A Gundam Wing Fan Fiction
Rambled Off by The Manwell
Book One: PILOTS
I'm going to throttle him. I squint in the direction of the open cell door and watch as Duo Maxwell is shoved into the gloom. He limps, trips, and staggers down the steps in a semi-controlled tumble.
He's gotten hurt. Again. At the end of my arm cuffs, my fingers curl into tight fists at the sight of him forming a puddle of black cotton and brown braid on the cold floor. Hadn't I just pulled his obnoxious ass out of the fire? Wasn't he supposed to be recovering from his last visit to OZ? I'm so aggravated by the sight of him that I almost don't realize that I'm actually kind of... glad to see him again.
Frustrated with his bullheaded stubbornness and reckless streak, I can't stop my snide remark, "Botched your mission?" The question is rhetorical. But it is a question. I frown. That should have been a statement, a chastisement. So why had it come out sounding almost soft? I rally my anger and continue to his still figure, "You couldn't destroy the base and you didn't kill Dr. J and the others." I don't realize until the words are out of my mouth that I have no idea what Duo's intent had been. Those harsh words I'd aimed at myself. Shit. I shouldn't have said that, but even if I'd wanted to apologize, I can't. Not with Wufei here. Not with OZ potentially listening in.
For a moment, there's no response but I know he's awake.
And then, in a voice strained with the effort to sound normal, he calls back, "How about a little sympathy?"
I open my mouth to reply but he obviously doesn't expect a response from me. Or he doesn't want to hear it.
"In any case, I'm still glad I decided to come here." Slowly, gingerly, he turns his head so that his gaze focuses on Wufei. "I've got good news. Your Gundam and mine are being rebuilt as we speak, you know."
No, I hadn't known. And by the look on Wufei's face, he hadn't known either.
Duo sighs happily. "I can't wait until they're done..."
And as much as I want to be furious with him, I understand his need. My Gundam isn't just a machine, a tool. It's who I am. "Looks like OZ will be keeping us alive for a while," I say, voice carefully neutral. "It's a good chance so don't die yet."
He makes a soft grunt of amusement. "Don't worry about me, pal."
I blink. I am worried. I scowl. Shit... again.
"I have no intention of dying that easily. There's... the colonies to fight for."
He'd just hesitated there. What had he been going to say? What is Duo really living for?
"Just watch me," he says rakishly, "I'll become the God of Death once again!"
I have to smile at Duo's spirit. The guy just doesn't know when to quit.
"But right now..." he continues, exhaustion painting his words, "I need some sleep."
And then he's out. My pulse spikes in my veins. I don't think about concealing my concern any longer. I creep over to him and gently assess his condition. His pulse is steady, his breathing unobstructed, his temperature normal. I don't dare attempt to remove his clothes to check for other injuries. Duo Maxwell is, first and foremost, a highly trained soldier. I study him for a moment more, happy that he has at least arranged himself in the position least likely to aggravate his old injuries.
I climb midway up the steps and situate myself between him and the cell door. I tell Wufei, "He'll be all right."
I think I say the words more for my benefit than because I really think Wufei gives a damn. A small smirk tugs at the corner of my cellmate's mouth. Apparently, he's figured the same thing. I decide to shut up.
Silence settles in the dark room and an indeterminate length of time crawls by. Then, voice tinged with curiosity and amusement, Wufei wonders, "Is he always like that?"
"Like what?" I snap. "A pain in the ass?" There's no response. Hell, I'd known exactly what Wufei had been asking. I finally acknowledge quietly, "Yeah. He is."
"He has spirit," Wufei contributes thoughtfully.
"Yeah. He does." More than me. My gaze stays focused on the unconscious pilot a few feet away as I silently compare and contrast the two of us. There is something fundamentally different and yet the same in our characters. We're both soldiers and pilots... and yet... Where I see my future as a series of duties and responsibilities, Duo seems to see the future as a game. What are little things like a thorough beating and a humiliating capture compared to returning to battle armed with a superior mobile suit? He'd decided to forgo the mission in favor of greater glories to be had in the future. If I had faced the same options, what would I have chosen?
I'm... not sure.
"I would be honored to fight side-by-side with him in a real battle," Wufei says quietly. Sincerely.
Without thinking, I reply, my gaze still locked on Duo, "I already am."
This scene is from episode 23.
: Episode 23: Heero and Wufei have already been captured by OZ. They watch as Duo gets chucked into the holding cell with them. Heero berates Duo's inability to finish the mission. Duo ignores him and delivers the good news to Wufei that their Gundams are being rebuilt.
End of PILOTS