the ward, Heero quickly hid himself in the closet. The door opened and the doctor walked in with a priest and a nun. Heero eyed them curiously from his hiding place.
Is there really no other way? Anything else that you could do? the priest asked.
Im sorry but Im afraid not. His condition is pretty bad at the moment. Though we have successfully removed the bullet hit but the damage to the vertebra is done. The impact from the bullet has injured his spine resulting in immobilization to the lower part of his body. We have inserted metal pins into his back for support. There really isnt much we can do for him now, the tired doctor explained grimly.
Will he...will Duo remained wheelchair bound for the rest of his life? the nun asked in an anguished voice.
He might or might not. Undergoing the physiotherapy will help but still it would very much depend on his future condition.
Heeros tired body went slump, his heart dropped at the shattering news. He had indeed ruined the boys life, a boy who was most unfortunate to cross his path.
Duo woke up two days later to be told of the outcome of his condition. He refused to believe the doctors diagnosis but it was the devastating truth. When the wheelchair was pushed into his ward, it finally dawned on Duo that he would have to depend on it to move around, those wheels were the replacement for his legs. Anger and frustration entered his mind. He wanted so badly to hurl that damn chair out of the room.
Why? Why must this happen to me? his mind screamed out these unanswered questions repeatedly.
Father Maxwell and Sister Helen were extremely worried about him. Knowing what an energetic child he was, they understood his feelings of being nailed down. Duo knew of their worry and he tried not to increase their anxiety.
He put up a brave front before them but alone in the night; he couldnt help feeling sorry for himself. He cried bitterly beneath the covers, angry with the person who shot him, lamenting over his misfortune.
His muffled cries did not go unheard by Heero who was observing him in the dark. Late at night, the Japanese youth would sneak into his ward to watch over him. The cries that he heard, the dried tearstains on the boys cheeks that he saw burdened his guilt-ridden heart more than he could take.
After three weeks in the hospital, the doctor finally allowed Duo to be discharged. He was bored to tears having to lie in the bed the whole day doing nothing.
Heero who still visit him secretly in the night learnt of his discharge. On the day itself, he stood at a newsvendor stall across the street and watched as the priest and nun helped the boy into a cab. He followed the cab in his jeep and saw them alighting at the church.
So, he is an orphan living in the church, another discovery that distressed him even more.
Everyone at the church was delighted to see him back. Duo could tell that they had taken great effort to make him at ease. Passageways around the church had been cleared to accommodate for his wheelchair to pass through, handrails had been fixed in the bathroom for his convenience.
In the midst of his accident and hospitalization, the Christmas celebrations that was so looked forward to yearly by the children was carried out in the form of a simple affair. He was most regretful that they had to forgo the celebrations because of him.
They have done so much for me. I mustnt let them down. I must snap out of this depression and learn to be strong again. I mustnt disappoint those who care for me.
And Duo re-learnt everything, from simple tasks like taking a shower, going to the bathroom and changing his clothes. It wasnt easy for him at all, being restricted in movement. He had to learn to be more patient, knowing that an emotional outburst will only hurt those who cared for him.
I will make it, I will be fine, he reminded himself.
An outstation assignment took Heero away for two weeks. When he was back in town, he continued with his monitoring on the boy. He was watching nearby one morning when he saw the boy leaving the church compound. He followed the wheelchair-bounded boy secretly from a distance.
Why isnt there anyone to accompany him? How could they let him go around alone like that? he wondered as he watched the boy stopping by the side of the pavement, waiting for a chance to cross the street.
Seeing that the street was cleared of traffic, Duo slowly wheeled himself across. Halfway across the street, one of the wheels got caught in a pothole and he was almost tipped over. Gripping at the wheels tightly, Duo tried to get the push wheel out of the hole but it wouldnt move at all. Just then, a truck turned into the street and started honking at him. The panicked boy tried to back away to avoid the truck but his chair wouldnt budge at all.
As the truck neared him, Duo closed his eyes tightly and prepared himself for the worst. Suddenly, he felt his chair moved away at a fast speed. When he opened his eyes, he found himself at the other side of the road. Looking up, he saw a dark haired boy staring down at him with concern.
Are you all right? the boy asked him.
Still shocked by the earlier incident, Duo could only nod at him speechlessly.
Are you sure? You dont look too good to me. Wait for me here. The boy ran into a convenient store a few shops away and came back with a cup of hot coffee.
Here, drink this, the boy said, handing him the styrofoam cup.
Duo mumbled his thanks and sipped at the hot drink slowly. The coffee calmed him down and put color came back to his cheeks.
You look much better now, the boy commented.
Duo blushed slightly and looked up at the boy again.
Thank you for saving my life.
Err...dont mention it. The boy looked strangely uncomfortable by Duos gratefulness.
