Author: Asuka Kureru
Warnings: Still not a lot of action n.n; But this is the end of the fluff
and relaxation part. Bwahaha.
I love you all, everyone who reads my fic. ( XD I love you more when you
review, but I love you anyway if you don't.) I sorry I can't answer to
everyone. I is dying under the weight of teh mailbox. That and I changed
my email recently, so if you email me, make sure it's the new one because
the old one is quite dead. I'm sure I lost lots of mail like that. ::stabs
The Ozzies come back next chapter. Yay? n.n;
I think I am at about four fifths of the plot. But it will probably mutate
on me again. So most of the fic has been written, but it's still not close
to the end yet.
I am still not telling what Duo will be. (insert evil laughter here.)
+ Part 32 (cont)
Trowa knocked softly at the infirmary door and pushed it open, glancing
inside. Sally wasn't anywhere in sight, but Quatre was sitting on the
edge of the hospital bed, wearing a clean t-shirt and his briefs. Pale
blue. Trowa pretended not to have noticed ; he was only interested by
the state of his legs.
"How do you feel?"
Quatre looked up at him and made a face that the brown-haired boy couldn't
interpret, before lifting the bottom of his shirt and the leg of his boxers,
baring a large part of his thigh. For a second, Trowa wondered if it was
an attempt at seduction. If that was the way the blond pilot wanted to
convince him, he wouldn't go far.
"Look. Do you see anything?"
Trowa stared at Quatre's thigh. Apart from a few red marks and some bruising,
his skin was as pale and smooth as always.
"No, nothing. Should I see something?" he asked, a second before seeing
the hole and the brown-red spots on the outside of Quatre's underwear.
"Rather, yes. This is where the bulled grazed me," the blond confessed
in a low murmur, his hand brushing the skin, where only a faint red line
Trowa took a second to digest that. Well. These healing abilities would
sure come in handy. He wondered how good they truly were, but it wasn't
as if any of them was going to volunteer to test them to the limit.
"You told Sally?"
"Yes. She's in her lab, verifying I don't know what in my blood," Quatre
added with a small smile. "She has a theory about my loss of control being
due to my body trying to heal itself."
"You have to admit that it's a possible solution, Quatre," the young woman
answered as she walked in the room through the back door.
"Maybe. Or maybe it only was that I stopped trying too early to keep the
instinct to transform at bay... Any clues?" he asked, absently rubbing
the inside of his elbow, where Sally had pricked him.
The woman sighed, shrugging helplessly.
"I have some results, but I'm going to need days to interpret them. In
the meantime, you seem to be in good health, but your glucose level is
way too low. I want you to go and eat something. Trowa, make sure he doesn't
faint before getting to the kitchen," she added with a nod to the green-eyed
He nodded seriously, accepting the mission.
"Wait, I can't walk around in the ship in my underwear," Quatre protested
as he got up. "Where did you put my pants?"
"Trash bin," she answered crisply. "It was dirty, shredded and covered
in blood. Same for your shirt."
Quatre gave her an annoyed look but didn't protest, sighing instead. It
was a bit too late to save them from the garbage chute now.
"You're decent enough to go to your own bedroom and change clothes," Trowa
remarked. "We're not so far. Then we'll go and eat."
Quatre thought about it and nodded. At this hour, the cabins area would
be mostly empty.
The trip to the bedroom was made in silence, Quatre lost in thought and
Trowa watching him closely with some worry. The young man honestly was
a bit pale...
Quatre got dressed quickly, then they went to the kitchen.
The cook was busy with the evening meal, but he let them raid the fridge,
and then the two boys exited the kitchen to go and sit in a corner of
the canteen. Trowa nibbled on some bread while Quatre devoured his meal,
apparently more hungry than he had noticed.
"We were supposed to talk about something, if I recall right."
Quatre's expression darkened.
"The telepathy incidents?" he asked, after checking that no one was looking
Trowa nodded soberly. "Did you ever read anyone else's thoughts?"
"No, only you. And not often. I don't know how it works at all," Quatre
admitted, chewing on his nail thoughtfully. "The only element in common
between these times was a violent feeling..."
"So it's still linked to your emotions. Probably a development of your
empathy. Do you know why it's happening now?"
