The boy stood next to the bed, his knees touching the metal frame, face bathed by the eerie, green glow of the computer screen.  In the bed lay a figure fast asleep on his side, face turned towards the standing boy.  His slim arms were entwined around a pillow, as if to compensate for the companion not there, his braid tangled amongst the bed sheets and pillow.  In the still room, the only sound was the deep and steady inhale and exhale from the sleeping boy, his open face peaceful and relaxed in slumber.  The silent boy stood by the bed's side, hard, dark eyes intense as they studied the figure before him for an immeasurable moment of time.  With curiously soft hands, as not to disturb the other, he carefully sliced off a strand of rich chestnut brown and held the soft hair, the edges curling over his callused palm like a lover's caress.

Finally, he rasped out, "Ninmu ryoukai."

With a steady hand, he drew the revolver with the silencer at the end.  And shot the other boy through the heart, twice.

"Ninmu kanryou."

Today a fire blazed through the neighborhood of Lamon.  At least a dozen were killed with more bodies being uncovered by the hour.  Officials are still unclear as to how the fire had started.  Witnesses report that the blaze had started in one of the buildings, located at the center of the block.  More news at ten.

Ninmu ryoukai.

"Mr. Winner, how does it feel to head such a major undertaking?"

"Mr. Winner, is it true that you are actually a figurehead while your sisters..."

"Mr. Winner!"

The blonde boy smiled politely but only offered a firm, "No comment" to the reporters that trailed behind himself and his entourage.  His bodyguards could only do *so* much about the insistent microphones and frantically shouted questions.

Finally, he offered one comment, "Ladies and gentleman, I am araid I have no comments at this point.  Right now, I am on my way to a meeting, hopefully a successful one, in which the Winner corporation will be able to head the way in exploring more of space.  Wish me luck and thank you."

He turned and headed towards the Winner private rocket, ready to make its way to Earth.

No one noticed the dark-headed figure walking away from the vehicle, dressed in a technician's uniform.

Ninmu kanryou.

Today, a great tragedy struck as the head of the Winner family, the very young Quatre Raberba Winner was killed.  His private transportation exploded just as he had landed on Earth.  Investigators think that a leak in the gas line caused a chain....

Ninmu ryoukai.

Wufei carefully set aside the panel, a fine sweat breaking all across his face and body.   Someone had planted a bomb deep within the museum then called it in.  The entire building had been evacuated,  and now he was trying to dismantle it... before the timer ran out and blew himself, the building, and most of this block to pieces.

The black haired boy gently began cutting the wires, searching for the mechanism that would allow him to... Ah, there it was...

With a sigh of relief, he set about dismantling it, feeling the sweat evaporate miraculously as the ticking stopped.  Wufei peered in closer to look at the handiwork, dark eyes suddenly widening.

Masaka.  Could it be controlled by remo-

Ninmu kanryou.

Officials say that an untraceable annonymous call alerted them of the bomb.  Miraculously, there were no casualties, as the entire building as well as the block had been evacuated.  Except for the unfortunate death of one officer, Officer Wufei Chang, who had...

Ninmu ryoukai.

Trowa, dressed in his clown outfit, stood silently at the edge of the circus ring, his half mask and long bangs obscuring his face.  The animals were restless tonight, even more so during the performance, as if sensing something, danger, in the atmosphere.  The deaths of his comrades left no real noticeable physical change on the young man, save for the tightening of his lips and the deep shadows under his eyes.  Wufei and Quatre... Duo and Heero's disappearance.  Something told him though that they too had died in the fire which he had read about on L2...

And that tonight, tonight he had the feeling that it was *his* turn.

His attention abruptly refocused the center of the main ring.  Cathrine was performing tonight, her usual knife act.  One of the usual performers had been sick, and she was filling in.  But...

Somehow the lions had gotten free, and they were roaming around the ring, snarling menacingly.

And there was something wrong with them... They were unusually aggressive, and...

Green eyes widening, he hurriedly ran into the ring, ignoring Cathrine's warnings.  He dodged and flipped around the smaller ones; the larger lion was about to...

Without a warning, the beast that had cornered Cathrine suddenly turned.  And for the first time in his life, Trowa was felt a chill run down his spine at the look in that animal's eyes.  He...

As the lion leaped, and Cathrine gave voice to an ear piercing shriek, he...

Ninmu kanryou.

... Local news today.  A travelling circus lost one of its performers as inexplicably, the lions, one of the main attractions, were set loose and attacked the lion tamer, Triton Bloom.  His sister, also a worker, is his only surviving family.  Authorities speculate that the animals had possibly been drugged.

Ninmu ryoukai.

He stood at the side of the bed once more, or rather the remains of the bed.  The fire had been started in a neighboring apartment, but it had served its purpose, as planned.  The fire fighters had eventually found D.. *his* body and shaken their heads over it, unidentifiable.  He carefully touched the strand of silken hair, always with him.  The gutted remains of the apartment, and block, had been taped off, too hazardous to walk through, but it had been no problem to sneak in.  He *needed* to be here, in ...

