Author: Bane's Desire
see chao. 1 for warnings, disclaimer

A Grudging Seduction: Chapter Four
Deliverance

It took two hours for Heero to retrace his steps and return to the base with a new mission in mind. Cutting a new hole in the fence on the opposite side of the base from where he and Duo had entered before, the interloper made his way to the building located at the base's center. From the plans he'd been supplied beforehand, he knew that the base commander's administrative offices as well as the medical unit were housed in that particular building. He'd calculated that Duo would most likely be in one section of the building or the other, depending on if he was being interrogated or if he were wounded.

Climbing the outside corner of the stuccoed wall with a level of stealth that would seem almost impossible to most people, he worked his way up a drainage pipe on the southwest corner of the building, wincing whenever the metal groaned even slightly under his weight, Heero achieved the rooftop of the four-storey stucco building and slipped gracefully over the top edge. His eyes scanned the flat rooftop and it appeared for the moment that good fortune was going to be his companion this night after all. In the dim illuminated light coming from the stars and slivered moon above, he could faintly see the shadow of a guard performing his rounds to his left, on the north side of the flat roof and walking slowly in a counter clock wise direction. It was clear that he'd been quiet enough in gaining the rooftop that the man wasn't aware of his presence. Silently removing his knife from his boot, he crouched down low, his black attire blending perfectly within the shadows to hide his presence, and he waited, his eyes never leaving the shadowed form of the unsuspecting soldier as he drew nearer to his position. The unknowing man never had a chance to cry out for help for he was dead a scant second after Heero had made use of the knife at his throat.

Wiping the blood off his blade against the fallen man's pant leg, Wing's pilot kept low as he pulled the dead man's body further into the shadows in order to keep him from being discovered before his mission was complete. Satisfied the body was out of sight, he studied his position relative to the building's layout that he had memorized in his head, then moved to reposition himself above a set of office windows. He then pulled his spare coiled rope from out of the zippered pouch of his backpack and anchored it around an exhaust pipe that was one of many poking out of the roof's surface. With the knot on one end of the rope secured, he threw the rest of it over the side of the wall.

Gripping the rope in his hands, he swung his body over the wall and lowered himself a short way down the side of the building, coming to a stop in front of a window on the fourth floor. With his foot wrapped securely around the rope, anchoring his position, he paused a moment to spit out into his fingers the piece of gum he'd been chewing on since leaving the motorcycle and stuck it between his ring and little finger on his right hand. Then with his knife in the same hand, he began to gently pry the window open, grateful again that OZ had appropriated such an old Alliance building for its own use and hadn't had the time to update the exterior security, which was ancient in comparison to the lock they'd found in the main computer room. Popping the window up and out of its track, he instantly clamped down on the wire connected to the security system with his fingers, then as quick as a blink of an eye he placed the wad of gum over the two ends, fooling the easily duped system in the exact same manner as Duo had done earlier.

With the backpack of explosives strapped securely to his back, he carefully swung his body inside the opening and dropped silently down onto the linoleum floor with both feet. He shut the window behind him, leaving it slightly ajar, the bottom edge just a fraction of an inch away from the sticky gum in case he needed a quick escape. He scanned the dark room, discerning in the shadows office furniture that was scattered and stacked around the room. It looked as if the room was being used for storage for miscellaneous furniture. Not seeing what he needed, he make his way to the door of the office leading to the corridor. Opening the door with silent caution, he made a quick scan of the hallway, making sure it was empty. He found it was, but knew he couldn't count on it being so for long.

Moving quickly and without making any sound, he crossed the hallway to another office and jimmied the lock, he then entered the dark room a moment later and quickly scanned the interior. This room appeared to be used for clerical work with computers, printers and copiers crowding the utilitarian space. His eyes landed on the object of his search and he made his way towards one of the computers and turned it on. Searching the mainframe files, he found and brought up to the screen a current directory of the building and memorized the information he needed to rescue his partner. The base commander's office was listed as being on this very floor but on the opposite side from where he was positioned at the moment. He mentally marked the room, then located the medical offices two floors down. Having gotten the information he needed, he turned off the computer and turned to leave the room.

He opened the outer office door once again, but instead of hearing the silence that had greeted him before, the sound of unhurried footsteps on the linoleum floor of the hallway alerted him to the presence and approach of someone, probably a guard on duty, most likely making his rounds. Heero realized he probably didn't have much time left until the man on the roof was discovered and the alarm would be sounded once again. He would have to act fast if he and Duo were going to make it out of there before that happened.

