Title: Raigeki
Author: Caelestis
Rating: R
Fandom: Gundam Wing
Warnings: Poor Wuffie.... - What I put him through for fun....
Disclaimer: Don' own em. WAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

"Ittikimasu!" Duo called out cheerfully as he brought a pair of chopsticks laden with rice to his lips. A snort followed the declaration as his fellow pilot, Wufei, glared at him. In the small safe house there resided five Gundam pilots, each one with unique talents and abilities that had led them to become the backbone of the rebellion against the oppressing politicians of Earth.

It had all started with Operation: Meteor, the colonies of space each sending their own champion trained by special scientists. After landing separately on Earth, the pilots found each other by accident and after a bout of initial hostility, were now working together in an effort to end the war quickly. The opposing forces, however, were developing new weapons that were increasing in their deadly capacity and causing more trouble for the pilots.

Alternating between his rice and chicken, Duo chomped through his dinner with almost supernatural speed.

Wufei's right eye twitched.

"Have you no dignity?" He finally growled. "The noise you make when you eat is enough to make a grown man vomit!"

Duo grinned cheekily at him, several grains of rice plastered to his innocent heart-shaped face, his long, chestnut hair in slight disarray, hanging in its customary braid.

"Where's the fun in dignity, Wu-man?"

"Kisama..." Wufei leapt at him only to encounter thin air. Duo had leapt nimbly from harm's way, managing to polish off the remainder of his meal as he did, throwing the empty bowl in an impressive throw to land in the sink.

"You're getting sloppy, Wu-man!" He chortled as Wufei drew his kantana and cursed fluently in his native tongue. Laughing until he was left gasping for breath, he proceeded to lead the justice-ranting warrior on a merry chase through the confines of their latest safe house.

Panting heavily, Duo finally ran up the stairs leading to the attic and hid behind an old cloth-covered crate; Wufei was hot on his tail, leaving behind him a string of maledictions that would have brought down a seasoned diplomat. Spying an open window in front of him, he summarized that Duo had tried to escape from him on the roof.

"Your plan won't work, Maxwell!" He jumped out the window in what he thought to be the pursuit of his tormentor. Leaping from his hiding place, Duo cackled as he slammed the window down and turned the lock. His evil laughter carried him down the stairs where he locked the door to the attic as an after-thought.

One more mornings mission... Completed.

Duo had deemed himself the burr in Wufei's ass, the curdled milk in his fridge, the one major badass pain in his life. So far his plan was working. Too bad he and Heero had a mission today; he wanted to play with his Wuffi-bear a little longer.

Pouting, he entered Heero's small bedroom, the walls and single bed covered in corresponding faded colors of blue and green. The aforementioned pilot was busy hacking into who knows what on his laptop.

"Oi... Heero..." He spun an empty chair around and sat down on it backwards, his thick braid swaying gently behind him. "Are you almost done?"

The self-proclaimed Shinigami was impatient. He wanted to get back to annoying Wu-butt as soon as possible. Wu-butt... he grinned to himself as he thought about the black haired pilots reaction when he heard his new nickname. It had promising possibilities...

"Duo." Monotone. "We will leave shortly." Hey, at least he acknowledged his presence this time. Duo rolled his eyes. Short clipped sentences... Heero was every bit the perfect soldier he was trained to become. Dressed in his customary green tank top and black spandex shorts, one had to wonder if he even owned another outfit... or even one the least dissimilar. His own outfit was far more appropriate for the battlefield, a priest's habit in stark shades of black and white. He even had the little white collar... as if he could offer atonement for the men that he killed. He sighed to himself. He thoughts were starting to become morbid, something he couldn't afford. Shaking himself mentally, he though about the next joke he could pull on Wu-bear.

"Come on, Heero! I wanna go!" He whined. Yes his life was perfect... annoying Wu-bear, piloting Deathscythe, actively fighting in a war, and then on top of it all getting to see Heero everyday... Eh? He blinked in confusion. Where had that last thought come from? Weird...

"Maxwell!! Shiseiji-yaro, when I find you..." An angry bellow filled the hallway out side of the room. Duo paled slightly. Oops... sounded like his prey had managed to escape his trap...

"Well then, I'll just meet you at Deathscythe. See ya!" With a salutary grin, Duo stood smoothly and crossed the room to stand before its only window. Another flick of his wrist opened it and seconds later he was shimmying down the trail of ivy that had grown up underneath it just as Wufei kicked in Heero's door. Shouts sounded as Wufei now had to deal with a pissed off Perfect Soldier. Certain death... avoided.

