6-14-2001

Title: He's Mine; Heart and Soul (5/12?)
Author: Perotessa Detwieler (cearda@ultimanet.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 (like Robert and Matt Lawrence) that pops up. Those I own and keep in small bottles 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. :)

Rating: PG

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 5 - To Fly Again

"...I think I enjoyed being holed up in the boarding schools the most. Not because I was with Heero, but because I could pretend for a few days or weeks that I was a normal teenager. You know some tuna surprise, substandard beef, and bricks of Jell-O.

"Drawbacks were of course homework, bullies, and not being able to make friends. You couldn't have your new friend Timmy come over and accidentally discover a gun. It just wouldn't do to blow little Timmy away. What would you tell his parents?

"Another negative aspect were the nosey administrators. Its hard to keep weapons hidden during spot inspections. Living in the dorms DOES make for interesting sex though; you know with early Lights Out and everything. You can't be too adventurous or noisy; bad for me, I was always the vocal one.

"I really don't see how 'superheroes' do it. Live a normal life during the day and suit up and save the world at night. The contrasts are too much, even for me and I adapt well. Hell drop me anywhere with clothes and five bucks in my pocket and I am a happy camper. I can survive on that.

"Life, death, love, hate, peace, war, struggle, apathy. I guess they all have that same feeling....in their own sort of way; like you're free fallin'."
-- from "Confessions of a Gundam Pilot" by Duo Maxwell

 

Earth - United Arab Emirates; on a Winner Estate
April - A.C. 201

Duo shivered in breathless anticipation. When he'd jumped at the chance to fly Quatre's new and untested engine in it's attempt to break the world record of fastest circumnavigation of the globe, he had had no idea that Winner Corp was going to be ready so quickly! Not that he minded, he was going to enjoy the opportunity to get away from promoting 'Confessions' and be off of L2 and be in the clear sky doing something he loved: Flying.

He wouldn't be alone in this venture of course. Robert Stieber was going to co-pilot with him. Only Robert knew that he hadn't been at the control of a flying machine in over two years. He glanced over at the older man who was nervously plucking at his blue-grey flight suit. A soft smile spread over his face as he thought of Robert.

When G had decided to spare his life, he of course couldn't take care of a twelve year old. So he had called upon his old contact Howard and his Sweeper's crew. Duo once again was installed into a warm and loving pseudo-family. To gain full access to the Sweeper organization, and in a sign of true respect and trust it was decided that the Sweeper clan would adopt him, but for that to happen one of their number would have to sponsor him. It was Robert who stepped forward to take on the responsibility of teaching Duo the ropes, the laws, and the cultural ways of his new adopted family.

When Duo had told Collin and Sam about the L4-269 engine that Quatre had developed and that he had volunteered to fly it in it's quest for the world record, Robert said that he would be damned if he'd let his 'son' go off on such a mission on his own! He had been on the next shuttle off L2 and had arrived at the desert base and delivered a tongue lashing so thorough that Duo felt that he was 12 again!

He knew that Robert meant well but GODS! He was now a 21 year old who was fully capable of making his own decisions and living with the consequences, damnit!

Grumbling to himself softly, he studied his "uncle" Robert and noted his nervousness. Well he knew how to get rid of that, right quick! Clearing his throat he turned to face the older man fully and said: "Isn't this exciting Uncie Robert?" he gushed in a high pitched little kid's falsetto. "Soon it's just gonna be you, me, and my 'Pretty Girl'." he smirked.

Predictably, Robert rolled his eyes snorting: "The day you start liking girls is the day I quit hauling my ass around smuggling for ya. And don't call me Uncie!"

Duo's rich laughter filled the cool morning air and he quickly studied the plane which if everything went correctly, would be carrying them into the world record books. Her top was painted an off black color and her underside was light grey. On her nose was the name 'Kawaiikochan' indeed making her Duo's Pretty Girl.

At a length of 32.74 meters, weight of 77,110 kilograms with a wing span of 16.96 meters, Duo's Kawaiikochan was a sleek machine; every line designed for total speed. Even sitting here on the tarmac she looked as if she were flying. Her slightly swept back wings seemed eager to stretch to reach their final 80,000 feet cruising altitude and show them what she could do.

