In The Memory Part 4
Heero pounded on the door for several minutes before Wufei managed to answer it. The door swung open to reveal him looking tired and disheveled, and still dressed in his work attire. He blinked at the two men before him; first glaring at Heero for disturbing him so late, then wincing as he saw Duo standing behind him, carrying a large cardboard box.
"What's..." was all he managed to get out before Heero pushed his way into the apartment, Duo tentatively trailing after him.
Wufei turned to follow the two men into his living room, closing the door behind him. Wufei's simple one bedroom apartment was decorated with the kind of modern motif that dictated all furniture be made of dark leather and glass. The floors were of simple gray carpet and the walls held few garnishments. To him it felt comfortable, to visitors it often seemed unwelcoming. But the two intruders took no notice and immediately Heero took the box from Duo and turned it upside down over his coffee table. Notebooks and photos spilled onto the glassy surface and cascaded onto the floor around it.
Heero leered at the Chinese man. "What is all this stuff? All these journals and pictures?"
Wufei looked at him and a heavy sigh escaped his throat. He slowly picked up one of the photographs; it showed Duo with his arm around Wufei's shoulder, a large grin plastered across both their faces.
"That one really bothers me," Duo said flatly, crossing his arms over his chest, "Because I've never met you before in my life."
Letting out another soft sigh, Wufei sat down on the couch. "Where did you find them?" he asked nonchalantly.
Heero frowned at him. "A storage unit across town. A storage unit I don't remember renting... and it was full of journals I don't remember writing and photos I don't remember taking."
"You were suppose to burn them...." Wufei said under his breath.
Wufei looked up at Heero with pity in his eyes. He stared for a moment and then, making up his mind, he walked over to a desk along the far wall. Opening the second drawer, he took out two folded slips of paper. He handed one to Heero and the other to Duo, knowing it would answer their questions.
Heero slowly took the paper from Wufei's outstretched hand. He unfolded it as Duo unfolded his, and began to read...
"Dear Mister Wufei Chang,
On behalf of the Serenity Corporation, I would like to inform you that Heero Yuy has undertaken the procedure to have his memories modified. Per Mr. Yuy's wishes, his memories of his childhood training and the ensuing piloting of the Gundams Wing, Epyon and Wing Zero, and his involvement in the Eve Wars have been erased from his mind. Also, Mr. Yuy has had the specific experiences and memories relating to one Duo Maxwell removed from his mind as well. He has been instructed to destroy any reminders of either piloting or Mr. Maxwell, and we request that, as a friend and coworker, you do not mention any of the things listed above to Mr. Yuy ever again. Doing so could cause memory lapses and psychotic confusion.
We thank you for your cooperation.
Dr Brian Levitz"
Heero reread the letter, the words unable to sink in. He glanced at Duo and the other man's pained expression told him their letters were identical. He looked to Wufei with an accusing glare. "What are these?"
Wufei seemed to take no offense to his friend's harsh tone. "I got those both in the mail about two months ago. I got the one about Duo about a week earlier than yours, though. They are exactly what they say."
"What the hell is the... 'Serenity Corporation'?" Duo asked, finally speaking up. "I've never heard of them."
"You wouldn't have," Wufei replied, returning to sit on the couch. "When you had your memories erased, the procedure eliminated any memory of the company too. If you remembered the doctor or the building or the company, it would defeat the purpose. But they're a company offering what they want to call 'Serenity of the Mind.' With a simple procedure anyone can have their memory modified and not be bothered by a painful past."
"I had my memories erased...." Heero sank into a chair near the coffee table, blankly staring at the pile of journals and photos. He picked up one of the many pictures that scattered the floor and looked at the image. It was a picture of himself standing in front of a barbecue pit, a pair of large tongs in one hand and a package of bratwurst in the other. Duo was draped over his shoulders and they both appeared extremely content.
Wufei nodded at him before looking towards Duo. "You did it first, then you." He nodded to Heero.
There was quiet then. Duo and Heero both tried to process the news while Wufei silently wondered if he was doing the right thing. He had thought this day would come, when Heero first mentioned meeting Duo again. And when he saw them at his door together, holding that box of mementos, he felt he really had no other choice.
It was Duo who finally broke the silence. His voice was low and strained when he spoke. "Why did I have my memories erased?"
Wufei looked down at his hands and began fidgeting. He wasn't sure what to say, or if it was even his place to say it. Under Duo's urging eye though, he decided to answer the man's question. "No one knows for sure, but it happened after you and Heero broke up."
The two men in question looked at him curiously. "You and Heero... were together," Wufei continued. "For a long time..."
"What do you mean 'together'?" Heero interrupted.
"You were a couple, lovers, boyfriends."
Heero and Duo blinked at each other, but Wufei continued on.
"You two were in love. You were together for a good two years before things started going badly. No one knows what happened - neither of you would tell us anything. We just know you suddenly split up. About three months or so later we all get letters in the mail saying Duo's had his memory erased and not to talk to him about it..."
"Wait, wait," Heero stopped him. "Who's 'we'?"
