Ninmu shippai (Mission Failure)
"Ah, 04, how are you, my boy?" J greeted his host.
Quatre bit back on his bile and smiled as he welcomed the man into his home. //I'd be better if you were already
dead, you slime ball, but Heero's right. We may be misinterpreting the situation and you should at least be given
enough rope to hang yourself with.//
"Hello, Dr. J," he forced himself to smile. "It's been a long time since I've seen you."
"Yes, well, we are all very busy fighting a war, now aren't we?" The man was clearly in very good spirits, something
which further aroused suspicions. "Now, before I go to see poor Heero, and I do hope he's recovering well, might I
check on 02? Perhaps my expertise will help your physicians care for the boy."
They had expected this if he was indeed guilty and had a ruse already in place.
"Sorry, doctor," Quatre smiled more honestly now since he truly wished to keep that particular pair apart. "But
Duo is undergoing physical therapy to prevent atrophy right now. He hasn't regained consciousness yet, but we
are certain he shall soon and would be distraught if we let his muscles stiffen up."
"Really?" The old man looked surprised. "I was under the impression his condition was bleak."
"No, Dr. J, we never said that," again Quatre smiled. "What ever gave you that idea?"
"Um, well, I just assumed," the man trailed off. At one point, G had pointed out that the same operatives who had
turned Duo over to OZ would most likely have reported the extent of the American's injuries to the scientist. No
one with medical training would have assumed a quick recovery, if there was to be recovery at all, from such a
traumatic set of bullet wounds. "Ah, never mind. I really should go see Heero first anyway. Could you show me to
his room, please?"
"Certainly," Quatre's smile was thin and cold, "it would be my pleasure." This was actually the truth. Ending this
hideous situation of not knowing would be a pleasure for all of them.
Knowing that the minute they walked into the medical ward, their progress was being monitored by Trowa and
Wufei from a nearby security room, Quatre relaxed a bit. As they passed a camera, Quatre flashed a subtle hand
signal to the others that the man was indeed acting strangely.
Back in the watch room, Trowa grimly rechecked his pistol. They had all agreed on trying to avoid the use of
firearms, however, J had been known to carry concealed weapons himself and they wished to be ready. While
Wufei's sword hung at his waist, he too checked his weapons which included shurikens, weapons he rarely used in
combat due to the need for short range to insure accuracy. These would be ideal in possible close-quarters battle.
In Heero's room, the lights dimmed briefly, his message they were coming and that J was behaving suspiciously.
His senses went to full alert as he placed a hand casually beneath the pillow he lay upon caressing his pistol which
was hiding there. As he was about to withdraw his hand, his fingers bumped his second weapon, a switchblade. He
thought it ironic that he had happened to have Duo's switch with him, but it felt right.
If there was to be vengeance and a need, then what better then Duo's own blade to kill the bastard with?
His mind lost momentarily in thoughts about Duo's condition, he seemed startled when J walked in.
"Ah, Heero, my boy, how are you doing?" The scientist came up to Heero acting as if they were father and son
instead of mentor and pupil. He reached out a hand and gently patted Heero's shoulder, something the man had
rarely done before, further driving Heero mad with fury.
//Acting suspiciously, aren't you, you old rat bastard? Well, just play along and confess. We'll put you out of our
"Dr. J," he forced himself to greet the man knowing they couldn't blow their deception or no confession would be
had at all. He forced a fairly convincing moan out of his throat when the man bumped his broken foot.
"Sorry there," J smiled crookedly. He had been testing to see if the injury was real and the moan told him it was
since it took a near-death experience to get a rise out of Heero normally. He should know, he'd deliberately injured
him as part of his training quite often.
"No, it's okay," Heero tried to remember his lines, so to speak. "Did you just get in, doctor?"
"Yes, just arrived. 03 was good enough to pick me up and bring me here. Quite a fancy place 04 has, isn't it?" J
looked around the room enviously.
Heero was having trouble keeping his anger in check and decided to vent a little. "You know, Dr. J, we all have
names here, think you could use them? After all, this isn't exactly a mission situation."
"Um, well, all right," J didn't care for this. "So, Heero, how is 02, I mean, Duo, doing? Has he improved?"
Heero looked woebegone once more. This was the first time he'd been away from Duo since the phone call two
days prior, and he felt remiss leaving his side. The physicians had said there'd been no changes, but it seemed
harder to not be there. "No, he hasn't."
