Shared Target


Summery: 1+ SN, R+1, 3+11 Heero and Trowa get conflicting orders and struggle to carry them out in spite of each other. This story starts from Heero's point of view, then goes to Trowa's and keeps changing back and forth between them.

Warnings: Trowa does slip into a brief masochistic fantasy over Lady Une and Heero has a lust fit for Cathrine; bizarre, but not terribly graphic. Underage drinking and some strong language. One original character, but more a part of the setting for the story. I don't own Gundam Wing characters, Sunrise/Bandai does. I'm just borrowing them for entertainment purposes.

Notes on 12-7-2008: My first, and only, first person POV. I remember this was hard to write for me, but I may try another first person someday. I'm not entirely happy with this, but I think it has some nice parts. I'm not thrilled with my portrayal of Heero Yuy, but I think I could do a better job now. Have mercy since this is eight years old!

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.

"This is Trowa Barton. Please make him feel welcome." My head snapped up from the computer screen to see the silent, green-eyed boy standing in front of the instruction hall wearing the same formal, boarding school outfit I was. What was he doing here? His dead eyes swept right over me. I turned back to the computer as he took an assigned seat beside me. I heard the murmurs running around the classroom. The girl to my left slightly leaned over me towards Trowa.

"Hi! My name is Carla," she gushed, to my annoyance. Trowa didn't take his eyes from the front of the classroom. "Well! The new boys certainly are rude," she snarled. The last part was for my benefit as well. Trowa wasn't being rude though, just busy. Busy doing what? The girl left in a huff. I casually looked around.

"You're a long way from the circus, Barton," I whispered.

"I go where the scientist tells me, same as you," Trowa replied.

"Doctor J didn't mention us working together."

"Neither did Doctor S. Maybe it's a coincidence." His soft voice always had a strange sing-song quality to it. "My assignment is to make sure a girl named Magda Ivanavich and her father don't perish."

I started to snicker. He gave me a curious look.

"I'm here to kill Magda Ivanavich and her father," I informed him.

"Surprise, surprise," he said with no flair to the words.

When we traveled together across Europe, I was always struck by how emotionally numb he was. Someone had killed him a long time ago and forgot to let his body know it should be in a coffin.

I had tried to advise him about living, but he didn't seem interested at the time. One day he was going to overload from the emotional build up and do harm to himself. We sat in silence typing our school assignments for the next half hour.

"Please don't try it," he said, glancing at me.

"If you get in my way, Trowa, you'll wish you'd never laid eyes on a Gundam." I knew I owed Trowa my life many times over, but I didn't own my life. Doctor J did. The boarding school professor walked up between us.

"I'm glad to see the new boys hard at work. By the way, this is Heero Yuy. You two will be suite mates, so after the lesson, please show Mister Barton to your room," the professor said.

I gritted my teeth, wondering if this assignment could get any worse; maybe if Duo Maxwell showed up. I started rapping my knuckles on the oak desk to ward off the long haired Gundam pilot.

I followed Heero into our dorm room. It was nicer than most places I've stayed in my seventeen years. He went right for his laptop and tried for Doctor J. I sat on my bed and patiently waited .

Cathrine was bringing my things tonight, except my flute that Quatre had given me. I had kept it with my books. I assembled it and started to play a Mozart piece. Heero's Persian blue eyes were taking on an intense glint as he started to incessantly lick his lips.

"I can't get in touch with Doctor J. What's Doctor S's password for you?" he asked.

"Nanashi," I replied. Heero knew better than to pry into my past.

He thought I didn't feel anymore. Yes, I have cut myself off from my ability to process emotions, because if I used them I would truly go insane. He was in touch with his emotions, but he was filtering them through a broken mind ill equipped for anything off a battlefield. He was in control and stable now because he could focus on his missions. After this war, however, I hoped someone would do justice to him and put him down like the rabid dog Doctor J had truly made him.

Doctor S and Doctor J given us freedom and choice. But we were still expected to obey the same single command, to destroy OZ with out Gundams. Truthfully, Doctor S did rescue me after my mercenary troop was betrayed. I was being pursued by the Earth Sphere Alliance because I had lived and could identify one of their operatives, Middie. Doctor S could have thrown me out in the cold; but he took me in and put me to work. I didn't deceive myself; a cage was still a cage no matter how pretty it was.

