Disclaimer: Gundam Wing isn't mine. Duh.
Instincts had Duo on the floor in an instant, and he went down eagerly. Bullets ripped through the wood and walls, and the
windows crashed to the ground. People screamed and fell, either injured or frightened out of their minds. "Everyone stay down!"
Duo shouted above the uproar. He didn't know if anyone heard him. He didn't rightly want to get up to check. There was the
sudden smell of blood, that coppery, sweet odor that somehow made his stomach roll. It brought him back to the past in a flash
– he had a wild instant in which he thought he had to escape and get to Deathscythe before the enemy found him.
He almost laughed, but the situation didn't really warrant such a response. He worried about the civilians. His instincts
were kicking in, calculating where he'd seen every person in the restaurant and from which direction he'd heard the shots
fired. How could he resolve this situation?
Then he remembered that Heero was out there, and his body tensed. Stupid, he knew - the perfect soldier, injured? Ha! - but
he reacted all the same, before his conscious brain even registered his movements. He scooted out from behind the counter,
impossible to be heard over the ripping sound of machine gun fire. Thankfully, the counter gave him protection, and he quickly
shucked the hat and the apron. Those things would make him stand out like a broken leg at a beauty pageant. Or something.
He slid across the once-smooth surface and stopped when a new round of firing erupted. Bullets sank deep into the counter
around him. He calculated the change in the enemy's stance (Gods, what was going on? Who was the enemy?) and adjusted
himself. All of this was automatic – he slid a bit more, inch by inch, until he could see around the counter.
He searched for Heero, ignoring the huddled masses of survivors and wounded, glancing abruptly over the pools of blood and
the horrifying gurgling noise emanating from an older man. He caught a flash of Heero's tousled brown hair showing behind
the soda counter. Heero's gun came around the corner and shot random bullets into the fray. The screams inside the room rose
to a startling crescendo.
Duo scooted a bit closer, trying to get over without having Mr. Perfect take him as a moving target. Though, he supposed randomly,
that would solve his employment problem.
He got close enough to see the flash of bouncy blond hair, and realized Heero was trying to usher the woman out. She was too
petrified, which seemed to be pissing Heero off. He scurried about to get in front of him, motioning to the woman to get his
attention. Her blue eyes were wide and dilated, and her skin looked really pale. Shit. Heero's witness was going into shock.
She seemed to not understand at first, but then comprehension dawned in her blank blue eyes and she shook Heero's shoulder.
He turned to her, rage eminent on his features, and something else, too. He didn't bother to try to analyze it, because she
had just pointed at him and Heero had just latched his eyes onto his.
He couldn't think.
His eyes were still the exotic blue that Duo remembered, and he found myself getting lost. Heero seemed to be having an easier
time showing emotions as well as speaking, for he saw something flicker in the depths before it closed off again.
There was so much power in Heero saying his name. And if it had come from anyone other than the Perfect Soldier, Duo would
have thought he had heard anguish in Heero's voice. But this was Mr. I-can-do-anything-because-I-said-so Yuy. Mr. Heartless.
So he was just imagining it.
"Is that you?"
His monotone voice mixed with those words confused Duo enough to get him out of his startled reverie. He nodded tersely and
scooted over beside him. Duo swore he felt the wind of a bullet as he passed.
He ignored it.
Suddenly he was back in the war, under heavy enemy fire, and he felt no fear. He was Shinigami. Just try and mess with this.
And Heero was beside him, giving orders and expecting them to just be obeyed. And, just like in the war, Duo made my thoughts
"I need to get Miss Paisley out of here," Heero told him.
Duo looked at the pale woman and then back to him. "You mean you don't want her to stay?"
Heero glared at him and continued. "She's vital to this case. I need her alive."
Duo looked at her. "He needs you alive," he told her. "That means he's concerned for your welfare."
Okay, he was babbling. He was nervous. This was the first time he had seen Heero in a year, and they were being shot at in
a Taco Bell. This wasn't exactly what he envisioned when he thought about them ever seeing one another again.
But he had gotten a reaction from the woman, which was good. They'd be having some trouble if she didn't get out of shock.
Heero realized that and refrained from shooting him. Heero then said, "I'm going to draw the enemy's fire while you take her
"Alone?!" Duo asked incredulously, and Heero took the time to send him a scorching glare, which he easily ignored. "I know
you're good, Heero, damned good, but there are probably about fifteen guy's out there!"
"By the gunshots, I'd say around sixteen," Heero confirmed, and Duo deigned to roll his eyes. Yes, from the gunshots.
He had probably heard and calculated all of their positions too, the genius.
