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Maxwell's Demon (Part 4 - Conclusion)


Madam Hydra




Part 4



[in Treize's suite]


"Uh... harder! Do it harder, Treize!"


"I'm <pant> trying! Just let me <gasp> catch my <wheeze>



"Treizzzzzeee!!! You can't just LEAVE me like this!" howled Zechs

in acute frustration. "I'm going to DIE if you don't...!"


"Will you... shut up! I'm trying to... concentrate here!" Treize

muttered after spitting out a mouthful of platinum blond hair flung

into his face by Zechs' thrashing movements.


"It's all your fault! You got me into this mess! Now you fucking

well better fix it or ELSE!!!" ranted Zechs, who was by now clawing

frenziedly at the bedsheets. "Put your back into it, man! I know

you're stronger than that! Use your hips!"


""I swear, you can be such a baby if you don't get your way....

I'm not in exactly the best of shape here either, you know!"

Finally, gathering the last bits of his strength, Treize reared

up, then shoved decisively downward using the entire weight of his



The OZ ace let loose a rapturous "AHHH!!!!!" then went limp in

sheer relief as something went <pop> and slid into place.


"There... are you satisfied NOW?" growled Treize as he wearily

collapsed onto the bed, his bare, sweat-sheened chest heaving.

"Mmmmm...." Zechs stretched languorously before rolling over onto

his back. "Ohhhhhh yesssss... that's MUCH better." He glanced over

at Treize. "For a few moments there, I was afraid that you were going

to have to call the medical staff to help you get my spine back into

working order."


"Don't be so damn smug! Have you SEEN how big some of those

hulking orderlies in the medical department are?"


"Male or female?"


"Either! Both! God, sometimes I can't even tell WHAT they

are.... I swear some of those orderlies look like they can take on a

LEO barehanded and win! Believe me, you wouldn't be laughing once

they've gotten their hands on you!"


"How on earth do you know all this?"


"Poor Une. Slipped in her bathtub and managed to dislocate her

shoulder a few days ago."


With a decided smirk on his face, Zechs said, "And how did THAT

happen? The woman practices gymnastics for exercise, for god's sake.

I've seen her do back-flips on a balance beam without using her hands.

And you're trying to tell me she just FELL in her bathtub!?"


A wonderfully innocent expression appeared on Treize's face. "I

haven't got a clue."


Zechs rolled over and pinned Treize to the bed. In a low growl,

he said, "You didn't happen to be WITH her when this occurred, did



"Absolutely not! I found out only after the fact."




With a hurt expression on his face, Treize muttered, "What do you

take me for?"


The OZ ace had the grace to look a bit guilty. "It's just that...

oh, never mind. You were saying about the orderlies?" he murmured as

he nuzzled Treize consolingly.


With a sigh, Treize murmured, "I just stopped in at the infirmary

to check on her condition. It wasn't pretty. She was lying on a

gurney with one huge orderly sitting on top of her while an even

bigger one was yanking on her arm. It took about fifteen minutes to

get her shoulder back into place."


Zechs blinked, then winced. "Ouch...." After a moment, he said,

"You know, I never realized that you were so ticklish."


Treize grunted wearily. "Damn that drunken little devil! That bit

with the feathers was positively inhuman! I think I might have

sprained half my muscles!"


"What do you expect? He was trained as a terrorist. He saw a

weakness and exploited it ruthlessly," Zechs retorted with a pained



"Hmmmm...." Treize glanced at the closed bathroom door. All that

alcohol had finally caught up to his little dragon, who was now puking

his guts out... hopefully into the toilet.


"Milliard, make a note. Wufei mildly intoxicated is amusing.

Moderately intoxicated, uninhibited. Heavily intoxicated, a sadistic

little monster."


"Duly noted, sir," drawled Zechs.


In a lazy voice, the OZ general murmured, "So... what do we do for

revenge against our wicked little dragon?"


Zechs gave his lover a vicious, wolfish grin that exposed lots of

gleaming white teeth, then rolled back over onto his stomach.

"Oh, I'm sure we can think of... SOMEthing...."




[in the waiting room of Relena's office]


"It's too quiet," Quatre muttered unhappily.


During their first twenty minutes of waiting, Quatre, Trowa, and

Relena could all hear muffled thumps and the shuffle of movement --

occasionally mixed with incoherent cries and exclamations -- through

the closed door to Relena's office. But the sounds had abruptly

ceased. After two minutes of silence, Quatre started to fidget

restlessly. After five minutes of no sounds, not even Trowa's

soothing pats could keep the smaller boy still.


"It's too quiet," the blond pilot repeated. He glanced up at

Trowa. "I mean, we never hear Heero, but you KNOW how noisy Duo



"That's true," Trowa said thoughtfully.


Quatre was starting to have visions of poor Duo's strangled corpse

sprawled atop Relena's desk. He had no doubt that Heero really loved

Duo, but Quatre couldn't deny the fact that Duo occasionally had a way

of teasing people until they wanted to throttle the braided pilot,

just to shut him up. And if Heero was suffering from a loss of all

his normal inhibitions, would he be able to resist the urge to

strangle Duo if the other boy accidentally provoked him?




For the last thirty minutes, the gagged and bound Relena had

nearly been beside herself with rage. At first she hadn't understood

what was going on, but after a few minutes of listening to the thumps,

thuds, and muffled moans coming through the door, she realized just

what sort of activity was going on... and in *her* office, no less!

Even more shocking was the fact that the other two Gundam pilots

-- the one with the ludicrous hair bangs and the air-headed blond --

knew *exactly* what was happening to poor Heero, but were perfectly

happy to sit back and do absolutely nothing about it.


Perverts! All of them! That, or the monster calling itself Duo

Maxwell had taken control of their minds as well. Yes, that was

probably it. He had corrupted them all.


Her eyes started to water as she tried to think of the sort of

horrors her poor Heero must be suffering at that very moment, but her

imagination failed her. Just the thought of Maxwell and his foul

minions pawing Heero with their slimy hands....


And all she could do was sit helplessly on her waiting room sofa

and hope that Heero would survive the terrible ordeal he was

undoubtedly undergoing.




A few more tense minutes of silence passed. Finally, unable to

stand the suspense, Quatre stealthily crossed the room and put his ear

to the door. He heard nothing. Quatre hastily waved Trowa over. The

brown-haired pilot carefully brushed his hair bang to one side and put

his own ear to the door. After listening carefully, he gave a small

shake of his head. He too was starting to look a trifle concerned.

The two of them were leaning even harder against the door, trying

to catch the faintest sign of activity on the other side, when,

without warning, the door suddenly flew open.


The abrupt loss of support only caused Trowa to wobble just a bit

before he regained his balance. However, for the second time that

afternoon, Quatre ended up face down on the carpet -- this time at

Heero's feet.


