Disclaimer: The usual, Gundam Wing belongs to it's owners (Bandai, Sunset,
and a whole host of others, none of which are me) and I'm not making any
money off of them. Not a single peanut.
Rated R for language, lots of violence, sexual content
see chap. 1 for more notes
Source Of All Things + Chapter 13
Now that wasn't part of the plan...
"Shall I get the vision stone
out for you, master?"
"No hurry, they won't get there for another three hours at best." Duo
scrubbed the ends of his unbraided hair, the scent of soap competing with
the smell of wet rock around him.
He'd found the hide-out shortly after arriving at the sanctuary, a few
miles away in the foothills of the Reg. A small spring had welled up inside
a sharp ravine of rock, which was completely inaccessible by foot. It
was a good place to hide imp and his stuff, and a short teleport away
when he needed a moment of solitude to retreat to. He'd brought a pallet
from the bandit cave he'd occasionally slept in before, when he was working
with Fardyo. An overhang, nearly a cave, carved out by water at a time
the spring was higher, gave him shelter, as much as he needed.
He was standing waist-deep in the pool of water near the overhang, taking
a bath. The water was achingly cold, but it was only a distant sensation
to him. Besides, anything was better than bathing at the sanctuary now
that Svale had lost her previous centre of attention; Heero had left the
day before, following Trowa and Quatre to some shady deal with a techno
broker that Howard had set up to obtain some piece of hardware that might
or might not be related to Dragon scale.
Duo plunged beneath the water, the cold a pinching blow to his entire
skin, concentrating on his back from shoulders to waist. He shivered a
bit under the water as he scrubbed his hair, getting the soap out. He
was grinning savagely as he broke the surface of the water, shattering
its surface into silver-grey pieces of reflected sky, enjoying the thrill
going through him at the shiver of cold breeze on his skin.
Then something impinged on his senses.
Duo froze, hands raised in the act of wringing out the long strands of
hair, senses prickling.
Someone was behind him... He felt it just as he heard the slightest crunch
of gravel under boot. Imp was silent, hiding as it'd been taught.
Duo turned slowly and stared.
The man before him stared back, standing at the edge of the pool. His
body was as slender and strong as steel hawsers and just as taut. Onyx
eyes blazed into amethyst. A hand was raised towards Duo's chest, it was
empty and relaxed but a piece of metal above the wrist looked like some
kind of weapon and the stance was threatening to remove any doubt about
it. The face was a mask, beautiful lines, soft curves and an expression
much colder than the water.
Duo slowly let his hands drop to his side. The vision didn't stir. Neither
did Duo, caught in the breath of astonishment.
Then the man, eyes still fixed on Duo, took a few steps to the side, towards
the overhang. The weapon on his wrist still pointed at Duo menacingly.
It looked like a steel clamp in the shape of a dragon's head. Duo didn't
twitch, just stared, feeling distantly enchanted in the numbness of surprise.
The man reached for Duo's bag. Something red and black flew up at him
with a hiss.
The man didn't blink, and Duo hardly followed the blow that backhanded
imp into a nearby rock face. Duo gaped. The man's eyes were still fixed
on him, though the thief could feel the warrior's senses reach out behind
him to make sure his small foe was no longer moving.
A hand the colour of caramel rifled blind through the pack, knocking several
items out before coming back with a small flat case. The man glanced at
it briefly -Duo didn't move- and slipped it in his pocket. Duo recognized
a circuit from a piece of Dragon scale armour that he'd filched somewhere
and was going to show to Howard, but he didn't protest.
The man stood in one fluid movement that started Duo's heart beating again,
and wildly. The move was one of elegant strength and killer precision,
a well-oiled gun. With his free hand the stranger flicked back the short
tight ponytail that had caught on his shoulder, his black hair glistening
like ravens wings. He was wearing a long tunic, slit to the waist on the
sides, of silken white material that fell to his knees over black trousers.
The tunic closed on one side of the chest with a pattern of knots, ties
and small delicate buttons, like a sprig of blossoms. Over the wrist of
the long-sleeved tunic, the metallic weapon seemed to slither almost sensuously
as it gathered up and pointed menacingly at Duo.
