From Far Away Part 4

"Hey, we forgot to check this alley!"

The shout stopped Duo's movement. He could hear barrels and boxes being kicked and shoved away as footsteps got closer. //No, I won't let them hurt Heero. I have to protect him.// He extended one hand, reaching for Heero's sword, which Duo had put on Heero's lap before carrying him. But before his hand reached the sword, another hand had grabbed the sword. It was Heero's.

"Heero?" Duo looked down at the boy, who still panted slightly.

"I can do this..." Heero detached himself from Duo and stood up. Shoving Duo behind him, Heero faced the approaching thieves. "I'll finish them all." Heero growled, revealing his sharp fangs.

Some minutes passed and a wounded thief ran back into the inn to find Rashid. "Boss, we found him in the alley!"

"What are you waiting for? Kill him!" Rashid, who was punching the inn owner, glared at his man.

"We tried! But he is too strong. We have lost more than 20 men." The thief collapsed after saying these words. Blood seeped from his wound.

"Damn, I thought he was in no condition to fight." Rashid ran out to the alley, the rat-like animal still intact on his shoulder. Arriving, Rashid's eyes widened in disbelief as he saw the situation before him. Blood was splattered everywhere, coloring the ground, which was full of his men, dead or dying. His target was still standing, surrounded by five men, the last of his group.

Heero charged forward, sword high in the air, ready to finish a thief. However another thief threw his chain, trapping and stopping Heero. "My chance!" Rashid saw the opening and quickly teleported himself to in front of Heero. "Die!" He stabbed Heero, right in the chest.

#No! Heero!# Duo watched in horror as blood spurted out from Heero's chest and mouth as the young warrior collapsed on the ground.

"This is the end!" Rashid raised his sword ready to finish off the bleeding boy beneath him.

#No! Stop it!# Duo shouted, jumping out from the alley.

"What?" Rashid watched, surprised, as another boy sprung out from the alley.

Duo used the moment to kick the big man, causing him to stumble back and fall to the ground, belly up. Suddenly, an animal's scream echoed through the night. Rashid had fallen on top of a dead body that still held a sword up, and the animal on his shoulder fell upon and impaled itself onto the said sword.

"My lovely pet!!" Rashid shouted as the animal dissolved into the air. He sounded panicked. "No, come back!! I can't teleport without you."

Duo didn't pay attention to the big man. After he kicked Rashid, Duo had quickly knelt and gathered Heero up in his arms. #Heero! Are you okay?# He looked at Heero's bleeding chest worriedly. The blood had soaked the tank top, causing it to lose its original color.

"You little bastard! How dare you kill my pet!!" An enraged Rashid appeared behind Duo, swinging his sword at the braided boy. From their positions, Duo knew that if he dodged the sword, Heero would receive the sword's biting cut. So he remained still and waited for the sword to strike him. But the sword never touched him, instead he heard two swords clash together.

"What?" Rashid was surprised to see his sword stopped by another, especially when it came from the bleeding boy in Duo's embrace. A foot came from the ground and kicked Rashid, causing him to stumble backward.

"Heero!" Duo looked at the owner of the foot and was surprised to see Heero's blue eyes glaring at him. He had thought Heero was unconscious after being stabbed. Heero had saved his life once again.

"Baka, you shouldn't have come out of hiding." Blood trailed down from Heero's mouth to his jaw but he didn't seem to be in any pain. Heero detached himself from Duo and stood up, holding his sword firmly. "It didn't stab my heart. I can still fight."

"He...he is still alive..." The thieves looked at Heero in horror.

One of them quickly threw his chains to tie Heero again. The chains managed to trap Heero, encircling the boy and preventing him from moving, but with a growl and a little twitch, the chains were scattered on the ground in pieces. Now the thieves were truly horrified. They moved back slowly as Heero stepped forward.

"Monster....." Rashid, who had watched the whole thing, unconsciously let the word slip from his mouth.

The word reached Heero, who growled and gave the big man his best death glare. His sharp fangs were clearly visible, making Rashid tremble and step back. He had lost all his courage and confidence since he had lost his pet. Heero advanced towards Rashid, who reacted quickly and shouted, "Retreat!!"

As soon as the word was spoken, the remaining thieves ran away into different directions and disappeared into the night, leaving Heero and Duo alone with dead bodies sprawled on the ground.

//They have gone! We won!! // Duo looked up from where he knelt and saw Heero discarding his sword and walk away.

Monster. The word echoed in Heero's mind as he wiped off the trailing blood from his mouth. An image of a woman accusing him of being a monster repeated over and over again infiltrated his mind. "You are not my son! You are a monster!" The woman shouted hysterically. Heero growled as the image changed to another one of villagers accusing him he's a monster.

