Author's Notes: This fic is dedicated to KD, who requested a "long Wufei ANGST fic". Now I've done angst in fics before (including killing off major characters), but I've never done a fic that revolved around almost continuous angst before. Not one this long, anyway. I'll leave that to Mami. ^.^; (*makes a note to borrow her muses for this*)
So I wanted to see if I could do it. Thus, the whole dragging Wufei through hell. ^^;; ...He's going to kill me for this >_o; I hope you don't ^.^;
PS- as always, Endless Waltz never happened =p
Chang Wufei died on a cold January night, with only the stars and the uncaring crickets as witnesses to his last gasping breath on the rocks before fate snatched away life as he knew it.
He was only sixteen. And though he had by no means led a very "normal" life for a boy his age, he was complacent enough. He desired no friends, no family, no home. He had his pride, his strength. He had any of four good soldiers to watch his back if the need arose-- not that he would ever ask for their help. Chang Wufei needed no one, and he liked it that way.
But that night in January, everything changed. He could have blamed it on the guerillas that caught him by surprise on his way back from a self-imposed mission of justice. He'd thought he'd sufficiently cowed them by killing their leader and wrecking half their camp. He was a one-man army on a constant search for justice in a world that refused to bow to Relena Peacecrafts pascifist ideals.
He could have blamed it on the guerillas who cornered him, forcing him to retreat to find more open ground than the jungle that surrounded him. He could have blamed the pitch darkness, the confusion of shouts and gunfire around him.
He could even have blamed it on his partner, who was currenly MIA.
But Wufei could find no one to blame but himself.
It took only one wrong step, racing along the edge of what looked like a shallow ditch in the dark. Where there should have been a rock, there was only a narrow pocket of earth. He was running downhill, going much too fast to stop, to snatch his foot away.
His own momentum and body weight worked against him, and what should have been a sprained ankle had it been flat ground, suddenly became something much worse.
He couldn't keep back the sharp cry of pain as he fell, foot still snagged. His first instinct was to draw his sword, to use it as a lever and catch himself before he fell downhill. Wufei was fast, but not fast enough. The sword was just out of its sheath before he hit the ground. Something cracked, like a muffled gunshot, and pain flared in his leg like napalm. He strangled the scream that leapt into his throat, biting his own arm savagely to stop the noise.
Eyes stinging with tears of agony, he managed somehow to roll onto his side on the rocky ground, reaching down to tug at the broken limb. The shouts were getting closer, and now he could see the bob of flashlights. Wufei let loose a harsh stream of Chinese curses as he struggled with his useless leg, trying to block out the pain. He had to get away-- now. He would not die like this. He refused.
His foot was free, and he was staggering up in the next second. His left leg was useless, and he was forced to do an awkward shuffle-hopping run that slowed him down excrutiatingly. One of the voices sharpened in a shout of triumph. He'd been spotted.
A gun fired, the bullet passing so close he could feel the air disturbed by his cheek. He ducked his head instinctively, eyes flicking left and right for cover on the narrow, rocky path. There was none. He had no choice but to keep going if he didn't want to be shot.
The going was painfully slow, and the pain in his leg seemed to worsen with each step. Fuck! Where the devil was Maxwell when he was actually needed?? He'd refused to let the other boy accompany him, but it was like trying to shake a leech free. The other boy had come as unwanted backup, but they'd been separated during the skirmish at the camp. He could use the boy's sniper skills right about now.
The shouts intensified, and suddenly gunfire ripped the air. Wufei was an easy target, alone on the path, but luckily it was dark and many of the guerillas were shooting wild in their excitement. Bullets struck the rocks all around him, some of them zipping by his ears and making him flinch.
He realized with a sudden feeling of calm that he wasn't going to make it. He only wished he'd been able to take out more of the bastards..
Fashionably late, as usual, Wufei thought with a fleeting pang of dry humor as he spotted the figure farther up the path, heading for him at a dead run. Stupid of him-- didn't he know he was running right into a firing squad?
One of the men behind him got lucky in his aim. The bullet slammed into Wufei's shoulder, spinning him around with the impact. He would have been able to recover quicker, had he not already been injured. But his weight landed on the broken leg, dragging out another noise of pain. He lost his footing on the loose soil and stumbled back towards the edge.
One foot on the rocks-- another foot-- and then nothing but air.
A part of him recognized the sound of Duo's gun firing over and over, forcing them back. But it was too late, and he wasn't one to fight the inevitable.
His arms swung out instinctively in a last-ditch attempt to find balance, but he was falling backwards and... apparently this was no shallow ditch, his subconsious observed with a strange calm.
Stars swung into his line of sight, and his stomach lurched at the sudden plummet. Then he struck the first rock, shattering his numb calm with blinding pain. It was a rough ride down. It seemed as if he struck every protruding boulder on the way down, but his throat seemed to have squeezed shut, preventing him from voicing so much as a whimper of pain.
He considered it a small mercy when his head met the next rock, and he fell into blissful unconsciousness, where pain was no longer an option, and the roar of gunfire was wiped out.
