Title: He's Mine; Heart and Soul (4/12?)
Author: Perotessa Detwieler (email@example.com)
Category: dramatic, Shonen-ai, slight angst
Pairings: R+1, 2+1 and apparently, Collin + Samantha! who knew?!
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, except for Samantha, Collin, Boo, Bingo and any other original character that pops up. Those I own and keep chained up in my room. I am not 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, maybe a bit of rough language. Mostly though, 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.
Archived: Not that I know of. I don't have a site for GW fic....so if anyone else wants a crack at it, just tell me.
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 4 - Bestseller
aka Goin' it Alone
"...I think I project the wrong image sometimes. I am viewed as a laughing jokester, a long haired pretty boy, and a velvet body which hides a steel soul. Well ok the last one is pretty much on target, but the truth is...I am probably the biggest wuss in the galaxy! I don't smoke, I don't drink, I don't do drugs. I do have a killer sweet tooth to my own dismay, but that's offset by my high metabolism so I don't gain any of those extra kilos.
My own personal motto: 'I may run, I may hide, but I never lie' tack on to the end "except to myself". They were only little white lies, they don't do any harm to anyone, or so I thought.
As the end of the war came I realized that they did do harm, maybe not a lot but enough to damage already fragile relationships. Relationships that I couldn't afford to see go."
-- from "Confessions of a Gundam Pilot" by Duo Maxwell
Earth - New York City
October A.C. 200
<'Fame,'> thought Duo sourly <'was highly overrated.'> He tugged at the collar of his shirt loosening the tie a little bit. The book had been an inter-colony success going to the top of multiple best sellers lists. It had the publishers rolling in the money and his own coffers which weren't exactly begging to be filled, overflowing. He was grateful for the income, but he was also grateful to Sam and for the experience in confessing everything he had in the book.
He had been smart, he didn't tell Sam anything which would have been judged sensitive. There were parts of the war that he himself didn't truly understand even now five years later, but he was attempting to cope with maybe never getting answers. He was slaying demons in his soul in a very constructive and dare he say, lucrative manner.
"Five more minutes Mister Maxwell." said a stage hand who popped his head in the door to the green room.
Since the book: "Confessions of a Gundam Pilot" had become a smash hit, he had been sent along the book tour circuit and was even doing television interviews.
The interviewers couldn't seem to get enough of Duo Maxwell's story. People seemed both horrified and attracted to the story of a fifteen year old boy who was a trained assassin and terrorist.
<'Strange,'> he thought <'how quickly people's opinions could be changed. One minute they were saviors the next demons and the next the long lost son who's wounds needed tending.'> It really surprised him how many people were willing to open up their arms to this world weary battered soldier.
Oh yeah, it surprised him alright, and in a way sickened him.
There wasn't anywhere he could go where his face or the book's jacket wasn't pasted somewhere. The material was the topic of conversations at the most high class dinner parties and to the regular guy on a transport bus. People talked about it and the issues it brought up. They talked about it because it happened in their lifetime and so many people died. They talked about it and mourned for the soul of the child who never had been a child and grew up way before his time. They felt they knew the true Duo Maxwell when all they knew was only the outer shell of who he really was. It was all they deserved to know all they were entitled to know.
And it pleased Duo that he could fool them so readily. He snorted, tightened up on his tie and stood up. He had five interviews to do today and two book signings and then tonight a reading at a dinner. This was his life for right now, promoting his book, his confessional.
Soon he would give it up and move on to part three of his plan. "I've prostituted my soul for you Heero. I hope you're worth it." No, he knew Heero was worth it. He sighed hoping that this exposing of his soul would not only bring healing, but his heart's desire back to his side.
Duo sat in the overstuffed easy chair, a make-up artist giving him one more dusting to keep the shine down from the lights. Across from him, the man who would be interview him, Matt Lawrence was also getting a touch up.
Matt's brown eyes flickered over Duo's form for a moment before he asked, "Are you nervous?"
Duo blinked. "No, not really."
Matt nodded in approval. "Good, good." His make-up artist finished up and moved away, just as sound came up tugging at his lapel mic, straightened his tie and fixed one of the lighting screens.
