Never say goodbye
by Kathleen Moffre-Spoor
October 1998



 
Heero
 
 

She lay under silk sheets, delicate form gracefully turning so her shapely
legs stretched out with pointed ballerina toes.

Mournfully I watched, chest thumping to the beating of her heart.

Relina.

Tense, I sat on the balcony watching her toss, her sleep now troubled. A
slight breeze trickled into the room, blowing the transparent taffeta
curtains scalloping the tall elaborately carved glass doors.

She knew I was there, watching.

Watching, as I always did now. It was the only way I found peace within
myself.

Relina.

She was perfect. Her lovely heart shaped face was pale pink against the
crisp white sheets of her bed and her long golden hair lay over her pillow.

I looked down at my feet, ashamed how I kept my surveillance secret.

But I couldn't tell her.

There was no danger to protect her from, so I had no excuse. I just needed
to see her.

Relina Darlian.

She was the only thing capable of making me feel human.

And for some reason. I felt, deep inside, I had to learn to feel as everyone
else did.

Yet it was difficult.

It was impossible to understand kindness and even more difficult to feel
friendship. However, when it came to her, I was drawn like a magnet. I
couldn't hurt her, even though, by Odin, I've tried to kill her many times.

All I could do was listen and drown in her gaze.

"Why is it only you can save me?" I asked her not for the last time.

Of course, there was no answer. There never was, for I never asked her when
she was awake.

Relina...

I clutched my fists, frustrated by my inability to understand why I had come
to care for her so.

Was it because it was she who saw me as human before anyone else?

I punched the rail I sat on, and recognized the ping of my knuckles denting
the white coated steel.

          "I'm too restless." I whispered. "Why is it the only time I feel
          peace is here, with you?"

She stirred again, one arm slipping out of the sheets and draping over her
forehead.

My nose twitched. There was a faint change in her perfumed scent.

She'd be awaking soon.

As quickly as I came to her room, I left, clambering up the lattice and into
my quarters.

There I dropped down to a chair in front of a desk and my personal PC.

The eerie green screen flickered white letters.

It was two o'clock in the morning.

I yawned. Exhaustion stalked me at every moment, threatening to drag me down
into sleep.

The computer screen blurred.

Stubborn, I focused myself and began to surf through files. Of recent, I
spent my time researching OZ's ventures in biological engineering.
Apparently, they had been working on enhancing humans with cybernetic as
well as bio-ware.

The result was akin to what I was.

Perhaps.

Absently, I leaned my cheek on my hand and stared at the scrolling data. I
yawned.

A few days ago, I had become aware of just how different I was from everyone
else. Before, I never cared to notice. I assumed it was training and never
exposed myself to other people for comparison. However, as time went on and
I worked or socialized with normal people, I became conscious of how super
human I was.

Regular humans couldn't bend solid steel bars or take seventy foot falls
without bruising themselves.

I didn't even share in the same emotions as other people. I didn't
comprehend happiness, grief or even laughter. Sure, I could mimic, but
feeling them was entirely different.

In a way, I was more computer than man.

A computer with animal instincts and senses.

Was I a result of biological warfare?

I stretched, yawning a second time and couldn't fight the on coming rush of
weariness.

I lowered my head to the desk, only intending on resting my eyes. Seconds
later, I drifted off into sleep.

                                 **********

Pain.

I screeched, voice curdling with blood filled anguish. My body twisted,
flashes of burning blazing under my flesh.

Helpless, I convulsed, crashing to the carpet.

How long had I slept? The thought blinked instantaneously into my mind, then
vanished as more pain flared over me.

Confused and frightened, I curled, shaking, into a protective ball, mind
struggling to grasp the blasts of agony. What was happening? Was I ill? Had
someone slipped some poison on my computer keyboard?

Can't anyone hear me screaming?

Terrified, I clutched myself, gut and chest searing as bolts of stabbing
jarred my torso.

The room around me blurred. Was I dying?

A second assault of spasms seized me. It took all my strength to keep my
thrashing body from smashing into the furniture surrounding me.

A voice spoke from far away.

          "The queen needs you child. Return to us..."

