Duo's heart gave a sickening hollow thump.
Blood... blood everywhere. Even as he watched in horrified fascination, the blood from Heero's wound trickled over his hand and into his lap, dripping onto the floor of the cockpit. A moment later Heero pressed his hand firmly to the wound again, slowing the bloodflow.
"H-Heero.." Duo's voice was a squeak. "What... Who..."
"Dr. J lost his temper," Heero said dryly. His face was ashen. "I can't take care of this with a first aid kit," he said pointedly.
"H-h-hai! Wait right there! Don't move!!" Duo scrambled down Wing's body and leapt to the ground, clumsy hands tearing his cellphone from his pocket and dialing 911.
As he hastily gave directions to a nearby gas station to the paramedic on the other line, he paced anxiously, heart thudding. Shit shit SHIT. Heero breaking a leg was one thing. Taking a bullet in the arm was a breeze. But this...
He hung up quickly, stuffing the cell into his back pocket and scrambling back up Wing's hull again. He hesitated before Heero, unwilling to move him and risk making the injury worse, but knowing he couldn't let the paramedics see the Gundams. "Come on, buddy," he said with fake cheerfulness, holding out his arms as if to encourage a child. "We gotta get you to a gas station. Don't move too much, OK?"
Heero knew better to aggravate the wound, and rose slowly and carefully, keeping his hand pressed tightly to the wound. Duo yanked off his jacket and ripped it with shaking hands, pushing Heero's fingers aside and wrapping the cloth tightly around the other boy's waist in a make-shift bandage. Heero didn't even wince, but merely stared over Duo's head in concentration. When he was done, Duo straightened and pulled one of his partner's arms around his shoulders. "OK, nice and slow, Heero, got it? I don't want you passin' out on me- your ass is too heavy to lug all the way," he said only half jokingly. Heero made no comment, allowing his partner to carefully guide him to the ground and then slowly towards civilization.
"It's a little less than a ten minute walk," Duo fretted. "Do you think you can make it?"
"Aa." Heero's voice held no hesitation, and Duo felt calmer.
They trudged on in tense silence for a few minutes, and Duo was beginning to feel a little better at how well Heero was keeping up when his partner gave a little stumble and went limp.
Duo grabbed at him frantically, staggering to keep his footing. "O-oi! Heero, snap out of it! We're almost there, man."
Heero's face was getting pale, and he was breathing strangely, face twisted in a pain he could no longer hold back. "Urusai," he growled from behind gritted teeth. He straightened marginally and resolutely set one foot in front of the other.
Duo nervously tightened his grip on his friend, offering all the strength he had to offer to hold up the steadily weakening soldier. By the time they reached the lone gas station on the side of a dirt road, both boys were thoroughly exhausted. Duo let Heero slip from his grasp carefully, allowing the boy to slump on a bench outside, glancing around. Faintly he could hear sirens in the distance. Running inside, he snatched a souvenier shirt off a shelf. "It's an emergency!" he shouted to the protesting old man behind the counter.
Dashing back out, he fell to his knees before his companion, balling up the shirt hastily and stuffing it against the part of the bandage that was around the wound- blood had already started to leak through. He realized he was muttering under his breath. "Hang in there, buddy, just hang on, all right? Don't give up on me now, you jerk, or I'll fucking kill you. They'll be here any minute."
Breathing shallowly, Heero blinked slowly down at the bowed head and reached out with a clumsy, bloodied hand to place it over one of the pale ones holding the shirt in place over his abdomen. Duo looked up quickly, startled at the heavy touch. "You're...trembling.." Heero managed to say thickly.
Duo glanced down at his hand under Heero's brown one and saw that it was indeed shaking violently, as was the rest of him. "I am not," he said anyway.
"Because I'm scared, you ass!" Duo snapped, violet eyes flashing as he met Heero's calm gaze. "Now just SHUT UP and SIT there, got it? Don't strain yourself!" He resumed his fierce muttering, lowering his head once more. "I'm gonna kill that old bastard, that rotten scheming geezer. Why the hell would he do this??"
"Duo.." Heero blinked. Everything seemed... far away. "You should worry about..yourself more."
"And not worry about you?" Duo's eyes filled with impatient anger and.. something else. "I do enough worrying for the both of us, is that it?" he demanded. "Well you wanna know why? 'Cause you NEVER worry! And I'm not going to see you get yourself killed-" his voice seemed to choke suddenly, and he ducked his head, pushing more firmly on the shirt. It should have hurt, but that area felt strangely numb to Heero now.
He watched in detatched fascination as his own hand slid under Duo's throat, curling under his chin and jerking his startled face upwards to meet his gaze. Any reservations or control he'd previously built around the other boy seemed unimportant, nonexistant. And Duo looked... so scared...
Duo's eyes widened, and he realized the gap between them was growing smaller. His body was... heavy...