But suddenly the images were gone as his mind registered that his body didn't touch the ground anymore. He had been scooped up! Heero startled and looked up to see the violet eyes full of concern and worry. //What does this baka want to do?// Heero struggled and tried to break free but Duo held him tightly. #Hey, stop that! You want to walk to the inn with your current condition? Are you crazy? You were stabbed and still bleeding! Don't struggle, you will make the blood come out faster.#

Of course Heero didn't understand a single word Duo had said. // This baka, does he think I am not capable of walking?// Heero was about to struggle when he noticed Duo eye his chest worriedly. //Is he worried about this wound?//

As if answering his unspoken question, Duo, who noticed Heero ceased struggling, tightened his grip and quickly walked, almost ran, back towards the inn.

Duo entered the inn and saw the doctor tending the inn owner. He approached him just as the doctor turned back and saw them. "My God, you are bleeding! Here, let me take a look." The doctor reached for Heero's tank top but Heero held up his hand, signaling the doctor not to bother. "I am fine. This is not my blood. A thief soaked my shirt when I finished him off."

"But then why is the boy carrying you? Did you break any ribs or one of your legs?" The doctor looked at Duo who looked back in confusion and worry.

"I am fine. He just over reacted." Heero snorted and squirmed to free himself from Duo, but the braided boy held him fast. He finally stopped squirming and glared at Duo. "Put me down or omae o korosu!"

Duo looked at him in confusion. "Omae.. o..kisu?" *I'll kiss you?*"

Heero could hear the doctor's loud laughter and sighed in defeat. //This baka will never learn....//

The Mayor joined them. "What are you laughing at, Doc?"

The Doctor stopped laughing. "Uhm, nothing, Mayor. Where have you been?"

"I was on the second floor, cleaning the mess there." The Mayor turned to Heero. "There are many dead men in your room, I assume that you are the one who killed them?"

Heero nodded. "They are the Manganacs you wanted me to eliminate."

The Mayor nodded approvingly. "I have misjudged you. Well, I think you will get your reward then."

"No," Heero shook his head, "I haven't finished with their boss yet. He ran away and I don't have the energy to chase him right now."

At that time, Duo had had enough. The doctor was not tending to Heero's injury. Instead , the Doctor kept talking with Heero. Couldn't he see that Heero was bleeding? #Doctor, why don't you check for his wound? He was wounded badly. The man stabbed him right in the chest. Don't you see his blood? He have to..hhmpphh.#

Heero had reached for the boy's braid when he had started talking and the braid was now firmly secured in its owner's mouth. While Duo concentrated on spitting his braid out, Heero struggled to break himself from Duo's grip. He stood up and turned to the Doctor and Mayor. "I need to rest to fully recover. I will deal with Rashid tomorrow."

"Sure. Since your room is in chaos, you can use the room over there." The Mayor pointed out a door at the corner of the room. Heero nodded and headed for the door.

Duo managed to spit his braid out in time to see Heero disappear behind a door.#Heero! You are injured!! You shouldn't be walking!!" Duo quickly chased Heero, ignoring the two men standing behind him who looked at him, looked at each other, and shrugged.

Heero entered the room and saw two beds, separated by a nightstand. He approached the bed on the right and stood beside it. Actually, he wanted to throw himself on the bed and black out but first he had to remove his blood soaked tank top.

Duo stormed into the room just as Heero pulled the tank top over his head, back turned. #Heero! Be careful, your wound....# Duo lost his voice as Heero turned to face him, revealing his smooth chest. Yes, smooth, no scar, no blood. //His wound.....// Duo's eyes widened in disbelief as he pounced on Heero.

Heero was surprised at Duo's reaction that he didn't have time to dodge the braided boy. He found himself sprawled on the bed with Duo on top of him. "Duo!"

The braided boy ignored Heero as he leaned closer to look at the bare chest beneath him. He could see a faint scar where Rashid's sword had stabbed in before. //His wound healed!!// He let his fingers trail over the scar, as if he couldn't believe his eyes, oblivious to the look of surprise from the scar's owner.

"Duo, what are you doing?" Heero didn't know what to do. Never. Never in his life had someone touched him so soft and gentle like this. He stared at the braided boy above him and watched as the said boy lifted his head to stare back at him. Violet eyes radiated with joy and relief and the heart shaped face formed a very sweet smile.

#Your's gone......So you don't feel pain anymore, do you?# Duo murmured, gently stroking the bare chest beneath him. He was very glad to know Heero was okay. So glad that Duo didn't even think about what he was doing, trusting his instincts to guide his body. Duo could hear the boy beneath him gasp in surprise as he replaced his fingers with his lips, placing butterfly kisses along the scar while murmuring. #Thank God......Thank God , you are okay....# Duo nuzzled the chest, pouring out all stress he had been under since the day started. Worry when Heero fell sick without Duo knowing why, fear when the men attacked Heero, and the horror when he saw Heero collapse, coughing up blood.

