So, this is the last chapter of this fanfic but the Story isn't told yet. There are two sequels coming, continuing the Story about the boys. The next installment is called 'Price of trust' and the first chapter will bei uploaded very soon. If you don't have me on alert and don't want to put me but still want to read that, just let me know your E-Mail addy and I'll inform you about tue first upload.
But now, on wich the story:
Shun's eyes wandered over to his friend, again. He was worried about Hyoga, who was walking beside him silently, not once complaining, keeping the pace. But Shun knew that his friend must be hurting. A lot.
The guilt over the fact that he had caused some of this pain didn't help his peace of mind either. Last night, he had kept the other boy warm while he slept, burning his Cosmo around them. It had been exhausting doing this for such a long time, but seeing Hyoga's hands take on a more normal color and knowing to be able to do at least something made it worth the effort.
He still couldn't understand why Athena, his brother and the other Saints didn't meet up with them to get them out faster. The bombs were dealt with, after all. Had Saori been afraid that they might fail at that? Was that the reason? No, if they hadn't succeeded in disarming the bombs, fleeing despite that fact, there would be no stopping her in any case, which meant they wouldn't have attempted escape then. Athena must know that. She could have sent some of her men without Cosmo to meet them halfway. If they'd show up, fine, if not then they'd know that something had gone wrong. It all made no sense at all. Something just felt 'off'. They must have had a good reason, but he wasn't sure he'd like that reason.
Shun had wanted to ask Hyoga, but he didn't want to exhaust his friend more by giving explanations. He would get to know the reason soon enough, he thought with a silent sigh. They hoped to reach the boarder of Natasha's lands late today. They'd have enough time to talk, once in security.
So they walked silently for several hours until mid-day, when, out of the blue, a branch snapped behind them. Too distinguishable and too out of place in the eerie silence of the winter landscape. They both turned around with a start, just in time to see six of Natasha's guards step out of the trees behind them. Each held a vicious looking gun, all muzzles securely trained at the two boys.
Shun and Hyoga instinctively shuffled closer to one another in a defensive stance, glaring defiantly at their pursuers. One of them said something in Russian and Shun threw a sideways glance at Hyoga. "What did he say?"
"Can't you guess? They always say the same," the Russian answered ironically.
"They want us to give up without any fight?" Shun asked with raised eyebrows.
The two boys exchanged a mischievous smirk. Six ordinary men taking on two professional fighters of which one was a Saint.
"Come and get us," Hyoga challenged coldly.
The guns were held more tightly, meant to threaten in return and the men moved their fingers tight against the triggers.
"Hyoga. Stay back please. I can take them out alone and we don't want to risk injuring your hand further."
Hyoga nodded and Shun walked forward slowly and deliberately. Even though he was way above their league in matters of combat, he, like all warriors worth their name had foremost learned not to underestimate an adversary.
"Stop," one of the guards warned. "I'll shoot." Shun wasn't impressed at all, even though he understood the broken English the guard had switched to, and only kept on walking slowly and with a slightly lowered head towards the now more and more uncomfortable looking man, never letting him out of his sight.
The guard licked his lips nervously glancing over at his companions, obviously unsure what to do now. He finally pulled the trigger when Shun didn't even slow down and kept on walking. As if that shot had broken through any hesitation, which might have ruled before, the first bang was immediately followed by five others when the other guards, nervous as well, fired their rounds at Shun. They had all heard about the powers a Saint was supposed to possess and they were more than uncertain. The bullets of their guns left the weapons but didn't reach their destination and ricocheted off before touching Shun, as if they were thrown off by a invincible barrier. Shun didn't stop his forward movement until he stood directly in front of the barrel of the gun of the first guard, looking at the man behind it calmly.
Hyoga saw Shun grip the barrel and bend it with one hand and no visible effort at all upwards at a 90° angle. The guard looked at him in surprise and fear. The big man's face sported a thin sheet of sweat and he blinked a few times, before he tensed, threw away his weapon with a yell and attacked Shun, only to be knocked out with one single blow. The other guards approached too, ready to fight. Shun stayed relatively passive but blocked each attack without any effort, sending the men to ground one after the other.
Hyoga observed the whole thing more or less interested. The guards didn't stand a chance against Shun. He had expected them to send more men, but he wasn't about to complain. They had had enough trouble as it was.
He didn't see the movement behind him but felt the blow against his temple as the world around him exploded in a flash of agony and he fell down like a stone.
He was still down on the ground, the pain in his head and hand almost consuming his conscious thoughts, when he heard Igor's voice roaring above him.
"Stop that or I'll kill your friend here and now."