Wufei and Quatre also had chosen this life of their own free will, as had Duo, through an odd set of circumstances. We all truly believed in freeing the space colonies. The means and ends didn't always match.

"Would you have become a Gundam pilot if you had it to do over again?" I asked, setting my flute down beside me.

"I don't worry about regrets," Heero replied, still tapping away at the keyboard. In knew that was a lie. He had more regrets than most people.

"No reply," he said. He turned away from the desk and looked directly at me now. Sizing me up was more accurate. This was turning into a competition that I didn't relish getting into. I was able to get the drop on him before, but he was tough and didn't really care about dying so long as his mission was accomplished.

"Maybe they're on vacation," I quipped, which got a raised eyebrow. "Let's take this step by step. Tell me your assignment."

"I'm to eliminate Ivanavich and the daughter. He's been leaking important information to OZ. She is supposedly following in his footsteps. She could be a potential danger to the colonies." Heero said.

"According to what I've been told, she's naive. I am to protect her from OZ assassins and kidnappers who would use her to sway her father's loyalty," I said, crossing my arms. "Let's find out which story is true."

"I have a two day operational limit. She goes tonight," he said with no obvious compunctions. Something was driving him to this bizarre behavior. It was like him to fulfill orders with no questions, but to kill a fourteen-year-old girl was not at all within his abilities. Ergo, Relena Peacecraft.

"Wait until tomorrow and we'll investigate. Be sensible and don't repeat your mistake like with General Noventa," I said. I didn't wish to use underhanded tricks, but I needed to achieve my goal, even if it meant hurting Heero with bad memories. His eyes turned deadly.

I felt my heart jump in my throat as his fist clenched slowly. He let his anger subside. Something was not sitting right with him and I think I hit the mark by pure chance.

"I've checked it out many times, Trowa. I must complete my mission now that I've accepted it," Heero insisted.

"I have music class. Don't do anything until we can talk again." Heero nodded as I picked up my flute. "Think about this; since when have we been asked to kill young girls?" I left him to his laptop once again and headed to the main building.

Trowa was right. It was an unusual assignment. That's why I confirmed her involvement with OZ several times. I was not going to slaughter innocent people over misguided information ever again. I would give Trowa his one day and let him confirm what I knew. I've failed to eliminate Relena Peacecraft, and just three days ago I realized I had ended up failing Sylvia Noventa again.

A knock at my door brought me reluctantly to my feet. I opened the door, half expecting her. Relena smiled at me. I should have known my shadow would follow.

"You left so suddenly for Archer's Prep that I was worried. Another assignment?" she asked.

"Stop coming around in places you're not needed," I answered. I was surprised at how tired I sounded. I really did want her gone. My first duty would be to Trowa, in spite of the fact we were working against one another. I knew how dangerous he could be, and I didn't need her distracting presence between our crossfire.

"I am needed by you. I can feel it to be true," she said, coming in and glancing around. I flipped the monitor off my laptop and sat on my bed. She sat at my desk knowing it wouldn't become a proper lady and the ruler of the Sanq Kingdom to sit on a boy's bed. Unfortunately, it was a little too close to my laptop. Her cerulean eyes lit on Trowa's books.

"Don't think about him. He's someone you don't want to know," I warned her.

"You know him? Is he a Gundam pilot as well?"

"He's an ex-OZ pilot candidate I met. He is very dangerous." I stretched the truth to the maximum. He had infiltrated OZ as a spy at one time and served under Lady Une.

"Is that why you're here? If there is such a person at this school I need to have him watched by the constable. You'll be in jeopardy if he finds out you're a Gundam pilot." she said.

"Don't get between us, Relena. I won't be able to protect you," I said, getting up and opening my door. "Go back to the Sanq Kingdom. Find Dorothy or Quatre; whatever will keep you preoccupied. Don't get near me anymore."

"You do need my protection. I will give it whether you want it or not," Relena insisted, to my disgruntlement. Thankfully, she got up and left.

I shut the door and slammed my fist against the door jamb. Why wouldn't she leave me alone? Why did she put a control over me? No! I am in control. I would reassert myself soon and be rid of this constant Relena plague and be left with thoughts of my Sylvia Noventa. Mine, my own thoughts! Where was Trowa's damn chap stick?

Magda was pretty by my standards, with round cheeks and full lips. The only flaw on the brunette was her crooked nose. She stood in the center of the music conservatory with a violin and played a subtle waltz.