Somewhere in the back of his mind, Duo knew it wasn't usual for humans to recover as fast as Heero did, but he didn't care. Heero was alive and okay. That was all that mattered. He sighed in relief and rested his head on Heero's chest, listening to the beats that kept the boy beneath him alive. Those beats were like lullabies that lulled him to sleep.

//The baka......he is sleeping!// Heero stared at the snoring boy on his chest and recalled the first time they had met, Duo had also fallen asleep then, similar to their current position. Slowly he moved the braided boy to his side and brushed aside the bangs that prevented him from seeing the heart shaped face. //You shouldn't worry about me.....I'm the one who wanted to kill you.......wanted....//

Heero could still feel the gentle strokes on his chest and the warmth those delicate lips gave to his scar. The scar was completely gone now, leaving no evidence that he just recently been stabbed there. Heero placed a hand on his chest as the other one caressed Duo's cheek. //Thank you for caring about me....//

After he covered the both of them with the blanket, Heero moved in closer and snuggled in next to the slumbering Duo, letting the sleep claim him. //I'll protect you, my Shinigami....//


Next morning inside the inn.

"What's the latest news, Mayor?" The Doctor sat up as the Mayor entered the inn. They had both stayed awake, all night long. During this time, the Mayor tried to trace the rest of the thieves and the Doctor tended to the injured villagers, making the first floor of the inn as their base.

The Mayor smiled smugly. "We managed to trace them, Doc. They're hiding on the mountain a couple miles from here."

"Give me the exact coordinates to their place." Heero's voice startled them as they turned to see see him closing the door to where he and Duo had slept. The boy wore his green tunic, black leather pants, plus green bandanna. His sword was secured on his hips.

"Have you fully recovered?" Heero answered the Doctor's question with a nod, then turned to the Mayor.

"Where is the location? I will finish my job today."

"They are at the second mountain to the south of this town. It's quite far so you will need transport to get there. Wait here, Doc and I will prepare a horse for you." The Mayor seemed very enthusiastic. He pulled the Doctor and they quickly walked out, not giving Heero a chance to speak.

//I don't need a horse.// Heero stared after the retreating figures and chose to remain silent. He walked back to his room and stared at the sleeping boy who rested on the bed. Duo looked so peaceful in his sleep. For once, those deep blue eyes became softer and warmer as the owner of the eyes watched the slumber boy silently.

Duo felt fingers caressing his cheek and then something wet touch his forehead, making him stir. "Heero..." He purred, still deep in his sleep. Duo later slowly opened his eyes only to find himself alone in the room.


Outside the town, Heero tied the horse to a tree. He didn't need the horse for he could run faster than any horse. He jumped from cliff to cliff, crossing the gaps easily. In short time, he arrived at the second mountain behind the first one.

"Damn, he is coming." A thief whispered to another from his hiding place in the bushes. They could see Heero search for them.

"Don't worry, we have set the trap. Look!" Rashid pulled a rope connected to the trap.

Heero looked up to see fishnet spread above him. It fell down and entrapped Heero beneath it. "Bingo!" Rashid jumped out from the bushes, followed by the other thieves. "The net is made of iron. He can never break it. This is our chance to finish him." They charged toward the trapped boy only to stop dead in their tracks when they saw Heero tear the net as easily as the paper and step out of its remains.

"Hn, you had shown yourselves so I don't need to bother searching for you all." Heero eyed all of them. "This will be the end of the Manganacs."

Rashid quickly lost his nerve. "Ru...RUN!!" His command was useless for Heero was faster. Before the thieves could manage to step more than two steps, Heero had delivered quicksilver punches and kicks to the thieves, knocking them all down to the ground. "Damn..." Rashid tried to stand up but failed miserably. He was aware that some of his ribs had broken.

"Don't fight or I have to kill you." Heero glared at Rashid.

"Such a kind person you are." A mocking voice came from behind him. Heero turned around and saw a long blond haired man sitting lazily on a big rock, smiling confidently.

"Zechs! Where did you go last night? I told you to back us up!" Rashid shouted.

Zechs looked at Rashid. "You may have invited me to join your group but I have no intention to join weaklings like you." He stood up and turned to Heero. "However, I heard about this boy's action last night in the bar. It's very interesting to see a group of thieves being knocked down by a boy." Zechs approached Heero who stood at guard.

//I didn't sense his presence until he spoke up. He must be quite strong.// Heero narrowed his eyes, studying the man in front of him. Zechs wore a milk-creamed tunic with a brown vest, loose white pants, and dark brown boots that reached his mid calf. A sword was secured at his waist, indicating he was a warrior too.

Zechs stood a couple of feet in front of Heero. "I saw how you beat these weaklings. You are quite strong but I wonder if you are strong enough to receive THIS." All of sudden, Zechs raised a hand and unleashed an energy ball, striking Heero square in the chest.



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