My consciousness spotted away, and I felt it. Something growing inside of
me, consuming my body...changing me, it was changing me.

Shocked, I felt myself shedding my human form.

Again I screamed.

Blackness.

          The Queen's voice sang in my mind.

I was something more than human.

I was of the hive. (What was the hive?)

I lived for her and the survival of those in the hive. There was nothing
more.

What was I?

An expanse of crystalline caverns sped by my mind's eyes. Its diamond
radiance soothing to my pain wracked body. The place called out seductively
to me. I had come home.

Shadows scuttled insect like across the halls. They hid among the walls,
crystal bodies blending perfectly with nooks and crannies of their cave like
home.

Above, the heartless yawl of a red sand desert cried mournfully under a dead
sky.

Yet, it didn't hinder the hive. This was home.

The queen was there.

My consort, my maker, the queen was the center of my people.

I rose from the floor, body stronger than it was when I was human.
Polymerized diamond covered me, armoring my frame from any attack. My insect
/ seemingly reptilian form was more agile than any living creature and easy
to move at a thought.

I was efficient on both four and two legs and faster than I was before.
Nothing could catch me now as I started toward the window. I had a new
mission. My tail twitched eagerly behind me. Humans and all life were our
hosts. The maker had given them to us to consume and breed with.

Stealthily, I made my way to the balcony and down the lattice.

To her.

My new Queen.

          The one I'd make with my sting.

          It was the Mother Queen's will for us to grow and I'd obey her
          every desire.

I paused over the human's bed and watched her silky smooth body turn under
the blankets covering her.

My stinging tail whipped up over our heads as I lifted myself to two legs.

Her terror filled eyes snapped open.

I bolted up, the force so powerful that I fell backwards, body and chair
smashing back into the carpet.

The dream... It was over, but I was very shaken by it.

It seemed real. So real. I examined every inch of my body carefully to make
sure I was still human and not about to go under some strange metamorphosis.

It was more than real.

Strangely enough, it felt right.

The dream always did when I had it and it frightened me.

                                 **********

"I'll only be gone for a few hours." Relina said that morning over a
breakfast of honeydew melon and muffins. Her slender fingers held a cup of
herb tea and she sipped it with lady like poise.

I leaned back into the white wire chair and stared at the sculpted garden
stretching out beyond the patio. It was vast and filled with rose bushes and
other flowering plants set off by stone boundaries and marble statues. One
particular statue had my attention every time I visited the patio for
breakfast.

A fountain, shaped in the lithe form of the mythological women Laurel as she
transformed into a tree, sat in the center of a stone pond. Her lovely body
was poised in mid run and her head was turned, pain and rapture lightening
her features as her fingers and arms stretched out into thin leafed
branches. Her beauty was seductive as she changed and beckoned me to set my
attention on her each moment I visited this place.

I stared mesmerized at the statue, wondering if my fascination with it was
connected to my dream.

Perhaps I was a caterpillar waiting to be reborn into something greater.

I shivered, then dropped my attention back to Relina. The change I underwent
in the dream was far from seductive.

"I'll be fine." I told her, recognizing she appeared somehow troubled by my
distance this morning.

"What's bothering you?" She asked.

"Nothing that you should concern yourself with." I replied gently. "You have
more important work to do, and as long as it makes you happy, that's all
that matters to me." My own words sounded strange to me, but I accepted them
for Relina often brought out thoughts and feelings I didn't expect from
myself. From anyone else, I'd kill them for it, but from her I accepted it.
Of course, at first I fought the desires to please her, but now, it came
naturally.

Her worry didn't vanish, but she smiled nonetheless.

A smile, that to me, revealed the beauty of the dawn of a new day.

Again, instinct prevented me from questioning this.

Instinct. The same instinct that said I had to do something to her.

My heart beat relentlessly against my chest. What was I and why did it keep
coming back to Relina?

I looked at the fountain and watched the spray of water cascade in crystal
droplets into the stone pond. Was Relina my Laurel? "May I accompany you to
your meeting, Relina?"

She tapped her lips with a ripe strawberry and studied me carefully. "Of
course. You don't need to ask. I'd be happy to have you along."

