Pairings: background 3+4, past 1+2, not a lot in the actual story, for
some very good reasons.
Warnings: background yaoi
Category: Drama, AU, angst (fingers crossed)
Disclaimer: Don't own Gundam Wing.
Notes: This is labelled teaser because I have no idea how long it will
take me to get the next part out -- Uni is being cruel.
Implausible + Part 1
It was a situation Heero was
not comfortable with.
He did not, like Quatre hesitantly admitted, find J unnerving, strange
as the man was. It had been over a year since he had made personal contact
with his scientist, although there had been a constant, if sporadic, stream
of communication on the form of mission data. Meeting J in person was
just too risky.
But to be meeting not one, but two of the scientists for reasons as yet
undisclosed -- The thought that this was a trap had occurred to
him. Heero studied G thoughtfully. The man was not by any means quiet,
keeping up a stream of sly comments that punctuated J's remarks, and seemed
to possess meanings unknown to him. Heero did not like him, not in the
He was disappointed. Idly, ignoring the scientists' chit-chat, Heero tried
to pin point why. After all, he'd never met G before, all he knew about
him had been the occasional off-hand comment from Duo --
There was no similarity between professor and student. Where G was repulsive
and calculating, Duo was kind and welcoming. Duo's ways, his attitudes,
his smiles, all these were absent from G -- and that was what disappointed
him, realised Wing's pilot. He'd been hoping to see something of Duo --
something to remember him by --
Heero shut his eyes.
It was still too hard to believe, hurt too much. He refused to give up
hope though, making up two beds in every safe house they went to, awaiting
the return of Deathscythe's pilot. The others had made no comment, although
one of them had added an MIA to Duo's file. He didn't want to know who
had done that --
Not when there was still the chance he was alive.
If only they'd been able to decode that message --
"I think you'll agree Heero, the situation is serious," J stated
Heero blinked, quickly running over the last few minutes of the conversation
-- OZ's growing power in the wake of Duo's disappearance, the pilots
inability to decipher the encrypted disk that had been Duo's last message
and most worrying, the knowledge that it had not been OZ that had taken
"Yes," he said, not batting an eye-lid.
"G believes that our priority at the moment should be finding his
protégé -- "
"Without Deathscythe the Gundams are understaffed. It would take
too long to train another pilot, we need Duo back."
"And if he is dead?"
Heero clenched his fists, ready to swing at his trainer.
G glared at J angrily. "I did not raise Duo to curl up and die at
the first sign of trouble. You saw the code he used -- your own
pupil can't break it! He must have had time to work that out, he obviously
had a plan in mind. If we could break the code -- "
"I will break it," Heero said. "I just need time."
Given time he could break any code, Duo's was no different, despite the
way it was wired -- a series of security walls surrounded the information,
and had so far proven impervious.
"Time we don't have," J remarked. "OZ isn't going to take
a hiatus while we work this out."
"Which makes my suggestion the best we've got," G said.
"You call that a suggestion? It's more like a fantasy! It's got more
holes in it than Swiss Cheese!"
"It's worth a try." G said, standing. "Well, time to get
on with this, I think."
Heero followed the two scientists (who squabbled the rest of the way)
into a lab that looked vaguely familiar. "This is the Wepeca Institute,
"Very good, Heero," J said. "See G, he remembered."
G muttered something that sounded like 'Big whoop' and Heero wondered
if he wasn't more similar to Duo then he first appeared.
"Wepeca was on the brink of a breakthrough in the field of astral-
physics and were on the verge of accomplishing what had, up to that point,
been considered merely theoretical knowledge. Unfortunately, although
not allied with OZ, they were successful enough to attract their attention
with the unfortunate result that the entire compound was virtually taken
prisoner. You know the rest."
"Mission," Heero recited. "Destroy base, wiping out all
trace of experiments."
"I understand Duo took the part of destroying the information while
you destroyed their security settings and blew up the main labs,"
G said, adjusting the settings on what looked like a heart monitor of
some sort. "He didn't happen to mention what he found, did he?"
"Hn," Heero said.
Actually Duo had been trying very excitedly to tell him something about
the data in the computer -- "You won't believe this, Hee-chan!
It's like a science fiction movie!" -- but he'd been too concerned
with completing the mission. He'd said Duo could tell him after they got
out of the base -- but they'd had other missions.
