This, Trowa thought edgily, was not how it was supposed to happen.
He stared at Nichol's back as the man barked out orders in the middle of the main control room, which was loud with shouted information, and hot with the press of so many bodies. Was the man insane? He wanted to fire on the Federation Colony?
Things were slipping from his control, and Trowa's mind spun quickly in an attempt to provide a solution that would not blow his cover.
Zechs- no, Milliardo -was on that colony, with Lady Une's blessing. Trowa frowned slightly to himself, still unable to completely understand the entity that was Une. He shook it off like a dog shaking off water. Time to worry about that woman later. He was more concerned with the man before him who was turning to look at him with a sneer, just daring him to say something. The skirmishes going on between Barge and the Federation colony were worrisome enough; but now the man was determined to blast the colony from space with the fort's fearsome beam cannon- even if it meant killing Une, who was out there fighting as well. Trowa had enough control over his facial expressions to hide his scorn, though he couldn't completely banish it from his tone.
"Isn't that colony inhabited by civilians?"
Nichol sneered at him, hands set imperiously on his hips. The man at the radio hesitated, glancing from one man to the other, obviously unwilling to go through with this unless he had to.
"They know the risk," Nichol snapped. "They knew staying on a colony that is actively against OZ is a danger."
"Does Colonel Une know about this decision?" Trowa asked quietly.
"These orders come directly from Duke Dermail," Nichol informed him a little smugly.
Trowa frowned internally, tucking that name away for later. "Very well. I'll get the Mercurius and the Vayeate ready." He turned to go.
"Forget it, Barton," Nichol barked, halting Trowa in his tracks. "I forbid you from going near those suits." His eyes narrowed in that familiar suspicion. "I don't like traitors."
Trowa arched a brow. "Colonel Une doesn't know about your orders to use the beam cannon," he pointed out. "She would not agree. Besides that, she's in the line of fire."
Nichol's face went red with anger. "Colonel Une left me in charge," he growled, and gestured to a pair of nearby guards with rifles. "Restrain him!" He looked down at the radio man. "Give the order to fire as soon as that colony is within range!"
Trowa raised his arms slightly, face calm. He glanced towards the screen that indicated how many mobile dolls were being deployed. "I just don't think it's a good idea to rely so heavily on the dolls to back up the Colonel," he remarked. Turning, he left.
The two soldiers with rifles aimed at him hesitated, then let him go when he didn't resist Nichol's orders anymore.
As soon as he was out of the control room, Trowa turned his feet in the direction of the room he had long ago hunted down and stored to memory.
There were so many soldiers running up and down the halls, either heading for their suits or their battle stations, that none thought to question why a lower rank pilot was making his way to the most important room in the floating fortress-- the control room for the deadly beam cannon.
Even as he neared it, he felt the floor vibrate underneath his feet, and lengthened his stride. They were preparing to fire; the Federation Colony must be within range. If that cannon went off, it would take out countless civilians, not to mention Milliardo and Une, who were out there fighting.
He found the correct door and knocked sharply with his knuckles.
The door opened just slightly, the entry blocked by a large man holding a rifle and eyeing him suspiciously. He obviously didn't recognize Trowa. "What do you want?" he snapped. "You're not supposed to be around h-"
Trowa knocked the gun aside with one hand, driving his elbow into the man's throat. The guard gurgled and staggered back, and Trowa ducked into the room, dealing him a heavy blow to the stomach that had him crashing to the floor.
"What the hell-??" The other guard was jumping up from his seat, fumbling with his gun. Trowa snatched the unconscious guard's rifle from the floor and slammed the butt of it against his adversary's temple. The man collapsed in a heap.
Stepping over the two bodies, Trowa did a quick estimation in his head and turned the dials over his head before slamming his fist down on the red button on the main panel.
The entire fort shook with the explosion as the beam cannon fired its deadly ray into space.
Trowa's eyes were glued to the data screen on his right. Some of the tension seeped from his shoulders as the beam's path was laid out for him to see.
Fifteen degrees-- just barely enough. The new coordinates he'd inputed had changed the beam's path just enough to miss its target.
The colony was safe.
"Lady Une would have not agreed to this attack," Trowa murmured to himself. At least he had no need to fear repercussions. Nichol, on the other hand, was probably shitting his pants. He straightened, setting the rifle on the panel and exiting the room. He pulled the heavy door shut behind himself and walked off calmly.
He should tell Heero what had occured, while things were still chaotic, he mused. His partner would be pacing a track in the floor wondering what the hell had just happened.
He found his way to the surveillance room and knocked officiously. The chubby face that greeted him was familiar. Trowa wracked his brain for the name, nodding at the nervous looking man.