Where are you going? he asked instead.
Im going to the medical rehab center a few blocks away from here.
Why isnt there anyone to accompany you?
Its not that far away and I dont want to trouble anyone. Usually I can manage on my own. What happened just now is purely unexpected.
But we cant have that kind of unexpected cases happening again. Tell you what, why dont I send you to your destination?
Its ok, I can manage. Dont trouble yourself, Duo declined his offer.
No trouble at all. My jeep is parked over there. Let me send you, the boy insisted, pushing Duos wheelchair over, leaving him no choice.
Along the way, Duo suddenly remembered he hadnt introduced himself yet.
My name is Duo Maxwell. Whats yours?
Heero, Heero Yuy.
Nice meeting you, Heero, Duo greeted cheerfully.
Me too, came the short reply. Duo blinked at him and decided that he was not a very talkative person so he remained quiet until they reached the rehab center.
Ok, Im here. Thanks for the lift, bye.
The longhaired boy waved to Heero as he entered the building.
Heero looked at the physical rehabilitation center hesitantly before deciding to enter. Inside the center, he saw physiotherapists helping patients exercising and massaging their limps. In one of the rooms, he saw Duo lifting a dumb bell, exercising to build up strength in his arms, which were to take the place of his legs. The determination on his face was apparent, this boy was ready to fight for his independence of movement.
Duo was surprised to see Heero leaning against his jeep outside the rehab center when he came out after the therapy session.
Heero? What are you still doing?
Waiting for you.
Waiting for me? But why?
Well, I thought since I sent you here, I might as well send you back.
Duo eyed him incredulously. Why would he be so kind to him? They had just met, hardly two hours ago. Why would he want to bother himself with him?
Must be because of my legs, Duo thought, He is taking pity on me because of my handicap.
The thought of that put Duo into a defensive mood. Turning towards Heero indignantly, he said, Thanks but no thanks. Like I said before, I can manage on my own.
The dark haired boy was slightly taken aback by the anger in his tone.
But why wont you let me help you?
Look, I may be a handicap but that doesnt mean that I am totally useless.
Im sorry if I have you thinking that way but thats not what I mean.
Thank you for your kindness but I really dont want to depend on others. Good day.
With that, Duo wheeled himself down the pavement with Heero watching him in amazement.
Very strong-will and full of pride, Heero concluded, a little smile appearing on his lips unknowingly. A very interesting character.
A week later when Duo was on his way to the rehab center, he found Heero waiting for him at the corner of the street.
Hello Duo, the dark haired boy greeted.
Going for the therapy session? Let me give you a lift, Heero said, opening the door of his jeep.
Duo sighed. I thought I have already made it clear to you the other time that I dont need any help.
Heero ignored his remarks and lifted him off the chair. Duo began to protest but he cut him off.
Come on, you dont want to be late, do you?
He placed Duo on the passenger seat and folded the wheelchair before placing it at the back seat.
Are you always so persistent? Duo asked as Heero started the engine.
Depends. If you feel bad about the lift, just treat me to a cup of coffee later as a compensation, ok?
Duo shook his head in defeat.
Are you always so free then? Dont you have to work or something? he asked again.
My job...it's kind of freelance.
Freelance? Let me guess. You are a...journalist?
Err...something like that. Heero hate to lie but he couldnt possibly tell him the truth.
This guy is sure strange but he seems sincere enough, Duo thought, smiling slightly.
Something wrong? Heero asked.
Nothing, just keep your eyes on the road. I want to get there in one piece.
Hai, Heero responded solemnly, earning a giggle from Duo. The initial animosity Duo had for him had somehow vanished.
Since then, it had become a routine for Heero to pick Duo up for every therapy session and their friendship had developed too. Heero found himself looking forward to seeing the American boy. It was with him that made Heero feel so alive and the visits became more frequent.
Coming over to the church one late afternoon, Heero saw the violet-eyed boy wheeling himself down the street.
Duo! he called out.
The boy glanced back and a huge smile spread across his face. Heero! he waved.
Where are you off to? the Japanese boy asked, coming to his side.
I am thinking of taking a stroll down at the beach.
The beach? Let me go with you, Heero offered, slowly pushing his wheelchair down the pavement.
Duo gladly let him took over.
You come here often? Heero asked as they reached the white sand beach.
Yeah. I like this place very much. I love the sea; I love the sound of the waves hitting the shore with the sea breeze gently soothing my face. It feels so calm, so serene. And when I feel frustrated over something, I will come here and shout my heart out. The sea will listen to all your frustrations and grievances, it will never turn away from you, the boy explained.
Heero pushed Duos wheelchair along the edge of the shoreline.
