Written By: bikkothewriter
see Ch. 1 for warning, notes, disclaimer

Preventors' Case #84309: Splicers +
Chapter Twenty-Three

"Like father, like son. Nothing but a freakish little whore."

"Look at him. Only a matter of time before he turns over and tries to give one of boys a hole to fuck."

"You're no better than the rest of them. I hate to think what you do to the boy when you're alone with him."

The words echoed through Heero's mind long after he'd punched Special Agent Long in the face, rupturing his nose like bursting an over ripened tomato. He'd taken great satisfaction in making the smug man squeal in pain and didn't regret being arrested for assault. Dorothy made it very clear that she would have him out of jail in under an hour as they dragged him from the hospital.

Forced down the halls of the Preventors' headquarters with his wrists cuffed behind his back, he kept his head high. He was not ashamed of what he'd done; in fact, he wished he could have done more to put the self-righteous man in his place.

The police had been phoned the moment the first flash bomb had gone off and by the time the last had rang through the halls the Preventors were on the scene with dogs in tow, hoping to catch Duo and Gervais' scent and recover the missing Peacecraft heir. Once his vision cleared and his hearing returned Heero helped to scour the hospital. Knowing Duo's tactics and love of the theatrics, he found a male nurse naked besides his boxers shoved inside his own locker with Duo's clothes neatly folded on the shelf above. Gervais followed Duo's example, though in a more vain and cocky manner, stealing the clothes of the head surgeon, leaving the man unconscious in his office.

The dogs had no trouble picking up the scent, backtracking though the halls of the hospital. Heero, along with the other agents, went chasing after them with Heero in the lead to be the first to demand answers from the wayward Splicer. Ten minutes of running down halls and stairwells, the dogs hesitated briefly outside the ambulance bay before turning back inside the hospital. A mixture of hope and anger flared in Heero's chest; hope that Duo was somewhere nearby and anger that he would think the Preventors' so slow as not to thoroughly check the hospital for them.

He wasn't surprised, however, when the dogs led them into the cafeteria where Kitten, Dorothy, Relena and others were sequestered for their own protection. Heart in his throat, he stumbled to a stop, watching as the growling, slobbering dogs bounded into the boy knocking him into the ground, converging on him as one. The space surrounding the dogs, suddenly huge as those near moved away in fear, felt like an impenetrable ocean to Heero, one that he couldn't cross in time to save the boy.

"Mr. Heero!" Kitten yelled, "It tickles!"

Heero didn't breathe, his heart didn't beat again until he heard Kitten's vibrant laughter and realized that the dogs weren't attempting to devour the boy but drown him in slobbery kisses. Relaxing he turned with the intention of giving orders to the standing agents, forgetting that he was no longer a commander in charge of anyone, when Long's face and the look of disgust he read there stopped him. Long's face should have been enough warning for the words that would spill from his mouth but his hatefulness still managed to take Heero by surprise. He couldn't clearly remember if it was the comment about Kitten whoring himself to a pack of dogs or if it was Long accusing Heero of being a pedophile and rapist that drove his fist forward but one way or another the man had sent him into a rage that had taken three agents to stop.

Long wasted no time pressing charges, completely forgetting that he'd been called in to find Duo and Gervais and recover Zechs, leaving local authorities or more specifically Lieutenant Denvers in charge. No doubt, the woman was happily letting Duo and Gervais slip past her while she gloated over a minor victory.

Jolted back to the present by a rough pull on his arms forcing him to stop, he looked up at the agent leading him forward, following his gaze down the hall. Nellie, still dressed in her schoolgirl attire and as wild as he had last seen her, struggled against the three agents who carried her as she screamed obscenities, promising to feed the agents their own genitals. He pressed himself against the wall with the agent holding him following suit to give the others room to pass.

"Hee-chan," Nellie breathed as the procession came even with him, lifting her head to stare at first him then the agent holding him. "You did it."

