Another Murder of Crows
I pressed the pillow harder against my face, trying--unsuccessfully--to hide from the constant flow of words flying at me. My breath was melting-hot against the crochet fabric of the pillow, almost burning my cheeks. The pillow itself smelled lightly of peach blossom shampoo and Marlboro, so I knew Duo had been here recently. Hopefully, he suffered the same way I was and worse. This whole situation was his fault anyway.
"Quatre, are you listening to me?!"
"M-yes Sally." My voice was muffled through the pillow so I reluctantly took it off, and lifted my head off the back of the couch to see a very flustered and cranky Sally.
"Then what did I just say?"
"Never leave Duo in charge of a company party...ever." And boy, did I learn this lesson the hard way. The party in question was to celebrate the new recruits that joined the Preventers. Relena and I were swamped with diplomatic work, so Duo volunteered to oversee the party. I allowed him, and the result was...how should I say...less than desirable. Don't get me wrong; the recruits had a blast! But Heero and Zechs (or whatever he was calling himself now) were less than thrilled. There was the 'Pin the Tail on Relena' game, dartboards with Relena's picture as the bull's-eye, and the horror house where a posterboard of Relena popped out. Once it did, Duo started screaming in horror at it. When that happened, I passed out. I couldn't believe he would go that far.
"Right." Sally continued, stalking closer with every word she breathed. "Zechs is pissed! Even Heero is quieter than usual."
"Ohhh," I groaned. Then I threw the pillow back over my face, and let myself sink further into the white couch. Now I would have to deal with Zechs and Heero? Not to mention Relena when she had the chance to see me. She was supposed to be coming back from Earth today, if she wasn't back already. If I had the strength, I would've cried.
"Look, Quatre." Sally sat down next to me, and placed her delicate hand lightly on my shoulder. I removed the pillow from my face and sat it on my lap. To occupy my hands, I started twisting my ring around, relaxing a bit at the new bumps on it. Before, it was just a thick gold band with a aquamarine gem stone sitting in the middle. Now, on both sides of the gem were two tiny silver crucifixes, matching Duo's cross. And now, Duo's cross had a gold wire snaking up it, with an aquamarine gem sitting in the middle.
Sally's voice broke my reverie. "I know that lately, things have been very awkward for you and between you and the ex-pilots. So Relena and I have the idea that maybe all of us should go away for a week to a resort, where all of this stuff can get out in the open and be resolved. Kind of like a vacation."
I took a deep breath, and released it. What did it matter anymore? That party was last weekend. And besides, whatever Relena and Sally were planning, I was sure I didn't want to be involved. "When you say 'all of us,' " I asked very slowly, "who do you mean?"
She looked everywhere except at me. "Oh, you know...me, Wufei, Zechs, Noin, maybe Une, Relena, you," she briefly made eye contact, "Heero, Duo." The last two names were said in a rush.
"Oh no. No no no no no! Ba~ad idea." I quickly stood up, and walked to the far end of the room to pace. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see her looking at me, confused, as she replaced the light blue pillow I had forgotten about and knocked on the floor.
I turned to face her, tapping my foot in agitation. "There is tension, you know as well as I do, between the two of them. Why escalate it? The decision to reconcile is between Heero and Duo alone, and no one else."
She stood and moved towards me, eyes blazing. "Quatre, you can't be serious. They can't even look at each other without baring teeth and growling like animals!"
"Oh, Sally." I reached out and folded her hands in mine, resting them against my chest. "Has Wufei told you anything?" Now that I thought about it, probably not. He wasn't the one to gossip or mention things that didn't concern him. "Duo loves Heero, but Heero has hurt him. Badly. Duo's only defense against this is to be hostile towards him, and unfortunately the same goes for Heero. They have to work things out on their own." And this came out before I truly realized what I was saying. "Besides, I don't like the idea of Duo going anywhere with Relena, unnecessarily. I think she's done enough damage."
Sally's eyes widened and she violently pulled her hands out of mine. She took a step back and examined me from head to toe, like it was the first time she ever laid eyes on me. I went back over what I said and resisted the urge to smack myself on the forehead.
Regaining her composure, her face became blank and her hands curled into little fists. "Is that right?" she asked, dangerously.
Oh crap. Now I did it. "Sal." I took a step forward. She took one back. Great, just great. "I didn't mean it the way it came out. I love Relena dearly. You know that. But because of what she did, it's hard for me to look pass that every time I see Duo huddled in a corner, crying, or when he calls Heero's name in his sleep, or her hanging on Heero's arm so...possessively whenever Duo walks into a room. We're suppose to be professionals and this office is turning into a soap opera!"
"Quatre, I know you. You don't say things you don't mean, so you meant that!" This time she took a step forward. When she did, a familiar, almost ancient feeling washed over me. My hands curled into tiny, hard balls, and my breath started to come out faster. I could feel the hair on my arms stand up like they were attracting static electricity, and my jaw clenched itself shut. I could feel the soldier in me wake up, and I fought to keep it under control. Through clenched teeth, I managed to speak. "Yes, I did mean it. But not in the way you took it."
