From here, it continues…
--Safe House 023E (A few hours after the MS Fight)
Trowa sighed as he walked upstairs. Duo had the strange man they’d managed to drag out of the other mobile suit bound and chained—yes, chained—to a chair in the basement. The braided boy was interrogating, and not being very nice about it, either. Trowa and Quatre were on the alert and lookout, but were taking a little time to themselves. After all, they reasoned, if they were all dead tired, they wouldn’t be able to fight, in any case. The computer systems would alert them if a Mobile Suit came within range, anyway.
The lanky pilot balanced a tray with two cups of coffee on it on one hand as he stopped in front of the bedroom’s door. He raised his hand to knock, but heard a particularly beautiful burst of melody from inside. The blonde pilot was obviously playing his violin.
With a quick glance down at the cups of coffee, Trowa set the tray down on the floor, away from the path of the door, and leaned against it, listening to the heard-rending melody coming from inside. The mournful sound of the violin could echo through time and space—or at least through a closed door. Trowa sighed, so blissfully caught up in the music that he didn’t notice when it stopped. In fact, he failed to hear the clicks that signaled that Quatre had put the instrument back in its case, and started only when the door swung open. To the inside.
Blast the door. He’d forgotten it opened to the inside. He fell over, trying to regain his balance, but was strangely clumsy, for no reason at all. He cursed his luck—he was an acrobat. Nimble, flexible, highly balanced. Why, then, did he just fall over?
Ah, but not just fall over. He’d happened to fall on top of Quatre.
“Oof!” the smaller pilot said as he hit the ground.
Another curse reached Trowa’s mind, but not his lips. He quickly pushed himself up to a kneeling position, offering a hand to Quatre. “I’m very sorry, Quatre. Are you okay?”
Quatre looked up at Trowa, his aqua eyes glittering, not with tears, though. “It’s perfectly okay, Trowa. I’ll be fine.” He grabbed Trowa’s hand and pulled himself up, but didn’t get up from there—he used the momentum to push himself into Trowa’s arms, wrapping his own arms around the other boy.
“Ohh, Trowa.” He whispered. Trowa shivered slightly, feeling the other boy talking close to his ear—it didn’t feel all that bad, truth be told. He realized the other boy was talking again.
Trowa froze. Had he just heard what he thought he had? If he had…he leaned back slightly, facing Quatre. “I-I’m sorry. I didn’t hear what you said.”
Quatre repeated his question, his eyes shining slightly. “I said, ‘How far do I have to go before you realize I love you?’”
Trowa froze for a second, staring into Quatre’s eyes. What was it Heero told me that time? ‘Always follow your emotions’? Something like that anyway… Trowa thought. Well…Quatre had been the one to say the words…Trowa simply did the only thing that came to mind. Leaning forward slightly, he captured Quatre’s lips with his own, feeling the Arabian pilot’s arms tighten around him for a second, then go slightly limp as he pulled back.
“Sorry, Quatre, I guess I just didn’t…” Trowa started, when Quatre made a slight noise.
“Shh. It’s okay.” Quatre tilted his head to the side, as if thinking about something. “Weren’t you going to bring some coffee up here?”
“It’s…outside.” Trowa said. “I brought it, but I was leaning against the door to listen to you playing your violin, and—“
Quatre giggled slightly and stood, walking outside. He carried the two mugs of coffee into the room. They were only slightly warm by this time, but that didn’t matter.
After all, if the boys were looking towards coffee to warm themselves up, they had a far better way to do so now.
--Basement, Safe House (Same Time)
Duo hissed, pacing back and forth like a panther on the prowl. His long braid flicked behind him like the tail of an angry predatory cat. A single light shone in the basement—the strange man squinted in the semi-darkness, but Duo had no problems at all seeing him.
Finally Duo lost his patience. He walked over and grabbed one of the chains that secured the man to his chair. Grabbing it, Duo pulled on it, hard. The man gasped as a completely different chain, one around his stomach, tightened without warning.
