by Dyna Dee
Heero Yuy, Savior to the World, as some people had labeled him after the wars, now lay dressed all in black and on his belly, hidden behind the arch of a residential roof that bordered the subject's home. With binoculars in hand as well as a tracking device, he awaited to activate his homing beacon to begin his routine surveillance for the day. Wisely biding his time, he once again flipped though the files he'd gotten from Wufei regarding the individual members of the Think Tank Five. The files were remarkably small and of little consequence. They included the five's individual academic accomplishments, records of admissions to Stanford University, copies of patents, filed income tax records, donations to charities, etc. They were unbelievably the most upstanding group of young men he'd ever encountered, and none of them seemed to have any major vices. Two were married, one with a child, and both with children on the way. Another was dating an actress, (maybe that could be considered a vice) and the other two had live-in girlfriends. Each lived in high security mansions in or near L.A. with body guards cautiously watching their backs. They each had separate offices in the large and well guarded TTF building in downtown L.A, though worked closely together and got along as best friends. Amazingly, even the girlfriends and wives all seemed to get along.
Heero scratched his head in wonder and disbelief. There had to be something wrong. Nothing and no one was this perfect. He looked at their photos from high school and then to the magazine photos. Somehow, these awkward, gangly nerds were transformed into successful, poised, mature, and accomplished businessmen. They attributed their success to David Miller, the soft spoken and shy one of the group. After he had transferred to their high school in his junior year, he had befriended and united them as a group. Heero contemplated that statement. David had been much like Quatre had been for the gundam pilots during the war; uniting and quietly, gently leading them. Looking at the high school picture of David, he felt strangely drawn to the bespeckled boy. He had a heart shape face and nice mouth. They reminded him of..... NO!, he clamped down on his mind, he wouldn't go to that old wound. It still hurt. The boy's face had made a lot of changes over the years. The present picture of David Miller showed a young man with similar and ever present tinted glasses, his hair now a darker, light brown, and cut shorter, and his face had become more angular. It made him look quite different, but similar.
Positioned on black shingles of the home that was left vacant during the day, he again took up his binoculars. David Miller was his last surveillance and report to turn in. In fact, he was probably the most important one of the group, the apparent leader of the five.
He sighed deeply, he'd been in L.A. for a month now on this assignment and he was anxious to return home to L4. Living like this, hidden as much as possible from other peoples' eyes and staying in various hotel rooms reminded him too much of the war. A time a place he didn't care to revisit in mind or body.
The front door opened and Heero marked the departure time in his log. Mr. Miller dressed in a suit and tie, and his girlfriend, Suzie Martin, also dressed in office wear, walked to the chauffeur driven Mercedes waiting a few feet from his front door steps and entered the open back door. A live-in body guard followed closely behind, his eyes scanning the area before he got in the front passenger side of the car. The security gate opened and they drove out. The tag he'd slipped on the car traced the car's route.
He began to pack up his equipment to follow them yet again, when he detected a new movement at the back of the house. From out of what he'd determined to be a guest house stepped another young man, one he hadn't observed before. He had shoulder length, dark blonde hair and wore sun glasses. He watched as the small-in-stature young man, he determined to be in his late teens or early twenties, stretched his lean form lazily and walked towards the large lap pool wearing mid-thigh length swim trunks and a large red towel wrapped around his neck. With his back to Heero's position, the young man drew the towel from around his neck and tossed it onto one of the deck chairs. He then removed his glasses and put on a pair of goggles. Heero appreciated the view of the slender, muscular form of the swimmer as he paused for just a moment before diving into the clear blue water. He wondered if this person was a guest or an employee. He glanced down at his tracker to acknowledge the Mercedes was heading downtown, in the direction it had taken for the last three days, straight to the TTF Corporate Headquarters. 'Boring.' he thought to himself. This guy was not only clean cut and above the board good, he was also predictable to the minute. Turning his attention back to the figure swimming gracefully in the pool, he realized that the guy was in pretty good shape as he swam lap after lap almost effortlessly. Despite being on the job, his interest was piqued as was his curiosity.
He watched until the laps were finished and the lean, tan body emerged gracefully from the water to pad over to the towel. The goggles were removed and the sunglasses were replaced. As he toweled off, Heero got a good view of the other. He determined that he was roughly 5'5" -5'6" in height. His strong, but not overly muscular shoulders tapered down to a very trim waist and slender hips. He had the typical California tan and radiated good health and vitality.
With the towel draped over his shoulder, he turned to approach the house, keyed in the entry code on a security panel to the right of the door, and entered.
