Author: Elyndys
Pairing: will be 1+2+1/1x2x1; mention of past 1xR, R+1
Disclaimer: Characters not mine - nope, not a one if I can help it...
Warnings: Part 6 has no warnings. For future warnings, see part 1 and see individual chapters. This is an AU fic.

Escaping + Part 6

Heero hesitated only a moment before responding. "How can you help me?" He heard himself say "me"; not us... It was not a challenge, it was an invitation.

Duo smiled. "Stealth was always my strong suit. Like you just said your colleague was good at undercover work, so he knows how it works; well, the same goes for me." He looked around at the delegates making their way back into the conference room. "I have to go. But -" his smile broadened " - why don't you meet me later and we can talk properly?"

Heero nodded once.

"Eight o'clock, at this place..." He fished for a pen and looked for something to write on; meeting Heero's gaze, he paused and smiled a little; in a swift move he took Heero's hand, and wrote on the back of it. "Sorry. No paper. Just remember to write it somewhere else before you take a bath."

Heero smiled. Duo's hands were warm holding his; the pen pressed his skin strangely but didn't hurt.

"I'll see you later." Duo turned, raising a hand over his shoulder in a wave, returning to the meeting. Heero watched, then looked around for Trowa.

Seeing him by the doors to the office wing of the complex, he made his way over. He met Trowa's questioning look with one of his own that said no answer would be forthcoming, or even necessary, and they went through the doors.

They quickly found the main administration centre, showing their ID and making their requests immediately and flatly, offering no explanations. "We would like a complete list of all the people who work in this building, and also a list of anyone who visits during the conference, including the delegates." Especially the delegates. "And all the personal details they give you." To compare what they say with what we find. "That's all for now."

Quickly the data was supplied, and Heero pocketed the discs. Soon he and Trowa were driving back to the police station in a silence that was neither unfamiliar nor uncomfortable.

Back in his office Heero accessed the data and divided the list in half. "You check out these; I'll do the rest."

With a nod, Trowa returned to his desk, looked at the information Heero had just sent and set to work.

Heero remembered there was something he thought he should do: remembering, he looked down at the back of his hand, and smiled a little. The address Duo had written there was a small but upmarket restaurant Heero knew of, but had never visited. It was situated in a quiet side-street, not difficult to find if you were looking for it, but not easily noticed if you weren't. It suited Heero.

He copied the address onto a piece of paper and reached to put it in the inside pocket of his jacket; wondered for a second what was there already before realising it was a packet of cigarettes... He realised that he hadn't touched the packet in days... since the dinner at the summit... He thought suddenly how he hadn't felt the same need to pretend to be... normal... and hadn't felt the need for the secret. He was happy with real ones.

He took the cigarettes from his pocket and threw them into the wastepaper basket.

He settled down to work, systematically searching for information on everyone he could trace, and noting down names that had little or no data attached to them, and information that did not correspond to that which he had received from the staff at the summit. It was a relatively simple, if laborious, task, and Heero found himself absently checking his watch every so often and feeling a slight jolt of anticipation as he saw time passing...

Quite absorbed in his task, he found himself as little surprised to hear Trowa tap lightly on the door then enter.

"Sir, it's six o'clock. I've done about a third of the names - is it okay to head off?"

"Of course. I hadn't realised it was so late. I'll get going as well then."

Trowa nodded and left, raising a hand in a parting gesture. Heero put on his jacket and left, locking his office and following Trowa. "See you tomorrow sir."

"Yeah."

Heero knew it would take about half an hour to drive back to the house, and half an hour to drive back into the city to the restaurant, thus leaving an hour to get ready... and tell Relena his plans.

"An engagement? Who are you meeting?"

"A contact for a case. I know it's unusual, but he's busy during the day." For some reason he thought he shouldn't tell Relena it was her colleague; after all, he did have to maintain anonymity for any potential witnesses.

"Do you know what time you'll be back, Heero?"

"No. But I won't be too late."

"I hope you have a good time."

He kissed her on the cheek and left.

He arrived at the small restaurant a little early, so he sat in the small bar area until he saw Duo come in.

"Sorry I'm late. Quite a long way to drive there and back, especially when you take as long to get ready as I do." He smiled broadly. "Not that I'm vain. Well, maybe a little. Let me buy you a drink."

Before Heero could reply, Duo was walking towards the bar, and he was following.

They sat for only a few moments before Heero's curiosity got the better of him. "How can you help me?" His earlier question, repeated softly.

Duo smiled again. "Well, I told you I was in the war. My speciality was turning up unannounced, y'know? Getting places and then taking people by surprise. Not really like how you said your colleague worked - not intelligence work or undercover infiltration, particularly - more, not letting them notice me for what I was - then... bang." A dark smile. "What I wanted to say was, I'd be completely willing to keep both eyes open for anything I might think looks suspicious. And I'd like to think I'd recognise suspicious behaviour, seeing as I've been in plenty of suspicious situations before." He paused, and looked a little more serious. "I know you have no reason to trust me. I understand it would be against protocol pretty strongly to let me get involved, or give me any information. But..." he left the sentence unfinished, but Heero understood.

There's something... we understand about each other...

"I trust you," Heero said.

There was another short pause. "I believe you when you say that. Thank you. I trust you too."

Another thoughtspace of silence.

"So I'll get in touch with you straight away if I think anything's wrong."

"Thank you." Heero was grateful, if a little surprised. It was not often that he, or indeed any of his colleagues, found people so willing to help them with their work; most were afraid of reprisals, or at least the social stigma of seeming to betray their fellow citizens... even if they were criminals. Heero found it one of the most frustrating aspects of his job, because he simply couldn't adjust his mind to that attitude. He suddenly felt curious as to why Duo didn't think like that. "Why do you want to help me?" As soon as he said it he thought he knew the answer.

Duo put down his glass and smiled around a mouthful of mineral water [1]. "If you need my help, it's the right thing for me to do."

Heero nodded. He had thought right. "I'm not sure how necessary it will be yet. But I'm grateful."

Duo nodded as well. "Well, I'm always around if you need to call me. Perhaps" just a hint of a smile "I should give you my contact details. Obviously I'm at the summit during the days, but this is my mobile number [2] - " he produced a card "- and I'm staying at the Embassy hotel. With all the rest of them." Somehow, Heero thought, he made the word `them' sound rather derogatory. Heero hid a small smirk. "That's one of the reasons I found this place. I've been trying to escape from there as much as I can - " he smiled "- it's crawling with security and bureaucrats and just general hassle even if you just want to take a walk outside. But I gave them the slip pretty easily." He laughed. "This is a nice place anyway. The whole city is great, but this is the best restaurant in town." He idly perused a menu and looked at Heero over the top of it. "You ever been here before?"

Heero shook his head.

Duo smiled. "Well then! I know we've finished our business really, but... you will be staying to join me for dinner, won't you?"

+

[1] D and H are being responsible because they are both driving ^_^
[2] Another British term?

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