Another Murder of Crows: Part 28

I guided Heero, by the shoulders, around the corner of the house and onto the stone porch. I could see light emitting through the window, so I knew somebody was up and about. Great. Not only that, I saw hectic movement, like someone was running around–no wait–two persons were running around as if they were trying to find something. I had to resist the urge to hang myself from the gutter with my shirt.

I opened the door (pretty much given up on the pretense of being quiet) and let it stop against the wall, alerting my hosts of our arrival. Relena was wearing a long, light pink robe, and paced around in a circle. Dorothy, wearing a silver robe, sat in what was left of a chair, trying to soothe Relena. Wufei and Trowa were suiting up, presumably to find me.

Before I managed to get my other foot through the door, Relena flew at us and grabbed Heero, yanking him into the house. I closed and locked the door behind me as I tossed my jacket onto the floor and tried to think of some way to help.

"I'll go get the med kit," Dorothy announced as she shot out of the chair and ran upstairs. Relena sat Heero down on the floor and ripped a piece of material from her robe to start tending to his lips. "Quatre, what happened?" she asked frantically.

What could I tell her, honestly? "I don't know."

"The antibiotics are in here too," Dorothy said as she flew down the stairs and went to Heero's other side, helping Relena treat his injuries. He still stared on into outer space, completely oblivious to everything around him. I could only look down at my boots. I didn't want to see Heero like this. He was always strong in my eyes. He was completely unbreakable as far as I was concerned. He did have his moments, whether he was crying because of nightmares or just exhausted in spirit. But for the most part, I always thought he was the best of us all. I would've never thought that he would be reduced to this. Never.

"Quatre!" I snapped at attention from Wufei's angry shout. He was circling around me, checking me for injuries. "Are you alright? What the hell happened...why are you wearing my snow pants, and why are they ripped?! Have you lost your mind?!"

"Wufei I–"

"Shut up! And you might as well take them off. They're completely ruined now."

I started to slip out of them. "Wufei, how are you going to ask me a question then tell me to shut up when I try to answer?!"

"Shut! Up!"

"I will NOT shut up!"

He pulled me by the arm and I stumbled the rest of the way out of the pants as he started to drag me behind him up the stairs. Trowa followed the both of us. "Relena, Dorothy," Wufei barked, "take care of Heero. Holler if something happens." He started up the stairs again, tugging me along until we made it back to my room. When we finally made it, he just about threw me against the bed. My lower stomach collided on the foot of the bed, leaving me breathless while Trowa closed the door behind us. Before I could gain some of my composure back, Wufei grasped me by the shoulders and forced me to stand upright (as much as I could) to face him.

"Quatre, I don't care what I'm doing, whether I'm taking a shit or what, but don't walk out on me without you yourself telling me! Barton damn near scared me to death, charging into my room and telling me that you're gone!"

"Wufei, that's enough!"

"No it's not Trowa!" He shook me once, extremely hard. "You have people here sacrificing themselves for you Quatre. You also have others that are trying to protect you with their very lives. The least you can do is to tell me that you're taking a risk without anyone going with you! Hell, I thought he snatched your ass like he did Duo!"

"Look who's talking!" I screamed back, angrily ripping my shoulders free from Wufei's iron hold. "You all kept everything from me! The only reason you said anything at all was because I accidently said something that was important!"

"Quatre, that couldn't be helped!"

"This couldn't be helped!"

"Withholding information from you was necessary!"

"Going out there without telling you was necessary!"

"Well how can we get beyond that if you don't tell me where you're going?!"

"I don't have to tell you anything! Me withholding what I know from you doesn't matter because this is all affecting me in the long run. You not telling me what I need to know hurts ME because this is all about me. Me me me!" I poked myself in the chest each time to accentuate my point. "You said so yourself! All of this is being done on my behalf!"

"Wufei is right Quatre. We didn't know if you had left on your own or if you were taken against your will." Trowa, the whole time, stared at me as though if he blinked I would disappear. "We need to know. Whatever happened before, let's drop it. It's irrelevant now. Okay?"

Whether I wanted to admit it or not, they had a valid point. "I guess you're right," I said, sighing. "Yeah, you're both right."

"Of course we are!" Wufei bellowed unhelpfully. "Do you think we would go around and do things that weren't in your best interest?"

I sat down on the foot of the bed and just shook my head. "I know you wouldn't Wufei. It's just, well, can we drop this please? I don't see how this can be helpful to either me or Duo."

"You're right. Okay then. What happened to Odin?"

