Disclaimers: Standard disclaimers apply. I'm just an innocent little girl who decided to kill time by playing merry hell with the lives of everyone's favorite G-boys. They're not mine. And I'm not getting a penny from this fic… as it is, I will probably have to pay OTHERS to read this story. (grumble… grumble… giggle.) ^_^
Warnings: Yaoi, shouen ai, angst, humor, bastardized scientists, blah, blah, blah… you get the point. (This includes the whole story)
Pairings: 1+2, 3+4, and -- like so many of my other fics -- poor Wufei is alone…
Wufei: Good riddance.
Kitana: … for me to take!!!!!! Myahahaha!
Wufei: Injustice!!!!

The Perfect Soldier
Prologue

Kitana Bradford

Five scientists sat around a small table in the only relatively open space in the room, which was cluttered with computers, wires, and papers. It was dangerous for them to meet because of the war, so they kept such conferences to a minimum, and discussed only the most important topics in the little time they had.

Normally, they would be rushed, but this particular time they had relatively little new data to impart with each other. And in this momentary lull in conversation before it drew to a close, Dr. J took the long-awaited opportunity to pioneer a recent idea of his.

"So, how would you make a human being into a perfect soldier? Oz has machines, the Mobile Dolls, but they can't think, or reason, or come up with point blank decisions, the way humans can. But humans have the drawbacks of emotions and a conscience."

Instructor H narrowed his eyes slightly. "What are you getting at?"

Dr. J leaned forward, his claw-like, artificial hand opening and closing with small metallic clinking sounds. "What if you eliminate all unnecessary emotions in a human? Imagine. A soldier who can function like a normal human, yet who is able to operate with the efficiency of a machine."

Doktor S looked intrigued with the idea. "That could be a useful advantage."

Professor G shook his head and pointed out, "Do you know what kind of a killing machine that would make the person? He would focus totally on a cause, without the benefit of acknowledgment of consequences, the subject would kill millions without remorse. Besides, emotions govern a human more then you give them credit for. Without emotions, it would be hard for that person to interact normally with others. The subject would become a violent and dangerous person."

"Not if the person was controlled, or contained to obey orders." Dr. J said.

"I must agree with Professor G. Even if the person could be controlled, he would have an extremely difficult time interacting with other humans. It would be wise not to eliminate all emotions, because they prevent the senseless destruction of lives. Eradicate that, and you have created one extremely volatile, pernicious human being." Master O put in.

Dr. J sat morosely in his seat, his face emotionless.

Suddenly, the quiet in the room was interrupted by a brief beep from one of the computers, signaling the end of time for their meeting. All the scientists except for Dr. J and Instructor H rose. Master O excused himself, explaining that he had some important research to complete. Before Professor G left, he paused beside Dr. J.

"It would be best to forget about your proposal now, the results are just to diverse. An emotionless person would be dangerous and impossible to hide. We're just a couple of old men trying to stop a war between earth and the colonies, and emotions are very much required right now."

"Hmn," was Dr. J's only reply. Professor G left then, confident that Dr. J would understand and think through all possible disadvantages before acting.

Doktor S turned to Dr. J as soon as the door had shut. "What you said could be an advantage in this war, but the other two did have a point. It would be very hard for such a person to associate and hide around others. I'm assuming you have some kind of theory on how to do this, do you not?"

"Yes," Dr. J smiled cynically. "You see, I have no way of eliminating emotions, but I have lately developed a form of suppressing them. It would completely separate the emotional side of the subject's personality from the purely analytical side of his mind. That way, he would exhibit normal emotional responses in most circumstances, but under specific conditions, he would become a being of pure logic, unhampered by conscience or remorse -- an organic computer, if you will."[1]

"Most interesting," Instructor H mumbled. "How would you manage that?"

"Actually, I have already successfully tested it. It's a procedure that isolates and alters specific alleles in the subject's DNA sequencing. That, and endorphins injected in the subatomic particles into the emotional center of the brain, along with a certain formula I have created, suppress or deaden the stimuli to that area of the brain, while allowing outside forces, namely us, to control the subject on a certain level."

"Fascinating. How long have you been working on this?" Instructor H asked with a derisive smirk.

"Quite a while."

"Obviously," Doktor S grunted.

"And now you want to implement this new engineering of yours on one of our Gundam pilots." Instructor H made the question more a statement.

"Precisely. But there is one problem. The endorphins cause the brain to release a protein which deteriorates the subject's mental stability."

"But-" Doktor S prompted.

"But in the processes of anabolism and catabolism, the body releases chemicals which can control and neutralize the protein. Unfortunately, that requires a high rate of each process."

"I see." Instructor H said, eyes narrowed.

"And-" Doktor S pressed again, sensing more.

"And, there is only one of our five Gundam pilots with a metabolism high enough to control the protein damage. Duo Maxwell."[2]

 

[1] Okay, I kinda stole this line from Madamhydra, who is, by the way, a brilliant writer. I was feeling really guilty, and wanted to give credit where it belonged. And I also borrowed an idea from the writer Tabs. Gomen, Madamhydra and Tabs.
[2] According to my younger sister, the only reason this is true is "'cause Duo can't be damaged any more." T.T ^_^

Note from Kitana: Hee hee hee! Throughout most of this prologue I have absolutely NO CLUE what the heck I'm saying, but it sounds like I do, ne? That just strikes me as amusing. Okie-dokie! *claps her hands together, rubbing them.* If you're still with me, (and still interested) continue. It gets better, I promise. ^_~ Have fun!
Status: To be continued. ^_^ Next section is pure insanity on my part. ~_^ Pleeeazze write me and tell me what you think!!!!!

 

 

Disclaimers: I'm just an innocent little girl who decided to kill time by playing merry hell with the lives of everyone's favorite G-boys. They're not mine. And I'm not getting a penny from this fic… as it is, I will probably have to pay OTHERS to read this story. (grumble… grumble… giggle.) ^_^
Warnings: Yaoi, shouen ai, angst, humor, bastardized scientists, blah, blah, blah… you get the point. (This includes the whole story)
Pairings: 1+2, 3+4, 5+5… KIDDING, KIDDING… POOR WU-BABY. ~_^
Wufei: Dammit, woman, don't you have any sense of honor?
Kitana: Umm… nope, none. *glomps Wufei*
Wufei: Get off and go away.
Kitana: NEVER!!! *-* I luv my Wu-baby!!!!!!!
Wufei: Grrr….
Kitana: You don't like me? T.T
Wufei: No.

The Perfect Soldier
Part 1

Kitana Bradford

All was quiet and still in the Winner residence, a clock toiled, heralding the hour at ten to one in the morning. The night lay heavy over the expansive estate, casting the passageways into deep shadows.

A dark silhouette abruptly separated itself from the gloom and slid noiselessly through the dim hallways, taking cautious, measured steps. Pausing from time to time, to scan for guards, the figure followed the winding hallways unerringly.

Coming to an open courtyard, the person swathed in black froze as the muted sounds, and soft light proclaimed the approach of the night guards. With a powerful jump, the figure vaulted to the roof, using a small table for leverage. It flattened itself against the roof around the courtyard until the sentry had passed. Raising itself from the cold shingles, the figure dashed across the roof with the perfect stealth of a practiced thief, until it reached the end of the court; moonlight glinting off the small silver crucifix on a chain about the person's neck, and the small metal object in it's hand.

The silhouette dropped silently to the ground in a crouch, a long braid of chestnut hair falling over its shoulder. Brushing the braid carelessly to it's back, the figure glanced around cautiously then proceeded down the darkened hallways; stopping before a bedroom door.

Pushing open the door, Duo slid noiselessly into the room, carefully replacing the door in it's closed position. Turning, he cautiously navigated his way across the bedroom floor, which was covered in metallic objects, much like the one in his hand, that had been planted about the bed and the sleeping figure upon it.

