Intentions of Time
Part 1 - The Future
First thing I see is blood. It is on the walls, the floors, on the curtains that we picked out last week. The dark red staining every imaginable surface of our usually pristine house is a shock to my system, more so than where the blood may have come from in the first place. This is not the scene I expected when I opened the door to our house not a minute ago, ready to shout out ‘I’m home’ and run for a hug. No. This is an unreal scene of absolute horror and disbelief, a frozen tableau of the terrible. Blood. So much blood. How can a human body spill so much of it? How can a human being paint the walls with it with such precision and care? How can I possibly live my life now that his blood is the only thing I can smell?
Duo shook himself awake from the light stupor his nap had caused. He had dreamt of that day again. The day filled with blood, with Heero’s blood. Even twenty years later, the dream still made him cry, shudder in agony and despair. Duo shook his head and allowed the droplets of tears and sweat on his hair fly about him in a chaotic dance. It was almost time for yet another debriefing, a meeting filled with politicians and soldiers. He could not be more uninterested, but it was his duty as the top defender of the earth sphere to be present. Duo laughed harshly at the thought of his role in the twisted world created by terror and tenuous sanity. This was not the world he had imagined when he had been a gundam pilot. Thisworld was not something anyone could have imagined back then. Not in those times of innocence. Clearing his forehead of the residual moisture, Duo put on his formal jacket and tie with practiced ease. His long brown braid was carefully redone and tied off with a cobalt blue ribbon. The image on the mirror smiled, saluted and walked off the surface when the owner stepped out of the room. Another meeting, another day. But then again, at least they were alive for these boring, tedious moments.
Duo listened only with half an ear as some general rattled off the figures for the next month’s rations to the citizenry. As of late, more and more food had to be regulated due to severe weather anomalies within the temperate regions. If the strange weather patterns persisted, then the entire globe populace would have only hydroponics plants and indoor grazing animals as sources of food. Rationing would become tighter, people would suffer more and riots would break out. It was not a pretty scenario they faced with the weather and Duo probably should have paid attention to the details, but his mind was still drifting back into the dream. A moment later, Quatre gently nudged him with his foot to bring him back into the present.
“First Talent, I believe that is our greatest concern at the moment.”
Unfortunately, Duo had no idea what the general was talking about since he had not paid attention at all to the last parts of his report. Thankfully, Quatre jumped in with thanks and platitudes about a great job done in the face of obstacles. Duo controlled the twitch in his jaw with an effort - Quatre would yell at him later for not paying attention. Again. But these things were so boring. For his part, Duo would rather have been out there in space fighting the Mission.
I know that the world is doomed. The only thing we have left now is the earth, all the colonies blown into tiny space particles ages ago. We are desperately fighting, but there aren’t enough Talents to repel the goddamned Mission. Only if we had more of us, then we would have a hell of a good chance of keeping those bastards out! But there is only three, me included, and we are just barely defending the planet. More people than I can count are dead or worse. So many lost and still more to come. I’m the strongest, but even I can’t fight by myself. I’m the First Talent, for the love of god! I should be defending the last haven of humanity, but no, I’m being overrun by the Mission. Damn the Mission. If only I had a plan. If only I had more power. If only I had Heero.
The steady tapping of a booted foot was the only sound in the room. Its staccato grated on Duo’s nerves, but he sat in his plush chair and took the silent treatment. Quatre was still fuming from his lack of attention at the meeting and Relena was busy reading some stupid report. Duo tactfully contained a snort. Those two were his best friends, but they could make him annoyed faster than anyone else.
“That was a very important meeting, Duo.”
Somehow, Duo managed to look apologetic at Quatre’s admonishing tone. The faster he apologized, the faster he could get them out of his living space and on with his life.
“I’m so sorry, Quatre. I don’t know what got into me.”
“Please, Duo, don’t patronize me,” Quatre continued relentlessly, “because I know you aren’t sorry. You never pay attention. You never care enough to listen. Tedium comes with leadership and you aren’t dealing with it.”
The fire of anger that Duo had contained so well burst forth.
“Fuck off, Quat. I’m not a leader and you know it. I’m just the First Talent. I’m a frigging defense system.”
Duo immediately regretted his harsh words when he caught sight of Quatre’s hurt eyes. The usually lucid blue green darkened to a shade of deep ocean blue and his lips turned downwards . And the worst part was, he had truly intended to apologize and mean it, not turn on his best friend in anger and hurt his feelings. Luckily, Relena intervened with gentle words and understanding.
