The Final Murder: Part 22
“Hey baby boy!” I said, smiling warmly. For some reason, the gravity in the room was turned off. My son’s face was slightly red as he floated in front of the screen, upside down. “How’s Saturn?”
“It’s amazing!” he said, kicking his legs. “You can see the lightening storms inside of it, and the rings are so colorful! You can see the ice on them.” He nodded, then whispered, “The captain got us so close, the windows started to get ice on them too!”
“Wow,” I said, my son’s enthusiasm spreading. “That’s so cool.”
“Yeah.” He started to rotate to his side. “Daddy, can we move here?”
I had to blink a few times. “What?”
“Can we move here?” he repeated.
“I’m sorry son, but no.”
“Why?!” he whined. “I really like Saturn!”
It took everything I had not to laugh. “I’m sure you do, but there’s nowhere to live. For one thing, where would we build a house? Those planets are nothing but gases.”
“We could live on a shuttle!”
I felt movement behind me. Glancing over my shoulder I saw Trowa just out of sight, laughing at our conversation. “True,” I told my son, “but what about food? And toy stores?” I figured the toy stores would rank higher on my son’s list than food.
“Hmm...” He began to tap his chin in thought. I smiled at the adult expression on his childish face. “Well, I have to figure out the toy store part, but as for food... build a McDonald’s that delivers!”
This time I did laugh, and Trowa’s was heard with mine as he came into view.
“Hello son,” he said, smiling. “Having a good time?”
“Yep!” He was back to floating upside down. “I think we should move here, but Daddy says no because there’s no toy store.”
“And no grocery store, and no housing.” I shook my head, smiling. “I’m sorry Kitty, but a McDonald’s that delivers is not going to solve the problem.”
“Then have whatever restaurant deliver what you want!”
I shook my head again. “I still don’t think that will cut it.”
He whipped his arms around so that now he was floating in an upright position. “But I really want to live here.”
His heartbroken expression gave me a jolt. It was a tough reminder that no matter how rich I was, there would still be things I couldn’t get my son. “Then make it your life’s ambition,” I told him instead. He regarded me with serious eyes. “Remember when we talked about the wars? How me, your Dad and your uncles wanted to change it, so we fought for us and for the people who couldn’t fight?” He nodded. “Well, I bet other people want to live around Saturn too. Your super smart, plus you’ll be wealthy. You’ll have the brains and the resources to do a project like that, and you’ll succeed.” I shrugged, thinking of myself, my father and my grandfather. “It’s in the Winner DNA.”
A contemplating look came over his face, and I felt another jolt. In that instant, I saw the man he was going to become: beautiful, fierce and passionate. It took my breath away.
Just as suddenly it was gone, and he was once again a six-year-old boy. “I think that’s a good idea, Daddy.” He smiled at us, then glanced to the side. “I gotta go Daddies,” he said with a mischievous smile. “Aunt Cathy and Iria aren’t floating over their beds, and Aunt Cathy told me I gotta turn the gravity back on before I got in the shower.”
My eyes widened. “Quatre-”
“Love you!” he yelled, and immediately disconnected the call. Trowa collapsed on the bed and had a laughing fit. I sat there for a moment, chuckling to myself as I imagined how outraged Cathy would be once she hit the floor. Iria, I didn’t worry about. Kitty did no wrong in her eyes.
“Damn. That boy is bad,” Trowa commented when he could breathe.
“We’re gonna catch hell when they get back.”
“It’ll be worth it.”
“For you it will.” I got up and swatted him on the leg. “Iria will think it’s funny. But Cathy always blames me if he misbehaves. Nothing is ever your fault.”
I rolled my eyes. “I’m getting in the shower. You better get coffee going before a certain American wakes up.”
Trowa immediately rose. “Yes. Things will get very ugly otherwise.”
I snorted. “No kidding.”