"I just want to tell you, I read your book. It's very good, I really enjoyed it."
Duo's make-up artist finished up, teased a few locks of his hair out of the way, straightened his collar and moved away. Duo now had an unobstructed view of his interviewer and saw the sincerity shining in his eyes. "Thank you." he said softly.
"One minute to Air." said a stage hand.
"If you have a few moments after the segment...could you sign my copy?"
Duo was startled then smiled his easy and open grin. "Sure."
"Here we go..." said Matt softly for Duo's ears only.
The red light on top of the camera lit up, and Matt Lawrence once again turned into America's favorite morning news anchor.
"Four years ago, Mobile Suits known as Gundams, helped to bring about the end of one era and were instrumental in hearlding in a new one. Unknown to many of us at the time, the Gundams were piloted by a group of five talented teenagers forced to grow up before their time.
"A new book which exposes the life of one of these young men, titled: 'Confessions of a Gundam Pilot' which hits the stores today. Joining us is the author Duo Maxwell, who gives us an extraordinary look at war through the eyes of a pilot. Welcome Mister Maxwell."
Duo inclined his head towards Matt, "Thanks for having me."
Matt smiled, a copy of 'Confessions' in his hands, some pages marked with post-it notes. "I've read this book, and I must say this is a very powerful piece of work; very intense. What prompted you to write it?"
"It was time. I was at a point in my life where I could either wall in the pain of the war; let it tear me apart, or I could try to explain it as best as I could. This book is a confession, my attempt for understanding and healing. Not just for me personally, but also for anyone else who struggled through the war."
Matt nodded and shifted in his seat. "Don't you fear opening up old wounds?"
Duo shook his head slightly. "Not as scared as I would be leaving things to fester. Its hard to get rid of poison once it's in the system. What I went through at fifteen should never have happened. To me, to my compatriots, to the other young soldiers who really didn't have a grasp on what war was or could be."
The dark haired interviewer opened the book on his lap, "I think an aspect of the book that really surprised me was your age and your accounting of some of your experiences on L2 as a child. Did you feel a need to distance yourself or leave out some of the details?"
"While writting this book I felt that it was very important for people to know who I was, and where I came from. I hope that in getting to know me that people can better understand why I fought, and why we didn't give up; why our will to win, our conviction was so strong."
Matt flipped the pages to a post-it note marked page and said: "Another element of this book I enjoyed was your relationship with the other Gundam pilots. Your friendship with them, and the bonds you still have. What do they think of this book?"
Duo looked down for a moment before answering. "I would like to think that they are pleased with it. I've had the opportunity to talk to two of them, Zuhayr Rabia and Sur Barton. They were very encouraging and helped me to publish the book. Cheng Tien-fong sent me a jade dragon with a note saying congratulations, although he doesn't think I portrayed him accurately." He grinned. "As for 01, I haven't talked to him in a while, so I have no idea what his opinion is."
Matt asked his last question. "So suffice it to say, you're happy with the way the book turned out?"
Duo nodded firmly. "Most assuredly. I am very pleased with the finished product. This book wouldn't be half the work it is if it wasn't for Samantha St. James, who shepherded me through the process. It may be my life story, but it was Miss St. James who helped shape it into the form you have in your hands. I may not be a pacifist, I believe that change is brought about through struggle. That the goal is ultimately savored more, appreciated and valued due to the effort put forth to attain it. Life is struggle and mine has only just begun. I am looking forward to reaching my goals, 'Confessions' was just one of them, one I could share with others and I hope touch them, enlighten them, and motivate them toward figuring out what it is they ultimately want."
Matt looked at Duo, really looked at him then said softly. "The book is titled: 'Confessions of a Gundam Pilot'; Duo Maxwell a pleasure meeting you."
"The pleasure was all mine."
"It is 7:43; this is Today on NBC."
The buffer music came up, the light on the camera flickered off. "And we are clear."
Matt stood up quickly. "How many more of those do you have to do today?" he asked; an easy smile on his lips.
Duo stood up, and was immediately bombarded by stage staff who took off his microphone, turned off the lights, and began to move things for the next segment. "Four." he huffed.
