Disclaimer: It's not mine! STFU!!!
I had healed.
Or, more to say, my body had healed. Time did that. The doctor, in making several house calls,
had eventually called me almost completely healed and took out my stitches. All of them. And then there was physiotherapy,
in which my therapist remarked I excelled. And now we had returned.
Heero had never come.
I held out no hope. I was too realistic. Heero had promised to come back. He'd sworn. The man
never broke a promise... unless he just plain couldn't keep it.
I didn't allow myself time to grieve.
Wufei and I never spoke about it, a taboo subject. Here in front of Une, the fury and anger
swirled in an even hotter vortex; here was the woman who had negated my warnings. The woman who had sent him out there. After
I killed every operative in Caribol, I would come back for her. I thought I saw that knowledge reflected in her eyes; she
seemed to know I would kill her. She also seemed fairly unperturbed by the idea. Wufei, beside me, was as still as me.
“You know the situation,” she said quietly. She did not look at me. “As of
right now, we have only you two. Barton heard of the situation and relocated Winner and himself to parts unspecified.”
Meaning she knew where they were. “And we have Caribol to face. Yuy is... MIA.”
My fists clenched.
“It's been almost two months,” Une continued doggedly, “since we last had
contact with him. We must consider this to be a sign of his-”
I growled, and she silenced herself.
“So now we have an organization to take down with only two men.”
“We'll do it.” They were the first words I'd spoken in days.
She seemed to understand exactly what I meant by that, too. <i>We'll do it</i> –
we'll kill them all. Or at least I would.
“Evidence would be nice,” she put in blandly.
“Fuck your evidence,” I hissed. I trembled in my efforts not to go after her; Preventors
seemed to be allowed to go crazy when fighting baddies. I would be allowed to kill. I wouldn't necessarily be a 'murderer'
until I killed her. I would wait.
Une didn't bother retorting. “Then get some rest. We'll begin the attack in four hours.”
No planning; she knew I wouldn't stay for it. Rest? Because it was needed, I could do that much.
I needed to be in top shape. I needed to be sure I could kill every single one of them. I knew that. I'd known that since
those first few days in which I foolishly tried to believe Heero was just taking a bit too long. Back before I gave it up
I walked out of Une's office and toward a small room adjacent to it. Inside were two couches.
It was a room I hadn't known of until Heero had carried me into it.
I hesitated before opening the door, then simply laid down out side Une's office. Better not
to risk it.
Wufei didn't say anything, used to my antics by now. He simply opened the door and retreated
Sleeping was the hardest of all necessities to take care of. Eating could be done in a minute,
not allowing any time to think. Same with going to the bathroom – you wait long enough, you're in and out in a minute,
two tops. But sleep wasn't so simple. You needed to take time out of your day to do it. And time meant reflection. My dreams
were too cruel to allow me solace in sleep. And I had to keep returning to them if I was going to destroy Caribol.
Lying down here, I could see flashes of images I never allowed my mind to show me. A face I
couldn't bear to see. Hands, warmth. His scent. I shut myself down and felt ghost arms slip around me.
My dreams were the same, down even to the intangibility of his perfect skin.
Four hours later, we were ready.
Une had informed us of the basics as we suited up. Caribol's top operatives have stayed hidden
these past two months, though it seemed something important had occurred recently; guard had risen tremendously, then slackened
considerably. Une assumed a breakthrough had come in their research, meaning a better and stronger cyborg. I wasn't concerned.
The only thing that would stop me from killing them all was death... which awaited me at the end, anyway.
Heero not loving me I could have handled. Heero killing me himself would have been absolutely
fine. But a world without Heero... that was blasphemy.
I checked the magazines on my guns, double-checked the blades of my hunting knives, carefully
touched my belt of grenades, checking each for their pin, making sure they were each solidly in place. Wufei, beside me, was
doing the same.
“Come back alive,” she ordered before we left. It was an order, I noted with rage,
she neglected to give Heero.
We said nothing as we left.
The drive was equally silent. Wufei, too, seemed to need silence in order to deal with his grief
in his own way. It was easy to be with him, suffering with someone who understood its true form. Knowing that he blamed himself,
seeing himself as a failure as a partner, helped. Because I was a failure, too, only much worse. I'd stolen Heero's back-up.
I'd stolen his concentration. And I'd given him nothing as recompense. It was also my fault he was dead. That was another
reason why I had to die.
I mindlessly cleaned my pistol as Wufei drove. We didn't turn on the radio.
