The Final Murder: Part 21
Where did we go from here?
The question repeated itself in my head as I stood in front of my bedroom window. The artificial sun was rising, glowing a beautiful and bold orange, but I didn't notice it. I stood there with my arms crossed, staring at nothing, as I thought about what I needed to do. Trowa remained asleep in bed, wrapped up in blankets and pillows.
Where did we go from here?
Zechs and Noin will have reviewed the information Wufei sent them by now. They may even give us their opinions today or tomorrow. But that wasn't going to help. This was being done too diplomatically. I didn't want opinions. I wanted a plan! I wanted something that would put this issue with Krahe to rest, permanently! I did not want him popping up in my life again ten years from now. Or worse, popping up in my son's life after *I* have left this life. I didn't want that possibility to exist.
So where did we go from here? We go to the beginning.
The key to defeating one's enemy was to know one's enemy, and that has been something I haven't been able to do. As gundam pilots, that was what we did. When we had our targets, we studied them. Learned their habits. Learned their likes and dislikes. Watched them until we understood the way they thought and behaved. That was how I would out-maneuver someone: I would know what they were thinking, and counteract their next three or four moves.
That wasn't possible with Krahe. He was a ghost! How could a ghost be watched? Studied? I have seen those shows on the Discovery Channel, where these 'psychics' tracked down spirits with weird-looking gizmos, or took pictures to find 'orbs' that were the spirits' essences. What a bunch of crock. Not only was a gizmo unnecessary for me, but my ghost was also visible to the naked eye, and had a bad habit of kicking my ass whenever our paths crossed. Those psychics truly didn't know what they were talking about.
Unfortunately, I didn't know what I was talking about either. I have forgotten more than I knew over the years, and since I didn't know much to begin with, that error will be detrimental. There was so much more to this than I thought. Krahe, yes. This revolved around him. The crows? An important key as well. The portals? Totally misunderstood. I will need to do some serious research on that. And there were a million others things I was sure I have yet to discover.
But there were other things being brought to the surface that I wasn't even aware of. Trowa gave me a lot of insight into those things when he told me about their attempt at Frankfurt. Yes, I felt that the house was alive, but I didn't think of it as a living, breathing, entity. But from what Trowa said, it could move. It could crush. It could do things now that it couldn't do when I was imprisoned there. Why? What caused the change?
As if that wasn't enough, there were now crows that were out of someone's imagination. Crows the size of a horse? Crows that were white? Blue?! Not to mention the crows that were already there. How did that happen? What caused that change?
There were other things too that I was sure I was missing, and those things were with Heero and Wufei. Problem was, they were the kings of secrets, and extracting what I needed to know from them wouldn't be easy. They seemed to also have a better understanding on this situation than Trowa apparently did. How? And why keep it between them?
I turned slightly towards my husband. His confused face made me smile. "Yes?"
"Is there a reason why you're standing in front of the window, naked?"
I shrugged slightly to myself, smirking. "Felt like giving the birds a show."
He snorted. "I hope you got your money first," he commented, before rolling over.
"I hope you don't mind that they paid in birdseed."
He guffawed, smacking a pillow. Then his expression sobered. "What're you thinking about?"
I exhaled slowly. "Everything."
He nodded, frowning. "When do you want them over?"
I tilted my head as I thought about that. "Around dinnertime?"
"I'll make coffee and the calls," Trowa volunteered, climbing out of bed gracefully.
"Call Dorothy and Hilde too?"
He raised an eyebrow in surprise, but didn't comment. "Sure."
"Anything for you," he said, leaving the room.
"Is there any reason why you're going to the kitchen, naked?!" I called after him.
"Feel like seeing how hot I can make the water in the coffee pot!"
The image of Trowa strutting in front of the coffee maker, naked, had me cackling all day.
A little after seven that evening, my living room was crammed with my dearest, and most loved friends. Chinese takeout and wine littered every available space, including the top of the TV and lamp shades. Blankets and pillows were everywhere. The whole room had the appearance of a sleep-over. I wished it was. Everyone knew that this discussion was going to be long, and at times, unpleasant. The least we could be was comfortable, and full.
Heero and Duo took one of the couches, sitting flush against each other as they shared a blanket and pillow. Hilde shared the couch with them, but stretched her legs out across their laps. They didn't seem to mind. Wufei took the other couch, which he shared with Sally. He had leaned back and stretched his legs out, so that he could hold her in his arms. Sally was an unexpected--and pleasant--surprise. It didn't even occur to me to ask her over, but once she was here, I was more than happy that she came.
Dorothy had stretched her long body out on the floor, using the majority of blankets and pillows for her comfort. It was an awkward moment when she first arrived. I hadn't seen her face-to-face since she kissed me. Trowa, noticing the tension, pulled me aside. When I explained to him what happened, he rolled his eyes. "Am I going to have to check under the bed every night for love-struck fools?" he asked. That earned him a swat on the butt.
Trowa and I had taken the armchair. He sat on the arm as he always did, elbows resting on his knees as he looked about the room. I sat in the armchair on the edge of the cushion, elbows on my knees as I rested my chin on my fists. I met the eyes of my friends, and they met mine back. Whatever happened tonight, they were ready.
"Thank you all for coming. I know you could be doing other things with your evening, but I can't tell you how glad I am that you came." At this, I gave Sally a grateful nod. She smiled beautifully at me in return. The rest either shook off my thanks (Hilde and Duo), or nodded their heads in respect (Heero, Wufei and Dorothy). "I know you know that the topic of this is Krahe, but I also have you all here to ask for help." Everyone looked taken back by this, including Trowa. "Yes, I need your help. All of yours." I sighed. "We already tried to handle something without help, and it went completely to hell." I looked at Duo. He swallowed thickly and turned his face away.
