A/N: This is an AU crossover involving Harry Potter/ Gundam Wing. The first bit of the story has a Gundam Wing setting, but will mainly deal with the Harry Potter Universe. It is NOT NECESSARY to know the Gundam Wing series as I'm mostly taking five characters from the Anime/Manga and bringing them to Harry's world.
Disclaimer: I own neither Harry Potter nor Gundam Wing. I just own the twisted plot. LOL!
Warnings: This story will have violence, sexual situations, Slash pairings [No, I won't tell you who up front! You'll have to read to find out! Hahaha!], recovery from child abuse, and occasional cursing.
What you need to know about Gundam Wing: Basically it is an AU future of Earth, where humans possess advanced technology. The ultimate tool of war are large robotic mecha machines. The most advanced of which are called Gundams. There were five piloted by teenage boys. They fought in a war where Earth was pitted against the large space colonies where many humans now live. After fighting for their home colonies against the aggressive Earth, the pilots were betrayed, went into hiding, fought in a second wave of the same war, this time against the colonies who were trying to utterly destroy the planet. In the end, they saved the Earth and the colonies. Some people see them as terrorists while others hail them as heroes.
Setting of this story: Tell Me Why begins a year after the wars. In the course of duty, Heero Yuy, one of the Gundam pilots, discovers Harry Potter and basically adopts him. He and his friends, the four other Gundam pilots, raise Harry. The main story line starts when Harry gets to Hogwarts. Harry is going to be very AU considering he is a survivor of extreme child abuse and raised by five teenage ex-soldiers.
Hope you like it! Please enjoy!
Tell Me Why
After the colonies and Earth had come close to destroying each other, most of humanity had rejected war and discarded all weapons. However, Une and those like her were not confident pacifism would remain popular. Thus she had created, with the approval of the leaders of the Earth Sphere United Nation, a police organization named the Preventers. Their goal was to make sure no one was ever again armed with weapons of mass destruction like that of the large robotic mobile suits and the more advanced Gundams.
A little over a year after the wars, they'd yet to face any noteworthy terrorists. Unfortunately, that was all about to change. A certain underground movement on Earth had come to her attention. Several companies, unrelated at first glance, had been caught manufacturing weapons parts illegally. Her investigative unit had just delivered a report that made her go cold. It seemed the recent instances were masterminded by the same group.
As her office door swung open, Commander Une looked up from the file she was reviewing, her long brown hair sliding over her shoulders. Heero Yuy, her top agent and former Gundam pilot, entered without a greeting. Cold blue eyes made a sweep of the room for threats before the soldier crossed the thick black carpet to stand in front of her admittedly massive desk. She usually greeted him with a small smile, but not this day.
"I'm aware you asked for a week's vacation, but a significant breakthrough in the case has surfaced. We believe we've discovered another operation. There have been reports of an illicit weapons manufacturer in England, under the cover of one Grunnings Drilling company. The mission is to investigate the company and try to get a positive ID on a member of the terrorist cell and capture their partner in the company. I want him alive for questioning."
Heero's expression never wavered, and he answered with a short, "Mission accepted."
"Thank you, Agent Wing. I feel confident with you leading the investigation that we'll soon locate and arrest these terrorists," she told him honestly, her dark brown eyes softening.
Heero settled into his seat on the jet and pulled out his laptop. He quickly typed in a message to Winner informing him he wouldn't be able to attend the barbeque with the other pilots. He regretted missing the event. It had been months since he'd seen his comrades.
After the wars, Quatre Winner had returned to his large, wealthy family and became CEO of Winner Enterprises Inc. Trowa Barton worked as his bodyguard and was, Heero suspected, Winner's lover. Wufei Chang bounced around between Universities, sometimes as a student, sometimes as the instructor. Heero saw him most often, since the Chinese pilot occasionally worked with Heero on difficult cases. As for Duo Maxwell, the most exuberant of all of them, he worked on his home colony of L2. He had no official position with the local authorities, but he was making significant progress in nearly single-handedly cleaning up the streets.
Heero was the only one who had accepted a position in the Preventer Organization. The others had decided they needed a break from the military. He could understand that. In fact, he envied them their ability to take up civilian lives so easily. He would never posses that ability. He was a soldier. It was all he knew.
Closing his laptop, Heero reclined his seat, using the flight as an opportunity to get some sleep. He had a feeling this mission would be difficult and he wouldn't have the chance to rest for a while once he landed.
"Duo!" Quatre laughed as his friend flung his arms around his neck in an enthusiastic hug.
"Man, you're getting tall, there, Q-ball. I think Trowa's rubbing off on you." Violet eyes sparkled as he gave the blonde a sly grin.
Quatre grinned back, seeing his lover's cheeks turn an alluring red from the corner of his eyes. "Oh, I'm sure we're equally rubbing off on each other."
Duo's head tilted back as he laughed loudly.
