10-9-2003

Only Human
by Tahlia
Author's note: Companion fic to Zero Fancy and a Game of Chess. It can stand alone but is within the same timeline.

Brace yourselves, ladies and gentleman, for I am about to reveal something that will shock you to the very roots of your hair and shake the very ground under your feet. Heero Yuy, gundam pilot extraordinaire, threatener of young girls and bender of steel bars is - get this - only human.

OK, not exactly the earth-shattering revelation I made it out to be, but by the reactions of the other pilots to the mere suggestion of his utter humanity, you'd think it would be.

So here's the story. After telling Heero what Hilde told me about Relena being on Libra, I was feeling really relieved that I wasn't going to have to be the one to go and get the hope of the future and baby-sit her. Heero seemed more than up for the job. Relief. Then I got to thinking I was feeling a bit too relieved. Yes, I started getting attacked by the guilt fairy. Turns out she's really generous with her charge.

Anyway, I got to thinking that Heero shouldn't be expected to go on to Libra all by himself just to save some fool girl that got so blinded by her ideals and strictly blood ties to someone that she allowed herself to be put in a situation where she was in danger. That wasn't fair. It especially wasn't fair when you considered the fact that Heero was more than likely going to become involved in a confrontation with Zechs, given their history. How could he resist?

So, yeah, I started looking for him, just to offer my help with the girl. If I was there and something did come up with Zechs, then he wouldn't have to worry about endangering our dear little pacifist. I would be there to take care of her and get her to safety, and he'd be free to get himself killed or whatever it is he's going for when he engages himself in those fights with Zechs.

A quick search of the hanger revealed that Zero was still aboard Peacemillion, so Heero hadn't gone off and left yet. He wasn't in his room, either, so I decided to check the mess hall turned rec-room. I found the rest of the pilots there, but no Heero.

"Man, where in the world has Heero gone?" I wondered aloud.

Trowa was quick to respond, leafing through a book as he said, "Out on the Virgo carrier we recovered. You know where he's headed."

Indeed I did, but that still left the question of Zero's presence in the hanger. "But how come he left Wing Zero behind?" I asked. A mental image popped into my mind, forcing me to let out a sarcastic comment. "What, is he gonna have a fist fight with Zechs?" Now that I'd pay to see.

"Knowing him," Wufei retorted as he squeezed the hell out of some springy exercise contraption, "he'll fight whatever way he can."

'Right about that, Wu,' I thought to myself as the fictional fist fight commenced in my mind.

"Well," Quatre began, a smirk present in his tone, "I'm pretty sure that's not the only reason he went out."

"Wait a minute, you mean he went over there to save that girl?" I asked, interrupted from my mental musings. Oh, yeah. Forgot about her. How did that happen?

"Yeah," Quatre replied in a funny voice. What was he getting at?

Wufei nearly grimaced at Quatre's insinuation. "In that case, I was giving him too much credit. I had him figured as the most sane guy among the lot of us," he said with disgust. That comment earned him a funny look from me. Heero as the most sane... what was he thinking?

Trowa smiled, but didn't look up from his book as he said, "Well, I'll tell ya, it just goes to show how powerful that girl is to be able to influence a guy like Heero."

"Hmph," Wufei grunted in response.

That was enough to pull Trowa's attention from his book. "Wufei, if Heero does bring Relena here, at least welcome her," he said in an almost scolding tone, leveling a serious look at Wufei. "It's so easy to hurt a woman's feelings."

I swear, the time Trowa spent with Catherine and the circus as a civilian had a big impact. Granted, I didn't know him that well before he got amnesia, but even I can tell he's changed. From what I've picked up from Wufei recently, he's noticed the changes as well. He doesn't seem as receptive as the rest of us, though.

Trowa's suggestion left a glaring Wufei ruthlessly attempting to kill that helpless little exercise thing in his hands. I wonder what that's about. There has been some tension between the two of them lately, but I'll leave that land mine to some other sucker. It's none of my business.

I moved to crouch down next to Quatre. "Hey, Quatre, if we're going after him, shouldn't we get going?" I asked, determined not to leave Heero out in the cold on this.

"This isn't the time to be decreasing Peacemillion's defense," Quatre replied tensely. His features softened from their severe _expression a moment later, his tone softening with his next comment. "Besides, let's leave the two of them alone."