"Did you ever think of the day that we would be standing here, on Earth getting ready to fly around the equator?" asked Robert softly. Duo shook his head. "Never. I can't ~wait~ to get behind those controls! It's been way too long!"

"Don't go a'getting ahead of yourself Pup. She may have wings, don't mean she don't have her own quirks." cautioned Rob.

Duo wrinkled his nose and ran a hand lightly over the plane's titanium skin. "You've been with me for the past two weeks checkin' her out. She's as stable as the day is long. Which I might add, we're going to be testing her against. Isn't that right Babe?" he patted the stenciled name with fondness. "Soon Babe soon it will be just you, me, and our chaperone; just to make sure I don't take advantage of you or nuthin'. Although I get the distinct feeling that it's you who is going to be carrying me away."

Rob coughed discreetly. "Uh, I hate to break up this magic moment, but we have a checklist to get through. You can talk to your new girlfriend later."

Duo quirked a brow but moved away from the fuselage. "What Uncle? Jealous?"

"The day you start to coddle me like that is the day you get the crap beat outta ya!" he snorted.

Duo laughed again and clapped his sponsor on the shoulder as both of them entered the plane.

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

"..diagnostics on navigational computer?"

"Check."

Duo stretched over, checked the output then made a small mark on his clip board. "I think we're ready." He looked at his co-pilot with a look of wonder which was quickly overtaken by one of excitement.

"Well lets go give our regards to the press and get going."

"You're a gruff old bird aren't cha?" said Duo rising and scooting out of the cockpit.

"Shaddup!" sputtered Rob and swatted him.

 

For the next 30 minutes they posed for pictures with Quatre and the Chief Mechanic and the Chief Technician for the L4-269: Al Qutbi engine. They answered a couple of questions from the aviation magazine people, took one last bathroom break then climbed back into the plane.

Over the radio he told Quatre: "See ya in a few hours. Love ya Q."

"You just be safe Duo. I'll see you tonight. Insh'Allah."

Duo grinned a cheeky grin, "Indeed God willing and the creek don't rise. We ready Uncie Robert?"

"Everything looks like a go, and don't call me uncie!"

"Yes sir, Uncie Robert Sir!"

Robert rolled his eyes but was resigned to the fact that he probably was doomed to be referred to as "uncie" for the rest of the trip.

"Lets get this show on the road! Engage the starter!"

The high pitched whine of the turbines could be heard, gathering power and momentum.

"Last stat checks?"

"Oil pressure is good. Fuel pressure: good, engine temp: within acceptable parameters, generators: good."

"YAHOOO!" yodeled Duo. "Pull the chalks! Lets get outta here! Ground Control this is L4-TS9 requesting permission to taxi."

The radio/video feed popped up onto the small video screen embedded into the planes front window. Quatre's smiling face.

"L4-TS9, clear to taxi to runway 04."

"Clear to taxi to runway 04, L4-TS9."

There was a slight jerk as the plane rolled forward then came to a sudden stop. "Oh! So that's what that pedal does!" said a very enthusiastic Duo.

Next to him, Robert sweatdropped.

He got the plane moving again, taxing it past the hanger and do the active runway. "Tower to L4-TS9 you are cleared for take off."

"Roger that." said Duo then glanced at his "uncle" "You ready old man?"

"Whenever you are Pup."

"Come on my Pretty Girl, lets show them what you got."

The engines roared to a new crescendo of sound, the engines fully fired and as if catapulted the beautiful titanium bird shot down the runway. Slowly she began to rise the wheels of her landing gear seeming to barley skim the runway then she was aloft. Gently she eased herself airborne rising in smooth increments till she was away rising into the morning sky on her long marathon of following the sun around the globe.

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

Duo kept his hands on the controls of his Pretty Girl but sat back in his chair keeping a close eye on the gauges and their readings. So far so good though. They were climbing toward their final cruising altitude and the engine was just purring a long like a kitten. All readings were coming back well within parameters so there were no worries.