He silently closed the door, locked it, then went to a desk located in one of the darker corners of the room and ducked under it, feeling grateful that it had solid wood sides. He crouched there, gun in hand with the safety off, and silently waited. The doorknob to the room rattled, then came the tinkling sound of a key being searched for amongst many others. The found key entered the lock a second before the door swung open. Heero saw the tight beam of a bright flashlight turn on and made a sweep of the room in a cursory search. After a moment, it was turned off with an audible click. The guard was obviously satisfied that nothing was out of order for the door was closed, locked, and retreating footsteps were clearly heard. Only then did Heero let out the breath he'd been holding.

Leaving the room several moments later, he decided it would be safer to follow behind the on-duty guard, estimating his chances of running into any other base personnel lessened by keeping close to the retreating form.

Staying out of sight, he followed the man's path as he made his rounds on the building's fourth floor, oblivious to the fact that he being followed by a notorious gundam pilot. Heero was appalled at the minimal amount of energy the man put into his job as he watched each room receive the most minute search, similar to the room he'd hidden in moments before. He thought to himself that if OZ was filled with soldiers such as this man, displaying such lackadaisical dedication to his duty, their winning the war was assured.

As the guard continued on, Heero opened the doors to the same rooms just checked with the lock picks Duo had given him earlier in the week. He then strategically set the plastic explosives and timers as he followed, placing them out of sight in random room. Making sure the soldier in front of him was always within earshot, he realized they were coming close to the area where Duo might be held, the base commander's office.

It took fifteen minutes from the time he began following the man dressed in a standard OZ uniform for him to check the doors of each room and closet before he passed what Heero identified from the floor plans in his memory as the office he was looking for. The room was occupied, or so it seemed by the spilling of light into the dark hallway from a small security window to the right and center of the door and the armed guard that stood outside it as a sentry.

The low hum of voices speaking behind the closed door could be heard from out in the corridor, and the guard making the rounds paused momentarily to listen and give a nod of acknowledgment to the uniformed man guarding the door. A loud slap of flesh on flesh came from the room. That distinct sound accompanied a barked, unintelligible command. Heero watched as the guard on patrol tensed, held his gun tighter to his side, then proceeded down the corridor, continuing his inept check of the darkened rooms once more.

Heero waited until the guard rounded the far corner then quickly, soundlessly, reached back and pulled his gun and its accompanying silencer out of his pack. With efficiency drilled into him since he could remember, he assembled it and held the well-worn, familiar handle in both hands. Making sure the guard was alone, he turned the corner, held up the lethal weapon with both hands to steady his aim, then fired off one shot, the gun making a soft 'pfft' sound. He instantly bolted, running the short distance towards the falling soldier to catch the gun on his shoulder before it clattered onto the floor along with the man.

Another slap of skin was heard from behind the door, more clearly this time as was the angry male voice that came from inside the room. "Wake up you piece of shit!" A deep voice ordered sternly. A slight moan was the only response to the man's surly order.

"We should probably have the doctor see to him before he bleeds to death," another voice inside the room advised, sounding somewhat nervous.

"It would save OZ the cost of the bullet it would take to execute him if he did bleed to death," the first man's bitter voice replied. "But I'll get some information out of him before that happens," the man added. "Give me that bottle of water."

A scarce moment later Heero heard the sounds of spluttering and coughing. "What the hell? Whadareya try'en to do, drown me?" Duo's voice came out slurred but understandable, and his words were followed by coughing. Heero decided his partner sounded weak and strained. He concluded that Duo must be badly hurt to sound that bad.

"Shut up and listen to me, kid," the first voice hissed.

"Son of a bitch!" Duo cried out more coherently. "Stop pulling the hair. I thought that was how girls fight, not men!"

Heero frowned. He'd repeatedly told Duo his braid was a liability, something to be used against him. It seemed his prediction had come true.

"Shut up you little shit," the voice of the angry man growled out. "You either start answering my questions or I may just start getting them the hard way by cutting that bullet out of your leg with your own knife." There was a click that Heero recognized as the sound of a switch blade being open, a sound he'd often heard coming from the direction his partner. He remembered many a time turning around to see what Duo was doing with his blade open only to see the other pilot cleaning his fingernails, cutting an apple or just studying the gleam of the well kept, shining metal. That unforgettable sound was followed by a long pause. "Looks like you keep it pretty sharp," the first voice said in a sinister, contemplating manner. "I can't help wonder how many men you've killed with it."

"Ya don't really wanna know," Duo mumbled, almost too low for Heero to catch.

"What were you and your partner doing on the base? What did you do before we caught you?"

