Duo crouched next to Heero in the ventilation shaft in Relena's office, trying not to feel claustrophobic as he kept himself from moving. If he made too much noise, Relena would be alerted to their presence, and the game would be up.
The brat in question was seated at her desk, signing paperwork, a stack of papers by her hand awaiting her eye. She paused for a moment and set the pen down, giving a quiet sigh and stretching, gazing longingly towards the window. Duo lifted an eyebrow, feeling a momentary pang of pity. No teenager should be cooped up all day doing paperwork. He couldn't see how she could handle her job sometimes. He knew he'd go crazy having to put on a poker face for politicians and sitting behind a desk for half the day.
Just then there was a quick knock on the door, and she straightened, her face expectant. "Come in, please."
The door opened, and Noin entered partially, her hand on the door. "A package from Dorothy," she said quietly.
Relena nodded to indicate that it was clear, and Noin turned, saying something to whoever was out in the hall. Duo held his breath, waiting.
A second figure entered the room, and Noin shut the door behind him. As he followed the taller woman to stand before Relena's desk, he came into view, and both Duo and Heero got a good look at his face.
Duo had to bite his hand to keep from making any noise.
'I knew it! I don't believe this!'
He stared wonderingly down at the young boy below. 'He's still alive after all these years!'
He was young; he looked no older than the thirteen years he had lived. His short, smooth black hair and large, solemn dark gray eyes, along with his slender figure, made him look petite and feminine. The small scar nicking his chin brought memories rushing back on Duo, and he had to close his eyes momentarily to compose himself before Heero realized something was bothering him. He was a perceptive little bastard, and Duo didn't feel like answering a million questions just yet. So he kept still and held his breath, watching the events below unfold.
"What is your name?" Relena asked, leaning forward and clasping her hands before her on her desk.
The boy glanced up at Noin before answering. "Trinity."
Noin glanced at the open folder in her hand. "It says here your name is Matthew Barges," she prompted.
The boy ignored her. "My name is Trinity," he repeated, staring intently at Relena. "If you want to talk to me, you're going to have to call me Trinity."
"Very well, Trinity," Relena conceded. She got right to the point. "Do you know why you are here?"
The young boy hesitated, shooting a wary glance around the room. "I think so."
Relena rose to her feet, leaning forward with her palms spread on the desktop as she watched the boy's face carefully. "Have you ever heard of the gundams, Trinity?"
Heero and Duo exchanged a quick look.
Trinity tilted his head back slightly, regarding the princess with an emotionless face. "Yes," he said at last. "Who hasn't?"
"We've done a background check on you... what little there was to find," Noin said briskly, flipping through the folder. "You don't seem to have much of a history behind your ninth year... Do you know where you were born?"
"..I guess where I grew up."
"You grew up on earth," Noin pointed out.
"When I was nine, a man and a woman took me to earth," Trinity corrected, still not looking at the soldier. "I don't think I was born here."
"Where did you grow up?" Relena asked. "Until you were nine."
Trinity looked past her, gazing out the window, his eyes unfocused as if seeing another place, another time. "I grew up on L2," he said quietly. "With my friends."
Relena frowned slightly, something in her memory piqued by the name of the colony. She wasn't able to put her finger on it, but something about what the boy was saying seemed as if she should be making some kind of connection to something. She shrugged it off. "I hear you've become quite the handyman. Seems you outclass some mechanics twice your age. And they let you drive the vehicles at the shop where you work."
Trinity didn't agree, but he didn't deny it either, turning his smokey eyes back towards her.
"How do you feel about the gundams?" Relena asked. "Did you think of them as friend or foe of earth during the war?"
Trinity frowned a little, tilting his head to the side and regarding her as he mulled over the question. Duo found himself holding his breath once more, clutching the grate on the ventilation duct, waiting for the boy's answer. Beside him, Heero shifted slightly, starting to sense his partner's agitation and wondering at it.
"I don't care who was fighting for what," Trinity said at last, his voice clear and honest as a child's. "Everybody thought they were in charge, everybody thought they would end up ruling space or earth or both. No one was right. The gundams fought for what they believed in, what they thought was right in their own hearts. Whether or not they made the correct decisions, it is too late to change. They were..." he searched for the right phrase. "A necessary evil."
Relena leaned back, seemingly satisfied with his answer, while Noin flicked an unreadable glance towards the boy beside her, impressed with his mature way of thinking and wondering at it.
"You're a well-informed boy," Relena pointed out. "You seem to know a lot about the pilots and the way they think."
"I have my reasons for knowing," Trinity said obliquely, and Heero raised his head a little at the vague tone. This kid spoke like someone well-schooled for someone with a job at a mechanic shop.
"Where are your parents?" Relena asked.
Noin shot her a warning look, but Trinity had already answered her, turning his face away, his eyes clouding over. "They died when I was really little. If you're talking about the man and woman who adopted me and brought me to earth, I don't know where they are. I don't care, either."
"I'm sorry," Relena said, instantly sorry for her rash question, looking down at her hands and hesitating before murmuring, "There are a lot of orphans these days. I know how you feel."
Trinity looked up at her with renewed interest, some of his hostility and wariness ebbing away. "Your mom and dad are dead, too?"
Relena managed a smile. "That's right. And it's the same for the pilots of the gundams, too. They are all lost orphans, fighting for what they think is right, just like you."
"I don't fight for what I think is right," Trinity argued, frowning at her. "Leave that to idiots like the gundam pilots and that weirdo Treize or Tress or whatever his name was. I can't do anything. I'm just... me."
"But what if you *could* do something?" Relena pressed gently, watching him intently. "What if you could make a difference?"
"Me?" The young boy sent a startled glance from her to Noin. "What do you mean?" he tried to sound nonchalant, but the excited thread in his voice told that he had been waiting for a chance like this all his life. Relena smiled.
"Project Savior," she explained, walking around the desk to stand before him. "It's something that's been being developed since shortly after the war. You're aware, I'm sure, of the new batch of dolls that have suddenly reappeared and pulled a sort of unknown martial law over some of the colonies and some of the towns on earth? It's all over the news."
"I know about it." Trinity was eyeing her suspiciously. "What's that got to do with me?"
"What would you say if I told you that by fighting for what you feel is right in your heart-- by your own morals, your own judgement --you could help bring a stop to this war before it starts?"
Duo and Heero exchanged a quick, wary look. Just what was Relena up to, now?
"What do you mean?" Trinity gazed up at her curiously, his expression guarded but his eyes lit with interest.
"Some men I know have built something for me," Relena said slowly, watching him carefully. "I want to give it to you. If I entrust you with this gift, will you promise me you'll take care of it and use it only according to your heart and not to the thoughts and ideals of others?"
Trinity hesitated, his eyes flicking across her face as if searching for deception. He looked briefly to Noin, then turned his gaze away, staring out the window, stuffing his hands in his pockets. He was silent for a long moment. Finally, he spoke, his eyes still riveted to the view outside.
"If you're asking me what I think you're asking me," he said slowly, "and if I can change something by doing this-- if I can make the world better by doing this..." He took a deep breath and turned determined gray eyes on the smiling princess. "Then I will do it," he said with determination. "I will be a pilot for you."
Heero had to slap a hand over Duo's mouth to keep him from giving a startled squawk.
Author's Notes: Hurray~ I'm on a writing streak! ^___^ *puffs up happily and begins to strut around* *trips over her own feet* Ittai! T_T
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