I used to spend hours here, collecting seashells and chained them up into necklaces. The kids at the orphanage love them so much, Duo smiled fondly at the remembrance. There is nothing more heart warming than walking along the beach and picking up seashells. You have no idea how many different varieties of seashells that can be found here. Look at that.
Heero glanced to the direction Duo pointed. That is a knobbed whelk.
A what? the Japanese boy picked up the strange looking shell and looked at it curiously.
A knobbed whelk, a kind of seashell great for hearing the ocean in.
Hearing the ocean? Heero was getting more confused.
Duo grinned at him. You have never tried it before? Let me show you.
The braided boy placed the seashell at his ear and closed his eyes. A smile slowly spread across his face, as he seemed lost in his own world.
This is lovely, he sighed. Here, you try it.
Heero took the seashell and placed it next to his ear, repeating Duos steps. He closed his eyes and listened.
Theres nothing, he said after a while.
Concentrate, you will hear it. Listen with your heart, the sound of the ocean, of the sea creatures swimming freely in the sea. Did you hear it?
Heero furrowed his brows and gathered his concentration. He listened and listened and suddenly, he thought he heard something something that sounded like the calling of the ocean.
Yeah, I think I hear it. Very soothing.
Duo smiled and nodded happily. They strode further along the beach, enjoying the sea breeze.
Suddenly, the wheel hit on something hard. Looking down, Duo saw an empty bottle half buried in the sand.
Oh... he bent down to pick up the bottle and held it up against the sun, watching the glass container reflecting away the rays of the sun.
You have any pen and paper with you?
I only have a pen, Heero said, handing him a fountain pen from his back pocket. Looking around the deserted beach, Duo spotted a piece of old newspaper caught between some roots of the casuarinas tree.
Could you get that for me please?
Puzzled, the Japanese boy walked towards the tree and retrieved the piece of discarded newspaper for Duo.
What are you doing? he asked with curiosity as the American boy tore a corner of the newspaper and scribbled something on the yellowed surface of the paper. He rolled up the paper and unscrewed the cork from the mouth of the bottle. Slipping the paper through the thin neck of the bottle, he replaced the cork and handed the bottle to Heero.
Will you throw this into the sea for me, please? Throw as far as you can, the boy requested.
Heero blinked curiously at the bottle in his hand before turning around to face the vast sea. He hurled the glass bottle at the sea with all his might and watched as the tiny bottle floated on the surface before the huge waves swallowed it and disappeared from their view.
What is that for? Heero asked again, turning his attention back to the American boy who suddenly went silent.
Im making a wish.
Making a wish? Heero echoed. The braided boy nodded.
You see; there are many things in this world that we couldnt have. We are the underprivileged kids. But that doesnt discourage us from wishing for them. What we do is, we write down our wishes on pieces of paper and place them inside the bottles. Then we throw them into the sea, hoping that someday, someone will pick them up and make our wishes come true, Duo explained as he continued to look out to the sea.
Doesnt that sound a bit far-fetched?
I know it sounds silly. The wishes may not be fulfilled but it does give us hope. See that sand castle over there?
Heero turned to see a sand castle on the sandy beach. Part of it already toppled when the wave crashed in.
Its beautiful, right? But when the tide comes in, everything will be washed away. But that doesnt stop people from building them. It doesnt matter if the wishes come true or not as long as we believe in what we are doing.
Heero began to apprehend what he said. So what did you wish for?
I wished for good health and happiness for everyone; Father Maxwell, Sister Helen, little Jessie, Keiko-chan, Bryan, everyone in the church. And you too, Heero.
Heero blinked at the mention of his name. Me?
Yeah, I wished for happiness for you. You have been such a great friend to me.
Heero stared at Duo speechlessly. This boy truly amazed him. His generosity towards people put Heero in shame. He knew he didnt deserve Duos kindness at all, not after what he had done to him.
You all right, Heero? a worried voice disrupted his disturbed thoughts.
Huh? Oh yeah. Just thinking about what you said.
Hey, dont worry about it. Its not everyday that I get so philosophy, Duo laughed.
Heero smiled at him.
Its getting late. Lets go back now or Sister Helen will be worried.
Duo grinned mischievously. You bet she will.
What exactly are you looking for, Duo? the Japanese boy asked as he pushed the wheelchair aisles after aisles through the mart.
Hmm...there! That one! the braided boy pointed to a particular shelf.
Yup. Lets go pay up and get out of here.
Heero shook his head in bewilderment over Duos purchase. The boy was almost bouncing with excitement as he hugged the large bag of cat food in his arms.
Now, would you mind telling me where we are going with that large bag of cat food? Heero asked again, turning into a junction Duo pointed out.
Just a second, we will be there soon, the boy grinned. Ok, slow down and stop right there.
Heero pulled up at the main gate of what looked like a pre-Civil war mansion, now abandoned with ferns growing around the old red bricks of the mansion wall. There were brambles and briars growing wildly around the pathway.
