The Final Murder: Part 2
"Quatre, don't you think you should come in now?"
"I'll be in soon Sophie," I called over my shoulder to my chef.
"You better be," she murmured under her breath. I heard her regardless and couldn't help chuckling to myself as I heard her close the patio door. Even after all these years, she continued to be a mother figure for me, and she was a thousand times as bad with my son. Between her, Trowa, Heero, Wufei and Rashid, I didn't worry about his security.
It was scheduled to rain today, so here I was, sitting in my son's kiddie pool while it collected as much water as it could hold. I watched how my t-shirt and boxers would stick to my skin and float away as if I've never seen wet clothes. It has been just over twenty four hours since Duo and I have gotten back from L2. About an hour into the flight home, I got a call from Trowa. He and Wufei had finished up early on this last assignment, so he was going to go to L3 to spend a couple of days with Catherine since Kitty was already there visiting her. I would've liked to visit too, but with Hrncir on my mind and him being up to many things...it was better that I came home.
I sure didn't want to though.
I turned my face to the sky and relaxed as I felt the droplets land on my eyelids and forehead. It felt so nice, like nature (as real as it was on the colonies anyway) was trying to massage my face with its gentle caress of tears. Gentle caress of tears? Geez louise, I think I've been reading too much Walt Whitman lately.
The water was now pouring out of the pool, creating its own little waterfall in my backyard. Taking this as a cue to get back inside, I got up with some difficulty (I will never get over how heavy water can be) and started to step out when someone I didn't know was there decided to give me a heart attack.
"Aren't you a little too old to be in that thing?"
"Ahhh!" The only thing that saved me from falling back into the pool was Wufei's quick grab. It didn't stop me from slipping and grazing my butt along the ground, but it was better than landing flat on my back. I was still irritated anyway. Scraping your bum against a wet rocky ground was as good as rug burn in my opinion. "Wufei! What are you trying to do, give me a heart attack?!"
"Yes," he answered, deadpan. I reeeeeally wanted to try and pull him down with me, but Wufei's posture has always been too good for that. I guess I'll have to get him drunk.
With another good pull I finally made it to my feet. As much as I wanted to laugh, I didn't. Wufei looked like a little girl you would find on a cookie box, with his yellow slicker and matching hat. Oh my goodness, he even had the rubber boots. "Wu, it's rain, not a flood."
"Thank you for pointing that out to me. Come on, our reservation is at seven." He turned and started walking to the house.
"What? Our reservation? We weren't planning anything tonight, were we? I mean, you just finished a mission, and early at that--"
"You didn't forget anything. I made the reservation on my way over here." And just to show how gentlemanly he was, he opened the patio door for me, right before he threw a towel over my head and went into the house, shutting the door in my face. I would've thought he was not paying attention had he been someone else. Wufei was not a careless person. Plus I heard him snickering in the dining room when I came in. That dork.
Who's too old to be acting childish? Hm....not me.
In record time I dried myself off, dressed, and hopped into Wufei's Montero for a fast drive downtown. We were headed for The Sand Dunes, a slightly fancy restaurant that served a variety of food from steak and potatoes to Chinese food and Tai. I was slightly giddy since it had been a while since I had gone there, and I've always liked the view from the Sea Sick Building. No, that wasn't its official name (I can never remember what it's called anyway), but it was dubbed the Sea Sick Building because it was the only one in the colony where the building actually rotated on its axis. It looked like a flying saucer landed on a humongous pole, and it's the saucer that slowly circled around. Well, when the restaurant first opened, many of the patrons would start to get sick if they were there longer than an hour. At first they thought it was the food, but it was found that if you continuously looked outside and not at a fixed point, you developed ‘sea sick' symptoms. I was so happy that was figured out, because the food was excellent.
Once we parked we scrambled to the elevator and Wufei nearly rigged it to get the doors closed before a party of fifteen was able to reach us. Many bodies in a cramped place equals some funky body odor. Luckily we succeeded (without rigging the doors), sat down in the plush chairs and relaxed to the vibrating hum as we were raised to the intended floor. Gosh, I've always loved these chairs. Because the restaurant was on the one hundred and fiftieth floor or so, there was always a possibility that you would spend a good five to seven minutes in the elevator. So there were plenty of comfortable chairs to sit in, and the music was set to light jazz instead of, well, elevator music.
Just under three minutes, the soft ding announced that we arrived. I eagerly walked out of the elevator to the smell of cinnamon and primrose, and was on the verge of assaulting the hostess to get our table. I didn't realize how hungry I was until Wufei told me where we were going.
