"Heero! Wait... Heero!"
Heero turned and glared at Relena as she stopped in front of him.
"What do *you* want?" he snarled, barely keeping his anger in check.
"Heero..." She stepped closer, disregarding the glare on his face. "I wanted to see you. The mission went well?" She smiled up at him.
"Fine," he snapped, reaching for the doorknob again.
Relena reached for his arm to stop him. "Heero, wait! I need to talk to you. I've been waiting for someone to let me see you for half of forever." She stepped around in front of him. "I really missed you, Heero."
The Japanese teen shook her hand off his arm. "I haven't missed you. Now go away and leave me alone!"
She grabbed his arm again, even as Zechs looked up and pulled away from his lovers, rushing in their direction. "I'm not going away until you talk to me! Why can't you admit you missed me?!"
The teen yanked his arm out of her grasp. "I can't admit it because it isn't true!" he nearly yelled. "Why would I miss a spoiled, selfish, rude little bitch like you? I have not missed you, and I never will! I would just as soon never see you again!" He pushed her aside, wrenched the door open and stalked inside, slamming it closed behind him.
Zechs rushed over as the door slammed. "Relena! He didn't hurt you..." He grabbed her shoulders and forcefully turned her to face him.
Relena turned wide eyes on her brother. "Why did he... No, he didn't hurt me."
The tall blond shook her gently. "I can't believe you did that! Relena, he's *dangerous* right now! He's very angry at you, and for a good reason. You stay away from him!"
Relena blinked. "Heero won't hurt me, brother."
Zechs shook his head. "Not if we can protect you, he won't. You're my sister, and I won't let him touch you."
Wufei frowned as he and Treize approached. "You need to stay clear of him, though, or we can't guarantee your safety, do you understand?"
"I I can't " Relena began to shake with tears.
Zechs spared a look for his lovers before he wrapped a long arm around her shoulders and led her away.
Heero approached Duo's room, and nodded to the two guards.
"Captain Gillen, Lieutenant Takano," he said calmly, having stifled his anger at Relena.
"Mr. Yuy," Gillen replied, nodding back. "I understand your mission was successful. Congratulations."
"Thank you. Any problems?"
"Nothing we couldn't handle," Takano said, smirking.
Heero sighed slightly and opened the door. "Thanks, again," he said over his shoulder as he entered, and closed the door behind him.
Lady Une looked up and smiled at him. "Duo's fine, Heero," she said, keeping her voice low. "It was just a light sedative, and he shouldn't be out too much longer - maybe half an hour, considering how fast he burns off the drugs - if you want to clean up or shower..."
The young man shook his head. "No, I'll wait," he replied, crossing the room and putting one hand tentatively on her shoulder. "Thank you for staying with him..."
Une's smile grew slightly, mirrored in her eyes, and she patted the hand on her shoulder. "My pleasure, Heero. Any time he needs me... Now, you settle down here and I'll go find some lunch for you," she continued, rising and walking to the door. "I'm sure you need something more than the few sandwiches you had on the plane."
Heero nodded, removed his coat, and took her seat, not even noticing her leave as he looked closely at his sleeping lover. He grasped the boy's free hand in his own -
*Pulse normal, breathing a little strained, but nothing serious... all right, he's all right...*
Duo's hand squeezed his slightly and he murmured 'Heero' very softly, turning his face towards the Japanese pilot.
"Shhhh, Duo, I'm here," he replied, leaning forward and brushing his other hand down the injured boy's cheek. "I'll be right here when you wake up. Sleep a little longer, Koi."
"'Kay, H'ro," Duo slurred, eyes still closed, leaning his cheek into Heero's hand. "Love you..."
"I love you, Duo Maxwell... Always."
"Well, that went better than I could have imagined," Treize murmured to Wufei as they watched Zechs lead Relena away. "I have to admire Heero's restraint. I would have expected a more violent response."
Wufei nodded. "She is very lucky that Heero is tired and anxious to be with Duo. Otherwise, given his state of mind concerning what she has said and done... well, things could have gone very badly. So, how *has* Duo been?" he continued, changing the subject, taking his lover's hand and walking towards their room.
"He had a minor relapse, but Sally controlled that quickly. It was a bit tense when he saw Deathscythe take that hit, but once he realized that things were all right, I managed to persuade him to go to sleep."