Duo could feel the concerned eyes of Robert upon him but said nothing. Finally it was the older spacer who spoke up. "You know Pup these here is gonna be one heck of a long flight. Why not let me handle her for a while and you rest.."

Duo grinned. "Hey old timer, I've flown longer shifts than this...I think I can handle it."

"I know you have Duo-lad." said Robert quietly. "You don't have to anymore though, that's my point."

Duo blinked then nodded slowly. "Gotcha. I'll rest my eyes for a bit then...thanks Uncie."

Robert's lip twitched but he said nothing.

Duo thought back to last night and the small little reunion he had with Quatre and his ever present shadow Trowa. Both had seemed extremely happy and he was pleased to see them as well. It had been too long.

He had thanked Quatre for all the help he had given him; for Collin and Samantha. The "desert prince" had laughed it away saying that he would have done the same if he could. Duo had the decency to blush and duck his head...it was the truth but still...

"Well I am fine; but you know that. I mean you probably know more about me and the kids than we do! Here here enough about me! What about YOU Quat?! And how about you Trowa? What's been happening with you?"

Quatre blinked then blushed softly. "We've been well. L4 has recently passed a provision for same sex marriages making them legal so..."

Duo's eyes widened. "You're serious? Cool! So...do I get to be a flower girl?" He gave Quatre his best simpering look.

Quatre beamed. "You're always such the attention grabber Duo! And while the prospect of actually getting married..." he squeezed Trowa's hand as the emerald eyed ex-pilot smiled softly at him, "is quite exciting, I've just been so busy and so has Trowa-"

"Busy? Doing what? You haven't started a cattery up in one of Q-chan's mansions have you Tro? Lions on the property, padding in the house for supper and all that?" he chuckled at that mental image.

Trowa blushed faintly and cleared his throat. "No...nothing quite that drastic. I have a nice large barn on one of the estates with room for twenty guests. I know you love guessing games Duo, so guess what I do."

Duo blinked and sat back. "You want me to guess what you're doing now? I haven't the slightest...uhm...ok so it's not big cats and you get guests. Uhm...Horseback riding?"

Quatre chortled happily next to his companion. "Oh you're close! But nope; guess again!"

Duo gave the happy couple a glare then sat back crossing his arms over his chest and stuck his nose up into the air. "No way. You have an unfair advantage on me. Tell tell!"

Trowa grinned and relented. "I decided to stop working with the circus and now have a training center for gymnasts. I train youngsters and hopefully will have one ready for the next colony Olympics in six years."

Quatre leaned forward eyes aglow. "You should see them Duo! A whole stable full of wanna-be Olympians all just clamoring to be coached by Trowa! Not only that, but the ranch has enough room that he has a small menagerie with deer, water fowl, horses, gazelle, and an eland."

"Not to mention Leo." added Trowa quietly.

"HA! So you did bring your lion with you!" cried Duo pointing a finger at Trowa.

The uni-banged one nodded solemnly. "He even has a couple of girlfriends to keep him company; Elsa and Kitrina."

Duo's maniacal grin threatened to split his face in two. "And how about you Little-Q? What you been up too?"

The golden haired man shrugged. "Nothing much. A lot of my interest and attention has been wrapped up into the L4-269: Al Qutbi engine. It's a first for the colonies and I am hoping it performs as well as it has in testing thus far. I am hoping that the Al Qutbi will be the cornerstone of Winner Corps: Terran Ventures division. I am hoping to branch out more bringing goods and services to the planet while taking back to the colony rough materials. With the colonies now in a state of self rule I am hoping for a true working partnership based on free and equal commerce and not the tariff laden experience it used to be. It used to make trade with Earth a loosing venture even for conglomerates like Winner Corp."

"Well no worries Quat-chan, I've the very luck of the Devil on my side. If anyone can get that plane around the world in one piece it's me and my Uncie Rob."

"I am counting on it Duo...it's so good to actually see you again. I've worried for your health with all the traveling you've been doing recently."

