Never has a one shot gotten so out of control. Next time I should just set a word limit for myself or really try to do a series. No more of this horrifying in between crud. Jeez. Anyway, please be kind and tell me what you think. ^_^ I hurried the ending a bit and it is actually a few thousand words short because of that. Yerg. Just pretend for my sake that this is a one shot, please? It was supposed to be concise. Maybe I'll try to edit it down someday to be something manageable. Feh.

Disclaimer: Don't own it. Don't claim to. Gundam Wing isn't miiiinnne. (boo hoo)

* * *

Relena had never felt so filthy in her life. Thanks to the charitable kindness of Wufei, they had had a little bit of food (which Relena insisted on paying for, much to Heero's chagrin as their finances were so limited). They wouldn't have had even that much if Relena had not taken it upon herself to talk with him. The man was terribly irritable at first, but you can't scowl down someone with no fear, no presumed notions, and so much guileless innocence. Even Wufei found the girl charming, and before long she had heard all about how he had tried to buy a store to start a new life with his girlfriend Sally, only to be run out of town by some aspiring white supremacists.

"Short of a burning cross, I felt that they had made themselves clear that I was unwanted and that I was too uppity for the community."

Relena was horrified. "I thought it was, er, a more southern trend these days, Mr. Chang."

"Hatred knows no limits." Wufei's eyes met Heero's. Somehow, Heero knew that the comment was meant for him as a warning. Chicago was a hotbed of unrest and violence these days. This was not surprising news for the previously shut in young soldier. It was like that before the War too. "At the next stop, you'll want to hop a train going north. Most of them go straight into the city. You'll get there easy enough one way or another."

It had been good advice and now here they were, this time alone in a car full of crates, still hungry, twice as cold, and very grubby. Dirt from every possible place had lodged onto the thin material of her dress, and her hair had that greasy feel to it she never could stand. She wrapped her arms around herself and brought her knees in close, even as her hip continued to throb. It was night now. The rocking of the train should have lulled her to sleep, but Relena couldn't get past the vague and irrational fear that if she fell asleep she wouldn't wake up. Calling over to the figure crouched in the corner, she tried to beckon him to her side once more. Heero hesitated, then complied after a few moments.

"Yes?" As friendly as ever. Relena rolled her eyes.

"For one thing, I am cold." She glared up at what she assumed was his face, as it was too dark to make out. "For another I have some questions I think you should answer. Why do you know my brother and why is he chasing you, and why are we going to Chicago?"

Heero continued to stand as he digested what those questions could implicate. There was no need to tell her why they were going to Chicago, because then she would want details and the details would alarm her. Yet, to explain why he knew her brother led in to why they were going to Chicago. Perhaps if he just told her some, then she wouldn't bug him for more. The main reason he was even considering telling her anything was because if she didn't hear it from him, she would hear it from her brother. Somehow, the facts would probably sound all the more incriminating without the context in which he committed them. Retaining her good opinion had suddenly become a priority.

And she was cold too. Didn't ask much did she? Just to have him bear his soul and deny his body. Had anyone every bothered to explain certain things to her? Didn't the new progressive education include frank discussions about the physical ways of the world? Maybe she hadn't had a progressive education. Whatever the reason, in the end he was cold too, and it couldn't hurt to indulge for a little while. She practically melted into him as he rested next to her, the both of them supported by the crate behind.

"I lied about my age to get into the army early." He could do this in a minimum of words. He had to. Heero knew that the more he talked the harder it would be. "I got in on some of the first drafts. My base was heavily chosen from to be shipped over right away. We were put in with a French company. Eventually there were only a few left. . the ones who had listened to those French men. Our men were consolidated and reassigned under a captain named Barton." His throat felt dry. It had been a long time since they had had some water. Was Relena this dehydrated too? "I was assigned to be a sniper. The Germans got upset when we fired during an unscheduled time."

Relena looked confused. She needed more explanation.

"The French and the Germans had a system worked out. They would fire on one another during certain times and rest at others. Everyone was worn out. It seemed the best system. Most Americans didn't understand."

Somehow her hand had sneaked over and wound over his. She really was cold.

