Chimera of Life

Story Six: Wisdom's Harmony

Chapter Twelve

By Heartfire

~*~

"I can't believe I let her talk me into this…" Wufei grumbled as he crouched low in the grass then checked his left and right. His men were all in position. The plan was simple. Infiltrate, get the brainwashed people out of there while Onie talks to her father, get the hell out and blow the place to kingdom high. Simple… really… but dammit, he didn't have to agree with her going in with them!

Although, given the fact that she did provide them a layout of the entire compound so they can search and plant more explosives… maybe it wasn't so much a bad exchange.

Once the plan was set, it seemed that everyone had wanted to go with them. Trowa definitely only gave him that stubborn, blank look… Quatre and Yvan wanted to help as back up, and Rashid, who unexpectedly showed up during the briefing said that since Quatre was going, the Maguanacs, too, would be there. No point arguing with that granite man. Duo and Hilde also forced their hands on him, and he could tell that they were there just to make sure Onie was fine. Thankfully, Dorothy didn't argue to come with them. That was the only silver lining in this damn rain cloud.

His gut still rolled as he remembered yesterday's blunder. He shouldn't have let his anger get the better hold of him… it was his fault that he just forced the truth serum to Onie… Thank God she was all right… Just needed a bit of rest, and then she was even the one who got up early that morning to tell him to set the plan in motion for tonight, considering the length of time Dorothy's bought for them.

He scratched at his cheek, swapped a bug away and, at the same time, stared into the distant area where Ping was supposed to be crouched low. He couldn't see a thing, but he knew she was there…

Shit…

He must get his mind off that woman. Was he a sucker for punishment that he's just letting his mind wander like that?!

He looked around again, at that wide-open space of land where the compound was supposed to be then up at the starless black sky… The air was clean, the land was healthy, and the sky was clear… but all this peace hid true danger. That was life. No matter how peaceful one tries to make it, there was still that inevitable threat.

Damn life to live.

"I'm ready…"

The voice came from his ear and he tapped the mechanism on his wrist to check as to whether it was in working order or not. A pale green light glowed against the darkness, dots covering the space, and he quickly covered it with his camouflage sleeve. "Fine. Then do it." His voice was gruff, as it had always been, but he doubted if it came across their com links the way he wanted it to.

He narrowed his eyes as Onie's form emerged from the thicket of trees and started walking to the edge of the forest. Near the end, she stopped in front of a tree and placed a hand there. He wasn't really sure what she did, but he was distracted as a pale shimmering of green light started showering in front of them in a beautiful show of light.

It was beautiful, and it sucked the breath out of him at the same time. It was real… The compound was there, and it was invisible.

But there was no time to dawdle.

He tapped his earpiece just as Onie started to walk to the main entrance. "Move out!"

Trowa kept his eyes on her as he slinked towards the door, right behind her. Everyone else were going from the other directions, into the secret panels Onie had pointed out to them in a very crude sketch of the compound, but so far, he was going against the grain of salt. She doesn't even know that he was following her.

He didn't mind, nor did he care. He knew what to say to stop the men in action. He didn't live under the same roof for months and learned nothing!

"Abort action sequence four-ten." He muttered as the two guards stopped him with those lifeless eyes. They stopped as if someone pushed the pause button and he just walked past them. The thing was, he let her get too much of a head start…

"Where are you…" He pulled the sleeve of his left hand and tapped a couple of numbers. The other dots disappeared on his screen and a single one appeared. It was moving northeast. Without another thought to the two guardsmen, he strode to where she was.

Her father was a very habitual man. If anything, he would probably be found in his office, and this compound, though smaller, have the same layout as the main one.

She wondered how he would react when he sees her… she wondered what he would say… she wondered so many things, but in the end, when that door to his office and bedroom was facing her… she didn't know what to do, where to begin, or where her gall went to…

She closed her eyes and scolded herself. There was no time left. Even as she stood there, the others were already setting the detonation devices… so many lives were at stake! With that thought in mind, she took a deep breath and pressed her palm upon the scanner on the wall.

The door opened. A slight breeze stirred her hair and she stared at a very familiar oak table, at a very familiar brown chair that was not facing her, and finally, at a very familiar top part of a head…

She hadn't expected the breath of relief that left her, nor did she expect that abandoned feeling that had been slowly eating her to disappear, and finally, neither did she expect herself to whisper the word she thought she would never be able to say to her father again…

"Daddy…"

The chair swiveled. Piercing brown eyes stared at her through bushy eyebrows that looked at her as though she was some kind of ghost come to haunt him. He suddenly seemed older than before.

"You're dead… I saw the cabin blow up…" His voice was a whisper too.

