If I said Gundam Wing was my brainchild and my property, would you believe me? No? I didn't think so, seeing as how it's the truth.
Italic means they're thinking something.
Duo Maxwell paced. And paced. He fidgeted. He squirmed. He sat down in a chair, then got up again. But before he got fully on his feet again, he changed his mind and sat back down. Then he began to kick the legs of the chair. At first, Trowa found the sixteen-year-old, brown-haired American's antics funny, but they quickly grew tiresome. "Duo..."
The young Gundam pilot snapped his head up. "Wassup, Trowa?" Trowa got up from his chair, laid his newspaper aside, and grasped Duo's shoulders.
"Could you kindly_stop_fidgeting_?" he demanded. Duo squirmed out of the taller boy's grasp and whined, "I can't help it. When's Heero coming baa-aack?"
Trowa returned to his seat and ignored him. Quatre, who had been practicing his violin, took the time to kindly reassure Duo, "Calm down, Duo. You know Heero can take care of himself. Stop worrying yourself to death, it won't do any good. Besides, why don't you get ready for your date with Hilde-san; don't you want to look nice for her?"
Duo grumbled, "I think that finding who my parents were is a little more important..." But he went to his room. Quatre sighed and picked up his instrument again. Wufei and he had always known their parents; and he suspected Trowa had found out more about his parentage than he diverged. Duo and Heero, however...
But Heero had gotten curious, after he had...stumbled....across a file with his name on it. Hacking deeper, he had discovered that right after recruiting the pilots, the Colonies had done extensive...research...on them. Including finding out exactly who the parents were. Heero had set out tonight, for an infiltration mission to a Colony computer datahouse where the files were kept. Duo would have gone with him, but
A) Heero insisted-quite firmly-that he worked best alone
B) Duo did say that he was tired of missions
C) He had a long-standing date with Hilde
But now he was too nervous to keep his mind on the date. He exited his room, dressed exactly the same except that he had taken a shower. He recommenced pacing, but to the great relief of the two other frazzled boys, knocks sounded on the apartment door.
"It's Hilde, it's Hilde!" exclaimed Quatre happily, jumping up from his chair. When he received strange looks from both of his teammates, he giggled nervously and said, "Um, I mean...your date's here, Duo! Where you taking her? The movies? Dancing? Surely not here where-I-still-have-to-see-you-pace?!?!" This last was said in a slightly hysterical tone, and Duo gave the blond Arabian another strange look.
He shrugged, and opened the door. Hilde stood there, a happy, ear-to-ear smile on her face. "Hi, Duo!" she chirped. The partly-German girl wore a red beret, perched cutely on her black hair, a soft yellow sweatshirt under a pink jacket, and yellow leggings. "Hey!" Duo answered, grinning. The grin paled considerably when Relena Peacecraft, wearing a black sleeveless blouse and a lavender skirt, peeked out from behind her best friend. "Hello, guys!" said Relena.
"Relena!" was all Duo could choke out. Fortunately, the two girls didn't seem to notice. "Where's Heero?" asked Hilde. "Surely you remembered to tell him about the double-date we arranged?"
"Double...date?" the American boy echoed blankly.
Hilde stamped her foot in a typical gesture of feminine annoyance. "Duo Maxwell! Don't tell me you forgot! We talked about it on the phone, remember?"
"Oh yeah..." Duo sweatdropped.
Duo gripped the phone in his hand. He nodded every few seconds (not that Hilde could see him) and murmured "Sure" and "Yes" and "Um" as an accompaniment. All her words went in one ear and out the other, as Duo hovered near Heero, watching as the Japanese boy sliced through passwords and grow ever closer to the secret of their origins.
"So what do you think, Duo? Duo? Duo!" The boy who called himself Shinigami was snapped back to his conversation as he realized that his name had been called several times already, in a rising voice.
"Um..." Panic flared as Duo realized that he was expected to answer a question. "So? Ask Heero already!" Hilde's impatient voice rang in his ear.
"Uh, yeah. Heero!" he hissed, covering the mouthpiece with his hand. "Hilde asked me to ask you something but I don't know what it is!" Heero, totally intent on his computer, told Duo irritatedly, "Just answer her!"
Duo said, "He said yes. He said yes. Um, Hilde, I gotta go now! See ya later!"
"G'bye!" And Duo pressed the phone's OFF button.
Duo nodded frantically. "Oh yeah!"
