In The Memory Part 10

Heero glared at the man standing over him. Mathers, still happily gloating, held the gun firmly pointed at Heero's face.

"I find it extremely entertaining that my men could actually kill a former Gundam pilot," Mathers mused. "With your reputations I would have expected a much more difficult time. But one of five is dead, and another is about to be." His smile widened and he tightened his grip on the gun.

Heero's eyes narrowed as anger grew in him. With every taunting word from Mathers, a nagging hatred mounted in Heero. He wanted to jump up, shove that gun into Mathers's mouth and shut him up for good. But the pain eminating from his side was overwhelming his senses, and as the blood continued to flow he felt his strength draining away.

Mathers watched Heero for a moment, studying his expression. He let out a soft chuckle. "So now that he's dead, are you going to cry?"

Not wanting to hear another word, Heero forgot about the seering pain in his side and lunged foward, momentarily stunning the man in front of him. In an instant he dashed towards Mathers and dodged the bullet that shot from the old man's gun. He grabbed Mathers's wrist, twisting it and smiling as the man yelped in pain. Heero snatched the gun as it fell from Mathers's hand. He spun the man's arm behind his back and placed the gun firmly against the side of his head.

The room went still and quiet again, everyone watching as Heero held the gun to their leader's head.

Heero tightened his grip on the gun, making sure Mathers felt the movement. He leaned foward, so that his mouth was an inch from Mathers's ear. "You didn't kill him," Heero whispered in his best monotone, "but I think your life for his would be fitting anyway."

Heero smiled as he felt Marshals body stiffen with fear. Slowly, Heero moved around so that he was face to face with Mathers. He saw the anxiety in the older man's eyes and knew that hatred showed in his.

His eyes narrowed and his trigger finger twitched, ready to send a bullet into the Mathers's head.


Heero blinked. As if he had been snapped out of a trance, he turned to look at who had called his name. Wufei, Trowa and a handful of Preventer agents stood in the doorway, guns aimed into the room. The Marshals, Mathers included, and their guards immediately raised their hands in the air.

Heero lowered his gun and let out a heavy breath. The adrenaline was dissipating from his system and a strong throbbing was growing in his side. He looked down and saw his whole left side and leg were drenched in blood. He cringed and dropped the gun, moving his hand to hold his wound as he fell to his knees again.

Trowa rushed to his side, supporting him as he passed out.

~ ~ ~

Heero was woken as he felt his body being lifted and placed in a chair. He blinked his eyes open, waiting a few seconds for the blurryness to receed from his vision. He looked around and saw he was in one of the Preventer transport ships. Trowa was standing next to him, along with several medics. He was sitting in a wheelchair and when he tried to move, an torturous pang shot throughout his body. He felt a tight bandage wrapped around his torso, effectively preventing any further bleeding, but it did not help with the pain.

One of the medics got behind him and began wheeling him out of the ship. His head throbbed and he had to close his eyes against the sudden brightness of the hangar, but shouting somewhere across the room drew his attention.

He squinted his eyes open and looked to the other end of the hangar. His eyes widened involuntarily when he saw Duo's mangled suit lying across the floor. Several medics were running towards the suit, rolling a gurney along with them. Then, slowly, from behind the suit, Quatre emerged, Duo leaning heavily on him. Duo's legs were moving though, and his arm was clinging tightly to Quatre's shoulder.

Heero's heart leapt. Duo wasn't dead...

The medics rushed up to them and helped Quatre support the injured pilot. One of the medics slowly removed Duo's helmet and the sight made Heero cringe. There was a large gash on Duo's forehead, sending a river of blood to cascade down the side of his face and soak his hair. His left arm hung deadly at his side and Heero saw more blood gushing from a wound on his chest. As the medics helped him onto the gurney, his face contorted in pain.

Heero shifted in his chair, making an attempt to stand and go to Duo, but the agony in his side and a hand on his chest kept him sitting. He looked up at Trowa and the other man withdrew his hand.

"He'll be fine," Trowa said calmly. "You know the Preventers have the best medical staff in space. They'll take care of him. And you know Quatre won't leave him."

Heero glared at him, but Trowa was unmoved. He turned and nodded at the medic and Heero was wheel foward again.

Before they exited the hangar, Heero took a last look back. Duo was also being wheeled out of the room, surrounded by several medics and followed closely by Quatre. It did little to ease his worry, but he felt a slight relief knowing Duo was alive and would more than likely be alright.

