++Ch. 6++
"Project Savior"

Duo tilted his hat upwards, getting the brim's shadow from his eyes as he peered up through the trees at the balcony above. He had been lucky to sneak out, slipping past Quatre's worried hen-pecking when the blond had fallen asleep by his bed. He had questions that needed answering.
He tested his ankle briefly, flashing a humorless grin to the surrounding night. Quatre's gentle hands and first aid had helped considerably; after almost two days his ankle was feeling much better, if not cured. He heard the footsteps of the guards making their rounds and ducked quickly, concealing himself behind the carefully-tended shrubs. It had been a pain in the ass to get past the security at the gate; it would suck if he got caught by a pair of pathetic lawn guards.
He waited for them to pass, then rose, unwinding the rope and grapel hook from his waist. He stepped out of the brush, whirling the cloth-wrapped hook over his head faster and faster, eyes glued to the overhead ledge. With a small grunt, he released the spinning hook, watching it shoot upwards and land with a muffled clank. He tugged lightly, then harder, and smirked with satisfaction when it caught on a chink and held. Pulling on it a few more times just to make sure it would hold his weight, he glanced around quickly to make sure the coast was clear and then climbed up as fast as his ankle would allow him.
Pulling himself over the railing, he dropped silently in a crouch on the balcony, quickly drawing up the rope behind himself. He rose, shaking his head on finding the balcony doors shut tightly, grinning to himself. "Trying to keep out the baddies, missie?" he murmured, reaching into his shoe and drawing out a lock pick.
He had the double glass doors open in seconds, and stepped inside the dark room quickly, shutting the doors behind him as quietly as possible.
He waited for his eyes to adjust before walking quietly towards the large king-sized bed, reaching out to pull the gauzy canopy aside.
She was lying with her arm tucked under her head, her hair spilled over the pillows. In sleep, her face relaxed and dappled with moonlight, Duo could grudgingly see why others called her pretty. But her face still retained some baby fat, even at fifteen, that made her seem childlike and innocent-- pathetically naive to the hardened gundam pilots. While in him it brought out an inner, smouldering disgust and almost-pity, for Heero it seemed only to melt some of the ice in his eyes and his heart, and make him more protective towards her than Duo liked.
'We're the same age,' Duo thought to himself, 'and yet she seems years younger to me.'
He reached out to shake her, raising another hand to cover her mouth for the expected shriek.
The barely audible whisper and light rap at the door caused Duo to spring into action. He dove behind a nearby stuffed chair, huddling up as small as he could and holding his breath as the door creaked open slowly, a soft light spilling into the room and falling upon the girl sleeping in the bed.
His eyebrows rose to his hairline at the sight of who entered the room. Dorothy padded quietly inside, clutching the front of her robe, long blond hair falling over her shoulders as she approached the bed on silent, sure feet.
'What is that freak doing in Relena's room at this time of night?'
Dorothy paused by the side of the bed, gazing down at her princess with an unreadable look on her face. Duo peered around the side of the chair cautiously, watching curiously. What was she *doing*? He hoped she planned on leaving soon... his ankle was beginning to ache from crouching.
Dorothy sighed quietly, and seemed to straighten, as if shaking off her thoughts. "Relena-sama," she whispered, reaching out to touch the girl's shoulder. "Relena-sama, wake up. I have news of 06."
06? Duo crouched lower, his interest piqued as Relena stirred and sat up slowly, rubbing at her eyes.
"Dorothy," she mumbled sleepily. "What was that? Did you say something about 06?"
"Aa, Relena-sama." Dorothy seated herself on the edge of the bed, staring at Relena intently.
"Did we find him?" Relena was awake, now. "Where was he?"
"We *think* we found him," the other girl hedged. "I don't want to jump to conclusions."
"Well where is he?" Relena demanded impatiently.
"I had to go through a lot of trouble to get this..." Dorothy said smugly, pulling a photograph from a pocket in her robe and handing it over. "He's a quick one, and doesn't like to have his picture taken. But this is him."
"He looks so young..." Relena said hesitantly, holding the picture up to the weak light.
"He's only thirteen," Dorothy said, shrugging, "but my sources say they did a background check on him and he seems very capable."
Relena was silent for a few moments, chewing pensively on her lower lip. "All right," she conceded at last. "Bring him before me tomorrow afternoon. Make sure no one knows of this."
"Hai, Relena-sama." Dorothy smiled, rising to her feet and tilting her head respectfully. "He will bring a glorious day to people of earth."
"And space," Relena said, a little sharply. She sent a quick, narrowed gaze towards her companion, lowering the photo to her lap. "Remember what Project Savior is for, Dorothy."
"I remember, princess," Dorothy said, her eyes dancing with her usual mockery, despite the seriousness of her tone. "I know exactly what this boy is going to do for us. For us all." She turned and left, shutting the doors behind her with a quiet click, bathing the room in darkness once more.
Relena sighed, leaning back against the headboard and massaging her forehead with her fingertips, her face strained. "Father," she whispered, "please let this be the right thing to do. It is the only option I have left."
Duo's eyes narrowed from where he was squatting in his hiding place. 06... Project Savior...? What the hell was going on?
He waited until Relena had placed the picture in her bedside drawer and finally fallen asleep before he rose painfully to his feet, wincing as he stretched muscles sore from being in the same cramped position for so long.
He strode over to her bed and watched her for a moment, reassuring himself that she was indeed asleep before carefully tugging the bedside table drawer open and pulling out the picture. Glancing once more at the slumbering princess, he carried it to the balcony doors, holding it up to the moonlight to see better.
The light hit the face of the boy in the picture, and his eyes widened, his heart leaping into his throat. Masaka... Could it really be...?
He quickly replaced the picture in the drawer and left on the silent feet of a thief.

