Category: Yaoi, Gundam Wing, AU
Warnings: slight language, reference to minor angst/violence
Pairings: 3+2, will be 1x2, 3+4/4+3, possible 5x3
Complete Archive: www.geocities.com/arigatomina
www.fanfiction.net under Arigatomina
The mansion was just that, stretching three stories into the sky. But it was still dwarfed by the buildings to either side of it. Duo snorted the moment he saw it. Quatre had said a house, and that's what he'd been expecting. There was an actual district at the edge of the city, a residential area without the skyscrapers blocking out the sun. He hadn't been there in years, but the community residents were lifers, people who would live in the city until they died. Without a doubt, he was certain the area remained to the day. But that wasn't where Quatre had meant and he had to admit it was a good thing the black-haired man had shown up. A glance at the blonde boy's vest and shirt should have told him the boy came from wealth.
Wufei walked down the small lane framed by thin grass, barely glancing at it despite the fact that it was a pathetic excuse for a lawn. He was very aware that the long-haired boy had slowed and was hanging back. It wasn't until he reached the front steps that he turned, and he waited, wondering if the boy would come near the door. "This is it."
"I figured," Duo said drolly, giving the man a sarcastic look. He took two steps onto the small walkway and halted, glancing back to the buildings and alley across the wide street. That was far enough. The dark-eyed man was looking at him and he raised an eyebrow, holding Quatre when the boy started to move forward. "Is his brother in there?"
"Who are you?" Wufei asked, scowling at the boy. It wasn't that he didn't understand what it meant to be untrusting, but the boy acted as if he were Quatre's guardian or something. The blonde boy caught his eye and he blinked at the sharp frown on that normally eager to please face.
"He saved me," Quatre said, nodding when Wufei didn't look like he believed it. "He's a very good person, he doesn't break the law." Duo shot him a dark look and Quatre blinked, his frown disappearing. "My brother's going to be a commissioner."
"Quatre..." The blonde boy looked confused, but Duo could feel the hairs on the back of his neck rising. He took another step back toward the street. "You should have told me that," he said gently, hiding the coldness in his voice.
"Your friends knew I was with the police," Wufei said sharply, his eyes darting back for a second as the door opened. He could see the boy looking over his shoulder and he gave a nod to Heero before staring into dark wary eyes. "They told me to talk to my superiors."
"You found him?" Despite his question, Heero didn't wait for an answer, his statement hardening when Quatre's guilty eyes fell on him. He walked slowly, a mixture of anger and relief playing behind his disapproving statement. "Quatre."
The dark-haired man didn't look that old, but Duo would have known the type even if he hadn't been wearing a suit. Quatre should have told him. The thought made his hand tighten on the boy's shoulder and he eased up when the boy gave him a surprised look. "Guess this is the brother, eh?" The boy nodded, pale blue-green eyes wide and Duo's eyes narrowed in response, turning back to Heero. "Do you have any idea what could have happened to him?" Dark blue eyes snapped to him and the man frowned. He wanted to spit on him, to threaten him, to rake him for not being responsible for the boy. He'd even planned on that, but it wasn't wise considering he'd be dealing with the newcomer in the future. Quatre should have told him his brother was the new commissioner.
"Who are you?" Heero frowned, his eyes taking in the teenager, marking him. He'd heard that the city was dangerous, the gangs made all alleys avenues of violence. But the boy was glaring at him as if he were the speck of dirt on the clean sidewalk.
"I found him with Quatre," Wufei put in, moving to stand next to his friend. The longhaired boy sidled back a bit and his hand moved inside his coat, a natural reaction. "His friends pulled guns on me, earlier." Heero gave him a sideways stare and he nodded, knowing the boy had seen his hand.
"Quatre, come here." The blonde boy moved immediately and Heero watched a dark-gloved hand lift from Quatre's shoulder, falling behind a length of black coat. His brother looked up at him and he glared at the nervousness, shaking his head. "We'll discuss this later. Go in the house."
Nodding quickly, Quatre stepped past his brother with a quick sigh. But he paused to glance back at Duo, smiling when the boy raised his left hand, almost a wave. "Bye, Duo. Thank you."
