Warnings for this chapter: Blood, violence. Hints of shounen ai? (3+4 prolly,
if you take in account how he worries… ^^ mebbe 1+4? If you look at it that
way I guess… Boy do I like to make possible couples change like that)
As for the end of the chapter, it probably shows that I had had enough, but it was seven am, I was beginning to feel sleepy… ^^
In the small house, all was calm. Quatre was sleeping on the bed, turning around every second, prey to the beginnings of a nightmare caused by his fever. Chased off by his kicks, Duo had abandoned the idea of sleeping at his side and was sprawled out on the floor. Trowa was sleeping on the couch. Heero was resting on a chair, dozing.
Wufei finished his perimeter check and sighed silently. He wasn't stupid enough to think that the turns they were taking staying awake were useless and that he could go to sleep, but still, he was getting bored to death. He couldn't get some exercise without disturbing his comrades, he couldn't read without light, and he didn't know what he could think about not to think about Yuy and Winner's "illness", nor the repercussions it caused.
Quatre hadn't even seemed to realize the voracity with which he had attacked his meat during their evening meal. But it hadn't escaped their notice. They had all glanced at each other after that, while Quatre was … wolfing down his meal.
Neither did it escape his notice, nor Yuy's, nor Barton's, nor even Maxwell's, the way Sandrock's pilot fairly crackled with nervous energy, even tired like he was. The so intense and so calculating way he had stared at the window and door, like Yuy had done, to judge the distance and resistance. His nervousness. His refusal to let them out of his sight. His fingers tapping away on the table. And his moments of absence, too concentrated on only one sense.
His thoughts were abruptly interrupted when Yuy jumped up from the chair he was sitting on, going from sleep to wakefulness in a mere second. He turned to Wufei, a hand on his gun already.
"They are here," he articulated in silence, knowing that Wufei could read lips as well as any one of them.
Wufei's eyes went wide briefly, then he went to the small bedroom, silent like a shadow. Heero caught his elbow before he could go too far.
"Not Quatre," he murmured.
Wufei nodded and went to wake Duo up, while Heero put a hand on Barton's shoulder, carefully placing himself out of harm's way if the other woke up in battle mode. Trowa woke up instantly but didn't open his eyes, his breathing rhythm not even modifying, something he had learned in the mercenary unit. But unlike most people, Heero could tell he was awake, for his scent had changed. He bent to whisper in his ear: "Weres, outside."
The four pilots gathered in the tiny room, their eyes hard and distrustful.
Heero caught himself losing his concentration for a second when he caught sight of a very amusing tableau, Duo with his face utterly serious and his hair in disarray, disheveled in a crown or a halo around his head, but his attention came quickly back to the problem at hand.
"How do you know?" asked Duo, still silently.
Heero pointed out his nose. Then he showed them his open hand, closed it, then lifted two fingers
before hesitantly unfolding the last three. Between seven and ten outside.
"Hostile?" asked Trowa, still without making a sound.
Heero shook his head and shrugged with one shoulder, not stopping from preparing his gun.
"Don't know. They're just walking around the house for the moment."
Suddenly a paw scratched at the door, and they tensed. Then a muzzle sniffed under it, once, before disappearing.
Heero uncovered his teeth in a silent growl. His canines were too long for a human mouth. The way his eyes gleamed wasn't human either. Wufei felt faintly relieved that he was on their side.
* * *
They had been staying unmoving and ready in the middle of the room for ten minutes already, and the Weres hadn't done anything else at the moment other than walking around the house… and then, one of them howled, not ten meters away from the door, making them jump.
Duo turned his head and glanced toward the low sound. Heero was growling low in his throat, snarling, and his knuckles were becoming white. Without really thinking about it, Deathscythe's pilot put a hand on his shoulder and gently squeezed.
Yuy muffled his growl, but it was visibly an effort to do so.
"What can we do?" asked Duo. "I mean, how long will they stay here? They have to know that we are here, and if their senses are as developed as yours, they even know that we are awake and at the same place… right?"
