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Chapter Thirteen: Hit The Floor
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Fangs of the Wolf
Chapter Thirteen
Hit The Floor

Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is not mine. Duh.


The forest reminded him of the streets back in his childhood. The slippery feel of shadows as they merged into the night; the feel of the itch between his shoulder blades, the one everyone wrote of but never explained. Probably because they'd never felt it before. The itch that wasn't an itch; a feeling that came upon you, one of danger, one that forced you to tense your back straight as a bow and peer around with more than just your eyes. Like the itch was expanding your ability to touch into the very air and you could feel when someone came near your perimeter.

But he'd felt it before, and the feeling somehow led him into a crouch before he was consciously aware of the change in stance. He used the trees to hide him, to guide him. When he found a fallen log, he ducked down behind it and just listened.

The forest's employees were changing shifts; he could hear the flutter of wings above him, the soft coo of a bird as it feel into sleep. The rustling of leaves as a soft wind flittered through the forest. Like the sound of paper flying through an alley, a sound wholly different from that of someone stepping on them. These were safe sounds.

But the feel of the gun in his hand and the pain blossoming up and down his back and chest said differently.

He remembered vividly the feel of the car bucking out of Barton's control, then the painful squeeze of the seatbelt as it gripped him tight, taking away his breath. And then the actual crash and the feel of glass hitting his back as the back window broke into a million pieces.

He thought he might still have a few pieces stuck in there, but they weren't bothering him too much and they could be dealt with later.

Too bad, he thought, that the cell phone had busted into a million pieces, too.

Ah, well.

He picked himself up from behind the log and continued on, circling around, making sure not to leave the edge too much. Though he'd be able to find his way back, there was no guarantee that the killer wouldn't be able to slip around him and take out Barton and Winner.

So he ducked around a tree he'd ducked around before and slid to a stop when he heard the sound of paper – leaves – being stepped on.

Found him.

The man was almost silent, almost perfect. But to a street rat his footsteps were loud as thunder. Duo breathed as shallowly as he could and slipped a peek around the tree.

It was dark, dark as pitch, the moon hidden by the leaves above. But Duo could still make out the man's outline, hidden carefully behind his own tree. So the killer knew he was being pursued.

The man sneaked a peak as well, and Duo quietly slid back behind the tree and waited. The man slipped out from behind his tree to move forward – forward and to the right.

Duo slid out from his hidden perch, aimed, and fired.

The man cried out softly. Duo ducked behind his tree again just as the man returned fire. Fuck. His lousy shot had only hit the man, not killed him.

Of course, he'd never actually killed a man before... ah well. First time for everything, right? And this was self-defense. Even Yuy couldn't hate him for this one.


He skirted around the tree and hid himself back down behind the fallen log. It was a bit easier to hear the man, but he didn't seem to want to hide as much anymore. Duo could hear the man's blood dripping onto the leaves. Behind him, to the right again. The man was moving, and quickly.

Duo got up and swung himself into a tree – like one would slip onto a fire escape, hiding from pursuers and taking the chance to gulp down the food they'd stolen.

Then he waited.


The holes in the desks were growing to the sizes of baseballs, and thus was their cover literally being blown.

Heero used one of the holes to shoot down another MK carrier and snarled. It was why he'd been given his name Wolf, that snarl, it and his tenacious continuance until every single enemy was taken care of. A couple men cheered as Heero's quarry fell, and someone else took down another.

Wufei had switched to the back to help with the few that managed to make it behind SWAT, and a couple little cheers went up back there, too.

Heero gritted his teeth as he turned around and reloaded. How could he possibly cheer? Policemen were falling because he'd been targeted, and Barton's and Winner's status couldn't be verified.

And because of that, Duo Maxwell was in serious danger. If not already...

He jammed the clip in and twisted back to the small crowd. No, he wouldn't think about that. He would only concentrate on these men right here. And he would make sure they paid.

When he emptied this clip, only two more enemies continued standing before him.

They had vests on.

