The Eyes Have It
by Dyna Dee
I've learned some new and unusual ways to run and hide from the authorities as I travel with my new/old friends. Shortly after I met them on the bus, Heero handed me a false passport, in case I was stopped and questioned. The three of us traveled that night by way of hitchhiking, hopping on trains and truck transports, making our way to the south of France and, by the time class started the next morning, we were entering a very small cottage that they called a safehouse in Italy.
"We'll sleep here today and move on tonight." Heero informs me as he walks me down a hallway to show me a small room with a double bed where we left our bags. Wufei walks past us to another room down the hall. It's apparent that Heero and I will share the room and bed. I wonder if its because he doesn't trust me, making sure that I won't run away. Where would I run? I'm completely dependent on these two professed terrorists.
Before sleeping, we have a small breakfast of baguettes, orange marmalade, and orange juice. Very tasty. My eyelids suddenly feel very heavy from lack of sleep. I use the bathroom to prepare for bed and return to the room and strip down to my t-shirt and boxers and climb into the welcoming bed. Heero soon followed.
Just as I am falling asleep, I feel myself drawn into Heero's embrace again. He is spooned against my back.
"Heero?" I speak up timorously. "What exactly is our relationship?"
"We're friends, Duo." he answers sleepily. "The best of friends and partners. We're each others family."
"You're an orphan, too?" I ask.
"Hnn...... hai." His voice is quiet, distant.
"Do we sleep like this often?" I had to know. I'm still confused about this arrangement.
"Only when one of us needs it." he replies.
"Which one of us needs it now, me or you?" I can't help the smile that grows on my face. For some unknown reason, it feels kinda good to put Heero on the spot.
He sighs, his warm breath sends a chill down my neck, though his chest warms my back. "Both of us." he replies. "Me, for reassurance that you're really here and not dead or lost to me; and you, because you need to know how much you were missed and are still needed."
I nod my head even as I feel my weariness ease me into sleep. His words are a comfort to me.
We spent three more days traveling by night, weaving a path across European countries. On the morning of the fourth day, I woke up in the back of a moving truck filled with boxed produce headed for the market. The sounds of a city are heard outside. Raising my head up off of Heero's arm, I look out the back of the truck. The sun is up and we seem to be surrounded by tall, white-painted, brick buildings.
Heero sits up behind me and pulls me up with him. Reaching behind him, he awakens Wufei with a shake just as the truck stops and the engine is killed. A door in the front opens and slams shut.
"Here you go fellas." A middle age man in old jeans and a plaid cotton shirt pulls down the tailgate of his truck.
"Where are we?" I ask, my voice is groggy, and I rub the sleep from my eyes with the heel of my palms. I feel very tired, not being use to sleeping in strange beds and places that made impromptu sleeping quarters, like the back of this truck. I haven't gotten much sleep in the last week, and it's now catching up to me.
"You're in the Sanq Kingdom, son." The obscenely cheerful man answers. "Come on now, rise and shine." he sing/songs to us. "Help me unload these vegetables and I'll buy you breakfast." he offers, and we gladly accept.
The unloading was a fairly simple task, and was quickly accomplished. We dine with Frederick, the farmer, on a breakfast of eggs, ham, baguettes, jam and coffee. He quickly leaves us as he's in a rush to open his business at the farmer's market. Heero, too, seems anxious to move on and we quickly move down the narrow streets towards the city center.
I haven't spoken much in the last few days, my mind has been trying to figure things out, causing me to have several strong headaches. As my friends don't seem to have the gift of gab, we make a very quiet threesome. It doesn't bother me too much. I've gotten use to having no one to talk to. What an odd group we are.
"Where to now?" I ask, hoping that our journey will end soon. I'm growing weary of it.
"There." I turn my head to follow the direction Heero points to. It's to a large building on the side of the hillside.
I look at him pointedly, looking for a more specific answer.
"That's where Relena lives." he explains. "We'll be safe there for a while."
Wufei nods. "It's a private school right now." he adds. "We may have to attend classes there while we wait for news from Trowa."
After walking up through the city and up the hillside, we finally arrive at the school and are instantly herded into a stately looking office overlooking the bay below. The sound of feet running down the carpeted corridor draws our attention to the doorway where the girl I had seen in the museum came to stand, wearing the same fancy uniform. "You found him!" she says breathlessly, her eyes sparkling with happiness.
Heero nods and stands as straight and rigid as a soldier on guard duty as she throws her arms around him. "I'm so happy for you Heero." she coos as she tightly embraces him.
"Thanks for the tip." Heero replies without any tone or emotion in his voice.
The girl then turns to address me. "You're well, Duo?" her eyes are bright and seem genuinely pleased to see me.
I nod my head in reply because I have know idea how to address her. Is she Relena? Princess Relena? Miss Peacecraft? Your Highness? I don't know, so I handle the situation they only way I can, I nod my head in reply.