“Quatre, Duo doesn’t mean it. You know that. He has had a hard year, filled with stress we can’t comprehend. Neither of us can know the strain the Talents are under, especially Duo.”
Duo smiled gratefully in Relena’s direction and received a rare smile from her as a reward. Without either of them, Duo would be lost. He would not care to live.
“I’m sorry to be snippy, Duo,” Quatre said gently after wiping the hurt out of his eyes.
“I’m sorry I yelled. I didn’t mean it.”
A few more apologies and nods later, the small spat was over. It was like that these days. There was so much tension everywhere that everyone snapped at the drop of a hat. The earth, though safe from the Mission for the time being, was under food and water shortages. People were dying by the droves and those who weren’t dying were starving and miserable.
“I just wish it was over, Quat. I just want the Mission to attack so I can do what I’m supposed to do. I’m not supposed to be in meetings, Quat. Relena and you are in charge of earth’s politics and governing. I’m the weapon. Me and the Six.”
“But Duo, the Mission hasn’t attacked in months. They are silent enough now so we should concentrate on getting the earth back on its feet. We’d have a better chance when they attack next if everyone was healthy.”
Logical, yes. Possible, maybe. But still.
The police had been replaced by the Preventers in the investigation, but I don’t really know what’s going on. It has been a few hours since I found Heero’s blood on the walls, since I found his body. I can’t think of that now, I’d go crazy. It wasn’t even recognizable. I don’t even know if there was enough of him left for me to bury. Strangely, my eyes are dry and my voice is working. I’m giving my eye witness account of this day, everything from how I got into town after a long business trip, the boring drive home, my anticipation at seeing my lover again. I sound so far away to me, so emotionless and calm. But
I’m screaming so loudly in my head that it’s a wonder the Preventer kid taking this info down isn’t hearing it. I keep telling the story while my outer voice is drowned out by the wailing within my mind. Heero. Heero. Heero. I can’t say how long this lasts, because all of a sudden, my vision is filled with concerned eyes. Brown, soft and sad. Wufei. I’ve
never seen him look so defeated, so sad. I can see Quatre, too. His blue-green eyes are watery and red from all the crying he must have done. He is also looking at me with grief filled eyes. And Trowa. So much emotion in his visible green eye. Sympathy, sadness, pain, loss. When did I see him last with so much emotion so plainly visible? A hand on my shoulder. Polished, smooth and white. Relena. I know if I turn my head and look at her, I will see myself reflected in her blue eyes. Next to me, she was the one whom Heero loved most. I was the first in his heart. Loved? Was? Am I really thinking in past tense? Already? So soon? To my horror, the world blurs and fades into a watery mess. My eyes, they must be filling with tears I could not shed. They must know the pain of my heart better than my stupid, numb brain. Drip. I feel a tear soaking into my black pants. Heero loved these pants. Drip. Another tear onto the pants. Drip. Drip. Drip. And I cry. I slump forwards on the green grass of our immaculate lawn. The lawn Heero and I had argued over mowing a week ago. The lawn that I pulled dandelions out of while cursing Heero’s insistence at ridding our grassy field of infectious weeds. Oh god. Heero. And the tears keep coming and coming. I won’t stop crying, not ever. /
One final strike was all that would be needed to either defeat the Mission or be defeated by them. Duo waited for that day, the day when he could finally go out and show the Mission how he had grown in power so rapidly in the last few months. He had a score to settle with them, like everyone else on the earth, but unlike them, he was capable of the vengeance. He scoffed at the frightened earth council that forbade him and the Six from a preemptive strike. They were afraid of losing so much that they held him back from going out after the Mission. They were too busy imagining ‘what-ifs’ to know that whoever started the next battle, whether it be him or the Mission, it would be the end. The war would end. But he could not argue against them, go against their wishes. He could not endanger the already shaky earth government by rebelling. It was his duty as the First Talent, as the most revered and legendary human being, to follow the wishes of the government. He had to show the people that they could put trust into the government. After all, what was the point of winning against the Mission if the earth self-destructed afterwards from the discord? So he contented himself by making fun of the earth leaders privately in his mind and setting up battle plans for the eventual conflict. He needed perfection if they were to win this war waged upon them by the Mission nearly twenty years ago. There were only seven of them who could stand up against the Mission. No human weapon harmed the Mission as they had found out so painfully. Only those with the Talent were capable of causing damage to the Mission’s space fortress or their ships of destruction. He was the greatest asset with his enormous flow of power. The Six were competent and necessary, but even if the Six combined, they could not match him in sheer power.
