A Murder of Crows: Part 11
The ride to Prague was in complete silence. My head swayed slightly in Trowa's lap. Wufei sat on the floor next to me as he read something to me in Chinese, checking my temperature every ten minutes. My mind was gone, half from the fever, and half from the realization of what happened. Heero, every chance he got, glanced at me from the rearview mirror. I didn't know if he was upset with me or not, but I really didn't care. I only held onto Duo's cross, and wished that I could take his place.
We arrived at the train station around midnight. I went ahead of the others, since I was dressed the way I was. It would look too suspicious otherwise. A priest traveling with three young boys? Not a good idea.
Heero and Wufei went in opposite directions to sneak on board. Trowa followed a short distance behind me, eyes alert for trouble as I stepped up to buy a ticket. When that was done, I headed towards the platform. I lost sight of Trowa, but I could still sense his presence.
I also sensed another presence. This one, stalking. I pulled the cap further over my face, and walked faster. The echo of my shoes on the tile were almost matched by another set of footsteps, slightly slower than mine. I didn't dare look behind me, and it took every ounce of strength I had not to start running. That couldn't have been Trowa. He wasn't capable of making noise when he moved. But I knew who it was, even though I denied it.
After passing through security checks, I finally reached the platform. I had started making my way towards the train when someone grabbed my arm, almost painfully, and stopped me in my tracks.
"Father, I have a confession to make."
I recognized that deep, sensuous voice, and I wanted to scream. Despite everything Duo did to help me, and the precautions we took to get here, he still found me. "Leave me alone," I murmured, with my eyes cast down.
"Quatre, come back with me. I can help you." He paused. "You're dying, you know."
I sniffed harshly. I believed him. "Thanks to you," I hissed, looking at him for the first time during this conversation. I tried to discreetly pull away, but he held on fast. "Let go."
Wufei appeared out of nowhere, with a gleam in his eye that was usually reserved for battle. He grabbed Krahe in the same manner Krahe grabbed me, and leaned in close.
"I am not interested in you, only-"
"Shut up!" Wufei hissed with a hard squeeze. "You are no longer a part of this world. Go to your grave to rest, or to rot for all I care!"
That was the first time I had seen Krahe truly angry. His eyes narrowed to slits, and a cold... something flowed faintly in the air under my nose. Despite how quiet our hisses were, our little I-grab-you-you-grab-him trio in the middle of the floor caught everyone's attention. Why didn't we just come in here wearing pink tutus and dyed our hair green?
Krahe released my arm and took a step back, so that he could see into my eyes without bending down. "Quatre, if you come with me, I can guarantee their safety while they leave."
I bristled at that. "What?" I said slowly and dangerously.
He cocked his head to the side. "You heard me."
I thought about my response for a moment. In the end, I decided to go with, "Fuck. You."
/ Hooray for me! / My mind screamed.
"Quatre, you might want-"
I held my hand up, my callused fingers gesturing for silence. Surprisingly, he shut up. "I have nothing more to say to you." That said, I spun on my heels to board the train. As I stepped up, a familiar touch gently wrapped itself around my wrist to help pull me up. I glanced up to see Trowa dressed as one of the employees. I winced, feeling sorry for whoever that uniform belonged to. They were going to have the headache of headaches once they woke up.
I sat down in one of the sleeping chairs nearest an exit. Wufei sat across from me. A second later, Trowa brought me a cup of ice water. I nodded my thanks to him and chanced a look out the window. Krahe was still standing there. His face was blank. I was suddenly sure about how right I was. Nothing was going to change my mind. He would go back to his destroyed home, litters of dead birds decorating the landscape, with me to thank for it. I was going to go home with new battle scars, thanks to him. Wasn't even by any means, but it was enough. The force inside of me that allowed me to fight him was happy and encouraging, almost pounding on my head to show its approval.
The pounding. It was starting to become unbearable.
"Wufei, is there anymore Tylenol?" I wondered if I sounded as mousy as I thought I did.
"Not here, but I'll have Trowa get you some. At least you sound a little better." I was glad I sounded better, because I sure didn't feel it. But soon enough Trowa appeared with another small cup and two aspirins.
For the last time, I peered out the window. A lonely figure stood outside, wearing khaki pants and a matching jacket, with black feathers surrounding his hood. His hands were stuffed in the deep pockets, away from the chilly air, and his tall frame revealed an even taller shadow. I gave in to the temptation to look him over, memorizing the details of his physique. The desire to fight him ebbed away, as feelings I didn't understand washed over me. Maybe I was gay? I mean, I've never been attracted to men, but I haven't been attracted to women either. I was brought up around my sisters with little social interactions outside of my home. Then I started training as a gundam pilot. So could I be gay? Or was it a reaction to an attractive male from being around females for so long, that would go away with time?
As soon as I finished that train of thought, Krahe smiled a mischievous smile, and puckered his lips as if in thought. Any anger that he harbored had long since died from his body, and his posture took on more of a comfortable lean. He winked at me, and slowly turned around until his back was facing me. Then, in a deliberate stroll, he walked away. His body faded into the shadows that moved as ghostly as his footsteps. I understood perfectly.
