see ch. 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer
Warriors + Chapter 101
New Riyad, L-4 Colony
7:30 a.m. L4T
Quatre stood in front of the hotel mirror, scowling at his reflection.
Piercing jewelry removed-all of it, not just the pieces that showed--
dressed in the expensive, stylish gray business suit, with his hair freshly
dyed back to plain blond and cut more softly around his face, he looked
more like his wartime self than he had in months. A taller, older version,
to be sure, but still more like Quatre Raberba Winner than Kat Winner-Barton.
He hated it.
"I like my other outfit better," he grumbled, glancing over at the black
leather pants and black, cropped CdN tank top that Trowa had vetoed. "I'm
sick of pretending to be someone else, just to please them! It doesn't
do any good, anyway! You look great. I look like an accountant."
"A very attractive, stylish accountant, meli." Trowa came up behind him
and reached around to straighten the knot of Quatre's elegant Italian
silk necktie. His own black silk suit and black collarless shirt were
more avant-garde in cut. He smiled at Quatre in the mirror and kissed
him on the cheek. "Keep the mission in mind, 04. We don't want to go scaring
the straights now, do we? This is just camouflage for moving in enemy
Quatre turned in his arms and rested his head on Trowa's shoulder. "I
know. I'm so glad you're here!"
Trowa hugged him close. "I just hope it's not a mistake."
Their status was questionable. Quatre's family was using their relationship
and history against them. According to L-4 civil law, same sex marriages
could not be legalized here. But under ESUN law, unions sanctioned on
other colonies or Earth must be honored everywhere, a statute that was
still bitterly debated here. Quatre had given up his L-4 citizenship when
he broke with his family two years ago, but he'd been a minor then by
all statutes and his uncle and older sisters were calling into question
the emancipation he'd been granted at the end of the war. On L-4 he wouldn't
be considered a legal adult for another year.
His lawyer, Isobel Cardoza, was famous for representing rich and powerful
clients in cases like these and her record was excellent, but there was
too much at stake for Quatre to be anything but unsettled as he watched
the clock tick toward the appointed time.
"Do you think Heero and Duo would mind if I called?" he asked. "It's still
so early there."
Trowa took him by the elbow and led him to the vid phone on the desk.
"Call. You know they're up."
New Orleans, LA
3:35 a.m. EST
Marie brought a tray of coffee and fresh sugary donuts up to the upstairs
parlor and joined Heero and Duo in front of the new large screen television.
She'd personally overseen the equipping of the new kitchen and gone back
to work there before the last painter had left. Too worried about "Mr.
Quatre's" fate, she'd spent the night and been up cooking for most of
Heero gave her a smile and took charge of the coffee pot. He and Duo hadn't
slept either. They'd seen Quatre and Trowa off the previous day, then
spent the day going over contingency plans and moping around the too-empty
house. It was almost a relief to have Zero Hour finally coming. It had
been a long week.
They'd had the television on all night, listening to the press wind up
before the hearing that would start at 5 a.m. New Orleans time. It was
cold and rainy and dark. Heero lit a fire in the fireplace and sat on
the sofa with Duo under a blanket.
"They saying anything new yet?" Marie grumbled, settling in an armchair
with her coffee.
"No. Same old garbage," said Duo, flipping between the local channel and
GNN with the remote.
Heero resisted the urge to grab it away from him. As usual, most the news
commentators were concentrating on the more lurid details of Quatre and
Trowa's past. There were the expected clips of Quatre's breakdown rant
on the steps of WEI, shots of him entering clubs and hospitals and rehabs,
the infamous Vanity magazine cover, stills of the couple in their risque
circus outfits, and of course, endless replays of the four of them clubbing.
To anyone who didn't know the truth, it probably did look like Quatre
was leading a very dissipated life. It made Heero feel very helpless,
just sitting here, unable to do anything at all.
The vid phone beside him rang just then and Quatre appeared on the screen.