The person slept, arms crossed over his chest, legs straight and together, looking like a corpse awaiting burial, jet black hair released from its usually tight ponytail. Duo looked at Wufei for a minute, bringing the metal object he held up to his ear; nodding with satisfaction when the quiet ticks resounded softly from the mechanism.

Violet eyes glinted evilly in the dark room as Duo knelt and set the last device in place. Standing, he slinked back to the door of the room. Once outside, Duo eased the door closed again, then pressed his back against the wall beside the door, settling down to wait.

Duo raised his wrist to that he could see the time, an malevolent grin spreading across his face. He licked his lips in anticipation and, between clenched teeth, growled softly,

"Payback time, Wufei, you spawn of Lucifer." As the time elapsed, then finally reached the last ten seconds, Duo counted down with the seconds.

"Ten… nine… eight… seven… six… five… four… three… two… one… ZERO!"

BBBBBBRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNGGGGGGGGG!!!

The silence and serenity of the Winner mansion was shattered by the piercing wail of exactly two-hundred and thirteen alarmclocks simultaneously erupting to life in Wufei's room.

Lights flared on, and there was the sound of pounding feet as the other Gundam pilots all raced for the source of the ruckus. There was an anguished cry from beyond the walls, and Wufei exploded from his room, eyes wide and hair disheveled, to find Duo; rolling around on the ground just outside the door, arms wrapped around his middle, knees to his chest, barely able to move with the force of his laughter.

"Why you… you… BAKA," Wufei sputtered with rage, then tackled the hapless Shinigami pilot.

The other pilots arrived to the sight of Duo and Wufei wrestling on the floor outside Wufei's room, exchanging blows and trying to strangle one another. Heero and Trowa dragged Wufei off Duo, while Quatre helped the battered, albeit still giggling, American pilot up.

Duo slumped in Quatre's arms, chuckling, his legs too weak to support him. Quatre asked,

"What's going on, here?"

"That honor-less cad planted alarmclocks all over my room, all set to go off at the same time, and disturbed me from my peace," Wufei spat angrily, gesturing towards his room. Quatre set Duo on the ground, then walked over to the Wufei's door -- which had swung shut behind the Chinese pilot -- cracked it open and peeked in.

Now that the door wasn't blocking the sound, the shrilling of the alarmclocks, which had been muffled by the heavy wooden door, vibrated down the hall with ear-piercing intensity.

The very sound of the alarmclocks was enough to set Duo off into hysterics again. Quatre shut the door quickly, then turned slowly, blue eyes glinting with gaiety and his shoulders trembling with stifled laughter.

"See?!" Wufei's indignant shriek shattered Quatre's control, and soon the blonde was clutching his sides, tears of mirth running down his cheeks. Even Trowa couldn't suppress a smirk.

"There is NO justice in this world," Wufei ranted, thrashing wildly.

"Yes… there… is," Duo giggled. "You deserved it, for putting salt in my coffee! What's the matter, Wufei? You can dish it out but you can't take it? You should have seen the look on your face, just a few minutes ago! You hit the roof! I thought I was going to die laughing!!!"

With a growl, Wufei wrenched out of Trowa and Heero's grasp, and hurled himself on Duo again. He got in a few well-aimed punches before the other three managed to drag him off the longhaired boy -- holding him down.

After a while, the Chinese boy calmed and stood, straightening his clothes, giving Duo a scathing glare of disapproval.
"Maxwell, stop playing around a be serious for once! One of these days you are going to ruin everything and get us all caught with your carelessness." With that, Wufei stomped angrily off down the hall, leaving the other pilots to silence the loudly ringing clocks. Because all their gazes were focused on the Wufei's retreating form, none of the other pilots saw the misery flash across Duo's face, before he concealed it beneath a huge smile.

***

The next morning, things were just as bad. Quatre entered the dining room to join Trowa and Heero. He slumped into a chair beside Trowa, who paused in scanning his reports to shoot a curious glance at Quatre and wrap an arm around the blonde Arabian.

"What's wrong," Trowa asked quietly.

"Oh, nothing. It's just things are so much quieter here. Duo is driving Wufei to the brink of madness."

Heero paused from typing at his laptop to watch Quatre out of the corner of his eyes.

"Hmm. Is Wufei angry," Trowa asked.

"Beyond belief," Quatre said with a smile.

"Why?"

"Why? There are at least a dozen reasons why, and all of them are either directly or indirectly related to Duo. Early this morning, Duo wandered into the kitchen where Wufei was, a bottle of hot pink spraypaint in his hand. He quite convincingly reported that he had "improved" Nataku by giving it a thong bikini with spray-paint. Wufei was already bounding down the stairs before Duo shouted that he was joking."

Trowa smirked and smothered a chuckle.

"You may find that amusing, but Wufei did not. And that was only the beginning," Quatre said.

Trowa's shoulders shook with suppressed laughter. "Poor Wufei."

"Poor Duo," Quatre corrected dryly. "I came here because I couldn't stand to watch pilot 05 murder pilot 02, which was what Wufei was threatening -- quite seriously I might add -- to do if Duo came within arm's reach of him again."

Trowa laughed, tightening his arm around Quatre and pulling him close for a soft kiss. From the corner of the room, Heero snorted softly and turned back to his laptop.

Not long after, Duo wandered into the dining room to join the others, minus Wufei, who had vanished since the incident in the hangar and refused to show himself.

"Ohayo!"

Quatre looked up from where he was snuggled inside comforting the curve of his lover's arm and called, "Good morning Duo."

Trowa nodded to Duo, then returned to reviewing the last of his reports.

"Oi, anyone wanna go out and do something? Go for a swim, maybe? It's really nice outside."

"Sorry, Duo. Trowa and I have already made plans," the blonde pilot said apologetically.

"Aw. I don't suppose…?" Duo trailed off, deciding against asking if he could come, seeing Trowa's arm wound tightly around the smaller boy. The sight of their intimacy made Duo's heart ache, and he turned to Heero hopefully.

"Heero…." He began.

"No, Duo," Heero interrupted him before he could finish his question.

Duo wilted. "Oh, come on! We finally have a small, well-deserved vacation, which could end at any time, and you spend it in front of that laptop! Pleeease? Just this once?"

Heero turned and fixed Duo with one of his trademark death-glares. "Duo, this is not just a 'vacation' to be taken lightly. Someone must keep track of OZ's movements, since no one else will take enough responsibility to do so." That last was said with a pointed glare in Duo's direction before Heero seemingly dismissed the matter and turned back to the laptop.

"But-"

Heero whirled around in his chair and gave Duo a piercing glare. "Duo, omae o-" he began.

"Okay, okay! Geez! I'm going." Duo hurried out of the dining room. As soon as he was out of sight, the cheerful grin slid from Duo's face and was replaced with an expression of wistful sadness. Duo walked slowly down the hallways to the sleeping quarters and his room. He paused in front of Heero's door for a second, feeling a sharp pang of rejection shoot through his chest. Sighing, he turned to his room, across the hall, entered, and jumped on the bed.

Duo wished he could be closer to Heero, and had talked about it with Quatre once. The Arabian had advised Duo to tell Heero how he felt. Duo had discarded that idea, afraid of what would happen if he told Heero, and Heero rejected him, which was most likely. Heero didn't care. And if Duo told him how he felt, Heero would never let Duo near him again.

Besides, it was best this way. Everyone who got close to Duo died eventually… like Solo… and Father Maxwell and Sister Helen…. Duo's heart lurched with the memories and the mere thought of loosing Heero forever.

