Warnings for the chapter: Nothing special, I guess. Still poor Feifei, but
I think you're beginning to get used to that ^____^
Zechs Merquise walked tiredly through the building. He had just finished his
propaganda mission for OZ, something he loathed, and had been reassigned to
the base in which they had, with the utmost discretion, relocalized the pilot
05. He hadn't even taken the time to put his things down in his suite, and right
off the plane went to find Treize. The man was observing the captive pilot through
a one-way mirror, deeply absorbed in the events taking place on the other side.
The general nodded at him to show that he had felt his presence, but didn't
turn to face him, his gaze not leaving the other room. Zechs glanced through
the glass too, to see what was taking his commander's attention.
He had been briefed on the situation by lady Une herself so that they could be sure to avoid info leaking, but he had to admit he hadn't quite expected what he had in front of him.
In a middle-sized white room without any windows, five men, four soldiers and a man in white coat, giving all of their attention to a slim adolescent lost in a too big hospital pyjama, seated on an uncomfortable-looking metallic chair. The doctor was taking notes on what they boy was saying on his little notebook, without letting him see what it was that he wrote. The young Asiatic boy was looking away, observing the walls and the floor in a bothered and shy way while playing with his unbound hair, that was giving him a strangely frail look.
"Frankly Treize," Zechs finally said, "shouldn't you keep him in a little bit more surveyed room? This one if far too much open to my tastes. You know what those pilots are capable of…"
"Honestly, I don't think that in the state he's in, he will cause a problem," answered the general in an absent tone, still not looking away from the one-way mirror behind which Wufei was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation by the shrink appointed by the Romafeller foundation.
Sinking into his too big clothes, the boy was giving the four soldiers uneasy glances, and was giving his best to answer to the doctor good enough, again and again pushing back behind his ear his ebony strands, in a gesture that was fast becoming a nervous mannerism. The too short hairs were always falling back on his nose, and when they tickled him, he wrinkled his nose, managing to looking adorably cute in the process, before pushing them back with an involuntarily elegant gesture. Unconsciously, he knew that his hair should have been longer than that, or at least that they shouldn't be falling on his nose and ayes like that, but he didn't know how to take care of the problem; Treize hadn't thought about making sure he was given a band. Oh well, he was discovering that he found interesting to observe the boy struggle with his so dark locks, that before now had only been seen flattened on his skull.
"He still stays dangerous… And if he was pretending?"
"He isn't simulating," retorted Treize. "Those evaluations will not teach us anything. He really doesn't remember. Apart from one or two vague things from when he was a toddler, and I don't think these will be of any use at all, since his personality was visibly forged much later on."
"Why are you so sure of that?"
"I saw him when he awoke, Zechs," Treize answered back, turning around to face his friend. "I saw him, I was there. I know how to read people's expressions. And I assure you the horror on his face when he realized he didn't remember was not false. Furthermore… When I visit him, there isn't any animosity in his eyes. Quite the contrary, he is always content with my presence, because I am the first person he saw, the person who taught him his own name; my presence reassures him, Zechs. Do you really think the terrorist we know would be happy to see his sworn enemy? The terrorist respects me, it is true, at least a little, but he distrusts me and would never accept the littlest compromise with anything at all linked to OZ. This boy gives me a nearly absolute trust. It even becomes slightly embarrassing sometimes."
"He could have not remembered at first and played along when it came back…"
Treize cut him with an impatient hand gesture.
"That's not like him to act. Every profiler say it. 02 or 03, maybe, but not him. And he didn't betray himself even once in nearly a week; a man that would play so well would deserve an Oscar. And he isn't of the kind of people that lie and hide behind a false personality. He isn't lying, my friend."
"Mmm… Maybe. But it could still come back to him at any second."
Treize smiled and shrugged elegantly.
"I am not stupid enough to forget it, don't worry."
"It's still strange that he would be so different. We thought that he would act at least a little like the person he was, even if some of his attitudes were the result of training, but… It's to the point where it would be easier to believe that this boy is another person. Maybe he has a split personality syndrome…"
"I think that, on the contrary, this is his true personality. He seems shy, but he has a will of his own even like that, it's just that he has been hurt and is still out of balance, I know it. I think that perhaps his aggressive response must come from a really traumatic event; he is perpetually angry because of that…"
"You really thought a lot about this…"
"I admit it, yes… It is extremely fascinating, don't you think so?"
"True…" admitted Zechs.
'but it's interesting when it is about an hypothetical case, or something you only read about. I don't know if playing with a terrorist's memory is really a safe game. you were never prudent, Treize, but here, you may get seriously hurt.'