Heero waited for a moment, his scanner showing the Mercedes had arrived at the TTF building on time. He could afford to wait a bit longer.
Two hours later, the back door opened and the young man exited. To Heero's surprise, he was fully dressed in jeans and a loose royal blue cotton shirt. His hair was dry and brushed and he carried a large armful of what looked to be clean laundry. Through his binoculars, the P.I. could see a resemblance between this person and David Miller. He frowned and opened the Miller file. He was an orphan, and an only child whose parents had been killed during the attack on the Nairobi military base during the first war. His only relative had been a grandmother who had died shortly after he entered Woodward. Heero inwardly winced as once again, the realities of war sat up and bit him on the ass. War had made David Miller an orphan, like so many others.
But who was this guy if not a relative?
He watched for the rest of the day as the object of his curiosity moved freely about the property. He cleaned the pool, read a couple of magazines, the studied several thick manilla folders and took notes on a legal-size pad of paper as he sat in a lounge chair on the cement deck. He took a break for lunch, which he prepared in the main house, then washed one of the cars from in the garage while rock music played from a portable music system.
Around five p.m. he entered the main house again and, through the open windows, Heero watched him as he moved about the kitchen efficiently and with familiarity as he began to prepare dinner.
Was he the resident chef?
At six thirty, the Mercedes promptly pulled up and into the open garage. The three who left that morning had returned, right on schedule. Once again through the window, Heero watched them enter and warmly greet and embrace the smaller man. Even the body guard smiled and talked at ease with him. If he was on the payroll, he wasn't just an ordinary cut-of-the-mill employee.
Still watching them, Heero observed the four as they sat and took their meal together. Ms. Martin did the dishes and the bodyguard went to his room. David and the other young man talked in the living room for an hour before the blonde stood and waved goodnight with a smile and left the house. Heero watched his fluid, almost graceful movements as he walked around the pool in the moonlight. He settled himself into a lounge chair and raised his arms above his head, pillowing it as he lay back completely to apparently study the stars above. He lay there for a good half hour before rising and returning to the cottage. An hour later, his lights went out, and the bluish light coming from some of the upper uncovered windows was evidence of his television being on.
Heero stood and popped his aching joints. He felt foolish at having watched this person all day. Something about him was intriguing, almost.... compelling. He hadn't felt drawn to or curious about a person like this since..... 'No, not there', he reprimanded himself before his thoughts could go back to that painful time and place.
He silently left the roof top and the neighbor's yard, easily avoiding any detection from the newly arrived inhabitants. Walking down the street, several blocks to his car, he decided to pick up some food from a fast food drive-through, then took it to his nearby motel and tried to put his feelings and questions away for the night.
He found himself back at the Miller house the next four days, silently castigating himself for the unexplained and growing fascination he felt for the pool guy, or whatever he was. It was a puzzle, and he just couldn't quite figure it out. He wasn't a relative, nor an employee, he decided. At least he didn't think so, and yet each day, his living pattern stayed relatively the same as the first day. The main variation was after his morning swim, he would stay in the Miller house for as little as two hours, and sometimes up to six. He ate, laughed with the others in the main house, and seemed friendly and completely at home. In fact, as he continued to watch the interaction between the four inhabitants of the house, he got the impression that Mr. Miller valued this person's opinion as he stopped, listened intently to whatever he said, and nodded his head respectfully to what the blonde said to him. It seemed that David Miller held this person in high esteem.
Heero's curiosity had finally gotten the best of him. He felt frustrated that he couldn't figure out the dynamics of the relationships viewed through the binoculars. This led him to the decision that, in the morning, he was going to go in, using his well-honed stealth skills and get to the bottom of this mystery.
On the morning of the fifth day, Heero breeched the excellent security system and hid behind some bushes that lined the fence in the back area of the house. The swimmer had risen earlier and Miss Martin stuck her head out of the door before leaving. "Do you need anything from the store, David?" she asked.
"We're out of ice cream and chips." was his melodic reply as he turned to face her, his goggles already in place. "Get the kettle kind, not barbequed."
'Damn,' thought Heero. 'He even has a great tenor voice.'
"Okay, I'll pick some up on the way home." she smiled. "See you at six thirty."
"K" he answered with a wave and then turned and dove into the water to begin his laps. As usual, he swam for a half hour before emerging.
