Author's Notes: This was my first alternate universe attempt and one of my longest fics. The crossover with YYH will show up towards the latter parts.
Category: Anime, AU, Yaoi, Gundam Wing fusion with the X-men series
Pairings: 1x2, 3x4, will be 6x5, KuramaxHiei
Warnings: none in this part
Part 1: United We Stand
Violet eyes followed the ball as it traveled from one hand to another. The teens were having so much fun, their calls sounding over the court. They didn't
have a care in the world. And why should they? They were human, normal. They weren't hated simply for what they were.
Sometimes he wished he were as evil as everyone thought he was. Then he could kill them. It would be so easy to make those happy boys as miserable
as he was. Instead, he tortured himself by watching the pleasure they took from simply being normal. He seemed obsessed with the voyeurism, drawn to
return again and again so he could see others doing things he hadn't been able to do for years. He was too busy hiding.
But that was what he was good at. The talk had grown since he was a child. He knew what they said about mutants. Their kind signaled the end of the
And that was fine. If his kind were death, then he was the God of death. He was Shinigami, and he could kill them at any time.
None of the boys looked up from their basketball game when a solitary figure slowly stood up and walked away. The fact that he was invisible might have
had something to do with it.
Dark eyes stared at the man shown on the computer screen, the boy's lips twisting into an intense scowl.
Surely he was kidding, making the usual twisted attempt at humor he'd come to expect from his informer. How was he supposed to find someone the
enemy had spent the last three years looking for?
Nearly every travel agency in the Americas and Europe was posted with photos of the boy, but knowing what he looked like wouldn't help finding him any.
Appearance was nothing to go by here. The boy was invisible.
But he'd never failed a mission. Refusing, no matter how unlikely the success, was not an option.
"How am I going to find him?"
The doctor looked at the boy on the other side of the connection, his prosthetic eyes glinting as a small smirk played over his lips.
"OZ is an organization full of idiots. They have been trying to kill all mutants for so long that they refuse to use them. A good thing for us, because we
have no such problem. I have received notice of a remarkable boy whose telepathic powers are unparalleled. If you can get to him, I know he'd help. His
followers constitute the main problem. They are very devoted to his safety, so you'll have to get past them. Once you get within his open range, he'll sense
your reason for coming."
"If his range is so small, how is he going to be able to find the other one?"
"It isn't small, just unfocused. When he focuses on a person he can find him at any distance. When he is not using his power, there is a small range in
which he senses people."
"If he can read my motives, then why would he help me? I assumed you wanted me to capture this mutant."
The smirk shifted into a sly smile, and the old man leaned closer to the camera so he could see the boy.
"Not at all, Heero, we want him to join us. The telepath as well. Persuasion will be more useful than force for something of this delicate nature. We have to
gather a small, elite team in order to destroy OZ once and for all. Before there are no mutants left."
A young boy sat in a large, plush-back chair, his pale blue-green eyes wide as he stared at the monitor before him. A small cup of tea sat forgotten on the
desk, the boy's entire attention focused on the images flashing on the screen. The monitor displayed the narrow, underground passages of the base, and
right now they were aglow with explosions.
A lone figure, clad in pale jeans and a green tank-top, was quickly making his way through lines of troops. Dodging the bullets with inhuman speed, the
boy barely flinched as bombs went off, shrapnel slicing bared flesh to leave streams of blood behind. The intruder threw off these injuries, not slowing in
his progress through the base.
He wasn't even defending himself. In fact, he wasn't even armed.
The blonde boy slowly leaned forward, a hand going to his pale temple in more of a reflex action than actual necessity as he probed for the thoughts of the
boy. Finally, his brows knotted as he searched that cold mind. He didn't find the evil intentions he'd expected.
His pulse sped up and he adjusted his thin headphones. "Rashid, stop your attack. I repeat, stop your attack."
A low voice answered the order, explosions echoing in the background. "Master Quatre, he's unbelievably strong. He could be masking his thoughts."
"No, he's broadcasting them as hard as he can. He needs to see me. That's why he's not fighting back. He doesn't want anybody to get hurt. Stop your
The pale boy's eyes narrowed suddenly, and his soft voice hardened. "That is an order, Rashid."
The order was issued, and the image on the screen became dull with a suddenness that was uncanny. The dark-haired boy stopped running abruptly,
standing still when Rashid moved toward him with empty hands raised.
