12- 18- 2001
Summary: 3+M, 11+13. Lady Une gets a letter from Treize that throws Trowa's life in jeopardy.
Warning: I don't own Gundam Wing characters, Sunrise/Bandai does. I'm just borrowing them for entertainment purposes.
SPECIAL NOTE: These stories were written a long time ago, but I've never really done much with them. Some success with Weiss Kreuz fanfiction has encouraged me to go back and post all my old things here. My Gundam stories are typically comedy or spy-thrillers. These are some of my great ideas I got before I went to college so my writing isn't as good. I just feel compelled to get them on the Internet and off my hard drive. I haven't read any Gundam fanfiction in several years either so have no idea what's come and gone. This is mainly a purging on my part, but I still hope there are people who enjoy them. More will be on the way.
Trowa lifted the gleaming dress saber and critically inspected it. It slid in the sheath with a soft metallic whisper. He looked over the rest of his olive-green dress uniform and turned back to the bathroom sink. He periodically stared at the photo he had tucked in the frame of the mirror while he shaved and brushed his teeth. It was taken when he was thirteen years old. He was wrapped in an oversized parka and sitting on the foot of a destroyed mobile suit while a blonde girl knelt behind him resting her arms on his head.
He had a mad compulsion to tear the photo up and flush it in the commode. He couldn't no matter how much danger it put him in. It was suicide to keep it, but the photo helped him remember the things that the girl-spy had taught him. Trowa gently took the photo between gloved finger tips and turned it over. (April 21... Love, Midii.)
"Barton! Just because Colonel Une picked you for this gig doesn't give you special privilege. Get your ass on deck now!" Trowa glared at the bathroom door as he tucked the photo into the wide cuff of his uniform.
He went out into the main dormitory for lower ranking Oz officers and stood at iron-firm attention as Captain Ivan Nickole glared. Jealousy vibrated off the man like radiation, just as deadly too. The toughest part about his espionage assignment had been to keep the suspicious Russian from jumping to too many conclusions. The simplest part was making Nickole look like a fool in front of Colonel Une.
"Keep in mind that the only reason you were chosen was because you're from L-3. Don't think I haven't seen how you've been keeping those late nights with Colonel Une... drinking scotch and... talking," the man choked on the word drenched in spite. "It will be coming to an end. Enjoy tonight, because tomorrow we have a mission. She'll see who the better pilot is then," Nickole said through clenched teeth. Trowa threw a crisp salute.
"Permission to carry out escort detail, Sir," Trowa's impassive voice caused the older man to shake in ill concealed anger. Nickole returned the salute and stood to one side as Trowa passed towards the hallway.
Trowa let a subtle smile cross his lips knowing it wouldn't be long before Nickole let his emotions boil over and make a fool of himself. Then he could move in and become Colonel Une's permanent adjutant. It was one step closer to his goal. Spying was best done close in close quarters.
It was a crucial time for Trowa's mission because her two male compatriots were barred from assisting her. She was all OZ had right now. Not for long. The orders would come soon for Trowa to do his duty to the colonies. His first loyalties had to lie with them no matter how much he had grown to respect Lady Une.
It was true that he and Lady Une had many all night bull sessions talking about everything from politics to books. He wasn't a talkative person by nature, but he gradually had thawed and after she had revealed so many of her thoughts and opinions.
Midii would castigate him for sharing too much of himself with someone he was spying on. She would have said it was sure death to any spy who didn't stay frosty towards their victims and take advantage of all situations.
The hallways for the small space-side complex on the Lunar Base was laid out in a perfect grid with the officer's quarters in the center next to the command stations. He accepted the salutes from the two soldiers attending Colonel Une's door. Trowa handed his laminate pass over and removed his left glove. He put his hand on the glossy black square beside the door as the man glanced over at the pass.
"Oh you're a south paw." The man slid Trowa's pass across the slot on top of the square and typed in a few numbers on a keypad next to it. The square glowed red around his hand. "You'll have to wait a few moments, Sir. The Colonel received a personal letter from General Khushrenada that was coded 3-red."
"Sure thing." Trowa said. He leaned on the wall across from the door. 3-red meant that only three people in OZ had priority to read the letter: General Treize Khushrenada, Colonel Zechs Merquise, and Colonel Lady Ann Une. He would have to get the contents of the letter and immediately relay them to Doctor S.
"Sir, she'll see you now," the Sergeant urged, pointing to where his hand imprint glowed green. He pulled his glove on and nodded at the greying man before knocking on the door. He waited the customary minute and entered the sitting room.
