Chapter 41

 

Changing Allegiance

Chapter 41


"Come in!"

Heero was surprised to find Sally missing from the base laboratory as he steered Duo in, but Farley waved the two over with a grin. "Heero! I think we've finally got it right – she's been calm for the past five hours, sleeping like a baby."

The Japanese teen's eyes took on a troubled look, though he forced himself to smile in return. "That's very good news, Jason. I'll drop in to see her later."

"Who? You mean… oh," Duo said stupidly, blushing slightly. "I'd like to meet her, as well. That is, if you don't mind, Heero."

Jason saved his work quickly and turned to the two pilots with a serious look on his face. "Duo, I don't know if you'd prefer to wait for Sally to get here, but…"

"Oh, I'm here," Sally called from the doorway, pushing Wufei and Treize, carrying a smiling Marie safely in his arms, in ahead of her. "I caught these three lurking outside, too. I thought we were past the 'Mad Scientist' stage, Duo."

Said teen blushed a little. "You know I only call you names because I like you… right?"

She gave him a sweet smile that did nothing to make him feel more at ease. "Uh huh. Now on the table! Up you go! Yuy, get that sweater off of him – I want to see how his ribs are doing…" She turned to Treize, Marie and Wufei. "Be with you in a second, gentlemen."

The little girl slid down from her father's lap and dashed across the room. "Uncle Duo! Uncle Quatre wouldn't let me in to see you before…"

Before Heero could object, Duo lunged down from his seat and scooped Marie up for a quick hug, wincing as she squeezed him tight. "I'm sorry, sweetie – I was real tired, you know. But I’m all good now…"

"No, you're not," Heero reminded him softly in his ear. "I saw that wince," he whispered, as he pulled Marie into his arms for another hug. "He was really tired, Cricket. And now Sally needs to take a look at him, because he got a little hurt."

She turned stunned blue eyes on Duo. "You're hurt? Where does it hurt? Uncle Heero!" She turned back to the Japanese teen with a stormy look on her little face. "You shoulda brought him here more sooner!"

Wufei chuckled a little as he stepped forward and plucked Marie from Heero's arms. "It's not that bad, Marie, so we thought the sleep would be better for him. Uncle Duo is very strong – he will be just fine."

Marie turned back to find that Heero'd helped Duo off with his sweater. She turned back to her uncle and nodded. "Uncle Wufei, he's got muscles! Like you and Uncle Zechs!"

Duo ducked his head on Heero's shoulder, blushing. "Jesus, Heero…"

"What?! It's true," Heero joked, though he was concerned by the number of bruises the stark lighting of the infirmary brought out on Duo's pale skin.

Wufei laughed again and headed back to his seat at Treize's side. "Hush, little one – Sally needs to look at him now.

"Oh, okay." Wufei carefully turned Marie away from the medical exam and began whispering to her to distract her.

Sally grinned at the little girl, but frowned as she took in the bruises on Duo's arms, torso and around his neck. "Hand-to-hand combat in your condition was a very bad idea, Maxwell."

He rolled his eyes. "I know, I know. Ask Kushy – I didn't do it on purpose, I swear!"

Treize called from where he was sitting, "The man came out of nowhere, Doctor. He had no choice." Getting an incredulous look from his daughter, he shrugged. "It's true. The guy was this big," he indicated, holding his arms out to indicate an extremely large opponent. Marie's eyes bugged wide.

"Hmmm," Sally commented, listening to Duo's breathing and ignoring his slight gasp as the cold metal of her stethoscope came into contact with his bare chest. "Your lungs sound good – that's a positive sign. Any coughing?"

Duo shook his head. "No, ma'am. I mean, a little, at first, but I've been doing real good, I think."

Sally favoured him with a small smile, but waved Jason over as she examined the bruising around his throat. "Jason, check his head, the back. Just how big was this guy, really?"

Duo grimaced as careful fingers probed the back of his head. "Pretty big – I had to knife the guy – there was no way I was going to get him off me, otherwise."

