Disclaimer: I in no way own Gundam W. Don't sue; I'm simply an E-5 in the USN, therefore I have no money. Ha.
14:05 Hours --
Trowa leaned upon the armrest of his seat, his elbow upon the cool padded leather that wrapped the metal device and his chin nestled in the palm of his hand. Flat green eyes stared out of the thick double-paned window, staring at the two pilots who stood beyond the gates that separated them from the asphalt that made up the plane's docking pad and the runways that coursed through the desert in this remote region.
It had been a week since the disappearance of Xavier Johnson and the murder of Chad Lesley.
00:00 Hours --
Trowa stared at the bedroom door that blocked his view of their only remaining OZ prisoner.
It had been a half an hour since he and Duo had discovered the empty bed that once used to be occupied by Xavier Johnson.
Reaching out with a slender, steady hand, Trowa turned the doorknob. It opened easily, as expected. Chad, after all, wasn't in any sort of condition to rise from his bed and lock the door on his own.
Closing his eyes, Trowa pushed the door open.
The stench of blood immediately hit his nostrils.
Eyes flying open, Trowa stared.
The OZ soldier laid upon his bed, surrounded by a dark stain that shown black in the faint light of the moon that poured through the nearby window.
Flicking on the light, the black puddle shined red.
Closing his eyes once more, Trowa sighed.
Chad Lesley's head had been cleanly removed from his body and was sitting, propped upright, upon the pillow with a yellow sticky note attached to the top of his skull with a staple.
Walking calmly over, Trowa let his eyes drift open once more, taking in the grisly scene and the message written on the paper settled upon the abused body's scalp: 'Read me, Blockhead!'
Plucking it, he stared at the back of the note for anything further. He was rewarded.
'Sorry about the mess, but Chad wasn't loyal either. He was going to run to Bradshaw and spill everything that he'd learned here, working in correlation with Xavier.'
A groan tugged its way past Trowa's lips, even as he shook his head and laid the note back down.
08:22 Hours --
Trowa frowned, listening to Quatre.
"Kesslinger is the key to success. To know his mind is to know the mind of the Foundation. Word is that he's the ear-piece and brain behind Dermail's maneuvers."
"So that's why you've been trying to learn about him."
"I've been trying his affiliates since the self-destruct attempt that Heero pulled off." Ignoring Duo's small, discouraged sigh, Quatre continued. "It was then that I realized that the OZ organization, directed by the Romefeller Foundation, was seeking not an end to the tyranny of the Alliance as they've promoted, but rather to replace them in power to bring their constituents under their wings and sap off of the economic revenue that would be generated for them. The added boost in financial power would fund further mobile suit production,"
"And make total control of the colonies by force a feasible option."
"Correct. However, due to recent events and the obvious display of hostility towards their previously planned methods by the colonies as displayed through the Gundam attacks, they've changed their strategy. And it's because of this change that I've been attempting to learn all I can of the man who's been behind their most recent developments."
"The Mobile Doll system?"
"That, and the sudden change in their attack patterns. It's more like they're attempting to let us fade into oblivion, ignoring us while we reap havoc upon their stronghold. Like they're deliberately focusing their attention and resources to another endeavor."
"Knowing their intentions is the only way to know how to deal with them. As we've seen, they've already gained partial control of space… I just want to know what they intend to do with it."
"And for that, you needed Kesslinger."
"Yes. And for him, I tried to maneuver through Browens, who was a member of the Foundation Council and through Channok, who is an associate of Kesslinger's. I've been trying to figure out what he's planned, what he's leaked, what he's discovered, what he's tested…"
"Some." With a mild, humble shrug, the boy sipped his coffee.
"And so now what are you planning?"
"Now I have to wait."
Trowa arched a brow.
"I have to see their next move before I act. That's all. I just fear that my lack of information about the way their planning to obtain their goals may send us astray once again. And considering the current attitude of space, I fear what the repercussions of another failed maneuver will bring us."
14:11 Hours --
Trowa glanced up as the airplane staff slowly filtered in, making certain that everyone already seated in the first class cabin were comfortable.
His eyes locked onto the captain who was attempting to make it into the plane's cockpit.
The bespectacled man turned his way, as if sensing that the Gundam pilot's gaze rested upon him. Sunglasses glittering as the sun's harsh light spilled through windows, the man tugged the brim of his cap down slightly and flashed a sinister smirk at him.
Eyes widened, Trowa watched as the man turned, tossing loose, long brown hair behind his shoulders and attempted to make his way through the crowd, favoring his right side.
12:41 Hours --
The three boys sat around the table, slowly eating lunch.
"I just wonder who did it," Duo muttered between mouthfuls of Chef Boyardee Ravioli.
"James," Quatre said with a shrug before he took a sip of tea.
"You really think so?" Trowa questioned, arching a brow.
"But how could he? He was shot!" Duo exclaimed, waving his spoon at his friend.
"Ever hear of bulletproof vests?"
"The bleeding out of his mouth?"
"Bit down on his tongue. Good rouse."
Trowa stared, as did Duo.
The first to break the silence, the self-proclaimed incarnation of Shinigami snorted. "But they had him locked in a cell, Quatre. Why the fuck would they leave a bulletproof vest on him?"
Quatre blinked. "Trowa, did they touch your clothing when they captured you?"
"No. They just patted me down for guns and knives."
Duo shrugged. "But he wasn't wearing a vest, was he?"
Quatre smirked. "They make them thin enough these days to wear without noticeable bulk or stiffness underneath tee-shirts, Duo."
