Lies - Between Friends and Lovers
by Dyna Dee
"Are you sure you won't come home with me? You know you're more than welcome to stay as long as you'd like," Trowa asked, glancing at the Chinese agent standing in the open hatch of the Preventer shuttle.
"Maybe another time," Wufei replied, unsmiling. "I received a message informing me Heero was here on L4 while we were gone, but that he's now on his way to L1. He's going to investigate businesses that might provide any type of materials that would be used to construct a new space cruiser with stealth capabilities."
"L1 seems like as logical place to start as any," the auburn haired man said looking thoughtful. Many of the parts and equipment for their gundams have come through Heero's home colony. "Are you going to meet him there?"
Wufei took a moment to consider his answer before saying, "I'm not really sure. I've half a mind to return to earth and speak with Une personally about my report. I'm sure she'll have some questions to ask about our visit to L2. Give my regards to Quatre, won't you? And thank you for accompanying me."
Trowa nodded in reply. "Let me know if you need backup again, especially in space. I don't like to be away from home for more than a couple of days, so my offer is rather limited."
"I understand." And though he really didn't, Wufei felt a twinge of jealousy of the love and devotion that Trowa and Quatre openly displayed. He could only hope that one day he too might find someone he could share such a relationship with.
Having said their goodbyes the two friends parted once again. Wufei retreated into the ship while Trowa made his way out of the building. Anticipating the welcome his lover would give him on his return, the auburn-haired man lengthened his stride as he made his way home.
The night cycle had only just begun as the two lovers lay naked and entwined with only a sheet and a thin blanket partially covering their cooling, slightly damp bodies.
"I missed you," Quatre said before kissing his lover's chest. He then nestled his head onto Trowa's shoulder.
Trowa hummed softly. "Missed you, too," he replied, sounding both content and sleepy.
The palm of Quatre's hand moved over his lover's chest, brushing lightly against the soft, warm flesh, toying without thinking with the dusky pink nipples, still slightly puckered from their passionate love making. "When will you have to leave again?"
"I'll have to check the schedule," Trowa replied, and then with a touch of regret in his voice he added, "You know I don't like to be away from you, but I'll do whatever is necessary to protect you and keep safe what we have together."
"I'm sorry things are so complicated."
"Shh." Trowa put his finger against his lover's lips. "We asked for some of these complications when we took on this project, knowing that it would disrupt our lives."
"You're right," the blond sighed. "Though I calculated the risks and understood the sacrifices, I wasn't really prepared for your being away so often. When all of this is over, promise me that we'll go away for a while, far from all of the risks and demands on us. Just you and me, Trowa, all right?"
"Anything you want, love." Trowa said as he kissed the top of the blond head and fervently wished for a more normal life in the future.
"Tell me about your trip. How did you find the conditions on L2?"
"Not good, though not as bad as it could have been. The people are barely hanging on. The government supplies are still not enough, despite the diminishing population."
"How long can this go on? Will the UEC not be satisfied until every last person on that colony is dead?"
Trowa sighed. "I don't know what the UEC hopes to achieve by this, but I honestly believe the recent steps we've taken will ensure that the people of Earth and the colonies will know exactly what's happening on L2. The blockade won't last much longer past that disclosure, but there may be an added complication."
Quatre lifted his head off of the warm shoulder to look at Trowa's face. "What do you mean?"
"I saw Relena there and, more importantly, she saw me."
Quatre rose up to look down onto Trowa's face. His own expression was solemn as he contemplated the news. "Did she recognize you?"
"I think so. I heard a woman call out just as I was about to enter the shuttle port. I turned back around and saw her running after me."
"What did you do?"
"I turned and walked away just as she was grabbed by someone I assumed was a Guardian."
A long pause followed Trowa's answer, then Quatre came to a decision as evidenced by his firm voice, "You'll deny recognizing her if you're questioned about it. It will be her word against yours."
A chuckle rumbled in Trowa's chest. "Don't you think her word might count over mine?"
