Evidence of Betrayal
"What the hell are you doing here Heero? " Wufei asked in a stern tone, his eyes narrowed with suspicion as he questioned the former Wing pilot sitting in Trowa's desk with the computer on in front of him.
Heero quickly lowered the page he'd been viewing so that it was no longer visible, then turned to face the Chinese man.
"It's nothing you need to concern yourself with, Wufei." he answered in his usual unemotional tone of voice.
"I think it is my concern." Wufei contradicted. "I know for a fact that Trowa hasn't given you permission to use either his office or his computer."
Now Heero's eyes narrowed. "Since when did you and Trowa come to be on good terms with each other?" he asked. "As far as I've determined, he's pretty much ostracized himself from the rest of us for the last two years."
"Trowa and I have formed a working relationship over the last two years, and that's merged recently into a friendship again." The black haired Preventer answered as he folded his arms over his chest in obvious disapproval of the other person in the room.
"He's made it clear he wants little to do with me outside his job." Heero said, his voice contained a noticeable touch of bitterness to it.
"Well, he has his reasons." Wufei replied as he casually moved towards the desk. "Why are you here and what are you doing?" he motioned to the computer.
"A personal matter." was his answer.
"Listen Yuy, you've got plenty of computers at your palace. Why come here?" Curiosity and suspicion were mounting within Wufei's mind.
Heero shifted in his seat, uncomfortable with the question. "I needed some privacy for my research. At the palace I have neither time nor privacy for such a task."
"Are you being monitored?" Wufei asked, guessing at the few hints Heero was giving him. The Wing Pilot had never been one to reveal information easily.
"All the time?"
The former Shenlong Pilot knew something more was going on here. Heero, husband of the Vice Foreign Minister was constantly monitored? He had to wonder if it was for personal security or some other reason.
Heero must have seen the wheels moving in his mind, because his next words were, "Don't ask Wufei. I can't say anymore."
Now the Preventer's curiosity was definitely roused, but he decided honor Heero's request to let it go for, at least for the moment.
"Well since you're using Trowa's computer, unauthorized I might add, you won't mind sharing what you were looking at, will you?" He reached over to the mouse, only to have his wrist grabbed tightly by the other.
"Don't Wufei." Heero's manner was harsh, but his eyes pleaded with him.
"Either you show me what you're looking at or I'll place you under arrest for unlawful entry and unauthorized use of government property."
"I came in through the front door and I'm still a Preventer." Heero calmly reminded him, trying to dissuade him from the actions he'd suggested.
"Inactive." the other clarified, showing that he knew Heero's status. "I grow more suspicious by the moment Heero. Show me the page you were viewing." he demanded sternly.
"Wufei, trust me." Heero asked, suddenly looking vulnerable.
The black haired Chinese shook his head. "I can't Heero. You haven't proven to me in several years why I should."
At this Heero's eyes widened. "What have I done to deserve your distrust?" he asked, obviously taken aback.
"Some things have come to light lately that lead me to be wary of your motives and question your integrity."
"You question my honor?" Heero gasped in disbelief.
The man once held in high honor for saving the planet now sat back in Trowa's chair looking like he'd been sucker punched. "Alright." he let go of the other's wrist. "But let me explain before you come to any conclusions."
Wufei reached for the mouse and with a click and drag, lifted the page that Heero had tried to hide. He frowned darkly as he immediately recognized it. It was the sealed records of the five pilots.
"You cannot imagine just how bad this make you look Heero." The onyx eyes sparkled with anger.
"Listen," Heero rushed uncharacteristically to explain. "Quatre called me at the beginning of the week. He was worried about Trowa. Evidently he'd taken two weeks off from work and didn't tell him where he was going. Une wouldn't tell him anything and, if you'll remember, you didn't know either when we both made separate calls to you. His landlady was just as forthcoming. This was the first chance I could get away from Relena undetected, and I hacked into Preventer's files to see if Une had put a note on his file as to where he'd gone. For all I knew he could have been assigned to a covert mission."
"You haven't talked to Quatre since then?" he asked.
Heero shook his head. "Why, has he found Trowa? He was suppose to call me when he did."
"He's been informed of his whereabouts." Wufei cryptically replied, then gazed searchingly at his former comrade in arms. "How often have you done this Heero, snuck into the office to obtain information from the computer for your own use?"
