Disclaimers: Since this story is set about three hundred years after the Gundam characters existed, there isn't much here I don't own. Except maybe any characters I use in flashbacks or the actual names of the characters, which pop up a few times. Some OOC, but no yaoi.
It was a chilly Friday afternoon in early April. Around two o'clock, it began to rain on colony L973, where the Hemlock High School was located. In Mr. Aristo's history class, a group of seventeen- year old students were being lectured one the war of the Gundams, now called the Endless Waltz.
"The five Gundam pilots regrouped at the Winner mansion to discuss their battle plans for the next day," Mr. Aristo said, looking at his class through thick glasses.
"Bor-ing!!!" a young voice rang out, accompanied by a few muffled giggles. The speaker tapped her pen against her desk.
Mr. Aristo sighed and adjusted his glasses. "Miss Via, is your opinion really necessary at this time? It seems you could take more interest in the Endless Waltz, as you are the descendant of one of our heroic pilots."
Via Maxwell stood up. "First of all, it happened over three hundred years ago! I don't care! Secondly, I've listened to my great great grand daddy's journals so many times I think I know the story by heart!"
"I doubt that, Miss Via, considering your poor grades on your tests. Care to give an explanation?" Mr. Aristo asked.
"My grand daddy Duo was more of a people person than an events person. He cared more about Heero Yuy than he did the date and time Relena Peacecraft was announced 'Queen of the World.'"
Billy Krenek, a friend of Via's, snickered. "Considering how annoying Miss Peacecraft was said to have been, is it any wonder?"
Sari Limn laughed. "And Heero was pretty kawaii himself!" She held up her history book to the page where the Gundam pilots were pictured. "Can we say sexy?" The entire class broke into exclamations of agreement and approval.
"Actually," Via said with a wicked grin, "I think that Duo was pretty kawaii, too."
Billy laughed at her. "You're only saying that because you look a little like him!"
Via shrugged. "Hey, if the truth hurts..." The rowdy shouts continued. Just as Mr. Aristo decided to reign in his students, the final bell rang, signaling the completion of yet another day. Via and her friends all gathered around the door, talking and laughing. Mr. Aristo was almost sorry to interrupt them.
"Miss Via. Come here, please." Via shrugged and looked over at her friends, who gestured that they'd wait outside.
"What's up, Mr. Aristo?"
"Not your grades, I'm afraid. I was serious about those, Miss Via. Ever since we began our unit on the Endless Waltz, your grades have been plummeting dramatically."
"And I was serious about why. I'm a lot like Duo, I guess. I could care less about events and all," Via, for the first time today, looked worried. "But my uncle'll kill me if he finds out how bad I'm doing."
"I want to give you a chance to catch up. You say you still have your grandfather's journals from the war?"
"Yep. Duo was big on that sort of thing." Via grinned. "You should hear some of that stuff!"
"Mm. Perhaps you could research the journals. The more work you do, the more points you'll earn. Deal?"
Via thought about this. Her violet eyes narrowed. "Just how much work are we talking?"
Mr. Aristo almost laughed. She did look a lot like Duo's picture in the history book, except for her hair, which was cropped at her shoulders in a fashionable bob. "Just a short report on the journals, or on the people Duo Maxwell spoke of. Your choice. Then present it to the class. As I said, the more you do, the more you'll earn."
"Cool. How much time do I have?"
Mr. Aristo thought about this briefly. "Until the end of the unit, which should give you a month or so. Can you do it?"
"No problem! Hey, what if I track down other pilot descendants and see if their personal plagues kept journals too?"
"You could do that, if you like. But they might not all refer to the heroic pilots as their own personal plagues, Miss Via."
"I'll keep that in mind," Via chirped happily. To her friends, she called: "Hey, guys! I might pass history after all!" With that, she ran from the room, almost kicking her heels together.
