*sigh* Well here I am a day late and a dollar short so to speak. I apologize for taking forever to post this, I don't know why but I just couldn't get myself going on editing it.
Along those lines, for those who are reading Occam's Razor, I am still working on it. I had a very embarrassing cooking accident in the end of August – my dog tripped me while I was frying bacon – and I ended up with second degree burns all over my hand. I'll spare you the gory details, and just say thankfully, the doctor gave me the all clear a few days ago and so I can get back to typing with both hands again and I'll be working as fast as I can to get the next chapter out in a couple of weeks.
I apologize in advance for what I know will be many repetitive descriptions in this story – it's hard to keep coming up with ways to describe things by someone who can't see any of them.
Thank you so much for the reviews and encouragement – every time I got one, my heart skipped a little . . . then was stabbed by a pang of guilt for starting something and not finishing it.
Disclaimer: If I owned GW I'd be posting my stories on an animation board.
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Monday, March 16, AC 201, 8:17AM – The Earth Sphere Unified Nation Capital Building, Personnel Entrance (DAY FOUR)
His first instinct was to tell the voice to go away and let him sleep, but he recognized this voice and years of interacting with it had taught him that there was no getting it to shut-up.
"Come on, Heero, wake up." A hand shook his arm while the other tapped the side of his face. He lifted his own arm to close over the hand on his face and immediately regretted doing so. A sharp pain ripped through his shoulder and down into his arm.
"Whoa," Duo forced him back down, "careful there buddy, the EMS guys will be here in a second."
EMS? Heero's head shot up as he suddenly remembered; someone had shot that them. "Where's Relena?!" he demanded of Duo as he reached up to seize the collar of his friend's jacket in his fist.
"I'm right here!" He heard her materialize over him a second after her voice which was probably best described as sounding in a state of controlled panic. Relena took Heero's hand off of Duo's collar and held it in her own, "We're inside the Capital Building, Heero." She now sounded like she was going to burst into tears, "You were shot in the shoulder, Duo pulled you inside."
"Were you hurt?!"
"N-no . . . I'm fine –" The rest of her sentence was cut off by a sudden flood of footsteps. There were voices trying to pull Relena away from him to get checked out by the medical personnel; she protested claiming she was fine.
"Don't listen to her." Heero practically growled from his spot on the floor where two other people were hovering over him, "I threw both of us onto the walkway, she must hit her head pretty hard, she probably needs an MRI."
"Heero, I'm fine, you're the one who's bleeding."
Beside him, Duo stifled a laugh but stopped abruptly as familiar and intimidating footsteps approached carrying with them an fasting talking and furious sounding voice.
". . . someone get Agent Chang on the line for me. I want the entire exterior of the building sealed off, the Crime Scene Unit is not to leave until they've covered every inch to the grounds within a 750 foot radius of where the shots came from. Don't just stand there, go tell them!"
Heero heard Une come to a stop just before him, he could just picture the look she had on her face, "Agent Maxwell, what the hell happened?"
Duo got to his feet, "Someone shot him, Commander."
Heero could almost hear her gritting her teeth, "I can see that! How did it happen?!"
"Commander," Wufei's voice suddenly appeared from no where and joined the conversation, "ma'am I just came from the Peacecraft residence and have something I need to discuss with and Agent Yuy immediately."
Une sighed, "Well it's going to have to wait, Agent Chang. Agent Yuy is in need of medical attention."
"I'm fine." Heero responded immediately and started to sit up, pushing back two of the medical staff as he did, "Let's find a conference room and –"
"Sir," one of the paramedics interrupted him, "you really should come back to HQ and get that cleaned up."
Heero leveled his gaze in what he was pretty sure was the direction of the paramedic, "Is this going to kill me?"
"N-no sir," he could practically hear the man recoil, "it was a through and through, but you've lost a lot of blood and –"
Heero reached for his belt and found his radio, "HQ, send Agent Po to the Capital Building with a medical kit for a patient. Tell her it's a level 6 clearance case." With that he got his feet, holding his throbbing shoulder.
"Relena?" She was by his side in an instant, "Can we use your office?"
"O-of course." He heard her remove her phone from her briefcase, "I'll call my secretary and have her clear the suite for us."
"Good," he put an arm on her back and began leading in her farther into the building, "let's go."
"Heero, don't you think we should wait for Sally so she can look at you?", she had flipped open her cell phone and was dialing it as they walked.
Heero smirked against the pain in his shoulder, "She'll meet us up there, and she's not coming to look at me, she's coming to examine you."
8:32AM – Private Office of the Foreign Minister of the Earth Sphere Unified Nation
Heero sat bare-chested on something that felt like Relena's desk chair. When she arrived, Sally had been confused and then furious with him for refusing medical treatment at the scene; it was only Une's polite request that had coaxed her into treating Heero in Relena's office. She had rigged up an IV drip for him and had bandaged his chest on the condition that he go get cleaned up at the medical division once they were done.
While she worked, Une filled her and Wufei in on what had happened to Heero. Sally was shocked that they had allowed him to continue on working completely blind, Wufei grunted in agreement.
