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Sub Rosa: The One That Got Away
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Sub Rosa

Chapter Seven

The One That Got Away

Disclaimer: I still don't own Gundam Wing. Dammit.

I was stuck on the bed while Heero and Wufei and three other Preventors officers scoured around looking for Greaves, who by now was long gone. I, of course, had been stuck with the most butt-ugly, irritating one out of the group. My luck, always god-awful, was holding up quite well under all the strain.

“So,” I tried again, you're how high up in the Preventors?”

“Not as high up as Yuy,” the man grunted, looking around the bedroom. It was definitely disconcerting to be lying down in bed, sheets and cover firmly over me, with this man standing over me. Even worse... this was Heero's bedroom.

I had blushed so badly when Heero had put me in here.

“We'll be back soon. Until then, Duo, your job is to rest up.” Heero pulled up the sheets and tucked them around my chin. The covers came up next.

“Uh-huh,” I mumbled, unable to look him in the eye. Heero's scent was everywhere – on the pillow, on the comforter, on the sheet, and of course it was coming off of the man himself in waves. God he smelled good.

“Duo, I mean it. And don't worry; when we get back, we'll form a plan. Now rest.”

I couldn't make my mumble sound like anything other than an embarrassed warble. Did he have to lean over me like that to tuck me in? His chest was right in front of my face, and all I could see were the muscles rippling underneath his shirt. Oh my god.

“I'll be back soon.”

I could only hum something, squeezing my eyes shut. A part of me wondered if Heero would kiss me on the forehead or something. But of course that only happened with couples – and only in the movies.

I felt Heero retreat back to his side of the bed, no longer weighing himself over me to wrap me in a cocoon. He hesitated there for a moment. “Take care,” he whispered finally. I could swear I felt the breath from his mouth stir the air around me.

And then he left.

So here I was in his bed looking at one of the most difficult people I've had to deal with in years and I hadn't heard back from either Heero or Wufei. Fantastic.

“So how high is 'not as high as Yuy'?” I asked, practically begging the man for conversation. I didn't like the way his eyes would flicker at me every once in a while.

“You know they don't rank that place with normal police rankings?”

Uh-oh. According to that guy's sudden change in tone, this topic might not have been the best. And his eyes were flickering toward me more. The vulnerable feeling I had tripled. If this guy was going to try something, I would have no choice but to cold-cock him. And then I'd be in even more pain. “Uh, yeah, I do know.”

“They got rankings like... like...” He threw his hand through the air. I could see that he was only about a decade older than Heero or me, but... with his mustache – pencil-thin and sparse – and that hair of his in a business-like gel, he looked to be in his mid-thirties. And more like a distinguished Sherlock Holmes. I noticed that his perfect hair was coming loose with his movements and felt my gut tense. “I don't even know how to explain it. Rank E, then D, then C, B, A... and then that stupid fucking 'S' ranking. What the hell?”

“Yeah,” I said calmly, “I always thought that was weird.”

The guy had gray eyes. I hated gray eyes. I could see his face contort just a bit. His eyes were no longer flickering.

“Look at this place!” The man threw his arm again, apparently to indicate the bedroom. I was well aware that Heero's house was damn nice – and pretty damn big. But Heero had earned it. I felt anger begin bubbling under my skin. “That kid got an S rank just because he was one of them Gundam pilots-”

“Watch it, buddy,” I warned. “You're talking to a partner of his.”

The man's skin seemed to bulge, though I did see him still. Yeah, he stilled – a bit too much. “You're a Gundam brat, too?” He seemed to appraise me and find me lacking.

“Yeah. I am.”

He stepped forward. Yeah – definitely trying to intimidate. “So what?”

I gave him my best Shinigami smile. “So shut up about my friend. I may be half-dead, but I can still kick your sorry ass, no matter your ranking.” A vein popped, because his face suddenly turned into a tomato. “You know why we're 'S' rank, buddy? Because we were strong enough to take everyone else on and win. Got it?”

Ooh, he was steamed. His breath was short. His arms were shaking. Not his hands, his arms. “You stupid little-”

The bedroom door swung open. “Duo.”

I turned at the sound of Heero's voice. Heero immediately paused and looked around, taking in the information. His eyes – I saw them; I could watch them work – slitted to icy pinpricks as they turned on Mr. Mustache. “What the hell is going on here, Agent Krawley?”

Holy shit, it was the dead-freeze tone of a pissed-off Perfect Soldier. Krawley tripped over his own tongue. “Well, w-well, uh, n-nothing, sir.”

Those dark Prussian eyes never looked away from the man. Krawley fidgeted.

With a sigh, I let him off the hook. “Heero, what did you come in for?”

For another small moment those eyes pierced into Krawley's soul, but then Heero turned them to me and let them soften into nothing more than a business-like look. “He's gone. Apart from the 'needles' and the property damage, there's no sign he was ever here.”