And now Duo was gone.
"It's fascinating! Absolutely incredible! And it works! I'd never
believed that this could be possible, although well familiar with the
theory of course -- "
"G, just do it."
"Of course. Do you have the papers?"
J held up a bunch of forms.
"Brilliant. Then here we go!"
G pushed a couple of buttons and stood back.
Heero frowned, wondering if he should point this out to the doctors when
suddenly the floor bucked violently and the whole room seemed to spin,
coming just as violently to a halt.
"Hold tight, Heero!" J said, just as it ended.
Now he tells me, Heero thought gloomily, unplastering himself from the
wall he'd been thrown against.
"We need to put these on," G handed them both clear plastic
tags, labelled 'Visitor: Approved.'
"Where are we going?" Heero asked, hesitantly fixing the tag
to the front of his suit as he saw J doing.
"The L2 cluster," J said with a smirk. "LA-8347 to be exact."
"But -- " Heero frowned. His laptop with his mission
information was back at Quatre's still -- he needed it if he was
to be working on Duo's code -- "My stuff -- "
"We'll be back before you know it," G said absently, one eye
to the door. "All clear." He stepped out of the room quickly,
followed by J and Heero.
They were outside, standing on the roadside of a very dirty road. There
were a couple of beaten up cars parked by them, rubbish and dust everywhere
and a very, very hot sun beating down on them. There was only one door
out of the room, but this was not the way they came in.
"Hn," said Heero.
"I'll have to admit," G said to J, "Yours does have a remarkable
self control. Duo would be going out of his mind at this point."
"Well your pupil could be excused for his lack of discipline,"
J shot back. "After all, you never had any self control."
"I resent that remark! It is most unsolicited," G snapped.
"Do I have to remind you of your flawless rendition of the 'I'm a
Lumberjack Song' at the last 'Mad Scientists Annual Get Together and Social
Heero blinked. He was sure he had not heard that.
"Anyway, Heero, we must get going. Appointment, you know," J
said, and they started walking.
If they weren't going to tell him, then he wasn't going to ask. Although
it was childish, Heero felt better upon making that resolution and instead
studied the road they were walking down. It was definitely situated in
a lower economic area -- probably as low as you could go. The houses
were built out of board and loose aluminium, the people sitting outside
or cooking in cans over small fires were dirty, giving them hostile, suspicious
glances as they passed. J and G ignored the people they passed, stopping
"Heero, I know what this looks like -- but don't attack. We
are outnumbered in unfamiliar territory -- don't draw attention
Heero pondered the strange request before noticing the patrol of OZ soldiers
in ornate uniform walking down the street. People got out of their way,
quickly. The scientists pulled Heero over to the side of the road with
them but did not do more than that. Heero grew more concerned as the patrol
neared. The scientist and he had their pictures plastered through every
OZ base on earth and in space --
"Relax Heero. We've got all the clearance we need," J said nodding
to the leader of the patrol as he passed.
The man gave their badges a cursory glance and passed on, the rest of
the patrol following him.
"What just happened?" Heero asked.
"You've probably noticed that things are not . . . normal,"
J said as they resumed their journey. "There is an explanation."
"It's quite simple really. You've heard of parallel universes?"
G said. "Welcome to one."
"You're kidding," Heero said flatly.
"No. Wepeca had just come up with this when OZ found them,"
J said. "Of course it is highly unstable so we won't be staying longer
than necessary to obtain our objective."
"Our objective?" Heero asked. He was taking this well, mainly
because he'd decided fulfilling the mission, whatever it was, came first.
There would be time later to worry over whether this was actually happening.
"The retrireview of a weapon essential to winning the war against
OZ," G said. "Almost there."
"By the way," J said, "In this universe, the war broke
out ten years earlier than in our world. OZ won and keeps the colonies
under authoritarian rule."
Heero looked at his master startled. "If OZ won, why are we even
here? There's no point if they'll just defeat us -- "
"They've won here, where there were no Gundam pilots to resist them,"
J snapped. "If anything this just makes the success of this mission
all the more crucial."
"We're here," G said. "Oh, Heero? I'm a wealthy if eccentric
businessman, J's my partner and you're his heir, okay?" Heero blinked.
