Ninmu shippai (Mission Failure)
"Quatre!" Heero radioed with an overriding emergency signal attached to the message.
"Heero! What's the emergency?" Trowa's face appeared within moments. Though nearly expressionless, his eyes
told Heero the Heavyarms pilot was deeply distressed. "Quatre passed-out a few minutes ago, screaming in pain.
Who's hurt? You?"
"No, it's Duo." Heero was filled with warring emotions most of them guilt and fear.
"What's happened to him?" Trowa knew it had to be bad if it had caused his lover to lose consciousness; the
uchuu no kokoro, a strange psychic connection between Quatre and the other pilots, puzzled him but he knew it
took a great deal for such a radical reaction. I assume he's with you, can you meet us at the estate? I'll have the
medics ready for you."
"I shot him, Trowa." Anguish was painted across Heero's face at the simple admission of guilt. "I had an
assassination mission, but it went wrong. Somehow Duo was there, too, but I never knew it. When I opened fire, I
failed to note he had been pushed into the firing line between myself and the target." The Wing pilot's voice was
angry yet grew cold and remote as he tried to protect his own sanity in favor of giving Duo a chance to survive the
horrible damage he'd inflicted.
"Can you make it here?" Trowa, too, remained cool even though his thoughts raced a mile an hour as to how such
a terrible mistake could have been made.
"I can, but he may not be able to." The mask was shattering, confusion and pain poured through Heero's voice
unrestrained. "He's dying, Trowa."
"Then just get here as quickly as possible." Trowa knew his friend was in agony, but there was nothing more he
could do from his current location. "We'll be ready."
"Ryoukai." The line severed, Heero searched for a way to prolong the life of the shattered person in his arms.
Placing Wing on emergency override for the greatest possible speed regardless of the fact that the machine was in
no condition for it, he set the autopilot and looked for the omnipresent first-aid kit. There was very little he could
do for the wounds except to try to slow the raging blood loss. Bandages would be relatively ineffective, but he felt
he had to try, so he did. He also found a rescue blanket which he bound the broken body in tightly. Not for the
first time, he cursed the fact that he was a different blood type than Duo, a transfusion so obviously needed yet
After doing everything he could think of for the dying youth in his arms, he simply sat back down in the pilot's
chair and held him close.
//How could I have been so blind?
They call me "Perfect Soldier", but right now I feel anything but "Perfect". I'm several thousand feet in the air,
holding my friend, my *lover*, in my arms as he probably bleeds to death and it's all my FAULT!!!//
He looked down at the precious bundle in his arms. Anger seethed within him as he recalled what had led him to
this point. A point he never expected to arrive at and would have done everything in his power to avoid if he could
have. But he couldn't.
"Duo, if you can hear me, I'm sorry." As the urgency of battle left him, he sagged forward clinging more tightly to
his lover hearing the few breaths that rattled from the body sluggish with liquid and labored from the collapsed
lung. Each breath brought forth a hideous sucking sound as well as the torn lung brought in air through the
unnatural openings. "Duo, you have got to live long enough for us to get you some help here! You've never quit
on me before, don't do it now!"
However, the blanket had hidden a dark secret from him. The breathing had slowed then stopped entirely and the
pulse had been rapidly dwindling then stopped, too.
"DUO!!!" He screamed in anguish, knowing that at that moment, and possibly forever, his lover was dead.
Falling more than leaping from the chair, he laid the body out flat against the cockpit floor and began CPR. The
blood which had continued to seep from his lover's mouth had been dashed aside during the frantic effort to
restart the braided boy's heart and lungs. It was disturbing to Heero to taste Duo's lifeblood in his mouth even as
he tried to save him. Blood could mean life or death, but right then it seemed as if Shinigami, self-proclaimed God
of Death, was not going to be able to return from his own realm. It was devastating.
Almost twelve minutes of exhausting effort showed Heero that Duo would not begin breathing again on his own,
but the pulse resumed more quickly and though weak, it held. Heero finally stopped the CPR but had to maintain
the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as it was clear the boy's lungs no longer functioned adequately.
