Author’s Note: I have to give credit for the phrase “patented Yuy death glare” to www.shinigami.org. Couldn’t resist !
Alone/Together Chapter 5
by Midii Une
Heero Yuy gazed intently at the computer screen. At first glance everything appeared to be normal. But Heero never gave anything just a cursory glance, he was thorough and that was why he was the perfect soldier, nothing got by him. He eyed the little blip in the numbers and after tapping a few keys he leaned back in his chair and pushed up the sleeves of his leather Preventers’ jacket. Then he leaned forward and rested his chin on his hands and stared at the screen as if daring it to tell him he was wrong about this.
Wufei, who just happened to be walking down the hall, caught a glimpse of Heero giving the computer screen his patented Yuy death glare. He made a detour into the room.
“You found something,” he asked.
Heero didn’t answer or even seem startled by the sudden appearance of his fellow Gundam pilot. He simply pulled up a new screen comparing the average number of downloaded files per day and put it up next to the averages for the last 12 months. Then he waited.
“Alright, I see what you’re seeing,” Wufei finally said, after studying the numbers and the discrepancies in them. “What are we going to do about it?”
“It’s coming from here,” Heero said, pointing a finger to a numbered location on a map behind the desk.
“That’s Winner Industries,” Wufei said. “Quatre? Then we have nothing to worry about.”
“Not necessarily,” Heero said. “Let’s send a message and see if we get a bite.”
Midii stared at the computer screen and chewed on her lower lip deciding how to handle the top priority message in front of her.
We’re picking up a possible security breach from your location. Check into it and update us here ASAP.
Just a few more days and she’d have everything she needed, Midii thought. She leaned forward toward the screen and leaned her chin on her hands, much as Heero was doing far away and at the same time.
“I’ll just have to make HY01 feel all safe and warm and fuzzy again, won’t I,” she thought. She searched through Quatre’s e-mail and pulled up all his past responses to HY01.
“Hmm,” she whispered to herself. “They’re acquaintances at the very least. Quatre’s responses are always personal, HY01’s are always straight business.”
She quickly typed in a response approximating what she thought Quatre might say.
Heero!! You never write. I’ll look into your message but I have a feeling I know
what’s going on and there’s nothing to worry about. We’ve been having some problems with
temperamental systems for awhile here now. I should have let you know. How about in a few
weeks you try to pull yourself away from your work and come for a visit? It’s been too
“And that takes care of that,” she muttered to herself and she pressed the send key.
Heero pondered Quatre’s response. It should have made the suspicious feeling that was growing inside him go away. But instead it took root and he couldn’t shake it. He’d pay Quatre the requested visit. But he wasn’t going to wait a few weeks to do it.
He buzzed Wufei.
“How about a trip to the L4 cluster? It’s time we looked up an old friend,” he said.
It was Saturday so Isabela was dressed casually in jeans and a sweater, putting in a few extra hours. Quatre tried to look at her without seeming suspicious. How could he put this without her catching on to his scheme? He looked at his watch, Trowa was going to be coming in in about an hour. He looked at his personal assistant again. She looked pretty, of course she always did. But he wished that she had a dress on or something. He really wanted Trowa to be impressed.
“Umm, Isabela,” he said, sounding a little uncertain.
“Yes, is something wrong,” Midii answered, surprised by the strange tone of his voice. Did he suspect something, she wondered. Had he somehow come across the e-mail from HY01?
“No, of course not. I was just wondering if you had plans for lunch,” he said.
She waved a plastic bag with a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in it at him. “I packed two if you want one,” she offered.
“You’ve been working so hard,” Quatre said, trying to glance at his watch again without her noticing. “I’m going to take you out to lunch. Now go home and put on a dress. How about the blue one that matches your eyes? Meet me at the outdoor restaurant at the Colony Arcade in about 2 hours. I insist, now go.”
He fairly pushed her out the door.
