Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is not mine. Duh.
“In the end, there's nothing we can do yet,” Heero sighed.
Wufei was silent.
Heero glanced at him, then turned to stare out the windshield again. So far, staking out Romefeller
was turning into a complete waste of time. “You're worried about him.”
Wufei snorted. “You aren't?”
Heero grimaced. “He can handle himself.”
Wufei was silent for a moment. “That's not the point.”
No, Heero supposed. It wasn't. “I doubt Quatre and Trowa will find him.”
Wufei grunted. “He grew up on the streets. He knows how to keep himself hidden.”
They were quiet for a few more minutes, each thinking their own thoughts. Finally Heero sighed,
shifting in his seat. “Did you speak the truth back then?”
His cobalt gaze turned to the side window. There was nothing new to see; no one was leaving.
Either they'd missed the time for employees to leave or everyone was working extremely late. Like them, he thought sardonically.
“In the interview room.” When Duo had spoken to them over Heero's cell phone.
“Oh.” A short silence. “Yes.”
“So you really do trust him?”
Wufei sighed. “I... suppose.”
Heero merely turned and raised his brow.
“Fine, fine,” Wufei huffed. “I... want to trust him. I want to believe in
him. Even though I feel like I've... made a bad choice in friends...” He smiled slightly, but it had no humor in it,
“in the end, a part of me feels like I was still right about Duo. That even though I didn't know who he was,”
Heero noted that Wufei had trouble calling Duo Shinigami, “I still knew his personality, his characteristics. And that
I'd based my friendship on that. He hadn't let me down before this. Maybe...” He sighed again. “But maybe I'm
just being too hopeful.”
Heero glared out the windshield some more, wishing he weren't hopeful, too. “In any case,
Heero's cell phone rang.
He picked it up, scowled. “Duo,” he snarled. He flipped it open as Wufei gasped.
“None of you are in the police building,” he chirped cheerily as way of greeting.
“What the hell are you-” Heero started, but Duo cut him off.
“I told you that I needed one of you on my computer, but this is better.” He paused
for a moment. “Hey, Hee-chan, you'd better watch out. Are you breaking your phone?”
Heero's grip had turned vice-like, that was true enough. He growled and revved up his engine.
“Yuy?” Wufei asked.
“He's at the precinct,” he snapped. Wufei's eyes widened.
“I figured, since I'm going to hell, might as well make the path clearer,” he sang
brightly. Heero's hand on the wheel should have turned the thing to dust. “Man, you should see what Romefeller <i>wants</i>.
Unbelievable.” He tsked. “I don't know if giving you guys the commands would have gotten you in, though. It was
hell for me, and I'm a genius.”
Heero could hear the bastard's cocky grin over the phone. “Wait there for me to get to
you,” he growled.
“Dude, are you kidding me? I just admitted to breaking into the police station. Lemme
think about that – oh, yeah. Not staying. Hell, I'm already out. And leaving... leaving... hehe. Gone.” And the
phone went dead in Heero's ear.
“Duo, dammit!” Heero glared at the dead screen of his cell phone, then closed it
and threw it to the side in disgust. Wufei picked it up and stared at Heero in confusion.
“He's at the precinct?” he murmured. Heero heard Wufei's emotions plainly –
regret being foremost.
“Was,” Heero corrected grimly. “He took the chance to go in while we weren't
Wufei cocked an eyebrow. “But there are cops in that precinct twenty-four-seven.”
Heero shrugged. “He apparently got past them. From what I could understand – that
bastard was laughing at me again – he has information waiting for us.”
Wufei grimaced. “Of course – we can't move without him, can we?” He slammed
his fist against the window. “Of course – this is ridiculous. We need him, but he's...” He clenched his
eyes shut and just shook in anger.
Heero wanted to do the same, but his mind had just clicked onto a path he wished it wouldn't
tread. “That's it, Wufei,” he said suddenly, startling his partner. Wufei turned to look back at him. “That's
it,” he repeated, “that's exactly it. That's why the chief put us all together, why Duo had to be included. We
can defeat any enemy, either with firepower, intellect, or even with Quatre's understanding of human nature. But we can't
do a damn thing without Duo.” It set Heero's teeth on edge, admitting that. “He's the one who would tell us where
to go, the one to show us our enemies' weaknesses. <i>That's</i> why he's so necessary.”
