Wweb of Betrayal

Chapter 14:

By: Dyna Dee

Disclaimer: I don't own any part of Gundam Wing, and I only borrow its characters to fuel my imagination, with no profit or gain other than the pleasure of writing.

Warnings: yaoi, mild language, angst, talk of past NCS, lemon. Relena lover's won't care for this fic.


Part 14

The Ultimate Betrayer

The Vice Foreign Minister's pleasant dream was disturbed by the slamming of her bedroom door against the inside wall of her room. She awoke with a start, and her sleep-filled eyes recognized Heero as he stalked towards her bed. The glint in his eye and his pursed lips alerted her to the fact that she was in danger. "What are you doing in here Heero?" she challenged him, now completely awake.

Instead of a verbal answer, her legally bound husband reached out and grabbed her by her upper arm and unceremoniously hauled her out of warm Queen-sized bed.

"How dare you!" she shouted indignantly. Her voice squeaked as his other hand came up to wrap around her neck . With his fingers applying pressure around her long, slim neck, he began to push her back from her position next to her bed. Relena's bare feet scrambled quickly beneath her to keep from falling or being choked if she failed to move as Heero's hold directed. Her smaller hands instinctively came up to grab his unyielding hold on her throat. In vain she struggled, almost panicked to pull the bone-crushing grasp from off the front of her neck. "Stop this Heero!" she rasped at him in anger and rising panic. She hit the wall forcefully, not enough to hurt her, but enough to cause her to gasp as air was knocked out of her lungs.

"Where is he Relena?" Heero growled out through his gritted teeth, his face mere inches away from hers looking stern and forbidding.

Ah, she finally realized what this was all about, and her lips turned upward in a malevolent grin. "On his way back to Penal Colony Four," she answered smugly, then added. "Where he belongs."

"I hate you, do you know that?" he told her, his deep blue eyes blazing and his hand not letting go of her throat, but firmly keeping her pinned to the wall.

"Too bad," she answered in a smooth and cool tone of voice, despite the lack of air and fear she felt. The sneering smile that grew on her face and her eyes sparkling with a challenge spoke of her obvious enjoyment in the contest of wills they were engaged in. "You're mine, Heero. The bravest man in the solar system brought to his knees by a mere woman, me." A spark of triumph flashed in her eyes.

"With one flick of my hand I can break your neck," he threatened, then tightened his grip slightly until he saw a hint of fear in her eyes, feeling satisfaction that Relena was finally realizing just how precarious her life was at the moment.

"But then you would end up in prison for the rest of your life, separated from your precious Duo forever." Her voice was raspy as she struggled for breath, but still there was a look of triumph on her face that overshadowed any fear she might have felt.

"Shut up," he snarled in warning. "You have hurt him and myself for the last time."

Her blue eyes narrowed even as she gasped to take in air. "You can't stop me Heero. I have powerful people behind me, willing to do whatever I ask. I can manipulate the system to keep Duo locked up for the rest of his life."

Heero's body began to shake from the suppressed rage he felt welling inside him. It was tempting, so tempting to just kill her, to end their misery. Just a twist of his wrist would do it, a squeeze of his fingers. But no, his hand stilled. Duo needed him, and he desperately needed Duo. He had promised him he'd never be alone again, that he would be by his side for the rest of their lives. That wouldn't happen if he gave into the primal urge to kill his enemy. For Duo's sake he would resist the temptation....this time.

Abruptly removing his hand, he gave the corrupt woman a threatening glare. "You've tripped up this time, Relena. We know who your moles are and we have the Warden's file. Your signature attached to an illegally acquired Preventer's record detailing Duo's past will ruin you politically."

The young, blonde woman gently massaged her throat with a well-manicured hand and looked smugly at the scowling man in front of her. "Your signature is also attached, Heero. You'll go down with me."

"I don't have a political job to lose," he retorted. "Plus the fact that my signature's forged."

