Disclaimer: I don't own any rights to the GW universe and I certainly don't make any money for this strange hobby of writing about it.

Heero is featured in the last story of this series. Come on, you know he can't be all that normal with the training he was given and the from the many things he was deprived. This is my version of how Heero turned out. Thanks for comments and reviews. All are appreciated. Thanks most of all to Aphreal.

Dark Side of the Moon # 5 - Heero's story

The Collector

By: Bane's Desire

It was still early morning. The air was fresh and clean and the dew sparkled like gems on the blades of grass as the sun rose slowly from the eastern sky. As he walked away from the safehouse, Heero knew exactly where the other pilots were at this hour of the morning. They were all somewhat predictable in their patterns. Wufei was behind the safehouse practicing his katas, Quatre and Trowa were in the kitchen, working together to fix a balanced breakfast, leaving Duo, who was still sound asleep in his bed.

He'd made his excuse for leaving to the three conscious pilots as that of checking the communication systems in Wing, but the real reason for his early excursion to his gundam was only for himself to know. It was a short walk from the cabin that Quatre had furnished for them, nestled deeply in the wooded area that was dense enough to hide their gundams from any satellite surveillance. Yet the pleasantness of his walk and the beauty surrounding him were, for the most part, ignored.

Upon reaching his gundam, he climbed up the sleek, cold metal surface, easily finding the footholds he'd always used with practiced ease. Once he reached the hatch, he triggered the opening and quickly entered the cockpit. Toggling the switches inside the entry, the interior lights went on as the door shut swiftly behind him, sealing him inside the cockpit and keeping the world out. An almost overwhelming feeling of being safe filled him. It was a feeling he always experienced whenever he entered his gundam; it felt like...home.

He stood for a moment, surveying the familiar space, assuring himself that everything was in order and untouched. It was all as he had left it. Satisfied, he moved to the small space at the back of his pilot's chair and released a hidden latch, causing a small door to pop open. His hands reached in and removed a locked rectangular box. It was an unusual container made of gundanium that he'd put together himself from scraps he'd gathered from the workshop on L-1. The lock he'd set in it was designed for optimum protection, a retinal scan to ensure he was the only person who could access the contents.

He sat on the floor, crossed his legs and set the box on top of them. Moving his hands reverently over the smooth and cool silver-colored surface he relished the feeling of ownership that he always experienced when he held and then opened his special box. Rarely in his life had he owned anything of his own. He'd trained with Odin and then with Dr. J, and anything he'd received from them was necessary, like his clothing, or job or mission related, such as his weapons. Of the things he'd been given by J, other than his training, the two things he could now call his own was his gundam and his gun. Yet deep inside of him there lay a need. All of his life he'd craved something more, something that was his own and not practical or mission related.

As a child, he'd been deprived all objects of comfort that other children customarily enjoyed: a soft bosom to rest his head against, a cushy blanket to snuggle into, a pet or a toy to play with, a friend. He'd craved those things and more as a child but was systematically denied them for the sake of his training. It wasn't until he came to earth, beginning Operation Meteor, that he saw the opportunity to have some of those things that he'd since come to desire even more.

Hitting a button on top of the box, a small panel rose from out of the lid and produced the optical scanner. He lifted it to eye level as a beep sounded five times. On the sound of the fifth beep, a green light shone into his eye, taking a scan of his retina. Another beep sounded and a slight click was heard as the lock was disengaged. With his feelings of anticipation held in check, he slowly opened the lid and allowed a rare smile to grow unchecked upon his face. Setting the box on the floor, he reach into the foam-protected interior and pulled out a vial and stared at the contents within. He turned it carefully, letting the interior lights above him sparkle off the sparkling blue Tanzanite. When the light hit it right, the deep blue shimmered with a purplish hue that Heero had decided was his favorite color. He frowned a bit at the greying anchor for that spectacular earring. It seems that a human ear did not preserve well, even in a formaldehyde, aqueous solution.

