Warnings, discussion and other stuff can be found in the prologue. I highly recommend that you read it.
My Own Mind - Chapter 1
By: Chichiri no da
Duo raised his fingers, dripping with chocolate fudge, to his lips and tasted. He could hear Heero's laboured breathing and smiled.
"You ready for this koi?" he asked, turning towards his lover--
--Duo snapped awake at the crash of thunder outside his window. His eyes flew open like he'd been punched in the face and he lay there for a moment, trying to get his breathing and heart rate under control.
The room was silent, punctuated only by the even sound of Heero's breathing beside him. The dead weight of the other pilot's arm flung across his chest told him that the lightning and thunder hadn't woken the skittish boy as well. *Damn, of all the luck. And out of the best part of the dream, too,* Duo sulked.
Suddenly feeling restless, and wide-awake, he gently extricated himself from Heero's grip and wandered over to the window. Outside, the night was clear and cloudless, the stars shining brightly.
*Funny, I was sure I heard thunder. Must have been far away or something,* Duo mused distractedly.
He turned around as Heero shifted and mumbled, clearly getting ready to wake up. The Deathscythe pilot smiled brightly and began sauntering back towards the bed, ready to give his koibito a proper wake-up present.
Before he was halfway there, Heero opened his eyes and rubbed them sleepily, yawning hugely.
"Ohayo, koi," Duo purred, stopping in the middle of the floor.
Heero gasped and his head snapped around to look at him with a wide-eyed cobalt stare.
"Who-" he began, then was cut off by a scream - or perhaps a howl - that ripped the air. Duo's jumped in surprise, then dove for his boxers - in a lump on the floor - and began struggling into them.
"That sounded like Wufei," he said urgently.
He dimly heard Heero whisper something strange that sounded like, "Farfarello," then Duo was grabbing his gun from under his pillow and heading for the door.
He stopped with his hand on the doorknob, registering that Heero was still sitting on the bed. He shot a glare over his shoulder. "Come on, Heero!" He said in a loud whisper. "Hurry up!" Then he opened the door and nearly ploughed into Quatre, who was rushing down the hall in his bathrobe. Trowa was coming in the opposite direction, from the direction of their bathroom, still fully dressed.
Since Wufei's room was right beside Heero and Duo's, it didn't take long for them to get there. They halted outside the room, listening closely at the door in the quiet night. All Duo could hear was harsh breathing; maybe Wufei had just been dreaming.
"What's going on?" Quatre whispered urgently
"Do I know?" Duo answered sharply.
Trowa solved their indecision by grasping the doorknob and throwing the door open.
Wufei was crouched in the middle of the floor, staring at his own hands with a wild-eyed look in his eyes. When the door opened, he looked up and glared daggers at the three other pilots.
"Who the hell are you? What happened to my body?" he yelled.
Duo's jaw dropped in utter astonishment. "W-Wu...?" he managed to croak. *Have you gone totally bonkers, Wu?*
Quatre slipped past Duo and Trowa, who were struck dumb in the doorway and slowly approached the stricken boy, turning on the charm. "Uh, are you all right, Wufei? We heard you, uh, scream and we wondered if everything was okay."
Wufei straightened slowly and looked around himself as though looking for another person. "Who's Wufei?" He glared at Quatre. "I'm not Wufei, I'm Farfarello!" While Quatre was still absorbing that, he fixed his glare on the two pilots in the doorway. "Who are you? Weiss?"
Suddenly, Heero's nasal voice sounded from behind them. "Farfarello, relax. These three boys are our friends, aren't they?"
Wufei blinked in confusion, while the other three slowly turned to face the Wing pilot. He stood leaning against the far wall of the hallway in his boxers, arms crossed, and an incredibly un-Heero-like smirk on his face.
"Heero?" Duo whispered uncertainly.
Heero's eyes shifted off of Wufei-Farfarello or whoever he was and fixed on Duo's. He straightened up and approached Duo, laying a hand gently, but persuasively on his shoulder. "Come on, koi. We need to go somewhere private and talk."
