Heero locked the cell door behind his empty-eyed prisoner. The boy hadn't said anything beyond what they already knew, but they had enough to charge him so that, Heero had been assured, was good enough. Inwardly he sighed at that attitude: it was a necessary one to do his job, but he was not capable of feeling that way. It wasn't enough to do the job adequately, it should be right; the most positive outcome should be aimed for always. His inability to adjust to their way of thinking was one of the reasons he was miserable. He admired the role of the police greatly, and tried his best to achieve the right results... but people wouldn't cooperate. The criminals refused to see the route that was most beneficial, and his colleagues tried to explain that his standards were so high it would be nearly impossible to live up to his perfectionist targets. And so, he was frustrated. It was all compromise, negotiation – Relena's job, not his! He was a man of action. He wanted things to happen: wanted his job to be what policing *should * be.
God, he missed being in Preventers. He loved feeling that he was really preventing peace being broken, lives being lost; although he was thankful for the stability of a system which meant he investigated people's greed more than their violence, he felt more thankful when he was closer to that violence. Preventers gave him a chance to really appreciate peace by showing him how close it came to being taken away. Preventers dealt with the bomb scares, the arms dealers. There was such a thrill to stopping these people and events, the feeling of really having a purpose, in a knife-edge way...
It has been four years since he'd had the opportunity to feel that thrill... Relena had seen to that. He wouldn't forget, he knew, but... she knew best. She was always so much stronger than him: she used her mind, rather than the weapons that Heero had had to wield. He had been forced, by his own inadequacy, to resort to violence, where she stopped the war using just her words. The world was in her debt. So when, at the end of the war, she had suggested they get married, who was he to refuse? It was already certain she would play a key role in peacetime politics, so hethought it would only be right that he be there to protect her. It was part of his duty as a Preventer.
But it wasn't long before she herself decided to strip him of that duty. Being a Preventer, she said, was too warlike an occupation. He had toagree that it didn't look too good, a pacifist diplomat whose husband spent his time working daily on target practice and top secret surveillance and intelligence work, often highly involved with the military. And so he suggested he join the police force instead. Due to his previous experience, he was easily able to become a detective, and achieve a high rank at a younger age than anyone before him. He was proud of his achievements, of course he was... but the thrill... did not exist. Not even a sense of satisfaction at results, because so often they were brought about through compromise.
He wondered vaguely when it was that he'd begun to feel miserable; when he'd left the colony? There were lots of things to think about then, lots of things he had to do. Alone; but Heero had always thrived on responsibility. Had it been during the war, then? But that was the period when he had found out that he *wasn't * alone; just at the time when it has begun to feel futile, endless – he had discovered the other groups, sent, like him, from the colonies to earth. There had been others, later, back in space; small bands of rebels, but organised into efficient fighting groups, highly trained. Except him – he had been sent alone, in that mobile suit. The unique mobile suit... No-one knew it had been him; no-one except those who sent him, and Relena. She had seen him, an accident but it couldn't be helped. She admired his strength, she said, wanted it for herself; how had she not seen how much stronger than him she already was? She knew what was best, and could achieve it; so he left the Preventers when she suggested it. Because it must be the right thing to do.
Was that when he had begun to feel miserable? Maybe it was.
He sat down at his desk, not really remembering the walk back up to his office from the cells. A memo on his monitor flashed; he clicked and read. The formal dinner tonight for the opening of the Earth Sphere summit. He hadn't forgotten, but had pushed it as far to the back of his mind as he could. He loathed these occasions now. When he had been a Preventer, there had always been something to do, security arrangements to take care of, surveillance to organise, teams to supervise. But now... hours sitting at the head of the table, next to a light so bright it dazzled him. Relena's glow put him firmly in the field of vision, brought him out of the shadows he preferred. But, for all that, he was ignored. Stared at, like in a cage, but all focus was on Relena. He would be silent all nigh, listening to people talk about him, not to him. If they did speak to him, it would be earnest sycophancies about Relena, or polite small talk about nothing at all. Hypocrites, with pretentious speeches. Nothing else to do. He clenched his fist silently; an invisible show of defiance. His nails dug into his palm: hidden strength.
He switched his work sense back on and filtered his anger, hoping to turn it, as usual, into motivation. He read the promised notes from the duty sergeant intently, but he had to leave, or Relena would be... upset.
So he put on his raincoat, shut down his system and left without a word.