"Yes," Une sounded frustrated, "I agree that it was a risky move, but it was necessary in order make Ms. Peacecraft less of a target."
"And obviously, it didn't work!" Relena's voice erupted from beside him sounding uncharacteristically angry, "We've needlessly put Heero in danger and all we've accomplished is to demonstrate that his presence is not going to scare these people away!" Heero reached out to put a hand on her arm in the hopes of calming her down; she stopped yelling but he could still feel her arm shaking under his touch.
Une sighed, "Yes, unfortunately they seem to be quite determined."
Duo snorted, "Pft, understatement of the year. Two close calls in less than five days? Yeah, I'd say this guy is pretty determined."
"Guys," Wufei corrected him and Heero heard the Chinese man step closer to the group, "this is what I wanted to explain to you Commander. Maxwell called me in this morning to oversee the Foreign Minister leaving her residence. After the report came in about the shots, I had the officers there check over the grounds." There was a rustling of paper like Wufei had spread something out across the desk, "Here, over by the maintenance shed, I found footprints, like someone had been waiting there."
"And they have a shot of the garage from there." Une concluded.
"Yeah, but not a clear one, see?" Wufei must have been showing Une and Duo the manor's blue prints, "They probably couldn't get a shot and called ahead to their cohort who was already waiting here."
"It makes sense that these guys would double up." Duo added, "So what do we do now?"
Une folded the papers back up again, "Ratchet up, Ms. Peacecraft's security, she'll need a double –"
"That's not enough." Heero cut off his Commander, "These guys, whoever they are, have gotten closer to killing Relena than anyone else ever has not once, but twice, in less than a week. Doubling up her security isn't going to be enough."
"Yuy's right." Wufei chimed in, "We need to put the Foreign Minister under lock down until we figure this out."
"Now wait a minute!" Heero heard Relena jump to her feet, "You don't get to just decide th –"
"But as head of your security I do." Heero interrupted her. He knew she was formulating an argument against him even as he spoke and raked a hand through his hair, "Could the rest of you give us a minute please?"
With little more than quiet agreements and stern warning from Sally, the other occupants of the room filed out. Heero waited until the door closed behind them before he turned toward Relena, "I know what you are going to say –"
"Then what's the point in arguing with me?" Relena had shifted into what she called her 'important voice'.
"Relena," he lifted his hand toward her and a second later she slipped hers into it. He pulled her closer so that she was sitting on the arm of the chair, "I told you last night that the one thing that scared me was the thought of something happening to you. Right now, I am very afraid."
"Heero, I –"
"Please listen to me." He urged her gently, "Someone is out there right now that wants you dead. They want to kill you so badly that they are taking risks that most terrorists would never dream of. They are being reckless and brazen but they are also being smarter than anyone else I've seen." He reached up to cup her cheek, "I can't protect you the way I normally can right now, I need you to help me."
Relena sighed, "And you think that locking me up in the manor is going help?"
"It's the most secure location we have." He pulled her face closer to his own and got ready to play his trump card, "I love you, I don't know what I'd do if something happened to you, so please, just until we can figure out who these people are . . ."
She paused, but he knew that she would not refuse him, "Alright . . . I'll call my staff and let them know that I'll be working from home for a while."
Heero's lips quirked into a small smile and he pulled Relena down into a gentle kiss, "Thank you."
Tuesday, March 17, AC 201, 3:31PM – Residence of the ESUN Foreign Minister, Foreign Minister's Private Office (DAY FIVE)
Duo scanned the computer screen in front of him.
Local Set $sd = EnvGet
Local Const $log = $sd & \
Local $oIE, $gogtext
He typed several commands and the screen spun into a flurry of numbers, letters, and symbols, the last of which read:
|/\/\ (_+()|\||\|/-\ /\/\|_|§|-| -/()|_||~ /\/\||\||) \/\/|+|-| |_|=-|=-+ |}
He stared at the text for a moment before recognizing it. "Heero!"
The man in question looked up from where he was seated across from his friend, "What?"
"Who the hell writes this kind of a system in ColdFusion and then puts the actual commands in l33t?"
"Yuy does apparently." Wufei quipped from his spot near the window.
Duo sighed and raked a hand through his bangs. After Wufei had said that someone had been by the maintenance shed, Heero had wanted to check the manor's security system . . . the only problem with this was that it was he and Wufei that were forced to do the actual checking and wading though Heero's extraordinarily intricate programming codes was a slow and frustrating process, "Man, this is the most unnecessarily complicated think I've ever seen in my life! How is anyone supposed to understand this?"
"They're not supposed to Duo, that's the point," Heero shook his head and picked up his cup of coffee. "Leet is hacker language but it's subjective, theoretically anyone who knew what they were looking at could read it, but they couldn't replicate the commands without knowing exactly how the original write typed the – ."
"Yeah, yeah, fine. Subjective equals protective; I get it." Duo waived off the Wing pilot and returned to the computer screen, "Hey, Wufei come look at this, man."
Wufei quickly joined him at the computer, where Duo point to a spot on the screen.
"What is it?" Heero knew he must have sounded a little anxious, but stopped himself from getting out of his seat.
