Vicious Cycles of Revenge
Arriving at Trowa's offices at Winner's L-2 base, the three former pilots waited for the police officers gathered
outside to be sufficiently distracted so that Trowa could turn on a white noise generator and double check the
locks on the doors and windows. The level of security alone had set all of Heero's nerves on edge.
Finally satisfied that all was as secure, Trowa turned on Heero without warning, throwing a vicious uppercut to his
jaw and sending him flying.
"You BASTARD!!!" Trowa seethed, shockingly angry. "You have no *clue* how much damage you've just done!"
Rubbing a hand across his jaw, Heero wisely remained on the floor. "Mind explaining yourself, Barton?" he growled.
Trowa relented and helped him to his feet. "Heero, on this colony, it is 'Flowers', got it? The 'Trowa Barton' you
knew *died*! I may be many different people now, but I'm certainly not *him*!" The vehemence of the denial was
What had happened to him to make the previous identity, even if it wasn't his by birth, so heinous to him? None
of this made any sense to Heero.
Shaking in suppressed rage, Trowa fought to bring himself under control. Oddly, Heero never noticed a look of
fascination on Wufei's face who commented, "So, Trowa, or rather, 'Neptune', I take it you and Quatre are not
enemies as the underground press would prefer us to believe?"
A glance of surprise crossed Trowa's face. "If you believed that, then the campaign was working. But now that I've
been seen with two former Gundam pilots, someone is certain to figure out who I am after all. This will not go well
A knock at the door brought coffee and a break in the tension. "Mr. Flowers? There's a call in from headquarters,
it's Mr. Winner for you, sir."
"Thank you, Janice," he smiled at the woman, then re-engaged the security measures, adding a fully enclosing set
of shutters to all of the office windows as well. He flipped on a large viewscreen phone, and coldly stated, "Quatre,
they're here. We're secure."
"Good. Before I talk to them, Trowa, you need to understand. I know this destroys the last six month's work on
your special project. There's nothing to be done for it. We couldn't find Duo, we should be glad they're here to
help. Don't make this any harder than it has to be." The warning tone carried little warmth between the former
lovers, adding to the confusion felt by their friends.
"Too late for that, I'm afraid," Trowa remarked, looking over his shoulder at Heero's swollen jaw apologetically.
"Damn it, Tro! Can't you keep your temper any better than that these days? No wonder you're still out there,"
Quatre's comments continued to be strangely indicative without telling the whole story.
Trowa growled in response, "When the people responsible are brought to justice then perhaps I'll worry about
keeping control, Q, not until then. Now, did you call just to have the same old argument or are you going to fill
Heero and Wufei in?" He flipped the camera for the phone to include the others and Quatre's face firmed into a
look of stern strength and resolve, none of the kindness they had always known seemed left to him.
"Heero, I'm sorry this has happened," Quatre's aquamarine eyes held sympathy for his old friend.
"Quatre, just what the hell is going on here? Trowa slams me into the floor, you two talk in code, and Duo is
missing! Damn it all! Frankly, I was only concerned about Duo until now, but it seems clear there's more going on
than I knew." Heero was coldly emotionless in spite of his words, the old mask of battle clearly still within easy
reach for him.
"Wufei," Quatre ignored Heero's outburst, "I'm relieved you are here, but what we're about to say can *not* be a
matter of record for Preventers! If you can't respect that, then there will be nothing we can do to help beyond
what is legally required. And trust me," his voice dropped low and feral much as Trowa's had been since the
conversation had begun, "there is plenty here to talk about that will help, but you will miss it if you have to. I know
this could possibly cost Duo's life, so please don't refuse."
Nodding, Wufei stood and dropped his Preventers jacket and badge onto the desk symbolically disconnecting
himself from the law enforcement agency. "Fine. Give me the information. Duo's life is more important then
anything I owe Une."
"Excellent," Quatre smiled for the first time since they had arrived. "Heero, I'm assuming you have already chosen
the path you intend to follow. I won't insult your relationship with Duo by asking you for secrecy."
"Good. Keep it that way. Now talk." Heero's patience was wearing thin, but the veneer of control remained, for the
moment at least.
"All right. Trowa, step in with details if I miss anything. This has been your project, and I respect that, but you are
too personally involved." His partner nodded, and Heero detected the hint of sadness between them, perhaps he
had been wrong, perhaps they were not permanently separated after all.
Quatre proceeded to tell them about a tragic incident roughly seven months prior which had resulted in the deaths
of ten people. The victims were secretly Winner Corporation employees and included Catherine Bloom, Trowa's
sister. This came as a shock to both men since no one had publicized the event, but they found out why.
One of Quatre's illegal but charitable acts was now brought to light. As Wufei had said, the man had numerous
underworld activities but they were all fundamentally philanthropic in nature.
The team Catherine had worked with had set up an illegal transport system based off of L-2 for the relocation of
orphans from a variety of the poorer colonies where there was insufficient financial basis for their care. The
program had been to relocate the children with new identities and all costs underwritten by Winner Corporation.
