This was going to be a one shot, but then it got a little longer than expected, so I decided to make it two parts instead. Do tell me if you like it. I'm trying to figure out if I should continue making one shots or try to do a longer series of some type. Myeh. The facts are true, I checked them out, and flaws in them I apologize profusely for as I fudged on looking things up at the start. As for the later part of this first section: I'm rather sad that our country was so very closed minded (still is in many ways), but I can always hope for the future.

Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam Wing, or much of anything for that matter.

The click of heels was not an entirely unusual noise in of itself, but to hear such a thing in the hallways of this particular building was usually worthy of some note. It meant someone was here to visit, and the strange vicarious glimmer of hope was both painful and pleasurable in turns. The possibility of visitation could cheer even some of the gloomiest and furthest gone among the patients. What a pity, Heero thought to himself, that this particular visitor had to come in vain.

Every week, for over a year now, dependable as time itself, she would come. Down the hall in her easy, measured steps she strode. After a year Heero could tell a lot about her by the way the steady click click echoed in his ear before ceasing three doors down from his and knocking on the door. That was futile too, but she knew it as well as he did, so no one needed to remind her. No, at first he had noted how hesitant her steps had been. The first month or two it was an uneven clatter, catching him off guard from his usual semi meditative state into full consciousness and rare curiosity. Slowly, as if she had been giving up over time her fears of this special ward and its inhabitants, her confidence had manifested by the quickened and newly evened pace.

At first Heero had not expected her to return. Most visitors only came a few times and then faded away, their loved ones often hardly noticing or suffering silently, depending on how aware they were. Yet three months later she was still coming, then 5. . . a special visit on Christmas, and months more passed. He could mark his weeks by her visits. He had thought about doing so.

A blond head, hair neatly bound into a bun, flashed by his vision through the small window of his room - his cell. The rare glimpse was tantalizing. A rounded face, slim and firm in youth with blue eyes that focused on a point far ahead. It used to be a frown knit her brow and marred her pretty face, but now the only expression Heero was one of determination: mouth pursed, jaw set, arm clutching her purse to her side. What he would give to know her name, this mystery woman who exhibited such perfect devotion to her soldier.

It was too bad that today was the day he had to shatter his image of her forever. It had taken a long time, but suspicion was at a low ebb. The knife he had stolen, which had created a commotion among the staff as well as searches of the entire ward, was secreted from beneath the floorboard from where he had kept it hidden the past two months. The few tools he needed to pick such a simple lock as that which bound him to his room he was able to get without incident long ago. He had needed a way out, something he could count on.

That's where the girl came in. His lady of the ever consistent visitation. Surely she had her own transportation here. The richness of her clothes gave her away, as did the haughty dignity of her bearing. Soon enough she would finish her prescribed two hours in the company of the boy down the hall, then she would be spending an unknown quantity of hours in Heero's own presence. Although he was both excited and loath to finally meet her face to face he had a feeling he wouldn't get to know her like he wanted to. Very few people took kindly to being hostages, he expected.

* * *

As Relena clenched and released her jaw she felt her hair pull a little in its exceptionally tight bun. Such long hair was terribly unfashionable, even if her low waisted gown was the pink of trendy, or would have been if she hadn't insisted on it covering every inch of her body. This was prompted out of no love of propriety, even though she was perfectly willing to let her father think that, but to avoid unwanted attention. When she had first been formally presented to society, it had been a festive enough occasion, despite the brewing troubles surrounding the war. Wilson seemed to have done it and kept the U.S. out of it. Then, shortly before her seventeenth year, America declared war on Germany.

There was no use in reliving the past. It was 1921, and the war had been over for years, but the war had not ended for some people. More importantly, it seemed as if it would never end for Quatre.

Even now, when she said his name in her mind, her heart tightened. The dear childhood friend who lay, shell shocked, unwilling to rejoin the society he used to delight in. For a while his mother had kept him home, but day in day out he had simply wandered the house with an empty look in his eyes that no one could bear. When his mother broke down in fits of crying when in his presence too long is when they took Quatre the only place they knew he could be taken care of. Perhaps a ward in a hospital was going too far, but his father's money kept him in relative luxury.

People sneered at her for coming these days. They would look down their noses, even as many of her friends planned their weddings. The other girls warned her she was going to become an old maid. The less unkind and shallow of her set, like her dear friend Hilde (whose family had come under much suspicion during the war) were even telling her that it would be better to perhaps visit less. Her words as she placed her pale gloved hand on Relena's own as she left from a visit still stung: "He's not coming back, Lena."

"Yes he is!" Her voice was low but adamant. Not even Hilde could sway her, even if she did feel a keen in her heart as her friend drew back her hands sharply, tears hiding behind her black lashes.

The nurse let her in. Quatre, as he almost always was, had been stationed in a rolling chair. In his robe, with a blanket over his knees to ward off the last of the frost this spring morning, he seemed catatonic as he contemplated the brown earth outside. The blond hair was neatly combed and trimmed, the cheeks flushed with good health, but the eyes held a fearsome emptiness. With a swallow, Relena met him as best as she could.

"Hello, Quatre, it's Saturday again. My my, I do think you got a new haircut. Handsome as always I see. Don't you have a hello for your old friend Miss Relena?" His eyes tracked her as she sat next to him, otherwise she would think he wasn't even alive. The monologue continued. "Your father and mother are very well. One of your sisters is getting married. I don't remember which one, as there are a terrible lot of them. . . your dad is absolutely furious about the costs. He swore to me that I should secretly encourage the younger ones to elope so that he doesn't have to go through with it again. Can you imagine! What a scandal that would be! Of course I know he was joking."