Her eyes narrowed again, not liking to be threatened or pushed into a corner. "I've got all of the pilots' files, Heero. I'll make them all public if you move against me. Trowa's past alone was somewhat colorful reading, being a mercenary and abused by the men who raised him to be a soldier; the tabloids will jump on that in a flash, no questions asked as to where it came from." She gave him a insolent smile. "But it will undoubtedly ruin any chance he has of making a life with Quatre. Would you do that to your friends?"

A slight gasp behind Heero brought to her attention that they were not alone, as she had presumed. An error on her part, she realized. She looked around the broad shoulders of her husband to see Quatre Winner, suitcase in hand and looking furious.

"Quatre?" she said in a startled voice. "How did you get in here?" she asked, not knowing how long he'd been there or how much he'd heard. She thought it best to play the innocent until she figured that out, and mentally chastised herself for being so careless.

"The maid let me in so I could help Heero pack," he replied in barely concealed anger. Then, in a tone of firm confidence he added, "He's leaving with me."

"No, he's not!" Relena replied equally as determine as the blond businessman.

"Listen Relena," Quatre stepped forward and handed Heero his suitcase. "You have manipulated and hurt two of my friends beyond imagining. I will not tolerate your interference in their lives any longer, nor in mine or any of the other pilots' lives."

"You won't, will you?" she asked with a knowing smirk that made the Winner heir wary. "Seems to me a couple of your sisters filed a false police report, putting an innocent man in prison. Plus there are rumors alluding to some shady dealings by the Winner Corporation that could land a few of your family members, and possibly even yourself in trouble with the law." The smugly confident young woman looked like the proverbial cat that swallowed the canary.

Quatre's eyes widened. "Is that how you got to them?" His tone demanded an answer. "Did you blackmail them into framing Duo because of a business deal? And are you now threatening me?" he asked in an incredulous tone of voice.

"Me? Threaten?" Relena laughed in her practiced, polite manner and batted her eyelids in an act of mock innocence. "I'm a diplomat," she told him with an indulgent smile that both young men wanted to wipe off her face. "I negotiate with the facts. True, I have from time to time acquired those facts under questionable means such as planting listening devices planted at parties, in the restroom and back rooms. You'd be surprised at the many underhanded and deceitful things respectable people do and then later, when they've sobered up or have been confronted with their embarrassments, try to hide what they've done. I just take the information I stumble upon and use it towards meeting my own ends. But that's just all a part of my job, isn't it? Using the system to benefit the cause of Peace, and maybe even helping myself along with it."

"Hurting innocent people isn't a part of your job, nor something a moral person would do," Quatre replied hotly. "You have proven yourself unworthy of your office by such underhanded, unethical tactics, not to mention how you've harmed those who fought for our precious peace. You will not blackmail me, my family, or Trowa. If you have evidence of wrong doings by any employee of my company, make it public, let the guilty face justice. But I warn you," he glared at the girl in his most menacing manner while pointing his finger at her. "If you leak out any information on Trowa's past to the press or even privately amongst your friends or government officials, I will know who did it. And if you'll remember from during the war, my anger was very destructive. I will see you ruined and in prison if you persist in your schemes."

Relena seemed not to take his threat seriously as she gave another light laugh. "Ah Quatre, you naive boy, I think you've forgotten something very important." Relena smiled knowingly at him. "It's not only the guilty who go to jail."

Seeing that this tit-for-tat conversation was going nowhere, the Arabian waved off her comment and decided to end the conversation. "I'm warning you Relena, stay out of our lives." He turned on his heel, not waiting for whatever reply she had on the tip of her tongue. "Let's go Heero. We've said our goodbyes," He spoke loud enough for Relena to hear as he took hold of the Japanese man's arm and propelled him from the room.

"Don't you dare leave this suite Heero!" she yelled angrily after them.

"Do us all a favor Relena," Heero called over his shoulder in parting. "Die."

Both men ducked at the sound of a vase hitting the door frame, but continued on.

Outside the bedroom door stood the shell-shocked maid. "Goodbye Nadia. Thank you for your kindness." Heero softened his manner as he spoke to her.

"Goodbye Mr. Yuy." she said in a strangled voice and watched as the two young men left the Princess of Sanq's suite of rooms.

