Author: Kai Michi
Rating: PG-13 for language, violence, allusions to death, and shounen-ai
Pairings: 2+1/1+2
Spoilers: Episode 10 and below
Arc: Intricate
Notes: Not really. Warnings: It's short. Ye have been warned.
Disclaimer: They aren't mine, of course. Otherwise ep10 might have actually run like this. ^___^
Special Note: My muses are starving! I get paid only in feedback, which I trade in for small amounts of ego, so that I can feed my muses. If I have no feedback *sniffle* we can't survive! Please, help my starving muses! Dial KaiTenshi@cs.com and pledge some feedback today! ^___~

Lonely + Chapter 1
Goodbyes Are Forever

It was Heero's movement that woke Duo up. Usually, Heero slept like a rock, with Duo tucked under his chin; 'for safe keeping' Duo would joke, but they both knew it was because of the nightmares, the memories. Duo turned to glance at the fuzzy red digits of the alarms clock. 11:00

"Heero..?"

Heero was seated at the desk in only a pair of plain white boxer-briefs. "Dr. J.."

Raising himself to one elbow, Duo listened intently. The doctors only contacted them when it was really important.

"Taurus is a monster. It has a self-learning capability on top of an excellent auto combat-analysis system. So, ironically we just hope that OZ's control system is dependable enough. Otherwise, it would easily override the pilot's commands and start acting on its own. The machine was supposed to be an inferior model. It is a reckless, uncontrollable machine. Destroy it."

Heero nodded to himself even as the screen went black. "Acknowledged." He turned towards Duo, but the bed was empty. A hand on his shoulder made him look up. Duo was half-dressed, with a duffle-bag in his hand and a sad smile. "I guess this is farewell."

Heero frowned as Duo continued while dressing and moving about the room, filling his small duffle bag with needed items like his laptop and ration bars.

"I have a bad feeling about this. The OZ transportation plan seems perfect. They have two different plans -- on the ground and in the air."

Heero nodded. "But we can take them. We just need to have a plan of our own."

Duo paused after he pulled on his shirt. "Heero, can you go after the air route? I'll do the ground route."

Heero nodded as he pulled on his typical mission uniform. "Aa. That's not much of a plan, though."

Duo snorted. "No, not by a long shot. But we don't know if the other gundams are going to be there or not, and we can't plan on it, in case they don't show. We'll just have to hope."

Heero threw his own laptop into a bookbag. "Hope doesn't get you anywhere. Action is always the best choice."

Duo nodded, slinging his duffle over his shoulder and fingering his cross. "But hope is nice when you have nothing left." His eyes rose to Heero, who was regarding him carefully. Cheerfully, he broke the somber moment. "C'mon, Yuy, I'll give you a ride!" The seaside boarding school saw the last of the two terrorists jetting down an empty highway on a nondescript black motorcycle, and the moon watched as two boys stood at the feet of two machines built for destruction. Duo pulled Heero into a close hug, and Heero allowed him to without complaint. "I have a bad feeling about this," Duo repeated in a whisper. "So just remember..."

"Partners," Heero returned.

"Yeah."

With that, Duo gently cupped Heero's cheeks, and gave him a soft, sound kiss on the lips. Heero blinked several times after Duo pulled away. "What...?"

"A goodluck kiss," Duo whispered. "Maybe Death can protect someone."

"Goodbye," Heero whispered, unsure of what to say, but wanting to say something.

Duo smiled. "Goodbyes are forever, Heero. This is just farewell."

Heero nodded. "Farewell, then."

With a little salute, Duo turned and mounted his laying gundam, scrambling into the hatch. Heero watched him, fingers to his lips in pensive thought. Then frowning, he too mounted his gundam.

Inside Deathscythe, Duo took a few moments to acclimate himself with his gundam. He breathed in and out slowly, thinking only of the mission as the stats played on the screen. His fingers moved along the keys without his concious thought in the startup pattern that he had tapped out hundreds of times. It was a movement often made in his sleep, but that knowledge belonged to Heero alone. As the systems hummed to life, and Duo commanded the beast to it's feet, he thought of Heero one last time. "God... if there is a god... protect him, please."

+

"Approaching target, ten minutes."

Duo blinked as 'scythe's automated voice chimed into his unconciousness. They had been flying all night, and he had fallen asleep, trusting 'scythe to the auto-pilot. Now it was clearly daylight, as he could see when he called up visuals of the outside. He could see the convoys on the long range visuals. In a few moments, he should be able to pick up a clearer short range picture.

"Approaching target, five minutes."

Ah. There was a clearer picture. He could see the land convoy easily, and there was another gundam. 'Good,' Duo thought, then, 'Shit! Looks like he's in trouble!"

Disengaging the auto pilot, Duo boosted thrusters to maximum, aiming straight for the train.

"Contact in five, four, three.." Duo grimaced, positioning his scythe just so. "..one." Contact. It was a rush of exilerating contact as he strained against his flight harness, gravity and inertia battling with each other as he managed to control his mechanical partner, and succesfully derailed the train. As he righted his gundam, and sat back, he smiled to himself. Yet another succesful operation by the Great Shinigami. Opening up a comlink, he flashed his fellow fighter a cheerful, if a bit forced, grin. "Hey, are you alright?"

The blonde boy smiled back gratefully. "Yes, thanks. I knew you'd come!"

Duo frowned at the visuals he was recieving on other screens. "Yeah, but we're after the wrong one! This is a trap!"

The other boy blanched, clearly recieving the same visual of swarms of Leos emerging from the overturned train. "They're coming by the hundreds!"

