Author: Maldoror
see chap. 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer

//THIS// is Heero's entries on his laptop.

Trial and Error + Chapter 6

//Mission duration: 8 days 14 hours

Project 2: Opposites attract

Operation 2x3

Partially due to RP's escapade, a plan was formulated so that 2 and 3 could have some quality time together.//



The night was chilly and humid through the panes. Heero turned from his laptop, whose screen's luminosity had been carefully shielded, to look out the darkened window, twitching the curtain aside. He was in the old servant's quarters in a wing that was at right angle to the flat rooftop where his objective was standing, giving him a good view. From the laptop's speaker came the sound of shifting feet. This time he'd managed to include a bug in the subject's equipment. No more surprises.

Duo shifted again, apparently trying to warm his feet. He was hugging himself. His jacket was thick but he was only wearing jeans and black sneakers, to be ready for action if need be. His eyes were on the rooftops around him. When he turned to check the other side the light illuminating the palace facade caught on the gun stuck in the back of his belt.

He had spun and drawn it before Heero even heard the noise from the stairs leading to the flat roof.

"Ah there you are." Duo said cheerfully, though he kept his gun pointing towards the opening door until he could ID the new arrival. Heero was watching him through a night-vision scope slipped between the slit in the curtain, and he didn't feel encouraged at the way Duo's face fell when he recognized the man who had joined him on the roof. "Tro?"

"Duo." Trowa nodded as he walked towards his friend. In the scope's view his face looked slightly curious. "You were expecting someone else?"

"Well...yeah." Duo belatedly put away the gun, his eyes going back to scanning the rooftop, his mouth turned down at the corners. His voice crackled slightly in the laptop's speakers. "Heero said he'd be taking watch with me."

"He had to make up for some other shortfall in security tomorrow and he asked me to cover for him. He's apparently reluctant to let Relena out of his sight after what she pulled yesterday, and Wufei needs more time to cool off before he can take a shift without fighting with her." Trowa said placidly, eyes also scanning the rooftops. "I guess this threat they got on top of all that really made Heero nervous."

"Relena gets twenty death-threats a day before breakfast. It's like the votes in a popularity contest for politicians. Why's this one any different?" Duo grumbled, hugging himself against the cold again. He looked quite put out and not in the kind of mood to fall in love with someone but Heero knew how long and boring night sentry could be.

"We apparently were not required to know." Trowa said dryly. "You could have refused to take watch, you're not a preventer."

"...Heero doesn't often ask me for favors." Duo muttered, glaring at the tiles of the roof on the other side of the palace courtyard.

Trowa said nothing in a way that Duo apparently found annoying because he suddenly spun on the taller man, eyes flashing. "You could have refused too, why the hell are you here?"

Trowa shrugged. "It's Thursday, circus's night off. I didn't have anything else to do. And the house feels empty."

Duo seemed to deflate and leaned his elbows against the handrail separating the flat roof from the pitch of the tiles. "Quatre still away?"

"Until next weekend. Meeting got extended again."

"That bites."

Trowa shrugged, then took something from the pocket of his trench coat. "Want something to warm you up and help us drown our mutual sorrows?"

"Is it more than 50% proof?" Duo asked uninterestedly.

Trowa snorted. "If Heero did a round and found us drinking even a non-alcoholic beer, he'd skin us both alive with the broken bottle. It's cocoa."

"Cocoa." Duo muttered sardonically though he still extended a hand towards the cup Trowa was pouring from a thermos.

Heero watched them both lean in friendly silence against the handrail and click their plastic cups together.

"To two lonely idiots." He heard Duo say quietly.

"You don't need to be, Duo." Trowa said softly. "You're vibrant, outgoing, why do you stay stuck on-"

"Yeah, well, I'm a chump. Never denied it." Duo interrupted crisply. "A stupid, lonely chump. Right?"

"Right." Trowa whispered, and put his free arm around the braided man's shoulders.

Heero let the curtain twist back into place. It looked like it was going well, better than he'd ever expected in fact. He turned off the speaker, he didn't want to eavesdrop on his two friends while they had a discussion that seemed to be getting intimate. He wrote a summary of the situation in his laptop, closed it up and headed out. He'd covered security so thoroughly with those two on call that he could afford to go home and rest, to get ready for his duty tomorrow.

Heero's training had not made him emotionless, as some believed. He felt emotions, and he let some of them guide him, but he did not let them control him, or even speak up too loudly. He merely observed them and then put them away until they were needed, which was rarely.

He picked up and looked curiously at the strand of feelings weaving its way through his mind. He should be happy to finally see one of his operations succeeding. Instead...he kept seeing the look on Duo's face when he said he was lonely.

Relena had been right, so right. His four friends were lonely and were unhappy because of it. Heero tried to lock the emotion away using the knowledge that at least Duo - and Trowa too of course - were on their way to reversing this situation.

He found it exceptionally hard to do so. He must be tired.

It took him a few minutes to realize he was driving under a steadily increasing downpour. He winced, remembering that the roof was open to wind and rain and offered absolutely no protection. Damn. Well, hardship forged strong bonds, right? This was probably a good thing...


//Mission Duration: 8 days 15 hours.

Operation 2x3

Status: Under way

Next step: Require further information on methods of establishing a relationship between suitable women and 4 and 5.//



The rain of the previous night had drenched the garden and the morning sun had yet to burn the moisture away; it sparked off plants and grass like jeweled canopies. Heero thought all this sparkling could be dangerously distracting if a shooter were taking aim from the bushes so he kept a careful eye on the surroundings and didn't pay much attention to the first two times Relena sighed. But the third sigh sounded so much like the beginnings of an asthma attack he finally turned around to look at her carefully.

"Are you alright, Relena?"