"That's the spirit." G rang a doorbell and they waited.
After a few minutes the door was opened a crack, and a grubby but suspicious
face peered up at them. "What?"
J bent down to the child's level. "We're here to visit Father Maxwell.
Is he around?"
Heero had to give the child credit -- face to face with J and it
(gender was so far undetermined) didn't even flinch. "Maybe."
"Would you go and fetch him for us?"
The child shrugged and shut the door in their faces.
"Charming," J replied. "What do we do now?"
After a good fifteen minutes the door was opened again by a slightly flustered
and out of breath clergyman. "Come in, come in, I'm sorry about the
delay. The children only just told me you were waiting -- I hope
you haven't been here long -- "
"Not at all," J said.
"We'd like to get down to business," G said. "We don't
have long here, you see."
"Oh, of course. I'm Father Maxwell, pleasure to be of service. What
business is this exactly? I understood the next rent payment wasn't for
another week -- "
"We're here to adopt one of your charges," G said. "Or
rather, I am. Like my colleague I am childless, and I want my estate and
enormous wealth to go to someone when I die. With that in mind, I'd like
to adopt an heir."
"Well, I'm only too happy to introduce you to the children. They're
at playtime at the moment, so I'll look at your papers, and then see if
we can't narrow down what you're looking for. My office is this way."
They passed several more grubby children on the way to the office. The
orphanage was obviously straining its resources -- and there were
far more kids then staff. The kids themselves though -- they laughed
and ran around with all the appearance of enjoying themselves, despite
the fact that their clothes were worn, and they were little more than
skin and bones. Heero was surprised by this. Father Maxwell's office was
inhabited by a sticky toddler, who attached itself to the clergyman's
robes and refused to relinquish them upon sight of the strangers. It remained
fastened to him, a wary eye on Heero and the scientists as the priest
read through the adoption papers.
"Well everything appears to be all right," Father Maxwell said.
"Now, do you have any idea of what age or gender child you want to
"Boy," G said. "I'm not too particular on age, but he's
got to be adaptable, intelligent and show initiative."
"I'm sure you'll find many of our wards here meet that description."
A bell went and Father Maxwell smiled. "That's the afternoon tea
bell. We'll join them in the dining hall."
The dining hall was remarkably silent. Heero was surprised at that until
he noticed why -- the kids were all intent on eating their food
before it got stolen by one of the others.
"Wander round and talk to the kids," Father Maxwell said vaguely,
trying to pull the sticky toddler off his robes. "They're all quite
used to strangers."
"Thank-you," G set off round the dining hall, J and Heero following
him. The kids gave them speculative glances or ignored them. Heero wondered
what G was looking for exactly -- and then his gaze slid over a
nearby table --
-- and a long chestnut braid hanging down the back of one of the
table's occupants --
"Ah-hah!" G crowed triumphantly. "Found him."
He went and sat down at the table. The children eyed him suspiciously
at first but the production of a bag of candy seemed to magically produce
Heero hung back.
This did not fit any mission parameters he had ever known and he felt
more than a little uncomfortable. For one thing he was very much out of
his element. Generally Heero avoided little children. For one thing they
were inclined to do incomprehensible things (as far as Heero knew he had
never been one). And they dribbled, were noisy, had no concept of rational
He glared suspiciously as a group of children at the table next to him
broke out into giggles. In short, they inhabited a world he knew nothing
Secondly -- well J's training had failed to cover what to do when
you are brought to a parallel universe in order to replace one of your
colleagues, with whom you, incidentally, are somewhat emotionally involved,
with his 9 year old self.
J prodded him. "Try to appear more interested. We don't want to look
Heero took a deep breath and nodded. He followed J over to where the scientist
was chatting with the children.
"No, I didn't tell a lot of lies when I was little. My nose just
happens to look this way," G was explaining.
The kids eyed him sceptically. "But that's not really your hair,
"What happened? Did your hairdresser go insane or something?"
"It's a wig, right?"
One of the kids snickered. "Send whoever does your hair over here.
Duo really needs a trim. Get rid of that stupid plait -- snip,
"You're the one who needs a trim," the nine-year old replied,
unperturbed. "From your neck up."