Duo planned and replanned, determined that everything about the final battle would work out in their best interest. He was the last hope for humanity, as funny as that sounded. He had fought for peace with Deathscythe in the past. Now he fought with the Talent which was rare and frightening, much like his past metal partner had been. He was a soldier, a weapon, a measure of hope. The burden weighed heavily on him.
The fever is bad and my condition is getting worse. I know this because Trowa is sitting by my bedside with worry written so visibly on his face. He has seen me with life threatening wounds during the war and never did twitch a muscle in concern. But here he is now, replacing the cool compress on my forehead with a fresh one, looking like he’s about to lose his favorite puppy. Sally told me before I got too damned delirious to understand, that probably the stress and shock resulting from Heero’s murder caused me to develop the fever. After all, it was only a few hours after I found Heero that the fever began, somewhere in the middle of my never-ending tears. So here I am, laying on a bed that belongs in Quatre’s large home, my guts trying to gnaw their way out of my stomach and the fever cooking my brain like a Christmas roast. I wonder if I’m going to die and the prospect isn’t so grim. Heero is dead. If I died now, I might find him again. Why should I live when he is gone? What reason can I find within myself to continue without him? The questions flit through my head at a whirlwind speed, each more depressing than the last, each question spiraling me towards giving up on life. The fever is getting so bad that I’m tossed into an ice bath every two hours. My body is giving out and I can no longer eat food. Why live? This is my second week in bed and recovery is nowhere in sight. If there was a possibility that I could pull through, then Quatre would not look so broken. Relena wouldn’t show up every evening to chat with me. Wufei would not bring me my favorite foods to induce me to eat. It is like all my friends are getting ready to say goodbye to me, a chance they never had with Heero. The chance I never had with Heero. What I wouldn’t give to have said goodbye, to tell him one final time that I love him with all my heart, that I would forever be watching out for his shadow in the crowd. If I could not save him, I just wanted a chance to say all those things. God, my mind is moving too fast and too sluggish at the same time. All the thoughts are jumbling together and I’m getting confused. I can’t stand this much longer. Death would be a welcome reprieve from this hell that I’ve been plunged into without mercy. I try to focus on one thought. I want to be thinking about Heero when I die. He should be my last thought. I wonder, was I his last thought? What did he see last when he died? My face? The killer? I can’t dwell too long on that. I want to remember Heero when he smiled, laughed, teased, anything and everything but the gory scene I found. Heero, should I live? Should I go on without you? Strange thoughts when I’m preparing to die. But they come anyway. Would I be betraying you if I lived? Would I make you sad if the pain of loss became less with each passing moment? Would I feel guilty if I laughed again? Heero, tell me, please. Can I? May I?
The reports were coming in at an alarming rate, each stack of paper marked with a glaring ‘urgent’ stamp. The Mission Observation Post was going nuts, Duo decided. All of a sudden, after months of quiet, the MOP was sending reports to him like there was no tomorrow. In the past, the reports consisted of Mission movements, the energy level of the space fortress and the calculated numbers of the ships launched by them. Duo could only figure that the Mission was on the move again and the MOP, in a fit of excitement, was putting out reports to reassert their importance in the world. Hence, he had not even cracked the seal on the reports yet. He could not care less what the Mission was doing unless it was an attack. Using his Talent and the Six, he could figure out the Mission’s movements better than the MOP working at full capacity. He could find the camouflaged ships in space with his Talent while the MOP could not even build a machine to find all the visible ones. The MOP was originally created so that the common people felt like they were in the war, helping out with saving the human race and its ancestral home. In reality, they did nothing important. The Mission and everything associated with it was handled by Duo and the Six, from their movements to battle plans to evacuation procedures if they failed. However, if the MOP was going crazy, then the Mission was moving enough to alert the common man. With a sigh of anticipation, Duo called to the Six with his Talent.
‘Get in my office, now. Something’s up.’
The Six responded with alacrity, materializing in his office less than half a second after he had sent out his command. Only the Fourth was slightly late in materializing, her hair still wet and dripping soapy water. Duo could only assume that she barely managed to wrap the bathrobe around her before zapping into his office.
