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

Lost Souls + Chapter 28

After Quatre left for space, Heero had fought alone across Europe, targeting the forces still working against the colonies. It was good to be alone again. He was trained as a solitary operative. He'd allowed himself to be distracted in the past, but now his life was pure again.

Heero was not lonely. Logic dictated that in order to miss a person, one would have to form some emotional attachment to them, and Heero was specifically conditioned not to do that. It served no purpose. Such attachments were nothing more than useless distractions from the mission.

As the world came apart around him, Heero needed no such distractions.

He had acclimated completely to the Zero system, which, as it turned out, was calibrated to not only maintain but to accentuate his neural conditioning. Although it had been months since his last session with Dr. J, he was still in prime mental condition.

J was gone, it seemed and Heero was on his own, but even without externally generated mission assignments to guide him, he found he had no problem adapting to the rapidly shifting political situation. Living in Wing, exposed for long periods to the effects of the Zero system, his mind achieved a remarkable level of clarity and detachment.

Because of this, Heero was somewhat perplexed by the dreams he was having. Perhaps it was a side effect of the system, but they were more vivid than any he'd ever had before. By day he was passionless, focused, the perfect soldier. But at night he was haunted by memories of the time he'd spent with the other pilots. It was unsettling, a distraction.

It wasn't that he'd disliked any of the other pilots. Trowa and Wufei in particular had been easy company, as focused as he was, and as devoted to the mission. They'd understood each other effortlessly, as warriors. He'd even enjoyed Wufei's poetry.

Quatre and Duo had been more unsettling. They thought too much, felt too much, and talked too much, especially Duo.

In his dreams he revisited all of them, reliving moments he'd spent in their company. He often dreamed of the cell at the moon base. He also relived the night he'd comforted Quatre. The ones that came to him the most often, however, were about Duo.

Sometimes he dreamed about the night he'd been dragged out of the cell and hurt so badly that he'd cried. Duo might be a lot of things, but soft wasn't one of them. He'd never said what had been done to him, and Heero had never found an opportunity to ask Trowa about it, but it must have been very bad for him to break like that, even for a little while. He felt helpless in those dreams, just as he had that night, when he hadn't been able to protect or rescue him.

Those dreams weren't the worst, though. Not as bad as the ones about Finland. Some started out well. He was naked with Duo in that ruined silo, holding him close, touching his skin and hair. The level of sexual arousal was so real and clear that he sometimes climaxed. A wet dream. Time and again he saw Duo turn to him, those violet blue eyes full of feeling, acceptance, warmth, and felt those soft full lips press to his own. He could feel Duo's thin body press to his. But more often than not, the dream ended as badly as the real event, with his own failure of judgment and Duo's violent response.

// You almost raped him. //

Heero woke from those dreams with his heart pounding, overcome with the same terrible guilt, shame, and panic he'd felt that night, and more often than not, sticky with cooling semen. That made him feel even worse. What sort of person was aroused by such things? No, that would never happen again. He would never allow himself to lose control like that again, with anyone.

Not that he'd ever felt such impulses with anyone else.

Now and then, however, the dreams of Duo were different. Heero would be swimming naked in the lake alone, and he was out very deep. The water was warm, not freezing as it had been that day. For some reason he suddenly began to sink, drown. No matter how hard he tried to swim to the surface, he could make no headway. He sank fast and deep, like a Gundam in the ocean, and he could feel the pressure of the water squeezing his burning lungs. He knew he could not hold out much longer. He'd have to take that fatal breath of water and that would be it. In these dreams he feared death in a way that he never did awake.

