Slight Quatre/Wufei action. So slight it shouldn't count. Hey, I like to experiment. ~__^ But it was necessary. You'll see.
Another Murder of Crows: Part 32
/....up, pull up..../
The voice in my head tried to sound calm, but was failing.
/....still try! Hil.../
/No, it's....late....be killed..../
"AH!" I sat up fast, completely scared out of my wits. I was taking deep breaths as if I had just finished running a marathon, and the sweat was pouring down my face despite the chill that enclosed the room. I looked through the window, outside to where the tree was in order to focus and slow my breathing. Not only did I have the dream where I fell through the ice while the others watched, but then I had this one. I couldn't see their faces. I couldn't see anything. All that I could do was listen to the broken bits of a frantic conversation. The voices were very familiar. And I knew their names. It sounded as if they were in a plane crash...
"Quatre, what is it?" Trowa asked calmly next to me. Last night, after we were able to calm Relena down, everyone went to their respective room. Heero and Relena had theirs (I felt so sorry for him), Duo and Dorothy shared, Trowa and I had the room I stayed in, and Wufei was alone. Well, to be more precise, he went to his room and slammed the door, threatening that if anyone came near him, he would gut them from neck to nuts and piss on their remains. Needless to say, he wasn't in a very pleasant mood.
"Yeah Trowa, I'm fine. Just had a nightmare–"
"Quatre! Are you alright?!" Duo kicked the door open, even though it wasn't locked, barged in, and yelled too closely to my ear. I keep telling him that a pat on the shoulder will do, but I guess it hasn't taken yet.
"Yeah Duo, I'm fine. It was just–"
"Jesus tap dancing Christ Winner!" Wufei thundered in from the doorway. "I live you two alone for half a damn minute and you lose your mind!"
"I'm fine Wufei–"
"Quatre, what happened?!"
"Odin, it was just...ahhh!" This time, I finally did lose my mind. I ran my hands roughly through my hair, grabbing hold of my hair at the roots, and pulled hard. I don't know exactly why I did that, but my frustration was too much. "You all are going to drive me crazy!"
At first everyone stood still. I started to think that I grew an eye in the middle of my forehead, judging by the way they were looking at me. But then I heard it. It started out as a small chuckle, first from Duo, then it spread to Wufei. Half a minute later, the chuckling grew to right out laughter. Heero had to hide his laugh behind his hand, and Trowa's wide smile didn't escape me either. Dorothy and Relena were standing behind Heero, but I could see the humor in their eyes shining over his shoulder. Only question is, what's so funny?
"What are you guys laughing at?" My question only caused them to laugh harder. Wufei and Duo were leaning against each other, unable to stand anymore. Heero had to turn away! Finally, Trowa reached beside him and picked up my Bowie off of a night stand, handing it to me.
"Look at your reflection."
I did as I was told and was pleasantly surprised. Because of how I pulled my hair, I ended up spiking it all over my head. So, I looked as if I was electrocuted. Not only that, Duo and Wufei have told me plenty of times that I'm not intimidating when I'm angry because I look like a marshmallow with eyes. In other words, I looked like a blonde Ronald McDonald when he first gets out of bed.
I dropped my head to my chest and started to laugh at myself. I could see the humor in it. I also welcomed it. Thinking over my dream, I began to think that it wasn't entirely a dream. Krahe said it himself about that night on the train. We did have sex, but I could only handle it in the form of a dream. What if this works the same way? I mean, I dreamt of Sally, Zechs, Hilde and possibly Noin (she doesn't go anywhere without him) in a plane crash. That would explain why it's taking them so long to get here. But what I don't know is if they're all right, and if not, what do I say to Wufei about Sally?
"Alright alright," Heero spoke up after he was able to speak again. "That's enough. We need to get back on track. Quatre, all of us need to talk." He gestured to everyone in the room, and nodded to the girls as well. I nodded to him, then scooted to the middle (and closer to Trowa) so that Duo could sit on the bed next to me.
