Category: Yaoi, AU, Gundam Wing
Pairings: 1+2, 3+4
Warnings: shonen ai, possible sap/angst
Author: Arigatomina
Email: [email protected]

Without the Moon

Part 6

Kneeling beside Duo, Heero's hand moved slowly to the boy's neck as he checked for a pulse. Finding one, he closed his eyes briefly, not noticing when Hilde and Relena were suddenly beside him. Recognizing Duo, Hilde raised a hand to her mouth as her eyes widened.

"Oh no...what is he doing here? he all right?" Heero didn't answer, his eyes still closed as his hand touched the boy's neck, feeling his pulse.

"Heero?!" Gasping, Relena's eyes widened as she moved around Duo, facing the dark-haired boy. "It *is* you. It is you. Heero."

Opening his eyes, Heero bent lower as he lifted Duo, holding him carefully as he turned. Not paying the girls any attention, he moved to where the others were. Catherine was kneeling over Trowa, brushing his bangs out of his face as she bit her lip, eyes wide in her pale face. Wufei and Dorothy were beside Quatre, the girl with a faint smirk on her face as they'd found the boy's breathing to be relatively steady.

"Nice outfit," Dorothy said, smirking when the Chinese boy sent her a frigid glare. Kneeling, she looked at Quatre, brows drawn together. "I can carry him, you go get Trowa." Glaring when the boy raised an eyebrow in skepticism, she lifted the blonde boy and stood. "See."

Impressed although he'd never admit it, Wufei nodded sharply as he turned and moved to the tall boy. He kept reminding himself that Quatre wasn't very big, and the girl was still a scout. It didn't help much as he was still impressed, so he focused his thoughts on Trowa as he pulled the boy over his shoulder. Eyes raising when Heero reached him, he frowned. "Come on, let's take them to the temple." They couldn't move too quickly, and the entire way there, Wufei was tormented by the thought of the girls inside his home. But with Dorothy carrying Quatre, he had to let them.

* * *

Nodding in gratitude when Hilde pushed the table to the side of the room, Wufei knelt. As Heero had taken the couch, he lay Trowa down on the carpet. Then his eyes widened a bit when the boy jerked, green eyes snapping open. Moving back, Wufei glanced at Dorothy as he started to take Quatre from her. He halted abruptly when Trowa stood a bit unsteadily and took the pale boy, fury and concern at war over his features as he sank down on the carpet.

Seeing how the tall boy held Quatre close to him, Dorothy's eyes moved to Catherine. She gave the girl a significant look before following Wufei to where Heero knelt beside the couch. She halted when the Chinese boy suddenly transformed back, then nodded to Hilde and Relena before doing the same.

Catherine had also changed back, and she stepped closer to where Trowa sat, kneeling beside him. "Is he all right, Trowa?" she asked softly, eyes wide as she took in the boy's cold expression. Trowa didn't answer and she blinked at the blatant emotions visible on his face. //Dorothy was right...//

Ignoring both Relena and Hilde, Heero didn't take his eyes off Duo as the boy's eyelashes flickered suddenly. Then Duo blinked and started to lift his head only to drop it with a groan. When the boy glanced at him, Heero sat back on his heels.

His head felt as if it had been crushed beneath someone's shoe, but Duo quickly forgot about the pain movement had caused as he spotted an impossible sight. Closing his eyes, he breathed deeply before opening them again. The sight didn't change and he stared as he looked at the three girls. Then he glanced at Heero and raised an eyebrow as he found the cobalt-eyed boy glaring at him. "Hey, what are you so mad about?"

Not answering, Heero turned as his gaze fell over Quatre. Then he raised his eyes to Wufei before nodding sharply and turning back to Duo. "We lost."

"What?!" Groaning as his head abruptly pounded, Duo raised a hand to his eyes. "This sucks..."

Trowa glanced up sharply at the American's cry, but his attention quickly returned to the boy in his arms as he felt him move. "Quatre?"

Blinking groggily, Quatre frowned as he found his cheek resting against something warm. Then he glanced up and blushed as he realized Trowa was holding him. Not wanting to move, he tilted his head back slowly as his eyes traveled over the tall boy's face. "You're all right..." Turning, his eyes widened as he saw Catherine and he flushed with embarrassment as he pushed away from Trowa's chest.

