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Sub Rosa: The Memory Remains
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Sub Rosa
Chapter Two
The Memory Remains

Disclaimer: Gundam Wing, shockingly, horrifyingly, belongs to someone else.


We ate dinner in silence.

It was the usual awkward affair – pass the salt, please, pass the gravy, the food is good – and all the while you're mentally screaming please God get me the hell out of here. That sort of thing.

Personally, other than the mental screaming, I was studying Heero's profile. I let all thoughts slip my mind and just looked. Hey, I am a man, okay? Heero's entire body was one to make anyone interested in men have a permanent fucking hard-on. But for me it was more than that. Seeing him made me feel calm. Safe. It was strange. These days, having known the despair of his death – something I'd felt once before during the war – I couldn't help but notice these things – how his hair fell in a curve into his right eye, how his fingers curled around the fork, even how his eyelids lowered just slightly when he looked down at his plate. All I could do was watch.

It hurt, how much I loved him.

He rarely looked up at me, probably due to his loss of control earlier, but nevertheless it was... daunting. We seemed so far apart. More than just the table separated us. It was like... like we'd placed barriers around ourselves and didn't know how to take them down.

I poked my food and stared at it morosely. It was habit that had me eating more that anything. Waste not, want not and all that. I chewed and thought and finally, when Heero was about to excuse himself, I spoke.

“Maybe... we should talk.”

My words were hardly more than a whisper, but Heero froze from getting out of his seat and just stared at me kind of wide-eyed. Scared?

“About what?” he asked me, and his voice seemed to waver.

“Heero.” I put my fork down and leaned forward, but I couldn't stand looking into his eyes and dropped my gaze to my plate. “We... can't continue like this.”

His breath hissed in sharply.

“We aren't getting anywhere; we're walking on tip-toes around each other... it's like we're enemies instead of...” But what could I call us? Boyfriends? Partners? We certainly weren't lovers.

“Duo. Are you... do you... want to leave?”

I jerked back, stunned. His face was twisted with emotion. “No – no! That's not what I meant!”

He closed his eyes and seemed to gather himself. I saw his hands tremble as they placed his plate carefully back on the table. He sat it down a bit too carefully. “Then...?”

“We can't keep this up, Heero. I... I want to be able to talk to you.”

Heero raked a hand through his hair. “I... understand. But... whenever I look at you, I wonder...”

I laughed a bit bitterly. “And I always look at you and fear what I've done. What I almost did.”

“Duo, that's-”

“I won't do it again, Heero; I'll never hurt you again,” I said strongly, cutting off whatever platitude he was about to give me. “That's on me, what I did. And I know it's hard to believe this after what I tried to do, but I swear I'm not going to try again. There's no way to fix everything I've done, all the mistakes I've made. But at least... at least for that one mistake, you can know that I'm saying the truth.” My hands fisted on top of the table.

Heero cursed under his breath. “This shouldn't be done here. Let's go to the living room.”

I let Heero lead me out of the kitchen, even allowed him to place me on one side of the sofa while he took the other. I looked up only then, knowing that Heero's eyes would pierce me in place, knowing that I wouldn't be able to speak in time to stop him from trying to placate me once more.

“I love you.”

I jerked back a bit, shocked by the sudden fierceness in his voice. I tried to speak, but he cut off me off before I could even start.

“I love you,” he repeated. “More than anything. I've never really... I've never had the chance to love someone, so I never know if I'm doing it right. I can only do the best I can. It makes me falter sometimes, knowing that I want to keep you here, yet wanting you to have your freedom. It made me hesitate to say this. Duo.” And Heero grabbed my hand, pulled it forward. “I would die if I lost you.”

I flinched.

“No, hear me out. I can't lose you. I suppose that helps me understand... what you were thinking. If I had been in your place...” He took a deep breath. “I can't even imagine. My mind stops right in the middle of the scenario. I... can't bear to think about it.”

I just kept bending into myself; while he couldn't bear to think about it, I couldn't take the image out of my mind.

