Stepping off the plane and onto the concourse, Heero could see by the bright sun streaming through the plate glass windows that he was going to regret wearing his Preventer uniform. Gripping his briefcase to be sure he still had it, he reminded himself that he was on official business, although he did plan to get a little rest and recreation while he was in Barbados.
As he stepped out into the sunshine, he didn't even have enough time to hail a taxi when a smiling man that Heero categorized immediately as a slick car salesman waved to him. He was standing before a car that would take Heero at least two lifetimes to afford on his generous salary.
"Are you Heero Yuy?" asked the man, still smiling.
He nodded, but his eyes were on the car.
The man dangled a set of keys. "Compliments of Mr. Winner."
Heero took the keys, then eased into the soft leather interior of the convertible. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out and slipped on a pair of sunglasses, then tested the capabilities of the car's acceleration by ripping out of the loading bay, narrowly missing a baggage handler. Wealth had its privileges, he thought with a smile as he raced down the highway, and so did having wealthy friends.
Checking the onboard computer navigation, he entered the address of his destination and the fastest route to reach it appeared on a small screen. He had last seen Dorothy and Quatre three months ago after their son, Quasim, was born. Before and after the birth of their child, both had been very busy, Quatre with his corporate business and Dorothy with her charity work and caring for her children. They were taking a much needed rest, and Heero didn't like bothering them even though they had insisted he stay in Barbados for a little vacation of his own.
The island wasn't very big, so soon enough he had pulled off the main highway and headed down an infrequently traveled road that led to a house on the beach. He thought he might have mistaken someone else's property for the Winner beach house given Quatre Winner was the wealthiest man in the solar system and he had married the wealthiest woman. The house was small, and the steps creaked as Heero climbed up.
But a familiar face answered his knock at the door. Rashid smiled and shook his hand. "Welcome, Mr. Yuy. We've been expecting you. Do you have luggage in the car?"
Heero liked to travel light. "Just my briefcase."
Rashid led him to a room that was in a recently constructed addition. "You'll have to excuse the cramped accommodations. The new house won't be completed until some time next year."
"Is Quatre here?"
Rashid crossed the room and slid open a screen door. "On the beach. I'll bring you something cold to drink if you'd like."
"A beer would be nice. I don't suppose you have any of that around." Heero dropped his briefcase on the bed and pulled off his uniform jacket.
"Shall I have it served to you on the beach?"
Heero raised a brow.
Rashid smiled. "Miss Dorothy likes to have a beer from time to time."
Heero chuckled. He doubted Dorothy Catalonia was going to become a tea drinking Muslim any time soon. Snapping open his briefcase, he shoved aside his traveling essentials, then pulled out a file. Again he felt somewhat guilty for involving his hosts in Preventer business, but he had little choice.
When he stepped out of the beach house, he looked out over the white expanse of beach and spotted the Winner family. Dorothy was in the water, apparently teaching Jamila how to swim, while Quatre was sprawled under a large beach umbrella. As Heero approached, he saw that Quatre was stretched out snoring on a chaise lounge, his infant son snoozing and drooling on his chest.
Looking around the beach, he spotted the new beach house not far away from the present structure. Somewhat larger, it appeared, however, that it would be just as cozy as this one.
Dorothy's shout from the water startled Quatre and his son would have rolled onto the hot sand if Heero hadn't reached down to scoop him up. While Quatre rubbed his eyes and fought to get his bearings, the baby started to whimper and would have burst into a full-blown wail, but Heero tucked him in his arm and bounced him a bit. The crisis had been averted.
"You're pretty good at that," commented Quatre after a yawn.
"Observation," said Heero.
"Could come in handy some day."
"Not any time too soon." Relena wasn't ready to marry and have children. Heero had asked her after Quatre and Dorothy's wedding, and her only answer was a smile and the words, "Not quite yet." They were only twenty-five years old although Heero was starting to feel closer to fifty. Her refusal didn't bother him since he asked because it seemed like the right thing to do. If she had accepted, he wasn't sure how he would have reacted. Retracting a marriage proposal was touchy business.
Dorothy came to them and sat before Quatre on the lounge chair. "Where is Relena?" she asked as Quatre draped a towel around her shoulders. Heero was glad he had done that because he was a bit uncomfortable to see her wearing so little clothing and dripping wet at that.
"She couldn't make it," he told her. The baby was getting restless in his arm, and it was rubbing its face against Heero's shirt, reminding him of a blind newborn puppy rooting for its mother.
Dorothy reached out her arms. "You had better hand over Quasim. Once he realizes that he's not getting anything from you, you're going to hear a scream unlike any you've ever heard."
The baby was whimpering already, so Heero quickly passed him off and the baby disappeared under her towel. Quatre's hands were under her towel, so Heero guessed that he had unhooked her bikini top because after a moment the baby stopped whimpering.
"I'm sorry Relena couldn't make it," commented Dorothy. "I was looking forward to spending some time with her."
"Trouble on L2," he said. "In fact, I was able to write off this trip as a business expense." Wishing he didn't have to, he held up the file. "I have some questions to ask you, Dorothy, about your visit to L2."
"Ah! Here comes Rashid, the life saver!" Dorothy obviously didn't want to be questioned about the time she had run away from Quatre on L4.