"Was she easily recognizable?"
"No. She looked pretty much like the other L2 citizens, though even from a distance she appeared to be in better health. Hunger hasn't taken its toll on her yet."
Quatre took a deep breath, the uttered, "And if luck is on her side and she uses her better judgment, which I know she is more than capable of, she won't suffer too much longer."
Having said that, Quatre lowered himself back down and he resettled himself along Trowa's side, his head moving back to its resting place on his shoulder. His fingers returned to toying with his lover's chest. "Where did Wufei go? To meet Heero?"
Stroking the blond's bare should Trowa answered, "I'm not exactly sure. He mentioned something about reporting to Director Une in person as soon as possible, but he didn't say specifically where he was headed. He looked like he was preparing to leave the colony immediately after dropping me off, or that's what he led me to believe he was going to do. He did mentioned something about Heero going to L1, but didn't say that was where he was headed. For all I know he could still be docked at the space port."
"Do you think he suspects anything?"
"No, I don't think so. His mind is preoccupied with what he observed on L2. He's finally questioning the UEC's actions. I don't believe he's thinking of the marauders as merely law breakers any longer, though he'll no doubt arrest anyone he suspects of being one if he stumbles onto them. In his investigation"
Quatre's hand paused. "It worries me that both he and Heero are in space, working together on this case."
"They're a serious threat separately, but together it's only a matter of time before they learn something."
Not wanting to dwell on what would happen should either their friends discover their link to the "marauders", Quatre changed the subject. "What was Wufei's impression of L2?"
Trowa moved his hand to combed his fingers through hair as soft as silk, loving the feel of the flaxen stands sliding between his fingertips. "He was justifiably outraged and typed a scathing report regarding the UEC's actions. I believe he intends to make someone answerable for the atrocities he witnessed on the colony. Without him realizing it, we may have unwittingly gotten our cause a vocal and fierce spokesman. Wufei is single minded when he believes justice has been circumvented."
"L2 needs all the supporters it can get," Quatre answered, then sighed deeply, his warm breath ghosting across his lover's chest.
After a long moment of quiet contemplation had passed, he spoke again. "Duo came by while you were gone."
The hand gently combing through his hair suddenly halted. "How is he?"
"Falling hard and fast for Heero all over again."
"That could be a problem as well."
"He's being cautious, with both his heart and his secrets. We can trust him, I think, to handle Heero."
"He couldn't handle him before." Trowa commented, his voice gaining a sharp edge to it as he continued. "But if Heero raises a finger to Duo, intentionally or not hurting him in any way, I will see to it that he never gets the chance to do it again."
Quatre's hand stopped moving altogether after hearing his lover's threat. Trowa never threatened to do something without meaning to follow through. There was no doubt in his mind that the man he loved with all his heart would kill Heero if he felt the other man deserved it, and no one would be the wiser if he did. While the former teenage gundam pilots all had their share of killing, both their enemies and occasionally an innocent civilian bystander, Trowa, the uncanny infiltrator of the group, had perfected the skills that would enable him to take down the enemy in one fell swoop without leaving a clue as to who had done the deed. The green eyed man had promised his lover that he would only resurrect and utilize those deadly skills if their lives were in danger. Duo, being their closest friend, was also covered by the promise of Trowa's protection.
Duo was like a brother to the both of them, especially after they'd taken him home and cared for him after his fight with Heero. Dealing with their physically and emotionally battered friend brought Trowa's protective instincts to the surface. Quatre was beginning to think that in light of Trowa's threat, it might be wise to speak with Heero once more, before he became more involved with Duo. For the moment, though, he needed to sooth Trowa's worries.
"For some time now, I've sensed that Duo had been lonely. I honestly don't believe he's ever really gotten over Heero." The fingers in Quatre's hair began to comb though it once again. Sensing his lover was relaxing once again, the blond continued. "From the conversation I had with Heero, I don't think he got over Duo, either." He sighed then, wishing for what seemed the impossible. "I just want them both to be happy. Duo needs someone he can look up to, someone strong, someone who knows all about his past and yet can still love him."
