11-23-2002

Category: Yaoi, AU Gundam Wing
Pairings: 1x2, 3x4, 5+6
Warnings: shonen ai
Author: Arigatomina
Email: arigatoumina@hotmail.com

 

G-men 1: United We Stand

//So much fun. They don't have a care in the world. And why should they? They're human. Normal. They aren't hated simply for what they are. I wish I was as evil as they all think I am. Then I could simply kill them. Make them as miserable as I am. Instead I torture myself. Watching their pleasure at simply being normal. Doing things I haven't been able to do for years. To busy hiding. But that's what I'm good at. They say my kind are death, then I am the God of Death. I am Shinigami and I can kill them at any time.//

None of the boys looked up from their basketball game as a solitary figure slowly stood up and walked away. The fact that he was invisible might have had something to do with it.

* * *

//He has to be kidding. How am I supposed to find someone OZ has been looking for for three years, especially when he's invisible!? But I have never failed a mission, let alone refused one.// "How am I going to find him?"

The doctor looked at him through his prosthetic eyes, a small smirk playing over his lips. "OZ is an organization full of idiots. They have been trying to kill all mutants for so long that they refuse to use them. A good thing for us, because we have no such problem. I have received notice of a remarkable boy whose psychic powers are unparalleled. If you can get to him, I know he'd help. The only problem is his followers. They are very devoted to his safety, so you'll have to sneak past them. Once you get within his open range, he'll sense your reason for coming."

"If his range is so small, how is he going to be able to find the other one?"

"It isn't small, just unfocused. When he focuses on a person he can find them at any distance. When he is not using his power, there is a small range in which he senses people."

"If he can read my motives, then why would he help me? I assumed you wanted me to kill this person."

"Not at all, Heero, we want him to join us. The psychic as well. We have to gather a small, elite team in order to destroy OZ once and for all. Before there are no mutants left."

"Mission accepted."

* * *

A small boy sat in a large, plush-back chair, eyes wide as they stared at the monitor before them. A small cup of tea sat forgotten on the desk, the boy's entire attention focused on the images flashing on the screen. The monitor displayed the narrow, underground passages of the base, and right now they were aglow with explosions. A lone figure, clad in pale jeans and a tank-top was quickly making its way through lines of troops. Dodging the bullets with inhuman speed, and barely flinching as bombs went off, shrapnel slicing his flesh to leave streams of blood behind. The boy threw off these injuries, not slowing in his progress through the base.

//He's not even defending himself. My God, he's not even armed!// The blonde boy slowly leaned forward, a hand going to his pale temple in more of a reflex action than actual necessity as he probed for the boy. Finally, his brows knotted as he searched that cold mind. Not finding the evil intentions he'd expected.

"Rashib!" he cried into the headphones on the desk, "Stop your attack. I repeat, stop your attack!"

"But Master Quatre! He's unbelievably strong, he could be masking his thoughts."

"No! He's broadcasting them as hard as he can. He needs to see me, that's why he's not fighting back! He doesn't want anybody to get hurt. Stop your attack," the pale boy's sea-green eyes narrowed suddenly, "That is an order, Rashib."

"Yes."

The image on the screen became dull with a suddenness that was uncanny as the order was issued. The boy stopped running abruptly, as Rashib moved toward him, hand raised. Although Quatre could not hear what he said, he could see the boy nod at the tall man's words, following as he led him down the corridors past the angry Maguanac soldiers who knew enough to realize that they hadn't done a very good job protecting their charge and friend, or their base.

* * *

Heero's eyes narrowed as he assessed the short boy in front of him. Short, pale blond hair covered his head, a few thick strands falling into his eyes. His statement was friendly and open as he extended his hand to Heero.

"My name is Quatre, I'm sorry you were hurt so badly."

Ignoring the hand, Heero crossed his blood covered arms and scowled. "I heal very fast. I'm not injured anymore. Besides, it's good practice to be careful who you let into your base. Your security would have been able to stop a regular person."

"Yes," Quatre lowered his hand, a light blush staining his cheeks, as he gestured to a chair at the small table near them. "Please sit." Not waiting to see if the other boy would follow, Quatre sat at one of the chairs and poured himself a cup of tea. Looking up, he saw the boy pull back the other chair and sit down across from him. "Would you like some tea? I'm not stalling, but it would be rude of me to drink in front of you without offering you some sort of refreshment."

Heero raised an eyebrow, trying to determine whether or not Quatre was being sarcastic, but decided against it. //He's far too... smart... to be angering me. By now he has to know my strength.// "Actually, I would like coffee, if you have any."

"Of course," Quatre said, relieved, gesturing to a servant who brought a pot over and, setting it on the table, exited the room quietly. Waiting until the other boy had taken a sip of his coffee, Quatre leaned forward and stared intently at him. He was not reading his mind, that was intrusive, but he was searching his statement. "Do you really think I could be of some help to you?"

"I don't know. I simply follow the orders of my associate. If he says we need you, then I'll work with you. I do, however, think you can help me find..."

"You don't know his name? I have to have something to go on in order to locate a person."

"Would you be willing to leave this place and go somewhere with me? Without the guards? I can guarantee your safety."

Quatre's eyes widened, but not in fear, rather in excitement. "I'm not physically powerful besides some simple self-defense moves. Wouldn't I get in your way?"

Heero nodded, "Probably, but if I take you to a place that he lived in, you'd have a better chance of finding him, right?"

"Yeah, especially if it is a place of importance to him, but where?"

"You'll find out when we get there. I don't want your followers trying to go after us. They'd attract too much attention. If you go, protecting you will be part of my mission. I never fail a mission."

* * *

A black-haired boy stood at the edge of a tall cliff, arms raised over his thrown back head, wind rushing through his loose hair. Dark clouds congregated over his head, rumbling threateningly as they collided and churned. The loud rumble of an aircraft lifting off, reached him through the sound of the gathering storm. Black eyes snapped open, latching on to the craft and he abruptly brought a hand down to point at the center of the plane. With a vicious crack, lightening blazed across the sky, striking the plane which abruptly burst into flames. The crash as it landed was anticlimactic as the storm disappeared as quickly as it had come, the dark boy with it.

* * *

//I don't know why I wait until night to attack. It's not like they could see me anyway. I guess I'm just more comfortable in the dark. I wonder if I can even turn visible anymore. It's been two years since I tried last. I don't actually have to see myself. I can tell if I'm hurt, if I'm dirty, there is no reason to become visible. Besides, it took too long to remain invisible for long periods at a time. If I started flashing in and out again, I might not be able to control myself. Aw, who cares anyway. I can kill better this way. Loneliness is just a fact of life. Everyone who sees me dies. Now they can die too.//

The soldier sitting at the control panel never even turned as a hand moved in front of his neck, a sharp invisible blade cutting the skin and cartilage, spilling blood down his front. He made a gasping choke and slipped out of his seat. The other man in the room leapt to his feet, eyes staring in shock at the fallen man. He took a step towards him, then his neck was slit as well. His last thought as he slipped forward was that he could have sworn he felt an arm as he flailed his way to the ground.

//This is almost too easy, but they didn't show the Father any mercy. I won't show any to them.//

* * *

//Why is he leaving the safety of his base? If I hadn't gotten back from my last attack, I'd have found him gone.// Green eyes narrowed as they watched the pale blonde slide into the passenger seat of a nondescript car. A brown haired boy sat behind the wheel, scowling. //Who is that? Where is he taking him? I feel calm near him, I can't let him go. I wouldn't be able to control my fury.//

The car moved down the road, near a forest. If either of the occupants had looked over, they might have seen glimpses of a dark figure moving through the air. Keeping pace with the car, skimming the top of the trees. Green eyes narrowed with concentration, as he hid himself from the gentle yet powerful mind inside the car.

//I won't be left behind. I won't let him go.//

* * *

//I love the woods, but it's too damn cold out here. I should have stolen a thicker coat. If I have to camp in the woods, the least I can do is pick a warmer climate. Too bad there aren't any buildings near here. For that matter, I could have stolen a car.//

An abrupt bout of laughter broke the stillness.

//I can just see people's faces if a car suddenly started to drive itself. Man, that'd be great, but it would draw too much notice. I wonder how long it will be before they stop posting my picture all over the planet. Someday... someday I'll be able to show myself again. Or I'll die. Either way, this sort of life won't last forever. I might as well find some place to set up camp. Hopefully, there's a place with enough cover that I can throw a tent. The last time I tried that, some stupid kids came by and stole it. Damn, I couldn't even protest or they'd know I was there. But it's too damn cold to go without one tonight. Oh well, it's worth the risk.//

* * *

//Kisama! This is ridiculous. I can call a hurricane to do my bidding but I can't even start a fire. I shouldn't have come so deep into the forest. Any fire I started here would be so large the entire forest would be destroyed.// The boy brushed a hand through his shoulder-length black hair, pushing it out of his face as he trudged through the underbrush. //At least I can keep it from snowing. As long as I keep moving, I can stay warm. I should have slept this morning. By the time the sun comes up I'll have to find a hole to crawl into for a couple of hours. I am so tired.//

Suddenly he stopped, head lifted so he could smell the air. //Is that... I though one only saw mirages in the desert. Who ever heard of smelling a mirage... that means... there is a fire nearby. I can't very well kill some innocent hunter, but maybe I can convince him I'm lost or something.//

Determination written on his face, he followed the smoke. Sure enough, he came to the edge of a small bluff. Looking down, he saw a small tent set up beside a small but very warm looking fire. //Better not sneak up on a hunter, who knows if he can shoot straight, but I don't want to be mistaken for an animal.//

"Hey down there! Can I share your fire? I'm unarmed."

There was no answer, in fact, he couldn't see anyone. Frowning, he made his way down the cliff, stopping directly in front of the fire. The flap of the tent was open, allowing heat to enter, but there was no one inside the tent. Looking around, he circled the fire, crouching at the opening of the tent. //He might come back. But surely he wouldn't mind my just sitting here until then.// Having convinced himself, the boy reached a hand inside the tent.

And encountered a shoulder.

//What the hell?!//

There was an abrupt shuffling, dark eyes widening as they stared into the seemingly empty tent. For a moment, he was frozen in shock, then he slowly extended a hand. The sound of sudden movement came again, and he saw the back of the tent move slightly as if something was pressed against it.

"Kisama..." the black-eyed boy whispered in awe. "What are you? Are you... Are you a... mutant?"

Suddenly he felt strong hands shoving him. Caught off guard, he fell to the ground outside the tent, eyes following the sounds of running steps. He saw fallen leaves move on the ground as the footfalls entered the forest, then the sounds ceased.

//My God... a mutant with such a power...// The boy stood quickly. //United... we would be a mighty force.// Staring at the dark sky, the boy's hands curled into fists. Clouds began to gather rapidly, moved by his urgency. Suddenly snow flakes began to fall, then they became a sheet of white, covering the area. Frowning with concentration, he enlarged the storm so it fell on an increasingly larger diameter around the place where he stood. When two inches of snow covered the ground, he stopped the storm. //You can't hide now.//

Moving through the woods, he searched by the light of brief flashes of lightening until he spotted the footprints he'd been looking for. //He's still running. I'll have to be quick or he'll find a place where his prints aren't visible.// Smiling, the boy took off after the prints. //Well, I can always make it snow again. At least I'm staying warm this way.//

* * *

//Shit! What do I do?! I can't believe this is happening. I can't keep running like this. Every step I take is outlined in this damned snow. He must be some sort of elemental, or my luck has simply run out. Either way, my best chance is to find some sort of hiding spot out of this snow.// The boy suddenly leapt upwards, grabbing a tree branch, and scrambling onto it.

Almost slipping on the snow and ice covering it, he leapt onto a branch in a different tree. Painstakingly slowly, he made his way towards the nearest cliff. Searching.

//There!//

* * *

"It's so... horrible..."

Heero watched the small blonde as he sat in the midst of the rubble that was once a church. The boy was shaking as he probed the history of the place, looking for a boy who'd once lived there.

"I... his name... his name is Duo. He couldn't control his power and OZ found out about it. They... they murdered everyone trying to get him." The boy opened pain-filled eyes, lifting them to meet Heero's. "He's been running ever since, but... he's been killing too."

"Who?" //Not that it matters, but if he has an uncontrolled blood-lust, then it is better to be warned.// Heero waited impatiently.

"OZ. Just OZ."

"Fine. Can you find him?"

"I... I'll try." The boy reached hands to rub his temples as he concentrated. He was silent for a long time, then he stood abruptly, eyes shining. "He's in trouble."

"Where is he?"

"He's hiding in a cave, in a forest, and someone is stalking him. Someone who can control the weather. An elemental. We have to hurry, he can't hide there forever. He doesn't have any supplies. He'll freeze to death."

"If he isn't found first." Heero's eyes narrowed. //If he dies, then my mission will have failed. That can't happen.// "Where is this forest? Do you know?"

"I can lead you to it, but I don't know the name of the area."

"Fine. If we can find him, can you calm him down enough for us to approach, or do we need a tranquilizer?"

"If he's asleep I can keep him like that until we can get him to a secure place. Will that do?"

"Yes. We just have to get to him first."

* * *

//This is too dangerous for him. I understand why he was asked, but he should not be going to find the boy. He could get hurt. No. I won't let him get hurt.//

* * *

//Surely he can't fly... then where did he go?// Holding his coat around him, the black-haired boy looked from the last set of prints to the unmarked snow around them. Then he looked up. //Clever, but you should have realized I'd notice that the limb is not covered with snow.// Back on track, the boy continued to follow the marks of passage.

* * *

//I have to be careful. I can't risk letting them see me, but how can I protect him from this distance? And where is the elemental? With snow covering the ground like this it should be easy to find a person. Unless they are like me and don't have to touch ground...//

* * *

//Kisama! Who are they?! I'm sure the mutant is around here somewhere, but with them as a distraction, I could lose him. Unless... Unless they're after him too. But how could they know he was here?//

* * *

"Stay very close to me, Quatre," Heero whispered as he and the blonde moved through the quiet forest. "I don't see anybody, but I can feel eyes watching us."

"The tracker," Quatre whispered back, leading the dark-haired Japanese boy. "I know he's near, but when I try to pinpoint him, all I get is an image of snow."

"Doesn't matter. Is he asleep?"

"Yes. A little closer, and I can keep him asleep."

"Good. Concentrate on that. I'll watch for our watcher."

* * *

Black eyes followed the two boys as they moved in a straight path, headed toward the large bluffs in the distance. //They aren't following any tracks at all. If they are looking for him, then how can they know where he is?// An unspoken thought resulted in the cold wind picking up until any sound of his movements was hidden as he followed the pair.

* * *

//Found him. But..he hasn't actually done anything yet. I can't kill him for no reason. I'll wait.// Green eyes looked in the direction the blonde boy had went. //I'll protect you. You...and my sanity.//

* * *

"It's alright, Heero. We can speak. He won't wake up." Blue-green eyes searched the dark cave before meeting the Japanese boy's narrow cobalt-blue eyes.

"Is he here?" At the small boy's nod, he frowned. "Can you make him become visible? It would make things easier."

"I...I can but...Heero. He has been invisible for at least two years. It would be...intrusive."

"Forget your compassion. We have no time for it. You can appologize to him later, after we get past that tracker."

Downcast, Quatre nodded, then frowned in concentration. Color suddenly flashed in the corner, but only for a second.

"Is that him?" Heero took a step towards the corner, but stopped, looking back at Quatre. "Can't you do it?"

"I did. He's trying, very hard. But...it may have been too long. One of his fears is that he can no longer become visible. Those fears are inhibiting him. I...I'm having trouble convincing him."

"I thought he was asleep."

"Oh. He is, but his unconscious mind is awake."

"Then stop trying to convince him. Make it an order. A command. You can do that, can't you?"

"Heero..." Quatre sighed. "I guess I am being too sensitive. We don't have time."

Abruptly, there was a series of flashes from the corner, then the figure of a boy came into view. He lay curled on his side, his back facing them. A long chestnut colored braid of hair stood out against the faded black of his clothing. He was wearing a long black coat, but it was visibly thin. Nodding to Quatre, Heero moved to him.

"Are you sure he won't wake up?"

"Yes," Quatre said quietly. //We are the first to see him in years. This is so wrong. I wish there was another way.//

"I'll carry him. Can you fire a gun?"

"Of course. It was part of my training."

"Good. If nothing else, maybe the sight of the gun will make the tracker wary."

"If you are talking about me, then you are mistaken."

Heero turned abruptly, eyes narrowing on the black haired boy standing in the mouth of the cave. A gun was in his hands immediately.

Quatre stared in horror, his eyes darting back and forth from one gun to the other.

"Get away from him, or I'll shoot you," the black-haired boy said softly, not showing any fear at the sight of Heero's gun.

"Shoot me if you like, but you'll be dead before you have time to fire a second shot." Heero's voice was impassive, his muscles tensed to rush the boy. His speed was nothing to scoff at. Immediate healing was not his only ability.

"Then I'll shoot him instead." The gun was suddenly trained on Quatre, who's eyes widened until they seemed to fill his face. He let out a soft gasp and froze.

"No! You will not!"

Black eyes widened as a blade moved to touch his neck, a tanned arm curved over his shoulder. //I didn't even hear him.//

Not lowering the gun, Heero looked at the new boy. One vivid green eye met his, glaring, the other hidden by a sharp fall of red-brown bangs that covered half of his face. He was a good head taller than the black-haired boy. //Damnit. How did things get so fucked up? What should I do?//

Quatre stared at the two boy's standing together, still being careful not to move since the gun was still trained on him. //How did he sneak up on us without me sensing him? The tracker I sensed, even if I couldn't pinpoint him. But this one...// Quatre concentrated for a minute, probing for that mind. His eyes widened even more as he found himself touching a wall such as he'd never imagined. //If I wasn't seeing him...I wouldn't believe he was real.//

"What happens now?" the black-haired boy asked slowly, mindful of the sharp blade touching his neck. "I won't let them take him. If I have to pull the trigger I will. Then you can kill me, but it will be too late, won't it."

"No...I don't think you understand why they are here. Why are you following him?" The knife loosened ever so slightly, encouraging the boy to speak.

Black eyes narrowed, the boy firmly closed his mouth. //I won't tell them I am a mutant. Whoever they are, I can't take the risk.//

* * *

//Why...is it so...hard to...wake...God! I know I'm not a morning person, but I've never had this much trouble...// Slowly swimming to consciousness, Duo opened his heavy eyes. Then they widened abruptly as he heard talking. Right behind him. Then they practically popped out of his head as he realized the arm he saw in front of him was his own. //Jesus Christ!! I've ever lost control before! What the hell?!// Sitting up abruptly, the boy turned and his mouth fell open in shock. Four boys stood in the cave. The black-haired tracker he recognized. He was in the doorway, a green-eyed boy had a knife to his throat while he had a gun aimed at a pale blonde boy. And right in front of him a dark-haired boy stood with a gun on the tracker.

//I wonder if they would notice if I turned invisible again and snuck out of here...// Just as he was about to find out, all four sets of eyes were suddenly on him. //I'm dead. Shit.//

"Uh, would you guys mind continuing this without me?" Duo couldn't help trying.

Heero blinked, then his eyes narrowed. "Get behind me." Not waiting to see if the violet-eyed boy did it, he turned back to the black-haired boy.

"Why?"

Heero flinched, but refused to dignify that question with an answer. Instead, he focused his attention on the boy still holding a gun on Quatre. That boy, however, was looking in surprise from him to the boy sitting on the floor.

"Are you protecting him?" the Chinese elemental asked in shock, "From me?!" He slowly lowered his gun. "I wouldn't hurt him..."

Quatre's eyes widened and he sighed in relief, barely resisting the temptation to collapse. "We aren't going to hurt him either."

Duo looked in confusion at the boys. Then he stood and looked at the green-eyed boy who'd loosened the knife a bit more. "How about you? If you guys aren't after me, then I'll just get out of here. Okay?" He took a step toward the mouth of the cave, then the dark-haired boy beside him grabbed his arm.

"You're not going anywhere."

Duo looked stricken for a minute, then he moved suddenly, wrenching away and moving to a point between Heero and Quatre but out of grabbing distance. They were all looking at him now, the knife gone from the tracker's throat as the green-eyed boy centered his attention on him. Duo began to panic. //God. I can't remember the last time this many people saw me. I...I can't handle this. I hope I haven't lost all control.//

Heero's eyes narrowed as the long-haired boy suddenly disapeared. "Block the exit! Quatre!"

The blonde boy scowled fiercely, and a sharp cry sounded near the opening as Duo abruptly flashed back and fell to his knees, head in his hands. Breathing heavily, he raised tortured purple eyes to the two boys who now stood, blocking his escape. Fighting the power controlling his mind, his eyes narrowed to slits. With a groan, he disappeared again, but reappeared almost immediately, as pain filled his head.

Heero crossed the room quickly, grabbing both of the boy's arms and holding him immobile. "Quatre. Knock him out." The boy struggled briefly, then slumped over. The black-haired boy took a quick step forward, brows knotted in fury, and Heero stood holding the unconscious boy. "Let's go somewhere warmer to discus this...whatever this is. You too," he shot a look at the boy with long bangs.

"Yes," Quatre had finally gotten Duo asleep deep enough to be certain he wouldn't waken soon. "I want to thank you for...stepping in. And I'd like to know how you block yourself behind such a strong wall. I've tried, but I'm not very good at it."

//To spend time with him...// "Alright."

Quatre smiled at the monatone reply. "And you?" he turned to the tracker.

"He isn't going anywhere without me."

Heero's eyes narrowed in sudden anger, but then he calmed. "Let's go."

* * *

It was a long drive to the safe-house Heero'd secured. The tall boy had said he'd meet them there. No one asked how he knew where it was. Quatre was driving, having assured Heero that Duo wouldn't wake up for hours. The black-haired boy was in the passenger seat, turned so he could see into the back of the car where Heero sat, Duo curled up on the seat beside him.

Black eyes narrowed as they spotted beads of perspiration on the long-haired boy's brow. He glared at the dark-haired boy. "Does he have a fever?"

Heero's eyes narrowed, and he placed a hand on the damp brow. Then he shook his head and began undoing the long coat. "He's just hot. As cold as it was out there, it's no surprise." Black eyes followed his every move as he lifted the limp boy, discarding the coat on the floorboard. Then both were distracted as they noticed the clothing the boy was wearing. He was dressed as a priest.

For a minute Heero remained leaning over him, looking at him. Then the dark-eyed boy cleared his throat, his glaring eyes meeting Heero's raised eyebrow. Still watching Duo, Heero slowly sat back in the seat. Giving the dark boy another questioning glare, he closed his eyes and leaned his head back.

 

G-men 2: Agreed

Duo stretched, rubbing his eyes and stopped abruptly as he felt a hand next to his. Not moving his head, he looked to his left and saw that there was a hand handcuffed to his. Lowering his arm, he slowly turned and saw the brown-haired Japanese boy seated beside him, his right wrist handcuffed to Duo's. It was the boy from the cave. Their eyes met.

Snapping his head around, Duo's eyes widened as he saw the other three boys. The green-eyed boy was leaning against the wall near the door, the blond boy was seated in a soft chair across a small coffee table from the couch Duo and the brown-haired boy were on. Looking around, Duo spotted the tracker, seated cross-legged on the floor beside the table. They were all looking at him.

Since none seemed too eager to speak, Duo checked out the room they were in. It looked like a living room. A normal one, except there were no windows and three deadbolt locks were visible on the shut door. Growing nervous beneath the stares, Duo shifted on the couch putting more distance between himself and the boy. Raising his wrist, he looked pointedly at it and then into the cobalt eyes staring at him before catching the gaze of the others. "Is this really necessary?"

The blond boy blushed, causing Duo to stare in surprise. "We didn't want you to run off before we had a chance to talk. I'm sorry for man-handling you like this."

"Well," Duo looked down at the handcuffs again, still uncomfortable with so many eyes on him. He moved his hand to sit between him and the other boy. "Now's your chance. Go ahead and talk. It doesn't look like I'm going anywhere."

"Hn."

Duo looked up, meeting those cobalt eyes beside him. "What?"

"We want you to join us in our fight against OZ." Heero looked to the black haired boy for a moment before his gaze switched to the green-eyed boy. "If you others are qualified, this is a rather open invitation."

Duo looked at him for a moment. "What can you do?"

Heero's eyes narrowed, "I am fast, very fast. I also heal immediately upon injury. That is the extent of my mutant powers, but I'm also trained in espionage. It was my doctor who heard about you and wanted me to find you."

Duo stared at him for a minute, then turned to the black haired boy who'd tracked him earlier. "Why were you following me? The way you guys were all set to kill each other, I didn't think you were working together."

Black eyes widened. "As soon as I realized your power, I knew our strength would be great. I am an elemental. I can control the weather, the elements. I can also block searches done by empaths." He shot a glance at the blonde boy.

Following his gaze, Duo looked at the pale boy. "Okay, looks like that's your key. So you're an empath?"

"No." Quatre met his eyes reluctantly, still feeling guilty for having invaded the boy's mind. "I am an empath, but I can also find people. And I can control them if I'm close enough."

"So I have you to thank for that."

Quatre looked down quickly, pink flooding his cheeks. Duo laughed.

"Don't sweat it. I have to say, it was better than being hit over the head or something." Duo looked at the green-eyed boy, but he wasn't looking at him. His eyes were glued to the blushing blonde. //Well, well. Is this a budding romance I see?// Duo smirked. "How about you? What's your specialty? Are you with these two?" he gestured at Heero and Quatre.

Looking caught for a moment, the tall boy blinked. "I can hide myself from empaths as well. Better than Wufei."

The black-haired boy leapt to his feet, staring at the tall boy in shock. "How?"

"I am a very strong reader. I can sense other's thoughts, I just can't transmit them. The wall I use to block myself from empaths makes it difficult to transmit. I also fly."

Duo's eyes widened. "That's a pretty strong talent. So all of you are what, level ten mutants? What do you need me for? All I can do is turn invisible. If you guys join forces, you won't have to fight to win, you can just make OZ surrender. You don't need me."

"No." Duo turned to look at the boy beside him. "My mission was to get you to join us. I won't fail my mission."

//Can we say obsessed much?// Duo thought sarcastically. //This guy just might be taking his mission a tad too seriously.// "So what if I decide not to join you?"

"That's not an option."

Duo's eyes widened at the intense glare drilling into him, then he forced himself to be reasonable. //Would it be a bad thing? With our combined forces we would be able to do a lot of damage. Why not join them? I've been complaining about being lonely. Besides,// he shot a look at the intense boy beside him. //It doesn't look like he's going to take no for an answer.// "What are your names? Mine's Duo Maxwell. I already know yours," he grinned at the black-haired boy who was still standing. "Anything to go with Wufei?"

Wufei's eyes widened for a moment, his face stunned. "Chang," he said finally, "Just call me Wufei."

They continued to look at each other for a minute, then Duo turned abruptly to the boy beside him. "What about you? And could you undo these things?" he raised his hand, "I'm not going to run off."

Heero's eyes narrowed, but he unlocked the handcuffs, setting them on the table. "Heero. Heero Yuy."

Duo nodded, giving him a searching look as he rubbed his wrist absent-mindedly. Then he pinned the blonde boy with a wide grin. "I'm sure you already knew my name what with your having invaded my head like that." He was rewarded with seeing the boy's guilty statement, "What's your name?"

Quatre blushed, hating his inability to control such a display, and shot a glance to the tall boy behind him. He was surprised to see a slight smile on the other boy's face, and his blush deepened before he turned back to Duo. "Quatre. Quatre Winner and I'm sorry about that. It was necessary."

"Yeah," Duo nodded, "I know, but that doesn't mean I forgive you." //God he's easy to tease.// He turned to look at the tall boy, his grin widening as he noticed the small smile as those green eyes watched Quatre. //Wonder if he knows how obvious he his? Probably not. I don't think I should start anything with this one.// "And you?"

"I have no name," the boy looked from Quatre to Duo, unable to meet those blue-green eyes. "If you must call me something, it's Trowa. Call me Trowa Barton."

Duo sat back on the couch, folding his arms. //These guys are complicated. I wonder if we'll be able to work as a unit. I guess we'll find out.//

 

G-men 3: A Pastime

//That guy. Who does he think he is?! Telling me to stay visible when I'm inside the safehouse. What does he think I am, a traitor? I told him I never lie. I said I'd join them, and I meant it. I don't lie. Damn. It's so much easier to sneak around invisible.//

Duo glanced around the hall, but didn't see anyone. They were eating the last time he'd seen them. Although Duo loved to eat, he was bored out of his mind. He'd been stuck in the safehouse for two days, and it was eating away at him.

//I can't stay still this long. I'm used to keeping on the move. And they are so boring. They don't do anything except look for OZ bases to attack, and discuss strategies.//

Duo paused at the door, tugging on the end of his braid. //I didn't promise to stay inside all the time, I only promised to stay here. I'll be back before they even know it.// He was about to open the door when he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. Turning with a guilty statement on his face, he met Wufei's wide-eyed statement.

"Where are you going?" His tone was more curious than accusatory.

"Uh," Duo bit his lip. "I was going to the park." Duo looked down in embarrassment.

"Why?" Wufei asked, coming to lean against the wall opposite him. "What's there?"

Meeting his gaze, Duo let out a strained chuckle. "I like to watch the people."

Wufei frowned, "Watch them do what?"

Shaking his head, Duo glanced at the door then back at Wufei. "If I leave do you think he'll throw a fit?"

Wufei frowned again, darker this time. "Who?" //As if I don't know.//

"Heero," Duo said, glaring, "That bossy jerk who acts like I'm going to betray everybody the second I'm out of sight."

"How would he know?" Wufei asked, "he might just think you went invisible."

"No," Duo said angrily, "I'm not allowed to do that here."

Wufei glared in anger, "He told you that?! Who does he think he is?"

Laughing suddenly, Duo grabbed Wufei's arm in a quick hug. "That's exactly what I said! Man, why should I follow his orders? Tell ya what, Wufei, I'm going to watch a basketball game, care to come with?"

Wufei looked at him in surprise, then he smiled slightly. "How am I supposed to keep up with you? You're not going to be visible, are you?"

Duo shook his head, still grinning. "Nope, but don't worry, it'll be fun." Gripping the Chinese boy's arm, Duo opened the door. Vanishing abruptly, he gave the arm a tug and pulled the boy outside. "I like watching basketball. No one knows you, so it won't be dangerous."

Shutting the door, Wufei locked it before letting the unseen boy pull him outside and down the street.

* * *

Pushing away from the wall inside his room, Heero stepped to his door and shoved it shut. Still glaring at the door, he moved to his desk and began typing with a passion. //Basketball. . . baka.//

 

G-men 4: Fate

Smiling slightly, Quatre placed a mug of tea in front of the quiet boy. Sitting across the table from him, he took a sip of tea and smiled again. "You know, Trowa, you never did explain what you were doing near that cave. While I am incredibly grateful," Quatre winked, "that you showed up, I can't help wondering how you happened to be there."

Looking down into his cup, Trowa took a drink. //What do I say? Well, you see I've been following you for a year now? No. I can't say that.// Trowa sighed. "I was flying by when I noticed all of you. Maybe it was fate." Trowa looked up, hiding a wince as he met Quatre's trusting statement. //It's not really a lie. Why do I feel as if I've betrayed him?//

Quatre smiled. "Do you believe in fate? I'd hate to believe that mutants have suffered because it was predetermined, but if fate is responsible for your timely arrival then I might change my mind."

