Disclaimer: I don't own any part of GW nor it's characters, nor do I profit from it other than having hours of dreaming up stories to share.

Warnings: angst

The End's Beginning - Part 1
Duo's Friendship Arc 21
by Dyna Dee

It wasn't the sound of the door opening that caused Heero to turn from his laptop and the homework assignment he had been working on for the last hour, it was the resounding slam of the door that was rendered quite forcibly by his friend and roomate. Duo didn't even glance at him, but mumbled something unintelligible as he shuffled despondently over to his bed, un-slung his black backpack from off his shoulder, and tossed it unceremoniously onto the bottom of his bed. He then dramatically threw his entire body onto the mattress, clutching his pillow with both arms to his head and chest. It was obvious that Duo was having yet another bad day. And to top that off, it was Wednesday, meaning that he'd been to the expensive shrink the government was paying to help put the teenage patriot/terrorists' minds back to rights.

"You alright?" he asked with concern to his unmoving friend on the bed.

"Leave me alone," came the petulant reply.

The boy who'd remained unnamed to the world to this point, but hailed by the majority of the population and news services as the "Bravest Man Alive", and the "The Gundam Pilot Who Saved the World", hesitated for a moment before he cautiously asked the question he deemed necessary. "Have you been taking your medication?"

"Go to hell, Heero," was his angry answer a moment before the American lifted his head, removed the pillow from underneath it, and then forcefully brought it over his head and covered it completely, signaling the end of the limited conversation. The Japanese boy frowned as he watched Duo for a moment longer, then silently sighed and turned back to his history assignment.

His fingers paused on the keyboard as his mind reflected that it was now two very long months since the battle with OZ and White Fang had ended, and the New World Government was still in the process of being formed. His thoughts went back to the end of the war and marking the beginning of their current lives. The five Gundams touched down on Earth after the battle near Treize's former compound in Luxembourg shortly after the portion of Libra had been destroyed and they were being hailed by the media and politicians as the champions of Earth and of the Space Colonies. The four pilots followed with deep concern after the Sandrock pilot as he was whisked off by an ambulance to a hospital for his wounds gained on the Libra.

Hours after Quatre's surgery, and as they stood in the blond pilot's hospital room, the five teen pilots found themselves surrounded by government officials and, in front of most of the Maguanacs, they were officially placed into protective custody. Une and those in temporary authority for the new government that were present in the room were quick to assure the pilots that they were not being incarcerated, but because they were juveniles who also happened to be soldiers with crimes against Earth, and with the government still greatly fractioned, they needed time to decide on what to do with five boy terrorists who just happened to have saved the Earth and the millions of people on it.

Heero stood in front of the other four in a pose of protectiveness. He had been their leader in so many ways, and now with a quick eye exchange and in a silent agreement, they turned to him to make the decision that would affect their very lives. His eyes paused on Quatre, their strategist, laying in the hospital looking young, small and pale, who gave him a slight nod of his head. Heero nodded gravely in return and turned to face those hovering, waiting for their response. He then gave his word that they would comply and he would not attempt an escape until a decision was made. The others signaled their agreement, though a bit more on the reluctant side.

Within days the pilots were sequestered in Saudi Arabia at the large Winner Estate in the western metropolis of Jiddah, which sat on the shores of the Red Sea. They were promptly asked to subject themselves to medical and psychological evaluations of which none of the pilots had been pleased about. All but one pilot grudgingly submitted to the requested exams and tests, and sitting at his desk and thinking about those tense days, now two months past, Heero's hands went still on his keyboard as his mind went back to that fateful day when things began to change for Duo.

It had been their third day at the estate, and all the pilots were on edge emotionally and physically as a decision regarding their fate hung in the air like the dark, heavy and moist fog that blanketed the seaside city for the previous two days. Duo had adamantly refused to see the doctors, stating he had his reasons. They all knew he didn't trust them, though no one really understood why, and no amount of persuading, bribing, or badgering seemed to have any effect on the long-haired boy. Duo responded to their attempts to lure him into the study, deemed the exam room, by doing what he did best; he ran and hid from them. Knowing he wouldn't leave the estate, he'd given his word after all, it still took the other four pilots a day and a half to find their elusive friend who had carefully hidden himself away on the sprawling estate situated on the outskirts of the large city. In the end, it was his healthy appetite and lack of food that tripped him up.