Although Quatre couldn't hear what was said, he could see the boy nod at Rashid's words, following as the tall man led him down the corridors past the
angry Maguanac soldiers who knew enough to realize that they hadn't done a very good job protecting their charge and friend, or their base.
Heero's eyes narrowed as he assessed the slender male in front of him. No taller than him, the boy had pale blond hair that covered his head, a few thick
strands falling into his light bluish-green eyes. His expression was friendly and open as he extended his hand to Heero.
"My name is Quatre," the blonde said softly, watching the other with an intently solemn gaze. "I am very sorry you were hurt so badly. If you need any sort
of medical attention-"
Ignoring the hand, Heero crossed his blood-covered arms and scowled. "I heal very fast. I'm not injured anymore. Besides, it's good practice to be careful
who you let into your base. Your security would have been able to stop a non-mutant."
Quatre lowered his hand, a light blush staining his cheeks, and gestured to a chair at the small table near them. "Please sit."
Not waiting to see if the other boy would follow, Quatre sat in one of the chairs and poured himself a cup of tea. When he looked up, he saw the boy pull
back the other chair and sit down across from him.
"Would you like some tea?" asked Quatre. "I'm not stalling, but it would be rude of me to drink in front of you without offering you some sort of
Heero raised an eyebrow, trying to determine whether or not Quatre was being sarcastic, but decided against it. The boy seemed far too intelligent to be
inciting him on purpose. By now the telepath had to know his strength.
He wasn't sure how much the boy had read from him, but he imagined it was more than he'd ever have told him directly. If that were true, the blonde now
knew more about him than anyone alive.
"Actually," Heero said, giving a slow nod to the attentive boy, "I would like coffee, if you have any."
The tension ebbed, and Quatre gestured to the servant who was standing just inside the doorway. The man brought a pot over and set it on the table
before exiting the room quietly.
Dark blue eyes met him as the boy took a small sip from the cup, and Quatre leaned forward to stare intently at him. From his brief tour into the boy's
mind, he knew Heero wouldn't mind the look. Reading his mind again would be intrusive, so Quatre let his gaze move over that seemingly blank
expression, memorizing the features and searching for any visible hint as to what was going on in that cool mind.
"Do you really think I could be of some help to you?" asked Quatre.
The question made Heero frown a little, considering the telepath had surely gained complete access to his thoughts, but he answered anyway.
"I don't know," said Heero. "I simply follow the orders of my associate. If he says we need you, then I'll work with you. I do, however, think you can help me
Quatre shook his head, returning the boy's slight frown. "But this person, you don't know even his name. I have to have something to go on in order to
locate a person. I don't need to have met them, but I must have something to connect me to him, to his essence."
His informant hadn't mentioned this, but Heero had thought of it on his way to the hidden base.
Finding an invisible person was difficult enough. It was even stranger to be searching when he didn't know anything at all about the boy aside from his age
and his mutant talent. Neither he nor the doctor knew the mutant's name, but a bit of investigation into OZ's computers had revealed an origin. The key
was getting the telepath to the only location he knew the mutant had been in contact with.
The blonde boy was watching him, a hint of disappointment visible on his open face. Heero leaned forward.
"Would you be willing to leave this place and go somewhere with me?"
The answer was blatant in those expressive eyes, but Heero elaborated. "Without the guards. I can guarantee your safety."
Quatre's eyes widened at the prospect.
He'd spent most of his life in the mansion above his companions' base. As a mutant, he was unidentified, and the Maguanacs had been careful to keep
things that way.
The thought of leaving, setting out for a potentially dangerous mission to help the dark-haired boy aroused an immediate excitement in him. He wanted to
go, to be useful, but there was another reason he'd played a hidden part in his friends' past battle. Aside from his telepathic abilities, he was little more
than a fifteen year old boy.
Dark eyes continued to watch him, and he blinked slowly, holding his eminent disappointment at bay as he warned the boy. "I'm not physically powerful
besides some simple self-defense moves. I'd likely get in your way."
Heero nodded, taking in the boy's honest tone. "You probably would if we ran into OZ, but it's necessary. If I take you to a place that he lived in, you'd
have a better chance of finding him, right?"
