Disclaimer: I want to own something some day besides dvd's and anime posters, like my own series. Which should tell you that I don't own Gundam Wing.

It's a chapter explosion! I typed up Odd Man Out and decided to take a gander over here...


Chapter 6: Are We Going To Die?

Duo was surrounded by a scream that echoed around him into a cacophony of sound that was trying to break his skull in half. He was almost sure that there were words in there somewhere, but mostly he just wanted it to stop.

His head was breaking in half, he was sure of it. The pain was like nothing he'd felt before. If someone would just shoot him and put his out of his misery, well, that would be fine. Besides that, his hips, knees and shoulders felt horrible. Like he'd been on a concrete floor, with a big pile of books on top of him. His muscles and bones ached like he'd fractured something.

On top of everything, he was hungry, tired and most of all, craving. He felt that itchy, dizzy, sick, shaky, shivery, twitchy, mess that told him his body was going through withdrawal and that he was way past the time when he should have dosed again.

"No, don't. Please don't, I'll get the money. I'll get it if I have to steal it. I'll get your money, all of it. Just don't shoot him. Don't shoot! Duo!" The words hit him as he was wondering where Kitty was and why he hadn't gotten his dose.

The panic in her voice, the urgency, the screaming, it all made his brain kick in. And though it really just made the pain worse, Duo focused enough to open his eyes. He was already trying to figure out how much effort it would take to move. Judging where he was in the room in reference to Kitty, was looking around wildly to see how many people were in the room and what kind of chance they had to get away.

But all those calculations stopped as Duo realized he was flat on his back, looking up at a man standing over him, with the barrel of a gun pointed at his face.


"We can't simply hack into the system and investigate every person who's worked every case for the past three years." Wu Fei rubbed his forehead, probably already fighting a head ache.

"There is something horrible wrong with these reports. I've been over them with again and again looking for Kitty Phillips. And in doing so I've come across a double agent. It was good work, I'm not surprised they've gone unnoticed. But they're here." Heero gestured to the pile of files on his desk.

"Are you sure Heero?" Wu Fei felt compelled to ask one more time, pulling out his cell phone even as he did so. "I'll not make this call unless you're one hundred percent."

Heero raised an eyebrow at him, was he seriouly questioning his interpreting abilities coupled with his idetic memory?

"Right." Wu Fei sighed. "Maxwell better damn well survive this. I'm going to make him help clean up this mess."

Heero felt some tension leave his back. An internal investigation was going to be huge. And though it meant mountains of paperwork, it also meant he could justify to Preventer protocol the need for Duo to be brought in. Which meant he'd have a lot more help finding him.

Even as Wu Fei was making the call and assembling a team, calling in people from other departments, Heero started assembling photos of both Kitty and Duo for facial recognition. He couldn't have justified a search before now, not on a personal search, but with Duo and Kitty being key to this investigation... well, that meant that they needed to be found yesterday.


Duo heard the gun go off. He watched the bullet sail towards him, watching it disappear in an instant from his sight and jerking in reaction. His spine tensed up and all his muscled screamed in protest.

He fought to move, fought to make every inch of him react, but the drugs had done their work. He couldn't make his mind accept the difference between a body that did what he wanted even before he knew what it was he wanted with this new body that didn't do anything because it was slowly dying inside.

His reaction time was gone, his eyes and mind still saw what was going on, but his hands didn't come up. Not like he'd wanted, but he did jerk forward in an attempt to curl up and make himself less of a target. Only to be stopped way too shot by a pane of glass two inches from his face.

No, it was all around him. It was on each side, under his back, down by his feet. He was encased in glass. And the bullet hadn't reached him.

Duo's heart was pounding madly, it was doing an odd dance in his chest, trying to burst from the adrenalin that was finally being pushed into his system. On the glass in front of his face was a little scuff, the tiniest of scratches that told him the glass was bullet proof and the whole incident had been a scare tactic.

"Damn straight you'll get my money woman." Kael's voice came from his left and Duo turned to look. He found Kael standing there, watching the whole thing. Kitty was on his right, being held in place by some enforcers. It was a neat little set up, and spoke to Duo of someone who was trying to compensate for something. Or maybe just one sick son of a bitch.

