Ninmu shippai (Mission Failure)
The room was now empty save for himself and Heero allowed his mind to run free once more through the hellish
landscape he lived within.
//Did J really engineer this? That bastard! Trowa's right, he has mentioned wanting to replace Duo in Deathscythe
with some new pilot, but how do I find out?//
//And what of Duo? Even if he survives, he may not even be able to fly Deathscythe any more, considering how
bad that shoulder looked.//
//But worse, he'll hate me, and I deserve it! We both will know this should never have happened. Wufei's right,
I'm a better shot than this, there's no excuse.//
//Hmph! I should save Wufei the trouble and kill myself, anyway. This is unacceptable!//
Such self-pity was bizarre in the usually self-confident pilot, but he was hurting badly.
Even in the throes of passion he had never admitted how deeply he felt for Duo to the other boy's face. How
would the American react if he survived this? While Duo had always been free with admissions of love in addition to
lust, Heero had never been able to override that aspect of his training to express himself in the same way. And
even though it had gone unspoken, he loved the "braided baka", as he called him, with every fiber of his being. But
now, it was most likely too late to set things right.
Thoughts spiraling in on him, Heero failed to notice time had passed when the other three returned with Wufei
leading the way.
"Yuy," the Chinese pilot pulled him from his thoughts. The Chinese pilot stood before him looking pleased. That
made Heero's heart rise a little assuming it meant he could stop worrying about facing Duo; after all, if Wufei
seemed happy it must be time for him to die, right? Wrong.
"You spoke the truth, yet left out some critical details." Wufei seemed relieved he wasn't going to have to make
good on his threat to kill Heero. During examining the files in Wing's database, he had recalled the incident when
Heero had intervened, saving his life from Duo when communications had been disrupted, he was glad to an
extent that he could now repay the debt.
"Really?" Heero was dazed, fully expecting death in those sloe eyes and not pity.
"Precisely how long did you maintain rescue breathing to keep Duo alive on the way here?"
"I don't know."
"Over forty-five minutes. That, performed alone for so long, would have rendered anyone else unable to fly a
Gundam much less land one and get him immediate medical assistance the way you did. Further, I reviewed what
had occurred prior to the mission and found your communication with Barton. It seems clear you honestly had no
idea Duo was there and it also appeared that you were near a state of exhaustion at the time. Simply put, you had
no business trying to execute your orders. All you are guilty of is bad judgement to have attempted the mission,
worse judgement not to have recognized your own inability to distinguish the target from anyone else, and then
your own decision to forfeit the assignment in favor of rescuing Duo. There would be no justice in your dying by
my hands this day."
So saying, clemency was granted and two others in the room sighed quietly in relief. Trowa fully intended to let
Wufei carry out whatever decision he had arrived at and had passed those instructions on to Quatre who had
hesitantly agreed to them.
"Thank you, Wufei," Heero held up a hand which Wufei shook in closing of any further disagreements. "I had no
idea it had taken that long to get back. I was rather hoping you might choose to kill me for what happened to
Duo, but if you have chosen for me to live, then it is past time that I accepted that sentence instead." He
struggled to move the heavy cast which bound his foot and lower leg.
"No, Heero," Quatre urged him to remain in bed. "You can't get up. Your foot is a mess, you'll be bedridden for
several days, I'm afraid. Give the swelling a chance to go down before you try that. If you wanted to check on
Duo, don't. He's not waking up any time soon, according to the doctors. It took a lot of blood, several of Rasid's
men came in for the transfusions he needed and there's nothing more to be done for now."
"Nothing at all?" Heero looked pained. "There is *nothing* I can do for him?"
"There is one thing, Heero," a dangerous glint entered the Arabian's eyes, "help us find out if Dr. J was
responsible. Then stay out of our way when we seek vengeance on him."
Heero growled angrily, "If this is J's doing, I will wring his scrawny neck myself!"
"Probably not possible," a new voice commented. Looking up, Heero saw Dr. G enter the room, face suffused with
anger. "Knowing that bastard, 01, he's planted a safety phrase into your subconscious mind. The minute he thinks
you are a threat to him, he will trigger it and neutralize you."