They'd already taken a couple hits, and they'd winced, but these two were a bit different than the fodder who'd fallen before them. Both had taken a desk in the front and used them as shield, getting to them via human shields. Heero couldn't get them; the two merely pushed out their weapons, let off an entire clip, and then hid again as they reloaded.

“Cover me,” Heero hissed, and leaped over the little wall they'd made for themselves. And then the Wolf ran.

Others shot at those hiding themselves in front, but they couldn't stop those behind him from seeing his little dash. They shot at him, loud bangs of noise that followed Heero's movements, that alerted those he was targeting to his presence. But he'd already jumped over one of the desks before they could react.

With one shot, the man hiding behind the desk was dead. He twirled as he landed, aiming for the second. They'd managed to get their clip in and aimed for him. Heero's eyes narrowed – prey. His prey was right before him, showing its talons to try to scare him away.

Both shot at the same time.


Duo's legs were getting cramped.

The man was twittering back and forth, checking practically under every rock to find him. If it weren't for the danger of being heard, he would make himself a bit more comfortable. At this rate his legs were going to freeze up.

But just as he had that thought, he heard a soft change in the wind to his left and grinned ferally. Finally.

He slipped in, just a shadow in shadows. There was no visible sign of his injuries, and the sound of dripping had stopped a while ago. He'd probably fixed himself up a bit. But the man was looking around the trees, his gun pointed carefully in front of him, cop-style, and he was in range.

Carefully Duo aimed his own borrowed firearm, feeling its weight with a sort of acceptance he hadn't had last time, and pulled the trigger.

And he jerked his hand back as he recognized Lieutenant Carlton.

His shot fired wild, missing its mark. Fuck! This man was actually working for J?

He snarled. He should've seen it – if there'd been a paper trail, he would have. Fuck. Fuck.

The man turned, gun pointed, and he, unlike Duo, didn't hesitate in the slightest.


Heero hissed and touched the small wound on his hip. The bastard had clipped him.”Two perps down,” he called, and received a couple whoops for his efforts.

It sounded like it was getting to the clean-up stage, with only a couple more gunshots before Wufei and another both called out, “all clear.”

Heero quickly made his way back to their make-shift fortress just in case. He arrived in time to see O'Hara speaking into his two-way and asking SWAT how things looked from the outside.

“All clear,” someone responded, then, “you're gonna have some cleaning to do, boys. Looks like your station's seen better days.”

“Thanks,” O'Hara said dryly. A couple of men called all cars and informed them that it was once again safe to return. Others turned to the injured.

“Three down, two KIA,” a man reported grimly. “Five more aren't in any serious danger, but...”

Heero sighed. “Call 911. I'm getting in touch with Treize. Wufei, try to contact Barton and Winner.”

“Roger that.” Wufei pulled out his phone and proceeded to make the call. Heero did the same.

It was of absolutely no surprise to him when Treize answered in a temper. “Yuy, just what the hell-”

J,” Heero interrupted, putting two fingers to his temple. Was it just him, or was he getting a headache now, when the gunshots were silent? “has had someone following Shinigami.”

“I know that,” Treize snapped, but Heero cut in again before the man could start a rant.

“The man was using my personal health as leverage over Shinigami.”

Treize petered out for a moment before noting – much more calmly – that, “that doesn't make much sense.”

“Apparently Shinigami felt some sort of...” Heero couldn't fucking believe he was blushing. “Some sort of obligation as to my welfare, I can only presume. He agreed to the demands of J's men in order to keep this from happening. But when we apprehended him...”

Treize made a small 'ah' sound. “What is your status? Chang's?”

Heero heard a little bit more concern in there than what a Chief of Department should be feeling for his subordinates. “I'm fine, just a small injury to the left leg, a clip. Chang, status.”

Wufei scowled as he hung up his phone call and tried a different one. “I'm fine,” he snapped, and punched in the numbers with a little bit too much force.

“Wufei,” Heero warned.

Fine,” he said, this time turning his eyes to Heero to pierce him. “I didn't get hit. And you wouldn't have, either, if you hadn't gone all kamikaze on us.”

