A/N: This idea was inspired by an episode of La Femme Nikita and a love for GW and 1xR. We like Mysterious Heero. We don't claim to own any of it, though. Enjoy!
----------------------Final Mission Status Coauthored by Mizaya and Zapenstap
Something about the situation troubled her instincts.
Relena strode purposefully down the main corridor of Preventer Headquarters, unruffled in her outward appearance, her business suit pressed and perfect, her hair clean and combed, high-heeled shoes clicking obnoxiously on the black marble tiles. She smiled at passing officers who bowed to her in respect, every eye recognizing Who She Was, every face overtly pleased to see her. It made her feel good that all her hard work paid off with such admiration and respect, that her sacrifice to her work produced this much cooperation for the good of the greater world, but inside she was confused, anxious; something was wrong.
Only an hour before, Lady Une called her at home, waking her from sleep, and told to be in her office at 8 o'clock sharp. The Preventer Commander's tone had been suspiciously austere, her directions cryptic. When Relena had questioned her to find out if anything was amiss, the woman had hung up on her. Was it Heero, she wondered? Perhaps the way she felt about him was obvious, enough so that they would call her if something horrible had happened, but then again, as far as she knew her feelings were unrequited, and therefore irrelevant. The line of thought was paranoid, but still, something was off.
Relena walked passed Une's quiet secretary without needing to announce herself and stepped directly into the office. She was immediately surprised. Her brother sat on one of the two chairs that faced Une at her desk. Trowa was there as well, sitting unobtrusively in a chair up against the right wall, legs crossed, so still that an unobservant eye might have overlooked him. Standing before her one-time enemy, her estranged brother, and a Gundam Pilot, all three in their Preventer uniforms, Relena felt decidedly singled-out. Her casual gray business suit appeared very civilian next to the sharply pressed jackets and proud gold buttons of these veteran soldiers.
"Vice Foreign Minister." Lady Une rose and gestured to the seat next to Zechs, which Relena took gracefully, not sure if she should acknowledge her brother and the Gundam Pilot in friendly fashion or adhere to the seriousness of the atmosphere. "Thank you for coming on such short notice," Une continued in a disarming, but not deceiving tone. "I hope this meeting didn't alter your plans too terribly."
"Not at all," she reassured, but with the air this tense, she wanted to dismiss with pleasantries. The people in this room knew one another personally. What was this about? What had happened? "Commander Une, there is something you need to tell me personally. Please, just tell me what it is."
Une nodded and picked up her vidscreen remote, the gesture with her right arm turning all their attention to the picture above her desk as it changed from a glowing blue line to the image of a large, white-haired old man in a tuxedo. "We have a situation on hand that is nearing the critical point. Do you recognize this man, Miss Darlian?"
He certainly looked familiar. A friendly old man in a tuxedo asking her to dance came to mind. She inversely remembered what she had been wearing, and then mentally placed the time and location of the event. "Is that Mr. Cole from the ESUN ball last year?" She had danced with him several times and remembered a particularly long conversation with him about her plans for peace and their mutual fondness for Van Gogh.
"William Cole," Une said, "is a wealthy ore-miner in the United States. Nevada. I received a message from him three days ago. It turns out that in his expeditions around Yucca Mountain he uncovered these." She flicked a button on the remote and the image switched to display a row of large cement cylinders, roughly twenty feet high and as wide across by the indication of the surroundings.
"I'm not sure I understand."
A grimace tightened Une's face as though she wasn't excited about explaining. "In the 21st century, the United States government decided to move all if its nuclear energy waste into storage containers such as these, which were then buried underground in what was at the time the safest method. Years later, after improved technology resulted in more frequent, more reliable space travel, it was believed that all of the containers were disposed of into the sun, where the nuclear materials couldn't accidentally leak or get into the wrong hands." She pointed again to the picture on the screen. "However, these containers somehow escaped destruction, and our satellite information tells us that William Cole does in fact have seventeen of them."
Relena's fingers were cold with sudden apprehension, but it was not entirely because of the danger represented by this threat. She looked around the room, studying her position in it. Terrorist threats weren't exactly a new concept to Relena, but normally she would not be told anything about it until the information was contained and a counter mission against planned and ready to be executed. A simple report would then be sent to her office, sometimes for approval, but usually more to keep her informed. Having to sit personally through a debriefing was highly unusual. The Preventers had never before acted so furtive around her when laying the groundwork for a potential crisis. Relena's expression tightened gravely, her eyes latching onto Lady Une's face in the confident and imperious manner that made her infamous during political debates. "What does this have to do with me?"
