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
[Sorrow weighs my shoulders down,
And trouble haunts my mind,
But I know the present will not last,
And tomorrow will be kinder
-Lyrics to 'Tomorrow Will Be Kinder' performed by The Secret Sisters]
Lady Une signed herself and Heero out at the holding facility where Gary Sweeney could officially be contained until he would be transferred to a federal prison awaiting trial for whatever charges were mounted against him.
Her mind running over a half dozen things that included her worry over her agents in their scramble for the library, the Commander returned to her equally distracted intern's side in the building's entryway.
"Any word from them?" Heero frowned anxiously when his employer appeared, stopping in mid-stride of his pacing.
Shaking her head as she led the way out, Middie replied quietly, "No. Not yet." Several officers began to come and go past them and so their conversation was put on hold until they reached the parking lot.
Yuy noticed the agent glancing down at her purse for the fifth time since they were reunited and gulped. Taking a deep breath, he mused aloud, "They would have gotten a hold of you by now if they hadn't encountered trouble."
Turning her wide eyes onto him, Une closed her slack jaw and cleared her throat. Nodding, she murmured, "Ever the observant one. Yes, I should have heard from someone by now, but we'll be at the library soon enough to find out what's going on. I'm not sitting back and waiting at the office for answers."
Happy to hear that, Wing smirked and quickly climbed into the passenger seat of her vehicle when they arrived. Gripping her steering wheel tight, Middie all but peeled out of the lot and merged with traffic to take to the highway.
* * * *
Twenty minutes later...
Anna hissed through her teeth as she removed her shirt in the back of the private ambulance that she was sitting in and adjusted the straps of her lilac bra to straighten them. Her exposed torso was already sporting some amazingly colored bruises of various shapes and sizes that were peppered with bloodied cuts following the intense struggle she had just been through.
Bending at the waist to examine her patient, Sally raised a digital pad to access her x-ray scanner. "Gotta love federal advances for quick treatments for times like this," she muttered to herself as she zoomed in and out for a closer look at points of interest to find any fractures or internal bleeding while walking around the redheaded agent.
A fresh dribble of blood ran from the Preventer's nostrils and she quickly caught it with a fresh tissue. Leaning her head back as she pinched her nostrils, she mumbled nasally, "My poor nose has had a rough go this week. But it's still not broken, so there's that."
Just outside, Wufei and Duo stood beyond the open double doors of the vehicle's back end. Paying no mind to the light drizzle that continued to fall, they looked on the examination in silent worry.
When Po made a complete revolution to stand before her charge, she shut her monitor down to tuck it under her arm and grinned to the redhead peering up at her. "Well, you certainly look worse off than you actually are. Three bruised ribs, but nothing's broken or torn," she diagnosed. "I'll just need to ice and wrap you up and recommend that you take it easy on yourself for the next two weeks to mend."
"Take it easy?!" Downs yelled with a pout when she all but threw the tissue she had been holding to her nose aside. Looking to Chang, she sighed loudly, "Sorry, love! Looks like our usual sexcapades are going on the backburner!" Brightening, she had no time to register her teammates' amusement as she quickly threw in for everyone within a few feet of the ambulance to hear, "But we'll have fun coming up with alternative-!"
Her cheeks blushing, Sally froze in the midst of unraveling a thick roll of medical tape to cut her off, hollering, "Anna! You're still shouting, dear!" Unable to contain themselves any longer, Wufei and Duo's heads fell back with howls of laughter while passersby looked on in confusion and embarrassment over what they had overheard.
Blinking up at her, the weapons expert ducked. "Oh," she giggled, "whoops." She bit her lip as she raised her arms so the medic could place a large bag of ice across her black-and-blue abdomen.
As Po began to tape down, the pain really began to set in and marred Down's face in her holding back any whimpers or yelps that she wanted to make while the Preventers standing by fell silent with deep frowns. After the eighth turn, the tape was cut and patted down to keep it in place then Sally went to the freezer beside the stretcher.
Chang climbed inside and drew the redhead's attention as he urged softly, "Here." He took up her discarded, deep blue tank top. Rewarding him with a warm smile, his partner eased her arms back up just enough to keep from hurting herself again as he carefully worked the shirt back onto her without a single bit of strain on her part.
Once Fire was dressed and sitting upright so that she could breathe easier again, Sally returned with a large icepack that she handed over, ordering, "I want you to keep your ribcage cool for as long as you can handle to bring the swelling down, especially over these next twenty-four hours."