"Only a couple of times." the former Wing Zero pilot confessed with a look of guilt.
"Have you ever printed out or copied any information that would prove to be detrimental to either the Preventers or us pilots?"
"Dammit, Wufei." Heero's anger was rising. "What do you think I've done?"
Wufei reached around Heero and shut down the computer. "Only the worst thing a man could do." he answered, his face dark with anger. "Betray your friends."
"What the hell do you mean?" Heero jumped to his feet, fists clenched in reaction to his former comrade's words. His whole demeanor had changed as his eyes sparkled with anger and he bristled with a need to lash back at his accuser.
Wufei ignored his volatile state and calmly walked to the door of the office and held it open. "I suggest you leave. Now!" he said forcefully, not taking his eyes off his former friend's livid face. "I'll report this incident to Lady Une and she can deal with your personally."
"Not until you explain yourself." Heero demanded through clenched teeth.
"If you promise to leave peaceably, I'll give you a clue." he answered. He knew if he and Heero got into a fight, one of them might be seriously hurt, and it wouldn't end quickly. His time to return to the clinic was past, and he didn't want Trowa with Duo in tow to come looking for him only to find him fighting with Heero.
Hero thought about it for a moment, then nodded as he moved towards the open door. He stopped and his eyes met Wufei's for a moment, waiting for an explanation.
"Two years ago you and Relena signed a letter attached to documents that were labeled sealed, restricted and confidential."
Heero's brows pinched together in thought over the year in which he'd signed a lot of documents, but without more information, he didn't know what Wufei was referring to.
"Those documents were obtained illegally and proved to be very harmful to a third party." Wufei added, his eyes boring into Heero for a reaction.
"I don't know what documents you're referring to, Wufei." he told him, clearly agitated. "Just tell me."
Locking Trowa's office behind them, the former Shenlong pilot looked pointedly at the other. "Figure it out Yuy, or are you such a calloused SOB that you can't remember what happened two years ago?" With that said, Wufei turned and walked away in the direction of Une's office, his letter requesting a leave of absence still in his hand. If he'd chanced to turn around at that moment, he'd have seen an uncharacteristically crest-fallen young man with eyes full of hurt.
Slipping the official letter into the letter drop next to the Head of Preventer's door, Wufei then proceeded to the stair well on the opposite end of the building from which he'd come taking a round about route to the clinic. Five minutes later, he reached the clinic's door. Finding it locked, he knocked for entrance. Sally opened it to reveal Duo and Trowa sitting in the waiting room, ready to leave. They stood as he entered.
"How'd it go?" Wufei asked, referring to the x-rays.
"Fine." Sally chirped brightly with a smile of approval directed towards Duo standing close to Trowa, his hand fisting the taller young man's tan jacket. "I'll take them to a friend of mine at the hospital to read and get back to you tonight or tomorrow with the results.
"Thank you, Sally." Wufei reached out and gently touched her arm in a gesture of gratitude.
"My pleasure." she beamed in her low, pleasing voice.
Trowa moved forward, Duo obliging by letting his body be pulled along. With a word of farewell to the doctor, they retraced their steps back down through the building to the car.
"You were gone a long time." Trowa commented casually. "Any problems?"
"Ran into someone I hadn't thought I'd see here, especially in your office and on your computer." he answered.
Trowa's head turned sharply to look at the other former pilot over Duo's head and silently mouthed the words, "Quatre?"
"No." Wufei replied, giving his friend a look of don't ask now by shifting his eyes to Duo.
Understanding, Trowa led Duo to the car and helped him climb in, his eyes scanning the parking garage before he himself sat behind the steering wheel. "Alright, who wants burgers?" he asked, and turning around, he saw Duo's hand rise in answer.
The rest of the day passed pleasantly enough. The promised phone call came that evening and brought with it news that Duo's right leg and his left arm required re-constructive surgery. It had been increasingly apparent during the last week that the silent young man limped and favored is right leg, and that he never fully straightened his arm and kept it pulled up close to his side. Both of his self-appointed guardians decided to not deal with the problem or tell Duo about it until after he'd regained his health, gained some weight, and had seen the therapist Sally recommended.