Heero scowled. Duo was right. But he couldn't just go out and see what they were doing, could he? Humans could, maybe, be left alone, even though he wasn't too sure with the way he had been attacked while he had just been walking, but he was an intruder here. Staying even just one night wouldn't be tolerated.
He froze suddenly, gripped by a dark sense of foreboding. They were making themselves scarce outside…
And then, there was a smashing of planks behind them.
Heero was already dashing off to Quatre's room when the door and front window underwent the same assault, preventing Trowa from following. The three remaining pilots began to shoot through the wood planks. There was a yelp of pain and the ruckus stopped shortly. Duo, Wufei and Trowa huddled closer to each other, back to back, in a triangle, and left their firearms ready to shoot.
* * *
The forest of his dreams was dark and menacing. Even more so than usually, and it was saying something. But this time the menace was other than before…
/hate anger aggression/
and he woke up in a leap, sweating, confused and disoriented, his heart hammering in his chest, a second before the window which had been hidden under the old wallpaper exploded and showered him with wood splinters.
He rolled on the floor by reflex, crouched in a combat stance, but his feeble legs betrayed him and he couldn't step back fast enough to avoid the man…the wolf… the thing rushing toward him.
A clawed and hairy hand closed on his forearm and dragged him toward the being at the same second as the door behind him went to crash on the wall, violently kicked open. He heard a howl of pure rage /heero/ and a hand closed on his throat, cutting off his air and the blood flow to his brain, dragging him till he had his back against a fur-covered torso. /fear! anger!/ He tried struggling, but without results. Half-awake, weakened, he began to see blurred images and to feel his world spin around him, and the nausea gripped him.
/pain… hurts, it hurts… Hee…ro… help…/
He had just the time to feel that he was picked up and to look into intense blue eyes sparkling with furor in a face in the middle of transformation, before losing consciousness.
* * *
Yuy couldn't even articulate the scream of fury ripping out of his throat when, irrupting in the blond pilot's room, he discovered a Were in an hybrid body, humanoid but with a head and lowed body like a wolf's, dragging back the teenager. He jumped toward them… only to have to stop when the intruder took Quatre hostage, his claws against the whiteness of his neck, and mock-clenched. If the other Were had only half of his own strength, he could crush his trachea without having to strain. Heero knew it too well.
Two aquatic sea blue-green eyes, clouded over by pain and fear, stared at him in a desperate plea for help, then slowly fluttered closed.
/MY pack/ he thought bewildered, /he's attacking MY pack!/
/HE DARES TO ATTACK MY PACK!!!!/
Rendered unable to think any longer by the Wolf's fury, he leaped, snarling, already transforming.
Totally forgetting the gun he had had in hand.
But the intruder hadn't been waiting for him and had already jumped out of the window, Quatre still pressed against him. He missed him by about two centimeters and howled his rage, jumping after him. He slid in the narrow passage between the house and the cliff it was pressed against, his run rendered difficult by the progressive transformation of his arms and legs into paws.
But as he was turning by the house's corner, three Weres jumped on him. Only the fastness of his reflexes permitted him to jump back into the narrow passage. He crouched low on all four, already more animal than human, and glared at them one after the other with his eyes burning with hate. In the forest, he could see, disappearing between two trees, a thing with dark fur carrying on its shoulder something bright. A golden-haired head rolled from right to left, lifeless, with the man-beast's steps.
"QUAAAAAAAAAAATRRRE!!!!!" he roared, the end of the call a bestial scream.
The three Weres growled at him and stalked toward his position, and he reported his glare on them. His ears inclined forward on his skull already nearly wholly lupine and his tail curled high, signaling his dominance, hairs standing on end. His fur resembled that of a porcupine more closely than anything else. He crouched, ready to spring. They were preventing him from rejoining a member of his pack. He was going to kill them all.
One of the wolf-men flattened his ears back and whined when he realized, too late, that even at three against one the dark brown wolf was not in their league.
Which didn't prevent him from finding himself jostled on the ground, four of his ribs shattered upon impact when Heero charged and shouldered him out of the way, after having properly torn one of his comrades' throat out and disemboweled the other with a lateral clawing, letting his intestines pour on the grass. He curled up and whined, offering his pale belly.