Duo shrugged. "You know me, gotta keep busy or I'll go nuts."

Quatre speared him with a look but said nothing. Duo was sure that the blonde Arab with that Space Heart of his could feel the cloud of despondency, that had been his constant companion since his last confrontation with Heero over his impending marriage, had dissipated before a wave of determination.

Duo grinned faintly. <'If only you knew Q...but it's not time yet. Soon though...soon.'>

The rest of the evening passed quite pleasantly...pleasantly until the subject of Heero Yuy was brought up. Then the proverbial 'shit hit the fan'.

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

Duo yawned, stretched and blinked sleepily. He looked around and the situation he was in suddenly came back to him as he hit up against the seat restraints.

"Hey Old Man, what is our status?"

Robert grunted softly. "Hey yourself Sleeping Beauty." He glanced down at the GPS. "Well since your three hour nap, we've crossed over the Arabian Sea and are just about to enter Bangladesh airspace. If everything stays on course, we'll be hitting our first stop in Osaka in another three hours or so."

That snapped Duo awake faster than a bucket of icy water. "WHAT?! You're kidding!" He looked at the GPS and the radar himself and slapped his hand to his forehead.

"No freaking way!! I thought Quatre was going to build an engine; not an interdimentional warp gate! Dddaaaaammmmmnnn! We're making great time!"

"Yea well, I wanna do a walk-around once we set down at Kansai. She feels great but this is her first distance flight and I wanna make sure everything looks ok."

Duo nodded absently stretching out the last of the kinks. "Well then, next stop Kansai International Airport it is then." he checked the fuel gauge. "I think I'll be cutting in on ya old man. I wanna dance with my Pretty Girl for a bit."

Robert chuckled but allowed Duo to have control of the plane. "Still a bit nervous when others fly you huh?"

"It's a hard habit to break as well you know."

"I should, since it seems I am the one who hammered it into ya."

"Shaddup!" Duo said in a teasing tone.

 

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Earth - Kansai International Airport: Osaka
April - A.C. 201

Three hours later on the dot, they arrived at Kansai International Airport in Osaka.

Duo stepped off the Kawaiikochan and took in a deep breath of air. Kansai airport was a beauty he could at least admit that. Suddenly he chuckled. He found it amusing that he, and ethnic American was here in Japan while Heero, Japanese by descent was in Europe.

He wondered absently if Heero ever had the yearning to see this place. He himself was burning with curiosity and kinda wished that he was free to go and look around.

However he had a job to do: break the old world record and bring media and industry attention to the Al Qutbi engine that was powering the Kawaiikochan around the globe. That was the "mission" he had accepted, and he was going to fulfill it.

"Hey Pup come on lets get a going. We got a long way to fly. Next stop Hawaii! Imagine that hula girls and crystal blue waters."

"Oh blah! Just means another 6 hrs till our next bathroom break!"

"Quit complaining Pup. Could be worst ya know."

Duo dropped his eyes his whole demeanor going quiet. "Yeah...I know."

Robert gaped at the braided young man "Damn me and my sharp tongue." he muttered and silently followed Duo into the plane.

A few minutes later the Kawaiikochan taxied down the runway and flung herself into the clear blue sky

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

Duo unstrapped from his seat and shimmed out of the cockpit to take a small "walk" through the cabin and take a couple of pictures.

So far, other than a little turbulence, the engine was in tick-top shape. They were cruising comfortably at 80,000 feet and had already beaten the old world record. Now all it was, was trying to see how much time they would shave off.

He plopped his weary body down into one of the seats in the back and lolled his head on the headrest. <'Man I'd forgotten how much I hated long distance flight. Heh...wouldn't Wufei get a chuckle out of hearing that?'>

He was amazed at how well overall the engine was performing. It would take the techs a few days to truly find out how well she had weathered it though. They would extract the information from the computers and sensors, study it, and publish their findings. Either way, the L4-269: Al Qutbi engine was a marvel of modern technology and only a sampling of what a colony corporation could produce.

