"Yuy-Maxwell residence, Heero speaking. We cannot take your call at present. Leave a message after the beep and Duo will return your call."



Okay, so yeah I know you hate me swearing an' all, Heero, but I kinda thought you'd be here for this conversation. This conversation . . . sounds so thought out, doesn't it? I can't say I haven't thought about what I would say if I was ever in this situation. Not necessarily to you, because, yeah, us getting together was always something that I never expected to happen to me. The God of Death and happy domesticity don't exactly sit well together you know? I don't think I was the Gundam pilot pegged to do the dishes and wash laundry with his soulmate . . . I'd have picked Quatre myself, you know, with his spaceheart and everything . . . then again considering his house-keeping skills--Man, it's lucky he can afford a housekeeper! But I digress.

Anyway, this conversation. I wonder if you've thought about this at all . . . I mean, we're soldiers, you must have. You've probably written it out and have it typed all neat on your laptop, ready to be sent out after a twelve hour period of no typing or something. I know Wufei has. We talked about it before . . .

Heero, I've got bad news. Wufei and I--our mission went wrong. Very wrong. Before you get all 'omae o korosu' and scare all of Une's staff into early retirement, it's not their fault, okay? They didn't know. None of us did.

See, it happened right after you left on that shadowing assignment. I hope that's going okay, I kind of expected you to be back by now . . . but yeah, I kissed you good-bye, told you to careful, stared at your butt until it was out of sight and then went back to the kitchen to get me some coffee. The phone rang just as I was done.

It was Wufei. This mission had come up and he needed me. A small terrorist group had taken a resource satellite and were using it to hold a colony to ransom, you know the thing. We go in, outshoot 'em and are back in time for breakfast. No big deal, Wufei had been given an adequate amount of men--except it wasn't just men of course. There are plenty of women Preventers who are just as good as men, etc, etc, as Hilde is forever telling us, blah blah blah. I guess she has a point, I mean, we always say 'men' not back-up or personnel or team or anything else--but yeah, he had a team, but he wanted someone else. See, he had a feeling about it.

Yeah, I know, I asked him if he was feeling all right too. And after we'd finished bickering, he said that the report he'd got, the terrorists' demands and that, did not make sense, given what they were doing. He wanted someone he could trust to give him a second opinion. He yelled at me when I asked him if he was sure he was all right. Can you believe he asked me first? It turns out none of the others would have been available, he knew about your mission and that, and Trowa's hovering around his pregnant sister fetching and carrying etc, don't you think her husband should be doing that? And Quatre's in the middle of a very important take-over bid to end all take-over bids, at least that's what his secretaries would have you believe. I suspect he's vacationing in Vegas but that's just me. And Wufei still doesn't like Milliardo who is not very fond of old Wuffie either . . . but yeah, he needed me. So I said sure, wrote you a note and met him at Headquarters.

I hate Une's office. No matter what, it always makes me feel as though I've been called up for doing something stupid again. Too much time spent in too many principals' offices, I guess--and don't roll your eyes at me, Yuy. You love me, you know you do. So yeah, she's going on about how they really appreciate me taking time out of my busy career to come in--you can stop smirking--and going on about the seriousness of the mission--only you can save mankind sort of thing--and I'm flicking through the report Wufei's given me, and yeah, I can see that something's wrong.

The demands are perfectly predictable, nothing to cause too much concern; sixteen machine guns, enough ammo for them, a shuttle to tow the satellite anywhere they want, freedom to set up their own community and live in peace unpersecuted by 'the corrupt tyranny disguising itself as peace that currently oppresses the earth,' and food and fuel and parts. See? Perfectly in keeping with the mentality of the kind of separatists we deal with, right? Spouting off about how oppressed they are because they have to follow the same laws as everyone else and don't want to earn a wage and buy their own colony so they can set up their own laws etc. Makes me wish I still had Deathscythe around, you know the type?

Anyway, I looked at the demands, and Heero, they didn't fit.

They were wrong.

