Another Murder of Crows: Part 29
"So that's it?"
"Yeah Wu, that's it. I couldn't get to him from where I was. I was too far away, and whatever had its arms around him was not going to let go because of little ‘ol me."
"I know Quatre, I know. It's just...it's frustrating. He's right there at our fingertips yet we still can't reach him."
"Not yet. But we will. Soon."
"Do you know how much time he has?"
"No, but I know he can't last much longer. His voice has gotten weaker in the past half hour. Can you still hear him Odin?" He glanced at me blankly before nodding. That's as much as I could get out of him. Ever since Heero explained to me that I needed to give in a little to hear Duo, he hasn't said a word to anybody. He won't even talk to Relena. Duo's kidnapping has truly struck him at the core.
We were all sitting in my room on the bed in a square. The girls were sound asleep in one of the other rooms. Wufei sat across from me, with Heero to his side. Trowa was sitting next to me, but that was a good thing. I didn't have to look him in the face. I didn't want to see his face. After the argument in the bathroom, I sat there and stared at the wall for a while until I noticed that I couldn't hear Duo anymore. I panicked and nearly broke my neck trying to get out of there in the dark and was halfway dressed before I heard his voice again. It's not so much that he sounded weak, but as if something was slowly suffocating him. Yes, I'm sure he's getting weaker every minute, but at the same time, his voice was getting more and more muffled. All I could think about was those arms wrapping around him, squeezing his life away...
"Hm?" I lifted my head once I registered Wufei calling my name.
"Are you alright?"
"Hn? Yeah. I'm fine. Just thinking."
"I'll discuss it with you later." I gave Wufei a stern look, mentally asking him to wait until a later time. He got the hint and dropped the subject. "In the meantime I'll make something to eat. I'm sure the girls are starving by now."
"Don't bother. I'll do it." I heard a pinch of bitterness in Trowa's voice as he stood up and left the room. It took everything I had not to run after him and apologize, but I was convinced that he was the one who was wrong, not me. He didn't want to see ME anymore, not the other way around. He did this to me. To us. Who is he to get an attitude about it?
"Now is the time to discuss it," I said to Wufei as I climbed off the bed and around to Heero's side. Heero watched me the entire way, not betraying anything with his eyes. I jerked the blankets from under his behind and held them up, ready to throw them over his body. "Lay down and stretch out. I want you to go to sleep."
His eyes narrowed and he scowled a bit. I know it sounds sick, but I was happy to see that reaction from him, even though it was slight. He still hasn't lost his dislike of being told what to do by me. "Odin, I'm serious. Don't fight me. When we get Duo back, things are going to get ugly because Krahe won't have anything to hang over my head anymore. I need you to be in top shape, because Duo won't be and neither will I, and the girls still need to be looked after."
It only took a microsecond for him to process the information and agree with me. Sighing, he laid down in the bed and stretched out like I told him to do. I covered him up with the blankets and sat down on the floor next to him, reciting a prayer to him like I used to do when he would wake up from a nightmare. Even though Heero never learned Arabic, it was still comforting for him to hear it because he knew what it was. A prayer for him.
After I was satisfied that he was asleep, I signaled for Wufei to follow me out of the room. We easily slipped out and glided down the hall into his room. Wufei guided me inside and when he closed the door, I collapsed against the wall and slid all the way down until I was seated. "I think I almost have it but I'm not sure."
He crouched down in front of me, resting his elbows on his thighs. "What do you have so far?"
I frowned a bit. "It might be nonsense, but I'll throw it out there anyway. First off the portal. It doesn't make sense."
"Well, what causes a portal to form anyway?"
Wufei looked thoughtful for a bit as he ran the question through his mind. "I believe, in my research, it said that portals are just there. It's something about how certain places pull more towards the spiritual world than others. The best to know that were the Native American tribes, I believe."
"What kind of pulls? Gravitational?"
He shrugged. "I don't know."