So far since they had left the UAE they had hit Osaka, Hawaii, and New York. Now the Kawaiikochan continued her quick pace over the Atlantic Ocean, winging toward her next fuel stop in England, Duo's mind was occupied with thoughts of Quatre and his own seemingly futile quest for Heero Yuy's heart.

He knew that his last comment of going nuts if he wasn't occupied had perked Quatre's interest. He was sure of that when he had surreptitiously watched the Arab during their little after dinner chat. He had been sitting on the love seat, a silent yet content Trowa next to him, frowning slightly trying to figure out what was going on inside of Duo's head. A sudden insight he understood in a truly horrified realization, if the statement on his face was any indication.

Duo was doing everything he had done in the past two years for Heero. A man who was, for as far as he knew it, happily married. It troubled him that Duo would even think of intruding in the marriage. Even if he was correct in his assumption that Heero wasn't happy.

Narrowing his eyes, Quatre decided to test out his theory. Clearing his throat he said, "I really can't express how thrilled I am that you took time out to fly the Al Qutbi engine for me Duo. I am sure there are other things you'd rather do than fly around the work in less than 18 hours."

Duo scoffed shaking his head. "You know me Q. I have more than one reason to by flying your plane. One of them is of course cause I really wanted to. Another was cause I needed to get away from the media circus that "Confessions" generated.

Quatre frowned slightly. "My pleasure Duo. It gladdens me to see you move on with your life. "

Duo snorted. "Moved on? What makes you think I've moved on? Who do you think I am doing all of this for?"

Quatre blinked and slowly disengaged himself from Trowa a frown crinkling his golden brows. "Umm...Duo. Don't tell me you're still fixated on Heero."

At Duo's mirthless snort his eyes widened in surprise. "The man is married. Don't you think it's time you forgot about this and concentrated on your own life?"

Duo's violet eyes snapped with suppressed emotion. "You know as well as I do Quatre, that there is NO WAY Heero married Relena out of love! And you just as well know that there is no way he can feel or express love in the manner she wants it."

The blonde Arabian blinked again then leaned forward, fully leaving the comfort of his lover as he confronted Duo head on. "My Space Heart tells me a lot Duo. And it tells me that what you're doing is madness; pure obsession. It tells me-"

Duo scoffed. "You may have that "Space heart" of yours to help you out now and then, but Q I know Heero. I know him better than he may know himself. And I am telling you, he's looking for escape! Did you know he had his own business in Sanq? It's a personal security business. Now do you think for one moment that if Heero was all fine and good with being a duke that he would have given up his "perfect soldier" persona? "

Quatre glanced over at his long time companion for support. Trowa watched the confrontation calmly not offering support or opposition, simply listening quietly. He wouldn't step in unless it got physical. Quatre knew this and so did Duo who was better at verbal sparing anyway and was counting on Trowa's non-interference.

"Duo, it is my firm belief that marriage is sacred..." Quatre started hesitantly. "However, if what you say is true and I don't doubt it because you don't lie, would you truly want to come in between Relena and Heero? Why not let them work out their problems?"

"Because Heero married out of obligation and duty. If he's so in love with her, then why does he have his own life away from her? If he's so into the marriage then why is it he's gone from Sanq up to 250 days a year? This is the last step in my plan, Q-chan. This is it; I am through. It's time, after this I am going after him. Because you see Quatre...Heero married the wrong person."

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

"Hey? You awake in there? Duo!"

Duo blinked and focused once again on Robert who was looking at him in concern. "You ok Pup?"

Duo nodded. "Fine, just thinking about last night. How is it going?"

Robert narrowed his eyes but didn't say anything. "See for yourself."

Duo rose from the seat and followed the older man back to the cockpit and settled himself into his seat.

As he snapped into the last restraint Robert said: "Everything is within working parameters. She's flying along just great."

Duo checked the gauges and the flight computer. "Man we're making great time! And just look, we're almost done! Cool!"

Robert rolled his eyes. "Yeah, 'cool'. The longest stretch of the trip is coming up ya know. We have one last refueling stop then it's off to see how much time we can shave off the clock."