He was smiling, but Heero could tell how tense he really was. He wondered
if Trowa had made love to him, as Heero had suggested.
"Good morning." Heero moved over to make room for Duo in front of the
monitor. "How are you doing? You look very respectable."
Quatre wrinkled his nose. "Thanks, I guess. I'm nervous as hell, but I
think I'm ready. The judge we're meeting with knew my father. Maybe that
"Hang tough, 04," Duo told him. "Hell, you're the smart one, right? And
you could always charm the pants of anyone you wanted to. Just bat those
baby blues at him and give him the innocent act. He won't have a chance."
He glanced down at his watch. "Hey, it's time. Good luck, buddy! We love
"Love you, too." Quatre gave them a high sign and signed off.
Duo switched back to GNN just in time to catch the start of Dr. Batoosingh's
live interview with Larry Watts.
"Good morning, Dr. Batoosingh. Thanks for joining us so early," said Watts.
He was one of the better talking heads, in Heero's opinion, and handled
more serious stories with decorum.
"I am most happy to do so," Batoosingh replied, calm and unflappable as
ever. Heero wondered if he had his pad open on the table beside him, ready
to take notes on the interview the way he did in sessions.
"Now, doctor, perhaps we should begin by explaining to our audience that
you have never treated Quatre Winner-Barton, but know him through some
of the other Gundam boys, who are your patients."
"That is correct, Larry."
"And which ones, if you don't mind my asking?"
"Doctor-patient confidentiality does not allow me to say."
"Of course. Sorry. But you feel you know Quatre well enough to speak about
his emotional status?"
"I do, and I do so with his express permission, and that of his partner,
"I see. So, in your expert opinion, doctor, is there any merit in the
claims some of his family are making, that he's not mentally competent?"
"I find such claims utterly absurd, Larry. Mr. Winner-Barton has always
struck me as a most intelligent and resourceful young man, wise beyond
his years. He did suffer a nervous breakdown after the war, as so many
young pilots did, but he sought appropriate medical help and has pulled
his life together most admirably. His relationship with his partner strikes
me as a very healthy one."
"How then do you explain pictures like these?" More clubbing scenes flashed
across the screen, focusing mainly on those of Quatre making out with
Duo and Heero in clubs and on dance floors.
Batoosingh smiled. "Mr. Winner-Barton's lifestyle may not be as sedate
as some would like, but I have seen nothing in recent months to suggest
that it is in any way destructive. Quite the opposite, in fact. Quatre
and his friends are young, and they enjoy a rather unique history and
social life together, but in my professional opinion, their behavior falls
well within a broad definition of normal. There is no mental illness involved
in the dynamic."
Duo chuckled, cuddling closer to Heero. "Good thing he doesn't know about
"Hush!" Marie said, shaking her head. "Whatever you boys get up to, I
don't want to know either. Ain't nobody's business, that's what I say.
Those folks of his got no right, nosing around in his doin's. That child's
had enough heartache for one lifetime. You all have."
"Amen to that," Duo murmured, raising his coffee mug to her.
The feed cut to a feed of the street in front of the L-4 colonial high
court building, where Quatre and Trowa had just emerged from a long black
limo. The sidewalk was jammed with citizens and reporters being held back
by a police line. Some in the crowd were holding up signs clearly in support
of Quatre's right to privacy, while others condemned his relationship.
The camera zoomed in on a bearded young man holding a sign that showed
a picture of Quatre in club clothes, caught in mid pelvic grind with Duo,
over which was scrawled in huge red letters, "Abomination!"
"What is this, the fucking dark ages?" Duo exclaimed, quivering with indignation.
Heero shook his head and tightened his arm around Duo, feeling another
disquieting wave of helplessness. He wondered if it was his own emotion,
or something he was picking up from the others over all that distance.
Quatre had on his game face, though, Heero noted proudly. There was no
hint of hesitation or fear as he calmly made his way toward the stairs,
smiling at a few well wishers and ignoring the others. Trowa strode along
beside him, one hand resting protectively in the small of Quatre's back.
