Okay... this is my first attempt at a non 2X1/1X2 fic, so be gentle. It's a Vision of Escaflowne cross-over, with a few spoilers for about the middle of that series on. Don't worry if you haven't seen Escaflowne though, most everything is explained, since Duo's just as confused as you are! Enjoy, minna!
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing, Vision of Escaflowne and all characters therin do not belong to me. I'm just a starving student, please don't sue me! Dana Fanel is my own creation, please let me know before you use her.
The solid steel door at the end of the hallway closed with a resounding
'clang', taking most of the light with it. A single dim lamp near the door
created more shadows than it illuminated. The newest resident of the OZ
Laboratory prison sat up and shook his head.
"Saaa. Well, it could be worse, I suppose. At least they gave me a bed and a toilet!"
Duo Maxwell took in his cell with a practiced eye. Deep underground, with thick, steel-reinforced concrete walls and heavy iron bars over the doorway, there wasn't much chance of his being able to force his way out. All the locks were electronically controlled by a switch in the other room, so there was no way to pick the locks, either. Duo sighed deeply and settled back onto the thin mattress. "Well, you really made a mess out of this one, Maxwell. Heero's gonna chew you out big time for getting captured."
There was a soft rustle from across the hall, and Duo was instantly on his feet, peering through the gloom. Behind the bars on the opposite wall, he could just make out the shadowy form of another person. "Dare ka?" a gentle alto voice whispered.
Duo strained, but couldn't make out any details. "Duo Maxwell, Gundam pilot extraordinaire," he answered brashly. "And you are?"
"Dana Fanel," she - Duo was fairly certain it was a she - answered. "Yoroshiku." He snorted at the formality under such gloomy circumstances, and she asked, "Are you really a Gundam pilot? I've heard them talking about you."
He grinned at her. "Saaa. Good things, I hope. Well, good things for me, bad things for them. I'm 02's pilot - that's DeathScythe. What're you doing here? I thought this part of the prison was only for the worst of the worst - like me."
He could hear her smile in her voice. "You sound proud of it."
He made a face, affronted. "Of course I am! I've worked damn hard to be one of the 5 most wanted men on Earth!" He laughed, and heard her soft, answering giggle.
"I'm - a science project, I guess you could say." A note of bloodlust crept into her voice. "They put me down here after the third time I escaped from the lower security ward. I guess I killed one too many of their precious soldiers." He could just make out a gleam of white as she flashed her teeth in a manic grin.
He answered with a grin of his own. "Sounds like we'll get along just fine!" He murmured. He nearly choked as he suddenly realized the meaning of her words. "Wait a minute. A science project? They're EXPERIMENTING on you?"
Duo felt sick. "That's - that's disgusting. I didn't think even OZ would sink that low. Experimenting on human beings? I mean, it's pretty obvious you didn't volunteer for this!"
"No, I didn't."
"What about your family? Your friends? Don't people wonder where you are?"
He heard her shake her head. "I don't have any. They're free to do what they want with me."
"How - how long have you been here?"
She took a long time to answer. "I'm not sure, exactly. It's easy to lose track of time down here. What season is it?"
"Uh - winter, here."
"Winter. It was fall when they put me down here. I'd been here for almost three months at that point. So I guess it's been about a year and a half."
Duo made himself take some deep breaths to calm down. "You've been in here for a year and a half?" He exclaimed, nearly growling with rage. "That's - inhuman. The bastards. Fucking bastards!"
She laughed, softly, but there was no mirth in the sound. "You get used to it after awhile. I don't fight them, anymore - there's no point. You'll learn, too."
Duo DID growl, then. "The hell I will. I'll rip them apart, first." Then he grinned, his normal good cheer restored. "Besides, Heero and the others are prolly already on their way to bust me out. Can't leave me in here alive, I might spill something." He shook his head, and began pacing his tiny cell. "Still, I can't believe even OZ would experiment on humans."
"More or less," she answered him. Before he could ask what she'd meant by that, the door at the end of the hallway opened, and a guy in a lab coat flanked by four soldiers entered the hall.
"Let's go," the scientist ordered Dana, and she stepped out her now open door.
