authors: Mel & Christy

Key:
minor scene change (from person to person at the same place, someone waking up from a dream, etc): ----------
major scene change (at another place, some time later, etc): * * * * *
flashback starting or ending: ~*~*~*~
thoughts: *Tadah!*
electronics (phone, TV, intercom etc): <<Tadah!>>

Reunion + Part 3

Wufei sat in darkness, slumped sideways to ease the pain from his shoulder and ribs, and waited for the OZ soldiers to return.

If they think I'm helpless, I may be able to take them by surprise... perhaps kill one. Shifting slightly to gauge the extent of his injuries, he winced. Hn! I'm tied up, shot, beaten and bruised; I'll be lucky if I can make them kill me!

There was a 'beep' from the cell door's electronic lock, and it slowly swung open. He tensed, ready for anything.

"Hi honey, I'm home! What... you didn't dress for dinner?"

Except that.

"D-Duo?" Wufei stuttered, looking up.

The braided pilot knelt in front of him, quick hands gently patting him over. There was a faint hiss of indrawn breath -- his or Duo's, Wufei wasn't sure -- as he found the small hole in Wufei's shirt and felt the stickiness around it.

"Let's blow this pop stand, 'Fei," Duo said cheerfully, cutting the plastic binders around Wufei's wrists. "Can you walk, or do I steal a mail trolley and let you ride in style?"

"I can walk, but not run," he admitted grudgingly.

"Is it the shoulder?"

"That... and the ribs, and the knee."

Duo whistled softly. "Man, they worked you over all right. Must be your charming personality -- I mean, it's not like they have a grudge against us or nothin'."

"Of course not," Wufei responded, gritting his teeth as Duo slid under his good arm and slowly pulled him up. "All the more reason for you not to get caught."

"Why Wufei, I'm hurt! Are you implying that I would be received with less than the polite courtesy due a prisoner of my wit and beauty?"

"Can we leave now?"

"Yeah, it's probably a good idea. You shoulda heard what the guards were saying about your ass when I went past!"

"Maxwell!"

"Ssshhhh," he grinned, finger to his lips.

The alarms didn't go off until Duo was carefully helping Wufei up into the cab of a truck in the motor pool. Lights blazed on the buildings and around the perimeter fence, and a shout of discovery went up from behind them.

"Shit!" Wufei hissed. He was completely exposed, struggling to pull himself up with one working arm. He had a moment to think, I'm dead, but Duo can still get away -- there's a car just by him, he can take cover--

--and then a pair of hands hit his butt and catapulted him into the cab. He gasped in pain as he sprawled over the passenger seat, feeling broken ribs stab deeper, and glimpsed Duo silhouetted against the searchlight, braced in the doorway.

He's shielding me! Gods, no, Duo, save yourself--

Rifles fired, the window shattered and Duo jerked.

"Duo?!"

"I'm fine stay down!" Duo gasped, throwing himself into the driver's seat; small crystals of safety glass sprayed across the cab as he somehow managed to slam the door behind him. Moments later, they were careening down the road outside the base, bits of the shattered gate dangling from the remaining rear-view mirror.

"Duo?" Wufei tried to push himself up with his good arm, feeling fresh blood trickle down his shoulder from the gunshot wound. "Are you all right?"

"Stay still, 'Fei, or you'll make it worse. I'll get you back in one piece so long as you don't try anything macho, okay?" Duo's voice was serious, but there was humour bubbling just below the surface.

He must be all right. "Okay..."

Wufei let his eyes slide shut, and concentrated on making it the rest of the way 'home' without passing out.

Back at the safehouse, after taking what seemed like every back road possible to throw off the pursuit, Duo pulled the truck up right outside the front door and shut off the engine. Almost immediately, Trowa yanked the driver's door open.

"Get Wufei. He's hurt," Duo said shortly.

"Right." Trowa nodded and vanished; then the door next to Wufei opened as he struggled to rise, and gentle hands pulled him out and carried him into the house.

Quatre ran in with the first-aid kit as Trowa settled Wufei carefully onto the sofa. "Heero's calling Sally," he said breathlessly. "She'll be here soon; now, let me see--" He started cutting away the blood-soaked shirt.

Over his shoulder, Wufei saw Duo slowly follow them in and lean tiredly against the wall by the door; then he almost screamed, wheezing in pain as Quatre's knuckles bumped against his ribs.

"He gonna be all right?" he heard Duo say quietly.

"Sure. The ribs are bad -- sorry, Wufei! -- but they haven't penetrated the lung, and the shoulder's a fairly clean wound."

"Good."

Something in Duo's voice made Wufei look over at him, blinking away tears of pain. Duo met his eyes and smiled, a sweet, gentle expression... and then his eyes closed, and he slowly slid down the wall, leaving a glistening red smear.

And everything went black.

That was... almost two years ago?

Wufei sat in darkness, blind.

I remember... Heero came out just then, and grabbed Duo...

It was terribly cold, and he couldn't move.

...and Sally came... Duo got better, he was fine...

There was no sound.

...but I don't think I ever thanked him.

"Do you love me, 'Fei?"

What?!

"I don't want to be alone."

That's Duo! Where--

"Do you want me? Do you care? Or do you hate me?"

