Author: Elyndys
Pairing: 1+2+1/1x2x1; reference to past 1xR, R+1.
Disclaimer: I am not owning these characters, to use the Indian English construction.
Warnings: Part 10 has a slight angst warning. Also, some of the dates of my timeline are clarified a little -- this is deliberate! Please don't be confused!

Escaping + Part 10

Heero found himself shown into a small meeting room. Inside were several uniformed police officers, examining some small items and putting them into sealed bags.

A sinking feeling crept up inside him. "What's going on?" He kept his voice calm.

"Mr. Maxwell wanted to explain it to you sir. He should be here in a minute."

Heero nodded, catching the sharp glance thrown his way by Trowa. He held the sergeant's gaze a moment, a blank question that he expected, with a grim resignation, to have to answer later.

The door opened once more and Duo was ushered into the room by an aide who was swiftly dismissed by a look from Heero. Heero opened his mouth to speak, but didn't have to.

"You got here fast. Sorry if I kept you waiting. I just want you to listen to me, then you can decide what to do. These guys," he gestured at the uniformed officers, "can help more than me, but I wanted to be the one to tell you."

Heero hoped only he saw the look Duo gave him; it felt oddly... intimate. He nodded; Duo continued.

He picked up one of the evidence bags and held it out to Heero. "Take a look at this."

Heero did so. That sinking feeling took hold further inside: he examined the item dumbly, knowing full well what it was - he had used things very similar in the past.

"It's... surveillance equipment," he said quietly, handing the bag to Trowa for inspection.

Duo nodded. "And these guys say that it's nothing to do with anything they know about. So it's not been put there by the police, or the summit security, or anyone's individual security staff - they would have needed permission. And no-one knows anything about it."

"So it's entirely unauthorised."

"Looks like it."

"How did you come to notice all this?" The question came from Trowa. Heero felt a vague warning feeling inside, but he would have to take it up with Trowa later. For now he would listen.

"It was during a conference session. I just happened to be looking around; it's a habit I have, staring off into space, you know." He smiled briefly. "But I noticed these little things in a few places around the room, and I hadn't noticed them before. So I mentioned it to one of these guys" he gestured again at the uniformed officers "and he said it was nothing to do with them, but maybe the security staff knew something about it. So I asked them, and they didn't know anything either. Don't worry -" he glanced at Trowa; Heero could imagine his colleague's expression "- I kept it casual. I know you didn't want anyone to know about the investigation. I didn't ask straight out. But when the security told me they hadn't changed or added anything, I came back and told these guys. They agreed it was something that seemed pretty serious, and I thought I should let you know, so I did as soon as I could; I had to get back to work straight away then, but I rang as soon as I got away. As soon as they could, these guys went in and dismantled the stuff." He put up both hands in a placatory gesture. "Don't worry, no-one suspects anything. We waited till everyone had got out of the way. Us diplomats don't work the longest hours, y'know. But..." His expression turned a little sheepish. "I had to give them a bit of a push. I started a little argument... I'll have to make up for that tomorrow, but that won't be so hard. I'll charm 'em." He grinned, but then turned serious again. "But then, after everybody got out, this lot went in and brought out the stuff, and that was when I rang you. Sorry if I panicked you, but I didn't want to talk about it on the phone, obviously, and I wanted to help out here." A final smile.

Heero thought. He couldn't run from it; it seemed so obvious so... typical... He pushed those thoughts aside for later, and instead concentrated on the dull feeling of suspicions confirmed that settled in his stomach. "The premises were swept and checked thoroughly this morning, as usual, weren't they." It wasn't even a question, he knew he was right before he heard the confirmation come from one of the officers. He didn't feel he could say anymore. He heard Trowa speak instead, words deliberate.

"That means it was someone here."

Heero turned around, trying to assess the look on Trowa's face, but it was impassive, as he expected. He kept his own voice soft, but firm to match Trowa's. "Or rather, it was someone who has had access to the building today." He looked Trowa in the eye. He needed to talk seriously with his subordinate.