Relena sighed again - on a slightly more lady-like register now that she had his attention - and twiddled the white rose she held.

"Heero...I talked to Daniels yesterday."

"Yes?" After her stunt, Relena had promised that she would be nice to Daniels and would not try to run out on his watch, so he hoped all this sighing wasn't leading up to the admission that she had driven him past all endurance already.

"He...the way Hugh was talking, it sounded like he's planning on taking on a lot of the shifts to guard me."

"It will be up to Daniels how much time he wants to spend on this duty. But I'm glad if he's willing to take on a good share, it will be a lot less stress on Chang and myself. I'm sure you'll appreciate seeing a bit less of us and more of someone nicer like Daniels too." Heero added. In hindsight, Relena had taken quite a lot of tongue-lashing the other day. Oh Heero would never back down from trying to get into her head how serious a breach in security was, but having Chang leap in to rant some more every time Heero ran out of breath had probably been a bit unfair on her.

"He's nice but I liked our present arrangement." Relena said in a small voice, staring at her rose in her lap.

"You really put us through our paces Relena...and we fight with you so much. I don't know how you put up with it." He added. Heero was perfectly aware that his obsession for security and details was considered, well, slightly over the top by many people; it was the heritage of war, of his training. Though Relena and his other friends were often at the brunt of this behaviour, they never told Heero to just -

"But Heero, I don't mind a good fight!"

That brought Heero's attention back with considerable speed, and he gave Relena Peacecraft, the ultimate symbol of peace, the kind of look usually reserved for people who claim that trees are alien invaders trying to take over the world.

"That didn't come out right." Relena mumbled. "But I know that - that some guys don't know how to show affection, so they do silly things, like fight or say cruel things to you or threaten you or-"

"Is that why you wanted to be my friend even when I threatened to kill you all those times and ripped up your invitation during the war?"

"Well -"

"Relena, that made no sense at the time and it still doesn't."

"I'm just saying that I know that sometimes a fight is a sign someone cares for you. In fact affection can be born from fighting, because that's when two people become really passionate about-"

Heero had tuned her out. Some things he'd never fully understood had abruptly clicked. The times he'd really understood Zechs were always when they were fighting. And...And Duo! He was Heero's friend and on their very first meeting Duo had shot him twice! The only person to actually manage to wing him during the entire war. Heero had respected Duo immensely for that - even when he was furious to start with - and look, now they were best friends! And Relena was his friend, after all the times they'd argued over peace, and he'd threatened to kill her...damn he'd lost count how many times he'd threatened her at the end...There was a pattern here.

Could that work for love, too? It might. If conflict and fighting could lead people like Relena and Duo to become friends with an emotionless stiff like himself - Heero knew, without caring much, that he was nicknamed the Ice Prince among the Sanq Preventers. He'd been rather flattered, actually; he knew he was cold and distant, so ice was a logical substance to assign him, and at least they'd given him a royal title to go with it, they must actually respect him. Duo had been extremely mad when Heero had told him about it and tried to persuade him it was an insult, but Heero didn't mind- that had also led to a fight, come to think of it. And yet Duo and he were still friends, and yes, it was when they were fighting that Heero could best see beyond Duo's jester mask, and understand him fully. It was when Duo was yelling at full volume that Heero had really understood that the nickname bothered his friend; he'd made some efforts to reduce its use after that, or at least make sure his colleagues knew better than to use it in front of Duo.

If conflict could help people like Relena and Duo be friends with a soulless killer, then it might foster love among normal people...Heero didn't have a clue what love was, despite all his research, but he was working on the assumption it was a very deep level of friendship with extra helpings of sex on the side. So yes, it all made sense...

"-so even if Daniels is a great guy and the best bodyguard ever, really, I'd rather not change anything to- I promise to be good, okay? I won't give either of you any more scares, so you won't be so tired when watching me but could we just go back to the way it was before? Heero?"

"Hm?"

"Are you even listening to me?! Oh Heero I can't wait for you to figure it out! I just have to tell you! I'm in-"

"Minister? Yuy?"

Heero nodded towards Simmons, he'd been aware of her approach for the past two minutes. Relena was quite caught by surprise though and had managed to snap the stem of her rose.

"Daniels is bringing the car around. The conference is in thirty minutes. You should go or you'll be late, and Minister Darlian is the first speaker."

Relena muttered something very unlady-like about the heads of ESUN she was meeting, but Heero decided not to comment. His mind was running over new parameters, a new project. This might have given him a new pairing to consider...


//Mission Duration: 9 days 9 hours.

Project 3: Hostility masking affection / love born of conflict

Possible subject: Dorothy Catalonia (DC). DC and 4 were fierce opponents during the war, on a very direct and personal level. They are still frequently in hostile situations, but it has been observed that they seem to thrive on it.//



Heero nodded at the keyboard. He'd notice how they'd both seek each other out at parties, even though all they ever did was argue politics and make verbal battle until it was well past time to go home. He'd wondered about that; when he'd asked Trowa, the pilot had said that Quatre and Dorothy liked each other in a strange way and enjoyed arguing. He'd filed it away as one of Trowa's rare and more bizarre jokes and kept a mental note to always keep Dorothy away from the sharper silverware when Quatre was invited to a party. But now...

They did get along. They argued viciously about peace, war and business but they obviously enjoyed it. Quatre's eyes would light up and gleam when he saw her, like he was getting ready for a battle, but maybe his eyes were shining with love; Heero wasn't sure he'd be able to tell the difference. So he had to count on actions. Quatre never avoided Dorothy. She made efforts to see him regularly. And he always gave her lavish presents at Christmas which she seemed intent on outdoing.

Hell she'd run him through with a sword at the end of the war, that had to mean something, right?!

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