4-25-2001

Title: He's Mine; Heart and Soul (3/12?)
Author: Perotessa Detwieler (cearda@ultimanet.com)
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. :)

Rating: PG

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 3 - The Book: Confessions of a Gundam Pilot

Shinigami

"...My self-appointed nickname was Shinigami; the God of Death. It wasn't because I liked destroying things and killing people; war isn't a game. I didn't have the best of childhood's; I've done a lot of things that I am not proud of to survive.

I took the name, the persona, to distance myself from the pain; from the guilt. If I could just be death for a little while, I hoped that I could fulfil my missions without destroying myself.

It didn't work.

I think I went a little insane whenever I went into battle. I couldn't stand it! I didn't, and still don't, understand why they sent me. Why was I the one who dreamed of fire, and blood. Why did I hear the screams of the people I had killed? When was it going to stop? Was it ever going to stop? Did I deserve for it to stop?

Even now I am not sure.

My soul, if I still have one, is passed redemption. My hands are covered with so much blood no amount of tears will cleanse them. I am beyond absolution; my soul damned."

-- from "Confessions of a Gundam Pilot" by Duo Maxwell

 

Colony L2 - Second Chance's half-way house
January - A.C. 200

Samantha St. James, chronologer of one Duo Maxwell's life story, was currently hunting through the half-way house, high and low for her subject!

As she tromped down the stairs and started for the kitchen she saw young 7 year old Boo coming out of the living room.

"Hey Boo, have you see Duo?"

The youngster shook his head. "I'za hasn't seen 'm."

Sam did something totally out of character for her, she pouted. "Hmph! Well where the heck could he have gone?" she mused. Having lived with Duo and the kids, who came from off the streets, for the past six months, Sam had gotten used to, and in a way, dependant on them. She enjoyed helping out with chores like bath-time and feeding time. She even did some work in the little one room classroom which gave lessons in reading, writing, and arithmetic to any who wanted to learn.

Her own life or as she now considered it, her pale imitation of a life, on L3 while lucrative was unsatisfying. That's not to say she didn't enjoy writing, she loved it. But she was beginning to gain a better appreciation for life here in the half-way house of Second Chance. She admired what Duo was doing trying to save lives. Nothing he did was a hand-out. If you wanted to learn to read, you had to show up. If you wanted food you had to take a bath. If you wanted to live at the house you had to quit stealing, running drugs, or selling yourself.

Nothing was given to the kids, they had to earn it.

In the past six months twenty kids from the slum which the house bordered had come through the doors. There was a core pack of kids who stayed at the house pretty much 24/7 mostly consisting of the younger ones ages 4 to 9. If they had older siblings or other kids they ran the streets with, the older kids would "ditch" them at the half-way house, knowing that they would be cared for.

Older kids who ranged from 10 to 13 would drop by the house a couple of days a weeks. Some were surly and had already developed street smart attitudes which served them well in the world of kill or be killed, but didn't endear them to merchants or social workers. They were elusive when it came to opening themselves up and admitting weakness; such a thing would get them killed on the streets. A few though were smarter than they let on and were sneaking reading and writing lessons so as to have an extra trick up their sleeve.

Teenagers ranging from 14 and up drifted in and out of the daily lives of those who lived and worked at the half-way house.

They dropped in to see the little ones, or to have a meal before melting back into the shadows of the street.

All of the kids however had one thing in common: They respected Duo Maxwell.

Duo, even though he was basically giving away food, blankets, floor space, wasn't seen as a pushover. It was revealed one night by a drowsy Bingo, that Duo had "claimed" both he and his "brother" from a pimp who was about to mark them as his own.

Duo would also go out on patrols along the half-way house's unofficial yet recognized territory; a territory he had carved out himself during those 3 weeks he had disappeared. Anyone who came in peace was welcome into the territory, anyone who would do harm to "his kids" had better watch their back. The penalty for trying to recruit one of "Duo's kids" into prostitution or drug running was normally a pretty brutal savaging.

Sam had seen the results of one of these attacks herself when one foolhardy soul came to the house and demanded one of the girls to be released. Duo had been livid and told the creep to leave or face Death.

The idiot was either drunk or thought he was invincible; either way he hadn't taken the hint and Duo attacked him.

It all looked and sounded worst than it actually was. A couple of quick slices with a knife and the pimp was sent running. Nor he or any lieutenants tried to come to the house ever again. The girl won her freedom from the pimp, stuck around the house for a while, then in a surprise move was adopted by none other than Collin Adams! That had been a happy day for all concerned.

