DISCLAIMER: I do not own Gundam Wing, or its characters. I just love playing with them.
That Which Mends
Pairings: 2x1x2, past 2xOC, 5xOC, 3x4
Warnings for Overall Series: Angst, Violence, Sap, Lemons/Limes
Betaed by ShenLong Deb *hugs*
Archives: http://www.gundam-wing-diaries.150m.com/gw/SkyLark/gwSkyLark.htm and http://www.mizunoamy.bravepages.com/skylark/skylarkfics.html
[I am the ripper man
A locomotion mind
Love American style yeah
I am the nexus one
I want more life, Fucker I ain't done yet
[Lyrics to 'More Human Than Human' performed by White Zombie]
"Why in the hell did I agree to this?" Wufei half-asked-half-moaned as his shoulders sagged heavily.
Duo leaned against the wall behind them, folding his arm across his chest as he chuckled, "Because you love Anna and you want to see her happy. She's been in braces and that wheelchair for weeks now. She needs this."
Huffing, the Chinese agent retorted, "Then why am I so nervous about this?"
At his other side, Quatre smirked, "Again, because you love Anna and you don't want to see her hurt." Patting his friend's arm, he assured, "But you don't have to worry. She's in the best hands for this. Trowa won't let anything happen to her."
Night's voice called from the surrounding trees, "You've got that right!" Pushing Anna's wheelchair to bring them into view, Trowa grinned, "I've got this."
Wearing a face-splitting smile, Anna looked over the banks, flats and ramps of the sprawling skateboard park that had just opened to the public not far from Barton and Winner's home.
"Oh my God!" the redhead shouted in elation, gripping her handlebars. "Let's do this!"
Chang pushed himself off the fence with an anxious, "Wait!" Bending before his girlfriend, he pulled on the harnesses across her middle that he had installed for this moment. Reluctantly content with its fit, he sighed, "That should keep you secure enough."
Smiling up at him, Downs said, "Don't worry, Wufei. I'm as snug as a bug in this getup." She gestured to her caretaker, adding, "Not to mention I'm being handled by a professional rollerblader and skateboarder." Trowa chuckled and ruffled the top of her head.
"Don't forget these," Winner offered, holding up a pair of bejeweled, fingerless purple gloves that he handed over. "Trowa and I had these personally made for you. This way you won't have a problem slowing your wheels down if you have to and you'll be able to bike with them when you're up to riding again."
Her grin widening all the more, Anna pulled the leather gloves on and turned her hands over to appraise them as they caught the sunlight. "Awesome. Thank you, guys," she replied sincerely to the grinning couple. Humming, Rock and Night bowed their heads.
Duo approached, revealing the arm that he had tucked behind his back to unveil a shiny new, purple biker helmet detailed with a skull, crossbones and a scythe that wrapped the side. "And this will just be the icing on the cake," he declared.
"Yes!" his best friend squealed in delight as she rushed to put the girt on her head and secure its strap under her chin. Scanning the faces watching her, she asked, "How do I look?"
"Like the bad-ass ready to take on the world that you are," Duo smirked. Squeezing her shoulder and kissing her cheek, he winked. "Have fun out there," he whispered by her ear. Their gazes meeting, there were no further words needed between them as they always got one another.
Trowa finished strapping his green helmet on and peered down at his charge. "You did make right with God this morning just in case, right, Boo?" he inquired, the corner of his mouth curling up.
Despite the fits of laughter from the others, Chang's eyes narrowed as he grumbled, "Not funny, Barton." The undercover agent snickered and shrugged unapologetically.
Catching her breath, Downs reached over to hold onto her boyfriend's hand to have his dark eyes fall on her.
"Everything's going to be fine," the redhead promised. "At some point, you have to let me go and just trust that I can take care of myself, too. I've had enough time in this chair that if anything seems off, I'll know how to protect myself." She tapped the lag brace beside her free hand, commenting, "I might be a little challenged right now, but I'm not helpless."
Wufei blinked at that, chewing on the inside of his cheek while their teammates smirked in pride at their former lover. Clearing his throat, the team leader bent at the waist and kissed the weapons expert soundly. "You're right," he murmured when he leaned back. Resting their foreheads together, he smiled, "I blank you. Have a great time."