She looks at me with curiosity then turns to welcome Wufei. "Nice to see you again, Mr Chang." she says a bit more formally than to Heero and I. Wufei seems to bring formality out in people. Maybe it's his unfriendly scowl that makes others treat him so respectfully. He can be down right scary, like Heero and his death glare. My head begins to ache as I wonder where that last thought came from.
Looking back at me, Relena studies me, her eyes penetrating, much like Ms. Preston's, trying to analyze me, see behind my unresponsive mask. Her scrutiny makes me feel uncomfortable. "What's the matter with him, Heero?" she asks. "Why's he so quiet?"
"He's like that now." he states simply. "He still doesn't remember us." I realize that now there are three people seemingly disturbed with my silence and the obvious change in me.
"What do I call you?" I ask, not liking being talked about as if I wasn't here.
"Relena." she smiles prettily at me.
"Not Princess or some more formal title?" I ask, raising an eyebrow.
"No, to my friends, I'm Relena." she assures me.
"I'm a friend?" I question, mildly surprised. It's hard to believe a street kid from L-2 could know a princess.
"Maybe not a close friend, but a friend just the same.
"That makes five then." I say and see curiosity in her blue eyes.
"Five?" she questions.
I nod. "Five friends."
She smiles warmly, seeming to be pleased to be found in that category. She then turns smiling to Heero. "I have an e-mail message for you from 03 that arrived last night." she tells him. "Come," she moves towards the desk and opens a laptop. "let me key it up and open it for you." She turned her head to look into Heero's eyes. "I didn't open it." she assures him even as her hands begin to type.
She stands to move away once the message page is open, and Heero quickly moves to take her place. She moves over to Wufei and I in order to give Heero some privacy.
Wufei stands at my side, somehow it's reassuring in this unfamiliar setting. He and Relena both chat in a formal, amiable fashion as my eyes scan the grandiose room. She asks me question that I don't feel like answering, so I shrug and nod my answers. I see her frown at my lack of response.
Finally, Heero stands up from the desk and moves towards us. "We're going to L-4. Trowa's found Quatre under guard at one of his father's estates there."
"Do you want me to keep Duo here, for his safely?" Relena asks, trying to be helpful. But somehow the simple offer causes a sudden panic to flood me at the thought of the other two pillars of strength leaving the planet without me. I look to Heero, knowing the decision rests with him. He studies me in turn, and I think he sees the panic behind my eyes. I can't look away from the cobalt blue orbs, even as Wufei speaks up.
"Without his memory he could be a liability instead of an asset." he states in a matter-of-fact tone.
Heero nods, letting Wufei know that he had heard his opinion. But though he doesn't say a word, I can see Heero's mind working, analyzing the situation before he decides. "He's coming with us." he announces, much to my relief, and for the first time in days, I manage a small smile.
That evening, thanks to Relena's financial support, I find myself (along with the other two pilots) boarding a shuttle bound for the L-4 Colony. We're wearing slight disguises to fool any security cameras that might be on the lookout for us. Heero informed me on the way to the launch pad that the trip will take all night. I find the take off and the experience of leaving the atmosphere to be exhilarating. After a meal is served, I look up to see Heero's hand held out, a white capsule in his palm. He tells me it will help with any air/space sickness I might experience. My stomach is rather tight with nervousness, and while everything is a new memory in the making for me, I feel a strong sense of de'javu, something familiar, and then my head starts to ache again. In the last several days, I've noticed that whenever a forgotten memory is close to unraveling, I suffer a severe headache. This has happened at least three times a day since I left the school, and its taking a toll on me. I can see the concern on my companions' faces, even though I thought I'd managed to keep the pain and the reason for it to myself. Wufei tells me my silence in unnerving. For the life of me I don't know why it bothers him, he and Heero are just as quiet as I've been.
I take the pill, trusting my friend, and as the movie begins to show on the screen on the back of the seat in front of me, I find myself unable to resist the heavy, sleepy feeling that overcomes me.
Heero is shaking my shoulder and his voice breaks through the heavy layer of fog in my mind as he attempts to wake me. I feel sluggish and too tired to open my eyes. But finally, the smell of food arouses my senses enough that I manage to force open my eye lids. I blink in astonishment as I recognize that breakfast is sitting before me. Looking at my watch I realize that I've slept for over ten hours. An almost unheard of event in the last month. There's an awful taste in my mouth, and the grogginess lingers. I wonder what it was that Heero had me take last night. I know for sure it wasn't a motion sickness pill.
I put my doubts and questions aside because, after all, I'm starving. I gulp down my food, even eating some of the food the other two offer me from off their trays. They're wearing indulgent smiles.
We arrive at Colony L-4 just after 11:30 a.m., Colony time. Heero leaves Wufei and I to wait in the terminal while he rendezvous with Trowa and finds a place for us to stay. We're instructed to remain here in the safety of the shuttle terminal and crowds until he returns.