She fought harder then, managing to knock the agents away in her struggle. She fell to the ground heavily, laying prone for only seconds before coming to her feet lunging at Heero. He braced for impact, unnecessarily as she embraced him, arms folding around his neck. She pressed her face to his, aggravating his bloody cheek as she rubbed against him.

"You did it. You killed him," she said happily, assuming he'd been arrested for killing her father.

Behind her, the recovering agents picked themselves up off the ground, drawing their weapons on the girl barking out orders she ignored. He watched them warily over her shoulder hoping they would have enough sense not to shoot him through her.

"No, I didn't," he said flatly, clearing the misconception.

"But," she said pulling back to look him in the face, gently touching her hand to his cheek, "But why else would they arrest you?"

Because I beat up a jackass, he thought and would have said so aloud had said jackass not appeared, nose heavily bandaged.

"What the hell is going on here?" Long barked.

"Sir, we were transporting the inmate back to her cell when she broke free."

Nellie turned, giving bright yellow eyes to Long and he grunted the same look of disgust he'd given Kitten taking over his bruised and broken face. Heero had no guesses as to why the man hated Splicers so much but could only hope that the man would keep his mouth while Heero had a sociopath wrapped around him.

"Jesus, where do you find these freaks, Yuy?" Long said and Heero's hope was short-lived.

"Who is he?" Nellie asked turning her body so that she kept Long in her sights and her face pressed to Heero's, their lips brushing as she spoke and he answered.

"He's no one. Pay him no attention." He hoped to spare Long from her attention, to keep the girl focused on him. He couldn't be sure that the girl wouldn't turn on him, hurt him but he could do what he could to keep her from hurting others.

"Did you do that to his face?" she asked and Heero kept his face blank, his body still. It was Long who answered her, face coloring a horrid shade of red that made the cuts and bruises darker, more noticeable.

"Bitch. Why isn't this thing wearing cuffs?" Long pointed, looking to the agents who made no move to pull the girl away.

"None of the cuffs are strong enough to hold her, sir."

"Thing," she repeated softly, rubbing her face against his, her focus completely on Long, "I hate him."

"I don't give a damn if you hate me. Your opinion means nothing to me. You mean nothing to me."

"Long, enough. Leave her alone."

"You know what your problem is, Yuy? You're so focused on your dick you don't see what's going on around you. This girl, Maxwell, Gervais they're all murderers and it won't be long before one of them gets you killed."

"I'm going to kill you," she sang lightly.

"I'd like to see you try, bitch."

"I don't try. I succeed," she said leaning forward smiling menacing. "I'm a winner."

"Nothing but freaks. All of them. Get her back to her cell and Yuy into an interrogation room."

Nellie turned away from Long pressing her forehead to his. Her yellow eyes were startling up close. Bright and demanding and he couldn't look away. He could read violence in her eyes as easily as he could read words on a page. This was not a girl easily stopped. This was not a girl who let things go. This girl was only happy when blood was splashed across the walls and Heero hoped to never become her target.

"Don't fight them," he said before she had a chance to speak and she smiled softly at him. "Don't give them a reason to hurt you."

She loosened her grip on his shoulders, backing away slowly. Dark ideas were forming in her head and Heero hoped that the agent's put their training to good use.

"Put your hands behind your head," one of the agents ordered once she was a few feet away from Heero. She complied, burying her hands in her hair. Two of the agents holstered their weapons grabbing her arms, forcing them down behind her back while the third kept his gun trained on her. All the while the smile never left her face.

"They can't hurt me," she said, "I'm invincible."

It was the only warning the assembled men had and it did little good. Nellie moved with swiftness, crossing the distance between herself and Long, launching onto the man's shoulders. Feet firmly planted, hands gripping the screaming man's head, she twisted left then right. The sound of bones snapping, grating against each other dissonant and jarring, forcing the men silent as they watched in horror.

She leapt away in an acrobatic move that would make Trowa envious, landing on the other side of Long's body with a flourish as his corpse crumbled to the ground. She took a bow, smiling proudly at her handiwork, then rose blowing a kiss. She turned, sprinting down the hall laughing as she went.