"Got you a little worried, haven't we?" Duo chuckled darkly. "What could a couple of your smarter than average kids do within a thirty minute time span in your facilities?"

Heero really wished the other pilot would learn not to taunt his enemies. They always took their anger and frustration out on him more harshly than any one of the other pilots had ever experienced. He suspected it was mostly because Duo couldn't help taunting them. Another hard slap of skin against skin was heard as well as an accompanying grunt.

"Well, ya hit harder than a girl, that's for sure," Duo snarled after spitting, probably blood laced saliva, Heero thought.

"Answer my question you brat. What were you doing here?"

"That's for me to know and for you.... Hey! Wait a sec." Duo voice rose in pitch and anxiety. "Oh God!"

Heero heard a strangled scream coming from his partner. He figured the muffled sound came through Duo's clenched teeth. Not willing to wait another moment, he burst into the room, and before the men could turn around, his silencer took them down as they stood over the boy dressed in black and slumped over in a chair in the center of the room. He quickly noted that Duo was held immobile and upright by ropes tied around his arms, legs and chest.

The two soldiers had fallen to the carpet with barely a sound. Heero moved quickly to remove their weapons from them, tucking the two guns he found into his belt. Without further hesitation, he turned and pulled the dead man in the hallway into the office and closed the office door, then abandoned him to go straight to his comrade's side. On his approach, he noted the black-clad, slender body was shaking, a sure sign that Duo was going into shock. The knife, which he recognized as Duo's switchblade, was imbedded to the hilt in his left thigh, located centimeters from a bullet hole that was oozing the traumatized boy's dark, thick blood, soaking the material of his pants.

Checking over his mission partner, Heero put his fingertips under Duo's chin and lifted the other boy's face, noting that under his half closed eyelids his eyes were rolled back and his face was pale and moist with sweat. Knowing the wounded boy was in an extreme amount of pain, Heero could only come up with one solution to the current dilemma. He reached down, firmly wrapped his hand around the knife handle and quickly pulled up, causing Duo to moan miserably at the renewed pain at the blade's removal from his abused flesh and muscle.

Using the same bloody knife, Heero quickly cut away the ropes and caught the braided boy from falling out of the chair as the bindings fell away.

"Come on, Duo. We've got to get out of here," he whispered into the traumatized boy's ear. If Duo heard him, he was unable to reply. Heero set the other boy down on the floor, well away from the other dead men. He worked quickly to rip a sleeve off one of the deceased bodies then bound the material around Duo's bleeding thigh, hoping to stop the flow of blood from his open wounds. Seeing no alternative to getting out of there, Wing's pilot bent over and slung the slender teenager over his shoulder, suddenly grateful for the other pilot's lack of weight. He held Duo's dangling legs in place with a firm hold of his arms over the backs of his thighs in order to prevent him from rolling off the edge of his shoulder. Moving towards the door and stepping over the body he'd dragged in, Heero opened it with caution and stuck his head out to scan the corridor for the guard. Seeing it was clear, he exited the room more silently than how he'd entered. Turning off the office light, he shut the door quietly behind him, hoping the returning guard wouldn't discover the dead men before he had a chance to escape.

Following the same direction the soldier on guard duty had gone five minutes before, Heero proceeded with extreme caution, his senses on full alert while being mindful not to make any sound that would give him away. Coming upon a stairwell, he moved into it with his shouldered burden and carefully descended the stairs. He'd come to the conclusion that leaving the building the way he'd entered was definitely out of the question with the current physical condition of the other pilot. He'd have to improvise on getting them out of there, something he wasn't always comfortable doing. He was a planner, working out any or all details of a mission before beginning it. Duo was the spontaneous fighter, ready for change at any given moment. But his mission partner was unable to lend him any ideas at the moment, so it was up to him to figure their way out of there.

Though he'd heard sounds of soldiers moving about in the corridors and twice entering the stairwell above and below him, he made it to the first floor undetected and cracked the door open just enough to get an idea of the area just beyond it. He could see from that brief glance that there were more guards on duty than when they'd broken in earlier, probably due to their earlier discovery and Duo's capture. Under normal circumstances it would have been more than possible for him to have gotten out of the building without being spotted or killed, but Duo's condition prevented him from using any of the escape routes he would normally use from the second and third storeys.

With a huff of frustration, he carefully set the wounded boy down, placing his back against the wall just behind the door leading to the first floor's corridor, with his forearm pushing against his partner's chest in order to keep his slack body upright. Holding him in place, Wing's pilot took a moment, allowing himself a moment to analyze the situation.

