Disclaimer: gw is not mine.

Pairings: 1x2x1, 3x4x3 (all quite vague though)
Warnings: angst, death, strange scientific explanations to things i don't understand...

Notes: thank you frog for the beta.

Intentions of Time
Part 3 - The Past
by 0083

It was never a question of who they were, just what they were. I sit in my office and wonder for the thousandth time, just who is the Mission? They came out of nowhere thirteen years ago and their only objective seems to be destruction of the earth. I can’t figure out why they want us dead and gone so badly. Just what was it about the earth that made them attack us and then stick around for all these years just looking for a chance to obliterate us? I have been in this war against the Mission the longest and I haven’t even seen the Mission’s people. I can’t even say if they are people. Do they look like us? Or do they look like a creation of the science fiction writers, all slimy and green with big buggy eyes and tentacles? What if the Mission was nothing but a big machine that destroyed all planets? My mind leads me on a merry chase and I can’t come up with answers. My Talent has not picked up any thoughts when I scan the skies for movement. That is odd. As I sit here, I can sweep the earth and hear all sorts of mental noises, from thoughts to emotions. I can hear the Fourth grumbling in her mind about the Third’s nasty habit of leaving the toilet seat up. I can hear Relena outlining her day in her head. I think Relena outlines her day in her head everyday. I love that girl to death, but I think she needs a hobby. Back to my pondering. So, just what is the Mission? So far, we know that they have a fortress in space, orbiting the earth, looking for weak spots. It also houses innumerable ships for small attacks, has an energy cannon capable of blowing the earth up in one swift blow if hit at the right spot.. All anyone knows of the Mission is the technology. No one knows about who is behind it. And of course, no one saw fit to question just where the Mission came from or what it wanted. It’s easier to brand a faceless enemy as evil than an actual person. What if they looked like us? Could we truly call them evil when we have been killing each other off on this earth for centuries upon centuries? My question, it seems, will never be answered. But I will never stop questioning. After all, it is me who is killing the most of them.

A body lay on the ground quite still, almost too still. The two kids who happened upon the body in the alley looked at each other, shrugged and went up to it. They prodded with their feet, afraid of actually touching a potentially dead body with their uncovered fingers. They jumped back in surprise and fear when the body moaned and got up ever so slowly. Their mouths gaped open wider when the figure stood to full height and faced them. It was a man not much taller than them with the longest hair they’d ever seen twined into a braid. Deciding that sticking around the guy was not a good idea, the kids bolted. Duo looked at the running kids and sighed. He hadn’t meant to scare them. He just hoped he hadn’t done too much damage to their psyche. But those kids were not his concern. He had to figure out exactly what day it was, where he was, and where the Mission’s agent was. Gathering his wits quickly, Duo stepped out of the alley and into the busy street. People were everywhere and they did not spare him a glance. He supposed he looked normal enough to the people of the past. Dressed as he was in his black shirt and pants, he fit in just perfectly. He was not the First Talent here, but just an average, normal guy. Quickly, Duo made his way to a newspaper stand and checked the date. When he saw the date, he released the breath he had not realized he had been holding. It was four days before Heero’s murder. He had time to save his lover from that terrible fate, a chance to save himself from the numbing pain. But before he could go off to protect Heero from the killer, he had to find that Mission agent. He stood by the newspaper stand and scanned with his Talent. No matter where the Mission was, he could find it. His Talent was capable of searching the entire planet and the surrounding space, reaching out to the colonies. And no one knew what the Mission felt like better than he did. Even though he had never directly felt the sentient being behind the machines of the Mission, he knew for certain that the agent would have Mission technology on him or her. He only needed to pinpoint that signature and then materialize wherever it was. One Mission agent was no match for him who was capable of annihilating thousands of their advanced warships with a single blast from his mind. Disposing of the agent would take seconds and then he would have the rest of the time free to defend Heero. Look at him again after twenty long years. Feeling his heart contract at the thought, Duo intensified his search field. His Talent roamed the earth and space, looking for that unique mental feel that was the Mission. Five minutes of intense searching, he found it. It was maybe three thousand miles from where he was now, but distance did not matter when he could just materialize. He smiled. The agent would be dead shortly.

“Hey, buddy, you gonna buy something or what?” Duo glanced at the vendor who was eyeing him with distrust. Shrugging his shoulders, Duo sauntered away from the newspaper stand and walked into the alley where he had woken up. After making sure that no one was watching, Duo phased out.

I need some water. Desperately. But I can’t move from my bed right now, I’m too weak. My limbs won’t move when I tell them to move. I can hardly open my eyes to locate that water pitcher. Just where are all my nursemaids when I need them? Although, I guess Quatre and the guys don’t want me calling them nursemaids. But I need water. I’m so thirsty. I turn my head and try to focus my eyes on the water pitcher. To my blurred perspective, it seems that there are maybe four pitchers wobbling on five tables, but that can’t be right. I must be more sick and out of it than I thought. I have no idea how long I’ve been here in this bed. I don’t know what time it is, what day it is, hell, not even what year it is. I only know two things for certain. One, I’m in dire need of liquid. Two, Heero is dead. I feel the tears welling up again and I try to blink them back. Crying always makes me nauseous and I don’t want to throw up on top of being thirsty. I concentrate on making my body move. I command my jelly like legs to shift, but it’s as if my legs are not mine. They do nothing while I scream in my head at them to do something. I think I do this for a while before I finally give up. Naturally, my thoughts turn to Heero again. Heero. It’s like a nightmare. Part of me is convinced that I am in a terrible dreamscape, that I did not see my lover dead. But I would be a coward if I denied the truth. My lover is dead. I found his blood, still dripping from the walls. Whoever killed him had shown no mercy. I want to find that killer and make him pay. I want to do things to him that would make others sick to their stomachs. I want the killer to feel the awful pain that I’m feeling, the pain that Heero must have felt. Sure, I’m delirious and ill to boot now, but once I get well, I’m going to make sure I find the killer and kill him. I said once I get well. What happened to my need to die? Didn’t I want to slink off into the darkness and hide from all the pain and misery? But if I did that, how can I avenge Heero? I can’t. I suppose I have to live, if only for revenge. Heero would say that my reason to live isn’t the right one because life is beautiful. He would tell me to forget about vengeance, don’t let it stain my soul. For now, though, I’m going to use the murderous rage rising in me to propel me back into life. It will keep me going until something else replaces the rage. If something ever does. Still, I’m thirsty as hell. Vengeance and rage won’t do me any good if I die from dehydration, now will it. I wonder if Quatre left a bell I could ring to call them. I look around and see nothing to help my predicament. Well, I guess it’s up to me to get myself some water. Besides, I hate being helpless. Now that I’m conscious and thinking somewhat clearly, I should be able to get myself water. Yes. So I roll over somehow, moaning in pain, trying to position myself in the best angle possible to get out of the bed. I see the water pitcher which is only maybe three feet away. If I take a small step out of the bed and stretch my arm out, I should be able to get it. But my planning goes awry when my legs refuse to support me and I flop rather gracelessly onto the floor, face first. I just hope I didn’t break my nose with my landing. I think the water is taunting me, just out of reach, glistening with beaded condensation on the side. This reminds me of some old myth I learned about back in a boarding school Heero and I hid out in all those years ago. Something about a guy standing in a river and every time he bent to drink, the water would run from him. I know how that guy feels now. I can’t move again. I must have used my energy up getting out of bed. Frustrated and embarrassed by my situation, I just curse the water. How dare it taunt me in my time of need? Just barely out of my reach? Just what the hell did it think it was? I realize that my thought pattern is jumbled and outright ridiculous at this point. I’m yelling at a pitcher of water in my mind. But what else can I do? So I continue to yell at the water and it culminates with me telling it to get over here if it knew what was good for it. As soon as I say that in my head, I laugh at the sheer idiocy of it all until I feel a cold splash on my face. I open my eyes to see the water pitcher, lying next to my face, all of its contents spilled on my head and pooling beneath me. I’m too thirsty to ponder how the pitcher ended up next to me. I just tilt my head and lap at the water on the floor before my pajamas soak up all the moisture.

The Mission signature fluctuated every now and then, almost like the machine was malfunctioning. But that did not deter Duo from tracking it down, following its trail like a bloodhound after a wounded rabbit. He was getting closer. It was midmorning in this particular city and everyone was busy. People in suits walked to their offices, children ran to their respective schools. A few early morning shoppers were buying things that had no purpose other than to collect dust and tourists clicked pictures of each other. Duo paid them no mind as he walked briskly, still on the hunt. He avoid contact with most people by dodging around them, trying not to alert anyone in this time that he was somehow different. But he did not realize that people were already wary of him. His violet eyes held a fierce light that did not belong in this peaceful era and his purpose radiated from him. Subconsciously, the people got out of his way, afraid of him in an instinctual level. Even in the past when no one knew Duo’s true power, people could not help but feel awe and fear near his presence. He was getting closer to the Mission, the feel of it stronger with every step. Then suddenly, the Mission’s signature vanished and reappeared about five miles further away from him.

‘Tricky bastard. Think you can shake me, do you?’ Angry that the Mission had made him, Duo forewent his plan to blend with the populace and phased out in the middle of the busy street, leaving behind people who looked bewildered and shocked.

The Talent is a mystery still. I use it daily and I still don’t know what it is. Even the Second who is by far the most logical of us, can’t seem to figure out where the power comes from. We all know how to release it, make it do what we want, but no one can say what kind of power it is. The scientists are working on quantifying it. I suppose they need something to do since trying to figure out what made us Talents was a busted experiment. I hear all kinds of theories, but not one of them sound right. I wonder if they come up with the right explanation I’ll feel it in my guts or something. I laugh harshly, shaking my head at my thoughts. Somehow, I keep asking myself question that have no answers. Who are we, what is the Talent, who is the Mission. And one final question that I always ask myself, the question that never leaves me, why couldn’t I come home just a little earlier to save Heero that day? I know the killer had murdered Heero shortly before I opened that door. I know, because the blood was still trickling down the walls and hadn’t had a chance to congeal. Why couldn’t I have just come home earlier? Why did I do things that day the way I did? My head knows that Heero’s death is not my fault. My head can lay down thousand and one reasons why I couldn’t have saved him. But when I sleep and dream, I blame myself. I watch as Heero is torn apart, unable to move or make a sound. Not my fault. Not my fault. But isn’t it? I shake my head and grimace. I don’t have time for unanswerable questions, not by far. I can feel the Mission moving about, most likely getting ready for their bimonthly attack. This time, it feels like they are going to come at us from South America. Not that it matters. We can defend any surface from any place. That’s another thing I don’t get. How can we use our Talent to protect places that are so far away? I don’t even know what South America looks like, not really. I think I was there once or twice, hiding out with my Deathyscythe. But I don’t know its geography, landscape or its finest export. Yet still, I can reach there with my Talent. It is not like the science fiction novels I’ve read at all, my Talent. All those authors who imagined humanity with greater powers had one thing in common. In the matter of defense, in phasing, in moving from one place to another using a power, the character was required to have knowledge of the place. As in, the authors built it in that knowledge was the basis for the power, that knowing where you are and where you are going were essential. Not to us. I can use my Talent without seeing, without moving, sometimes without waking up. It’s practically independent from me. Oh hell, I don’t know. Enough of my rambling. I have an earth to defend.

The signature had reappeared in the suburbs and Duo found himself stalking his prey through manicured lawns and cookie cutter homes. There were no children out, they were all at school. Adults were working in the city or elsewhere and so it was eerily empty. Duo was grateful for that. He was berating himself for just phasing out where everyone could see him, but he had not wanted to lose his quarry by delaying. That sudden vanishing had kept him on alert as well as the sudden shift in locale. Had the Mission created a technology that could transport a person, much like his Talent could phase him? If that were the case, this chase would take longer than he would want. Calculating that possibility into account, Duo followed the fresh mental scent of the Mission. He was maybe four hundred yards behind and catching up fast. Since the Mission apparently knew that he was here, there was no need for subtlety. Just some stalking. Obvious stalking to draw out the Mission bastard into open space and then blast him to uneven pieces with the Talent. So far, it seemed to be working. Duo was getting closer and closer, practically on top of the Mission. But his eyes could not see anyone while his Talent fairly screamed that there was a Mission being within ten yards. Duo followed his Talent rather than his eyes; the Talent had yet to fail him while his eyes had seen better days. Nine yards. Seven. Three. Zero yards. Swiftly looking about, Duo saw that he was standing in front of a shrub in someone’s yard. A shrub. He felt ridiculous, like he was a child playing hiding-go-seek. A shrub. What was the Mission thinking? Pressing down a stupid urge to pounce and say ‘gotcha’ to the Mission, Duo peered around the plant life. And there it was, the Mission.

“Hiding behind bushes did me no good, but every earth mystery I’ve read has shown this method works.”

The unexpected gambit at conversation startled Duo. Not only had the Mission spoken, but it had addressed him in a way and admitted that the Mission had studied earth and its customs.

“Can’t hide from me. So, should I blast you here or do you have something else to say?”

Sounding cocky and cold, Duo let the Mission ponder the choices. Suddenly, the Mission agent turned its head. Or rather, her head.

“You can’t kill me, First Talent Duo Maxwell.”

Duo did not even hear the words. His head refused to process any more information than what he saw with his eyes. It could not be. It should not be.


The Seventh asked me today if I had ever lost anyone dear to my heart. She’s a sweet girl, perhaps the most innocent of the Six, but even she can cross the lines of proper conduct sometimes. I think everyone knows that I lost the one most dear to me. Hell, haven’t we all? The Second still mourns the death of his sister like I do Heero. Sure, he never cries or pounds his fists into the wall, but I can see it in his eyes. I can see it when he touches that small ring on his pinky finger. The ring that had belonged to his sister. The seven of us has all lost the dearest ones in our lives, either to the Mission or just to freak accidents. Or in my case, a gruesome, unforgivable act of murder. Anyway, I’m just sitting here, kind of shaken at the Seventh’s question. That’s right, I’m shaken. Why? Because the question made me think. I realized that when I remember others that I lost over the years, I don’t feel their loss like I do Heero’s. That’s not really fair. Especially to one person in particular who loved me more than anyone else in her life. Hilde. I don’t think about her at all most of the times, but this time I do. We met under unusual circumstances, but I think I met all of my friends like that. Hilde, at one point, had a gun pointed at my head and was against me. Come to think of it, I met many of my friends by pointing a gun at them or having them point one at me. But I’m pretty sure that I’m the only one who shot their true love twice. Can’t beat that as a first date! Wait, I’m supposed to think about Hilde now. Give her some time in my mind. She disappeared well before Heero died. I think I broke her heart when I told her Heero was the love of my life and that although she and I would be best friends, we would never be lovers. Shortly after, she was gone. No goodbyes or anything. She just vanished. So I wonder where she could be. How she is. I can’t find her with my Talent so most likely she’s dead or something, but I am going to have hope. I’ve lost so many people already that I refuse to believe that she’s lost to me, too. And you know what? It would have comforted me and calmed me if she had been there for me when Heero died. She was, I mean, she is my best friend. Still. Even if I don’t think about her, even if I don’t know where she is, I know that if she ever came around again, we could talk like we never parted. That’s what best friends do, right? And so I sit still, thinking about the one person who I do not think about. Hilde. The dark haired, blue eyed pixie shadow of a best friend who deserted me over a heart break. The courageous, persistent soldier who defied all odds to bring us the information from Libra. My least thought about friend. The least dearest to my heart. And somehow, even now, the one person I miss the most besides Heero. I have to get to sleep I think. I’m not making any sense, even to me.

The scene was frozen in time. The unnatural stillness was dominated by a pair of shocked and disbelieving violet eyes contending for dominance against a pair of cold, determined blue eyes. Neither heard the chirping birds or the distant noises of cars. They only saw each other.

“Hilde. But it can’t.. I mean.. how..”

Duo was lost for words. He who never lost composure in front of others had been caught like a deer in headlights. If he could have, he would have gathered his thoughts and given the situation at hand an analytical and logical explanation. But he could not. All he saw was a girl who could not be a part of the Mission.

“I am not Hilde. You mistake me, First Talent Duo Maxwell.”

The unreality of the situation worsened with that statement. Duo felt as if he was falling through an endless tunnel. The Hilde who was not Hilde. Nothing could have prepared him for this moment.

“Not.. Hilde..”

The words finally sank in and made sense. His shock subsided as he truly saw the being in front of him. Yes, it looked like Hilde, identical in every way. The fall of the hair, the gleaming eyes, the small scar on her chin. But it was not Hilde. No. The being in front of him looked like Hilde had just before she disappeared. The Mission agent looked like a girl from twenty years past.

“The fuck? What the hell is going on?”

The Mission agent shrank back at the cold rage in Duo’s voice. She had never heard such a threatening and serious voice, not even from her legion commander. For twenty years against the earth, her legion commander had told her of the ferocious and frightening warrior named the First Talent. For twenty years, she had scoffed in the back of her mind, equating the lowly earthling leader with the black oil that greased her machines. But as she faced him, his darkened violet eyes flaring into hers, she truly understood why her whole race had been so afraid of this one man. She finally saw how the humans had won the war with this man at the forefront.

“So you’re not Hilde. Just a big, fucking coincidence that you look like her, is that it? Well, since you are no friend of mine, killing you should be just easy.”

Duo took a menacing step forward and smiled almost cruelly when the Mission agent took a step away from him. He opened up his Talent and felt the power pulsating just beneath his skin, waiting for him to strike. One thought and she would be gone.

“Look, stop! You can’t kill me! I have a mission that I cannot fail!”

“Yeah, yeah,” Duo growled, “I have a mission, too. Kill you. Whatever you’re going to do is not going to be good for the earth. Not by a long shot.”

“Don’t I get even a chance to stop the annihilation of my entire race?” she shouted desperately.

“No. It’s either your race or mine. I pick us.”

“Doesn’t the name Heero Yuy mean anything to you?” Duo stopped cold in his steps. His eyes frosted and his frame shook from barely contained rage. The Mission agent imagined that one wrong step and she would die painfully and mercilessly.

“What the hell do you know about Heero?”

Duo’s question, which had started in such a soft whisper of a sound, escalated into a full bodied shout by the end. His dead lover’s name echoed in the unnamed suburbs, the rage and blinding pain coating every bounce of his hollowed out voice. Without warning, Duo lunged and grasped the Mission by her throat and squeezed, his powerful hands crushing into the larynx.

“What do you know?” Duo said again as he banged her head into the pavement.

“What do you know?” Duo said as he tightened his grip until her face turned a ghastly purple.

“What.” The Mission agent’s head bounced against the concrete.

“Do.” Duo threw her almost limp body into a tree.

“You.” He picked her up with his Talent and began to shake her.

“Know.” He dropped her battered body onto the ground.

With cold unfeeling eyes, Duo watched the Mission as she shakily got to her feet, leaning against the tree to maintain her fragile balance. She coughed once, then twice, spitting up what he assumed was blood. The thick liquid that came from her mouth was not red, not like his, not like a human’s. It was a sickly yellow color, glistening and almost oily. It only affirmed that she was not Hilde and fueled his anger further.

“What does your mission have to do with Heero?” His deadly tone demanded an answer. A truthful, complete answer.

“We..” The Mission coughed again and held her throat in her hands.

“Tell me or I kill you so slowly you’d beg for death.” The Mission knew that he meant it, that it was not an idle threat. Desperately trying to make her throat work, she forced the coughing to stop.

“Look, First Talent,” she said softly in a scratchy voice, “I don’t know why, but Heero Yuy is the one who can stop the destruction of my people.”

She paused and took a breath, scrunching her face in pain. Duo watched with confusion and distrust in his eyes, unwilling to believe what she would say next. “It is my mission to make sure Heero Yuy does not die.”

I look up at the night sky, looking for the stars that Heero used to love. A long time ago, my love would stand in our backyard at night, just looking at the stars. His eyes reflected the myriad of stars in the sky and I could see the constellations in them. To me, Heero’s eyes were the universe. Now, when I see the sky, I don’t see Heero’s eyes. Now, I see the countless blinking lights that belong to the Mission and the giant blob of amorphous light that is their fortress. The Mission even manages to ruin my memories. The dark cobalt blue with thousands upon thousands of tiny specks of light used to remind me of Heero’s eyes. It used to remind me of how Heero would point out a cluster of stars and insist to me that they made a shape. I can still hear his annoyed laughter when I told him that no matter how hard I looked, the stupid Ursa Major looked like a giant pot instead of a great bear. But not when I look up at the sky these days. No more Heero, just the Mission. Not only did the Mission destroy my home, my planet and the peace I worked for so hard, it destroyed my precious memories of Heero. It intruded into things that remind me of my love. It makes me mad, so mad that I can feel the tears gather. Heero died once already. I lost his body, his touch and his corporeal form to a vicious killer. Now, I’m losing the memories of him, the most precious thing I have left, to a rude intruder. The Mission scattered in the night sky killed the universe that I saw in Heero’s eyes. The Mission blew up every colony that Heero and I spent time on. Heero and my house, it’s long gone from one of their blasts. My car that he gave to me, gone. Our pictures, our mementos, all gone. The Mission took all those things from me. The Mission is killing my Heero, as vicious a killer as the one who killed him all those years ago. Only this time, it’s more insidious. This time, they’re erasing him from me, taking away everything that reminds me of him. I hate the Mission. I hate every last one of them. Right now, I want nothing more than to kill them all with my bare hands. Or with my Talent, which I suppose is more rational. One day soon, when the Mission is gone, I want to look at the sky and see the universe in my lover’s eyes again. I want to see the stars as they were meant to be. I don’t want to let someone else kill Heero, not when I can stop them.