"Stay off the streets," Duo called, smirking at how quickly the boy nodded. He turned then, not sparing a look for either of the two men as he walked toward the street. He expected it, but an irritated sigh still passed his lips when a click sounded behind him. For a second he stood motionless, glaring at the ground, then he turned the glare on the black-haired man holding a gun on him for the second time. "You're starting to piss me off," he said softly, his left hand curling into a fist. "You don't want to get on my bad side."
Glancing at Wufei, Heero noted that the man was using his handgun, meaning his rifle was gone. It didn't take much for him to guess what must have happened to that weapon. "Are you going to arrest him?" he asked, raising an eyebrow when Wufei gave a sharp nod. "What for?"
"Questioning. His friends were armed earlier, he's obviously the leader." The longhaired boy snorted suddenly but Wufei's aim was cut off when Quatre jumped in front of him. "What are you doing?!"
"You can't arrest Duo!" His brother grabbed his arm and Quatre let out a frustrated cry when he was pushed back toward the house. He stumbled and turned quickly, his eyes widening when he heard Wufei growl. Duo's black-gloved hand was in the air and Quatre looked behind him, his eyes widening more. The boy wasn't supposed to be there, and he recognized Joey as well. The thought repeated itself as Heero shoved him closer to the door of the house. "Trowa?" His confusion ended suddenly, though and he raised his hands when Duo darted forward, something bright sparking in the boy's dark hand.
The man didn't move, those dark blue eyes unafraid, but Duo pressed the small blade closer to Heero's neck, his own eyes flashing dangerously. "It's bad enough you let him fall into their hands," he whispered, pressing the blade closer to skin, "but he's still my responsibility. As long as I'm here you will not treat him like that. Understand?" Those eyes told him nothing and his lips curled back in a silent snarl. "Push him again and I take him back, do you get that?"
Heero was silent, looking into the blazing eyes a few inches lower than his own. He was fairly certain he could have disarmed the boy, but he was aware of the two guns being aimed on them from the alley across the way. Why Wufei hadn't known they were being followed was a mystery to him, but he wasn't willing to endanger Quatre, especially when the lawn was so open. Flashing lights broke him away from that hateful glare in front of him and he frowned, blinking at the car that stopped in front of them. The two figures across the street disappeared into the alley and barely a second passed before the longhaired boy's knife was gone as well, sliding into a dark sleeve.
"That's my cue," Duo murmured, still glaring at the unaffected man. "Get your act together before I have to see you again." He turned away, nodding absentmindedly to the officer who stepped out of the cruiser. The white-haired man's eyes widened, but Duo stopped, glaring over his shoulder at Wufei. The stubborn man was still pointing that gun.
"Drop your weapon."
Wufei glared at the officer for a second before sliding his gun into the holster behind his back. "He's armed," he said, nodding to Duo.
"It's been over a year," the white-haired man said, his eyes turning back to Duo. The boy's eyes glinted and he smirked, shaking his head as he gestured to the two men. "They're new. They haven't been told yet." The boy gave an irritated look at them, then stepped across the street, moving into the alley without another glance. The two men glared at him and he put his own weapon away, shaking his head again. "The name's Zechs. I guess you should have been debriefed as soon as you got here, but I didn't think you'd get in trouble so soon."
"You let him go," Heero said coldly, "why?"
"You pulled a gun on him!" Letting out a soft laugh, Zechs shook his head. "Do you have any idea what you could have done?"
"My brother disappeared last night," Heero said slowly, "then he showed up with him."
"In that case, you should be thanking God, Shinigami, that is." The dark-haired man raised an eyebrow at him and Zechs looked at the short boy standing behind them. The boy's eyes showed his confusion and Zechs glanced at Wufei. "Why don't we talk about this inside."
* * *
The boy stalked into the alley, shadows closing over him but not blocking out the direction of his dark glare. Trowa stepped back, not glancing to the side when Joe got out of the way. He didn't need light to read the fury in those bright eyes and something inside of him curled into a knot, cold dread. "Duo--" The sharp crack rang like a gunshot and his cheek burned, nearly as much as his tightly closed eyes.
