Disclaimer: None of the authors own Gundam Wing, this was purely for fun. No monetary compensation was garnered by any of the authors.

Pairings: 1X2, 3+4
Category: yaoi, angst, action, TWT, lemon
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: profanity, slight reference to failed NCS, some gore
Feedback: Yes, please! The author of each individual part would love to hear what you thought!

Notes: In the nature of a Round Robin, this wasn't so much a collaboration, as a passing along of the story. As each part was written individually, expect varying styles and a twisting, rollercoaster plot line. A huge thank you goes to Kittikass, DC Logan, Sharon, and Dacia for their support in this project! Also, thank you to Sakti for the beta.

* _ * indicates italics
// _ // indicates thoughts

Part One
By [ Nessa-Chan ]

The soft click-clack of fingers striking a keyboard echoed in the otherwise silent room. The blue-white glow from the screen threw strange inky shadows over the walls, scrawling across the unmade bed, dancing in the corners when the computer's sole operator chose to shift position. Outside, the wind was howling furiously, dragging over the roof and wrenching a scream from the wooden beams and shingles. Heavy snow and hail assaulted the window.

The constant click-clack went on unabated, furious like the storm outside, until Heero could take the silence no more and slammed his fist down on the table in frustration. Irately, he shoved his chair away from his desk and stalked to the door, throwing it wide, marching into the hall.

"Quatre!" Heero bellowed, leaning over the rail of the staircase. In seconds, the short blond came scurrying from a room downstairs - the kitchen, Heero's mind noticed idly - and looked up at Heero, an expression of worry on his sweet face. Heero snorted. Quatre should be worried! They *all* should be worried. Before Heero could confront Quatre with his questions, however, the Arabian said in his lilting voice, "Heero, you shouldn't shout. You'll wake everyone else up."

Heero bit back a strangled cry of frustration. Sometimes the pilot of Sandrock was worried about all the wrong things. Heero realized his hands were clenched tight, white against the dark brown railing, and his teeth were grinding together with the effort of trying to keep his patience. Slowly, he counted to ten, calming his breathing. When he could see clearly again, he looked down at Quatre - the other boy still had that concerned countenance - and nearly shouted again: "Where the *hell* is Duo?"

The blond looked at first taken aback, but a small knowing smile graced his features as he looked up at Heero on the second floor landing. If Heero hadn't been so angry, he might have noticed the fleeting look on the blond pilot's face.

"Well," Quatre began slowly, frowning. Now that he thought about it, where was Duo? He chewed his lip as he continued quietly, "He said he wanted to go out to the lake. See the snow falling on the lake and the mountains."

"In this storm?" Heero snorted incredulously. "You wouldn't be able to see three feet in front of you." Narrowing his eyes, Heero asked, "Did he take the car?"

Quatre shook his head, his blond hair swishing in his eyes. "He went on foot."

Oh, wonderful. Heero ran a hand through his hair, his fingers tangling and snarling the chocolate brown strands; this just kept getting better and better. As he heard himself snapping, "When did he leave?" He thanked his lucky stars that Duo was his partner. None of the other pilots could ever suspect Heero's feelings; any concern on Heero's part would be construed as the soldier wanting one of his best assets to be all right and in working order. Or at least, he hoped so. While Duo was indeed his best asset, he was also the object of his affection and therefore a distraction, a potential liability, easily exploited. Recently Heero had caught himself taking one too many risks on the battlefield to cover Duo’s ass. *No,* his mind corrected him, *to protect him.*

The perverse side of his mind supplied Heero with a reminder of what else he'd like to do with Duo's ass.

But Quatre was answering him; Heero forced himself to focus on Quatre's voice, relying on the other boy to pull him out of the daydream he'd almost fallen headlong into. The young blond was saying that Duo had left several hours ago, and he hadn't been wearing a very heavy coat.

"Bakayaro," Heero muttered under his breath, his mind providing an image of Duo, smiling, even in the face of Heero's silence or derision. He stood and listened to the raging storm outside. What had Duo been thinking? He was probably out there, freezing to death, lost in the storm. Gundam pilot or not, visibility was poor, the temperature was *low,* and Duo didn't know the area well enough to go out wandering alone in the dark, in a *storm.* Oh, god, what if Duo had fallen into the lake?

With a low growl, Heero slammed his fist into the wall. It would be the perfect irony for a soldier to escape death on the battlefield only to find it during his down time.

Quatre jumped, and a muffled crash emanated from the room beyond the wall Heero had punched. Heero could hear someone angrily muttering base, profane words that Heero never thought he’d hear coming out of someone who was normally just as silent as he was.

The door to his immediate left was flung open so hard it hit the wall and bounced back. A bleary-eyed, rumpled-looking Trowa stood in the doorway, fists clenching and unclenching reflexively. Heero heard Quatre chuckle downstairs, but kept his eyes on the brown-haired bundle of anger in front of him.

