In The Memory Part 4

It was six am and the alarm cut into the silence of the apartment. Heero jerked awake and quickly slammed the alarm off, returning the room to the usual calm. He rolled onto his back and looked up at the ceiling. A soft breathing came from beside him and he looked over to see Duo sound asleep. The sleeping man lay on his stomach, slack face turned towards Heero, hair messily coming loose from his braid.

Heero smiled, happily remembering the events of the night before. His eyes drank in the sight of Duo sleeping naked beside him. He hadn't wanted the night to end and now he didn't want the day to begin - he was loath to go to work and leave Duo's side. Duo sighed and rolled over, pulling Heero from his thoughts. He glanced at the clock and knew he needed to get going. Slowly, and very hesitantly, he slid from the bed, careful not to wake Duo, and set about getting ready for work.

Before leaving for the day, Heero went back to the bedroom where Duo was still fast asleep. He leaned over and laid a gentle kiss on the braided man's forehead.

Duo stirred, a sleepy smile forming on his lips. "Have a good day," he whispered.

Heero grinned. "Thanks," he whispered back, "Be here when I get home?"

"Of course," Duo replied quietly, his eyes still comfortably closed.

With that, Heero left for work, grin still plastered to his face.

~ ~ ~

Wufei, of course, noticed Heero's unusual mood and questioned him about it. "What did you do?" he asked suspiciously.

"Nothing," Heero lied.

"Bullshit, nothing. You don't work all day with a silly grin on your face for 'nothing'."

Heero chuckled, unable to stop himself.

"And you're giggling! What's wrong with you?" Wufei eyed him, as if trying to read his coworker's mind. And as if his attempts had worked, his eyes widened. "You had dinner with Duo didn't you?"

Heero quickly turned away and focused on his computer screen.

"You did! Heero, I told you that was a bad idea-"

"Why?" Heero demanded, turning from the computer and glaring at his friend. "Why was it such a bad idea? We had a good time."

"It's just..." Wufei struggled to find a reason Heero would accept. Failing, he simply said, "It just is."

"That's what I thought," Heero said triumphantly, returning to his work.

"Just be careful," Wufei said from behind him.

Heero smiled and continued working. He wanted to get the day over with. Not only because he wanted to get away from Wufei and all his warnings, but because of what awaited him at home. He imagined Duo naked in his bed, sleeping late into the day. Or showering in his shower, walking around his apartment, maybe watching his TV. Visualizing all this, he ached to get home and join his new lover.

He looked up at the clock and grimaced. Six hours to go.

~ ~ ~

"The lunar base that was supplying suits to E.R.A. has been shut down," Une told the room.

Wufei, Heero, Sally Po and three Preventer field agents sat around the conference table as Une walked around them, passing out their briefing. It was late in the afternoon and Heero was exhausted. He had been forced to skip lunch that day because of all the work they had to do, and his mind kept wandering home to Duo. Shaking himself, he forced his attention to Lady Une.

"There were five suit developers that were supporters of E.R.A. and supplying them with mobile suits," Une said. "They have all been questioned and all claim not to know who the group's leaders are. Their story was consistent - they were in contact with a group calling themselves the Marshals, but that doesn't give us much to go on. And though Chang has searched every database for anyone or any group by that name or using that alias, nothing has turned up."

Une walked around the table and picked up the controller for the ceiling projector. Clicking it on, she turned to the wall where a large picture of a space station was now projected. Everyone focused on the picture and listened as their boss continued her speech.

"The L4 resource satellite is thought to be the next target for E.R.A. but I've informed the Winner family and they have enlisted some special forces as extra security." She clicked the controller and the picture on the wall change to one of the L1 colony, specifically the mangled residential wing. "Construction was halted again on L1 this afternoon - several explosions hit the site, killing sixteen construction workers and injuring forty three others. The good news is that Ms Po and her team caught three men as they were trying to escape the site just before the explosions went off, and its been discovered they are E.R.A. members."