"Persuade, Treize?" Wufei asked, raising an eyebrow.
"All right, *threaten* him into sleeping," the ginger-haired man replied. "I understand Quatre spent the night with him, and that Relena attempted to intrude, but was thwarted again. Today, Duo was determined to be waiting on the tarmac for all of you, so we had no recourse but to sedate him. Quatre concurred, as did Sally."
He chuckled. "My poor Lady and Kevin were just about to give in to him, when it took effect. He was... not pleased, is putting it mildly."
"You had better be prepared, Treize. Duo always says 'revenge is a dish best served cold'. He'll get you when you least expect it."
Treize sighed, opened the door to their quarters and led Wufei in. "That's what Quatre told me as well. Well, I suppose I deserve it. It was a dirty trick to play on him. Now, there's something I think you deserve..."
"Oh? And what, may I ask, is that?" Wufei said, smiling and putting his arms around his taller lover.
Treize embraced Wufei and held him tight. "A long hot shower, Dragon, then a hot meal and a comfortable bed."
The Chinese pilot felt all of the post-mission tension leave his body. "I believe that is an excellent idea. As long as you join me and wash my back..."
Treize gave the pilot an exaggerated leer and pushed him into the small bathroom. "Oh, I plan to wash more than your back, Dragon..."
Quatre yelped as a hand jerked him aside. "Trowa?"
He got no response, but the look in his lover's green eyes more than made up for it. He silently let himself be dragged away, around the main entrance, where he could see Heero talking to someone, and to a side door.
Trowa dragged him into the infirmary building and straight to their room, tugging him inside-
Quatre barely had the time to pull the door closed behind him and turn the lock before Trowa's lips were on his. He submitted to a hot, deep kiss, and only absently felt his legs give way beneath him; Trowa lifted him off the ground easily, and he wrapped his legs around the taller pilot's waist.
Trowa broke the kiss and leaned their foreheads together, grinning. "I missed you."
"I kinda noticed," Quatre replied, licking his lips absently. "I missed you, too, and I was a little jealous, to be honest."
"Yeah, it felt very good to take that shot." Trowa nibbled gently at Quatre's neck, drawing a deep sigh from his lover and a gasp. "Duo okay?"
"Y-yes," Quatre stuttered, his ability to talk rapidly diminishing under Trowa's assault.
"Good." Trowa's arms tightened around him and moved them both towards the bed as they kissed again. Quatre pulled Trowa down with him and groaned as the taller pilot's weight came down on top of him. As they kissed again, the blond tugged at the stubborn zipper of Trowa's coat, wrestling with it until he could open the coat and push it back off the other teen's shoulders, then started tugging at his sweater to pull it up and off.
Trowa chuckled as he sat back and peeled off the sweater. "There. Happy?"
"Not yet." He reached for the fastenings of Trowa's jeans
The taller teen laughed and caught his wrists. "Why don't we get you caught up first, eh?" Trowa slowly undressed his lover, leaning down every few minutes to drop a kiss on bared flesh. His eyes glowed with lust as he finished his work. "Now that's more like it." He leaned down and engulfed a nipple in his mouth, teasing it mercilessly.
Quatre writhed as a talented mouth worked its way down his body. "Trowa?"
The taller teen gave one last lick to his navel before he looked up. "Yes?"
The blond's hands latched onto his lover, raking his fingers down Trowa's finely-muscled back. "If you don't stop teasing me right now "
"Oooh, he's threatening me," Trowa crooned, his lips hovering just over Quatre's, teasingly. He leaned back and locked eyes with his lover as he reached for the button of his jeans and popped it open.
Quatre's hands joined his immediately, and Trowa hissed as he quickly peeled off his jeans and lowered himself between Quatre's spread legs.
The two teens kissed deeply; Quatre's eyes flew open as Trowa entered him, panting as his lover moved inside of him with exquisite slowness. Every movement was a tease, a promise, a question, rolled into one, and Quatre cried out in answer, pouring all his love into their kiss.
Trowa cried out as pleasure overrode his senses and he came, buried deep inside his lover. He stared down into the blond's face as Quatre came, as well, drinking down the sounds of his passion before he collapsed into the smaller teen's arms, thoroughly spent.
