Before we get started, I figured I'd stick a few warnings on this part. Ahem. Uh, I guess I should say there's a kissing scene, but brief and not descriptive. What else? And Quatre appears a bit whimpy, that's all. Hey, golden boy can't be macho man all the time, at least, that's my excuse ~__^. Oh yeah, the whole colony atmosphere thingy you'll read, you know that's bulls@#$ on my part right? Don't hold me to it, or anyone else for that matter. I just felt really creative when I wrote this, sorry.
Another Murder of Crows: Part 8
At first none of us moved. I mean, goodness, it's not everyday your broken mirror fixes itself. We didn't hallucinate this. All three of us saw what happened, but at the same time I don't believe it. Right then and there my brain froze. It's a difficult feeling to explain. It feels like I'm in a state of suspended animation and I'm waiting for the hypnotist to snap his fingers to wake me up. It's weird, because the part of my brain that houses logic is screaming, 'can't happen, not possible' and the other part of my brain that deals with sight is screaming, 'did happen, not possible.' Citizens and soldiers alike use to say that they couldn't believe five boys could win a war on their own. And from that experience, I learned the difference between what's unlikely to happen and what's impossible. It was unlikely that we would win, but possible. This is just down right impossible. Period.
I really can't say how long we stood there stupefied. It could have been anywhere from five minutes to half an hour. I guess they felt the same way I did, if not worse.
"Did-did you guys see that?" Duo's voice was barely louder than a whisper. Barely. And for my response, all I did was nod my head as if he could hear it rattle. Of course, I wasn't feeling very rational at that moment, so if my mirror could fix itself, then he could hear my head rattle.
Wufei was the first to break free from the spell. "Okay, this is what we're going to do. Quatre, you're not staying here tonight, and that's final. Duo, do you still have your apartment? If not, he'll have to stay at Heero's--"
"Nuh–uh, no he isn't," Duo interrupted. "My lease was taken over by Hilde, and that's quite a drive from here. He should stay at your place. It's still a drive, but it's a lot closer than Hilde's. You take him now in my ride and I'll pack some stuff to meet you at your place with your bike. I'll tell Rashid and everybody what's going on and where to find us. We'll deal with the others tomorrow. Besides, if we go to Heero's, he'll have Lady Une here in a heartbeat. He doesn't play when it comes to Quatre."
"Agreed." Wufei dashed off to retrieve some coats for us while Duo grabbed his backpack, dumping out some books and stuffing some of my clothes in it, along with a .38 Special. For once I was grateful to see that. Anyway, Wufei helped me put my boots on while Duo finished packing some clothes for me. I'm really glad they're taking this so well. Right now I feel like my brain is going to ooze out of my ear. I remember something similar to this happening, and it's almost within reach of my senses....
"Come on Quatre!" Wufei had a death grip on my arm as he pulled me out of my room and into the hallway. I was so close to remembering. Argh!
I almost fell flat on my face three times on the flight down the stairs, between him pulling me and me trying to put my coat on without stepping on my shoelaces, which he either forgot to or decided not to tie. I'll toss a coin to figure that one out.
We finally made it downstairs where Wufei started fumbling with the eight thousand locks that Duo insisted we put on the door, when I noticed that the hole in the wall was gone. Heero put a hole in the wall accidently when he let the doorknob ram into the wall. And now it was gone. No, that's not right. It has been....repaired, so to speak.
"W–Wu?" I stammered weakly, pulling on the hem of his coat.
"What?" He glanced over his shoulder but didn't face me.
"That," was all I said, pointing at the wall. He did stop trying to unlock the door and turned then to see what I was pointing at.
"What?!" He said again, this time with a lot of anger and annoyance in his voice.
"That!" I shouted, still pointing at the wall. Once he looked again, his expression changed from anger to shock. He swung around quickly and finished unlocking the door. He understood.
"Open open open," Wufei chanted until the final lock was undone. With a frantic pull the door flew open and both of us shot through it like our heels were on fire. I heard the sound of it stopping against the wall echo in the night air. Wufei was much faster than I was, distancing himself further from me at a ground eating pace. Of course, it didn't help that my shoe laces were untied, leaving me to run with my legs wide apart, but I wasn't going to stop to tie them.
