>>ENEMY MINE — CHAPTER EIGHT: IN THE END::
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue.
"The Great Fox?" Wolf leaned back, voice incredulous. "That's aspiring pretty high, don't you think?"
"But it's a perfect target, as far as the Venomian cause goes." Rick said, grinning and taking another swallow of his beer. "And the mechanic is a naïve geek. I've met him twice already. He practically gets hammered after two beers."
Fighting the urge to punch Rick for what he was saying, Wolf shook his head. "That ship has a damn smart AI. I don't think Toad would be able to get close if he was even the least bit drunk, and he's the only mechanic allowed near the engines, owing to the fact that the Great Fox is for all practicality a private vessel, not a military vessel." He chewed his lip. "Besides, they launched this morning." Under my advice.
"Well, that won't work then…" Jordan shuffled papers. "Ah, here's a beauty. Just commissioned too, what irony." He put a printed picture on the table. "That, gents, is the Hammer."
"Strange name for a ship." Remarked one of the loyalists.
"As in, Doom Hammer. It's one of the biggest ships ever made. Cost a fortune. It's being launched in two days." He grinned.
"Good choice." Tom nodded. "The crew will have a lot of greenies on it. Let's do it."
"Speaking of crew, how many people staff it?" Wolf asked, studying his claws to avoid displaying the anger in his eyes.
"Estimated three thousand. There will probably be more when it goes down."
He imagined three thousand faceless soldiers plaguing his dreams, and almost got sick right then and there. He had to turn these kids in, and he knew it, and it had to be soon. But how to prove what they were doing? He just didn't know. He reached over the table and pulled the picture of the ship over, lifting his eyebrows. The Doom Hammer was a beautiful cruiser, graceful, bristling with new weaponry, deadly as it was elegant. He sighed to himself, smiling weakly. Don't worry, Lady Doom Hammer, your crew isn't going to die this week.
"We got their next target." Fox said, breadstick hanging out of his mouth as he read, mumbling around it. "This is sure to get the General moving fast. They're targeting the Doom Hammer."
"We better tell my dad then, he's proud of that ship." Said Slippy. "It's strictly an Arspace creation."
"We've got to be quiet about this, though. Who knows where their contacts are, and if they catch wind that we know, they'll know there's an insider among them. We don't want to get Wolf killed." Peppy said, stabbing a mouthful of salad with a fork.
"He knows the risk." Fox sighed, shaking his head. Fara had filled him in on everything they had talked about when the pair had had lunch. So, Wolf, his friend, was in love with him. He had no idea what to do about it, either. He didn't want to hurt Wolf in any way, he saw by that haunted gaze that Wolf had been through more then enough pain, but he wasn't interested in Wolf like that. On the up hand, Fara was taking it in stride, just remarking that she had dealt with multiple girls trying to steal him, what's so different about a guy wanting to? He wasn't sure he wanted to ponder that.
The fax machine buzzed, and Slippy got it automatically, scanning over it. "Once the Loyalists are caught, Pepper's going to give us three different search teams. Apparently the rest of the Safety council is starting to cave. He's been pitching fits pretty regularly at them because they're the ones who wouldn't give us the teams in the first place."
"Falco looks up to him, and he knows it." Peppy said, looking at the life display that showed Falco's relative health. They had had a scare, not long ago, when the signal suddenly dangerously dimmed, then it had come back five minutes later. The health chip wasn't highly sophisticated, but it was reporting a significant weight drop for the avian. "It's been four months…"
"He'll last a few more days. He's stubborn. And he'll probably give me a black eye when we pick him up." Fox laughed weakly. "Now if only we knew what Wolf was planning…"
"Man, gotta love these seasons." Falco said, sticking his head out. "It's above freezing out here, and the sun's out. We're going to have to clear the snow in front of our cave to keep from being flooded."
"Four months now?" Leon said, a piece of dried meat dangling out of his mouth as he gnawed on the end, shuffling his cards.
"Just a bit over." He sighed and let the flap close, wandering over and flopping onto the bed. "I want to go home."
"I know." Leon smiled softly. "I think I'm looking forward to it as well."
"You proposed bunk beds, remember?"
There was a pause, then Falco said, "Yeah, I guess I did. Hmm."
He stopped, cards bridged for another shuffle. "Are you having second thoughts?"
