The Final Murder: Part 20
I was on my third cigarette, but it wasn't doing me any good. I was just as pissed as I was when this whole fiasco started.
Trowa and I laid awake until four in the morning. Right before we went to sleep though, the Maguanacs called, to let us know that they had secured the perimeter. That was all well and good. But at exactly eight o'clock, Trowa and I woke to what sounded like thousands and thousands of turkeys. I peered through the blinds, and saw that it was not turkeys surrounding our house, but something infinitely worse.
The universe went wild when Duo had Hilde 'perform.' His other stories also created the same amount of buzz and intrigue. But late last night, Duo announced on the air that he was going on leave, for an unforeseen amount of time. When Wufei said he wanted us under watch, he meant it, and Duo's job would make that impossible. Problem was, Duo was one hell of a star, and his absence would leave a large hole in the industry. So now, every Tom, Dick, and Harry were fighting to be the next Duo Maxwell. There were reporters trying to climb over the Maguanacs to get to the house, cameraman climbing on top of their news vans to get video, people trying to sneak in through the back...it was horrible! The respectable stations weren't here, thankfully, but at the moment, that thought wasn't consoling me.
There was a swift knock on the bathroom door, before it opened. Trowa entered, waving the smoke from his face as he closed the door. Leaning against it, he turned the fan on. "Why are you smoking in the bathroom?"
I was sitting on the edge of the counter, in my boxers. "You never heard that song 'Smoking in the Boy's Room?' "
"Yes, I've heard that song. But this is not a 'Boy's Room.' This is our bathroom."
I shrugged. "Same difference."
He sighed. "You're upset."
I was silent, then... "I can't believe this!" I nearly shouted. "Trowa, this is my house. Our home. How can they justify trampling all over our property for a story? Huh? At this point, there's nothing to really tell, and the only reporter I ever talk to is Duo." I took another drag. "I don't know what makes them think I'd give any of them a chance." I finished the cigarette, dropped it in the toilet with the other two, and dug out a new one. "Thank goodness the Maguanacs are here. If one of them destroyed my cactus, there would be hell to pay."
Trowa took a step forward to peer into the toilet. Without saying a word, he waited until I lit my cigarette, then snatched it from my lips. "Hey!"
"You've had enough," he said, sliding it between his lips. I watched unhappily as he started to puff away. "Hmmm. Menthol."
I smirked at him. "Glad you like it, non-smoker."
"Shut up." He smiled at me, then sobered. "Seriously Quatre, why are you in here? It's more comfortable in the den, and the smell would be gone before Kitty gets home."
I sighed. "Because it's quieter in here. I can't hear all of their...cackling."
"Well, it could be worse. I've avoided their attention up to this point. I guess I was too boring for them." I smiled sadly to myself. If they only knew. "But with Zuern missing, Hrncir supposedly missing, the charity, Hilde's 'kidnapping,' " I quoted with my fingers, "my unaccounted-for time, your unaccounted-for time, Kitty being gone, the bombing at the motel, Duo's and Hilde's involvement, my ass-kickings...we're going to be in a media frenzy!"
As if to prove me right, there was a sudden rise in noise. Alarmed, Trowa and I shot out of the bathroom, and ran to the window. Peeking through the blinds again, I saw that some daring soul decided to drive through the blockade the Maguanacs set up, and parked right in front of my driveway. They were currently setting up their cameras, and the reporter was fixing his hair as if he was about to go on air.
I suddenly saw red. "Trowa-"
"I'm getting them right now," he said, the air around him cold with anger. As he stalked off, I jumped into some jeans and an oversized shirt. I had just slipped into my shoes when my husband entered the room, carrying two rifles with silencers. While he set them up, I radioed down to Rashid, and had five of his men set up shop in the living room. I didn't know what kind of guns they had, but I was assured that they had silencers. That was all I cared about.
When we were set, which took about two minutes, I checked on the reporter again. Thankfully, they weren't live. They were recording some footage, but were foolishly not concerned with the lack of resistence. Other news vans were following their lead; several were driving through the blockade to park in front of my driveway, and I allowed them to do so.
"The rest of you are to pull back," I called over the radio. Immediately, I could see them drawing back into the area I deemed as a 'safe zone.' Once I was satisfied, I took up position behind my weapon, and so did Trowa. We were upstairs, but moved from our room to the den, to allow for a wider view range. Two of the Maguanacs set up position in the kitchen. The other three remained in the living room.
"Ready," was the synchronized response.
"On the count of three, two, one, fire."
Each of us had a specific area to target, so that's what we did. We shot out the cameras, causing the person's holding them, to drop them and shout in fear. We shot the microphones out of their hands, causing panic. We blew out their tires. We shattered their windshields. We shot bullets into the ground, beside their feet.