The tableau stayed fixed for a few seconds. Then the man jerked his hand
away. With a last glance at Duo - a look that was slightly puzzled as
well as hostile- the man turned, and jumped. Muscles flexed beneath the
silken material and he darted up the rock face, using strong legs and
the occasional casual hand as if he were weightless. Duo could only stare.
He saw him briefly at the top of the barrier that protected his formerly
inviolable sanctuary, a slender white and ebony shape cut out against
the grey sky, then the figure dropped lightly away.
"... is it gone, master?"
"Oh good." Imp reassembled itself with a grinding crunch of stone.
"Master, was... was that-... ?"
"That... was one hell of a hiccup in my plan."
"Was that really a Dragon, master?"
"... I thought they were all dead, master."
"Looks like Juusan missed one. K'so." The mild tone belied the scream
of absolute anguish that tore his mind.
Duo moved slowly up the incline out of the water. As he moved, darkness
crept over his skin, cloaking him in shapeless black with a few hard glints
before twisting and reassembling itself into his usual worn leathers.
His face was set.
"Well that's fucked us up real good. He's going to go after Heero." Duo's
hair knotted itself into a braid neatly, water cascading down from the
knots, and his hair band wrapped around his forehead like a snake coiling.
"And he's going to kill him."
"Are you going to stop him master?"
"How?" Duo said bleakly. "Juusan is too close now, he'll pick up any major
interference. And that's what'll it take to stop that one. Che! A Dragon!"
Duo snarled, smashing a gloved fist into the rock of the overhang. "Damn
you, Nai No Kami and all your useless brothers! If I'd known one was left
I'd have planned- I would have used him
instead of Heero! I-... "
He sighed, and gestured to imp who flitted over to cling to his jerkin.
"Come on, let's go see the damage. Maybe there's something discreet I
can do to help that might tip the scales... but I don't hold out much
hope. Heero is as good as dead."
Shenlong caressed his skin, and whispered in his ear. The signal had been
false, nothing more than a beacon from an old destroyed suit, but he had
another signal to investigate. He knew that Wing was close. He could feel
it in the metal and in his bones.
Wing was up ahead but for some reason his thoughts kept lingering behind
That young man...
He was feeling... conflicted. Not a usual state of mind for him. He had
conviction that could wrench the sun from its course. He had the tenacity
to find a few small strips of metal hidden in an entire galaxy. And one
look from violet eyes had split him right down the middle.
He should have killed him. People had lost respect! His clan had only
been destroyed a scant year ago and already the little people were collecting
pieces of gundanium armour like stamps! Reason said he couldn't kill every
scavenger in the galaxy but then again he could damn well try! Besides...
something trembled in his mind, a warrior's instinct, that murmured that
that hadn't been some small vermin, something to be squashed or spared
at a whim, that... had been something dangerous. Something he should have
destroyed while he had the chance.
But even as his muscles tensed to turn back and go and sink Shenlong's
dragon fist into that delicate skull... he found himself following the
next signal instead. And putting some distance between himself and a memory
of fragile beauty, hair flowing like the water around him and eyes wide
with wonder completely innocent of fear. He frowned and searched his feelings.
He didn't desire that creature, he knew that. He'd certainly been celibate
since his wife and his entire clan had been slaughtered, but his purpose
kept him warm at night, and he didn't need anything else. And he was one
of the Dragon clan, he wasn't attracted to fragility or any form of weakness.
But he wasn't able to crush that beauty either. That would be like stepping
on a flower. Whatever his warrior instincts were telling him. He banished
the puzzle from his mind as Shenlong tightened its metallic embrace around
him, the only lover he needed now, and warned him that the signal had
been positively identified as Wing.
The air rushed past him as Shenlong's pulse wings stretched from his back
in thin evanescent strips of energy, its phase field splitting the air
and propelling him through it just below the speed of sound. Soon...
"Something's coming!" Trowa snapped, swinging down his crossbow and stepping
away from the vardo, lines from earth to sky clawing at his mind. Heero,
on the other side of the horses, glanced at him then around them... then
A black speck in the sky flashed and something slammed down forty feet
in front of them, the ground warping and sinking slightly under the impact.
A flickering blue glow danced over the mistreated earth for a second and
winked out. A young man stood up before them in one fluid movement.