Trowa blinked, taken back for a moment. "Yes. I do believe in fate."

Silence filled the room as the two sat drinking their tea, sneaking glances at each other. Finally, Quatre set down his empty cup and stared at the tall boy until he looked up. Their eyes met and Quatre felt something. Some sort of current seemed to run though him, stopping when he blinked. He didn't even remember that he was staring until Trowa raised an eyebrow.

"Oh." Quatre blushed abruptly, "I didn't mean to stare. I was wondering if you had any. . . hobbies? Anything you like to do? When you're not fighting of course."

//I love what you love.// Trowa's eyes flickered with a strange light. "I love music," he said finally. "I like to play the flute. You?" //The violin. I know.//

"Oh," Quatre's eyes lit up. "I play too. The violin is my favorite instrument, although I do play other things. Trowa! Would you like to play some music with me? I have a flute you could use." Quatre waited expectantly.

Trowa looked at him, face statementless. Then his eyes softened slightly and he nodded. "That would be relaxing."

"I've always found music to be very relaxing," Quatre said, eyes wide. "It's nice that we have so much in common. Come on, I'll show you a room where we won't have any interruptions."

Following the shorter boy, Trowa stared at the back of his head, eyeing his pale hair. With a long-suffering but silent sigh, he forced his eyes away and looked forward at the hall they were moving down. It was a large safehouse, but he doubted it had its own music room. //Where is he taking me? Could it me. . . no. I know better than that.// Trowa smirked at the back of the boy's head as he opened a door to reveal a small room, no doubt a den. //And I hoped he would take me to his room. My God how low I've come.//

Quatre took two cases off a shelf and handed the one containing a flute to Trowa. "I hope this room is okay. I put them here when Heero and I moved in. I haven't had a chance to play since then, I'm really glad you're here. It's just so lonely to play by myself. Don't you think so?"

Trowa stared at him, trying not to get lost in his eyes. "Yes. Music should be shared."

Quatre smiled, his eyes lighting up. "What do you like to play? I do hope we know the same music."

Not quite meeting his gaze, Trowa named three songs in an off-handed way. His mouth twitched as he heard Quatre gasp. "Those are my favorites! This is so...Wow. It's such a coincidence! But this is great. Not many people know those songs anymore. Which one do you want to play first?"

* * *

Hearing music, Heero moved silently down the hall, pausing outside a partially opened door. //Hn. Looks like they are relaxing.// His eyes narrowed as he looked at Trowa. The tall boy's green eyes were fixated on Quatre's enraptured face. Quatre's eyes were closed, a small smile gracing his lips even as his brows were creased slightly as he concentrated on the music he was making. //This certainly complicates things. Or maybe not. Why was he at the cave, anyway? Rather than a complication...maybe this is an explanation.// With one last glance at Trowa's statement, Heero moved away from the door. //I'll ask them later. No point interrupting over something so trivial.// He frowned as he looked toward the front door before entering his room. //But it's not trivial. Not to him.// Heero sighed as he closed his door and took his seat in front of the computer. //And not to me either.//

 

G-men 5:

"I just can't believe he didn't say anything," Duo frowned. //I should be glad. It's none of his business what I do.//

Wufei looked at him, eyes narrowed. "You didn't go alone. It's not as if you were taking a risk."

"Yeah." Duo took a large drink of coffee, getting up and refilling his cup. It was early, but he'd slept surprisingly well and woken up before the others. Except for Wufei. "Do you always get up so early?" He leaned against the counter.

"Sometimes," Wufei said. "It's nice to have someone to talk to. Usually I'd be practicing if I woke up this early." Wufei looked down, his brows furrowed slightly.

Duo smiled slightly, tilting his head as he looked at the brooding boy. "Yeah, but I don't usually get up so early. I have trouble sleeping." Duo laughed slightly, trying to cheer up the atmosphere a bit. "Half the time I sleep till noon if I don't have a mission to do."

Wufei looked up, a smirk twitching the corner of his lips. "There's nothing wrong with that. I have trouble getting back to sleep."

Eyes glinting, Duo's smile widened. "Want some more coffee, Wufei?" At the boy's nod, he picked up the other mug, filling it with coffe. He was just sitting down again when Quatre and Heero entered the kitchen, Trowa folling. "Good morning. I made coffee."

Quatre smiled as he sat beside Duo, "I don't drink coffe, but thank you anyway." Heero grabbed a mug out of the cabinet, filling it with coffee before sitting across from Quatre, a seat conveniently left open next to the blonde boy.

"I'll make some tea," Trowa said softly, moving to do so even as he spoke. Quatre smiled.

"Thank you, Trowa."

"No need," he said, not turning. "I like tea." He glanced at Duo, "Not that there's anything wrong with coffee." Duo grinned.

"Thanks Trowa. Next time I'll make both. Not that I expect to get up so early anytime soon, but you never know."

"Duo," Quatre said, a strange gleam in his eyes. "Have you made any plans for today? I was thinking we could all do something together."

Duo looked up, his curiosity peaked. "What do you have in mind?"

Quatre smiled. "I thought we could do something that would let us have some fun and get used to working with each other. Do you play basketball?"

Duo's eyes widened until they seemed to fill his face. "Do I?!" he sputtered. "I love basketball! But...how? What if someone sees me? There are warrants out for me."

"I've already thought of that," Quatre said, smile having widened. "I rented a gym."

"What?"

"My family had a lot of money," Quatre said quickly, "And no one knows I'm a mutant. Remember, I've never actively attacked OZ. I can access my accounts without any worry of attracting notice. You can sneak in, and turn visible once we're inside. Do you want to?"

Duo's eyes were wide with eagerness. "What about you guys?" He looked at Wufei, who smiled. Trowa nodded, glancing at Quatre. //I know he won't want to.// Duo turned to Heero and was surprised to see him hosting a small smirking smile. When Duo looked at him, he gave a sharp nod.

"It's a good chance to get used to working with each other. Quatre's right."

Duo grinned, looking to Quatre quickly. "Great! When can we go?!"

"Uh," Quatre looked taken back for a moment. "Why don't we have breakfast first, okay?"

 

G-men 6:

"If you don't stop it, Yuy, I'm going to kick your ass!"

Smirking, Heero stole the ball again, using his speed to get out of the livid boy's range before tossing it to Trowa. Without blinking, Trowa leapt into the air and made a dunk.

"That's not fair!" Duo wailed, hands on his hip as he glared at the two boys. "If you two don't stop using your powers, I'm going to start playing dirty too." He turned on Heero. "See how well you can steal the ball if you can't see it!"

"Okay-okay!" Quatre cried, raising his hands and trying to calm him. Wufei smirked from his place in the sidelines. "No more cheating. Play fairly, alright?" He pinned Trowa with a disapproving look and the tall pilot's lips twitched. "Heero?"

"I can't be blamed if he's slow." Heero watched Duo, waiting for him to explode. He didn't have a long wait.

"You!!" Duo leapt for the Japanese pilot, Quatre throwing himself on him, barely holding him back. Wufei let out a sharp bark of laughter causing Duo to stiffen and turn on him abruptly. "You think this is funny?!"

"Hilarious."

Duo growled, glaring his frustration. "Are we going to play or what? Come on Wufei, Trowa, you're out-a this one, I need to teach these two a lesson."

Nodding, the tall boy stepped off the court.

Duo pulled Quatre off to the side, whispering furiously. After shaking his head rapidly, the short blonde finally nodded once and Duo beamed. Catching the two waiting boys with an evil grin, Duo grabbed the ball. "Let's play."

* * *

"I still think he should have killed you," Quatre said, humor glinting in his eyes.

"Come on, Quatre. It's not like I was invisible the entire time. Besides, he started that speed thing again. I couldn't very well allow that now could I? I do feel kinda sorry for poor Wufei though." Duo's smile belied his words. "Man, that was so great! I haven't done anything like that in a long time."

"Your lucky we played inside," Quatre teased, watching the other three boys playing an intense game of one-on-one-on-one. "If we'd been outside Wufei'd probably have struck you with lightening." He laughed when Duo's eyes suddenly widened, a dumb-founded look on his face.

"I didn't even think about that. I just wanted to beat him and I knew we didn't have a chance with Heero and Trowa and since Wufei's powers are elemental I...didn't even think about it." Duo smiled, flicking a glance at the game still going on. "But they sure got over it quickly. Man, this is so cool! Hey Quatre, got another ball? We can play some one-on-one with the other hoop. What d'ya say?"

Quatre nodded, following Duo across the gym.

* * *

//Why did I provoke him? I don't do things like that.// Heero sat against the wall, watching as Quatre and Duo played. Trowa'd won the game and was having a rematch with Wufei. Heero sighed. //I don't know, but...it was...fun. I need to thank Quatre. I'm glad I asked him to rent this place.// Watching Duo, he could practically see the joy the long-haired boy radiated. //I'm glad.//

 

G-men Part 7: Voyeurs and Angels

Head tilted back, Duo let the hot water from the shower roll down him. With a sigh, he reached out and turned off the water. //Nothing like a hot shower after a workout.// With another contented sound, he moved away from the shower head and toward the dry side of the room where the towels hung on a rack. Since no one could see him, he hadn't bothered to bring his clothes with him. Grabbing one of the large towels, he rubbed his hair for a moment before wrapping it around him. He was about to leave the room, when a quick glance revealed a glint on the floor below the shower head.

A hand went to his neck, then he was moving across the room quickly. Kneeling, he picked up the small silver cross from it's place near the drain. For a moment he stared at the broken clasp, then he closed his fingers around it, swearing softly at how close he'd come to losing it. As he stood and turned back toward the door, he saw the doorknob turn slowly and instinct kicked in. Disappearing, he stepped to the side of the room, intending to exit right after the person had entered.

Heero entered the room silently, cobalt eyes scanning it, not pausing where Duo stood against the wall. Still near the door, he set a small pile of clothing on the bench beneath the towels. Once more, his eyes moved over the room, and Duo held his breath certain he knew he was there somehow. Then Heero looked down abruptly. Not sure what to do, Duo stood frozen. Then Heero pulled off his tanktop.

* * *

A warm breeze ruffled Trowa's long, red-brown bangs as he stood looking out over the field. //Leave it to him to find a safehouse near such a beautiful place.// Not moving his head, Trowa's eyes went down to the boy lying on the grass beside him. Quatre had a small smile on his face as he lay on his back, arms folded beneath his head. He was watching clouds move across the blue sky. He saw Quatre's head turn a little and snapped his eyes forward again.

"What are you thinking about?" Trowa asked softly, no looking at him. When Quatre didn't answer, he turned to give him a questioning look. He was watching him, eyes wide with an statement the tall boy didn't recognize. "What?"

Quatre's mouth twitched in a small grin. "You're very tall from down here," he said teasingly, "Why don't you sit down."

Trowa stared at him for a moment, then nodding once, sank to the grass beside him. Once seated, he turned to look at him again, doing his best not to drown in light blue-green pools. "What are you thinking about?"

Quatre smiled somewhat shyly, flicking his gaze back to the clouds. "I was thinking...that it's very beautiful here. So very peaceful." He stopped, shooting a look at Trowa who nodded for him to continue. "It's as if the rest of the world doesn't exist. Like," he paused as he thought, "Like we're separated from all the bad things by more than just miles of land. I was thinking that this is what a sanctuary would be like."

//A sanctuary...with an angel beside me.// Trowa's lips curved in a tiny smile for a moment before his statement became serious again. //But it is just miles of land. If I could take you someplace where the rest of the world could not follow...to a real sanctuary...// Watching Quatre, Trowa saw the pale blonde boy's cheeks suddenly grow pink. Blushing, Quatre suddenly sat up, breaking eye-contact.

"What?" Trowa looked at Quatre, the slender back facing him. "What is it?"

"Nothing," Quatre said quickly, still not letting him see his face. "I...I was just thinking something and I realized how insulting it was. I'm sorry."

"You're apologizing for an insult you haven't given yet?" Trowa asked, eyes widening as the smile came to his face again. Before he even thought about it, Trowa set a light hand on his shoulder causing Quatre to turn and look at him. Trowa removed his hand quickly, both boys feeling the loss as physical contact ended.

"Well," Quatre took a breath as his blush receded. "I was just thinking that you're very lucky. You could fly away from here, go anywhere." Trowa blinked in surprise and Quatre leaned towards him quickly. "I wasn't trying to say that you'd run away, only that you could." Quatre frowned as he wondered how to say it, and whether he should. "I should be quiet," he said after much internal debate. "I'm just envious, that's all. It must be wonderful to be able to fly."

Trowa looked down for a moment, then he caught Quatre's eyes. "Would....would you like to fly with me?"

* * *

Staring at the the muscled chest, feeling his face get hot with a blush, Duo fumed. //Get a grip! It's just Heero. Calm down. Look at it this way, what better way to get revenge.// An unseen smile graced his lips as his eyes roamed over firmly muscled abs. Then his mouth went dry as Heero bent and pulled off his shorts. Completely naked, Heero turned to the bench, folding the clothes.

Given such a view, Duo felt his cheeks heat up again, even as his eyes moved down Heero's back to latch on to the Japanese boy's endowments. //Oh damn...// Swallowing roughly, his mouth was a desert, he watched as Heero went to stand beneath the shower. Tilting his head back much as Duo had moments before, Heero turned on the shower and stood in the hot spray.

Duo forced his eyes away from the rivulets of water making their way down Heero's contours, glancing at the door. //If I'm gonna go, now's the time to do it.// He stared at the door for a moment before glancing back at Heero uncertainly. Suddenly his eyes grew wide and there was no longer any question of leaving. Being utterly careful, Duo slowly sank to the floor, leaning against the wall as he watched. //Oh my God...//

Already having finished washing his hair, Heero had soap in hand and was busy building up a lather. Duo watched the blatantly sexual yet completely innocent display. Then Heero bent to wash his legs and Duo clamped his hands over his mouth. //Jesus Christ...I've never seen anyone so...sexy.// Hands still held to his mouth, Duo felt his lips move in a slow smile as he watched Heero rinse beneath the pounding spray. //He would so kill me if he knew, but there's no way in hell I would have missed this.//

Grinning widely now, Duo followed Heero with his eyes as the other boy crossed the room, pulling a towel off the rack and rubbing briskly to dry himself. Duo tilted his head to better view the scene. Then Heero pulled on his clean set of clothes, toweling his hair dry and slinging the towel back over the rack. Picking up his dirty clothing, he turned to the door and paused. Duo's eyes widened as Heero stood motionless before the door, then the Japanese pilot abruptly pulled the door open and stepped out.

As Heero walked down the hall, the door to Wufei's room opened, the black-haired boy looking out, an eyebrow raised, eyes narrowed. "That's the second shower you've taken today, Yuy. Did you leave any hot water for the rest of us?"

Turning to look over his shoulder at the door to the shower room, Heero smirked before meeting Wufei's gaze. "No. Wait an hour or so." Still smirking, Heero went down the hallway and into his room.

Rolling his eyes, Wufei retreated to his room, making an effort not to slam the door behind him.

No one noticed when the bathroom door opened a few minutes later.

 

Part 8: Butterfly Kisses

"Would you like to fly with me?" Trowa watched as Quatre's eyes widened. //I can't let an opportunity like this pass.// "My ability to fly doesn't depend on physical strength," Trowa said slowly, looking over the field. "My mind lets me fly, so it's really just a matter of what I can carry. If I'm strong enough to carry something comfortably, then it isn't an extra burden to fly carrying it." He stopped, turning to look at the boy beside him.

Quatre was biting his lip, radiating eagerness and indecision. Trowa couldn't help but feel good knowing the boy dropped all guards around him. "This place is rather secluded," Trowa said, looking into Quatre's eyes. "Might not get another chance."

Quatre released his bitten lip, a tentative smile forming. "Are you sure I'm not too heavy?"

Trowa stood, reaching down to help him to his feet. "Only one way to find out." Eyes glinting, he stepped to Quatre. //I've wanted to do this since the first time I saw you.// Watching Quatre carefully, he bent slightly and picked the smaller boy up, cradling him in his arms. "Are you ready?"

Looking a bit embarassed at being held like a child, Quatre frowned slightly. "Are you sure I'm not too heavy? Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all."

"Quatre," Trowa said, smirking slightly, "I've carried loads of supplies that weighed more than you." His smile widened when Quatre blushed. "You might want to hold on," Trowa said, tightening his hold. Quatre slipped his arms around Trowa's neck, his hold tightening abruptly when Trowa rose suddenly, leaving the ground below them.

Looking down at the ground, a wide smile on his lips, Quatre laughed. "Warn me before you do that!"

"I did," Trowa said, using the height as an excuse to pull the slender boy closer to him. "I told you to hold on."

Quatre looked up at him for a moment, grinning wildly, "Alright," he glanced back at the ground before looking to him again, eyes shining. "What are you waiting for?"

Quatre laughed, a sound of pure joy, as Trowa leveled out, moving smoothly in a path parallel to the ground, giving him a view of the field below. "Faster!" Quatre cried, glancing at Trowa, "Please?"

Eyes narrowing, Trowa suddenly sped up, angling toward the ground causing the small boy to cling closer to him. Then he abruptly changed directions, moving upward again. //He's so trusting,// Towa stared at the radiant face inches from his own. //It's so wonderful to hold him. He's so warm.//

Turning to Trowa, Quatre beamed. Then his smile slowly disappeared as he stared into those green eyes. //He's so handsome,// Quatre thought, and his eyes widened. The strong arms around him tightened slightly, and he was suddenly confused by the feelings running through him. "Trowa...?"

Staring into the enless pools of Quatre's eyes, Trowa felt his resolve crumble. //I'm lost...// Slowly, giving the boy he held so carefully time to pull back, he lowered his head and brushed his lips over Quatre's. When he was not met with resistance, he pulled the boy even closer until they were pressed against each other and kissed him again. Neither noticed as they slowly sank toward the ground.

 

G-men Part 9: A Mission

Trowa barely registered when his feet touched the ground, catching him automatically. Breaking the kiss, he moved his head back a few inches so he could look at Quatre's flushed face. His eyes were closed, mouth open as he took a shaky breath. Letting out a soft sigh, Trowa brushed his lips over Quatre's closed eyes, then moved so their foreheads touched, breaths mingling.

"Umm, are you guys finished?" A voice broke the silence, causing both boys to jerk back, eyes snapping open. "Can I turn around now?"

Turning, they saw Duo standing across the field, back to them, black cap covering his head. Trowa's eyes narrowed in sudden anger, then he saw Quatre's dark blush and his anger left him. Smiling slightly, Trowa looked at Quatre's lowered eyes, and slowly set him on his feet. Still not meeting his gaze, the blonde boy started to move away and Trowa reached out to catch his hand. Quatre glanced up, still blushing, and Trowa squeezed his hand. Dropping his gaze again, Quatre glanced at Duo, but Trowa could see a small smile turning the corners of his mouth.

"Well?" Duo called, not looking in their direction. "I guess I can come back in five minutes, but it's kinda important."

"Now's fine," Trowa called as he and Quatre walked toward the other boy. "What is it?"

Sneaking a quick peak over his shoulder, Duo turned, large grin firmly in place as his eyes went immediately to their clasped hands. "A mission. About time if you ask me. Not that anyone did," Duo continued as they walked back toward the path that led to the safehouse. "Heero got a call and decided that we should attack as soon as possible. He's so commanding, he already figured out what everyone should do." Duo continued to talk as they made their way down the path, missing the glances the two boys beside him were exchanging.

* * *

//This is almost too easy.// Watching over the soldier's shoulder, Duo memorized the code, moving silently to press himself against the wall as the man turned and passed him on his way down the corridor. //My part is a cinch, just hope theirs goes as well. Checking for soldiers, he moved to the panel, centering his thoughts. //Quatre, Trowa, if either of you can hear me, I'm about to open the door.// Typing in the code, Duo couldn't help but smirk. //As if I don't talk to myself enough as it is.//

Opening the door, he flattened himself against the wall again, and waited. He let out a relieved sigh as Trowa and Heero entered silently, glancing up and down the hall. Trowa turned to look in his direction, sensing him, then nodded his head toward the door. //Got it! You guys get going.// Trowa nodded again, gesturing for Heero as he went down the hall. Duo watched them for a moment, then hit the sequence to lock the door again. //Well, on to phase two.// Running as quickly as he could without his steps sounding, he took off down the hall, taking the branch opposite the one the other two boys had taken.

* * *

From the dark corner where he crouched, Heero could see three men guarding the weapons. This was Trowa's and his part of the mission. To destroy the new weaponry which included improved guns as well as, more worrisome, paralyzing nets. OZ was stepping it's war against the mutants up a notch. The nets worried Heero, and Doctor J, the most though, since they were proof that OZ now wanted to capture mutants--alive.

Glancing slowly around the surprisingly poorly guarded room, Heero latched on to Trowa's figure. The other boy was flattened in the shadow of a heating duct near the ceiling. While good guards might find Heero in his corner, even the best seldom thought to look up. Especially since there was no catwalk and no way for a person to get near the ceiling. Unless he was a mutant who could fly, that is. Touching his gun with impatience, Heero watched Trowa, waiting for the signal

The plan was simple, really. Duo would sneak to the main computer and download the virus Heero'd made, effectively destroying all the records stored there as well as the programs. Once he'd exited the base, he'd give word to either Quatre or Trowa. Quatre was outside with Wufei who was prepared to deal with any soldiers who followed Heero and Trowa during their escape. Since they were going to make alot of noise when they blew the weapons up, they were waiting for Duo to get out first. With the programs destroyed by the virus, the locks on the doors wouldn't work, so there was no reason for the American to wait for them. Glancing at Trowa again, Heero gripped his gun tightly as the tall boy gave the signal.

* * *

Duo ran as fast as he could away from the base, screaming in his mind for the others to do it. He knew that Wufei was hiding in the nearby forest, and he had no intention of getting caught in whatever storm that boy brought up when Heero and Trowa made their get-away. Entering the woods, Duo moved to where Quatre was supposed to be, calling out in his mind for the boy, telling him who it was. //I'm never going to get used to this. I'm not psychic, I have enough problems without that.// But he had to admit to himself, this was a much better way of communicating than vocal communication. Even if it was one-sided for him.

* * *

Wufei watched the door to the compound that Heero and Trowa were supposed to exit. Crouched at the base of a large limb in a tree tall enough to give him a view of the area in front of the compound, he watched for troop movement. If a large number was called, it was his job to stop them from getting to the base and reinforcing the soldiers facing the two boys. Scanning the black sky, Wufei called up a thick cloud cover, readying a fog bank that would mask their escape when they got out. Not if, he wouldn't even think of that, not with a mission as simple as this one. No, they'd planned it out too thoroughly.

Suddenly, he spotted movement near the designated door. He recognized the forms as the two boys sprinted out the door, Heero turning to fire even as he ran. Then they were clear of the door and Heero threw an arm around Trowa's shoulders, gripping him tightly as the tall boy lifted into the air, taking them into the cloud cover. Immediately, Wufei dropped the fog bank low enough to mask their progress toward the forest even as he began to take care of the soldiers pouring out the door.

* * *

Quatre stared around him, eyes wide to increase his sight in the dark forest. Since he'd never attacked OZ, his was not a task that required being close to the base. Instead, he'd taken position far enough away to be out of harm, and close enough to keep in easy contact. As humbling as it was to be protected like that, he knew he would be a liability to the others if he were to go closer. Eyes still wide, Quatre searched for Duo, having heard the boy's exuberant mental cries. //I'll have to explain to him that there's no need to scream. I can hear his thoughts just fine when he whispers them. I feel sorry for Trowa.// Quatre suddenly blushed as he thought about the tall boy and what had transpired earlier that afternoon. //I hope he knows what he's doing//, Quatre thought, disgusted by his naiveté, //because I sure don't.//

Suddenly a hand gripped his shoulder and it was all he could do not to scream with shock. Turning, he stared around, then sighed as he realized who it was. "Duo, I swear you're trying to give me a heart- attack."

"Thought you heard me coming," Duo said, appearing abruptly with a grin on his face. "Guess you were pretty deep in thought there, huh? Anything wrong? With the others?"

"No," Quatre said quickly, "Heero says they're back at the safe-house and that we should go there as soon as possible. I was just waiting for you."

"Sorry, Quatre," Duo said, suddenly chewing on his lip. "I can't leave without Wufei. Think Trowa'd come get you? I'd wait."

Quatre's eyes went wide, "Oh, I forgot about him." He looked stricken. "I feel so horrible, how could I have forgotten him..."

"Don't sweat it, Quatre," Duo said lightly, putting a hand on his shoulder again. "You're mind was miles away. On a certain mutant if my guess is right." Duo grinned as Quatre abruptly blushed. "Call Trowa." He turned to look back the way he'd come. "And you really should work on that blush," he teased, not turning, "It's very revealing."

Glaring at the boy's back, Quatre sought Heero out and thought hard about what was going on, seeking Trowa even though he knew the boy's mental block was too strong for him to read through. A thought of Heero's confirmed the reception of the message, telling him that Trowa was on his way. Quatre frowned slightly at the anger in Heero's mind, but abruptly forgot about it as he realized he'd be alone with Trowa again. //At night.//

"Well," Duo said, cutting through his thoughts, "Do you sense Wufei around here anywhere?"

After concentrating, Quatre faced the boy. "He's still blocking me out, but I know he's over there somewhere," he pointed, "I can't tell if he got my message or not, but I don't think he's moving right now. I can't pinpoint him, but I get the impression that he's taking a break. I think his power wears him out."

Duo nodded at his words. "It does. He said that's why he doesn't do missions faster, needs time to get his breath back and when he does too many missions in a short space of time, they get wise and follow him. Too dangerous for him. That's why I'm going to get him. I'm sure he's fine, but there's no reason for him to make his way back on his own."

Quatre smiled. "You worry about him."

Suddenly defensive, Duo frowned. "He's my friend. Look, Quatre," Duo wrapped an arm around Quatre's shoulders, leaning close to him. "I haven't had any friends in years. Now I do. I'm not about to let anything happen to one of you."

Eyes wide, Quatre's smile softened. "That's right, friends should take care of each other."

"Now you got the idea," Duo turned away and took a couple of steps in the direction Quatre'd pointed. "So, I'm going to let your tall friend take care of you," he laughed at the return of the blush, "and I'm going to take care of Wufei. Heero..." he stopped suddenly, eyes going unfocused for a minute before he smiled widely. "Well, I'm sure he'll be fine." //I wonder if I could get his attention if I hung all over Wufei.// Duo smirked, but shook his head. //No, that's a bad idea. Besides, it'd be a shitty thing to do to Wufei. He's too damn sensitive.// He laughed at the idea of telling Wufei he was sensitive. //Even if he doesn't admit it.// Seeing Quatre's questioning look, Duo waved his actions away. Then his eyes spotted something in the sky. "Looks like he's here. I'm gone." Waving to Quatre, he took off in the direction Wufei was in, giving in to an urge to glance behind him, smiling at the solemn statement on Trowa's face. //They are simply too much.//

 

G-men Part 10: Meetings

Breathing deeply, Wufei bowed his head, hands on his knees as he sat on a fallen tree. Slowing his breathes, he growled his frustration. //I must get stronger. There is no excuse for this.// Leaning back, he lifted his head, opening his eyes to scan the dark forest. //I should go. As weak as I am, I am useful to them.// He was just standing when he heard a branch crack to his left.

Duo smothered a snicker as Wufei whirled, crouching in a fighting stance. He couldn't prevent a grin when the black-haired boy saw him, dark eyes narrowing in anger. "Did I startle you?" Wufei glared. Laughing softly, Duo moved to him, throwing an arm over his shoulder. "Don't get mad, Wufei, I was worried about you."

With a surprised statement, Wufei stared at him for a moment, then glared again. "I can take care of myself," he growled, not quite as angry as he wanted Duo to believe. The proof was there in the fact that he didn't throw off Duo's arm.

"I know you can," Duo grinned, ruffling Wufei's loose black hair, causing the other boy's glare to intensify. "I just thought you could use a little company on your walk back to the safehouse. Trowa took Quatre--" Duo stopped as a large grin spread across his face. "Man, you should have seen those two lovebirds earlier." He laughed at Wufei's surprised statement. "They're so cute together."

"Quatre and Trowa?" Wufei's eyes widened for a moment as he thought about it, then he closed his mouth and nodded. "Yes, I guess I can see it."

"Yep," Duo moved his arm, giving Wufei a slight push on the back to get him moving in the direction of the safehouse. "Trowa came and picked up Quatre, so I figured I could walk back with you. Friends should stick together, you know."

Glancing at the other boy out of the corner of his eye, Wufei allowed a small smile to form. "Yes."

Walking silently, they made their way through the forest. Glancing at the other boy repeatedly, Duo soon gained Wufei's attention. "What?"

Duo smirked at having been caught, then cleared his throat. "How are you?"

Eyes narrowing, Wufei stopped, turning to look at the American. "What do you mean?"

"Are you still tired?" At Wufei's dark frown, Duo shoved him slightly. "I'm serious. Why do you try to act like using your abilities doesn't wear you out? It's not as if they're easy to do."

"Must you remind me of my weakness?" Turning, Wufei stalked off, Duo running to catch up and walking alongside him.

"You're so dumb. If I run a marathon, I'm going to be out of breath afterward. It's not anything you can help. I don't understand why you insist on seeing your human part as a weakness."

"I'll get stronger," Wufei said slowly, unable to get angry when he could see the concern in those violet eyes. "I can't help if I see it as a weakness. That's who I am."

With a sigh, Duo nodded, "Okay. But I can't help worrying about you either. That's who I am." Wufei smirked slightly, looking at Duo's downcast statement.

"We all have our faults."

"God!" Duo stretched suddenly, face lighting up as he stared at the sky. "Alright!" Looking at Wufei, he grinned. "Enough of this depressing conversation. Let's get back to the safehouse and get something to eat. I'm starving."

"You're always starving." At Duo's agreeing nod, Wufei snorted. "Fine."

* * *

Quatre watched as Trowa came to stand in front of him. Suddenly he wasn't looking forward to being alone with the tall boy. Instead, he was feeling decidedly uncomfortable. "Hi," he said shyly, and Trowa smiled. It was a small smile, barely discernible in the dark, but it made Quatre's insides melt.

"Hello," Trowa answered softly, taking a step closer, his green eyes moving over Quatre's face. "Need a lift." His eyes sparkled at Quatre's surprised statement, then the blonde boy let out a soft laugh and Trowa felt the tension lift.

"Yeah, I do." Still smiling, Quatre moved to Trowa who lifted him in his arms. Wrapping his arms around Trowa's neck, he felt his doubts return.

"Quatre," Trowa laid his cheek against the top of the blonde head that lay against his head. "We'll talk about this when we get back to the safehouse, okay?"

Quatre lifted his head quickly, looking up at Trowa with uncertainty shining in his pale blue-green eyes. Bending his head, Trowa brushed his lips lightly over the Quatre's. Then, lifting his head to look above him, he pulled the smaller boy tight against him, waiting. Then the pale boy wrapped his arms around Trowa's neck and he lifted them into the air.

* * *

//He was concerned about his comrade. There's nothing wrong with that.// Glaring, Heero pushed away from his laptop. //But how do I know that's the reason. I can't just ask them, it would ruin the team. We wouldn't be able to work together and the mission would suffer. I can't allow that. But...// Heero left his bedroom, moving down the hall and to the kitchen. Walking to the counter, he started making a pot of coffee. Anything to distract him from his distracting thoughts. It didn't work.