Shun heard the booming voice behind him and turned around to see Hyoga on the ground and Igor, Natasha's main guard standing over him, his gun pointing at The Cygnus Saint's head.
Shun watched worriedly as his friend tried dazedly to prop his upper body up on his elbows, a small trickle of blood running down his temple. But before he succeeded to lift himself halfway up, Igor kicked him in his already sore ribs and he collapsed again with a moan.
"Stop it!" Shun yelled, taking one step towards the downed Russian. But Igor lifted one hand in warning.
"I know that you are fast and can take me out easily. But are you sure you can reach me fast enough to stop me from pulling the trigger? Are you willing to take that risk? Give up now, and you both will live."
Shun tore his eyes from the big man and glanced down at Hyoga. His friend was pretty much out of it, barely clinging onto consciousness. He could not expect any help from him.
Shun had already moved with the speed of light, using his seventh sense and with that he could reach Igor, before he would be able to pull the trigger, but he had exhausted himself, burning his Cosmo all night long. He wasn't sure if it would work. And he was not ready to bet Hyoga's life on it. He'd have more chances to break out later when they let their guard down.
He gave a short nod to Igor, who smirked at him and called an order to one of his men in Russian. Shun felt somebody approach from behind. His hands were yanked, none too gently, behind his back and he felt the cool metal of handcuffs close around his wrists with a snap. He smiled. Did they really think they could bind him with those? They were in for a surprise then. He saw Igor relax his finger, moving it slightly off the trigger and lowering the gun to his side. Shun had been waiting for this moment. He concentrated on his Cosmo, ready to burn it and break free of the cuffs, but instead of the flow of energy, all he felt was a searing pain exploding in his head and coursing through his entire body like a current of electricity. He moaned and his knees buckled, giving in under him. He managed to stay on his knees but could hardly breathe through the pain. He panted and felt the agony slowly abate again.
He heard Igor laugh. "Natasha's witch put a spell on the cuffs. As long as you wear them, you can't use your powers. I have orders to bring you back to her, and this I will do. I'll also carry out my order concerning the traitor with pleasure."
Shun didn't understand at first until he looked up again and saw Igor kneel down on one leg beside Hyoga's prone form, putting the barrel of his gun against the stunned boy's neck.
"We don't want to risk letting him survive, now would we?" he asked with a smirk while he tightened his index finger against the trigger.
Shun realized at this moment that Igor was about to execute Hyoga in front of his eyes.
"NO!" He screamed at the same time as the sound of the shot ripped through the cold air.
With a horror-constricted heart, Shun kept his eyes on his friend, but there was no blood on Hyoga's head where the bullet should have hit him. Shun's gaze wandered up to Igor, who stared straight ahead with an astonished look on his face, before he begun to fall over as if in slow motion. The Russian guard hit the ground heavily, only inches besides Hyoga and then lay still, giving sight to the red mass at the back of his head, where should have been skull, skin and hair.
Some new men appeared out of the woods behind the fallen man, all of them armed. The biggest of them, a giant of a man, tall and broad-shouldered, his self assured stance and no nonsense eyes speaking of a man used to being obeyed was clad in a heavy, expensive looking fur-coat and hat. He addressed Natasha's guards in a near whisper, full of command and threat, giving them an order in Russian, his small, silver handgun still dressed at them.
Shun began to understand - the tall man must have shot Igor. One of the bigger weapons that his fellow men carried would have blown off the man's head instantly. But who were they?
In mute shock, their attackers' eyes were glued on Igor's corpse for an endless second longer, before one after the other looked up at the new man in charge. With hesitant and frightened movement, they lay their guns down to the ground before their feet, before they raised their hands in surrender.
The leader barked another order and some of his men started to collect the weapons and keep the guards under surveillance. Shun felt one of the men approach from behind and he swirled around, defiantly. He was grateful that their appearance saved Hyoga but he was still not ready to trust those strangers in any way.
"Relax, Saint. We're on your side," he heard the leader say in accented English and he turned back, facing him.
A low groan led his attention towards Hyoga, who was starting to prop himself up on his arms again. Shun wasn't sure he was fully aware of the going on's around him yet, for he seemed still quite confused. The big man tilted his head towards the former Saint, saying something to one of his men, who had stepped up to his side as soon as the other's weapon had been laid down. The man nodded, walked over and knelt beside the semi conscious boy while he ignored Shun completely.
"Hey, leave him alone," Shun protested, ready to defend his friend from any eventual danger.
"I told you that we are on your side. Sergey is a medic. He only wants to help him," the leader said.
