Okay, here it is, finally. Be warned, though: Karen accused me of being the queen of cliffhangers, so I decided I needed to live up to that reputation.
AUTHOR: Anria Chiou Lalumin

TITLE: Past Encounters part 10/?
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Gundam Wing, and if the G-boys were real I'm sure they would be very grateful for that fact. However, this fic is MINE MINE ALL MINE! Not that anyone else would want it. But still.
WARNINGS: angst, yaoi, cliffhanger, plot twists, bastardization, possible OOC, AU.
FEEDBACK: if only to tell me how evil I am.
NOTE: Be warned of scene/perspective changes.

Past Encounters
Part Ten: Twists

Heero waited in the shadows of the West Wing for the arrival of J -- and the arrival of Duo. They had planned everything out very carefully, and were certain that nothing could go wrong.

There had been problems, to begin with. Quatre had been laden with the task of making Treize believe that 'the two dangerous terrorists' Heero and Duo were not as important as their commanders, and so making him leave most of the squadrons behind. A few choice soldiers (well, two -- namely Alex and Mueller) would remain behind, but apart from that the small blond had managed to persuade Treize to let Heero and Duo go, if they were spotted.

"Your Majesty," he had said, "there is no point in capturing the two warriors. What you speak of is essentially forsaking the wielder to capture the weapon -- and unlike swords and knives, these weapons are uncooperative and will most likely work against you, not with you. It is better to capture the wielder, for then the weapon is left for useless."

It had been a good tack to take.

So now Heero waited to spot J, and for Duo to 'take him by surprise' with a quick attack while G grabbed J and drew him into a side chamber for a quick meeting with a knife. That was the plan G had come up with that they had had to work around, with various modifications to make it easier for them by Duo -- although he hadn't been able to sleep past all his suggestions. Heero and Duo would pretend to do battle and would remove themselves from the area as Treize, Alex, Mueller and Quatre ambushed J and G and took them into custody -- even though Treize was only really expecting to get J, as that was the only thing they had been able to come up with an excuse for.

One thing Duo had convinced Heero to change about the plan was that instead of completely getting the hell out of there, they would hide in an adjacent room and listen to what was going on in the next.

Heero had pointed out that it was dangerous, but Duo had countered this by saying that it gave them certainty.

So, in the end, he had agreed. And now he was waiting for the play to begin.

A flicker of movement at the end of one of the halls he could see down caught his attention, and Heero's sharp eyesight and good night vision quickly gave him the picture of J's metal hand as the source of reflected light. Heero sank further back into the shadows to wait for the right moment. . . .

A lean, hard body impacted him from the right. One of the things Heero and Duo had agreed on was that they would not map out their fight, the beginnings of it especially, in order to make their mock battle seem more real. And Duo was so damn good at stealth that Heero was taken totally by surprise.

He landed heavily, breath rushing out of his lungs in a disgruntled 'oomph!' while Duo rolled him over onto his back.

"Come on, Hee-chan, make it real," his lover whispered in his ear, a bare breath of sound, and then he was up and moving to put the boy into a lock.

Heero reacted, rolling out of the way and springing to his feet, then charging the other boy. "Sorry," he whispered as he grabbed Duo's braid and used it as a lever. J would definitely have spotted them by now. . . .

+

J saw Heero at almost the instant he stepped into the corridor, but then he'd been expecting him to be there. One of the oddities about Juki Palace -- and this part of the West Wing in particular -- was its tendency to have several corridors converge towards one point, usually a main room in the palace. Heero had chosen the second dining room, towards which there were only three possibly access points, and thanks to a tactically unaware architect, all converged in the same place.

So the old man cautiously moved along the hallway, steadily moving towards his protégé. He knew that one of the best ways to get caught was to skulk, and so if he weren't so well known he would have been striding down the center of the corridor as though he owned the place -- but unfortunately he had been spotted and positively identified by some of Treize's guardsman a short time ago, and his description was being touted all over the place. He had not had enough time to change it, either, so caution was the best policy at this point in time.

