For those of you who have hung in there through the long silences in this story, nagged at me, threatened me and ruthlessly encouraged me, my deepest gratitude goes out to you. I keep every piece of fanfiction related e-mail that I receive, so don’t think that even the one-liners go either unnoticed or unappreciated. Title: Two Roads Diverged Part 10/? Author: Truth Archive: A whole bunch of neat places but my complete Gundam Wing fic collection can be found at GW Addiction www.geocities.com/fenris_wolf0/ AU - The sequel to It's the Pilot - Wherein we see the Gundam Wing Universe as it might have been had Duo been sidetracked just before Noventa's death. First person stream of consciousness/POV. Shading into an R rating. Shounen ai. Warning: Take almost everything you thought you knew about GW and stuff it out the nearest airlock. Hang onto your laser rifles kiddies. From here on out, it's foreign territory.. I do not own Gundam Wing or any of its characters. Chang Chen, Lian, Saiming and Lingwei all do belong to me, however. ** Lady Une knows. That’s a bit vague, but those three words are like the trump of doom. Lady Une _knows_. She knows that her spy network has been penetrated, knows that her computer network is no longer even remotely secure. Worse, she knows that I’m here. I’m not sure how it happened or even how _much_ she knows. But the fact remains that she knows I’m here, inside OZ headquarters. The only question that I have is how? Only Rashid, Abdul and the other pilots know where I am, and if it was one of them that informed on me, she would know exactly where to look. I’m guessing that she found out because someone _else_ screwed up. This means that, while she is looking for spies, she is not looking for me specifically. Or she wasn’t. Somehow, she has reasoned that there are _several_ covert operatives here. This argues that it wasn’t one of us who screwed up, either. That’s a relief, frankly. Unfortunately, it means that the other spies could be almost anyone. Romafeller agents, the mysterious person who set up Duo, or even an Alliance agent with left-over business to conclude. None of these ideas make me particularly happy, mind. While it is extremely unlikely that she will discover me amidst the chaos and counter-plotting, there is the matter of Trowa. Trowa is one of her own aides. Trowa is in a very public position. Trowa has access to extremely damaging information. Trowa is very, very close to OZ’s current prize. In this one, desperate case – Trowa is also the disposable one. I’ll hold on as long as I can, but she is starting to dig. She will probably find her ‘traitors’ first, thankfully. I know that there’s at least one other agent here besides Trowa who is in danger, and it’s not a colony spy. If luck were with me, or if I were Duo or Heero, I might be able to find them first. This is an almost priceless chance to discover who our faceless enemy is. Unfortunately, I can’t risk any sort of aberrant behavior, I can’t afford to draw any attention. If I am found out, it will be the end of our plans. Worse, Trowa is as much a prisoner as his charge and we can’t risk blowing his now-fragile disguise. Having Trowa assigned to OZ’s pet Gundam pilot was one of the worst things that could have happened to us in terms of his own mission. He is monitored constantly, and there are armed guards always within easy reach. If I screw up, he will have nowhere to run. In the most desperate of circumstances, we can use that. If he is discovered, that will buy me time in which to act. I don’t want to do that. He would forgive me, knowing that the greater good far overshadows either of our lives. In fact, if things became desperate, he would not hesitate to give himself away in order to give me the time I need to complete my own mission. But we are both very far from any point whereby that sacrifice would buy me enough time to make any sort of difference. All I can do is watch and wait, hoping that Lady Une’s search will find her traitors… before she finds us. ** The mopping up of the last of the Alliance resistance has gone surprisingly well. There is a small part of me that regrets the fact that I was on L5 during the majority of the fighting. There were several very old scores which I would like to have been able to settle personally. Perhaps it’s for the best. At the moment, I have bigger fish to fry. With Otto and Noin’s help I have a project of my own to pursue. Treize has given me his tacit blessing to hunt down the Gundams and test Tallgeese against them. While I am overjoyed at the opportunity, I have a second agenda and Treize knows it. Otto has been a great help. He and Noin are fully appraised of my plans and are even now working on tracking down a certain large, black Gundanium monster and its elusive pilot. It’s harder to hide something of that size than you would think. Shinigami’s weakness is there, with the machine that was named for his little… eccentricity. I believe that when we find the Deathscythe Hell, we will find its pilot. I also believe that where we will find Maxwell, we will find Chang. I have a suspicion that Chang is going to be the key to a great many things, not the least of which would be Maxwell himself. ** I was wearily emptying my suitcase, placing my clothing in the empty dresser of the guest room, when an unpleasant noise gained my undivided attention. Once you have found yourself at the wrong end of a gun, the noise of one being cocked has a special significance. I dropped the socks I was holding, carefully raised both hands in the air and waited. “Who are you?” An interesting voice, that. It reminded me of something Maxwell had said once. ‘The sort of voice that promises a nasty, cold death and always, always delivers.’ “Chang Chen.” “Who am I?” “Heero Yuy.” If Maxwell’s comments were to be trusted, that is. He did have a way of summing things up in a rather unforgettable fashion and this was indeed a voice that would have no qualms about shooting me in the back. “What the hell is going on down the hall?” I decided to be honest. “A philosophical discussion on the sanctity of human life, with digressions into fraternization, lack of respect for the feelings of others and basic pigheadedness.” I received a soft coughing noise for my troubles, which I decided must be a laugh. “I see.” “Can I put my hands down now?” “Yes.” I did so, turning to look at my visitor. Japanese, a little taller than I was and with no firearm in sight…. He turned away before I got a proper look, and headed toward the door. “Come along.” “Where are we going?” He turned, tilted his head to one side and gave me a very faint smile, an expression which really did _not_ go with the voice. “To a hotel.” I opened my mouth to ask why, and paused. “What do you know that I don’t?” He glanced at his watch. “Ten seconds.” “What?” Exactly ten seconds later…. “God damn you, Chang Wufei! What the _FUCK_ is your _PROBLEM_?!” I winced. “I see.” “It will only get louder,” he warned me, heading for the door. I paused only long enough to grab my wallet before following him out of the apartment. Here at last was an ally, someone to shield me from the sudden insanity of my cousin and his various psychoses. Including Maxwell. ** Tomorrow is to be my formal debut. I have a beautiful new gown, an elegant adult hairstyle, jewelry that probably cost more than the house I grew up in and the assurance that this particular party will be the highlight of this year’s social/political scene. I have all my statements and arguments in order. I have _years_ of deportment and etiquette lessons behind me, and am on a first name basis with most of the various politicians and nobility who will be present. I’ve never felt so sick in my life. This is the most frightening thing that I’ve ever faced. If I can pull this off, it is the first step down a road that I never had any interest in walking. It will mean having to always watch my back, to never be able to have an unguarded moment and to never be alone. If I fail…. Thousands of people will die. There will be war. Romafeller versus the colonies with the people of Earth and the Gundams caught in the middle. I have learned enough about OZ to know that the Romafeller Foundation is behind what has happened. Treize Kushrenada is answering to them, but I can only wonder for how long. When their alliance falls apart, there will be bloodshed on a level that…. I feel sick to my stomach again. Once I made my decision to fight, I upped the stakes for everyone. My mere presence, the re-entrance of the name Peacecraft onto the political playing field, has complicated the game already in progress. They can accept me, they can reject me, but they cannot ignore me. Before the game can go on, they will have to find a way to either assimilate me or eliminate me from the field altogether. I am ready. I will do whatever I can for the people of Earth and the colonies. Even if my presence merely slows down the military activity for a day or two, it will be worth it. My father is dead, my mother herself chose the guest list for tomorrow’s party. Heero…. Heero is counting on me, not only for his colony or himself, but for the friends who gave him back his smile. That’s really what I’m fighting for. No one should grow up unable to smile. No one. I don’t feel sick to my stomach anymore. I’m angry now. It’s not the hot, painful anger that I would have felt just a few months ago. No. This is a cold, hard anger that starts somewhere in the pit of my stomach and spreads through me like poison. We are just children, all of us. Heero and his friends, me… even the OZ troops are almost all under the age of 25. Children should not have to fight and die like this. We should not have to fight battles for power or political agendas that do not include us. We should not be forced to die in a continuing struggle that has made so many of us homeless or orphans. We should not have to live in a world that contains so much hate, all of it fostered by those with money and power who only hunger for more. This will stop. Now. This is the vision that Heero saw for me, the thing which allowed him to share that one, fleeting smile with me. This is my fate and my future. This is why my life was spared when the rest of my family died so many years ago. This is why my father raised me. This is my gift to the other children. No matter how it turns out, I will never regret it. ** We should have had Lian spring for a more expensive apartment. Wu’s door didn’t even slow me down. It was really a bit melodramatic of me to kick it in, but I was really, really angry. So I kicked in the door. It was almost worth it just for the expression on his face. I guess he had been brooding in true, guilt-ridden, Chang Wufei fashion. This, of course, meant that he probably hadn’t even heard me demand that he open the door. So he was just sort of staring at me with this total fish-out-of-water sort of look. “Sulking again, are we?” It wasn’t very original, but I was feeling a bit… testy. I was not going to be leaving this room until this entire mess was resolved, one way or the other. ** TBC In the next few days. I promise. Please don’t lynch me…..