At the back of the compound was a cold-storage house where much of the household food was stored, and it was there that a trap was laid for the American. It was early in the hot afternoon when he finally was driven out of his hiding place by his hunger. Clinging to the edges of the buildings to approach the door to the storage house, Duo hid within the shadows and bushes as much as possible. He watched earlier as a maid from the main house had entered the small building and came out with a large armful of food for the next meal's preparation. The door was unlocked, as was much of the Winner household in a display of trust in their employees and guests. Duo slipped into the dark, cool, air conditioned storage room with a grin of triumph on his face as he reached back and let his hand search the wall for a light switch to the right of the door. He found it and flipped it on, leaving his eyes struggling to adjust from the dark to the light. It was then that he was tackled. Unbeknownst to him, Heero had been laying in wait for such a moment.

The boy termed the perfect soldier had originally thought that catching Duo off-guard was the best plan for capture. However, he found himself quite surprised at having his hands full as he struggled to hold down his friend's furiously un-cooperating body until the other three jumped in to help him.

"Calm down, Duo. We're not going to hurt you." Trowa spoke calmly, trying to ease the mind of the struggling and panicked boy beneath their hands. In the end, it took all four of them to lift and carry their loudly protesting and thrashing friend, howling curses and threats as they entered the main house where they immediately went to the study, where the doctors had examined the rest of them.

While Rashid called the doctors with news that the elusive teen was being held for the examination, the four boys tried to reason with the still fuming and protesting pilot.

By the time Sally and her associate entered the den, they found Duo Maxwell stripped down to his boxers and socks and tied firmly down into a chair in the middle of the room.....gagged. His eyes, though, spoke volumes. He glared balefully at the two newcomers as they entered the room, his thin chest heaving with a mixture of anger, anxiety and exhaustion. The other four teens sat sprawled out in chairs or on the floor also breathing heavily as if they'd been in a taxing battle.

Sally looked to the four. "Is this really necessary?" she asked, obviously disapproving as she nodded toward the bound and gagged boy, still glaring daggers at her.




"Hai." All four answered simultaneously.

Sally frowned and approached the obviously angry boy before her. "Now Duo," she began, her voice soft and gently chastising. "You know we're not going to hurt you. There's no need for this...antagonism because you have to have a checkup."

The blue/violet eyes narrowed and an invisible aura of danger seemed to emanate from him. He then attempted to reply through the gag, and though the words were muffled, the meaning of his garbled language was clear, causing Sally to blush.

Heero stood from his chair behind the captive boy's position and approached his bound friend. With a quick movement of his hand, he slapped the back of the braided head in a reprimand. "Behave," he ordered in a gruff commanding voice.

Duo turned his head and with fiercely angry eyes glared at his friend.

"It's not Sally's fault." Heero went on to explain to him, their eyes locking. "She's only doing her job. Let her."

It took several minutes, but eventually the American relaxed his glare and looked forward, his eyes to the floor and his shoulders slumped a fraction in defeat. The other pilots in the room sighed with relief as they recognized his acquiescence.

"Do what you can with him still tied down." Heero suggested to the doctor they had relied on and grown to trust during the war.

"Can we at least get rid of the gag?" she asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Can we, Duo?" Heero peered over his friend's shoulder to look at him. He braided teen slowly nodded.

The Wing pilot then began to untie the knotted curtain sash from around his friend's head. Some of the boy's long hair had gotten tangled in the knot and he grunted and winced in pain several times as his hair was pulled in the process of untying it. When the gag was finally removed, his only vocal complaint was, "Dammit Heero, that hurt!"

Sally set to work, opening her black bag, she reached in and removed her instruments. Carefully, but with practiced ease, she attached several probes to the boy's thin but muscled chest, then attached the wires to a hand held sensor reader that relayed the boy's vitals. She spoke the results to her companion, who entered the information into his hand held computer.

Duo, for his part, obediently followed her request to tilt his head, take a deep breath, cough, open his mouth, lookup, down., etc. His legs were untied as she checked his reflexes. As the braided boy seemed to be cooperating, she requested the ropes that held his arms and torso to the chair be removed.

"Take the blood samples first." Heero replied knowingly.

