Written: December, 2000
Rating: R
Pairings: (1+2) (3+4)
Category: Angst Yaoi AU (AC200)
Enigma Story Categorization: G-Boys High Adventure!
Warnings: Angst, yaoi, violence, sap, AU-OOC (AC200)
Disclaimers: Why can't I own the Gundam Wing Universe?!? All I've got are a few novel ideas in this story that are truly mine. I'm not making any money off this story; it's written due to obsession, so please don't sue me!

NOTE: This story takes place a year and a half after the war with Mariemaia. The pilots are scattered, or so Heero believes, with the exception of himself and Duo who live together as lovers.

//someone's thoughts//


<<sound effect>>

Vicious Cycles of Revenge
Part 4

On the way to the morgue, Heero looked at a photo of himself and Duo taken only a month before at his company's annual picnic. Duo had insisted that they go and he looked so relaxed and happy in it, so full of life. How could he be dead?

Each day of the war they had been ready to die. Life seemed cheap and disposable. Peace, however, had let them learn what life really felt like. The ups and downs of little things like doing the laundry or arguing over what to do for a long weekend seemed lightyears away now for Heero Yuy. Lightyears even the Wing Zero could never have seen across to predict this future. None of the myriad versions of life Heero had seen offered by the ultimate battle system included this scenario and it seemed all the more bitter to him because of it. Perhaps if he had foreseen it he could have prevented it, or so he thought.

"We're here," Wufei commented softly, sitting next to him in the cab.

"Hn." Heero had reverted back to almost non-speech since leaving Trowa's office. The only thing he'd broken his silence for was to ask for Wufei's service revolver, and he'd gotten it along with an extra clip of ammunition should he need it.

Neither man discussed who the weapon was to be used against. They both knew and there was nothing to talk about now. Wufei had no intention of trying to stop Heero, it would only result in further injuries. He doubted he'd ever get any solid evidence against either of the Winner Corporation executives, but Heero Yuy was a walking instrument of justice right then, and he would let that be enough.

They had called ahead and had told them to hold off on the autopsy. The coroner easily agree since he had several to do and waiting on one only changed the sequence of events, not the final outcome.

Approaching the desk, Wufei flashed his Preventers ID and they were escorted back to the coroner's office.

An assistant pulled up the records on the John Doe they had described, few young men had a three foot long braid, and they waited. Finally, she arrived. "I'm the coroner, I understand you may be able to identify one of the John Does we have currently?"

"Yes," Heero shoved the photo across the desk. "His name is Duo Maxwell. He was my lover. I want to arrange to get his body out of here; what else do you need?"

"Hmm," she frowned, "well, that certainly looks like him. I'd wondered if violet was his natural eye color, it is very rare and quite stunning; obviously it was."

"Precisely how did he die?" Wufei asked, trying to get information before they confronted what was left of their friend.

She looked puzzled. "We don't really know. There's a few surface wounds, but none of them enough to account for his condition. X-rays showed a couple broken bones and some nasty burns across his back, but it still isn't enough. That's one reason we were going ahead with the autopsy. There was a large explosion on the other side of the city a few days ago, and the police had suggested he might have been caught in the blast. If he had, there's some toxic residue we would expect to find in the lungs, but the case seems strange. Most of the other victims were found right away and ended up at the third and fourth district morgues. We only had one here, and he was one of the wounded who died afterwards. It's possible he was there, but died later untreated. We won't know without an autopsy. Once you've identified the body, do you want us to proceed?"

"NO!!!" Heero proclaimed strongly. "Um, sorry, but, no. I want to take him back to Earth. There's some people who will want to say good---good---" he was too choked up suddenly to finish speaking. Heero had remained strong as long as he could, but to be sitting there that moment, speaking of Duo in the past tense was more than even the once Perfect Soldier could bear.

Wufei's own feelings remained concealed, but he wished he could do something for his suffering friend, yet he knew not to interfere. "May we see him now?" He asked calmly.

"Yes, certainly. Follow me," the woman rose and lead the way to a room where a man's body lay, covered in a plain white sheet. "I have to be here when the identification is made. Don't worry, he's remarkably intact, very few external injuries," she smiled softly. "He's just as handsome now as he was when that picture was taken. After that, I can leave you alone for a bit. This is hard, especially when a death is unexpected, I know that. Do whatever you need to do so you can get through this, all right?"

"Right." Wufei answered for Heero whose eyes could not leave the surface of the clean, motionless sheet. Peeking out from under one edge, the tip of an irresistible chestnut braid seemed to beckon to Heero.

Both young men knew what to expect, bodies in morgues were stored naked to avoid personal effects being stolen as well as making the coroner's work easier as they went, yet the very thought of seeing his deceased lover displayed in such a manner bothered Heero. In a corner of his mind he could admit to an almost insane jealousy that a complete stranger had disrobed the attractive young man.

The very idea of flipping back the sheet and making what they'd been told into solid proof, scared the Japanese man than anything he had ever faced. It was more terrifying than the day he himself had gone to an OZ installation with every intention of killing the then 15 year-old Deathscythe pilot himself. But it was necessary.

The coroner brought in an assistant as a witness to the identification procedure. The preliminary questions had already been addressed, all that remained was the final visual identification.

Making sure he stood nearby, Wufei tried to provide support to Heero without hovering or seeming to dictate anything. The woman stepped up to the body. "Are you ready?" she asked. Heero simply nodded.

With a careful turn, she moved the sheet away from the face exposing to the light the singular beauty that had always defined Duo Maxwell.

Heero felt weak in the knees as the final question was answered.

It was over.

"Can you identify this man?" the coroner had to follow the law and this was the final step.