She was not as good as Quatre, who put his entire angelic soul on display when he played. Her music was precise and emotionless. Mathematics was all that was involved; it was more like the way I played the flute.

The teacher motioned me up in front of the eight other students. I echoed the piece she had played and waited for him to judge my talent. Performing in front of people had never daunted me. After all, there were truly abhorrent things to be afraid in the world.

"Very good, Mister Barton. I'll have your study plan by the end of the week," the teacher said with a bright smile. I nodded my thanks and took a seat next to Heero's target.

Magda glanced at me with hazel eyes and looked away with a slight blush. She reminded me of a young, innocent version of Colonel Une. The teacher droned on and finally dismissed us. I walked over to where she was putting her violin away.

"Hi. My name is Trowa." She looked up at me, startled, and blushed even deeper. She might think I'm attractive. That would be to my advantage. "I liked your playing. Would you mind catching me up over lunch?"

"Not at all. I would like that," she said. She got up and followed me to the cafeteria. Magda was about to sit at a slightly populated table after we got our food, but I shook my head.

"If you don't mind, I like eating outside. It's a warm day," I said, nodding my head towards the door. She took it as me finding a special interest in her and gleefully followed me to a cement bench under an oak tree. We ate in silence for several minutes before I decided what tack to take. "How long have you been at this school?"

"Six months. My father works at the mobile suit factory ten miles south of here," she said.

"Where did you move from?" I asked her. I watched her eyes become moist as her left hand began to tremble.

"The Sanq Kingdom," she breathed the words softly. "Our family wasn't welcome after the Peacecrafts declared the Sanq Kingdom an absolute pacifist nation. We were told to leave."

"Why didn't he stop and concentrate on labor suits or other vehicles not associated with the war?" I asked.

"He works on weapon systems, not anything else. Finding work would have been impossible and we needed the money so much. For my mother." She answered. "I'm sorry to unload. I haven't had a chance to make many friends. I'm here on scholarship so the others aren't very friendly. How about you?"

"I'm here on scholarship as well." I said.

"I'm on Grimsby's Light for mathematics. How about you?" she asked.

"The Winner family. It was a general scholarship." It was true that the Winner family provided scholarships for architecture and mechanical engineering, but Quatre had granted me a trust for my education out of his own personal funds. I valued and respected him too much to offend his cultural traditions by refusing his money.

He had done the same for Duo after Professor G had seen his grades and cut him off. For Quatre, Duo made the Dean's List with no effort. Everyone, including me, was dismayed at how bright he really was, except for Heero. Tweaking Professor G was pure icing for Duo.

Magda gazed around at the open courtyard. She stiffened and locked her eyes where a girl with wheat colored hair strolled casually by a row of hedges. The acid in those hazel eyes could have smelted Gundamium. She asked me, "Isn't that Relena Peacecraft?"

"Yeah. My roommate pointed her out," I said, remembering Heero's strange angst with the girl.

"You know her?" The girl asked and whirled on me with wrathful eyes.

"Only in passing. Not on a first names basis," I answered carefully. She leaned back with a predatory gaze cast at Relena. I decided to make a bold move and said, "In war there are many facets of suffering not just caused by one driving force. If you want to skip the rest of the day..."

"There you are, Trowa," Cathrine said, walking up with a suitcase and a shoe box. She wore huge sunglasses and a yellow sun dress. She giggled, noticing I was with a girl. "Oh, I didn't mean to disturb you. I'm Cathy, Trowa's sister."

"This is Magda," I introduced. They broke the ice a little as my attention turned to Relena. I haven't given her much thought since the Antarctic.

She was the salvation of a kingdom, the ideal of peace around the entire Earth. She didn't realize that obtaining her goal of total pacifism for the Earth and the colonies would destroy her love's mind, spirit, and soul. Could she be merciful and take Heero's life after her dreams were achieved?

Would someone love me that much after this war was over? I rubbed both my wrists as one of my fantasies with Colonel Une crept in, filling my imagination. This was the one where she exposed me as a spy and made me slash my wrists for betraying OZ. As I lay with blood draining out of me, she would cover my mouth with her lips and ...

"Trowa, I swear!" Cathy snapped playfully. I gave Cathrine my attention again. "Where is your room? I've got to get back to the circus."

