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Breaking Point, Chapter 2

Chapter Two, coming right up!  Also, this marks the start of the Quote of the Chapter/Fic.  Since those have become a staple to my fics, I thought I should point out the first one.  <3  It actually has nothing to do with the chapter this time either, more just what was going on with my life at the time, but hey...

Prologue Chapter One

Breaking Point:
Chapter Two - The Search Begins.

Gundam Wing Fanfiction
By: Memory Dragon
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing belongs to Sunrise and Bandai. I don't own it and make no claim to.

There was a time Wufei would have refused to help find Heero. Possibly not refuse exactly, but he certainly would not have willing disobeyed the orders given to him by Lady Une. Actually, he would not have been part of the Preventers if he hadn't changed.

A funny thing about the Zero system. It was made to fight wars, but it made Wufei friends with the other Gundam pilots.

Not at first. Of course not. He only fought with them because they had the same goal; the same enemies. That was his only reason. But his only reason changed into many reasons without Wufei realizing it.

One of those reasons was Duo's cockiness and playfulness in battle. Just when the other pilots were ready to give up, Duo would boost the moral by making some witty remark about how the God of Death won't stand for the enemy's doings or start a contest of who could destroy the most mobile dolls.

One was Quatre's kind smile and gentleness; always checking if any of the pilots were hurt after each battle and not just taking the pilot's word for it. He always had a plan and could think clearly.

One was Trowa's constant presence. He was always ready to back Wufei and the others up. Always ready to do what ever needed to be done for the other pilots, including giving his life.

One was Heero. Heero was always clear headed; always knew what needed to be done and how. Heero was always on the right path. Heero never gave up. A true fighter willing to give his life for the colonies. A truly strong fighter.

After the death of Treize and the end of the war, Wufei took his own path away from the other pilots. He missed them. But anytime a invitation from Duo or Quatre came, anytime Heero or Trowa wandered close to his path, he turn down the opportunity to meet them again. Treize's death confused him. Confused him so much that after the second raising of the White Fang - which he did help out in - he chose to become evil and help Mariemaia.

That was a mistake. A big one. He realized that now. But it helped him get over Treize's death. Helped him admit that Treize was not such a bad guy after all. That not everything was black and white. And he owed it all to Heero...

It was impossible not to admire Heero, a perfect soldier. The young man touched everyone's life he met. He certainly didn't take credit for any of the things he did. As far as Wufei knew, the soldier still considered his life replaceable. And while that may have been true at one time, now it was reverse. If he died, so many people would feel the loss and be lost. Wufei included...

Which meant he should stop meditating and start searching. He ruefully brought himself out of the trace state he put himself in and looked around his hotel room, taking stock of his surroundings. Double beds - the hotel staff had sworn he ordered it - three lamps, two paintings of flowers and fruits, one T.V. in a wooden vanity, one table at which Wufei sat at, two chairs, one which was occupied by Wufei, the other-

The other should have been empty. And no one Wufei didn't know well could come in without disturbing his trance. But there she was, sitting in the chair across from him, reading a whodunit. As if she felt his surprise, Sally looked up and smiled at him. "Hello, Wufei. Thought you might want some help." Well, that explained the extra bed the hotel staff insisted he had requested.

He raised an eyebrow. He would not need help. "I'm going to help wither you want it or not. Heero was always there to help us and I'm not about to let him down when he needs me."

"Why not help one of the other pilots?"

She just shook her head. "I work with you, Wufei. Surely my company isn't that bad."

Women. Wufei still didn't understand them. He didn't think he ever would. And worse yet, she made up her mind. There was no way to talk her down. "Fine. But there are some contacts that will only appear if I'm alone."

Sally smiled. Obviously, she found his response amusing. Why was beyond him. "Let's go. We don't have time to waste."

* * *

"Trowa, are you sure we can get information in there?" Quatre had transformed from the son of the richest man in the colonies, to a cute kid trying to look tough. He wore khaki pants and a dark red shirt that was barley visible under a heavy brown jacket. To add to the effect, he had tied a scarf around his neck and put sunglasses on his head.

