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 Four
By [ KM ]

//Where could he be?//

Duo stared out of his bedroom window, an anxious expression on his usually cheerful features, and peered through the flurries of snowflakes outside searching for any sign of Heero's return. He did not need to look at his watch to know that it was well past midnight, and he knew, he just *knew* that something had gone wrong during Heero's supposedly "routine" mission.

Tapping his fingers against the frosty glass, Duo tried not to think of the possible explanations for Heero's continued absence, but the images came to him unbidden, flashing through his mind like a horrific slideshow.

Heero being held prisoner, locked in a dank, lightless cell, left to die alone in the darkness.

Heero being tortured endlessly, too stubborn and too much of a soldier to end his suffering by giving up any information.

Heero self-destructing...

A violent shudder coursed its way through Duo's body, and he pulled his legs up onto the chair and wrapped his arms around them, resting his chin against his knees. Tugging on the hem of his soft flannel pajama pants, he tried to reassure himself. //No. That couldn't possibly be what happened. It's just your imagination, Duo. He's probably fine, the mission just took a little longer than he expected. Quit overreacting.//

A quiet knock at the door pulled him from his ponderings and at the sound of the door opening, Duo turned his head to get a look at his visitor.

"Hey Wufei. Isn't it past your bedtime?"

The aforementioned pilot raised a dark eyebrow and retorted smoothly, "This coming from the idiot who wandered out into a blizzard to look at a lake."

Duo heaved a heavy sigh and rolled his eyes. "I'm never going to live that down, am I?"

"Not if I have anything to do with it," smirked Wufei. "That's just too good to not mention at least once a day." Perching on the edge of Duo's bed, the Chinese boy inquired, "How are you feeling?"

With a shrug, Duo returned his gaze to the window and gently wiped away the condensation that had formed on the glass. "Aside from a seriously bruised ego, I feel fine. Physically, anyway..." He trailed off, unable to find words that would accurately describe his emotions.

However, Wufei seemed to be able to read Duo's mind. "You're worried about Heero, aren't you?"

"Heero doesn't need me to worry about him," replied the American pilot with a halfhearted chuckle, trying to dodge the question.

Seeing past his friend's sidestepping, Wufei repeated himself. "Aren't you?"

Duo glared. "Leave it alone, alright? I don't want to talk about it."

Undeterred, Shenlong's pilot pressed on. "It's a simple question, Duo; stop evading." At Duo's continued silence, he persisted, "Why don't you want to admit that you're worried about him? It's nothing to be ashamed of. If it makes you feel any better, Heero was quite concerned when you went missing."

"It's not that I'm ashamed; it's just that... I don't know, maybe I'm just overreacting. I mean, it is Heero. He knows how to take care of himself. I almost feel stupid getting so worked up about it."

Wufei shook his head. "I don't think it's stupid at all. I'm quite worried about him myself. If it were just a routine mission, he wouldn't have been gone this long. He should have made contact hours ago."

"Something must have happened to him." Duo bit his lip in a nervous gesture. "Do you think he was captured?"

"It's a possibility. But we shouldn't jump to conclusions. Dr. J could have given him new orders. Let's not assume the worst." Wufei stood and put a comforting hand on Duo's shoulder. "Don't stay up too late waiting for him. You need to get some rest."

Duo nodded. "You're right. But what about Heero? Shouldn't somebody wait up for him, just in case?"

With a laugh, Wufei headed for the door. "We'll leave the light on for him. And if he's not back by morning, we'll..." He paused a moment, his brow furrowing slightly in thought. "Well, I'm not sure what we'll do, but we'll think of something. Now go to sleep. Please. You look rather pathetic staring out the window like that."

"You need to shut your mouth before I do it for you, Chang."

"Bring it on, snow bunny."

Ducking out the door just in time to miss the pillow aimed for his head, Wufei headed off to his own bedroom, leaving Duo alone once again. With a mighty stretch, the braided pilot stood up from his window-side vigil and turned off the nearby lamp before settling into his bed. He wrapped the thick comforters around himself and closed his eyes, hoping to drift off quickly. However, his worries would not be dispelled so easily.

Flopping onto his back, Duo opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling. //Just let it go! There's nothing you can do about it now anyway, so it's useless to lose sleep over it. Besides, maybe Fei's right. Maybe Heero got new instructions. That's probably it. He'll most likely be here in the morning. Go to sleep.//

Yawning, Duo shut his eyes once more, continually reminding himself that everything would be fine in the morning. But no matter how much he tried to ignore it, he could not shake off the growing feeling of dread that gnawed at his stomach.