Lady Une glanced at Trowa. His arms were crossed over his chest, his expression yielding little advice or assurance. Sighing, Lady Une turned back to Relena, her voice taking on a peculiar tone, as if she were about to report some kind of tragedy in Relena's personal life. "In his message," Lady Une said, "Cole demanded one thing in exchange for the nuclear waste." The pregnant pause in between Une's words confirmed to Relena that something was indeed wrong. "He asked for your hand in marriage."
A flash of white light obscured Relena's thoughts, and for a few moments her mind was empty. "What?" she said, as if she hadn't heard, or hadn't understood, though she had done both. It was just not what she had expected, what she had been preparing herself for. When her surprise faded, she cast her eyes to the window, watching a lone bird fly past, and wondered what it was she was thinking. Certainly, this was an unexpected development. The old man, Mr. Cole, had been friendly, and she had danced with him as she danced with many officials and many functions throughout the progression of her career, but it hadn't been anything more than affable, friendly; a kind young woman entertaining an older gentleman.
"We're not going to make you do it," Trowa said stoically.
Relena jumped, turning back to them. "Oh, no, I wasn't thinking that. I just… I don't understand."
Lady Une nodded. "Since your last encounter, Mr. Cole has developed a serious obsession with you, Miss Darlian, but it was clear from our correspondence that he is not in charge of all of his faculties."
Now that Relena thought about it, maybe he had been a bit more eager to talk to her than the other guests at the ball. And she had perhaps been asked to dance by him more times than anyone else. She had thought him old and kindly, perhaps a little lonely, but never had she suspected something like this. It was a lot to swallow at one time.
Lady Une sighed, putting her hands on her desk, and lifted her head to look Relena in the eye. "William Cole claimed that if you did not marry him then he would release the radiation from the containers. We have reason to believe that his mental imbalance is such that this threat is not a bluff."
Relena raised a hand to her face, looking down at the carpet as she contemplated the crisis. She understood the risk. There was a possibility of nuclear fallout, leading to destruction of the world's plant life and eventually the loss of invaluable human and animal life. It was not a risk she could accept, nor something that her emotions and personal concern could possibly outweigh. She responded in a collected voice, cool under pressure, always putting her job before her personal life. It was a disciplinary element required of someone in her position; she would do whatever she had to if the ignorant public was to be protected. "What have you decided on as the best plan of action to prevent this tragedy? Do you want me to marry this man?"
"You're not going to marry a psychopathic terrorist, Relena," Zechs said in a voice that could crack stone.
"No," Trowa said. "That would serve little purpose and would make you look weak in the eyes of the people. We can't give into this threat, nor be certain that this man will abide by any contract."
"Then what is the counter mission?" Relena asked.
"There is only one thing that will appease William Cole," Lady Une told her, "or at least delay his demand to give us time to prepare and execute our strike. And that is if you are already married."
Relena just stared at the Preventer Commander. A quick glance at Trowa and her brother revealed that they had decided to become statues.
Lady Une's lips twitched in something like a mischievous smile. "He was disappointed to hear that you had recently eloped, secretly, of course, so as to avoid the press." Relena's eyes widened. "However," Lady Une continued, "he still wants to meet with you, and though he has agreed not to carry out his threat as long as you are wed to another, he wants to meet with you to convince you to choose him over your so-called husband. I told him that we would deliver his demands and he allowed you a week to consider his proposal. The meeting will take place at a location of his choice, assuredly his stronghold where he has the most power. He refused to come here." Clearing her throat, Une moved on. "This will give our team enough time to execute our plans to ensure the containment of the nuclear waste and also your safety."
Relena felt somewhat dazed. She knew this plan had come from Milliardo. Looking out for his little sister meant that she was left out of the loop until it was too far gone to keep her innocent. Now, she found herself immersed in something that she couldn't back out of: a mission. Maybe he thought that at age twenty-one she was grown up enough to take care of herself. But no, on second thought, she knew that wasn't true. Standing stiffly, she eyed the room and searched for something to say. "I trust that you will handle this matter in the most discreet way possible. We can't let the general public think that I'm married."
"Relena, sit back down. There's something more we haven't told you," Lady Une admonished. Zechs scowled noticeably. "Officer Barton?"