Behind the mirror, Wufei shook his head several times, his eyes lowered, refusing to answer yet again an irritated question from the shrink who visibly hadn't heard what he had been expecting and was heavily insisting.
"But I'm telling you that it isn't the case!" the boy finally protested, getting up from his chair to put some distance between him and the overly inquisitive man.
Immediately, taking his act as a sign of aggression, the guards tensed and stalked toward him menacingly. Startled, Wufei's eyes widened slightly and he tried to step back to a wall to shelter himself at least partially. He glanced toward the mirror, knowing that there was someone behind it. But as one of the guards approached, Zechs and the general saw the boy back up against the wall and bend forward, taking on a trapped wild animal attitude. He was going to attack, instinctively. The important thing to know, was if his body would remember what his head had forgotten… and if the clash would awaken his memory, or at least showed Romafeller that he was still dangerous, Treize didn't know what he could do to save him.
"Enough," commanded the blue-clad man by the speaker before fear could make the teen hit one of the soldiers. "Let him be, get out of the room, right now."
As the doctor was gathering his papers urgently, the guards were glaring suspiciously at the uneasy boy. Finally, they got out, leaving him alone. The black-haired boy took a deep breath. It was finished.
Treize and Zechs walked out of the surveillance room and stalked toward the interrogation room, agitated.
"I told you he wasn't acting! You saw the surprise and the fear in his position ? He wasn't being aggressive at all before the soldiers scared him, quite the contrary! He wanted to get away from the psychiatrist, not hit him or intimidate him like the old Wufei would have done!"
"You are right," admitted a stupefied Zechs.
The first reflex of a fighter was to intimidate your adversary; Wufei had refused the confrontation.
Zechs stopped just out of the door, leaning against the wall out of sight.
"I'm sorry, Wufei," apologized Treize, passing the threshold alone.
The Chinese boy's expression changed in an extraordinary way. The second before, it had been a little ill at ease still; in a second, it became sliming and relieved.
"Treize-san ! I knew you weren't far," exclaimed the boy, stepping nearer.
Zechs frowned. He knew? Had he understood who had been looking at him behind the glass? If yes, then when in the interrogation? It could make the results false… Or was it just a simple intuition, or a wish?
"Really, I am deeply sorry," apologized the chestnut-haired man. "What happened? I wasn't paying close attention to what he was saying. Was he being unpleasant?"
Wufei shook his head no, and blew on his bangs to push them back, exasperated at them. He didn't even seem to having heard the unspoken admission of Treize's presence as a witness all along, or had he been so sure that a confession hadn't been necessary? Zechs didn't know what to make of it.
"… It's not that… It's just that… It hurts to search too much, but he didn't want to understand that…"
"Oh, I see…" answered the general, guiding the boy toward the table and making him sit down, before sitting in front of him. "Search too much… When you go too deep? Do you think it may be that the pain begins when you go too near a memory?"
Wufei puffed out a discouraged sigh.
"I don't know. I don't feel any progress at all, it's just that, after a while, I get a migraine."
Treize nodded, pensive.
"You'll probably remember alone after a while, I don't know if forcing you to try and try is very good for you…"
"I do hope it'll come back without forcing it," answered the young man, sounding miffed. "Because I feel so strange inside sometimes…"
"How do you mean that?" asked the general in a soft voice. "Tell me how it makes you feel."
"I don't know!" exclaimed the young Asian teen with frustration. "I don't understand any of it. It's like a wave suddenly, and it's got nothing to do with what's really happening all around me and what I should feel at the moment it happens… I feel like anger, but so much… sadness behind, and … regret maybe? Well, there are too many things, it's too tangled, I can't understand it all… If only I had the memories that go with it, I would know where it came from, but…"
He hit the table with both fists, frustrated. Treize caught them and pushed them back on the table, not letting them go.
"Calm down…" he exhorted him in a soothing tone.
"I don't think I was a really happy person before," admitted the young man in a tired voice.
Kushrenada bit the inside of his cheek and briefly lowered his eyes on the ground.
"Nothing to prevent you from being happy now. Enough for today, ok?"
They got up and walked to the door. Zechs stepped away then made as if he was just arriving just as Wufei got out.
"This is my friend, Zechs Merquise. Zechs, this is Chang Wufei."
The Chinese politely bowed, and Zechs saluted back with a nod.
"I was going to accompany Wufei to his room so that he could change," announced the general, "now that I have him given some more …fitting clothes…"
Wufei glanced at his too big pajama and had a little mocking smirk, then looked up to Zechs, observing the man without any particular expression.