“What did he say?” Treize demanded, an insistent buzz in his ears. Wufei turned away from him and began talking rapidly. He'd obviously gotten in touch with someone. Heero sighed in relief. Maybe Duo was okay...?

“He said he's uninjured,” Heero told the man. “We have eight who are, and three severely; two died.”

He looked over and saw those two being covered by jackets; he grimaced, easily recognizing them both.”

Treize blew out a breath. “Names?”

“Walter Lewis and Stephen Henly,” Heero answered.

“I see. I will speak to their families.”

“So will I.” He rubbed his temple and wished rather oddly for an aspirin. “I was the cause of this, after all.”

“Understood. But for now, get things in order. I'm coming down.”

When Heero didn't protest Treize's oncoming arrival, the man hung up.

He only allowed himself a mental curse as he hung up. He turned his attention to Wufei.

“Where is he now?” Wufei asked, speaking into his phone. The Chinese man was standing tensely, his hand tightly gripping his cell. Whatever relief Heero'd felt was gone again. Had Duo been the one to run away? He'd assumed it was the perp they'd caught. Had Duo made a break for it?

“Winner? Winner, what is it? Winner!”

Duo's hurt!” Heero heard from over the line, and suddenly he couldn't breathe.


It was instinct that had him moving, instinct and nothing else.

A pain ripped through his head as he moved, grabbing the branch he sat on with his left hand and flipping backwards, away from Carlton, and curved his back, until his hand and legs stayed on the tree and his torso twisted toward Carlton and the man's face was only a foot or two from Duo's reach and he couldn't possibly miss.

Blood splattered all over him when he pulled the trigger one last time.

Carlton fell to the ground in a bloody, gooey, unrecognizable heap.

Duo let himself fall to the ground, let his injured back smack into the ground, then just rolled over and heaved.

How... sick.

Then he was moving again, ignoring the fucking ocean of blood that was forming around the man's body and took his gun and badge, thinking only of the blood all over his hands after he was finished his little task.

Okay, so maybe killing someone wasn't something he could blow off.

He made his fairly slow progress back to Quatre... Winner... and Barton. It was a bit lighter when he managed to get out of the forest, and he was stopped by the sight before him. An ambulance was there, lights flashing, blinding him. And Quatre was following a stretcher worriedly as it was loaded in. And there were cop cars.

He had half a mind to go back inside the forest.

But Quatre seemed to sense his presence – an odd ability, and one Duo hadn't believed until Quatre had made that comment about Duo having no ill intentions – and turned to him. The boy looked freaking torn for a moment, but he spoke quickly to one of the medics on the ambulance and then hopped down, jogging up to him.

“Duo!” the blond called, and he just sighed and stepped out form the final little cover of trees. He felt like he was walking to a stake. With wood already lit underneath.

The feeling only got stronger when one of the cop cars' doors opened and – fucking hell – Heero and Wufei stepped out.

Maybe he could claim some sort of horrible head trauma?

But Quatre was already standing in front of him worriedly, and Duo belatedly remembered all the blood on him and felt nauseous again. And Wufei and Heero were jogging over to him, hopping deftly over the railing just as Quatre and he himself had, and then they were right there in front of him.

“Quatre said you were hurt,” Heero said without preamble.

Duo just shrugged. “I took a hit or two.” He tosses the bloody badge and gun at Heero, who caught the things more on instinct than anything else. “That, by the way, is why you shouldn't trust cops.”

Heero swiped the blood off the ID and hissed. His eyes widened before snapping up to Duo again. Wufei leaned over his shoulder and gasped. Wordlessly Heero handed the badge and ID to Quatre, who made a small, distressed little noise.

“So how'd you guys get here? I thought you were busy fighting for your lives.” He was glad, however, to see the both of them unharmed. Although Yuy definitely had a small wound, it was bandaged and looked to be nothing of great import.

“We had been.”

Wufei stepped forward. “Maxwell, did you...” His eyes slipped to the ID.

“I had no choice,” he said firmly. “It was either him or me, and I didn't exactly want to die just then.” He held out his hands. “You gonna take me in, officers?”