Trowa raised his hand in a salute. It froze to his forehead at seeing Colonel Une through the slightly opened door to her dressing room. Her message must have came in between her preparation because her hair was still in two thick braids. She was only wearing a white camisole and an emerald green suit skirt.
He knew why Nickole had been so guarded of the Colonel Lady recently. Trowa had a feeling she was growing 'ill' in some fashion, but to see her sit like marble unnerved his grit a little. He dropped the salute seeing she was obviously elsewhere. She had an envelop clutched in her lap. He would have to try to read the letter inside. He walked over to her night stand and picked up her hair brush.
"I can help you finish, Ma'am." The Colonel nodded as Trowa carefully let loose the rest of her hair. He picked it up by clumps and brushed it rather then running the brush strait through. The less lucid the Colonel was the better off he would be.
He went and chose a cream silk shirt and the matching jacket from her closet. Colonel Une slipped into the blouse and jacket while Trowa retrieved her shoes. Trowa gritted his teeth at seeing a corner of the envelop peek out of her purse on the dresser. He watched as she put on pearl earrings and a gold cross around her neck. He fought the urge to feel for a similar one under all of his heavy ceremonial uniform.
"Trowa, are you ready to show me around your home turf?" She asked, turning a warm smile to him. He nodded. "Good. I'll need you to bounce some more ideas off on the way there. You are the only one in my command with any intelligent thoughts and who will say what they mean regardless of what I may feel. You won't mind will you?"
"No, Ma'am. I enjoy our conversations."
"One question, Trowa," she said. He froze. "How old are you? When were you born?"
"October 10, 0178. I'm seventeen," he said casually. He really had no idea when his birthday was, but it was close enough. All Cathy remembered was that it fell in September or October.
"Wait outside while I get my purse together. I have a change in plans. Are you licensed to drive in the colonies?" Trowa nodded. "Good. I've hired a car because I want to get to know what a space colony is like first hand."
Trowa left Colonel Une's room while stabilizing his ornamental sword with his right hand and flexing his toes in the confining thigh high boots. He had to keep his eyes opened. Any spy worth his salt knew sudden letters mixed with changes in plans were a dangerous combination. She appeared before him with a genteel smile.
He followed three steps behind her and to her right side as was tradition for a Colonel's color guard. They reached the main lift which was a large tube with handles along the cylinder. Trowa automatically laced his hand like all Space-noids as the lift zipped to the center of the Lunar Base.
"Woah!" Trowa grabbed Lady Une's wrist as the lack of gravity hit. "Thanks, Lieutenant. These things always move quicker then I think." She grabbed a hand hold beside his.
"You forgot your briefcase, Colonel," Trowa pointed out. She shook her head.
"I have my speech memorized. I know what I want to say to the people of L-3. If they are like you, I feel they will be receptive and admire OZ in the way you have. When we first meet you were totally honest about how you felt OZ was diabolical, yet you seemed to respect, not admire, that quality."
"Not all of my people see OZ in a favorable light. We are very divided. Most will admire your speech, but there is an underlying faction vehemently opposed to OZ control and will stop at nothing to see it destroyed," Trowa said as the tube came to a halt. They floated towards the door when it opened to the space-port.
"Do you think one of the Gundam pilots came from that underlying fraction?" Lady Une asked, floating in front of him now. Her hazel eyes were too intense for Trowa.
"I guarantee it," Trowa replied, repressing thoughts of Doctor S.
"You can tell me more about these dissidents on the way," she said, leading the way.
"Ladies and Gentlemen of L-3, I greet you on behalf of the OZ Organization." Lady Une said. She stood in front of a podum, facing a crowd of three hundred of L-3's leading citizens.
Trowa stood off to the side of the stage, just out of sight. He was surprised she had requested he wear his dress uniform, because she had worked for the last few months portraying a kinder image of OZ.
Trowa knew his presence would halt any assassination attempt from any of the anti-OZ faction. His face was known to the few leaders as Doctor S's agent. They would know once his work was finished he would be the one to stop Lady Une.
"I know all the space colonies desire peace. We, the people of OZ, wish to provide an environment in which peace between the colonies can be fostered. We know several of the colonies are suffering from war and are very divided. Right now it is crucial we pull together as one nation and set our differences aside.'
'While you rest and recover your bonds of friendships with the other space colonies, we wish to protect you, not rule over you. Please know it will benefit us all in the long view to let us help you. Thank you," She said, earning applause from the stadium full of people.
Trowa swallowed down the lump in his throat. He knew when she was like this she was sincere in spite of the lies she had just told. She wanted peace and friendship, however the OZ military was Romefeller's muscle. If OZ were to put the colonies under their wing it would lead to Romefeller control; it was unacceptable. The sinister organization would enslave the colonies or destroy them.