"I'm not sure." Wufei responded in a distracted voice, "There's a repeating command on here that doesn't seem to actually do anything."
"It could just be an anomaly in the system," Duo offered. "Did you write a failsafe like that into the program?"
"No," Heero answered carefully, "nothing like that."
Wufei shrugged beside him, "Make of note of it, Maxwell. We'll check it out when we run the system scan tomorrow."
Duo gave him a mock salute, "Rodger that." He jotted the text down on the note pad next to him. But instead of looking back to the screen Duo found his eyes wondering to where Heero was sitting. He couldn't imagine what must have been going through his best friend's head at that moment; he himself could hardly believe what was happening. For the time being however the best they could do was to take every possible precaution. He and Wufei were rotating nights at the manor and Relena had agreed not to leave unless absolutely necessary. On top of that there was Heero's rather formidable security system to contend with. All of these things should have reassured him . . . but he just couldn't get the thought out of his mind that something ominous was looming on the horizon.
Sunday, March 22, AC 201, 7:56PM – Residence of the ESUN Foreign Minister, Kitchen (DAY TEN)
Relena stood from her seat and started to pick up the dishes, "Can I get you some tea, Wufei?"
"That would be nice, thank you," he answered her somewhat awkwardly. Relena smiled back at him and went to stove, dropping the dishes in the sink on her way. They had developed a routine of sorts over the past few days. Duo and Wufei switched off turns at the manor overseeing the usual contingent of Preventers officers; she insisted that whoever was on duty that night join them for dinner. Duo was in no way a shy guest, but Wufei was clearly uncomfortable with the hospitality.
Still, it was nice to have them there. It gave Heero a way to break up his day and so it gave her a little time not to worry about him as much. Une contacted her and Heero daily to give them an update. So far they still had very little to go off of, but she was confident that they were narrowing their field of suspects.
Relena filled the kettle and set it on the stove, before returning to her seat. Wufei and her boyfriend were already embroiled in a conversation about what sounded like the merits of fuel cells being used in short range space shuttles. She sat down and politely listened, trying to appear interested, (not that either of them noticed her), until the kettle started to whistle. The sound was almost a relief, but as soon as she started to pour their tea, the kitchen door swung open and a young Preventers officer entered.
"Agent Chang, I'm sorry to interrupt sir, but you asked me to get you if Agent Po called."
It could have been her imagination, but Relena was sure she saw Wufei blush as he stood from his seat and bustled out the door. Relena laughed as she carried hers and Heero's mugs to the table and set them down.
"What's so funny?"
Relena put two sugar cubes in her tea and watched them dissolve, "Not funny, just cute."
"A phone call is cute?" Heero sounded perplexed.
"Heero, come on, don't tell me you haven't noticed."
"Haven't noticed what?" She swore she could see his eyebrows wrinkle through the bandages.
Relena sighed in an exaggerated way, "Never mind."
But Heero was practically beside himself, "Never mind what?"
2:14AM - Residence of the ESUN Foreign Minister, Foreign Minister's Bedroom
Heero sat straight up in bed.
Something had woken him up, there had been a noise somewhere in their vicinity . . . something that would have caused him alarm . . .
He listened, staying perfectly still, his senses heightened to the point that even the tiniest of sounds would reach his ears. But the air was still, perfectly quiet. He could not say how long he waited, his body tense, before he was finally felt his muscles relax. However, just as he was about to lay down, the sound reached his ears again, much louder this time, so much so that he heard Relena shift in the bed next to him as she sat up.
"Heero, what was –"
Her voice was drown out by the sudden intense buzzing sound that filled the air. Relena said it even as he thought it, "The alarm!"
Heero sprang into action, rolling over to the side of the bed he pulled open the nightstand drawer, and extracted the two small pistols he kept there. Even as he did, he heard the sound of the steel plates scrapping against the window edges as they started to close over the floor to ceiling glass panes. This was bad. Someone had set off the alarm in such a way that it was sealing the residential wing of the manor shut which meant they were already in the house.
"Relena," she gasped slightly at the sound of his voice and his hand grabbing hers, "we have to get down stairs."
He pulled her across the bed, hauling her to her feet as they went, and started in the direction of the door. "Heero . . . you don't think someone actually . . ."
Her voice trailed off, he could hear the frightened tone in it and knew immediately what she was thinking, because it was the same thing that he was: could whoever it was that was trying to kill her actually have broken into the manor? He lifted his hand out in front of him and found the door knob, but even as his hand closed around it, he realized something was wrong.
It was too . . . quiet. There weren't any sounds from the hallway that should have been steadily filling with Preventers . . .
"Stop," he put a hand out to catch Relena and pushed her to the side of the door before slowly opening it. Nothing, there was nothing in the hallway. Heero took a deep breath, he didn't want to, but he didn't have a choice. "Relena," he reached for her hand again, "listen to me. Get down as low as you can and very, very slowly, I need to look out into the hall and tell me what you see."
"Okay," he could still hear the apprehension in her voice, no doubt his seemingly odd actions were only making it worse. She knelt on the floor, and a moment later, he heard her stand again.