No more than a minute passed before he reached into his backpack and took out the remote detonator that had been set to trigger the four charges he'd placed on the third floor. It was risky, setting off the explosives above them, the whole building could come crashing down on their heads, depending on how well it was built. But there was no way to separate the set charges now so that they could go off individually, limiting the amount of damage to the building and bettering their chances of escaping in the confusion. There was nothing else to be done about it now, he decided, and he set his finger against the green-lit, blinking button.

It was fortuitous that at that very moment Duo moaned as he began to regain consciousness. Hearing it, Heero was quick to clamp his hand over the other boy's mouth and watched as his comrade jerked at his touch and his eyes shot open. A look of recognition blinked into those odd-colored blue eyes belonging to his companion, mere inches from his face.

"Quiet," Heero mouthed silently.

Duo nodded, showing he understood.

With Duo conscious, Heero rethought his options. He pocketed the remote and let go of the other boy, seeing Duo could now sit up on his own. Checking the two guns he acquired from the men upstairs and seeing they were fully loaded, he placed them in the other boy's hands, then motioned for him to stay put. Without further explanation, he took the backpack with him and scurried down the stairs to the floor below, returning back to the other boy's side in less than five minutes.

He found that Duo had managed to remain awake, yet during his absence the wounded American had slumped down bonelessly to his right side to lay on the floor and peered up through the long strands of hair that fell over his forehead when Heero reappeared.

Wing's pilot quickly reached down and unceremoniously pulled the other pilot up to a standing position, supporting him by holding him under his arms and against his chest and, with a finger to his lips, signaled for Duo to remain silent. He placed them both tightly into the corner behind the exit door and covered Duo protectively with his own body. Seeing they were as secure as he could manage, Heero pulled the remote detonator out of the waistband of his pants and depressed the button. After only a slight moment's delay, the building rocked from the violent explosion above and below their position. Screams of fear as well as alarms sounded in the corridor beyond the door as the tremors settled a moment later and a cloud of heated smoke and dust rose up the stairwell while chunks of debris from above fell through the open space to crash loudly onto the floor below. The two teens remained in place during the next few moments and then the door they hid behind was flung open, squeezing them further into the corner and hiding their presence as Oz soldiers barreled through, armed with guns and fire extinguishers as they rapidly flew down the stairwell without detecting their presence. Heero noted the soldiers' voices sounded panicked as they called out to each other as they raced down the stairs to literally put out the fire.

He waited for the last man to disappear before moving from his position and quickly bent to put Duo over his shoulder once again. This time the boy was conscious and protested, mindful to keep his voice down. "Dammit, Heero. I can walk. You can't possibly carry me outta here and escape. Besides, it's embarrassing to have my ass up in the air as a target," he complained

His protestations were ignored as Heero hefted him over his shoulder, and his complaints ended altogether when Wing's pilot forcefully pinched his upper thigh soundly to let him know he was in charge. Duo yelped quietly in response, then quickly gripped Heero's belt to secure his position, a sign of his capitulation. Satisfied there would be no more complaining, Heero opened the door to the corridor beyond and, after a quick scan of the area, exited their hiding place and began to run towards the entrance of the building, hoping to slip out in the surrounding confusion.

The base was in the second stage of chaos with the warning klaxons sounding and soldiers, men and women, in and out of uniform, were running around, seemingly organized but with a look of panic on their faces. The foyer he'd hoped to sneak out of was not as chaotic and frenzied as he'd hoped. Numerous armed soldiers were gathered there. Many of them were being led out of the door in an organized manner in small groups, those waiting for their escort stood patiently, covering their mouths and coughing as smoke drifted up from the fires beneath them and began to pollute the main floor of the building. Heero had hoped to get them out of there well before the alarm sent the occupants of the building out of their offices, but he'd delayed too long. There was no way he could get himself and Duo out that way. He retreated back down the corridor he'd just come from and used his silencer to shoot open the locked door to an office located on the outside wall of the building.

Shutting the door behind him, he set Duo on the edge of a desk and motioned with his hand for him to stay put. Then going behind the metal piece of office furniture, he picked up the chair behind the desk and with a powerful swing of his arms, flung the bulky mass through the glass window, shattering it and giving him a ready exit.

Duo was already standing, struggling to balance on one foot when Heero reached his side. The braided boy didn't fuss this time when Heero unceremoniously threw him over his shoulder and made for the window.

"Hold tight," he warned a brief moment before he leapt over the window sill that was covered with hundreds of shards of glass.