Heero was close enough to hear the swimmer's heavy breathing from his exertions. 'Hum, his name is David also.', he silently contemplated that fact. Then, as he turned from toweling off, the former Wing Zero pilot caught a momentary glimpse of the other's eyes before the glasses were put in their place. He had the most beautiful, large eyes. Heero's heart skipped a beat. Even though he couldn't see the color of those magnificent orbs, those eyes brought back memories, painful memories of another's eyes. He had never in his life seen another person with eyes similar to Duo's. Once again, his heart ached for his lost love.
This David now had the towel draped over his head to catch the drips as he entered the house, not needing to key in the security code as Miss Miller had already opened it.
Unable to stop himself, Heero, with great stealth, made his way over to the cottage and entered the unlocked door, knowing from the last four day's pattern that the pool guy wouldn't return for several hours. He scanned the room with eyes that naturally caught every detail. The cottage was a cozy studio apartment. On the left hand wall, A dark blue leather couch with a soft, light blue angora knitted afghan draped over it faced the opposite wall containing a large, state of the art, big screen tv, and situated on both sides of the couch was an enormous, obscenely expensive stereo system. Against the far wall was a neatly made queen-size bed, with a cherry wood headboard. The dresser inside the open closet to the right of the bed matched the headboard in wood and style. A door to the left of the bed obviously had to be the bathroom
Quickly moving to the closet, Heero shuffled through the drawers, finding neatly folded clothes filling them. On the shelves above the hanging shirts and pants, were photo albums. Taking them down, he quickly flipped through them. Most of them had pictures of the Think Tank Five in high school and college, minus David Miller as an adult in all but the most recent photos. Yet in many of the photos was the handsome pool David. Heero noticed the room's occupant and David Miller always wore dark tinted glasses, obscuring their eyes from view.
Suddenly, Heero got it. He slapped his forehead in realization, and groaned for not having seen it in the first place. The pool David was in fact, David Miller. He looked almost the same now as he had in his high school photo, just older. But why the subterfuge? 'Probably to keep his privacy.' Heero thought. The guy living in the house and who had appeared in all the publicity photos and in group interviews was a decoy.
He quickly leafed through the other photo albums showing the five at various activities. But the album on the bottom of the stack was different from the other two. It was a scrap book. The first half contained the first newspaper and magazine articles on the TTF and their accomplishments a accolades, but the last half was filled with clippings from the war, specifically, reports and pictures of the gundams and their pilots. Heero stared at the photos of he and the other pilots that had been taken right after the major battles. They were unauthorized ones, but there was always a media photographer trying to get a picture of the kids who piloted the legendary Gundams. Those few pictures were cut out and placed carefully in the memory book. 'Odd.' he thought and closed the books, replacing them on the shelf exactly as he had found them. 'He must be a war buff.' he thought.
Finding nothing further of interest, he left the cottage and, taking a chance at being caught, silently entered the back door to the main house. He could hear voices and cautiously followed the sound. The voices came from an open doorway. He recognized several of them from his earlier surveillance as he inched closer to stand just next to the door frame, his back against the wall, and his body poised for a silent but hasty retreat if the room's occupant made a more towards him. Taking a small rectangled mirror out of his pocket, he angled to get a view of the room.
"Where's Jeff?' the David in the room asked.
"He just got in." Steve reported. "I think the baby was sick last night."
"Morning guys. Sorry I'm late, David." the cheerful voice of Jeff greeted them as his face popped up on one of the blank screens, his face joining the others on the media wall.
Turning the mirror, his eyes widened at the site of the communications room. The wall opposite his position was fully lined with monitors. Five of them were lit up with the familiar faces of the TTF, including the David decoy.
"Is the baby sick, Jeff?" David in the room asked concerned.
The blonde on the screen nodded. "Yeah, Marilyn and I had to take her to the emergency room, she has an ear infection. I picked up her medicine this morning, that's why I'm late."
"I think you should go home, Jeff." David replied. "I'm sure you and Marilyn are tired and in her condition, she could probably use your help at home.
"Thanks, David. I think I will after this meeting."
"Good. Anything we can do to help?"
"No, but remember the party on Friday. We're expecting all of you plus your dates. And that means you David." he gave the blonde a piercing glare.
"We'll see, but no promises."
"Come on David." Steve chimed in gently, half teasingly. "It's been years since your heart was broken. You said after college you'd get a life. We'd be happy to set you up with someone, you recluse."
"No thanks." David laughed, and a chill went up Heero's spine for an unknown reason at the sound of it. "I'll date when I'm ready. Now lets get down to business." He reached over and picked up some papers from the desk, then turned back to face the camera that transmitted his face to the others. "Mark, let's hear how your meeting went yesterday with the scientists."