I shrugged at Wufei. "I honestly don't know. I was walking back to the house when I saw something run around the corner. I followed after it and saw that it was Odin. When I approached him, all he did was rock back and forth, kissing the cross to the point where his lips bleed." I shook my head at the memory, then looked them both in the eye. "He's gone. Totally. I don't know what's going on in here." I poked myself in the temple. "But whatever it is, it's not good."

"I see." Wufei crossed his arms and started to tap his foot. "And where were you coming from?"

I didn't see the harm in answering truthfully. "The tree."

"And what did you do when you were there?" Trowa asked softly.

Okay, I did see the harm in answering that. "Does it matter?"

Wufei threw his arms angrily up in the air before glaring back at me. "Of course it matters! You leave without letting anyone know, then when you return, Odin is acting like a lobotomy patient and your clothes, including MY snow pants are ripped! What the hell happened to your shirt? I put it on you myself and I know for a fact that the buttons weren't popped off!"

I started to open my mouth when Wufei grabbed me by the arms and pulled me up to my feet. "Don't bullshit me! What happened?!"

Trowa then came up and yanked back on Wufei's wrists until my collar slid out from between his fingers. "You touch him like that again, and I will do whatever it takes to make your life a living hell from now until the day you die."

I allowed both of my palms to smack myself in the forehead. This was not helping anybody. "Duo is dying."

They both had a fist raised and was about to pound each other to dust when my statement stopped them cold. "What?!" they both shouted.

"Duo is dying."

They each came to either side of me, staring at me with disbelief in their eyes. "How do you know he's still alive?" Wufei asked.

I pointed in the direction of the tree. "That's why I went out there. He's still alive, but he won't be for long. We have to do something quickly. That's what I was told." I didn't need to say who told me. It was pretty much agreed on who it was.

"Did he say where he was?"

I shook my head at Trowa. "He said that I knew already, but I don't see how. I mean, I don't understand–"

There was a very, very frightened shout accompanied by screaming. Without a second thought, the three of us flew out the door and down the stairs to the girls. They were screaming so loud that the sound nearly bursted my eardrums.

All three of us managed to slip slightly on the chunk of ice on the step before finally reaching the safety of the floor. My breath caught in my throat as I surveyed the scene. Everything was the way it should be: the long table was as elegant as the first day I saw it, the chairs were completely repaired and stationed in the exact place they were before, and the floor was absolutely spotless. It didn't have the slightest inclination that there had been a vicious fight.

"I don't know how it happened," Relena said shakily, holding Heero's boneless body in her arms. Dorothy was sitting in the corner with her back against the wall. "I just heard Dorothy shout and when I looked up, all of the furniture had put itself together. I didn't even see it!"

"It's alright," I said as calmly as I could, although I was shaken up myself. "It's alright Relena. It's nothing to be afraid of. He's just fixing everything. Nothing's going to hurt you." I turned to Wufei and saw him lift up his snow pants, where he turned them around so that I could see the back. They were completely repaired. There wasn't even a sign that a cut had been made. Thank Allah for that at least.

"We should get them upstairs," Trowa said in his quiet way as he helped Dorothy to her feet. I tucked Relena under my arm and started to walk her towards the stairs when she stopped. "No! I have to get Heero. I don't want him down here alone."

"It's alright Relena. We'll bring him up in a second. Let's get you two taken care of first, okay?" Trowa came to my rescue, pulling Relena to him and Dorothy as he escorted the both of them up the stairs. Thank Allah for that too. As much as I care about her, I don't feel like putting up with how frantic she could be right now.

I turned to Heero, who was still sitting on the floor, but at least he looked like he was with it. Shrugging to myself, I stood next to him, crouched down, and flung one of his arms over my shoulders to get him to his feet. Apparently, he had other plans. Heero wrapped his arm (the one around my shoulders) around my neck and jerked me to the floor. I let out a startled yelp and before I knew it, Wufei was by my side and ready to kill him.

"God damnit Lowe!"

"It's alright Wufei!" I held my free hand up to stop him before he accidently killed ME. "It's okay! He's just not himself right now."

"Yeah, meaning he might break your neck and not know it!"

I rolled my eyes and turned back to Heero for another shock. He faced me, eyes wide and completely covered with unshed tears. The tears he spilt already had stained his cheeks with a clear residue, reaching from eyelid to chin. His normally flat face was deeply expressive, full of intense sorrow and pain. Just looking at him made my heart hurt.

"Odin?"

"He's hurting."

It took me a second to figure out that I had no idea what he was talking about. "What?"