"But I think until you do, we'll just keep hold of your roommate here." Kael smiled and and nodded to the man standing on the glass over Duo. He looked down and met Duo's eyes, smiling sickly. Duo knew it was coming, but couldn't keep from jerking each time. The man with the gun fired five more times, emptying his clip.

Each shot sent a jolt through Duo, making him jerk. He kept waiting for that one bullet, the anticipation of pain making him tense up and start to shiver. He turned away, unable to look up at the man. There were air hols on the glass to his side and a picture finally formed in Duo's head as he saw Kitty through the hole.

"Put him in the coffin" had meant this. He was in a bullet proof glass coffin.

"I'll go now, please." Kitty was pulling against the men holding her. "Stop it, I'll get your money."

"Let her go." Kael's voice made them release their hold and Kitty caught herself on the ground with her hands. "You'll get my money Kitty, or we'll bury this coffin. Just because it's bullet proof doesn't mean we won't hurt him."

Duo felt a severe shiver then, and it wasn't just withdrawal. He heard something in Kael's voice that said he would do it. Duo swallowed hard, wishing for some water. But he turned to catch Kitty's eyes before she got up and left.

He knew that anything he said would be distorted, but Kitty only needed a clue. So he made sure he had her attention and then mouthed the words "War Buddy" and watched her right eye twitch. It was something small, not even a wink, but after years of being together Duo knew she'd understood.

Kitty was a drug dealer now, but she'd grown up street wise just like him. Neither of them was your run of the mill druggie. Maybe they'd been doing this too long though. It had caught up, and Duo had never thought that when it did that it would be this bad.

Kitty left then, scrambling on her hands and knees until she could get her legs under her and then disappearing into the dark corner of the room where a door must be. Duo let himself moan then, feeling all the hurt and all the lack of drugs in his blood. He wanted a chance to curl up and let the pain ride him, but the coffin wasn't going to allow for that. So he just lay there as still as he could and tried to keep his mind away from it. Focusing too much on the pain would just have him unconscious in a few minutes. A little disconcerting was the blood he found on the bottom of the coffin. It was smeared there from when he'd turned his head.

Giving himself a moment, Duo realized that a big part of the headache was coming from the back of his head, he really wanted to reach up a hand and feel what was going on back there, but the coffin was too tight and didn't allow that kind of room.

Distantly Duo was aware that he'd been left alone, so he pushed up on the coffin. He already knew it was locked, how could it not be, but part of him still had to check. He couldn't reach the lock pick tied into his hair, not that it would help from the inside out anyway. He didn't have that knife he'd gone after, he had nothing at all in fact. It was just him and his clothes in that coffin, which meant he couldn't do anything to help Kitty until they opened the coffin. Which would be their last mistake.

But feeling like he was now, even that little thought of vengeance felt like an overshot. He could only hope that Kitty wouldn't have too much trouble getting to Heero, because after living with her and seeing how she did business, Duo already knew that despite Kitty's promises, there was no way in hell she was going to get that jerks money.

He also hoped that Heero still wanted to help. Because without him, Duo didn't really see a good way out of this that didn't end with one or both of them killed.


"Yuy, go the hell home." Wu Fei was standing over him, Heero had his head in his hands on the top of his desk.

"Just a little longer, the software with catch him soon." Heero mumbled to the pen he'd been staring at for twenty minutes now.

"It's working as fast as it can, I will call you as soon as we get a hit." Wu Fei pulled the chair away from his desk and Heero had to take his arms back or risk falling face first onto the floor.

"I have to be here when we get that hit. I have to find him, Wu Fei." Heero moaned, running his hands through his hair. "It's my fault that..." Wu Fei cut him off.

"It is not your fault." Wu Fei shook his head, "Maxwell has made his own decisions leading up to this situation. He should not have gotten involved with such a woman in the first place. And running out on you in such a way with her is just another in a long line of bad decisions."

"No." Heero sighed, rolling his shoulders, "I'm partly to blame as well, I could have, after the war I could have..." Heero didn't know how to say it. Didn't know how to explain how he'd just let Duo walk away because he was scared of his own feelings. Had wanted time to explore and find himself outside of all the training he'd endured. And at the time, watching Duo waving and walking away, leaving them all there watching him go, Heero had had the feeling that maybe Duo had taken it as a rejection. Had wanted to call him back, but hadn't been able to reach out.