Several more quiet days passed as they continued in the daily routine. Both able-bodied young men helped their newly returned friend to bathe, dress, and move up and down the stairs. They all worked with Mrs. L. in preparing the meals and tending to household tasks. A good part of the afternoon was spent in play. Duo had always loved the outdoors and physical activity. However, his leg and arm prevented him from engaging in any kind of physical sport the others tried to engage him in. They ultimately ended up renting paddle boats and tandem bicycles at the local lake and went swimming in the pool at Trowa's gym. Each activity allowed their battered and weaker friend to disengage from the activity if he felt pain or weariness. In the late evenings when the weather cooled, the three took a casual, easy stroll through the neighborhood.
As each day progressed, Duo became more at ease. He only clutched their shirts when he was startled or in a place or situation he was unsure of or unfamiliar with. His smile began to emerge a little more each day.
The only security they couldn't talk him out of was climbing into Trowa's bed nightly. Trowa purchased a night light for Duo's room, hoping that was the solution to his nocturnal journey into his bed. But even then, the reclaimed and tenacious young man woke nightly and with his smaller blanket in hand, made his way to Trowa's comforting arms. Once he was settled, he would then latch on and sleep soundly, pressed up against his chosen living security blanket and bed-partner.
The days passed from the trip to the Preventers headquarters. Wufei had spoken to Une after Trowa had taken Duo out for ice cream about Heero's hacking into their files. She promised to speak to him in such a manner that a repeat of his actions would have legal ramifications. It seemed the head of the Preventers was hesitant to bring any harsher legal action against the Vice Foreign Minister's husband.
Color began to return to Duo's face as the outdoor activity brought a golden glow to his skin, and a pinking of a sunburn on his nose and cheeks gave him a healthier appearance. More of his personality emerged slowly, and the three who took care of him watched it with a sense of relief.
On the evening marking a week since his x-ray, Wufei sat at the table with Duo as his silent friend ate his desert while he read the remaining part of the Sunday paper. Because his own piece of chocolate cake and cup of tea were placed before him, he positioned the newspaper straight up in front of him as he read, temporarily obscuring his view of his companion.
Having finished one article, he set the paper down to pick up his fork. He looked at the spot in confusion. He was sure he'd set a fork out for himself and Duo before he sat down. He looked across the table and sure enough, Duo was happily eating his cake with a fork.
Shrugging, he got up and got another from the silverware drawer and returned to his seat. He took a bite of the moist and delicious chocolate cake, a sip of his tea, then smiled at Duo as their eyes met. He then raised the paper to continue reading.
Several minutes later, he lowered the paper and blinked at his dessert. The fork he'd left there on his plate was gone. Frowning, he looked around the plate and table and scooted his chair back to check his lap and the floor. "What the....?" he began to ask. With a quick look at Duo, he determined the other had just finished his cake and was drinking the tall glass of milk that was set out for him, his fork rested neatly on the empty place that had been thoroughly scraped clean.
Huffing at the mystery, he stood up and got yet another fork, feeling perplexed and irritated by the incident. He took another couple of bites, purposely setting the fork down next to his plate, drank half of his cooling tea, then returned to his paper. Several minutes passed with only the sound of the seconds ticking on the old clock above the sink. Putting his paper down again, he looked in amazement at his place setting. Not only was his fork gone, but so was the remainder of his cake and tea. He narrowed his eyes in suspicion and gave a playful glare at the only other person in the room.
"Duo." he said in a mock threatening voice, completely failing as his smile refused to be contained. "Have you been playing your old tricks on me?" he asked.
The chestnut haired young man looked up with an answering grin. He then opened his lips to show his friend his teeth purposely covered in chocolate cake and frosting. Slowly, his hand raised from under the table showing Wufei the three pilfered forks.
Wufei couldn't help it, he laughed out loud for a moment then looked at his friend, his eyes narrowing playfully. "You know what this calls for, don't you?"
Duo shook his head as he quickly washed away the chocolate in his mouth with the remainder of his milk. His wide eyes looked at his friend in anticipation.
"It calls for....." Wufei paused for a dramatic affect, then raised his hands up like claws. "The Tickle Avenger.", one of the characters Duo used to call himself during their time together in the first war when he retaliated on the other pilots for one reason or another.