“Glad to see the response time is tremendously short. So, you all got MOP’s ranting reports as well, I assume.”
Six nods, six confirmations.
“So I guess we should take a look and see what got them all excited.”
Duo unleashed the cap on his Talent and let it soar upwards into the heavens. He felt the others do the same, each power searching, probing, discovering. Duo scanned the space with his Talent and much to his surprise, picked up various movements. The facial expressions on the Six only confirmed his findings. He continued to search and gather information, keeping his eyes on the Six. His Talent picked up about forty thousand warships on the move. Forty thousand. The Mission was definitely gearing up for something since most of the ships were camouflaged and heavily armed. The space fortress was gathering energy, too. He could feel the massive power coalescing inside the fortress, as if it was getting ready for the final hoorah. Duo made quick calculations with his mind and figured the Mission would attack full out in about a week or so. He would have to consult the Second, of course, since he was the numbers guy. He would know exactly how much time they had and how much fire power the Mission would have by that time. Duo also reminded himself to talk to the Sixth, for she was the key coordinator of tactics and her brilliant strategic mind would come up with battle plans to augment his own. The Third would have to fuse his power with his lover, the Fourth, and become the barrier reinforcement when the time came. The Fifth would be the last line of defense, Seventh by his side as always. Oh god, the time was coming. And so soon. He almost cursed himself for wishing for the final battle so fervently.
We found the seventh Talent today. She is but a child, a thirteen year old girl with hazel eyes and cropped brown hair. Finally, after three years since the war began, we had enough power to repel the Mission. The seventh Talent assured that much, at least. She was the key to our stalemate. I can still remember when it was just me, barely a year after Heero’s death. After I somehow got through the fever and my utter lack of will to live, I had found that I was Talented. Of course, that word did not exist back then, but still. I was the first. The first with the power. When I discovered it, I told no one, fearing their reactions, afraid of the power. But here we are, three years later, and there are seven of us. I am the First. I am the one who saved the planet from destruction when the Mission first came. I remember that day. Everyone does. It was a cloudy day for me, about noon or so. I think it was a Tuesday. The skies became dark and then there were explosions. Massive flames and huge craters left in their wake. Hell did come to earth. The Preventers sent out every man and woman on duty who could pick up a gun out into space to face the horrible attack only to find that the colonies had been blown apart already. Billions of casualties and the war had been only a few hours old then. And within thirty minutes, every single ship sent by the Preventers was gone, reduced to scrap metal and cinders by the attacking force. The bombardment on the earth continued after that, each blow taking hundreds of thousands of lives at once. I fully believe that on that day, we lost three fourth of the human race. And it was then that I unleashed everything I had within me and repulsed the attacks. My Talent flowed through me, pouring outward in uncontrollable spasms, reflecting shots that was on the other side of the earth, blasting the ships out of the sky with barely a thought. The attacks stopped after several hours of me fighting against them. And that was when what was left of the earth government and the Preventers assembled together and discovered that it was me, only me, that had stopped the complete annihilation. That was when I was dubbed the First Talent. That was when I became the vessel of hope for every single living creature on the face of the earth. I was barely defending then, always overrun by the numbers. Within a month, we found two more Talents, not as powerful, but just as needed. The three of us fended off the attacks, put up barriers around the earth. But we were getting tired. Then slowly, we found the others and a measure of relief. When I found the Second, completely by accident, I was relieved to share my burden. He was a twenty year old man, only two years younger than me. But he seemed so young, so childish. Couple of weeks fighting by my side changed that. His innocent face became battle hardened and sharp within moments. I did not mourn his loss, no more than he did. Then the Third. A young man of eighteen. Full of fear and cowardly motives. We changed that in him, too. Now, three years later, he is one of the most courageous people I know. Then over the three years before finding the Seventh, there came the Fourth, a beautiful woman who had been a model. She and the Third became lovers quickly. The Fifth, a battle hardened former Oz soldier who had a soft spot for children. The Sixth, a brilliant economist who lost her family and all her friends in one swift attack. And finally, we have the Seventh. She has attached herself rather firmly to the Fifth, looking to him like a father figure. She needs it, really. She’s only thirteen and an orphan. I know how she feels, alone in the world, forced to fight a war. But we need her. Now, we can call a stalemate. Never a truce, but a wary cease fire while we test each other out in our new capacities. God, I wish it was over.