"Perhaps they will let me take a look at him, I might be able to help," the man said his eye-pieces glinting. It now
bothered Heero to realize he couldn't look into the man's eyes and see if he was telling the truth or not. "But tell
me, is it true he was improving earlier? I find it hard to believe he was stupid enough to let himself be captured like
These cold words chilled Heero's blood until it felt like ice water. "Actually, doctor, I've been wondering how he was
caught in the first place. He wasn't injured before I got there apparently, so it makes no sense he'd have been
caught." Heero was probing for lies.
"Well," J grinned maliciously, "I've often wondered how long he could remain free myself. G is pathetic at teaching
survival skills much less infiltration to a wild one like him!" Suddenly realizing his words in front of the boy's lover
and possible protector, he tried to cover his slip. "But, of course, with you as a partner, I'm sure he was finally
getting the training he needed, right?"
Heero smiled to himself, but the doctor misunderstood. While he was thinking Heero had failed to catch his slip,
Heero was actually planning to monopolize on it. "Actually, Dr. J, I've wondered that myself. He never seemed good
at keeping a low profile even when we were assigned to go into hiding at boarding schools. That braid of his always
made him stand out. Never thought he'd avoid cutting it off the way he did."
"You are so right! Why G felt like taking on the long-haired lunatic has been beyond me from the beginning. Why,
that boy lasted longer than I ever expected, but that's probably just because of your help." J agreed quickly,
frowning at his colleague's foolishness. "Besides, you are all supposed to be able to work independently! There
should be little need for partners anyway. Why can't he stand on his own two feet if he's good enough to be a
Just then, backs tensed in the security room where G, Trowa, Quatre, and Wufei waited, ready for Heero's signal.
Quatre double-checked that everything was being recorded. He wanted to be able to prove this to Duo when he
woke up and wondered why they had done such a thing.
Heero simply let the man rave on, digging his own grave with almost every word.
"Honestly, Heero, why did you ever take up with him? I thought I trained you better than that! The boy's a loser
and a poser, if he can't handle the job, he should be replaced!" J was getting a full rant going and he was not
watching what he said. "I've got a replacement pilot for Deathscythe already identified. If he doesn't come out of
this soon we'll just have to get the new pilot ready to go. His Gundam isn't damaged and we shouldn't waste time!
There's a war to win and petty emotions have no place in it!"
"So," Heero nearly purred, "you really want to see him replaced, don't you, doctor? How far are you willing to go to
Failing to realize he'd been lead into a trap, the man glibly responded. "Oh, I don't have far to go at all, now! He's
nearly dead from what I've been told and if that's not enough, perhaps all G's little toy soldier needs is a little push
and this will be over. We can get things---ACK!" He suddenly found himself at the razor sharp end of Duo's
switchblade. A tiny rivulet of blood spilled out of his throat and dripped steadily into his lab coat's collar.
The sound of running feet alerted him that he was in trouble and as he went to turn away Heero's hand flashed
out grabbing him roughly by the arm, knife held tightly against his neck. "Stay there, traitor!" Heero ground out
between his teeth.
J's lip twisted as he spat out, "I don't think so! Queen to King's Level 1!"
Heero found himself dropping the knife to the floor and releasing his mentor. A safety phrase had rendered him
helpless, as G had predicted.
"Now, my rebellious youngster, that will be enough of that!" J pulled a gun out of his lab coat and sidled next to
Heero placing the barrel against his temple as Quatre and Trowa came flying into the room, guns at the ready.
"Drop them or he dies!" J commanded.
Pulling up short, fury in their eyes, both pilots slowly placed their guns on the floor keeping their eyes on Heero.
"Are you all right, Heero?" Quatre called.
"I'm so sorry, 04, but he can't speak," J laughed maliciously. "Cat's got his tongue, I'm afra---" Suddenly, his eyes
flew wide and the man crumpled to the ground beside Heero's bed, a shuriken protruding from the back of his
Wufei appeared as if by magic to stand over the man sword at the ready. "Are you all right?" He asked Heero, but
got no answer.
"Heero?!?" Trowa shouted, rushing to his friend who lay with his eyes wide and unblinking, frozen.
"HEERO!!!" Quatre screamed clutching his chest in pain. "He can't breathe! Somebody, do something!"
G had appeared and was checking to see if J still lived, he did. "Well, you bastard, tried to kill your own as well, eh?
Looks like you failed!"