The blue/violet eyes widened further, then he jumped up and quickly hobbled towards the living room. He actually made it to the couch when Wufei caught up to him, grabbed him by the waist and carefully tossed him onto the couch. "You can't escape the Tickle Avenger." he announced in a loud puffed up voice. "For he seeks out justice on practical joke-making imps." he declared loudly. Then seeing the smile on Duo's face and the glisten in his eyes, he began his job as The Avenger.
After several moments of tickling, they were both surprised when Duo's throat emitted a scratchy, hoarse bark that was Duo's laughter.
Wufei stopped, poised above the his small friend. "Duo." he said in a hushed whisper. "I heard that." The boy under his finger torture looked equally surprised and reached up and grabbed Wufei's sensitive sides, causing him to laugh at the sensation as he tried to wiggle away.
That was the scene Mrs. L and Trowa walked into with their armfuls of clean laundry. They both stood in shock at the scratchy, raspy sound of Duo's laughter, barely heard over Wufei's.
"Duo!" Trowa finally managed to find his voice and instantly both ticklers stopped to look at him, both young men wore ridiculously happy smiles on their faces.
"You laughed....out loud!" Trowa said unable and unwilling to keep the grin on his own face from growing. "When did this happen? Just now?"
"Right after this practical joker pulled one on me." Wufei answered, his face was open and happier than Trowa had ever remembered seeing it before.
Mrs. L. put her armful of laundry down on a chair sitting against the stair wall. "I want to hear all about it." she said with a warm smile, then moved to sit in her rocking chair, waiting for the story to commence.
Wufei told the story of the missing forks. The three laughed out loud at the end of the tale. Duo smiled broadly, something they really hadn't seen before this night, and as the strange sound that was his laughter came out of his throat, his hand came up and grabbed his neck.
Mrs. L. was the first to notice and looked concerned. "Does you throat hurt dear?" she asked him.
He nodded in reply.
"We better have Sally take a look at it, maybe you strained it after not using it for so long.
Duo shrugged, not having any other way to communicate.
Trowa felt a sense of happiness that he hadn't truly felt since Duo's arrest. He slung his arm around his friend and gave him a joy-filled hug. "It's wonderful to hear you laugh again, Duo. I hope to hear you speak soon also." He patted the slender shoulder affectionately. "But no rush, just whenever you're ready, okay?"
Again a nod, and Trowa and Wufei exchanged a satisfied look of accomplishment. The Duo they knew was coming back to them a little bit everyday.
That night Trowa gave up the pretense of Duo starting out and sleeping in his own bed. After they were both dressed for the night, they crawled into the large bed, and within moments, the smaller body had left his designated side and pillow and was pressed closely to Trowa's larger frame.
The taller man sighed in resignation and lifted his arm so Duo would fit more comfortably, his head resting on his shoulder as he lay on his side. He patted Duo's back and then held him protectively. "Goodnight, Duo." he whispered.
The hand on his chest patted him twice as if to say the two syllable word, "Goodnight." back.
The house was still and dark as the occupants within entered R.E.M. sleep, dreaming deeply when Trowa suddenly jerked awake to the sound of a gasp.
"What?" he opened his eyes and looked around to identify the sound, registering immediately that Duo lay, still sleeping soundly, next to him. His eyes focused in the dark and lit on a shadow just outside the glow of Duo's night light plugged into the wall outlet. "Wufei?" he called out.
"By Allah, Trowa. How could you?" came a choked, strangled cry, and the auburn haired man froze.
"Quatre!" he said in alarm, knowing instantly it was his lover.
The shadow turned to leave and with hesitation, the former Heavyarms pilot sprung out of the bed and ran after him.
"Quatre, wait!" he called out. "Let me explain."
He caught up with the smaller Arabian half way down the darkened steps and grabbed hold of his slender shoulders. "Let me go, Trowa." the heart broken voice cried out in anguish.
"No, Quatre. Never." he replied forcibly holding the smaller man's body in his arms, even though Quatre struggled against it.
"Why Trowa?" his lover's voice was muffled agony personified against the cotton night shirt. "I've loved you with all my heart. Why don't you love me back?" he cried and brought his arms up to embrace his semi-estranged lover and continued. "Were you waiting these two years just to be with him. Were you just using me?"
"No, no. You've got it all wrong, Quatre." Trowa rushed to explain. "You're jumping to conclusions."