 

G-men Part 11: Aftermath

"We're ba-ak!"

Heero looked up at Duo's sing-song call to see the long-haired boy posing in the doorway, cocky grin on his face. Wufei stood behind him, smirking at his behavior. "Were you worried?" Giving a snort, Heero turned back to the cup of coffee on the table in front of him. "Where are Trowa and Quatre?" Duo asked, sliding into a chair across from the brooding Japanese pilot.

"There was something they had to talk about," Heero answered, not looking up as he took a drink.

"Man, they're so cute."

Flicking his eyes to the other boy, Heero frowned. Duo was grinning at Wufei, who was standing in the doorway, and pointing at Heero. More specifically at Heero's cup. Proping his chin on his hands, Duo blinked his large violet eyes rapidly at the Chinese boy. "Make me some chocolate coffee? Please?"

Snorting at Duo's coy statement, Wufei glanced at Heero. //Wow. When did he develop a twitch?// The boy in question was not looking at him, however, he was glaring holes into the side of Duo's head. Smirking, Wufei moved causing cobalt blue eyes to snap to him. The two boys stood, eyes locked.

* * *

"This doesn't have to be awkward."

Leaning against a post on the porch, arms folded over his chest, Trowa watched the smaller boy carefully. Quatre sat cross-legged on the swing hanging from the porch. He was leaning forward, elbows resting lightly on his knees, his head tilted back so he could look up at Trowa.

"No?"

Trowa sighed, shoving away from the post and moving to crouch in front of the uncertain boy. "I understand my feelings toward you perfectly. Would you like me to explain them to you?" At Quatre's wide-eyed nod, he leaned forward, placing his hands on the pale boy's shoulders. He couldn't restrain a sigh when Quatre's hands covered his. "I need you. When I'm near you I feel...at peace, complete. I want to hold you in my arms, to fall asleep listening to you breath. I want to protect you. To see you happy. I think...no, I know I've been waiting my whole life to meet you." Trowa stopped, seeing Quatre's confusion had increased. "This is very sudden for you, Quatre. Don't feel bad if you don't reciprocate my feelings." Moving his hand, he cupped the blonde boy's cheek, smiling softly, reassuringly.

"I...I'm confused. I don't understand what I'm feeling. When I think about...you, us, I feel...lost."

Trowa smiled, sitting beside Quatre on the swing. "That's how I feel when I look at you."

"Really?"

"Yes."

Squeezing Trowa's hand, Quatre smiled at him shyly. "There are a couple of things that don't confuse me," he offered softly.

"And they are?" Trowas asked, stroking the top of Quatre's soft hand with his fingertips.

"I like you—a lot. I...like it when we touch. When," Quatre blushed. "When we kissed, I liked that. I want to hold you, to be held by you. I do feel connected to you. And...I want to be close to you."

Leaning toward him, Trowa smiled slightly. "Like this?"

Slipping his arms around the smaller boy's back, Trowa pulled him onto his lap, mouth moving down to brush his. Quatre's eyes closed immediately, arms moving around Trowa's neck as he leaned into the embrace, lips parting. Their tongues touched tentatively.

When Trowa started to pull back, Quatre protested slightly. "Do we have to stop?"

Trowa stared at him for a minute, eyes blazing, then he slowly shook his head. "We can do whatever we want."

Smiling, Quatre moved to pull him down, only to be stopped. "Why don't we go inside."

* * *

Wufei broke the staring contest, glancing at Duo who'd started to frown as his eyes moved from Heero to Wufei. Giving the confused boy a slight smile, he moved behind the counter, pouring two mugs of coffee and adding chocolate mix and sugar to one. The American had a definite sweet-tooth.

Duo watched Wufei, wondering what he'd missed, then he noticed that Heero was staring at him, statement inscrutable. Since Heero was already staring and hadn't looked away, Duo took the opportunity to enjoy the sight of his intense eyes. He almost jumped when Wufei set his mug down in front of him, smirk raising the corner of his mouth as his black eyes laughed at Duo's startled statement. Giving him a quick glare, Duo placed a smile on his face and flashed it at Heero before taking a long drink of his coffee and burning his tongue.

"It's hot," Wufei warned belatedly, earning him another glare as he sat between Heero and Duo.

Taking a more sedate drink, Duo smiled. "Pretty good, Wufei, pretty good." They sat in silence for a few minutes, then Duo fidgeted, looking around the room and toward the door. "So," still moving restlessly, Duo turned to look at Heero. "Any plans for tomorrow?" Heero stared at him. "Any missions?" Heero blinked and looked down sharply. A slow smile moved over Duo's face as he watched Heero take a drink of his now-cold coffee, stand up, and move to the counter. Duo was about to repeat the question when he answered.

"Not tomorrow. I saw a facility that has promise, we'll spend tomorrow planning our attack." Turning, he met Duo's eyes, his own statement blank. Duo blinked.

"Heh. Guess that's my cue to head to bed." Flashing Heero a smile that didn't quite make it to his eyes, he pushed away from the table. As he passed Wufei on his way to the door he paused, ruffling the seated boy's black hair. "Thanks for the chocolate, Wufei. You're such a doll." Rewarded with a furious glare, he smirked as he quickly exited the room.

Heero and Wufei stared at the empty doorway for a minute, then they turned and looked at each other.

* * *

Locking his door behind him, Trowa turned and wrapped his arms around Quatre, matching his fervor as their lips met. Bending, he picked the smaller boy up, carrying him across the room to the bed. Lying beside each other, they let their hands explore.

"Trowa..." Quatre's voice reached him as he was kissing the pale boy's neck. The petulance he could swear he heard causing him to look up sharply. "Take it off."

Quatre had his hands splayed over Trowa's stomach, and he was tugging the bottom of his shirt upward, glaring at the turtleneck, no doubt wondering how he was going to remove it without Trowa's assistance. With a soft laugh, the tall boy sat up and peeled the shirt off, a delicious sound coming from Quatre as he also got to his knees, hands moving over Trowa's muscular chest.

"You are so strong," he whispered, squeezing a bicept lightly as he nestled against him.

"What about you?"

"Huh?"

Quatre looked up and Trowa lowered his head so they could kiss, one hand moving to burry his fingers in the thick blonde hair. Breaking the kiss, Trowa moved his free hand over Quatre's white button-up shirt. With a smile, the blue eyed boy undid his cuffs as Trowa made quick work of his shirt, long fingers undoing the buttons rapidly and pushing the shirt off.

"I'm not strong."

"I like you the way you are," Trowa whispered, kissing his chest. "I love everything about you."

Quatre let out a soft moan, hands kneading Trowa's back as the green-eyed boy's lips moved over one of his nipples. Lifting his head, Trowa pressed his cheek to Quatre's breathing heavily into his ear.

"Let me make love to you," Trowa whispered, moaning when Quatre nodded quickly and turned his head so their lips touched again.

The two boys parted, Quatre blushing lightly as Trowa's hands undid his pants. When they were both bare, they lay side by side, simply enjoying the contact for a moment. Then Trowa gently pushed the smaller boy onto his back, letting his eyes move over him.

"Do you know how beautiful you are?" Quatre blushed again, but Trowa's lips silenced any denial he might have had. "You are so perfect," Trowa whispered, placing a soft kiss on the tip of Quatre's nose. Then he kissed the blonde boy's neck, hands caressing his chest, fingers circling his nipples till Quatre gave a soft cry, hands clutching the back of Trowa's head as his mouth replaced his hands.

Moving slowly so he wouldn't overwhelm the other boy, Trowa touched his stomach, massaging gently as he kissed his way downward. Pausing as he knelt above him, Trowa looked at Quatre's flushed face and trailed the back of his hand over one cheek until passion-filled blue-green eyes opened to meet his. With Quatre watching him, he slowly lowered his head, touching the tip of his erection with his tongue causing the boy to jerk beneath him. Moving with tantalizing slowness, he took him into his mouth, tongue circling as he sucked gently, then harder, head moving in a steady rhythm until he was certain the other boy was ready.

Raising himself to place a deep kiss on Quatre's lips, he told him not to move as he quickly rummaged in his dresser, finally finding a jar of lotion. Returning to the bed, he told Quatre exactly what he wanted to do. Breath coming fast, Quatre nodded, too overcome with passion and stronger emotion to feel embarrassment. Kneeling between Quatre's legs, Trowa took him in his mouth again as he slipped a lotion covered finger into him. Slowly, unwilling to hurt the boy, he stretched him until Quatre was moving restlessly beneath him. Slipping the fingers out and coating his own member, he moved to kiss Quatre as he positioned the boy beneath him.

Holding the pale boy's hips, he entered him ever so slowly. Much too slowly for Quatre who, despite Trowa's restraining hold on his hips, shoved downward until the brown-haired boy was completely embedded him him. Encouraged, Trowa thrust into him, rewarded by Quatre's breathless cries. Moving together, they let passion guide them until both were at their limits. Stroking Quatre, Trowa brought him to his release, letting out a thick groan as the small boy tightened around him.

Completely spent, Trowa stretched out beside the panting boy, rolling onto his back and pulling Quatre onto him. Time passed as they simply held each other, Quatre with one hand behind Trowa's neck and the other around his waist. Then Quatre moved, slipping off him and causing Trowa to prop himself up. Suddenly feeling vulnerable, Trowa searched Quatre's eyes for regret.

The blonde boy smiled as he gestured for Trowa to move so they could slip underneath the covers. When they were snuggled beneath the blankets, Trowa quickly pulled Quatre to him, wrapping his arms around him. "I love you," he whispered as he stared into Quatre's deep blue eyes. "You know that, don't you?"

Smiling, Quatre wrapped an arm around Trowa's neck, fingers playing in his hair. "Is that what this is?" At Trowa's hopeful statement, he laughed softly, nuzzling against his neck. "Next time I'll show you my love."

"I'm never letting you go," Trowa said urgently, holding him tight.

"Good."

* * *

Turning, Heero poured himself another cup of coffee and sat at the table again. Taking a drink, Wufei watched him thoughtfully until, feeling the other boy's gaze, Heero looked up. Eyes narrowed slightly, one eyebrow raised, Heero glared. "What?"

"What are you waiting for?" Wufei asked, voice deadly. "Do you really expect me to sit back while the two of you circle each other? Well, I'm not going to wait for one of you to make some sort of move. If you're going to do something, you better do it fast. Because I'm not going to wait." There was no anger in his eyes when he looked at Heero, only dead calm. Not giving the Japanese boy time to respond, he stood and left the room.

 

G-men Part 12: Confidantes

//Damn him. Damn him for being right. What am I waiting for? This isn't me, I'm never indecisive. Hesitation? It doesn't make sense. I don't understand. What's wrong? What the hell is wrong with me?!// With a cry of fury, Heero slammed his fist into the trunk of the tree, gritting his teeth as skin broke and slamming the other fist into it as well. Adrenalin rushing through his system, he pulled his fists back in preparation for another blow.

"If you're set on self-mutilation could you do it somewhere else?"

Like lightening, Heero pulled his gun, aiming up into the branches of the tree above him. There was a flash of wide, if shadowed, violet eyes then the tree was empty. Seconds passed, then slowly, almost shaking with fury, Heero replaced his gun. Cobalt eyes practically shooting sparks, he glared into the darkness. "Baka!" he snarled, "I should kill you."

"It may be my fate to be killed by you," Duo quipped, smiling weakly even as his heart still raced, "but I figure you wouldn't have put your gun away if you were going to kill me."

"Baka," Heero repeated, calming slowly as he realized he had frightened the boy. //Good. He won't do that again.// "Don't take such risks. You're lucky you're still alive."

Duo was stretched out on his stomach on a thick limb. At Heero's words, his smile disappeared. "I know." With a sigh, he buried his face in his folded arms.

"What are you doing out here? You said you were going to bed."

"No I didn't." Raising his head to look down at Heero, Duo sighed again. "I said it was my cue to go to bed. I didn't say I was going. Besides," resting his cheek against his arm, he continued to look down at the boy beneath him. "I couldn't sleep."

"Why not?"

Eyes widening at the question, Duo let out a small laugh. "If I knew that I'd be able to fix it, wouldn't I." Smirking, Duo looked over Heero's even statement. "What are you doing out here?"

For a moment the Japanese boy simply looked at him eyes glinting in the dark, then he smirked. "Self mutilation?"

Duo choked, staring at him in shock. "Oh-my-God! Did you just make a joke?! And a good one too..."

"Arigato," Heero said, statement deadpanned.

Mouth open, Duo blinked at him. "Are you okay, Heero?"

Smirking, Heero enjoyed the sight of the long-haired boy gaping like a fish. "Do you want something to help you sleep?"

Duo flinched, shaking his head quickly. "No. I'm fine." Moving quickly, he swung himself off the limb, landing lightly beside Heero. "I hate drugs."

"Even sleeping pills?" Heero asked, brow creasing as he frowned at the other boy.

"Especially those." Duo made a face of distaste, deeper anger, not quite masked, showing through. Turning, he started to head back to the safehouse only to be stopped by Heero who grabbed his wrist.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

Looking over his shoulder in surprise, Duo slowly turned to face him, confusion marring his face. "Why do you ask?"

Heero made his own statement of distaste, but forced the words out, determined to act on his emotions. "I..." he grimaced slightly. "I'd like to know."

Duo eyed him warily, statement completely unguarded. Finally, he nodded. "Alright."

Walking back to the tree, he slowly sank to the ground, legs crossed as he leaned against the trunk. Following, Heero sat beside him, turned slightly so he could see the other boy's face. Not quite close enough to be touching, he nevertheless took pleasure in their nearness and the fact that Duo was willing to confide in him.

"This isn't pretty," Duo warned quietly, eyes solemn as he took in Heero's patient statement.

"Very little is in a war," Heero said slowly, "But maybe...sharing could help."

"This isn't like you."

"How much do you know about me?" Heero shot back, eyebrow raised.

Duo chuckled ruefully, "About as much as I know about Trowa. About as much as you know about me. Okay. I'm just defensive is all, I don't talk about this."

"You don't have to talk about it."

"No, I'm making it harder with this run-around. See, I lived in a church, Maxwell Church, for two years when I was ten. I've been an orphan for as long as I can remember, so they were my family. There were about twenty kids staying there and Father Maxwell and Sister Hellen took care of all of us. My mutation...I don't know how you found out about yours, but mine made a very...abrupt and public arrival. I just...started disappearing. I didn't know how to control it. I guess OZ got wind of it because a guy came to the church asking questions. I should have left then." Duo sighed, glancing at Heero's solemn statement. "Father Maxwell knew I didn't have any place to go, and when he told me he'd taken care of things, I believed him. He said he'd convinced him there were no demons staying at his church." Duo's eyes lit up suddenly and he smiled wryly.

"What?" Heero prompted, curious about the smile.

"He never lied, but I think he came close when he told them that. The other church officials used to call me `Maxwell's demon.' I was a rotten kid." He looked at Heero for a minute, then he sighed and his smile faded away. "I was still scared that they'd come back, so I started sleeping in the rafters. I know it sounds strange, but there were crawl spaces and us kids used to use them when we played. I was afraid they'd come back and get me and I didn't know how to stay invisible when I was asleep. I still have trouble but I've got it down now. Anyway," Duo turned his head to look out across the yard. "They did come back while we were sleeping, but they made sure we wouldn't wake up. I guess they put something in our food, I don't know. When I woke up they'd set the church on fire. I tried to get to the others, I really did. If I hadn't hid. If I hadn't been so far away from them..."

Heero clenched his fists as he spotted the brightness in Duo's averted eyes and heard the strain in his voice as he trailed off. "Duo..."

"God!" Burying his face in his hands, he let out a shaky breath. "Do...do you have any idea what it's like to run away while everyone you love dies?" Eyes blurry, he looked at Heero. "There were soldiers surrounding the...church. They were waiting for anyone who came out. I don't know if anyone else did. They saw me and I ran. I just ran away and left them. They died because of me."

Heero felt cornered, he didn't know what to do to help the boy hunched over beside him. All he wanted was to wrap his arms around him and make the pain go away. So he did the closest thing he dared and moved an arm slowly around Duo's shoulders. Duo looked up sharply, wide eyes filled with unshed tears. For a moment he stared at Heero, then he leaned over and rested his forehead against Heero's chest, letting out a long sigh when he felt arms snake around him.

They were both silent as they sat together. Nothing they might have said seemed worth breaking the comfortable silence. Finally, Heero moved a hand to touch the back of Duo's neck, brushing a finger at the wisps of hair that escaped his braid.

"Let's go inside. It's getting cold out here."

Lifting his head, Duo looked at him. "I...I don't want to be alone."

"You won't be."

--*--*--*--

Heero woke abruptly as usual, wide awake within seconds. Unlike most other mornings, he didn't feel at all like getting up. In fact, he didn't want to move at all. Without opening his eyes, he moved his fingers, confirming his memories of the previous night. Lifting his head very slowly, he looked at the boy sleeping in his arms as if he belonged there. Then he froze and turned to look toward the living room doorway.

Wufei's eyes moved over Duo's face as the long-haired boy lay on the couch, his head resting on Heero's arm. Leaning against the doorway, he slowly lifted his eyes to meet Heero's blazing gaze, taking in the challenging claim he saw there. They stared at each other, then Heero tightened his grip on the boy causing him to sigh and hide his face against Heero's neck. Eyes narrowing, the Japanese boy glared at Wufei, daring him to speak.

Looking at Duo's hand were it lay, fingers clenched around a fold of Heero's green tank top, Wufie drew in a deep breath. Then a small smile came to his face and he met Heero's angry gaze, smile widening. He nodded once, then turned and went into the kitchen, letting the door shut loudly behind him.

 

G-men Part 13: Complications

Heero looked over the two boys as they entered the kitchen, his trained eyes taking in every incriminating detail. Quatre came through the door first, blue green eyes wide and happy, a small smile playing on his lips. Heero's gaze went over his damp blonde hair to Trowa's equally damp hair. Trowa was staring at the shorter boy and didn't glance up until Quatre sat down, sitting beside him and glancing around the table. Heero met his green eyes, taking in the raised eyebrow and nodded slightly before he stood and went behind the counter.

Taking a baking sheet with cinnamon rolls out of the oven, Heero put them on a plate and carried them back to the table, setting the plate next to others in the center. Sitting down again, he watched as Quatre and Trowa began eating breakfast. Grabbing two rolls, he set one in front of Duo who was nodding off again, about to fall face first onto his now-empty plate. Head snapping up with a jerk, large violet eyes blinked at Heero for a moment before a goofy grin crossed Duo's face as he latched onto the food.

"More coffee?"

Heero turned slowly to stare at Wufei, still unable to understand the boy. //He's been smirking at me since I got up. And smiling at Duo. Why? Does he really not know the progress I've made? Doesn't he realize things are going to be harder for him?// Still looking over the boy, Heero didn't answer, blinking when the Chinese boy smiled again and poured coffee into his cup before moving around him to stand by Duo.

Having wolfed down the roll, Duo was slowly leaning forward again, eyes drooping. Wufei gave his braid a sharp tug, earning him a possessive glare from Heero and a startled yipe from the long-haired boy. Looking over his shoulder, Duo glared and wrinkled his nose at Wufei's challenging expression before snatching up his mug and holding it out. "You certainly make a good waitress, Wufei," Duo taunted, frowning when he couldn't get a rise out of the other boy. Glancing around the table, he smiled at Trowa and Quatre, not having noticed when they'd come in. "I'm not a morning person."

"Obviously," Heero muttered without thinking, eyes widening when Duo stuck his tongue out at him and grinned before downing his coffee, mindless of the heat.

--*--*--*--

"We have another mission, a potentially dangerous one."

Duo glanced at Heero's blank expression and sighed. "You don't beat around the bush, do you."

"No. I've received word that OZ has one, possibly two mutants in their possession. We are to release them if they're captive and kill them if they've joined forces with OZ."

"But...I thought OZ refused to use mutants." Quatre looked around the table, eyes wide.

"There were nets inside the last compound. It's reasonable to believe they are making plans to catch mutants alive," Trowa said slowly. "If they have one or more already then we must act."

"My information says there should be fewer guards than before, but the compound is twice as large as the last one. We have to get inside and find those mutants. It would be best if we get them out alive, willing or not." Heero looked at Quatre, but Duo was the first to ask.

"How will we do that?"

"Quatre. If he can get close enough he can force them outside without any trouble." Trowa's eyes narrowed immediately, but he didn't argue, obviously waiting to hear the rest. "It would be best if they don't even know we were there until we have the mutants safely outside the compound. Duo, you would go in first and find places for Quatre and the mutants to hide when guards are around. It would be up to you to let them know when the area is clear."

"And us?" Trowa stared at Heero, expression calm as if he were resigned to the danger involved. More likely, he realized that the danger was not as great as it might have been.

"Stationed near the exit," Heero answered, relieved that the tall boy was not going to let his emotions lead him to objecting. He was just as uncomfortable with the idea of Duo going in and he couldn't be seen. "Trowa, you will monitor Quatre and Duo. If there is any trouble the three of us," he glanced at Wufei who nodded sharply, "will act as back-up. Hopefully we can get the mutants out and then stage an attack."

"When do I go?" Duo asked even though he suspected what the answer would be.

"Originally the plan was to attack tomorrow night, but there's evidence that they plan to move the mutants tomorrow so we'll go in tonight."

"Alright. Are there layouts of this base?" At Heero's negative shake of his head. Wufei frowned. "Then there's no point in reviewing anything. Let's prepare."

--*--*--*--

"There's a girl, not far from here." Quatre frowned as he concentrated, then pointed. "I think she's about twenty yards that way."

"Okay," Duo whispered back. "Wait here. I'll go find her. If she's alone, I'll come back and get you. Just monitor me. If anything happens stay here."

Quatre nodded and Duo slipped out the door of the dark storage room. Everything was going very smoothly. Moving silently, he passed the few guards unseen, stopping outside a wide set of doors that were opened to reveal an interesting scene.

A tall man with long blonde hair was standing in the corner of the room next to a small table covered with blueprints. Entering, Duo sidled against the wall so he could hear what was being said. There were three men in uniform standing next to the blonde man, one of which had stripes on his shoulder denoting a high rank. He had short, red-brown hair and arched, split eyebrows.

Leaning over the table, the blonde man slowly pointed to a spot on the print. "Here," he said softly, raising pale blue eyes to the brown haired man.

"And the other one?"

Duo was about to leave when the blonde man suddenly straightened and looked around the room. "He's here." The three men in uniform reacted immediately. Backs to the corner, they opened fire on the room, mindless of the equipment that was riddled with bullets. Falling against the wall, Duo slowly raised his gun as his vision blurred. Catching one of the soldier's in the chest as he slid to the floor, he saw the brown haired man aim toward him.

Realizing the smear of blood where he'd hit the wall had giving him away, Duo closed his eyes as he thought desperately to Quatre. //Get out. Have to get out. Go. Run. I have to get out..// Thought of escape consumed his mind and he pictured the safehouse as another gun went off and everything went black.

* * *

Hearing Duo's call, Quatre made for the door only to freeze when it was jerked open and a dart hit him in the neck. Before he could think, he felt himself collapsing. //Trowa....//

* * *

"Quatre!?"

Heero and Wufei flinched and turned in shock at Trowa's scream, frozen as they stared at him. His green eyes blazed in the dark of the room they hid in, a bright pulsating light that flowed down to surround his entire body. He flew by them as if he'd forgotten they were there, hitting the door with both open palms and sending it flying back off the hinges in a green explosion. Not pausing to check for enemies, he flew down the hall. Heero and Wufei exchanged a shocked glance, then Heero's eyes widened. "Duo."

Running together, the two boys followed Trowa's path, the occasional body marking the way. A siren was sounding and gunfire could be heard from somewhere ahead of them, spurring them on. "What the hell happened to him?!" Wufei cried as they ran, guns ready for any soldier that might have made it past the crazed boy.

"I don't know," Heero said, whirling to shoot the sudden outpour of soldiers through a door. Moving in front of Wufei, he fired into the hall, taking the few bullets that hit him easily as lightening shot through the walls to take care of the men his bullets didn't reach.

Finally, they reached the eye of the storm only to find that they'd missed it. Trowa floated two feet off the ground, green fire blazing around him as he glared at a tall, blonde man. It was obviously a stand-off as the man stood against a wall, Quatre held limp in his arms.

"Please stop," the man cried softly, looking at Trowa with pleading eyes. "He's all right! They just knocked him out. Check for yourself. Trowa! Calm down!"

Minutes passed as Wufei and Heero guarded the door, eyes moving over the two bodies on the floor of the room. Finally, Trowa sank so his feet touched the floor, the glow slowly dissipating. "Let. Him. Go." Voice deadly, Trowa continued to glare at the man.

"Don't kill me when I do. I'm not your enemy. And you need me." At Trowa's unmoved expression, the man slowly stepped forward. "Check my mind if you can. Kill me and your friend, Duo will die."

Both boys at the door turned abruptly, guns trained on the man who continued to approach Trowa until he stood directly in front of him. Handing Quatre to the tall boy, he turned his back on them, moving back to where he'd stood when they'd entered the room. He knelt on the floor, looking back at Heero and Wufei as Trowa checked Quatre for wounds.

"Help me. Get my sister and I out of here and I'll heal him. I know all about you, I'm his only hope."

--*--*--*--

"Hurry, he's fading fast."

Glaring at the man, Heero shoved past him, laying Duo on the bed. "You said you'd heal him," the Japanese boy said harshly, "Do it."

"You should leave," the tall man said gently.

"No."

Staring at the irate boy for a minute, he finally nodded. "Don't interfere." Turning back to the bed, he moved his hands lightly over the boy until he could bury his fingers in the hair on Duo's forehead. Holding his head still, he suddenly slapped him hard. First one cheek and then the other. Before he could move, Heero's fist hit him and he fell back. Shaking his head groggily, he looked up to see the boy advancing on him, fury blazing in his cobalt eyes.

"Don't!" he cried, holding up his hands. "I have to see! I have to know where he's injured."

Heero slowed, then turned abruptly when a soft groan sounded from the bed and Duo appeared. "Duo...?"

Drawing in a painful breath, Duo opened his eyes a crack, looking up at Heero. Seeing his desperate expression, Duo's eyes widened in fear. Swallowing roughly, he slowly lifted his head to look at himself. With another groan, he let his head fall back, eyes closed, face screwed into an expression of misery.

Standing, the blonde man moved to lay a hand on Heero's shoulder. "You won't like this, but I want you to stand on his other side and keep him still." Heero stared at him in obvious mistrust, but did as he said, moving to the other side of the bed and grasping Duo's hand in his.

Duo's eyes opened and widened as the blonde man leaned over him, recognizing hi as the man he'd seen in the compound. He was opening his mouth to warn Heero when the man suddenly drew a deep breath and, closing Duo's nostrils with one hand, pressed his lips to the boy's, breathing into his mouth. Fire raced through Duo's body, igniting where the bullets had hit him. Back arching from the pain, he pushed weakly at he man's shoulder, squeezing Heero's hand so hard that his fingernails cut skin. Finally, the man pulled back, gasping for breath and staggering for a moment before he placed his hands on the bloody wound on the right side of Duo's chest.

Gasping from the pain, Duo curled his free hand into a fist and hit the man, knocking him away. Swearing, the man growled for Heero to hold him as he placed his hands on the wound again. Duo struggled, staring in confusion when Heero grabbed his other hand and jerking furiously until the man finally stepped back.

"That was the worst one. If you bind them, the others can wait until he's asleep so long as I can see the wounds." Not waiting, he moved to the door and left the room.

Releasing Duo's hands, Heero unbuttoned his shirt, pushing it aside so he could see his chest. His eyes widened when he saw only unblemished skin.

"Heero...?" Heero looked up sharply at the confused hurt in Duo's voice.

"It's all right. He was healing you," Heero said quickly, touching Duo's forehead.

"But...he's the one who told them where I was. He's the reason I got shot."

"What?!"

"I saw him, He told them where Quatre was."

* * *

Trowa sat on his bed, Quatre laying across his lap, head thrown back limply. Arms around the sleeping boy, Trowa hid his face against Quatre's neck, breathing deeply. //I lost control. What happens if he's hurt? How many will I kill? I have to learn to control this. But...I can't lose him.// Suddenly he felt a tug at the hand that was clenched fiercely in Quatre's hair as the pale boy tried to move his head. Letting go, Trowa sat up abruptly, wide eyes moving over the boy's face. "Quatre?"

"Hmmm," Blinking slowly, Quatre looked up at him, expression downcast. "I'm sorry. They caught me off guard."

"God no," Trowa breathed, pulling him close. "It's not your fault. Just...let me hold you? Please."

"Trowa?"

"Please."

* * *

Wufei pushed away from the wall abruptly when the blonde man came out of the bedroom. Gesturing for him to come into the living room, Wufei searched his face. "How is he?"

"He could heal on his own without any more help from me. The other shots went straight through. I'll let them decide if they want to let me near him again."

"What do you mean?" Wufei asked, glancing at the door before staring at the man with narrowed eyes. "Who are you?"

"My name is Zechs," the man said softly, moving toward the couch.

"Millardo, must you--"

Zechs glared at the girl who got off the couch and shook his head. "I'm not a Peacecraft anymore, remember? They didn't want a mutant in the family. My name," he turned his back on the girl and faced Wufei again, "is Zechs Marquis. I've...been watching the four of you for days now under the order of OZ." At Wufei's growl of anger, he raised his hands. "Please, hear me out. This," he turned and gestured to the girl by the couch, "is my sister, Relena. What I did...I did because if I hadn't they would have killed her. I know that doesn't erase the pain your friend went through, but...I did stop them from killing him. Unfortunately, Treiz got away, but Duo lived. You see, Treiz is the head of OZ right now and he had two objectives. The first was to kill him." Zechs pointed down the hall at the closed door. "He believes that boy has powers that haven't shown themselves yet and OZ wants him dead."

"And the second objective?"

"Quatre, of course. He can control people with his mind. OZ wants to use him, to have him working for them."

"You said the four of us," Wufei said suddenly.

"Yes," Zechs answered, eyes wide in awe. "I had absolutely no contact with Trowa at all. The only time I could sense him was when he lost control. Let me tell you, Wufei, that one has powers that are horrifying to the mind. It's a good thing Quatre was unconscious. I don't know if he would have been able to handle the fury that consumes that boy."

"It's strange to hear you say our names so easily. But Trowa," Wufei shook his head slowly. "He never mentioned this to us."

"No. He can't control it, that's why. He lost control of himself."

"Because of Quatre.."

"Excuse me, is everyone going to ignore me all night?" Zechs put a hand over his forehead and sighed in exasperation as Wufei turned to give the girl an incredulous look. "After all," Relena continued, eyes wide, "I'm a victim here."

"Of course," Zechs said quickly, looking to Wufei. "Is there a place where my dear sister can get some rest? If we're still welcome that is."

Still giving the girl a strange look, Wufei nodded. "Follow me." Leading the girl, Wufei opened the door to Quatre's room, knowing he wouldn't be using it. He doubted Trowa was going to let the boy out of his sight. "You can sleep here." At the girl's gracious thanks, he frowned. "Don't touch anything."

Returning to the living room, Wufei arrived at the same time as Heero. "Finish healing him, then we talk," Heero said, not making it a request. Zechs nodded and entered the bedroom. As he followed the tall man, Heero paused to look at Wufei.

Duo watched as Zechs entered the room, still eyeing the man warily. He let out a silent sigh when Heero joined them, eyes lighting up when he spotted Wufei. At Heero's nod, Zechs began healing the more minor wounds Duo'd sustained.