The other kids snickered, and the boy who'd insulted Duo's plait went
"Oh yeah?" he said. "Well see how you feel about your plait
He lunged forward to tug on Duo's plait but Duo, obviously expecting this,
ducked out of the way. The two of them tried to shove the other off the
seat, while the other kids returned to pestering the scientists with questions.
"Do you have to use hair spray to get it to do that?"
"What do you do when you want to wear a hat?"
"What happened to your eyes?"
Heero's unease grew as the scientists continued to field questions. There
was a little girl who would keep looking at him, even though he had glared
at her quite strongly. Moreover, the kid sitting beside him had a disturbing
habit of spraying whenever he laughed. Heero did not have a lot of knowledge
on the subject, but he was sure little children were a cesspool of festering
diseases and viruses waiting for the right moment to pounce. They were
always getting illnesses -- chicken pox and measles and mumps and
things like that. Heero wondered if the Orphanage stocked gas masks.
"You're not looking for a kid of your own," the other-Duo said,
attracting Heero's attention. "Are you?"
"You're very perceptive," G said.
Duo glowed. "You're very old."
J coughed. "As it happens, my colleague here is thinking of picking
one of the children here as his heir."
"Don't you have any?" one of the littler kids at the table piped
up to general ridicule. "How do you hear?"
"Not that kind of ear, silly," Duo said. "Heir. It's the
person you pick who gets your stuff once you die."
"You better pick someone fast," the orphan who had picked the
fight with Duo remarked. "Ya don't look like you got much time left."
G chose to ignore that. "You seem a bright spark. What's your name,
"It's nice to meet you, Duo."
The bell rang then and the kids were shooed off to various pastimes by
a blonde haired lady. She came over to the scientists and Heero. "Hello
there. I'm Sister Helen. Father Maxwell tells me you're thinking of adopting
one of our children?"
"That's right," G said. "I've just been having a most interesting
discussion with several of your charges."
"Oh dear. I hope they weren't too impolite. You mustn't mind them,
they all have perfectly good manners, they just don't use them."
"I'm a great believer in letting children be children," G said.
"I found them all perfectly charming. In fact, I can see it will
be hard to pick just one child!"
"Oh yes, it's a very hard choice," Sister Helen sat down. "Most
prospective parents find that once they've made a few visits and talked
to a lot of the children, they find there is one that just seems to fit
"As a matter of fact," G said, so much as if he was having to
think of it that Heero was impressed -- he'd never realised the
scientists were capable of acting -- "There was one child
that seemed to stand out."
"Oh, yes?" Sister Helen said interestedly. "If you can
tell me who I can arrange a further meeting with the child right now."
"His name, I believe, was Duo."
There was silence.
Heero was surprised enough to look up into Sister Helen's face. He couldn't
quite read the emotion there, but he thought he saw dismay, before all
was gone, and Sister Helen said in a determined tone, "Not Duo. I'm
afraid that's quite impossible!"
"Oh, and why is that?" G asked.
"Duo has been adopted on several occasions, and each time he has
been sent back to the orphanage. He grew up on the streets, you see, and
is something of a handful." There was something else behind her words.
Heero knew very well what it was -- fear.
"That wouldn't worry me!" G waved a hand. "I have very
capable staff who I'm sure would provide adequate care for a young boy."
"Duo is a very social child who requires a lot of attention. He is
not the sort of child one can confidently leave to his own devices,"
"I'm planning on hiring a nanny-governess to act as a companion for
him while I am at work. There's also Heero here, who will provide another
source of company."
Helen gave Heero a rather doubtful look. "I'm not sure if that's
enough. He needs the companionship of his peers -- "
"There's something else though, isn't there?" Heero said. "What
aren't you telling us?"
Helen stared at them, then abruptly nodded. "An adoption suit was
filed on Duo's behalf last week. It's still being processed but we have
every reason to believe it will be successful."
"Suits can be cancelled," G said.
Helen frowned at him. "I see no reason why this one should be."
"And why not? The resources I have at my disposal are quite considerable
-- I find it hard to believe anyone could match the chances I offer
"There is no denying that you offer great prospects for Duo materially,"
the Nun acknowledged coolly. "But I believe there is no- one less
capable of providing for his happiness. Duo needs the attention and love
of his future parents -- and I have seen nothing that convinces
me that you would be able to provide for that."