I tried to smile for her, but only managed to form a slight twitch at the
corner of my mouth.

I watched her one more time as she approached the ESUN.

Then left, before the part of me I didn't understand killed her.

                                 **********

I stood by on a balcony, and watched her speak on the podium before a spell
bound audience of delegates, then slipped away into the darkness of night.

There was no choice, as far as I knew. I was a time bomb to her and anyone I
touched.

Walking down the dark street, I stared off at the flickering light rising
over the horizon. I paused, studying the sensual curve of the cylindrical
colony as it rose up into the skyline and vanished behind the white cotton
clouds of the artificial atmosphere.

My entire world was artificial. From childhood, I was shaped as a soldier.
Everything about me was programmed by the best scientists and
revolutionaries. I was trained and enhanced, body and soul. Yet none of it
was real. Everything I lived was engineered by others. Yes, they were true
experiences, but brought about by engineered situations.

Odin and Professor J did their jobs well.

Integrating with the real world was impossible for me now.

If only Professor J hadn't died, then my desire for self discovery would be
a great deal easier.

Yet life was never simple.

I looked down to the street, agitated and wondered if the others felt as I.

          In many ways, their backgrounds were as engineered as my own.

"Damn it." Inhaling, I began to walk once more. After leaving her, I
couldn't face Relina, not until I found out exactly who I was.

But I needed someone to talk with, if only for a moment, to verify my
suspicions.

Duo was the closest. I'd go to the L2 Quadrant and find him.

Perhaps then, I could make sense of things.

                                 **********

Life had finally gotten to Duo.

Or at least, that was what Hilde told me when I arrived at their house in
the American colony. She didn't go in depth, but explained Duo had an
accident and was recovering from it. She further explained he had been
spending much of his time at the massacre site or in church.

He kept distant from her, ashamed and morbidly fascinated by his condition.

I asked Hilde no more questions and left her for nearest Catholic Church. It
amused me that Duo, the self proclaimed death god, had turned back to his
roots in order to flee from his psychological torments.

Or so it had to be, I surmised. I remembered very clearly the last time I
saw him. He hadn't been himself. In fact, he had been involved in a great
deal of drug usage.

Enough to effect his behavior.

I smirked recalling the dark night he propositioned me while riding on some
new narcotic/hallucinogen. At the time, it amused me. After all, as the
killer, I served death well and only expected, if there was a death god,
he'd offer me wealth beyond imagination.

Duo's body on the other hand, was in fact, an unexpected and interesting
offer, but completely not Duo.

The church rose up over the hill, nestled in the center of a little town of
apartment buildings and shops. It was stone and out shined the steel
foundation homes around it with it's cloistered bell tower and gothic flying
buttresses.

People milled around its steps chattering quietly as I jogged by them. Mass
was over and several older women were impressed with the sermon. Or so I
gathered from their fragmented conversations.

In the end it was unimportant, so I disregarded any of their information.

Moments later, I stepped into a hall surrounded by pews. Great stone walls
and stained glass windows rose up above me and met with a vaulted ceiling. I
walked past Doric columns, and down the isle of pews until I spied a lone
figure, sitting near the front of the church, in a wheel chair.

There was a blanket draped over his lap and he was dressed in a high
collared shirt, full sleeves and thin necktie. His hair was clasped at the
shoulders in the back by a tie. Other than that it hung free. He held a set
of red beads in his hand and sat bowed, eyes closed to the world, facing the
altar.

I walked though a row a pews, then down a second isle to his side.

The man before me was pale and didn't move as I ventured closer. Rather, he
sat motionless, lips whispering a continuing string of prayers.

"Well, you look awful. Must have been a hell of an accident." I said coolly.

Violet eyes flashed open. As if stung, Duo Maxwell jerked his head around
and stared in shock at me. "Heero? I didn't hear you coming."

"You weren't supposed to." I said, seating myself in the pew beside him.
"So, what was it? Hilde said you had neurological damage." I pointed to his
legs, then leaned into the wooden pew.

