Authors: Christy and Ash
Pairings: 1x2, 5x6x13, 3x4, Une x Walker... more later maybe
Warnings: Major AU, language, yaoi
Disclaimer: There ain’t a star out there that could make these boys
ours, much is the pity. Please keep that in mind. Thank you!
C&C: Feedback makes the world a happier place! Christy at firstname.lastname@example.org !
Notes: Suspend all disbelief! This is a 'what if Treize was
misguided, not really a bad guy' thing. So, characters may seem OOC,
but this is our playground. Just enjoy it for what it is, 'k? Oh and
Walker didn't die early in the series... it was his evil twin or
something. We've also played with ages. Currently, Trowa, Heero and
Wufei are 17, Duo and Quatre are 16.
"Was your mother an ape? Man, you guys hit like girls! Ooof! I bet Edward Scissorhands is your barber!"
Treize blinked at the insults coming from outside his dank cell. *Another prisoner... but who--*
The cell door opened and a small, darkly-clad youth with a long braid was roughly thrown in.
*Ah, who else? Maxwell. I should have guessed.*
Duo Maxwell lay on the damp floor for a few moments, then sat up and looked around.
"Welcome to the Romefeller Hilton, Mr. Maxwell. I trust you'll enjoy the accommodations," Treize said dryly. He watched as Duo spun around, peering through the gloom as his eyes slowly adjusted. The 'ex'-commander of Oz barely refrained from chuckling as the young pilot focussed on him and an expression of horror appeared on his face.
"Oh hell, no! Please do NOT tell me I'm confined to a cell with the evil, megalomaniac leader of Oz, Treize Kushrenada? This is so unfair! Somebody up there really enjoys fucking with my-- Hey! What the HELL are you doing here, anyway?! I mean, I know you supposedly disappeared-- that's why I was here in the first place-- and Zechsy and Scary Une went AWOL--"
"Mr. Maxwell, I--" Treize tried to break in, but Duo went on.
"--and there are some weird rumours about your minions wandering around looking for us--"
"Mr. Maxwell, would you--"
"--but aren't you supposed to be on vacation or something? I mean, you ARE the bigwig of Oz, and an upper management member of Romefeller. You're not supposed to be in the dungeon, unless--"
"MR. MAXWELL!" Treize shouted. "If you would please be quiet for thirty seconds, I will explain the current situation!"
"Oh," Duo said sheepishly, relaxing slightly, but maintaining his distance. "Okay, so explain to me why Treize Kushrenada is currently sharing a cell with me."
Treize sighed and leaned back against the wall. "I am currently housed in this cell because I defied Romefeller. I disagreed with their construction and use of mobile dolls. I publicly denounced them and was removed from my position--"
Duo gaped. "But I thought that was part of the 'Great Plan to Conquer the Universe' and all that. When did realities shift on me?"
"Perhaps I should just start at the beginning, shall I?" Treize asked, raising one eyebrow and looking pointedly at the braided pilot. "This war came about because I, perhaps foolishly, wanted the people to know war, in an attempt to bring true peace. Perhaps I have gone about it in the wrong way, but what is done, is done."
Duo snorted quietly, but kept silent.
"Recently, things have not been going according to plan. The mobile dolls were never meant to be created, Romefeller gained far too much power, mistakes happened continually--"
"So, what was the real plan?" Duo asked softly.
"The real plan was for me to take control of the Earthsphere, force peace, and eventually return to the colonies their autonomy."
Duo threw his hands up in disgust. "Force peace? Eventually? Like when you judged them 'ready' for it, once you milked them dry? Great plan, buddy! Just how many people were gonna have to die before 'eventually' became 'now'? Ya know, that's your problem - you see things in these great, idealistic ways, but you don't bother to think of what it all means to a kid on the street who's just seen his home blown up and everyone he loves murdered!"
