Title: Mission Implausible 2/?
Author: girl_starfish
Pairings: Past 1x2, present 3+4.
Disclaimer: Ally McBeal scares me to death.
Warning: Not a cute chibi fic.
Category: sci-fi, angst.

Mission Implausible + Part 2

Heero ended up taking the scientists' advice. He glared at the cracked paint of the cheap motel room, reflecting on how unproductive this was. OZ could be up to any number of nefarious schemes, and here he was stuck babysitting --

He turned from staring the peeling walls into surrender to eye the prone figure on the bed. Without knowing what drug the scientists had used or the amount, he had no way of knowing when he could expect the child to wake so they could move out. He was already past his projected mission schedule --

Heero blinked.

Something had changed, something --

He smirked. The child was awake. The slight change in the depth of his breathing indicated the child was no longer unconscious, but alert, probably trying to work out the situation.

This Heero approved of.

"We're in a hotel room," he said. "On earth. Russia to be exact."

There was a short intake of breath.

"I'm aware you're awake, you know."

Other-Duo sat up. "You're lying," he said. "Earth's a half day's flight from L2 an' Russia's even further away than that."

"Don't believe me?" Heero shrugged. "Look out the window and tell me what you see."

Giving him a wary look the child slid off the bed and walked over to the curtained window. A glance at the street and the vehicles passing by outside was enough to tell him they were no longer on L2 -- or indeed, on a colony.

Heero's observational senses were such that he did not miss the slight sob the child made. "We must leave. It is still a long way to the safe house, and the scientists suggested I get you clothes on the way." He turned towards the door.

"I don't want clothes."

"What?"

"I said, I don't want clothes." The child glared up at Heero, hand tightly clenched around the windowsill.

It took Heero a few seconds to realise the kid was defying him. "You don't have a choice. Now come."

The kid tightened his grip on the windowsill. "I want to go home! Take me back to Father Maxwell, now!"

"I'm afraid that's impossible," Heero said. "You said it yourself, it would take a very long time to take you back to L2" -- not to mention that he had no idea how to return to the child's universe -- "so I'm afraid you're stuck with me. Now come."

"No," the kid said. "You kidnapped me -- I hate you! Hate you!"

Heero without quite knowing why found he'd taken a step back. He frowned. To back down in front of the child would lose him face -- "How you feel about this does not matter in the slightest." Heero tugged the child away from the window firmly. "Now come."

The child protested all the way out of hotel and most of the way down the street too, at least until Heero pulled him into an alley to give him a little talk on the desirability of silence.

He regretted having to threaten the child but it was necessary. And at least it produced the desired results. The child, white-faced and silent allowed Heero to pull him through the streets.

Heero, although he'd achieved his desired objective, was uneasy. Duo would not be so easily cowed -- he never took Heero's threats seriously. Then again, Duo was Heero's equal in strength and skill, his mind told him. Duo wasn't a nine-year-old suddenly separated from all he knew, and thrust into the company of a hardened soldier --

All the same, Heero was uneasy.

The shop assistant in the children's-wear section of the nearest department store gushed as she caught sight of Heero and his charge.

"How adorable -- is this your younger sister, sir?"

"He's a boy," Heero growled at the same moment as the other-Duo broke his silence to protest "I'm not a girl!"

They met each other's eyes, startled. Heero saw that the child had forgotten his wariness briefly -- for a moment he had seen beyond the unwelcome mission. The child was Duo --

The assistant tittered uncomfortably. "My mistake. Boys clothes are this way."

The moment was gone. Heero took the other-Duo's hand and pulled him after the assistant. The child went willingly enough, the novelty of the store enough to make him forget for a while his predicament.

"That's a hell of a lot of clothes . . . whoever owns this store must be loaded." Child Duo looked around the shelves in awe.

The shop assistant laughed. "Well, we do turn a pretty neat profit -- What are you looking for?"

"Winter clothes," Heero said. "He doesn't have any."

Duo helped the shop assistant chose clothes off the racks. "But don't you ever get robbed? Aren't you afraid to have so many clothes out?" he persisted.

"We have a very good security system in place," the assistant explained. "See this tag on this shirt? If it's taken out of the store an alarm will go off."

"That's pretty cool. Do I get to try all of these on?"

"Well that depends on your brother."

Heero did not correct her. "We'll take them all."

