Fandom: Gundam Wing
Why this one: because...why not. Bad title, I'm aware. Fear my cliches!
On the dark streets of Space Colony L2, a slim figure was wandering the streets alone. There, amidst the homeless and poverty stricken families, he was back in his childhood. His memories of a time when he wasn’t sure if he was going to eat that day, or the next, or the next, plagued him. Memories that he wanted to forget, but knew that he would never.
Those times were a reminder to him of what he never wanted anyone to experience again. Life where all you were doing was waiting to die, that was not something that a child should have to experience. He looked around, at the broken glass littering the streets, the battered and worn homes that looked ready to fall apart, and at the starving homeless on the streets. He shivered inside.
He was a man who had lived through the Eve wars, he had fought countless battles, killed so many, and remembered them all. He was not afraid of war, or destruction, or death. And yet the eyes of a starving child would bring him to his knees. That was why he was back. Back among the darkness and the dirtiness that he wanted to abandon.
That was the reason why he was back. That was the reason that he opened the orphanage. He wanted to make sure that no more children grew up as he did. No other child had to see so much blood. Duo Maxwell wanted to preserve innocence, something he had lost long ago in order to survive.
After the wars, he returned to L2, intent on building an orphanage where Maxwell Church once stood. It was hard, but then he was joined by his friends, former fellow Gundam pilots. Quatre was the first to lend his help.
However, Duo refused any sort of charity. Upon finding out that the braided pilot could sing, Quatre immediately thought up a plan. Thus, Duo’s singing career was launched. He became a well-known vocalist throughout the space colonies. This earned him enough money to start his orphanage. With the Winner heir backing him, the orphanage was completed within 6 months.
That was about the time that Trowa arrived on L2 with the traveling circus. They performed a few times, donating the money to Maxwell House, as it was called. And Maxwell House flourished. The project expanded, the orphanage became bigger, with better facilities, and soon became a hostile, taking in anyone that needed a place to stay. Duo was happy.
Wufei, who had joined the Preventers after the war, stopped by once in a while. The kids always loved his visits the most, since he always brought them toys. Although he tried to maintain a tough exterior, the Chinese man had a soft spot for children, but he would probably never admit it openly.
It would be another year after the opening of Maxwell House before the last Gundam pilot found his way to L2. One summer day, when the climate control system of L2 decided to pour down a light rain, there was a visitor at Duo’s doorstep. He opened the door and was greeted by a pair of cobalt blue eyes and an unsure smile, and at that point, Duo Maxwell was complete.
They had been living together for 4 years now, running the orphanage and taking care of the children and people of L2. They were happy, all of them. Quatre and Trowa stopped by occasionally, and called on weekends. Wufei visited at least once a month if he could, always bringing gifts. Heero and Duo had been living together since he had arrived, and they were very much content, as were the children and people living at Maxwell House.
Duo smiled to himself as he tugged his jacket closer around himself, shielding himself from the chilly wind. His dream had come true. Everything was perfect. There were no more street kids, very few homeless, and he was happy. He had Heero with him, life was good. He looked up, going on his usual walk. Quatre used to tease him about it, how he would always come home with some small child from the streets clinging to his hand, grinning and saying “He/She followed me home, can we keep him/her?” But now there were no more kids like that, no more kids that had to live on the streets.
As he rounded a corner, he paused, looking up as if he sensed someone. Gundam training kicking in, he was immediately on alert. Up ahead of him on the sidewalk, was a young man.
The man was tall, slim, and dressed in a long grey coat. He had wavy blonde hair that was pulled back into a loose ponytail. Duo froze, staring into hazel eyes that he had not seen in 16 years. The man smirked, tossing his head slightly.
“Long time no see, eh, Kid?”
Duo was too shocked to move. The man in front of him could not be real, there was no way. But the eyes, the hair, the voice, and the familiar way the man addressed him. Duo knew no one else like that.