"Whatever it is, name it," Hilde said. "You know if it's within our power, we'll do it." This was met with murmurs of agreement and nods.
It took everything I had not to break down in tears. Instead, I let out a slightly watery, "Thank you."
Sally nodded. "Tell us how we can help."
"We're going to start with the background first, and work our way from there," Trowa broke in, snatching everyone's attention. "The situation with the ghost has been going on for eight years now. That's going to be a lot of ground to cover, and much of it may or may not be possible to recover. That's going to be one hell of a problem. There's intel we've overlooked, information we've forgotten-"
"-not to mention the supernatural aspect," I picked up, stealing the attention back to me. "Since logic and science don't apply, there's no telling what the solution is."
"So how do we find the solution?" Hilde asked with a shrug of a shoulder. "Not only that, we may not even recognize it when we see it. That's going to be one hell of a problem as well. And I'm sure the ghost will not sit idly by. Quatre, remember when the library exploded?"
"Yes," I said, closing my eyes briefly against that horror. "But the problem, I think, isn't really that possible clues have been destroyed or forgotten. It's that we all have different pieces of the puzzle that we're not sharing with each other."
The guys opened their mouths to deny it, but I beat them to it. "Duo, you and I kept from our husbands the problems with Hrncir, and that Krahe was back. We knew he was back but we didn't say a word!" I looked to Heero and Wufei. "I just found out last night what happened when you all went back to destroy the mansion. That was six years ago and I'm just now hearing about it!" I fixed my attention solely on Wufei. "You knew that Krahe and Hrncir had teamed up, but you weren't going to tell me! I had to fight you to get the proof, and even then you only let me have it because I pissed you off! And I..." I turned to Trowa. I didn't tell him any of the things that I did with Krahe. Any of it. The fights, the gifts, the desires... "Trowa, please, hear me out first-"
"Everyone, calm down!" Dorothy barked. I looked around to see how upset I've made everyone. Heero, Duo and Wufei were glaring at everything and nothing. Hilde seemed to be slightly frightened. Sally was calm, but wary.
"Quatre, that's not true!"
"Heero, if it wasn't true, we wouldn't be upset," Duo put in as he rose from the couch. "Okay guys. Let's get more alcohol in our system before we continue."
So we did. It took a few glasses of wine, and Wufei stomping around on the patio, but soon enough we were calm. On unspoken agreement, we drifted back to the living room, and curled up as we were before. This time Dorothy took control.
"Guys, I know it hurts, but I think Quatre's right. You've kept stuff from each other, and I think Quatre called us here so that we could hear all of the angles at once. Am I right?"
I smiled at Dorothy. The awkwardness from earlier was gone. "That's right."
She smirked in her usual, slightly scary way. "Alright then. Who's going to start?"
"I will," I said, and before anyone could interrupt, I launched into my tale. I started from the beginning, when our escape from Moscow failed. I smirked when I saw the pained faces on Heero's, Duo's, Trowa's, and Wufei's faces. "Hey, when I said we needed to start from the beginning," I broke in, "I meant the beginning." Then I switched back to the story.
I went on to tell when I first saw Krahe skating on the ice. Then I told them about my fall through the pond (the guys added their bits here too), Duo shooting him (Duo told the majority of that), the forces that made me jump from the window, how Duo and I crashed into a tree trying to escape, the discovery that Krahe was a crow, how I found the key in the tree, the finding of his father's journal and decayed body in the attic, how I set fire for us to escape, how Krahe hurt me for setting the fire, and the arrival to the train station. The rest Wufei and Trowa explained as I was unconscious from my 'fever.'
After that, Duo explained how he blew the house up, and how Heero met him and picked him up. When he finished, I reluctantly explained the dreams I had, of where I fell through the ice as they watched, and where I had killed all of them. Each of them blanched at the mention of their deaths. When I finally finished, it was nearly three in the morning, and I was so hoarse I could hardly swallow.
Hilde, Dorothy and Sally looked at us with awe and newfound respect. Seconds had ticked by before Hilde finally spoke. "Holy shit!"
"Yeah," I said with a shrug.
"It didn't seem like a lot until we had to spell it out," Duo said, rubbing the back of his neck shyly. "God. I can't believe we went through all of that shit."
"Neither can I," I agreed. "And that was round one. We haven't even started the next one yet."
"And we won't tonight," Wufei interrupted, standing. "No more talking, Quatre. You sound like your swallowing rocks," he said in his blunt way. "Trowa, can we stay the night?"
"Please do. It's a bit late to try to make it home now."
He nodded his thanks, and held his hand out to Sally. She took it, and allowed him to help her stand. Everyone else stood, and the room was filled momentarily with the sounds of bones popping and relieved sighs. A blind man would have probably thought he was in a room with eighty year-old's.
"We can finish this tomorrow," Heero said after stretching. "I think all of us need some time to... absorb this."
This was met with murmurs of agreement. Everyone then shuffled upstairs and into a bedroom. Trowa and I shuffled into ours, barely closing the door before we had our hands and lips all over each other. It was great.
"God," Trowa whispered when the kiss broke, resting his forehead against mine. "How many times did I nearly lose you?"
I snorted. "I could ask the same of you."
He sighed, which blew my bangs from my face. "Let's get into bed."
We stripped as we made our way to the bed. Sliding under the sheets, we met in the center, and had our hands and lips all over each other again. Unlike the previous times this week, our lovemaking was slow and quiet, but just as passionate. I remember swearing to myself, as my orgasm ripped through me, that I would do anything to keep my life. To keep my friends and family. To keep this.
Otherwise, I'd lose everything.