Vicious Cycles of Revenge
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
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
"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
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
"What exactly just happened, Mr. Chang? You seemed to know what was going on before anyone else," the
"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.