"I was always taking chances. One day I really flipped and wouldn't get back in the trench. I don't know how their shots missed, but next thing I knew I was in one of their fox holes, surrounded by bodies: theirs and ours. The official report said I had gone crazy. I know, because your brother showed it to me before he filed it. He said I should be grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to fight for my country and behavior like mine was a disgrace. He said he'd make sure I didn't hurt anyone else. I saw the end of the war from the inside of my hospital ward." Solitary confinement with meals brought to him. If his life hadn't been bad enough, living in that hospital had made him feel inhuman more than killing ever had.

It was only a fraction of the story. Could she see the gaps? Would she expose them? Her kind smile betrayed her knowledge of how incomplete the information had been. Heero knew this, because her teeth shone in the moonlight, even as it illuminated enough of her face to make out indistinct features.

"Milliardo never liked desk work. He probably saw it as his chance to make a difference. Please don't hate my brother for what he did." Again with the difficult requests.

"Hn." Rather than continue to speak, Heero pulled her head to his chest. After a while her head sank down with the rest of her body as she went limp in sleep. Tomorrow would change everything. Tomorrow he would see if he lived or died. Before he didn't care, but now he almost had something to fight for, as out of reach as it seemed to be. Heero smiled. Out of reach and yet in his lap. How terribly ironic.

* * *

"Relena." Shaking that had nothing to do with the normal motions of the train were what Relena woke to. It was unpleasant to come back into the land of the living from the false warmth that sleep and dreams had afforded. The grunge, the damp morning dew, the cold, and worst of all over hunger - the thirst that remained unquenched from the night before all came scurrying to the top of her mind. Secondary on the concerns was the way Heero's hands were brushing rather familiarly over her body in the attempt to get her to stand and move quickly.

Wufei had been right. In an 'all roads lead to Rome' sort of fashion they had arrived at Chicago, the already infamous center of illegal liquor and gangland activity. Having been warned of the dangers of this very large city before, but never having been there herself, she found that any misgivings were diluted due to the presence of a person who was even now insisting they had to get out of sight before someone found and arrested them.

The word 'police' was better than a brisk walk or a morning cup of tea. Relena found new energy to jump down out of the car into Heero's waiting arms. They looked more respectable than the normal hobo and hence were not molested by passing workmen unloading various cargo from cars. Some people looked at them in a slightly odd manner, but Relena assumed it was just because of their ragged appearance.

A little way from the train station the streets were a mess with cars everywhere in various states of rushing. People milled around, some looking rather higher up on the social strata than others but united briefly with the more common folk as they all sought services from the trains a short distance away.

"Do you know where we are going Heero?" Relena's apprehension showed in her voice. Even if she expected him to protect them both she still worried about other things such as the fact that her brother was after them, and they only had a little less than a hundred dollars to their names.

Heero wondered if he should comfort her or if he should tell her the truth. In the end, comfort won out. To prevent lying he merely stayed silent. Somehow he got the idea this was no better than if he had told her he didn't know where they were going or where to start looking other than the fact that Trowa had mentioned a shop once long ago that his family used to own. A flower shop in fact.

Being a rather direct sort of person when other more subtle means were out of his reach, his first attempt to find out where this shop could be involved him walking into the first florist shop they could find and asking if anyone there knew a Trowa Barton. The sales lady looked about ready to cry and said she didn't know anything. A large man came from the back and looked at them funny and cracked his knuckles until Heero got the idea and got out of there. Relena had been oblivious to all of it, having been occupied looking at the flowers.

"Now do you know where we're going?" The question seemed to anger him this time. Relena decided to keep quiet. She had other concerns at any rate. Finally she got to go to a truly large city and see a buzzing life that her own moderately sized town could only approximate. Now that she was here. . . she felt deeply ashamed. Her clothes and face were dirty. She looked starved and thirsty and about as plebian as they come. There was no glamour in being a charity case and if she was going to be ignored and looked down at then they might as well have stayed with the bums. Her pride had never been this dented.

"If nothing else, a lady must wear her pride." She murmured.

"What?" Heero was distracted with keeping people from running into a distracted Relena, even as he tried to find another florist. They would probably have a few more miles to go before another shop cropped up.

"Mother always told me, 'if nothing else, a lady must wear her pride'. Mother was very adamant that I be strong and never forget that I am a Peacecraft, a noble and old family."

"Sounds like a difficult woman." Heero wondered if they were his words or Wufei's.

