++Chapter 8++
"The Strength of Relena"

"Wufei-kun, please stop following me."
Wufei scowled at Shenlong's monitor as Trinity's young, calm face appeared. "I don't trust you," he said bluntly. "Are you reporting to Queen Brat?"
"Don't call her that." Trinity's voice sharpened. "You shouldn't treat her so callously, Wufei-kun. You don't understand her."
"And you do?" Wufei sneered. "You need to get your head checked, kid. AFter one stupid interview you become another of her little fans? You aren't as intelligent as Heero suggested you were," he said in derison. "Letting a woman have such control over you."
"You don't understand." Trinity looked away from the screen so that his expression was hidden. "She's been through so much... and she reminds me of..someone." He looked back up, face calm again. "Besides, I have talked with Relena-sama more than once since that interview. Now will you please stop following me- I don't want to fight you, Wufei-kun."
"Fight if you like. I've got some words to exchange with Her Holiness." Good god, he sounded like Duo. He bit his lip to prevent any further sarcasm. This.. *kid* brought out his temper quicker and easier than he liked. His naievity annoyed him. But part of it, his mind whispered, is you're angry that someone so young has been pulled into this.
How could a child speak of killing someone with no sign of remorse or fear?
This boy, it seemed, had inner strengths that could make him dangerous. Perhaps Relena had seen that in him when she chose him.
Trinity didn't answer him, but he didn't land looking for a fight, either, so Wufei continued to follow him. Finally Relena's manor came into view. Trinity ignored his pursuer, roaring over the gates and descending to a large landing pad usually reserved for helicopters in the back. Wufei scornfully landed on the carefully tended grass, ignoring the staring guards as he climbed down from Shenlong, glancing up at her with a silent but fond, 'Stay here, Nataku...' before turning to stride after the boy who was already heading for the side doors, acting as if he didn't even exist.
Some of the guards looked as if they were debating whether or not to detain Wufei, but since Trinity didn't seem overly alarmed by his presence, they didn't rush in with guns blazing. Two stepped forward to bar his way, their faces grim, but their tight grip on their rifles gave away their nervousness. They'd seen Shenlong before. This had to be a Gundam pilot. And they were not boys to be taken lightly.
"Move," Wufei said shortly, not even slowing.
The two men glanced at each other, then one called sternly, "Halt! What business have you-"
Wufei bore down on them impatiently.
A swift kick and karate chop later, he walked calmly past the downed guards, ignoring the others.
This time no one tried to stop him.
As he stepped inside he glanced around and caught a glimpse of Trinity's small form topping the winding staircase. He took the stairs two at a time, irritated by the boy's complete lack of respect or wariness.
He let his annoyance show plain on his face as he rudely shoved the guards before Relena's door aside and barged in.
Trinity offered him the briefest of glances from where he was standing beside a large chair by the window. He looked neither surprised nor alarmed by the other pilot's loud entrance. Relena was sitting in the chair, gazing out of the window with a strange, unreadable look. She looked up slowly as the guards stepped in to grap Wufei.
"No, it's all right," she said. "He can stay. Thank you, please shut the door."
The men saluted smartly and backed away without a word. The door clicked shut quietly behind them.
Relena turned back to her contemplation of the bright blue sky outside. Trinity was ignoring him again, watching Relena intently.
Wufei studied the both of them in silence, waiting. The only sound was the monotonous ticking of a nearby clock.
"I heard about Heero..." Relena's voice was tight with quiet strain. "Please, Wufei... how is he?"
This again? "How should I know?" Wufei said in his usual gruff manner. "You have some explaining to do, Relena. And your little *pilot* here.." he said the word like a curse, "could use some better training."
"I know."
He was mildly surprised by her quiet answer.
"Trinity is only doing what he thinks is best. Please don't be so harsh with him." Relena's eyes drifted, watching a bird fly by, and she smiled to herself.
Wufei frowned. What the hell was wrong with her? She wasn't usually so out of it. "Onna," he snapped, "are you drunk?"
Trinity turned a fierce look on him. "You be--"
"Trinity." Relena shook her head, tightening her lips, and the younger boy shut his mouth reluctantly. "I'm just tired, that's all." She gave a little laugh, as if it was some inside joke. "I apologize for the trouble he's put you through, Wufei. But he did what he thought was the right thing to do, and at least the threat of the mobile dolls is alleviated for now."