This was the first of his acquisitions after he came to earth. He'd been on a mission to assassinate an important financial backer for the Alliance. He successfully entered the home, killing the unsuspecting man and his mistress while they were intimately engaged in the woman's home. He pulled out his knife and moved closer to the bed, and while checking them for a pulse to make sure his mission was complete, his eyes caught sight of the glittering blue on the woman's ear. After a closer look, his appreciation grew for not only the amazing gem he'd never seen before, but by the way it was displayed on the woman's perfectly shaped ear. He wanted it, and for the first time in his life there was no one around to tell him that he couldn't have it. Without a second thought, he cut the ear off the dead woman's head and wrapped it in some tissue that he found at the bedside table and took it, with the gem attached, with him as he left the scene.

His frown deepened as he looked into the glass jar. The ear wasn't so perfect anymore, it was somewhat shriveled and discolored. When he had the time, he'd have to take the earring out of it and flush the graying cartilage down the nearest toilet.

He set the jar back down and reached for the next, knowing what it contained even before lifting it out of the case. Again he held up a five-inch long, cylindrical glass bottle toward the light and enjoyed the brilliant clarity of the oval-shaped diamond as it sparkled within the clear liquid. The diamond was large in size and probably very costly, though the price of it hadn't been a consideration for why he'd taken it. The first time he'd spotted it, he found himself unable to look away from the perfection of the stone on the pale, soft hand with the long tapered finger that had worn it. Perfectly manicured nails, painted a gentle pink color, seemed a correct presentation for the high-clarity stone. Heero studied the finger floating in the slender glass tube, looking for signs that it too was degenerating. All in all, he thought that it looked fairly good, only graying slightly at the end where he had severed if from off the woman's hand. He recalled the tall, elegant woman, a professional call girl who found herself with the wrong person at the wrong time. Unfortunately, that mistake cost the woman her life, finger, and ring, in that order.

One by one he lifted his pilfered possessions, things that had caught his eye while accomplishing his missions. There were various metals from off of different military officers' uniforms, a gold money clip from an influential business man, cuff links, bracelets and necklaces, all glittering and shiny and now all his.

After lifting, admiring and then replacing each item back into his box, he reluctantly closed and sealed it, then placed it in its hiding place under his pilot's chair and secured the hatch. He rose from off the floor, feeling satisfied and undeniably sated after revisiting the things that were his and his alone. He checked his message board, and seeing that Dr. J remained silent, turned the system off, shut off the interior lights and exited his gundam. He began his return to the safehouse, knowing that breakfast was either about to be served or in progress.

Residing five days in the safehouse with the other pilots was an oddity. He wasn't used to sharing a living space with so many for so long, and it made him uncomfortable. On top of that was the fact that he was forced to share a room with the pilot from L-2, Duo Maxwell. He ignored the boy as much as possible, but it seemed the Deathscythe pilot was not used to such treatment. Duo's persistence in trying to pull some conversation out of him was beginning to wear at his patience.

After an hour of giving Duo mere grunts in reply to his seemingly endless questions, he finally shut down his laptop and escaped the room and his talkative roommate. Making his way to the living room he found it quiet and occupied only by the blond pilot of the gundam Sandrock. From his first observations he judged the Arabian boy much too soft to have the responsibility of piloting a gundam. He lacked the training that he himself had received and was too emotional when it came to killing his enemy. He'd observed that Quatre Winner had a conscience and often felt remorseful for killing his enemy, two characteristics that would probably get the blond killed before the war was over.

Quatre was currently sitting in the left corner of the sofa that occupied the middle of the living room, reading a book. His knees were bent and his stockinged feet were curled to the side and tucked under the back cushions. Heero strode across the room to take a seat at the other end of the sofa, a move that brought the blue/green eyes up to meet his own.

"Hello, Heero," the other pilot said politely with a warm smile on his young-looking face.

Heero nodded his head as a return greeting. Seeing that he wasn't going to say anything more, Quatre lowered his eyes and returned to his book. Heero looked at the title, written in English. The Grapes of Wrath. He had to wonder why the Arabian teen would be interested in a fictional novel from an era so long ago. It had nothing within it's covers that was pertinent to the war nor their current situation. He was about to ask the blond regarding his choice of literature when his eye caught on a glittering object on the ring finger of Quatre's right hand. A magnificent ruby ring graced the boy's slender and pale fingers. Heero stifled the gasp he almost uttered in seeing it. The gemstone was a deep red color, multi-faceted and set in a gold band that did not in any way detract from the blood-colored stone.