The children were then processed for adoption through legal means and they had successfully placed almost a
thousand of them before the assault on the operation's headquarters which killed Catherine and nine others.
Hearing this, Heero found himself dismayed at his friend's tragic loss and even more disturbed by the fact that he
had never even known.
Wufei, however, remained calm and seemed unsurprised at this news. His surveillance of Winner Corporation
interests had indicated a loss, but he had never known of the connection to the former Gundam pilots. His
behavior shifted almost immediately after that, however.
"I asked Duo to come here and infiltrate the organization we suspected of backing the deaths of my employees,"
Quatre stated. "Their offices were destroyed by an explosion several days later, but we could neither confirm nor
rule out whether Duo was present at the time."
"Casualties?" Wufei demanded.
"Best guess by the police as well as Trowa's team is over thirty dead, fifty-eight injured, and fourteen missing that
we know of. Some of the injured were known felons and were taken into custody. Not a good crime scene, either;
messy, regrettably, very, very messy, identification of some of the dead is impossible."
"Why wasn't Preventers notified of this?" Wufei demanded angrily.
Quatre sighed knowing this would come out eventually, he just hoped Wufei would remember his oath. "What
would you have me do, Wufei? Announce to the world that Winner Corporation was involved with the illegal
destruction of an organization best known for manufacturing dyes yet was secretly continuing the eons old
tradition of slavery? That we blew up a building, killing at least 30 people in the process? If we did, then we
couldn't continue to operate in secrecy to improve things." Their friend was clearly troubled by the actions he had
felt forced to take and their consequences.
"No, I don't think so." With a look of fierce determination, Quatre continued, "This is why we asked Duo to come
in. With his level of expertise and his knowledge of explosives, we were certain we could set up an after-hours
explosion that would take out their facilities and minimize casualties. It apparently didn't work out that way,
"But what does this shadow group have to do with you?" Heero demanded. He was getting answers, but they all
lead to more questions.
Quatre shook his head in resignation. "When we started moving the children out of the colonies, we unwittingly
took away part of their supply source. These bastards thought nothing of arranging to get the kids and turn
around and sell them off to the highest bidder."
A look of pure malice crossed the blond's face. "These children as well as runaways and others those sick sons of
bitches could get their hands on were sold to be sex slaves, unregistered employees, in other words true slaves,
or worse, human prey for hunting out on the rim colonies. These were disgusting people to put it mildly. I think
you can both see why this is a situation that Trowa, Duo, myself, and a few others you don't need to know about,
were willing to risk everything to stop. But we can't do it with governmental oversight in our way. They haven't
been able to touch them. Catherine's team were the first to successfully stop them but we didn't know it until it
was too late for her as well as the other good people we lost."
Wufei looked disgusted. "So much blood was shed seeking revenge, Quatre? I would never have expected you to
sink so low."
"Really?" Quatre remarked. "Did you think you were the only one interested in justice, Wufei? That's rather
arrogant of you, don't you think?"
"Are there any of these slavers still at large?" Heero asked coldly, in search of someone to wreck vengeance on.
"And why the hell did you bring Duo into this? With all he lost as a child when the Maxwell Orphanage was
destroyed, you must have known he'd respond strongly to this situation. Hasn't he suffered enough?"
"No more than we have, Yuy," Trowa snarled.
"I'm sorry, Trowa, the loss of your sister was something I had no idea about. But I didn't know where you were
either, we thought you might be dead." Heero looked at least a little bit sorry for overstepping things. Trowa had
indeed suffered a terrible loss, and they had not been there for him when he needed support. Regrettable, but
unavoidable all things considered, or so Heero believed.
Trowa turned sadly to regard his friend, "You really didn't know, did you, Heero? That's amusing. And I'll bet you
thought you knew everything Duo was doing, didn't you? Well, I'm sorry to burst your domestic bubble, but you
have no clue what that lover of yours has been up to."
Heero looked dismayed. He did in fact believe he knew exactly what Duo had been doing, the braided American had
seemed so well-adjusted to the life of a full-time college student that he had never questioned it.
Quatre intervened, "Heero, Duo has been leading a double life, he's very active in the world of organized crime. He
does a lot of the same things we do, he's a gun-for-hire and demolitions expert, but he chooses his targets
carefully." Seeing the look of disbelief on the former Wing Zero pilot's face, Quatre realized he had to prove his
point. "Wufei, ever heard of 'Matt Winchester'?"
"Yes," Wufei growled. The infamous hit-man had lead him on a merry chase a number of times always escaping
capture through the most unusual means.
"No, that can't be," seeing the look of determination on the blond's face, Wufei began to believe and then
something struck him with violent force. "Gods, no," Wufei seemed stricken. "But I shot Winchester down five
months ago! How could he have survived much less concealed that from Heero?"
Trowa smirked, "He works for one of the most powerful members of the underworld, Quatre Raberba Winner,