“Right on the first try! Good boy!” he chuckled. Then he tilted his head to the side, smiling. “Yeah, Kid. It’s me.”
They walked to the nearby bar, Duo feeling the need to sit down. He was greeted warmly, everyone knew him, and lead the blonde man to his favourite corner booth.
“Solo…how….” Duo started. He was very much confused that his best friend, whom he thought dead for 16 years, had suddenly shown up again. He looked almost exactly the same, a little older, filled out a bit more, but he was still the same Solo that had taken him in.
Solo smiled, tossing his bangs once again. “It’s a long story, Kid. Be glad that I found ya again. You’re a hard man ta find for being so famous.” He winked.
Duo chuckled, toying with the end of his braid. “Force of habit, I suppose. But I thought you had died…” He looked up, guilt and sadness in his eyes.
The blonde man reached over, patting him on the shoulder. “As I said, Kid, it’s a long story. I’ll tell ya ‘nother time. But right now, I jus wanna talk ta ya, get ta know ya again. I ain’t got much time.”
“Why? Can’t you stay longer? If you need a place to stay…”
Solo laughed softly. “No, it ain’t that. But thanks fer offerin’, Kid. Ya always were a kind one.”
The braided man smiled at that. “I’m glad you’re back, Solo…I missed you. You were…are my best friend.”
He grinned. “I’m glad ta be back too, Kid. Duo now, ain’t it? Gotta nice ring ta it, but I think I’ll call ya Kid, if ya don’t mind. Duo jus don’t sound the same ta me, ya know?”
“Just like old times, Solo. Back when we were the kings of the street!”
The older man snickered. “Damn right! But ah, ya’ve made quite a name fer yerself, haven’tcha, Kid. The whole colony knows ya now! Yer famous! I always knew ya’d make somethin’ a’ yerself one day, Kid. I knew ya had it in ya.”
“It’s nothing, Solo. I could be doing so much more…”
Solo leaned forward, looking the ex-gundam pilot straight in the eye. “Now listen here, Kid. It ain’t nuthin. It’s everythin’ to those kids. It’s everythin’ to the people that ain’t got nowhere to stay. Ya done a lot for this colony, ya made it liveable again. Don’t go thinkin’ that ya gots ta fix everythin’. Ya know that’s impossible. What ya’ve done already is great! Ya’ve made me proud, Kid. An’ ya’ve made so many people happy.”
Duo flushed at his friend’s words. But he looked down at the Formica tabletop, tracing his finger over the scratches made there long ago by some unknown patron. “Still, I think I could be able to do more to help this colony…”
“Heh, always the over-achiever. But that’s how ya make it so far, right Kid? Ya work hard fer it. And ya try yer best. And it all works out in the end.”
He nodded, smiling to himself. It had all worked out as he had hoped. Everything was great. “Yeah, you’re right, Solo. It all worked out.”
“Yup. And I hear ya gots yerself a certain someone, eh? What’s his name…Heero, was it?” He winked. Duo blushed, nodding. “Ah ha! So it’s true! I’m happy fer ya, Kid. It’s good ta know that ya’ve got someone. So,” he leaned over the table, cupping his hand around his mouth as though asking some secret, “do ya love ‘im?”
Duo blinked, “Yeah, I love him, I love him a lot, he means everything to me.”
“Ah, I see…” the older man nodded, seeming wise and as if in deep thought. He then turned to Duo again, his expression softening slightly. “Does he love ya?”
“Yes.” There was no hesitation. Although in the 4 years that they had lived together, and been lovers, Heero had never said the words, but Duo felt that they were unnecessary. He knew that Heero loved him, and he didn’t question it. He also knew that it was very difficult for the stoic young man to express any emotion so deep and complex. It simply was not a part of training, and it was something that Heero had to learn all over again. Duo was willing to help, and he was willing to wait. He knew that Heero cared for him more than anything. There was no question. He told this to Solo, hoping that his friend would understand.