"It's just us on land," Duo said. "For now, anyway. Any plans?"

"Back to back?" the other boy offered.

"Works for me!"

+

Heero was busy approaching from the southeast. All of his visual screens were on, feeding him the data of the upcoming battle, and he was highly alert. "Five more minutes and I should be there," he muttered, altering Wing's output slightly. "Cut straight throught the refueling station, destroy, then backtrack through what's left of the air route. After that, assist in clean up of the ground route... if there's anything left after Duo has had his fun." He twisted his mouth into a wry grimace at the thought.

Suddenly, alarms were flashing on all of his screens, and new data was being spewed out at four hundred plus words per minute. "Aries?" Heero wondered. "No, too big..." He checked the data again. "No known match?!" He growled then brought his beam cannon up level, aimed and shot. The strange mobile suit dodged. "It's fast!" Heero acknowledged in wonderment. Was this the Taurus? No, the computer had information on the Taurus, so obviously it was something else.

Suddenly, Wing began to feed him a transmission from the mystery suit. "Stop Zero One," it began. "We have no need for such things as beam rifles or cannons. This is my challenge to a duel. You must accept my challenge as a gundam pilot!"

'I'd much rather blow you away,' Heero thought, scowling at the masked pilot, but he accepted anyway. 'Not much of a choice.'

As the duel began, Heero began trying to catalogue the new suit, when he recieved new information. A prototype for a Leo? I didn't know Oz had such a thing. It may be tough, but it shouldn't be a problem. This might set me behind by a maximim of twenty minutes...'Heero began to rearrange his plans in his head, noting that gundam zero three had already taken off for the refueling base. He should make that in plenty of time, Heero thought. Then all that's left is to take care of this guy, and clean up the air crew.

+

"We've cleared about half, I'd say," said Quatre, panting.

"Yeah, that's about right," Duo confirmed. "Time for a change of pace, would you say?"

"What do you have in mind?"

"Oh something along the lines of: go hog wild!"

The more petite pilot laughed. "Yes, let's give it everything we've got!"

"Wait, wait," Duo muttered. "Everything's stopped. They're broadcasting something."

"Surrender?"

"No, I'm picking it up now; can you hear it?"

"Yes, clearly."

"To all the Gundam pilots, listen! We are ready to attack all the colonies with ballistic missiles. All the space missile sites, formally belonging to the Federation, are now under our control. The destiny of all the colonies is now in our hands! This is not a bluff! All the pilots must surrender and hand over the Gundams to us immediately!"

"Oh my god." Duo clutched his cross, his face pale. "They're not serious."

"Hand over the gundams?" Quatre squeaked. "They're holding the colonies hostage?!"

"What are we going to do?" Duo wondered. "The colonies.."

The decision was abruptly lifted from his hands as a universal broadcast interupted all viewscreens, broadcasting one image to everyone. The malformed visage began to speak. "OZ! I had no idea OZ was such a bunch of idiots. For the last time: the colonies never wanted a war with you. It is only I who is challenging you."

+

"Dr. J," Heero frowned.

+

"Dr. J," Duo grimaced.

"This is the one who's been giving orders to one of us?" Quatre guessed.

Duo nodded, then remembering the screens were still blacked out, sighed. "Yeah." Dr. J continued. "Attacking innocent colonies? What an inhumane strategy that is. You guys will indeed do anything to achieve your goal... I have no choice. I hereby declare that we surrender."

"We do?" Duo wondered.

One of his screens went clear, and there was Heero. "Heero?" Duo asked timidly, scared of the answer. "What are you doing?" Heero didn't respond directly, he was busy disconecting something out of sight.

"I think that good luck might come in handy," he muttered. Suddenly, he straightened, and looked straight at Duo. "I've never had a partner before," he started. "Or a friend." He bit his lip, looking for words. "Thank you. Goodbye."

"Goodbye's are forever, Heero."

"I know."

Duo's eyes welled up with tears as the screen went black, then Dr. J's face returned.

Duo hit the platform of his gundam. "Damn you, YUY! Damn you!"

At the other end of the line, Heero blanched, then realized that Duo must have thought he cut both ends of the communication.

He disconnected the last safety wire, unhooked his harness and stood. Dr. J was speaking as he opened his hatch.

"We surrender. But we will not hand over the Gundams. I repeat. We surrender. But we will not hand over the Gundams."

Duo was also speaking: muttering, rather, very low, and very, very fast, but Heero could hear him clearly over the single-way comlink that Duo was obviously unaware of.

"I hate you, Heero Yuy, I hate you, hate you, hate you... God, I wish you would just do it, just press the button, hurry up, hurry up... I don't love you, I don't, not at all, not even a smidgen. Say goodbye to me? Fine then, it's not like I care, not at all.. because I hate you, damn you, I hate you, hate you, hate you.. I mean, why should I care about you...?"

Out on the platform of his gundam, Heero locked his jaw, nodding to himself. It made perfect sense after all... "Acknowledged," he whispered, and pressed the button. There was a slight pause, and Heero felt death whisper across his cheek and envelope him as the flames inwardly engulfed his gundam. He soared gently through the air, and it felt so good to fly, to be free for those few moments... He didn't realize there was a single tear that flitted from beneath his eyelids to rush down his face to his chin, where it was erradicated as he crashed to the rocky earth.

As the last communication unit of the original Wing Gundam was swallowed up in flames, Duo's voice ghosted, "Because we are partners, damn you. And because I love you."

[chap. 2] [back to Singles a - k]