Author: Merula
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is not mine.

Deliveryman + Part 1

What am I? I'm a deliveryman. You need something delivered; I'm the guy you contact. It sounds weird, hell, I know it does. A former Gundam pilot, military trained, and all the rest, works as a deliveryman? Well, hey, I needed a job and what no one realizes is that deliverymen are everywhere. They blend in, go anywhere, get into anything... well, you get the picture I'm sure. I don't just deliver packages after all.

After things finally settled down a bit, this is where I found my niche. Oh, I tried the salvage business with Hilde, but it wasn't what I wanted. She was the one who told me to go, told me that I needed to find something I wanted to do, not something I felt obligated to do. I didn't want to join the Preventers like Wufei and Heero- I'm not exactly 'agent' material, no matter what Une said. I've never been one for following orders exactly- that was always Heero and Wufei and even they never did exactly as they were told. Quatre went back to his father's business, Trowa went back to Catherine and the circus. Everyone had found their place. After Hilde kicked me out, I sat and thought about what I was best at. So, here I am, a 'delivery man'. What's funny is that the other pilots never even question it. When we meet, and we do of course, they never ask me what the hell I think I'm doing. Sometimes being underestimated is a good thing.

I don't want to run the guys down. Hell no. They are the best group of friends I could ask for. Very supportive and all that. Quatre has thrown a huge amount of business my way, for example. I didn't ask him to, he just did. Trowa always forwards a copy of his schedule to me so that if I happen to be in the neighborhood making a delivery, I can stop in and see him. Wufei and Heero drag me out all the time- dinner, baseball games, all that stuff. Though since Wufei's started seeing Sally it's either been a foursome or just Heero.

In all honesty, as much as I like it, I sometimes dread going someplace with just Heero. He knows me better than anyone and if he ever decided to sit down and really quiz me about my life, I know I'd cave. I can't hide much from him, and as awful and weak as it sounds, I don't really want to. But if he doesn't ask, I don't have to tell, right?

I was in the middle of making a delivery when I noticed the odd blip on my instruments. I decided to take some time after I dropped off the package on L1 to check it out. Sure enough, not too far from L1 was an interesting looking little colony. By that, I mean that it looked too new to be abandoned, the energy readings were off the scale, oh, a dozen little things pointed out that this place was not quite right.

My ship is nothing like my Deathscythe, but I had managed to install a pretty decent cloaking device on it. I got closer to the satellite and attempted to 'listen in'. A few minutes later I had my answer.

Even in this 'era of peace' as Relena calls it, there are still evil people. People who hurt and abuse others, people who live off the suffering of their fellow humans. This 'abandoned colony' was a drug manufacturing plant. I swung into action. I used my ship's cloaking devices to get closer to the place and then I sneaked inside.

Covert ops was my specialty after all. I visually confirmed everything I had overheard. Drugs, and a lot of them. I tapped into colony's computer, hoping to have something I could 'deliver' to the authorities.

I managed to tap into their surveillance camera and copy some very interesting activities. Perfect. Not as satisfying as blowing the damn place up myself, but some of these guys had their wives and kids here. Maybe they deserved to be delivered to Shinigami, but the innocents didn't.

It was simplicity itself to sneak out of there and head back down to Earth. I grinned as I 'wiped' any traces of my touch off the disk- didn't want to tip my hand to Wufei or Heero. Whenever I couldn't take direct action, I turned it over to them. Of course, I never delivered intel myself, but this time I had a nagging feeling that I was missing something. I ran back the security tapes and noticed what I missed before. They were packing up. Loading ships and getting ready to either expand- or move out. That meant time was limited. I'd have to deliver this one myself. What the hell, I was a delivery guy after all.

Several hours later, I was in the Preventers lobby handing the disk to the guy behind the desk. My heart was pounding fast, but I locked it down. Don't want to look suspicious. The key is to act like your either bored with the whole routine or eager to be finished for the day. I gave the guy a huge smile as I dropped the package on his desk.

"Delivery." The guy signed my clipboard with a faint scowl as I kept smiling cheerfully at him. "Thank you!" I retrieved my clipboard and got the hell out of there. No rest for the wicked.