Wufei let himself think about it. “It's true enough,” he murmured. And it was –
Duo Maxwell was a definite asset. “But is he good or bad?”
Heero frowned at that. “We can't know. He's just broken into our station, but he did it
to help us out on our search. He's acted as a vigilante, but he's brought countless into custody.” Heero snarled. “I
don't understand him.”
Wufei seemed to agree; he nodded with lips turned down. “We need to talk to him.”
Heero snorted. “We need to <i>catch</i> him.”
Duo walked away from the station as if he hadn't just committed a fairly unintelligent break-in.
Then he dumped his cell phone in the trash, just in case, and headed in the opposite direction.
His little stalker had found him again and was silently tailing him. Duo let him without comment;
as long as the man was watching him, he wasn't hunting down Heero Yuy. As long as that truth persisted, he would let the slimy
little bastard ooze around him. It wasn't like he wasn't aware of the man. It wasn't like Duo couldn't stay one step ahead.
It just meant that life would only be that much harder for him.
But that was fine – he was used to it.
More importantly, he'd seen what Romefeller had planned. It was insane, impossible. A business
company, turning to war for dominance? Ridiculous. That didn't happen in the real world. It was like a bad suspense movie.
Duo sighed at the thought of it. How were they – five men – supposed to stop an
entire organization? Bullshit. It couldn't be done.
But then he had to think of Father Maxwell and Sister Helen, of the horror of watching them
be cut down in the name of peace. To bring about an eventual harmony in the world. Their deaths for hundreds? Sure, many would
call that an acceptable loss. But he couldn't. He could never accept their deaths as a sacrifice for a higher cause.
“Well,” he muttered finally, “it may not be possible, but hell if I'm going
to let this go on without me doing something about it.”
In his mind, the deaths of the five scientists were entirely justifiable. They had ordered the
deaths of his loved ones – and had done so again, except Heero Yuy was <i>not</i> a loved one.
He sighed. He was being stupid again.
He made his way back to his little hideout, deathly aware of his stalker. No one else followed
him to the dilapidated building, but when he arrived, his little friend came closer.
“Try that again,” the man said as way of greeting, “and I'll kill him.”
He shrugged. “I needed some 'me' time.” He turned to the man, unwilling to leave
his computer in the open for the man to attack it. It was the only thing he had right now. “What do you want?”
“You went to the precinct,” the man said.
Duo cocked an eyebrow. “I know.”
The man looked irritated then. Angry. “Then why didn't you stay?”
Duo laughed right in the man's face. “If you didn't notice, I'd just broken into a building
dedicated to the enforcement of the law. Ironic... and stupid. But I needed my computer – this one wasn't cutting it.
So I went and used my computer for a moment. My property, dammit.” He shrugged it off, but it rankled, needing to break
in to a building to get his own damn things. “I gave the copperheads a pretty little tip, too – see? I'm being
all cooperative and shit.”
The man's frown didn't dissipate, but he didn't argue, either. Duo took that as a good sign.
“So? Go away. I have work to do.”
The man shook his head. “I'm not leaving this spot.”
Duo didn't like the idea of having the man behind him, but if he was here, then there was no
way in hell he could be targeting Heero... Duo sighed and turned. His back itched like a mother, exposing it to the enemy.
It would serve him right if he got stabbed in the back. “Suit yourself. <i>I'm</i> busy.” He went
over to the ancient computer and turned it on. It whirred on with enough noise to rival the pit bulls battling to the death
across the street.
Only a half an hour later, the computer managed to get all of Duo's security working and wheezed
out a message informing him that his site had received mail. Five more minutes got the pathetic thing onto the site and reading
the note, sent by one most likely pissed-beyond-redemption Lieutenant Yuy.
<i>'We need to meet.'</i>
A thousand snappy comebacks entered Duo's head, but he fought them all back and typed in a simple
enough message in return.
See if he figured it out this time.
Then he folded his fingers together, stretched out his arms and cracked his knuckles. “Let's
see what we can do,” he muttered, and let his fingers fly.
“He's near,” Quatre told Trowa.
Trowa said nothing about Quatre's odd behavior, leaning forward and rubbing his head like some
wannabe psychic. Quatre appreciated, more than anything else, Trowa's calm acceptance. The man never seemed ruffled, always
stable, always in control. Quatre thought the man could easily stand through a stampede with the same unruffled assurance.