Haunted by his own ghosts and a past rife with mistakes both large and small, Quatre made sure at the onset of their relationship that Trowa knew all about his regrets, his sorrows and the darkness that sometimes threatened to overwhelm his normal functioning. It was a testament to how much Trowa loved him that and he saw beyond his less attractive faults. Despite all of that their relationship thrived, and their lives were entwined just as much as their bodies were at the moment. They were both flawed men in many ways, but they were also a perfect match for each other. Hugging Trowa a bit tighter, he brought his knee up, brushing against his lover's groin, feeling a renewed interest from that lovely male organ.
In a swift and sudden movement, Quatre shifted, sliding over his lover's body to straddle the flat and firm stomach, his knees resting against Trowa's sides. He looked down on the beautiful and slightly amused face that he could easily gaze at for hours on end. Lowering his upper body, he claimed Trowa's mouth in a searing kiss, showing the other man how much he needed, desired and loved him.
Familiar, talented hands kneaded his bottom as the kiss continued and tongues melded together. He broke the kiss when the need for air became too much to ignore, but instead of sitting up, he latched onto Trowa's neck, nipping his way down it to the base where he began to suck, purposely marking his lover as his own. The hips beneath him bucked slightly, telling him that Trowa was once again ready to move onto the next step. All Quatre's worries about Heero, Duo and Wufei evaporated as he joined his body with the man he loved, and for a second time that afternoon they expressed without words their love and commitment for one another.
Having already run a preliminary investigation on the shuttle to L1, Heero was still not certain about what he was looking for. From his research, he'd learned about the different types and amounts of metal needed to build a space shuttle as well as the wiring and specific computer components necessary. What he didn't know was what materials were needed to assemble a stealth system.
He'd only had a quick look at one such system during the war, in the cockpit of Duo's Deathscythe. Howard and his braided sidekick had jealously hidden the system and technology behind it, saying that one day their fortunes would be made from selling such a system to the military, if their side won the war, of course. Even that one glimpse came by happenstance. He'd surprised his new lover with his unexpected arrival in the cockpit of the black gundam. Duo happened to be working on the system, normally hidden under the pilot's chair. The braided teen had quickly lowered the custom pilot seat and then proceeded to distract him from his questions about the system in a most pleasant manner.
A shiver of pleasure rippled through his body at the memory of that day, and Heero shook his head. How had he managed to be thinking about work and find himself lost in a memory of Duo? He had to admit, if only to himself, that his renewed desire for the American was as strong as it had been during the war, and he knew of only one way to sate those desires. But that solution was best left for another day. He couldn't let thoughts of Duo distract him from the task at hand.
He spent his first full day on L1 visiting legitimate businesses, interview the managers or owners, probing into their sales history, looking for customers who had purchased large amounts of the materials on his list, four, possibly five years ago. He wore his uniform and flashed his Preventer badge in order to show those he talked with that his investigation was legitimate. Even so, he found the owners reluctant to divulge any information without a proper court order. He emailed a request for a search and seizure order, stating a strong suspicion that the owner of the largest metal supply company on L1 might be in collusion with the marauders.
Wufei contacted him later that night, after he'd returned to his hotel room for some sleep. The Chinese man surprised him with news that he was on his way to Earth to give an oral report to the director and insisting he receive an answer to his concerns. After reading his disturbing account of conditions on L2, Heero agreed that Wufei would make a greater impression on the powers that be by delivering his eyewitness accounts in person. They spoke of Heero's current investigation and Wufei, believing him to be on the right track, suggested he would return to space as soon as he could to help with questioning ship builders and suppliers of materials needed to build a state-of-the -art shuttle. Someone in that trade had to know or had to have heard some rumor about a shuttle with cloaking abilities being built. All they needed was a name or place, and they'd have a chance at cracking the case.