He looked looking taller and thinner than ever in his classy black Dolchi
suit. His expression was unreadable as always, but Heero recognized the
way he was scanning the crowd for potential threats. Some people were
cheering them, others shouting epithets.
"No wonder he wanted to keep it a secret at first," Heero said, rubbing
a hand up and down Duo's arm to calm both of them.
The vid phone rang again, and this time it was Wufei, and he looked furious.
"You are watching the news, I assume." Those slanting black eyes were
flashing with outrage, just like the old days.
"Yeah. Can you believe it?" asked Duo.
"No! What a shameful exhibition of intolerance. Poor Quatre! He doesn't
deserve such treatment!"
Heero thought of how Quatre had acted when he told him about the hearing.
It had been as if this is exactly what he thought he did deserve. "Would
it have been any different on L-5?" he wondered, thinking of all Wufei
had told him.
"There were no laws forbidding homosexuality. It simply wasn't recognized
or discussed. One had to be discrete, no doubt, but this? This is ludicrous!"
"Jesus, look at 03. If looks could kill!" said Duo.
"Stand by. They're going in," murmured Heero.
Heero and Wufei left their connection open as Trowa and Quatre disappeared
inside. The reporters began interviewing people in the crowd, most of
whom were against Quatre. After a moment Heero seized the control from
Duo and killed the sound. "Enough. Their opinions are meaningless.
"Shame on you!"
By the time he had Quatre safely inside the courthouse, Trowa would have
given his right nut for five minutes in Heavyarms with a full ammo load.
His jaw ached from gritting his teeth. This was a mission, and he knew
how to control himself, but it had never been harder. Not when he could
feel Quatre flinching at every harsh insult. The old wounds in that tender,
conflicted heart were being ripped wide open again, and his love was bleeding.
He slipped his left hand into his jacket pocket, palming the contents
to calm himself.
Miss Cardoza met them outside the judge's chambers with the bailiff and
several armed officers. She gave Trowa an apologetic look. "I'm sorry.
The judge insists on keeping it to only those directly involved.
"I am directly involved," Trowa gritted out.
"It's all right, Trowa," Quatre said, squeezing his hand. "It's enough
to know you'll be right out here waiting for me." Rising on his toes,
he kissed Trowa soundly on the lips and gave him a defiant wink as several
of the security guards looked away in disgust.
Quatre and his lawyer went inside and the heavy door shut with a dull,
final sound. Trowa sat down on the polished wooden bench beside the door
and rubbed his left ear, surreptitiously activating the tiny hidden earphone
keyed into the pin sized transponder in Quatre's lapel. Everything came
in loud and clear.
Quatre followed his lawyer inside to a comfortably appointed office. Deep
leather armchairs were arranged in front of the judge's large desk. The
judge, his uncle, sister and their lawyer were already in place. Quatre
nodded to them as he took his seat, not liking the way his uncle was smiling
He remembered Judge Al-Quar from his father's parties and fundraisers.
He was a white-haired man, very tall and thin, with a pointed white beard
and thoughtful dark eyes under his shaggy eyebrows.
"Hello, Quatre." The judge rose and shook his hand. "I am sorry to meet
you again under these circumstances. I assure you, I have looked into
your case most thoroughly and will strive to be fair to all."
"Thank you, sir," Quatre said. "I must tell you, it's most upsetting to
be here. I have already made it clear that I'm willing to give up my shares
of WEI to my three younger sisters and sign away my vote in the corporation.
I don't want anything from them at all, except to be left alone."
Al-Quar shuffled through a stack of papers on his deck and held up a document.
"Yes, I have your signed affidavit before me. It is part of what concerns
Quatre's heart sank. This was not going to be easy. "You doubt my motives?"
"This is a competency hearing, Quatre, not a corporate negotiation. The
issue before us is whether, over the past three years, you have been acting
of your own volition, and in your own best interests. As a minor-"
"I have been an emancipated minor since the war's end, and under ESUN
law, I am no longer one, since I turned eighteen," Quatre said stiffly.