Duo nodded all his concerns shifting from his pursuit of the elusive ex-pilot of Wing Gundam to the pursuit of the world record. "Where are we suppose to be setting down?"

"Quick stop and go; Muir Airfield on another one of Winner Corps private airstrips. Maganacs are going to do the refueling and do a quick check of the engines then we're off to UAE and the record books."

Duo grinned. "Lets get this done. I have a real hankering for some REAL coffee!"

Robert looked at his co-pilot in mock dismay. "Oh ye Gods! I don't think I could stand you on a caffeine high! Lord have mercy on me!"

 

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Earth - Muir Airfield
April - A.C. 201

Duo jogged around the Kawaiikochan after checking one of the wings. He scrambled back inside and slipped into his seat.

"How's she look Rob?"

"If Quatre doesn't sell ten of these things by the time we get back, someone has their heads up their ass. This is the last fuel stop we make. Next stop: the UAE."

Duo sighed and ran a hand through his bangs. "Thank god for that. I'd forgotten how much I hated long distance flying. It's been fun, Babe but we gotta go our separate ways in a bit."

The radio crackled suddenly and Rashid popped up on the heads-up display. "Master Duo, she's all fueled up. You're cleared for take off."

Duo grinned. "Thanks Rashid. We'll give Quatre your best regards."

Rashid smiled and his image disappeared.

"Come on Pup, lets get her home."

Duo flicked a couple of switches and listened as the door clicked into place. "And you know the best thing about this stop? I got a giant cup of coffee with lots of sugar!"

Robert smacked himself in the head. "Oh dear gods No!" he wailed in despair.

Duo laughed heartily as he taxied the Kawaiikochan down the runway.

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

Duo wasn't as oblivious as some people thought he might be. As the Kawaiikochan sliced through the atmosphere on her way toward the United Arab Emirates, she crossed over what was known as the European Union.

The European Union was created almost two hundred years ago, all the individual countries desolved their boarders and became a unified country in response to the North American Empire which by sheer size held more power, money, and weaponry than any other single country in existence.

In order to stand up to such a behemoth the Union was created, not without some major controversy, and the Sank Kingdom was carved out to stand as a soothing, moderating force.

While the Imperial United States had in time grown large and more powerful, the European Union in contrast has fallen into petty bickering and disarray. Easily conquered from within by the Earth Sphere Alliance, they were brought into line then pointed at the Empire as a weapon.

Whoever said American's were fools probably never met Emperor Christopher Ethan Mathis. He appealed to his subjects for calm and strength in the troubling times. Then in a surprise move he decommissioned over 800 military bases around the world; bringing home any troops who wished to come home, and making the now abandoned bases their own entities within the countries they had been stationed.

Ethan the Younger, as the Emperor was known, hated the Alliance and closed up ranks against it and probably would have gone to war if it wasn't for the fact that his only child, a son and heir to the throne was only a few months old.

The only reason Duo knew so much about all this history was because G had been adamant that he understand how he had gotten funding for the Gundam project. Apparently it was the Emperor who helped secretly to fund the creation and development of Deathscythe. When he was assassinated the money stopped and G had been forced to find other ways of getting funding.

<'Well, he thought with a tinge of humor, at least I have it easier. Now all I need is my lover to complete my happy little picture.'> He looked at the GPS display and blinked upon seeing the coordinates.

Duo snorted softly to himself. <'Who would have thunk it? Right over Sank airspace...too bad this baby doesn't have bomber capabilities. I think the Royal palace would benefit from a couple of new sunlights installed courtesy of one ex-Shinigami.'>

<'I really gotta quit thinking like that...Ok so she stole my lover away from me....and I just happen to be flying over her kingdom on the two year anniversary of their happy day. Heh...and me forgetting to get them anything. Where are my manners?'>

He cast a quick glance over at Robert who was sleeping in his chair. He sighed in relief. <'Sorry old man...you talk a great game but looks like this little marathon was a bit too much for you. I wonder if Heero is happy? Could I make you happy Hee-chan? I would like to think that I used to. Could I do so again? How far have you retreated within yourself? Have you? How hard will it be for me to get you back?