"Have they been interrogated yet?" one of the field agents asked.

"No," Sally answered him. "We haven't gotten to that yet."

"Actually," Une continued, "I'm sending you, Kelso and Thomas down to do that this evening. Ms Po will go with you. The men are being transported here as we speak and should arrive around five o'clock. Meanwhile, Chang, I need you to find out who these men really are and gather their background information. I'm sure the names they've given us are fakes, but here is what we have on them from the initial questioning." She handed Wufei three thin manila folders.

Wufei briefly flipped through the first file. "Shouldn't be hard, I'll just scan their pictures and see if I can find facial recognition matches in the system."

Une nodded at him before turning to Heero. "Yuy, continue your own search for the E.R.A. leaders. We need to know who and where they are as soon as possible. I don't want to have to call in the reinforcements."

Heero wasn't sure what she meant by 'reinforcements', but he nodded in acceptance of his task.

"Ok," Une said finally. "Everyone knows their job, so go do it."

Everyone rose from their seats and left the conference room. Heero flipped through the file in his hand as he walked back to his office, and scanned the small type on each page. He sighed in frustration - he was going to be working late tonight.

~ ~ ~

Heero's fingers fumbled with the keys, desperately trying to insert the proper one into the keyhole. As he dropped the whole chain of them and let out a grunt of frustration, the door to his apartment swung open, revealing a casually clad, and brilliantly smiling Duo. "Welcome home," said the cheerful voice. Heero looked up and grinned as he swiped up the keys and followed the other man into the apartment.

A broad grin curled across his face, Duo pulled Heero into a welcome hug and planted a tender, yet firm, kiss on his lips. Heero happily responded, tightening the hug and basking in the glow of the moment. When they pulled away, the two smiled at each other.

"You have mail," Duo said, passing a pile of envelopes to Heero from the mantle near the door.

As Heero began stripping his business attire and scanning his mail, Duo bounded off to the kitchen to finish tending the pasta he had prepared for their dinner. The smell of it permeated the apartment, drifting through every room and filling Heero's nostrils.

He closed his eyes and inhaled a deep, creamy smell he knew must be some sort of alfredo. He smiled, still flipping through the mail. Junk, junk, bill, junk, letter from Relena, bill, junk, bill... Heero paused and stared at the last envelope. His eyes scanned the stylistic emblem that read Banfield Self Storage Inc. in fanciful red lettering. He double checked and it was indeed addressed to him, so he quickly opened it, discarding the rest of the mail on the coffee table as he passed.

His eyes speedily read over the document, confirming it was indeed a bill. But he didn't recognize the company, nor did he ever remember renting a storage unit. He looked at the top of the bill and found the heading that read his full name and address. Further down it even had his credit card number and the amount withdrawn from his account. Surveying the paper, he noted the initial charge date - over two months ago. Frowning, he trailed Duo into the kitchen.

Duo looked up as he entered the room and smiled at the other man. He was standing over a large pot of pasta, busily stirring the steaming food. "What's wrong?" he asked, noticing Heero's distressed face.

"I got a bill from a storage unit," Heero replied. "I don't have a storage unit."

Duo frowned and watched Heero grabbed the phone from the wall and, sitting down at the kitchen table, began dialing the number to Banfield Storage. While Heero made his phone call, Duo continued busily making dinner. The timer on the oven dinged and Duo quickly took out the chicken and let it cool on the stove. Lazily dashing seasoning on the chicken, Duo then drained the pasta and split the amount between two plates. He placed a large piece of chicken on top of each plate of noodles, and then, after stirring the sauce one more time, he poured the Alfredo over each platter. By the time he carried both dishes to the kitchen table, Heero was done with his phone call.

The cheesy garlic aroma floated around them and the thick smell of homemade food made Heero smile. He looked up at Duo as he finished setting up their dinner. "Thank you."

Duo's face split into a satisfied grin. "You're welcome. What did you find out about that storage place?"