"Dr. G?!?" Heero stared in shock at the ugly man who had built the Deathscythe Gundam and sent Duo his orders.
"Yes, I believe there is some vengeance overdue for my old colleague. Let me explain."
Over the next hour or so, it became clear that J had carefully orchestrated Heero's state of exhaustion to coincide
with the mission that put Duo in danger. G, unawares of the plot against his protégé, had sent Duo into harm's
way after J had casually mentioned that an opportunity to take out Lady Une had been reported by his spies. The
man had told G he had no way of reaching Heero at the time and suggested that Duo take it. After it was
confirmed that Duo would indeed be at the installation in question, he had told his operatives to release that
information so that Duo could be captured. J had not intended for Heero to have even seen Duo alive after that
point, he had falsely assumed OZ would have either killed the young Gundam pilot or would immediately send him
back to Treize Khushrenada for questioning and eventual death.
Further, G told Heero that J had complained several times about the relationship between the Wing and
Deathscythe pilots. He felt it was distracting Heero too much and clearly interfered with the completion of mission
objectives. J had even mentioned how disappointed he felt about Heero failing to eliminate Duo when the other
pilot had been taken into OZ custody. Emotions had no place in the Perfect Soldier and if Duo had inspired them,
then his death would eliminate them. Heero was enraged.
"J's a dead man." He growled.
"Yes, my boy, indeed he is, but it can't be by your hands, I'm afraid." G looked truly regretful that it couldn't be
such perfect revenge. "Remember the safety phrase? He's undoubtedly got several, and it would be virtually
impossible for us to circumvent them. S which of your friends do you choose to send in your place?"
"All of them." The flat pronouncement startled everyone there.
G was shocked. This was decidedly overkill of the highest magnitude. "Don't you think that's an awful lot to risk,
Heero? He isn't stupid, you know and is certain to have a defensive perimeter."
"You misunderstand, doctor." Heero had an unholy gleam in his eye. "They aren't going to him, he'll come to us. I
can assure you."
The others looked distinctly interested, bloodlust in all of their eyes. "How do we do that, Heero?" Quatre asked,
eager for revenge.
"Simple. I'll call him and tell him I'm injured and that Duo's dying. He'll come to us as quickly as possible to check
on his weapons' conditions, myself and Wing, as well as to finish the job on Duo." Heero smirked evilly, "Then we
can force an admission out of him, then I would be honored if Wufei would deal with the bastard for me."
Smiling with an animalistic menace, Wufei simply responded low and lethal, "The honor would be all mine, Heero.
Consider it a mission, as it were."
Thus, the steps for revenge were in place.
He had convinced his friends as well as G, that the best way to get J to come was for him to "report in" positioned
next to Duo in the medical wing. What appeared a vaguely disguised trick to see his lover after the surgery was
actually a strategically sound approach. The only thing he wasn't prepared for was how horribly shaken he felt
seeing Duo for the first time since he had been taken from him outside the estate.
The only reason Heero had been able to make the call to J at all had been the desperate need for revenge that
magnified in his soul after seeing the braided boy laying surrounded by machinery which kept him alive, though
Eyelids sunken and deeply bruised, Duo's face held none of the charm it ordinarily held whether awake or asleep.
He was heavily bandaged and multiple catheters and Foley tubes ran into and out of his body, attempting to ease
the excess pressures within the broken organs. IV's ran into the backs of his hands bringing fluids, nutrients, and
medicines, but he remained near death. There was nothing more to do for him, though. The doctors told them
sadly that his fate would be decided by his own desire to live. Heero decided then and there that he would stay by
him and remind Duo's subconscious, if nothing else, that he was needed back in the world of the living and not
submerged in the world of the dead.
As if staging a play, attention was paid to making certain Heero's injuries, both the shattered foot as well as an
impressive bruise from where Wufei had struck him, were clearly visible. With a theatrical touch recommended by
Trowa, a bandage had been added across his forehead as well implying damage that didn't exist.