Shun felt somebody behind him reach for his bound hands, undoing the cuffs. As soon as the second cuff clicked open and he was free, he hurried over to his friend. Hyoga was now sitting up with help of the Russian man, who examined the small wound on his temple. He said something to the younger, who nodded, wincing from the movement.
Shun crouched down beside his friend who sat on the ground, his elbows propped on his pulled up knees, and head buried in his hand.
He laid one hand lightly on Hyoga's shoulder and waited until his friend looked up at him. "You alright?" he asked worriedly.
Hyoga gave him a pained smile. "Apart from the worst headache you can imagine… Yes, I'm fine."
"Do you know who those men are?"
Hyoga nodded again. He gestured towards the big man. "Shun, this is Dimitri Kavolsky. A friend of mine." He looked up at the Russian man, switching from Japanese to Russia.
"Thank you for helping us. You saved my life."
The big Russian gave a toothy grin. "Happy to return the favor. We are even now. We will have to walk a little while to a big clearing, where we will be picked up by a helicopter. I will bring you to an airport and then you'll be back in Japan in no time."
Hyoga nodded and stood up but swayed a little. Shun held him by his upper arm until he regained his equilibrium. "Are you sure you're fine? You don't look so good."
Hyoga smiled. "I'm good. Nothing an Aspirin won't cure. Kavolsky said he has a helicopter, which will pick us up and take us to the next Airport. We are as good as out of here."
"Who is this Kavolsky anyway? An associate of Saori?"
"I'll explain all, once we are on the plane for Tokyo. It is too long a story for now."
With those words he walked off slowly, following the lead of Kavolsky and his men. Shun followed behind, keeping close to his friend. Natasha's guards were left, tied to a tree. It would take them a while to free themselves. By that time, the Saints would be long gone.
They walked for about two hours, until they reached the clearing, where a green and black military style helicopter stood waiting, guarded by one man leaning with his back against the cockpit door, his gun held loosely against his shoulder.
They approached and Kavolsky gave his orders. The man who had stayed by the aircraft and one of the men with them mounted the cockpit and the rest of them got into the back.
Hyoga leaned his head back in the soft seat, sighing softly. He had a really bad headache, which hadn't gotten better while they walked. On the contrary. And as the pilot now started the helicopter and the whole cabin began to vibrate softly, his headache mounted from real uncomfortable to outright painful. He closed his eyes and grimaced. A hand on his arm made him look up and see Sergey hold two pills in his hand, a friendly and compassionate smile on his face. "That should take the edge off it."
Hyoga nodded gratefully, took the pills and dry-swallowed them. He felt the cool dampness of a wet towel against his face, as Sergey cleaned the small laceration on his temple and applied a band-aid afterwards.
After a while, the pain in his skull became a mere dull ache and by the time they reached the airport, he had nearly fallen asleep in the comfort of the warm cabin.
As soon as they had landed at the airport and the rotor had stilled, Shun exited the aircraft, followed by Hyoga.
Kavolsky too got out and walked them to the entrance of the main buildings, where he addressed Hyoga. "From now on you should get home safe." He pulled out four plane tickets and handed them to Hyoga. "The plane for Moscow leaves in four hours. Then you'll have only an one hour wait for the connecting flight to Tokyo."
"Thank you for your help," Hyoga said.
The man grinned and clapped him friendly on the back. "I owed you, Tovarish. I wish you both a good trip home. "
He nodded to Shun and turned around to leave the two boys.
"And now?" Shun asked.
Hyoga smiled at his friend. "We have four hours to wait. What do you think if we go and eat something. I don't know about you, but I'm starving. A soup and some cereal bars per day, is not what I call a healthy meal."
Shun smiled and nodded.
A little later, they sat in the single small restaurant of the Airport, looking through the menu.
Hyoga looked up at his friend who had a frown on his face, staring a bit lost at the card in his hand.
"What is wrong, Shun? You can't decide? It is not like they had a lot to choose from."
Shun looked up at him. "I'm sure I would find something really fast, but…"
"But?" Hyoga asked.
"Can't they put the text in English here at an airport?"
Hyoga chuckled. "This is only a local airport."
"Still. I mean, who ever invented a language with a writing that looks more like hieroglyphs than letters."
Hyoga snapped the menu from Shun's fingers with a smile. "And that from a guy, who's maternal language is Japanese," he murmured.
He read trough the menu, translating for his friend who gave him an answering, innocent smile. Hyoga smiled as well. It looked like Shun was getting better. His talking about his bad experience seemed to have helped. Hyoga could not start to tell how relieved he was. He wouldn't have been able to deal if he had lost Shun forever. His friend would certainly still need time to process what he had been through, but it looked as if Shun was coming back slowly.