The blond-haired boy stared up at the Wing pilot nervously. After

all, less than half an hour ago, Heero had been positively eager to

shoot him full of holes. A chill rippled down Quatre's spine when he

saw the expression on Heero's face.


He was smiling... no, he was *grinning*.


"Uhh... I can explain... I didn't mean to...." Quatre babbled



In a frighteningly cheerful voice, Heero asked, "Quatre, what on

earth are you doing sprawled out on the floor?" He reached down and

hauled the smaller boy to his feet with no effort at all.


Quatre smiled nervously and hastily backed up until he felt the

comforting presence of Trowa behind him. A quick peek at the

Heavyarms pilot's face -- the slightly widened green eye and raised

eyebrow -- told him that Trowa found the Wing pilot's behavior more

than a little unnerving as well.


They were both used to seeing a brooding, hyper-intense,

occasionally suicidal Heero, but this strange psychotically cheerful

Heero was making Quatre's skin crawl.


And where was Duo?


Momentarily disregarding Heero's blatantly amused expression,

Quatre frantically scanned the room looking for any sign of the

Deathscythe pilot. He froze when he saw what appeared to be a limp

body lying on top of Relena's desk, covered with the Peacecraft's

hugely expensive cashmere coat. Two bare legs, exposed to the knees,

were visible at one end while several long strands of chestnut brown

hair and a still, unmoving hand trailed out from underneath the coat

and hung over the opposite edge of the desk.


"Duo!" Quatre blurted anxiously.


"Shhhhhh!" Heero then leaned closer to Quatre and whispered,

"He's sleeping."


The figure stirred slightly and a low, husky voice exhaustedly

muttered, "No, he's not...."


Duo poked his head out from under the coat, brushed his unbraided

hair out of his face, and gave all of them a bleary-eyed glare.

A relieved, if somewhat dazed Quatre noted that it seemed that

Heero had been as good as his word. Duo looked like he had had

*quite* a workout....


"Uh... are you okay, Duo?" Quatre asked.


"I feel... like a quarter mile... of heavily traveled road... but

otherwise, yeah.... And tell Sally... 'a dramatically increased

libido', my ASS!"


Heero calmly strolled over to the desk and patted Duo's rear end,

still modestly covered by Relena's coat, with a proprietary air.

"But it's such a pretty ass," the Wing pilot in a voice of smug

satisfaction. He looked rather like a cat who had not only swallowed

the bird, but also polished off several dishes of cream.


Duo glared at his lover -- who was now playfully running his

fingers through Duo's long brown hair -- and acidly retorted, "Well,

if you don't hurry and do something about Relena's friggin' computer

file, EVERYONE in the damn world is going see just how pretty it is!"


Heero chuckled easily and said, "Relax. I'll take care of it.

Now why don't you just lie down and get some rest?" He leaned over

and gave Duo a casual kiss on his cheek, then sauntered over to the

workstation and started typing.


For a nervous moment, Quatre was afraid that Heero was going to

begin singing, but the Wing pilot merely started to hum an old

romantic tune... and did so surprisingly well.


"Relax, he says...," Duo said with a snort, before pulling the

coat back over his head. After a minute or so, there was a soft



Trowa coughed discretely, then said, "It seems that the side

effects haven't quite worn off."




From her position on the sofa, Relena couldn't get a good look

into her office or at Heero's face. However, she could see Trowa's

and Quatre's expressions... and they looked positively stunned and



It was worse than she feared, by god, if even Maxwell's pet thugs

were upset. She felt the tears welling up in her eyes as she wondered

just what had happened to her beloved Heero....




As Trowa casually kept an eye on the cheerfully humming Heero,

Quatre returned to the waiting room and was appalled to see the tears

cascading down Relena's face.


As he blotted up the tears, he murmured sadly, "Oh dear. Miss

Relena... I suppose finding out about Heero and Duo must have been a

terrible shock to you, but I suppose it's really for the best.


Surely, you can see now that all your interference isn't going to

change anything. You're only making things harder on Heero if you

continue to make these sorts of accusations about Duo. Why don't you

just give in and accept what's going on?"


When he saw the furious, defiant glare that Relena gave him,

Quatre sighed and shook his head.




Whatever effect the drugs might have had on Heero's emotional

state, they didn't seem to affect his mental abilities. After about

ten minutes of rapid typing, he pulled a disk from the computer and

shut down the system.


Trowa murmured, "Got it?"


With a faint smirk, Heero said, "Yes. Relena's no expert. I

found it within the first three minutes. I spent most of the time

trying to determine whether this file had been automatically archived

or backed up somewhere else in the system."


"Are we ready to leave?"


Heero shook his head. "Not quite yet. This 'Amelia' computer

virus is tenacious and sneaky. I need to double-check the mainframe

to make sure all traces of the file is gone." He shrugged. "Besides,

I need to grab some new clothes for Duo. It shouldn't take me more

than 45 minutes."


Trowa glanced at the torn shreds of black clothing strewn all over

Relena's office. "I see."


As he watched Heero stroll out into the waiting room, Trowa was

relieved to see the unusual cheerfulness slowly disappearing from

Heero's demeanor. But traces of it could still be seen in the faint

smile of amusement that seemed to hover on the Wing pilot's lips.

Suddenly, the Heavyarms pilot felt a warm hand grab his wrist. He

glanced down to see Duo looking up at him, a worried look on his

heart-shaped face.


"Trowa... would you mind keeping an eye on him? Make sure he

doesn't do anything stupid, huh?"


The brown-haired pilot nodded, then cocked his head slightly.

"He's right. You look like you need some rest."


Duo shrugged eloquently. "Well, you know Heero. He said he was

going to fuck me stupid."


The corner of Trowa's mouth twitched upward. "Ninmu kanryou?"

"Oh yeah... ninmu kanryou." Duo winked a bright violet eye, then

grinned sleepily at the other pilot. "And how...," he added before

pulling the coat back over his head.




Relena felt her heart shatter into little pieces as she watched

Heero walk out her office, then stop short to stare at her with cold,

furious eyes. She could tell that Maxwell had been busy at work. She

had no doubts that the diabolical fiend had spent the last half hour

doing unspeakable things to Heero's mind, twisting and warping his

memories so that everything that she'd done appeared in the worst

possible light.


Just as Heero started to reach behind his back, the tall pilot

called Trowa quickly walked into the waiting room, deftly took Heero's

arm, and firmly escorted him out into the hallway.


Relena couldn't help but notice that Heero continued to stare

fixedly at her, even as the hallway door closed. Maybe there was

still some hope for the two of them....




Quatre sighed depressedly at being left to babysit Relena again.

He felt a guilty sense of relief that she was gagged so he wouldn't

have to keep up any sort of conversation with her. He decided to sit

down on the waiting room's loveseat and not share the sofa with

Relena. Considering the anger in her eyes, he wouldn't put it past

her to try kicking him.


