Garou + Part 11 (cont)
Ninmu shippai

* * *

Quatre had just joined with Heero at the rendezvous point outside of the hangars and they were waiting for Wufei, already late, to make the Jeep dash out of there when the small blond cried out without reason and caught his leg with both hands, before clinging to Heero's arm with all of his forces. The Japanese suddenly remembered that the small and so fragile looking boy also had excellent qualifications to be a Gundam pilot, even against his so nice behavior and every appearance suggesting the contrary. His hold was steel-strong and would probably leave a pretty big bruise, even with Heero's unusual healing speed.

Wing's pilot turned toward him, alerted, and only had the time to catch him before his head hit the headboard. Quatre had just lost consciousness under the shock. Heero put his hand flat on the boy's sternum, keeping him sitting straight, and slowly pushed him back against the back of the seat. He couldn't free his arm at first with such a tight hold, even in Quatre's unconscious state.

"Quatre ?" he asked in a low voice, worried by the reaction, so violent and apparently without any causes.

But the young man didn't answer. His breath was fast and dry, rough, his pulse frantic and erratic, and his pupils had dilated so far that his comrade only saw, under the eyelid he had turned over, a slim blue circle around a wide black disk.

* * *

Awful pain in my chest, but not truly real, not really mine

but it is here

not in me, but... somewhere, in my little inner world I hurt in a place that does not exist my heart beats too fast, too hard, violent, as if it wanted to escape, fly away from my chest

in the oasis, reflections are dancing deep under the hidden water;

reflection of a silent forest, reflection of a lively flame, dancing, so alive, reflection of an iced over lake where lava glows deep down

others, many others

and the proud mountain's image blurs

and then... erases itself and disappear

only the bottom of my heart, the bottom of the oasis

where the other lived...

pain again, like something torn out, like an amputation

like the fangs of a predator devouring me alive, there, deep down, where the others are

and then...

emptiness


* * *

When Quatre regained consciousness a few minutes later, slowly, painfully, as if he had to drag himself awake, it was to stare, frightened, into the confused blue-gray eyes of his friend. At first he had trouble recognizing the person.

"Heero? " he muttered in a trembling voice. "Heero, I can't feel him anymore"

"Nani?!" Wing's pilot exclaimed. "Iie" he refused to accept what the other boy was telling him, refused to understand, shaking his head, his hair flying messily in his eyes.

Heero had reverted back to his first language without even realizing it, refusing to understand what the Wolf already knew.

Quatre lowered his eyes, and his lower lip trembled. To confirm this information was the hardest thing he had ever done.

"I don't feel Wufei anymore."

* * * * * *

The man in the blue uniform approaching with a determinate stalk was guided with deference toward the place they were keeping the catch of the day. The little troupe of soldiers guarding the enemy pilot slowly stepped back, clearing a path for OZ's absolute master, Treize Kushrenada.

The pilot, 05, Chang Wufei, from the black hair falling on his shoulders and his face, was still laying unconscious at the foot of the wall, curled up on himself, a leg pierced through by a bullet. Apparently it hadn't hit the artery because the blood wasn't spurting, even if it flowed quite fast. The boy's skull was bathing in a puddle of blood coming from his temple, and another half-dry trace trickled from between his eyes. A scarlet trail drew his head's trajectory against the wall as he had fallen on the floor.

Treize let loose a little surprised laugh. Poor Wufei, he nearly pitied him... To be caught like that... Pure bad luck... He estimated the young man who had had the courage to challenge him, and knew that his pride would take a blow. He had already ill taken his defeat at the time... Even if Treize didn't feel any shame in admitting that he had only won because he was taller and heavier and that contrary to his adversary, he had a good idea of his style of combat and how to beat it.

He motioned for a soldier to push the pilot with the end of his gun. Chang didn't react. A second time didn't provoke any more changes in his posture.

"Step away and keep him in your sight," commanded Treize, leaning over the pilot. "We cannot know for sure."

There was a murmur of protestation against the unnecessary risk the General was taking, but Treize knew that it wasn't Chang Wufei's habit to take hostages to save himself... And anyway, with the speed with which he had probably hit the wall, he was probably not fit to gain the upper hand on him.

He was still breathing, his breath making the fine hairs falling on his nose dance; Treize hadn't been sure at first. The general took off one glove and carefully put a hand on his cheek to push back the spilled hair hiding his face. No, visibly, he wasn't playing dead, his face expressed too much suffering for that. The man put two fingers on his carotid... His pulse was feeble, sluggish. Probably because he had lost so much blood.