"Uncle Duo!" Marie whispered, her face white as she listened. Treize shot the long-haired young man a pleading look.

"Bruised, but I think we'd already know if he had a problem here, Sally," Farley called quickly to fill the silence, patting Duo's shoulder a little.

Sally gave the young man a nod and a smile before she looked down at Duo. "You arm seems okay, and the rest of you looks pretty good, too… oh, grow up and get your mind out of the gutter!" she snapped, as Duo couldn't help himself and broke into giggles. She made a shooing motion with her hand. "Go! Get out of here – just nothing too strenuous for a while, okay? We've got other people here to do that work – we need you healthy to pilot. That's an order."

He hopped down from the table and snapped her a salute. "Yes, Ma'am!"

Handing Duo his sweater, Heero asked, "That includes climbing all over the Gundam scaffolding like a monkey, right?"

Sally nodded. "Absolutely! Give it at least a few days, then I want you to start working that arm again – maybe Trowa can help you with that; he'll be working his own shoulder, too."

Heero nodded, turning to help Duo pull his braid out from beneath the heavy sweater.

Turning to her other two visitors, Sally grinned and waved to the table. "Next!"

As they walked out, Duo and Heero just heard Marie ask, "Why'd you tell him to grow up, Sally? He does look good, except those purple marks…"

They looked at each other, and both started to laugh.

~*~

Noin gave Dorothy a thorough look as they stopped at the door to her suite of rooms, Relena walking quietly behind them. "Are you sure you're up to this? Dermail is a smart old dog - if he gets even the vaguest idea that you aren't one hundred percent behind him…"

Dorothy took a deep breath. "I know. Being family won't help me if he doesn't believe me. I'm not sure if I really understood…"

"Understood what?" Relena asked quietly.

Dorothy turned her eyes on the other girl. "Just how big this all is. Just how much a target you are."

Noin turned the girl gently. "No time for it now, Dorothy. He's expecting your call. We'll be here with you – do you want us in the room with you?"

Dorothy nodded. "I think so." She took a deep breath and gave Noin a confident smile as she opened her door and walked in.

Noin and Relena took a seat off to the side, well out of camera range, as Dorothy pulled up her Vidcom unit and attached a secure unit to it. She took another deep breath and dialled the number. "Here we go."

It took a moment before the call went through – Relena quietly slipped her hand into Noin's and gave it a gentle squeeze. Noin looked down at her and gave her a small smile – it was a comforting gesture.

As the image cleared, Dermail gave Dorothy a grandfatherly smile. "Dorothy! I've missed you, my girl. How is life in the Sanc Kingdom?"

She smiled, though beneath the desk, her right fist was clenched so hard her nails were biting into her palm. Missed me? Right, like you always miss me. Not at all! "I've missed you, too, grandfather. Are you still in Canada?"

He nodded. "For the time being, yes. Just use the number I gave you – it will always find me. I'll also make sure you can get in touch with Marianne – she will be able to get in touch with me, if you can't."

Dorothy gave him a smile. "Good, she's a good girl." She rolled her eyes. "And so much easier to get along with than these flakes around here!"

Dermail raised an eyebrow. "That bad, is it? I should have hoped Relena Dorlian-Peacecraft would have better sense."

"Of, she's better than most of the others," Dorothy countered, "but that's not saying much. With all the talk of Pacifism… It's as though they don't see the world around them! They're blind to reality, and it's annoying the hell out of me."

"What of Miss Relena?"

Dorothy rolled her eyes again. "I expected more. She's got a crush on some guy – I don't know who he is, but she gets this vague look on her face and she's useless for at least a half hour afterwards. It's pretty pathetic, if you ask me."

Dermail laughed. "You don't know who he is?"

"No, not yet, but I'll find out. It might be something we can use, in the future. Leverage."

"I like how you think, my girl," he said, smiling. "And speaking of leverage… you do know that Relena is the sister of Zechs Marquise?"

Dorothy's eyes went wide. "Marquise? But… The older brother, eh?" She laughed. "Now's there's a surprise. Marquise, really? Do we have any idea where he is?"