"Yes," Quatre said, blinking at the boy's unworried expression. "It would help if it were a place of importance to him, some place where he felt strong
emotions. A childhood home might not hold many mental traces, but it would be a start. You have a place in mind?"
"You'll find out when we get there," Heero said sharply.
His expression hardened, and he held the boy's surprised gaze.
"I don't want your followers trying to go after us. They'd attract too much attention."
The blonde dropped his eyes but looked up again after a few seconds. Heero was relieved to see Quatre's quick nod.
He softened his tone just a bit in response, not quite reassuring but not so cold.
"If you go," said Heero, "protecting you will be part of my mission. I never fail a mission."
A black-haired boy stood at the edge of a tall cliff, arms raised over his thrown back head, wind rushing through his loose shoulder-length hair. Dark
clouds congregated over his head, rumbling threateningly as they collided and churned.
The loud rumble of an aircraft lifting off reached him through the sound of the gathering storm.
Black eyes snapped open, a sharp gaze latching onto the craft, and he abruptly brought a hand down to point at the center of the plane. With a vicious
crack, lightening blazed across the sky, striking the plane. As if a molten blade, the current sliced the craft in half, igniting the fuel and sparking a blinding
burst of flames.
The raining fall of pieces on the forest below was anticlimactic. The storm disappeared as quickly as it had come, taking the dark boy with it.
A long braid of hair slashed silently against a dark unseen coat, the boy slipping into the room with a dull expression.
He didn't know why he instinctively waited until night to attack. It wasn't as if they could see him any better in the daytime. He was just more comfortable in
So much time had passed that he wondered if he could still turn visible. He had long since come to think of himself as an eternally unseen shadow in the
blackness. And it was easier than he'd imagined in the beginning.
He didn't actually have to see himself. He could tell without looking if he were hurt or dirty, nothing else really mattered.
Besides that, it had taken him far too long to remain invisible for long periods of time. Now he was unseen continuously. He couldn't risk ruining that
habit. It was such a useful habit. He could kill better this way.
Loneliness, unable to even see his own face as some bit of consolation, had become a simple fact of life for him.
Everyone who saw him died. Now they would die as well.
The soldier sitting at the control panel never even turned. He didn't sense the hand that moved silently in front of his neck, a sharp blade curving in a
sudden arc that spilled blood down his front. He made a gasping choke, his eyes wide and glazed when he slipped out of his seat.
The other man in the room leapt to his feet, staring in shock at his fallen comrade. He took a step towards him, his hand outstretched, and he moved into
hot pain as his neck was given a similar cut.
His last thought as he fell was that he could have sworn he felt an arm when he flailed his way to the ground.
It was almost too easy, the death so simple and merciless. But they hadn't shown the children any mercy. They hadn't spared a moment's thought to the
slaughter of dozens of innocents.
He wouldn't show any mercy either.
Wind rushed through long reddish-brown bangs, a silent figure watching from his perch in a thick tree. The base was close enough that he had a perfect
It was obvious what was happening, and his brows drew together in a worried frown.
Why was he leaving the safety of his base?
He could feel the excitement that filled the boy, but it didn't reach him at all. If he hadn't gotten back from his last attack he'd have found him gone.
The pale blonde boy slid into the passenger seat of a nondescript car, and green eyes snapped to the person behind the steering wheel. Dark blue eyes
sparked amid the scowling expression, recognizable as a perpetual coldness. He didn't know him. He'd never seen the dark-hared mutant before, not
once in all of his time watching the place.
Who was it? Where was he taking him?
He felt so calm near the boy. He couldn't simply let him leave. He couldn't be left behind. He knew better. Without the gentle telepath he'd never be able
to control his fury.
The car moved down the road, cutting through the thick wood that towered to either side. If one of the occupants had looked over, he might have seen
glimpses of a dark figure moving through the air, keeping pace with the car and skimming the top of the trees.
The boy hid himself by flying low over the trees, but his green eyes were narrowed with an inner concentration. He had to do more than hide his physical
form, he also had to hide himself from the gentle yet powerful mind inside the car.
He wouldn't be left behind. He would not let him go.
His steps crackled on the cold ground, and he could see the imprints of his shoes. That was the only sign of his passage.
He loved the woods, his gaze flicking over the quiet place. But it was too cold, much too cold to be traveling in nothing more than the old coat he'd worn
for nearly a year. He should have stolen a thicker one.