"Heero, the doors at the end of the hall that lead to the stair case are closed."
He felt his stomach immediately twist into a knot, "Closed how?"
She took a breath, "The steel panels have closed over them," she clenched his hand, "Heero, what's going on?"
He couldn't stay and explain it to her for the moment, yanking her in the direction of her office, talking as they went, "I don't know." He pushed open the door and set off toward where her desk was, "Listen, I need you to check the security system for me on the computer."
They reached her desk and she sat down in the chair, "I, I don't know how –"
"Just tell me what it says," Heero answered as he moved over to the office's windows, quickly discovering that the steel panels had closed over them as well.
Relena was typing, he heard the computer beep, accepting her password, and then beep again, as if denying her access to something, "It . . . it says . . . there's a map of the manor on the screen . . . and the perimeters of the residential wing are all blinking red . . ." her voice broke off and he heard her pick something up, then practically drop it back onto the desk, "Heero . . . the phone is dead . . ."
His mind started reeling. "This isn't right. If someone had broken into the manor the system should have sealed itself off in such a way that we could still get out. There's no protocol for it to seal off only the residential wing." He raked a hand through his hair, "They've cut the phones, like they did this intentionally so that . . ." A horribly realization struck him.
"They're locking us in with them . . ." Relena finished his sentence.
Even as the words left her mouth, Heero lunged in her direction, found her shoulder, and practically dragged her around the desk, before steering them back into her bedroom. Relena gasped behind him as they burst into her bedroom, "Relena listen, these people are already here, they'll break down the door any second now." He found the door to her massive walk-in closet and pulled her inside, pushing aside some of the clothes on the rack, and throwing her behind them. "No matter what you hear, stay here."
"Heero, no you can't –", her voice broke as she spoke.
"I'm not going to argue with you right now." He pulled the bandages from over his eyes, but the world around him remained dark because of the protective lenses Dr. Addy had surgically implanted over his eyes. Heero took the extra gun from the waist band of his sweatpants, and pressed it into her hand.
He felt her resist, but he seized her shoulders, pulling her close and even though he couldn't see it, he knew that their faces where only inches apart, "Relena, please."
He heard her voice catch in her throat, "I – I can't just –"
Heero cut her off, sealing his lips over hers. Something wet touched his check and he realized that Relena was crying. He broke away from her, perhaps a little too abruptly, he pulled her against him "Relena, I love you. Please . . . no matter what you hear . . ." She stifled a small sob against his chest, and he finally released her, pushing her back behind the clothes again, and pulled them shut over her. "Shoot anyone who comes through the door," he told her firmly as he bolted back toward the door and back into the bedroom.
There were footsteps out in the hall now, he could hear them as he rounded the bed, and crouched behind it, with his back toward the plate covered windows so that he was facing the door. Heero clicked the safety off his gun and leveled it in the direction of the door. He would have to try to pick off as many of them as possible and hope that he could hold them off long enough until someone got there to help Relena . . .
The doorknob clicked, Heero braced himself and realigned his aim toward the sound of the door, which was now being pushed open. Someone's foot made contact with the wood floor and that was all he needed. He squeezed the trigger, firing off three shots in the direction of the sound. Shouting erupted from the place he had just fired into, someone hit the floor, there were two other voices, yelling back and forth, scrambling as they tried to find where the shots had come from. The screams of the man he had shot made it impossible to tell exactly where the other two men were.
Footsteps were approaching, one of them shouted his location to the other. He fired straight in front of him, but before he could get a second shot off he felt a thick body crush his own against the floor. He struggled, and his hand connected with what felt like someone's face but before he could make another move a different pair of arms seized him from behind.
They dragged him across the floor, flipped him onto his back, and tied his hands, all the while shouting back and forth to each other.
"God damnit, I think that bastard broke my nose."
"Yeah, well you're in better shape than Miller over there."
The first man swore under his breath, "Go over there and check him, then look for the girl."
"She's not here!" Heero barked at them, knowing it was hopeless, but it was worth a shot.
The men both ignored him, "Jesus . . . yeah he's dead man. That son of a bitch got him right through the heart."
"Just move him out of the way, so the boss doesn't trip over him."
Heero felt himself recoil. These men were not doing this on their own they were working for someone; that was why they hadn't killed him yet. In the back of his mind, he heard the other man rooting around Relena's expansive room, it was only a matter of time until they found Relena and there was nothing he could do to stop them. In the meantime, the other man was calling someone who could only be their boss.
"Yeah, we got him, the girl's got to be around here somewhere. Kowalski's looking for her but it's safe to come in." He paused, no doubt receiving instructions, "You got it, boss." Heero heard the man flip his phone shut before he yelled in Kowalski's direction, "Boss will be here in a minute, find the girl quick."
Even as he spoke the words, Heero heard the closet door pulled open and seconds later, Relena's sounds of struggle as she was dragged into the room. After a moment he heard her forced to the ground beside him.
"Heero, are you alright?" She sounded panicked but at the same time slightly relieved. Why hadn't she at least tried to shoot the men with the gun he had left her?
