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Sub Rosa

Chapter Nineteen


Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is not mine. Duh.

It all moved so slow – but it happened far too fast.

The beam cannon – how the fuck did the man have one in here? – was charging, almost ready to fire. Aimed for Heero. The panic swamped all reason from my system.

Heero, on the other side of the room, was too far to do what I was doing.

I was moving, of course, already racing toward the machine. It was in the far corner, safely ensconced far away from destructive minds. I wasn't fully aware of what I was doing. I didn't stop to think about how Harlow had gotten it set up, how he'd gotten the thing turned on and charged while on the opposite side of the room. I just... reacted.

I saw a wire, a small red wire. I recognized it vaguely as a sort of power adapter, a charger. I shot at it without thinking.

It was Heero who noticed it first, of course. He shouted a warning that I didn't quite understand until I'd shot off that last bullet. Then I saw the thing spark and fall, blessedly aiming away from Heero-

But I hadn't taken into account just how it would fall, too obsessed with getting the thing away from Heero. My mind had focused on him and had conveniently forgotten that Harlow and Relena were directly in line of the beam if it just so happened to be shot the exact way I stupidly shot at it.

Harlow pulled Relena in front of him.

I wasn't stupid; I knew she had to live. I reacted thoughtlessly.

I dove for the machine.


I hit the barrel of the massive structure with my shoulder. Instant pain, as my wound and the heavy metal made sharp, forceful contact. I think I screamed. The beam screamed in my ear as the blast shook the frame. We fell in a tangled heap.

Relena definitely screamed then.

But Harlow was laughing. I crashed to the ground with my upper body lying over the barrel. I couldn't find the strength to stand yet, as my side had just then decided to inform me I overdid it there, too. I opened my eyes to check on Relena. I could only pray she was alive.

She was.

The cannon had blasted the hell out of the wall merely two feet from where she hung, limp and doll-like, in Harlow's grasp.

I sagged in relief.

Harlow's eyes glittered with humor as he looked at me. “So poorly executed, Strike.”

I smirked. “Yeah. My bad.” I pulled out my extra pistol and pointed it at him. “You know, I really want to kill you.”

Harlow simply lifted Relena in front of him. “Yes, I know.” He turned to Heero. “You. Come over here and help your friend.” Harlow watched Heero carefully. There went the easy win.

I struggled up, unable now to ignore the pain. I winced and suffered through until I was standing again. “I don't need help, thanks,” I managed, but it was more than obvious that I was lying.

Heero came up beside me then, his gun lying dormant at his side. I kept mine trained on Harlow.

“Well, well. I know I should kill you slowly, Preventor, but the loyalty Strike shows to you is intriguing. He was obviously furious and panicked when the other fell. What about when you fall?”

I saw the spasm of shock that shivered down Heero's spine. Harlow saw it as well. His smile widened.

“Hey, how about we just kill you? Then you don't have to worry about such trivialities as how to kill us.”

“Ah, but you can't quite do that, can you?” That damn smirk was hitting my last nerve. “And look at all that blood you're losing.”

“I'd rather not,” I said amicably.

Heero pulled up his gun at that moment. “We're not going to let you win, Harlow.”

I gave Heero a look. We knew how this would go; we could see what would happen if we took the only option available to us. Heero's eyes were tight with pain.

I took a deep breath. I would have to be the one – Heero cared too much.

Which was something I'd have never thought possible before.

Without a word, we executed our attack. I took the right, moving towards the wedge between Harlow and the wall. Heero took the left. We both had our guns out, cocked and drawn.

Harlow, too, pulled out a gun, swiftly and smoothly with his left hand, and pointed it at Relena's leg. I saw where he'd aimed – her femoral artery. I quickly shot at him, right by his head. He flinched. When the gun went off, his shot missed by about an inch.

Heero shot then, and Harlow flinched away once more. Harlow's smirk was gone, and he was confused and angry. Good.

I saw an opening, minuscule. Heero, who had had a similar opening, had handed it over to me. I'd known he wouldn't be able to do it. I took the shot.

Harlow shouted in pain, falling back, keeping a tight grip on Relena. I was already moving forward, having already seen that my shot would hit its target. Harlow's shoulder spouted blood over Relena's face and arm. She screamed – the second time? I think she screamed when she'd been shot, too.

