+ Part 7 (cont)
* * * * * *
Wufei arrived at the safehouse first. After having verified the coordinates,
he hid his backpack behind a bush and slid like a shadow toward the little
house hidden under the great trees. He first verified that all the windows
were closed and intact, then searched for eventual foot imprints on the
ground. Apart from some deer traces and other animals, nothing, except
a nearly indiscernible sole imprint that he could award without mistake
to those atrocious yellow shoes of Yuy. Silent, the pilot walked to the
back door and used the key hidden near it to open. He had a dozen seconds
to turn off the bomb the Japanese pilot had placed on the door. It was
a standard procedure of his, he had taught them all how to defuse this
kind of traps fast enough.
Wufei searched the little house from the basement to the cellar before
deciding he was satisfied, then returned for his backpack.
The house was Spartan in its accommodations, really something of Yuy's.
The house consisted of a small, old couch with apparent strings, one table
and three chairs in the 'living room', and a smaller table with a wobbly
stool in the kitchen. One of them would have to sit on the floor, or on
the couch, although the floor was less tricky. The bathroom only had a
shower stall, no bath, and was visibly furnished with rainwater, cold
like it should be. Only one bed in the little bedroom. For Quatre probably,
since he was still subject to bits of illness and dizziness spells. One
socket in the wall, powered by a generator, in other words for Yuy's laptop's
use only. And absolutely no TV nor even a radio. Maxwell would throw a
He felt himself smile.
* * * * * *
Trowa extracted himself from Heavyarms and threw the camouflage net on
it. He verified that the mecha wasn't visible anywhere between the high
branches hiding the little depression in the cliff, then threw his backpack
over his shoulder and turned around to walk to the hideout.
His light steps didnt make even one branch creak and he was melting
into the undergrowth like he belonged here. He wouldn't be long.
* * * * * *
Duo slid off Deathscythe with the wire, then spoke into his wrist communicator,
giving two order, and walked away from the lake's bank. The big mecha
closed its door then walked away to go immerge itself in the depths of
the dark waters. The boy verified that his Gundam wasn't in sight before
ordering it to stop, then he walked to the place Sandrock hid in. The
two places were near to each other, and with Quatre's state they had found
it unthinkable to let him wander alone in the woods. The little blond
was supposed to wait for him near his Gundam so that they could go together.
He rejoined his friend after a few minutes of very fast walking. He didn't
know why, this forest made his skin crawl... oh, right, he did know why.
Damn Yuy anyway. He just hoped that Quatre and him would be safer together,
because he so was not used to this kind of places. Cities, yeah, he knew
them by heart, especially the darkest places... But forests! It was damn
more trees than he had ever seen all in one place. Who needed trees? There
hadn't been any on L2!
Quatre spotted him before he did, but only because he was perched on Sandrock's
belly, the mecha laid down on its back. "Duo!!" exclaimed the
blond boy, waving.
"How's it going, buddy?" Maxwell answered, winking at his friend.
The other pilot grinned at him, thumb up, then descended from his mecha.
With the help of Duo, they had soon covered the Gundam with the camouflage
net. Quatre took one of his bags, the one containing clothes, then turned
around toward his friend.
"We can get going," he smiled, turning back to Sandrock a last
time to say goodbye.
* * *
The forest was big, deep, the leaves-covered branches made all visibility
impossible, and the rare paths there were often didn't lead far before
turning away of the direction they wanted to go or just disappearing in
a brambles bush. They had to force their way to continue in the direction
the compass was indicating, and it was very tiring, not to mention the
state the feeble visibility left their nerves in, not knowing if they
were going to get jumped at the next tree.
But even taking all of that into account, Quatre's heart was beating harder
than it should have. He was cold and hot at the same time, his fever making
another appearance, but he didn't want to scare his friend by complaining,
and put on a brave and smiling front.
And there was another thing...
Heero had warned him that it would eventually happen, and he had experienced
it already to some small degree, but never at this scale and never in
such an environment... his senses had suddenly augmented, as if someone
had turned the dial up.