Duo just wished he had someone… he was so tired of being alone…. Why couldn't he just have one person care? Why couldn't any of them appreciate him for what he was? He had never ruined a mission or blotched a job because of his attitude… why couldn't the others see that? He hugged himself, sitting on the bed and biting his lower lip to keep it from trembling.

"Why does this always happen to me?" Duo whispered in a shuttering voice to the empty uncaring room. Shaking off the unbearable loneliness, Duo jumped up, rummaging around in his drawers for his bathing suit, determined to block out the overwhelming sadness and the unhappy thoughts. Doing something was better then nothing. Even if he was alone.

***

Heero was interrupted from his work that night, by the small beep and flashing light in the corner-screen of his laptop, signaling incoming mail. The mail had no return address and Heero opened it, quickly decoding the message. It was a immediate mission for himself and Wufei from Dr. J. Heero keyed in his code, acknowledged and accepted the mission, then rose to get his gear from his room, positive that Wufei would have been informed by Master O and be awaiting him at the hangar. Wufei was dependable… unlike that braided baka. Heero reasoned to himself; that must be the reason the American took up so much of his thoughts recently.

His gear assembled, Heero had only to get the wrist communicator -- which was in Duo's room. Heero hesitated for a second outside Duo's quarters, then strode through the door. Inside Duo's room, the lights were out, but the window was open, flooding the small room with silvery moonlight. Casting a glance around the room, it wasn't surprising when he couldn't locate the small wrist communicator from the various items thrown thoughtlessly on the floor. There was a soft snore from the bed in the corner and Heero turned toward the sound.

Duo was sprawled carelessly on top of his covers, his bed still made. His mouth was slightly open, feathery breaths issuing from within. One arm was flung above his head and clutched the pillow loosely, while the other was draped over the edge of the bed, a book on the floor beneath his hand, as if dropped from sleepy fingers.

Duo was dressed in a pair of black boxers that exposed his long legs, and a loose black shirt; turned gray with repeated washings. The shirt was partially off one shoulder; exposing the bronzed column of his throat, and pushed up to reveal the lean muscles of his stomach; tanned from spending his days outside in the sun.

For a long moment, Heero stood above the Shinigami pilot, watching him sleep, his thoughts raging in his head.

Why did he stop to watch the cheerful braided pilot whenever he was near? Why couldn't he stop thinking about Duo's warm voice, and the way his violet eyes glinted as though they were made of the purest crystal? Why did he come to look forward to Duo's happy smile after every mission? Why did he feel such warmth when Duo was around?

Heero strode over to the bed and picked up the book from the floor. Heero placed the book on the nightstand and turned to the American pilot, admiring the way the silver-blue light of the moon shone on his slender body, and caused Duo's long braid to gleam softly. The delicate smell of flower petals reached him and Heero inhaled deeply.

Heero reached out to touch the baby-soft chestnut strands; to run his fingers through Duo's long bangs and smooth them away from that heart-shaped face, then stopped abruptly, staring at his own hand as if it were a foreign object.

What was happening to him? What was this weakness? What was Duo DOING to him? Heero backed away to the door, brows furrowed and his hand clenched tightly. With one last backward glance at Duo's sleeping figure, he slipped silently out of the room. He wouldn't worry about the wrist communicator. It would be impossible to find without lighting in the room anyway. Briefly Heero wondered why he didn't just turn on the lights and look for it, but he balked at the thought of facing the object of his internal struggles just now. Besides, he decided that a few days out of communication with the other pilots wouldn't hurt anything. They could take care of themselves if trouble arose. With that, Heero turned and continued down the hallways to meet Wufei at the hangar.

***

Oblivious of all that happened outside his dreams, Duo slept on; having successfully quieted his inner demons by first swimming, then wandering around in the Winner Gardens. The gentle breeze in the Gardens drying and cooling his skin, while the soft fragrance of the flowers healed and soothed his battered soul. After dinner, he had returned to his room to read his book, Burnt Offerings by Laurell K. Hamilton until sleep had claimed him, and he slipped off into the peaceful dreamworld where he loved and was treasured in return by a certain pilot with tousled hair and cobalt blue eyes….

Kitana: Are you sure you don't like me? *sniff*
Wufei: Dammit, woman, I said leave me alone or face my sword of justice!
Kitana: O.O Ewwww! Wufei!
Wufei: Not THAT sword! *blood spurts from his nose in torrents and he makes a mad dash for the bathroom*
Kitana: Heh, heh, heh. I'm so evil. ~_^
Status: Tbc. The next part is some more insanity… then Duo receives a mysterious e-mail requesting a meeting in person….

 


Disclaimer: *In monotone* Don't own Gundam Wing… not making any money… *yawn* this is getting VERY tedious.
Warnings: Yaoi, shouen ai, angst, humor, bastardized scientists, blah, blah, blah… you get the point. (This includes the whole story)
Pairings: The same as they were the last time you looked.

The Perfect Soldier
Part 2

Kitana Bradford

Duo was rudely awakened by the raucous chirping of the birds perched outside his open window. Cracking open an eye, Duo checked the clock. The time highlighted in blinking red lights was six twenty-four.

"Damned birds! Always up at the crack of dawn!" Duo rolled over on his bed, clapping his pillow over his head to try to block out the birds. After a few seconds, he gave up with a growl and rolled off his cot, landing in an ungraceful heap on the floor. Grouping about blindly for the nearest projectile, Duo's fingers closed on one of his heavy leather boots. Duo chucked it out the window, and heard with satisfaction the crash as it hit the tree branches, then the alarmed squawks of the birds as they fled the tree.

"Take that! Ya feathered freaks of nature!"

Duo sat up and yawned. Well, now that he was up, there was no way he was going to get back to sleep. Resignedly, he rose and dragged himself over to the dresser, getting out his customary black attire and pulling it on, then vanishing into the bathroom.

Fifteen minutes later, Duo was fully awake and bouncing with energy. He pulled on his right boot, laced it, then spent another five minutes looking for his left boot before he remembered that he had hurled it out the window at the birds.

He ambled out of his room in search of his left boot, listening to his footsteps and feeling slightly awkward, as walking with only one boot on made him have a uneven gait. Up on his booted foot, then down on his socked foot. Up, down, up, down; clomp, pat, clomp, pat. Duo grinned. He could feel Quatre's and Trowa's curious gazes on him as he passed through the kitchen on his way outside.

As he approached the lawn outside his window, Duo scanned the damp grass for his missing boot. There was nothing there except a few scattered leaves. Duo circled the tree three times, before stopping and shooting a puzzled glance at the windowpane above him.

"I'm sure that's my window… so where's my boot?" Duo scratched his head, then froze as a thought hit him. Slowly, he looked above him into the tree outside his window. Sure enough, there in the branches, dangling by one lace, was his shoe.

"K'so," Duo growled, looking dubiously at the thick trunk, which was covered with thorns and dense branches.

Deciding to save that as a last resort, Duo glanced around and quickly gathered up a handful of pebbles to throw at the boot.
Ten minutes and seventeen handfuls of stones later, Duo's socked foot was getting soaked, and the shoe wasn't coming down.

Briefly, he wondered if Quatre would just let him chop the damned tree down, but, no, he had brought this on himself. Duo sighed, then grinned and spat on his hands, rubbing them together and approaching the trunk….

***

Almost there…! Duo stretched a little further, fingers straining for the obstinate article of clothing.

"Ah-ha," He cried triumphantly as his digits curled around the boot. Then, the branch beneath him cracked, and Duo's eyes widened as he found himself tumbling forward.

"IIIEEEE!!!" He cried, grasping wildly for any purchase to break his downward plunge. His hand curled around a branch not far from the ground and Duo saved himself by using his momentum to do a quick flip over the limb. He dropped to the earth, arms raised gleefully in a V, the source of the trouble held up in his fist like a trophy.

