Another Murder of Crows: Part 50
We lifted off at four hundred and thirty hours, six days ago. I remember that morning well. I showed up at the shuttle around three o'clock in the morning and it turned out that I was the last one to arrive. Sally, Noin, and Hilde were already on the shuttle with Duo as he explained to them what we were up against and what to expect. Anyway, what made that day remarkable was the fact that there was so much activity going on in the hanger yet not a sound came from anywhere. It was like watching a movie on mute. That frightened me somewhat. It almost seemed as if this was one of those omnipotent tragedies, where you had all the signs that a catastrophe was about to happen but you kept on going regardless. I had no intention of waiting things out, and neither did the others, so I hoped everything would go well.
And so far it has. The trip to an earth shuttle port in England was uneventful, where we left the shuttle in exchange for two planes. At this point we separated, Duo, Sally and Noin in one plane as Hilde and I took the other. I figured if we separated and Krahe wanted one of us, that left the other plane or if he wanted both of us, he was going to have to work for it. Hilde and I also took point, which made Duo scream and shout for a few minutes until he realized that his left arm couldn't handle the stress of piloting. My arm wasn't anywhere near as bad as Duo's, since I had about two months to heal and it hadn't been ripped apart, but Hilde insisted that I take the copilot's seat. I had to agree. I was better off than Duo but I still wasn't at one hundred percent.
The planes we were in now were brand new, and we were also the first people to even touch the controls. I intentionally wanted this. Anything weird that happened to the plane would let me know that Krahe was on the offensive. Being new, we shouldn't have any ‘malfunctions' or anything else that was completely impossible.
It was now that I realized it was getting dark. Really dark. Really fast. "Hilde, did I miss something?"
I scanned over the coordinates, but I was reluctant to trust them since Krahe manipulated them so badly last time. "It's too early for it to be dark."
"No it's not. It's almost eight. You fell asleep."
"I did?! Why didn't you wake me up?"
"Because you need your rest Quatre."
"So do you."
"No I don't. I'm superwoman."
I didn't bother giving that a response. "Where are we?"
"We entered Germany a while ago and should be entering Frankfurt in about ten minutes."
My heart started to beat faster. Not good. "I'm not ready for this."
"Neither am I if it makes you feel better. I've never fought against a ghost before. He's nothing like they are in the movies. This is going to be a bitch."
"You don't know how true your words ring Hilde."
"And I'd rather not know for the rest of my life, but that hope seems to be in vain."
At that time a beep sounded from my right. The screen automatically jumped to life and Dorothy's face was the only thing seen. "Hello Dorothy."
"Hello Quatre. How are you holding up?"
I smiled. It was very weak, but still there. "Good I suppose, considering where we're headed."
"I know." She sighed, and I could tell something was troubling her. "Quatre, I have some important information for you and you're not going to like it. I would rather wait until you get back but that will be another week at the least and it can't wait."
I have to admire her straight forwardness. Always have, now that I think about it. "Then tell me."
She gave me a curt nod. "First off the investigation at the library has been postponed on my orders." At this she threw her hands up in the air in frustration. "Quatre, you're not going to believe this. It was a crow."
"What was a crow?"
"The thing that was chasing you in the library. It was a god damn crow! There was one book shelf that was completely crushed under its foot and when a plaster was made of it one of our scientists confirmed it was a crow's claw. That son of a bitch was watching you and knew you were there."
"But why did he attack us?" Hilde asked.
"I don't think it was interested in you Hilde," Dorothy said flatly. "In all honesty it seems that it wasn't interested in Duo either. Quatre, Duo explained to me that you were reaching for a book when the crow attacked. But you were on the floor."
"Any particular reason for that? Were you knocked down?"
"No, I wasn't." Well, she didn't ask if I was clumsy.
"So it waits until you're reaching for a book when it attacks. And there were times when you were alone and it didn't then." She was quiet as she thought. "Well, what was the book called?"
"I don't know. I started to pick it up because of the fact that it didn't have a title or call number on its spine. It just kind of...caught my attention."