Dermail shook his head. "Unclear for the moment. We're looking for him, though, and for Treize. And we've noticed increased activity in both the Sahara and in Eastern Europe. We'll find them soon, but if we don't… your Miss Relena might become even more of an issue than she already is. Stay close to her, okay?"

Dorothy nodded. "Of course. Anything else I should know about?"

"Well, there is one thing," Dermail said, a small, sly grin on his face. "You might see a little… change in the winds. With Treize out there playing his little games, we have no choice, really… Romafeller, you know, is technically in my control right now. I'm taking full control, and it will happen soon."

Dorothy felt her blood go cold. Just how much of a blood bath will that take, dear grandfather? "Please tell me you're not letting that Marquis de whoever-he-is represent us."

Dermail snorted. "Laupin? Gracious, no! He does not have the finesse for what I need. Wessex or Gates, either, so no need to worry."

"Why do you bother with them, grandfather?" Dorothy asked petulantly, or so she hoped it sounded. "They are giving the family a horrible image, knowing they are associated with you."

He shook his head. "I know, I know. I can't say I like them, per say, but they are useful. And Laupin's connections in space have proved extremely useful to me."

"Really? At least he's useful for something, then," Dorothy said. "Just make sure he never comes near me again at our holiday ball, okay? I refuse to dance with him, and that's that."

Dermail laughed. "Understood, and I'll pass the message on. Now take care of yourself, my dear, and stay close to Relena. We may need to play that card sooner, rather than later. Oh, and I'll need some information from you – how large her personal guard is, who's her captain, how many, if any, mobile suits they've got. That sort of thing. No! Not now – we've already been on too long. You've got to get back, and soon," he said.

Dorothy smiled. "Okay – but I miss you, grandfather."

"Of course you do, poppet," he said, his smile turning kind once more. "I'll call you again in three days, agreed?"

"Agreed. Good luck, grandfather," Dorothy said, waving at the screen. She held her smile until the screen went blank.

Noin carefully held Relena back as Dorothy shut down her Vidcom unit. Dorothy slumped in her seat. "We're clear."

Relena rushed across the room as fast as she could and threw one arm around Dorothy. 'You okay?"

Blue-grey eyes flashed a little, though Dorothy still looked suspiciously close to tears. "Of course I am! I…"

"Dorothy, calm down," Noin said from her other side.

The girl tucked her chin into her chest. "I know, I'm sorry." She looked back up again. "We've got to talk to Treize as soon as possible. If they're already pinpointing Eastern Europe… it won't take too long to figure out where they're hiding."

Noin nodded. "Soon, not right away. I can guarantee we'll be monitored for a while."

Relena nodded. "Agreed. And in the meantime…" She gave Dorothy a calculating look. "Am I really that bad?"

Dorothy smirked. "All I have to say is one word, Relena…"

Noin smirked and coughed. "Heero."

Relena blushed and ducked her head, and the other two laughed, the tension of the moment broken.

~*~

Heero's hand shook a little as he reached for the doorknob, and Duo stopped him with a gentle hand to his shoulder. "We don't have to do this now, Heero. Not until you're up to it."

Heero sighed and dropped his face into his chest, his hand falling from the doorknob. "Farley said she was much better. I just…"

Duo gently turned his lover around. "Heero, you got her out, and neither of you will ever go through anything like that ever again, not while any of us have breath in our bodies, you got that?"

Silently, Heero wrapped his arms around Duo's waist and nuzzled against his chest through his grey sweater. "She still calls me Alpha," he whispered so faintly that Duo could barely hear it.

"Well, then let's make sure she knows who you really are, shall we?" Duo tilted Heero's chin up to press a gentle kiss onto his lips. "I'm right here, love, and I'm not leaving you. Period."

Heero gripped the end of Duo's braid in one hand as he kissed him back, then turned to the door and, taking a deep breath, knocked and opened it.

Duo made sure to keep one hand on Heero's lower back, grounding him, as they stepped in. The girl on the bed was awake and aware, her face calm and composed.

