And I Have Touched the Sky
by Lasha Lee

"So the power was completely out and the transporter of course didn't work. We had the emergency transport, but SOMEONE had forgotten to charge it up and it was completely dead. In the meantime, the pains were coming closer and closer, and Linra kept assuring me she knew what to do because she'd seen baby botanars being born. I kept telling her that was fine, but I had no intentions of licking my child clean and eating the placenta." Sheld sliced the pie, made of a fruit Duo didn't recognize and had vowed to began growing back home. He hadn't recognized anything they'd eaten tonight but it hadn't kept him from thoroughly enjoying everything. He was never going to fit into his clothing two months from now.

"So what happened then?" Quatre asked.

"Heero just sort of took over. Calmed me down, calmed Marti down, and kept Linra busy gathering towels and things. The storm was getting worse and I was scared to death, but somehow I knew we were all going to be okay. An hour later Rosemary was born, completely healthy and safe."

"Wow, Heero, that's amazing." Quatre said honestly. "That must have felt so good, to know you helped bring a life into the world."

"It felt incredible. Marti and Sheld did so much for me, I was grateful for a chance to return the favor." Heero kissed Rosemary's cheek as she sat contentedly on his lap. "Just as I held her up there was a huge burst of lightning, like a spot light. She stopped crying and looked right at it in amazement. I told her the gods were taking her picture."

"What about you, Duo? Tell us about when Jazz was born." Sheld urged.

"Nothing that dramatic." Duo glanced over at his son, who was busy concentrating on seeing how loud he could make the cotrefil on his lap purr. "Not before he arrived, anyway. I was dead asleep when I felt Hilde kicking me in the back and demanding that I get up and take her to the hospital right that minute. I told her it was too late at night to have the baby, that wait until morning and I'd take her then. Next thing I knew I was on the floor. Figured it was better to let her have her way.

"So we got there and he took his own sweet time arriving. I tried to get Hilde to hold my hand to push but she grabbed my hair instead and almost ripped it out. Then all of a sudden he was in the doctor's hands and screaming his lungs out. He wasn't very big, but he was making up for it. The first thing Hilde said was 'He's got your mouth.'"

Wufei snickered from the other end of the table.

"They let her hold him first. I mean, I guess the figured she had the right since she was the one whose kidneys had been kicked into shredded wheat for nine months. But then they put him in my arms and there has never been a moment in my life equal to that. Most babies are born with blue eyes, but his weren't, they were exactly like mine and I couldn't stop staring at them. See, up until that point he'd been Hilde's baby. Oh, I loved him like crazy and I was going to do everything I could for him, but I didn't actually feel... connected, like I had anything to do with him being there. I expected him to look just like her. It changed then; I looked down at him and he stared back up at me and I realized that this was why I'd survived for so long. Because my purpose in life was to create his. I started crying and I couldn't stop. That started him crying again too. He must have been wondering who was this weird guy dripping water all over him.

Jazz was staring at the floor, obviously embarrassed. "Glad I don't remember that." he muttered.

"You don't remember it at all?" Linra asked Jazz. "I remember everything about my birth. And before. Father was always singing to try and get me to stop kicking Mother and go to sleep. It worked, but I went to sleep so I wouldn't have to listen to him."

Deran's seldom forgot anything. Heero had explained to his puzzled friends. They could choose to forget something if they wanted to, but as a general rule they retained every memory from conception to death. When Rosemary was older she would be able to tell them her version of her unscheduled arrival during the storm. As it was she still recalled it was Heero's face she had first seen and adored the Japanese man because of it. "Bajmm" she informed Heero suddenly.

"Bajmm." he repeated back. "Yes, that about sums it all up."

"My work is going back to pre-conception memories." Sheld helped herself to another piece of pie. "I believe we retain the memories of our ancestors as well as our own. Heero has told me similar studies have been done on Earth. Carl Jung and his archetypes."