He heard voices murmuring for quite some time before he could force himself to open his eyes. He immediately regretted his return to the waking world.
He felt as if he'd been run over by a Gundam.
Everything ached in a dull but aggravating way. He stared up at a white ceiling, slowly trying to gather his thoughts together as he listened with mild interest to a steady beep from somewhere to his left and the sound of hushed voices behind a closed door.
He turned his head carefully, and even that small movement made drums go off in his head. He fought back naseau and took in his surroundings in silence.
Stark white walls, rails around the bed, machinery to his left, and a bouquet of drooping flowers on the table to his right. A hospital. Somehow, he'd survived. The realization came in a rush of shock and relief. Abruptly he remembered his fall on the cliff edge-- the hole, the snap of bone. Why, then, did he feel merely battered?
He looked down and wished he hadn't.
He must have made some sort of noise, because the voices right outside stopped immediately. A moment later the door creaked open and a familiar head popped inside, amethyst eyes weary and anxious. "'Fei..?" Duo sounded uncharacteristically subdued.
Wufei tore his eyes away from his broken body and stared at his partner in numb silence. A grin of relief lit up the braided mercenary's face, and Duo bounded into the room with an exagerrated sigh. "Geeeez, man, you had us all worried half to death! You've been out for almost three days. How're you feeling?" There was a thread of unease to his voice, and his eyes flicked from Wufei's face to the rest of his body. He was expecting an explosion.
If Wufei hadn't felt so dazed-- drugs, he realized belatedly --he would have given him one. Instead all he could muster was a flat, "Maxwell."
Duo came to the side of the bed, gripping the safety rail. He kept his grin gamely in place. "Nice to see you, too." He held up a finger. "How many fingers am I holding up?"
"I'm broken, Maxwell, not blind," Wufei said slowly, his tone biting. He was coming out of his stupor. Disbelief and fury were quickly vying for attention.
"Well, you suffered a concussion," Duo said, suddenly intent on a thread hanging from the blanket's hem. Wufei gave him a long stare. Duo cleared his throat, voice a little quieter as he dutifully rattled off the list. "Concussion. Broken right arm. Two broken legs. Two cracked ribs." He managed a weak grin. "At least you're still alive, right?"
Wufei turned his head away so he wouldn't have to look at the other boy. "You should have left me there to die."
His words fell like hard stones in the sudden silence. Wufei glared at the opposite wall and fought to keep his temper under control, ignoring the nibblings of panic and despair.
"Don't say stupid shit like that," Duo said at last, his voice a little rough. Wufei could hear him tighten his grip on the aluminum rail. "It's not like it's a broken back. You'll be up and about in no time. Good as new."
Wufei bit back a bark of bitter laughter. 'Good as new'... highly unlikely. If the breaks were bad enough, he could be left with a permanent limp-- both legs, jesus --at the least. He could kiss his martial arts goodbye. And his right arm, that was his sword arm.. He cut off the train of thought quickly. He took a slow, deep breath that hurt his ribs.
Duo was quiet for a long moment. He shifted uncomfortably, then said with forced cheerfulness, "The nurse is gonna come in soon to shoot you up again. Trust me, you don't wanna go too long without drugs. That's gonna hurt like a sonofabitch. I broke my arm when I was a kid, but I didn't get no drugs. Thought I was gonna die." He hesitated, then said, suddenly sober, "You screamed when we evacuated you. And when they reset the bones." Wufei heard him swallow hard. "You screamed a lot. Even unconscious. Gotta tell you man, it scared the shit out of me. More than Heero not screaming when he reset his leg during the war."
Wufei didn't respond. He stared at the wall and clenched his teeth so hard his head began to throb.
A marker appeared in front of his face. "Can I sign your cast?" Duo sounded flippant again.
Wufei knew that Duo was only trying to cheer him up, trying to soften the horrendous blow to his pride. But he was not in the mood.
He swung with his good arm, knocking the marker away. "Get out," he snarled.
"Hey, now, is that any way to thank the guy that saved your ass-?"
"Get OUT!" Wufei had to struggle not to shout.
Duo was quiet for so long Wufei was starting to wonder if he'd finally left. Then a hand landed lightly on the pillow by his head. Duo's voice was defeated, and the hint of pity to his tone did not improve Wufei's temper. "Get some sleep," the other boy murmured. The hand disappeared, and a moment later the door opened and shut quietly.
Wufei turned his head and stared unseeing at the blank ceiling above as his mind spun with incredulous disbelief and choking shame.
Two broken legs... broken arm... Bed-ridden, helpless. He had never felt so useless and full of self-disgust in his young life.
Dead. He was dead. Or he might as well be.
The nurse came bustling in, but he avoided looking at her. The pity lingering in her gaze just made it all worse. She shot something into his IV, made a scribble on his chart, and left-- thank the gods --without a word.
The drugs tugged at him insistantly, and he gave into their allure gratefully. He didn't want to think right now. There was something dark and frantic rising in the back of his mind that he was not prepared to deal with.
He slept, and dreamed of pain and fire.
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