Trowa stood, his tall, serious form imposing as he walked gracefully over to the desk to accept the vid remote from Une. "As head of Internal Affairs, it is my task to oversee the Preventers themselves," he explained formally. "Yesterday, during routine surveillance, I was privy to communications between William Cole and this recruit." He hit the same button that Une had been using and brought up a picture of a vaguely familiar young man. It was actually two angles, one of his face straight on and the other of his profile: his Preventer identification mug shots. "Private Douglas Richmond has been uncovered as a mole, bought by William Cole to do some surveillance work of his own to verify our statements. Cole has paid him a considerable amount of money to install hidden cameras in your residence to make sure that what Commander Une told him was true." At that moment Trowa's stoic mask melted for an instant and he gave her a regretful look. "He made the statement that if he discovers that you are not married, he will open the containers before your meeting next week."
Now Relena was alarmed. How could they possibly prove that she was married? "So I assume we have to change the plans and formulate an emergency sting." Now she understood why they had called her in personally. They were concerned that their glib lies had put not only her, but also the entire world in serious danger.
"No." Une extended her arm out to Trowa. "That will be all, Officer Barton."
"Commanders, Vice Foreign Minister." After handing the remote back to Une and making a polite bow, Trowa left the three of them alone. Despite the fact that she and Trowa were friendly acquaintances, he took his duties to the Preventers very seriously.
Relena waited for Une to explain her answer in greater detail, but by the way she pushed her hair behind her ears and the way her brother was smoothing out his already smooth pants, she could tell they were nervous, holding back something tremendous. She swung her gaze between them, growing increasingly irritated about having been left in the dark. "What exactly is going on here?" she demanded. "Tell me everything, Milliardo." She rarely used such a tone anymore, but in this case she could tell that she needed to. They were trying to break whatever it was to her easily, like she wasn't strong, and this was not the time or place to coddle her.
Her brother was loath to speak. "Relena, it has been my decision, or our decision rather, that the best course of action is to avoid backpedaling and proceed with our mission in one week. We will turn a blind eye and allow Private Richmond to install cameras in your house. This situation is too dangerous for risky maneuvers and Cole is a loose cannon. We fear that anything out of the ordinary could set him off."
"Then someone is going to play my husband for a camera?" she asked in disbelief.
Lady Une opened her mouth to answer but Zechs halted her with his hand. "I will be leading the team that escorts you to Nevada, Relena. Until that time, we will be working day and night to avert any disaster from occuring. Trowa will stay here and keep an eye on our mole. Noin, Chang, and I will be organizing the tactical aspects. Maxwell is in charge of leading Sally Po and her group to shut down security around the nuclear waste containers and prepare them for removal." Relena nodded, assessing the intelligent assignment of roles. She waited impatiently for the rest. "Someone will have to act as your new husband," Zechs said at last in distaste.
"It's going to have to be convincing," Lady Une added quietly. "That the two of you are newlyweds. Really convincing."
Relena turned to look at her, puzzled, her apprehension growing. They wouldn't…
"It might be hard for you," Lady Une added, almost gently, "considering."
Relena knew that there were only five men left living in the world that her brother would even consider for a mission like this. Three of them were on the mission with him. One of the others was in outer space running a huge family business. That left the last one. Or the first one, in actuality. Her heart sped up, vibrating in her chest, her body warm and weak, her fingers cold, her voice thick.
"Heero," she breathed.
Mizaya: I hope you enjoyed the first installment of my new fanfic.
Zapenstap: OUR new fanfic.
Zapenstap: I'm the one who made you watch Gundam Wing in the first place.
Mizaya: And that La Femme Nikita episode.
Zapenstap: Yep. Just the one. But the similarities are compelling. O_O Michael has Heero's eyes, and he is the perfect operative. And Nikita is blonde and blue-eyed and fiery, and though Relena is not an operative, she can do a mission in this fic…
Mizaya: -_- Yes, I know. But I'm the one who pressured us to write a fic about it. And I'm the science consultant!
Zapenstap: I thought this was a fic about Heero and Relena's struggle to express their undying love for one another!
Mizaya: I thought it was about crazy old men, nuclear fallout, and unclear lemony situations.
Zapenstap: Can't it be about both?
Mizaya: ^_^ Sure, as long I get to write about blowing up stuff…like Dorothy!
Zapenstap: O_o We never discussed that! Is she even in the story? She's not THAT bad!
Mizaya: Mwuahahaha! *maniacal grin*
Zapenstap: Um, how about we decide that when we get to it? We don't even know if people will like the fic yet, silly.
Mizaya: I know. I get ahead of myself with the mass destruction. *plots evilness*
Zapenstap: I'm putting you in a straightjacket now.
Mizaya: Okay, I'll stop. Let's ask the readers to please review!
Zapenstap: Okay! ^_^ Please review!