It made him wish he'd picked a warmer climate for camping outdoors. It was too bad there weren't any buildings near the base he'd attacked last.
But thinking of what he should have done made him imagine more. If he wished he'd stolen a coat, he might as well have wished for a car. That was just
as simple to steal.
The idea brought an image to his mind, an abrupt bout of laughter breaking the stillness.
He could just see people's faces if a car suddenly started to drive itself. It would be a stunt he'd never forget. But it would draw too much notice.
Walking briskly, he wondered how long it would be before they stopped posting his picture all over the planet.
Someday they would give up on finding him, or he'd kill them all. Someday he'd be able to show his face again, or he'd die. Either way, this sort of life
couldn't last forever.
A soft sigh passed over his lips and he shook his head, thick bangs brushing his cheeks.
There was no point thinking about it. He needed to find some place to set up camp. Hopefully, he could find a spot with enough cover that he could throw
a tent. The last time he'd tried that, a group of teens had come by and stolen it. He didn't want a repeat of that. It had been utterly infuriating to stand
aside and watch their antics, unable to protest at all lest they discover his presence.
But it was far too cold to go without some bit of shelter tonight. It was worth the risk.
Nature was crushing him with irony; it was as unfair as it was utterly ridiculous. He could call a hurricane to do his bidding, but he couldn't even start a fire
to warm his hands. And he had no one to blame but himself.
He shouldn't have come so deep into the forest. Any fire he started now would be so large it could easily destroy the entire area.
Dark eyes narrowed bitterly as he brushed a hand through his shoulder-length black hair. He pushed the straight strands out of his face and glared at the
ground, trudging through the underbrush.
At least he could keep it from snowing. So long as he kept moving, he would conserve some amount of body heat.
But the thought of walking all night made him wish he'd slept in that morning. By the time the sun came up, he'd be so tired he would have to find a hole to
crawl into for a much-needed rest. He was so tired, far too tired to be only halfway to his next target.
Suddenly he stopped, head lifted so he could smell the air. He was in tune with nature, in his element, so to speak, and the scent pervading the breeze
was too distinct to be imagined. But the odds...
He'd thought one only saw mirages in the desert. He'd certainly never heard of smelling a mirage.
That meant there was a fire nearby.
He wasn't about to kill some innocent hunter, but surely he could convince the man that he was lost or something.
Determination written on his face, he followed the smoke. He came to the edge of a small bluff and looked down. There, just as he'd hoped, was a small
tent set up beside a small but very warm looking fire.
It wasn't wise to sneak up on a hunter who could easily take a shot thinking he was a wild animal. Narrow brows drew together, and he called down to the
"Hello down there! Can I share your fire? I'm unarmed."
There was no answer. In fact, he couldn't see anyone.
A frown claimed his face as he made his way down the cliff to stop directly in front of the fire.
The flap of the tent was open, allowing heat to enter, but there was no one inside. He looked around the campsite, but didn't see anyone.
He circled the fire and crouched at the opening of the tent. The hunter would probably be surprised when he came back, but he doubted the man would
be that upset if he were to sit inside until then.
The smoke was rising from the little fire, but the heat inside the tent was much better than outside it.
Having convinced himself, the boy reached a hand inside the tent. And his fingers encountered a shoulder.
There was an abrupt shuffling, his dark eyes widening as he stared into the seemingly empty tent. For a moment, he was frozen in shock, his outstretched
hand trembling just a bit.
He took a breath and slowly extended the hand.
That sound of sudden movement came again, and he saw the back of the tent shift slightly, as if something had pressed against it.
"What..?" the black-eyed boy whispered, awe mixing with his shock. "A...a mutant? Invisible...?"
He'd never heard of such a thing, and the very idea placed a lock-down over his reflexes.
Strong hands shoved against him suddenly, catching him off guard. He fell to the ground outside the tent, his gaze shifting to follow the sounds of running
steps. He saw fallen leaves move on the ground as the footfalls entered the forest. And then there was silence, his own quickly released breath the only
Shock gave way to awe, and he caught his breath with anticipation. A mutant with such a power...
If he were to unite with such a person they would be a mighty force.
He stood quickly, his sharp black eyes turning to the dark sky as he curled his hands into fists.