Duo's body was shutting down more slowly than it would have without Heero's efforts, but it was shutting down
Wing came screaming into range of the Winner estate, barely slowing enough for a safe landing. Heero really didn't
Scanning the area ahead of him, he noticed a team of rescue personnel headed towards the hangar and toggled
his exterior speakers on at full volume.
"There's no time! I'm landing by the entry closest to the medical wing. He's almost dead, be prepared for us in
thirty seconds." Noticing a wave to indicate understanding, the team spun about and met him as he sprang from
the cockpit to land with crushing force on a single sneaker clad foot. It gave out beneath him and he landed heavily
on his knees refusing to allow himself to topple over onto Duo's shattered body.
Quickly, gloved hands wrested the body away from him and voices asked a dozen questions. He tried to answer
them, but the world spun about him and he collapsed face first onto the soft turf. Whether the exhaustion of
keeping breath moving into Duo's broken body had been too much for him or the pain of a now broken foot or
even the lack of sleep and food, it didn't matter. He was unconscious and remained so for hours.
Groggy, Heero fought for consciousness, yet it was elusive.
"Take it easy, Heero," Quatre murmured to him through the shifting darkness. "You're hurt."
"Nnnn... " Heero moaned, trying harder to get his eyes open.
Noticing his struggles, Quatre intervened angrily. "Damn it, I said, take it easy! You've got three broken bones in
your foot. They're set now, but don't force yourself awake yet. Duo's still in surgery. We don't know if he's going
to make it or not. Sleep now, you're going to need it."
"Duuuu.. ?" He tried to ask as awareness blurred away.
"He's nearly dead, Yuy," Wufei's voice, cold and emotionless answered him through the darkness. "They will do
everything they can, trust them. Rest now, though. Vengeance will be sought later."
Heero, slightly puzzled by the last statement, sank back into the void.
Trowa had replaced Quatre at Heero's bedside. It had been fifteen hours after the arrival of the pair at the Winner
estate, but the horrifying news Heero had to deal with would not allow them to leave him alone at this point.
"Trowa?" a quiet voice whispered from the bed where Heero lay, eyes barely slits against what seemed like overly
Setting a book aside which he wasn't really reading anyway, Trowa looked down at his friend. Seeing the pain, he
reached behind him and turned the low lights even lower allowing Heero to open his eyes somewhat. A signal was
sent to one of the surgeons to come to the room to debrief the person who had shot Duo. The quiet Heavyarms
pilot held a glass of cool water for him to drink from and, obediently, Heero did as he was bidden. The cool liquid
helped immensely, and the Wing pilot attempted to sit up forcing his body into wakefulness. Trowa, however, held
him firmly in place. "Don't move, Heero. You're not in any shape to go anywhere, save your strength."
"Duo?" The most urgent concern was gasped out in a single word.
Trowa's eyes didn't waver. "It's bad, Heero. Clinically, he died on the table four times. But we are keeping him on
artificial life support now, he came out of surgery an hour or so ago, but there's no certainty that he will ever wake
up." The Heavyarms pilot took a breath to steady himself before allowing one of the surgeons to give Heero the
full details of the damage they had faced.
"I'm told that you deserve to know the extent of the patient's injuries, they are severe." The physician took a
breath before reciting a veritable laundry list of the damages three bullets had caused. "First, his right shoulder
was virtually destroyed by the bullet that struck it. Bone fragments were lodged in the area where the shoulder
had been, but the remaining bone was insufficient to rebuild. An artificial joint was installed, whether his body will
adjust later remains to be seen, there was very little natural structure to anchor it to."
//No, he's right-handed. This can't be possible, he's saying Duo may be crippled for life?//
"Second, there was a relatively clean injury of the right lung. The bullet pierced it in two places, but the ribs that
were grazed during the bullet's passage were cleanly broken and not splintered. We repaired the two holes and
feel it should heal acceptably if given the chance."
