As the stars of the Southern Cross twinkled in the crystal night sky, all
five pilots sat on the large front porch of the research center's guest
housing finishing yet another bottle of wine and talking companionably.
Duo groused quietly, "You know, guys, it is *so* unfair for you to keep
saying how great the stars look when *someone* here can't even see them."
"Sorry, Duo," Trowa remarked, watching Quatre move to snuggle against Wufei's
chest a little more after the Chinese boy shivered from the evening chill.
"It's getting cold out anyway, we need to go in."
"I dun wanna," Heero slurred, "S'nice out here, I wanna stay out here for
awhile, koi, and I promise not to talk about the stars, 'kay?"
"Sh'yeah, right, Heero," Duo snickered, "Stop the fake drunk act and I might
"Busted!" Quatre grinned and smiled at the obviously perfectly sober Wing
pilot who glared at him in return. "What?!?" The blond exclaimed in
"You are *not* helping matters here, Winner," Heero snarled jokingly. The
fact that Heero had tried every trick in the book to avoid a certain
discussion had not been lost on the others and this was the night they had
agreed to settle a few things.
"Quatre's right, koi," Duo said softly, reaching a hand out to Heero who took
it and moved to sit closer. "Don't you think it is past time to let us in on
what they did to you in Sydney? I dare say Wu deserves an explanation for why
you tried to kill him."
Before Wufei could disagree, Trowa added, "You owe us *all* an explanation,
Heero." He dropped down to sit behind his lovers and wrapped a blanket around
Wufei and Quatre both, before adding his own long arms to keep them warm.
Quatre threw him a look of thanks, and Wufei, who was closer, kissed him
before closing his eyes and laying his head back against Trowa's shoulder.
"We're listening," Duo prompted, nudging Heero with an elbow. "Since when do
you avoid such things, Heero? Getting soft on us?"
"No," Heero growled, "It's just not easy to explain and it is *not* pleasant
to think about either. I almost got all four of you killed and I'd rather not
think about how it felt to come out of it and see what I'd done."
"Feelings, Yuy," Wufei remarked wisely, "are something you once said were
important to acknowledge to live a good life. So, tell us about yours before
one of us gets a mission and the damned war calls us back."
A smug look spread across Heero's face and he answered snidely, "Forget that,
Wufei, none of us are going anywhere for awhile."
"Nani?" Dark eyes opened suspiciously and Wufei moved his head to stare at
the boy getting a complaining grunt from Trowa and a whine from Quatre. The
pair had just gotten comfortably wrapped around the Chinese boy and his
movement annoyed them both. Realizing his error, Wufei quickly murmured an
apology and shifted right back into place.
Duo chuckled softly and asked the darkness, "Wufei sandwich anyone?"
"Maxwell..." The Chinese boy warned yet didn't move this time.
Duo just grinned and pulled Heero closer. "Aw, that's kawaii, guys! Nice to
know you all are getting along okay over there."
"Stop trying to cover for Heero, Duo," Trowa chided softly before adding,
"and yes, a 'Wufei sandwich' *is* kawaii and we like it, so don't be jealous,
you still get Heero."
"That I do!" The American grinned, scratching at the bandage over his eyes
before remarking, "C'mon, koi, spill. The guys are getting impatient and
actually so am I. Why *exactly* are we not going anywhere and what *did*
happen to you?"
Heero sighed and stared at the sky before beginning to speak. "First, we are
all on leave until further notice. I got Dr. J to talk to the other docs and
we get a vacation for awhile. Even that old rat bastard agreed we needed time
off after the crap we've been through lately."
There were murmured assents and nods, and at least one *very* happy Arab who
thought this would be a great time to get his lovers to show him Bali while
he showed them he was sincere about changing his ways.
"Second, and a hell of a lot harder, why I went off the deep end the way I
did. Well, best as I can figure out, OZ had yet another 'great idea' to use
me for their side. This time, though, they convinced me you were all dead."
He paused as the false memories were dredged back up to mind once more and he
considered them more closely than he had before. It still hurt even if he
knew they were fake.