Duo crowed, "Ah ha! Shinigami at his best! Sometimes I even amaze myself."

Unfortunately, the bough, upon it's abrupt release, flew upward, gaining momentum. It met the extent of it's flight, and snapped downwards, cracking down on the top of Duo's head.

"Itai! Shimatta!" Duo backpedaled away from the branch, plopping down in the dewy grass to pull on his boot; massaging the growing lump on his head and glaring at the bobbing branch.[1]

***

"What do you suppose he's doing? He's been outside for quite a while now."

Trowa leaned back in his chair to gaze out the kitchen window. Turning back to Quatre, he shrugged.

Quatre moved to join Trowa at the window. "How long has he been standing there? I'm going to go see," He said, not waiting for an answer, knowing Trowa couldn't provide one.

The door was flung open just as Quatre reached it, and a scratched, bruised, and generally disheveled Duo stormed in.

"Duo, what--" Quatre began, but was effectively silenced by a glare from Duo. "Uh… nevermind."

"Oi, where are Wufei and Heero," Duo asked, looking around for the stony Wing pilot.

"Not here. They had a mission and left last night," Was Quatre's reply. For the briefest of seconds, Quatre thought he caught a flash of hurt across Duo's amethyst eyes. Then Duo turned away, and plopped down at his black laptop and booted it up. After a few seconds, Duo sat up straighter.

"Oi, oi! What's this? A mission! Finally!" Duo opened the anonymous e-mail, glad that something was finally happening. He had had the oddest feeling that Deathscythe was getting restless in that hangar.

As Duo read, the eager expression faded off his face and his brows drew together. After a few seconds of silence, Quatre asked worriedly, "What is it, Duo?"

"It's a meeting request."

Trowa's head jerked over to Duo and Quatre's eyes went wide, his mouth dropping open.

"But here's the weird part. It's under my connection with Professor G, but it's from Dr. J! I don't understand this. I wish Heero were here so that I could ask him." Duo's fingers flew over the keyboard.

"Are you going to go?" Quatre asked when he gained his voice back.

"Umm… yeah. I'll risk it being a big ruse, but I doubt it is. It's too intricate to be a trap. I wonder what would be so important that I have to be up there, risking them, my cover, and Deathscythe?" Duo mused thoughtfully, brows furrowed slightly.

"I don't know…." Quatre stared at the laptop message, unable to identify the sinking feeling that was gripping his heart.

"If it isn't a hoax, then you must leave immediately and meet them." Trowa put in calmly.

"I was planning on it." Duo said, jumping out of his chair. "I've got to head out now. I'm supposed to meet Dr. J at the spaceport on Earth tomorrow, and the drive there will take all night."

"It sounds dangerous. Just be careful, Duo. Please," Quatre said.

"But of course," was Shinigami's reply.

***

As Duo walked casually through the Earth spaceport, his thoughts were constantly nagging him. This whole damned meeting just didn't feel right, and Duo knew no matter any way this situation turned out, it wouldn't be pretty. Either it would be a deception from OZ or it could be a real emergency. An emergency bad enough to cause the scientists to risk exposing themselves like this must be extremely bad. Yet, if this was a trick of OZ's then God help them all, the scientists had probably all been captured. Duo decided he didn't like either option.

But, why had Dr. J been the one to contact him? Why not Professor G? And why over Professor G's connection? Duo would have asked Heero about it, but that cold-hearted baka had gone off on a mission, leaving the communicator in Duo's room.

Just then, Duo caught sight of an old man, who, on first glance looked absolutely normal, yet on second inspection, Duo realized that it was the cleverly disused Dr. J.

Duo let his gaze slide casually over Dr. J, then turned and began to stride away in the other direction. Not long after, Dr. J reached his side and matched his pace.

"Your father is waiting for you. I'm supposed to take you safely to meet him." Dr. J said in his gruff voice. Duo translated the coded speech quickly and played along.

"Thank you. I knew father wouldn't trust me to return on my own. Will you mind coming with me? I haven't gotten my ticket yet."

"No need. Your father has already paid for your ticket. He didn't want me to tell you, so that he could surprise you."

"I see. He's too kind to me. Well then, lead onward!" Duo followed Dr. J to a small private jet and took a seat, just dying to ask questions, yet knowing that they must wait until all was safe.

Duo sat back in the seat, burying himself in the scratchy shuttle cushions. He popped a stick of gum in his mouth to keep his ears from clogging during the takeoff and exit of Earth's atmosphere. Once they were out in space, a waitress came around bearing drinks. Duo asked for a soda, grinning at the young flight attendant. She blushed and moved on.

Duo swallowed his gum and took a long gulp of the sweet liquid. Turning his head, Duo eyed the moon, getting closer and closer with each passing minute. He sighed, leaning his head against the plastic window of the shuttle. The moon was back to being a barren graveyard again. But it was still awe-inspiring. A lasting rock, transformed by one's perspective; beautiful and deathly in turns.

Duo felt Dr. J shift slightly beside him, but was so enraptured with the moon, he didn't see the malicious twist of Dr. J's lips, or the casual stretch forward. He also failed to hear the minuscule plop and fizz as the pill Dr. J casually dropped in his drink dissolved without a trace.

Meanwhile, Duo's thoughts had turned from the moon, to the Japanese enigma who haunted his every thought. He grinned, wondering what Heero and the others were doing right then. Quatre would be so worried. Duo wished he had a way of communicating with the fair-haired Arabian and telling him that he was all right, everything had come out fine.

Duo realized how long he had been staring out the window when the same flight attendant came by, carrying a trash bag for their cups. Duo looked as his drink, still half-full but undoubtedly watery from the melting ice.

Duo wasn't really that thirsty, but he grinned mischievously at the girl holding the trash bag and shrugged. He toasted her, and tossed down the last of his coke, enjoying her flush. Duo, the God of Death, pilot of the Gundam Deathscythe, and the Irresistible, had not lost his touch.

Duo wrinkled his nose. Geez, that coke had tasted godawful. Watered down coke. Blech!

Five minutes later, Duo's eyelids kept sliding shut. He was a Gundam pilot, he shouldn't let sleep get to him this much; he berated himself for his lack of discipline. After a few more minutes of fighting it, Duo's traitorous mind began to supply him with justifications of sleep. He thought it out and decided it wouldn't hurt anyone for him to take a little snooze, would it? Dr. J would wake him up when they got to their destination….

***

Dr. J watched Duo hurriedly finish the rest of his Coke with satisfaction. The drugs he had put in should be taking effect soon, he thought. He wasn't disappointed, when, eight minutes later, Duo's eyelids began to droop.

The boy held out amazingly well against the drug, the Doctor had to give him that. He waited another ten minutes until the braided teen had finally succumb to the effects of the tranquilizer.

When the shuttle finally landed on L1, two large, muscular men came on the shuttle to help Dr. J transport the sleeping pilot.

"He's very tired from all that traveling. Let's get the boy to his father's so that he can rest." Dr. J said to the men. One man nodded and picked up the pilot as though he weighed nothing, while the other led the Doctor through the crowded spaceport to a smaller hidden shuttle, awaiting to transport them to Dr. J's concealed lab.

***

Dr. J clinked the claw on his artificial arm together calculatingly as he studied the readings and vital signs registering on his computer. Instructor H stood a small distance away, administering the last dosage of Dipotassim Phosphate [2] into a heavily tranquilized pilot 02's system.

Under Dr. J's eagle eyes, Duo's vitals went haywire for a few minutes, before settling down to a normal pulse again.

"Is that all that is required?" Doktor S asked from his position beside the table with Duo's inert form upon it.

"Yes, all that remains is a few hours rest to let the drug insert itself. Then we'll send him back."

