Another Murder of Crows: Part 43

The heat of the water felt heavenly against my cold skin, and even better as it collected around my feet in the shower. I don't know what it is about hospitals that they have to have you freeze to death. It wouldn't be too bad if I actually had clothes to wear instead of that gown (we all know what I mean about that gown), or if they gave me a real blanket instead of that crocheted shawl that they call a blanket. Goodness. Situations like this make me crabby.

Today was the fourth day in the hospital. We arrived here...I don't remember what time. I just remember sitting on the train next to the window, then opening my eyes to see a white tiled ceiling. It was night time by then, because I remember seeing the moon's rays reflecting off of the ceiling before I fell asleep again. But the next morning I was told I hadn't even been there twenty four hours. I'm sure they told me what time I arrived but I wasn't listening. I had other things to think about.

The girls were the best off. They were released as soon as they were looked over, but they decided to remain at a nearby hotel until Sally arrived. We're expecting her tomorrow morning. Duo and Trowa were sharing a room since the doctors wanted to keep them under watch. Heero didn't wake up until two days ago, but was released from ICU this morning. I think he's two rooms down from mine. Wufei just woke up four hours ago from the light coma he was in, but he's still in ICU for the time being. Despite the injuries, the doctors couldn't explain what would cause Heero and Wufei to go into a coma like that. One of the nurses told me that their bodies were severely dehydrated and drained of energy, along with other medical terms that I wasn't familiar with. In other words, they were going to be here for a while.

I turned off the water and started to dry myself off as quickly as I could before the cool air was able to give me goose bumps. I wrapped a towel around my wet hair as I slipped into some linen pants Dorothy was kind enough to buy us when she was released from the hospital. I threw on the matching wheat colored shirt as I put on those hospital socks and padded into the room. I didn't even see Trowa sitting on my bed until I pulled the towel away from around my head. He had on the same type of outfit I did, except his was a dark forest green. That's a nice color on him. "How do you feel?"

He smiled slightly at me. "I feel good. Real good." He nodded. "How about you?"

I shrugged one shoulder as I squeezed the last bit of water from my hair. "A little worse for wear, but I can't complain."

He scooted back on the bed, giving me room to sit in front of him. "Here. Let me."

I sat on the bed in front of him, positioning myself between his legs. My eyes closed on their own account as he took the towel from my hands and finished drying my hair. The friction from the movement was nice and soothing, generating some heat for me since I've been freezing for the past two weeks. It was also very touching. I didn't know what it was, but having Trowa dry my hair was...peaceful.

The towel then disappeared briefly before it was hung around my shoulders. "Where's your brush?"

I pointed vaguely to my right. "It's in the drawer somewhere."

The weight of the bed shifted as Trowa leaned to the side. I heard the drawer open, with him shuffling around in it for a bit before it was closed. I tried my best not to fall asleep when he started to brush my hair. The tugging was minimal, and the action itself generated more heat, along with a steady rhythm that with every stroke was pushing me closer and closer to la la land.

I was on the verge of snoring when Trowa started talking. "Your hair is getting longer. Pretty soon you're going to have to put it in a pony tail."

Not really wanting to speak, but not really wanting to ignore Trowa, I only said, "Uh huh."

He continued brushing. "I like it this length though. I think it'll look even better if you let it grow to your shoulders."

"Uh huh."

He paused. "Yep. After that, you can shave the sides to have a mohawk, then dye your hair bright pink."

"Uh huh."

"And get piercings all along your ear."

"Uh huh."

He snickered. "With matching nipple rings."

"Uh huh."

"Quatre, are you even listening to me?"

"Uh huh."

"Then what did I just say?"

"Uh huh."

Trowa stopped brushing my hair. I vaguely heard it being placed on the nightstand next to the bed. The towel was removed from my shoulders and the next thing I knew I was laying on the bed, wrapped up in blankets. A warm body laid snug against mine, and an arm was thrown around me for protection as I drifted off to sleep.

***

I blinked my eyes lazily, not really wanting to wake up. My back was to the door, so I was able to see that it was still day time, around five or so in the evening. I snuggled further underneath the covers and was intent on going back to sleep when I felt...something. More specifically, I felt that I wasn't alone in the room.

I rolled over, seeing that Heero was sitting at the foot of the bed, and that Trowa wasn't anywhere in the room. He just sat there and stared at me, I guess waiting for me to tell him the secret to life. "Odin? What is it?" I sat up, suddenly alarmed. "Is Wufei alright? Did something happen to Trowa?"