The man nodded, looking even more uptight.
Before he could speak, Trowa suggested softly, "Why don't you go have a smoke break? I'm going to need to record something that occured in the main hangar, and it will probably take about ten minutes."
Bill hesitated, then nodded eagerly. "Hey, thanks, man," he muttered, slipping out, already placing a cigarette between his lips. He was obviously eager to find someone and find out exactly what was going on. "Good lookin' out. Take your time, man."
Trowa nodded, and the heavy man hurried off. Trowa stepped into the small room and locked the door behind him.
He quickly went to work, finding the correct tape that monitored the beam cannon's control room. He erased his activities from the tape, recorded several minutes of the two men hovering nervously over the controls to make up for the missing time, then leaned back in the chair, satisfied that his tracks had been covered. It was dubious the men would be able to recall his face, and even if they eventually fingered him, he didn't plan on staying here for too much longer.
His eyes drifted toward the screen that monitored cell 149, and after a moment's hesitation he reached over and pressed the eject button. The tape slid out, and he pushed it right back in-- just enough so that it wasn't obvious it wasn't fully in, but not enough for the tape to catch and resume recording. Rising lithely to his feet, he headed for the cell block.
Another hit to the cockpit caused the glass to crack ominously, and the only thing that kept Wufei's head from cracking against the console were the restraints, digging into his chest and shoulders. That's going to leave bruises.. the thought flitted in the back of his mind, lost amid the jumble of frustration and weary acceptance.
He should have tuned Nataku up when he had the chance. His hand twitched towards the self-destruct button before he curled his fingers back, setting his fist on his knee. He managed to give a shadow of his usual arrogant smirk as the mobile dolls surrounded him like a threatening swarm of wasps. "I'll let you capture me," he muttered. "You can fix Nataku for me."
He didn't bother to put up a fight as his Gundam was hauled into the waiting ship. Hell, they'd be saving him a trip.
He'd take a free trip to the moon colony, even if it was in chains.
He didn't plan on being there long.
Heero had obviously been expecting Trowa. He came forward as soon as his partner entered the cell, expression demanding an explanation.
Trowa leaned against the door, crossing his arms lightly over his chest as he gazed at the far wall. "Nichol ordered the beam cannon to be fired at the colony," he said quietly. Heero made a small noise of surprise. "I changed the coordinates," Trowa added. "The beam missed, and by the time it recharges, Une will be back."
Heero nodded- whether in approval or simple acknowledgement, Trowa wasn't sure. His eyes darted towards the camera.
"I disabled them for now," Trowa murmured, catching the quick look. "It's hectic right now in the aftermath, and-"
Heero suddenly surged forward, and whatever Trowa had been about to say went out the window as a hard body pressed against his, restrained hands grasping a double fistful of his uniform as a demanding mouth found his own.
Something hot- much like the adrenaline rush he'd felt as he raced to make it to the control room in time -shot through Trowa's veins at the abrupt attack, and he found himself burying long fingers in dark hair, tilting the other boy's head and kissing him back hard.
Heero shifted against him, obviously frustrated at his inability to use his hands, and Trowa tore his mouth away to pull in a shuddering breath. He stared into pools of cobalt- darkened with sudden lust -and wondered dazedly where this sudden eagerness had come from.
Heero changed position, raising his arms and placing his hands against the wall over Trowa's head and leaning his entire body against Trowa's in one hot, straight line that made the normally calm pilot's breath hitch. He lowered his hands, wrapping strong fingers around a narrow waist, and crushed his mouth to Heero's once more. When an insistent tongue pushed against his teeth, he opened his mouth without hesitation and welcomed the invasion.
Trowa's mind was having difficulty processing anything, still stumbling to catch up to what was happening. Since when... since when did it not bother him to have his space so brutally invaded? he wondered with an edge of desperation. Why was Heero suddenly so intent on seemingly finishing what they'd started in the hangar back on earth?
And why the hell didn't he have a problem with that idea?
He tore away to gasp in a breath of much-needed air, and managed the hint of a sardonic smile. "Is this my reward for a job well done?" he murmured.
"Smartass," Heero mumbled against his lips. "This is..." he hesitated.
Trowa turned his head, brushing his mouth against Heero's ear and enjoying the shiver in his partner that provoked. "Nani?"
"I don't know... what this is," Heero admitted slowly. He pulled back slightly, looking carefully at Trowa, searching for any sign of withdrawal or resentment at his honest words.
"Neither do I," Trowa admitted with the hint of a shrug. "I guess this is.. 'following your emotions'." He ran his palms lightly up the other boy's sides, sliding them around to rest against strong shoulder blades. "Not that I'm complaining."
