Thanks be to my beta, Tiffany, who got this out very fast. Go chicka!
Now Part Four, the end of this scene (finally o_O). Again, Ive included an intro from the previous part. If you havent noticed already, this part will certainly affirm that I have a different perception of Duo than some fan ficcers do. I dont subscribe to the 'Tigger-like' mentality hes often given. Not to say you wont see his jokester/lighter side in this fic, but I do, however, think Duo is a very complex and, at times, a volatile personality and love writing for him for just that reason. Hes not Shinigami for nothing ^___~ Hope youre enjoying the fic, and happy reading!
See Part One for complete list of warnings, disclaimers and notes.
TITLE: Mission Details
Sequel to "Shouldve Been You"
BY: Dev-Aki Basaa
PAIRING: 1x2 and OCx6, with 5xSally, 3x4 and past 13x6
CATEGORY: yaoi, drama, angst, lemon
FEEDBACK: oh yes, please! email@example.com
*blah* indicates italics
from Part Three
Duo took a swipe at the corner of his mouth and swallowed hard. He was salivating - a starved man staring down the most delectable meal he could wish for. He did whimper this time when the picture was taken away.
"That's the extent of the disguise," Une said, as she gestured for the lights to be turned back on and then shut off the projector. Duo squinted again at the lighting change, blinking rapidly as he remembered something Une had said earlier. He raised his hand to just above his head, his eyes finally adjusting. "What did you mean by his 'particular role'?"
Une gave a sharp nod and leaned back against the desk again. "Well, we decided to not hide their actual identities. They certainly were not to broadcast themselves as Zechs Merquise and Gundam Pilot 01, Heero Yuy, but if they were found out, it'd actually be to our advantage. Their connection to Preventers would be unknown, so they'd be seen as defectors from the government, rejecting pacifism, maybe even disillusioned from the roles they played in the war. More so, we slated Wind to be the heir-apparent to the leadership, with Earth a talented, yet unstable assassin. Respected for his abilities, if feared a little. Thus his appearance was meant to imply chaos in his mind. Yet with his seeming non-conformity, hed show complete loyalty to Nodin. Something we hoped others would come to emulate."
"Nodin?" said Quatre, leaning forward slightly.
"Winds identitys name. Earth is known as Keb."
Duo shook his head. For all intents and purposes, it was a whole new existence for Heero. A completely new identity, not at all like the name changing and record erasing they did as they switched from school to school during the war - that was childs play compared to this. Preventers didnt spare a detail.
"So, what do we know now?" one of the agents present asked as he tapped his pencil against his chin. The dull thud of the noise irritated Duo, making his skin want to climb up his neck and hide in his hair.
Une let her head drop and raised it again, her expression cold. "Nothing."
Nothing. The stomach dropping, blood-fleeing away, nauseating feeling Duo had had when Wufei first told him there was a problem with the mission came rushing back, taking over his senses. Everything felt tingly.
"At last contact the assignment had been going according to plan," she continued. "Wind had not yet taken over the leadership, but he was a trusted comrade of the leader and had great influence that way. The group's activities were lessening in violence with no plan for action on the table." Une spread her hands, her body language apologetic. "We have nothing to suggest any change in atmosphere within the group or towards our agents and, at this time, we are going on the assumption that they could have actually defected into the group, aborting the mission without orders."
"That's bullshit!" Duo sat straight up, almost jumping to his feet, the words flying free from his mouth before he could think about them.
Une's skin brightened red, blood pressure rising, her voice sharpening in tone. "Duo! Don't think for a minute that this is something I want to believe, but we have very little to go on and nothing has been established either way. They also could have been found out and shot on the spot, never having the chance to indicate any change."
Duo's head spun at that thought - Heero dead. Nothing more ever known about what happened, where he was. Where the body was. Duo clenched his jaw. But that's not what they were thinking at all. Heero didnt die easy and neither did Zechs, and they knew it. They were calling them possible traitors instead. "I dont care," Duo barked back at Une, "Heero would never..."
"Dont even begin arguing with me, Duo," Une spat, cutting him off and taking a step towards him, hints of the old ruthless Lady Une seeping out. "Youre here on courtesy alone. With your leave of absence, you wouldnt have been called in as an agent, and as Heeros family, you know youre not technically entitled to any information at all, Preventer policy - be thankful youre here at all!" Her lips curled in a sneer. "You still cant cope with the fact that Earth was sent on this mission!"
Duo stood then, meeting her face to face, a puff of his breath ruffling her bangs. He'd grown a lot since his days as Deathscythe's pilot, broader across the shoulders, filling out his boys body to that of a man. He wouldn't be intimidated, not by anyone, especially a former colonel of OZ. Hed been through too much shit for that. His fists clenched at his sides.
