Hi! This is I believe, my first post to this ML, and it had to be cross post at that -- my apologies! Anyway, here it is: a 1+2 I wrote as a gift to Asuka, a writer/artist I admire beaucoup. Here it is:
Title: Heist
Author: girl_starfish
Pairing: 1+2
Rating: Pg/pg13
Disclaimer: I do not own GW, do not make a profit, etc.

The Heist

Heero

I leaned back against the doorframe as I watched J get ready for the meeting he was set to attend that night. The scientist tied his tie precisely, watching himself in the mirror to ensure the knot was symmetrical.

"Are you sure you don't want to come, Heero? The speaker will be good, one of your lecturers at the Institute, I believe."

"Then I guess I'll see him there," I said.

"I wish I knew what's gotten into you, I really do. This disaffection towards life is really most unbecoming. Especially considering you're lucky to have a life at all," J said, not even bothering to look up.

That irked me.

"Some life."

"This has got to stop. Come here, Heero." J put down his tie. I obeyed reluctantly. "Take your shirt off."

Not this again. I took my time with the buttons, undoing each as slowly as I dared with J standing over me, drumming his fingers impatiently.

"There," he said. "Look in the mirror. Tell me, what do you see?"

I stared silently at my reflection. A pale boy stared back, with an expression even I had to admit was pretty emotionless. Shoulders up, he looked like any other human. Below that, however . . . my wiring was evident under my thin skin. Over my left lung was embedded the control panel that monitored my vital functions, the little green light that indicated everything was functioning fine flickering merrily away. My left arm . . . just below the elbow skin pared away to reveal metal, the hooked arm J had installed to allow me quicker data processing and manipulation, further dispelled any notions that I was a normal human -- and put into question the fact that I was human at all.

"A miracle of science," J intoned over my shoulder. "The wreck that killed your parents -- and would have killed you to if it hadn't been for me -- science turning a tragedy into a triumph! They said it could never be done, you know. They said that you would not be able to survive, that it was impossible to fit a human entirely into a robotic body. I proved them wrong! Look at you! Greater than average IQ, incredibly fast programming and processing speed, a brain with the memory twice that of a normal computers and surpassing in accuracy that of any human -- not only that, you've been offered a place at the Kushrenada Institute. Just think of the opportunities awaiting you there!" J handed me back this shirt. "You're very lucky indeed to be in the position you're in. We'll have no more of this moping around. I expect you to be in a much better mood when I return from this meeting."

I did my own shirt up silently. J was right . . . but he shouldn't expect me to worship him. True, without him, I probably wouldn't exist, but was that so great a loss?

For the scientific community, undoubtedly. But would anyone mind the fact that I, Heero Yuy, was gone?

Only Quatre, probably.

As if reading my mind, J said, "Why don't you phone Quatre? He always puts you in a better mood. And make sure you recharge yourself." I didn't say goodbye to him, I just left the room, going into the room assigned to me to begin the lengthy process of charging my main internal battery. It wasn't difficult or anything, just something that needed to be done periodically. It took a couple of hours or so, which is why I usually put it off. Not that I had things to do or anything, I just hated being tied to one place for even an hour. It made me feel like the machine I was.

I opened the little control box on my chest and found the socket for the recharging plug to go to. I grabbed the handset for the vidphone and dialled Quatre's number.

"Hello. You have reached one of the Winner family's residences. This is Rashid speaking, how may I help?"

"Heero Yuy," I said. "I'd like to speak to Quatre."

"Of course, Mr Yuy. One moment please while I put you through to Master Quatre."

I plugged myself in while I waited.

"Hello?"

"Quatre," I said.

"Oh, hi Heero. How are you?"

"Fine."

"Recharging?"

I looked at him.

He blinked back. "You only ever phone me if J tells you to or if you're recharging," he said. "So which is it?"

"Both of the above."

He sighed. "You really do know how to boost someone's self esteem."

"Why do you need your self esteem boosted?" I asked.

"I didn't mean it like that. You take things so literally."

"It's how I was programmed."

"Oh," Quatre said. "So J's trying to tell you you're his machine again?"

"Hn?" I said.

"You always get snitty like this when he does. Ignore him. You're you. People aren't ready to see that yet -- they're so used to thinking of cyborgs as robotic servants that they don't want to accept that a human one can exist."

"Hn." I said. "Did your father buy you lessons in knowing how to say the right thing or did that come naturally?"

Quatre laughed and we discussed the Institute. Like me, Quatre was enrolled. With a rich father and a generous IQ, it would have been more surprising if he hadn't been accepted. However, while he was enthusiastic about it, I was less than impressed.

"But the courses offered there are the best in the world. You'll enjoy that. You were complaining at how basic the courses offered at our university were -- "

"Basic is not the word. Prehistoric is more accurate."

