11-5-2001

Title: Written in Blood
Author: AstroKender
Pairings: 3x4/4x3,1+2, mention of 5x2 and Mx5
Warnings: angst abounds. This is a long chapter. ^_^;;
Spoilers: None.
Notes: Woohoo! one chapter left! Let's hope we get a happy ending!
Feedback: AstroKender@insight.rr.com
Archived: GWA ( www.gwaddiction.com )
Disclaimers: I don't own GW or it's affiliates. This fic is written for entertainment purposes only and is not meant for sale. Don't sue.

 

Part 35

 

Heero sat stiffly in one of Quatre's recliners, fighting the urge to drum his fingers. It had been over three hours since Duo had left. They now had less than two hours to arrive at Sank. They would have to steal a jet at this rate.

The Japanese boy stated to shift restlessly but forced himself to still. Fidgeting was only a waste of precious energy. Mentally, he went over his equipment list once more. He felt as though he had traveled back in time as he tugged irritably on his black spandex shorts. The green tanktop, though, fit him like an old lover. His ratty yellow shoes had to be thrown away long ago in favor of something in a larger size but Heero was certain the work boots he wore would be reliable enough to get him through this mission.

The only item left on his person was the cold hard steel pressing against his lower back. It wasn't Heero's normal gun; Duo had taken that one. This one he had found one month ago while he was pulling Duo out of the burning wreckage of the Chawan. After he had examined it, he found Trowa's initials on the barrel but Heero never returned it. This gun was evidence, and he would never let it out of his hands on the off chance that Duo would be charged for killing his own partner.

Heero frowned. If Duo did kill WuFei, it was for a good reason, he was sure of it. And Duo said he'd answer his questions, he only had to be patient. But it was hard to be patient when two of his friend's lives were on the line.

The Japanese boy was just about to remove his gun and check the clip for the third time when the roaring of and engine echoed through the night and suddenly silenced in the driveway. Heero stood swiftly and jerked the door open just as Duo was reaching for the handle.

"Where have you been?" Heero demanded.

"Fuck off, Yuy." Duo muttered as he pushed passed him roughly.

Heero's eyes narrowed and he reached back to halt the braided boy but ended up with a face full of his own gun. Warily, he let his hand drop, his eyes never leaving the furious cobalt ones across from him.

"I've been having a really bad day so if you'll please leave me alone for a few moments I can get ready and we can be on our way to happily beat up any Chinese women we come across. Till then, back off!" Duo lowered his gun and whirled around, stalking towards his bedroom.

"You said you'd answer my questions." Heero called after him.

Duo paused but did not turn around. "We have a long trip ahead of us, with not much to talk about. Your questions can be a delightful interruption to the silence." Duo said sarcastically before entering his room and slamming the door.

Heero sighed. He almost preferred the catatonic Duo to the one now that seemed to hate him with every fiber of his being. Eyes lowered, the dark haired boy walked back over to the chair and sat down.

***

Duo reemerged about fifteen minutes later and Heero stood. The longhaired boy was swiftly pulling on a pair of gloves at he walked from the bedroom, dressed in black from neck to toe, and effectively ignoring Heero's existence. Walking around the living room, Duo paused at the empty fireplace, staring at an object on the mantel. Duo stared at that object for a long moment before trembling hands reached to pick it up.

"I won't let you down, guys." Duo murmured as he pulled Quatre's goggles firmly over his head and turned to stare at Heero. "Are you ready?"

The Japanese boy nodded silently and Duo walked swiftly out the door with Heero close on his heels. Duo jumped into his Jeep and arched an eyebrow as Heero stood just outside it, hesitating. "Is there a problem?"

"We have to head to the airport to steal a jet."

Duo shook his head. "Just get in."

Heero frowned, but did as he was told and Duo turned the Jeep on. Shifting into reverse, the Jeep screeched out of the driveway and onto the road. Duo clipped on his seat belt and flicked the radio on to some heavy metal station before shifting gears once more and hurtling forward into the night.

Fastening his own seat belt, Heero's frown deepened. "You forgot to turn on your lights."