An eyelid moved lightly, then Wufei slowly bent the end of his fingers, moaning in a nearly inaudible way. Surprised by the speed of his remission, Kushrenada stood and stepped back, prudent. It was better not to be in reaching distance when he regained consciousness fully...

The boy opened an eye and closed it at once, visibly hurt by the bright light. His nearly black eyes made it difficult to judge of the state his pupils were in, but the nasty bump had probably reduced them to pin-sized points. He gave a pained cry when he tried to move his leg, and lifted his head, trembling under the strain of maintaining it straight. He shook his head as if to put his thoughts back in place, his dark eyes sweeping without seeming to really realize that there were soldiers ready to shoot him all around.

"Well, well, Chang Wufei, it seems like it's the end of the game for you."

After several tries, the Asian boy succeeded in keeping his eyes on the tall chestnut-haired man who had talked.

"... Chang... Wufei ...? Game? Which" mumbled softly the Asian teen.

Treize frowned. There was something abnormal in the pilot 05's behavior, apart from a possible concussion. He couldn't quite pinpoint it yet, but...

"It... Huuurts," moaned Wufei, lifting a hand to his head.

He removed it stained with blood and stared at it for a few seconds, incredulous.

". . .All that... red... "

"Wufei?" called Treize experimentally.

The boy didn't even turn his head toward him. He was still observing one after the other his blood-covered fingers, then the floor where a puddle was growing slowly, then his thigh, with an expression that was strangely fascinated and detached at the same time.

Treize suddenly understood what it was that bothered him in the boy's body language. For once, his face indicated his age. It was not the visage of a fiery fighter, but that of any normal fifteen-year old boy. Totally normal... Except from the pain of course. But even that pain was indicative... The pilot he knew would have preferred to die rather than clearly show in front of an enemy any sign of weakness or inferiority.

"Wufei, I am talking to you," repeated the general dryly, crouching at his side.

Even if he had been looking at him, the prisoner needed a few seconds before he understood that the tall broad-shouldered man was really talking to him.

"Wu... Fei," mumbled the boy, trying to straighten up. "Wh --"

Then, with a scream torn from his throat by the wound he had stretched by not paying attention, he lost consciousness.

* * * * * * * * *

They had waited for Wufei's return for four entire days, a total breach of normal security procedures, and he had not come back. Not any news, not any clue allowing them if only by supposition to know where he was and in which state. Their snitches didn't know a thing, the OZ communication channels they could access didn 't either, the TV was no help... They didn't know if he was dead or alive, or hurt, free or a prisoner...

Duo gave a strangled scream of frustration, confronted with the uselessness of their searches, and finished packing his comrade's few personal things. They had to leave this hideout; it was becoming too dangerous to stay at the same place. They couldn't leave anything between them either, so one of the four of them had had to take care of Wu-man's things... Wu-man, how he hated that nickname. Oh, how he wished he was ok...

But after the pain, exploding in Quatre's leg, and the confusion he had felt briefly after the shock, the boy hadn't felt a twinge. As if Chang Wufei had ceased to exist. Not even as if he had died, no... In that case, Quatre insisted that he would have felt it; but there... Wufei had simply been, as the psychic said, "disconnected" from his Uchuu no Kokoro. Out of perception.

Quatre had been so traumatized by feeling the boy vanish from his mind, he who was already so shaken by the recent happenings and barely recovered from his last bout of lycanthropic fever, that they hadn't even thought about asking him to pack Wufei's things. It would only shake him further. So Duo had volunteered.

And he regretted it. Having to dig into Wufei's possessions was already serious; he knew that if he had been here, the Chinese teen would have screamed bloody murder at this violation of what he still had of his private life. And the silence, following each of his actions in the room instead of the outraged bellows he was waiting for, hurt surprisingly bad. But that wasn't the worst. The worst was precisely that private life spilling in front of his eyes, that taught him little things he would probably have never known, painfully reminding him with each discovery, like a slap in the face, his friend disappeared the gods only knew where.

His eternal white garb. Contrary to what you could think about an ex-gutter rat, Duo had some notions about his friends' cultures; after having met them all, he had found information, and knew fairly well that in China, white was the color of mourning.

Wufei had been in mourning for as long as Duo remembered. Even before his colony changed itself into little space trash bits.

Books everywhere. Philosophy mostly. Some written in mandarin.

Exercises books full of an elegant and artistic calligraphy.