Heero blinked, caught off guard by that, and Trowa took advantage of his momentary floundering to capture his mouth in a slow, exploratory kiss.
Eventually soldier instincts won over teenage hormones, and Heero withdrew, stepping out of Trowa's personal space. He looked calm despite his heavy breathing. "You need to get back to your post," he pointed out. "Before someone gets suspicious."
Trowa glanced at his watch. Bill would be back soon, and would not be happy if he found his station unmanned. "Aa." His eyes strayed towards the rip in his partner's shirt.
Heero caught the look and answered the unvoiced question. "They've been avoiding me like the plague," he snorted, retreating to lean his back against the far wall once more. "What did you do?" There was a suspicious look in his eye.
"I reported it to the Colonel." Trowa straightened his uniform calmly, brushing the dust from his back. "Une was talking about moving you to the Lunar Base. She'll probably push the order once she gets back and deals with Nichol."
Trowa arched a brow at him as he paused by the door. "Planning on taking out the mobile dolls?"
Heero nodded once, and Trowa offered the faintest hint of a smile. "Wokatta. Ja." He entered the code and exited, closing the heavy door firmly behind him.
Heero stared at the door for several minutes after his teammate had left.
Trowa's prediction proved correct. Not an hour after putting Nichol under arrest, Colonel Une announced that the pilot of 05 had been captured and the transfer ship was going to pick up 01 on its way to the Lunar Base.
As he was being escorted to the ship, Heero caught a glimpse of Trowa watching from the sidelines alongside Une, face set back in its impenetrable, unreadable mask. The perfect spy.
Then he was ducking inside the transport and being shoved towards the back, hands still cuffed in front of him. A hard hand on his shoulder forced him into a seat across from a familiar face.
If Chang Wufei was suprised to see him, he didn't show it. He cracked open one eye from his interrupted nap to offer Heero an unimpressed look before closing it again in dismissal. Heero studied him, then turned his head to look out the window. He couldn't see Trowa anymore, however, and as the ship exited the dock and began its journey towards the moon, he turned his attention back on his traveling companion of the moment.
This was the one that Trowa seemed to respect- the one he'd spoken of a few times back when he'd still been in the circus. When it seemed the other boy was intent on ignoring him for the duration of the flight, he asked bluntly, "You're after the mobile dolls?"
Wufei was silent for so long Heero thought he was being ignored. Finally lids lifted to reveal dark eyes as Wufei lifted his chin to look right at him. "Are they planning on using us as test pilots?"
Heero snorted. "I think we're the targets."
Wufei's eyes drifted towards the window as he gazed out at the stars in silent contemplation. Heero was considering a nap himself when Wufei's quiet words stirred him to alertness. "Treize... he wants a duel with the conceited colonies."
Treize. Heero felt a frown tug at the corner of his mouth at the name. From what little Trowa had said on the subject, Treize seemed to be to Wufei what Zechs was for Heero. "Treize is your enemy?"
"My enemy. My opponent," Wufei agreed, eyes narrowing slightly as he glared at the stars outside. "It's our destiny to kill each other."
"I don't believe in destiny."
Wufei turned to regard him, arching an elegant brow. His hair was a little disheveled, strands flying free from the tight ponytail, his face smudged and bruised a little from his battles. He seemed almost melancholy. A far cry from the brash, proud warrior he'd met back in Trowa's trailer. "Then what do you fight for, Yuy?"
"Is that the reason you fight?" Heero countered, tone hard. "Your 'destiny'?"
Wufei's lips curled in a silent snarl- a mix between contempt and arrogance -before he turned his face away dismissively once more. "I fight for my reasons, you fight for yours. Let's leave it at that," he snapped. "I've already told you I fight my battles alone, so it's not like we'll see each other after I've taken care of the Lunar Base."
Heero's eyes narrowed slightly. "After you take care of the base?"
Wufei caught the faint mocking tone and stiffened, whipping his head around to glare at him fiercely. "Are you insinuating I'm incompetent?"
"You're the one who got himself caught," Heero pointed out blandly. A very small part of him pointed out that he was deliberately baiting the other boy. Wufei's firey temper and passion was so much different from Trowa's calm and cool attitude.
"As did you, Yuy," Wufei snapped. "Have you been rotting in a dungeon somewhere in Barge since the last time we spoke?"
Yes, but Heero wasn't about to admit it. When it was put that way, it suddenly sounded... well, it pricked his pride. His eyes narrowed slightly in the beginnings of his deadly glare.
They ignored each other for the remainder of the flight.
They were hustled to a cell immediately after landing, surrounded by tense guards with happy trigger fingers. Wisely, they each decided not to try anything until a better opportunity presented itself.