When I was sure that all of their equipment was destroyed, I called for a cease fire, and glanced over the crowd. People were shaken, but not hurt. Satisfied, I made my way downstairs, with Trowa a step behind me, carrying his shotgun. I stepped outside with deliberate slowness, to ensure that all eyes were on me. I walked over to my cactus, and made a show of looking it over. It wasn't damaged. Then I made my way to the middle of my yard, and waited a beat to make sure I had everyone's attention. My husband remained right beside me.
"Pacifist does not mean pussy!" I shouted, and mentally grinned at the shocked expressions of the reporters. "I will NOT tolerate you all trespassing on my property! Do so and I will make sure you regret it! Is this understood?!" Silence reigned. I felt an upsurge of surprise and a slight tremble of fear emitting from the crowd. "Good. Now get out!" I turned around and started to walk back to the house, but I immediately spun back around. "And don't step on my cactus!"
Nobody was moving. In fact, if I didn't know any better, I would've thought that they were huge lawn ornaments. The thought almost made me laugh.
But Trowa didn't see any humor in this. So he hefted his shotgun from his shoulder, clicked off the safety, cocked it once, and fired into the air.
THAT got them moving. It turned into a circus, with people running and jumping all over each other. Trowa and I calmly walked through the fray, pausing here and there as some crazed person ran in front us, screaming and pulling at themselves as if they were on fire. It was so insane that I expected to see explosions going off in the distance, with trumpets blowing, and men on horses charging through the chaos. None of that happened (thankfully), and Trowa and I made it safely back into the house.
Once everyone was gone, we cleaned up. Shells had to be picked up and discarded, broken glass collected, and lastly, evidence needed to be destroyed. The media would want to tell the world about today, but with no evidence to back it up, how could they? So we were making sure that nothing remained that could be traced back to me. Trowa also suggested that I practiced my 'innocent face' too, just to be on the safe side. I agreed out of amusement. After all, I needed to practice being innocent like Trowa needed to practice infiltration.
What I did need to do however, was start putting all of this stuff together. It was too soon to have a response from Zechs and Noin. Wufei was doing a million things at once, and just like us, Heero and Duo were under lock and key. Kitty's trip would be over soon, and that meant he would be dragged into this. Krahe needed to be dealt with, along with Hrncir. Zuern's body and the money needed to be found too. There were still more things that needed handling, but my mind was so swamped, my head was filled beyond capacity.
Plus, I was tired of the speculation. I really didn't know anything. I was being blind-sided with surprise after surprise, and I was just sick and tired of it! I wanted facts. I wanted causes and plausible consequences. Most importantly, I wanted answers. For better or for worse, I wanted my questions answered.
"And I will start today," I said to myself.
When we were done cleaning up, Trowa went to our son's room to take a nap. That was where I found him. He was curled up on the corner of the bed. Because Kitty slept with so many of his toys, I thought it would be easier to sleep on the floor than to move them! How Trowa managed to stay on the bed was a mystery to me.
I was just about to wake him when I froze. I didn't know why, but suddenly, I was struck by how beautiful my husband was. It was a strange sensation. Of anyone, I would know the most how beautiful he was. Time stopped, and my eyes blinked with an audible click, as I mentally took a snapshot of this moment.
Toys were spread all over his Spider-Man blanket. There was a green and blue stuffed snake, toy cars, Heavyarms and Sandrock mecha, rubber spiders, all of the 'Bob' stuff animals from the carnival, and other stuff I didn't even recognize. Trowa was in a fetal position at the head of the bed, with Kitty's pillow turned longways, so that he could hug it as he slept.
He was missing our son.
Sensing eyes on him, Trowa woke, smiling tiredly at me. "Hey," he said softly.
"Hey," I answered back, equally as soft.
He sat up in concern. "Something wrong?"
I shook my head slowly. My hair followed at a slower rate, wisping about my face. "No, nothing's wrong." I waited a beat. "We need to talk. About Frankfurt." He frowned. "We need to talk about that, and we need to talk about...me."
He raised an eyebrow. He was curious. "Okay."
I nodded, once, and left the room.
Surprisingly, we didn't sit down and talk right away. In fact, we didn't get to it for hours.
We just...weren't in a hurry. After I left Kitty's room, I laid down in my bed and took a nap. After that, I did laundry while Trowa cooked. While we waited for our food, I called Duo and gossiped, as Trowa watched TV. Duo had heard of the 'incident' this morning with the reporters, and was cackling like a madman as I told him what happened.
"God, I wish I had been there!" he said, with no small amount of amusement. "I would've been laughing my ass off!"
After that, we sat down to a peaceful dinner. Trowa laughed quietly to himself when I relayed a few of Duo's ideas to try, if we had more 'visitors' tomorrow morning. He was more than willing. When dinner was over, we popped some popcorn and watched a movie. It was a comedy. After the movie, I went to the kitchen and poured us some wine. Trowa changed into some sleeping clothes, dimmed the lights in the living room, and joined me on the couch. As soon as he was comfortable, I started.
"Tell me about Frankfurt."
He was looking me steadily in the eye. "I've asked you never to ask me about that again."
"Yes. I was wrong not to force the issue."
"No," he told me, with a quick kiss. "It was wrong of me to make such a request."