And now look where it had all ended up. It was all this huge train wreck of a disaster and he was left searching the wreckage for Duo, hoping that he might still be there under it all. Somewhere, waiting for him to reach out and pull him back.

"Yuy, you can't hold yourself responsible for Maxwell's decisions, it..." The computer interrupted him, signaling a match and Heero all but forgot he was there, dragging himself forward in the chair to look at the screen.

There he was, on one side of the screen was a picture of Duo from that afternoon when he'd been brought in. Preventer cameras had gotten a still shot. And on the other side of the screen, was a upwards side angle of him, in some sort of facility. Heero cued the computer to give him the information and found the picture linked with the name "Duo Paden".

"What?" Heero muttered without realizing it, over his shoulder, Wu Fei was reading along. Duo Paden was listed as working at an animal shelter, backed by the government too. He'd been hiding in plain sight. And since no one had ever thought to look for his image in the system, he'd gone undetected. Of course Duo would think of this.

Heero quickly got all the information he could on Duo Paden and started to print it off.

"You're going after him then?" Wu Fei asked as the printer spat out Duo Paden's current address.

"I have to Wu Fei, he needs my help." Heero stood on sore legs. It was now the middle of the night and his whole body was protesting. But he was being driven by this need and couldn't stop now. Couldn't even consider stopping until he had Duo back in this building.

"Then I am coming as well." Wu Fei sighed, "I can not in good conscience let you go off in this condition."

As they stood, looking over the papers split between the two of them, an urgent knock came at their door. And without waiting for a welcome, Celeste came in towing someone behind her.

"What is it Cel..." Heero stopped as Kitty Phillips burst around the Preventer Agent and headed right for Heero.

"Please!" She gasped for air, she looked out of breath, her hair was in disarray and she was dirt streaked. But the most disconcerting was the blood smeared on her face and her hands.

"She found me." Celeste sighed, holding up her hands in confusion. "Came knocking on my door demanding I bring her in to see you. Apparently she couldn't wait for processing."

Heero took a step back but Kitty just barreled forward and grabbed hold of his arm.

"Please, he said to come get you! He told me to come here, and find you." Kitty looked very panicked, her eyes wide and her heart racing and pounding in the vein in her neck. "They'll kill him if I don't get the money."

That caught his attention. There was only one 'he' they could be talking about. Only one person that Kitty knew that would send her here for Heero.

"Where?" Heero demanded, "Who is going to kill him?" His own heart was doing some slamming around now, adrenalin pumping into his blood and preparing him for battle.

"Kael, Kael Voljin." Kitty looked on the verge of tears. "My supplier. It's all my fault, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, please help Duo. He's been there for me, taking care of me. I can't be the cause of his death, I can't." Kitty pleaded, almost falling to the ground. Heero caught her and handed her off to Celeste.

"Get the location from her and then get her to a hospital." Heero barked at Celeste who nodded and sat Kitty down in one of the extra chairs. Behind him Wu Fei was already typing the name into the computer and brining up a file.

"Here he is, I'll... wait." Wu Fei was printing out pages now, but staring at the screen oddly. Without a word he started typing again, frustrating Heero. Didn't he see the need here? They had to leave now, had to leave before...

"I think we just found our mole. I should say moles." Wu Fei mutter, pushing away from the desk and letting Heero take a look.

On the screen in front of him was a picture of Kael Voljin, and next to it were three separate agent files, all linked to one case. One case that was classified. And all three agents worked in filing. Down the screen a list had started and hand't stopped yet. And Heero was looking at every case file he'd pulled on drug busts. All of them covered by at least one of the three listed agents.

Heero cursed under his breath. Behind him Celeste held up a piece of paper. "Here's your address." She let Heero take it and then took Kitty out of the room.

"Get this to IA, but we have to go now." Heero snapped at Wu Fei.

Wu Fei nodded and handed off the printed summery of Kael Voljin's file, "Hurry. I don't like this man, there's a time limit on how long he keeps hostages alive. And we're already well into it."