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Sub Rosa: Exile
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Sub Rosa
Chapter Seven

Disclaimer: You people <i>do</i> know that I don't own Gundam Wing... right?


My ears rang for so long I feared I'd lost part of my hearing. I couldn't breathe, but now because of the excruciating pain in my stomach, bad enough to choke me. I gasped for air.

“Duo? Duo, answer me! What happened over there?!”

Heero? Should he be yelling? I didn't think he should be yelling. Wasn't he escaping?

“Duo, we need to move!” Wufei shouted in my ear.

I struggled to get my bearings. Wufei was right; we needed to get out of here. Whatever that explosion had been – grenade or Molotov cocktail, we couldn't lay around waiting for the next one to come busting through. “Heero,” I panted, “get yourself somewhere safe – don't return to the house.”

“I already <i>am</i> somewhere safe, now tell me what the fuck happened!”

“We've been targeted,” Wufei said grimly. He pulled me up, not giving a damn at the moment that he was pulling my bad arm and my stomach muscles, nor that he was making me put my weight on my injured leg. We didn't have the time for such niceties.

He tugged me forward, down the stairs and to a window on the other side of the house. Then he pushed me against the wall and carefully checked to see if the coast was clear. I concentrated on not screaming in pain.

“Let's go,” he murmured lowly, and opened the window. In half a second he was outside. I wasn't as graceful. It took me about three seconds, and even with that I almost fell on my ass. Wufei grabbed me and held me up. “Come on,” he whispered in my ear, and we were running again, his hand around my wrist, making a break for Heero's neighbor's yard, fenced in by hedgerows.

“What do you mean, you've been targeted?” I heard, and was surprised to see the communicator dangling from Wufei's neck.

“Don't return to the house,” Wufei reiterated, then, “now shut up.”

At least, I thought gratefully, Heero was somewhere safe. Now I just needed to make sure my weakness didn't get Wufei killed.

We made it to the hedgerows just as two men saw us. Yelling, one pulled his arm back and let it fly.

“Jump!” Wufei ordered.

I didn't give myself time to think about it: about how my leg muscles would bunch, potentially ripping the stitches in my leg, about how my stomach muscles would pull <i>those</i> stitches taut, or how I'd probably by landing very poorly, ripping <i>something</i>. I specifically didn't think about either Heero's face or Mr. Zencroft, my physical sadist. I just jumped.

And I was right on all accounts – my leg felt like it was on fire after I landed; the pain in my stomach wasn't worth mentioning <i>again</i>. And I landed straight on my injured side – fucking <i>ow</i>.

But I managed an ungraceful roll just as the hedgerows burst into flames. I stumbled back. Wufei caught my shirt and wrenched me up, and we were running again. I heard more shouting from behind us, then footsteps, and knew we were being pursued. I wished for the old days for just one second, wished I had Deathscythe waiting for me. Wished there were contact points already mapped out. Wished...

But I had no time to dwell on our lack of contingencies. Wufei was making sure not to pull ahead of me, which made him lose time. I begged for Shinigami to return to me, to take me away, to make the pain insignificant. And, thank God – or whoever – he did. Finally.

“Come on, 'Fei,” he panted, pulling ahead, “keep up.”

He seemed surprised for just a second, but then he smirked. “Shut the hell up, Maxwell. You know very well I've only been giving you a pity run.”

I barked a laugh. “Sure, tough guy. Whatever helps you sleep at night.”

He pushed forward then, flicking a glance behind us. I did the same. The men were definitely chasing us, but a couple of them were beginning to lag behind. A few had what looked like bottles in their hands. The cocktails, then. I grinned maniacally. If we kept going at this pace, they wouldn't even get the chance to throw those things.

And they didn't. After less than a dozen blocks, they were long behind us. The last pathetic straggler gave up then. “They're probably burning down Heero's house,” Wufei said grimly. “Preventors will pay for it, but...”

I didn't have the breath to curse. Shinigami had left, unable to maintain his danger-induced high. My legs simply stopped moving. I fell to the ground like a rock and just stayed there. I had no desire to move ever again.


Wufei immediately returned to me and knelt by my side. “Shit,” he murmured, apparently only just now taking a good look at me. “Shit, Duo, you're bleeding.”

