"Her Beautiful Ideals"
"I'm here to see Relena."
The guards glanced at each other. Another suitor for the Princess? This was getting pathetic.
"Sorry, kid, we can't let you in," the huskier of the two said, tapping his gun idly against his shoulder.
Heero offered him a look usually reserved for cockroaches. "I'm expected," he clarified.
"What's your name?" the other guard demanded, hefting his clipboard.
Heero hesitated on using his name, but knew that such a thing as secrecy would never have occured to Relena. He would have simply broken in, but ever since Duo's little stunt the other night, security had been tight. Spying on her earlier together had almost gotten them caught more than once, and he wasn't ready to risk capture. "Heero."
The guard lowered the clipboard without even reading it, looking down at Heero strangely. "Oh, you. Yeah, she said to expect you. Just a sec." He clicked on his radio. "A 'Heero' is here to see Relena-sama. Open the gates."
A moment later the gates clicked and swung slowly open. Still looking at him strangely, the guards waved him in. He strode past them without a backwards glance.
At the front door he encountered one of the people he least felt like seeing, aside from Zechs and Relena himself.
"Welcome, Heero." Dorothy offered a smile that looked a little predatory, and a lot mocking. She ushered him in, leading him towards the spiral staircase. "Relena figured you'd come here if you didn't get in contact with her by phone. Right this way."
Heero declined to respond, following her silently up the staircase and down a lushly carpeted hallway until they stopped before a solid oak door. The guard at the door nodded to Dorothy in recognition and opened the door, popping his head in to speak to Relena for a moment before stepping aside, moving his gun in approval. "Go right in," he grunted.
"Thank you," Dorothy said primly, not even looking at him as she pushed the door open all the way and strode in, Heero close behind.
He half expected to see Trinity standing before Relena's impressive mahagony desk, but the young boy was nowhere to be seen. Dorothy curtsied to her leader, still smiling. "As you said, My Lady, Heero Yuy has come to call."
Heero disliked the implication that he had come as a suitor, but kept his face carefully nuetral as he stood before the desk and the girl seated at it.
"Thank you, Dorothy. Please leave us alone for a few minutes," Relena said with a polite little smile. Dorothy curtsied again and left, but not before flicking Heero an amused look. Heero stolidly ignored her. He could see sometimes why Duo said she gave him the creeps.
The door closed quietly behind Dorothy, and Relena focused her attention on Heero, hands folded on the desk, back straight. The position made her seem older than she really was, certainly more mature, and Heero was instantly on his guard. Relena was not as stupid as she sometimes acted, and this was her territory. She was used to giving orders and debating from this room, putting him at a slight disadvantage. Plus, he had come at her 'summoning', and despite the fact that he had done so for his own reasons, his appearance already instilled confidence in the young Princess, causing her pick her words carefully and present her ideas with a certain force- with the same inner strength that had put her in her varied positions of leadership.
"Heero," she greeted with a barely suppressed undercurrent of warmth. "Thank you for getting back to me. I knew Wufei would pass on the word, even if he was.." a slight smile quirked her lips, "..a little rude."
Heero got right down to business. "I came here for my own reasons," he said firmly. "But why did you call?"
If Relena was disappointed by this proclamation, she didn't show it. "I received a message," she stated, "that I think I am supposed to pass on to you." She leaned back slightly, opening a drawer in her desk and pulling out a small yellow envelope. She passed it over the desk, watching Heero's face carefully. "It has my name on it, but it seems directed towards your team."
Heero's face remained blank as he accepted the envelope from her manicured hand and flipped it open, pulling out the short note enclosed. "Why would it be addressed to you if it's for us?" he demanded, unfolding the thin paper.
Relena shrugged delicately, lying her hands flat on the desktop. "Perhaps whoever sent it couldn't find you but knew there was someone who could."
Heero glanced up at her briefly. "You."
Relena nodded slightly, glancing towards the note in invitation, and Heero lowered his eyes to the paper, reading it quickly and silently.
When he finished, he reread it, then carefully folded it and slid it back into the envelope. He turned a piercing look on the girl before him. "When did you receive this?"
Relena's expression was solemn. "About a week ago, actually. But I hadn't found you, yet, Heero. There was another like it about a month back that wasn't so obviously written for you, but now that I've read this one, I think the other was from the same person, and for your team as well. Unfortunately I threw it away. I thought it was a prank or something."