+

Duo's chin collided with Heero's spine as a result of the jarring impact with the ground beneath the window he'd jumped out of, his teeth painfully crashing together. He was grateful to note that at least he hadn't bitten off part of his tongue. He held tightly to Heero's belt as the Wing pilot began to run as quickly as he could manage with Duo flopping heavily against his back. Upside down, his view blocked by Heero's body, Duo couldn't make a correct analysis of their progress, whether they were truly escaping or running into a trap. But he figured the longer they ran with no signs of pursuit, the better their chances were of escaping.

The sound of a gun firing behind them ended that train of thought.

"Put.. me.. down, Heero," Duo shouted, his voice coming out sounding like he was on a bumpy road, which he guessed wasn't far from the truth. If he could just get Heero to put him down, the Wing pilot would have a better chance of escaping. Hanging upside down on his back, Duo figured he was a sitting duck for the pot shots being aimed their way.

"Come..on. Sitting...duck!" He cried out again, hearing more guns being fired and distant angry shouts growing in number.

Heero didn't stop completely, but after a few more steps he slowed down a fraction to swing Duo from off his shoulder, taking him by surprise. The American instantly regretted having said anything as his injured leg burst into blinding pain as it hit the ground. He regained his senses quickly and realized they were standing at the cut fence and Heero was leading him through the opening as carefully and swiftly as possible.

"It's only about fifty feet to the motorcycle," Heero stated, his voice cool and clipped as he pulled Duo along with a supporting arm wrapped around his waist.

The guns behind them sounded again, having paused momentarily as they passed through the fencing. They'd gone no further than ten feet when the report of a gun coincided with Heero suddenly jerking with a twist to his left and stumbling to the ground.

"Get up!" Duo shouted, his voice laced with panic as he pulled at Heero's upper arm. "Don't do this, Heero. Don't quit on me now."

A moan came from the other boy, and with Duo's persistent tugging, Heero slowly crawled onto his hands and knees then lurched almost drunkenly to his feet. Without a word, the two hung onto each other for support as they lumbered forward towards the direction of the motorcycle. Duo became aware of the fact that Heero was favoring his right arm and side. He'd obviously been hit but was using his stubborn, dogged determination to move him in order to avoid being captured. Duo's good estimation of the other pilot rose considerably. He might not be the most sociable, personable, talkative or polite person he'd ever met, but the boy from L-2 knew he'd never have a better partner to carry out his missions with than Heero Freaking-Nuts Yuy.

It took the two of them to lift the heavy black motorcycle from the ground, their efforts doubling when the sound of approaching soldiers came to their ears. Noting Heero's sluggish movements, Duo knew he was hurt more than he was letting on.

"I'll drive," he offered, and with great effort and a lot of pain he managed to climb onto the long seat and take the front position on the bike. Heero paused only a fraction of a second before he leaned heavily on his teammates shoulder and clumsily moved to sit behind him and wrapped his left arm tightly around his partner's waist. The engine revved to life a second before Duo caused it to pop a wheelie and it shot off into the forest, leaving the soldiers cursing after them, shooting their guns in a wild attempt to hinder their escape and, thankfully, completely missing their mark.

The wind blew sharp and cool on the faces of the two boys who made good their escape. Duo was acutely aware of the throbbing pain that emanated from his wounded leg and the uncontrolled shaking that had taken over his body earlier had returned. He clamped his teeth together to keep them from chattering, figuring he was probably suffering from shock and blood loss. He welcomed the warmth of Heero's body as the other boy leaned heavily against his back, his arm wound tightly around his waist. The briefest hint of ragged breathing in his ear told him of his mission partner's physical distress. It then it dawned on him that Heero had never before allowed himself this much physical contact between the two of them. He could only hope that Heero's trust in him was a sure sign that he'd truly broken through the other boy's defenses. It gave him hope that his work during the past week towards that specific goal had succeeded, and he'd be damned if he'd let Heero's newfound trust in him falter by not getting him back to their room.

"Hold on, Heero," he shouted against the wind, hoping his words reached the other boy. "I'll get us back to the dorm and then I'll look at your wounds. You'll be okay, buddy. I swear, I won't let you down." Feeling the slight nod of Heero's head against his shoulder, the Deathscythe pilot raced faster than was safe through the wooded area, his skill at guiding the bike in near total darkness was sufficient enough to bring them to the main road safely and in record time. Planning to keep the bike's headlights off for at least five miles, the two injured boys began the thirty-five minute trek down the dark, moon-lit road towards the safety their dorm room, unknowing of the next ill-fated calamity that would take place on that very road, making their journey back to safety much more difficult.

[ch. 3] [ch. 5] [back to Singles a - k]