He moved out of the way of the hustling stagehands. "Do you have a pen?" he asked.
Matt blinked then fumbled inside his suit jacket's inner pocket for a pen. He handed it and his copy of 'Confessions' to Duo. "Do you want anything special?" Duo asked grinning.
"To Matt from your pal Duo...? Or something like that." the television personality said jokingly.
Duo's grin widened and he quickly scribbled an inscription to the book, marking it, making it a one of a kind and special.
He finished signing his name with a flourish and then handed it back to Matt. "Here you go."
Matt quickly scanned what Duo had wrote and smiled, eyes shining. "Thanks." he thrust out his hand, which Duo warmly shook. "Well time for me to go. Thanks for taking it easy on me." he joked. "Good luck with the book. I am sure it will do well here on Earth, just as well as it has done on the colonies." "Thank you for the support. G'Bye."
Duo quickly weaved through the soundstage, back to the dressing rooms. He grabbed his stuff: a leather shoulder bag which held his schedule, a couple of extra copies of 'Confessions', a newspaper, a bottle of orange-pineapple juice, a brush, and his music player.
He was in the lobby of the studio when his second interview of the day, a reporter with 'Village Voice' came up to him; a young man no more than twenty. He looked weak but Duo knew from personal experience that appearances could be deceiving. "Duo Maxwell!" he said.
"I am Doug O'Connor, 'Village Voice'. I was going to do a running interview with you."
"Yeah I know. Come on, lets catch a cab."
They went outside and Duo hailed a cab which quickly zoomed in to pick them up. Duo gave the driver his destination then sat back, Doug a beaming, almost bouncing presence at his side.
The young man pulled out an audio recorder, pressed a couple of buttons then just began.
"I saw your interview on 'Today'. It was really good!"
Duo chuckled. "I'd hope so. I feel like I've been doing interviews for months now." he laughed. "Actually I HAVE been doing interviews for months now. I think I am finally getting the whole thing down."
"I thought it was pretty cool. Anyway, like Matt ya know, I read the book. My God! I didn't know that all that stuff happened four years ago! I can't believe the main stream media was able to hide and manipulate events so throughly! Don't you get mad at the way they made Gundams look?"
Duo shrugged. "It was a weird time back then. When we were first sent down we had a clear objective, take out the Earth Sphere Alliance. What we didn't know was that there were other pilots and other Gundams. So when I first met pilot 01, I tried to kill him. Same goes for Zuhayr pilot of 04 and Sur Barton of 03. Way I heard it they tried to kill each other before Zuhayr realized that if they killed each other that it served no purpose.
In the beginning of the whole dang thing, it was such a muddled mess. Our informants weren't sure about anything really that was going on here on Earth so they mostly gave us targets which were militarily sound but in the long run helped out Oz more than hurt the Alliance. So when Oz all of a sudden reared it's ugly head we didn't know what the hell was going on. We had to retreat and take anything they sent our way.
I guess in hindsight, things could have been handled better, but hindsight is 20/20." He shrugged.
"Oh, ok...I see."
Duo grinned. "Yeah sure you do. Look kid, I knew a load of crap when I heard it when I was 5, and was playing with C4 by the time I was 12. So lets get down to the real questions you wanna ask. How old are you?"
Doug blinked, "Me? I am 19."
"You just join the magazine? Still in school?"
"Yeah...you were what 13? 14? when the first war started?" Doug nodded a bit crestfallen. "Sshhhiiiiittt! You're just like the kids we would hide among. Knew nothing of life, just took things at face value. I knew better. You gotta take what comes to you and hang onto it with both hands, cause you never know when it will all of a sudden disappear ya know?"
"Ok, so cut the crap!" Duo barked. "You're lucky! Someone at your magazine likes you enough to give you a shot at a semi-celebrity I guess. This can either make or break you, so lets go."
Doug looked at Duo, really looked at him and came to the conclusion that this guy wasn't berating him but trying to motivate him.
'Life is struggle and mine has only just begun. I am looking forward to reaching my goals, I hope touch other people; enlighten them, and motivate them toward figuring out what it is they ultimately want.' The words echoed in Doug's mind for a moment, then he frowned, screwed up his courage and gave Duo a very determined look.
