Title: He's Mine; Heart and Soul (2/12?)
Author: Perotessa Detwieler (firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Category: dramatic, Shonen-ai, slight angst
Pairings: R+1, 2+1
Disclaimer: Proof of ownership?! I don't need to show you no stinkin' proof of ownership! But suffice to say....I don't own them nor making any profit, I am just borrowing them for a while. And maybe sneaking them off to stay with me after this project is done. :)
Warnings: None really, this one is pretty mild. Just know that Heero, poor Heero is now married to Relena. Talk about a ball n' chain!
Spoilers: None really. Set after the Series and Endless Waltz.
Author's Request: Please be gentle! This is my first try at a GW fic. If people are OOC my bad. *bad llama* I am open to feedback, but flames will be tossed in the old trash bin. You won't get a rise out of me...just crush my feelings and we don't want that now do we? Thought not.
Notes: Duo Maxwell schemes to get Heero to return to him, after Heero marries Relena Peacecraft. However even he didn't know how far he would have to go to get the love of his life back.
Chapter 2 - Second Chance
"...I've had my fair share of second chances. My first was being sent to the Maxwell Church. Then that all fell apart and I went back to the streets. My second was being found by my trainer and made into a Gundam Pilot. My third was making it out of the war alive and for the most part sane. I am extremely lucky; I got out. But what of all those who didn't?
Who grieves for their lost dreams?"
--from "Confessions of a Gundam Pilot" by Duo Maxwell
Colony L4 - May A.C. 199
The next day, Quatre woke up with a vague feeling of unease. His dreams he was sure had something to do with it. Dreams of a cold, calm, calculating Duo who was determined to be a king pin on L2. He frowned. That just didn't sound like the Duo he knew. Then it all came back to him The early morning phone call. Heero getting married. Duo wanting his help in managing his money. He frowned at that last one.
However a promise was a promise, and he had the resources to help out his old friend. Stretching he got out of bed and padded off towards the bathroom intent on taking a shower. Idly he wondered how much money Heero had managed to sneak out of Alliance and then Oz member accounts?
An hour later, dressed for success, as he strode past his secretary/assistant he said: "Lucina I need you to compile a list of all the representatives at the Golden Financial Group who come from L2."
The woman blinked and began to jot down his request on a PDA as she gamely followed him toward his office.
"Next I need you to sort them in order of those who have accounts from the six figure range and up. Then I need you to compile a list of the top reps in regards to earnings then I need them sorted by their customer satisfaction rankings. I need a list of the top five on my desk by this afternoon."
The woman nodded and finished her note taking with a flourish. "Yes of course Mister Winner."
"Thanks Lucina" <'You'd better appreciate this Duo.'> He thought as he swept into his office to begin another day as head of one of the most powerful and wealthy conglomerates among the colonies.
Colony L2 - Duo Maxwell's apartment
May A.C. 199
Duo was surprised when he stepped into his small cozy apartment to hear the vid-phone in the kitchen ringing.
He dropped all his luggage, tripped over the coffee table cursing, and snatched the phone off the hook.
"What?!" he snarled.
The caller on the other end of the line, blinked then asked: "Mister Duo Maxwell?"
"Good day, my name is Scott Atheron from Golden Financial Group. We were told that you were interested in a consultation regarding your financial goals. I am calling to inform you that a representative from our Group will be on L2 on the 14th. If this would be a good time to discuss strategies, we would be very willing to schedule a meeting with you."
Duo's jaw dropped open and he looked around his little house. "The 14th? Sure. Sounds good. What do I have to bring?"
"Copies of your last bank statement and a firm idea as to what you want in five, ten, and twenty years. Our business is to manage your money so you don't have to." spouted Scott. "So the fourteenth is good for you? Say 1:30 pm at Abraxus Towers?"
"Yeah sure." replied Duo in a slight daze.
"Very good. Our representative is Collin Adams. Thank you Mister Maxwell, and good day."
The screen went black.
Duo blinked at it then numbly placed the handset back. Leave it to Quatre to have everything in place for him by the time he got home.
Collin Adams liked his job and he was very good at it. He was used to working on accounts that started in the high seven figures mark. Somehow, someone had pulled his name off a data'dex and given him this assignment to see this Duo Maxwell person; some guy on L2. L2!