"I'm fine, Relena just –"
"Enough with the chatting you two." The man shoved him in the back, causing him to fall forward.
"Don't touch him!" Relena's tone had changed to desperate now, "There's no reason for you to hurt him, you've got me now, so –"
"And what is that makes you think that you're the one I was after, Miss Darlian?"
Heero felt his head snap up as a cold, female voice broke the air. His mind kicked into recall mode; he had heard that voice before, he knew this person, he was sure of it, who was –
Beside him, Relena gasped, her voice incredulous, "Sylvia Noventa . . .?"
Heero felt his face blanch. No, it couldn't be . . . Sylvia Noventa, General Noventa's granddaughter . . . the girl he had offered his life to . . .
"Forgive me, I forgot, you go by Peacecraft now," her footsteps entered the bedroom and walked over to where he and Relena were being held. "Well then how about we make it simple and just go with: 'Hello, Relena'." She stopped in front of them, "I'm very sorry to have dragged you into all of this. Especially considering that we haven't seen each other in so long. I didn't mean to be rude, but after the war and the dissolution of the Alliance, well there was hardly an opportunity for the two of us to meet at one our family's gatherings."
"What the hell are you doing here, Sylvia?!" There was a noise that sounded like Relena had tried to get to her feet only to be forced down.
"Don't touch her!" Heero lunged forward, only to be pulled back as well.
"Yes, yes," Sylvia spoke in a droning voice, "the beloved body guard and boyfriend rushing to the aid of his princess. Gunther, gag him, I don't want to hear another word from his forked tongue. And Kowalski, go check the computer in the next room, Preventers will no doubt be breaking down those doors. " She barked the last sentence as an order and a rough piece of cloth was shoved into his mouth. "Relena, did you know that your boyfriend and I have met before?"
Relena did not seem in the mood to answer her questions though, "What do you want with Heero, Sylvia?!"
There was a sound that Heero instantly recognized as the safety being clicked off a gun and a moment later Sylvia answered, "I want to make him pay for what he's done." Her voice was no longer perfectly calm, it was crazed sounding but still some how restrained.
"Pay for what?! Sylvia, what are you talking about?"
"Do you know why your boyfriend came to me six years ago, Relena?" Heero heard her step closer to them and couldn't help but let his head fall against his chest . . . he knew what Sylvia was going to say, and Relena would no doubt remember these events as soon as Sylvia spoke, he bit down on the gag in his mouth . . . "This son of a bitch killed my grandfather and took God knows how many other innocent lives!"
"Sylvia, you . . . you can't possibly . . ." Relena sounded despondent.
"Of course I can possibly, Relena!" She threw something against the ground as she spoke, probably of frustration, "You have no idea what he's done!" Sylvia's voice was suddenly much closer to him and coming from where Relena sat, as though she had leaned down next to her face. "After he killed my grandfather, he came to me and offered me his life as repayment for his crimes! Do you know what I did?!"
"You let him go!" Relena yelled back, surprisingly forceful, "You let him go because you knew killing him would be wrong!"
"Yes, then it would have been!" He heard her stand up, "I let him go because I knew that killing him would have been kinder than forcing him to continue to live his miserable existence. For years he never crossed my mind, I thought him to be dead, no doubt killed by the war or some other aspect of his wretched life. But then," she stamped the floor under her foot, "a year ago I watched you being sworn into office as the Foreign Minister, Relena. And who do I see at your side?! The same vile man that I assumed to be long dead! Not only was he alive, he was working for the government and dating the Foreign Minister!" From the sound of her voice she turned away from them, "I couldn't allow this."
"So you've been stalking Heero for months now?" Relena seemed calmer now, "You're the one who attacked the convoy last week? Heero was the one standing next to the car that you blew up, not me. And then you shot at him again when we were going into the Capital Building, he was the only one that was actually injured by a bullet."
"Yes, and fortunately for me, no one even considered that you might not be the target." There was the familiar sound of a gun being cocked back, and Heero heard Sylvia turn back in his and Relena's direction, "My men were beginning to grow skeptical that we would ever be able to corner you. When I suggested that we attack you in the manor, they were hesitant, but aside from the excessive amount I'm paying them they have their own stake in this." She stopped in front of them, and when she spoke Heero could tell she was just in front of his face, "It was surprisingly easy to find people that hate you just as much as I do, Yuy."
"Sylvia, please, you can't do this." Relena's voice was even but desperate, "Things have changed, the war is over, the world is different. Heero is different now. He works for Preventers, he's trying to make up for everything that –"
"Stop," Sylvia cut Relena off in a firm voice and Heero heard her move toward where she sat, "yo-you knew?" She sounded incredulous, "You knew this whole time?!" There was a scuffling noise and Relena gasped, Heero reflexively lunged for her, but was held in place by the man called Gunther, "You knew what he was and you still . . .? H-how? How could you . . . how could you just accept this? How could you fall in love with that man? How could you go to bed with . . . with a monster like that?!"
"He is not –"
"And you're just as bad as he is!"
