Four darkly serious young men stood together in the Sydney airport, as two
"Arigatou, ryu-koi," Trowa finished his overly-formal checklist with a
fleeting kiss and a fond smile.
The HeavyArms pilot had to admit he did enjoy working with Wufei almost as
much as he enjoyed sleeping with him, a pleasure he had missed sorely
recently. His dragon never wasted words when battle loomed and they could
count on him to have everything ready for them. Within a half-hour of
touching down, the Gundam pilots were on their way to a stolen van en route
to rescuing their missing friend.
Even though Wufei had been pleased to see them all, Trowa had seen through
his casual air to overwhelming feeling of being defeated that the Chinese boy
was striving to conceal.
As he drove through the Australian heat, Trowa puzzled over what was wrong
with his beloved dragon. It might have been the rather too brief embraces
Wufei had given to himself and Quatre. Or it might have been the look of what
could only be sorrow in his eyes when Wufei looked at Duo. But most of all,
Trowa felt, it was the tale of exhaustion the dark circles under his small
lover's eyes told.
The tall pilot made a mental note to discuss matters with Quatre when this
crisis was behind them. It was past due for the two of them to care for the
one who gave so much of himself to them both as well as past due that the
blond realized he was asking too much to start with.
Quatre, too, seemed to pick up on it and glanced with worry between them as
Trowa drove and Wufei spoke reassuringly to Duo in the backseat. The Sandrock
pilot turned to the driver and asked softly, "Koi? What's wrong with Wufei?"
Trowa shook his head and cast a worried look in the rear view mirror before
answering, "I don't really know, little one. He seems understandably
concerned about the situation, but there seems to be something else wrong. I
have some ideas on what it might be, but now is not the time to discuss them."
A slight nod came back as Quatre added, "I can sense exhaustion, Trowa, but
why? Wasn't he here already?"
"No," Trowa shook his head in annoyance. "I never said he was in Australia.
He was in New Delhi when he identified which base Heero was being held at. He
may have come here straight from there, a journey that would have been
difficult at best."
"Damn," Quatre muttered darkly, worrying that Wufei would push himself too
far yet again.
The Arabian teen had not been as deeply effected as Trowa was the time Wufei
suffered from rescuing the HeavyArms pilot, but Quatre recalled how much it
had upset Trowa and that was not acceptable. The blond was not very good at
concealing the fact that he didn't value his lovers equally and while he
appreciated Wufei for many things, especially the fact that he never left him
unsatisfied sexually, his heart went to Trowa alone, a fact the taller boy
was unaware of.
One brow rose as Trowa considered Quatre's reaction. Did he actually have the
courtesy to worry over Wufei half as much as the Chinese boy worried over him
for a change? He rather doubted it, but asked simply, "What're you thinking
Large aquamarine eyes blinked guiltily as Quatre realized he had been spotted
being unfair by the observant boy beside him. He laid his head against
Trowa's shoulder apologetically and murmured, "Just worried, that's all."
"I see," Trowa said dryly then dropped a kiss on the blond head fondly. Where
Quatre seemed more than a little immature, both of his other lovers tried to
forgive him for it. In a whispered voice, Trowa added, "Try to remember to
worry for *him* this time, please," as he glanced meaningfully back at Wufei
who was still talking quietly with Duo.
"Sure, Tro," he sighed, "I just never quite know which way to turn at times.
I still find a trio harder to understand than a couple. It would be easier if
it was just the two of us."
His eyes went wide as Quatre felt the powerful shoulder muscles under his
cheek tighten and he moved to sit up quickly. He had over-stepped the bounds
severely, and Trowa was completely fed up with his selfishness.
"Damn it, Quatre," Trowa whispered in an angry hiss, "considering all Wufei
does for you, don't you *dare* turn your back on him thinking it won't matter
to me later. I care for you both, but you would *not* like my choice if it
came to choosing between you two." He paused to be certain the blond was
thinking it over before he added with a hint of warning, "Besides, aren't you
happier with the two of us than you were by yourself?"
"Of course I am!" Quatre suddenly said a bit too loudly, drawing the pair
behind him out of their conversation in time to see him staring at Trowa who
wore a carefully blank look on his face. Trying to cover his unkind thoughts
about the boy whose body he routinely sought even though he knew he was being
unfair, Quatre flashed an embarrassed grin at them all. "Um, of *course* I'm
sure we can get Heero out of whatever mess he's in! I'm just sure of it!"
Duo smiled at him, accepting the statement at face value. "Thanks, Q-man! I'm
sure we can, too!"
Wufei, however, caught the odd look that Trowa had thrown at Quatre.
The smallest pilot was no fool and he had been noticing some strange behavior
from the blond but he had hoped Trowa was unaware of it. Unfortunately, it
was now quite clear that whatever was wrong had become apparent to his angel
as well. With a sadness in his heart as he wondered what was going on between
the other two, Wufei too, smiled and added, "I'm sure we can, koi, as long as
we work together, ne?"
The endearment stung Quatre's conscience. After a split-second of insight
into Wufei's pain, he smiled a bit more genuinely saying, "Sure thing! Just
give us a chance, Duo, you'll see! Trowa, Wufei and I can get him out of
there, and you can just hang back and be ready to help Heero pull it together
"Sounds like a plan to me!" Duo grinned, Shinigami accepting a more passive
role for a change in favor of Heero being retrieved by the trio who were
certainly more healthy than he was at the moment.
Both Trowa and Wufei quietly worried what exactly had gone through Quatre's
mind. But they wouldn't find out for some time that he had finally realized
he had to start balancing his needs and what he owed them both. Trowa was
*not* leaving Wufei for him after all, and it was time to accept this fact.