As he lead Duo back to their room, he glanced back over his shoulder at Trowa and Quatre. "You two just stick with Far-uh, Wufei and try to calm him down. Let him do whatever he wants, unless it's really out there. Farfarello, do what these two say," he ordered.
Wufei grumbled something and Quatre and Trowa looked at Duo. "Uh, yeah, you'd better do what Heero says." *Since he seems to be the only one around here who knows what's going on,* he thought.
Schuldich led the young, braided boy back to the room where they had woken up and sat down on the bed, still trying to get his thoughts back in order. There was a cold black stone in the pit of his stomach, not just from the fact that his feet seemed a lot closer than before, and the fact that he seemed to have suddenly been transported into this kid's bed, but from the fact that he hadn't yet been able to pick up on someone's thoughts. Not just this kid's, not the quiet, serious one's, but not even *Farfarello's* mind was accessible. However much he detested hanging around with Farfie's thoughts, they were better than nothing.
"So, uh, Heero, what's up?" the boy prompted, and Schuldich realized that he'd just been sitting there, saying nothing.
Schuldich glanced up at the open face with the wide grin and the guarded eyes and smiled. This seemed to surprise the boy, but he didn't figure he mattered much anymore. He wasn't fooling anyone, there wasn't much point in trying.
"Uh, first of all, can you tell me your name? It'll just make everything easier."
"Okay, Duo, as for my story," he sighed, "I know it sounds corny, but you aren't going to believe me."
The boy's eyes narrowed slightly. "Try me."
*Okay, this kid's no fool. Good to remember.* "I'm not sure what's going on here, but my name's not Heero. I'm Schuldich, and your friend Wufei is actually Farfarello, an associate of mine." He tried to hide his growing terror behind a wider grin. "The thing is, I don't look anything like this, normally."
Duo's eyes narrowed further. "Let me get this straight. You're some guy named Schuldich who's suddenly taken the place of Heero's mind, and some psycho named Farfarello is in Wufei's body."
"That's what it seems like, yes."
Schuldich shook his head slowly, summoning every ounce of persuasive power he possessed into three words. "No, I'm not."
Duo gazed at him searchingly for a moment, then threw his hands into the air. "So where the fuck is Heero?" he exploded.
Schuldich shrugged. "I don't know."
"And how the hell did this happen?"
"I don't know!" Schuldich repeated with more heat than he'd intended, and he forced himself to relax. "Listen, last night I went to sleep, six feet tall and as Japanese as a volkswagon, and now I'm in some shrimp's body God knows where on the Earth."
Duo looked away and said nothing for a few seconds. When he spoke, he did so in a slow, measured tone. "Now, you listen. The five of us might seem like fairly average kids living in a dunghole apartment in Hong Kong, but we've got world-sized problems of our own. If you and Wufei are out of commission as far as what we've come to expect, we are looking at dying, and fast. That includes you and Wu. So if you don't want to end up a bloody smear in the middle of a bomb crater, you'd better start cooperating and trusting us." He turned to look at Schuldich, a serious look in his startling violet eyes. "You want back into your own body, and I want my koi and partner back, so we're gonna work together on this, okay? And that includes Quatre, Trowa, and Wufei or Farfarello or whatever the hell he calls himself."
Schuldich gazed at him for a long moment, paralysed by an unfamiliar feeling of indecision. Then a thought rose unbidden out of the depths of his mind. *He's like us.*
Before he'd stopped to think, he'd nodded. "All right. But give us trouble that you're not worth and we're out of here."
"Agreed." Duo nodded. "Now, the five of us are going to get together and you're going to give us an itemized list of who you are, where you come from, and who your enemies are, and we're going to solve this."
Schuldich's chest tightened, but he nodded. *It's okay. I might not have my powers anymore for some reason, but I can still whip this kid's ass any day, if he gets on my nerves.*
Within a few moments, all of them - minus Wufei - were sitting in what passed for a living room in this apartment. Quatre sat in the one chair, with Trowa perched on the arm, while Duo sat on the couch and Schuldich leaned against the wall.
Duo looked around. "Where's Wu?"