The Parisian night life blooming around them was giving the blonde the creeps; though it might have been the cold of the snow. The general feelings of the people weren't very nice either...

Trowa's fashion was tamer. He sported tight blue jeans and a black sweater. He was well aware of the attention he and Quatre were attracting. He looked over to the club Quatre was pointing at. "It's the only lead we have. You don't have to come, Matt, if you don't want to."

Matt was the name Quatre decided on taking here. Matt, a kid with semi rich parents and one poor cousin whose parents died in the war. He would serve as a distraction while Trowa looked for information. But if he really didn't want to go, Trowa could get the information alone...

Quatre clamped down on the growing feeling of dread and raised his head bravely. "Okay, let's go."

The club was converted warehouse, an old and run down brick building with boards on the windows. Quatre could hear the music blasting through the walls as they neared the place. He was beginning to have doubts about the whole thing. Why couldn't the information on Heero be found at a classier joint? One that didn't feel so... wrong?

Because something was wrong. His other sense picked up on the feeling as soon as they entered the quarter. The people here... it was like something he had never felt before. And whatever it was, the feeling was definitely bad.

Was that what was it? He inched closer to Trowa as he blushed very deeply. He was getting awful appraising glances from women and even some men. It took every ounce of his courage not to grab Trowa and run back to the hotel room. And lock Trowa up so he couldn't come back on his own.

But he didn't. As much for his own pride as for Heero. It was just a feeling after all. A feeling wouldn't be able to hurt him. Just as long as he didn't let it get to him. After all, he had been though countless battles before, and that had to be far worse on his other sense than this was. He hoped.

Just get this over with.

Trowa looked exasperated with him as the blond scooted closer. But as Trowa took Quatre's hand to drag him to the door, a gentle squeeze told him to hang in there.

They were greeted at the door of the club by a rough looking man with a scar over his right eye. Quatre nearly tripped in his haste to stop before colliding into Trowa. The man eyed Quatre with suspicion.

He was on the edge as it was; the last thing he need was someone to recognize him! Could the man know who he was? Impossible! Besides, Quatre Winner would never come here of all places-

"He with you?" The question was directed at Trowa. "Yeah, he's my little cousin. I thought I'd show him a good time." Trowa was acting awfully cool about it. Maybe this was normal? Was he just super edgy because of that feeling?

Quatre swallowed the lump in his throat and smiled brightly, holding out his hand. "I'm Matt. It's a pleasure to meet you." The burly man just threw his head back and laughed.

Trowa's glare had the unmistakable meaning of 'shut up.' Quatre pretended to shrink back, rebutted. It wasn't too hard; Quatre was having a harder time convincing himself that Trowa was acting.

The other man controlled his laughter and slapped Quatre on the back. He spoke to Trowa again, ignoring the look of surprise on the blond's face. "Keep an eye on this one. His type will only cause trouble in a place like this." Trouble? Him? He was so confused

"Don't worry, I will," Trowa said cooly as he passed through the door. Quatre squashed the feeling of indignation of having to be protected. Trowa was only going along with the plan. And technically, wasn't Quatre just having thoughts of running away? He shouldn't be so contrary. He followed Trowa in the club. The world fell out from underneath him.

This was where the sense of wrongness was coming from. In here, it was amplified ten times stronger. In here, the notes of the wrongness cut through him like a flute. In here, he knew what was wrong. In here, the wave of emotions hit him like a tsunami.

On the outside, everything was normal. Just another bunch of young people having some fun, some more 'fun' then others. But on the inside... Emptiness. None of them cared! Most of the people hated themselves. More than a few were contemplating suicide. One was going to fulfill that dream of death tonight. One was planning on raping a girl who was just as empty as he was...

