++Ch. 16++
"A New Mission"

The boy shimmied down his Gundam with surprising agility and strode over to stand by Dr. J. He gazed up at Heero solemnly, young face marred with a smudge of oil on one cheek, normally tidy black hair ruffled. "So you're Heero Yuy," he observed, his faded jeans and American logo t-shirt reminding Heero briefly of Duo. "I've been waiting to meet you. Relena-sama mentioned you."
Heero resisted the Trowa-like urge to raise an eyebrow. Only mentioned? As he had thought, Relena was being careful not to push Trinity into choosing sides. She had, however, more than likely hinted that Heero and his team mates were not enemies.
"Trinity," he said in leu of greeting, glancing towards the impressive Gundam behind the boy. "Just what do you plan on doing with that?"
The boy tilted his head to the side, wrinkling his nose a little. The expression made him look young- almost cute. He was almost a full head shorter than Heero. "I don't think I'm completely sure, yet," he admitted, ignoring the sharp look Dr. J shot him. "You don't look stupid, Yuy-kun. You know Relena-sama sponsored this?"
"I'd thought as much.." Heero blinked snow from his eyes. "And she wants you to be her police force against an imaginary war?"
"Imaginary?" Trinity lifted his head, his voice hardening. "Yuy-kun, the mobile dolls that have reappeared have created martial law in several towns throughout the country. My own town was taken over by half a score of them. We have no idea who started them or who commands them. We've seen no army, yet, but those dolls could cause massive damage at the drop of a hat. What happens if whoever is controlling them suddenly gives the order to destroy and they wreck entire towns?"
Heero felt a frown tug at his lips, an unwanted image of a little girl with her dog flashing in his mind. "I've heard vague reports..." he glanced towards Dr. J. "But it seems the Doctors have been too busy to keep us up to date."
"Relena-sama has asked me to consider making Thundertalon a warning. A solid threat of what this country is capable of; that we will fight back."
"There is nothing to fight against."
"Yet." Trinity clarified, brushed his bangs from his face and blinking. He shivered at a gust of wind.
Not much of a gundam pilot, Heero thought absently. This kid, with his intelligence and manner of speaking, would do better as a politician than a soldier. Like Relena.
Heero made a decision. He flicked a glance once more towards Thundertalon before fixing the scientist before him with a glare. "I don't have time for this."
Dr. J's eyes narrowed. "Are you refusing to fight, Heero? Are you afraid?"
He knew damn well Heero was no coward, and so Heero found no need to argue the point. "I have other things to do," he said coldly. "Things more important than this."
"What could possibly be more important?" Dr. J demanded angrily as Heero turned his back and strode towards Wing.
"Trinity," he called over his shoulder, "Remember what Relena said."
The young boy blinked, shielding his eyes from the snow with a hand. "What?"
"If you're going to fight, follow your own ideals and your own beliefs. Don't listen to the opinions of others. Go and see things for yourself."
Triniy flushed. "You were spying? That night I met Relena-sama, you spied on us!" He glared at Heero's back, and the soldier hesitated, turning to look at him. "I heard how you attacked her in her own home," Trinity continued, eyes hardening. "You held a gun to her head."
Inwardly Heero cursed. It looked like Trinity had just made his decision. Oh, well, no helping it now. He turned away wordlessly once more.
"I know what this is about," Dr. J said suddenly. "What's more important than this."
"I doubt it, old man," Heero shot back.
"It's because of 04's kidnapping, isn't it?"
Heero froze in his tracks.
"Since when did I teach you to put your team mates before a mission?" Dr. J's eyes were narrowed and mean. "Just like that time you infiltrated OZ and were supposed to kill 02. You got him out, instead. True, he proved useful later, but you seem to be slipping, Heero. You aren't the perfect soldier I saw you to be."
Heero turned very slowly to face him. "You know about Quatre." It wasn't a question.
"Of course I do," Dr. J snapped impatiently. "I have my sources. How else do you think I've gotten mission information for you all this time?"
Heero's voice was dangerous. "Why did they take him?"
"Because he's in danger while he's with you," Dr. J growled.
Heero blinked. That wasn't the answer he'd expected. "With me?"
"With all of you," Dr. J said, hobbling forward. "While Quatre is with all of you his life is in danger, and the people who took him can't have that."
"Who are they?" Heero demanded. "Who took him?"
Dr. J ignored the question. "You had better forget about him, Heero Yuy. He is safer with them. If you really want to keep him alive, then leave him alone and listen to this, if it will stop you from doing something foolish." He stopped right in front of Heero, peering up at him fiercely. "Keep Davarius from finding him. And keep Quatre from getting back to you."
Davarius? Who the hell was Davarius? "Why would I do that?" Heero snarled impatiently.
"Because," Dr. J murmured, "one of you is going to betray him."
Heero stared.
"That's why...they took him from you."


