NOTE: see part 1 for notes, warnings
AUTHOR: shira

Papillion + Part 6

The following morning, Heero's first day reporting as a Preventer, Sally scheduled a general meeting of all the agents and supervisors, at least the ones that weren't on assignment somewhere, so that she could announce Heero's joining of the organization. It was outside the meeting room before things got started that Heero ran into Wufei.

"Yuy," the Chinese young man called across the hallway and over the other people who were filing into the room.

"Wufei," Heero acknowledged with a bit of apprehension in his voice. Wufei walked over and stopped, a stern look on his face, causing Heero to feel even more self conscious.

For a few seconds neither of them said anything as they glanced over each other, and Heero prepared himself for the tongue lashing that he knew Wufei was capable of giving. Instead, Wufei surprised him with an embrace and a little smile. Heero stared in wonder before he reciprocated with an unsure smile of his own.

"Glad to have you back, Yuy," Wufei said as he offered his hand for a handshake between friends who had been through a lot together.

Extending his hand to shake, Heero's smile became more genuine now, carrying his expression so that his eyes softened as well. "Thanks. I was worried you'd all be angry at me."

"A lot of us were, last year. But I think we've managed to get over it, especially considering what we know now. That you left under orders."

Heero sighed. "Some of you understand, at least." He looked down, embarrassed.

"Oh, you mean Maxwell?" Wufei asked.

"Yes."

"Give him time. He'll get over it and come around. You know Duo -- he has the need to dramaticize everything," he smirked.

Heero looked up, encouraged. "I hope you're right, Wufei."

"He'll be fine in time. I think he's just shocked to see you." The Chinese young man reassured, noting that Heero really was, as Sally had insisted the previous evening when they had dinner together, different. The kind of different that a person is when they've just been through a life-altering event. He was more interested in everyone else, more concerned about their feelings. He was more human. It was obvious that Heero was aware now that there were other people living in the same world as he was, and that was a far cry from the Heero that they'd all come to know previously.

"Sally explained everything to me last night. I think it will all work out," Wufei added, eliciting a strange face from Heero. "Oh...you know we're dating, right?"

"No, I didn't know but...great!" Heero said with a friendly smile that said that he had no expertise in that field himself, but as long as Wufei was happy, that was good enough for him. He'd never given it much consideration, the two of them together, but in his mind it fit. They complimented each other, Sally and Wufei.

Wufei checked his watch. "It's five to nine. We'd better get in there." The two agents passed through the doorway and into the meeting room, where they took seats beside each other.

The large meeting room filled quickly, mostly with people that Heero had never met before, but there were a few familiar faces. Some people who had been working with Sally and Lady Une as they began to form the Preventers organization before the Eve War. He nodded at those that recognized him, but none approached to say anything or speak to him. Apparently his reputation was more renown than he had ever imagined, since it almost seemed like people were apprehensive around him.

There was much mumbling and chattering in the room until Sally and Une showed up, after which everyone quieted, prepared to listen. Heero searched the room noticing that there was one very important person missing, and just as Sally was about to complain about it, the door opened one last time.

"Sorry," Duo said aloud as he took one of the remaining empty seats. He looked at Sally, and then at Heero before looking away. Sally cleared her throat, ignoring him.

As they sat waiting for the meeting to commence, Heero became increasingly aware that Duo was purposely ignoring him. He wondered if the other agent's late entrance was on purpose too, so that he didn't have to talk to Heero before hand while waiting for Sally and Une to show up. That would be just like Duo, to be underhanded like that. After all, he'd already expressed that he had no desire to speak to Heero about the past.

Turning to look toward the man who had been his partner and one of his most trusted friends only a year earlier, it actually bothered him to see Duo peeking at him out of the corner of his eye, only to look away once he realized that he was being watched. Then Sally began the meeting, commanding everyone's attention toward her.

"I wanted to take a moment to introduce our newest addition, agent Heero Yuy, former pilot of the Gundam Wing Zero." A murmur went around the room and Heero's face reddened a bit. "Agent Yuy has recently been relieved of other duties, and has decided to continue his work for the effort of universal peace, so I'd like you all to make him feel welcome."

Heero looked around the room, smiling politely at those acknowledging him, and his eyes stopped on Duo once more. The other agent was visibly trying to ignore him now, but on his face was a tired look of distraught. Heero became uncomfortable with the invisible tension that was building between them, wishing he could simply drag Duo out into the hall and talk to him once and for all.

This time Lady Une spoke, reading from a sheet in front of her. "As you know, we still have a number of projects underway, as well as some new ones starting up, and the addition of agent Yuy couldn't have happened at a better time." She looked up through her round rimmed glasses and glanced around the room before returning to her sheet. "Currently we have agents Merquise and Noin continuing with the supervision of the Mars project. For those of you who haven't heard the latest reports, they estimate that colonization may be possible within the year. Once that is formally confirmed, we will begin taking applications for nations wishing to colonize there."