“How much farther? Can you guess?”
Quatre furrowed his brow in concentration. “I can't... it's so hard. Duo hides his emotions
so deeply, I don't know if even he recognizes them. And there's something there. Someone interfering.” Quatre frowned.
“It might be a bad guy...”
Trowa didn't react in any visible way but a small thinning of his lips. “We can safely
assume,” he said, “that he's being watched. Since he grew up on the streets, he should know of such a situation.”
Quatre nodded. “It just makes it – aah!”
Trowa hit the brakes and carefully touched Quatre's shoulder. The man's concern was in tight
rein, but the feel of it, small as it was, was still enough to comfort him. “I-I'm okay. It's just... something's changed.”
“What?” He sat up straight again and slowly revved the car back into motion. Quatre
didn't pay attention to the dilapidated buildings that slid past them. He only felt the overall sense of despair and desperation
that hung on every brick.
“The bad guy's moving. His aura is completely different.” Quatre shivered. “He's
planning something... Trowa, we have to hurry!”
Quatre could tell it was completely unintentional when Trowa's hand came and lightly clenched
Quatre's. The man didn't even seem to notice what he was doing. His eyes never moved from the road, his hand never faltered
on the steering wheel. His emotions, as well, hadn't fluctuated at all. Quatre didn't comment. He just tightened his own grip
on Trowa's fingers, taking solace in Trowa's presence.
“Just a little further,” he murmured again.
Duo felt the change in the air just as the man stepped forward. He cursed; he was trapped within
the building. Ignoring the research he'd been collecting, he stood straight and turned to face his stalker. “You have
something to say to me?”
The man didn't seem happy with Duo's sarcasm. “Your efforts in assisting the others has
been weak. I've stood back, but this cannot continue. Your job is to help the four-”
“I <i>am</i> helping,” Duo told the man. “If you didn't notice,
I'm a criminal. I would be arrested if I attempted to make contact with Heero and Wufei and the others. Instead, here I am,
all useful and whatnot, noticeably <i>not</i> in jail. And see? I've already found plenty of information of Romefeller.
So what exactly is your problem?”
The man snarled. “This is ridiculous! I've had enough of your hiding!” The man pulled
out his gun.
Duo didn't even flinch. The man wouldn't shoot him dead, and he wouldn't shoot him in any vital
spots. The worst he had to look forward to was a good load of pain. “Hiding? That's what I do. If J didn't like my methods,
then he should have chosen someone else.”
“Don't you dare question Dr. J!”
“You're the one questioning him,” Duo said with a negligent shrug.
“Dammit.” The man was trembling in his anger. Duo was in serious danger, he could
tell that much. But he had no ability to harm this man. If he did... “You useless bastard. You'd better do something
before the day is out, or else I'll do more than threaten.”
Duo didn't doubt the man's sincerity. But when the man calmed down enough, would he still want
to attack Duo, or would he go after Heero? Either way, he couldn't mention it. It would prove his concern for Heero, and that
would show far too much vulnerability. “Yeah, yeah. Then stop interrupting me.” And he turned back to his computer.
“There!” Quatre pointed to the right, around the corner from where Trowa idled on
the lonely road. Trowa didn't hesitate to pull around the corner.
“Where?” he asked simply. Only then did he let go of Quatre's hand, and he seemed
surprised to feel the cold of the air against the skin. He cleared his throat. “Well?”
“Umm...” The flash of fear in Duo's heart had dissipated, caught under tight control
once again. But it wasn't completely gone. It was what Quatre had felt off and on all day, what seemed to be the most dominant
feeling. Did Duo know he was in serious danger from whoever was watching him? Did he expect an attack? Had the man confronted
him? “The left, I think. That building.”
“The one with no door?” Trowa asked, carefully driving past the building.
“That's right.” Going right past it, Quatre could Feel it, stronger than ever. “He's
definitely in there. And something just happened.”
“Is he hurt?”
How, Quatre wondered, could this man not be afraid or disturbed or annoyed by his words? How
could he believe what Quatre was telling him? “No, I don't think so,” he said in answer to Trowa's question. “It
seems the danger's blown over, at least for now.”
“Good. Then we'll park a block away and move in.”