He made it to the garage a few seconds before I did and punched in the code. The garage door screeched loudly before jerking upward in an unsteady motion. Wufei didn't even wait for it to fully open. As soon as it was six inches off the ground, he threw himself to the floor and rolled underneath it into the garage. If I didn't know better, I would've thought he was afraid. But this is Wufei. He doesn't feel fear.
Knowing he wouldn't hesitate to leave me, I fell to the ground (due more to shoelaces than will) and followed right behind him. Duo's black Jeep Wrangler rested towards the front of the hanger, next to my white sportscar. Wufei did a front handspring onto the hood where he jumped into the driver's seat. He and Heero have a knack for overdoing things, I swear. Anyway, I was about to jump into the passenger's seat when I noticed a card trapped underneath my windshield wiper.
"What is this--"
"Winner, get your ass in the jeep!"
I snatched the card from underneath the windshield wiper and stuck it in the drawstring of my pants. Once in the car, I listened to Wufei curse as he looked for the car keys. I hope he finds them. Duo is going to kill him if he hot-wires Shinigami.
"Where the hell is it?!"
Opening the ashtray, he found the spare key. Starting the ignition, he threw the jeep into first gear and pulled out of the garage onto the end of the driveway, where we saw Duo frantically waving at us to stop.
"Wait! Wait Fei! Here." He threw his bag into the back seat. "I'll be there in a few hours. There's a gun in the bag, along with another one in the glove compartment, a knife under your seat, and three grenades under the back seat. Go!"
The jeep roared into life, screaming in agony and kicking up sand as it lurched forward through the gates and into the dark night. Just like that, we were gone.
The drive to Wufei's apartment was about half an hour, which in this case was not good. The L-4 colony is not a total desert. It is built and industrialized like a city, but the ground is not made of concrete. It is made of sand. Because of that, the weather, even though it is regulated, behaves like a real desert. The days are often hot enough that you can't wear thick clothing, and the nights are freezing cold, since the sand does not retain the heat. For the last couple of days though, the generator that regulates heat has not been working to full capacity, damaged due to an asteroid, so the days have been cool.
Unfortunately, the nights have gotten colder because of it. Right now, I'm sitting in the front seat, freezing to death. I have on my boots without the socks, my mismatched pajamas are made of cotton, but they're very thin, and when I was getting dressed, I decided to forego my briefs. I've never really done that before, and the one time I do, THIS happens. The top to the jeep is gone (who knows where it is) since Duo doesn't like to have the top up. He likes his braid to blow in the wind. Also, due to Duo's 'modifications' on the jeep, we're traveling a little--well–a lot faster than we should be, and that's allowing even MORE cold air to blow on my skin. I mean, since when could you do 55 miles an hour in second gear?
I pulled the coat tighter around my body, trying to cover myself from the brutal wind. The moon was especially close tonight, to the point where you could see every crater and crevice. The light shone down heavily also, giving the entire atmosphere a graveyard feel. There was nothing to decorate the landscape from here to Wufei's, just the endless dark gold sea of sand, and the brightness of the moon outshone the stars, turning the colony's sky black.
I want to go home. Home. That's another thing. Why did we leave? Since when is 'retreat' in our vocabulary? Not so much the retreat but the fact that we didn't even put up a fight. We saw the mirror, and the next thing I know, I'm sitting here freezing to death. Wufei wouldn't back down from a fight even if his life depended on it, and Duo's just as bad.
I'm going to ask. Turning my body so that I could face Wufei, I noticed that his expression was not very encouraging. His eyebrows were furrowed to the point that it looked like he had one instead of two. His grip on the steering wheel was a little bit tighter than what it needed to be, and he was gritting his teeth, whereas he should have been chattering them. Not a good sign.
"W–Wufei, where's S–S–Sally?" I decided to do a test question first.
"There could be another epidemic on L–2 that she is trying to control. I'm sorry, I should've mentioned it earlier, but something else was on my mind."
And since when does Wufei forget things? Definitely, not good. "When does she get b--back?"
"I don't know, in a couple of weeks hopefully. In the meantime, I have been instructed to watch over you like a hawk." He did smile wryly then, peering at me out of the corner of his eye.
