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The Sniper Project : Chapter 3

From here, it continues...

--Duo's Hospital Room (Two Days Later)

Two days after Wufei's accident, and late at night to boot, Trowa and Quatre were at the hospital.

Not only were they at the hospital, but they were getting creamed at Blackjack by Duo.

Quatre looked at his eight and four. He bit his lip. "...Hit," he said after an eternity.

Duo delicately shifted a card from the deck to Quatre. A King. Quatre groaned in defeat.

The braided boy grinned and scooped the pile of M&M's, which they were betting with, into his hands. "I think that's enough for tonight," he said, pointing at the clock.

Trowa looked at the clock and his eyebrows went up in mild shock. "I didn't realize it was that late," he said.

Duo grinned. Just as he shoved half his handful of candy into his mouth, a knock came on the door. Confused, Quatre walked over to open it and an orderly walked in, checking the setups on the other side of Duo's bed, preparing for another bed to be moved in. Duo froze, the rest of the candy halfway to his mouth, and watched. The orderly checked the hookups on the wall, and several things on a computer monitor, before nodding to somebody outside the door that Duo couldn't see.

Two more orderlies walked in--pushing a bed in front of them. Duo's eyes widened in shock. Wufei was on the bed--and he was covered in bandages, including three casts. The boy's hair was unbound and scattered on the pillow, his eyes closed in sleep. The third orderly, the one that had checked over everything, walked over to the other three pilots.

"We've had him sedated, but he should be waking up soon. I'm sorry that we had to move him in here so late at night, but there was a sudden emergency," he said in an apologetic tone.

"Oh, it's perfectly okay." Quatre assured him. "We don't mind,"

Duo, who had started chewing again, nodded in response to Quatre's comment.

The orderly smiled. "Thank you," he said. "Well, I guess we'll be going now," he said, and nodded to the other two orderlies. They all walked out of the room, shutting the door behind themselves with a muted click.

Quatre and Trowa looked over at Wufei with a sigh. Duo looked over as well, and scratched irritably at his wrist, the one they'd had the IV in, until recently. It still itched.

"Do you think he'll be okay?" Quatre whispered.

"I KNOW he will." Duo said. "Knowing Wu-man's horrific temper, he'll pull through this just to deliver justice to the person that did it to him." Duo said. He barely finished the words before a jaw-cracking yawn ripped its way out of his throat and he blinked. "Whoa," he said.

Quatre couldn't help but chuckle slightly. "I guess we'd better go home and get Heero--"

"No need." Heero said from the doorway. The others jumped. They hadn't heard the door open. "I brought the Ninja,"

Quatre frowned. "Heero, are you sure it's safe to be riding that motorcycle when it's rained so much? Some of those mountain roads are so slick! One wrong turn and--"

"I know what I'm doing, Quatre." Heero told the blonde boy calmly. "I suggest you two go home and get some sleep. I think you could use it,"

Quatre frowned, but he knew the other pilot had a serious point. Besides, he was probably only being paranoid, Heero should have absolutely no trouble with a motorcycle after being a Gundam pilot. Still, apprehension gnawed at the edges of his mind, but he finally decided to let it go.

"Okay, then, Heero." Quatre said. "Come on Trowa, let's get back to the house. Heero, please say hello to Wufei for us if he wakes up anytime soon,"

Heero nodded. "Okay. I will,"

The other two nodded and left. They made their way downstairs and climbed into the truck. Quatre sighed as Trowa started the engine. The noise was nearly lost, but Trowa still caught it anyway.

He looked over at Quatre. "What's wrong?" he asked.

"Oh, nothing, I'm just...worried I guess." Quatre said.

"Don't be." Trowa said. "Heero's one of the best pilots out there. If he gets hurt...well, it's all downhill from there, right?"

This reassured Quatre somewhat. "Yes, you're right," he said, and sat back as Trowa drove carefully out onto the roads and then started down the back paths that would take them back to the safe house.

"Maybe all we need is some sleep." Trowa said. "I admit I could use some. I haven't slept much lately,"

"Me either." Quatre confessed. "Been too worried about Duo and Wufei I guess,"

"We all are." Trowa said.

--Back at the Hospital (same time)

Heero sat down in the chair next to Duo's bed, putting the motorcycle helmet he'd carried in with him underneath it. He looked around, breathing in the hushed scent of somewhat stale flowers mixed with the common cleaner scent of hospitals. Wufei's slightly ragged breaths from the bed next to the window struck an odd counterpoint against the sound of the air conditioners. Heero leaned back in the thin, narrow chair, the flat featureless construction providing no comfort. He sighed.