Plus, in that one moment he felt Wufei's open worry, he had sensed how much
he was cared for by the small pilot and Quatre would not turn away from a
love so freely given.
An uneasy silence dropped over the van as it sped towards the hidden mobile
suit and closer to a rendezvous with destiny.
As the four teens arrived at ShenLong's concealed position, Duo was the first
to notice something odd on the horizon.
"Is that smoke?" he asked.
"Seems to be," Quatre responded. "We'd better hurry!"
"Wait!" Trowa commanded as his eyes picked out what Wufei had missed. "I
think I can see Wing from here! Standing over by the area to the west of the
They all looked and various degrees of shock shown clearly through. The giant
machine simply stood there at first, but it began to move within moments
after an unmistakable figure in black and green was seen climbing into it.
"SHIT!!!" Duo cried as he saw it start to take off on an uneven keel,
wobbling in a way that he had never seen Heero pilot it even in his worst
"Get moving!" Wufei cried, scrambling up to the cockpit and swinging into the
command chair, exhaustion forgotten in the heat of impending battle. "I'll
catch up to you!"
"Ryoukai!" Trowa responded, sending dirt flying as he gunned the engine on
the stolen van and headed for the base. As he drove, he tucked a pair of 45's
into the waistband of his jeans even though he hoped they wouldn't be needed.
Inside the confines of what remained of the OZ medical installation, it
looked like a scene from Dante's "Inferno".
The dead lay scattered about like cord wood. Broken bodies which remained
animate struggled to hold onto life for a few minutes more here and there,
before having what was left of theirs lives snuffed out from above as Heero
Yuy continued to seek revenge against the closest enemies he could find.
Still believing his lover and friends dead by Wufei's hands, the Japanese
pilot had decided to make every effort to systematically exterminate as many
OZ operatives as he could before his own inevitable death. The three
scientists who lay dead beneath the ruble of their research facility had done
their jobs a bit too well, and Heero would not accept even evidence from his
own eyes at this point in his sorrow and rage.
"I'm coming, Duo," he growled, squeezing off another round of cannon fire
into a building, obliterating it. Heero had every intention of destroying the
OZ base and then activating Wing's self-destruct system to join his lover in
death. As he was preparing to take out another row of small buildings, the
deluded pilot suddenly noticed something strange happening in the distance.
A civilian vehicle was heading straight for the base, totally disregarding
the obvious danger. Such suicidal behavior made him stop a moment before
deciding it had to be operated by OZ troops since no one else would be
foolhardy enough to come straight towards such destruction. Shaking his
thermal blade free of its position in a compartment of his blast shield, he
prepared to send the people inside it to their dooms without further thought.
But before he could strike, another object caught his eye and fury overtook
Flying towards him was the hated form of ShenLong, a Gundam his mind screamed
he had already destroyed, yet his emotions demanded that he destroy it all
With a cry of rage, Heero realized he could see Wufei's face on his vid
screen. The other pilot was desperately trying to convey something to him,
but it was lost in the haze of bloodlust and the need for revenge.
"He's gone insane!" The Chinese pilot gasped as he watched Heero's face
contort on his screen. Wufei had only seen the look Heero held now once and
that was before he had destroyed an entire platoon of OZ soldiers who had
been responsible for the torture of his lover. That same look was now
directed at him instead and it chilled him to the bottom of his soul.
"I've got to warn the others!" He exclaimed as he pushed ShenLong to catch up
to the van in the distance, the thermal glaive being readied for battle as he
On the ground, Trowa spotted the incoming Gundams rocketing towards them and
realized something was terribly wrong as both prepared for battle against
each other. Throwing his full weight into stopping the van, he ordered the
others out and away as quickly as possible.
"Everybody---OUT!!! *RUN*!!!" Trowa shouted even before the van came to a
He and Quatre ran from the vehicle heading eastward as quickly as possible.
As he ran, Trowa was praying that Wufei would be able to control the
situation with ShenLong since his own handguns had little hope of stopping a
Scrambling westward without knowing why, Duo stopped to stare at the first
evidence he had seen of his lover's continued existence. A blast of air
caught the brim of the hat he had worn for disguise allowing the chestnut
braid to fly free in the Australian heat. He automatically reached for the
hat and it skittered away as another blast of air hit him and blew the rope
of hair out like a flag.
"HEERO!!!" Waving his free arm to get his lover's attention, Duo was in the
direct path of danger when a single shot from the still shaky Wing Gundam
blew up the van as Heero focused on what he saw as an oncoming assault from
The force of the explosion blew Duo Maxwell's body nearly fifty feet to lay
crumpled in a smoldering heap. Simultaneously, Quatre screamed, sharing Duo's
brief yet intense pain and collapsed, leaving Trowa to deal with suddenly
having two men down in opposite directions.
Desperation hit the HeavyArms pilot and he moved quickly to check Duo for
life signs. They were weak and the boy was badly burned, but he was alive.
Sprinting away from the collapsed bodies on the ground, he created a safe
space before taking his life into his own hands and opening fire on Wing in
an effort to get the apparently deranged pilot's attention.
"Damn you, Heero, this is a *really* bad time to go nuts on all of us here!"
The tall pilot snarled as he ran. Trowa Barton had never had an easy life and
self-preservation was a high priority, but he knew something was terribly
wrong or Heero would never be in an attack formation at that point.
As if a beacon, the braid alone almost always told Heero who Duo was and the
American had avoided an accidental death at the hands of his lover any number
of times before thanks to it. Yet Heero had still targeted the van after Duo
had stopped to wave at him. Things were getting out of control and Trowa had
the distinct impression they were about to go from bad to worse.
Holding the barrels of both pistols aloft, he took aim on the areas of Wing
that he knew would trigger alarms within the cockpit and he prayed his gambit
of distraction would succeed.