Duo smirked at the confused and surprised look on his face. He’d learned many useful things on the streets, and some of the more obscure ones were finally paying off. Leaning forward, holding the end of the chain in his hand like a leash, he hissed out a question, his normally cheerful voice low and dangerous.
“Why did you try and kill them?”
The man swallowed, tipping his head forward, his spiky silvery-blonde hair falling into even more disarray.
“There are worse things than death. I was trying to protect you.” He said lamely. Truth be told, he was rather scared of the violent Shinigami. This was the same boy he’d shot? That one had been cheerfully chatting to passersby, his braid bouncing as he laughed and skipped around. However, the person before him now was a violent demon, his hair darkened by the room, his violet eyes twin blazing gems of eternal hellfire. His very expression suggested that if he did not get the answers he wanted, he would be more than happy to throw his victim to a pack of rabid wolves, or perhaps step on him with his Gundam.
After a moment of pondering, Duo said, in his most dangerous tone, “Protect us? By killing us? You have a screwed up sense of logic.”
“You don’t understand! They want to experiment on you!”
“And they are?”
“A…a company. Their leader was killed…at a base…”
“I see. We killed a lot of people at a lot of bases, so that really doesn’t help me much.”
The man heaved a shuddering sigh. “Me and my sister were raised in their labs.”
Now we’re getting somewhere. “Really?” Duo said, his tone more sympathetic.
He nodded. “They…they had a chip in her brain…but not in mine…they gave us silver hair…they called us their machine project.” His gaze grew troubled. “Mine faded, so they decided I wasn’t good enough. But hers was—ah, still is—pure silver.”
Duo frowned slightly. How often did one meet a person with silver hair? Not often. It wasn’t even a color you saw people dye their hair often. “Continue.”
“One of their technicians…stuffed me in an escape pod with a disk full of mobile suit designs when I was five…he said I had to save her someday…”
“Older sister, or younger?” Duo said absently.
“Younger,” the man replied, licking his lips. “And I watched her. The technician had managed to set up bugs all over the place…I have the keys.”
“Despite your twisted sense of logic, you are a most useful person. Continue.”
“When I heard they wanted to experiment on you, my first thought was panic. I didn’t want you to become projects, machines, like my sister was.”
Why should he care? Was Duo’s only thought. “Hm. Go on.”
“They tore her open. They altered nearly everything about her in some way. Muscles, bones, heart, stomach, ribs…”
Duo shuddered. “And what would they do to us?”
“Find out what was so special about the Gundam pilots. How some of you can take several gunshots and keep going until you complete your mission.”
Duo made a face. “That’s nothing biological. It was training.”
The man sighed, a haunted look on his face. “Then they’d take your brains and figure out a way to implement the training directly into the brains of others.
Duo’s skin crawled. His violet eyes were no longer boiling, but shocked. “That’s…that’s…”
“Wrong.” The man said. He hesitated. “I know I wanted to kill you, but I can see that you’re not going to give up that easily. I’d like…to join forces with you.”
“I still don’t trust you enough for that.” Duo replied simply. “Though, the information you gave me will be very helpful.”
“But…I know where their laboratory is!” he said helplessly.
Duo’s eyebrows went up and he leaned forward. “Really. Well, I don’t even know your name…”
“Test Subject 0423-L.” he said bitterly. “I chose the name Draco after I got out though.”
Duo looked at Draco thoughtfully. You tell us where the lab is, and we let you fight with us—on one condition. You keep that cloak and infrared blocker on your mobile suit off at all times, and if you make so much as a move to attack one of us, we have every right in the world to kill you.
Draco looked at Duo, his reddish-brown eyes unreadable. “Understood.”
Duo dropped the chain he’d been holding and grabbed a totally different one, tugging. All the other chains fell off. Duo almost snickered at the surprised look on Draco’s face, but restrained himself. Just as he opened his mouth to talk again, they heard a faint mobile-suit-in-radius signal from upstairs. Seconds later the frantic patter of feet running across the floor reached their ears, then the sound of the basement door being slammed open. “Duo! Duo!!” Quatre shouted urgently.
“What is it?” the braided pilot asked.