Heero grabbed Harlow's right arm and twisted cruelly, snapping it. Harlow's useless arm fell, and Relena was free.

She didn't move.

“Move her!” I snapped, going after Harlow's firearm.

But Harlow was already moving again, dragging it up and pointing it, not at Relena, but at me. He knew he'd already lost. I had my gun half-lowered in preparation of snatching away Harlow's gun. I wouldn't be able to raise it in time. Heero, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, was already pulling Relena away. His hands were full.

On instinct, I dove to the right – safely away from Heero and Relena.

I didn't see, but I distinctly heard two shots being fired.

Pain blossomed as I landed, but not from a new wound. I definitely cried out then.


I rolled and knelt. My eyes sought Harlow's form, still and bloody on the floor. I struggled to stand.

“Stay down,” Heero ordered. “He's dead; I took care of him.” Heero turned to Relena, who was struggling against tears. She kept her gaze carefully away from both Harlow and me, apparently too disturbed by the side of blood and – my stomach rolled as I looked down at my wounds – guts. Shit.

I very carefully sat down. I was losing an outrageous amount of blood. “Wufei's still alive, Heero,” I said quietly.

I heard the shuddering breath all the way from where he knelt before Relena. He was quickly making a tourniquet and bandaging her wound. “Thank God,” he murmured.

“But... Quatre... Trowa...” Relena hiccuped.

“Quatre's injured, yes, but Trowa retreated with him. They should also be okay.” Heero's face was soothing. Soft. I closed my eyes and let the new pain – or old pain – rip through me. I could hear the whirring of the beam cannon and frowned. “Heero – the cannon.”

“I know.” Heero's voice was tense – he must want to go check on Wufei now that he knew Wufei was alive.

“How did...?” I found it too hard to breathe to complete my sentence.

“It had already been charged before I'd even entered the room,” Heero told me. The anger and frustration were still in his voice. I couldn't imagine how awful it had to have been for him to be rendered immediately useless – trapped before the fight even began.

“Ah.” I found I had to lay down.

“Hold on, Duo. I'm going to set up a frequency and get Commander Une over here.”

I only hummed what could have an affirmative. Now that the fight was over, the pain was indescribable. I touched my side and felt bone. Shit. Did I rip the wound? Was I a fucking retard? The world looked far too fuzzy. Maybe I really had done it – given my life. Would it be too late?

Looking at it now... I didn't really want to die.

I wanted to explore that, to find out why, but my brain didn't seem up to the task. “This is bad,” I murmured.

Heero's head whipped to me. I thought I saw his eyes widen. Suddenly he was by my side. “Duo, hold on.”

I looked into those eyes. The worry was beautiful. Oh, I didn't ever want to see that look on his face, but... oh, if only the worry were something more. But there was an unmistakable intimacy between Heero and Wufei, one that couldn't be argued. I saw it, so very plain. I closed my eyes.

“Duo, I mean it! Don't you leave me again! I finally got you back!”

I didn't dare move; the pain was spreading through my entire body. Of all the ways to die, this was not the most pleasant.

“Relena, stay here. I'm going to send a message to Une.”


“Stay with him!” Heero ordered. I heard his footsteps race away.

It was silent for a time but for the whirring of the machine and Relena's panting breaths. “You okay, princess?” I asked finally.


Yeah, right. I turned my head – fucking ow – and glanced at the machine. It was definitely charging back up. If Heero passed through the hall when it reached full charge...

I again sat up.

“What are you doing?” Relena's voice quaked still. It was easily an octave higher than usual. Even more annoying.

“Turning this thing off.” Easier said than done, of course, just sitting up made me feel like my guts were about to fall all over the floor. Of course they wouldn't; it was far too small a wound for that. But logic rarely had a say in such things.

“Is it... still dangerous?”

“Oh yeah.”

Relena shrunk away from it. I smirked – didn't she see that she was in no danger, as far from the muzzle's line of fire as she was? Apparently not.

I struggled to stand. It wasn't drips of blood that I heard, but slops. It was nauseating.

“They're already on their way; Trowa informed-” Heero entered the room and gaped at me.

I should have known that Heero would come from the other side.

“Duo!” Heero sounded both reprimanding and horrified. He rushed to my side. “What the hell do you think you're doing?”