Wufei plopped down at the foot of the bed, facing us, with Dorothy on his left and Relena on his right. Relena. She seemed better this morning. Seemed being the key word. She didn't necessarily glare at myself and Duo, but the expression on her face let me know that she wasn't sorry for what she said either. But I guess everything's better now. She was sitting next to Wufei. She couldn't have been that upset about it. Either that or she's so mad at us, she'd rather sit next to her would–be killer than us. Yeouch.
"Okay, first thing's first." Heero had pulled up the chair next to the bed, where he was sitting between Relena and Duo. I couldn't help but think to myself that these things were done on purpose. I think he puts himself in this situations deliberately. It's probably just me. But when I glanced at Wufei and saw him raise an eyebrow at me, I knew he was thinking the same thing. "I'm going to mention last night."
I stiffened. "Heero, I don't want to talk about it."
"I know you don't, but we need to get this cleared up before it happens again."
I sighed. I didn't need this. "Fine."
He cleared his throat. "Relena, you and I talked about this last night and about my...weakness on the plane." I felt Duo flinch. That Heero! I swear, he has a knack for hurting people. "But I explained everything to you, and why Wufei threatened your life."
"Yes," she said. "I understand why he did it. I mean, I've done a lot for you Heero, so I can understand." She looked to Heero, and gave him a very sweet smile. My heart softened at the sight, glad that she has forgiven him and that they seemed to have worked things out. But then I saw Wufei frown in Duo's direction, and I couldn't bring myself to glance over.
She continued. "And I owe you all an apology. Especially you Quatre."
I waved it away, but paused briefly. As I looked at Relena, there seemed to be a pair of lips (yes, lips) next to her ear, as if they were whispering something to her, but I dismissed it. "No need. We both said things we didn't mean, so don't worry."
"It's okay," he said shortly. I still didn't look over but I could feel him shaking slightly.
"Okay, now for the other problem." I snorted. Everything was a problem to Heero. "Quatre, Wufei has brought to my attention that the pond is a portal."
"Yes, I think it is. It seems like everything he tried to do to me was to get me through a portal. Falling through the ice, having me jump through the window, and the attic door. That's all I can remember right now."
"But what would cause the portal to form?" Dorothy asked from her corner of the bed. "I mean, why the pond and the attic? Why not the front door so that whoever walked in would go through it? That would make more sense."
Everybody was quiet. That was a very good point. "I guess it has to be something more than that," I said, mostly to myself. "Otherwise, that's exactly what he should've done."
"Wait wait wait." Duo turned to me. "Didn't you say that he drowned in that pond? You and Heero found that out at the library, right? In one of those Genealogical newspaper thingies."
Well I'll be.... "Yes, yes Duo you're right! He did drown in that pond."
"Okay." Duo clasped his hands together. "So, his death caused either a portal to form there or he had it formed himself. So most likely, it's the way in."
"Yeah, well, if it's in, what's the door out?"
Duo shrugged. "I don't know Wu. It may swing both ways."
"I don't think so," Trowa piped up from his corner. "The attic door is the one that swings both ways. Quatre went in and came out the same way."
Wufei cleared his throat. "Not only that, other things were allowed to come out as well." I watched, in amazement, as three of the toughest people I have ever known, Heero, Trowa, and Wufei, shudder in memory. It lasted only a few seconds, but the magnitude of how they really felt about it was clearly beyond my comprehension.
When they were done, Duo spoke again. "Is there a rule that says there can only be one at a given place? I don't remember running across that during our research. Did you Wu?"
"No, I don't recall anything like that."
"Okay, so it is possible. I mean, I wouldn't be surprised. He did DIE there after all."
"Yes, but there are some things worse than death." My eyes turned onto Dorothy. She had another point there. "What happened in the attic that made it swing both ways?"
"Everything." I leaned against the headboard and thought about the night I went up there, and how all those hurt feelings burned me from the desk. "He was beaten up there. The crows were murdered for research. He was told his mother was killed while at his desk, and that's where his father died," I took a deep breath, "and where his body was hidden."