Rewarding him with a brilliant smile of her own, Anna released his hand and looked back up to Trowa. "Ready when you are, co-pilot" he announced with a wink, rolling behind her chair again and hanging onto the handlebars.
"Oh, I'm more than ready," Downs giggled, hands hovering over her wheels and arching forward in her seat while their comrades fell back along the fence again.
Crying out, "Here we go!" Barton pushed off with a powerful kick and they descended the first dip to pick up speed fast as they howled out in cheers and laughter throughout the course.
Jaw dropping, Wufei's fears were immediately forgotten as he watched how very much in control Anna was in navigating each turn and climb, giving Trowa an easy time to keep their momentum.
Yes, Night might have been a capable backup, but Fire was the one in charge of their flight.
Cupping his mouth once he was able to contain his snickers, Maxwell hollered, "That's my girl! Give it hell, Annie!"
"Show Trowa how you roll!" Quatre yelled, blushing with wide eyes as his teammates turned to him with a raised eyebrow and an amused grin. "Yea, I know. I heard it when I said it," the blonde officer muttered, shaking his head sheepishly.
The first to focus back on the thrilled skaters as they continued on through the wide course of ramps and tricks, Wolf glowed in respect for the redhead. She was, indeed, more than able to handle herself through any adversity... including surviving a bullet that she had taken for him and laughing in Death's face to love life even more than she ever had before.
All he had to do was what he had done in her case all along... let go and trust that she'd eventually make it back to him whenever she decided to touch back down to earth again.
* * * *
Thick drops began to splatter across Wufei's windshield. "Of course it would be raining on this stretch," he hissed under his breath.
As he turned on the wiper blades, Wolf took even more caution as the drivers ahead and around him slowed their pace on the highway that was notorious for turning slick when it was wet. Just behind him, Trowa's deep green car was lagging back several lengths should he need more room to come to an abrupt stop.
In the passenger seat, Duo told his friend, "Trust me, I'm just as nervous as you are, Fei. But we don't even know if there's any danger to worry about. Even if there is, Annie can handle herself. Just get us to her in one piece so we can help if she does need us."
Collected as the braided agent might have appeared, he was every bit on pins and needles. He just had a better handle on his nerves at the moment, enough to keep the team leader focused.
Forcing out a puff of air, Chang murmured, "I know. I just... hope she'll call soon so I know she's alright."
~ ~ ~ ~
Anna brushed raindrops off her loose curls as she stepped through the front glass doors of the two-story Jefferson Library. Silently grateful for Lady Une's laid back dress code for the office, the redhead blended in with the everyone else in her floral printed T-shirt, khaki shorts and running shoes.
No one would have been any the wiser that she was carrying a pistol at her hip.
Making her way to the round desk at the center of the massive building, the weapons expert made sure to draw the attention of only one of the attendants with a wave. The librarian who's eye she caught smiled warmly and adjusted her glasses on the bridge of her nose as she neared the edge of the counter between them.
"Hello. How may I help you, dear?" the middle-aged woman asked kindly in a soft voice that matched her neat, proper style from her black pumps and pencil skirt up to the bun that her graying hair was pulled back into.
Sure to keep her own tone quiet and calming, Downs grinned back, "Actually, I'm here to visit Gary Sweeney's office."
At that, she produced her Preventers badge and ID from her pocket. "No need for alarm, Dottie," she reassured after reading the woman's name tag to put her at ease. Keeping the friendly smile on her face, she replaced her badge before anyone else around saw it. "Just collecting evidence. I'll be out of the way in no time."
The attendant physically relaxed and nodded, "Of course. Follow me, please." She lifted up the counter to make an opening for herself that she stepped through.
Quietly, Dottie led the way through the first floor of row after row of shelves filled with books and benches that were occasionally occupied by patrons who came in to enjoy the feel of actually turning a page instead of swiping an electronic reader.
Out in the empty, tiled corridor where the staircase leading to the second floor was located, the librarian peered over her shoulder. "I do hope that whatever Mister Sweeney may have done will not be a poor reflection on this establishment," she frowned deeply.