The complete absence of sound was the first aspect of Heero's surroundings that he became aware of when he regained consciousness. No humming of machinery, no distant voices, no footsteps. Just total silence.

As he blinked his eyes open, Heero next became aware of the darkness that surrounded him. He lifted a hand in front of his face, and although he could feel his own breath, he could not even see the outline of his fingers. It was almost as if he'd fallen into a vacuum.

For a moment, he thought that the blow to the head he'd suffered had paralyzed his senses, but he quickly dismissed that idea once he realized that he could hear himself breathing. His joints popped as he pulled himself into a sitting position on the hard steel floor and he stretched, checking himself for injuries at the same time.

The third thing he became aware of was the intense stabbing pain he felt in the back of his head. He touched the spot delicately, easily finding the large knot that had developed at the point of impact. The dried blood that matted his hair indicated that the skin had been broken, but how long and how much it had bled he could not determine.

His muscles ached, but there were numerous explanations for that pain. The cold temperatures that he'd been exposed to, both inside the cell and outdoors, for example, or the intense strain he'd put on his body sneaking onto the base, or the fact that he'd been lying on a highly uncomfortable surface for an indeterminate amount of time.

Realizing that he had no idea how long he had been unconscious, Heero felt his wrist for the watch that he usually wore, only to find it missing. After a quick search, he discovered that the disk he'd been carrying was gone as well, not to mention his gun and his binoculars. His captors had even confiscated his jacket, leaving Heero shivering in the chilly emptiness of his prison.

Heero reviewed his mission in his mind, trying to uncover any flaw that could have led to his failure. //I'm sure the perimeter guards didn't spot me when I came in over the fence; they were well out of range, and they would have been firing at me the moment they saw me. I didn't encounter any personnel until I came to that last hallway. It must have been one of those men I saw coming out of that room; one of them probably came back and found me in there. But I don't remember hearing anyone come in the room, and I'm positive I locked the door behind me. Was someone still in there when I came in? How could I have missed them? I checked the place thoroughly, I know I did. And I was certain that I was alone right up to when I was knocked unconscious. Was there a hidden entrance that I missed? Maybe I'm just getting incompetent. Or perhaps I was distracted...//

At that thought, Duo's face appeared in Heero's mind, but he pushed it aside for the moment, not wanting to end up blaming his failure on his attraction to his fellow pilot.

//It doesn't matter how I screwed up. All that matters now is that the disk is gone,

I've been captured, and I've got to figure out how to get myself out of this mess.//

Still unable to see anything but murky black, Heero pushed himself backwards a few feet until his back met cold steel. He carefully rose to his feet, using the wall to support himself. Toeing off one of his shoes to use as a starting point, he walked along the perimeter of the cell, attempting to ascertain the dimensions of the room.

The cell walls were paneled with steel or a similar, equally strong material, and there was no clear indication of where the door was located, since it blended in perfectly with the other panels. As he felt his way around the room, Heero could find no sharp corners or loose parts; nothing he could use as a weapon. It seemed to be a perfectly built cage for a dangerous prisoner.

//They must have been expecting me.//

He came to a stop when he tripped over the shoe he'd left behind. Slipping the sneaker back onto his foot, he mentally estimated the size of his cell. It was square shaped, approximately fifteen feet on each side. Heero felt that he could use the room's somewhat large size to his advantage, but since he had no idea where the entryway was located, he resigned himself to wait until someone came for him.

Moving into the middle of the cell, Heero sat back down on the cold floor, grateful that he had thought to wear long pants for this mission instead of his usual spandex. He had just begun to formulate his escape plans, which primarily relied upon taking out the first unlucky bastard that opened his cell door, when a sharp /hiss/ sounded behind him. Near blinding light flooded in from the open doorway before a man shaped shadow cast darkness over him once again. Heero waited until his eyes had adjusted before turning to face his captor.


Though Heero was only able to make out the man's silhouette, the light that glinted off his captor's silver mask was more than enough to reveal his identity.

"Heero," Zechs greeted smugly, the smirk evident in his tone. "So nice of you to join us."


After a fitful night's sleep, Duo arose to the sound of voices downstairs.