"I don't agree with that," I said, mostly to myself. "Something else had happened to cause this. The fact that a pull exists beneath this house is almost too unreal."
"Quatre please. Like Duo disappearing into thin air is real."
I rolled my eyes. I've always left myself open for comments like that. "True, but the fact that there is a pull here, plus the history of the house? It's impossible to have that kind of coincidence."
"Unless the pull caused these things to happen," he said off handedly.
"Nah, I don't think so. I mean, think about it. What would cause a pull to be evil?"
Wufei pouted in thought. "Nothing. I guess it would depend on whether or not the entity trying to pass through is evil."
"Exactly. It's relative to whatever is getting across."
"So what are you thinking?"
I let out a deep breath. "I think that somewhere in my research with Odin on the house, we missed something. We had to have. I mean, the universe was not created and does not exist on chance and coincidence."
Wufei raised an eyebrow, asking me nonverbally to elaborate. I released another breath. "Krahe told me that in his...world, whatever, things are the way they are because they are. But that can't be."
"Why do you say that?"
I bit my bottom lip in thought as I tried to phrase my sentence without sounding like a total idiot. "Well, I'm sure you know this from your studies as a scholar, but every action has a reaction. Portals aren't going to exist just to exist. Something happened, which caused a portal to form. Like the one outside my window is the way in," I paused for effect, "and the one on the stairs is a portal that leads out. They are joined so that it's one way in and out, but what caused those two to connect to be that way?"
Wufei gently eased himself to sit on the floor. "I don't know. Distance?"
I shook my head. "No. Distance isn't an issue. If he managed to make it to L4 in the body of a crow, I'm sure that distance is not a problem. Can't be chance either, so it's something more significant."
"Quatre, I know that face. What are you planning?"
Sometimes, I hate that he knows me so well. "I'm going to ask him."
"Like hell!" he shouted. "That's the last thing you need to do!"
I huffed and rose quickly to my feet, opened the door and left the room. I walked as fast as I could back to my room, which was slightly difficult. I didn't have anymore dry clothes, so I had on Trowa's gray sweat pants and sweatshirt. But with Trowa's height, the pants pooled at my ankles as if I was the genie of the lamp. The shirt's sleeves covered my hands and the collar was so wide that it hung off my shoulder. Every time I moved I ended up flashing some skin.
I entered my room, making just enough noise so that Heero wouldn't be surprised if he woke up. I put on a few pairs of his socks as Wufei started to throw on a coat as well. "No Wufei, you stay here."
He turned to me, hands on his hips as he struggled with himself not to strangle me. I'm sure of it. "Quatre, it's bad enough you're actively going to look for him, and to go by yourself is just asking for trouble."
"Wufei, he's going to have a hard time reaching me if you're out there, and you know that." I finally got the other shoe on over the socks. I stood up and walked over to one of my best friends, trying my best to appear sure. I wasn't so sure I was doing the right thing, but I had to try. "Wufei, I know you don't want him to get me too. *I* don't want him to get me." I placed both of my hands on his shoulders. "I would like nothing better than to have you out there with me, where I know you'd rather be than in here waiting for my return. But Wu, even you being out there is an unnecessary risk. Your presence drives him away, and I need to know something. Duo is dying while we're in here fussing amongst ourselves. Please trust me."
I felt his shoulders slump. Got him. "Fine Quatre, but I'm watching you from your window."
I smiled. "It would make me feel better if you did."
"Good. I'll do that." Wufei pulled me close and hugged me so tightly I couldn't breathe. I also couldn't help squeezing him back. He's scared for me. I know it, and I could see why. His back was facing the window, so over his shoulder I could see all the crows outlining the landscape. They were everywhere, literally.
