Author: Asuka Kureru
Warnings for this episode: violence, little bit of bloodshed (nothing too eww), Poor Feifei-chan... I'm so cruel with him. I like him!!!!!! Well, before, it was Quatre, it's only fair that he gets a turn, no? But, Quatre ain't spared either. Bwahaha. Longer chappie... didn't know how to cut it ^^; Bet you won't complain, though.

Garou + Part 11
Ninmu shippai

The second after he let himself slide into his dreams, Quatre opened his eyes on a forest.

"Again... It's beginning to get slightly boring," he protested.

He stepped forward, thinking very hard of the ice-covered lake , but nothing happened... he was still in the woods.

He had believed that he had gained enough trust from the Wolf guarding Yuy's dreamforest to be authorized to arrive directly to the lake, the center of his dream-domain, but...

Sandrock's pilot mumbled unhappy comments and squat on the ground to think more comfortably, his long tail swaying back and forth behind him, helping him to keep his equilibrium on his strange paws-feet, his talons, sunk into the soil, tracing little designs without importance.

And then, he realized something very strange.

The forest was much more sparse, less dense. In fact, he didn't see brambles anywhere, which was fucking strange when you were used to the usual coppice of Heero's dreamforest. The trees, most of them birches or willows, were thin and quite far from each other, only a few bushes, a few low branches. The intense-green grass was tall and fresh, buds of closed flowers poked up here and there. And there was light filtrating from the top of the trees, a soft, golden light that drew magic-looking rays in the air. He could feel a presence in this wood, but, to his immense confusion, it didn't seem to realize that he was there. It didn't express any animosity against him... In fact, it didn't express much of anything. As if the woods were sleeping, waiting. As if... he didn't know. As if they were, not dead, but not really alive... In stasis, waiting. A little breeze was making the willows' branches dance; it was... relaxing. As if a redoubtable winter had just ended, and the plants and animals didn't realize yet that now, it was Spring.

Well, one thing he was sure of. He wasn't at Heero's. But then, whose?

Then, the forest became strangely blurred and disappeared, and he found himself in blackness. It surprised him, but didn't awaken him entirely. The other probably had sunk in a deeper sleep or had woken up, and his inner landscape had become inaccessible.

His clawed hand idly playing with his furred ear, he wondered what his own inner landscape looked like.

And then it was as if he was stepping back, as if he had been looking through binoculars and now he was ... he didn't know, taking the focus back nearer to him

And all at once, he was behind the green-blue water mirror he had been bent upon
/but I was sitting in the forest/ and contemplated for a few seconds the impossible images / gold and red flame dancing and white-blue mountain and frozen crater in a dark forest and so many others, so many/ in the moving waters under his own reflection /is it me? I don't recognize myself / before straightening up, glancing at his environment.

He wasn't surprised to recognize an oasis, palm trees shielding him from the sun and keeping the freshness around the hidden water pond, emerald and aquamarine jewel at the center of the golden dunes, a sandy landscape covering everything around him, till, far away at the horizon line, the sand melted itself with the absolute and intense blue of the cloudless sky.

It was more of a re-acquaintance than a discovery.

One way or another, he had always known what the land of his dreams looked like.

* * * * * *

The morning after, when he woke up, Quatre had a mild headache and was feeling nearly hungover. / but I didn't drink anything / It was strange, it felt like one of those fatigue migraines, like the ones he had when he spent all night reading and thinking about a mission, or just thought too hard and too long about something.

He dragged himself to the kitchen, his feet heavy, feeling tired out already. He was so tired... but calmer too, more in peace with himself. He was under the impression that he should have remembered something, but he didn't quite grasp what. If only he could remember his dreams! But he always forgot nearly as soon as he opened his eyes. Too bad, because he knew that what happened in them often set his mood for the rest of the day ...

Trowa gave him a cup of coffee in silence and he gave him a grateful glance. As he was sipping the scalding hot beverage and reading the newspaper, he wondered briefly, deep down, why he had seen willows swaying with the wind in the green eyes of his friend. Then he happened to glance at a political communiqué, and forgot.

