Playing the Devil's Advocate by Lady DarkAngel
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Story Notes:
Third in The Children's Series.

I have come to the inescapable conclusion that Duo Maxwell is insane.

In the last several months, I have uncovered various and bountiful examples that confirm my analysis. It appears that losing his reason has prompted him to engage in reckless, foolish behavior on an unprecedented scale. I have discovered documents (both handwritten and typed), numerous computer records in a half-dozen different sources, photographs and, Kami-sama save us all, the information contained in all of them is TRUE. Not one fake name, date, reference or piece of data could be found. All were the real facts about him, as they are known, not what we are supposed to use when situations require. When he discovered that ‘correct’ information was lacking, he simply left itout instead of filling in the blanks with fabricated data. The baka has compromised security completely in his newly-acquired insanity. And the cause of all this madness, the source of the motivation he has for exposing himself and the mission to the world?

He’s planning to adopt.

This can *not* be allowed.

I have yet to determine what provoked this situation. Needless to say, he’s not being very helpful. In fact, he’s screaming his head off right now for me to let him go so we can ‘talk’. Talk. More like try to convince me that this isn’t the biggest mistake of his life that will come back to haunt us all. Or try to escape. Does the fool think he’ll accomplish something be doing all this? He should be thanking me. But I’m confident he will, once he’s back in his right state of mind and all of this has been cleared up.

I will admit to confusion. I don’t understand how this happened. How a fellow pilot…… a friend…… could have degenerated to such a degree and I missed it. This foolishness about a child is ridiculous, dangerous nonsense. When did it get a hold of him? Was it back in the war, when we lost civilian casualties and quite a few were children? Was it recently, when he was wandering around by himself in the shaky reality we now know as peace? However it came about, it must be ended. For his sake, if not for anything else, this must be stopped.

And the poor deluded idiot can’t see what’s happening to him. I’ve gone through his records thoroughly. Did you know he bought a house? Not just any house, but one for almost 750,000 credits? He doesn’t have that kind of money. At least, he refuses to access it. We all have accounts of stolen OZ money from the war. None of them have been touched or involved in the purchase. How was he planning on paying for it, a credit card?! Baka! And the repairs to the house, the new furniture, electronics, household machinery, not to mention items for the child…… all resulting in an enormous debt that could be easily taken care of if he wanted to. But he doesn’t do it. He claims that he doesn’t want to ruin their future and their luck with ‘tainted money’.

I think I may need to take him to see Sally. He’s definitely in need of medication.

How does he propose to take care of the young one? What does he plan to teach them, what values will he uphold? It’s not like he’s a role model or anything. Except for the not lying part, Duo Maxwell is not someone you’d expect to win Father of the Year. He doesn’t have the slightest clue on how to care for a child; hell, he barely got to be one himself! Does he even have the slightest clue about how hard it is? How much effort it will take? I seriously doubt it. And what if it’s a baby? That boy couldn’t get up before 10 if I set his bed on fire! Kami-sama help them all should he have to do a midnight diaper run or earlier morning colic fit! School-aged children provide their own sets of problems. How will he deal with their insecurities if he doesn’t have a handle on his own? Is there enough time in his day to do what he has to do to keep them both alive and healthy and give the kid the attention they’ll crave? Teenagers are no better; they thrive on rebellion. We are prime examples of that. How does he expect to lay down the law and have his authority respected when he just spent a good portion of his own life taking down the establishment? A teen will not respect a parent who’s only three or so years older then they are.

Does he know what to feed a child, clothe them in, how to talk to them, play with them, spend quality time with them and everything else they need? Children are a big responsibility and he has avoided being responsible for as long as I’ve known him! What is he thinking, that this is a game and he’s getting a new toy or something?! This is not something to play around with!

