Title: Damsel
Author: EbonyOsmosis
Pairing: 2+5, 2x5 if you read too much into Duo's sexual harassment
Theme: #41 - Teamwork
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing or any of the characters.

Timeline: First War

The cell stank. He was pretty sure something had crawled in and gotten stuck in the stonework at some point before dying. Besides the damp mildew smell, there was a powerful undertone of death and decay. He'd tried meditating to block out the stench, but it just would not leave him alone no matter how much he tried to ignore it.

Wufei sighed wearily, shifting his legs slightly in their crossed position. The cold stone floor was making his skin numb through his thin cotton pants. It didn't succeed in distracting him, though. The mission had been a failure. He'd been captured, interrogated, and was now imprisoned and probably waiting to be executed. He'd develop some bruising in a few hours, but he was fine otherwise, besides his fractured pride. He could only hope that Maxwell had gotten out while he had the chance.

Another hour of waiting and he was starting to wish they'd just kill him and get it over with, just to get away from the damn smell. His thoughts were interrupted, however, when the cell door opened. A muffled, almost gurgled sounding curse echoed in the doorway before someone was bodily tossed into the cell, landing hard on their side with a thump and the clank of metal cuffs. When Wufei's eyes adjusted once more to the darkness after being disrupted by the light, his breath hitched upon realization. "Maxwell!" he barked.

Duo it was indeed. Lying painfully on his side and grimacing in extreme discomfort, his comrade had been found and captured. He had a large gash on his forehead as well as an angry bruise blossoming on the left side of his face. The stiff way he held his body indicated other injuries that Wufei couldn't see. He scowled. "Why didn't you get out of here? Did some hero complex overtake your rational thinking? Now the mission is completely jeopardized and the only person who could still pull it off is now incarcerated with me!" he growled. "That's why two of us went in, so if one was taken out the other could still complete the mission!"

"Well fuckin' hello to you too, Sunshine," the brunette said throatily, wiggling around until he could sit upright. "You know whenever I see you it reminds me never to get married? Jesus, thought you'd be a little more happy to see the guy who's gonna bust you out."

"Bust me out? Bust me out? You're in no position to be 'busting' anything other than your fat head when they come to interrogate us!" Wufei snarled, resisting the urge to lash out and kick childishly at the other pilot. "What in the world were you thinking? It's like I'm partnered with a chimp, the way you throw away any shred of common sense is maddening!"

"Hey, if you don't quit your bitchin' I'll bust my foot right out your ass," Duo shot back calmly, rolling his shoulders to get the feeling back. His left side was a little sore from the fall, but it was definitely intact. He easily scooted back and maneuvered his cuffed wrists underneath him and over his legs so his hands were in front of him now. He then pulled a strange face, his jaw working as he appeared to work something around in his mouth.

"What in the world are you doing?" Wufei demanded, watching the strange display irately.

But Duo didn't answer. Instead he spat something out into his hand, and though it was slightly obscured by blood, Wufei recognized the small bits of metal. "You ate your lock picks?" he asked, dumbfounded and amazed.

"Uh, no, I can't regurgitate on command," the brunette answered, giving him a weird look. "I just held them in my mouth. Almost stabbed a fuckin' hole through my cheek when that guy punched me, but it works well enough."

"Why?" Wufei demanded, unable to comprehend the strange behavior that the Deathscythe pilot displayed.

"Well someone put out a memo on me, I guess. The last time I got caught they searched my braid, took my lock picks and left me shit outta luck. Now if it looks like I'm gonna get found out, I stuff 'um in my mouth," he explained, giving Wufei a bloody grin, proud of his own ingenuity.

"When someone sucker punches you and you swallow those lock picks, I will laugh at you. I will laugh long and hard," Wufei stated blandly, rolling his eyes.

"At least I'll have made you laugh," the brunette said with a smirk, shuffling over to Wufei so he could undo his restraints.

"You always have to find a silver lining, don't you?" Wufei grumbled, turning around so the brunette could access the cuffs.

Duo squinted his eyes in the dimly lit cell, carefully maneuvering the picks within the lock and feeling for the tell-tale shift of the mechanism that he could feel in his fingers clear as a car slamming into a wall. "Hey, I take what I can get, buddy," Duo defended, feeling that shift and hearing a springing sound. He removed the cuffs, holding his hands out with the picks. "Come on lover, do me," he said casually.

"Must you make sexual references at such a time?" Wufei growled, taking the picks and grimacing, as they were still smeared with blood. He wiped them on Duo's shirt before proceeding. "You know I'm not good at this."

"Of course I know you can't lock pick for shit and we'll probably be here for twenty minutes, but what else am I gonna do? Chew my hands off? I'm sure we can find a rusty hacksaw if you'll oblige-"

"Alright!" Wufei snapped, yanking the other boy's restrained wrists closer to the light so he could see what he was doing. "Don't you think of these things before you run blindly into a suicidal rescue attempt?"

"Thinking ahead is for losers, I do my best work on the fly," the brunette replied. "Nuh uh, Wu, the long one goes the other way. Yeah, like that. But hey, I gotta try to getcha out. What kind of guy would I be otherwise?"