And that apparently was more than Heero could take. “What the fuck's going on?”

He sounded pissed. I wondered if I could muster up the energy to answer, but I just couldn't make myself care at that moment. We were safe. There was nothing to talk about.

“I believe Maxwell's pulled some of his stitches,” Wufei answered, taking the matter out of my hands. I watched him as he put the communicator up to his ear. “His leg and side are bleeding badly.”

I distinctly heard Heero's curse. “How is he?”

“Fine,” I answered.

“Bad,” Wufei said at the same time. “We ran eleven blocks,” he told Heero while I glared at him. “I wasn't paying attention to anything but our pursuit. I'm sorry for that.”

There was a short silence. “What position is he in?” I heard Heero ask.

“He's on the ground. He's conscious, but he isn't moving,” Wufei told him.

“I can hear you two,” I hissed, letting him know I wasn't appreciating being talked over. He ignored me.

“We're going to Preventors',” Wufei told him grimly. “Meet us there.”

I struggled to stand again. When Wufei held out a hand to help me, I brushed it off. He only shook his head and stood protectively beside me.

“Are you sure he can make the trip?” I heard Heero ask.

Wufei snorted. “You know, I'm beginning to think Maxwell's right – you <i>are</i> a Mama-Yuy.”

It made me grin. I held out my hand for the communicator. Wufei only leaned it toward me, but that was enough. I leaned in. “Fuck you, Yuy!” I called pleasantly. “You just worry about yourself, Mr. Martyr, and leave us professionals alone.”

“Professionals?” Heero repeated. “Meaning you?”

His classically cynical tone made me laugh. “We're leaving now,” I told him.

“Be careful,” he warned.

“Aye-aye, Mama-Yuy,” I said with a salute, and leaned back, away from the communicator. Wufei rolled his eyes at me.

“Let's go.” He started off in a slight jog. It was interesting, getting those muscles of mine to move, muscles a bit lax after their days of disuse, and ignore the pain pulling my nerves all along my body. Wufei didn't say anything about my drunken progress, but it made me want to scream. My injured arm just kind of swung back and forth, almost like a club. A club being tossed around by a half-dead monkey. My uninjured arm was occupied with holding my torso together, and my injured leg made me stumble whenever I put weight on it. I couldn't even imagine how I looked, a drunk guy in the middle of the day bleeding all over people's lawns. If my sight hadn't been so blurry, I probably would have gotten the chance to see some truly interesting stares.

I let the time pass by in little waves of concrete slab and weedy lawns. I saw a little kid weeding a garden with what looked to be a grandmother, and what I thought was a man in a Speedo biking down a highway. He was not good looking.

Wufei and I didn't talk, either, but rather let the time roll by until I think he'd had enough my breathing like an asthmatic. “Dammit, Duo, if you're having a hard time, tell me. We'll take a quick break.”

“Wufei,” I panted, trying for the honesty route, “if I stop, I won't start again.”

He slipped back into silence then, just letting us continue running.

And then finally, blessedly, the Preventors building, tall enough to rival skyscrapers, loomed into view. We still had a few more blocks to go, but just seeing it glaring down at me made my chest a little lighter.

And then when I saw Heero coming up towards us, I practically flew.


How many times was that man going to call my name like I was about to keel over dead? Although I supposed I'd given him all of those chances... still.

Heero zipped right past Wufei – yeah, I'll admit that made me happy – and immediately leaned up against me, taking my weight from me. I almost fell to the ground again. “Duo!”

“I'm okay,” I managed, though my breathing was so heavy and labored I had to wonder if he even heard me. Whether he did or not didn't matter, because he was <i>lifting</i> me into his arms. I think I managed a gasp of protest before I fell bonelessly against him.

“Shit,” I heard him say.

“Let's hurry,” Wufei advised, and Heero must have nodded because we were moving. He was a thousand times gentler with his strides, trying not to hurt me, but at that point I was in so much pain he could have put me on a rodeo bull and it wouldn't have mattered. If there was a limit to how much pain a body could feel, I thought I might have reached it. I just kind of lolled there in his arms like a rag doll. If I'd had the energy, I would have been humiliated.

“We're here,” Wufei said finally. His breath sounded almost ragged with relief.