"Nothing's happen to Trowa. He's in the cafeteria getting something to eat. And Wufei's fine. He's almost back to normal, which is not a good thing for the nurses." Even though he said that to be funny, there wasn't a trace of humor in his voice or eyes.

I leaned back on my elbows then, mentally preparing for a fight. I could always tell when Heero was upset about something. His voice would get very low and grating. "Then what's wrong? You're obviously mad about something."

"This isn't over," he said cryptically.

"What isn't over?"

He frowned. "This...supernatural situation. It isn't over. That was obvious when you," he paused, searching for the right word, "teleported us here. I thought I was going to be ripped in half. The power didn't go away. Not only that, I went for a walk outside, and there were crows all over the place." He nodded. "This isn't over."

"Odin--"

"I'm worried," he said softly, allowing his body to sag. He seemed to have aged fifty years.

I sat up quickly and moved closer to him. "Odin?"

"This isn't over," he whispered again. "All of us know this. Well, maybe the girls don't, but the rest of us do. That happened the last time, remember? He let us go on purpose. It looks like he's doing the same thing again, except we don't know when he'll strike. He waited two years. This time, he might wait one, or three, or six months." He turned to look out of the window.

I sighed and followed his gaze to the window too. He was right. There were a few crows lined along the window sill, along with others I heard that were further away. Krahe was keeping an eye on me, that was for sure. "I don't know what to tell you."

"You can tell me what you're planning."

I felt his eyes return to me, but I continued to look at the crows. "I don't know what you're talking about."

He snorted. "You can't lie to me Quatre. I know you better than you know yourself. You're too chivalrous for your own good."

I chuckled. "Yeah, I suppose you're right."

"Yeah, I am." He paused. "Will you tell me what you're going to do?"

I looked him square in the eye. Heero was absolutely amazing. His voice did not betray anything. He was completely neutral in his tone, as if asking the time. His face matched the expression in his voice, utterly devoid of any emotion, good or bad. That was exactly what I needed, and he knew it too. "No."

He didn't seem surprised. "When are you planning your move?"

I gave him a careless shrug. "When it's least expected."

He snorted, again, and gave me a sad smile. "Will I ever see you again?"

I swallowed the lump that crawled up my throat. "I don't know."

He nodded then, mostly to himself, and rose from the bed. Standing before me, he held out his hand as if introducing himself. I took it and just as expected, I was easily pulled to my feet, where we shook hands for the first and last time. It hurt, the way he was squeezing my hand with his brute strength, but I didn't mind. It was taking everything he had to control himself. The whole time we shook hands I looked at his ear, and I knew he was looking at my shoulder. We refused to meet eye to eye, and we also couldn't hug. I would've broken down with any other contact, and Heero's mask would've shattered. We both needed to be strong.

After what felt like an eternity, Heero released my hand. He spun on his heels and went to the door with his back to me so that I couldn't see his face. I forced my fists down to my sides where I could feel them trembling, and fought the urge to retch all over the floor. I refused to break. The worse was nearly over.

My heart leapt up to my throat when Heero stopped just inside of the door. My eyes widened in fear, thinking that he might try something to stop me. But he didn't. Instead, he turned his head slightly over his shoulder, and whispered as softly as he could without being unheard by me. "At least say goodbye to Wufei."

Then he was gone.

***

Wufei looked so small in the bed. I couldn't stand that. The white sheets made his cuts and bruises even more pronounced, and the various beeps and squeals of the equipment made me afraid to touch anything, lest he'll die. It was a ridiculous thought, but still it was there. All the same, I was going to be careful.

He appeared to be resting comfortably enough. He had plenty of covers, there wasn't a tube down his throat, and a tray to the side seemed to have been recently filled with food. His breathing was normal and his skin color was healthy. There was nothing else I could've wished for. So I just sat by his bed in silence, looking at him but not seeing him. Instead, I saw memories: the day at Khushrenada's grave, the way he would rant and rave when Duo would grope him, the smiles he would give me to cheer me up, and the time he got so drunk he stripped in front of a crowd...

"Aren't you suppose to kiss me from my slumber?"

I snorted at the cheeky reply. "I don't know Wu. You don't look much like a princess."

"Well, I'm dressed in white. That makes me princess material."

"No, that makes you a virgin. Besides, the last time I kissed you, I was rewarded with a punch in the gut. Thanks but I'll pass for the next one."

He tried not to smile. He failed. "Hn. You just don't know what you're missing."

