Disclaimer: Don't own anything of Gundam. Fan Fiction of Wing. Nor do I own any afore mentioned products or companies named.

Here's my new Fic, hopefully you'll love it as much as I loved the idea that popped into my head on a drive home from the Comicon!

Road Kill

Chapter 1: Drifting

Duo wiped his forehead again and tried to shove his long bangs out from in front of his eyes; they were heavy with sweat and kept falling into his violently purple eyes. He stopped walking long enough to set down his military issue duffle bag and pull out a red bandanna. He was tired to the sting of sweat and there was only one way to keep his impossibly long hair out of his face. He pulled back his bangs and fit the bandanna over his head, he tied it off, picked up his bag and started walking again.

Duo took another small swig of water from the water bottle he'd bought at the last city he'd been in, the gas station at the side of the road was where his last driver had left him. It had been a shock to step out after only a few hours to find that the weather had gone from cool mountain air to harsh hot desert air. It wasn't dead air like he always thought of when he thought of the desert, but it was still callous and hot.

Duo had lingered there, going inside to use the bathroom and buy a bottle of water, and then when he'd reasoned that he wasn't going to get another ride from there, he'd left and started out on the highway again on foot. Being a weekday during the dieing summer months when families traveled, the highway wasn't busy, but there was a steady flow of trucks and cars.

Duo walked on with his bag back over his shoulder and his headphones snaking out of his backpack. He was glad he'd saved the battery during his last pick up and talked with Jamie and Pat instead of just continuing to listen to his music. But the small desert town he'd just left had been the last stop for the two women, who were sorry they couldn't take him further but wished him luck on his journey west.

Duo shifted his bag, even if he didn't own that much, it was still a lot to carry in the low nineties heat. His cloths, a couple pairs of jeans and t-shirts. He had a hooded jacket in there somewhere, his lap top and the cords for all his electronics. In his backpack were personal effects, paints, sketch pads, tools. Snacks, his water and the MP3 player he loved dearly. It was all he needed in the lifestyle he lead.

The only stable thing in Duo's life right now was his website. a site advertising his odd jobs of personalizing anything. Duo had done everything from painting cars to building computers, to setting up business security systems. He had a rep that was growing everyday on the net and he was coming close to having a stamp in his passport for every country on earth and he already had one for every colony. Duo smiled thinking how he'd become so well traveled but only seemed to ever pick up new curses and swear words instead of languages and worldly knowledge.

Duo turned to walk a few steps backwards with his thumb out as a group of heavy traffic passed him. He kept walking as they all passed him and though he was still stuck walking out in this heat, he was smiling like a damned loon. He still loved it, drifting from city to city, job to job. He probably had enough money in the bank to stop and settle down and live comfortably for years before he'd have to start working again, but where was the fun in that. Duo hadn't been able to calm down after the war had ended like everyone else had. He'd always felt strange to be holed up in one place too long. Even the brief times he'd spent at safe houses with the other pilots had made him restless to be moving again. And besides, he'd always driven everyone mad with his boisterousness and endless energy. Lord knows why Heero or Wu-Fei hadn't shot him just to get some peace and quiet all those years back.

So when the war had ended and everyone had been expected to settle down and try to live something akin to normal lives, Duo had gotten a condo and a job as a mechanic. He hadn't felt the call of the Preventors like Heero and Wu-Fei had, nor had he seen any future in finding a place in the government like most of the ex-soldiers seemed to see. For him, it had almost been enough at the time to settle down and find his notch, but it hadn't been more than a few months before the road had called to him. Duo had spent a year traveling, earth and the colonies, before he'd thought of the idea of He'd been brought on to the idea when a friend from one of the cities he'd stayed in for a few weeks called him back through e-mail to help him with a computer problem.

Being out of work, Duo had found himself hitchhiking back and halfway through fixing the computer had thought of the website. He'd stayed long enough to get his first job and then set out. At first, all of his jobs were from the different people he'd meet through that one year in nine different states, three different countries and probably around twenty different cities and towns. But as his site had grown he began to pull in business from all over.

Now he hitchhiked everywhere, not because he couldn't afford anything else, but for the excitement, for the people he met and for the places he found along the way. He slept under the stars or out among them. It was a feeling he couldn't replace and never wanted to let go.