I once said life is cheap, especially ours. I’ve learned since then. While life may be sacrificed when the time is right and it is demanded, damaging it needlessly or unnecessarily worsening it is beyond pointless. It is the epitome of stupidity. It is a waste of something precious and is therefore not to be tolerated. What Duo proposes has the potential…… is very likely to blow up in his face. And it won’t be just him taking the fall. I can’t in good conscience let that happen. He was…… is my partner and I refuse to leave his back unattended in hostile territory.

It’s entirely possible he’s doing this because he feels guilty. Whether it’s survivor’s guilt over Maxwell’s Church and his childhood friends that died so tragically or because of the lives he took in the name of peace, it still ends in the same manner. The need to redeem yourself, to make it up to those you failed or betrayed for the greater good…… the need to purify yourself of the deeds life forced you to make…… the need to be normal. He’s feeling that, and maybe more.

The way I feel……

But that doesn’t excuse this mess. He says he’s doing this for all of us as well as the child, to ‘heal’ us from the damage war incurred. No redemption is worth risking what was paid in order to achieve victory. He’ll expose us to the world and I will not allow all that we have done to be invalidated by Maxwell’s stupid urge to be one of the good guys. This plan of his will fail and will cost us all greatly. A child will not do as he hopes. Salvation for us is not so simple or come so cheaply. All the nonsense he was spouting about how their innocence is what we need and how their gentleness and kindness will make us whole is, as indelicately as he once put it, a total load of shit.

It can’t be that easy.

We sold our souls to war. We now must pay the price for that and all the sins we committed to complete the mission. I am not as heartless as my compatriots would have me be. I know what I did was wrong…… evil when I did it. But the justification was it was wartime. And in war, things are not as valuable as they should be. Like life, liberty and innocence. All are expendable for the good of the cause, the mission. If you are going to be a soldier, you have to get rid of superfluous parts of your psyche that interfere with what you will be required to do. Your conscience, heart, guilt, soul…… all have to go to make it as a soldier.

And I was supposed to be the most perfect of them all.

I know what I’m talking about.

I understand what he’s trying to do in theory. I even appreciate his efforts on our behalf on some level. But it will not work. It can not work. We are too tainted for that. All it would do is contaminate the young one and expose them to danger. Unacceptable. By what right do we have to do this? What right have we to happiness? To peace? To the love and comfort he claims this miracle child will bring? Just because we fought for it doesn’t mean we get to participate in it. We are its protectors and guardians, not its citizens.

The braided baka is dreaming. And that in and of itself is dangerous enough to warrant my interference. It is a dream of normalcy, of peaceful habitation and perhaps even spiritual growth. Perfectly fine for the average person but wrong for a soldier. Very wrong for a Gundam pilot. But no matter how I try (and I have tried), I can’t hate him nor can I stay angry with him. It’s not his fault he’s human and subject to human fallacies. He doesn’t mean any harm; in fact, his intentions are solid gold. His plans speak of hope for the future and dedication to today. And above all, he seems dedicated to this child. It’s almost an icon for him, an ideal to rally around and work for. A shining symbol of the benefits of success and a dream made visible to serve as a marker on his path through life. He’s not the first to do such a thing.

Maybe that’s how he got Relena to help him on this……

I can’t allow him to be hurt, nor can I allow the child to suffer because of this foolishness. To let this go on means that I care nothing for the safety and stability of my comrade’s life and mental health. I fear for what this will bring, the changes and repercussions such a move will strike into an already unstable reality. It is my duty as a Gundam pilot to protect peace, even if it’s at a personal level. It is my duty as a soldier to defend civilians from threats, both foreign and domestic. It’s my duty as a friend to keep him from destroying himself and another through this insanity. And it is my duty as a human being to make this turn out right in the end. I never failed in my duty, ever. He will stay here until I have resolved all this. He is safe here, even if he is upset over the restraints. It is necessary as he refuses to stay of his own volition. I feel bad about it but it’s for his own good. He won’t be going anywhere for quite sometime - I’m seeing to that.

I will continue to protect the innocent.

Even if it’s only from Duo Maxwell’s good intentions.

~ ~ Owari ~ ~

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