"Oh yeah," Duo grumbled, searching for the lights and switching them on. Two blinding spotlights hit the house in front of them and Duo let out a dry chuckle before hurriedly shutting them off. "Then again, maybe I'll just stick to infrared..." Flipping a second switch, the windows began to glow slightly before their surrounding came into startling focus. Now able to easily navigate through the green tinted surroundings, Duo sped up their pace. Momentarily forgetting his anger at the other boy, Duo flashed Heero a mischievous grin.

Heero turned away, muttering something like "Howard no baka." But his lips twitched betrayingly and he seemed to relax slightly. Heero ran his finger wearily through his hair before turning back to watch Duo's profile. The seemed to be going outside the city, but they were nowhere near the airport. Thick brown eyebrows furrowed.

"Where are we going?"

"We need to get to high ground," Duo said mysteriously. "And I happen to know just the place."

Heero decided to stop asking questions and begin concentrating on his surrounding. Tall trees loomed overhead as the mad there way up a winding gravel road with a speed that would be alarming to any other passenger. As far as Heero could tell they were still on the outskirts of Tokyo, perhaps in some tourist section.

"The Cliffs." Duo answered Heero's unspoken question. "I had a nice little visit up here about a month ago, as you can recall I ended up in the hospital for it. But right now it's just the place I'm looking for, as long as the construction boys haven't been too overly competent."

Heero's eyes strayed back out the window as a gravel clearing came into sight, offering a breathtaking view of Tokyo. A large metal guardrail ran the length of the cliff's edge, preventing someone's car from creeping over the side. But in one area, about the width of a large vehicle, the rail was twisted and broken with only some yellow caution tape fluttering across it like a child's ribbon.

The Jeep sped up, heading straight for the gape, and Heero suddenly begun to have a bad feeling about all of this. WuFei's death had obviously caused Duo to go crazy and the braided baka was going to end it all by hurling himself off the cliff, conveniently taking Heero with him.

"Duo, stop." Heero growled, but the American ignored him by increasing their speed even more. Heero wondered if he could punch Duo out and regain control of the jeep before it flew over the cliff's edge. His fist clenched and he was just about to test his idea when Duo turned and smirked at him.

"Trust me, Heero. That is of course, unless you're scared?" The smirk deepened tauntingly.

Heero glared at him before taking a deep breath and facing resolutely forward. Heero Yuy was not a coward. But his fists did not unclench and he could feel a bead of sweat dripping down his temple. Beside him, Duo took a deep breath of his own.

"C'mon Howard, don't let me down..." he whispered the old man's name like a prayer as he lowered Quatre's goggles over his eyes. "Literally, this time."

The Jeep broke through the caution tape like it nothing but a slight breeze and went hurtling through the air. Duo swiftly began hitting a number of buttons and switches. "C'mon, c'mon, c'mon...."

"We're dead," Heero muttered as he watched the ground rise swiftly towards them. "Omae o kurosu, Duo!"

"Just gimmie another second!" Duo said placating as his flipped a final switch before taking hold of the gearshift and pulling it back as far as it would go. Heero felt something on the jeep shift and suddenly the ground was running parallel to them instead of straight at them. Heero let his held breath out slowly as he noticed something that no ordinary jeep would have; wings.

"Whew!" Duo wiped the sweat off his forehead as he guided the now makeshift jet with the expert easy of a longtime pilot. The jeep, despite being bulky and crude in appearance, flew smoothly and obeyed every command of the now freely moving gearshift. "That went well, wouldn't you say?"

Heero grumbled his assent before pointing northwest. "That way, there isn't much time left."

Duo's expression turned serious. "Right." Glancing sideways at Heero, the longhaired boy sighed. "Ill answer your questions now, but believe me, it's not going to be a pretty story."

Heero continued to stare ahead of him as the dark clouds flitted around them. "When is anything in our lives?" He returned.

"Touché...."

***

Dark eyes stared unseeing through the equal darkness surrounding him. The time was almost up. Sweat stained the figure's clothes as each breath echoed harshly in the small enclosure. Sweaty palms gripped two pieces of hard plastic with resolution. Soon, it will all be over.