"I should get going," I said as I pulled myself back, and let me tell you, that took a lot of effort. He had a grip on me that I don't think the jaws of life could've pried off. "The sooner I get there, the sooner I'll be back." Wufei didn't say anything. He just nodded his head and swallowed visibly. I know he wouldn't dare cry in front of anyone, so I took that moment to turn from him and leave before he could regain himself. On my way out I glanced at the bed to check on Heero and saw that he was watching us very intensely. So much for not waking him. "Rest up Odin, cause as soon as I get back, we're going to get Duo." He didn't respond either, but I saw a tiny sign of hope flash through his eyes. He heard me loud and clear.
I all but ran down the stairs while pulling Wufei's coat over my flashing shoulders. I jumped the last three and landed with a thump on the wooden floor. The noise reverberated through the room and I heard something move in response to it. I turned my head and saw Trowa standing near the fireplace, dumping another package of ramen into an already over–filled small pot. Good thing Duo likes to camp and insists on taking 25 pounds of the stuff with him everywhere he goes.
I opened my mouth to say something to Trowa, I didn't know what, but all that came out was, "I'm going outside." Mentally kicking myself in the forehead, I spun around and went out the door as fast as I could. I didn't mean to say it as harshly as I did, but that's how it came out and I couldn't do anything about it now.
I ambled on towards the tree, lightly kicking up the snow every two steps. The weather had calmed down to the point of being non-existent. There wasn't a breeze to be found, and the only snowflakes flying around were those kicked up by me. The crows lounged all over the place, only moving when they were getting out of my way, then falling back into their previous spots. I was grateful for that though. Despite the things that have been done to us because of them, I didn't want to hurt them. It's not their fault. At least, that's what I want to believe. But every time I look into their beady little eyes, I see a smile in them. They may be crows, but they weren't stupid. They were more aware of what was happening to me than I was. There's no denying that.
I finally made it to the tree, but stood beside it instead of leaning against it. I don't want to fall into what happened the last time I was out here. Plus, it's broad daylight, and Wufei was watching me from the window. That's a big turn off right there, thank Allah.
Suddenly I heard the sound of footsteps trampling on the snow and a small grunt as Krahe leaned against the tree, but he was beside me so that I couldn't see him. Thank Allah for that too. I didn't want to see him.
"Yes?" he asked disinterestedly.
"I saw him but I couldn't get to him. He was too far away. How can I reach him?"
I sensed rather than saw him roll his eyes. "Go through another portal."
I stiffened at that answer. "Another portal?"
I heard him start to climb the small tree, but I still didn't turn to look at him. "Yep. Go through another portal. That's the easiest way."
He paused in his ascent. "Get him."
"But what about the black arms that are holding him? They might try to get me too." Because I wasn't looking at him, I couldn't see what he was up too. So I was fairly surprised–well–I almost had a heart attack when he landed in front of me after jumping down from the tree. "Ah!" I stumbled backwards and landed on my behind. "Scare me to death why don't you!"
He doubled over in laughter, nearly falling himself. "God, it's SO much fun teasing you! You are so easy!"
I stood up and brushed the snow off of Trowa's pants. I'm just ruining everyone's clothes. "I'm glad you're amused. Now where do I find another portal?"
He stopped laughing in order to wipe a tear away from his eye. "You know where to find one. I showed you myself."
"Well, I don't remember. You've shown me a lot of things. How am I to distinguish what's what from you? You give me a lot of half answered answers."
He chuckled slightly as he ran his fingers through his hair. "You know where this portal is because you've been there several times already. You have the key to it...literally."
A light bulb finally came on in my head as I heard Trowa's hoarse shouting from behind me. "Oh great," I mumbled to myself. That sent Krahe on another round of laughing. "I'm glad you think I'm so funny."
"I know you are," he said, ignoring my sarcasm. "But Quatre, you have to understand. I can't help myself." I could hear that Trowa was maybe ten steps away when Krahe bent down quickly and gave me a chaste kiss. Surprised, again, I stumbled back with my arms flying and nearly hit Trowa when he saved me from plowing to the ground butt first. Krahe vanished into thin air, but his giggling echoed in his wake before it died out.
