Ch 4: The Doctor
We both screech to a halt at the voice that cracks over the loudspeaker like a whip. I lean over, breathing hard, but Heero doesn't even seem out of breath as he cocks his head, waiting, eyes narrowed, gun cocked.
"Who the hell is that?" he growls, and I shake my head helplessly. I don't recognize the voice, either.
"Heero Yuy, aren't you forgetting something?"
"Let's get out of here, Heero," I hiss, reaching for his arm, but he's as immobile as a mountain. He doesn't even glance my way.
Suddenly a panel on a nearby wall slides open to reveal a television screen that flickers into life, and I gasp in surprise.
"Aren't you forgetting your little friends?" the taunting voice asks, and I step closer, staring at the screen.
I can see our three team mates tied hand and foot, huddled on the floor of what appears to be some kind of dimmly lit cell. Wufei looks defiant, Trowa impassive, and Quatre weary. All three are bloodied and bruised. I grit my teeth, my hands clenching into fists.
"Who the hell are you?" I snarl, still staring intently at the screen.
This time a strange man appears before the camera, smirking. I don't recognize him any more than his voice. He isn't young-- probably in his late thirties --with short, thinning gray hair, puffy black eyes and a stained lab coat over his chubby form.
"Why, I'm Doctor Kinigir, dear child. I work for the White Fang. Temporarily, at least. My main purpose is to study you five interesting specimans.." he chuckles to himself, obviously enjoying getting my goat. "I see what makes you tick, what makes you the best." He glances over his shoulder, then turns back to face me, laughing nastily. "Your little Chinese friend has quite a trashy mouth. I suggest you come save them before I find a quicker way of silencing them than gagging."
"What?!" I sputter. "You.. You--"
"You touched my mirror, boy." Kinigir's voice grows slightly menacing, his brows furrowing. "Naughty, naughty," he tsks. "That was a very difficult article to obtain. I have been studying it, trying to discover the magical secrets it is said to have, and *you* put your filthy paws all over it!" He manages to compose himself, the smug look returning to his face. "But as I was saying... if you want to save your friends, you'll find them downstairs. See you then, children!" His cackling is cut short when I drive my fist into the screen.
It shatters instantly, crackling and sparking in protest, the screen going black.
I stand there for a moment, chest heaving, eyes narrowed, fist still planted firmly against the broken screen, before I realize what I have done, and jerk my hand back, almost afraid to see how badly I've smashed up my knuckles. I blink, stare, then blink again. Then I laugh nervously, hiding my hand behind my back as I turn to Heero, who is studying me with a mixture of slight surprise and wariness. I offer my best maniacal grin, lifting my gun with my free hand.
"So.. feel like doing a little rescuing, old buddy old pal?"
For once Heero doesn't insist on taking the lead. He pads determidley beside me as we make our way downstairs, following the twisting cooridors, no guards in sight.
Heero is calmly reloading his gun as we go in a steady dog-trot, and I pick out the way, eyes alert, lips in a tiny grim smile as I follow my instincts, following the.. *feeling* of my friends, speeding up slightly as I sense that we are getting closer. Heero doesn't question me. He is silent, ready for action, and just as deadly as I.
It's a very good thing no guards try to stop us.
When we find the right room, we decide a flashy entrance is better than a discreet one.
Heero cannons into the door, wrenching it from its hinges and throwing it into the room where it lands with an ear-splitting crash. Catching his balance quickly, he immediately levels his gun at the middle of the darkened room as I step up calmly beside him, waving the dust from my face with one hand, the other cocking my gun in readiness.
"Anyone home?" I call impudently. "We brought our invitations.."
For a moment there is silence, then a dry chuckle. "Well, well, so you decided to come, after all.."
The lights flicker on, and I focus my attention quickly on the man standing near the far wall, his hand still on the lightswitch, a grin on his face.
"We meet face to face, Kinigir-san," I say politely, waving my gun in greeting. "Why don't we skip the formalities and go straight to the dirty work?"
Heero's gun clicks in response, the safety now off.
Kinigir holds up his hands, still grinning. "Now, now, don't do anything hasty," he warns. "You hurt me and your friends die."
I glance around the empty room, frowning. "Where are they?" I demand. I can sense them, but I can't see them.
His smirk widens. "Never mind that. I want to ask you something, first. Answer me truthfully and your friends go free."
I offer him my wildest, most unnerving grin. "Yosh'! Ask away, butterball."
If he's offended, he doesn't show it. He steps towards us slowly, eyes burning.