“In that sense, I can understand. But in my fear, I lost sight of that. All I could think about was that I had almost lost you. And even now, thinking about it... no one will tell me anything about it – about what you did, or how close it was.” He took a deep breath, his hands shaking against mine. “All I know was that you ended up hospitalized.”

If he was digging, he wasn't being too subtle about it. “As I said,” I mumbled, glaring holes in our couch, “I used strychnine.”

“A slow killer.”

I hunched into myself just that little bit further. “...Yeah.”


“Heero, what exactly does this have to do with-”

“I need to know.”

That got me. I looked up and cocked an eyebrow. “Need to?”

His eyes never wavered. “Yes.”

Shit. Soldier mode, huh? I caved and saved myself the time and energy. “I used strychnine because it would cause me the most pain.”

Heero's hands clenched so tightly I winced. “Specifically because of it?”

I nodded rather despondently. “Yeah.”


His voice was so anguished it hurt my chest to hear it. When I finally managed to answer, it was in a whisper. “Because I knew I would have to kill you.”

We sat there for a while, each thinking our own thoughts. My mind whirled. Would he hate me? Get pissed? Jump up and leave the room? Then, of course, a part of my mind was wondering if it was really okay to have told you, and whether I should let this conversation get swept away by Heero again, just like they always seemed to. And if it wasn't being swept away, then what the hell was he asking me this shit for?

Then I got this picture of Une in my mind an remembered that Heero had sent word of his going undercover to someone in the department and wondered if he would bring up that particular topic while we were talking.

“So you had planned it?”

I scowled. “Of course.”

There was another interesting little pause before Heero found his voice again. “And how close was it?”

I shrugged and switched my gaze to the back of the couch, more for a change of scenery than for any other reason. “I hadn't really figured I could be saved at that point. The doctor said that I should have died – my organs should have failed and whatnot. But I guess training made it harder for me to croak, even though I'd taken more than the necessary dose.”

I hardly finished before Heero pulled my wrist forward until I was trapped within his arms. “See?” His breath whispered against my ear. “I can't take it. I can't. If I'd found you like that... or worse... I can't...”

Shit, he was crying again. “Oi, oi,” I murmured, awkwardly freeing my arms so I could hold him, too. “You aren't fully healed yet.”

“I'm healed enough. I made sure I was healthy enough before I came back. Just in case.”

Bastard,” I muttered. And to think I'd thought the man had been avoiding me. It didn't take a genius to figure out that the 'just in case' applied to me. In case I couldn't take care of myself. Two injured people in the same house usually had a tough time of it, right? Bastard.

His arms tightened around me. “Duo. Duo. I want to say I'll be all right, that it doesn't hurt me too much. And even though you say you won't try again, and despite the fact that I believe you, I still can't shake the fear.”

I took a careful breath, mindful both of his wound and my still-healing muscles. “And I can't stop seeing... that time.”

Heero flinched at that, but there was nothing for it and we ended up just sitting there for a long time.

“But, you know,” I started again, when I didn't feel any more tremors in Heero's back that warned of leaking in the pipes, “I think we seriously need to start moving on from this shit.”

Heero's grip on me changed; suddenly he was simply hugging me and not clutching. And he laughed. “You're hopeless,” he informed me.

“Eh?” Figuring it was okay now, I pushed him back so we could look each other in the face. That special smile was there, shining at me. “Hopeless? How is what I said hopeless? Or even funny, for that matter?”

“No, what you said isn't funny.” But hell if the asshole wasn't still smiling. “But I do agree with it. We're more than just those two moments.”

“Uh – Heero. I just don't want things to be as they've been.”

“Me either,” he confessed. Heero linked our fingers again, this time holding them up. “I almost lost you. How could I possibly allow myself to continue like this, knowing that?”

I blinked. “Yeah... yeah. Exactly.” I thought of that moment again, saw him fall to the ground with his blood falling on my hands. Remembered the agony of it, of knowing I'd killed him. Heero was right. After having lost him – after having felt the horror, the clenching that squeezed my heart – there was no way I could stand to waste even a second.