He felt incredibly nervous. The forest was so silent, not a bird, no wind
in the leaves, nothing... but his too-developed senses still perceived
a few rustlings of leaves and grass, but so light that his brain unused
to such a low volume refused to believe them real. A low, muffled, regular
beat rang in his head; his own heart, or his comrade's? And those potent
smells invading his lungs, that went to his head and dazed him, that he
didn't recognize, so persisting... His eyes were zeroing in on the littlest
blade of grass shivering from an animal's passage, the littlest difference
in the plays of muted light of this so immobile undergrowth, and most
of the time he couldn't stop it from happening. It was like a bad trip.
He wondered absently if he was going to pass out. He was going into sensation
overload. He couldn't think anymore, only feel. And those strange emotions,
which didn't stop coming and going in his mind, too fast to analyze them...
Exactly what Heero had described. Too bad the boy had never found a way
to stop it.
He was under the impression that he was once again in the dreamforest...
this hostile place oozing with the undefined and spiteful shadows of so
many dangers. Yet the scent and the color of a droplet of his blood from
a little prick were too strong for it to be a dream; he couldn't have
come back there.
He didn't talk of his unease to Duo. He just made sure that he was firmly
gripping his elbow, like an anchor in the real world.
* * * * * *
They had just arrived to the little house when Heero jumped toward them,
taking the both of them by surprise. He didn't seem to concern himself
with the knifes nor the gun that the startled boys had made jump under
his nose. "Get inside, fast" he hissed, anxiously scanning the
Quatre and Duo glanced at each other and complied. "What's happening?"
asked the American teen.
But the Japanese boy didn't answer and just pushed them inside before
locking the door behind them.
"What's the matter?" asked Duo, frowning, surprised by his brusqueness.
Wufei and Trowa were looking at the scene without saying anything, and
they looked as confused by their comrade's actions as Duo and Quatre were.
"They're out here" admitted the Japanese boy finally, once the
door was well and truly closed.
"Who... WHAT? ! ? ?"
"Are you sure?" demanded Wufei, hand on his katana.
"Their scent is all around the house... they wander by this area
quite often. I don't know if they're near now, but if they don't know
already that we are here, they will know fast. We can't stay here."
Heero clenched his teeth and looked away, and his fists tightened. "I
don't even know if we'll go one night before being noticed. Tomorrow morning
we have to be gone."
"But..." objected Quatre. "Even if they attack us, we're
Heero stared at him, looking pensive, then glanced at his own gun, laying
on the table beside him. He lowered his eyes on the old and dusty carpet
covering the planks, looking bothered by something, nearly shameful.
"That's not the only problem... it's their home here, I don't have
the right to stay..." he muttered, head low.
"What the hell...?"
The ex-mercenary frowned faintly at Duo before turning around to look
appraisingly at their messy-haired comrade, thoughtful.
"You mean, you feel ill at ease because you're not part of this pack?"
wondered Trowa out loud.
Heero sighed in an annoyed way and raked a hand in his hair.
"... I guess so, yes. It's their territory. And you won't be tolerated
either... you smell like me."
Duo blinked. "Whuzzat...? Didja stamp us territory or what?"
he asked, one eyebrow nearly in his hairline, looking surprised. Heero
glared briefly at him.
"Yes I did," he answered back, nearly despising, clearly challenging
the boy to show the smallest hint of disagreement or annoyance at the
He hadn't marked them, not deliberately, but after living in close quarters
for so long, it was inevitable that they would pick up his scent like
he had picked up theirs.
"You can smell them?" asked Trowa, as cool as ever.
Heero and Duo glanced at him; he had done that just to cut them, even
if he looked totally clueless and uncaring about the potential battle
between them. He was right, they realized at the same time, it wasn't
the best place to have an argument over such a silly thing. Duo turned
away to observe intently the walls, his arms crossed over his chest, and
the Japanese pilot slowly calmed down. He didn't know why he had felt
so pissed that Duo would not want to be recognized as a part of his...
territory? no, more like his pack. Oh well. Any wolf would know him as
such anyway, there was nothing the braided boy could do.
He refrained himself from thinking 'so there'."It's everywhere in
this forest..." said Heero, sounding nearly discouraged.
Wufei frowned. He didn't like the idea of being chased off by a bunch
of loonies living in the woods like beasts, probably forgetting that they
were human in the process. But for Yuy's sake...
Concessions, concessions... it was his way of life now, as it seemed.
This group thing was proving quite challenging now that he was truly trying.
