The Blood of Peace
Third Movement, the Eleventh Part: Presto (a.k.a. fight for your life)
The morning sun would make its entrance in a couple of hours. It would shine upon a world that ran red with blood and shine its cheerful rays on the living and the dead alike. But until then, it slept and let the moon witness the late night discussion in a small room in the West Tower of the Earthian castle.
"We don't have enough soldiers to push the Ozzies back. We are running out of food in the castle because there are more refugees than originally thought. We have no more pitch or burning naphtha. Everyone is demoralized. Weapons are running out. I could go on and on, but there is only one thing I can say that would describe our situation. We are royally and totally screwed right now."
The other four boys in the room looked at Quatre incredulously. The situation must be dire if it could make Quatre say such things.
"Uh, why don't you calm down a little, Quatre? I think you're scaring Heero here. Not to mention me."
Quatre looked at Duo who was holding out his hands in a placating manner while voicing his opinion. Quatre then burst out into a sheepish laughter.
"Sorry, guys, Duo. I guess the problems are just wearing on me. But we have no recourse. We can't win and we can't surrender. What the hell are we supposed to do now?"
"You could at least watch your language. What if there were children present?"
Duo's rather cheeky and light hearted comment made everyone smile. But it was a short lived moment. The worries mounted and solutions were not in sight. How were they supposed to win? The gloomy atmosphere must have gotten to Duo for he suddenly stood.
"Not that I don't love you guys, but the mood in here is just scary. I'm going for a walk."
When Duo started to saunter towards the window, Heero raised his eyebrows and spoke.
"Duo, the door is that way."
Rolling his eyes, Duo merely gave Heero the 'duh-I'm-not-a-complete-idiot' look before diving out the window head first. With a strangled gasp, Heero lunged towards the window only to see Duo nimbly make his way down the stone wall of the West Tower. His left eye twitching, Heero let out a menacing growl.
"Oi, Heero, I'll be back in the morning! Don't wait up! Get some sleep! I love ya!"
With those parting words, Duo scampered off the wall and headed for the outer walls. He did not miss Heero's frustrated scream nor the threats. Smiling, Duo ran. Heero needed to let some steam off anyway.
Heero sat on his chair and seethed. Not only had Duo pissed him off by diving out the window (which had scared the living crap out of him), he had left him behind while he went off on a jaunt. And knowing his lover, Duo probably did not go the safe route but most likely would choose the most dangerous path into fun. Fuming, Heero plotted what he would do to his exasperating and impulsive lover when he returned.
"Hey, Heero, if you want, I'll help you tie Duo down and whip him senseless, but for now, you need some sleep."
WuFei's voice broke into Heero's thoughts and brought him out of his plotting. His eye still twitching slightly, Heero responded.
"WuFei, only I get to tie Duo down. You are free to do so to Meiran, but hands off the braided idiot, if you would."
Quatre nearly choked on his tea and felt his eye water. The mental images of Duo and Meiran ran through his head before he could stop them and he coughed up the tea that had trickled into his lungs. Trowa gently patted his back while he coughed and WuFei actually flushed to the roots of his hair. Duo was definitely rubbing off onto Heero's sense of humor.
"Gods, tonight is just surreal. Quatre making uncouth statements and Heero making dirty jokes. This war is really fucking with our minds."
WuFei's rather sulky and childish tone brought forth another round of laughter. Breath hitching and faltering from the hard exercise, Quatre smiled brightly and suggested that they each go to bed to rest. Tomorrow would be a hard day and they needed to be fresh. Hauling Trowa up by his arms, Quatre left with him still chuckling. WuFei walked out behind them, hurrying his steps because he knew Meiran would be waiting up for him. He was actually looking forward to his fiery and spirited wife yelling at him about staying up so late. That left Heero all alone in the room.
He stared out the window that Duo had vaulted from and smiled slightly. His love would be back soon, he just needed to work off some of that energy. They couldn't exactly have sex all the time to get rid of excess energy. With a quiet but calculating smile in place, Heero slid into the bed that Duo would eventually come back to share. When he did return, Heero would show Duo the consequences of leaving through that window.
Duo walked the perimeter of the outer wall and waved at the sentries. Much to their dismay, Duo had wormed his way out of the castle walls and onto the fields. Since Duo was not the most tactful of people (were any of his companions really tactful?), he was taunting them by saluting them. But it felt great to be outside finally.
Duo walked in a brisk pace, ignoring the light chill in the air. He supposed that when he got back, Heero would have some choice words for him, but that would be fine. He and Heero always made up. Grinning, Duo decided that he would stay for the sunrise. It would come in about an hour, so he wouldn't have to wait too long. He hoped for a beautiful sunrise so that he could reaffirm his way of life. But a noise broke his simple wish. Turning his head, he saw a figure running out of the woods, sprinting towards the castle. Grimly, Duo watched the figure. If it was from Oz, he would have a hell of a send-off into the netherworld from Shinigami personally. Then the figure stumbled and fell, only to hastily rise and run. Behind the shadowy figure, he saw three shapes emerge from the predawn darkness. Those shapes had weapons drawn. One of them raised a crossbow and shot at the runner, but the runner dodged and the arrow only grazed its leg. The figure faltered and fell again. Sighing, Duo decided to see what was going on. After all, they were all coming from the direction of the Oz camp. Duo ran up to the fallen figure and crouched before it.
"Hey, you okay? Who are you?"
His casual questions masked the readiness in his body to go into combat mode. If this person was faking it, he would find out that Duo was no sucker.
To say Duo was startled would be an understatement. Duo found himself looking into a familiar face.