Duo heard more cars coming and stuck out his thumb again; he smiled big and hoped they saw him as harmless and friendly. Just another guy down on his luck, looking to get out of the heat and a little closer to his destination. It was always a nice surprise when someone pulled off the road ahead of him and he trotted up to the car to find the door unlocked for him. This time it was a large, silver SUV. Duo climbed in, dumping his bag at his feet when he thanked the driver.

"Thanks! It's so hot, I didn't know it was going to be so dry either, I probably should have bought another bottle of water." Duo grinned at the man in the drivers' seat who smiled back.

"Yeah! No problem, how far are you going?" The man was tall, even sitting down; it reminded Duo of his still slightly elfish figure. He had shaggy blonde hair and brown eyes; he was wearing a grey sweater with burgundy cuffs and faded black jeans. He started up again when there was a break and merged in.

"I still have two hundred miles to go." Duo admitted, hoping that maybe this man had to go farther.

"Ah, you're in luck, I still have five hundred." He smiled brightly. "I'm Derek."

"Duo." Duo smiled, shaking the offered hand quickly. He ignored the slight chill he got from shaking the man's hand and settled back into the seat.

"Wow," Duo gave astonished admiration at the right time, "You been on the road long?"

"Days now." Derek laughed. "I'm getting real sick of fast food and hotels."

"I hear that, I'm planning on a big steak dinner soon as I can manage!" Duo laughed with him. He took another swig of water and reached inside his backpack to stop his MP3 player when he realized that Derek was just friendly enough to talk with him all the way, was probably lonely himself. Never mind the creepy feeling or the bad taste in his mouth that just wouldn't wash away.

"So, what takes you to the western states? Returning home, or you visiting something?" Derek left the question open and Duo picked it up.

"Work, I have a job to get to." Duo couldn't help chuckling at the look Derek gave him.

"Isn't this a rather unprecedented way to get to work?" Derek asked, he pulled a soda out of a cup holder and Duo suppressed his look of longing when he saw the cup and straw. He'd passed up the better tasting soda for water in hopes of avoiding dehydration, but he was a soda drinker through and through.

"It's what I do, don't like other transportation, and I'm not the richest guy in the world," ok, that was stretching it a little, Duo wasn't very rich, but he was well away from being poor, "I'm freelancer, my clients are willing to wait."

"Wow, so what do you do exactly that give you such freedom while I race away to get my job done!?" Derek asked.

"Oh, I have a web site; I do kind of odd jobs." Duo hadn't really every found a way to explain his job on clear terms; he let other people do that.

"Oh yeah?" Derek's eyes lit up in interest, "what kind of odd jobs?"

"I update computers, I do car engines and paint jobs, I figure in a few years they won't be able to surprise me anymore, at least, I'm hoping." Duo grinned broadly as Derek laughed for him. He mentally thanked whatever force had brought him this stroke of luck, not believing any of those superstitions himself really, but knowing that Derek probably did. Duo was always prepared for bad luck and had trouble believing that any god might grace him with some good luck. His overactive imagination supplied him with a mental phone that had a large caller ID screen that said, God or the horse that lost his shoe thirty miles back, in block letters.

"Wow, you're so lucky, I've got a job with advertising, wish I had your freedom!" Derek admired.

"Yeah, took me a while to realize what I wanted to do," he left out the words, after the war, learning a long time ago that that was a sure conversation killer and just made people uncomfortable, "But I finally got it right. Wouldn't trade this for any other job you could offer!" Duo had been glad when people stopped recognizing him on sight from the war and he got a lot more rides that weren't so damned uncomfortable.

"Wish I had that kind of courage." Derek mumbled, letting the words hang in the car, but not in an uncomfortable way.

"Didn't take courage, took a great love of the open road." Duo said automatically, quickly wondering if he'd gone too far, but was reassured when Derek smiled at him.

"Do you have a home to go back to after?" Derek asked, taking his turn with wondering where the boundary on too personal was.

"Nope." Duo got a vague buzzing sound in the back of his head at that question, but ignored it. "Just keep wondering. My clients put me up as part of payment."