"Hai." Heero reverted to Japanese automatically as he felt his entire world shatter and fall to pieces around his feet.

"Pardon me?" she asked in confusion.

"Um, yes, that is my--- my--- Yes, that is Duo Maxwell," Heero stated as firmly as he could without realizing rationality was escaping his grasp.

He never even felt Wufei's strong hand upon his back or the other clasping his arm as Heero wavered in place. "That is definitely him, but where is his cross? He never even showered without that cross on! Where is it?!?" He became distraught temporarily, then pulled it back together. "Never mind, I know, it's with his personal effects, isn't it? Do you need anything else? I think I need some time alone here." Almost without thought, he reached out to stroke the beloved braid, then noticed something.

"I've seen a lot of dead bodies in my life," he remarked looking closely, "but this isn't right. His lips are nearly white instead of blue, I've never seen a corpse with lips this color before."

"You're right," Wufei said suspiciously, looking more closely. Suddenly, he looked up at Heero, urgency in his eyes. "Heero, say his name again, louder. Say it now!"

"*Nani*?!? What's wrong with you, Wufei? Don't go to pieces now, I need your help, or did you forget who we are going back to see when we finish here?" Heero was confused and disturbed at the thought of exacting his revenge without Wufei's stabilizing presence.

"Damn it, Yuy! Say Maxwell's name!" Wufei demanded.

"All right," Heero looked at his friend in shock, but did as he was told. "Duo! Duo Maxwell!" He looked at the coroner as well as Wufei, totally bemused.

"Again! You must speak to him!" Wufei was nearly frantic.

"Okay, okay. Um, what do I say? Well, hell, if you've lost it Wufei, I'll make do. Duo, can you hear me? Wufei wants me to talk to you but what good it'll do to talk to a dead guy is beyond me." Profound pain filled his voice as Heero felt confused hopelessness wash over him. "Damn it, Wufei! Are you going out of your mind or something? Duo can't hear me! Shinigami's dead, damn it!!!"

As soon as the word "Shinigami" was said, a slight motion brought a smile to Wufei's face. "Really, Yuy? Look again."

"Huh? Duo is still---OH MY GODS! DUO!!!" He shouted as an eyelid moved ever so slightly on the "corpse". Slowly, so slowly it seemed to be like watching a rock trying to move under its own power, his eyelid twitched allowing a glimmer of violet to shine dully in the room's fluorescent lights.

A soft breath rattled across dry lips as Duo struggled for air.

"He's *not* dead!" Heero shouted joyously, alarming the coroner who had been temporarily frozen in place during the strange events. "Thank the gods! Duo! You're *alive*!!!" He nearly grabbed the struggling body near him when Wufei stopped him, allowing the medical personnel access to help the braided man get enough air to breathe.

A series of ragged coughs shuddered through the room as they frantically tried to help Duo to breathe. The morgue was a place of the dead and there was little available for resuscitation. Heero noted they were attempting to give the gasping young man mouth-to-mouth, he gladly shoved them aside and firmly applied his own lips to Duo's giving him urgently needed oxygen as well as the best possible stimuli to reawaken.

Within minutes, Duo seemed to improve enough to barely recognize Heero but not much more. The Japanese man, however, thought it was the most wonderful thing he'd ever experienced.

Under the coroner's watchful gaze, this continued until an ambulance arrived to carry Duo away along with Heero who, understandably, refused to leave his side. This left Wufei behind to finish the details and necessary record keeping.

"What exactly just happened, Mr. Chang? You seemed to know what was going on before anyone else," the coroner asked.

"Duo Maxwell was in a state of suspended animation. I recognized the signs when Heero pointed out the atypical color of the lips," Wufei had explained this before, but this time it was in the presence of a police officer and he was pleased to repeat himself for once. "I was the one who taught him how to self-induce the state, so I knew what to look for even though I never expected it. This knowledge also allowed me identify a way to help him awaken, but I doubt that my voice would have had the same effect as Heero Yuy's."

The police officer looked dubious. "Let me get this straight, you're telling me he was alive all this time even though he was closed up in an air-tight chamber in the morgue overnight? That's a bit much to believe."

"Hmph, believe it or not, it remains what happened. The time elapsed is well within that for the successful reawakening, but he needed help. That was why I urged Heero to talk to him, I assumed hearing his voice would help him get passed the condition and it worked."

"Is this true, doc?" he asked the coroner who was very impressed by the entire thing.

"I saw what I saw, officer. He seemed quite dead to all of us and never showed the least sign of recovery until Mr. Yuy and Mr. Chang spoke to him, so I believe it."

"But wouldn't the pain of an autopsy have snapped him out of it, too?" the officer seemed determined to find a flaw in the serendipitous turn of events.

"Of course it would have, don't be stupid!" the woman lost her patience. "But we don't approach such things from a surgical viewpoint since these are corpses we are dealing with and he would probably have died within minutes. It was a good thing they prevented the autopsy when they did or it would have been too late."

"Now, officer, if you have everything you need, I would prefer to rejoin my friends," Wufei stated calmly.

"Certainly," the policeman seemed satisfied and had to go to the hospital to take Heero's statement anyway. "Want to ride with me? It's just a regular cruiser, nothing as nice as what you Preventers drive, but it'll get us there." The guy grinned knowing most Preventers didn't even have routine ground transportation.

Wufei smirked. "You're right, a cruiser isn't as good as a gundanium mobile suit, but it will suffice. Let's go."

Amazed, the man finally figured out he had been dealing with some of the Gundam pilots and the two left with him asking a million questions and Wufei looking extraordinarily pleased with the world for a change.

on to part 5

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