Ch 15: Screaming
She hesitates, her eyes flicking from me to Trowa uncertainly. She's obviously guessed she's just hit a nerve.
A tender nerve.
My voice is quiet and slow. "You know... where Heero is?"
She opens her mouth, then closes it again, looking suddenly uncertain. The cat by her feet yawns.
"Tell me where he is," I say darkly, feeling my Powers begin to roil in response to my anger, my wings fully extended. "Tell me where he is, or I'll kill you right *now*."
Her face pales, giving me a certain amount of satisfaction, and she stumbles backwards, expression like that of a frightened child. I reach out again, this time feeling for the sparkle of life that isn't quite human nor Diety, and finally I find it, snatching it in my Power and twisting cruelly.
She gasps and goes rigid from several yards away, her eyes bulging, her whole body trembling uncontrollably as I play with her life subconsciously, my eyes boring into hers menacingly. Behind me, Quatre gives a little noise of horror as he realizes-- or senses, rather --what I'm doing.
I don't often torture my victims literally to death, but *this* time...
I mean business.
"Shini, don't," he protests, grabbing my arm and looking from me to Trowa, then to the girl, frantically. "DON'T!"
"Get your hands off me, Quatre," I say calmly, never taking my eyes from my victim. "Don't try to stop me this time. I have to find out where Heero is."
"Your job is to preserve life, Quatre," I interrupt quietly. "Mine is to destroy it."
Trowa finally steps in, lying a hand on the smaller boy's shoulder, looking up at me with emotionless jade eyes. "Quatre."
But this time he doesn't relent to the stoic pilot. He pulls away impatiently, glaring up at me through wet eyes as he shakes my arm as hard as he can. I flick my eyes downwards dispassionately. "Quatre..."
"Stop it!! You've scared her enough, she'll talk, I know she will! Just... stop!!"
I stare down at him for a long moment, still toying thoughtfully with the trembling soul in my grasp, then lift my eyes to Trowa. He stares back, his face its normal cool exterior, but in his eyes I can sense a firmness, a tightening of the jaw, a sense of one who has decided suddenly not to back down.
He will stand with Quatre's decision.
He will fight for what Quatre believes in.
I sigh, rolling my eyes and reluctantly releasing the glowing mass from my Power. Wufei doesn't so much as blink as the Mischief collapses to her knees gasping, hands fluttering over her face and throat. The cat rises and totters towards her, staring mournfully up at her and yowling.
I flip my braid over my shoulder and heave an impatient sigh, snapping my fingers. The girl stumbles to her feet without her own free will and lifts terrified eyes to face me, awaiting her fate. I walk over slowly, and she watches me coming, holding her breath.
I stop before her, tilting her chin with my fingertips so she is forced to look up at me, my face almost as cold and emotionless as Heero Yuy's.
"Now," I purr, "you're going to tell me *exactly* what I want to know."
"He-he's got him," she babbles instantly, wide eyes glued to my face. "I was sent to-to get the Mirror from you if I could. He says he'll kill me if I don't g-get it, and he'll kill your boy if you don't g-give it to h-him."
"Oh, really. How about I save him the trouble and just snap your pretty little neck..?"
"You let go of that girl right this instant, Duo Maxwell!!"
I turn incredulous eyes upon the figure marching towards us like a righteous warrior, fists clenched, her eyes flashing indignantly. 'I don't believe this.'
"Relena?" Quatre blinks as she strides right past him and plucks LaLa from my lax grip, glaring up at me furiously while hiding the stunned Mischief behind her. "Just what do you think you're doing?!" she demands. "Why are you threatening this girl? And where's Heero??"
I make a face at her, openly rude now that Heero isn't nearby to frown in disapproval. "Oh, shove off and mind your own business," I snap impatiently. "Get away from that brat before she kills you or something. And quit stalking Heero, god damn it!"
She takes the insults and angry words in stride, matching me glare for glare. "Don't be stupid, Maxwell, she's just a child! And I want to know what you've done with Heero, I'm worried sick about him!"
"Worried?" Quatre asks tentatively. "Why?"