"No need to worry about that. Your supervisor will be brought up to speed by my supervisor soon," Downs informed, careful to not give away anything further. Eyeing her watch as they began to climb to the building's second floor, she added, "The rest of my team should be arriving soon to help me in clearing out the office, just to warn you to expect a few more of us."
Her guide nodded, "Yes, one of them arrived just a few minutes before you. He was just seen to the room shortly before you came in, so he should still be in there now."
Freezing mid-step, the hairs on Anna's neck stood on their ends and her blue eyes grew. Someone got to the computer ahead of her... and it wasn't one of the Preventers. They were still too far out.
The librarian continued ahead of her as the weapons expert urged, "Dottie, I need you to listen to me closely." Hearing the seriousness in her soft words, the attendant stiffened and looked back at her guest so their gazed locked.
With her right hand revealing the holster of her gun by pulling back the hem of her shirt with one hand and hooking her gold badge to display it just below her left shoulder with the other, Fire advised slowly, "You're going to have to point out the direction of Sweeney's office once we're on the floor and then you're going to lead everyone upstairs down to the main floor."
She paused when her hostess whimpered and pressed on, "Once you're by the main exit, you're going to hit the fire alarm so the rest of the building clears out. No one else comes back in unless the whole library is searched by the rest of my team and they give you the go ahead.
Biting her lip, the redhead concluded, "I need to know you can handle this, or I'll have to find someone else who can and fast. Do you understand?"
The very real situation setting in, Dottie collected her nerve and righted herself with her head lifting. "Yes, I understand," she responded, the words clear and dripping with determination. "I can do just as you said."
"Good," Anna smiled. "I'll meet you by the door and we'll move."
Her reservations gone, the attendant nodded and began to climb the last staircase as Downs fished out her cell phone and dialed her first speed dial option.
~ ~ ~ ~
Reading the name displayed on the screen on his dashboard at the first ring that patched through his wireless connection, Agent Wolf let out an audible sigh and pressed the 'Accept' button as he greeted urgently, "Anna. Status?"
"I'm at Jefferson now," his lover responded. "Someone posing as an officer is in Sweeney's office now, so I'm closing in on him before he can make a break for it."
Exchanging wide eyes, Chang and Maxwell processed that information.
In a flash, Duo removed his cell phone and made a quick call to Quatre, covering his mouth as he quickly relayed the message to their teammates behind them to keep them in the loop while Wufei advised, "We're on the way. Do whatever you have to just-"
"Be careful, I know," the weapons expert giggled. "Fire out."
Closing his cell phone, Maxwell gripped the handle bar above the passenger door and turned his narrowing violet eyes to his teammate and ordered, "Get us to her. Break whatever laws you have to."
Not needing to be told twice, Wufei swerved his red car onto the shoulder of the highway and sped past the cars ahead of them when he pressed his foot against the gas pedal. Prelude to what was going on, Trowa was fast to follow suit and tailed.
~ ~ ~ ~
Anna hurried up the last staircase and removed her gun. Holding it in both hands at waist height, she met Dottie's gaze. "I checked to see if Sweeney's door was open. It's not, but it can't be locked from the inside and I have the only keys that would seal it from the outside, so you'll be able to get in. It's the last office on the right," the librarian informed.
"Good work," the redhead praised with a genuine grin. Rolling her shoulders back and sobering as she readied herself for whatever was about to come, she questioned, "Ready?"
The librarian nodded firmly. "Let's go," Downs smirked, her grip tightening on her pistol.
Her steps wide and in quick succession, the agent strode through the door as it was opened to her and made her way to the far right of the floor. on her way past the first couple of shelves, she came upon a couple of wide-eyed visitors who gasped and gawked at the sight of her gun.
Pausing when their stares locked, Anna freed her right hand to press its pointer finger against her mouth and gestured in a sharp wave to the exit. The young man and woman perched on the benches glanced to her badge and nodded vehemently as they sprung to their feet and hurried away for the stairwell.
