AUTHORS: Mel &
Christy (and their muses)
WARNINGS: Language? Violence! 'They Might Be Giants' songs! Collateral
PAIRINGS: 1x2, 3x4, 5x?
DISCLAIMER: They still aren't ours. We tried theft, but the security
systems were too good. Wufei was slightly injured during the making of
this fic, and Duo got a concussion, but they got better. (And Trowa just
brushed his bangs back into order.) No money is being made from this fic,
and if there was we'd just spend it on more tapes, so that's OK.
of Justice + Chapter 8
"Jarad," Wufei said clearly,
never taking his eyes off the frozen lord in front of him, "to mother.
There was a quiet sniffle from behind him. "B-b-but, Wufei..."
"*sniff* Yes, sir."
A scuffling sound told Wufei that he was being obeyed, and he relaxed
slightly, pulling the end of his staff back from Yithar's throat. "Hit
child," he said scathingly. "Big man. Very brave."
Yithar sputtered furiously, fear swiftly giving way to outrage, and snatched
out his sword. He's only got a stick, he thought, slashing
at Wufei's unprotected side. I can get-- eh?!
Without bothering to block, his target jumped contemptuously over the
stroke. Staggering off-balance, the half-elf had a split second to gape
at the almost-hovering figure before a foot lashed out at his face.
Halfway through his strike, Wufei's eyes widened as he realised exactly
what could happen if he completed the kick using his new full strength.
Oh shit, he thought, visualising a very messy separation
of Yithar's head and body. *Pull it pull it pull it--!
The kick connected; Yithar staggered backwards for several paces, then
collapsed onto his back.
Have I killed him? Wufei wondered nervously, landing in a defensive
crouch. I wouldn't regret it, but it'll cause trouble if I have...
I could have broken his neck. I haven't had enough practice to accurately
judge the strength of my blows, I don't know how hard I hit him--
There was a strangled squawk of outrage as Yithar pushed himself up onto
one elbow, clutching at his face, and started yelling. Wufei sighed, felling
a strange mix of relief and annoyed disappointment.
"By face! By dose!" Yithar howled, blood running down his face
from his broken nose. "He kicked be! Whad are you wadig for? Kill
him! Kill that basdid! He sdruck be!"
Three of his armsmen charged as the fourth ran for his bow, still slung
behind his saddle. A couple of Uthmar's men automatically started forwards
too, but the dwarf Champion held up a hand to stop them.
"Wait and see," he said curtly. I hope I'm right... Torframos? Is this
what you meant by 'events are developing'?
There was no answer, but Uthmar could feel his god watching intently
through his eyes.
The small figure almost danced his way through Yithar's men, and it was
immediately obvious that they were completely outclassed. Precisely aimed
strikes from staff, fist or feet staggered and dazed them, and the man
-- demon? -- they were fighting hadn't taken a single wound.
"Sir?" one of the lay-brothers asked tentatively.
"He's got a three-foot sword on his back, and he hasn't touched it," Uthmar
said quietly. "He's not striking to kill, or even to do much damage...
look at the way he moves! He's not putting even a fraction
of his strength into those blows. Yet he doesn't seem to be playing with
them, either... what's he doing?"
"Trying not to kill them," a new voice broke in, sounding exasperated
Uthmar shot a quick glance sideways at the speaker. "Would you care to
explain that comment, Goodman Royce?" he asked, amiably enough. Well,
he doesn't look scared any more!
Royce snorted, never taking his eyes off the one-sided fight. "That lad's
not evil, sir Champion, and neither is his big friend. They've no wish
to harm anyone who doesn't deserve it. We've only known them a few days,
"I am so looking forward to hearing the real story of those
days," the dwarf said dryly. "Assuming, of course, that you now feel you
can tell it?"
The village headman had the good manners to look mildly embarrassed. "Well...
we didn't think you'd believe us, m'lord, and we had no wish to see our
friend killed. Or to be killed ourselves, for harbouring demons."