Bravo's eyes went wide, though, as they slipped from Heero's face to Duo's. "You!"

Duo gave her a warm smile. "I'm glad you're okay, Miss. And I'm very glad you're here with us."

Her sharp eyes darted back to Heero, noticing how the braided teen continued to hold onto him. "You two…" her voice cracked and she winced.

Heero tensed under Duo's hands, and the long-haired teen tightened his hold on his lover. "Me and Heero? Yeah, he's a very special person to me. I love him, and he loves me."

Her eyes focused on Heero. "It's… against y'r programming, Alpha…"

Heero winced, clutching the end of Duo's braid tightly. "I have a real name now; it's Heero Yuy. And this is Duo Maxwell. He wanted to meet you since you are… almost like a relation to me."

She turned her face away. "I have no family."

"No, you don't," Heero intoned quietly, "but that doesn’t mean you can't have one. We brought you here to set you free. You've been treated with my own blood to keep you alive."

She simply stared. "You are… free? For real? He doesn't…"

"Doesn't what?" Heero asked.

Bravo's eyes zeroed in on Duo, narrowing suspiciously. "He does not control you?"

Duo physically winced at the very thought.

Heero's eyes flashed with anger once, then went calm again. "No one controls me, anymore. I chose my life, just like I chose Duo as my lover. It is time you took control of who you are, as well."

She gaped at the two, her jaw flapping for a short moment. "I don't know how."

"Neither did he," Duo replied, wrapping an arm around Heero's waist and squeezing gently. "But he learned. Just as you can. Think about it... oh, and what should we call you? It seems… cold, to call you Bravo."

She looked to Heero. "I don't… can I really choose a name, Al- Heero?"

He finally gave her a small smile. "Anything you want, yes. We'll help, if you wish."

Bravo's face looked hopeful for a short moment before the expression slid to one of careful indifference. She looked away. "I don't need help."

Heero sighed and, taking Duo's hand, turned to leave.

"H-heero? Duo?"

They both turned.

The bed sheet was twisted and crumpled in her hands, and she slowly turned to look at them, a hint of curiosity and desperation entering her eyes. "Will… will you come back to see me again?"

Duo nodded, a full, infectious smile playing over his face. "Sure." He gave her a little wave before he allowed Heero to pull him out of the room.

As the door closed again, Duo yelped as Heero pulled him into a tight hug, bathing the long-haired teen's neck in his hot breath. "Hold me, Duo."

The youth complied, wincing as Heero's grip tightened, though he said nothing about it. He wrapped his arms around the Japanese teen and rubbed his back gently.

Rubbing his cheek in Heero's hair, Duo eventually asked, "Hey – you wanna go out to the hangar? Walker said he wanted to take a look at my hyperjammers, and I know they're going to have some… trouble figuring out what I did to 'em…"

Heero slowly released his hold, but backed the long-haired teen to the wall, sliding a hand up into his hair for a long, sweet kiss that left both teens panting for air. "I love you, Duo."

Duo smiled into Heero's eyes. "Me, too, lover." Still smiling, he leaned forward to nibble at Heero's lips again, pulling back to stare into deep blue eyes. "Come with me?"

Heero made a show of locating and lovingly clutching the end of Duo's braid. "Anywhere you want."

Duo smiled, slipping a hand into the back pocket of Heero's jeans as they headed back to their room for coats.

~*~

Once Pargan had set down the tea tray and left the room, the three women became serious once more.

"Dermail mentioned Relena becoming 'more of an issue'," Noin said, taking a cup of tea and sitting back in her chair. "While I have an idea, can you clarify what he means?"

Dorothy nodded. "Leverage against Zechs. Knowing how my grandfather thinks, if he can't get Zechs on his own, my job would be to take Relena to him. He would then use her to smoke Zechs out..."

"And with a serious threat to Relena, there is a good chance our darling brother would walk into Dermail's hands like a pet rabbit," the older woman sighed.

"But that's not really an issue any more," Relena countered. "With Dorothy actually on *our* side, not only would we be forewarned, we could use it to our advantage."