Duo turned his head towards Heero, blinking sleepily. He yawned. "You gonna stay here all night, Hee-chan?"

Heero nodded, not even warning Duo off of the nickname. Duo nodded, and his head fell back onto the pillow, his eyes closed almost instantly, out like a light. Heero looked around the room. The pale, featureless wall paint provided no distraction, and neither did the pastel painting hung on the opposite wall. It was featureless and somehow dreary. The flowers, cut as they were, wilted and died slowly. Only one plant was healthy, a small green potted plant, not a flower, that Wufei had insisted they bring the first time they'd come to see Duo. He'd brushed off the concerns by saying that with all the dying flowers, it would be good to see a nice healthy green plant around. Heero, right now, couldn't blame him.

Then Heero shifted his gaze to the same boy that had so fiercely insisted on the plant, who was frowning in his sleep. Bandages covered one of his arms, or what one could see of it under the hospital gown. The other arm was in a cast, as well as both legs. They'd taken his hair out of its familiar ponytail, and he looked...different without it that way. Just then Wufei muttered something. Heero leaned in, trying to hear, but realized he was speaking in Chinese. Just then Wufei started to open his eyes. He winced slightly, and moved to run his hand over his chest, but looked at it, as if just now realizing it was in a cast. His gaze shifted to Heero, and he attempted to talk, once, twice, then coughed, and tried again. This time, he managed, despite the fact that his voice was scratchy.

"Heero...where am I? The last thing I remember was blacking out after...after..." a sudden look of fury crossed the boy's features. "After I got hit by that...baka!"

Heero pulled the chair a bit closer to Wufei's bed. "You're at the hospital. In fact, in the same room that Duo's in. You were lucky to get out alive, they said,"

Wufei's face hovered between expressions of doubt, fear, and anger. "So...what was the tally of my injuries?" he asked in a low tone of voice.

"One broken arm. Two broken legs. Numerous lacerations. Internal bleeding. Several broken ribs. Also, a concussion." Heero told him.

Wufei listened to it all, then frowned. He shook his head. "What time is it right now?"

Heero realized he must be blocking Wufei's view of the clock. "Two A.M." he told the other pilot.

Wufei's eyes widened in shock, and he tilted his gaze to the window, over which the blinds were drawn, obscuring any light going out--or coming in.

"Oh." Wufei said quietly. "No wonder..."

Heero couldn't suppress a brief chuckle. Suddenly, he remembered something. "Oh yes, Quatre and Trowa said for me to tell you that they said hello,"

Wufei frowned slightly. "Well, hello to them too. I hate it when people do that...can't say hello back if they're gone..."

Heero smiled slightly. "Well, can I get you anything? Glass of water? A snack? Duo's been hoarding chips and candy bars from the machine down the hall, so there's bound to be something in there that you could eat,"

Wufei frowned slightly, as if thinking, then looked at Heero again. "Just a glass of water, please,"

Heero nodded, then got up and poured a glass of water. Meanwhile, Wufei thought.

Why is he all of a sudden? he thought, perplexed. Perhaps it had happened while he'd been knocked out. That made sense, sort of. With a slight shake of his head, Wufei took the glass of water in his good hand and took a sip, then put it down on the table next to his bed. "I think I'll try and get some sleep now," he told Heero.

"Okay, I'll be here if you need anything." Heero told him,

--Safe House (A little bit later)

Trowa pulled into the garage at the safe house, and both pilots jumped out of the truck and made their way into the safe house. They barely made it into the living room before a wave of exhaustion that seemed to have been holding back until this very time swamped them. Quatre yawned, loudly, and eyed the sofa with a new respect. "I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but that sofa is looking pretty good,"

"You'll be in no shape to pilot a Gundam or take hospital watch if you don't sleep somewhere where you can get good sleep. As restless as you've been lately, you'd probably fall off." Trowa said. He gently grabbed Quatre's arm and guided the blonde boy into the room they shared. He led Quatre over to his bed, then walked over to his own, barely managing to turn out the light before he fell asleep. His last thought and wonder was WHY exactly they were so tired, but just as his mind, alarmed, registered the fact that it might be dangerous to fall asleep, he fell asleep...

--Duo and Wufei's Hospital Room (Next morning)

Heero looked over at Duo as the boy woke up slowly, yawning. The braided pilot opened his violet eyes and glanced around before settling his gaze on Heero and grinning. He beckoned Heero over, and the other pilot obliged.

"Heero, will you go order breakfast for me?" Duo said, giving the Japanese pilot his most pleading look. Heero sighed and walked out into the hall to order breakfast. Just as he walked out, Wufei yawned, signaling that he was about to join the realms of wakefulness.