With nothing else to do, Wufei and I wander the lengthy terminal. It feels good to stretch my legs after sitting for so long. After a while, we settle into the section we agreed to be in when Heero returned and sit side by side, our traveling bags on the chairs next to us. As I study the people walking past us, I can feel Wufei's gaze is fixed on me, his dark eyes thoughtfully studying me.
I turn my head to look at him questioningly. "What?" I ask, wondering if I'm wearing some breakfast in my hair or teeth.
His eyes narrow just a bit before he answers. "They changed you." he says quietly, there's definitely a sad tone to his voice.
"How?" Curiosity always gets the best of me.
"Your spark, your spontaneity is gone, as well as your smile and laughter. I miss the other you, though I'd probably not admit that in front of the others." he manages a small smile.
I respond with a shrug. "Sorry." Not knowing what else to say at his obvious disappointment that I'm not who I use to be. I rest my elbows on my knees and place my chin on my upraised hands.
"I've offended you." Wufei says quietly contrite. "I'm sorry." I feel his hand on my shoulder. I want to shrug it off, his disappointment hurts me, but I'm too afraid to offend these guys. If I do, they might leave me and I'd be all alone again. Maybe once I would have known what to do on my own, Heero said I survived on the streets of L-2 most of my life. But in all honesty, I don't know what I'd do if I was separated from them. It scares the shit out of me when I contemplate it. What the hell was I thinking, putting my life into the hands of two teenage terrorists. I put my face into my hands and offer a silent prayer for strength and courage.
"Duo?" Wufei's voice is filled with concern, but I ignore him. I feel his arm go around my shoulder.
"Just because you're different now doesn't mean that we care for you any less." he says softly, trying to reassure me. "I think, how you are now, might have been how you would be if your life hadn't been so hard, nor your losses so great." I feel him press himself closer to me. "I'm beginning to believe that maybe, part of your buoyant personality was a mask that hid your inner pain. Once in a while, it slipped, and we saw a glimpse of it. But that was rare. I think your smile and jokester persona effectively built a wall around it, keeping your pain deep inside you." His arm around my shoulders tightened. "Seeing you this way, quiet and introspective is different, but it also means you are more at peace than before. It's not altogether a bad thing."
I slowly sit up to look into his face, my own looking serious. "Is anyone ever really at peace, Wufei?" I ask.
"I think we can be." Wufei pulls back a bit, and I can tell he's relieved the subject has changed. "I was once, as a young child. I hope to be so again one day, though I doubt it." there was an air of finality about him as he said that.
"Why, Wufei? Why don't you think you can find peace?" I wonder out loud. "You fight for it, and you have your whole life ahead of you."
He looks at me, sadly indulgent. "I have a lot of blood on my hands, Duo." he tells me in a ghost of a voice, seemingly haunted by the statement. "War does that to soldiers. Even though our cause is just, the lives we take haunt us."
My eyes widen with as a idea just occurred to me. "H.... h.. have I killed?" I ask. Without a memory, it seems inconceivable that a fifteen-year-old kid could be a killer.
Wufei's head nods as he answers. "You call yourself Death, or Shinigami. You're quite ruthless in your Gundam." he says quietly so no one will overhear our conversation, but his face is deadly serious.
Suddenly, I find I can't sit any longer. Agitation and anxiety cause me to jump to my feet. My head begins to pound with pain and the room seems to be spinning as I struggle to comprehend what Wufei has just said. "I call myself Death? I kill people?" I choke out. I realize that I'm breathing much too fast, but I can't control it. Distantly, I hear Wufei call out to me in alarm and he grabs at my arm. I jerk it free and start to run as if the Devil himself is after me. I have to get out of here, away from all the people crowding around me, away from the knowledge and pain of my past, away from Death and the blood that Wufei says is me. I ignore the stares of people as I run past them. I don't know where I am, or where I'm going, I only know I have to run. Fear urges me on as well as it screams for me to stop. "God help me. God help me." I pray as my feet pound on the pavement as I run down a busy street. I hear shouting behind me, but I can't stop. I'm aware enough of my surroundings to dodge traffic and avoid colliding into pedestrians. Up ahead I see a patch of green and head for it. I don't know if I've ever run this fast before, but everything seems to be a blur as my legs stretch out before me. My chest is heaving as I struggle for air and I feel moisture leaking from my eyes. I reach the park and run across the green grass. In the back of my mind, I note its softness cushioning under my booted feet. Now my legs are beginning to cramp, and I've got a stitch in my side, but I can't stop, I need to keep running. I instinctively feel that there is safety in running and hiding.
Suddenly, I feel my lower legs grabbed, abruptly stopping me, and I'm falling, fast and hard. The ground comes up quickly to rudely meet me, and with a thud, my head and chest hit the ground, and I surrender easily to the blackness that envelopes me.