He had seen before /a young man with long hair, so long he sat on it, and long bangs hiding his eyes…/ but the color didn't match. The long hair he saw now wasn't of the good color, it was way too clear. The one he was thinking about was… was… The memory disappeared before he could fix it, and he swallowed his frustration, clenching his fists hard enough to hurt.
"Then we'll take a walk in the gardens," continued Treize, "I think our young friend needs to get some air."
"I thank you, Treize-san," answered the Chinese with a respectful bow.
Zechs wondered why, if he was Chinese, the boy was instinctively using Japanese honorific terms. It was strange… Had he grown up near people of Japanese descent? Promising information, but not that interesting as long as it was not complete. Pilot 01 had Japanese origins from their sources and the examination he had undergone after his first capture, at the very beginning of his guerilla, but 05 surely didn't get the use of honorific suffixes and politeness formulas from him. His trainer maybe? It was surely a question that would remain unanswered.
* * * * * * * * *
Duo didn't turn around to face the Japanese who was staring at him from the living room's door, and just changed channels. It was news time and he was surfing every channel susceptible to give information about Wufei, but as of yet, there was still nothing.
He sighed quietly and clicked yet again on the button.
Or more like, tried to. Heero had stolen the remote from his hand.
"Leave it on this channel if you're watching the news," the Japanese boy advised, putting a cable channel before sitting on the couch's arm.
"Ok… By the way, do I really want to know how you succeeded in connecting us to the cable?"
"Probably, since you would surely use it to install each and every channel that happens to catch your attention, and probably many totally uninteresting ones, too."
"You know me too well …" grinned Duo.
"…Which is exactly why I won't teach you to do it," continued the Japanese.
The American blinked.
"You're mean! You cruel, ignoble, insensitive…"
"I don't care for seeing cartoons without head nor tails when I'm searching for CNN and Trowa would probably not appreciate much seeing porno flicks instead of Planet."
"You never know," objected the braided boy. "Although, I wonder which sort of movies would have his preference."
"I don't think I want to continue that conversation," the messy-haired boy calmly remarked.
"Hey, it's true… In your opinion, what would he watch? Straight porn, lesbian porn, gay porn?"
"It is not a mental picture that I truly need," grimaced Yuy.
"I'm just wonderin', 's all… I've been trying to find out since I met him, an I still don't know on which side he butters his toast! And usually I'm good with finding out!"
"It's nearly as obscene as asking me that about Quatre!" protested firmly the brown-haired boy.
"For him it would be gay porn," Duo shot back without thinking.
Heero's eyes widened slightly and Duo bit his tongue, hard.
'Shiiiiiit, what a moron I am… here's what happens when you're babbling when you're tired, you just end up letting slide anything... Quatre's gonna kill me …'
"Oh," said the Japanese finally, his face once again set in its usual expression.
"'oh'? Is that all you've got to say?"
Heero shrugged, looking indifferent.
"Quatre's sexual life isn't of any concern to me. If he prefers men, that's his problem and his right. As long as he is happy with that choice, I don't have anything to say. Even if he was unhappy," he added as an afterthought, realizing that the overprotective instincts were pushing him slightly too far again.
Heero lowered his eyes to look at his finger, which was mechanically tracing the withered embroideries of the armrest.
"To be truthful I have been suspecting it for a while now."
"How did you find out?"
"His scent when he's with Trowa."
"Yeah, me, that was the looks he sends his way that clued me in. In my opinion Trowa has to be the only one that never realized anything. It doesn't bother you then?"
"It would be hypocritical for me to be bothered by that, Duo," Wing's pilot shot back, looking away.
The boy with the violet eyes needed a few seconds to record and understand the words.
"You're gay too?" he asked without thinking.
Luckily, Heero wasn't known for his hypersensitive side.
"No… well, maybe. I don't know."
"Whaaaaa? You're yankin' my chain here? How can you not know it? I knew I was bisexual at ten!"
"You were sexually obsessed as soon as you learned the meaning of the word sex, Duo," his comrade calmly shot back.
Duo guffawed loudly before coming back to his subject.
"No, seriously, how didja do that?"
Heero glared at him, trying to intimidate him into dropping the matter. But naturally, being Duo, the boy just grinned at him and waited for him to decide to answer.
"I don't know under which label I am placed, that's all … Heterosexual or homosexual, is it really that important? For me, the, the sex of a person isn't essential! And I certainly haven't frequented enough people to have made up my mind as for preferring one side or the other. And now…"
'with the virus, I will probably never be able to …experiment. Not that I really want to, with a precise person I mean, but… I'm beginning to get a little …curious. Yeah, that's it, curious. After all for a hormone-full teenager it's only normal. For once, I react normally, I shouldn't complain.'