Once upon a time, Lady Une had tried to unleash a nuclear warhead on one of the space colonies, but something in her had changed. Something she had confided to Trowa in one of their private, all night bull sessions. Her beloved General Khushrenada had confused her with mixed ideas on war and peace. She couldn't reconcile all the idea so she had to tune out the part of her that was a soldier from time-to-time, and look at the colonies as friends instead of as targets. Her mind had grown in conflict with her heart.
Trowa pitied the constant fear she was under; the fear of not correctly serving the General. She was working her way through it now, but Trowa was starting to see how mentally ill she was becoming. She was a solider who craved peace. It was what made Trowa seek out her friendship against his will and good sense. She was a lot like Heero Yuy. It wouldn't be long before Heero would be sick in the same way as the Colonel.
He caught sight of Lady Une as she headed towards him. She gave him a warm and sad smile. Slight moisture was under her hazel colored eyes. She took his elbow and let him guide her out into the L-3 colonial structure. She wistfully looked around as the colony faded into its night.
"Is there a park close by?" she asked.
"Yes, ma'am. It's this way," Trowa said, trying to come up with an excuse to go back to the rental car where her purse was. He hadn't been able to get his hands on the letter yet. Patience was his greatest virtue. The timing wasn't right so he led her to the park where children and couples were deserting it for their evening meals.
"Do you like ice cream?" the Colonel asked. Trowa nodded at the unexpected question. "Good. Here's some money. Please go get some." She pulled the money out of her coat pocket and took a seat on a bench under a tree. He found an ice cream vender who gave him glares and attitude due to his uniform. He was struck by a thought on the way back.
Why did she bring her money, but not her whole purse. She always brought her purse and briefcase. He handed her the change and the strawberry cone. Trowa was beginning to feel trepidation at her informal behavior.
"My favorite. Thank you," she said, accepting the ice cream.
"You're welcome," Trowa said, taking a seat on the opposite side of the bench. "Are you feeling better, Colonel? You looked a little pale back there."
"In a way. In a way, I don't think I'll recover," she said, licking the cone. He was used to her being ambiguous sometimes, but this pricked at his alertness. It also pricked at his concern for her. "Do you love your colony, Trowa?"
"Of coarse, Ma'am. It's my home."
"You know when I was seventeen I had no home. I had run away to join the military, so I was disinherited. I met Mister Treize when he came to lecture at my school. He provided a home for me and nurtured me when no one else would. You see, being a soldier is almost all I have, but it's not all I want. I want peace for my home just like you. As a good soldier I must vigorously defend it with every last breath. Do you understand what I'm telling you, Trowa?"
"I think so." He nodded, sensing an underlying purpose in her speech.
"Do you think you could ever make a home in OZ like I have, or is your colony your first concern," she asked.
"I would be lying if I said that the colony wasn't my first thought. When you interviewed me I told you I was impressed with OZ's tactics and I joined for the good of my colony," Trowa said, truthfully wording his answer.
He had always attempted to be forthright with her, because lying actually made espionage more difficult. Just the bare minimum on the falsehoods. Besides, he now respected her too much to lie blatantly. He sighed and said, "I really don't feel as though I've ever had a home. I've always felt as if I'm still trying to find what home is. Maybe I'll find it by working towards the colonies's best interest."
"Do you have family," she asked.
"It's in the file you have," Trowa replied, recalling what he had told the recruiting office. "One older sister. She's on L-2 right now, working for a circus."
"I see. I guess people make a home. Not the place," Lady Une said, smiling at Trowa. "Have you already made your home?"
"Not entirely, ma'am. I've been a soldier for as long as I can remember. It seems soldiers rarely find a home," Trowa said after taking his last bite of ice-cream. She looked down as her hands began to tremble.
"Did I say something wrong?" Trowa asked; Lady Une nodded. Her hair kept Trowa from seeing her face.
"I'm sorry. Are you crying?" Trowa asked; she nodded again. "I can't stand to be the cause of a woman's tears. Please forgive me." She looked up at him, took a deep breath, and came under control again.
He slowly moved his gloved hand towards hers only letting the finger tips touch. She took his proffered hand gingerly. He willed himself to not flinch back from her. Moments later he eased into the warm sensation as he found himself smiling. He felt wanted and respected.
"My mother never cried," Lady Une said wiping away her last tear. "She was very cold. You know a woman has no more soul left when she's lost the ability to cry. She's lost her ability to influence men as well."
