Disclaimer: I am not owning these characters, to use the Indian English construction.

Pairing: 1+2+1/1x2x1; reference to past 1xR, R+1.
Warnings: Part 25 has a slight violence warning. For all other warnings, please see individual parts.

by Elyndys
Part 25

Heero couldn't make himself sit still the next morning in the office. Walking on egg shells around his superiors, trying to remain enigmatic whilst his mind was elsewhere. He was trying to stick by the advice Quatre had given him after all, Duo and he were working on their information; he could toe the line, keep on the good side of his bosses.

The problem was, this attitude was anathema to everything Heero felt he had stood for, all his life. The thought that he had to stand back a little, and not devote all his energy to the most important matter at hand... it rankled him. He felt preoccupied; jittery. When his phone rang, he snatched it off the desk. "Yuy."

There was background noise on the line: the voice that spoke to him was quiet, urgent. "Heero, I need you to come down to the war exhibition. Now."

Abruptly the noise stopped, the line dead. Heero felt the adrenalin surge he couldn't stop it, even though his brain was telling him it was bad news; even though he knew, as he grabbed his coat, that he didn't know what he was heading into; even though he knew this wasn't quite in keeping with his promise to Quatre, he still ran down the stairs, welcoming the challenge, eager to meet it, whatever it was.

He hurried the short distance across town to the exhibition. The building was visible from quite a distance away standing out above the rooftops was the main hall, built on derelict land after the war, a lasting monument to this peace; home of the disarmed Gundam. It was a source of great prestige to the Sanq kingdom, commissioned from the most highly esteemed architect on the Earth, bought from public money: the Sanq people were proud of the role it represented in stopping the war. Relena's role; their role.

Heero could hear sounds, disturbance, from its direction; he broke into a run. Turning the final corner into the open square in front of the main entrance, he saw several vehicles emblazoned with Preventers' logo; agents in the familiar khaki, some crouched in huddles, whispering urgently; others pacing, hurrying; and, off to one side, deep in grave conversation with a few other Preventers, he saw Wufei. Heero jogged across to him.

Wufei saw him coming, and gestured, urging him to hurry. Before Heero had a chance to ask, Wufei was already speaking.

"We were called down here about an hour ago after reports of a young man making a big scene, trying to damage the exhibits, deface them. It seems he's a colonial, trying to make a statement so I thought you might want to know."

Heero nodded gratefully. "Thanks." He looked towards the building. "Where is he now?"

Wufei paused only briefly. "He's on the Gundam."

"*On* it?"

"Climbed halfway up. He's got banners, spraypaint. Wants to put on a show."

"How did he manage it?"

"The staff say he was just too quick by the time they noticed him, he was thirty feet over their heads. As yet, no-one else seems to be willing or able to get to him. Plus, they're worried about what he might do next." Wufei shrugged a shoulder. "I think he's just going to keep shouting the odds. But some people don't want to take chances... with things they way they are."

Heero nodded. "Everyone else is out, right?"

"All the civilians, yes. We've got several agents in there, but I called you first."

"Thanks," Heero repeated, sincerely. Then, with barely a pause, "I'm going in."

Wufei looked at him with a half-grin. "Me too."

They crossed the square briskly, several agents shadowing them. Heero felt like he'd never been away. Quickly they made their way to the huge hangar that housed the pride of the exhibition Wing Gundam: gleaming, dominating the room; but dull-eyed, lifeless. Heero couldn't describe the feeling that hit him, seeing it again, in these circumstances: across its chest was draped a banner that simply said "JUSTICE"; and on one shoulder, nonchalant, Heero now saw the figure of a man.

He stood up as he saw them enter the hall. "Heero Yuy!"

Heero slowed his pace, but didn't reply, for now.

"I know it's you, Yuy! I know who you are!"

Heero slowed to a halt, stopping several metres from the Gundam. "OK, you know who I am. Why don't you return us the courtesy?"