The Preventers don't believe in resting either. They raided the plant in record time, managing to catch a large chunk of the work force, though some escaped their net. It was the headline of the news that night and I was glad to see that at least most of the men had been delivered to justice.

It was a few days later that I answered the vidphone and found Heero glaring at me. I didn't take it personally, I mean, he always glared. Especially at me. I never told him that I thought it was cute. I'm kind of attached to my throat after all. "Hey Yuy!" I smiled for him. "What can I do for you?"

"You delivered a package to Preventers HQ four days ago."

"Well, yeah, Yuy, it's my job, remember?" I was a bit surprised, even though I shouldn't have been.

"Who gave you the package Maxwell?" I raised my eyebrows.

"It's been four days." I gestured to my computer. "Why?"

"Just tell me." I shrugged and bent over my computer scrolling through the database of customers. "Uh, no record of a name here. Sometimes I don't write down the people who pay with cash for a local delivery." All true- I wasn't lying. "What's going on? Was it a bomb or something?" I gave Heero my best innocent I'm- just- an- air head smile. His eyes narrowed and he glanced to the side. Wufei leaned over into the vidphone's range and leveled one of his patented glares at me. Sheesh. Like those really scared me or something. These two needed to get over it. I widened my smile in retaliation.

"Maxwell," Wufei dropped the glare. "It's kind of important. Can't you tell us anything helpful?"

"Probably not," I answered truthfully enough, getting annoyed. "It was a simple local delivery- I do lots of them for lots of people. I didn't record a sender, which was kind of stupid, and I'm sorry for it. I'll start giving everyone a questionnaire to fill out. Name, SSN number, birthday, mother's maiden name..."

"Maxwell," Wufei growled at me and I stopped.

"What the hell was in that package?" I tried. Heero took a deep breath.

"Information on a drug ring that we've been trying to track down for months. That guy delivered their HQ right into our hands. We need to know who he is- he could be in danger. We didn't catch everyone involved." I nodded understandingly.

"I see," I spread my hands helplessly. "I wish I could tell you more, but whoever it was just dropped off the package with the address it needed to go to. Just like most of my other customers." No need to tell them I had dropped it off at the address it needed to go to- them. I run, I hide, but I don't lie. Misdirection is different.

"There's more Duo. This isn't the first time it's happened. Other packages with stuff like this have been delivered- not by you obviously- but with information that has led to a lot of arrests." Wufei shook his head. "If it's all the same guy, he's putting himself in a lot of danger-"

"Or he's getting rid of the competition," I suggested.

"No," Heero shook his head. "It hasn't been just drugs. Whoever this is, he's been very careful about covering his tracks. We were hoping you could help us out." He met my eyes.

"I'm sorry I can't tell you more." Wufei nodded.

"It's all right Duo." He glanced at Heero. "I've got to go report to the commander." Heero nodded and Wufei left.

"Anything else, Heero, or can I get back to work?" I asked cheerfully.

Heero simply looked at me for a long moment. Then he shook his head. "Baka," he said softly. "You're going to get yourself killed this way." Then he hung up. Shit. He was on to me. Was the rest of the Preventers as well? No. Wufei would've said something to me. I would've gotten a lecture about behaving 'honorably', and it would've been delivered in person. No, once again Heero proved that he is better at seeing through me than anyone else. Damn it. I sat at my desk and reached automatically for my cross, cradling it in my hands. Why did I risk myself like this?

Because it was my fault. The destruction of the church had been all my fault. Catholics spoke of 'penance', paying for your sins so that your soul would be cleansed- freed of it's sins. My penance was never-ending. I would never be free. My god was Shinigami and he would never let me go. Helping create the peace, destroying those who hurt the innocent, helping support the orphans of L2- all of my work could not erase the sins from my soul.

Heero was waiting for me on my front stoop when I got home that night. I opened the door for him and he entered quickly.

"What can I do for you?" I asked, a bit unnerved by his presence. He went and sat down on my sofa.

"Duo," he frowned at me. I sat down across from him and tilted my head, waiting for the rest. "You're putting yourself in a hell of a lot of danger, do you realize that?"