He suddenly felt the weight of the other boy's eyes on him and glanced up to see Quatre's eyes were focused on him once again. "What are you staring at, Heero?" he asked with a tilt of his head and appearing mildly curios.

"Your ring," he answered honestly. "I don't think I've seen you wear it before."

Quatre closed his book and looked down at the ring. "I don't usually wear rings, especially on missions as they're too identifiable. It was a birthday gift from one of my sisters and I thought I'd wear it since we're likely to be here a few more days."

As the blond spoke, Heero's eyes went back to the dark red stone and had a hard time taking his eyes from off of it.

"Do you like it?" Quatre asked, a slight smile on his face.

"It's nice. Very nice."

He watched as Quatre brought his other hand over and covered it for a moment and Heero's mind was already working on ways to obtain the ring for himself. He couldn't outright kill the other pilot as he piloted a gundam and was essential to the war effort. He couldn't cut the finger off, it would maim and limit the other boy's mobility. And as his mind turned over varying possibilities, he failed to notice at first that Quatre had removed the ring from off his finger until he saw it laying in the open palm that the boy from L-4 extended out to him.

"I would be honored if you would accept this from me as a gift," the blond said, stopping Heero's mind from going any further in devising a way to obtain the ring and add it to his collection. He blinked with confusion, trying to figure out why the other boy would offer to give him something emotionally if not monetarily valuable.

"Why?" he asked, confused, yet as he spoke his hand automatically reached out for the ring. He took it in his hand and held the ring and it's large stone up to the light and watched the dark red gem sparkle as the light hit it.

"Because you seem to like it. I don't need it and I'm not attached to it. You would honor me by accepting it as a token of friendship."

Heero had never had anyone give him something of their own so freely before, other than the essential clothing, food and weapons from Odin and Dr. J. "You're sure?" he asked, suddenly feeling odd and rather vulnerable at the strange situation.

"I'm positive. Please, take and enjoy it."

Heero managed a small smile of gratitude to the blond teen, grateful for the ring and for the fact that his problem of how to take it from Quatre was solved.

"Thank you, Quatre," he said sincerely.

"What ya got there?" Duo's voice interrupted the quiet the room previously enjoyed.

"Hello, Duo," Quatre said brightly, greeting the long-haired American as he strolled into the room.

The greeting was returned by way of a dazzling smile. "Hey, Quat. What are you and Heero the man up to?"

"Nothing really. We're just talking."

"Whose ring?" Duo asked as he came to sit between the two and eyed the ring Heero was slipping onto his finger. It was a little tight, but he didn't mean to wear it for long. It would soon have its own place in his special box.

"Heero's," the blond replied.

"It's a gift from Quatre," Heero added quietly, gazing at the large red stone, admiring its beauty.

"Is it your birthday?" Duo asked Wing's pilot.

"No. I don't have one."

The boy in black shrugged. "I don't have one either," he stated without rancor.

"I think we should make up a day for the both of you," Quatre piped in. "In fact, Trowa doesn't know his date of birth either. Maybe you three could pick the same day and we could all celebrate them together."

"When's your birthday, Quatre?" Duo asked, turning to look away from the ring in Heero's hand to gaze at the blond boy.

"August fifteenth."

"August is a good month," Duo said thoughtfully, then his eyes brightened. "Why don't the three of us share your birthday and talk Wufei into changing his so the five of us will always have a day to party together?"

Quatre laughed out loud at the suggestion, and Heero noted the boy's bright eyes sparkled as the sound of his light laughter warmed the room. "One doesn't just change their birthday, Duo. Wufei would probably be offended if you suggested such a thing."

Heero noted that Duo somehow didn't think his comment was that funny, but he forced a smile to fool the blond into thinking he wasn't slightly miffed at being laughed at. "I still think it would be cool," the braided boy said a bit sullenly and turned his attention back to Heero's new ring.