"He's hurting."

I looked back at Wufei, who was standing in front of us, watching us closely, and gave him a confused look. He shrugged his shoulders. Trowa came down then and stood next to him, so I returned my attention back to Heero, which was more difficult then it had to be because of his hold on my neck. "Odin, who's hurting?"

"Duo is."

I swallowed hard. I didn't know whether to trust that statement or not. "How do you know that?"

He snorted, then glanced down to the floor. "I can feel him." He pulled the cross from underneath his shirt and held it in his palm again. "I can feel his pain. He's trying to call for you, but he doesn't know how. I can feel it though. He's screaming your name, but he doesn't know why you can't hear him."

Wufei stomped his foot and turned to Trowa, gesturing to us with his hand. "You see? He's lost his god damn mind."

"Wufei!" I snarled angrily without looking away from Heero. "If he's calling me, then why can't I hear him?"

Heero chuckled softly, then glanced back to me. "You can't hear him because you're not listening. Something else is distracting you so much that you can't hear him." He inched in closer to me to the point where our lips almost met. "If you stop trying to fight it, then it'll come to you." I had to suppress a shiver. He sounded just like Krahe. "You see, I've given up on me finding him. Now I can hear his voice in my head." He used his free hand to tap himself on the temple with his index finger. "Besides, there are things that only a lover could know and sense. That's how I know he's hurting."

"Well, I won't give up on him. I can't."

He sighed tiredly and released his hold on me, sliding his head between my head and shoulder. "You can't give up on him," he said sleepily into my neck. "I don't want you to do that. Just stop fighting so hard."

I held Heero close to me as I felt his body go limp from the day's trials. I laid my cheek against the top of his head and played idly with the baby strands of hair at the back of his head, looking at nothing in particular. I tried to let my mind unravel. I could feel the onset of a headache coming, but I really didn't care. Duo was hurting. Heero told me so, and I believed him. "How long has it been since the kidnapping?"

Wufei answered. "Thirteen hours, twenty six minutes and fifty seconds.

I raised an eyebrow and shifted some to make myself more comfortable underneath Heero. I gasped a little when I felt Duo's cross press against my chest. "I was asleep for ten hours?"

Wufei glared at Trowa. It took everything I had not to laugh. "I appreciate it Trowa. I needed the rest and I'm sorry I worried you." Wufei rolled his eyes, but Trowa smiled softly at me, and that sight made my heart melt.

Then the thought came unbidden. His smile distracted me long enough for the knowledge to barge its way in. The room was filled suddenly with a cold breeze and I quickly shoved Heero off of me and onto the floor. "Take Odin upstairs," I said frantically. "Krahe's here!" I mentally cursed myself for being so sloppy. Heero had the necklace and the ring on. I'm surprised he was able to hold back until now.

"How do you know?" Wufei asked as he and Trowa picked Heero up, Wufei holding his shoulders and Trowa grabbing hold of his legs.

"I can feel him," I said hurriedly. "And I'll be back soon. I know where Duo is!" The last thing I heard was Wufei's angry scream at me before I charged up the stairs. I flew into my bedroom, nearly running through the wall, and hurried to the window where I unlocked it and jumped out without hesitation. I swung my arms in the air and kicked my legs, even though I knew it wouldn't do any good. This time however, I kept my eyes open and was amazed when I saw the portal open up. It was in the shape of a crow's head, and when the crow opened its beak I passed through the doorway from this world to the next.

The world was dark, which I was used to, but then the light blue haze came into being, spreading on into forever. This time though, everything seemed brighter and clearer, and I seemed to be able to move around more easily. I felt excited that I was able to see a bright light far out in the distance, and I knew that it was Duo.

I could hear him calling out my name. It was weak and hoarse, but I could hear his voice. I was ready to burst with joy, but it wasn't over yet. I tried to run across the expanse of space, but realized that I couldn't. As I watched from where I was, I could see small things–black, small things–surround Duo, throwing their arms around him. There were so many, I didn't think that I could fight them off. I tried to run to him anyway, tried to reach out with my mind as I thought about what Krahe said, that the possibilities were limitless. As I raced ahead and saw that I wasn't getting any closer, I realized that that statement wasn't entirely true. I needed to think about this some more. So, with a heavy heart, I started to back away and soon enough I felt the hardness of steps underneath my back.

When I stopped rolling I knew that I was on the floor, and that the hot hands that picked me up were Trowa and Wufei, since Heero was totally out of commission and the girls were just better off staying as far away from me as possible. But no matter how terrible things were right now, I couldn't squash the sensation in my chest that threatened to make my heart burst.