Sam was really going to miss this loving yet unconventional family when she left. Or maybe she wouldn't leave at all, she thought. <'Who knows, I might stay and write about this place. Raise awareness that such things happen, find homes for a few of the kids. Its something to think about I suppose.'>

Seeing the "Nice Lady" as most of the kids called her, off in la-la land, Boo shrugged and started to leave.

"Heya Boo...?"

The boy stopped and looked over his shoulder. Sam walked over to him, then crouched down so she was level with him. "I've been wondering, how did you get your name?"

Boo blinked then blushed, eyes dropping to look at the floor. "Uhm...I'za don't 'member my rents well. Buts I gotsa name. Is Michael.

Whens I was out there they could call me Boo cause it was like: 'Whereza Michael?' and then I'd be there and it was: 'Oh! Boo there you are!'"

He looked up into Sam's gray eyes and smiled a gap toothed grin.

"Ah, I see. Cause you just seemed to sneak up on people, they started calling you Boo."

He nodded.

"Heh, cute. Thanks for telling me Boo."

The boy nodded again then turned to go play outside.

"He is rather sweet isn't he?"

Sam whirled around and saw Duo leaning in the doorway of the living room.

"Oh God! You gave me a fright!" she yelped. Shakily she rose to her full height; hand over her heart. "Where the heck have you been? I've been looking for you."

Duo grinned and made a vague gesture with his hand. "Been around. I may run, I may hide-"

"But you never lie. Yeah yeah so you keep telling me." She laughed. "So what are you doing now?"

He pushed off from the door frame and sauntered over. "Nuthin' why?"

"Want to give me another interview? I've got a couple of questions I'd like to ask."

Duo thought about it then shrugged. "Sure why not. Everyone is fed and today's lessons are over. Barring an emergency we should have an hour or so to talk."

He led her to the library/office and then situated himself on the day bed while Sam sat down at the desk; grabbing another of her endless supply of yellow legal pads and a pen.

"Ok so what do you wanna ask?"

Sam thought about how she was going to word her question while she twirled her pen through her fingers. "Uhm...well, ok first, Why did you come back to L2?"

"Heh, that's an easy one. I had nothing else to do. Nothing on Earth I needed, and even though I like them, there was no reason for me to go to any of the other colonies. So I came home."

"Did you have any idea as to what you wanted to do once you got back, other than starting Second Chance?"

Duo shook his head. "Not a clue. In fact, if it wasn't for the wonderful Quatre Winner I probably wouldn't have started Second Chance. He was the one to send me Collin, and Collin was the one to really get Second Chance off the ground. I just gave him the money and he found the people I would need."

Sam's pen made soothing scratching noises on the tablet. "I see." she said finishing off a sentence. "Ok...now that we are all warmed up...I wanna ask you about the war. Do you know who it was who picked you? And or why did they send you? "

Duo lay back on the day bed, his braid clutched in his hand in an unconscious gesture of support.

"I don't know." He finally said softly. "I often wonder why I was sent. I think my trainer had something to do with it. But I am still not sure as to his role in the whole mess. I mean, I was found by him at twelve right? So I am guessing he had to get someone's permission to start my training. What I learned I am sure isn't cheap...and he kept me with him so there was upkeep to consider too." he chuckled. "Believe it or not Sam, I was an investment; a damned expensive one. I have no doubts that if I hadn't been so good in my studies that they would have killed me without a second thought, and brought in someone new. But after a while, I don't think they could have done that. I was too expensive and their investment in me of time, money, and knowledge; I could have been the biggest asshole on the colony and they still would have had to keep me on as the pilot."

"Hn" Sam grunted working furiously to write down main points and her own observations. "Who were/are They? Do you know?"

Duo shrugged. "I don't know. I wonder about that sometimes. Who was in charge. What happened to them. How they could live with themselves and the decision they made or felt they had to make.

"I think one of the most troubling questions I have is 'Why did they decide to use children?' I can't talk for the rest of the guys, but I didn't have much of a childhood. I'd been on the streets for as long as I could remember. My first coherent memory is of being cold, scared, and hungry, huddled under a blanket in some piss sour alleyway on L2. I remember hiding in a pile of trash feeling the maggots crawl on my skin, and hoping that no one would find me. Being found at night was always death; be it either quick by some schizo who just wanted something to lash out at, or by being turned into some kind of whore. I may have been little but child prostitution runs rampant in the darker sleazier parts of L2. I guess I am lucky I was able to get out when I turned 12."