"Love you, Quatre "
Zechs sat Relena on a bunk in her tent, then took a seat on the one across from her.
"Relena, you have to try and understand..."
"No, *you* and everyone else needs to understand!" the blonde girl said, getting her tears under control. "Heero would never hurt me! He *does* love me! He just doesn't realise it, yet! I'm the one he's supposed to be with! I'm the one he needs! I'm the one he *loves*!"
Zechs sighed heavily. **Wufei is right, she truly is oblivious. Subtlety is not going to work in this case.** "Heero loves Duo, Relena, not you," he said bluntly, "and if you keep this up, he *will* try to hurt you. He is very angry about the things you've said to and about Duo." He ran a hand through his hair, suppressing the urge to pull it out.
"*They* love each other," he continued, staring at his sister. "*They* need each other. If you could just see..."
Relena jumped to her feet and glared at her brother. "I *do* see, quite clearly! He *doesn't* love that long-haired freak! Duo Maxwell is nothing but a gutter rat, a cheap whore using Heero to get ahead! And Heero can't see it!" she nearly shrieked. "I saw the files! He is a street thief, beggar, murderer... Did they tell you how he was to blame for the Maxwell Church massacre? That it was his fault that those people... those children died? How *he* was the only survivor? Because he ran off and *stole* an Alliance mobile suit?" She took a breath, calming herself slightly.
Zechs sat in stunned silence at her outburst.
"Yes, *brother* I see it very clearly," she continued, "Duo Maxwell, uneducated street rat, whore, beggar, murderer, has convinced you all that he's some sort of wonderful person. In reality, he's nothing but scum, lying to everyone to get what he wants. He's the reason I'm stuck living in this hellhole... he spread lies about me, which you all believe, even Heero. Well, you'll all see soon enough..."
Zechs jumped to his feet, walked to the door, then looked back, disgust clear on his face.
"For your information, Relena, Duo Maxwell hasn't said much at all about you. From what I've gathered, he *never* told Heero about the things you've said and done. Trowa Barton knows and doesn't understand why, but Duo never said a word. You're the one calling him names and accusing him of things without any concrete proof, other than that he was a war orphan who lived on the streets of the L2 colony." Zechs' eyes narrowed. "Tell me, Relena, who's the liar here?"
Relena sank to the bunk and shook her head as the tall blond slammed the door behind him.
**I'm right... I know I'm right... and I'm not lying... Am I?**
Howard stared up at Deathscythe and shook his head.
"We need to get him cleaned up before Duo is allowed down here again," he said, handing a clipboard to Walker. "The last thing the kid will need to do when he's up and around is bang dents out of his buddy."
Walker nodded. "He's got enough problems to deal with right now," he agreed. "We're ready to run diagnostics on the other suits, but I thought you might want your people to deal with Deathscythe."
"Yeah," Howard said, nodding. "I've got a crew on their way. They should be here in a few days. They're bringing all the equipment we'll need, including parts to upgrade the suits where needed."
The older man chuckled. "They'd probably get here sooner if they'd stop messaging me to ask how Duo is. I swear, a bunch of mother-hens, the lot of them. They worry too much... they need to relax... Come on, let's start with Tallgeese. I've been itching to play with it more..."
Walker followed the older man, chuckling to himself. **'Mother-hens'... and you're the 'head-hen' of the flock,** he thought. **You're not fooling anyone...**
"Hey, Kev! Get the lead out! We don't have all year!"
Laughing out loud, the young engineer picked up his pace, and scrambled up the scaffolding around Tallgeese.
Sally walked into the mess tent for a late lunch and looked around. Nodding to herself, she picked up her lunch and moved to the small table Noin was sitting at.
"Want some company?" she asked, nodding to the empty chair.
"Sure," Noin replied, waving her hand. "Take a seat. Join me in my misery."
"Misery?" the doctor asked, taking the seat. "Why misery?"
"Three guesses and the first two don't count," Noin said sarcastically, then sighed. "Sorry, that's not fair. But Relena is going to drive me insane."
"Ah. I thought that might be it. Why did you let her come along in the first place?"
"Let her? There was no 'let her'. I don't even know how she found out," Noin said, sighing. "One minute I'm making arrangements to leave, the next she's ordering me to take her along. I would have refused, but she would just have followed... and she would have led Romafeller right to the front door."