Her false gaiety was getting more natural. Sometimes she could even fool herself into pretending that this was all some great game and Quatre was just pretending to keep a straight face as she talked to him. Tears began to burn, but she never let them fall. She hadn't cried once since he came back. There was no reason to cry; he was healthy in body and still with them. Why must others mourn him as if he were already dead?

"Hilde has been acting very mysteriously as of late. I think she has been favoring one of her suitors. Mr. Maxwell is terribly handsome, I must admit, but there are other more wealthy men who want her and it would be to her benefit to make an advantageous match. It's a good thing her beauty and fiery spirit are enough to erase the taint that tarnished the Sheibacker family name not so long ago. You weren't here when it was really bad, but I almost hit that nasty witch Anna Westlake for snubbing her at a garden party. What nerve, all of those spoiled brats. . . but I shouldn't get all worked up. You know how I feel about such shallow and spiteful behavior." She was running off at the mouth. It was all she could do. This was almost worse than talking to oneself.

Quatre blinked, and his eyes flickered back to the earth below where a garden would spring up once the season advanced a few more weeks. The thaw had set in not too long ago. He seemed more responsive when there were flowers, and Relena would be happy when they came. Taking a deep breath, she continued what other regarded as a fruitless waste of time and effort. She would bring Quatre back. If it took decades, she would do it. The rest of them be damned.

* * *

Once the orderly checked his door, Heero picked the lock. Trying to turn the knob, he found it moved smoothly and silently enough to his liking. A clear 'thank you' reached his ear from down the hall. Ah, the clockwork woman, affection burst in his heart for the perfection of her timing and how it made his mission so very easy. They couldn't hold him here much longer. When he got out and reported to his commanding officer, he knew that once again the world would be right.

Cutting his palm and squeezing just a little, he let blood ooze out just enough to make this convincing. How wonderful for him that she wore a white dress today. As she was about to cross his little window, Heero threw back the door, confronting her startled face.

"Good afternoon." He said politely.

"Good afternoon." Her programmed response shot back, as she look at him with no little confusion. It became a cry of fear as he grabbed her, quick with the reflexes he had never given the chance to grow dull. The struggles she afforded were stronger than he had expected but nothing compared to his own strength. He made sure to brandish the knife in her field of vision before grabbing her throat and sliding the blade next to it. She almost went limp in shock and fright.

Up until now everyone in the hallway had been paralyzed, unsure of what had just gone on. One particularly astute nurse ran off to find security. Orderlies began advancing as they too realized what had just happened.

"No one moves," Heero growled. "Or I'll kill you." He pretended to sweep the knife over her soft neck and she trembled. He squeezed his hand and blood seeped through his fingers. Not hers naturally, but they couldn't tell the difference.

"Don't be stupid, Mr. Yuy. You don't want to do this." A doctor from the edge of the hall was slowly walking towards him now that the orderlies had stopped at his threat.

"Stop! Or she dies!" The doctor halted. Everyone was tense, expectant, and only Heero knew what came next. "Come with me, Miss. We're going for a little drive."

It was lucky for him that all the crazy people were kept away from the main hospital because trying to escape down multiple floors and through many wards would have been much more difficult. He wouldn't say impossible, for nothing was impossible for him, but it would have taken much more planning and preparation. This was somewhat messy, but it was getting him out and that's what mattered.

"Think about this," the girl spoke, breathless from being forced to run beside him. "There is nothing to be gained from hurting me. If you need help, I can help you, but I cannot condone such actions. There must be another wa--"

"Quiet." It was harshly spoken but effective. She stopped talking. As they paused at the steps leading outside, Heero looked around. "Where's your car?" She pointed and he pulled her after him. Men from security burst out after them, right behind, but not fast enough to catch the two young people in front of them, one swift from terror and the other from elation.

"Miss Peacecraft!" An elderly man in a chauffeur's costume stepped out to meet the two of them. Heero threw one punch and the old man crumpled to the ground. Finally, Relena snapped out of whatever stupor she had been in up until now as Heero pushed her into the car so hard she practically flew into the passenger seat.

"I HATE YOU! YOU KILLED HIM! Pagan! Can you hear me? Oh please get up Pagan!" She kicked and hit at Heero who seemed to be able to block her attacks with effortless ease even as he found the ignition. His familiarity with the car was remarkable considering how long it had been since he had been in a vehicle, especially a civilian one, and as they drove through the security men, those same men were forced to dive out of the way.

The fuming and nearly crying woman sitting next to him, covered in his blood, suddenly commanded more of his attention. There was no use stopping until they got out of town. Once they were safely away from the authorities then he would let her go, but at the moment she did not look likely to listen to reason. Best to wait until she calmed down.

Relena touched her throat as she finally registered that it was wet for some reason. Looking down she saw that there were drops of blood on her chest, and her fingers came away crimson as she rubbed them across her flesh. Alarm bloomed in her anew, replacing some of the furious anger.

"I'm dying! Look at all this blood! How could you do such a thing? And to a poor old man." Her topics were getting confused, he noted. The tears she began to shed were strangely unsettling to Heero. This was not part of the mission, but he should have expected such a response. This was a great deal of stress for her after all, though he would never be so weak in a crisis. He had to stop her crying somehow.

"Miss Peacecraft," He had finally heard her name from the old man. At least that had been useful. It was regrettable that he had been so old. "He's not dead. He's collapsed next to a hospital even if he had been seriously injured, and that's my blood not yours." He held up the hand that even now still bled a little. Relena looked a little shocked at the sight of all the blood on both of them.

