Souls + Chapter 15
Trowa hadn't been by to see
Heero and Chang in the cell for a couple of days. No testing was done
either, so Heero couldn't even ask J what was going on, and their guards
certainly weren't going to chat with them. No one had roughed either of
them up since Trowa had beaten up Chang, but it was very clear that their
lives were in the palm of someone's hand, probably Commander Une's.
Chang was a quiet guy, as quiet as Heero, it seemed, but with nothing
else to do, they found themselves talking to pass the time. Chang had
dropped the arrogant act, but he was still very serious.
Heero told him a little about his upbringing with Odin Lowe, the man who'd
trained him young as an assassin, then abandoned him. He didn't remember
much of his life before that, and after that J had found him. Heero said
little about the details of that relationship; as much as he admired and
respected the scientist, he didn't care to think back on some of his "training".
Chang listened quietly, and asked a question now and then.
"That must have been very difficult, for one so young," he said softly.
Heero shrugged it off. "It wasn't so bad. I think I might be one of the
bioengineered children they experimented with," Heero told him. "J made
some modifications, too. I'm stronger than I should be, and I heal very
"That must be how you survived your self destruction attempt. Truly, I
thought you were dead. You were made to be what you are, and trained to
it. You're fortunate."
"How do you figure that?"
Chang was quiet for a moment, then he sighed. "I'm the only son and heir
of the Dragon Clan. It's a great house, one of the foremost of L-5. We
trace our lineage back to Earth three thousand years. I am the last heir.
"I was taught Wu-Yi fighting from a very young age, and studied with the
greatest masters of the colony, but more for the skill and artistry of
it. I was always a scholar at heart. I miss it very much."
"But you're incredible in the field," Heero told him. "I've been really
impressed with how you fight."
Chang pressed his shackled hands together under his chin and bowed to
Heero. Even in the dim light of the cell, Heero could see that he was
blushing. "Thank you, Heero Yuy. That means a great deal, coming from
you, a warrior I so admire. You are the best of us, I think, and what
you did in Siberia? I only hope I could show such bravery. You have the
heart of a true warrior."
Heero shrugged. "I don't know what else to be, that's all. 03 and I, we've
never known much else. But you have a family, a real, normal life. I don't
even know what that is. What did you study, before the war?"
Chang blushed again and looked down at his hands. "Poetry."
Heero blinked. "People study that?"
Chang shrugged, embarassed by the question.
"So--- do you know a lot of poems?"
"Like, in your head, without a book or anything?"
Chang smiled at that and it was Heero's turn to color a little. "Yes,
that was part of my training. Would you like to hear one, to pass the
"All right." He wasn't sure he did actually, but he didn't want to be
Chang sat up and folded his hands in his lap, eyelids lowered. His expression
softened somehow, making him very different suddenly; he looked very young
and very gentle. Dirty as he was, with his hair straggling around his
face and bruises covering his face, he took on a certain beauty as he
began to speak.
"This is a poem by a man named Rhihaku. He lived in the eight century
Before Colony and was a soldier like us. It's called 'The Lament of the
"By the North Gate, the wind blows full of sand,
Lonely from the beginning of time until now!
Trees fall, the grass goes yellow with autumn.
I climb the towers to watch out the barbarous land:
Desolate castle, the sky, the wide desert.
There is no wall left to this village.
Bones white with a thousand frosts,
High heaps, covered with trees and grass;
Who brought this to pass?
Who has brought the flaming imperial anger?
Who has brought the army with drums and with kettledrums?
A gracious spring, turned to blood-ravenous autumn,
A turmoil of wars-- men, spread over the middle kingdom,
Three hundred and sixty thousand,
And sorrow, sorrow like rain.
Sorrow to go, and sorrow, sorrow returning.
Desolate, desolate fields,
And no children of warfare upon them,
No longer the men for offence and defense.