We parked three blocks away from Caribol's HQ, which hadn't been changed. I wasn't surprised
by this; killing a Gundam pilot was probably seen as a sign of their power. They would stay as a sign of defiance. That only
made it easier for us. In fifteen minutes, I had all the passwords. It was simple, disgustingly simple, since I'd already
done it once before. A lifetime ago. And then we were out of the car and moving.
The night was cool and bright, the sky clear, the moon clear and half-full. Our footsteps crunched
the grass underneath us, noisy in the stillness. Still we knew no one but ourselves could hear them. We held our pistols at
the ready. I felt the secure weight of my knives weighing down each arm. They felt like extensions; even my time of recuperation
hadn't been able to steal the soldier from me.
But it was strange. I couldn't feel Shinigami inside me anywhere.
Wufei and I split up after quietly testing the communication mikes on our suits. I went to the
nearer side, Wufei making sure I didn't use of my energy too much, since I was still recovering. Her went to the far side.
We didn't say good-bye.
I slipped past the two guards, slicing their throats to keep the silence. Then I grabbed their
ID's and slipped straight inside the building.
While it was a simple-looking business building, all sleek and shiny on the outside, it looked
like a morgue. Or maybe a museum. There were tables and a linoleum floor, an open hall big enough to be a library, and fake
flowers on practically every surface. This was the first floor. The floor of lies. The floor used to deceive. Duo ran up to
the guard by the door and slit his throat before he could call for help. After cleaning his knife on the man's clothes, he
was moving again.
He almost made it to the first floor when the alarm went off. Wufei must have purposefully tripped
the switch to serve as a distraction. Duo knew it was a strategic tactic, one that ensured that he would get further up with
less resistance. But he couldn't help but think that Wufei had tripped it so quickly because he didn't want Duo to be the
one to deal with the enemy encounter.
He brushed it off and continued up. The second floor was a bit darker than the first floor;
no flowers or tables broke up the endless white linoleum. Footsteps pounded from around the corner. I pulled out my pistol.
Two men turned and stopped still when they saw me. “Intruder!” one cried. I shot
him first. The other decided it was better to react more violently than just shouting and tried to pull out his gun. I shot
him down, too.
Shouts came then from other men close enough to hear the gunshots. I walked to the corner and
waited for them. They came in two's and three's, each ready to fire. I cleaned out my pistol and half a round of my semi taking
them all down. I saved my grenades for later, keeping a fairly low profile. When there was a break, I reloaded my pistol again.
It took about a half and hour to move from that hallway, and when I finally did the perfectly
white linoleum floor was littered with bodies and blood. I stepped over it all, careful to keep my shoes clean, and moved
It would be impossible to explain what had happened those two months ago. I remembered a tearing
inside, one I thought I could hear physically. I remember thinking the world had ended, and my horror that it actually had
not. That the sun could actually continue to rise and set without my own sun leading it. I remember refusing to cry, because
crying never helped dick. And I remember... I remember planning.
After that, the world began to fade in and out in strange intervals. I saw Wufei, his eyes hollow.
I saw my doctor, whose name I'd never cared to learn, coming and going. His arrivals meant I was getting closer to my goal.
To the end of my plans. I would hear the man's instructions, and I would follow them. The rest of the time I exercised, sat,
or just... existed. Awake, not trying to get to sleep, I could concentrate solely on not thinking. It was hard at first, but
I got better at it. I'd had time.
Now I walked down these halls, killing more and more people, and the sounds of screaming and
shouting and gunfire just didn't enter my mind much at all. It was such a switch, since I'd always blasted rock music and
jammed to it, screaming the lyrics, when I'd had Deathscythe. I hadn't listened to a song in weeks.
The third floor was the same as the second, white and large and empty. But then I was proven
wrong on the latter as three men stepped forward. Two seemed normal, but one looked a bit odd; I figured I was looking at
a cyborg, one made in the earlier stages of discovery. His right arm seemed thick and twisted; it hid inside an equally twisted
coat, one with one sleeve too long for the arm and the other so short it showed the elbow. The man's head was tilted at an
“Duo,” Wufei's voice hissed from the communication device, “do you need back-up?”
“No,” I answered calmly. The enemy pulled out their own weapons. I noted dimly that
the odd man pulled out his arm, which held nothing. It was its own weapon. “Take care of yourself.”
The silence lasted less than a millisecond; the cyborg let loose with his personal gun. I knew
the trajectory of the weapon. I knew what I needed to do to escape his assault. I did it. I didn't let myself think about
The two others were not wholly normal, but they only had speed on their side. They attempted
to track me down as I evaded. They were all early samples, I could tell. Their bodies would twitch at odd moments, and they
would stumble for no reason. The fast ones, too, had legs that did not wuite match the rest of their bodies. Thick arms swung
wildly by their sides.