Quatre's smile only widened when Trowa sent him a mild glare. "Come on. I'll show you to your room."
The mansion was not the largest he owned, but he knew it was still extravagant to Duo. He watched amused as his friend ran this way and that, exclaiming over everything he could see. Today Duo wore a black priest shirt, including a white collar, with the long sleeves rolled up at to his elbow. The tight jeans and thick boots were a matching black. It was the outfit he wore most frequently now that he no longer wore a military uniform or flight suit. As weird as it was, the attire looked right on Duo somehow.
"Is Hee-chan or Wuffers here yet?"
Quatre smiled, pulling his attention back to the conversation at hand. "Wufei is out back with Rashid learning how to work the grill." His smile shrank marginally. "Heero cancelled at the last minute. Apparently an important mission came up that he couldn't ignore."
Duo groaned dramatically. "There's always a mission. That boy will never learn. He's a classic workaholic!"
"I agree," Quatre said softly. "I wish he didn't work so hard."
"You could also be classified as a workaholic," Trowa admonished, eyes sparkling. They were a deeper green today reflecting the same color of his turtle neck. The shirt clung to his lean torso and narrow hips. Quatre was rather proud of his selection. His lover looked delicious.
Duo cackled. "Oh, he told on you!"
Quatre blushed bright red. "Shut up."
Heero repelled two floors down from the roof until he hung outside the President's office. It was the night of the new moon, so there was no light to reveal him as he cut a hole in the window large enough to slide through. No alarms sounded and he smirked. It took only a few minutes before he had the state-of-the-art running and began hacking the files. It didn't take him long to discover the President was involved in nothing more dangerous than the stock market. But even at a glance, some of these numbers weren't adding up.
He quickly erased any evidence of his presence from the machine and booted it down. He'd memorized a schematic of the building before ever entering, so he moved without hesitation. The VP's office was surprisingly well protected. Heero's eyes narrowed. It was even more protected than the President's office. Pulling delicate machinery from his waist pouch, Heero knelt and got to work.
Two hours later, a dark shadow slipped back out the hole he'd created and climbed onto the roof for a quick escape. In his possession, he had several thumb drives of damning information. There were warehouse blue-prints, weapons schematics, evidence of embezzlement and even theft of some serious metals and chemicals. The VP had kept a surprising amount of data on his office computer, but likely the man had thought the advanced firewalls and defense programs would keep it safe. However, he never took into account a hacker of Heero's skills.
Triumphant, Heero made his way back to his hotel to report his findings.
"I want you to apprehend this man personally. I want no mistakes. We need him alive to identify his partners," Commander Une ordered. "I'll assemble a team to raid the warehouse at 0400."
"Understood, Wing out."
Heero ended the call and glanced at the time. It was nearing six in the morning and he hadn't slept in close to twenty hours. Before hitting the office building, he'd broken into the President's house, but he'd found nothing. Still, he couldn't rest. It would be unwise to attempt the arrest later. There was the possibility that the VP would discover his office had been broken into and flee. Likewise, if Heero waited until after four o'clock, the man would hear of the warehouse raid. He'd have to go now.
With a small sigh, Heero changed from his stealth clothes into his grey Preventer uniform.
Trowa watched his friends carefully. Duo and Wufei were fighting over the last hamburger, their knives in a vicious duel over the plate. This was the second day of their reunion, and he couldn't help but notice there was something almost frenetic about his friend's motions. He glanced at his love and saw Quatre rubbing his chest absently. There was smile on his face, but his eyes were troubled. Sensing his gaze, Quatre turned large blue eyes his way. Long bangs hiding half his face, Trowa lifted his visible eyebrow in question.
"I'm going to get dessert. Try not to kill each other," Quatre teased. They hardly noticed.
"Wuffers! You're going down!" Duo snarled, tugging at his braid with his freehand, trying to free it from Wufei's grip.
"A lowlife like you will never be able to compete with me."
"Bring it, China man!"
"I'll teach you your place, thief!"
Trowa followed Quatre inside where a large chocolate cake waited on the counter. He felt warm to his toes remembering the late night scene when they'd baked it and what they'd done with the extra frosting. Quatre was not a strategic genius for nothing. Unfortunately, his lover wasn't distracted by thoughts of what had occurred in the kitchen only a few hours before.
"They're unhappy," he spoke softly.
Trowa frowned at him.
"Not about being here," Quatre reassured with a wave of his hand. "No, they're both very relieved to be together with us again. They're unhappy with life. They aren't adjusting as well as they portray themselves. Same as me. It's getting worse, Trowa." Soft golden hair fell around his face as he looked up. "We're all foundering a bit, aren't we, without the war. We wanted peace for so long. So why… Why can't we be happy?"
Trowa tightened his arms around the lean body in his arms. "It will come, Quatre. One day."
Quatre turned so they were facing each other and kissed him deeply. "I love you."