After several minutes, he found himself trying to stifle a yawn.

....and that's the last thing Quatre Raberba Winner remembered....




Lady Une -- bruised, cranky, and her arm still in a sling --

snapped at one of her subordinates as she eyed the thick banks of dark

clouds rolling toward the installation.


"What's going on?"


"I don't know, ma'am. The meteorological report is for sunny

skies. There's no reports of any weather fronts in the area!"


"Then how do you explain THAT!" She waved her good arm at the

black clouds. Beneath the towering thunderheads, constantly

illuminated from within by brilliant flashes of lightning, she could

see the smeary film in the air that told her of torrential rains





Relena stared in mingled confusion and annoyance as the small

blond Gundam pilot leaned over and suddenly fell asleep on the

loveseat. True, she might not be a trained fighter like Heero, but

somehow, the fact that Quatre considered her so weak and harmless that

he could fall asleep while guarding her was rather galling to her



As she fumed silently, she once again attempted to free herself

from her bonds. However, she was having little success. Maxwell, the

cunning devil, apparently did an expert job. No amount of twisting or

pulling was getting her anywhere.


Suddenly, she felt someone watching her. Her heart sank as she

looked up and realized that she had totally forgotten one *very*

important thing -- Duo Maxwell's presence.

And now he stood in the doorway to her office, wearing a sinister



....and absolutely nothing else.



Part 5



[Relena's office]

As a stark naked Duo Maxwell stared at a bound and gagged Relena

Peacecraft with a positively malevolent grin on his face, she realized

that she was -- as one uncouth clod had once bluntly, but accurately

stated -- 'hip deep in shit'.




[OZ command center]


Controlled panic was slowly creeping through the duty officers.


"The perimeter sensors are malfunctioning!"


"I'm not getting any readings on radar!"


The lights flickered.


"Primary power grid is down! Backup generators online!"


The lights flickered again.


"I can't contact the eastern guard posts!"


"Backup generators in sectors 1, 6, 10 are down!"


"We've lost contact with Mobile Suit team Fox-Tango-2!"


Lady Une was not a happy woman.




[in Treize's suite]


Wufei staggered out of the bathroom to find Treize leisurely

reclining in a comfortable chair while Zechs appear to be dozing on

the bed. Although he had gotten rid of a lot of the alcohol he'd so

imprudently chugged down, he was still quite drunk -- drunk enough to

feel rather reckless and careless.


Treize took a sip of cognac and said casually, "My darling little

beastling, you never did explain what was going on with Relena and Duo



Wufei shrugged irritably as he weaved his way across the floor.

"I don't know. The crazy female's been chasing Heero all over the

place, shamelessly throwing herself at him, and basically making a

total fool of herself. But this time, she shows up and starts

screaming that Maxwell's some sort of demon. She claims to have had

proof and a witness to all this, but then says that some monster dog

ATE both of them!"


The Chinese pilot whirled around and scowled belligerently at

Zechs. "I hope this sort of madness doesn't run in your family!"

Zechs turned his head, gave Treize a long speaking glance, then

said mildly, "But what if she's right?"


"Wha-What!?" sputtered Wufei in inebriated outrage.


In a lazy voice, Trieze murmured, "You know, I've always wondered

about Maxwell. There's something positively uncanny about that boy

and that damned Gundam of his."


Zechs chimed in with a murmured, "Indeed...."


"After all, he has the eeriest way of popping up out of nowhere."


Wufei uttered a disgusted growl. "That's a perfectly rational

explanation. He has excellent electronic countermeasures (ECM)

equipment. Any idiot could tell you that!"


Treize slowly swirled the cognac around in his glass. "No, there

has to be much more than that. Or if it is simply a matter of ECM,

whatever equipment he has is several orders of magnitude better than

anything I've ever heard of."


"Maybe he does!" Even though he was thoroughly drunk, Wufei

wasn't about to go babbling classified information about his comrades'

Gundams. Although, Treize did have a point.... Wufei hastily shook

his head and instantly regretted it as the room tilted.


"Electronic jamming is perfectly feasible -- any idiot could

manage it -- but that doesn't explain how that Deathscythe Gundam of

his can get inside heavily guarded facilities virtually undetected,"

Treize murmured as he suppressed a sly grin.


As if on cue, Zech lazily murmured, "Almost like a ghost...."

"And that scythe of his... it's just not possible to use thermal

blades underwater like he does."


Wufei shouted, "Don't tell me you're actually buying into that

crazy female's fantasy!? Will you listen to yourselves? Two grown

men suggesting that there's something supernatural about that joker

Duo Maxwell AND his Gundam!?"


Zechs blithely ignored the Chinese pilot's outburst. "All our

test data shows that it's physically impossible to effectively operate

thermal blades underwater. All the energy would go into vaporizing

the water. There certainly wouldn't be enough power left over to

slice a Mobile Suit in half."


"I don't believe this!" Wufei shouted, a muscle twitching in his

cheek. "There are no such things as ghosts, demons, or monsters!"

Treize grinned playfully. "That's a fine thing to say,

considering that your clan claims to be the direct descendents of



"That's DIFFERENT! Dragons are not folktales or legends dreamed

up by ignorant peasants huddled around campfires! Demons and ghosts,

indeed!" Wufei folded his arms and turned his back on the whole



"Well, if I might paraphrase a quote from a famous play, 'there

are more things on heaven and earth than dreamed of in your

philosophy', my little dragon."


"RI-DIC-ulous!" Wufei said firmly.


Zechs and Treize exchanged another significant look, then Treize

got up a bit painfully and strolled over to Wufei's side.


"Come, come... don't tell me that a clan as old as yours doesn't

have stories about strange happenings... visitations from long dead

ancestors... places that remain bone-chilling cold no matter how warm

the weather is... foreboding omens...."


"Stop it!" Wufei hissed, hunching his shoulders defensively.


Zechs murmured, "Treize, I DO believe the lad protests too



Treize continued in that soft, coaxing voice of his. "There's no

shame in admitting it. Most ancient families, like mine and

Milliard's, have their own share of strange tales."


"That's right. In my family's home castle, the servants said that

a mysterious lady dressed in blue could be seen roaming the grounds,

searching for the grave of her still-born child," Zech said



"I'm not listening to this...." Wufei said in almost a sing-song

voice, as he stared with forced nonchalance at the ceiling.


"And I know that particular legend's true," Zechs added smugly.


"Oh?" Treize murmured with a raised eyebrow. "And how's that?"


"Because I saw her myself one night when I was a child. I chased

her for some distance. Then she walked out onto a pond and vanished.

Poof!" said the OZ pilot with a snap of his fingers.


Treize circled around Wufei and murmured, "Actually, I've heard

something similar about this estate...."




"You've noticed it, too," Zechs said. Behind Wufei's back, he

gave Treize a wicked wink. "Things moving around with no



"The unexpected power and equipment failures? That's right."