Be careful, Duo, Heero called out as the boy wheeled himself inside.
Dont worry, I know this place like the back of my hand.
Why do you come here for anyway? the puzzled boy queried again, scrutinizing the surroundings.
To meet my friends. Here kitty, kitty...meow...
And suddenly from almost every corner of the mansion, some ten to twenty cats came running towards Duo. Heero was amazed by the sight before him. The cats were jumping onto Duos lap fearlessly, some encircling his wheelchair.
They appeared delighted to see the boy. Duo laughingly stroked the purring cats.
Heero, the cat food please? They are hungry.
The two of them watched as the hungry cats attacked the food eagerly.
You take care of them?
Sort of. I tried to as much as I can. These poor cats are homeless; some are discarded by their owners. The local SPCA isnt of much help, there are simply too many forsaken animals around here.
Duo picked up one of the cats, gently stroking its soft fur. The cat purred contently as it napped on his lap.
Thats very kind of you. Heero looked on warily as a couple of cats headed towards him, rubbing their bodies against his legs affectionately. Duo laughed at his tensed expression as the cats surrounded him.
I think they like you too.
Heero made a face at him.
The whole afternoon was spent at that cat-feasted old mansion. Duo was very happy to be with the cats but Heero was extremely uncomfortable with those furry creatures crawling all over him. He was not used to these small animals, he didnt know how to handle them. Duo showed him how to hold them, to stroke them the way they like it. Heero watched in amusement as the boy displayed a great gentleness over the cats.
He just sat on the grass and watched with content as Duo played happily with the cats, his laughter ringing through the whole compound.
He looks so happy, Heero thought with a smile.
He was almost sorry when it was time to leave. Duo parted with the feline creatures reluctantly. The cats seemed sad to see him go. They were running around him, calling out sadly.
You love those cats very much, dont you? Heero asked as he drove down the street.
They just reminded me of myself. I have the church people taking care of me but they have none. I just want to do something for them and...
Duo suddenly broke off and gave a little cry of delight. Look!
Heero slowed down and turned to see the source of Duos excitement.
Situated at the furthest end of the street, on a vast piece of vacant land, there was a large open-air amusement park. Colorful balloons floating in the air with sounds of colorful parades, childrens laughter filled the air.
Want to go there? Heero asked, slowing down.
Huh? Oh no. Im too old for that now. Besides, it wont be very convenient, Duo said, looking down at his legs.
Though he declined, Heero could see the yearning in his eyes. He took one last look at the amusement park from his rear mirror and a plan began to form in his mind.
The next evening after dinner, Heero came to look for the American boy at the church.
Where are we going? Duo asked in curiosity as he made himself comfortable in the passenger seat of Heeros jeep.
You will know soon. But first, you must be blindfolded.
Blindfolded? Why all this secrecy? Where are we going, Heero?
I cant tell you now. Its suppose to be a surprise, the boy replied as he tied a bandanna around Duos eyes.
All right, all right, as long as you are not intending on kidnapping me.
Heero smirked at that remark.
Half an hour later, Duo was losing patience.
Are we there yet? How far is it?
Just hang on, we will be there soon. No peeking.
Ten more minutes of driving and Heero came to a stop. He gently placed Duo into his wheelchair.
Can I take this down now? Duo tugged at the bandanna.
You may do so.
Duo pulled the bandanna off and opened his eyes. He looked and blinked around his dark surroundings.
What is this, Heero? Theres nothing here...
A flow of bright light suddenly flooded the whole area, blinding the boy momentarily. When he focused again, he went agape. He was at the main entrance of the amusement park. The trees lining the street leading out were lighted up with dazzling decorations. The Ferris wheel was turning, the carousel was going round and round in rhythm to the music, and the roller coasters were running around the tracks. But there was no one around except for the park attendants.
What...what are all these?
An amusement park specially for you.
Specially for me?
Yes, there will be no other patrons, only you.
But...but how could this...You arranged for all these, Heero?
Duo stared at the sight before him speechlessly. He was in a total awe.
I...I dont know what to say.
Then dont say anything. Come on, lets ride something.
Heero wheeled him towards the Ferris wheel and carries him into one of the compartment with an attendant helping out. The compartment went higher and higher, going round and round.
Sitting across, Heero watched the excited Duo who was happily enjoying himself. At that moment, the boy was more like an eight-year-old instead of an eighteen-year-old.
That night, both of them re-lived a childhood that they never had before.
But unknown to them, a shadow lurked in the dark behind some trees, observing them with disapproving looks in the eyes.
~End of part 1~
Author's note : I hope this fic doesn't suck that much. It has been a long time since I write anything and I am kind of out of touch. ^_^