Quatre was busy hauling on the reins and trying to bring the roan horse
and the stupid horse under control. Trowa couldn't sense any lines of
intent stabbing towards the blond, or himself either. They were all directed
at Heero. He took a few steps sideways to avoid having the horses between
himself and the other, but, glancing at the stranger and letting his lines
dance in his senses, he was aware his crossbow was wildly inadequate.
Heero stared blankly at the man, who glared back and lifted a menacing
hand in his direction.
"You. Give me Wing and I might kill you quickly." The voice was one of
Heero appeared to think about this for a few seconds, then said: "No."
"Fine." The dragon head on his wrist reared and sprung, and the air ripped
and warped under a tremendous bolt of force aimed at Heero.
The explosion sent the horses galloping off at a tangent. Trowa saw Quatre's
frightened face in a flash of blonde hair as he was dragged off. "Go and
stay away!" Trowa shouted after him. His lover had made him that promise
as they lay wrapped in moonlight and each other last night, he would stay
on the sidelines of any fight.
The man of ivory and ebony and steel ignored the vardo's departure, ignored
Trowa as well; he was striding with stiff steps towards the figure blown
several feet back by the explosion-... and stopped.
Heero was struggling to his feet, blinking, hand frisking dust and debris
out of his hair. Trowa stared at him in disbelief; he appeared completely
Duo, who'd teleported in behind a rock a hundred feet away, stared in
similar disbelief. But knew this was just the beginning.
Their attacker raised a hand slightly and the shard of metal shaped like
a dragon's head flicked itself out of the earth and darted back to his
"You appear to have some small ability. Who are you?"
"Wing is mine." Heero flexed his arms, glaring a very realistic death
threat at the black and white figure before him.
"Fool. You don't even know what you have. I'm surprised Wing doesn't kill
you on the spot rather than let you soil it longer." The fine lips curved
into a sneer.
Heero glowered then twitched.
Wing, which Howard had activated in case the techno dealer tried to pull
a fast one, exploded from him in shards of metal, which orbited him sharply
before clamping on to his chest, arms and legs. The hair piece lanced
out a beam of light which curved until it flickered over one eye.
Trowa was becoming fairly adept at reading the cold planes of Heero's
face, and thought he had been surprised at Wing's reaction, though not,
of course, nearly as surprised as his attacker was. The man blanched and
stared, lips drawn back in a feral snarl, as the armour ripped through
the leather on Heero's arms - Trowa noted with clinical detachment the
demise of yet another one of his spare jerkins - and shaped itself into
"You... who - are - you... " The voice was almost a growl, black eyes
gleaming with anger, hatred and desperate longing as they fastened upon
the armour slicing through the jerkin.
"Wing is mine." Heero repeated firmly, fists clenched as he glared back.
"No one will take him from me." The beam of light before his eye flickered
and he frowned, obviously finding it distracting.
The warrior straightened slowly. "My name is Chang Wufei, I bear Shenlong,
and I beg to differ... " He smiled coldly, and metal sprang up from his
waist, wrists and neck to slide down his clothes - without harming them,
Trowa noted sourly - to wrap him in steel protection, glinting with blue
and white reflections like slices of sky, iridescent pools of light flickering
here and there .
Trowa took one look at where the lines were going, and saw that his own
intersected none. This was obviously not his fight, he would not be able
to do much here anyway. He turned and loped off in the direction the vardo
had taken. At least he could make sure Quatre was all right and not in
any danger in this area that was known for its bandits and highwaymen.
That was the sort of danger he could deal with. They would creep back
and try to keep an eye on the fight from a very safe distance.
Duo was the only spectator left, hiding a hundred feet or so away, close
enough to send some small magic into the mix if it looked like it could
make a difference. He noted Trowa's departure and grinned at the shaman's
wise decision. Good, one less person to worry about. Now... the stranger
had said his name was Chang Wufei. That rang a bell, and that was not
good news. He looked young but Duo was ready to bet that he'd been at
the top of the Dragon's hierarchy before they were destroyed, and that
meant only one thing as far as Dragons were concerned: he was one hell
of a fighter. Despite Wing's apparent acceptance of its new owner, he
didn't think highly of Heero's chances.
[chap. 12] [chap. 14] [back
to Maldoror's fic]