In The Memory Part 6

Heero shifted his car into park and took the keys out of the ignition. He stared at the building in front of him and felt a strange trepidation growing in his gut. He glanced sideways to the man next to him. Duo sat stiffly in the passenger seat, gripping their letters in his hands.

"Ready?" Heero whispered.

Duo nodded and they both hesitantly exited the car.

When they entered the office, the secretary looked up at them with a wide smile that quickly faltered as recognition dawned. Her long blond hair was pulled into a tight pony tail at the back of her neck, and her large rimmed glasses gave her the look of an overzealous bug. "Can I help you gentlemen?" Her voice was quiet and unsteady, nerves clearly running wild.

"We want to see Dr. Levitz," Heero demanded. The frustration that had been building over the past day was showing through, despite his efforts to control it.

"Um..." She struggled to find words to pacify the angry man. "He's with a client right now..."

"We need to see him," Duo told her, stressing each word.

The girl bit her lip and after a few moments of consideration she stood from her chair. "Follow me," she told them, coming out from behind the desk and leading them down the nearby hallway. She stopped at the second door and opened it, ushering them into the small office. "Here... I'll tell him you're waiting and he'll be with you shortly."

Duo and Heero walked into the room and sat down at the two chairs that sat across from the large metal desk. The secretary left them, closing the door behind her.

Heero looked around and was thoroughly unimpressed. The office was tacky and undersized, holding just the desk, the chairs and two bulky filing cabinets that took up half the tiny space. His eyes finally landed back on Duo, who was nervously toying with the end of his extravagant braid.

"Are you ok?" Heero asked even though he was sure he knew the answer. He was reeling with anxiety himself, he imagined Duo felt quite similar.

A bitter laugh escaped Duo's lips. "Hell no," he replied.

Their eyes met and they exchanged a silent understanding. They were in the same boat - both suddenly discovering that not only were the lives they knew false, but that they both had intricately dangerous histories. Not only that, but their first meeting on the side of the highway hadn't even been their first meeting. They had had whole other lives, with tumultuous pasts... and each other. Heero again found himself wondering about his true relationship with Duo and another slew of unanswered questions erupted in his mind.

"Do you think Dr. Levitz will recognize us?" Duo asked, disturbing Heero from his thoughts.

"From how the secretary reacted when we came in," Heero said, "I think so. I would guess it's not everyday they have Gundam pilots in their office..." He felt odd referring to himself as a pilot. Having no memories of such a life, he found he was still having trouble believing it.

Duo nodded and looked to his lap where his hands fidgeted with the letters. "Why do you think we did it?"

Heero looked at his own twiddling thumbs and fought to think of something to say. "I don't know," was all he came up with.

"You think we really hurt each other that bad? That neither of us could live with it?"

Shrugging, Heero looked back at Duo and met his eyes. "I really don't know."

"This dude better have some answers..."

It was Heero's turn to nod.

There were a few minutes of silence between them before Duo stood from his chair and moved to stand in front of the filing cabinets. His hand reached up to trail along the letters on one of the drawers. It read 'L-R'. Duo frowned. "Do you think he keeps files on the people whose memories he erases?" He glanced at Heero. "You think our files are in here?"

Heero opened his mouth but couldn't think of what to say, and before he could formulate a response, Duo had opened the drawer and began shuffling through the files. Heero got up to stand beside him, not sure they should be looking through the company's files, but determined to find answers at the same time.

Duo flipped over name after name and within seconds, he stopped, slowly pulling out a file entitled 'Maxwell, Duo'. He stared at it as if would burst into flames and as Heero opened another drawer to search for his own file, Duo sank back into his chair.

Heero quickly located his file in the last drawer and just as Duo had done, he eyed the manila folder as though it were the key to everything. And in essence, it was. This simple file held all the answers to his questions. It would tell him about his life - his real life. He suddenly wanted to be out of that office. He wanted to be back at home where he could peruse his file in peace.

"Let's get out of here," he said, looking intently at Duo.

The other man immediately understood and nodded, again rising from his seat.

Hiding the files under their jackets, the two hastily left the office, leaving the secretary blinking after them. Back in the car, Heero threw his file on the dashboard and started the engine. Duo buckled up in the passenger seat and, unable to wait any longer, he opened his file and began reading.

~ ~ ~

In the spare room of Heero's apartment, Heero sat at his desk and scanned his file. Duo sat across the room on the floor, papers from his own file scattered around him. They both read in silence, taking in the knowledge held within the folders.

Heero read over his basic information sheet. His name, age, estimated birthday, height, weight were all filled out in his own handwriting. There were spaces for parental information, but those had been left blank. Both in the life he remembered and in the truth, he was an orphan.