"So?" asked Relena, glancing around inquiringly. "Where is Heero-kun?"
Duo laughed nervously. "Funny you should ask..."
BANG! Every one of the sixteen-year-olds jumped as the window rattled violently. The rusted old glass portal banged again as it rose creakily, accompanied by the sounds of swearing from the other side. As soon as it was halfway-up, a lithe young body slipped inside. Heero Yuy stood on the carpeting, a black tape clutched tightly in his hand. He wore faded blue jeans, a darker blue jacket open over his trademark green tanktop. But the strange thing was:
Heero Yuy was smiling. Happily. A big, ear-to-ear grin.
The girls gaped. Relena wished for a camera. The boys, even knowing what they did, were shocked.
"Got it!" crowed Heero. Then he spotted the girls, and his face settled back into its more familiar scowl. Still, his mouth was softened and threatened to twitch back into a smile, while, if anything, the light in his eyes brightened at the sight of Relena.
"What are they doing here?"
When Duo finished explaining the mix-up, both Hilde and Heero were glaring at him. Relena broke in with, "Where were you, Heero?" Duo stopped cringing and started explaining.
When Duo finished his story, Heero took over, calmly retelling his entry into the building where confidential files were kept. "D'you kill anyone?" asked Duo. "No," answered Heero. "Didn't even hafta knock anyone out. Security was atrocious," he said distastefully.
He had sneaked into the main room, where he had found a file drawer with the Gundam pilots' name on it. He had taken out a tape that was supposed to be the sum of the research.
"So?" asked Hilde, excited. "Let's watch it!"
"Why not?" Heero said, shrugging.
The group trooped into the living room. As Heero knelt to ready the machine, his companions scrambled to find a seat. Trowa and Quatre claimed the floor near the flatscreen, while Duo and the girls piled onto the worn old sofa. When Heero turned around, the only place for him was to perch on the arm of the sofa...next to Relena. Scowling darkly, Heero wondered if Duo was in cahoots with the girls. Judging from the identical evil grins on their faces, he supposed they were.
He shrugged and resolved to ignore all except the tape. The screen flickered to life, and a scratchy voice boomed out, "Profile of Quatre Rebarba Winner..." There followed a rapid showing of graphs, pictures of Quatre in various stages of his life. The same scratchy voice began reciting Quatre's stats, but did not make any comments or assumptions. Since it was all things they knew already, no one paid it much attention, except maybe Duo who hooted at some of Quatre's baby pictures. However, one comment from the Disembodied Voice at the very end of Quatre's 'file' caught everyone's attention: "Unlike his twenty-nine sisters, the Winner boy was born naturally, not test-tube. The birth was a C-section. The boy survived with no effects, but his mother did not. END FILE."
Quatre stiffened, staring at the screen which now showed nothing but black. Reaching over, he rewound the tape, listening again to the voice that said he was not test-tube. Not a test-tube baby. He sat down again, trembling. His teammates looked at him with sympathy, but silent. He breathed rapidly, willing his heart to stop beating so fast. After he calmed himself down somewhat, he raised his head and offered a wan smile. He was okay...but that tape gave him a brand new angle on life. He wondered if they'd do the same for the others...
The next file was on Wufei. All it said was "All information available on the L5 community database."
The third file was on Trowa. Like Quatre, they showed graphs and pictures and videos of the young circus performer. Unlike Quatre, the scratchy voice started giving important data very early on. At the start, TDV (The Disembodied Voice) began reciting his real origins: as Triton Bloom. Trowa didn't react very violently to it at all, just sat there and absorbed all the data he could. When it was over, he rewound it and listened quietly. When it was over, he placed his hand on his chin and murmured thoughtfully, "Hmm, my suspicions have been confirmed..."
They mostly blinked at this statement.
They all turned back to the TV. Duo squirmed in his seat. "That leaves only two left! Heero... or me! Whichever it is, it'll be damn interesting!"
Heero glared. Duo ignored him; he was used to it. Besides, TDV was starting up again. "We have been lucky enough to have recently come across this video documentary... It is of the pilot's birth. It seems the pilot's father wanted to become a famous director..."
Everyone sweatdropped. Heero turned to face Duo. "I think that's your father, Maxwell."
Duo smirked. "How can you be so sure, Heeeero?" He stage-whispered to Hilde, loudly enough to be heard by everyone in the room, "Wouldn't it be sweet if that WAS Heero's old man?"