"No... there wasn't a lot of research made on newtypes in the Colonies.
Few people know how and why they're different, and a lot of people even
think they're just another urban legend. I'd say the new development is
linked to the lycanthropy, but as far as I know, it could just be a side
effect of puberty, like the hair and the growth spurt. I don't know how
we could check..."
"I doubt there are many newtype weres anyway," Trowa commented in a pensive
Quatre sighed and nodded.
Were-animals couldn't live on a colony for very long, and in these times
of war between Earth and the Colonies, rare were the Colonists who made
trips down there often enough to risk a contamination. Seeing as newtypes
were barely starting to appear in families who has been in space for at
least three generations, the number of people in the Earth sphere who
happened to be both newtype and werebeast had to be very close to zero.
"Okay, so we know your empathy is starting to ...spread out to also receive
thought on top of feelings. Anything else?"
Quatre bit his lip guiltily.
"I think we're not dealing with just receiving any longer."
Trowa straightened up, staring at him.
"I... After the last full moon... I ended up in a farm. As a human. I...
There was a farmer."
"And?" Trowa nudged him when the blond one didn't show any sign of wanting
"I thought at him not to go in my direction, and he didn't. Then I felt
guilty, and he almost started to cry. I was imposing my feelings and my...
my will on him."
Quatre shivered as he remembered, and hurried to check that he wasn't
emitting again. He didn't seem to be, so he relaxed.
The green-eyed pilot needed a long while to digest that particular bit
"... I can see you emitting feelings as well as receiving them..." Trowa
commented as he remembered the sudden bout of sadness he'd felt the other
day, after the full moon, when he'd been sitting with Heero and ignoring
Quatre. "It only seems logical. But to command someone?"
"I don't think I really commanded him... but rather influenced him. And
when I scratched my hip while escaping, he noticed me right away. And
there were the hunters... I ordered them to look at me while Hilde ran
off. It lasted until she landed in the water, and then the splash woke
them up. I don't know if it was because I had stopped pushing them or
if there were limits on what they could ignore."
"We'll have to test," Trowa muttered thoughtfully.
"Yes... If I can do it again," the boy sighed. "I'm not sure it works
when I'm not convinced of absolutely needing it."
"Train. Train until you can do it at will, and until you can read my thoughts
whenever you decide."
Quatre stared at him, surprised.
"It wouldn't bother you...?"
"It can be useful later. In the meantime, I prefer that you do it after
warning me than by accident, and if you can control this thing, it will
mean that I won't have to wonder how upset you can get before I need to
watch my thoughts."
The blond teenager flinched, but nodded. Trowa was fiercely private, and
he had to hate how Quatre could peek at his thoughts. If Quatre trained
on him, it meant there were long stretches of time where he could be thinking
intimate stuff without risking being caught. It wasn't as good as having
his spirit entirely protected, but it was better than having to always
wonder if right now, Quatre wasn't being a voyeur.
"When are you going to tell the others?"
Quatre grimaced and raked a hand through his hair.
"I prefer to have a better idea of what I can do, frankly. Right now,
I have only read your thoughts twice, and both by accident. As for the
mental influence... Those were really extreme urgency cases. If the gift
responds to this feeling of urgency, maybe the simple fact of knowing
that I'm not in danger because I have it will be enough to prevent it
from responding to me."
Trowa had a little laugh, the corner of his lips quirking up in a sarcastic
"That would be ironic."
"It won't be as amusing if it really happens," the blond shot back. "I
want to know exactly what I can do first, before I start taking it for
granted. For now, it's too random. I will be happy to use it if I can,
but I am not going to count on it. I don't want the others to take it
into account as long as I can't depend on it utterly. They would expect
me to use it for the missions, but right now, I can't, and I don't know
when I will be able to... If I can ever learn to use it at will. I prefer
not to give them false hopes."
Trowa nodded thoughtfully.
"Very well, we won't say anything for now. But we have a few days before
the next mission..."
"I will find occasions to train," the blond pilot agreed as he picked
up his fork.
Howard pushed back his account book and accepted the list of messages
one of his Sweepers was giving him. There were a few letters and transcriptions
of radio communications from his contact, but the stack of papers seemed
a bit thicker than usual. The old man frowned thoughtfully.