“Duo – are you all right?”

I shuddered. No; I couldn't afford to lose any more time with him.

Heero was looking at me with that concerned look of his, one that bored through all of my pretensions. “Sorry,” I said, and gave him a little smile. That frown of his deepened; he could see the smile was fake. “Remembering.”

Those beautiful eyes melted into sadness.

“No, no, I don't want to get into it again.” I held up my right hand – the one that wasn't linked to his. “Whenever we start this, you start saying it's your fault.”

Heero opened his mouth, but said nothing. And I realized that it was his fault. Because he hadn't told me... but had told someone else. He could have contacted me through Preventors, but he hadn't. He'd gone for some nameless guy. Hell; if he'd wanted to get in touch with someone, why hadn't he at least gotten in touch with Wufei, at least? For crying out-

Oh shit.

I backpedaled helluva quick and desperately tried to rearrange my face. “Uh, so anyway, I just wanted to talk to you so we didn't keep walking on eggshells around here, and, um... yeah.”

Heero leaned in a bit, as if testing my lying face by coming ever closer. “Duo, it really wasn't your fault.”

I stared at him wide-eyed and held my breath. Was he going to say it? Was he really going to just fess up and tell me what the hell was going on?

“I could have dodged. Hell, I could have avoided the fight altogether. It was just that Quatre surprised me by showing up, and...”

I almost felt... well, I was kind of hurt. Heero was still keeping secrets from me. Worse, now I was feeling sort of suspicious about someone else, someone I would have never questioned under any other circumstances. Why wouldn't Heero just say that he'd sent a message to Preventors? Why wouldn't the man just admit it?

“No, dammit. I fought against you with the intention to kill. I just got lucky that time.”

Heero was still wearing that uber-sad expression, but here he smirked a little bit. “I don't think luck is something that would work against me. Besides, you always had rotten luck.”

Trying to turn it into a joke, huh? And you gotta love the humor-barb on the end there. It almost got me. “Heero, I'm serious. I think... we seriously fucked things up back there.”

Heero sobered enough to nod without smiling. “I agree.” His hand squeezed mine. “So where does that leave us?”

Hell if I knew. “Maybe we should... I dunno... at least never do stupid shit like that again? And tell each other the truth from now on?”

Sounds like a plan to me.” He raised our hands up to his lips and kissed the back of my palm. “I love you.”

“I love you, too, jackass.” But then I stood. Because he still telling me. “Now, let's clean those dishes before the food sticks to the plates.”

He grinned and let me lead him back to the kitchen, keeping our hands linked all the way. We had to break up to pick things up and clean and all that boring after-yum work. Heero was silent, though at least things weren't as tense as they'd been during the meal.

He wasn't telling me. He wasn't going to say just what the hell was going on, why he hadn't contacted me, or why he'd bothered contacting Headquarters in the first place if all he was going to send was a little note on the boss. Even though we'd just finished promising to tell the truth to each other from now on.

What would he do if I confronted him with it? I imagined it, me turning to him as he continued soaping up the pots. I would yell at him, tell him I knew. Or would I simply tell him I was working on a new case, one involving Caribol and oddly early files on the enemy? What would he say? What would he do? Would he actually fucking turn around and spit it out?

Right. Like I would actually do that. I was far too afraid – afraid that he'd have a completely different response than what I wanted.

Yup. I was definitely a coward.


I looked into it on my laptop that night despite how much I didn't want to even consider it.

But who else would Heero contact? Thinking about it, the first person Heero would try to get in touch with, if it wasn't going to be Commander Une, should be Wufei. Right? But Wufei had seemed just as clueless as me, and he'd spoken to me several times about having to kill Heero. Had it all been an act? Had he been faking it the entire time? But why?