"If you are saying, Mr. Maxwell, that I do not know what hardships my actions have caused you and your compatriots, you are right. I know that people have suffered and I am sorry for it. I also know that I have well and truly earned your hatred, but please hear me out before you pass judgement on me. I have admitted my foolishness." Treize waved his hand slightly. "Anyway, once I realised how badly things had begun to change, with Wufei's help, I understood that I had to try and reverse the process and make amends. We began sounding out various options, finally deciding to join the 'rebellion' and stop Romefeller. That would be the first step. After that, we'd see what the next 'correct' step would be and implement it, on advice from all interested parties. I sent many of my trusted followers out to try and contact you and the other rebel groups, but before much else could be done, Romefeller threw me in here. I have no idea what has happened over the past three weeks, where Zechs and Lady Une have ended up, if they're even alive. I don't know if Wufei escaped. They have told me nothing."
Duo's eyes were as big as saucers. "Just a moment! Wufei? As in Chang 'Stick-up-my-ass' Wufei the Gundam Pilot? Man, you gotta be kidding me! Oh, shit! All those times he'd take off at night, or disappeared for days...” Seeing a strange gleam in Treize’s eyes, Duo felt his stomach do a somersault. “Don't tell me you've been banging Wuffers all this time! I don't think my mind can handle that!"
Treize gave him a small, self-deprecating smile. "Not at first, no, but you might say we came to an understanding. He is a truly remarkable man."
Duo dropped his head in his hands and moaned. "I so didn't need to know that. Waitaminute! Wufei AND Zechsy? At the same time? Oh, man... oh, man... traumatised for life... I'll never be okay again!"
"You're young, I'm sure it will pass," Treize remarked drolly. "Besides, it's not as if you were a stranger to homosexual relationships from what I hear. I understand that you and Mr. Yuy are not a quiet pair."
"But, you, Wufei, Zechs... That's just too much! Please tell me Une wasn't in the mix?" Duo whimpered slightly.
For the first time since he had been thrown into the cell, Treize found himself laughing. "Fear not, Mr. Maxwell! That is one thing that shall never come to pass. No, my Lady is currently seeing Walker, Tallgeese's head mechanic. That was quite a surprise. I think he is one of the few soldiers she doesn't intimidate into convulsions on a daily basis," Treize replied, his chuckles subsiding. "However interesting this conversation is, perhaps we should get back on track? You know the current situation. If you would please enlighten me, we may be able to work something out."
Duo shook his head, forcing himself not to think about what he'd just learned. "Well, fine." He paused and looked up into Treize's face. "Wufei got home just fine, though he's been pretty antsy these past few weeks. Your disappearance would account for that. As for Zechs and Une... We'd heard reports they were looking for us, but we saw no reason to make any contact. Maybe Wu has, but he didn't tell anyone else about it. They are free, though. Better yet, Heero and the guys knew where I was going, so they will eventually come here looking for me when I don't show up."
Treize nodded, relief showing clearly on his face. "As long as they're free, we still have a chance. I told Zechs and Une that if anything were to happen they should join with Sally Po and her rebels, or get in contact with Wufei and the rest of you. It seems they took the first option, since Wufei hasn't explained to the rest of you pilots what's going on. Hopefully, now that you're missing, he'll tell the others and get in touch with Zechs and the rebels. Together, we can all right whatever wrongs I have inadvertently committed." Treize sighed heavily. "So, Mr. Maxwell, what do you say? Shall you and I call a truce and ally ourselves to get out of this mess and make things right?"
Duo stared at his companion for a long moment. "You know, I don't know what to make of you, Treize. I've grown up hating you and your kind in the worst way, I came to this planet ready to kill you... but I don't think you're lying to me."
Treize sighed and nodded. "Would it help to have Wufei verify my story? If it would make you feel better about it, I will give you my word that I will willingly be your prisoner once we're out of here until you speak with him."
If Duo was surprised by the other man's statement, he did not let it show. "Are you sure you're willing to trust me?"
Treize shrugged. "What other choice do I have?" He stood and walked over to the pilot, offering his hand. "What do you say?"
Duo took the offered hand and quickly pulled himself up. "Truce, for now. And one ground rule - call me Duo. Every time you say Mr. Maxwell, I expect to find some old man staring over my shoulder."