Sam stared at Duo for a few moments then ducked her head. Even though she had lived with him for six months it didn't make some of the revelations easier of the stark pain that still seethed just underneath Duo's exterior. It was times like this that she realized that even though he had been as open and honest as any of her interviews, he didn't tell her everything as well he probably shouldn't have too.

She shook her head sighing. She decided to end today's interview with what she hoped was an easy question. "So what is in the future for Duo Maxwell? What is it you want?"

Duo startled. She blinked...that was unexpected.

"What do I want? What do 'I' want?" he asked softly but there was an underlying edge to the question and Sam wondered belatedly if she had somehow stepped across an invisible line. "I want the other side of my soul back!" his hissed.

"Wha- Who?"

Duo flipped over from his position on his back on the day-bed and speared Sam with a glare. "Who do you think?"

Sam swallowed. "It's him isn't it? I know we've changed the names of the other pilots to protect them from any uhm...negative backlash...but this guy, 'Heero Yuy' between the two of us, who is he really?"

Duo's violet eyes shuttered and turned away from her gazing instead out the window before he sighed and lay back down. "I never lie." he began "He is who I told you he is. Heero Yuy - Sanq's Duke of White Honor."

The blonde writer's jaw fell open. "Oh my God! But Duo, he's...he's..."

"Beautiful? Gorgeous?"

"Straight!!"

Duo gave her a sidelong glance. "No, he's not."

She gaped at him for a moment trying to gather up her scattered wits. Duo continued staring up at the ceiling. "I told you when we started this little project that I was going to save the best for last. Well here it is: Why am I doing this? To get Heero Yuy back. I will keep doing crazy stuff until he notices and I get him back, or I somehow kill myself."

"Duo...you don't-"

"Mean it?" he gave a harsh bark of laughter. "Hell yes I do! You want the truth, my story? Fine! Here it is. I was born here, abandoned here, grew up here, and tried to escape. I was picked up and trained as an assassin-slash-terrorist-slash-gundam pilot, and I am a damn good mechanic to top it all off. I was suppose to be sent to Earth, but instead it was suggested that I steal my gundam and go planetside.

"One night I saw this guy about to shoot this girl. So thinking that I'd play 'Knight on a white horse', I stopped him. I shot the guy twice but he kept on commin'. That guy was Heero Yuy.

"I followed Heero around for a while; we holed up in Oz run boarding schools to escape notice. It was in those private schools that our little affair started. I dunno, call it an attack of teenage hormones, or what have you. I fell in love with the Perfect Soldier.

"We have something that is unique, that defies description. I know how he thinks, which is why I can understand why he married Relena. I understand and forgive him. He'll come to his senses one day and when he does, I'll be there. Hell, I wouldn't miss it for all the money in the world.

"He'll be back because I am not going to let him forget what he could and can still have. I love him too much to deny him anything. and THATS the Truth.

"I am tired of playing whatever hand Fate has in the cards for me. I am no longer that young scared kid who had to do what he was told. I am free of that, from now on I make my own Destiny. What's is the future for Duo Maxwell? Anything I damn well want!"

The room plunged into silence, only Duo's harsh panting filing the void.

"I see." Sam said quietly. Then: "Do you mind if we add your relationship to the book?"

Duo looked over at her shocked. "Do you think the editor will allow it?"

She shrugged. "Considering that Quatre runs the damn company, I don't think the editor has any say in the matter." She shook her head looking at her legal pad. "Duo, I think I have enough here to finish the manuscript. I've been writing it in first person; I want people to know you Duo. To sympathize with you. To hurt when you hurt, to feel exuberance when you feel joy, to see life, even if it's just for the space of a book, through your eyes. I hope you'll like what I do."

"I have every faith in you Sam." said the ex-gundam pilot, rising for the sofa. "You're the writer not me."

"Maybe, but this is your life. I only hope I am true to it."

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Colony L2 - Second Chance's half-way house
April - A.C. 200

Samantha "Nice Lady" St. James, sat on the front porch of Second Chance's half-way house sipping water from a bottle, enjoying an unseasonably warm artificial spring day. A light breeze swept away the stench from the streets; all was peaceful.

Beside her, Duo was drinking some weird fruit juice combination; probably something like strawberry-cranberry-grapefruit. She had finished the manuscript and with Duo's input titled it: "Confessions of a Gundam Pilot" and sent it off to her editor.

Now she sat enjoying a balmy afternoon watching the children play, and talking to Duo about what would happen as the book got closer to publication.