<'Most people would say: "Strike while the iron is hot!" But I know better. I have a better chance of pulling this off by giving Heero time to realize his mistake. It also helps me ultimately because: "To thy own self be true"; I don't even know who I am. It's good to learn now while I have the time.'>

He sighed his eyes sweeping over the GPS screen and saw that they were now leaving Sank airspace.

<' This is the last step of my crazy plan...I am coming for you Heero. Soon beloved...soon.'>

 

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Earth - United Arab Emirates; on a Winner Estate
April - A.C. 201

Duo blinked blurry eyes at the clock that was situated on the Kawaiikochan's panel.

(time)

"Oh god please tell me that that is where we're setting down." muttered Duo tiredly. "I am going to sleep for a full twenty-four hours and not wake up for anything!"

"Not even food?"

Duo glared at Robert but said nothing.

The Sweeper chuckled softly, flipping a few switches. "She's all yours Pup. Lets go home."

Duo grinned, adjusted his headset and took the controls into his hands. There was a slight jolt as control was switched over and he could feel the power of the Kawaiikochan thrum up his arms.

He cleared his throat, giving Robert a quick glance. "Lets home someone is home eh?" he keyed the mike: "Winner Approach, this is Lima four Tango Sierra Niner, Over Charlie One, 15.5, inbound."

The automan at the Winner Estate came back quickly. "Tango Sierra Niner, radar contact. Descend, and maintain 9.5, reduce speed to 450 knots. Expect radar vectors to outer marker."

Duo:"Out of 15.5 for 9.5, reduce speed to 450, expect vectors to outer marker, Tango Sierra Niner."

Winner Approach:"Tango Sierra Niner, change course 210, reduce speed to 350 knots. Descend and maintain 5.5."

Duo:"Change course 210, reduce speed 350 knots, out of 9.5 for 5.5. Tango Sierra Niner."

Winner Approach:"Tango Sierra Niner, Descend, and maintain 1.5, reduce speed to 250 knots. Report outer marker."

Duo glanced over at Robert who leaned back in his seat; <'Smug old bastard. But hell why shouldn't he be? He taught me all about flying; this should be easy. Never had to go through so much protocol before though...tricky.'>

As the L4-TS9 arrived over the outer marker he said: "Winner approach, Tango Sierra Niner at outer marker."

Winner Approach:"Roger Tango Sierra Niner, cleared for straight in approach, contact the tower on 119.75. Welcome home."

<'Coolios,'> he thought to himself. Chuckling softly to himself as he watched the strip come into view. "Cleared for straight in approach. Contact tower on 119.75." and switched to the tower frequency. "Winner Tower, this is Tango Sierra Niner, miss me?"

The control from the tower suddenly popped up on Duo's display; headset on and a slight smirk on his lips. "Tango Sierra Niner, cleared for straight in approach, report runway in sight."

"Tango Sierra Niner." chirped Duo in conformation. "Hey 'Uncie' why don't you help me out a bit here? This is a big job and I only got two hands."

Robert grinned. "You left yourself really wide open for a real good shot there Pup. I may be a crusty old pirate but I am not suicidal so I think I'll let it pass...this time."

Duo grimaced. "You old pervert! Shaddup!"

Together they prepped the plane for landing. After a few minutes Duo sighted the runway. Keying the mike he reported to the tower: "Winner Tower, Runway in sight."

The tower controller was suddenly replaced by a beaming if tired looking Quatre Winner who took over the last part of bringing Duo back to Earth. "Roger Tango Sierra Niner, cleared for landing 21, welcome home Duo!"

Grinning Duo saluted cheekily. "Copy that Tower, have the coffee ready. Looks like God doesn't want me yet. Must be afraid I'll take over heaven."

Quatre laughed softly. "I dunno how you're gonna take this Duo, but the media is here. Looks like you not only broke the old world record, you annihilated it. They wanna do a live feed from here to New York tomorrow 8 am N.Y.C time. That's about 3 PM tomorrow afternoon. You up to it?"