Duo had to fight to suppress a whistle as he got a good look at her for the first time. She had to be just about the most gorgeous girl he'd ever seen, even though she'd obviously been down here a long time. She was tiny, only about five feet tall, and very delicate looking. Her long black hair fell past her knees, and looked as if it hadn't been brushed since she'd been incarcerated. Inky black eyes peered from an elfin face, and her pale skin obviously hadn't seen the sun in a long, long time. Her clothes hung off her frame in near rags, and it was obvious from their fit that she'd lost weight. But she carried herself proudly, spin stiff and straight, head high and looking her captors in the eyes. Her face held a look of haughty disdain, as if she were deigning to notice something far beneath her. :Her spirit may be bent,: he found himself thinking with admiration. :But it's not broken. Not by a long shot.:
Two meals had been shoved through the bars to Duo, he'd fallen asleep, woken up and was starting to get hungry again by the time she came back. She was staggering, barely able to stay upright, and two of the guards were dragging her along the hallway. Duo leapt to his feet and fisted the bars of his cage in frustration, unable to do anything to help. Her chin rested on her chest, and it was obvious that she didn't have the strength to lift it, but the same look of distaste was on her delicate features. When they threw her in her cell, she stumbled but managed to stay upright, glaring at the guards until the door clanged shut behind them.
When the last guard was gone, and the door securely shut behind them, she collapsed into a trembling heap, obviously in a good deal of pain. Duo made a frustrated noise, and his knuckles turned white on the bars.
"Dana? Are you all right? What did they DO to you? Talk to me, Dana!"
She lifted her head and managed a weak smile. "I'm all right," she said, her voice hoarse and raspy. "Nothing they haven't done before." She shifted into a more comfortable position, leaning against the wall, curled up with her arms hugging her knees to her chest.
Duo rattled the bars uselessly, then started pacing again. "What are they doing to you? What kind of experiment is it? Dammit, what the hell kind of people are they?"
A low sob was his only answer, and he spun to face her, hands on the bars again. "Dana!"
"I saw a window," she whispered, her voice filled with longing. "I saw the sky. Gods, it's been so long since I saw the sky." She started crying openly.
Duo sank to his knees, torn apart by her shaking sobs but unable to help. She had buried her face in her knees, and was rocking back and forth slowly. "I miss it. I miss it so much. It's been so long. Gods, I'm so lonely!"
Duo trembled, trying to imagine what it would be like to spend a year or more alone, never seeing anyone but your captors, never feeling a gentle, human touch. He reached his hand through the bars towards her.
"Dana. Dana, look at me. Give me your hand. I'm here. You're not alone anymore. You'll never be alone again, I promise!"
She looked up, saw his hand, and slowly, hesitantly reached her own arm through the bars. Inches of air separated them in the middle of the hallway. "Duo." she whispered, the tears on her face shining in the lamp light.
Suddenly it was the most important thing in the world to Duo, to touch her hand. He HAD to touch her, to let her know that she wasn't alone anymore. This gentle, vibrant spirit, locked away in the dark for so long - he couldn't bear it. He strained, shoving his shoulder against the bars. "Dana."
She was pressed up against her own bars, a look of indescribable longing on her features. They stretched, reached, and strained, but the barest hint of air remained between them.
"Damn!" He swore suddenly, and, drawing back, he threw himself against the bars. The tips of his fingers brushed hers for less than an instant, but her cry of joy let him know that it was enough.
"You're real!" She exclaimed, drawing her hand back and staring at it in disbelief. "You're really real. I thought I was dreaming you - hallucinating again."
Duo was ready to cry himself at this point. "Yeah, I'm real," he muttered, his voice husky. Inwardly, he raged at the men who had done this to her. Somewhere deep inside, he KNEW she'd been a free spirit, the type of person who was always cheerful and energetic, loving freedom and life. Someone a lot like him. And these BASTARDS had done their best to destroy that. At that point, he knew he could never live with himself if he left here there.
"Dana," he said quietly, his voice firm and determined. "When Heero and the others come to get me, I'm taking you with me. I won't leave you here alone again. I swear it."
She stared at him, eyes shining in the dim light. "Hontou?" she asked, voice cracking. "Truly? You'll set me free?"
"It's a fucking crime to keep you locked in here. You're the kind of person who needs room to spread their wings. You'll fly again, I promise you!"
She gave a low gasp, then started crying again. "Duo." she whispered, "You can never know what that means to me."
"I've got a pretty good idea," he returned, then settled in to wait. It wouldn't take long for the other pilots to come for him. Heero wouldn't like it, but he'd just have to make it plain that he WOULD NOT leave without Dana. A promise was a promise, after all - and Duo would never be able to look in a mirror again if he left her here. Though he'd known her less than a day, he felt as if a red thread of destiny were connecting them. As if he'd been meant to be captured, so that he could find her and set her free. And nothing - not OZ, not Heero, not even God Himself, would stop Duo from fulfilling his promise.