"Okay, let's map this stuff out." Wufei leaned forward into our little circle on the bed. "Because of that, the door swings both ways. Now, because he died in the pond, there's a portal there. It may swing both ways, or just be the way in. If that's the case, what's the way out?"
"Hell Wu, it could be a god damn toaster in the next town as far as we know."
"Quatre, I'm just saying that it could. How are we supposed to know?"
"Anyway," Wufei interrupted, "we know it's the way in. Now, what about the window? We know Quatre's window is the way in, and the stairs are the way out. Does anyone have a remote idea why?"
I spoke up. "His mother died on the stairs. She was pushed down and she broke her neck. I guess that's why, for the stairs I mean. Why my window is the way in, I have no clue. Heero?" He looked at all of us before shaking his head no. "I think we missed something in our research about the house. I don't see anything that would create a portal there, since you have to jump out the window to get into it."
"Or maybe not. Have you ever tried to jump into it by just standing next to it and jumping?"
I thought about Duo's question. That was pretty good. "No, I haven't. But I'm willing to try."
"You might be willing but you're not going to," Wufei snapped. I didn't argue. I just held up my hands in a sign of surrender. I'm pretty sure he still has the rope, and I didn't know where it is.
"There's still the question in Oslo." All eyes turned to Trowa. "How was he able to disappear with Quatre like that? He had to have done the same thing with Duo in order to get him through the portal without us seeing him."
"Not only that, but what do the crows have to do with any of this?" I was surprised Relena had something to say about this at all. But once again, I saw the lips next to her ear.
Wufei answered her question though. "The crows have so many myths it's not funny. They are supposed to be carriers of the soul to heaven or whatever spiritual sanctuary you believe in. They're also supposed to avenge whoever was wronged in their death or someone else's."
I agreed. "Not only that, but his father specialized in that. So when the boy died, he already knew everything about them. I think the crows sympathized with him, like he did them when they were at his father's mercy."
"So that's why they do whatever he wants them to?" Heero asked.
I shrugged. "I guess so Heero. That's what I speculate."
"That's all we have," he leaned back into his chair, frowning. "Speculations." He basically spat the word, as if we're supposed to know what was going on.
"Heero, all we can do is speculate!" I frowned back. "It's not like they're all beating down the door trying to explain this to us, now is it?"
"Okay you two," Duo interrupted smoothly, for once stopping a fight instead of starting it. "That's enough. Time to grab some chow, then try another attempt to contact Zechs and the others."
I grabbed his arm as he started to get up. "I need to talk to you and Wufei. Stay behind."
He gave me a skeptical look, but agreed nonetheless. "Alright Cat. No worries, right?"
"I wish," I mumbled back as the others started to get up and leave. Duo walked up to Wufei and got his attention, expressing my wishes. He also gave me a funny look but agreed as well. As Trowa started to get up, I grabbed the sleeve of his shirt. I nearly drooled on myself when he looked down at me, gracing me with a small smile. "Trowa, do you know where my ring and the cross are? Heero wasn't wearing it."
"It's in front of the fireplace," Dorothy answered. "I thought that would be best. Fire is his weakness, so I put them in front of it while all of us were in here. I'm going to wear it for you though." She shrugged. "It might help keep him away from us."
I was deeply touched by her kindness, but I didn't like the idea. "Dorothy, you don't know how much that means to me, but I don't think it's a good idea. It might be better for one of the others to wear it. I don't know how strong of an influence you are."
"There's only one way to find out," she said softly as she turned and left the room. I frowned at the space she just vacated, and watched as Heero, Trowa and Relena left the room. As Relena passed, I saw the pair of lips beside her ear again. I don't know what's going on, but for some reason, I see a lot of trouble coming up.
"What's going on Quatre?" Duo asked as Trowa closed the door on his way out.
I sighed and got up, walked over to the window and stared at the pond. I didn't think I could bare to look Wufei in the face. "I think I know why it's taking so long for the others to reach us."