"I know what I saw." The blond stated forcibly.
A light went on in the hallway above them and both looked up to see Wufei standing in his blue, plaid pajama bottoms and hair loose about his shoulders frowning down on them.
"Would you go and stay with Duo, Wufei?" Trowa asked. The black haired man nodded and with out a word went into Trowa's room, allowing his friend to turn his attention back to his distraught lover.
"Come on," Trowa said soothingly. "Let's sit in the living room and we'll talk." he turned the blonde around and directed their steps down the stairway, his arm holding Quatre firmly against his side.
A lamp was turned on and the two sat quietly on the couch.
"How much did Wufei tell you on the phone?" he asked Quatre, whose watery eyes searched his face for answers.
"That you'd pardoned Duo and brought him home with you." he answered. "He told me Duo hadn't fared well in the penal colony and that it would be better if I didn't contact or try to see you or Duo until I got the message that it was alright." He paused and his eyes were bright with tears. "Are you having an affair with him?" he asked, clearly fearful of the answer.
"No, Quatre." Trowa replied firmly, then took up the pale, manicured hands resting in the Arabian's lap. "I've told you before that my heart and soul belong to you."
"Then explain why Duo was in bed with you and why I couldn't come sooner." Quatre looked both hurt and puzzled at the moment.
Trowa took a quick ,deep breath to begin. "Wufei spoke lightly of Duo's condition..." he began. He then continued to tell the blonde all that had transpired on P.C. 4.
After he described Duo's medical reports and how he found him, silent and frightened, Quatre looked justifiably horrified.
"By Allah, Trowa, how could such a thing happen to him? I was told that his prison time would be like a white-collar work place. Working alongside minimum detention convicts."
Green eyes searched the pained face before him, seeing only truth and confusion in them.
"The warden was influenced by two letters from prominent people, as I believe was the judge at Duo's trial."
"Prominent?" Quatre asked.
Trowa stood and looked down at his soul mate. "I'll let you see a copy of the file if you'll wait here. He moved quickly, taking the stairs silently and two at a time. The blonde executive heard the soft murmur of voices upstairs just moments before his long- legged lover returned. Trowa's face was grim and serious, his eyes brooding and mouth was pressed into a straight line. He handed Quatre the papers, then sat next to him to observe his reaction.
Quatre's eyes lowered and focused on the first page of the stack of paper on his lap. He leafed through a few before he gasped and held tightly to the entire stack of papers. Horrified eyes rose up to meet concerned green ones. "How could she have done this?" he gasped. "Rennanda told me she was..... Oh Allah." he said anguished as he bowed his head and brought his hand up to cover his eyes.
Trowa reached out his hand and placed it comfortingly on the silky blonde hair. "That's not the only letter," he said quietly. "Look at the one behind it." he instructed.
Returning his shaky hand to the stack of papers fastened together, he turned the damning letter to read the next one. His head shot up, his eyes filled with disbelief.
"Look what's attached to it." Trowa urged his lover on.
The papers flipped again. "These are Duo's sealed files." he said as awareness came to him. When he lifted his head from the evidence in front of him, his face had gone white and he looked ill.
"Was it Heero?" he asked in a husky whisper. "Did he really betray Duo again?"
"I don't know." Trowa answered. "I haven't asked him because I wanted to keep Duo's presence hidden for a long as possible so he can recover quietly and without any added stress or sense of danger. But last Sunday," he continued. "Wufei found Heero in my office at Preventers, and he had hacked into our sealed files."
Quatre's facial features fell into dismay. He closed his eyes trying to shut out the thought of Duo's complete betrayal by the person he'd loved more than his own life. "Oh, Duo." he whispered his friend's name mournfully. "So much betrayal." When he looked up again, the pained blue eyes were moisture filled.
"How is he Trowa? Does he hate me?"
The taller of the two reached out and brought his loved one against him. Quatre readily clung to him for comfort. Re-situating their bodies, Trowa lay back onto the couch so that Quatre lay on top of him, and only when they were comfortably settled against each other did he answer.