With his suitcase in hand, Heero followed Quatre to a taxi that was waiting for them outside the palace doors. Quatre quickly gave the driver the direction to the Preventer Building, wanting to be as far away from Relena and her influence as soon as possible.

The two former gundam pilots were soon walking through the hallways of the building that housed the peacekeeping force known as The Preventers. With the filled suitcase being wheeled behind Heero, they made their way to the elevator on the main floor. Once it began it ascend, Heero turned with a relieved look on his face to his blond friend. "You have no idea how good it feels right now to be free of her," he told him.

Quatre slung his arm around the other's shoulder. "I'll never let her hurt you or Duo ever again, Heero. Even if I have to hide you away on one of my estates for the rest of your lives."

"It won't come to that Quatre," Heero replied. "But thank you," he said sincerely. "Relena's false facade and house of cards are beginning to crumble," he continued in a more seriously manner. "Now that we've seen how she operates to get other people to bend to her will, just as she did with me by extortion and blackmail, we have only to find and convince one or two of her victims to be bold enough to step forward and bring charges against her."

Quatre nodded as they stepped off the elevator and approached the security desk. Within five minutes they were in a conference room with Une and Wufei. The head of the Preventers looked excited.

"We've got a tracer on the GPL and have narrowed it down to two city blocks. They're mostly residential and apartments, so a search will have to commence between seven a.m. and noon. We don't want to alarm hundreds of families in their sleep by a loud knock on their door."

Heero looked confused. Trowa seeing it, turned to fill him in. "Duo was in the process of fixing Wufei's cell phone and took the GPL chip with him. Hopefully, he didn't just drop it. But we've located it on the other side of town from my place and I believe he's there."

Heero inwardly smiled at his lover's cleverness. "Then lets go and get him," he said with an intense look on his face the three hadn't seen since the war. "We can't take the chance of Relena hurting him because of this morning," he added.

"What happened this morning?" Une asked with a frown of concern.

"I left her...after a rather nasty confrontation," he informed them, completely unapologetic.

Quatre nodded his confirmation of Heero's statement. "She threatened not only Heero and Duo, but Trowa, my sisters, and Wufei as well."

"Me?" Wufei asked with a contemptuous snort. "I have nothing to hide."

Quatre's eyes softened as he answered the Chinese Preventer. "You don't need to have any skeletons in your closet for Relena to pull you into her web of betrayal, Wufei. She used Heero's love for Duo against him to get what she wanted. She had someone in my family set Duo up and even though he was innocent, he went to prison. She could use your honor and pride in your name against you by fabricating a lie and threatening to drag your name and clan's honor through the mud. I would dare to say that would have some affect on you."

Wufei's eyes widened slightly at the implications Quatre raised, then slowly shook his head in disgust. "I understand," he replied simply.

"Where is the signal transmitting from?" Heero asked, bringing them back to the matter at hand of finding Duo.

Wufei moved to a black laptop sitting on the conference room table. A Preventer who was unknown to Heero stood and vacated his seat in front of the computer, then moved off to the side so the other men could view the screen. Wufei bent over the empty chair and moved the mouse, the screen flicked back to life and a map appeared on the screen. A blinking icon flashed in the center of the map. All five in the room huddled together to look at it. Then simultaneously, Une and Wufei looked up and then at each other with an expression of surprise on both of their faces. The head of the Preventers then quickly moved to the intercom and depressed a button on the panel.

"Davis here." A female voice sounded over the speaker.

"Jody, could you please check the roster and see if Captain Noin, Lieutenants Harris and Birmingham, and Dr. Poe have check in this morning for their shifts."

"Just a moment." the voice answered and the tapping sound of a computer keyboard being put to use could be heard. "Captain Noin and Lieutenant Birmingham took a personal day while Harris and Dr. Poe have yet to clock in."

"What's going on?" Trowa asked Wufei.

Pointing to the map, he answered in a grave tone. "That's the vicinity of Sally's apartment. "

"I'm sure she had nothing to do with this." Quatre was quick to reassure him, sensing his Chinese friend had some strong emotions for the doctor, though he'd kept them to himself.

