Garou + Part 10 (cont)

* * * * * *

They walked away from the base to find a place near enough that they could return to the base fast if need arose, but far enough that they could talk freely without worrying about the microphones recording what they had to say. The base was surrounded to the horizon by lands that seemed flat, but were in fact extremely undulating, with deep paths hidden in dry, high grasses probably dug by ancient water routes, and the vegetation covering it, while thick, rarely went higher than a meter and a half. On top of a hillock, one could see miles away... except of course if what one was searching for happened to stay close to ground level.

Heero had run forward as soon as they had put one foot outside, and was running right and left, verifying the perimeter, briefly following some smells, discovering paths, covering as a whole five times the distance the others were covering. The place was heaven-sent for his poor, confined senses. When they decided to stop in a deeper hollow in the ground, he immediately verified each and every evasion route before authorizing himself to rejoin his friends. The labs had seriously put him on edge.

"Well shit, we did good not to tell them that Quatre would soon have the same problem..." sighed Duo, letting himself fall on the grass.

"What a fiasco," agreed Quatre, falling at his side. "We didn't obtain anything solid except for new problems..."

Wufei went to lean against a little, half-crumbled stone wall just beside them and Trowa crouched on his heels in the opening of a path that lead away from their little place. They heard Heero searching in the bushes behind them. There was a rustle of dry grass when he startled a rabbit and began to run after it by reflex, but the laugh of the two sitting pilots made him come back fast, ears flattened back.

"Grrraow..." he groaned, embarrassed.

"What can we do?" asked Trowa after a moment of silence where everyone had searched for something to say.

Quatre bent his head, pensive, and rubbed at his chin meditatively.

"It is obvious that the scientists cannot do anything for Heero. Apart from making him into a lab animal, and that, I think we all agree, is unacceptable."

The others nodded together without even having to look at each other for hints on their thoughts.

"I even wonder why we bothered to warn them... We could have arranged things between us. If we let Doctor J have his way, he is going to try to retrain him..."

Heerookami growled softly, his teeth bared in a silent grimace. If he had to endure that once more, he knew he would die. Not from the tests themselves, no, but from the loss of his so new freedom of thoughts. And he had discovered in himself a fierce will to survive.

"It shouldn't be important. Why do we fight?"

"For the colonies," answered Wufei after a moment of puzzlement. "To gain everyone's freedom and equality. To stop Romafeller's oppression."

"And we are the only ones to do it. At least the only ones to have the means we have. So, it is out of the question that we permit one of our members to be submitted to any brainwashing procedure. We are few enough as it is and we cannot allow the loss of even one of us. The scientists could say that altering his behavior would not lose him to us, but I say they would be wrong. His capabilities can be extremely interesting if we learn how to use them. If he is trained again, after having succeeded in mostly integrating the Wolf, it will kill him, am I wrong, Heero?" asked Quatre, one hand clenched over his heart.

He felt it so strong that he nearly believed that he was the one feeling that... But he knew that it was not the case. Heero's violent emotions had a white-blue glow, which didn't belong to him, and a sharp edge proving their lack of use. He forced himself to talk using a point of view that was objective and cold, chasing the echoes of the animal rage the Japanese boy had been in far to the bottom of his awareness. The others wouldn't mind him talking like that, because they were searching for logical arguments good enough to convince the scientists, not emotional reactions. As the group's diplomat, it was his job to formulate their ideas.

"It will kill him or leave him crippled, and then he will not be of any use at all. J says that Heero has to be considered as a weapon, not a human. But which weapon is better than one that does its work voluntarily? And this war is fought by humans against humans! And, and, fuck! I refuse to consider anyone as an object!"

The three other humans nodded.

"We know that, Quatre... so what are you trying to tell us?" asked Duo, frowning faintly. It was rare to se Quatre react like that, he had to feel rather violently from empathy to Heero.

"Apart from helping us to find out our enemies' plans, their bases' locations, and indicate when and how it would be better to attack, what use exactly are the scientists for us?"

"Repairing our Gundams..." muttered Wufei, unsure.

"We know how to do that ourselves," shot back Duo, who was beginning to see where Quatre was going. "I dunno about you, but G made me revise my partner so many times that I could repair it sleeping, with strings and gum for parts. And at the worst... If we need big pieces, or if we want upgrades... We have Howard. And the Sweepers. As long as we fight against Oz and Romafeller, they will help us without asking for anything in return. They're resistance too. They know that we have to help each other out."

"And as for plans, missions etceteras... the spies we use often go through us, we give the information to the scientists, they give us back what we are to do with it. It gives too many opening for being caught. We can do it ourselves; we already do. I have my own information networks only going through me. I have the Maguanacs. Wufei has contacts with the resistance fighters Sally went to, and they're well furnished as for weapons and info networks too. Trowa has contacts with the circus, and through it to any of the people who travel the road all over the world, and you know as well as I do how news goes fast in that background, plus it would provide a perfect cover and an excuse too, for travel everywhere. Heero has access to the Sank princess whenever he wants to, if we happen to need her support," he added, ignoring the snort of annoyance when he mentioned the girl. "As for the contacts, we don't need the scientists. They can help us, but we could very well go without them. As for the plans... Do mine displease you? And how many times did we have to rewrite one of their plans anyway?"

"What are you proposing exactly?"

Quatre gave them the smile of a determined businessman.

* * * * * *

"What the hell do you mean, you're taking your independence?!??!"