They stared at each other in utter surprise. Then Duo remembered that there were people chasing her. Since she seemed to be in no condition to defend herself, Duo decided to take matters into his own capable hands.
"Hilde, just stay right here. I'm going to take care of those guys behind you, okay?"
Tears gathering close to the surface, Hilde simply nodded and became still. Duo stepped in front of her and drew Deathscythe from his arm. The assailants came closer and Duo got into his favorite fighting stance. The leader of the threesome lunged out at him with a well practiced thrust. Unfortunately for him, Duo was a much better swordsman and the leader's well placed thrust only cut through air. Next thing he knew was a numbing pain as Duo severed his spine just below the neck, his body sailing past the silent Shinigami.
The other two paused momentarily in their pursuit after seeing their leader go down so easily and it cost them. Duo leapt gracefully between them and with a side swipe cut open the belly of the one on the left. He then pivoted to slide Deathscythe into the other one's ribcage, just where the heart was. Three seconds, three bodies. Flicking blood off Deathscythe with a shake of his arm, Duo sheathed his weapon and went to check on Hilde. She was still on the ground, her leg wound still bleeding.
On closer inspection, Duo realized that she was more injured than he had previously thought. Without another word, Duo picked her up from the ground and headed towards the castle. He would miss the sunrise, but life was full of surprises. Groggily, Hilde looked up at the boy carrying her. He was so handsome with his beautiful eyes shining like jewels and his hair flowing behind him. Sighing, Hilde mumbled, "I'm glad to see you Duo. I wanted to see you again."
Before Duo could digest that information and respond, Hilde passed out from the exhaustion and injuries she sustained from her flight. Hurrying, Duo ran towards the castle. She needed help and he would make sure she got it.
Hilde winced at the pain in her sides and various other places. She looked around and saw nothing that was familiar in the room, save for the faces of Duo and his brothers. A woman with twin braids fussed over her and put poultices on her wounds while the boys watched her with sympathy in their eyes. Then Duo stepped forward and winked at her.
"Well, Hilde, good to see that you've come around."
Smiling at him, Hilde answered with a whispery voice.
"How long have I been out?"
"Only thirty minutes or so. There's still about an hour until the sunrise. You should get some rest. You are really hurt, you know."
There was a silent rebuke buried beneath his gentle words. Hilde's heart soared at his concern. He did care about her. But there was business to take care of before anything else.
"Duo, I have information on Oz you need to know. I have to tell you before something bad happens."
At that, the other boys stepped up towards her and her doctor glided out of the room. Eyeing the boys with a bit of nervous tension, Hilde began.
"Oz is going to attack around the third degree of the sun, two hours after sunrise. They have a four prong attack planned. Dermeil's forces will come from the western side and Tuborov's from the east. They will attack at the same time. Then when you are engaged, the elite palace forces will come from the southern forts, accompanied by Lady Une's special forces. They will wall you in and decimate you."
Hilde took a deep breath and looked at the boys. None of them looked very surprised. Then Quatre spoke.
"We expected an attack soon enough, but not of such magnitude. This must be Treize's final strike. He means to kill us all."
Numbly, Hilde nodded and cringed as the pain in her head intensified. Seeing her pain, Duo sat next to her and rubbed her neck gently. He then asked her a question.
"How did you find this out?"
Trying to ignore her pain, Hilde spoke as clearly as she could.
"I've been hiding in the Oz camp spying. Since I wasn't recognized, they just let me roam around and pick up information. Queen Relena only confirmed what I heard and told me to go find you guys and tell you."
"And how is Relena?"
Hilde looked at Heero who had asked that question with a deep concern in his voice. He must care about her queen, even if she had heard rumors to the contrary. Hilde did not want to break his heart, but he deserved the truth.
" She's fine. Queen Relena married Treize Kushrenada not too long ago."
At the shocked look on everyone's face, she tried to go on and explain.
"She still loves you, prince Heero. She just had to do what was best for everyone! She did not betray you, I swear! She didn't do it to break your heart. She didn't."
Her desperate appeal went unnoticed as the boys in the room exchanged glances. She had no idea what they were thinking, but Heero seemed to take his heartbreak rather well.
"She did not break my heart. And I doubt that she still loves me. Calm down and rest. We have to prepare for the morning."
Heero's emotionless voice put Hilde at ease. Maybe the prince understood her queen's motivations. She turned her eyes to Duo who was still massaging her neck and blushed. Maybe when the war was over, she could..
"Duo, we need to plan. Let's go."
Heero's curt voice cut through her revelries like a knife. Duo gave her an apologetic grin and stood to join his prince. Then to her absolute surprise, he leaned towards Heero and kissed him gently.
"I know, Heero. I just hope we can come up with a plan."
The rest of what they were saying was lost on Hilde as she realized what Relena had all those weeks ago. No wonder the prince wasn't heart broken. He had never given her queen his heart. Gods, she felt like an idiot. While Hilde mentally bashed her head against an imaginary wall, there was a sudden chuckle. It had come from that boy, Trowa, the one with the funny hair.
"What's so funny, Trowa? You got some inside info you wanna share with the rest of us?"
Heero's command was only met by yet another round of quiet laughter. Then Trowa got himself under control and answered.
"Lady Une. I heard her name and I suddenly remembered something. When I was with her detachment, I went through a lot of trouble dismantling the weapons in her unit. They are going to be surprised when they use the sabotaged weapons tomorrow because they won't work. That's one of four out of our way."
Suddenly, the mood in the room became lighter and happier. Trowa had done his job. Now, there might be a chance to not lose in the morning. Gathering themselves, they plotted until the sun was a bright orange ball in the sky. Soon, the tides would turn and they would show Treize Kushrenada what the meaning of hell was.