"I know that!" Wufei snapped. "But now they may have more than just Duo, they might have Sally as hostage also."

"Then lets go and get them back." Heero said with determination. It was clear to those present in the room that he was slipping into what they had formerly referred to as soldier mode.

"Wait!" Une said quickly. "This is a residential area. We can't go in slinging guns and bullets and chance any civilians getting hurt."

"We can't wait for Relena to lash out at Duo in retaliation for Heero's leaving this morning," Trowa said, feeling exasperated by their inability to act immediately.

"Let's handle this logically and with cool heads," Une told them, her voice calming the former pilots to reason. "If Sally didn't show up for work or call in, I would naturally call her to see what the problem was." She strode with purpose to a phone sitting on top of a small desk in the corner of the room and dialed. "I'll try her home phone first, then her cell." she explained her actions to the anxious four.

The phone rang six times before the answering machine picked up. Une listened patiently through the short message and waited for the sound of the beep. "Sally, it's me, Une," she began her message. "You're late for work and you have some nervous employees wondering if you're alright. I'll check your cell phone to see if you're on your way."

She quickly depressed the button on the phone and quickly dialed another number. After three rings, there was a click and Sally's voice came on. "Hello?" a faint voice answered sounding a bit timid for the good doctor.

"Where are you Sally?" the head of the Preventers asked in a softly chiding voice. "It's not like you to be late."

"Had a late night," Sally's explained.

"Everything alright?" she asked.

"Could be better."

"Did you ever find that missing package?" Une asked, hoping her friend would understand she was fishing for information.

There was a pause on the other end of the line, then Sally answered in a slightly tentative voice. "Yeah, I stumbled across it unexpectedly."

"Was it intact? You know how rough the delivery system can be."

"It's not entirely intact." Sally replied, sounding more confident now she understood Une was asking about Duo and that help was just on the other end of the phone. "I'm going to have to have it repaired."

"Do you have the name of the delivery service for filing a claim?"

"Yes, it took four phone calls, but I got it covered."

"Good." The head of the Preventer's replied. "Are you coming in today?"

"I think I'll take a personal day to rest."

"Alright," Une agreed to the false request. "But your assistant said she had some papers you need to sign. I'll have her send a messenger over with them this morning. So don't get too deep into sleep that you don't hear the doorbell." She knew her statement would alert Sally that they would be arriving soon.

"It that necessary?" Sally asked with a slight tone of worry.

"Yes, expect him early this morning." Une replied. "And rest easy."

"I will, Thanks." Sally replied in closing and the connection was severed.

Lady Une hung up the phone and turned to the four standing behind her. "He's there in Sally's apartment with four people guarding them, probably the three we know about, plus one other." She studied each of the four intense-looking faces as she broke the next piece of news. "Duo's been injured."

At that news, Heero turned on his heel to leave and would have if Wufei's reflexes weren't so sharp. Heero looked down in anger at the hand firmly gripping his arm, preventing him from leaving the room. "Let go Wufei. I'm going to him."

"We all are Heero. But we need to do this right so Duo and Sally are safe as well as Sally's neighbors."

"Then you've got exactly five minutes to come up with a plan," Heero glared at him. "Because that's when I'm leaving."

Lucretia Noin took Sally's cell phone from out of her hand and put it in her own pocket. "That was a rather cryptic conversation." she said with a grim look on her face.

"You think so?" Sally asked with a questioning raise of her eyebrow. "Une always calls me when I'm late for work."

"They're onto us, aren't they?" The dark haired woman asked with sorrowful eyes alluding to the fact that she already knew the answer.

Sally merely looked her friend in the eye but refused to answer. Noin turned her head towards the living room. "Harris, wake the prisoner up. We're leaving."

"You shouldn't move him," the doctor warned anxiously. "He's suffering from shock and needs surgery."

"It can't be helped," Noin answered curtly. "You shouldn't have leaked the fact that we were here, though I have no idea as to how they guessed our location."

"Please Lu," Sally put her hand on her friend's arm. "Don't do this. Duo has suffered enough at Relena's hand. Don't hurt him any more."