Heero nearly killed him anyway, too furious, but his Wolf side didn't let him.
/he submitted, doesn't attack anymore, let him go/
He struggled with the instinct, his soldier training telling him to finish off the down enemy to be sure that he didn't come back after him, but it was hard. The Wolf was adamant about this rule, not ready to concede.
One of the other Weres tried to profit from his second of inattention to attack his neck by behind. He just let himself fall low, letting the assailant's momentum carry him and making him trip him on Heero's own back, then opened his revealed throat with a snapping of fangs.
He turned away, and without glancing back to the submissive wolf, jumped over the bodies of the two beasts killed by his comrades' guns and ran after Quatre's abductor.
* * *
Duo had just the time to lower Wufei's hand when he tried to take out the dark brown wolf dashing off in the woods, like they had done with any other wolf stupid enough or slow enough to stay in plain sight when they had begun to shoot by the holes in the cracked planks.
"Duo!!" protested the Chinese teen when he realized that this moment of distraction had been enough to let his target disappear.
"It was Heero, idiot!"
Wufei's eyebrow arched slightly, even as he was gunning down the few wolves trying to follow the brown one.
"He's the only one I ever saw with a creamy white throat and tail-tip," answered the American disinterestedly, calmly reloading his weapon. "Plus he was slightly smaller, and looking slimmer, definitely a teen, not an adult like all of the others. You see what I mean?"
"Guess so… But after all, I never saw Yuy's animal form before, how could I know?" answered Wufei.
"Wouldn't have prevented me from kicking your ass for having shot him, Wu-dear" Duo said back, blowing him a mock-kiss. Wufei snorted.
The pack outside seemed to have retreated; maybe they had had their asses kicked enough for the night. The two long-haired boys glanced at each other then looked at Trowa.
He was standing in the bedroom's door, turned toward the empty bed and the smashed window, his hand clenched on his gun so hard his tendons were sticking out.
"Trowa… Heero went to rescue him. He'll find him. For the moment we should find a place to hide… we can't get out in the forest like that, don't you think, would be stupid…" the American tried to tell him.
Trowa didn't seem to even hear him. Then, as Duo was going to put his hand on his shoulder, he swore violently in Spanish and Italian and punched the wall so hard a bloody smear decorated the wallpaper.
"Trowa, he's gonna get him back. He WILL get him back. "
"Why didn't we see this fucking window?"
Duo looked surprised, then noticed the yellowed bits of paper still floating around.
"It was hidden under the wallpaper… It wasn't truly a window, just a thing to aerate the room. Tro…"
"We should have seen it!! Why didn't Heero see it ? It's HIS hut, foutredieu de bordel de merde!!!"*
"Vaffan'culo!* Lemme go!!"
"TROWA!!! ENOUGH!!! "
It wasn't the time to place the blame, and certainly not the time to fight amongst themselves, Duo's glare told the other boy. Without waiting for his assent, the braided boy caught Trowa by the wrist like if he was a disobedient boy throwing a temper tantrum and dragged him to the kitchen, where Wufei was already pulling down the pole opening the access to the attic.
"We'll wait here" decided the Chinese boy. "Less openings if they come back for more. Take munitions."
Trowa climbed in silence, without making a fuss. Duo emptied the fridge before following, and Wufei rolled his eyes at him, appalled.
"What? We don't know how long Heero'n'Quat will take to come back, right?" Deathscythe's pilot answered back while climbing the frail ladder.
Wufei sighed and shook his head. He was going to follow him when he remembered something. He turned around and grabbed the Japanese's laptop. Once they were up there, the two long-haired boys dragged the ladder up and closed the trap.
When he saw the extra passenger, Duo lifted an eyebrow at him.
"Do you know the password for his laptop?" asked the Chinese without bothering to explain himself.
"Wu, if we go and put our noses in his comp…"
Chang stared irritably at him, half serious only.
"Let me do it" sighed Duo, taking the laptop on his knees and powering it up.
Luckily, it had been recharging all night. It could work for some time …
Duo typed in the password and the secret codes and gave the laptop back to Wufei.