Ah, how shall you know the dreary sorrow at the North Gate,
With Rihaku's name forgotten,
And we guardsmen fed to the tigers." Heero was surprised as he listened.
It was as if Chang was making him see a different place, just using his
voice. Heero had been in China. He could imagine a ruined castle in the
middle of the rolling barren hills. And he was struck by the image of
the bones. He could see them in his mind, too, or at least how he would
paint or draw them.
When Chang was finished he struggled to find words to express how the
poem had affected him, but words were not his strong suit. "It doesn't
sound like that man liked war very much. It was-sad."
"Don't you find war so?" asked Chang.
"I don't think about it. I just carry out missions."
"Perhaps it's better that way. I find it very sad. I lost many friends
when hostilities with the Alliance first broke out. My wife died in the
Heero blinked. "Your what?"
Heero scowled at Chang. "You're not old enough to be married."
"I told you, I am the heir of a great clan. Marriages between the elite
families are arranged at a young age. Meirin and I were betrothed when
we were six and married when we were thirteen."
Heero pondered this amazing piece of information. "So you and she-- You
Chang colored darkly at that and turned his back on Heero. "That is not
an honorable question, Yuy!"
"Sorry!" Heero mumbled, mortified. This was why he didn't talk to people
very much. He wasn't good at it. He almost always ended up offending them
or getting odd looks. J hadn't taught him much about that sort of thing.
It seemed like the only people he could talk to were Trowa and that nutcase,
Maxwell. No matter what he said, or how he said it, they never seemed
to mind him. Come to think of it, Relena Peacecraft had been almost impossible
to offend, even when he was threatening to kill her. He couldn't figure
out what had made him want to protect her; she was really rather annoying,
now that he thought about it. All the same, she'd made an effort to befriend
him, the very first person ever, before Maxwell. And of course, any time
they'd been together, she'd done most of the talking.
When Chang remained silent, Heero felt the need to bridge the gap. "I
liked that poem. Could you do another?"
Chang sighed, then shifted around to face him again. "I suppose." He thought
a moment, then said, "This one is by Li Qingzhao, one of Meirin's favorites."
"It was far into the night when, intoxicated,
I took off my ornaments;
The plum flower withered in my hair.
Recovered from tipsiness,
the lingering smell of wine
broke my fond dream.
Before my dreaming soul could find
my way home.
All is quiet.
The moon lingers,
And the emerald screen hangs low.
I caress the withered flower,
Fondle the fragrant petals,
Trying to bring back the lost time."
"I'm not sure what that was
about, but it sounded kind of sad, too. Is all poetry like that?" asked
Heero, honestly curious.
Chang shrugged, and Heero saw he was uncomfortable again. "No. Those are
just the first that came to mind, that's all. I'm going to rest now."
With that, he went up to the corner where his blankets were and laid down
facing the wall.
Heero sat on the floor, chin on his knees, puzzling over why anyone who
could fight like Chang would care about studying poetry. The two that
he'd spoken had left Heero feeling lonely and empty inside. Why would
anyone want to write something like that?
Duty and honor. To Wufei, only child and last heir of the peerless Dragon
Clan, those two words defined the world and his own existence. There were
no higher ideals. Any and all situations could and must be interpreted
against that standard.
The mother he'd never known was said to have been a woman who epitomized
both, and his father, so aloof and serene, was their embodiment. The nurses
and servants who cared for him all agreed it was so. Throughout his childhood,
Wufei strove to be worthy of his father's notice, and on those rare occasions
when he merited it, he felt a great sense of accomplishment. He was a
dutiful son in all things, a dutiful young citizen, and a dutiful young
scholar. He always fell short of his father's ideal and his own, of course,
but that was only reason to keep striving.
At age six, he was dressed in a black kimono and a funny hat and affianced
to a scowling little girl named Meirin whom he'd never seen before. He
didn't want to do this. She scared him and bullied him when no one was
looking, but it was his duty. He made no mistakes at all in the ceremony
and his father was pleased. Over the sweet rice cakes and dragon-shaped
candy at the feast that followed, he and his new fiancee paid no attention
to each other.