"How are you going to curtail suspicions? Doubtless the other pilots will want an explanation of his absence." Instructor H said. "And we can't afford to raise suspicions. Dr. G must not discover our improvements. He wouldn't appreciate our meddling with his precious Shinigami."

"I will program in memories to pacify the others and his own mind." Dr. J's monotone voice replied. He turned to the unconscious form of the boy who claimed to be death. The name suited him. Dr. J didn't overly like this emotional boy by the name of Duo Maxwell, but he couldn't deny that the boy was and excellent fighter, now, with these new improvements, better then even Dr. J's former perfect creation, Heero Yuy.

Dr. J would've much preferred to use his own pilot as the subject for this experiment, not the braided boy whom he trusted and relied upon much less. Yet, it was for the best, he decided. Heero's metabolism was far below the needed standards to cope with the drug. There was no way Heero's body could withstand it. Besides, there were too many variables, too many chances in this highly untested procedure for something to go wrong. Better to use the expendable pilot 02, rather then risk his own original Perfect Soldier.

But if everything went according to plan, Professor G would no longer be in any control of the Deathscythe pilot. Duo would become the ultimate Perfect Soldier, a killing machine the likes of which the world had never known, and he would be controlled completely by Dr. J!

***

Duo was floating, suspended in a drug-induced blackness. Concealed away where nothing could reach him; not the seemingly endless battles that were his life, not the countless deaths all in the name of peace and away from himself, his own hands soiled with the blood of innocents.

Just as Duo felt himself begin to relax, there was light. Painfully bright, dragging his mind out of its refuge. With it came a voice. Duo thought he vaguely recognized it, but he forgot about that as it spoke to him in indomitable terms.

Duo fought it at first, but the words broke through all of his erected barriers, crashing forcefully into him, heaving in his mind and grinding his will under its strength like a turbulent sea.

The words whispered of answers to his greatest fears and uncertainties, tantalizing him with the prospect of an easy solution to all of his problems. It promised to help him out of the wall of blood and deaths he had built around himself.

Duo hesitated but the voice was insistent. He could stop the war, stop the unjustified killing of innocents, save the future and redeem his own soiled soul… but he must accept the light… become a soldier with the strength to complete a mission to the fullest, stronger then any other soldier could ever be.

Duo felt his resistance crumble and allowed the light to raise him from the dark….

 

[1] Okay, okay, so this has nothing to do with the storyline. So what? A person's allowed to have a little fun, isn't she? I couldn't help it! I was on a sugar high and, besides, the psychic chipmunks outside my window told me to!
[2] I couldn't think of a cool, official-sounding name for Dr. J's mysterious drug -I'm just stunted that way ^_^- so… I walked over the kitchen and grabbed out the closest object; reading off all the ingredients until I came to one I thought looked cool - juvenile, I know. But it's fun! Incoenciedently, the "object" I grabbed was Swiss Miss hot cocoa mix. MYAHAHAHA!
Status: Tbc… you didn't think you got off that easily did you? Heck no. I'm still goin' on strong. (Pulls up her sleeves and flexes, gritting her teeth, scrunching up her face in mock exertion and giving "manly" grunts and growls.) ^_^
Guess what? Next part, Duo comes back in the new… "Perfect Soldier mode" - dramatic music inserted here - and you get to see me struggle through the reactions of the others when they find out. MYAHAHAHA! Feel free to e-mail me and tell me what you think. I don't bite… hard. ~_^

 

 

 

Disclaimers: Gundam Wing: not mine. G-Wing Characters: not mine. Complete insanity that passes as this storyline: definitely mine.
Warnings: Yaoi, shouen ai, angst, humor, bastardized scientists, blah, blah, blah… you get the point. (This includes the whole story)
Pairings: If you're THIS deep into the story and still don't know… what the heck have you been DOING?!

The Perfect Soldier
Part 3

Kitana Bradford

When Heero pulled the large truck up to the back of the Winner Manner they were currently using as their safehouse, he was deep in thought. He was tired, but the mission had been surprisingly uncomplicated. A simple scouting mission that had certainly not required both his and Wufei's presence. Wufei alone would have been adequate for the operation. It made Heero wonder if there was more involved that perhaps Wufei and himself had missed.

Heero quickly unloaded Wing from the truck, then moved the vehicle so that Wufei would have room to park his truck when he arrived. It was late at night so very few of the Manner residents were up as Heero made his ways through the darkened hallways to his quarters.

Heero paused briefly before the door to Duo's room, his icy eyes softening as he thought about the baka inside. There were no lights shining underneath the door and the room was uncharacteristically quiet, so Heero assumed Duo was asleep.

Turning away from Duo's door, Heero slipped into his own room, flicking on the lights. His questions from earlier nagged him and he quickly plugged in the laptop and booted it up. Bypassing all codes, he sent his mission report to Dr. J, along with a request for more information over the area he had been sent to scout. Heero rose and went to shower and change into his boxers while his request went through.

When he returned to the laptop ten minutes later, toweling his hair dry, there was no response from Dr. J. Heero's cobalt eyes narrowed, and he stored the new information mentally, deciding it was possible that sending an answer right away would prove too much of a security hazard for Dr. J to risk. Nothing unusual.

Heero shut down the laptop and slid into bed gratefully for some extra rest. But his sleep was fitful, occupied in turns by the lack of response from Dr. J, the possibility of an incomplete mission, and a certain braided American and all the troubles Heero's intensifying feelings for him was creating.

***

The next morning, Heero rose early and headed down to the kitchen for breakfast. The hallways were dark because thick shadowy clouds covered the rising sun, obscuring its light. When Heero left the gloomy passageway and entered the brightly lit kitchen, Quatre and Trowa were already awake and eating. They were mildly surprised to see him back from his mission so soon. Silently, Heero grabbed his breakfast then sat at the far end of the table, as always, booting up his laptop. He noted with irritation that Dr. J had not yet responded to is inquiry the other night. Then he dismissed the matter, burying himself in his work.

Not long after, a sleepy Wufei joined the threesome, getting himself a cup of tea and taking his routine place at the table. The silence that descended then was long and awkward. The absence of Duo -- ordinarily unreservedly munching on his cereal and filling the air with his incessant, yet soothing, chatter -- making itself known.

Disturbed by the uncustomary silence, Heero looked over towards the one vacant seat, wondering where the longhaired American was. Heero felt -- to say the least -- aggravated that he couldn't work without Duo near, and admonished himself for the weakness.

"Where is Duo?" It slipped out of Heero's mouth before he could catch himself. "It's past time that baka was up. It's just like him to spend all day in bed when something important could arise." Heero growled, annoyance coloring his tone. Heero saw the alarmed look that passed between Quatre and Trowa and his eyes narrowed. For the first time he noticed the slightly pale, drawn expression on Quatre's face and the apprehensive glint in his kind blue eyes.

"You mean he didn't contact you?" Quatre asked Heero desperately, leaning over the table.

"Negative." Heero said.

Wufei spoke up. "Perhaps you had better explain what kind of trouble Maxwell has gotten himself into this time."

"Duo got a mission the morning after you guys left… that was three days ago. He was going to contact you, Heero, the first chance he got." Heero raised an eyebrow and Quatre held up a hand before he could ask. "Duo's mission was a call for a meeting. With Dr. J."

Both Heero and Wufei started, Heero's gaze sharpened on Quatre, while Wufei whipped around to face the blonde.

"Why?" Heero asked roughly.

"We don't know. That's why he was going to contact you. You see, he got the contact over a connection that shouldn't have been open to anyone except himself and Professor G. Duo was hoping you would know more about it, Heero. He decided to go because there was too much to loose if it wasn't possibly a deception by OZ, or anyone for that matter. We haven't heard from him since. I have a horrible feeling in my uchuu no kokoro that something is wrong." Quatre shivered and leaned back in his chair, a hand resting lightly on his chest.