Three hours later, Via was surrounded by piles of disks, each with a segment of Duo's story. The story, in Via's opinion, was pretty interesting in itself, but trying to figure out the order each one went in was a pain. They were all labeled, of course, but Duo's original chicken scratch had not improved after three hundred years of gathering dust. Then there was trying to remember how the ancient disk player worked. That was enough to keep any sane person away! But Via had to earn those extra credit points somehow, and this seemed to be the easiest way at the time.
Via sighed. If this kept up, she'd still be listening to the disks when the deadline came up! She had only gotten the first set of disks organized, and there were still twelve sets left! If only she could just find a way to go back in time. She frowned. If only...
She hit her fist against the table. Why couldn't those stupid doctors who had built the stupid Gundams still be alive? It just didn't seem fair! Tears welled up in her eyes as a shred of glass from the soda bottle she had broken earlier wedged into her hand. Cursing, she made her way, bleeding, to the bathroom, where she proceeded to wash and bandage the cut. She could hear her uncle in the other room, going about his usual business.
"Okay," she said, getting back to the disks. "Let's get cracking." She looked around. "Can't take that long, after all." She sat down, looking critically at her white shirt for any bloodstains. The cut had been bleeding pretty heavily, but the only spots she could see were small and on her jeans. Her stomach growled. "Pooh... now I'm hungry! All this work makes me so, I suppose!" She stood back, realizing she was only putting off the inevitable. And that she was talking to herself. "I'll get back to it later..."
The next day brought no more progress. Via was working on the project every waking hour, which amounted to about three, but everything she had done the previous night seemed to have been either wrong or tampered with. And, to make things worse, while taking a trip to the attic, she noticed a set of disks she had never seen before. Sighing, she carried the heavy box downstairs to see if great great granddaddy Duo had done anything else of interest that wasn't covered in the other disks.
She fell asleep again before she could find out. The following Sunday morning, she woke up early, still leaning over the aureoles. Yawning, she looked at the disks she'd found late the previous night. Unlike the others, they weren't labeled, even though the box was littered with little phrases and poems from a script she didn't recognize. Neat little block letters spelled out words of friendship, but it was not the handwriting of any relatives she knew of, nor were any of the lyrics autographed. She frowned. Who else had Duo shown his journals to? Shaking her head, she placed one of the disks into the drive. After a moment of tinkering with the controls, Duo's familiar features appeared.
And, in the background, there was another person there, typing on what looked to be a laptop. Looking closer, Via recognized the lean, muscular figure of Heero Yuy. She frowned. Heero and Duo, as far as the history books had told, were never great friends. What was going on?
"March nineteenth, after colony 197. It's me again, of course, and I brought along a guest!" With that, Duo waved his hand towards Heero, who shifted his gaze towards Duo for only a moment before turning back to his computer screen. "He doesn't feel like talking right now, I'm afraid." Duo grinned. "He's a bit nervous about his wedding tomorrow."
Via's eyes widened in surprise. According to the history books, Heero had never married or had children. She frowned, her eyebrows knitting together, and leaned closer to the image. Now this was getting interesting.
"Shut up, Maxwell," Heero hissed, frowning. Via smiled. This was probably the first time she had heard Heero's voice and it was much different from the way she had imagined it.
"Oh! The evil last name!" Duo laughed and Via frowned. She did share that last name, after all. "Oh well. Poor Relena will be so surprised at the rude, obsessive, ingrate she is marrying!" Heero threw a pillow at him. "Sorry, I forgot! She's used to it by now!"
Duo howled with laughter as Heero continued to attack him with all the objects within his reach, including his laptop, which hit Duo square on the head. "OW!" Heero's only response was to pick up his laptop and continue typing.
"And let that be a lesson to you folks," Duo said, grinning into the camera as he rubbed the bump on his head. "Never mess with a nervous bridegroom the day before his wedding." Heero glared at the braided boy but said nothing. Via smiled, noting once again just how much she looked like her ancestor and wondering how something as important as Heero and Relena's wedding had escaped the history books.