Everyone knew that the American established colony was one of the poorest of the whole system.
It was a little known fact that he himself came from L2, raised there. However it was well known fact that he got off of L2 as quickly as he could.
He absolutely hated the place.
There were two types of people on L2. Corrupt wanna be politicians who hoarded money, water and favors or the desperate street dwellers; the drug dealers, turf warriors, and uneducated masses. Only those who were really smart ever got off L2 or you died. Simple as that.
Collin had come from a middle class family which had fallen on hard times. They had enough to have an apartment on the colony, but not much else.
He had worked hard to get off of L2 and had succeeded, leaving the colony in A.C. 193 with no intention of going back of his own free will. Now here he was being sent back on what was being billed "the assignment that would change his life". He seriously doubted that.
In the six years since he had escaped the L2 hell hole, he has met a handful of people who also had made their way out. Most were like him, cynical to the point of being jaded, driven, and very determined never to fall back into the gutter. A few though were like an off colony version of what they would have been had they just stayed on L2. People who were looking out for themselves and to hell with anyone else. They'd kill you, crack open your bones and suck out the marrow; drinking in every part of a victim they could leaving a husk before moving on to some new victim.
The only information he had on his new assignment was that the prospective client's name. He lived on L2 and had some money he wanted managed.
Well managing money was his bag, so here he was heading off to a place he swore he'd never return. Fate worked in mysterious, and sometimes uncomfortable ways.
Whatever it was Collin Adams had been expecting, Duo Maxwell was not it. He knew what type of clientele Golden Financial Group normally kept and this guy didn't fit the mold at all.
Young, as far as Collin could figure out unemployed, and filthy rich. He had wondered why he had bee sent to L2 to see this guy and now he knew why.
Duo Maxwell had 8.4 million credits to his name.
Whoever had set up his accounts knew their business. His portfolio was a classic example of risk and long term steady investments. He had made a fortune during the year of war in A.C. 195 and 196. Parts for mobile suits and other such hot commodities Mister Maxwell had been fortunate enough to cash in on it apparently.
How he had done this at the age of fifteen boggled the mind though. Now at the age of nineteen he was set for life. Course Collin speculated with most of the money garnered illegally, it probably was a smart idea to have professionals handling it now. Although he wondered belatedly why Duo Maxwell had decided to have financial planners take over what he was quickly deciding had been a very lucrative investment portfolio.
Collin shook his head. He wasn't one to quibble over small things. So far this Duo Maxwell wasn't at all like other citizens of L2. He was smart and resourceful to be sure; you had to be to stay alive. He WAS maniacal though.
He had entered the suite that Collin had been given as if he owned it. His personality wasn't forceful per say, he was all bright smiles and frankness almost to the point of being rude.
Instead of being put off by this, Collin was intrigued. This wasn't the normal attitude of an L2 citizen; not where you should play your cards close to your chest and keep a poker face. Maxwell's attitude was puzzling at first until it dawned on Collin that he actually meant was he was saying.
He quickly learned that Duo had been born and raised on L2, in the slums. A street kid who had used every trick in the book to escape notice and stay alive. Only through sheer brass bravado and luck had he escaped L2 by stowing away on a transport at the age of twelve.
"And that's pretty much my life's story." Duo said with a grin. Collin blinked. "That's it? But that leaves seven years unaccounted for." he protested.
Duo's prussian blue eyes sparkled with laughter. "Well I could tell you what happened during those years," he drawled. "but then I'd have to kill you."
The financial planner froze unsure weather that was a joke or not. Duo's body language was open; relaxed, but the laughter had faded from his eyes.
He shook his head. "Anyway, so what is it that you can do with the money? I mean I haven't touched it....much of it anyways. I just..y'know....dunno what to do with it. If I get into a real mood I could probably spend it all; I am not exactly what you'd call thrifty."
Collin shook his head still not used to the quick changes of conversation with Duo. Sometimes he felt lost for a few seconds while his mind caught up with the chatter. "Eight million credits is a lot of money Mister Maxwell. I don't think even you could spend all of it."
Duo snorted. "Oh yeah? You've never seen me on a shopping spree." he chuckled.