"I'll remember it," Trowa said, taking on a blank expression. Midii's tear stained face came to his mind.
He had to plan out Lady Une's death. Quick and painless. He could poison her night cap tonight. He forced his mind on Romefeller to strengthen his resolve, because he wanted to put it off and give her more time. This game was stirring things underneath the ice that held his emotions in stasis.
"Will you drive slowly around the colony and show me your favorite places?" She asked.
Trowa nodded at her question. Her eyes grew firm with a soldier's expression Trowa had grown to admire as much as her soft pacifist side. There was a decision she had made Trowa was curious about. He could tell she wasn't totally resolved.
"This is one of the places I loved the most. You can see so many stars. When I was younger, I used to talk to them," Trowa said, blushing a little at his confession. Lady Une laughed as she joined him at the viewing window from the deserted artificial hill.
"I can't imagine you talking at any great length," she said with a smirk.
"We used to be on a first name basis, but they got mad when I joined OZ and I quit talking to them." Lady Une laughed at Trowa, who jerked his thumb towards his imaginary friends.
"Keep it up, Trowa, and I'll put you up for a Section Eight," Lady Une said, leaning against the railing. "Are these the only places you like? Did you want to see anything else before we have to go back to the moon?"
"No, Ma'am. That's all," he said, leaning next to her. "You don't seem to want to go back. It's almost twenty-three hundred. Captain Nickole will be climbing out of his skin if we don't get back soon." Trowa noticed Lady Une taking on a frown of concentration. He asked, "Is something bothering you?"
"No. If you're sure it's all the time you want," she murmured and headed back for the car. He went over and unlatched the back door for her. His eyes traveled to her purse as he shut the door. He sat in front of her and looked in the rearview mirror.
"I got a letter today from Mister Treize," Colonel Une stated. Trowa felt his heart pound away painfully as his face flushed. Why would she mention a letter with secret encryption? He started the car as casually as possible.
"I think it will be of great interest to you," she continued. He pulled out on the deserted streets and kept his emerald eyes on the road signs leading towards the spaceport.
"If you think it's appropriate to share Mister Treize's thoughts," he whispered as he listened to her prepare a drink in the mini-bar. He glanced in the mirror to see her put on her eye glasses and unfurl the letter. He suddenly lost his want to find out the contents. She began to read the letter out loud.
My Dearest Lady,
Your last letter caused me great distress. You mentioned that you have a new adjutant by the name of Trowa Barton from L-3. It could be pure coincidence, but I feel I must mention something that will be of great concern. The boy whom you have taken as your most trusted aide may actually be committing espionage and have his goals set to cause further mayhem.
The mother of my child, her name was Leigh Barton and she hailed from L-3. She had an older brother named Trowa who fell in with some unsavory elements. It is rumored he was murdered by a group of mad scientists who were working on a secret project. I assume now that one of the Gundams was that project because he was a mobile suit pilot.
He was six foot four with blonde hair and brown eyes. He would be about twenty-six now. If it is by chance the same man tell him that you and I are on intimate terms and I will not abide any mistreatment of one of my agents. He and I have crossed swords before. Mister Barton knows not to gain my attentions twice.
If not, you know in fact that a spy and a Gundam pilot has been at your elbow serving your beck and call. The Trowa Barton I knew was a horrid man who should have never been allowed in society. He deserved his end. The impostor still needs to pay for his crimes, but execute him for the following reason. He was trying to destroy a valuable piece of the OZ Specials. You. I never could have accomplish what I have without you. Protect yourself and be as kind to the boy as possible. I regret that such a prodigy needs to be destroyed, however I will not risk an assassination attempt on you no matter how fond you are of him.
Always in my thoughts,
Trowa listened to his blood rushing through his ears as he stared out st the passing road. He glanced in the mirror as she put the letter aside and took a sip of her scotch. She removed the .22 she had concealed in her purse and leaned back against her seat. She draped her left arm over the padded headrest while casually holding the gun as she continued to take small sips of her drink.
"Please pick a secluded spot," Lady Une requested. His mind darted to and fro, coming up with several hair brained schemes, but each one was shot down by his rational mind. He turned down an off ramp and found the industrial section on L-3. An empty lot behind a warehouse became available. He pulled into the abandoned lot and slowly turned the motor off. He placed his hands in plain view on the steering wheel.
"Oh Trowa, haven't I given you everything you could have ever wanted?" she asked.
"Yes, Ma'am. You've even given me something no adult ever has. Dignity." Trowa said.
"I know you're an imposter by the description of the real Mister Barton, but have you really been spying on me?" she asked.