Trowa gently kissed his cheeks, his lips, his eyes. He didn't need to say the words. He let his emotions speak for him, knowing Quatre could feel them. Blue eyes sparkled happily back at him before Quatre pulled away.
"You play defense why I carry these out. I don't want all our hard work wasted."
Trowa chuckled and led the way, obediently blocking Duo when the exuberant pilot tried to pounce on Quatre and steal a piece of cake.
The arrest went as expected. The VP owned a four-bedroom townhouse in London. Heero had arrived before anyone had woken, dragged the obese man from the house and warned the wife and son they should make themselves available to answer questions should there be any. The wife made a fuss, but Heero was not unused to unmanageable females. He ignored her while he made a quick sweep of the house, the suspect already carted away by local Preventer agents. It was a routine sweep. He hadn't expected to find anything. Especially not this.
Heero knelt in front of the wide-screen plasma TV, having pushed play on the DVD to see what had last been watched. It was a home video, but it was not one of happy memories. A battered little boy looked out at him. He trembled as he posed for the camera, his large green eyes bright with fear. He flinched, clearly getting instructions off camera and began to touch himself very inappropriately.
Tearing his eyes from the screen, Heero opened the drawer that held all the family's DVDs. There was a locked box to the right. He had it open in seconds and numbly stared at the dozens of plain DVDs that rested inside. With a sharpie, words were written carelessly across the silver discs. Dinner time. Strip search. Hide and seek. Bath time. The titles chilled him to the marrow.
The click of a gun being armed had Heero on his feet, weapon out and ready to fire. Sounds drew him quickly from the entertainment room. He pressed his back to the wall, mind calculating scenarios, as he moved smoothly down the hallway on silent feet. The familiar screechy voice became clearer as he neared the kitchen. He swung into the room, weapon at ready, making a lightning-fast visual sweep of the room.
Two doorways, four windows. Two occupants. Multiple possible weapons. One threat armed with a gun.
"…let you ruin my husband, you freak! I should have killed you long ago, you worthless piece of filth!"
"I sorry, please, don't, please, I sorry, please, no, I be good, please…"
The same little boy as in the horrific videos, cowering, sprawled half out of a pantry, a dirty blanket wrapped around his stick thin legs, arms up in a defensive position. His eyes were on the woman's weapon, gaunt face streaked with tears, tight with terror. The scent of fresh urine registered just as the woman let loose an insane scream, her finger tightening on the trigger. Heero fired.
The woman fell dead instantly with a bullet through her skull. The little boy screamed as if he'd been lit on fire. Heero rushed forward, intent on covering his eyes from the blood splatter now decorating the cabinets and wall. As soon as he laid hands on the child, the boy's screams rose in pitch and urgency. He flailed and thrashed, beyond hysterical. Heero did all he could to keep the boy from clawing his eyes out and prevent him from braining himself on the furniture. The vicious battle lasted a long eternity. The high-pitched hysterical screams rang in Heero's ears, shaking him to the core. It tore through his nervous system, pushing him toward a hysterical fit of his own. Mercifully, the child went limp, unconscious.
Heero sat there, panting, the boy sprawled half in his lap. The large t-shirt he wore was half torn from his abused body. He registered old bruises, scars from sharp instruments and burns. There were welts from a belt. There were cuts and abrasions on his knees, left cheek, chin, palms. Then there was the obvious fact the child was starved, his ribs overhanging a near non-existent abdomen. Every bone could be seen so clearly, Heero could tell a few places where the child had suffered broken bones and they hadn't healed properly even without an x-ray. The tally was truly horrendous.
Shaking, Heero bundled the child toward his chest, cradling him with one arm as he rose to his feet. His free hand pulled his phone free of his belt, and he quickly dialed the local department requesting CSI and an ambulance. He was sealing this entire house as a crime scene.
"Maxwell's famous pies, what's your flavor?" Duo asked cheerfully as he answered his phone. He was striding through the spaceport, having just arrived back from his visit to Quatre on L4. L2 was slowly recovering, but there were still a plethora of beggars at the port. He dodged reaching hands with the practiced ease of a lifetime, keeping alert for any thugs or pickpockets, only half his attention on the call. He came to an abrupt stop, however, and moved quickly to a defensible nook when he heard the impossible.
"Duo… I need your help."
Violet eyes wide, Duo practically dropped his duffle. "Heero? Where are you?"
"Earth. London, England," came the succinct answer.
Adrenaline dumped into his system and he felt the cold, murderous rage that haunted him all through his childhood and the wars begin to fill him. Somebody had really fucked his buddy up if the Perfect Soldier was admitting to needing help, and he'd actually said Duo's name! And that meant Duo was going to seriously fuck up that Somebody. Fuck them up 'til they were dead.
"I'm on my way. Status?"
There was a pause that sent panic sizzling down his every nerve. His heart rate kicked up and his breathing deepened in preparations for battle.
