By: Wildfire Sky
This is actually one version of the ending…and obviously the one I liked better. Enjoy the ending to "Jungle Rot" and I'll see you after the completion of my other fanfics. This was a wonderful endeavor and I'm glad to have broken back into Gundam Wing with such support from the fans. So a double thank you to you! Unfortunately, all good things must eventually come to an end…and that includes fanfics. While you can still visit them again and again, updates (except for grammatical updates) are forever lost in the great sea of So, without further ado…the conclusion to "Jungle Rot"!
When Heero opened his eyes, he found himself staring into a bright, white light, a feeling of relaxation and peace settling over his body as he let out a soft sigh. This wasn't exactly what he expected to find upon death…a scene of flames, screaming, and pain seemed more appropriate…but if some higher being decided to take him in, well, he wasn't going to complain. It was a pity, though, that there seemed no way for him to see Relena any more. He supposed heaven wasn't quite like television says it is…or perhaps if he concentrated hard enough…
Heero put his mind to forming an image of Relena, staring at the white space before him in the hopes that the image would conjure itself up. Suddenly the white light was wrenched away and he was plunged into darkness. Panic washed over him. Was he finally being sent to Hell?
"Heyheyhey! Morning beautiful!"
Yes. Yes he was.
Heero let out a growl of annoyance as a much dimmer, yellow light snapped on, blurring the edges of his peripheral vision. Turning his head to one side to glare in the direction of the lamp and the one who turned it on, his discovered the source of his seemingly unending annoyance. Duo was much too close for Heero's liking, his cheerful face mere inches away from his own. Had he the energy, Heero would have lashed out, but being as it was, the tubing and his need for rest overrode any violent actions he might have taken out on his comrade. Duo's smile turned into a full blown grin as he leaned back into the chair he was currently occupying, tossing the magazine in his lap to one side.
With the light on, Heero was able to take in his surroundings. He was in the infirmary bay of a hospital, the room one of familiarity from how many times he'd been committed to it. Diagonal to his bed, and closer to the door, was another sterilized cot, awaiting whatever unfortunate Preventer managed to get himself injured that day. Today it was empty. The steady hum and beeps of the machines next to him sounded almost soothing to his ears, providing more evidence that he was truly alive.
"Sorry about the overhead light, forgot to turn it off. So, buddy-o, are you feeling any better?"
Heero's glare intensified. "Where's Relena?"
Duo's snorted. "Gee…no 'hi Duo, thank you for saving my ass again'…no, 'hey there Duo! Yes, I'm alive, thanks to your hard work!'…no, 'Duo, my best buddy in the whole world'…"
"Duo!" Heero snarled, sitting up further in bed, "Answer the damn question. Where is Relena?" He winced as pain flared up from his side. Duo was instantly on his feet, his hands on Heero's shoulders to prevent him from sitting up further.
"Whoa there buddy, you shouldn't move just yet. They just brought you out of surgery to get that shrapnel out of your side." The American grinned and leaned back into his chair. "To be honest with you, I'm really surprised you're awake. They had to have knocked over a pharmacy with as much anti-biotic as they pumped into you!"
Heero sighed, more from relief than anything. "And what about Relena's injuries?"
Duo's smile faltered slightly. "She's fine, Heero…just a bit roughed up." The American smiled again, reaching out and giving his partner a light pat on the shoulder. "Hey man, you did good. Zechs is still pissed about a few things, but everyone knows you kept her alive. Besides, he always seems to have a bug up his ass when it comes to you."
Heero smirked slightly, more than aware of the truth in the comment. He pushed himself into a full seating position, watching Duo carefully. "Where is everyone?"
Duo shrugged, leaning back in his seat. "Who knows? Probably trying to calm Zechs down and all that. He was so…dramatic when they brought you two in. Said that they should have left you there for putting Relena in danger, that it was all your fault, that he would make you pay, blah blah blah. The usual stuff he spouts whenever you two have one of your feuds." He laughed. "Don't worry, Relena said she'd take care of him. I wouldn't worry about it."
Heero grunted in reply, leaning back down into his sterilized bedding and closing his eyes. He could feel the effects of the anti-botics coursing through him, sapping his energy as it combated the infection still raging through his body. There was a soft knock on the door and a young doctor entered, clipboard and pen in hand as he beamed at the two pilots.