Time had stopped for Heero and the other agents as they stared in shock. Just moments ago the very same arms that took Long's life, leaving him a broken corpse on the carpeted hallway floor were wrapped around Heero's neck. Shuddering, Heero forced himself to look away.

"Get these cuffs off me," he said lowly.

"What?" the agent, his escort, said blinking confused.

"Get these fucking cuffs off me! We have to stop her before she leaves the building."

"Yes, sir," the agent snapped, ridding him of the restraints in record time.

"Give me your extra sidearm. You two," he said pointing to his escort and one of the other agents, "are with me. You two cover the back and sound the alarm."

"Yes, Commander," the men said coming to attention, focused on their orders.

Heero led his team down one end of the hall, while the other agents ran in the opposite direction, pushing any fear or guilt he felt aside. He had no time to blame himself for Long's death, for becoming the focus of sociopaths love. He focused on stopping her before she hurt anyone else.

They caught up to her just as the elevator doors closed on her cheerful, waving countenance and Heero brought the men up short, the borrowed sidearm cradled in his hands as he watched the individual floor numbers light up as the car made its downward descent. The seconds felt like minutes as they waited, their harsh breathing the only sound between them. The light stopped on the number one blinking several times, and Heero ordered the men into the stairwell, running down the three floors erupting into the main hall.

Nellie stood, surrounded by no less than a dozen agents, in the main buildings foyer. Halfway between the elevators and the front entrance she'd made her stand a hostage clutched in her arms as she ordered the agents around her to lower their guns. Her back to Heero, he couldn't see who she held in her arms but he could make out the long, blonde hair of a woman bent backwards into a headlock. He crossed the space, shouldering past two agents to take aim at the girl, sighting down the barrel to the back of her head.

"Nellie," he called and the girl turned, the same sadistic smile on her face, revealing her hostage to be Sally Po.

His heart dropped to his feet. Not only was his friend being held captive but Nellie held a very familiar needle and syringe pressed to her throat. The slender piece of metal dented the skin of her neck, the slightest bit of force and it would puncture her jugular. Sally, eyes wide with panic, pulled uselessly at the girl's hand, using all of her strength yet Nellie refused to budge. Across from them, Heero caught Wu Fei and his pained and angry expression as he watched his partner being manhandled and threatened.

"Hee-chan, tell them to play nice. Tell them to put their guns down."

"Nellie, don't do this. Let her go."

"Hee-chan," she whined.

Heero lowered the gun to his side, stepping forward a hand raised to the other agents to wait for his signal, to give him a chance to talk her down. She'd already killed once today and wouldn't hesitate to do so again. He hoped that he could use her infatuation with him against her, to play to her emotions in hopes of freeing Sally.

"Nellie, this woman is a friend of mine. Please, don't hurt her."

"Oh, my Heero. My Hee-chan," she said softly, tilting her head gently to the side in innocence. The movement of her head the complete antithesis to the movement of her hand as she brutally shoved the needle into Sally's throat forcing a scream from the older woman. "You're mine. You can't have any other friends besides me."

She depressed the plunger, injecting bright blue liquid into Sally's neck. She held her through the first bucks of the change, one arm around her neck and the other around her chest. Sally's blonde hair turned white, her teeth sharpened, grew long, jaws snapping as she roared fighting against Nellie's hold. The girl turned around taking Sally with her, shoving the pained woman forward and into the crowd of Preventors.

"You know what you have to do," she said looking over her shoulder to Heero with a cruel smile, "if you don't want her to kill them." She blew another kiss before running head long into the chaos she caused, artfully dodging the agents and skewing the shots of those on the other side of the hall.