"And why are you so sure that these other potential parents can?"
J asked. "You know no more about them, than we do."
"As a matter of fact," Helen snapped. "The people adopting
Duo are none other than Father Maxwell and myself. I'm sorry, but you
will just have to chose another child." She stood. "I must go
to the kitchens now, gentlemen, but I'm sure Father Maxwell will be only
too happy to introduce you to some suitable candidates." She stalked
out of the room without another word.
"Well," G said.
"That was a waste of time," J said. "I told you we should
have done it my way from the start."
"All is not lost. Let's find Duo again," G led the way down
the corridor. Duo was found involved in what was ostensibly a choir practice,
but that seemed to involve an awful lot of pushing and teasing.
G walked over to the harassed looking piano player. "Might I borrow
Duo a moment?" he asked. "Sister Helen has given us permission
to talk to him."
The pianist did not notice the blatant lie. "Duo, accompany the gentlemen,
The other-Duo joined them. "What do you want?" he asked warily.
"Just to get to know you a bit," G said. "Come along, Duo,
we thought we'd take you into town to buy ice-creams as a treat."
"Ice-creams? As in more than one?" Duo was enchanted.
Heero snorted softly. Among the many confused and sad feelings in his
stomach was growing one of resentment -- this was not his Duo.
"If you think you can eat more than one," G said, taking the
Duo was happy enough to be led towards the Orphanage Gate. The subject
of ice-cream was enough to occupy him -- until one of the little
girls saw him going and kicked up a wail.
"Duo! You can't get adopted -- you said you'd help me with
"That's Elsie," Duo said. "I'll just go and tell her I'll
"No time," G said, hurrying him onwards.
Duo stumbled as he was all but dragged forward. His feet stabbed ineffectively
for a hold in the dirt as he realised something was wrong. "Let me
G had to stop as Duo tried to wrestle free. "None of that!"
He seized the child's wrist even tighter.
"No! I don't want to go with you!" Duo fought the best he could.
Managing to break G's hold on his wrist -- only to be grasped even
tighter by J.
The little girl screamed and ran towards the main building. "Sister
Helen! Father Maxwell! The scary old men are hurting Duo!"
J cursed. "So much for doing it your way. Well? What are you waiting
"Can't you hold him still?" G demanded peevishly. "This
is hard to administer as it is -- " Heero saw with a start
there was a syringe in his hand.
The other-Duo saw it too and kicked harder. It was to no avail. He cried
out in pain as G gave him the injection.
"Let's go," J said hurriedly.
Their return through the streets was done in haste. The child had ceased
struggling, Heero, walking behind J could not determine more of his condition
until the reached the room and began their preparations to leave.
"Hold him," J said, passing his load to Heero, and joining G
at the controls. "What are our return co-ordinates?"
"If I've told you once -- " the scientists started squabbling
Heero glanced down at the still form he held. He had grave doubts about
this. The child was docile now, thanks to whatever drug he'd been given
-- but he had not been so at the Orphanage. This stillness was
not his usual behaviour -- and it gave Heero the opportunity to
make some observations.
He was surprised how light his burden was. And how fragile -- he
was sure he could break one of those flimsy wrists without trying. And
yet -- he remembered Duo's strength and capability -- this
wasn't right. Heero almost lost his fragile load as the room abruptly
shifted around him. He was just prepared enough to wedge himself against
the wall until the room settled down again.
"Well Heero, this is the town near your current safehouse. We suggest
you get a motel room and wait for the child to sleep of the effects of
the drug -- a couple of hours -- before taking him back.
You might want to pick up some clothes for him on the way -- The
L2 cluster generally has mild temperatures, he won't be used to the cold."
Heero looked at them in alarm. "You're not leaving him with me?"
"Of course! You need him -- you should be able to use him
to crack Duo's code. Now we have to run -- we're on our way to
the Mad Scientists Annual General Meeting and if we're late they might
elect O in charge of the social events -- "
"That would be a tragedy. I'll expect a full mission report later
"But -- " The perfect soldier found himself shoved from the room
and had the door shut in his face. When he tried to re-enter the room
he found it locked -- and by the time he broke the lock and opened
the door again he found himself looking into an abandoned lab --
G and J were gone.
[part 2] [back to