//What does he mean, 'if given the chance'? Why wouldn't he?//
"The most life threatening injury occurred in the lower abdomen. He lost nearly one-half of his liver, but we believe
it is possible to live on what remains. He also lost his right kidney, also survivable under good conditions. What
makes this injury so dangerous is that the damage also included multiple perforations of the colon. He has what is
hoped will only be a temporary colonostomy in place, but that may have to become permanent. The contents of
the intestinal tract were free within his abdominal cavity as well as fragments of the two major organs I mentioned.
All of this additional material, as well as a large quantity of blood and other bodily fluids, was free within his
abdomen for well over two hours, an extremely dangerous situation under any circumstances."
The surgeon nodded curtly to Trowa then left. He was angry to know that the teenager he had just debriefed was
the one whose carelessness caused such great damage to another human being, especially his own friend. If the
man knew the two were lovers as well, he might have become violent he was so distressed over Duo's condition.
While a doctor was expected to remain neutral about such things, this was a dear friend of Master Quatre's who
had been hurt so badly and that incensed him.
Deep emerald-green eyes watched pained cobalt-blue eyes watching for a response. What he saw gladdened and
saddened him at the same time. Remorse filled Heero's eyes as did the single most rare liquid on Earth or in space,
Heero Yuy's tears.
The stoic warrior allowed himself to sink into the pit of despair that he had teetered near the entire time he was
aware of Duo's condition. That fact that he was responsible for it made him crave the company of high-powered
machinery of destruction as well as a reliable self-detonation mechanism. Trowa, however, found this reassuring in
the extreme. Wufei had gone so far as to postulate that perhaps he had allowed some form of jealous rage to
overtake him resulting in Duo's being shot. Then the ShenLong pilot had postulated a worse scenario, perhaps a
totally cold decision to eliminate the American had formulated in the Japanese pilot's mind as a way to eliminate a
distraction. Clearly, neither was the case.
"Heero," Trowa finally said seeing the tortured visage laying beside him not ease up. "We don't know what
happened out there. Only you do, and, frankly, we have questions."
"Hn." Heero grunted softly, wiping the tears away with a shaking hand. He refused to be embarrassed over the
rare show of emotion, but it hindered his thinking to allow it to continue. "Then get the others and ask your
questions, Trowa. I'll do my best to answer them. Is Wufei still here? He probably would rather kill me right now,
but I want him to be able to address me with his concerns. If I die without him getting a chance to get answers he
will regret it eventually, even if my death is at his hands."
"You're right, Heero," Trowa commented, standing to leave. "Wufei does indeed wish to kill you, however, he's not
the only one; Quatre as well seeks your destruction for this. I'm afraid I'm the only one willing to hear you out
completely, but let me get Quatre and him." He reached the door then looked back at his friend sadly. "Prepare
yourself, you may not wish to hear what they have to say, but better to face it now than to let the questions
"Understood and agreed." Was all he heard in response.
Thus, two angry pilots faced off against their friend along with the relatively neutral presence of the third. The
fourth had yet to regain consciousness and Heero would not have wanted him there for what was to come
"Why'd you shoot Maxwell, Yuy?" Wufei stood, arms crossed belligerently across his chest. Clearly, he'd calmed
down from whenever he'd made his earlier theories known, but he remained openly hostile and dangerous.
"Yes, Heero," Quatre added, low tones laced with an unusual venom. "Just what possessed you to try to kill Duo?"
These two, possibly even more than himself, loved the American deeply for who he was and what he brought to all
of them. Heero could barely force himself to maintain eye-contact. "Quatre, Wufei, first let me say that I did *not*
try to kill him. This was an accident, a terrible, unforgivable accident, but an accident just the same."
Lightning fast, a bronzed fist crashed into his jaw sending his head slamming back into the pillows and leaving him
"Kisama!" Wufei shouted as Trowa restrained him from further acts of violence. "You are the single best sharp
shooter that I have ever known and you expect us to believe that when you placed three rounds into his body in a
devastating attack it was an ACCIDENT?!? What kind of fools do you take us for, Yuy?!?"
"Hold it, Wufei!" Trowa commanded, holding the shorter pilot tightly. "No violence. He can't answer you if he dies
"'As well'?!?" Heero's eyes widened in alarm, sheer terror spreading like wildfire throughout his being. "Trowa, what
do you mean? No, he can't be dead! By the gods, answer me, Trowa! Is Duo dead?!?" Struggling to rise, Heero's
vision, still clouded with dots from the force of Wufei's blow, deserted him and he fell back helplessly.
