|Fight Fire With Fire: The Bodyguard
Author: akaiciel PM
Wufei, as a preventer, is forced to become Dorothy Catalonia's bodyguard after she receives death threats.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama/Adventure - Chapters: 7 - Words: 20,698 - Reviews: 51 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 08-13-02 - Published: 08-07-02 - id: 899054
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
World War One.
World War Two.
World War Three.
The Colonial Uprising.
The Eve Wars.
The fight in Preventer Une's office...
"Please Wufei, you're the best person for the job!"
"Then you train your men badly."
"They're all much too old, it would be conspicuous!"
"You'll find someone."
"I don't need to remind you, Preventer Chang, that this is your duty."
"This is my job, duty has nothing to do with it!"
"As you wish. Your job is now to protect Dorothy Catalonia with your life."
Preventer Une sat behind her desk, determined to regain some of her dignity. Wufei was being so stubborn, she half expected him to stick his tongue out at her and yell, "You can't make me!"
At this particular point, she'd probably respond with a foot-stamp and a pout.
At least he was calmer now, with eyes closed and arms folded, probably coming to his senses. She relaxed slightly, waiting for him to agree to the task.
"So this is an assignment, like any other?" he said quietly. She smiled.
"Like any other."
"Then I refuse to accept, as is my right to do so, stated in the contract I signed on the 3rd January AC 197, section 6b, paragraph 1, line 2."
Une smile faded, as did her tolerance level. "In that case, I feel compelled to remind you that while this is an official privilege, it has unofficial repercussions." She leaned forward and locked him in a Chinese finger trap of a gaze. "If you refuse this assignment one more time," she said evenly, "I'm going to transfer you to mud duty for three months."
Wufei's eye twitched.
'Mud duty' was a slang term for the most quiet, tedious jobs available, usually as security at a preventer spaceport or something of the like. Most of the time, they were assigned to new recruits, to give them some gentle training. To give mud duty to an established officer was an insult, and a laughable one at that. He would extract no sympathy and even less kindness from the passing, outspoken preventers, which, at a spaceport, could go well into the hundreds every day.
He glared at her, and she glared back. Not the most mature approach, but possibly the most effective. Une really didn't care if it meant he would accept the assignment. She breathed deeply.
"Now, let's start again." She cleared her throat and took on her 'official' face. "Preventer Chang, I have a new assignment for you. I need you to travel to the Sanc Kingdom where Dorothy Catalonia is currently staying and act as her bodyguard, indefinitely."
"Why does Miss Catalonia-" He practically spat the words out as if they were an epithet, "-need a bodyguard in the first place?"
Une almost sighed with relief at the question, possibly indicating that he would take the job on. "We have reason to believe that Miss Catalonia is under threat from a subversive group called the Prisoners of War. Have you heard of them?"
"Vaguely. I'd have to research the matter."
She relaxed even further to hear that he was taking this as seriously as any other assignment, and her expression softened slightly.
"Well, in brief, there are those that feel that the attempt of the late Milliardo Peacecraft to destroy the earth remains unpunished."
It was no secret between them that Milliardo Peacecraft wasn't dead, but as his death was a commonly believed fact, it was one that was acknowledged at all times. Any preventer location was routinely swept for bugs, but that just lowered the possibility of infiltration, it didn't remove it.
"They believe that the threat still exists, living on in his former supporters," she continued, "And that the threat will continue to exist until these supporters are destroyed. Their label refers to their belief that we will all remain prisoners of the old wars until the old warriors are killed."
"And that includes Miss Catalonia."
"That includes Miss Catalonia."
"I see." He closed his eyes once more. "Preventer Une, I think I must decline on the grounds that I'm a potential threat to the assignment."
"How do you see that, Wufei?" she asked, with little patience to spare.
"To an extent, I agree with them."
"Wufei, watch your words when they could lead you to prison."
He gave her a withering look. "Believe me, if I thought what they were doing was right, I'd be by their side. I'll only remain with the preventers for as long as they continue to do the right thing."
"How generous of you," Une said with clipped amusement. "But can we please focus? Why do you think your opinions of them could cause problems?"
"I don't blame them for wanting that girl dead. She was at the head of an extinction level threat, with hundreds of mobile dolls moving on her every whim. From the reports I've read, the cannon was even fired once at her command."
"Wufei, she's a seventeen-year-old girl!"
"Exactly my point, and probably theirs as well."
Une's control was rapidly being lost. "So she should die because she played a large part in the Eve Wars at a young age? May I remind you of the hypocrisy of that statement?"
His eyes narrowed. "She should die because she's still dangerous, still a threat."
Une laughed at the ridiculousness of this statement. "She's a seventeen-year-old socialite, a debutante. What can she possibly do?"
"You push my patience, woman."
"And you push mine!" Seething with anger, Une stood and clenched her fists. "Don't you dare insult me, Preventer Chang, especially not in such a crude, sexist, chauvinistic manner! How can you disrespect women in such a way when you have Sally Po as a partner? How can you disrespect me in such a way when I am your supervisor? May I remind you that you can be disciplined as easily as the next officer, and that I have no qualms about doing so!"
He looked at her evenly, almost expressionlessly, as he waited for her to calm. After a pause, she unclenched her fists and folded her arms, maintaining the fixed eye contact with him.