Practically leaping out of bed, the American dashed down the hall and took the stairs two at a time in his haste to see if the missing Gundam pilot had returned safely. He ran through the empty living room and into the kitchen, slamming to a halt in the doorway as he took in the scene. There were only three people gathered around the table, none of them Heero.

All his hopes dashed, Duo felt his heart sink. //He's not here.// Trudging despondently over to the table, he plopped into a chair and searched the faces of his comrades for any readable emotions. Much to his dismay, the other three pilots seemed to be equally downhearted.

"I stayed by the computer all night," began Quatre, the dark circles under his eyes confirming his statement. "There was no word from Heero."

Trowa spoke up next. "We've been discussing our options, going on the assumption that Heero was captured during his mission. Obviously we want to rescue him, but he deleted the email from Dr. J containing his instructions and he didn't mention where he was headed."

"We don't even know where to begin to look," Wufei added dejectedly.

The four pilots sat in uncomfortable silence, each mulling over their choices, hoping for some kind of plan to develop from the maddening absence of clues.

The moment of quiet was broken suddenly as Duo abruptly stood up, nearly knocking over his chair in the process. Darting out of the kitchen, he headed back upstairs, calling over his shoulder to his bewildered friends, "I think I've got an idea!"


"I'm afraid you picked the wrong day to infiltrate this base, Heero."

The captured pilot glared defiantly at Zechs, cursing the shackles that bound his hands and feet. "I didn't expect you to be here, Lieutenant. I guess I need to check my information more thoroughly."

The OZ officer chuckled, leaning back almost casually in his chair. "Don't be so quick to blame your sources. LaDaera was due for a surprise inspection; the personnel here didn't know I was coming, so it's no surprise that you were not informed."

Heero chose not to respond, instead testing his bonds until he noticed Zechs tapping his pistol against his thigh.

"It's useless trying to escape. Even if you do manage to break out of those handcuffs, you've still got to get past me, and don't think that I won't shoot you. It's not something I want to do, of course."

"Oh, of course," the Japanese boy muttered, fighting off the urge to roll his eyes. He glanced around the small interrogation room, taking in the steel paneling on the walls, making the room look eerily similar to his cell. The fluorescent light overhead filled the room with harsh brightness, making the two occupants of the room squint from the glare. The close quarters did not make for an easy escape, and getting past Zechs and his gun would be nearly impossible, as the imposing blonde man had made clear just moments before.

Zechs cleared his throat to get his prisoner's attention. "So, Heero... What did you come here for?"

Keeping his eyes downcast, Heero ground out, "You've got the disk. Figure it out."

Raising an eyebrow under his mask, Zechs stood up from his chair, his tall frame intimidating, even to Heero. "I know, but I'd like to hear it from you."

"I'd rather not say. Sorry to disappoint you." The dark-haired boy tilted his head up to look at his captor. "So what are you going to do with me? Kill me?"

Zechs smiled faintly. "No, you're not going to be killed. Not by me, at least. You'll probably be transferred out of here to some high-security facility until a trial can be scheduled."

Heero narrowed his eyes. "Oh, so I get a trial after all. I thought that OZ would rather have me dragged into the street and shot."

"Well, that could happen. It would be regretful, but it could happen."

Shifting in his chair, the Japanese boy smirked. "Then I guess I'll have to find a way out of here before one of your crazy underlings takes me out for my day in court."

"You're not getting out of here, Heero," responded Zechs, shaking his head. "Not this time. I'll escort you to prison myself if that's what it takes."

"You underestimate me. I *will* get out of here." //Somehow...//

Pushing off the wall he'd been leaning against, Zechs walked towards Heero, the heels of his high black boots clicking against the steel floor. Stopping a few feet away from the young pilot, he asked, "How? Do you honestly think that your friends will risk their lives just for you?"

Heero clamped his jaw shut and turned his head away, doing his best to shut Zechs out, but the blonde lieutenant pressed on.

"You are all alone and nobody's coming for you. Those other pilots aren't stupid. It would be suicide for them to attempt any rescue. You're stuck here."

Fuming, Heero whispered under his breath, "You don't know them."

Zechs took a step closer. "I know that they're not idiots, and they won't jeopardize the fate of the colonies just to save one person."

//They will come. They're my friends; they'll come for me. Duo will come for me...//

"No. You're wrong, Zechs."