The police would be too slow to react. He would be out into the country in another twenty minutes too deep to be found. However, there were problems. He needed a map of the surrounding area and some new clothes. To obtain such things meant that he needed to both have time to stop and to have money. Time to stop he would gain in time, but money was a bit of an issue. As he steered with one hand he used his other hand to search around the car for anything that might hold some cash. Once a startled Relena had noted that the hands were not coming for her, she felt indignant.

"What are you doing? You already kidnapped me and stole my car, what's left?" She was cross, but at least she wasn't crying anymore. Remarkably resilient, he would say, given the circumstances. Heero chose not to respond. Relena simply got more irritated as he fiddled with the seats and alarmingly only kept partial attention to the road. They were going so fast too!

"I'd like it if you would maintain your attention ahead of us, unless this is some sort of suicide mission, in which case I insist you let me go and continue on by yourself."

Why did she have to talk so much? Wasn't she supposed to be mute in fear and awe of him?

"I need money." There, maybe she had something. She still clutched her purse after all.

"I don't have much on me. Pagan had most of it, which you might have gotten if you hadn't almost killed him. You're not very good at this, I think." Relena was excessively riled or else she would have had more consideration for her words. Yet, the young woman had never been confronted by people who didn't do her bidding before and as much as she tried not to be spoiled, some learned behaviors were very pervasive.

"Give me what you have." Relena fumed as she dug into her purse for the few coins she kept for tipping or, as was more often the case, giving to beggars (a habit her mother had often discouraged, but that she persisted in). It was indeed very little. Heero glanced over at her, his intense eyes causing her to widen her own. "Can you get more?"

"Keep your attention on the road!" He looked over and she felt relieved to be released from his gaze. "If we stop at a bank I can easily get more, and then you can let me go." Always back to that. Couldn't she think of something else? Better yet, couldn't she simply think rather than open her mouth?

The houses had been thinning out for the past thirty minutes. Soon they would be out in the country proper. Relena had gotten silent when it became apparent that any entreaties she threw at him were at best ignored and at worse earning her a glance. The extreme dark blue of his eyes coupled with a wildness behind them made her much more fearful than when he stoically maintained a breakneck speed down the increasingly bumpy country road.

"I d-d-don't th-think this was b-b-built for cars-s-s." Relena dared to speak again. Soon they would get to another town. Another town meant police, meant rescue. Surely her father could have arranged a search and rescue team. This crazy man would be brought to justice. Trees surrounded them, making everything slightly darker than it should have been. The inside of the car was getting cold, Relena shivered. After shivering a while longer, a robe was thrown at her, landing in her lap.

She looked over at Heero, trying to discern what he was thinking, but he didn't appear to pay her any mind. Yet, he obviously was observing her closely as her shivers had not been that pronounced. The anger, sadness, and fear at being abducted were all still there but now a vivid curiosity about her captor assaulted her. Best to start small.

"What's your name?" He was silent. "I asked what your name was. I'm pretty sure you aren't deaf. Didn't that guy call you Mr. Huey back there?"

"Yuy." He cursed in his head. The response had been automatic to correct her. It wasn't his intention for her to know his name.

"Well, Mr. Yuy, I'm Miss Relena Peacecraft. I can't say it's a pleasure to meet you, but seeing as we are trapped in this car together until you deign to stop or until we run out of gas, it would please me if you would tell me why you kidnapped me."

The thought of the car running out of gas had been plaguing him for a while. He figured he could get to the next town at first, but now he wasn't so sure. The hospital had been further into the city than he remembered. The growth of the city had been fairly extensive since he had been brought there.

"I'm just going to keep asking, until you tell me. Unless you'd like me to inquire about more personal things. . ." This woman was going to be the death of him.

"You were there. I needed a car. I could predict your movements." Silence again.

"Hm." Relena thought out loud. "If you could predict my movements then that means you've been watching me. For how long I wonder?" He didn't like where this was going. He didn't want to talk about how long he'd been watching her, or thinking about her. Relena. It was a unique name.

Useless thoughts Yuy, useless thoughts, he chided. Relena was almost more distraction than she was worth already. Maybe he should just let her off here in the woods. For some reason as soon as he thought it his hands had tightened on the steering wheel and his foot had pushed down harder on the gas. No, he wasn't going to let her off alone in the woods. The town would be soon. She would be a reasonable hostage if he handled things correctly. Speaking of hands, his was throbbing madly, and still bleeding if the continued slickness of the wheel was anything to judge by. This was bad.

"Do you have a handkerchief?" Relena nodded. Heero held out his bleeding hand. "Tie it around my hand tightly." Her brow furrowed.

"And why should I?"

"Would you rather I take both hands off the wheel to do it myself?"

Relena took out her handkerchief. She was sad to see it ruined. It was so nicely monogrammed and embroidered with a little dove on it. A set of these were one of many Christmas gifts from her brother Milliardo. New Hope sprang into her heart as she thought of her brother. He had connections to the army, and as only military personnel were kept in that ward, maybe Milliardo could pull some strings and get more than just the local law after them. There was nothing to worry about.

* * *

He had suspected this would happen for a while when a town was not manifesting nearby. Where had all the people gone? Maybe this explained why the city was larger than he had originally suspected. There were probably farms around here as it looked like there were fields ahead. Miles and miles of fields, but they nevertheless implied that people were around to tend them. Anything was better than just sitting here. Running out of gas was an embarrassing hitch in his timetable. Relena had wrapped herself in his robe and he started to feel a chill. Why couldn't spring be warmer than this? Better yet, why couldn't his regulation hospital pajamas be thicker? In addition he was painfully aware that he still just had slippers on. This was not a hiking outfit by any means. With a sigh that he had to stifle so that Relena wouldn't notice it, he started off in a direction that seemed promising.