J's eyes widened suddenly when a small dark object came flying out of nowhere and tackled Heero. As they swiftly rolled and came to their feet, he saw it was another boy of approximately the same build and age as Heero, who was damn good at fighting.

That was all he saw.

From out of nowhere, a hand lashed out from the doorway he was passing, hurrying on his way to help Heero, and dragged him into the room. A knife pressed to his neck, and a familiar voice whispered in his ear, "Long time no see, eh, old friend?"

+

The two had kept up the pretence for several more minutes, when suddenly Heero's tackle-hug as he wrestled with Duo softened into an embrace. "J's gone," he whispered to the braided man, and felt Duo nod as they separated.

The two swiftly made their way along one of the adjacent corridors and through a labyrinth of connecting rooms until they came to the one they wanted, and stopped at another connecting door, listening through the wood paneling.

". . . not what I was expecting," came the urbane voice of King Treize. "I was informed that only J would appear at this location, but instead I find myself in the company of both the men I have so dearly longed to see over the past few years."

A small scuffling noise filtered through in the sudden quiet. Then,

"Now, now, what shall I do with you two? The two most feared revolutionaries and terrorists in the history of the four kingdoms? Hm, what do you think I should do?"

Duo winced. He was just toying with them, as though he enjoyed scaring them.

As soon as he thought this, Treize became all business. "Thanks to Raberba here, we were able to intercept you. Now we shall make sure you never harm any of our or our brother monarchs' people again. Alex, Mueller, take them away."

"Sir!"

Too late Heero and Duo realized the voices came from too close to the door they were standing at. They could do no more than watch in bemused horror as the door opened and they found themselves face to face with two guards and their respective commanders -- plus the dagger-sharp gaze of an obviously irritated King Treize.

+

Quatre's eyes widened as he saw Duo and Heero stumble slightly into the room as the door opened, an obvious sign that they had been listening there -- and probably for quite some time. He bit his lip anxiously, wondering what Treize would make of this situation -- and if J or G (or both) would give them away.

"What is this?" Treize demanded of the two. "What are you two doing here?"

Duo recovered first and straightened, a smile coming to his face with the ease of long practice. "Prince Yuy and I heard some strange noises, your Majesty," he said smoothly. "We weren't sure what was going on, so we decided to listen to the conversation in the room rather than charging in blind demanding to know what was going on. May I congratulate you for finally capturing J and G? It is a remarkable achievement and will surely bring great relief to the people."

On the surface there was absolutely nothing wrong with this explanation, besides its vagueness, but besides that it still seemed plausible. Quatre thoughtfully examined it and analyzed it, and came to the conclusion that Duo wasn't giving too much information on the first prompt, and there weren't any gaping holes in the excuse, and there was a nice attempt to steer the conversation away from precisely what him and 'Prince Yuy' were doing in the next room.

The fact that had had completely ignored G all the way through, and that G and J, recognizing their protégés, had not given any indication of knowing them on the hope that they would be rescued, didn't hurt either. Having finished his analysis and arrived at the conclusion confident of his friends' safety, Quatre turned his attention to King Treize --

-- and saw that he wasn't buying it.

Oh shit.

"So let me get this straight," the ginger-haired man said slowly. "Prince Yuy and Duke Maxwell just happen to be wandering around a wing of Juki Palace which is normally completely uninhabited, very late at night, which is against the curfew applied to all nobility residing within the palace, and just happen to be in the same area at the same time that J and Heero are supposed to be meeting. They just happen to be the two best fighters in the realm. We just happen to capture J and G on exactly the same night. They just happen to be listening at the door when we do. They just happen to have an excuse for what they are doing in this area of the palace so late at night, and a rather flimsy one at that. We just happen to know that BR intercepted BG's message."

That last one shocked Quatre into speaking. "We do?"

Treize shot him an irritated look. "My guards, who you seem so fond of downsizing, can bring in useful information from time to time," he said acerbically. "I received information that BR had intercepted a key communication from Heero to J, and as we had done the same I felt it was likely to be the same message. You see, my dear Raberba Winner," he said, urbane now, "not all employees of the Juki monarchy are complete idiots."