"We know that part," Duo complained. "Details, koi, please? I still don't get
the whole 'kill Wufei' part. How does *that* fit into anything?"
Trowa reflexively tightened his arms around his smaller lover and Wufei just
smiled. "Now who is being overly protective, hmm?" The Chinese teen whispered
to him so softly that not even Quatre could hear.
"I am," Trowa remarked equally quietly. "No apologies either. He almost took
you from us and I won't tolerate that."
"Think Quatre might want a say in that?" Wufei asked gently.
"No, he'd just agree, so why even worry?" Trowa kissed him tenderly as he
added, "And if Heero ever tries *that* again, I'll make sure I have something
other than pistols on me."
"Understood and appreciated, angel," Wufei answered then settled into silence
as Duo began to squirm to get Heero to answer him.
"Duo, sometimes you have no idea what you're asking for, you know that?"
Heero asked, a trace of pain in his voice.
To everyone's surprise, Duo answered with a low tone of even deeper pain,
"Actually, koi, I *do* know. You aren't sleeping at night, you are haunted by
this and if you don't talk about it, things won't start to heal, so start
"Ryoukai," Heero answered in all seriousness. Over the next fifteen minutes,
he described for them the nightmarish images that still came to mind at odd
moments. The grisly sight of the others dying because of Wufei's betrayal was
what Heero saw in his mind's eye most often. His own execution of the
ShenLong pilot seemed coldly efficient, yet it plagued his dreams. The
gruesome images which haunted him were laid out for the four boys whose lives
were on the line the day Heero awoke fully.
After he finished speaking, a dark silence fell over the group as each tried
to balance what they had guessed at for his motivation and the reality. It
was hard to handle, but as usual this team rose to the challenge.
"So," Wufei finally broke the quiet, "you were only trying to bring me to
justice for what you believed I had done to the others, Heero? This is
acceptable and even reassuring."
"'Reassuring', koi?" Quatre snapped, on edge from the harrowing sense of pain
the group had just shared too easily through his uchuu no kokoro. "How in
hell can *that* be reassuring?! To know that one of the most efficient
killers of our day was after you because of artificial memories is *not*
reassuring in the least!"
"Oh yes it is," Trowa interjected. He knew how his beloved dragon's mind
worked and even he could see the balance and symmetry offered under the
situation. "What Wufei means is that if any of us should truly go insane and
it resulted in the deaths of any of the rest of us, at least Heero could be
counted on to put an end to that person's madness. Or," he held the Chinese
youth more tightly, praying this never even came close to happening, "if it
had been too late, there would be justice served." He didn't ask for
confirmation, he didn't need it, but Quatre did.
"Is that true, Fei?" The blond asked, still confused.
"Very much so," Wufei agreed and added, "But let's all see to it that never
needs to be tested, shall we?"
"Definitely!" Quatre answered still annoyed that Wufei could find his own
death a desirable outcome regardless of the reason. He just didn't get it,
this strange view of justice surpassing the value of human life, but he had
time to work on it now.
Duo, however, seemed miserable for other reasons.
"Heero?" He finally asked of the boy who still sat and held him, "How was it
you didn't recognize me then? If you recognized Wu, why not me? I mean," he
shrugged, even temporarily blind, Duo was still as animated when he spoke as
ever, "if you had when you came towards us in the first place, couldn't all
this pain have been avoided?"
"I just don't know, Duo," Heero sighed.
This was what had bothered the Wing pilot the most, actually. Duo was quite
right, if Heero had recognized him at the very beginning, the others would
never have been endangered, Duo himself would never have been injured by the
exploding van, and Wufei would never have been forced to activate his
self-destruct system. But there were no easy answers and they all sat in
silence once more until Duo yawned rather noisily.
"Oops!" the American snickered at himself. "What a rude thing to do, but hey,
must be getting late if the party animal here is getting sleepy, right?"
"Right," Quatre added a patently false display of tiredness of his own. "I'm
sleepy, too." He stood up suddenly and belatedly wrapped the blanket back in
place around Wufei who shivered at the sudden cold.