She stared at me. "You know, that's really interesting. I will look into that. However I have the distinct feeling it will be missing if heard of at all. But I have more bad news. The corpse has been identified. German kid, just turned eighteen last week. He was with the man we assaulted. The one with the beetle we stuffed in the trunk. Do you remember him?"
I almost lost my bowels. "You mean the one that had the handcuffs hooked to his door? Let's not forget he's a preferred ‘Whips N' Chains' customer."
"The guy had a real bad fetish for bondage, especially on young men. The police asked around before finding his house an hour away. He claimed he didn't kill the boy but something he couldn't see started to claw at the kid and ripped his legs clean off his body as he killed him."
"If he lived an hour away why was he there with the kid?" I was surprised Hilde was taking this so lightly.
"He brought his dates there because of the solitude of the area, but he said he kept coming back in the hopes of finding a boy. He had only seen him twice, once with a brown haired man and once with a blond woman. The one he was looking for was an average height blond, with the biggest blue eyes he had ever seen." She gave me a look. Thank Allah Hilde didn't ask any questions about what blond the man was talking about. "The rest of the details I'll spare you with, but Quatre that kid looked just like Trowa."
All of my attention was suddenly riveted to the screen. "What?"
"I saw the body myself. He looked just like Trowa: tall, auburn brown hair that was long in the front, thin legs, and I saw a picture of him. Green eyes. I bet you that crow thought it was Trowa and killed him."
If I didn't lose my bowels before I did now. "Oh no..."
"You guys do whatever you can to get them then bring your asses back here immediately. That ghost guy is not playing around anymore."
I sat back heavily in my seat. If anything happened to them, I wouldn't know what to do with myself. "Thank you Dorothy. I know this wasn't easy for you--"
"Stop it. I'm not accepting any thanks from you. I told you I would do whatever I could to help you and I'm not doing that. In all honesty it should be me there piloting with you instead of Hilde."
I heard Hilde growl, but she didn't say anything. "Thank you all the same Dorothy."
She didn't say anything else. The screen toned once again before going black. I turned my attention back out of the windshield in an attempt to steel my heart. That kid died so horribly, and indirectly it was my fault. To make me feel even more guilty, the fact that the crow (I figured I was correct in my assumption) killed that boy meant Trowa and the others were probably safe, and the relief I felt about that....I didn't want to think on this anymore.
"Quatre, what's done is done. There's nothing you can do about the kid now, but we can help the guys. Just push it to the back of your mind."
"Yeah, you're right," I breathed, staring at my engagement ring. "I just want to get this over and done with so that we can go home."
"Amen to that."
The screen jumped to life again, this time with Duo. "Quatre, what do ya got for me?"
Time to play general. "Okay guys, this is what we're going to do. The three of you are going to land, but I want Hilde and myself to stay in the sky and be your eyes. Then when you're able to confirm that everything's cool, we'll land and Sally, Wufei and Trowa will board with me, while Hilde boards with you and the rest. I figured this way, Wufei and Heero can counteract our presence somewhat."
"Sounds good to me." He nodded. "But if anything goes wrong, I don't care what, Quatre get the hell out of here. I mean it."
"Don't give me that warning tone guy. If anything happens to us, someone has to be around to clean up the mess." He gave Hilde a significant look before turning back to me. "This thing keeps to itself for the most part. We don't need invisible killer crows walking around."
"How did you know?"
"Dorothy told me before she called you." Duo gave Hilde another significant look. "We're getting close. Duo out."
The screen died again and I turned to Hilde. She seemed to be as nonchalant as possible, almost bouncing in the pilot's seat. I couldn't help but feel that she and Duo had set something up against me, and it also worried me that he didn't appear to be too concerned hiding it from me.
"Quatre?" Her voice quivered. That wasn't like Hilde.
I saw what she was looking at. The sky we were headed to looked normal, but at the very bottom on the ground, something was glowing a deep red as if there was a fire going. I would have welcomed the idea of a fire, but I didn't for two reasons. One, there wasn't any smoke and two, this red was an unnatural color, its glow fading in and out as if it was breathing. There was only one time I saw a color like that, and that was when Dorothy and I were came back and found the others nearly slaughtered...