"That building. Room eight. Heero will let you in." I said. She finally walked off after a little more banter. She gave us a warm, hopeful smile as she disappeared into the male dorms. She knew in her heart I was too damaged to ever enter the realm of love, but she still hoped someone would captivate me.

"I better get going as well. Thanks for the lunch, Trowa," Magda said. She jogged off without me finishing the invitation. I would have to pursue her friendship and hope she would cleave to me, in case Heero's time limit ran its course.

Besides, my interest was faintly peaked by her obvious distaste for the Sanq Kingdom. Was there cause to be leery of the 'Beacon of Pacifism'? I chuckled and put away those thoughts for my earlier fantasy with Lady Une.

I answered the door again expecting Trowa, but saw his long, lost sister instead. I stood aside when she gave me her lively smile. I sat back at my desk and continued to try Doctor S, giving up on my own mentor. No use in hiding it from the ginger-haired woman, she knew Trowa, Wufei and I pilot Gundams.

"How are you doing, Heero?" She asked. I watched her reflection on the blue, glowing monitor as she unpacked Trowa's things.

My hormones began to notice the voluptuous woman. What fifteen year old male wouldn't notice Cathrine Bloom? The perfect soldier shouldn't notice. Damn it! Why was this happening to me lately? I hated feeling like a toy. The same feelings Sylvia evoked only on a lesser scale, more physical.

"Good. Thank you," I said. I started to chew my lips to bring me back to my task.

"You know, I was thinking you may want to come back with Trowa next time. You could get some rest." She blamed me for encouraging Trowa's death wish, but she also sympathized with my situation as much as anyone really could. "I was surprised when he said you were here."

"A mistake we are trying to sort out." I said curtly.

"Please, please watch out for him," she said, pushing his brown suitcase under the single bed.

"I won't throw knives at him." I said. I looked up to see grey-eyed confusion. "Just a joke, Cathrine. Go back home. You have my word he won't come to any harm."

"Good bye, Heero," she said, waving with relief as she giggled at my caustic joke. I turned back to my monitor, seeing the noseless face of Doctor S.

"You are Heero Yuy?"

"Yes, Sir. I'm contacting you with Trowa's password because there is some confusion on our assignments. Doctor J can't be reached. You had told him that..." Static crackled over the screen. I tried rerouting with no success.

"Damn it!" I swore. I pounded my fist on the desk in aggravation. I would have to wait a few hours to try again.. I had calculus in fifteen minutes, anyway.

"Well?" Heero snapped at me, without taking his eyes off the laptop's screen.

"She has motive, but I believe she's innocent," I said. I began to take off the light, blue vest and lace cravat as he turned to me. He saw me undress and turned back to the computer. "I'm going to investigate further." I rummaged through my things, seeing that Cathrine had remembered to pack the tequila. What a fabulous sister.

"She's getting money for something. And it's not just her scholarship," Heero pointed out. He rummaged through his own wardrobe and handed me a dark green, button-down shirt. I put it on, giving him a leery look. "I was in the bushes this afternoon. I know what you're up to. I thought you swore off girls with Middie."

"I did. It doesn't mean I can't make friends with a girl," I answered.

"That's low, Barton-san," he replied

"I'm making her no promises. Just an ear that will listen to her," I said, letting my irritation go. "When I get back tonight, we'll have a few drinks and then you can tell me what the hell is eating you.

I tracked Magda all the way to the library where she was hidden down in the empty cinder block basement. The place was stacked floor to ceiling with old books, rat eaten periodicals, and actual phonograph albums.

She was under a lamp with lots of graph paper and books around her. I barely recognized the ancient compass she was using to draw and measure with. It reminded me of Quatre, who could think faster than punching it into a computer.

"I hope I'm not disturbing you, but I was curious about your thoughts earlier." I said. She looked up startled. After several stunned seconds, she made a place for me beside her.

"I apologize. I shouldn't have been so forward. My whole family was impacted negatively by the Sanq Kingdom. I'm still dealing with my mother passing away. My father depends on me so much," she said.

Too much, judging by the slump in her shoulders and her bloodshot eyes. I remembered right before I became one of Heavyarms' technicians. I felt run down, but free of the awful burden of a mercenary's life. That was until I meet the man who's name I now bear, one cage for another.