Trowa smirked as he stood and scooped a protesting Wufei up into his arms,
blanket and all. "Good night, you two," he nodded as he turned to go in, but
stopped when his captive lover asked something of him. The tall pilot
carefully put him back down and Wufei walked over to put one hand on the
Japanese boy's shoulder and the other on Duo's.
"Stop beating yourself up for this, Heero. It happened, it hurt, it ended."
Blameless sympathy flowed out to both young men as he added, "We all survived
and maybe we learned a little about ourselves in the process. It's not the
first time OZ has tried to ruin our lives and it won't be the last. Make your
peace with yourself, we've all forgiven you and now the only one left to do
that is you."
Heero stared at him puzzled before he answered, "Thanks, Wufei. How is it the
small guys are always the smart ones?"
"Don't ask me," Wufei shrugged and straightened up, then shivered again.
"Besides, how smart can I be if I'm sitting out here in a damned tank top to
start with?" They both chuckled as Trowa reclaimed Wufei and this time lead
him indoors without further protest. As the two lovers went off to join their
third in their bedroom, the couple on the porch spent a few minutes of
"Duo," Heero asked quietly, "Is it really as simple as Wufei makes it sound?
Do we just forget this happened and go on?"
"No, Heero," Duo answered quietly. "You didn't listen to him. We *don't*
forget it, we learn from it and *then* we move on."
"Oh," Heero remarked sadly, "What am I supposed to learn besides don't get
caught by OZ research freaks again?"
Duo chuckled in spite of himself, "That *is* a good thing to learn, koi, but
not what I think he had in mind. I'm guessing he wants us to try to be a
better team and try to avoid this in the future but remember that any of us
are susceptible to pain. They got to you and almost made you fulfill their
objectives indirectly. As long as we keep heading into danger, we are going
to hit unexpected challenges and we are just going to have to make the best
of it. Hell, he even approved of you trying to kill him, so Wu's either nuts
or wise beyond what this little street rat can make sense of."
Heero snorted and commented good-naturedly, "Can I opt for both? He's nuts
*and* he's wise?"
"Works for me!" Duo grinned, then stretched as he decided he had heard enough
talk and wanted to drop it for the night. "But let's say good night to the
stars and head in, okay? I'm cold."
"No problem," Heero stood up and before Duo could attempt to blindly regain
his feet, he swept him up into his arms.
Duo wriggled and laughed, "Put me down, you big bully! I can walk, you know!"
Heero shrugged as he went inside. "I know, but I'm putting something into
practice I learned tonight, like you wanted me to."
"Oh? What's that? Pick up the poor little blind kid so he won't trip over
"No," Heero remarked, closing the door to their room behind him and laying
Duo gently on their bed. "Make sure you take the cute guy to the right room
at the end of the day."
"What on earth?" Duo giggled in spite of himself. "Wufei did *not* say
"No, I learned this by watching Trowa and Quatre plus listening to you. A
'Wufei sandwich' might be kawaii, but it's not how I want to end my day."
"Oh? A little jealous, are we?" The boy laying on the bed snickered.
"Nope, not me," Heero remarked, turning off the light leaving them equally
disadvantaged, "they got their 'cute guy', I got mine. No need for me to be
jealous, now is there?"
"No, not at all, koi. Not one tiny bit."
Hours later, as silence fell over the outback, five young men each found
comfort and peace in the arms of those they loved. Each had been tested by
the sadistic techniques three OZ researchers had used to try to gain
something as paltry as political power.
False memories had come close to destroying this unique team, but the most
powerful force in existence, love, stopped them and neither OZ nor anyone
else could ever break its power over them.
1. This fic is dedicated to my angel, my kitten, my Ryoko 03. She brings
Trowa to life in the GW_yaoi-RPG and brightens my long sleepless nights.
Wufei, however, dedicates this to *his* Angel, the Nanashi she created in the
2. There is only one muse to blame for this and we all know who she is.
Melpomene has made sure to see me through another series of dark days, so a
salute to the muse of ANGST is due! Erato, muse of lemons and relationships,
takes a bow as she once talked me into giving Quatre someone to love him
again. It's harder than you think letting *anyone* other than Wufei have time