"What?" J's voice was scratchy from pain and his eyes were glazing over, he couldn't process much information
but he hated failure. This was why he'd trained Heero so rigorously to do anything to avoid failure. Yet another
reason to be suspicious of him when he accepted Heero's report of "Ninmu shippai" so calmly. "I couldn't fail."
"Oh, but you did," G cackled a bit, "Heero's alive and well. Can't you hear him laughing at you? We all are. You
failed, J, totally *failed*!"
This was false as Heero's face became discolored from lack of oxygen and his eyes were held closed by Trowa
fearing he would experience damage to them when they remained open and unable to blink.
"No, you're lying!" the man of the floor screeched out. "I never gave the counter order!"
"Yes you did, you old fool! I heard it myself! You said, 'Ahead warp factor five!' I heard you."
"But, that's not the counter order! 'Get these tribbles off the bridge!,' *that's* the counter order!"
Suddenly a large gulp of air went into Heero Yuy's oxygen starved lungs and he began coughing, moving air in an
out of his pained lungs once more. Trowa released his eyes, yet held him down. If he had tried to rise he would
have failed, his blood was near toxic levels of CO2.
Beside him, G just laughed. "You're a pathetic fool, J! These young men had figured your plot out already. You
can't kill one of them so easily, especially Duo!" He gave the man a good kick trying to evoke one more admission
of guilt. One more level of justification for the revenge waiting in a steel blade nearby. Wufei's eyes burned with
"Bastards, all of them! Bastards!" J moaned. "So what if I killed that little shit Maxwell? He had no business
confusing Yuy with all of that sexual crap! The boy never needed love before and all it was doing was ruining his
"Enough!" Wufei shouted and brought his sword back in a smooth sweep ready for the last blow. But he hesitated
looking once more at Heero for approval.
A simple nod of a head from the Wing pilot, face blazing with anger yet still unable to get his breath, was all that
One powerful slice resulted in the instantaneous death of the traitorous Dr. J.
The twisted old man now lay in two pieces, his head several feet from his collapsed body which twitched in the
ancient dance of the dead as the final neurons fired. The sphincter muscles relaxed lending a disgusting scent to
the air, then finally lay still in its own blood and filth.
There was no pity on anyone's face as Quatre dropped a sheet over the body simply to remove the offending
thing from vision and Trowa, nonplussed by such thing, picked up the severed head and dropped it into a
biohazardous waste receptacle. This earned a dark chuckle from G.
"Well, Trowa, you've finally put him in his place!" He laughed softly.
"Is it over?" Heero finally gasped, eyes hopeful between gasps as his lungs fought for oxygen.
"Yes, Heero," Wufei smiled, placing a hand onto the shoulder of the man he had come to respect more now than
he had the entire time they'd known each other.
"It is over. Dr. J admitted his guilt and justice has been served, as you requested."
However, it was not over. It would not truly be over until the team of five pilots were all well and functional once
more. That, however, would be long in coming.
After the removal of the headless corpse, G and the pilots went to check on Duo. The American had not been left
unguarded by any means and Rasid's lieutenant was pleased to have been informed earlier that the threat had
been neutralized. The medical staff had been called back in to do a quick check on their patient and something
surprising was noticed. The tubing to the IV on his left hand had gotten tangled around the long fingers of that
hand as if it had been moved.
"Duo?" Heero asked softly into his lover's ear hoping for a response. Getting nothing, he repeated a bit more
loudly, " Duo? Can you hear me?"
Waiting and watching there seemed to be no response when suddenly a finger moved on the braided pilot's left
"Duo!" Quatre shouted, a smile on his face as he touched his chest. "He, I'm not sure, but he felt something, it
echoed in my uchuu no kokoro! Talk to him, Heero!"
Only too happy to oblige and not giving as damn about who watched, Heero carefully gathered the one free hand
into his own, wrapping both of his own hands gently around it so he'd detect any movement directly. "Duo? Koi?
I'm here, can you move your finger again or open your eyes or something? Let me know you're all right, onegai,
Such tender words would have shocked Duo normally, and while G seemed surprised, none of the others did as
they all watched anxiously for a response. They saw nothing change on Duo's face but Heero reacted.
"He moved! He just moved!" Heero's smile was broad and happy. "That's great, Duo, just great! You can hear me
after all, can't you? Well, if you can't open your eyes just yet, that's okay. I'll be here when you can." Suddenly,
concern filled his voice. "Hey there, I know you're awake, take it easy!"