Available supplies at the next harbor, report from a spy -- he spent a
few minutes reading it over -- request for assistance for weapon manufacturing,
contraband hardware to transport to Australia... Message from Catherine
Bloom... Curious, he read the first sentence and started to laugh. The
young woman had "convinced" one of his contacts back where they left her
of transmitting a message to "her little brother". He put the message
aside, promising himself that he'd stay to watch Trowa's reaction when
he would read it. From her years with the circus, Cathy had apparently
ended up with a very... varied vocabulary.
There was a transcription of a radio message, coded with a key he hadn't
seen for months. He decoded it quickly, reading the instructions, then
turned his computer on and connected to the net.
The webcam window barely surprised him when it popped open, but he hadn't
expected to see S's absence of nose from so close.
"Move over, S!" G ordered as he bumped him out of the way. "Hey, Howard.
Still on your floating pile of scrap metal from what I see," he added
with a glance toward something that was just under the camera, probably
a map to pinpoint where the call was coming from.
"Still here, yeah," the man with the Hawaiian shirt agreed.
He didn't ask G where he was. His old friends were extremely paranoid.
"The kids still with you?"
Howard didn't ask how he knew either; he knew that some of his men sent
reports to the Mad Five regularly. Seeing how some of the mechanics he
had trained worked for the scientists but still kept on asking him for
help when they got stuck, he and the Mad Five tacitly agreed to consider
it a fair exchange.
"Yes, still here. I'm dropping them off by their next mission site and
then they'll get by on their own."
"There's... A week left? Two?" G asked innocently.
Howard pulled his shades off, cautiously put them away in his pocket,
then looked up at G. They stared at each other quietly for a few long
"Why do you need to know that?"
"We had upgrade ideas. It wouldn't hurt the kids to have your men's help.
Turn on your printer, I'm sending it directly. Hey, J! Make yourself useful,
you old geezer," he called over his shoulder.
Howard saw J walk behind G, expressionless, without looking at the camera.
His bionic goggles made judging his mood difficult, but the corner of
his mouth indicated some bitterness.
Howard's printer turned on and he thoughtfully watched it spit out page
after page of diagrams and plans.
"Your upgrade ideas, what are they?" he asked to start the conversation
"Simple, really. The base was common to the five of us, but we all innovated
in our own domains for our Gundams. That each of them has a specialty
is good, but still, taking what makes a Gundam more dangerous and adding
it on another can only help. Of course, there are some compatibility problems...
For example we can't add a lot on Wing; its beam weapons are already eating
most of its power and the modifications also have to say out of the way
when it shifts to bird mode."
Behind him, J grumbled something in Japanese which was probably not quite
flattering seeing the way G snorted.
"Heavyarms and Sandrock need the same power accumulators as the other
three if we want to give them some more thermal weapons. For the moment,
Heavyarms isn't worth shit in close-range combat. Between us," he added,
whispering just a bit too loudly, "S should keep with his new generation
of joints, his Gundam moves well but its weapons suck."
A rolled-up ball of paper bounced off his head and Howard snickered, amused.
Sometimes he felt that, emotionally, his friends were still stuck in adolescence.
"Anyway, the major point is adapting Deathscythe's stealth cloak on the
other Gundams. It was genius to make it undetectable to radars, if I may
say so, an idea that the other Gundams would find very useful indeed..."
"When you feel that you have sufficiently patted yourself on the back,
tell us," J growled as he bopped G on the head with a thick folder. "The
plans all went through, now cut the communication before we get caught,"
he added, walking away without looking back.
G rolled his eyes, grimacing, then winked at Howard, who was laughing
his ass off quietly as he observed the scene.
"The plans aren't complete, and still only so many concepts. We're designers,
not mechanics. But with a little work, the boys should get by just fine.
You'll say hi to Duo for me?"
"No problem," Howard answered with a nod.
"And tell him to stop sulking because his baby won't be as unique anymore.
It's an occasion to get his hands on Shenlong's flamethrowers, after all."
Howard started to laugh, and he was still laughing when G nodded a salute
at him and cut the connection.
"There's no way I'll let these barbarians get their hands on my baby!!"