Holding up a bottle that she shook, she smirked, "You're lucky I know all of you well enough to have a cocktail of over-the-counter pain meds on hand that will get you through to tomorrow. By then, you should be able to deal with whatever discomfort lingers until it fades away. One green pill and one red pill every four hours . The white pill will help you sleep tonight. As for your eardrums, I'll be able to set you up with temporary interior ear plants to assist with your hearing while those heal up."
Downs translated her doctor's lips and nodded firmly. "Got it," she smiled, concentrating on lowering her voice. "Thank you, Sally."
The braided woman smiled back and winked. Bending at the waist, she aided Wufei in easing her patient onto her feet as she informed, "I'll make sure Hilde knows everyone's intact. We were on a lunch date when I got summoned here. Chuckling, she shook her head, "There hasn't been a dull moment since I signed on as the Preventers' primary doctor."
"Be sure to send that girlfriend of yours our best. We'll all have to get together sometime soon here," Duo suggested. With a small grin, he held a hand out to Anna as she walked into the doorway and assisted her in stepping down.
Closing up the private ambulance van behind the agents, Sally concurred, "Yes, we should do that. In the mean time, I'm off to oversee how your asshole is fairing with that gunshot through the shoulder before he's shipped off to his cell." She exchanged farewells with her colleagues. Seconds later, the vehicle drove off as the officers waved her off.
Maxwell turned to the redhead at his side and bit his lip. Instantly seeing everything that he was holding back in his violet eyes, Anna set her icepack aside and wrapped her arms around his neck in a tight hug and whispered by his ear, "I'm alright. I'm not leaving you behind. Get that thought out of your head."
Fighting a sniffle and his whole body trembling, the braided agent gently held her back for the assurance that his best friend truly was okay and buried his face in her shoulder. Of course Downs knew what dark memories he had been transported back to. She was the only other person in the world he trusted to know his past and she wasn't the type to forget something that monumental to someone she cared about.
Onyx eyes blinking in surprise at the moment between the former lovers, Wufei held back to watch them. There was no jealousy in him, more a profound realization that there was a great deal more to Agent Scythe than what he put out to the rest of the world.
Seeing how clearly distraught Maxwell was, the team leader found himself happy to know that at least there was someone in whom his comrade could turn to and love in a way that was unique between only them.
The sound of a car cruising quickly towards them and coming to a screeching halt a couple of feet away from them had the Preventers spinning to find Lady Une and Heero flying from the Commander's car to meet them in the middle of the street. Seeing how banged up the redhead was, they froze in their steps as their eyes grew and they breathed, "Anna..."
"Don't worry!" she bellowed, a lopsided smirk curling her lips. "You should see the other guy!"
Handing over her icepack, Chang snickered as he kissed her temple and patted the top of her head. To the confused expressions of the new arrivals, he explained, "A pistol shot off right by her head-"
Unaware that he was speaking, the weapons expert pointed at her ear and cut him off by yelling, "Shattered eardrum from a gunshot by the head! I can't hear shit right now!"
Again, Wufei and Duo erupted into laughter. Lady Une and Heero, however, paled with enlarged eyes in just learning of her close call. Closing the gap between them, the Commander gently embraced the redhead in a motherly hug. "You give me more grey hairs than anyone, Fire," she giggled when she leaned back so she could be understood. "I'm glad you're alright."
Facing her team leader, she pressed, "Give me a brief rundown of what happened and where the son of a bitch responsible for this is."
"There was unexpected company already working on cleaning out Sweeney's office when Anna got here," Wolf informed. "They got into a skirmish that ended in his being shot through his shoulder. Agent Rock is stationed at the hospital where he's being treated to see that he's escorted to our holding facility. Winner will be joined by Sally soon since she just wrapped up looking after Fire here. And as we speak, Agent Night is back at headquarters looking through Sweeney's personals from his office."
More that satisfied with that, Middie nodded firmly, sighing, "Good." Eyeing the library and the gathering crowd that was surrounding it including several news crews, she suggested, "I'll handle things here and settle things with the library staff to ensure everyone is alright. The rest of you split up to give the others a hand with their tasks. As soon as he's freed up, I'll have Quatre work his magic with the media."
As the Commander spoke, Heero's cobalt eyes immediately fell on Duo.
To anyone who didn't know what signs to look for, they would never have known how troubled the braided officer was as he stood listening to his superior's report.