"I don't know. Two guys and maybe a pet cat. I know what all of my friends will think."
"Is that so bad?" Leon blurted, then bit his lip.
Falco sat up, staring at him. "What do you know that I don't?" He pointed to the cards, eyes narrowing just slightly.
"Uh, well… Every time I do the future, these two cards come up." He tossed the Lovers and the Two of Cups on the bed in front of Falco. "Every time. That's us, Falco."
"That can't be right…" Falco frowned, tapping the lovers card. "How long?"
"Since I whacked you over the head, so nearly four months."
Falco moaned, rubbing his eyes. He mind was a blurry blank. He wasn't sure how much faith he put in Leon's fortune-telling skills, but what Leon had done had been so close to truth it had been eerie. He himself had only handled the deck once, and it had been strange somehow, like he had stepped into someone else's house without asking permission. He had given the cards back within thirty seconds. Ok, so he was pretty sure there was some truth to Leon having some sort of power through the cards, but he didn't want to think that the cards could tell the future, especially now. "Leon, I'm straight!"
"No, I don't think so." He replied very carefully.
"What right do you have…"
"Because you hold me when I sleep, and it isn't for warmth anymore." He cut Falco off, voice taking on an edge. "You may not even know you're doing it, but you're pretty damn affectionate with me, Falco. When I found you in the storm, the first thing you did was nuzzle into me. You do that a lot."
"But what? You're straight? You're a virgin, so how the HELL would you know?"
He jerked back as if he had been slapped. "How… how did you…"
Leon sighed and held up the card deck. "Don't have a coronary, Falco, it's not worth it. I know you're bewildered, but it's natural. You just noticed the closet you're in."
"But, but I'm not in a closet." Falco moaned, rubbing his eyes, a wave of nausea passing through him. Why the hell was Leon suddenly throwing this in his face? And how long had he been cuddling without realizing it?
"I think you are. You may have hit on girls, once upon a time, but what drove you and Katt apart Falco? Irreconcilable differences? What differences?" Seeing comprehension forming in Falco's eyes, he sighed, crossing his arms and leaning his head back. "I'm not trying to be cruel, ok? I'm just saying that maybe you need to think a while."
He replied by rolling on his side and curling up, back to Leon, shivering and hugging himself. His mind had cleared, but was now going in endless circles, unable to believe what he had just been told. He liked girls. He liked talking and dancing with them. In the light of that, how could he be… gay? Eyes closing tight, he thought back, and knew that Leon was right about the cuddles. Hell, he didn't even know why he did it, it just felt like instinct to.
He winced when he felt Leon's hand rest on his lifted shoulder, fingers intertwining with his feathers. "Why are you so insistent?" He finally asked in a faltering voice, curling up even tighter, shivering.
Leon replied by curling up around him, hand finding his and lacing with it. "I have my reasons." He finally replied, nuzzling the back of Falco's neck, provoking a very soft sigh. "For one, you'll never really be a whole person if you don't recognize who you are in the first place. For another, well…" He cut himself off, swallowing hard as the words choked in his throat. He couldn't bring himself to say it. He had known it for at least a month, yet couldn't actually say it to Falco's face.
"What?" Falco asked after a moment.
"Oh, never mind." Leon mumbled, burying his face in the curve made by Falco's neck and shoulder. 'I love you.'
There was a long pause, then Falco asked in a distant voice, "Just how accurate are your cards?"
"Completely, within reason."
"God help me."
"Here's the plan. Because of the Doom Hammer's imminent launch, most of the crew will be here tonight. Let's be casual, track down some of the engine maintenance crew, and convince them their ship shouldn't fly." Said Jordan, clustered with the rest of the Loyalists and Wolf outside a bar. There were a number of other groups standing around, so they were inconspicuous. "Something wrong, Wolf?"
He managed a strained smile. "Long day." Not made shorter by the zipties hidden in his jacket, which were used quite often as lightweight, easier-to-carry handcuffs. Everything was planned out with Fox and the MPs, but he had to make the first moves and try to knock out or restrain as many of the Loyalists as he could.
"Hm. Well, let's go."
Wolf followed them into the bar, swallowing back bile, and spent the next hour in a blur, schmoozing with different people, flirting with the occasional girl, unable to stay focused on the task. Thank god he had switched sides, he couldn't even think about taking down the Doom Hammer, much less actually do it. Eventually though, his tolerance ran out.