None of them care! About themselves or others or the pain or anything! And it hurt him, cutting him like a crystal knife. They were all so empty-

"Maybe you should go back, Matt." Trowa. Trowa was normal. Quatre was cut off suddenly from the other people. Trowa was trying his best to look disgusted at how naive he was. But his concern for Quatre made him hard put to cover it.

"N-No, I'm fine." He focused on Trowa. If he did that, then the pain of the other's just receded to a dull beat instead of an overwhelming blast. A feeling a pity was coming from the other pilot. Pity for the other people in the club. Quatre was so finely tuned to Trowa right now, he could almost pick up the thought behind it.

Trowa used to be like that? Knowing that slightly unnerved him.

There. The barkeeper they were looking for. Quatre sensed a deep resentment coming from the man. Hidden and buried deep. Now, it was Quatre's job to keep others at bay until Trowa could talk to the guy...

The bartender looked up as they sat down at the bar. "Hey kid, first time at a club?" He seemed nice. He was about twenty with short cropped hair. He wasn't like the others. Resentful, yes. But he was also full of other emotions, full with a soul behind his eyes. The man turned to Trowa. "He's not looking to well. He a relation of yours? If so, maybe you should take him home."

"Yeah, he's my cousin. He insisted on coming." Trowa looked like he very much wanted to drop Quatre back off at the hotel. He didn't think that Trowa was acting either. "He also insists that he's fine."

With more belief then he felt, Quatre nodded and said, "I am. Really. I'm okay."

"Well then, what can I get you two to drink?"

* * *

He put the phone back on the receiver and left the phone booth. Duo felt odd with out his braid on his back. If only Quatre weren't so right about his braid, he would have killed the blond. If only Heero weren't in life threatening danger, Duo might have put him there to get revenge. But he is. And Quatre's right. He sighed. Pulling his jacket up to his neck, he looked around again.

New York was everything the young man had imagined. Street venders sold hot dogs and pretzels on every corner. Others held briefcases of watches and sun glasses; possibly stolen, possibly not. These ones moved from corner to corner as a policeman came along. The sunlight glistened on the newly fallen snow, but no one paid attention to it. No one had the time.

It was a beautiful city in the winter time. Duo passed several places that still had Christmas lights up, adding to the regular flashing lights of Time Square and Fifth Avenue. People hurried about, not paying attention to the ex-Gundam pilot. Some going to work. Others to sight seeing, oohing and awing at the theater district and the big department stores. Who had the time to notice a small young man with a baseball cap and sunglasses?

Not many people. At least not here. Here was not where Duo wanted to be.

After about twenty minutes of walking, Duo got to a more run down part of town. There was a big difference between the colony slums and earth slums and he was suddenly glad to have been born where he was. The difference was in the cleaning crews. The colonies had to have them to survive. Earth did not, and therefore did not waste money on them.

Duo bought a hot dog and sat on a bench, watching people walk by. This was where his contacts had lead him. But this was still a lot of city to cover. He sighed. If only finding Heero was as easy as watching people walk by.

He spent the past few days building up a reputation for himself. One of a person who hated the Gundam pilots with a passion. One who was very rough and rowdy. And he let drop some hints that he was looking for an organization that was against them...

None of it was a lie. In a way, he did hate what the Gundams stood for. He hated wars. He hated killing as well. He did it so no one else had too. Someone had to do the dirty work, and Duo figured it might as well be him.

Ah, wait! Another chance to put up the act! "Excuse me sir, but I think you're wrong about those damn Gundam pilots."

"What-what do you mean?"

"All they ever did was stir up more trouble." Duo snorted. It almost disgusted him. He hated twisting the truth like this, but he was never going to find Heero sticking up for the Gundam pilots. But that didn't mean he'd like what he was making out to be. Heero better realize what he was going through...

The two people quickly scurried away from the seemly insane person who would question such heros. Duo sighed. Life was laughing at him. He could almost hear it. The laughing was so loud, he was surprised it didn't call attention to himself.