Breathing a sigh of relief, he stalked the distance to the hanger where the Gundams were hidden. There was something the other pilots didn't know that was weighing heavily on his mind, something that might effect or even compromise their missions. Before he had gotten to know them when he was working as a solo agent, he didn't really care if they knew or not, but now the four other pilots were like family to him, and it hurt to keep something this important a secret.

Turning a corner, the clearing came into sight. He didn't like discussing his upbringing... although he had seen worse. He had grown up as an orphan on Colony L2, but nothing from that short span of time compared to what had led to his banishment from Hades. Yes, he was the Shinigami... or rather, he had been the Shinigami, for over five thousand years. He frowned. There had been an uprising amongst his subordinates seventeen years ago, human time, even though he had been the fairest ruler in Hades history. Some beings only craved power, he reasoned, no matter the price.

He sighed again, as he climbed up Deathscythe, his Gundam, and removed the camouflage covering the outer surface. Slipping into the cockpit, he started the system checks, flipping various switches. He wasn't as irresponsible as the others thought. In fact, he almost never forgot anything. Which was also why he couldn't figure out why Solo had betrayed him; there simply hadn't been anything to motivate him to do what he did... he hadn't been the power hungry type, and he had known him ever since he had been born. Solo had been his best friend before all of this had happened. Duo had been musing on this for the sixteen years of his exile and still the pieces didn't come together. What was he missing?

"Looking good there, old buddy. Are ya ready to fight? I know I am." Duo chattered to his machine, throwing his arms back above his head and relaxed as he waited for Heero so they could start their mission. At times, Deathscythe almost seemed to be alive. It was plausible that a spirit had chosen to inhabit the Gundam, but with the larger part of his powers sealed, there wasn't much he could do about it. Duo cursed the person who just had to remember that minor detail.

He continued his one-sided conversation for several minutes before Heero arrived at the clearing. Duo finished the system's warm up, and keyed his engines, bringing them to life.

Without a word, Heero settled into the cockpit of his own Gundam, Wing, booting and checking every system with a ruthless efficiency that reflected his perfect soldier status.

"Oh yeah! Time to see some action!" Duo cackled, buckling the safety harness around his torso. Grasping his controls, he levered the Gundam into the air, carefully monitoring the fuel and acceleration switches. Everything was in order. He eased the acceleration throttle forward, and Deathscythe hurtled forward leaving behind it a wake of heated air.

Wing wasn't very far behind as Heero kept pace easily with the sinister Gundam known as Deathscythe. Duo's trajectory was swift, keeping them out of sight from the enemy while continuing to let them have the element of surprise as they headed for the co-ordinates Duo had been given. It came as no surprise to many that the pilot of Deathscythe was known as the most ruthless assassin active in the war effort.

"Heero, do you know what our mission parameters are?" Duo asked sheepishly, his face popping up on Heero's screen.

"Baka." Heero growled, still maintaining his monotone. "OZ has a new weapons source they recently acquired. We are to disable the majority of the weapons and bring one back for further study."

Duo whistled. "That's more than I've heard you say since I met ya..."

Heero turned a death glare on him that even through the remote communications shone its malevolence on the unlucky 02 pilot, retaining enough of its ferocity to make him uneasy. Duo gulped nervously. "Sorry man, I was just joking. Ya know, trying to lighten the mood."

"Hn."

"You are way too serious for your own good." Duo grumbled now that the 'danger' had passed. His console bleeped as three Leos were picked up on his radar. "Don't look now, but I think we've got company."

Deathscythe gave a burst of speed, hurtling towards the enemy's mobile suits. With his superior speed, Duo was able to take out the three without incident, both of the Gundams holding steady to their course nearing the object of their mission. As the weapons base came into range several hundred kilometers away, it appeared to the pilots as a large globe hovering over the mountains, small spires jutting from it's diameter; clouds partially obscured the smaller details.

"So, Heero... should I take point?" Duo asked conversationally as the rest of the enemy's defense came into play, releasing more of the smaller, less agile mobile suits into the air as a counter measure to the eminent attack. At Heero's confirmation, Duo took off whooping wildly. Slightly in front of Wing, he activated his laser cannons marking his targets in a flurry of golden fire. With a nod to Heero, he cut their communications, leading the Leos off of Heero's tail, giving him a clear path towards the base and interposed himself between the opposing force and Wing.

"You really shouldn't mess with Shinigami." He remarked casually, his laughter filled eyes taking on a dangerous gleam. He activated his thermal scythe, his Gundam holding it out in front much like a martial artist would hold a Bo. "And to get to Wing, you'll have to go through me."