"I don't even want to know how you know the codes," he said absently while searching through the programs.
"Hey, it was you who wanted to get in! You're not in any place to berate me! And whatcha doin anyway?" asked Duo, trying to erase the guilty expression from his face.
"If I know Yuy well enough…" answered Wufei absently, looking through the programs.
"Yeah? If you know Yuy well enough?"
"Here it is" answered the Chinese pilot with a superior smirk.
<………………… log on…
<back alarm on
<front alarm on
<movement detector on
<Would you like to open a view of the heat detectors?
<thermal video cameras on
<Would you like to open a view of the video cameras?
<Security system fully operational
<Close video feedback by clicking on x
Under Duo's appreciative eyes, three little windows opened, each one showing an infrared view of the surroundings of the little house.
"The alarms are on…"
"And why the fuck didn't he think about putting them on before?" they heard Trowa snarl.
He was sitting on the other side of the attic, knees under his chin, arms wound tight around his legs, and he was glaring coldly at them. Wufei stared coldly at him, appalled at his sudden lack of professionalism.
"Because they're connected to explosives, that's why. I suppose he was bored when he had to stay in here for two weeks. All the house is booby-trapped, I saw that when I was visiting. If we had had to get out of here fast for whatever reason, we'd have been blasted to the moon. The doors are ridden with explosives. The attic's the only place sure enough."
"And if Heero comes back with Quatre and they don't know that we did that?!" exclaimed Duo.
"Heero knows that I am aware of this arrangement, he'll pay attention. And we can see them arrive with the motion detector and cameras," answered the Chinese teen. "Nothing bigger than a rabbit can enter this clearing without us knowing."
"And I repeat, why the fuck didn't he think to put them on before?" hissed Trowa.
"The batteries weren't full enough yet for it to last" Wufei answered in a neutral tone, shrugging. "I am not even sure that this will last."
Trowa grumbled behind his bangs and lowered his head till they couldn't see his face anymore. Duo and Wufei glanced at each other then chose a place to sleep the rest of the night away.
"If you dare to eat all of the crackers while I'm sleeping, I'll kick you out of this place."
* * *
Meanwhile, Heero was still running as fast as he could after Quatre's kidnapper. He was slowly gaining ground on his enemy, the other being more massive and slowed down by the young pilot's weight. But then, he knew these woods better than Heero…
Often, the track was interrupted and Heero had to use every ounce of human intelligence he could summon in this body to understand the way the Were had blurred his path. But he always found him again. Then the track ran in a straight line, in a path easy to follow. And the scent of his enemy had never been stronger…
He nearly missed the scent of another Were on a branch of some tree bent over the path. The brown wolf blinked, trying to analyze what he was smelling… then, he understood. The enemy wolf had entirely transformed to run faster. But if he could it was that he didn't have Quatre with him anymore… And, bingo, two minutes later, when he found the second Werewolf's scent, it was mixed with Sandrock's pilot's own.
/kill the other later, the pack's more important than revenge/
'anyway, revenge is best served when it's already frozen'
He silently ran after the other Were for a few kilometers. His internal sense of direction told him that they had slowly been traveling a half-circle and weren't so far from the house anymore… Maybe a half hour of running for a human, no more. Shenlong's hideout was fairly near to here. If he succeeded in getting Quatre back… WHEN he succeeded in getting Quatre back, he would run either to the house or to the Gundam. He hoped that the Chinese boy had installed the program permitting for any of them to open the cockpit of any Gundam, not just the designated pilot.
Personally, he had done it only because it had been a direct order; he didn't know if Wufei had decided to abide by the decision.
The smell on the track and the spacing between the rare imprints indicated that his prey was slowing down… he slowed down too to think about what he would do… and only dodged the attack by pure dumb luck. Two seconds later he was feeling a hundred and thirty pounds of muscles and black fur land on his back. He rolled on the ground, making his assailant lose its equilibrium, reared like a horse, squashing it between his own body and a tree trunk, and before the other Were could get back up, jumped for its throat.
Confused, he stepped back, growling low. The other wolf was an enemy, he had to… eliminate it.