"Undamaged," Heero finally answered.
"ETA 16 hours," Duo reassured. "Do you need supplies? Do I need to come in hot?"
"Should I contact the others?"
Another little pause and, damn it, there was something really fucking wrong here. He would have shaved his head fucking bald in exchange for the ability to teleport to Heero's side. His free hand gripped his beloved waist-length braid.
"I don't know."
Duo gave a sharp nod, even knowing Heero couldn't see it. "All right. I'm already at the spaceport. I'm getting my ticket now. Hang tight, Heero."
"Roger," his friend answered, voice tight with strain. "Sixteen hours."
The call ended. Duo snatched up his bag and sprinted back inside the port, his hand already speed dialing. Quatre answered on the second ring. "Cat! Man, some major royal shit is going down. Heero just called me requesting assistance. He's on Earth, London. I don't know what's happened, but I'm meeting him at HQ in 16 hours. He says he's uninjured, but his voice wasn't all perfect monotone either. He was under some serious strain for me to hear it."
"Duo, slow down. Do you know anything about the mission?"
"Nada," he snapped. "Hold on." Duo quickly worked the machine to secure a ticket on the next available flight to Europe. Finished, he snagged the ticket and ran toward the gate. He had twelve minutes before it closed. "I'm heading to the gate now. I'm not sure if Heero's told the head honcho about whatever's gone down, so do your digging subtly. I'll call you as soon as I know anything more. Get a hold of Wufei. Everyone should be on standby just in case."
"Of course," Quatre exclaimed. "And you better call me immediately!"
"Will do," he promised rather grimly. "Gotta get on my flight. Later!"
Duo quickly snapped his phone shut and thrust his ticket forward just as the gate began to close. He slipped through and ran down the corridor to the shuttle. I'm coming, Heero, he promised once more.
Heero had seen some really horrible things in the war. He'd accidently killed civilians. The worst was the little girl and her puppy on one of his fist solo missions. He would never forget them and had returned several times to the spot where they'd died to bring flowers. He'd accidently killed a plane full of peace diplomats, mistakenly thinking they were the enemy. He'd watched his comrades risk death. He'd seen them tortured and beaten. This… This he wasn't sure he could handle.
He was surprised and sickened. Worst was the rage. Rage he didn't think he could keep tamed much longer, and he was beyond the point where he feared what he was capable of. He was reaching the point of looking forward to the destruction he would reap. Une had Dursley locked up and had refused to let him near, otherwise the man would be dead by now. Heero was a breath away from storming the building and severely damaging anyone who got in his way, orders be damned.
Heero's eyes snapped up to the figure darting across the street. The slender teen moved with quick efficiency, a long rope of chestnut hair flying behind him. "02," he answered, voice cold, vision tunneling. He was beginning to slip.
Then Duo was there, right in front of him. His violet eyes reflected Heero's capacity toward violence, they raked his form, looking for injuries, and Heero gave a little smirk. The injury was inside his mind, festering, writhing, waiting to break loose. Duo held his gaze for a long moment. He took everything in, analyzed and understood in a way no one else could besides three others.
"Mission accepted," Duo said, sounding exactly like Heero normally did. It reminded him of his strict training, and he grasped at it desperately. "Details?"
Heero breathed deeply. He knew if he spoke out loud it would set him off again, and he was only just maintaining control. But he had come prepared. He shifted his laptop case, made a desk of his arms. Duo opened the computer, putting his back to the building to ensure no one could read over his shoulder. Heero's deadly gaze scanned the street and kept anyone from approaching from that direction.
The machine was already primed, the windows ready with written reports, copies of the DVDs found in the house, pictures taken inside, real-time updates on the lab results, and the medical reports of the victim. Heero could see it all in his mind's eye without having to look at the screen. It was burned on his retinas.
In his peripheral vision, he registered Duo growing tenser and tenser. He heard the brunet's breathing grow quick and rapid in reaction. Heero concentrated on keeping his own deep and slow, still trying to keep from blowing up the whole goddamn building just to kill the fucker who'd done that to the boy.
"How did you find this?" Duo asked, voice a low hiss.
Heero shivered at the sheer threat in that sound. "Dursley is VP for a company building weapons illicitly in their warehouses. He's been in contact with a terrorist group behind many such operations. I went to his house to perform the arrest. During a casual sweep after the fact, I found one of the videos. The wife tried to kill the boy in a fit of madness, thinking if he wasn't alive that would somehow protect her husband from being prosecuted for his crimes against the boy. I killed her."
"What do you need?"
Heero remained silent for a long moment. What did he need? It was a good question. He wanted revenge. He wanted to eradicate him so thoroughly it would erase his presence from the past and keep any of this from happening to the child. But more than that, he wanted to fix it. He wanted to never hear that boy scream in terror like that ever again. He wanted to protect him with every fiber of his being.