He calmly reached out a hand and covered a random soldier's beer mug, preventing him from drinking. "Don't. It's drugged."
"What?" The soldier blinked, and almost instantly all the Loyalists were looking at Wolf, waiting to see what he was doing, already angry.
"It's drugged." Wolf gently pushed the mug back down to the table, and picked out four other victims. "You would also be wise to dump your drinks."
"What do you mean by drugged?" Demanded one.
"Let's just say its roofies on steroids, ok?" Wolf sighed and rolled his eyes. "If you guys want the Doom Hammer to lift successfully, you won't drink." The rest of the mugs hit the table, and Wolf stood, looking at the Loyalists. "Time to end the façade."
"Who are you working for?" Rick hissed, clearly angry.
"Star Fox." He kept his voice calm, cool. "I have been for a while now. I am in no way loyal to Venom."
That caused a ruckus within the bar, people scrambling back, and quickly a ring of people formed.
Jordan was the first to react, pulling a small revolver out from under his belt and leveling it at Wolf. "We should kill you right now. You lied to us! We trusted you!"
"Your first mistake. I'm a mercenary, not a fanatic. I never believed in Andross' cause. He paid me." Wolf stepped forward, leaving his jacket with the people he had just 'rescued' in a sense, hands loose at his sides, eyes never leaving the gun. "And you can try to kill me. Fox McCloud couldn't do it. An entire Air Force couldn't do it. I doubt you can."
There was a moment frozen in time, then Jordan snarled and opened fire. The crowd was already out of the way, and Wolf shifted to one side, unbothered by Jordan's bad aim as he watched the bullets shriek by, hackles rising. Then he was moving, disarming Jordan and twisting his arm, scowling at the rest of the Loyalists. "Back off, or I break his arm, then his back."
They scrambled several steps back. "You wouldn't do that!" Rick said desperately, eyes wide. Wolf recognized that desperation, and sighed, shaking his head, and forced the angle farther, making Jordan cry out raggedly.
"Why wouldn't I? You, you IDIOTS are the reason why I'm haunted every night! Do you have ANY idea how many innocents you've killed with your senseless moves? There is no Emperor to get revenge for! There is nothing left of the Venomian force! You've been killing for no reason." A motion of his hands, and Jordan was on the floor, hands zipped together then zipped to his belt. Jordan moaned, pain spikes from strained muscles shaking him. Rick staggered forward and knelt beside him, plucking uselessly at the ties, trying to help his friend. "You're nothing but cultists." He said in an acrid voice. "You know nothing of what you've done."
"You broke his arm!" Rick shrilled, grabbing the revolver off the floor and firing in the same motion.
When the huge convoy of MPs arrived, as well as a sizable group of police and EMTs called by people in the bar, they found a confused quiet inside. Most of the people were standing outside, waiting for the dazed and restrained Loyalists to be removed so they could return to their drinks. Those still inside were watching over the Loyalists, most of which had minor injuries.
And a few were around where Wolf was sprawled on the ground, trying to stop the blood flowing from the bullet hole in his gut.
Fox elbowed his way through the crowd of officials, dropping to his knees beside his friend. "Wolf?"
"Hi Fox." Wolf smiled weakly, tail making an attempt at wagging. "I pissed one of them off. Broke his buddy's arm."
"Shame on you then." Fox bit his lip, glancing at the people kneeling across from him. "Are any of you medics?"
"All of us are." Replied the one he was looking at. "The wound isn't as bad as it looks. It was a small bullet. It's still in there though, and it's going to take surgery to get out."
"Jesus." Fox swallowed, finding Wolf's hand. "Looks like you got all of the Loyalists, Wolf."
"I know. Good for me. I want a vacation."
He chuckled. "You got it, brother. Let's get you out of here."
The next day…
Falco sighed, lying on his stomach next to the fire, watching Leon lay out his cards without seeing it. He had spent the last few days miserable, and watching Leon turn up those same two damnable cards again and again wasn't helping. He still wasn't able to believe it that he, known player, could possibly be alternate lifestyle. If it had gotten any warmer outside, he would have tried to make Leon sleep alone, but feeling the reptilian shivering next to him made all his instincts go haywire. For some reason, some part of him wanted to protect Leon in any way possible, and he didn't understand it at all.