"Doesn't that get lonely?" Derek asked.

"Naw," Duo shrugged, shifting his back pack in his lap. "I'm at home on the road."

"What kind of music do you like?" Derek asked, changing the subject, perhaps feeling as if he'd gone too far.

"Anything really! I love hearing new stuff," Duo embellished, "You got a CD book?" Derek fished under his seat and then produced a thick black CD wallet. He handed it over to Duo, surrendering the task to him.

Duo began to flip through with relish, passing up albums he already had and searching from something he didn't recognize. He finally pulled out a CD and pushed it in. When the first notes drifted out of the speakers, Derek reached over and turned up the volume, "These guys are great!"

Duo smiled broadly and listened to the sounds of French words mixed with synthesizers and an electric violin. They listened as the miles drifted by, Duo would comment and Derek would tell him something he knew about the band or the song depending on the track.

Duo watched the road signs, they were less than one hundred miles away now, he'd changed CD's once and they were now on a girl rock group. Duo sipped his water still trying to get rid of that weird taste on his tongue and talked over the music.

"You know anything about this city?" He asked.

"Sure, I've been here before, what do you wanna know?" Derek asked.

"Is it true this city used to be two different ones?" Duo asked, ignoring the buzzing in the back of his head that wanted to grow stronger, but he just pushed it away again.

"Yeah, and about three towns too, it's huge. Take you a couple hours to get from one side to the other, and that's without traffic!" Derek smirked. "Hopefully we'll hit it before rush hour though, we're making good time."

"All right. You can just drop me off when you get gas, I have a map here somewhere, and I can make my way from there." Duo said, they were eighty miles away now.

"You sure? You don't need to be further south or north or anything?" Derek asked.

"Naw, I made sure to come into the city on this highway, it's fairly close." Duo reassured him.

"All right." Derek said smiling, as if Duo were crazy to spend two more seconds than he had too out in the heat. "But if I forget, it was great driving with you, it gets lonely for me, even if it's home for you."

"Yeah!" Duo grinned, "Thanks for picking me up! For all you know I could have been an axe murderer or something!" They laughed and Duo absently played with the handle at the top of his backpack, looping his wrist through it. His feet were already tangled up with the strap for his duffle at his feet. He had a habit of that, he didn't bother to try and stop. Knowing full well that his hands would find something else to do, if not just as annoying, but more destructive. He needed the map he had; he could not afford to rip another one into confetti out of boredom or habit.

Duo felt his stomach rumble, he really needed to stop for food at the first place he found, he'd last eaten yesterday evening, and he wasn't really a breakfast person. Duo was looking around outside, still amazed with the scenery, it was all so alien to him, but still beautiful in its own way. He'd never known about dust tornados till he'd started walking along the highway out here. The wind made tornados of dust that could be no taller than him, or towering into the sky so that you could see it from miles away. Duo was almost enamored, if he didn't like real trees and grass so much, he might've made an effort to stay on the west coast, but as it was, he still found he had a tendency for higher elevations.

Duo suddenly sneezed, and then again. He felt water spring to his eyes. As much as he did like the desert, it was a double edged blade, he'd found a whole bunch of desert plants that he was allergic too. Duo looked around a little, people always had tissue or napkins when they made these journeys, if not just from when they stopped and picked up some fast food and the bag they were handed was over stuffed with them.

"You go a Kleenex or something Derek? One of those bushes outside doesn't particularly like me" Duo reached out and popped open the glove compartment as he used the inside collar of his shirt on his eyes and froze. Derek froze, eyes no longer on the road, and the girls in the background screamed through the car speakers in a way that was almost comical. Duo probably would have laughed if the situation had been any different.

Duo stared and almost wasn't sure of what he was seeing, but there wasn't much else it could be. Blood stained rope, curled up in the glove compartment, a roll of duct tape, and a pair of black leather gloves.

Duo felt the buzzing in his head become full blown so that it drowned out the girls in the stereo and the sound of his suddenly calm breathing. Duo was very aware of how Derek's smile changed and his eyes seemed to finally register as dangerous, and scream killer. Duo was conscious of a smell coming from the backseat that he'd ignored earlier, but seemed stronger, even with the air still on, blowing it away from his senses. Blood. The moment Duo recognized it for what it was, he had a few ideas about what was going on here and what was going to happen. So when Derek didn't even slow down while drawing a four inch blade from his other side between the door and the seat, Duo was only slightly surprised. Derek was fast; he switched hands and thrust the knife down into Duo's left thigh and then produced a second one.