Not the least bit bothered by his audience, Trowa's arms tightened when Quatre moved, the faint blush telling him why the boy was trying to move away. Brushing his knuckles over the blonde boy's cheek, his eyes glinted when Quatre's eyes flew to him. "I'm fine," he said quickly, "Are you?" Quatre nodded and Trowa slowly pushed himself to his feet, pulling the boy up with him. Supporting the boy whether he needed the help or not, he manouvered him to the large sofa and nudged him into it before perching on the arm as his eyes reluctantly left the boy to travel over the others. "What happened?"

"Yeah," Duo muttered, gritting his teeth as he tried to sit up. Then Heero gripped his arm and he was sitting upright. Smirking a bit painfully, he watched the boy sit beside him on the couch before glancing to the girls. "What are you four doing here? And why are we still alive if we lost?"

"We didn't lose," Dorothy said, frowning at Heero from where she leaned against the wall.

"That white-haired man attacked you with some sort of drain," Wufei said, answering Trowa's question. "He also caught Quatre." He frowned suddenly as he turned to pin Duo with a dark glare. "And Duo. How is it that you didn't fall immediately like they did?"

Flushing under the accusatory gaze, Duo shrugged. "I guess he didn't hit me as hard," he said weakly.

"No, that's not true." Quatre tore his gaze away from the boy beside him as he looked to Duo. "He hit you for a longer time than he did Trowa and you still didn't fall. You must be stronger than us." Blinking when the boy flushed darker and shook his head, Quatre decided to drop it. He turned his eyes to Catherine instead as the girl was seated on the floor near Trowa and him. Ever polite, he leaned forward with the intention of giving her the chair but stopped when Trowa placed a hand on his shoulder, holding him where he was. Glancing at the boy's green eyes, he looked away quickly before he could blush again. "Where did you girls come from?"

The sound of a throat being cleared came from the window and all eyes moved to where Shinigami and Wing sat on the sill. Twitching his tail, the black cat hurried across the room and hopped onto Duo's lap. "That was me. When Trowa went down I knew things would only get worse, so I went to get them."

"It was really weird waking up to find a talking cat in my room," Dorothy muttered, eyes glinting as she nodded. "But we got there as fast as we could."

"We're grateful." Glaring when the boys looked at him in disbelief, Wufei's left eyelid twitched. "We have to fight together from now on. The enemy may have retreated this time, but it won't happen again. As much as I hate it, we obviously need their help."

* * *

"Well, how was it?" Tilting his head so he could look up at the boy, Shinigami relaxed in Duo's arms.

"Huh?" Lost in thought, the cat's words didn't register immediately and Duo gave a weak grin. "Sorry, what did you say?"

"I asked how your first day was," Shinigami smirked, tail lashing as he took in the boy's bashful expression. "But maybe I should ask what you're thinking about."

"Work was great." Not meeting the cat's narrowed green eyes, Duo walked a little quicker. "I slept good after I got home last night, so I was rested up."

"So *that's* what you're thinking about. It was nice of him to see you home." Grinning, the cat purred as the boy holding him flushed. "I told you he liked you."

"Give over. So he walked me home, big deal. Wing walked *you* home yesterday and you don't hear me teasing you about *that*." Despite his words, Duo couldn't stop his slow smile as he remembered Heero's glare when he'd told him he was walking him home. The Japanese boy had obviously been expecting him to argue as it had been a warning, not an offer. "But it *was* nice of him, wasn't it."

The boy looked so smug Shinigami snorted. "Yes. I'm surprised he didn't carry you. He probably didn't think you could get home by yourself."

"Hey! That's not..." Stopping suddenly, Duo frowned. "Do you think that's why?"

Smirking, Shinigami butted the boy's chin with his head. "I'm just teasing you, Duo. If he didn't think you could get home alone he could have just let you stay at Wufei's house. He did offer. No, you know why he walked you home, so you *wouldn't* stay there." Putting his paws on Duo's shoulders, he lowered his voice a bit as two women passed them on the sidewalk. "Wing told me he and Heero had a fight about you. He thinks Heero was jealous."

"Of Wing?!" Blushing when the women looked around sharply, Duo grinned at them and walked faster. "Are you kiding?" he whispered.


