Author: Asuka Kureru
Warnings for this chapter:Ummm... Angst. Some angst. And some more angst. 4+3, some R+H

Garou + Part 23
Alcohol

Wing was nearly fully in Bird Mode when Heero reversed the process and made it stop short... just fast enough to avoid the beam saber.

Tallgeese was standing in their path, surrounded by a flock of Tauruses.

Wing avoided the attack by turning sharp on a side, but its speed was too great and it couldn't come back right away at its enemy. Heavyarms, which was following Wing, braked brutally, but Tallgeese's pilot had anticipated his move and had jumped forward, striking with a gesture whose puissance would cause serious damage.

"TROWA!!!" screamed the other pilots.

But Quatre had done more than scream... He had instinctively pushed his own Gundam to the right, shouldering Heavyarms out of the way, sending it out of harm's way ... and receiving the hit in its place.

The thermal weapon crackling on the gundanium was audible for a good distance. But before the pilot of the white suit could hit again to put Sandrock entirely out of business, Wing tackled him with a violence that made the metal screech.

"Quatre!! Quatre!!!" the green-eyed pilot shouted, trying to listen for an answer from his friend.

But Quatre's screen was dark, covered only by snow. Trowa placed Heavyarms where he could protect his fallen comrade from the approaching mobile suits, while Shenlong was wiping off the groups of MS who had thought that to finish off the wounded Gundam would be a good idea.

"03 to 04, respond 04!"

Only a few crackles answered him.

Meanwhile, Wing and Deathscythe were totally trashing Tallgeese, their pilots having decided that 1) Zechs deserved it, just because, 2) they didn't have time to waste playing duelists. The white Mobile Suit had the bad luck to get hit once, and it was the end for it, Zechs didn't have any chance to win the control of the fight back. The two winged Gundams began to play Ping-Pong with it, sending it back and forth, with kicks and punches alternatively for variety.

Finally, Deathscythe's last kick sent the Tallgeese to half-bury itself on a runway not too far from a hangar that was probably sheltering some small planes. Duo was going to hit the fallen MS with his thermal scythe, but luckily for Zechs, Quatre managed to repair his radio at that very moment and Duo's relief at hearing that he was alive was enough to calm him down.

Zechs was Heero's personal enemy, he thought, and the winner to their combat would have to win the title loyally. If he killed Zechs, Heero would be pissed... He stepped back, whacking a lonely MS that was trying to sneak up on him in the process.

Wufei threw a long flame toward a group of MS, then while they were still evaluating the damage, hit their legs with his trident, rendering them unable to fight anymore.

And then he realized that the fire was following a fuel trail, fast progressing toward the fuel barrels piled up in the hangars.

The five Gundams promptly calculated that there probably wasn't much time left. Taking off in the same direction, Wing opened the line, then Heavyarms supporting Sandrock on a side, Deathscythe on the other side. Shenlong stayed on the battlefield a few seconds longer, making sure that all their enemies were unable to run after them and attack them in the back.

With a last glance at the still advancing fire, Wufei got ready to leave...

... until he caught sight of a white suit, still sprawled against the hangar.

Swearing, Wufei flew his Gundam to Tallgeese, catching it as he could, and pushed his thrusters to get away as fast as possible. Not a second too soon. The explosion of the fuel reserves unbalanced him, but he managed to get back on his feet. He was out of the most dangerous zone and didn't receive any damage.

He dragged the Tallgeese toward a group of foot soldiers that were waiting some distance away and let it fall, before turning away and catching up with the other Gundams.

* * * * * *

The soldiers had to cut the cockpit open to be able to get Zechs out.

Treize ran to the stretcher where his friend was laying. He hissed when he saw what the man looked like. His long hair was matted with blood, he was breathing fast but not deep enough, his torso was covered in large bruises and cuts ... but the worst was still his leg. A large piece of metal was deeply driven in his left thigh, and the doctors were discussing the best way to get it out. They were shaking their heads, and Treize didn't like their air of regret and discouragement.

"What's going on?" he asked, tapping one of the doctors on her shoulder.

"We need blood for the operation. One of his arteries is damaged, General, and while we can sew it closed with appropriate material, he would nonetheless lose way more blood than he can get away with. I am sorry."

"And what's the matter? Don't you have some in stock?"

"Not in the area, General, and going to get it in another hospital... we need to operate fast; that tourniquet will not resolve the situation, he could lose his leg.