"Oh, mother isn't that bad. She just gets these ideas and then won't let go. I feel bad because she's been so depressed recently. Up until a little while ago she had all these crusades to power her lunches and talks and society meetings. There was the war, and suffrage, and Prohibition. But then in a matter of a few years they all got resolved. The war ended, women got the vote, and Congress passed the amendment. Now she doesn't know what to do with herself."

"Uh huh." He was almost listening. Maybe if he just asked someone where the nearest florist was.

"I told her maybe she should get more involved with the church, but then father had started laughing. Apparently, when they first got married, the poor minister had begged her to either join a different church or have her 'Ladies Conversational Sunday Brunch' someplace else. It seemed more people were showing up for the brunch than for his sermons. Mother does like to talk. She put up a terrible fuss when I left college to take care of Quatre. . ." Relena trailed off and got silent.

Heero had picked up on the last bit and stopped them in the middle of the sidewalk letting the other people stream around them. Seeing a nearby alleyway, he pulled them into it.

"Relena. Listen to me. You have to stop making a martyr of yourself over him. Some wounds can be healed through the understanding of others, but you'll never understand what keeps Quatre as he is because you have never killed another human being, nor spent nights in a trench surrounded by the dead and the filth of the living. Let him go!" He wanted to shake her. He wanted to eliminate Quatre from her heart. Though she could do just as little for him, he wanted the compassion she showed. Selfish, needy, he didn't like the things she evoked in him but like it or not he had to protect her until this was over, one way or another. The tears that leapt to her eyes at the end of his short speech gave Heero a sick feeling inside. Oh god, he was making her cry again.

As if things couldn't get any worse, some punks decided to pick on them at that moment. A large man followed by two who seemed even burlier than the first one eyed the two of them.

"Just in from the country? We know how to treat ladies right here in the city. You should have stayed home on the farm." Heero recognized one of the larger thugs as the man from the flower shop. So they had been followed. Perhaps he had been on the right track after all. Relena started to sob a little. Great. Like he needed a distraction like this right now.

"So you do know Trowa Barton." He just wanted to know the facts before he took action.

"Maybe we do. Maybe we don't. But that doesn't do us any good. How do you know him?" Heero stayed silent while the men caged them in next to the side of a building. "Suddenly go mute? We know how to make you talk. Maybe the lady will know something. . . " Threatening Relena simply moved Heero's aggression up a notch higher than he had originally intended to be.

Four shots, quicker than they could ever anticipate, and Heero had them at his mercy. The first big goon had taken a skillful punch to the nose, which broke it bloodily and knocked him over. The second big goon received a punch to his solar plexus followed by a kick that most likely dislocated his knee with an unnatural pop. The last man, who had enough time to start to react with a punch found his hand caught by Heero's even as his arm was twisted behind him and his face viciously smashed against the wall. Relena was crying in a heap where Heero had left her. No one spared the alley a glance and that was probably for the best.

"Where is Trowa Barton?" He pressed extra hard on the already straining joint for emphasis.

"Oooms." The man tried to talk around brick. "Blooms! In the Irish part of town! Just let me go. . don't kill me. . ." Worm. He wasn't worth the effort.

"Get out of my sight." Heero normally would have taken the money off the two unconscious men as the third ran off, but Relena was a bigger concern. He reached a hand out to her.

"Don't touch me!" She hissed at him. "Mr. Yuy I demand you drop me off at the nearest police station!" This was not a good time for a temper tantrum. That little man was going to be back with more muscle and most likely packing more than fists next time. Resisting the urge to just sling her over a shoulder, he tried to reason with her.

"No one will believe you are who you say you are so long as you look like that. Come with me and I will get you some decent clothes and a bath. Then you can go to whatever police station you would like." Seemed fair enough to him, though he didn't let her know that he'd be damned before he let her go that easily.

"Very well, Mr. Yuy, I shall accept your offer." At least her pride recovered even if she didn't. If he were ever in a situation to thank Mrs. Peacecraft then he would do so for her useful advice that made Relena so easily maneuverable.

"I know where we are going now." He thought the answer to her repeated question would at least spark a smile, but he was rewarded with nothing but a huff and her rushing ahead of them until she was forced to stop and let him lead again.

* * *

No other problems arrested their progress and they arrived in front of Blooms at around noon after catching a ride on the back of some unknowing trucks and catching some food at a deli. The place looked rather worn down, but it was the only lead they had. Walking in, Relena reluctantly following, Heero saw a pretty young woman with bobbed hair giving him a speculative glance.

