| By Xero Sky
Warnings: NC17 For the whole story. Expect lemon, lime, blood, violence,
sarcasm, and profanity.
Pairings: (6 x 2) x 1
AN: Post EW. Possible OOC, but not intentional.
Disclaimer: All copyrights remain with their original holders. No profit
of any kind is intended from this work of fan fiction.
+ Chapter Three
There were few things Zechs
disliked as much as cold water in the face first thing in the morning.
Whatever machismo or moral benefit it was supposed to impart was lost
Treize had been a great advocate of a cold shower and strong coffee to
get the blood flowing. Except during occasional stays at Treize's estates,
Zechs had never embraced that particular form of lunacy. As a guest, he'd
had little choice: the showers there had produced no hot water before
He'd avoided those visits whenever he could. There was nothing quite like
trying to towel dry your freezing cold hair while shivering uncontrollably
as your balls tried to crawl back inside your body. Being confronted with
an almost… bouncy… Treize at breakfast afterwards had been taxing on Zechs'
At the present time, though, lacking sufficient caffeine and not quite
having lost the will to live, Zechs pulled his hair back and shoved his
face under the kitchen faucet. Unspeakably cold water poured over his
face and trickled down his neck for as long as he could stand it.
There was no towel, of course. Without alternatives, he dried his face
on the tail of his shirt and raked the wet tendrils of hair out of his
face as best he could.
He didn't feel completely better, but the lightheadedness and the nausea
had backed off somewhat. He was happy with whatever he could get at the
moment. He needed his wits about him.
It was time to track down his former rival and see what he had to say.
He held no ill will against Yuy for the past. After all, they had been
soldiers. And if it hadn't been for him, Milliardo Peacecraft would have
gotten his way, wouldn't he? All his sick little dreams come true. The
court said he was psychotic at the time, as a result of the Zero system,
but Zechs knew it was an excuse, a handy reason to let Relena's brother
off the hook.
He didn't understand everything himself, nor did he have complete memories
of the whole incident with the Libra, but he knew well enough that Heero
Yuy had stood in for his conscience and his better judgment. Yuy had stopped
him, and that was good. If anything, Zechs was sorry for putting him through
The current situation made all his internal alarms go off, though. Something
he didn't understand was at work. He didn't really want Duo listening
when he talked to Yuy. Just in case. He didn't really think Duo had lied
to him, but his native caution had finally kicked in. He'd like to hear
their stories separately.
As he opened the doors to the deck, he paused for a second, smiling. It
was interesting that he was thinking of Maxwell as "Duo" and of the other
pilot as "Yuy". Even wounded and half-asleep, the famous Maxwell charm
had apparently worked on him. Who would have guessed?
Those two were an interesting pair of men, and not ones he would have
thought had much in common when they weren't fighting. But then, according
to Duo, they hadn't seen each other for quite awhile before yesterday.
Zechs' handsome face suddenly twisted into a snarl.
If the story was true, and he thought it probably was, the way these two
had been treated went beyond dishonorable. It was filthy, the act of cowards.
He knew well enough that his name and his connections had saved him from
the same sort of thing, and that knowledge brought him shame.
But his own problem could wait until another time. Right now he had two
men trained in the art of destruction at his house, men who had been shot
at recently. Whether his sister's life, not to mention those of two Council
Members, had been endangered or not, something had put these two on the
run. And they had come to him, finding him here in his hideaway as easily
as if he'd announced his location to the press.
Don't think he knew you were here…
Duo's words came back to him. Yuy had known where to go, so how could
he not have known that Zechs was here?
Well, there was only one way to find out.
He heard footsteps and went to meet the man.
It was a sturdy house, well built, and well situated. A pleasure to stay
in, no doubt. The approach from the beach was wide open, of course, but
that kind of visibility worked both ways. The house might be easy to pick
out, but no one was going to be approaching down the beach or from the
sea without being seen. The other side of the building was more favorable
for security purposes; even after all this time, it was obvious that the
driveway and front of the house had been designed to give the occupants
an unobstructed field of fire.