Treize was fascinated that Wufei, who had previously been looking

rather flushed from the alcohol, was now starting to look extremely

pale and twitchy.


"Treize, if this is some game of yours...."


"It's no game. I can pull the maintenance and report logs for

you. They're littered with strange little occurrences."


Actually, it was all perfectly true. There HAD been some odd

things going on ever since the estate had been taken over by OZ... but

only a few more than normal. Maybe the estate WAS haunted, but that

didn't bother Treize too much. His childhood home had been packed

with various ghosts and other things that went bump in the night. He

could tell some truly hair-raising tales....


"My dear dragon, you're looking a trifle pale. Is something

wrong?" Behind Wufei's back, Treize could see Zechs' hand silently

moving toward the bedside table... and the light controls for the



"What do you mean pale?" Wufei blurted out, now looking positively

jittery. Normally, if sober, he would have been able to dismiss the

whole matter with a contemptuous sneer. However, with his brain still

befuddled with all the alcohol still floating around in his body,

Wufei Chang's common sense had taken a flying leap out the window.


"Are you sure? Perhaps you should go back to the...." Treize's

words abruptly stopped short.


"What? What!? WHAT!?!?" shouted the obviously rattled Chinese



The OZ general's eyes widened slightly and he slowly pointed

behind Wufei.


The boy went very still. Just as he started to turn, the bedroom

was suddenly plunged into pitch black darkness.






[OZ command center]


"Backup generators in sectors 2, 5, 7, 15 to 20 are now down!"


"There's reports of unexplained power surges in the computer

systems. The techs are trying to maintain the integrity of the

mainframes but they don't know how long they can do it!"


"Lady Une, our sensors are dead! All I'm getting through radar

and the video cameras is static."


Then everything whited out when a tremendous bolt of lightning

danced before their eyes.




[Relena's office]


Duo Maxwell, wearing nothing more than his long, unbraided hair

and that nasty little grin, calmly walked past the both terrified and

outraged Relena. He perched on the arm of the loveseat, then with an

oddly soft expression on his face, he leaned over to gently touch

Quatre's cheek He got no response. Apparently satisfied, he reached

over and yanked the sodden wad of pantyhose out of Relena's mouth.

As she took a deep breath, he said with a smirk, "You can scream

all you want. No one's going to hear you."


Relena gave it her best shot, but unlike other times, Duo didn't

even twitch a muscle. Finally, with her throat starting to ache,

Relena gave up for the moment.


"Did you kill him?" she said in a quavering voice, tossing her

head in Quatre's direction.


Maxwell looked insulted. "Why would I do something like that? Oh

no. I just used a little trick from a cousin of mine," he said with a

careless shrug of his bare shoulders.


"Cousin? You have relatives?" Relena looked horrified.

"Yeah, I got relatives. Didn't you know? I'm Shinigami and

Sleep's the first cousin of Death."


Relena simply looked baffled, then sputtered, "Have you no



Duo lifted his arms over his head and stretched sensuously. With

a husky laugh, he said, "Oh, you mean this? Come on, Relena. Get

with the program! Here you are calling me an evil, soul-sucking demon

and you expect me to feel ashamed about not wearing clothes?"

Her mouth opened and closed a few times, as if she was trying to

think of some scathing retort. Finally, she sputtered, "You... you...

you sick, perverted, lecherous FIEND!"


Duo loosely gathered his long, chestnut hair in one hand and



"Is that the best you can do?"


She glared at him. "Excuse me! *I* am a well-bred lady!"

"Aw, hell... I'm sure THAT'S really put me in my place!" Duo

retorted with a snigger.


She lifted her chin and with an air of martyrdom that would have

put Joan of Arc to shame, Relena said defiantly, "Do your worst to my

body, you monster! But you won't break me!"


Duo stared at her for a long moment, then toppled of the loveseat

arm onto the floor, laughing hysterically.


"You... you... you think that I would... that I'd...."


It took several minutes for him to catch his breath, but Duo

finally managed to stop laughing long enough to point at her and choke

out, "Listen! You couldn't PAY me enough to put my so-called slimy

paws on you! Christ! Where do you get your dialogue? From Z-grade



Relena wasn't sure whether she should feel offended or relieved.

"Nope! No way, no how...."


"I GOT the POINT!" she shouted at him. After taking a few deep

breaths to calm herself, she said with a regal sniff, "Well, if you're

not going to do THAT, then I suppose you're going to torture me before

taking my life."


Grinning wickedly, Duo said brightly, "Why, it almost sounds like

you actually WANT me to do it! I'm shocked! I never realized that

you were into that sort of thing, Miss 'I-am-the-perfect-lady'



For a second, judging from the alarming shade of Relena's face, it

seemed as if she was about to expire from apoplexy.


"YOU... YOU... YOU...!!!" she sputtered in fury.


"Yeah yeah. I know, 'you pervert, you beast, you diabolical

monster, yadda-yadda-yadda...." he drawled, looking rather bored.





Elsewhere on Treize's estate, Heero and Trowa were inconspicuously

making their way toward the computer center. With all the commotion

caused by the electrical outrages and people rushing about, they

blended easily into the chaos.


Heero said, "I'll deal with the mainframe. Check the maintenance

area and see if you can find some clothes for Duo."


Trowa gave the Wing pilot a critical stare, then nodded once.




[Relena's office]


"That's NOT what I meant!" Relena snarled. "But if anything

happens to me, you're going be hunted down like the beast you are,

even if it means chasing you to the edges of space!" She smiled

cunningly. "Yes, why don't you kill me? If it takes my death to snap

Heero out of your spell, I'll be glad to die!"


"Oh please! Don't tell me we're back to THAT topic again!" Duo

muttered, rolling his violet eyes.


"Well, if you're going to do anything, you'd better hurry. People

are going to be looking for me soon...."


With a malicious grin, he said, "No, they won't. Believe me,

everyone's way too busy to worry about someone like YOU. And even if

they did, no one's going to be able to get into this office unless I

want them to."


"My secretary will be back any moment now. When she finds out

that she can't get inside, she's going to...."


Duo gave Relena an eerie smile as he walked over to one of the

filing cabinets near the secretary's desk, opened a drawer, and

reached inside.


"No... I don't think so."


When he turned around, Relena's eyes bulged as he took two steps

and calmly placed the decapitated head of her secretary on the coffee

table in front of her. Although the dead woman's eyes were open, her

expression seemed strangely peaceful. However, Relena was in no

condition to appreciate that fact.


After her horrified screams finally died down again, she babbled,



Duo stopped smiling. In an icy voice, he snapped, "Because she

was a spy who was feeding information to an extremist faction within

OZ. This woman has been steadily leaking all that information that

you've so carelessly and blatantly gathered on Heero's movements and

activities to her superiors."