"You grew up in the slums of L2. Most of the people you knew growing up died, how did those experiences shape you? Do you think they would be proud of who you are today?"
Duo felt a Shinigami grin split his face. 'That's the spirit kid, fight for what you want.'
He felt the grin warm something deep in his heart, and kept that feeling all during the trip to the ABC studios.
Earth - New York City
October A.C. 200 - 2:00 pm
<'I am getting too old for this crap.'> thought one beleaguered Duo Maxwell who was suffering from a severe case of writer's cramp, as he trudged through the door of his suite.
He dropped his bag at the sofa in the sitting area then flopped down face first on the bed. "I am beat." he whimpered.
What he wouldn't do for a neck, shoulder, and back rub. Not to mention a nice little massage for his aching hands. He'd gotten off easy he realized, only two hours of signing books at a downtown bookstore.
Up on L4, he had once had to sign books for 3 hrs and STILL hadn't gotten all of them. He hated to turn people away but his mechanic hands just couldn't stand holding the pen and had started trembling so bad, he couldn't hold the pen.
Groaning, he slowly toed off his shoes, then began to wriggle out of his suit jacket, tie, and shirt. Free of the torturous shoes he wriggled his toes. He hurt all over. Mostly his right side and his butt from sitting almost all day. Hell even his hair hurt!
What he wouldn't do just to be outta here and back on L2! Hell even patrol duty was better than sitting around on your ass all day signing books.
He snorted. The only good thing about being a smash hit author was the food! Well ok, so maybe frosted donuts and bearclaws weren't exactly part of a balanced breakfast, but they sat well in your tummy at 6 am! He still couldn't believe he had to get up that early just to a TV appearance. He was glad he wasn't one of the TV anchors.
That Matt guy was awfully nice. He liked him.
He wriggled his toes again then decided that a nice hot shower would do wonders! He rolled off the bed, undid the tie on his hair and began to undo it. He slipped out of his shirt, tugged off his socks and padded off to the shower for some downtime.
An hour later, he came out of the nice humid, cozy-warm bathroom, a towel wrapped around his head and another around his waist, and a terry cloth bathrobe around his slim form.
Practically purring with satisfaction he plopped himself down in the middle of the bed and sat there for a few minutes feeling the warm flush on his skin and his body hum softly.
<'Welp that was nice...hm....should I eat now? or at the dinner?'> he thought then shrugged. <'Think I'll call home then decide.'>
He pulled the phone around so the vid-screen was pointed towards him, then punched in the long string of numbers which would connect him first to L2, then the section of the colony he wanted, and then to the halfway house.
It rang a couple of times before it was picked up by Samantha who looked to be a big haggard herself.
"Hey guys!" he said cheerfully.
"Duo!" cried Sam! "Hey how you doing?! We're watching your interview from this morning! Man you were great! I see this touring stuff is really agreeing with you." she winked.
Duo rolled his eyes. "Yeah yeah whatever. How are things and-"
"Hey wait. We wanna try something hang on for a minute." she turned away from the vid screen. "Collin! It's Duo! Plug in the big screen, let him see the kiddlettes."
Duo puzzled over that for a few moments before he heard a chorus of: "DUO!!!!!" from his motley crew.
Sam came back onto the screen. "They can see you, but you can't see them...but...wave, say 'Hi'."
Duo's grin widened as he imagined his kids sitting in the living room. He waved at the screen. "Hi guys! You being good and not driving Sam or Collin nuts?"
"YEAAAHHHHH" came the enthusiastic response from his pack. He laughed.
"I miss you guys! But not to worry, I should be done here in a couple of weeks. I hope everything is going well there." He gave Sam a pointed look.
She winced slightly.
He arched a brow, but didn't say anything.
"We're bein' good Duo." said a voice which he recognized as Bingo's.
"Everyones doing good. Even the baby is doing good. She's beginn' to walk n' stuff."
Duo smiled a genuine smile. "Really? That's great! I'll bring you guys something from Earth. Tonight, I got to go to this real fancy hotel and read to them."
