Author: 0083
Title: Intentions of Time; the Past
Pairings: 1x2x1, 3x4x3 (all quite vague though)
Warnings: angst, death, strange scientific explanations to things i don't understand...
Disclaimer: gw is not mine.
Notes: thank you frog for the beta.

Intentions of Time: The Past

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.

"Hilde?"

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."

[cont]