Duo didn't let the tactic distract him; he ignored his leg and tried to block the next knife coming for his neck. His left arm was lain open from wrist to elbow but his jugular remained intact. The car slowed very quickly and swerved off the shoulder, Derek hit the breaks and attempted to stab Duo again. Duo was barely able to get his seat belt off and deflect the next few blows. Derek tried for his neck again, and when Duo's arm came up, he got a knife blade in his face instead. The cut ran from the corner of his left eyebrow and down his face to the middle of his cheek, skipping the concave socket of his eye so that the cut was disjointed in the middle.

Derek changed his strategy quickly and made jabs for Duo's ribs, trying to get the knife up into his chest for a stab to the heart, but Duo deflected those and only got two penetrations in the lower abdomen. Duo finally knocked the knife away and used his bare hands to reach out, grab Derek's arm, still flailing for the lost knife and broke his wrist in one clean movement. Duo relished for one brief moment at the sound of the breaking bones, and then he was opening his door. He had a vague sense of being 'helped' out and then he was lying with his face in the hot dirt.

Duo somehow still had both his bags with him as he tried to push himself up to get away, convinced that Derek would follow him out into the desert to finish the job, but then the car door shut and he pulled away at top speed. Duo lay still again, trying to breathe and feel what was going on with his body. He was able to push himself over and onto his back with his good arm and tried to get his shirt around his arm and put pressure on it. He had a vague wish for a permanent address so that a company might have sold him a cell phone, but then he was wondering if that first knife was still in his leg.

"Shit." Duo cursed. The phone he'd imagined earlier sprung to life and the letters now read 911 or 88-crime? Duo wondered how many people Derek had killed. Had there been a body in the car, or had the smell of blood been from an earlier crime?

Duo wondered how long it would take before someone either stopped or called 911 for him from their car as they kept driving past him. And he was still so far from the city; would he bleed to death before any help came? He laughed at himself, he thought about the last time he'd talked to Quatre, and it came to his mind, unbidden but readily. The short blonde had been asking him when he'd be back in town. He'd invited Duo to stay the night and have dinner with him and the rest of the guys, catch up and all that.

Duo remembered how he'd blown Quatre off, vaguely promising to make his way up to them eventually, but eager to move on to this next job. That was what his life had turned into, a vague blur. Everything was vague, he never stopped moving. He couldn't stop moving, if he stopped even for a second, he found that he was alone, left with nothing and going nowhere.

Duo cursed again, the blood flow from his arm wasn't stopping, it had barely even slowed. Duo wondered what everyone else he knew was doing tried to imagine how they would react when they finally got the news of his death. Duo Maxwell, killed in a hitchhiking accident, found stabbed to death on the side of the highway, miles away from any help.

He imagined Quatre crying and Trowa holding him as he heard the news. He'd been closest to Quatre, the only pilot who'd shown any interest in keeping in touch after the war. Trowa was nice enough, Duo figured he'd take a moment to show respect for his fallen comrade.

Wu-Fei would probably stare blankly at the barer of the news and made some snide remark about how long it'd taken Duo to finally meet his end. Hell, Heero probably wouldn't even look up from his stupid lap top, now firmly stationed in Preventor Headquarters, he'd grunt that he understood and then continue whatever he was working on.

Duo thought faintly that he should be wishing for something, for life, for someone to mourn him other than Quatre, for help to arrive or for a second chance; but he could only bring himself to bask in the warmth of the sun and curse himself for becoming so lazy because it was peace time, he'd really let everything go. He was aware that it felt cooler and wondered how long he'd been lying there, was the sun already sinking in the sky? But that didn't make sense, he would have already bled to death before the sun set. His mind told him that people got cold before they died, it was looming closer. Duo did wish then, wished that such a thing didn't happen, he really hated being cold, it had been another thing he'd liked about the desert.