The hostess turned out to be Chau. I didn't think there has ever been a time when I came here and she didn't seat me. She was a cute kid, about sixteen I would say, black shoulder length hair and Chinese. So as you can guess, she had the hots for Wufei. Badly.
"Mr. Winner, nice to see--oh Mr. Chang! Great pleasure to see YOU again!"
This part was where I was completely ignored. I didn't mind though. To see Wufei squirm under the intense gaze of a glassy--eyed, love struck teenager was well worth it.
"Did you want your usual table with Mr. Winner, or did you want another spot? We have some new tables on the fourth floor where you could see the whole city! Well, almost." Giggle giggle. "With the rain you probably won't be able to see much. Did you want your usual wine? We have domestic or import, whichever you prefer. What color napkins did you want? Did you want to face the door or the window? Would you like to order or have the buffet brought to you? The violin and piano players are here, so which would you like to hear? Or would you rather have silence?"
"Silence!" Wufei answered a little too quickly. I had to agree with him. Her constant flurry of words was starting to make my eyes cross. Of course she couldn't surpass Duo in terms of fast talking, but she was definite competition.
After the coatroom attendant took our coats (the attendant did snicker at Wufei's attempt to be a sunshine cookie girl), Chau seated us at our usual table, which was next to the window. At The Sand Dunes, there weren't any walls. The windows made up the walls, so even on the first floor of the restaurant you could view the entire city. After Wufei insisted that the chairs were fine, the napkins, candles, and fake flowers will do, and that we would like our usual drinks, she finally left us in peace.
"Damn! It's about time she went away!" he whispered. "She's the hostess, not the bloody manager!"
"You know she has a crush on you Wu. I think it's cute."
"I don't. And neither did Sally."
"Oh no! What did she do?"
"Everything she thought would make the kid go away, including tonguing me right in front of her. That only made her more determined, it seems."
"I thought you would've enjoyed getting tongued."
"It was very short lived. Sally spent the rest of that day, night and next morning chewing me a new one as if *I* made her have a crush on me."
"Oh man," I groaned, wrapping my arms around my stomach. "Being hungry and laughing is not a good combination."
"Go ahead and laugh. Your time will come though. When some snot nose kid has a crush on you, you'll see what I'm talking about. In fact, I hope it's a pimply face old man, with a big beer gut and a freckled, scaly bald head."
"That's not fair! You got a cute girl. Why do *I* have to get a gross old man?"
"For justice. And my amusement."
"Whatever." A waiter came by and placed down a rum and coke for me and a gin and tonic for Wufei. We've been here so often they already knew our orders. The waiter just looked at us. I nodded, indicating our usual, and he took off in a whir of black cotton pants. "I don't have anything to worry about then. Since I only go in public with you, Duo, Odin, Trowa and Zechs, I'm sure I'm going to be overlooked every time."
"How did your mission go?" I think we were both ready for a change of topic. "You two got back so early Trowa is visiting Catherine for a few days. Anything go wrong?"
"No," he said sourly. "They were just...just..."
I raised both eyebrows. "What?"
"They. Were. So. Stupid," he said in complete bewilderment. "They were extraordinarily sloppy, brought major attention to themselves, and couldn't think their way out of a wet paper bag. After watching them for three days, we had enough evidence to put them away for the rest of their lives. Plus if we had stayed another day, repeatedly being assaulted by their stupidness, I was going to shoot myself in self-defense. Trowa damn near blew his cover because he couldn't take it anymore. Let me tell you, our patience is not what it use to be."
I laughed so hard tears started to stream out of my eyes. It must've been really bad if Wufei was this annoyed and not worn out from a mission. "I'm...so sorry...Wu...fei..."
"Go ahead and laugh. I know." He started chuckling himself, then sighed. "The things I put up with for peace. You're going to hear it too when Tro gets home."
I couldn't answer him. I just kept laughing.
Soon enough our meals came out. Wufei's was the Shrimp platter, and I had my usual Tai plate, rice with lemon grass meat. It wasn't much to look at, but boy was it good and spicy. We ate in companionable silence for a bit, both thinking our own thoughts while helping ourselves to the other's plate every once in a while. I felt better every second I was out here, just being a normal citizen. I always hear how people wished to be rich and famous, but they never realize how good they have it. They take for granted being able to live their lives without having to worry about the lives of thousands of people and their families...
I glanced up at Wufei. "What?"