Collin leaned forward in his chair, hands folded before him. He smiled a very winning smile and said quite unashamedly: "Mister Maxwell I'll tell it to you straight. I like to make money; it's my job and I like my job a lot. So what is it that you want to do? With your life? With your money? What one thing do you want that your money can help you get?"
Duo paused thinking then opened his mouth. Frowning he sat back in his chair reconsidering. Once more he leaned forward and started to open his mouth paused again, eyes flickering to the table-top then said softly, "I want to start a non-profit organization which will help the exploited children on L2. I don't want what happened to me, to happen to any other kid. I want to help kids get off the streets. I want to make sure they have food and a place to sleep and I want them to feel safe, so they don't have to worry about where their next meal will come from, or what they'll have to do to get it. That's what I want."
There was a stunned silence which slowly spread about the room then Collin smiled. "Let me see what I can do, but it's definitely something that is attainable and admirable ."
Duo blinked then a slow easy grin spread across his face. "Yeah it is, finally. You know I was always griping about how there should be something for the kids, but it never occurred to me that maybe I should be the one to start the program. I mean who better than a street rat that got off the streets? At least I know where the kids are and I know what they do; what they feel they have to do to survive. It breaks my heart. Enough of this yapping and wishing someone should do something. You want something done you gotta do it yourself. It's time I did this. I got the money and now I got the time and I can get the help. Its up to me to help give these kids a second chance. Hey! That's a pretty snazzy name no? I think I'll call it the Second Chance Foundation. I can do that right?"
It was at this moment in time that Collin Adams realized something truly profound: Duo Maxwell was sincere. He knew what he was talking about, and he wasn't just going to pump money into a system which was already corrupt and perhaps beyond redemption. He was going to do this on his own, with his own money, on his own terms.
Because he believed that there was something worth saving on L2.
For the first time in a long time, Collin Adams allowed himself to feel shame and guilt over his own attitude towards L2 and it's inhabitants. Here was a guy who had gone through hell, growing up on the streets and yet was back now going to spend his money on helping kids get off the street. And what was Collin Adams doing during all this? Wondering when the hell he could get out of here and back to his opulent lifestyle on L4. Something was wrong with that picture and he would be damned if he didn't fix it.
He smiled at Duo. "Sure you can name it anything you like. I am going to be honest with you Mister Maxwell. This is going to be one of the hardest accounts I've dealt with, but I am telling you right now, it can be done. I am going to work as hard as I can to get it done because I know it's the right thing to do. I personally will make sure that this 'Second Chance' Foundation gets started. Keeping it going will take all your effort, heart, blood, sweat, and tears but I have this feeling that if anyone can do it, you can."
"Hey....thanks man. You have no idea what this means to me." <'Not a freakin' clue. Yeah I am doing it for the kids. No kid deserves to go through hell like I did. But I am also doing this for Heero; all of this for you beloved. You'll see, this is just the first step in getting you back.'.>
True to his word, Collin was key to help bring into effect the Second Chance Foundation. He helped Duo in finding lawyers, administrators, and a real estate agent who was more than happy to sell him a run down house at the edge of one of the worst neighborhoods on L2. They spent a fair amount of money refurbishing the inside of the house, leaving the outside as unsuspecting at they could; per Duo's instructions.
When the house was almost completed, Duo disappeared for almost three weeks. Collin was frantic. Had someone figured out Duo was rich? Had he just happened to cross someone who thought Duo was a pushover?
Was he hurt? Alive? Dead?
No one knew, and no one was talking.
Then just as mysteriously as he had disappeared, Duo reappeared with a rag-tag group of nine children ranging in age from 6 to 12. All of them homeless, most of them orphans, tired, hungry, and in need of warmth, shelter, and peace.
Two of the more precocious were "brothers" named Bingo and Boo. Bingo had taken a real shine to Duo and was now his self-appointed second in command. Boo, a young imp of around 7, followed in whatever Bingo did. If Bingo though Duo was ok, that was good enough for him.
Collin watched as the kids slowly began to adjust to being able to come and go pretty much as they pleased through the house. There were rules, easy ones and most that they didn't mind. They had to attend classes, bathe at least twice a week, and show up once a day; be it for meals or class Duo said he didn't care. He just liked to keep tabs on all of them. His fast and loose "parenting" toward the kids was rewarded by their fierce loyalty.