I open my mouth, but she interrupts, glancing at him, an edge of real fear in her voice. "I can just *feel* it, all right? I *know* he's in trouble. He's in grave danger, and I have to get him out of it! He's calling for help!"
I blink, shooting a quick glance towards Quatre, who looks just as surprised.
~~Is she attuned to him?~~ he wonders, biting his lip thoughtfully. ~~This is strange..~~
--she always did have an uncanny knack of finding him wherever he went-- Wufei puts in dryly, flicking an unreadable look my way.
~~No way!~~ I balk. The very idea makes my stomach queasy. ~~No way she's attuned to him! Not *her*! He doesn't even *like* her! Hell, *I* don't like her!!~~
--you've made that obvious on more than one occassion--
~~Shut up, Justice Boy.~~
He just scowls.
"Look, Miss High and Mighty," I growl, glaring at the girl before me, "this isn't any of your business, and you're just putting yourself in a lot of trouble, so get lost, all right?"
"He's *screaming*," she shouts in my face, eyes narrowed but also filled with tears. I draw in a quick breath, my heart skipping a beat.
"Someone's hurting him," she gasps, close to sobs. "They're *hurting* him, and I can't *do* anything--" Her voice finally cracks and she dissolves into helpless tears, head lowered, shoulders shaking. Quatre moves forward immediately, face pained as he gathers her in his arms, wings cupped protectively around her as she willingly buries her face in his shoulder and sobs.
I stand numbly, my mouth working soundlessly.
Then why is it that this *twit* can hear him....
...and I can't??
Quatre offers me a sympathetic look and says nothing, but Trowa is frowning thoughtfully.
"We need to find him," he says quietly. "He must be being tortured."
"Yuy can handle torture," Wufei says shortly, obviously in doubt of whatever Relena has to say. "He's the Perfect Soldier. I can't imagine him screaming."
Neither can I.
But the thought is a terrifying one.
"Where is he?" I ask, my voice strained and a little higher than usual as I turn my eyes on LaLa. "*Tell* me!"
"I..." she opens and closes her mouth, looking helplessly from me to Relena. "If I tell you, he'll kill me!"
"If you *don't* tell me, *I'll* kill you," I snarl furiously.
--oh for god's sake..--
I turn quickly as a sudden drawing of Power hums against my consciousness, to see Wufei standing rigidly, eyes closed, head tilted slightly, wings extended. His hands are cupped before him, and there is a pulsing ball of energy slowly forming between them, the light casting shadows on his face, the outrush of soft Power causing his hair to fan out around his face.
Relena lifts her head, startled, and gasps. I wonder briefly if she, too, felt the brush of Power, then my eyes widen as the ball in his hands suddenly lets out a high keening sound and abruptly darkens into an opaque color, transforming into what appears to be some sort of black crystal ball hovering just above his palms.
"Take a look, then," he says wearily, opening his eyes and gazing down at the ball in his hand as the darkness slowly clears from it. We all walk forward hesitantly, and I am the first to reach him, leaning over slightly and drawing in a sharp breath as pictures slowly appear in the crystal.
"Heero," Relena moans, reaching out but not quite touching the glass surface.
I can see him there, in some sort of dimmly-lit room, kneeling, head bent, his ragged hair hiding his face, chains snagged cruelly around his wrists so that his arms are held out and above his head. Another chain encircles his waist. Blood drips slowly from his mouth, pooling on the ground around him from countless tears and scratches all along his lean form. He his wearing no shirt, only a pair of torn and bloody pants I have not seen him wearing before. I would think he was dead if not for the slight movement of his ribcage, proving that he is, indeed, breathing. We all stare at him in silent horror, and then slowly he shifts, lifting his head slowly, seeming to stare straight out at us, eyes dead despite the pain lurking in their depths. His lips move silently, and my face pales, my stomach suddenly lurching sickly.
'Don't let her look. Don't come for me.'
Suddenly the image fuzzes and disappears, leaving the crystal black once more.
Relena. My heart is a cold lump in my chest as I stare blankly at the useless orb, the world seeming to disappear around me.
She is the one thing on his mind.
I mean nothing to him.
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