Clouds began to gather rapidly, moved by his urgency. Sudden snowflakes flurried down, thickening until they became a sheet of white, blanketing the
Frowning with concentration, he enlarged the storm so it fell on an increasingly larger diameter around the place where he stood. Only when two inches of
snow covered the ground did he stop the storm.
Controlling nature made him a good tracker. The mutant couldn't hide now.
He moved through the woods, searching by the light of brief flashes of lightening until he spotted the footprints he'd been looking for.
The mutant was still running. The steps were far apart from a long stride, the weight of speed making heavy indentations. He'd have to be quick, or the
mutant would find a place where footprints weren't visible.
Despite that possibility, the boy smiled, his dark eyes flashing in the pale lightning.
If that happened, he'd try something else. At least this way he was staying warm.
He didn't know what to do.
The snow made it hard to run without loosing his footing, and his breaths were visible clouds on the cold air.
He couldn't believe this was happening. And he knew he couldn't keep running like he was. Every step he took was outlined in the impossibly sudden
The black-haired boy had to be some sort of elemental. That was the only explanation unless his luck had truly run out. Either way, his best chance was
to find some sort of hiding spot out of the snow.
With narrowed violet eyes, he found a target and leapt upwards. His hands scraped on the snow and ice-covered tree branch as he scrambled onto it. He
nearly slipped when he tried standing, but his balance held long enough for him to make the short jump to a nearby branch in a different tree. The
progress was painstakingly slow, but more efficient than using the ground.
With panicky determination, he made his way towards the nearest cliff. His gaze slid along the shadows until he found one that looked deeper than the
Heero watched the small blonde as he sat in the midst of the rubble that was once a church. The telepath was shaking as he probed the history of the
place, looking for a boy who'd once lived there.
Head bowed where he crouched, Quatre wrapped his arms around himself. The images and thoughts tied to this place were shrieks of painful horror to
his senses, chilling him to the core.
His voice came out as a soft whisper. "I...his name...his name is Duo. He couldn't control his power and OZ found out about it. They...they murdered
everyone trying to get him."
Tearing his mind away from the ruins, Quatre opened pain-filled eyes. He lifted them to meet Heero's gaze.
"He's been running ever since," said Quatre, "but...he's been killing too."
"Who?" asked Heero.
The question was asked without any hint of judgment on Heero's part. It didn't really matter so long as the mutant wasn't consumed with uncontrollable
blood-lust. As a rebel against OZ, Heero was the last person to judge another mutant's actions. It was just better to know ahead of time what sort of
person he'd be dealing with.
Quatre stared at him with visibly hurt eyes, and Heero shifted impatiently.
There was no give in the dark-haired boy's gaze. After a second, Quatre dropped his eyes.
"OZ," said Quatre. "Just OZ."
"Fine," Heero said sharply.
He watched the boy step out of the remains.
"Can you find him?" asked Heero.
"I...I'll try," said Quatre.
Following the trace, Quatre reached up to rub his temples, a habit he'd gotten into when he concentrated. He was silent for what seemed an eternity,
slipping along a path as if following a faint scent.
He abruptly found his target, the loud emotions and thoughts forming a sort of cry in his mind. Jerking, Quatre opened bright eyes.
"He's in trouble," said Quatre.
"Where is he?" asked Heero.
Heero glanced back as he led the way to the car.
"Near," Quatre said quickly.
The urgency in that contact made him rush, passing Heero by as they reached the vehicle.
"He's hiding in a cave," said Quatre. "In a forest, and someone is stalking him. Someone who can control the weather. An elemental. We have to hurry.
He can't hide there forever. He doesn't have any supplies. And he's afraid to hurt the tracker - to hurt another mutant. He's more likely to hide than to
reveal himself if it means having to fight someone his age. But if he stays where he is, he'll freeze to death."
"If he isn't found and killed first," said Heero.
Heero's eyes narrowed at the thought. If the mutant died then his mission would be a complete failure. All of his efforts would be for nothing. The thought
of failing the one thing he was good at was unacceptable. He lived for the opposition, the fight against OZ, and that fight was centered on his missions.
He couldn't fail.
"Where is this forest?" asked Heero. "Do you know?"
"I can lead you to it," said Quatre.
His attention was split between his surroundings and that vibrant mind he'd tapped into.
"But I don't know the name of the area..."