I screamed so loud Hilde jumped out of her seat. "Jesus Christ Quatre what?!"
"We have to get there now. Screw the plan, the others are in danger!"
"What good will you be if you're in a panic?! Calm down. You know Trowa is okay."
I sat back into the chair but my adrenaline would not allow me to relax. "I don't know that. I can't feel anything."
"You mean that space heart thingie."
She sighed. "Just because you don't feel anything doesn't mean they're hurt. You can't do anything if you get us killed screaming like that. Sheesh. I think I just chunked in my pants."
I took another breath and calmed myself down. She was right. I couldn't do anything in a frenzy. I was a soldier. Soldiers didn't crack up like this. "Sorry Hil. I'm okay now."
To prove her wrong, I turned on the radio to Duo's frequency. "Deathscythe, this is Sandrock. We are starting our turn at a forty five degree angle. You may start your landing."
"Roger that Sandrock."
Thirty minutes later, we were still wasting fuel flying around in a circle. Hilde was being as cautious and as patient with me as a horse. I, on the other hand, was as temperamental as a bull. We hadn't heard anything from them. I knew that Sally and Noin had gone into the house, and Duo was to wait for word from them in the plane. That was the plan I had told them, but something tells me they were either not following it or not answering my hails.
Or unable to answer my hails.
"I've had it," I said with barely contained excitement. "I want to go down there."
"I agree," Hilde said, taking the plane down. "It's been too long without a word from anyone. What, did they expect us to stay up here all night?"
"I have no idea. I'll get the guns ready."
And I went to do just that. I finished just in time to see Duo running out of the house and back into his plane. Figures. Either he went in there because he was not following the plan or...he went in there because he hadn't heard from Sally or Noin. Glancing at the house I could see that red sheen coming off of it, and I knew my earlier guess that the red was coming from the house was right. I heard Hilde's breathless gasp of ‘oh my god' as I finished loading up the last gun, strapping the holster on then placing my guns in it.
"How did you all survive this?" She asked in a whisper, still staring at the house in awe.
I didn't bother answering her, too focused on what I was doing. She didn't seem to care, either expecting that I wouldn't answer or not realizing she spoke out loud. In any case, I was about to walk right out of the door when Duo's voice came in on the radio.
"Hilde, is Quatre there?"
The speed with which I moved to the radio would've put superman to shame. "Duo, what's going on?"
"What are you doing?! I didn't say it was safe to land yet!"
"It's been half an hour and I hadn't heard a word from you! You expect us to stay up there all night?" I pinched the bridge of my nose and winced. I forgot about my broken nose.
"Enough of this. Quatre, it's not safe. I want you and Hilde to leave now. Go back to England, I'll meet you there with the others."
"There's no way I'm leaving you here!"
"Quatre go! Hilde stop him!"
I didn't bother responding. I spun on my heels to walk right out of there and into that mansion. I was not going to be left in the dark. I refused to allow it.
"Quatre, don't forget this."
As I turned to Hilde I was assaulted by some spray. I spat it out of my mouth, noting the peppermint flavor, and was on the verge of strangling her when I felt as if I had gained five hundred pounds. The room seemed to spin around me and when it stopped I realized I was on the floor being disarmed by Hilde. She then tossed a blanket over me and jumped back into the pilot's seat, where I could feel the plane vibrate before lifting off. At that moment I fell asleep, remembering the significant look Duo had given Hilde before we arrived. So they planned this all along. No wonder he wanted her with me.
Whatever it was, it was warm.
I snuggled up to it, finding it surprising that my lips were pressed against something that I knew to be skin. I opened my eyes and saw that I was kissing a shoulder, and looked up to see a set of green eyes smiling at me. Relief as heavy as water washed over me, and I sat up and eagerly kissed Trowa's lips. His left hand came up and pulled me so that I was laying on top of him. I was so happy I was shaking, and the way his fingers toyed with the hairs on the back of my neck caused goosebumps all over my skin. We were right in the middle of second base when I heard a cough that should've been polite but was rather obnoxious. I was more than willing to ignore whoever it was, but Trowa broke the kiss, laughing softly as he gently kissed my broken nose.