Fresh tire tracks led down to an underground garage. Under the flaking
paint of the door, he spotted the dull sheen of metal. Given the security
considerations that must have gone into this house's construction, he
suspected that the garage door could take a missile strike. That might
be useful, down the road.
Heero noted all of these things almost absently, letting the soldier part
of his brain file the information away. Some other part of his head thought
the house was pleasing. It was shaded, secluded, and far away from the
noise of human life. If he hadn't been a fugitive, he might conceivably
have enjoyed spending some time here.
A fugitive. Again.
He smiled bleakly. Except for his very early childhood, the past few years
had been the only time in his life that he hadn't been on the run from
something. Lowe's various enemies, the Alliance, OZ, and now the UESA…
it was all the same. Same enemy, different name, different day.
He tried to clear his head of those thoughts as he continued his visual
inspection of the house. At one point in his circle around it, he frowned,
noting that his memory of the inside of the house didn't match up with
what he was seeing. There must be a safe room somewhere inside, then.
It was a pity that Zechs had been here. He would rather not have involved
him. If Duo hadn't been wounded, they wouldn't have come here at all.
There weren't many places that they could have gone to start with, but
by the time he'd realized how badly Duo was bleeding, his options had
That lapse in attention disturbed him greatly. How could he not have seen
it? Duo was wearing black of course, like Duo usually did, and that had
hidden a lot of the blood. He should have seen it in the way the other
man was moving, though. He should have smelled it on him, or seen Duo's
growing faintness sooner.
He wasn't making good decisions anymore.
He hadn't even reacted to defuse the tension at Relena's "party". He'd
just watched, frozen, seeing it all unfold until the physical reality
of Duo's blood had hit him. And then the soldier had woken up and done
what had to be done. He'd pulled Relena and Duo out of there, gotten Relena
to safety, and taken off with Duo. It had been just like the old days,
and his body and soul had known exactly what to do.
It was only later, when the routine of piloting the plane had taken over,
that he'd started slipping again, falling into that distant place within
his own head. From there, he hadn't seen how much pain Duo was in.
Heero understood what was happening to him. He was trained to monitor
himself, to treat his mind and body like the machinery he'd fought with.
It wasn't as if his malfunction was even very rare these days, with so
many veterans around. There was a lot of information available on depression,
dissociative disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some of it
applied to him.
He could have asked for help. Until today, he'd had a pension and full
medical coverage from the Sanc kingdom for life. There were doctors, therapists,
who specialized in those kinds of disorders.
It had taken him very little time to realize that few doctors were ready
to deal with him, however. There was such greed in their eyes when they
realized they had the Heero Yuy in their office. They had all wanted
to be the one that "cured" him. Maybe they'd get their names in the press,
or in the medical journals. Most of them were dealing with a lot of ex-soldiers
these days, so how much more difficult could he be?
He'd gone in willing to be honest. They couldn't hurt him. After all,
he knew exactly what conditioning was like, and he had no fear that anyone
could do something like that to him again. The days of getting his head
screwed with for the cause were over.
In the end, though, even the ones that had really wanted to help him didn't
seem to know how. They had all wanted to go deeper into his past than
he could go. Yes, he'd been a child terrorist. Yes, he'd been psychologically
conditioned at times. Yes, he'd been biologically and physiologically
tampered with. He also knew that conditioning didn't last forever. Why
did they have to try to go back so far to help him now? It was useless.
What name were you born with?
I don't know.
Where were you born?
I don't know.
Tell me the earliest memory you can recall right now.
Field stripping a rifle. It was snowing and I kept dropping the parts
because my fingers were so cold.
Where were you when this happened?
I don't know.
And the sessions usually ended after a few like that. He could not be
hypnotized, and, whether he intended to or not, he treated drug therapy
sessions like interrogations and said nothing. After awhile, they didn't
know what to say to him any more, and he'd stopped going. One doctor after
All of that had happened after he'd left the Preventers. A brief fling
with the psychs, perhaps a year, and then nothing. Self-analysis hadn't
helped. He'd had no real contact with the other pilots, so he had no idea
if they were going through the same thing or not.