He heard the gun cocked back again and reacted. With a sudden burst, he wrenched himself out of Gunther's grasp, and pulled the gag out of his mouth with his still bare hands. He had barely made it a step before Gunther tackled him from behind, coming down hard on his knee and sending a shooting pain up his leg, but Heero ignored it, as well as the fact that he was being dragged back to the floor, "Let Relena, go Sylvia!" Gunther slammed his face into the floor, but he kept talking, "You said it yourself, she doesn't have anything to do with this. Just let her go and I'll do what you want."
"Heero, stop –"
"Stay out of this, Relena." He didn't mean to sound so harsh, but he had to get her away from here. "Let her go and I promise, I won't fight you."
A heavy silence blanketed the room as though Sylvia was weighing her options. Heero felt himself tense; he had never doubted that he would give his life for Relena without a second thought and this fact remained unchanged but suddenly all he could think was that . . . he didn't want her to watch him die.
This didn't seem to bother Sylvia though, who must have motioned to Gunther, because Heero found himself being hauled to his feet once more and moments later felt the cool metal of a gun pressed against the side of his head. He waited for his life to begin flashing before his eyes or whatever was supposed to happen, but instead all he could hear were Relena's cries as she begged Sylvia for his life and all he could see in his mind's eye was what she must have looked like at that moment.
"You can let him go, Gunther." Sylvia's voice was stone cold now as she pressed the gun harder against his temple. But at the same time, Gunther let go of his arms and just then did he realize that he knee was in far worse shape than he had guess; it gave out under him almost immediately and out of reflex he tried to swing his arms to the side to catch himself, but they connected with something else, probably bed's footboard, before they could find the floor, and Heero found himself splayed out across the cold surface. Relena's concerned voice barely reached his ears when Gunther pounced on him yet again.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?!" He grabbed him by the crook of his arm and lifted him into a standing position, "You lost you murdering son of a bitch, take it like a man and –"
"Wait a second," Sylvia now sounded slightly perplexed as she approached him, "something's not right, what's wrong with you?" Heero didn't answer, and she growled in frustration, "Hold him there for a moment."
There was a cool flutter of air on his face, but by the time he realized that Sylvia must have been waving her hand in front of his eyes, it was too late, she had figured it out.
"You're blind?" To his surprise she laughed a bit, "This whole time you've been blind?"
He heard Gunther let out a astonished sounding breath behind him, but Sylvia continued talking, "Unbelievable, how long . . . it was when my men attacked the convoy wasn't it? You've been blind ever since –"
But her sentence was cut off by a sudden noise from the front of the room; the office doors burst open and Sylvia's third man, Kowalski, practically ran into the bedroom.
"Ms. Noventa, those Preventers people got here a hell of a lot faster than we thought. They're cutting through the door over the stairs as we speak, I'd guess we've got about five minutes until –"
There was a flurry of noise, Sylvia yelled for the two men to 'Grab her' and before Heero knew what was happening, Relena had thrown herself against him, pushing him against the foot of the bed, and swinging her leg onto his lap. There was something hard against the inside of her calf and he immediately realized what she had done with the gun he had given her. He seized it, she threw herself beside him and yelled, "Two o'clock!" as she fell.
That was all the instruction he needed. Heero fired the gun without thinking, getting off four shots before there was a yell and the sound of a body hitting the floor. Relena reached over and put her hand on his arm, guiding it to his left. "You've got Sylvia."
"And I've got you." Kowalski's tense voice rang out.
"He's not lying, Heero." To his relief, Sylvia sounded the tiniest bit frightened, "He's got your girlfriend square between the eyes."
"And he's got you dead on, Sylvia." Relena's voice was surprisingly fierce, "How willing are you to risk that between the two of us we can't follow your every footstep?"
He could almost hear Sylvia tense at Relena's words; beside him she shifted against his body, steadying her hand against his arm, to their far left, Kowalski took a step toward them.
"Don't move!" Sylvia barked to him. "Well then," her voice was calmer, "I believe this is what the old westerns would call a 'Mexican Standoff'.
"Take one step and I'll shot you," Heero's tone was deadly and it seemed to register with Sylvia.
"And the moment you do, Relena will die." Heero blinked, even though it did practically nothing for him. Kowalski had said reinforcements were almost here, he just had to keep them talking for a few more minutes. "Are you really willing to risk her life Heero?"
"Are you will to risk yours, Sylvia?" Relena countered her. Relena was right, they just had to wait her out. Kowalski would have to shoot Relena before he had a clear shot at the person actually holding the gun, and by that time, he would have already killed Sylvia . . . the question that remained was just how loyal Kowalski was to his employer.
"How can you stand by him?" Sylvia sounded disgusted again, "How can you be willing to die for someone like that?"
"Probably the same way that you could willing to kill him." Relena's voice did not waiver as she spoke.
"Boss, we've gotta make a move here." Kowalski was sounding more and more apprehensive.
Relena, however continued to speak over him, "You went through all of this trouble to find Heero and kill him and for what?"
"For his sins!" She sounded enraged now, almost too engrossed in justifying herself to remember the situation she was in.