Duo was alive.

***

I slowly woke to the feeling of being very warm, to the point where I was sweating. I cracked one eye open and found myself staring at a flashlight shining on the white tiled wall. I opened the other eye and saw that I was in the bathroom, in the tub. Searching the room, my eyes fell on Trowa, who was sitting by the tub in one of the chairs from downstairs, watching me. If my cheeks weren't already red from the heat of the water, they are now from my blushing. "Tro–wa?"

"You were gone for over six hours. Wufei and I kept a hot bath in here so that when you came back, and if you were nearly frozen again, we could dump you in the water." He scooted up to me in the chair and placed his crossed arms on the rim of the tub. "You were worse off than the first time, so I've kept watch over you to make sure that you were okay."

All I could do was stare blankly at him. This was so...uncharacteristic for him. "Um...thanks." A lock of my hair dropped down into my face, covering up one eye. I started to reach forward and pull it behind my ear when Trowa's hand darted out and brushed it gently back into place again. Needless to say, I was surprised but I tried to hide it. "Duo's alive. I saw him. I couldn't get to him though."

Trowa sighed audibly. "That's good. It means you knew where to find him after all."

"Yeah, but he was too far away. I couldn't reach him. And he was surrounded by arms." I sat up in the tub and hugged myself, trying to show Trowa what I meant. "He was being hugged by dozens and dozens of arms. Even if I did get to him, I couldn't have freed him. I'm still unsure on how all of this stuff works."

"I see," Trowa said, staring at me with an unreadable expression. "Quatre, I need to ask you something."

I tried not to hold my breath. I didn't have a clue what he was going to ask me. "Okay. Ask."

He looked at me so intensely I thought I was going to spontaneously combust. "When Wufei and I were undressing you to put you in the tub, he and I noticed some...bruising on you."

I shrugged. "So?"

He licked his lips. "You had bruising on your wrists, as if someone held them together and tightly. Then you had bruising on your...hips and rear. You have a couple of scraps on the inside of your forearm and a light bruise under your eye as well."

I checked myself over, minus my rear and my eye, and I confirmed what he said. Actually, the bruising on my wrists were scary. They were a real deep purple, almost to the point of being black. I didn't want to imagine what the others looked like, but I could see why they were worried. "No problem. They'll heal."

"We know that Quatre. Just...how did you get them?"

I let my head drop down to my chest and sighed. I didn't want to do this, but I really didn't want to explain. "Trowa, it's better that you don't know."

"But Quatre I–"

"Trowa no! I said it's better that you don't know, and that's what I mean!"

He jumped to his feet and leaned his weight on the rim. I was afraid that he would fall in. "He did that to you, didn't he?!"

I was ready to bash my head against the wall to the point of unconsciousness. "Trowa, don't go there–"

"He did! I knew that bastard did! He raped you! I will do whatever it takes to make him suffer–"

"No Trowa, he did not rape me." I said, completely exasperated beyond words.

He was quiet for a moment. "Oh, so you whored yourself to get information from him? That's how you found out whether or not Duo was alive."

"No Trowa, I didn't do that either," I mumbled, allowing my head to fall into my hand. That headache was coming back with a vengeance.

"Oh, so you willingly..."

I snapped. "What's it to you who I do what with anyway?! Why do you care?!"

"Because I care Quatre!" Trowa kicked the chair so hard it bounced off the wall. "I've always cared about what's happened to you! You're killing me, you know that?!"

I stood up then, wet and naked for the world to see but I didn't care. He went too far. "And you've been killing ME for an entire year, do YOU know that?! Don't you dare say that to me! Things are the way they are between us because you've decided that that's how you wanted it. Don't start that crap with me! In fact, get out! I want you out!"

"Gladly!" he shouted back as he kicked the chair again, but this time out of his way, and stomped silently down the hall. Wufei came up to the door then, screaming at me to find out what happened. I got out of the tub, dripping water onto the floor, and slammed the door in his face. I know I shouldn't have done that. It wasn't his fault that I was mad at Trowa, but I couldn't help myself. I locked the door and got back into the tub, faced the wall and sat with my arms crossed. I glared at the wall in an attempt to either move it or set it on fire, but I failed miserably at both.

After a few minutes of this, the flashlight flickered twice before finally dying, throwing me into complete darkness. I stared ahead of me with my eyes open, even though I couldn't see anything, as Duo's cries and pleas of help echoed in my ears.

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