The deep blue eyes narrowed in suspicion. "How do you know anything about Duo?" she asked.

Sally knew she was showing her hand, but she needed to reach her friend's conscience before Duo was hurt any more. "I saw the papers that Relena sent to the judge and warden of the penal colony. She went out of her way to see he was put in a maximum security area where he was brutalized. Une has the papers in her custody and an investigation will bring out Relena's part in Duo's harsh treatment in prison."

"What papers?" Noin asked looking honestly perplexed, and surprised Sally by her apparent lack of knowledge on the subject, suspecting she had been the one to supply Relena with the sealed files.

"Duo's sealed records of his life before and during the wars. Didn't you give them to her?"

"I know nothing about sealed records," Noin told her. Then unexpectedly, she laughed bitterly. "And you can forget Une and your precious investigation."

It was now Sally's turn to be confused. "Why's that?"

Noin shook her head in a weary manner. "Because she's also under Relena's thumb," was her depressed reply.

Sally's eyes widened in shock and horror. Une had knowledge of every fact regarding Duo. "When will this end, Lu?" she asked in all seriousness. "Relena has to be stopped."

Noin shook her head with a look of pain in her eyes. "She'll destroy anyone or anything to get what she wants, even her family," she said, swallowing back the tears and the feeling of helplessness she felt threatening to over take her completely.

Birmingham approached them. "We can't wake him up," he reported, indicating Duo's condition. "He's out cold." His eyes turned with Noin's to look at the doctor in an accusing manner.

"I gave him something for the pain and it had a sleep inducer in it." she shrugged, unrepentant at the action taken. "I needed something strong to keep him calm."

"We'll just have to carry him to the van then." Noin told the other Preventer.

Just then, her cell phone rang. Noin pulled it off her belt and looked at the displayed number and frowned. Clicking the ringing phone on, she put it to her ear. "Noin," she said into the receiver, then a look of apprehension crossed her features. "No, he's injured."

Sally realized Relena was on the other end questioning their movements.

"Sally has looked at him and says he needs surgery." A long pause followed.

"I'm sorry, but I improvised." It was clear the tall, black haired woman was holding her emotions in check as she spoke to her blackmailer.

A longer pause this time, then the dark blue eyes widened in something that looked to Sally like alarm or shock. "No, I won't do that." Noin said adamantly.


"Please, Relena. You're being unreasonable. Think about the ramifications of what you're asking."

Suddenly, the look of trepidation flared on the Preventer's face to display an expression of pure anger. "Don't push me into a corner, Relena. I warn you, you won't like what you see."


"I said I won't!" There was a tone of finality in Noin's voice. With a final look of disgust she abruptly terminated the phone call.

"God forgive me," she whispered as she looked down at the cell phone. Then slowly, her eyes traveled up to look into Sally's concerned face. "But I hate Relena with every fiber of my being."

"What did she say?" Sally asked, not really expecting an answer, but hoping for one.

The raven haired woman's eyes glazed over as she replied. "She told me to kill Duo." A look of revulsion crossed her face as she spoke the words.

"Lu, no!" Sally replied earnestly with a hand stretched out touch her friend.

Their eyes locked again. "I've stooped as low as I can go, Sally." Noin said sadly. "I won't kill for her, not even to save my marriage."

Relief flooded the doctor. "Then you better do something quickly before she has a chance to call someone else in her little black book to do the job for you," she advised. "Someone who hasn't the conscience you do."

Lucretia Noin smiled crookedly and held up the cell phone. "I'm the only one privileged enough to carry her cell phone on this job."

"But there might be others you're not aware of Lu. She could call someone else and intercept you." Sally suggested, hoping to urge her friend into acting quickly.

Noin shook her head and blew out a long puff of air. "I'm not sure how to extricate myself out of this one," she admitted to her long-time friend.

"Go!" Sally told her. "Go turn yourself in and leave Duo with me. I'll see he gets to the hospital."

Lucretia Noin's eyes watered suddenly. "I was a fool to let her manipulate me like she has." She shook her head in sadness. "I'll lose Zechs." Her voice hitched with emotions she could barely contain.