Duo's body trembled slightly. The monitors attached to him showed a marked increase in blood pressure and
respiration. He was trying too hard.
"Easy, Duo, relax," Heero soothed, brushing a hand across the slack lips with infinite care to avoid dislodging the
breathing tube. "You need to go back to resting now that we know you can hear us, just rest. You are safe,
you're at Quatre's place. I'm not going anywhere and neither are the guys. Wufei's been worried sick about you,"
he glanced over at the Chinese pilot who looked relieved as he pretended he wasn't watching every tiny movement.
"And Quatre and Trowa are here keeping an eye on you and me both, koi." He smirked at that not even needing to
look at their two friends standing holding hands nearby.
"You've got some other friends here, too, but for now just rest." He began slipping his fingers through the hair
that always beckoned to him and he felt the hand in his relax and the monitors showed decreases where needed.
Duo was asleep or back into the state he had been before, but either way there was hope now.
All of those present in the room looked relieved as Heero finally moved away to allow the doctors to do their jobs.
Pain killers were reintroduced to the IV mixtures now that there were signs of hope.
Quatre insisted everyone clear out for some time so a complete physical exam could be done on Duo to insure
there had been no negative changes.
Wufei on one side and Trowa on the other, Heero Yuy moved out of the medical wing for the first time since his
arrival and they went to sit on the patio to enjoy what was left of the afternoon sun.
"I'm glad that's over!" Quatre sighed, sipping on a glass of iced Earl Grey Tea.
"Nani? Heero, what's wrong?" Quatre immediately grew concerned. "Duo's doing better, J is dead, and things are
improving all the way around. What is bothering you?"
"Duo is doing better and that's good, but," his eyes seemed to search Quatre's aquamarine eyes searching for an
answer, "how am I ever going to explain all of this to him? There's no way I'm telling him anything but the truth. I
shot him and he will probably hate me for it. Actually, I'd be surprised if he didn't!"
"Yuy," Wufei sighed as he finished cleaning his beloved sword for about the tenth time, making certain not even a
drop of the blood of the traitor remained, "you worry over things that have yet to occur. If your harshest critics
can be convinced this was an accident, what makes you think someone who cares for you so much will have
trouble accepting it?"
"Because *I* don't accept it, that's why!" Heero was nearly back into depression as the blood lust had cleared
from his mind.
"Then you are a fool." Trowa's comment was deliberately biting and cruel trying to halt the runaway thoughts
going through Heero's mind. "Duo loves you as much as you love him and don't bother denying it. We all see it,
Heero, just give up this falsehood and accept that first. Then you may find peace enough to accept the rest."
"As always, Trowa," Heero smiled gently at his friend, "if you say more than a sentence or two, I'd better listen.
You've never lied to me before."
Trowa chuckled. "Of course not, Heero, besides, love is fairly obvious given the eyes to see it." He smiled at his
blond lover fondly. Quatre smiled back and went back to sipping his tea as G came out to join them.
"Ah, good work, boys," G's eye's sparkled merrily beneath his ever present mushroom's cap like hair style. Looking
down his long nose at them, he pulled up a seat. He scratched at the scar on his face, never a thing of beauty, but
they didn't much care.
"Thank you, Dr. G, for your help," Heero commented extending his hand in thanks to Duo's mentor.
"You are quite welcome, lad!" He smiled briefly, then looked a but concerned. "But with J gone, Heero, I guess you
are now a free-agent. What do you plan to do about that?"
"Well, doctor," he smiled in return, "it occurs to me you might need a little help until Duo is back up and around.
This foot shouldn't keep me out of action for too long, and Wing needs repairs. How about I work for you flying
Deathscythe and you repair Wing for me?"
"Hmm, sounds fair enough, but I'll want Deathscythe back for Duo as soon as he's ready for it!"
"Of course!" Heero agreed sealing the deal.
A diffident cough was heard. It was one of Quatre's physicians. "Master Quatre, may I have a word, sir?"
"Certainly. Excuse me," he got up and went back into the mansion. Heero's eyes followed nervously assuming the
only cause for the concern could be Duo's condition. Inside, Quatre looked distraught, gesturing a bit wildly and
apparently cursing in Arabic.
Trowa, also watching closely, rose and reentered the room. Once there, he found Quatre with tears in his eyes and
nearly frantic. "What is wrong?" Trowa asked his lover quietly.