"Oh g--great." Now I will have Heero AND Wufei watching over me. At that depressing thought, I covered my face with numb fingertips and groaned in my hands. I heard him chuckle briefly before I felt his hand on my back, pushing me to the floor.
"You're freezing. Get down underneath the dashboard. It will cut the wind." I did as I was told and sure enough, I felt 90% better. Duh. Why didn't I think of this sooner? I must be really out of it.
I smiled my thanks to Wufei, who returned it with a weak smile of his own. He then focused his attention on the road ahead of us, with twenty minutes or so left in the drive. I wrapped my arms closer around myself, and curled into a little ball, watching how the moon's rays reflected off of Wufei's face. I could see the bags under his eyes, which looked more pronounced against the pale lighting of his skin. His brow was wrinkled in concentration and his neck muscles protruded out like snakes against his skin, making his frown deepen.
He's worried. I could always tell.
Something scratched my stomach, and I lifted up my shirt to pull the card out. I forgot I had it there. Glad I didn't lose it. Anyway, the cover of the card was gorgeous. I couldn't have pick out a better one myself. It had a picture of the desert on it, with the beads of sand gold glitter, so it sparkled no matter how you moved it. In the distance it had the shadows of a caravan treading across the sand on camels, with a dark blue night sky, very similar to tonight's. When I opened the card, there weren't any preprinted words on it, just a simple message written in delicate, handwritten calligraphy.
Wufei's apartment is extremely elegant, considering it is completely decorated in black and white. The leather couch, chairs, and furniture were black while the kitchen, the utensils, the walls and rugs were white. His swords hung criss-crossed on the wall along with a picture of Shenlong and Altron on either side, almost in the form of a shrine. I studied the pictures while he went to the frig to get some orange juice for the both of us. He handed me my drink and stood solemnly for a moment, admiring the pictures as well. After a while, he scratched the back of his neck tiredly and went into his bedroom. He above all people should know that I understand. I miss Sandrock as well.
I hung my coat on the rack by the door and opened the backpack. Taking out the .38, I placed it on top of the kitchen counter and double checked to make sure the safety was on. Next, I kicked off my boots and sat them next to the door. At least my feet aren't freezing. Finally, I moved to the center of the living room, and stood in the middle of his black and white oriental rug, seeming to be admiring his view of the landscape.
Wufei has a large window in his living room that faces east to the horizon. The top of the window is shaped in a half circle while the rest of the window body is a rectangle. The entire length equals my height, plus maybe a few centimeters. It also allows the rays of the moon to come in and sweep its pale color across the room, making everything seem so still.
I love Wufei's apartment. There is just something about this place that emits calm. It's been a while since I've been over here. I stayed here for the longest when the situation about an heir came up. I was both shocked and relieved by how supporting Wufei was at that time. I lived here for about a month and a half or so, refusing to go home because my sisters would come by and visit or call and badger me about my decision. But he had me stay here where I could come to a conclusion on my own. And this aura of calm is speaking to me now. I can never be angry or stay angry when I'm in this place.
I took the card out of my pants again and watched how the sand glittered in the moonlight. My ring shone as always, staining the air pale lime green. I opened the card again and traced the cautiously written lettering, careful not to smear it. I'm sorry too. I never realized how really close Heero and I have become. It does matter to me what he thinks of me, and whether he believes it or not, it matters to him how I feel about him. We're so stubborn. It's pathetic.
I closed my eyes and felt the slight pressure of the moon ray's absorb into my skin. I held the card to my chest and wrapped my other arm around me. Wufei came into the living room then and stood next to me, touching shoulder to shoulder. I still didn't open my eyes. "Did you call Sal? How is she?"
I could see him smile through my closed eyelids. "Yeah, I called her, and she's fine. It's worse than she originally thought, but with the manpower she has, it shouldn't take longer than previously expected."
"Aa," was all I said.
"Who's the card from? Don't tell me you have an admirer that I don't know about? I don't feel like going through that crap again with another obsessed psycho woman."
"No, it's from Odin." I could actually hear his eyebrows jump up to his hairline. I couldn't help snorting in humor. "It's an apology, from earlier."
"An apology?" he asked incredulously.
"Yep. That makes him two for two today."
"Both of you have a relationship that I will never understand, you know that right?"
I opened my eyes, but still didn't look at him. "Yep."