Duo took his growing sense of awe and squashed it under his thumb. Bitchy little emotions.
"Right," he said tersely, grabbed the woman's arm and brought his lips close to her ear. "Stay low," he whispered, glancing
at the nearest exit that drew him away from the gunfire. There could be enemies back there, but they had to take the risk.
They were trapped here...
Duo almost smacked himself for his stupidity. He looked at the counter, trying to gauge how far they'd have to go before they
had the safety of the counters between them and the gunfire. It was a pretty ways, but it seemed safer than the opposite exit,
which was probably staked out.
He looked at Heero and, catching his gaze, nodded to the counter and then at Miss Paisley. Heero nodded and stood, taking
stance and opening fire once more.
Duo watched him for a moment and asked whoever may be watching to let him come out alright. Then he looked at Miss Paisley
and nodded. He crouched so that his body sheltered her own. Then they stepped forward. A few bullets came their way, but Heero
adjusted his stance a bit and shot one bullet. A strangled cry ended the man's efforts.
So, he *had* found their positions. The man was freakin' unbelievable.
And yes, he know he wasn't cursing much. Does anyone seriously think he'd still have his job here if he did?
Miss Paisley was shaking unbelievably, and he took a precious moment to try to comfort her. "It's going to be okay," he whispered,
never allowing his body to give away her stance. She couldn't be open to gunfire. "We're professionals." He didn't think it
would be good to tell her that he wasn't a Preventer, and that he was only a professional at killing people. She came to her
own conclusions, and he let her.
"You mean you were a Preventer the whole time?"
He looked at her and smiled reassuringly, not answering the question. You can't lie if you don't say anything, right?
She relaxed visibly. "You're much different than him," she said, nodding towards Heero. "Are you partners?"
"We work together sometimes," Duo said evasively, keeping her moving. The bullets were getting more and more accurate.
"Is he always so difficult?" she asked, and he stopped and gave a surprised bark of laughter.
She laughed, too, and Duo got to the edge of the counter. This, he thought to himself, is where it gets tricky.
See, Duo had to get her around the counter before himself, but he had gone before her to keep her from getting shot as they
made our way up this far. Duo timed the bullets and looked to Heero. He nodded and ducked down to replace his gun with another
All bullets were automatically focused towards Duo and Miss Paisley.
Miss Paisley tensed against the counter. "Get ready," Duo told her, hurrying his words so he could get everything out. "As
soon as... my partner comes back up, you need to go behind me over to the other side of the counter. No matter what, don't
hesitate. Do you understand?"
"What do you mean, `no matter what'?"
Duo shook his head. "For once, he's right. We need to move. I can't tell you." Just then, Heero came up. "Now! Go!"
He scooted up and she went to get behind him. The enemy saw what they were doing and ignored Heero, even ignoring him when
he took out two other men. Miss Paisley screamed. Duo really couldn't blame her. He kept his body in front of her the whole
time, and she finally got to the other side. He rushed to meet up with her, and a severe pain ripped through his arm. He ignored
it and got behind the counter.
Miss Paisley had a hand to her throat and was panting heavily. Her eyes were closed, and Duo gave himself a new minute to
study her. She seemed to be in her early twenties. Her body was flushed a deep pink and he could swear he heard her heart
hammering wildly. But, no, that was his heart. He looked at his arm and grimaced. It was in bad shape. A bullet had embedded
itself into the tricep, and blood poured rapidly, pooling onto the dirty floor.
Oh, yeah. He was supposed to have swept it. Oops.
Duo caught myself floundering and stopped. He had to get the woman to safety. That was his mission. He looked at her and shook
her slightly with his good arm – right. "Come on," Duo whispered, forcing her eyes open. "We need to move."
She nodded quickly, then halted when she saw his arm. She looked at him with anguish plain on her features. He smiled for
her. "It's my job," he reassured her, allowing himself this lie for her. "I'm fine."
She looked at him incredulously, but he hurried her off and ushered her into the cafeteria. People looked up and saw him bleeding.
Some began to get up to help while others wailed.
"Stay down," he told them. "They're still out there."
"You okay, Duo?" he heard someone ask, and saw that it had been from a girl around fifteen years old. She had been working
for a few months here now, and had taken a liking to him. Her hair was coal black and cropped to her neck. It was all matted
now, but she was a girl who wouldn't really care much about that.
Duo nodded. "Sorry about the mess I'm making," he said absently, but she just nodded.
"It's not much compared to the rest," she said, and he smiled ruefully, heading toward the exit, Miss Paisley's wrist in his
Duo pushed her behind him and slowly opened the door.
The face in front of him made him freeze.
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