"You mean like a bedtime story?" asked Boo.
Duo blinked mulling that over. "Uhm...not exactly. I hope they don't fall asleep. They're gonna be eating dinner and I am going to read to them. And then after the dinner and a small talk, then I hafta sign more books!"
The group groaned; they knew how much Duo just 'loved' signing books. "I'll see you all real soon, so you guys stay out of trouble. Keep up with your lessons, and don't make too big of a mess K?"
"Yeah Duo, we'll be good." said another voice which he could quite place.
Sam whispered: "Wave."
He did as he was told. She made a 'cut' motion to someone out of vid range, probably Collin, then turned back to Duo.
"There, that's done. Now it's just you and me."
Duo sighed and pulled the towel off his drying hair. "Ok, so spill. What's going on up there?"
"Nothing too serious, just another virus. It hit section L-28 on the other side of the colony. We vaccinated everyone who has come in asking for help, and the kids who are regulars. But we don't dare send vaccine to L-28. They've got it blockaded; no one is allowed in or out without papers and official business."
Duo sighed. "I guess they're suspicious after the death rates in our area were lower than projected. Damn. What does the net think? Any word?"
Sam shook her head. "It's quiet. We just got word of the plague a few days before it hit from a runner. But when we tried to sneak some vaccine in we got stopped at a point check. Duo, I think this time it's going to get worst before it gets better."
Duo worried at his bottom lip. "I see...try to keep the little ones protected. Keep an eye on the older ones and ask them where they've traveled and warn everyone about L-28. They may have the area locked down, but a virus pretty much doesn't care about boundaries. It may escape and run a colony wide epidemic."
Sam sighed. "Don't worry Duo. We're on top of it. How are things going your way?"
"Pretty good considering; I am tired though. I have roughly an hour before I gotta get out of here. Took a bath and am relaxing. That's the LAST time I do a book signing/interview/taping all in one! Sheeze! I didn't know which way was up. I really admire you for doing this not once but three times! I don't see how you can stand it sometimes."
Sam laughed and swiped a lock of her hair out of her eyes. "You get used to it after a while. You better get going. I'd love to see your reading tonight Duo. Good luck."
"Thanks Sam. Give the kids lots of hugs and kisses, and I'll see you in a couple of weeks."
"Sure thing Duo...you wanna talk to Collin?"
Duo shook his head. "Nah. I am sure he's got everything settled and going smoothly."
"You're right he does." she said with a small smile on her face. Duo's brow arched again, but he refrained from saying anything.
"I am gone!"
The connection was broken and the screen went black.
<'Heh! Imagine that! Collin and Sam....who would have thunk?!'>
Earth - New York City
October A.C. 200 - 6:00 pm
The Waldorf-Astoria, one of New York's first and last "Grand Hotels" and the setting for a dinner/reading in which one Duo Maxwell was the Guest Speaker.
A one Duo Maxwell who was ravenously hungry and was currently scarfing down, in an as acceptable method possible, a prime rib steak with all the fixings.
Duo sighed silently in complete bliss. <'Oh how I love free food.'>
Free for him, but costing all others who had come to hear him read, and then have him sign books: $500 a plate.
Extortion! cried his inner "Wufei"; Unjust!
However his inner "Duo" explained patiently that 60% of the proceeds were going to the Second Chance Foundation to help the kiddlettes who were in need of as much help as they could get.
That seemed to quiet down his inner "Wufei" who grumbled and went to go sit in a corner muttering while polishing his sword.
He finished up the last of his plate, one of the few plates which was pretty much polished clean, and sat back to look at his audience. Most of them were older women, socialites he realized with faint disgust. There were some men, professors, sociologists, husbands of the women, and maybe a few dissenters, disbeliveers. Those he didn't mind. In fact he enjoyed them. He loved to talk rings around them.
All too soon the light chime of a fork striking beautiful delicate crystal rang out across the room as their host, head of Winner Publishing here in New York, stood up and gathered their attention. She cleared her throat and began. "I want to thank all of you for coming tonight to this very special launching of a very special book, which has become an inter-colony Bestseller. We are fortunate to have with us the author, Duo Maxwell who shall read a personally selected section called "Interludes" so without further adieu Duo Maxwell, author of 'Confessions of a Gundam Pilot."