As if on cue, in the silence that followed -- there was a loud crack and a flash of light that lit the kitchen momentarily. Heero realized that while they had been talking, a nasty storm had formed. Within seconds, the first crash was followed by a louder rumble and the steady pounding of heavy rain on the roof began to echo through the manner.

Heero turned away from the rain, a terrible unknown feeling gripping his insides, his stomach clenching and his heart trying to work its way up into his throat. Heero swallowed rapidly before returning his gaze to the distressed Arabian, his eyes hardening as he forced himself to become reasonable.

"There's nothing much we can do. If that baka got himself caught it's likely because of his own carelessness, and we'll see it on the news soon enough--"

"It's so nice to know you guys have faith in my abilities."

The four of them started and spun around in an instant, weapons drawn, to face the back door from the kitchen to the outside, from where the source of the voice originated.

Duo stood in the shadows of the open doorway, dressed in his standard black attire and glaring at them from underneath the brim of his black cap. He held a black jacket, which he had slung over his shoulder. A small puddle was forming from where the water dripped slowly from the jacket and his long braid.

Though a little wet, he seemed fine, Heero noted. There was no evidence of a battle on him. At that moment, the stillness was shattered as Quatre and Wufei jumped up to demand explanations of his mysterious 'mission' and make sure of his welfare in unison.

"Duo, are you okay? It wasn't a trap? Did you see Doctor J?" Quatre asked in a rush.

"Dammit, Maxwell, what happened? Did you meet with the scientists? What was the reason for your duty?" Wufei burst out at the same time.

Heero remained silent, but watched Duo intently. There was something different about the braided pilot, but he couldn't put a finger on it. Quatre and Wufei shut up when Duo shifted slightly, raising his head and glowering at them from between his bangs, his face practically obscured in the shadow cast by the rim of his hat. His violet eyes stood out starkly against the dark, and almost seemed to radiate slight luminescence, increasing the intensity of his fixed stare.

Overall, the effect caused Heero to shiver, a sinking feeling gripping his chest. The maliciousness in Duo's eyes was enough to cause even Heero to take a step back. Quatre took a timid, cautious step forward.

"… Duo?"

Duo said nothing and an abrupt flash of lightning silhouetted him in the entrance. Then Duo stepped out of the puddle forming around his black boots, moving out of the entryway and shutting the door with finality. Then, without a word, he strode coldly past his astonished friends and down the hallways toward his room.

Heero watched him pass with narrowed eyes. Something had happened to Duo during his last assignment, and Heero WOULD know what it was.

Notes from Kitana: Well…? Didja like it? Didja, didja, didja? What can I say? I was in an evil mood. ^_^ MYAHAHAHA!!! Poor Duo and Heero must suffer.
Status: Tbc. Next part: things continue at a downward spiral, cleverly hidden by Dr. J. Heero continues to sense the changes in Duo, and quickly learns that getting in the new "improved" Duo's way can be -- in fact -- quite deadly.

 

 

*IMPORTANT!!!*
Whew! It's Kitana again. Just to let you know I'm still alive and kickin'. Recently I haven't had much time for writing due to school… sports… homework… and all the other daggone stuff I have going on… all at one time…. (Ahhhgg! Tears fistfuls of her hair out. Ops.) But that's okay! ^_^;

Anyway, I've got some news for ya… not really all good, but then, no news is final! The thing is, I'm gonna stop writing so much till things calm down a little here. That'll be in about 2 months. That means both Shivers and Mirror Image are going on hold, and updates for The Perfect Soldier are gonna come less often.

If you really, really, REALLY want me to update them, go ahead and send me an e-mail. I'll try, but just remember I'm kinda pushed for time. Truth be told, I didn't plan on working on this for a while either, but since I've received a short studyhall and I've finished all my work due… you get Part 4 of Perfect Soldier now instead of later. Hee! ^_^

Well, here it is again. Disclaimers and stuff. Damn things. But they have to be done. I know you've probably long ago stopped reading these things and now I'm just talking to myself…. Uhhhnnn!! I dun wanna write now!!!
Disclaimers: The Gundam Boys are cool, but they aren't mine. Never have been, never will be. So I'll have to be content with playing with someone else's toys. ^_^ <g>
Warnings: Yaoi, shouen ai, angst, humor, bastardized scientists… um, bastardized Duo??? Sorta… Duo HIMSELF isn't a bastard, it's the drug… but he's still kinda mean… would you count that? Oh, man, now I'm getting ALL confused!!!
Pairings: 1+3, 4+5, 2x13… Kidding, kidding!!! Don't hurt me!! I was just seeing if you were paying attention. ^_^
Oh, yeah! Um, <….> means thoughts, okay? Have fun!!

The Perfect Soldier
Part 4

Kitana Bradford

Heero's insides felt like they were twisting around inside of him, trying to escape.

Duo.

That damn baka was the reason for Heero's inner turmoil, no matter how much he tried to deny it. What was wrong with the American? Heero hoped it was only the stress of a mission after his previous break.
<That's not it and you know it.> The thought popped unbidden into his head and Heero shoved it away. <Shut up.> He told himself, locking down on his emotions.

Heero had entertained his earlier notion and had meant to question the Shinigami pilot as soon as he returned from his room. Heero had waited restlessly all night, but Duo had never re-emerged.

Heero had given up on the possibility of work as his mind constantly wandered from the task at hand and he repeatedly found himself typing incoherent sentences absently. Irritated, he had retreated up to his quarters for sleep. When he had passed the American's door that night, the light underneath it was out and no noise issued from within.

The next morning, Heero arose and waited with the others impatiently, for Duo to rise and join them in the kitchen. They had waited until noon and the braided pilot still did not emerge.

With ill disguised frustration, Heero had stood - growled something about killing the American - and stalked upstairs to force an explanation.

But Duo's room had been empty when he arrived, the bed even neatly made. Heero had returned to the kitchen and reported this alarming piece of news to the other three. They had promptly split up to search for the missing boy.

Which was why Heero now pounded down the long darkened corridors of the large safehouse.

Heero grumbled as he walked, attempting to rid himself of the uncomfortable clenching of his chest and swallowing rapidly in an attempt to moisturize his dry throat. As he strode, Heero's thoughts stubbornly continued to focus on Duo.

<Damn that American! How can he get me to feel like this?>

Quiet. Duo had been unusually, abnormally quiet, even before his mysterious mission and the radical change in him. Duo had recently been less annoying and persistent in his attempts to convince the others to join him for some fun. There must be something seriously wrong, but Duo had hidden it extremely well. Even Quatre hadn't noticed the change in the American's attitude.

Only Heero, with his irritating sensitivity wherever Duo was concerned, had sensed the change in Duo's usual buoyancy.

Duo was always jovial, ready at any time to aid his friends in any way he could, whether it was with a physical difficulty, or helping them through the bouts of despair that struck everyone at times - even the innocent Quatre. When the stress of their constant killing became too much, when the running and hiding and being hated began to wear on them, there was Duo with a jibe and a crooked grin, the humor in his bright eyes driving the worst of the pain away. He was so often the brunt of anger, but he accepted it, and continued to offer happiness in return for hurt. Never did he reveal any doubts he might feel behind his jester's mask.

Duo was Duo, and could be counted on to be the same no matter the situation. No one else seemed to realize how very much he was doing for them. Even Heero had not seen it himself. But with this unnatural silence, a gap had created itself in Heero, the support he had never realized he depended on and taken for granted, suddenly gone. [1]

Heero started at the realization and ground to a halt, eyes wide. He counted on Duo? The baka who never did things right? Yes. Yes, he did. And he didn't like this new Duo. Not at all. Heero wanted his old Duo back. The Duo he lov… he… the Duo he… relied upon. [2]

Heero shook slightly with the sudden flood of emotions that came with his revelations, unnerved by the new experience. Exerting his mind, he gained control over his raging feelings, tucking them safely away again. Firm resolve settled in their place. He WOULD get his Duo back.