"He was hysterical when he woke up. Violent. Terrified. Non-verbal. They had to sedate him." Heero turned to look at Duo for the first time since handing over his laptop. "They say the abuse was so severe they don't think he'll recover. They project he'll be in ICU for a few weeks and then sent to an asylum."
Duo sneered, his brows sloping sharply down. "Bastards."
Heero nodded. He couldn't stand the thought of that boy being locked up, drugged and shut away as a lost cause after everything he'd been through. "I want to try. I want to give him a chance. But they won't give him to me."
Duo's mouth fell open in utter shock. "You think they'll give him to me? No way! Not with my record!"
"Your record of dealing with street kids and war orphans and turning them around? You know what can help him, Duo. That's what your record says. I think they'll grant us joint custody if I pull some strings with Commander Une."
Duo blushed bright red, mouth still open. "You're crazy! You should have called Quatre!"
Heero shook his head sharply once. "No. His empathy will be an asset, but it will also hinder him. The boy is clearly over-emotional. It will affect Winner's judgment. He also has no experience with children, let alone abuse. Same goes for Chang. Barton is familiar with abuse and is good with injured animals, but he also has no experience with children. The primary candidate for enabling a successful rehabilitation is you." He took another deep breath. "Will you do this?" He stared into his fellow pilot's eyes, aware of what he was asking. This would be a fulltime commitment for an unknown length of time, but Heero had to ask. He couldn't walk away from this case or this child, but he didn't have the skills required for the mission.
"Damn, man," Duo breathed. He unconsciously twisted his braid in his hands. "I was all set to rescue you from terrorists, but you're asking me to raise a kid with you. This isn't going to be a walk in the park. They might be right. Some kids just don't recover from the shit they go through, ya know?"
"I have to try," Heero said resolute.
Duo shook his head, a grin beginning to spread across his face. "Who woulda thunk it? The great Hee-chan's a teddy bear." The smile fell, and he rubbed at his eyes roughly. "All right. Yeah. I'll do it. Course I will." He pinned Heero with a hard stare. "As long as it's clear we're doing this together. I don't want you running off on missions for weeks at a time while I'm grounded with the kid, trying to piece him back together alone."
Heero nodded, his shoulders relaxing and the killing urge backing off significantly now that he had a new mission to focus on. "I will request a temporary leave of absence when we file for custody."
Duo laughed. "I never thought I'd have the great Heero Yuy asking me to have his baby!"
"Baka," Heero growled tiredly, though secretly he was amused. Nothing kept Duo down for long. That's what he was counting on.
Trowa sat against the headboard of their bed with Quatre between his legs sobbing against his chest. He ran his hand soothingly through the soft blonde hair, down the teen's back, again and again. Duo had sent them all the information he and Heero had gathered about the case, and it wasn't pretty. Molestation, physical torture, starvation, depravation, exploitation… The boy was only eight years old.
Not even Duo's amusing stories about the battle of Heero verses Une could dampen the horror of the situation. Needless to say, Heero had won. He and Duo had been granted custody of the child and Heero granted an "until further notice" leave of absence. Still, recovery would be hard, and Duo and Heero couldn't do it alone. Thus Duo had solemnly asked for their support. Quatre had instantly agreed, of course, and Trowa had given his own heartfelt promise. He knew without a doubt Wufei would as well.
The phone rang on the private line. Trowa reached a long arm over to the nightstand, his other hand never ceasing its petting motion. "Barton."
"Who is this child? How did he end up with that sicko?" Wufei demanded in loud outrage.
"Apparently he is their nephew, one Harry Potter. We have the boy's birth certificate and the death certificate of the boy's parents when he was fifteen months, but nothing official assigns the boy to Dursley's custody. Heero suspected they were forged, but a DNA test revealed the woman is closely related to him, either a sister to the child's mother or father. There's no record of how or when the boy arrived in their care. He never attended school nor received medical attention."
"Outrageous!" Wufei was near incoherent with rage. "They should be executed for these crimes! I will be glad to arrange it myself if it is not already being done!"
Trowa shook his head. "The woman was killed on the scene by Heero. The man is still in custody involving a weapons manufacturing case and protected by Une."
"They are bringing Harry here in two weeks when he's released from the hospital, so they will be busy arranging transportation and acquiring intelligence about the child's requirements."
"What can I do?" Wufei asked immediately, understanding at once.
"If you have time available, could you scour the internet? Apparently the man posted his little videos and charged for their viewing. Heero wants as much of that as possible erased so it doesn't come back to haunt the boy."
"Understood. Consider it done," the Chinese pilot growled into the phone.
"Thanks, Wufei," Trowa said softly.
"How is Winner?" Wufei asked more gently, clearly he could hear the blonde sniffling in the background.
Trowa said nothing. They were all the same, he suspected. Not well at all, but very determined to succeed.
"If there is room and my assistance is welcome, I am willing to come."