Quatre looked away from Schuldich long enough to answer, "He went out, saying something about needing candles. I hope he's going to be okay," then he went back to watching Schuldich with a wide-eyed, worried look.
Schuldich winced, then quickly regained his composure. "It's okay. Farfie never gets lost - at least not that we've ever noticed."
Duo shook his head. "On that note, who the hell are you guys - and in detail."
Schuldich fixed a smirk on the braided pilot. "And if I tell you, you'll tell me the same thing?"
The three pilots exchanged glances. "Yeah," Duo replied.
"Assuming we believe your story," added Trowa. Schuldich glanced at him as though seeing him for the first time. His eyes flicked to Quatre's arm, which was cinched around his waste, and then back up into his green eyes.
"Thanks, loverboy. I was wondering if you could speak, or if you just existed for the blonde's pleasure."
Trowa's eyes narrowed, but he said nothing. Quatre's jaw dropped and he seemed about to burst into a tirade, but he was warned by Duo's glare and the tightening of Trowa's hand on his own, and he closed it again.
"Can the commentary and tell us your story," Duo said darkly.
Schuldich smirked. *There, I can still do it. No problem. I'll have these three eating out of my hand in hours.*
"Sure, no problem," he said nonchalantly. "My name is Schuldich. Me, Farfarello and two others were part of a group called Schwartz that was assigned to bodyguard Takatori Reiji, former Prime Minister of Japan. Since he's been assassinated, we've been on our own, basically just living our lives and waiting for the next thing to come along." He noticed suddenly that he was getting blank stares from all three. "What?"
Quatre piped up. "Who did you say Takatori Reiji was?"
Schuldich frowned. "He was the Prime Minister of Japan for a few weeks, then he got wasted. What rock do you guys live under, huh? You're speaking Japanese, so you must be from there, and he put the country under martial law so you must have noticed!" He was aware that he was talking too much, that he might reveal more than he should, but he was too confused and disoriented to care.
"But," Quatre protested. "Japan doesn't have a Prime Minister. They were members of the Federation and have now been taken over by OZ!"
Now it was Schuldich's turn to stare at them blankly.
Duo nodded. "Yeah, I don't think Japan's been independent since the middle of the 21st century, Gregorian."
Schuldich felt anger rising within him like a red wave. He struck out with his mind, automatically trying to break down Quatre's defences and pick the information he wanted from his mind. When nothing happened, he exploded in frustration. "What the hell do you mean? It's fucking 1998, 'Gregorian'."
"Not it's not!" Duo shot back. "It's A.C. 195."
"That's ridiculous," Schuldich growled. He crosses the room in a flash - well, considerably slower than he could usually do it, but in the small room it didn't make much difference - and hauled Duo out of the couch by the collar of his T-shirt. With surprising strength, he lifted the choking, struggling pilot off his feet.
Suddenly, the cool muzzle of a gun was pressed against his temple. His rage cooling, he slowly turned his head to see Trowa's serious face sighting along the barrel of a heavy-duty pistol.
"Put... him... down."
Schuldich blinked and slowly set Duo back on his feet, then let go of his collar. Duo dropped to his knees and gasped, his cheeks returning to their usual colour. Schuldich looked around, then down at his feet.
"Uh, sorry," he said lamely.
"Don't... mention it," Duo gasped.
Trowa holstered his gun, still watching Schuldich narrowly. "You're under a lot of stress. Control yourself."
Schuldich sneered at him, then stalked back to his corner and folded his arms across this chest.
There was a moment of silence while Trowa sat back down on the arm of Quatre's chair and Duo picked himself up off the floor.
Once Duo was seated back on the couch, Schuldich spoke. "All right, let me rephrase that." He paused to take a breath.
He was rapidly coming to the conclusion that he needed to get away for a while - either to calm down or have a nervous breakdown, he didn't know which. Either way, it would be a way of dealing with the fact that he'd been suddenly cut off from half of his world. He felt like he'd awoken blind and still hadn't had a chance to find a cane to feel around with.
"Assuming you're telling the truth, I've been somehow transported into the future, as well as into another body." His gaze swept the three faces. "I don't see what possible enemies we could share, but maybe you boys wouldn't mind telling me your stories now."