Life went on, and Wufei found his own way to happiness. He found his soul
in the poetry of his ancestors, and in the teachings of Lao Tzu and Yuh
Niuy*. He strove for mental perfection among the books and scrolls of
the colony's great libraries. He strove to perfect the joining of body
and mind on the practice mat, with his fists and sword. His Wu-Yi instructor,
Master Lon, was harsh and strict; his smiles were more rare than those
of Wufei's honored father, and more treasured.
When he was thirteen Meirin reappeared. They married with equal disinterest
and dutiful attention. Meirin was less easy to ignore now, however. She
was loud and spoiled. She challenged him on the mat and often beat him,
then gloated about it. She spurned the gifts his father suggested, and
sometimes cried for no reason Wufei could comprehend. After a month, however,
they reached a truce. After another month they began to become friends.
He liked the way she fought. She took an interest in his poetry.
It was on the practice mat that they came together from their separate
lives. It was there they had a common language, if they did not always
agree on the meaning. Meirin saw it as fighting, a battle. She was the
aggressive one, the one who cared most about winning, besting him and
all the other students who trained with them, while to Wufei, Wu-Yi was
an art form no different than poetry or brush painting. There was as much
to be learned through defeat as through winning, or so he thought.
He came to love Meirin in his way. He liked her spirit and fire and the
way she laughed. It never occurred to him that there should be anything
more than that between them, and when she kissed him one night, as they
sat under a cherry tree he pulled away in surprise. It still baffled him,
why she'd stalked off and avoided him for three days.
When the war came, he and Meirin were among the chosen elite picked to
train to pilot the great Gundam war machine built by Master O. Wufei approached
the challenge with all his will and sense of duty, and was only a little
downcast when Meirin was the one chosen. She went off for special training.
He happily went back to his books. The war was still far away, and probably
wouldn't come this far. L-5 had little to do with Earth or the other colonies.
Apart from Master O and his associates, no one really expected them to
Wufei was surprised at how much of his past he'd ended up telling Heero
as they sat in the empty cell. He found himself at ease with Yuy, which
surprised him. He did not make friends easily, and even less so since
the possibility of death had became a stark reality. It had hurt when
Meirin died. He didn't want that kind of pain again.
But there was just something about Yuy that drew Wufei in, even it it
wasn't his conversation. Those skills were limited and halting at best,
although it was obvious that he was highly intelligent. When he did choose
to speak, he had something to say. Otherwise, he seemed content to listen,
and didn't mind silence.
Yuy also understood duty. Wufei thought he sensed something of the same
from Barton, but their current positions as prisoner and turncoat made
it impossible to explore that possibility the way he could with Yuy.
Trowa had been a bit surprised when Une sent him to escort Ambassador
"Peacecraft" back to her base for another meeting. Nikol had been livid,
but had to keep his mouth shut.
The strange thing was, Trowa was now almost positive that Une knew exactly
who he was. It was only a hunch, based on a few random comments she'd
made about him and Heero. She was a hard one to figure out, that was for
sure, but he was pleased with his assignment, even if it did mean losing
touch with Heero and the scientists for a couple of days.
He was given a small, fast, heavily armed shuttle for the mission. It
was more symbolic than anything else, rather like a sending a little dog
to protect a lion, given the Tallgeese's capabilities, and its pilot.
He docked at Colony X904 and a government car was waiting to take him
to the cultural center where Peacecraft was speaking. He found him in
the foyer, and waited respectfully at attention as Peacecraft finished
speaking with the smiling people who were crowded around him. A number
of women were fawning over him, as Une had, and a few men, too. Peacecraft
was the perfect gentleman, smooth, well spoken, perfectly at ease and
charming as hell. Trowa smiled to himself; it was a far cry from the horny
soldier who'd leaned over Trowa on that gantry and asked straight out,
"Do you want to?"