Heero gave chase, running wide around the mess Nellie left them, focusing on stopping her before she made it to the glass entrance. Three agents were on his heels, the same idea in mind, running full tilt to no avail. Heero thought the girl fast before but she blurred before his eyes, moving at a speed he couldn't comprehend, not even pausing long enough to push open the doors instead shattering through them and into the street. He ducked through the broken pass, glass crunching under his feet as he scanned the streets for some sign of where she'd gone. There was nothing to see except for morning traffic and a few pedestrians who gawked at the display that he and the agents made. She was gone.

+

The Preventors' clinic, while not the bombed out shell he imagined, looked as if a viral infection had been released inside the building. Every inch of available space was lined with thick clear plastic, insulating the area to keep the spread of airborne debris and dust to a minimal. The staff maneuvered through large slits cut into the plastic and Heero imagined that workers in Hazmat suits would feel at home in the space. Stepping inside the building, he felt quarantined, separated from the outside world in a plastic bubble. Only a matter of time before they ordered him to strip for a chemical bath.

Shaking off the morbid thought, he followed a helpful nurse through the plastic maze, surprised that he was being allowed inside. He couldn't imagine Yates doing anything less than making sure every employee knew not to let him on the grounds yet several agents greeted him as Commander, asking for his leadership and guidance in the ensuing chaos. He had to admit to himself that leading came naturally, as he didn't hesitate to organize the assembled men and women to give chase. No one questioned his orders and within minutes, two teams were on the move with another team covering surveillance using the colony's traffic cams to follow Nellie's progress.

Busy with that he had not been there to give orders on securing Sally Po. From the account he received, the woman, with what little of her personality she had left, broke away from the agents running towards the elevators. Barricading herself inside the car, she saved many an agent from being devastated by her teeth and claws. Wu Fei personally climbed into the elevator shaft, using the maintenance hatch in the ceiling of the car as an opening to shoot his partner full of tranquilizers. Unconscious and safe to handle she was quickly transferred over to Dr. Anderson's care.

"In here," the nurse said pointing him into one of the clinic's room.

"Thank you." He nodded to the woman receiving a gracious smile in return.

"You're welcome, Commander."

He stepped through the plastic, parting ways with the nurse to get his first good look at Sally. At first he thought her injured, burned, her skin charred but realized quickly that her pigment had become black. The color was unsettling paired with the bright white hair atop her head and the white fur growing along the lower half her arms and onto her hands. Her hands, now paws, were large with black-tipped claws that looked obscene as Wu Fei cradled one in his thin, slight hands. The other gently brushed the side of her malformed jaw where jagged teeth protruded from her lipless mouth.

"What did she do to her?" Heero asked quietly to Dr. Anderson who stood on the other side of the bed. His mind failed to supply him with the animal the older woman had been turned into.

"Polar bear. We were able to stop the transformation before the fur grew all over her body. We were very lucky she was so close by."

"How can this be lucky?" Wu Fei asked voice dangerously low.

"Had it taken any longer for us to reach her she would be dying of heatstroke. We would have to keep her submerged in ice to keep her temperature below ten degrees Celsius."

"Why is her skin black and not white?"

"A polar bear's skin is black and the fur white. I thought she was a panda at first but the tests came back negative for panda DNA."

"You worked closely with Dr. Gervais," Heero said, "Can you restore her?"

Wu Fei looked up from Sally's darkened face, giving his full attention to the man before him.

"I'm not sure. It isn't as simple as customizing an antidote."

Heero looked to the doctor trying to understand the trepidation he heard in the man's voice. Dr. Anderson, first name James, looked disquieted by the situation. His metallic blue eyes, shaded by a fall of dirty blond hair, stared at Sally's still form. His hands were buried deep into the pockets of his lab coat, pulling heavily on the material around his shoulders. He came highly recommended to the Preventors', an expert in genetic splicing, though not to the degree of Dr. Gervais. He handled all the splicing cases that came through the clinic, restoring a countless number of detained Splicers. Heero knew that the Murai case was hard on the man, watching his patients die with no hope in sight. Working with Gervais had no doubt taught him new techniques that he was now being forced to put to the test on his first patient since Gervais' escape.