"A... a spy?"


He stalked toward the sofa and leaned over her, pinning Relena's

shoulders down.


"Do you have ANY idea how many times you've nearly managed to get

Heero killed in the last three weeks!? Five of our last seven

missions were blown to hell because of your carelessness and

stupidity!" He gave her a hard shake. "Haven't you ever heard of the

word 'discretion'? How about 'secrecy'!? If it wasn't bad enough to

have you and your merry little entourage trailing after us all the

time, I bet it never even occurred to you to bother hiding all that

information you found, did it? No, you just left this detailed data

on a known terrorist scattered all over your desk for absolutely

ANYONE to see!"


"I... I didn't mean to...," she stammered.


"You didn't mean to. HA!" Duo shoved her backwards and stalked

away in disgust.


"I just... wanted to find Heero...." Relena said in a

near-whimper. "How can you possibly know... I needed to see him...

talk to him... I had to keep trying to get him to UNDERSTAND... to

make him admit how he felt about me!"


Duo stood with his back turned for several minutes, then chuckled

quietly. He turned around to face her and said with an odd little

smirk, "Now that I think about it, it's rather funny...."


"There's nothing funny about this!" she shouted.


"Oh yes, there is. I just realized that you and I are sort of in

the same boat. Ensnared and seduced by a pair of beautiful dark blue



"It's... it's not like that!"


He gave her a highly skeptical stare. "Oh really? Then why were

you trying to steal a kiss from Heero while he was unconscious, huh?"

"It's much more than just... tawdry SEX...," she snapped as she

glared at the nude Duo. "But what on earth could an evil, heartless

creature like you know about love!? About two kindred spirits being

drawn together by destiny! But I do! I knew there was something

special about him the very first time I saw him!"


Duo shook his head ruefully. "Heero really has no idea what he

does to people."


Relena added in a near-whine, "And I saw him first!"


Maxwell's violet eyes narrowed dangerously. "What the hell does

THAT have to do with Heero's feelings? It's not a matter of 'first

come, first served'!"


"I saw him first!" she repeated stubbornly.


He shook his head irritably, sending his long chestnut hair

flying. "But if that's the only way you can understand the situation,

then I have to tell you that you lose... by about ten years!"




Duo stared almost blindly over Relena's head.


"He was barely six years old... a little, skinny kid with that

same wild mop of dark hair and those burning blue eyes.... He was

holding a detonator in his hand and carrying a pistol that almost

seemed bigger than he was," he murmured wistfully.


"I was surprised that he could see me. But what really got me was

that he instantly knew who I was, but he wasn't afraid. That's so

unusual, especially for someone so young."


Duo looked down at her. "Have you ever seen him smile, Relena? I

don't mean that maniacal grin of his. I mean, REALLY smile...?"


"I... I...," she mumbled as she racked her brain.


"Believe me, if you had, you'd remember it. I've seen Heero

smile, Relena. And after all this time, I still think it's the most

beautiful thing in the world."




In a deserted security monitoring station on Treize's estate, amid

row upon row of video monitors, a slim male figure sat in the

darkness. Holding an headphone to his ear, he stared fixedly at the

screen in front of him... the only monitor in the entire room which

was not totally obscured by static.




[Relena's office]


As thunder rumbled and lightning flashed, Duo murmured pensively,

"I can't help wondering whether I should have taken him that day. It

would have spared him so much pain...."


Relena knew that she was missing something important, but couldn't

quite figure out what it was.


"Taken him? What do you mean? What the hell ARE you!?" she

shouted in frustration.


He smiled coldly at her. "Exactly what I've been saying all

along. I run, I hide, but I don't lie....


"I am Shinigami... Death."


And in the next flash of lightning, the shadow of a slim,

bat-winged figure danced against the wall.




[Treize's suite]


"I think you overdid it," Zechs noted sourly as he hung over the

edge of the bed and peered underneath it.


Looking worried and rather guilty, Treize crouched on the floor

and was also peering under the bed.


"Well, how could I know he'd overreact like that!? You said it

yourself! He's a Gundam pilot and a trained terrorist! Who'd think

he'd be terrified of a few ghost stories. Honestly! Come out,



Under the bed, a shaky voice uttered a faint and defiant, "NO!"

Treize scowled and in an exasperated voice, he said, "We promise

we won't let any of the boogie monsters get you. Zechs, turn on the



The platinum-haired pilot grabbed Treize and whispered into his

ear, "But I didn't turn OFF the lights!"


"What!?" a startled Treize whispered back.


"Shhh! I was about to, but the lights went off by themselves.

And I've already tried turning them back on, but they're not working.

The power's out... I think."


Treize hauled himself to his feet, stalked over to his desk, and

hit the intercom. Using audio only, he snapped, "Lady Une! What the

devil's going on?"


In a barely understandable voice, she replied, "....sorry, sir...

system failures... electrical disturbances... erratic security...

doors jammed...."




"No sign...." The rest of her words were lost in a crackle of

static and white noise.


Treize quickly made his way to the door to his suite and tried to

open it.


It didn't budge.


"Try the manual release," said Zechs.


That didn't work either.


The OZ general stared disgruntledly at the obstinate door and the

barred windows of his suite for several moments, then he went to light

some candles. In a resigned voice, he said, "Well, it looks like

we're stuck here for the duration."


He raided his liquor cabinet and headed back to the bedroom. The

flickering light from the candelabra barely managed to pierce the

heavy gloom.


"Very romantic atmosphere, wouldn't you say? But I don't think

that either of us is up to any more strenuous physical activity today.

So, why don't we try something a little more relaxing?" Treize added

as he started a fire in the fireplace.


"We can't just leave Wufei cowering and whimpering under the bed!"

Zechs objected as he pulled up the bedskirt to take another peek at

the Gundam pilot.


They both heard a low, buzzing snore, broken by the occasional

muffled honking noise.


"On second thought, I guess we can," Zechs muttered.


"It's said that when one has lemons, make lemonade," Treize said

airily. Gesturing expansively at the darkened room, the merrily

burning fire, and the raging thunderstorm outside the barred windows,

he said cheerfully, "Well, Milliard... do you know any good ghost





[Relena's office]


Relena's eyes simply could not go any wider.


"So...." Her breath caught in her throat.


"So what am I going to do with you? To you?"


She nodded slowly.




Relena blinked, then stammered, "But what about the...."


"The pictures?" Duo smiled faintly, reached back inside the file

cabinet drawer, and pulled out a folder. "You mean these?" he

murmured, holding up a photo.


She flinched. "Yes...."


Taking a look at the picture, he said casually, "Do you know that

long ago, people believed that you could sometimes capture psychic

impressions in photographs? They ran around taking pictures of

haunted houses, looking for ghosts and that sort of thing. They were

partially right -- the most unexpected truths can turn up in pictures.