~ ~ ~

Heero slept uneasily that night. He could not stop thinking about Duo, injured and bloody, being carried out of his suit by Quatre. Dreams of death and pain haunted what little sleep he did get, and frequent pains from his wound interrupted any chance of peaceful rest.

The next morning, Une came in to visit him carrying a thick folder and a pen.

"I know you're still recovering, but I need your mission report done as soon as possible..." Her expression showed how sorry she was at having to ask.

Heero nodded. "Usual format?"

"Yes," she replied, handing him the folder and pen.

He took it from her and silence fell on the room. They both remained quiet for some time - Une staring at her folded hands, Heero staring at the file in his lap.

"How are you doing?" Une finally asked.

"How is Duo?" Heero asked, clearly changing the subject.

Une blinked and stood still for a second. She then sighed and looked back down at her hands. "He's... stable."

"What does that mean?"

"He was in bad shape..." But she said nothing more.

Heero glared at her. "I want to know how he's doing," he said firmly.

"It's only been a few hours since you all arrived back," Une said. She took in a deep breath and moved to sit in the guest chair beside Heero's bed before continuing. "He went straight into surgery and the doctors removed a piece of metal that was embedded into his chest. He was very lucky - it did not hit any major arteries or organs, or cause any serious damage at all, really. He got out of surgery about 45 minutes ago. He's been stitched up and is sleeping right now. The doctors say he should be fine"

Heero stared at his lap. He was relieved to hear Duo was stable but he was still terribly worried.

After a few moments, when Heero didn't say anything, Une spoke again. "I know you want to see him, but give it a few days. Concentrate on your report and let him - and yourself - recover a little."

Heero didn't know why, but he was suddenly very angry with her. He forced calmness into his voice, but didn't quiet manage. "Get out," he told her.

She frowned, unsure of what she had done or said to upset him. "Heero, I..."

"I need to work on my report."

Une nodded and stood up. Before she left the room, she turned back. "Heero, if there had been another option, you know I never would have called on him or the others. You and Wufei signed on for this, they didn't. If I hadn't thought it was neccessary, I would have left them out of it..."

She left the room and Heero opened the file and was about to begin writing his report when a knock came on the door.

Heero looked up and saw Trowa and Wufei walk into the room. He turned back to his report. "I'm not really in the mood for visitors."

"You have them anyway," Trowa said, taking the seat Une had just vacated.

Heero glared at him.

Wufei took the file from Heero's lap and placed it on the side table, recieving his own death glare from Heero. "Don't look at us like that," he said, half smiling.

He took the other guest chair and from the way he sunk into it, Heero could tell he probably hadn't gotten to sleep yet. He glanced over at Trowa and saw the dark circles around his eyes and realized he hadn't slept either. They had both probably worked through the night.

Heero eyed them. "Where's Quatre?"

"Still with Duo," Trowa answered. "I told you he wouldn't leave Duo, and he hasn't."

Heero nodded.

The three of them sat in silence for a few minutes, none of them knowing what to say.

Wufei looked up at Heero and finally spoke. "What happened on that ship?" he asked. "I've never seen you let your guard down enough to get as badly hurt as you did."

"If you're here to give me a lecture-"

"That's not what I meant..." Wufei shooked his head. "Nevermind."

The room was quiet again for a few long minutes, but this time it was Heero who spoke first. "Mathers was taunting me about Duo's death," he said quietly. "It got to me."

He stared intently at his lap, determined not to look either of his friends in the eyes.

Trowa let out a sigh. "Don't worry about it. Duo's not dead and you will both be alright."

Heero nodded absentmindedly.

"Give it a few days before you go charging off to see him, will you?" Heero looked up at Wufei's words. The Chinese man had risen from his seat. "You both just found out about what happened, and you were both just in a battle where you were both badly injured. It's unnecessary to rush talking to him."

"You don't even know why I want to see him," Heero said, unable to keep the annoyance out of his voice.

"I think we have a good idea," Trowa replied, also rising from his chair.

"Just let it be for a while before you go trying to repair your relationship, ok?" Wufei smiled when Heero just blinked at him. "Don't forget you have a report to do!" he added, placing the file back in Heero's lap.

Without another word, they exited the room, leaving Heero to stare blankly behind them.



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