"Good morning, gentlemen. And a very good morning to you as well Agent Yuy." The doctor flipped up a page on his clipboard, scanning it as he talked. "Needless to say, Agent, I'm very surprised you're awake right now. Your body needs to recover and the best way to do that is to sleep. I'll prescribe some medication for that."
Heero's eyes narrowed at the faint accent in the man's voice, then turned to Duo. "Where are we and where the hell is Sally?"
The doctor spoke up before Duo could, pushing up the glasses on the bridge of his nose. "You're in one of the new Preventer outposts located in Buenos Aires." He held out a hand. "Doctor William Able, your caretaker and, coincidently, surgeon." Able walked over to one of the cabinets on the far wall, opening it and pulling down a clear, plastic container. Inside was a long jagged piece of metal, red with blood. Able walked over, placing the container on the bedside table next to Heero. "Say hello to what nearly killed you, mister Yuy."
Heero examined it, surprised by how large it was. It was a wonder he hadn't died within a few days with something as large as that in his side.
"A few minutes more and you would most likely have died on the table." Able continued solemnly, "And there was a few close calls during surgery. I wouldn't recommend any strenuous activity for at least six months after your release from here, sir." He ran his pen down the list. "Would you like me to give you the full report?"
Heero didn't answer, just closed his eyes. Shrugging the doctor began to read. "All of your ribs are broken, both lungs punctured and damaged from smoke inhalation, your esophagus is burned, again from the smoke, hairline fracture in your upper right arm and lower left leg, concussion, fracture in your hip, dislocated shoulder, punctured stomach, and, by the way, acidic damage to your internal organs, your heart nearly ruptured from some sort of intense pressure on your chest…" the doctor looked up, "Shall I go on, or is that enough?"
Duo laughed. "Believe me, doc, we've been through worse."
Able frowned at Duo. "Yes, I spoke with Commander Une and she assures me that your friend here will undoubtedly make a full recovery." He replaced the papers on the clipboard before tucking it under his arm. "I'm happy to say, the surgery was a success. However, I'll ask that you not move around for at least a week. If you'd like to return home, I can arrange a medical transport."
Duo nodded. "That sounds great! The sooner we're out of here, the better."
Able sighed. "Of course. I'll contact Commander Une and let her know of your decision. The nurses will be checking in on you periodically, Agent Yuy." The doctor retreated from the room, gently shutting the door behind him. Duo waited until the door was firmly closed before jumping forward, his eyes bright with curiosity.
"So how did you get all those injuries, huh? I mean, you've been in worse than a plane crash and you've only had a broken bone or two. What happened?"
Heero opened his eyes, smirking at the curious American. "A very big snake."
Duo blinked then threw back his head and laughed loudly. "Are you serious? The great Heero Yuy taken down by a snake. Ha!"
There was a timid knock on the door, and two pairs of eyes swung towards the noise as the door slowly creaked open. Relena leaned her head inside, gently smiling at the two pilots. Heero's eyes widened slightly in surprise.
The young girl slowly entered the room staring at her recovering bodyguard from a distance. The slight flush in her cheeks and the unruly state of her hair told Heero that she'd most likely just woken up and quickly tried to make herself presentable. It irked him to think that she thought such an act necessary for him. At this point in time, after everything that had happened, he could honestly care less. Just the knowledge that she was safe and alive made her absolutely beautiful. Heero stared at her through deep Prussian eyes, silently beckoning her to approach.
Duo looked between the two before letting out an overdramatic sigh and stretching. "Well! It's been a long, strenuous night, and seeing that I've been up since dawn, I think I'll retire for my forty winks." He got up and walked by Relena with a smooth. "Hey Princess."
Relena turned before he could completely leave. "Thank you Duo, for coming after us."
The American shrugged. "It's no problem, Princess, just doin' my duty."
"But wasn't what you did…"
"Out of protocol?" Duo chuckled. "Damn right it was! Une is still yelling at Wufei for even agreeing to it, but we all know it's just hot air."