“What could he be up to? It’s like he’s trying to get rid of me.” Midii wondered as she looked behind her to see him peeking at her through the open office door. She waved at him and he waved back and blushed a little at having been caught looking.
“I have absolutely no idea,” she sighed and went home to change. She just hoped Stefan wouldn’t be there to question her and torment her with more of his threats.
Trowa pushed open Quatre’s office door, which was standing slightly open. He was about to call out to his friend when something stopped him.
“Midii,” he whispered. The room was full of the soft smell of lavender. He almost expected to see her standing behind the desk in the corner. He saw a bowl of crumbling, dried purple flowers on the desk. It was just some potpourri and lavender was a popular fragrance. He rubbed his hand over his forehead, pushing a little impatiently at the bangs that covered one of his eyes. Memories of her were driving him crazy and every little thing brought her to mind. He stared down at the little bowl lost in thought. When he thought of her in the daytime he could convince himself that she was a lost cause, but at night, when he dreamed . . .
“Trowa!!” Quatre said, coming out of the inner office. “How long have you been here? Trowa?”
He shook his head to clear the cobwebs. “Oh sorry, I just walked in,” Trowa said.
“Well, I’m glad you’re here,” Quatre said, looking at his watch yet again. “If we leave right now we can just make our lunch reservation. I hope you don’t mind, I asked my assistant to join us. I really want you to meet Isabela, Trowa.”
Trowa blinked. Why was everyone always trying to set him up? Quatre and Cathrine both had a lot of nerve, considering they were both still single as well. He sighed, he really wasn’t in the mood for this, especially since that last disaster with Midii. Well, it hadn’t been a total disaster a small voice inside said. Her lips had tasted just like wine and there had been something in her eyes, something that had seemed to be there just for him.
He listened to Quatre’s description of his personal assistant half-heartedly as they drove to the restaurant. It was always the same, “she’s pretty, she’s sweet, I know you’ll like her Trowa . . .” It was like a listening to a recording.
“Come on Trowa, give her a chance,” Quatre said. “Promise you’ll be nice, don’t be such a stick-in-the-mud.”
Trowa’s green eyes widened in surprise. That was the closest Quatre had ever come to criticizing him. It irritated him. He knew Quatre meant well, but right now he was driving him up the wall.
“If she’s so perfect why don’t you go out with her? That is what you want me to do, isn’t it Quatre,” he came right out and said it, his tolerance regarding these things had just run out.
“Well, it wouldn’t be right to date someone that works for me. That’s not good business ethics. Besides I already have some-- that is I already know that you two would be perfect together. I just have a feeling. Trust me Trowa,” Quatre said. Now was not the right time to tell Trowa about Dorothy. He seemed like he was on edge. Quatre wondered what his problem was, but they couldn’t get into it now. Isabela would be meeting them in a moment. When Trowa saw her he wouldn’t be able to help liking her. She was just what he needed.
Heero and Wufei stood in Quatre’s office looking at each other. Obviously he had gone out.
“What do you think is going on,” Wufei asked, still not sure why Heero had found it necessary to drop everything and rush out here. Still he trusted the other pilot’s instincts. It was uncanny how he sensed things, how he just knew somehow that something wasn’t right.
“Since Quatre’s not here let’s find someone else to talk to,” Heero said, leaving the room and walking down the hall abruptly. The two former Gundam pilots ran into an older, imposing-looking woman not far from Quatre’s office.
“Can I help you,” Yasmina Winner questioned.
“Yes,” Heero said. “We’re friends of Quatre’s and we’re also with Preventers. I’m sure he mentioned to you that we suspect a security breach and the evidence points to this location as the source.”
Yasmina shook her head. “He didn’t mention it and I just saw him this morning. I can’t even be sure he knows about it to tell the truth. He’s been delegating so much to his new assistant. Miss Niente just joined us a month ago but she has my brother’s absolute trust. If you’re his friends you should advise him to watch out for her. I think she’s after his money.”