He thought she was dead? She thought it was the other way around! She couldn't speak. No matter what he had done, he was still her father, and she loved him dearly. He was everything that was left to her. There was no one else… A name tried to make itself known to her, but she quickly stomped on it. He didn't want her. He wanted her to stay away from him… There was no one else but her father. "No… I'm not dead, daddy… I'm alive…"

They stared at each other as he stood up from his chair and walked around the table toward her… There were no words exchanged when he stopped in front of her. They only stared at each other, and then his hand went out to touch her cheek and felt the heat that came from her. "You're alive…" His voice was full of wonder as he scooped her in his arms, and hugged her as if she was his only chance at life… and she did the same, burying her face in his lapels.

"Daddy-"

"My little pie…"

Onie gasped at the words. It had been too long… Oh, how she feels as though all those years, all that distance between them were finally gone, and she tightened her embrace even more so.

"You warned me about that program… You warned me but I didn't listen…"

Onie frowned and tilted her head ever so slightly as she wondered, 'Program…? The one Morley sent…?'

"I sent them after you as a test… I wasn't expecting them… I didn't think that they would kill…"

Onie couldn't believe the sound she just heard… Was her father actually… crying?

As if he heard her question and he wanted her to know, he pulled away and they stared at each other. His face was wet with tears, but she was sure that hers were just as wet.

"I didn't know… believe me. I hadn't expected such-"

She stopped his words with her fingertips. Gently, she shook her head. "There's no need, daddy… I know that you wouldn't hurt me."

Blake nodded, hugging his daughter again. He thought… he truly thought… "I know I haven't been the best father… but I love you, Onie… I only wanted you to live in a safe place… a place where you wouldn't have to worry when you walked down the alley in the middle of the night, or where you wouldn't have to die the way… the way your mother…" He closed his eyes as his memories assailed him… "I didn't want any bastards around you… I wanted you safe… that was all I wanted."

Onie nodded. Somehow, she knew that… but she still needed to hear those words she'd been longing for. There was a hole in her heart that was partially filled by the words she just heard, but she knew that that hole would never be completely filled because she will never hear those words from the other person she longed for. "I love you too, Daddy…" They embraced for a few more moments, until Onie finally leaned back and knew she must explain now, or never. "Daddy… I brought some people with me…"

Her father's expression became shuttered and she quickly added- "Please don't get mad… I just wanted us to live like normal people. They're not going to take you away from me… We'll be together forever, and we won't have to worry about Morley, or…" she looked away, thinking of the brainwashing process. "Or those other things…"

It seemed like hours before she felt his fingers under her chin. She looked up, hoping…

"Is that what you want, my daughter?"

Onie nodded. "No more guns, no more wounds, no more death… no more screams… I'll… I'll tend a garden, and you can still do your work… and I'll cook us food… and we'll eat dinner together… just us, with no one else…"

A sad smile touched Blake's lips as he looked down at her. He had forgotten about those things in life… "Can you ever forgive me for what I did?"

Onie smiled up at him the way she hadn't been able to do since she was but a child. "I love you, Daddy…" then, impulsively, she tiptoed and kissed him on the cheek.

Blake sighed, his wishes completed. Life was all he could give his daughter… it was the only gift he could give… but that would mean ramifications on his part…

He let her go and started to walk to the back wall of his office. He touched the side of his cabinet slightly and the wall slid up to show-

"My things!" Onie gasped as she stared at her lab gears, test tubes, at her mother's picture, and… a family picture of her father, herself, and her mother… a picture she had never seen before, but her father blocked it from her as he walked to it.

"Onie…" Her father's tone was unusually soft. "You must realize that there will always be men out there who will be after what I know…"

He turned around and Onie saw that he was holding on to the photograph that she was just staring at… "My friends will protect us…"

Again, her father gave her that sad smile as he neared her, then, he took her hand and placed the frame on her palm. "This is my gold…" He looked at her, and if she ever doubted that he loved her, all those doubts faded with that look. "But you will always be my diamond…"

Onie didn't even look at the photograph as she embraced her father once again. "Oh, Daddy…"

"I only wanted to protect you." He whispered.

"I know, Daddy." She bit back a sniffle and smiled instead.

"Live well, my daughter… Taste life as you are supposed to…"

Onie frowned at those ominous words. She was about to ask what he meant when she felt a prick on her neck. Cold liquid coursed through her veins. She gasped in surprise.

"No!"

'Trowa…?' Onie frowned groggily. 'What-' She felt a kiss on her cheek. "Dad… dy…?" She looked up and saw his smiling face before she blacked out.

Trowa's heart was going through overdrive as he stared at Onie's limp body to Blake's sad face. "What the hell did you do to her?!" He had seen that something shine in Brandon Blake's hand… he was wondering what it was and was about to shout a warning to Onie, but he was too late and he could only watch as Blake inserted the tip of the needle into Onie's neck.

Wild ideas propped in his head. He couldn't have poisoned her… He couldn't! No father could…

"Take my daughter."