I could tell when I stepped out of the shower that something was wrong. I had a slightly noisy household since I had a child and many pets, but even with my friends present it still shouldn’t have been as silent as it was. Trowa didn’t join me in the shower like I expected, and I didn’t smell any coffee. Coffee was not something we played around with in this house, especially with Duo visiting. Concerned, I threw on whatever was lying on the floor (which turned out to be Trowa’s jeans and a plaid-green shirt), and ran downstairs as quietly as I could. There was something in the air that whispered ‘danger’ along my ear.
I reached the landing and gasped. “Oh my...”
They were beautiful. Life-sized ice sculptures of me dominated the living room, depicting me in ways I’ve never seen. A few were busts, where the focus was on my smile or eyes. Others were of situations I was in with Krahe at the mansion, and the rest were of the mansion itself. I sighed sadly as the sun glinted off the tree that marked a corner of the pond.
My friends and husband had been quietly milling about the room, admiring the sculptures as if at a museum. I couldn’t blame them. Each one was phenomenal. Even as I knew that my current purpose was to permanently remove Krahe from my life, I couldn’t help but be awed by his perception of me.
His perception and mine. Duo’s. Heero’s and Wufei’s. Holy shit. I couldn’t believe I didn’t think of this before. That was the answer!
“He really cares for you,” Hilde said, breaking my mental cheering. I had to shake my head to get into her train of thought. She gently touched a bust that depicted me with eyes that begged for help. I stood beside her and touched it too, wondering if such an expression has ever crossed my face. And if so, what caused it.
“I suppose so,” I responded, superimposing Krahe’s face on the sculpture. That was when another thought struck. “This looks like me at sixteen,” I said, and walked away to examine the others. All of the sculptors depicted me between the ages of sixteen and eighteen. Nothing from today. Nothing of the man I was now.
It was some time before I made it back to the bust. I regarded the pleading eyes, the slightly opened mouth, the way my hair was lifted from my face as if facing the wind. Trowa came behind me and placed his hands on my shoulders, massaging the stiff muscles as I tried to dissect the psyche of an archaic, seventeen-year-old ghost.
“Krahe,” I whispered, shaking my head. “That’s not me anymore.” I lightly touched the cheek, its chillness strong enough to be unaffected by the warmth of my fingers. “That boy is gone now, and will never return.”
As I stared at the face, I could see the many instances that caused that expression. Failing at Victoria Base, losing my father, believing that I’d never have Trowa, leaving Duo behind in Frankfurt, deciding between having Kitty or not, the haunting memories of Germany, giving Trowa up after I was blessed with a taste of him...
Slowly, I brought my hand to its forehead. The eyes seemed to come even more alive as I started to push. “It’s okay,” I told it, almost tenderly. “It’ll be okay.” Without another word I pushed, and watched as it slowly fell to the floor and shattered.
The room and its occupants held its breath. We all seemed to be of the same mind, that there will be repercussions for purposely breaking the sculpture. We weren’t disappointed.
As one, all of the sculptures exploded. Hundreds of pieces of ice went flying everywhere, showering down on us as we tried to cover our heads and faces. Then a wind without a source swept through the room, pushing us to the floor. It reminded me of years ago, when I was forcefully pushed out of a window. 
That didn’t stop us. All of us grabbed what we would need for the day and pushed ourselves to the door. Heero and Wufei were there first, and used their combined strength to open it. The girls easily toppled out, followed by Duo. I grabbed whatever my hand landed on in the closet, then threw myself out. Trowa followed me, then Wufei, and lastly Heero. Not wasting any time, we ran to our respective vehicles and took off. Duo’s Wrangler led the way.
“You think that pissed him off?” Dorothy asked from the back seat.
Trowa glanced back at her, but then did a double-take. “How the hell did you get in here?!”
“That wasn’t pissed, Dorothy,” I told her, ignoring Trowa although that was my first thought too. “That was irritated.”
“Irritated?” she repeated incredulously.
“Yes.” I sighed, and thought of this morning when Kitty called. It appeared that was going to be the only highlight of my day. “If he was pissed,” I turned to face her, “I would be in a world of hurt right now.”