"Cool..." Still smiling, Duo walked up the path that led to Wufei's house, slowing when he noticed the voices sounding through the open window. "The girls are here."


"Don't be silly, Shi-chan," Duo murmered, petting the cat roughtly. "I bet they'd love to hold you, you're so cute."


* * *

"You know, these are pretty nice." Looking down at the communicator Heero'd given her, Dorothy nodded. "Handy too. I guess we won't have to worry about being separated then."

"It's still a good idea not to go around alone," Shinigami said, his voice a bit forced as he shifted on Hilde's lap. He'd never been so uncomfortable and he vowed to kill Duo later for depositing him in the girl's arms. He couldn't come up with a good excuse for her to let him go and as embarrassing as it was with Wing smirking at him, he didn't want to hurt the girl's feelings.

"Do you know where our enemy's located?" Hilde asked, smiling as her hand moved slowly over the black cat's soft fur. "I mean, do you have an idea?"

"We don't even know who they are or where they came from," Quatre said, shaking his head. "Except for Duo, this was the first time we fought the real enemy. Before, they sent monsters."

"You've been fighting *monsters* in our town?" Eyes wide, Relena shook her head, frowning at Dorothy. "How come we didn't notice?"

"Because we destroyed the monsters as soon as they showed up," Wufei answered, scowling at the girl. He still didn't like having them in his home, especially since Relena had demanded a chair to sit in. He didn't understand why she couldn't stand or sit on the floor like Dorothy and Catherine. It was natural for him, as he was more comfortable where he could move quickly. "What I want to know is how you...girls learned to use your powers. More specifically, can any of you shield like that black-haired woman did?"

"No," Dorothy muttered, glaring at the floor. "If we can, we don't know it. We just experimented."

"Well, I can block attacks sometimes," Quatre said slowly, "but with that shield of hers, we don't have anything that can get through it."

"We might." Frowning when Heero and Wufei both gave her doubtful looks, Catherine straightened where she sat and put her hands on the coffee table. "We could. We didn't have much chance to try, so you don't know if we do or not. After all, you didn't try attacking all at once, did you? I mean, with some of you down and so many enemies, you didn't get to experiment much."

"Maybe," Duo said slowly, "but I don't think we'll get a chance to do any experimentation. I've never seen him so determined. As many times as we fought, he never tried a back attack on me."

Eyes narrowing, Heero pinned the violet-eyed boy beside him with a sharp gaze. "The man with the white hair?"

"Yeah. I mean, sure he disappeared constantly, but he never fought like he did last night." Frowning, Duo didn't notice the way Heero glared. "I think he's through playing."

"Duo, have you fought the other two? The ones with the brown hair?" Watching the boy, Trowa sighed when he shook his head. "They're as strong as *he* is. But still, there are nine of us and four of them. As long as we watch out for that draining attack, I don't think we'll lose again. We just make sure we cover our backs."

* * *

"I'm sorry, your highness, we saw you needed help. We couldn't sit back and let them defeat you." Bowing her head, Une stared at the floor, not moving as she saw Treiz in a similar stance beside her.

"You could have killed him," Zechs growled, pale blue eyes sparking as he glared at the two. "I admit, we *did* need your help and I'll forgive you for acting without orders. However. Next time you exercise more caution."

"Yes, of course. I simply thought the boy was strong enough to withstand the attack. I thought to weaken him, not actually harm him."

Looking Treiz over carefully, Zechs slowly nodded as he couldn't find a flaw in the man's honest expression. "It's true that he and Earth are the strongest. If we could weaken them, the others are mere numbers."

"Then eliminate the numbers," Noin said, nodding from where she stood at his side. "Catch Saturn alone and we won't have to hold back in defeating the others."

"Actually," Zechs smiled, glancing at her. "I've already decided our next move."

* * *

They ran. Having transformed as quickly as they could, they ran to where the explosions were sounding from. Had the enemy waited ten more minutes, they would have been on their way to their respective homes. As it was, they were still together and all nine entered the intersection together, remembering that they didn't dare risk separating. It was still daylight, a few minutes after seven which was quite light for the time of year, but any civilians who'd been near the road had either run or were hiding. Rounding the corner of a building, the enemies came into view, all four of them as it seemed there would be no more subordinates to fight.

