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 Three
By [ jana ]

Strong gusts of wind sent the uppermost layer of fallen powder to swirl and fill the frigid air around him as Heero made his way through the nearly knee deep snow. At his current pace, he estimated that it would take nearly an hour to reach Wing on foot. The journey there had taken considerably less time as the five has arrived en masse, and seemed still slower now as he made his way alone through the frozen silence.

Heero had reread Dr. J's message over twice this morning before deleting it, committing most of it to memory at first glance.

The mission seemed relatively straightforward and there was little in the way of background information that J was able to provide him with this time. Had it not been for the simplicity of the instructions, Heero might have been concerned. Over the years, J had remained consistent in his delivery of orders to Heero. Even now, the young man was at a loss to discern any emotion behind the old man's words. He found it unsettling that neither J's mannerisms nor the language he used gave any indication to the possible threats a particular mission entailed. Sometimes, Heero wondered if J himself knew.

Satisfied that he had mentally accounted for the possibility of there being less than optimal entry and egress conditions at the base, Heero tucked all thoughts about it away and focused his attention on his ailing comrade.

He hated having to leave this morning with Duo still in an unconscious state. It left him open to more distraction than he cared to start a mission with. He was thankful that their previous assignment had been as group, allowing all five of them to meet at the safe house as they did. He knew for certain that Duo was in capable hands, but it did not stop Heero from wishing that he could be there when Deathscythe's pilot finally woke.

It would have taken quite a bit of self-control for him not to lecture Duo on the stupidity of his actions. Heero thought then, that perhaps it was better for Duo if he was *not* there. He acknowledged with a smirk that none of the others were going to allow his ridiculous stunt to go without mention either. Knowing him the best of the four as he did, there was a good chance that Duo would be able to see the something more that hid behind his anger. He feared that even the smallest of changes in his mannerisms would most likely not escape Duo's attention.

It had surprised Heero yesterday that Quatre knew of his feelings for Duo and that he had admitted as much to him. His actions once he had brought Duo back into the house had probably given the others cause to suspect as well. He would not be able to shrug off this most recent episode of obvious concern that he exhibited toward Duo. He would have to deal with it when he got back to the house tonight; one way or another.


Duo took the vigil his fellow pilots held at his bedside in stride.

He had eaten two large bowls of oatmeal at Quatre's insistence shortly after he woke, and had managed to hold back several fairly clever mother hen references that the fair-haired pilot's behavior brought to mind.

Wufei had taken over after breakfast and their conversation had pretty much picked up where it had left off earlier.

"Are you warm enough?"

Duo pulled the mountain of covers up further over his semi-reclined form. "Yeah. I'm fine."

"That was one of your more classic stunts."

Duo sighed. He did not know why Wufei had chosen to bring the whole matter up again. He had given the three as much in the way of an explanation for his behavior as he planned to. It was awkward though; the two of them just sitting there in silence. There was normally minimal downtime; little time for much personal talk. Though not totally understanding his reasons, Duo was able to find some logic behind Wufei's decision to rehash the morning's conversation.

"I needed some time alone." Duo knew that of all of them, Wufei would require no explanation for his desire to seek solitude. Their last mission had been unusually difficult. The ones that involved civilian casualties always were.

Wufei nodded in silent agreement rather than giving Duo a verbal reply.

Duo spoke again, taking away the possibility that Wufei would use the opportunity to remind him of the various errors in judgment he had made last night. They were all too obvious in hindsight. "I should have dressed warmer. I should have told someone I was leaving."

Wufei nodded again. He seemed pleased that Duo acknowledged how the current situation could have been avoided. Wufei had not been witness to the events that led to Heero's venture out into the blinding storm to retrieve the missing pilot, but he had been woken by the commotion that ensued when Heero reentered the house with the unconscious and frozen young man in his arms. Heero's behavior from that point on all but stupefied Wufei.

"I have never known Heero to show fear until last night."