She closed the remaining distance between us, and I briefly realized that we were the same height. Our foreheads nearly touched as we glared at each other, eye to eye. "There is only one way to take that, Quatre."
Over the past two years, the other pilots and I have changed, physically. For me, I have grown some four centimeters, and I was trying to grow my hair out. It still wasn't long enough to put in a pony tail, so I kept it behind my ears. Wufei didn't change much. He was the same height I was, and more muscular. Duo has grown about six centimeters, and his voice deepened. Other than that, he was pretty much the same too. Heero has grown taller than all of us, to about Zech's height. His features have matured, making him irresistible to both men and women. And Trowa... I didn't want to think about him. The last time I saw him was during the Mariemaia Incident, and that wasn't exactly a nice reunion.
I was yanked back to the present when I registered a soft knock at the door. At first I didn't move, because Sally hadn't moved. But after a few seconds, I finally yielded and stepped back, holding my hands up in surrender. The day I hit Sally was the day I helped Zechs destroy Earth.
On second thought, maybe not. I did destroy that colony...
In the doorway was Wufei, looking angrier than usual. "Are you ready to go?" he asked with a frown.
"Yeah," I sighed. Without a word or glance in Sally's direction, I walked out of the room, into the hallway... and froze. I was surprised to see quite a few agents staring at me, and was even more surprised to see Zechs leaning casually against the wall.
The shock must've been written on my face, because he answered my question, smirking. "You two were loud. You could be heard in the hallway."
My jaw hit the floor. I could not believe this! It was bad enough we were all caught in this...this whatever it was. Now, the whole company will know with the way rumors spread around here.
Once again, my mouth got the better of me. "Ohhh shit!"
A look of shock briefly crossed Zech's face, then he smirked even more! Great. After the shock wore off my face, I hustled to the elevator. On my way there, Heero walked out of a door to my left and stopped, giving me the Death Glare. I stopped, and threw my arms up in exasperation. He glared another microsecond before he told me "later," and went back into his office. Fine with me. I walked through the elevator doors with Wufei, and pressed the basement button before I was tempted to turn in my resignation.
We were about five minutes from the cemetery. So far, nothing eventful happened in the car. But I could feel Wufei's anger rolling from him in waves. We decided earlier, since it was a nice day out, to drive to Khushrenada's grave instead of taking a limo. Actually, there were two graves for him: one on Earth, and one on a satellite that was a military cemetery in space. We were headed for the latter.
The sun was shining cheerfully, which contrasted greatly with my mood. It had been scheduled to rain, so I couldn't wait to see grey clouds roaring overhead. I wanted the clouds to be so dark, that sunlight could not penetrate them for days. I loved the dark clouds because I could be out in the open, and be comfortable in my self-loathing.
Wait, let me back up again.
The last two years have been hard for me and the other pilots, especially after my father's death. Controlling my father's company, plus trying to help Relena maintain pacifism was a lot of work. At first, after the second war, everything was perfect: Heero and Duo were living in one of my estates with me, trying to become the couple that they wanted to be. Wufei and Sally hit it off very well, and were often seen together in public. Trowa stayed with Catherine at the circus but visited me frequently, and vice versa. But even then, Trowa and I were drifting apart, and it was hard being in the same room, alone, with him. I started to bring Duo with me to liven things up, but there was some underlying hostility between us that I couldn't place. Then one day, Trowa asked me to not see him anymore. Respecting his wishes, I didn't. I don't know what I did to this day.
Things went downhill from there. Heero and Duo started fighting. They would go out, but who knew what happened that would upset either of them. There were nights when Heero wouldn't even come home, and Duo and I were frantic that something might've happened to him. A few times he went to Wufei's to crash for the night, but then he started going to Relena's. He admitted to me a long time ago how he felt about her, and I tried to warn Duo without betraying Heero's trust.
From there, things got really bad. Heero and Duo started to get into fist fights. Violent ones. The kind where they broke glass and furniture. MY glass and furniture. Argh. Anyway, both would go to work and look like they were hit by cars. The only thing that rivaled Duo's temper was Heero's. To add insult to injury, Duo started drinking. The last physical fight they had been in was caused at a dinner party, where Relena named Heero to be the Secretary of Defense.
That wasn't the big deal. It was later on that night. During a dance, Relena kissed Heero right in front of Duo, even though she KNEW they were having problems. Back at the house, they fought so badly I tried to stop them and ended up with seventeen stitches in my head, and a cast on my arm for six weeks. Relena tried to reprimand Duo, but somehow Sally had come to Duo's and my defense, so that was that. But since then, my feelings about Relena have gone from a true admirer to being more skeptical. I was truly hurt that she would come in between them like that. When I returned home the following day, Heero's stuff was already gone.