/and there is only one person I really want for the moment anyway/ he added as an afterthought, letting his eyes wander over his teammate's stretched out body.
Realizing what he was doing, he started violently and blushed, and turned his back to his comrade, hoping to hide his expression. Kami-sama, from where had that thought come?!? Why did he think like that? Why was he thinking about Duo… like that?
…Why hadn't he realized that sooner? Finally… In fact, he had been behaving as if the American attracted him physically for a while already, but he had never let himself see that clearly, dissimulating that desire to touch his hair and smell his scent and follow him with his eyes and that reaction in his guts when they ended up in contact, with basic awareness of his surroundings, surprise at the unexpected touch… everything but interest and pleasure at being in contact.
He felt his head spin under the afflux of new data and decided to apprehend the problem with logic, step by step, from the facts.
Well, he knew a few things.
He often looked at the boy. When he moved, because he moved well, supple and graceful. When he talked, because his facial expressions and stances were so numerous and so varied that it fascinated him to try and class them all. When he slept… Because he was so different when unmoving. Well, he was …handsome? Cute? Interesting to look at, for sure. Heero looked because he appreciated his beauty. It could be only esthetical pleasure.
He often listened to the American. Because he talked all the time anyway; but because sometimes, under all the jokes and random comments, there appeared an incredibly interesting sentence, by its logic, by its new point of view, by its unexpected depth. Duo's intelligence interested him, and he respected it more than he let on.
He often came into contact with him, him the boy who had always claimed not to like being touched… Accidentally or not. It had begun long ago, soon after their first meeting, and had gotten worse and worse, since the baka didn't seem to be able to keep his hands to himself. Accidental brushes. A hand on his arm to get his attention, an elbow on his shoulder, a slap on the back to stress a joke; an arm around his shoulders when they were walking, his hair suddenly disheveled; his hands again when Heero had been hurt and needed care… Lately, the Were had even been touching back, consciously.
And he liked that.
He shook his head. All that didn't teach him anything he didn't know. He admired the young man, physically and mentally. He felt attracted by his vivacity, his sense of humor, his smiles and each of his little mysteries. And he felt good when Duo touched him. But did he let Duo touch him because he was attracted or because Duo was the only one to ever touch him at all, and he needed it? Was it sexual? Was it that when Duo put his hand on his shoulder, Heero imagined that it was more? Or was it only physical, like platonic contacts between animals of the same pack only seeking reassurance and a little bit of warmth?
Anyway, for Duo it was not platonic, he knew it. There only was to smell the way his scent modified sometimes, when they were in a slightly intimate situation… But the young man had the contact easy, even that one, and was maybe only attracted by his body. Especially since they could only mix with very few people outside of their little group. Heero didn't think that Duo was only interested in him for his body, no, he knew that Duo was attached to him and considered him like one of his best friends; even if sometimes he wondered why Duo liked him so much. But maybe he was only that for him: someone that he liked, with a body that he appreciated.
"Fuckbuddies". Friends who found it fun to jump each other's bones from time to time. That kind of things would totally be in Duo's league… not that it was a bad thing, per se, if all people involved thought the same way. He was so casual with physical stuff, not like Heero at all.
Bah! It was of no use to worry his brain like this when he had so little data, and so few clues as to the way to interpret them. For the time being, he would just continue to appreciate the moments that would come like he had done in the past, as what they were: unexpected and wondrous gifts.
He turned his face back to his friend. Duo was looking at him in silence, waiting for him to finish thinking. The braided boy lifted an eyebrow, implicitly asking if Heero was going to talk about his thoughts, but when Heero imperceptibly shook his head, he gave him a warm smile and a shrug to say that it wasn't important and turned back to the TV.
Slowly, Heero let himself slide off the uncomfortable armrest on the seat, keeping his arm on the back of the couch. There were used springs hidden inside that poked at his ass, and the cloth was old and smelled of rust and dust; but it wasn't important, compared with the small, yet also great pleasure of watching the TV in the company of a very close friend.
* * *
Three hours later, when the channel finally showed the screen at end of programs, Heero shook himself out of his trance to realize that the pleasant warmth he felt was due to the supple body which had progressively coiled itself against his side, deposing its head on his shoulder. He regretfully moved his fingers from the long hair they had been caressing reflexively for a good hour now, and softly called his comrade, a little reticent to put an end to that moment.
"Duo? Hey, Duo…"
The American had been asleep for a long while already.