What they didn't know is that you have to be sensitive to those types

of auras yourself in order to clearly see the psychic images in the

photos -- otherwise, all a person will see are some weird blurs."


"You're trying to tell me...."


"That if you showed these photos to most people, at best they'd

probably see some very blurry pictures of me stabbing someone in an

alleyway with a very mundane knife. And that's it. Somewhat

incriminating, I admit, but hardly shocking considering my job as a

Gundam pilot."


"But... but... I can clearly...!"


"It's kinda like being able to see a special wavelength of light.

You can see it, but others can't. I have to confess that it was a

real surprise to me to find out that YOU, of all people, could

perceive the image of my true aura. You never struck me as being the

most sensitive or perceptive of people. Now Trowa, Quatre, and Wufei

all have more than a little psychic ability of their own, but not the

right type. However, if Heero could see the real me once before, he

could probably do it again."


"And you're afraid that he would recognize you for what you really





"And the skeleton... the robes... the scythe...!"


Duo smiled enigmatically. "Everyone has their own particular

vision of Death. You see a terrifying black-robed skeleton. I

imagine Heero would see something... rather different."


"So you did all this to discredit me!?" Relena screamed.


"Discredit you?" Duo said with a snort. "You managed to do that

yourself without the slightest help from me! I really didn't have to

do a thing except trim off some loose ends. As for these pictures...

well, it was really just a weird stroke of luck that this photographer

managed to catch my real self on film. It occasionally happens." he

said with a shrug.


Relena cringed as the photographs in Duo's hand ignited in a flash

of green flame and vanished. There wasn't even a trace of ash left



"And with both the photos and the negatives gone, you're left with

a big fat zero. You can play Cassandra all you want -- it'll be your

word against mine. And I think we both know who's going to win that



She cowered back as Duo sat down beside her on the sofa.


"You know, I was all set to kill you for all the trouble and

danger you've put Heero through, especially with that moronic

kidnapping attempt...."


Relena's terrified gaze drifted back to the decapitated head of

her secretary sitting on her coffee table.


"But I've changed my mind. I've decided to let you live, even

though that's not necessarily a mercy."




"Why am I sparing your life?" Duo gave her an oddly sad smile.


"I'd never thought that I'd have occasion to be grateful to you,

Relena... but I am. Because of what you did to Heero today... even

though he was drugged out of his mind, I still got to hear Heero say

that he loved me. And for that, I can forgive nearly anything."



Part 6 / Conclusion



[on Treize's estate]


With a dark green maintenance uniform tucked under his arm, Trowa

quickly glanced into the computer center, but failed to find any sign

of Heero. Noting the thin trails of smoke starting to emerge from the

computer equipment, he prudently decided to leave the area before the

fire alarms went off.


The Heavyarms pilot frowned slightly. Had he been wrong in

believing that Heero was no longer suffering the side effects of the

drugs? Because if he *was* wrong, there was no telling where the Wing

pilot might be at the moment.


He decided to search the rooms adjacent to the computer center, on

the off-chance that Heero would be working in one of them. Behind the

third door he checked, Trowa found his fellow Gundam pilot staring

into a video monitor. But before he catch a glimpse of whatever

interested Heero so intensely, the Wing pilot abruptly switched off

the monitor.


Without saying a word, Heero reached down and pulled out a disk

from one of the video recorders, then joined Trowa in the hallway. He

appeared to be his normal self again, with his usual expressionless

face and the familiar cold, blue-eyed stare.

"Are you finished?" was Trowa's only words.

"Yes," came Heero's equally curt reply.




[Relena's office]


Heero and Trowa walked into the waiting room to find both Quatre

and Relena happily snoozing. When Trowa touched the blond pilot

lightly on the shoulder, Quatre sat up with a yawn and blinked in mild



Stifling another yawn, the blond pilot answered Trowa's inquiring

glance by murmuring, "The lack of sleep must really be catching up

with me." He glanced curiously at Heero, who seemed to be looking

around the waiting room with unusual intensity, even for him.

As he watched Heero open up a filing cabinet, Quatre asked, "Is

there anything wrong? Are you looking for something?"


"No," Heero said with his usual flat monotone, closing the filing

cabinet with a decisive gesture. He walked over to Trowa, took the

clothes from the Heavyarms pilot, and headed for Relena's office.

Trowa quietly said, "What about her?"


Heero stopped and glanced back at Relena. He stared silently at

her for a long moment, then turned to look at Duo who was still fast

asleep on the desktop.


"Leave her."


Quatre frowned slightly. "But Heero, what if she keeps making

those ridiculous accusations about Duo?"


"Let her," Heero said with chilling indifference. "She'll only

make a worse fool of herself."


"Aren't you worried that someone might eventually believe her?"

Quatre fretted.


"Only fools and madmen would believe that creatures like demons or

angels exist in this day and age." There was a brief gleam in Heero's

cobalt eyes which nearly made the Arab pilot shiver. But it was gone

in a flash and Quatre ended up dismissing it as a quirk of overactive



Heero turned his back on the sleeping girl and walked over to Duo,

who was still huddled under Relena's coat, snoring away. The Wing

pilot silently lifted the soft cashmere away from Duo's face, then

stood there for a brief moment. He neither spoke nor moved, but

simply stared down at the long-haired Deathscythe pilot peacefully

dozing atop the desk.


Heero abruptly shook off his pensive mood and gave Duo's bare

shoulder a hard shake.


"Wha...?" Duo blinked sleepily. His words ended in a squawk of

outrage as Heero brusquely shoved Duo off the desk, then dumped the

dark green coveralls on top of the other's head.


"Wake up and get dressed. We're moving out," the Wing pilot said



Duo groaned, brushed his tangled hair out of his eyes, and

muttered, "Geez, Heero, so much for the romantic mood!" as he rubbed a

sore hip.


The only response Duo got was a stony, unapologetic glare and a

flat, "Shut up."


"Chi! I guess everything's back to normal. Bummer." Duo stuck

his tongue out at Heero's back as the Wing pilot efficiently began

removing any trace of their presence in Relena's office.

Despite his complaints and groans, it only took Duo a few minutes

to get dressed and ready to leave. He soon gave up trying to untangle

the knots in his hair and settled for pulling it back into a messy

ponytail. By that time, Heero had retrieved all the remnants of Duo's

old clothes, picked up the papers and other miscellaneous desk items

scattered all over the floor, and basically put the office into some

semblance of normality.


As Duo entered the waiting room, he glanced at the sleeping Relena

and stopped short. Jerking a thumb in her direction, he asked,

"Heero, what are you planning to do about her? Aren't you going



The Wing pilot said coldly, "I have nothing further to say to

her." He grabbed Duo's ponytail and dragged him out into the hallway

without another word. Trowa and Quatre quickly followed, leaving

behind the bound, but now ungagged Relena loudly snoring on the sofa.