'anyone who opposes me is my enemy. all my enemies have to die'
He jumped forward, his fangs ready to plunge in his adversary…
And stepped back, shaking his head. His instincts were screaming at him to let the other alone, not to attack. He didn't understand why. The black Were used it to jump on him, and he reacted instantaneously, flattening on the ground out of its trajectory, and, hustling it with his shoulder, sent it once again to roll in the dust. This time, he leaped on the other and put his paws on its belly, blocking it on the ground. His adversary tried to free itself, but he was heavier and had a better position. Heero snarled, his canines at a few centimeters from the other wolf's throat, and it went immobile, understanding that it was totally at his mercy.
But the Wolf in him didn't want to let him finish his enemy…
The wolf was black on the back and dark gray on the belly, and rather slim compared to the others. Svelte, but definitely adult. So it wasn't because it was a pup that he couldn't…
With a litter, if he judged by the scent of milk. Shit.
He snapped his teeth just in front of her muzzle, and finally she submitted. After having deeply bitten her ear as a warning, Heero jumped back on the path. He couldn't kill a female like that, but if ever again she got between him and his packmate, he would get rid of her, litter or not.
Finally, he arrived in a clearing against a cliff, probably the same cliff against which the safehouse was propped up. A dozen wolves and hybrids were slowly circling him… most of them females, and looking aggressive and afraid at the same time. There were a few males, but older than the ones who had attacked the house. He wanted to laugh when he realized they were far from having expected such a reaction. But he wasn't going to feel sorry for this pack. They had not been forced to bite him, and they sure hadn't been forced to take one of his… although now that he saw the size of their pack, and smelled the small number of pups they had, he could understand why they had felt the need to take Quatre. This pack was slowly dying out, from consanguinity probably. Heero hadn't been bitten to be changed, because the wolf that had attacked him had been out to kill, nor had he been expected to survive. And he was a dominant male, the alpha of this pack probably wouldn't tolerate him there, even if he had wanted to stay. But Quatre…
The blond teen was sprawled out in the middle of the clearing, still unconscious. Two Weres in hybrid form were standing before him. Heero forced himself to return to human state , if only to be able to warn them that he wanted his friend and would stop at nothing to get him back.
"Step away from him " he growled when his throat became functional enough to articulate.
But the males didn't listen to him and jumped, attacking.
He nearly sighed. He had tried to give them an exit door, not to destroy even more of this little pack, but it seemed that they would never learn.
He broke the paw of the fastest to attack him with a snap of fangs, but didn't have the time to finish him before he was assailed by two other wolves. He violently shook them off, throwing them to the ground. He was still in hybrid form, he used his hands to slap them hard on their sensitive nose.
From there, the mêlée was too confusing for him to remember all the details. But one moment he was fighting, then the next, the wolves crawled back before him, whining and showing their bellies to him. Apparently they had had enough.
He didn't know what the hell he was supposed to do, now. The Wolf sent him too many contradictory influxes, too much information that he wasn't sensitive enough to understand.
Quatre was regaining consciousness, slowly. He sat up, blinking owlishly, and looked around. There were beasts all around him, dark and furry forms, and the littlest one at least twice as big as him. He gasped, the fog on his mind lifting slightly.
"Katoru, get up," growled a brown one at him while placing itself between him and the others, in a distinctively protecting way.
The blond boy felt in his space-heart more than recognized by the voice and appearance the identity of the being.
"Get up and get moving."
He pushed him with his nose and caught one of his wrists with his clawed hand/paw, keeping him close to his body while he left the clearing, growling menacingly toward the other Weres.
"The next one who attacks myself or my comrades is dead. Male or female" he snarled ferociously when one of them made as if going to jump on them.
The Weres only answered with whines, flattening their ears back on their skulls and lowering their heads.
Heero became more of a human on the path, and put Quatre on his back when the boy, still half-awake only, tripped once too many, proving that he was still in bad shape from his hit on the head, and began running right to the house.
They passed not too far from Shenlong en route for there, and preferring not to risk a surprise attack when he had Quatre to protect, Wing's pilot escalated it to lower Quatre on the seat. The boy looked at him, his blue eyes still fuzzy-looking, then closed his eyes and seemed to fall into a light trance.