"You touched the mirror," he says hoarsely, staring at me intently. "You *saw* something, didn't you? I have been studying and studying that legendary Sugatami no Naisei since I found it a year ago, trying to unlock its secret, but no matter who I put in front of it, it remains a simple mirror. But *you*.." his breathing is quicker, "..*you* saw something. It *showed* you something. Awakened something in you. Both of you."
I glance at Heero out of the corner of my eye, but he is just watching the man stoically, gun still aimed at his chest, perfectly calm. I turn back to the doctor, crossing my arms over my chest and shrugging. "Yeah, so? You jealous or something?" He opens his mouth, but I interrupt, my eyes narrowing. "The Sugatami no Naisei does not work for just anyone, old man," I growl, and he snaps his mouth shut at the odd inflection to my voice. The deeper undertone that has suddenly risen. "You are no one. Your reflection is the dull shell you see in every other mirror. Obviously your choices for subjects for the Mirror were wrong ones."
"Perhaps..." he concedes, watching me a little warily. "But it did work for you. You saw exactly who you are, or who you were. Tell me..." he breathes, eyes alighting once more. "What did you see..?"
Silence descends as we face off, Heero still motionless and ready, the doctor eager and waiting, and myself calmly watching him, arms crossed in a relaxed manner. Slowly I smile, baring my teeth, and his eyes widen slightly.
"I am..." my voice deepens suddenly, "who I have always claimed to be."
He stares at me, blinking, but before he can even venture the question, a voice speaks out from above, echoing in the empty room.
As a unit, we all look up, and a smile curls my lips. Well, that solves the puzzle of the location of my friends.
"Konnichiwa, minna," I quip cheerfully, waving. "What's up?"
"Us, obviously," Wufei remarks dryly, squinting through his one black eye, clinging to the bars of the cage suspended from the ceiling. He coughs harshly, wiping blood irritably out of his other eye. "It's about time you showed up."
Beside him, Quatre is also clutching the bars and offering me a sunny smile, though I can detect the tremors in his body and the strained look on his face he is trying so valiantly to hide. "Konnichiwa, Duo-kun," he croaks past his split lip. Behind him, a figure shifts, and a hand rests on his back comfortingly, supporting him. Trowa looks down at us expressionessly, ignoring the blood trickling slowly from his nose and mouth. In the back of his eyes I see fury smouldering, and know it is not because of the beating he himself has endured, but because of the suffering his blond angel has been forced to go through. They are all bloody, bruised, and generally battered, and I feel my own smile tighten with rising anger as I look back towards the doctor.
"My, how perceptive my friend Wufei is," I say silkily, flicking my braid carelessly over my shoulder.
Beside me, Heero gives a small snort, but his face remains expressionless.
"Shini..." The doctor frowns slightly, fist tightening. "God of Death. What the hell is that supposed to mean? Tell me what you saw, boy, enough games. I *know* you saw something. I watched you via camera. You reacted differently from the ones that tried before. They looked, and looked away. You looked and fell in. What did you see?? I must know!"
"You know," I say, yawning, "you really are starting to bore me... And speaking like that isn't getting you any brownie points. Especially after such a.." I glance up briefly, my tone darkening slightly, "..*foolish* act against my friends."
"I don't have time for this," Kiniger growls impatiently, pulling a walkie-talkie from his belt. "Perhaps you'll be more willing to talk after starving in the dungeons.. or perhaps watching your friends undergo more 'treatment'.." He trails off as I appear before him, moving so quickly he barely registers the movement.
Without batting an eye I snatch the walkie-talkie from his hand and toss it over my shoulder, never taking my eyes off of him. The device explodes in mid-air. He gives a shriek and leaps back, eyes wide.
"How-how--- what the fuck?! How'd you move so fast?!"
"Never..EVER.. threaten my friends."
My voice is so cold he actually pales. I wonder vaguely why it has gotten so warm so suddenly, but shrug it off mentally, still glaring. "Heero.."
"Hn." I glance over my shoulder to watch as Heero raises his gun, aiming in the blink of an eye. The gunshot is painfully loud in the empty room, but the Perfect Soldier has done his work. The electric box near the ceiling that controls the height of the cage explodes, and the cage begins its rapid if not terrifyingly fast descent to the floor. If Kiniger had a remote for it, it's useless now. I turn smugly to inform him of this.
His fist cracks into my jaw and I stumble back, caught off guard. Hand to my cheek, I quickly regain my balance, whirling to face him as he lunges for me.
"Duo!" Quatre calls out in alarm, shaking the cage doors uselessly.
I watch the man coming, my eyes narrowing. If he wants to die...
So be it.
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