Disclaimer: You people do know that I don't own Gundam Wing... right?
<<<<<<<*****Two Years Ago*****>>>>>>>
Three blasts, all in quick succession. Their echoes had hardly died when voices filled the air.
“Oh my God!”
“What's going on?”
“Why are they fighting? The war's over!”
Footsteps slammed into the ground. “Heero! Are you all right?” And someone touched his shoulder.
He took in a careful breath. “Wufei...”
Those hands ran over his body. “It's okay.” Wufei sighed loudly in relief. “It worked, you crazy bastard.
I nicked his wrist just enough for it to miss any organs. He's definitely dead. Good job.”
Heero shook his head. He didn't care about the bastard he'd shot through the forehead or the pain lancing up and down his
chest. His hands balled into fists. “Wufei...”
“Hm? Yes? What is it, Heero?”
Blindly Heero snagged the man's shirt. “Wufei... there's no way... Duo...”
He felt it. Wufei immediately tensed, almost as if spasming. “No, we can't think like that,” he said firmly, but
Heero knew Wufei too well. He heard the same desperate fear in Wufei's voice. Because his partner had seen it, too –
how impossible it would have been for one of them to survive against that man all on their own.
“He can't,” Heero gasped. “He can't...”
“Heero, I'm calling an ambulance,” Wufei said firmly. Heero distinctly heard the cell phone being flipped open,
the terse instructions. But he didn't care. None of it mattered.
Because Duo... Duo couldn't have survived.
He almost screamed at the pain of it, the feel of his heart ripping to shreds, clawed by pain and horror. He clutched at it
and gratefully succumbed to darkness.
Heero got a call from Une the next morning.
It went something like this:
“Yuy, you and Maxwell are to get your asses over here now.”
“Then I'll give him an extra ten minutes in case he has to crawl.”
Or something to that effect.
So Heero picked me up like I was some sort of blushing bride – or at least the blushing half – and carried
me out of the house and to his car, and we went to Preventors HQ. I believe we made it to, oh, the parking lot before we got
into a fight.
“You aren't carrying me in there,” I snapped, not giving an inch.
“Duo, you aren't-”
“I said no! I'm not going in there hanging in your arms like some sort of – Heero, dammit, I said no!”
But Heero ignored me, unbuckling his seatbelt and opening his door. I grabbed my seatbelt like a lifeline and glared through
my window. He opened the door and glared at me. “You can't walk, Duo.”
“Fuck you,” I retorted.
Something odd flashed in those eyes. I was disturbed that it wasn't anger, but instead something I couldn't easily categorize.
“No,” I continued stubbornly. My arm was starting to hurt like a motherfucker for clenching the seatbelt too hard.
“I'm not going in there like an invalid.”
“Duo,” Heero sighed, “You are an invalid.”
“And would you like that broadcast to anyone with eyes if you were like this?”
Heero hesitated. “No.”
I tilted my head back in defiance.
“But,” he said immediately, “but doesn't change the fact that you are no condition to-”
“I can make it to the elevator, Heero,” I argued. And then sudden inspiration. “Besides, we're in the open
here. If you carried me, you wouldn't be able to use your gun.”
Heero's eyes flashed. He scowled. “Fine. You win.”
I allowed a grim smile before unclenching my hands and unbuckling my seatbelt. Of course my body was stiff as a tree, and
I almost fell once I put my full weight on my legs, but hell if I was accepting the hand Heero held out for me. I distinctly
heard him sigh as I walked forward.
It was, I admit, a miracle that I managed to make it into the elevator, and I couldn't help but slide to the floor once we
were alone inside of it.
“Duo.” Heero knelt immediately beside me. “Are you all right?”
I could say yes, but it would be a bold-faced lie. “Uh...”
“Fuck,” he breathed. “I'll kill her.”
I blinked at him in surprise.
He very, very gently picked me up from my good arm and tenderly touched my waist. I almost screamed as his hesitant fingers
touched my stitches. He felt my flinch and hissed. “Sorry,” he whispered.
I said nothing, just kept my weight off my bad leg. Crutches were, after all, impossible with an arm and stomach wound. And
I hadn't allowed for a wheelchair. Uh-uh.
After forever, the door opened and the hall leading to Une's office loomed ahead. It was pathetic to be walking down the familiar
hall in Heero's arms, biting back a wince with every step.
Une was behind her desk when Heero pushed open the door – with, I noticed, a bit more force than was required –
and working on some papers. “Well, I see you made it.”
Heero ignored her and helped me to a seat. Despite my best efforts, I winced when I settled down. Only then did Heero sit
in his own chair and look over to Une, acknowledging her existence. I didn't need to look over to know that Heero was the
Perfect Soldier right now. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the glare in Heero's eyes. Damn but he was pissed.
Une merely cocked a brow. “Yes, Yuy?”
“You realize that you have called Black Strike here despite his injuries and the number of assassins hunting him.”
It wasn't a question.