"Yeah, I do actually. A punch in the gut." We both laughed, but I got nervous when Wufei started to cough. I reached for the small tray and got his glass of water, helping him spill more on the sheets than actually drinking, but he didn't seem to care. "How do you feel?"

He gave me an incredulous look. "Like shit of course."

I rolled my eyes. "Whatever Wu. Just asking. Don't bite my head off."

"Sorry, didn't mean to. Trowa would wring my neck if I did."

I smirked. "Yes, he would. He likes my head right where it is."

He started to say something, but then an expression crossed his face that I found amusing. He had the look of a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck. It only lasted a second though. Afterwards, he shook his head, clearing away whatever he was thinking. "You know what, I don't want to know. If I ask, hit me."

I raised an eyebrow. "Sure thing."

"Hn. You would." He closed his eyes as he snuggled further under the covers. "I'm surprised they let you in ICU to see me."

"They didn't have a choice. I'm not in the mood to hear the word ‘no' from anyone."

"I believe that," he said, yawning. "Cat, I'm sorry, but I'm dead tired."

I let a sad sigh escape. "I know. I just came to say...goodbye."

"Hn?" he murmured, drifting off to sleep. "Oh...goodbye...Quatre..."

After that, I sat there for a while, letting my thoughts and feelings fight amongst themselves in my head until I was sure that I could go along and function as if everything was okay. I felt the need to be angry, to scream and to cry, but I couldn't get my voice to yell and I couldn't force out the tears. I didn't even feel angry. It was a resignation of sorts; I resigned myself to my fate, even though it could be changed. It's just one of those things, I guess, where it's just better to accept the consequences than to fight back, even though you're right.

After a short while, when I felt I had a handle on my feelings, I rose from the bed and left the room, not once looking back to Wufei's face. Sally will be here soon to take care of him. I didn't have to worry.

The trip back to my room was a short one. The rest of us were only a floor down from Wufei. But when I was approaching my room, I saw Trowa and Duo sitting on the foot of my bed, animatedly talking about something. I found that interesting since it appeared that Trowa was doing the majority of the talking. I stepped into the room, wondering what they could be talking about that would generate such a deep discussion.

"...I just have to make sure that I don't bend my elbow, or else I'll fall off his back because my arm won't be able to support my body weight."

"But Tro, how do you know when you're doing your flip onto his back that the lion won't open up his mouth and try to eat you?"

Trowa shrugged. "Trust, for the most part. I trust that he won't eat me."

"Shit. You're a lot more confident that I would be. ‘Trust' my ass! A lion's a freakin' lion."

When my presence was noticed, I was awarded with two beautiful smiles: one from Trowa and one from Duo. Of course, I had a hard time appreciating them on the fact that my jaw had unhinged itself. I didn't want to call their discussion...stupid by any means, but Duo did have a way of finding the most bizarre topic to discuss and an audience to discuss it with. "Hey Cat, are you feeling alright? You don't look so good."

I tried to smile warmly, though I'm sure it looked a little pained. "I'm fine, just a little worn out. I'd like to lay down and rest for a bit if you don't mind."

"Of course we don't mind!" Duo responded with a little too much enthusiasm. Even if I do run, I don't think I'll make it to the elevator. Allah, help me. "Why would we mind? Here." Duo grabbed me by the wrist and led me to my bed, where he helped me sit on the bed (with too much exaggeration of course), pulled my blankets up to my waist, fluffed my pillows and brushed my bangs out of my face. I glanced to Trowa, trying to search his eyes for some clue as to why Duo was behaving this way. My only answer was a slight shrug in return. "There now, comfy?"

"Uh...yeah."

"Good." He smiled. Too widely.

"Duo," I started cautiously, "are you feeling alright? You're acting kinda strange. You didn't get into the narcotics section, did you?"

"What? No man! I know what you're up to and I'm all for it!"

Huh? "Duo, what are you talking about?"

He raised a carefully sculpted eyebrow, his grin molting into a smirk. "Oh please! I saw him."

Huh?! "Saw him? Who's him?"

Duo blew his breath through his bangs and rolled his eyes. "Don't get coy with me. That nurse! You know, the one that looks like Trunks. He's been giving you oogle eyes all day!"

HUH?! "Who's been giving me oogle eyes--"

"What nurse?" Trowa asked--well--demanded.

Duo walked up to him, wagging a finger. "No no no. Quatre saw him first. Finders keepers."

"Duo," I said as low as I could, trying to stop him from teasing Trowa. That's all I need is for him to be jealous. "I don't know what you're talking about, and I'd appreciate it if you left now."

"Okay," he said, grinning from ear to ear. "But I want all the gory details. Or else."