Peacecraft noticed him at last and acknowledged him with a slight nod.
"Ah, I see that my escort has arrived," he said, smoothly breaking away
from the others. "Thank you all for your insight and hospitality. I assure
you, I will do all in my power to work for peace in space."
Trowa saluted him. "I'm ready to escort you back to base, Ambassador.
My craft is fueled and ready."
"There's no rush, Officer Barton. You've had a long flight. Dine with
me before we leave, won't you?"
"I'd be honored, Sir, but my orders--"
"Are to see to my comfort, surely?" The man gave him a sly look that was
more Zechs Merquise than Milliardo Peacecraft. "Come now. You have to
eat, and I'm famished."
The way he said it made Trowa wonder if he had more than dinner in mind,
and those suspicions seemed to be confirmed when they ended up dining
alone in his suite. Peacecraft ordered a lavish meal: real fish in a real
lemon sauce, fresh vegetables Trowa had never seen before-- something
called asparagus--potatoes that hadn't come out of a box or can, and a
puffy cheese thing he called a souffle. He'd never had food like this
before and he almost forgot why he was there as he savored it. There was
a wine called champagne, too, and Peacecraft insisted he take a few sips,
even though he was on duty.
"You seem to be enjoying the meal," Peacecraft observed, amused.
Trowa slowly chewed a mouthful of asparagus before he answered, savoring
it carefully since he doubted he'd ever have it again. "Mmm. Yeah. So
this is how rich people eat?"
"I suppose so. You probably grew up eating field rations and whatever
you could scavenge off the land. And whatever poor creature crossed your
path that day. Am I right?"
"That's pretty close."
"But you appreciate fine things. I can tell."
Trowa thought longingly of Quatre's lavish desert base. He recalled the
huge bed with those soft, silky sheets with special fondness. "You're
a Peacecraft. Does that mean you're rich?"
"My family's money was confiscated when the Alliance betrayed and murdered
them. But I was taken in and raised by wealthy people, so I can't say
I lacked for anything. Certainly not by your standards. It's a shame,
really, someone with your sensibilities being so cut off from things he
Trowa helped himself to the last of the souffle. "Are you going somewhere
with this because I'm close to your enemy now and you want to turn me,
or are you just trying to get in my pants again? Either way, I'm not for
Peacecraft laughed outright at that and his hair caught the light with
a distracting gleam as he shook his head. "Actually, I'm relieved to hear
it. We shared a good, honest soldier's fuck that night, didn't we? I'd
hate to have sullied the memory."
"If you're really on the side of the colonies now, you don't need to bribe
Peacecraft raised his champagne glass. "To you, Trowa Barton, an honest
man. There are so few of your kind left in the world."
Peacecraft chatted easily over the chocolate tort dessert, remarking on
the different colonies he'd been to, and a visit he'd had with his long
lost sister, Relena.
"She's quite in love with your friend Yuy, you know," he told Trowa. "I
don't see it, myself, but she's utterly infatuated. Is it reciprocated,
do you think?"
Trowa considered the question, then shook his head. "He never spoke much
about her to me. I don't know if he understands love, or even affection.
But he'll defend her again, I know that."
Peacecraft studied him closely as he spoke, and continued to do so, a
little smile playing about his lips after Trowa had fallen silent. "I
see. I thought as much. Well, and how have you been? But of course, I
can see." He waved a hand at Trowa's uniform. "We've both turned our coats,
and ended up still on opposite sides. Truly, these are very complicated
times." He stood and stretched, shaking his hair back from his face. "If
you'll excuse me, Barton, I must change for the flight."
Trowa rose and bowed, then headed for the door. As he passed Peacecraft,
however, he slipped an arm around Trowa's waist and pulled him close.
Trowa's body reacted long before his mind caught up. Those intense blue
eyes were just inches from his own.
