The plot bus ran me the hell over during my reading week vacation, but unfortunately my dear laptop was in the shop again so I couldn't type this up until now. This story is completely separate from everything else I've written. It'll be primarily 1xR, with other canon couples making appearances.

This is going to be a dark story, for the most part. I'm making it M rated for now, I may bump it down once the plot gets a little more fixated in my mind, but at this point there's going to be strong language, violence and the possibility of lemons/limes. You're forewarned.

Yes, to those who are wondering, Safe In Your Shadow is going to be updated twice this week!

Enjoy, and please review! I love your critiques and comments.

Chapter 1

"You don't want to be here, do you?" The doctor looked over her glasses at him, pausing in her writing.

Heero didn't see the point in being dishonest. "No," he said, leaning back in the too-tall armchair and crossing his arms, "I don't."

The doctor crossed and uncrossed her legs, a dark smile creeping across her features. "This isn't the first time something like this has happened to you, is it?" She expected a glare, a scoff; any reaction at all would have been typical, yet the man sitting across from her stayed silent, closing his eyes.

Nothing like this had ever happened to him before.

"I mean, this can't be the first time you've been in therapy," she continued, hoping to finally gain some foothold, some tiny piece of personal information. He looked at her and shrugged slightly, and the doctor exhaled through her nose lightly. "You know that here, in this file," she said, picking it up off her lap and shaking it slightly, "is all the information that your Commander could give me on you. There's a lot of things in here that suggest you should have gotten help long before me. Why didn't you?"

Heero reopened his eyes, staring at her. "I don't need help," he said with finality.

"Oh, you don't? Because a team of experts along with your coworkers seem to think you do," replied the red-haired woman, raising an eyebrow.

"They're incorrect," he said again, his voice sharp.

"Are they?" the doctor said quietly. "Would the Foreign Minister have ended up nearly dead at the opposite end of the city if they were wrong?"

Heero closed his eyes, his brow furrowing.

"Get out!" she screamed at him, her voice hoarse, eyes watery and red, cheeks inflamed and wet with tears. She struck out at him, the heels of her hands pushing into his chest, knocking him off balance. He tried to catch himself on the side table but slipped, knocking over the lamp. It shattered on the hardwood floor.

"Get out, now!" she yelled again, coming after him, pointing toward the door. He scrambled to his feet, grabbing her right hand as it aimed to hit him, pushing her back. She stumbled, glaring at him; tears were still pouring down her face.

"Leave, please," she finally gritted out, her voice low.

"Relena, I'm not leaving my own house," he said slowly, trying to calm her. He stood up, reached out to take her hand, but she pulled it away from him sharply.

"Don't touch me." Her voice was a growl, her blue eyes deliberately looking anywhere but at his face. "Don't ever touch me again." She walked around him, grabbing her coat.

"Relena, don't," Heero said, following her as she walked into the hallway and pulled her long green coat on.

"Do not tell me what to do," she said, her hand on the door. "You need to leave this city. Leave. I don't want to see you ever again."

She flung the door open, stepped out and slammed it in his face, the cool fall breeze sweeping in and adding to the chill of her words.

"Heero?" The doctor asked, and the young man became aware of his present once more. "You are required to at least tell me what happened." Standing, Heero startled the doctor, stepping away from his chair. "Mr. Yuy, you cannot leave yet!"

"Yes, I can," he said, his back to her as he pulled on his jacket. Pointing to the clock, he said, "our time is up," opening and closing the door behind him. Exiting the office, he walked as quickly as he could to the front of the medical arts building, praying no one, including the doctor, the Commander, or his 'coworkers' tried to stop him.

A familiar voice called his name just as he entered the lobby and he paused, turning. "Heero, wait," Trowa said, standing up out of a waiting chair and catching up to him. "You should know that Une wants to conduct a formal investigation. The police wanted to get involved, but she said it was our jurisdiction because of what happened to her." The taller man paused, eyes narrowing slightly. "You should tell them what you know. Everyone already knows Relena wasn't there for no reason. The fact that you're here at all proves that you could help."

Heero shook his head, stepping toward the door again. His heart was pounding in his chest as Trowa said, "You should know… she hasn't woken up yet." Grimacing, Heero pushed open the front door, stepping out into the rainy outside air. The tinted glass door closed behind him and he paused, looking up in the direction of where Relena Darlian, the Foreign Minister, lay unconscious, before turning around and running toward his car.

Opening the door and throwing himself inside, he turned over the ignition and peeled out of the parking lot, driving into the city, ignoring the speed limit, the vibrating drone of his cell phone in the seat next to him, and the thrumming of his pulse in his ears. The phone stopped, briefly, before resuming its dulled ring, and Heero grasped at it blindly as he focused on the road, his windshield wipers moving at full force as he sped through traffic, ignoring the irritated horns and gestures of the other drivers. Finally he grabbed the phone, slamming it against the wheel and ordering it into speaker mode.

"Don't hang up," Duo's voice said, and Heero growled at it, tossing the phone aside. "Look, dude, this is not gonna end well for you if you don't cooperate, and you know that." The other man's voice paused, a small sigh heard. "You're going to just run, aren't you?" Again, Heero had no response, continuing to drive, coming to a sharp stop at a red light. "What happens when… if she wakes up?"