“No, not there – the back entrance.”

And if I'd had the energy, I would have kissed Heero for making sure Headquarters didn't see me like this.

They were silent for a time while they made their way to the side entrance, usually preserved for undercover agents on report, and went inside and into the elevator. Heero didn't put me down once – not that I could have stood on my own, but still. I stayed silent and let my blush and glare tell Heero exactly what I thought of this. He only bent down and kissed my forehead. “I'm glad you're okay,” he said simply, then was once again silent. I stared at him in shock, which must have looked interesting because Wufei snorted.

Une was already by the elevator, arms crossed and foot tapping, when it opened on her floor. “Just what the fuck happened?” she demanded before we were even outside the elevator. One look at me and her scowl deepened. He eyes snapped to Heero. “Well?”

“I was on an infiltration and reconnaissance mission,” Heero began, but I butted in. Heero's detailed report would take too fucking long.

“Heero went to Caribol and Caribol came to Wufei and me,” I told her. “Wufei said something about Preventors paying for Heero's house?”

She turned her glare to me. “Of course,” she said prissily. “That does not change the fact that these men have officially destroyed-”

“Yeah, yeah, I know. What do you want to do about it?” I pressed. “If I had, say, a huge-ass Gundam or something, I could just crush the little fuckers. But I don't think it's available at the moment.”

She pinched the bridge of her nose. “My office, please.”

“Commander, Maxwell needs medical attention,” Wufei spoke up, though they both followed her to her office, anyway.

“He'll be taken to our facility in a bit. Yuy, report.”

And Heero began his long, detailed shpiel and sat down in one of the chairs, trying to be as gentle as possible. I just concentrated on not screaming.

For his part, he spoke so quickly I wondered if Une could even understand what he was saying. And he held me as carefully as possible, and he kept looking down at me, gaging, I think, the loss of blood, or maybe my awareness. And when he finished, he stood.

“You might as well get comfortable,” Une snapped. Somewhere about halfway through Heero's speech, Une had taken to rolling her thumbs over her temples and scowling at the air. I guessed she was in a bad mood. “We need to take our own measures. Yuy.”

Heero tensed just a tiny bit. It was enough to make butterflies warp in my stomach, for my own body to tense in response, as well.

“You need to go back. Cause a-”

“No!” I snapped. She looked down her nose at me, her eyes hard. I was absolutely certain my returning glare was ruined by my position. I didn't let that stop me. “Heero isn't going back. That place was-”

“They would never believe he would return so soon,” she argued logically. “And we'll need a distraction to get you and Chang to one of our hidden safehouses and near a facility.”

They still had safehouses?

“Yuy.” She turned back to him. “Cause a distraction. Attack those defects, perhaps. But cause enough of a distraction that they don't watch us too carefully. No sneaking around – go for maximum damage. When you return, I will tell you where I've sent those two.” Heero said nothing, shocked, I think, by her decision. “Right now, I have two fighters who are only half-able to fight because they're worried about their fallen comrade,” she barked. “How useful does that sound to you?”

I looked up to Heero, certain he would take offense to that 'half-able to fight' remark. But I saw him smile tightly; it would have looked to others like a thinning of the lips. “Understood.”

“What?” I argued. “No. No! Absolutely not. Are you crazy? You got in serious trouble in there last time! What if-”

“Duo, don't be dense. This needs to be done.”

I scowled at Heero. If I didn't get to finish a fucking sentence, then how could I show him how insanely stupid this plan was?

“Yuy, you shouldn't do this alone,” Wufei stated plainly. “If your goal is to cause mayhem, you will quickly become the focus of enemy attacks-”

“I can handle that without a problem,” Heero cut in.

“-<i>and I don't care if you can handle them</i>,” Wufei growled back, not letting himself be interrupted. I shot him a grin for the victory. “This is about having all three of us working together. Maxwell may be bleeding all over Une's carpet, but that doesn't mean he can't take care of himself. He's had worse injuries-”

“He's still not in top form,” Heero protested.

“-<i>and would you stop interrupting me?!</i>” he shouted. “Don't be stupid, Yuy! This is a major organization. This plan the two of you have concocted is an accident waiting to happen!”

