Lies - Between Friends and Lovers
by Dyna Dee
Wufei delayed his departure to space for another 48 hours while he waited to see whether or not Une would take any action after reading his report. He had hoped that she would try to bring about a change in policy concerning conditions on L2, either publicly or within the peace-keeping organization. To his disappointment there had been nothing in the news nor within Preventer circles to indicate any action of that sort had been taken. He could only suppose that her superiors had ordered her to keep the contents of his report sealed, for reasons he would probably never learn. The only up side had been that he hadn't been formally reprimanded for his report nor demoted.
Feeling a mixture of anger and disappointment, he packed his bags, locked his apartment and once again took the short taxi ride to the spaceport. He contacted Quatre and Trowa on his way there to inform them that he would be returning to L4 and wondered if they would be willing to accommodate him. He was weary of sterile hotel rooms and eating alone in restaurants. His friends', together on the speaker phone, enthusiastically replied that he was always welcome to stay with them, and that someone would pick him up at the spaceport. Wufei ended the call wearing a smile and thinking how pleasant it was knowing that someone actually looked forward to his arrival with genuine enthusiasm.
The flight seemed to take longer than ever, with several fussing children on board airing their complaints about space travel rather loudly. He thought that everyone on board the ship must have been as relieved as he was when the shuttle finally docked on L4. A glance at his watch showed the time to be approximately two p.m., colony time. He collected his bag and proceeded to the front terminal, where he was surprised to be met by Quatre and not Trowa or one of their hired staff.
"Welcome back, Wufei. I'm so glad you asked to stay with us," Quatre said with a pleasant grin before giving the Preventer agent a warm embrace.
"I'm surprised that you could tear yourself away from your office in the middle of the day," Wufei said as he scanned the immediate area. "Where's Trowa?"
Taking his arm, Quatre led him out of the busy terminal as he answered. "He's working on a computer problem at the office. Unless it turns out to be quite serious, he should be finished in time to join us for a late dinner."
As they rode together in Quatre's white, rather stylish commuter car through the city and towards the large home he and Trowa shared, the blond glanced at him. "Trowa filled me in about what happened on L2, what the both of you observed. If you don't mind my asking, what was Director Une's reaction to your report?"
"I'm not sure she appreciated my candor, or laying blame on the UEC for the misery the blockade has caused the citizens of L2." He frowned as he recalled the conversation with the director. " She appeared as shocked as Trowa and I were by the conditions that colony is forced to live with. She also seemed unaware of the fact that the supplies being sent by the UEC are deplorably inadequate."
"Will she be able to do anything about the situation?"
With a sigh, Wufei shook his head. "She said she'd try, but her hands are tied by regulations and bureaucrats who hold the reins of power over the Preventer organization." He thought he misheard the blond after hearing a barely uttered, "Damn," escape lips that rarely used profanity.
Contemplating his fair haired friend from the corner of his eye as the small sporty car continued to weave through the traffic moving through the busy streets, he noted that while Quatre's face appeared calm, the down turned corners of his mouth and slant of his eyebrows spoke of how much the news of Une's inability to help the situation displeased him. "You're upset," he observed out loud.
Again Quatre glanced his way, their eyes meeting for a moment before the blond looked away again in order to concentrate on the road. "Yes, but like I said before, Trowa told me what he'd seen on L2. I never would have believed any colony would have to go through that kind of mistreatment after we overthrew the Alliance. If the UEC can do that to L2, what's to stop them from imposing sanctions on any other space colony that goes against their ideals?"
"If you could help the people of L2, would you?"
Despite the fact that Quatre was dressed in a grey business suit, including a proper jacket, Wufei detected the minute stiffening of the other man's shoulders. After a long thoughtful pause, the blond answered his question. "Certainly, I would do what I could but I do have a family, a business and a name to protect. I wouldn't do anything that might jeopardize them or sully their reputation."
Wufei wondered at the somewhat ambiguous answer. "So you would work inside the law, not in any illegal manner?"
"Of course," Quatre replied. "But the UEC has shown that it doesn't respect the opinion of a concerned citizen or even that of a member of a prominent family on L4. I've done my best to talk sense into them, Wufei, to the point of pleading with various representatives to take steps to end the embargo and blockade, but my words and pleading seem to fall on deaf ears and calloused hearts."