I mean, no-one asks for sixteen machine guns. Light weapons in space? They want the big guns, they want the lasers, the Peacemillions, the Libras--and sixteen? Who the hell gives away the number of fighters they got? It's like waving a red flag in front of a bull, or tugging Wufei's ponytail--no one is that stupid. And does anyone really think that Une is going to let them go in peace after they've threatened a colony?

The whole thing screamed 'trap!'

Une I don't think was convinced--she was having lunch with Relena and I gathered she wasn't quite looking forward to it--funding cuts again?--But anyway, she agreed to giving Wufei more men--Hilde can bite me--and we set off on our merry way.

We split up, Wuffers and me taking a small force to infiltrate while the rest went with Une's usual plan, diplomacy, coughcoughnotcough, and tackled them front on. So we get in there and find that, surprise, surprise, they were not the peace-loving terrorists they'd made themselves out to be. Hoo boy, no. Heero, the amount of stuff in there--the satellite is a base for manufacturing arms. It stocks a cannon so similar to the one on Libra that I suspect our elderly friends are somehow involved, and the whole stealing the satellite thing had to be planned. I'd say they've been working on it for months, maybe years. Heero, they were planning another war.

Hindsight's always 20/20, they say. I guess we shouldn't have spent so much time admiring the arsenal. We thought the main force would have kept them occupied, we didn't expect them back so soon--and, they weren't that pleased to see us. Anyway, we took to cover, had loads of fun shooting at each other and stuff. Noin's been doing a great job with her recruits, tell her that. We were caught off guard but they recovered quickly. We managed to put up a good return fire, and we all got to cover and yeah. We managed to get into the corridors and make a break for it. The problem was, of course, they knew the layout of the ship, they were able to predict where we were going. All we had was the hope that if we got to the front of the ship, we could find our crew and regroup. They ambushed us in an open hall. They were up on the walkways looking down--three of our men were dead before we even got to cover.

I kinda jumped behind this giant fan--I realised it was a ventilator, and if I could get into the shafts--I know what you say about the way I eat, but you have to admit, I'm still small enough to wiggle through ventilation shafts with no trouble at all. I signalled to Wufei what I was doing and went. I was planning on getting through to our guys, and bringing them back to double ambush the ambushing scum.

I never said I was logical, darling, or consistent, so don't pull that face.

Where was I? Oh yeah, crawling through ventilation shafts on my hands and knees. Grubby ventilation shafts I might add--my shirt is ruined. I guess its kind of a good thing our machine won't have to cope with it--I think the shock would be too much . . .

The ventilation shaft was locked.

It had been sealed so the front of the ship was completely separate from the rest . . . I had a bad feeling about that. It grew worse when I wriggled out of the shaft. The bridge had these big clear plastic windows that looked down on the docking area . . . and our guys.

They gassed them.

Noin's finest recruits, all with futures and families and real people dammit, and dead because the bastards gassed them! They didn't even have a chance, Heero, not one! I mean, I'd stopped to talk to some of them, and they were pretty nice people, if a bit wet, but that's just recruits and they'll learn, except they'll never get to now! And Heero, that hurts--they should at least have given them the chance to fight. Instead of just poisoning them like a bug infestation or something . . .

I killed everybody on the bridge. I don't remember if there were many or not, but they were laughing, remembering how the recruits had struggled to get back to their suits and how they'd shot at them from the bridge to stop them . . .

So I was pretty mad at this stage, and decided to go find Wufei and the others and help them when I realise that I was okay crawling through the ventilation shafts, but I'd wandered a fair way too steamed up to notice where I was going and I don't have any idea where I was. Great, huh? So I slip into stealth mode and kind of creep through the corridors. There's no sound of gunshots or anything, so I guess they've reached a stalemate or our guys managed to get back into the corridors. So I'm heading down these corridors, expecting at any moment to hear someone, or get shot at, and there's a corner up ahead and I'm sure I heard something shift--so I slip out really quickly and pull my gun--and suddenly I'm nose to nose with Wufei's automatic.

Nearly gave me a heart attack.

So anyway, we don't shoot each other, and when we've got our breath back (I kinda startled him too) we find an empty storeroom and take stock of the situation. After I left, the bastards decided to throw in a gas grenade as well. Wufei was the only one small enough to get into the shafts and escape . . .