"No, Heero, Duo lives. I am sorry for the deception, but I thought perhaps if they saw what I saw when you
thought him dead they would understand that things are not as they initially seemed." Trowa released Wufei who,
though not ready to forgive, was demonstrably surprised by the strength of Heero's reaction to the innuendo.
Quatre, however, forgave everything during that brief moment having felt Heero's terror through his uchuu no
kokoro and sank down to sit on the bed beside Heero. "Oh, I am so sorry for doubting you, Heero," he said as he
helped him take another drink from the water glass Trowa had left on the table nearby. "Now, tell us exactly what
happened. Why have you been out of touch for so long? Trowa said you mentioned something about Dr. J?"
Heero's face darkened at the comment regarding his mentor, thoughts regarding how wrong the mission had
seemed reawakened. He took a deep breath and answered. "I was ordered by J to avoid contact with all of you
since he claimed to have information indicating someone among us had been compromised. I now think this was
entirely fabricated on his part. I'll need more evidence, but it is possible he never meant for me to succeed with the
assassination assignment against Une."
"You haven't explained what happened, Heero," Trowa prodded.
"I was assigned to kill Une at an OZ facility. I had very little time between missions and I was experiencing sleep
deprivation. I also hadn't had much to eat, so my thoughts were not as focused as they normally would have
been. I infiltrated the location where Une was scheduled to be, but fell asleep waiting for an opportunity. When I
finally had a chance, I was half awake and was too focused on shooting the bitch the first chance I got. I failed to
notice that they had Duo prisoner and, by chance, he was thrown into my line of fire when I took aim at Une. As
you all know, I hit him three times in the torso." The cold, clinically detached voice he used for mission reports was
chilling knowing he was describing how he had nearly murdered his lover, their friend.
"At that point, I was brought back to full mental capacity when I realized who had been shot. I had a split second
to decide what to do, save Duo and forfeit the mission, or complete the mission and hope he might survive in spite
of it. I chose to fail the mission. There was only a moderate amount of chaos at that moment, but Une had
vanished, so I emptied a clip into the OZ soldiers assuring some amount of distraction, took Duo and left. The
flight here is on Wing's flight recorder, check it if you want to. His breathing and heart stopped once, but CPR
brought him back. I kept him alive until we got here. Beyond that, I have nothing more to add." So saying, the
perfect soldier slipped into silence once more.
The others took time to consider all of what had been said. While usually so quiet that his friends had to
frequently guess what was going through Heero Yuy's mind, during a mission report, he often provided extensive
details. This was how the entire scene had been presented to them allowing them the strange experience of being
on the receiving end of so much information from the typically silent pilot.
Wufei looked somewhat satisfied, yet not certain. The other two had already reached their own decisions.
"I intend to take you up on the offer to view Wing's recordings, Yuy. Including those of anything else pertinent. I
will go and view them now. However," Wufei looked ominous, "should I discover that anything you have told us is
untrue, I will personally come back and kill you myself. Duo will be avenged." He strode away, leaving Quatre to
watch him sorrowfully before he turned to Heero.
"Well, Heero, you are now living at his will, you know. I sincerely hope you have not mislead him or we may lose
both of you this day." Standing, Quatre left the room.
"That's fine, Quatre," Heero mumbled. "I rather doubt that I wish to live if Duo dies anyway."
Trowa paused, concerned. "Heero, do you think that Dr. J had anything to do with the two of you being in the
same place at the same time? As I recall, he has a relatively low opinion of Duo."
Heero snarled, an animal-like sound building in his chest. "If that is so, Trowa, then Wufei should seek vengeance
there as well if I fail to survive his anger. However," he looked his friend straight in the eye, "Trowa, if he does
come back here to kill me, let him do so. Justice must be served and someone as honorable as himself is the one
who should dispense it. Agreed?"
"Not willingly, no, Heero, but if that is your wish, then I must agree." He walked away.