........Duo Maxwell had long since given up closing his eyes against the pain. Although, in the dank shadows of his cell, it would have made little difference.
........~If there's a prize for getting captured,~ he thought, ~I probably have enough to rebuild Deathscythe. Twice.~
........Duo sat curled against the cell wall, trying to keep the gash in his side from bleeding more than necessary. The weak light filtering through the bars on his door cast deep shadows, hiding his eyes beneath the brim of his cap. He had never been wounded this badly before, not since his days as a gutter-rat. When the Deathscythe had toppled, one of the straight-arms above the cockpit had come loose, falling straight onto its pilot. Duo had been lucky that the jagged metal had missed his head.
........"Just like Oz. Never occurred to them to provide medical care," he complained aloud. The comment did nothing to cheer him. He wouldn't be left alone for long. Before long, Treize's men would question him, and he had a sneaking suspicion that they wouldn't be too picky about how they got the information out of him.
........He had to escape, and he had to do it quickly.
........~Trouble is, I don't know if I can even walk.~
........Somewhere above, a siren went off. Duo didn't have long to worry about it before he heard the lock on his door rattle, and then explode with the unmistakeable sound of a gunshot. Then the door swung silently inwards.
........Heero Yuy stood framed in the doorway.
........"About time you got here," Duo told him.
........Heero didn't smile. "You're injured," he said flatly.
........"Yeah, I noticed," Duo replied. He sighed. "I don't suppose you came to get me out of here," he said.
........"Can you walk?" Heero asked.
........Duo grimaced. "There's the problem. I'm having a hard time staying conscious, let alone moving." He looked up at his fellow pilot.
........ Heero didn't twitch. "I can't allow you to stay here and be questioned," he said.
........"No," Duo said softly. "I know you can't."
........Shadows hid all of Heero's face except for his cold brown eyes. "Then I guess I have no choice," he answered.
........"I know you don't," Duo said reflectively. "It's all right. I'd rather be killed by a friend than an enemy, anyway." He smiled morosely.
........"A... friend?" Heero said, without the slightest change in inflection.
........"It's kinda ironic, you know," Duo said. "I don't think the God of Death is supposed to get himself killed." He allowed himself a bitter laugh. "It's better than bleeding to death, I guess."
........Heero didn't reply, only brought his gun up and sighted along his arm.
........"Wait," Duo said suddenly. "One more thing."
........"What is it?" Heero asked.
........Duo smiled gently, a real smile. "Take care of Deathscythe for me. The old girl deserves a good rest."
........Heero nodded, once. He sighted and looked for the last time into Duo's brilliant violet eyes. Eyes that now warred with agony. Eyes that had seen too much pain, too much death. Eyes that were tired of killing. Eyes that understood that there was a price.
........Heero fired, for the first time in his life, not because it was his duty, but because he was Duo's friend.
........Duo's eyes closed for the last time as his head fell back against the stone wall.
........Heero turned slowly and walked out of the cell. Maybe his eyes trembled, just a bit. Maybe not.
........"Mission: accomplished," he said.