"Quatre, I can't examine Trowa if you're laying on him."
Sally. Figures. I rolled off of him and noticed then that we were not on any plane, but on the shuttle. We were on a bunk bed it seemed, but the two beds were placed side by side instead of one above the other. We weren't in sickbay either. It was one of the rooms on board. Trowa also didn't look too bad. His ribs were wrapped, he had bruises and scratches all over his body, and he had a little frostbite on his right ear which was obviously getting better. Other than that, he was doing great.
"Well that's it Barton. You and Quatre can continue your...talk now." She smirked at us then left the room.
I turned to Trowa, the smile on my lips dying. "What happened?"
I didn't need to clarify my question. He knew exactly what I was talking about. "We didn't land at the house, but at an airport. We had the police drive us there and leave us until further instructions. But there were...complications."
"Like the fact that when we rescued you, we didn't lock the attic door. We tried, but it was too much for us to handle. Plus we heard something coming, so we got out of there as quickly as we could. It was a big mistake we made." He sighed. "Those crows were everywhere, in every size and shape imaginable. Some were white, others black, some light blue, just like they were out of someone's imagination."
"Did they attack you?"
"But you aren't hurt. At least not much."
"Yeah." He exhaled a deep breath. "We kept a light fire around us. That kept them away, but they kept picking at the explosives. Thank God Duo had more."
I laid beside him, this time laying so close I was nearly on top of him. I wrapped my arm around his chest, laying my head on his shoulder as his arm was under me, holding me close. We stayed that way for a while, just enjoying the feel of our skin touching. But of course I had to ruin it. "Did you blow the house up?"
I felt him exhale into my hair. "No. We concentrated just on the portals. We set some dynamite at the tree and the attic door. This time we locked it and destroyed it, so that it can never be repaired."
"But Krahe can fix things."
"Do you think he can fix a portal door?"
That stopped me for a minute. "I don't know. That's totally different from just a hole in a wall. And it took a few years from when Duo blew up the house, but he still managed to do it."
"Yes, but Duo didn't concentrate on just the portals. We didn't know. This time we knew what to go after."
I blew my breath across one of his nipples and saw it harden. I better watch myself. "Where's the key now?"
"Heero has it."
"Oh. Well, where's my Bowie?"
"It's in one of my buffel bags."
"Oh." I closed my eyes and started to run my hand over his chest. Feeling something metal around his neck, I sat up on my elbow and pulled the chain from under his neck. I gasped in surprise when I saw that the chain had my ring on it, the one with the aquamarine gem.
"You kept this?"
He actually looked sheepish. "I've had it ever since you were sucked into the portal. It was all I had to keep me from going crazy."
"But Trowa, you know how dangerous it is to have silver on!"
"I didn't care," he said quietly. "It was yours. I had something of you. It became my most treasured possession, and I wasn't going to give it up for anything."
What could I possibly say to that? Feeling like the biggest turd in the world, I laid back down next to Trowa, holding him as tightly as I could. I didn't remember how I got on the shuttle, or how long we've been on here, but I guessed it was only a few hours at most. The spray couldn't have lasted very long, so I figured we weren't even out of the Earth's atmosphere yet.
I didn't care though. I had my arms around Trowa and his arms around me. And as I rubbed his stomach, my fingers brushed against the sheet that was over the lower half of his body. Doing it again, I realized that he didn't have any clothes on, just the sheet.
He must've read my thoughts because when he looked at me again, he didn't have that adoring look on his face, and I felt the devilish horns grow on my head. "Is Sally coming to check up on you soon?"
"Are you tired or in pain?"
I pulled my shirt over my head, jumped out of my pants and threw it at the light switch to turn it off. Then I straddled Trowa's hips, and both of us moaned at the contact of our erections touching.
This was going to be good.