"You lied to me..." The tall boy's face was turned from him and Duo could see the shock and fear in Joe's eyes. But he didn't think Trowa's face could possibly burn as much as his hand did and he clenched it until he could feel wetness within the leather. "What was the worst that could have happened? They arrest me. I would have been released immediately. But if they arrested you what do you think I would be able to do about that? Do you know where they send boys...?" Reproachful and pain-filled green eyes finally met his and Duo held his cold statement, his hand curling tighter. "You're old enough to be sent to prison, Trowa. Even I don't have the power to get you out of somewhere like that. Do you know what kind of people are in prison, Trowa?" The boy's eyes narrowed suddenly and Duo held himself, knowing he had to listen to the objections.
"It's shit." His eyes still burned, but Trowa glared, ignoring the eyebrow Duo raised at him. "They wouldn't send me to prison, not for carrying a weapon. We all carry weapons at night."
"We don't point them at the Police Commissioner," Duo said softly, not interrupting but merely pointing the fact out. As he'd expected, the comment managed to stop Trowa long enough for surprise to register in the boy's eyes.
"But why prison? Why would you suddenly be worried about that? That isn't why you told me not to follow you." Trowa closed his mouth suddenly as the boy smirked at him.
"You're right," Duo nodded, his eyes dancing briefly as his hand relaxed. "You have quite a temper, don't you Trowa. And you have opinions, rebellions, you just keep them inside. I didn't just tell you not to follow me, you gave me your word, remember? You don't listen to me anymore. You even looked me in the face and lied to me. Does it matter why I didn't want you to follow? It never mattered before." His eyes drifted away, glancing over Joey for a moment before moving on. "You listened because I knew best. Don't I still? You don't know the government, Trowa. You think that because of me they won't do the same thing to you that they do to everyone? It's because of me that they'd send you away if you were arrested. I wasn't just using some excuse. They'd get you as far from me as possible, to prove their power. I'm not all powerful."
That voice was getting colder again and Trowa tensed, his eyes dropping as that fist curled again. He didn't move when Duo grabbed his shirt, didn't lift his eyes.
"I know my limits," Duo growled, glaring at the red mark on Trowa's cheek. "I'm doing what I can, what I've done for years. And suddenly you think you can change the rules?! How could you lie to me...?"
Lifting his eyes, Trowa was stunned by the desperate gleam in those bright eyes. "Maybe it's time to change the rules," he whispered. "I lied because I couldn't keep the promise."
"Then you shouldn't have made it." Green eyes blinked at him when Duo calmed suddenly, but he let go of the boy, turning abruptly. His gaze fell on Joey and he stared at the boy's wary statement for a long minute before walking past him. They didn't follow and he stopped a few feet away, his eyes on the pavement. "It never changes, Trowa, after six years you'll understand that. Our life...the only way to change is to get out. You're old enough."
* * *
The two men were seated in the den when Heero came in and he shook his head at Wufei's questioning gaze. "A few bruises, but he seems fine. He kept talking about that boy, though. I think he knows where their base is." Zechs shook his head and he frowned, sitting across the small table from him.
"We all know where their base is," Zechs explained. "They haven't relocated in over two years." The dark-haired boy was scowling at him and Zechs leaned back in the sofa, glancing at Wufei before looking at Heero again. "I hear you've been brought in to get rid of the gangs. To tell the truth, I'm surprised they would try that again after the last time."
"Last time?" Wufei frowned, shaking his head. "I thought this was their first attempt. The offer said they wanted new blood to tackle the problem, a campaign."
"Yeah, that sounds familiar," Zechs said, "but I'm just a beat cop. I don't get the feedback from the top ranks, so all they told me was that you were coming in. How long have you been here?"
"Two days," Heero said drolly, "Quatre got lost the first day."
"You know, you really are lucky Duo brought him back. Seven years ago and you'd never see him again. You wouldn't believe how many kids used to disappear on these streets."
"What's the history?" Wufei asked, frowning at the white-haired man. "I still don't know why you just let him walk away like that."
"Well, I've only been a cop for four years, but I've heard the stories about how it started. They're just rumors as far as I know, but the old-timers claim there was a fire in the prison. You've seen the Delta?"