"I don't know how he feels or how much he knows." he said as he ran his fingers through the flaxen, silky hair. "Duo hasn't spoken a word in two years, and refused to write his thought's down for us." He felt Quatre's body stiffen at the news. "He's been living and hiding amongst the worst criminals the universe could spew out. He's been afraid for so long..." he paused. "You should have seen him, Quatre." he said sadly. "It broke my heart to see our once proud and beautiful Shinigami reduced to a frightened, filthy and abused wretch. When he recognized me, he literally clung to me as his last hope, which I believe I was. He was physically and mentally failing, and the warden did nothing to improve the situation, even at the guards' repeated requests."
He paused and they laid pressed against each other, imagining the horror that their diminutive friend had lived for two years. "Duo is insecure right now." he continued speaking softly, his hands moved in soothing patterns across his lover's back as the gentle empathic soul he'd loved for so long cried silently at the tale of their friend's sorry state. "He clings to me and Wufei as a source of security. I think he feels we won't leave him if he can hold onto us or our clothing. That's why he was in my bed. I'm a warm security blanket."
"I'm sorry." lips murmured against his neck. 'I came here tonight needing to see you. I was trying to comply with your request to stay away from Duo, but I just couldn't stay away from you any longer. I was going to sneak out in the morning before anyone woke up."
"I missed you, too." Trowa whispered back as he pressed his lips to the top of the blonde head. "I'll admit, I was angry that you didn't ransom Duo yourself, but I realized two years ago that if you felt constrained from helping Duo then, that the same reasons would be present now."
He felt the head so close to him nod. "My sisters have watched my every move closely for the last month. Now I understand why." he said sadly. "I told them of my desire to pay for Duo's parole, but they were furious that I would betray them and the honor of the family for a mere thief. I decided to bide my time and when they grew weary of watching me, I'd go to P.C. 4 and get him released."
"I'm glad you had good intentions, Quatre." Trowa replied, his lips brushing against the soft blond hair. "But Duo would have been dead in a few more weeks."
"I'm sorry." was repeated again mournfully as Quatre clung to the broad shoulders.
"That's why I moved to Earth." Trowa spoke in a low voice as to not disturb the slumberers upstairs. "I went to work for the Preventers, making quite a generous salary. Living here with Mrs. L. I've been able to save almost everything I made during the time I waited for his parole to come up."
"So it wasn't just to get away from me?" Quatre raised his head to look into the soft green eyes.
"I was very upset at your lack of understanding and belief in Duo's guilt during his arrest and trial. I was too angry to stay with you, plus if your sisters or whoever it was that set Duo up decided to pull something similar on me, I was a sitting duck in your mansion."
Quatre's head lowered back to its comfortable position on the broad shoulder, and once he determined his lover was comfortable, Trowa continued.
"So leaving was the only option for my sense of self-preservation. I also needed to earn enough money to ransom Duo when I learned appealing his case was not a viable option." He sighed, knowing a confession was coming. "Seems I worked two years only to have a nice financial cushion."
"What?" Quatre's voice sounded baffled and sleepy.
Trowa hesitated until Quatre's head raised again and curious blue eyes met his.
"I have a confession to make." he said as his hand came up to caress the beautiful face before him. "I used the remainder of the money you sent to P.C. 4 for Duo and bullied the Warden into accepting it as his parole fee." Then he sheepishly added, "I also sold some of the gifts you gave me to make sure I could meet the price of his freedom."
Quatre starred at him for a moment, then slowly, a slow smile formed on his face. "So in some small way, even though unknowingly, I helped free Duo?"
Trowa's smile matched his. "Yes you did." he told the other. Quatre's smile broadened and he raised himself up enough to latch his lips onto Trowa's. They spent the next five minutes desperately renewing their bond, reveling in the shared love and need they felt for each other.
Finally separating and coming up for air, they no longer needed the reassurance of the other's love. Quatre settled his head back onto Trowa's shoulder with a contented sigh. "So,....what now?" he asked sounding sleepy.
"Stay until morning and we'll see what happens." Trowa said, his arm firmly around his love's body to keep him in place.
Quatre smiled his agreement and gave a tired nod.
Reaching up, Trowa managed to drag the knitted afghan that was always left
on the couch for Duo to curl up in when he needed it, and draped it over the
top of the relaxed body resting on top of him. He felt Quatre's smile on his
neck as his lips rested there, relishing the welcomed warmth on top of him.
Trowa smiled in response to it and let himself join Quatre in sleep for the
remainder of the night.
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