Chapter 13: "Trust"
Wufei didn't realize he was shivering until Heero
wordlessly shrugged off his own jacket and dropped it over Wufei's bare
He muttered a slightly embarrassed thanks-- in all
the fuss, he'd almost forgotten he was wearing nothing but a pair of
loose sleeping pants --and waited in the front seat, gritting his teeth
against the pain, as Duo and Heero loaded Tom into the back.
Duo settled in the back with Tom's head in his lap
and the barrel of a gun to his temple, and Heero took the wheel. "I
called Trowa," he informed Wufei as they pulled back onto the road. "He's
doubling back and securing a safehouse for us just outside Orton. We
can take care of your injury there."
Wufei nodded, too busy concentrating on handling the
pain to bother attempting conversation.
He was exhausted from lack of sleep and the
continuous adrenaline rushes he'd felt since the hotel had first been attacked.
He ended up dozing off, bloodied hands clutching the bag with his few
precious belongings in it. By the time Heero shook him awake, he was
feeling lightheaded and his limbs seemed heavy.
"We're here," Heero said, indicating the building
behind him. Wufei blinked slowly as he took in the sight, hesitating
with one foot out of the car. It looked like it had once been some sort
of old grocery store; the small kind you would find in small towns. It
had evidently gone out of business or moved long ago, however. The
paint was peeling, the name was faded, and all the windows and doors were
boarded up, most of the panels decorated with grafitti.
Heero frowned when Wufei stumbled in his attempt to
get out of the jeep.
Duo, sliding out of the back, took one look at
Wufei, and arched a brow at his partner. "Blood loss?" he guessed.
"I stopped the bleeding," Heero said firmly. He
reached out and put a finger on Wufei's cheek, pulling at the skin to
force Wufei's eye to open wider as he peered into the startled boy's face
intently. He grunted after a moment and lowered his hand, looking
disgusted. "They must have given him something to keep him under
"They drugged me?" Wufei repeated
incredulously. "Don't be stupid. When would they have had the chance? And I was
Heero frowned, shaking his head. Duo came up beside
him, looking carefully at Wufei's eyes. He lifted a hand suddenly,
flicking on a lighter. Wufei blinked, but held still as Duo peered into
his eyes steadily. Finally the braided boy put his lighter away and
shrugged to show his ignorance. "I don't think it's drugs," he admitted.
"His reaction's slow, but his eyes still dilate ok. It's like
something's slowing him down."
"Like a drug," Heero pointed out a little
Duo frowned thoughtfully. "I dunno. You would
think it woulda slowed him down earlier, and from where I was standing, he
did just fine taking out our mystery guest." He nodded towards Tom's
unconscious form. "Whatever. Either way, we'd better get inside before
someone spots us. You need to get that bullet out."
Wufei managed to get about five stubborn paces away
from the jeep by himself before his legs began to feel like wet
noodles. In the end, he was forced to accept Heero's help, giving in with bad
grace when Heero came up to his side and pulled one of Wufei's arms
over his shoulder. The supporting hand that settled on his other side to
balance him ended up taking up most of Wufei's flustered concentration,
but they managed to reach the store door without stumbling too
Heero kicked at the door once, and after a moment it
creaked open, revealing Trowa's tall, familiar form. He took one look
at Wufei and moved aside, holding open the door. Heero pulled Wufei
into the darkened store, leading him towards the only source of real
light-- an electric lantern hanging by a nail in the wall over a long
countertop. Quatre was waiting for them, holding up a first aid kit and
eyeing Wufei anxiously.
"Hopefully you'll have everything you need in here.
He looks horrible. Is he all right?"
"He isn't deaf," Wufei growled, allowing Heero to
help him onto the counter.
"Sorry," Quatre said quickly, setting the kit down.
"Would you like some pain killers?"
"Yes," Wufei said firmly.
Instead of opening the kit for the expected aspirin,
however, Quatre reached into his back pocket and pulled out a slim
metal case. He opened the clasp, removed one of the many green capsules
from inside, and had returned it to his pocket before Wufei could get a
good look at how many were in there. He offered the gel tablet to
Wufei with an encouraging smile while Heero quickly and efficiently wrapped
Wufeis wrist where hed torn the skin escaping his bonds.