"And if I am, so what?" I raised an eyebrow back at him. "You going to tell me that your job isn't dangerous?"

"I have backup," he replied coolly.

"I have Shinigami," I shot back. "He's all I need." Heero sighed and rubbed his temple.

"I could arrest you."

"For what? What proof do you have of anything? I'm only a humble delivery man."

"Hell," he growled. "You know I don't have any proof. I also know that you've been very careful about not admitting to anything." He leaned forward. "I thought we were friends Duo! Can't you trust me?"

"You just threatened to arrest me," I pointed out gently. "That's not reassuring." Heero growled.

"Duo, this isn't safe- don't you understand?"

"Heero, I'm not an idiot. I know that perfectly well." I shrugged. "But it doesn't matter. It needs to be done."

"What happens when you make a mistake, or someone comes after you?"

"Then I get to meet Shinigami in person," I replied easily. Heero closed his eyes for a moment. "Relax Heero. Nothing bad has happened yet, and I am a pretty good stealth operator. Have some faith in me."

"I did have faith in you," he replied, "until I realized what you were hiding from me. I knew all along that it had to be some kind of former operative who was turning that evidence over to us. I just never put it together until I heard that it was you who delivered that package- and then it was obvious."

"Does Wufei know?"

"You know he doesn't. Do you think he'd let you get away with it?"

"I know. Hiding in the shadows is not 'honorable', even if I am delivering justice." I smiled.

"I ought to tell him. It would serve you right." Heero frowned at me. "From now on Duo, at least tell me before you go on one of these little 'missions', okay? Let me have at least the illusion that you trust me enough to provide some sort of backup for you." I blinked, surprised.

"You- aren't trying to stop me?"

"Like I could. When do you ever listen to me?" There was a definite hint of bitterness in his voice.

"Heero, please," I tried to soothe. "It's something I have to do."

"Why?" I met his eyes.

"Why do you work for the Preventers? Why do you fight so hard to preserve the peace?" I saw his eyes widen a bit. "I do this to make up for my sins, the only way I know how to."

"Duo-" He understood, at last. "But- why didn't you just join the Preventers?"

"That's not good enough. This way I don't have to work inside the rules." He leaned back against the sofa and sighed.

"You never were the conventional type," he shook his head. "So, will you?"

"Will I what?"

"Promise that you'll tell me before you head into one of these little missions of yours? Just in case things go bad?" He looked at me, eyes narrowing as I hesitated. Well, hell, what else could I do?

"All right Heero," I agreed. "I'll tell you."

"Do you have anything planned now?"

"No," I shook my head. "Usually it's just when I happen to run across something. Like the factory showed up on a package run to L1."

"And you just stopped in to investigate?" I nodded and he groaned. "No planning ahead?"

"That was you and Quatre." He groaned again.

"Great Duo. This isn't very reassuring." He got to his feet. "I guess I'll have to take what I can get."

What could I say to that? "I'm... sorry?" He snorted.

"No you aren't."

"Heero-" I protested. He grabbed my braid before I could move, yanking me in front of him, leaning forward until we were almost touching noses.

"Promise me again. Say, 'Heero I promise to tell you before I do any sort of stealth, spying or demolition's work.'" Damn it, he knew me too well. I hadn't promised exactly what I'd tell him earlier and I hoped he hadn't noticed. My pause made his hand tighten on my hair and his eyes narrow. "Promise me, Duo. Or else." I decided I didn't want to know what Heero had in mind for 'Or else.' I recited the promise word for word, sighing internally.


"No. You'll still find a way around it. But I'll have to be. For now." He let me go, frowning. "Dinner?"

"Huh?" The subject change threw me.

"I'm hungry. I'll treat you to dinner if you'd like to go with me." I blinked.

"Uh- okay." I followed him obediently out the door.

It was weird. He never mentioned my little side-project again that night. We sat and ate pizza and talked about his job, the legal side of mine, Wufei and Sally, Quatre and Trowa, Relena and a bunch of other stuff. Just like we normally did. Just one of our usual guys-night-out evenings. He dropped me off with his usual 'See you, Duo' and left me staring after his car as he drove away. I will never understand that guy.

[part 2] [back to Merula's fic]