Deathscythe's pilot sat on the cot next to the Oz ex-commander and mused over the situation they found themselves in. Suddenly a wicked grin crossed his face. "So, Treize, is Wuffers any good? How about Zechsy?"
~ * ~
In a small, unassuming house near York, a boy with messy, dark hair and gleaming, slanted blue eyes glared out the window into the darkness. “He’s late.”
Quatre sighed under his breath. They all knew Duo was late, much later than he’d ever been before. So why did Heero see the need to remind them of it every two minutes?
He shot a look at the Japanese pilot’s stiff shoulders. “Duo will be back. You know he will.”
Heero snorted, but didn’t say anything, and Quatre darted a glance at Trowa, seated next to him. The green-eyed boy squeezed his hand in a show of support.
With an angry toss of his head, though, Heero was on his feet and pacing in the small room –
Wufei slammed his book onto the table top as he stood, his eyes glinting. “For the love of Heaven! You’re worried! Winner’s worried! Barton’s worried! We’re all worried! But your incessant pacing isn’t helping any!” Without another word, Wufei stormed from the room and slammed his bedroom door behind him.
The three pilots left stared at each other in shock – no one had ever seen such a reaction from Wufei before! Quatre rubbed at his chest, just above his heart. “I guess it’s gotten to be too much for him.”
Trowa finally spoke up, as Heero sat in Wufei’s vacated chair, “He’s been a little out of sorts for a while now.”
“Worried, Trowa. He’s terribly worried, and about more than just Duo, if you ask me.”
Heero turned to the blond inquisitively. “What makes you say that?”
Quatre stared at his clasped hands. “It’s been a while for him, at least a couple weeks. Nervous, jumpy… I don’t know why. If he’d just talk to us… Whoa!”
Trowa caught Quatre by the shoulders as the blond swayed almost drunkenly. “Quatre?”
The blond was blushing slightly. “Well, he’s pretty happy right now, let me tell you! Allah, I’ve never…”
“Maybe he’s heard from Duo,” Heero said, already on his feet and heading for Wufei’s door.
Quatre laughed. “He’s heard from… AAH!” Quatre clutched at his chest with both hands. “Oh, Allah…” Trowa grabbed hold of the blond as his face contorted in pain.
Fearing the worst, Heero ran for Wufei’s room, faintly aware of Trowa’s worried voice behind him, calling to Quatre. He burst through the door as though it didn’t exist and froze. His comrade was slumped in front of his computer, his shoulder shaking as though…
He darted forward. “Wufei, did you hear from…” He froze again. Impossible! The email was… from Zechs Marquise?
Heero felt his blood turning to ice, but forced himself to remain calm. “Explain.”
Wufei finally looked up. “Heero…”
Trowa barged in next, his face showing clear signs of worry. “Chang, what the…” He, too, froze, staring at the tableau in front of him.
Wufei looked at them both and swallowed hard. “I think I owe you all an explanation.”
Heero growled out, “Yes, you do.”
A glaring Heero or not, Trowa refused to hear a word until both Wufei and Quatre were sat down on the small sofa, blankets tucked around them and cups of tea in their hands. The Chinese boy shot him a grateful look and took a sip. Mint tea – his favourite. “I don’t know where to start.”
Heero snorted. “How about explaining to us why the Lightning Count would be writing you to ask if you’d heard from General Kushrenada?”
Wufei sighed and dropped his chin into his chest. “He wrote to ask me because I have been their lover for the past year.”
Trowa’s eyes went wide. “I’m sorry – you just said…”
Wufei looked up, black eyes pleading with the taller pilot to give him a chance to explain. “Please, let me talk, and then you can decide what to do about me. You know I fought Treize that time, and he spared my life. I was… humiliated. No one had ever beaten me before – no one had condescended to show me mercy when I didn’t deserve it… but he did. I was… fascinated… yes, fascinated by the man, and I went back.”
When he fell silent, Quatre prompted, “And?”
Wufei looked the empathic blond in the eye. “You have to believe me – they were more than just sword duels. We duelled with words, too. I belittled him and insulted him, I questioned all his beliefs and told him flat out where and why he was wrong. I told him just how hurtful his policies were to real people… One day, he was waiting for me. I’ll never forget it – he said he had been waiting for me for days.”