The man gave no indication he intended to answer. "Why'd you come, Yuy? Heard someone was trespassing on your property?"

Heero went cold. `What did *that* mean?' Heero knew the answer too well. Ignoring the chill that had descended over him, he pressed on. "What do you hope to achieve from this?"

The young man on the Gundam leaned forward casually, sweeping an arm over the banner draped across the wide metal chest. "Can't you read? We want justice, for the colonies! We want a fair deal! We want the Earth to stop pushing us to the back of the queue!"

Wufei cut in. "OK, we've all heard you now, so come down. You can keep talking down here."

The man shrugged his shoulders, exaggerating the gesture to make his audience catch their breath again. "Maybe. I'll think about it. But I kinda like the view from up here. Makes you feel so powerful, y'know? Yeah, you know." He grinned at Heero.

Heero felt his body turn cold as stone. He could feel the Preventers' glances, and didn't dare move a muscle. "I can see why you're doing this. But you're going to get yourself arrested. That's not going to do a lot to help your cause."

The young man shrugged again, leaning against the head of the Gundam with a wide grin. "You never know. After all, I'm sure there's plenty of people who'd be *very* concerned for my welfare."

Heero said nothing, inviting the man to say his piece.

"I mean, think of the reaction: Colonist incarcerated by Earth authorities! What does that say for free speech? Earth trying to suppress the colonies' point of view! Yes, very interesting!"

"So you don't really want to make any progress? You just want to stir up more trouble?"

A pause. After a long moment, the man shook his head slowly. "I... guess not..."

Heero gave a mental sigh of relief. It was a small victory. "Than we agree on something." He paused, relaxing a fraction before he continued. "If you come down, you might be surprised how many people want to hear what you've got to say."

For an agonising few minutes, the room was silent, frozen... then, the young man, to the tangible relief of all present, began to tentatively make his way down. Heero breathed again.

He turned to face Wufei the Preventer nodded, gesturing to his colleagues to stay where they were while he came forward.

Heero and Wufei approached the feet of the Gundam in as non- threatening a way as they could manage, finally meeting the protestor as he clambered the last distance to the ground. They stopped a comfortable distance away, Wufei taking the lead.

"...Thank you. Now, we'd like you to come with us. We all have some questions we want to ask you..."

But even as he spoke, Heero could see it was too late, could see the young man shaking his head, taking a step backwards, reaching into his jacket...

"No, no way! I'm not telling you what you want to hear! I'm not a traitor, like some people!" Wild-eyed, he fixed Heero with a glare, bringing his hand back out

Behind him, Heero heard the shock: "He's got a gun!"

In front of him, Wufei held up a hand: the Preventers held their ground; Heero heard them shifting uneasily, itching to act.

The protestor brandished his weapon wildly, pointing it jerkily at everyone in the vicinity even Wufei flinched.

But then, Heero watched a half smile begin to form on the young protestor's face. "No, that wouldn't be too smart, would it? Shooting a Preventer. That wouldn't look good. On the other hand..." Slowly, he brought the gun up, beside his own head, tensing his grip... "... you'd lose all your information, *and* everybody sees that you're responsible for a young Colonist's death." He locked eyes with Heero once again. "Seems worth it to me."

Heero thought he'd probably never acted faster, than when he grabbed his own gun from its holster, taking advantage of the young man's own momentary pause to aim in a fraction of a second, pull the trigger hear a sharp cry, and then the clatter of metal on concrete.

Heero thought his heart had never beat so hard, as when he saw Wufei dive forward, capturing the protestor in a hold that he was too shocked to break out of, clutching his bleeding hand and trying not to show the pain it caused him.

Heero thought he'd probably never quite remember watching the Preventers pick up the gun, search round the room, high and low, talk urgently into radios; it seemed so fast, how they hustled their new prisoner out, checking every corner as they went, until Heero was left in the hangar, alone, except for the Gundam.

on to part 26

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