Chapter 9

 

Changing Allegiance

Chapter 9


Une stirred, the smell of coffee and warmed Danish invading her sleep.

"Come on, sweetheart, wake up and smell the coffee," Walker said, sitting on the edge of the bed.

"Kevin? It's too blasted early..." Une's eyes opened and she smiled softly. "You brought me breakfast."

"I did," the young man replied, leaning down to kiss her. "I thought you deserved a little pampering, and we both need some time alone together. It's six-thirty and we have nowhere to be until eight."

Une sighed appreciatively and leaned her head against Walker's leg. "I seem to recall something about a meeting at 0730…"

"Oh yeah, that," he replied, stretching out an arm to pull two mugs of coffee closer within reach on the nightstand. "I told Gener… I mean Treize, that today was our anniversary, so I wanted to do something special, and he just smiled and went along with it."

"Kevin!" she said, laughing. "That's three weeks from now!"

He took her hand and wove their fingers together. "We'll celebrate then, too." He picked up her coffee and waved it in front of her nose. "Want some of this?"

Une smiled - coffee was one of her few true weaknesses. She took the mug and took a dainty sip, nodding in approval. Walker *definitely* knew how to make a cup of coffee! "You are too good to me, Kevin."

"I know." He kissed her forehead, then eased himself off the bed and crossed the room to where the remainder of their breakfast sat on a tray.

Une propped herself up with pillows as she sat up and self-consciously pulled her blanket up around her as much as she could…

A chuckle rewarded her efforts. "Une, in case you've forgotten, which I sincerely hope you haven't, we share this room. We share that *bed.* You don't have to be so self-conscious! You're beautiful, so stop trying to hide it, okay?"

She blushed, but made herself stop fidgeting with the blanket. She looked up - Walker was back at the bedside, cradling the breakfast tray in his arms. How could he possibly find her beautiful? With her hair all a mess, wearing a wrinkled t-shirt and precious little else… Then again, it was *his* fault that she was in such a state…

He bowed to her and carefully set the tray in her lap. "Your meal, Madam. I hope it pleases."

They began eating in comfortable silence, but Walker eventually asked, "So… that pilot who got in yesterday… you knew him?"

Une nodded. "Yes. He had the balls to infiltrate my personal squadron once. Damned kid had me fooled completely. Oh, I knew he was too good to be true – wait until you see him in a battle, Kevin – but I never would have guessed he was a Gundam pilot."

The young man shot her a veiled look. "You liked him."

She blinked. "I beg your pardon?"

He smiled in embarrassment. "You heard me."

Une shook her head. "Kevin, that's about as fair as me asking you about that girl, Charity, or whatever her name was…"

"It was Carrie," he said softly. He looked up and into her eyes. "Une…"

"There is a fundamental difference between you and him, my dear," she kept talking over his mild protests. "I won't say he's not cute – they all are, in their own way, much as Treize and Zechs are. But he doesn't put up with everyone's dirty looks and rumours all day long, and he never would. Not for me, at least. He doesn't bring me breakfast in bed and lie to my commanding officer, just to keep me in bed that much longer," she finished with the beginnings of a smile.

Walker's face spread into a grin. "I *did* want to keep you in bed…"

She laughed and set the tray aside, peeling back her blankets and standing in one graceful motion. "Well, I have no intentions of staying there, for your information." She stretched lazily, well aware of how her t-shirt was riding up as she moved.

With an arch look, she turned her back on him. "0700 -– we have just enough time for a shower."

He blinked. "Um, that's more than enough time…"

Words died in his mouth, though, as Une peeled the shirt off - *his* shirt, he realised belatedly – and tossed it onto the bed carelessly. "Good, we'll have time to clean ourselves up, too." Her hips swayed as she sauntered towards the bathroom with a lazy stride. Stopping at the door, she looked back. "You coming?"

Grinning to himself, Walker peeled off his shirt and followed her.