Again with the insinuations. Where was he getting this from? From what I'd seen of Heero and Relena together, there was no chance in hell that the two of them were going to hook up, but what do I know? Quatre was around the two of them a lot more recently than I was. Things may have changed between the two of them.

Lord knows things have changed between the two of us. That guy used to rub me the wrong way. Bad impressions and his lack of trust or respect for me as another gundam pilot were the main speed bumps in the evolution of our friendship, at least on my part. Even now, I don't know if I'd call it friendship. I don't know what anyone would call it, but it's better than what we started with. I'd trust the guy with my life in battle, but this wasn't my life.

I sighed. "You guys really trust Heero, huh?" I asked. After no response, I continued. "He makes mistakes, just like the rest of us."

The looks I got for that one. Quatre all but told me I was insane with his eyes, and Wufei and Trowa wouldn't even acknowledge my statement. It was as if I had just told them a purple potbelly had just floated by the window or something.

So that's it. I suggest that Heero is a fallible human being, and I'm crazy. Jeeze.

What's wrong with them? Weren't they all there for the New Edward's incident? Wufei was the one that told Heero he'd screwed up and described Teize's manipulation. Hell, Trowa even followed Heero around all of Europe as he tried to clean up the mess he made by killing Noventa. Quatre saw him lose it on Zero, too, so we've all seen him botch missions and screw up in the past. It's not like he has this perfect, unblemished record. None of us do. I still don't get where the unwavering trust was coming from.

Well, I guess it doesn't matter. They trusted him, and Quatre was right. We couldn't leave Peacemillion defenseless just to rescue one girl. I'd just have to trust Heero could handle it. And I did.

In hindsight, it's a good thing that I didn't go gallivanting off to help Heero, because all hell broke loose soon after. Treize finally attacked Libra, and the final battle of the war officially began. We decided that Libra was a bigger threat and went for it, encountering Zechs on Epyon, who seemed bent set on picking off Quatre. While we were fighting him, Sally and Howard decided they would take matters into their own hands and rammed Peacemillion straight into Libra.

I could just imagine Howard's expression as his baby collided headfirst with the four-leafed mass of a battleship's cannon. The thought brought a smile to my face, even in the middle of all that crap.

While Zechs had his hands full with fixing that little mess, Quatre, Trowa, and I decided to head into Libra to take out the mobile doll operating system. Wufei had his own plans. He left us to go fight a personal battle with none other than Treize Kushrenada.

Man, I've never seen a guy so upset about winning. I would never want to feel the way he looked when he came back to Peacemillion. But that's a whole different story waiting to be told, and I'm not the one to tell it.

When I boarded Libra, I took a little detour. I know I was supposed to be looking for the dolls, but I couldn't help but look for Heero. I still thought he shouldn't have been left alone with the responsibility of saving Relena.

In my search for our poor little captive, I found a different group of captives. Wouldn't you know that I'd be the one stuck with running into the mad five? Turns out they were responsible for the resurrection of Mercurius and Vayeate as well as the creation of that damned cannon. Granted, both had their planned faults, but I still wanted to kill them for all the trouble they had put us through. What is it with crotchety old men that love to make things complicated for everyone else?

When they told me that Zechs planned to complete the original operation meteor by dropping Libra on earth, how could I not help them stop that from happening? All they needed was me as a transport to Peacemillion. I knew I ran the risk of Howard being pissed at me for helping the guys that planned to destroy his ship, but he'd already messed it up pretty badly himself. Let him take it up with them, if they're actually still alive.

So after I dropped them off, which I gotta say wouldn't have been possible without Quatre's personal army, they blew the ship with themselves still aboard, and Libra was forced away from earth.

Now, I know its silly, but I couldn't help but reflect a bit sentimentally that I would never get to finish that chess game Heero and I had started since the board and all its accompanying pieces were being made into little specks of dust trying to masquerade as stars, but what's a guy to do?

Back to the important things. Apparently God or the universe or whatever it is that's in charge wasn't happy with that effort all in itself and a huge chunk of Libra broke off. And, in the name of Darwin, wouldn't you know that it was big enough to still do enough damage to make earth completely uninhabitable? Peachy.

The Peacemillion crew headed for MO-II, the satellite the World Nation was using as their base, and took the recently deposited Relena with them. Apparently, Heero had dropped her off prior to the evacuation and grabbed his Gundam so he could join the fight. He was on the leaf of Libra when it broke off, and was still fighting Zechs as it fell towards earth.