"Exactly what you heard. You are useful sometimes, we admit it, but we don't need you, not anymore. It's simply out of the question that we stay at your heels simply because you taught us everything. It is true, you taught us all, and we will never thank you enough to have given us the means to fight for our cause. But now, we are ready to get by alone. We are ready to accept with open arms everything you'll be willing to supply... but you trained us to fight in that war. And we DO fight in that war, not you. So we will be the ones to decide how we are going to fight."

"I forbid you..."

"How? How do you intend on forbidding us anything, doctor J?" asked Duo, a worrying gleam in his eyes.

His hand nonchalantly slid along his hip, toward the leather sheath cradling one of his knifes.

"Don't worry, sirs," continued Quatre as if no one had interrupted. "We do have the intention of keeping on fighting with our best. That is what you trained us for, isn't it? To win this war? Well, we estimated that the probabilities offered more chances if we didn't have to lean on you too much. We have to be as independent as possible, if we don't want to be annoyed by an eventual discovery of your ties to us by OZ. You had a spy today, don't tell us it can't happen. We are still fighting," he added in a stronger voice, staring at J who was visibly fuming with rage. "And we'd be grateful if you acted mature and responsible enough so as not to block us from information we wouldn't have, or even giving us wrong information. Either way, nothing coming from either source, ours or yours, will ever be taken in account without verification. We are trying to win. Not only for ourselves, but for the colonies, yourselves too. And if you want to give us a shot at succeeding, you'll help us. The stakes are more important than some ill-placed pride."

He began to turn away, then stopped at the last moment to glance at the five scientists, in different stages of shock.

"... Naturally, to help along your own war effort, we'll be very pleased to send you all the data which we would happen to have on our hands, along with our mission results. We also accept mission suggestions. We only reserve the right to accept them and alter them as we see fit. A continued collaboration would be a great help for us, and for you, in the future. But that is what we are as of now. We are not subordinates anymore. We are allies, equals."

"And the Gundams?!?" protested J, furious. "They're ours!!!"

"Personally, Shinigami's mine now," smirked Duo, baring all his teeth. "I never had permission to take him, I don't need it now. If you want it, why don't you try to take it back from me. Good luck. And legally, Sandy is Quatre's and Nataku is Wufei's, because it was their families who paid for their construction, the materials needed and your salaries. And what will you do once you have them, train other pilots? The war will have been three centuries finished by the time you find people who could even hope to barely approach our level! We weren't chosen because we were losers, grandpa, remember that. So, stop moaning."

J seemed ready to explode.

"Heero, I command you to..."

The wolf growled viciously, louder and stronger by the moment, until it became nearly a roar. Duo put a placating hand on his neck.

"I think that what he's trying to say is that he'd like you to vanquish him in a fight before you give him another order. Do you feel ready to take him on?"

Together, the four humanoid pilots and the Were turned around and calmly walked away to the hangar their helicopter was hidden in.

* * *

"Duo, wait!!!"

Maxwell turned around just as he was going to sit down. Professor G was running after them, waving around pieces of paper covered in blue and red designs.


"The new modifications for Deathscythe's fuselage and reactors," answered the old man, giving him the stack of paper.

Duo accepted them with a grin and began to look at it.

"You trust him?" asked Wufei, suspicious.

Oh course," answered Duo without looking up from his papers.

"He's always been an independent operator, contrary to you," laughed G. "After all, I never lent him the Gundam, he stole Deathscythe by himself to go to earth without caring about any orders... Now that he has it, I may as well limit the damage by giving him a hand from time to time."

"My left ass cheek, by myself, you were the one to give me that idea," protested Duo in an amused tone.

"But you weren't forced to follow that advice, boy. And who told you I was serious? It could have been a joke. Anyway it never got recorded, so it's your word against mine," answered G with an ironic smirk.

Quatre smiled at the old man.

"It is a relief to know that we have at least one of you agreeing to still help us out," he admitted.

"The others will give in too," the old man affirmed, "once passed the bruise you gave to their ego. Maybe not J though... I think he is going to take it as a personal slur. I'll try to convince him, but I can't promise anything."

"I think we can do without him," groaned Duo, who was still pissed off because of the way he treated Heero like a piece of shit.

"He wasn't always like that," sighed G. "He was always cold and closed off, but before, there was something behind... Now... I wonder if there is still a shadow of a heart behind his pride and damn stubbornness. I fear not."

He sighed then looked up, with a smile on his lips that didn't reach his eyes. Duo stared at him. He had probably been close to J when they were younger... The American pilot tried to imagine the two scientists at twenty but renounced, it was impossible.

He wondered if they had been more than friends and immediately felt himself go green. He had such strange ideas, eww... It was NOT a mental picture that he needed! What the fuck had he been thinking about!?!! J and G... J AND G...! Eww, eww, eww and eww!!

"You'll give Howard my greetings when you go see him for the modifications, little pest. You can even ask him to modify them for the other Gundams, he is more than able to do that."

"Ok Pappy!" exclaimed pilot 02, strapping himself in place.

Two seconds later Trowa had taken the vehicle off the ground. Duo stayed at the glass to make faces at G as long as he could still see him, then went to concentrate on his plans, whistling happily.

"My baby's gonna be even cooler than before... Lalalaaa... He was the best already, but with THIS..."

"Silence, Maxwell," groaned Wufei, who didn't want to admit out loud that he was slightly jealous.

He hadn't won new upgrades. It was unjust.


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