Howard thought to himself that G knew Duo decidedly well.
"I'd have to let them in my cockpit, and they'd put their noses everywhere,
and they'd steal what makes Deathscythe the best Gundam! ... Apart from
his pilot, of course."
"If you let Wufei borrow your stealth cloak, I'm sure he'll be willing
to let you adapt the flamethrowers," Howard commented innocently.
The braided teen shut up, blinking dreamily.
Apparently G knew that Duo had a pyromaniac's soul.
"Flames? Oooh, fire... You'd do that?"
"I would have to want your cloak first," Wufei grumbled, crossing his
arms. "Hiding to attack secretly is cowardly. I am certainly not going
to use such a technique."
"Ouch," Howard commented softly as Duo growled.
Quatre swallowed a fit of laughter.
"As for me, using non-thermal weapons is an advantage, since I don't risk
running out of energy, but if we could adapt my generators after Wing's
model, I wouldn't say no to a secondary weapon. Trowa?"
"Same," the green-eyed boy commented soberly.
"In any case Tro's weapons can't get worse," Duo snickered. "Heavyarms
and its habit of running out of ammo..."
Trowa showed him his middle finger.
"But its joints are both more flexible and more resilient than the other
Gundams," Heero commented. "If there was a way to reinforce Wing's, it
would suit me. The transformation to bird mode regularly deteriorates
The pilots were lost in thought for a few minutes. The pilots lapsed into
thought for a few minutes. Howard observed them in silence, stupefied
(as he still was sometimes) by the competence and instinctive mechanical
skills that these adolescent boys possessed.
"I suggest we list everything that the others possess that would make
our own Gundams better, and then we'll arrange a way to put everything
Trowa and Heero nodded their agreement, Duo grinned at Quatre and Wufei
shrugged before turning away.
"I don't want anything," he commented.
"So think of what you can give," the blond shot back.
Wufei gave a long, indecipherable look at his comrade, then smirked and
nodded. Knowing that the other Gundams would be made more efficient because
they would make some of Nataku's abilities theirs amused him greatly.
He just had to see it not as a theft but a tribute.
[ A few days later ]
Duo dragged his feet along the corridor, relieved when he finally saw
the door of his bedroom. He had spent the day working on the Deathscythe
adaptations on Sandrock with Quatre, like the previous day and the day
before that, and he was dead on his feet. He didn't understand how the
blond pilot managed to keep going, but if he wanted to stay "just five
minutes longer," really, it was his choice. It was a good thing that for
now the five of them were concentrating all their efforts on Sandrock
and Heavyarms; it was already difficult to upgrade a Gundam with help,
so doing it alone...
The light was on in the common room at the end of the corridor, indicating
that at least one of his teammates was there. It was implicitly known
that their bedrooms were private, and could only be accessed on invitation,
but when someone was in the common room, it generally meant that they
wouldn't say no to some company. And an invitation like that from one
of the three antisocial guys of the team couldn't be refused without a
better reason than some fatigue.
He shouldered the door open, leaning against the frame, and glanced inside.
... Okay, maybe they didn't really need him.
Heero and Trowa were sitting on the couch side by side, slightly turned
toward each other, Trowa nonchalantly leaning on his elbow which was resting
on the Japanese teen's shoulder. Their thighs were pressed against each
other. They were leaning over a large sheet spread across their laps and
had been murmuring to each other when he had barged in. Now they were
looking at him, interrupted.
"Ah, Duo," Heero greeted him before he could open his mouth to apologize
for interrupting. "Tell us what you think."
The American realized that the sheet was a plan; a Gundam's arm to be
"What are you doing?"
"We're trying to find a way to place the circuits so that they don't get
stuck in the new joints," the Japanese teen replied with a pensive frown.
"I don't know a lot about Heavyarms-type joints, you know," he reminded
them as he leaned over the sheet.
It was quite complex indeed, and he had to make an effort to visualize
these red, green and blue lines as a three-dimensional object.
"... I think I see where it gets stuck, but it won't be practical to get
around it. Unless you lengthen the wires and go that way," he added, his
finger following the external edge of the elbow, "but the armor plating
is thin there and it's going to be a lot easier to lose power in combat."