Wanting to comfort her friend, Sally reached forward and embraced her tightly. "He loves you, Lu," she told her.

"I can't lose him Sally. There would be nothing left for me if he leaves me."

"Then we'll see that he doesn't. I think the best course of action is to tell Milliardo before Relena gets to him," the doctor said firmly with a last squeeze of reassurance before she stepped back to give her friend a small smile of confidence.

"Your right," Noin replied with a shaky smile in return, then turned her head towards the livingroom. "Harris," she called out. "Pick up Duo, we're leaving."

Sally's eyes widened in alarm. "But.." she began, yet stopped when the other woman interrupted her.

"I'll take him to the hospital, to the emergency room. You can tell your surprise guests he's there, and that will buy me some time."

"Time? What for?" Sally asked concerned.

"To tie up some loose ends," she replied with a bit more confidence.

The injured and drugged young man remained in a state of deep sleep as he was carefully lifted from the couch and carried out to the readied vehicle.

Sally quickly scribbled a note and left it sticking out of the door as she raced to catch up with the others.

A half hour later, the apartment building was surrounded by a large number of Preventers as four young men, their eyes bright with determination, approached the doctor's door, guns in hand.

"Stick with the plan." Quatre warned in a voice just loud enough for the other three to hear. He could feel their emotions roll across the short distance separating them and it could only lead to trouble if they weren't properly held in check.

The three silently followed Wufei as point man in approaching the door. He stopped and cautiously removed a white piece of paper that was stuck in the crack between the door and doorframe. The Chinese Preventer quickly unfolded the floral note paper and read it. A look of relief washed over his face as he turned to face his friends. "They've taken Duo to the hospital," he told them. "We can find them waiting there for us."

Further down the hallway and around the corner where the others couldn't see, Lady Une collapsed against the wall of the hallway in relief. Her finger eased off the trigger of her gun.

Ten minutes later, the four plus Lady Une burst into the emergency room waiting area. Harris, Birmingham and the mystery person, Lieutenant Schmidt, were sitting amongst the ill and hurt people waiting to be seen. Slowly holding their arms out in an effort to show they were giving up, they were quickly taken into custody and out of the building by the back-up team. Une strolled calmly to the reception desk and stated her business. The door to the emergency area buzzed open and the tall head of the Preventers motioned the anxious four young men to join her.

They were quickly led down the hospital corridors to an open doorway. Upon entering, they saw Sally standing next to an unconscious Duo, laying pale and very still on the bed, clad only in a hospital gown with a blanket drawn up to his chest. Instantly, the four surrounded him, each reaching out to touch an arm or leg to reassure themselves he was truly found and witnessed the loose, bloody bandage over his left upper arm.

"I gave him a pain pill with a sedative as he has a compound fracture that cut through the skin," she explained. "Plus he seemed highly agitated and in shock when I found him. I needed to calm him down until I could get some help."

Heero's face darkened with an inner rage.

"It broke by accident, Heero." Sally saw the look and knew she needed to quell it. "They didn't harm him intentionally and he was not mistreated. In fact, I saw them showing quite a bit of gentleness on Duo's behalf. The weakness in his arm, caused by the multiple fractures he received in prison, didn't need much pressure to break the bone again. He's going to be fine," she assured them all, hoping to relieve some of the worry evident on their faces.

"Are you alright?" Wufei asked her, his eyes taking in the dark circles under her eyes and a look of weariness evident in her face and posture.

"I'm fine. Just need some sleep," she replied with a soft smile at his obvious concern for her welfare.

"Where's Noin?" Trowa asked. "I didn't see her out there with the other three."

"She said she had some loose ends to tie up," Sally replied. "I think she went to call her husband to talk to him before Relena could." She looked up into the faces of the other former pilots. "I think it's the hardest thing she's ever had to do," she said sadly.

On the other side of the bed, not caring that anyone was watching, Heero bent his head down and placed his cheek alongside Duo's . His hand came up and rested tenderly against the other side of his face. "Never again," he whispered softly. "I promise, she'll never hurt us ever again."

