By the time Heero reached the hospital, the young man had already
been seen by the doctor Preventer presence always ensured speedy
hospital treatment. A nurse was quietly finishing the bandages
around the young man's right arm when Heero stepped into the cubicle
where he was being treated; she looked up and began to ask him to
leave, but a quick flash of his police ID sent her back to her work.
Wufei was sitting beside the bed, but got up when he saw Heero. "The
doctor said there's not major damage nothing that won't heal
pretty quickly. Not much more than a graze."
Heero was looking at the prone form in the bed; the paleness of the
face, the half-closed eyes, made Wufei's statement seem somewhat
Wufei followed his gaze. "They gave him some pretty strong
painkillers. He won't come round for a while." He paused while the
nurse packed up her things and left the cubicle. "As soon as he
does, though, we're free to take him in."
Heero nodded. "Do you think it'd be any use me coming? Would *you*
respond favourably to being questioned by the guy who shot you?"
Wufei smiled lop-sidedly. "Can't do any harm. After all, you saved
Heero grimaced slightly "I could've killed him."
Wufei shook his head. "You're more skilled than that, Heero. That
was commendable work you did today. If Une and the rest of Preventer
command had been there, they'd be begging you to come back."
Heero smiled a little. "You never know."
Wufei raised an eyebrow. "You're thinking about it?"
"Yeah. Once this case is sorted."
"I'll be the first to put in a word for you. What changed your
Heero paused a moment. "... I guess the reasons why I left in the first
place... I just don't believe in them anymore." It was the truth;
Heero doubted he had ever believed in them. He decided he would wait
to tell Wufei the catalyst for the realisation, though, for now.
Wufei smiled. "I look forward to working with you again."
"You already are," Heero said dryly. "And enjoy it while it lasts
I'm thinking of heading back up to space."
"You've given this a lot of thought. Have you told your bosses yet?"
The mention of his superiors suddenly reminded Heero that he'd left
the police station with no notice. "Shit! The DCI will be climbing
"I've been gone for two hours! I didn't even say I was leaving. And
I've had my phone switched off as well." Despite himself, he
couldn't help the tiny smirk that crossed his face as he thought of
the DCI's reaction.
He noticed Wufei wore a similar expression. "So you don't want to
come with me to question this guy?"
Heero hesitated only for a moment. "I'll go call the station."
He headed out to the forecourt outside the door of the emergency
department of the hospital, finding a spot away from the others who
were making calls, or nervously pacing with cigarettes in hands. He
noted without surprise the three voicemail messages he had, and took
a minute to listen to the first few seconds of them all. They were
all from the DCI, and the gist of them all was the same.
Heero rang the direct line to DCI Meadows' office. He was glad he
wasn't using a vidlink when Meadows picked up.
"This had better be good."
Heero didn't let the menacing tone deter him. "I got a call from
Preventers. They were involved in a situation they thought might be
connected with a case of mine. I decided to find out for myself. As
it turned out, there was a connection."
"Which case was this?" There was still a note of heavy suspicion in
"... The summit investigation," Heero was forced to admit.
There was silence for a few moments on the other end of the
line. "I'll see you in fifteen minutes. Wherever you are, get here
*now*." The line went dead.
Heero gritted his teeth. He couldn't ignore this one. Quickly he
made his way back to the cubicle. When he opened the curtain he
found the prisoner beginning to stir.
Wufei looked up from watching him when he heard Heero enter. "He's
just coming round. The doctor said he'll be fit to go in about
Heero shrugged helplessly. "I have to leave."
Wufei nodded. "I see. I'll keep you updated."
"I look forward to it." Heero turned to leave.
Heero hoped he wouldn't need it.
"OK. Against my better judgement, I'm going to give you a chance to
explain, Yuy. Make the most of it."
Heero looked his superior in the eye. "I received a phone call from
Preventer Chang at around 11am reporting a disturbance at the war
exhibition. He had reason to believe there was some connection with
my investigation. I set off immediately and arrived approximately
ten minutes later. Preventer Chang informed me that a young man was
Meadows cut him off. "Yes, I know the mechanics. We've been
receiving reports, calls, messages all about it. I might have known
you'd get involved!"