"You're wrong, I don't disrespect women. I disrespect weaklings and idiots." Une shut her eyes as she counted to ten and tried to remember why she'd hired him in the first place.
"If the ignorance you're displaying is representative, then you don't deserve your title. If what you're displaying isn't ignorance but a willingness to ignore, then you are weak, and don't deserve your title. Preventer Po receives nothing less than basic respect from me because she deserves nothing less."
It was the closest Wufei ever came to compliments, and Une made a mental note to tell Sally this particular one later.
She was already calm, and prepared to listen once more. She sat back into her chair, lay her hands in her lap and waited, her unspoken apology. It was an invitation to continue that she knew he would appreciate much more than any spoken word at this point.
Noting her change in posture, he accepted the apology and continued.
"Miss Catalonia had great power at a young age. Now she is a mere 'socialite' as you put it. No one knows if she's content with this change, or if she craves the power she once had. If she does actually miss it, then she's in a perfect position to regain it, surrounded socially by former members of Romafeller, at school with ex-OZ soldiers. Not everyone feels that the Peacecraft way is the correct one, and many feel that retribution is justified."
Now Une felt small and stupid. Everything he had told her, she should have thought of for herself. However, she now counted Dorothy as a friend, having unexpectedly found the young girl to be good company.
She was also a nice reminder of Treize. Often, Dorothy would come out with statements so true of his mind that Une practically heard them in his voice. The former White Fang commander was now gentle, thoughtful and caring, displaying no signs of missing her power during the wars.
On the other hand, Dorothy was also brilliant, ruthless and high-minded, and if she felt that something was right, would stop at nothing to complete it. If she found a cause she really believed in that needed a few deaths to come to fruition, she'd be there, holding the gun herself. She truly was still dangerous.
"Preventer Chang." He looked at her expectantly and she smiled slightly. "You've put me in my place."
Une noticed Wufei frown, and knew that his mind was currently overrun with suspicions of her thoughts, motives and reasons. Une was perversely pleased that he was finding it difficult.
"You're absolutely right, Miss Catalonia is a threat. However, she is also not guilty of any crime, and does not deserve to die. This group are nothing more than terrorist cowards, threatening her with newspaper notes and long-distance rifles. She needs a bodyguard."
She stood up straight and folded her hands serenely in front of her. "And you, Chang Wufei, are exactly the right person for the job!"
"Preventer Une-" he began warningly, but she smoothly interrupted him.
"You're the same age, highly trained, and more than capable of the position. You should be able to remain close to her more inconspicuously than anyone else, giving Dorothy's life little disruption. As for your protest on the grounds that you're a threat to the mission, I reject it on the grounds that the best person to stop an enemy is the one who understands them."
Une enjoyed the white-knuckle status of his fists, clenched so hard that they were shaking.
"Your sympathy for their views gives you an insight, it doesn't take away your focus, and I know that if you accept this, Dorothy's safety is certain. Frankly, I don't see the problem."
"It's an embarrassment!" he said through gritted teeth. "To have to leave my post to follow some girl around, go to parties, take tea with people..."
He fell silent and looked away, overwhelmed by the indignity of it.
Une had to bite her tongue extremely hard, reminding herself over and over that a laugh at this stage would destroy everything, and even drive Wufei willingly towards mud duty.
"But only as her bodyguard," she tried to say consolingly. "There's no shame in that, surely?"
"I should be working on finding these Prisoners of War and stopping them, not babysitting a single person!"
"That, right there, that's exactly why I chose you!"
"That's funny, I thought it was because I look seventeen..."
"Don't you think there are trained bodyguards that look that young?"
"Then hire one of them!" he shouted. Une stonily bit back her laugh at his temper. Now that she had the upper hand, he seemed like a child in a tantrum. Une could deal with a child.
However, he wasn't a child, and he needed to know the truth. This thought cut off any potential laughter, and she faced him with sober eyes.
"Wufei, there's been a small problem recently with information leaks."
He was still annoyed, she could tell, but he pushed it momentarily aside. "Preventer security has been breached?"
"On a couple of important matters. We still have no idea who it is, the breaches concern information so accessible that we can't pin it down to any single person yet."
"I see," he said frowning. "So, what does this have to do with my babysitting duty?"
"Don't you see? Wufei, you're one of the few people I know I can trust."
"So ask one of the others!" he muttered, but it was a weak protest.
"None of them are young enough to fit inconspicuously into Dorothy's life or trained in the right way for this kind of responsibility."
She hammered the final nail into the coffin.
"You're the only person I can trust with Dorothy's life."
He muttered something else, and she wisely chose not to ask him to speak up.
"Preventer Chang, do you accept this mission?" she said, hardly daring to hope that it was true.
He looked out of the window and said tonelessly, "Fine, I accept."
Une was so thankful the interview was over that she practically slumped to the floor.
Wufei turned and stalked out, fists clenched by his side.
"Your plane to the Sanc Kingdom leaves in an hour!" she called. His step halted for a moment, then continued. She smiled at the slam of the door, then returned to her desk to make the official report. She commended Preventer Chang Wufei on his willingness to take on such a difficult and dangerous mission. It was, she felt, the least she could do.