"So, still no kissing?"
"N-no. No kissing," Trowa whispered, momentarily lost in that touch and
Peacecraft's smile was a little sad as he combed his fingers back through
Trowa's bangs. "I must say, Barton, I rather envy the one you save those
lips for. I hope he appreciates them."
"He does," Trowa replied softly.
"Good." He released Trowa and went off to the bedroom to change.
Trowa adjusted the front of his trousers, easing the sudden aching erection
that had sprung up at the man's first touch to a more comfortable angle.
Was he waiting for Trowa to follow him into the bedroom?
Utterly confused, Trowa just stood there and a moment later Peacecraft
emerged in his pressure suit. "Shall we?" he asked, was as if nothing
had happened between them.
Not certain if he'd passed or failed whatever test Peacecraft had just
posed, Trowa followed him out to the waiting transport.
There was still not sign of Trowa the following day. Heero was getting
very bored, and a little worried.
Chang picked up on it. "You and Barton. Were you friends, before all this?"
Heero shrugged. He hadn't really thought about it, but he supposed they
had been. He'd saved Heero's life and taken care of him for months, without
expecting anything in return. Heero had gotten used to having him around,
and, if he allowed himself to admit it, actually enjoyed Trowa's company
in Europe. Like Chang, he was a good soldier and a quiet companion. If
he'd wished for somehthing more--physical from Heero, well, he hadn't
been insistent about it when Heero hadn't been able to reciprocate, hadn't
said a word. Heero wasn't quite sure what had held him back; it was stupid
to let hinmself hang onto the memory of violet eyes half closed in pleasure
and waves of chestnut hair glistening in firelight--
"It must be difficult," said Chang.
Heero looked up with a guilty start as the other boy intruded on his wandering
Chang have him an odd look. "The way things are now, between you and 03,"
he said, keeping his voice very low.
"Hn." For the sake of the mission, he couldn't very well defend Trowa
at the risk of his cover. In fact, Trowa might really have turned traitor,
and was using their previous association against him now. But deep down,
Heero just didn't want to believe that. No matter what logic and the mission
dictated, his gut said Trowa wouldn't turn against them like that.
But friends? Did he even know what that meant, except as defined by J
as an entanglement he could not afford?
Lunchtime came and went. They ate in silence, then attempted to discuss
poetry again. Chang was doggedly trying to explain the difference between
a simile and a metaphor when the cell door slid open and a small, dark
figure staggered down the stairs and collapsed at their feet. From the
corner of his eye he could see someone watching them through the view
port in the door.
At the sight of that ridiculous braid and those weird black clothes, Heero
felt that strange split again: logic said to cover their acquaintance
and not give the guards anything to use against them; his gut was screaming
He stayed where he was as Duo let out a long groan. He'd been hurt again,
the idiot. It looked like someone had beaten the hell out of him before
they dumped him in here.
A cold knot cramped Heero's belly. What if it had been Trowa again? Heero
could put not name to the emotions that gripped him, threatening to drive
him to his feet to scream at the people outside the door. He sat very
still, feeling a little dizzy, but he kept his voice cold as he said,
"So you botched your mission. You couldn't destroy the base and you couldn't
kill J and the others."
"Hey, how about a little sympathy?" Duo groaned, managing to give Heero
the finger with one manacled hand. "Besides, looks like you guys are in
the same situation. Is it safe to talk here?"
Heero nodded. "Just keep your voice down."
"Gotcha," Duo whispered. "You should be glad I showed up. I've got some
good news. 05, your Gundam and mine are being rebuilt by our crazy friends
with the weird haircuts. I just saw them. All we have to do is stay alive
for a month until they're done."
"That is good news," said Heero. "Don't go dying on us."
"Don't worry about me, pal," Duo muttered. "I have no intention of dyin'
that easy. Shinigami'll be up and kickin' OZ ass in no time. But right
now . . . I need some sleep." And he passed out.