Wufei swallowed, a fond gleam lighting his eyes. “He said he’d been thinking about what I said – he’d talked to Zechs and Une, too. I know this will sound stupid, but he was honest about it. He wanted the fighting to end, he wanted to right the problems he’d caused… and he wanted my help to do it.”
Quatre locked eyes with his friend. “You helped him… and you fell in love with him in the process, didn’t you?”
Wufei just nodded, only his eyes showing the burning concern he felt.
Heero started to get up to pace again, but Trowa caught him neatly by the arm. “Please, don’t.” Heero grunted, but did not attempt to rise again. The green-eyed pilot turned back to Wufei. “Go on.”
Wufei sighed. “That was months ago. You know I tend to go off on my own for a while – I was with them, but I didn’t think I could tell any of you…”
Quatre shook his head. “Understandable. Continue with the story.”
Wufei sipped at his tea. “I last saw them a month ago. A week after I left, if you remember, was when it was announced that Treize Kushrenada was taking an extended vacation, due to health problems. I began to worry then – he was as healthy as any of us are, if not more so. So I tried to get in contact. I couldn’t, not with him or with Zechs. I tried Lady Une, with the same results. Then we started to hear those rumours that they were trying to find us, and Duo got sent to Baikal base, and…” He began to shake, and Trowa quickly grabbed the teacup out of his hands, not wanting him to spill it and burn himself. Wufei didn’t look up. “The message I got today – you must have felt it, Quatre, I was so relieved to hear from Zechs – asked me if I had heard from Treize. He hasn’t heard from him either, not in three weeks. Treize is missing completely.” He dropped his face into his hands and balled his fists in his hair, pulling it loose from the ponytail he habitually wore.
The other three shared looks of shock and concern. As incredible as Wufei’s story was, it had to be true, and no one could doubt the emotions they saw in their friend. Now was not a time for anger or harsh words. Quatre put down his tea and wrapped an arm around Wufei’s shoulders in a friendly way. “Write him back, Wufei. Tell him you haven’t heard from Treize, either, but then ask him if he’ll meet with us.”
Heero gave the blond a shocked look, but Quatre merely shrugged. “It’s time to find out who our real friends are.”
Sally jumped up from her chair. "I've found him! They're holding him on the old Alliance base Pokrovsk!"
"Pokrovsk? Siberia? Makes sense, I suppose. Isolated, almost impossible to escape from without help, miserable conditions... their idea of the perfect place for Treize." Zechs sighed. "So, how well defended is it?"
"Surprisingly poorly, if you go by numbers. However, those defenders are some of the dregs of military society-- most were sent there as a punishment for various infractions." Une shook her head. "Treize has been there for three weeks. I'm sure he would appreciate a speedy rescue at this point."
Zechs nodded. "Sally, how quickly can we be ready to go?"
"Whoa, there, Zechs. We can be ready to leave within two hours. However, a plan may be a good idea. And, a little more detailed information on what we're going to run into. Une?"
"Hm. According to this, we're up against about 100 regular soldiers, ten to fifteen Leos... definitely lightly defended. They must have been counting on its location and the fact that no one knew where he was to keep him there."
"So, we don't need much of a plan. I'll handle the Leos with Tallgeese, if you and whoever else comes along will go in and get Treize out." Zechs said, grabbing the phone to call Walker and have him get the mobile suit ready.
Sally looked at Une. "We really shouldn't need too large a force. Maybe ten or fifteen of us, all up?"
Une nodded. "Fifteen should be plenty. Half Specials, half rebels? They've integrated together well, and this would be the chance for them to work together as a real team."
"Right. Let's get them together and get ready to go," Sally replied, turning to Zechs. "Zechs, tell Walker two hours is a go. Rendezvous in the hangar in one hour for final preparations."
Zechs nodded. "Walker, Sally says two hours it is. Would you please arrange for a couple of helicopters as well? We'll have a ground force of fifteen, plus supplies and weaponry-- Right. I'll be there in 30 minutes."