"And then what?!" The volume of Relena's voice nearly matched that of Sylvia's and Heero realized she was probably hoping to drown out any sound of approaching footsteps, "If he dies does that bring back your grandfather?! Does it make up for the people that you killed trying to get to him? Does his death justify your actions?! Does it take everything else back? Are you redeemed?!"
"Shut-up, Relena! I didn't want to kill you, but I swear that –"
"Yes, Sylvia, add me to your body count!" He could feel Relena tense beside him, "Kill both of us and become everything you've said you hated."
"Boss, outside –"
"He's a monster!"
"Then so are you!"
She took a step toward then, her voice almost inhuman, "I am not like him!!!"
At that moment the bedroom door burst open. Heero heard the two intruders whip around in the direction of the door, seconds later four gun shots pieced the air, followed by two thuds against the floor.
The room filled with noise. Footsteps began to cover the floor, Relena threw her arms around his neck and sobbed into his chest, there was a hand on his shoulder, and Wufei was lifting both of them to their feet and helping him over to the edge of the bed so he could sit, Duo came in over his radio, demanding to speak to Heero.
More footsteps and voices filtered into the room asking questions, demanding information, and offering assistance. But over all of the sound and sensation that pervaded the air, he could still make out one tiny, fading voice though the chaos.
"He deserves to die . . . he's a monster . . ." The voice coughed and as the emergency medical teams shouted back and forth to each other, Sylvia Noventa breathed her last breath.
Friday, March 27, AC 201, 10:25AM – Saint Mary's Hospital, Optometry Unit (DAY FOURTEEN)
Heero shifted uncomfortably on the table beneath him. The fact that he had some sort of ridiculous contraption around his head was bad enough, but in addition to that the fact that he was being forced to wait in the hospital room in only a paper gown was adding insult to injury. The four days since Sylvia Noventa tried to kill him had passed relatively quietly. He'd suffered a sprained knee which would have to be in a split for a few weeks but was otherwise uninjured. Relena, thankfully, was perfectly unharmed and had returned to her usual routine on Tuesday. Duo kept him company at the manor during the day, but he was also allowed some time to himself to think . . . and his thoughts had kept drifting back to the things Sylvia had said that night . . .
The hospital room door opened and footsteps he quickly recognized as Relena's entered hoped up on the table next to him. "Dr. Addy will be right in. He said he wants to take one more look at your eyes with those," she tapped the thing attached to his head, (so that's what it was for), "and then they'll do the procedure."
"Hn." Heero sighed and found Relena's hand, giving it a gentle squeeze, "You know if you want to run screaming for the hills now would be the time."
She elbowed him in the side, "I'll ask Dr. Addy if he can do something about your sense of humor while he's poking around in there." Heero smiled to himself and Relena rested her head against his shoulder, "Heero, what did I say to you two weeks ago?"
"That no matter how much of a stubborn pain in the ass I am and regardless of the fact that I don't deserve your unconditional love and devotion, you're apparently suffering from some sort of mental illness and will continue to give it to me."
She laughed a little into his shoulder, "Yeah something like that."
The door opened again, and Dr. Addy's voice reached his ears, "Well, Agent Yuy, all ready to go I see." He stopped in front of the table, and Relena stepped back onto the floor to give the doctor room to work, "Then let's get one more look at these," he pulled up a chair and pulled Heero's head closer to him, "and we can get to work."
Saturday, March 28, AC 201, 12:09PM – Saint Mary's Hospital, Recovery Ward
Heero felt himself let out a long breath, a pair of warm hands closing around his as he did. "Heero, wake up."
"Relena?" he barely recognized his own voice, it sounded like it belonged to a man coming off a three day bender.
"It's me, Heero." She ran her hand up his arm until it came to rest on his shoulder, "Can you open your eyes?"
Heero felt his head snap up, suddenly remembering where he was and what had happened. He slowly lifted and arm and rubbed his forehead, as if to warm up the muscles around his eyes. This was it. He took a deep breath with what seemed to require a great deal of strength forced his eyelids open.
At first he was met by a grayish haze, but slowly the world around him came into focus eventually revealing Relena's face hovering over his own, her features etched with concern.
He couldn't help the smile that spread across his lips and reached up to cup her face, gracefully bringing it down so that he could press his lips against hers.
Saturday, April 4, AC 201, 7:47PM – Parking Lot Outside of the Residence of Preventers Agent Heero Yuy
Relena sighed as she got out of her car. This week had been hell. Heero had insisted on returning to work as soon as possible, which was understandable to an extent; he must have been bored out of his mind. He said he had more than enough paperwork stacked up to keep him busy while he finished his recovery, but he still escorted her to and from her office everyday.
She, in the meantime, had been locked up with Une for much of the week doing damage control. Preventers would release its official report on the incident that took place at her mansion on Monday. Relena shook her head as she grabbed her purse and closed the car door behind her. She didn't like it, but sadly she and Une had had to come up with a cover-up as to what really happened that night. As far as the world was concerned, Sylvia Noventa had been visiting her childhood friend and had become an innocent victim of three crazed men who broke into the Foreign Minister's home and tried to kill her. Relena had fought Une on issuing such a report until Une reminded her that revealing Sylvia's true motives would expose Heero, and possibly the other four, as Gundam pilots, something they just couldn't allow.