"We would have listened," Uthmar said, gently reproving.
"Lord Yithar wouldn't've," Royce said grimly. "Anyway, m'lord... Wufei's
stronger here than he is in his own world, and he's not used to it yet.
At least, that's what Cord and I think; the lad's surprised himself a
time or two. I think he's holding right back so he doesn't chance killing
anyone by accident. Not what you'd expect from a murdering demon, now
is it, sir?" he added pointedly.
The dwarf grinned despite himself. "I am paying attention, Goodman."
=*Then pay closer attention, my Champion,*= a deep
voice said abruptly within his head. =*You're about to miss something
Uthmar's head snapped up as his full attention jumped back to the fight,
just in time for him to see Wufei despatch the last armsman with a careful
blow to the back of his neck.
But the fight's over, he thought confusedly as the small demon
turned warily towards him, not even breathing hard. I can't see Yithar
getting back into the fight, and all three armsmen are--
=*Three?*= Torframos asked pointedly.
A sudden movement across the square drew Uthmar's eye as the fourth armsman
stepped out from behind his horse, arrow already on his bowstring.
That reckless idiot! He'll hit innocents -- children--
He tried to lunge forwards, reaching for his axe, but discovered that
he was held motionless, unable even to speak. Torframos!
The armsman loosed the arrow, a sharp snapping noise echoing across the
square as the bowstring slapped against his leather bracer. It was a hurried
shot, and sloppy. It seemed to Uthmar that he had all the time in the
world to watch its flight, to see that it would never even come close
to the intended target; instead, it was heading straight for a cluster
of villagers. Most were women and children.
=*Watch,*= the deep voice said implacably. =*This
So are their lives! Let me go!
The arrow vanished into the group with a dull -thwock-. A split second
later, someone screamed.
Still held frozen, Uthmar saw every nuance of Wufei's reaction as the
small demon spun to stare at the source of the scream. He saw the look
of horror and outrage on the slightly alien features; he saw Lord Yithar
get to his feet and run towards the seemingly oblivious demon, sword raised
for a killing stroke; and he saw the armsman nock and draw another arrow.
* * * * *
Heero lay on top of the covers next to Duo's unconscious form, as close
as he could get without actually touching him. His eyes were fixed on
the braided boy's slack face, alert for any twitch or change.
Now that he'd admitted how he felt -- hell, now that he'd realised
that what he felt for Duo was love -- it hurt. It hurt terribly,
seeing Duo injured again and knowing that he was to blame. Before
he'd known how he felt, he'd always been able to (eventually) dismiss
any concern as concern for the mission, concern that a fellow Gundam pilot
was incapacitated and that might affect the progress of the war... anything
except concern for the pilot himself. Never concern for Duo. He
wouldn't let it be concern for Duo. That would have meant that
his missions, the focus of his life to date, were no longer the be-all
and end-all of his existence, and that would have meant... what?
It would have meant that he could no longer run his life according to
black and white standards of what must be done and what must not be permitted.
He'd always had plenty of leeway concerning how and even if he
would perform his missions, but always there was the overriding goal:
to defeat OZ and keep the colonies safe. It was a framework he could live
his life within, a set of standards and requirements he could judge all
his actions by.
Loving Duo meant that there was now a very important aspect of his life
that he couldn't keep within that framework. Quatre had made that
It terrified him. For the first time in his life there was something he
couldn't treat as a mission, or as support for his missions. He had nothing
telling him what he should do about it.
...the only way he could avoid that, return to his mission-oriented outlook,
was if he shut Duo out again and refused to allow his feelings any place
in his life. And that idea terrified him even more.