Ten disks later, Via was riveted. She had always thought Duo's journals were interesting, but these new disks were amazing! They announced Heero and Duo's friendship, which came as a surprise to Via, as she had always considered the two of them as friendly enemies, and spoke of Relena's last moment business matter, delaying the wedding. The disks seemed to go on forever! She hadn't stopped her research for anything. Not food, not water, not even when her uncle was threatening to beat her to a pulp. Typical uncle behavior, according to Via. Finally, she had reached the last disk. Took long enough, she thought, as her stomach was beginning to cramp for lack of food. She pressed against her stomach with one hand and started to close the disk player with the other. She stopped suddenly, seeing Heero's image come on the screen.
Via frowned. She sat back down, wondering why an extra image was playing. It looked as though the story she had just heard had been recorded years before this, because Heero now looked to be around twenty-five years old. He looked different now and he there wasn't a hint of a smile on his face. Something in his eyes spoke of a sadness she had never seen before, and in the background she could see nothing but a cracked wall. Heero began to speak.
"It won't be long now," he said with a trace of sorrow in his voice. "The remaining OZ troops were skillful and they knew where to find us. Duo saved this last bit of disk space for any final thoughts we might have, and now seems to be the time to use it. We were all captured and sealed down here. All five of us, the Gundam pilots. I'm the last one left. Quatre was the first to die, with earnest wishes for us to tell his family about his fate if we ever got out. His wife and his children will be very sad, I think. Trowa went soon after. He had no family and no message, except to tell Catherine he loves her. Then Wufei. He was noble in the end, at least. We had only one air hole to breathe through to keep us from suffocating, and he let Duo and I have it. He said he had no family and didn't need it. He wants to join his deceased ancestors with honor. Wufei was like that, I suppose. I told him I was in the same position, but Wufei wouldn't hear of it.
"Then Duo told me about my son. Hn. My legacy lives on, but only through a misbegotten son..." Heero gave a brief laugh. "I got lonely without Relena, I guess. Turned to other means of entertainment. Seems like everyone knew about my son by Kit Grien except me. Even Wufei laughed at me when I said I had no family to live for. After Wufei died, Duo turned into a rock. His heart was encased in a sheet of ice not even I could penetrate. He lasted for a long time before he committed suicide. Couldn't bear the strain, I guess. So now I'm left. If anyone ever gets this disk, give it to his wife. Hilde would like to have it." Heero smiled distantly. "I wrote all over this box, to keep my mind off things, but she won't care." Heero coughed, a harsh and strangled sound in this dank tomb. "Hn... Hilde's going to have his child, and he didn't even live to see it. Tell everyone we love them." Heero turned away for a second and took a deep breath from a tiny hole in the wall. "My air is going to run out soon. Farewell." With a wave of his hand, the screen turned black.
Via swallowed hard. Was this for real? Or just another one of Duo's pranks? It looked real and Heero had seemed so sad, as if he had lost all hope. She almost laughed when she realized she wasn't hungry anymore. With a sigh, she turned back towards the disk. Was this how the Gundam pilots had met their fate? She would never know, perhaps.
Making her way to the kitchen, she noticed her history book lying on the counter. She frowned, trying to figure out when she had put it there, then flipped it open to the pages describing the Gundam pilots. She took an apple out of the fridge and bit into it, enjoying the bitter juice running down her chin, and scanned the chapter. A whole section was dedicated to the lives of the pilots before the war, then three were written entirely of the war. A tiny section at the end of the chapter spoke of their lives after the war, but nothing was written of when and how they died.
She threw her half-eaten apple at the wall, not even caring when she heard the sickening splatter of mutilated fruit. She let out a disgruntled shriek, hitting her fist against the table. "Why doesn't this stupid book tell me anything?" she mumbled to herself. A knock on the glass kitchen door answered her.
Billy grinned at her. "Hey, Via, Sari and I dug a huge pit in the woods! About twice as tall as we are! C'mon, we're going to try to catch Sari's little brother in it and see how long it takes him to get out!"
Via looked at him in disbelief. Then she turned away and, without even looking back at Billy, went back to the disks.
--to be continued--