Heero felt, if not proud, at least consoled. Yes, he *was* involved
he hadn't left it up to someone else; he'd done what he could.
The feeling soon evaporated, though, at the DCI's next words.
"Where were you when this young man got shot, then?"
Heero only just managed to match the gaze of his superior as he
replied. "... I was holding the gun, sir."
Meadows sank down into a chair, shaking his head. "I hoped against
hope it wasn't true, but I knew it." He clenched a fist on the
table. "How many times, Yuy?! You are *not* a Preventer anymore! It
was *their* problem, you should have let *them* sort it out! Now
you've dragged us all into this mess! You *know* what can happen
when the police get involved in shoot-outs! You know how tight the
laws are on gun control since the war! At absolute best, we could
get a huge fine. And it'll be me, *me* who faces disciplinary
charges! Are you *utterly* without a sense of responsibility, Yuy?!"
It was taking all of Heero's willpower to remain calm. "He was
threatening to kill himself, sir. Preventers will testify that he
intended to become a martyr for the sake of the colonies. I happened
to react fastest to prevent that. His injuries were minor;
Preventers have now taken him into custody." Heero paused a second;
he noticed that the DCI appeared a fraction calmer. "As to
It will be a matter for the state to decide, but I
will admit full culpability. I don't need to remind you that the
minister with ultimate responsibility for matters like this is my
"What are you suggesting?"
Heero looked away for the first time. "Only that I know better than
anyone what her feelings are about incidents like this. I know she
will act... appropriately."
Meadows gave him a long, hard stare. "I'll say this for you, Yuy.
You're not a liar. And it's for that reason only that you're walking
out of here with the same rank as when you came in. Get out of here.
We'll talk later."
He waved his hand dismissively, and Heero left.
Back in his office, the first thing he did was call Wufei.
"What did Meadows say?"
Heero snorted. "You need to ask? Suffice it to say, I won't be
helping you help our man with your enquiries."
Wufei chuckled. "Don't worry. He's not fit to be interviewed yet
anyway. I'll keep you fully informed, and if you have any ideas or
points you want raised you only have to say the word."
"I'll let you know. I think I'll have a few things to say."
"I'd appreciate any help you can give us."
"I'll talk to you soon. Good luck."
Heero drifted through the rest of the day, keeping his head down in
paperwork and occasional browsing of information sent through to
him. Steady progress. He set aside some time to pass all his
information on to Wufei; attached some points and lines of enquiry
he thought would be fruitful. Still, he knew it wouldn't be enough;
no matter how much he tried, he knew he couldn't stay away. He'd
find some way of being there.
But for now it was best, he reckoned, to show willing. And it was
for that reason that he lingered into the evening, before slowly,
thoughtfully, making his way down the stairs, out to the car... and
Heero could hear the sound of the television as he took off his coat
in the hall. His heart sank as he realised it was the news
inevitably, the events of the day would feature heavily.
By the time he got to the doorway of the lounge, Relena was already
there, blocking his path. "I think we need to talk, Heero." She
turned, and he followed her to the lounge, where she locked the door
She stood, back to Heero, watching the TV reports for a few more
minutes, before switching off the sound.
Now she turned to face him. "I've been getting phone calls all day
telling me you were involved in this incident today Heero. Is it
She had such sorrow in her face that Heero, even if he had wanted
to, couldn't have tried to avoid the truth.
"Oh, Heero. Why must you do things like this? You promised me! Every
time, you promise me. That was why you left Preventers. Now you're
in the police, you're meant to stop this kind of thing happening!"
Tears were welling up.
Heero was rooted to the spot, letting it wash over him. He thought
of protesting, telling Relena the exact circumstances under which he
acted; saying he was only acting for the good of relations between
Earth and the Colonies! But he knew by now it was best to allow
Relena to let out her frustration on him. So much the better for her
work, her reputation, if she remained calm, serene, collected in
"It's never going to work, is it, Heero? People just can't see
what's best. What's right."
Heero had to admire her determination.
"All I want is for people to live peaceful lives! Is that so much to
Here it was. And all Heero could do was stand, silent, and realise
how clear it all seemed to her, and how frustrating it was that no-
one else could see it. How much passion she had, how much faith; and
how much she still, desperately, hopelessly, needed him.