~*~

Sally groaned, rolled over on her narrow cot and glared at the alarm clock beeping loudly on the small table.

"Too damned early," she muttered, sitting up and shivering as the cold air hit her. "Too damned cold, too. Note to self... next war, stay away from the mountains of Eastern Europe in November."

She scrambled into her clothes, grabbed her heavy coat, and left her room. Quietly passing through the chilly infirmary halls, she stopped at Duo's room and looked inside.

With the dim light from the hall, she could see the injured pilot lying on his back, broken arm resting on a pillow. Heero was on the opposite side, curled up to him, one arm lying protectively across his abdomen. The Japanese teen opened his eyes and looked at her questioningly, but she just shook her head, smiling, stepped out of the room and closed the door.

The frigid air nearly took her breath away and wind-blown snow swirled around her as she made her way across the compound to the mess tent. Sally grimaced – she might just as well have gone out in her pyjamas, for all the good her coat was doing. Wrenching open the door and jumping inside, shivering, she was met by a steaming mug. Looking up at the person attached to the mug, she grinned slightly.

"Farley, at times like these, you're a god," she sighed, taking the cup and inhaling the coffee-scented steam.

"I try, ma'am-- er, Sally," the younger assistant said, motioning her to a table near a large wood stove. "I've already checked with the night shift," he continued, once they were seated. "Pretty quiet night, though somehow, Ramirez dropped a pipe wrench on her foot, breaking the third and fourth metatarsals. Aside from that, just a couple of requests for decongestants and one minor burn from a stove."

"A burn from a stove?" Sally asked, waving to one of the servers for a refill. Farley nodded at her, his eyes dancing.

"Where was this person burned?"

Farley burst into chuckles. "On his ass, ma'am! He leaned on the stove, trying to get warm, and... ooops!"

Sally snickered. "Ooops, indeed. Well, today I think we can release Connors and Martel to light duty. I'll need you to go through our 'winter' supplies. I can imagine we'll have a multitude of colds, infections and flus going around soon."

"I thought about that last night when the snow started falling. It's first on my 'to-do' list," Farley replied, standing and bundling up. "Well, right after I get some of the maintenance people to check the infirmary's heating system. The building shouldn't be *that* cold. And I've already told the mess sergeant to send breakfast to Maxwell and Yuy, but if you could tell him what time..."

Sally nodded. "Will do. I think we'll let them all sleep themselves out today. Write a note for Heero asking him to let us know when they're awake, and slide it under the door, would you? I'll be along shortly."

"Yes, Sally, I will," he said, turning and walking towards the door. "Oh! And eat some breakfast. I had the cook make you french toast... special!"

He opened the door and was gone in a swirl of snow.

Sally chuckled at the young man. "Sometimes, I wonder... Is he my assistant or my babysitter?"

~*~

Heero woke a second time, his internal clock telling him it was nearly 7:30 am. He laid there for a few moments, watching his lover sleep.

**There's really no reason to wake him, so I'll just let him sleep, at least until Sally comes in to check on him. He's still very weak and in far too much pain, even if he does hide it well. He isn't fooling Sally, or Quatre... hell, I doubt he's fooling anyone. But, if it makes him feel better to *think* he's fooling us, so be it,** he thought, carefully easing out of bed to avoid disturbing Duo.

Shivering slightly as the chill air hit his warm skin, he frowned, and looked out the window. Snow was swirling furiously outside.

**Duo loves the snow, for all that he can't handle the cold. He's going to be miserable, stuck inside...**

A soft groan from the bed grabbed his attention and he walked to Duo's side.

"Cold, H'ro," his lover almost whimpered, voice sleep-slurred and eyes barely open. "Where you goin'?"

"I know, Duo," the Japanese teen replied, pulling the blankets from his side of the bed and tucking them tightly around the injured boy. "Is that a little better?"

"Be warmer in h're if you didn' go," Duo said, nuzzling Heero's hand.