"Very true," Dorothy said firmly. "I've even thought up some contingency plans for that scenario. I'm more worried about our people in Transylvania. If grandfather is snooping in Eastern Europe..."

"We can warn Treize during the conference call tonight," Noin cut in. "Even if he knew exactly who was where, it would take at least 24 to 36 hours to mount an assault. From the way he spoke, he only has suspicions. In that case, he still has to discover who and exactly where. That gives them much more time."

"Again, true," Dorothy agreed. "That leaves us with Romafeller."

"What did he mean by 'take control'?" Relena asked.

"My grandfather's usual modus operandi is to install a puppet leader. Get rid of anyone he considers 'dangerous' - meaning anyone he thinks could foil his plans - then make sure whoever does lead Romafeller can be controlled. It would definitely be someone from outside his inner circle..." Dorothy rose and stalked to the desk, grabbed a pen and began swiftly writing names on a pad. A few minutes later she returned to her seat and handed the list to Noin.

"These are all of the members of Romafeller - at least those I can remember," the blonde said, then leaned over to point out various names. "These won't do, since they are part of his circle. These," she continued, pointing at a few more, "will most likely be ousted. Fortunately, grandfather will use his influence to have them voted out, rather than something more... shall we say permanent?"

"That leaves the rest as possible candidates for the puppet position, correct?" Noin asked.

"Well, not all of them. I doubt Zukov or Weyridge would be candidates. They have opposed grandfather before, but they have too much clout for him to get rid of them. Picavet and McKellar are wildcards. They've never openly opposed him, but they haven't really supported him, either. Belton, Gowrey and Gutierez are spineless cowards and agree with whoever is currently wielding the power." Dorothy sighed. "Of course, that doesn't count in the replacements for whoever is voted out..."

Relena wrinkled her brow. "I know Weyridge. Well, sort of. Perhaps we can get him on our side? He did help me once when I tried to kill Lady Une. He might be able to help again."

Noin and Dorothy shared a glance, and the blonde shrugged.

"It's worth a try. At least it's a starting point."

~*~

Une still felt as though she should frown or show some other sign of disapproval, but she was finding it impossible, especially with Kevin giving her that roguish smile of his every time he caught her smiling.

She'd had a hard time finding the pilots that afternoon, but eventually tracked them down – predictably in the Gundam hangar. She'd rushed in, ready to scream at Duo and Trowa, ready to berate Heero, Howard, Kevin and anyone else in hearing range for letting the two work.

And then she saw them – Trowa and Duo were bent over a table together, the taller teen watching avidly as Duo manipulated a tiny set of tools while literally wrapped up like a child in an oversized snowsuit. An arm slipped around her waist, and she turned to find Kevin at her side, a grease smudge on his face. "Have some faith, will, ya, babe?"

She'd cocked an eyebrow. "Did you just call me babe?"

He winked. "Yeah, I did." He kissed her cheek.

Une wrinkled her nose. "Please tell me you're going to wash up a little before dinner."

Now they were all sitting at dinner, most of them sporting grease smudges on either skin, clothing or both, and all calling her 'Babe.' She didn't know if she wanted to shoot Kevin or kiss him senseless.

"... Deathscythe is officially 'offline'. Wing is still operational, though I'll have to pull him off tomorrow to install the stealth equipment. While Kevin and I do that, Cosmo and Rodney will reinforce the cockpit. Total downtime for Wing will be approximately 18 hours," Howard's voice broke into her musings. "Once Wing is finished, I'll start on Shenlong."

"How long will Deathscythe be down?" Une asked, glancing first at the Sweeper boss, then at Duo.

"Not as long as you hope, Mom," Duo replied cheekily. "My buddy and I will be out kicking butt again in no time. Howie works fast when he has incentive. And his incentive is to have all five Gundams and Tallgeese at 100% to keep his ass safe from the evil bad guys."

"You know, Duo," Zechs cut in, "you really don't have to segregate my Tallgeese like that. He is the prototype for your Gundams, after all. So technically..."