Driving home, thinking about the information the duty sergeant had sent him. Not so much information, just some points to think about; oddly enough, about the conference. Some points to check and re-check, making sure of security. He would do, he knew. If he could, he would do it tonight. The people who decided the way the world worked... It was not his place to be one of them, so in compensation he must protect them.
He drove unseeingly up the drive to Relena's home; it belonged to Relena, even though he did live there as well. It was one of her many houses, though it was the one she called home. He no longer noticed the elaborate gardens or wide bay windows or the heavy wooden double doors that led into the hallway. He supposed Relena had never noticed these things: she had always known such surroundings.
She wasn't around, that he could see or hear as he walked to their bedroom to change for this function. He dressed smartly in a dark blue suit and tie; no formal military dress uniform, Relena wouldn't allow it. No reminders of his life as a soldier remained: certainly, there were few of his early days, shrouded in secrecy; but later, when the war was over, those involved had been recognised for their deeds. The ones who were found, and accepted, that is. Heero was never sure how he came to be one of that group: he had been good at what he did, he explained it to himself simply, maybe even the best – but it wasn't needed anymore... and he was glad.
He was ready now, clean and dressed and presentable. Relena met him at the bottom of the stairs, elegant in a silvery two-piece and simple white blouse. She nodded her approval at his own clothes and took his arm as they left. Chauffer-driven to the summit venue, a sprawling complex populated by politicians, diplomats and security professionals.
"I have to greet everyone as they arrive. It's my responsibility, seeing as it's in my country this time. Is that alright, Heero?"
"Yes. There are some things I want to look at myself." She only asked his approval to make sure he was listening; he always listened, even if he didn't respond, but he let her know anyway, then turned immediately and headed back out.
Walked briskly, quietly, unnoticed around the outer perimeter of the complex, comparing in his mind what he saw with the notes he had read earlier. Whoever had supplied the information obviously knew what they were talking about. He checked the cameras, alarms, monitors and the guards themselves, finding all to be satisfactory; he would probably have checked anyway, but it was comforting to know someone else thought the same as him, someone wanted to be certain. The duty sergeant said it was that young man. Duo Maxwell. Those eyes. Heero wondered what his role was, and why he was concerned about security at the conference.
But he was back in the main hall now, weaving through overdressed guests and pompous politicians. It was nearly time for the dinner to begin, so at least he wouldn't have to mingle with them for too long...
But then... Something familiar. A voice, just like in the police station. Again, too far away to hear the words, but he knew. That leader's voice; even here, amongst the real and elected leaders of the Earth Sphere, a person with a voice like that could only be in charge. Even when he was silent, even when not the centre of attention: Heero would know.
He was getting closer. More of the words were decipherable. He looked around, and saw.
The young man was with a group; Heero saw Relena was nearby too, smiling, shining – but not like him. Heero was good at spotting them: a gang of criminals caught and in the cells, he could tell which was the leader amongst them even if he never said a word. And even if he wasn't the ringleader of the gang.
But then an ageing politician blocked his view. The older man, when he realised he was in front of his host's spouse, attempted pleasantries. Heero didn't say a word, but the man continued in a politely and falsely jolly way, not noticing Heero's silence. Trapped. Suddenly, a hand on his arm.
"Detective Inspector Yuy? Nice to see you again. Would you mind, I would like a word..." Heero glanced back at the older gentleman, and found he couldn't even see him; he seemed to have faded back to become nothing, assimilated into another conversation. He glanced at his new companion as they walked to an empty spot.
"I came to rescue you. You looked like you needed it. I'm Duo Maxwell – we met at the police station earlier?"
Heero looked at the open expression on his face. "I remember."
"So what are you doing here? If you've been checking out what I told you I'm impressed."
Heero smiled slightly. "Yes I have." Before the young man could vocalise the pleased expression on his face, he continued. "But the main reason I'm here is my wife."
"Oh, is she with the delegation?"
"Yes, she is the Sanq Kingdom representative."
His companion's eyes widened. "Relena Peacecraft? I had no idea. She didn't take your name."
Duo smiled. "I suppose hers was already established as a ... symbol."
Heero nodded, then thought to finally ask the question he had wondered about. "What about you? Why are you here?" Heero thought the young man must be in security, and almost certainly chief: he couldn't imagine him running errands for anyone else.
"Me? Heh. I'm a diplomat too."