Hiding his concern behind a scowl, Heero knelt beside him and checked
him out as best he could with his hands manacled together. Duo's breathing
was fine, and his pulse was normal. Still, he'd been roughed up badly.
Less than a month ago Heero had gotten him admitted to that hospital on
L-1 with internal injuries and cracked ribs. Now here he was again, bloody,
beaten, but unbowed. Heero picked up that heavy braid and ran it through
his fingers, moving it away from Duo's face. The idiot had a talent for
getting caught, it seemed, but he was tough as nails.
He and Chang both set their afternoon water ration aside for Duo. When
he came around at last, Heero helped him sit up and drink.
"Feeling any better?"
Duo grimaced. "No, but thanks for asking."
"Who did this to you?" Heero demanded.
Duo glanced up at the door, but there was no one there. "One of the scientists
actually, a big bald goon."
"Dr. O, my instructor," murmured Chang, coming to kneel beside them. "He
must have been careful, if you are only hurt this badly. He is a Wu-Yi
"Yeah, I'll vouch for that, whatever it is," Duo muttered, rubbing his
"So what happened this time?" asked Heero.
"Hey, you make it sound like I'm some kind of screw up! I'll have you
know I infiltrated the OZ recruitment zone, stole a Leo, escaped capture
and just about got killed all over again blasting my way into the base."
"And you did this all on your own?"
"Well . . ." Duo grinned. "There was this girl, a real spitfire name Hilde.
She had your eyes and your pigheaded stubbornness, 'ro. Maybe she's a
long lost sister, huh? She's a colonial Ozzy and all, but I think I must
have talked some sense into her, because she covered my ass long enough
for me to break into the base. Long story short, I ended up in some sort
of secret bunker where the mad scientists are working on our new suits.
They told me the score and roughed me up to make the capture look good.
G figured it was that or have them shoot me. And so here I am to rescue
you two damsels in distress!" He grinned and batted long eyelashes at
Heero. "So, did ya miss me, 'ro? Get all lonely without me to scowl at?"
"I soaked my pillow every night," Heero replied with heavy sarcasm, trying
to ignore how close to home Duo's words hit.
Even beaten to a pulp, Duo managed a leer. "Soaked it with what, blue
"Should I go over to my corner and cover my ears?" Chang growled.
"Good to see you again, too, sunshine. Got a kiss for me, Wu-man?"
"The name is Ch-- Wufei, Maxwell."
"Whatever you say, Wuffie." Duo took a good look at Chang. "Shit, who
happened to you?"
"Trowa Barton did this. And you will call me Wufei!"
Duo's eyebrows shot up under his bangs. "03 worked you over? Heero, what
"He's the one who captured me when I broke into this base. It happened
three days after I left you."
Duo rolled up onto his knees, all trace of humor gone. "Whoa. Let me get
this straight. 03 is with OZ now?"
Heero leaned in close, keeping his voice low. "We think he's under deep
cover, but we can't be certain. He got put on the spot by an officer named
Nikol and ended up having to prove his loyalty by beating up Wufei."
"I had the impression the man suspects who Barton really is," Chang whispered,
coming back to join them. "I think he could have hurt me worse, and he
didn't blow my cover, so I didn't blow his."
Duo sighed and blew his bangs up out of his eyes. "Man, I'm glad Kat isn't
here to see this. He's not, is he?"
"Who?" asked Heero.
"Quatre. 04? I guess you guys haven't actually met him yet. I hung out
with him after Siberia until we left Earth. He's a great kid, a real sweetheart."
So Duo had been with 04 all that time, while Heero was Trowa. For some
reason this information made him uncomfortable. That, and hearing Duo
describe this other boy as a "sweetheart." Adding this to a growing collection
of feelings to be crushed and ignored, he asked, "Why would this situation
"He and Tro are friends, from back before New Edwards. If Tro really has
turned? Fuck, it'll break Kat's heart!"