The Talents stood in a circle, an intense look of concentration and pain on their faces. They were alone, standing atop the majestic mountain called K2, a mountain that the human race had conquered with grit and determination hundreds of years ago. They were surrounded by snow and an eerie quietude that did not match the intensity of war going on in space. A few hours ago, Duo had sent out orders for everyone on earth to go into their bombardment shelters and take cover. Everyone, save him and the Six, were underground, hoping against hope that when they emerged, the world would be safe. They would try their best to make the world’s dream come true. So here they were, on top of a mountain, letting their Talents rage and merge in a deadly dance for victory. Duo did not notice the drip of perspiration as his Talent wiped out thousands of ships in space with one swipe. He barely paid attention to the work of the others, too busy with his own part in the war. He felt the comforting presence of the Fifth and the Seventh’s power merged into a barrier around the earth, repelling direct attacks and invasions into the atmosphere. His Talent brushed lightly against the Sixth’s intense attack upon the space fortress. His mind’s eyes saw the Second and the Third systematically destroy ships within their assigned quadrant. His body rejuvenated when the Fourth infused him with her own power to keep him going. The battle raged and the Mission took heavy losses. But the energy core within the fortress was still intact, still gathering more power. In five minutes, whether or not each were done with their quadrants, all seven would gather together their power and send one, final massive attack into the Mission’s space fortress. It would either win the war or lose it. Five minutes until the end of the world as they knew it. Five minutes could run so slowly.
Today is the anniversary of the Mission attack. It is the nineteenth anniversary of the day when everything changed for the worst. But I’m still here, as are the others, living, breathing, surviving. The cease fire is at its fifteenth year, each side only attacking every other week or so without heavy damage to either side. My power is still growing and I know I have not reached the limits of what my Talent can do. Not by far. I will win this war one day soon, for humanity, for me. And in a way, for Heero. Heero would not have wanted to see the world he fought so hard for come to this. He could not have stood by idle while I cast myself into the front lines every day. At least, he is at peace. I must believe that. Quatre looks a bit more somber today than usual. He’s probably recalling how Trowa died ten years ago in an attack that I could not fully repel. That was my mistake, my fault. That was the day that Quatre knew how I felt when I lost Heero. I never wanted him to know. True, we had lost Wufei, Sally, Noin, Zechs and Lady Une during the first assault by the Preventers on the first day of the war, but they had died fighting for the earth. Their deaths, though sad and pointless, had been for what they believed in. Trowa’s death had been due to my inattention, my lack of enough power. Even with the Six by my side and my enormous Talent, I could not save Trowa that day. I feel the guilt and the weight of his death every day. I only have Quatre and Relena left to me. Dorothy is long gone, too, killed by rioters three years ago in the European vector. She was courageous, that crazy blond. I miss her too. I miss them all, but most especially, I miss my Heero. I will visit his grave later, first of many graves I will visit today. I will tell him about me, how I’m defending the earth, how I’m fulfilling his destiny as a hero. And I will listen for him in the wind, telling me that he is proud of me.
In silent accord, the seven Talents began to expand into their Talent. Duo stretched his as far as he could, defying the physical and mental strain it caused. His vision blurred, his violet eyes no longer dilating with the change of the light. He could vaguely make out the others. The Seventh was on her knees, barely supported by the shaky Fifth. Third and Fourth clung to each other fiercely, as if anticipating death and wanting to face it together. The Second stood stoically, but Duo could feel the exhaustion coming from him in waves. The Sixth fared no better than the rest of them, her shoulders slumped and her usually cold face slack with the exertion. But it was time for them to go after the space fortress, the Mission’s heart. They were ready to attack it full out. As soon as they were all filled to capacity with the Talent, the Fifth and the Seventh would drop the barrier and in the split second they had, they would send all their Talent power into the space fortress. They had meticulously calculated the amount of power they needed to release in order to bring the fortress down, but even then, there was the margin of error. All it came down to was the one moment when they would unleash their greatest power upon one giant evil. If they failed, the earth was doomed for after the attack, none would have any strength left to fight back. But if they won.. if they won. There would be peace. Safety. With that in mind, Duo expanded as far as he could, farther than he ever had until every molecule in his body seemed to burst out of their confinement. His last thought to the Six was a command, a decisive word.
Seven streams of Talent power soared into the atmosphere and into the space fortress. Soon, it would all be over.