"As a citizen of L-3 . . ."
The judge held up a hand. "Your lawyer has presented your arguments to
me already. The time after the war was chaotic, and the rights of the
ESUN versus colonial autonomy are still under dispute. You were a minor
by all statutes when you were recruited by the Gundam scientist, and you
left home against the express wishes of your legal guardians, your father
and eldest sister."
Fatima gave him a triumphant look. "You broke Father's heart. He never
would have agreed to let you go, so you just ran away! You were still
disobeying and betraying him the day he died."
"Fatima, please," the judge cautioned.
Quatre gripped the arms of his chair and struggled not to give in to grief
at the memory. "It's true he disagreed with my choices, but the last time
we spoke, I think he understood, even if he could never agree with what
"That is not at issue, either," said the judge. "You acted in direct and
willful disobedience to your father's express wishes and under the law,
you should have been found and brought home."
"We might not be sitting here at all if that had happened," Quatre's lawyer
retorted. "Quatre's part in ending the war is undisputed."
"So you say!" Uncle Ahmed sniffed. "He did not act alone, and we have
only the word of outsiders and other wayward minors."
"That is also not on the table for dispute," the judge said sternly. "Having
carefully examined all the facts presented, I do not believe Quatre was
old enough to make such a decision without significant coercion. A young,
impressionable, kind hearted-boy, offered the chance to go off on a grand
adventure, with the added allurement of the Gundam itself . . ."
"You're wrong!" Quatre said as calmly as he could manage. "I knew exactly
what I was doing, and why! I'd do it all over again if I had to."
The other lawyer, Omar Obeno, held up a familiar looking dossier. "Quatre
was among a group of prospective pilots specifically targeted by the insidious
men of Operation Meteor. He underwent extensive psychological profiling.
They knew exactly how to turn him from a respectable, misguided child
into a renegade!"
"I must object, your honor. My esteemed colleague is twisting the evidence
with his own pejorative opinion," Cardoza interjected. "Every suit pilot
in every army underwent similar vetting. Only those deemed strong were
allowed to pilot mobile suits. The fact that Quatre passed all tests with
flying colors should be seen as a testament to his outstanding maturity."
The judge gave a noncommittal shrug and turned to another file. "I have
here a compilation of psychiatric and medical reports, dating from March
of 196 to July of 197. Posttraumatic stress. Emotional break down. Drug
abuse . . ." He pursed his lips disapprovingly. "Venereal disease. Arrests
for drunkenness, drug abuse and public indecency. A charge of prostitution.
Now you perform nude in a show that has already been banned on this colony?"
He looked up at Quatre and shook his head sadly. "My boy, I know you were
raised better than that!"
"The prostitution charge was dropped. It was a false claim, filed out
of spite by a man Quatre refused to date," his lawyer countered.
"But the rest? Quatre, these are not the actions of a stable mind."
"His work with Circus della Notte is an artistic performance. It may not
meet the standards of this colony but it is highly acclaimed elsewhere,"
Cardoza said. "As for his earlier troubles, Quatre is hardly the only
veteran to go through a period of such behavior. All of those factors
are directly traceable to post traumatic stress syndrome. His diagnosis
is well documented, together with the record of his treatment and release
by Dr. Emma Standish. Since that time he as proven himself a responsible,
productive citizen. He has held a steady job-"
"A job he was given by the very man who seduced him, and kept him under
his control and in his bed, at considerable financial cost to this family,
I might add," said Ahmed indignantly.
"How dare you!" Quatre was on his feet, barely able to contain himself.
"Trowa did not seduce me, and I have always been with him of my own free
will! He saved my life and my sanity!"
"Quatre, please! This isn't helping!" Cardoza whispered, tugging him back
into his seat.