Duo's eyes widened. "No way!" he exclaimed with a bit of panic in his voice.

"I'm afraid it's necessary, Duo, to ascertain if you're healthy." Sally said calmly but was clearly startled by the boy's reaction.

The Deathscythe pilot began to struggle against the ropes that held his forearms securely against the arms of the chair. "No, I don't give my permission. You can't do it without my permission, can you?" Panic edged his voice and filled his eyes.

"Calm down Duo." Quatre approached with the intention to soothe his comrade. "We've all had the tests. Sally just puts in one needle and takes several vials of blood for testing. It doesn't hurt, I promise."

"I... don't... care," Duo lashed out still struggling to free himself from his restraints. "I don't want it done."

The argument went on for several minutes with the others joining in before Heero took over. "Enough!" he shouted, startling everyone present. "Sally, does he really need to have this done?" He looked to the patient but slightly flustered woman with her long braids falling casually over her shoulders and a small kit in her hands that she used for the drawing of blood.

"Yes, it's absolutely necessary. And, Duo?" The braided boy looked up with a face full of loathing to meet her eyes. "Because of your age and the fact that you are now a ward of the Sanq Kingdom, as are all of you, your permission isn't required." She detected the shocked look on the boy's face and continued to explain. "A full physical was requested by the temporary government, and permission was granted for tests to be taken to determine the state of your physical and mental health. I don't need your permission, but I would like your cooperation. Everything will go much more smoothly if you would choose to cooperate."

"When hell freezes over," he snarled, earning him another slap on the head from the his best friend.

"Watch your language." Heero warned.

"I hate you... all of you." Duo ground out as he furiously wrested his arms against his bonds.

"Duo." Sally knelt down on her knees to look into the panicked eyes. "You've had shots before, why does this bother you so much?"

"I only got shots when I was incapacitated," he replied darkly.

"I promise, it doesn't feel like more than a pinch." After a moment of seeing the boy not placated, she sighed and opened the small kit. She took out the long piece of rubber and quickly tied it around Duo's arm above his elbow, then with two fingers found the vein she needed in the bend of his elbow. She could feel Duo's piercing eyes on her as she pulled out the extracting syringe and took the protective cap off the top. That movement triggered something within the boy from L-2 that caused him to panic further, for it was then that Duo suddenly moved, throwing his chair forcefully to the side and knocking it down, along with his body trapped in it, in an obvious attempt to break the wooden chair to gain his freedom. Unfortunately for him, the Winner family only bought the best quality of furniture, so a slight creak of the solid wood was his only reward. The other pilots jumped at the movement and quickly approached the chair only to have Heero wave them back as he reached down for the still secured, but frantically struggling boy.

"Maxwell, you big baby. Hold still," Wufei ordered, having reached the limit of his patience with his American friend.

"Go to hell, Wufei," Duo shouted back, ignoring all of their pleas and orders to calm down, he continued to struggle against his bonds, kick at them with his free legs, and swear profusely at them. With a huff, the Chinese boy leaned forward and pinched the area of Duo's neck that momentarily restricted the blood flow to his brain, causing the boy in the fallen chair to stiffen slightly before his eyes closed and he slumped into unconsciousness.

"Was that absolutely necessary?" Sally demanded of him. "I thought you guys liked each other," she said as she felt the inside of Duo's arm once again for a good vein. Finding it, she slid the needle under his skin and into it , then attached the vial to the open end. Releasing the elastic band still affixed to the relaxed arm, she nodded in satisfaction as the unconscious teen's blood flowed easily into the clear vial.

"We like each other just fine," Heero answered for them all. "But Duo does have a tendency to...." He paused to pick the correct word.

Wufei supplied his version of the word Heero was seeking. "Over react," he said looking down on the process of taking Duo's blood.

"Be emotional." Quatre added quietly.

"Throw temper tantrums." Trowa supplied yet another descriptive word.

Heero shut his mouth at his friends' descriptions and nodded his agreement at their assessment.

"How long will he be out?" Sally asked, looking to Wufei.

"About five minutes, that is if he doesn't fall into a regular pattern of sleep. I'd finish your exam before then as he'll be ripping mad when he comes to," he warned with a frown, just now thinking about the consequences of their actions towards the human Tasmanian Devil.

on to part 2

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