"You're frowning. Whatever you're thinking about, stop."
I sighed. "Alright." I smiled at him and he smiled back, but there was something off kilter about it. "Wufei, what's wrong?"
He pushed his food to the side and folded his hands, resting them on the table. "I'm sorry Quatre. I...I had a motive in bringing you here."
I was too happy munching on my lemon grass to be bothered by the grim look on Wufei's face. "I know, you did this just to get into my pants."
"What? No!" He glared at me, but started to grin even though he was fighting hard not to. "Damn it, will you stop? You're acting like Duo."
"Okay okay. What was your motive then?"
He released a deep breath. "How are things between you and Trowa?"
I pushed down a wave of panic. Trowa's unhappy, maybe? "Things are fine as far as I know. Why, did he say something to you? If he did please tell me!"
"No no no, nothing like that." He patted me on the knuckles to calm me down. "No, Trowa hasn't said anything to me. This is something I have taken upon myself."
"Wu, I'm on the verge of running around in a fit here."
"I'm bringing this up because something is changing with you, and I don't think it's a good one."
I breathed easily now. A change in me? That was something I could handle. "Oh. Well, if I'm changing and it's not for the best, I would hope you would point it out to me. What is it?" I took a sip of my drink.
"Are you and Duo lovers?"
My drink was sprayed all over Wufei's face as I spit it out in shock. I immediately started coughing, and a waiter appeared behind me to hit me on my back as Wufei calmly took the cloth he was handed to wipe off his face and shirt. A second later a glass of water was placed in front of me, and I gladly drank it in three gulps. Wufei waited patiently for me to compose myself, and unfortunately that was taking an effort. As soon as my lungs stopped trying to free themselves, I managed a very high and breathless, "What?"
"Judging by your reaction, I know you heard me."
"Yeah, b-b-but where did you get THAT idea from?"
"From observation," he said flatly.
Zechs Marquise could have walked in here dressed as a dominatrix and I would not have been more surprised. "What do you mean?"
He pulled his plate back in front of him and started eating like nothing was going on. "Well, for starters, your demeanor changes when he's around. You become quieter, almost shy, and the two of you keep your distance from each other. I invited him to come with us tonight, but when he heard I was going to invite you he changed his mind. On the other hand, you two spend a lot of time together when you're alone, and half the time you two leave the colony without any warning." He took a sip of his drink.
"Hold on. We've been spending a lot of time together working on the L2 charity fund, and you know that! And we would leave to pick up donations from different colony branches."
"So you two aren't lovers?"
"But obviously you feel something for each other."
I was starting to lose my patience. "Wufei, I think of him as my brother."
"There's also this thing called incest."
"Are you trying to upset me?"
"No, but I want to let you know that you and Duo are more obvious than you think. Odin and Trowa haven't been around when you and Duo are together, so they don't know anything. But they catch on quick, and things will get messy if you two don't figure something out. Most importantly," he leaned forward, "all of you are my friends. Family even. I don't want to lose any of you, understand? It would be different if Duo and you were married to someone outside of our little group. I could give a damn then. Hell, I might've even encouraged it. But this will involve Odin and Trowa, and they will protect their husbands, even if he makes the two of them become enemies. You know that."
I let my face fall into my hands. "I don't want to hurt Trowa." My words were muffled.
"I don't want to hurt Odin."
He sighed. "I know you don't."
"Kitty would be heartbroken if his uncles didn't visit him anymore."
"Yeah, he would."
I couldn't stand it anymore. "I'm ready to go home."
Half an hour later I was walking through the door to my house into complete emptiness. I had long since moved out of the mansion that my father lived in, and bought a little two story, four bedroom house. The mansion was still there though, but my nieces and nephews got more use out of it than I did.
Sophie had left already to go home, but it looked like she put the kiddie pool back into the shed. So I went to my bedroom, left my clothes in a pile on the floor and crawled into my cold bed. I tried hard to think of Trowa and how much I missed him, and I tried to even think about Duo. But my thoughts kept straying to an old enemy of mine, who as of late has been sending me signs of his coming. Documents and things I destroyed were repaired without anyone seeing it. I've developed a sudden addiction for the cold, which I try to alleviate by sitting in the rain or taking an ice cold shower, and I had a dream that I hadn't had in years. The one where I fell through the small pond as my friends watched with vary expressions on their faces.
The best sign was nearly a week ago, when I dropped Trowa and Wufei off at the spaceport. There was no mistaking the grin that overlapped Trowa's lips as I kissed him goodbye.