"Angels' breath." Duo replied. The words trembled and he looked shamefully
to the floor. "Got a little carried away." Uneasily, he chuckled, then
touched his head. "I'm actually walking some, but it's tough so I tend to
keep to the chair and not over do it." The boy tapped his legs. "Funny how
you never appreciate your body until you lose it." He touched his forehead.
"It effected my memory too. They say it's temporary. Kind of funny. I forget
everything now. Hell, I won't remember this conversation, probably."

I had never seen him like this. Duo was a new man. He was humbled and lost.
I wasn't sure if I liked the change. I had just gotten used to the old Duo.
"More than a little carried away, from what I remember." I said. "But I'm
not here to talk about that."

"Good." Duo lowered the beads, then fingered them. The cross at the end
slipped out of his hand and thudded softly on the blanket on his lap.
Unconsciously, he lifted it back into his palm. "Ah, wanted to ask you...
remember that night..?"

The night he made the invitation. I smirked. I leaned my arms on my knees
and studied him. The question on his lips made him very nervous. "You mean,
the night you asked me about experimenting?" I stressed the word
experimenting so he winced.

"Yeah. What happened." He looked away, awkward. A lock of hair slipped from
his shoulder and into his face.

"You don't remember anything?" I asked, a little surprised. I gathered he'd
have some idea by now, but apparently he didn't. No wonder it was bothering
him. The Angel's breath did effect his memory. I didn't admire Duo at all.

"Just waking up with you dressing, and having more bruises than I could
count. Did you work me over, or did we..?"

I laughed bitterly and noticed a hint of hurt crossing Duo's face. It must
have taken a great deal of guts for him to ask me about it, but I couldn't
help but be humored by it all. I couldn't comprehend why it upset him so. I
lived life day to day and what I did in my past were simple facts and
experiences I filed away. There were no feelings attached to them. It was
data. If the tables were turned, I'd simply cope with the situation as a
retrieval of information rather than a stress filled issue. For Duo's sake,
though, I forced myself to stop, then stared at him seriously. I've always
liked Duo, though I could never fully admit it. In the past, he annoyed me
with his constant chatter and boisterously jovial approach to life, but I
learned to live with it. He meant well, and hid a darker more serious
individual inside. An individual not so different from myself. I supposed
that was why I went to Duo and not any of the others to consult with. "You
were insistent." I said.

That night was difficult to forget. Duo backed me into a wall and leaned
over me, smiling his so typical, broad yet sly, grin. When he had asked
about experimenting, I flatly informed him I hadn't the time for sex. When
he tried to remove my pants, I decked him.

"I hit you, but you liked it."

The image of him licking the blood off his mouth and staring at me with
seductive violet eyes popped into my mind. It was then I decided, out of
idle curiosity, to indulge him, just enough to make things interesting. Of
course, we never got to actual sex, but things did get rough. Apparently
Duo, on Breath, liked it that way. "We screwed around on the bed for about
thirty minutes. You liked being hit and held down, so I suppose I gave you
quite a thrill."

He drained away what color he had left and stared at me with a gaping mouth.
"You bastard."

"I guess so. It was entertaining, but then I realized it wasn't entirely you
at all. Breath makes people passive. I presume, you were the competitive
sort and would be doing your level best to do me in, but you didn't. I got
bored rather quickly after that. Besides, the Duo I was interested in wasn't
interested in sex with men and would regret everything we did in the
morning. So, I beat the crap out of you in order to make a point and left."

Duo heaved a breath. He dropped his chin to his chest and rubbed his hair
with his hand, muttering incomprehensibly. I caught the words fuck toy and
bend over, but that was about it.

"Oh well, at least someone was amused." He finally said.

"Actually, you were very amused." I informed, then looked up at the crucifix
hanging over the altar in the front of the church. "I gather this isn't the
place for such a conversation and you feel we should leave."

Duo shrugged and tucked his rosary the into the pocket of his pants. "Well,
I'm already on my way to hell. One more nail in my coffin won't hurt." He
paused, then flickered his familiar smile. "I'm glad I don't remember." He
placed his hands firmly on the wheels of the chair and gave a tug backwards.
The chair backed up and he spun it about. "Let's blow this joint, eh. You're
obviously not here for a social call, so let's get to business."

