The Eyes Have It
by Dyna Dee
Startled, my body jerks as I come to my senses. I'm fully aware of my sore legs as well the ache in my head and chest. Slowly, my memory quickly returns. Realization hits that I'd had another panic attack and that I'd run. With a slight gasp, I sit up, regretting it the moment I moved. My head feels like it's splitting in half. My hands fly up to cradle it and I tightly squeeze my eyes shut.
"Easy, Duo." A new voice comes from the side of my bed. I cautiously open my eyes to see that, gratefully, the room is curtained and dark, lit only by the light of an activated but soundless television screen. I try to focus my dazed eyes on the person in the room with me.
"Who are you?" I ask, feeling alarmed at the unfamiliar room and unknown person with me. "Where am I?" I instinctively scramble to the far side of the queen-sized bed being instantly and clutch at my head again as I'm rewarded with more pain to my aching noggin.
"It's okay, Duo. It's me, Trowa. Do you remember me?" his voice is soft and his manner is calm and gentle.
"No.... but I think your another pilot." I answer with a small voice. "Where's Heero?" I look frantically around the room for him, realizing he's not there.
"He and Wufei had to go back to the space terminal to claim your bags. You guys left them behind when you ran." he explained. "They'll bring some food back with them."
I have to wonder if all these guys know that food was a comfort item for me.
I nod, trying to calm myself.... this is suppose to be another friend, I remind myself. His manner and body language relay to me that I am safe with him.
"You found Blue Eyes." I state, raising my hand to press my palm against my pained forehead.
Even in the dim light I can see his smile. "Yes, Heero told me that's what you call Quatre." He paused for a moment, then continued. "He's not far from here, and with luck, we'll have him back with us soon, hopefully tonight."
I nod again and wince as the pain shoots through my head.
"Lie down, Duo. You don't look well." Trowa moves slowly and cautiously towards me, as if I'm a frightened, wild animal, and helps ease me back to my pillow. I gratefully sink down into it, closing my eyes.
"What happened Duo?" he asks, his voice is gentle and not accusing. "Wufei said you just started to run. Where were you going?"
"I had a panic attack." I explain. "The guys at school said I'd had one once before, during a history class. I can't remember why I had it, because as soon as I collapsed and they caught me, they hauled me right to my shrink and she got rid of whatever memory triggered it. I...think that today, I couldn't handle what Wufei told me about myself." I start to rub my forehead, hoping to rub away the pain. "I feel like I was hit by a truck." I moan. "Man, my head hurts."
"Heero saw you run out of the terminal and followed you." Trowa's voice recedes as he speaks, obviously walking away from me. "He had to tackle you to make you stop."
There's a pause, and then his voice was closer when he speaks again. "Here, take this."
I crack one eye open to see the long-banged guy holding a couple of pills out to me in his open hand, and a glass of water in the other. "I don't like drugs." I say and close my eyes.
"I remember." Trowa's voice has a touch of humor in it. "These are just aspirin to help your headache. You've taken them before."
"Promise? Heero's drugged me already." I tell him.
"I promise." he says and puts his hand on my shoulder to help me sit up again. I take the pills and swallow them down with the water hoping silently that they'll work quickly, then hand the glass back to him as I finish. "Besides," Trowa continues. "if Heero drugged you, you just have needed it."
"Maybe so." I mumble. It may have been true at the time, but it didn't mean I had to like it. I settle myself back down and feel a cool hand touching my face. The touch is gentle as Trowa pushes my hair away from my face.
"I missed you, Duo." he says in a gentle way I think is natural to him. "I'm glad you decided to come back to us."
"Are we good friends?" I ask as his hand rests in a soothing manner on my forehead. It helps, and his cool palms feel really, really good against the throbbing pain just under it.
"You and Heero are the closest." he replies. "I'm closer to Quatre, but yes, we're friends, good friends. The kind of friend you can trust with your life."
"I hope so." I say with a sigh. "Because that's what I'm doing on blind faith and on your word. I'm placing my life in your hands."
I feel his long, cool fingertips as they move to message my temples. "Feels good." I moan.
He continues his ministration and slowly, after a time, the pain in my head lessens. I'm just on the edge of sleep when I hear a patterned knock on the door and the blessed message ends when the finger tips are removed. Light spills into the dark, curtained room as Trowa lets the other two in. Their arms are full of luggage and bags of food. Unmoving, I watch them through my eye lashes, feeling relaxed and not wanting the glaring light or any sudden movement to impede my progress.