Zechs hung up the phone and followed Sally and Une out of the small main headquarters building, missing the flashing red light on his computer, indicating an incoming email...
Treize sighed and dropped his face into his hands as the door closed and five guards noisily dragged his companion down the hallway. Again. It was funny how in such a short space of time, he’d grown accustomed to the American pilot’s easy banter and wit.
He just hoped they’d go easier on the boy this time around. It had taken him a full ten minutes to revive him the last time they’d taken him for ‘questioning.’ Treize winced at the very thought. When had he lost such control of his men that they could think such treatment acceptable? No matter who the boy was, he was a person, and deserved to be treated as such.
He had to admit he’d expected someone vastly different in the young pilot. From what little Wufei had told him of his comrades, he’d expected someone much less disciplined, someone more prone to acting and thinking later. Treize supposed he was lucky his impressions had been wrong – the boy was smart enough to hear him out and agree to their little truce, and that said a lot about him. It explained why Wufei held him in such high regard, despite his sense of humour.
Wufei. Treize leaned his head back against the wall and groaned. He would have given his fortune to see the boy’s face again. To see Zechs, too, and that electrifying smile of his that slipped out every now and then. He knew they had to be worried. They would be looking for him, he was certain. And they would find him eventually.
If Duo was right, they would find him soon.
They had talked, and Treize had been horrified by what this slight, small boy from L2 could tell him about the Alliance. Duo’s speech held no pretence and pulled no punches – he looked into the young man’s blue eyes and saw the truth of what he had survived, and all he could feel was pity and remorse. It was no wonder it had been difficult for the boy to accept him and his word. In fact, it said a lot about him that he even considered it. “Once again, Wufei, you are right. Ah, God, I miss you.”
He grimaced. His voice sounded horrible. And he was certain his breath was even worse.
Treize was so lost in thought that he didn’t hear the footsteps approaching, nor the sound of a heavy object being dragged along the cold, concrete floor. He blinked as the door swung open and light flooded the small cell – how long had he been sitting there? – and could only stare as Duo was dumped silently just past the doorway, and the door swung shut again.
The boy was not moving.
He approached his cell-mate carefully. His first attempt had taught him never to approach a Gundam pilot at unawares! “Duo, are you okay?”
He didn’t even get a groan in response. Treize felt anger welling up inside him as he knelt at the boy’s side and gently turned him over. “Neanderthals! I’ve been employing Neanderthals all this time… Duo, wake up. Can you hear me? Duo, you have to wake up now. It’s over. You’re back in the cell, and they’re gone. Damn it! Wake up or you’ll never get your chance to kill me when we get out of here!”
Duo finally groaned, his face showing a grimace of pain that even his smiling mask could not conceal. “Oh, shit.”
“Are you okay?” Treize asked, his hands running over the young man carefully, assessing his condition.
Duo swallowed, mentally running through a checklist. “Yeah, sure. Won’t be doing any cartwheels anytime near soon, though.” He forced himself to sit up, clearly fighting back nausea as he clutched at his head with one hand.
Treize immediately checked the other arm. “How can you say that? Your arm is broken!”
Duo’s dry laugh. “It’ll heal. It always does. So will the ribs.”
“Your ribs, too?” Treize lifted the boy carefully, ignoring his protests, until he could get him to one of the small bunks in the cell. “I can’t believe they’d do this to a boy your age!”
Duo cracked an eye open to stare up at Treize amusedly. “I don’t know where you’ve been, T-man, but get your head out of the sand. They hate us. I’m getting off light. Now are you gonna help me or not?”
Treize blinked. “With what?”
Duo grimaced as he turned his head to look down at his left arm. “Gotta set this damned thing before any more damage gets done. I’d do it, myself, but it’s a slight bit painful and I’ve never much been into that.”
Treize rolled his eyes, but dutifully grabbed hold of the arm in question, carefully feeling for the broken bone. “Are you sure?”
Before Duo could answer, though, he gave a swift tug. Blue eyes shot wide open as pain burst over Duo’s senses, but he bit back a scream, somehow, exhaling sharply. Treize gave him a small smile. “All better?”