Heero said to act on my emotions. When she slumped forward and began to wail, I knew this poor pitiful creature had reached her breaking point. Yes, she could very well be an OZ operative. She was sitting here with weapons schematics, so she was definitely assisting her father. That was the first reason for my action. The second was that Heero may not be the only one who is after her. The final reason was that Heero wasn't quite thinking straight. I trusted him more then myself sometimes, but I need to help him without him being distracted by a mission.

I stood up and began to massage her shoulders. She eventually stopped crying and began to breath deeply. I sat back down beside her and drew her into my arms. I felt slightly woozy from touching a strange girl. Not bad, but not comfortable.

"Magda, why don't you sneak off campus with me. I'll find a place to stay. I promise that I'm not coming on to you, but it looks as if you need a friend." I said. She looked up at me and smiled sincerely.

"Why should I trust you?" she asked.

"Because you were put in one cage from another without any consideration for your free will. I'm offering you something I never had. One night of true privacy, a small break in which you can at least pretend that you control your destiny," I said. I stood up and led her out of the musty room after she grabbed up several of the important pages she was working on.

I called a cab from the pay phone in front of the school gates. We waited about fifteen minutes when the man pulled up and drove us five miles into town. At the first posh hotel, I gave the cabby a signal. He eyed me like I was some despicable lowlife after giving the sixteen year old girl the once over. I gave him my money card with a tip double the fair. That cut the dirty looks out.

I led her through the revolving door and had to pay the concierge off in the same way. Doctor S was going to have my hide for blowing all my mission's fund for one night, but I couldn't ask Heero to hack up money for me. This place was extra decadent with the whole 1920's decor. We were given a key and the directions to the back elevators. She took my hand shyly, not daring to meet me eye to eye as we rode the elevator.

I slid the key through the reader. It glowed green; the door swung open. I let her in and shut the door. I looked around and took a deep breath. This wasn't going to be so bad. She walked into the main room when I raised my fists and brought them down hard on her neck. She fell forward on the carpet in a mass of pink boarding school outfit.

I quickly had her tied to the bed and gagged with a towel I shredded from the bathroom. I quickly called Wufei to have him return the favor I did for him when we first meet. We got along so much better before my espionage work.

The only reason he still acknowledged me was for the information I snuck to him and Duo. I would wait and explain it to Magda and Wufei. After all, this was not the most normal situation I was imposing on them.

She knocked on my door again. I had continued my search for Doctor J with no results. Where was he? It wasn't like him to leave me adrift. He guided every action I ever took. He even dictated my death. He had such control; he toyed with me too much. Could I ever really refuse a mission? I needed.... Oh my God.... I needed to be the one in control? Not him!

I numbly walked to the door and unlocked it to let her in. I walked over to Trowa's bed and sat. What ask about choosing the life of a Gundam pilot? It wasn't an inane question like I had first thought.

"Heero, I brought you some dinner since you didn't join us in the hall," Relena said, putting the covered dish on Trowa's desk. I could hear her rummage around Trowa's desk. "Heero! Is your roommate an alcoholic?"she asked, holding up a shoe box.

"Stay away from his things!" She backed away at the brutality in my voice.

"If he is an OZ solider..." she started.

"...ex-OZ soldier..." I insisted.

"...he needs to be watched. For some reason you seem to trust him," she said.

"With my very life. Like I said Relena, don't get between us. This is a difficult situation I'm in and you'll only add an extra.... What the hell are you doing? Stop going through his things!"

I watched Relena wave a simple gold cross in the dim light along with OZ dog tags and a throwing knife. I grabbed them from her. My heart was in my throat when I heard the door click open. I slowly turned to see Trowa's emerald eyes narrow and grow cold as Antarctica. Relena's expression grew ambivalent as she stared at Trowa. "I think you better leave Relena," I suggested.

"But..." she said. I turned to her, clutching Trowa's things. My face must have taken on a cruel look. She turned pale and pressed her lips together.

"You have just ruined something I prize very much. Leave," I said, barely above a whisper. She left in a jog. I avoided Trowa's gaze as I attempted to put his possessions back as discreetly as I could. I saw him sit stiffly at the head of his bed and stare ahead with a blank look. "I'm sorry. I didn't know she would go through your things until it was too late."

He stiffly nodded. I got the shoe box and sat it between us. It had all the makings for tequila shots, even down to a knife for slicing the limes. I set him up a shot and a slice of lime as he licked his hand and sprinkled salt on it. He took the shot and lime with relish. I followed the same process.