Quatre nodded. “But what if... what if he had a good reason for leaving us?”
Trowa snorted slightly, never taking his eyes off the road. “You mean <i>besides</i>
the fact that he's a wanted man?”
Quatre nodded. “Yes. There's something odd going on...” He bit his lip. Would it
be repugnant to Trowa, all this talk that seemed so ridiculous? “I can't say what, though. It doesn't make any sense.”
Trowa nodded. “All right, then.”
Quatre cast a troubled glance on Trowa. Was he disgusted? Horrified? Or was it different –
did he find Quatre practically insane? He couldn't tell. Trowa's emotions never changed. It was as if they were discussing
the weather. It was odd. With this man, Quatre couldn't always tell what he was feeling. It was a disturbing change.
Trowa pulled over to the side, and only then did Quatre realize they'd reached the end of the
block. He unbuckled his seat belt and began to open his door.
“Check your gun.”
Quatre turned to Trowa, still sitting, seatbelt also unbuckled, double-checking his pistol.
Trowa's hair blocked Quatre's full view of the man's face, but still he could see the lean shape
of his cheeks, the tilt of his eye, and he felt his heart thump in response. He sighed. “You're right.” He pulled
out his gun and carefully checked the cartridge.
Duo was deadly aware of the man's presence at his back. It made his shoulders itch; it made
his spine stiffen. Still, as long as the man remained behind him...
“The sun is setting,” the man told him.
“That's nice,” he responded
“You only have a few more hours before time's up.”
Duo considered ignoring him, but the danger of it was too high. “Yeah, yeah, I know. I
still have a couple more things to find, then I'll give them another little message.” He grinned widely. “I wonder
how they'll react this time?” A short chuckle, then, “Heero'll be pissed again, I'm sure. That guy's too easy.”
Duo felt another change. He realized a second too late just what he'd said. “You'd better
hurry if you want to be able to speak to that man again.”
He gritted his teeth. “Why does everything think I'm fucking <i>gay</i>?”
he demanded, letting his frustration fall free. It was an undoubted fact that he <i>was</i> gay, but that <i>didn't</i>
mean he – that absolute jackass, Heero – was a guy he liked. There was no way.
Yeah. That wasn't a lie.
“I don't care. All I know is that killing that man is-”
Duo whirled, eyes already popping wide as they caught sight of Quatre, crawling in from one
of the holes in the corner.
The man did the last thing but freeze; he pulled out his gun and turned on Quatre.
Quatre acted quickly, firing first, striking his hand. The man's gun flew off, hitting the wall.
A ricochet shot just barely missed Duo's arm. A loud crash and crackling told Duo his computer took the bullet. He cringed.
“Bastard!” The man jumped forward to attack Quatre before he could fully pull himself
up from the ground.
“Don't even think about it!” Duo leaped, as well, and grabbed the man underneath
his shoulders. With all his strength, he wrenched the man back.
“Duo!” Quatre cried out. His hand froze on the trigger.
Footsteps came up from behind him. He turned his head, arms trembling in the effort of holding
the man back, to see Trowa coming towards him. Trowa grabbed the man from Duo and pushed him down to the ground.
“What the hell-” Trowa pushed the man's face down, pulled his hands back and handcuffed
his wrists. “What are you two doing here?!” Duo looked at the man struggling beneath Trowa's grip and blanched.
He <i>couldn't</i> be the only one of the group. When they found out what had happened here... “Idiots!”
He rounded on Trowa, clenched his fists to his sides. “Let the man go!”
Trowa gave him a sardonic look. “You're the one who grabbed the man,” he pointed
“Because he was attacking...!” Duo waved that away. “Let him go <i>now</i>.”
“Duo.” Quatre pulled himself up to stand before Duo. “You have to come with
us. We need your help.”
“I'm already giving you my help,” Duo hissed. “Rotting in a cell won't do
“This place isn't much different than a cell,” Trowa noted.
“That's not the point!” Duo turned to Quatre. “Leave. Both of you. Now.”
Trowa hauled Duo's stalker up into a standing position. “Not going to happen.”
The man laughed. “Too late, Maxwell!” the man chortled, glaring straight into Duo's
horrified eyes. He held up a small black box. “I've already sent the orders. It's too late. He'll be dead within the
hour.” And he tilted his head back and laughed.