"He might have been drugged," Heero warned,
beginning to unwrap the makeshift bandage from Wufei's arm. "His reactions are
slow, and he seems to have difficulty moving his limbs."
Quatre blinked, looking more closely at Wufei.
After a moment, the confusion on his face was washed away by sudden
comprehension. "Heero told us you'd been taken by the Suits," he said. "And
they took you to more of their people. Tell me, did any of them... you
know, ask for some kind of proof that you were who they said you
Wufei peered at the blond suspiciously. "Yes," he
"Ah." Quatre glanced at Heero and smiled
reassuringly. "It's OK, it's not drugs. He can still take something for the
pain." He nodded at the pill in Wufei's hand. "That'll work faster and
better than any over the counter painkillers we might find. And seeing
as we have no anesthetics, I think you're going to need it." He handed
over bottled water, then retreated to where Trowa and Duo were waiting
close to the door.
Wufei swallowed the pill and watched as Heero
finished unwrapping the bloodied shirt from his arm and began wiping the
blood off with gauze. Steeling himself for the pain he knew was coming, he
glanced towards the other three in an attempt to distract himself.
They were speaking quietly, but if he strained his
ears, he could catch some of what they were saying.
"..what I thought," Duo was muttering, glaring at
the floor and crossing his arms over his chest anxiously. "Lucky they
didn't realize what they were doing, or he'd be in a lot worse
"No, they weren't any real threat," Quatre reassured
the other boy. "Be thankful for that much. There are other people,
however, that we need to be careful of. I hadn't even considered this.
I thought he had to be.."
"Of age," Trowa finished grimly. "We all did.
We'll just have to keep a closer eye on him."
"If someone who knows what they're doing tries
something... someone with bad intentions..." Duo shook his head, looking
grave. "My guess is he'll be dealing with more than slowed reflexes."
"Try comatose," Quatre said quietly.
"Wait-- I thought it can be fixed," Duo said
eagerly. "Yanno, if--"
"He doesn't even know what it is, Duo," Quatre
pointed out gently. "And it's not our place to explain it. Besides, it
would require trust. Unquestionable trust. He doesn't have that
Duo snorted, and Wufei's attention was pulled
roughly from the conversation as Heero's grip on his arm tightened and he
began to probe carefully at the wound with a pair of thin tweezers.
Wufei hissed in a sharp breath and struggled not to
tense his arm too much, gritting his teeth and staring at the ceiling
to avoid watching the process. He was afraid seeing Heero jiggling that
piece of metal in his skin would make him tense up unconsciously and
make it harder for the other boy to retrieve the bullet.
What the hell were Duo and Quatre talking about? he
wondered in a desperate attempt to put his concentration elsewhere.
They knew why he was feeling lightheaded and heavy-limbed, but whatever
the reason-- and the cure --they didn't think it necessary to enlighten
him. He was beginning to get more than frustrated with their refusal
to let him in on what the hell was going on lately. He knew Heero had
to have heard them, as well, so he took out his irritation on him.
"So you're all going to just let me deal with
whatever this is instead of fixing it?" he demanded from behind clenched
Heero didn't even look up, his tool still probing
carefully. "It won't kill you," he said unsympathetically. "The effects
should wear off within an hour or two."
"And what happens if we run into another little
surprise five miles from here?" Wufei snapped. "What are you going to do,
stuff me in the glove compartment until it's all clear? I don't think
so, Yuy. I'm not going to just sit by if something happens. I need to
be able to fight." He glared fiercely down at Heero's bowed head. "If
you know how to cure me of whatever this is, then do it." He finished
off his command with a sharp gasp of shocked pain as Heero made a
sudden motion with his hand.
Heero straightened, holding up his tweezers to show
off the bullet clasped firmly at the end. "Got it," he said simply,
and dropped it onto the pile of used guaze. He set the bloodied tweezers
aside and began cleaning the wound.
"Answer me, Yuy," Wufei growled.
"We're almost to Orton," Heero pointed out
stubbornly, reaching for fresh bandages. "They won't dare attack us so soon
after what happened. By the time we reach the space port, you'll feel
normal again. What's the point? I can't tell you why you feel weak
"At this point I don't care," Wufei shot back. "But
I refuse to have to be half-carried, and I need a clear head."
