Heero was not entirely surprised that he found it more difficult
to leave the house that morning. Of course, Duo was there, making
polite and intelligent conversation with his hostess, and looking on
while Relena kissed her departing husband's cheek with what Heero
could only describe as... envy.
He had felt guilty – ironic, because it was Duo he felt he was
betraying. He had pushed aside the knot of events and feelings,
instead spending the morning pursuing tooth-grindingly dull cases to
appease his senior officers.
Dull now, anyway, after what he had seen, touched, felt.
After what he knew... It was like water wearing down a stone,
trying to get these people, so afraid of conflict, to accept the
possibility of it. But then, Heero considered, they didn't even
really know what this was. He thought, he *knew*, they weren't able
to deal with it. To Heero, though, it was a challenge; a mystery, an
unknown. A made-up war with an invisible enemy... Heero didn't like
the odds of winning such a thing; so his objective was to prevent one
starting before it was even a real possibility.
He fully acknowledged that it wasn't his job to do that anymore.
Nevertheless... it was his responsibility. Just as it had been
before. he would prove he was more than a soldier; prove to Relena he
wasn't just the Gundam pilot.
Show a way between war and peace...
Heero was suddenly struck by the overwhelming desire to be back
home... on the colony. He'd never really felt that, before Duo had
come into his life. But he had been reminded of how he started, what
it had been about.
He had a vision of himself back there, in space, with all this
solved and behind him, the path out a memory. He knew that, in some
fashion, Duo would be there; he was satisfied with that.
Heero was quite surprised to turn from his imaginings of Duo, to
come face to face with the real thing. "What are you doing here?"
Duo rolled his eyes. "Nice to see you too. I got some news you
might be interested in."
"And you couldn't have used the phone?" Heero smirked.
Duo looked a little affronted. "Well, that's nice! I didn't have
to come all this way and see you! He moved closer, sitting on the
edge of Heero's desk. "But hey, any excuse will do." He winked and
"So, what is it?" Heero was glad of the distraction.
Duo made himself more comfortable, pushing Heero's things to one
side on the desk and leaning back against the wall. He laid a disc on
the surface in front of Heero. "I've been asking some of my most
trusted friends in space to keep both eyes open for anything I
thought might help us. And now, I think we've found some interesting
Heero put the disc in his system and viewed its contents.
"That's our correspondence over the past few days, plus a few
articles he pointed me towards. Seems like there's quite a lot of
stuff you don't hear about down here: for all that `Unified Nation'
shit, it's still like a foreign country." he shrugged. "Earth still
doesn't pay that much attention. You'd have thought that they'd have
learnt by now, but hey, some people just don't want to learn." He was
silent for a moment before pointing at something on Heero's
monitor. "This one's the thing that made me come round here. I got
this mail from my old buddy he... Well, let's just say he's been
involved in a lot of the same stuff as me. He knows where to find
things out. He has a talent for it. So I asked him to look out, and
he did." Duo peered through the blinds out into the main office,
where curious glances were coming from. "Hey, d'you think we could go
somewhere, get some lunch or something? I don't like how those guys
out there are eyeing me up."
Heero grinned at Duo's choice of phrase. "If you like." He had
read the mail, and carefully ejected the disc, placing it in his
pocket and shutting down the system.
On the way out he took care to lock the door of his office, amused
at how everyone's eyes quickly returned to their work when they felt
his gaze on them.
They bought lunch and headed to the park, under an unspoken
agreement that Heero found... comforting.
"What was all that about back there, anyway? Everyone seemed
pretty interested in me."
"People don't often just wander into the office. Especially people
known to be colony representatives. And especially not looking so
Duo laughed a little. "I'm sorry, I couldn't help being pleased to
Heero smirked. Duo grinned back a moment, before the expression
faded and he sighed. "Even though it's not exactly great news I was
bringing for you. You read Quatre's mail? The latest one?" Heero
nodded, noting the name. The email hadn't been signed. "Well, you saw
then. It just confirms our suspicions. There *is* someone up there
out to get us." He chuckled, just a little.
Heero shook his head at the allusion. "When did you first ask for
"Just after you asked me, I got in touch with a few friends. A
couple of days later, Quatre got back in touch. Said he'd had a
feeling something weird was going on; just a general sense of unrest.
Posters advertising lectures, meetings, demos, that sort of thing. So
he went along to one."
"And, there were a few people there, just one or two, not many,
but some, who were definitely more serious than the rest. So he got
talking to them. Quatre has this way of making people talk to him,
making people trust him. Of course, they didn't tell him all that
much - but it was enough to male him start looking himself. He's
clever that way. He has the resources, and knows how to use 'em."
Heero was beginning to build up a picture in his head.
"So, guess what, he finds out there definitely is a group with
some sort of big ideas of revolution, rebellion or whatever. There's
not many of them, but it seems they're determined."
"Yeah. That was the impression I got from that email."
"They're organised. Organised enough to keep everything so quiet
and mysterious... And that shows how serious they are too."
Heero nodded. It was strange. The urgency of the situation turned
to excitement, to compulsion.
Duo voiced Heero's own thought. "So, what are you going to do,
Heero looked sideways at him; Duo often liked to refer to his
rank. It was a reminder of his responsibilities... His current
responsibilities. He was silent for a long moment, thinking; Duo
spoke again first.
"What are you gonna tell your bosses?"
Heero already knew the answer to that one. "I'll tell them the
truth. If they ask me."
"And if they don't?"