As the four reported on each of their departments, Heero trained his mirror on the real David Miller and listened as he directed the dialog. He clearly was the mastermind behind the TTF. He still wore his trunks and was combing his hair as he listened. As he turned, Heero noticed a long scar down his right thigh and one on his left shoulder. Heero's brows furrowed as something in the back of his mind tried to reach for something, a memory, or a recollection.
Scott began his report on the patents pending on several new products. "I heard from one of my contacts that Quatre Winner is putting feelers out to us. Sounds like he's interested in a business venture in space. Could be a good way..."
"NO!" David said firmly, shocking the others as he leaned over to grip the table in front of him as if to steady himself.
"Are you alright David?" several of the other asked, concerned.
"I don't want to pursue any business connection with the Winner Corporation."
"Why, David?" Jeff asked, clearly puzzled. "They run an outstanding organization and it's the perfect opening for us into the colonies."
David shook his head, not looking at the others, but his eyes were focused on the pattern of the wood grain on his desk. "I can't explain it." David said nearly hyperventilating. "But, I can't trust Quatre...... I promised I'd never trust him again." he said so softly the others had to strain to hear him.
"How do you know Quatre Winner?" Mark asked, astonished that the man they knew was already acquainted with someone as famous as the head of the Winner Corporation. When did this happen?
David looked up at his friends, pain was written on his face. "I told you I ran from a painful experience once.... he was part of it."
"DUO?" a strained and shocked voice sounded behind him and startled, David whipped himself around to see the last person in the world he ever thought he'd see again in his life. Shock and fear registered in his own wide eyes.
Heero Yuy staggered into the media room, his eyes were wide in disbelief and wonder. "Duo?" he asked again in a disbelieving whisper as all the pieces came together and fit.
"Oh, God Heero. How'd you find me?" David asked horrified at the approaching figure. He jumped at Heero's sudden movement, expecting the worse, but instead, found himself enveloped in Heero Yuy's arms.
"DAVID!" Five voices cried out in alarm at what looked to be an intruder attack. "Alert Security!" Scott shouted. Chaos erupted on the vid screens as Heero held the person he'd thought was lost to him forever.
"Forgive me, Duo. Forgive me. I didn't know, couldn't understand back then. I've missed you so much, we all have. Forgive us." Heero was weeping, Duo realized. Something he never thought the former Wing Zero pilot capable of. Slowly, his arms raised up of their own volition and embraced the shaking form of his former teammate and lover.
"Heero." he whispered softly.
Finally the shouting behind him registered and he pulled himself out of Heero's embrace and turned back to the screen to see the horrified expressions on his friends' faces. "It's okay guys. Call off the dogs. I'm safe...... at least, I think I am. Heero?" he raised a questioning brow.
"Never safer, Duo." was the soft reply from the slightly dazed looking Japanese young man that David would have recognized anywhere. Heero was taller, at 5'10". He was still muscular, yet as handsome as anyone David had ever seen. His heart skipped a beat, but in recognizing it, he quelled it. There were many question to ask and answer before even a friendship could resume.
His face frowned. "It's David now, Heero." the blonde corrected the mistake. "Duo Maxwell died at the age of sixteen of a broken heart. He doesn't exist any longer. I'm David Miller."
Heero nodded, willing to give into anything Duo requested. He was alive.
David turned to the screens, addressing his stunned friends. "Guys, this is an old friend, pre-Woodward days." He explained. "If you don't mind, we'll continue with our meeting tomorrow. I'm fine, don't worry about me. My friend and I are going to catch up. All right?"
Slowly the others agreed and, one by one, the monitors went blank.
Turning around to face his past, amethyst eyes met cobalt blue. "Let's go to the living room, Heero. This is probably going to take a while, so we might as well be comfortable." The two talked for the remainder of the day, stopping only to let David dress and fix lunch. Afterwards, they moved from the living room to the side of the pool.
David explained why he had faked his death and how he had done it. He was surprised that Hero understood. So much had changed. The emotionless, perfect soldier that displayed little to no such human weaknesses such as emotion or compassion during the time he had known him, now laughed, cried, expressed regret and sorrow, as well as humor and joy.
Heero explained that on the day Duo died, his heart broke free of the wall his training had created. It opened a world of emotion to him. With the help of the others, he became more human.
"How are the others?" David asked hesitantly, and Heero filled him in on their lives, their reactions and separation after Deathscythe's destruction. He told him that currently Wufei was a Preventer and engaged to Dr. Sally Poe. Trowa and Quare had come together again after the war and seemed to be very happy. He had even managed to make a friend of Relena. He had convinced her that there was no future for them together and even he confided in her of their love affair, and the reasons behind Deathscythe's destruction and his lover's death. There was a long pause of silence between the two before David looked up into Heero's searching eyes.