"How is he?" Heero asks in a whisper as he unburdens his arms and hands then to Trowa, then moves towards me.
"He woke up with a headache and a bit frightened that you weren't here. I took care of him though," Trowa reported. "didn't I, Duo?" He was letting me and the others know that he knew I wasn't sleeping.
"Mumm, your hands worked magic." I hum in sluggish bliss with a slight crooked smile on my lips. My eyes remain nearly closed until I feel a weight settle on the bed next to me. I let them open a bit to see Heero above me.
"Why did you run, Duo?" he asks as he studies my face, his own looking solemn. My eyes lock onto his, and I find the dark blue eyes strangely intense with emotions I can't quite define. In contrast, I feel as if he can read my every thought.
"Please, don't be mad ." I answer, feeling suddenly frightened of his disapproval. Unfortunately, my voice reflects my fear, and I guess my eyes do too because he smiles at me reassuringly and his hand touches my face.
"I'm not mad," he says softly. "just concerned."
"He said it was a panic attack from something Wufei said to him." Trowa spoke up, answering the question for me. I look over Heero's shoulder to give him a look filled with appreciation that I don't have to repeat my answer to Heero. Wufei is to the side of Trowa, standing just slightly behind, his face scowling. It's clear that he's angry at me. Man, I'm pathetic, I tell myself as I feel my self tremble. I'm shaking at the very thought that they are going to abandon me because of my weakness. My eyes return to Heero, who is watching my every move. Though I try to hide what I'm feeling, I think he senses my fear.
"What are you afraid of Duo?" He asks. Damn, I turn away from the three sets of eyes staring at me. I close my eyes and find the comfort of Blue Eyes looking at me with eyes filled with compassion and understanding at my feelings fear.
"We shouldn't have brought him with us." Wufei says, practically snarling.
"Be quiet, Wufei. You're the one who set him off." Trowa snapped back.
"Duo," Heero addresses me again. "look at me." His voice quietly commands me, and I'm compelled to obey. I turn my head back and open my eyes, letting go of the vision of Blue Eyes to meet the intense cobalt blue ones. I see the same compassion and worry in them now that I have seen in Blue Eyes. "What are you afraid of?" He repeats his question in a softer tone.
"Right now," I answer a bit hesitant, my eyes shifting to each of them. "I'm....afraid you'll decide I'm... not worth the bother and you'll leave me stranded here.....alone." I reach out for Heero's shirt and grab hold of the front of it. "I...I don't think I can remember how to care for myself without any money or idea of where I am. Please, Heero, don't abandon me here. Not in space." I know I sound as desperate as I feel as I search his face, and I'm relieved when his features soften even more and he puts his hands over mine, still clutching his shirt front.
"I promise, I won't leave you, Duo." there is force behind his words. "None of us will. We're family."
I look to Trowa who nods his head in agreement. Wufei does the same. Impulsively, I push myself up, and throw my arms around Heero's neck and hug him fiercely, transmitting all my relief and gratitude into the embrace. I feel his arms tighten around me, reassuring me with firm pats from his hands on my back.
"Why did you run, Duo?" He asks again, his voice soft in my ear and I hold onto him as if my life depends on it.
"Because I'm a killer." I whisper hoarsely. "A ruthless killer and I don't even remember it. How many lives have I taken?" I ask not waiting for an answer. "How many times have I damned my soul to hell?" The feeling of fear is quickly rising in me again.
Heero rubs my back in a soothing motion. "That's part of the pain I told you about." he reminds me. "It bothers all of us, but it's a part of a soldier's life. If we don't fight, others will suffer. We choose to suffer so that others won't have to."
"Blue Eyes is a soldier too?" I ask as the impossible thought comes to me. It seems unbelievable that the compassion and empathy I've see in those eyes could also be those eyes of a killer.
"Yes." Heero answers. "Each life he takes hurts him as well. Yet we kill only when threatened and don't kill unnecessarily."
With my eyes closed and my body held firmly against Heero, I sense that he is my anchor in all this insanity. He's strong, smart, and a wise leader. He's the one I instinctively turn to. I raise my head slightly to see Wufei over Heero's shoulder, scowling at me. I whisper into Heero's left ear. "I don't think Wufei likes me. He's scowling at me."
Heero turns his head to look over his shoulder and then turns back to whisper in my ear. "That's how we've all looked since you and Quatre disappeared. With both of you gone, we were denied the joy and comfort we'd come to rely on from the both of you." he explained.
I lean back to look into his face, uncertainty clearly written on mine. "We...I did that? Gave you joy and comfort."