Duo gave a little gasp as Heero's eyes slid shut and he collapsed forward, falling bonelessly into his arms. He tightened his arms around the slender pilot, burying his face in the other boy's neck to try to get his shaky breathing under control. The sirens were piercingly loud, now, and he twisted his neck painfully as the ambulance came to a screeching halt behind him and two paramedics leapt from the front, another from the back. He allowed them to take Heero from him, rising to his feet unsteadily and wiping perspiration from his lip with his arm, watching dumbly as they got him onto a stretcher and bandaged him hastily. A cop was pulling there, then, talking to him, and he turned to stare up at him numbly, slowly recognizing the words coming out of the older man's mouth.
"Gunshot wound," he said hollowly. "In his abdomen. I don't know how it happened." He turned away and watched as they loaded his partner into the ambulance. He got one last fleeting glimpse of him surrounded by the paramedics, bound to the stretcher. He looked so small and young. So helpless. Then the doors slammed shut, and one of the shouting meds jumped into the driver's seat. Duo snapped into awareness, pushing past the cop roughly and dashing over.
"Oi! I'm going, too!" he shouted hoarsely. "I'm- I'm his brother!"
But the man in the front didn't hear him, and stomped hard on the gas. Sirens wailing, they screeched off towards the hospital, leaving Duo coughing in their dust.
Rubbing his eyes to get the dirt out of them, he shouldered the cop out of the way impatiently- why did that stupid man keep following him? -and stalked towards the trees, intent on getting back to Deathscythe.
"Hey! Hey, kid, I'm talking to you!" The cop grabbed his arm, wheeling him around. "Was it a gang? Who shot your brother?"
"I said I don't KNOW!" he snapped, yanking away and glaring up at the man. He was a big man, looked like a damn ex-marine, with mean, beady blue eyes and a rugged scar over his nose. "I wasn't there. He found me. Look, I need to go to the hospital and check on him, all right? Unless you're offering me a ride there," he added hopefully.
The man looked him over ruthlessly. "I need your name," he said. "For the record. So we can contact your parents. I'll take you to the hospital."
"It's Touya," Duo lied easily. "Touya Ikado. My brother's name is Isumi." He headed eagerly towards the car. "Can I make a call while we're on the way? I need to let his girlfriend know." Trowa and Wufei would need to hear of this.
"Sure." The cop stalked over to his side of the car and slid in, turning the ignition. Duo slammed the passenger door shut, patting his pockets for his cell. Oh, yeah- in his back pocket... He twisted, half-rising from his seat to pull it out.
The engine revved, and the locks clicked. "By the way," the cop said off-handedly, "you're not a very good liar, Mr. Maxwell."
"Wha-" Duo twisted quickly to face him, heart skipping a beat.
He saw a fist encompassing his field of vision, and then there was an explosion of pain.
Darkness quickly followed.
Wufei lowered his apple from his mouth, gazing up at the mobile doll standing immovable under the afternoon sun in the middle of the square. Munching slowly, he glanced around, squinting in the sunlight. The people had obviously become accustomed to the doll, mostly ignoring it, though he noticed no one got too close, and some of the adults- those who had lived through or fought in the War -sent it wary or displeased glances. So it was true. Relena hadn't been lying, after all.
He tossed the apple core into a nearby trashcan, spitting out a seed as he began to circle the doll from a safe distance. According to what he had managed to pick up from the random people he had questioned in the town, the doll had arrived almost a month ago. It had destroyed the tanks that came after it and delivered a recorded message that the town was under martial law and its citizens were not to leave the town limits without permission. Permission from who, no one seemed to know, and so they kept nervously to their town. More dolls patrolled the outskirts- they knew better than to disobey. Getting into the town had not been terribly difficult, but getting out would be another matter, Wufei contemplated, pausing under the welcome shade of an oak in the park across the street.
Something bumped his ankle.
"Excuse me, sir..."
He turned at the voice, frowning. "Nani?"
A young boy stood a few yards away, gazing up at him solemnly. His gaze lowered, and Wufei glanced down at his feet. A ball. He bent over, picking it up before straightening and tossing it underhanded to the child. The boy caught it, still staring at him. "You're not from aroun' here, are ya?" he asked.
"Iie." Wufei crossed his arms over his chest, realized the look was probably an intimidating one to a child, and let them hang loose by his sides instead. "You live here?"
The boy shook his head. "My mommy took me here to visit my auntie last month. Now we can't get out." His eyes flicked towards the mobile doll fearfully. "*They* won't let us leave."
Wufei stepped closer, crouching so that he was eye-level with the child. "Do you know who sent these mobile dolls? Does your auntie know?"
The boy merely stared at him.
"I'm a soldier," he said at last. "I'm here to investigate. Do you think you could take me to your aunt?"
The child raised a hand without any further hesitation, small finger pointing down the road, a hopeful tinge to his voice. "I'll take ya to her. Are you gonna make the robots go away, mister?"
Wufei rose, tilting his head slightly, voice grim. "I'm going to try."
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