A polite round of applause started and Duo stood up. He gave their host a nice hand shake and a light kiss on the cheek then turned toward his audience.
"Good evening." he began. He looked down at the podium where his copy of 'Confessions' sat. He thumbed to the section of the book from which he would read with slight trepidation.
"As most of you know, I was a Gundam pilot. Found at the age of twelve and trained as an assassin slash guerilla fighter. 'Confessions' is my attempt to explain to people who didn't even know there was a war, and to myself, what happened during that time."
He found what he was looking for, smoothed the pages down, cleared his throat then began.
"...After Colony 196, the end of the war, the end of life as we, the five Gundam Pilots knew it. With the end of the war came also the end of our mission, our purpose. We were for the first time in almost a year at a complete and total loss as what to do next.
"Zuhayr had someplace to go as did Sur, but neither I nor Tien-fong, nor Heero did. I had lived with my trainer in the three years prior to the war. Heero had also lived with his trainer for most of his life, and Tien-fong's colony was destroyed so I knew he had no place to go.
"It was Zuhayr who came up with the idea of all of us moving in with each other. We all moved into one of the safe houses on Earth, but with no debriefing we were doomed to failure in this little experiment.
The first to leave was Tien-fong; he just up and disappeared one night. Next was Sur, but then again that wasn't too unexpected, he did after all have family.
Zuhayr tried to say but he too had other obligations, many of which he had been neglecting for far too long. Besides without Sur, there really was nothing to keep him on Earth.
"So once again, it was just me and Heero. At first we were like two strangers who had just met; we didn't know what to do with ourselves. We didn't work, really had no need to. We just bummed around on Earth for a while. We didn't talk about much of anything when we did talk. Most of our time was spent just existing; two silent figures living next to each other but not really alive.
I'll admit it, I couldn't stand it.
I ran away. I went back to L2, fell into business with Hilde at a scrap yard and tried to forget everything. Heero, the war, the Gundams.
"Then one day Heero just appeared out of nowhere. Trouble was brewing, he said. Vice-Councilor Relena Peacecraft had been abducted and a new militant force had arisen.
This was the Eve War. Deadly but manageable.
A quick operation that lasted all of 72 hrs. At the end of which, we destroyed our Gundams as a new age of peace was ushered in.
"The year was After Colony 198; I call it the 'Year of Discovery'. Again Zuhayr wanted us to live together, if only for a little while. So we could exorcise the demons that were living in our souls. We were in pain, he explained. I think he hoped that if we all just talked about it, the burden, the pain we were all feeling would go away. The nightmares all of us suffered would stop.
"I really had nothing better go do, so I agreed as did the others. So we stayed on Earth and talked, and lived, and tried to heal. For nine months we did this but we discovered that even though we liked each other, without the continual stress of war or conflict, we just couldn't stand to be around each other!
"Once more we all retreated; Zuhayr went home to L4, Sur went back to L3 but traveled regularly to L4; Tien-fong stayed on Earth becoming a Preventer. I went back up to L2 and Heero disappeared, but by now I was used to his comings and goings...especially his goings.
Then, when everything was settled and we all got back to normal, well as normal as we could, the wedding invitations showed up.
"They say it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I have loved deeply, truly, innocently, passionately, and I have lost bitterly, been lost alone crying and screaming vowing never to love again. The war happened and I carried all my scars into battle and I came out on the other side living but not alive.
"Having loved Heero and then loosing him was a bitter blow, but it made me realize that I was human and that was worth any amount of pain. During the Year of Discovery, I began to find hints of the true Duo Maxwell. He intrigues me and I was eager to learn more about him. When the wedding invitation showed up, it was like a wake up call. I was now free to start a new adventure, a new quest, a new mission to find out was Duo Maxwell?"
Next up: Winner Corp finishes an experimental conventional engine, and Duo goes forward with step three in his plan to regain Heero Yuy. Join the excitement as Duo attempts to fly around the world and break the world record!
Next in: He's Mine: Heart and Soul
Chapter Five: To Fly Again