Disclaimer: Gundam Wing, shockingly, horrifyingly, belongs to someone else.
Heero and I hadn't gotten to working on figuring out who the mystery info-sender was, but we
had a legitimate excuse: we were emotionally exhausted. More, I didn't want to deal with watching Heero working on his computer
again the bare night after realizing that he looked sexy while doing it. Not a good idea. Especially not in the state I'd
already been in.
Which was entirely Heero's fucking fault.
Who could possibly concentrate after being kissed like that? It wasn't fair. The kiss had been
hard, demanding, almost fucking desperate. I'd been lost as soon as our lips met.
Not shockingly, I had a cold shower again. It was becoming a fucking habit.
I checked my e-mail and found two separate letters from Une waiting for me. The first thanked
me for the update. The second one cussed me out.
'If you're going to be so stupid as to buff and prime your fucking ship, which is being paid
to stock in dock by my company's money, the least you can do is leave my goddamn subordinate a note. You are in the middle
of an investigation. Why don't you finish that before you give me any more fucking trouble?'
I bit my lip.
'Language,' I wrote. Then, 'and I did leave a note. Your subordinate needs a psych eval.'
I sent it and wondered if she'd relay the joke to Heero. Probably not. Lord forbid someone find
out she had a sense of humor.
I considered returning to my Wing just for fuck's sake more than the need to paint, but I let
the idea drop and exited my e-mail. She had one small thing right; I was in the middle of an investigation. Telling Heero
what I was doing didn't mean he was suddenly a part of said investigation.
More importantly, if I finished this before Heero returned, then I wouldn't have to watch him
typing anymore. Thank God.
With that beautiful incentive, I hacked my way back into Une's system and started searching
through, trying to finish what Heero and I had started the day before yesterday.
With only three left, it didn't take nearly as long as it would have if we'd done it from the
beginning. I sat back and stared at the screen for a few moments. The pattern wasn't perfect. Matching a person typing something
familiar with something unfamiliar could never be perfect. Hell, even when typing in the same thing day after day, a person
will type the same thing slightly differently every single time, and there was no guarantee that they wouldn't mess up even
the simplest of words.
Of course, one had to remember that hacking into Heero's password, figuring out what it was,
required an extreme amount of skill. Hell, if Heero hadn't gotten in touch with anyone in the department, it took an extremely
intelligent person to figure out the information to send in.
Taking all of that into account, it really only made sense that the information
had been sent in by Zechs Merquise.
I took a deep breath. I had a huge prejudice against the guy.
He'd shown up constantly, always in our way. And when he did show up, it was
always for some frivolous battle against Heero. A battle that never had a point. He fought Heero not because they were enemies
but because he wanted to see who was stronger. Such a child-like reason to want to kill.
Worse, so much worse, was the fact that I loved Heero Yuy. Even back during the war, I was fucking hot for him. Which meant that I despised Zechs
with a fervor that bordered on ridiculous. I'd specifically ordered Une that my working with her meant not ever having to
acknowledge Zechs' existence on her payroll.
That, of course, was not to say that I was against the very large amount
of men on her payroll that had also worked under Oz, that had fought against us during the war. The war was over. I had no
more reason to want them dead.
Oh, but Zechs... oh, yes. I definitely wanted him dead.
I had to leave the computer. I paced the room for a minute, raked my hand
through my hair in a habit one hundred percent stolen from Heero. I could never be definitely certain that it was him. And
Lord knew the weasel knew how to squeeze out of tight spots. Still, everything pointed to him. The key matching didn't add
up for the Rick guy whatsoever, and Costello was a great fighter, but checking out his skills, he didn't seem the type to
figure out Heero's password. Or even how to fully work Word Document. He probably had to save by going up to the File folder.
Yeah. Probably not him.
I sat back down and stared long and hard at that screen. Une was not going
to be pleased.
Okay. I typed in my final report, making sure she understood that it was
all more speculation than hard evidence, and sent it out. I didn't wait for a report, just shut myself out of the Preventors'
system. While I was at it, I sent a second message informing the woman of a weakness in her program. Finally, finally done,
I turned off my computer and pushed away from it once again.
Zechs Merquise. Even though I hated the rat bastard, I had to admit that
it didn't seem right. The guy was a prick, but he fucking worked for Une. Why would he toss that?
Zechs. Zechs! Of all people! I had a fucking grudge against him! There was
no way I could be put on the case, even if I was in perfect health. I was definitely biased. I wouldn't be able to think straight.
Hell. I already couldn't.
If he'd known... if he'd fucking known what was going on with
Caribol, with Heero, with everything, why the fuck did he just send it a hidden
folder and let the entire thing go? Did he know Heero was underground? Or did he think Heero had been defeated? If he'd thought
the latter, did he figure that Heero's defeat made the man not worth any real effort?