"How are you?" Wufei asked quietly as he touched Duo's hand lightly, Heero watching from his post against the wall.

With a soft laugh, Duo grinned and grimaced at the dark haired boy, making a face at the burning sensation that accompanied the healing. "I've been better." Glancing at the man leaning over him, Duo looked at Wufei and raised his eyebrows.

"This is Zechs. Don't worry about him."

Suddenly Duo's eyes widened. "Quatre! Is he all right?"

"Fine," Wufei said quickly. "You'll get a recap of everything in the morning."

--*--*--*--

"What powers does OZ, or this man Treiz think Duo has?" Wufei asked. Heero'd been debriefed and had moved Duo into his room since his bed didn't have blood stains on it. At least, that was the reason he'd given, Duo'd already passed out from exhaustion.

"Did he tell you about the church he lived in?" Zechs asked. At Wufei's frown, he told him about the Maxwell Church massacre. "Your friend was the only survivor. They even have footage of the massacre. That's what clued Treiz in. Duo doesn't seem to remember, but there was no way he could have gotten out of that church. OZ nailed the doors shut and guarded the entire perimeter. There's film of Duo appearing outside the church and then disappearing midrun as he escaped. But no one can figure out how he got through the door. Treiz thinks he either walked through it or transported himself to the outside."

"Maybe he just found a way out," Wufei said, scowling.

"I don't know," Zechs warned, "but Treiz considers him a major threat. Duo's at the top of his list."

"Which explains whey they've been so determined to catch him." Wufei glared, then looked at Zechs who was sitting on the couch. "And now this man wants Quatre."

"At least he wants him alive."

"Well, it looks like we have a new target. It's late, you can sleep in my room." Without checking to see if he agreed, Wufei opened the door to his room only to find Zechs staring at him, pale blue eyes wide. Suddenly Wufei smirked and looked him in the eyes, slowly looking down then back up again before raising an eyebrow at the man's stricken expression. "I will be sleeping on the couch."

 

G-men Part 14: Late Night

"Heero?"

Opening his eyes, Heero moved back a bit to look down at the boy who was using his chest as a pillow. "I thought you were asleep."

"Mmm. Heero?" Duo whispered, not looking up. "I came really close to dying today..."

Overwhelmed by the angry possessiveness that surged in him, Heero growled and pulled the American closer. "You didn't. You're fine now."

"I know...but I came really close."

Sighing, Heero wondered what he should say. Then he felt lips move over his chest and froze. "Duo?" Pushing the boy back, he stared at him in surprise.

Frowning, Duo wrapped an arm around the shocked boy's neck. "Come on, Heero. We could both die tomorrow...why are we acting like we don't want each other?"

Eyes wide, Heero shook his head. "I don't know."

"Do you want me?" Duo asked, frowning in frustration. At Heero's sharp nod, he let out an exasperated breath. "Then what's the problem? What are we waiting for?" Not having the patience to wait for Heero to recover from his shock, Duo leaned forward and kissed him. Grunting with approval when Heero's arms tightened around him, he closed his eyes and let his emotions, not to mention raging hormones, guide him.

* * *

Making a tentative effort to move back, Quatre sighed when Trowa immediately tightened his grip. Although he loved being in the tall boy's arms, he was getting very frustrated that Trowa wouldn't talk to him. He still had no idea what had happened to the others and he really didn't want to intrude in their minds when Trowa could very easily tell him. He had checked to make sure they were all in the safehouse, but this had led him to discovering the prescence of two strangers as well. He knew that Trowa was extremely upset, but he was getting anoyed.

"Trowa, I can't breath." Quatre's eyes widened in shocked disbelief when he was abruptly released. Then he started to laugh. "You mean that's all I had to say?" he asked as he tried to stop laughing. Looking at Trowa's concerned eyes, he finally calmed himself. "Okay, now that I've got your attention, why don't you explain what that was all about?" Glancing down, he saw Trowa's hands twitch and scooted back quickly before he could be grabbed again. There was such a thing as too much glomping. "Oh no you don't!" he cried as he got out of grabbing distance. "You're going to talk to me now."

Folding his arms over his chest, Trowa frowned at him for a minute then sighed. "I don't want to talk right now," he said slowly, eyes clouded with a pain that Quatre couldn't decipher. "I...Quatre, I have something I need to tell you. But I'm...afraid that if I do it will change things between us. That's why I want to hold you now. Because after I tell you...I might not get to again."

"Trowa? You can tell me. Anything. You know that, don't you? What could be so bad that would make me leave you? I love you." Shaking his head, Quatre slowly inched toward him, ready to bolt if the green-eyed boy made a move in his direction. As much as he loved him, he wanted answers and he knew he wouldn't get them if he was caught again. "Trowa, I know you can read my mind so you have to know that I'm absolutely certain nothing you could say will change my feelings toward you. However," pale eyes narrowing, he glared at Trowa, "If you don't start talking to me real soon--like five minutes ago--I'm going to go sleep on the couch."

"No you're not!" Trowa cried angrily, eyes widening as he leapt across the bed and grabbed the smaller boy, holding him tight as if he were going to struggle. As it was, Quatre was much too shocked to move, letalone try to struggle.

"Trowa! What is wrong with you!?"

Fury blazing in his green eyes, he slowly loosened his grip a bit. "Wufei's sleeping on the couch and you're sure as hell not sleeping with him!"

"Oh!" Blushing bright red, Quatre shook his head quickly at the angry boy. "I didn't know! Really. I wasn't saying I was going to...I didn't realize he was on the couch."

Calming himself, Trowa loosened his grip some. "I'm sorry, Quatre," he said softly. Exhaling roughly, he slowly released the boy, moving back until he could lean against the headboard of his bed. "I...I'll tell you. You deserve to know, especially since it's obvious I haven't gained full control over my emotions yet." Looking at Quatre's wide eyes, Trowa willed himself to be calm. //He's here, safe. Sweet and gentle and I'm scaring him.// Motioning for the smaller boy to sit beside him, Trowa waited and wondered if he would. //I was out of control.// When Quatre finally moved beside him, Trowa let out a soft sigh and looked down for a minute.

Meeting his wide eyes, Trowa stared at him, statement solemn. "I've known you for longer than you know," he said slowly, nodding at Quatre's confusion. "I first sensed you over a year ago when I was passing your base on my way back from a mission. Quatre, there's something about you that calms me..." Shaking his head, he decided to take a different approach. "Flying isn't my only ability."

Still struggling to get over the fact that Trowa'd known him a year ago, Quatre frowned in confusion. "What else do you have? Why didn't you tell me you'd met me? Trowa. Why the secrets? Is it really that bad?"

"Yes. There is something in me, a fire or something. When I feel emotions I feel them completely. It's overwhelming and powerful, Quatre, and when I first sensed you...that was the first time I was able to control it, my rage. Just being near you enabled me to build the wall between me and the fire." Looking at Quatre's less confused eyes, Trowa stopped. "You don't seem to be taking this badly. I don't think you realize. Quatre, I've been following you for the last year. Except for missions, I stayed where I could sense you, where I could feel your...peace. And as strange as that is, it isn't what I was afraid to tell you. You are sensitive, Quatre, fragile..."

Frowning, Quatre started to shake his head, but Trowa stopped him, reaching out to grasp his chin lightly. "In here," he said, laying the fingertips of one hand on the boy's pale temple. You feel deeply, and you don't know how to block other people's emotions out. That's what scares me. The knowledge that my fury could hurt you. Destroy you."

"You wouldn't hurt me," Quatre protested, eyes narrowing as he interrupted whatever Trowa had started to say. Even if you...fury-- and I still don't undestand what that is--even if it did get out...Do you really believe you wouldn't be able to control it? You said that you stayed near me because I helped you keep a rein on your emotions. Then why would you loose control?" Sorting out what he was trying to say, Quatre held up a hand to forestall Trowa.

"Okay. You're afraid you'll lose control and the force of your anger will hurt me, right?" At Trowa's nod, he shook his head at the pain in those green eyes. "Don't you see? If I helped you control it before it got out, wouldn't I be able to help you once it is loose? Especially if I were prepaired. Fragile. Who's mind isn't fragile if something they aren't prepaired for attacks? I'm sorry, Trowa, but I think that if you knew that your anger was hurting me, you'd control it immediately. I don't believe you'd hurt me."

"I wouldn't!" Trowa cried, trying to get the boy to understand. "Not on purpose! But when I lose control I can't even think. Whatever emotion I'm feeling runs rampant and I can barely control my actions. How could I control my thoughts if I can't control my actions?" Looking down, he curled his hands into fists. "I have to learn to control this by myself. When you were knocked out, I ...I went beserk. I didn't care about anything but getting to you. Don't you see? I'm becoming dependent, even more now that you're mine."

Blinking at how nice it was to hear him say that, Quatre had to center his thoughts quickly. "So what do you plan to do? I mean, if the only time you lose control is when you're cut off from me then how could I get hurt? If I'm not there then how could I be affected by your anger? Trowa, I don't think you're giving this enought thought. You're not being rational."

"No I'm not," Trowa agreed, still not meeting his eyes. "I can't be rational when I'm faced with the prospect of leaving and not seeing you. I can't be rational."

"Leave?! Why?" Eyes widening as pain soared through him, Quatre grabbed his shoulder and pulled his head up so their eyes met. "Why would you leave me?"

"Because I have to learn control and that means letting down my guard, the wall I keep between myself and the fury. I can't do that where it could hurt you. I won't."

Still shaken, Quatre suddenly straightened, eyes narrowing as he met Trowa's hurt gaze. "And exactly how do you plan to go to a place where I won't sense you?" he asked angrily. "Now that I know I'll be able to sense you with your wall down, there's nothing to stop me from searching you out no matter how far you go. Don't you get it, Trowa? I'm not going to let you run away from me because you don't want me hurt. And if you try then realize it's just going to hurt me even more because I'll be waiting for you to let down that wall and the moment you do, I'll be there." Trowa's eyes widened as he read the conviction in the boy's mind, and Quatre nodded sharply. "You've had me there for a year, Trowa, but I just found you. And I won't let you go so easily."

* * *

Heero's mind warred with his body as he and Duo kissed. This was what he'd wanted since the first time he'd touched the beautiful boy, yet a part of him was yelling at him to stop. At first he ignored it, tilting his head as he explored Duo's hot mouth, driven by the boy's tongue and the small muffled sounds he made. Then his mind switched from urgent yelling to screaming and he slowly separated from the other boy, meeting his passion-glazed eyes with a reluctant gaze.

The loss of Heero's mouth was not immediately realized. Not until he opened his eyes and saw that they were no longer joined. Blinking in rising confusion, Duo frowned. "What?" he asked, breath coming fast as he barely restrained himself from pulling the Japanese boy back to him.

"You're recovering from the shock of almost having died," Heero said slowly, voice slightly strained from holding in his own lust. "You're not thinking clearly and I won't have you hating me or yourself in the morning."

Rolling his eyes, Duo let out a frustrated groan. "I'm not going to hate anyone in the morning. In fact, if you hadn't stopped I'm sure I would have been very happy come morning. What's the real problem, Heero? Is it you? Are you having doubts about wanting me?" Conceiling the hurt that tried to consume him at that thought, Duo glared. "If that's it then tell me now. Don't try to spare my feelings by acting like I'm the one with doubts because I know what I want."

"Nothing like that," Heero said, shaking his head. "You had a shock and I dont' want to take advantage of you." Seeing Duo roll his eyes again in disbelief, he sighed. "And I had a shock as well. As you said, you almost died and there is nothing I'd like more than to take you right now." Duo's eyes shone, and he grinned at his words, not the least bit upset when Heero put a restraining hand on his chest to keep him from moving closer. "But...I'm not going to let some crisis ruin my chances with you."

Looking down, Duo's grin turned into a smirk. "Well that's really too bad because I happen to think a crisis is the perfect excuse to get rid of pesky pleasantries and get down to what we really want." Raising his eyes, Duo closed his hand lightly on Heero's wrist. "And if you don't want to take advantage of this crisis then I'll have no choice but to take drastic measures."

Heero's brows drew together, but he didn't resist when Duo climbed off the bed, tugging on his hand until he got to his feet. Confusion shining in his eyes, he looked at the long-haired boy, not voiceing his questions only because Duo had opened the bedroom door and he didn't want to wake anyone up. Still not sure if he wanted to know what Duo was planning, Heero nevertheless followed him, moving silently down the hall till they stopped at the door to the shower room.

Opening the door, Duo pushed Heero inside, locking it behind him as the dark-haired boy turned on the lights and frowned at him. "I may not know much about seduction," Duo said with a smirk, "But I do know something that will help you get rid of your inhibitions. I learned it from you." Heero's eyes narrowed and Duo continued with a cheeky grin. "You're sexy as hell when you shower."

Smirking, Heero threw away his reservations and stepped to the boy, closing the distance between them. "I thought you'd like that," he said, voice low. Duo's eyes widened as he saw Heero's smirk and the words registered in his head, then he let out a soft oath and grinned.

"You mean you knew?! You knew I was there the whole time..." Glaring, Duo shook his head. "You shouldn't take such risks," he warned, "I came very close to jumping you."

"I was hoping you would."

Heart speeding up as he saw Heero pull his shirt over his head, Duo quickly undid his own, tossing it onto the bench with Heero's. Pausing as he looked at the dark-haired boy, Duo frowned. Heero had sat down on the bench and was watching him, arms folded over his chest, one eyebrow raised. At Duo's confused look, he smirked.

"What are you waiting for?" Heero goaded, "You watched me. It's my turn."

Blushing, Duo cursed his embarrassment. Eyes narrowing, he reminded himself that he could be just as sexy as Heero if not more. Determined to put on a very good show, he smiled a sultry smile and, reaching behind his back, pulled his braid over his shoulder. Catching Heero's eyes, he slowly pulled off his hair tie and started to unbraid his hair, turning his back to the boy when he reached the hair at the base of his neck.

Breath catching, Heero watched as Duo's long fall of hair was revealed, following the unravelling from the tips up to the back of the boy's head. Then he let his eyes move down again as he admired the golden-brown hair, hands clenched to his arms to keep them from moving in response to his desire to run his hands through the shining mass. Throwing a coy look over his shoulders, Duo smirked and, his back still turned, undid his pants and slowly pushed them down.
 

G-men Part 15:  The Only One

Glancing at the closed shower room door, Wufei let out a silent groan.  As happy as he was that the two boys were together, he knew he'd never be able to sleep on the couch with the two of them in there.  Quatre and Trowa were quiet lovers, but that was to be expected.  Duo on the other hand, he was always loud.  //I can just imagine how loud he'd be during sex.//  Flushing at the images that sprang to mind, Wufei glared daggers at the closed door before getting off the couch and making a bee-line for the back door.  It wouldn't be the first night he'd spent out doors, and it was much to hot inside.  The cool outdoors would be a welcome change.

* * *

"As you love me, have faith in me."

Shaking his head slowly, Trowa despised Quatre's sad statement  "I do," he said urgently, trying to bring the happiness back to those blue-green eyes.  "I do have faith in you, Quatre."  Stroking a hand over the pale boy's cheek, Trowa moved closer to him on the bed.  "It's my strength that I doubt.  Not you."

"Your strength," Quatre said softly, running his hands over Trowa's chest as that boy's arms raised and moved around him.  "You are strong."  Leaning forward, he placed soft kisses on Trowa's jaw and neck, pulling back in surprise when the tall boy let out a soft cry and tightened his arms.  "Trowa?"

"Quatre."  Green eyes met his and his own eyes widened at the blatant need he saw there.  "Please, Quatre, I need you.  If you're my strength I won't have doubts."

"I'm not strong," Quatre protested, unable to accept the responsibility Trowa implied.  "Not that strong."

"But you are," Trowa said fervently, running the fingers of one hand through his thick blonde hair.  "Strong enough to reach me.  And I've never let anyone in before.  Just you, Quatre."

Pale blue-green eyes shining, Quatre leaned closer, brushing the boy's long fall of red-brown bangs aside so he could place a gentle kiss on Trowa's forehead.  "Never, Trowa?" he whispered, bestowing light kisses on the boy and pulling away when Trowa tried to turn his head so their lips would meet.  "Am I the only one to kiss you like this?  To care for you this much?"

"Yes.  You're the only one I've ever wanted.  Loved."

"Needed?"

"Yes!" Trowa said urgently, devouring Quatre with his eyes.

"Good."  Hands behind the boy's head, he pulled him down, allowing their mouths to finally meet.  Kissing the boy passionately, Quatre was surprised at his own intensity.  Holding the boy tightly, he realized his urgency was spawned by the knowledge that he might have woken up one day and found Trowa gone.  "Don't ever leave me, Trowa," he said hoarsely, "That would tear me apart."

"I wouldn't want to..."

"Then don't.  Hold onto me.  Stay with me and I'll love you forever."

* * *

Looking at the glimpses of skin showing through Duo's long thick hair, Heero stood, hands clenched at his sides.  Stilling himself for Duo to turn, he waited, but the boy didn't move.  "What's wrong?"

"How did you manage?" Duo asked with forced humor, not looking over his shoulder at the boy.  "This is so embarrasing.  I didn't think it would be so difficult."

Blinking in surprise, Heero stepped to the boy, moving to stand in front of him.  Duo blushed furiously as Heero's eyes moved over him.  Head averted, he didn't see Heero bend and pull off the rest of his clothing before pausing as he watched the blood rush to Duo's cheeks.

For all his boldness, Duo couldn't remember ever having been seen naked.  There was a horrible sense of vulnerability that went along with it.  As if he had somehow shed his self-confidence along with his clothing.  Then an arm slipped around his waist and he turned his head to Heero as a hand cupped his cheek and the dark haired boy was moving close so their lips touched.  Closing his eyes, Duo wrapped his arms around Heero, forcing himself to think only of the kiss and how good Heero's tongue felt against his.

One hand buried in the hair he'd lusted after for so long, Heero pulled Duo closer to him till their bodies touched.  Parting for air, he moved his mouth against Duo's neck, tasting him as the other boy closed his eyes and made a soft sound, his hands flexing against Heero's back.  Moving subtly, a small bit at a time, Heero slowly backed Duo toward the wall, greatful to the thick walls that would hold in their noise.  Judging by the small noises Duo was making now, he wouldn't be silent later.  Although he'd expected Duo to take charge, he was quickly realizing that the lovely boy wasn't as experienced as he'd thought.

Lost in the sensation's Heero's hot mouth was bringing to his neck, Duo didn't realize they were moving until he felt the cold wall against his back.  Flinching, he opened his eyes to meet Heero's thoughtful gaze.  Following the other boy's movements, he saw Heero reach out to touch the wall, a frown coming to his lips.  "Heero?"

Shaking his head, the Japanese boy pulled Duo away from the wall and into his arms.  Kissing him, he turned again so his own back was to the wall, pulling Duo's hands up so the boy was leaning on the wall rather than him.  Pulling away, he moved so his lips touched Duo's ear.  "You taste good," he said thickly, giving his earlobe a slight tug with his teeth.  "I want more."

Smiling wryly, Duo nipped at Heero's exposed neck, rewarded by the other boy's smirk.  Then his eyes widened as Heero bent and took one of his nipples into his mouth, his tongue causing it to harden and Duo gasped.  Licking his lips with pleasure, Duo leaned heavily against the wall, breath speeding up as Heero's hands massaged his sides.  Looking down at Heero, Duo blinked in surprise when the cobalt-eyed boy gave him a genuine if wicked smile.  Then he let out a choked cry as Heero dropped to his knees and, without preamble, took his hard member into his mouth.

Moving carefully, Heero took as much of the boy into his mouth as he could, relaxing his throat so he wouldn't gag at the intrusion.  Since he hadn't actually done this before, he let Duo's moans guide him, repeating the gestures that illiceted the deeper ones.  Having found what the long-haired boy seemed to like most, he fell into a rhythm.  Letting the boy slip almost completely out of his mouth, he carressed his tip with his tongue before taking him in again, sucking with a steadily increasing pressure that had Duo making small cries that sent thrills through his own body.

Head hanging against his chest, breath coming in harsh pants, Duo pushed involuntarily against Heero, urging him to go faster, his hands held flat against the wall in an effort to keep from shoving into the boy's mouth and choking him.  Catching the unspoken message Heero sped up his movements as his hands caressed Duo's backside and thighs.   When he came, Heero swallowed quickly, moving his head to place moist kisses on the boy's flat abdomen before slowly rising to his feet.  Nudging Duo's head up, he kissed him lightly before slipping out from between the boy and the wall, grabbing a bottle of body wash from a small shelf on the wall.

Before Duo's exhausted yet bliss-filled mind could comprehend Heero's abscence or wonder where he'd gone, he felt arms slip around his waist and a warm body pressing against his back.  Utterly content, he let out a soft sigh and tilted his head back as Heero kissed the side of his neck.  Shivering a bit at the feel of Heero's stiff erection pressed against him, Duo let out a soft moan as a hand moved around him to bring his now limp member back to life.  Knowing what Heero planned to do, he forced his muscles to relax as a slick finger was slipped into him, searching and coating his insides.

Implementing all of his control, Heero moved slowly, waiting until Duo let out a startled cry as he found the spot he'd been seeking before slipping another finger into the boy, widening his entrance carefully.  When Duo began to push back against him, he coated his erection and, slipping his fingers out, pressed himself into the boy.  Again, it took all of his control not to bury himself in the heat, but he waited, letting Duo relax before pushing in more.  Finally, he was embedded in the boy and he couldn't restrain a low moan at the exquisite feeling.  The fact that it was Duo in his arms driving him crazy as he waited again.

Twitching against the sensation of being filled, Duo was again caught off guard when Heero moved slightly touching that spot that made him want to scream.  Instead, he moaned and shoved back against the other boy, grateful to the arm around him despite his own hold on the wall.  Heero withdrew a bit before pushing back in, Duo moving to meet him with his muffled cries coming in time with the hot breath that hit his ear.  Stroking the boy in time with his own strokes, Heero groaned again and lowered his head to nip his teeth at Duo's shoulder, his tongue moving to soothe the skin he'd bitten even as his movements came quicker and harder.  They came seconds apart, both ready to collapse to the hard floor with the intensity of their releases.

Turning Duo, Heero pulled him into his arms as they stumbed toward the door.  Jerking a towel off the rack, Heero spread it quickly on the the ground so they could lie on it.  With a satisfied sound, he pulled Duo close, throwing a leg over the Duo's legs as he lay boneless looking at his beautiful lover.  With a sigh of his own, Duo stared at Heero, his violet eyes soft as a small smile curved his lips and he wrapped his arms around the boy's waist.  Forcing himself to move, he nuzzled against Heero's neck before closing his eyes and enjoying the sensation of being in Heero's arms.

 

G-men Part 16:  One More

//I'll never understand my own heart.  Why did I let him go so easily?  It's true that he is the first true friend I've ever had but he's also a very attractive boy.  I could tell myself that I never had a chance with Heero as competition, especially since there was obvious chemistry between the two of them.  I could tell myself that, but it's not enough.  I didn't even try, hell, I pushed them together by provoking Heero like that.  It was as if I want to be alone.//  Sighing, Wufei leaned back on the steps, looking up at the stars.

It wasn't as cold as he'd thought it would be, and he was glad he'd gone outside.  It was very peaceful and he'd always been more comfortable alone, away from people.  As much as he enjoyed the others' company, and he did, he hadn't realized how much he'd missed just sitting alone beneath the stars.  //I do like to be alone, but not forever.  I want someone with me, just not Duo.  Maybe I knew he had his heart set on Heero, though God knows why he would.  Or I didn't want to ruin our friendship.  I'd like to use that excuse, but it sounds so flat, even to me.  I don't know.  I guess the fact that he is so close to everyone turned me away.  I want someone who will...see me.  Just me.  I don't want someone I have to be jealous of every time another man looks at him.//

Remembering the way Heero'd glared at him when he'd looked at Duo, Wufei nodded his head.  //I guess I would be like that too if I had someone as beautiful as him.  I wouldn't want anyone to look at him.//  Closing his eyes, he let out a long sigh.  Minutes passed, then he jerked abruptly as he realized he'd almost fallen asleep.  //Not on the steps.//  Standing, he stretched and glanced at the door.  //Wonder if they're done.  Damnit, I want my bed back.//

Glaring at the door, he opened it silently, listening for any suspicious sounds.  Not hearing anything, he let out a soft sigh and entered the safehouse, bolting the door before heading back to the living room.  Eying the couch that was just long enough for him to stretch out on, he paused.  file://I could always use Duo's bed.  I doubt if he'll need it tonight.//  Remembering the mess in the American's room, he discarded the idea quickly and sat on the couch with a resigned sigh.

* * *

"So, where do we start?"  Looking around the table, Duo nodded to the strange girl who moved to sit next to the tall blonde man.  //Zechs,// he thought quickly, //and she must be the girl Quatre sensed before everything happened.//

"I believe introductions are in order," the girl in question said lightly, turning to look at Zechs.

"Zechs Marquise," he said softly, nodding to Quatre before turning to tilt his head toward his sister.  "And this is Relena Peacecraft."

Smiling, Relena looked at the five boys, nodding as each gave his name.  She was about to say something when Duo interrupted with an appologetic grin. "That's not what I meant.  It's nice to know who everyone is, but I was hoping to hear what happened last night.  I don't know about you," he said to Quatre before glaring at Wufei, "but I was told I'd get a recap in the morning."  Pinning the Chinese boy with his expectant gaze, he smiled suddenly, belying his pretense at anger.  "Well, it's morning."

"Breakfast first."

Turning to give Heero a glaring pout, Duo sighed as he took in the boy's calm, steadfast expression.  "Can't we talk and eat at the same time?  After all," his eyes lit up, "It would be a more efficient use of our time."

Not buying it, Heero's eyes narrowed.  "No.  We'd talk while you ate."  Turning his eyes downward to his plate, Heero took a bite of his food, the conversation-slash-argument apparently over.  Hearing Relena clear her throat, his eyes flew up.

Before she could get a word out, Duo interrupted again.  "How come it's okay for her to ask questions but not me?  That's hardly fair."

Silence reigned as all eyes moved to Duo, then Heero groaned audibly, a hand going to his forehead as he resisted the urge to bang his head on the table.  "Fine," he said, not looking up as he slowly resumed eating.  "Ask what you want, but I'm not answering anything until I've eaten."

* * *

"Do they always argue like that?"

Glancing at Relena, Wufei smirked.  "Worse.  This isn't bad as early as it is."  Moving his eyes to include Zechs, he smiled.  "Duo is not a morning person."

"Well, that is no excuse for such imature behavior."

Wondering why she'd followed him outside, Wufei gave the girl an irritated look.  He wasn't sure what it was, but something about her rankled him.  Then again, he'd never been fond of the 'weaker sex'.  Deciding to ignore her, he looked at Zechs who was leaning against the post beside where he sat on the steps.  Him he liked, though again, he couldn't say why since the man was a bit too passive for his standards.  Remembering the man's hasty retreat when he'd woken up, Wufei fought a smile.  //As if I'd sleep through that.  He must not have read my mind or he'd have known I was awake the entire time.  Watching me while I sleep, huh?  It looks like he's got it bad.//

Smiling slightly when the tall man blinked and raised an eyebrow, Wufei turned toward the house, looking through the open screen.  "I'd say things have calmed down enough for intelligent conversation now," he said, including Zechs in his nod towards the door.  He didn't care if the girl came in or not, but Duo needed to hear what the man had told him.  "Hope you weren't planning on running off just yet."

"Actually, that's something I wanted to discuss with you before we join the others."  Seeing the boy's questioning gaze, Zechs turned to Relena.  "Would you mind giving us some privacy, Relena?"

Frowning, Relena stood but made no move to go inside.  "Whether or not we stay here has as much to do with me as it does with you.  You have no right to decide such a thing without me."

Eyes narrowing as he saw the black-haired boy glaring at Relena, Zechs gripped his patience tightly.  "I am not your guardian, Relena.  The only thing that holds me to you is blood.  As it is, I fully intend to see you back in Sanc Kingdom before I go on my own, so the discussion does not involve you.  Now please, let us speak in private."

Blinking, Relena looked hurt for a moment before she turned and entered the house quickly.  Sighing, Zechs met Wufei's eyes as he slowly sat down beside the boy.  "She's a princess, and she's used to being treated as one.  I never knew she would be spoiled so badly when I left home, or I might have tried to stop it from happening."

"Why do you put up with her?  Especially since she's a weakness to you."   Nodding when the man looked at him in surprise, Wufei scowled at the door.  "Oz used her against you.  It's obvious that she's a weakness."

"She is," Zechs said slowly, glancing over the yard.  "But if you had seen her six years ago, you'd understand.  She was such a sweet, inquisitive child, so peaceful and caring in nature.  Those traits haven't actually changed, they've jsut been buried under her snobbish behavior.  I guess it's the memory that makes me care, makes me want to protect her."

Not wanting to talk about the irritating girl, Wufei nevertheless found himself feeling sympathetic towards the man beside him.  "So long as you know your weakness, you can keep it from being used against you.  Don't make the same mistake twice."

"No."  Sighing, Zechs looked at the solemn boy beside him, black eyes wide with a wisdom beyond his age.  "But that isn't what I wanted to discuss.  I'm in awe of the five of you.  I'm sure you can guess what I want to ask."

//He wants to join us.//  Smirking, Wufie met those pale blue eyes.  "I would say yes, but it isn't my decision.  We've...rallied behind Heero.  Either get a majority in your favor, or convince him.  It's that simple."

Frowning, Zechs folded his arms over his chest.  "Why him?  Although I'd rather not remind you of my crimes against you, I've looked into your minds.  What I've seen tells me that Quatre is the best strategist, not Heero."

Wufei reacted as if he'd been stung, jerking away before leaning forward.  "Are you certain of this?  Quatre has never fought, he knows nothing about actual battles."

"You are wrong," Zechs said, shaking his head slowly.  "I'm not sure why he never mentioned it, or why Heero didn't think to look into his history, but that boy has been leading troops for years.  True, he did it from a distance, but he was the guiding force of his army in many battles."

"His army?"

"Maguanacs, I think he calls them.  Since his father died, they have been his family, until now of course.  Though I've never heard of them myself, Quatre has great self-confidence when he thinks about them.  It seems they never question his orders when it comes to battle strategy.  He has a very keen mind."

"I don't doubt his mind," Wufei said in his defense, "it's just that Quatre...he isn't the type to hold things back.  I don't understand why he would keep such skills a secret."

"I thought it was because of Heero, but having had a glimpse of Trowa's mind, I know it's him.  Mainly him, but yes, it's also the rest of you.  He doesn't see himself as a member of the...team.  He...thinks he's a weak joint.  As I said, when he remembers his soldiers, he is extrememly confident, but comparing himself to the four of you has crushed that.  He's unsure."

"You saw all of this?  But Trowa has the ability to read minds too, surely he would have sensed this."

"I imagine he has, but he'd no doubt hide that from Quatre since the boy obviously doesn't want you to know.  It's my opinion, for whatever that's worth, that you need to know.  It's wrong to let one of your best resources go unused, and Quatre shouldn't be left thinking of himself as useless."

Quite impressed, Wufei smiled at the man's serious expression.  "Well, if you didn't have my vote before, you'd have it now.  You seem to know more about us than we do.  That sort of insight could prove very handy.  As it stands though, you'll still have to talk to Heero."  Seeing the man's uncertain expression, he smirked.  "I wouldn't worry about that, just tell him about the possibilty of Duo's having another power and he'll be on your side in no time."