He flipped through a few more papers before coming across a disk. It was held securely in a protective sleeve and labeled 'Initial Interview'. Instantly curious, he flipped open his laptop and stuck the disk in the drive. A sound file came up and he clicked on it.

A strange, dark voice filled the room and Duo looked up.

"This is Doctor Brian Levitz," the voice said, "Date - 17 March AC 202. Time - 11:35 am. I am sitting with Heero Yuy, who has come of his own free will to the Serenity Corporation for the process of memory modification. I have given him the client rights and regulations, and he has signed it. Do you understand the process of memory modification and your rights as a Serenity Corp client, Mr. Yuy?"

"Yes," responded Heero's voice from the laptop.

"Ok," continued Dr. Levitz, "Please tell me why you're here."

"To erase certain memories that I don't care to have anymore."

There was silence for a few moments before Dr. Levitz urged Heero's voice to go on. "I need specifics Mr Yuy, if you please."

"I want to erase all memories relating to my experience as a Gundam pilot. My training as a kid, Dr. J, the fighting, my part in the Eve Wars... everything. I also don't want to remember anything about Duo Maxwell."

Heero's disembodied voice held a bit more conviction with the last sentence, as if this was the more crucial of his reasons. Heero looked across the room at Duo, who stared curiously back at him.

"Why do you want to get rid of these memories?" Dr. Levitz's voice asked.

"My memories from the wars have done nothing but cause increasing stress. And my memories of Duo... I know he was a client of yours recently."

Dr. Levitz hesitated. "He was," he answered finally.

"So you know our history. I want my memories of him erased for the same reasons he had me erased."

"I cannot divulge his reasons, Mr. Yuy. And for the purpose of records, I need you to tell me why you're here."

Heero's voice sighed. "We had a relationship. It ended badly and I'd rather just forget everything and move on."

"Why?" Dr. Levitz asked.

A hush fell over the recording again.

"Mr. Yuy," Dr. Levitz chided with frustration clear in his voice, "I know this is difficult but I need you to be as detailed as possible. The more you tell me, the easier the process will be to rid you of these painful memories. I need you to tell me everything you can remember about your relationship with Duo Maxwell - everything. And I need you to go over as many specifics about your experience as a pilot as you can."

By now Duo was standing in front of Heero's desk, eagerly listening to the interview. His eyes were fixed on the laptop, though Heero had an inkling that he wasn't really looking at it. The Heero on the CD and Dr. Levitz continued talking.

"We met soon after I first came to Earth with my Gundam," Heero's voice began. There was a quiet, bitter laugh, almost inaudible. "He shot me... I guess he thought I was trying to steal my own Gundam. I guess I never asked him." There were a few seconds of refreshed silence, where the only sound coming from the laptop was the crackling of the recording.

"What did you think of him, when you first met him?" Dr Levitz asked.

"I couldn't stand him."

Heero looked up at Duo and couldn't imagine himself ever disliking the other man. Duo intentionally was avoiding his gaze, eyes still blankly watching the laptop.

"He never shut up," Heero's voice continued. "He'd talk for hours... While I was trying to work, while he was trying to work... And if I ignored him, he would just keep talking. On and on about nothing at all. I remember thinking he was such an idiot. I was a Gundam pilot, I was trying to fight a war and it was like he didn't care at all what was going on. I really didn't understand how he became a pilot. He was just impossibly..."

Heero didn't hear the rest. Unable to listen anymore, Duo had turned and fled from the room. Heero jumped up from the desk and dashed after him, catching him in the hallway. "Wait, Duo..."

"I have to go, I didn't call in to work and Hilde's probably wondering where I am." He jerked his arm from Heero's grasp and went to the living room. He gathered his jacket, balancing it in his hand with his file from Serenity Corp. He hastily slipped on his shoes and reached for the door.

Desperate to stop him, Heero moved in front of him, blocking his escape.

Duo glared at him. "Move."

"You can't leave," Heero said almost pleadingly. He didn't know why but he had a feeling that if he let Duo leave now, that would be it.

"Watch me."

"Why are you leaving?" Heero asked, unable to stop the rising frustration.

"I'm not going to just sit here and be insulted," Duo spat at him. "I'm not an idiot."

"I don't think you're an idiot," Heero retorted.

"No, you really do." Duo pushed him aside and violently opened door.

Heero watched as he shot across the hall and down the stairs, his braid trailing behind him. He went back into his apartment and slammed the door shut, cursing into the now empty room. He didn't understand why he was getting so angry - he understood why Duo was upset and couldn't blame him. So why was he irritated?

He went back to the spare bedroom where the recording was still playing. His own voice echoed through the room, though he wasn't listening. In a swift movement, he ejected the CD from the laptop, effectively sending the apartment into complete and uncomfortable silence.



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