"Heero? Afraid?" Duo chuckled softly. "Unlikely."

Wufei rose and walked toward the tiny window on the opposite side of the room. "He was afraid, Maxwell." He turned to face Duo then. "We were not sure that you would survive."

Duo smiled. "Fei... the five of us are barely enough to keep OZ at bay. Four would be..."

Wufei was quick to cut him off. "It was not that."

Duo thought for a minute before responding. "Whatever his reasons were, I'm glad he came out after me." Duo yawned then. "My plans include sticking around until we win this god-forsaken war."

Wufei approached the bed and smiled as Duo's eyelids began to droop. "Get some rest."

Duo nodded and shifted to a horizontal position while tucking the thick pile of blankets up under his chin. "Mmm... don't forget to wake me up for lunch."

Wufei responded with a small sound of affirmation, turned off the light and quietly closed the door behind him.


Heero punched the coordinates for the LaDaera Base into Wing's navigation system and loosened the top button on his jacket before settling back into his seat and securing his harness.

Even with the high speeds his Gundam was capable of, the trip would take him a minimum of two hours. The task of retrieving the information that J had requested would take far less time than that. Heero focused his attention on maneuvering Wing from its hiding place, carefully avoiding contact with the other four machines nestled beside it as he stepped Wing out into the open. He reached forward to turn on the heating unit, then engaged the dual rocket thrusters and made his vertical ascent.

He spent the first hour of the flight devising a more detailed plan of action, calling up a precise layout of the base from Wing's onboard computer system. Heero could only make an educated guess at the number of guards that would be on watch at the perimeter in mid-afternoon. If what J suspected was correct, security would most likely have been increased. Heero mentally upped the number to twice his original estimate and proceeded to plot a course through the base. Satisfied that he had accounted for even the smallest of upsets, Heero located a suitable clearing four miles west of LaDaera and set Wing's course for the outcropping just outside the bounds of OZ's radar.

With Wing on auto-pilot, Heero relaxed back into his seat and allowed himself to rest for the next 45 minutes. If everything went according to his calculations, he would be home before nightfall.


Duo woke to the loud slam of a door. He shifted slightly, a little disoriented as he brought himself to a seated position. His stomach rumbled, and he turned toward the clock. "Just noon." He stretched a little before lying back down and rolling over onto his side. Food, rest and warmth had gone a long way to restore his lost strength. There was a marked improvement in his condition from just two hours ago when he had given in to his body's request for sleep.

He thought back to the short conversation he had with Wufei just before he fell asleep. Specifically, to the part where Wufei had shared his views of Heero's reaction to the condition he'd been found in. Duo would have liked to be able to believe it; that Heero cared enough about him to be phased by the possibility of his death in the way that Wufei had described. It was far more likely that Heero's concern stemmed from something related to their goals, rather than to Duo himself. He was on friendlier terms with Heero than any of the other pilots, but that was not saying much.

"You awake, Duo?"

Quatre's voice flowed softly into the room and Duo smiled as he turned onto his other side to face the doorway. "Hey, Quatre."

"You up for some lunch?" he asked.

Duo sat and pushed the covers off to the side with his feet. "Yeah. Just give me a few minutes and I'll come down."

"I can bring it up if you want."

Duo stood and slowly stretched to assist in bringing his body to a full state of wakefulness. "Be there in five."

Trowa, Quatre and Wufei were already seated around the table in the center of the tiny antiquated kitchen by the time Duo had made his way downstairs. He eased himself down into the empty chair beside Trowa and responded to the three sets of eyes that had followed his movements since he'd entered the room. "I'm fine." He was unable to hide the embarrassment he felt over what he'd done and the full realization of what they had mostly likely gone through to warm him during his bout of frigid unconsciousness. "Umm... thanks, guys."

Trowa was quick to remind him that it was Heero who had taken charge of his predicament and that thought caused the heat in Duo's cheeks to rise. He sought to change the subject and did so successfully. "When is Heero due back, anyway?"