Eyes widening at the implications of that statement, Zechs cleared his throat.  "Like that?  The two of them?"  At Wufei's semi-proud nod, he managed a smile.  "That explains the banter then.  I take it it's a matter of opposites, yes?"

"They'll certainly keep each other on his toes," Wufei said, evil grin surfacing as he climbed to his feet.  "Come on, if we don't get in there, Duo'll be dragging us in.  He's waited long enough."

"You're very close to him."

Turning at the man's soft, surprised voice, Wufei met his eyes without flinching.  "He's the best friend I'll ever have."
 

Part 17:  Revelations

"You know, Heero, you weren't very nice to me considering what we did
last night."  Looking down at the dark haired boy seated in front of
his laptop, Duo frowned.

Blinking, Heero looked at the screen for a minute before pushing back his chair and standing with a sigh.  He took in Duo's worried statement as he stepped to him, one hand taking hold of his braid, the other moving around his waist.  "You were being impatient, was I supposed to give in?"  Shaking his head, he pulled the unresisting boy up against him, mouth moving over his.  Pulling back, he met Duo's violet eyes with a nod and stepped back, releasing him.

"Mmm, much better."  Grinning, Duo didn't mind when Heero gave him a light push toward the door.

"Let's go," he said, opening his bedroom door and pushing the boy into the hall.  "Everybody whould be fully awake now, including you."

"What's that mean?" Duo asked, frowning over his shoulder at Heero.

"You don't wake up until you've eaten.  I've noticed."

"Oh."

They found Relena sitting on the couch when they entered the living room, Heero's hand dropping from Duo's back as he glanced at her.  She was glaring at the kitchen doorway, her arms folded over her chest, but she smiled and stood when she saw them.  "Hello, I was wondering where you went.  My brother is outside."

Nodding, Heero passed her and moved into the kitchen, eyes moving over the two boys seated at the table as he sat down.  Grinning as he followed, Duo shrugged.  "Heero's ready to talk, so there's no time to waste."  He paused in the doorway, frowning as he took in her wide eyes.  "What's wrong?  Aren't you coming?"

"Oh.  Yes, of course."

She brushed past him on her way into the kitchen, and Duo frowned when he saw where her eyes were focused.  Smirking at what he recognized as jealousy, Duo sat across from Heero, watching the boy to see if he'd noticed his new admirerer.  //Not that I blame her, he looks great in that tanktop.  Besides, Heero's mine.//  He stood again, grin in place as he walked to the door.  Pushing it open, he stuck his head out.  "Come on, you two, time's a-wastin'."

Turning, Zechs and Wufei nodded and followed him in, Duo holding the door for them and waving them toward the table.  They looked at each other as they sat, then Zechs cleared his throat, carefull not to look at his sister as he centered his attention on Heero.  That boy was watching him closely, intense eyes giving nothing away save his rapt attention.

"I'm not sure where to start, but I assume you have questions."

"That's right," Duo said, nodding as his smile gave way to a serious statement.  "If no one else minds, I'd like to go first."  Not receiving any objection, he looked at the tall man.  "First off, if you were being forced to help OZ, why'd you tell them where I was?  Couldn't you have lied or something?"

Wincing, Zechs dropped his eyes to the table.  "I had to distract them," he said slowly, not making excuses but simply telling it.  "I knew what they'd do and it was the only was I could think of to distract them enough for me to get one of their guns.  I knew I could heal you, and I thought I could kill them before you were injured too badly.  I hadn't counted on Treiz pinpointing you like that.  I'm sorry.  If I'd known, I wouldn't have taken the risk."

"How did Treiz get away?" Wufei asked.  "I would have thought he'd kill you before making his escape."

"He would have, but as soon as he fired he was out the door.  After Quatre.  That's when I killed the other two.  They were checking the body--I mean Duo.  I followed Triez, but he'd heard the commotion and was gone when I got to Quatre.  I'd just brought him to where Duo was when Trowa showed up."

"How long were you with OZ?"

His eyes moved to Quatre and he sighed, grateful for the change in subject.  "About two weeks, but they didn't have Relena for the first day or two so they didn't use me at first."

"Do you know why they've been so determined to catch me?" Duo asked, eyes hard.  "It's been two years and there're still posters out for me."

Zechs glanced at Wufei, seeing the boy's nod before turning to Duo.  "I know why.  Duo, have you ever had the feeling you've forgotten something?"

"What?  What are you talking about?"

"I've seen footage of the massacre."  He winced as Heero glared at him and knew he shouldn't have used the word.  Gritting his teeth, he plowed foreward.  "Duo, how did you get out of the church?  The doors were nailed shut."

His eyes narrowed as he frowned at the man, confusion evident.  "What?  They couldn't have been.  I went out the back door, it was the closest to where I was and there wasn't time to try and sneak out."

"Yes, the footage shows you appearing outside the door, but how did you get through it?  Duo, that door never moved."  The boy didn't answer, eyes wide as he paled visibly, shaking his head.  "Treiz is convinced you either teleported to the outside or walked through the door.  And I know you teleported, moved yourself.  Because I've seen you do it."

"No...I didn't.  Damnit!  I remember going out that door.  How could I have...done that and not remember?  I remember everything about that day, I always will.  There's no way I could forget.  Besides, if I could do that then..."  His voice trailed off, face growing paler as he suddenly dropped his eyes to the table.

"Inside the base, when Treiz shot you, you did it then.  It was just for a second before you lost consciousness, but for a second you weren't there."

Glaring suddenly, Duo looked around the table.  "Are you guys hearing him?  He's saying I wasn't in the base.  Why are you looking at me?"

"Duo, do you remember opening the door?"

Stricken, Duo stared at Heero for a minute, hurt shining in his wide eyes.  "Not you too..."

"Do you?"

Wincing, he wrapped his arms around himself before shooting daggers at Heero.  "No!  Okay?  Is that what you want to hear?  I don't actually remember going out the door, but things were happening so fast...The church only had two doors and I went for the closest one."

"Quatre, did you hear the last thing that was going through his mind in the base?"

The blonde boy looked at Zechs sharply, eyes narrowing slowly.  "Yes.  He was thinking that he had to get out, then..."  Gasping, he stared at Duo.  "Duo...he's right.  I didn't have time to think about it, but I lost contact with you.  It was just for a second, but you were gone."

"Don't feel like that."  Duo glanced up, glaring at Zechs before looking down again.  "You shouldn't feel like you've been betrayed, Duo."

Flinching when he looked up again to find Heero's eyes on him, Duo shook his head.  "I just need time to think about this, okay?  Can we talk about something else for a while?"

"Do you want to take a break?  We have time."

Duo jerked, eyes flying around the table, the somewhat confused statement on Relena's face acting as a cruel reality check as he stared at her before looking back to Zechs.  "No.  I'm fine."

Standing, Heero nodded to Zechs.  "We'll be back."  He ignored Duo's protests as he pulled the long-haired boy to his feet and practically drug him out of the room.  Taking him to his room, he shut the door behind them, staring at the boy.

"Heero, I'm fine.  Really, it's just a lot to take in is all."

"You never lie," Heero said softly, stepping forward as he wrapped his arms around him, holding the stiff boy close.  Minutes passed before Duo finally relaxed, his arms moving around Heero's waist as he hid his head against his shoulder.  "Tell me."

"Heero...don't you see what this means?"  Letting out a choked cry, he squeezed him tightly, "If I could do what he says then I could have saved them.  I could have..."

"You were so young, and you didn't know."  Returning the almost painful embrace, he lowered his head, cheek pressing against Duo's as he whispered in his ear.  "It's not your fault.  You didn't do it, OZ did.  The only thing you're guilty of is being a child."  Closing his eyes when the boy shook roughly, he rested his forehead on his shoulder.  "Duo...please don't cry..."

* * *

"Why wouldn't he remember?"  Eyes moving to Quatre, Trowa frowned.  "How could he forget something so important to him?"

"I don't know," the blonde boy responded.  "I guess it just happened so fast he never thought about it.  Maybe his power only manifests itself when he's in danger."

"Now," Zechs agreed, nodding.  "But I think he could learn to master it."

"If he can, it would be a great addition, but we can't push him.  I think there's a reason why he doesn't want to believe it, and without knowing what that is, we can't push him."  Smiling slightly when Zechs nodded, Wufei sighed.  "As soon as they get back, we'll discuss you."

"No," Zechs shook his head, "Quatre first."  Trowa's green eyes narrowed as he looked at the pale man, but he didn't speak.

"Me?  Couldn't you tell me now?"  Blinking when the man exchanged glances with Wufei, Quatre frowned.

"We should wait," Wufei said, eyes moving to the doorway.  "Heero definitely needs to hear this."

"Is Heero your leader?"

Wufei looked at Relena in something akin to surprise.  He'd forgotten her.  Eyes moving to Zechs, he nodded before focussing on her again.  "I would say he is.  He's the one who drew us together, although other things played into it.  We're also together because our abilities are magnified when we fight together.  We compliment each other."  He looked at Zechs again and smiled.  "Heero wanted to form an elite team of mutants."

"Will Duo's new ability help?"  Wufei glared at her and she sat back a bit.

"Of course, if he can use it."

"Why couldn't he?"  Frowning at him, she folded her arms over her chest.  "If it only happens when he's in danger, the obvious course would be to put him in danger."  She flinched as three more glaring eyes pinned her down, but continued doggedly.  "Not real danger, of course, just enough for him to use his power.  Then, he'll actually see it happen and he can learn how he does it."

Zechs blinked for a minute, then glanced at Wufei nervously.  "She has a point.  I know you don't want to push him, but for his own safety, he should know how to do it.  If he could teleport on thought, he would never have been injured at all."

"Stop it."  Glaring when they looked up, Heero pulled Duo into the room.  "Leave it for now.  There are other things to discuss."  He watched as Duo sat, relieved that the haunted look had left his eyes, then he sat as well.  "What else do you have?" he asked, staring at Zechs, one eyebrow raised.

"Well, this isn't really a revelation since two of you already know, but I think you should address it.  Wufei told me that you," he nodded to Heero, "have been in charge of strategy.  While I admit that you have done well, I have to say that you aren't the most qualified."

Duo laughed, missing the way Heero's eyes softened a bit at the sound, and smiled.  "Are you trying to get all of us mad at you?  I must say, you're pretty brave."

"Actually, I don't want any of you angry with me.  I'm trying to help.  What I meant was, Quatre is a better strategist."

"Me?!"  Pale blue-green eyes very wide, Quatre blanched, looking to Heero quickly.  "Heero is much better."

"I hadn't realized how much the five of you were ignorant of each other, but you really don't know each other that well.  Quatre, you know I'm right about you.  You have a problem doubting yourself, but there's no reason for it.  In fact, by hiding your skills, you aren't helping your friends"

"Are you a psychologist?  I don't know what you're talking about, but I get the feeling you're good at manipulating people."

Zechs flused as he looked at the long-haired boy, Duo's words affecting him badly.  "I do know about manipulation," he admited, "but that's not what I'm doing.  Quatre, how many battles have you directed?"

All eyes moved to the blonde boy and his normally pale face grew white.  "It's not the same," he said, eyes dropping to the table.  "Those were during a war, they weren't like our battles.  I don't know anything about attacking bases the way the others do.  Remember, I've never attacked OZ."

"Enough," Trowa said softly, a hand moving to the boy's shoulder.  "He's right, this should be addressed.  I've known about your skills, Quatre, and I've kept quiet for your sake.  But I don't," his eyes narrowed, "like the way you put yourself down."  He met Heero's frowning gaze steadily, not removing his hand from Quatre's shoulder.  "The base he was in when you met him belongs to a group called the Maguanac Core.  Rebels, they fought together and Quatre led and directed them.  And he was excellent at it."

Duo couldn't help smiling at how proud Trowa was of the blonde boy.  "Wow, Quatre.  Why didn't you say something?"

"He's intimidated."

Duo's eyes widened in disbelief.  "By me?!"

Snorting, Wufei looked away, eyes moving to Quatre.  "If you have doubts, put them aside.  We're...friends.  Each of us excells at certain things, one of your skills is leadership.  Just accept it."

"Quatre, what would you do if you were in charge of our missions?"

Eyes wide, the blonde boy shook his head quickly.  "No, Heero.  It's true about the Maguanacs, but that was different.  I'm not qualified for this."

Heero stared at the boy, drilling him with an intense gaze.  "I believe Trowa.  He knows you better than any of us.  Actually, I have no qualms at all.  I play by the numbers, a different view can help."

* * *

"Could I speak to you for a moment?"

Quatre turned in response to the soft request, eyes catching Relena.  "Of course.  Is something wrong?"  Heero and Wufei were speaking to Zechs in another room, so he gestured toward the empty kitchen.

"Actually, I'm worried about what's going to happen to me.  My brother is planning to send me home.  But what's to stop OZ from simply kidnapping me again to use against him?"  Blinking at Quatre's concerned statement, she sat at the table.  "I don't know what to do to keep that from happening."

"Isn't there some way you could be protected?"

"I had guards in the Sank kingdom, but they were no match for OZ, especially when they knew exactly where I was.  I don't understand why I couldn't stay here."  She saw the boy frown slightly and looked down at the table.  "I'd be much safer with you and I know Zechs wants to join you.  I'd hate to be used against him again."

"Yes..."  His eyes moved over the girl and his frown deepened.  "You were lucky to have gotten away uninjured.  I don't know if it will help, but I'll talk to the others for you.  You really would be much safer here."

Smiling, Relena stood abruptly, taking the surprised boy's hand in both of hers.  "Thank you.  I knew you'd help me."

* * *

"I have no objections," Heero said evenly, staring at Zechs.  "A healer would be invaluable.  That, combined with your psychic abilities leaves me no reason to object.  However."  He shook his head slowly, eyes glinting dangerously.  "You are the only one of us with someone who can be used against you.  We can't let that happen again."

"I'm glad you realized that."  Smiling from the doorway, Quatre nodded before entering the room.  "It seems to me that the best solution would be to keep Miss Relena in a safe place where OZ can't find her.  And to make sure she's protected and thereby protect ourselves as well."

"But where?"  Zechs frowned as he looked to Heero, taking in the boy's dark gaze.  "I'd planned to send her home, but I have to admit it's a bad idea, stupid really.  It would be easy for OZ to go and get her again.  It's a pacifist nation, you see?  They're practically defenseless."

"Aren't you the heir now?"  Not blinking when the blonde man turned sharply, Wufei raised an eyebrow.  "I'm surprised you would let your country go unprotected."

"I was disowned, privately, but I've no love for the title."

"What about he people," Wufei said softly, recognizing the man's anger as an attempt to hide his pain.  "Did they play a part in it?  Should they be held responsible for something you father did?"

"If they knew I was a mutant, I'm sure they'd react the same way he did.  No, Relena would make a much better ruler...if she could forget about herself long enough to think of the kingdom and the people.  She was very good at keeping the peace when she was a child, she did it naturally.  I believe those traits are still there."

"Until you decide how to protect her in the nation," Quatre said, "I suggest we keep her here with us.  It's the safetest alternative."

"You don't know what you're getting yourself into," Zechs said softly, glancing up at the boy from where he sat.  "But you're right."

* * *

"I'm not a coward, and I'm not afraid of pain, but I don't want to die."  Giving Trowa a weak smile, Duo chewed on his lower lip.  "What if it doesn't work and my power doesn't manifest itself.  You could end up killing me.  I mean, being invisible isn't going to help when you know exactly where I am, and I can only run so fast.  You can fly."

"I wouldn't know exactly where you were, just an approximation.  I know I can't control my powers, but I don't believe I'd kill you.  I did stop when Zechs had Quatre, so I must have some bit of control."  Glancing down at the ground beneath the limb he sat on, Trowa shook his head.  Having found the boy in a tree behind the safehouse, he'd decided to take advantage of the fact that they were alone.  "With Zechs's abilities, any injuries can easily be healed."

Glaring at the boy, Duo made a disgruntled sound, leaning back on the limb he was reclining on.  "So you say, but the healing hurts almost as much as the injury.  I don't know, Trowa.  I mean, what if it doesn't work?  After all, if it's my subconscious that triggers the power, it may not work if you are the threat.  Besides, I can't see as how I'd be much of a threat to you.  Wufei could be a good sparring partner for you to test yourself on, but without a gun, I'm more of an infiltrater than a fighter.  Man, that sucks to say."  Trowa glanced up and he grinned.  "No one said the truth had to be nice."

"Use a gun then."

His mouth fell open and he nearly fell out of the tree as he jerked away from the green-eyed boy.  "Are you nuts?!  Shit, I don't care how fast you fly, I never miss a target."  Blinking, he tilted his head to the side as he saw the boy's lips twitch.  "What?"

"I don't have Heero's speed, but if you noticed, I didn't get shot in the base.  I can't really remember much when I'm in that state, but surely one of the guards I took down got a shot off first.  At close range."

"Are you saying...what?  Bullets don't hurt you?"

Trowa shrugged, eyes blazing.  "I don't know.  That's just one more reason for me to learn to control my power so I can use it.  You also have a power you need to learn to control.  I can't see any of the others voluntarily injuring you, or even threatening you to the point that your life is in danger."  He looked away abruptly, his voice soft.  "I wouldn't do it voluntarily either, but if I don't restrain myself and you threaten me, I'll react accordingly."

"I'd say let me think about it, but I guess time's not something we have a lot of."

"No.  It's likely that they'll try to use a mutant again, they almost got us this time."

"Doesn't look like we have any alternative.  But still, I don't like the idea of shooting at you.  I mean, it's dangerous."  Smirking when Trowa raised an eyebrow, Duo let out a soft laugh.  "Right.  Since when is anything we do not dangerous."
 

Part 18:  Reactions

"No."

"What do you mean 'no'?  Aren't you even going to consider it?  The idea...has merit."

Heero's eyes moved over Duo, taking in his disgruntled statement but he also saw relief not quite masked in those violet eyes.  "I take it this was Trowa's idea?"

"It doesn't matter who's idea it is," Duo said quickly, frowning, "I want one reason why you said no, just one.  What am I supposed to tell Trowa?  Heero won't let me?"

"It's dangerous and unnecessary."  Turning in his chair, Heero pointed to the blueprints on the screen of his laptop.  "This isn't far from where we picked up Zechs.  There's a chance this is where Treiz ran to."

"Hey, we're not done discussing this."  Duo's gaze turned dark as he frowned.

"I'll give these to Quatre," Heero continued, "but if I find fault with his plan, I want you to tell him.  If it comes from me he'll feel bad about himself."

"Damnit, Heero.  You're not even going to talk about it?"

Heero turned to him and stood.  "No, I'm not.  You didn't see Trowa when he lost control.  If you had, you wouldn't even think about fighting him with nothing more than a useless gun.  It would take more than that and then he'd be in danger."  Moving around the chair, he put his hands on Duo's shoulders, gripping them lightly.  "I know why he thought of it, kill two birds with one stone, but it's too dangerous.  You wouldn't' stand a chance."

Duo flinched and got angry a second before he sighed and dropped his gaze.  "I appreciate that vote of confidence," he said, sarcasm dripping from the words.

"Duo--"

"No, it's okay."  Shaking his head, the boy gave a weak smile.  "I actually told Trowa about the same thing when we first talked about it.  I mean, what good is being invisible if the opponent can read your mind and know where you are, right?  But how else am I going to learn?"

"Don't worry about it.  Come on, let's show this to Quatre."

It wasn't hard to find the blonde boy, since they could hear him from the hallway.  The fact that Wufei, Zechs, and Relena were also in the hall and staring at the closed bedroom door helped, and Duo drug Heero to a halt when the Japanese boy started to knock.  Eyes wide at the muffled yelling, he shook his head and pulled Heero back.  He gave a quick glance to the others and took another sharp step back when Quatre suddenly jerked the door open.

Stopping abruptly, Quatre's glare cooled just a bit before darkening again as he looked at the staring eyes.  "He's pissing me off."

"Quatre?!"  Duo's eyes widened as he looked at the normally soft spoken boy in surprise.

Throwing a cold glare over his shoulder when Trowa came out of the room to stand behind him, the blonde turned back to the others.  "First he's afraid to drop his control because he might hurt me, and then he decides, 'Oh, it's okay, I'll just hurt Duo instead.'"

"Quatre..."  Green eyes moving around the hall, Trowa looked decidedly uncomfortable.  "Can we talk about this?"

"No!"  The small boy turned to glare at him for a moment.  "You said you were sick of me doubting myself.  Then why is it okay for him," he pointed at Duo who took a step back, eyes even wider than before, "to take the risks and not for me?  It's stupid."

"I agree."

Quatre looked to Heero in surprise, then a wide smile slowly claimed his face, a smug one that stayed as he folded his arms over his chest and faced Trowa.  "See?"

"Okay."  Shaking his head, Trowa raised his hands in defeat.  He'd never imagined the sweet boy had such a temper.  "You win, all right?"

Nodding sharply, Quatre beamed and wrapped his arms around the tall boy's waist, not caring that the others saw him.  "I knew you'd see it my way."

Letting out a laugh, Duo froze when Quatre raised an eyebrow at him.  "Hey, cool it.  I already got a lecture for my little part in this."  He wondered how Trowa was taking the complete rejection of his plan, but a glance to the tall boy's face revealed nothing but relief as Quatre continued to hug him.

"I have something to show you, Quatre."

Glancing at Heero, Duo smiled as the dark-haired boy wasn't at all bothered by Quatre's explosion.  "Yeah, mission."

With a final sweet smile at Trowa, Quatre slowly released him.  "Okay, what have you got?"

* * *

Leaving the kitchen-turned-base-of-operations, Duo smiled.  Quatre was as good as Zechs has said, and he was happy with his upcoming role.  Once again, he'd be on the forefront, rather than just infiltration.  Equipped with a silencer, he'd still have the element of surprise on his side, but he'd be right there with Heero instead of sneaking around and clearing the way.  Catching sight of Relena leaning against the wall, he gave her a smile.

"Did things go well?"  Duo nodded and she straightened, following him down the hall.  "So where are you attacking?  I hope it won't be too dangerous."

"Don't sweat it," Duo smiled, "It's a small base about two miles from the last one.  We're hoping to find Treiz there."  He noticed that a frown crossed her face and paused.  "It won't be that dangerous, we have the layout and shift change times."

"You do?  How did you manage that?"

"Heero.  He's great with computers."

"Oh."  Smiling, she tilted her head to the side.  "I guess with him for a leader, everyone will be okay.  When are you going?  Not tonight, it's so late..."

"No.  We intercepted a message that there's going to be someone arriving tomorrow, so we're scheduled to attack after that.   It's easier to go in at night."

"I understand completely.  Are they finished making plans then?" She glanced back down the hall before giving Duo another smile.  "I'm rather thirsty."

"Sure.  Come on," he turned to walk with her.  "I'm sorry Zechs made you wait outside, but I'm sure a pacifist wouldn't be comfortable hearing our plans."

"Yes."

Pushing the kitchen door open for her, Duo found himself watching the way she smiled at everyone.  She didn't seem to be the brat Zechs had warned them about, in fact, she was acting rather pleasant.  Thinking back, he couldn't pinpoint a single time she had behaved with anything other than politeness.  //Why was Zechs so worried?  She hasn't even complained about our fighting.  I guess she's not as much of a pacifist as he remembers.  I for one don't mind at all.  I hate it when some fanatic tries to push his ideas to everyone else.  But her, not once has she complained.//

* * *

"You know, you were right about Quatre."

"Wufei?"  Stopping short, Zechs looked around before catching sight of the Chinese boy in a tree to his left.  "What is it with you boys and trees?"

"Climb on up and I'll tell you," Wufei smirked, watching the man eye the tree with skepticism.

Walking to the tree, Zechs looked up at the boy and shook his head.  "Actually, I was looking for Relena.  I thought she came out this way."

"She did.  She said she was going for a walk.  There's a nice field not too far from here, it should be safe."

"Oh.  Well, in that case..."  Smiling at the boy's smirk, Zechs climbed into the tree, perching a bit uncomfortably on a limb near the black-haired boy.  "Okay, tell my why you like trees.  As far as I can see, it's not very comfortable."

"No, but look around.  It's better in a taller tree, but this isn't too bad."  Wufei leaned his back against the trunk, his legs stretched out on the limb as he looked over at Zechs.  "There's something about being up, off the ground.  As if you're separated from things, beyond them.  Of course, there's also the fact that you can see more which makes a tree a good vantage point for me to fight from.   I don't know about the others, but Duo feels the same way."

"You should hang-glide sometime," Zechs murmured, staring upward as he tried to feel what the boy had described.  "Or maybe Trowa could fly with you."

"No thanks," Wufei said quickly, a slight smile curving his lips.  "I don't want Quatre mad at me or Trowa.  I don't think Trowa could handle it."

"He was so angry this morning.  I had no idea he had such a temper, do you know what that was about?  I know he said something about Duo being in danger, but I think I missed something."

"Yeah, well Duo explained it to me.  I guess he and Trowa were planning to have some sort of mock-battle and Quatre was angry because Trowa wouldn't let down his guard with him.  It's like you said," Wufei nodded, "He's afraid Quatre won't be able to handle the anger.  He thinks he'll end up hurting him."

"Oh.  Well, Quatre certainly calmed quickly enough."

Wufei smiled a bit as he remembered how fast the boy had gone from enraged to sweet.  "It's better than if he stayed angry about it."  Remembering what he'd said earlier, Wufei nodded.  "You were right about Quatre being a good strategist.  I know Duo's happier being up there with Heero and Trowa.  And you'll come in handy too."

"Well thank you," Zechs smirked, looking at the boy's serious statement, "I think."

"Really.  With Trowa inside, Quatre can still work as a mediator and I won't be left out of the loop with you there.  Not that we didn't do all right before, but I can't have Quatre with me when I work and he can't read me."

"That's been bothering me," Zechs frowned, "Why couldn't Quatre join you?"

"Come on, Zechs," Wufei muttered, looking down at his crossed arms.  "You read my mind before, so I'm sure you know."

"Oh."  Wincing slightly at his own lack of tact, Zechs nodded.  He hadn't missed the boy's strong sense of pride and he knew that other than Duo, the boys weren't aware of how tired he was after he used his powers.  "But my being there won't bother you?"

"You already know," Wufei said sharply, "Besides, you know better than to give me sympathy.  Quatre's too sweet not to let his concern show and I don't want that."

"You don't think I sympathize with you?" Zechs asked, his voice sounding sarcastically concerned.  "Poor Wufei..."

Turning sharply, Wufei's eyes widened and he stared at the man for a minute before glaring darkly.  "Funny, but Duo's better at teasing."

"Oh well," Zechs shrugged, still smiling at having gotten a rise out of the boy.  "I had to try."

* * *

"I don't hear any typing."  Not moving from where he lay on his back in the middle of the bed, Duo smiled but didn't open his eyes.  He'd spent the last hour listening to the sound of Heero's fingers flying over the laptop with soft clicks, but it had been silent for the last couple of minutes.  "Are you still here?"  Not receiving an answer, he cracked open an eye and looked toward the desk, his smile widening when he saw Heero turned in his chair so he faced him.  "What're you doing?"

"Watching you," Heero shrugged.  "You look different when you're relaxed.  No smile."

"Well, which do you prefer?" Duo asked, blinking his lashes at Heero.  "Smile or no smile?"  The Japanese boy shrugged again, his statement unreadable.  "Don't feel like talking?  Okay, why don't you come over here and watch me."  Heero stood and Duo grinned as he sat up, eyes shining when the boy sat on the bed.  Leaning against Heero's back, he let his hands trail lightly over the boy's chest.  "You know, I wouldn't mind watching you sleep...if you ever slept."

"You weren't sleeping," Heero said, turning his head so he could see the boy.

"No, I was trying to figure out what you were typing.  I don't know, guess I was bored but not tired."  He gave a small smile as he pressed his palms flat against Heero's chest, arms tightening as he pulled the boy back against him.  Cobalt eyes glinted and Duo kissed him teasingly.  He'd just pulled back when they heard something and both stiffened and turned as the door was opened and Relena stepped into the room.  Blushing, Duo quickly released the boy and sat back on his heels.  "Relena?  What--"

Blue eyes moving from Heero, who was glaring fiercely, to Duo, Relena's eyes narrowed suddenly and her arm lifted.

Staring at the gun, Duo's breath caught and he froze in complete disbelief.  Then she fired.
 

Part 19:  New Destination

It happened so fast.  Duo heard the quiet explosion as the silencer-equipped gun went off, then there was a rush of air and he was falling.  It took his dazed mind a few seconds to realize Heero had shoved him off the bed and his eyes widened as he was held down.  Over the Japanese boy's shoulder, he saw Relena's hand turn as she followed them, and she fired again, the bullets finding a resting spot in the boy hovering over him.

Holding his position in front of Duo, Heero was unable to rush the girl and he gritted his teeth as he was shot.  There wasn't a choice, he had to wait until she ran out of bullets.  This was his plan, but he sagged as his chest caught a blaze of pain, and his vision grew hazy.

He knew Heero took bullets often, but not at such a close range and Duo let out a cry as the dark-haired boy fell back on him.  Wrapping his arms around the boy's waist, he turned invisible, whatever he was holding also unseen.  The breathing he heard close to him sounded wet and he was certain the boy had taken a hit to the lungs, then he was diverted as he looked to the girl.  She was still standing near the door, and her blue eyes were on the corner where they lay as she efficiently reloaded.

//She's going to kill him!//

* * *

Quatre stiffened suddenly, a fist clenched to his chest as he let out a keening cry.  He bent forward for a second, but by the time Trowa had moved to his side, he was standing.  "Something's wrong!"

* * *

"Duo's gone."  Running towards the house, Zechs threw a wild gaze at the black-haired boy beside him.  "I don't know what, but something's happened and he's not here anymore!"

* * *

"Heero?!"  The two boys skidded to a halt, taking in the furious
cobalt eyes as Heero stood in the doorway of his room.  Glancing at Trowa, Quatre looked back to the Japanese boy in confusion.  "What's going on?"

"Relena attacked us," Heero said, his eyes narrowed to slits as he gripped the gun tightly.

"Where's Duo?"  His eyes were very wide when he took a step towards the boy, and Quatre gasped when he was suddenly shoved to the side.

"No!  That isn't Heero!"  Trowa reeled against the wall as cobalt eyes narrowed at his words and the boy fired on him.  He heard Quatre give a horrified cry, but his pain-fogged eyes stayed on what looked like their friend as Heero turned the gun towards the blonde boy.

* * *

A immensely confusing scene greeted them when Wufei and Zechs reached the hall and the white-haired man rushed to Quatre's side.  He pushed the boy back as he quickly looked over Trowa's wound, blood soaking the dark turtleneck.  Glancing to where Heero lay unconscious on the floor, he left the questions to Wufei as he hurried to heal the tall boy.

"What--"

"That's not Heero," Quatre said, his voice cold as his pale blue-green eyes glared at the boy lying on the floor.  "I don't know who it is, but it's not him."

"What are you talking about?" Wufei demanded, his eyes moving from Trowa back to the blonde boy.  Then he remembered what Zechs had said outside and his black eyes narrowed dangerously.  "Where's Duo?"

"I...don't know."  Quatre stepped over the body and glanced into the open bedroom, his eyes moving over the bloody floor before he turned back to the hall.  "This person said Relena attacked them, then he shot Trowa.  I knocked him out."

"Quatre?"