The strangest thing is, I can’t understand why there are only seven of us. Why only seven in a population of a billion or more? Even with a large chunk of humanity dead and missing, we had a billion people on earth. And out of that billion or so, only seven had the Talent. I figured that was the question that the scientists wanted answered. They did all types of tests on us, none of them painful or anything, but uncomfortable anyway. For the last week, I and the Six have been through genetic screens, psychological and physiological tests, emotional readings, aura reflections. I guess they need to know if there could be more of us, if they could actually produce a Talent out of science or genetic breeding or something. It’s a hope that the scientists have that the Third and the Fourth would produce a kid. They have high hopes that such a progeny would be a Talent as well. But I’m digressing. I guess I just don’t want to open the test results in front of me. What if it told me that I was some kind of a genetic freak? Or even worse, not even human? I must not fear the results. Let’s face it, without me defending the earth, without the Six, the Mission would kill everyone and blow up the planet. Even if I was some alien bioandroid or something, the people would still need us. No need to feel like I won’t get accepted or anything. As the First Talent, the only friends I have left are Quatre and Relena and even they look at me funny sometimes. So I tear open the packet and read the contents carefully. The results aren’t just mine, but for all of us. The scientists tried to find what we had in common, what made us unique enough to bear the Talent. Too bad they couldn’t find anything. Genetically, I’m normal as are the others. I have the rare recessive gene for my violet colored eyes, but that’s not a common factor since the Seventh’s hazel eyes are fairly common. We all had traumatizing events in our lives, but in the times of war, who didn’t? I fought in the wars before the Mission in my gundam and saw more than I should have. I found my lover in our house, torn and.. well, let me go on. We all lost people precious to us. But so did Quatre and Relena. And countless others. None of them had the Talent. So it wasn’t the genetics, it wasn’t the psychological factor. Emotionally, the seven of us are so damned different that it’d be a joke to think that was the linking factor. It is the same with our aura readings. So basically, the report is telling me that despite all the testing, they had no freaking idea what makes us Talents. Whoop-dee fucking doo. So no one can tell us how we came to be Talents, or if others can become like us. Life is funny like that, I guess. I wonder what Heero would say about me. I know for certain he’d still love me. Hell, he’d love me even if I was covered in leprous sores from head to toe and I came from a distant planet. But what would he think? It still matters to me, after all these years, what he would think of me. Why? Because when I see him again, I want him to be proud of me. I want to look him in the eyes and say ‘hey, lover, I made a difference.’
As soon as Duo opened his eyes and saw the relieved faces of Quatre and Relena, he knew that they had won. He was in his room, hooked up to an IV and a heart monitor. The sun was out. Everyone was still alive. They had won. But he had to make sure.
“Quat.. Relena.. We won, right?”
His voice croaked like a rusty hinge, but it made his friends smile. Not the small, sad smiles he was used to from them. The smiles bestowed upon him were bright, joyous, practically beaming with ecstasy and freedom. He had not seen anyone smile like that in a long time.
“We won, Duo. No, you and the Six won. The space fortress is gone. Completely obliterated! Nothing left! The left over ships exploded when the shockwave from the Mission’s fortress hit them. The Third assured us that nothing was left anywhere. It’s finally over.”
Over. That one word rang in Duo’s brain over and over again like a mantra, each repetition bringing more peace to his heart. After all those years of fighting, after losing friends, it was over. The Mission was gone. He felt his face stretch into a smile.
“No more fighting. No more fear. Shit, I don’t know what to do now.”
“There is nothing for you to do now.” Relena said quietly. “Just rest, Duo. You deserve it.”
Once again, the world faded as sleep overcame Duo. However, this time, he slept peacefully without the fear and the burden which had lain upon his soul for twenty years.