I nodded. He was quick on the uptake, but I was also not attempting to hide
anything from him. I was too disturbed by my own circumstance to play the
guessing game with Duo.

Quietly, we left the church, I pushing Duo's chair and he, staring blankly
at the multi colored scenes on the windows around us. Our silence lasted
until we were well into the streets, heading towards a nearby park.

Silence with Duo was difficult to stomach.

The boy was very disturbed.

If I ever discovered the creep who introduced him to Breath in the first
place, I'd slaughter the asshole.

That was if Duo hadn't already.

"Have you ever wondered why three of us are missing our pasts." I started.
Now was as good time as any to begin the discussion.

He blinked, and heaved a breath. "I was traumatized. Its normal for a war
orphan to have some amnesia."

"And Trowa?" I said. "All he remembers is fighting."

"Trowa was raised by soldiers." Duo said, firmly. "It doesn't matter where
he really came from. Anyhow, what's the point?" He glanced up, frustrated by
the topic of conversation. A part of him knew what I was getting at, but
didn't want to admit it.

"I'm going to find out where we came from. I don't think it is coincidence a
few of us have no pasts, that's all." I said trying not to mention my
suspicions or my dreams.

Duo waved his hands in the air as if surrendering to whatever demons I was
dredging up. "Look Heero. I'm sure the mad five picked us because we have no
ties to the living world. Nothing is coincidence, but I assure you, it
doesn't go beyond that."

I shrugged. "I'm..."

"You're different, I know." Duo continued, his motor mouth returning with
vengeance. "I wouldn't be surprised if we discovered you were a test tube
baby or some altered clone, or even a cyborg, but me, I was a fucking street
rat. No more, no less. Besides, how would you explain Quatra and Wufei? They
have connections, even family."

"Quatra's family was genetically engineered. There is no telling there. As
for Wufei, he was just as manipulated as I was. I wouldn't be surprised if
all of us were deliberately designed weapons." He doubted me of course, but
Duo wasn't easily shaken from the rational.

Save for one thing. He still believed he was the living incarnation of
death, but we all had our insanities.

"That's insane." He said. He tapped his legs, then gestured to the sky.
"He's nuts, I tell you. The next thing he'll be telling me is he's going to
embark on a hair brained quest to discover why and how the evil mad
scientists designed us. Who, may I say, blew up. Boom, boom, boom."

It was pleasant to see Duo's twisted sense of humor remained intact. "You're
more of a pessimist than I am."

"No. I just believe in letting the dead lie." He snapped. "Heero, don't be
an idiot." Sharp violet eyes swallowed my gaze. Duo's features became
passionately serious. "You've got yourself a nice girl and a cushy life.
Don't blow it, man. One of us should be happy and you deserve it."

"You mean you're not happy?" I asked sternly. "What's bothering you Duo? Do
you have the dreams as well?"

A shock trembled over him and Duo jerked his gaze back to the street ahead
of him. His hands clutched the blanket tight. "Only what's expected after a
war."

"How about the monsters?" I asked, studying him. He still refused to look
back and inhaled clumsily. "Duo, you do see monsters in your dreams, don't
you?"

"The only monster in my dream is me." He said shivering. "I don't want to
discuss it."

I didn't have time to worry about his emotions. I had to know. If there was
a connection, then perhaps I would have something to work from rather than a
hunch. "What do you do? Kill people?"

"Jeezzz! Don't you know when to quit?" He shouted. Abruptly, his hands
dropped on the wheels of his chair and he jerked the chair to a stop. "I
said I didn't want to discuss it, and I mean it."

"You do kill people in your dreams, and you enjoy it." I deduced. Even
though Duo was bent on running from the truth, I could see through him.
"What were you like in the dream?"

A part of me wanted to ask him if he changed, but I held back, gut telling
me he'd eventually give in if I pried long enough.

Trembling, Duo's fingers pushed bangs from his forehead. "You're not going
to quit."

"It's important to me." I said, folding my arms.

"Hey man, the dreams mean nothing. Just that I'm a little disturbed, that's
all. It's nothing I'm not used to."