Their escape from the estate turned out to be a total anticlimax

-- no high-speed chases, no huge explosions, no raging gunfights....

The various electrical and computer failures had left the OZ forces in

such a disorganized state that it was pathetically simple for the four

Gundam pilots to slip out of the compound unnoticed. By unspoken

agreement, they decided to move to a new safehouse... just in case.




[Treize's suite]


Wufei Chang could remember waking up in Treize's bed, on Treize's

sofa... tied up, tied down... but he had never woken up UNDER Treize's

bed. He slowly crawled out, clutched his throbbing skull in his hands,

and wondered what the hell had happened that afternoon. And where the

devil were Treize and Zechs?


Wufei was vaguely relieved to find himself still fully dressed.

As he attempted to get his extremely reluctant brain working again, he

staggered over to the sofa, only to find Treize and Zechs curled up

against each other on the floor amid a clutter of burnt out candles

and numerous empty liquor bottles. They looked rather like a pair of

snoozing puppies.


As he tried his best to keep his head from falling off his

shoulders, the Chinese pilot swore up and down that he would never

touch another drop of that devilish alcohol again. Wufei slowly made

his way to the bathroom, gulped the first painkillers he could get his

hands on, then stuck his head into a basin of icy cold water.


After a half hour, he was feeling semi-human again. Wufei was

just about to slip away when a small heap of printouts caught his eye.

He took a second glance, then hastily flipped over the lurid pictures

of Heero and Duo before he could get another nosebleed. The Chinese

pilot scowled a moment, then reluctantly headed back toward Treize's





[the pilots' new safehouse]


Several hours later, as the other pilots were getting settled in

their new hideout, Wufei stalked into the house. He scowled at Duo

and Heero, then tossed a sheaf of printouts onto the table.

"You owe me," was all he said before stomping off to find a place

to dump his own meager belongings.


Duo thumbed through the papers, then stared irately at Heero. "I

thought you said you got rid of Relena's file...!"

"I did," Heero snapped.


When Wufei walked back into the room, Duo started to ask him,

"Hey, where did you get this stuff...?" However, his question trailed

off in a startled "Meep!" as Wufei marched over to him and gave the

Deathscythe pilot a long, searching stare from only a few inches away.

With their noses practically touching, Duo clutched the printouts

to his chest and stammered, "Errr... is there something wrong,



The Shen Long pilot gave Duo a decidedly suspicious scowl. He

could vaguely remember some discussion about Maxwell.... A hazy,

disturbing memory stirred briefly in his aching brain, but it slipped

away from his grasp. As Duo continued give him a startled, wide-eyed

stare, Wufei shrugged and turned away with a disgusted snort.


"What the hell was that all about?" a thoroughly bewildered Duo



"It's nothing important," Wufei said irritably, as he rubbed his

forehead in a futile attempt to massage away the remainder of his



"Uh... o-kay, if you say so. But about these pictures...."


The Chinese pilot muttered, "That crazy female sent Treize an

separate email message repeating her asinine accusations." Before Duo

could interrupt, Wufei growled, "Don't worry, I erased all traces of

her message AND the pictures." His deadly glare warned against any

attempt to discover just how he managed to do that.


"Uhh... thanks, Wufei," Duo said.


The Chinese pilot shrugged and stalked out the door in search of

some peace and quiet... not to mention a large icebag.




Later that evening after dinner, Heero went looking for Duo. He

found his quarry sitting at Deathscythe's feet, struggling to brush

the tangles out of his long hair.


Duo glanced up to see Heero scowling at him.

"What's up?" he asked brightly.


Heero tossed a data disk at Duo, who reflexively caught it, and

snapped, "You shouldn't be so careless."


"Careless?" the violet-eyed pilot said with an air of bewilderment

as he turned the disk over in his hand. "What the hell's this? That

stupid computer virus?"


"No. It's the most recent surveillance video for Relena's office

and waiting room."


Duo froze with a shocked look on his face and blurted out, "But

that IMPOS-sible...." His voice abruptly trailed off, then he slowly

lowered his head. With his long, brown bangs hiding his eyes, Duo

uttered a rueful little chuckle.


"I see. I suppose you heard and saw... everything."


"Yes." Heero was silent for a long moment, then added in a

disturbingly cold voice, "I remember you now. Somewhere in the back

of my mind, something about Duo Maxwell always seemed strangely

familiar. Now I know why."


Duo released a deep sigh. Without looking up, he continued to

turn the disk over in his fingers as he quietly said, "So I guess it's

pretty useless for me to pretend that it was all a sick joke on



When Heero remained silent, Duo peeked upward through his bangs

and quipped, "Gee, no waving of guns? No threats of 'Omae o korosu?"


"Considering what you are, that's rather pointless, I think."


Duo shrugged carelessly. "Okay. So what now?"


"A few questions."


"Naturally. I'm sure you're just *dying* for some answers."


Heero merely glared at the other boy and snapped, "Who, when, and



"Huh?" Duo blinked in confusion. "You know, most people would be

asking 'What the hell are you?' and 'Why the hell are you here?' That

sort of thing."


"I already know what you are and I can guess... why... from your

conversation with Relena."


Duo smacked himself lightly on the forehead. "Damn it, you DID

hear everything."


"Yes." In a frighteningly calm voice, Heero said, "I want to know

exactly when this masquerade of yours started."


Duo leaned back against his Gundam's leg and held up his hands.

"If you're worried that I somehow sneakily managed to dispose of the

real Duo Maxwell and take over his body or junk like that in the last

couple of weeks... well, don't be. I'm the exact same person you've

known for the last year or more. I've always BEEN Duo Maxwell."


"Is Duo Maxwell a real person or just some convenient

fabrication?" Heero coolly inquired.


The long-haired pilot said evenly, "Duo Maxwell is a very real

person. *I'M* a real person, Heero. I bleed. I feel pain. I hurt.

But if you're asking when Shinigami first entered the picture....

Well, soon after I saw you for the first time, I ended up at L2

colony. There was a virulent plague going around and the people in

the ghettos were dying in droves. An antidote existed, but the

colony's administrators didn't want to waste valuable resources

distributing such an expensive drug to a bunch of penniless nobodies.


"While I was there, I came across two street kids. One was

already dead from the plague. The other boy was alive, but infected.

I knew that in less than a day, I'd be back for him, too. But when I

noticed that he looked a lot like me, I got a crazy idea." He

shrugged a shoulder.


 "So I called in a few favors and sort of... I

guess you could say 'merged' with that kid.... I was him, he was me.


"And so here I am -- the one and only Duo Maxwell. It's just

that... I happen to be Shinigami, too."


Heero asked in an emotionless voice, "If you're really Death...."


Duo rubbed the back of his neck and grinned a bit sheepishly,

"Well, if you want to be really picky about it, I'm *A* Death.