Wufei arched an elegant brow, crossing his arms across his chest, standing stiffly. "You've got some talking to do," he informed her. "Answer my questions. I don't like getting rough with women, but I will if I need to. I'm in no mood for your stupid beating around the bush."
Relena rubbed her forehead wearily. "Ask, then," she murmured.
A little mollified by her meek cooperation, he asked firmly, "Why did you pick Trinity? He's a kid with no military experience."
"The scientists recommended him," she said, finally turning her head to look at him. "They said they could have him trained very quickly. I didn't know how young he was until Dorothy showed me his photograph. And I knew very little about him until I interviewed him. I needed a pilot. He was all there was. The Gundam was ready, and I was.. running out of time. I was afraid the dolls would strike."
"Why didn't you come to Heero?" Wufei demanded next. "We would have checked on it and you might not have had to drag that brat into this mess."
"I tried," she said, eyes sparking with emotion at last. "I couldn't find him *anywhere*. And when I finally did, he only walked away when I approached him. It was at a high school he and Trowa-kun were undercover at about a month ago. After that I lost him again. When Heero came to my office the other day to get the 06 plans, I couldn't let him have them because I knew he wouldn't understand, wouldn't let me explain. He could have destroyed the papers, and I couldn't afford that risk."
"Why did you send Trinity to fight Heero, then?"
"I didn't." Relena looked pained. "I knew nothing of it until it was too late. The scientists took things pretty much into their own hands once I had convinced Trinity to pilot Thundertalon. There wasn't much I could do."
Wufei frowned pensively. Relena, backed into a corner? But it still didn't make sense. Something wasn't adding up. "I still don't see why you rushed into this."
Relena hesitated, glancing towards the window once more.
Trinity was watching her silently, and Wufei noticed he looked tense. Almost... protective.
"I have had a few talks with Trinity-kun since we've met," Relena said quietly, watching how the wind was causing the oak by her window to sway gently. "I wish so much that he was not a part of this. But he has no desire whatsoever to give it up. It's his choice."
"And you, you little idiot," Wufei turned his attack on Trinity, who jerked his head around to meet him with surprisingly hostile eyes. "Why are you so damn loyal to this onna? She's going to get you kill-"
"Shut up!" He said it so viciously that Wufei actually paused, mildly surprised. "You don't understand anything!"
"Trinity.." Relena reached up to grab his hand as he started threateningly towards the older pilot, eyes blazing, completely unafraid of the stronger boy.
"She's trying to help her people!" Trinity shouted, ignoring her. "In the only way she knows how! Why don't you shut up about things you don't understand? All you know is war and killing and tactics! Relena-sama has more compassion than any of you stupid pilots put together-"
Quatre, not compassionate?
Wufei was across the room in a flash, jerking the boy to his tiptoes with a death grip on his collar. "Shut your trap," he snarled. "Don't you presume things about us, brat. How the hell would you know compassion- you, the kid who can kill an old man and not even think twice about it? You haven't heard Quatre ask his enemies to surrender so he doesn't kill them or seen the way Duo looks when he talks about-" he stopped himself abruptly, struggling to contain his anger. The Maxwell Church... Ch', it was none of this stupid kid's business.
Trinity's face paled at Duo's name, and he went limp in Wufei's tight grip. "Duo," he murmured. "I can't believe you have the gall to stand there and talk about his past as if you know him that well."
Wufei shoved him roughly away, afraid suddenly that he would hurt the boy. This fierce defensiveness towards his team mates scared even him, and he took a shaky step back, glaring daggers. He frowned deeper at Trinity's words. "You act like you know him."
"Duo and I... grew up together," Trinity whispered, eyes haunted. "On L2. We were orphans together on the street. Until the day the Maxwell Church took us all in." His mouth was tight, as if supressing emotion. "Why do you think I call myself Trinity? I hate you!" he exploded suddenly. "I hate all of you! You made Duo what he is! He was like a brother to all of us, and when the Church burned down, I thought he was dead. When I found out he was alive on earth..." he shook his head in mute frustration, and Wufei noticed with surprise that his eyes were damp. Relena was watching him helplessly, biting her lip. "Those doctors turned him into a..a *monster*," he spat. "Into a soldier. Someone who would kill. I was happy about it once. I thought he could avenge those who burned down the Church. But now killing is second nature to him! Espionage, spying, fighting, killing... They destroyed Duo!!"