As the pressure and fear closed in around him, a lithe, dark shape came swimming to him from the murky depths. As it came closer he saw it was a mermaid, like the ones he'd seen as a child in the Peter Pan book. It was a beautiful creature, pale and slender, with a sinuous, glittering blue tail. As it swam closer, he saw that it had Duo's face and his long, flowing hair, streaming like fine seaweed around his shoulders. The mermaid smiled at him and pressed his mouth to Heero's, filling his lungs with air. Then he put his arms around Heero and carried him up. Heero's head broke the surface of the water and he dragged in huge lungfuls of cold, sweet air. The mermaid remained under the surface, but Heero could feel him swimming around him, the brush of his body and silky hair and fins. Then his hands were on Heero again, caressing him. The hands moved down over his chest to his hips, then a hot mouth closed over his cock, sucking, licking . . .

He woke up sticky from that dream every time, too, and even more confused.

He put such dreams and thoughts completely out of his mind during the day, dismissing them as some sort of stress reaction. That was a concern. If J had been available, he would have reported them to see if further conditioning could make them go away. For a time Heero simply fought Romefeller and the enemies of Sanque Kingdom. But then Relena allowed herself to become their pawn and the parameters changed. He infiltrated the military, fully intending to assassinate her, in order to bring down the false peace. He felt no particular emotion around the decision. Wing Zero showed him a statistically likely set of scenarios and none of them were beneficial to the colonies. So Relena had to be eliminated. He was glad Quatre was not with him now; he had been swayed by Relena's talk of pacifism and would have tried to talk him out of it.

He easily infiltrated the Romefeller Parliament the day Relena was to speak there, and taken up a position in the great auditorium there, with ever intention of assassinating her. He had her in his sights, a clear shot. But then the crowd reacted to her address in a way he had not anticipated. She turned the tables on Dermail and the others, offering a vision of the future that seemed to hold out hope of peace in space and on earth.

Mission scrubbed. Time to fall back and regroup.

As he was leaving the building, a worldwide address came on over every vid screen. And there was Zechs Merquise, calling himself Milliardo Peacecraft again, announcing his own declaration of war against the Earth. New mission parameters clicked into place in Heero's brain. He even understood; he'd flown the Epyon, experienced it's Zero system, so like Wing's. Peacecraft had been shown a different future and he was acting on it, boldly and decisively. His vision was in direct conflict with Heero's but he still admired the man's spirit. Heero knew his enemy, but he admired the warrior, too. Raising a hand at the screen, finger pointed like a gun's muzzle, he growled, "Mission accepted."

+ Heero made his way to the Salzburg spaceport, hiring a large transport under an assumed name. He'd spent a lot of down time hacking funds from various enemy enterprises. At this point he could have bought a ship, but it was faster to rent than go through the paperwork.

He was almost ready to load when a familiar voice said, "Well, I thought I'd find you here?"

Heero whirled around, weapon already drawn, and found Sally Po grinning at him. He kept his finger on the trigger as he demanded, "What are you doing here? How did you track me?"

She just laughed. "Hey, you're not the only terrorist hacker around, you know. Besides, it wasn't hard, given all the fighting you've been doing, being the last Gundam on Earth and all. You've cut quite a swath. I figured when Zechs made that declaration, you'd go after him."

"Why come looking for me?" he asked, still baffled.

"I thought you might want to help me deliver this." She pointed to a huge transport truck that had just pulled up. The shrouded cargo on the flatbed had the unmistakable look of a Gundam. The workmen helping her released the cables and the canvass fell away.

"Heavyarms! You found it."

"Want to help me take it back to him?"

"Him? Take back-" For an instant Heero could only stare at her as he tried to let the words sink in. "You-you mean Trowa's turned up? Alive?"

"This wouldn't be much good to him otherwise, now would it? Duo found him a month ago, on one of the colonies, and Quatre went and got him later. He has amnesia, apparently, but Noin says he's still operational as a pilot. Dou's with them now, too. You mean you haven't been in touch with any of them?"

"No." It had never occurred to him that the others might be keeping in contact. Duo. Trowa. Quatre. All of them alive and together. Something tried to penetrate the hard shell of conditioning around Heero's heart. It hurt and he dismissed it.

He joined her because it was the logical thing to do.

He was not lonely.

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