After they'd finished speaking, Heero, as he did at least three times a day, called and spoke with Milliardo Peacecraft and received the disappointing news that there still had been no word or further developments in Relena's kidnaping case. Feeling somewhat deflated by the continued lack of progress in both cases, he retired to his bed, even though he knew at some level that sleep would fail to find him. His mind went over and over the events of the past few weeks, which further prevented him from relaxing and enough to allow sleep to come.
No sooner had his eyes closed than his thoughts turned to Duo once more. Once again he envisioned the other man as he'd appeared the day they'd questioned him in his apartment Damn, but he had been appealing, in every way possible. He also recalled the portrait on Duo's living room wall, a picture that would remain in his thoughts for a long time to come.
Dwelling on those pleasant mental images, and imagining a few more, including his reaching out and exploring every inch of that perfect male body, quickly brought him out of his bed and into the shower. When he emerged ten minutes later, he finally felt tired enough to successfully fall asleep.
Heero spent next morning in his hotel room awaiting word of the requested warrant for search and seizure. Director Une had contacted him just after noon, L1 time, and reported that his request for the warrant had been denied. The reason? No viable probability. Unless he had evidence, even circumstantial evidence that the named business was in league with the marauders, there would be no forthcoming search warrant. Of course he had no evidence, just a hunch, and not a strong one at that.
After receiving that bit of news, he changed into his street clothes and walked down to the docks where the space freighters unloaded their cargo. He stopped a few men, stevedores by the look of them, just finishing work for the day, and inquired about any contact with Sweeper ships, if they'd heard of a captain Howard.
Of course all the men had heard of Howard the Sweeper; his role in the first war was legendary among that group as well as other space freighter crews. Astonishingly, even though they all knew of Howard, no one admitted to having seen nor heard word of the man in well over a year. Was that possible? Howard could be elusive when he wanted to, but to disappear for well over a year without any one noticing seemed highly improbable.
His questions began to mount. Where would the brilliant aerospace engineer have gone? What was he up to? Despite the eccentric man's loud Hawaiian shirts and casual style, he doubted Howard had retired to a deserted island to live out his days in quiet anonymity.
His mind immediately began to think of possibilities. What if Howard did build a stealth system for the marauders? It wasn't outside the realm of possibility. The man had built Tallgeese, had engineered Deathscythe and probably had something to do with all of the gundams, including the plans for Wing Zero that Quatre built in his lab on L4.
With Wufei's report suggesting the marauders were supplying food and necessities to the starving citizens of L2, it wasn't hard to imagine the good hearted Howard would volunteer his expertise to help the downtrodden. After all, he'd befriended the stowaway kid from L2 and took care of him until Professor G took over Duo's training.
Yet back then, Howard had received funding from the colonies to develop and build the war machines he called gundams. It had been a very costly operation. If he was indeed involved with the marauders, who would be bold or rich enough to be his financial backer?
Returning to the hotel room with all of this on his mind, he began making a list of known philanthropists, focusing on those living in space. The information was surprisingly easy to come by on the internet and the list, when completed, was relatively short, no more than three individuals from each colony with the exception of L4, where anyone from the large and wealthy Winner family had enough money alone to fund the building of a colony. Building a shuttle, or even just a stealth system, would be little more than spare change in their bank accounts.
He frowned at seeing his friends' names on the list, though it really wasn't a surprise that Quatre and Trowa were there. It was well known on earth as well as the colonies that the role of philanthropists described the two men very well. Trowa supported Quatre in whatever venture caught his attention, especially when knowing that the softhearted blond hated to see others suffering. Their joint, yearly donations to charities could easily fund a small country or colony for several months. Heero quickly dismissed the two men from the list as possible supporters for the space pirates. He would have been able to tell if they were involved, wouldn't he?
That very question came back to him several times during the next couple of days. Finally, after hitting one dead end after another, he booked a morning flight back to L4, hoping to have another conversation with his friends.