"I don't know," Heero whispered, his irritation momentarily dropping.

"What?" Duo asked, snapping him back to reality.

"As if it fucking matters!" Heero barked, taking off from the light. A few blocks later he pulled into a parking garage, turning off the engine.

"Look, man. You were the last person she was with; we all know that. Once Une confirms that, it's all over. We're gonna have to come after you." Heero sighed, slouching until his head rested on the steering wheel. "You can't keep running from this forever."

Heero grabbed the phone, his bag and his keys out of the ignition, holding the phone to his head with his shoulder as he locked the vehicle, closing the door behind him. The sound of his dress shoes echoed through the concrete garage, the only other sound the rain pouring down just outside. He put his key into the door to the complex and opened it, closing it behind him.

"We need to know who did this to her, Heero," Duo finally said, his voice pained. "You want to know just as bad as the rest of us. We can find out faster if we work together." Heero scoffed, climbing the dimly lit staircase. "Don't laugh, you ass-hat. I know you like the think you're the god of detective work or something, but this isn't a fucking joke." Heero stopped, reaching his floor. "She could die, Heero. It's been three days and she still hasn't woken up."

"I know," he said, walking up to his door and unlocking the door. "I know," he repeated, entering and closing the door behind him. It had been three days since he'd been back to his small apartment.

"Just help us, Heero," Duo said quietly. "Without you, we can really only guess. If she does wake up, the press is going to go nuts over this. You've gotta help us out, or all we can do is just guess."

Heero rubbed his free hand over his face, putting his bag down. "I can't, Duo," he said, switching ears as he shrugged off his wet jacket.

"Why the fuck not?" Duo retorted, angry. "If you don't, whoever did this could get away!"

"I don't know anything!" Heero yelled back, walking into his kitchen and turning on the light. The bright light exacerbated his growing headache and he dimmed it quickly.

"Heero, if there's one thing you're not, it's a good fucking liar. We're meeting tomorrow at my place. If you're not there, we'll go on without you." The line disconnected and Heero tossed the phone onto his counter, turning on his kettle. He leaned down, putting his head in his hands.

"You're such an idiot," he said to the empty air, rubbing his temples with his fingers. His brain struggled for a few moments as he moved over his options, his one hand moving to turn off the electric kettle as it whistled next to him. Standing, Heero turned to the cabinet, looking for tea.

She was everywhere. Her favorite teas were stacked nearly on the left side of the cupboard, leeching out their scents of chai, spice and fruits. Grabbing a box indiscriminately, Heero slammed the cupboard closed, grabbed a mug from the sink-side drying rack and put them back on the counter, pouring in the hot water. Taking the hot drink in his hand, he walked into his living room.

Her dark grey sweater still lay across the arm of the sofa, left behind after a weekend visit. A painting she had bought him, a landscape, hung above that sofa, taunting him. Heero walked away from the kitchen to the central hallway, ignoring the remains of the broken lamp, his handprint on the glass top of the table. The hallway was dark, soothing his aching brain and aching mind as he opened the door to his bedroom, closing the door behind him.

The room still smelled of her perfume, the bed still rumpled from where she had laid down next to him only a few nights previous. He put the tea down on his bedside table and turned his back on her side of the room, continuing to ignore her clothes in the drawers, her shoes on the floor, her smell in the air. It was dark as night inside, the curtains she had bought blotting out whatever light strained through the heavy clouds outside.

Looking at the small set of drawers, he opened the top one and reached inside, pulling out a laptop computer. Opening it on his lap and typing furiously, he quickly looked up the attending doctor for Relena's emergency.

The call connected slowly; dread pooled in Heer's stomach as he waited for it to connect.

"Hello?" Sally Po's voice sounded through the speakers into the dark, empty room, sounding tired and disrupted. "Hello?" she asked again, wakefulness coming on slowly. Heero heard a voice in the background and rustling before Sally spoke again, hushed. "I know why you're calling, but I can't discuss this with you and you know that. She's in terrible shape, Heero."

He stayed silent, waiting.

"Heero, I don't know what's going on here, but this is all very… I mean, no one even knew you were here." She swallowed saliently, struggling. "Are you the father?"

He knew she'd already made her assumptions regardless of what he answered, so he opted for continued silence, shifting the laptop off his legs and onto the bed as he laid back, staring at the ceiling.

"I thought so," Sally said quietly. "She's not awake yet. She may not come around for weeks, and by that time whoever did this could be long gone. If it's just some petty criminal, they have to have seen the news by now and know what they did; if it was a bigger problem, they'll be covering themselves by now. We need all the help we can get."

"I know," Heero said involuntarily, wincing as Sally inhaled quickly in response.

"She needs your help, Heero, whether she makes it through this or not." There was no question in the doctor's voice now, her tone resolute. "I'll see you tomorrow," she said, and Heero remained on the line, waiting for her to terminate it as she waited for him.

"I'm doing everything I can to save them both, Heero, but there's only so much…" Sally trailed off, emotion blocking her words. "You know her wishes better than me, better than any of us. What am I supposed to do? What would she want?"

Heero reached over and slammed the laptop shut, plunging the room into utter darkness and silence.