Thinking of the glass-less skyscraper he'd seen in the middle of the city, Heero nodded slowly. He hadn't gone inside, of course, but he could imagine it would be a deathtrap if a fire started within those thick walls. It was one of the best-known prisons in the country. No one had ever escaped from it.
"Yeah, well the rumor has it the fire started somewhere in the middle and took out the top thirty floors. It was like a vacuum, sucking the flames right up. And they evacuated the bottom cells because of all the smoke." Zechs shook his head, not surprised by the doubtful expressions on the men's faces. "I know, but supposedly the fire didn't last that long and they fixed the damage in about a week. But during the evacuation over twenty inmates escaped."
"That would have made the news," Wufei argued. "There's no way they could hide something like that."
"That's what I said, but the older cops talk about it. According to them, the top ranks weren't identifiable and they accounted for the missing ones without knowing they'd gotten away. It wasn't until one of them was found dead that they even realized they'd escaped. The fire was arson and if you think about it, it's about the only way they could have escaped from that prison."
Heero raised an eyebrow, looking at Zechs carefully. "And that's where the violence came from?"
"Right. The gangs formed and people started dying on the streets. But it cooled down after a few months. They sent searches all over the city and brought in a few of them, but the others were deeper than that. I think about eight were never found. Mostly the only trouble from them was when people turned up missing, kids, women. They'd wander into the wrong alley and never be seen again."
"When did Duo come in?" Heero asked, remembering the boy's age.
"Well, you have to remember this was years ago when the fire happened. There weren't that many problems until the old Mayor's son disappeared. That was two years ago and I was here then. The entire police force banded up. They were going to `clean up the streets' and search every inch until they found him. The kid was seventeen, but they acted like he a little angel."
The man was glaring and Heero leaned forward, head tilted to the side. "Did they find him?"
"Of course not," Zechs said irritably. "If you ask me, he ran away. Pampered little punk never worked a day in his life but he had a thing for breaking the rules. I can't remember how many times I got called in over him. The Mayor kept covering it up, but he was worse than half the kids on the streets. But the community was all riled up and they went out and combed the alleys." A small smile curved his lips and his eyes sparked at Heero. "You know, that search lasted for two weeks and they didn't catch a single person. Now, I knew they were out there, we all did, but they just seemed to disappear when the riot squad went in after them. When those kids want to hide, you'd never find them. But they work, you know? Odd jobs, I even know a few who do secretarial work in some of the offices. I don't know what tipped them off, but they brought in a kid who'd been delivering packages for a grocer, about twelve years old.
"I was there when they brought him into the station. He looked so scared I think most of us regular cops would have let him go without any questions. But the Mayor had his men running everything. They questioned him, imagine, trying to interrogate one scared twelve year old, but they did, asking about gangs and hideouts. The only thing he would tell them was that there were only two gangs and his wasn't a gang, it was a family." Zechs smiled a bit and nodded, "that's what he said."
"Quatre mentioned that," Heero commented.
"I can't imagine they'd change. But anyway, that kid wasn't there more than an hour before Duo showed up." Zechs' statement hardened and he gave Wufei a significant look. "He walked right up to the station, completely unarmed, and the first thing they did was shoot him, twice. They had to carry him inside. He couldn't have been more than sixteen, but he was scary. I didn't think those feds could be afraid of a kid, but there was something about his eyes that just got to them.
"They brought him in and the entire station was in an uproar. He was wearing that coat of his, but you could see the blood dripping on the floor. A friend of mine phoned for an ambulance but the feds said to call someone in to take care of it. Just leg wounds, that's what they said. And I'll tell you right now, Duo has a strong tie with his kids. That twelve-year-old lost every bit of fear when he saw him, practically took down two guards trying to get to him. All Duo had to do was tell him to stop, though, and that kid was the best- behaved kid you ever saw."
"He turned himself in?" Heero asked, frowning as he remembered the kids Quatre had told him about. "What then?"
"I don't know what he was thinking," Zechs admitted, "but he thought he could trade himself. Once he found out they weren't going for that, he started citing the codes, demanding his phone call." Zechs laughed, his eyes moving between the two doubting men. "He must have memorized every line in our books. The feds argued of course. They wanted to interrogate him, but he said he wouldn't say a word until he got his phone call. He even smiled at them, like he was a shark or something. And he was still standing there with his legs shot up, while the feds argued about it. But he got the call, and that was their biggest mistake.