Solo nodded, closing his eyes for a moment. He looked as though he were in pain for a moment, but it was there and gone so fast, Duo thought it was just a trick of the light. The hazel eyes then opened, pinning Duo on the spot as he softly spoke, his voice no more than a whisper, so that Duo had to lean across the table in order to hear what he was saying.
“Would ya die fer ‘im?”
“Yes.” Again, no hesitation. Heero was everything to him; he would give up his life in a second for the Japanese man.
Again, Solo seemed to be in pain. The emotion flickered across his eyes, as he smiled gently. “Ya always were a nice kid…’s why I liked ya…ya neva though ‘bout yerself…always worried ‘bout the younger kids, takin’ care ‘a ‘em…Yer a good kid…Duo.”
“Solo…what are you talking about?” Duo was confused. He had no idea what his old friend was going on about.
“It’s time to come home, Kid…Time ya were told the truth…” Solo reached over, gently touching his hand.
“What? What do you mean, ‘the truth’?” Duo’s brow furrowed as he tried to make sense of what the blonde man was saying.
“I wanted ta break it easy ta ya…but I dun think there’s an easy way to tell ya this…”
“Just tell me what it is, I’ll understand.” Duo smiled.
“Heh, ya always were a smart one…” his expression turned almost wistful. “I hate ta break it ta ya, Kid…but…yer dead. Ya been dead fer 16 years. Ya died with me…during the plague…”
Time stopped. The world stopped. Everything stood still as Solo’s words rang in Duo’s ears.
“What?! How? There’s…I’m…dead?” He pulled his hand back, shaking his head. “No, I fought in the wars, I was there, how can I be dead?!!”
“Shhh!” Solo hissed, trying to calm Duo down before he drew the attention of everyone in the bar. He glanced around the bar as the patrons went back to their drinks. “ ’S there anywhere we can go ta speak in private?”
Duo nodded numbly, slowly standing and leading the way out of the bar, Solo following close behind. A few of the people waved to him as he left, he was too shocked to notice.
As they were walking down the street back to a small neighbourhood park, Solo started talking.
“ ‘Member when we was kids, an’ we used ta come here an’ play wit the kids?” The braided man nodded. “An’ ‘member how we’d pick people’s pockets when they wasn’t lookin’? Man, those were the days, eh?”
Duo smiled faintly, remembering the chases through the park when the occasional passer-by caught them. They knew every inch of that park; it was always a matter of minutes before they had lost their pursuers. It was good to be back, but what was this thing about being dead?
He could remember back to the days when the colony was infected with the plague that killed thousands of people. He could remember that he was the only one not infected, and how he broke into the lab to steal the vaccine. He remembered that it was too late for his best friend. The image of Solo, breathless, helpless…lifeless in his arms.
He couldn’t be dead! He fought in the wars! He helped save Earth and the colonies; he piloted a damned Mobile Suit! How could he possibly be dead? If he had indeed been dead for 16 years, then what of his life? Was it all just a dream? Was this moment just a dream? Would he wake up and be warm and alive in bed, curled up next to Heero? Perhaps he would wake up inside the cramped interior of Deathscythe and everything that had happened to him after the war was all just a dream.
Duo felt as though the line between dream and reality had been blurred completely, and it was now hard for him to try and reason what was real, and what was not. Was his life real? Was Maxwell House real? Was Heero now with him real? Was Solo real? Was he real? Question after question pounded at his brain, each demanding an answer. He turned to his once thought to be dead friend.
“Solo…please, tell me what do you mean I’m dead?”
“I mean exactly what I mean, Kid, yer dead. C’mon, let’s siddown. I’ll explain it all ta ya.” He sat on one of the park benched that he once sat on in his youth. For a moment, he was himself again, as he was in Duo’s memory. For a brief moment, Solo was a scruffy, dirty, 12 year old kid, sitting on a park bench, in clothes that were threadbare, a little too large for him, scraggly blonde hair hanging over his eyes that were far wiser than any 12 year old, legs swinging as he scanned the people, looking for a target.