“Speaking from experience?” This was asked with concern.
I snorted. “Oh yeah.”
She had nothing more to say.
I knew within five minutes of driving that Duo was headed towards The Oasis. That ticked me off like nobody’s business. Trowa and I tried hard to get Duo’s attention, even going so far as driving side by side with him on a two-lane road. Duo ignored us with long-practiced ease, knowing that despite how we felt about the situation we would follow. He was right. So I decided to bide my time until the opportunity came when I could throttle the hell out of him.
Turned out I didn’t have to. As soon as we parked, Wufei jumped out of his car and reamed Heero and Duo so badly we all felt the pain. I tried to jump in between Duo and Wufei, and nearly got my head removed. That got Trowa riled up, which in turn got Heero riled up. It wasn’t until Sally threatened to open up a fire hydrant to ‘cool us off’ when I had an idea. We couldn’t go back to my house, and I was afraid to go to anyone else’s. I couldn’t tell if Krahe was following us, and Duo was unable to get a fix on him. To protect ourselves and others, we needed to go somewhere public enough that it afforded privacy. We would also needed caffeine. Caffeine was a must. With those criteria, there was only one place that came to mind.
After everyone got their mochas, we commandeered a table. Sitting as close as we could manage, we bowed our heads and tried to whisper as loudly as possible. We probably looked like some rag-tag prayer group, but that was the least of our troubles.
I went first. “Guys, I’m an idiot.”
Wufei scoffed. “And this is news?”
“This morning I got an idea on how we could do this,” I continued, throwing Wufei a playful glare. “Hypnosis and virtual reality.”
Heero’s eyebrows raced up his forehead. “Come again?”
“Look. We all agree that there’s more that we’ve forgotten than we knew, right?” There were nods of agreement. “Well, Iria can help us remember stuff that we need recovered, and we can put our memories into virtual reality for all to view.” I sat back and waited.
Everyone was quiet as they turned the idea around in their heads. Duo was the first to speak. “Actually Quatre, I think that’s brilliant.” His eyes were very wide.
“Jeez Duo, you didn’t have to sound so surprised!”
“Calm down Cat! I’m just saying that’s a brilliant way to go about it. Damn, you’re so tetchy today.” He smiled. “It must be the shoes.”
“Ha, ha, ha.” I rolled my eyes as everyone snickered. I didn’t know what happened, but when I blindly reached into the closet for shoes, I should’ve spent another second checking them out. One was a sandal that one of my son’s pets had apparently chewed on. The strap had been eaten away, and was now more of a flip flop than a sandal. The other was a red, three-inch high heel. I had no idea how it ended up in my closet, let alone who it belonged to. None of the girls claimed it, and all of them refused to swap their comfortable shoes for my uncomfortable ones. It wouldn’t have been so bad if both shoes weren’t for the right foot. Combined with my wind-blown hair, too-long jeans, plaid green shirt and shoes, it was no wonder security was keeping an extra eye on me.
“How do you want to do this?”
Thank you, Heero. “We need to split up. The info we need won’t be here.” I sighed, glancing over everyone as I thought about who to assign tasks to. “Sally and Dorothy, I’ll need you to research virtual reality and hypnosis. My sister will need all the information you can find to do this.” They nodded. With Sally’s medical experience and Dorothy’s success with controlling the mobile dolls, no one would do better than them. “Duo, Hilde, I need you guys to look up the portals. We know diddly squat about that.” I turned to Heero. “Heero, I need for you to continue looking for the money Hrncir stole. I have to know where it’s been spent, what fanatics he’s given to, where they are, and so on. I’m sure that information would be greatly appreciated by the Preventers.” I turned to Wufei. “Any luck on finding Zuern?”
He shook his head. “No word yet.”
“And you’re on that case as well as the one involving us on L1?”