"Perhaps we could fight back, if they do attack before we decide
to leave...Are there many of them?"
"I don't know; but at least a dozen, probably much more. I should
not have proposed this safehouse..."
"Did any of us have anything else to propose?" Duo countered,
sounding vaguely annoyed.
"... true," conceded the brown-haired werewolf, frowning at
"If it can make you feel better, " Quatre proposed "I can
let my network chew on the problem, I have connections that you all don't
have, maybe tomorrow I'll have found something else."
Heero nodded and turned to Duo, looking at him expectantly, but still
unwilling to ask out loud. The boy smiled at his comrade, knowing very
well what he wanted. Their slight griping already forgotten, he decided
not to make him beg for him and brought his laptop out of his own backpack.
"Here it is my dear, home delivery..." joked the American teen.
"Thank you" Wing's pilot answered in an absent tone of voice
while walking toward the socket in the wall.
Duo stared at his back, astonished. "My pleasure..." he answered
He had thanked him... but the worse was not the fact itself, but that
he didn't even seem to realize it. Like it was so usual that it had become
'If only it was the case... maybe there's hope for him yet.'
Yuy turned the laptop on and typed his password and some codes. Once the
computer was fully operational and all of the traps he had inside rendered
inoffensive, he logged on the net. Then he let the chair to Quatre to
let him contact his friends. He stayed beside him to follow his progression
though, ready to jump in if a hacker happened to follow successfully his
The others began to visit the little house. It was finished rather fast.
Wufei and Trowa exchanged an ironic smirk when they heard the litany of
protestations and rather originally formulated remarks coming from the
braided boy. The lengthy string of curses he emitted upon his discovery
of the shower was quite instructive, although describing with more details
that they truly wanted to know some acts of a less erotic than acrobatic
nature that most people over thirty should never attempt out of the supervision
of a confirmed chiropractor. As for his reaction when he saw the only
"So, who's taking the bed this night?" he asked with a weary
voice once his breath and inspiration were entirely used.
"Quatre's sleeping in it all night long," answered Trowa. "He's
still not at his peak. The others will alternate. One will stay awake,
one will share the bed with Quatre and the third will be on the couch.
Ok with you?"
"I'll stay on the floor," answered Wufei, shrugging. "I
don't need a bed to sleep well enough."
"Maybe but you'll be aching something awful tomorrow morning,"
the American answered back. "Me, I won't pass up on the opportunity
of sleeping in a bed while I can. ... Though with the size of the bed
I don't know if I will rest that well..." he muttered.
* * * * * *
Quatre finally found a house big enough for them, belonging to the friend
of a friend of his father's; as was the gossip saying, the man was on
vacation at the moment and would probably never know that it had been
used while he was away; it was more of a secondary house than a principal
residence anyway. Nobody would ever find them there before they left.
They should be ok there at least for two weeks.
Darkness fell and they settled for the night. Heero let the first watch
to Trowa and went to sprawl out on the couch, where he fell asleep in
mere seconds. Wufei sat against the wall facing the one window and let
himself slide in a state where nobody could tell if he was meditating,
sleeping, or just resting eyes closed, but from which he could come out
at a moment's notice and always in top form.
Quatre didn't insist too much about letting the bed to another. He hadn't
even begin to protest against the treatment that the fever attacked, letting
him with his legs wobbly and his stomach heaving violently, in a little
heap in the middle of the main room. Trowa put him to bed automatically,
and he was still in the middle of a tirade on how he should be treated
exactly like the others were when he fell asleep.
Bang boy sat cross-legged in the middle of the room and began to stretch,
patiently waiting for Duo to finish with his hair and rejoin them to leave
his sleeping friend for the night.
He didn't want to let him alone. He had felt more than once the little
hairs on his nape stand up when he was in the woods. A sure sign that
someone had been observing him.
It was dangerous out there. And he was probably the only one of them used
to the woods, apart from the Were. Before Operation Meteor, Duo had never
been to Earth and had lived in town, and as for Quatre, he only knew the
estates his father had in the desert. Wufei knew only China's mountains,
and not that well. But Nanashi had lived in the woods in his days as a
mercenary, before leaving the unit to go to L3, and had been taught many
But even that probably wouldn't be enough to save him in case of an attack.
He wondered if Yuy hadn't thrown them directly in the wolf's jaws...
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