Duo shook his head. "I can't figure this out either. The five of us are freedom fighters from the space colonies. The colonies were annexed by the Federation, and we originally came here to fight them, but everything's gone to hell since the Federation's secret army, OZ, took over. We're just basically trying to stay alive now, taking missions where we can get them, and fighting a war where we're outnumbered several million to one."
"Schuldich-san," Quatre began. "Perhaps Trowa can get a list of the major players within OZ and the Federation together and you can see if you recognize anything."
"Chances are my enemies are back in the twentieth century, not here," Schuldich replied. "But it's worth a try. In the mean time, do you guys mind if I take over a room for a while?" He grinned, feigning nonchalance. "I just gotta think for a bit."
Quatre rose to his feet. "Not at all! Gomen nasai, you must be very disoriented. Is there anything you need? Tea? Something to eat?"
Suddenly overwhelmed by mothering blonde, Schuldich waved him off. "No, no, uh, I'm fine. Really."
Duo also rose. "Take Wu's room, I guess. You and Farfarello will probably feel better together, anyway, since you know each other."
Schuldich nodded his thanks and headed for Wufei's room. *That's debateable, but I'll wait for Farfie to get back before figuring out where I want to sleep the rest of the night. He might not get back before morning anyway.*
He shut the door, then leaned against it and slowly slid to the floor. He wanted with all his being to scream as loudly as he could, but he buried the sound behind a clenched fist.
*Jesus, now what the fuck am I going to do? Lost, and blind as a bat.*
*Crawford, where are you? Are you okay?*
Crawford rolled slowly over in bed, gradually coming to awareness out of the fog of sleep, and pulled the tall form of his lover closer to him. A stray hair from Schuldich's ample supply tickled his nose and he grasped the lock in his hand while opening his eyes idly to look at it.
*Blonde,* he thought distractedly. Then, *What the hell?*
He sat bolt-upright, coming instantaneously to full awareness. He was naked, sitting in a large four-poster bed and tangled in fine silk sheets. Next to the bed was an oak side table, bare of anything but a reading lamp. The walls were hung with tapestries, and one wall was dominated by a huge bay window that looked out onto rolling green hills and well-tended gardens.
On a chair beside a small writing desk, a dark blue uniform was hung neatly. Underneath it, a similar-looking one in red peaked out.
There were three doors, and all were closed.
And, beside him, a tall, well-muscled blonde man slept soundly.
He cursed mentally that his glasses seemed nowhere in sight, but he seemed to be able to see well enough without them for some reason. Odd, but he wasn't going to bemoan a small amount of good fortune amidst the crushing amount of bad.
Slowly, quietly, Crawford slipped out of the bed. Making no noise on the plush carpeting, he moved over to one of the doors and opened it.
The door led into a huge bathroom. A monstrous bathtub, complete with jets, dominated the room. As Crawford quickly scanned the room for any clues as to the identity of his bedmate, his eye fell on one of the massive mirrors, and he stopped breathing.
Startlingly deep blue eyes stared out of a strong face crowned by ginger curls. In shock, Crawford reached up to finger the two stray locks that fell over one eye and the image in the mirror mimicked his motion exactly.
"Uso da," he whispered. "What the hell is going on here?"
He whirled as the man in the bed shifted and muttered in his sleep. Even from across the room, Crawford clearly heard the man mutter. "Aya..."
A thought struck him and he reeled from the impossibility of it. "It can't be," he muttered to himself. "Are the gods so cruel?"
But he had to admit, that voice had been uncomfortably familiar.
*Only one way to find out.* He closed the door to the bathroom and moved towards the bed. He grasped the man by the shoulder and shook him insistently. "Wake up!"
Clear blue eyes were suddenly revealed as the man awoke. Even before his eyes focussed, he was already moving, the growl on his lips. "Crawford!"
Crawford had been reaching into the future to anticipate the man's actions, but instead of predicting it, he found himself flat on his back, straddled by a man both heavier and taller than he, who was trying his damndest to strangle the life out of him. He struggled ineffectually for a moment, still reaching out with his mind and encountering a blank wall where all the future should be. Finally, he forced himself to focus on the present rather than worrying about why he couldn't see the future.
