by Dev-Aki Basaa
"Are you sure this room is secure?"
Heero watched Zechs pace the room's length, his hands clasped behind his back, his hair flying with each turn. After watching a few more passes, Heero returned to making sure the locale was indeed secure. They were in an old electronics storage area that Reth's group didn't appear to use. All the equipment looked as if it pre-dated the Alliance's fall to OZ. He could easily tell they were alone, and, with a tactile search under the ledges of abandoned computers and over the surface of monitors, there seemed to be no bugs or transmitters or even an intercom to the other rooms. Now for the final touch. Heero pulled a small, thick disc out of a pocket in his boot and began adjusting the settings. It beeped in error once and then again. He looked up, glaring at Zechs and his frantic movements, as restless now as Duo was perpetually. He snapped his fingers causing Zechs to stop, the fierce expression on his face relaxing. Heero made a sharp gesture to the mechanism in his palm and Zechs nodded and waited as he re-adjusted the settings and placed a motion sensor on the door, hyper-sensitizing it to the exterior of the room.
"Not completely secure, no, but its good enough for now," Heero finally answered. "Everyone's still distracted by the announcement, anyway."
"Goddamn, that announcement," Zechs threw his hands in the air and then fell eerily calm, his arms coming to rest at his sides. "And Reth, I can't believe..." but he cut off his own words. Heero sighed - he knew he could believe; he just didn't want to.
No time for lamentation. "Plan?"
Zechs eyes again flashed with the fire from earlier. "We leak the info. Reth set the hit for one of Relena's speeches at the Embassy auditorium. Makes sense, we would blend in easily and disperse to our stations." He let his next words hiss through his teeth. "I'll bet he's had that place staked for a long time."
Heero frowned, folding his arms across his chest. "What makes you think he'll even let you come? He's barely allowed you near him lately."
A look of certainty crossed Zechs face, his expression determined and resolved. "He will."
Heero opened his mouth to question that comment further, but stopped, letting it drop. Zechs seemed sure of himself enough to probably know what he was talking about and, when it came to Reth, he usually did.
With a sharp nod, Heero continued with business. "Fine, we leak. How? We're cut off - there isn't the computer access here as there had been at the old camp."
Zechs released a long breath, clasping his hands behind his back again. "Reth has a personal computer."
Heero shook his head. "I've been to his office, there's nothing there."
"It's in his inner chamber."
"Hn." Heero's stomach tightened. That would be tricky, getting into Reth's sleeping quarters, especially with how little Reth trusted him. There must be some other entrance - a duct or improper wall paneling...
"So, tell me how best to leak it. You write the message and tell me where to drop it. I'll need everything - site addresses, passwords. I'll have to memorize them," Zechs added, sounding like an afterthought.
Nani? "No," Heero shook his head again. "I'm better at stealth than you are, it should be me."
"I won't need stealth," Zechs answered, then hesitated before he continued. "He'll invite me in...to stay."
Heero drew a quick breath as realization hit him. He had been adamant that Zechs should have slept with Reth to stay on the inside of the organization; it was a simple sacrifice for the good of the mission, as far as he was concerned. But now, knowing how Zechs hadn't been able to bring himself to do it then, but chose to now, Heero suddenly felt like a complete ass.
Zechs shook his head. "Do it, Heero, and get it to me fast. We don't have much time. We'll talk more later."
He turned on his heel, disengaged the sensor and wrenched open the door with very simple, elegant movements. Heero watched him stride down the hall, before a blonde bang fell into his eye, obstructing his view. With a puff of air, he blew it out of the way, and looked again, but Zechs had disappeared. For the first time, Heero considered what this sacrifice would cost him, wondered what deep dark things haunted the former 'Lightening Count'. He didn't know much about Zechs' personal life - it wasn't any of his business (Duo made such things his business, but that was beside the point) - but he realized Zechs was dealing with more than just the leader of a mounting terrorist group; he was confronting his past.
Heero stood a moment longer, staring at the emptiness before leaving the room himself, accepting the task at hand and the restricted length of time to complete it.
"Watch out, will you, Maxwell!? I'm your trainer, not your enemy, remember?"
Duo let out a warning cry, took a step and swung his leg for another roundhouse. Wufei barely had a chance to raise his forearm between the flying foot and the side of his head. Wufei sputtered a bit, distracted, allowing Duo to pull a 'Heero', as he liked to call it. He swung his kicking leg down, landed on it and fell into a crouch, swinging his free leg into Wufei's legs, knocking him off balance. Wufei went down with a curse and Duo sprung up to stand over him, resting his fists on his hips, breathing heavy.
"Losing your touch, Wu-man?"
He put out his hand to help Wufei up only to have it slapped away. Duo laughed at that and jumped back, knowing Wufei hadn't given up yet. *He* sure as hell hadn't. Wufei didn't disappoint, the heel of his hand flying into Duo's face before he was even fully upright. Duo blocked it and then blocked the punch aimed for his gut. He kicked out with too much force and almost sent himself flying to the ground when his kick whisked through the air above a ducking Wufei. He tried to crouch and kick under Wufei again, but found himself tackled and flipped onto his back. He tossed Wufei off him and reached behind to push himself into a feet-first jump, but his head snapped back with searing pain. His hands flew to his scalp, tears stinging his eyes.
"This thing is an impediment," Wufei said from above. Duo looked up to see him flashing an evil grin, one foot pressed halfway down his braid.
Duo's mouth quirked. "Yeah, Heero used to say that too, until I used it to jerk him off."
Wufei's eyes grew wide, his mouth opening and shutting like a floundering fish, his color fading to a translucent white. Duo twisted his body and kicked Wufei in the back of the knees, sending him sprawling to the floor again. He gathered his braid and stuffed it into the back of his black tee as he leapt to his feet, Wufei following him up, circling him like prey.
"That's enough," Sally called from the edge of the room, scribbling notes on a clipboard. "Duo's more than passed the test, Wufei."
"One more moment so I can kill him!" Wufei continued to circle, his hands raised in defense, his brow creased in deep, ugly folds. Duo turned with him, his hands raised as well, crouched in waiting for his move.
He snickered as Sally approached them. "In your dreams, Wuffie."
Wufei launched himself forward only to let out an undignified squeak as his shirt yanked up and caught him at his throat. Duo couldn't have timed his taunt better. Sally had grabbed Wufei's collar just as he leapt forward and he now dangled from her grip looking like a kitten being carried by its mother.
"Put me down, woman!" Wufei jerked at his collar and Sally let go, shaking her head, mumbling something about what she had to put up with.
Duo laughed out loud, holding his aching side and gasping for breath.
"Woo...well, that's another test down."