They decided to take him up on his offer. Yup, life was good. Swinging the giant scythe in graceful arcs, he cut through the suits easily, cackling manically as the enemy sent wave after wave against him. Holding the new forces back was a breeze, albeit a timely one. Briefly he consulted his standard clock. Oh shit... Heero had been in there for almost four hours! He cursed himself for letting himself get carried away in the battle. Heero should have been done by now...

An explosion rocked the landscape, a small mushroom of smoke and fire marked its location near the base. Duo's grin dropped slightly as a chill ran down his spine. Something had gone wrong. That looked like Wing's... had something triggered its self-destruct mechanism? Turning around his Gundam and pushing it into high gear, he made a run towards the base, ignoring all but a few unlucky mobile suits that happened to cross his path. A small dot that had started in the distance turned into a swarm of smaller dots as he drew closer. To Duo's heightened sight, the dots were revealed to be mobile dolls as they rapidly moved towards him.

"Shit." He groaned as his speed increased to a fraction over the limits of the man-made machinery. This reeked of a setup... in which case Heero was in real trouble. A blast rocked him from behind as a doll scored a lucky shot. This wasn't looking good. He tried to bring up Heero on the radio. "Heero! Answer me!"

Opening a channel proved to be futile but he continued to try even as he dodged bullets, drawing closer to the base with every second. "Heero!" The bad feeling he had continued to grow in his gut, festering with each passing moment that went by. A light blinked on his console signaling an incoming communication.

"Heero?" Duo answered hopefully; maybe he had over reacted...

"Pilot 02, surrender. Pilot 01 is in our custody. If you refuse to co-operate he will be terminated."

It felt like a bucket of ice water had been dumped on him, chilling him to his core. Heero... Grinding his teeth together, he made up his mind. The mission came before anything else - Heero would want him to withdraw. Before he would have sacrificed Heero without a second thought. Now, however, he couldn't bring himself to be the one responsible for his death. When had that happened? When had he started to care about him so much?

"I surrender." His voice was bleak. He couldn't let Heero die; he'd find a way to rescue him somehow. They would take him inside the base if he surrendered and from there he would be free to locate Heero. Deathscythe old buddy, I'm sorry...

"A wise decision." The profile of the un-named man turned to a fellow officer. "Bring 01 to the laboratory. When you retrieve 02, bring him there as well."

Duo blinked. Laboratory? They were taking his Heero to a laboratory? Laboratories were where they performed experiments...

A rain of bullets bounced off his armor as the dolls converged on him, disobeying the commands of their leader. Desperate now, he went through his options. Eventually they would manage to damage Deathscythe, and he couldn't continue to battle for much longer and still return to the safe house; his stores of energy were running low. Desperation started to fill his soul, overwhelming his psyche. He would never see Heero again... abruptly his power fueled by that desperation, the power that he had thought to be sealed off, flared, creating a chink in the once impenetrable chain that had encircled the part of his mind that had controlled it. Surprised, Duo started, and yanked back on the stick that controlled Deathscythe's movement, sending the machine and its passenger into a nosedive.

He quickly regained control of the massive machine, and leveled of their flight. This unexpected occurrence brought new possibilities... Duo was never one to look a gift horse in the mouth. He was only going to get once chance at this; what he had planned was going to be very tricky. Setting Deathscythe on autopilot, he keyed the hatch and with a quick prayer, jumped out into the air.

"Come on..." He muttered, folding his arms to his chest as he fell towards the ground. Reaching into a part of him that he had believed lost forever; he staked his very existence on this venture, trying to grasp at the thin straws that would allow him to survive this. He had to succeed! A searing pain ripped through his back as new bones exploded out of his back to form the outline of wings, muscles reforming themselves over new bone growth, and leathery dark skin growing rapidly to cover the new appendages. Yes!

Exuberant over his success, he ignored the searing pain that shot through his body as his wings caught the wind, their untried muscles straining as his body was drawn upwards into a warm air current.

Biting his lower lip until blood dripped from it, he glanced around hurriedly before darting out of sight in the shadow of the OZ base. Deathscythe was fading rapidly into the distance, the mobile suits abandoning their pursuit after an hour of futile chasing. Clinging to the side of the metal base, Duo made his way slowly to an airlock. It surprised him how easy it had been to break through the block that had been placed on his powers. He was grateful that he could finally access some of his former powers, even if it was just a small portion.

This mission was rapidly getting worse as it progressed.