"There is no place for such emotional attachment in war," Chang said disapprovingly.
"It clouds one's judgment and leads to mistakes."
Duo gave him a long, measuring look and shook his head. "Seriously, Wu-fei,
how do you manage?"
Chang frowned at him, confused by the question. "Manage what?"
"Manage to sit all bent over like that with that stick shoved so far up
Heero braced to prevent a fight but Chang simply raised an eyebrow at
02. "The same way you bear up under being constantly mistaken for a girl,
I suppose. Or perhaps that's your intention?"
Duo had no such restraint. He was on his feet in an instant, injuries
notwithstanding and Heero had to block him with a shoulder to the gut
to keep him from slamming into Chang. Duo collapsed in a ball with a pained
grunt and Heero knelt on his braid to keep him down.
"Both of you, shut up!" he growled. "Like it or not, we are in this together.
The scientists have a plan and right now our main objection is not to
fuck it up. Do you understand?"
"Of course." Chang had not moved a muscle during Duo's outburst. The arrogant
mask was back in place.
"02?" Heero growled.
"Get off my hair!"
Duo glared up at him. "Thought you weren't going to call me that anymore,
Heero glared back. They'd never spoken of what had happened in Finland,
but he knew Duo was throwing that up at him now. "I will get off your
hair when I'm certain you have cooled the fuck off. You really want the
guards to come in and check on us?"
"I'm cool. Totally chilly. Just tell him to lay off Kat, OK? Nobody badmouths
04 around me!"
"I was not 'badmouthing' anyone," Chang retorted. "I was merely making
an observation, and one which you just proved admirably."
"05!" Heero gave Chang a warning glare.
"Yuy. Hair. Off!" Heero moved his knee and Duo sat up and pulled his braid
into his lap, clutching it protectively. "Jeeze, Heero, no offense, but
when's the last time you washed those shorts?"
"And you smell like roses."
"Yeah, well I lost my toothbrush when Deathscythe went down."
"And they don't sell them on L-1?"
"You didn't exactly leave me with a big allowance, and the Bank of G is
out of business!"
"I didn't expect you to take so long to follow!"
"And once again you prove my point," Chang observed smugly. "Would you
two like me to ask the guards to move me to a different cell so you can
Heero glared at Chang again, but felt himself blushing.
Duo, on the other hand, looked closely at Chang as if he'd never seen
him before. "Did I just hear you make a joke, Wu? Did you
just razz on us?"
Chang just raised an eyebrow again, inscrutable as a cat.
Duo grinned. "OK, you can stay. So, anyone got a deck of cards? Some weed?
Any good porn? No? What the fuck kinda hotel is this, anyway?"
Heero wasn't certain exactly what had just happened, but it seemed to
be an improvement.
There was no real way to keep track of time in the cell, but Heero knew
that the lights were turned off at 9 pm and turned back on at 5:30 the
following morning. It was still pitch dark when the opening of the door
awakened them. At least three armed men were silhouetted in the doorway
and none of them were Trowa.
"Prisoner 02, on your feet!" one of them ordered.
"Whazzzat?" Duo mumbled somewhere in the darkness near Heero.
"I said on your feet, prisoner!" the man barked. "Go get him."
These men were drunk. Heero heard it in their voices and smelled it as
they entered the cell. He tried to get up as they headed for Duo, but
one of them swung the butt of his gun and took him in the belly, knocking
"Not that one, you moron!" another said, yanking the man back as he aimed
a kick at Heero's head. "You want Une all over your ass? They'd notice
Two had Duo by the arms now, dragging him toward the door while he fought
and kicked and swore.
"What's going on? Where are you taking him?" Chang demanded.
"Interrogation," one of them snickered. "Sit tight, you little slant.
* Yuh Niuy: ancient Chinese woman warrior philosopher, founder of the
Wu-Yi school of marital arts, which Wufei practices.
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