"That's why you accepted, then?" Wufei demanded with dawning realization. "You were going to..." He stopped, struck by a thought. "The scientists didn't die of exhaustion," he said slowly, watching the younger boy carefully. "You killed them."
Trinity glared fiercely. His silence was all the answer Wufei needed.
"Trinity-" Relena wrapped her hands around his arm, looking as if she wished she could comfort him. Wufei wondered suddenly why she didn't get up to do so.
"There was a girl," Trinity said in a wavering voice, staring intently at Wufei, "that used to run on the streets with us. My older sister. She was killed when the Church was burned down. She had.." he swallowed, "my mother's blue eyes. She was smart and pretty and she loved everyone."
Relena closed her eyes and swallowed hard.
Wufei stared at them.
And it clicked. Why Trinity was doing what he was doing, why he acted the way he did.
Living on the streets, having the Church destroyed, and becoming a soldier had fucked Duo up. Even Heero knew this. His smiles, his careless jokes... they were what kept him sane, kept him grimly going onward. He hated to kill, he hated doing what he did. But he did it. That was just the way Duo was. Trinity was even younger than Duo. And his mentality was vastly different from his childhood friend's. Duo had believed in Shinigami, even then. Trinity most likely had not. Two different views on religion, and therefore on life. Duo embraced death, at the same time hating it. Trinity feared and hated death, but saw it as a necessity where revenge was concerned.
And in Relena he saw his older sister. Someone he had loved, looked up to... Someone who had been taken away from him by war.
"Fight according to your ideals. By your own heart."
He had accepted the heavy mantle of responsiblity Relena had offered him desperately, with no regrets. To protect her, to gain her respect, he would fight for her and defend her. To save Duo, to avenge him, he had accepted the role of executioner.
Wufei's frustration, his complete and utter lack of disrespect for the boy...
slowly melted away.

"Wufei." Relena's voice was broken. She was staring outside again, clutching Trinity's hand like a lifeline. "Please understand why I did what I did. I just wanted..." She swallowed thickly.
Wufei looked to her, alerted by her quiet tone. He noticed for the first time how pale she looked, how young and helpless.
Hadn't Duo mentioned at one point how pale she had looked the night he had spied on her? He had blamed it on the dark, but... when was the last time the young Foreign Minister had been seen outside? Uneasiness stirred in his gut.
"I'm sorry for rushing into it all, for causing all this misunderstanding," Relena said, trying to sound like her old confident self. "I love my people, Wufei. I don't think you'll ever understand how much I do." She hestiated, then, "Wufei, how is Heero?" she sounded so plaintive.
Wufei answered without thinking. "He's in the hospital," he grunted. "He's fine."
"I'm glad..." Relena sighed. "Please tell him I'm sorry about all of this. I just..."
Wufei realized belatedly he was tense and shot a look towards Trinity. The boy was stiff, his face closed off as he gazed down at Relena, his eyes churning.
"I just wanted to do this one last thing for my people," Relena whispered, "before I die."
"Nani Relena?" Wufei demanded frowning. "You're young," he said slowly, as if talking to a retarded person. "You have plenty of time to try to save your people from war."
"No, Wufei." Relena's voice wavered, but she firmed it quickly. "No I don't. I... I have cancer, Wufei-kun. Pancreatic cancer."
Wufei stared.
Trinity shut his eyes tightly.
"The doctors say I have less than a month to live." She gave a soft, pained laugh and looked up at him finally. Her clear blue eyes were swimming with tears. "I'm dying, Wufei. Let me do this one last thing for my people."

Back to Amiko's fics
Ch. 1
Ch. 2
Ch. 3
Ch. 4
Ch. 5
Ch. 6
Ch. 7
Ch. 9
Ch. 10
Ch. 11
Ch. 12
Ch. 13
Ch. 14
Ch. 15
Ch. 16
Ch. 17
Ch. 18
Ch. 19
Ch. 20
Ch. 21
Ch. 22
Ch. 23