"Then humor me." Did he mean he dreamt similar dreams before? Yes. Duo once
commented he had trouble sleeping.

"That important, eh?" He sighed. "I'm walking in a barren street and staring
at all the people I killed. It's like they've become a part of me." One of
his hands scratched the side of his head, then drop down to fidget on his
lap. "I know I've made a shit load of war orphans and that bothers me. I
kill everything I touch. I can feel their souls crying out and a part of me
doesn't care. It's hungry."

It was different from my own. In fact, I was a little disappointed in it. It
sounded rather typical for a veteran traumatized by a war. There had to be
more though. I watched Duo as he drew out his rosary and held it tight in
his hand.

"What's the hunger like? Is it a drive?"

"I guess. Yeah, you could call it that. I always hear voices in the dream
and wind up in hell."

Ah, now I understood why he was so determined to return to the church he had
abandoned. Duo believed he was condemned. "What do the voices say?" I asked.

He shivered. "Death Angel."

"Not Shinigami?"

"No, just Death Angel." His eyes became glazed when he said the words Death
Angel. Motionless, he stared out at the sky, his full attention turned
inward like in a trance. The beads in his hand slipped to the blanket and he
formed fists.

"You hear the voices now, don't you?" I leaned towards his face, noting the
regular soft breaths coming from his lips.

"I'm a devil Heero. Sometimes I think I'm a devil. I see them all the time
in the dreams, whispering, calling me... Death Angel... Angel..." His voice
was husky and strange. Not once did his eyes shift. He just stared deep
inside of his soul, lost in terror. "I have to save my soul..."

"Ok, Duo." I said, touching his face. "You can let go now. I've heard
enough."

He was cold. Ice cold. "Duo."

His intensity shifted. Duo blinked as if waking up from a dream. "Anyhow,
they're bad dreams. That's all Heero. If I'm any sort of monster, it isn't
any more than what a man can be if they become a killer."

His words hit hard and I stood there stunned, blinking. Duo took
responsibility for his own actions in the war and was ready to live with the
guilt. In a way, he viewed it as self punishment, but in the end he saw it
was the only way to live with what he did.

I on the other hand, I had very little guilt for what I did in the war. I
was the perfect soldier. Killing, demolitions, they were all just a part of
my job. On occasion, emotions were attached to them. Relina brought them
out. I swore never to kill again when I was with her and desperately try to
stick to that promise. Yet, knowing what I was (a trained murderer), it was
difficult for me to accept any other life.

Perhaps that what the dreams meant.

Even though on the outside, I lived under the guise of change, I never
really could change and it was my conscience gnawing at the lie I was
living.

Or maybe I did feel some sort of remorse for my sins and needed something
other than myself to blame.

Like the men who made me who I was. Odin and professor J.

But no. What could explain Duo's strange trance like state when he spoke of
the name Death Angel?

"Duo. Have you ever wondered what your real name was?" I asked hollow voice
taking him off guard.

Duo's gaze softened and he sadly smiled. "Sometimes. And you?"

"Every day of my life." I whispered. "Duo, I can't live the way I have been.
I have to discover who Heero Yui is. Why is it I'm stronger, more agile than
most people. It's more than training. Where did I come from? What's my real
name?"

My curiosity drove my heart. I could never just settle down with Relina. Not
until I knew the truth. Why didn't Duo understand this?

Duo hunched over, elbows on his knees. He looked at the broken concrete of
the sidewalk and shook his head. "When I was a kid, I established myself as
Duo. It fit me. I don't think I ever cared who I was before then. Sure,
sometimes it enters my mind. Gee, Duo, where the hell did you come from? Who
are your parents and what's your real name? But I guess I can live with
being Duo Maxwell, so I've never thought to look into it."

The dreams drove me.

But where they just dreams? Was I loosing my mind? No one knew the full
effects of the Zero System on the brain. Had it damaged me in some way?
Absently, I began to walk, gaze shifting to the ring of trees making the
park ahead of us. Behind, I heard the squeal of the wheels of Duo's chair as
he followed.

"Heero, have you seen a shrink?" Duo asked, concern washing over his words.
"I saw one for a little bit. It might help you."