"Yeah, well, go ahead," he muttered to himself. "Laugh. See if I care."

* * *

Wufei looked up from his book as Sally came in. She flopped onto the bed and sighed. "Find anything with those contacts of yours?" She slowly started to unbraid her hair as she kicked off her boots. She must be really tired to not even mention his glasses. He didn't know why, but she always got a kick out of seeing him with them on.

He put the book down and took off the glasses. He folded them carefully and put them in the case as he said, "Yes. More or less, everything points back to the Americas."

"That's the general feeling I've gotten. Look's like Duo is in the right place then."

Wufei got up and started the coffee pot by his chair. Sally looked like she would need it some time soon. "I'll make arrangements for a flight to New York tomorrow. From the sound of Duo's messages, he's going to need some help finding leads."

She looked up, startled. "He hasn't found any yet?" Wufei shook his head. "Hmm... That's not good. And we won't get a flight for a while, since we can't use our badges."

Wufei closed his eyes and sent up a silent prayer to Nataku. "Hopefully, Heero will last that long."

* * *

Trowa looked out of the corner of his eye at Quatre. The blond was completely and totally wasted. As far as he could guess, the alcohol numbed Quatre's ability to sense people's feelings... and Quatre figured that out pretty quickly.

Maybe it was for the best. Quatre would hopefully not remember a thing from tonight. But it was not easy, keeping him upright... "I think you should go home now, Matt."

"But this is fun!" He hiccuped and took another sip of his drink. "This place... way cooler with the bad," hiccup, "feeling gone."

The clown shook his head and steadied Quatre once more before the blond dropped his drink.

The bartender sympathized. "How'dya get suck with the kid, anyway?" The man pushed another - strong - drink towards Trowa. He'd probably need it by the end of the night.

There were a few advantages to growing up on a battlefield. One was that he could hold his liquor. Another was that he came in possession of wide vocabulary of curses.

But now is not the time to reminisce about the past. He had to use this opening to his benefit. He hid his worry for Quatre under a mask of indifference. A mask he painted just for this occasion. One that hated the Gundam pilots passionately. Maybe not passionately, but hateful just the same. Unlike Duo, he had no qualms about lying. Besides, would it technically be considered lying if he were just like a character on stage? No, he did not think so.

"When my parents were killed in the war, I came to earth to live with his family. He," Trowa pointed to his drunk friend, "said he'd tell Aunt Mary where I was going if I didn't take him. And that's several hours of lecture I'd rather miss."

"You're from the colonies? And you lost your parents?" The man looked fairly surprised. Wait till he heard the punch line.

Quatre wandered off, presumably after one of the ladies with questionable virtue. As long as he did not go too far, the blond should be fine. Trowa stopped worrying about him. "Lost my sister too. I was at a friend's house, spending the night. A Gundam pilot came and destroyed an Oz base that was by our apartment. For all they loved the colonies, this one didn't care enough to make sure my family survived the explosion." He let a growing resentment show in his voice.

If the bartender asked, Trowa could recite the year, colony, and district the explosion took place. It actually happened. As far as the clown could tell, it was one of the very few mistakes Heero ever made. And it was hell trying to find that out. The only reason he even knew about in the first place was complete accident; Heero had several nightmares while he was sleeping after the self-detonation. But after many, many, hours of research, Trowa knew the complete story. That was the mask he chose for this mission.

The bartender was seizing him up. Like he was deciding wether or not to tell Trowa something important. Yes... Yes... Almost had him... Just a few more seconds plus the right comment-

Three tough guys chose that moment to rough house Quatre over one of their girls. Damn. Trowa sighed. Quatre was too drunk to defend himself. He would have to step in. He threw a look of wistfulness at the bartender and stood up. "What," he started, keeping his voice low as he moved in between his friend and the muscle men, "do you think you are doing?"

Two things should have warned these guys off. One was the low growl escaping from Trowa's throat. The other was fluid grace that he moved with. It was easy to tell these thugs were all muscle, no brain.