For Sam a slight anxious feeling clenched her stomach, but also a sense of completion. It was as if a weight had been taken off her shoulders and all was right with the world.

Glancing at Duo she could see a peace settle over his features and yet also something else.

She flicked a lock of her hair out of her eyes before asking: "You still love him, don't you?"

"Yeah, you could say that." Duo drawled. "Why else do you think I am doing all o' this?"

Sam startled. Uneasily she chuckled. "You don't lie..."

"No," he shrugged. "But I am selective in my information. I may run, I may hide, but I don't lie. Don't mean I am not going to be evasive."

She rolled her eyes and snorted. "Yeah yeah...but...if all of this is about getting Herro back-"

Duo shook his head, "This," he waved a hand around including the porch, the house, the kids playing in the yard "won't get Heero back. This will keep him, but it won't get him back. I'll need to do something else to land him. Something I haven't thought of yet."

The writer frowned. Over the past eight months she had gotten to know Duo as well as he allowed her to, but there were aspects of his character and his motivating force that still puzzled her. This was just one of them. "I don't understand."

Duo took a swig from the plastic bottle in his hand then tried to explain. "Heero is a soldier; he was trained to think only of the mission. This, Second Chance, I am hoping will be his mission. He needs something to believe in, something to protect. It's my 'dream' to have Second Chance halfway houses all over L2, and maybe on other colonies.

"It's something that is perpetually in need of tending. I am hopeful that it will fulfill that 'requirement' in his programming."

They fell silent, Duo retreating into possible scenarios, Sam thinking about what he had just told her. Slowly she shook her head, "Well I wish you luck." she sighed and leaned back. "I got a call from my friend at Winner Publishing, he says that the book has been proofed and is ready for the presses; looks like it's on the fast track.

They're going out whole hog on this book. It's being distributed via data chips, online download, audio book, and in traditional hardcover and paperback. I also heard that the promotion budge for it is through the roof. I hope you're good at public speaking."

That drew Duo out of his thoughts and he blinked at her. "Huh? what do you mean?"

"Why the book tour of course." She drawled. "You're going to be the one promoting "Confessions of a Gundam Pilot". It is after all, your story."

"But...but...YOU wrote it!!! They wouldn't send me out on a book tour....would they!?"

Sam frowned suddenly concerned. "Don't tell me you've got stage fright or something." she paused. "Or is this about the kids?"

Duo ducked his head. "I can't go on tour; they need me here."

Sam put her water down and scooted over next to the young man she quickly had tucked into her heart as a true friend. "Duo, don't worry. I am not going anywhere. I was thinking, why leave? I mean you've made me feel so welcome here I really don't want to go. So I asked my editor if I could stay, I came up with a new idea. I am going to write a book about Second Chance and how it gives these kids hope."

"Sam..."

"So you see? There will be the 'Nice Lady' around for the kids to depend on. This book tour and stuff...you gotta do it Duo. For you and your future happiness." She squeezed his shoulder.

He sagged suddenly the breath rushing from him. He placed his own hand over the one that was on his shoulder and patted it. "You have no idea how much this means to me Sam...thanks."

"Sure Duo...I'd do anything for you, you know that."

Duo laughed. "That's what I am afraid of!"

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Colony L2 - Second Chance's half-way house
July - A.C. 200

*ring*

*ring*

*ring*

Duo ran through the halfway house, grabbing up the hallway phone.

"What?!" he spat.

The vid-screen connected and he saw a sunglass bespeckled Samantha on the other end.

"Duo?" she asked; her vid screen probably hadn't connected yet.

"Yeah...Sam? What's up?" He shifted the toddler who was in his arms over to his hip.

Sam suddenly smiled...no smiled was too mild of a word, she beamed! "Duo! The reviews are out!"

"Reviews?" he must have looked as puzzled as he sounded. A newspaper was suddenly shoved up in front of the screen before Sam's face was back. "Yeah! The reviews on the book! THEY LOVE IT!! It's going to debut at #1 on the Bestseller lists on L1, L2, and L4! Looks like it's going to enter at #2 on L3; ITS A HIT!"

The baby on Duo's hip began to fuss but Duo wasn't aware of anything other than two little words. "A bestseller..."

TBC...

 

Next up: Duo finds out that fame isn't everything it's cracked up to be; it's Hard Work!! Join Duo as he goes among the colonies and even planet side to promote his biography. Watch as he fields some hard hitting questions about the book, and performs a reading at the Waldorf-Historia Manhattan.

Next in: He's Mine: Heart and Soul
Chapter Four: Bestseller