I put them all out of their misery.
I could see how I did it – I led the fast ones to one side of the room as the shooter
followed my movements, and I had them both chase me to the far corner. One went in front of the other, and I shot the closest.
The next, in an effort to dodge my attack, stepped into his comrades' instead. When he stopped, too little too late, I took
him down, too. After they were down, it was a simple job to make sure they were all dead.
The third floor was clear otherwise. I could hear the sounds of gunfire below me and knew that
Wufei was busy below. I followed the sound for a moment, catching where it was loudest below me. “Head drop,”
I murmured into the mike, and took out a grenade. I walked away from the spot and tossed the grenade over. When it exploded,
it dropped the floor and plaster walls down onto those below.The roar was satisfying. It told me more were dead.
“Thanks,” Wufei whispered. I didn't respond. The stairs were to my left.
I had just stepped on the stairs when I heard an elevator begin to run. I left the stairs, moving
hurriedly, and wrenched open the elevator doors. When the elevator car dropped below me, I tossed my second grenade on top.
I hopped away from the shaft then and let the grenade do my work for me. The screams fell to the ground floor and halted abruptly.
It was a basic rule: never use the elevators. I headed up the stairs.
“Maxwell. Third floor.”
“Stairway,” I murmured back, letting him know my own location in return. “Fourth
floor. Any problems?”
“No. They're keeping the cyborgs to a bare minimum.”
“Most likely for a larger defensive later,” I surmised blandly.
“Most likely,” Wufei agreed.
“The strongest will protect the leaders,” I murmured, not caring in the least. No
matter how many there were, they would all die.
“Yes. We'll have to break them up, take them one at a time. We may have to return later,
“Not yet,” I growled.
“No. We'll go as far as we can.”
We stopped communicating after that, content with what was said. Yes, it was definitely best
to grieve with someone like Wufei, whose grief could be understood. I was a solace to him, as I was grieving worse than he,
and he was a solace to me, as he, too, felt the emptiness of the world without Heero. We both needed each other to continue.
The fourth floor was completely clear, no one in sight. But I could see that this was where
everything changed; the walls were metal now, not the clear hospital-white of the lower floors. I remembered clearly that
this was the floor with all of the laboratories and storage rooms.
It was odd, wondering if my footsteps were echoing Heero's, wondering if he'd moved in this
exaact formation. I keyed in the password to the storage room he'd entered and thought vaguely of him standing here doing
the same thing.
The door opened, and finally I got to see what Heero had those months ago. Inside were tubes
and shelves of bodies. I'd been right when I'd thought about a science fiction movie, but everything was turning into science
fiction around here. My life might as well be a book.
The tubes held deformed humans, all right. I remembered seeing an old Japanese show where two
kids tried to bring their mother back to life through alchemy. I was reminded horrifically of the result of their attempt.
Skin peeled away from the bodies to float like thin, white sheets in their individual tubes. Organs floated, too, where they
would rest if the skin and nerves and blood vessels had all taken their places, as well.
Some were in better shape; they were obviously human, fairly well-formed. Three were better
off than the rest, or at least I made that assumption, since they were in cages and eying me greedily. I suspected they were
in cages only now, after Heero had needed to fight them off. I didn't think any more about that.
I tossed in two grenades and slid the door shut, determinedly destroying the memories along
with the room.
Then I stood there for a moment. My eyes turned of their own accord, following blueprints I
had seen an eternity ago. I had led Heero to that laboratory. I had led him into a room that had ended up almost being his...
but I had to shake that thought off, as well. There were other enemies there, ones that had begun to awaken while Heero had
still been inside. Were they still there? If so, I could kill them all in no time. Less to worry about.
More, I had to see the room. See one of the last places – perhaps <i>the</i>
last place – Heero had ever stood.
I was only half-aware of my surroundings as I walked. If an enemy had showed up at that moment,
they would have been able to shoot me dead. But of course no one was here; I'd already verified that. Or at least it felt
like no one dangerous was here, a feeling I associated with the creatures locked up in their respective prisons.
The laboratory was easy to find, trapped as it was in my memories. I entered this password,
as well, and waited as the door silently whooshed open.
The unmistakable sound of a safety being pulled off hit my ears before the door fully opened.
I had hardly pulled my pistol in front of me before I registered what awaited me inside.
My hands fell to my sides. “H... Heero?”