Haloo! It's me again. Thanks for the encouragement, guys. This ones for the people who took the time to email me and tell me how much they like it. Posting Ch 2 soon, 'kay? Don't forget C&C's, especially in characterization!
CHAPTER 1: WHEN DEATH COMES CALLING
[A.C. 195, Earth]
The oath exploded from Heero's lips as he ran, trying to evade the rapid-fire of guns behind him. He shifted his unconscious burden and continued on running, eyes scanning the narrow corridors, trying to find a way out.
An explosion rocked the night and Heero was thrown to the ground. The spray of bullets halted and his sharp ears caught the sound of the men screaming and the grating of breaking steel and the thuds as walls and ceilings collapsed.
Heero saw his chance and ran with every burst of speed he had left, not daring to look back even as the ground underneath his feet trembled. He threw himself at the glass window a mere second before the entire building exploded. A pained grunt escaped from his lips as he landed hard on the asphalt. He stumbled to his feet, the weight on his back inexorably dragging him down, but Heero was never one to give up. Especially in regards to a mission.
Drawing from his rapidly depleting resources, Heero ran from the burning building. Through the faint, silvery light of the crescent moon, he saw Quatre and Trowa waiting for them next to a jeep. Reaching them, he tossed Duo unto the back and swung in beside him. Trowa gunned the engine quickly and the jeep shot forward.
There was silence as everyone watched their surroundings carefully, guns cocked. It wasn't until they had finally reached the safety of the city highway that Quatre let out a sigh of relief and twisted from the front passenger seat to look at Duo. "What happened?" he asked worriedly. Heero looked down at his partner, his expression revealing nothing of the turmoil that roiled inside him. Even now, he could see it in his mind's eye: a bullet hitting one of the barrels of toxin secreted in the lab, Duo inhaling the toxin in an effort to push Heero out of the way, the long-haired pilot collapsing just as Heero shot the pursuing guard. <Not again!> he cried to himself. <I won't lose him again!>
"One of the toxin containers got damaged and the baka inhaled some of it." Quatre looked very, very anxious.
"What kind of poison was it?"
"I don't know. The labels of the containers were turned away from me and I couldn't see them. My laptop did say that the lab was being used for experimentation on biological weapons."
Quatre shuddered. It was bad enough that war was being fought with huge piloted robots, then came unpiloted robots, and now biological weapons? <Does OZ hold nothing sacred?> he asked himself.
"Is it the only lab?" Trowa asked.
"Hai. Treize doesn't appear to be aware of this experimentation. Besides, the data I got from the lab computers stated that the experiment failed and was being shut down. I burned all the papers down to ashes."
The other two gave slight smiles of relief. "What are we going to do with Duo, though?" Quatre asked.
"Take him to Sally Po."
Trowa nodded and drove the jeep towards the abandoned building that Sally and the other rebels were using as their current hideout.
Sally shook her head, tears leaking from the corners of her blue eyes. She looked away from the four faces that stared at her and her eyes fell instead on a peaceful visage.
"Nothing? There is no cure?"
Sally's heart ached but she forced herself to answer Quatre's anguished query. "Hai. This poison is known to me as Palyprusi, a deadly toxin that can enhance a person's stamina and strength for a few minutes. Long before, it would be used as a battle drug to induce what were called 'berserker rages'. The blood absorbs it and spreads it throughout the body, killing slowly. It is painful but because adrenaline is high, it hides the pain. However, since Duo is not in battle or active in any way, there is no counteracting adrenaline. Instead, I gave him morphine, a lethal dose, to relieve the pain. The only cure is a long extinct herb known as Silvermist. I didn't even know the Palyprusi still existed; I thought it was only a legend."
She heard the furious slamming of a door and saw the retreating back of Heero. She took a deep breath and faced the other pilots who were still staring at their comrade's uncharacteristic display of emotion.Quatre was the first to turn back towards Duo's limp form. Unshed tears in his eyes, he knelt before the bedside of the dying pilot and buried his face in his arms. Trowa knelt beside him, holding him in a comforting embrace, green eyes gentle. Wufei stared at the emotional tableau in front of him, his face taut and fists clenched. Sally ached for all of them.
:Doshite?! Doshite?! Doshite?!:
Heero slammed his fist to the wall, feeling the biting chill of the evening wind against his face. He closed his eyes and leaned against the fist still held against the wall. :Am I destined to never have him?: he cried.He was unaware of the tears that left his eyes to track down his cheeks, only aware of the aching torment that had been his private hell ever since a certain long-haired boy greeted him with a bullet.
:I tried so hard to ignore you, to forget,: he thought. :But I can't. Because you still haunt me. Your laughter. Your tears. Your dying screams. They still haunt me. Maybe they always will.:
He wanted to howl out his agony, to express it in some way. But he can't show weakness; he *mustn't* show weakness. :What a poor okami I am,: he thought to himself. :Too much of a ningen.:
"M-matte, okami? The Makai!" With those words still floating in the wind, Heero opened the warehouse door again and ran to the partitioned corner where Sally, the rebels, and the other Gundam pilots were gathered around one occupied bed.
They all turned to him, startled. "H-Heero? What are you doing?" Quatre cried as Heero scooped Duo from the bed. Wing Zero's pilot didn't answer but merely ran outside, cradling the limp form gently against himself. The others exchanged surprised and wary gazes before taking off after Heero.Heero ran on, eyes focused on a nearby park where he could feel the gathering of spiritual energy the strongest. It would be at that place that he could summon a gate.
His running footsteps were silent, absorbed by the soft earth. The chill wind rustled the leaves overhead, letting tendrils of faint moonlight through. Heero ran on. The others ran after him, afraid of what he was about to do.
Suddenly, he stopped. Here was the area where he could feel the gathering of ki the strongest. Closing his eyes, he concentrated and reached out with the youki in him. Slowly but surely a portal of light appeared before him.Sally and the others stopped a few feet as a whorl of brilliance overwhelmed them. They blocked their eyes with their arms, wanting to see yet unable to. Finally, the light faded and all could see the mirror-like gate that appeared in front of Heero. An image of a dark, looming forest appeared on it.
"Yuy! What are you doing?!" Wufei yelled.
"What I have to." He stepped into the whirling mirror. There was another flash of light and when it receded, both pilots and the pathway was gone.
"Shit, Yuy! Where are you?"