From the corner of her eye, Fire noticed a trickling of other people who all but ran in the opposite direction that she was heading. Dottie was indeed proving that she was up for the task of getting everyone out of harm's way as quickly and as quietly as possible. It was a weight off the Preventer's shoulders as she closed in on Sweeney's office.
She reached the closed red door at the end of the long stretch and stood by the doorknob, weapon raised. For the next two tense minutes, all she could hear was her heart pounding in her ears and the loud rustling of papers inside the room.
The shrill, prolonged bell of the fire alarm sounded to destroy the silence and Anna kicked in the door at its cue.
"Preventers! Freeze!" the redhead shouted over the noise, her gun aimed at the head of the tall and muscular man behind the desk as he shot his head up in shock from the drawers that he was in the middle of cleaning out. At his feet, there were several boxes that were already filled with documents... as well as the hard drive of Sweeney's computer.
Aiming the barrel between his wide, brown eyes with a fierce glare, Downs snarled, "Get out of that chair with your hands up and we'll do this the easy way."
She caught the faintest twitch of the thief's right arm but there was no other motion from him. His hands beneath the desk's surface, she had no way of knowing what he was hiding but she had no doubt he was about to try something and snapped, "Don't!"
That was as far as she was able to warn when three bullets were fired at her from beneath the desk in rapid succession. Whirling on her feet at the first clue of trouble, the weapons expert felt the whizz of the first shot rush past her arm just prior to her ducking behind the wall of the doorway.
"Okay," she growled as she kept her gun lifted at her side. "We'll do this the hard way, then."
Spinning back into the opening, she sent off three rounds of her own, the last narrowly missing her target's neck as he ducked under the desk and charged her. The office window behind him burst into a thousand pieces at the bullets that pierced it as the bald headed brute charged the officer by surging through the opening beneath the desk before she could readjust her aim in time.
His thick shoulder made a loud 'thud' the second it struck Anna's middle, knocking all of the air from her lungs as she was tackled. Back crashing hard against the floor, a pained sound erupted from the Preventer and her vision was washed over by colorful stars.
Momentarily stunned, Fire managed to pull her senses back together enough to realize that her attacker was straddling her and stretching his big hands for her throat.
Acting on sheer survival instinct, her right hand desperately stretched out just far enough to wrap around her pistol's muzzle. She let out a loud cry as she sat up and slammed its metallic hilt against the tall man's temple. The force of the blow was enough to send him reeling across the floor, but it also knocked her gun away from her clutches again.
Both sporting numbing injuries, the officer and the assailant were far from their weapons beyond their reach as they struggled to their feet. The first to get up, the redhead threw herself onto her opponent's back and locked his head in a tight sleeper hold. Fighting for air already, the brute clawed and shook himself as best he could to throw her off with the edges of his vision turning black.
"Come on," Downs gritted through her teeth as she applied more pressure from her arms. "Nighty night, asshole." She was about to feel her first breath of relief as her captive dropped to a knee.
Then, in a last ditch effort to keep conscious, the thief stood back up and rushed backwards to crush Anna against the bookcase behind them. Yelling out from the sharp pain that wracked her, her arms lost their hold and she was flung off her challenger.
Outside, the two cars screamed to a halt in the library parking lot as their driver and passenger doors flew open the moment they parked side-by-side.
Surrounded by the anxious patrons she had seen out, Dottie shielded her eyes from the rain as she watched four young men dive out of the vehicles and run up the front stairs. Waving at them from beneath the safety of the building's canopy, she shouted, "On the second floor! Take a right for the closest stairwell!"
At the head of the pack, Wufei gave her a wave of acknowledgment and pushed through the glass doors with his teammates on his heels. Following the librarian's directions, the Preventers coursed to the right and poured into the tiled stairwell while they removed the guns at their hips.
Hissing and howling in pain and rage as they punched, kicked and clawed viciously at one another. the bloodied challengers upstairs were in a mad scramble for their discarded pistols.
Anna was just starting to make headway for hers by coming within arms reach, only to have her hair gripped by its roots at the back of her head in a tight fist. Yelling in agony as she was pulled back, she fell silent by having her head driven into the floor and was nearly lost to the blackness that consumed her for a few elevated heartbeats.