Abruptly, Heero's acute hearing picked up the sounds of soft shouts originating from the training courtyard nearby. He changed his course and followed the noises. As he approached the training yard, he felt more then heard the rich, vibrant, hum of a thermal weapon.

When Heero reached the doorway, he froze. The figure in the center of a courtyard framed by thick trees was that of Duo.

He was bare to the waist, a fine sheen of sweat glinting on his naked torso, setting off the muscles rippling under his tan skin as he moved. Strands of fine chestnut hair had escaped from Duo's pristine braid and framed the nape of his neck in soft curls, damp with perspiration.

Duo wore his customary black pants and heavy boots, and held a four foot long miniature version of the thermal scythe his Gundam had, which he wielded with practiced ease.

Heero concealed himself in the shadows to prevent Duo from sensing his presence and continued to watch the American intently.

As Heero looked on, Duo raised the scythe, slashing imaginary enemies in a proficient pattern. He seemed to be in perfect control of the ungainly weapon, stepping easily away from the glowing blade as it slashed perilously close to his plait of hair.

Duo's movements seemed almost to be an intricate dance as he twisted and twirled in flawless tandem with the scythe.

A deadly dance, Heero reminded himself. A dance with death. Death in the form of a humming, luminous blade. Its spellbinding beauty belaying the danger mixed underneath. So much like the American himself.

Then Duo broke from the spell-binding routine and - before Heero could blink - he was the unfortunate occupant at the receiving end of the curved blue beam.

Duo looked straight into Heero cobalt eyes, his own violet orbs tinted with evil red specks around his pupil and almost glowing with loathing.

"What do you want Heero?" He growled angrily in a voice not his own, pressing in on the weapon at Heero's neck.

[1] I think I might have seen something to this effect somewhere… I'm not sure. ^_^;;; I hate it when this happens!!
[2] Err… gomen peps… wuzzat too fast? Ugh! I dunno!!!!!!! Sorry if you think it unrealistic, but I want to get on with the fun stuff. Hey, at least he won't admit he loves Duo. Damnit, Heero, get over your damn complex! ~_^

Notes from Kitana: I wrote… well, I'm writing this fic to break Duo out of some old molds. I'm sooo incredibly sick of seeing Heero portrayed as the perfect one and Duo the 'weakling' -- always chasing after, and needing help from, Heero. I know what you're thinking: 'So what? It's kinda funny!' Granted, seeing Duo screw up a couple of things IS really funny… hee hee hee, I like that… but very often I've seen fics where Duo's just a complete klutz, and he can't do ANYTHING right. Duo can't be horrible at everything… or they would never let him pilot a Gundam, ne? I wanted, just once, for Duo to be the 'Perfect One' and leave Heero in the dust. You know… kick Heero a few rungs down his imposed latter of perfection. No offense to Heero. Or to any of you avid Heero fans. I like him too. I just want to see Duo get recognized with the respect he deserves for his fighting skills. Okay, okay, I'm done with my spiel. Gomen, I just had to get that out. ^_^;

Oooh, what's gonna happen next? Is Duo gonna hurt Heero? C'mon Heero!! Figure it out and help him before he kills you all!!!
Status: Tbc?? I hope. This is getting soooo tedious. Is it worth it to you guys for me to go on? E-mail me and tell me whatcha think. I really am dying to know if you guys like it. The next part: (If I continue on) The Gundam boys are assigned a mission and Heero finally makes the connection. But is it too late? And why is Duo starting to vomit blood?

 

Notes from Kitana: Oi again!! Well, thanks to repeated e-mails requesting an update for Perfect Soldier… HERE IT IS!! ^_^ C&C is one hell of a good cure for writer's block. Sankyuu all you peoples who e-mailed me!! I loved them!
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Warnings: Angst, OOC-ness, Yaoi… (well more like shouen-ai actually) Me being evil… MYAHAHA!!! BE AFRAID HEERO AND DUO! BE VERY AFRAID!!
WARNING!!!: EXTREME ICK FACTOR IN THIS CHAPTER!!!!!!!!!!!
Pairings
: That's it. This is the last chapter I'm doing this in. If you STILL need help figuring out the pairings after this I suggest that you go to the perdy lil' hospital with padded walls where you can finger-paint on the walls all day. The nurses there are nice. ^_~ =P Trust me, I know. ^_^V *giggle*

The Perfect Soldier
Part 5

Kitana Bradford

"What do you want Heero? Spying on me? Give me one reason why I shouldn't eliminate you right now." Heero's eyes narrowed and he quickly searched his mind for some explanation to give the livid American.

Fortunately for Heero, Quatre chose that moment to enter the courtyard. Upon seeing Heero pinned against the wall by an angry Duo, the fair-haired pilot froze, his blue eyes widening.

There was a moment of pregnant silence before the small, hand-held mini-computer in Quatre's hand blipped quietly and shattered the stillness. The Arabian boy gathered himself quickly, and, unsure of what he had interrupted, said in a low voice,

"Duo, a mission just came in for all of us. It's an infiltration mission. I don't know the details, but Duo, you have been ordered to lead the infiltration. Trowa's waiting in the mission room to fill us in on the details. Come as soon as you can." Then Quatre hurriedly excused himself and vanished.

Heero, who hadn't moved once since Quatre's arrival, shifted his eyes to study the American's reaction.

The longhaired pilot was staring sightlessly at the empty doorway. For a second, Heero thought that maybe Duo was dazed for some reason, when he looked closer. What he saw worried and confused him at the same time.

Though Duo's face was impassive, a violent war seemed to be raging behind in the violet nadir of his eyes. Heero watched Duo intently, noting the barely perceptible tightening of the others jaw and the narrowing of his eyes. Heero wanted to reach for Duo, to find out what was wrong and snap him out of it. And there was something wrong. Heero was now sure of it.

But as much as he wanted to help the braided boy, if he even moved a fraction of an inch, the scythe still poised at his neck would be his end. Unable to do anything, Heero wanted to reach for Duo, knowing something was important was happening here yet frustrated because he didn't know what it was.

Abruptly, Duo's body tensed to the breaking point. Unconsciously, Heero tensed as well, ready for anything. Then, a shudder wracked Duo's body and he cried out briefly in pain - a soft noise that was quickly cut off. Then the blank, cold look settled over Duo's features once again. Heero's heart sank.

Duo's eyes flicked over to lock with the Wing pilot's and his lips twitched in a smile that was more a baring of teeth then anything else. He shifted, and Heero felt an irrational twinge of fear. It caught Heero by surprise and he tried his best to conceal that moment of weakness, but it was too late. Duo had already seen. The longhaired boy smiled wickedly but slowly removed the scythe from Heero's neck and retracted the blade.

Without removing his eyes from Heero's, Duo spun the metal pole until it was in a resting position. Braced by his upper arm, The butt caught under the juncture of his body and shoulder, the length of the pole braced by his upper arm so that the thick gundanium where the blade appeared was held firmly near his ankles.

Duo chuckled and turned to exit the door through which Quatre had taken earlier. As he passed Heero, Duo paused, and in a low monotone voice, he whispered coldly,

"Shinigami has not come for you yet. Now is not your time to die. But be warned: get in my way and you will be destroyed." Then he continued out the door without so much as a backwards glance.