"I knew you'd be here."

The slim boy whirled around, cold blue eyes narrowing at the tall figure that stood in the remains of the doorway, immediately drawing and cocking the gun.  Zechs solemnly regarded the boy before him; he had been looking for the Wing pilot ever since the Winner boy's death.  Something about it had been *wrong*, especially considering the quick deaths of the rest of the gundam pilots afterwards.

"Heero Yuy."

The boy barely acknowledged him with a tense jerk of the head, one hand still holding him at gun point.  The taller man noticed the lock of hair held tight within the other fist, the curled ends barely peeking out.

"You know why I'm here?"

"It's too late.  The mission has been carried out successfully."  The boy was breathing ever faster, his chest rising and falling quickly under that green ever present tanktop.  The hand clutching the piece of hair, tightened further, whitening the fist.

Zechs arched a curious brow, ignoring the other's obviously agitated state and the gun aimed at him.  "What mission?"

The boy jerked his eyes away, once more returning to stare at the bed, his intense stare seeming to will the shape and spirit of a boy that was no longer there, because *he* had killed him.  "The peace between the colonies and earth has to be maintained.  The gundam pilots were a threat.  With their presence eliminated..."

The older man interrupted the boy's monotone recitation.  "So you took this mission upon yourself?  To kill your comrades.  No, your friends, to maintain some stupid idea of peace?"  Briefly, the image of his lov-, he quickly shoook his head to dispell of that distraction. "To think that Treize once thought you an honorable opponenent."

The boy's expressions did not change, nor did he take his eyes from the pitted remains of the bed.  He was now slightly hunched over, as if in pain, yet he did not cry out.  "The mission was assigned to me."  Even now, he could remember signing on, checking messages through endless code words and passwords, more of a habit now that the war was over.  He couldn't sleep that night, despite Duo's warm presence beside him.  So like a comforting habit, he had turned on the computer.  To his surprise, a message had awaited him there.  To...

Zechs' mocking voice pulled him from his memories, something which he could be glad of, for once.  "Ninmu ryoukai.  Ninmu kanryou.  Is that all you know?"  He gestured to the bed, obviously the focus of the younger man's intense gaze.

Finally Heero lifted his head, his gun hand having steadily dropped, as if too heavy to lift properly.  His other hand still held the hair, thumb now stroking comfortingly over the strands in an unconscious but telling gesture.  He whispered, as if to himself, "Ninmu ryoukai.  Ninmu kanryou.  Ninmu ryoukai.  Ninmu kanryou.  Tell me, Zechs."  The older man involuntarily flinched at the self hatred in that voice, the mocking, cutting tone the boy used.  "Do you really think I care what you think?"  He paused briefly, dropping the gun and wrapping that arm around his stomach, a brief grimace passing over the normally stoic face.  He straightened with an effort, his eyes fixing on the other man's with an eerie intensity.  "The mission, *my mission* is all that matters."  His lips twisted briefly, as if physically, his body rejected that thought... His head jerked towards the bed convulsively, compulsively.  "Without the mission, I have nothing, I am nothing.  I... I don't know..."  He stumbled to his knees, still holding on to that strand of hair...

Zechs made a brief motion to help the obviously ill boy, but it was cut short as Heero shot him a glare.  The man asked, curiously gentle, "And who told you this, Heero Yuy?  Who told you that your life, people's lives, your comrade's lives, were nothing under a set of someone else's orders?"

Heero snorted briefly, having propped himself up on the bed, the frame creaking ominously even under his light weight.  His fingers had loosened on those strands of hair, revealing light brown strands intertwined with gold threaded chestnut ones.  He played with them in his hands, seemingly mesmerized by the play of light on the bright strands.  Heero replied, without bothering to look up at the man now crouched by him. "The name doesn't matter.  Nothing matters..."  He suddenly gripped the older man roughly by the arm.  "...if it had been different, if *I* had been different."  His grip loosened; he slumped back as if tired.

Zechs leaned forwards to catch the boy's whispered words.  ".. *If* I had been different, maybe if I had been stronger... if *he* hadn't found me.  But then I would never have met any of the others, and..."  He shook his head restlessly.  His head was full of a strong buzzing sound; nothing was focusing.  His mission was almost over, and Heero felt the strangest need to close his eyes and just quit.  For once in his life, to quit trying and to simply accept.

Ninmu kanryou.

Death:  Heero Yuy, age 17.  Private services to be held this afternoon.

The man shut off the computer.  The last link had been eliminated.  The glow from the computer screen glinted off his metal eye and hand as he leaned back in his chair.  His creation... something even more finely tuned than the gundams the other scientists love to brag about, was dead.  It was over, for now.  He chuckled softly to himself, "Ninmu kanryou."

At least until the next time, the next war.

~~Ye Merry Olde Ende~~
err... I guess not ^_^;;

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