Quatre stopped laughing and blinked at the sudden change in the room's atmosphere. He cleared his throat a bit nervously before he spoke to the back of Duo's head. "Um... I think your idea about the three of you sharing the same day is a good idea, Duo. I would certainly be honored to share my birthday with you, with all of you. But I think you should ask the other two before you consider it settled."

"What do you think, Heero? Do you want to share August fifteenth with Quat and I as we mark off another year? We could have our first ever birthday party together."

Heero thought a moment. He'd never known his birth date nor even had a passing thought regarding a birthday party. He found it hard to mentally beat down the child within him that craved it and he wondered what it would be like to celebrate a birthday like everyone else. He quickly decided that he would probably never know the answer to that question if he didn't settle on a date as Duo was requesting and have the promise of people who were willing to share it with him. "Yes, I would like that."

He was rewarded with a face-splitting grin from the braided American. "Alright! I'm going to go ask Trowa." Duo jumped to his feet, dashed across the room and darted up the stairs towards the bedroom where he knew the Heavyarms pilot was sharpening his knives.

Heero sat back into his corner of the sofa and resumed studying his ring while Quatre returned to his book, a lingering smile on his face.

Five minutes later, the sound of Duo's approach preceded his actual appearance a moment later. The quiet pilot of Heavyarms followed more sedately on his heels.

"Trowa agreed!" the American said excitedly, his eyes shining with a rare display of true happiness. "The four of us will all celebrate our birthday's together."

"How old are you?" Heero asked Quatre.

"I'll be fifteen."

"Then I'll be fifteen also," the Wing pilot decided.

"I don't know how old I am either," Duo chimed in. "I'll be fifteen too."

Their eyes turned to Trowa who then said, "One of the men I knew when I was very young told me I was six at the time I stayed with him. I believe I'm nearly seventeen."

"Then you will be definitely be seventeen on the fifteenth," Duo declared, still grinning.

There was a moment's lull in conversation, and Trowa ended it by bringing forward an odd-shaped foam ball that he'd held in his hand behind his back and displayed it for the others to see. "Anyone want to go outside and toss this for a while?"

"What's that?" Heero asked, looking at the oblong-shaped ball.

"A foam football," Trowa replied. "Come on, I'll show you how to throw it."

With Duo calling out loudly for Wufei to join them, the four went out the front door and to the clearing between the safehouse and the woods just beyond. From the back of the small structure came Wufei, his lethal sword in his hands.

"Put your second dick down, Wufei, and come play with us," Duo laughed, enjoying the faintest of blushes that he always brought out on the Chinese boy's face at his crude jokes.

"You're disgusting, Maxwell," the Chinese youth said in a tone of disgust, even as he put his treasured sword gently down on the wooden bench sitting on the creaky wooden porch.

"Yeah, I probably am," Duo admitted with a smile and a shake of his head, the motion causing his long braid to shake back and forth across his backside. The movement caught Heero's eye, and he followed the braid as Duo ran up to join Trowa, who was purposely putting some distance between himself and Heero in order to throw the ball. And suddenly as he gazed at the long braid, his perception and appreciation of the other boy's long hair changed. He had always considered Duo's hair a danger to the mission. It was easily identifiable and too long to be practical. It could also be used against the other boy in a fight and dangerous when he was around machinery, like his gundam. But in that moment, with the sun shining down on it, Heero noted the strands of red and gold that blended together and enhanced the brown he'd always thought as unremarkable. How wrong he had been. Duo's hair was really multicolored, shiny and well taken care of, and suddenly Heero's hands itched to touch it.

"Are you ready, Heero?" Duo turned, sending the long tail of hair swinging around him to wrap around his waist for a moment before dropping back once again.

"What do I do?" he asked, loud enough to be heard from the roughly fifty feet that separated them.

"You line yourself up with the ball after it's been thrown and catch it with both hands," Trowa called back. The Heavyarms pilot then gripped the ball around its thicker middle, lifted it, pulled his arm back behind his head and let the ball fly into a high arch into the air.

"Run and catch it, Heero." It was Duo's voice calling to him, and Heero rushed to fulfill his request. He determined the trajectory of the ball and put himself in and under its path. As it descended, he put out both hands as instructed and grabbed hold of it, then came to a complete stop.

"Alright!" Duo cheered. "Now throw it back."