"What did that one say?"
"It was a lot like that one," Relena flicked a finger towards the letter, "except not as...urgent, I guess you'd say."
"Someone was trying to warn us." Heero's tone was grim. Striding across the room, he held the letter over a lit candle on the mantlepiece, allowing the paper to catch on fire.
"Oh-!" Relena rose halfway out of her seat, eyes widening. "What are you doing? That's evidence! Don't you need it to track whoever wrote it?"
Heero watched the paper burn. The paper was old and thin, and was burning quickly. "I have the name. That's all I need. I don't think whoever wrote this would be stupid enough to leave any evidence as far as fingerprints or hair. Besides, I think I know someone who can find this person for me."
Relena reseated herself, frowning slightly. "Heero, it's obvious both letters were a forewarning of some kind. Did something happen?"
Heero strode over, dropping the flaming letter into the metal trashbin by Relena's desk and offering her an unreadable look. "That isn't your business, Relena."
Relena looked affronted, but swallowed her pride and disappointment with visible difficulty. "Well, then... you said you came here for your own reasons as well." She lifted her chin slightly, stubbornly. "What did you want, Heero?"
Relena blinked, but rose to her feet. "Nani? Are we going somewhere, Heero?"
Heero stepped around so that he was behind her desk, hand going behind his back to where his gun was hidden under his shirt, thrust partially in his shorts. "Go stand over there." He indicated the large bay window on the other side of the room with a nod of his head.
Relena hesitated, gaze flicking towards her desk drawers. "Why?"
She looked at him square in the face, something flickering in her eyes- betrayal, anguish -before she tightened her fists by her sides, going stiff. "I think you should leave," she said quietly.
Heero drew his gun, pressing it against her chest, and her eyes widened. "Move. Now."
"No. I won't." She was glaring at him now, unbelievably stubborn, even with the gun pressed firmly over her heart. "Get out, Heero. Don't you threaten me. Besides..." She took a breath. "We both know you can't do it."
Heero pushed her hard with the gun, and she winced, staggering back a step before moving quickly sideways, her body blocking the drawer Heero was interested in. The drawer he and Duo had seen her slip the plans for Project Savior into after her meeting with Trinity. "I'll call the guard, Heero," she said shortly, her voice wavering slightly, as if she couldn't believe Heero was doing this, was betraying her trust and threatening her. "Please get out. You don't understand, you've misunderstood something."
"Are you trying to start a war, Relena?" Heero's accusing voice and snapping eyes caused her to flinch. "You, who are so desperate for peace?"
"I'm PREVENTING one!" she cried, eyes starting to glisten. "You don't understand, Heero! Or did you forget all the information I'm privy to?"
Heero's gaze narrowed. "What are you talking about?"
Relena took a deep breath to calm herself. "I heard about that mobile doll that crashed at the high school downtown," she said quickly. "There have been sightings of stray mobile dolls, you know that. Someone is bringing them back, sending them into random towns."
s "Nothing has been destroyed," Heero pointed out.
"I didn't say that anything had been," Relena interrupted. "Nothing YET anyway. Are you calling me paranoid, Heero? You of all people should see the risk these dolls present. The fact that no one knows who restarted them is what scares me the most. Not even my brother knows."
"And so you're going to play General." Heero pushed more firmly with his gun, and knew it was hurting her by the way she winced. Still she refused to move, giving a small grunt of pain.
"No, Heero. You don't understand- I need to develop a warning, a threat towards whoever is doing these things. The Gundams once struck fear in the hearts of Treize's men; only their loyalty to him kept them going after you again and again. But I see no army, no political genius rising that could command troops as well as Treize did. If I bring in a warrior for the people-"
"A warrior for the people," Heero repeated with faint scorn. "If this threat is so real, why didn't you bring it to our attention?"
Relena gazed up at him. "Would you have done it, Heero?" she whispered. "If I had come to you two months ago and asked you and your team mates to return to your Gundams, to fight another War, would you have done it?"
No. Heero stared at her silently. No.