"Why not? You said you stopped it before it got too far. Why can't you reverse it?" Wu Fei asked.

"I shouldn't tell you this. I don't believe that she knows herself." He paused looking away from their intense stares before saying quietly, "She's pregnant."

"What?" Wu Fei asked shocked.

"When she came in after the incident with Agent Northman she asked to have her yearly physical done as well. Her urine sample was negative for the pregnancy hormone. The results from the blood test, however, proved otherwise. With everything that's happened, we didn't have the opportunity to tell her."

"How ... how far along is she?"

"That's the problem. When she was first brought in today we estimated the fetus to be at least seven weeks."

"And now?" Heero asked.

"From the last ultrasound ... almost fourteen."

"What?"

"Gestation for a female polar bear is four months," Dr. Anderson replied, the information reminiscent of Gervais' animal lessons.

"Are you saying the splicing is changing the baby along with her?" Heero asked.

"Yes. Under normal circumstances, the fetus would not be altered due to splicing as the changes to the DNA do not affect the reproductive cells or DNA. To be absolutely sure, the mother would be given an inoculation as part of prenatal care to keep the baby from taking on any animal characteristics."

"But this isn't a normal case."

"No. This is the first case that I've heard of with a fetus reacting in such a way. I'm not sure that we could restore her without endangering the fetus. I don't know what the effects might be.

"Is it possible that one of you know who the father might be?"

"It's me," Wu Fei answered surprising both Heero and the doctor.

"That's against regulations," Anderson blurted and received a scathing glare. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend. Are you married?"

"No."

"I see. Is there anyone who can make decisions on her behalf? Legally speaking?"

"No."

Anderson sighed, shoulders slumping as if the weight of those answers weighed him down. "As of right now, the fetus has aged to almost four months and is not endangering her life. We can't abort the pregnancy. We'll need to run more tests to confirm the status of the fetus. So far from what we can see there've been no... abnormal growths. I think that once we restore her, the pregnancy will continue at the normal rate."

"And the baby?"

"I'm hoping that just like the recombinant altered the fetus and its gestation, the antidote will have the same effect."

"Do whatever you can for them," Wu Fei begged, voice strained with emotion.

"Of course. If you'll excuse me," Anderson said softly, leaving the room.

"Are you alright?" Heero asked though from the look of him, Wu Fei was anything but all right. He'd gone pale at Anderson's words of pregnancy, his pallor deteriorating further as he listened to the details.

"No. I... you know why I didn't tell you about us."

No, he didn't. In fact, even in light of the current situation, Heero was hurt that his friend didn't trust him. Anderson was right. It was against regulations for those working as partners or in teams to date. Sally and Wu Fei both risked being separated, demoted or even fired for their indiscretion. Knowing, Heero would never have betrayed their trust or judged them for their relationship. It brought to mind the many things his friends had failed to tell him about themselves. He was beginning to wonder if he even understood the concept. All the same, he nodded his understanding.

Wu Fei sighed, lowering his eyes. "We've been together for almost four years. I was, no, I am going to ask her to marry me. I was waiting for the right moment."

"It isn't too late. I have faith in Dr. Anderson and the rest of the staff here," Heero encouraged but his words breezed past Wu Fei without the other man acknowledging.

"I didn't know she was pregnant. She must not have known either. She wouldn't have put her self in danger if she did."

"Wu Fei."

"Do you know where Maxwell and Gervais are, Heero?"

"No," he said forcefully, the cleaned cut on his pulling as he glared at the man. That Wu Fei would even consider that he would help Duo and Gervais kidnap anyone, that he would hide them, protect was an insult that burned in his chest. He forced himself from saying anything further knowing it would only do more harm.

Wu Fei looked up at him then, face blank. "If they come for her, I won't stop them."