Heero found it hard to keep his eyes off of Duo, or rather Duo's hair. He wanted to see it up close in the sunlight, to get a good look at the chestnut color, more vibrant in the bright sunshine than on the vid screens or dark safehouses. He suddenly came up with a way to achieve that goal. "Come and show me how to throw it, Duo."

The American looked momentarily stunned at the unexpected request, then with a big grin growing on his face, his cheeks dimpling slightly, he dashed from Trowa's side back to join Heero. Once at his side, the American took the ball from Japanese boy's unresisting hands and put it into his own.

"Howard had some of these on the ship and some of the sweepers showed me how to throw it," he said in a strangely breathy voice. "It's not rocket science, but there is a technique." He then proceeded to place his fingers on the ball and spread them apart. "You hold it like this in a nice, firm grip, then throw it upward. If you twist your wrist in the execution of the throw, it puts a spin on the ball. That makes it look cool while in flight and a bit harder to catch, just like us in our gundams." Duo paused a moment to chuckle at his own little joke before executing a throw.

Heero watched as the braided boy threw the ball and then as Trowa, off in the distance, caught it with both hands coming up and clasping around the sides of it. The Heavyarms pilot immediately put the ball into his throwing hand and tossed it back. Duo stepped forward to catch it in a similar fashion Trowa had used a moment before.

"Got it?" Duo's eyes sparkled along with his smile as he looked to Heero for verification.

"Do it one more time," Heero requested. But this time his eyes stayed on the back of Duo's head, examining the strands of hair he hadn't given a second thought to before. He could now see that there was a myriad of colors throughout the braided mane. Dark red, brown and lighter, golden brown strands all combined to make up the rich colored, thick braid. It was beautiful, and Heero had the intense urge to touch it, to see if it felt as good as it looked.

His eyes jerked up suddenly as the braid whipped away when Duo spun around. The American had obviously thrown the ball and Heero hadn't even noticed. "Uh... Heero? What ya looking at?" Duo asked, his eyes narrowing with suspicion.

Heero swallowed nervously. He should have taken more care with his observations. "Your hair looks different in the sunlight than it does in safehouse. It has more color in it than I'd assumed." He hoped his answer would be sufficient for the normally curious pilot still cautiously studying him.

Duo flipped his hair around and studied it as it lay resting in his hands to see what it was the other pilot was talking about. He ran his hands along the weave of his braid and Heero found himself envious of those slender digits, doing what he was almost salivating to do.

Too late, he noticed that Duo was looking up at him from beneath the fringe of hair hanging over his forehead, a knowing, smug smile on his face. "See something you like?" he asked in a low voice that Heero was sure no one other than himself could hear. He should have glared, ignored the question or knocked the other pilot down with a fast and furious fist. Instead, he stupidly nodded his head, his eyes straying back down to the rope of hair that had him mesmerized

"Let's play ball first and deal with this later, okay?"

Again, Heero nodded. Then as he lifted his eyes, he caught sight of an incoming object heading straight for the back of Duo's head. He promptly shoved the slight body in front of him away, registering the sound of Duo's breath catching as his body hit the ground hard, and caught the falling ball. He promptly put it in his hand as Duo had shown him moments before, and bringing his arm back, let it sail. He then looked back to Duo sitting on the ground with a disgruntled look on his face. Heero's eyes stayed on him as he was unconcerned about the fate of the ball, knowing the throw was good and that Trowa would catch it. "Sorry," he muttered.

Duo went from his side to his back, then casually leaned back on his elbows and tilted his chin back to glance up at his assailant and their eyes met. Heero's breath caught in his throat for a second time in less than fifteen minutes. "Tanzanite," he whispered, unable to look away from Duo's face.

"What?" Duo asked dumbfounded. "What the hell are you talking about?"

Heero quickly realized he'd slipped again. That was twice in one day and he scolded himself for the lapse and realized that he needed to get his act together and soon. How was it that he'd lost himself not once, but twice, and both times his eyes and mind had been caught by and lingered on Duo? Yet just now, with the way the light and emotions that radiated from the braided boy's eyes, he could see the deep blue color that matched the irresistible earring he kept in his private collection. The purplish-blue color he could see when he held the stone up to the light, a color so rarely found in nature he found matched the shade of color in Duo's worried eyes.