"They said basically what the bill said. I told them I never opened a storage unit but they have all my information in their system. I want to go check it out..."

They looked at each other and it was if Duo could read the other man's mind. "We'll go after dinner, I didn't spend all day on it for nothing."

Heero smiled and they ate their meal over passive conversation.

~ ~ ~

"So you lost the key?"

"No I -" Heero glared at the young man behind the service desk. He had already explained to the boy that he had never opened a storage unit, and never had a key. But the boy wasn't listening. Tired, he decided on a different approach. "Yes I lost my key."

"Ok, can I see your ID?"

Heero handed over his license and the boy eyed it before typing his information into the computer. A few moments later, the boy handed Heero a spare key and he and Duo were traversing the isles of storage units, look for number 623.

It took a while to find the right unit, and when they did, Heero couldn't do much more than stand and stare at the orange painted door. Duo looked back and for between the door and Heero, wondering why his lover was pausing. Heero looked back at him, uncertainty in his eyes. Duo smiled and took the keys from Heero's limp hand, and moved to unlock the door. It swung open with a loud rattling, and two months worth of dust was swept into the air.

As the light crept into the darkened space, Heero took a step forward to see the room's contents. The room smelled heavily of mold and the air was thick with dust. Several boxes lay heaped in the corner and a large trash bag leaned against the tower. Duo walked in and began surveying the items. Heero hung back, tentatively glaring at the storage space and what it held.

Duo looked back at him. "I don't want to go through your stuff, buddy."

Silently, Heero moved forward and opened the first box. He pulled out several journals and began flipping through them. He recognized the handwriting as his own but did not find the journals themselves or the entries familiar. He scanned a few pages, reading a short paragraph that began a hefty description of a trip to Japan. He noticed Duo was named, as well as some other names Heero didn't recognize. He had never been to Japan and never heard of these other characters. What was going on?

"Is this a joke?"

Duo's question grabbed Heero's attention and he looked up to see Duo frowning at him. "What?"

Duo passed him a pile of photographs he had been sifting through and Heero felt a cold shock run through him. The first picture depicted Heero himself, a broad grin slapped across his face, standing next to Duo. A happy faced Boxer sat at their feet, its tongue hanging lazily out of its mouth. Next to Heero stood Wufei, and next to him stood two other men Heero had never seen before, though somehow felt familiar with.

He turned to the next photo and frowned. The picture showed Heero hugging the Boxer from the previous photo, a genuinely happy smile across his face and a lazy, tongue lolling grin on the dog's. He began rapidly flipping through the pictures, seeing smiling faces - those of himself and of strangers. Returning to the group photo, he turned to Duo.

"Do you recognize any of these other people?"

"Yeah," Duo replied, suspicion and confusion lacing his voice. He pointed to the dog, "That's my dog Nio..." He pointed to the two men that stood next to Wufei. "Those are my friends Trowa and Quatre.." He pointed to Wufei. "I don't know him personally, but he's another one of the Gundam pilots, isn't he? Why do you have a picture with us all together like that?"

"I don't know!" Heero answered quickly, his thoughts racing with bafflement. He looked closer at the picture and at the two men named Trowa and Quatre. "They were Gundam pilots as well, weren't they?"

Duo nodded. "Do you know the other guy?"

It was Heero's turn to nod. "That's Wufei, he works at the Preventer's office with me..." Something then occurred to Heero. How adamant Wufei had been against him dating Duo, the strange ways he edited files before giving them to Heero to work on... Wufei knew something. And here, seeing the Chinese man smiling politely with the group for the photo, he had proof that Wufei would have some answers. "I think we should go see Wufei," he told Duo.

Still perusing the box of photographs that depicted scenes he never remembered experiencing, Duo absently nodded.

The two quickly emptied the storage unit and loaded the boxes and bag (which they had discovered contained several items of clothing) into the trunk of Heero's car. Heero had too many questions to wait - they were heading straight for Wufei's apartment.



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