"My mother considered this too old-fashioned to try, but I've had a lot of luck with it. It doesn't mean we're not still going to do the walk, but this gives me a starting point sometimes." Rosie explained, laying an air syringe down on the nightstand. Besides herself and Heero, Duo was the only other person permitted in the room.
"Some people can't be hypnotized, though." Duo pointed out. "Especially stubborn people."
Heero glared at him. "I'm not stubborn. I'm just... firm in my beliefs."
Duo picked up a pen from the table and waved it back and forth. "You are getting sleeeepy. When I snap my fingers you're going to wake up and think you're a chicken and lay me a dozen Grade A large."
"Stop that!" Rosie took the pen away. "If you can't be serious about this I'm going to make you wait outside with everyone else."
"I am serious! Do you know how long it's been since I've had a decent omelet?" Duo complained. "Why can't we fix his memories and make him useful at the same time?"
Heero laughed quietly. He knew exactly what Duo was trying to accomplish here, and it was working. Reaching up, he squeezed his hand. "Hey, it's going to be alright. I promise."
"Duo, I want your promise again. No matter what he says or does, you cannot interfere or try to wake him up. I'll bring him out of it if anything starts to go haywire, but you have to trust me. You have to stop thinking of me like a little kid. I'm damn good at what I do."
"I know." Duo sat down on the bed. "I promise. I won't butt in." He toyed with the fuzz on the blanket. "But you can't make me not worry."
"I'm going to start with a few more recent memories." The girl explained. "Get him comfortable with it, and then we'll rewind a little and see how far back he can take us."
She positioned a small video recorder on the chest of drawers, aiming it at Heero.
Walking back to the bed, she picked up the syringe and Heero offered his arm, not even wincing when she pushed down on the plunger. "Give it a minute to sink in." She directed, all business. "In the mean time close your eyes and just focus on the sound of your own breathing." It was true; there were some people who could not be hypnotized, but the drug she'd injected in Heero got around that easy enough.
"Can you hear me?" She asked a few minutes later, and Heero nodded, his eyes still closed. She pried open his lids and examined his pupils with a small light, but he did not respond. "Good." She muttered. If anyone could have been immune to the drug, it would have been Heero.
"What is your name?"
"Okay, Heero, we're going to go back to when you were 15. It was during the war. Tell me your name again. You're going to open your eyes but you won't wake up or see anything other than your memories."
"Heero Yuy." His eyes snapped open.
Duo jumped, startled. The tone was clipped and flat and emotionless, and his blue eyes were guarded and cold.
"Okay Heero, it's during the war. I want you to tell me about a big decision you had to make during that time. I know there were a lot of them. Pick one, something you had to decide about, something big. Do you remember?"
"What do you see?"
"He's scared." Heero's voice didn't change from it's monotone. "He's pretending like he's not but he is. I can see it; he's not good at controlling it like I am. He knows he's going to die. He's scared but something else. Relieved. I think he wants to die."
Now Duo's eyes shut, and he was trembling. and Rosie gave him a worried glance, and then returned to Heero. "Do you have to kill him, Heero?"
"I'm supposed to. Anything that compromises the mission must be dealt with." He spoke automatically. "He knows it too. He's standing there waiting. Waiting for me to kill him."
"Do you?" Rosie asked gently, knowing the answer already.
"Why don't you do it?" She knew this story; she'd heard it before, but she'd always been curious at the reasons behind Heero's actions that day, and all he'd ever been able to say was "I just couldn't."
"Because it's not fair."
"What isn't fair?"
"We're all in this together. We all have to see it through to the end. It's not fair that he gets to die and get out of it and I can't. If I have to live with it, so does he. I'm angry at him for trying to avoid his mission. I won't let him."
Duo's eyes opened and he stared at Heero in shock and hurt.
"Is that the only reason?" Rosie pressed.
The hurt in Duo's eyes increased.
"Okay, Heero, we're going to go back a little bit more. You're just a little boy now, living with Odin. Do you see where you lived then?"
Once again his voice changed, the infliction child-like. "A lot of places."
"You moved around a lot?" She urged.
"What is your name?"
"Odin Lowe Jr."
"That's a nice name, Odin. Do you like the man you live with?"
"Sometimes." He paused. "Sometimes he yells at me if I do something wrong."
Okay, this was freaky, hearing a child's voice coming out of Heero's mouth. Duo wanted this to end and end now, but he didn't dare say a word.
"Heero, before you went to live with Odin, did you live somewhere else?"
He didn't answer.
"Heero, I know this is very hard for you. But try and remember where you lived before going to live with Odin and whom you lived with. There were frogs there, weren't there?"
His face softened. "We were bad."
"Why were you bad?" Rosie asked, fighting down her excitement.
"Cause we weren't supposed to go that far." He explained. "We were supposed to stay right near the house."
"We?" Rosie asked. "Did you have brothers and sisters?"
"Other children you played with?"
"What were their names?"
"Sungirl and Starboy."
Duo mouthed the names, shaking his head in disgust. Some parents... what kind of commune had Heero been born in, anyway?
"Do you like them?"
"Yes. They're my friends. Starboy is big and he tells us what to do. Sungirl is littler than me. She's my best friend."
"Tell me about the frogs."
"Starboy found them. We all went to look at them. We picked them up. They were all sticky. Sungirl got frog stuff on her dress."
"What's your name now?" Rosie asked.
"Is that your real name?"
"No. It's a special name. Starboy and Sungirl's daddy said I got to have a special name too."
"So Starboy and Sungirl are special names? Do you know their real names?"
"What is your real name?"
"Kato Dell." He paused. "Mama-san only calls me that when I'm bad. She likes to call me Moonboy too."