I could see their reflections in the window, so I closed my eyes. Wufei was the one who spoke. "How do you know this?"
I heard him inch closer to me. "Well, what did you dream?"
"I...dreamt they were on their way here, and that...the plane crashed."
He got closer still. "Who was on the plane?"
I swallowed. This was going to be hard. "Zechs, Noin, Hilde and...Sally."
I heard Duo's boots squeak as they ground against the floor, and the slight anger as he closed the door on his way out. I didn't hear Wufei move. "Wu?"
"Are they alright?"
Exhaling, I said, "I don't know." Before I could stop myself, I swung around and grabbed Wufei, hugging him so tightly he couldn't get away. But he didn't try. Instead, he dropped his head on my shoulder, and tried to absorb the situation. He didn't have the strength to even hug me back.
"Quatre, I don't know what to think."
I held him closer. "Think the best. That's all you can do."
"I can't lose her. She's all I have left."
"You're not going to lose her. She's the only person I know who's as stubborn as you, if not more so."
He chuckled. "To be honest, sometimes she scares me."
I grinned over his head. "I believe that."
The door suddenly flew open, causing Wufei and I to jump apart. Heero was thundering through the door on par as it opened, his eyes extremely hard.
"Odin, what's happened?" The question was out of my mouth before I even thought about it.
He looked around sharply as Relena and Trowa entered the room. "Where the hell are Duo and Dorothy?"
Wufei's face nearly fell off. "What do you mean ‘where the hell are they?' Duo just left a minute ago, literally."
"We lost them."
Wufei turned to Trowa. "How the hell did you lose them? It's not like they're a fucking set of car keys, now are they?!"
"Oh my god," I heard Relena say, and followed her gaze outside the window. Krahe was moving towards the pond, but his movement was hampered by a fighting Dorothy (and boy was she fighting) and an unconscious Duo, who was flung over his shoulder.
Ah! Not again!
I nearly somersaulted over their heads to the foot of the bed, where I immediately started to get dressed. Luckily my snowsuit was already there, ready for me to jump into. The others took off down the stairs, trying to suit up as well. I couldn't believe this. Not only did he have Duo, he had Dorothy too. Now that was totally unexpected. Out of everyone here, I am the least attached to her. Why would he take her? He would be better off taking Relena if he's trying to get to me. But I pushed those thoughts aside. Right now I have to get them back.
I grabbed the Bowie off of the bed and ran down the stairs, zipping myself up. I noticed then that the ice on that step was gone, and that there wasn't any water there signifying that it melted. Pushing that thought aside as well, I jumped the last few stairs and skidded to a landing before bolting towards Wufei. "I think he's headed for the pond! Where's the rope?"
"Right here." He reached under a chair and pulled it out, tossing it over his shoulder. "Let's go. We don't have much time." He ran out the door, followed closely by Heero. Relena was putting on her gloves when Trowa stopped and stood in the doorway, waiting on me.
"Come on Quatre, let's go!"
"I'm coming. Relena, stay here."
"I will NOT stay here!" she shouted indignantly. "How can I help them if I wait around here?"
Not wanting to waste time, I grabbed her hand and raced out the door, Trowa a few steps ahead of us. The weather outside had picked up to add drama to the situation I'm sure, but not enough to really hinder what we were trying to do. This was nothing compared to Duo's abduction.
It wasn't long before we all were standing in front of the pond, analyzing the fastest way to rescue them. I didn't see how badly cracked the ice was from when Trowa and I were on it. There were cracks everywhere, snaking through the surface like vines. Dorothy and Duo were over the spot we were standing the night before, where the biggest crack was. That wasn't the worse part.
Duo was knocked out. He laid faced down on the ice with his braid splayed wildly on the surface. Dorothy, trying to remain calm, was sitting there next to him as still as possible as she listened to the cracking around her. It seemed Krahe dragged them there and then disappeared when they were put into position. If she moves they'll fall through. But if we wait much longer, they'll fall through anyway.