NO! Wufei struggled to speak, but he couldn't make a sound. Duo sobbed, somewhere in the darkness. The sound seemed to be moving away. No, not again, not again -- Duo--!

"I need you, 'Fei. Please... say you want me..."

Duo, please, no!

"...say you need me..." The voice faded to a whisper. "Say you love me. Say something... anything..."

"Don't GO!"

----------

Wufei jerked upright, gasping, cold sweat prickling all over his body. Shuddering, he looked around at the unfamiliar room, early morning light filtering in between the heavy curtains.

A guest room... at Quatre's?

It was a dream. That first part, it really happened; but the rest... no. No. Duo's fine. He has to be.

Oh please gods let Duo be all right.

* * * * *

"See you around, Barton -- and thanks! Any time you want a berth, you know where to find me, yeah?"

Duo flipped one hand in a sketchy wave as he strolled away, not looking back. As he moved out into the open, he shivered and tugged his coat tighter around him. Fuck... I leave one city in winter and dive straight back in. Cold weather's a bitch when you aren't having fun.

Pausing at the top of a ramp, he looked out over the buildings.

How's it going, 'Fei? Found someone you like yet? You gotta settle down with someone. Being alone sucks.

* * * * *

Heero kicked the safehouse door open and stalked in, carrying a battered and bloody Duo in his arms. The unconscious boy was dressed in an oversized OZ uniform, dangling limp in Heero's grasp. Trowa and Quatre sprang apart on the couch and looked up, startled; Wufei dropped the book he was reading and leapt up from his armchair (which had been pointedly angled AWAY from the other two pilots).

"Somebody get the aid kit," Heero snapped, marching straight for the hall. "And run a bath."

"Should I call--" Wufei started.

"It's all superficial." The door swung shut behind him.

Gently laying Duo down on his bed, Heero began stripping the too-large uniform off him. He got the jacket and shirt off without any problems, smirking nastily at the short, neat slice and bloodstains on the back; but as he reached for the waistband of the trousers, Duo made a choking sound and lashed out.

Heero ducked the wildly swinging fist. "Duo! It's me."

"h-hee-- *cough* Heero? 'zat you?"

"Hn. Baka."

"Yeah, it's you all right." Duo coughed again and started to sit up, but Heero pushed him down.

"Stay put. And don't talk until I've checked your throat." There was a line of purple bruises around Duo's neck. He stayed flat on the bed, but didn't stop talking.

"You got me out?"

"Yes."

Duo's eyes flickered. "Kill anyone?"

"Quite a few; I set off charges in their ammo store to cover our exit."

There was a short pause as Heero finished removing Duo's clothes and covered him with a light blanket. Duo seemed about to speak, but shut his mouth and looked away as there was a tap on the door.

"I've got the first-aid kit," Quatre called. "And Trowa says the bath will be ready in a few minutes."

Heero opened the door, took the aid kit out of Quatre's hands, and shut the door in his face. As he turned back towards the bed, he met Duo's incredulous gaze.

"What?"

"I don't believe you just did that!"

"Hn." Heero turned back and opened the door, catching Quatre as he began to turn away. "Thank you." Then he closed it again.

Duo was snickering as Heero set the kit down by the bed, but sobered quickly. "Uh, Heero..."

"What now?"

"Uh... there was one particular guy..." Duo looked away. "Really tall. Black buzz cut--"

"A major? About six-four, name of--" Heero squinted at the ID badge still clipped to the jacket on the floor. "--Gwyn?"

Duo looked back at him, eyes wide; he picked up the jacket and silently wiggled two fingers through the slit in the back.

"...ah."

"He was in the cell with you," Heero said quietly. "I got him in the kidney; he came to just as I was carrying you out. I figure he might have managed to drag himself as far as the door when the ammo dump went up... just on the other side of the wall." He gently tucked the blanket around Duo and picked him up.

Duo pressed his face into Heero's shoulder, one tear trickling down his cheek before he scrubbed it away. "...thanks."

"You've done the same for me," Heero said flatly, and carried him to the bath.

Later, Heero sat on the bed watching Duo sleep restlessly; his eyes narrowed as a whimper broke the silence.

"Duo?" He reached out and pushed damp bangs back from Duo's face, leaning closer. "Duo, shhh... it's okay."

The braided boy gasped and flinched away from the touch as he jerked awake, eyes wide and dark; then his face crumpled and he sobbed, tears beginning to fall.

"It's okay," Heero repeated. "You're out. He's dead... shhh, Duo..."

"Heero," Duo sobbed, clutching desperately at him. "Heero... make it better. Help me forget..."

----------

"Duo," Heero moaned, twisting in his sleep; beside him, Relena raised her head, blinking wisps of hair out of her eyes. She propped herself up on her elbows, studying his face concernedly.

He's dreaming... should I wake him? If it's a nightmare--

He rolled over and wrapped an arm around her waist, nuzzling at her arm as he pulled her close. "Nmmm... Duo..."

Her eyes widened as he pressed tightly against her and something poked her in the hip. That's no nightmare!

----------

Heero moaned again, shifting against Duo, one hand sliding up to close over... a breast?

What the--?! Duo doesn't have--

His eyes opened and he looked straight up into Relena's blushing face.

* * * * *

[cont]