Heero freaking snarled. It was almost funny. “Yes, though I'm certain this charge against you will be dropped under the circumstances, even if it was a cop. But you're still a criminal, Shinigami.”

Vigilante,” Duo corrected. “And you ain't got dick on that, and you know it. Though I could show you my records, if I wanted to.”

Quatre dropped his hand limply to his side. Off in the distance, the ambulance wailed its way down the street. “Carlton's dead.” The little guy sounded a bit shocked.

“Yeah,” Duo confirmed, pushing from his mind the picture of the man's distorted face and the glops of brain matter that formed little islands in the ocean of blood. “How's Barton?”

“They say he'd going to be all right,” Quatre said, but his voice was getting quieter and quieter.

“Hey, is there another ambulance around?” Duo asked, looking around. Quatre – Winner, it was Winner, he was keeping his fucking distance, wasn't he? – wasn't looking too good.

“Sergeant!” a man called. Winner turned and looked vaguely behind him. “The second ambulance is about five minutes away. Who's it picking up?”

Winner looked at Duo, but Duo was already pointing at Quatre. “It's taking him!” he shouted. “I'll be hitching a ride with the happy two-some.”

Wufei just blinked as the man said “okay” and left, but Heero glared at him. “The hell you are! We have work to do-”

“And helping those in need was the oath you swore when you decided to become a copperhead,” Duo interjected, dancing around them to look into Winner's eyes. “Hey, we're going over that way now, okay?” he pointed behind them. “We're gonna sit on the railing and wait for the ambulance. Okay?”

“You're in pain,” Quatre said softly.

Duo sighed, both because of what Quatre said and because, dammit, somehow the little guy had wormed his way to the point where Duo just had to refer to him by name. Dammit. “Just a little,” he said, knowing better than to deny it. “I got some glass on me, from the crash. And I got clipped. But that's all, I swear. No other injuries. Now come on.”

He led the kid as a shepherd would a lost sheep and carefully got him settled on the railing. It was a bit precarious; the kid looked about ready to keel over.

They were silent, even Mr. Glares-A-Lot, apparently taking Quatre's state into consideration. Or maybe thinking hard. Or maybe they were in shock, too? Maybe none of them should be driving.

After a couple of minutes, Wufei stood and went off to the side for a few minutes, flipping open his phone. When he came back and whispered something to Heero, the ambulance arrived. Wufei helped Duo get Quatre standing.

Are you all right?” Wufei murmured. It took a moment for Duo to realize the man was talking to him.

“Yeah; I already said the injuries I got.”

“I mean... about killing him.”

Quatre was safely on a stretcher, so Duo was able to gape at Wufei unhindered. “Uh, you're talking to Shinigami. Who says I don't just go around sticking babies on spikes or something?”

Wufei snorted. “Nice try, Maxwell.” And was that voice teasing? “I highly doubt you've ever killed anyone before.”

The medics closed up the ambulance and turned on its sirens. Duo didn't even flinch at the sound. “No, I haven't. And I haven't sold out legitimate businesses, either. Though I don't see why you'd believe me.”

“Neither do I.” But it didn't sound like the man was condemning him, either.

Heero walked up to them. “Let's go. We have to get Shinigami to the hospital and get back to work.” The man glared at Duo. “Get moving.” And he moved gracefully over to his car.

Duo gaped. Heero Yuy wasn't going to clap him in irons and trudge him off?

Wufei gently clasped his shoulder. “Let's get going.”

The man led him forward toward the car, and Duo was left with a strange feeling. A feeling of confusion and triumph over his luck and... and what he thought suspiciously felt like hope.

Were he and Wufei... friends? Was Quatre Raberba Winner becoming a friend? Did Heero Yuy not want to see him suffer in eternal torment?

Maybe he'd fallen into shock, too, by the time they got into the car – Duo in the back behind the little metal cage, oh ha ha – and drove off.


Ah, another chapter of this. This one came out pretty easily, which probably means that the next one's gonna be a pain. *sigh*

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