Une steepled her fingers and leaned her elbows on her desk. “That is exactly why I called you two here.” She turned
to me. I made an effort to block the pain from my eyes. “Black Strike – no, Duo Maxwell – you understand
what my calling you here means, don't you?”
My heart skipped – fuck. Oh yeah. I'd forgotten about that little promise I'd made to her. It had been, after all, almost
three years ago. I held my breath. “Yes.”
Heero was giving me an inquiring look. I very carefully did not turn his way.
Une, too, didn't take her eyes off of mine. “Obviously, their safety is being put into question.”
I nodded. It was a very old promise, one made when she, in turn, had promised to keep my identity a secret. “You broke
your promise first,” I told her.
Her lips thinned.
“What are you two talking about?” Heero demanded.
Une turned to Heero. I expected her to ask him to leave. I didn't expect her to explain. “Duo and I made a promise a
long time ago, shortly after he and I began... working together.”
I looked away from Heero when he sent me another look.
His tone firmed even more. “And that promise?”
“In return for my keeping Duo's identity a secret,” Une started.
I cut in. “In return-” Heero's eyes swept back to me “-I keep my enemies away from her subordinates.”
Heero froze for a second, then surged to his feet, glaring at Une. “Is this why you called us down?” he asked
Une didn't flinch, but I plainly saw her tense. “Yes, it's the main reason.”
Heero's fists clenched. “You were the one to show us Black Strike's identity. You ordered us to go with him and protect
him on a mission against one of these 'enemies.'”
“I know,” she said, but he didn't give her time to continue.
“And yet now you demand he leave?”
Une shook her head. “No. Or at least not permanently. However, while my agents are being attacked and their homes destroyed-”
“I don't care about that.”
I glared at him. “Well I do.” But I was ignored.
“You are on leave because of this, drastically diminishing the power of my staff.”
“I'm only one man,” Heero snapped.
“The one man who stopped the Libra from crashing into the Earth,” Une snapped. “I need you here,
and I need you unharmed. If you're being attacked in your own home-”
“Enough,” Heero hissed.
“She has a point,” I began, but Heero spoke right over me.
“If I have to chain him to a wall, I will not let him leave again.”
I must have made a strange noise, because suddenly Heero's focus was on me again, and he was kneeling by my chair. “Duo?”
I stared at him blankly. He was that desperate for me not to leave? I felt a rush of guilt so powerful it seemed to drown
my chest. I'd hurt him so much by leaving...
“Agent Yuy, I'm ordering you-”
“If you try that bullshit, I'll quit.”
I jerked. Heero hadn't even looked away from me. “Shit, Heero,” I snapped, “don't be stupid.”
Those eyes were hard. It was getting kind of uncomfortable, having Heero kneeling right there beside me with that kind of
look on his face – like nothing could possibly be more important than me. I blushed. “Shut up, Duo.”
I glared at him. That had effectively ruined the mood. “No, you shut up. Your house is being destroyed because-”
“I don't give a damn,” he informed me blithely. I goggled at him. “You can't fight these enemies as you
are, and there's no way in hell I'm letting you leave. Besides, it's as you said.” Those eyes didn't flicker from mine
for one second. It was truly like I was drowning in them. Sometimes, like now, it truly struck me just how beautiful those
eyes could be, swirling with emotions. “You didn't break the promise. She did.”
Une made a snarling sound.
“I won't let him leave,” Heero said again. “Was there anything else you called us for?”
I couldn't look away to see Une's exact reaction, but there was definitely some glare being thrown at us from over there.
“One more thing.”
“Make it quick,” Heero advised. I doubted many could get away with speaking like that to their boss.
“Fine. Maxwell, Caribol, as you know, if after you. How much do you know about the organization?”
My back hurt. And my stomach. I wondered if one could get bed sores from a chair. Probably. “They're an elite faction,
one probably risen to great power now that I've... we've taken out the main five. They predominantly traffic drug cartel.”
Une pinched the bridge of her nose. “Correct on all accounts. And the report on Greaves?”
Why wasn't Heero looking away from me? It was uncomfortable speaking to Une when those eyes were boring into mine. I cleared
my throat and pulled my gaze from his before I forgot how to breathe. “U-Um, well, he'd been sent by Caribol to kill
“-but he didn't succeed and he ran away,” I added hastily. “And he said something about having been enhanced...?”
“Yes, apparently both genetically and mechanically.”
I had to blink once before Une's words managed to sink in. “Wait,” I gasped, “like... cyborg?” Ew.
“A bit, yes.” Une steepled her fingers and leaned in once more. “Maxwell, your mission against Caribol had
been to take down their leader.”
I nodded. “That's right. And I had.” I knew that without a doubt because I'd shot the guy from only about
three meters away.
She nodded. “Our men took down the most of their men then, but apparently a few had escaped.”
“Of course,” I stated sourly.