Leon leaned his chin on his palm, staring at the cards, and smiled a bit. "Put your boots on."
"We need to find somewhere dry to send up a smoke signal." Even as he spoke, he had put his cards away and was lacing up his boots with swift hand motions. Seeing that Falco wasn't moving, he sighed and knelt next to him, drawing him up so he held his friend to his chest, sighing again when he noticed that Falco was practically dead weight. "Falco, you shouldn't drag yourself down like this."
"I'm not. I'm just confused." He mumbled in response, leaning into the comfort automatically. "Why the smoke signal?"
"They're in orbit right now. They're looking for us." He smiled when he saw Falco's eyes open the rest of the way. "Yes, I'm sure. We're going home."
Falco blinked once, then smiled, snapping to his feet and pulling Leon up with him, hugging the smaller man so tight most of his spine popped. Home, they were finally going home. He was going to give Fox a piece of his mind. "Thank god for those skills of yours. Let's see if you're right."
Five minutes later, they were sitting next to a minor bonfire, staring up at a cold blue sky. They knew it would take a while, hell, the search teams had a globe to cover, but they had waited this long. They could wait another hour. Leon took the opportunity to nuzzle into Falco, not sure when he'd get to do so again, and was delighted when Falco wrapped an arm around his ribs, holding him close.
"This has been one hell of a vacation, eh?" He finally said, face leaned against Falco's chest, eyes half-closed against the bitter wind.
Falco chuckled softly. "Yes indeed."
Fox hesitated, then opened the door and leaned in, smiling weakly when he saw Wolf curled up on his side, facing the door. "Hey."
"Hi. Falco and Leon home safe?" Wolf levered himself up as Fox came in fully, pulling up a chair to sit next to the bed.
"Yes indeed. Falco gave me a bear hug, then a bloody nose." Fox rubbed his bruised muzzle at the memory. "They've both lost a lot of weight and are a bit malnourished, but amazingly enough they're happy. Between the two of them, they emptied the Great Fox's hot water heater three times getting clean. Majority of it was Falco, though."
"Eh, naturally. Leon can take two-minute showers after belly-crawling through a swamp." Wolf rolled his eyes. "The doctor said I can leave in a few days. They just want to be sure about the stitches and thus forth. Apparently, I got lucky. Not sure that's true, but hey."
"That's good then." Fox looked at the floor, popping his knuckles nervously, trying to figure out what to say. "Listen, uh…"
"We've got to talk." Wolf propped his jaw on his hand. "Right?" When Fox blinked at him blankly, he smiled sourly. "I had time to think, especially recently. Lying around drugged after a minor surgery gives you plenty of time to muse. Well, now that you're disarmed, please continue. I think I'm prepared for a blow, or the next one." He glared at his still-bandaged stomach.
"Jesus, Wolf, relax!" Fox's hands flew up in treaty. "I don't want to hurt you! At all!" When Wolf stayed silent and just looked at him, he took a deep breath and continued. "Look, I've seen your eyes. You've been hurt enough, I don't know by what, but I in no way want to add to it. The problem is, I don't really know what to do. You caught me completely off guard when you kissed me."
"Yeah, I know. And I'm sorry." Wolf flopped back and sighed, staring at the ceiling. "I don't know what got into me."
"Well, whatever did, I'm not sure what to do about it. I'm pretty sure you know I'm straight, and even if I was bi, I love my girlfriend too much to cheat." He shrugged weakly. "I don't want to hurt you, but it seems I don't have a choice."
"Well, at least you're nice enough you don't lead me on." Wolf sighed again, shaking his head, feeling depressed. He had known it was going to happen, but he still felt rejected. At least, though, he had gotten that one kiss. That made some of this worth it. "So. What do we do now?"
"I don't know. You and Leon are pretty much pardoned, so that isn't a problem. You're more then welcome to hang on the Great Fox until you figure it out."
He felt himself smile, turning his head back to face Fox. "I think I'd like that."
"I'm not sure about that." Fox sighed, moving to sit on the edge of the bed. "Falco came back more moody then he left. Anyone within a mile of him is liable to feel the shockwave, too."
Wolf laughed softly. "Interesting times."
"I can't agree more. Want me to see if I can get you out of here early?"
Chapter titles owned by Linkin Park
Music mention with props to Rammstein
Story Title owned by whoever made the movie
Special thanks for Atroxumus for being my editor