The other pilots had lives to go back to, or to reconstruct. Chang and
Winner had been something before they ever heard of Operation Meteor.
Barton might or might not be Catherine Bloom's long-lost brother, but
she was willing to give him a home and a trade either way.
Duo had landed on his feet, of course. He'd taken advantage of the situation
and gotten the kind of education a street kid would never have had a shot
at. He was Doctor Maxwell now, and that had to be worth something.
In Heero's world, the doctors had always been the ones who made things
Heero had the same skills he'd always had. Finding somewhere within the
limits of peacetime to use them was the trick. He'd assumed that Preventers
would naturally be the place for him, but that had turned out badly. He
was supposed to be a bad-assed, cold-blooded assassin, and Preventers
was happy to have him be just that, as long as they could aim him at their
There had been an incident. He'd resigned without notice, turning in his
gear and walking away the same day.
After that, there'd been... opportunities put in his way. Nothing quite
illegal. Nothing quite legal, either. He'd found he was comfortable working
in the gray areas. It was familiar. Peacetime didn't make any special
demands on him, or open doors for him. He was the same Heero, doing the
same things. There weren't any explosions now, and no call for self-destruction,
but there weren't any causes anymore, either.
Everything had changed but him.
He was still just who he was.
And better off that way.
Yet here he was, responsible for Duo. He didn't have to be: he could just
walk away, right now. Alone, he could be a ghost. They wouldn't catch
him if they spent the rest of their lives looking for him. But there was
Duo had something. Duo had made the world accept him, and carved out a
life for himself. He didn't deserve to have it all taken away like this.
Heero didn't even own anything worth going back for. Everything of remote
value to him was in the battered backpack he was carrying. He'd brought
it with him to the brunch because his business data was never going to
be safer anywhere else than with him. He hadn't even given it a thought.
Now that it was all he had left, it still didn't rate much attention.
He understood this kind of life. He wasn't sure if Duo did anymore. Lists
of tactical considerations unreeled in his head, for keeping a comrade
of proven value with him, and for abandoning the wounded man as a liability.
None of it really mattered. He'd already made his decision. He would do
what he had to in order to get both of them out of this situation. He
chose to be responsible. It was almost like repaying a debt.
Absently, he touched his cheek where Duo's blood had sprayed him. It was
long gone, of course, but the moment when it had struck was vivid in his
memory. Everything had shifted, gone from a stream of incoming data to
a flood of sensation and memory and... and... need. It was like
flipping a switch over. Sudden fear had gotten him moving. Something like
outrage had taken him the rest of the way. He was not going to
see Duo wounded again, and it hadn't mattered why he suddenly cared.
He'd saved Relena by reflex. It was what he'd always done, so he did it
on the way out. At least that had gone the way it usually did.
He'd failed Duo, though, hadn't he?
Heero shook his head slightly, trying to bring himself back. He had to
go deal with Zechs now.
To his dismay, he realized that he was already standing at the steps up
to the deck. His hand was on the rail, but he was simply standing there,
staring at the weather-stained wood. His stomach sank as he looked up,
knowing already that Zechs was standing there, watching him.
He told Zechs the truth. There wasn't much point in doing otherwise. If
Zechs tried to turn them in, Heero would prevent it. Somehow.
It was unfortunate that he was the one having to talk to Zechs. He needed
his cooperation, if only for Duo's sake. He didn't want to kill the man.
Zechs was someone from his old life, and someone he could count on to
hold to his word. Or at least he had been.
Duo could talk anyone into anything. He should have been the one standing
there, leaning against the rail and listening to the ocean as he waited
for Zechs' decision.
They had gone over everything Heero knew, which wasn't much, and reviewed
the situation as it stood now. Zechs had been relieved to find that Yuy's
account of the brunch from hell tallied with Duo's. It took away a level
of complexity he didn't particularly want to deal with.
