"We will be on the ground within five minutes, Mr. Winner."
"Thank you." I finished off the rest of my tea and buckled my seatbelt, ready to land. Very ready to land. I don't like flying. Well, to be more accurate, I don't like somebody else piloting me. I'd rather do it. Besides, it's been a while since I've been behind the pilot's seat. My fingers are itching just to hold the steering wheel again.
This morning was a complete disaster. I overslept for one. You never know how fast you can move until you're late, I mean really late, like....three hours late. Worst yet, I'm still tired. At least if I overslept I should be rested. The only reason I didn't sleep longer than that was because one of Iria's maids came in to clean up and she found me still in bed, thinking I'd left already. On my way out, I looked for Duo and Wufei to at least stomp on their feet for letting me oversleep when the cook (he above all should know Duo's whereabouts), told me that he and Wufei left early this morning. I ran back upstairs to make sure that they didn't leave a note, which they didn't, and headed out to find a sheath.
That was my other problem. I went to four stores before I found one that would fit my size. My blade is 5 ½ in wide. There were plenty 4 ½'s and 6 ½'s, but none that fit mine. When I finally found the right one, I offered to pay the store owner's rent for the next few months I was so happy. Thankfully, he declined my offer.
The spaceport was packed, and when I reached my jet, because I was late, they unfueled it. So, I had to sit and wait for it to be refueled again before I could even get on board. That wasn't their fault, it was mine for being late, but I was still a little upset that they would take the gas away, since it was paid for after all.
Once in the air, I was completely frustrated that I couldn't get in contact with anybody. Iria was already at the hospital, but Duo and Wufei were nowhere to be found. I called Wu's apartment, Hilde's place, my house, locals bars, every other place I could think, but nobody had seen or heard from them. I'm going to kill them.
"We're ready to land, Mr. Winner."
"Okay," I responded back, a bit miffed. I don't know why he tells me every single move he's making. I wish my other pilot wasn't sick, because I like him a lot. This new guy is about to get strangled.
/Stop that. That's not nice./ I mentally scolded myself. Yeah, I'm just being ugly because this day has started out so badly. No reason to take it out on him. It's just a lonely, and a long trip from L–4 to Earth, with no one but you and two other ex–soldiers. I know I could've talked with them, but after catching the tail end of a conversation surrounding proper bondage techniques, I concluded that maybe it would be better if I kept to myself. I also should review their job applications.
We finally landed. I can't express how happy I was about that. Anyway, I opened the door and let the staircase fall to the ground, breathing in the fresh, salt filled, cool air. It seems to be around 70–ish outside, cool enough that you need a long sleeved shirt, but warm enough that you don't need a jacket. I had on some loose, light blue jeans, and a long sleeved, white polo shirt. No, I didn't have any characters on it. Duo would kill me if I did. Unless I find one with a scythe instead of a alligator.
I hopped down the staircase with my two suitcases in hand, wanting to get away from the pilots as fast as possible. Noin was on the runway to greet me. As soon as I was five feet from her, I dropped my suitcases and ran to her, almost knocking both of us down when I leapt on her.
"Whoa Quatre, you're getting as bad as Duo," she laughed.
"Don't remind me," I smiled back at her. "How is everything? Nothing major has happened, has it?"
She looked at me strangely. "No, so far everything is good. It's around four now, but at six we're having dinner and a debriefing, so that we'll all be on the same page."
"Sounds good to me." I smiled happily as Noin and I walked arm and arm to the palace. I asked her about the play, and what Zechs thought, and was amazed to find that she actually had to pull guns on both him and Heero to get them to go. Only when Relena threatened to take away their license to carry weapons did they finally comply. And Dorothy did get pictures. That, in itself, has made my day.
We made it into the palace, where Noin had to immediately run off because one of the new recruits managed to shoot himself in the foot. I chuckled softly and turned around in a small circle, taking in the view of the palace walls. They were tall and white, holding the remains of the family paintings from so long ago. Of course, the majority of them were partially ruined, but with the purple banners that hung across the top of some of the portraits, it gave them the feel of something indestructible, something that will always be there. It's like seeing the Mona Lisa hang on the wall, knowing that its centuries old, but knowing that it will continue to age, never to be destroyed or forgotten.