The blonde boy let out a shocked gasp, then turned, his face paling as he saw Duo standing behind him.  The long-haired boy was practically covered in blood, and his violet eyes were very wide.  "Duo!  What happened?  What's going on?"

Duo shook his head as he grabbed the boy, looking him over quickly.  "Relena's crazy, I don't--"  His voice died off as he caught site of the dark-haired boy lying on the carpet of the hallway and his mouth fell open.  "Heero?!"

"It's not..."  Trowa shook his head as he sat up slowly, his eyes burning from the pain of both the shot and the healing as he suddenly understood what the American had meant about the healing hurting as much as the injury.  "That isn't Heero."

"No shit!" Duo cried, his eyes wide.  "I left Heero at the church..."  Groaning, he pressed his hands to his head as he looked at the four of them, "Damnit, I don't even know if I can go back and get him."

"You teleported," Wufei said in surprise, then his eyes widened.  "With Heero?  You took him with you?"

"Yeah, but don't ask me how or why the hell I ended up at the Maxwell church..."  Staring down at the person who looked just like the Japanese boy, Duo shook his head suddenly.  "I guess you guys didn't need my help after all.  I'm going to try to get Heero."

The boy disappeared suddenly and the four looked at each other, then their gazes centered around the body.  "Let's get him into the kitchen," Wufei murmured, glancing at Quatre.  "Then we can find out what's going on here."

Lifting him, the black-haired boy blinked when his way was blocked suddenly.  Then his eyes glinted as he saw how proud Duo looked, Heero's arm slung over his shoulders.  "Are you all right, Heero?"

Nodding, the dark-haired boy's eyes were on the figure Wufei was carrying.   "I'll heal, but who is that?"

"Can't you tell?" Zechs said, pushing open the kitchen door as he eyed the two boys with relief.  "That's your double."

* * *

Having tied the captive, they let Quatre have the honors as the boy both woke the figure and forced him to return to his original form.  Actually, it turned out to be her original form and none of them recognized the woman who sat before them.  She had long brown hair that was caught up in two braids, each tied to the back of her head, and eyes were the same color.  She looked to be in her thirties at the latest, and she didn't seem at all afraid of what they might do to her, a smirk playing over her lips.

"Who are you?" Duo asked, his glare as biting as his voice.

The woman's smirk widened, but a carefully controlled thought from Quatre had her wincing suddenly.  "Coronel Une of Treiz Cushrenada's front line."

"What the hell?"  Glancing at Zechs, Duo shook his head.  "How did she get in here?"

"Isn't it obvious?" the white-haired man said, his guilt blatant as he glared down at his folded arms.  "They must have used her instead of Relena.  And I let her in, brought her into your safehouse..."

"What happened to Relena?"  Quatre's eyes widened as he stared at the downcast man, and he glared at Une, suddenly more furious than before.  "Tell me."

"She's still in the Sank kingdom as far as I know," Une muttered, her eyes glinting in obvious hatred.  "The fool never searched his sister's mind to make sure it was her.  It wasn't."

"They must know where we are then," Heero said, his eyes narrowed as he looked to the others.  "We have to move now before they attack us."

"What do we do with her?"

"Kill her."  Quatre's face fell, but Heero didn't waver.  "Whether she's a mutant or not, she's still a member of OZ.  And she tried to kill us.  Quatre, she tried to kill Trowa as well."

"I know..." the blonde boy whispered, "But she's one of us.  It hurts."

"Maybe we don't have to kill her," Duo offered slowly, wincing when Heero's intense gaze was suddenly directed at him.  "Well, if she can take the shape of anyone, then wouldn't it be a better idea to use her instead of just killing her?"

"I'd never work for you!"  The words were barely spit out before Une growled and lowered her head as Quatre glared at her.

"You would do well to keep silent," the blonde boy said coldly, not forgetting the woman's attack on Trowa and his friends.  "Can't you see that he's proposing somehting that will keep you alive?  At least a little longer..."

"That's right," Duo said, his eyes on Heero as he tried to read the boy's statement.  "The way I see it, if Quatre can control her than we can have her infiltrate a lot better than we ever could."

"It's a good plan," Quatre added, also turning to Heero.  "I don't know what my range is since I've never controled anyone much, but it wouldn't be too hard to find out.  We shouldn't kill her out of hand, Heero."

"No," Wufei said suddenly, pushing away from the wall he'd been leaning against as he approached the table.  "We should kill her.  There's no reason to take the chance of her escaping later."  Everyone looked at him in surprise, but he held up a finger over his mouth as he leaned over Duo, the boy's betrayed glare almost amusing him.  When he was close enough that only the boy would hear, he whispered in his ear.  "This place is probably bugged.  We should take her and make our plans elsewhere."  He was sure Heero must have either heard him somehow, or read his lips, because the dark-haired boy nodded sharply.  As for the others, he knew they would either read his thoughts or those of Duo, who was now smiling at him.  Straightening, he nodded to Une, satisfied by the way the woman's eyes widened suddenly as she realized her eminent death.  "Heero, would you?"

When Heero pulled his gun, Une closed her eyes and tensed, then he fired and she slumped forward in her chair as the bullet lodged harmlessly in the wall over her shoulder.  It didn't matter that she hadn't been hit, since Quatre had evidently knocked her out again, either that or she'd fainted but somehow Heero doubted that.  The others were moving to gather what they could for their move, and no one objected when he got a sharp knife from one of the drawers in the kitchen.  It was a simple thing to cut the woman's hand lightly, the blood then smeared onto the floor across from the wall, a bit pushed onto the bullet which had lodged into one of the boards.

Quatre sighed as he returned to the kitchen, two filled bags slung over his shoulder.  His eyes sparkled, and he managed to sound mournful.  "I wish there was another way, I hate having done this."

"It's done," Heero said harshly, bending as he threw the limp woman over a shoulder.  "Let's get rid of the body.  OZ will never find it."

* * *

Since they didn't have any other safehouses to move to, they decided to spend the night at a motel, and they were lucky enough to find one that was too busy to notice them.  The evening found them gathered in one of the rooms, and Heero and Wufei had left Une tied in a corner, Quatre making certain she would continue to sleep.  Once the door was shut behind them, Duo stepped to the bed near the closet and sat on it, crossing his legs under him.

"Well, what now?  We can't stay here, not for long, anyway."  He glared at the unconscious woman for a minute before sighing.  "In fact, we probably shouldn't even stay in this area.  I mean, if they safe-house was bugged, she probably managed to get a lot more information on us than OZ had before."

"Yes," Zechs said slowly, still furious at himself for having endangered them.  "She went for a walk earlier today.  I'm sure she was reporting to Treiz.  They might even have pictures of us."

"Oh."  Duo blinked for a moment, then a smile came to his face as his eyes moved over the other boys.  "That means you guys are just as 'wanted' as I am.  Pretty neat being a celebrity, isn't it?  Looks like we'll all have to hide, now."

"That means we can't let anyone see us," Quatre said slowly, leaning against Trowa.  The tall boy was standing in the corner, and he was grateful to the strong arms that were wrapped around his waist as he realized how bleak things looked.  "We have to find a place where no one is tied to OZ, where we won't be turned in even if someone does recognize us.  But there isn't any place like that..."

"There's one that comes to mind," Zechs murmured.  He didn't look up as he stared at the floor.  "But I wouldn't blame you if you don't want to hear anymore of my ideas."

"Just stop it."  Heero didn't blink until the tall man looked up and then he nodded sharply.  "There's no point placing blame.  Any one could have thought to search her mind.  No one did, though, so there's no point blaming yourself.  She got past us, that's all there is to it.  We just make certain it doesn't happen again."

"What was your idea?" Wufei asked, his eyes narrowed.  "You're thinking about your country...aren't you."  Zechs looked at him, and he knew he was right when the man flushed lightly.

"Yes.  The Sank Kindgom has always practiced pascifism.  They wouldn't side with anyone and certainly not OZ.  I can't think of a better place to seek refuge in."

"Wait-a-sec," Duo said quickly, staring at the white-haired man.  "We can't go into a pascifist nation!  Think of what we'd do to it."

"So long as we don't do any fighting inside the borders," Zechs said, shaking his head, "there shouldn't be a problem."

"And you want to see your sister."  Quatre gave a small smile when the man raised an eyebrow and glanced down for a second.  "I don't blame you at all.  Actually, I'm glad you suggested it.  The only place I could think of was at my...the Maguanac's base, and I'd hate to involve them."

"Weren't you kicked out of that nation?" Duo asked.  He tried to keep his question gentle since he knew it was a touchy subject, but he could see as how that would create problems.  "Would they really let you come back in?"

"The people may not realize I'm a mutant," Zechs said.  It wasn't that he didn't see the way Duo was trying to be kind, but he knew that he'd have to put his own hesitations aside.  "And Relena may not have changed as much as I feared.  I think she would welcome us, even knowing we're mutants."

"You know something," Duo smiled, glancing around before looking back to Zechs.  "You're coming in real handy.  Just wanted you to know that."

"I...thank you."  The tall man blinked for a moment, then flushed again as Wufei smirked at him.

"Then we go.  It would be best to go soon, tomorrow."  Trowa glanced at Heero for a second, then to Quatre.  "Is there a reason to hesitate?"

"No."

"Okay, that's settled, but how are we going to get there?"  Duo smirked and shrugged his shoulders.  "I've only heard of the place in passing, but I figure it's pretty far away."

"It would only take eight hours by plane."

Duo glared at Zechs for a second, then frowned at him.  "And what about me?  Even if there aren't pictures of us all, mine are in every single airport.  It's not like they're going to let you buy a seat if no one's going to be sitting in it."

"I can fly." Trowa's jaw tightened a bit when the long-haired boy shot him a dirty look, and his eyes narrowed.  "I mean a plane," he said scathingly.

"There are a few of us who can fly a plane," Zechs agreed.  A glance to Heero showed the Japanese boy nodding, and he met Duo's calmer gaze with a small smirk.  "I'm sure Quatre could rent a private plane."

"I could buy one," the blonde boy smiled.  "Then that's settled too.  If we want to move early, we should probably sleep.  But what about her?"

Following the boy's gesture, Heero's eyes narrowed.  "The closet's big enough.  We can put her in there for the night."

"That's cruel," Duo winced.  "What if she's claustrophobic?"

"She isn't."  Quatre shook his head.  "If she was, you can be sure I would have objected.  She may be our enemy, but that's no reason to lower to her level."

"Great," Duo smiled.  Throwing his arms out, he suddenly plopped back on the bed, smiling as he closed his eyes.  "I hereby claim this bed in the name of Shinigami."

"Duo, there are only two rooms," Wufei said with a smirk as the boy cracked open an eye to look at him.  "You'll have to share."

"Oh, I planned to," Duo said smoothly, staring at Heero who straightened abruptly.

Wufei groaned lightly and turned so he could look at Trowa.  "I can't share a room with those two, so you and Quatre will have to.  Zechs and I can take the other room."  It was evident that Zechs was relieved when the tall man let out a nearly silent breath.  Trowa nodded slowly, and the Chinese boy smiled.  He stepped to the door without another word, and he was followed closely by Zechs as he could see Heero moving Une into the closet.  While he doubted Heero would have done anything with him in the room, he wouldn't put it past Duo and he just didn't want to hear that.

* * *

"I can hear you."

The sound of muffled giggles broke the silence, and Trowa was grateful to the darkness of the room as he didn't want to know what the two boys across from him were doing.  Not that he didn't understand, but he wasn't interested in listening, especially when he couldn't do the same with them in the room.  Sighing, he waited for a second before another giggle sounded.  This time, he could feel Quatre move and he was briefly irritated that they'd woken him.

"Shouldn't you be getting some sleep?" the blonde boy asked, fighting his urge to look over at the other bed.  He knew he wouldn't be able to see anything, but the urge was still there.  "We have to get up early."

"T-tell th-that to Heero," Duo managed to get out amid giggles.

Quatre's eyes widened in his face and he sat up abruptly as he tried to imagine what the stoic boy could be doing not three feet from where he and Trowa lay.  Then he felt Trowa's arm snake around his waist and he allowed himself to be pulled down for a kiss as he tried to drown out the muffled sounds.  The noises were cut off abruptly, and he snuggled against the tall boy as he tried to sleep.  Then there was a sharp hiss, and his eyes snapped open as both he and Trowa tensed.

"You bit me."

Choking at Heero's accusing tone, Trowa suddenly groaned and lifted his head, pulling his pillow down over his face as he nearly hid beneath it.  His mind screamed at him that he didn't want to know, he didn't, really.

"Well, don't put your hand over my mouth," Duo retorted, his glare evident in his voice.  "Besides, there are better ways of silencing me...."

With a groan equal to Trowa's, Quatre lifted the edge of the pillow, joining his tall lover beneath it.  Promising himself to never share a room with the pair again, he did his best to sleep despite the distractions so nearby.

* * *

Part 20:  Pacifism

"I could fly this thing, no problem."  Duo glared when the boy beside him raised an eyebrow.  "I could."

"I'll teach you to fly some other time," Heero said, smirking at the long-haired boy's disgruntled statement.  "Not right now."

The Japanese boy was piloting the large plane Quatre had purchased, and Duo sat beside him, staring at the controls.  They had looked complicated enough at first, but after watching Heero maneuver the craft, he was fairly confident that he could master them easily. Still, he understood that they had a destination to reach, and now wasn't the time for learning to pilot.  "Well, why don't you let Quatre fly for a while?  You've been at it for hours."

"It's fine, I'm not tired."  Heero blinked when Duo rolled his eyes.  "What?"

"I want to talk to you for a minute," Duo said slowly, hiding his smile as he glanced at Zechs.  The white-haired man sat behind them, and he was prepared to answer any challenges they might get.  He'd already explained that while the Sank Kingdom was a pacifist nation, it did have a security system and that they would no doubt be challenged once they got close enough.  Of course, they were still a good four hours away, but the man wasn't taking any chances.

"I could fly for a while," Zechs offered, his own smirk showing that he understood perfectly.  He was sure the boy wanted to be alone withHeero, even if the Japanese boy was oblivious.

"Excellent," Duo murmured.  He stood up and laid a hand on Heero's shoulder, smiling when the boy looked up at him.  "Come on, Heero. Let Zechs fly for a bit.  It's not fair for you to hog the controls."

"I wasn't..."  Heero trailed off, his eyes narrowing as he caught sight of a familiar sparkle in those violet eyes.  "Fine."  He stood and nodded to Zechs, "It's yours."

"Take your time," Zechs smirked, then he sat in the pilot's seat.

Duo grinned and grabbed Heero's hand, pulling the boy out of the cockpit.  The plane wasn't like a commercial one, and he led the unresisting boy down the hall, nodding to Wufei as they passed him.  "Zechs is going to pilot."  Wufei raised an eyebrow at him, and he walked faster, pulling Heero closer to him so he could whisper in the boy's ear.  "Trowa and Quatre are still sleeping, but there's another room..."  He let his voice trail off, blinking at Heero.  "You said you weren't tired."

"Hentai," Heero said, shaking his head.  Duo was grinning at him, and he gave the boy a light push.  "Insatiable, too."

"Hey, can't get too much of a good thing, right?"  Heero smirked at him, and Duo shook his head.  "We could just sit here and talk, if you'd prefer that."

"Baka."

* * *

"You are nearing the border of the Sank Kingdom.  Identify yourself."

Wufei stared at Zechs, taking in the man's closed statement.  He hadn't spoken for hours, and he'd grown more sober as they'd neared their destination.  The white-haired man glanced at him, then pressed a button in front of him, a visual appearing on part of the screen.  A man in uniform was revealed, and he opened his mouth to speak, then his face expressed shock.

"Sire?!  Is that...Milliardo..."  The man swallowed sharply, and his hand raised in a salute.  "Your Highness.  Welcome back, sir.  If we may, we will escort your ship to the manor."

Zechs raised an eyebrow, the only display of his shock.  He hadn't expected to be recognized on sight, and the immediate respect the man showed was also unexpected.  "Thank you.  I would like to speak to my sister, if she's available."

"The princess will meet your ship," the man said quickly, his eyes still wide.

* * *

They exited the plane together, leaving Une in one of the cabins.  They'd released the woman for the trip, confining her to the room, but Quatre knocked her out again before the six of them moved to meet the princess.  She was standing at the foot of the stairs that had been brought to the plane, and her appearance was identical to the one Une had taken only two days before.  The only difference was the dark pink dress she wore and the glow in her blue eyes as she stared at Zechs.

"Milliardo..."

Zechs slowly stepped to the girl, wary as he wondered how similar she would be to the way Une had acted.  "I go by the name of Zechs now," he said, "Zechs Marquis."

"Zechs?" Relena asked, frowning in confusion.  "But why would you change your name?  And why did you leave?  You never even said good-bye to me.  Father said you ran away from your responsibilities."

"He did, did he."  Zechs glared for a moment, then he blinked in surprise as someone touched his shoulder.  He turned to Wufei, and the boy's calm gaze made him shake his head before looking to the girl again.  "Relena, I have a favor to ask of you.  Could we speak?"

"I would hope so," Relena said, tilting her head as a small smile came to her lips.  "Milliardo...of course I want to talk to you.  It's been so long."

"Please, call me Zechs."

"No, you may go by that name, but you're home now.  And you're still my brother."  Relena's statement tightened a bit when the man looked as if he would argue.  "Come, Milliardo, and your friends.  Come inside."

The manor was large, and they were unprepared for the large number of young people who wandered around.  Relena didn't speak of them as she opened a door and gestured for them to enter what turned out to be an office of sorts.  She moved behind the desk and sat down, her eyes shining again as she looked at her brother.  "Things have changed since father died.  This is a school now."

"A school?"  Zechs blinked, his incredulous statement making her smile as the boys fanned out behind him.

"We teach pacifism," Relena said, nodding.  "But I can tell you about that later.  What brings you here, after so long?  And who are these people?"

Introducing the others, Zechs folded his arms over his chest.  He knew there wasn't any way around it, and his jaw tightened.  "Do you know why I left?  You asked why, so I assume you don't."

"No, father never said why."

"I left because he found out something about me.  Relena, I am a mutant."  The girl's eyes widened and he stood stiffly, waiting for her reaction.  Then she gave such a wide smile that he actually took a sharp step back.

"Oh Milliardo...I can't believe it.  And here I am, with my school of mutants."

Duo's mouth dropped open, and he stared at her.  "Are you saying those people we saw, they're mutants?  All of them?!"

"Mostly," Relena said, smiling as she nodded.  "But, brother, are you saying you left because you're a mutant?  Father was so kind to mutants, why would you leave?"

"Kind?  Are you talking about the man who disowned me?"  Zechs glared, his hands curling into fists.  "He didn't want a mutant in his family.  I didn't 'run away'...I was kicked out."

"He didn't..."  Relena grew quiet for a moment, her face blank, then she looked up at him.  "Then you wouldn't know that two years after you left he began to issue invitations.  He told me he wanted a place where mutants could go and live without being persecuted because of their differences.  It must have been because he felt guilty for how he treated you."

He didn't believe it, the man who'd cursed at him so long ago suddenly changing his tone.  But Relena seemed so sure of herself that Zechs didn't want to dispel her beliefs.  "That doesn't matter now.  If you already have mutants here, then I suppose there's no reason to hide it.  These boys," he waved a hand at the five, "are all mutants.  We needed a place to seek...shelter for a while.  Would you mind our staying here?"

"That's what we do," Relena said.  "Of course they're welcome.  And you, you belong here."  Zechs's eyes narrowed, and she sighed.  "I won't push you now, it's already so late.  Come, I'll show you around."

Quatre glanced at Zechs, wary of ruining their welcome.  "Zechs, what about Une?"

"Later," Zechs murmured, shaking his head.  The woman would be fine where she was, she'd eaten during the flight, and he knew no one would search the plane.  He'd worry about how to tell his sister about it later.  They'd passed time zones during the flight, and it was late in the evening in the Sank Kingdom so he knew Relena would be tired.  Now wasn't the time to spring their un-pacifist actions on the girl.

Walking next to Heero, Duo leaned towards the boy, his voice low.  "A school for mutants, teaching them pacifism.  This pretty much counters what we do, doesn't it.  We'll have to be careful here, if we don't want to ruin what they have going."

"Mutants aren't the ones who need to learn peace," Heero muttered, his eyes narrow.  "The normal ones need to learn it first.  We can't practice pacifism if it means we sit back while our kind is trampled."

"Right, but who's going to tell Relena that?"  Duo closed his mouth quickly, giving a small smile as Relena was speaking to them.  Then they were being led down the hall, and he set his mind to memorizing the different rooms they were shown.  The people who passed them were young, and he was uncomfortable being surrounded by so many strangers.  Only the fact that they too were mutants kept him from giving in to his urge to turn invisible.  Staying close to Heero's side, he even managed to smile at a few of the people who glanced in their direction.

* * *

Heero woke suddenly, his eyes flying around the room as he sought the source of the sound that had roused him.  Then Duo was suddenly standing beside his bed, and he sat up, frowning.  "Have you learned to control your power so well?"

"Why do you think I scoped your room out so much earlier?" Duo remarked, smirking as he sat on the edge of the bed.  "Besides, you didn't really expect me to sleep in my room all by myself, did you?  I would have picked the lock if it came to it."

"I didn't lock the door," Heero murmured, a hand lifting to brush Duo's shoulder.  He leaned forward to kiss him, then stopped abruptly as the long-haired boy disappeared.  "Duo?"

Lips pressed to his, and it was the strangest sensation as his eyes blinked into the darkness of the room.  Then he felt Duo's hand on his chest and he didn't fight as he was pushed back on the bed, his fingers digging into thick hair.  His breath caught in his throat when a strong hand massaged him through his shorts, and he pushed upward.  He frowned abruptly when the slight weight lifted.  "Duo?  What are you doing?"

Reappearing, Duo grinned, his head tilted forward a bit as he stood next to the bed.  "Having fun?"  He stepped to the side and clicked on the lamp, blushing a little when Heero raised an eyebrow at him.  "Have I told you how pretty you are?"

"Me?"  Heero snorted, his arms curving around the boy's waist as Duo climbed back onto the bed, those violet eyes sparkling in the light.  "Does this mean you've gotten over your embarrassment?"

Duo shook his head, his fingers sliding under the bottom of Heero's shirt as he pushed it up.  "Not really, but that's no problem.  You're bold enough for the both of us, right?"  The Japanese boy's lips twitched, and Duo ducked his head, brushing his tongue over them before kissing the boy.  His hands caressed Heero's chest, fingers circling the boy's nipples as their tongues entwined.  Then he pulled back again, Heero raising so he could lift the shirt over his head.

Heero closed his eyes, his mouth opening as Duo kissed his chest, strong hands playing over his stomach.  His mind didn't think about what his fingers were doing, and his hands were hidden in a long fall of hair before he knew it, keeping them occupied as a warm tongue rubbed his skin.  Then he groaned as Duo's hand slipped inside his shorts, the boy's hand teasing his erection.

For a moment, he let himself admire the boy beneath him, Heero gasping softly when he gave the hard length a light squeeze.  It gave him a sense of power, being able to attain such a reaction from the boy, and Duo's breath sped up.  Then he pushed down Heero's shorts, his hands parting those smooth legs so he could kneel between them.  Dark eyes glinted at him for a moment, then long lashes hid them from view as Duo lowered his head so his tongue could brush the boy's erection.  Heero moaned, and he ate it up, taking the boy into his mouth, his hands curving under him and lifting the boy's hips off the bed.

The strong hold on his hair held him still, but Duo didn't mind, his tongue swirling around the soft skin that surrounded Heero's hardness.  He sucked on it, taking the boy deeper into his mouth, and Heero groaned, tensing beneath him.  Then the hands in his hair tugged lightly, and he looked up, blushing at Heero's flushed yet intense statement as the boy sat up.  The boy kissed him furiously, then jerked back.

"Take your clothes off," Heero whispered, his voice husky as his heart raced in his chest.  "Do it, Duo.  Now."

He was happy to comply, and Duo unbuttoned his shirt quickly, shoving it off.  Heero's hands were undoing his pants, and he pushed them off his hips, sitting briefly when he pulled his legs out of them.  He was grateful that he'd taken of his shoes earlier, then Heero kissed him again, the boy's hands framing his face as he was pulled down again.  The boy's legs bent, making room for him, and Duo groaned into his lover's mouth as ankles touched his back..

"Heero...don't I...need..."

"I need you," Heero ground out, shoving his body against Duo's as he gritted his teeth.  Wary eyes met his, and he let out a deep breath, calming his body as a finger prodded then entered him slowly.  The intrusion burned, but it was nothing compared to the flame that ignited when that digit brushed his prostate and he groaned sharply, pushing upwards as his eyes closed.  "Duo..."

Sweat beaded the dark-haired boy's brow, and Duo braced himself as he widened the boy more.  He knew well enough that Heero could take pain, and he wasn't concerned that he might injure the boy.  Still, he was careful as he moved slowly, stroking that spot that had Heero gasping roughly.  Then he removed his fingers and pressed the tip of his erection to the boy, pushing in an inch or so.  Heero moaned, and those strong legs tightened around him, pulling him in deeper as his body curved down so he could kiss the boy.  He held himself with one hand as the other curled around Heero's neglected erection, and he stroked it quickly, their moans mixing as their mouths met.

Heero arched his back, breaking the hot kiss as he found it difficult to breath.  Duo's mouth moved over his cheeks, the boy's heavy breaths reaching his ear, and he tilted his head back.  Then the boy was kissing his neck, and his body burned, Duo stroking him inside and out and driving all thought from his mind.  His breath caught in his throat, and he swallowed a moan as his body clenched and pushed upwards.  Then he came with a choked cry and soft hair touched his cheek as Duo fell forward with his own moan.

Minutes passed, the silence broken only by the sound of their breathing, then Duo chuckled softly, brushing his fingers over the curve of Heero's shoulder and neck.  A light pink mark was slowly disappearing, and his eyes shined as he glanced at Heero.  "I guess I won't be able to mark you as mine, you heal too fast.  So much for my brand."

"Hn."  Heero smirked, his hands gripping the boy's waist as he suddenly rolled them over so he leaned above Duo.  "You don't need a brand."  Violet eyes glinted, and his lips twitched.  His hands curved and he pressed his fingers into Duo's sides, his own eyes glowing when the boy choked back laughter, wriggling suddenly.

"Stop that!  What is it with you and tickling?" Duo asked, still grinning as he caught Heero's wrists.  "I'd never have expected you to be so playful."

"I'm not," Heero murmured, nuzzling the long-haired boy's neck.  "I just like the way you laugh."
 

Part 21:  S class

Young people dotted the hall when Quatre and Zechs left the room, the blonde boy pausing to lock the door securely.  "She should be under for a few hours," Quatre murmured, sliding the key into his pocket.  The white-haired man nodded, pale blue eyes meeting his for a second before sliding back to the different kids.  Turning to face the hall, Quatre noted the various uniforms.  They seemed to range in age, but he didn't see any that looked over twenty.  They were dressed in similar outfits, different colors distinguishing them in a way he didn't understand yet.  None of the students paid them much attention, vague glances the most they received as the kids seemed on their way to classes.  "Do you think this school has regular classes besides Relena's lectures?"

"I assume so," Zechs nodded, his eyes locking on a girl with pale blue hair.  She was standing about six feet away, watching him with wide eyes that matched her hair.  A glance to Quatre proved that the boy had noticed her.  She wasn't wearing one of the uniforms, but a pale blue dress of sorts that looked rather like a robe.  Then she moved forward, pausing with a few feet between them.  She barely reached his chest and Zechs had an urge to bend down to her level, her smile was so sweet.

"I don't mean to be rude," the girl said in a soft voice, looking up at Zechs.  "But you are Relena-domo's brother, aren't you?"

"Yes," Zechs said, his eyes caught on her hands where they were clasped near her neck.  They were small and delicate, very pale even against her dress.  It made him wonder if she could be as young as she looked.

"It's wonderful to meet you, I am Yukina.  Your sister speaks of you often, she looked so pleased this morning.  She asked me to show you around the school."

"I appreciate that," Zechs said quickly, holding back a wince.  "But I really need to speak with my comrades first.  Perhaps later this afternoon?"  The girl smiled at him and he shivered suddenly, feeling as if a cold waft of air brushed through his hair.

"Of course," Yukina smiled, "I should have thought of that.  When you are ready, simply tell Relena-domo and she will call me."  The man looked relieved and she glanced to the blonde boy beside him.

"I'm sorry," Quatre said, introducing himself and extending a hand to her.  "It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Yukina."  The girl smiled at him and brushed her fingertips over his hand.  His eyes widened at the cool gesture.

"Ice," Yukina murmured, ducking her head for a moment before smiling at the surprised boy.  "Don't let it bother you."

"I was just surprised," Quatre said quickly, a light, embarrassed flush darkening his cheeks.

"I will let you get to your comrades," she told Zechs.  Nodding to both of them, she smiled again before moving off down the hall.

"I forget that the students are all mutants," Quatre muttered, looking down at his shoes.

"She took it well," Zechs reassured him.  "Come on, we obviously aren't going to be left to our own devices for long.  We'd better tell the others what we've learned."

* * *

"No one noticed when we came in," Quatre said, leaning his elbows on the table.  They had moved to the cafeteria and were seated at an otherwise empty table.  Lunch seemed to be scheduled at different times for students since there weren't that many in the wide room.  "One girl did look like she was going to introduce herself, though, but Zechs caught her before she got the chance.  We probably shouldn't have used Duo's form."

"Hey," Duo commented, "can I help it if girls are attracted to me?"  Heero shot him a glare and he smirked.  "Besides, you had to use me.  After all, with me invisible, we didn't have to worry about there being two of me walking around."

"Yes," Quatre nodded, "I know.  But we have her secure in Duo's room and she should sleep for a while.  I was able to make her change shapes easily, but the actual questioning was more difficult.  She's been a member of OZ since she was young."  His statement dropped and he shook his head.  "She went through a lot of pain, just like the rest of us.  She hid her ability at first, when she joined OZ, but Treize noticed it."

"He really did a number on her," Zechs nodded, taking over since he knew Quatre would have trouble with it.  "I'm beginning to suspect he is a mutant himself, with all of the brainwashing he did.  She's completely dedicated to him, but Quatre found a softer side that she's buried since meeting him.  He convinced her that helping OZ isn't the same as betraying mutants.  They're going after the mutants who abuse their powers and make normal humans hate them.  At least, that's what he's told her.  As far as we can tell, she believes everything he said."

"Wait," Duo interrupted.  "You said Treize could be a mutant?  Where do you get that from?"

"When I was in OZ," Zechs said, "I couldn't read anything from him.  I thought it was because he buried things too deeply.  Some humans are like that, where even the strongest telepaths can't get read them."  Quatre nodded when he glanced at the boy and he met Duo's disbelieving gaze easier.  "He could also be a mutant.  If that's the case, then it would certainly explain why I find two people inside Une."

"What do you mean?" Wufei asked, frowning at the white-haired man.  "Two people?"

"Split personalities?" Heero said, one eyebrow raised.

"Yes," Zechs said, "but it's more than that.  It's as if there are two separate people.  I didn't understand at first, but Quatre kept getting different answers to the same questions.  I get the feeling she locked away herself after she met Treize.  That part of her doesn't remember anything past the time when she entered OZ."

"You've obviously dissected her," Heero said, ignoring the way Quatre winced at his choice of words.  "And you've shown you can control her.  What about the idea?"

"The soft side of her would do it willingly," Quatre told him, his eyes wide.   "But I don't think she can revert to that side on her own."