The call to J had been placed through one of Quatre's videophones after making certain it was a secure line. Doing
his best to look exhausted, not hard at the time, Heero reported to his mentor the details as planned. He went so
far as to apologize for the mission failure.
"Not a problem, lad," J had cackled. "Yes, Lady Une is still alive, but how could you have known your little lover
would get in the way? Well, nothing to be done for it now, is there?"
"Hn." Heero didn't trust himself after the insulting tone with which J referred to Duo.
"I believe I can make some time in my schedule, though, you look fairly badly injured yourself, and it sounds like
Wing is undoubtedly in need of repair. Why don't I come to Earth and check on you, hmm? Where are you again?"
"The Winner estate." Heero hoped he could disconnect soon, rage was nearly overcoming him.
"Fine, fine," J smiled maliciously. "Then tell them I'll be coming in a day or so. I've got a few things to take care of
first. Let me know if there's a change in 02's condition, won't you?"
"Ah, I knew I could count on you, Heero! See you in a day or two."
The connection broken, Heero put his fist squarely through the screen, ripping out wires, getting a relatively
strong electrical shock, and tearing the skin across his knuckles so deeply they needed stitches. Overall, he felt a
great deal better afterwards.
"The bastard's coming here, just as expected." He had said as two doctors approached cautiously, looking at the
damage to the screen as well as at the blood dripping totally ignored to the floor.
"Excellent," snarled Wufei. "Tell me Heero, would you prefer him dead or alive after we are certain that this is
indeed his doing?"
"Dead, Wufei, absolutely! Slowly, painfully *dead*!"
Wufei smiled, this was the answer he'd hoped for. "Mind if I use my sword?"
"No, Wufei, I don't mind at all." Heero returned the evil smile with one that was positively terrifying in its intensity.
"Just kill him slowly, I want to see him suffer."
"A bit sadistic, Yuy?" Wufei teased knowing he, too, shared the exact needs for revenge.
"A *lot* sadistic, Chang," Heero glanced over at the doctors nodding to them that they were safe from his anger.
They finally approached and got to work. He refused to let them send his friends from the room as over 75
sutures were needed to close the gaping skin across his knuckles. "Hell, they've each sewn me shut plenty of times
before," he'd laughed suddenly. It was the first sign he was actually coming down from the adrenaline high the
rage had sent him into.
Finally, sutures in place and his own strength failing, Heero Yuy was convinced to lay down again but he'd refused
to leave his lover's side. An extra bed was brought in and he was asleep before he even realized he'd received a
dose of sedatives along with the antibiotics that were injected during the cleaning of the new wounds.
Two days passed after Heero had awakened from his newest injuries. He was slow to mend primarily due to his
refusal to remain quietly in bed. However, this refusal was based on his greater concern, the fact that Duo Maxwell
had yet to regain consciousness.
Frighteningly, the Deathscythe pilot seemed to continue to slowly slip away.
Duo had been kept on life support, yet he declined all the same.
Heero would make certain to spend hours on end talking to his silent lover, a strange role reversal if nothing else.
He'd read aloud from a book he cared nothing about, just to keep the sound of his voice in the air in case it would
help Duo. Occasionally, he would find himself saying things about love and devotion and suddenly blush at his own
words. He was unused to saying such things and dreaded what would happen if one of the other pilots walked in
when he spoke like that.
Time and again, Quatre would go into the room trying to get Heero to agree to leaving Duo's side if only to allow
Heero to rest properly. The Wing pilot, however, steadfastly refused.
"I don't give a damn about myself, Quatre," he had snarled one day.
His host sighed deeply, "Don't you think I realize that, Heero? Of course you don't, but J's going to be here
sooner or later and we need you strong enough to help get a confession out of him, if nothing else."
"Fine, Quatre, fine. What exactly do you want from me here?" Heero relinquished control too easily. They had
agreed on no deliberate medical intervention to force him to sleep, they had no idea when J would appear and they
couldn't afford to have the Wing pilot too groggy for the situation. Yet without the needed rest, the physical
exhaustion of pushing himself as well as his body trying to heal nearly brought him to his knees eventually.