Someone coughed, and Heero's attention was momentarily broken from Une's report as he turned his head. Duo was staring right at him, but immediately turned away when their eyes met.

"Agents Nichol and Waverly are still overseeing the construction of the outposts around L1 and L3. Agents Barton and Winner are doing the same on L4, as well as overseeing the Winner Corporation's contribution to the organization, the construction of the new Preventers satellite." She flipped a page. "We still have agents in the L5 cluster monitoring what is happening out there since there is still no set government over the smaller colonies, but there doesn't seem to be any unrest as far as the reports are coming in. Is that correct, agent Chang?"

"Yes, things seem quiet again, after the last upheaval was stopped," Wufei informed to the room. "At the time of my return last week, I was aware that the Shin clan had stopped advancing on smaller colonies and retreated back to L5-116253. We need to keep watching them, but I think they are calming down since there has been a more prominent Preventer presence in the cluster."

"Very good. Keep on top of that project please," Une said. "Agent Maxwell was overseeing things on his home colony of L2 until I called him back last week. We have an incident going on, and it needs some attention." She turned to Duo. "Duo, I'm sending Matt Gooding back in your place because I need you here."

"What?" Duo's response was surprised and argumentative.

"I need you here, agent Maxwell. Is there a problem?" Une's stern look caused Duo to sink back into his seat.

"No M'am. No problem." Duo sighed, looking away. The expression on his face was pure disappointment.

"Sally Po was alerted yesterday morning to stirrings going on in the region of the old Oz Lunar Base, and we've been asked to check it out. From the reports that came in, it is a possibility that someone has begun ammunitions production, and quite possibly mobile suit production, on the base, and we all know what that means, right people?"

"We're planning on watching what's going on up there from here for a week, maybe two at first, via the high-power, and then if there seems to be any reason to do so, a team will be sent to check it all out," Sally added. The high-power was the universe's most powerful telescope. It was owned collectively by all the nations, and had been built at the Preventers scientific lab and observatory. It was powerful enough to read the words on the page of a magazine being read on the moon, so it came in very handy for observation from afar. "Plus, we're going to start monitoring all shuttle movement to and from the moon."

"Who will you send?" Agent Thompson asked from across the room.

Une answered. "If we are required to send a team for close observation, I plan on sending agents Maxwell and Yuy, since they have the most experience in deep space espionage and combat, and they are somewhat familiar with the Lunar Base itself."

"Wouldn't it be easier to just send a team from some of the other outposts?" A second voice asked.

Sally responded this time. "We don't want to interrupt anything that's happening at any of the other outposts. That would look suspicious."

Heero looked at Une, then turned to Duo, who didn't seem pleased in the slightest.

"Lt. Une, if I may..." Duo began, before being cut off by Une's curt reaction. She had been overseeing the transaction that was taking place between the two agents since the meeting began and wasn't pleased with what she saw.

"Maxwell, Yuy. I want you both to wait here with me after the meeting."

Heero nodded, thinking to himself that it was only the first day of work and already someone was pissed off at him. Duo only stared at the table. Une turned to Sally, who gave a small shrug, then a nod of her head. Everyone else in the room was silent.

"OK people, I think that's it," Sally finally said, breaking the uncomfortable mood that had developed in the room. "If anyone has any questions about anything, I'll be in my office for the next few hours. Otherwise, please resume your current command assignments. Alexa, make sure I get meeting minutes in an hour, and please email them to all personnel that we have in the field."

There was a collective sigh as agents began to rise, shuffling their way out of the room, anxious to get out of Une's path. She was a great leader and a fair woman, but if there was one thing the others knew about her, it was that she had a very high level of expectation of every person in the organization.

When the last of the agents had left the meeting, leaving only herself, Sally, Heero and Duo in the room, she got up and closed the door. Sally hadn't moved from her seat. Une sat down again.

"I'm going to say this once, and only once."

Heero swallowed. He'd never realized before just how intimidating the woman could be, even on the side of peace.

"Whatever it is that's happening, or not happening, between you two...FIX IT, and fix it now, because now that we have Heero back, I have my two best men together again. I need cooperation between you two, not squabbling. I have to depend on you both!"

"I..." Heero went to speak, but his sentence didn't come out. Noticing Sally watching him, Heero felt very nervous. Duo still sat, cooly acting like nothing was wrong but refusing to face him. "Yes, Lt. Une."

"Here," Une said, slapping a twenty-dollar-bill on the table. Go get some coffee across the street. I don't want to see either of you back here until you're smiling and ready to work for me. This is serious shit, and I'm not going to be responsible for screwing it up because of a personality conflict."

Sighing, Duo turned to face Une, thenlooked at Heero again out of the corner of his eye. He stood, taking the bill off the table, then turned to leave. "Come on," he said with dejection. Heero rose from his seat and followed Duo out the door and down the hall, leaving Sally and Une.


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