"Yes, it would be," Heero chuckled. "It's windy and snowing outside, and I think there's something wrong with the heating unit in the building. I'm going to see what the problem is, and if they're going to be able to fix it quickly. Why don't you go back to sleep? I'll grab a shower while I'm gone. I'll wake you when I get back, give you your bath, then we'll have breakfast. How does that sound?"

"'K, H'ro... love you," the braided pilot murmured, quickly falling back to sleep.

"I love you, too, my Shinigami," Heero whispered, smiling softly and dropping a light kiss on his lover's lips.

Walking out the door, he saw a folded piece of paper, and picked it up.

'Mr. Yuy,
We didn't want to disturb you or Duo, so breakfast will be at your convenience. Just grab one of us when you're ready, and we'll send word over to the mess tent. Sally wants Duo on soft foods now, so there's apple Cinnamon porridge for him. You can have the same, or French toast, or eggs. Let us know your preference.
Jason Farley'

Rereading the note, he started down the hall.

**Hn. Considerate of them. Now, if I can just *find* someone...**

Hearing Farley's voice, he followed it to a small office and looked through the open door.

"... I don't care! Tell that moron Caufield to get his slightly singed butt over here and fix this damned heating unit! We have sick and injured people in this building, namely one Gundam pilot and one ex-Oz General, if you get my meaning. If he's not here in five minutes, I'll send one of the *other* Gundam pilots to get him! And his butt won't be the only thing singed if it comes to that!"

Heero smirked when Farley slammed the phone down with a terse 'make it fast!'. "Nicely done, Farley. If you'd like, I'd be more than happy to retrieve your wayward technician."

The medical assistant jumped and blushed. "Ah, Mr. Yuy, sir... sorry. Um... I just..."

The Japanese teen raised his hand. "Hn. It's all right. I *do* appreciate your concern for Duo, and I meant what I said. And it's just Heero." He laid the note on the desk in front of the other young man. "I was looking for you, anyway. You already answered my question about the heat, and could we have two bowls of the porridge in about an hour?"

Farley nodded brusquely. "Certainly, sir-- ah, Heero. I'll let the mess sergeant know. And Sally is going to want to check Duo over. Shall I tell her that approximately 9:30 would be good, then?"

"9:30 would be good for what?" Sally said, walking through the door.

Heero nodded to her as Farley jumped again, this time clutching his chest.

"I can't take much more of this..." the young man murmured, collapsing weakly back into his chair and resting his head on the desk.

Sally moved to him and patted his shoulder. "You'll adjust. You always do." She turned back to Heero. "I'm assuming that 9:30 is a good time for me to examine Duo? Good," she continued at the pilot's nod, "that gives me time to fix two wrenched backs and set a broken wrist. Damn snow... you'd think these people have never seen it before..." Her voiced trailed off as she blew out the door and down the corridor.

Heero looked at Farley, shrugged and followed, headed for the shower room.

Farley shook his head, sighed, and picked up the phone again.

~*~

Treize awoke slowly – something was tickling his nose. He made a face as he attempted to turn away from the minor annoyance.

It followed him, and he lifted a hand to swat at it – his hand brushed over what his foggy brain identified to be a long, thick braid of hair. His nose wrinkled adorably. "Duo, that's hardly appropriate behaviour. This is *my* bunk. Go away."

The tickling persisted, though, and as Treize's mind came to full awareness, he sat bolt upright – Duo was in the Infirmary…

Wufei and Zechs, who had both been watching him – and incidentally tickling and teasing him with *Zechs'* hair – burst out laughing at the look on his face.

Treize glowered at them. "That was *not* funny! I could have sworn…"

Zechs silenced him with a kiss that wiped all his protests away. By the time they broke apart, Treize was once again lying down, his two lovers hovering over him with smiles on their faces. "That was still a dirty trick."

Wufei had the gall to grin at him. "Poor Treize! Can we possibly make it up to you?"