Trowa looked away first. Heero looked back at Duo and continued. "You did the right thing. Thank you for telling us."

"So what are you going to do?"

Heero was silent. He felt a spear of helplessness ice him through; there was little they could do. This development was still minor. There was no need to let anyone know because there was no need to panic.

Heero kept telling himself that. The feeling of foreboding persisted: he couldn't help feel that something would happen... no matter what he did... But he still had to do something.

"We'll take these back to the station and see what we can find out about them." I take it the whole building has been checked?" One of the policemen nodded.

Heero nodded too, and continued. "You will carry on as normal, all of you. I don't have to say you should be extra vigilant." A look straight at Duo, he lowered his voice a little. "Call if you need me." He turned and left the room, an odd bitter taste pervading.

The drive back to the police station was as silent as usual, but it was a different silence. Heero could tell from the set of Trowa's mouth that his colleague was preoccupied... angry.

Heero felt no superiority. Just because he outranked Trowa did not mean he felt his subordinate had to accept his decisions and methods of working unquestioningly. He was not about to chastise Trowa for insubordination. But Heero valued Trowa's friendship as his detective skills, and felt uneasy that this issue was unresolved; he bit the bullet.

"Why don't you just ask me?"

Trowa glanced at him questioningly out of the corner of his eye, but didn't speak.

"What the hell I think I'm doing? It's what you want to know, right?"

Trowa hesitated a moment, and then let go. "I just don't understand why you'd put the whole operation in jeopardy like this! You know we should never tell anyone outside of the investigation any more than they need to; we don't even tell our families! But this guy's a stranger! You don't know anything about him. You certainly have no reason to trust him."

Heero looked at his companion curiously for a long moment before he replied. "But I do."

Trowa still looked agitated. "Heero, be careful. I don't know why you've chosen to tell this Maxwell guy what you have. I know you'll take responsibility if anything goes wrong; but we should be avoiding any possible way that anything could go wrong. Getting outsiders involved at this stage does not seem logical to me." They were back at the police station; Trowa parked in one of the allotted spaces and they got out, staring at each other over the roof of the car. "There's something else you should know, Heero." He met Heero's gaze. "You know this morning you asked me to finish checking out that list of people at the summit complex. I did. And his is one of the names that doesn't match up."

"In what way?"

"There's nothing at all to be found about Duo Maxwell between the years 190 and 198, and details before then are sketchy at best -- I've only found out about them through university and recent doctor's records. No birth certificate, no early education records -- between the ages of about 10 and 18, Duo Maxwell just didn't exist."

Heero looked at Trowa. Although Duo hadn't told him straight out, Heero knew how bleak Duo's early life had been; like his own... "I'm not going to argue with you; I'm not going to try to justify what I'm doing. I can understand what you're saying. But think about it Trowa. 198 is the year of the war. For the years up to then, there is probably no record of me either, and for that matter, no record of you. We all had to start again -- all of us who were soldiers. That's what Duo was, just like me, and just like you." He walked past Trowa and up the steps to the police station.

"I hope you know what you're doing." Trowa barely raised his voice, but Heero heard him clearly.

Heero thought about it as he made his way back to his office. He did know what he was doing, didn't he? He felt so sure... Suddenly tired, he dropped himself into the chair behind his desk. The lack of sleep catching up with him; and the sheer weariness of a defeating day. The dawn's hope evaporated. Dull sensation smothering. He realised sourly that he had been stupidly optimistic. He may have promised himself he would stay on earth till after the conference, but he hadn't really expected anything so unexpected to happen. He mentally berated himself, but he found himself too tired to even think it through properly. His mind had given up, faced with this strangeness.

He wasn't surprised to hear that Duo's name was one of the ones about which insufficient data could be found to confirm the necessary details. No, he wasn't surprised at all. It created problems, questions. Although he had a feeling he already knew them, he would like to be sure of the answers.

He picked up his phone and dialled. It was answered immediately. "Duo. It's me. I need to talk to you."

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