Coming closer, Zechs leaned over Heero, and whispered menacingly, "They're not coming, Heero. Nobody will save you this time."

His dark blue eyes blazing, Heero jerked at his shackles and growled, "No! Duo will come for me! I know he will!"

Immediately after the words left him, Heero regretted saying them. Defeated, he hung his head, feeling disgusted with himself. //I can't believe I did that. Why did I let him get under my skin?//

At Heero's unintentional admission, Zechs smirked. "I'm surprised, Heero. I didn't expect you to give up any information that easily." He stood upright and walked back to his seat, trying to keep the bounce out of his step. Leaning forward in his chair, Zechs began a new line of questioning. "So, *Duo* is going to be your savior? He's the one with the braid, right? You've got taste, I'll give you that."

Heero glared, but kept his mouth shut, determined not to give Zechs anything else that could be used against him or his fellow Gundam pilots.

"Well, since you are so sure that you will be rescued, I'll just have to prepare for it. When and if your friends do come," Zechs grinned, "I'll be waiting for them."


Rummaging through the duffle bag that held most of his belongings, Duo finally found what he'd been searching for. Keeping a firm grip on the hand-held device, he made his way downstairs once again, a smile splitting his face.

"Guys, I think I've got a way to find him!"

The other three pilots met Duo at the foot of the stairs, eager to know what the American had up his sleeve.

Taking a seat on the steps, Duo showed his friends the palm-sized contraption. "Okay, don't get mad or anything, but a while back, I put some, uh, tracers on your Gundams. It was just a safety precaution; I didn't really know you guys and I sure as hell didn't trust you, so I thought it would be a good idea to keep tabs on your whereabouts." He looked up to gauge the others' reactions, hoping they wouldn't be too upset. Fortunately, they seemed to be more concerned with finding Heero than anything, so he continued. "So anyway, if this thing works like it should, I'll be able to tell where Wing is located."

Wufei looked suspicious. "Have you ever used it before?"

"Well..." he scratched at the back of his head, "I used it a few months ago-"

"Wait," interrupted Trowa. "Who were you tracking then?"

Duo's cheeks tinted pink and he coughed, mumbling something incoherent under his breath.

"What was that, Duo?" prodded Wufei, "I don't think we caught that."

Ducking his head, Duo answered, "I was tracking Wing."

"Oh, so you were following Heero?" asked Quatre with a slightly devious smile. "Do you track him often?"

"God, I never should have told you guys about this," muttered the embarrassed pilot. Trying to get back on topic, he said, "As I was saying, we should be able to find Wing using this locator, and Heero's sure to be somewhere within a five- to ten-mile radius, most likely at the nearest OZ facility."

Not giving the others a chance to comment, Duo powered up the tiny device, relieved when the digital display lit up. //At least it still works...// Pressing a few buttons, he set the gadget to locate Heero's Gundam. He held his breath for a moment as the thought of Heero self-destructing came to mind, but his fears were put to rest when a little dot began flashing on the small screen.

"Thank God..." he breathed out in relief. Reading the coordinates and factoring in the flight speed of their four Gundams, he guessed that the distance could be traversed in around two and a half hours. Pressing another button, Duo used the coordinates to find the nearest base, assuming that Heero would probably be there.

"Wing is about four miles outside of the LaDaera Base. I'm willing to bet that we'll find Heero there."

Trowa patted Duo on the back. "Good job, Duo. I'm sure we'll have no problems finding Heero. Don't worry; we'll bring him back safe."

Duo furrowed his brow, confused. "Yeah, I know *we* will bring him back, because *I* am going along with the rest of you."

Quatre shook his head. "I'm sorry, Duo, but I don't think you need to go on a strenuous mission when you haven't fully recovered from being out in the snow storm."

"This is ridiculous!" cried Duo angrily. "There's no way in hell that I'm staying behind! Heero saved my life and I plan on personally returning the favor. Besides, I feel fine, and I'm perfectly capable of performing any mission."

Wufei stepped forward. "You should listen to us. We only want what's best for you. We don't want you to get hurt again."

Duo fumed. "What's *best* for me is to go find Heero and get him out of OZ's hands. And don't you think that we'll need all the help we can get? If Heero got captured, there's got to be seriously tight security at that base, and it will take every one of us to get past it. I'm going along, and that's that. Now, let's quit wasting time. Heero's waiting for us!"

on to part 5

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