Treize groaned at the looks his lovers were wearing – he looked at the clock on the wall. It was only 0730. Good. He grinned right back. "I suppose you could, but before you even think about it, will you get his hair out of that ridiculous braid?"

Zechs smiled and reached back to pull the hair tie from his hair and hand it back to Wufei. "With pleasure – I don't know how Maxwell deals with wearing his hair like that all the time."

Treize shook his head. "What possessed you to do that?"

Wufei shrugged, combing his fingers through Zechs' mane. "Curiosity. To know you loved us for more than just the hair."

"You…" Wufei yelped as he was roughly tugged down into Treize's arms. The tall man rolled them over faster than Wufei could react and, before he could even begin to think of dislodging the man laying on top of him, Treize's clever fingers began to run up and down his sides…

Zechs grinned as Wufei began to howl with laughter. Who would have thought that the Dragon was so ticklish? Ice blue eyes glinted in merriment as he watched Wufei trying to evade his older, more experienced partner.

"Zechs, you traitor! Haaaahahaha.. He – heh – it was *your* idea…"

"Is that so?"

The blond man had only a very short moment to feel afraid before Treize had whirled and grabbed hold of *him.* Treize was now hovering over him, joined a second later by a tousled-looking, smirking Wufei. Zechs groaned – he knew he was in trouble.

However the look in Treize's eyes softened as he gazed down at Zechs, and finally settled above him, pushing an open pyjama shirt over his broad shoulders. "The package they come in is of course *devastatingly* attractive," Treize drawled, leaning down to lazily nip at Zechs' neck, "but I think the beauty of *this*," he kissed the spot on Zechs' chest just over his heart, "and *this*," he continued, moving upwards to place a kiss on the blond's forehead, "are far more important. What would you say?"

Zechs luckily didn't have a response to that, as Treize swooped down and kissed him. His mind went right into overload as the ginger-haired young man pulled Wufei down to them and began kissing him, as well.

The two men turned and began dropping kisses all over their younger partner, watching in delight as serious onyx eyes began to glaze over in need. Zechs explored Wufei's mouth thoroughly, one hand buried in Treize's hair as the other man began trailing kisses down the Dragon's toned body.

Wufei felt himself adrift in sensations too sweet and intense to process. Zechs' passionate assault on his lips, Treize's sensual kiss in his lap as he spread him and took him. He could hear voices calling out each others' names, see Zechs' face drawn in passion as he moved behind Treize and joined with them. Feel that heat growing inside of him, and bursting perfectly as Treize shouted his name, the sound ringing in his ears and heart.

Zechs carefully rolled off his lovers as he re-mastered the art of breathing and spooned up behind Wufei. Part of his mind commented that they would all need a shower when they woke up again.

The rest of him didn't care. Things like showers were trivial at times like these. Snuggling closer, he reached one hand out to trace Treize's cheek, and slowly sank bank into sleep.

~*~

Trowa blinked his way to awareness, feeling a cold, empty spot in the otherwise warm bed. He smiled at the sight that greeted him, though – in his opinion, it was the very best way to wake up.

A thoroughly naked Quatre was at the window, nose plastered against it as he seemed to bounce in place on his heels. "Poor Duo will be so disappointed he can't go outside…"

"Hmmm… he'll get over it," Trowa commented, watching the blond teen's well-muscled body with amused eyes.

"Morning, Trowa!" Quatre chirped, still staring out the window. "This is *so* beautiful! I've never seen this much snow before, and in the *mountains!* Even if it is damned cold…"

"This is just a guess, Quatre," Trowa remarked, smiling to himself, "But you'd be much warmer if you either put some clothes on or got back in bed."

The bouncing stopped, and Quatre finally turned around. "I forgot how lazy you are in the morning." He walked back over and slid underneath the covers, snuggling closer to Trowa's warmth.