Quatre reached up and gently took the phone from Trowa's hand. "Of course. You are always welcome, Wufei."
"When should I expect your arrival?"
"In two days. I will help with the preparations for the house."
"That's very helpful." Quatre smiled. "See you soon."
The connection ended without saying goodbye. All the pilots were a bit superstitious. Trowa accepted the phone back and set it aside. He slid down until he was lying flat, cradling his lover to his body.
Heero was out of uniform, technically on leave, wearing a plain white t-shirt, jeans, and boots. The loose shirt and leather jacket kept hidden the gun tucked in the back of his pants. On leave or not, he'd never go unarmed. His computer case also held advanced tools and two more weapons. Duo sat beside him in similar attire. He was also armed. His gun was in the same place at the small of his back, but his other tools were secured in his waist-length braid instead of in a laptop case.
They were waiting at the hospital for Harry to be released into their custody. An ambulance was waiting outside for transport. It would take them to the port where an emergency equipped shuttle was on standby ready to take them to one of Quatre's smaller houses on L4. Heero had been instructed for days on Harry's condition and how to administer any of the medications the boy might need. The teen was practically a qualified nurse now.
Duo chuckled at that image. Nurse Heero, the patients would run screaming!
Dark blue eyes cut toward him briefly before returning toward the waiting room doors.
Duo sighed. "This is going to be a long haul. You might as well lighten up. Revealing stress will only upset the kid, so you might as well learn to relax now."
Heero glared but gave a sharp nod.
Duo grinned. He was surprised Heero was listening to his orders as well as he was, but as soon as the topic was not about Harry's wellbeing or mentality, Heero refused to take direction or accept assistance. It was reassuring. Duo didn't quite know what to do with a passive Heero Yuy. "So what's up with the Dursley guy? They fry 'em yet?"
"Dursley lived in Surrey until six months ago when he was promoted due to the funds slipped him by the terrorist group. According to Dursley, the group is convinced the colonies still secretly support the idea of destroying Earth. They have some serious backing, but they cover their tracks well. A man named Donovan approached Dursley, promising him power and wealth in exchange for helping provide materials and a place to assemble weapons, all in the defense of Earth."
Duo snorted. "Here we go again." It was a rather depressing thought. On the other hand, there was now such a thing as the Preventers, and they'd done just that. They'd found the weapons stash and prevented another outbreak of fighting.
"The Commander insists he will be useful to the investigation, so he will not be tried for some time yet."
"Good thing you found the kid." Duo clasped his partner's shoulder. "He wouldn't of made it much longer. You saved his life. Now we're gonna make it better. So relax."
Heero stared at him, his expression blank, but that didn't fool Duo for a moment. The dark brown hair was messier than usual, the blue eyes tight with strain. Bags were beginning to form under them. Even the Perfect Soldier had limits. It was Duo's job as Heero's new partner to make sure he didn't exceed those limits. Good luck, Duo thought to himself, giving a wry snort. But, hell, Duo Maxwell was the king of making the impossible possible.
"Family of Harry Potter?"
They both jumped to their feet and were on the nurse in seconds. The woman paled and took a hasty step back. Duo quickly brought out the charm, hoping to defuse the tension. Civilians often found all five of them intimidating in the best of times. With Heero breathing down her neck, he was surprised the woman didn't turn and flee.
"That's us! It's so exciting to take him home at last! We've been waiting forever!"
The nurse focused on Duo, trying to pretend Heero wasn't there at all. She gave him a weak smile. "If you would follow me, I will take you to him."
"Great!" Duo bounced a little in place, bring his hands up to link behind his head.
Her smile firmed, and she turned and made her way steadily deeper into the hospital. "He's been heavily sedated. He shouldn't wake until you arrive on L4. If he does begin to regain consciousness, it is strongly recommended you sedate him again. He will undoubtedly panic. If he accidently pulls out any of these tubes, it could cause serious damage."
"We'll be very careful. Nothing will hurt little Harry on our watch," Duo promised.
"Good. Here he is."
She pulled back a curtain and revealed the little boy lying on a gurney, deeply asleep. The bruises were fading, the abrasions and cuts were nearly all healed. His skin was no longer deathly pale but had a healthy flush to it. Duo smiled as Heero immediately went for the chart at the bottom of the bed. He flipped through it efficiently, reading the latest reports. Duo turned to the nurse keeping her engaged and distracted while Heero made his own check of the boy.
"This is the perfect day for travel. The weather systems are completely mild. I take that as a good sign that everything will get better from now on."
"I hope so. That boy deserves it more than anyone else," she said sadly, eyes wet as she watched Heero finish. He began pushing the gurney forward without a word.
Duo smoothly moved forward with him, steadying the bed to ensure it moved in a straight line. He eyed the pair and snickered. "They kind of look alike, don't you think? Same messy hair?"