“There’s a mobile suit coming fast! We have to hurry!” Quatre said.
Duo swore and jerked Draco to his feet. He dragged the slightly taller man after him, muttering an introduction to Quatre as he did so. He got coordinates for the laboratory before he did anything else, then led Draco out to the hangar, where Quatre and Trowa were already in their Gundams and ready to go.
Duo watched Draco carefully as the other man climbed into his black and red mobile suit, then bounded up into Deathscythe’s cockpit, securing belts and powering up. The first thing he heard were Quatre’s calm—yet raced—data reports. Duo immediately opened picture links to Quatre, Trowa, and Draco. From what he could see inside of the new pilot’s cockpit, his mobile suit looked very up to date. That in itself was intriguing, but Duo decided that now was not the time.
“Let’s get out there and meet that mobile suit.” Quatre said finally. With a nod, Duo followed Heavyarms and Sandrock out of the hangar. Draco’s mobile suit followed Deathscythe.
Duo heard Quatre’s stunned gasp and looked up. He gritted his teeth at the sight that met his eyes and swore automatically. It was the silvery mobile suit that they’d fought before, but now instead of holding the shield, it had the gun and a long pole, with no blade. That spoke of a thermal beam weapon.
Sandrock’s shotels came into sight as Heavyarms raised one of its giant double guns, aiming at the silvery suit. However, the other mech made no move whatsoever to attack. Duo frowned, then tried connecting to the other suit. Surprisingly, it worked. He was greeted with the sight of a man, in a flight suit, with his helmet off however. The newcomer had longish silver hair and violet eyes brighter than Duo’s own.
“You’re in danger!” the violet-eyed man said urgently. “Your weapons have been sabotaged!”
Duo blinked. “What…how…?”
“You must exit your Gundams immediately!” he said.
“How do I know this isn’t some kind of trick?” Duo said questioningly.
“You just have to trust me!” the other man said in a pleading tone.
Curses ran through the American pilot’s head. Something about the man’s manner made Duo want to trust him, but he—
“Shit! Shit!!” he heard the other man shout, his voice rising.
Duo, alarmed, turned, just in time to see Heavyarms fall flat on its face. Sandrock shuddered, taking one step, then falling, one of the shotels sliding free and slicing into the Gundanium of the desert Gundam’s leg. Suddenly, Duo felt Deathscythe seize up. He ran scans, but his computers were freezing. He was just fast enough to see that the new weapon the Preventers had armed him with was…backfiring?
Duo swore loudly. Through the link, he could see both Draco and the other man looking in fright at viewscreens, and heard one last thing. “Remote detonators!”
Duo felt a crackle of energy through the cockpit, and slumped forward, the belts digging into his skin as Deathscythe fell. Is this how it ends? He thought.
Then the large black and grey Gundam hit the ground, knocking Duo unconscious from the impact.
--Secret Laboratory (Same Time)
The scientist hissed in happiness. “It’s working! I’ll soon have all the Gundam pilots in my grasp and we can begin on the work we started so long ago!” He turned to the silver-haired girl standing nearby, who was staring at one of the viewscreens in shock.
A black suit. And the pilot of the black suit—
Silver blonde hair. Red-brown eyes. He haunted her dreams. He told her she could have a better life.
“Brother…” she mouthed, her lips barely moving. She didn’t know just how she knew he was kin, she just…did.
“WERE YOU LISTENING TO ME?!” she heard the scientist scream at her. Startled, she turned to him.
“No sir. I confess I was not.” She said. She felt the stinging pain of a slap across her face, but looked at him again.
“I said take the green suit and kill the other two pilots, then bring me the Gundam pilots. All five. With three trapped in their Gundams and two in the hospital, you shouldn’t have that much of a problem, should you now?”
“No sir.” She said quietly, then turned and ran for the hangars.
--Wufei’s Hospital Room (same time)
Wufei sat up.
“Something’s wrong…” the Chinese boy said quietly. “But…but what?”