I shook my head. “That’s bogging you down enough. Adding this will be too much.” He didn’t say a word. He didn’t have to, he knew I was speaking the truth. I turned to Trowa. “And you know what we’ll be doing, oh husband of mine?”
He smirked. “What?”
I smiled brightly. “Everything else!”
“Really? That’s a relief. This won’t be as hard as I thought then,” I said as I limped my way to the door. I thought it would be easier to just go barefoot, but knowing my luck I’d probably step on a scorpion. Three-inch heels were uncomfortable as hell, but better than nothing. “No, the hardest will be Heero, I think. He took the longest to adapt to the ZERO system. It was a constant struggle for him.” I cursed as I nearly lost my balance. “Yeah, you’re right. You never know, and I’ve been wrong before. Okay. Keep up the good work. Thanks Dorothy. Bye.” I hung up and stared at the door.
For twenty minutes or so, Trowa and I went back and forth on whether or not we should stay in our house tonight. While the episode with Krahe didn’t upset us, neither of us were in the mood to deal with him tonight. I wanted to be home in case Kitty called again, but I knew that if he didn’t reach me here, he would get me on the cellular. In the end, we decided to go home.
“Change your mind?” Trowa asked as he unlocked the door.
“No,” I sighed. “But if he starts anything, and I mean anything, we’re outta here.”
“Sounds like a plan,” he said as he opened the door.
We entered and found everything as it should have been. There were no signs of the ice sculptures, nor signs of damage from them imploding. Sleeping bags and blankets were left as they were this morning, socks and other bits of clothing strewn here and there. I opened the closet and found the mates of the shoes I wore, and shoved them as far into the back as possible. “Allah, my hip is killing me.”
“Really?” Trowa asked as he dug plates out for the take-out. “Let’s eat, then I’ll give you a massage.”
After dinner, I was sighing blissfully as I stretched out in bed, Trowa giving me a full-body massage. Everyone had called during dinner to report the progress that had been made today, and so far we were doing good. I let the information I was given bounce around in my head. All Trowa and I really did today was get organized. There was so much ground to cover between the two of us, I didn’t think either of us knew where to start.
“Turn your brain off, Quatre.”
“I can’t,” I said into the blanket. “I have to figure this out.”
“You can’t do it in one night.”
“I can try.”
“I’d rather you didn’t,” he murmured along my shoulder, kissing the skin there.
He chuckled. “Turned your brain off, did it?”
“No,” I said with a smile, turning over. “Just turned it in a different direction.”
We happily made-out, and were on our way to something more meaningful when the window suddenly shattered. Trowa threw himself over me, but both of us watched as the shards flew forward, halted in mid-air, then went backwards, returning to reform the window as if on rewind. I groaned in dismay, thumping my head against the mattress. Trowa stood and collected his clothes, keeping out of range of the window. “This is my house, Krahe,” I said into the air. “I can have sex here if I want to!”
“Come on,” Trowa said, handing me some clothes. “Let’s go.”
Without another word I dressed, and put on proper shoes. Trowa and I quickly made our way to the car, and took off. As we drove, I called Wufei to let him know what was up.
“Hey Wu. Sorry to bother you, but I’m just letting you know Trowa and I are on our way to a hotel. Krahe showed up and started acting out.”
“Oh for... Quatre, don’t go to a hotel. Stay here tonight.”
I smiled. “We don’t want to impose.”
He snorted. “I’ll expect you in fifteen minutes.”
“We want to have sex,” Trowa yelled.
“Then it’s a good thing I have a crawlspace,” Wufei answered, hearing Trowa.. “Fifteen minutes.” He hung up. 
I laughed. “We’re staying at Wu’s. He expects us in fifteen minutes.”
“And what about the sex?”
I smiled again. “He said that it was a good thing he had a crawlspace then.”
Trowa’s laughter was left behind as we flew down the road.
 Refers to MoC, chapter 6 when Quatre was forced out of a window by cold air.
 Refers to TFM, chapter 6 when Q & T shagged in the crawlspace of Wufei’s house.