And if that wasn't enough, there's more. In less than a year I will be eighteen, and according to my father's will, I have to 'produce' an heir before my birthday. I hated that notion so much. But now I see it the way my father saw it. I have to protect my sisters, or we will lose everything. So, after debating with my sisters, lawyers, and the aid of Duo and Wufei as my advisors, I decided to have a child through genetics, like myself and my sisters.
Unlike me, however, I will make sure that my child is loved and cherished, because above all else, he will be my son. I was truly disgusted with my decision, but I vow I will do anything and everything in my power to make sure he is happy and healthy. I will not allow him to feel the way I have felt my entire life. And to complete my family, I have Wufei as his godfather, Sally as his godmother, and Duo, my brother, his uncle.
A bump in the road brought me back to the present. I glanced at Wufei, who still had that scowl on his face. His knuckles were white from squeezing the steering wheel. I glanced back out of the window, content to let him fume in silence. He always did that when he was angry, then went further to inform me of when we would talk about the problem. Nevermind the fact that I should have a say so.
"Maybe we should've let him destroy Earth."
The car stopped abruptly. I lurched against the seatbelt, and choked myself since it was across my neck. Ack!
Wufei reached over and grabbed the collar of my uniform, pulling me towards him until we touched foreheads. The seatbelt was still across my neck, but I held my breath so I wouldn't cough in his face. Only Allah knew what he would do then.
After a minute he threw me back into my seat, where I gratefully started to breathe again. He continued to stare. His expression said that he was upset, but nothing more. Finally, he spoke. "We will talk about this when we get back."
See? Told you. "Fine." I straightened my uniform out rougher than necessary, and leaned back into the blond leather seat. Wufei continued driving, every few seconds glaring at me. And to think he asked me to accompany him.
Walking through the gates of the cemetery, we saw Lady Une and Mariemaia coming towards us on the path. Mariemaia ran at me and I picked her up, giving her a suffocating hug. I've always liked her. How could you not like children? It wasn't her fault what her grandfather tried to do through her.
"Quatre!" she squealed.
"Hi Marie. How are you doing?"
"Okay now!" She squeezed my neck tightly and kissed my cheek.
"Hello Une," I replied, hating to be rude. She smiled at me, acknowledging my presence, and went over to Wufei. Even though he was the one that killed Treize, she never held a grudge against him. She didn't have to. He held one against himself.
Once at his side, she placed a hand on his shoulder, and used the other to lift his chin. He faced her, and placed one hand over hers. Those two have a mutual respect for each other. Wufei was the only one who had ever defeated her, and she was the only woman during the war that Wufei didn't accuse of being weak.
They stood that way momentarily, searching each other's eyes. I have heard rumors about what Treize had said to Wufei during their battle, that they were no longer enemies. In fact, I heard on terrible authority (meaning Duo), that Wufei tried to save him. But the only ones that knew the truth were standing not five feet away from me. Even though nothing has been confirmed about which rumors were true and which weren't, no one has the nerve to ask. Whatever was said was something those two will take to the grave.
Mariemaia just about fell asleep in my arms by the time Une took her from me. She mouthed her thanks as I kissed her cheek, and they continued down the path to their car.
Retreating footsteps brought my attention back to Wufei. I had to jog a little to catch up with him. I had the feeling he came here often: first there was a right, then left, another right, then we approached this opening where his tombstone rested. The grave wasn't close to the gates, and the paths that we took didn't look any different from the other paths. Yep. He's been here often.
At first Wufei stood there, staring like the tombstone held the secrets to the universe, and we were waiting for it to tell us. Out of boredom, I read it. It said: Here Lies Treize Khushrenada, Sovereign of Our Hearts. Wufei and Une chose that, but I found it kind of... weird, that he felt that way. It seemed so...not-Wufei. But there were many sides to a person.
I was daydreaming when I heard a sob. I glanced around, but didn't see anyone. Puzzled, I reached for Wufei, and noticed his shoulders shaking slightly. Without a word, I stepped behind him and reached under his arms, to hold onto his shoulders. Pressing against his back, I rested my chin on his shoulder, and held him. He kept his arms down at his sides, his hands fisted.
And we stood there, as he tried to let go of the past. I thought that he felt if he did this enough, it would become less painful. Hopefully, it will. It's been so hard for him to go on with his life. His wife, his clan, and his colony were gone. He was all that was left. It was difficult to let go of the past when it smacked you in the face so often.
I knew from personal experience. I was reminded every day, when I went over the plans for the restoration of the colony I destroyed.
And we continued to stand there. I was starting to nod off when the fluttering of wings drew my attention to the tombstone. A crow sat down to bite at its feathers. I held on tightly to Wufei, and buried my face in his shoulder as a hard, involuntary flinch ran through me.