Quatre looked at him suspiciously, "You gave in too easily, Heero, what are you trying to pull this time?"
Shaking his head in obvious exhaustion, Heero replied, "No tricks. I'm just too tired to fight you guys off any
more. Tell me what you want out of me, Quatre, or leave us alone." He looked over longingly at Duo's body, so
strangely silent for so long. Only the machines keeping him alive seemed to talk for the American now. Heero
sighed and didn't even bother to look defiant.
"Sleep, Heero, that's all I want. I want you to sleep," Quatre looked sympathetically at his friend who continued to
blame himself exclusively for Duo's condition. "Just try to rest for a few hours, okay? Duo's not going anywhere,
we won't let him. But if you don't rest, you won't be much better off than he is fairly soon."
"I know," Heero murmured. "But I don't deserve to be much better off, now do I?"
"What you deserve and what you need are now irrelevant, Yuy." Wufei walked into the surrogate hospital room
confidently. He looked impatient, unusual for him until this recent turn of events. The strain of waiting to find out if
J had indeed masterminded Duo's destruction had effected him deeply. Then his lips twisted into a mockery of a
smile. "J is almost here."
This news brought quick responses. "Let me get things ready!" Quatre rushed off to contact Rasid as well as some
additional security measures. While justice was overdue, he did not wish any unnecessary blood to be shed that
day, especially Duo's.
Heero, however, grinned evilly, nodding his own anticipation at facing off against his mentor and probable
adversary. "Is he on his way in, Wufei?"
"Not yet, his shuttle landed at the space port and Trowa has gone to retrieve him. Frankly," his smile flattened a
bit, "Trowa is the only one restrained enough and with sufficient acting ability to face him right now. While I'm
certain our friend would gladly kill the man without a second thought, he also understands that we both must
know the truth."
"You are right, he is the only one who could handle this right now." Heero paused to contemplate for the
hundredth time the best strategic approach to controlling the situation without allowing the man any opportunities
to destroy Duo if that was indeed his intention. "I have some ideas on how to manage this, Wufei. Would you like
to give me your input on them?"
"Very much so, Heero," the fact that Wufei had addressed him by his first name clearly indicated they were finally
acting like the teammates they should have been all along instead of adversaries. He sat down across from the bed
where Heero sat beside Duo; boldly, Wufei reached out one bronze hand to gently brush the chestnut bangs free
of their entanglement in an oxygen line, something Heero had failed to notice. They hadn't been there before, had
the injured pilot moved?
Heero, however, failed to notice Wufei's quizzical look as he glanced at the monitors attached to Duo. Then he
lowered his eyes nervously to look again at the still form beside him. Anger and pain suffused his eyes, something
which Wufei saw and looked away out of respect for his comrade. They had all wondered just why Heero thought
his feelings for Duo were a secret, but no one dared to ask.
"I think we should discuss this elsewhere, Wufei." He spoke uncharacteristically softly, worried over his lover. "The
doctors tell me his subconscious can hear what we say and I don't think we should add the negative burden this
may cause to his situation."
Wufei shook his head in negation. "You are wrong. If Duo can indeed hear us and know what is happening out
here, then he would want to know we seek the truth first and vengeance second, only when we are certain." As
suspected, the Chinese pilot did indeed understand the way Duo's mind worked better than Heero had. This was a
much better approach even if Heero's over-protectiveness seemed to dictate guarding Duo, even though
unconscious, against these harsh realities.
"Well put," Heero agreed.
Then he proceeded to outline a plan that allowed the others to use the built-in monitoring system of the estate's
medical facilities to track his interactions with J. By being able to observe without themselves being observed, the
other Gundam pilots would be ready for whatever action seemed appropriate when the time arrived. Further, this
allowed them to lull the scientist into a false sense of security thinking only the loyal Heero Yuy was present and he
might mistake the situation for being less dangerous.
When the ugly man arrived, everything was ready.