"Do I really have a choice?" he asked softly. "I'll see ya in a bit Quat. Got a plane to land."

"So I see...welcome home Duo...welcome home..."

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

Duo shifted uncomfortably as the sound tech pinned the microphone to the lapel of his flight suit. He knew he looked horrible; after a quick wash having his hair brushed and eye drops put in, the TV crew scrambled to have Rob and himself presentable for the camera as they got ready to do a satellite interview with New York City.

Once more in less than a year, he would be interviewed by Matt Lawrence, this time as the man who annihilated the long standing world record for fastest circumnavigation of the globe. It may seem a little silly to actually celebrate a record that was so old and would be broken again in a few years most likely, but in this age of peace he supposed that any good news was welcome. Who was he to complain?

A tech gave him a plug to put into his ear so he could hear Matt as he asked his questions. Rob, grumbling, plugged his ear piece in as well and rolled his eyes. "Ya know Pup. I never thought I'd see the day I'd actually be on TV."

Duo make a show of totally cracking up. "You think they're actually gonna put you on camera?! They're all doing this for me and because I am just so damn cute!"

Rob swatted him a good one. "Shaddup!"

"Ok guys, we're ready. In five.."

Duo sighed, all this going on TV thing was getting old.

Then he heard the voice of Matt Lawrence come over his ear piece. "It's great to see you again Duo. So how does it feel to break the world record for circumnavigating the globe?"

"Tiring!" he chuckled. "Neither I nor Rob have gotten a lot of sleep. Our only solace is that the engine is still in great working order and that we made it back in one piece."

"Whose idea was it for you to fly the plane? Or were you recruited into the role?"

Duo shook his head. "I really wanted to fly the plane, so I got in contact with the Winner Corp and got my name put on the list. With Robert as my co-pilot I think they felt they had a good team and let us take her up."

Matt asked a couple more questions mostly to Robert then asked: "So what's next on your list of things to do, Mister Maxwell?"

Duo laughed weariness seeping into him like never before. "You know, I've been doing so much in these last 18 months, I might have to write another book."

His interviewer chuckled then asked: "Duo, just a quick question....are you American?"

Duo blinked, of all the questions to be asked this one he wasn't expecting at all. "I was raised up on L2, born there. So I guess I am." he shrugged.

Matt gave a slow grin. "The great American Hero, Duo Maxwell and Robert Strieber thanks for joining us and congratulations."

"Thanks Matt." both Duo and Robert said almost in unison.

 

"And we're clear."

The light went off and Duo turned toward Robert a look of wonder on his face. "What do you think that was all about?"

"I haven't the slightest, Pup. Not a freakin' clue."

Duo blew out a great gust, shrugged and shook his head. "Well whatever. I am beat! I wanna take a nice long bath and then sleep!"

"Yeah then probably fill that bottomless pit you call a stomach!"

"Lay off old man!"

Robert chuckled and allowed the techs to take the microphone and ear piece and then followed Duo out into the afternoon sun.

 

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Earth - Washington D.C.
April - A.C. 201

A sandy haired nattily dressed man watched the newscast in a distracted manner until the interviewee laughed. His head snapped around and he stared thunderstruck at the braided figure on the screen.

"Oh my God..." he breathed.

 

Across the city another figure also watched the interview, his form hidden in the shadows of his room the only illumination coming from the large flat panel television on the bedroom wall. Lightly, hesitantly, almost reverently he skimmed two slender fingers against the smooth surface as if to touch the prussian eyed young man who was projected on it.

"Can it really be...?" he mummered softly. "Have I found you at last?"

His lips thinned as he came to a decision...

He would meet this Duo Maxwell...this new "American Hero"

 

TBC...

 

Next up: FINALLY!! The Good part! Secrets always have a way of catching up with us. In Chapter six, secrets from Duo's past will finally catch up to him and turn his world totally upside down! How will these revelations effect his pursuit of the "Perfect Soldier"? Find out in...

Next in: He's Mine: Heart and Soul
Chapter Six: Secrets from the Past