Heero stared quite determinedly at the TV. And nothing but the TV.
The scratchy voice disappeared. The screen was lit up by the image of a hospital hallway, with green walls, wooden benches lining its length, and a bronze plaque proclaiming 'Pediatric Ward'. The video was quite obviously taken by a home camcorder, though a top-end one.
A man's voice began to filter through the speakers. "Hello, this is David Evans." His voice was soft, like the narrator of a documentary, but with a definite tone of humor and joy underlying it. "Three hours ago, my wife went into labor. She came out of the delivery room ten minutes ago. And now we're going to see my new family..."
While he was talking to the camera, several nurses passed by his field of vision. Some smiled, some looked at him oddly. All were pretty, and Hilde whapped Duo on the head when she saw him ogling them.
The picture began to move down the hall, pausing at one door. The letters on the door read 'Room 213' and he pushed it open gently. On the other side of the room was a bed, in which a young woman rested.
As David moved closer to her, the watchers sixteen years in the future could see the young woman more clearly. She had a beautiful, if somewhat tired-looking, heart-shaped face, violet eyes, and long chestnut hair. Duo watched silently. "My mom..."
There was no doubt about it. The woman on the screen looked so much like Duo, it would have been impossible for the two of them NOT to be related.
"David," the woman said in an exasperated yet fond tone of voice, "Will you EVER let go of that damn camera?"
"Oh, come on, Rae, don't you want our first glimpse of our newborn sons to be recorded for posterity?"
"I, for one, am glad he did," muttered Duo.
The sound of a door opening, then a nurse saying, "Here you are, Mrs. Evans. Your firstborn. Quite a little kicker, really." Rae smiled, and gathered the bundle of blankets into her arms.
"Aww..." she cooed softly, tickling the baby's chin. David did not stay to videotape the touching scene any longer, but turned to the nurse instead. "Where's his twin brother?"
Duo sat up straighter. "Twin...brother?" he echoed.
"Sorry, Mr. Evans, but his brother is taking a little more time to be washed. Ah, here he is now," the nurse said as another nurse entered the room and handed the first nurse a second blanket-wrapped baby. David moved closer, focusing the lens for a close-up of his son's face. Two adorable purple eyes filled the screen as the infant broke into a reflexive, toothless baby smile.
"Honey," called David, "He's got your eyes."
"This one has yours, David," Rae replied, smiling. "Bring him over here, will you?"
"That's me...?" Duo said softly, staring at the screen.
The nurse obligingly went over to Rae and placed the little baby in her arms. The second baby giggled and snuggled closer to his mother. The first one seemed to have fallen asleep already.
"What will you name them?" the nurse inquired, beaming at the cute family scene. "We decided on their names long ago. We just hope it will fit their personalities," Rae explained. She rubbed the second baby's cheek, the one still awake, with her finger. The newborn smiled again. "This one will be named Bryce."
The nurse smiled approvingly. "Bryce- 'Bright'." She glanced at the cheerful, newly-christened Bryce Evans. "Suits him fine." Bryce clapped his hands, as if pleased with the nurse's endorsement of his new name.
"How about the other one?" asked the nurse. "Oh, David named him," said Rae, smiling. "David, give the camera to that nice lady so she can get a shot of us all."
"Aww..." whined David. "Do I gotta?" He did, anyway. The picture shifted a little as David's precious camcorder was handed to the nurse. "Now come on over, David," ordered Rae.
David did. His back was to the camera as he walked to Rae's bed and picked up the sleeping baby. "So-" began the nurse, still filming. "What will you name him?" David turned to the camera. And the Gundam pilots got their first glimpse of David Evans.
Duo could feel his heart stop. Around him, he could hear gasps of astonishment. Heero had stiffened noticeably, his back straight. David looked exactly like...
"This little guy will be named Randal," David said, kissing the top of his son's head. The baby stirred slightly. Yawning, he opened his eyes. His Prussian blue eyes. David smiled proudly at the camera, his own deep blue eyes twinkling.
The video was abruptly cut off. Duo leaned back against his seat, taking deep, ragged breaths. At the beginning of the video, the voice hadn't been saying 'the pilot's birth.'
He'd been saying 'the _pilots'_ birth.'