"The estimates said there were about ten gang members in the city when they went to catch them all. Two days, two days after that phone call over thirty people showed up outside the station. They were armed to the teeth. Some of those weapons were more advanced than anything we had, and the ages, these weren't kids. Oh, there were about seven under the age of eighteen, but most of them looked to be at least twenty. We were under siege, pure and simple."
"Surely you could have called in reserves," Wufei said.
"Sure," Zechs said quickly, his eyes sparkling merrily. "They could have had a shoot out on the street, but that wouldn't have taken care of the bomb threats, or the calls they were getting from people outside the city. Duo has some awesome connections. No, they weren't about to fight that army. Those guys even had tear gas they were tossing in windows. I was inside when they moved in and I remember Duo and that boy just kept laughing through all of it. It drove the feds crazy, but he had a pretty nice sounding laugh. And finally, they just let him go. The Mayor never found his son and the feds went back to wherever they came from."
"When I first stopped him," Wufei said, "some teens said something about pulling a gun, like there was a rule about that."
"Well, we have a pact with them," Zechs explained. "After that incident, all the contact we had was through Duo. We made some agreements. It seems none of the kids carry guns in the daylight. Duo said it cuts down on the violence between them, the two gangs. And we don't go into the alleys at night. Don't get me wrong, we still had problems for a while. A few of the officers didn't like taking orders from a kid, but once we stopped going into the alleys, it was as if they weren't there any more. And we haven't had any unresolved disappearances since the Mayor's kid. When some unfortunate does wander into the mess, he always ends up at home within a day or two, usually none the worse for his experience."
"You're saying that boy runs the streets," Heero said slowly, his eyes dark. "But if he brings kids back home, then who takes them in the first place? Quatre said someone named Tristin pulled him off the street."
Zechs grimaced, dropping his eyes. "Well, I did say there were two gangs. The second one switches leaders every so often, but Tristin's been around for a couple of years. Nasty character, that one. His gang killed two cops in that siege two years ago, the only deaths involved."
"Gray eyes?" Wufei asked, remembering the teens who'd taken his rifle.
"That's him," Zechs nodded, "But I'm surprised you met him."
"Three of them stopped me when I first saw Duo and Quatre. They were armed, in the daylight." His dark eyes pointed at Zechs, but he could see the man was surprised.
"I don't know what to say about that," Zechs admitted. "As far as I know the rules are followed by both gangs, but if you pulled a gun on Duo, I shouldn't be surprised that Tristin would break them."
"But are they enemies, or allies?" Heero asked, frowning in irritation. "Quatre said the one who hit him was Tristin and that Duo saved him. But he also said the same boy kept Wufei from following them."
"It really depends on the circumstances," Zechs said. "They unite against outsiders, cops who interfere with them. But they're definitely enemies. As far as I can figure them out, Tristin takes them and Duo gives them back, like a game or something. But if someone targets Duo, Tristin is one of the first to fight. Like I told Duo earlier, I haven't seen him in about a year. I know we have problems with tourists in the city, they don't pay enough attention to their kids. Every so often one gets taken or gets lost and we hear about Duo. But there hasn't been much activity lately. I can't see why they would bring you in now. We haven't had a commissioner since the siege."
"I don't know why," Heero said, "but this is personal now. Why would you sit back while children, little kids like Quatre are attacked?"
"You don't understand," Zechs said quickly, raising his hands as he could see the man's anger. "Even if we managed to get all of them off the streets, people like Tristin are a dime a dozen. Duo counteracts that. If you plan to go after Tristin, the entire police force would be behind you, I guarantee that. But someone will take his place. You'd just make things even worse."
"They can't stay the way they are," Heero said. He stood, his eyes hard. "I have never heard of a city where things were so twisted."
"It's actually very simple," Zechs argued. He didn't put much force behind the statement, though. He could tell from the dark-haired man's eyes that Heero's mind was made up. "The good and bad are balanced right now and you plan to take off one of the weights. If you do that, the other side crashes down."
* * *