I stood up (with the aid of Trowa) shaking with annoyance and anger. I couldn't believe he knew how to get under my skin like that. That little...
"Are you alright?"
Trowa's question shook me out of being angry–for half a second. "I'm fine, and what are you doing out here?! I could've handled this on my own!"
He stepped back, shock dominating over his face until the anger set in. "Quatre, I heard you scream and came out here to make sure that you were okay!"
I was silent for a second. That's fair enough, I suppose. "Well thank you," I bit out bitterly, and started to turn away when I felt him grab my shoulder and pull me around to face him. "What Trowa?!"
"What is your problem Quatre?! I'm here to help you in whatever way I can and you throw it back in my face!"
"Get your hands off of him!" Wufei's scream was heard a few yards back as I saw him running towards us. "I'm kicking your ass when I reach you Barton!"
"It's alright Wufei," I said calmly as he came to a halt beside me. "It's no big deal, but I need a favor." He didn't say anything. He only looked at me expectantly. Good. "Is that rope still by the axe on the plane?"
His eyes rolled up in his head as he thought about it. "Yes, I think so."
I nodded. "Good. Grab it and then get Odin up. I know how to get to Duo. We'll get him in ten minutes. It's now or never." Without another word from him, Wufei dashed off towards the plane to get my requested item. I turned back to Trowa and saw him regarding me with a small look of contempt. "What is it now?" I drawled out the ‘now.'
"I asked what was your problem."
I snorted. "You're my problem."
"Oh, is this how you treat your friends?"
The look that crossed my face was a mixture of utter shock and anger. "Oh, so we're friends now?"
He crossed his arms. "Are we not friends then?" The way he said it was more mocking than sincere.
"Why would we be?"
"Why wouldn't we be?"
I tapped my index finger to my cheek dramatically and rolled my eyes. "Oh, well, let's see. You only said you never wanted to SEE me again. I don't know. That could be it!"
He sighed. "Quatre, if that hurt you I'm sorry. I didn't mean it that way. You take everything so god damn literal–"
"Trowa! How else can ‘I don't want to see you again' be interpreted?! Huh?! And what do you mean ‘if that hurt me?' Of course it hurt me! I didn't know what to do about you, do you know that?! Whether I came by myself or with Duo, you were always unhappy around me. I couldn't continue to do what I was doing, so that last day I went to you and told you I loved you and wanted to be yours! Hell, I still love you! And how did you repay me? You took me by the lions' cages and told me you never wanted to see me again!"
"Jesus Christ Quatre! I never meant to hurt you! I would never intentionally hurt you, but it couldn't be helped!"
I stamped my foot on the semi–hard snow. "Don't you think I understand that?! I was ready to accept the fact that you only cared for me as a friend, or that you didn't want to see me again because you wouldn't be able to handle being friends with me because I was attracted to you. I knew that. But to say you never wanted to see me again and not give me a reason..." I threw my hands up in the air and let them flop against my sides. I was completely burned out emotionally, and this entire conversation brought up a lot of painful memories and feelings that I had forgotten about.
Trowa, on the other hand, only sighed and continued to stare at me. I didn't know if he was going to say something or if he was waiting for me to finish what I was going to say. But I was through. I said it. I'm done.
I turned and saw Wufei heading towards the mansion with the rope over his shoulder before turning back to Trowa. "Look, this can wait until after we get Duo back and we get out of here, especially since I'm not too keen on drifting down that alley of memory lane." I spun on my heels and sprinted towards the mansion on my mission to get Duo back. I flinched involuntarily as I thought about what I said to Trowa. That last line was extremely harsh and mean. I knew that, but I couldn't bring myself to apologize either. Things were how they were between us because he wanted it that way. So why did I feel bad about it?
I slowed my run a bit as I neared the house, allowing all of my tears to fall before Wufei and Heero had a chance to see me. Even though Trowa and I weren't getting along, it still hurts me when I know that he's hurting.
We were both hurting, and I don't think it can be fixed.