Fingers searched blindly through the darkness and the figure grunted in approval as their scarred surface met the smooth coolness of a certain switch. Flipping it, the figure watched as a small red light blinked to life and relaxed. Eyes closing, the figure now began listening intently to his surroundings.

Soon.

***

"What do you really want, Meiran?" Quatre called out. "I can't believe you would set all of this up simply to get back at Duo for whatever he's done to you. What is your real plan?"

The Chinese girl, now lounging one again upon her own colony model, opened her eyes to give the blonde a lazy smile. "The answer to that lies behind you, there in the shadows," she purred.

Quatre arched his neck, trying in vain to get a glimpse behind him. Sighing, he gave up, willing to wait till his colony rotated around once more. Looking over at Trowa, he noticed the Latin boy was faced in the right direction. "What do you see?"

Trowa stared into the darkness for a long moment before his eyes widened and his head jerked back to stare at the colony that Meiran sat atop of. The girl's back was facing towards him so he couldn't see her face but he could easily discern by her posture that she must have been wearing an expression of absolute glee.

"Tallgeese...." He whispered.

"What? I can't hear you, Trowa. You're too far away."

"Speak up to the dear boy," Meiran chided laughingly. "Don't be so cruel leaving him in suspense like that."

"Trowa?" Quatre called out again hesitatingly.

"It's Tallgeese!" Trowa barked out harshly.

The Arab's eyes widened. "Tallgeese?"

"Yes!" Meiran cackled. "Now you understand. With that suit, which I have worked on for weeks to make functional once more, I will use it to cleanse both the earth and the colonies of the taint from the false peace blanketing them. I will start here in the Sank Kingdom, wiping out the main palace with the Peacecraft girl and all her underlings. Then I will move from city to city and from country to country until all on Earth will know what it is like to stand helpless as their home is destroyed right in front of their eyes." Meiran's eyes burned with righteous anger. "Then, I will move on to the colonies, the ones who never lifted even a finger when my own colony was in distress. They will all suffer for their cowardice."

Quatre shook his head and slowly, mockingly began to laugh. "You stupid bitch."

Meiran stared at him in shock and even Trowa's eyes widened, as Quatre's laughed gained in volume and scorn. "It took all five of us, both with our Gundams and without, almost two years to bring about change to both Earth and the colonies, and then it was really the people who did the changing, not the pilots. And you propose to bring about such a change with only a prototype of the Gundams? What you wish for in nothing but a selfish girl's fantasy."

The Chinese girl scowled at him, shaking in rage. Meiran raised the detonator, her finger hovered over one of the buttons and Quatre was sure that he would die or, worse yet, she would choose to attack Trowa. For one impossibly long heartbeat, nobody moved. Then, Meiran smiled a small, indulging, deadly smile.

"You are not one to talk about selfish ambitions, Quatre Raberba Winner. For was it not you whole destroyed a whole colony, one that looked remarkably like the one you are bound to, for such a petty reason as revenge on the death of both your father and older sister?" The dark eyed girl enjoyed the way the Arab paled.

"So please do not judge my actions," she continued triumphantly. "If you open that mocking little mouth of yours one more time, I may be forced to detonate the wire holding your precious lover aloft. What a terrible irony it would be if the model of colony X18999 were to fall crashing down to Earth like the original one was supposed to during Operation Meteor. "

Quatre chose wisely to shut up, casting an apologetic look towards Trowa.

The silence ticked by slowly, marked only by the rotations of the model colonies as the twirled slowly around like a baby's mobile hanging above it's crib. Quatre spent his time desperately thinking of something he could do. This girl had to be stopped before she created even more havoc.

"Why are you after Duo?" Trowa called out. Why have you been targeting him all this time?"

"Well," Meiran started, leaning back against her colony's thick cable. "It wasn't my idea to start with. WuFei asked me to ruffle a few of the American's feathers, follow him around, trash his apartment, just scare him a little." Her eyes dropped and she toyed idly with the detonator in her hands. "I never knew that he had planned for me to scare the boy right into WuFei's own arms. That bastard! Of course, he didn't know who I really was at the time, but that's no excuse! The only reason he allowed me to do what I had done was to get the American into his bed."