Pain seized me then, rendering me unable to speak. Relena told Heero for me. “He said he was turning the machine off.”

“Dammit,” Heero murmured. “Stay down,” he ordered me, as he had before. I cocked an eyebrow. Damn; who would have known that doing even that much would hurt? “Duo, Une is already on the way. She's about fifteen minutes from the building.”

Uh-huh. “Wufei is on the third floor staircase, I think.” I could almost swear it, but I wasn't sure. “Go check on him.”

“What happened to him?” Heero asked.

What, did he think I left Wufei to bleed to death on the stairs? “I think he was electrocuted. Good thing he was wearing those Preventor boots, right?” Preventor boots had rubber in the sole. Luck had saved Wufei's life.

Heero was silent for a moment. “I see.”

He wanted to know more, but he wouldn't ask, weak as I was. And I just couldn't find the breath to tell him. I looked at those eyes again as they caught mine. He looked away and ripped off his shirt. Other than a cut on his arm from an errant bullet, Heero's upper torso was unmarred. I was eternally thankful for that.

Heero pressed his shirt into my side, gently moving my hand from the wound. He eyed my shoulder worriedly.

“We're all just losing our shirts right and left, aren't we?” I whispered.

Heero's lips quirked. “Be quiet,” he murmured.

“Is he... okay?” Relena called, her voice still terrified.

“Yes.” He turned to her then. “Just what the hell did you think you would accomplish here?”

She was silent. I glanced at her to see her shocked face. I doubted Heero spoke like this to her often. Funny. He spoke like that all the time to me.

“I wanted to prevent bloodshed,” she told him.

“Did it work?” he snapped, gesturing to me. “Is this what you wanted?”

“No, of course not! Heero, you know me better than-”

“When are you going to become responsible?”

“I-” Her voice seemed to choke up. I winced; he was being a bit harsh.

“You made this situation a hundred times worse by foolishly going to meet Harlow unguarded,” Heero said furiously.

“If I'd gone with guards, I would have given him the impression that-”

“What? That you were intelligent enough to watch your back? How many times are you going to be kidnapped before you realize you're being childish?!”

“Heero,” I whispered. I hadn't known he could get so angry at Relena.

“No, Duo. Not this time.” His voice, oddly enough, gentled when he spoke to me. It sharpened immediately when he turned back to Relena. “Duo wouldn't be in this condition if he hadn't needed to protect you. Do you understand that?”

“But he-”

Do you understand?” he barked.

“...Yes,” she whispered.

“Heero,” I whined.

“Rest,” he told me.

I couldn't help but comply.

The room grew eerily quiet. Heero stayed by my side, ineffectually trying to slow the blood loss. My head swam. I gave myself another five minutes. Tops.

Then came the footsteps, blessed footsteps, rushed. Back-up, of course, had safely arrived after all the work was done.

“Come from the left,” Heero called. I vaguely remembered the machine. It was still whirring. Fuck. Not as quiet as I'd thought.

“I'm gonna pass out,” I warned.

“Not yet,” Heero urged, and his voice was again frightened and panicky. I almost smiled at it.

“Can't help it,” I whispered.

“Wait just a little longer. I've told them you're injured; they should be bringing a stretcher and supplies. Just hold on a bit longer.”

Why were his eyes even more beautiful now, hovering over me full of pain? I didn't want pain on his face. I hated it. So why...?

“Tired,” I mumbled.

“Just a little longer, and then you can sleep.” I felt his fingers sweep through my hair.

“No more,” I begged. I didn't know how much more of this pain I could stand. He looked like he was mourning over a lover.

The newest pain washed over me, and blessedly I felt myself being pulled under.

“Duo? Duo! No!”


A/N: Damn, a short one. Sorry, but too good to pass up. Fear not; I hate deathfics. Just letting you know: we're ending the end of the Disturbed Saga.

Reader: What? Not the end of Sub Rosa?

Kayura: Nope. Mwahahahaha. Sub Rosa, I warned, was going to be long. When this Saga is over, it's on to the next one, badly labeled because I hate naming chapters: the Pink Saga!!! >< So yeah. Enjoy.

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Every story unless otherwise claimed is Kayura's, and is copyrighted 2006 under her name.