"Fine," I said, a little bit roughly. I would say anything to get him out so that I could sleep. "All the details. Gotcha."

As if challenging Duo, Trowa suddenly spun on his heels, walked to my bed and planted a kiss on me that would've made the god of sex blush. Surprised, but definitely not complaining, I returned his kiss to the point where I was beyond out of breath. Trowa was breathing for the both of us.

When he broke our kiss, I collapsed bonelessly onto the bed. It's a good thing Duo did fluff my pillows, because I was completely helpless then. Every bone in my body had turned into dough, and it took me a minute to realize that my tongue was indeed back in my mouth.

Trowa righted himself and nodded to me once, before strolling to the door, passing by Duo's opened mouth, wide eyed expression. He stopped just inside of the door, throwing Duo a devious smirk as he turned and walked out of the room, presumably back to his hospital room. I laid there with a satisfied smirk on my face as I watched Duo put his eyes back into his sockets, and as he reached down to the floor to lift his jaw from it.

If ONLY I had a camera!

"Uh...I think I need to go...sit down. But you and I are going to talk about this later."

As Duo turned to walk out the door, I couldn't help the pang of sadness that stabbed me. My best efforts failed me however, as I opened my mouth to call him back. "Duo?"

He turned around, rubbing the back of his neck. "Yeah?"

I fidgeting with my fingers, allowing a surge of nervousness to pass through me. "I'm sorry." He raised an eyebrow and my nervousness heightened. "I'm sorry for being so...hypocritical."

He gave me a puzzling look, but didn't do anything further. "We'll talk later," was all he said as he turned and hurried out the door. I watched his form go, sighing sadly as his braid floated out of view.

"No, we won't."

***

I managed to get my shoes on using the light of the moon. Yawning, I threw the blanket over my shoulders and lifted up the mattress to get my Bowie, the cross and my ring out. Slipping the cross around my neck and my ring on my finger, I stuck the Bowie in the back of my pants and glided out into the hallway. I'm guessing it was around three o'clock in the morning, seeing as how some of the nurses rotated out to the lounge to get something to eat. The three that were at the desk simply waved to me as I explained that I only wanted to walk to relax my nerves. Busy with other things, they allowed me to do so.

I strolled by Duo and Trowa's room, trying not to act as if I was purposely avoiding them. It wouldn't do me any good if the nurse suspected that I was trying to sneak out. Plus I knew that Duo was awake (he is the ultimate night person) and I wanted to appear as nonchalant as possible.

My pace quickened as I neared the end of the hallway, my target coming into sight. With held breath, I pushed the button and waited impatiently for the elevator door to open. With a ‘ding' that seemed to roar down the hall, I quickly ran inside before the doors even opened all the way. Frantically, I pushed the button to close them, trying not to swear underneath my breath as Duo walked into the hallway. Spotting me easily, he started to walk in my direction.

"Quatre, where the hell are you--TROWA!"

Duo voice reverberated off of the walls as he screamed for Trowa, instantaneously breaking into a run. A nearby male nurse managed to sweep Duo into his arms as he passed him. Almost on par, Trowa appeared in the hallway, running towards me as if he was trying to outrun death itself. Duo screamed hoarsely as the nurse fought to keep him pinned down, but I knew it would only be a matter of seconds before he broke free. Trowa, because of his long legs, was nearly to the elevator. I stood numbly still as I waited for the doors to close, where they seemed intent on taking a long time to do so.

Almost as if they wanted me to witness this.

Then with surprising speed, the doors started to close. I watched in sadness as I saw Trowa, a few feet away from me, his eyes wide with fear he probably didn't know the source of, before the doors slammed closed in his face. I felt the elevator start to descend before it jerked, signaling that someone pressed the button to bring it back up. I closed my eyes, allowing the hot tears to run down my cheeks as I focused my will. I released a watery sigh as I thought about the pain they will have to endure when they open the elevator doors and see that I am no longer there, because I am here.

"With you," I whispered out loud as I felt chilled lips press against mine. As he pulled back, I opened my eyes to see Krahe's glowing ones, and nodded my head to him in acknowledgment. Everything was done. He allowed me to let the others get to safety, and I would stay here, indefinitely.

After all, that was our deal.

He wiped a lingering tear that hadn't dried on my face and kissed my nose, laughing cheerfully as he pointed to the sky. I turned to look, following his finger to see what he was referring to. Hovering in front of the moon, no doubt with hundreds of crows, was a message spelled out for me.

Welcome home Quatre.

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