"I'm sorry, your honor, but please try to see it from my perspective,"
Quatre said, clenching his hands in his lap. "Trowa is more than just
my hus-ah, partner. He's my best and dearest friend. He saved my life
many times, during the war and afterwards. But for the past two and a
half years my uncle and sister have done nothing but drag his name very
publicly through the mud, accusing him of all sorts of terrible things.
Not once in all the time I've been with him have they tried to get to
know him. This isn't just about the Winner money, although I'm sure that's
a big part of it. No, they can't get beyond the fact that I'm gay and
I love him! And-and I'm afraid that you can't understand that, either,
sir. How am I supposed to get a fair hearing under these circumstances,
with such cultural bias against me? I'm not sick, I'm just different!"
"Quatre, answer me this. Was Trowa Barton not among the many men you had
sexual relations with during the time before you received mental health
"And you yourself have stated on the record that he was the first man
you had sex with, at a time when the effects of this wartime stress were
already beginning to manifest?"
"That had nothing to do with it!"
"And that even while claiming he loved you, he encouraged you to go to
sex clubs of the most extreme sort, and to consort with other men. That
he watched you commit sexual acts with other men?"
"I-yes, but-It's not the way you make it sound." Quatre felt his face
going red. Of course they knew all about that. His sister's spies had
been very skillful, right from the start. The judge probably had photos
in that thick file in front of him. "You can't understand what it was
like, trying to handle so many changes at once. I did have PTSD, but I'd
also tried to force myself to be someone I wasn't when I came back. I
tried to be the good son, the dutiful Winner heir. If people here could
have accepted Trowa as my lover, then I might not have broken down at
all! Afterwards I admit, I was out of control. No one could help me except
Trowa, and believe it or not, he did that by standing by me in those clubs
and making sure I didn't go too far. And he didn't cast me aside for it.
He's the reason I got help, and he's the one who got me through it."
"Really? Then how to you explain this? Your honor, these photos were taken
less than two weeks ago." Obeno slapped a sheaf of large pictures down
on the desk and Quatre felt his heart sink a little lower. They were surveillance
shots of the spin the bottle game at the hospital. Shocked as he was,
his quick mind had already registered that Zechs didn't show up in any
of them. Apparently even the almighty Winners didn't dare take on the
"This took place at Tokyo General Hospital," Obeno explained with evident
pleasure. "Witnesses there will testify that they heard Barton encouraging
his so-called partner to lewd congress with these other boys." He slapped
down more pictures of the four of them piled on top of each other in the
cab, obviously drunk. "They later shared a room at a hotel, and witnesses
there will attest to hearing the sounds of sexual activity."
"Hearsay, your honor, and a clear invasion of my client's right to privacy!"
Quatre took a deep breath, telling himself to be thankful no one had managed
to photograph what had gone on in that room. "I know how my life must
look to you, but nothing we do is illegal! Please try to understand--
I'm not an ordinary person. I never have been. My life is anything but
ordinary. It may even strike you as immoral, but that doesn't make me
The judge just shook his head and gave him a pitying look. "You were still
under psychiatric care when the two of you went through the union ceremony
on L-2, were you not?"
"Yes. Treatment was going well."
"But you acted against the express advice of your doctor, didn't you?
We have a signed affidavit from her, saying she did not feel you were
stable enough to make such an important life decision."
"She was wrong! I've talked to her since. She admits that she was wrong.
What is the date on that affidavit?"
"That's immaterial. Hindsight does not change the fact that at the time,
you ignored the advice of your own mental health expert and-" Obeno paused
with a look of disgust. "And married this man. You were only sixteen,
still a minor under all statutes."
"Emancipated minors are free to enter unions on L-2," Cardoza countered.
"Only if they are mentally competent. Quatre failed to provide the necessary
waiver. Only a bureaucratic oversight, or perhaps special treatment due
to his fame and status, allowed the union to be entered into. Their so-called
union isn't even valid by L-2's questionable standards!"
Quatre felt like he was sinking into a nightmare. He remembered the pretty
young clerk who'd winked at the oversight and promised them it would never
be a problem.