"Just having some fun!" Point proven. The idiot wore a vest with no shirt and jeans, topping it off with a red bandana. Judging by the other's formation, he was the leader. And he was smirking. "You got a problem with that?"

Time to wipe that smirk off of his face. Or, more exactly, punch it off. "Yes." With that, Trowa moved too quick for the leader to follow. He landed a perfectly placed punch on the thug's face. The thug was nearly thrown backward from the force of the blow. "Leave my cousin alone."

The other two fluttered around their boss as he regained his balance. "Maybe we should leave this guy alone, Pierre." Surprise, surprise. Maybe these guys were smarter then Trowa had given them credit for. That is a shock.

Pierre wiped the blood off his mouth and seemed to consider the proposition. And Trowa inwardly sighed at the look in the thug's eye when he came to a decision. Maybe a little bit smarter, but not much. "Come on guys, let's go-"

"If you are planning to try and jump me later, I don't suggest it. Here, there are lots of lights and people. But in an alley way, I can't guarantee your safety." Trowa nodded absently to the bartender, who was speaking rapidly to one of the hired muscle. If he could just keep the thugs talking just a little bit longer, they would be surrounded-

Damn! Quatre was moving. Trowa had been so focused on the thugs he had failed to notice his drunk friend walking - tripping - out from behind him. The thug noticed this as well and gave a cry as he lunged for the blond.

The clown shifted his weight and quickly closed the distance between himself and Quatre. The thug was surprised to see Trowa in front of him instead of the blond, but it was too late for him to stop the attack. Instead, Pierre switched targets instinctively. Trowa nearly did a flip over the thug, when a warning light went off in his head. No flashy stuff here!

Unfortunately, his hesitation earned him what was going to be a very nice bruise by the end of the night. The thug was smirking again and had already pulled his arm back for the next blow.

Now he was ticked.

This time there was no hesitation. This time Trowa moved down and under to hit a lower blow at the man's stomach while the thug's arms thrashed over the clown's head. This time, Trowa smirked as Pierre fell gasping for breath into the arms of one of the clubs 'peace keepers.'

Fear was written all over the other two's faces. They saw the lion, even if their boss did not. And this beast had bared his fangs. They let themselves be meekly lead out of the club, helping the hired muscle men with their boss.

Okay, back to Quatre. Trowa shook himself mentally and turned around to see the blond flat on his face, knocked out from the liquor. Gently, the clown bent down and put the other's arm around his shoulder. Time to go home. Information could wait until tomorrow.

"Wait! There's a back room we can use to get your cousin a bit more somber, if ya want." The bartender intercepted Trowa near the door. The look in his eye told Trowa the night might not be over yet.

"Alright."

The back room had a sink and cabinets on one wall and a couch up against another. The rest of the room was filled with boxes; not too crowded, but it was a storage room none-the-less. Trowa carefully laid the blond on the couch and waited as the bartender wetted a rag.

After making a clean sweep of the room with his eyes and locking the door, the bartender cut to the case. Trowa was impressed. "You don't like the Gundam pilots, do ya?"

"Why should I?" he said flatly in return. "One of them killed my family."

"I know an organization that plans to get even with them. They even have one of them in custody now." Bingo. Right on target. They would save Heero yet. The bartender looked through one of the boxes until he found a pen and a pad of paper. He wrote down an address and handed it to Trowa. "It's a bit far away but if you make it, tell 'em Jûles send ya."

"New York, huh?" Duo was in the right place. Well, time to get Quatre and move out. "Thanks. I'll keep that in mind."

* * *

"What do you know about schizophrenia, pilot 01?" Schizophrenia? Mentally Heero shook his head. The weird word sounded slightly familiar, but he could think of no meaning for it. Physically, he stayed focused on the doctor. "It's an old brain disease. It's been completely curable for a several centuries now." Hm. Maybe he hadn't heard of it. Doctor J would have considered it insignificant.