"Are you happy, Heero?"
Heero shrugged. "I suppose I'm happy enough. I work for Quatre as his Private Detective. I investigate future business prospects for him, which, consequently, led me to you. I enjoy the friendship of the others, but happy?" He seemed to pause and contemplate the concept. "I'd say I'm content with my life." he finally answered.
"Any one special to share your life with?" David felt his cheeks pinking under his tan skin.
"No. " he shook his head. "I've carried the guilt of your death around like a weight about my neck. I haven't been able to form any meaningful relationships, other than that of a family with the other guys."
"I'm sorry, Heero." The honesty of the statement surprised the former pilot even as he said it. He was sorry.
"How about you, Mr. Billionaire." Heero offered a crooked smile. "From the sound of the conversation I overheard, you haven't even dated."
"I have my friends and my work. It's been enough."
"We're pretty sad, aren't we?" Heero smirked sadly. "Both emotional cripples from my stupidity. Honestly Duo....David." he corrected. "Back then, I didn't comprehend that I was doing anything but following my emotions. I got involved with Wufei only because he seemed to need me and out of my curiosity with him. I somehow got feelings of friendship mixed up with the new feelings that I'd experienced with you. I didn't understand the distinction of love for a friend, and that of a lover. I never dreamed I would hurt you like that."
David shook his head. "I loved too young, too much, and too foolishly." he said it aloud for the first time. "And, I over reacted." he admitted. "Not that I didn't have reason to be angry and hurt." He added quickly. But over the years as he reflected on those events, he realized that he, too, played a part in what had happened. It wasn't all Heero's fault. He knew of his lover's limitations, and his lack of understanding his newly found emotions. It had just been too overwhelming at the time, and he didn't know how to forgive such inflicted pain, intentional or not.
"Can you forgive me?" Heero asked solemnly, search the eyes now free of their glasses.
"I did years ago, Heero." David replied, his eyes soft with honesty. "Part of Duo Maxwell dying was letting go of all the pain I felt. I did let it all go, and only then could I see things much more clearly. I eventually forgave all of you, but I couldn't return to the war or to you guys. I had destroyed Deathscythe, and honestly, my heart just wasn't in it anymore. I was too hurt by all that had happened and I knew that if I returned I would die, and I had promised Sister Helen that I would live and make something of my life." he gave a wistful smile. "I think I've done that."
Heero nodded and made a bold move, he took the other's hand in his and looked up into the eyes he could never forget. "Can we be friends again?" he asked with shy hope. "I've missed you, and just being here today has helped heal a part of me I thought was beyond repair."
David smiled softly, his hand squeezing the one firmly holding his. "Me too." he sighed and closed his eyes as he relished the feel of Heero's hand, and the feeling of freedom he suddenly felt of being liberated from all he'd held inside for so long. A weight seemed to have lifted from off his shoulders at finally speaking of the past, at last. He sighed deeply then answered. "Lets see how I sleep tonight, see if the nightmares return." He withdrew his hand from Heero's and opened his eyes and continued. "My one condition for a possible continued friendship is that you don't tell the others you found me. I'm not ready for them to know yet. Let's wait and see how we get along first before we involve them. Can you agree to that Heero?"
The former lover and soldier thoughtfully considered the request. He was torn between wanting to be with Duo again and the desire to share the wonderful discovery with the others that Duo was alive, that they hadn't been responsible for his death after all, that they no longer need to be haunted by the memory of the pain etched on Duo's face the day he faced them with his accusations, the day he detonated Deathscythe.
But Duo wasn't ready.
"Yes. I can keep it between you and I until you're ready for them to know." he agreed, a smile slowly forming on his face.
David returned the smile with a brilliant one of his own, relieved and happy that Heero would choose to make such a difficult concession on his behalf. "Then stay for dinner and meet some of my friends."
Heero happily agreed. He stayed in L.A. much longer than he had anticipated, attending the party on Friday as David's guest and meeting in person all the young men he had recently investigated. If they were shocked that David brought a date that was of the same gender, the were almost catatonic when later that night, the both of them sat with the other five as Duo told them of his life prior to meeting them. All in all, the disclosure went well, with a little time needed to adjust their minds around who their friend really was. And they did, quite well and very quickly. He was their friend and leader no matter what, and they didn't hesitate to reconfirm that fact to him.
It was another three weeks before Heero reluctantly returned to space and handed his favorable and edited report to his boss.