I nodded. Apology accepted.
"The house was alive," he began. "It was...breathing. That's the only way I can describe it."
I remembered that being my thought too, when I first arrived.
"As you know, we landed at the airport, and had the police drop us off a few miles shy of the house. We walked the rest of the way. Looking back, I think we did the right thing." His eyes glazed over as he took himself back. "He knew we were coming, and was waiting for us."
"What did he do?" I asked softly.
"We had to fight to get in," he said, setting up the story to answer my question. "It was hard. Crows were flying at us, trying to peck our eyes out. We had a hard time shooting them. They were so small, and so quick to move. Heero, Wufei and I were doing okay, but Zechs was completely caught off guard by it all. His expectations were no where near what I hoped."
He turned his head and stared into the distance, seeing something only he could. "It was so cold, my hands were shaking. And I could hear his voice in my head, telling me to give up because you weren't worth it. That made me so angry, I broke cover and ran for the front door, kicking it in. The guys were right behind me." I could feel my chest swell with pride. That's my Trowa! "But we went from the frying pan, into the fire."
I got up quickly and ran to the kitchen, grabbing the bottle of wine. Racing back to the living room, I filled our glasses up. "How did that turn out for the worse?" I asked, settling the bottle down on the coffee table.
"There were crows inside too. We were constantly fighting them off. If we killed one, two others took their place. But the crows inside were...different. Some were large, about the size of a horse, and deformed. Others were smaller, but as fast as hummingbirds. They were all different colors too. Some white, some black, some light blue." He paused. "I realized later that the blue was the color of his eyes."
How odd. "I wonder why the ones in the house were different?"
"I don't know."
"You wouldn't know something like that," I responded, chewing on my thumbnail. "I'll have to think about that." I switched gears again. "What happened next?"
"We tried to stay alive," he said with a shrug of his shoulders. "It was too late to do anything that night, so we kept a light fire around us, to keep the crows at bay. It would only work for a while. The flames would turn cold. A few times, the fire turned into an icicle, right in front of our eyes." Trowa seemed more impressed with that than upset. "Even when we were sleeping in shifts, we would end up waking up whoever was sleeping, because we would need the extra help."
Damn. No wonder they were so exhausted.
"During the day, we would set the explosives, but the birds would chew through them. We lost the electronic equipment when a few of them electrocuted themselves to destroy it." He sighed. "That went on for nearly a week."
"The worse was the house," he said softly.
I leaned towards him. Trowa seemed...disturbed. "Why?"
"Because it was alive," he told me flatly. "When we first went to that house all those years ago, it was dead. The ghost just haunted the place. Now, it's alive, and filled with energy." He shook his head, and looked at me with intense eyes. "It moved. Literally. The walls would bend and bow out. At one point, the walls almost touched. It was like the house was trying to squeeze us out. And the floor would shift. It felt like being in a fun house at a carnival. The windows would be locked tight, but would open as soon as we walked away, just to lock again when we turned around. We couldn't get out." Then Trowa smiled evilly. "But all of that changed, when Duo arrived."
I smiled evilly as well. "Oh yeah?"
"Strange as it sounds, the house fears Duo." My eyebrows rose at that. It did sound strange, but I knew Trowa spoke the truth. "Sally and Noin were setting up the explosives beside the house and at the tree, since we hadn't been able to get out. Because everything was distracted with Duo, we were able to lock up the attic, and set up the explosives there. Hilde had already flown off with you, so we ran outside, got on the jet, and flew overhead until the explosions went off."
I shook my head in amazement. They went through all of that trouble for me. "This is all my fault."
"You're as responsible for this as you are for the sky being blue," Trowa said, settling his glass on the coffee table.
"But if I hadn't-" The rest of my sentence was swallowed by Trowa's mouth. He kissed me so passionately, I dropped my glass. I allowed myself a moment, before I broke away. "Trowa, we still have the boy and me to talk about."
"Later," he whispered, going for the spot on my neck that made my toes curl. "Right now, I want you." He pushed me on my back and kissed my breath away, while he slowly undressed me. When I was naked, Trowa took his time touching me, as if he was seeing me anew. "Krahe's a liar," he said, and I was shocked to hear his name fall from Trowa's lips. "You were worth it all, and then some."
I didn't have time to become a weepy girly-man, because Trowa took my breath away again. But before I was completely overwhelmed, I quickly went through Trowa's story, and compared it with what Heero and Wufei were not saying, when Wufei drove me home yesterday.
They blew up the portal that was beside the house, in the attic, and at the tree. But there was one portal that no one was mentioning.
In all of the chaos around them, they had either completely forgotten about it, or failed to detonate it. It didn't matter which. Point was, Heero was right. They didn't stop him, but that was okay. We got six years of peace out of it, and this time, we were going to end it.
I pushed the past out of my thoughts, and focused on the present. Right now, I had my husband to make love to.
Trowa's recollection of Frankfurt took place in AMoC chapters 47 through 50.