Green eyes closed in contentment as Trowa wrapped his arms around his lover. "Just because *everyone* doesn't wake up with the energy level of a hyper-kinetic hummingbird doesn't mean I'm… EEK! Quatre, your feet are cold! Jesus Christ…"

The Arabian teen batted his eyelashes at his bedmate. "Awake, now?"

Trowa groaned and buried his face in his pillow. "You are evil incarnate, Quatre."

The blond smiled down at Trowa as he ran gentle fingers into his hair. "No- that would be the guy with the braid, two rooms down. I'm just his sidekick." He kissed the back of Trowa's neck. "I love you."

The taller teen turned himself over and pulled Quatre down for a real kiss. "Love *you*," he whispered as they pulled apart. He grimaced at the cold of the room as he sat up. "God, it's freezing in here!"

Quatre grinned and hauled his lover up by the hand, laughing as Trowa squeaked at the cold. The taller teen managed, "What are you doing?"

"Hot shower, then breakfast," Quatre said. "Come on."

Trowa didn't resist.

~*~

Duke Dermail didn't turn as a knock sounded at the door of his private study. "Come!" He took a small sip of cognac, his eyes narrowed.

"You summoned us, Monsieur?"

He turned – there were three men arrayed in front of the antique desk he'd had brought from Treize Kushrenada's old office. One thing he had to give the man – Treize had always had impeccable taste. "Indeed I did, Laupin. Please, sit."

He stared at his visitors. Comte David de Laupin was the last descendant of a famous old French family and a worthy man, if somewhat gullible. And he had the French flair for fashion – his dark brown hair was always impeccably coiffed, his clothes chosen to compliment the wearer. A useful man.

Michael John Gates was of American descent. A master manipulator, he was a useful agent, with his boyish smile that never failed to disarm the enemy. Most people never knew what they were in for until they were close enough to truly look in his eyes, and by then it was too late. The talent came in very useful.

Last, Henry Lord Wessex. Wessex was about as dangerous as he was despicable. A nastier man was not to be found anywhere in the Romefeller foundation, and Dermail made good use of this to hide his own scheming from the rest of the council.

Thankfully, Wessex was as stupid as he was corrupt.

All three now stared across the desk at Dermail, waiting patiently to hear what he had to say.

Smiling to himself, he lifted a small bell and rang for the tea service, instead. It never suited to have underlings too confident in their places, after all!

The door opened and he threw a casual smile at the woman walking in, a tray carefully balanced in her hands. "Please set it on the side table, Marianne," he said graciously.

He paid no attention as she gave him a bobbing curtsy and withdrew.

Dermail poured himself a cup of tea and dropped a slice of lemon in. He sat back down comfortably and stirred his tea. "So," he began at long last, "status report?"

Laupin flashed a small smile. "The Gundams have been silent, Monsieur, as though they disappeared."

Dermail nodded. "And Kushrenada?"

Wessex coughed. "He has been reported dead, sir. How must rankle in Zechs Marquise that he killed his own lover!"

Gates just managed not to roll his eyes. "But Marquise is back in hiding as well, sir, and that is not a good sign. He must know by now that Treize died in his attack, and I can't imagine he is happy about it. He is a dangerous man and not to be underestimated."

Dermail nodded. "Quite so." Sipping at his tea, he sat back comfortably. "That he and the Gundams have gone silent at the same time does not bode well, but…" A sly smile crossed his face. "Even they will not be able to withstand our Mobile Dolls, once they are operational."

Gates smiled. "The suits are very impressive, sir. How is the project coming along?"

"Christof reported that the systems are almost operational; another two weeks will tell," Dermail replied. "If he can manage to stay away from his engineers, he just might be able to deliver on schedule."

All four shared a laugh at the idea, and Laupin added, "No rush – the LIBRA plans are not ready yet. We don't want to unleash the dolls too soon before we can take them to space."