"Where are you going?" She jumped down from the passenger seat and began to follow him, having to run a little to match his pace.

"Just stay there." It was best to ditch her. He would find a way to get himself to where he needed to be. The loss of the car was regrettable, but unavoidable. It would be a liability to keep Relena. This way whomever was looking for her would have what they were after and probably loosen up any search so that he could easily evade them. He continued on. After a moment or two Relena started to come to some conclusions of her own.

"Are you just going to leave me here?" For one thing she was angry that he would just casually dump her here in the middle of the country when it would take who knows how long for someone to come. For another thing it was going to start getting dark soon. She ran in front of him and he just moved around her to follow the dirt road to the fields beyond the last few trees.

"Wait!" Relena had to run to keep up with his long strides, and her shoes began to hurt. They weren't built for this. "I refuse to just stay there. Until we get to civilization you are stuck with me. I'm your responsibility. You have to protect me!"

As much as he never wanted to admit it to himself that she had a point, he had to concede some logic to her statements. It was his fault she was out here, and he did say all he wanted was her car. Bringing her with him may be a liability, but perhaps it was a necessary evil until the situation improved. Besides, maybe she could get him some money. Rather than agreeing with her he simply slowed his pace from a march to a regular walk. Now she just had to hop a little to keep up, and with her mouth set in a grim line she kept pace.

Going past field after field, Heero kept looking for something that resembled a light in the growing dusk. The slippers were useless after the first mile or two and he left them behind. His feet had grown soft in the years in the hospital and soon he could feel the blisters and the cuts. If he was in pain, he gave no sign. That he was cold, he couldn't help but show as the shivering was a response he could only stop for a time. If visibility had been better Relena would have noticed, but she was more concerned with just keeping track of him in the growing dark.

Finally, and to Heero's great relief, he saw a light in the distance. It was almost night now and light meant other people, food, clothes, and possibly money depending on how unscrupulous he was feeling. He grabbed Relena's hand and practically dragged her in the direction of the light until she noticed it too and exclaimed in relief. Heero found himself reluctant to let go of her hand, but after a time he did.

They passed the barn, well kept and large. The house was also fairly nice though not fancy. Naturally, he expected farmers to be rather utilitarian and practical, but the sight of all this somehow shocked him as his last memory of farms involved burned out shells of buildings and being surrounded by constant gunfire. Not pleasant memories to be sure and she shoved them aside viciously. He was scary enough to look at during the best of times and he needed to talk to these people. Circling round to the front, he knocked at the door.

Relena was nervous. Should she tell these people what happened to her? It seemed like Heero wasn't after keeping her with him and to his credit he had never really harmed her (aside from making her walk rather a long distance in shoes that could be filling up with blood for all she knew but that the very least caused her feet to throb). What's more, they both looked terrible and needed to have an explanation of some type. Did he know what he was doing, just knocking so brazenly? A matronly looking woman answered the door. Her hands flew to her mouth as she saw Relena.

"Child! Are you hurt?! Come in, we'll get a doctor right away!" She was still covered in Heero's blood, and in his robe. Even with the blood dried, she must look a mess with her hair in disarray and her dress dirty and rusty.

"No really, I'm fine, ma'am. You don't have to trouble yourself. It's just that we're lost and our car is out of gas. As you can see we've had quite a time of it." Giving a little nervous laugh Relena tried to keep herself talking. Her father had always said she could talk herself out of any situation, a regular diplomat. 'You should have negotiated the treaty,' he said when the war was ending 'I know that for sure there would never be a war again with you leading the way.'

The middle-aged woman narrowed her eyes. If they weren't hurt then they presented a strange picture to her conventional expectations. "Warren. Come on in, we have visitors." A man who looked tan and wrinkled from many days of working in the sun appeared with a wary glance in their direction.

"Why are you here?" Obviously Warren was not going to give them a warm welcome.

"We were on. . a. . . scavenger hunt." That seemed like an easy enough thing to play off of. What with the strange pleasures of her wealthy set, perhaps they would just assume this was a lark of some sort.

"Oh really?"

"Yes, but we got lost and then our car ran out of gas. As you can see, my companion got cut while fiddling with the car." They looked at his bandaged hand, which Heero instinctively tried to hide. "I'm afraid we're in dire need of some help, if you'd be so kind." She was a rotten liar. Lying gave her a sick feeling in her stomach. Telling the truth was so much easier.

"Why's that man in his nightclothes then?" Warren remained unconvinced.

"It's the new fad. It's all the rage." Her lies were so outrageous she thought for sure that the lord would strike her down where she stood. Relena tried to meet the level stare of the farmer and not flinch. Heero tried to stare down the farmer with a glare worthy of someone much older and much fiercer, but no one was looking at him.

The narrowing eyes of the man did not widen and Relena instinctively knew that they would have to come clean. A surge of reluctance hit her. She didn't want this to end. As much as it was unpleasant, it was also exciting. More importantly it was diverting, and almost like some strange fiction story. It was almost worth continuing just to tell Hilde later, now that she was reasonably sure Mr. Yuy would not harm her.