"I still can't get in touch with anyone. We need to make a decision," I said as he took another shot.

"Heero, what is your problem? We used to talk. Remember Europe? You told me I was the only friend you had besides Doctor J." Trowa said. I nodded, thinking of all those late night sessions we had playing chess. All those conversations were engraved in my mind.

"Remember when we went to see Sylvia Noventa? That night at the hotel we talked about her. You told me that when she became a woman, she would reflect more kindly on me and see the situation with her grandfather in a more mature way." Trowa nodded.

He held himself aloof, but he was still attentive. He took another shot. I stood and removed the hard copy of the news article I had been carrying with me for four days. His eyes narrowed as he scanned it. He handed the crumpled bit of paper I had reread one hundred and thirty-two times.

"A social gossip column. She's been selected for a Romefeller Debutante Ball and courted by one of Treize Khushrenada's younger cousins? I thought she had a suitor. A mobile suit pilot?" Trowa asked. I nodded my head.

"I did some research. Captain Anton Chauvelin of Marseilles is M. I. A." I said.

"What about her family? They can't support this. They would forbid her from marrying into Romefeller aristocracy."

"I don't think her grandmother would stand in the way of her happiness. Is she joining Romefeller out of spite for me? Bitterness about her grandfather? Or is she just misguided? What if it's despair?" I asked him. Trowa was quiet for several long minutes.

"Why not go ask her? I've handled this situation with Magda," he said. My ears perked up at his choice of words, but I still lacked the courage to encroach on him after Relena violated his privacy. He was still clearly uneasy about what had happened.

"No. I accepted a mission. I have no choice," I stated flatly to ward off the hard decision. Trowa's face softened a little.

"I understand, but Heero, learn to disobey before it's too late and you become like me. Follow your own advice. Act on your emotions," he told me. I nodded, getting heavy headed from the alcohol. I was too tired to make any decisions right now. I remember stumbling over to my bed and curling up in a blanket. Nothing else.

Heero burst into our room with a loud bang the next afternoon after our drinking party. I glanced at the harsh look on his face. He must have discovered Magda's absence. He stood behind me as I turned back to typing my history report about White Base and the very first Gundams produced by Doctor Rey. I forced myself to remain steady as I felt him lean into my personal space.

"Miss Magda didn't show up for class today. Her roommate said you came calling for her around nine-thirty. The librarian said both of you left hand in hand around ten. You didn't get back here 'til midnight. Did you beat me to the punch?" he asked.

"No. She needed a little vacation. If what you say is true, I will let you know where she is. Until we can find out, no one is getting near her," I said. I heard the creek of the back of my chair as he walked away. I didn't slow my typing.

"Tell me now, Barton, or else you'll regret it," Heero threatened. I swirled around and looked up at him. I hadn't seen him this incensed. His face was red and muscles were ready to spring. I forced all my defenses down and placed trust in Heero's self-control.

"No," I said simply. His balled up hand jerked up, ready to punch me. I could have stopped him, but he held still. I stood up and looked down at him. He slowly lowered his hand, clenching his jaw so tight I could hear his teeth grind.

"Never do that again. I will not tolerate it," I said relieved my faith in Heero had proven true. Sylvia Noventa was eating him up because he wanted to take her Grandfather's place and help guide and comfort her as she finished those last painful steps to womanhood.

Once upon a time, he had the capability of being as kind as Quatre, but that quality isn't useful on a battlefield. So they made him swallow it down so deep that he was suffocating on the need to use it.

He backed away to the door and fled, leaving me shaken. Oh Heero, what a mess you're making of yourself. Go relieve yourself of your impulse to be kind before you get hurt. Just break free from your missions for a few days.

I watched Cathrine settle down at four in the morning. Circus performers kept worse hours than an OZ private on K. P. duty. I slipped into the trailer, knowing she never locked it in case Trowa needed a place to hide out.

I crept through the dark and jumped on top of the bunk. She woke and struggled against me with muffled cries. She twisted under my grasp. I got a little cocky and underestimated Miss Bloom. Her leg flashed upwards. An ankle hooked around my neck and forced me backwards onto the mattress. I felt her long, muscular legs kick and slide away from my thighs and arms.

I jumped up and lunged forward; I halted at the glimmer of steel as low lights flashed on. She stood by the door way with one knife ready and two in her left hand. Suddenly, I could kick myself for underestimating her. Only a complete idiot would try to kidnap a professional knife thrower. Stupid or not, I had to carry through, now.