As a result, they found themselves staring at each other inside a dimly lit cell that was at least three times bigger than Heero's original holding pen back on Barge. For this Heero was grateful; he had a feeling he and Wufei would have been at each other's throats within five minutes if they had been confined to a smaller area.
Especially when Wufei was looking for a fight.
It was Heero's own fault, admittedly. Evidently Wufei didn't like to be interrupted when he was about to meditate, and Heero's brunt questions about his fighting, his goals, and his missions-- all perfectly reasonable questions that Heero required to catalogue the other pilot in his mind for future reference --were not helping matters. Again Heero realized he was just pressuring the other boy to speak. He wanted to see just what Trowa had seen that night after New Edwards that had made the Chinese pilot stick so firmly in the tall boy's mind. And Trowa had wanted Heero to get to know the other boy better for some bizarre reason. But bringing up Trowa proved to be a mistake.
That certainly got Wufei's attention. He rounded on Heero from where he'd been sitting against the wall, eyes snapping with temper. "Barton? I don't know, Yuy, why don't you tell me?" he snarled. "You're the one who's been with him the most. You should know him better than any of us, if that scene in the hangar is anything to go off of."
Heero's eyes widened marginally. What? But Wufei couldn't have seen- he hadn't gotten close enough to the hangar to see anything before he'd set off the alarms. Belatedly he realized Trowa must have still looked a little flushed, and cursed silently. This conversation was not going where he wanted it to go. "Don't make assumptions," he growled.
"What the hell's up with the third degree, Yuy?" Wufei demanded angrily.
Heero gave a careless shrug, leaning against the wall across from him. "Trying to see what Trowa sees in you," he said honestly.
That didn't come out right.
Wufei's eyes widened slightly. Several emotions flickered across his face almost too quickly to see: surprise, embarrassment, confusion, and finally defensiveness. He retreated once more behind his scowl. "What are you babbling about?"
"Nothing," Heero said shortly, closing his eyes to show he was done talking.
But Wufei wasn't about to let it rest. He got to his feet in one lithe movement, fists clenched inside the cuffs as he glared at Heero, bristling. "Look, Yuy, is this some kind of idiotic test? It's fairly obvious at least to me that you and Barton-"
"Don't," Heero growled quietly, opening his eyes to offer his most venomous glare. "You keep jumping to conclusions," he pointed out in a low, dangerous voice.
Wufei was undaunted by the glare that had caused Duo Maxwell, self proclaimed Shinigami, to duck for cover. "Then what's this really about, Yuy?"
Heero was silent for a moment, eyes turned inward. Abruptly he pushed himself away from the wall and strode over, invading Wufei's personal space.
The other pilot took a quick, defensive step back, bringing up his cuffed hands in preparation for a fight as he glared at the other pilot warningly. Heero came to a halt, hands hanging in front of him to show a fight was not what he was looking for. His eyes raked Wufei up in down as he assessed what he saw and what he'd discerned from their conversation. Finally he met Wufei's glare calmly. "You might be a strong warrior, Chang," he said at last, so bluntly that Wufei blinked in surprise. "But are you strong enough?"
Wufei's eyes widened slightly before his lips peeled back in another snarl. He hesitated, then clamped his lips tight together and turned away. He stalked off and sat down on the far side of the cell, hidden in the shadows.
Heero stood where he was, caught a little off guard by the sudden retreat.
After several long moments, Wufei's voice finally drifted from the darkness, calm again. "I don't know anymore. But... I'm still going to fight."
Heero nodded slowly. Still going to fight.
That... that was the spark Trowa had glimpsed in Wufei.
Chang Wufei was arrogant, proud, and pig-headed. But his warrior spirit burned brighter than Trowa's own, or even Heero's. Wufei had the one thing neither of them did- even if it was just an illusion. He had a reason to fight. He was fighting for a cause that only he could fully grasp. And he wasn't going to let anything stand in his way.
"It's our destiny to kill each other."
Not even death.
Some sort of silent if wary understanding seemed to settle in between them as they sat in silence for the next couple of hours.
Then Duo Maxwell stumbled into their cell and informed them rather proudly that the God of Death would live again.
After which he promptly collapsed, leaving Wufei and Heero to stare at each other across the room in anticipation of the upcoming battle.
Author's Notes: if some of the dialogue seems cheesy or familiar, it's because I pull some lines directly from the script. I just add on to them as I wish, that's all. ^^;;
*sigh* Heero is rather OOC near the end of the fic... gomen. I'm just sick of banging my head against my desk trying to shove him and Wufei into converstations. ><;;;
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