"Can you help her?" Trowa asked

"I could try," Quatre admitted, shrugging.  "I can force her to be honest and I can make her do things, but I don't think I could control her thoughts.  Plus, I still don't know what my range is.  Imagine if we got her into a base only to have her get out of my range.  I don't think that idea would work."

"We can test your range," Heero reminded him.  "We do need to know what OZ is doing now.  I doubt they will remain inactive just because we found Une."

"But how would I test it?" Quatre asked.  "I couldn't use Une.  Once she got out of my range she could turn into anyone.  We could find her again, but who knows how many students might be hurt.  It's too dangerous.  And it couldn't be one of us unless the person were being made to do something he wouldn't do voluntarily.  Otherwise we wouldn't know if he were doing it because he's in my range or because he chooses to.  I may not know when my power stops working.  I haven't tried anything like that."

"You wouldn't use Une," Heero murmured, his statement changing suddenly as his eyes slid to Duo.  The boy frowned, blinking at him in confusion.  Heero smirked.  "This shouldn't hurt anybody."

* * *

They were gathered on the wide green lawn outside the school, Quatre seated beneath a shade tree.  The others were relaxed around him, seemingly enjoying the nice weather.  But their eyes were on the blonde boy, his statement one of concentration and worry.

"He's really angry," Quatre commented, peeking at Heero for a second before closing his eyes again.  He'd yet to have any trouble controlling Duo, but he was expecting the boy to get out of his range any minute now.  "That kid nearly followed him into the woods.  I'm surprised so many people came up to him."

"Duo looks friendly," Wufei said.  "The people in the town seem to be open so they probably expected him to be as friendly as he looks.  They couldn't know better."

"I'm surprised he didn't fight more," Heero commented.

"Well, he's not going along with it," Quatre assured them.  "Ever so often he tries to break my control.  I almost wish he wouldn't."

"He's stubborn," Wufei said, "that's the reason he was the best choice.  After all, he would never willingly walk through that town with so many people looking at him."

"The woods are thick," Quatre murmured, "he doesn't see anyone, but there are paths.  I'm making him take the one that looks used the most."

"No one ever lived in those," Zechs said.  "They stretch out for over twenty miles before the border and farther after that.  There used to be a fence separating us from the neighboring country.  Nothing complicated, just wire.  If he reaches that, we'll have to try somewhere else.  We don't want to risk him going outside the kingdom."

"I doubt my control stretches that far," Quatre said drolly.  "Besides, it would be dark by the time he got there.  We can't expect him to just keep going."

Silence passed for a few minutes before Zechs laughed suddenly.  Blinking, he glanced at Quatre's wry smile.  "He just passed your reach, didn't he.  He has some of the loudest thoughts I've ever heard."

"Yes," Quatre smiled, "I'm afraid so.  He just turned invisible again.  But...he's still walking."  Frowning, Quatre glanced at Heero.  "He's thinking that he'll come back once he's cooled down.  I told you he was angry."

"He'll get over it," Wufei smirked.  "Besides, he can come back in an instant, right?  He's been practicing his teleportation skills, hasn't he?"  Heero had a funny statement and he raised an eyebrow at the boy.  "What?"

"He's been practicing," Heero said, not meeting the boy's gaze.  Two groans made him lift his head and he stared at Quatre's grimace, turning to see the same look of pain on Zechs's face.  "What's happening?"

Quatre took a deep breath, wiping a hand over his forehead.  His eyes were wide when he exchanged a look with Zechs.  "It broke.  It hurts to try and find him now."

"A barrier of some kind," Zechs whispered, turning to look in the direction Duo had gone in.  "Maybe a rouge mutant or something.  This could be bad."

"I'll go," Trowa said sharply.

"We all go," Heero said, standing.  "This was supposed to be a secure country."  Zechs glared but he shook his head.  "I'm not blaming you.  There are too many mutants here, too many bystanders to have a battle.  Damn it."

* * *

It sounded like a dinosaur was tearing the forest apart, without the roars.  He could hear trees falling, the air seeming to shudder around him.  His first impulse was to turn right around and go in the opposite direction, but Duo wasn't one to run away.  If it were a battle, then the others would know what he was thinking.  And besides that, it wasn't as if he could be seen.  The anger he'd felt when he finally got free of Quatre's control was forgotten now and Duo ran up the hill, stumbling a bit on the thick undergrowth.  The path had turned earlier and he'd kept going straight.  Now he had to force his way through bushes and thorns, wondering why anyone would choose the forest for a fight.  Then he reached the crest of the hill and found himself looking down at a valley that was alive with action.  His eyes widened and he pressed himself against a seemingly sturdy tree, ignoring the fact that he couldn't be seen.

Thick vines were churning over the ground, reaching up in too many blades to count.  They darted around the valley, tearing through trees in a mindless rage.  Duo stared, unable to follow the fast movement.  A rocky bluff separated him from the ground below and it wasn't until a number of those thick vines crashed into the rock that he saw them clearly.  They were covered in what looked like thorns and they writhed, obviously struggling to get free of the rock they were imbedded in.  If he hadn't been frozen in shock, Duo would have jerked back when a dark flash lighted on the cluster of vines.  A black clothed figure crouched for a split second, a bright blade cutting through the vines before it disappeared again.  Points formed on the cut sections and the plants arched after the figure.  He didn't know what he was seeing, but Duo leaned around the side of the tree, his eyes flying over the valley as he could barely make out the person he'd seen.

Heero had blinding speed, but Duo had never actually seen it.  Still, he thought this was similar.  The black clothed person was a constantly moving flash that lighted on limbs in the remaining trees, darting off again when the vines pursued.  It seemed a useless evasion, though.  Each time the figure cut the thick green vines, more took their place, originating from the ground itself.  The valley was nearly demolished by the time the figure was caught and Duo clenched his fists when he saw those vines wrap around the black clothed boy.  He couldn't see clearly from so far above, but the person was small and he remembered those sharp thorns and how they'd torn through the trees.  Why he assumed the person wasn't an enemy he didn't know, but he ached to be able to do something to help.  The boy swiped a slim sword at the vines circling his waist but it was caught by a smaller vine and jerked from his grasp.

"What now?  Black flame is useless against these plants."

Duo's eyes snapped toward the source of that soft comment and he stared at a figure perched in one of the few remaining trees across the valley from him.  For a second he squinted, then his mouth fell open as he realized the person had a tail.  It looked like a girl from so far away and he could make out long silver-white hair and an odd white outfit.  The person was standing on a limb, arms folded.

"Ch'."

The black-clothed figure tossed his head and Duo realized his right arm was free.  Vines had caught the other arm, but his right one lifted, a black shadow writhing around it as the loose sleeve fell back.  Duo didn't know what it was but he jerked back when a wave of heat hit him as black fire seemed to erupt around the small boy.  The darkness obscured him from view, a strange green spark barely visible.  Then the ground shook around him and Duo fell back, his hands digging into dead leaves.  A loud roar made him clutch his ears and he thought again of the dinosaur he'd imagined before.  He was on his back, and his eyes widened when a pillar of black shot up into the sky before rushing back down.  The leaves of the tree he'd been leaning against writhed for a second before the heat dissipated suddenly, an oddly calm burning sound dying out.  After another moment, he broke his paralysis and pushed to his knees, looking back into the valley.  Everything looked the same except the plants were bits of ash, only the tree the white-clothed figure was in left untouched.  The boy was still bound by vines, but Duo could hear a low laughter.

"Is that the best you can do?  Not a scratch."

Black fire blazed around the small male and the vines were ripped apart suddenly.  What happened next was too fast for Duo to follow, but his eyes locked on the bits of green that showered to the ground.  The boy lighted on the ground briefly, snatching up the fallen sword before darting to the tree, blade pointed to the other's throat.  Duo blinked.

"You're no fun this way," the white-clothed figure murmured, ignoring the blade.  "You gave in so easily, too."

"We have company."

Duo's throat went dry when the black-haired boy turned suddenly, left hand raised and pointing directly at him.  It was then that he saw the glowing green spot on the boy's forehead and he would have moved back if his body hadn't frozen.  He was visible before he had a chance to think about it and his muscles relaxed suddenly, having clenched on their own.  The boy disappeared and Duo jerked back, staring down into two wide black eyes and a third dark blue one that glared out of the short boy's forehead.

"Kissama."

"What are you doing out here?"

Duo's head jerked to the side and he blinked as a red-haired boy stepped out from behind the tree next to him.  This boy was wearing a pale magenta outfit, bright green eyes looking him over without a hint of malice.  But the short one still held that sword.  "I..."

"Ch', he's only level A."

Duo frowned at the way that comment was tossed and he relaxed enough to be angry.  The short boy's sword had disappeared behind his back.

"Hiei, that's cruel."  Moving forward, the red-haired boy held a hand out to Duo, a slight smile playing with his lips.  "I'm Kurama.  You must be new to this kingdom if you didn't know not to come out here."

"Yeah," Duo said, shaking the boy's hand dazedly.  "The name's Duo.  What just happened?"

"A little training exercise," Kurama said lightly, stepping past Duo to crouch near the shorter boy.

Looking at them, Duo stared at that single blue eye, barely taking in the boy's spiked black hair.  That eye was staring at him, he was sure of it and it had to be the creepiest feeling he'd ever had.  The red-haired boy had pulled a white cloth from inside his vest and he tied it around Hiei's forehead, shutting the eye from view.  That simple movement was a great relief and Duo let out a small sigh.  "You guys are students at the school, then?"

"I am," Kurama nodded, glancing at the longhaired boy.  "I'm surprised Relena-domo didn't tell you during orientation.  This is our training area.  No one else is allowed out here until four at the latest."

"Sorry, I missed the orientation."  Scratching the back of his neck, Duo shifted, wondering why he felt as if he'd walked into a girls' restroom and was being reprimanded.

"No harm done," Kurama said softly, handing a roll of bandage to the short boy before straightening and facing Duo.  "It's a good idea not to go more than a mile into the woods, though.  We're in charge of the perimeter and we don't want students getting harmed if there's an attack."

"Attack?  I thought this was a pacifist nation..."  The black-haired boy snorted and Duo found himself very irritated by the sound.  It made him feel like an idiot.

"Mutants from around the world gather here," Hiei said, "you think no one targets the place?  Baka."

His jaw hurt from the way his teeth were clenched and Duo glared at the short boy.  That word was one Heero could use for him, no one else.  Thinking of the others, he wondered if they had heard his thoughts earlier.  He had to have been thinking loudly.  As if the two heard him, the black-haired boy jerked suddenly, looking at him for a second before lifting the band up so that eye sparked.

"Five males, A class."

"Friends of mine," Duo said quickly, noting that the boy's free hand was curved over his shoulder.  He remembered the sword.  "They're telepaths, they must be worried about me."

"They couldn't have heard you," Kurama said, shaking his head.  "Hiei blocks out any mental searches."

A hand fell on his shoulder suddenly and Duo jumped, whirling to give Heero a dark glare.  "You took five years off my life!"

"Friends of yours?" Heero asked, his voice cold as he looked at the two strangers.  Footsteps sounded behind him and he gave a glance to Quatre and Zechs, noting their pained expressions.  Trowa landed beside him and he turned his gaze back to the two teens.

"Maybe," Duo said slowly, looking at them himself.  Kurama smiled and he felt a bit guilty.  "Yeah, they go to the school.  This is Kurama and..."

"Hiei," Kurama said, stepping toward Heero.  Extending a hand, his lips twitched when the dark haired boy made no move to accept it.  Then the blonde boy moved forward and he nodded to him.  "Your comrade stepped into our training area."

"We were worried," Quatre said, his eyes caught on the black-haired boy.  The teen pulled a white band down to cover a third, blue eye and Quatre felt a sudden pressure lift from his mind.  Obviously that was the reason he'd been unable to sense Duo earlier.

"Good reason," Kurama nodded, "but no harm was done."  A soft sigh reached him and he turned, moving back to Hiei.  The boy was still glaring, and Kurama followed his gaze to the tall white-haired man.  "You're Relena-domo's brother."

"Does everyone know what I look like?" Zechs asked, raising an eyebrow.  "You're the second person to ask me that in only a couple of hours."

"He said they defend the kingdom from attack," Duo said suddenly, nodding when Zechs shot him an incredulous look.  "Seriously."

"She keeps a picture of you in her office," Kurama said.  "But we haven't spoken to her today.  I didn't realize you had come back."

"This country has a defense," Zechs interrupted, stepping forward.  "Have there been attacks?"

"No.  But I really am not at liberty to discuss the details without Relena-domo's permission."  Another sigh sounded and Kurama glanced down, smiling at Hiei's irritated statement.  The black-haired boy glared at him then promptly fell over.

"Is he all right?" Quatre asked, rushing forward to crouch next to Kurama.  The short boy's eyes were closed and he didn't move, but he was breathing deeply.

"I can heal him," Zechs offered, frowning when the red-haired boy shook his head.

"Hiei doesn't like to be touched.  Don't worry, though, he isn't injured.  He just needs to sleep for a few hours."  His lips twitched and Kurama lifted the small roll of bandage.  His friend hadn't used it, too distracted by the new students' arrival.  Pushing back the long sleeve of Hiei's black cloak, he sat down, wrapping the boy's right arm.  The blonde boy was still crouched beside him and he glanced over at him.  "You didn't introduce yourselves."

"Oh," Quatre said softly, moving back.  "This is Trowa, Wufei, and Heero.  I'm Quatre."

"It's nice to meet you," Kurama said softly, nodding to each.

Duo frowned, looking at the ground.  He felt as if he were forgetting something and he glanced toward the valley for a second before his eyes widened.  "Kurama!  Who was that other person?"  The red-haired boy was putting the roll of bandage into his vest and he blinked at him.  "I saw someone else, earlier when he was fighting.  White hair, a tail."

"Heh."  Smiling, Kurama lifted Hiei and stood, tilting his head as he looked at the violet-eyed boy.  "That was me."

"What?"  Duo frowned, staring at the boy's red hair and magenta clothing.  "No, he was—"

"Just me.  I don't have the ability to control plants capable of challenging Hiei unless I use that form.  He is an S class, you know."  The dark haired boy let out a sharp breath and Kurama blinked at him, taken back by the glare in those dark blue eyes.

"S class?" Heero whispered, his hands curling into fists.  "There is no S class."

"Didn't you know?  I admit, Hiei was the first I met besides myself, and I'm at the bottom of the level.  Don't worry, you'll learn more after you take classes here.  Relena-domo is good about teaching mutants more about themselves."  Kurama blinked when the boy continued to stare at him and he shifted Hiei a bit, glancing at his watch.  "I need to take him back now, if you like, I can tell you a bit about classes on the way.  Duo said you missed your orientation."

"We're not students," Zechs said, ignoring the warning look Heero shot him.  If his sister actually used the two boys as defense, then there was no way she'd be shocked to hear of their own actions.  A glance at the sleeping boy reminded him of how young he looked.  The red-haired one was a bit taller than Trowa and he could have been eighteen.  But the shorter one didn't look a day over twelve.  He had trouble believing Relena would use them, but it was obvious that she had.  "We're taking shelter here."

"Ah, in the pacifist nation?"  Kurama smiled, glancing at Duo as he remembered the boy's surprise.  "Then you picked the best place.  I suppose you kept this from Relena-domo, am I right?  You shouldn't have.  Come, I really should go back."  He walked past them, nodding to Wufei when the boy moved aside to let him through.  After a few steps, he could hear them following.

"Heero, you aren't going to believe what I saw back there," Duo whispered, walking close to Heero's side.  The boy still looked angry and stunned, taken back by the knowledge of a level beyond A class.  He hadn't actually thought much about classes himself.  It was common knowledge that normal humans ranked mutants according to their abilities.  He never thought about it.  "That guy has to be just as fast as you are."  Dark blue eyes turned to him and Duo smiled, putting an arm around Heero's waist.  It was reassuring that the boy didn't shrug him off, but he could feel how tense those muscles were.  "I really don't think you should be angry, Heero.  Just think, they're mutants stronger than us.  And they're friends.  It's good news."

"He's right," Zechs murmured, slowing down so he flanked them.  "Obviously we do have something to learn at this school."  Wufei glanced back at him and he nodded when the boy gestured toward Kurama.  Quatre was talking to the boy, Trowa next to him.  "You can't read lips from back here.  Come on, Heero."

"I hate this," Heero muttered, glaring to the side.  "How could we not know there was an S class?  It's infuriating."

"But we know now," Duo said, squeezing the boy and smiling when Heero glanced at him.  "Just think, you were supposed to gather a team of powerful mutants.  I'd say those two would make good recruits, right?"  A glint sparked in those dark blue eyes and he smirked when Heero moved away suddenly, joining the others.  Glancing at Zechs, he shrugged.  "You just have to know how to work him," he said, his statement wise as if he knew everything about how to push Heero's buttons.  "Make it a mission and he's all over it."

* * *
TBC
--notes—-
For those who don't know, Hiei, Kurama, and Yukina are from Yu Yu Hakusho.  This fic needed a boost to get it rolling again so I'm incorporating a new obsession into it.  I apologize if that bothers anyone, but I like the idea.  Also, if you don't know the series, it shouldn't matter much.  It's an alternate universe so I'll develop the characters enough you shouldn't have to know the series.  If you do know it and have problems with my characterizations, remember, it's an alternate universe fic.  It will remain mostly a GW fic since the majority of the characters are from that series, I'm just giving another couple to the mix.  ^__^
 

G-men Part 22:  Talents

They seemed to reach the town quicker than he remembered, and Duo was surprised to notice the people who'd paid such interested attention to him before glanced away from them now.  It wasn't that they weren't noticed, considering they walked down the sidewalk of the main road leading up to the manor.  But people outside the buildings were careful not to pay them any mind.  Those walking down the street toward them moved to the other side.  Rather than appreciating it, he thought they were being rather rude.  A glance toward Kurama showed it was nothing unusual, the red-haired boy leading the group.

"The lower levels haven't ever been assigned letters as far as I know," Kurama was saying, his bright green eyes directed at Quatre.  "Mutants levels one through six generally have a slight talent, nothing they can control.  Usually, they don't even realize they are mutants.  And you know seven through ten, right?"

"Ten being A," Quatre nodded.  "But I've never heard of something above that."  Heero was a few steps behind them and he exchanged a quick glance with the boy, knowing he was listening carefully.

"It's not just you," Kurama told him, "Relena-domo hadn't heard of it either, when we first came here.  Sometimes I wonder if it isn't a level Hiei made up."  He smirked suddenly, his eyes dropping to the boy in his arms.  "But I can't imagine him doing that.  No, I think there is a definite level above A, and Hiei calls it S level.  I don't know where he first heard it, but I'm confident it's real.  There's a gap between A and S, and he's definitely jumped it.  You know that level A mutants have multiple talents, as level B have mastered talents.  But level S is different.  It isn't a level you're born with."

"What do you mean?  Mutants are born with their abilities," Duo commented, his eyes still shifting to the people they passed.

"I know," Kurama nodded, glancing back at him.  "I was born with the ability to control plants.  When I started, I could make them grow, from a seed to a full grown tree in minutes.  But I couldn't do more than that until I practiced.  Now I can change my shape to a form that allows me to create plants that don't exist, rather than just manipulating seedlings.  Maybe I was born with the potential but I had to work hard to develop the power.  That is when I moved from A to S."

"So this level means multiple talents, but mastered," Heero said, his statement losing that pinched look.  "Then all we have to do is to master our abilities?  It's too easy."

"You make it sound easy," Kurama said lightly, "but you're still an A level mutant.  You talk as if you've mastered your talents, but Hiei said you were A level.  Maybe you have something more you haven't tapped into."  The dark-haired boy gave him a glare but he shrugged, facing forward again.

"That guy said we were A before he even saw us," Duo smirked, his eyes shifting over the sleeping boy.  He looked nothing like the short fighter who'd held a sword on him earlier and Duo wondered what made him the expert.  "How would he know so much about us, or classes, for that matter?"

"He's good at reading those things," Kurama said lightly, turning to direct his gaze at Zechs.  "You said you were seeking shelter here.  Are you rebels, then?  I heard there were a few mutants attacking OZ.  Of course, I did notice that Duo looked familiar."  The longhaired boy's eyes widened and Kurama nodded.  "I've seen your picture before, though it took me a bit to realize where.  I admit, I'm surprised to learn that Relena-domo's brother is one of the rebels."

"As apposed to being a pacifist," Zechs said, his statement droll.  "I haven't been in this kingdom in years."

"I know."  The red-haired boy nodded again.  "And as people attacking OZ, I'm sure the idea of pacifism is hard to accept.  You have to realize that only a few of the students here are level B, the rest below that.  Any resistance they might put up would only get them killed.  Relena-domo gives them an outlet for their frustration, a place to live in peace.  It isn't just a fanciful notion, you know.  She doesn't just teach them to accept their lot, she's working to unite them so a peaceful solution might be reached."

Quatre frowned, glancing back at his friends before meeting the green-eyed boy's gaze.  "She doesn't really believe OZ will let mutants join normal society, does she?  It's a nice idea, please don't get me wrong, but it's not likely."

"You might be surprised at how much can be accomplished through discussion," Kurama told him, not bothered by the boy's skepticism.  "The Sank kingdom has quite a reputation among the neighboring countries.  Leaders listen to Relena-domo as if she had some mutant ability of manipulation; even those with inherent fear of mutants are willing to give her ideas a chance.  And she isn't so foolish as to think things can be changed with complete pacifism."  Zechs blinked at him and he smiled at the man, understanding his surprise.  "Relena-domo did think that at first, but she realizes now that the country will have to be able to defend itself.  Talking about peace is useless if OZ could just come in and kill all of the mutants in one blow.  She knows that."

Duo shook his head, smirking at Heero.  "And here I figured she was just sitting around talking about peace as if the rest of the world didn't exist.  I guess I had pacifists dubbed wrong."

"No," Zechs said sharply, his pale blue eyes sliding over the back of Kurama's head as the boy didn't look back.  "My father did that.  We had a small defense to be called up in case of an attack, but it wasn't something he actually took seriously.  Where did Relena get the idea of a defense using mutants?"  Kurama glanced over his shoulder and Zechs shook his head.  "She never believed there was an appropriate time for violence, no matter what.  She always thought discussion could solve anything."

"Did she?"  They were moving up the steep hill directly beneath the manor and Kurama shifted Hiei higher so the boy's black head lay over his shoulder.  "I haven't known her that long, but it sounds as if you're describing Yukina-chan, not Relena-domo.  Relena-domo despises violence just as much, but she accepts that sometimes it's unavoidable.  All she hopes is to keep the violence limited to as few people as possible.  Which is why the other students stay clear of the border of the country.  They can be taught to control their powers and how to fight for peace without violence.  We make sure they have the chance to do that."

"But you're guarding the country against OZ," Duo put in, following closely behind Quatre, "right?  Don't you think it's a waste of time to sit around here and wait for OZ to attack when you could be out there getting them first?"

"Like the six of you," Kurama said softly, his lips curving into a slight smile. "But where has your fight led you?"  Silence met him and he ducked his head, closing his eyes for a moment before quickening his pace.  "The rightful heir to this kingdom is Millardo Peacecraft, but if you plan to stage your attacks from within this kingdom, I'd ask that you tell Relena-domo first.  We should be prepared for the inevitable retaliation.  It's only a matter of time before they realize where you are."

Wufei's eyes narrowed when Zechs' face darkened.  "We weren't planning to attack from within the Sank kingdom."  The red-haired boy gave him a surprised look and he blinked.  "We just needed a place to hide for a while."

"I wasn't saying it was a bad idea," Kurama commented.  "Attacking and then retreating into the Sank kingdom would give you safety.  And so long as we're notified, we can guard the perimeter from any retaliation.  I just meant that you should discuss your plans with Relena-domo."  The blonde boy beside him was shaking his head and Kurama sighed, smiling at Quatre.  "You really weren't going to do anything accept hide here, were you.  I should have known.  I really wish people would stop hearing the word 'pacifism' and automatically linking it with weak.  I was giving you my support."

"Your support?"  Quatre's eyes widened and he glanced to the side, meeting Trowa's gaze.  The tall boy gave him a slight nod and he turned back to Kurama.  "You mean in our fight against OZ?"

"Hiei won't leave this country, not with Yukina-chan here, so I'm bound to its defense.  But Relena-domo would support you, I'm sure of it.  Don't disregard the idea, even if it didn't occur to you before.  The Sank kingdom is the safest place for mutants right now, even if you're hiding in the most obvious spot."  They'd reached the yard and Kurama stopped, turning to face the others.  "If you want to discus this, just speak to Relena-domo.  She'll have your voice recorded for our area."

"Your area?"  Duo's eyes widened for a second before he scowled.  "You have your own area?"

"Actually, it's sectioned off for students learning to master certain abilities.  We can't have just any student wandering in at odd times, too dangerous.  I'm sure you'll see it eventually, if Yukina-chan gives you a tour.  That's usually the first thing for new students, even if you aren't official students."  Zechs blinked suddenly and Kurama raised an eyebrow at him.

"I know who you're talking about," Zechs said, his eyes shifting to Quatre.  "The girl, earlier."

"Oh," Quatre nodded, "Miss Yukina, I remember.  You promised to take a tour with her this afternoon."

"You're a bit late," Kurama smiled, "but she won't mind.  Just go to Relena-domo's office.  I'll see you later, ne?"  The blonde boy nodded and he turned greeting a student before entering the wide doors.

"This is getting complicated," Zechs muttered, rubbing his eyes.  "I definitely didn't expect this trip to be like this."

"But it's better than what you expected," Wufei commented, his eyes glinting when the man gave a reluctant nod.

"I should check on Une," Quatre said suddenly, blinking as he glanced down at his watch.  "She's sure to be hungry when she wake up."

"We can bring her a tray of food," Trowa said, "I'll go."

"I'm going to speak to Relena," Zechs said, lifting his chin as if he where steeling himself to the confrontation.  Duo grinned at him and he sighed.  "There's no point putting it off.  I obviously had the wrong idea about this place and I want to know more about those two," he nodded toward the door Kurama had gone through.

"We'll go with you," Heero said sharply, exchanging a quick glance with Wufei who also nodded.

"Get us when you decide to take the tour," Quatre smiled, "we should all know our way around this place."  Zechs nodded to him and he turned, entering the building with Trowa.

* * *

It was his room, but Duo had given the key to Quatre so he tapped on the door, waiting in the hall.  He wondered briefly if anyone noticing him would think it odd that he had to knock on his own door, but he doubted anyone realized it was his room.  To hear Relena talk about her school, they didn't have to worry about busybodies.  And she already knew of their extra guest.  Trowa opened the door and he stepped inside, his eyes flying over the bed and the blonde boy seated on it.  "Where is she?"

Tossing his head toward the closed bathroom door, Quatre sighed.  "In there.  She's been in there since I woke her up, but she isn't hurting anything.  I don't think it's a good idea to keep putting her to sleep, it's not good for her and she doesn't have anything to pick the lock if we break this side.  She could conceivably try and break the door down, but I don't think she'll try now that she knows where she is."

"You told her?"  The blonde boy looked depressed, but Duo couldn't hide his uncertain statement.  She had, after all, aligned herself with OZ, the ones determined to kill mutants.  And now she knew she was in a school full of mutants.

"You forget," Quatre said softly, stepping to the door and waving Duo toward the hall.  "She worked for OZ convinced that she was only going after rouge mutants.  She's upset and confused to be around so many young ones who've never done anything wrong."  His violet-eyed friend was raising an eyebrow at him, but Quatre didn't speak until they were outside the room.  "Trowa and I have both searched her mind, she isn't faking it.  She honestly has no want to leave the room, she's afraid one of the students might see her.  The idea of them learning peaceful ways eliminates them as targets for her, she wouldn't harm them even if she did escape.  We're her only enemies here."

"Well," Duo murmured, shaking his head as Quatre locked the door, "that makes it easier.  Zechs told Relena about her, but Relena feels sorry for her.  She wasn't upset that we were holding a hostage so much as she was angry at OZ for brainwashing her like they did."  He smirked, waving the boys in the direction of Relena's office, where the others were waiting.  "She gave us her full support as far as Une's concerned.  Of course, we didn't mention Kurama's offer, just that we were planning to stay for a while to work on Une."

"I don't think Zechs would take him up on that offer," Quatre said.  "But Heero wanted to ask about those two boys.  Did Miss Relena tell you about them?"

"Not a word," Duo smiled, "she just suggested we ask them our questions, that it wasn't her place.  She was very...polite and careful about it, too.  I guess she was respecting their privacy, or something."  They'd reached the doors to Relena's office and he nodded to Heero.  "Une's doing better than we expected.  Looks like she'll stay in the room willingly, believe it or not."  The Japanese boy frowned at him, but he shrugged, his eyes moving to Zechs.  The white-haired man was looking down the hall and Duo blinked as he spotted a small girl.  She was rather short, but she smiled when she spotted Zechs, red eyes blinking at them.

Stepping forward, Zechs nodded to the girl, glancing back to the others.  "This is Miss Yukina."

"Just Yukina," the girl smiled, looking at them.  "I expected you sooner, but Relena-domo said you were busy."

Zechs nodded, introducing the others to her.  He noted that she didn't offer her hand, though he remembered she'd reciprocated Quatre's gesture before.  Her talent had been ice, and he could feel that slight chill in the air as he stood closer to her.  But her smile was very warm.  "We'd be grateful for a tour of the manor.  An acquaintance of yours, Kurama, mentioned an area for special students.  Relena said we could have access to it."

"You've met Kurama-san?"  Her smile faded for a second before coming back just as strong.  "We'll go by there and you can voice-print yourselves.  It's very simple, but only a few of us have the key to the computer room in order to gain access.  I'm sure if Relena-domo were not so busy, she would take you herself."  Turning, she glanced back to make sure they were following before nodding toward the doors lining the hall.  "I know Relena-domo showed you your rooms last night.  This is the floor for new students.  As they stay longer, they're moved up to the other floors.  The actual classes are located on the first two floors of the manor."  Yukina paused outside a stairwell, her eyes shifting up to Zechs.  "You saw them earlier, ne?"

"Yes," Zechs nodded, "but there didn't seem to be many classes going on."  The rooms in question had been mostly empty, the doors left open to show tables or desks.

"Most classes take place in the morning," Yukina said, leading the way downstairs.  "Attendance is not mandatory, but students go willingly.  I've sat in on a few, they're very interesting.  You might want to try a few.  In the afternoon, students usually eat lunch, or go into town.  We don't have any sort of curfew, but again, students come here by choice, so we don't need rules like the ones normal schools have.  You've seen the cafeteria?"

Duo nodded, smirking at the thought of students going to classes by choice.  It almost made him wonder at the sanity of mutants at the school, but he doubted the classes were like normal ones.  "The one on the first floor, right?"  The pale blue-haired girl smiled and nodded at him and he blinked.  He couldn't remember anyone else who smiled so much with people she'd just met.  But then, he'd never spent time around girls.  "We've seen it."

"Well," Yukina said as they reached the first floor.  "There really isn't much to show here.  The yard in the back is mostly used for recreation, and then there's the forest beyond the town.  Students like to walk the paths."  Her eyes flicked to them and she pursed her lips.  "But don't go off the paths, the border isn't too far beyond them and that area isn't for leisure."

"I figured that one out the hard way," Duo smiled, "walked right in on Kurama's 'training exercise.'"

"Then that's where you met him," Yukina said, her eyes widening for a second.  "It's really very dangerous to be out there.  You really must be careful."