"I don't need the name," said Heero. "If we can find him, can you calm him down enough for us to approach, or do we need a tranquilizer?"
The blonde had mentioned being able to control people during the drive to the church, but Heero had reservations about depending on an unproven
power. Quatre nodded sharply, though, those pale eyes harder than they'd been before, shining with urgency.
"If he's asleep," said Quatre, "I can keep him like that until we can get him to a secure place. Will that do?"
Heero nodded, climbing into the driver's seat and jerking the door shut as Quatre got in beside him.
"We just have to get to him first," said Heero.
Though he wasn't close enough to hear the two boys, a quick glance into their minds told him everything he needed to know. His eyes narrowed in
It was too dangerous for him.
He understood why the stranger would ask Quatre to help him, but for him to go along was just too risky. Telepathic abilities aside, he wasn't capable of
defending himself. He'd get hurt.
The car moved, and he glared after it, following.
No, Quatre wouldn't get hurt. He wouldn't let him get hurt.
Surely the mutant couldn't fly. If he could, he wouldn't have bothered to run so far. So where had he gone?
Holding his coat around him, the black-haired boy looked from the last set of prints to the unmarked snow around them. After a moment, he sniffed, his
eyes snapping upward to latch onto a nearby tree.
Clever, but the mutant should have realized he would notice that the limb wasn't covered with snow.
With a new trail, he moved onward, following the marks of passage.
Now it would be dangerous, with the four males in the same area. He'd have to be careful how he flew. He couldn't risk letting one of them see him. But he
couldn't hide either. He'd be unable to protect the telepath if he kept his distance.
And where was the elemental? With snow covering the ground, it should have been easy to find a person on foot.
He'd just have to get closer until he could locate the tracker.
Wide black eyes stared at the two boys, shock coursing through him.
Who were they?
He was certain the mutant had to be nearby, but with them as a distraction, he could lose the trail.
And why were they there to begin with? Unless...unless they were after him too. And if that were the case, how could they know the mutant had run this
way? They'd come out of nowhere.
"Stay very close to me, Quatre," Heero whispered. "I don't see anybody, but I can feel eyes watching us."
"The tracker," Quatre whispered back.
He was leading the dark-haired Japanese boy, but he obeyed that warning, not straying more than a pace ahead.
"I know he's near," said Quatre, "but when I try to pinpoint him, all I get is an image of snow."
"Doesn't matter," said Heero. "Is he asleep?"
"Yes," Quatre said quickly. "A little closer, and I can keep him asleep."
"Good. Concentrate on that. I'll watch for our watcher."
Dark eyes followed the two boys as they moved in a straight path, headed toward the large bluffs in the distance. They didn't seem to be following any
tracks at all.
If they really were looking for the mutant, then how could they know where to go?
An unspoken thought resulted in the cold wind picking up until any sound of his movements was hidden as he followed the pair.
He'd found him. Hovering out of sight in case the boy looked back, he frowned down at him.
The tracker hadn't actually done anything yet. He didn't want to kill him without reason.
No, he'd wait.
Green eyes looked in the direction the blonde boy had gone and narrowed sharply.
He'd protect him. Him...and his sanity.
"It's alright, Heero. We can speak. He won't wake up."
Blue-green eyes searched the dark cave before meeting the Japanese boy's narrow cobalt-blue eyes.
"Is he here?" asked Heero.
At the blonde boy's nod, he frowned.
"Can you make him become visible? It would make things easier."
"I...I can, but...Heero. He has been invisible for at least two years. It would be...intrusive."
"Forget your compassion," said Heero.
Throwing a glance through the mouth of the cave, Heero's eyes narrowed even more.
"We have no time for it. You can apologize to him later, after we get past that tracker."
Downcast, Quatre nodded, then frowned in concentration.
Color suddenly flashed in the corner, but only for a second.
"Is that him?" asked Heero.
Heero took a step towards the corner, but stopped, looking back at Quatre.
"Can't you do it?"
"I did," said Quatre. "He's trying, very hard. But...it may have been too long. One of his fears is that he can no longer become visible. Those fears are
inhibiting him. I...I'm having trouble convincing him."
"I thought he was asleep," Heero said with a scowl.
"Oh. He is, but I can still read his subconscious mind."
"Then stop trying to convince him. Make it an order. A command. You can do that, can't you?"