Heero stood, paralyzed with shock. His heart screamed at the loss of his friend while his mind whirled madly. Vaguely, he wondered why his chest felt like it was splitting in two. He had seen something on the once cheerful Deathscythe pilot's face. Something that unburied the seed of fear that he had buried in his heart. A seed that now thrived and grew until he nearly suffocated with it.

It was a look he had seen many times before… in the mirror. And one that he had never wanted to see on the jovial face of Duo Maxwell.

The look on the pilot of Deathscythe's face… it had been one of heartless indifference.

And there was only one person who could manipulate a person to that point of callousness.

Doctor J.

***

When Heero entered the mission room, the others were already present and awaiting him. The Japanese boy took his seat, keeping an eye on Duo, who pointedly refused to look at him and instead focused intently on Trowa's face as the tall Frenchman briefed them on the mission framework.

Obviously, this was a mission almost solely for Duo, the others were merely backup in case something went wrong. Heero didn't like that idea one bit. He kept sneaking glances at the said pilot, who's expression didn't change once during the whole meeting, except once, when Trowa mentioned an assassination involved with the infiltration. And then his reaction made Heero's stomach clench and his chest go cold. Duo nodded slowly and smiled.

When the conference ended, the self-proclaimed Shinigami rose without a word and silently stalked toward his quarters to prepare, a malicious gleam of anticipation in his emotionless eyes.

"Duo! Wait!" Quatre called out. Duo ignored his request and Quatre ran to catch up with the black-clothed figure.

"Duo! What's wrong with you?" He said, falling in step with the braided boy and laying a hand on his arm.

The others watched in cried out in stunned alarm as two things happened at once.

Quatre let out a sharp cry and yanked his hand away from Duo as if he had been burned, and Duo spun on the disoriented Arabian, brutally backhanding him. Quatre was knocked backwards and fell roughly, skidding to a stop several feet away.

The others cried out and ran to the blonde where he huddled on the floor. Trowa gently scooped up the smaller boy, holding him protectively to his chest and glaring at the Deathscythe pilot.

"Don't. You. Ever. Touch. Me." Duo grated out, then spun and stalked away.

When Duo had gone, Trowa turned worriedly to the blonde, who's face reflected horror and disbelief. Trowa shook Quatre gently.

"Koi? What's wrong?" Quatre's haunted eyes turned to meet those of the others. He swallowed and choked out,

"When I touched Duo… I felt… nothing. Duo has no soul."

With Quatre's words, Heero's suspicions were confirmed and he felt a rage boil in him, at an intensity that he had never felt before. Without a word, Heero turned and pounded out the door, which slammed shut behind him.

Heero ignored all else until he reached the communications room, where he irritably flipped open a high-tech satellite vid-com. He hastily added a scrambler to it and quickly punched in a code he knew too well.

Doctor J's smug face appeared on the screen before him.

"What have you done to Duo?" Heero snarled. [1]

"Done? What I've done is created our key to peace. He is perfect. My Ultimate Perfect Soldier. He obeys orders on command; no hesitations, no weaknesses, no mercy. You had best stay out of his way if you want to stay alive. Don't overrate your importance to me, 01. I no longer need you when I have the flawless instrument of destruction!"

"Did Duo even have a choice?" Heero grated out.

"What are the wishes of one soldier when so many others are at stake? Duo will be used for the greater good of the Earth and Colonies. He should be honored to be chosen as the Perfect Weapon."

Heero's jaw clenched. "What the fuck did you do to him?"

"Oh, he's the product of pure genius. And all it took was a few injections of my own highly evolved form of Dipotassim Phosphate to permanently alter the chemicals in his brain, and a small microchip --"

Heero stopped listening as his brain focused in on two words.

Dipotassim Phosphate.

It was a dangerous, mind-altering drug pioneered early in the year A.C. 194, used to boost the ability levels of combat pilots. It had been injected into food and distributed anonymously to eight high-ranking mercenaries. The results of the product had been sickeningly gruesome.

The drug was circulated by the body to the entire body, including the brain. The officers entered battle and fought with above human capabilities and an impossibly high reaction times. But approximately twenty-two hours after they had received the dosage, things had begun to go wrong.

The lucky ones died immediately. The remaining mercenaries revolted, turning on their own men and eliminating allies and enemies alike. Then they went into shock. Within the time span of ten hours, the condition had accelerated to convulsions. They experienced breathing difficulties and intense waves of agony. Periods during which they screamed until their throats were bloody and torn, writing madly with extreme agony. As the basic drug attacked them from within, their intestines rotted inside them, swelling and rupturing. Their stomachs became filled with blood and the mucus lining the stomach muscles deteriorated. The stomach acid slowly spread and ate away the muscle, while the capillaries in the lungs dilated with clear viscous fluids that aggravated the tissue. Eventually, the drug spread to the heart and the aortas burst.

And the soldier was alive for all of this. Within thirty-seven agonizing hours after ingestion, all the soldiers had died excruciating deaths.

And now this bastard had mutated the drug and given it to Duo. Heero's chest tightened and he saw through a haze of red.

"You… infused Duo with this?" He said in a deadly calm voice, interrupting Doctor J's self-congratulatory babble.

"Yes I have." The cold, calm way he said that broke through the last of the barriers that Heero held between himself and complete rage. Doctor J had just recited that he had given Duo a drug that would kill the braided boy slowly and painfully, as though the American were merely a machine to be exploited.

"You… don't care about those you hurt… you used them, me … and now Duo…. And you gave Duo the most lethal drug known to man?! OMAE O KOROSU YOU HEARTLESS BASTARD!!! YOU DON'T DESERVE TO LIVE YOU MISERABLE FUCKER!" Heero screamed at the communicator. Doctor J looked unmoved.

"Tsk, tsk, tsk, Heero," He said icily, his metal claw clinking together menacingly. "Such ardent displays of weakness. There is nothing you can do to stop me, or change what has already occurred. Duo is my instrument now and will be until he dies."

Heero snapped, rushing forward, fist cocked, wanting nothing more then to wipe that satisfied smirk off the old man's face. He swung… and his fist connected with the thin screen and the metal vid-com. It splintered and sparked, the ugly face of Doctor J vanishing as pieces of metal and wires went flying from the machine, hitting the tiles with soft clangs and spinning across the floor.

Breathing heavily, Heero removed his fist from the ruined remains of the vid-com. Ignoring his bleeding knuckles, Heero whirled urgently, taking the halls at a brisk pace.

Duo was injected with Dipotassim Phosphate. The doctor had said he had 'improved and mutated' the lethal substance, but how much? Heero wasn't sure how much time he had gained - or lost from Dr. J's tampering with the drug. One thing Heero was sure of was the effects if he didn't find a way to neutralize the treatment. Duo would suffer and die. There was no substance known on earth that could reverse that effect.

Certain proteins could delay the corollary, but those wouldn't work forever. And, if Dr. J had anything to do about it, Duo wouldn't just submit to Heero's interference. Duo would kill him first. Heero wracked his brain desperately. There had to be a medicine. There WOULD be. And Heero would find it. Heero's eyes hardened with resolve.

He wouldn't let Duo die!!

 

[1] Hmmn… for a while there, this was going to be the end of that chapter, but I decided this was one heck of a cruddy way to end that teeny part. Besides, I don't want to loose your interest.

Notes from Kitana: Sooo? How was it? Like it? Hey, I tried. I know I didn't get to the Duo blood thing, but it's coming. The plotline shifted a little since I wrote that little summary. (It's much better now. I know where I'm going, at least.) ~_^V
Status: TBC. The effects of the drug are finally completely circulated through Duo's system and our favorite braided baka becomes a cold-hearted killing machine. Heero and the others start the frantic search for the cure, but Duo senses something is up and, at an order from Dr. J, he vanishes….
Hoo boy. Got your attention now, ne? Well, that's it for now. Ja ne!!