"And let's not forget the fact that Barton was eighteen at the time of
their union. A case could be made for statutory rape."
"Stop it!" Quatre yelled, slamming his fist down on the desk. "Trowa didn't
know his real age until a few months ago. Nobody did. He had no birth
records and a dental scan wasn't done until last October. That's a matter
of public record!"
Obeno was undeterred. "Yes, it is. Thereby opening him to a charge of
contributing to the delinquency of a minor, fraud-"
"Are you denying that Barton has benefited financially through his relationship
with you? That your not inconsiderable allowance has been spent in supporting
him, buying him expensive clothing, trips, and the like?"
"I shared willingly with him! He never asked me for one credit."
"That remains to be seen," said Obeno, looking altogether too smug. "And
there remains the matter of the statutory rape charges, as of today. You
are still eighteen, are you not? And under L-4 law-"
"I'm not an L-4 citizen, god damn it!"
"Quatre, please!" Cardoza pleaded.
The judge shook his head. "I'm sorry, Quatre, but it is the ruling of
this court that you were not of sound mind when you were emancipated,
or when you entered into the union with Trowa Barton, rending both those
legal proceedings null and void."
Quatre sank back in his chair. "No!"
"I am not doing this to be cruel, I promise you. I have only your best
interests at heart, and the memory of your dear father. But I am not blind,
either. I do not take quite such a dim view of young Barton's motives,
as do your relatives. Therefore I am tabling the fraud and rape charges,
until such time as your current mental state has been evaluated."
"Whom do you want me to see? A psychiatrist? That's fine."
"Let me finish, Quatre. It is the ruling of this court that, acting in
your best interests, you should be placed in protective custody, away
from all outside influence, and undergo a period of observation and therapy,
after which I will hear expert medical testimony as to your state of mind,
past and present."
"Protective custody." Quatre felt faint. "You mean you're keeping me here?"
"Yes, Quatre. But in addition to that, I am disregarding your financial
affidavit. WEI will acknowledge and respect your share of the corporation,
and your votes will be counted in absentia-"
Quatre was on his feet again. "I don't care! I don't want it! Please,
just let me walk away from this, as I proposed. They never have to hear
from me or think about me again!"
"That is not in your best interests, Quatre, and such wild offers are
not working in your favor, as to your mental state."
"Why, because I'm spitting out the silver spoon that was put in my mouth
when I was born? Is that all that matters? Money? I'm quite capable of
making a living. I don't need any inheritance!"
"You may feel differently later, Quatre. I cannot let you throw this away
now. It would be irresponsible of me. It is the ruling of this court that
you be made a ward of the court and taken directly into protective custody.
You will be transported to the New Riyadh Veterans Hospital for observation
for a period of no less than sixty days, whereupon your status will be
reevaluated by the court."
Quatre took a deep breath and tried to calm down enough to keep the tears
at bay. It wasn't as if they hadn't foreseen something like this as a
possible outcome. "Miss Cardoza, would you please read my prepared statement?"
His lawyer opened her briefcase and took out a folded letter. "I'd like
this read into the court record, Your Honor." He nodded, and she read
it out very slowly and clearly for the benefit of the recorder. "'I, Quatre
Raberba Winner-Barton, citizen of L-3 Colony and the Earth Sphere United
Nation, declare myself a political prisoner of the government of L-4 colony.
I declare that all efforts to detain me on L-4 are done against my will,
and in direct conflict with ESUN law. Signed and dated this day." She
handed the letter to the judge and provided Obeno with a notarized copy.
"The moment you take Quatre from this room, your honor, copies of this
statement will be relayed directly to the L-3 Embassy here in New Riyadh,
to ESUN headquarters, and to the press."
"Political prisoner!" Fatima exclaimed. "Do you hear that? He's not only
a weak minded degenerate, he's paranoid and delusional!"