Luckily, it was at that moment that the other man focused his eyes completely and saw a stranger where he expected to see a member of Schwartz. Crawford gasped as the hand suddenly left his throat, and looked up into the confused blue eyes.
"I-I'm sorry, sir. I thought you were someone else," the man stammered confusedly, blushing to his roots and looking around the room.
"Whom did you think I was?" Crawford asked, trying to ignore the eerie feeling this man gave him.
"A man named Crawford. I don't think you'd know him." The blonde man got up off of him and sat down on the bed, trying to look anywhere but at Crawford while simultaneously covering up his own nakedness.
"And who are you?" Crawford asked, sitting up and arranging himself more comfortably on the floor. He made no effort to cover himself, knowing that this would only increase the other's unease.
"My name's Aya," he replied. Crawford couldn't stop a small sound of shock from bursting forth. He'd suspected, from the voice, but... At that, Aya seemed to recover. He turned the full force of his glare on Crawford. "What's going on here? Where am I, and who are you?"
Crawford smiled. "I am Crawford, you idiot. Apparently your sleeping brain is smarter than your awake one."
"What?" Aya exclaimed. He jumped to his feet, allowing the blanket to slip out of his fingers and pool on the bed. The sudden motion flicked long blonde hair into his face and he grabbed at it instinctively, then brought it up to his eyes in astonishment.
Crawford rose smoothly to his feet. "I don't understand it either. Somehow we've been altered." Despite the ominous statement, he forced the smirk to remain on his face. No sense in letting the enemy know he was just as confused.
Aya's face darkened and he dropped the lock of hair. "What the hell is going on here, Crawford? Tell me, now!"
"I don't know." Crawford replied honestly.
"Liar!" Aya snarled. He took a step forward and despite his lack of future-sight, Crawford saw the punch coming a mile away. He ducked it, but didn't anticipate Aya following through by leaping on top of him again. The two men crashed into the bedside table, tumbling the lamp on it onto the floor with a crash. Undaunted, they rolled around on the floor, punching and kicking, both trying to gain an upper hand.
Suddenly one of the doors opened and an authoritative female voice filled the room.
"Treize-sama! Zechs, what are you doing to Treize-sama!"
Aya was momentarily distracted by the woman and paid for it with a fist in the face that flung him off of Crawford.
There was the click of a safety coming off and both men froze, looking up at the intruding woman.
A gun was held firmly in both hands, pointed straight at Aya. She flicked her eyes briefly towards Crawford, then back at the blonde.
"Sir, permission to kill this insubordinate."
Aya's eyes widened and quickly searched the room. He was in the middle of the floor, between the woman and Crawford, and the nearest door was closed.
"Permission..." Crawford considered it, *really* considered it, then allowed the fantasy to slip away. "Denied." He savoured the gasp of surprise that burst from Aya's lips. "It was a brief misunderstanding. I'm sure that Zechs and I can work out on our own. Don't you think, Zechs?"
Aya took his eyes off of the woman just long enough to glare heatedly at Crawford. "Hai, 'Treize'."
The woman lowered the gun slowly, clicking the safety back on with an obvious feeling of regret. She holstered the gun, then saluted crisply. She seemed undaunted by their attire, despite the fact that she was in full uniform. "Sir, may I have the night's reports brought to you with your breakfast?"
"Yes, that would be lovely," Crawford said smoothly. "Zechs will accompany me for breakfast, as well."
The woman glared at Aya before answering. "Yes, sir." She saluted again, then exited, closing the door behind her.
The moment the door was closed, Aya turned to Crawford. "Why didn't you just have her kill me? Believe me, it would save you a lot of trouble in the end."
Crawford shook his head. "Aya, we are enemies, and I would like nothing better than to kill you for thwarting my plans - as I know you want me dead for trying to kill your sister. But did you notice that that woman seems to believe we are someone we are not? Our appearances have not just been altered, we seem to have been inserted directly into someone else's lives. We need to find out who and why, and to cope with this situation as best we can until that happens. For that, it would be easier to have an ally."