A month, Heero and Wufei thought at the same time, their eyes meeting. That was when the discrepancies had started to appear. Miss Niente wasn’t after Quatre’s money, she was after something else entirely.
“You’ve been very helpful,” Heero said. “Do you by any chance know where Quatre and his assistant are now? What’s her description”
“I believe they’re having lunch at the Colony Arcade,” Yasmina said. “You’ll know her when you see her, blonde hair, blue eyes and sweet and innocent enough to make your teeth hurt. So you’ll talk to him?”
“You have good instincts,” Wufei said. “We’ll certainly have a word with Quatre about this, rest assured.”
Yasmina watched the two young men leave. Finally someone was paying attention to her suspicions.
Trowa swirled ice water in his glass, watching the twist of lemon bump into the ice. It was a beautiful day, the climate control had switched over to a season that approximated springtime on Earth and the sky beneath the colony barriers was bright with a few puffy clouds floating in it. He watched the people coming and going. And then he saw her, a girl that seemed to be walking towards them.
Suddenly the sound of Quatre’s voice faded out and all he could see was her. She was so lovely she seemed unreal and she alone seemed to be in focus, the rest of the people around her faded to a blur. Her loose golden hair floated a little behind her as she walked and the short skirt of her pale blue cotton dress fluttered in the light breeze. She stopped and spoke to a waiter and then she tilted down her dark sunglasses a bit and looked toward their table. . .
“I’m meeting Mr. Winner,” Midii said to the waiter and he pointed to a table at the far corner of the outdoor restaurant.
“Thank you,” she said and she tilted her sunglasses down to get a better look, the light wasn’t as bright under the awning where the tables were.
“Ah, there’s Isabela now,” Quatre said, noticing her standing near the entrance. “Look Trowa. I told you. Isn’t she beautiful?”
Midii stared at the table and her hand reached out to clutch the hostess’s podium. Her eyes widened in shock and disbelief. Trowa? Trowa was here? For a moment it was like a nightmare and she couldn’t move. He was with Quatre, he would see her and that would be it, he would blow her cover. But her heart flip-flopped in excitement. Had he been looking for her? Did he want to find her? Over the distance and crowd of people her eyes met his and they held a moment.
Then her survival instincts kicked in and she turned and ran. It took a moment for everything to register for Trowa. Isabela. Midii. They were one and the same. Quatre merely looked confused. He wasn’t alone.
As Midii ran down the sidewalk she passed two men wearing leather Preventers jackets. She wondered if the situation could get any worse. Something told her that one of those two just had to be HY01.
“Shit Stefan, where are you,” she said out loud, slowing just long enough to pull a gun out of her purse. He was doing a damn poor job of looking out after her. Where the hell was he? Shooting pursuers was not part of her job description, but then again neither was getting caught.
“That’s her,” Heero said looking after the girl who had just run by.
“How the hell does she know we’re after her,” Wufei asked.
Heero shrugged, pulled out his gun and started running after the girl.
Wufei thought that it wasn’t very challenging, chasing after some weak woman, but it was a part of his job description so he took off after Heero. At least it was more action than they’d had in a while.
By the time Trowa made it through the crowd of tables and people in the restaurant all three of them were already out of sight. Quatre caught up to him. “Can I ask you what’s going on?”
“Her name isn’t Isabela,” Trowa said quickly, trying to decide which direction to go next. “Her name is Midii Une. She’s a spy. I’m not going to lose her this time. Quatre, you go that way and if you find her keep her there. I mean it. It’s important.”
“Oh Trowa, you must be mistaken,” Quatre protested.
“I’m not arguing with you right now Quatre,” Trowa snapped. “Just trust me.”
“Stop and turn around,” Heero shouted when he got close enough to the girl. “I have a gun.”
She pulled to a stop and whirled around.
“Well then,” she said, aiming her own gun at him. “It seems we’re even.”
Heero didn’t care if she shot him, but there were other people around, it was the middle of the day on a busy street.