"I know," Duo nodded, "advice taken."

"Aside from there," Yukina turned, "we have the underground training facilities.  A few students go down there, to be trained in mastering their abilities.  As Relena-domo said, you'll have access to that, but there are a few rooms used for housing as well as the main gyms.  Those are private rooms."  Blinking, she glanced back as Zechs, pausing next to a door near the back of the first floor.  "You might want to move down there, if you're here long enough."

"We'll take that into consideration," Zechs nodded.  The girl answered with a nod of her own and he blinked when she pulled a small necklace from inside her pale blue robe-like dress.  There was a small stone attached to it and she pressed it into a circular indention in the door.  It slid open immediately, revealing a small room filled with computer equipment.  Yukina waved them inside.

After pressing a few buttons, Yukina stepped back.  "Just say your names and the computer will record your voices.  Then I'll take you to the entrance of the training area."  It took a while, but they finished soon enough and she shrugged.  "We installed this recently.  There was no need before, but a few of the newer students were adventurous and kept sneaking down to watch the training.  Kurama-san was adamant that access be limited after that."  Zechs nodded to her and she took them back into the hall, pressing the door shut again.  Leading them back to the stairwell, she stopped before the metal door that stood at the bottom of the stairs.  A small speaker system was set up and she pressed the button, her eyes sliding back to them as she smiled.  "Yukina."

The door gave a slight hissing sound, but it opened when the girl pressed on it and Heero nodded, his eyes passing over the small box.  It was basic equipment, but more efficient than any key.  He wondered why the girl had used a key for the other room, when they could have had it rigged to voice-code as well.  Keys were easily stolen.  But he reminded himself that the chances of that happening within the kingdom or the school were slim.  Another staircase was revealed, but it was lined with cement, dull lights barely eating away the shadows.  The girl's steps quickened and he was surprised when she didn't wait for them, passing through the door below.  They followed and stopped just inside a large room.  Actually, it might not even be called a room, easily as large as the cafeteria above.  There were a few doors set into the wall across from them, glass windows showing a small office-like room.  The blue-haired girl moved directly toward it and Heero spotted the red-haired boy inside, seated with his back to the window.

The girl seemed to forget them, but Duo followed quickly enough, not glancing back to see if the others were going to stay just inside the doorway.  Yukina reached the room, tapping lightly on the door but not going inside.  Kurama stood and opened it, nodding to them.

"You finally got to give them your tour?" Kurama smiled, his eyes dropping to Yukina.  The girl shifted and he kept his statement neutral as if he couldn't see her hesitation.  "Hiei is still asleep."

Her smile was brilliant and Duo blinked, staring when the girl rushed past the red-haired boy.  Kurama stepped aside and gestured for him to enter, the others right behind him.  "There's room, this is a rest area."  They moved into the office and he smiled when Duo stopped in surprise, the boy's wide eyes locked on Yukina.  The pale-haired girl was sitting next to the bench Hiei was laying on, her face buried against his neck.  "Don't mind them," Kurama murmured, "it's the only time she can show her affection." The girl in question glanced up, a bright blush marring her cheeks.

"I'm sorry," Yukina said quickly, her face warmed by the eyebrow Duo was raising at her.  "I don't see my brother very often."

"We mostly spend our time training or teaching students," Kurama explained, reclining in a chair.  Zechs was the last to enter and he nodded when the man closed the door.  "But we aren't expecting any students this evening so we trained outside, today."

"You teach here?" Duo asked.  There were two long tables in the room and he took a chair next to Heero, across from the one Kurama had been sitting in before.  It gave him a nice view of the room they'd come through earlier.  "How old are you?"

"Seventeen," Kurama smiled, "but I don't actually teach classes, not like the teacher upstairs.  Mostly, what we do is take students who we think could be stronger.  We can't always help, but if they have the potential we can train them to master their abilities."  His eyes flicked to Heero and he nodded at the boy, remembering his comments from earlier.  "We could definitely help the six of you.  If you're level A without any help, you might have the potential to get stronger.  But it really depends on what sort of talents you have."

"What about you?" Heero asked, his eyes narrowed.  He didn't like the confident way the boy spoke, but he disliked the idea of telling their abilities even more.  Usually he wouldn't be so careful, but they'd already found one mutant who was willing to turn against them.

"I'm just a controller," Kurama said, his green eyes glinting at the boy.  He had a good idea what was going through Heero's mind and he understood.  "Plants are my weapons, and I have the ability to change shapes in order to increase my strength."  His eyes flicked to Hiei and he smiled a bit, watching Yukina stroke the boy's black hair.  He almost felt sorry for her, but he couldn't forget that Hiei cared more for his sister than he did for anyone else.  That would never change no matter how cold the boy acted around her.  "Hiei has a mess of abilities, though.  That's what makes him a higher S class mutant than myself.  And as far as I can tell, he's mastered all of them."

"What does he have?" Duo asked, leaning his elbows on the table.  "I know he's fast."

"Very fast," Kurama nodded, "and he's incredibly agile.  He can't fly, but he can come very close to it.  And he's strong, don't let his size fool you.  His sword isn't just for show, he can cut through steel.  He's immune to ice and cold," Kurama smiled, his eyes flicking to Yukina again, "and he has a high tolerance for fire.  But most of his abilities center around his jagan."  He noticed that Heero's eyes narrowed and he nodded.  "His third eye lets him see things other people miss, allows him to read people and find things.  He can also control humans, non-mutants.  Recently, he mastered his best ability, his kokoryuha.  Black flame.  It's hotter than any fire, and he can send it out in the form of a dragon."  The longhaired boy was holding his breath and Kurama smiled, nodding to him.  "That's what you saw earlier.  Hiei can control the kokoryuha as well as I can my plants, but he can also use it on himself.  As far as we can tell, it makes him invulnerable."  Kurama smiled suddenly, smirking at the boy in question.  "Of course, he's comatose for hours after he uses it, but he's getting better.  The first few times he tried he was asleep for six hours.  We've knocked it down to four since then."

"You said something about him blocking out searches," Duo put in, hiding his irritation.  He didn't want to be impressed, but he really couldn't help it.

"Oh," Kurama said, blinking, "I almost forgot.  That's the effect of his jagan.  It doesn't just block out searches, although his mind is closed off from any readers.  We've found that anyone with telepathic abilities finds it painful to be near him when he uses it.  That's one of the reasons we limit who has access to this area."  Leaning back in his chair, he tilted his head, looking from each of the males.  "And you?"

"That list makes us sound pathetic," Duo muttered, but he wasn't as depressed as he sounded.  After all, the boy had offered to help them and he for one intended to get stronger if he could.  "I can turn invisible, and I can teleport myself, or anyone I'm holding to a location I've been before."  The red-haired boy nodded and he smirked.  "That's it."

"Those aren't light abilities," Kurama said, frowning at the boy's disparaging statement.  "Considering the uses, you could cause a lot of trouble.  I can see why OZ has been looking for you specifically.  And with your talents, they'd never find you."

"Maybe," Duo said, "but I've mastered them.  How would I get stronger if I've already mastered the talents I have?"

"Speculate for a moment," Kurama told him, leaning closer to the table.  "You can turn invisible, so I assume whatever you're touching turns invisible as well, right?"  The boy nodded and his eyebrows rose.  "Would you do it?"  Duo smirked at him for a second then disappeared.  Nodding, Kurama glanced over the seemingly empty chair.  "Enough."  Duo reappeared immediately, resting his chin in one hand.  "You went invisible well enough, but not everything you touched turned invisible with you."  The boy blinked violet eyes at him and he shook his head, pointing at the chair.  "You were touching the chair, the table, as well as the floor, yet all of those things remained.  If you had mastered the talent of turning yourself, and everything you touch invisible then they would have gone as well."

"Turn the floor invisible?" Duo asked, his eyes wide to show his disbelief.  "What would be the point in that?"

"It doesn't matter," Kurama said, "the fact is that you should be able to do it if you wanted to.  I imagine you've been turning the things you wear or hold with your hands invisible but not focusing on the other things that are touching you.  That makes the difference in using your full potential and how you are now.  As for your teleportation, you said you could teleport whatever you were holding.  It sounds like the same thing, but what you're really doing is moving yourself, right?  You're controlling your body, transporting it from one place to another.  I wouldn't be surprised if you could move things without touching them.  You might want to experiment on that."  Duo was blinking at him and he raised his hands.  "Now remember, I'm just speculating, throwing out the possibilities the way I would with any other student who came to me.  You may not have the potential for the things I've mentioned, I can't say just by looking at you.  I don't have Hiei's skill for that sort of thing."

"Maybe not," Zechs murmured, "but you've definitely given food for thought.  What advice would you give me?  I have the ability to read minds and to heal people.  Not much to build on, I can't see any openings for improvement."

"You could try not to make the healing quite so painful," Duo put in, a playful smile directed at the white-haired man.

"If it hurts when you heal," Kurama said, "it might be a flaw in the delivery.  I assume you've never experimented with your abilities?"

"No."

"Then that might be a place to start.  Also, telepathic abilities often lead to other, similar abilities.  I doubt if you can read Hiei's mind, whether he's using the jagan or not.  If you wanted to build on your ability to read people, you might want to work on using your powers when he's using his jagan.  Although, as I said, it's painful."

"You said Hiei could control non-mutants," Quatre put in, "I can control mutants."

"Really?"  Kurama blinked, his eyes widening in obvious respect.  "And he still read you as A...  That's something I've never heard of."

"I guess I could build on my range," Quatre nodded, "but other than that, I haven't had any trouble controlling mutants.  I'm also telepathic, although I'm not as strong as Zechs is."  He blinked for a moment, glancing at Trowa and then Wufei.  "And I can't block out searches.  I don't have a mental block."

"And you'd want to work on that," Kurama said. "You obviously see where to improve."

"Yes," Quatre said, "but Trowa is the opposite of me.  He has a block like I've never encountered before.  And when he lets it down, he can't control his powers."

"What do you have?" Kurama asked, his eyes moving to the tall boy.

"I fly," Trowa said, "beyond that I don't know.  I have no control over my emotions when I lose hold of the wall I place in my mind."

"He glowed," Wufei put in, "and he had the strength to knock loose a steel door."  Trowa blinked at him and he wondered if the boy didn't remember that, it wouldn't surprise him.

"Bullets," Duo nodded, "we don't know for sure, but he might be impervious to bullets."

"Sounds like a mystery," Kurama said, his eyes glinting.  "I do like mysteries.  If the block you have is strong enough, you might already be an S class.  It would be interesting to find someone Hiei's jagan couldn't read.  I definitely want to be there when you start experimenting with that power."

"It's painful toward telepaths," Zechs said, his eyes darting to Quatre.

"I've no telepathic abilities at all," Kurama said, shaking his head, "and Hiei doesn't have to worry about that."  He looked at the two remaining boys, his eyes pausing on Heero.  "And you?"

"Speed and self-healing," Heero said succinctly.  "Nothing more."

"Speed?  If you're interested, I think Hiei might actually enjoy a mock battle with someone else who has that ability.  I know that doesn't help you improve your talent, but it would be nice to watch."  The dark-haired boy frowned at him and Kurama smiled.  "As for your other ability, you might try to determine how you heal yourself.  That could lead to something else."

"Not very helpful," Duo muttered, sighing in disappointment.  He didn't think Heero was upset or anything, but he'd expected more advice.  The red-haired boy shrugged and he shook his head.  "Oh well.  Wufei, here, is our elemental."

"You control the weather?" Kurama asked, his eyes moving to the black-haired boy.

Nodding, Wufei tilted his head to the side, frowning at the teen.  "I have the ability to block out most searches, to keep people from locating me, but Zechs saw through that.  I suppose I could build that block.  Other than that, I can control any sort of weather phenomena."

"Lightning could be an excellent weapon," Kurama said brightly, his eyes glinting.  "I'm sure you already know how to make it strike the target you choose, but can you make it curve?"  The boy frowned and Kurama nodded.  "As a fellow controller, I can tell you that you should be able to curve lightning as easily as you can order it to strike.  It could be as mobile as any of my vines, or Hiei's kokoryuha.  I can definitely help you with that.  And you can fly, right?"

Wufei's eyes narrowed even more and he scowled.  "No."

"You should be able to," Kurama said, blinking at the boy's evident anger.  "After all, if you control the wind, you should be able to lift yourself with it.  Actually controlling such a strong gust might be difficult, but you should be able to fly using the wind."

"I hadn't thought of that."  Wufei stared for a second before a slight smile curved his lips and he glanced at Zechs.  "Looks like I won't need a hang-glider, after all."

"Kurama-san."  Yukina smiled when the males looked at her, many of them no doubt had forgotten her presence.  "I'm going back up now."

"Right," Kurama nodded, standing so he could see the girl out.  He paused when she reached the doorway, his voice dropping to a whisper.  "I'll call you next time, Yukina-chan."

"Thank you," Yukina murmured, giving him a bright smile.

Turning back to the others, Kurama shut the door behind him, his eyes glinting.  "Don't mention that she was down here, okay?"  A few frowned at him, but he shook his head, his eyes flicking to Hiei.  The boy frowned for a second, then abruptly sat up, scowl firmly in place.  "You missed the conversation," he said lightly, taking his seat again.  The short boy sniffed before taking a seat beside him, red eyes moving over the six males.  "I'll fill you in."
 

G-men 23: Preliminaries

It took about ten minutes for Kurama to recap their different abilities, and the fact that they were currently waging attacks on OZ. Red eyes focused on each of them as their specific talents were described again, and Zechs blinked when they remained on him after the tall teen finished. The small black-haired boy stared at him until he shifted, glancing at Wufei. The elemental shrugged, frowning, and Zechs looked back to Hiei with a frown of his own. "What?"

"You're the healer?"

Kurama had just said as much and Zechs nodded, not sure what to make of the short boy's smirk. Hiei lifted a hand, pulling off the white scarf wrapped around his neck. He shrugged aside his black cloak, letting it fall over the back of his chair, and drew the sword strapped to his back. The white-haired man's eyes widened when the boy set his left arm on the table and swiftly sliced a deep wound. Quatre let out a surprised cry and Kurama groaned, leaving the table when blood began to coat the surface.

"You could have done that over a sink," Kurama scolded, frowning at Hiei's dark expression. The boy ignored him, watching Zechs.

"Well?" Hiei prompted, his smirk widening when the tall man flinched, breaking out of his surprise.

Zechs moved to heal the boy and Duo shot a doubtful look to Heero, his voice low. "They don't waste any time, do they." The dark-haired boy was scowling and Duo prodded him to get his attention, which he directed to Zechs' angry expression. "He doesn't look very happy."

Kurama moved behind the two boys, lowering his voice as he caught Duo's eye. "That's because Hiei wanted to get a rise out of him. If the problem in his healing is the delivery, we don't want to give him time to think about what he's doing." The violet-eyed boy raised an eyebrow at the towels in his hands and Kurama sighed. "Of course, I wouldn't have done it here, but...that's Hiei." Circling the table, he frowned at his small friend and dropped the towels with a pointed look. He wasn't about to clean up this mess.

It didn't take long to heal the wound, and Zechs was surprised by the hard muscle that meshed back together beneath his hands. Accepting a towel from Kurama, he wiped his palms. "I'd appreciate it if you gave me some warning, next time," he said, watching Hiei's thoughtful expression.

Hiei turned his arm, frowning at it before glancing up to look at Zechs. "It burns when you do that." Kurama shoved the pile of towels toward his hand and he snorted, cleaning his sword before sopping up the blood on the table. "What do you think when you heal like that?"

Taking his seat again, Zechs shook his head. "I just concentrate on healing the injury. For a cut like that I imagine the flesh sealing itself."

"Do you envision it?" Duo asked. He knew what the black-haired boy had meant about the burn, and he could see how a person might will something to happen. That was how he turned invisible, after all. "I mean, do you actually think about a wound healing, or does it happen naturally?"

"I just...focus on the wound and it heals."

Trowa caught Zechs' attention. "But you touch the person you're healing. With me, it felt as if you put some sort of energy into the wound. You sent that through your hands."

"Yes," Zechs nodded quickly, "but your wound was internal. I couldn't touch the wound itself, so I had to work from the inside out."

"Then you do send out some sort of energy when you heal," Kurama said, leaning his elbows on the table. "And you direct that when the wound isn't one you can see?"

"Yes, but I don't know much about how it works," Zechs admitted. "I see from the outside wound what sort of damage there is and I...imagine whatever it is that lets me heal being sent *into a person. Then I imagine it being directed to the injury. Once it's there I heal it, the same as I would a flesh wound."

"You didn't just use your hands with Duo." The pale blue-eyed man flushed and Heero raised an eyebrow, his eyes glinting. "Care to explain?"

"Yeah," Duo put in, frowning at the white-haired man. "That was the most painful kiss I've ever had." He realized what he'd said when Wufei let out a snort, the boy's smirk making his cheeks burn. Zechs was just as red, and Duo leaned back in his chair when he saw the way Kurama was raising a curious eyebrow at him. He abruptly bit his lip and dropped his eyes.

Silence reigned for a few seconds before Kurama gave into a smile. "Then you...send your healing force orally as well?" He didn't think a person's face could get any redder, and he calmed his smile as well as he could. "He must have had extensive internal damage."

"He did," Zechs said sharply. He wasn't used to being embarrassed, but he hadn't considered it a kiss when he'd healed Duo. It was simply the quickest way he could think of to put that power into the boy. "I know the...force comes from inside of me, so I imagined it flowing into him and to where the wounds were. Then I used my hands to center it on healing the worst ones from the inside out."

"I think I understand," Kurama nodded, glancing to the side when Hiei gave a sharp nod. "You were directing the energy, the healing force through him, and then pulling it back out again as it completed the healing. Then the pain either comes from the healing itself, or the movement of that power."

"The power," Hiei stated, red eyes aimed at Zechs. "You put too much out when you heal." Lifting his arm, he inclined his head to where the wound had been. "For a flesh wound, you need less energy. But you used the same amount you would have for an internal wound. Am I wrong?"

"I..." Frowning at the boy, Zechs shifted in his seat. "I'm not sure. I didn't hold anything back, though, I do know that. I don't really think about the amount of energy it takes to heal someone."

"You said you never experimented with your power," Kurama nodded, "so it is understandable. You might want to practice healing minor wounds, watching to see how much effort you use. Then you could try using less effort. Either the wound won't heal, meaning it's always going to burn, or the pain should lessen."

"It's a good idea," Duo murmured, his eyes glinting at the redhead. "But who's he supposed to practice on?" He wasn't about to forget how Heero had used him as the guinea pic for Quatre's little test. Kurama smiled at him and he blinked when those green eyes darted to the side.

"I think Hiei already volunteered for that, didn't you, Hiei." Kurama's smile widened when his friend looked at him, startled for a second before glaring sharply. He didn't argue, though. With a satisfied sigh, Kurama pushed back from the table. "But that can wait until another time. You weren't planning to leave anytime soon, right?" Zechs glanced at Heero and the Japanese boy shook his head. "Good. We can talk more about your abilities in the morning, if that's all right with you."

That sounded like a dismissal to Duo, even if it were a polite one, and he stood with a quick smile. A glance found the others standing as well and Kurama crossed the room, holding the door for them. It was rather abrupt, but Duo really didn't think the boy was trying to be rude. After all, he'd done the same thing with Yukina earlier. Following the others as they trailed out of the office, Duo paused in the doorway, his eyes sparking at the tall teen. "Can I ask you a question?"

Blinking in surprise, Kurama smiled. "Of course."

"Where's the last place you saw my picture?"

The boy looked more curious than anything, but Kurama could tell there was dull anger behind that slight smile. "I think it was in a bus terminal, but I didn't see it there. Hiei had it."

"What?" Duo started in surprise, his gaze darting to the black-haired youth still sitting at the table. The boy's arms were crossed over his chest and he returned the stare with a slight frown. "Why-"

"It's wrong," Kurama said softly, putting a light hand on Duo's shoulder, "for pictures of mutants to be put up as if they were wanted criminals. That's all." Violet eyes turned to him and he smiled, stepping back. "We'll see you in the morning. I look forward to this, you know. I've never had the opportunity to work with an A class mutant. You and your friends will wage a magnificent battle, I'm sure of it."

* * *

Dinner was being served when they reached the first level of the school, students filing through the halls in one general direction. Joining the flow, none of them spoke as they went through the serving line. Once they were seated, Heero looked at Zechs. "I'm going to do a search on those two," the Japanese boy said, his voice quiet in the general murmur of the cafeteria. "If Relena won't tell us anything, then it's the only option."

"You don't trust them?" Quatre asked. He'd been quiet through the last part of the meeting below, but he didn't see any reason to doubt the two mutants. From what Duo had said, they probably were as powerful as Kurama had claimed. But they'd also seemed able and willing to help them, not only to master their talents, but in their fight against OZ. Heero frowned at the table, and Quatre glanced to Trowa.

"It's because they didn't ask us anything about ourselves," Trowa explained. "Even if we're all mutants, they should have asked us something about our past besides out talents."

Zechs nodded at the tall boy, glancing to the blonde. "I don't think it was because they weren't interested, either. Kurama didn't ask us about our past because he didn't want us to ask about theirs. He never let the conversation turn more personal than our powers."

"That's true," Quatre admitted, his expression still doubtful. "But we don't know that they wouldn't tell us if we just asked." He looked across the table to Duo. "You said Miss Relena wouldn't say anything about them, right? That we should ask Kurama if we wanted to know. But we didn't ask him. I can see why you'd be wary of trusting another mutant," he said to Heero, "but I don't like the idea of investigating them without asking straight out first. Give them a chance to tell us before you find out for yourself."

"I plan to ask after I do the search," Heero said. "It's better that way. We can compare what they tell us with what we find." The blonde boy was frowning now, but he met his gaze calmly. "We can't afford to trust them blindly. What happened down there could easily have been a ruse to gain our trust. We won't be taken in twice."

Zechs winced at the reminder of their first meeting with Une, but he had to agree. "Heero's right. But I for one don't think that was a ruse. What would be the point? We were all together in a closed-in room. If they were working for OZ, they could have gassed us and taken us without lifting a finger." Dark blue eyes snapped to his and he nearly smirked at Heero's startled expression. "The fact that it didn't happen is a point in their favor."

"You guys are being way too paranoid," Duo commented. Unlike the rest of them, he wasn't going to wait for his food to get cold, his words coming in between bites. "I have absolute confidence that they're on our side. Besides, who would offer to play guinea pig to Zechs just to get on our good side? No one's that dumb."

Zechs frowned and Wufei smirked at the man before looking to Duo. "What did he say to you when we left?"

"Oh, I just asked him about that picture of me he said he'd seen, that's all." The others had begun to eat now, and Duo took another bite of his food before grinning suddenly. "You know, I still can't believe Hiei just cut his arm like that. I definitely wasn't expecting it."

Wufei could tell the boy was changing the subject, and he gave a slight nod. "His sword is very old-fashioned. I was surprised it cut so easily."

With a quick laugh, Duo smirked. "I didn't think people even carried swords anymore. But he did cut through weird plants earlier, so it had to be pretty sharp. What gets me is barely flinched when he did it. As bad as Zechs' healing burns, he took it like a man." Pale blue eyes sparked at him from a droll glare and he smiled at Zechs.

"Kurama did say he resisted heat, though," Quatre put in. "If it burns, then maybe it wouldn't affect him as much as it did you and Trowa."

"That's true," Zechs said, his fingers tapping the table at the talk. He didn't like to be singled out for the flaw in his main talent, it was irritating. "I thought he was a child when I saw him earlier, but he's obviously older than that."

"What was your first clue?" Duo teased, smirking as Zechs' eyes flashed back to him. Teasing him was nearly as fun as teasing Wufei. "The voice, or the eyes?"

Wufei raised an eyebrow at Duo, his own lips curving into a smirk. "His eyes?"

There was a definite insinuating tone to the Chinese boy's voice, and Duo blinked when Heero shifted beside him. A quick glance found that boy's gaze on him as well and he leaned back a bit, frowning at him, and then Wufei. "All I meant was that he has that same bored look that Heero gets, and Trowa, too."

"Trowa doesn't look bored," Quatre countered with a slight frown. Duo turned to stare at him and he felt a little warmth creep to his lips. He knew the boy hadn't been insulting Trowa, but he'd spoken without thinking. The rising heat strengthened when he felt green eyes on him as well and he fumbled for something to say. "I think it's more serious than bored." The violet-eyed mutant continued to stare at him for a long moment before the boy smiled suddenly and Quatre sighed, dropping his gaze.

"Anyway," Duo smirked, enjoying his friend's embarrassment, "I look forward to meeting up with them tomorrow. Hopefully we can do more than just watch Zechs work."

"That reminds me," Quatre said, "Kurama didn't say when to meet them." Turning a bit, he looked around the crowded cafeteria. "And they didn't come up with us. They couldn't have had time to eat before we came down there, not with Hiei asleep."

Duo shook his head, leaning back since he'd finished eating. "They probably have their own kitchen down there. Let's just meet up here in the morning and go down when we're done. I have a feeling they'll probably be up."

"They can't help all of us at once," Quatre mused, frowning at what was left of his meal. "I think I'll stay with Une tomorrow. I don't think it's good to leave her alone for too long, and I want to start working with her."

"You're going to try bringing her softer side to the surface?" Zechs asked.

"Yes. And since we have an added incentive for staying here, I won't have to rush her." Quatre relaxed when Trowa nodded beside him.

"I'll join you," Trowa said, glancing to the others. "It's not a good idea to have anyone alone with her. She appears stable at the moment, but," he glanced at Heero, "we aren't taking chances."

"Good." Heero nodded to the boy, his brows drawn in a frown. "I'll stop by there before joining up with the others. I want to see this 'other side' of hers. I need to contact my informer with a report as soon as possible, but I don't want to do that until we know we'll be able to work on Une."

"Well," Duo sighed, "that looks like a plan to me. If you guys don't have anything else, I think I'm going to turn in."

Wufei's eyes glinted suddenly and he cleared his face, blinking at the long-haired boy. "Do you plan to share your room with Une tonight? You could bunk with me if you like." Duo's eyes widened in surprise and Wufei's lips twitched when he felt a hot glare blaze at him. Eyebrows rising, he turned an innocent expression to Heero.

The boy was just taunting him, Heero was sure of it, but he glared anyway, his eyes narrow slits of dark blue. "It's taken care of," he said tightly. Snatching his tray, he left the table, his expression relaxing a bit when Duo let out a light laugh.

"Yeah," Duo smirked, his eyes sparkling, "thanks anyway, Wufei." He waved to the others before grabbing his tray. "See you in the morning."

The American bounced away and Trowa turned calm eyes to Wufei. "You know he and Heero are sharing a room, don't you?"

"Of course I do," Wufei snorted. "It's very obvious."

Zechs glanced at the black-haired boy, shaking his head. "I'd be careful," he warned, "Heero doesn't look like the sort to take taunts lightly. I think he might be a bit possessive, judging by that glare he shot you."

"I agree," Wufei smirked. He didn't say any more as he cleared his own tray. Quatre and Trowa finished before him, and he nodded to them as they left for their own room. Zechs was a bit behind him and he waited, not wanting to leave the man alone in the room full of teens. "You know, Heero should be possessive." Pale blue eyes flicked to him in surprise and he stood slowly, picking up his tray. "I actually admire that about him. If he hadn't been assertive they never would have gotten together." The white-haired man blinked at him and Wufei smirked. "I'll see you in the morning." Zechs opened his mouth, but he didn't wait. The man was simply far too passive and there was no point even trying to change that. After all, even if the man had shown interest in him, Wufei wasn't about to lower his standards. He wasn't that lonely.

* * *

They'd taken a tray to Une before going to their room, and Quatre was thoroughly depressed by the time they reached it. The woman had flat out refused to eat anything. He'd been tempted to let that pass, but he knew he couldn't. If he did it once he knew she'd begin a hunger strike. He didn't have to be telepathic to know that. And it bothered him to force a person to eat. It was one thing to invade her privacy to make her answer questions, but to do it for such a simple thing made him feel dirty somehow. Trowa must have known, because the boy pushed him into a chair the moment they reached his room.

"You can't get this upset over something so simple," Trowa said, pulling off Quatre's vest so he could get to the boy's shoulders better. "I didn't read her mind, but I think part of her wanted you to intervene." Bright eyes turned up to him and he nodded. "If her unyielding side thought of the refusal, you know the other side was against it. Either way, you did what you had to for her own good."

The boy was rubbing his shoulders and Quatre smiled, relaxing in the chair. "You could rationalize anything, couldn't you, Trowa. I know I did what I had to, but I don't like using my ability on something so personal. I wouldn't even let her decide if she was hungry or not..."

"You think you're being too controlling?" The blonde nodded and Trowa smirked, curling his fingers tighter as the boy's shoulders remained tense. "I don't think you are. I think you're just choosing to blame yourself for something that can't be helped." Quatre didn't respond and he sighed, leaning over the boy, slipping his arms down over the boy's chest. Rubbing his hands over Quatre's arms, he leaned his forehead against the boy's hair. "Don't blame yourself. Just think of all the good you'll do her. It's up to you to undo all the damage Treize did to her. That should be enough to occupy your mind."

"I know," Quatre sighed, leaning against Trowa. "We've had such good news today, I don't know why I got depressed so easily." He felt the boy nod against his hair and smiled a bit as he pulled away so he could meet those dark green eyes. "You know, you don't have to stay with me while I work on Une. I'm sure the others would take turns. If I didn't know better, I'd think you volunteered with ulterior motives." The boy smirked at him and Quatre reached up a hand to pat Trowa's cheek. "And I'm not talking about those motives."

Trowa blinked in surprise, a bit wary and confused by the glint in the boy's eyes. "What do you mean?"

"Well, if you're with me, then you won't be able to explore your powers. Tell me you didn't think of that when you decided not to go down tomorrow." Green eyes widened and Quatre smirked in satisfaction, shifting in the chair as he folded his arms over his chest. "See? I know you as well as you know me. You will figure out as much as you can while we're here, Trowa. Whether I'm nearby or not."

"Orders?" A playful but definite nod answered him and Trowa's eyes narrowed, only the glint revealing his humor. "Then I don't have much choice, do I. Although, I hadn't actually thought of that until you said something." Quatre turned back to him in surprise and he smirked. "I wouldn't risk angering you again, you should know better."

Quatre frowned at that, dropping his eyes for a minute. He didn't really like the thought that Trowa had to go out of his way not to anger him. But he couldn't help being a bit satisfied that the boy wasn't going to argue about using his powers. The tall boy moved away from his back and he looked up quickly, blinking when his lover rounded the chair, green eyes watching him from a frowning face. "Trowa?"

"You need a bath." His lips twitched when the blonde boy straightened suddenly, pale blue-green eyes widening in outrage and he gave in to his smirk.

"Excuse me?!" Glaring at Trowa's expression, Quatre bristled. "You know I took..." The boy abruptly moved closer to him and he flinched back, not sure what to make of the calculating look he was given. "Trowa...?"

Hesitating for a moment, Trowa enjoyed Quatre's startled expression. "Allow me," he murmured, bending to lift the boy out of the chair. Hands flew to his shoulders and he smirked when Quatre's cheeks turned pink.

"Oh." Understanding dawned and Quatre blushed even as he shot a light glare at Trowa. "You could have just said so..."

* * *
TBC
--notes--
Be warned, there is a 50% chance that the next part will begin with a 3x4 lemon, taking up where this part left off. Any protests should be lodged asap.