His glasses. He only wore them to read, and couldn't stand being caught with them on his nose. It bothered him, to look like a scholar. As if he forbid himself to be one.

Everything in him screamed that he had been one, when, too rarely, he relaxed.

Incense sticks and an orange in a sort of little closet decorated with dragons, which was, from what he remembered, a little portable temple to give offering for the dead.

In one of the books, a picture. Wufei, thirteen year old, and a young girl his age, walking in front of a big group of Chinese-typed people. The girl doesn't look toward him, angry. But he glances at her, from under his lashes, a little look exasperated and worried at the same time. They're clothed in a traditional costume. Behind, only a few ideograms, translated into romaji under it, and those names: Shirin Meiran and Chang Wufei.

In a little box, a golden chain, with two simple rings, like two alliances, European style. To the chain a white ribbon was intricately wound around, stained with the dark brown of old, dry blood.

The girl on the picture had white ribbons around her buns.

Trembling with powerless anger, Duo assembled what he thought important, the temple, the picture and the rings, then closed the door to the empty room with a bang and stalked toward his own room, teary-eyed.

He furiously wiped his eyes. He refused to cry for Wufei yet.

He took his own backpack and went to rejoin the other pilots outside. Heero was leaning against the van on the driver's side, and through the back door he could catch glimpses of Quatre sitting on the bench running around the vehicle's trunk, and Trowa's long legs, showing that he was sitting in front of him, against the backdoor to be able to keep guard. Quatre didn't wear any expression. His eyes were empty, a bottomless sadness, his eyes red, and he had his teeth clenched hard.

Duo stopped for a few seconds, worried for his empathic friend. Wufei's disappearance had hit him harder than the others because he believed that he could have stayed to help, and in a way, he had been there, had lived through it. Duo wondered if he should keep him company. After all, it was his role... right?

But he didn't feel the courage.

He glimpsed a blue-clad shoulder and a fine-boned hand landed on the blond boy's knee, attracting his attention. He looked up at Trowa, and Duo saw his expression change slightly. Finally he sighed and shook his head. But he didn't seem quite as empty anymore.

Trowa would take care of Quatre... His eyes left the back of the van and landed on Heero who was still waiting, and who was looking back at him. He realized with a start that he had stopped to observe them in the middle of a movement and had stayed standing stupidly in the path... and that the Japanese boy hadn't ceased to observe him once since he had walked out of the house.

The dark blue eyes on him bothered him. Yuy had to find him so silly; or maybe he was irritated by that distracted, vacant air he had taken on. He forced his face to go back into the mask, walking to the vehicle, but saw the eyes under the dark bangs narrow suddenly. Hadn't worked... He hadn't thought it would.

Heero shook his head. Duo was trying once again to hide his true feelings; but there wasn't a need. He knew what was behind the mask. And even if he hadn't known the American enough to realize it, he could have smelled it, or felt it with his body language. Duo's steps had something tired, flat, lifeless. Even his braid seemed submitted to this invisible weight on his shoulders, miserably dropping, without oscillating behind him in wide arcs like always.

Wing's pilot stared at the American, concerned, and faintly frowned, pensive. Duo's eyes widened when he saw the sadness etched on his visage, like a reflection of his own, and with a sigh abandoned the mask. Heero knew that he wasn't being truthful, so what for?... Furthermore, he knew that the boy, who had perfect control of his non-expressions, had only let it appear to show him that he wouldn't think less of him if Duo let go of the act.

The two pilots looked at each other for a few more seconds, unmoving, then Heero blinked and the moment was broken. He turned around and took his place behind the wheel, revving the engine. A few seconds later the American had joined him in the cabin. They left the area in silence, without looking at each other, without looking back.

The bomb used to wipe out every trace of their presence would only explode in a few hours, when they would be far enough away.

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"Ninmu shippai" means "Mission failed" or "mission failure", or, well, you get the idea. ^_^

Hey, I answered to the latest answer on the last part... but my comp ate it ;__; and then I didn't feel the courage to rewrite *sniffles* As far as I remember I was just teling that in my mind J and G had been much like Heero and Duo in their twenties, one brillant yet highly erratic joker and one overly serious stick-up-the-ass. Problem is, G didn't get through J's thick skull and J never got better. But J was a cold bastard from birth, Heero was just forced to become like that by his life and his teachers. And G was less optimistic than Duo, a little bit more on the sarcastic side... so, well, he couldn't reach. I don't think they were more than friends, it's just that Duo has a dirty mind.

feedback anyone?

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