of Time: The Past (cont)
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
"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
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
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
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
"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
"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.
[part 2] [back] [back
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