A little later, after Hyoga had ordered the food for them and they had received the plates, Shun looked up at his friend. "Are you gonna tell me now why the others didn't come here to help us escape, and how Athena has managed with your Cosmo?"
Hyoga sighed, closed his eyes for a second and then looked up at the younger boy. "It is a rather long story and I would like to tell you in peace. You're probably not going to like what I will tell you. Can you wait until we are in the plane for Japan? We'll have enough time then. I don't want to tell you here in a busy, loud airport, and the connecting flight to Moscow will be too short." Hyoga knew that was not the real reason why he didn't want to tell Shun yet. Not the most important reason, anyway. He wasn't keen to admit it, but he was afraid of Shun's reaction. Once in the plane, there was no way for Shun to evade him and he had to hear him out, talk it through if necessary. He knew Shun and didn't think he'd judge him. The younger boy was his best friend and vice versa and they would never ever abandon one another for anything. What Hyoga feared, was that Shun would blame himself, which Hyoga didn't want to happen. He didn't want Shun to think that it was his fault. The gentle Andromeda Saint didn't need that on top of the other trauma he had endured, and Hyoga would lay into his friend until he believed him too
Shun saw the intent look in the blue eyes and nodded. For some reason, this seemed very important to Hyoga. "Of Course."
Shun watched Hyoga turn his attention back to his food, struggling one-handed with some kind of pastry. He finally managed to tear the food apart with his fork and Shun lowered his gaze as well, biting his lower lip in thoughts. He had feared that something was not as it was supposed to be. Hyoga's look right before had confirmed that. He knew his friend too well and could read him better than anyone else could. Hyoga worried about something. Something to do with what he wanted to tell him. Had Natasha activated one of the bombs? Or did something happen to one of the others? He suddenly felt worried about his brother. No. Hyoga would have told him had something happened to Ikki. But he could not think of anything else that would have kept his brother from coming to his rescue. Ikki was sometimes a little over-protective. He never complained, since Ikki had saved his life before, and to be honest, it felt good to know someone cared at this point, but sometimes he wished his older brother would have a little more faith in his ability to fight and let him finish his battles on his own, even if it didn't look good for him. All the others had been there. Where it had looked as if they would lose a fight, and in the end they had still won and came out of it, stronger than before.
But now he worried as much about his brother as the other way around. He wanted to know but he trusted Hyoga's judgment. He would know soon enough.
"Ikki is fine. It is nothing like that, Shun," he heard Hyoga say.
His head jerked upwards to meet Hyoga's smiling face, surprised that he had guessed his thoughts. Guess he wasn't the only one able to read his friend.
He answered with a smile of his own.
"I will tell you Shun. But relax. Nobody died or something like that," the Russian said.
A few hours later, they sat in the airplane towards Moscow. It was a relatively short flight, and once they arrived at Russians capital city, they had to hurry to catch the connecting flight to Tokyo.
They boarded and let themselves fall into the comfortable seats, Shun taking the window seat, both pretty much out of breath. At least they didn't have to check the luggage, since they had only the duffel, which had stayed back in Russia. They didn't need it anymore now, and left it with Kavolsky and his men to throw it away.
Shun glanced out of the window, while the plane got ready to take off, and only looked over at his companion after a while. Hyoga looked exhausted, he thought. No wonder, after all they had been through, and Shun was sure that the broken arm hurt his friend.
After the plane had taken off and was slowly gaining altitude, Hyoga was already half asleep.
Shun slightly touched his friend's arm and Hyoga's head jerked up. "You would be more comfortable lowering the seat, Hyoga," he said in a low voice.
Hyoga rubbed his eyes with his good hand. "I'm sorry Shun. I didn't mean to fall asleep on you. I promised to explain all…"
"Hyoga. You are exhausted," he interrupted, when Hyoga opened his mouth to protest. "I know that we are well trained to deal with what the last few days gave us, even without Cosmo, but you're not used to it. You have been running on adrenalin for quite some time and now the stress is over, we have eaten something solid, and don't forget the pain pills… I can tell that you're dead on your feet. Sleep. You can tell me when you wake up. We will be in the air for several hours, there will be enough time. You need the rest more. "
Hyoga nodded with a sigh. Apparently, Shun had read his friend right for he didn't argue further, leaned the seat backwards, closed his eyes and was soon after asleep.
Shun smiled and looked out the window at the clouds moving by, feeling the fatigue creep up on him as well. A few minutes later, he was also fast asleep.
Continued in 'Price of trust'