I winced at the term 'property damage'. “Sorry about your house, Heero.”

Heero shrugged it off with a careless lift of his shoulder. “I don't care about the loss. It can be repaired.” Krawley seemed to take that news poorly. I saw him grit his teeth hard enough to crack them. “Are you all right?”

“Yeah, yeah, I'm fine.”

Heero gave me a look that told me he didn't think I'd managed much rest in the time while he was away. I tilted him a half-smile. With a shake of his head, Heero dismissed Krawley and walked toward the bed. I couldn't help but feel my nerves twist up. I was, after all, lying in his bed while he sauntered up. But all Heero did was sit down on the edge. “How do you feel?”

His voice was soft and warm. I knew now that he wasn't with Wufei, that it hadn't been anything romantic or long-lasting. But still, my desire to try was tempered by so many things – the timing, the chance of rejection. I thought about it, seriously thought about it for a moment. If I tried, something might happen. Greaves wouldn't go after Heero, I knew that, but Heero might do... something. So it all depended on Heero's reaction. Which was my one greatest fear – if I was rejected, what would I do?


I jerked myself out of my own thoughts. “Yeah, yeah, I'm fine, really. Just... you know, the usual burning sensations.”

Heero sighed. “In other words, you're in severe pain.”

“Not severe,” I argued. “Just enough that I can't really move comfortably.”

“Sounds severe to me.” The tone was too kind to be sarcastic. More like teasing.

“Heero. You may not have noticed this, but I haven't been able to move comfortably since our little interaction with Harlow.”

Heero's eyes clouded for a moment, but he still smiled when he nodded. “I know.” He turned around and stared at the door. “And just what had been going on with him?”

“Oh, that bastard.” I carefully shrugged with only my good shoulder. “Yeah, well it turns out he doesn't hold you or other Gundam pilots in high regard.”

“He insulted me?” Something in Heero's tone warned me before he even turned to look back at me. Somehow the wide, somewhat obnoxious grin wasn't a surprise to me. “And you...?”

Okay. I blushed. “Fine, yeah, I got your back.”

“Duo, you are just full of... what did Chang call it? Warm fuzzies. You are full of warm fuzzies today.”

I glared at him, but apparently one look at my tomato-red, distempered face was enough to make Heero Yuy burst out laughing. I think I managed to maintain my glare for another two seconds. “He dissed you,” I muttered petulantly.

Heero's mirth died down to chuckles. He managed to get out a short, “thank you,” before needing to focus on shutting up.

“So what now?” I asked him, not waiting for him to get his breath back. Laugh at me, will you. Take that.

Heero had to clear his throat, but it didn't clean the grin plastered all over his damn face. “We'll wait for Wufei. He should be back soon.”

I nodded. “Greaves really won't take you guys out... not unless you get in the direct way of his mission.”

“Well, if his mission is to kill you, then you're damn right we won't let him get his way.”

I winced. I'd been afraid of that. “Heero, I don't want you and Wufei taking this guy on. Especially since I can't do anything. I'll be more useless than... than Relena!”

Heero cocked an eyebrow.

“Well,” I said defensively, “you have to admit that she'd absolutely useless on the battlefield.”

Heero's lips twitched. “Be that as it may, she's very good at keeping peace.”

I wasn't fond of her, dammit. Admitting she was good at something hurt me physically. Then again, wasn't she one of the two who managed to bring Heero out of his shell? Not, I was painfully reminded, me. “Yeah, I know,” I grumbled.

Heero was silent for a moment, contemplating my response. Those eyes were delving into my soul again. They had a bad habit of doing that. “You know, you never seemed to like her much.”

How to explain? “Yeah, well, she was a pain throughout... hell, isn't she still? I heard she was kidnapped just over a year ago.”

Heero's lips twitched again. “Yes. Wufei and I were the ones to retrieve her, actually.”

I groaned out loud. “Please God tell me that she didn't glomp you.”

“Glomp me?” Heero echoed.

But Wufei's chuckle entered the room just as the door twisted open. “Maxwell,” he gasped mockingly, “how did you know?”

I groaned again.

“Glomp?” Heero turned to his partner for an answer.

“Jumped into your arms and hugged you,” Wufei explained. He turned to me. “But they're just friends now. Heero's informed her of that.”

I lifted a brow, turning to Wufei. He was the one most likely to explain things. “Just friends?”

“She wanted more,” he clarified.

Heero's face fell into his hand. “Chang,” he warned.

Wufei just shrugged. “Well, it's true. Heero had to kindly inform Her Highness that he wasn't interested, nor would – or could – he ever be.”

I think Heero and I blushed at the same time. I turned my face to concentrate on the comforter – a nice geometric pattern of primary colors, greens and purples. It suited him somehow. Amidst the pattern, though, was a loose thread. I picked at it. “So, uh, the plan?”