"Tonight sometime. He said the mission was routine."

Duo nodded and the four continued their meal without further reference to what had happened the previous day.


The temperature had warmed considerably during the first few hours of the morning. Heero exited Wing and removed the outermost layer of his clothes to shed one of the two layers of lighter clothing he wore beneath. He slipped his coat back on and took one last look around the area before heading due east to his target.

Arriving shortly before noon, Heero hid himself in the low brush just outside the main compound and lying flat on the ground took out his binoculars. There did not seem to be an excessive amount of armed personnel on duty. Heero studied the movement of three men for several minutes, attempting to gauge their stride and tie down their pattern of motion. There was a window of about one minute when a small area of the perimeter fence went unguarded. Heero knew that he would have no difficulty making the short sprint and searched further for a suitable place to take cover once he was inside the base. Locating a storage shed just 100 yards to the left of where he would enter, Heero gave his plan a mental nod and tucked his binoculars into the pocket of his jacket.

He checked one last time that he had brought a disk with him, and that the safety on his gun was engaged before rechecking his timing and making a mad dash for the 6-foot high fence.


It was just before 4 p.m. when Quatre suggested the four of them start thinking about dinner. They had spent the better part of the day doing nothing and thoroughly enjoying it. Duo had volunteered to prepare their evening meal and waved off everyone's concern with a flick of his wrist. There were minimal after-effects of his experience, and Wufei's suggestion of keeping the fireplace going despite the already high temperature inside the tiny house had succeeded in taking the remainder of the chill from Duo's body.

He had found little in the way of ingredients and ended up preparing a quick tomato sauce with pasta. The four had finished dinner at around 6 p.m. and settled on the couch in the living room in front of the small black-and-white television. Trowa stood bent over the TV and manually turned the knob back and forth through the five or so channels they had decent reception for until finding something relatively interesting. Quatre excused himself an hour later and Duo watched as he seated himself in the chair across the room and propped Heero's mobile computer up onto his knees.

No one had checked the mail since Heero had left and Duo wondered if Quatre was at all concerned that Heero had not returned yet. As far as Duo knew, Heero had not given anyone the specifics of his solo mission, only alerting them to the fact that it would not take him long to accomplish it.

"Any idea where he was headed?"

Quatre looked up from his task to find Duo turned toward him and shook his head. "He didn't say." Quatre looked down at the screen briefly before looking back up at Duo. "He deleted the message as well."

A look of acknowledgment with undertones of worry passed between the two.


Inside the main building, Heero descended unnoticed into the lower levels of OZ's base. He searched the seemingly abandoned area in near darkness, hugging tight to the wall and peering quickly into each of the open doorways. The low murmur of voices in the distance caught his attention and Heero paused to determine where they were coming from. He slipped around the corner as two uniformed men exited a room half way down the corridor and waited until the sound of their footsteps faded before seeking entry into the room they had just abandoned.

Finding no one inside, Heero searched the room and locked the door once he determined there was a computer inside. He seated himself, quickly finding a way to override their security system, and began to search the mountains of data for any file that had been accessed within the last two weeks. Collecting all data which met his requirements, Heero transferred them onto his disk and tucked it away in the inside pocket of his jacket. He worked quickly then to cover his tracks, setting the time back an hour and rebooting the unit to assure any traces of his breach of the system would not be immediately detected.

Heero rose to make his exit and had taken only two steps toward his escape when he became aware that he was no longer alone. He reached for his gun as he stepped off to the left and successfully crouched down to hide himself low in the darkness, taking slow, shallow breaths as to not give away his position. The lights inside the room remained off, and it was several minutes later when Heero finally determined that whoever had entered the room had now taken their leave. He exhaled in relief and successfully brought himself to his feet before succumbing to a sudden sharp pain at the base of his skull and the blackness that ensued.

on to part 4

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