The floors were white tiled marble, with black stains in it. The gloss of wax was so shiny and polished, it almost hurt my eyes to look at it. My heels connected loudly with the tile, sending that echo to rise high to the ceiling before vanishing somewhere else. The whole effect is very, very impressive and beautiful. Then, I heard the best thing I've heard all day.
"Zechs, you dick! You said there would be beer here!"
There is only one person in the universe who would dare insult Zechs Merquise that way, and a smile split my face in half. Of course, it was the voice I was happy to hear, not exactly the choice of words used. "Duo!"
"Quatre!" We ran at each other and almost knocked ourselves down, squeezing each other hard enough to break ribs. "Hey Cat! I'm glad you made it."
"I'm glad you're here too." Wufei then popped around the corner and I ran to him, hugging him briefly before pulling away and staring at the two of them. "But what are you two doing here?"
"We don't know," Wufei filled in, "we got a call early this morning from Heero and Zechs saying that they needed us to come to Sanc right away. Nothing else was disclosed."
"So far we're here, but I don't see any kegs."
"Duo, there's, uh, never mind," Wufei stammered, I guess admitting defeat. There's no point in arguing with Duo. You won't win. Trust me, I know.
"Things must be really bad if they called you all," I whispered, staring at the shiny floor. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Wufei nod, then Duo look up, swearing softly, his eyes widening in shock.
"What? What's wrong?" I turned around quickly to see what Duo was looking at, and almost swore myself when I saw...
There Trowa was, standing behind us in all of his glory. He still had on the same tight jeans and green shirt, except this one wasn't a turtleneck. He grew even taller than before, not too much but enough that it was noticeable, and his bangs were a little bit shorter. Other than that, he hadn't changed a bit.
"Hello...Quatre." As he spoke, Heero walked in and stood next to him, giving me that stone cold face. All five of us stood that way for a moment, staring the other one down. I almost passed out from the tension, it was so heavy on my shoulders. Duo and Heero were going to battle over this one, I could tell already. I wasn't comfortable at all, so that would be something else for Duo and Heero to fight over. Wufei, I already know, is going to be very disgusted with the whole idea, and may go so far as to chew out Relena. This day is going to be anything and everything along the lines of ‘screwed.'
"Uh, guys," I said, trying to break some of the tension, "I gotta go to my plane. I think I left a bag on it."
"You can't," Wufei said, a little shortly, though I knew it wasn't directed towards me, "it had moved down the runway to take off when Duo and I landed."
"That's fine," I said, hoping the smile would reach my eyes, my all purpose ‘trust me' smile, "I'll just take your plane...err....to catch it I mean." And I quickly turned and left, leaving the echo of my footsteps in my wake.
I ran to their plane, scurried up the staircase, and went into the cockpit for the pilots. Nobody was there, and I could see a pack of twizzlers sitting next to the radio. I guess Duo and Wufei flew down on their own. Moving back out of the cockpit, I was on my way to close the door when Heero popped into view, blocking my way.
"What do you think you are doing?"
I smiled again, hoping it was reaching my eyes. "I'm going to get something from my plane. If I hurry, I can catch them."
"They already took off! You can't catch up with them until they land on L–4."
I nodded my head vigorously. "Exactly."
"Will you stop acting like an infant?!"
I snapped at that. Who is he to tell me anything? "Odin, how could you?!"
"How could I what?!" It didn't get much further than that, because Duo charged in. When Heero turned to say something, Duo placed a nice left upper cut to his jaw, sending him stumbling back. After the split second it took for Heero to recover, he jumped up to his feet and charged at Duo. I threw myself in front of Heero, trying to push him back, while Wufei held Duo under the arms, and was pulling him towards the door.
"I'm gonna kill you Yuy!" He screamed at the top of his lungs, trying to kick around me to get him. Heero would swing at Duo, missing of course, but not before he accidently hit me in the jaw with his shoulder. As if I haven't had enough abuse already.
"Hey! Hey hey hey! Stop it!" Dorothy appeared on the plane then, placing herself between the two fighting pairs. With a well placed push to my back and Duo's chest, she sent both parties crashing to the floor. I got up as quickly as I could and helped Heero up. When I turned back around, I could see Duo and Wufei standing as well, but Wufei had a hand on Duo's arm. I instinctively put my hand on Heero's chest, in case he decided to make a lunge for him. So far everyone is still, though I'm surprised those two aren't shooting lasers from their eyes.
"What the hell is going on?" Dorothy screamed. "You just touched down five minutes ago and you're already fighting?!"