Quatre sighed as he could see the other boy was getting impatient.
"I guess I'm being too sensitive," he admitted. "We don't have time."
Abruptly, there was a series of flashes from the corner. Then the figure of a boy came into view.
He lay curled on his side, his back facing them. A long chestnut colored braid of hair stood out against the faded black of his clothing. He was wearing a
long black coat, but it was visibly thin.
Nodding to Quatre, Heero moved to him.
"Are you sure he won't wake up?" asked Heero.
"Yes," Quatre said quietly.
They were the first to see him in years. It was so wrong. It made him wish there were another way. This was one of the reasons he didn't exercise his
Looking over the boy, Heero nodded suddenly.
"I'll carry him," he said, with a glance to Quatre. "Can you fire a gun?"
"Of course. It was part of my training."
"Good," said Heero. "If nothing else, maybe the sight of the gun will make the tracker wary."
"If you are talking about me," a voice said softly, "then you are mistaken."
Heero turned abruptly, eyes narrowing on the black haired boy standing in the mouth of the cave. A gun was in his hands immediately.
Quatre stared in horror, his eyes darting back and forth from one gun to the other.
"Get away from him, or I'll shoot you," said the black-haired boy.
He didn't show any fear at the sight of Heero's gun. While he hadn't heard all of what they'd said, he knew the unconscious boy was the one he'd been
following. He also realized that they planned to take the mutant with them.
"Shoot me if you like," said Heero. "But you'll be dead before you have time to fire a second shot."
Heero's voice was impassive, his muscles tensed to rush the boy. His speed was nothing to scoff at. Immediate healing was not his only ability.
"Then I'll shoot him instead," said the tracker.
The gun was suddenly trained on Quatre, whose eyes widened until they seemed to fill his face. The blonde boy let out a soft gasp and froze as he stared
at the black muzzle aimed at his head.
"No," a cool voice said. "You won't."
Black eyes widened as a blade touched his neck, a tanned arm curved over his shoulder. He hadn't even heard him. He didn't know if this new arrival was
with the other two, but he didn't dare lower the gun. He was sure he'd be killed the moment he did.
Not lowering the gun, either, Heero looked at the new boy. One vivid green eye met his, glaring, the other hidden by a sharp fall of red-brown bangs that
covered half of his face. He was a good head taller than the black-haired boy.
How had things gotten so out of hand? He didn't know what to do, hadn't counted on this at all.
Quatre stared at the two boy's standing together, still being careful not to move since the gun was still trained on him. He couldn't figure out how the tall
boy had managed to sneak up on them without him sensing it. He'd felt the tracker, even if he hadn't been able to pinpoint him. But the new one...
Quatre concentrated for a minute, probing for that mind. His eyes widened even more as he found himself touching a wall such as he'd never imagined. If
he hadn't been staring directly at the green-eyed boy, he wouldn't have believed he was real.
"What happens now?" the black-haired boy asked slowly.
He was mindful of the sharp blade touching his neck.
"I won't let them take him," he said to the boy behind him. "If I have to pull the trigger I will. Then you can kill me, but it will be too late, won't it."
"No..." said the taller teen. "I don't think you understand why they are here. Why are you following him?"
The knife loosened ever so slightly, encouraging the boy to speak.
Black eyes narrow, the boy firmly closed his mouth. He wouldn't tell them he was a mutant. Whoever they were, he couldn't take the risk.
Why was it so hard to wake? Duo wasn't exactly a morning person, but he'd never had so much trouble before.
Slowly swimming to consciousness, Duo opened his heavy eyes. His eyes widened more as he registered the voices, right behind him. But they practically
popped out of his head when he realized the arm he saw in front of him was his own.
A sharp curse sounded in his mind as he stared in horror.
He'd lost control? He never lost control while he was alseep. What the hell would cause that?
Sitting up quickly, he turned, and his mouth fell open in shock.
Four boys stood in the cave. The black-haired tracker he recognized. He was in the doorway, and a green-eyed boy had a knife to his throat, while he had
a gun aimed at a pale blonde boy. And right in front of him a dark-haired boy stood with a gun on the tracker.
It was like a Mexican stand-off.
Blinking at them, Duo wondered if they would notice if he turned invisible again and snuck out. Just as he was about to find out, all four sets of eyes were
suddenly on him.