Wufei was suddenly on secure footing. "A brilliant man, and like most brilliant men his work has been mocked and ridiculed. For example, most children are afraid of the dark..."

"I wasn't." Jazz interjected.

"Most normal children are afraid of the dark, especially their closets." Wufei glared at Jazz. "This, according to Jung, was because our ancestors had a reason to fear dark caves for the wild beasts that lived in them. Instinct, some call it. Your theories coincide with what I have always believed."

Trowa was running his finger along the edge of his water glass, and Quatre looked at him curiously. "What's on your mind, koi?"

"We're descended from the caravan, correct?"

"As far as well can tell, that's the only theory that makes sense." Marti agreed.

"And you've explained that it's these... memories that led us to recreate the technology of this world on our own." Trowa continued. "Therefore, we would have the memories too of being on the caravan."

Sheld was beaming like she'd discovered a new planet herself. "Yes. We've never known what happened to the caravan, if it was an accident or an actual attack. I've had no luck accessing the memories in Heero. I was hoping the rest of you might be willing to let me have a go at it."

"It was 10,000 years ago." Jazz argued, not sure about the time frame but picking a number at random. "What does it matter now?"

"Because if the caravan was attacked." Heero explained. "It could mean it was attacked by a vessel not of Dera or Seta origin. We think of the Derans as aliens but they aren't, not really. We're all human, just pulled apart for a while. It could mean there's other life out there, other worlds. Real aliens."

"Finding out that our people survived was incredible news. Oh, there are dissidents out there. People who feel that our kinds have lived apart for too long to ever live together happily again. Meeting Heero was a disappointment for them. He didn't snarl, bite, wear furs, or go around yelling 'Grog kill demons' and kicking the video screens to pieces. He was human, so human they insisted then he was really from Seta and playing a joke on us. They made him undergo numerous DNA tests before they were convinced he was legitimate."

"Hear that? You're human after all." Duo patted Heero's arm.

"Hnnn." Heero glared at him. "Cute."

"Thank you."

"So the two of you are mated as well?" Sheld asked Trowa

"By Earth custom. There are those on our world who still feel it is wrong, however."

Marti sighed. "Narrow minds are a universal truth, are they not? Well, you can change minds here about Earth and Colony humans, and maybe we'll change their minds there about what love really is."

Jazz yawned then, and flushed, trying to hide it. "It is late." Sheld sighed. "We can speak more of this in the morning. I'll show you to your rooms."

"Mother, I wanted to show Jazz how to use the hoverboard." Linra protested.

"Tomorrow. He'll be here for a while, you know. But he's had a very long trip and needs to rest." Marti said firmly.

"Sorry, I am pretty beat." Jazz sighed. "Here, you should take Lali back."

"You can keep her in your bed if you want. I only had her out in the cage because it was a nice day. She's great to cuddle with and she can let herself out when she needs to." Lali purred her agreement to the suggestion and rolled over on Jazz's lap.


"Heero?"

"Umm?" Heero trailed a wet finger up Duo's arm as they leaned back in the warm water of the bath. Content, sated, he had almost fallen sleep until Duo spoke up.

"What you said earlier... about Jazz being your pledge-son. I want you to know how much that means to me. It's really nice not to have to be alone any more. I've always worried that I'm going to make the wrong choices and screw him up for life. I'm not afraid of that any more."

"You don't need to be afraid of anything. Ever again." Heero promised.

"We're gonna meet all these Deran bigshots tomorrow, right?"

"Yeah. Then we'll go back to my apartment. Sheld secured apartments in the building for Quatre and Trowa, Wufei. I have a spare bedroom for Jazz."

Duo smiled sleepily. "That's good. I'd never last long if I couldn't get you somewhere alone."

"That won't be a problem. I'd pull you into a closet if I had to." Heero growled. "I'm addicted to you. It was all I could do to get through dinner tonight."