"That would not have been good," Sally commented dryly.
Noin smiled wryly. "No, not good. So, here we are. Relena acting like a spoiled brat, complaining about everything, alienating everyone on this base..."
"Well, she's not making any friends, that's for sure," a male voice cut in, "but it's not irreparable damage... yet."
Noin looked up sharply, but Sally only rolled her eyes. "Lucretzia Noin, this is Jason Farley, my assistant, babysitter, jack-of-all-trades..."
"Pleased," Farley said pleasantly, pulling another chair over to the table and sitting down. "Ladies, eat. Playing with your food doesn't count," he added, mock-glaring at Noin. "Now, the spoiled little princess is a problem. My suggestion would be to put her over my knee and spank her..."
Noin's surprised look had him raising both hands defensively. "Hey! It worked for my mother!" he said, relaxing and grinning. "However, that's not feasible. And we need her, so letting Yuy kill her is out. Throwing her off the base would probably result in a big stink that would bring Romafeller sniffing around." He reached over, picked up one of the sandwiches on Noin's plate and forced it into her hand.
"So, ignore her. Don't let her get under your skin. Keep her away from Duo and Heero... let the bodyguards deal with her. They *are* enjoying it, you know."
Sally nodded. "Exactly. We're getting all worked up over nothing, really. Tolerate her during the things we need her for, ignore or avoid her the rest of the time..."
"And just hope we can keep certain people from killing her," Noin added, taking a bite of her sandwich.
"Very good. You have learned well, grasshoppers," Farley said, rising. "Now, I must be off. I need to impart my boundless wisdom to other members of the world... In other words, I have to tell Grayson that she has the flu." With a wink, he was out the door, a few snowflakes floating to the floor in his wake.
"Sally... that is one strange assistant you have," Noin commented, staring at the closed door. "But I think I like him."
"You have no idea, Lucretzia... and I'd be lost without him..."
By the time Zechs made it back to his room, two damp, grinning young men were sitting on the bed, kissing each other for all they were worth. They broke apart, though, as they looked up and saw the expression on Zechs' face.
Without a word, Treize pulled free from Wufei and padded over to Zechs to enfold him in a hug. "I'm sorry, Love. I should have come with you "
Zechs shook his head, his face tucked into Treize's neck. "No. I needed to see that and hear what she was saying firsthand "
Wufei rose and wrapped his arms around the couple from the other side. "Don't think about it "
"That's just it!" Zechs said, pulling away from Treize slightly. "I *have* to. All my life, I've been working - I've dedicated my life to rebuilding our kingdom so that, one day, she could rule there, and what do I find? She's a spoiled, little rich kid with a mean spirit and a cruel streak a mile wide!"
Wufei took his lover's hands in his and laced their fingers together. "Zechs, she's sixteen, and no one has ever said no to her about anything. What did you expect?"
The blond shook his head, leaning his forehead on Treize's shoulder. "I expected her to be the perfect little girl she was meant to be."
Treize and Wufei shared a look, before the ginger-haired young man wrapped an arm around Zechs' waist and began pulling him toward the bed. "If you want my opinion, Zechs, and you know I'm an excellent judge of character, there is hope for her still," he said soothingly, running one hand up to rub the blond's back. "She is spoiled and rather tactless, that much is true, but I think we can work on her. Don't give up hope yet, my love." He sat them all down and swept Zechs' long hair aside to plant a gentle kiss to the side of his neck.
Zechs' strained, unhappy look began to slide a little. "I just I didn't want to believe that she was really I was hoping that you were exaggerating, Dragon." He reached out again and took hold of Wufei's hand.
The Chinese teen perched on Zechs' knees as Treize began to knead tense muscles. "Unfortunately not, but I agree with Treize. It will be a painful process, but I think we can reform her. And I will help as much as I can."
Zechs lifted their joined hands to his lips and gently kissed Wufei's fingers. "You are kind to your old man."
Treize blinked. "Old? What?"
Wufei had the grace to blush. "On the flight back I teased Zechs that only old men like him would be able to sleep through the bumpy portions of the trip."
"Old, huh?" Wufei took in the looks on both his lovers' faces and gulped. He had a feeling he was about to be made to eat his words.