"Did it help you?" I asked, looking back at his wheelchair and pained,
battle worn gaze.

He shook his head. "No. But then, I didn't help her help me either. Nor did
I stick around to let he	r do her job. I'm impatient you see. Well, I
don't really remember it anyway." He laughed briefly. "Hey, everything I've
done these last few weeks is blurry."

The memory thing again. If I were in Duo's position, I'd kill myself. "You
like solving your own problems, Duo. I like solving my own problems as well.
A doctor won't help me." I stopped at the edge of the park, watching the
laughing children as they scurried about the play equipment. "The only thing
that will help me is finding what I am."

"Just don't think it's some big scientific conspiracy, OK?" Duo placed a
hand on my arm and squeezed it. "You were beginning to sound crazy."

I shrugged. "I am. Just like you."

"Well, I'd like to call it, pleasantly schitzo" He smirked, circling a
finger around the side of his head. "And Heero? Go back to Relina. Just
don't leave her in the lurch. She's a good little miss. Gotta admit, if she
hadn't been so enthralled with you, I would have zoomed in on her. She's got
a hell of a spirit that one and a nice set of legs to boot."

For a moment, I thought about Duo and Relina and wondered if it was
possible. Death and the Angel of peace and life (the poor man and the rich
girl). I shook my head, thinking of how odd it would look. Duo wasn't the
sort to be interested in politics and Relina would never give up her
philosophy or ambassadorial position, so what ever spark they had between
each other would sputter out and die. No. The only consort for Relina
Darlian was me. "Stick to Hilde." I said, matter of fact. "She's more your
type."

"Ahhh, Hilde..." Dreamily, Duo gazed off beyond the oak trees. Admiration
mixed with pure physiological attraction lit up his young sixteen year old
face. "Now that's a women. You should see her nude. Love her biceps. She
works out you know. Nice hips, ass, and great breasts..."

I hit his head, annoyed at his hormonal chatter. "Hentai."

"Can't help it." He rubbed his head. By the tone of his voice, I could tell
he meant no disrespect to Hilde. He loved her very dearly and in a way,
envied her. He just happened to be strongly attracted to her. Many young
males would.

I had to ask myself why I hadn't been attracted by females the way Duo often
was.

The only woman I noticed was Relina.

On the same note, I wasn't attracted to males either. My experiment with Duo
was exactly what it was, curiosity. If any males were to interest me, Duo
would be the one, but there was no drive pushing me towards him.

There was a drive, an uncontrollable drive, compelling me to stay with
Relina.

Yet it was different than the one Duo had for Hilde or any other reasonably
attractive female he saw.

I thought about asking about it, but stayed myself. My answers would come in
time. I'd find out where I came from and my name, then I'd be able to find
the answers to all my questions.

But Duo was right. I had to see her before I vanished.

"Relina." I whispered into the soft zephyr tousling my hair.

"Go to her." Duo replied. "It's the human thing to do."

**************
 
 

"I was worried when you took off. I thought I'd never see you again." Relina
said to me, large eyes moist in the fading orange glow of the artificial
sunset.

She knew me too well. I shrugged, looking into the dying rays of light. When
they tried to construct the colonies decades ago, the architects
painstakingly attempted to emulate the sun's light and its effects on Earth.
Sadly, nothing matched the beauty or splendor of the sun bleeding into the
ocean at sunset. I sighed, staring blankly off at the sky line. Faint
flickers of light sparkled down the cities beyond the clouds like little
stars. "I had no intention of hurting you. I don't understand social
protocols so I felt it was best I leave without speaking."

The relief and joy of seeing me vanished quickly from her face. Relina
looked down, fingers clasping. "You mean you're still leaving."

"Yes." I could kill Duo for requesting me to return to her. The last thing I
wanted to see was her hurt. Yet, it was the human thing to do, and if I were
to understand what being human was, I had to stop avoiding emotional
responsibilities.

Crystal tears shimmered down milk pale cheeks. Relena's hands tightened
together and she lifted her gaze to meet mine. A hint of anger sparkled
there. "Why? I thought you liked it here. I thought I was helping you to be
a normal boy."