"Quatre," Dorothy said, a bit shaky but still strong, "what do you want me to do? Duo's not waking up."
"Just stay still okay? Don't worry. Wufei is tying the knot." I turned to Wufei. He had just finished it. "Okay, this is what I want you to do. He's going to throw it out to you." Wufei threw the looped end of the rope out, where it landed on her lap. "Okay, as fast as you can, put Duo's head and one of his arms through it, so that it fits on him like a seatbelt."
She nodded to me then did as she was told. A few times she had to pause because the ice was cracking, but soon enough she had it done. "Okay, he should be ready."
I turned to Wufei. "Okay, start pulling him in."
"No!" Heero hollered, snatching the rope from Wufei. "Let me."
Surprisingly, Wufei didn't argue and stepped away, letting Heero pull Duo across the ice. I was so afraid for him I couldn't think, and being outside was adding to my misery. It was unnaturally quiet. The crows surrounded everything like they normally did, but they watched us, seeming to be interested in what was happening. The wind wasn't blowing and no one, not even the rest of us on the ground, moved. It was like if one of us decided to blink, the surface would break and Dorothy would fall in. So I watched stiffly while Duo's limp body was dragged across the pond. I don't know if anything will ever scare me the way this did.
After a very long eternity, Duo was at the edge of the pond. Heero tossed his end of the rope in the air and Trowa caught it in case something else decided to happen. When Heero had unwrapped the rope from around Duo's torso, Trowa tossed the loop back out, where it landed safely on Dorothy's lap again. This time, she wound the rope around her waist and stood up in an attempt to walk back to us.
"Okay Dorothy," I said, running back and forth, trying to coach her across. "Try to distribute your weight through your entire foot. Don't pinpoint it on just your toes or your heel."
"Alright," she said, trying to do as I told her, and she was doing pretty well. She made about three steps before the ice finally buckled, sending the cracks rippling through the surface. Trowa held the rope steady, wanting to pull her across but waiting until the last moment to keep it from caving in totally.
"Dorothy, don't move." I tried to think furiously on how to get her back without anymore complications. As I stared at her position, I saw something silver reflect from the low sunlight. The cross! "Dorothy, do this as quickly as you can. Take off the necklace and the ring, and throw them as far away from you as possible." Wufei and Trowa gave me a curious look, while Relena sat with Heero, trying to keep Duo warm. Duo and Dorothy were only wearing sweat suits.
She nodded, and started to take the ring off when a hand broke through the surface of the ice, grabbing her ankle. Time stopped and my vision narrowed to the point where I saw nothing but the hand around her ankle. My heart pounded hard inside of my chest, blocking out all sound except for its beating. I don't believe this. It was like something out of one of those horror movies, where the hand comes out of the grave and grabs the victim's foot, preventing them from running.
Time sped up again when I heard her yelp of surprise and Relena screaming out, calling for Dorothy. Trowa tried to pull on the rope, but it only hurt her as Krahe held on to her with superhuman strength. Relena jumped up and started to run to help her, but I ran and slammed into her, knocking us both to the ground. "Relena no! You can't help her!"
I turned back in enough time to see Krahe pull her foot down and the ice crack to make a small entrance. Trowa looked at me, uncertain on what to do when Wufei launched himself onto the pond and pushed Dorothy from Krahe's hold. She fell hard on the surface and started to slide across when the part where Wufei landed broke under his weight.
"Wufei! No!" Unable to stop myself, I bolted across the pond, tripped on my own two feet and slid towards the hole where he was trying to crawl out of. His hands were reaching out to me and the second mine touched his, I fell through and we both went under.
Under the freezing water, I held onto Wufei's hands as I felt Krahe get a hold of my foot and pull us further under. I didn't know whether or not to let go of Wufei. He could possibly swim up to the surface and be pulled out by Trowa. Dorothy should be on safe ground by now.
So that's what I did. I released my hold on Wufei. The only problem was that now he wouldn't let go of me. Not good.