I searched through Preventor files with the access Une granted me. Not that I needed it to search, but I didn't think Une would appreciate me hacking into her oh so precious system. I must have searched until about three in the morning, but I didn't find anything. And certainly nothing on Wufei. Of course, Wufei knew his way around a computer console. But it wasn't like I didn't know my way around either, and I'd grown a particular attachment to hacking during my training days with Dr. G. It was all about stealth, after all.

“Fucking hell.” I closed down my laptop after having made absolutely no progress whatsoever. It was depressing. Maybe I was losing my touch?

I went to the bathroom and brushed my teeth and took care of business and headed back to bed. Sleep came quickly, as soon as I allowed it to. Just like in training. Maybe I wasn't losing my touch – maybe whoever had hidden whatever information I was looking for was damn good at hiding things.

But, dammit, I was better.

I'd find out the truth somehow, no matter how long it took. Since I couldn't exactly get the fucking information straight from the horse's mouth.


Well, things went pretty normally the next morning. We ate breakfast together – yeah, definitely less tension – and Heero went off to work with a small peck of lips as parting. It made me blush. He hadn't done it before.

And then it was back to my computer. Whee.

I dug as deep as one could without burning a hole in the system, but there was nothing from Wufei that wasn't already in the records. I sighed in relief, then immediately felt a wave of guilt. I'd doubted Wufei, who had done nothing but help me during those days. We'd spent two months together at that damn safehouse, and he and I had both been going mad with worry, and then with depression so thick it had been hard to walk.

He and I had suffered together. Thinking about it, there was no way Wufei had been faking it, even if there'd been a good reason to. If he'd known Heero had been alive, he would have maintained that stoic iciness he was so famous for and never would have stayed in that downstairs bathroom for the three hours that he had.

Of course, that meant that I lost the only lead I'd had. I tossed and turned scenarios in my mind, but none of them added up. Heero would have informed Une if he'd been going to inform anyone at all. Heero would have contacted either Wufei or myself if he'd been unable to catch Une for whatever reason. It didn't make sense that Heero wouldn't follow these courses of action. Who else did Heero trust with his life?

Although, really, how much did I know about Heero and his circle of trusted friends? It had most likely grown while I was away, especially in a place like Preventors, where only the best of the best congregated. He probably had several people he trusted now.

Feeling like a shit, I sent an e-mail to Une asking her to send me a list of those close to one Heero Yuy.

God, I felt like an asshole.

It took me a while to figure out why, but I finally figured that it was probably because I was hiding something from Heero, too. I wanted him to spew everything before I informed him that I was investigating him.

Jesus. I was investigating Heero Yuy.

I received Une's reply to my e-mail and just sat staring at the list blankly for a while.

It wasn't that Une and I didn't trust Heero. We just didn't know what the hell was going on. And through combat experience, not understanding an ally's actions meant finding out why they did what they did without them knowing you were trying to figure it out. Kind of like a secret test of loyalty or something.

But was that really the right way to go about doing it? Going behind Heero's back like this... it didn't feel right. A list of his friends was right in front of me, but the last thing I wanted to do was read it, check out their profiles, go through their correspondence... I felt like a stalker. Or maybe some sort of murderer. I didn't know why. It just seemed... wrong.

I pushed the laptop away and stood. I couldn't bear to do this – to look behind Heero's back and investigate him. Put him under constant suspicion.

Like last night. We'd finally been talking, but I'd been thinking about the odd profile. I'd been questioning him, doubting him, while we spoke. What kind of relationship was that?

I couldn't keep this up. There was no way. I didn't want to crawl around searching for the cobwebs in Heero's soul. They were his, not mine. It made me feel sick, searching behind his back like this.

“I love him,” I murmured, needing to say it out loud. “I love him. So I have to trust him. And trust him to tell me the truth.”

I squared my shoulders. All right. When Heero came back, I would demand an answer. And I would trust him to tell me the complete truth.

My stomach quivered at the thought.

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Every story unless otherwise claimed is Kayura's, and is copyrighted 2006 under her name.