He reciprocated their loyalty by trying to keep everyone safe. He was always on the lookout for any danger that would threaten "his" kids.
To Duo the most heinous danger was the L2 Population Control policy of releasing virulent air-born plagues.
Collin had to admit that L2's attempt to control it's population was deplorable; withholding vaccines that would save hundreds to thousands of lives was inhumane.
The horror struck Duo doubly hard, he having lived through every plague released and building up an immunity to most of them, and yet watching helplessly as friends died.
So today, he and Robert Strieber, Duo's key supplier for off-colony purchases, were in the halfway house's library/office trying to figure out a way of purchasing a wide base vaccine to immunize as many people as they could. The problem was how to hide the purchase, the importation, and the distribution of the medicine from the Controllers.
Body counts would be kept; if the numbers didn't reach projected levels, then they may release a more wicked and harder to immunize against bug. Buying serum and having it imported wasn't cheap. Bribing colony Customs to look the other way was also draining.
Somehow though, Duo had bought a supply of serum and was ready to have it smuggled onto the colony.
In the eyes of Population Control he was defying the law.
For Collin it was still a bit of a culture shock to one day hate a place, and the next to be fighting just as hard to save it. Even to go as far as to break the law to save a few children. In the end however, Collin knew that what he was doing was the right thing. Fighting to make change present was something he hadn't done in a long time.
Now if only talking sense into one Duo Maxwell was just as easy! He sighed and shot a side long glance over at Robert whose face was as red as his shirt. They had been arguing about this issue now for an hour and by the stubborn light in Duo's eyes they were going to be here for a while more.
"Now you guys listen here! Population Control is going to release a plague of nasties within a few weeks. We NEED that serum! If we can get even a vial down here we can at least start duplicating it and at least get this neighborhood protected." he argued.
Collin swiped his bangs off his forehead. "We know that Duo, it's getting it past Customs that is the problem. We've been lucky with the extra provisions and sundries; they haven't questioned it. They think we're selling it on the black market. But serum and vaccines, with a new plague about to be released, no way! Not even a major conglomerate could get vaccine in right now."
"We are just going to have to find a way!"
There was a knock on the door. "Hey Duo? There's a lady out here. She wants to talk to you."
Duo blinked. <'A lady?'>
He stood up. "I'll be right back."
Walking out of the room he went passed Bingo who had come to get him. "Any idea as to who it is?" he asked the youngster.
The boy shook his head. "Dunno...seems ok though." he shrugged. Duo puzzled over that for a moment. Then he saw their visitor.
Petite was the only word he could use to describe her. She was perfectly proportioned just a scaled down model.
She sat on a bench that was lined against the hallway. Dirty blonde hair, large grey eyes, and a small attaché case at her feet. Her head was tilted forward a bit as if she was deep in thought and she didn't immediately notice him.
"Uhm...hi?" he ventured.
The woman's head snapped up and whipped around. She jumped to her feet, deftly moving around her bag, her hand outstretched; a smile on her face. "Hello, Duo Maxwell?" When he nodded she continued. "My name is Samantha St. James. I am to be your biographer."
Duo blinked then thrust his hand out to clasp hers. "Uh..Pleased to meet you. Would you like to come in?"
"Thank you Mister Maxwell." she gushed, turning to retrieve her bag.
"Uh just Duo. I have too many people calling me Mister Maxwell...making me forget who I really am." He lead her into the house stopping in the living room which was tastefully furnished with hardy furniture.
"Would you like to have a seat. I am kinda in the middle of something right now, but I promise to be back in a few mome's. Uhm...would you like something to drink?" he asked as he glanced somewhat worriedly at the office door.
Sam frowned puzzled seeing his unease. "No, I am fine. You know if this is a bad time-"
Duo laughed waving off her concern. "No better time than the present. Here you wait here; I'll be right back!"
He quickly left the room going to the office, bursting through the door with a loud. "AND THAT'S FINAL!"
The door closed and Sam was left alone in a living room.