Because of how fast we were being pulled towards the bottom, I was pretty sure that Krahe was about to take me through the portal. Looking down towards the floor of the pond, I could see what looked like a ghost of a crow's head open its beak to let us through. In preparation, I did the only thing I could do.
I pulled Wufei close, and gave him the coldest, wettest, sloppiest kiss he'll ever have.
Krahe said once before that if any of the others tried to go through a portal, it would kill them because they haven't been touched by him. Now, it won't kill me because I have been "touched" (among other things) by him, and that gives me the ability to jump from one consciousness to the next at my own discretion. Duo was able to survive for a while because of his attachment to me and because he had been kissed by me, which tainted him with a bit of Krahe's touch as well. Wufei was the next closest friend to me, and hopefully by kissing him, I'll save his life. Of course, I'm sure he's going to kill me for it.
Suddenly, the searing pain associated with crossing over nearly ripped me in half as the plane lighted up, expanding in all directions. I was still holding onto Wufei as he changed into what I was. He was a bright light as well, not nearly as bright as Duo or myself, but still enough that he could hold his own. I could also sense that like Duo, he couldn't function. He wasn't able to move. He was only attached to me because I was holding onto him, otherwise he would've died. As that thought crossed my mind, I held him tighter.
But unlike the other times I went through the portal, this trip was fast. Not fast as in time, but fast as in I felt another force that was propelling us through it, as if the plane itself did not want us there. Soon, a light that could only be associated with day shone into my eyes and I landed gruffly on the snow, Wufei landing slightly on top of me.
What I also noticed was that I wasn't frozen. My joints and all were frozen some, but more like a stiffness from a lack of use than frozen to ice like I had been before. Wufei was also very limber and awake, looking around us as if this was the first time he had seen this place. I finally looked up and saw the tree, where a hole the shape of an oval was in the trunk, slowly closing up.
The door out.
I smiled at Wufei, thinking that he saw the same thing I did. But he looked at me tensely for a second before he balled up his fist and hit me dead in the stomach. "Uh! Wufei! What's wrong with you?!"
"What the hell did you kiss me for?! Have you lost your god damn mind?!"
The times he gets touchy, I swear. "Wufei, I had to–uh, never mind. Look!" I grabbed his chin and turned his head to the tree.
"Winner, what are you...oh my god," he stammered, as we watched the hole in the tree work its way closed. "It looks like it just opened up to let something in."
"Or spit something out," I finished. "Like US. That's the door that leads out from the pond."
He stared at me, the understanding finally dawning on him when the others ran up to us. Heero was carrying Duo in his arms, Relena and Dorothy were right behind him, and Trowa was in the lead, running towards us. They all stopped at the site of the tree, watching as it finally closed the hole in its trunk. When it closed, I shivered at the noise it made. It sounded as if air was being forced out of the tree, giving the impression of something that was expelling its final breath.
The next thing I knew Wufei was hoisted off of me by the girls, while Trowa pulled me to my feet. We all started for the mansion, pretty much agreed upon without it being spoken. The crows that were sitting quietly finally decided to be a problem, flying about our heads and swooping down every few seconds to bite at our hair.
When we made it inside the mansion, the wind that was nonexistent the whole time we were out there decided to sweep through the area, creating a massive storm in the amount of a few seconds. I stood at the window, watching the snow flurries whip by and the crows land where ever, completely unfazed by the drastic change in weather. I turned to Relena and frowned again when I saw the lips by her ear. "Krahe, stop telling her things. Leave her alone."
She looked up at me with tears threatening to spill from her eyes. "Quatre, he's telling me to give you a message."
"And what is that?"
She frowned, then repeated slowly, "Sie können Sie wie zu jeder Zeit überprüfen, aber Sie können nie verlassen." She looked back up at me. "What does that mean?"
I dropped my head. "It's a line from one of my favorite songs, spoken in German."
Heero stepped forward, his eyes hardening. "What. Does. It. Mean?"
I sighed and focused my attention on Duo, who was still unconscious but laid across the table. "You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave."