Author: 0083
Title: Intentions of Time; The Future
pairings: 1x2x1, 3x4x3
WARNINGS: serious, major, outrageous angst. death (though not technically deathfic), angst!
spoilers: very minor, practically hidden
disclaimer: i own no part of gw...
notes: special thanks to froggie, my beta. and due to the angst content, i hide behind snow who will protect me from some people (*coughjanacough*). and caro my muse, look what you made me do!

Intentions of Time: 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. This world 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.

[cont]