A kindly glance from the lady reassured Relena. A sheepish look greeted the kind gaze. "I know why you're out here lookin' so peculiar. Don't you worry, my lambs, we'll help you. I remember what it is to be young, yet. And eloping is so terribly romantic." Relena blinked, just once, processing the comment with speed that made even Heero start a bit.

"Oh thank you!" Tears of relief at not having to make anything else up came to her eyes. "I can't tell you what a trying day it was, driving all over the countryside!" This was all true. Let other people construct the lie, even if it still made her uneasy.

"Mr. and Mrs. . . ?" Warren spoke up, still cynical but looking slightly less gruff.

"Yuy." Heero filled in as if he were afraid of Relena saying anything else. He was a fool for having not prepared a story and letting her improvise when lying was something he saw she did poorly. "Heero and Relena Yuy."

The rest of the night was an embarrassment for both of them. The fact that they were married already helped ease the impropriety of their actions. It wasn't as if they were off to live in sin, from the farmers' prospective, simply escaping to be together. Whenever the farmer's wife, who's name was Linda, asked about the elopement then Relena would immediately burst into tears and it was easy for Linda to assume the worst. Warren kept his eye on Heero, only leaving when Linda ordered him to get some clothes to give to the new groom.

While Relena sobbed the very real stress of the day away in the ample and strong arms of the farm wife, she thought about this new information. Heero Yuy. And now in the eyes of these people they were married. This would mean they would be given a single room. The information should have upset her, but Relena found that all that happened was a steady increase in her heart rate. It beat in her ears louder than the rap of a drum by the end of the evening.

"Here's where you'll stay. It used to be our Jerry's room, and it isn't much but it'll have to do. I suspect you'll be glad for some rest after today." Linda gave them a sly smile and Relena blushed as she held the nightgown that had been leant to her for the night to her chest. She watched the door close and turned after a moment to see Heero undressing. The sight of muscular shoulders shocked her as never had a man disrobed in front of her after she had surpassed childhood and swimming with her friends at summer houses.

"Mr. Yuy!" Her exclamation was somewhat loud. He turned with a roll of his eyes and Relena saw some of his smooth chest before she turned her back to him. "I don't think that that is a very proper activity to be doing in my presence."

"Listen, doing this anywhere else would be suspicious." From the sounds it seemed as if he had barely paused in putting on his bedclothes. She heard him messing with the covers of the small bed in the room and turned again.

"What are you doing now?" There was no way to stop the blush that she thought was covering her whole body. Heero pulled a blanket from the bed that was draped in several and plopped down on the floor with it. Obviously he was just going to stay there. At least he had allayed her fears of sharing a bed with him, but the prospect of changing in his presence was still troubling. Checking all the time to make sure he wasn't looking in her direction she struggled out of her dress and into the nightgown. Removing many pins, she then took down her hair that fell to the middle of her back. It was a little tangled, but she would fix that tomorrow. Best to just get some sleep.

Unfortunately for the pair, sleep was not fast in coming. Relena was unwilling to go to sleep in the same room as her sometimes captor and all around suspicious and violent travelling companion. He was a military man, and judging from his previous residence he was also crazy. None of these were thoughts that made her night restful. When she succumbed to the raw exhaustion of the day, her sleep was fitful.

Heero, for his part, was ultra conscious of Relena. He had not looked while she was changing but just the knowledge of what she was doing set his imagination up for an experience that quickly made him uncomfortable. It was almost beyond bearing that this was happening to him. He had never desired to visit the brothels of France, and women in the states rarely held appeal for him, so why did this one woman make him unsure of his own ability to control himself. Even the thought of sleeping with her in that small bed, practically wound around one another to fit, filled him with the urge to act on his feeling. They had said they were married, and it would be strange not to be found together in the morning. He had arguments prepared for her expected negative response to his action. Yet he couldn't bring himself to do it. She wasn't for him to have. It was the madness of obsession, having thought nothing but of her habits and possible reactions to his plan for weeks on end. That's all these feelings were, and nothing truly alarming. It was to be expected, even. With these lame assertions, he lulled himself into a dreamless sleep.

* * *

Relena woke with a hand covering her mouth. Her scream disappeared into Heero's palm and her eyes rotated wildly in panic. He put a finger to his lips to indicate her silence and her struggling abated. She hit him with a pillow as soon as he backed away. It was a rather stupid way to wake someone up.

"You could have just pushed at me a bit." She hissed.

"I did. You just ignored me." She knew she was a deep sleeper, but it was still a rotten way to resort to. Noting that Heero was dressed in day clothes already she rose from the bed - and then wished she hadn't as she remembered too late that all she had on was a nightgown. Heero looked at her hair. Unbound, it looked soft and he had to force his arm not to reach across the gulf of the bed to twine his fingers in it. He knew he wasn't crazy, but this woman would rapidly make him so if he stayed with her. Stiffly coming at attention, he walked out of the room.

Relena found some clothes on a chair and began to dress herself. It was a simple dress, well worn and patched in a couple places. It was somewhat silly on her, being too baggy in spots (especially the chest to her great chagrin). Slightly more upsetting was the way she felt like the antithesis of urban in it. Her whole life had been built around the city and this was something she just didn't feel at home in. Not that she was ungrateful.

Walking out, she saw that there was some food and a note on the table. Just some fruit and a muffin, but she was starving and it seemed like the best meal she had eaten in weeks. The note was from Linda and was short and very kind about how she wished them luck and how they could keep the clothes. Heero didn't appear to be anywhere, but she was more than happy to find a brush on her own and brush out her hair and wash her face. She was finishing braiding her hair (after abandoning fixing it up with all those impossible pins), when she heard the familiar chug of a car.