Duo just stared at his raviolis, frowning. "I see…. Then why the hell did we risk going down in the first place?"
"I'd wanted to confirm that he had a way out."
13:47 Hours --
Trowa stiffened slightly as Quatre wrapped his arms around him and laid his head upon his shoulder.
"I'll miss you," the blond boy whispered, his warm breath tickling Trowa's neck.
Remaining silent, the taller pilot just nodded slightly.
Straightening his stance, a wide smile upon his face, Quatre shrugged. "Say hello to Heero for me, will you?"
Duo's eyes immediately widened. "Heero…!"
"Survived. I've been trying to tell you that since last week, Duo," Trowa said, not a single hint of the amusement he was feeling seeping into his voice.
Violet orbs watering, the boy broke out with a true, genuine smile as he also embraced Trowa in a hug. Squeezing him, he simply nodded, silent for once.
A few awkward minutes later, Duo backed away, swallowed harshly, and grinned. "You tell him he's a fucking idiot for making me worry, and that I'm going to chew his ass out when we meet again."
The corners of Trowa's lips curled into a slight smirk. "You've got it."
10:52 Hours --
Trowa followed the rough, angry notes through the halls, finally coming to arrive in the familiar music room. Walking to the seats he and Quatre had sat in last time he'd been in the manor, he lowered himself into the comfortable cushions and contented himself to listen.
The piece that was currently being played, its notes roughly pounded one minute then whimpered by sad, slow fingers, had no need for flute accompaniment.
Rising as Quatre's fingers slowly left the piano's keyboard, Trowa silently went to the boy's side.
"How is it that you play four staves at once?"
Smiling, Quatre shrugged lightly. "It just jumped through different octaves, Trowa. See? If you wrote it all upon two, it'd be overly cluttered. This is just for ease of reading it. It's not all that difficult to play."
'Prelude in c-sharp minor? Tough key. And Rachmaninoff was insane when he wrote his music. Not difficult, my ass.'
"What do you want to know, Trowa? You sought me out for a reason."
Trowa watched as the boy's nimble fingers flipped through his tattered sheet music, apparently searching for yet another appropriate piece. "Nope. I just wanted to listen to you play."
Quatre smiled tenderly, before leaning back again. "Then what do you want to hear?"
"Can you play 'Rustles of Spring'?"
"Ah! By Sinding? That's one of my favorite pieces."
Music soon enveloped them again, temporarily driving the dark atmosphere that had permeated the Winner manor of late away with its rapid races of cascading notes.
Trowa couldn't help but smile, his hands unconsciously finding the other boy's shoulders and remaining there for the rest of the song.
Glancing back as he lifted his hands once more, Quatre sighed. "You're going back, aren't you?"
"I've got my plane tickets. I leave this afternoon."
"I understand. You need to return to your duties, otherwise you'll be suspected."
Nodding, Quatre turned back to the piano.
Trowa's heart wrenched as the boy's slow, stiff fingers slid over the keys, allowing Chopin's 'Prelude in b minor' to ooze from the grand piano's soundboard.
'It's just like that time we played. He always plays from the heart. He always plays with such emotional attachment to the pieces he picks, whether they're from his own imagination or from a sheet.'
'Why is he playing something so depressing?'
'Why is he so upset?'
'And why am I feeling the same?'
14:20 Hours --
Trowa's eyes remained steadfastly focused on the blond haired boy in the crowd that had gathered outside of the gate and was waiting for the plane's departure.
He softly gasped as his eyes read the message the boy's lips were forming.
'I love you.'
07:46 Hours, 10 Days Ago --
Sliding his finger under the flap, he broke the flimsy glue seal and drew the note out that was within. He slowly unfolded it, then let his eyes rove over the message. After a few moments, those roving eyes widened considerably.
"Login: Quatre Raberba Winner Password: H-ArmsP-TB03falseUNK"
-- 14:21 Hours --
'Heavy-Arms Pilot Trowa Barton, denomination 03. False identity, real identity unknown. He knew of my deception, yet….'
-- 19:45 Hours, 9 Days Ago --
"I love you."
Trowa felt his eyes widen as he stared at the screen. Glancing back over it, he rubbed his eyes, making certain he wasn't seeing things.
The message on the screen didn't change.
"I love you."
-- 13:50 Hours --
As Duo turned away to cover his weakness with a hanky and blow his nose, Quatre smiled. "We'd forgotten to tell him," he whispered.
Trowa felt Quatre's arms snake back around his waist one more time.
"You keep yourself safe, OK?"
"I love you."
Trowa turned to face Quatre, his lips parting.
"All first-class Passengers, please report to boarding gate 14. All first-class passengers, boarding gate 14, please," the announcer's loudspeaker squealed.
With a smile, Quatre lightly patted Trowa's shoulder. "Take care. Call me to let me know you've gotten home safely, neh?"
Trowa nodded, even as he was ushered towards the gate, checked in, and shoved by pale, thin hands through the boarding gate and towards the plane.
By the time he'd turned back to speak to the boy, he'd been swept up in the crowd and was now being herded up onto the escalator that would bring him to the plane.
14:23 Hours --
Trowa blinked as the plane began to roll away, taking his view of the blond boy away from his eyes.
Blinking once more, Trowa felt an odd sensation upon his cheek.
Lifting a finger, he touched it, then stared at his fingertip.
It glistened with wetness in the dim cabin lights.
Sighing, he wiped his eyes before returning his gaze to the outside world.
'You told me so many times, Quatre…'
'And I couldn't tell you.'
'I couldn't tell you that I love you.'
'Not even once…'
plot to be continued
commence 'Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness'…