Dimly, Duo could hear TDV reciting further. Bryce and Randal had lived with their parents until they were almost three. David wanted to be a director, but what he actually was was an engineer for the Army. Rae was in Personnel.
For some reason, the two were orphaned just before their third birthday. They were sent to an orphanage. They stayed there for nearly a year, until the orphanage was burned down.
Bryce had been lost in the streets, where he'd been taken in by a gang headed by a boy named Solo. Randal, too, wandered the streets alone, but before long, a skilled assassin known as Adin Lowe took him in as a protege.
And the rest was history.
Several pictures and graphs of both of them at various ages were flashing on the screen. Duo was sure that he'd want to look at them later, but right now all he could focus on were the sentences looping around and around his shock-fogged mind:
My name's Bryce...Bryce Evans...I have a twin brother..._Heero_'s my twin brother...!
He glanced at Heero, at his profile in the darkness, the chin jutting forward, the unruly hair. But now he was comparing it with another...with a memory retrieved only now. He was comparing it with the face of his brother, as the two of them lay asleep in the sleeping bags they'd been supplied by the orphanage.
They were all of three and a half, and they'd pushed their sleeping bags together because they couldn't bear being apart. Duo...Bryce...couldn't sleep. He woke up from a nightmare, breathing hard. He had glanced over at his twin, and was immediately calmed by the familiar image of his brother, sleeping peacefully. By the sense of camadrerie and...and the sense of rightness, of _belonging_ together.
Now Duo could vaguely remember the early feelings of loneliness and the nagging sense of something missing that he hadn't been able to identify. Solo had tried to help, but... he wasn't a brother closer to you than anyone else. Duo wondered if Heero could remember feeling like that.
Heero turned his head, met Duo's-his brother's- gaze. They held the eye-to-eye contact a moment longer. Then Heero ducked his head. But Duo knew... Heero remembered, too...
It was too much for him. As Hilde turned to her boyfriend, Duo folded. As he slipped into comforting oblivion, he could barely hear Hilde saying, "Duo's fainted!" Then Trowa's quiet "Can you blame him?" The last thing he heard was Relena saying, "Heero, too. We'd better get some smelling salts."
The next thing Duo sensed were some horribly strong fumes reaching through his nose to burn into his skull. Sputtering, he woke up. Coughing, he looked to the side to see Heero still unconscious, Relena cradling him as Quatre waved smelling salts under his nose.
Duo looked up at Hilde. "Heero's my brother," he stated matter-of-factly. "Yes, yes, he is," Hilde said comfortingly. Duo sat up straight. He held his head in his hands, shaking it as he mumbled, "This has GOT to be some freaky dream..."
Heero awoke then, groaning. He blinked his blue eyes a bit, scanning the room. When his gaze fell on Duo, his jaw fell open and he began mouthing something silently. Then he shut his mouth and placed a hand on his forehead, as if tired. At the same time, Duo and Heero pinched themselves. They looked at each other, frowned, and prepared to pinch themselves again.
Hilde grabbed Duo's collar and hauled the shell-shocked boy to his feet. Slapping him several times, she yelled, "Enough with the pinching! This isn't a dream!" As Duo's head rocked back with the force of her smacks, he managed to stammer, "Okay, Hilde, I got your point already...dy...dy...dy!"
When Hilde stopped slapping him, Duo moved away from the seethingly impatient German girl, clutching his injured cheek. "Owww..." he groaned. "Geez, Hilde, you can't exactly blame me. It's rather a shock finding that the Ice Boy From Hell is my brother."
Heero added, "How about me? Finding that the loud-mouth, immature idiot..." Duo grumbled, "It's nice to know you think so highly of me."
Unfazed, Heero continued, "is my TWIN brother?" He glared at Duo, as if it were Duo's fault that they were twins. "I don't like it."
Duo huffed, "It isn't a dream come true for me either, you know. If I was going to have a twin, at least gimme someone who knows how to laugh...and I don't mean when something blows up!"
Relena examined both of them carefully. "I'm guessing you're fraternal twins, not identical." "But," Hilde noted, "once you know what to look for, they DO look alike..."
Heero grimaced. Duo said sourly, "I didn't need to hear that."
Relena and Hilde yelled at the same time, "That was a _COMPLIMENT_, dolts!" Relena glared at Duo and Hilde glared at Heero. Under the scorching gazes, Heero and Duo shriveled and withered.