Wufei doesn't think he was spotted and they sure as hell none of them saw me, so we decide to head back into the ventilation and let the bastards think they've won.

Eavesdropping on the commanders, blah, blah, blah, and guess what? They want to rule the colonies and destroy earth. Or was it the other way round? Nah, they wanted to destroy earth because now they'd disposed of the Preventers threat, they planned to take up position and start blasting away before Une realises that it's been an awfully long time and no babble from yours truly and sends teams out to find out why. I won't bore you with the details, but yeah, they start moving, and getting ready to launch this big attack. So Wufei and I get sneaky.

We knocked out a couple of their men, stole their uniforms, and while they were preparing for the bombardment of earth by loading all these shells, etc, we were deactivating them under their very noses. Yeah, I thought that'd amuse you. It's amazing what you get away with in the right uniform . . .

Oh, I'm sorry, was I drooling? Well, excuse me, but you know what your Preventers get-up does for me. Not to mention the sailor scout fuku stashed in the closet. Yum!

Okay, okay, geez. I'm getting to the point.

In the name of the Moon, I will punish you!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

But we didn't stop there--once they fond the dead bodies in the bridge, they got a little concerned and started searching the ship. Course, they were looking for people in Preventers uniforms, not their own. Wufei and I continued on our merry way, snipping wires, short circuiting lasers, taking the vital parts out of earth destroying lasers, and short sheeting beds . . . well, okay, so only I did that. But we had spare time, and well, annoyed soldiers don't make good decisions.

But like all good things, it had to end. Wufei had got a line open to Preventers HQ, when this guy walked in and demanded what the hell we were doing. I shot him but he had friends and so . . . another all out gunfight, fun. While I shot at people, dodged flying bullets and performed miraculous escapes, Wufei managed to override the bridge controls and set off the emergency self seal function. So we were now locked in, surrounded by thick metal doors, which in turn were surrounded by angry fanatics. Oh, the fun. We couldn't get out, they couldn't get in, we had their communications and steering devices, they had lots and lots of happy and malfunctioning weapons.

They say we're young and we don't know, won't find out until we're grown--

Oh, huh? Just an old song. I kinda like it. But, yeah, we were stuck, Heero. Wufei had the bright idea of sticking bugs in the weapons room while we were there, and we got enough of their conversation to figure out that having failed to bombard earth, they're going to wait for the Preventers to come and rescue us, and bargain our lives for being towed towards earth, whereupon they will start dropping bombs. Good plan, like Une will buy it. So, yeah, things don't look good, but you know me and 'Fei, we don't give up easy.

So Wufei wonders what else is in the bridge, and we realise that we have the controls for the big earth-destroying laser. Yeah, we did a number on it so that it's incapable of firing at anything, but I think that if we turn it on it will build up enough power and overheat. When that happens, the fuel will ignite and Boom Baby! I think you get the picture.

Wufei and I got pretty emotional, as one does when faced with one's certain demise I guess. He told me about Sally and their kids, the plans they'd made--you know, he's even picked out colleges for the twins? Pretty ambitious for three-months-olds, but that's Chang, I guess. Anyway, I told him about you and us and more about our personal life then he ever wanted to know--I guess it's kind of lucky I won't ever see him again, because hell, that is a lot to live down. Word of warning: I told him about the bunny ears.

Anyway, Wufei said that he was honoured to die with a spirit as strong as mine was and that he had enjoyed knowing me, and that he secretly didn't mind me calling him 'Wuffers.' I said pretty much the same thing only I cried all over his shoulder. Then we activated the laser and set about waiting for our deaths.

It was then we noticed the escape pod.

I'm sorry Heero, I really am. I love you just as much if not more than Wufei loves Sally--you know I do. But we just happened to have included escape pods in our merry bout of sabotaging--and a good thing we did too, because the bastards in the brig were discussing setting off the ammo and abandoning ship or using them to drop ammunition on earth. We jammed all the doors, but this one must have escaped our attention. Perhaps because it was only a one seater.