"A smart one," Wufei replied blandly. "Shut up and let me concentrate."

Despite Duo bouncing back and forth between teasing and instruction, it only took Wufei ten minutes to get the cuffs unlocked. "Sheesh, last time you did this it really did take 20 minutes. I must be a damn good teacher," the brunette boasted, accepting the lock picks back and shoving them into the base of his braid. "Not to mention I have an excellent student."

"Flattery will get you nowhere, Maxwell."

"Oh, I beg to differ," the brunette smirked, moving over to the door and peering of the barred window. "Maybe not with you, but my flattery has worked magic in the past. You're a lost cause, I know you're unflatterable."

"That's not a word, damnit!"

"It is now," Duo shot back, moving against the wall right next to the door. "Sit down with your hands behind your back," he instructed, pressing himself close to the cold stone as the sound of footsteps approached.

Wufei didn't argue, quickly and quietly sitting back down so his body blocked sight of the restraints. He put his wrists behind his back to make it look like he was still bound. For a few moments they didn't speak, listening to the sound of boots coming down the long hallway, hoping it was their cell the man was coming to. Duo amused himself by making faces at Wufei, trying to get him to react with the guard right outside their cell.

But the Chinese boy just shot him a dirty look, the scowl still in place when their cell was unlocked and a soldier stepped into the doorway. The hostile look that wasn't really directed at him distracted the man just long enough to miss the fact that one of the prisoners was missing. Duo reached out just as the guard stepped inside, grabbing him by the shoulder of his uniform and pulling. He swung the startled man around in an arc, letting his weight act as a driving force, and slammed him square into the stone wall with a solid thunk.

Wufei couldn't help but wince at the violent contact, the man's nose already gushing blood as he crumpled to the ground in a useless heap. "Thanks bro," Duo said cheekily as he bent down to snatch the set of keys, waving Wufei over and stepping over the body. Once they were both out, Wufei shut the cell door to buy them some time in case a patrol came around. "Whoo!" Duo breathed, fanning a hand in front of his face. "I forgot how great stale air smells. Did I miss the dead body in our hotel room or was it just me?"

"That's what I was wondering," Wufei replied, since Duo hadn't immediately complained of the smell when he'd been tossed into the room. "Let's just get out of here. Maybe this time you can avoid detection long enough for us to get somewhere, because if we get caught again you'd better learn to regurgitate those lock picks on command. But I'm sure I can help you with that," the Chinese boy said in irritation, following Duo down the hall and missing the eye roll.

"Alright, alright, we'll get you some tampons and go!" Duo relented. "It's not my fault you lost your purse, geez," he shot over his shoulder.

"Maxwell, I swear to god-"

"You'll strangle me with my own braid, yup, uh huh, gotcha. Shouldn't we be quiet when we're escaping?" the brunette wondered curiously, kneeling down beneath the open ventilation duct he'd come through earlier. "Just a thought," he added, lacing his hands together to offer a boost. "Ya know, cause of the whole 'escaping' thing where they'll kill us if they find us again."

Wufei took the offering, placing one foot on Duo's interlocked fingers and stepping up to the open vent. He climbed in easily, ignoring the slight aches and pains of his earlier run in with half a dozen Oz soldiers. He then turned around to look down at the brunette, who was looking up at him expectantly. "You mean they'll kill you when they find you again," Wufei threw down drolly, reaching out after making the other pilot suffer for a few moments.

"What a comedian," Duo shot back, taking the offered hand as they heard voices down the hall. "But seriously, let's move our asses, shall we? I didn't come back for you so we could be thrown back in the stank ward," he said, crawling up into the narrow space and making a shooing motion for the other boy to get going.

"I didn't ask you to come back for me," Wufei growled, shuffling down the vent.

"You're just mad 'cause you got caught first and had to be the damsel in distress."

The Chinese boy abruptly lashed out with his foot, not knowing where he struck but hearing a satisfying 'oof' all the same. He smirked and retracted his foot, almost regretting not wearing his hiking boots for this one. He continued his way down the vents, listening to the brunette fumble.

"Oh, cute," Duo sneered after catching his breath. "But not very becoming of a lady. Nice view, though."

Wufei immediately blushed scarlet, lashing out with his foot again with double the force and missing in his poorly planned attack. Duo had fallen farther back before making the comment, learning from his first jibe and leaving a good gap between them.

"No really, I could frame that on the wall. Can't get tired of that."

"You are insufferable!"

"Unlike your ass. Totally sufferable."

"As soon as we get out of here I'm opening a sexual harassment lawsuit," Wufei threw back in irritation, his face still burning from the comments.

"Then I'll walk you to the courthouse, cause I'll die happy if I can see you do that with a straight face. Another good picture for the wall."

"I've got a picture for you're damn wall!"

"I hear them! They're close by!"

"Geez Wu, you sure are a loudmouth, givin' away our position!"

"Maxwell, shut the fuck up!"

End Chapter

A/N: I've always pictured the way Duo and Wufei bonded would be through potshots and lots of teasing at the other's expense. Even when they're in the middle of enemy territory. But they would still totally have each other's backs. They're just so much fun to write!