Trowa looked up from Onie's ashen face and saw Blake's brown eyes turned to him, imploring for him to do so.

"Take my daughter." Blake whispered again, although he didn't want to let her go.

Trowa walked to him. Keeping an alert gaze on the man, he wrapped his arms around Onie's waist. He was torn between looking after her and capturing Blake when Blake kissed Onie's forehead then looked at Trowa again.

"Take good care of my daughter, or else I'm going to haunt you even after the day you die." Then he turned away and quickly walked into an adjoining room.

"Blake!" Trowa dragged Onie with him to follow, but Blake pushed a hand against the wall, and a thick steel door suddenly blocked the passageway.

Trowa stared at the door, angry and confused. He saw the whole thing, heard the whole thing, and felt every emotion that seemed to have gone through father and daughter… how could Blake just do this to Onie- whatever it was that he did to her?!

"Take my daughter out of this place, now, Brigham." Blake's voice came from behind the door.

Suddenly, everything started to make sense to Trowa… He understood what Blake was going to do…! He scooped Onie up in his arms, pressed his communicator against his shoulder and hoped to God that he wasn't too late- "Everyone get out- now!"

At that moment, part of the building exploded.

Wufei jerked to a standing position at Trowa's warning, and when he heard the rumble and felt the ground shaking under him, he knew that something exploded out there.  The question was… where?

"Sir! Explosion on Quadrant 4! We lost communication with Colonel Rossi!" Christine's voice sounded competent but he could tell the underlying panic in it… or was that his own? His heart had started pumping faster as he pulled his sleeve and traced Ping's position, trying to locate her while at the same time, trying to reach her through her emergency link.

"Rossi! Rossi! Grab your damn comm. link and talk, woman!" The room behind him exploded and he was thrown forward. He blocked his fall with his hands and regained his footing in no time at all. He quickly looked back and found the room where he was at moments ago, engulfed in a dust of cloud and flickering with fire.

"Damn…" He switched on the link once again. "Rossi! Answer, damn you!" It seemed like hours before he reached her position and tried to quell that panic that was knocking down at his defenses. The room looked like a twin of the one that just exploded behind him. The roof had caved in, the walls were on fire, electricity sizzled somewhere, and one could almost not breathe in that thick black smoke.

Wufei checked their locator, zoomed into the room, and noted her position. He made a quick scan and saw that she was in the other side of the room… where most of the damage was done. A set of crisp expletives ran through his mind, trying not to let panic engulf him.

"Hang on, Ping… I'm coming." Wufei sprinted to her position, forcing any kinds of thoughts out of his head. He reached her- or he should have reached where she was, but he was only standing in rubble and cement… "Rossi!!!"  Wufei yelled against the raging fire. He started looking for any loose debris, clawing his way through it.

He gritted his teeth as he tried to push away a large boulder of cement, then nearly sobbed when he saw a leg in familiar looking uniform and boot. He made the small opening bigger then checked.

"You're one damn lucky woman, Ping." Wufei whispered when he saw that she was actually in a space between half the wall and the floor, only held up by another broken piece of cement.

He pulled her out in one quick tug, then he looked down at her body. She was covered in dust and was unconscious, but other than that, she didn't look like she had any major wounds. "Rossi…" Wufei slapped her face, trying to wake her up. He was not at all that careful with slapping her either.

'Thank God this woman is a light sleeper!' Wufei thought when she started to show signs of waking up. Her eyes opened, hazy at first then it became clearer. For a moment there, Wufei thought he saw something in there that made his heart ache, but it disappeared before he had a chance to make sure.

"Wufei…!" She whispered and then coughed. Ping shook her head then sat up, she looked around her, a frown on her face. "What the hell...?"

Somewhere, something exploded once again and Wufei acted instinctively as he pulled her up. The remaining roof was shaking in a way that he didn't want to be underneath it any longer. "Let's go. We've wasted enough time as it is!"

He pushed Ping in front of him, and he was thankful that she didn't argue as she jumped, hopped, and ran through the smoke, dust, small licks of fire, and rubble.

Wufei gasped in surprise when he stepped on a weak stone that crumpled under his foot and made him stumble, knocking his knee against a sharp edge of another protruding cement piece. "Damn!" He swallowed a gasp of pain as he clutched at his knee.

Ping stopped just near the door of the room and turned when she didn't hear him following her. "Wufei? You okay?" Concern laced her voice as she saw the pain on his face. She was about to run back to him when he held up a hand.

"Just get out of here! I'll be right behind you!" His grumpy voice asked to be argued with, and Ping was about to do just that when the ground shook again. She grabbed hold of the wall, nearly stumbling, then she turned just in time to see the roof fall down on an unknowing man.