We would met again.
Wufei had tired of this cat and mouse approach a long time ago. He immediately got up to shut the blinds, and gently pushed me back until I laid down on the seat. Pulling a blanket out of nowhere, he covered me up and brushed some loose strands of hair out of my face. He laid across his seat in a similar position to me.
"Trowa's going to watch our backs. Yuy..." Wufei actually hesitated, so now I was fully awake. "Yuy went back for Maxwell. They should meet up with us at the carriers." He smiled with relief. "Don't worry."
I smiled at his attempt to be comforting. Wufei was a riot when he tried to be helpful. "I won't worry then."
Satisfied with my answer, he closed his eyes to rest. I did the same as the train pulled away from the platform, and into the black snowy sky that would eventually give way to our salvation.
The train roared loudly against the steel tracks, once again leaving another platform. I opened my eyes to see Wufei sitting on the floor by my seat, reading to me in Chinese. I stretched out again, and looked out the window to see that it was not snowing very hard. The scenery had changed drastically.
"We're leaving Wroclaw . The next stop will probably be in Rivne and Kiev. You slept through the ride here." Wufei looked very tired himself. He probably stayed awake the whole time to make sure I was okay. "Quatre, I need to...to tell you something."
"Oh?" I was concerned. Wufei actually sounded, well, nervous. That wasn't like him.
"Yeah. Look Quatre. This past week I have realized something. Well, besides the fact that ghosts exist." He added a little snort to that. "You and Duo are very good friends. At first, I thought you two were lovers because you were so comfortable being close to each other."
I nervously twisted the ring on my finger. This conversation was making me uncomfortable.
"But now I realize that you two care for each other, as a family. And I also found out something about myself. I learned that you're my...friend too, Quatre, and that...that we could be even better friends if I could learn how to be...friendly."
I laughed. It was so hard for Wufei to be open the way he was being now. I knew that he felt this was a weakness on his behalf, but he also knew that all we have during this war to count on, was each other. The Scientists have even managed to screw us over. So who did we rely on?
He looked at me angrily, like I was laughing at him to be mean. I reached down and held his hand, squeezing it gently. He relaxed and squeezed back, leaning his head against the wall. He understood. "Sleep now," he ordered. "Your temperature was at one hundred and three degrees the last time I checked," he paused, "and I don't think it has gone down. You need your strength to fight."
"Oh." My eyelids felt especially heavy this time, so I closed them and surrendered to sleep.
I awoke to the bright light of the sun shining in my eyes. Usually, I wake up happy and excited for a new day. However, today was the exception. The black smock I had on had been taken off, with the sleeves to my shirt rolled up. The collar around my neck was loosened to allow ventilation, and a wet cloth was on my head.
Wufei laid on the row of seats opposite of mine, asleep. Trowa sat where he once was on the floor, watching me with unnerving, emerald green eyes.
"Trowa?" My voice was raspy, and I gasped in disbelief at how hoarse I sounded.
"Don't try to talk. Your fever is coming back," he said. "Heero found Duo near Wiesbaden. They'll be meeting up with us in Moscow."
I smiled the happiest smile I had all week. Duo and Heero were all right, and I would be seeing them both soon. Thank Allah.
"Go back to sleep Quatre. I'm watching over you."
I murmured something incoherent, even to me, but I intended to follow my orders. Still, as I was drifting off, I could've sworn someone kissed my hand.
I was getting worse, and I was afraid that I would be delirious soon. It was one thing to die, but I didn't want to go out like I was crazy. Whatever Krahe did to me, he did it on purpose. But that was not important now. Trowa was driving like a bat out of hell, running through stop signs and lights. We had just gotten to Kiev maybe half an hour ago, and Wufei read my temperature at one hundred and four point five degrees. We were in a hurry to get to the carriers, where the rest of the supplies were.
"Quatre, stay awake!" Wufei yelled, too close to my ear.
"How is he now?" Trowa asked, a little excited himself.
"He's getting worse and his heart is beating way too fast. He's not going to make it!"
"The hell he's not!" Trowa shouted, as he took a corner too hard. He almost tipped over the van he stole outside the train station.
"Quatre, don't you dare die god damnit! We need you!" Wufei shook me violently, the frantic apparent in his voice.
"I'm tired Wu-fei," I whined. The heat from my body, and the stabbing sensation in my chest, were almost unbearable. "I want to sleep." I felt my eyelids close, fairly swollen and burning. My head felt too heavy to try to keep up, and my body wasn't working right. I wanted the pain to stop.
"I know you're tired Quatre, but we need you to stay awake. If you could hold out just a little longer, we can get you some medicine and bring your temperature down." His voice lowered. "I did not open up and sound like a weak crying woman to lose you now."
"Quatre," said the ever-stoic pilot, "stay awake. Duo's coming." Then came the whisper that I wasn't really sure I heard. "And I need you."
"I wa-want to rest," I muttered again. My grip on Wufei's shirt was becoming weaker, and I saw the horror in his face as my consciousness finally slipped away from me.
"No Quatre, NO!"
That was the last thing I heard.
 Wroclaw is in Poland, and Rivne and Kiev are in Ukraine.