"We'll see how to get around the armor problem if we can't find another
way," Trowa commented absently. "Sit down," he added, pulling the coffee
table closer with his foot.
If Heero had invited him, Duo wouldn't have been sure that he was truly
welcome. But if it was Trowa... Content, Duo sat on the table face to
them, his knees touching theirs, and looked over the plans with them.
The problems to sort out with Wing and Deathscythe were more complicated
than Heavyarms and Sandrock, the reason why the five pilots had started
working on Gundams 03 and 04 first. Heavyarms and Sandrock were now equipped
with thermal weapons, more efficient generators, and Sandrock now had
hyper jammers modified from Deathscythe's design.... well, it wasn't finished
yet, but Quatre and Duo were working on it. Trowa hadn't wanted them for
his own Gundam, the bulk would have compromised his mobility.
As for Shenlong, Wing and Deathscythe, that was another matter. The fuel
conduits that were necessary to install Shenlong's flamethrowers on Deathscythe
interfered with the circuits of its shields. Wing was even more complex
because of the Bird mode. As for Shenlong, Wufei had refused to change
anything, and so he was using his free time for a complete check-up.
Quatre opened the door to the common room to discover the three of them
flat on their fronts, drawing furiously.
"Gimme the red pen!"
"I'm using it," Heero growled, not letting go of said pen.
"Evening, Quatre," Trowa greeted him as he swiped the green pen Duo had
left on the floor.
The blond pilot approached slowly, staring at the sheets of paper... ah,
diagrams. They had been swimming in them for days.
"I thought you were done working for today, Duo," he commented with some
amusement, but Duo didn't answer, too busy trying to pin Heero down on
the floor and make him let go of the red pen.
Tiredly, Quatre wondered if they were fighting for real or just playing.
Without thinking too much about it, he extended his senses.
It was a lot easier for him to receive Heero's feelings than Duo's, as
he realized after a few seconds spent trying to untangle the different
"tastes" attached to the emotions and impulses he was getting. But it
was mostly because Heero's Wolf insisted to make the American bare his
throat in submission. It wasn't really aggressive though, only a weird
mix of canine protocol and play. As for Duo, he was just having fun. Which
didn't prevent him from enjoying the way he was accidentally rubbing against
his comrade's body. Blushing slightly, Quatre thought that Duo would be
better off conceding the victory or he would end up poking Heero in a
most embarrassing way.
He sat down cross-legged at Trowa's side, sending him a little smile and
his amusement. The green-eyed teen blinked, his surprise transmitting
to Quatre, then his understanding. They had tested Quatre's gift often
during the last days, and the blond one had understood pretty fast how
to share his feelings --even if it only worked properly when he was relaxing
or tired-- though he had a lot more trouble starting a sharing than stopping
it once he was "connected". Trowa had learned to discern his own sentiments
from his comrade's-- they had a brighter, more sophisticated feel than
his own -- but he knew that if he wasn't aware of what the cheetah-boy
could do, he would have been hard-pressed to notice that his reactions
came from outside of himself. They'd never tested while around the other
/triumph/ Quatre sent with lots of smug satisfaction.
Trowa looked up at him, arching an eyebrow.
Another day, the Arab would have stopped there when faced with the relative
complexity of the message he wanted to send, but he was quite satisfied
with himself and suddenly it didn't seem so hard anymore.
/Other:sad-rejected. Me:relief. Other:notsad./
Trowa blinked several times, trying to sort out what Quatre had just dumped
into his head. The string of concepts was longer and more complex than
usual, and some of the perceptions, though not Trowa's, didn't feel like
Quatre's either, as if the empathy had tried to imitate another emotional
Quatre checked that Heero and Duo were still roughhousing, and then informed
Trowa in an unconcerned tone.
"Sorry I'm late. One of the Sweepers just got dumped, but from what he
tells me it was to be expected; his ex-girlfriend was a first-class manipulator.
He would have felt better in a few days, but for the moment he was so
depressed that... I spent a moment chatting with him to help him see the
positive side of the whole mess."
In other words, he had read his feelings and brought to the surface the
most positive ones. Trowa nodded, impressed. Quatre's ability rarely worked
on people he didn't know. Except the compulsion apparently, but they had
a theory that it was because he felt less guilty forcing people to do
what he wanted when they weren't his friends.