"Dont fucking presume to know jack about me and dont you dare do me any favors. Id rather..."
Duo spun at the sound of Wufei's sharp voice. He had moved away from the back wall where hed been standing and had a hold of the back of the chair Duod just vacated. He shoved it forward, the legs scraping against the wood flooring.
Duo opened his mouth to argue, but stopped when Quatre stood, stepping forward, even with Wufei. His face was grim and stern, but he said nothing. He didn't have to.
"Goddamnit," Duo mumbled and he turned to sit down, ankles crossed, his arms folded tightly to his chest. He could never argue with Quatre, couldnt even begin, and he didnt know why either. There was just something about him that told you not to bother, youd lose anyway.
Wufei walked around to stand before Duo, leaning over him. Duo hardened his jaw and looked away.
"Heero has nothing BUT you. It would be a dishonor to him if you were NOT here. We all agreed on that - including Une." Duo looked up at Wufei, eyes widening at little at his statement. "So quit being an ass, shut up and listen," Wufei added. He then straightened, folding his arms across his chest, a mimic of Duo's posture. "We're not calling them traitors."
"No, Duo," said Quatre, grabbing his chair to pull it closer to Duo's. He sat down, tilting his head to catch Duo's evasive gaze. "There's so much we dont know and thats where we start - thats the point to this meeting today. Have faith in Preventers, Duo. You did once."
Duo drew a small breath at Quatres words and looked away to the floor. Yeah, he once thought the world of Preventers and the work Une began. So, why was he being so difficult? That was the question of the day, wasnt it. He didnt know really. Frustration? Nothing seemed very clear to him at the moment. But Quatre was expecting a response now, not later. He nodded, mouthing an 'okay', mollifying him and Wufei both. Wufei marched away, grumbling about bakas with separation anxiety, returning to the place hed held at the back of the room and Quatre settled into his chair, still placed very close to Duo, as if he were now his keeper. Duo opted for just staring at the floor, pushing aside his unease as Une continued. She released a long-suffering sigh before she began.
"We will send out a reconnaissance team, obvious and transparent. We want them to know were coming, giving them a false sense of security. Agents Io and Titan, thats where you come in." The two young agents straightened in their chairs a little bit more at the call of their names. "Gather as much surface information as you can. Conduct interviews, observations, so on. Be diligent and thorough, if unsubtle. Do your best to update the status of Agents Wind and Earth."
"Yes, ma'am," they answered in unison, snappy and obedient. Duo repressed a gag. He couldnt help it, everything about this felt wrong to him. He wanted to trust Preventers and have faith, but his world wouldnt stop rocking as if it were an unanchored ship in a storm, tossed to and fro by a vicious wind. He felt lost and without any control. If he could be the one going on this mission, it would give him something to secure himself to - the lighthouse guiding him home. No one knew Heero better than him and he understood Zechs as a solider. He could find them; he could follow their leads best. It should be him.
"Send me," he said, without provocation, surprising himself at speaking so quickly, off the handle. Une looked less shocked at the outburst. Perhaps shed been expecting it.
"No," she answered with prepared ease. "Youd be a bit more obvious than what were going for."
Duo closed his eyes for a moment, hearing the echo of a much younger Heero speaking in his head, 'You stand out.'
"Besides, you're on leave, remember?" Une added, turning away from him, gathering the assignment folders from her desk for Agents Titan and Io.
Duo spread his hands, annoyed, "Well, take me off!"
"It's not that simple."
"Une..." he didnt want another fight, but hed beg if he had to. He couldnt just stay here and do nothing, unanchored, drowning in this storm.
"Duo," a different voice drew his attention. He turned to see Sally, straightening from the place on the wall shed been leaning against next to Wufei. "Its my call and no, its not that simple. There are tests: endurance, psychological, physicals, marksmanship. You wouldnt pass in time, not with almost two years leave." Her expression softened. "Im sorry." She meant it; that was obvious.
He turned back to Une, swallowing against a sinking feeling in his stomach, a few things becoming clear. "Answer me this. If I hadnt taken the leave, if I were an active agent up on all that shit..." he waved a gesture back towards Sally, "could you have assigned me to this case? Could I be the one going to find Heero?"
Une shook her head, stuffing a few more pages into the folders. "Duo, theres no way I..."
"Please..." he said in a whisper. She stopped, still, one sheet half pushed into the fattening folder. She was quiet for another moment then finished shoving the paper into the pack.
"Its possible," she said finally.
The room swam, his emotions rushing up from their depths and overwhelming him. It was all his fault, all this frustration he felt. He couldnt blame it on Preventers; he could only aim it inwardly.
Even before the room came back into focus, he was striding to the door, storming out, shoving chairs and maybe more out of his way as he escaped down the hall.
It was all his fault, hed broken his anchor. Why did he take that leave? Why did he run away?