disclaimers: don't own them, getting no money from them, please don't sue!! But don't take either.
Notes: Err, another part. Only took me two years. I have decided to stop fussing over the parts, and just try to turn them out.
There are many people I should dedicate this to. And I send them all
mu love, but there is one who I send extra thanks for getting this part
out and that is
Alexandrite, who managed to spurr my lazy ass into motion.
Of Bullets and Barrels + Part 7
It was a mournful sound, the type that I was, unfortunately, not unused to. It rang hollow over the plains, past the broken buildings, and through the shattered glass. It was the sound of war, the sound of missiles, and attacks.
It was the sound that people ran and hid to. If they had a place to go, anyway.
I stood out in the street, and let it wash over me. Waves upon waves of the sound. As empty as I felt. Empty stomach, empty tears, empty words, empty life.
Like the two where only one exists.
After the screaming of those rushing to save their lives had subsided, we stood in a small group, just staring up into the sky. Waiting for the attack that never came. Reveling in that frightening moan, in the shivers that it chased up our bared arms and legs, the howl with which it dulled our hearing.
It was like standing in a wind none of us had ever felt.
It was like waiting for a tornado.
Trowa awoke to oppressing darkness and the screaming sirens.
"Stay still... we are as good as dead anyways." Quatre's voice was harsh in the emptiness.
"You are an idiot. That is what happened. We are on the same fucking side. And now because of your stupidity, we managed to steer straight into Romafeller territory, with our main isolation tube down, and the rest of the ship on the verge of breaking apart."
A rustle of cloth brought his attention back to his surroundings, his fingers finding the covers of the bed, his eyes still straining in the dark.
"The main power generator is dead. I can't interface with Zero. And Yuy is gone. Fuck."
"He is a traitor."
"Obviously. With who?"
Quatre groaned in the dark. "Again, how many sides are there to this conflict? Because I am currently unable to deal with the logistics."
He became aware of Quatre's cool hand against his. It wasn't an apology, but close. He snorted, before squeezing the Engineer's fingers back, perhaps with a little more force then necessary. Not all of his anger would so easily be vented.
"God only knows, I think that everyone who has an opinion has managed to form a military." He sighed, staring into the darkness. And then it was there, a connection that had not been made before, so startling in its clarity that he was overwhelmed at his own banality. "Holy shit. How the hell can I be that stupid?"
"You know, Barton I have been asking myself that question for the past two hours."
Barton glared in what he hoped was the general direction of the blond, it was petty, but made him feel immediately better. "Relena Peacecraft is on the DeathScythe. She is obviously in league with the colonies... "
"Peacecraft is long dead."
"Because Corpses threaten military action, on sphere wide news-networks."
"Which makes Shinigami in league with the colonies, which makes Yuy in league with the colonies... "
"Which makes you wonder what idiot set up the retarded communication network in the rebel system. I swear I am going to find the fuck that segregated us and rip him into pieces."
Quatre's outburst was greeted by silence.
"What?" he rasped.
"Are you sure you are not interfaced?"
"Barton, for your sake, I hope you are not joking; although, it would be a first."
"It is dark; I am near immobile, and bored. I figure I should do something. Diversifying my personality seems both a riveting and noteworthy task."
Heero's harsh breathing echoed in his ears, even as he strained to straighten himself. He had run, perhaps a foolish and cowardly act, but he had little doubt that it had saved his life. Quatre's anger had chased his heels to this point, eating at this shell even as he had run through the gate. Even as he collapsed on the other side.
Now, however, the situation proved to be more difficult. He had escaped his pursuer, only to find himself in a hallway which was far too familiar, and a mind set that was drowsy and boggled.
He had run through a Gate. Completely without thought of the consequences.
Slowly he stood from the cold metal floor, and began the steady trek to the kitchen. He had no doubt as to who would be waiting for him.
Maxwell hardly looked up as he entered, instead seeming fixed upon what he had on the screen of his laptop. Slowly Heero approached him, ignoring the contrast of his pale flesh against the sterility of the kitchen.
"What did you do?"
Duo sighed, his lanky frame shuddering under the force of it. He was dressed in cotton, a pair of jeans and a loose shirt, so completely out of place that Heero hesitated in sitting before him. There were other differences, his hair was less dull, and his skin less stretched. He no longer smelled of fresh blood.
"I did nothing. Or at very least, pretend that is the case."
"You called me."
Heero pursed his lips, trying to remember doing such a thing, but he could not. The mad rush through the hallways of Wing was a blur of images and pain. He remembered the desperation and shuddered, the feel of the nanos raking him apart remaining ingrained in his skin.
"Ah. I am surprised. You do not seem to be the type to obey my orders."
A smirk spread over Maxwell's features, and Heero had to stop from staring as the violet eyes finally turned to meet his. He had been wrong, thinking that Maxwell was a beautiful man. The creature before him was a nightmare; it was trying to suck his soul out through his heart. He shivered at the smell of him, the feel of the warmth radiating from his skin, and vaguely remembered the feel of Maxwell's arms around his shoulders and waist, pulling him towards his torso as he slept.