"How is Sandrock?" Trowa asked, cautiously changing the subject.
"Not complete yet. I'm afraid he won't be ready for the next mission,"
the blond sighed. "We'll be there soon, and we cannot ask Howard to float
aimlessly until we are ready, we're already putting him at enough of a
"I think I can finish Heavyarms, but it's going to be hard work," Trowa
commented, sighing quietly.
"We still haven't really started on the last three, at least they'll still
be battle-ready," Quatre replied thoughtfully.
"Can someone tell me why Maxwell and Yuy are currently rolling on the
floor like two actors from a bad porn movie? Unless they're pretending
to be two extras in a cheap action flick..."
Leaning against the doorframe, Wufei was observing the scene, one of his
black eyebrows arched expressively.
"I'm leaning toward the porn movie," Trowa commented calmly while Quatre
choked on his laughter.
"I'd lean toward the porn too," Duo shot back without loosening his hold
on Heero, who was rolled into a ball around his pen, "but it's kinda hard
to have a realistic sex scene when you're dressed, yanno."
"Since when are porn movies realistic?" Wufei scoffed, his eyebrow taking
on an even more mocking curve.
"Monsieur is a connoisseur from what I see."
"Your collection taught me a lot."
"You watch my porn flicks!!!" Duo exclaimed, pointing at the Chinese teen
"It's not as if you hide to watch them, you know," Trowa deadpanned.
"Blahblahblah... Hey!! Gimme that pen back!!!"
Heero rolled on the floor, evading his comrade.
And he flopped down on his front before his blueprints and started drawing
lines, ignoring everyone once again. Duo growled, glancing at the wolf
from the corner of his eye.
/To give him a good hard slap on his ass or not to give a good hard
slap on his ass?/
Since he seemed not to be able to make a decision, Quatre did it for him.
Heero yelped with surprise, jumping off the floor, and stared at the blond
"You spanked me," he said, blinking owlishly.
"You shouldn't have showed them," the cheetah grinned back innocently
while wondering what the hell had gotten into him.
"You slapped Heero's ass!" Duo exclaimed, at the same time admiring and
Quatre laughed heartily, scratching the back of his head in a vaguely
guilty way. He had let Duo's enthusiasm contaminate him.
"Yes, and I'm not going to do it again. I think I broke my hand."
Giving him a wary glance, Trowa rolled on his side to put his own butt
out of range. Wufei couldn't help but snort at his falsely suspicious
expression. A few seconds later they were all laughing.
"... I think we're all tired..." Quatre commented, still smiling.
"We've been working hard recently," Duo replied, slumping back against
He stretched his legs, and since one of his feet was bumping against Heero's
side, decided to just rest his leg across his back. The Japanese teenager
growled at him, but thinking that a second brawl wouldn't be very intelligent,
decided not to bother protesting more verbally.
"I should finish up my side of the blueprints before I go to bed, but
I'm just too lazy and Heero is monopolizing the only red pen."
Wufei stepped over Trowa and picked up the abandoned sheet of paper, giving
it a quick glance.
"I have a brown felt-tip pen," he indicated, pulling it out of his pocket.
Instead of giving it to Duo, who for once honestly looked tired, he sat
on the couch by the American and pulled the coffee table close to finish
inking the lines Duo had penciled in quickly.
Quatre closed his eyes and tasted the currents of feelings in the room.
Everyone was tired, but it was a good tiredness born from a full day.
The general mood was good, and they were all expressing variants of contentment
and quietude. It was comfortably peaceful, as was the quiet friendship
they were all feeling and that, to his surprise, he was receiving only
to send it right back. That was a nice feedback loop.
After the next mission, there was no doubt that their quiet little vacation
would be finished. It would be like kicking an anthill; OZ was going to
scramble all over for a long moment and it would have repercussions on
the rest of the political situation. Who knew when they would have an
occasion to get another moment like this one?
He leaned back against the wall, his eyes still closed, sharing the sentiment
of tranquil unity with his four teammates. He would have the headache
from hell tomorrow morning, using his empathy so much in one day, but
it was well worth it.
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