His breath caught in his throat. That was it, he was dead.
Still, he couldn't help but try.
"Uh...would you guys mind continuing this without me?" asked Duo.
Heero blinked, startled for a moment before his eyes narrowed.
"Get behind me," Heero said sharply.
Not waiting to see if the violet-eyed boy did it, he turned back to the black-haired boy.
"Why?" asked Duo.
Heero flinched, but refused to dignify that question with an answer. Instead, he focused his attention on the boy still holding a gun on Quatre. That boy,
however, was looking in surprise from him to the person sitting on the floor.
"Are you protecting him?" the tracker asked in shock. "From me?"
He slowly lowered his gun.
"I wouldn't hurt him..."
Quatre's eyes widened and he sighed in relief, barely resisting the temptation to collapse. He'd never been so close to death.
"We aren't going to hurt him either," Quatre said quickly.
Duo looked in confusion at the boys. Then he stood and looked at the green-eyed boy who'd loosened the knife a bit more.
"How about you?" asked Duo. "If you guys aren't after me, then I'll just get out of here. Okay?"
He took a step toward the mouth of the cave, but the dark-haired boy grabbed his arm as he passed.
"You're not going anywhere," said Heero.
Heero wasn't sure what was going on, but there was no way he'd let his target get away.
Duo looked stricken for a minute. Then he moved suddenly, wrenching away and ducking to a point between Heero and Quatre - but out of grabbing
They were all looking at him now, the knife gone from the tracker's throat as the green-eyed boy centered his attention on him. Duo began to panic. He
couldn't remember the last time so many people had looked at him. He couldn't take it. Hopefully he hadn't lost complete control of his abilities.
Heero's eyes narrowed when the longhaired boy suddenly disappeared.
"Block the exit!" said Heero. "Quatre!"
The blonde boy scowled fiercely, and a sharp cry sounded near the opening as Duo abruptly flashed back and fell to his knees, head in his hands.
Breathing heavily, Duo raised tortured purple eyes to the two boys who now stood, blocking his escape. He fought the power controlling his mind, his eyes
narrowed to slits. With a groan, he disappeared again, but reappeared almost immediately as pain filled his head.
Heero crossed the room quickly, grabbing both of the boy's arms and holding him immobile.
"Quatre. Knock him out."
Duo struggled briefly before falling limp.
The black-haired boy took a quick step forward, brows knotted in fury, and Heero stood, lifting the unconscious boy.
"Let's go somewhere warmer to discus this," said Heero.
He shot a look at the boy with long bangs, the tall one who was still holding his knife.
"You, too," said Heero.
"Yes," said Quatre.
He'd had finally gotten Duo asleep deep enough to be certain he wouldn't waken soon. Now he looked over at the tall boy who was standing in the
"I want to thank you for...stepping in. And I'd like to know how you block yourself behind such a strong wall. I've tried, but I'm not very good at it."
To spend time with him...there was no question.
Quatre smiled at the monotone reply.
"And you?" he asked of the tracker.
"He isn't going anywhere without me."
Heero's eyes narrowed in sudden, inexplicable anger at the black-haired boy's sharp expression. But he calmed just as quickly.
"Let's go," said Heero.
It was a long drive to the safehouse they'd secured.
The tall boy had said he'd meet them there. No one asked how he knew where it was.
Quatre was driving, having assured Heero that Duo wouldn't wake up for hours. The black-haired boy was in the passenger seat, turned so he could see
into the back of the car, where Heero sat with Duo curled up on the seat beside him.
Black eyes narrowed as they spotted beads of perspiration on the longhaired boy's brow. He glared at the Heero.
"Does he have a fever?"
Heero's eyes narrowed, and he placed a hand on the damp brow. Then he shook his head and began undoing the long coat.
"He's just hot," said Heero. "As cold as it was out there, it's no surprise."
Black eyes followed his every move as he lifted the limp boy, discarding the coat on the floorboard. Then both were distracted by the clothing the boy was
wearing. He was dressed as a priest.
For a minute Heero remained leaning over him, merely looking at him.
The dark-eyed boy cleared his throat, his glaring gaze meeting Heero's raised eyebrow. Still watching Duo, Heero slowly sat back in the seat. He gave the
tracker another questioning glare before closing his eyes and leaning his head back.