Wufei blinked. "All of us... me, Trowa, Quatre, Hilde, Une... You got the letter too," he added, looking at Heero.
Duo's eyes shot to Wufei's. "You know my friends?"
"We were all friends, Duo," Wufei told him, addressing the braided man as the old friend he was. "We were all Gundam pilots and we've all been close since the wars. Then something happened with you and Heero and things fell apart. Trowa and Quatre cut off all contact with Heero, like I lost contact with you."
Heero stared at Duo, while Duo reread the letter in his hands. "I was a Gundam pilot..." Duo read on. "Deathscythe?"
"That was the name of your Gundam," Wufei answered him.
"I can't believe this," Heero growled, standing up to pace the room. "How could I not remember being with someone for two years? And how could I not remember being a pilot? I've never been in a mobile suit in my life!"
"You have," Wufei told him calmly. "You spent the greater part of your childhood and early teens in Wing's cockpit." Wufei looked down at his folded hands and a soft, bitter laugh escaped his lips. "You were the best of us all - you were the hero. You may not remember any of it, but if it hadn't been for you, the wars would have ended a lot differently."
Heero stopped his pacing and stared at Wufei, unable to formulate a response.
There was quiet again, the three men mutely staring at each other. Heero crossed his arms and tried desperately to understand this. Duo stared blankly at the letter he still held tightly in his fingers. Wufei looked between the two others, waiting for another onslaught of questions. When the silence continued, Wufei awkwardly decided to break it. He stood and looked at the clock, noting it was past nine. "Do you guys want something to eat... something to drink?"
Heero shook his head. "No thanks." He moved forward and began stuffing the notebooks and photographs back into the box. "Probably should get going..."
Duo nodded but continued to stare at his letter.
~ ~ ~
Heero and Duo sat on the living room floor of Heero's apartment. They had arrived home over three hours ago and had spent the entire time sifting through the contents of the storage unit.
Duo's shoes lay cast aside near the door and he currently sat Indian style in the middle of the living room. He went through photo after photo, staring mindlessly at the scenes each depicted, not remembering a single one. Most of the pictures were of Duo himself; an extensive collection that reflected the feelings Heero once had for him.
Heero sat across from him, reading endless pages he never remembered writing. Throwing down the third notebook he had flipped through, he looked up at Duo. The other man continued looking through the photos, oblivious to the fact he was being watched. Two years, Heero thought, Did it really happen? What went wrong? He sighed and leaned back on his palms, shifting his gaze to stare at the ceiling. He wanted to ask Duo what his thoughts were on the subject, but instead he voiced a different question. "You really think we were Gundam pilots?"
Duo tossed aside the photos in his hand, picked up a fresh pile and began examining them. "Those letters said so..."
"You think it's all true?" Heero asked, knowing it was.
Duo looked up and eyed him. "Well look at these," he said, motioning to the pictures in his hand, "They can't be fakes. And all those journals... you said it's your handwriting."
Heero nodded, not knowing what to say.
Silence floated between them. Their eyes met and after several uneasy moments, Duo spoke the question. "What do you think happened between us?"
Heero tore his gaze from Duo's and glared at the floor. "I don't know..."
"That guy... Wufei... said we were together for two years. We must have been happy..." Duo idly fingered the toe of his sock, wanting to avoid Heero's eyes as much as Heero wanted to avoid his.
Heero nodded again. He knew he would have been happy with Duo. He had only met the other man a few days ago and already he felt completely comfortable with him. No, that was wrong. They hadn't met only a few days ago. Apparently they had met years ago. He wondered how they had met; if he had been instantly attracted to Duo like he had been that day his car broke down. He wondered how their relationship began and, even more, he wondered how it had ended. Was it really so bad as to warrant Heero having his memory of it erased? He had so many questions...
A soft rumble sounded from Duo's stomach, breaking the silence between them. Heero chuckled. "Guess we should have taken Wufei up on his offer. Let's get something to eat." He stood up and held out his hand. Duo took it and was pulled to his feet before Heero led him to the kitchen.
Ten minutes later they were lazily snacking on chips and dip, and sipping cold canned sodas.
"So what do we do now?" Duo asked, biting down on another salsa-drenched chip.
Heero shrugged. "I want to go talk to that doctor. Maybe he'll have the answers Wufei didn't."
"Yeah," Duo nodded. He took a long drink of his soda before talking again. "Do you have any idea where Serenity Corp is?"
Heero shook his head. "No, but I'm sure we can find it. If they don't have a website or aren't listed, which legally they should be, I can use my connections at the Preventers to find them."
"When do you want to go?" Duo asked, silently making it perfectly clear that he intended to go with Heero to see the man responsible for their memory modifications.
"As soon as possible," Heero said firmly, "I want answers."
Duo nodded in agreement.
Heero thought quietly for a few moments. "I think I'll call off work tomorrow. We can go first thing in the morning."
"Ok." Duo stuffed another chip into his mouth and Heero smiled at him.
Looking at Duo, admiring his silky hair and deep eyes, he wondered again what could have gone so wrong between them. Having your memory erased was such a drastic move - had it really been that bad?
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