Relena gave him a hesitant smile. "Still, Duo, thank you for everything." She wrapped him in a short hug before releasing the slightly stunned pilot and taking his vacant seat at Heero's side. Duo took one last glance at the two before closing the door and heading off in search of an empty bed to sleep in.
Relena sat on the edge of Heero's bed, gently playing with his sheets as they sat in an uncomfortable silence.
She sighed. This was going nowhere fast. "Heero…I'm not going to sit here and have you grunting and growling at me. I came all the way down here to see how you were doing."
Heero lapsed back into silence, his gaze shifting over her face. Sighing again, Relena scooted closer until he could reach out and run her hand over the stubble on his face. It felt good…and looked good. She smiled down at him.
"I think you should grow a beard Heero."
This caused the pilot to start, his eyes taking on an amused look. "A beard?" he echoed, an eyebrow quirking.
Relena nodded. "Maybe a goatee. It makes you look so dark and mysterious…unless you take as much care of it as you do your hair. Then you'll just look like a bum!"
Heero's lips turned up into a tiny smirk. "You don't think I take care of my hair?"
"Not a bit."
Relena gently pushed a few wispy strands from Heero's face, her smile gentle as she looked at him. Heero stared back intently, his eyes narrowed as he scanned her body for any obvious injuries. Relena smiled as she watched him look over her body.
"I'm fine, Heero. Thanks to you."
The pilot's eyes flicked up to her face before he turned his head away, a dark scowl on his face. "It was my fault you were ever in that position, Relena." He growled, furious with himself. "I should be court-martialed for nearly getting us both killed."
It was Relena's turn to scowl now as she stood up and crossed to Heero's bed, leaning over him and grabbing his chin so he was forced to look at her. "Correct me if I'm wrong, Heero, but did you not just get me out of the Amazon? And I distinctly remember you fighting a giant snake for my well-being, am I right?"
"Maybe?" Relena echoed, laughing softly, "You're such a little kid, Heero. Why can't you just admit it when you've done something good and not be so shy about it?"
Heero glared at her. "I am not a little kid."
Relena laughed again, sitting on the edge of the bed and reaching out to caress his face. Heero felt his body involuntarily shift closer to her touch, his head turning slightly and eyes sliding closed as he enjoyed the feeling of her soft, cool fingers playing against his fevered skin. His eyes opened as he felt the bed shift, his heart rate increasing as he noticed she was much closer, her beautiful eyes filling his vision.
He felt her warm lips against his own, moving in the actions of a tentative kiss, her hands coming around to the back of his neck in order to arch his face closer to her searching caresses. He slowly brought an arm up and around her waist, catching her completely off guard as he suddenly forced the top half of her body against his, claiming her lips in a searing kiss that surpassed the one the shared in the darkness of the jungle. They pulled away, breathing deeply as their lungs struggled for air. Relena leaned back slightly, placing her hands on either side of Heero's immobilized body.
"I'm sure that your doctor wouldn't approve of this. You are still recovering after all."
Heero's hand gently caressed her lower arm, his expression hard but his eyes soft. "I should be held responsible for all of what's happened."
Relena frowned at him, fully removing herself from on top of him and returning to her seat. She sat down with a small huff and a glare, staring at Heero as though she were debating whether or not it would be tactful to attack him. Heero stared back expectantly, waiting for whatever reaction she might have. Relena finally sighed, shaking her head.
"Why do you insist on becoming a martyr for everything, Heero?" she asked, "The entire world is begging to meet the 'man who survived the jungle'. The President wants a new photo-buddy for his campaign…Heero, right now, we're famous, not hated."
Heero stared up at the ceiling, glaring at the tiled patters that adorned it. He hated when she got that look…it was the same look she gave her opponents right before she set into them and completely ripped apart whatever arguments they had against her. He didn't want to be famous or popular or the most sought after man in the current media. He just wanted to go home and take what he rightfully deserved. Without a doubt, Une was well aware of his decisions…and if she brought that before the President, as was required by law, he'd be forced to appear before the government's tribunal and answer for it.
"Three people are dead because of me." He insisted, trying to justify it all.
"And two of them were terrorists." Relena quickly countered. "I heard what he said about the pilots. They were as guilty as well."
"I helped them."
