Author: Calic0cat
see chap. 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer

Fragments + Chapter 12

I woke abruptly and realized instantly what had awakened me. Heero was shaking violently; his face tightly drawn.

"Bad dream?" I asked softly. He nodded silently and pressed more tightly against me. I wondered which memory he'd just encountered. Obviously it had been a bad one. "Let's go have that shower." I made my voice become a little louder and teasing for the benefit of the bugs, making sure to keep my eyes on his so that he'd realize I wasn't really dismissing his dream that lightly, "Maybe we can make you forget all about that old nightmare, eh Odin?"

He nodded slightly and answered in a tone that was flatter than I liked to hear, "That sounds like a good idea."

By the time we got into the shower, Heero had the shaking under control. And that didn't make me as happy as it should have. It was too much of a sign of his usual behaviour returning. He waited until I had the shower running before stepping close to me. Taking his cue from my actions this morning, he spoke Japanese. Or rather, *mouthed* Japanese silently, taking my own precautions earlier one step further. "An accident, a training mission that went wrong..."

I winced. Okay, that was a bad one. There was only one training mission that went wrong that I was aware of and that damn nightmare had the power to make him shake like a leaf even under ordinary circumstances. It was one of the few things that would leave him actively seeking contact with another human being. I'd held him in its aftermath on more than one occasion back during the war. Of course, after showing that much vulnerability he would inevitably be even more closed off and cold for days afterwards.

"You've dreamt about that before. It always upsets you," I told him simply, mouthing the words rather than vocalizing them. I slipped one arm around his shoulders and gave him a reassuring hug, careful not to pull us too closely together. I sure as hell wasn't ready to deal with those issues again and I really doubted that Heero was either.

He shook his head and pulled away, turning his head to meet my eyes, making sure that I could read his lips. "No. Not just that. I remember everything up to that. Or - almost everything... It's hard to be sure. And after that - there's still only disjointed fragments."

Ouch. No wonder he'd woken up shaking. Comparing that to a similar-sized chunk of my own past - I might not know everything about Heero's past but I did know that he hadn't had a true childhood anymore than I had - getting it all at once like that would *not* be pleasant.

His brow wrinkled and his eyes narrowed in concentration, then he shook his head again and rubbed his temples. "You know who I was?"

I nodded silently and mouthed in return, "01," grateful that we were able to avoid speaking even in whispers. "I was 02."

Our identities as Gundam pilots had never been widely known and I hoped to hell that Mattis wasn't aware of that detail even if he knew that we were Preventers. I didn't think he was; he would have taken much more aggressive action against us if he knew. Either that or cut his losses and run like hell. Depending how brave he felt.

Well. Heero remembering as much as he had solved one dilemma for me. If he remembered his training, or at least a large part of it, then I wouldn't feel so bad about leaving him on his own to go explore the "unused" part of the satellite. He would be perfectly capable of protecting himself. Assuming that I gave him the contact info and so on in case he had to get himself out alone.

Assuming that he was up to the party at all. I gave him a sharp look. Heero was rubbing his head again; evidently he had another headache. Not uncommon following concussion but still enough to make me a little concerned. Though the returning memories were a good sign; the fastest improvement in mild to moderate head injuries usually came within the first one to six weeks afterwards. And he'd passed the magic forty-eight hour mark without exhibiting any symptoms of more serious problems from the injury.

"You okay? No dizziness or nausea? Blurriness or double vision?" I asked just to be on the safe side. I went ahead and spoke aloud this time; nothing in that was inappropriate for our cover.

"Just the headache," he answered, dropping his hand away from his head and meeting my eyes. "Nothing more severe."

"Okay." He probably knew the symptoms just as well as I did now that he remembered at least part of his training. I went back to merely lipping the words as I explained, "After the war we joined the Preventers, a peacekeeping force." Just a *slight* oversimplification of the whole time between what he remembered and now but it covered the pertinent points. "We're here to verify that there's an illegal weapons manufacturing plant operating in the unused part of the satellite. The party's being held in the right spot to get into that area easily. It's almost too convenient but I don't want to pass up the opportunity. If we go, I'll need you to cover for me for oh, a good hour probably, while I check some things. You up to it?" I undid my braid and started wetting my hair down as I "spoke". My hair did *not* need to be washed again but I wanted to be sure our little shower trip was convincing when we got out.

Heero hesitated long enough to make me wonder whether he had an objection, then finally said, "Yes." He poured out some shampoo and moved behind me to start on my hair. I realized with a certain amount of wry amusement that we were both very carefully keeping our eyes at chest level or higher. He worked the lather through my hair in silence for a few moments, then whispered cautiously, "I don't know whether you should try that, Max. It really does seem too convenient." I could tell that he was feeling his way carefully, not sure whether I would accept his input or not.

I thought about it for a few minutes. What did it really matter if I *didn't* try tonight? If it was an innocent coincidence I would have passed up a good opportunity. But I could find a new one once our backup arrived. And if it wasn't coincidence, if it was a trap, then me passing up the chance might throw them off. Make them second-guess their suspicions. This wasn't like during the war after all. We weren't operating on extremely tight schedules. A few days longer on the mission would mean more weapons potentially making it onto the market but they would still be a drop in the ocean compared to the total output of this factory alone. Not worth taking unnecessary chances over.

And where before there was some urgency because I wanted a bargaining chip, some evidence squirrelled away in case we landed in trouble and I needed something to trade to at least buy my amnesiac partner's safety, I wasn't as concerned about that now. If he was even partially back to normal, we'd stand at least as good a chance without that sort of thing. And if, now that he had a portion of his training memories back, Heero didn't think the reconnaissance mission was a good idea... Well, we were damn good partners for a number of reasons and listening to and seriously considering each other's opinions was one of the big ones. He was a little more cautious than me and I was a little more creative than him. We each had our strengths and weaknesses and we'd learned to balance each other out. Heero might not remember that but I did.

I think Heero had decided I wasn't going to even answer him by the time I finally did. I twisted around to face him and reverted to silently mouthing the words. "Okay," I told him simply. "You're right. It's not worth the risk. But I think we'd better go to the party anyway, at least for a while. Skipping it completely would be too suspicious but if your head's still bothering you it will give us an excuse to leave early."

I was pretty sure he sighed in relief before he said simply, "Okay." As I turned back around and let him tilt my head to rinse the shampoo out of my hair, I hoped that things *were* going to be okay. Hoped it - but wasn't too sure it was very likely. There were just too damn many things that could still go wrong.

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