"I'm looking for Trowa Barton. My name is Heero Yuy." The woman gave him another long glance and then finally went in the back without a word. After a few minutes a man came out, he didn't appear to be threatening them.

"Mr. Barton is not yet back from the wake, Mr. Yuy. May I give him a message?" At least they were being treated respectfully. His thick Irish accent made it difficult to understand him perfectly, however.

"Tell him, Private Yuy is finally reporting back to him about an unfinished mission." Relena tried to hide behind him as the woman snickered at their appearance. This was too humiliating!

"Very well, Mr. Yuy, but I warn you Mr. Barton is a very busy man and he may not have time to - "

"Nonsense Sean. I always have time for an old army friend." Trowa walked in, pulling at the collar of his shirt. His black suit attested to the event he had just attended. His soft Irish burr was low but pleasant to the ear.

"Yes, Mr. Barton." Sean retreated back again as the girl began to make eyes at Trowa. He seemed oblivious to everyone else as he clasped Heero's hand in a quick handshake.

"I didn't think I'd see you again." He focused in on Relena, to her continued embarrassment. His green eye not hidden by his hair widened a bit. "Your wife?" Relena snorted. "Guess not. Come on upstairs, both of you. I hope you have some good news. Today has not been one of my better ones since coming back to town."

They walked upstairs and Trowa shed his suit coat once they reached the top at an office. It contained a desk with papers in neat stacks with some pens and blank sheets nearby. Pulling open the shade filled the room with light from the midday sun and Relena felt a little less menaced by the heavy atmosphere that existed between the men.

"Anything you want to say you can say in front of her. She has to stay with me for now." Heero nodded at Relena as Trowa offered her a chair.

"Why are you here Heero?"

"I should think it would be obvious. I never got to report back to you." Trowa seemed to consider this.

"What do you expect from me? Discipline? I should think you already had that."

"I want to know why. I have to know." Heero chose not to take the offered seat next to Relena and across the desk from Trowa.

"Damn it Heero. It was a mess over there and you knew that. . ."

"Don't step around the issue. Was I right? Did they deserve what I did? I don't think I can justify it even if I was right. Don't you understand Trowa? I see it in my dreams, over and over again, our boys and theirs laughing. It was the middle of a fucking war and they were laughing. Both sides were dying every day and they thought the regular cease-fire was one big joke. War wasn't some game. I had been hiding on hills, in trees, crouched in ditches, on my belly behind bushes, and then I come back to find people I thought were my colleagues drinking with Germans when those same men had been firing on us hours before. I couldn't see!"

Heero slammed a fist down on the desk. Trowa didn't move but Relena jumped. "I wanted their blood. I wanted it and then I was going to kill myself to join them and end the whole damn mess. But you stopped me. You ran over and gave my skull a crack that left a scar I can still feel." Heero's hand rose on its own to his right temple. "Then you shot me in the arm before I could bring my gun up to end my miserable life. Why? If you have no answer for me then I'll be dead tomorrow if you like it or not. I'm on borrowed time anyway." He crashed down into the chair, energy spent that he had been storing up for this since he had entered that hospital ages ago.

Trowa tented his fingers and considered the question. Relena, jolted out of her self pity, quivered as she tried not to think of Heero killing people, or of his savage beating of the men in the alley, or of his battering of the men in the bank. How could she ever be safe with him, when such savagery lay just beneath?

"It's true you had no right to play judge, jury, and executioner per se, but I can no more condemn you for what you did than for my own actions." Trowa's voice was level and soft as all his comments had been. "There are no innocents on a battlefield. But I don't think you should kill yourself. It would serve no useful purpose. If you feel in such need for redemption, then either look to God or yourself. I'll not be your confessor." Heero looked about ready to cry, but then he hid it.

"Then what now?"

"I can offer you a place in the organization, but I don't think that's what you need. I have family here, and it works for me, but joining a mob would only give you the grief of attending more funerals." Trowa got up and looked out a window. "I hear helping others works for some. Others drink when they can. Perhaps your lady friend and you can start a family. Don't ask me Heero. I was just your commanding officer."

Trowa turned back, his eye kind. "But I can help get you back on your feet. I'll pull some strings and hide you until the heat is off. I had wondered if you would come here when I heard the police report. You have a practical posse after you, headed by Milliardo Peacecraft no less. Apparently, he figured you would come here."