Maxwell licked his lips, before turning back towards the computer, except the screen was black, and the only thing that seemed to have caught his attention was the far wall of the kitchen. The lust melted away as swiftly as it had come, and Heero could feel anger rush in to take its place. What the hell did he think he was doing, what the hell did he think Maxwell would do? Had he been thinking at all?
He rubbed the scars on his hands, slowing down at the newer ones, a proof that the black-ops was not a dream, that Barton was out there somewhere in space, possibly taken apart by nanos.
Quatre was a traitor. Barton was a traitor. Fuck, he was a traitor.
And Maxwell was a monster, in every way that did not matter, he looked like sin. Alluring and within reach.
"You look well."
He tensed at the words, turning his eyes on the Wild.
"I am not the only one, seems as if Relena has a tendency to over exaggerate in her memories."
"She does and she doesn't. I need to explain." Maxwell's arm was on his shoulder, and his face was closer, his body hunched forward. Reachable. Shit. Shinigami smirked.
"I failed my mission." Maxwell's clear eyes bore into his own, and for a moment Heero forgot to breath.
"Your mission?" he exhaled, trying to pull away, but forced into immobility by Maxwell's proximity.
"You were my mission. Everything's been so poorly concealed. Shit... " he drew back with a short laugh that seemed to startle everything into motion. Heero drew back quickly, wary of the Wild. "... for an intelligent guy, you sure are pretty dumb, Heero. The entire attack on Wing was ordered by Quatre Rabarba Winner himself, except his faction could not do it, so it got passed along to us, and 04 has no clue as to my crew's loyalties. He was trying to turn you to our side. As far as I can tell. Or he realized what Relena realized when she threw the Memory Bomb at you." Duo looked fierce at that moment, and dangerous. He snorted his chin tilting upward, and Heero realized that his heart thumping in his chest was doing so out of fear.
"You are blinded by your training."
"I am blinded by nothing but your fucking witches."
"My witches have not been trying to blind you, you pretentious little bastard. They have been trying to kill you... you are loyal to nothing, you are exactly what the original creators of the Perfects wanted you to be, emotionless little drones. J tried to train that out of you and failed."
"You know nothing of J." Heero rose from his chair, vaguely aware that he was screaming.
"Do you wonder why none of the other scientists took you in? Why Oz rescued you from the burned out shell of a bunker. Where are your parents Heero? The entire building was totaled because you cannot control your anger, and you fail to feel but rage towards anyone outside of your ill-trained drone-like brain."
"My thoughts and feelings lie in my loyalty to my people."
"Liar." Maxwell hissed, his composure broken, and his face contorted in rage. He stood before Heero. "... you are loyal to nothing."
"Is that so, you pretentious shit? What the hell are you? I am uncontrollable, your kind destroys colonies."
"That is the nature of a Wild."
"Everything returns to your bull-shit little Wild designation, doesn't it? I am talking about being a fucking Rebel. I am not on your side. I am a liability to this ship. What the fuck are you trying to prove, Shinigami?"
"I apologize." The resulting quiet seemed thunderous in Heero's ears as he stared incredulously at the Wild "Relena was right about you. You are not loyal to anything, no idea, no thing. The mission failed, and yet succeeded in ways I would not have foreseen..."
Heero swallowed. Everything was a lie. He might as well return to Oz, so far the organization had not turned on him. Just its people.
"... you were supposed to become loyal to the cause; instead, you are loyal to me... hell, not even to me, just somehow attached to me. Not to an ideal."
"Fuck you." The whisper was hoarse, as Heero pulled away from Maxwell, away from the kitchen, and began stalking from the room. Heading towards where he remembered the escape ships to be stored. He had gotten off of the ship once; he damn-well planned to do so again.
Of course, in his previous escape, Maxwell had remained in his room. He had not walked along-side him.
"Face it Heero, all you do is think about me, the only reason you called out to this ship was me."
"Pompous bastard too."
Duo's hand closed over his arm, warm and solid, in the cold of the hallway, and Heero's body strained towards the touch, his power drawn towards its twin. He wanted.
"I failed. I was supposed to make you loyal to the idea to peace."
"Keep telling yourself that Maxwell. But this war will not end in Peace. Your actions will not end in Peace."
"But Oz's will?"
"Oz did not make that claim."
"No, they didn't. I am."
Heero stopped, looking a Maxwell, at the curve of his lips, and the sharp angle of his jaw. This was what it was like to feel completely helpless. Something felt broken inside him, as he thought back to the past years of his life. He had hardly had an idyllic childhood, but he had been loved, he supposed, like a favored Grand Child. Of course, his failure then seemed to be an apt beginning to the long string of disappointments which he was met with further in life.
"What do you know about J?"
"He was like me. A rebel. My trainer and he were friends, and when it came to training sorceresses they were among the best. They and three others studied the last seer. They could never class her, she was so powerful." His head seemed to drop at that, the violet eyes tracing the curve of Yuy's shoulder. "She outlined the way that these events would end, the possibilities, and the results scared them."
Heero could hear the soft footfalls of another joining them; he was hardly surprised when he spotted Chang.
"The seer was Merian Long." Chang whispered, his voice piercing the sudden silence of the ship "She was my wife."