Duo heard sirens, he opened his eyes, his body trying to resist, wondering when he'd closed them. Duo heard voices and then a face loomed over him, Duo focused his eyes on the older man, and he was big. Duo wanted to laugh at that, it seemed so funny that this guy completely blocked out the sun.

"Hey Kid! Don't fall asleep ok, you have to stay awake until we get to the hospital!" Duo nodded, trying to force himself to widen his eyes, but even with the sun blocked out it was still so bright. It hurt to keep his eyes open.

"Hey kid, what's your name?" The man was talking to him to keep him awake, to distract him from whatever pain he was feeling. Duo knew that, but he let himself be distracted, he didn't want to think about the stuff that was going to start happening once he got to the hospital.

"Duo." His voice was strained, but the guy heard him. "You?"

"Name's Conner, What happened Duo?" Conner asked as he ordered someone to strap him down and Duo realized they were in an ambulance, when had that happened!?

"Guy, Derek, stabbed me, is the knife still there?" Duo suddenly remembered.

"Yeah, it's still in your leg." Conner said, he seemed pleased that Duo had remembered that.

"Don't touch it; get a bag around the hilt, fingerprints." Duo tried to explain. He was gonna get that fucker, Duo didn't really care that he was stabbed, but Derek was still on the road, and Duo was not gonna let anyone else get stabbed!

"Got it!" Conner assured him, showing him a bag before it disappeared from Duo's sight, presumably to be put over the knife. "You got anyone we need to call Duo?" Conner asked.

Duo did laugh then; the name on his file for emergencies was Quatre. He could see the short blonde now, scolding him, no doubt he would fly out to hover until Duo was released. "Yeah, can you ask them to tell Quatre it's not my fault I actually was picked up by an axe murderer?" Duo laughed at the look he got from Conner, but stopped as the ambulance spun around him. "Dizzy." He muttered as things began to go fuzzy.

"Duo?" Conner asked as Duo felt his eyes dropping, "Duo!"

Quatre was sitting in a restaurant with Trowa as they waited for Heero and Wu Fei to take their lunch break. The Italian restaurant was a block down from Preventor Head Quarters and was favored by the boys for their lasagna and chicken parmesan.

"Duo would like this place, look, they serve brick oven pizza." Quatre showed Trowa the menu, though they both knew it well enough to order without looking.

"We'll have to bring him next time he's in town." Trowa smiled, trying to assure his lover.

Quatre sighed, he wished Duo would come to town, and stay long enough to do more than call. He couldn't understand why Duo insisted on hitchhiking everywhere, it was dangerous, and he had good friends here from when he'd started working as a mechanic right after the war.

"Maybe you should go on his website and request a job." Trowa joked, Quatre looked up at him with big eyes, Trowa cringed inwardly, that hadn't been the reaction he'd wanted. But then Quatre's watery eyes turned angry.

"Maybe I will! It's the only way I'll ever get to see him!" Quatre huffed. "Why won't he just stay put Trowa!?"

"Who? Your new dog?" Wu Fei asked as he and Heero walked up to the table. "I can recommend a class, we use dogs in the field all the time, the K-9 unit is very disciplined."

It brought surprised laughter from Quatre, imagining Duo in Victor's collar with fake dog ears poking out of his hair. "No, we were talking about Duo."

"Ah, I see." Wu Fei smirked as he took his seat, Heero went slightly stiff next to him and his partner pretended not to notice. "I don't foresee Maxwell settling down anytime soon. He has always been prone to movement, he just now has the liberty to wonder further than the living room of one of those safe houses he used to pace."

Quatre gave another sigh when he remembered how Duo used to wonder those houses up and down till Wu Fei would yell at him or Heero would glare at him. Even now, Heero was glaring at the table as if Duo were right there, talking a mile a minute and irritating him. He nodded and ordered with the rest of them.

"So, how is work?" Trowa asked, changing the subject that made them all a bit jumpy. Duo was a source of consternation with them all; he would not settle down, would hitchhike everywhere and refused to join them for any meal whenever he was in town, it was upsetting. While the other pilots had forged tighter bonds in the face of their new lives, Duo had flung himself lose and almost seemed to hide from them rather than face this new peace.