* * * * * * * * *

A week and a half after the pilots' secession The mission they were preparing themselves for was probably one of their most difficult ones.

Because the old bastard J hadn't seen fit to share with them his information, they had learned nearly too late of the new discovery by OZ scientists, one day only before the official presentation of the final product. Treize Kushrenada himself was going to go and see the demonstration, and then, it would be mass-produced... a beam cannon supposedly able to blow holes in Gundanium plates a meter thick, and light enough to be transported by specially reinforced Leo units. If it worked, and the scientists wouldn't have broken the news to Kushrenada if they hadn't been sure that indeed it worked, they would be in trouble.

And now, they were presented with the mission of going to the base and destroy prototype, blueprints and everything else, scientists included, before the presentation. It was 5 AM, the said presentation would take place at 10 AM, and the base was crawling already with soldiers and new security installation, because of the visit of the General. They would probably be expected too. The only things they were sure of was that the cannon really existed, that it wasn't a total trap. But they would more than probably be awaited.

Damn that old bastard J.

The plans were made fast, and they would need boldness and speed more than anything else. They didn't have the time to research enough to be on the safer side.

Quatre and Wufei would be sent inside of the laboratories to find the plans and notes, and wipe out the computers. Duo, who was the best at slipping around in the dark unnoticed, was to assassinate the scientists and assistants, and to find any personal notes they could have been carrying. Trowa would stay behind in Heavyarms, ready to cover his comrades' escape if need arose and to serve as a decoy. Heero took the inside of the hangars to plant explosives on the cannon and every MS and helicopter who could give them chase, and making sure to disorganize the soldiers.

It was the best plan they could come up with on such a short notice.

They all knew that it probably wouldn't be enough. This mission had a very low success rate. But sadly, it was too important to abandon it.

Especially accounting for the fact that Quatre was still slightly fevered and wobbly on his legs, but he could walk, he could think... Finally they let him come for the sole reason that they really, really needed someone to go with Wufei in the laboratories, because the work on the computers was too absorbing and the pilot doing it would probably end up being caught by surprise by a patrol. And they couldn't expect the plan to function if the attack was not simultaneous. Of course they could just have come with the Gundams and leveled it to the ground, but there were too many MS, they would be detained long enough for the plans to be sent to another base.

And Quatre was too practiced at talking you into giving into his wishes. It was far easier to let him do what he wanted.

* * * * * *

Arrived in the hall going to the room they were searching for, the Arab and the Chinese realized that there were six guards blocking the way in. After a period of observation, they saw that the men were changed regularly each fifteen minutes; in other words they had to get rid of the new ones as soon as the other patrol left if they wanted to get the maximum amount of time... Without alerting this same patrol.

They jumped in the group in silence, Wufei's sword and Quatre's knifes plunging with a deathly precision toward their targets; they couldn't permit guns to attracting attention too soon.

Wufei killed two of them in a second before they even saw him, one with a flowing move across his throat and the other with a thrust of the tip in his heart. He didn't have the time to disengage his weapon before another soldier slashed the air near his face; he succeeded in avoiding having his eye gouged out by stepping back, and cut off the man's head, before turning toward the other men and Quatre. The small blond had gotten rid of two of his opponents before they could even cry out with a symmetric hit to the heart, but had a problem with the last man, who was protecting himself with his gun's handle. Quatre didn't have enough reach to touch him and the soldier wouldn't wait long before calling out.

Wufei plunged his sword through his body from behind, putting a lid on his notions on honor and fair combat. It was a war and he had already done worse. He was ready to do anything to make his cause triumph and if he had to betray his own personal moral codes for that, he would just have to do it.

If he repeated it to himself long enough, maybe it would stop hurting.

* * *

They slid inside, and after having dragged the corpses after them to avoid being discovered too fast, they got working.

While he was observing the computers, Quatre was idly cleaning his blades on a torn vest before holstering them in the sheaths hidden on his wrists. Wufei took guard duty, looking right and left, indifferently trying to stop the blood drop lazily flowing from a cut he had gained, just between the eyes, and that he hadn't even felt. He let his eyes wander on the blond for a few seconds. Quatre knew what to do with computers, and for the moment he was downloading a mean virus Yuy had concocted especially for them.

The Chinese boy started when he saw him briefly press his hand on his belly before returning to concentrate on work. The flightsuit was black, he hadn't seen anything. But the palm had been damp with a red smear where it had been pressed against the torn material.

"Wounded?"

"A scratch, nothing too deep" answered Winner without looking away from the screen, his face serious and concentrated, and his cold eyes making him look far older than his fifteen years.

Sometimes, when the young man, oh so polite and so cheerful, smiled, Wufei caught himself forgetting that his gifted, tactician brain reduced any adult one to nothing. But one glimpse of the cold, calculating gleam in his eyes, usually so warm, was enough to never truly forget the brain hiding behind the child.

His specialization wasn't computers, like Yuy, but he was gifted enough to do a better job than Wufei would have been able to.

He envied him a little. He envied them all. His only talent was knowledge of fighting, as he often thought. Trowa was a master at infiltration, Quatre a tactician and a diplomat of genius level, Yuy a god as for computers…Duo a genius in theft and diverse forbidden acts, as much as in public relations. Him... What did he have, apart from his piloting and his hand-to-hand combat skills? He could grow to feeling inferior...

Ha! How Duo would laugh if he knew that despite his behavior, he felt inferior to them all. That he was under the impression that he didn't deserve them, didn't do them honor.

"Hmm..."

A scratch maybe but it didn't cost him anything to make sure that his comrade didn't bleed all over the place... he went to tear off one of the dead men's shirt and made it a bandage for his comrade. Quatre glanced at him, surprised, when he began to patch him up with precise and efficient movements, but let him do it with a grateful smile before turning back to his computer.

"I'll thank Sally... She taught you well," gently teased the Arab teen, aware of course of the annoyance the other teen felt at her affection and big-sisterly ways with him. "Thanks Wufei."

Wufei grumbled, bothered, and pushed back a black strand of hair that fell on his nose. He tried to push it back behind his ear, but it didn't want to stay there. He realized that his band had probably broken during the fight and that the man's knife had cut short a few bangs, shortening them to eye level... at the same time that he had given him that cut between his eyes, in a diagonal. He hadn't felt it at first, but now it was beginning to sting. He put a hand dirty with Quatre's blood on his wound to try to block the blood flow running down his nose and chin, and went to search for a handkerchief into one of the soldier's pockets. It wasn't deep as far as cuts go, but head injuries always bled more than others, he knew that. Once he had found one, he pressed it on his would and bent over Quatre's shoulder to look on his progress.

The boy was pretty good, and finished fast. He nodded at his comrade and they both walked out of the door... a group of guards was waiting for them in the corridor, alerted by their comrade's blood on the floor.

Not even letting them the time to see him, Quatre darted toward the aeration conduit from where they had come, while Wufei shot the guards to force them to take cover. But he knew that no one would be there to cover him when he would need it, so he decided to run away using the other road instead of giving them his back to shoot on. They would certainly not have the honor not to use it... he would have refused to have it in their place.

He dashed off to the nearest exit using the emergency path, blessing Yuy and his manic need to have at least two dozens alternative plans. He had been separated from Quatre, but it would only give the boy more chances to get away; they hadn't seen him and probably believed that Wufei was the one running away with stolen information, it was more important to chase him instead of losing time searching for an eventual accomplice.

They were all after the Chinese now and had probably told all of the base to get ready, but it wasn't important because in five... four corridors, there would be an exit, and then, he would just be covered by Yuy and Winner until he got into the car too.

A bullet hissed past his shoulder and he stifled a malediction , accelerating his run yet again. He took a narrow turn in the next corridor, grabbing at the wall so as not to fall... then heard a gunshot, just as his leg suddenly refused to bear his weight and he found himself falling head first toward the wall.

He just had the time to damn OZ in his head before his field of vision exploded in red, then in black.

* * *

[cont]