Her face register shock, then anger. I move forward slightly to see the knife tense. I stood still again. Surely she would only try to scare me. She wouldn't have the guts.

"What are you doing?!" she shouted.

"Your brother did a very stupid thing. I need you to help convince him to see things my way," I explained.

"That doesn't explain what you were doing! Getting fresh?" she asked. I could see she was furious.

I looked her up and down. She wore a white midriff tee shirt and pink panties. Again I say, her body could drive any fifteen year-old boy's lust. I repressed a smirk knowing I was in enough trouble without drooling all over her as well.

"No, Cathrine. I just need to talk to Trowa with a level playing field. Now come along like a good girl and I won't have to act naughty." Talking down to her only pissed her off. I began to move forward. She hesitated. I lunged. I fell backwards with six inches of steel in my left shoulder. She gasp and squeaked my name.

"Cathrine," I croaked, forcing a raspy noise. I faux grimaced and clutched helplessly at the wound.

"Oh God, Heero! You shouldn't have done that. What were you thinking?" She dropped her other knives and slid on her knees by my side. I pounded the flat of my hand into her neck. I was careful to keep her prone body off my wound.

"Well, Cathrine, you are one woman I don't want to meet in an alley. Like brother, like sister," I said.

I picked her up and took her outside to the trunk of Relena's pink limo I'd creatively borrowed. I placed her in as delicately as I could, considering the knife still in me. Well, Heero, this was one of your top five stupidest ideas. I was going to make it work though. I would be in control for once.

The girl I should protect is several hundred miles away. I truly owed her my life and wasn't able to give it to her now that I was tangled in this war again. I didn't have choices in my life, except in how to conduct my missions.

I didn't necessarily hate Trowa having control over this situation. I was frustrated I couldn't keep Sylvia away from Romefeller's influence just like her grandfather would be doing if I hadn't killed him.

I came in from my morning music lesson to see Heero was still sound asleep. He had snuck out about two in the morning and didn't come back 'til six. I acted as if I were asleep to give him his privacy, but when he came in I almost went to help him.

He moved stiffly and favored his left side. We had an unspoken pact; we wouldn't be stubborn or prideful when it came to injuries. We would ask for help if we truly were in need. He didn't ask so I didn't offer.

Something on my bed caught my eye. It was Cathrine's headdress from her costume. I picked it up and looked it over. My eyes unwillingly went to Heero. I didn't want him to have anything to do with this, but what other choices did I have to pick from?

"Good morning, Trowa." He sat up with a Cheshire smile.

"Was Cathrine here?" I asked.

"No. I did see her. I thought she need a sudden vacation," he replied.

"Heero," I said. I started over to his bed and noticed his left shoulder was bandaged. He also had some bruises on his face. "This shouldn't have become personal. Where is Cathrine?"

"Somewhere," he said. He didn't understand. How in all the Colonies had he come up with this scheme?

"Heero, come to your senses. Cathy had nothing to do with this. I never thought you would resort to something like this. Tell me were she is and this won't have to get personal." Heero stood up. He was only dressed in boxer shorts so I could see Cathy had given him quite a bit of grief. Served him right.

"Just do what I said, and Cathrine will get back to the circus," Heero demanded.

"Damn it, Heero, tell me now," I said, surprised I raised my voice. He glared and set himself in a defiant pose. He wanted me to try to beat the snot out of him. It was what he planned for. It was expected. I'm not the type of person to be the pawn in anyone's mind games, especially a friend's. I sat down on my bed and began to organize my homework. "I not going to play with you. You won't hurt Cathrine if you want to continue drawing breath. Meanwhile, I have Magda in a safe place until we can come to a rational, mutual decision."

He grabbed my hair and yanked me up. I couldn't avoid the punch to my stomach, but the jab to my face only caught air. I punched at his shoulder only clipping it enough to slow him. He blocked my left and tackled me to the floor. We wrestled for several long seconds until a subtle clicking sound froze Heero like rigger mortis. He breathed 'Doctor J' and leapt towards his laptop.

"Well, Heero, it seems that one of my former technicians for Wing hacked my computer and sent you a false mission. I hope you didn't follow through," the old man said over Heero's laptop. Heero shook his head with eyes glued to the grey haired man as if his very air came directly from him. "Good. I had to go off line until we figured out the culprit. I do have another mission for you since Doctor S's operative is already there. I'll download it to you. Leave tonight." The screen filled with orders, sending him to some remote island off of Greece, to attack a transport. I left him to his privacy and began to nurse the injuries he had inflicted on me.