Just thinking about the guy made me absolutely furious. I was ready to rip
out my hair. Or his. Fucking pretty boy.
I stopped between the living room and kitchen and leaned heavily
against the wall. Zechs Merquise. What if he'd known? He could have told me. He could have told Une. If he had, maybe I wouldn't have...
I squeezed my eyes shut. No. I wanted to put the blame on him, to say it
was Zechs' fault that I shot the man I loved. That I had intended to kill him. But in reality, it was my blame to carry.
Hell. Heero would dislike me thinking like this.
I sank to the floor, right there where I stood. But it was my fault. The information, even if we'd seen it before making that final bust, it wouldn't have
changed anything. I still would have gone up to that roof. I still would have fought Heero. And in the end, when that opening
arrived, I still would have jumped right in.
I'd had such a righteous fury. Such a gung-ho belief that what I'd been
doing was right. Just like in the war – all the killing, the death, the carnage. I'd foolishly believed that I was saving
children from becoming orphans. Stopping more kids from fighting and running on the streets, stealing, putting their lives
on the line simply for a scrap of food. I'd truly believed that I was helping people.
“How many more lives,” I moaned, “am I going to have to
destroy before I learn?”
“I'll take care of you,” a voice murmured, and I jumped up.
It was not Heero.
As I turned, I saw a body run behind me. I ducked to the ground, twisted,
pushed away, all in one short movement. The man didn't come after me, however; I caught a glimpse of a blue shirt before the
man hopped out of Heero's kitchen window, shattering the thing into million pieces. The man was gone.
My heart beat twice its speed. The man had somehow gotten into the house
– or had he been here the whole time? - and snuck up right behind me without my knowing. If the man had wanted to do
something to me, he probably could have done it.
My hand trembled when it pushed my bangs back, and my eyes caught on a little
slip of paper and a balm holding it down.
For your hands.
The man had come in to
leave a note and balm for my hands. I felt panic in my blood for the first time since the roof. “Shit.”
This guy most definitely
was not normal. I was in serious danger.
I struggled to get my mind
under control again. My mind shifted and whirred with the effort. Phone. I needed to get to a phone. I had no fucking clue
why the man had decided to talk to me, to come up behind me just to run away, but I couldn't take the time to worry about
that yet. Not yet.
It was ridiculous how hyped
on adrenaline I was. I was ready to rip apart Heero's table just to take one of its legs. Quick weapon. I changed the plan
a little, backtracked and grabbed a lamp.
Lampshade gone and post
in hand, I re-entered the kitchen and snatched up the phone. It didn't take long to get in touch with Une.
“Strike. I got your
“Get me Heero. Please,”
The tenseness in my voice
must have tipped her off, because she did exactly as I said without question or complaint. I scanned my eyes around the house
and wished I had someone at my back. He'd gotten in, completely under my senses, under my radar. Even if I was ready for him
now, the very fact that I needed to be on hyper-alert made me afraid.
Heero was already panicked.
I didn't know if it was because Une had said something extra to him or if it was because I wasn't quite in the habit of calling
him at work.
“Yeah, uh, Heero?
Your window's broken.”
“What?” I heard
a chair scooting across tile. “What happened? I'm coming back.”
I didn't argue, and I think
that more than anything got Heero moving.
“Yuy? What's happened?”
“I don't know. I'm
going to the house. Stay here.”
“Fuck no. I'm coming
“So are you, asshole.”
I listened to the repartee,
all the while humming with tension and stress. Finally I couldn't take it anymore. “Could you just hurry? I'm a little
“Tell me what happened,”
“Can't. I need to
Now the tension
was coming to me from Heero's
side of the line. “Duo. Basics?”
were right, and I'll never question you again. He was quiet, Heero. He was fucking behind me, right behind me, and I didn't even feel it.”
I heard absolutely nothing
from Heero's side. Then, finally, “we'll be there in five. Maybe less.”
Speeding. Possible accident.
I didn't argue. “Just hurry.”
“Wufei, get Une.
Notify her that we have a perp outside my house.”
groused, but I knew he'd already be pulling out his phone.
“Duo, I need you
to stay on the line.”
“I'm going to speaker.”
“Gotcha. Une, there's
a perp outside Yuy's house. We're backing Strike up. Out. She's going to kill me for that.”
“Yeah. Go ahead,
the phone onto speaker and set it aside. A part of me was trying to think like him. A guy who went after an ex-Gundam pilot,
one who wrote psycho-dude love letters and broke into a house to leave some balm and inform said ex-Gundam pilot that he would
'take care' of him. I breathed deeply. My best guess? He wanted to see me. He wanted to get close to me, to let me know he was close.