Running to the window, holding on to the end of one of her braids, she saw Heero and Warren in the front seat. They climbed out and Heero solemnly shook the hand of the older man who, equally grave of temperament, accepted it and parted ways to go about his own chores. Heero walked inside and found Relena looking rather more fetching than the blood encrusted and mightily riled lady of yesterday. With a blink he recovered from the new assault to his senses and spoke tersely.

"I'll drop you off in the next town. I'm sure you can easily reach someone. But I am taking the car. I shall return it when my task is done." He motioned for her to follow him outside. Linda, who was airing out some rugs, came in just in time to see them off with a hug and wishes for their future marital happiness. They had been so nice that Relena felt quite guilty for misrepresenting herself, but vowed that she would send them a gift of some kind after she got back home.

The ride in the car was slower today, but not by much, and both were silent for a time. Relena didn't know what to say, and Heero was disinclined to talk in general, but after a while she couldn't hold back anymore.

"Why were you in the hospital? You don't seem crazy." Except for the start of this all, she added silently to herself. Heero felt no need to answer that, but if she kept asking him things it would only be irritating. Might as well use a Socratic solution.

"Why were YOU in the hospital?" Despite himself, he found he wanted to hear her answer. It wasn't merely an attempt to divert attention away from himself. Relena looked thoughtful, then mournful.

"I was visiting my fiancé." The car swerved viciously, almost off the road. "GAH! What was that!"

"Thought I saw a cat. What were you saying?"

She hadn't talked to anyone in a long time about Quatre. It seemed like as good a person as any. Maybe he had answers for her. Maybe he knew a way to bring Quatre back. Maybe this was a stupid thing to do, to trust a stranger this quickly, especially one that had done little to earn such trust. But the temptation to unload her burden, even if for a little while, by telling the story made her feel a little less fragile inside.

"It started a long time ago," she began, for it wouldn't help to not explain the background when it was tied to intimately to the present circumstances. "Quatre and I used to play a lot together. We were the same age and our fathers were in similar business so it seemed well enough for us to get along, what with my only sibling being so much older than I and uninterested in my games. At some point our fathers thought it would be a good idea to unite our fortunes and arrange a marriage between us. We got along so well, after all." Relena sighed deeply, as if past memories were floating through her brain like feathers from a gutted pillow.

"It seemed well enough for a while, and we didn't take them very seriously, but then the war came and lots of things became more serious than they should have been. Quatre began to argue with his father. He wanted to take action. He wanted to be involved and not stand aside exempt. For a while it was fine. The draft board couldn't even consider him so long as he was 18. Then they lowered the accepted age. Quatre used some pressure to get himself accepted in. He was taken away to a camp somewhere and I didn't hear from him until he wrote from France. It was a million to one chance that he went in the first place, but it happened. It was even less of a chance that he see the front line fighting, but he did. He was there such a short time, but once the war ended." Heero got a dangerous look in his eye at that statement. "He was sent home only half a person. His mind was shot. He jumped at every loud noise or even if people tried to talk to him. Not just sickness of the mind, but a terrible fever as well for disease was what originally sent him home so quickly. It was only a matter of time before he was put into the hospital I guess. No one could stand to see him as a shadow of who he had been."

Her throat tightened, but she pushed on, unable to stop the flow of words as emotion intertwined. "I went to see him at first because it was my duty, as his fiancé, but then I kept going because everyone else stopped. I'm the only one left who has faith in him. Perhaps one day he'll recover."

"And then I suppose you'll get married and live happily." The words were bitter, and as she had expected something softer and perhaps even sympathetic, her ragged and exposed emotions swerved into something darker.

"I don't suppose you understand what loyalty is. I don't suppose you respect it. What more could I expect from an escaped mental patient?" The car stopped with a jerk as Heero practically slammed on the brake.

"Get out."

"What?" She was the righteously angry one here. This was more than confounding.

"Get. Out. Now." Those blue eyes of his blazed dark and he bowed his head to let his messy brown hair cover them a little. Having gone perfectly still in response to the thinly veiled threat in his words, Relena sat there in shock. He reached over quickly, opened the door, and gave her a push that sent her sprawling into the road. Judging from the way it hurt, she'd have quite the bruise on one hip in a little while. As soon as she was free of the car, Heero took off down the road.

Relena got up and started to somewhat limp down the road after him. She felt lenient before, but now Heero Yuy was going to catch more hell then he could imagine. Such insensitivity! Such unwarranted aggression! Her brain seethed with punishments until the pain and the piteous state of her circumstances forced her to reexamine what had just happened. Obviously she had touched a nerve of some kind and he had responded in a reflexive manner. What he did was uncalled for, but she had been no peach either. A half-hour down the road she decided to stop and just wait for a while. Someone was bound to come by, right?

The car that did show up was not the one she expected. Heero sat there, not inviting her back in, but not moving on either. He turned the car around after they had stared at one another for a while and then they continued their battle of wills. In the end a sore rump, a bruised hip, and a smarting conscience drove Relena back into the car, else they sit there until doomsday.

"Are you ok?" She got the idea that this was some sort of apology, or as close as she would receive.

"I think I bruised my side."

"I'll take a look at it when we stop." He didn't think of what this implied at first, but when the thought filtered through he found a little color stain his cheeks for a fraction of a moment.

"I'll be fine." Relena lapsed into silence rather than tempt fate with more questions. After a time, the tension became too much even for Heero and he was the one who broke it.