But the trained psych major noticed the tensely squared shoulders, the distance in those haunting violet eyes and the occasional biting of his bottom lip that gave away the anxiety that was being concealed.
Unable to stay back any longer, Yuy realized that he was moving before he registered that he had told his feet to walk until he was side-by-side with his lover in a silent offering of support. That gesture did not go unnoticed by Maxwell, who blinked in surprise at his partner. A small, grateful smile curling his lips, he gave the intern a subtle nudge.
Grinning, Anna took a slight step away from her best friend to give the reins over to Heero in a sort of changing of the guards. Her watch was over now that the scholar was present to look after her best friend's wellbeing.
His own eyes widening at the entire scene, Chang's head spun to catch his girlfriend's gaze and his eyebrows raised in question. Downs hitched her own eyebrows with a tight-lipped smile that answered his inquiry.
Smiling widely, the pack leader glanced over at the other pair when the Commander finished.
Lady Une focused on her weapons expert and pack leader as she requested, "Agent Wolf, would you please take Agent Fire home for the remainder of the day before reporting back to headquarters?"
When the agent opened her mouth to protest, she shook her head, "Anna, you're as white as a sheet. Wufei filled me in on what you have been working on, but I would rather it wait until tomorrow after you've had a chance to rest." All too thrilled with the suggestion, the Chinese agent saluted her with a smirk.
Perfectly aware that any argument would get her nowhere with not only her boss but the young men surrounding her, Downs deflated with a sighed, "Yes, ma'am." Hugging the icepack along her abdomen, she silently admitted to herself that it was probably for the best that she get off her feet and follow Sally's orders to take it easy on herself.
Duo kissed her temple and gave her another gentle squeeze. Their gazes locking, me mouthed, 'Love you.' Smiling brightly, his former lover returned the sentiment in kind. Acting on an instinct that he was not even aware he had in him, Heero set upon his injured friend to hug her. Freezing in disbelief at first, Anna giggled and leaned against him as the others looked on in their own shock at the scholar's rare display of affection.
As the two separated, Wufei tossed the keys of his vehicle to Duo and rested a hand on his partner's shoulder. "Let's get you home, love," he grinned. The redhead nodded shallowly and allowed him to usher her to the parking lot. Peering over his shoulder, he warned, "And I expect to get my car back in its current pristine condition, Maxwell. No joyrides just because I'm trusting you with it."
Pouting, Scythe snorted, "Once again, you're the killer of all things fun, Fei."
He did smile, however, now that he was starting to feel more like himself. And if the snickers from the others was any indication, they had picked up on that as well.
* * * *
Pulling up to his lakeside estate nearly an hour later, Wufei put Anna's green car in park and hurried around its passenger side just as Anna opened the door. Wincing as she slowly pulled herself up, the redhead felt the need to declare, "I'm not happy with this, just for the record!"
Used to her near yelling, Wolf chuckled deeply, "Oh, I know it. But you're putting the rest of us at ease by playing along, so it's appreciated." Closing the door behind her, he opened his arms and asked, "Humor me, please? You know you'll regret it if you try taking the steps on your own."
Her skin paling at the mere thought of having to climb the spiral staircase, the weapons expert swallowed hard. Shoulders slumping, she nodded and was scooped up into a careful cradle that had her smiling as she looped her arms around the other Preventer's neck.
She leaned as close against her boyfriend's chest as she could comfortably manage when he began to walk them up the front porch, commenting, "If anything, I can have some satisfaction knowing that my tae-bo and judo training was put to good use today. I know I heard a couple of that bastard's bones snap, so he'll be feeling it worse than me for a long time."
Chang opened and sealed their home with a brush of a shoulder and a back kick of his leg without moving his partner an inch. Grinning to himself, he listened to her ramble on as he guided them through the entryway and up the stairs.
Not missing a beat of seemingly stopping for breath, Anna threw her head back, groaning, "This is so not the week for this. I still have two rooms and a few personals to pack up that I was going to wrap up before this weekend. I can get through it just fine, I'll just be slow about it."
"Then there's handing over the keys to my place and signing the last of the paperwork on top of the actual move," the redhead muttered as she was lowered onto the large bed she had been sharing with her partner.