Quatre and Trowa just watched this little scene amusedly, careful not to draw attention to themselves. But Quatre could not help saying, "I don't know what you're so upset about. I'd be ecstatic if I found I had a twin. Especially if it were my best friend."
"We're not best friends!" shouted Heero and Duo. When they realized they had spoken in stereo, they glowered at each other. Duo added sarcastically, "Besides, Quatre, isn't twenty nine siblings enough for anyone?" Quatre blushed and Hilde whapped her boyfriend upside the head.
"He's right, you know," Relena said. "You have to think, what are the chances the two of you would have been reunited again after you lost each other during the orphanage fire."
"I'd say not bad enough," muttered Heero.
"Oh, come on, Heero! Think of the all the cool stuff that come along with having Duo as a twin."
"Enlighten me," said Heero.
"Well, um, now you have a built-in partner and best friend!" Relena said brightly.
Heero snorted. "I work best alone."
"And...um, I know! Duo can be the best man at our wedding!" Relena chirped.
"Hey, yeah!" Hilde remarked. "And Heero can be best man at ours, Duo-kun!" she said, slipping an arm around Duo's waist. "In fact, why don't we have just one wedding for the both of us?"
"N...NANI?!" both pilots said, eyes growing wide. They paled, and exchanged frantic glances with each other. As one, they ran away, screaming.
"Hmmph," Hilde said, face set in a pout. "Cowards."
"Aww, don't worry, Hilde-chan," said Relena soothingly, patting her best friend on the back. "They'll be back...then we'll make them see the light!" They both began to chuckle evilly. Trowa and Quatre sweatdropped and began to edge towards the door.
LATER THAT NIGHT
Quatre looked up from his violin as the door to the apartment slammed. His blue-green eyes bugged out as he saw Hilde and Relena dragging two unconscious boys behind them by their collars.
Heero and Duo were dressed in clothes completely different from what they usually wore: Heero wore a red flight jacket and baggy Dockers, while Duo wore a green sweatshirt and brightly-colored 'jammer' shorts. Both had broken Ray-Bans perched on their noses and baseball caps hiding their hair. Duo's braid was even tucked down his sweatshirt.
In answer to the Arabian boy's questioning look, Relena explained, "They tried to disguise themselves and when we figured it out, they tried to run away. Hilde-san here didn't take it too kindly." She pointed at Hilde who grinned and added, "Aw, Relena, don't give me all the credit." Leaning closer to Quatre, she stage-whispered, "Relena's got a mean punch! Knocked Heero-sama out," she snapped her fingers, "just like that!"
Quatre gulped and looked away hurriedly. The two girls then proceeded to drag their unconscious burdens to the living room, where, Quatre assumed, they would slap Heero and Duo into the land of the living.
He took up his violin again. As he drew the bow over the strings, he could hear the sounds of palms against flesh, Duo's startled yelp and Heero's not-quite-surpressed whimper of fear. He didn't envy his teammates one bit.
THE NEXT WEEK
"Get ready to meet the God of Death," growled Duo fiercely, as his Gundam used its thermal scythe to lop off the heads of a few enemy Mobile Suits.
The immediate threat neutralized, Duo leaned back in his seat and examined his monitor. Around him, he could pick out the smoke-obscured figures of his fellow Gundams, similarly visiting death and destruction upon their enemies.
They were winning, the opposing ranks thinning. At the rate they were going, it would all be over in around three minutes.
But it wasn't over yet, and Duo's inattention almost cost him dearly.
A MS snuck up behind Deathscythe, ready to send Duo into the next world with a few dozen well-placed bullets. Duo didn't even know it was there until a beam of white-rimmed yellow light lanced over Shinigami's shoulder, so close it almost burned him.
Duo jumped reflexively, believing for a second that that laser had been meant for him. But then he turned Shinigami's sensors to the side and saw a Leo disintegrating in a hellbloom of fire. The Leo that had been about to ax him.
Duo gulped and looked for the source of the laser that had saved him. Not too far away, he spotted Wing Zero, rifle still aimed just above Deathscythe's shoulder. Heero's face appeared on his screen.
"Idiot. Can't you even keep an eye on your enemies? Next time, don't expect your big brother to come charging to your rescue again."
Duo grinned, feeling relief and happiness beyond what he had felt for a long time. "And I love you too, bro!" He charged back into the fight, right behind Wing. After all, someone had to guard that suicidal baka's back, right?
They were brothers to....