He smiled. It sounded like a wonderful idea.
Duo crawled his way toward consciousness. He slowly became aware of a weight on the bed near his hip and a strong hand grasping his own.
**Heero,** his mind supplied, and he forced his eyes open, meeting the blue gaze of his lover, sitting cross-legged on the bed beside him. Before he could form a coherent sentence, Heero leaned forward and kissed him, long and deep. Through the lingering sedative and the pain of his injuries, he could feel desire beginning to kindle, and whimpered slightly as the Japanese teen pulled back to nibble on his bottom lip.
The long-haired boy moaned softly as his lover's lips traced the line of his jaw, moving to nip at his earlobe. "No fair, Heero..."
"Just a taste of what's to come when you're well, Koi," Heero whispered huskily. "And to prove to you that I'm here and fine."
"I think I can believe it," Duo murmured, turning his head to capture his lover's lips with his own. "Either that or it's one hell of a drug induced hallucination."
Heero chuckled, brushed the hair off Duo's face, and dropped a kiss on his forehead. "No hallucination, Duo. I'm okay... just a couple of minor bruises. Deathscythe, however..."
Duo pulled the other teen down to himself so their foreheads touched. "Heero, 'Scythe *used* to be the most important thing to me. Not anymore. He takes a back seat to you, now. You're the most important thing in the world..."
Heero's eyes flashed and he shook his head. "No, Duo, you're the most important thing," he murmured against the injured teen's lips, then kissed him again, silencing any objections from Duo.
Lady Une looked up as Sally's head popped through the door. "Sally? Isn't it kind of late?"
Sally walked in with a folder in her hand. "It is. But I think you'll want to see this. Apollo's back with some news."
Une sat up straight, setting aside the cup of tea she'd been nursing. "Already? How?" She took the folder from the other woman and opened it up.
Sally sat down across the table and rubbed at her temples. "You don't need to know that yet, and it's not that I don't trust you, I hope you understand that.."
"I do!" Une replied, looking up from her reading. "Sally, this stuff's hot!"
Sally smiled and stood, wiping her palms on her jacket. "Thought you'd find that interesting. I can't stay to discuss it, but I took the liberty of sending Farley to find Treize and Quatre. They should be here soon."
"Thanks," Une said with a small smile up at Sally before the other woman slipped out the door.
Taking another sip of tea, Une read:
MESSAGE RECEIVED AND DELIVERED; DD TOOK IT BADLY, CALLING EMERGENCY
MEETING WITH HIS COMMANDERS.
ORDERED IMMEDIATE INCREASE IN PRODUCTION OF MOBILE DOLLS IN PREPARATION FOR SOMETHING. MUCH UNREST IN ARMY COMMANDERS BEGINNING TO ASK QUESTIONS.
BOUNTY HAS BEEN SET ON ZECHS MARQUISE AND LADY UNE AT 50,000 CREDITS EACH.
NEWS ON THE ENFORCER PROGRAMME. COLONIAL CONSPIRATOR DUE IN ON TUESDAY FOR DISCUSSION ON PROGRAMME ENHANCEMENTS. UNSURE AS TO IDENTITY OF NEW PLAYER, BUT HE IS COMING IN FROM L3.
MONTREAL MAN COMING IN FOR THE MEETING AND BRINGING EXPERIMENT WITH HIM.
SECURITY ON ALL OZ BASES ELEVATED.
NEXT MESSAGE FOLLOWING COLONIAL VISIT. END.
Une set the message aside with a sigh. What did that mean, that Wessex was coming and bringing his 'experiment' with him? And what was this about a Colonial conspirator?
She looked up as the door opened again and waved her two comrades in. "Olympus report just came in." She pointedly ignored the rumpled state of both young men's clothes as they sat and began reading without a word.
Quatre looked up and cocked an eyebrow. "A bounty? Hmmm... Out of curiosity, what's the bounty on *us,* do you know?"
Une considered. "It's probably up to at least 750,000 credits by now," she said with a small smile. "You've outdone us, as usual."
A small smile touched the blond's features before he went back to his reading.
Treize finished reading with a heavy sigh. "God. Where to start?"