Wufei decided to interrupt her then, pausing in the middle of his tucking her under their covers to cup her bruised face in his hands to force her to meet his gaze. "You don't have to worry about that," he urged. "You have five guys who are perfectly capable of finishing your packing who would bend over backwards to do a hell of a lot more than just that to help you. We'll take care of it. Trust me, I'm not going to have you staying there another week if I have any say."
Biting her lip, Fire fended off the stinging in her eyes and nodded again. "Okay," she whispered with a small smile. "Thank you."
Impressed that she didn't put up a fight, Wolf smiled lovingly before he disappeared into the adjacent bathroom. Reappearing with a glass of water and the prescribed pain meds that he had pocketed before leaving the car, he handed them over and waited until his lover gulped everything down.
Finally letting the weapons expert's injuries set in, Chang had to clear his throat as his emotions caught up with him. Pressing and holding a kiss to her forehead, he locked eyes with her and breathed, "Try and get some sleep. I'll be home again soon."
Much as she hated to admit it, Anna was having a hard time ignoring how tired she was after everything that had transpired. "Alright," she sighed, Sinking back to lay her head on the pillow and allowing her boyfriend to finish tucking her in as her lips tugged into a content grin.
Fire's drifting eyelids flew open right when the Chinese agent was half-way out the door. Sitting upright, she called, "Wufei?" Face etched in worry their gazes locked on once more, she said quietly, "Duo probably won't be able to sleep in his apartment tonight..."
Recalling the scene his of his braided teammate's desperate latch onto the redhead, Chang nodded firmly.
"I'll leave the front door open for him," he promised as he said he would when talks of their moving in together had begun. Though he might not have known Maxwell's reasons for needing to not be alone on some nights, he respected his lover's need to always be there for him when needed.
The gesture was returned with a glowing smile and a mouthed, "I blank you."
Winking, Wolf took his leave and closed off the rest of the world so she could rest peacefully while he oversaw what more could be done at headquarters that late day.
All the more set that she was where she belonged, Anna lied back down and turned onto her side. Quickly feeling the pain numb thanks to the meds that were kicking in, she closed her eyes and drifted off, feeling safer and more secured than ever.
* * * *
Less than an hour later, outside of Mercy Medical hospital...
"A person of federal interest was apprehended and is now being detained in Preventer custody," Quatre informed from the makeshift podium at the last step leading into the facility's main entrance that had been made by the reporters who had been standing by.
Taking a deep breath, he relayed, "The agent on hand for the arrest was efficient in taking every measure to ensure that every civilian inside Jefferson Public Library was out of harms way and the only injuries sustained were not life threatening and only inflicted upon themselves and the culprit. That is all we have to say regarding the events of today. Thank you."
Quickly closing the thin folder of his notes and taking a step to descend to the pavement, one female correspondent called, "Is this person of interest at all connected with Friday's plane accident? It's being rumored that the security camera feed looking over the Washington private hanger was cut for hours the night before the doomed flight."
Feeling his hackles rise and his aquamarine eyes widen as the reporters murmured excitedly amongst themselves, Winner pulled his foot back to remain on the step and met the brunette's brown eyes. "And spreading rumors that have not been confirmed or denied by officials is a blatant disregard of the responsibility you have as a journalist, young lady," he shot back with a pleasant smile and an chastising tone.
All of a sudden, the faces that had all but scoffed at the Preventer when he began to address their questions gawked with a lot more respect than what they had originally shown him. As for the brunette, her face burned at both his retort and the demeaning 'young lady' slight from one who was clearly more than a couple decades younger than him.
Not allowing another opening, Agent Rock concluded firmly, "That is all. Good day, everyone."
Turning off the video on his laptop, Yuy shrugged, "I see nothing wrong with how you handled yourself, Quatre. That reporter was lucky you didn't tear into her more since she did step out of line."
Across from him, his patient was lying on the long couch with an arm over his closed eyes. Waving his free hand around, he replied in exasperation, "What are people thinking?! I don't care if those rumors are right, you wait for the authorities to inform the world of something like that! People are paranoid enough as it is!"
With a nod, Heero closed his computer and set it aside as he assured, "You're right there. But I'm still trying to figure out why it was you needed to see me about this."
Sitting upright in a rush, Winner had a look of wonder on his face when he answered, "It's because I basically told someone off, publicly humiliated them... and I liked it."
Even as he admitted it, a mortified expression washed over him. "This has been my fear all along... that I take and take and take so much crap for so long and then I snap! Only it felt even better than I worried it would!"