“Be that as it may, Chang,” Une cut in smoothly, “you will still be escorting Black Strike to safety. He is the one they're after. That means Yuy, if captured, would not be immediately killed. Which also means he would have plenty of time to escape. What makes you think he wouldn't be able to?”

Wufei growled. “Maybe because you kept us successfully imprisoned for months.”

“And in training I taught you how to escape from that,” she said primly. I gawked. The hell?! She hadn't told me! I'd been in there too, dammit!

Wufei snorted. “You gave us your password!”

“I gave you the password <i>algorithm</i>,” she corrected. “Yuy, be quick on this. Three hours will be plenty of time. I'll expect you to report in then.”

“Aa.” He stood, still with me in his arms. Then he turned to Wufei and held me out a bit. “Would you-?”

“Oh, <i>hell</i> no,” I muttered, squirming. He frowned but let me stand on my feet. I hardly registered for pain for the fear beating a furious tattoo in my chest. “You can't,” I argued again. “It's reckless and stupid. You keep telling <i>me</i> not to do anything reckless and stupid!”

“I'm not being reckless.”

“Bullshit!” Oh shit, I was swaying. Wufei came up from behind me and gently held me up. Without being able to help it, I ended up putting up a good amount of weight on him. This would not necessarily help my case. “Heero, you can't think that you'll be able to-”

“That is enough, Strike,” Une snapped. “Right now, you are in no position to be giving out orders. These are <i>my</i> men. My <i>best</i> men. Do you think I would overestimate their abilities and risk losing them?”

I turned on her, almost falling out of Wufei's arms in the process. “Even during the <i>war</i> we didn't do shit this dangerous!”

Une surged to her feet, slammed her hands on the desk. “I have been unable to get Barton and Winner on the phone!” she snapped. “None of my other officers are able to get through the front door of Caribol's Headquarters and <i>you</i> look like a talking corpse. This is the only viable option. I will not take any more of your lip, Maxwell!”

I blinked.

“Well, Yuy? Why are you still standing here? And Chang, I <i>know</i> you're taking him out of here before he stains any more of my carpet. It's not cheap.”

“Wait.” I turned to Heero before Wufei could bodily drag me out the door. He was watching me with cool eyes, eyes that were already sinking into the Perfect Soldier. I wished very strongly for a surefire, knock-me-on-my-ass kiss. I sucked in a hard breath. “You promised.” I glared into his eyes and tried to <i>force</i> him to understand. “You promised. You can't break that promise, do you hear me?!” <i>You have to come back!</i>

Heero seemed confused for a moment; his eyes shifted back into his normal, kind-but-still-almost-unreadable gaze. And then he smiled. “I understand. Of course I won't break it.”

And he pecked me on the forehead. I leaned up, but he'd already pulled back. My breathing got heavy, my heart thick. This was insane.

“Let's go, Duo,” Wufei said quietly, and I could tell by the use of my first name that he was no happier than me about all this. I let Wufei lead me out, but I kept my eyes on Heero the whole time. Wufei laid me down in the hall as gently as possible and began inspecting me. I was bleeding pretty much everywhere.

I knew Heero and Une were planning as much as possible before he ran out. I also knew that, for a good fifteen minutes after he left, I would remain here. That would be fifteen minutes to think before I got moving again. I couldn't let myself think about it.

“He'll be all right,” Wufei assured me. “The man's strong.”

I only nodded. I knew that. I just wasn't as optimistic as that. From the pucker on Wufei's forehead, I could tell he wasn't, either.


We arrived by... train.

Nothing says 'I'm a nobody' like riding on a train, especially when passenger trains are rumored in some areas to not exist anymore.

I had been placed on a bed, bandaged to the point of being mummified, while Wufei had sat beside me. Both of us had been silent, tensely thinking our own morbid thoughts. Or at least mine had been morbid. We arrived in Colling, what was said to have once been Colorado and Wyoming. And there we sat and waited for Heero to return, both remaining silent, both remaining tense.

But Heero never came.


YAY! OMG, I finally know where this story is going, so now instead of it drifting along with a half-dead Duo-carcass, we'll be moving into a STORYLINE! ^__^ YAY!!!

Oh, and this is the end of the Enya Saga. Short sagas, I know, but thankfully we're moving up in the world! Yay for angst-y plotline muse!

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