"You should at least try them on sir. The fitting rooms are this way. If you'll just follow me -- "

Duo skipped after her -- he'd evidently decided that Heero couldn't threaten him while other people around, pestering her with more questions about the store. Heero settled back to wait.

The store's security cameras heightened the acute unease that troubled him. He knew it was just paranoia but still -- he could not wait to reach the safe house.

"All done!" The assistant returned with Duo again attired in his orphanage uniform. "The trackpants are a little large, sir, but he will grow into them in no time."

Heero nodded and drew out his card for J's funds account. Well, this was the scientist's fault.

"Can I get my jacket out?" the child asked. "It's cold."

Heero nodded, distracted by the business of paying for the clothes. When he'd finished he noticed the kid was happily absorbed in admiring his new purchase -- probably the first new thing he'd owned in his life. Heero frowned and picked up the bag. "Come on -- let's go."

Duo followed obediently.

Heero was worried now. He knew something was wrong --

He stepped through the door only to be greeted by blaring alarms. Two security guards strolled over to him.

"Excuse me sir, may we check your bags?"

Heero saw Duo slip by him. He made a move to grab the kid to be halted by the second of the guards.

"Sorry sir, but you can't go anywhere till we've sorted this out."

Heero ground his teeth.

The kid Duo waved to him from outside the shop. 'Thanks for the jacket, lame-brain,' he mouthed before turning to vanish into the busy crowd.

Heero growled. He had known this was a bad idea.

+

It was four hours later before they reached the safe house. The kid, once Heero had managed to find and catch him -- he was installing a tracking device on the brat at the earliest opportunity -- had fought, bit, and scratched wildly. Heero had managed to scare him into submission without too much difficulty -- the child was unnerved enough at the fact that Heero had been able to track him down. The real difficulties lay in the fact that in order to catch up with the kid before he got too much of a head start, Heero had had to blow his cover. Police patrols had been scouring the city for a dangerous youth of about fifteen or so, with messy brown hair, medium height, etc. More than once Heero and the child (gagged -- Heero did not trust him not to alert the police to their whereabouts) had been forced to take cover to avoid notice. For that reason too, they had avoided public transport.

While Heero could take the walk to the safe house without difficulty, the child obviously wasn't used to such conditions and tired fast. What slight concern Heero felt for the child was overlaid by a greater annoyance at the difficulties his actions had caused, and the fact that once the child had got tired, he had ceased complaining.

"Finally!" Heero pushed the door to the safe house open to be greeted by Wufei. From the sounds of things, Shenlong's pilot had been waiting a long time. "Where were you, Yuy? And whatever possessed you to take such a risky action? Pulling a gun on a shop-assistant -- there are pictures of you all over the news!"

"Nice to see you too, Wufei." Heero pulled off his coat.

"We were worried," Trowa said, joining the Asian pilots in the hallway. "Doing something so reckless is not like you."

Heero snorted. "You can thank him for that," he said, pushing the child forward. "The entire business was his fault."

Wufei and Trowa stared.

"What the hell?"

The child stared back.

Heero eyed him suspiciously -- he looked as he might bolt under the scrutiny.

"I don't believe it," Wufei knelt, pushing the child's wayward fringe away from his eyes. "Is that -- it looks like -- Duo -- "

The kid's head snapped upright. "How do you know my name?"

"It's not your name!" Heero snapped, surprised by the bitterness in his voice.

Eyes wide the kid flattened himself against the wall. Wufei and Trowa transferred their stares to Heero.

"What is going on?"

The kitchen door opened. "Is Heero back?" Quatre asked. "I heard voices and -- " he took in the scene before him and blinked. "My."

"Well that's one way of putting it," Heero said grumpily.

"Yuy, what is going on? All we know is that you've got a mission -- G and J and something about O and a beach party -- extremely unlikely in my opinion -- " Wufei got side tracked.

"And some sort of explanation would be appreciated," Trowa added recalling him.

"Shush," Quatre told them all. "You're making the poor child nervous."

The poor child? Heero thought indignantly.

Quatre knelt down so he was on an approximately equal level with the child. "Hi there. You look pretty cold. Do you feel like a cup of hot chocolate to warm you up?"

The child shrugged.

"Come into the kitchen with me and I'll make you one." Quatre took the child's hand and led him into the kitchen. Heero watched him go with relief -- finally, he was someone else's problem.

+

[cont]