Meiran was speaking more to herself now as she fumed silently. "I began to hate the sight of that blue-eyed bastard. He was not worthy of my husband's arms. So my tricks began to get a little more dangerous, a little more...deadly. "

"All right Meiran!" A voice called in the distance. "We're both here, now where are you? Olli, olli oxen free!"

"Duo?" Trowa whispered in wonder at hearing a voice that he hadn't heard in over a month, and never hoped to hear again. His heart pounded as he repressed the urge to call out to the longhaired boy.

Meiran glanced at her watch and smirked. "Right on time, just as I suspected." She turned and smirked knowingly at Trowa before motioning for him to speak. "Go ahead, you may call out to them. After all, we wouldn't want them to wander around here forever looking for us, would we?"

Eyeing the Chinese girl with distrust, Trowa hesitantly called out to them. "Duo! Heero! Over here! On the colonies!"

"On the what?" Duo called, skidding around the corner. Looking up, the American gasped. "Trowa! Hey, Heero! Over here!"

A moment later the Latin boy watched as Heero rounded the corner as well, the two looking like ants on the floor far below. Duo ran toward them, looking about desperately for a way up. Heero walked behind more slowly, his gun raised and ready. The Japanese boy's eyes narrowed as he spied Tallgeese's massive form.

"Where's Quatre?" The Japanese boy called up.

"He's up here too but he's not allowed to talk." Trowa's eyes searched for Quatre's own, both sets reflecting a paradox of both worry and relief. "Meiran is up here as well!" He told them defiantly.

"Now, now, Mr. Barton," Meiran tsked. "Why did you have to go and ruin such a nice surprise?"

Standing on the edge of the model colony A-0206, Meiran leapt off, falling swiftly to the ground below. The Chinese girl landed in a graceful crouch and then slowly straightened, showing that she received absolutely not injuries from such a deadly plummet. Heero's gun trained on her instantly.

"You're not human." He accused. Beside him Duo nodded. After all, even Heero had suffered a broken leg from a fall from that height.

Meiran smiled at them sweetly, taking the accusation as a complement and she ran a thin hand through the stubble on top of her head. "No, I am not. Not anymore."

"I don't care what you are," Duo growled. "Let Quatre and Trowa go now!"

Meiran's smile widened and she held up her detonator, displaying it like a fashion accessory. "I can get them down quiet quickly if that is what you truly wish. But somehow I sincerely doubt it since you came all this way to prevent them from being hurt."

Furious, Duo took a threatening step towards the girl but Heero halted him. "What do you want in exchange for their release?" He asked; his gun still raised. He could just shoot her and get it over with, but he knew that there was a chance that Meiran might push one of the detonation switches before she died. Holding on to his patience, Heero waited tensely for her answer.

The black eyed girl made a show of thinking long on Heero's question before reaching into her pocket and producing a syringe filled with a brownish liquid. Gazing at it for a moment, she tossed it at Heero, who caught it reflexively.

"Inject that into the American."

Heero's eyes narrowed. "No." He said, his hand tightening its grip on his gun. Meiran shrugged.

"Either inject it into him or do so to yourself. Do either of these two things and I will give you the detonator."

"That's bullshit!" Duo exploded. "Heero, don't listen to her! I bet that is the poison she used to assassinate all those politicians! The Destroying Angel! You can even think about doing as she says! Just shoot her!" He pleaded desperately.

But Heero's expression remained unchanged. "Do you swear on it?" He asked Meiran.

Meiran nodded to him, her face quiet serious. "I swear by all my people who have died by man's folly."

"Fine," Heero nodded as he removed the syringe's cap.

"What the hell do you think your doing?" Duo gasped, moving to stop him.

Heero ignored the American's protests and raised the syringe into the air before jabbing it into his neck and pushing down the plunger. Meiran laughed in delight and tossed the detonator into the Japanese boy's hands just as he began to slump to the floor.

"Heero!" Duo cried, catching him in mid fall. "You stupid fool!" he cursed, clutching the other boy desperately.

"It's all right." Heero moaned.

"What?" Duo's eyes widened.