"You were wrong, you know, about being the only one who saw him." Relena's attention, previously and purposefully focused on field after field of dirt, almost swallowed Heero up in its surprise and sudden eagerness. "There was another girl, light blond hair, eyebrows in points like the tip of a knife. She came every week, just as you did." It was true. Once they had been there at the same time, but the sharp eyebrowed lady had spotted Relena and made a swift escape before she was seen.


"I didn't know your names."

In light of this new peace offering, which relieved Relena more than Heero could have imagined at finding herself not alone in her crusade to bring back her friend, she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. It was impulsive and at once she regretted it, but everything in Heero seemed to tighten and release once she pulled away. She was not one to carry grudges, now she felt they were even.

"So why didn't you choose her?"

"What?" It seemed as if the question was entirely out of the blue.

"Why did you choose me and not Dorothy. . . I mean the other blond girl?" It was a good question. Why had he chosen Relena? The other girl appeared to have all the same airs and qualifications that marked out Relena as a likely target. What made Relena special?

"Chance." It wasn't entirely honest, but it would have to do until he knew the answer for himself.

* * *

"Stop at the bank before you let me go." Relena dug around in her purse a bit.


Producing a piece of identification of some type, she waved it at him. "I'm going to give you some money. You still want some right? A few coins won't get you anywhere." It was that darn drive to give to charity again. It was going to be the end of her one of these days. Heero nodded and they walked in together after parking the car in front. Some of the locals stared at them. It was a strange sight, this proud looking woman and dangerous looking man with their nice car. Someone whispered that they must be gangsters. A cop spotted them and, hearing the rumors, made a fast but surreptitious break for the jail.

"I'd like to withdraw a hundred please." Heero put his hand over hers as if to halt the transaction.

"Too much."

"Nonsense. You'll need something to help you start this new life of yours and daddy can afford it. Oh, he'll fuss to be sure but I'll just tell him you made me and to let it go. I bet Milliardo will be the only one who will really complain for any real length of time." Heero arched his eyebrow. "Milliardo is my brother." Heero's eyes widened as Relena signed for the money.

"Milliardo Peacecraft?"

"Well, well, what a small world, if it isn't Private Yuy again." A tall man with almost white blond hair fully as long as Relena's but tied behind in a ponytail strode into the bank followed by several police officers bearing clubs openly. Activity in the bank ceased. "And my sister as well. You're lucky she looks to be unharmed, contrary to reports, or I would have had you hanged before sundown. Now are you going to come quietly this time?"

"No, sir." Heero responded as he grabbed Relena's hand that held the money and pulled both her and the cash out the back. Three police officers were there to meet them as Milliardo shouted the charge to retrieve them from the other side. The three hapless officers had never met with the likes of Heero Yuy, and later they said he fought like a demon. Once the chaos of the small battle ended, one guard was clear across the room and face down over a desk, another had been nearly thrown into those that had rushed from the front of the bank, and the last had almost had his windpipe crushed and struggled to breathe on the floor.

Relena huffed a little as Heero set a pace much faster than she could really handle, but she kept it up anyway, driven by adrenaline. Once they neared the train station his purpose became clear. The sound of pursuit was approaching them rapidly, headed by the commanding voice of her brother, but began to be muffled by the familiar pulsing grind of the train as it started to pick up speed. Finding an open boxcar was easy, and they hopped into it and huddled in the back. Heero still clutched her hand and Relena still clutched the money. Her purse was far behind them in the bank.

"I guess it can't be helped." Heero said, more to himself than anything. "You'll have to come with me to Chicago."

* * *

After a few minutes, Relena found herself waxing reflective on the adventure up to this point. Heero, after summarily announcing that she was coming with him, had seemed to lose all interest in telling her why they were going there or even her presence. Truthfully, she wanted some time to be stunned, so was staying silent. Huddled in a shivering pile, trying to stay out of the wind (which appeared too impossible inside the drafty and open boxcar), she miserably noted that she was hungry too. No use talking about it. It wasn't as if Heero had any food.

It was ridiculous.

They were running from her brother of all people, whom Heero seemed to not only know but also have terrible past relations with, and heading toward the most notorious of cities for the sake of some strange quest that had prompted her original abduction. Milliardo had simply been a desk officer and had never seen any fighting, even though he was in France for a healthy portion of the war. There were many things that could have happened. What was his job, again? She couldn't recall. She did remember how father had pulled strings to keep him out of combat. There was still bad blood in the family over that. Her hip ached still as she rocked to keep warm. Some hair blew around her face, tickling her mouth.

"Step away from the lady if you wish to remain unharmed." Heero's voice was commanding and took her by surprise. With a start she looked over to find what had previously appeared to be a brown sack moving away from her. It uncurled from its crouch to reveal a bum, black hair tightly bound making his head appear almost glossy from all the grease in it. He looked oriental.

"I had thought you wouldn't notice. You were rather absorbed with inspecting the other side first." The Chinese man snarled a bit. "What brings a couple of upstanding citizens like yourself onto my car, hounded here by the police no less."

Heero stared at him, moving closer to Relena. "Give me the money Miss Peacecraft. I have some pockets in my shirt that button closed." So that's what the man had been after. She handed it over without a fuss, never once taking her eyes off of this new unknown quantity in their company.

"I find you puzzling. You're not the usual fare of vagabonds that frequent such places as these." He looked smug and assured of himself. "The woman is useless, and her clothes do not suit her. Judging from her white skin and uncalloused hands, she was no farmer though she attempts to dress the part. You, however, carry yourself in a way I know a little better. Her bodyguard perhaps? Come across more than you can handle?" Heero didn't rise to the bait, but did take a defensive stance when the man moved closer.

