Growing Wings

By LdySowan

Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is owned by Bandai, Sunrise and Sotsu Agency and probably a host of other folks I know nothing about.

Pairings: 2x1 (there will be some serious lemon and NC later, but I'll warn you when they come up)

Comments: This fic takes place four years after Endless Waltz, so the pilots are all about 20 now. Sorry about leaving my signature on the Prolog (and chapter 1--aargh!!!); it wasn't intended as part of the fic--sometimes I just forget to remove it! I'll try and have the Chapter 3 out to everyone Thursday night, and it will be a bit longer. C&C much welcomed!


Chapter 2


When Duo woke, it was in stages, beginning with a growing awareness of his own body. He was drugged to the point of numbness, breathing oxygen through a ventilator mask. He couldn't feel his arms or his legs, couldn't move them, couldn't feel where he'd been shot. He didn't feel especially hot or cold, but he should have had a fever even if the stomach wound had been operated on immediately. Gut wounds were almost always septic. And he'd felt it--felt the bullet go through him. In and out the back. It wasn't something he should have woken from. It was a wonder he wasn't dead yet. If he survived, it was going to add a hell of a scar to his collection.

He tried to think it through. Days must have passed for him to be well enough to wake up at all. That explained the lack of fever. The doctors had probably just kept him out until he was well enough to talk to them. He needed to ask Sally or Une what had happened. And Heero? What had happened to Heero? Had he imagined the whole thing? Surely Heero wouldn't have shot him?

His hearing worked fine. He picked out the soft rumbling of a small transport's engine. Only then did he register the gentle sway of it rocking his body as the shuttle taxied forward. The engine fire-up must have been what woke him up. He turned his head, squinting his eyes open, letting his pupils adjust to the shuttle's dim lighting, trying to take in his surroundings. Ah. His heart sank; he couldn't move because he was bound down. Heavy magnetic cuffs, too--about the only kind that he couldn't get out of. He tried to pull himself halfway up, using the cuffs as leverage, but the movement only made him nauseous. This was not good.

There was a monitor in the cabin, a small heads-up type display, showing the hangar walls moving by.

The shuttle rocked violently.

A moment later, the sound of explosions ran, muffled, through the ship. Faster and faster, the hanger walls on the monitor moved by. The shuttle shuddered as it lifted off, still inside the hangar. The hangar lights flashed, flickered, went out.

Duo watched the monitor, his eyes widening. "No." He shook his head. "No, Heero. You can't--"

The shuttle shot out of the mouth of the hangar, the heads-up display going black with the emptiness of space for just a moment, before it went white with chain explosions. "No!" Duo didn't know how long he repeated it, screaming the word until his throat was raw, and the word was only a whisper, struggling against the restraints until he couldn't move at all anymore. Eventually, he fell asleep.

He woke, feeling oddly hollow and light some time later. Heero was in the small room with him, checking over the machines he was hooked up to, moving as quietly and efficiently as he ever did. At first it was like being in a room with a ghost.

Then the Japanese pilot leaned over him, catching Duo's face in a hard grip, tilting it up in his cool, calloused hands to look closely at Duo's eyes. Frowning, he flashed a penlight into each of Duo's eyes. He's checking for a concussion, Duo thought. But I didn't hit my head. And then he remembered: when Heero had shot him the first time, in the leg, he had fallen on the concrete. Maybe he hit is head then. Maybe, when he dropped the flashlight inside the ship, he hit his head, and all of this was a bad dream.

Desperate for some reassurance, something to undo the after-images of explosions, Duo searched Heero's face for some spark of something familiar, something that explained the nightmare craziness that he was now in the middle of, but there was nothing familiar there. It was almost like he didn't even know Duo, his cobalt eyes as blank as they had been when he had piloted Zero.

Duo liked his lips, "Heero? I'm imagining this, right? I hit my head."

Heero finally released his jaw. "It's good that you're awake. You don't have a concussion."

"Heero," Duo's voice was little more than a whisper. "Heero, what have you done?"

Heero frowned at him. "I disabled the Preventer moon base."

"Disabled?" Duo's voice rose on the last syllable, cracking. "Disabled? Heero, you blew it to hell and gone! There were people there. People you used to work with."

"Calm down, Maxwell. If you push it too much, I'm going to have to put you under again. You're too late to do anything about it anyway." Pulling two small unmarked bottles out of a carrying case, Heero drew the liquid up out of them into a needle. Tapping the bubbles out, he expertly measured the mixed amount of mixed solution in the needle. He leaned over Duo, catching his arm and twisting it up to reveal the inside of his arm.

"Why, Heero?" Duo pulled weakly against his grip.

"We need you. You're the key."

"What the hell are you talking about? You didn't blow up the fucking base to get me!"

Heero slid the needle into Duo's arm.

"Did you?"

A sick feeling settled in the base of Duo's stomach. "You didn't kill all those people to get me, Heero. You couldn't. All you had to do was ask..." Yuy's silence was his answer as the darkness folded back over Duo.

Once, early in the war, Wufei had been given a strategic objective that had seemed impossible. Chang had been faced with finding a way to destroy an entire squadron of mobile suits, over two hundred of them. But mobile suits needed pilots, and pilots were easier to destroy than suits were, so he had made his choices based on logic and a kind of self-righteousness that Duo still couldn't understand. At fifteen, Chang Wufei had been able to set bombs in a barracks of sleeping men. He had killed over two hundred pilots with the press of a single button. Nothing Duo had ever done during the war had rivaled the ruthlessness that it had taken to push that detonator. Nothing Duo had ever been able to do had prepared him to understand or accept the Chinese man's choices. Even when Duo had believed they were dying together on the moon, it had been like dying alone. They had never been friends. Wufei wasn't human to Duo's thinking, and now, neither was Heero Yuy.