Relena started up the stairs and into doorway of the building. She hadn't told Heero about this yet and he knew that he wouldn't like the fact that she and Une were covering up for him, but it had to be done and besides that . . . Sylvia Noventa had suffered enough already.
Relena entered the elevator and pressed her floor number. As the car started to move she thought back over the past week. Heero had thrown himself into work and after two weeks of spending nearly every waking moment together, it was strange for him not to be constantly present. She had hoped that they could spend all of today together, but to her surprise, Heero had told her he had some things to do during the day and instead asked her to come over to his apartment for dinner that evening.
The elevator reached his floor and Relena stepped out, turned left, and quickly found herself in front of Heero's door. She had barely knocked on it when the door was flung open and a pair of hands seized her around the waist and pulled her inside.
Relena let out a sharp gasp and dropped her purse as she was pressed up against a hard body and something silky and dark was wrapped around her head so that it covered her eyes. The arm around her waist tightened while the other knotted the piece of cloth behind her head, and just as she was about to scream, a familiar voice whispered in her ear.
"Heero," she breathed, almost relieved, "what are you doing? I can't see . . ."
"That's the point." With that he spun her around and before she knew it, he had thrown her over his shoulder and was walking toward the back of his apartment. Relena opened her mouth to protest, but it only came out as a girlish giggle. She couldn't keep track of where they were going and it was only when he deposited her onto a soft surface did she realize that they were in his bedroom.
Heero was on top of her immediately, pinning her body against the mattress. He sealed his mouth over hers in heated kiss, sucking on her lower lip before breaking away to trail kisses along her jawbone, finally stopping when he came to her earlobe, which he ran his tongue the edge of before taking it into his mouth.
- - - - -
Relena sighed contentedly and reached her arm up behind her back to undo the blindfold. As it fell away, she found Heero's eyes staring at her intently. She smiled and tossed the black silk scarf onto his chest, "Okay, so explain to me what was so bad about this whole being blind thing?"
He favored her with a rare chuckle and pulled her small form onto his chest. Relena rested her elbows on either side of his head, propping herself up so that she could look down at his face. He was beautiful, how did he not see how beautiful he was? She traced her fingers along his temple, pausing as they came to the edges of his eyes. Tiny little white scars marred the skin there, like veins moving out to the sides of his face; a permanent reminder of what he had almost lost.
She lifted her eyes to lock with his own. The deep blue orbs never ceased to mesmerize her, it was like looking into the sky, just before dark. She brought her hands up to trace he eyelids, and Heero closed his eyes in response, enjoying the feel of her delicate touch. Finally satisfied, she gently kissed each of the closed lids and dipped her head to his chest, nestling herself against him.
Relena sighed, "I would have missed those."
Heero let out a long breath and tightened his grip around her. "I would have missed seeing you with them."
She smiled and ran a hand over his chest; as she did, she couldn't help but notice the tenseness she found there, "Heero, is something wrong?"
"No." He answered simply. She was about to ask again, when Heero suddenly sat up, taking her with him as he repositioned both of them so they were leaning against the headboard. "Relena . . . I," he raked a hand through his hair and sighed in a defeated way, "I haven't been able to stop thinking about what Sylvia said that night."
Relena felt her heart sink into her stomach. This subject had always been somewhat of an open wound for Heero, and no doubt Sylvia had rubbed a good bit of salt into it. She had been wondering how much of the horrible things that woman had said Heero had taken to heart . . . and apparently the answer was a considerable amount of it. "Heero, she a bitter, crazed woman looking for someone to blame her troubles on."
"But I did cause them." He let his arm fall to her side, "Everything she said was true. I killed thousands of people during the war. What right do I have to just continue my life as if none of it ever happened?"
Relena pushed herself off of his chest so that she could sit facing him, "Heero, what are your parent's names?"
Heero just stared at her for a moment, obviously confused by her question, "You know that I don't know that . . ."
"Well then surely you must at least know what day you were born."
His confusion deepened, "Relena . . .?"
"Where did you go to elementary school? Who was your best friend growing up? What was the best Christmas present you ever got?"
He blanched at her, clearly shocked by the questions. Relena locked eyes with him, "What was your real name, Heero?"
He closed his eyes and shook his head, "I – I don't . . ."
Relena reached up and lift his face with her hand, "Don't you think that you've suffered enough? You can't punish yourself forever for a life that you never wanted in the first place."
Heero closed his eyes again and let his head fall against his chest, "Have I been punished? What makes me any different from Sylvia Noventa?"
She took his hand and laced her fingers through his, "You've move on with your life. You chose to protect and live in the world you fought to create." Relena felt her brow furrow, "People like Sylvia, they can't let the past go and so they waste away in it."
Heero sighed and pulled Relena against him again, crushing her against his chest, "I want to live to make up for what I've done."
"You have been." Relena lifted her hand to place it over where his heart beat beneath is chest, "You're a good man, Heero. You are a kind, selfless person and the rest of the world is lucky to have you on their side."
He smiled against her hair and bent down to kiss her once more before they settled back under the covers and drifted off to sleep.