It was nearly the same color, too, a dark brown that was nearly black. The similarities ended there. Duo hadn't seen the kid's eyes much, but he knew they were a light color, lighter than Heero's cobalt blue, and the boy was much paler than Heero's tan skin. And of course their features were rather different. Heero had a slightly Japanese cast to his face, whereas the boy was clearly English.
The nurse laughed, walking with them to the loading bay. "Yes. They could be brothers."
Duo kept up a running chatter to the unconscious child in the bed, telling him about Quatre and Trowa and Wufei, innocent things that a nurse could overhear. It made them look more innocent and less like they were stealing the boy from the hospital. Even still, Heero's mission face drew several suspicious looks. Luckily, it wasn't long before they reached the loading bay.
"Do you need help?"
"We've got it. Thank you for everything," Duo assured her.
She smiled again. "It was our pleasure. Please take care of our little prince."
"Like you'd never believe," Duo assured with a laugh, thinking of Quatre and Heero in mother-hen mode. "We'll keep you updated!"
They had Harry loaded and were pulling out of the hospital parking lot in less than twenty minutes.
"In a hurry?" Duo asked wryly, brushing his light brown bangs out of his face.
"I want to get to a secure location."
Duo nodded, understanding the feeling. He also wanted Harry off the sedatives. They were the right move for now, but it was definitely not a long term solution. The sooner they had the boy aware, the sooner they could start work on healing him. Duo sighed and bent forward pressing his cheek to the child's scarred forehead. One hand held the smaller one gently, the other ran through the messy dark hair. It would be a long time before Harry would consciously accept reassuring contact such as this, but hopefully soon Duo would be able to hold him willingly.
Discomfort and the never-ending hunger woke him from a deep sleep. It was dark but not silent. There was the soft chatter of voices. Not close. The next room over maybe. Something soft was all around him. Definitely not his cupboard, then. The smell was different, too. Not musty. No dried blood or piss. No sweat or sickness. It smelled of fresh laundry. He began to get scared. Why was it so nice? What was going to happen? What did it mean?
He lay curled in a tight ball, frozen, eyes wide and blind in the darkness. But nothing happened. The voices never changed. Soft and regular and light. So unlike the voices he was used to: loud and hateful and sickening sweet in turns. Afraid, confused, lost, he lay still and prayed no one would find him. He didn't want to be hurt. The pain wasn't eating him from the inside out anymore. It was quiet. He'd do anything to keep it like that.
But eventually the dark became not so dark. Light began to spill through what appeared to be curtains around him. He realized in shock he was under something. He estimated he could crawl, but he'd never be able to sit up. The tight space didn't frighten him. It made him feel safe. His uncle was way too big to get him here. Even Dudley was too big. And Aunt Petunia would never get on her hands and knees to get him. He was safe. In a nest of soft blankets and a few pillows. It was utterly baffling. Why was he in such a nice place? Would he get in trouble for being here? He wasn't allowed to touch nice things! The fear came alive inside him, never far away, and he gave a tight whimper.
The voices stopped for a moment. His eyes went wide, absolutely terrified. Had the voices heard him? Were they coming to get him? He shook so hard, his teeth began to chatter. He couldn't get his breath. When the attack passed, he realized the voices were talking again. They weren't very close, but they were clearer now. He could understand the words. He listened, eyes wide, and stuffed his fingers in his mouth to muffle anymore noises he might make. Gotta be quiet! Gotta be good!
"My name is Duo and my friend is Heero. We're your new keepers. We have food here. We want you to eat, but you have to look out. If you look out, I will give you this food. I won't touch you. I won't make you come out from under the bed. This is your room now. We are giving it to you. We will never come in here unless you are in danger or you are hurting yourself. Do you understand? We are sitting just outside the doorway, holding this lovely food just for you. Just push the curtain aside and look out so I can give it to you. Easy, yes? I know it's scary, but it will make you feel better to eat."
The words seemed like they'd never end. A lot of it didn't make any sense at all. It seemed like the voice was talking to him, but no way! Why would he have a room? What would they make him do to stay here? The voice repeated the instructions several times. He waited for the voice to get angry, but it didn't happen. Then a second voice began to say the same things as the first voice. But this voice said he was Heero. The first voice was Duo.
Duo and Heero. They were his keepers now? He had to obey them, certainly. He had to obey everyone. But he had to obey Uncle most. They were his new Uncles? He had to obey them most now? It was so scary! He only just managed to keep Uncle happy enough to get by, but he had no idea what to do or what was expected from these new Uncles! He'd never make it! It would hurt so bad! They'd kill him, just like… just like…
He choked out a scream as memory assaulted him. A shiny gun, utter hate on his Aunt's face, gonna die after all that hard work, after suffering so much, he was going to die! Then… Then… It was too much, he went away.