"OI! HEERO!!!" Duo shouted. Heero came running back in. Wufei woke up completely. Both looked at Duo in a decent amount of confusion.

"Wufei woke up. He needs food too." Duo informed Heero, then grinned wickedly.

"Baka!" Heero and Wufei chorused in unison. Heero walked out again, just as Wufei rolled his eyes.

"Maxwell, you are such a baka," he informed the American pilot.

"Yeah, but it works for me!" Duo said cheerfully. Wufei couldn't help but smile.

--Hospital Cafeteria (A couple of minutes later)

Heero grabbed the tray loaded with cereal and toast and juice, then started making his way back to the room. On his way, he glanced at the clock, then did a double take. Either Trowa or Quatre should have been here long ago--about a half hour. Heero quickly took the food back to the room, then explained to the other two pilots that he was going to go and make sure everything was okay, given current circumstances.

They nodded in understanding and Heero left.

--Mysterious Underground Hideout {Nearby} (Same time)

In his mysterious underground hideout, a man, barely past being a teenager, looked at various viewscreens. One showed a girl with flashy silver hair. He could only watch as she was raped, again. He winced, tears dripping from his eyes. He wished his sister had a better life than what she had.

His gaze turned to another viewscreen, which showed Heero in the parking lot, putting on his motorcycle helmet and kicking the Ninja into gear. Then there was the matter of the Gundam Pilots. He couldn't allow the people his sister was being controlled by to capture them, even if it meant disabling, or even killing, the boys. He watched as Heero carefully looked both ways before pulling out into traffic.

"Being careful won't save you now." the man said to nobody in particular, then swept out of the room and towards the mobile suit hangar in his hideout.

--Along a Deserted Road (Some time later)

The mysterious girl watched as traffic passed by from on top of the cliff she was on, sniper rifle in her hands. Her camouflage gear came in handy here. She looked down at her sensor...the pilot was growing was all a matter of time...

--Safe House (Same time)

Trowa woke from a hazy, induced sleep. Frightened, he tried to wake Quatre, but failed. He feared the worst, for Heero, for the other pilots, and for himself and Quatre. Suddenly, an alarm went off. He ran over to the computer in their room to see what it was. There was another mobile suit in radius. Worse yet--Trowa looked at the clock--Heero might be coming back to see what was going on! However, that mobile suit looked like it might be headed towards town, and Trowa knew that they couldn't risk the lives of innocents in this battle. He looked over Quatre, hoping the blonde boy would be okay, and ran out to the hangar, locking every door, leaving a note, and arming the AI on the other Gundams. It was all he could do. He leapt into Heavyarms and powered up the somber blue Gundam, preparing to do battle with the opposing mobile suit.

With a muttered oath, the acrobat was out of the hangar and on his way to battle.

--Deserted Road (Same time)

Heero drove along on his motorcycle when an alarm went off in his helmet. "Nani...a mobile suit? But...but where?!" surely he would see it from here, unless it had...

"Stealth." the word was deadly. It could be anywhere--

Suddenly Heero had a sense of ... of something being slammed down in front of the motorcycle. Swerving, he barely missed the beam of the thermal blade weapon as it slammed into the ground in front of the motorcycle. Heero tried not to think about what would have happened to him if he hadn't swerved, and kept driving, looking for a way around the crater created by the weapon.

Suddenly, something hit the motorcycle--hard. He was sent flying. Heero leapt away from the motorcycle, which exploded. He felt something crunch as he landed--probably his legs. He tried moving but pain screamed through every cell of his body, swamping his senses. His gaze clouded over, becoming hazy, red, and he looked up through a wash of blood as his attacker came into light.

It had, indeed, been cloaked--a giant black mobile suit, shining, dangerous, glimmering, covered in razor edges and with a long beam sword. It raised the sword, doubtless to obliterate him from existence.

It didn't get the chance. Heero watched in shock as a blue and pale grey Gundam slammed into the mobile suit, knocking it aside, and raised a double gatling gun, firing relentlessly at the mobile suit.

Trowa--but why, and how? Heero tried to sit up and felt a screaming, stabbing pain in all four limbs. He decided against it. He watched as Heavarms chased the mobile suit away and came back over to look down at him.

Trowa was sick at the sight that greeted him. Heero was lying in a pool of his own blood, still bleeding heavily, bones sticking out, lacerations, completely torn up. Trowa immediately dialed for help from his Gundam and landed Heavyarms on the side of the road, leaping out and running over to Heero. The boy's blue eyes were pained and blood painted his face a sick crimson shade.

"Heero...hang in there!" Trowa nearly shouted.

On to Chapter 4
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