Dermail smiled. Laupin was right – the LIBRA battlestation was essential to his plans; without it, they had no prayer of solidifying control over the space colonies. Especially if the Gundams were to show up again.

He turned his gaze on Wessex again. "And the Enforcers?"

Wessex smiled evilly. The Enforcers were his pet program, and he was immensely proud of them. If LIBRA and the Mobile Dolls were phase one of Dermail's plan, using Enforcers to control the military and the populace were phase two. "Research is almost complete, sir. I would like to begin human testing of the implants shortly."

"Just keep it quiet, Wessex," Dermail said, his eyes narrowed as he thought, "If any word of the project gets out…"

"Oui, monsieur. We understand."

Dermail stood and turned his back on them to stare out into his garden. There was a storm coming in. Without turning, he said, "You may go now. But have any news of Marquise or the Gundam pilots brought to me immediately. Oh, and Lady Une, as well."

"Yes, sir."

Demail waited until the door closed and sighed. Treize's death was a boon in his favour, but his enemy still had many wild cards to play, and the news of Marquise's complete disappearance was unsettling, to say the least. Lifting his teacup, he gave a small salute out the window. "To you, Treize. Rest in peace. I won't ask you to wish me luck."

~*~

"Sally!"

The doctor turned in surprise. "Zechs? Is something wrong?" When she'd left Duo's room, the other pilots had finally managed to distract his attention from the snow outside and back to the battle plans spread over his blankets.

Zechs quickly shook his head. "No - everyone's fine," he replied, knowing her question was really about Duo. "I just… I need to ask permission to make a call out to someone."

Sally arched an eyebrow. "Someone, eh? Does this mystery person have a name?"

The blond unconsciously clasped his hands behind him, as though giving a report to a superior officer. "OZ Lieutenant First Class Lucretzia Noin. She was a close friend, back in training."

Sally sighed and looked down at the chart in her hands. "Zechs, I'd love to, but…"

"She is completely trustworthy! I even sent her to look after my younger sister," Zechs pleaded. "She needs to know we're all alive and well…"

Sally eyed Zechs. "You never mentioned having a sister before."

He gave a shamefaced smile. "I don't speak of her often, true enough. Have you ever heard of Relena Dorlian-Peacecraft?"

Sally immediately nodded. "Of course! Who hasn't? It isn't often that someone is discovered to be the heir to… Umm… Holy shit!"

She stared at him, wide-eyed. "You're him - the older brother! You've *got* to be kidding me!"

Zechs shook his head. "Afraid not. My birth name was Milliardo Marquise Peacecraft, and Relena is my younger sister."

Sally tried to speak, but for once was left completely speechless, only belatedly realising that her jaw was flapping open. She shut her mouth with a snap and took a deep breath before trying to speak again. "Is there anything else I might want to know about you, Your Highness?"

Zechs winced. "*Please* don't call me that! You see why it's important? Noin is going to have to know some of what's going on here if she's going to protect Relena properly."

Sally stared up at Zechs for a long moment. "Come on," she said finally, setting down the chart in her hands.

He followed her. "Is that a yes?"

Sally shook her head. "If it were just up to me, it would be, but it's not. If you want to share any of our plans, we have to ask the team about it first."

~*~

Wufei, Heero, Duo and Walker all looked up in surprise when the door opened and several people trooped in, rather than just Zechs. Wufei arched an eyebrow. "Did we miss something?"

Getting a nod of support from Treize, Zechs shook his head. "No, not really. I just need to… ask you all something."

Heero's face clouded with confusion and a slight hint of distrust. "Ask what?"

Zechs sat carefully in a nearby chair, but was up again quickly to pace the small room as best he could with so many people there. "I'd like to contact someone, a good friend of mine… but I have to give some background first."

"Just tell them, Zechs," Wufei said, his eyes downcast as he figured it out.

Trowa glanced at his Chinese friend in confusion, but didn't say anything.

