Title: It's the Pilot  Part 5/18
Author:  Truth
Archive:  The usual places, including GW Addiction


AU - Wherein the Gundam pilots have known each other for a little while, but the war is still stalled back before the pilots return to space.  Meanwhile, the five
mad scientists have had sceond thoughts about some of the pilots.  Probably OC as well, but I did my best.  First person stream of conciousness/POV.

Rated PG-13 at least.

Disclaimer:  Gundam Wing belongs to somebody else, sadly.

Feedback, comments and criticisms cheerfully accepted at macros@skypoint.com


************************

With Quatre's help it was easy enough to make my way home.

It seems strange now to use that word for the colony where my family resides.  Home means something very different to me than it used to.  It was a very painful
thing to realize.  When did the word home become synonymous with the faces of my fellow pilots, I wonder? Quatre could probably tell me the exact moment.

 
At every Alliance checkpoint all I had to do was show them the documents he had procured for me.  The Winner name still counts for a lot, especially among the colonies.  Even as a lowly courier I received first class treatment for the entire length of my journey.  There were one or two tense moments.  I saw the woman from the OZ cadet base, Lucrezia Noin was her name. I managed to stay low, and she didn't notice me.  I am sure that my face is engraved on her memory forever.  It was foolish of me to let her catch me.  I had underestimated her determination badly.  But in the end, she failed.
 
It would go very badly for me if I ever fell into her hands again.
 
When I finally reached my own colony, it was the work of but a few hours to place my requirements before the elders of my clan.  They would not allow Master O to know of my presence among them, and they would aid me however they could.  I kept few of the details of my self-imposed mission a secret.  They deserved to know what they were getting into by aiding me.  
 
But I didn't tell them why.

 
That is when Lady Fortune intervened on my behalf.  Two of my cousins had each won a scholarship to the school that Maxwell is 'attending'. It is not truly a military academy, but I can see why Maxwell would describe it as such.  It was originally
created as a place where the rich and powerful could send their children to study in complete safety. 

The place is nothing less than an orbiting fortress, designed to keep said children completely safe from outside influences.  Only carefully chosen school staff are allowed to come and go and the shuttle ports are armed better than most military installations.  No kidnapper, terrorist or murderer could hope to infiltrate the place.  And the children can't get out either.  Too bad they never considered the possibility of a terrorist or kidnapper who was also a child.

Too bad for them, anyway.  

Over the years, it has gradually evolved into a place where high OZ officials and the heads of the Romefeller Foundation sent their most promising children, and the curriculum has been shifted in order to reflect this with a heavy emphasis on military discipline.  It is, however, still an excellent school by almost any standards.
 
But it is still an elite school which caters to those rich enough or intelligent enough to either buy their way in, or earn it.

My elder cousin yielded his place to me easily enough.   He will go to Earth, instead.  He said that he has always longed to see it, and this way no one should
become suspicious of his sudden ability to be both at home and at school at the same time.  

So it was that, four days after my initial arrival at my family's home, I left again, my younger cousin at my side.  A ship manned entirely by those allied to my family took us to the academy.  While the two of us and our luggage were thoroughly searched, one of the crewmen managed to secrete my 'other' luggage in the hangar.  I feel much better knowing that it is there.
 
It will be difficult to retrieve, but not impossible.

Eventually, and only after a great deal of fuss and background checks, we were cleared and allowed to enter the  academy proper.  Chang Lian is the name that my elder cousin has loaned me, and it is by that name that I will be known.  

I have three roommates, all other scholarship recipients and they appear to be very serious about their studies.  It promises to be a calm, relaxed atmosphere in which to work at finding Maxwell and getting us both back to where we belong.

****

This writing appears to be contagious.  I have decided to follow Maxwell's example and put down the things that I cannot talk about on paper.  Figuratively, at any rate.

It has been four days and I have not yet so much as laid eyes on Maxwell.  I know that he is here somewhere.  He is registered under his own name and by examining the class lists I know that I share at least two classes with him.  Yet none of the students that inhabit my little circle have been able to point him out.  It disturbs me a little.  Maxwell, unobtrusive?

So where is he hiding?  He is an outgoing, social creature, yet I have not seen him with any of the various clubs or athletic groups.  I have not so much
as glimpsed the braided idiot anywhere.  They did not come and take him away while I was in transit from the Earth, did they?

And I have other problems as well.  My younger cousin is rooming with some unpleasant aristocratic ne'er do well.  He has ended up spending far more time in my room than in his own, and it has been very difficult to search for Maxwell and reassure Chen at the same time, to say nothing of my studies.  Yesterday I advised him to request a change of roommates.

Today the resident advisor for our section summoned me to his office.  Apparently, there are no other rooms to be had, as the last space has just been filled.  Poor Chen is at his wit's end, trying to deal with sociopathic roommate.  The advisor wanted to know if I would be willing to switch rooms.

It is _always_ thus.  The rich and influential have their way, while the rest of the world is forced to bow to their whims.

So this afternoon, instead of spending a highly enjoyable two hours debating the social and economic injustices (I know that I'm obsessed.  Leave me be.) of
early eighteenth century commerce practices, I will be trading rooms with Chen. 

 
After everything that I have heard about Chen's roommate, I am wishing that I had managed to smuggle a gun in here.  I may be needing it.  

****

I've found Maxwell.

I don't know whether to be relieved or horrified.

 
Horrified currently has my vote.

****

After Chen and I finished switching all of our possessions, I made myself at home in the room.  Or rather rooms.  I was just exploring the shared study when the door to the main room of the suite opened and someone came in.

Having heard about the way he had so casually terrorized Chen, I simply leaned against the desk in the darkened study and waited for him.  He knew that he
had a new roommate.  Knew that Chen had filed a complaint against him.  He also must have known how little such a report would matter.  What was one
scholarship boy from the colonies when weighed against the heir of an Oz official?

Nothing.  And it made me angry.  He would soon discover that I was not Chen.  My cousin, while immensely able, had never been exposed to the types of injustice and terror that I had seen first-hand.
 
My new roommate was in for a number of very nasty surprises.

He took only moments to discover where I was waiting for him. 

At first glance, he was everything that Chen had described.  He wore the cadet uniform with arrogant ease, the black jacket obviously tailored specifically
for him.  His light brown hair was cropped close to his skull and he leaned against the door frame, posing arrogantly.  

I could see him quite clearly, despite the darkness of the room.  The lack of light hid me from him, however.  The main room from which he had come was brightly lit, and it would take a few minutes for his eyes to adjust fully.

"So you're the new guy, hmmm?" his voice was light and almost teasing as he reached for the light switch.  "I wonder how long _you'll_ last."

And as the lights went on, he smirked at me.  I had only a second to decide that this young man was not only very dangerous, but frighteningly familiar.  Then, as my own eyes finally adjusted to the new lighting conditions, recognition struck.

"Maxwell?"  
 
Chen had never told me his roommate's name, always referring to the other boy as 'Him'.  That's right, with a capital letter.

He gaped at me for a long moment, the arrogance fading completely from his posture as realization dawned for him as well.  No wonder I hadn't recognized him.  Not only did he move differently and act differently....

"Maxwell....  You let them cut your hair?"

*******************

 
Duo:  Shout it to the world, why don't you?
Heero:  That's....interesting.
Wufei:  Dreadful, you mean.
Quatre:  It's terrible!
Duo:  Quit going on about it!
Truth:  It'll grow back.
 
*all five pilots round on her*
 
Truth:  Ummmm, never mind.  *flees*