They'd no more than skidded to a halt than the enemies attacked, Treiz and Une positioned on either side of Zechs with Noin floating behind him. With two nearly identical brown fireballs, the two flanking enemies attacked, separating the nine fighters. It was good that the scouts had planned their next battle as even in dodging the attacks, they stayed together. Hilde and Relena moved to the right while Quatre Trowa and Catherine took the left. Wufei and Dorothy moved beneath the four enemies leaving Heero and Duo facing them. Immediately positioned so they circled their enemies, the nine attacked simultaneously, consuming the four in a blinding mixture of colored light.

In the next second, they were diving to the ground as their attacks not only failed to penetrate Noin's shield, but were reflected back at them. At the same time, the three in front of the woman sent a similar joint attack which passed easily as Noin dropped the shield, turning so she could send a ray of black at Dorothy and Wufei who quickly moved out of the way. It was immediately obvious who the enemy was focused on as both Heero and Duo took the brunt of the three attacks. Recovering quickly, the other seven hurried to hit the enemies while the shield was down, but Noin had the timing perfect as she replaced the pink shield.

Wufei caught Trowa's eyes as the two moved to join Heero and Duo, the others nodding as they waited for the shield to drop. As if oblivious to their tactics, Noin again dropped the shield as Treiz and Une let loose another round of power. She must have known what was planned, however, as she disappeared when the four girls sent attacks at them, only Treiz and Une being caught. As he'd expected, Quatre blocked the blow sent toward the girls from behind as Noin abruptly reappeared. In the meanwhile, Zechs had also disappeared and Heero and Duo immediately moved behind Trowa and Wufei as those two sent waves of tan and purple light to counter the brown fire aimed at them. Appearing briefly behind the four boys, Zechs was gone again as he found the two ready for him, barely managing to disapear before their attacks hit where he'd been.

Eyes widening when the woman he was fighting was suddenly gone, Quatre turned, catching sight of her as she appeared facing Heero and Duo. Running past the girls who were still grouped together as they faced off with Une and Treiz who'd turned with their backs touching as they fought. Their combined strength was definitely wearing Une down and it was evident from the way Treiz's attacks came less frequently that Trowa and Wufei were also doing well. Leaving them, Quatre moved toward Heero and Duo. From the last battle, he'd learned much of the woman's tactics and he knew she would not have left unless it was to protect Zechs. His suspicions were confirmed when the white-haired man appeared at her side, protected by her shield.

With their backs practically touching Trowa and Wufei, the two boys waited for the shield to drop. They knew if they tried to hit it their power would be sent back on them, but they were reassured by the knowledge that Zechs couldn't attack so long as he remained behind the shield. At least this was what they thought, it was quickly proved wrong as the man sent a thick beam of black light at the boys and it passed through the shield as if it were not there. Knocked back by the blow, Heero stumbled against Wufei for a moment before regaining his balance. Caught, Duo couldn't move as he felt the familiar weakness flowing through him. Then Quatre was in front of him suddenly and the beam was cut in a pale blue double-slash of blades.

Infuriated at their inability to penetrate the woman's shield, Heero trusted his back to the blonde boy as he turned suddenly and sent a powerful beam of white straight at Treiz. Not having taken the chance to look behind them, Trowa and Wufei had continued their attacks. Together, the three served to knock the brown-haired man back, shoving Une closer to the girls. With matching groans, the two disappeared suddenly, reappearing to either side of the five boys as they quickly attacked. Unprepared for the move, all were caught off guard and while the girls ran forward to catch their relocated enemies, the circle was broken as the boy's were separated.

Zechs disappeared from behind the pink shield and Noin dropped it, hitting Quatre with her black flame and causing the boy to block quickly. Knocked to the ground by the attacks Treiz and Une had sent, Duo had gotten to his feet and turned, lowering his staff as he sent a violet beam at the brown-haired man. He never saw Zechs disappear, but Heero did. Turning with narrowed eyes, the Japanese boy had a brief view of the white-haired man appearing behind Duo and wrapping his arms around the boy's waist. Then both disappeared suddenly. In the next second, the other three enemies were also gone, leaving the eight fighters staring in disbelief.

* * *