The tension and mistrust in the air hung thickly, almost solid in its virulence. Duo stared at the Mission agent fixedly, his eyes never leaving her form in case she tried to run away. They had relocated from the suburbs to the woods about a mile from where they had met. There was more privacy and Duo wanted to be away from people and spectators. That stunt he had pulled earlier in the middle of the city had not been the smartest thing he had done. From now on, Duo was determined to fit in and not do stupid things to make him suspicious to others. It would only complicate his goals.

“Before I kill you, I want to hear all about your mission.”

The answer came quickly, almost as if she had been waiting for him to broach the topic. Ever since she had blurted out her mission, the First Talent had become more interested in her than she had hoped. If talking about it would keep her alive to finish her mission, she would do so.

“After you hear what my mission is about, you can’t kill me. I was told that you had an attachment to Heero Yuy and you would never dream of interfering.”

“How were you so sure that it would be me who followed? It could have been one of the Six.”

The Mission considered that shortly, angling her head to look Duo into his eyes. She could still feel her fear, but at least now, it was tempered by hope.

“We calculated the likelihood that it would be you. Twenty years in the past, before the time when Heero Yuy dies. Our time technicians told me that it would be you by eighty seven point six nine percent.”

“And just when did you plan all this time jumping crap?”

“It was always our contingency plan if we lost.”

There was silence for a while as Duo contemplated his next question. The Mission agent sat still, not wanting to make any sudden movements. The First Talent would fry her at the first sign of trouble, whether or not he was curious about her mission. She had to stay alive.

“Why is saving Heero so damned important to you?” The Mission hesitated. There was something behind the tone that made her throat dry with fear.

“I.. I was never told exactly why,” she said hurriedly when Duo’s eyes darkened, “but it’s imperative that he lives. He is the key to our survival.”

A mirthless laugh strangled itself out of Duo’s throat, twisting his features into a grimace.

“I see. Your mission is to save Heero. I see how fucking cruel the whole world is. If you save Heero, you save your race and humanity dies. So by some damned joke of fate, my mission has to be.. my mission is.. to kill you.. and.. and..”

The Mission sat silently as the First Talent’s eyes glistened with unshed moisture and a strange mocking emotion. She did not make a sound as he suddenly turned away from her and shouted.

“I HAVE TO WATCH HIM DIE? Is that my fucking mission? To do nothing as Heero dies? Again?”

Duo punched the tree nearest to him as hard as he could. He felt the scraping of the bark against his knuckles and the unsatisfying bit of pain that followed.

“WHY? WHY? Finally, I have a chance to save Heero. Finally. And saving him is going to wipe out the earth? Are you telling me that my choices are watching my lover die or watching the world die? Is that it? IS THAT IT???”

The Mission watched with wide eyes as Duo repeatedly punched the tree. The moisture fell from his eyes in streams and droplets, splattering onto the ground with every shake of his body. And for some strange reason, she felt pity for the destroyer of her people. She felt sorry for the person responsible for the end of her world.

“Are you okay?”

Of all things, the Mission had not expected laughter from the First Talent at her innocent query. But she was hearing it, a full bellied laugh edged in bitterness and hysteria.

“Okay? Am I okay? Can you even fathom how wrong that question is?”

She looked on uncertainly as he stalked up to her in slow, agitated steps. His hands were fisted and bleeding, clenched so tightly that she could see every bone and vein under the thinly stretched skin. She said nothing as he grabbed her by her shoulders and yanked her to her feet roughly.

“You are telling me that I have to choose between Heero and the world. How does that make anything okay?”

Duo let go of the Mission agent and she slithered to the ground, her legs no longer able to support her weight. She stared at the ground beneath her, just listening to his hitched breathing. She was quite certain that any moment, she would die. She had to get away from him before he became too unstable and lashed out. Slowly, her hand inched towards the control panel on her right arm, towards the small button that would transport her from this spot. The destination was uncertain for this technology had not been perfected, but it would get her away far enough. Suddenly, a pair of hands latched onto her wrists and hauled her up, ruining her chances of escape. She could not fight the First Talent. She would die. “Are you going to kill me now.”

The Mission surprised herself with her calm and collected voice. It did not shake in fear or failure. “No. I’m not.”

Startled by his answer, the Mission jerked her head up and found herself staring into deep violet eyes. The hysteria was gone, replaced by an iron hard determination. When he spoke, his voice was deadly serious.

“I’m going to choose Heero.”

There was no sigh of relief from the Mission, but Duo felt the tension leak out of her system. He would let her relax. He supposed it would do her or him no good if he divulged his plan. Yes, he was going to save Heero. More than that, he was going to decimate the Mission before they ever got to the earth. He would destroy the Mission with his Talent before they got the chance to enter the solar system.

The strong scent of cinnamon is tickling my nose, making me want to sneeze. Trowa gave me these incense cones, telling me that they would relax me if I lit one and just breathed the gentle scent. Well, gentle scent my ass! This smell is strong enough to wake the dead from six feet under. For the love of Christ, I know Trowa meant well, but this is stupid. So I walk to the little incense burner and pour some water into the tiny pot, watching as the little cone soak up the water and burn out. I’m quite sure that Quatre made Trowa give these to me. Quatre’s been worried lately because I’ve been so tense. But then again, why wouldn’t I be? It’s the third week of our young stalemate and we have not been attacked once as of yet. And I and the Six had been so sure that as soon as the barrier went up around the earth, the Mission would have bombarded us with everything they had. But so far, nothing. So I’ve been tense, just anticipating an attack. Whoever it was that said anticipation killed had it right. After the smell of cinnamon dissipates, I paddle back to my comfortable chair and sit. I feel the barrier with my Talent to make sure there are no holes in it anywhere, just in case the Mission wants to send us a surprise gift. Defending the earth is tiring work, even for me. I get weary of it sometimes and have terrible thoughts about just letting the damn planet get blown up. But that won’t do. Heero would never forgive me if I gave up like that. Heero would have gladly given his life to defend humanity. Hell, he tried so damn many times during the war. And isn’t the irony just beautiful, that he survived war to die in peace. A poet, I am not. That was Heero. For a guy who never spoke more words than strictly necessary, he had a way with putting words on paper. He wrote me poetry sometimes, you know, just to tell me how he felt. And all those words, every day words, combined to form images that just can’t be described by someone like me. I’m getting lost in my thoughts of Heero again. I do that a lot. For a while, all I had was vengeance. Before the Mission came, my mission in life was to find the evil bastard who killed Heero. But now that I have my hands full with the Mission, vengeance took a step back. I still think about finding the killer if he’s still alive. I think about all the things I can do to him now with my Talent. I wonder if one day, I’ll just step outside and run into the killer. Life is like that, throwing you sharp turns and corners. But I can’t think about that now. I have to make sure the earth lives so that Heero won’t be disappointed in me. Is that pathetic, that I defend the earth because of a dead man? He’s my inspiration and my strength, even now. When he and I fought in our gundams together, we fought for peace, but also we fought for each other. We made sure that the other came back alive, no matter what. If I had died during the war, Heero would have carried on with his missions for me. So I carry on for him. But you know, if I could, I’d give up everything to be with him again. I would give up my power, my Talent, anything within my disposal. Anything and everything I am I’d give up in an instant to be with him again. But that’s my selfish side talking. Selfish and stupidly delusional side. I’m just going to stop thinking about it and check on the barrier again. Maybe the Mission will attack soon and I can stop having dumb ass thoughts.