The night is too quiet, too silent. The lack of noise makes my mind wander, the blinking lights of my small clock beating in time with every thought. I’m lonely, laying here all by myself. Sure, I’ve been sleeping alone for nearly ten years now, but that doesn’t make me any less lonely when the night falls so silent. I envy Quatre and Trowa, the two love birds who have managed to survive so far and still manage to find time to love each other. They are beautiful to see, but they make my heart ache more and more. Heero is always on my mind, but when they come within my visual range, I feel the loss more. Like now, I wonder, is the world really worth defending? Just the other day, a massive riot broke out over in the southeastern region of Africa and more than four thousand died. With the food shortage, everyone is killing. These riots happen more often than they should, each causing more and more casualties and unneeded rifts between people. We have a death threat literally looming over us, and we are too busy killing each other over food to band together. So I have to wonder, am I really defending something worthwhile? I know Heero would say yes, but he hasn’t seen this world. He hasn’t seen the damage we’re doing to each other while I and the Six risk our sanity and our lives to defend them. I’m just getting so tired again. And quiet nights like this make me tired more than ever. I have no one to fight for personally. The Third and the Fourth fight for each other and their child. Sure, their child has exhibited no signs of the Talent, but it makes no difference to them. The kid is their life. Same for the Fifth and the Seventh. I swear, they are like father and daughter. The Second fights for his family who are safely stowed away in a high security complex and the Sixth is finally getting married to that silly general who courted her for a solid year. Everyone has someone to fight for except me. Quatre and Relena, yes I love them, but they have others whom they love more. Not me. It was always Heero for me and it always will be. So I think of giving up the fight. I’m weak. I have moments when I just want to give in and slip into death. But I won’t. Why? Why indeed.
“Man, too good to be true, I knew it. I fucking knew it.”
Duo paced in his office while the Six, Quatre and Relena looked at him awkwardly. It had been only a week since the great victory over the Mission and the celebrations were still going on outside. But in this office, there was great tension. Again.
“I’m sorry, First Talent, but we couldn’t have ever stopped this. It was never anticipated.”
Duo snarled at the Second’s coldly analytical voice. He knew that the Second was right, but it did not make him feel any better.
“So, what can we do?”
The Sixth was focused on the solution, not the problem. Her mind was already processing the information and picking through possibilities. She would find a solution if no one else could.
“As far as we know, the dimensional anomaly was on earth. So someone from the Mission got through the barrier in that half second you dropped it. It was mjust one, though, from the size of the hole in the subspace. The best thing would be-”
Quatre was cut off suddenly by the Seventh who started speaking in a trance. Her Talent was strong with looking into the time stream, seeing the past, glimpsing the future. And it always manifested in a trance.
“One sent back in time to fix a wrong. One in time to set it right.”
Duo had had enough with the riddles. In frustration, he stalked up to the Seventh and shook her by her shoulders, incoherently yelling for an explanation.
He was pulled off her roughly by the Fifth.
“I don’t care if you are the First. You do that again, I’ll kill you.”
Duo dusted himself off and apologized to the Seventh and begged understanding with his pleading eyes. The Seventh shrugged and explained her vision.
“Well, First Talent, it seems that someone or something from the Mission managed to go into the past. For what purpose, I do not know, but it most likely isn’t for our own good. We must send someone to follow.”
“How the hell are we supposed to travel back in time? None of us has that Talent!”
“Calm down Duo. We may be able to.. the machinery was left behind.”
Stunned yet calm, Duo turned to face Relena. A way back in time. Something he had dreamed of for a long time.
“How long back in time.”
“The scientists say twenty years ago.”
Duo did not even hesitate.
I’m not much of a singer, but I can’t stop myself. Right now, I’m singing Heero’s favorite song in my off-tune voice, scaring off the birds in the willow tree. Well, I’m not really singing. I’m actually belting out words that I don’t really know the meaning to. Damn Japanese lyrics. But I’m singing it because Heero sang it after every battle we won. And today, we achieved the greatest victory ever. We won. The Mission is gone. And no more use for me, the First Talent. I’m free to go to him any time I want. But Heero would not be glad to see me if I left too quickly. He’d want me to stick around and make sure everyone was okay and dandy before I said my final farewells. So I’ll live a little while longer, or a lot while longer. I will live as long as it takes to fulfill his dreams.
Duo clicked on the small machine strapped to his wrist much like a watch and tapped in the coordinates. The scientists stood behind a thick glass wall surrounded by equipment and eyed him owlishly. Duo smiled his biggest one and then pushed the ‘go’ button. He was going back in time. Twenty years. Before Heero died. Before the Mission came. In the past, he would fix everything. When the gauge on the watch filled to the top and blinked red, Duo unleashed his Talent and sent an intense energy wave into it. The machine fired up and he felt dizzy. He knew soon, he would pass out and wake up somewhere in the past if this thing worked right. If not, well, whatever. He was going to find that Mission bastard in the past, take care of him, save Heero and the world.
“I’m coming to save you Heero. Wait for me.”