With that said, he turned his lips towards the only person he'd ever loved and kissed his cheek, allowing his lips to linger there for several moments, breathing in the scent of his lover and tasting the saltiness of his skin. He reluctantly straightened, and with a longing sigh, brushed some of the loose hair away from the placid looking face, so beautiful in its sleeping repose. He then looked up, aiming his determined gaze at Trowa. "Take care of him," he requested in a quiet voice, trusting and knowing Trowa would. "I'll be back." He then turned to walk briskly out of the room.

"Heero! Where are you going?" Quatre chased after him looking a bit panicked.

"To tell Relena it's over," he called back over his shoulder, not breaking his determined stride.

Even with Une and the Preventer's presence, Duo did not go to the operating room for another hour. Sally informed them the Orthopedic Surgeon had consulted with her and he would be repairing Duo's arm during the surgery, and that it would take some time.

The three former pilots took turns pacing the length of the waiting room just outside the surgical unit, and leafing through magazines left on the coffee table. The room quickly became too small and stuffy at they waited impatiently for news. They all felt too agitated to do more than one thing for longer than a few minutes, and repeatedly exchanged worried glances about the surgery and at Heero's continued absence.

The television had been turned off and on and the channels repeatedly changed as the three took turns on the couch, with the remote exchanging hands frequently as they continued to wait.

Wufei was sitting in a reclining position on the couch, his feet up on the coffee table and the remote secured in his hands when suddenly, he bolted into a sitting position. The movement instantly alerted the other two and they turned their heads in the direction of the television screen.

"Turn it up," Quatre said anxiously.

The scene was outside a well-known hotel in downtown Brussels, The Remington. They could see on the t.v. screen that a flurry of activity was happening outside the hotel's doors. Police, Preventers, as well as citizens and reporters were everywhere and looking upset. The voice of a female reporter could be heard as the cameras scanned the chaotic scene.

"Reports from witnesses state that at approximately ten forty-five a.m. this morning, at a breakfast meeting of the Earth and colony ministers, that Earth's Vice Foreign Minister, Relena Peacecraft Yuy was addressing the full room when the sound of a single gunshot rang out. It appeared to the frightened group of officials that Mrs. Peacecraft-Yuy was hit by the bullet of that gun and fell to the floor. The room apparently erupted into pandemonium while the Vice Foreign Minister's aids went immediately to her side and the other guests scrambled for safety and out the exit doors. No word has been issued from the authorities, but an ambulance was seen leaving the lower parking garage of the hotel moments ago. It's is assumed that the Foreign Vice Minister is being transported to St. Mercy's Hospital, only blocks from the hotel."

Wufei frowned while Quatre and Trowa exchanged looks of worry.

"Where's Heero?" Quatre asked, his voice betraying his fear for their friend's innocence in regards to this assassination attempt on Relena.

The reporter's voice could be heard at the live broadcast continued on the television. "It's not known at this time where the Vice Foreign Minister's famous husband/bodyguard was this morning. It was reported by those present in the dining room that he wasn't present at the conference this morning, yet several witnesses have reported seeing him in the building."

"By Allah." Quatre sank down into the nearest chair. "Please don't let it be him," he prayed.

"I don't think he'd do that to Duo," Trowa reasoned aloud, though his eyes, never leaving the television screen, were pinched together with worry.

"He would do anything to protect Duo," Wufei said softly, but the truth of his words cut into their thoughts. "Even give his life."

They looked away from the television as the surgeon they'd met just before Duo was taken to surgery came into the room just then and announced the operation had been a success and the patient was coming out of the anesthetic well. The doctor expressed a need to keep his patient in the hospital overnight for observation.

"No." Trowa replied calmly. "As soon as he's able, I'm taking him home." They all observed the doctor's reaction, and could see the man's answering frown of disapproval. Trowa continued. "Dr. Sally Poe is a friend of ours and I'll ask her to spend the night in case any complications should arise."

The doctor still frowned. "We're more equipped to handle emergencies here at the hospital," he said, hoping to sway the young man from his decision.