The first day back in the past had passed and Duo found himself faced with three days to complete his mission. The first day had been filled with shocks and revelations, some of which he still could not accept fully. The night had been spent in vigil, Duo keeping an eye on the Mission in case she tried to get away from him and the Mission staring at Duo to make sure that he did not kill her in her sleep. It had been an uneasy night for the both of them, but neither felt the tiredness or the lack of sleep. The sun was barely up but the two enemies looked as alert as ever, constantly watching the other for sudden movements.


The Mission narrowed her eyes at his tone. The First Talent had sounded casual and her studies of the man had told her that he was the most dangerous when too casual.


A small smile crept its way across Duo’s face before it disappeared. Her surly answer had been so reminiscent of Hilde. But this look alike wasn’t Hilde. That thought brought up another round of questioning.

“Why do you look like that?”

The Mission gauged his emotionless face and considered carefully. After the near death beating yesterday at his hands, she did not want to say anything that could set him off.

“This is the face and body of one of you humans we found. She was our first encounter.”

A deep sigh echoed in the quiet forest.

“I swear, every time you speak, you have to surprise the living hell out of me. You’d think after yesterday, I would be done being surprised, but no. It keeps on coming.”

Noting that he sounded frustrated and mocking more than angry, the Mission continued, hoping that her story would at least make him want to let her go. She didn’t think it was a big possibility, but the slim chance was there.

“I had no idea that the human was called Hilde. We found her in one of your space mobiles more than twenty of your earth years ago, floating in our sector of space. We calculated that she fell through the small wormhole that exists between the fourth and the fifth planets of your solar system. She was no longer functioning when we found her, but she was the first. She was the one that led us to earth.”

Duo chewed on the information in his mind, mulling over each word and putting some things together. It made some sort of twisted sense.

“She must have run away after she found out about me and Heero. She ran straight into death, because of me.”

There was no response to his voiced thought. The Mission agent watched as he rambled on, noticing that he dripped more moisture onto himself as he continued. “I can’t save anyone dear to me. I can’t even keep them alive. Hilde. Heero. Trowa. Wufei. All the people who ever mean anything to me.. dead. Because of me. Always back to me, isn’t it.”

Duo could no longer speak. The evidence was damning, so alarmingly clear. He really must be Shinigami as he had purported. He sat and let his thoughts run wild, knowing that the Mission was watching, but not caring.

“First Talent, I have no idea of what you speak, but the human we found, this person you think is Hilde, was the reason we sought out your planet. She alerted us to the presence of your system and your vulnerabilities. She is the one who gave us our imperative by showing us your weakness. It is she who began the war.”

“Yeah,” Duo replied bitterly, “and it was me who sent her to you. I didn’t only kill my friend. I almost killed the entire fucking planet. Some savior I am.”

“It is true. You are the center of everything. You are the key to all events. You are the one who should be eliminated, but that is not my mission.”

The deadpan voice of the Mission did nothing for Duo’s inner turmoil and pain. It was true, then, that he was nothing but the harbinger of death. If anything, he should have been the target, the murder victim, the heart broken fool. But no, he was known as the savior, the survivor, the one who had it all.

“It would be easier, don’t you think, to eliminate me in the past before I developed the Talent. Isn’t that the logical thing? To kill me?”

“Do you not listen to anything I say, First Talent? I told you, we calculated that you would be sent after us into the past. I don’t think you would have stood by idle while I killed your past self. But saving Heero Yuy, that is a goal you would not hinder. We counted on it and here we are. I’m not dead and you won’t let Heero die. I would say our plan was perfect.”

Duo had no arguments for that. He had chosen Heero and he would not change his mind. But the revelations heaped upon him hurt. He had killed Hilde, if not with his hands, then with his words. He had driven her to outer space where she suffocated or starved to death and sent her straight into the curious and malicious arms of the Mission. He was at fault. Nothing could change that. Right now, at this moment in the past, the Mission was already on its way. Hilde was dead. But Heero still lived and he could save him and destroy the Mission. He smiled inwardly at his last hope, until the Mission agent spoke and destroyed his hopes.

“Don’t think you can destroy us before we come to your solar system, First Talent. We have calculated that possibility as well. And I will tell you one thing, you cannot hope to destroy us if you wish to save Heero Yuy.”

“Stop messing with me,” Duo whispered furiously, “because I’ve had it. I can blow your kind off the universe before I save Heero. Or after. Whenever. I have all the time in the world to do it.”

“It’s not time you should be concerned with, First Talent, but the twines of history.”

With that cryptic remark, the Mission agent stood and dusted off her clothes. Signaling to Duo with a slight tilt of her head, she walked off bravely at a measured pace towards the edge of the woods. She could only hope that the First Talent did not hear her sigh of relief when he followed her instead of blasting her into molecular pieces.

I think I’m going to die. At least, that’s what my gut is telling me. It’s not my lunch reasserting itself, nor is it the lecture I got from Relena about diplomacy earlier. No. It’s me. I can feel every particle in my body screaming for release and hear my mind echo the sentiments. Do I want to die? I think so. Can I leave this world behind? I can safely say, yes. Am I ready? Maybe. One more thing to do. Yes, one more thing I have to do. Then I will die. Am I wondering if Heero’s waiting for me on the other side? Yes. Do I know if he will receive me with love? I’m pretty sure he will. Will I die without regrets? No. I will die knowing I could have, should have.

The hot tea steamed and fogged the air with pleasant aromas. The smell was reminiscent of oranges and spices, a soothing and loving kind of smell. Lovely, even. But it did nothing for the thrumming tension in the tiny cubicle of a waiting room. In this prison like room filled with tiny chairs and tea sat two figures. Both wore identical frowns of worry and discomfort overlaid with frustration. Both sipped the tea at a slow pace, blowing the steam and the heat away with soft breaths. Neither wanted to speak first, but finally, the silence was breached. “It has been a week since Duo returned from the past and he still hasn’t told us what happened.” Relena nodded at Quatre’s huffy comment but had nothing to add. When Duo had returned from his mission into the past, they had assumed everything had gone great. After all, the world was still here and the Mission was still extinct. From those evidences, they had guessed that Duo had killed that errant Mission agent and history had not been subverted for the good of the Mission. Yet, the look on Duo’s face had been haunting and extraordinarily broken. It had not been the look of a victorious man. Ever since then, both Relena and Quatre had been anxiously waiting for Duo to tell them what had happened twenty years ago. More specifically, they wanted Duo to tell them of Heero, if anything had happened between the two of them.

“It’s clear from our memories and history that whatever Duo did in the past, Heero was not saved.”

“I know,” Quatre replied in a concerned tone, “and that bothers me. Don’t you think Duo would have done everything in his power to save Heero?”

Relena considered for a moment.

“I believe that, Quatre. But think about it. If he didn’t save Heero from his death, why not? What happened that Duo did not save the one person he would have given his life for? What if.. what if Duo had to.. I mean, he knew Heero was going to die, so what if..”