Heero finished his work and stepped back a pace,
finally meeting Wufei's stubborn glare. Abruptly he leaned into Wufei's
personal space, hands gripping the counter edge on either side of
Wufei's hips. Wufei jumped, staring wildly into Heero's narrowed eyes.
"This is why not," Heero said in clipped words.
Wufei blinked. "What?"
"Trust," Heero said simply. "The 'cure' takes
trust. And you don't trust any of us. We're just your captors, right?" He
retreated, looking dismissively away and wiping his hands off on an
extra piece of dressing.
Wufei opened and closed his mouth, glaring
helplessly at the other boy for a moment. Heero was right. He didn't
trust them. He had no idea where they were taking him. He especially
didn't trust Duo, who seemed a little too close to psychotic sometimes
for Wufei's comfort. And Quatre was constantly giving half-truths, while
Trowa had lied to him for two years. Why should he trust Heero any
more than he trusted the rest of them?
Heero finished packing up the kit and glanced at him
briefly. "Rest for a little while. Don't move the arm much or fool
with the bandage. We'll leave in a half hour."
Wufei swallowed back his pride and glowered at the
other boy. "Who's Zhao?" he muttered, voice low and sullen.
Heero had been turning away, but froze at Wufei's
words. He turned slowly back to stare at him, eyes a little wider than
"Zhao," Wufei repeated impatiently, forcing himself
to keep his scowl trained on Heero rather than at his own fists in his
lap. "Punk kid, uses dirty tricks, few years older than me. That
Zhao. Who the hell is he?"
Heero stepped towards him slowly, as if afraid any
sudden movements might wipe Wufei's mind clear again. He studied
Wufei's face intently. "You're remembering," he guessed quietly.
"I had a dream," Wufei corrected. "That's all. I
usually don't remember them, but this one stuck." He shrugged. "It
wasn't much. I was fighting this kid, whoever he was. He used a dirty
trick. And..." he flicked Heero a wary sideways look. "You were there,"
he finally admitted grudgingly.
Heero blinked in surprise.
Wufei glanced over towards the door, but Duo and the
others had moved further away to hold a private discussion, and didn't
seem to notice Heero's reaction or Wufei's words. "I'm just saying,"
he muttered a little sullenly, "maybe you were telling at least some
truth. Saying we were kids together. And it felt like we were....
friends. When we were kids. So..." he forced himself to meet Heero's eyes,
still frowning slightly. "I suppose for the time being, there's no
reason not to trust you. But only so far."
"So far?" Heero repeated, cocking his head
"I trust you," Wufei admitted gruffly, "not to hurt
me. That's about as far as I'm willing to go."
Heero stared at him in silence for a long moment.
Wufei was about to squirm under the scrutiny when Heero said at last in
a subdued tone, "....that's enough. For now, anyway." He hesitated,
then his expression grew resolute. His tone turned crisp and commanding
once more. "Fine. I'll take care of what's slowing you down. But
don't ask me what's doing it or why this fixes it. It's--"
"Not your place to tell," Wufei finished, rolling
his eyes at the repetitiveness of it all. "Fine, whatever. Just do it
Heero nodded and set the kit aside, hesitating for
just a moment before stepping right in front of Wufei and reaching an
arm behind him. Wufei jumped at the close proximity, then jumped again
when he felt a hesitant touch on his bare back under the jacket still
draped over his shoulders.
Heero froze, meeting Wufei's wild stare calmly.
"This is part of why it requires trust," he explained.
Wufei nodded once, forcing the tension out of his
body, even as he felt his face begin to slowly rise in temperature.
Trust indeed, he snorted internally. That explained something, at least.
If a stranger had tried getting in his face like this, and
He stiffened in surprise as he realized just what
Heero was doing. The fingers on his back were moving lower, searching
For the tattoo on his back.
The "Mark", as Duo and the Suits had called it. It
was what the Suits had used to confirm he was who they thought he was.
What the hell did a tattoo have to do with all of this? he wondered in
confusion as he stared warily at Heero's calm face a few inches from
his own. His cheeks were really starting to burn, the lower Heero's hand
went. He fought the impulse to jerk away. "Cure" or "Mark" or
whatever this bullshit be damned, it didn't excuse the fact that no one was
supposed to just touch someone's lower back like this! It was
Wufei was about to sputter a protest, knowing Heero
had to notice how red his face was by now, but suddenly the fingers on
his back reached the tattoo.