"You'll keep your distance." Reaching out an arm from where he sat next to Relena, he pulled her to his chest. The intimate gesture not only surprised her into a cessation of shivering but also helped warm her through his own body heat.

"You can't hide from me. I know a fellow in arms when I see them. Your eyes give you away." Heero tensed and Relena felt her back straighten in sympathetic response. "If you're a WASP, I'm the queen of England. Brothers shouldn't fight. We're the Yellow Peril, aren't we? Come, now, I need an entertaining story for this long and dull trip."

"I'm only half Japanese, and no brother of yours, Chinaman." Some things fell into place in her mind. The slight dusky hue to his skin was no tan, but natural. The slight tilt to his eyes that were overshadowed by the intensity of the blue orbs they contained, were clues to his mixed parentage. If no one had pointed it out, then she never would have noticed. Unlike some other fools, this did not change her perception of him. Hearst was a bigot and a muckraker, so far as she was concerned, and she put no stock in his papers.

"If that's the way it is, then maybe you should give me that money of yours, else I go to the police when we stop next. I don't suppose I owe you anything if we have no common ground." The Chinese man said with a less than pleasant tone. "And my name is Chang Wufei, not 'Chinaman'."

This was going from bad to worse. Relena felt the need to intervene, as she always did when people fought in front of her.

"Stop! Mr. Yuy, this is not right. He had done us no harm; there is no need to be antagonistic. And Mr. Wufei, I certainly think that telling you a story would be the least I could do if it would convince you to stop being so terribly disagreeable. We can get along and share this boxcar like decent human being should." Her beaming smile following this short speech left the two men flabbergasted.

"Is your woman wrong in the head?" Wufei began to laugh. "It's Mr. Chang, if you insist, woman." Heero seemed to let out a breath and his arm around her loosened. The air between them all seemed to clear. "Well, you implied a story. It had better be good or else I may turn you over to the cops anyway."

Relena was glad to tell it. Her perspective on things was unique, but filled with emotional ups and downs that she described in a masterful manner. As she recounted the events of the past day and a half Heero found himself regarding it all with renewed guilt for this and that transgression. Being nothing less than honest, none of the facts she told he could refute and as she got to some of his more dishonorable behavior he had to force himself not to clamp a hand over her mouth to prevent the reliving of those moments where he lost control. Some things she omitted, but very little was left out. As she wound down to the end, it all seemed to take on a comical tone, maybe even surreal. Had all that really just happened?

". . . and then he pulled me over to the train station and we jumped in here. That's about it really." No need to cover the unpleasantness of their first meeting with Mr. Chang, especially when it had only just happened.

"Woman, your tale is truly fantastic. I must admit I haven't been so amused in quite a while. Travelling about in boxcars doesn't lend itself to quaint stories so much as tragic ones." He looked off into the distance, unseeing and unfocused on the reality of it.

"Now that I told you our story, you must share yours. It's only fair." She was sure a wanderer such as he would have much to tell.

"Fairness has nothing to do with my story. I came from California. I plan to return someday. For now I must continue upon this path, until I am ready to face the small minded white men who put my family out on the street and denied me the basic rights of this country. Seems the only people this country is for is the white people." His bitterness was palpable.

With nothing to say to that, Relena decided to look back to Heero instead. Heero, for his part, understood how Wufei felt, but had not experienced life in the same way. For one thing, he looked 'white' enough to hide his origins and escaped persecution. The prejudice he had had to live with was more based in class rather than on race. Growing up poor and alone in the world was probably just as bad. That's why he had lied about his age and joined the war effort with the first draft. At 18 he looked to be in his 20s and with no birth certificate, no one asked questions. Draft boards simply needed to fill quotas. It wasn't as if he had anything else to live for. Either he would do something with his life, or die trying. Preferably, he would have died trying, but fate had given him a tougher lot than that. Maybe Chicago held the key to his salvation. Maybe it didn't. His tortured brain needed to know.

Yet even those thought were just flickers of what had been running through his brain for years, ever since he had entered the hospital, in fact. What was more important was that Relena had discovered something he had wanted to hide from her. Living in the northeastern portion of the country was difficult enough if you were considered foreign, but it was worse if you were not European in ancestry. The decades of ignorance and fear, only helped along by the rising spirit of isolationism, gave him good reason not to seem anything but Anglo-Saxon. That Relena didn't appear to be fazed eased his heart. That she hadn't moved off of his chest even when he had dropped his arm from her, made his heart beat faster than normal. The fluttering kiss she had given him in the car also came to mind. He shoved it aside viciously from his mind even as he separated his physical body from hers.

"I'm too cold, Mr. Yuy. Please don't go." Oh god. She said please. And she had that. . . that look in her eye. Of its own accord his arm wrapped around her again and pressed more of her soft body to his. What sweet torture! "Thank you so much Mr. Yuy. I don't wish to be a bother to you."

"Jesus, Miss Peacecraft." He lightly swore. "Call me Heero."

"Then you must call me Relena." Her voice was firm, and as she chuckled he could feel the vibration through his body. It was a mercy that she could not sense the effect she had upon him.

"What a cozy picture that is." Damn. He had almost forgotten that they had an audience still. "Perhaps its good that I'm here to chaperone." For the first time today, even after having been in a fight and after facing the man who had sentenced him to years in a mental hell, Heero felt like killing someone. Then Relena sighed and snuggled into his body and all those urges siphoned into a slightly different sort of need.

"Damn it all." He murmured to himself.

* * *