"We have complete faith in Dr. Poe's abilities." Wufei added, the three ex-pilots seemed to be in mutual agreement of Trowa's suggestion. Even Mrs. L.'s home was more secure to guard Duo's recovery than an open hospital in the heart of the city.

"Listen!" Quatre called out and raised the volume of the television set once again.

"Eye witnesses now report that Mrs. Peacecraft-Yuy was in a rather heated argument with her husband moments before the morning session began. He evidently left the room in an apparent state of anger. The Vice Foreign Minister followed moments later to enter the dining room, seeming flushed but composed. An APB has been issued for Mr. Yuy for questioning."

"Does Duo have a television in his recovery room?" Quatre asked in alarm, his face ashen.

"All rooms have access to a television," the doctor answered looking confused at the question.

"Take us to him now." Wufei demanded firmly.

The doctor looked unsure, but who was he to argue with two Preventers in uniform and the richest man in the Colonies and maybe even Earth. "This way." He directed them to follow him.

They entered the private room to find Duo still in the process of waking. He was groggy and slow as he turned his head at their entrance. The others noted with relief that the television in the room was turned off.

The three stood by his bedside and spoke to Duo in reassuring tones and words that he was safe and they would be home soon.

Ten minutes later, Heero burst into the room looking ruffled and a bit unhinged as he went straight to Duo's side. Still dazed with the drugs in his system, Duo looked up at Heero with unspoken questions and worry in his large, unfocused eyes.

"Are you okay?" Heero asked, almost breathless, and the others observed as a trickle of sweat moved slowly down from his right temple to his cheek, showing them that he'd probably run all the way from the downtown hotel to the hospital, six miles away. But Heero seemed ignorant of his unkept state. His eyes and thoughts were solely on the dazed young man in the bed as his eyes raked over the bandaged arm, now set in a brace, before they returned to study Duo's face.

Duo's nod was hesitant, his eyes struggling to focus as he took in Heero's appearance.

"I....I " Heero stammered as if he struggled for words. "Something's happened," he told his lover as he took hold of the hand of his uninjured arm into both his very warm hands. "It's going to look bad, but I want you to know that I didn't do it. As much as I wanted to, someone else wanted to more."

Duo was the only one in the room that looked confused. Heero looked at his friends and saw that they knew what he was talking about. His eyes returned to Duo's frowning face.

"I have to go speak with the authorities," he told him, bringing his own face mere inches from the heart-shaped face now cradled between his hands. "But I had to come and back and make sure you were alright. I don't know when I can come back, it might be awhile."

Duo vigorously shook his head to protest Heero's statement and moisture began to fill his eyes.

"Shhhh.....I promise you, somehow or someway I'll find myself back to you," Heero vowed to the distraught young man who held his heart.

Not able to bear the anguish rising in Duo's eyes, Heero lowered his head and gently kissed him, putting all his love and feelings of devotion into it.

Duo kissed him back just as passionately while his tears fell and pooled gently against Hero's fingers that rested on both sides of his face.

"Shhhh." Heero said again in a soothing tone. "No more tears," he ordered softly and forced a smile to form on his face. "The guys will keep you safe and you're to get well, understand?"

Do nodded and Heero tenderly brushed the tracks of his tears from off his face. /I love you/ Heero spoke, lips moving and his voice silent.

/I love you, too,/ Duo replied soundlessly. /Come back to me./

"I will." Heero said aloud and with determination.

"I'll go with you," Wufei offered as he moved to stand beside the wanted man.

Trowa and Quatre followed and shook Heero's hand. "We're behind you, Heero." Trowa told him. "Never again will any of us be left to fight alone."

A look of gratitude crossed Heero's features. "Take care of him." He nodded to Duo with a look of longing.

"We will, Heero. Don't worry," Quatre answered, his own face threatening to crumble into a mushy mess of emotions.

With nothing more to say, Heero turned and left the room, Wufei at his side. The two remaining turned immediately to comfort the confused and distraught young man in the hospital bed.

On to Chapter fifteen

Back to Chapter thirteen


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