"My brother was always better at guessing than reasoning. I'll bet he just got lucky." Relena felt torn again about how she should feel about Heero. Pity was currently in the lead.

"Your brother?" Trowa actually looked visibly surprised. Relena nodded.

"Hm. Perhaps you can tell me more about this next door. I think we all need a drink."

"Er." Relena knew that this was 1. Illegal and 2. Something that nice girls didn't do. Then again nice girls also didn't travel with escaped mental patients or talk to hobos on trains or seek out mobsters. Heero seemed to have zoned out.

"I'll get my sister to come to you, Miss Peacecraft. She'll find something suitable for you to wear." That clenched it. Mob member or no, she was not spending another second in this dress.

"I'm very glad to take you up on your kind offer, Mr. Barton." Unreasonably, she felt a new excitement in her heart. She was going to see a speakeasy! The den of hell itself, according to her mother. Somehow, she doubted it would be that bad if a man like Trowa was the one who ran it.

* * *

Relena, who could not be persuaded to enter the speakeasy under any circumstance before she had changed, was escorted to a small room above the flower shop and told to wait. Heero and Trowa, without a glance back, left her there. She looked around at the small bed and the dresser with nothing upon it and got the idea that this was only a room for when someone got too tired to stand up anymore. Taking a nap would be nice, after only vaguely restful nights and weary and bruised bones, but it would not be appropriate when she was expecting someone to arrive soon. Trowa's sister, Relena thought to herself, I wonder what sort of person she is.

With nothing much to fuel that line of thought it was far easier, but much more stressful, to ruminate on the things she had just learned only minutes ago about Heero's past. He admitted to murdering a bunch of his own comrades in arms as well as bunch of Germans in cold blood. Maybe insanity could explain it, but she could not understand a lot of what could motivate someone to behave like that. Something told her this could have a bit to do with why Quatre would not respond and why so many men who came home seemed to look so lost.

Or so angry.

Her father, who had always preached about staying out of the war not from solely a sense of isolationism but from a deep commitment to his belief that war was wrong, said that it took away our humanity. People like Quatre and Heero seemed to prove him right in one sense while people who were rousing up trouble across the country in the name of stamping out Bolshevism and promoting racial superiority proved it in a different manner. Perhaps things like that were already brewing and the war simply helped dredge it out, but whatever the cause they had to deal with the consequences now.

It hurt to admit she did not know how to help. Quatre had become her mission partly out of loyal friendship and partly because it meant she did not have to entertain any other suitors. Heero was right; she was martyring herself without good reason because it had a lot of elements of the selfish. It was right to visit her friend and help him. It was wrong to make that all her life was. When had she lost focus? Her life was slowly spiraling into smaller swirls that ended in that one visit a week. It was time for a change. Even Heero could use her help far better than Quatre.

There was a thought. Why not help Heero?

She already missed him, having been in his company for quite some time solidly. His presence was so natural, even if it had not started out that way. In her heart she was glad he had abducted her and glad that had come to Chicago together not just for the adventure, but because he was better company than she had had in a while. He had real thoughts and real issues and the pain he was in contrasted starkly with her own, making it so frail and fake by comparison. This was a man she would bleed for, and she wasn't entirely sure why that thought occurred to her. When they talked it felt like she was saying more than she had in years.

And there was also the embarrassing truth that she had kissed him once already, even if it was innocent. You just didn't do that, but emotion and a new desire to touch and be touched had clouded her. Physical contact was for the lower classes, right? Etiquette books and the rules of propriety had always been enough before. She could look down on all those people who snuck off and did lord knows what in the bushes at parties. Used to be she would never even consider it but now she was wondering if perhaps she was being just a bit. . . prudish.

The door opened and Relena turned wide eyes to meet the smiling form that greeted her. Short perm, tightly curled, red brown hair. Tight green dress with fringe following the sway of hips that pushed above the low waisted but high hemmed garment. Bangles, necklaces, lipstick, rolled stockings. . . this must be Trowa's sister. Even if the picture she presented was shocking to her senses, Relena was willing to give anyone a chance.

"I'm Catherine, I suspect you're Relena?" Relena wished there had been a mirror. She knew she must look a fright. "Don't worry honey! We'll have you dressed to the nines in no time." Catherine's accent was thicker than Trowa's, and she looked older too, despite her garb.

"I'm so sorry to inconvenience you. These clothes were purely an incidental acquisition."