"I said it's all right. I'm not going to die." Heero gasped out as he clutched his stomach. "During my time with Dr. J, he worked tirelessly on my body's immune system until I could tolerate most toxins, poisons, and viruses that the enemy might infect me with."

"Most? The plant the poison comes from has been extinct on Earth for hundreds of years! How do we know that your body will be able to fight this?" Duo shot Meiran a wary glance, but the girl seemed content to watch their little display. The American grabbed Heero around the waist and dragged him over to the nearest wall.

Heero leaned against the solid surface gratefully as beads of sweat began to form across his skin. Heero forced his watering eyes to focus on Duo as he hands carefully clutched the detonator. "Stop worrying about me and focus on Quatre and Trowa. I'm- going to be in a lot... of pain so I'll be fairly useless for a while. You-need to defeat her... on your own."

Duo listened to Heero's hitched breathing for a moment before sighing worriedly. "All right. But you better still be alive once I've finished baldy here off, you got that?"

Heero smiled faintly, his face pale. "Ryokai."

Duo forced himself to remove his hand from Heero's bare arm, which had now felt hot to the touch. Wrenching his eyes away, the longhaired boy turned to face WuFei's widow, his eyes turning from soft worry to hard as still in a microsecond. Duo reached behind into his waistband and pulled out Heero's gun, pointing it directly between two coal black eyes.

"Give up, you can't win."

"Are you going to shoot me?" Meiran asked, a sweet smile showing the most of her lovely face. "That wouldn't be very fair since I'm unarmed."

"That didn't prevent you from killing all of those people," Duo hissed, though his aim wavered uncertainly.

"Don't sink to her level, Duo!" Quatre called from far above.

Cursing, Duo gazed upwards. Unable to local the Arab, his eyes scanned the metallic models until they fastened on Trowa's bound form.

"Moving target, eh? Okay." Raising his gun and carefully aiming once more, Duo fired.

Trowa's eyes widened as the wire holding his legs was suddenly severed. Grabbing a firm hold on the wire around his hands, the Latin boy slowly raised his legs until he had agilely flipped to crouch atop the colony. He held his hands as far apart as possible before calling down to Duo.

"My hands!"

Nodding, Duo's eyes narrowed in concentration and a second bullet flew towards the green-eyed boy, who didn't even flinch as the bullet unerringly struck the wire a hairsbreadth from his wrist. Unwinding the wire, Trowa gratefully massaged the circulation back into his hands before waving down at the longhaired boy far below. Duo waved back and Trowa smiled before casting his eyes about for a way to get to Quatre.

Duo turned back to the now unsmiling face of Meiran. "It's a damn shame that you are about to loose the last of your leverage." He smirked. "Once those two are free you won't have a chance against all of us."

Then I'll just have to make sure that doesn't happen!" Meiran ran towards Duo with the speed of lightning. The American reeled back as the girl's fist struck solidly against his stomach and he stumbled backwards, bracing himself for another blow. But Meiran had moved on, now running towards Heero's fallen form.

Nearly fifty feet about, Trowa leapt precariously from colony to colony, occasionally grasping a cable for balance as the model swung underneath him. Two more perilous hops and Trowa's hands were brushing against a soft head of blond hair.

"Quatre...." The Latin boy murmured as he pulled on the wire around the Arab's wrists. Cursing, Trowa looked around desperately for a way to free his lover.

"I'm sorry for everything that's happened, Trowa." Quatre tilted his head back so he could stare at the one he loved with all of his heart.

"Hush you," Trowa commanded with a small smile. "Save it till we're on the ground."

"I'll thank Allah when that happens." Quatre laughed.

Heero saw Meiran running towards him and feebly reached for his gun. But his movements were too slow and as soon as his gun was out it was kicked from his hand. Reeling back from a strong right hook, Heero cursed weakly as the detonation device was jerked out of his hand.

Eyes widening, Duo cursed as he realized Meiran's intentions. "Quatre! Trowa!" He knew he'd never be able to reach the Chinese girl in time so instead he ran across the floor until he got a good view of the bound Arab. Raising his gun once more, he hastily lined up his shots before firing two times in quick succession.