Cobalt eyes growing with understanding, the counselor smiled in amusement. "Ah. And you're worried this is going to spiral downward into the need to suddenly kick a box of puppies, as you suggested in our first meeting."
"Well, I get that I would never sink to that level, but you get it," Rock grinned sheepishly. "I mean let's face it, Wufei and I are the only professional entities on this team. What happens if that starts slipping for me just because I need to let off some steam like today? If I can't keep it together, it all falls on Agent Wolf and he can't carry all of us! He'll have a nervous breakdown for sure and-"
Holding up a hand to stop that train of thought, Heero smirked, "The fact that you're concerned at all tells me you have nothing to worry about. You'll keep yourself in check, but you shouldn't be afraid to stand your ground... especially in cases like this interview when the plane accident has a lot of people on edge already."
Letting out a long puff of air, Quatre's entire frame sagged with relief. "Okay," he sighed. "Thank Allah. I needed to hear that."
As he began to scribble notes onto his fresh pad of paper, the intern commented, "I know you mentioned how you're practicing yoga at home to help Trowa, but a person like you would really benefit from a kickboxing or martial arts class. It would be a healthy way of getting some of those pent up frustrations out."
Winner tilted his head, replying, "You know, that's not a bad suggestion. Would you happen to know any places-" That was as far as he got before Yuy produced a business card that he had tucked away in the officer's patient file. Shaking his head, the blonde reached out to accept the offering as he laughed, "Of course you do. How long have you been holding onto this knowing I'd need it some day?"
"Since the end of our first meeting," the psych major snickered. "A person can only shoulder so much before they can't anymore. At least this way you'll be taking that out on a punching bag as opposed to going zero on someone."
Frowning, Rock repeated, "'Going zero?' What's that?"
Heero shrugged, "A term my mentor has for whenever a person is out of knots in their ropes of control that they're hanging onto, making them a danger to themselves and others."
Pointing the end of his pen at his friend, he stated, "You have about six or so more knots to go before you lost your grip and I would hate to see what someone like you would do if you did reach zero and I wouldn't want to be around if that time ever comes."
The corner of his mouth curling, Quatre nodded firmly, "Got it." Holding the card between his pointer and middle finger, he said sincerely, "Thanks, Heero. I'll give the studio a call after work, which I should be getting back to."
"Good," Yuy smiled as they climbed to their feet at the same time. Sealing away his notes and patient's folder in his filing cabinet, he followed the Preventer out of his private office.
Rejoining Winner and Maxwell at their desks that made up the workstation cluster, the public representative inquired, "Any progress with what Sweeney was saving on his computer?"
Trowa continued to click away at his keyboard at a furious pace as he answered, "I cracked his password easily enough. Now we're just making what headway we can before we have to stop and let the final scan that I'll run overnight remove all the malware that was on here to destroy all of the data as a security measure."
Being as inexperienced as he was when it came to cracking cases and deciphering electronic codes, Heero was more than keen on the fact that whatever Sweeney did have on his computer was big if he had taken such measures to protect whatever he was hiding.
It was good for him to know that Anna hadn't risked life and limb for the computer in vain.
Stretching his arms overhead, Duo groaned at the protest from his muscles at making that simple movement. "Well, I'm ahead on my end and Wufei should be here before too long. I'm gonna stretch my legs for a bit to get away from this screen glare for a quick break."
That said, he stood up and rounded the honeycomb of desks. On his way past the scholar with his back to his comrades, his mouth spread into that alluring smirk that never failed to seize all thought in Heero's mind. Accepting the invitation to whatever his lover was planning, he fell in step behind the braided agent without their friends noticing their leaving together.
Quatre dove into his follow-up with the federal administrations resource center to wrap up his comments that would be available for the the public to be able to catch up on if they missed the televised interview.
More than thirty minutes into his enthusiastic typing, he blinked when he glanced over to finally realize Maxwell and Yuy were not at their stations at about the same time the elevator bell rung in its arrival to the floor. From the corner of his eye, he spotted Wufei heading for the men's bathroom and chewed on the inside of his cheek.
"Hey, Trowa?" the Arabian called over in worry once the team leader was out of earshot, "Have you seen-"
Chang's muffled voice stopped him short with bellowed, "Oh dear God, not again!"
Wide-eyed and slack-jawed at the cry, Barton and Winner looked on one another in elated surprise. "Uh, never mind," the blonde managed through his chuckles before they both howled in laughter.