Author: Merula
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing.

Afterwards + Part 20

I curled up in bed next to Duo that night wondering what was going to happen next. The rest of the afternoon with my aunt, if that's who she was, had not gone too well.

I had followed Duo down the hallway and into the kitchen obediently. Sanura greeted the two of us with a smile. She set me to chopping up vegetables while Duo got to help her assemble sandwiches. It was a fairly mindless task and I had accepted it gratefully.

"So," Duo asked her after a moment or two of silence. "Before you sent me out for Idun, you were going to tell me how you knew all this stuff about us." I could hear the hard undercurrent to the jovial tone of his voice and wondered if Sanura heard it too.

I couldn't blame him. It was bizarrely odd that they knew so damn much about us.

"We told you already that Idun and I are techs," Sanura smiled. "During the war there were many good paying jobs for techs if you were willing to work for the military."

"Military?" Duo repeated, and the jovial tone was completely gone.

"Or Romefeller," Idun stepped into the kitchen, several tomatoes in her hands. She took them over to the sink and began to rinse them off.

"We're free agents," Sanura continued airily. "But military work pays well. And it helped us find Heero."

"I was actually assigned by Oz to assemble all the data on you five." Idun added.

I knew what most army techs did during the wars. I wasn't feeling all that comfortable to start with and this revelation made it significantly worse.

Suspicions rose. If they were good enough to hunt us down for Romefeller and Oz, who is to say that they didn't manipulate files? Like Odin's? Was that truly my parents' apartment? Was Idun truly my aunt? I met Duo's eyes and saw that his expression mirrored my thoughts.

"Relax," Sanura nudged Duo with her elbow. "We did not program mobile dolls. We were just research techs, that's all." She looked over at me and frowned. "Stop it. We'll let you do a blood test if you are so concerned."

I blinked at her. How had she known...?

"I've had years of experience reading her expressions," Sanura gestured to Idun who had turned to look at me. "You two are so alike it's scary."

I blinked again and looked towards Duo. He shrugged with a let's-just-play-along-for now look.

I felt a gentle hand on my arm. "Come and sit down." Idun tugged me towards the table.

"I can and will arrange for a blood test to be done," Idun told me as she took the seat across from me. "How long are you in town?"

"Not long..." I replied, unwilling now to be specific.

"Very well then. We'll go this afternoon if you like. It will take at least a day to get the results."

So that's what we had done. After a lunch that I barely tasted, we had followed their car to a nearby clinic. The blood had been taken, and the results would be available soon.

I did not feel like returning to their house. I stopped on the sidewalk in front of the clinic and tried to think of a way to get out of it.

Idun stopped in front of me. "The results will be ready by tomorrow afternoon at the latest. After you hear them we can meet you at your parents' apartment. I would like to see it again and I'm sure that you have many questions about it."

"And what if the results are different than you expect? What if I am not your nephew?" I asked her harshly.

She didn't even flinch. "Then I will help you find your true family." She turned on her heel, Sanura beside her, and headed to her car.

I turned to Duo standing beside me. "I feel like the biggest jerk in the world," I told him.

He smiled at me. "I agree with your caution," he replied. "They know a bit too much for me to be comfortable with them right away." He put an arm around my shoulders. "Let's go for a walk, okay?"

The clinic was located in an area filled with tiny shops. We walked around and looked in windows as I tried to pull myself together. I wished with all my heart that I would've never agreed to go looking for my family, that I had not hurt Idun's feelings, that I had shaken the truth out of them right away, all at the same time. It was very confusing.

"Aw, how cute!" Duo had stopped in front of a store and was making faces at the window. I turned to look. Tiny puppies bounced their paws against the glass happily.

I watched my lover laugh at the puppies and felt eased. At least he was with me. Duo looked up at my face and smiled, reaching out a hand.

"You okay?" He shook his head. "Dumb question. Let's go in and pet some animals, okay? It's supposed to be good for stress."

"Do I look stressed?" I asked him as I followed him into the crowded store.

"If you weren't, I'd be concerned." Duo stopped and stuck his fingers in a cage full of kittens. A black and grey striped one began to lick his fingers as he tried to rub its chin. "It's been a hell of a trip so far."

"What do you think?" I asked him. "Do you think she's really who she says she is?"

"She does look like the pictures in the apartment. And you do look like the man in those shots. If this is some kind of trap it's pretty elaborate. But," he shrugged, "It is odd how much they know. Yes, they could simply be good techs that went looking. We haven't tried any of those searches and they would have no reason to look for Odin." The kitten began biting his fingers playfully and Duo tapped it on the nose. "I'd rather be safe than sorry though."

"Me too, I guess." A totally grey kitten wandered over to Duo's hand and meowed pitifully. Duo gave in and petted that one too. Animals know a soft touch when they see one.

"I wonder what Val would do with a kitten." He laughed.

"I don't know. Do you want one?" I thought about the probabilities and was happy for the diversion.

"Maybe," Duo gave the kittens one last scratch. "Idun and Sanura have a beautiful Siamese- I don't think you saw it."

"No," I shook my head. "How funny," we had moved over by the puppy cage. "They didn't seem like pet owners to me."

"I guess it takes all kinds." Duo laughed as a puppy lunged for his braid. "Sanura said she's had cats since childhood- a family tradition. I told her about Val. I guess people without children talk about their pets."

"Speaking of which," I took a breath, determined to leave the subject of my family and maybe-aunt for a while. "I'm surprised that with all these stores around we haven't found anything for Iren yet. Kind of neglectful of her godfathers."

Of course, that comment immediately got me dragged out of the pet store and into several baby and toy stores.

I didn't care. Duo was on a mission and I was caught up in his whirlwind of energy, able to focus on something else for a while. I don't know if he realized that I had done it on purpose and was humoring me, but it didn't matter in the slightest.

We made it back to the hotel just as it was starting to get dark. There were no messages waiting for us at the desk and we retreated to our room.

"Talk to me," Duo said once we were inside the door. He flung the packages onto a chair and turned to give me a narrow look. "You haven't said anything other than 'okay' or 'sure' in the last hour. You are never this agreeable."

"Sure I am," I protested and Duo flung a pillow at me. I smiled for him. "Just still- confused. Overwhelmed."

"Understandable." Duo nodded. "But don't shut me out, okay? Even if they are your family, you're mine."

That last sentence, though said lightly, made me realize how this mess must be for Duo. Guilt hit me hard. I had been so wrapped up in myself that I had missed this.

I went and put my arms around him. "We can still look for more of yours," I told him. "You might have extended family somewhere."

"I told you it was okay, and I meant it," he replied, his arms encircling me in return. "It's just... well, I guess I'm a bit jealous. If Idun really is your aunt, she's done a lot to keep informed, you know?" He paused unhappily.

I understood. I held him tightly against me, knowing that there was nothing I could really say to soothe this away.

He pushed me away gently after a long while. "I'm starving," he smiled apologetically. "Can we order something?"

We ate dinner, took a shower and crawled into bed. Duo let me curl up against him, his heartbeat a reassuring sound in my ear as I fell asleep.

[part 19] [part 21] [back to Merula's fic]