Ignoring the other boy's question for a moment, he quickly took in all of Duo Maxwell. How was it he'd never seen the boy's perfection before? Along with the beautiful mane of hair, was Duo's heart-shaped face and its flawless complexion, as well as the remarkable eyes were large that were perfectly set apart. Below them was a small, slightly turned up nose that added to rather than distracted from the other attractive features. Even the boy's mouth seemed in perfect balance with the rest of his face and features. Duo's lips were neither too thin nor too wide, but he knew they frequently stretched into a remarkably wide smile that showed off teeth that were straight and white. He wondered for a moment how a kid from the streets had such good dental hygiene, but then put that question to the back of his mind. He could ask Duo about that later, because he decided then and there that Duo was perfect, at least for him. The Deathscythe pilot was probably the most attractive person he'd ever met, and taking anything away from him would spoil the perfection. Unlike his other collectibles, he couldn't just take one piece of beauty from the other pilot because it would be taking away from and ruining the whole picture of perfection that was Duo Maxwell.

Sticking out a hand towards the fallen boy, Heero smiled. "Let me help you up," he offered, allowing a rare smile to grow on his face. His efforts were not in vain. Duo's blue ... no, Duo's Tanzanite eyes widened with surprise, but the smile returned once again to his lips, showing Heero the slight dimple in his cheeks and white teeth inside that lovely mouth.

"Thanks, Heero." Duo placed his hand in his and he effortlessly pulled the pilot to his feet, then held that hand in his own for a moment longer, telling Duo of his interest without any words passing between them. The braided boy looked a little disconcerted, his eyes shifting around before pulling his hand free.

Heero didn't care that the other three pilots had seen something pass between he and Duo. The sooner they learned that Duo Maxwell was going to be his, the better. He was greedy in some ways, hiding his treasures and hoarding the beauty all for himself, and he had no intention of sharing the beauty that was Duo Maxwell with anyone.

Knowing he couldn't just grab the boy and tuck him away somewhere, like his other collectibles, Heero knew he'd have to make a plan in order to win Duo. He could see the other boy was attracted to him as well, which would work well into his plans now that he'd decided to add Duo to his growing collection of beautiful things.

He watched as Duo nervously turned and caught the ball as Trowa tossed it once again. Without waiting, the braided boy tossed it, but this time aimed it at Wufei who was standing next to Quatre. As the activity continued, He thought of the many avenues he could take in capturing the American. From all the books he'd read and observations he'd made, money and love were the two most binding influences between two people. With his hacking skills and Oz's enormous reserves to steal from, he would make sure to have plenty of money after the war was over so that Duo could have anything he wanted. But love was a rather foreign concept to him. The only thing he did understand about it was the physical aspect of it, sex. His slight smile reappeared as he gazed down at the small, round globes of Duo's posterior, displayed nicely in a pair of snug fitting jeans, and the idea of a physical relationship with the other boy suddenly seemed very appealing. And as Duo was somewhat emotionally crippled from his tragic past and was likely a typically hormone-driven boy, Heero was persuaded that he could tempt the American to be with him by giving him good sex and tender words to keep him at his side.

His eyes lifted as Duo's head turned to him. "What is with you, Yuy?" he asked, his face showing disbelief and embarrassment. "Are you staring at my ass?"

"It's a perfect ass," Heero replied, his smile in place.

The pink displayed on Duo's cheeks deepened, adding to the boy's uncommonly good looks. "Can we do this later? When the other guys aren't around?" he asked.

Heero nodded, and turned to face Trowa and Quatre, speaking between themselves with curious eyes shifting often towards his and Duo's direction. Wufei, he noted, stood off to the side with his arms folded over his chest, a disapproving look on his face that didn't bother Heero in the least. "Later it is then," he replied, and noted a slight smile and look of gratitude on Duo's face. "Throw the ball," he called out to the other two, satisfied that 'later' would be just the beginning of something beautiful..

The end of Dark Side of the Moon Series

Author's Note: A new, multi-chapter, angst-fill story should be popping up in a week or so.