The rest of the pilots and I headed for the chunk and started a mass demolition, taking out as much as we could. While we were doing that, Heero went to blow the main energy core, intending to give his life apparently, but Zechs took over for him. Guess that guy wasn't what he seemed after all. Zechs blew the core, but it wasn't enough.

Our demolition efforts weren't enough either, so we had to ditch at the last second, leaving Heero alone with his buster rifle to handle Libra all on his own. That guy's shoulders had to be sore from all the crap we kept loading onto them. I still don't feel right about leaving it to him, literally putting the fate of the planet on him. I just had to trust that he could handle it.

I guess my trust wasn't misplaced. He blew up the last chunk of Libra and even managed to stay alive in the process. You'll never guess how relieved I was when I saw that chunk disintegrate into dust as Zero pulled out of the atmosphere and started heading back to us. I'm sure we all felt the same thing. I can't even begin to imagine what he had been feeling. At that moment, I really just wanted to hug the guy.

As it turns out, the walls of a gundam and the vast distance of space prevent a guy from hugging anyone other than himself, so I headed on to the resource satellite that everyone seemed to be on along with the rest of the pilots. I docked my gundam and stepped out onto the cockpit hatch, stretching to get the kinks out of my neck. I looked down to the hanger floor and was surprised to see Heero staring at me. I smiled and waved, but he just looked away and scratched his neck, his eyes closed.

I watched him for a second, wanting to go down and talk to him, but Relena came running into the hanger with such an obvious _expression of joy on her face when she saw Heero that I was forced to hesitate. After seeing the look on her face, I could understand why Quatre had kept hinting about the two of them. She was gone for the guy, that's for sure.

I didn't want to intrude on their moment, and I really didn't want to be around if they got mushy on each other. I didn't know how Heero felt about her, but if it was anything similar to the way she felt about him... Well, why would I want to see that?

I turned and saw Trowa helping a nearly unconscious Quatre out of his gundam. I hadn't known Quatre was that hurt. I hurried over and helped get him to the med-bay. Once he'd gotten settled, I headed for my room to get a little rest. My body was tired, and I gotta admit, so was my mind.

Bet you can guess my surprise at finding the hero of the day, Heero Yuy, sitting next to the door of my room in the hall. He stood up as he saw me coming, and I stopped walking as he did so. We stared at each other for an awkward moment, neither one of us speaking.

"You left the hanger before I could talk to you," he said, finally breaking the silence.

"Uh, yeah. Thought I'd help Tro out with Quatre," I said, rubbing the back of my neck. "He's in the med-bay if you want to drop by later to see him. It looks a lot worse than it really is, least that's what the doc said."

Heero nodded. He looked down at the ground intently, not saying anything. I sighed. "I wanna get out of this flight suit," I said, opening the door and gesturing behind me for him to follow. "Come on in."

He stepped inside behind me and stood, watching me. "So what is it you wanted to talk about?" I asked as I unzipped the suit and placed it on the nearby chair. I smoothed out the black outfit beneath and turned back to face him.

He looked straight into my eyes. "We never got to finish our game."

I snorted in mirth and smiled at him. "You're kidding, right?" I asked.

He simply shook his head. He was serious.

"The war just ended and you're here to talk to me about a game of chess we never finished?" I asked, incredulous. "Have you gone insane?"

He ignored my question. "I had a final move selected that I can't use now."

I shook my head, trying to bring myself back to a sane reality. "You'll just have to settle with the fact that you think you would have won and not let it keep you up at night," I said sarcastically. "Jesus, Heero, what's wrong with you?"

Again he ignored my question and moved closer. "I would rather settle for this." And with that, he grabbed my neck and pulled me in, pressing his lips against my own.

Heero Yuy kissed me.

And that was it. He kissed me and pulled away, locked eyes with me for a second, and then let me go. He nodded to himself and turned to leave, muttering a, "See you later," as he went, leaving me gaping like a fish in his wake.

I did see him later, and he didn't act any differently around me. I didn't bring the kiss up, and neither did he. If he noticed that I was standing out of arms reach from him, he didn't comment. I don't even know if he cared.

I still don't know what I think about what happened. To be honest, I'm still reeling a bit. Until I know what he meant by it, if anything, I don't know that I can decide what I think about it.

All I know is that Heero Yuy is human and so am I... and his lips felt really good against my own.

-fin-