Voices rose and fell then the door to the office opened indeed within five minutes and out came Duo and two other men who were dressed business/casual. Duo was all smiles with a hand on both men's shoulders in a companionable gesture.
"See I told you we'd work something out. Now, Collin Robert? this is Samantha; she's a writer."
The two men studied Sam for a heartbeat before Collin stepped forward hand outstretched. "Hello Samantha. I am Collin Adams." he shook her hand.
"Pleased to meet you Mister Adams." replied the brunette.
Robert stepped forward next. "And I am Robert Strieber. How are you today?"
"I am fine, thank you for asking Mister Strieber." She smiled at both of the men.
Behind them Duo cleared his throat. "Uhmm..guys? You can drool over her later, right now we have a mission to complete. Whatever you need you know I am good for it and if I am not blame Collin."
Collin blinked. "Hey!"
Duo grinned. "Off you two go. I'd really like to get this done with within a month I have no idea when the next batch of nasties will be released, but I think it's going to be soon."
"Don't worry Duo, we'll get the vaccine and cover our tracks. See ya next week."
Both men turned and left.
Duo let out a gusty sigh. "Finally! I never thought they'd never leave! So, Miss St. James what can I do ya for?"
Samantha slowly sank back down onto the sofa. "I think it's more a matter of what can I do for you. I was sent by Winner Publishing; they said you were interested in writing a book?"
Duo blinked jaw working but no sound coming out.
"Oh...that." He said softly then: "If you'd excuse me for a moment?"
He laughed a tad shrilly then dashed off for the hall phone.
<'Damn Damn Damn! Quatre what the hell are you thinking?!'> he silently raged as he pressed in the long numerical string of Quatre's private direct number and his numerical password.
Three ring a'dings later and the vid screen sprang to life.
"Quatre." was the curt greeting.
"Quatre, Duo here. Uhm...there is this really nice lady sitting on my sofa. She says she's my biographer?!"
Quatre looked up from the paper he had been reading and said asked: "Duo, what do you know about writing an autobiography?"
Duo blinked. "Uh...nothing?"
"So I would guess. Which is why I had the publisher send Miss St. James. She has written a couple of bestsellers and a biography before. She knows her business and she's good at it."
Duo nibbled at his bottom lip for a moment then nodded once. "Ok, thank Quatre."
He hung up the phone and popped his head back into the living room.
"Uhm. Hi!" he said cheerfully and walked back into the room as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. He plopped himself down into one of the overstuffed chairs.
"So...uhm...you're a writer."
Sam grinned. "Yup. Pretty good one too I'd like to think."
"Ok so how does this work? I just talk to you about...myself or something?"
Sam shrugged. "We could would like that if it makes you more comfortable, or we could hold sessions everyday where I interview you. Whatever is best for you."
Duo thought for a few moments. "Where you stayin'?"
She blinked. "At a hotel for now. I am not sure how long this will take so I didn't make any long term plans."
The Prussian blue eyed man nodded, hand unconsciously reaching around for his braid. "So this is like, your job? You don't have anybody to return to or anything do you? Boyfriend, Husband? Family?"
"You wanna move in?"
Duo chuckled a bit. "Well ya see, its kinda chaotic around here right now. I am never around enough to do anything regular like interview sessions or nuthin. Its the best I could think of. I mean, we got room n' stuff. You wouldn't be crowded and it's be for the best I think."
Sam nodded slowly. "You're probably right. however lets try to get one session out of the way so I can get a better idea as to how long this may take."
She pulled out a pen and a yellow legal pad and arranged herself more comfortably on the sofa.
"So, tell me. What's your name?"
Duo blinked straightening from his slouch. "You have no idea who I am do you?"
Sam gleefully shook her head.
Duo laughed, long and hard. "Oh my god! That's rich!"
He struggled to compose himself, wiping away a tear of hilarity and letting the rest of his giggles subside. "Ok, you wanna know who I am? My name is Duo. Duo Maxwell and I was a Gundam Pilot."
Next up: Sam gets to know Duo and his kids better! They finish the book and it's rushed to the publisher. We get to see who Duo Maxwell was, who he is, and where he's going.
He's Mine: Heart and Soul
Chapter Three: The Book - Confessions of a Gundam Pilot