“If he just stood by?” Quatre said, not wanting Relena to suffer by voicing the rest of her thought. All he received was a timid nod and a pair of teary blue eyes filled with pain.

“If Duo did not want to do anything to jeopardize the present, he just may have had to let Heero die.”

The silence fell over the two of them again and their teas cooled to drinkable temperatures. However, in the back of their minds, they both had to pity Duo for the hard choice he must have made.

The Mission chick who looks like Hilde has been talking non stop for the past few hours. Doesn’t she run out of spit or whatever equivalent they have? At least she’s rambling about stuff that I’ve been curious about for a while. She started talking when I tried to destroy her arm control panel, the one with all the funky buttons. I figured it out, you see, being the clever man that I am, that the arm panel was the thing responsible for somehow phasing the agent out. So I tried to fry it with my Talent when she started having this fit. God, I honestly had no idea that it would be such a bad thing! But she screamed and yelled, saying that if I destroyed that, I’d be killing her too. I wasn’t too adverse to the idea, killing off the Mission chick, but I guess her looking like Hilde got to me more than I let it show. When I stopped firing at her with my Talent, she started talking. And boy am I getting an insight. According to her, the Mission is a fusion of machine and biological cells. Imagine that, being a part of a machine. Or the other way around. I mean, she is not a cyborg or anything, the fusion is too complete. They are born like that! She tells me that she was born as a machine with very little biological parts. And that Hilde shape was something she chose when her circuitry evolved enough for her to have a form. What a load of strange shit, don’t you think? Anyway, I’m stuck in some odd sci-fi story, I think. Machines and cell stuff and all. I think the scientists would have found it more interesting than I do since I don’t quite understand everything she’s talking about. She keeps rambling about the exact matrices alignment and stuff. Like I know. So she tells me all these things only to get to a very simple point. Kill the control panel, kill her. I guess that control panel is like her heart or something. I told her that the phasing thing she did the day before did not sit well with me and that was why I was about to blow her circuits, and she promised up and down that she would not try it again. Apparently, it’s rather risky anyway. A not so perfect technological advancement. I don’t know if I take her promise seriously, but hey, if she does get away, I can find her easily enough. Now that I know finding Mission technology is basically finding the person. While I ponder my hunting tactics, she tells me something that makes me nauseous. I remember all those tens of thousands of ships I wiped out with my thought. I supposed that some of them had pilots in them, but mostly I thought that those ships were like mobile dolls, machines without humanity. But she says I’m wrong. She says, every ship was a being like her, sentient, intelligent, emotional. Yes, she is telling me that every one of those ships was alive. I don’t know why I’m nauseous, but I am. Tens of thousands. Or more. Who was counting? And the entire fortress. So far, I considered how to save humanity. I don’t think I ever considered what I was doing as a massive act of genocide. But you know, as I think of it, hear it from her, it was. Nevermind that the Mission would have killed every last human had they the chance. One act of genocide to subvert another act of genocide.. that does not seem right at all. I have to face the ugliness. The Mission, they had personalities, friends, hell, even family as twisted as their concept of family is. And I killed every single one of them off, except for this one that looks like Hilde. Except for this one chick who is talking to me, gesturing with her arms and crying oily tears. Can I feel any worse? Possibly. I believe I will feel worse if I can’t think of some way to save Heero and the earth at the same time. I can’t stand to watch him die. I can’t let the earth be obliterated. What will I choose? I don’t know yet. I already committed one horrendous act to save humanity. Can I commit another one, one closer to the heart? Can I really watch my lover die and not lift a finger? I have no answers, but I do have one thing to say. Life, as it has been so far, fucking sucks.

The tea had run dry long ago, but Quatre and Relena could not find it in themselves to intrude into Duo’s private office. They had knocked many times, pleading with him to open the door and talk to them, but all the efforts had not borne fruit. Duo was still silent and unseen behind the door and the only reason that they knew he was still alive in there was due to the monitoring of his life systems done by the Six constantly. It was not just them and the Six who were worried about Duo’s sudden lack of liveliness and responses. It seemed that the whole compound was aware of his depression.

“He still won’t talk. If he wants to relieve the pain, he should at least talk about it.”

Quatre understood Relena’s frustration. They were hurting for Duo, knowing that something awful had happened in the past. Both could guess that it was Heero’s death that bothered him. For a time before the Mission came and after Heero’s death, Duo had been driven nearly insane by his lover’s death. But twenty years later, after the passing of time and the busy war with the Mission, they had figured that Duo was finally somewhat over the death of Heero. But when he went back into the past, he must have encountered Heero and not been able to save him. The thought made them want to break into tears in anguish, but they could not do so, yet. First, they had to heal Duo, somehow get him to open up the festering wound in his heart and purge the darkness.

“Duo,” began Quatre, speaking through the thick wood door, “I know something happened that made you hurt. Please, please talk to me. Oh hell, talk to anyone. Just don’t shut us all out and suffer alone. Please. Duo?”

As usual, there was no response. They did hear a slight shuffle indicating that he had moved, but the door did not open.

“How long can he do this to himself?”

“I don’t know, Relena. I don’t know. But if he doesn’t let go of the pain soon..”

There was nothing more to say after that.

I finally figured it out. The circle of time, the history, whatever it is called, I have figured it out. And I don’t like the newfound knowledge at all. In fact, I hate it. I don’t think I can fully face it just yet. The revelation hit me like a ton of bricks a couple of hours ago while I sat and watched the moon rise over the city. The Mission chick and I are in the city where Heero used to work and I have two days left until Heero dies. So I was pondering my plan, about what the hell she meant when she told me saving Heero meant saving the Mission and all that crap. Thinking brings about answers and truths. Usually, they are supposed to be good for you, but this time, they are just impediments to what I want. Why? Because I finally figured it out. Why I can’t destroy the mission and save Heero. I know now. See, I searched the space around earth as far as my Talent would go and found no traces of the Mission. The chick was right, they were nowhere near here at this time. So I had this grandiose plan to save Heero and wait around for the Mission to come so that I could kill them off before they could blow up the colonies and everything else. But now that I know what I know, that plan isn’t possible. What do I know? What did all my thinking reveal? What is my great revelation? That Heero was my trigger. He was the reason I developed the Talent. His death was the release of the power. I’m a fool. The answer had been there all along, but I never put it together. Neither did anyone else, but that’s no consolation to me. I remembered how sick I was after Heero died, the fevers, the painful wracking of my body. I remembered that goddamned water that mysteriously moved to me. I finally put it all together. Heero’s death gave me the Talent. And if Heero does not die, then I will never have the Talent. And so I will cease to have my powers when the Mission finally did come. And my past self would not be able to fend them off either. It’s a terrible dilemma, don’t you see? Heero’s death is necessary to save the world. He needs to be the sacrifice so that others can live. I finally figured it out and I hate it. Why did it have to be this way? Why are my only choices between my love and my world? Is it too much to ask that I have both? Must I sacrifice one to have the other? I know the answer, I do. No wonder the Mission wanted to save Heero. They wanted me powerless. They wanted to take me out of the equation. And they gambled that I would sacrifice the world to save Heero. And you know, I think it was a good bet. I want to save Heero. I want him to live. I don’t want to walk into the house and see walls flowing with his blood. I don’t want to cry. I don’t want to smell the blood anymore. I don’t want to feel that clutching in my heart. I don’t want Heero to die. I want to be selfish for once. But I know Heero would hate me for it. My Heero would have sacrificed himself for the world. He would choose death. I know what he would say, what he would do. But I’m not him! I’m not noble, I’m not heroic. I’m just Duo Maxwell who wants to save his lover. Sacrifice the world for him. Let everything become nothing. I want to. But I won’t. I can’t. Heero still directs me and he tells me that I can’t let my selfish heart destroy the earth. He asks me to sacrifice him for the greater good. My Heero, my perfect soldier. And me, the god of death. Didn’t I tell you I finally figured it out? I know my two choices. I know which one I want to choose. But in the end, I know which one I must choose. Can you forgive me Heero? Can you forgive me for standing by? Can I forgive me for letting you die again?