"I'm sorry," he whispered, reaching out towards Duo's bruised face but
not quite daring to make contact. "I'm an idiot. I've been lying to myself
almost from the first time I met you, lying to you, lying to everyone...
trying to pretend you mean nothing to me. And when I couldn't pretend
to myself any more I got mad at you, like it was your fault somehow
that I couldn't stop thinking about you. It was never your fault, it was
my fault, but I still acted like you were to blame... like it was
something someone should be blamed for. I hurt you, and I knew
what I was doing and I felt like a complete asshole and I still
kept doing it... Duo, I'm so sorry! Even when I finally worked it all
out, and I tried to start fixing it, I screwed up and this happened.
I keep hurting you whether I mean to or not! I wouldn't blame you if you
just gave up on me and l-left..." Heero swallowed hard, voice thickening.
"I-if you decide you don't w-want me any more, I... I won't fight, but...
please, I just want one more chance. I have to make it up to you somehow
for the way I've been treating you. And... I w-want to find some way to
prove to you that I really do l-love you."
He squeezed his eyes shut as a tear trickled down and soaked into the
pillow, whispering the words over and over again. Somehow repetition seemed
to make it easier to admit; perhaps he'd even be able to say it again
after Duo came to...
"I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you..."
"I love you too, Hee-chan, but could you shut up right now? I'm tryin'
to sleep here," a slurred voice informed him. Duo rolled over and burrowed
his face into Heero's shoulder, draped one arm over Heero's ribs and relaxed
with a half-yawn, half-sigh. Ten seconds later he was snoring very quietly.
Heero lay there in the dimness, holding himself perfectly still, for what
seemed like a very long time.
* * * * *
This time the arrow wouldn't miss. Unable to intervene, seeing everything
as if events had slowed to a crawl, Uthmar watched as it was loosed and
noted almost calmly that it was on target to strike the small demon between
the shoulderblades. If that wasn't enough to finish him -- demons
were notoriously hard to kill, after all -- Lord Yithar
would strike immediately afterwards.
Uthmar wasn't even sure who he wanted to win.
There was a small figure huddled on the ground in the centre of the group
of frantic villagers, red blood swiftly soaking into the cloth around
the arrow shaft.
Dena's sister, Wufei thought, frozen in shock. Dena's youngest
sister. She's younger even than Jarad -- can't be more than four
or five years old--
The child's mother fell to her knees beside her, wailing, and Wufei turned
to face the archer. Wisps of colour flicked into existence around him
as he snarled, forming into the illusion of Nataku's armour, and he felt
his link to the Gundam slam wide open.
The man was nearly thirty feet away, but Wufei never even considered that
he might be out of reach; he simply lashed out with his right fist and
a shadowy image of Nataku's dragon-arm shot forward, shattering the second
arrow in flight and smashing the man backwards into a wall with a sickening
A flicker of motion to one side, and he faced Lord Yithar. The half-elf
was backpedalling frantically, trying to change directions now that his
easy target had transformed into a terrifying monster; he desperately
lifted his sword to parry as Wufei spun the staff over his head and struck,
green energy sputtering from the end as the wood began to smoulder.
Yithar's sword clattered to the ground in two pieces as he landed on his
butt in the dirt for the second time that day. A wisp of smoke curled
up from the half-melted cut edges, and from the front of his tunic, too;
his eyes slowly dropped to the neat line scorched into the embroidery,
then rolled up into his head as he flopped backwards in a dead faint,
a wet stain spreading across the front of his trousers.
Wufei shivered, heart pounding, as the power drained away fron him and
the shadowy armour faded. There was no longer any doubt where his new
strength and abilities came from; as he'd lashed out, he'd felt
the slight scrape in the third joint of Nataku's arm that he'd never been
able to bring back up to 100%. The staff in his hand felt hot, but not
unbearably so; when he lifted it for a better look he saw that it was
charred and smoking, and when he flexed it experimentally it broke into
It couldn't take the energy, I suppose, he thought dazedly. Perhaps
I should experiment with metal?
A tiny part of his mind noted that the sensitive spots mapping Nataku's
damaged armour on his own skin had started to fade.