"They would have killed me."
"You were nearly eaten."
"Heero!" Relena exclaimed in exasperation, "It was a snake…a big snake. I can't name very many Preventers who can escape an Anaconda's grip and then kill it before I drown." She smiled. "Admit it, there's nothing you can come up with."
"I didn't follow protocols." Heero stated flatly, his tone leaving no room for argument. "I did not properly consult with you on the matters of a change in flight, I ignored the warnings of bad weather, and…" he paused, his look guilty. "And I took advantage of you. That alone is dishonorable."
Relena smiled at him, her eyes and face full of as much guilty as his. "Heero. Heero, listen to me…you did no such thing. I was as much a willing participant as you were and I'd do it again…I have done it again." She smirked when his head turned in her direction. "Don't you think I was taking advantage of you when I kissed you just now? In the state you're in a child could fight and beat you."
Heero snorted at this. "You seriously underestimate my abilities."
Relena laughed, "Only your romantic abilities." She reached out to brush aside the bangs that fell in front of his face. "When do you get to go home?"
"Transportation is being arranged now."
Relena shook her head, "Unfortunately, I have to stay here and assist with damage control…mostly the hurt feelings of the Brazilian government for being cajoled into giving up two of their newest helicopters." She smiled, "Une must have a way with words to convince the Representative of Brazil to sacrifice something like that."
Heero didn't say anything. He knew all too well how Une could trick you into doing things you didn't want to, just with a few words and flick of the wrist. She was tricking the pilots constantly, reminding them of oaths and 'favors' owed. She could be damned evil if she wanted to be. Heero felt Relena's hand on his cheek and turned his head into it, lifting the arm on his uninjured side to hold it in place. He wanted to ask for forgiveness for all that had happened these past several days…for his careless decisions, for putting her in danger, and for taking what he had no right to take. But the words just wouldn't form and he sought out her eyes with his own, hoping to convey the message through them.
Relena stared back, her eyes softening after a moment and she came to kneel beside his bed, her fingers tangled with his own. She brought it down and gently kissed the top of his hand, smiling as he started.
"You don't have to say it." She said softly, "I know and forgive you."
Heero frowned, pulling away his hand and struggling to sit up. Relena was instantly on her feet, preparing to push him back down but was stopped with a look from Heero. The young Japanese man swung his legs over the edge of his hospital cot, carefully lowering his feet to the ground and testing them to make sure they would hold his weight. As the tubing pulled at his skin, he reached down and removed the IV lines and the sensors from his chest, tossing them away even as the monitor began to alarm. He noted Relena's worried glance towards the door, but he could care less if the doctors walked in right now. He was going to be on his feet for this.
Reaching out and taking Relena's hand, he pulled her close against his body. There were footsteps down the hallway. He quickly lowered his head and whispered in her ear.
"Give me a chance…to do this properly." Taking her chin in his hand he lifted her face to his, smirking slightly as her eyes fluttered closed even before their lips touched. Her arms came up around him as the door burst open, admitting the gaggle of nurses, Doctor Able, and a bleary eyed Duo. Still Relena and Heero ignored them, lost in their own world and embrace. The medical team froze in shock, unsure of what to do until Duo let out a loud whoop of laughter.
"Way to go Heero!" he laughed. "Man, you progress fast!"
At this the couple broke apart, Heero staring over Relena's head, as the young politician glared around his form at the staring bystanders. Duo's laughter immediately stopped and with a gulp, backed out of the room. Sighing, Doctor Able turned to his nurses and ordered them out of the room, shooing them out side and closing the door.
"I don't have to tell you that strenuous activities won't make your recovery any easier." Able grumbled, walking over to the monitor and switching it off. "And the transport will be here in about an hour." He moved to the door before pausing and turning towards the still embraced couple. "Try to relax, Agent Yuy…believe me there's plenty more time in your life for other things."
As the door shut behind the doctor, Relena put her face into Heero's chest, her shoulders shaking. Heero looked down in surprise, confused as to why she was shaking. "Relena?"
When she pulled back, there was a smile on her face and tears of mirth running down her cheeks. Still laughing, she helped Heero back into the bed before crawling up next to him. "I can't believe that he though we were going to…" she shook her head. "I'm quite sure we're too early in this relationship for that."