Rashid dropped a plastic cooler on the ground. "I thought everyone might want something." He pulled out an icy cold beer, which Dorothy snagged before Heero could take it.
"Thank you, Rashid. You certainly know what hits the spot."
Quatre chuckled as he handed Heero another one, then took a bottle of ice tea. Seeing the arrival of refreshments, Jamila left the shore and hovered over Rashid, looking into the cooler before choosing a box of fruit juice. She sat on a towel under the umbrella and buried her toes in the sand while she sipped from a small straw.
Lifting the cooler, Rashid said, "Let me know if you need anything else." Then he trudged back up to the beach house.
"Is he your bodyguard or personal servant?" asked Heero as he watched the large man disappear into the house.
Quatre sighed. "Rashid does as he wishes. He likes to perform these little tasks."
"Jamila, did you greet Heero?" asked Dorothy.
Jamila waved as she continued to suck on her straw. Heero nodded in her direction and he heard Dorothy sigh with exasperation.
"You're a bad influence, Heero Yuy." Dorothy put the cold bottle of beer against her forehead. "This feels good."
"How about this?" The hand in which Quatre was holding his ice tea disappeared under the towel, and Dorothy shrieked and arched away.
Quatre sat back to sip on his bottle, but his other hand was under the towel rubbing her back. Dorothy relaxed and looked over her shoulder at him. The look they shared warmed Heero's heart when he considered all that they had gone through to reach this point. He took a long drink from his beer, then set it on a small table nearby.
"I'm sure you know that the government has had a great deal of difficulty on L2 dealing with crime."
"I fired an entire managerial staff for laundering drug money," Quatre remarked. "I don't know if I can trust those who took their place. So what does this have to do with Dorothy?"
Heero turned to Dorothy. "I'm trying to locate Duo Maxwell. I was hoping he could help the Preventers, but he seems to have disappeared."
"You don't think anything has happened to him?" asked Dorothy with concern.
"After his business sunk because of some bad financial decisions on his part..."
"You mean his gambling?" Dorothy frowned with disapproval. "He owed money to just about every dirtbag on the colony. What money I gave him to help me he blew on one race at the track."
Heero peeled open his file and showed Dorothy a page of pictures. "Do you recognize any of these men?"
She studied the pictures as she carefully put her son on her shoulder to pat his back. Heero was mildly amused when the air in the baby's tummy forced a sticky glob of milk to jettison straight to middle of Quatre's tanned chest.
Heero looked away from Quatre who was muttering something in Arabic that probably wasn't blessings for his son as he wiped it away. Dorothy had squirreled the baby under her towel again, and now she pointed to one of the men. "This is the man that forged my papers. Maxwell called him Bluto although I don't think that was his real name." When Dorothy shuddered, the baby whimpered. "I was glad Maxwell was with me when we paid him a visit because I did not like how he was looking at me. I was afraid I was going to have to shoot him."
"How about these other men? Did you see them with Maxwell at any time?"
Dorothy looked at the pictures again, then shrugged. "I don't remember them, but then I didn't hang around L2 very long, and I certainly didn't get too friendly with Duo Maxwell. He lived in a dump in the worst part of his sector."
"Too bad," commented Quatre. "He was a good gundam pilot and a nice guy."
"With a bad habit," added Dorothy. "He wouldn't be the first to ruin his life with that habit." She pulled the baby out and Heero saw that little Quasim was sleeping. "Put me back together, will you Quatre? I'll take Quasim up to the house so he can take a nap."
Quatre picked up a bottle of sunblock. "I have a better idea. Heero can take Quasim up to the house, and then he can take Jamila into town for some ice cream."
Dorothy glanced back at his face, then looked down at the sunblock. "I like that idea."
Heero took the folder from her, then the baby, silently praying that it didn't have any ejection from either end. Quatre squirted some sunblock on his hand as he told Jamila to go with him.
Jamila obediently stood, wiped sand from her swimsuit and slipped on her sandals. After jamming the ugliest hat Heero had ever seen on her head, she walked beside Heero.
"What's the matter with you," he asked the sullen girl when they reached the verandah and Heero handed the sleeping baby over to the housekeeper.
"I already had ice cream in town today," she pouted.
"I thought all kids liked ice cream."
Jamila rolled her eyes. "Not all the time!"
Looking back to the beach, the reason for their request was obvious, and he looked back to Jamila with a smile. "So, Jamila, how many times do you have to get ice cream every day?"
After many attempts to end my story, I've finally done it! This thing just took on a life of its own.
I was going to end it after the Barak clan was killed, but I couldn't see Dorothy letting Quatre off
so easily, especially when he clearly thought her guilty. I was going to end it on L4 when Dorothy
found out about Jamila, but I just didn't think Dorothy could be so forgiving after realizing that
Quatre knew the baby she had wanted so badly and lost was actually his daughter. He's lucky that
she eventually did forgive him. Ending it in Barbados didn't seem right either.
Anyway, I'm obviously bouncing around an idea with Duo Maxwell. My previous fanfictions paired
him with an original character, but I always thought he and Hilde made a cute couple. Heero and
Relena will make appearances as well as my new favorite couple, Dorothy and Quatre (cameo only
because we don't want anything bad to happen to them).
Thanks for reading!
I'll try to make some time for writing - and so should you.