But did that mean he was
gone for the day?
It was quiet outside, the
birds twittering only from a fair distance. A car passed on the road, and then silence returned, broken only by the wind.
I strained my ears, but I couldn't hear anything.
Then again, I hadn't heard
anything when he'd arrived, either. I was in serious shit.
My eyes scanned everywhere,
behind me, in front. I was concerned about leaving my post; I had nothing but a lamp post. Going up against a potentially
armed enemy with nothing but a lamp post was bad enough, but this man was dangerous. I needed as even a ground as possible.
What did he
want with me? What was he after? Why the fuck would he come in and then just leave?
It made no sense. He's said he was coming to save me. Didn't that mean taking
me away somewhere? Or... did he mean something more ominous?
“Hey, you out there?”
I called. Was he there? Was he listening? My guess said yes. If that was the case, then he was staying somewhere close enough
to hear me, or at least somewhere where he could read my lips.
“If you're out there,”
I continued, “listen to me. I've seen enough killing, okay? I don't want any deaths. Not for me, not for anybody. Okay?
Got it? No deaths.” I wondered belatedly just what Heero and Wufei were making of this.
I didn't get a response,
but I really wasn't expecting one. A random part of me wanted to say, 'except Merquise! Do what you want with him!' But I
just might regret that after I saw the guy's rotting corpse. Maybe. I kept my mouth shut.
This was dangerous.
Then I heard a car pull
up and felt a bastard mix of elation and terror. I turned to him, allowed my back to the kitchen window so that I could watch
for Heero. No one went near the car. I watched as they both got out and closed their doors and proceeded to check out the
I didn't calm down until
Heero finally said, “all clear,” his voice crackling like thunder through the silent room, and I sagged down onto
the couch. Heero and Wufei were there in less than another minute.
gasped, pacing toward me and holstering his weapon. He knelt in front of me and pulled me into his arms. “Thank God.
lamp post dropped from my fingers. When my arms wrapped around Heero, they clutched him tight around his shoulder blades.
“Thanks for coming.”
Wufei cleared his throat
and looked around the room. “Looks like your house is going to need even more renovating.”
“Shut up, Wufei,”
Heero growled, not bothering to move. “Are you all right?”
piped up before I could speak.
It shocked a little laugh
out of me. “Yeah. Just... freaked.”
“You said he got
behind you?” Wufei asked. “Without you noticing? How close?”
“Uh, I felt his breath
on my neck?”
“How could that be?”
Wufei came to stand behind Heero, and with that Heero gave a hard sigh and released me from his hold, keeping one hand around
me as he sat next to me on the couch. As he sat, he pulled his gun out with a quick motion, leaving it sitting idly on his
lap. “We're Gundam pilots, supposed to be the best in the world. We took out Caliban's horde of cyborgs. Who the hell
else is there to beat us?”
I shook my head. “You're
asking the wrong person. He jumped out the window before I could get a good look at him. He was wearing a blue shirt. That's
all I got for you, officers.”
Wufei rolled his eyes,
but Heero pointedly looked at my hand. Now that the immediate crisis was over, reaction was setting in, and my hand was shaking
pretty badly. Wufei caught the look and cleared his throat. “Plan?”
Well, I sure as hell hadn't
made one. “Nothing from my end,” I sighed. “God, I think I'm getting old or something. My back hurts.”
Heero shot me a concerned
glance, and I realized that my back hurt so bad because I'd stressed the recovering muscles.
“Oops.” I sent
him a smile. “My bad?”
“No, I don't think
so.” I rolled a shoulder, testing. “No. Just sore.”
“We should see the
doctor,” Heero started, but Wufei snorted.
“No, Yuy, we should
not.” But before Wufei could continue, his phone rang. He pulled it out of his pocket and winced.
“Ran out of time?”
is your fault, Yuy.”
Heero just grinned.
I could hear Une's voice
loud and clear over the line; Wufei had to pull the thing away from his ear. “I've waited an hour. Now, do you want
to tell me just what the hell is going on over there? Why can't you boys go a week without getting in some sort of trouble?”
“We don't ask for
it,” I called.
Wufei just sighed and put the thing on speaker, officially giving up. Heero took the chance to grab the phone I'd left on
the nightstand and ended the call. “What the hell is going on out there? I was in the middle of reading your final report
Heero broke her off and stared at me. “It's finished?”
I looked away, back to
the phone in Wufei's hand. “Yeah, I kinda didn't want it to go public. I wasn't exactly taking it seriously.”
I could fucking hear it. “Didn't take what seriously?”
I took a deep breath. “Well...”