"You told me once that you didn't believe in God. You're a liar," I said, beginning to pack Heero's things as he stared at the glowing computer screen. "Your gods are quite tangible. They are the missions you accept."

"Trowa, I'm very sorry. Forgive me?"he asked softly.

"I'm not the one you should ask," I pointed out.

"Oh my God! Cathrine!" he shouted. He threw on jeans and a tank top, and ran out of our dorm room. I had trouble keeping up with him all the way to the basement.

She was handcuffed to the hot-water heater with a grungy mattress underneath her. She was wearing her burgundy robe and a scowl.

"Trowa! Don't tell that crazy little creep anything. Kick his ass!" she shouted at me instantly.

"I'm very sorry, Cathrine. I don't know what came over me." Heero began to walk forward with the keys.

I almost stopped him when I saw the wild vengeful look in Cathy's grey eyes, but I figured getting beat up by a girl would add a little character to Heero. Sure enough, he did let her have a few good punches and a kick on the side. I grabbed her at the point before she kicked his groin.

"I've got some things to talk over with him. If you wait in our room, I'll take you back to the circus," I said. She seemed mollified as Heero rose with a bruised face. She complied with my instructions. "I think you should consider taking a trip to France. Talk to Sylvia and make peace. It's on your way."

"I need to stop Treize's cousin at Romefeller from courting her. It's what her grandfather would want. The only way to do that is by finding her fiancé. He was shot down in the Alps," he said.

"Finding him could ease how she sees you. For once, put the mission second and help nurture what we are fighting for," I said. I watched his face grow intense with passion and focus the way I knew it before we met up at this fiasco. This reminded me of what Lucretia Noin had told me about soldiers being renewed when they found someone to protect.

"I will follow my emotions. It's the only way to live," he said, sitting on the mattress.

"Give me thirty minutes to get Cathy away and then you can get your things. She'll try to go for round two if she sees you again," I warned. It always amazes me how my sister and I have totally opposite temperaments. He nodded and gave me a crafty smile.

"Thanks, Trowa, for helping me face this and getting me focused again," he said.

"Don't mention it," I said, waving to him. "I may need the same favor one day."

Who knows when I would cross paths with him again. I just hoped we wouldn't have to cross swords again. He was a dangerous opponent. I also hoped he would put his jade-eyed demon to rest. Sylvia Noventa could probably haunt him for the rest of his life if he let this situation linger or grow into something that wasn't meant to be.

I stared, forlorn, at the dark-haired Frenchman laying in front of me. It had taken me most of a week to come this far. Now, in this room, my hopes were dashed. I wanted so much to reunite Sylvia with her Captain. He was so devoted to the girl and her family. He protected them while I seemed to come at them and try to destroy them.

"Is this your superior officer?" the mortician asked. I nodded and turned to him. I had lied and claimed I was with the Alliance and assigned to the Marseilles 53 Division.

"Could you not publicize it for a week. I promised to tell his fiancé personally," I said.

"I just want to thank you, Trowa. You're a very special person to me," Magda said as I put her hand in the crook of my arm. We had decided to talk this morning after Wufei had dropped her off and I had finished smoothing Cathrine's feathers. "You helped me realize that I need to leave."

"Leave?" I asked.

"Yeah. My father is draining me. He's drawing me into things I don't want to be involved in. I want to be a mobile suit designer, but for who I choose. Wufei and I had an interesting talk. I know what you're really here for. I want to give you something in exchange, my father. He's secretly working for OZ. I have some details I mailed from the hotel to the circus."

"You're giving your father up?" I asked.

"I want peace, but not like the Sanq Kingdom's brand of hollow pacifism. Doesn't Queen Relena realize that without soldiers willing to fight for pacifism it will never be?"she asked. I mulled over the train of thought she was taking. It was logical. It was beautiful.

"Have you ever visited L-3? I know someone who would be willing to give you employment. I think you could learn a lot from him. The hours are horrible and you won't get rich," I offered, thinking of Doctor S. I cursed myself for offering her my same shackles, and then it struck me when she began to smile and tremble in enthusiasm. One person's cage could be another's freedom.

The End.