Duo finished wrapping the rope and hook around his waist, mulling over what he had seen and heard.
Project Savior was a mystery-- who had designed it? What was its purpose? When would it be put into action, or had it already started? Was it another crazy idea of the mad scientists? But why would they have entrusted it to Relena? Because of her position? Because they didn't think the gundam pilots were capable anymore? They had, after all, pretty much trashed Operation Meteor. What was Relena planning, and would it turn out to be just as destructive as the war they had just ended? Would it *start* a war?
He frowned to himself, tugging the brim of his hat lower over his eyes and looking around to check if the coast was clear. He had to tell the others about this.
"Stay where you are!!"
Duo cursed, whirling and throwing a hand up to cover his eyes as the bright beam of a flashlight hit him in the face. He heard a crashing in the brush as guards headed quickly towards him, surrounding him. Shit. This was not good. Turning away from the blinding light, he hurtled towards the closest man, headbutting him in the stomach as hard as he could. The man fell with a grunt, and Duo tumbled after him.
He leapt to his feet a second later, sending the next man reeling with a swinging fist to the face and ducking under the grabbing arms of a diving guard. Kicking another in the shins, he raced across the grounds like a rabbit caught in the open prarie, the shouts and drumming feet of the guards coming from everywhere at once.
Shit shit shit!
He squawked in surprise as someone pounced on him from behind, wrapping their arms around his waist and bringing them both crashing to the ground.
Duo wriggled and struggled frantically, finally managing to roll onto his back. He began kicking repeatedly, driving his shoes hard and relentlessly into the face of his attacker, gritting his teeth and ignoring the other's howls of pain until finally the hands clutching at his shirt and belt loosened and released him. Stumbling to his feet, he raced to the gate and had shimmied up it in a flash, narrowly missing a half-dozen grabbing hands. He yelped as gunshots rang out, the bullets whizzing dangerously close, bouncing harmlessly off the metal gate. Reaching the top, he swung over to the other side and leapt from it, grabbing wildly for the branches of a nearby tree. He landed on a large branch heavily, the breath driven from his body for a moment.
Groaning and cursing under his breath, he inched towards the trunk and made his way down.

By the time the guards got to the tree, the illusive intruder was gone.


"Project Savior?" Quatre repeated blankly, cradling his teacup as he leaned against Wufei, who was seated next to him on the couch. The Chinese warrior seemed a little uncomfortable with his lover's sleepy display of public affection, but couldn't make himself shake the smaller boy off.
Trowa was seated at the small coffee table, and Heero was standing nearby, arms crossed over his chest as he studied Duo with narrowed eyes, keeping his thoughts to himself.
"Is that all they said?" Wufei demanded. "Did you recognize the boy in the picture?"
Duo shrugged, raising his hands hopelessly, dancing dangerously around the edge of a lie. "The light was bad. But I know that whoever it is, Relena's going to be seeing him tomorrow afternoon. I think we should drop in." He grinned. "Pay her 'oliness a visit."
"Did she give a specific time?" Heero asked.
"Iya. She just said afternoon. I'm guessing sometime after lunch."
"Aa." Heero turned to face them all, and they looked up to him expectantly. His hard gaze flicked across each of them as he outlaid the new, unexpected mission. "Don't tell the Doctors what we've found out. If this is some secret plan of theirs, let them think we don't know about it. This is what's going to happen tomorrow..."

Author's Notes: hmm.. i'm going to pretend Endless Waltz never happened.. because I really didn't like it. especially the ending. :D forgot to tell you that in the beginning.. so.. now you know, and knowing is half the battle, as my koi always says. ^_^ I'm probably also discarding a few little facts frum the end of GW, but who cares. Laa~~ *throws protesting GW director over her shoulder* So yes, they all have their gundams.. and this takes place sometime after GW... not too far after. Um.. a timeline of its own, I guess -_-; you know me.. my GW stories are usually set in bizarre timelines I create =p Like Harvest Moon.. Anyway.. *Sweatdrops* Ja~

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