When he came back, the hunger was worse. The voices were there still. They were still saying the same things. They still weren't angry. Duo and Heero. If he obeyed, they'd give him food. They wanted him to look out. Just look out at them. He didn't have to come out. No touching. Then he could eat. He was so hungry. Duo and Heero. His new Uncles. Have to obey Uncles.
Inching forward, he stretched out his hand. He touched the heavy fabric of the curtains falling to the floor all around him. He touched it and breathed deep through the fear. He was hungry. That could be fixed if he obeyed. The fear would never go away. He couldn't wait for that to happen. He had to just do it. He had to obey Duo and Heero. Shaking, weak, he closed his eyes and shifted the curtain. He felt the segments part. Felt cooler air hit his face and froze, eyes still squeezed shut. But he made the voices happy. That was good, right?
"You are doing so good. Almost there. You just have to look out, now, remember, and I'll give you food," the first voice, the Duo voice promised.
"You don't have to come out from under the bed. We won't touch you," the second voice, the Heero voice.
Slowly, holding his breath, shaking, he opened his eyes. Daylight. He blinked rapidly as they watered. His breath came out in a whoosh. The curtain wavered, fell almost closed again, but he steadied his hand because now he could smell the food even better. So hungry, want it so bad. He blinked until things became clearer. There was a doorway across the floor. Two people sat just outside, just like the voices said. There was a tray in front of them. The food was there.
"Good boy," Duo's voice said so warmly that his eyes began to water again. He was a good boy? Really? "I'm so proud of you. You did so good."
"Here. I'm going to push the food to you slowly," Heero's voice told him.
He watched in amazement as everything happened just as the voices kept saying. The tray moved slowly closer. He held his breath, terrified Duo and Heero would change their minds and snatch it away. Uncles liked to torment you, he knew. But the tray kept coming. It came until he could reach out a shaky hand and pull it into the dark under the bed, the curtain falling closed, hiding him from view. He was safe! He had food!
Sobbing, he tore into the soft, warm bread with sticky sweet jam. He moaned as the gnawing hunger finally had something else to chew on besides his insides. There was a small glass bottle of milk. He drank that down. There was a metal bottle of juice. He drank that just as fast. Before he knew it the tray was empty, but that was a good thing. If he ate another bite, he was certain he'd puke. Warm, safe, not so hungry, he curled up once more and began to fall asleep. He wondered about his new Uncles, Duo and Heero. Maybe… Maybe he could obey them and be a good boy.
Four hours to get the boy to eat. Heero stared into the bedroom, eyes unseeing. His chest was still tight with tension from listening to the panic attack and then the soft sobs of pained relief as the boy finally ate. He jumped as a hand settled on his shoulder.
"That was good. He still has the ability to trust," Duo said softly, voice husky from overuse.
Heero nodded. Duo had explained everything. He'd told him what to say, how to act. He'd informed Quatre how to set up this room for the child so he would feel safe. It had all been as Duo had predicted. They had carefully not addressed the boy by name. Likely he wouldn't know his name was Harry. On the videos, he was only ever addressed by Boy or Freak. They hadn't forced him to comply or do anything. It had all been his choice, a very slight return of his power. They gave him orders, something that would be familiar and comforting at this stage, and they didn't exceed what they'd told the child to expect. This was a good beginning, but it was still heartbreaking.
"Come on. Let's see what Q-ball picked up. Harry shouldn't wake up for a few hours. Then we'll feed him again. We'll start slow, but each time we'll ask him to add one more new thing to do. For example, next time we'll ask him to look and push the tray out from under the bed before we give him the new tray. Doing this, we'll slowly work our way up to a stronger trust and more complex expectations that he'll feel brave enough and capable enough to fulfill."
"Thank you, Duo." Heero's own voice was rough, but it had to be said. He looked up through his wild bangs into wide violet eyes. He held that gaze for a long moment before he stood and silently made his way to the nearest sitting room where their state-of-the-art monitoring devices were set up and where the other three pilots were waiting for them.
The sitting room had been transformed into a command center. Half the room held computer equipment and displays, the other half held couches and tables for relaxation. Quatre was curled up on the lap of Trowa, quietly crying. Wufei sat at the surveillance station, eyes averted. His fists were clenched on his thighs and his black eyes burned.
Duo appeared, pushing his way into the room with his trademark bounce. "Don't be like that, Cat! It was a very good first interaction. Nothing went wrong. He has every reason to trust us and keep trusting us. We'll get through this."
"It's not right that a child so young knows such fear," Quatre said as he sat up. His eyes were bloodshot and red. His expensive shirt and vest were wrinkled from laying against Trowa. "I don't think I've ever felt that kind of unrelenting fear, and he lives with it constantly."
Duo wrapped the blonde into an embrace. "The world's a scary place, but that's only 'cause he thinks he's alone. But that's not the case anymore. You'll see. He'll come around. We just have to really work at it. Work as hard as he's going to."
Quatre's expression hardened. "Yes. We will."
They all exchanged a glance at that. They were in this mission together.