"Huh. Hear you talk and everyone will know what's up. You better get with it and be a little less keen to use large words." Catherine ushered in a woman who carried a bowl and pitcher as well as a mirror and towel. Catherine, Relena noted, carried a bag. "But first of all, we're going to clean you up. It's lucky you seem to be about my size, though you might have to squeeze in a bit below. You're hips are bigger than mine." Relena bristled a tad, but she knew that the woman was not trying to belittle her.

"What are you going to do with those?" Nervously, Relena eyed the scissors and many bottles and compacts that Catherine pulled out of her bag. "You are NOT cutting my hair."

"Don't worry, missy! Just a trim. Then we'll do your makeup while Sarah gets a dress for you." The girl nodded and made her way out. "Now get out of that monstrous sack and we'll get you fixed up."

They used a couple pitchers of water to wash Relena's hair and face. Catherine left the room while Relena scrubbed her body as well. Having completed the cleaning process, and wearing nothing but a slip, Catherine trimmed the bottom of her hair (complaining all the while that a shorter do was all the rage) and they started on the makeup. Once the dress came, Relena was feeling rather dangerous and glamorous.

Catherine presented her with an elegant red and black evening gown. It was long too, so Relena didn't have to learn how to roll her stockings (Catherine tried to demonstrate but it just didn't take). All ready, it was sunset and soon they would go to the club for dinner. Catherine had given her lots of incidental gossip about people she didn't know but could possibly meet while there, so Relena felt somewhat prepared. Her social graces were well trained and surely they would be well received in any situation. Catherine went off to change into an evening dress for herself and Sarah led Relena down to meet the men. What greeted her shocked her: Heero in evening dress. If she knew that her appearance shocked the hell out of him too she would have been more pleased.

He hadn't known what to expect. More worried about what she know knew of him than how she would look when they next met, the thought of Relena had been invasive and nerve-wracking. Now here she was, looking as beautiful and alluring as he could have imagined, and just tonight he could pretend that she was glad to be with him. A fine figure of a woman, she was too, as the dress hugged her a little more tightly than he liked to see. Other people looking at her simply was not acceptable, as even Trowa's arched eyebrow in her direction made him want to punch his commander very hard.

"Pistols at dawn?" Trowa said under his breath as he met Heero's glance.



Once Catherine descended, they made their way over to the club. It was only just starting to pick up for the night and the band hadn't yet set up entirely. Some appetizers and drinks were served. Trowa must have ordered ahead of time, not that they would have had to wait long in any case. Not in the company they were currently keeping.

"So what do you do, Mr. Barton?" At once Relena realized what she had asked and whom she was talking to. Maybe the social graces didn't serve so well for polite conversation.

Trowa smiled and Catherine laughed. "I sell flowers. You'd be surprised how lucrative it is." The music finally began and Relena tried to find a safer topic.

"Do you like Chicago? I hear it's a frightfully exciting place."

"Frightful is right, Lena." Catherine gave a funny smile as she sipped her whiskey. "A week doesn't go by that there isn't some shooting in the paper, and if that wasn't enough fun for you there is always the riot going on or Bolshies being knocked around."

"Don't listen to my sister. It's just a city like any other. You'd find similar violence anywhere. It simply makes the papers more often here." Trowa threw his sister a glance to stop trying to scare their guest.

"You have a very nice, hm, establishment." Relena persevered through the small talk.

"Why thank you, Miss Peacecraft." Trowa's smile almost glowed and it lit with a rare added sense of humor as Heero bristled at him for looking so enamoured of Relena in that moment. His friend was just too easy to tease.

The entrées arrived and talking ceased as they listened to music and ate. Catherine excused herself to go talk to some of the girls who were filing in. The place was filled rapidly. A man came and whispered something into Trowa's ear not long afterward and he slipped away with an apology. Heero and Relena were left now, alone, at the table.

"Care to dance?" Relena was hopeful. She very much wanted to dance and hadn't had the chance in so long.

"I don't dance."

"Oh please? I have something to tell you and it will be easier on the dance floor." Heero, though sure it was a bluff as well as a bribe, relented after a bit more pushing and led her out onto the floor for a slow song. Couples were cheek to cheek, and as they closed the gap between them a bit, Heero felt his skin burn everywhere he touched her.

"What did you need to tell me?" He was feeling light headed, even if he had only had a couple drinks with dinner.