Heero was strapped into a chair with electrodes placed here and there. He began to get uneasy as he realize the majority of them were on his head. "The disease made the patients see things that were not real. They would meet and make friends with people who were never born. It was all in their heads, you see. They were delusional. When they spoke, nothing made sense. Incomprehensible to normal people. But to them, every experience they saw and every person they met was real. They didn't know reality from fantasy."

Okay, people with this could be cured, right? So what did that have anything to do with Heero? The doctor was obviously waiting for him to ask the question and Heero was too tired and hungry to out wait him. "Why are you telling me this?"

"I'll get to that. But first let me tell you why people with schizophrenia saw what they saw. It turned out to be a genetically inherited chemical defect in the brain, more specially, the neurotransmitters. When that was confirmed, it was easy to come up with a chemical to counter that. It was also easy to make a chemical that would turn normal people into schizophrenics."

Heero did not like the way this conversation was going. He didn't like it at all. The straps were too tight too break... Damn... They must have known his strength. First Doctor J, and now this quack. All they wanted was to mess around in Heero's head. He didn't want people playing around with his mind anymore. He just wanted a semi-normal life...

And these doctors would not let him. They were going to win over him again. Him. Heero Yuy. What everyone called the perfect soldier was nothing more then a perfect failure because a doctor always came along to screw him over.

But the fraud of a doctor had not finished with his speech. "And with the technological increases, scientists even found a way to program what the patient, or in this case the victim, saw and felt. If you hadn't guessed, that is what we are going to do to you. Programed Schizophrenia."

Heero refused to let the mad doctor defeat him. Besides, he knew it would not be real. He could deal with it and get out of here when they were not expecting it. He could make it through this and save himself. He had to. The other pilots would be in danger eventually as well if he did not.

Kotanay started to load the program just as one of the lackeys stabbed Heero in the arm with a needle to inject the chemical.

* * *

Duo had been aware someone was following him for an hour now. And he was getting tired of it. He was tired of walking through the bad parts of the city after dark. He was tired of not having his braid on his back and feeling nearly frozen to death. And he was tired of not having any clues on Heero. Whoever was following him was in for a rude surprise. He turned down a dark ally.

A really buff looking boy of about fourteen soon came into the ally way, his footsteps crunching on the snow. He looked around in puzzlement. Sure, there was no way humanly possible that Duo could have gone up the fire escape in that amount of time and not have made a noise. But that didn't mean you take for granted no one was there. One should know to take for granted that after all the training they went through, the Gundam pilots were almost super-human.

Duo grinned. The poor kid was going to get all of Duo's aggressions taken out on him. He slipped down from the fire escape and tapped the kid on the shoulder. "Looking for me?"

Well, he looked surprised. He was even more surprised when Duo landed a punch right in the kid's stomach. The pilot almost pitied the boy. He certainly knew how it felt.

He was about to pound more sense into the kid when a light soprano voice called out, "Stop!"

Duo made sure the kid was not going anywhere before he looked up at the voice. Standing behind him was a girl about his age wearing all black. She stood just out side the alley way in the light where he could see her. This, combined with the white atmosphere of the snow, made her blond hair stand out in the moonlight, her emerald eyes flashing as she spoke. "You hate the Gundam pilots, do you not?"

Was this a break? Was he finally on to something? "Yes. They should not have been necessary to create true peace." That was all true. Well, besides the true peace part. He'd never really believed such a thing could exist.

"Then the files were true. I have a proposition for you."

He let go of the boy who slunk over to the girl. She nodded briefly at him after checking him over to see if he were hurt badly. "What is that?"

"I'm going to give you the chance to help us kill one of the Gundam pilots."

~TBC~

"The Universe hates me, you know. I don't know why. I have never done anything to the Universe to uh ... Well all right a few things, but after a while, you would think it would be enough. Yes, we have had our little fun with Londo Mollari for now. Perhaps, it is time to move on and find someone else to play with."
-Londo Mollari, Babylon 5