Midii hoped this guy didn’t realize that she couldn’t shoot anybody, at least she didn’t think that she could. He looked like he meant business, his eyes were as cold and hard as blue steel. He made her nervous enough to jump out of her skin. Who was he? How had he caught on to what she was doing? The e-mail should have kept him off track for a few days at least.
Heero appraised the situation. She was good, he doubted anyone but himself would have picked up on the tiny discrepancies in the records or suspected that the e-mail had not originated with Quatre. But he didn’t know whether she had the nerve to shoot into the crowd. She didn’t look like the type, the hand that held her gun shook almost indistinguishably. But he had her cornered and if she panicked . . .
Wufei came around the corner of a building behind her. He’d taken a shortcut through a store to cut her off, when she didn’t show up he figured Heero’d managed to catch up with the underhanded little infiltrator. He reached out to grab her by the arm.
Heero’s eyes widened, this was not a good thing. “Wufei don’t touch . . .”
Midii whirled and fired, the bullet ripping through Wufei’s shoulder and shattering a window behind him.
“She’s out of control,” Heero thought. He pulled back the trigger and took careful aim.
Trowa rounded the corner.
“Heero!! Don’t shoot,” he said.
Heero pulled the trigger.
Quatre hurried down the street searching for Isabela. Trowa had called her Midii Une, but he had to be mistaken. He couldn’t believe she wasn’t what she seemed. It was veritably impossible. But then again, she had run away when she’d seen Trowa . . . distracted, he collided with a tall, dark-haired man coming from the other direction.
Stefan was startled. It was that Winner guy. He didn’t need to run into Midii’s boss, they couldn’t be connected. Where the hell was she anyway? He’d checked in at her office and their apartment and she was nowhere. She obviously wasn’t out with Winner, he was alone. Stefan had only gone out for a little while, he had some smoothing over to do with his little friend, the Preventers security assistant. Whoever said that making up was hard to do had been mistaken, he thought smugly. But now it seemed like Midii had taken off.
“Excuse me,” Quatre said. “I’m sorry I bumped you. But listen, did you happen to notice a girl down that way? She’s blonde, pretty, a little over five feet tall? There’s been a misunderstanding, I need to find . . .”
They heard a gunshot in the distance, closely followed by another.
“Allah,” Quatre gasped. He started running down the street in the direction the gunshots had come from.
Stefan followed, cursing. How had everything gone to hell so fast? He thought she’d had it all under control.
Trowa pushed past Heero and pulled Midii up off the ground.
“Are you hurt? Did he hit you,” he asked urgently, looking into her eyes and pushing her hair away from her face gently.
She shook her head and turned her face away from his. He’d only knocked the gun out of her hand with his shot.
Wufei refused to clutch at his bleeding shoulder. “Shot by a woman,” he growled to himself.
Midii glanced over at him. “Oh my God, I shot him,” she whispered, sinking back down on her knees on the sidewalk. “Oh God.”
“Trowa, back away from her now,” Heero said.
“Just leave us alone for a minute,” Trowa said.
He knelt down beside her and tried to get her to look at him.
“Just tell me why you’re doing this. Tell me why,” he said.
She didn’t answer and refused to listen to him.
“Answer me Midii,” he said.
She turned her head away and let her hair fall over her face.
Heero came and pulled her up by the arm and Trowa didn’t stop him.
“We’re taking you into custody Miss Niente. There are numerous charges: evading arrest, shooting an officer, falsification of security documents and I’m sure you must know of some others,” he said, handcuffing her hands behind her back.
He paused in front of Wufei. “Get yourself to a hospital and get that taken care of, ” he said. “Next time don’t sneak up on someone with a gun.”
Midii glanced at Wufei and turned pale at the sight of the blood. “I-I’m sorry,” she said. He ignored her apology. “I don’t need a hospital I’ll take care of it myself,” Wufei said. “Besides if you hadn’t shouted I’d have been able to get the gun away from her without any shots being fired.”