"Hm? Oh yes. You look very handsome." She pressed in closer and Heero swore that she was the most confounding woman he had even laid eyes on.

"That's hardly important."

"It's important to me, because you are important to me. I've been thinking about it all night and I don't care what you've done Heero. I actually feel alive with you." He could feel her heart beating, they were pressed together so closely and he hoped she couldn't feel his.

"Relena, you're just carried away by the excitement of the past few days." Shut up. Let something nice happen to you for once, his brain pleaded. "Tomorrow morning I'm going to leave you with Trowa and I am leaving for Canada." Relena stopped moving, and there they stood on the dance floor, others laughing and moving around them.

While they were motionless on the floor, Trowa was speaking to some cops in the back. They had started out with the usual business but they had some extra information that interested him greatly.

"We're sorry, Mr. Barton, but we can't stop them from busting in here. This Peacecraft fellow called in a favor with Chief Kushrenada. That's way above our heads. If you can get the girl out we can tip them off and lead them away, but otherwise you'd better get out of here."

"Thanks boys," Trowa said as he slipped them an envelope. "I'll remember this next month and there will be a little bonus in it for you."

"Much obliged Mr. Barton. You're a stand up guy." One of the cops volunteered in a chipper manner.

"Tell them you spotted Yuy and Miss Peacecraft catching a cab one block from here and heading north. I assure you they will not be here should anyone deign to enter."

"We'll get right on it, Mr. Barton." They tipped their hats to him and Trowa made his way to the now still figures on the dance floor just as the song was ending.

Heero turned towards his friend, giving his full attention, while Relena looked down at the ground. Her eyes burned, but she refused to cry this time. It wouldn't do her any good and wouldn't make her feel any better so there was little point to it. Trowa and Heero spoke in low whispers for a moment or two, but by the time the next song's intro had finished she found herself being pulled backstage by Heero who was following Trowa.

"Good luck. You know my door is always open. Just wait for the heat to dissipate a little before you visit next time." Trowa grasped Heero's hand firmly and the two men exchanged a glance as Trowa opened up the back entrance into an alleyway. "Don't worry about the dress Miss Peacecraft. My sister has more than enough garments, and I suspect she'll use this an opportunity to get me to buy her more." With a slight incline of his head, he watched them disappear into the alley. Things would get trickier from there for the both of them.

* * *

They had taken a cab north and then south and now they were hiding in an alcove, watching men run this way and that, shouting at one another about the findings of their search. These cops were certainly more effective and more plentiful than the ones they had encountered previously. Relena shivered in her thin dress.

"Do you have to go to Canada?"

"This is not the time to discuss this Relena." He made a motion to his lips for her to be silent.

"It's just that I think I want you to stay. . . with me." Heero's happiness level skyrocketed and then plummeted as reality, like gravity, brought him violently back to earth.

"Whatever you may think, I was just protecting you because it was my obligation. There can't ever be anything between us." It was harsh. It was a lie, but it contained some truth and hence it was all the more acceptable. He really thought there was no way for them to be together, but he would die before he let anything happen to her and he had a good idea that it was much more than obligation that spurred his protective instinct. This was the woman he had obsessed over for months. Half in love with her then, he had no chance to resist once he had spent some real time with her.

"Oh." Her body was shuddering, but she didn't appear to be crying. The expression in the moonlight was one he recognized for he had seen it more often than not: despair. He had broken both their hearts.

The yells died off, and the cars moved on, but Heero had made a decision. If he couldn't have Relena - he didn't want much of anything anymore. This wasn't his world anymore. Standing, he led them both out in the open. Catching a cab, he took them straight downtown to the police station there. Relena, as she realized what he was doing, began to struggle.

"No! I won't go back! Not like this!" She pulled against him as cops passed by them, not registering that these well-dressed people were sought after fugitives.

"Stop it Relena. It's how it has to be. I'll go back to the hospital or prison, and you'll go home. We'll both be in a better place." They are sure to put me in solitary for what he'd done. If not, he would soon get himself put in solitary. Anything to forget.

"If I'm a martyr then you're playing God! We're together on this and I refuse to let you go. I'll follow you to hell Heero Yuy, see if I don't, but you can't get away from me!" Several cops halted in their tracks at the sound of the name of the man so many of them were seeking.