But then the moment passed, and he was a young man, dressed in neat clothes, with eyes that were still far too wise for him, his smile soft and tinged with sadness. He sighed, suddenly, for a split second, looking even older, and then looked up at Duo.
“Ya never survived the plague, Kid. Ya caught it along wit the rest ‘a us.”
“But I don’t…” Duo started.
“I’m getting’ there, Kid. Don’t worry.” Solo smirked slightly. “As impatient as eva, I see,” he chuckled. “Anyways, where was I…Oh yeah. Ya got sick jus like the all the other kids did. Ya died a few days afta I did. But ya see, God,” he pointed skyward, “he an’ Destiny got tagether an’ decided that it wasn’t yer time ta die. Ya were jus supposed ta get sick, but ya were s’pposed ta get better again. I guess they messed up or somethin’.
“So they called in a few favours I guess, an’ they got yer life extended. Ya died, an’ then woke up the next day, clean an’ healthy, an’ not ‘memberin’ a thing ‘bout bein’ sick. An’ ya grew up, ya lost so much, Kid…ya hurt so much…” He smiled. “But ya made it, Kid. Ya were so strong, an’ I was so proud ‘a ya.”
Duo beamed. When he was younger, all he had wanted was the approval of Solo, his mentor, his idol.
Solo continued. “Ya were s’pposed ta die at the end of the Eve war. That was when yer contract was up.” He paused. “Do ya believe in Fate, Kid? Not the same thing as Destiny and God. Fate is a completely different thing, somethin’ that’s hard ta understand, but she has control that even God can’t rival. Ya were s’pposed ta die, but Fate had a lot planned fer ya. They letcha stay live on, and lookit whatcha done! I’m amazed, Kid. Ya saved so many…”
Duo merely stared at the blonde man in front of him. “You and I…we’re both dead?”
He nodded sadly. “ ‘Fraid so, Kid. They jus let ya have a spirit body ta use fer the time being. But yer soul, it’s been waitin’ ta be released. All those times in the war, when ya knew that the bullet was aimed dead on, an’ yet ya were neva damaged enough ta kill ya. Ya always thought it was luck or Shinigami lookin’ out fer ya, but it was Fate the whole time. Ya were bein’ kept alive fer a reason, Kid.”
The braided man looked away, turning in the direction of Maxwell House. No doubt Heero would be wondering where he was right now. He briefly wondered if his stoic lover would ever believe that he had been having a conversation with his long dead best friend and just found out that he had been dead for 16 years, that the Duo that they all knew had never been really real. It was all just too hard to understand. And it seemed that there was no way it could be real, it was just too hard to believe.
He shook his head. “Why does it have to be now? Can…can’t I have a bit more time?” he pleaded.
Solo quickly looked away, avoiding the pain-filled violet eyes. “There is one way ta extend yer life, but…” he trailed off.
Solo paused for a moment before continuing. “Ya hafta give up Heero’s life, an’ ya can live fer the remainder ‘a his life span.”
There was a pause. When Duo spoke again, his voice was soft, calm. “That was why you asked me if I would die for him, right?” Solo nodded, still avoiding his eyes. Duo laughed quietly. “I would never sacrifice Heero’s life so selfishly.”
A small smile tugged at Solo’s mouth. “I knew ya had it in ya, Kid. Knew ya were too kind ta choose that option.” His smile suddenly faltered. “ But that means ya gotta die tonight. Ya come with me to meet yer judgement. No g’byes.”
Duo stared at his hands for a long moment. He wished that he could tell Heero that he loved him, one last time, to hear those words from the Japanese man, but there was no time…He looked up to the sky, whispering a silent prayer for his lover and all the children at Maxwell House.