"No," Treize lashed back, keeping from gritting his teeth by sheer force of will.

Milliardo, so sporty, so athletic, so... a leg amputated? Certainly not. May as well let him die in this case, it would be preferable. It would prevent the man from having to kill himself, it would prevent his friends from having to look at him wither away day by day ...

"General, the true problem is that Colonel Merquise is type O negative. Those are the best givers since everyone can receive their blood, but the worst receivers since they can only accept blood transfers from people of the same blood type as them, and it's rare. So, you see..."

"Lady, what is my blood type?" asked Treize, turning to face his aide.

"... Your Excellency, you ..." she tried to protest.

"It is without real danger for the donor, isn't it?" asked the blue-clad man.

"Of course, your excellency ... but..."

"Lady."

"You are O negative, your excellency," admitted Une in a low voice.

"Well, so where is the problem?"

Une lowered her head, beaten.

"Nowhere, your excellency."

"Well," repeated Treize, stalking to the ambulance where they were taking care of his friend.

* * * * * *

Hilde slowed the motorbike down then stopped it entirely a few meters away from the great mansion's gates where the other girl lived. Two guards were staring at her, looking very suspicious; she thought that Relena wouldn't be in any danger there.

"Hey, Rel'?"

The long-haired girl started and lifted her head from Hilde's back. She had let herself remember what had happened while they were escaping, after the incident under the bus shelter. The brunette had kissed her!!! Well, ok it had only been a chaste kiss, closed-mouthed, but still... Her first kiss, by a girl, she hadn't been expecting that!

She had been so bewildered that she hadn't even thought about protesting when, once the soldiers were far enough away, the girl with the cap had dragged her toward a single file line of parked bikes, padlocked to a metal bar, waiting for their owners beside a pub. She had felt terrified at the thought that one of these big bikers was going to get out and find Hilde using her lock pick on the chain's padlocks. But the brunette had done it so fast… she definitely had experience in this area.

To sum up her day, she hadn't seen Heero more than a few minutes, he hadn't even talked to her once apart from her name as he recognized her, she had narrowly missed being arrested by OZ, she had received her first kiss like she had half dreamed that she would that morning, but not from Heero but from a girl that acted like an ill-mannered boy, and she had ridden a bike for the first time on a stolen engine, with a speed junkie for a pilot... Speed that, to her great surprise, she had immensely enjoyed... after the initial screaming fit, that is. Decidedly not the way she had envisioned her day when she woke up this morning.

"Hmm?"

"You had fallen asleep?"

"... Err... Yes," lied the princess, embarrassed.

"We're here, Rel'."

With reluctance, the noble girl unwound the arms she had tightened around Hilde's waist and slid off the bike. She shivered, hugging herself. She had been warm, squeezed against the other's back, but now...

Hilde removed her windbreaker and let it fall on her shoulders, giving her an impish grin and wink. Relena felt her cheek go warm, once again. Why was she behaving like that? Like... Like half a gentleman, and half an ill-mannered brat...?

"Thank you..."

"Think nothing of it, honey. Well, time to get going!" exclaimed the black-haired girl, turning the bike around.

"Wait!!!!" protested the blonde, caught by surprise. "You're leaving already?"

But Hilde had finished her turn and, after a grin and a wink, she gunned the engines and the bike jumped forward. Still as surprised, Relena saw her disappear on the turn, one hand high as a salute.

"...You didn't even tell me your name..."

* * * * * * * * *

The slim motorboat was fastened on the side of the aircraft carrier by a dangling rope, and the pilot jumped on the ladder. Right away, she was ordered to freeze. She looked up; at the portholes and on the deck, a dozen sailors were pointing their guns at her.

"It's me, Sally, you imbeciles!!!" the doctor shouted upward to the Sweepers.

"Whoops, sorry! Under that angle and clothed like you are... That's the first time we've seen anything like cleavage on ya, babe, we were confused!"

"MORONS!!!!"

Laughing, one of the sailors signaled to her to continue climbing. The woman nimbly ascended the ladder, and found herself face to face with the leader of the Sweepers, Howard. Clothed in his eternal Hawaiian shirts and a pair of shades, the old man looked as much in top form as ever.

"So, pretty lady, did you have a safe trip?"

"Stop with the charm, old man," the doctor advised him, smirking. "Are the boys here?"