"It's three in the morning, Heero," Trowa said, his voice slurred but clearly annoyed. "Go back to sleep, or shut up!" With that, the door slammed shut, leaving a stunned Heero on the landing and a giggling Quatre downstairs. Those giggles snapped Heero out of his stupor and he bounded down the stairs, grabbing a heavy parka off one of the coat hooks near the door and throwing it on.

"What are you doing?" Quatre asked softly. Heero knew very well that Quatre knew exactly what he was doing. He didn’t grace the boy with an answer. He walked to the front door of the safehouse and twisted the knob quickly, wrenching the door open and letting in a flurry of snow and hail, gusting in on the wind. He started walking out when a firm hand on his arm pulled him back.

"Heero, you'll just get lost, too. We have to wait for the storm to clear up." The calm, quiet reason in that voice begged to be listened to. But Heero's usual pragmatism was swiftly seeping out of him, overridden by his sudden fear for Duo. Lost? Drowned? Dead?

That did not bear thinking of.

Heero shook his head, pulling free of Quatre’s half-hearted grasp. "We can't wait," he snapped, "Duo won't last that long. You know how cold he gets, even when it's really warm." Mentally kicking himself for that last bit, Heero again made to leave. Again Quatre restrained him, and Heero nearly died of shock from the Arabian's words.

"I know you like him, Heero. But is it really worth... would he want you to do this?" Quatre knew he was playing a mind game, but he didn't want Heero to go out into the storm and get lost.

Heero turned and gave Quatre an icy, angry glare, rivaling the gale outside. "I'm the Perfect Soldier, aren't I?" he sneered, tucking away the hurt his own words caused him for another time, "I can handle a little snow." With that he pulled away from Quatre again and ran out into the snow before the blond could say another word.

He heard Quatre calling his name as he tried to remember where the nearest lake was, tried to get some sense of direction amidst the swirling, changing white. Eventually, the shout he had heard so clearly became a hum on the wind, and he wondered vaguely how he was going to find his way back. Shaking his head, Heero focused on finding Duo.


Cold. So damn cold that his teeth were chattering, chattering so damn hard that he was afraid they’d just jump right out of his mouth. Slowly, Duo pushed his way through heavy, wet snow that came just above his knees. His clothes were soaked through and his arms had gone numb as he clutched them around his shivering body, trying to hold in what little warmth was there. He couldn’t see from the snow that was weighing down his bangs; his braid felt like a lead weight, sopping and heavy on his head. Several times he had caught his eyes drooping, but Duo just gritted his teeth - for as long as they would stay gritted, anyhow - and forced himself awake.

It had been stupid to go out alone, on foot, and try to find an obscure lake to look at as the snow fell on it. Duo cursed his sentimentality. He caught himself muttering, "Baka," to himself every now and again. Baka. Ha. Oh, if only Heero were here... Heero'd chew him out, that was for sure. If his body wasn't threatening to go completely numb on him, Duo might have laughed at the sudden image of Heero standing over him and screaming at the top of his lungs.

Heero. Despite the fact that he was cold, tired, hungry, and utterly lost, Duo found himself thinking of the Japanese pilot fondly. The color of his eyes, for instance, and the way they got darker sometimes when he looked at Duo. The way Heero's silence never made Duo uncomfortable, and the only reason he talked through it was because he thought Heero was really listening - and someone would probably suspect something was up if Duo, the champion chatter-box of the world, was suddenly silent.

Would he see Heero again? Or would he just collapse and die out here, never to be found, buried under a mound of snow, written off as a casualty of war?

It seemed the latter was in store for him; Duo stumbled and fell to his knees, the snow unable to cushion the blow. Sharp spikes of pain lanced up Duo's legs as his arms, numb as they were, shot out to catch him from falling face-first into the stinging, cold snow. Before they sunk into the wet whiteness, Duo caught sight of his hands, of the raw, bleeding skin around his fingernails, his knuckles. He couldn't even feel it.

Duo tried to push himself back up, but his legs wouldn't budge, his elbows seemed intent on locking. He was tired, too tired, and his eyelids threatened again to close weightily. Suddenly nothing mattered; the war didn't matter, his precious Deathscythe didn't matter, the other pilots didn't matter. All that mattered was sleep, and release from this damned relentless cold.

On the edges of unconsciousness, Duo faintly heard someone calling his name, but dismissed it, accrediting it to his sleep-deprived mind. He was glad when he couldn't hear anything anymore.


"Duo!" Heero shouted into the wind. He'd been searching for at least an hour, maybe more, and there was no sign of Duo anywhere. Heero could barely see in front of him, could barely hear above the shrieking wind. An unfamiliar feeling wormed its way into Heero's gut; it took him a moment to realize that he was on the verge of panicking.

"Duo! Goddamn it, Duo, where are you?" he screamed. He peered into the sticky white gloom, trying to get a sense of where he had come from so he could go back if... if...

*No.* Heero set his jaw, oblivious to the bone-chilling cold that wrapped around him. He was *not* going to leave Duo out here.