Slowly, he looked over to Solo. “Time ta go, Kid.” He nodded as the blonde man stood, holding out his hand. “Time ta come back…”
He nodded, reaching for his hand. As the world faded away to white, his last thoughts were of Heero, and perhaps one day, they would meet again…
The phone rang. And it rang again. And again. Heero sprinted down the hall from the children’s room. ‘It must be Duo, it has to be…’ he thought. It was late, Duo should have been back by now, the kids were getting worried…as was he.
He snatched up the receiver. “Hello?!”
The voice on the other end wasn’t Duo. “Mr. Yuy, I’m sorry to disturb you at this hour like this…but…I have some bad news…There’s been an accident involving Mr. Maxwell…I’m afraid he didn’t survive. We need you…” The rest of the phone call faded. The rest of the room faded, the whole world faded.
“Duo…” The receiver slipped from his hands, landing with a dull thunk on the floor. “Duo…” He could vaguely hear the person calling his name, asking if he was all right. None of that registered. Heero dropped to his knees, his vision blurring. There was no way…no…no…
“Hey…Hey! Wake up!” someone whispered at him.
“Hm…?” He slowly opened his eyes, blinking at the sudden light. “Ugh…what?”
“You fell asleep again, get up.” An elbow jabbed him in the side.
“Ow! Fine! I’m awake!” He sat up, stretching his arms over his head.
“Do you have a question, Mr. Maxton?” came the sharp voice of his science teacher.
“Huh? Me? No…” He quickly lowered his arms, receiving a glare from the woman.
“Your own fault for falling asleep again…” his friend said under his breath.
“Thanks a lot, Yuichi,” he replied dryly, leaning his elbow on their shared table and resting his chin in his hand.
“How do you expect to beat my grade when you sleep all the time?” Yuichi snickered.
“Hey, you only have 2% on me, lay off.” He stuck his tongue out at the Prussian eyed boy. He yawned again, tossing his long brown bangs off his face. He tucked a long strand of shoulder length hair behind his ear. “Ya know, I just had the weirdest dream…”
“Mm. I don’t remember most of it…just bits and pieces…” He glanced over at Yuichi, diligently copying down notes. “I think…you were in it…”
A dark eyebrow rose. “Was I?”
He shrugged. “Can’t remember all of it…but there was a guy that looked a lot like you. I’m just assuming it was you.”
Yuichi chuckled. “Sure, Deuce . I don’t want to know why you were dreaming about me.”
Deuce winked. “It’s ‘cause I love ya.”
Yuichi smirked. “Love you too,” he whispered.
He grinned wickedly, dropping one hand underneath the table, drawing one finger lightly up the inside of Yuichi’s thigh. He was rewarded by a slightly choked sound, Yuichi’s bright red blush, and a neat line across the Asian boy’s notes.
Yuichi slowly turned to him, glaring. Deuce smiled innocently, then stuck his tongue out.
“You know ya love it.”
“Deuce Maxton, Yuichi Shinsei , is there a problem?” the teacher snapped.
“Not at all, ma’am.” Deuce sat up, folding his hands neatly, looking for all the world like an innocent student. Yuichi merely went back to his notes, writing around the line.
“Then please pay attention to the lesson.” She turned back to the board.
“Nice going,” Yuichi murmured.
“She called you too,” Deuce replied.
The Japanese boy snorted and went back to work, Deuce deciding that taking a nap was a better option.
After a while, Yuichi looked over at the sleeping boy. Making sure that no one else was looking, he gently reached over, brushing back a stray lock of hair, smiling softly to himself. ‘Ai Shiteru…’
If I could grant myself one wish,
I wanna hold your hands and laugh with you.
Inside of the dream...
Inside of the memory, we'll definitely meet again...
~U+K - Gackt
 Deuce is another word for 2, and also means ‘the devil’, and perdition (utter destruction, complete death) heh, go figure.
 Shinsei means rebirth.