Quatre turned to him and nearly flung himself into the other boy's arms. "Oh, Trowa, this is terrible!" He sobbed
into Trowa's chest.
Outside, Heero grew agitated. Whatever was going on didn't look good for Duo.
"They tell me that Duo's shoulder isn't healing. They've done everything they can, but the replacement won't take
and he's going to lose use of his right arm permanently! What are we going to do now? Heero can't handle this
"Quiet, Little One, it is too soon for such things, is it not?" Holding him near, the taller pilot gently stroked the
blond's back the way which had always eased Quatre's fears. "Let us not give up hope so easily."
"No, Trowa, it's not like that," the blond was trembling and Trowa pulled him tightly against him absorbing the
movement with his own rock steady stance. "I've known this was a possibility from the moment they finished
surgery. The tests they performed just now proved the nerve endings have all been destroyed. There is no hope
of regeneration now or even of the arm living much longer as it is. There's nothing else to do here!"
"Perhaps," Trowa remarked mysteriously, "we shall see. But for now, calm down and say nothing of this to Heero,
there may be a solution nearby you have overlooked."
"Really?" He looked hopefully into the green eyes above him. "What?"
"Dr. G is outside right now. Who would know Duo better?" With a silent look of reassurance, Trowa continued to
soothe his lover with tender caresses.
"You are right!" He hugged his lover fiercely eliciting a small surprised moan of pleasure and desire to take the
embrace farther. "I'll speak to him, but later," Quatre had heard the little sound, too, and decided it was time for a
little privacy. "I'll be right back."
Quatre went to the patio and stepped through the doorway. "Heero? Why don't you come in and get some rest?
The doctors want to check your injuries, they said the dressing on your hand needs to be changed." He didn't give
Heero the chance to ask why there had seemed to be so much more going on inside as he turned and walked
quickly back to Trowa and the pair vanished.
Wufei chuckled, "Wondered how much longer they'd hold out."
"What are you babbling about, Wufei?" Heero hadn't even considered his words, his mind was still on Quatre's
Wufei looked sharply at his friend in anger then saw the ghost of pain clouding the blue eyes. "Come now, don't
tell me the Perfect Soldier has failed to note a behavior pattern in our Arabic friend? One he himself tends to
share?" The lilt of humor confused Heero enough to distract him.
"Please, Wufei, it's been a long day. No riddles now," Heero did look tired.
"I will take mercy on you," Wufei smiled. "After any battle, Quatre seems to find some excuse or another to take
Trowa off for the rest of the evening, how had you missed that? Ah, never mind. If memory serves me, you are
usually long gone with Duo by this point."
The connotations were so obvious and the facts so simple and clear, there was no point in arguing, so Heero just
"Guilty as charged, Wufei," Heero continued to laugh, but yawned shortly. The adrenaline rush had worn off and
the two days without sleep had caught up to him rather suddenly to his way of thinking. "Now, I believe I will let
the doctors take a look at my hand as Quatre wanted, then I think I'll sleep for a day or two. See you later, Dr. G."
After he'd gone, the remaining two chuckled.
"Well, Wufei, you've got quite the eye for details, haven't you?" G snorted.
"Only for some of the most obvious ones, doctor," Wufei smiled, finishing his cup of green tea. "But, as I
predicted, there goes Yuy straight back to be with Maxwell. As they say, all is right with the world once more."
Then his voice lost its laughter. "At least, I certainly hope that all is right with the world. I'd hate to see anything
go wrong now."
"Same here, my boy," G answered equally darkly, worry for his injured protégé clear in his tone. "Well, now. I do
believe we have the place to ourselves for awhile. Do you play chess?"
"Yes, I do, but doctor," Wufei looked a bit puzzled, "What, exactly, were those safety phrases you and J were
spouting back there? They seemed familiar."
G suddenly let out a guffaw. "'Star Trek', Wufei, an old TV show that fool J loved to watch. He drove us crazy while
we designed the Gundams by reciting the most inane lines from the show and occasionally finding ways to trap me
into watching it! That's when I learned never to bet with the man, he cheated!"
"I should have known," the ShenLong pilot shook his head in disgust. "And he had the nerve to say Maxwell
wasn't good enough? Bah! Fool!"
"Agreed!" G chuckled again recalling the way Trowa had casually thrown the dead man's head into a trash
receptacle. "Now, how about some chess?"