He knew because an instant later something hit him
like a freight train.
It was as if he'd been plugged into something-- or
something missing had been plugged into him. He arched, a gasp torn
from his lungs as a current of what felt like pure energy shot through
him, leaving him tingling from his toes to the roots of his hair. He
couldn't see, he couldn't move, he could only feel. Dimly he was
aware of another hand pressed between his shoulder blades, holding him
steady, and his own hands clutching at something solid to keep from being
The sensation frightened him for the first few
heartbeats, it was so strong. Then it just... was. It wasn't quite
pain, but not pleasure, either. It was energy.
And then, abruptly, it was over.
The hand on his lower back disappeared, and he was
so startled he almost fell off the counter.
The hand between his shoulders helped, and he
blinked rapidly to clear his vision, staring stupefied at the flustered face
in front of him. He was breathing as if he'd run a race-- but he'd
never felt more refreshed, more alive. Belatedly he realized his hands
were clutching Heero's shoulders, and dropped them hastily, still
breathing hard. Heero dropped his own hand and stepped out of Wufei's
personal space. He was panting, too-- but he looked as if he was winded,
exhausted. As if...
As if his energy had transferred to Wufei.
Wufei shook his head sharply to clear away the last
crackling bits off it still dancing along his nerves, and slid down
from the counter. "What was that?" he demanded breathlessly.
"Exactly what it felt like," Heero admitted a little
wearily. "Energy. And don't ask me how that worked. I already said I
wouldn't explain it."
Wufei shivered slightly. Whatever it had been, he
understood more fully now why it required trust. While the... transfer
or whatever it had been had lasted, he'd been powerless to move, much
less defend himself. He'd been, for lack of a better term, at Heero's
mercy for those few moments it had taken to "cure" whatever had made him
He looked back at Heero, and realized belatedly that
Heero was flushed and avoiding eye contact.
Well, of course, he thought firmly. He looks like
he's about to collapse. He's probably red-faced with the effort of just
standing up. A surge of guilt rose up to shoulder aside his previous
elation at being healed. His cure had come at a cost.
He grabbed Heero's arm just in time to steady him.
The other three raced over, visibly startled by what had taken
"Heero, are you insane??" Duo demanded in
exasperated concern, grabbing Heero's other arm to help support him.
"You know you're not supposed to do that without
supervision," Quatre scolded. "You could have drained yourself
Wufei looked at Heero in alarm. He hadn't realized
what Heero had risked in healing him.
Heero, however, looked typically unconcerned, if
winded. "It worked, didn't it?" he asked with a careless shrug.
Trowa shook his head disapprovingly. "It was too
much," he pointed out. "Now you're the one that's useless."
"Hey, ease off," Duo said sharply. "You know Heero,
he recovers fast from no matter what you throw at him. He'll be fine,
just give him a few minutes."
Trowa made no reply, turning his attention instead
on Wufei, expression pensive.
Wufei ignored him, concentrating on Heero. Heero
could have killed himself trying to help him. He felt like kicking
himself for demanding such a task. "Idiot," he growled, grip tightening on
Heero's arm. "Why didn't you tell me?"
Heero shrugged again. "Never tried it before," he
pointed out. "I didn't know."
"You were warned," Trowa reminded him. "You were
told doing that could be dangerous."
Heero shook his head, unconcerned. "It worked," he
said simply. "It doesn't matter what might or might not have
"Idiot," Wufei snarled again, frustrated at Heero's
obvious disregard for the threat to his own life.
Duo looked quickly at him, then returned his
attention to Heero. "Never mind. We've stayed here long enough, and it looks
like you're all patched up. I'll drive, Heero can rest up front. You
keep tabs on Tommy boy in the back."
Wufei had almost forgotten about their prisoner.
"He's still unconscious?" he asked in surprise.
"I slipped him a little something to make sure he'll
stay out for a few more hours," Duo admitted with a wink. "We'll deal
with him when we get to Orton. We have time to kill before we catch
our flight anyway." The malicious smile he offered after that made Wufei
almost feel sorry for Tom.
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