Quatre gasped as he heard two pings before he slowly began to slide off the colony. Closing his eyes, the blonde prepared for a long and nasty fall but the strong arms that caught him interrupted his dark musings. Trowa pulled the boy up and held him close.

A sudden explosion caused the Latin boy to almost loose his footing and his stumbled. Acting instinctively, Trowa clutched his lover tighter as he leaped off the now doomed colony. They both smacked into a nearby satellite model and the Latin boy's free hand scrabbled for purchase before finally settling on a solid grip.

Quatre's wide eyes stared as the model he was attached to a mere minute ago fell swiftly to the ground, its cable trailing behind like a whip. Gulping, the blonde tightened his death grip on Trowa as the colony smashed onto the tile floor meters below.

"Shit...." He squeaked.

"My sentiments exactly," Trowa groaned as he began painstakingly pulling them to safety.

"That's it! Fuck chivalry." Duo growled as he switched his aim to the figure standing above Heero. Eyes showing no remorse, the American emptied the clip into the Chinese girl's body. Meiran flew backwards, slamming into the wall before sliding down to the floor in a heap.

Duo dropped his gun and seemed to visibly wilt. The adrenaline of the night's activities drained from him like water from a sieve, leaving him tired and weak. After all, the longhaired boy had essentially been bedridden for a whole month. Right now the only thing keeping the boy upright was worry.

Craning his neck upwards, Duo searched out his friends. "Hey! Are you two all right up there?"

Two heads peered over the edge of some nameless colony model. "We're fine!" Quatre shouted. "Just trying to find a way to get down."

"I think I saw a service latter on the west wall! I'm pretty sure it leads all the way up to the ceiling." Duo called back. The blonde waved in acknowledgment and Duo transferred his gaze over to Heero, moving towards the boy at a slow trot.

"Hey," he bent down; totally ignoring the lifeless figure a few feet away. "You okay, buddy?" Pressing his hand to the Japanese boy's forehead, Duo cursed as he watched Heero's eyes roll backwards. The American acted quickly by pulling a glove from his pocket and stuffing it into Heero's mouth to prevent him from biting through his own tongue in case he went into seizures. "Hang on, Heero. We'll get you taken care of."

Duo was about to call back up to see how Trowa and Quatre were managing when a sudden blow to the head ripped his grip from Heero and sent him skidding across the floor. Duo stumbled to face his attacker, his hand automatically reaching back to feel the stick wetness beginning to dampen his hair. After some difficulty, his eyes focused blearily.

"You did not think I would be prepared for such a weak attack?" Meiran gloated as she pushed herself from the wall and approached him with halting steps. Duo stared at her in astonishment. Some of his shots had penetrated, he could tell by the blood staining her sleeve, but the rest had been deflected. The bitch had on a bulletproof vest. "Shit." Duo cursed.

"Ha. Even if you bullets had sunk into my flesh, they would not have killed me. I am stronger than men and their puny guns." Eyes narrowing, she punched Duo across the face with a vicious back swing before kicking him further across the floor.

Cursing and wiping the blood from his chin, Duo hurtled himself at the Chinese girl, attacking with a flurry of punches the Meiran deflected with ease. "You are no match for me," the small girl taunted.

Feeling the frustration and anger build within him, Duo swung out wildly, finally managing to connect. He felt the satisfaction of the blow only briefly before Meiran's attacks came suddenly out of nowhere, pummeling him to the ground. Eyes blazing, the shorn haired girl stood over him.

"How dare you!" A powerful kick connected solidly to his ribs and sent him skidding yet another few feet.

In a daze Duo could only curl himself up offering as small of target as possible to her continuing attacks. All the while Meiran yelled at him.

"I am sick-"

Kick.

"Of dealing with you!"

Kick.

"It is time-"

Kick.

"--To finally-"

Kick.

"End this!"

Duo weakly braced himself for another blow but none came. Every inch of his body throbbed like it was on fire and it was only with a supreme effort that he rolled himself onto his back. A small noise echoed through the vaulted ceilings but the American's brain discarded it as unimportant.

"Duo!" Quatre screamed.

Groaning, Duo opened his eyes just in time to see colony model X18999 plummet towards him before everything went black.