"As long as you know." Wufei sat down in his recliner then, and started rocking himself in the chair. I took a slow sip from my orange juice and sat it back down on the coffee table. We could've turned the tv on, but I think we were too wired to watch anything. At this time of night, it's only horror movies and whatnot that are showing, and I don't need any extra ideas of what else could happen. I have enough on my mind as it is. I just wanted Duo to get here safe and sound.
One hour later I found myself still staring with my eyes closed out of the window. I didn't stay there the whole hour though. I walked around the apartment, steamed some vegetables to go with the stir fry that I made, and was getting ready to mop when Wufei threatened to tie me to a chair. I guess I was getting on his nerves moving around so much but I was worried. I knew that Duo was okay, but I was sensing a lot of anger from him. A lot of anger. It was anger compacted with a great deal of fear. Not the best combination to have.
I felt better immediately though, when I heard the wail of a muffler just underneath the window. It could only be one person. I let out a breath that I wasn't aware I was holding and sighed in content. He's here.
Duo trailed tiredly into the apartment, locking the door behind him. I remained standing in the center of the room facing the window, and Wufei was still resting in his recliner. I heard Duo's hard footfalls behind me as he walked up and encircled his arms around my waist, burying his chin in the crook of my neck. We all stood and sat in our various ways in silence, before Duo broke it.
"Hey, that's a nice card. Oh no, don't tell me you have another admirer?! That last bitch was crazy! And she even had worse eyebrows than Dorothy!"
Wufei laughed this time. Of course, I don't know if he was laughing because Duo thought the same thing he did or if it was the comment about Dorothy.
"Duo! No, it's not an admirer. And you shouldn't talk about Dorothy that way. She can't help the way she looks."
"No, but she can help those eyebrows!" Wufei added. "It's called 'tweezing.' " They both hi-fived each other and Duo nearly fell into Wufei's lap laughing. I only shook my head. I don't even know why I bother to explain anything to those two.
I waited, tapping my foot in irritation as they wiped tears from their eyes. Duo waded back over to me, still panting. "Hoo boy, that was funny. So, who's the card from anyway?"
He stopped panting and fixed me with an unreadable expression. It looks like he is..hurt? Why would he be hurt if Heero gave me...
"Oh no Duo, don't think that. It's an apology. He's apologizing to me for earlier."
"An apology?!" he shouted, exasperated. "I was with the man for damn near two years and he never apologized to me!"
I should've known better. It was out of the frying pan and into the fire with gasoline boxers on. I think that's how it goes. At least, that's how Duo says it. "Yes Duo, he would apologize to you, but you couldn't hear it over your shouting and you throwing MY vases."
"Well...they can hit and cut when you throw them," he argued. I resisted the urge to smack myself in the forehead.
"Odin also had other ways in which he....apologized, to you Duo," Wufei added, this time more helpfully.
Duo caught his meaning right away. He smacked his lips and smirked slightly. "Yeah, I guess you can call that an apology." Wufei grumbled something incoherent, and this time I did smack myself in the forehead. He is insufferable.
"Whatever. Look, Duo, I still need to talk to you and Wu about Frankfurt. Something is bothering me." I still hadn't told him about how much alike the kisses were, and I had only one way to test it out. I hope he understands.
"Go ahead Cat, I'm listening." He crossed his arms and sighed patiently.
I clasped my hands together tightly, and prayed to Allah that he wouldn't take this the wrong way. "Duo, do you trust me?"
"Do you trust me?" I asked again, except a little more gently.
He looked at me like I suggested he should cut his hair. "I trust you with my soul, Quatre."
"Okay," I said, rubbing my hands together. "Okay." / You can do this Quatre, they love you and wouldn't hurt you. Yes, believe that. It's true. / It's hard trying to coach myself.
I stood maybe six inches away from Duo, looking into his confused, trusting, violet eyes. I placed both of my hands on his shoulders, and slowly, so that he could see me, I stood on my toes and kissed him. He did jump slightly at the contact, he wasn't expecting that of course, and I didn't want to warn him, in case it would've altered his kiss. I heard a surprised cough from the corner of the room, meaning Wufei, and I'm sure that he is going to have a lot of questions.