"Just need to rest a little bit more…" whispered the boy.
After having calculated a trajectory that would guide the Gundam to the little shack and having engaged the autopilot system, Heero let Quatre in the cockpit and ran to his own Gundam.
* * *
Duo swore while turning around to face the laptop. He had just closed an eye …
"Crap, it's not possible this piece of sh… uh-ho…. Wu-man? Fei-fei? Yohooo, Wu-chan!"
"Mmm, can't you call me by my name, Maxwell…"
"Wu, tell me that you closed Shenlong's cockpit."
If it was not the case, then that meant that a stranger was playing with the Gundam…
"What about Nataku?"
"Your Nataku's moving…"
"WHAT?!?" shouted the Chinese pilot, jumping on the laptop.
At the edge of the forest, a great white and green shape was slowing to a halt.
"What the …"
One of the comm. units suddenly crackled to life.
<err, Wufei… I'm sincerely sorry to have borrowed your Gundam, but Heero more or less forced me inside …>
Two seconds later, pilots 02 and 05 found themselves on their backs on each side of the attic, pilot 03 having shoved them off his path without much gentleness.
"Quatre!! Are you ok?" the usually unexpressive European demanded.
<Yes, yes, a little tired, but … What happened? I don't understand too well … I woke up in a clearing with a dozen werewolves all around me, brr… And Heero who was growling as if he was possessed, I nearly didn't recognize him…I don't even remember what happened apart from some fuzzy nightmarish things that I'm not even sure were real…>
"Oh, you were just abducted by Weres, that's all…" Maxwell revealed nonchalantly.
<Oh, that's all … what?!?>
Duo would have given nearly anything to have the visuals too.
* * * * * *
Once they grabbed their belongings, the pilots went to Shenlong. Wufei took his place and accompanied each of the others to his own Gundam, waiting for each of them to be sheltered in their own metal armor before going to the next one. Heero had rejoined with Wing by himself. He truly wouldn't have minded at all to having met by chance the Were who had kidnapped Quatre. Sadly, he didn't get to cross his path.
"You know, Heero," said Trowa on a private channel, "If it hadn't truly been the only place we could go to, I'd be really pissed at you now."
Heero grunted and lowered his head, ashamed. He had endangered his packmates…
* * *
For all of the time they were en route to their next hideout, Heero was the only one not to click on the visuals with the others Gundams. Finally, Duo asked him why. As Yuy refused to answer, he began to think that his comrade may have been hurt.
Heero sighed. Truly, he didn't want to start a panic over him but he really didn't want to open up a visual channel just now.
"And why the fuck can't you? Give me a good reason you're just not trying to hide some wound?"
Finally, the Japanese teen had enough and bent to the torture.
"I didn't get my backpack," admitted pilot 01 in a nearly embarrassed tone… well as much as he could anyway.
"I have it. What's the connection?" insisted Duo.
"I transformed," Heero tried again.
Argh, it was not possible, he was too slow!!! Annoyed, Heero sighed and decided to stop alluding and explain it to him in terms he was more familiar with, for once he wasn't visibly in a frame of mind to understand.
"I am buck naked."
The three other pilots began to laugh.
* * * * * * * *
* "foutredieu de bordel de merde" is French, and the first one ain't really translatable… It's an oldish swear word composed of "God" and an old way of saying "Fuck" ^^; "Bordel" means "brothel" but is used as a common swear word, and "merde" is "shit" ^^;;; Tro sure ain't polite ^^;;
* "Vaffan'culo" is Italian (not sure if I spelled it right) and means "go get fucked," I think ^^;
Me like to identify Trowa as a true Latin European… not only a French or a Spanish… In my mind the mercenaries acted especially in this zone, plus they were mostly from there. He's gonna speak Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian… Prolly Greek too, a little. Wu's gonna speak Chinese if I can find someone to help me, Quatre, same thing, Heero's gonna speak Japanese… (duh) and in the original version of the fic, Duo was speaking American sometimes, although you can understand why you won't see it when it happens ^.^;