"We are working on a case of a sniper; a man was fired from his job and he tried to take out his boss." Wu Fei said casually, he went on to talk about how he and Heero had to find him after he'd eluded the police by climbing down a chimney of an abandoned building.

They were halfway through their meal when Quatre's cell phone went off. The sound startled them, and Quatre blushed. "Sorry." He turned sideways in his chair and cupped his hand over his phone, trying to keep his voice down.

Heero looked to Trowa, but Trowa shrugged, saying that he didn't know who could be calling Quatre during his lunch. Quatre scheduled everything so that their meals would go uninterrupted; he'd only ever gotten a call in the middle of a meal twice before this.

"WHAT!?" The panic in Quatre's voice made them all jump and look at him. Quatre turned in his seat and looked at Trowa, shock plain on his face.

"Yes," He told the unknown person, "I'll be on the next flight!" He hung up quickly and seemed too stunned to say anything.

"What is it, heart?" Trowa coaxed, letting the pet name slip out at the pure look of horror on Quatre's face.

"It's Duo, he's in the hospital. He was stabbed and left on the side of the highway!" Quatre's voice rose as he seemed to really realize what he was saying.

There was a loud screech as Heero's chair flew back as he stood up. "I'm coming with you." He told Quatre. Quatre could only nod.

Wu Fei calmed them all, "Did they tell you if Duo is ok?" He and Trowa kept level heads while Quatre's panic only seemed to ignite Heero's.

"They…they said he was ok, they got him to the hospital in time and gave him blood." Quatre remembered and some of his panic left him.

"You are the name under Duo's emergency contact?" Trowa asked.

"Yeah." Quatre murmured looking up at Trowa with tears in his eyes. "I told him he was going to be picked up by a murderer someday! Oh God! I told him he was going to die left on the side of the highway!!"

"It's ok love, it's not your fault, Duo knew the risks. He's fine; someone found him and called the paramedics." Trowa assured him. Quatre nodded furiously and stood.

"I have to make arrangements!" He said firmly, he calmed himself down and opened his phone.

Heero turned to Wu Fei. "Will you…?"

"Go Yuy, I'll make sure you're covered." Wu Fei assured him and Trowa and Wu Fei watched as they left.

"Guess we're stuck with the tab." Trowa's smile was strained.

"Do you really think Maxwell is all right?" Wu Fei asked him.

"I don't know." Trowa admitted. "It had to be pretty bad for Duo to end up in the hospital, he hates them."

Wu Fei nodded, he sighed and stood, "I have to go and talk to Commander Une, She'll be mad Heero didn't clear this with her first."

"Good luck." Trowa said as he paid the waiter and asked for him to call a cab, Quatre had taken the car in his haste.

"Maybe we'll finally get a meal with Maxwell now." Wu Fei smirked.

"I was just thinking that." Trowa smiled back.

Duo hated the groggy feeling pain killers gave him, he hated the smell of hospitals, he hated hospital food and hospital rooms, he hated the little gowns they put you in and he hated the sound heart monitors gave off. Duo really hated being hooked up to IVs and he really, really hated being this helpless and surround by so many people he didn't know.

Duo lurched as he sat up and fell back against his pillow again. Blood loss, really bad blood loss. A lot of blood no longer inside him where it should be. Duo thought hard, drugs, he had to have been given drugs to be this out of it. He looked around for someone he could flag down and get them to take him off whatever medication he was on.

He looked up as someone came to his door, "Hey, good, can you…awe shit." Duo slumped as he realized who it was. "Sorry Quat."

"Duo!" His big eyes were in tears and Duo surmised that he must look as bad as he felt. Quatre flew to his side and then didn't seem to know what to do with his hands.

"Awe, Quat, its ok, I'm still here." Duo assured him, calling up one of his bright smiles for Quatre, "You were right though, it happened just like you said it would, learned my lesson!"

Quatre chocked on unshed tears, "Oh, Allah Duo! I never meant…I didn't mean…" Duo cut him off.

"I know. But you were right all the same, I knew that." Duo tried to think of something that would reassure him, but he became suddenly aware of someone else standing in his doorway who wasn't a nurse or a doctor.