Duo, after the shock wore off, kissed me back. It lasted maybe half a minute. I wanted to make sure that I had a good idea of the texture and taste of Duo's mouth, since I was comparing his kiss from two years ago and the guy's kiss at the mall to now.
I pulled back and looked Duo in the eye. He gave me a very questioning expression, but I had planned on explaining everything to him anyway. Wufei came back, holding a towel to his nose. I thought that was slightly funny; I didn't hear him leave the room. Huh. Then it dawned on me: his kiss was nothing like the man's, or like his own kiss from earlier. Not identical in the slightest.
"Oh no," I moaned, and wavered slightly on my feet. Wufei caught me and half dragged me over to the recliner to sit me down. Duo grabbed my orange juice and held it to my lips, allowing me to drink without holding the cup. I wouldn't be able to hold it myself anyway.
"What is it Quatre?" Wufei said impatiently.
"I-I It's not the same," I murmured.
"What's not the same Cat? Talk to me. Talk to us," Duo said, placing the glass back down on the coffee table.
I swallowed hard. Time to get a grip. "Your kiss is not the same. The guy at the mall, he--his kiss was identical to yours from two years ago, when we were in that stationwagon." My voice became higher pitch towards the end of the sentence. The tears were welling behind my eyes. I don't want to cry. It doesn't help anything. I hate being out of control.
"Shit. Shit shit shit shit shit!" Wufei swore and stood, pacing the plastic runner of his carpet. Duo rubbed my knee absently.
"So, let me get this straight. You kissed me to see if it was the same as kissing that guy, and you were comparing that to the guy and to me from two years ago." I nodded my head. I didn't trust my voice.
"But kissing styles can change with experience," Wufei added in, but the tone in his voice was not convincing.
"Yeah, it could, but if you're sloppy, you'll always be sloppy or wet or whatever," Duo replied back. "And also, do you think this guy would have gotten some experience between then and now? He's in a state of....not ever changing at all. He's supposed to be dead. He ain't gonna run around gettin' laid man."
I pulled my legs up to my chest and wrapped my arms around my knees. This feeling of intense cold that felt like fingertips was playing across my skin, touching me so lightly it tickled yet left the trail of a chill on me. I wanted it to stop but then I didn't want it to. Allah, help me. Help us.
I started to shiver when a scary thought crossed my mind. "It was him, wasn't it?" I was hardly audible, but Duo heard me.
"Yeah, it has to be," he whispered back.
"Odin could've been hurt. I knew something wasn't right. Oh Allah!" I cried out.
Duo picked me up and carried me into the bedroom, placing me gently on the bed. I started to shake badly. I was absolutely terrified. He was right there. Almost two years later, he found me. I had nowhere to hide. I didn't want to hide. What about my son? Worse yet, I didn't have a clue about what was going on!
Wufei came into the room when Duo yelled for him. He pulled out some extra blankets from his drawer and laid them on top of me. Taking off his shirt, he slid into the bed with me, spreading the covers over him, and wrapped an arm over my shoulders. I was lying on my back, staring up unseeing at the ceiling, frightened.
"It's okay Quatre. I'm here, Duo's here, nothing's going to happen. Remember where you are, remember where you are..." I grasped at his words and focused on the smooth sound of his voice, slowly calming myself down. I'm in his apartment. I'm safe. They're here. Nothing will happen. Absorb the calmness. I can't be upset here. It is too peaceful. Peace. Calm. Relax. You're safe.
"There you go," Wufei whispered in my ear. I was safe. Didn't need to worry. Calm. Everything is calm.
"I'm tired," I murmured sleepily.
"Then sleep," he said with a hint of humor in his voice. "I'm watching over you, and Duo's watching over us."
I smiled. It felt good to smile. I closed my eyes and was about to drift off to sleep when I felt fingers running through my hair. I opened my eyes and saw Duo standing over me, playing with my hair. But the expression on his face was not of joy, but anger. I started to worry.
"Trowa is a god damn fool for leaving you." And as fast as lightening, he slid his hand from my hair and abruptly turned to walk out of the bedroom, closing the door firmly behind him. I stared at the white door for a few seconds before Wufei pulled me back down on the bed.
"Sleep," he ordered.
At his command I turned on my side and snuggled closer to him, letting the warmth from his body sing me to sleep.
It was the best I have slept in years.