"Sir, please come with us." Several of them approached him warily. They had heard what he did the last time someone had tried to apprehend him. Relena tried to hide her face in his chest and bunches of his suit jacket were clenched in her fist as she willed this not to be true. As they were pulled away from one another, (literally pried, as Relena wouldn't let go) she couldn't help but glance down in wonder at her hand. His handkerchief had stayed with her from her clutching at his jacket and it was none other but her own that she had bound his wound with days ago. It bore her initials and a faint bloodstain so it was unmistakable.

"You rotten liar," she mumbled to herself as they were led away from one another. "You rotten, rotten liar."

* * *

Milliardo Peacecraft paced back and forth in front of the prisoner. He was about ready to burst with anger.

"Well, Mr. Yuy," he spat the hated name out. "It seems that my sister and you both have very different accounts of what happened. Now, if I am to believe her," and here he consulted a clipboard. "She 'convinced you to kidnap her even though you were reluctant to do so all as an attempt to get some attention.' This does not sound like my little sister at all. What sort of influence do you have over her to give such a blatantly false statement when yours is more close to my understanding of the truth of the matter?"

"Relena will do as she likes. I can't force her to do anything."

"You will speak of her as Miss Peacecraft, and may I remind you that it is only her good word that will keep a rope from around your neck so you had better come clean." Milliardo looked like he was just one step away from violence, but Heero had nothing to give him that he hadn't already said.


"Very well!" Milliardo continued to pace more furiously. "Then I can do nothing for you. People like you make me ill and I hope that they throw away the key to your cell next time." He stalked out.

All things considered, Heero thought that had gone quite well.

* * *

He was back in the hospital. The room that had been his world for so long became so once again after his little 'vacation'. But now there were bars on everything, and heavy locks that could only be accessed from the outside. Already he had figured out a way to break out, but there was no reason. There was nothing out there for him, the war and his own bloodymindedness had seen to that.

The click of heels in the hallway made him think of her again. It was the 102nd time that day, and it was only noon. His meal would be given to him soon. Maybe he should ask for some books or something, now that plotting and brooding had fallen to distant seconds in his mind to. . . her.

The door opened and closed. He continued to lie on the bed, pretending to sleep. Someone coughed and he looked over, startled that anyone lingered in his room.

"Relena?" Great. Now maybe he really was going crazy. Hallucination was up there on the bad sign list of symptoms.

"Yes, Heero?" Maybe she was real. He got up and walked over to her. Giving her cheek a little pinch she pushed him back sharply. "Hey! You know, you're supposed to pinch yourself, not the figment." He gathered her up in his arms and held on as if she would go up in a puff of smoke, which he halfway expected her to do still.


"Well. . . I decided that since I was having so little luck with Quatre I would try to help some other patients. And I think you could use a little attention. Now that his real fiancé is tending to him, I'm pretty useless anyway."

"Real fiancé?"

"Dorothy. I cornered her a while ago and asked her some questions. She broke down and told me after a while. We went to see him together yesterday. I told him we were breaking up, and that I wished him and Dorothy every happiness." Relena began to tear up. "He laughed Heero. A real honest normal laugh. I think he might have a chance to get better, but it wasn't be that did anything."

Heero felt his heart began to beat again. He had felt dead ever since he had been shuffled from police station to police station until finally landing back at his old 'home'.

"You sure you want to help me?"

"Something tells me you'll get better pretty quickly. . . what with the job dad has for you once you get out." She looked a little ashamed, as if she were afraid he'd reject her offer. "Milliardo is going to set up a household in New York with his wife, and dad could use some help here. But if you'd rather not, then that's fine too."

"We'll see." It wasn't a no, and that's all Relena needed to feel hopeful about the future.

"Oh, and I have this for you too." She handed the handkerchief to him. He had wondered where it had gone. "It was what betrayed you, I thought you might want it back."

"What am I going to do with you?" He sounded annoyed but a rare smile graced his features, lighting his unusual blue eyes.

"I don't know. What ARE you going to do?"

Winding his hand in her loose hair, Heero tilted Relena's head to the side and kissed her with all the passion he had hid from her. Closing her eyes and giving a little groan her hands pushed their way up his back as he drove a knee between her legs and stepped in even closer. When it was her tongue that invaded his mouth, he pulled away slightly in surprise.

"Did I do something wrong?" She had just been carried away in the moment.

"No." Heero ran his hands over her in a way that made her feel weak in the knees. "I'm starting to feel rehabilitated already."