Heero said nothing. He didn't need to tell Wu Fei his opinion on that. Wu Fei could clearly read it on his face, by the angry set of his shoulders. They stared at one another silent for what seemed like hours, the tension between them thick. A dozen angry insults, curses and barbs circled through Heero's mind but he kept them to himself. Wu Fei was in love and in pain; he didn't need to be burdened with Heero's.

"I should leave," he said quietly. "It won't be long before Yates comes down to throw me off the property."

"It's true then? You were fired?"

"Yes."

"I thought it was a rumor. I knew you'd been suspended but "Yates has no reason to terminate your service."

Heero shrugged. "It's done. Call me when you know something. And Wu Fei, I'm sorry. About all of this."

Wu Fei nodded. "Thank you, Heero."

He left the room a final goodbye, finding his way back through the plastic maze albeit too late as he found Yates making his way towards the room. The older man's face was unreadable as he looked down at Heero and he preempted the man saying, "I was just leaving."

Yates nodded watching as Heero moved past him. "I'll be in touch, Yuy," he said and disappeared through the curtains before Heero had a chance to reply.

+

The trip home was uneventful though as he stepped into his apartment he found not only Kitten waiting for him, but Dorothy, Relena, Quatre and entourage there as well. Quatre had taken upon himself to break into his apartment to redo his office into Kitten's bedroom. Instead of light blue walls with clouds as Heero had envisioned painting, the room sported varying stripes of blue, purple and beige. The blues and purples being Kitten's favorite colors and the beige to accent and break up the stripes, or so he'd been told. A bed, dresser, and chest filled with brand new toys now dominated the room while Heero's own things were neatly stored in his own room.

"Do you like my room, Mr. Heero?" From his place in Relena's arms, Kitten played with the young woman's blond hair, looking at Heero expectantly.

Relena smiled at him. A genuine smile unlike the ones she wore during press conferences, meetings and formal balls. At twenty-four, she was still the youngest Vice Foreign Minister to ever take office. Heero did not envy her and the responsibilities heaped upon her. Dressed in long white skirt, pink button up, casual white blazer and sandals, she looked ready for a Sunday picnic. A large wicker hat would have thoroughly completed the look though having the three-year-old cat-boy resting on her hip didn't dissuade him from the imagery.

"It's very nice," he answered. They stood outside the door to Kitten's room while Quatre and Ken worked at sorting out the clothes from Kitten's luggage. A suspicious amount of clothing that he had not seen before were amongst the piles and he knew he could blame Quatre for the new wardrobe. Michael stood off to the side cataloging every detail on her tablet rather than helping her employer in his self-appointed task.

"We went to the headquarters to post your bail but we were escorted from the building because of a security breach. What happened with the Preventors?" Relena asked

"One of the prisoners escaped. Sally was hurt in the process," Heero explained hoping to keep the explanation to a minimum. He blamed himself for Sally's current state. He knew better than to bait criminals and his toying with Nellie and her infatuation had turned into a problem he hadn't foreseen. With her on the loose again, those around him would be in danger. He looked across his living room to Dorothy where she stood off to the giving instructions to someone on her cell phone. He would warn her of the danger on L1 and she would see to it that Relena was thoroughly protected.

"Is she alright?" Relena asked drawing his gaze back.

"I don't know yet. She was attacked with a splicing recombinant. The antidote will need to be custom made but the doctor isn't sure of what it will do to the baby."

"Baby? She's pregnant?"

"Hm," he murmured, nodding.

"Does Wu Fei know?"

"He's there with her."

"Oh," she said quietly looking away for moment, stroking a hand over Kitten's ears. "And the charges against you?"

"None were filed."
"Good," Dorothy said snapping her cell phone shut to join the conversation. "That means less work for me. Yates should be receiving papers by tomorrow."

"That's not necessary, Dorothy."

"Of course it is Heero," Relena argued, "You've done nothing wrong and shouldn't be punished for what someone else did."

"I appreciate the concern but I'll be fine."

"Heero," Relena started.

"Let's talk about something else please," he said and Kitten was quick to help him change the subject.

"Mr. Heero did you know that Miss Lena is a princess?"