Une leaned forward on the table. "We predicted most of this, Treize. It's only natural for them to up their security, after a major base was destroyed by an unknown enemy. They would have to be blind not to know who did it, though our involvement might not be guessed at yet."
Quatre nodded. "You're right. We knew going into this that it would never be as easy to strike at them again. The things that bothers me the most in this is the mention of Colonial participation. And from L3, too. Trowa's home colony."
"We still don't know the nature of what is being participated in, though," Treize said, shaking his head. "We don't know what the Enforcer programme entails. Until we know, there is very little we can do. I wish I knew who is providing this information..."
Une chuckled. "You always say that, sir. What about this other mention of unrest in the Army? Commanders asking questions?"
"Depends on what questions they're asking," Quatre said. "Even we didn't know that you'd been completely removed from power, Treize. It is wholly possible that your division leaders are asking what happened to you. Especially now that Dermail has reason to believe that you're alive, this could be a big potential thorn in his side."
Treize's eyes narrowed in concentration. "It would explain why he's trying to step up mobile doll production, too, if he doesn't feel he can count on his flesh and bone troops. Une," he said, turning his gaze on the brown-haired woman, "is there a way of finding out who is still loyal to us and what kind of firepower they can get a hold of?"
She nodded. "There is. Many of them are still sending regular reports to me through our secret channels, in fact. We still have some support on the floor of the Romafeller council, as well."
Treize shook his head. "It's too early to play that card yet, but we need to keep track of those members who would be sympathetic to our cause.
"We need to address one thing in particular right away - the mobile dolls," he continued, as he leaned back in his chair and drummed the fingers of his right hand on the table top. "If we can even slow down the production rate by taking out a few more bases, it will force Dermail to rely on the armed forces, on people he doesn't really trust, apparently. And if we take out Tuberov..."
Quatre blinked. "You were serious about that?"
"Oh, yes," Treize said with a cat-like grin on his face. "I was very serious. And I will be the one to do it, which means we have to find him."
Une's smile matched his. "I'll get on it first thing tomorrow."
Quatre nodded his head. "I can start some people sniffing around on the Colonies. If something's going on up there, we should be able to find out..."
Treize sat up straight quite suddenly. "He wouldn't dare, would he?"
"What?" Une and Quatre asked at the same time.
The ginger-haired aristocrat turned to Lady Une. "We had something planned for space, Lady, if you remember correctly..."
"Oh God, you mean the LIBRA project?" she gasped, a hand flying to cover her mouth. "He *would* dare, I'm sure of it. That bastard..."
"Care to explain?" Quatre asked, lifting an eyebrow.
Treize's voice was low and urgent. "Given the difficulties we were facing here on the planet against your Gundams, the Romafeller Foundation devised plans to build a massive space fortress, code-named LIBRA. The idea was to force the Gundams to either break off their offensive on Earth to protect their home Colonies or to split them up, making it easier to catch them. In the meantime, the LIBRA would be so powerful a force and have the capability to house so many suits that a real attack on it would be fruitless. It was the brain child of Representative Michael Gates, I believe..."
"The same Mr. Gates now attached to Dermail's hip," Une finished sourly.
Quatre's face was ashen. "A station like that would be... Allah, even the five of us together wouldn't have been able to get close, not without backup troops and a serious death wish."
"That's the idea," Treize said softly. He hung his head. "I should have burned those plans when I had the chance..."
"No doubt Michael had copies of them stashed away somewhere, Treize," Une soothed.
Quatre continued thinking out loud. "It would have been a difficult-enough target when protected by human-flown suits, but if defended with mobile dolls... Could that be their 'something,' do you think?"
Treize gave a solemn nod. "We don't have much time to play with this information. Starting tomorrow, Duo, Howard and anyone else who's available will begin analyzing those mobile dolls. We won't be able to destroy all the production facilities, so we'll need to know what their flaws are in order to fight them.
"Une, you will reactivate your people. Put the word out that we are still alive and well, and looking for any and all troops still loyal to us," Treize continued, standing to pace the room. "It's time to find out who our friends are.
"And you and I, Quatre," he said, turning to fix the blond teen in his stare, "we need to start digging through our intel." His smile was dark and dangerous. "We have some bases to seek out and some missions to plan."
Quatre smiled back. "Just so long as I don't get left out of the fun again."
"Be careful what you wish for."