Head down, hands holding the parka close to his body in a death-grip, Heero trudged through the deepening snow, ignoring the chill, ignoring the wet. He was on a mission, and he was going to accomplish it. There was no alternative.


For the first time in his life, Heero knew real, all-consuming panic. It was getting light out; the storm hadn't let up but he could see more clearly. He had stopped shouting a while ago, his voice hoarse, his throat in scorched agony. Who knew how long he'd been searching? Shaking his head stubbornly, Heero refused to just give up. He was terrified of what he'd find - *if* he found Duo - but he clung to the desperate hope that his friend was still alive and waiting to be found.

Luck - or maybe God, who knew - was on his side; as he walked around the trunk of a large, dead oak tree, Heero caught his foot on a buried root and went sprawling into the snow, landing with an "Oof!" Resurfacing, Heero spied the tail end of an unmistakable rope of hair not two feet from his face, and felt his heart swell with relief. Scrambling to his hands and knees, Heero crawled to Duo's side and dug the American out of the thin layer of snow that had fallen over him.

"Kuso," Heero muttered as he pulled Duo up, brushing snow from the boy's thin jacket. The idiot! What had he been thinking? Duo's face was frightfully pale, and for one heart-stopping moment Heero thought that the longhaired boy was dead. But a soft cloud of condensation puffed out of Duo's parted lips, and Heero sighed. Standing, adrenaline pumping through his veins like wildfire, Heero hefted Duo up over his shoulder and started marching back in the direction he guessed he had come from. He needed to get Duo back to the safehouse. Now.


"Hey!" Heero shouted, his voice graveled, as he slammed open the front door of the safehouse. The sound of the door hitting the wall reverberated in the silent house, and very soon two sleepy, curious heads poked out of their doors.

"Whazzat?" Wufei mumbled, his hair disheveled and his eyes bright with sleep. Trowa just glared out of his room. Heero glared back impatiently and took the stairs two at a time, dashing into his bedroom and flicking on the lights.

Quatre came bustling in; it was obvious the boy hadn't slept at all, waiting for Heero to come back in out of the storm. Heero started shouting for blankets while he and Quatre peeled Duo's wet clothes from his clammy skin. When they had stripped Duo down, the two boys looked at each other, and in that brief moment of eye contact Heero knew that Quatre hadn't been lying earlier when he had told Heero that he knew. A slight nod from the Arabian, and Heero started pulling off his own clothes, the parka heavy with water, his tank top and spandex - which earned a disapproving glare from Quatre - gone instantaneously.

Gently lifting Duo, Heero carried the unconscious American to the bed and hurriedly lay him on it, sliding in beside him and pulling the sheets and blankets up over them both. A minute later Wufei and Trowa, who was looking rather cranky, came in carrying comforters and knit blankets. As they piled the warmth onto Heero and Duo, it distantly struck the Japanese boy that he was lying, in his bed, with Duo in his arms, naked as the day they were born. He knew once that would have turned him on immensely, but the only thought in Heero’s head was getting Duo’s temperature back up to normal. Making Duo better. Making him all right.

They lay on the bed, the other three pilots hovering anxiously nearby. Quatre got up and ran downstairs to stoke the fire that had been reduced to embers, and Trowa and Wufei also slowly exited, their faces - or at least, Wufei's - showing their deep concern for their comrade. Several minutes later they returned, with Quatre and a pot of steaming coffee.

Heero rubbed the flats of his palms up and down Duo's arms, trying to aid his circulation. He stared into that beautiful, unconscious face, and started talking, much to the other pilots' surprise.

"Duo, wake up," he whispered, his pained voice refusing to come out much louder. "Don't you dare die, Duo. You're not allowed to die now. You're supposed to go out in a blaze of glory, right? You're supposed to go down fighting, Duo, goddamn it, you're not supposed to just give up!"

The other three boys were stunned by the intensity of Heero’s voice; they'd never heard it so full of emotion. As for Heero, he didn't quite care; he figured, if Quatre knew, then the others were going to find out. It wasn't his first concern at the moment.

They all jumped, startled, when the phone rang loudly in the nearly silent room; even the wind had died down and the only sounds were the slurping of coffee and Heero's whispered words. Quatre leapt up and ran for the phone, leaving Trowa and Wufei to watch over Heero and Duo.

Sudden and silent, Trowa stood and started taking off his pajamas. When Heero glanced at him, eyebrow raised, the European boy shrugged and said, "You were out there, too. I doubt very much that you're warm enough to help." With that he stepped out of his flannel pants and slid in under the covers, pressing himself against Duo's back after pulling the cold, wet braid out of his way.

Wufei snorted and sipped at the black coffee in his mug. If they expected him to jump in, they were in for a surprise.

Quatre came abruptly into the room, disturbing once again the quiet that had settled. He looked angry and worried, and when he finally opened his mouth to speak Heero knew why.

"It's J," the blond panted breathlessly. "He says he has a mission for you, and it's urgent."

on to part 2

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