"Yes, I did."

"She's my girlfriend too." Kitten gave a succinct nod as if his word were law drawing a smile from Relena.

"When did this happen?" Heero asked looking between the two.

"Today," Kitten answered.

"I couldn't say no," Relena said with a smile and a soft laugh.

"But I thought you were going to marry, Trowa."

"I am."

"Don't," Relena said suddenly pointing a stern finger at Dorothy who looked at the boy wide-eyed. "I don't want to hear another word about how alike the two of you are."

"Can you blame me? He even has good taste like me and isn't willing to settle for just one lover."

"If I didn't know any better I'd think you were his mother," Relena said with a roll of her eyes. She wrapped both arms around him, hoisting him higher on her hip.

"Ms. Dorothy can't be my mommy," Kitten said with a blush, hiding his face against Relena's hair.

"And why not?" Dorothy asked hands on her hips.

"You're too pretty."

"You see!"

"Don't encourage her, Kitten," Relena said and Heero could only shake his head.

Quatre stepped from the room, his hand idly brushing over his heart blinking as is confused. Kitten looked over to the blond man with a smile waving enthusiastically. The attention should have made him smile, instead he frowned harder.

"What's wrong Quatre?" Heero asked.

"I dismissed it yesterday, the incident with Michael. I assumed it was merely because he's an innocent little boy, but I'm beginning to think that it's more."

"What do you mean Quatre?" Heero asked.

"It's as if he bonds with the people around him, charms them. He knows just what to say, what to do to make them like him."

"I don't think it's anything that serious, Quatre," Relena said, "He's a very cute little boy. You would have to be crazy not to like him."

"Dorothy abhors children," Quatre replied flatly, "but she's in love with him. Michael has never let anyone touch her tablet not even me, but she let Kitten play with it. I think it's something more than just how cute he is."

Heero froze, so many incidences of Kitten's charm coming to mind. From Janet Hughes to the flight attendants for the shuttle to L2, to the cafeteria staff at Preventors HQ, to the Gilliam twins, to Quatre, Relena, Dorothy, to even himself. There was no one who had met the boy and not fallen in love with him. He wondered if Long had taken the time to talk to Kitten if he would have had such hurtful things to say about him or have been won over by his charm. That thought only led Heero to darker ones, wondering if Kitten controlled his unique ability, if it were one, or if it controlled him. Had he not been saved during the raid, would he be a willing participant in some pervert's fantasies?

"What are you thinking?" Relena asked staring at him, unnerved by whatever she saw on his face.

"When he was kidnapped. If this isn't something that he controls."

"You mean the Auction," Quatre said. "If he was bought…"

"Oh," Relena exclaimed clutching Kitten close, backing away as if to protect him from even the
thought of it.

"You mean he might say and do things to make a pedophile like him more?" Dorothy asked disgusted with the thought. She turned to Relena crossing the space between them, drawing the woman's hand away to look at Kitten. "How do you make people like you?"

"I don't know," he said shaking his head. His ears were flat against his head obviously distressed by the serious tone of their conversation.

"Is it something that you do?"

"I don't know."

"You always say just the right thing Kitten," Heero said, thinking of how the child psychologist, Joyanne, would handle this sort of questioning. "You always know just what to say to cheer me up. How do you do it?"

Kitten shrugged, "I just know what to say."

"Does someone tell you?" Quatre asked.

"No." He blinked large eyes at Quatre, shaking his head.

"What if it was a bad man?" Relena asked.

"Like the men who stole your 'unnawears'. What would you say?"

"I'd scream real loud, like last time. I don't talk to bad guys."

"How do you know if they're bad?"

"They give me creepies."

"Creepies?" Dorothy asked, looking to Heero.

"Intuition maybe or just instinct" Quatre suggested. "Most animals know when danger is near and humans have a sense of when they're in danger as well."

"So we shouldn't worry about him going along with anything…untoward?" Relena asked.