"Please be quiet, Ms. Winner," her lawyer warned. "Surely your honor,
you see how ridiculous this is? Are you going to allow such a farce? This
will embarrass L-4 in front of the whole world!"
The judge studied the letter, shaking his head a little. "Only if his
claim has merit." He laid the letter aside and folded his hands before
him. "You must do as you see fit, Quatre, but so must I."
Outside in the corridor Trowa unclenched his fists and took the tiny communicator
from his pocket. Turning it on, he said very quietly, "Situation red."
In New Orleans, Duo relayed the message to Wufei in Sanque.
Wufei acknowledged it with a grim nod. "Understood. Be careful. This is
a delicate situation."
"Hey, ain't we both just the soul of tact?" Duo sneered with a Shinigami
He signed off and followed Heero out the door for the shiny new motorcycle
"You boys aren't going to try and get any weapons through colonial security,
are you?" Marie called after them, guessing where they were headed.
"We are weapons," Heero growled.
In Sanque, Wufei signed off the vid phone and pushed it across the table
He calmly keyed in the number and smiled at the pretty receptionist. "Hi
there, Elsa. Don't you look lovely today? Is my sister available? It's
rather urgent, actually. A bit of a situation brewing."
Trowa had already memorized the plans of the building and knew exactly
where to be waiting when Quatre was brought out to a waiting car. From
his vantage point in the shadows of the alley where the back door let
out, he saw how small and lost Quatre looked, surrounded by several security
guards. Trowa waited until he was exactly between the doorway and the
car, then turned the ignition on the big rented Harley, gunned the engine
to a defining roar and skidded out, aiming directly for Quatre. The startled
guards scattered. One of them tried to pull Quatre to safety, but he wiggled
out of his suit jacket, took a running start and vaulted over Trowa's
head to land on the seat behind him.
"Go, go, go!" he shouted, wrapping his arms around Trowa's waist.
Trowa opened up the big bike and roared out of the alleyway, veering sharply
onto the street, which the police had so thoughtfully cordoned off. With
no traffic to contend with, they got a good head start on the police as
they streaked for the L-3 Embassy just six blocks away. Sirens erupted
on all sides but Trowa had carefully scoped out their escape route. Leaving
the street, they flew through a small park, veered the wrong way down
a narrow one-way street, gunned it through a playground and the lower
level of a parking garage. They were in sight of the Embassy gates when
two squad cars appeared from opposite directions and blocked the way.
"Hang on!" Trowa threw the bike into a sharp skid, wheeled around, and
ran up onto the sidewalk next to the high stone wall that surrounded the
Embassy grounds. Keeping one eye on the cops, who were on foot now and
coming on fast, weapons drawn, he braked to a halt, climbed off, and bent
over, hands cupped in front of him. "Up!"
Quatre didn't hesitate. In a move they'd rehearsed hundreds of times over
the past few years, he took a few steps back, ran to him and planted a
foot in Trowa's hands. Trowa threw him up with all his strength and, with
a little help from L-4's forgiving artificial gravity, Quatre vaulted
easily to the top of the wall and clambered up.
"Come on, 03, hurry!"
Trowa glanced back at the cops. They were less than fifty yardrs away
now, and shouting at him to halt. With a grin, he backed into the street,
took a run, and flipped up into the air into his best spinning leap, landing
with his usual flourish on the wall beside Quatre.
"Sorry, gentlemen, but that's all the free show we can provide today,"
he called down to the flabbergasted cops. He reached into his pocket,
produced a few silver tickets, and threw them down in a glinting flutter.
"If you want more, come see us in New York. My treat. Be sure to tell
"Nice touch!" Quatre laughed as they climbed down a large palm tree into
the embassy courtyard.
"Thanks." Trowa grabbed him and hugged him hard. "I thought it would play
better with the press than my first choice, which was shouting, 'Don't
ever fuck with the Gundam boys' and flipping them off."
"Wise choice. I'm sure Duo will do that as soon as they get here, but
people sort of expect that from him."
[chap. 100] [chap. 102]
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