"Yes, Ma'am. I am a spy. I hacked into your computers and broadcasted your plans out to anyone against OZ every other day since I've been serving you. I've sabotage several of your soldiers's mobile suits. I'm the Gundam pilot you refer to as Zero-Three." He admitted.
His hands gripped the steering wheel as he kept his eyes on the faded Russian script on the warehouse in front of the car. He couldn't look at those smoldering hazel eyes that were boring holes in the back of his head.
"I want you to lie and tell me you will have a change of heart about OZ. Tell me you will quit spying. I want you to decide to live by my side for the rest of your life and help build Mister Treize's empire for the good of humanity," she pleaded.
"I respect you too much to lie to you like that. I am a Gundam pilot fighting for the freedom of the space colonies. We don't want to live under Romefeller tyranny. That's all Mister Treize's empire would lead to," Trowa said, closing his emerald eyes. "I can't change what I am, Colonel, even if I had the desire to. I will only keep on sabotaging you, so please hurry and do this. At least I wouldn't be harming you any more."
"Why are you so ready to give up your life?" she asked after he heard her set her drink aside. He could smell the liquor and the new leather on the seats. Even her rose scented perfume flooded into his head with the image of strawberries on her breath.
"Because one day soon my assignment will be to assassinate you and I don't want to do that. Others will come to take my place, but at least it won't be me who kills you," he replied, feeling the chilly barrel of her gun on the nape of his neck. Goose pimples formed all over his body, but he kept his eyes closed. "Please hurry. I don't like this anticipation."
"It's as if you can't see beyond your death, Trowa. Do the men you work for have you convinced that suicide is all you're good for? Taking a bullet after you've lived no better than some dog off the streets is not something to desire." She said. Trowa didn't feel the gun waver for one minute, but her breath on the nape of his neck caused a host of sensations at once: lust, fear, hatred, desire.....
"What else is there to want?" he asked through gritted teeth.
"To protect what you call home and the loved ones inside of it. Haven't you been in love?" she asked. Trowa slowly removed the photo from the cuff on his uniform and held it out. He felt it leave his fingers.
"I loved her very much, but she betrayed me and the people I was raised with to the Alliance. She is a master spy who taught me everything I know. Even how to use someone's affections for your own purposes. She told me that guilt was a useless emotion. It was something people lived with and compensated for. Just the same as if you were blind or lame. Having a conscience about your enemy is the kiss of death."
"She sounds like a despicable young girl," Lady Une said. Trowa gripped the steering wheel again.
"I loved her all the same in spite of the way she destroyed everything in my world. Things changed when I met you. I saw you up close, Lady Une, and I threw out everything Midii had taught me. I've grown very fond of you as well. That's why I don't want to kill you. I'm so lost, because I realized I would rather die then kill you," he confessed, wanting to be totally free before his death.
"You Gundam pilots fight for the colonies. I see that you are not just petty terrorist," she said. He felt the gun lower. He opened his eyes and looked in the mirror. She pushed her glasses up on her aquiline nose and settled back again. She crossed her sensual legs and put her gun back in her purse.
"I won't stop my activities, and I can only delay my orders for so long. The men I work for will have me kill you. I won't disobey next time, because living under Romefeller is something I won't do no matter what I think and feel about you. Not shooting me is unwise," Trowa pointed out.
"On the contrary, it is the wisest thing I could do. I'm promoting you to my top aide when we get back,"she said.
"What?" Trowa asked baffled as he whirled in his seat with wide eyes.
"You see, killing you right now is not graceful or honorable. Here's another lesson for you, Trowa. Enemies won't come after you if they think you're already under control. Right now you are with me doing your job, but the minute you leave they would send someone to replace you. You're better off with the devil you know." Trowa nodded. He leaned his forehead against the steering wheel. He began to tremble.
"Another thing is that you don't beat a dog to gain its love and loyalty. You nurture it in your ways and show it kindness and dignity," she said, picking up her scotch again.
"Thank you, Colonel Une," Trowa said, restarting the car.
"Remember one thing. If you continue to spy on me and sabotage OZ, I will kill you if I catch you. So be careful that I don't catch you, because OZ is the thing I love the most in this world. I would kill hundreds of people and lay down my life to make Mister Treize's dreams a reality. His ideals are my very breath," she said, looking at him in the mirror.
"Yes, Ma'am. I'll take care," he said, pulling out into the streets again. He hated being so exposed, but a strange calm filled him. She wouldn't misuse his trust or throw him away on some deliberate, careless whim. He realized she would always provide a place for his heart to grow warm again when he was ready to come in from the cold.