Quatre, on the other hand, crossed his arms over his chest and stared pointedly at the other blond. "Yes, tell us." Duo nodded his support, one hand firmly held in Heero's.

Zechs sighed and raked a hand through his hair. "I said background... Zechs Marquise isn't my real name. It's the name I was given when I was smuggled out of the Sanc Kingdom when it fell. I was taken to the home of Sebastian Noin, a friend of my family. He took me in and raised me as his own son and surrogate brother to his daughter, Lucretzia. She's the one I want to contact - she must be very worried. For me *and* for Treize."

Quatre's eyes were wide in his pale face. "Smuggled out… are you going to tell us what that means, or leave it for us to guess?"

Duo shook his head, though, a grin breaking over his face. "Lemme try - you're gonna tell us you're related to that Relena girl. The annoying one with the hideous pink car - the one Heero tried to shoot!"

Zechs turned incredulous eyes on the Japanese boy. "You tried to *shoot* my sister?!"

Heero ignored the question. "Milliardo Peacecraft was six when Sanc fell. And your new name just happens to be Zechs. How fitting."

"You tried to shoot Relena…"

Heero shrugged in annoyance. "Yes, but Duo shot me instead, so forget it."

Trowa struggled not to laugh at the expressions on the ex-Ozzies' faces at that pronouncement.

Duo grumbled, "If I'd know she was a maniacal Heero-stalker, I'd have saved my bullets."

As Quatre snickered, Wufei rolled his eyes. "Yes, Duo, we know. Heero-stalking is your job."

"Can we please get back to the point of this meeting?" Quatre said, seeing the dark looks Zechs was giving Duo. "Zechs, I can understand your concern, but it may not be wise…"

Sally interjected, since Zechs was still obviously looking for a proper response to Duo's remark, "Zechs told me Miss Noin is a fellow OZ soldier, and he sent her to watch over the aforementioned Relena. Given what we've heard you all say about her, you should keep in mind that telling Miss Noin means telling Relena."

Duo groaned. "Oh, just *perfect!* She'll be here in two hours! She'll sink her claws into my Heero again and try and drag him off… the most oblivious person on Earth, I swear…"

Wufei raised his hand for silence, all too familiar with the tirades Duo was capable of where Relena was concerned. "Telling them could cause more problems than it is worth."

"I'm not so sure," Treize broke in. "If our plans work, we are going to need people to take the reigns and bring the various factions, countries and colonies together, once the war is over. Who better than the heir to the Sanc Kingdom?"

"Not to mention that Noin, and by extension Relena, is in a very good position to help us," Une added.

Trowa arched an eyebrow. "You won't take your place as the heir to the Sanc Kindgom, Zechs?"

The blond shot him a piercing look before looking out the window in obvious discomfort. "I gave that up a long time ago."

Treize frowned, seeing Zechs in obvious distress. "If no one has any *real* objections, I see no reason not to make the call. Can we not agree on it?"

Quatre shot Duo a look before he replied, "I have no objections."

~*~

Another yawn from Duo prompted Sally to chase everyone out of the room.

As Wufei left, though, he was surprised to find Heero at his side. The Japanese teen caught his shoulder and gave a quick nod to a side room. "Got a minute?"

Curious, Wufei followed him over and shut the door behind them. He turned back to Heero, his arms crossed over his chest. "Yes?"

Heero frowned. "I need a favour, Wufei, and… You know Relena will insist on coming here when she hears the news."

Wufei nodded his assent.

Heero continued, "I need you to… and maybe Treize or Zechs could help, but… Will it be possible to keep Relena as far away from Duo and myself as possible? He is still not well and she will upset him."

A loud crash outside the door brought both their heads around, and they shared a confused look--

"DUO!" they heard Sally yell, a hint of fear in her voice.

"Shit! Duo!" Heero said, wrenching the door open and dashing out, Wufei on his heels.

 

On to Chapter 10

Back to Preventers' HQ

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