Heero was waiting as Zechs thought over what he'd said. The man did not
look well, though his gaze was still sharp and his questions had been
intelligent. The wind had teased apart his unbound braid, and pale strands
of it shaded his face now. Heero was having a little problem keeping his
focus as he watched that white blonde hair move gently across tanned skin.
The contrast pulled at his attention.
"How did you know I was here?" Zechs asked, grateful for the cool breeze
in his face. There was a slight delay before Heero answered, and Zechs
filed that away. There was something unsettled about the man, something
just slightly off-balance. He didn't think it was simply the events of
the day. This was Heero Yuy, after all.
"I didn't. I wouldn't be your guest if I'd had a choice," Heero said.
"Duo was wounded and I… I didn't realize the extent of his injuries. There
wasn't much choice after that. This seemed secure enough, given the circumstances."
Zechs noted the hesitation and the faint flush that accompanied his mention
of Duo. "So, considering that I just found out about this place myself,
how did you know where it was?"
"I found your hidden bank accounts, Your Serene Highness. Four of them.
One of them had an interesting history: two big deposits, one 20 years
ago and one recently. Monthly payments had been made regularly for all
that time. It didn't take much to find out where they were going, and
once I did, I cracked satellite surveillance long enough to show me the
Heero's tone was plain and non-committal. The use of Zechs' title had
been only to emphasize the age of the accounts and how well-hidden they'd
"And why were you digging through my accounts?" No outrage there, just
cool and collected. For one thing, if Yuy had only found four of them,
Zechs was still well ahead in this particular game.
"Someone hired you to see if I was on more than one payroll," Zechs said.
It wasn't a great leap of deduction. Considering the number of people
who wanted him dead, the number of those who didn't trust him must be
exponentially larger. Except when he was drunk and maudlin, it didn't
particularly bother him.
Heero said nothing. Zechs hadn't really expected him to. It appeared that
the rumors about Yuy freelancing were true. He didn't hold it against
him, particularly. A man had to eat, after all.
From the very little Zechs had heard over the last couple of years, he
guessed Yuy wasn't having a very easy time adjusting to life after war.
There had been also been rumors about his sudden departure from Preventers,
but nothing concrete. After a war of such magnitude, one flaky Gundam
pilot wasn't quite enough to keep the public attention for long. What
"So what do you want from me?" Zechs asked, finally stating the question.
Heero knew what he had to say, even if he didn't like it. Duo's condition
was his fault. The entire thing was his fault, maybe; if he'd been on
top of things, he would've known what was going to happen at Relena's
little gathering. He should've seen it coming.
"I would like to stay here for at least 24 hours. I need some time...
to see how far this has all gone. I need to see if there's still an option
to go off-world or not," he said.
"What about Duo?"
"He will recover."
"That's not what I meant," Zechs said.
Heero hesitated a moment before going ahead. "I don't... know him very
well. I don't know what he wants to do now. He needs time to heal."
So, Zechs thought, they are together only by accident and for convenience,
as they said. Interesting.
A small voice in the back of his head asked why he was happy about that
particular fact. It was small enough to ignore for now.
"Does anyone else know about the house?" he asked. It seemed like a more
important question at the moment than who Yuy's client had been, and he
doubted he'd get that name out of the young man anyway.
"Not that I'm aware of," Heero said. "I hadn't concluded my investigation,
so no report was made."
"Where's your data?"
Heero jerked a thumb at the ratty backpack, and Zechs smiled. Of course
the man wouldn't leave it behind, even when he thought he was just spending
the morning at an informal brunch.
Zechs scrubbed his face with his hands, wondering idly why everything
in his life had to be so damned dramatic. He hadn't had a breakdown: he'd
gone insane and tried to destroy the planet. He hadn't had a bad relationship:
he'd had Treize. Now, he didn't have guests: he had wounded, unstable
fugitives drop in on him while he was considering suicide. Really, was
The choices ahead of them went unspoken, but they both understood. Zechs
could allow them to stay, or not. Heero could use violence to get his
way, or not. Soldiers both, they faced up to it.