Anyway we looked at it and we were both thinking the same thing.

I squashed the thought down.

"You're a father," I said.

"You have a partner who needs you," he replied, just as evenly.

"So do you," I said.

He just looked at me calmly. "I could not live at the cost of your life, not even for them. Duo, I would rather die with you than live at the cost of your life, and nothing you can say will change that."

I would have started crying then, I swear, but that would have tainted the moment. So instead I bowed--the way he does, you know from the waist, and said "Wufei, you are the noblest person I know."

He just stared at me a moment, then smiled and bowed to me. For the first time in all the years I've known him I felt we really understood each other. We'd connected and I felt like all our arguments and yelling matches and misunderstandings had been wiped away, and we'd been given just peace--

It was then I hit him with the butt of my rifle.

So yeah, Wufei's unconscious body is winging its way in your direction as we speak.

He'll probably be really grumpy when he comes to as well, so I'd let Une deal with him. But Heero, I guess . . . this is it.

I love you, you know I do. The years we've spent together have been some of the best in my life, and I'm just happy I got the chance to spend time with you. As far as dying goes this isn't so bad--I mean, I got to see peace have a pretty decent chance and the colonies are getting a pretty fair deal. I can trust Relena and Lady Une to protect it, and I know the other guys and you will be doing your best to protect things too. So I've got no regrets . . . and I always wanted to be cremated, so I guess that's good.

No, it isn't. This isn't good at all.

Heero--I'd give anything to be home with you now, watching you burn dinner and getting that wrinkly forehead I think is so cute and calling out for pizza again. There's so many things I wanted to do--and what will you do if I'm not there to watch your back? I hate this.

Ah, crap. There's not much we can do about this now, is there? Just remember that I love you, and I know how much you love me. And, stupid as this sounds, I don't want you to be unhappy.

J taught you to be a soldier, he did a good job. You told me that before you fell in love with me, you'd considered emotions dangerous, better left ignored, that you saw no value in love. I was so honoured when you asked me to teach you to feel--You have a good heart, Heero, there is nothing wrong with it at all. A heart like that doesn't deserve to be alone--

And I'll be dammed if I let you waste all my hard work!

The deal is this: You're allowed to be miserable for, I dunno, I guess a month sounds right. Take time off work, ignore Quatre's phone calls, hide from Relena, be miserable. Think about me, and mourn me, and when the month is over, move on!

Yeah, I know, I'm just saying that, I'm not the one who has to actually do that. But I'm not particularly happy with the situation myself. And I don't want you to just forget me--hell, if I find out you have, you will find out just how annoying I can be as a malignant poltergeist! But don't shut yourself off from opportunities. There's a whole universe out there, and it's wonderful, Heero. So when the month is up, get a pet, take up a new hobby, like, I dunno--rollerblading looks cool. So does ice-hockey--and talk to people. Not just 'omae o korosu' or 'Hn'--come on, I know J included social interaction in there somewhere--and if you get the chance, go visit Trowa, will you? I get the feeling he's not so happy with him and Quatre's decision to be 'just friends' as Quatre is. So the two of you might be able to help each other. Whatever happens, Heero, I love you and--geez, what is it now?

Okay, sorry for that. The morons have decided to try and break down the door. This ought to be amusing but I should go, just in case they get through. Yeah, I don't want to be shot so I can get blown up instead.

What fun.

So anyway, bye, Heero--give my love to the guys, and tell Quatre I was the one who borrowed his copy of 'A Hard Days Night' and if he wants it back, it's hidden in your closet. Um, I don't think I've done anything to Trowa lately, and Wufei deserved the goldfish. Say hi to Hilde too, and tell her she can keep my collection of shounen-ai manga, she loves it more than I do anyway. The guys can keep what they like. I want you to keep my cross--I'm so glad the clasp broke and I had to take it to the jeweller's and it's not with me now, because its not going to be much use to me now, and I want you to have something to remember me by. And give all my money to charity, something to do with kids, I'm not sure what. Anyway, Heero, I love you. Don't let your heart go to waste okay? Be happy, if only for me."