The two Preventers glared at each other a moment.
“Trowa,” Heero said. “I’ll talk to you later, don’t leave this colony.”
“Well,” Stefan thought. “At least she plugged one of those guys. Goddamn, there were three of them. She didn’t have a chance. I dropped my guard, it was going to well.”
If he didn’t get her back he was in big trouble. He didn’t have any of the information, it was all inside her head. He noticed she was doing her part, she hadn’t said a word. Stefan glanced sharply at the man who wasn’t in uniform, the one who was staring at the ground and the pool of blood beside her dropped gun. Stefan clenched his fists in recognition. It was that guy, Nanashi. He was the cause of all her problems and her problems were his problems. He put his hand in his jacket pocket and closed his hand over his own gun.
But there were too many people around and if he got caught now he’d be no help to Midii. He had a little time, they couldn’t make her talk, the peace-minded fools were too civilized for that. They wouldn’t torture her or anything. She knew the protocol, she wouldn’t say a word.
Niente grinned. His self-confidence, dimmed by seeing his partner arrested, was quickly returning. Perhaps a little prisoner exchange was in order. But first he needed something to trade.
Heero looked at Trowa suspiciously. He’d told him everything he knew. She was a former Alliance spy, her name was Midii Une and they’d met years ago, during the war.
He looked around the room. All of them back together again, except for Duo of course who thankfully wasn’t caught up in this crazy situation. Trowa was insisting he didn’t know what the girl had been after and that he didn’t care what happened to her. Heero knew that was a lie. He’d heard the emotion in Trowa’s voice when he thought he’d shot her. And Quatre was still insisting that he and Wufei and Trowa all had to be mistaken and that she couldn’t have meant to do anything wrong.
And this Isabela Niente or Midii Une or whatever she called herself wouldn’t say a word.
Rainstorms should be scheduled, Cathrine thought crankily. Her usually cheerful personality was dampened by worry as well as from being caught in the rain. She hadn’t heard from Trowa in days. And lately he had been almost as withdrawn as he was when she first met him. Seeing Midii Une again had seemed to change something in him. She thought about her friend, she still considered her as such. Cathrine hoped that she was making a fresh start somewhere. But her eyes had been so sad and hopeless the last time she’d seen her.
She sighed and ducked into a restaurant. It seemed everyone had had the same idea, the place was packed and it looked like she wouldn’t even be able to get a table to have a cup of coffee. She shivered a little, she was soaked through. She felt very uncomfortable because she knew her clothes must be clinging to her like a second skin. She wished they would turn the air conditioning in the place down. Cathrine felt a tickle in her nose and couldn’t stifle a sneeze.
“Bless you,” a low voice said.
“Thank you. Excuse me but it’s just so cold in here,” Cathrine said, looking up into a pair of deep brown eyes. She looked down and flushed a little. He was looking at her so strangely and she wished that she wasn’t soaking wet. She knew that in her condition her clothing must leave very little to the imagination.
“Let me lend you my jacket,” he asked. “Wouldn’t want a pretty lady like you to catch cold.”
Before she could answer he had taken off his jacket and place it around her shoulders, he squeezed his hands on her arms gently as he finished putting it into place.
“Really, I can’t take your jacket,” she protested, trying to pull it off. He was a good-looking man but something in his eyes frightened her.
He reached out and tightened the jacket around her once again. He lifted her hand to his lips and she felt the tip of his tongue flick out and touch the back of her hand as he kissed it with a loud smack. He looked into her eyes. She tried to pull her hand away but he tightened his grip.
“I insist,” he said. “I can’t resist a lady in distress. Let me introduce myself. My name is Stefan Niente.”
TO BE CONTINUED . . . Next time on Alone/Together . . . Trowa enlists Duo’s help when he gets an upsetting communication from Stefan . . . Quatre tries to get Midii to cooperate with the investigation