"H-Heero!?!" Duo felt his smile fall more to disbelief. There he stood, messy hair, cobalt eyes, Preventor jacket, firm set frown, just stood there, seeming as unsure as Quatre about what to do now that he was there. "Uh, jeeze guys, you didn't drag along Trowa and Wu Fei too, did you?"

Quatre shook his head, smile coming back, "No, just us, but they're just a worried! I'll need to call them later and tell them you're cracking jokes."

"And flirting with nurses!" Duo quipped for him. Quatre laughed appropriately and Heero made a small grunt that might have been amusement or annoyance, there was no way for the other two to tell.

"Hey, Heero, I'm glad you're here!" Duo suddenly motioned for Heero to come further into the room and take a seat in one of the chairs for visitors in his room. Heero's eyebrows furrowed in confusion, but he stepped away from the doorframe and sat in the chair Duo had beckoned to. He tried to ignore the lurch in his heart at Duo's words.

"Ok, so, I know I'll need to talk to the police, which will probably be really soon, but man, do you think you could take my statement too? I mean, the guy that picked me up, I think he's done this before, and worse, the damned SUV smelled like blood." Duo watched him eagerly as Heero digested that.

Heero nodded and reached into his jacket pocket to pull out a small notebook and a pen, even as inside his heart sank. 'Glad you're here' apparently just as easily translated into 'glad I know a Preventor'.

Duo gave Heero his statement and gave it again to the police later, but he also included more details when he talked to Heero. Some part of Heero liked to think of it less as a statement and more of a conversation Duo would have had with Quatre, the telling of a story instead of the dealing of facts it really was.

Duo smiled at Heero when he was done, relief plain in his eyes, he knew there wasn't more that he could do, nor better.

"Thanks buddy!" He smiled brighter, "It's a long shot, but what the hell, huh?"

Heero nodded and let Quatre take over on dialogue.

"They even saved my stuff!" Duo was telling Quatre, "I mean, I wasn't even sure all of it made it out with me!"

"Good, then you're already and packed to come back with us when they release you." Quatre smiled, his lip setting in stubbornly even as Duo began to protest.

"Now hold on a minute there Quat!" Duo had sobered some from the drugs, but he still felt groggy and couldn't help but think that Quatre had waited till now to spring this on him, when he was about ready to go back to sleep, "I came out here for a job, and I plan on finishing that job, bar none!"

"Duo, you've been stabbed; I think whoever it is will understand." Quatre tried to reason.

"But it's a really good one!" Duo protested, not at all sure if he was winning or not, but damned if he wasn't going to fight it, "Casino! They pay the big bucks!"

"You'll just have to do it another time, though really, this should tell you what I've been saying for years Duo; you need to stop this." Duo tried to grasp onto his words to keep him in the now, but despite it, Quatre was fading.

A calmer, deeper voice cut off Quatre from whatever he was going to say next, it was the last thing Duo heard before he fell back asleep, "Quatre's right, this job was nearly the death of you. Time to stop Duo."

Heero watched as Duo faded away into sleep and then picked up Duo's chart from the slot outside the door. He reviewed the notes the doctors had made and memorized the drugs they had put him on. Quatre finally sat down and seemed to shrink in on himself.

Heero pulled up another chair from next to one of the empty beds across the room and sat. "Thank you Heero." Quatre's voice broke the silence, kept low by Duo's need for sleep.

Heero grunted in return, but kept his eyes on Duo. "You are right; he should have stopped this a long time ago." Heero assured him.

Quatre smiled at him, though he didn't see it. Heero just kept watch over Duo, scaring some of the nurses when they came in to check his vitals. Quatre excused himself a little while later and called Trowa from outside the hospital on his cell phone.

As soon as he was released, they were going to take him to Quatre's mansion. Heero felt a jerk in his gut when Quatre told him they'd arranged it all. He ignored it, telling himself he'd have to go back to work as soon as he was back, make apologies for leaving so abruptly, it only made sense for Quatre to take over care for Duo. He grunted his approval and simply carried on with his vigilance.

Quatre spared him a worried glance, slightly confused, but let it go. They finally had Duo stopped, his dizzy dance halted. Now if only they could keep him one spot for more than a week, if only he would stop, really stop.