"They know, of course, that you and Trowa were also gundam pilots. That didn't carry any weight?"
The blond head shook slightly. "No. Oh, they show proper respect, at least those who don't have a grudge against us do, but after listening to what I had to say they simply replied that there was nothing they could do until they see some change on L2 or receive a petition from that colony indicating they wish to negotiate."
Quatre swerved abruptly to miss a stopped car and the tires of his own vehicle screeched as he slammed on the brakes. The small car fishtailed slightly before swerving to the right and coming to a complete stop. Having just averted a collision seemed to the be last thing on the blond's mind when he turned to his passenger with anger blazing in his eyes. "But we both know that's a crock of shit, don't we, Wufei? They can't 'see' any change on L2 if they don't send unbiased observers. And a petition to the UEC can't be received because they've cut off all means of communication with the colony. No one but a select few, handpicked by the committee in charge, are allowed off the ship that delivers the insufficient supply of rations. The UEC has turned a deaf ear and blind eye to the suffering it has caused the people of L2. Does that not smack of injustice, Wufei, of a corruption so deep that it's going to take a major scandal to shake things up and bring to light the reasons for the sanctions and why the citizens of L2 are being exterminated?"
Wufei had rarely seen his friend so worked up. Quatre's face was flushed and his hands were shaking as they tightly gripped the steering wheel. The man seemed totally unaware of the honking of car and truck horns all around them and the shouts from many unhappy drivers voicing their outrage at having a car in front of them parked at a full stop while the green traffic light went ignored.
"We should move," he calmly told the blond.
Quatre blinked, then flushed with embarrassment. The moment the car was in motion again, the driver cleared his throat and said in a calmer voice. "I'm sorry. I got a bit carried away, didn't I?"
"It's a subject that's becoming more difficult to remain neutral about," Wufei admitted.
Quatre turned on the radio then, giving both men time to think about the topic of their conversation. Without speaking further, they continued their short journey towards the Winner-Barton home.
Once again, Wufei found Quatre to be a genial host. He was shown to his room and invited to make himself at home, to take a bath and nap if he wanted to refresh himself before dinner. Quatre excused himself, saying he'd brought some work home with him and that he'd be in his office downstairs if Wufei needed anything at all.
The Preventer accepted the gracious offer, allowing himself to give into the temptation of a luxuriously long soak in the large bathtub. It was a rarity to indulge in such a frivolous pastime, but he'd found in the past that meditating in a hot bath often brought him a measure of peace and clarity.
Wearing a white robe that had been provided for his use by Quatre, he left the moist and heated bathroom and moved to his bed with the intention of taking a nap. Just as he got settled and closed his eyes, his cell phone rang. With an exasperated huff he leaned over and picked it up from the bedside table and answered the call.
Two minutes later, he flipped the phone closed and stared at the white ceiling above the bed. Another marauder attack had been reported. This one came only days behind the last one, when Heero had been on L4. What had caused the thieves to step up their normal pace of attacks? If Trowa was home, he would ask the part-time Preventer to join him in interviewing the crew of the Mary Sue, which was presently en route to L3.
Wait a minute. Wufei sat up in the bed, his mind locking onto an unusual thought. Trowa had also been absent when Heero received word about a marauder attack. He recalled that Quatre and Trowa didn't like to spend time away from each other, but it seemed that they did, and more frequently than anyone would have guessed. It struck him as odd that Trowa, a self-proclaimed homebody, had apparently been gone from said home on several occasions, his absence strangely coinciding with marauder attacks. Could it be more than just a coincidence? he wondered.
For some reason he couldn't let go of the thought of Trowa being something other than what he presented, even after chastising himself for doubting his friends. The idea that Trowa might somehow be involved with the marauders plagued Wufei and led his thoughts into previously unchartered paths, including suspicion. Well, he countered, suspicions could be laid to rest quite easily, that is if the person in question had a verifiable alibi. He had no doubt that Trowa would have one ready, if he were questioned. Quatre had already supplied him with an alibi for today, that there had been computer problems to solve at the office. It appeared he would need to do a little checking on his own, just to ease the suspicions he had towards his two former comrades.
He made up his mind. He'd delay the trip to L3 where he was scheduled to interview the crew of the latest shuttle boarded by the marauders, but just long enough to have dinner with Quatre and his elusive lover.