Well . . . ouch.

Treize swung back around to face Duo and Heero. "So, to continue," he said, beginning to thoughtfully pace. "Duke Maxwell. A known troublemaker and renowned fighter. Known to disappear for months on end, rarely comply with direct orders from the King -- and yet never seems to do enough to be charged with treason, is uncooperative and a smartass. Prince Yuy. A mechanical demeanor, at times seeming both willing and unwilling to accede to his parents' wishes -- namely in the case of Princess Relena -- and is also a renowned fighters who disappears for months on end. Neither one ever really interacts with the other -- and yet suddenly the two of you appear, together, late at night -- which would indicate a close acquaintance at the very least -- in the same area in which no one but myself, my guards, and the 'unsuspecting' J, G, Heero and presumably Duo are meant to be. There is no sign of Heero and Duo anywhere, while J and G are captured and have not said one word to me all throughout this time. So, having looked at all the evidence, stated and restated, can you tell me what my conclusions should be?"

Treize looked from one to the other, fine eyebrow raised. "Hm?"

There was a sudden hollow boom as the door Duo and Heero had come through was shut firmly and locked. Another door opened, three sets of blue eyes swiveling towards the source of the noise, and seven more of Treize's personal guards came filing in, cutting off the other possible way for Duo and Heero to leave -- by force.

"You people all seem to think me very gullible," Treize said into the dead silence that filled the room. "Do you really think that I wouldn't at least plan for the contingency that Heero, on his own, might try to save his commanding officer? I never expected to simply be able to capture J without any form of retaliation."

"Your Majesty is mistaken," Quatre said hurriedly, suddenly breaking from the shocked thrall he had been held in. "I know these two men personally, and there is no way either of them could be the men you so obviously wish to --"

"Are you contradicting us?"

He used the royal 'we'. Oh shit.

"I am not a fool," Treize announced. He narrowed his eyes at the two silent men standing side by side. "Nor do I like to be taken for one."

"It seems to me," Treize continued after a moment, his body language relaxed and at ease, "that there is a simple way to solve all of the problems we have here. A way to resolve the conflict between BG and BR, a way to put their talents to the use of mine and the other three kingdoms, and a way to punish someone for the crimes inflicted against the crown and the people." This is not good, Quatre thought frantically. He's thrown me off -- I never thought he would be this unpredictable --

Treize smiled, and it was a snake's smile. "Trial by combat."

"You can't mean --" Quatre's throat cut his voice off as it closed up under Treize's blue-eyed stare. So odd, this man, never seeming to be untrustworthy and venomous, but once you knew it was there you could see it, hiding under the urbane façade. . . .

"From reports I would assume that Duke Maxwell is Duo, and Prince Yuy is Heero," Treize said suddenly. Duo sucked in a sharp breath and Heero, if possible, went even stiller. This was very, very bad. How the hell had he figured that out in such a short space of time? "I will place them into trial by combat against each other," he continued. "I have always enjoyed watching others joust and fence, and considering their combat at the tournament this should be very enjoyable indeed, for they will not only be fighting for the lives of their commanders and an end to the conflict between BG and BR, with a clear winner, but also for their own lives."

Treize's gaze moved between Heero and Duo, and there was something slimy about his smile. Then he said, very quietly, "Whoever loses the battle will be executed by the other for treason." He gave a dazzling smile. "Of course, whoever wins will clearly be the one who is the most innocent of the two, and therefore will exempt himself and his organization from punishment."

Heero, Duo and Quatre said nothing. What was there to say?

At a nod of Treize's head, his guard moved to secure an unmoving Heero and Duo in the same shackles that adorned J and G. Neither one paid attention to what the guards were doing; their attention was on Treize.

He noticed. He smiled at them as a father might do to a favorite child. "Rest well, my dears," he said, "for tomorrow you fight to the death."

++

Am I evil, or am I evil?

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