The door finally opened and a figure stepped out. Suppressing a sigh of relief, Relena walked over to Duo who stood still by the door frame with his head hung low. He looked terrible – his braid was unkempt, his clothes were wrinkled and he smelled as if he had not taken a shower for months. But none of that mattered because he had finally released himself from his seclusion.

“Duo! Are you alright? Can I do anything?”

The worry and concern came through clearly in Relena’s rushed greeting, but Duo did not take notice. His eyes vacantly stared at the carpet, not responding to anyone around him. He let Relena take him by his hand and lead him to sit on a small chair. He did not do anything as she paged Quatre and mumbled a relieved yet worried message. He said nothing to Relena when she plied him with questions. He did not look up when Quatre entered the small space, anxiety written all over his haggard face.

“Quatre! Thank god you’re here. He came out, but he’s not here. Look at him! His eyes.. they are empty. Do something, Quatre!”

On the verge of tears, Relena launched herself into Quatre’s arms, seeking solace that Duo could not provide. Arms tightened around her, pouring reassurance and support into her shaking frame. She buried her head deeper into Quatre’s chest and missed the glistening tears in his aqua eyes.

“Don’t worry, Relena. It’s going to be okay. I promise, so pull yourself together.”

Relena noticed the tremor in Quatre’s voice and felt immediately guilty. She was not the only one who needed support.

“I’m sorry, Quatre. It’s just that.. only if he would say something. I just want him to look at us.” “He will when he is ready. He came out of the room, so it’s only bound to get better.”

Untangling herself from Quatre, Relena walked over to Duo and kneeled before him. She put her head on his knees and held onto his legs tightly, almost as if she was afraid that he would disappear.

“Come back to us, Duo.”

There was no response.

I’m all alone. There is no one here but me. In a fit of logic, I killed the Mission agent not a minute ago. Where she stood before me is nothing but a smoldering heap of dust. I have extinguished the last of the Mission, my genocide is complete. Stupidly, I feel immeasurably guilty. Part of it is because she looked like Hilde. It’s irrational since I know the story behind her appearance and all, but I still feel like I killed my friend. More than that, I got to know the Mission chick. She talked to me and I talked to her. I found out about her and god help me, even got to like her a little. She was spunky, gutsy and kind of reckless. I mean, knowing who I was and what my mission was, she still managed to keep her cool and her life for two days longer than she should have. And she showed me a side to the enemy that I could empathize with. I saw that she loved her machine linked family, that she cared about those around her. She felt the pain of loss as sharply as I do and she just wanted to save her world, just like me. But in this game of war, there could only be one survivor. And I had to make sure that it was me. Just before I blasted her with my Talent, I think she saw in my eyes what I was going to do. In that split second, I think she saw what my decision was. I hope she understood why I had to choose the way I did. She would have done anything, even save a lowly human being who had nothing to offer her, to save her world. I’m offering Heero at the altar to save my world. We weren’t that different, the Hilde look-alike and I. But there is no time to worry about her. She’s dead. I just killed her. I killed her so that she would not hinder my awful plan to watch Heero die. I know that if I had kept her alive, I would have been tempted beyond measure to try to save Heero with her. My heart would have made the choice that my brain could not. So I killed her to save the world. What’s one more dead next to all the others? What is she to me when I have to watch Heero die? Nothing, right? Not a goddamned thing! God, is there only one and a half more days before.. yeah. I know exactly when I will arrive at the house to find the body. All I have to do is let it happen. I just have to go home now. My mission to kill her is done. I should go home. I can’t though. I can’t. I never got to say goodbye to Heero. I never told him one last time how much I love him. I can’t save him, but I can say goodbye to him. One last time, I can see him.

Duo sat sandwiched between Relena and Quatre. His hands were taken by his worried friends, squeezed gently and rubbed softly. He could hear them speak to him, saying words that were meant to be supportive and caring, but he could not respond. His body and soul were still in deep shock, unable to process what had occurred in the past. He could still see everything that happened in his mind’s eye, like a slow moving picture show. It hurt unbearably, but he played the scene over and over in his mind, punishing himself for his choice.

“I can’t win.”

It was whispered, almost too softly said to be heard, but Quatre and Relena’s attentive ears picked up the smothered sound. Grasping onto Duo harder, both leaned in and searched his face. His eyes were still blank, but they were filled with tears. He was not back to them yet, but he was coming around.

“Duo, what do you mean?”

The quiet question spoken by Relena penetrated the deep haze of Duo’s mind. He heard his friend clearly for the first time since his return.

“It always wins, don’t you see? Always. I can’t fight it. I can’t do anything against it. It won. I never had a chance.”

“What is ‘it’ that you’re talking about?” Quatre asked.

“History. Time. Fate.”

My past self will arrive at the house in less than three hours. In fact, I will be opening that door to find Heero dead in two hours, forty three minutes and eighteen seconds. Seventeen seconds. So on. I’m cloaked in my Talent, invisible to the eye and to the mind, standing by the lamp in our living room. This is our house, my and Heero’s house. The lamp beside me was a gift from Wufei, a housewarming present. The curtains that I chose are still up, minus the blood stains. Yellow and peach, so feminine but somehow fitting. The couches are immaculate, recently vacuumed and the pillows fluffed to the fluffiest. I stand here, invisible, as I watch Heero putter around the house. My lover came home early as he had promised me all those years ago to wait my arrival. My mind is overwhelmed as I watch him clean little specks of dust off the coffee table, as he lights a few candles to fill the house with the vanilla scent I always loved. His tie is loosened around his neck, hanging haphazardly from his white collar. His sleeves are rolled up to his elbows, showing off his forearms. His hair is mussed as usual, the dark brown mess falling into his cobalt blue eyes. I can’t take my eyes off of him. Twenty years. Twenty years of not seeing him and finally, here I am. I can smell the scent that is uniquely Heero, something that I had forgotten because of the blood. I don’t smell his blood here, just him, alive and well, smiling a little and humming a tune. My lover is waiting for me to come home and I’m on the road waiting to see him. I know how it will end, how it must end, but for the small remaining time, I want to see my lover. And the killer. I don’t know how I will control myself when Heero is getting murdered before my eyes, but I have to. I have to let him die. But I will see who the killer is and wreak my vengeance upon him, the kind of terror that the Mission could only have had nightmares about. But more than the vengeance, more than saving the world, I want to say goodbye. But how will I do that? Do I just appear before Heero and tell him that I’m from the future and I came to say goodbye and watch him die? I don’t know. I’m at a loss. I have to act soon! I don’t have much time left. Two hours, thirty two minutes and thirty three seconds. Tick tock tick tock.