Duo managed a shaky grin in return. “That hurt.”
“I know.” Treize quickly tore up a bed sheet and used it to tie Duo’s arm to his chest protectively. “That’s the best I can do for now. Hopefully, your comrades will be here soon.”
“Thanks, man,” Duo mumbled, wheezing slightly as he tried to take a deep breath. Duo looked at Treize and snorted softly, "You know, it's gonna suck if you turn out to be a bad guy, after all. You're different than I thought you'd be."
Treize smiled slightly, "Sorry to disappoint. You were probably expecting Dracula with better dress sense."
"Hmm... nothing wrong with Dracula's dress sense, depending on which movie version you refer to. I just expected... oh, I don't know. Maybe 'evil incarnate'? Conceited upper-class snob?"
Treize chuckled. "The Antichrist? Or maybe the Devil, himself. That's actually rather flattering. Coming from the God of Death, that is."
Duo started to chuckle and it ended up a wheeze and a moan. "Please don't make me laugh... but yeah, Antichrist works."
"Fair enough." Treize sat next to the boy and looked him over. "I'm amazed you're up and talking to me. What happened in there?"
"Oh, the usual," Duo said, wincing as his split lip reopened. "They ask a question, I mouth off, they hit me a few times. Over and over again until I pass out so they don't get any useful information. They need to get new methods, I think. This one isn't working for them."
"Depends on what the objective is," Treize remarked, lifting one eyebrow. "If they really want information, there are better ways of getting it. If they just want to amuse themselves before killing you, I'd say they're right on target. The Neanderthals!"
Duo carefully leaned back against the wall, taking a little pressure off his broken ribs. "Yeah, well, I'm not exactly their favourite person, though I don't know why. I'm good looking, friendly, funny... why wouldn't they like me? Oh, yeah... I'm a terrorist, I make things go boom and I have an insult for every occasion. Damn. Maybe I need a career change. What do you think?"
"High school tends to be safer than a mobile suit cockpit, or at least it was when I attended," Treize remarked. "Maybe we both need a change - being a dictator has left me only slightly better off than you."
Duo grinned. "That's easy! You just need to become a good guy! Even if things don't get better, at least you won't have us trying to kill you."
Treize winced slightly. "I thought I was being the 'good guy' and look what it got everyone. Hopefully, this new attempt will bear better fruit. And be less deadly."
"Being a good guy means being able to look in a mirror and not wince at what you see," Duo said quietly.
Treize shuddered slightly - how was it that this kid knew so much? "You'd wince if you looked in a mirror right about now."
Duo gave a light grin. "Yeah, well I just got beat to a pulp by four guys who probably can't spell 'shit.' What's your excuse?"
Treize bowed his head and sighed. "Yes, well, you have a point. Maybe this time--"
Loud explosions cut Treize off in mid-sentence. The cell shook violently, throwing both to the floor, Duo groaning loudly as his head connected with the concrete.
Dust settling around them, Treize met the young man's gaze openly. "Do you think that means what I think it means?"
"Ow..." Duo slurred. He fumbled at the base of his braid with his good hand and pulled something out of his hair. "Yeah Treize, it sounds like the cavalry has finally arrived. Take these," he said, handing the ginger-haired man his lock picks, "and get the door open. It would only be polite to meet them half way, right?"
The aristocrat blinked. "You hid these in your hair?"
Duo gave him a sour look. "It ain't just for show or for my extreme good looks, buddy. Now open the damn door, will ya?"
Treize managed a light chuckle. "Yes, sir."
Duo gave him a lopsided grin, sighed and closed his eyes. "Good man. Hurry up. We don't want to be late..."
Treize hurried to the door and began working the picks, but it was awkward work for him. "You know, I could use some help..."
He turned to find Duo in a graceless heap on the floor. His face blanched but he turned back to the door again and growled, "Note to self - learn the subtle art of breaking and entering before I am incarcerated again."
He grinned as the lock clicked open. Pocketing the picks, he darted back and swung Duo's limp form into his arms before heading out into the corridor.
On to Part 2
Gundam Wing II
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