"I noticed. You made up for lost time." Duo teased. "I'll be lucky if I can sit down tomorrow. No, I'm kidding, don't start apologizing." He stopped Heero. "You know there's nothing I like more than when you play rough."

"Remind me to show you the VR games available here." Heero murmured into Duo's ear. "So real you'd imagine you're actually there. They take images from your mind and create them on the spot. You can see, hear, touch, and taste everything."

"Oh?" Duo was intrigued.

"So I'm thinking that after we're done tomorrow we could boot one up and see where it leads. I'm thinking an old ship, high seas, and a certain pirate getting a taste of his own medicine."

"Yeah?"

Heero's tongue slipped into Duo's ear. "The most dangerous of all pirates, bound and gagged, helpless on an enemy ship...."


The house was small. Quatre and Trowa were given the other spare room and Wufei had insisted on taking the couch. Jazz was placed in the spare bed in Linra's room, Lali still at his side. Although sleepy, the children had talked for hours in the dark, voices barely above a whisper.

Finally, Jazz drifted off to sleep in the strange bed.

"I won't let you leave me!"

"Sahsi... "

"I'm coming with you." her voice was choked with sobs. "I won't stay here without you, I can't."

"Your parents... "

"They'll never find us. We'll vanish on Seta. We'll pledge and raise a family there. I love you, Sem. Do you love me?"

She was warm in his arms. "More than life."

"I'm of age, they can't stop me from going with you if I want to. If you want me to."

"Sahsi, it won't be easy. We'll have nothing, we'll be hungry and cold... "

"And together." She argued fiercely. "Together always, just like we've wanted all our lives. Do you remember when we were small, how we'd pretend to pledge? It was never pretend for me, Sem. Never once did I say those words and not mean them."

"Okay. Let's do it. Come on. Let's go to Seta together." he gave in. He never could deny her anything.

Something on his hands. Blood. Blood everywhere. Eyes staring up at him. He stepped over the bodies, looking. Not here, not here. Some of the bodies still were alive. They reached for him, begging for help. He brushed them aside. He could hear her crying, he knew she was here somewhere. He had to get to her...

Jazz sat upright in bed, his heart hammering in his chest. Where had THAT come from? He looked at his hands, half expecting them to be bloody but the skin in the starlight (Dera had no moon) was smooth and pale. He rolled the names from the dream in his mind. Sashi... Sem...

"That's what I get for telling Linra about Romeo and Juliet." the boy muttered to the cotrefil at his side. "I end up dreaming the Deran version of it." He laid back down on the bed, staring up at the ceiling, shivering a little. Part of him wanted to run down the hall to his father's room, to crawl into bed between Pops and Ojisan and huddle there for the rest of the night.

He looked over at Linra's bed, where she slept in a tangle of black curls. She'd probably laugh at him if he did that. She'd think he was a stupid baby. He felt like a stupid baby.

Still it wouldn't hurt to make sure Pops was alright.

He slipped out of bed out the door until he reached his father's room. He listened for minute to make sure they weren't kissing again and then crept inside.

Ojisan had his arm around Pops' waist and they were both laying on their sides. Pops had his hair loose and it covered them both. They looked happy. No bad dreams here.

Duo, even in his sleep, seemed to sense his son's need for him and opened his eyes. "Jazzy, what's the matter?"

Great, now he felt like ever more of a baby. "Had a nightmare. Just wanted to..." To what? To make sure you were still here? That I wasn't all alone? That I wouldn't come in here and find you staring up at me dead like the people in my dream?

Duo understood. He moved away from Heero to create a space. "Come on." He patted the blankets and Jazz crawled over him. Heero, who slept as lightly as a cat, awoke briefly, took stock of the situation, and then placed his arm around Jazz's middle. Duo did the same from the other side. Jazz still felt stupid but now he felt safe and stupid. The dream did not return, but he fell asleep with it still in his mind.


On to part eleven. Back to part nine.