“I could not defy history. I could not let Heero down.”

The look on Heero’s face was a mix of surprise and terror. I can’t blame him since I just materialized before him without warning. He stares at me with those wonderful eyes, the eyes that hold the light to my universe. Somehow, the terror recedes and he recognizes me. Twenty years older in body, centuries older in spirit, but my lover knows me. His lips move uttering my name and I’m lost. I kneel before him and wrap my arms around his waist, hugging his body close to mine. I missed him so. Underneath my cheek, I can feel his stomach muscles clench and relax. His fingers run through my hair and he whispers to me gently. I don’t know what he says, it doesn’t matter. Finally, he’s once again with me and I am holding him. One last time to tell him good bye. But I don’t say goodbye. Instead of telling my lover of his death, I spill out the story of me. I tell him what happens in the future, what I become, what I did to save the earth. I tell him that and so much more, about my feelings, how much I miss him. How much I love him. Time is running out. My past self will come home in fifty one minutes and twelve seconds. The killer should arrive in about forty minutes or so. I have forty minutes to tell him everything, but even my Talent cannot expand time. I can’t possibly tell him about the depth of my loss, the true nature of the future that awaits me. And I wonder, how can I tell him that he will be dead in less than an hour while I watch? I can’t do that. I can’t be that cruel. So I will hold him as I am now, with his fingers running through my hair and his voice telling me that everything will be okay. Nothing will be okay, but only I know that. He doesn’t need to know what will happen momentarily.

“I did my duty. I completed my mission. So it has been written.”

Only a few more minutes before I have to let go. I speak quickly and ask his forgiveness and during that rambling attempt at achieving my redemption, I blurt out his death. His eyes widen slightly as he processes the information and I know I blew it. With him looking at me like that, how can I possibly let him die? I won’t and I tell him. I tell him that I will save him from the killer who will arrive soon. I don’t give a damn what happens to the earth, not while he’s looking at me with those eyes. Not when I have his tangible body beneath my fingers, alive and warm. Maybe it was a mistake to see him again. So what. Despite my choice, I can’t let him go. Not even for the world. Then I hear his words and they penetrate my desperate thoughts. He is telling me that it is fine. That I will be fine, that the world will be fine. In his quiet voice filled with strength and determination, my lover tells me that he will gladly die if it means the earth will live. No matter how horrible the death, he says, he will sacrifice himself. I try to convince him that there are other ways to do this, that we can change history for the better. I try to convince him of things that I could not convince myself of only a few hours ago. If Heero believes, maybe I will believe and maybe.. Just maybe, we could find another way. I hold onto my thin line of hope and wait for him to agree with me. I wait for him to tell me that he wants to live. And so Heero says to my waiting face that he would give anything to live with me into the long, quiet future. But we can’t. He knows this and I know this. We both know he has to die now. I’m unwilling to let him go while he is readying himself for the inevitable slash of fate. As always, it is Heero who is stronger in conviction than I am. I can’t go against Heero no matter what, not when he is like this. I cannot even deny him death. The choice I made is the choice he made. We’re of one mind. I hold onto him tighter, wanting to get closer to him. One last time. I open up my Talent and envelop the two of us in a tight shell, melding our minds together for our last communion. Words are not needed now. At this moment, I can feel Heero’s love for me, his great sorrow at leaving me, his determination to save the earth, his forgiveness. I am redeemed in his eyes already. All I have to do is leave and let the killer come.

“What fate commanded, I did. What time intended, I was. It’s over.”

I hug my lover for the last time and bundle him tighter within the folds of my Talent. I spare a little bit of my Talent to stretch out beyond us, to search for the killer. I will know what he looks like for he will not live long after he destroys my heart. Vengeance will have to be my consolation for not saving Heero. But I sense nothing. I feel nothing. Only me and Heero, holding onto each other, waiting for the end. And then.. I reel. A realization. An epiphany. A truth. I stand and look into Heero’s eyes directly. I can see it all, the swirling emotions and feelings that were the center of my universe. My cobalt blue universe. And wrapped in my Talent, I can see who the killer is. I can see the reflection of the vicious bastard who killed my Heero. I see me.

“One more thing.”

I can still recall the precise pattern of the blood on the walls. How little of Heero was left. How everything was so.. horrifying in its completeness. And now I know why, I know how. I know who. Time and history, they don’t really cut me much slack, do they? At first, they give me hope by hinting that I can save my lover. Then they make me choose between him and the world. Then they force me to wait for him to die while I hold him in my arms. Then, as the final clincher, time and history have conspired to make sure that the one who kills Heero Yuy is Duo Maxwell. How do I know? It’s a feeling in my gut. It’s the truth illuminated by my foresight. It is the event that my Talent shows me in its infinite wisdom and cruelty. Wrapped in my Talent and Heero, my Talent finally gives way to look into the momentary future and I see me. I see the killer. I see me. The Killer. Me. It was always me. And Heero knows. He is still connected with me by my Talent. He can see my thoughts, feel my emotions. How can I kill him? It was enough that I had to decide to watch Heero die, but to kill him with my own two hands? Who am I kidding? NO! I WON’T DO THIS!

“One more thing, then I’m done with this world.”

Heero must have heard me denying history in the making because he touches my face gently. I can feel his thoughts swimming in my head and I already know what he will say to me. He is telling me to do it. To kill him. For the good of humanity. I can feel how calm he is, but at the same time, how ultimately sad he is to make me do this. There is no choice but to set the future on its course. If Heero lives, the Mission will win. And if that happens, we all die. Even Heero. He tells me there is nothing to forgive for this will hurt me more than him. He tells me he loves me. He tells me goodbye. So I hold on tight and immerse my body into his, feeling his heart beat next to mine. I fold my molecules around his, letting my Talent surround our bodies as we literally become one. For a small amount of time, for a split second, his body and mine are one, melded perfectly together, his cells and mine sharing the same space and time. We are one. Then I coalesce and Heero.. Heero.. Blood. Everywhere. On the walls, on the floor, on the pretty curtains. I stand numb, not realizing the full import of what I have done. I stand until I hear the car come up the driveway and I see myself stalk quietly towards the door. My past self is looking forward to seeing our lover. My past self is thinking about our lover and smiling. My past self will not know what he will do until now. There is nothing I can do to prevent anything. All I have done is repeat the past with my own hands. I created the world that I so cursed. I created the world without Heero. I have nothing left here in the past now. I phase out of the past as the doorknob turns, leaving behind my crime and my eventual future.

“One more thing and I will die.”

Quatre and Relena looked at Duo with horror written in their eyes. Their best friend, the First Talent, the backbone of their society , was talking about his own death.

“No, Duo! You can’t.. Suicide is not an option!”

“It’s not suicide, Relena. Fate will take me when I’m done with my one last duty.”

“And that is?”

“To live. To fulfill Heero’s dreams of a peaceful world.”

History repeats itself, despite our best intentions and efforts. It rolls over us like a tidal wave, unerring and inexplicable, forever repeating, forever looping. I could not escape it, I could not defy it. All I can do is live with it and suffer. Smell the blood forever. Find no solace. I will live. This is my vengeance to the killer. This is my repentance to Heero. May I live forever.


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