"You are an idiot if you think that I am going to spill some sort of lyrical riddle. Fine, fine, learn some patience; I am getting on with it...
... Here is how it can end. Romafeller wins, that is great, and peace is restored for about three years. The usual suspects are repressed. Life goes on. War starts again; it is a bit unclear who wins that one. Something about a Wild or some such thing, something goes crazy; we might lose the colonies...
... Oz wins, same thing. Same repression. In either case the colonies are screwed. There is no second war because for sure something inhibits it. No, I can not get any more specific! I'll tell you what, you get pumped full of drugs and you prophesize, okay? Because you obviously know so much more about it than I do. Oh very well, I forgive you, but only because you are such a pansy-boy...
... No reading does not make you a weakling, I get it, I get it. Hey, I'm the one who is pumped full of stuff, I get to be emotional; you stand there and be pretty. Anyway, the rebels who are taking the reigns currently win, and we get a colony falling on the Earth. A bad thing, no matter the cause. Everyone dies...
... Shit, we can't win. Ah, great wild cards, there are always wild cards. On the up side, we can actually win if these ones go around screwing things up. This unfortunately gets stupidly convoluted. Chang, are you taking this down? Tape recording? Fine, I will be damned if I have to do this again, the drugs make me snarky and give me a terrible headache. Yes yes, I will get on with it...
... Stop calling me that. Of course I am one! Idiot...
... Tarot? Why do I see tarot, does anyone in the Mad Scientist Club understand these? the Sun, some King-guy... Emperor? Yes, I suppose so...
... A Queen? Yes, Chang, I get it, the Empress...
... Predictably: Death, it figures...
... A clown? Some guy attached to a tree. No I can't tell if the card is upside down. Now numbers... 1 through 6. The Sun again, that one has me a bit worried. Zero.
Lots of Zeros, I mean one of the numbers he is... has lots of Zeros. Anyone out there understanding that? Fine, fine. Next up, Mars, not very subtle... Oh, and a star at the end of a tube? Really bright, maybe the Sun again...
... Wufei, all I can see is the S-."
"What did she see?"
Chang's lips turned up a fraction as he looked up at the Japanese man.
"She saw the end of the world, the war. Then she saw the jumbled mess
which killed her. G thought that she saw you. She supposedly saw all of
us, a deck, a set of matching signals, one through six. "
Heero leaned heavily against the hallway's wall "horse shit."
"It is the truth, whether or not you believe it is up to you. My wife was immensely powerful, and she knew damn well what we all were."
Heero felt his legs give way, as he slid to the floor. "This is bullshit. This is a ship full of Wilds, there is a girl who exudes and I-field, I don't think that is even possible. Seers don't do any of this fortune telling bullshit. This is crap. Okay? Does not compute! How the hell does no one know about any of this?"
"We were fractured." He was vaguely aware of Maxwell crouched next to him, his hand running down his arm. "The resistance, because if we were not, then it would follow too closely to the prophecy. The scientists hunted down the wild cards, and made us powerful. Made us care about the result. Maybe they failed."
"A shipload of horse shit."
"Although watching Yuy fall to pieces is amusing, I am hardly here to deal with it. Captain, I thought that you should know, Wing is heading into Romafeller territory, and Sandrock has failed to intercept. Seeing as you are taking leave, I commanded that we intercept it. Will you be continuing your leave under the circumstances?"
"Command 'Scythe, 'Fei. I'll take Yuy to his rooms, and will deal with the party going on the rescue mission."
"Done." With a soft swish of his amour, Chang was gone.
"So, do you want to sit on the floor in the hallway, or in the privacy of your room?"
Maxwell helped him up, and with one of Yuy's arms over his shoulder, he helped the man down the hallway, and towards the room which he had designated to be Yuy's.
"It is funny really. Heero... hiroidasu... to be singled out. Right?"
"Similar I suppose, but it hardly proves anything. I am sure the sound 'duo' appears in plenty of words."
"Duo does mean a pair, or two. Trowa, almost like French, three. Quatre, or quarter, or four. Wufei, from Chinese, 'fei' meaning moral judgments and mental distinctions; right and wrong, true and false, and of course, 'Wu' which means five."
"Yuy, at five you have a conspiracy. We all share the same basic aura, nearly unthinkable seeing that we are not even the same classification. So now we have identified five of the cards which Merian Long saw."
"Hn." Heero signed as he was pushed onto a bed in what he assumed was to be his room. He struggled to think of words with a 'duo' sound in them, but the intent look that Maxwell had in his eyes as he leaned over him stalled his thoughts. The room was poorly illuminated, light streaming softly from slots in the walls. He would have been annoyed at the lighting, usually unable to sleep in the light, but sleep was hardly on his mind. Maxwell was stunning, he was murderous and he was insane, but in the twilight of the room, he was completely fixated on him. Violet eyes traced Heero's face, as the ever-present smirk faded from Maxwell's lips.
"It was really hard, when G took me in. I imagine that it must be difficult for you."
He was never quite sure which of them moved first, but kissing Maxwell was like looking out into raw space, that moment of heart-wrenching terror right before finding euphoria.