Harboring these two was going to get both himself and Relena in trouble,
if anyone ever found out about it. It could be the excuse needed to pry
Relena out of office and probably land Zechs back in prison. Yet if he
turned them away, assuming Yuy would even abide by that, he wouldn't be
able to live with himself later.
"You can stay for a while," he said, before he was aware he'd actually
made the decision. "Duo needs care, but I think you and I have enough
training to cover it, if you have the supplies. I'm not exactly the best
host you could have found, but there's room here, and time to figure this
Heero nodded sharply, just once, as if he'd received important data. A
few moments passed before he blinked and looked up to meet Zechs' bloodshot
yet blue eyes. "Thank you."
Zechs nodded in return, noticing the slightly glazed look on the other
man's face, as if he was suddenly distracted by something important. Stress,
he thought, or just fatigue. It had been a hell of a day for both Yuy
And he wasn't doing too hot himself, really. The morning was turning into
yet another astonishingly beautiful day, and the whole thing was making
him badly want to throw up. His head had begun throbbing again, in time
with the surf. He had a growing suspicion that he wasn't going to be lucid
all that much longer.
"Duo's trying to sleep," he said, waving vaguely in the right direction.
"There's more than enough of everything here, except food and contact
with the rest of the world. Pick a room and haul some furniture out of
storage for yourself."
"Hn. What are you going to do?"
Caution, or suspicion, had been carefully excised from Heero's tone before
he asked that question.
It made Zechs laugh for some reason.
"Well, fuck, Yuy. I have two fugitives in my house and a hangover that's
bad enough to be some form of karmic retribution. What do you think I'm
Dark blue eyes measured him, but Heero hesitated. There was any number
of useful things to do. The first thing would be to care for Duo, and
after that it would be a good idea to inventory their assets and then
try to establish a link to the news nets. But what would Zechs do, given
the parameters he had just stated?
"Okay, strike that," Zechs said after a few moments, taking pity on him.
"What would a normal person do?"
He realized after he said it that Yuy probably had no idea what normal
people did at any time, much less in situations like this. He was about
to take back the whole question when the man surprised him.
"Take a nap?" Heero ventured, unaware of how uncertain he sounded. It
seemed like a somewhat reasonable idea. Zechs was certainly still a capable
soldier, and seemed confident in his skills. Perhaps the idea of having
the two of them there didn't worry him.
Zechs grinned, utterly charmed by that moment of insecurity in the so-called
Perfect Soldier. He had no idea why, and he didn't care, but it amused
Truth be told, though, that flash of teeth didn't turn out to be the most
pleasant expression. It matched his next words quite well. "Exactly. Wake
me up and I'll kill you both. Are we clear?"
"Clear," Heero said, blinking at him for a second before the shadow of
a smirk crossed his lips.
"Good," Zechs said, walking towards the door. "Make yourselves at home.
Just do it quietly."
With that he was gone, leaving Heero to stand there blinking uncertainly.
Why exactly was Zechs letting them stay? Taking a nap now wasn't actually
a logical decision, was it? Why exactly was Zechs here in the first place?
A dozen unasked questions cascaded through his mind.
At the moment, though, the object of his confusion was already inside,
and their conversation was apparently over.
Unaware of Zechs' night of absinthe -fueled dreams and suicidal thoughts,
Heero hefted his backpack and the supplies and followed him inside. This
wasn't a perfect arrangement, but at least he didn't have to kill Zechs
now. He hadn't wanted to, but he couldn't let Duo be taken into custody.
Not after failing him so badly already.
Given the situation, he supposed he'd done alright just now. They had
shelter, at least. Zechs might be an occasional psycho, but at the moment,
Heero didn't think they had much room for complaints.
And Heero was fresh out of other options.
[chap. 2] [chap. 4] [back
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