Gundam Wing Fan Fiction ❯ A Church is Burning ❯ Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire ( Chapter 2 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Chapter 2: Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire
As Heero sat down in the pilot’s chair, he fired up the radio. He had to do some quick rewiring, but he was fairly sure it would reach Quatre’s unique frequency. He was rewarded with the radio crackling to life and a somewhat familiar voice. It was one of the Maguanac Corps, Heero could tell, but he wasn’t sure which one. The voice demanded to know who he was.
“This is Pilot 01, I need to speak with Pilot 04,” Heero said, glancing behind him to check on Duo. He frowned at Duo, who seemed to be occupied with hacking up a lung. There was silence on the radio, which Heero hoped was an affirmative answer. It was, and moments later Quatre’s voice rang through.
“Heero, you’re a day early, what happened?” Quatre asked, and Heero hesitated for a moment.
“Mission went south. You have medical facilities there, right?” He wasn’t sure, but it was their best bet. A public hospital would ask too many questions.
“We do. Heero, are you hurt? What happened?” Quatre was beginning to sound a little distressed, and Heero knew his answer wouldn’t alleviate the other pilot’s worry.
“Not me. Duo’s been shot. Can you have a team standing by? Our ETA is fifteen,” Heero replied stoically, glancing down at the navigation to double check his answer. He frowned at the sounds of wet coughing behind him.
“Duo? We can, but how bad is it?” Again, Heero knew how bad his answer would sound. But the information had to get out. He glanced down at the instrument panel again, trying to word his answer so it wouldn't worry Quatre too much but would still convey the severity of the situation.
“Chest wound. Nearly positive the bullet hit a lung, he’s lost a lot of blood.” Heero’s reply was short and to the point, there was no helping it. He couldn’t hide the facts from Quatre, not really. Not with Quatre’s special abilities and the fact that the other boy could always tell when Heero lied. Even hundreds of miles apart. Heero checked the panel again, to make sure they weren’t being followed. He would have done so sooner, but he had been distracted. He cursed himself, even as Quatre’s voice crackled over the radio.
“Heero … Is he going to make it?” The question soft, Heero barely made it out over the radio’s natural static. His voice caught in his throat, lie to set Quatre at ease, or tell the truth and likely send the other pilot into a panic. A year ago he wouldn’t have had to make this choice; a year ago he wouldn’t be jeopardizing a mission to save a comrade. A year ago, he didn’t have comrades. Friends, his mind supplied. Friends. Something he never expected to have. So lost in his own thought process was he, he didn’t hear the first few times Quatre called to him. The third time, however, he caught it. Quatre’s voice so laced with worry, he cringed.
“I don’t know. I’ll do everything in my power to get him there, though.” He spoke with conviction; this was another mission, another operation. If he thought about it that way, and not in terms of his friend, maybe even the boy he had feelings for, dying or living, maybe he could do this. The back was suddenly quiet, and something within Heero lurched. He quickly glanced down at the panel; there wasn’t much time before he had to manually pilot the plane to land it.
“We’ll be there soon,” Heero said suddenly, cutting off the radio. He wasted no time in returning to the back, and something inside him shifted. Duo had slid to the side, and there was no movement. Heero stumbled forward, straightening his partner on the floor. He pressed shaking fingers to Duo’s neck, trying to still himself. He shouldn’t be shaking this much. He firmly pushed down on his panic, locking it away, and pressed two fingers against Duo’s neck. He waited with bated breath, not daring to move in case he missed something. But there, it was faint, and thready, but he wasn’t … Heero shook his head. Not the time for that. He pressed a palm against the other pilot’s chest, just to double check. You always double checked. There was no movement.
They all had first aid training, enough to care for themselves and just a bit extra in caring for others. Heero honestly had never expected to use this particular skill, never figured he’d care enough or that he’d even be able to save anyone. It was war, and he was a terrorist. There was no denying that. But he remembered vividly what he had to do, and he had limited time to do it. Between landing the plane and Duo running out of time, he had no choice. He leaned down and ran his hand over Duo’s mouth, trying to wipe as much blood away as possible. He didn’t even take time to wipe his hand off; he dove directly in. He straightened his partner’s head and tilted it back, he was already down on his knees, and he leaned forward. He didn’t think he would ever forget the taste of Duo’s blood; it would haunt him for years to come. The rest really was a blur; he knew what he was doing, but he viewed it all through a haze.
In the background he heard the proximity alarm from the instrument panel, but he couldn’t stop, not now. Thankfully, shortly after the alarm had started sounding Duo bucked under him and started coughing, and everything snapped back into focus. He quickly sent a thanks to whatever god was watching over them as he turned Duo over and watched the other pilot vomit blood. That was a damned lot of blood. But Duo was breathing, if extremely laboriously. He ran bloody fingers through Duo’s bangs, calling the other pilot. There was no response, but Heero really didn’t expect one. He did his best to prop Duo up so he wouldn’t choke on his own blood, because damned if he was letting Duo slip under again. He quickly moved back into the cockpit; they were minutes out from the compound, close enough he had to immediately start the landing process. He radioed ahead for the okay, and was surprised to hear Wufei’s voice come back through the radio.
“You’re clear, Yuy. Get in here,” the Chinese pilot said, and, while Heero knew the other could not hear his nod, he nodded and radioed back assent. He didn’t have time to explain what had just happened; he was focused on landing the damn plane. The runway was short, but thankfully he had taken a small plane. For someone used to piloting shuttles and a gundam alone, a little plane earth side was little trouble. He landed without incident and taxied the thing into the hangar. Wouldn’t do to leave an OZ plane in plain sight. After that, he didn’t care. He let the damn thing sit there, moving to the back and checking Duo over once more. Still breathing, which was all he could ask for. He scooped the other pilot up and kicked the release for the door, hands being full. The other three pilots were waiting for him, but he had one objective. Just as Quatre said, there was a med team waiting and Heero reluctantly relinquished Duo to them. He watched them roll Duo away; he was tuning out sounds, and he didn’t want to hear what they were saying. If he could keep this level of disbelief, maybe he wouldn’t break down in front of the three people that needed to see him as the Perfect Soldier. He didn’t jump when a hand was laid on his shoulder, but he turned sharply to look at Wufei. The other pilot was looking at him oddly, as if appraising him. It took Heero a minute, but he realized what pilot 05 was doing.
“I’m not hurt.” He said, lacking the conviction his voice usually held. Wufei looked at him a moment longer, that peculiar look still in his dark eyes. It was Quatre that explained things, always Quatre.
“You’re covered in blood Heero, and there’s ...” the blond pilot paused, and Heero looked puzzled at him. “There is blood on your lips.” Oh. That explained it. He looked stricken for a moment before answering Quatre.
“He stopped breathing,” he said simply, though it wasn’t that simple, and he could tell that his attempt to reach his normal level of indifference had failed, because both Wufei and Trowa were giving him odd looks. Quatre just looked … like he wasn’t surprised. Like he knew Heero’s world was falling apart and that Duo was the cause. That damn smirk like he just knew what was going on. Heero wanted to turn away, wanted to try and save face. But suddenly, he was just tired. He was done playing, done trying. His shoulders sagged but he managed to stay upright. Quatre was at his side immediately, shoring him up. Heero turned to Quatre and tried to speak, tried to say something, but he blinked and felt darkness envelop him.