Duo tossed the book over his shoulder and rummaged through Quatre's previously tidy bookshelves. Not that one.. or that one... Geez, Quatre didn't have much of a selection...
"Duo.. what are you doing?"
"Hey, Wu-man," Duo said absently, without looking up as he riffled through another volume. "Any luck?"
Wufei glanced around at the books scattered all over the floor. He decided he'd rather not know. "This Atreusio is good at covering his tracks, but not good enough." He picked his way through the mess towards his team mate. "I did find something out, though. It seems he doesn't usually travel alone."
"Hm?" Duo glanced up, tossing his book aside. "Whaddya mean?"
Wufei glanced at the print-up he was carrying. "He's like us, I think, in the fact that he skips from school to school undercover. I'm not sure what for, though. He's been darting all over the countryside under different names. And usually with him- whether in the same school or the same class -is another boy."
"Another boy?" Duo frowned, scratching the side of his nose. "He seemed like a loner back in that school Heero and I stayed at."
Wufei shrugged. "That school seems to be the last one he was at before Quatre disappeared. Maybe his partner was getting things ready."
Duo scowled, choosing another book. "Don't tell me you believe Heero's bullshit about Atreusio having something to do with Quatre's kidnapping."
Wufei arched an elegant brow. "I don't know what to think," he admitted.
"The boy you described that came and took Quatre didn't look anything like Atreusio," Duo said firmly. "He had black hair, near his shoulders, and was skinny. And he had dark dark eyes. Weird dark."
Wufei frowned. "Weird dark? You didn't say that before."
Duo shrugged carelessly, poring over the book in his lap. "Didn't seem important," he said lamely. "Heero brushed it off before, anyway. Why?"
Wufei folded the print-out and slipped it into his pocket. "Because the boy who took Quatre had dark eyes. Really dark eyes."
Duo glanced up at him.
"Weird dark eyes," Wufei said quietly.
Duo blinked.
Wufei sighed, running a hand over the top of his head and dislodging a few uncooperative strands, letting them waft around his face. It made him look less stuck-up, Duo noted absently. "What are you doing anyway?"
Duo gestured at the mess around him. "Lookin' up things on cults. You know, Satanists and crap like that. Looking for something about rings of candles an' symbols." He frowned. "Quatre doesn't have much on that subject, of course. So this ain't easy. Where's Trowa?"
"Trying to get ahold of the scientists again I think." Wufei looked less than pleased at the mention of the other boy, and Duo rolled his eyes. This was getting ridiculous.
"Wanna be a big help?" Duo turned his best puppy-dog expression on his team mate. "Could ya keep searching here while I run down to the library?"
Wufei was unimpressed with his friend's wheedling skills. "Maxwell... I have other things to do."
Wufei made a face. "You act like a child, Maxwell."
"Yeah but it gets me what I want." He grinned winningly.
They turned at a quiet step in the doorway. Trowa was standing there, with a strange look on his face.
"I just got a message from Heero," he said calmly. "He's on his way back here."
"Great, what'd he say?" Duo asked, jumping to his feet. "What'd the old farts want?"
Trowa motioned in the direction of the kitchen where the laptop was, looking grim. "I think you'd better read this."
They followed him into the kitchen and bent over as one to read the e-mail as Trowa leaned against the wall and waited.
When he finished reading, Duo straightened slowly and gave a low whistle. "Well," he said quietly, "this changes everything."
They all exchanged grim looks, petty quarrels momentarily forgotten. "Dr. J's insane," Wufei growled.
"But what if he's right?" Duo asked.
"None of us would betray Quatre," Trowa said tightly.
"You're right," Duo said slowly. "But this whole thing with Thundertalon... that can't be good."
"This 'Davarius'... I wonder who he is," Wufei mused, frowning deeply. "He seems like a threat to Quatre."
"Our list of allies is running low," Trowa pointed out.
"Aa." Duo managed a weak grin. "But we still have each other, ne?"
Wufei snorted, but Trowa gave the slightest nod. Duo sighed, closing the laptop with a click. "Well," he said with forced cheerfulness, "you heard Heero. Me and him will take care of the whole kidnapping thing, you two find out about these mobile dolls."
Neither of them looked too happy with the idea, but they knew that Heero's decision was a good one; they were both too emotionally involved with Quatre to help discern his whereabouts. They were too upset to think straight.
"Don't worry," Duo said reassuringly. "We'll have Quatre back and this whole Gundam thing sorted out by tomorrow."
The others nodded in agreement, but Duo couldn't push back the flutter of warning in his gut.
He had a very bad feeling about this.

~To Be Continued in "Starlight"...~

Back to Amiko's fics
Ch. 1
Ch. 2
Ch. 3
Ch. 4
Ch. 5
Ch. 6
Ch. 7
Ch. 8
Ch. 9
Ch. 10
Ch. 11
Ch. 12
Ch. 13
Ch. 14
Ch. 15

On to "Starlight"