War was over for them. Without a good reason or evidence to indicate a war, he knew none of them would be so eager to jump into another bloodbath. Duo and Quatre especially. Even Wufei would balk at the thought. They were still soldiers, they still possessed their Gundams... but a rumor of an all-out war? With no proof, there was no way any of them would be so brash, so arrogant, as to take up arms once more and become a 'police force' for Relena. Only when there was clear evidence that the peace Relena had worked so hard to obtain was threatened would they willingly come to her aid with killing intent in mind.
"If I have to tell you again," Heero said quietly, "I'll hurt you. MOVE."
Relena's eyes welled with tears, and she hung her head in defeat. Her voice was raspy. "Then hurt me."
Heero was impressed despite himself at her courage and audacity, even as he raised his gun, intent on tapping her temple firmly enough to knock her unconscious.
The door opened abruptly, and Dorothy stepped in with a pistol aimed directly at Heero's head, face cold and calm. "I would suggest you not do that, Mr. Yuy," she said loudly. Heero hesitated, offering her a furious glare, and Relena looked up at her quickly, startled.
Then Heero did the dirtiest thing he could recall doing in a long long time.
He lowered the gun, pressing the barrel against Relena's forehead. She stiffened, her eyes going blank with shock.
"Put down the gun," Heero said darkly. "Right now."
Dorothy's jaw went tight, the gun in her hand wavering just the slightest. "You wouldn't," she spat.
"Try me." Even as he said it, he knew she was right, and hated the weakness inside of him for it.
Dorothy's face contorted as she fought an internal battle with herself. She was aware of Relena's feelings for him, and of his devotion to her cause, but she also knew Heero's seriousness when it came to battle. Would he really shoot Relena or not?
No, she decided. But it was a risk she wasn't willing to take.
Slowly she lowered her gun, her expression furious. After a moment of hesitation, she released it, letting it clatter to the ground.
"Back." Heero said curtly.
Slowly Relena took two steps back away from the desk, swallowing hard, her eyes threatening to overfill with tears. Keeping an eye on them both, Heero reached down with his free hand and tugged at the drawer.
It was locked.
"The key," Heero demanded. "Where is it?"
Relena swallowed again, staring him down. "I lost it," she whispered, barely audible. A single tear slipped free.
Heero stared hard at her for several long moments.
Then he slowly lowered his gun. "Relena..." he struggled for words. She was gazing at him like a betrayed child, and the expression was eating at him. There was a flicker of hope in her large blue eyes at his actions, and he hesitated.
"Guards!!" Dorothy shouted.
Relena jumped, crying out in surprise, and Heero cursed under his breath, shooting a quick look at the desk. He could tear the drawer out if he tried... but...
Three guards burst in, guns levelled at him. "FREEZE!" one of them bellowed.
Heero whirled and made a quick dash, leaping for the window directly behind the desk, arms snapping up to cover his head protectively. He heard Relena scream at the guards frantically, then he hit the window and glass was exploding everywhere, deafeningly, and he was falling..falling...
He sumersaulted mid-air, and landed heavily on his feet, rolling a fraction of a second later, preventing any broken bones. He was up and running in an instant, sprinting across the grounds towards the fence. Everywhere guards were shouting and pointing, hands flying to their radios as the report came in, as the order was given to shoot him down.
Gunfire cracked across the lawn, bullets narrowly missing their target as the boy dodged and ran in the open.
In another moment he was going to be shot...
Then he heard Relena, crying out from the shattered window for them to cease fire, and a majority of the guards quickly jerked their guns skyward. A stray shot struck home by pure luck, striking Heero in the arm, but he didn't slow, didn't even cry out, merely flinched at the sharp, sudden pain. He was up the wall like a cat, leaping over the barbed wire and onto the ground below, dashing towards the nearby woods, ignoring the throbbing pain in his arm and the shouts behind him.
Standing at her broken window, deaf to the frantic shouts all around her, Relena watched the young boy disappear into the trees, face pale. As the last gunshots died out, she reached up with a trembling hand and drew the chain around her neck out from under her blouse. She looked down with watery eyes at the small key dangling there and swallowed her tears forcefully.
You'll understand soon, Heero, she vowed silently. I can't risk the safety of this planet. Project Savior is not an invitation to war, but a shield against it. I wish you could help me with it, as you did before.
But this time, I have to do it alone.
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