Rosie was really beaming now, giving Duo a look of pure excitement before turning back to Heero. "Okay, Moonboy, tell me more about going to see the frogs. Did you try and take some frogs home with you?"
Duo could care less about the frogs right now. He wanted to know more about Heero's mother, if he knew who his father was, what Sungirl and Starboy looked like, but Rosie had a clear direction she was taking and he had to just go along. Kato Dell, he thought. Definitely not a Japanese surname. That explained the blue eyes.
Heero had grown silent again on the bed.
"Moonboy?" Rosie asked. "Did you keep any frogs?"
Suddenly, without warning, Heero began to wail, throwing his arms over his head and bending forward on the bed, covering himself.
"Heero." Rosie jumped between the man and Duo, stopping Duo from grabbing him with a look of fear. "Heero, it's okay. Come on, wake up now."
"Stopstopstopstopstop." He was whispering. "Make it stop. Make it stop."
"Heero, come on. Wake up. You're not a child. You're at home in your own bed. Wake up."
The shaking stopped, but Heero continued to pant, his fingers digging into the blanket hard. After a nod from Rosie, Duo wrapped his arms around Heero, holding him tightly, like he would have Jazz after a nightmare, and in that familiar embrace Heero slowly regained his senses.
"Welcome back." Duo said quietly. "You had quiet a trip there. Do you remember anything?"
Heero blinked, and stared at him, perplexed. "Did it work?"
Rosie's face fell. "Heero? Do you remember anything you said? Anything at all?"
He shook his head. "The last thing I remember is you telling me to breathe. What happened?"
"Kato Dell." Duo stroked his hair.
"Who?" Heero was confused.
"You told us your name, your real name. Kato Dell, but your mother called you Moonboy."
"Kato Dell... " Heero repeated, then frowned. "It doesn't mean anything to me. What else did I say?"
"Before you went to live with Odin, you lived with your mother and at least two other children, and probably their father as well. You don't know the real names of the other children, but you called them Starboy and Sungirl. Starboy was older than you and Sungirl was younger. One day Starboy took you and Sungirl out to see some frogs. You weren't supposed to go that far away from the house, but you went anyway. But when we asked you what happened after you looked at the frogs you started screaming for us to make it stop."
Rosie pointed to a small recorder. "Do you want to watch the tape, Heero?"
"I think you should rest first." Duo frowned. "You were really freaking out on us." Now that Heero was calmer, he noticed something a little off, a little guarded, in Duo's tone.
"No, I want to see it." Heero insisted. "Now."
"Fine." Duo threw up his hands. "Whatever."
"What is your problem?" Heero wanted to know, getting angry.
"Me, no problems at all. You're the one with the problems, remember?" Duo snapped.
"Okay, time out!" Rosie made a tee with her hands. "Duo, for Gods' sake tell him what you're upset about and let's get it over with so we can move on to the important stuff."
"Just something you said, that's all." Duo muttered.
"Could we narrow it down?" Heero asked testily.
"Watch the tape." Duo shrugged. "I'm going to tell the others what you remembered." He gave Heero a wounded look, and left.
Duo leaned back on the hard ground, staring up at the sky, and his eyes drifted toward Heero. "Hey."
Heero sat down next to him. "I'm sorry I scared you, at the end. I keep trying to remember what happened that day, but it was so long ago. I just can't. Rosie says we'll try again with the real walk."
Duo sighed, and his fingers traced abstract lines in the dirt.
"Duo, I'm sorry that what I said on the tape hurt you. I wish I could go back and lie but I can't. I can't change the past."
"I loved you from the start." Duo let the dirt fall between his fingers. "I just always thought... I mean, you said you loved me right away too. Now I find out that that's not true. I always had this idea in my head. That you came to kill me but in the end you loved me too much to do it. Just what I've always believed. My big romantic fantasy; the moment when Heero Yuy put love before duty. And it wasn't true, any of it."
"Duo, I did love you back then. Maybe not yet, not at that moment, but by the end I did, you know that. That's why I came back for you and brought you here."
"Why did you lie to me?" Duo asked. "Why did you let me believe all that love-at-first-shot crap?"
"Because it made you happy." Heero lay down next to him. "Because of how much you lit up every time you talked to the kids about it, about us. You wanted to believe it, and I didn't think it would do any harm to let you."
Duo rolled on his side, facing Heero. "Pretty selfish, huh? You reveal all kinds of things about your past, hell, even your real name, and I'm sitting here brooding because a brainwashed 15-year-old didn't spend every second lusting after me."
They both laughed.
"I did a lot of lusting after you, I promise." Heero moved closer. "Now can we bury this subject? I'm sorry that the kid I was was an idiot, okay?"
Duo moved his head against Heero's chest. "I wish she'd asked you more about the other kids, that Starboy and Sungirl. Hippies, I swear. You were raised by hippies, Moonboy."
"Never mind. Long story."
"Maybe we'll learn more about them tomorrow, even see them." Heero offered. "I'm pretty sure the girl was blonde. Maybe I'll even get to see what my mother looked like." His voice was awed. "God, Duo, this is what I've wanted for so long. Sheld and I were just trying it the wrong way, that's all."
"Rosie and Rylan are out celebrating." Duo laughed. "She's so proud of herself she's nearly bursting."
Heero tensed. "They went out together? Alone?"
"No, don't worry. Jazz and Linra are with them. Rylan will be fine. Wufei took Nadia home with him for the night. I think he and Denea are having a bad case of empty nest right now. I'm not sure Jazzy is going to have much luck getting her back."
"There's one more thing I do know, but I don't know how."
"The day we went to see the frogs was the day my mother died."
On to part six. Back to part four.