" -- so you should be looking forward to these."

"I know. It's just . . . this is what I've been doing all my life. I want to escape and explore . . . if even for a little while."

"Where would you go?" Quatre asked. "There's nothing out there."

I nodded glumly. All over the world it was the same. Mammoth cities, the skyscrapers raising high above the smog line, all interconnected like some sort of circular feed pattern. Seeing the same people every day, or at least variations on them. It was funny. Above a certain wealth marker, every seemed to act and think alike. Quatre had been a pleasant exception. As had Wufei -- although I'd only really met him briefly, last week at one of J's parties. He'd intended to give me a vidphone number but we'd been separated by one of J's friends wishing to talk to me.

"That reminds me," I said. "Did you ever manage to catch up with Wufei?"

Quatre frowned. "I did a person search on my family's databanks," he said, referring to the Winner family's record. This record was notorious for holding any information the Winner family collected in the conduct of business, or that they considered pertinent to it -- it was now the largest and most complete of its kind, and guarded zealously. Quatre and I had tried to hack into it when we were younger and failed -- the security was that good. And rightly so -- apparently governments asked the Winners for advice and information on things. "And I think I found the Chang Wufei you mean. Hang on a second -- " he leaned off screen for a few minutes, then pushed the vidphone around. "That him?"

"That's Wufei," I said, pleased.

"Well, there's a problem. He's a member of the Chang family, our age, heir to his family's fortune, like me, but little's known about him, due mainly to the fact that he keeps to himself, is arrogant and ran away from home."

I choked. "What?

"He's run away from home. No one's been able to find him -- his family have almost given up looking."

"But that's -- " I blinked. "When I met him a week ago, he didn't seem like the sort of person who would run away from home."

"Well, he's been gone over a year." Quatre frowned. "My family should be more interested in this . . . if you've encountered him, perhaps other people have? I'm going to do a cross-index search of lists of dinner party attendance and tutorials, and can you think of anything else? Perhaps medical records -- " Quatre turned back to his computer. "I'll call you back."

"Sure," I said, my mind already on other things.

Wufei -- gone, just like that. He left everything.

I envied him his freedom, even as I admired his courage. Could I take that path?

No -- I was too well known. Among the upper echelons of society I had too few friends and too little resources to find a hiding place. The only paths open to me were as J's perfect machine, the great scientific triumph, or . . .

I looked out at the balcony beyond the window. In my mind I was looking over the railing into the depths below.

Down.

Our city was built over the aging corpse of previous cities, over their pollution, their wrecks. As our pollution and needs caught up with us, we built higher, reinforcing our constructions with steel supports that made pathways between the buildings. Light glimmered down below through the cracks in our structures. When I was younger I used to peer over the balcony down below and try to imagine living in those structures like the cast offs of our society did. Sometimes I saw people down below. Once I had a conversation with some kids who'd climbed up the metal supports to see the sky. They asked me to drop them some food and wanted to know if I'd seen the moon. After noticing what J termed my 'unhealthy obsession' with the downside of the city, the balcony had been fitted with an advanced lock. I'd given up trying to pick it long since.

I sighed as I stared at the lock. I'd long since given up thoughts of living in the dark. The balcony held a different sort of fascination for me now. Imagine the feeling of freedom of standing on the edge and jumping and of ending it all . . . for a few moments flying and then, nothing . . . nothing.

Anything was better than the life J had planned out for me.

My eyes wandered over the balcony again as I pondered marching up to J and telling him I was handing in my resignation. I smirked at the thought. Amusing, yes, but it probably would have no effect -- I blinked.

I rubbed at my eyes then opened them, and blinked again. It looked, to all appearances, like a hand had just grasped the railing. It was followed by another.

As I stared at this unprecedented development, the thought crossed my mind that I should probably tell someone. I didn't. I sat on the bed and watched as the two hands were followed by a body, and then as the body swung itself over the railing and landed, rather clumsily on the balcony.

He stood, rubbing his backside, and I saw to my astonishment that he was about my age, of a skinny build. His clothes were battered, and unlike anything I'd seen upside, a black singlet, and trousers that appeared to be made out of pockets. His hair -- he had so much of it -- was in a plait, and his hands were covered to his wrists in gloves resembling those we'd worn during rock climbing simulations in gym class. My inventory took seconds as he moved again, heading over to examine the lock on the door.

It was a shame, I reflected, that he wouldn't be able to open it. I had a feeling he would have been fascinating to talk to -- From one of his many pockets he pulled out a strange looking data pad. He attached it to the lock's drive, and stepped back, drumming his fingers impatiently. After a moment there was a bright flash. The lock clicked and then fell open.

And then simply he was in my room.

~*~*~*~*~*~


[cont]