He sighed. “Maybe it’s just my imagination…but…”
Wufei reached down, feeling of the casts and bandages. The breaks were healed, they explained—the new technology for bone breaks was working wonders these days. The gashes on his chest—those he could live with any day. The internal bleeding had been taken care of—he’d just have to be a little careful…
Then, he swore. Even if it was his undoing…
The boy’s hand dipped down beside the bed, and pulled up a knife that had been hidden among some snack food. He tested the edge of the blade against the casts, then began sawing at them. He checked the clock. He had maybe an hour before the nurse came back. He sawed quicker. In ten minutes he had the first cast off. The ones on his legs would take longer. He hurriedly chopped at the plaster and plastic, using both arms now. Thank goodness the bone had healed quick enough that he wasn’t suffering much muscle failure in his other arm. He cut through one of the casts in fifteen minutes. His knife was getting duller now. He started on the third, and ran into some snags as his knife grew just about too dull for anything other than cutting butter. Swearing, he stabbed at it, not caring that he was using a lot of energy. The sense of danger was growing by the second. He finally cut through the last strands of plastic. Twenty-five minutes had passed, a whole ten minutes longer than it had taken to cut through the other.
Wufei looked at the clock again. Just ten minutes before the nurse came. He stopped to think about how he was making one of the most foolish decisions of his life, but the growing sense of doom was driving him to make rash decisions. He didn’t think about dying, just about the sense of dread radiating from Quatre. He now realized who it was from, as well—what was going on? Shaking his head, he jerked the IV from his wrist, tying a piece of cloth around the wound he’d just inadvertently created on his wrist. He stood, his legs wobbly, and the room spun. He’d heard the doctors—he really shouldn’t be up for a couple of more days, possibly even half a week.
Suddenly a feeling of intense panic washed over the boy, then all was still. That wasn’t good. He quickly ran over to the closet where they’d put his clothes. He looked at the Preventers uniform, then changed his mind and grabbed his blue tank top and white pants that he’d worn so frequently during the war. He pulled the clothes on quickly, grabbing his katana from the closet as well. Last of all, he worked a brush Duo had left behind through his hair, then tied it into his familiar ponytail. Looking back over to the closet, he decided that he’d come back for the uniform…if he could.
Silently, he opened the door to the room, glancing up and down the hall. Nobody. He ran out and darted up the hall, stopping frequently and looking back and forth. The hospital was eerily—empty. He made his way down several levels until he could see the front doors. Escape was in sight.
Just then he heard a shout and saw orderlies rushing towards him. He cursed in Chinese—then darted for the door. He was faster than they expected, obviously, because he heard several surprised shouts.
He darted through the first set of doors—which were automatic—when they opened, then slammed into the set of push-to-open doors. They opened and he was out, but still not out of danger. He looked around briefly, then spotted a motorcycle parked nearby. Checking the license plate, he promised himself that he’d pay the owner back for their vehicle, then hotwired the thing with amazing speed. The orderlies had stopped, hushed, near the doors, and he took this to his advantage, riding out of the parking lot and away from the hospital, and towards the safe house, as fast as he possibly could.
--Field outside Safe House 023E (same time)
Draco turned to the technician. “It’s you!” he said urgently.
“There’s no time for this.” The technician warned him. “It’s imperative we save the pilots.”
“I understand.” Draco said, then watched as the other man activated the beam pike, and used the non-bladed end to flip the Gundams over. He then turned it around and began soldering through the cockpit doors. Draco watched, afraid to look—how did he know just how low to go to cut the Gundanium, but not the pilot?
Alternatively, what if he didn’t—and they pulled the pilots out in pieces? However, his fears were abated when the tech pried open the cockpit door of Sandrock, the cut viewscreens still crackling around the edges. Draco leapt out of his mobile suit, running over and pulling the blonde boy out. Aside from bruises, and unconsciousness, the Arabian pilot looked fine. He looked over at the technician again, who was now working on cutting open Heavyarms.
He hoped that they’d get the pilots out in time. The very thought of Quatre with the metallic silver hair and soulless blue ‘machine eyes’ sent shivers down his spine. None of the boys deserved that.