Heero smiles gently at me. He has a beautiful smile. "You've dragged us to movies, made us eat pizza, hamburgers, and ice cream until we acquired a taste for it. You taught us to dance, to laugh at ourselves, and make us celebrate ridiculous American holidays." He chuckled. "Both of you taught the rest of us how to be teenagers again, especially during those times when we don't have to be soldiers." Heero raised a hand and places it on my shoulder. Instinctively, I know that he is expressing gratitude that he cannot speak.
The moment passes and, as no one speaks, my stomach is clearly heard as it growls furiously. I'm aware that I feel hollow with hunger.
"Speaking of food." Trowa breaks the silence and we all smile at his teasing of my starving and loudly complaining organ.
"What did ya bring me?" I ask Heero who has completely released me. I look up to see Trowa wiping away some moisture from the corner of his eye.
"They might have taken your memory away," he spoke quietly with a smile on his face. "But you're still Duo." His whole manner speaks affection for me for which I'm grateful and find it easy to return to the gentle soldier.
We dined on an assortment of Chinese food and, after all containers were emptied, I collapsed back onto the bed, completely stuffed, nearly to the point of being miserable. As we ate, Trowa spoke of himself and our experiences together, hoping to jog my memory. Quatre, or Blue Eyes, figured into most of his tales.
I lay spread eagle on the bed as the others finish at a much slower pace. "You get enough to eat, Duo?" Trowa asks, and I can hear amusement in his voice.
I moan my answer, and the other three chuckle at my misery. I can't fathom their humor.
"Why don't you go take a shower, Duo." Heero suggests as he begins to gather up the garbage. "I'm sure you'll feel better after it."
"UmmmK." I answer and listlessly roll my over-indulged body from off the bed. I see my duffel bag against the wall and haul the entire thing into the bathroom with me. Relena saw to it that I had all the necessities; shampoo, deodorant, cologne, hair ties, plus pajamas and slippers. It was very thoughtful of her, but she made me feel uneasy as she kept suggesting that I should stay behind with her. Heero assured me we were only casual acquaintances when I questioned him about her motives. He explained that Relena probably saw that, if she kept me with her, it would insure that he would return. Oh, so that's what's going on. I wonder if Heero shares the same fascination for her that she has for him. There's still so much I don't understand.
My shower is a nice, hot, and long one. I hope no one else wants to shower tonight and I feel a twinge of guilt as the water turns decidedly cool. Reluctantly, I turn it off. Hey, Heero was right, I do feel better. Cracking open the bathroom door I let excess steam out as I call out a question. "Clothes or pajamas?"
"Clothes." Heero calls back.
I shut the door and comply by dressing in my favorite low on the hip, black jeans and long-sleeve black t-shirt with the name of one of my favorite groups, Death's Doorstep" emblazoned in red on the front and back. After wiping the moisture off the glass surface, I inspect my image in the full-length mirror on the door. My jeans are suppose to be tight, but my legs are too thin for that to happen. "But, damn, I look good!" I say softly and smile, pleased at my reflection and take a comb to my hair. It's getting longer, and I like it better then when I first saw my unfamiliar face in the mirror in the hospital. Toying with the wet hair, I first comb it completely back to resemble Wufei's severe hairstyle. Nah, too much forehead, my face feels over exposed. Next, I brush it forward and to the side like Trowa's. Nope, it's too distracting to have hair in front of one eye. I mess my hair up with both hands to start again. But, seeing my self in the mirror, I stop and examine my reflection and decided that I like what I see. My hair has separated and falls into a style similar to Heero's messy mop, and several strands fall past my eyes. I straighten out a few strands and smile at myself. I like the total look, though a now familiar ache begins just behind my eyes. I push it aside and with another look in the mirror decided that the hair and the clothes go well together.
Putting all my stuff away, I emerge from the warm room. "Ta da! Whaddaya think?" I ask, posing in the doorway.
The three sitting at the paper covered table turn to look at me.
"You're sure you don't remember anything?" Wufei asks, his critical eye studying my appearance.
"Not much, why?" I walk closer to the table, curious as to what they're looking at.
"Minus the braid, you look just like you did before your capture." Trowa answered.
Heero nods his agreement with a smile. I shrug. "I just know that I like black and my hair looks cool like this." I explain.
"It does at that." Heero chuckles and I see that he realizes it looks similar to his shock of messy hair. Well, imitation is the highest form of flattery, isn't it?
"What's up?" I motion to the papers on the table.