"This doesn't concern you, it's none of your business." Heero stated coldly, not to Dorothy but to Duo.
"Bullshit! If it concerns Quatre, then it IS my business," he retorted angrily.
"No, Duo, he's right," interrupted Wufei, "it's not your's or mine's issue to discuss this," he pointedly looked at Heero, "for now." With a slight tug on his arm, Wufei led Duo off of the plane. Dorothy watched them leave before she looked back at us for an explanation. Neither one of us gave her one.
"Whatever guys! I'm not trying to be nosy, but this isn't going to help us get the job done. Fix this, quick." She glared at us one more time before turning around and leaving.
I walked away from Heero, straightening up the plane. During the fight, we knocked over some magazines and toy mecha dolls.
"I didn't have a choice."
"No Odin," I answered angrily, "I, me, myself, didn't have a choice. You made it for me."
"If I told you that Trowa was here, you wouldn't have come!"
"If you told me that Trowa was here, I could've mentally prepared myself to see him! I wouldn't have been caught off guard like that. You shouldn't surprise people like that. Did he know I was coming?"
"Then how come he knew that I was coming but I couldn't know that he was here? Hmm?! How come, when I told you last night that I was worried about him, you didn't say that you knew for a fact that he was alright, and that I shouldn't worry?! And wipe your face, you have blood dripping from the corner of your mouth."
He wiped it away with the back of his hand, watching it as though he expected it to bite him. "He had no right to hit me."
"Duo was just worried about me, that's all."
"Oh, like I don't worry about you?! Like I couldn't sleep last night because I didn't know what kind of effect seeing Trowa would have on you? How it would effect your performance?"
"Why is he here anyway? He doesn't work for the Preventers."
"He's needed." Heero then turned around and walked down the stairs, out onto the runway.
"Oh, is that the answer I get? Because he's needed!" I stood at the top of the steps, shouting at his retreating back. "So its because you say he's needed, huh?!
"This conversation is OVER!" He growled over his shoulder.
"Oh, so this conversation is over because you say its over?! Huh?! Is that how it works Heero Yuy!"
He sharply spun around and faced me, and I knew I went too far. Ever since I knew his real name, I've never called him by anything else. That, above anything else, slapped him in the face. I thought I would die from the sad expression in his eyes. Then, his eyes hardened and his features tightened up, showing no empathy. In a low, grating voice, he said, "Yes Quatre, that's how it works. This. Conversation. Is. Over." He turned back around and continued walking to the palace. "And have your ass to dinner and the debriefing at six."
"Yes sir, commander of weaklings like me sir, who are unworthy of all your graces sir!" I saluted to his back as he raised his right hand and flipped me off. Whatever.
I made sure nothing was broken on the plane before I climbed down the stairs and back into the palace. Stepping out, I squinted my eyes against the bright sun, jogging slightly to catch up with Heero. I realized it was a lost cause however, when I saw him run up on the front steps and disappear in the shade. So much for catching up.
Once in the palace, my heels made contact heavily against the tiled floor. Everyone seemed to be gathered at the front of the palace: Relena was talking with Dorothy and Noin, Zechs was whispering something to Heero and Trowa, and Duo, along with Wufei, were leaning against the wall, glaring at everybody.
Everyone's conversation seemed to fall when I entered the room, but it didn't matter. I walked right over to where Trowa was standing, stopping at about a foot away from him. I looked him in the eye and smiled pleasantly, at least I think it was pleasant, and tried to be hospitable. This is me we're talking about. ‘Quatre Winner' and ‘rude' don't co–exist together. "Catherine called me yesterday, worried about you. You should give her a call."
A small smile graced his lips. "Oh, I did already. She's fine now. Thank you for letting me know though."
I shrugged carelessly. "No problem." Spinning on my heels, I came face to face with Duo and Wufei, who were giving me curious expressions. Grabbing a wrist of each owner, I pulled them along behind me, further into the recesses of the palace and effectively ignoring everyone else.
"Cat, what the hell are you doing?" Duo asked as I tugged them along. Wufei stayed quiet.
My eyes scanned across the many passageways of the corridor, trying to find one that could possibly lead to the kitchen and dining hall. Without glancing back to Duo, I answered his question. "I'm looking for that beer you were promised."
I don't know if fuel can be taken out of a plane, and I don't know what gave me that idea, but if a mobile suit can fly, then fuel can be taken out of a plane.