Wufei didn't manage to fully swallow back his chuckle in time. “Yes. Heero, any suggestions?”

I didn't look up to be sure, but I still knew without a doubt that Wufei was smirking. “Um...” Heero cleared his throat again. “Yes. We can't stay here and just wait. He knows the perimeter already.”

“Not to mention the property damage,” I croaked out. So Heero was definitely gay, one hundred percent gay. That was... illuminating.

Heero sighed. “That's not exactly the most important aspect of all this.”

I managed to give a quick look.

This time his sigh was accompanied by a hand snaking through his hair. “Fine, fine. Expenses aside, though, we need to inform Trowa of the situation.”

I winced.

“Sorry, Duo, but it can't be helped.” Heero's eyes showed sincere apology.

“No, no, it's fine. You need to protect Quatre.” I hesitated. “And Trowa, of course.”

Wufei hummed an affirmative. “After they're informed, they can be ready. I doubt they'll be targeted, though, if what you're saying holds up.”

I couldn't help but agree. Quatre and Trowa weren't the targets. Neither were Heero or Wufei. I looked at them, at their determined faces. They were ready to throw themselves into an impossible situation in order to make things easier on me, to try to save me from Greaves.

I couldn't, absolutely couldn't, let them get hurt.

“So we have them taken care of,” I spoke aloud. “It's getting dark – an opportune time for him to return.”

“He'll come back that quickly?” Suddenly Heero's attention was sharper.

“If he believes we've become lax, then yes. But he knows I know his secrets. He'll be more careful than usual. He's sent out the warning to me and the one to you. The only thing he's waiting for is the right moment.” Not quite true. He was waiting for me to make my inevitable decision and await the time. He had respect for me – that meant he was waiting for a fair fight.

“We won't let him have it,” Heero said coldly.

I nodded. Yes, that was the very problem. “As soon as he understands that, he'll target you, as well.”

“We'll be ready, Maxwell. Don't worry about us.”

A stupid thing for Wufei to ask. He had to know – my worry for him and Heero and Quatre and even Trowa had never abated. I didn't bother to reply – he knew very well that I wouldn't agree with his words. Instead I continued on. “Once he's started targeting all three of us, we'll gain an edge. He'll be divided. He works on quick and silent kills. Usually a needle to the neck, maybe two.”

“Efficient,” Wufei murmured.

“But once he's trying to get three people, he'll need to either be damn fast or damn patient,” Heero finished for me. “Because killing three people when they're in the same room together would be difficult at best.”

“That's right. But I've seen him take down five at once – bam bam bam bam bam. Just like that. So at least one of us would need to be in a position where it would be hard for him to take us out.”

Wufei nodded. “Still there, but not a quick and easy kill.”

“Exactly.” I nodded. “He'll be waiting for a perfect moment to strike.”

“All right, then. Back to watches.” Wufei sighed. “I'll take the first one.”

Heero nodded. “We shouldn't leave someone alone in a room.”

I looked around. “Well, this one's as good as any. If we keep the shutters drawn and the lights off, he should be thwarted for at least a short while. He doesn't like too much technology. At least not from everything I've looked up about him.”

“All right.” Heero stood, moving to the window without fear. I watched him carefully. “Duo, you need to get some rest. I want you to take the bed. I'll have the floor.”

I put up a token protest, but I needed him on the floor. I nodded finally and huffed. “Fine.”


Three hours later, my watch came up. I was armed with a gun by Wufei and stood from the bed. I leaned against the wall for a few minutes, giving Wufei time. Then I grabbed up the notepad by Heero's bed, carefully clicking the pen's point out. With a quick sweep of my hand, my message was left plain on the paper, black as my own sins.

I placed them silently back down on the nightstand and moved to the door. I had to pause, had to turn around. Heero's face was calm in sleep, his mouth neither frowning or smiling. He laid on his back, waiting for a noise to wake him up. But he was listening for the wrong noises.

I made myself turn away, made myself open the door and leave, closing it carefully behind me. It was simple from there to slip out of the house. Greaves was there before me, his hair dark as the night, his eyes a golden brown. His nose, tilted at a slight angle due to a break earlier in life, threw shadows on his face. But I could still see the scars that traced down what had once been a stunningly beautiful frame.

“Strike,” he murmured.

“Greaves,” I greeted.

“Come with me.” He turned away, letting me follow behind him. He knew I wouldn't shoot him in the back. Because I was honorable, and so was he.

I didn't let myself look back. I'd made a promise. There was no reason for me to mourn. No reason for me to linger.

When Heero woke up for his shift, he would find me gone. Eventually – maybe immediately – he would see my message. I hoped he would understand.

He'd made us all a promise that last instant before he shot the Libra. “I will not die!”

In return, I gave Heero my own little promise:

I will return.

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Every story unless otherwise claimed is Kayura's, and is copyrighted 2006 under her name.