"Trowa mapped out the estate where Quatre's being held." Heero explains. "We're planning how to infiltrate and retract him without hurting anyone."
Trowa looks up at me. "Quatre's father and some of his sisters are in residence. He's being guarded by some of the Maguanacs."
"Magua what?" I ask.
"Maguanacs." Wufei repeated. "Soldiers, who have fought along side us against the Alliance and OZ. They are loyal to the Winner family, but mostly to Quatre."
"So, they are a..... friendly opposition?" I guess, trying to figure this out.
"Friendly, in that Quatre wouldn't want any of them hurt." Heero said. "Opposition, in that his father was against his piloting a gundam. He's a pacifist, and Quatre disagreed with him on sitting back to see what would happen to the colonies instead of acting to gain their independence. He ran away from his father's control the day his gundam was finished."
I nod, beginning to understand at least of part of Blue Eyes' past. I pull up a chair and turn it around so I can straddle the back as I sit, prepared to learn.
Trowa began to explain what I missed while I was in the shower. "I got myself hired on as a delivery boy for the local grocery store that delivers to the estate. The Maguanacs drink a particularly strong brand of tea at night, so I conveniently put a strong sedative in the order I delivered this morning. I also slipped some into the case of wine that Quatre's family drinks with the evening meal. With any luck, the estate will be full of drugged, heavily sleeping people by the time we get there.
The three brought my attention to the map and to the point of entry to the grounds and to the house. They targeted a room near the Master Suite, anticipating that the head of the Winner family would keep his son close to him. If news of Duo's disappearance had been reported to him, they would be exercising more caution.
I listen as they explain the whole operation. I know exactly where they will be and the time frame. What I don't know is....
"So, where do you want me?" I ask.
Wufei and Trowa look at Heero. He's slowly raises his head to look at me. "I don't know if you're ready for this, Duo; not without your memory, anyway. I think that you should stay here until we return for you."
I shake my head. "I don't want to be left behind." I say adamantly and instantly determine to be stubborn about it.
"After your panic attack today," Wufei cut in. "I don't know that we can trust you to stay put. We won't be able to follow if it happens again during the retraction and you run." He's not intentionally trying to be cruel, but it hurts just the same.
I look at him accusingly. "Are you always so mean to me?" I ask and feel pleased to see a startled look cross his face.
"I'm not being mean to you, Maxwell." he says defensively.
"That's for me to judge, and I say you are." I reply and, even to my ears, I sound like a petulant brat.
I notice Heero and Trowa exchange an small, amused look.
"We don't have time for bickering." Heero says, forcing himself to remain soberly focused on the task ahead. "I think you would be safer if we left you here, Duo."
Something inside of me rebels at his decision. "Go ahead then and leave me here." I snap back, folding my arms stubbornly on top of my chest. "I'll just try to follow you when you're gone."
"We could tie you up." Trowa suggests straight faced.
"Then I'll scream." I lift my chin defiantly.
"And gag you." Wufei promises.
"Then I'll kick a hole in the wall to get the neighbor's attention." I reply with an evil look in my eye.
"I could force a sleeping pill down your throat." Heero threatens with a frown, and I quickly try to think of a come back.
"Then I'll aspirate with the gag in my mouth and die." 'Clean that mess up.' I think smugly to myself.
The room falls silent as the three stare at me. I stare right back, determined to follow through on each threat.
"All right, you can come." Heero relents with a deep sigh and a shake of his head.
All is forgiven and I smile brightly at them.
Wufei drops his head onto the table with a moan, Trowa clasps his hands over the top of his bowed head, and Heero looks at me in disbelief. "You must be getting your memory back." he tells me. "You're as infuriating as ever."
"Thanks!" I answer brightly. I love getting my way. It feels.... powerful."
"You'll guard our escape route." Heero decides and points to the map and indicating where I'll stand at the back of the mansion. The kitchen door is where they 'll enter and exit. "You'll be positioned here and you'll need to keep it clear until we return with Quatre."
I nod, glad to have something to do.
"Do you remember how to handle this?" It seems as if from out of nowhere Heero produces a gun and sets it before me. I pick it up and examine it. Releasing the safety, I open and release the cartridge, see it fully loaded, slap it closed, and turning, straighten my arm and aim for the television screen across the room.
"NO!" all three shout at me in unison, their hands flying out towards me.