Heero smirked, wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her close. "When is it not too early?"
Stunning, Relena was silent, lifting her head to glare at him, her face in a mock frown. "Heero Yuy!"
"It was just a question."
Laughing again, Relena put her head down against his shoulder again, closing her eyes. They laid there, enjoying each other silence, reflecting on the physically and emotionally draining experience of the Amazon Jungle. There are still parts of the world that can never be tamed by man, they both knew that now. Areas that man, no matter how strong they were or how great the technology, would be turned away viciously by the rulers of the jungles and forests that remained as guardians.
Heero and Relena enjoyed each others silence, the warmth of the room lulling them to sleep. It would take more than a lack of experience to dissolve what was forming right now. Suddenly, Relena spoke the words that would have Heero attention for the rest of the evening and into the night.
"I'd say on the second date."
Deep within the Amazon Jungle, Leonardo slowly opened his eyes, groaning in pain. When he slowly sat up, he found himself wrapped in a blanket and shelter by the high thatched roof of a village hut. The shock on his face couldn't be more pronounced as the sounds and sights of a jungle evening rolled in through the open entry. Glancing around the hut, he recognized it as that of that Oxford brat…which meant he was still alive…which meant that he needed to get the hell out of here and report all that happened. No, his master wouldn't be please, but then again, he didn't care. He was sick of the jungle and sick of his mission. He wanted to go home.
Tossing the blankets from his body with a slight wince, Leonardo stumbled to his feet, grasping the wound in his side. That bullet had come very close to killing him…indeed it should have but for his crazy luck. The initial injury had knocked him unconscious, and it was by pure miracle that they'd left him here under the care of the natives. His eyes scanning over the inside of the hut, he snatched up a long staffed spear, using it as a crutch to wobble his way from the hut and down the small flight of steps. He glanced towards where a bright fire was lit in the middle of the village, the inhabitants gathered around it laughing and sharing dinner together.
"Like one big happy family…" Leonardo spat before turning away and hobbling into the dark jungle. It was stupid, but at the moment his mind wasn't working as it should be. No, he was instead concentrating on his greatest escape from captivity and the shock that would echo around the world when people learned that Relena's would-be killer had escaped. He would rendezvous with his leader, and then, together, they would bring about their revenge on the two escaped targets.
Limping through the jungle, he noisily hacked his way into the dense thickness, his eyes concentrating on the darkening ground. Perhaps he should have brought a torch of some sort to light his way…
Leonardo whirled around, squinting into the darkness. He faintly heard the low growl that seemed to come from everywhere. Holding the staff out in front of him, Leonardo quickly turned in what he thought was the direction of the village, but the thick jungle had cut off even the faintest glow of light. He moved forward a few paces before pausing and looking about blindly. He couldn't see anything! It was pitch black and all the jungle was silent.
He turned at another snap and the feel of air rushing by as something moved past. The spear clattered from his sweating hands and, nervously, Leonardo bent to pick it up. His hand closed around the staff when he heard the harsh snarl and felt what seemed like razor sharp blades enter his back, an enormous weight pressing him down to the rotten jungle floor. He screamed in shock and pain as the blades were removed and then implanted into his back again. He swung backwards with his spear, catching it across a soft, velvety fur. The claws released him with another snarl and Leonardo tried to pull himself away from his attack, moaning in anguish. He could feel his wounds pulling with each move he made, causing a fiery pain to lance up his back. He barely made it a foot before the creature was back on top of him, the claws rolling him onto his back.
Leonardo let out one final scream before a mouth of razor sharp teeth latched onto his neck and shook him violently. Blood gushed from his mouth and Leonardo's last images of this world were a pair of piercing golden eyes filled with blood lust.
The master of the jungle finally had its meal.
The End! At last I've finished Jungle Rot and as an added bonus (because it was a plotline I just couldn't resist) I'm going to post my next story very very soon in a double-duel master blaster event! Of course, that's very very soon after an update for "The Guardian". Thanks for sticking with me through out all of this, I appreciate it so much! I certainly hope you'll come back and read my other fics, but for now, farewell, my friends…fare thee well!