“These few were the scientists, apparently. They used many people for experimentation and engineering.” Une turned
to Heero then, “Yuy, listen up.” Heero reluctantly turned to her. “Greaves wasn't the only one we saw with
Heero's lips thinned as he thought. Suddenly he tensed. “You don't mean...”
Une nodded. “That's right.”
Now it was my turn to watch the two talk and not understand a word. I immediately understood Heero's irritation earlier.
“But how?” Heero asked. “Back then, Caribol hadn't been destroyed.”
Une shrugged. “But you remember his words, don't you? They mirrored what Maxwell said Greaves spoke of. Moreover, the
report of Greaves' abilities has led our Analysis Specialists to believe that the two were likely made by the same company.”
I tried. I tried very hard. That didn't make my tone any less accusatory. “So when are we going to inform the cripple?”
Heero turned back to me looking slightly chagrined. But then his face changed, like he was in pain. “Duo, remember what
I'd told you? About the man who'd said he'd killed you?”
I stilled. “So... wait.” I turned to Une then, too. “You think the guy had been used by Caribol?”
Une shrugged. “Why not?”
I shook my head. “Coincidences like that don't actually happen.”
“That's why I want you to look into it.” She turned to Heero.
I nodded. Damn, my stomach was really starting to hurt. “If he and Wufei-”
“You can't be serious,” Heero snapped. “Absolutely not – Duo would be without protection-”
“Did I say you and Wufei?” Une demanded. “I said just you.”
Now I balked. “Then what the hell did you give them partners for?!”
She turned on me with a glare. “Are you going to argue over every single order I issue? I am short a hand because of
your injuries, and Caribol's scientists are not to be taken lightly. Now shut up, dammit.” And with that, she turned
away from me. “Yuy, either do something about this or let Maxwell go, because I am not losing my best men to this unmitigated
disaster.” She rose. “Now, the two of you, get the hell out of my office.”
I stood. “I can still fight,” I snapped.
She passed me a sardonic look while Heero growled a quick denial. “Then make yourself useful,” she advised.
“Duo, if you even think about fighting,” Heero warned.
I turned on him and swallowed back a wince. Standing was hard. “I'm not going to lay back while you and Wufei fight
“It's our battle, too!” he snapped.
“No, it's not! And even if it was, you still can't fight them all on your own, and isn't Quatre kind of banned from
breathing the same air as me?”
“We can handle this on our own-”
Une slammed her hand on her desk, making us both jump slightly. “GET OUT!”
I fell unceremoniously back into bed and closed my eyes, utterly exhausted. Heero had switched my room after the destruction
of the last one, having, apparently, two guest rooms. The hell was with this house?
I moaned a little, acknowledging his presence.
Heero chuckled, seemingly despite himself, and sat on the bed. I cracked an eye open. Heero was hesitating, looking down at
the floor. I sighed. “What?”
Those eyes speared me to the bed. “You won't... do anything reckless... will you?”
I laughed. “Me? Never.”
Those lips twitched. “Somehow I find that hard to believe.”
I grinned. “I don't know what you're talking about.”
Heero opened his mouth to argue, then clamped it shut and glared at me. “You're doing it again,” he accused.
Evading. I sighed. “Of course I am, Heero.” I carefully touched my stomach; it felt like pure fire. “Because
“There you go with that martyr bullshit!” Heero snapped. It made me jump, which pulled my stitches like a fucker.
I hissed. Heero immediately calmed his voice. “I can't stand it,” he started again. His hand touched mine, laying
it still on my stomach, infinitely careful. “Neither of you understands. Seeing you like this, hurt... it makes me feel...”
Heero seemed to struggle for a moment before he could say it. “Helpless.”
I gave him a confused look.
He sighed and released my hand, letting his run through his hair. For a second, a lock stuck straight up before falling into
its usual unruly pattern. “How many times will I have to say this before it sinks into that damn stupid skull of yours?
I. Love. You. No, don't look away.” He lifted my head, forced me to look back into those eyes. “I love you. I'll
say it forever, every minute of the day if I have to. I cannot lose you. I refuse. If I have to kill every single criminal
on this planet, I will, despite how much I detest having to do so.” That gaze was demanding I accept his words. “I
cannot feel that way again.”
That way. Meaning, of course, the way he'd felt when he and the others had believed I had died. I grimaced. “I'm
My words seemed to confuse him. “What?”
I shifted, slightly uncomfortable. He was, after all, leaning over me while I lied on my back on the bed. I couldn't help
but blush and thank God I still couldn't react... even though that, too, was embarrassing. “I'm sorry,” I repeated
dumbly. Because none of his pain would have existed if I had just sucked it up and stayed. His agony was my fault.
Heero searched my eyes, looking for the reasons why. I carefully guarded myself, too tired to go through the battle I knew
we would have. He sighed, defeated. “All right.” He leaned down and kissed my forehead. It was stupid to let such
a small motion move me so much. “Go to sleep. I'll wake you for lunch.”
I nodded and closed my eyes. It was a while before the feeling of his eyes on me faded and the soft click of the door announced
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