Heero turned to face him. "This is my investigation. They've made
it clear from the start that they want nothing to do with it. That
suits me. That's their problem. I can handle this."
Duo grinned, resting his hand casually on Heero's knee and giving
a subtle squeeze. "I know." They were quiet for a few moments before
Duo spoke again. "Something Quatre didn't say in that mail... I gave
him a call after he sent it, to make sure I had everything right
before I told you, and he said he's thinking of coming down to Earth
Heero raised an eyebrow.
"He wants to see if he can do anything to help. I thought, the
more people the better! I told him it would be great if he came and
worked with me. See, me and him work well together - I might be all
determined and not afraid to get things done the hard way, but Quatre
sees stuff differently to me, he's a more lateral thinker. And if
there's both of us working on this, then you've got more time for
doing your real police work."
Heero smirked at Duo's sarcasm, but was soon serious again. "So,
when is he going to get here?"
Duo shrugged. "I'm not sure yet. I wanted to make sure you thought
it was a good idea." He nudged Heero playfully. "But seeing as you
do, I'll call him as soon as I can. He has a house round here
somewhere." Duo rolled his eyes. "He'll find an excuse for a
convenient business trip or something like that." Duo grinned. "It'll
be good to see him again, I haven't for a while."
Heero gave him a long look, considering. "There was something
between you, once, wasn't there?" Heero said it out of genuine
Duo stared. "Man, you're not a detective for nothing, are you.
Yeah, there was once, very briefly. We found we didn't love each
other like that, though... We care about each other, but... there
wasn't that constant consciousness between us, that knowledge... Not
like..." Duo was serious, his voice lowered. "Not like with you."
Heero felt hot inside.
He could sense Duo's frustration, knew Duo wanted so much to just
lean in and kiss him... But that was one of the rules of an
involvement like this...
"I love you Heero." A verbal kiss instead, in a half-whisper.
"I know," Heero replied desperately.
Duo smiled lopsidedly, reached and held Heero's hand like he often
did. "So you've no need to be jealous." He gave Heero a wink, and
Heero raised an eyebrow. He reflected briefly on the irony that it
was Duo warning *him*, albeit jokingly, against jealousy, when it was
Heero who had proved himself unfaithful... Still, the thought didn't
seem to worry Duo.
Heero smirked. "Don't worry. As a matter of fact, I'm looking
forward to seeing him again myself."
Duo's jaw dropped. "*What*? You *know* him? Quatre Winner? How do
you even know it's the same guy? I never told you his full name."
Heero almost laughed aloud at Duo's expression. "Like you said,
I'm not a detective for nothing. Rich, intelligent, fits the
description you gave... We met during the war. A couple of times,
when I... didn't have the Gundam."
Duo nodded, though he still looked incredulous. "I can't believe
it! But" his eyes narrowed a little, and he tapped Heero good-
naturedly in the shoulder "you might've told me sooner, before I went
on about the guy, like an idiot. But I guess I don't mind telling you
a bit more of my life story." He smiled. "No, I don't mind that at
all." They were quiet another minute before Duo looked at his
watch. "I guess you need to be getting back now?"
Heero shrugged. "I suppose so." They stood, setting off back in
the direction they came.
"Y'know, it'll be interesting, the three of us together. Hopefully
we'll get further faster. That'll be some weird reunion." Duo laughed.
They were back at the police station now. "Are you going to come
Duo considered for a moment. "Nah, I don't think I will. They were
making me edgy before. Like they were dying to arrest me for
something. I'm gonna head back, call Quatre. Tell him to charter his
private jet as soon as he can." He laughed. "I'll see you later." He
gave Heero a lingering look; Heero had learned by now that Heero
couldn't part from him without some touch, and this time it was a
squeeze of the shoulder that left a warm impression on Heero's skin.
He watched Duo leave and headed back up to his office.
He was surprised to hear Trowa calling him by his name at work; he
found it strangely ominous. Trowa's expression was hard, his eyes
cold; it made Heero uneasy. "What is it?"
"Maxwell. I know you've been involved in this case from the start,
Heero. I know you've invested a lot of personal time and commitment.
And now I think I know why."
Heero looked back at him, unfazed. "Yeah?"
"I think you're the last person I'd ever have thought would get
involved with a witness."
"I saw you with him. When I think about it, all those other times
as well, I've never seen you react like that with anyone. I can see
there's something going on between you."
Heero wasn't going to deny it. He remained silent, waiting for
Trowa to continue.
"I guess it's deeper than I thought. I thought it was strange for
you to get so close to someone involved in a case. I thought it was
just that he'd managed to win your trust. But, if it's more than
that..." Trowa looked away. "I don't care about your personal life,
Heero; if you want to break up your marriage then that's up to you.
But I don't think you could have made a less appropriate choice of
person. You told me this case was based on feelings and emotions;
you're right, I know. But I think there has to be a point where that
can go too far. I don't know if you're suitable to work on this case
anymore." He folded his arms and looked Heero in the eye.
Heero waited to speak, thinking hard. "Trowa, you're my most
trusted colleague and friend. I don't want to have to say those words
back to you, but it seems like it's you who isn't right for this
case. You keep talking about Duo as if he was a suspect; but he might
be one of our best links in solving this. I don't want to discuss
this any more with you. I want you to work on this case with me. But
I think it's you who's crossed the line between letting feelings
guide you, and letting them prejudice your thinking." He slammed the
door to his office and went to the window, letting the broad view of
the city reassure him that it was more than simple feeling telling
him he was right.