Normal? I knew I could never be normal. In fact, I doubted my own humanity.
How could I ever live a normal life? Bitterly, I smiled. It was ironic that
she'd believe it was possible. "Relina." I began. I watched more tears fill
her soft gentle eyes and reached out to touch one.

"Heero, let me in."

"I can't. Not until I know where I came from." I said. I held the tear, then
tilted my hand so it rolled down my finger and into my palm. "Understand, I
want to be here, but I'm afraid I will hurt you unless I know. I need to
know who I am and where I came from. Relina..,how can I be normal, when
there is nothing about me that is normal?"

Relina swallowed. Her determined unwavering gaze refused to look away,
showing me the wealth of anguish my words caused. "But you are like everyone
else. You've just been though a great deal of agony. Just let go and you'll
see." Her angelic fingers lifted and swept though my hair and tickled down
my face where they settled on my chin. "Heero, give us another chance. I
love you."

If I was capable of feeling love, I'd love her too.

But I couldn't put into words what I felt for her. Devotion perhaps, or
loyalty, but nothing as complicated as love.

Love was a human emotion. Stiff, I lowered my gaze to the ground. "Relina,
I'm sorry. Let me go and I promise, I will come back. I want to love you,
but all I feel is cold for everything."

"Nothing I can do can stop you?" Trembling her words edged with sobs.
"Heero..."

"Nothing." I returned my attention to her grief torn face. "I'll be home as
soon as I can."

Wiping tears, Relina sniffled. After a moment or two, she regained her
composure. "All right." She said. "Then let's not say goodbye."

I smiled. She was beautiful in the setting sun. I wanted to remember her
this way.

Relina, my Queen, my lady, my love. No woman was so perfectly understanding.
"Never say goodbye?"

She kissed my forehead. "And always return..."

                                 **********

Epilogue
 
 

"Here is the information you want." The slick black haired Chinese youth
said, handing me a computer disk. He looked cautiously about, his narrow
eyes surveying the bustling space port and occasional security guard
patrolling the grounds.

"Everything is here?" I asked, studying the disk and shoving it neatly in
the pocket of my jean jacket.

The boy nodded. Wufei was extremely efficient and his sources impeccable. Of
course he didn't fail me. "I had to use my alternative sources for that
information and it cost a great deal of money." He said sharply. "I hope
it's worth it."

"It is." I informed flatly. "And I can pay you back."

He appeared skeptical, but didn't voice any objections. He knew better than
to vocalize any doubts in my abilities. I proved to him in the past I was
well capable of holding my own, even if it wasn't in the legal side of
things. "Why are you're so interested in our scientist friends' pasts all of
a sudden?"

"My business. Then I gather they were colleagues at one time?"

"Yes. For Romefeller nonetheless. "Wufei said.

It didn't surprise me. Romefeller was one of the biggest scientific
corporations in the world. Everything lead to them. It would be ironic my
search would lead me there and to their bioengineering program. "I won't
need your help anymore." I said, gathering my backpack from the ground.
"Thanks again."

Startled by my abruptness, Wufei lifted a puzzled brow. "It is unusual for
you to be in such a rush in peace time. Why is this so urgent?"

I shrugged him off and looked about the space port. My shuttle to L2 would
be arriving at any time. From there, once I checked up on Duo, I'd go to
Earth. "Thank you Wu. That will be all."

Wu tilted his head understanding now. I wasn't willing to share any of my
information. He didn't appear hurt, but his wrinkled brow told me he was
insulted. After a moment, he shrugged. In his mind, I dug my own graves.
He'd bail me out if necessary, but for now, he let me do my thing. "You're
welcome. And be careful. You know where to find me."

"I know. Don't worry about me." I replied. "I can take care of myself."

Politely, he bowed. "You'll of course tell me what is wrong when you are
finished."

I said nothing. If there was something to tell, I'd tell everyone. Our gazes
met and an understanding passed between the two of us. Wufei turned away.

Without further adieu, I left him and strolled toward my flight gate. It was
best Wufei knew very little about where I was going or what I was doing. The
more secretive I was, the less people I hurt.

In the end, I had a new mission and that's all that mattered to me.