With a snicker, I narrow my eyes as I look over my shoulder and give them a wicked smile. I thoroughly enjoy the look of shock and horror on their faces. This is fun, and I wonder if I do this kind of thing often.? That thought alone seemed to trigger a rush of memories that flash through my mind. I recall memories of short sheeting Heero's bed, of painting smiley faces on a large mobile suit that I instinctively know is Wufei's, and the horrified, comical look on my friend's faces as they drink jalapeno spiked milk. But the memories come with a price. As pain rips through my mind, I manage to drop the gun on the table and raise both hand to clutch my head as agony blankets my mind. The pain is heavy, intense, and blinding, but as the memory ceases, the pain begins to ease, leaving me with another familiar and throbbing headache.
I come to my senses slowly and realize that I'm on the floor, my breathing is rapid and shallow. I can feel the others hovering close around me.
"It'sokay." I gasp. "S'gone." I manage to slur out.
"What the hell was that, Maxwell?" Wufei needs to work on his bedside manner.
I manage to open my eyes and turn my head to see their expressions of worry and concern just above me.
"It seems my memories come with a price." I answer as Heero scoops me up into his arms, and I'm quickly returned to the bed.
"What did you remember?" He asks me as he sits next to me. I tell him of the practical jokes I remembered just after I'd wondered about it.
Wufei snorts scoffingly and rolls his eyes. "Of all the things to remember."
"It's a start." Trowa counters.
"This isn't the first, though, is it?" Heero asks me knowingly. "You've had other memories and episodes."
I nod my head. "Ever since we left the school I've remembered feelings and glimpses of past events and sometimes thoughts." I answer.
"You should stay here." Heero says softly. "If you should have one of these episodes during the operation....." his voice trails off.
"No," I adamantly insist. "I can control it." I assure them all as I look at their skeptical faces. "I invited this memory. I wondered if I'd ever pulled a prank on you guys before and those memories came to me. I'll focus on the mission. I promise, I won't invite a memory. Please...don't leave me behind."
The three study me and then each other. It's clear to me that the decision still rests with Heero.
"How do you feel?" he asks me. "And remember, Duo Maxwell doesn't lie."
I nod, remembering him telling me that before. "I have a damn good headache, but I'm sure some more aspirin will help."
"I'll get it." Trowa turns to where ever he stashes the pain reliever.
Heero looks at his watch. "It's seven thirty." he states and look directly at me again. "We'll all rest here until midnight. From here, Trowa will show us where the Winner shuttle is located and we'll secure it for a quick escape from the colony. From there we'll go to the estate and take Quatre." Okay, so I'm impressed by his skills as a leader already. I've already decided I'd follow where ever he leads.
His eyes bore into mine as he continues. "If, for any reason, we are separated at any point during the mission, return to the shuttle. If the operations goes sour, one of us should be able to return and take you back to Earth or to a safe place."
Trowa returns with the familiar pills and glass of water in his hands. "Thanks Tro." I say as I take them. I notice he is smiling at me and I give him a questioning look.
"It's coming back, Duo." he says. "You're the only one who has ever called me Tro." he explains.
Heero quickly arranges for our nap on the queen-size bed. Heero, Wufei and I will share the bed with Trowa taking the two cushioned chairs. We sleep fully clothed ready to leave when we awaken. I lay sandwiched between the two and as soon as the others' breathing evens, Heero pulls me up against his chest. By now, I'm use to this, and find it comforting. Yet as my back lies comfortably against the warmth of Heero's chest, I see Wufei sleeping in front of me, turned away and curled in on himself. He's been so cross with me since I ran, but maybe it's because he needs some comforting too. Heero's arms are firmly encasing me in their fold, but Wufei is close enough that I can reach him. He jumps slightly as I grab hold of him and pull him into my arms, duplicating Heero's hold on me.
"What are you doing Maxwell?" he hisses at me, his body is rigid in my embrace.
"Offering comfort." I reply in a soft whisper. "Isn't that what you told me we offer each other?" I ask and quickly continue. "And, I don't want you to be mad at me anymore."
"I'm not mad at you." he whispers sadly. "I'm angry at what's been done to you."
I resettle his head on my upper arm. "Just sleep, Wufei." I admonish him gently with a yawn. "Somehow it will all work out."
Slowly, his stiffness eases and I sense him slipping unto sleep. I resettle my head on Heero, cuddling back into him. He not only feels solid and protecting, but he smells good, too. His arm tightens momentarily around my chest. "Sleep, Duo." he whispers into my ear.
"You too." I yawn again and I feel him resettling against my back as we gradually join Wufei in the realm of sleep.
Note: The next chapter will offer a yaoi and non-yaoi ending.
Please pick your preference as labeled.