Title: Study, Stalk and Sacrifice, a sequel to Watching, Waiting and
Author: Karen, The Huntress firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing or its characters
Warning: angst, death
Feedback: Always appreciated.
Study, Stalk and Sacrifice
Sequel to Watching, Waiting and Wondering
I wait patiently in the staging area. The other Gundams flank me on either side as they, too, await the call to arms. To my right I can clearly see Deathscythe hovering in the hanger's weightless vacuum. My hand rests on the monitor controls, as I am ever so tempted to contact my destined lover. But that man whom Duo believes he loves would interfere just like he always does.
No, I will use the limited time before battle to study my opponent. In my mind's eye I can see him sitting smugly with that Perfect Soldier attitude as if his superior training makes him someone to fear. There will be fear but it will not belong to the enemy.
The terror will come when that cocky bastard realizes that he is squarely in my sights. There will be a flicker of disbelief at my betrayal then brief confusion seconds before my Dragon Fang reaches into his impotent machine and hurls his lifeless body into the cold, endless void of space.
I am a quick study, someone who can dispatch retribution with the speed and accuracy of a ruthless warrior. The order to move out floods the cockpit with anticipation. It won't be long now before my rival will be eliminated and Duo will be free to love me.
As I engaged another Taurus I imagine it is my adversary. As the beam glaive severs the head in an explosion of sparks I visualize Heero's futile struggle to gleam one last ounce of life from the depressurized atmosphere. I make short work of the next challenger and move closer to my main objective.
Wing pivots firing a volley of lethal shots and the twirling puts its back toward me. Another Mobile Suit evaporates...I don't have time to be bothered with such trifling contests. My thrusters hiss again, meter by meter I close the gap.
That fool doesn't suspect as I power up Nataku's flamethrower. The strategy is simple, the plan flawless. Blacken the viewports, blind the monitors and attack while Wing gropes in total darkness.
I am a mighty Dragon. I am the deliverer of swift death and not even Heero Yuy can stand against me. With stealthy silence I stalk my prey and with the same determination I will capture my beloved Shinigami's heart and claim him as mine for eternity.
Target sighed, weapons locked. There is no turning back. Sweat beads...trickles into my ebony eyes but I will not allow my focused sight to waver. Through the shredded remnants of men and machines I take aim. My finger tenses over the weapon activation trigger.
Far ahead I can see the black silhouette of Duo's Gundam. This is for you my love. This is my declaration, undeniable proof of my complete commitment.
"DUO LOOK OUT!" I scream as dozens of Mobile Dolls materialize from nowhere.
Streaks of fire flare, energy beams slice through the starless heavens in a deadly deluge. Deathscythe rocks sideways, shudders violently as it is engulfed in bursts of bright light.
Shouts of panic shriek over the opened channel. "TOO MANY!" is all I hear before the Duo's cries for help are overwhelmed by static.
My heart skips a beat as my warrior instincts kick in. With gut-wrenching speed I throw Nataku into the blazing fury. All I can see is energy beams; all I can hear through the blood rush in my ears are the last words that Duo shouted out in alarm.
I charge into the fray like a man possessed by the fear of losing the only person who gives me a reason to fight the injustice of war. I don't consider the odds, don't care if I am outnumbered.
One, two, three at a time, Mobile Suits disintegrate. Inside the cockpit alarms blare loudly, burning circuits scorch the control panels and blue-gray smoke surrounds me in suffocating clouds. Still I fight, fight for my love.
Then I do something that I have never done before...I retreat. My withdrawal is not borne from a lack of courage and I don't care if Duo believes that I am a coward. My flight is designed to make the attacking suits come after me, to give Duo a chance to recover so he can become the God of Death once more.
Without the aid of instruments I mentally calculate the distance needed to shield Duo from the blast zone, then I stop floating motionless and the pursuing suits take the bait.
This is for you my love. This is my declaration, undeniable proof of my complete commitment. Be happy with him. Let him love you and protect you and give you a reason to go on living.
This is my final act of adoration. "I love you Duo Maxwell." I whisper as I depress the self-destruct button.
I close my eyes in resignation as the cockpit explodes about me but I have no fear, feel no pain. My heart is content and my soul is at peace. Perhaps I will be remembered, perhaps Duo will shed a tear. Maybe he will release flowers into the heavens to mourn my passing and his angelic voice will whisper a few fond words of goodbye.
Hand in hand Duo and Heero stood before an empty grave. There had been no remains to recover as Natuku dissolved into a ball of flames, no body to place in the ground's protection.
As much as it hurt to lose a comrade and friend they received some measure of comfort knowing that the lone Dragon did not die in vain. His heroic act not only saved Duo but turn the tide of the battle in the Gundam's favor.
Using his free hand to wipe away tears tracking down his pale cheeks, Duo breathed out a heartbroken sigh. "If Wufei hadn't led those Dolls away..." he began before renewed sobs shook his shoulders.
"I know." Heero answered as he gently rubbed his lover's back. "He made the ultimate sacrifice and we will always be grateful."
Releasing Heero's hand Duo knelt by the black marble marker decorated with entwined flowers and vines. With a trembling finger Duo traced each letter of the name etched in the shiny stone then the tracing was repeated over the two dates marking the beginning and the end of the young warrior's life.
"Goodbye." Duo whispered so lowly that only Heero and the angels could hear. "May the wind guide your wings till you find your way home."
Study, Stalk and Sacrifice--Karen Hickman--June 2003