"Technically, he's still made of titanium, not gundanium," the long-haired teen countered haughtily. "Hence, not a Gundam. So there."

While Zechs and Duo continued their debate, Wufei leaned over to Une.

"Despite Duo's flippant reply," the Chinese teen whispered, "Heero has laid down the law. Our slightly insane God of Death will be grounded himself until Sally gives him the complete all clear. And while he may disregard 'orders' from the rest of us unless it suits his purpose, he won't ignore Heero. He may not like it, but he'll go along with it."

Une nodded, her concern visibly lessened. "Thank you, Wufei. That does ease my mind a bit. I don't know why, but I can't help worrying about him, more so than the rest of you. It's odd..."

"Not really," Wufei replied. "Think about it. You've changed. Instead of being the 'stone-cold psycho bitch from Hell' -" At her raised eyebrow he chuckled slightly. "Duo's term for the old you, not mine. Anyway, the 'new' you met him at a very low point. He was injured, ill, afraid... that kicked your protective instincts into overdrive, a typically female reaction."

"Wufei..." the lady growled menacingly.

Wufei smiled slightly. "That, Une, was actually a compliment. Despite my past disparagement of women, I have learned that you can be more cunning, deceitful and ferocious when protecting something important. However, we're getting off track. Your continued concern for Duo is very understandable. Once unaffected by the medication, he accepted you fairly easily. He has listened to what you have to say, included you in his teasing, and most importantly, he has treated you as part of his *family*. Of course you're going to react to that -" Their conversation was interrupted as Duo jumped to his feet and brandished a breadstick.

"Okay, Goldilocks. This means war. Snowballs at twenty paces! Nobody calls my 'Scythe a hunk of junk!" the braided teen exclaimed, lips twitching in an effort to remain serious.

"Declare your second," Zechs replied as he also stood, not bothering to hide his grin.

"I choose Marieeeee -" his voice trailed off as Heero, hand on the waistband of his lover's jeans, jerked him down onto his lap.

"While I'm sure you meant to choose me as your second, I do believe we have business to attend to right now. Can the duel wait until tomorrow?" the Japanese pilot said calmly, holding the wiggling boy securely.

Zechs snickered. "Hen-pecked, are you, Maxwell? Poor thing, perhaps - oooof." All of the air in his lungs escaped as Treize, smirking, jerked the blond back into his seat.

"Enough, children," the ex-general said firmly. "You can play later. I believe Une had some information to impart, before we all retire to the conference room to meet with the Sanc delegation." Tipping his head to Une, he smiled. "If you would, please, Une?"

She shot a look around the mess tent – just about everyone else had already retired to their tasks. She cleared her throat. "Reports are still trickling in. Most people just want information – where are we, what is going on, what Romefeller is up to… they don't know what to expect any more than we do. Interesting news, though – Zechs, do you remember Alexander Nims from your training class?"

The blond nodded. "Vaguely. He kept hitting on Luca, right?"

"That's the one," Une replied. "He's been stationed in Bremen with the fourth corps for the past year. He says they recently received orders to perform mass modifications on their suits."

"Oh?" Treize asked.

Une nodded. "Readying them for deployment, as yet unknown. Orders pending – he doesn't know what mods they'll be making as yet. He's worried – for those of you who don't know – in the Specials, we never withhold modification orders from our men. Letting them know what to expect gives them time to prepare for it, mentally."

Quatre nodded. "Understandable."

She shot him a smile – Quatre was the only man at the table not smudged or unkempt. "They are all a little uneasy. However the Alliance chose to run things, the Specials were the elite, and we ran things as we saw fit. The new leadership obviously leaves much to be desired."

Heero shot Sally a look. "Sally, anything from Athena yet? If the commanders don't know what's going on, I'm willing to bet Dermail is up to something."

She shook her head. "Nothing new, though she reports that the inner circle has been meeting just about every day. Closed sessions. He's being very careful – I ordered her to lay low as much as she can for now. If he's being that careful, he's getting paranoid, and any mistake could well be her last."

Trowa cleared his throat. "So what you're basically saying is that she's panicking."