Just then he heard the roar of a small engine, and looked over to see—he gasped. That Chinese boy had been thrown, battered, bruised, and had to have broken several limbs, and yet here he was, running across the field like a madman towards the three downed Gundams.
He heard the stomach-churning screech of metal as the technician pried open Heavyarms’ hatch, then the Chinese pilot was upon him.
“What have you done to Quatre?” Wufei snapped, looking down at the Arabian pilot, who was now propped up against one of Sandrock’s legs.
“We didn’t do anything! It was the scientists…” Draco began helplessly. Swallowing at Wufei’s vicious glare, he explained the whole story. Wufei looked at the silver suit in new respect as it sliced through the hatch of Deathscythe.
“Maxwell is going to kill him for doing that to his Gundam.” Wufei mused, almost cheerfully.
“Hopefully he’ll just wait until after this is all over with.” Draco replied, in a half joking tone.
The creaking sound of torn metal sounded as the hatch to Deathscythe popped open. Both pilots looked over, but Wufei looked down when he heard a slight mutter. Sure enough, Quatre was opening his eyes.
Wufei kneeled next to the
Quatre opened his eyes, their ocean-colored depths muddled and confused. Once he saw Wufei, though, his eyes sprung open. “Wufei!” he said urgently. “You weren’t supposed to be out of the hospital for at least a few more days! What happened?”
“We’ll have to discuss that later,” Wufei said hastily. “Right now we need to come up with a plan to destroy that laboratory, as well as find another mode of transportation for you, Trowa, and Maxwell.”
Quatre looked up at Sandrock. “Did those sabotaged bombs really do that much damage? We repaired his mobile suit without much problem.” Quatre stated, nodding towards Draco.
Wufei hesitated. “They had to slice open the hatch to get you out. It’d take a while to get enough Gundanium to patch the hatches, plus all the necessary components for the damaged viewscreens and computers.”
Quatre swore. Wufei’s eyes widened. He’d never imagined hearing some of those particular obscenities coming from Quatre’s mouth.
“Wait…” Quatre said, focusing on another thing he’d heard Wufei say. “What laboratory?”
Draco looked over at Heavyarms. “Let’s wait until he wakes up, then I’ll tell both of you.”
“Oh no…Trowa!” Quatre said,
following his gaze. He tried to stand,
but fell back. “Wufei, is he okay?”
”I’ll go see.” Wufei said, springing over Sandrock quickly, then running across the field to Heavyarms and peeking into the cockpit. Trowa was still strapped in and sported bruises, as Quatre had, plus a scratch down one side of his face, but was otherwise okay. Wufei unstrapped the taller pilot and pulled him out of the cockpit, being careful of the torn metal edges around him. As soon as Trowa’s face met fresh air, he started to mumble. Wufei pulled him out of the cockpit and put him down next to Heavyarms, then knelt nearby, waiting for him to awaken.
Trowa’s eyes opened not much later, and the first thing he focused on was Wufei. “Wufei?” Trowa blinked once, then focused on a totally different thing than Wufei’s being there. “Is Quatre okay?”
“Quatre’s fine.” Wufei said. He helped Trowa up, then guided him over to Sandrock. Trowa looked happy to see that Quatre was in one piece, and Wufei thoughtfully put him next to Quatre, then chose a seat next to Draco for himself.
“It’s like this.” Draco began. He explained about the laboratory and their projects. Quatre’s eyes grew wider and wider, while Trowa just retreated further and further into himself, as if thinking.
All four looked aside suddenly as the silver suit spun, as if facing something, then jabbed viciously with its pike. The air rippled and suddenly a green and white mobile suit appeared from nowhere.
Wufei cursed in Chinese, and Trowa tightened his grip on Quatre’s arm. As Wufei ran for the hangar to activate Altron, Quatre followed the boy’s path, and saw Deathscythe, the hatch open, but Duo nowhere around.
“Duo!” Quatre shouted, as the green and white suit moved in that direction.
To be continued…
-~-On to Chapter 7 Back to Chapter 5