"The boys who are five?" answered the man, laughing. "They've been here for a week and a half already... You were lucky, we're weighing anchor tonight. And Duo has been annoying me since the second he arrived, telling me that they have something to tell me, but not without you being here... Can I know what he's talking about?"

Sally didn't have the chance to answer. A black-clad tornado closely followed by a braid had just dashed out of a door and was rushing toward her.

"SALLY!!! You know I love you, right?"

Duo glomped the woman, and she wobbled, taken by surprise. Duo had always been exuberant, but he had never been as ... familiar and affectionate with her... after all they never had any occasion to grow any closer, so it was quite unexpected.

And the she looked up toward the door from which he had come out, and she and Howard burst out laughing when they understood. Two Asian boys with murder in their eyes were just now emerging on the deck, nearly visibly crackling with ire, their hair and shoulders covered in hot-pink paint splotches.

"Maxweeeeeeeeell..."

Sally and Howard looked at each other, and cautiously decided to stop laughing. They knew from experience that a bored Duo Maxwell could have strange and even extremely dangerous ideas, but if he felt suicidal, they didn't want to risk following him to his grave by mocking his victims. Cautiously, the young woman stepped to the side when Heero charged toward her... or more precisely toward Duo hidden behind her. He tried to run away, but Heero managed to catch his shirt, slowing him down, and that was all Wufei needed to tackle him hard. A few minutes of screams and eels-in-a-barrel-like wrestling later, they managed to immobilize their prey.

"Ooooh... Threesome?" asked the American when, winded, he stopped trying to get away. "You perverts... you just had to ask, you know!"

Once they stopped blushing, Yuy and Chang protested with virulence, growling, but the only result was a giggle from their captive, which pissed them off even more than they already were.

"Whassamatter? Dun like th' color? That's limo-pink... you should feel pretty init..."

"You DARE to dump on us paint of that woman's limousine's color and you're asking what is the matter?!???" shouted Wufei, lifting a hand as if he was going to strangle the prisoner.

Duo giggled madly again, an air of total hilarity on his face, as if not realizing the beating he was going to get. Wufei snarled at him and grabbed his braid to strangle him with it. But Heero stopped him, leaning over the boy, frowning.

"Wufei..."

"WHAT?!"

"He's drunk."

"HE'S WHAT?!??"

"Wasted. Smashed. Completely shit-faced. How do you want me to tell you that?"

"Yup yup!!!" added the boy, bursting out laughing.

"Where did you find the alcohol?" Wufei asked, surprised.

"One of the Sweepers… Whisky-coke! 'S gooooood ..."

"He gave you alcohol to drink?!?" protested Howard, scowling.

"Naaaah, me wanted Coke, drank, wass goood... so I drank more. Didn't see that it wasn't only Coke..."

"You got wasted on whisky-coke?" asked Heero sharply. "How many bottles?"

"Dunno ... six... sev'n...?" he muttered, counting on his fingers, then abandoning his try and showing him both hands, opened. A finger was half bent, as if it wasn't sure where it was supposed to go.

"All that?!"

"But I didn't drink alone ... nonono..."

"What do you mean?"

The present people exchanged a fearful look.

"Hey, 's Quat' who was first ..."

"He drank with you?"

"Yup! At least as much as me, maybe more... Pff, for someone who's not used to drinking, he sure does it well!"

Heero got back on his feet, dragging Duo up by his wrist. The boy wasn't cooperative in the least and let his body go limp, and finally the Japanese teen, annoyed, just threw him across his shoulders.

"I'm going to put him back in his room, you verify that Quatre isn't doing something stupid," he asked his comrade.

Wufei nodded and went to search for Quatre, vaguely afraid of what he was going to find. Sally and Howard stayed on the deck, listening for the other two pilots as they walked away.

"Ooooh, Yuuu-Y!" sing-sung Duo, a perverse smile on his lips, "Like in the ancient times, is that it? Throwing your captive across your shoulders to drag them to bed..."

"Be happy I didn't decide to drag you by your hair like a caveman," Heero answered in a rude tone.

There was a moment of stunned silence, then Duo burst out laughing. Good thing Heero was carrying him; he would never have been able to stay upright alone laughing that hard.

Heero shook his head and kept on walking. The image was too disturbingly interesting to be contemplated any longer.

* * *

[cont]