Sally just about glared at the young man. "No, she's not. She's just being cautious…"

Trowa arched an eyebrow. "I know it's risky for her, but this isn't the time for too much caution. We need her information more than ever…"

Duo raised his hand slowly. "Umm, guys? Yeah, we do need her information, but if the inner circle's been there and that Gates guy is as tough as you've all said he is, a little more caution just might keep her alive. I agree with the Sal-meister on this one."

The room fell silent, and Duo ducked his head, feeling eyes on him. "Sorry, I'll keep my big mouth shut," he mumbled.

Heero shook his head. "No, Duo, you're right." He shot a glare in Trowa's direction, as if daring the taller teen to say anything. "Anything else to report?"

Farley replied. "Yeah, I do. Um, it's about Bravo. She's… well, she's much better. We've definitely got it right. I think she might be up for a little exercise soon."

Treize smiled at the young man. "Good news. She talked to you, I take it?"

Jason nodded. "Yeah – she's asked for a real meal, even."

Duo shot him a look. "Did she choose a name yet?"

The young doctor gave him a confused look. "A name?"

Heero answered for Duo, "When we saw her earlier… we talked to her about getting a real name. She can even choose one for herself. I… I didn't get that option, and I think it could help her."

Walker smiled. "A little like choosing a call sign. I hear you." He shot Zechs a look. "And I still say you should have been the Ice Man. No insult intended."

Zechs grinned crookedly. "Only if I could call you Goose."

Seeing the Gundam pilots' confused looks, Zechs blinked. "Don't tell me you've never seen 'Top Gun'. It's a classic for any pilot to see."

They shook their heads, and the blond shot Walker a look. "Walker, new order for the evening. Locate and procure a copy of said film. As a pilot, I feel it is my duty to share the… Ack!" he squawked as Wufei slapped a hand over his mouth.

The Chinese teen smirked. "I think we all get the picture, Goldilocks. I think we're waiting on a call from Sanc tonight, though."

Treize and Sally both looked down at their watches and looked back up again, grinning at each other. The aristocrat gave her a bow of his head. "Where are we taking the call, doctor?"

She stood and pulled her gloves from her hip pockets. "My conference room. If we go now, we'll have the time to sweep the place before T-time."

Heero stood, as well, reaching for his jacket. "Should we be worried about a saboteur?"

Sally shook her head, grimacing at the sound of several chairs scraping on the floor as the whole party stood. "I should hope not, but you don't get as far as I have without learning that time spent on security is never wasted."

Une grinned as Walker helped her into her own jacket. "And just maybe our grease monkeys will have the time to clean up, as well."

Walker's arms tightened around her. "I'm wounded, babe."

"Mr. Walker, you will unhand your commanding officer immediately," Une snapped, "unless you want a permanent reprimand on your record."

Walker grinned unrepentantly. "A reprimand? I thought we didn't discuss our sex life in public, baby…"

Blushing to his ears, Duo turned huge eyes on the couple. "Dude, you're talking to my Mom like that! In front of me! Talk about TMI!"

Une was blushing, herself. "Kevin! I'm going to kill you…"

"Ahem," Treize interrupted, his eyes twinkling with mirth. "Vidcall, anyone?"

Une tossed her head and stalked to the door. "When you boys decide to grow up, we'll be waiting for you at the Conference Room. Good evening." She stepped out and slammed the door.

Zechs shot Walker a look. "I'd be careful tonight, if I were you, Kevin."

Grinning, the young man pulled on his jacket and quickly zipped it up. "Nah. She's secretly enjoying this. I love to get her going."

Quatre shot him a look of disbelief as they all headed out into the night. He looked up into Trowa's face. "Ummm... mildly frightening?"

The taller teen nodded, though his eyes were laughing. "Very. He must have a death wish."

Duo chuckled behind them. "Or he likes to live on the wild side. Rowr."

"I HEARD THAT, YOUNG MAN!"

The men laughed as they headed across the complex towards the infirmary.

TBC...


On to Chapter 42

Back to Preventers' HQ



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