"Wufei!" Her scream didn't help because he only looked at her before he was under that pile of dust, wood, and cement. For a moment, she couldn't move… She could only stare where he was standing at only a few moments ago… just stare… then something clicked in her. She didn't know where it came from. She just knew that the man she loved was under that rubble and damn if she wasn't going to move hell or heaven to get him out of it!

She tapped on her communicator right before she started digging through it, trying to get past the easy obstacles first, her mind checking which blocks of cement were easily removable or not…

"This is Rossi. I need back up here now!"

Her hands bled as they raked through the debris.

"Ping, this is Quatre. What's the situation?"

She took in a deep breath. "Wufei's under a roof."

Quatre walked back and forth as his eyes darted from the crumbling compound to Trowa, Duo, Hilde, and the IA who was looking after Onie. He had wanted to charge in there when he heard that Wufei was… but Rashid had stopped him and promptly had two of his maguanacs restrain him down to stop him from following.

Damn the man.

"Where are they?!"

He was praying silently when the group emerged from the compound, just as a last explosion shattered the area into an orange and green sprout of fire, then the building collapsed. He didn't care though, because his eyes were on that unconscious man, being dragged across the grass. He didn't have to shout for the stretcher, nor did he have to radio for a helicopter. Everything was ready for them, especially since he gave that order right while his Maguanacs were restraining him. All they needed was a quick open eyed 'I'm okay' from Wufei, then all he has to worry about was Onie…

"Are you sure she wasn't poisoned?" Trowa asked the IA for the fifth time. Quatre checked and sure enough, Trowa was still holding on to Onie's wrist, making sure that there was a pulse.

"Yes sir."

Quatre sighed. He was torn between looking after Wufei and Onie…

"I'll take care of Onie. You go to Wufei."

Yvan's voice seeped through him, and he turned around to give her a half smile. She just solved his problem.

"Thank you."

Without another word, he turned and walked to the group who were nearing them, and motioned for the stretcher. He saw Rashid lay Wufei down on it and the group, mostly Maguanacs, parted for Quatre as he neared.

When he finally reached his friend he was wondering why Ping was on her knees beside the stretcher, looking as though everything had gone stale, he only had to look at Wufei to know that something was wrong with him… Not only was there a bone sticking out of his pant leg… he was completely pale and breathing dangerously slow…

At that moment, a chopper hovered above them, then landed on a safe distance from the still fiery compound. The Maguanacs hurriedly brought the stretcher to the chopper.

Quatre turned and motioned for Trowa to follow them, and Trowa did, bringing Onie to his chest in a swift scoop, and running after them.

Quatre helped Yvan into the chopper just as Trowa pulled in from the other side after Duo and Hilde.

"Still unconscious?" Quatre asked as he looked down at Onie's face.

Trowa nodded, his lips in a thin line, settling Onie across his lap. "I have a bad feeling about this, Quatre…" Then he paused and stared at Wufei. "How is he?"

Quatre shook his head, not even wanting to voice his opinion with Ping so near.

The chopper flew into the air, and they were traveling for God only knew how long when a soft groan caught everyone's attention.

They turned to Trowa's direction, and everyone saw how he stared at the woman in his arms who was slowly stirring awake.

Trowa swallowed a sigh of relief when her chocolate brown eyes opened sleepily… and then she looked up at him and Trowa knew that he spoke too soon… because at that moment, her eyes had grown wide and then she pushed away from him.

Her reaction was so sudden that Trowa didn't have time to stop her fall and she landed flat on her butt, though that didn't stop her from pulling away from him.

"Onie…?" Trowa whispered, not knowing why she was acting like this. He looked up at everyone else in the chopper and they looked just as confused as he! Trowa inched forward, but she only inched backward. "Onie-"

"I- I don't know who you are… but s-stay away!" Onie back up against the helicopter door, and Trowa thanked the co-pilot for closing it, and at the same time, asked what the hell was happening. "What are you talking about?"

Trowa moved again, and this time, the sheer panic in Onie's eyes was enough to stop him. She was looking at him as though she didn't know him!

"I said stay away! Get away from me!"

She was shouting, screaming, and by God, she looked as though she was staring at the devil himself. Trowa looked at Quatre helplessly.

"Onie…" Quatre's spoke this time, his soft voice snaring Onie's attention. He has this niggling feeling… and he just hoped he was wrong.

She looked at him warily, but with less panic.

"Do you know me…?"

Onie shook her head as she looked around her. When her eyes fell on Trowa, she cringed and instantly looked away. "I don't know you… I don't know any of you…" Then she frowned as though trying to figure something out… Suddenly her eyes popped open, panic so clear you can see her irises. "I don't know who I am…!"

(Hearfire's Note: As I've said before, I'm really sorry for making so many of you wait. Believe me, I would have been updating this sooner! For now, though—MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I hope you all have a wonderful time!)