There's others who do the same sort of job I do. Believe me, there's

more than enough work to go around!"


The Wing pilot shook his head irritably. "So on a mere whim, you

decided to pretend that you're an ordinary human being?"


With a wistful little smile, Duo said, "Why not? I deserved a

well-earned vacation."


"For over a decade?"


"These things are relative. I've been working non-stop for... oh,

a very VERY long time.... Even if there aren't wars going on, people

are constantly dying from all sorts of reasons... disease, accident,

violence, even plain old age. I suppose I just... got tired of it



"So that's all it is for you? A way to spend a few decades? A

frivolous little game with us puny humans?"


Duo shook his head somberly. "Oh no. It's anything BUT a game to

me." He slowly walked up to Heero. "You see, my real reason for

taking a human form... well, it's because I was... because I wanted to

be with you...."


"But isn't hanging around with me rather like taking a working

holiday? Not much of a vacation, is it? Or is that the real reason

why you decided to stick around?" Heero retorted, his lips curling

upward in a bitter smile.


Duo shouted, "No! That's not it at all! I did all this because I

wanted to be together with you and ONLY you. Don't you get it? I

love you! I think I loved you from the moment I saw you, all those

years ago!"


In a cynical voice, Heero asked, "But if you really want us to be

together, then why are you interested in keeping me alive? Why bother

saving my life on all those occasions?"


Duo grabbed Heero's shoulders. "Because I don't want to lose



"How can you lose me?" Heero snapped. "After all, you're Death,

aren't you? I'm going to be yours eventually. And considering the

sort of life I lead, it's likely to be much sooner rather than later."


"Don't you think I know that better than anybody!?" Duo shouted.

Taken aback by the pain in the other boy's voice, Heero's tense

expression eased slightly.


"Then what are you waiting for?"


The Deathscythe pilot shook his head slowly.


"That's... not how it works, Heero. I'm not some kooky collector

of souls. It's my JOB to release people's spirits from their bodies

so they can go on to their just rewards."


"Just... rewards?"


Duo gestured wildly. "You know... heaven... hell... rebirth...

whatever the fates, judges of the dead, or destiny decide. You

wouldn't believe the bureaucracy and red tape! But the point is that

I don't KEEP any of the souls I take! Once you die, Heero, off you go

and that's IT!"


Heero stared at the panting Deathscythe pilot for a long moment.

Then he finally said, almost disbelievingly, "Are you afraid of being

left ALONE?"


"...." Duo abruptly whirled and turned his back to Heero.



The long-haired pilot refused to turn around. In the faintest of

voices, he whispered, "They all leave... that's what they always



"What did you say?"


Duo twitched slightly, then spun around and said with slightly

forced cheerfulness, "Oh, nothing!"


In an off-handed way, the long-haired pilot added, "Freed souls

are always running off somewhere." He shrugged carelessly. "Places

to go, things to do, people to see... that sort of thing. They

usually don't bother to stick around to talk. And the ones that do

linger... well, they're the undead, the ghosts, the spirits obsessed

with something from their mortal lives. And like Relena, obsessed

souls aren't the most entertaining of conversationalists."


Duo found himself backing up as Heero stalked forward, until he

ended up pinned against Deathscythe.


"Is that it?" Heero asked softly. "You're afraid I'm going to

leave you alone once I die?"


Duo tried to look away, but Heero grabbed his chin and forced him

to meet his cobalt-blue stare. In low, furious tones, the Wing pilot

snarled, "Did you think that when I said, 'I love you,' I was just



"C'mon, Heero. You know that you NEVER would have said it if you

weren't drugged out of your mind at the time!" Duo retorted. Then his

expression turned wistful. "But I was really glad to hear you say

it... even if you didn't know what you were doing."


"Baka. I knew exactly what I was doing. I just couldn't stop

myself. Maybe I wouldn't have said it under normal circumstances, but

the fact that I wasn't exactly in total control of myself doesn't mean

that I was lying to you."


Duo's hand slowly crept upward to grab a hold of Heero's tanktop.

"So... are you trying to tell me that when you said...." He was

almost afraid to believe what he was hearing.


The Wing pilot scowled at his lover. "When I told that I'd love

you forever, that's EXACTLY what I meant!"


"And now that you know what I really am...."


"That doesn't change anything. I wasn't afraid of you when I was

a child. I'm not about to be afraid of you now."


"But... does that mean you're not the slightest bit worried that

Relena might be right when she claimed that I could control people's



"Ignoring the fact that Relena's an obvious nutcase to begin with,

I don't care if she IS right about that."


"Heero!? You're not serious!"


"I'm perfectly serious." Heero leaned even closer to Duo. "Don't

you understand? All my life, I've felt separate... detached... like

there was a thick glass wall between myself and the world. I could

see, but couldn't touch.... A dying man once told me to 'Live

according to your feelings.' But before I met you, it was almost

impossible to figure out just what those feelings were. Somehow, you

broke through that wall of mine... gave me a connection to the rest of

the world... made me WHOLE.


"I like that feeling, Duo. Having lived so long without real

emotions, I know just how precious it is. And if through some

incredible longshot, Relena turns out to be right with her babblings

about mind control... well, as I said before, I really don't CARE."


Duo's amethyst eyes darkened with emotion, then he flung his arms

around Heero and held him as close as he could possibly manage.

Wrapping his own arms around Duo's body, Heero whispered quietly,

"Strange... it took Death itself to teach me how to be alive...."


Behind Heero's back, Duo held up the video disk in his hand and

frowned slightly. No, he *hadn't* forgotten to blank out the security

camera in Relena's waiting room. Then how on earth did Heero manage

to see....


The black-clad pilot froze, then glanced upward at the night sky

with a rueful grin on his face.


Feeling Duo's body stiffen, Heero quickly pulled back and said,

"What's wrong?"


Duo shook his head quickly and burst into merry laughter. He

tossed the video recording into the air where it disintegrated in a

flash of green flame, then shoved Heero back onto the thick grass and

pounced on him.


As he started to drop slow, tantalizing kisses on Heero's face,

Duo murmured, "Forever, Heero?"


"Forever and always."


And as Heero grabbed a hold of his lover's long hair and pulled

his head down to show him how to *really* kiss, Duo thought he felt

soft, feathery wings encircle him and hold him close.




And somewhere, on some distant extra-dimensional plane, two great

towering figures faced off.


"He's finally learned how to truly feel," the glowing figure with

incandescently white feathered wings noted with great satisfaction.


"He's no longer lonely," commented the ominous, shadow-shrouded

and bat-winged figure with a raspy sigh of relief.


The light and the darkness shook hands, grinned smugly at each

other, and said in chorus....


"Mission accomplished!"


~~~ OWARI ~~~

<wild victory dance>

My very *first* completed multi-part fanfic! ^_^

-------------------------------------------- /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/:E



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