Panting heavily, the redhead groaned as she rolled onto her back and fought to keep her eyelids open. Overhead, the ceiling tiles drifted in and out of focus for her... shifting into a long, dark tunnel that she realized with a start as being the barrel of a pistol she was staring down.
"Nighty night, bitch," the winded assailant crouched over her sneered, his bleeding lips curling into a ruthless smile as he pulled back on the trigger; in the same instant Downs' hand shot up to grab hold of his wrist.
Only a few yards away, Wufei had reached the half-way turn for the last flight of stirs and came to an abrupt along with his friends at the loud bangs of two gunshots. Their eyes wide and filled with panic, the officers stared up the remaining stretch.
"Anna," the pack leader breathed. Glaring, he bounded up the last steps two at a time with the rest of the team doing the same right behind him. Heart in his throat, Chang hurried through the door and onto the second floor with his gun raised.
Falling into their 'V' formation to fan out and cover as much ground as possible, the Preventers took wide strides through the middle of the floor and panned their surroundings for any sign of life until they heard a wail of pain.
"Well, I gave you the option to do this the easy way, so you only have yourself to blame!" Downs bellowed angrily.
Duo's arms dropped as his violet eyes closed with a deep sigh. Unable to stay back any longer, Wufei led the race to his partner.
In rounding the only shelf on the whole floor that had been shifted off balance, the agents slowed to standstill at the sight that awaited them.
A particularly large man was rolling back and forth along the floor as he nursed his left arm. Standing over him with the gun that she had turned on him after a very near miss on her own life, Anna aimed the barrel at his head. In the floor by him, white smoke rose from the hole in the carpet from the bullet that had been intended for his opponent's head.
Blood running from her nose and the cuts she'd sustained from their struggle, the redhead peered up to see the stunned faces. "Oh, hi, guys!" she beamed with a wave. She kept her gun trained on her captive and hollered to her comrades, "The only threat has been neutralized, so everything's under control! Our friend, here, was even nice enough to start packing Sweeney's things for us before I showed up-!"
Since her fellow Preventers remained still as they took her in, Anna noted aloud, shouting, "Sorry, am I yelling?!" She freed her right hand to point at her ear and rambled on with her voice still raised, "That first shot went off right by my head and blew my eardrums! I can't hear shit right now... I'm yelling, aren't I?!"
Amused and relieved beyond words, her cohorts eased and smiled as Wufei stepped forward. Carefully resting his hand on top of her gun, the team leader gently pushed it down at her side while his lover continued at the top of her lunch, "I'll probably have to resort to using a pen and paper to talk until this wears off! That's the closest I've ever had a round go off! It's was exhilarating-!"
It took her partner's pulling her into a firm embrace to cut off her stream of words. Blinking widely, Downs finally let it hit home just how close she had come to being killed by the slight tremble in Chang's body when she was pressed against it. Biting her lip, she held onto him tightly.
Pulling back, Wolf made sure the redhead could see his lips to read them as he smirked, "You can yell at us as long as you need, Anna. It's music to my ears."
Duo descended on his best friend as soon as she was freed and lifted her from the ground in a fierce bear hug. Pressing and holding a kiss to her cheek, he ignored the shiver that wracked him and blinked away the sting in his violet eyes as her arms looped around his neck to squeeze him.
"I'm going to shout this so my Boo can hear it!" Trowa hollered down at the injured man he loomed over as Quatre was none too gentle in wringing their new prisoner's arms behind his back and bind his wrists together in cuffs.
Hauling the brute to his feet, Rock kicked him in the back of his shins to get him to walk to the stairwell. Back on pace behind them, Night shouted, "There will be no reading of rights because you no longer have rights, you son of a bitch!" We'll be taking you to headquarters to be examined by our medic and you'll spend the time after in a cell to think over how you had your ass handed to you by a girl!"
Anna closed her blue eyes, snickering as the berating went on. Drifting off from her hampered hearing, she tightened her arms around the braided agent who refused to let go of her.
She was safe, caught the bad guy and was back with her boys. All was right in the world again.