"We should worry about the people who would try to take him and hurt him. Even without this ability he isn't safe, and won't be safe for a very long time especially if the bill doesn't pass," Quatre said.

"The splicing bill is dead on the floor," Dorothy replied crossing her arms.

"Dorothy's right. Most of the delegates agree that it's a freedom of choice issue. That the government shouldn't step in to control what you do with your body. Unfortunately with the death toll so high, even with enough restrictions in place on how to monitor and police splicing, the bill may not pass. Splicing hasn't been shown in a positive light and this Dr. M and his so called work are making it impossible."

"You realize that if Duo is able to repair Zechs' body through splicing that it would push the bill through, don't you?" Dorothy asked looking to Heero.

"You think that is what this is all about?" Heero couldn't deny the truth of the statement nor the fact that Gervais himself had said he wanted to prove that he wasn't a villain. He started to say more but was stopped by a niggling thought. He looked to Dorothy and Relena, and their calm, unworried faces. Neither had question Zechs' predicament, more concerned with Heero's welfare than that of the kidnapped man. The sudden talk of Zechs' situation benefiting the passing of a law only cemented things in his mind.

"You know where he is, don't you?"

Relena opened her mouth to speak but Dorothy's voice cut her off. "Relena, don't."

"I don't believe this. You're helping them," he said more amazed than shocked.

"I'm advising my client not to say anything."

"You're not on trial. This isn't an interrogation. Just tell me what's going on," he demanded.

"I met Gervais," Relena said, ignoring Dorothy's orders to stay quiet. "And Duo. I walked in on them when I went to speak with Milliardo's doctor. They told me what they could do for him. They asked for my permission and I told them yes."

"Relena!"

"He's in pain, Heero. None of the surgeries, none of the treatments are helping him. This, this could be the answer."

"You don't know what it could do to him."

"I had to let them try, Heero. Anything would be better than what he's going through now."

"Where are they?"

"I don't know. As I said, I just met them today. They didn't ask for anything other than that I let him go."

"And you agreed just like that without knowing what he might do to him. Gervais may have brainwashed Duo into helping him, forced him to attack me and you gave Zechs up to him without a second thought."

"Heero, I-"

"You have no idea what sort of lies he may be feeding into your brother's head, what kind of damage he's doing."

"I just assumed, if Duo was with him, then he was safe."

"Duo attacked me, or did you not know that he put me in the hospital?"

"It was a distraction, an alibi to keep you and Kitten safe. He told me himself."

"Who? Duo or Gervais?"

Relena looked guiltily to Dorothy, then to Heero, "Gervais."

"If you don't want to have the Preventors breathing down your neck I suggest you make a show of wanting to find your brother, Relena."

He stepped up, pulling Kitten into his arms and away from Relena, wanting to be left alone. The lies and deceit were piling up around him. So many people he felt himself close to were lying to him, keeping things from him.

"He's right," Dorothy said herding Relena towards the door, a hand on the young woman's elbow. "We need to schedule a press conference."

"Heero," Quatre said once the two women were gone, "You're not going to turn them in, are you?"

"What jury would convict her for trying to save her brother's life? It would be pointless."

Heero sighed heavily against the top of Kitten's head, the boy's ears brushing against his cheeks. Barely three in the afternoon and he felt drained, tired from the emotional ride of the day. He wanted to sleep though he knew he would have nightmares of Long's death and haunting, violent yellow eyes. The overwhelming urge to flee came over him and he thought about packing his and Kitten's belongings and escaping to Earth. Away from the stress, away from the people he thought he knew, from the Preventors and their cases to a place where he could start fresh in a peaceful environment.

Kitten's arms tightened around his neck as the boy pulled himself up to press his lips to Heero's cheek. He couldn't help the smile that spread across his face. If nothing else, he could depend on the small boy to lift some of the weight from his shoulders, to bring him a slice of happiness with his innocence.

He returned the kiss, brushing his lips against Kitten's forehead smiling down at him.

"Let's go play toys."
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