Aya dropped his eyes to the floor and considered that. "If you are willing to work with me, I am willing to work with you - *until* we get out of this."
"Of course, only until then," Crawford agreed. "And until then, we shall have breakfast together like civilized men - which these two seem to be - and look over these reports for clues as to who we are pretending to be."
Aya nodded, then rose to his feet, heading for the uniforms draped over the chair. "I think we should start by getting dressed."
Schuldich was startled awake by the sound of a crashing noise accompanied by a colourful oath. *Oh, Farfarello's back.*
He shifted his weight, intending to stand up and suddenly jammed his fist into his mouth to cover a cry of pain. He'd apparently fallen asleep where he'd been, half-sitting, half-lying against the door with his neck supporting most of the weight of his compact body.
Once the waves of agony had stilled, he tried again to move, simultaneously massaging the rock-hard muscles at the base of his neck to relieve some of the Charley horse.
He was barely to his feet when the door swung open. He jumped back, narrowly avoiding being knocked flat, and then had to dodge again as Farfarello strode into the room, his vision mostly obscured by an armful of long white candles and longer brass candlesticks. These were deposited in the middle of the floor with a crash.
"Farfarello," Schuldich growled.
The Chinese boy started and turned, glaring at him. Schuldich needed only a brief look at the familiar madness in his black eyes to know that it really was him. "Schuldich?" Farfarello questioned.
"Aa. It's me."
Farfarello smirked. "You're prettier than before."
"So are you," Schuldich returned darkly.
Farfarello swept a hand towards the pile of booty. "Look what I found. A priest let me keep them. Nice of him, huh?"
Schuldich snorted. "Yeah, real nice. Now listen, these kids are terrorists, and they're intending to help us, so try not to do anything weird."
"When do I do weird things?"
Schuldich shook his head. "What I mean is, keep them on our side, okay? And try not to hurt that body too much. It's not yours, it's on loan until we can get home. Got it?"
Farfarello's gaze turned inward. His tongue darted out to taste his lips as his hands ran slowly down the bare, muscled chest. He was dressed only in loose-fitting white pants and a sheen of sweat from his exertions glistened in the moonlight. "This body is nicer than mine, Schuldich," he moaned. "It's perfect. No scars." He held up his hands and looked at them, then held them out as though to show them to Schuldich. "See, no scars."
"Right, so keep it that way."
Farfarello's head made the barest of nods, the loose black strands falling into his face. Schuldich shrugged and left the room, figuring that that would have to do.
He walked down the hallway to the room where he had awoken and rapped sharply at the door. It was opened a moment later by a wide-awake Duo. Clearly he had been awoken by the sounds of Farfarello's return, as well.
"Oh, He-uh, Schuldich. What's up?"
"I need to sleep here. I hope you don't mind."
Duo blinked. "Why?"
Schuldich leaned closer to Duo, putting his mouth near to the boy's ear and whispered. "Farfarello is crazy. I'd feel better about sleeping beside a total stranger than him." He could feel his own breath being reflected off of Duo's neck and back into his face. The boy sighed and shivered, then shook his head abruptly and took three steps back to glare at Schuldich.
"Fine, you can stay here, but..." he shook his head again. "You're *not* Heero, and I'm not going to let you try any weird-ass shit, just 'cause you look like him."
Schuldich grinned. "Fine, sorry."
"No, you're not. The next time you try anything like that again you'll be sleeping in Farfarello's room, no matter how crazy he is."
"I said I was sorry," Schuldich said unrepentantly.
Duo snorted. "You know, it's a hard habit to get out of, but you don't have to manipulate people all the time to get what you want." A shadow flickered across Duo's violet eyes and was gone in an instant. "Some people just do stuff out of the goodness of their hearts."
He turned abruptly and crossed the room, sliding back into bed with his back towards Schuldich. More than a little confused as to what that last statement meant, and frustrated at his inability to find out, Schuldich closed the door behind him and got into bed beside Duo.
The moment he did so, he felt dragged down by a bone-weary exhaustion and he quickly fell asleep.
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