Part of this chapter is a songfic, therefore I am using this song without permission, and I don't claim any rights to the Eagles. Not a thing. In fact, this song is older than *I* am. So there.
If you want to hear the song, click here.
Another Murder Of Crows: Part 11
"Darling, please open the door?"
"You have to. You need to shower and eat. You can't stay in there all day."
"Whatever is bothering you, we can take care of it. Come on out now."
There was some shuffling outside of the closet door, and I moved towards the side a little, just in case they tried to break down the door. This morning, Iria panicked and woke up the whole household when she didn't find me in bed. It was when Duo and Wufei scoured the bedroom that they found me in the closet. Duo basically freaked out and being the irrational brother that he can be, almost choked the answers out of me. Literally. When Wufei finally pried his fingers from around my throat, I flew back into the closet and barricaded myself in. Since then Iria has tried to coax me out.
"Quatre, they are suppose to be at the office already. And don't you have some things to take care of? I mean, you leave for Sanc tomorrow right? You can't accomplish anything in there."
I sighed my resignation. She was right. I can't get anything accomplished this way. Besides, I wouldn't mind some grapefruit and bacon for breakfast. "Okay."
I pulled my shoes out from underneath the door, which was how I locked it, and cracked it open slowly. Peering out, I saw Iria waiting, her worried expression made me frown. I shouldn't behave this way. I came out, running my fingers through my hair, feeling a bit sheepish. She smiled and embraced me, filling me with sisterly love.
I let my head drop to her shoulder and held her back, the residue of the nightmare--I will just call it a nightmare--still fresh in my mind. I wanted to forget it ever happened. Its weird though. I've never had a dream like that before, especially the way it affected me afterwards. I'm embarrassed just by thinking about it, but I know I shouldn't be. Still, I reeeeeeally don't want to mention it. At all. Ever.
A movement out of the corner of my eye brought my attention to Wufei, who was sitting on the edge of the bed. I stared at him, trying to analyze his face. His wasn't overly angry, I could tell that much, but he was disturbed a bit. Yeah, that's the word for it. You see, its like this. I love Iria to death, and she loves me, but we don't know each other well–actually I should say–she doesn't know me as in depth as Wufei does. He can read me like an open book.
He cleared his throat a bit, not to get attention but just to clear it, and a look of deep thought crossed over his face. Staring me in the eye and tilting his head a little, he asked, "keif halac of ezaiyak?"
I felt my eyes widen and a smile split my face in two. He asked me how I was in arabic. Duo must be trying to teach him. "I'm fine, or should I say ‘ana mabsoot'. How are you?"
The corner of his mouth quirked slightly. "I am hungry and late."
I pulled away from Iria, but still held her hands. "Alright, alright, I get the point. It's my fault okay? So pinch me." We all learned a long time ago not to say ‘so shoot me' in front of a specific person. That was a VERY stressful day.
He must've thought of the same thing, because he chuckled lightly before standing up and turning to leave. "I'll meet you downstairs. Hopefully there's some food left."
"We'll be right behind you," I called after him, before turning to Iria. "I'm jumping in the shower, then I'll be right down."
She gave me a quizzical look before nodding. "Alright. But it you take too long, and I have to go through this with you again, I'll kill you."
I laughed at her, squeezing her hands. "Iria, if I do this again, more than likely you'll have to take a number." She laughed then and kissed me on the cheek, leaving me alone in the room. I hope today will be a good day.
/Breakfast went off nicely, the flowers on the kitchen table really added a feeling of tranquility./ I thought as I shoved some of the files off to the side of my desk to hand over to Lady Une. I know that I'm going to Sanc to help Relena with whatever White Fang is trying to pull, but my resignation still stands. As soon as everything is taken care of, I'm leaving and taking full responsibility over Winner enterprises. My heart is broken a little, because when Duo has completed his two weeks, he will more than likely return to L–2 and start on his scrape yard business. And if he goes, then Hilde will leave. I shook my head as I threw some old books in a box. This is what I wanted to avoid. It's a domino effect. If I leave, then he follows. If he leaves, then Hilde will follow. The war makes some bonds that will never be broken. I worry about Lady Une, that if Zechs ever decided to be done with this, he'd take off, and Noin will disappear. If this happens after Duo and I leave, this could really cripple the Preventers.
I shook my head again to clear my thoughts. I was not going to think this way. They will be fine. Tossing some more files aside, I came across some pictures taken of us when Duo finally joined the Preventers. He was the last one to do so. We were having a party, that the four of us were united, down at a bar. Duo and I stood in the center, uniforms fresh, with an arm wrapped around each other's waist, and his free hand held a beer while mine held some orange juice. Wufei and Heero stood at our ends, both actually smiling for a change–well–a closed lip smile, but one nonetheless.
I flipped through some more pictures, coming across some that had Relena in the center, with myself at one side of her and Heero on the other. Then there were some with just Wufei and I, making funny faces or Sally playfully choking the both of us. I caught a couple of Duo table dancing on the bar, which I intended to use for blackmail to his children one day. Then there was the one with Heero and I, his arm was wrapped around my shoulders, both of us smiling like two kids in a candy store. This one is my all time favorite. It shows Heero the way he truly is. Caring.
A knock on the door stirred me out of my reverie and I looked up to see Hilde. I threw the pictures in the box and motioned for her to come in and take a seat. She remained standing though, and acted a bit nervous.
"What's wrong Hil?"
"Oh...uh nothing. Just some messages from this morning. The first is from Sylvia Noventa. She heard that you were coming to earth, and would like to see you, if you had the time."
"Great! Yeah, let me have that one." I took the pink slip from her hands, however, she gave me a very skeptical look. "What?"
"When are you going to marry that girl?"
"What? Marry? What are you talking about?"
She crossed her arms across her chest. "What am I talking about? Quatre, you mean to tell me that you haven't seen the way that girl looks at you? She's a complete knockout. Smart, rich, beautiful. What does it take to get a guy like you, huh?"
I shook my head. Hilde is too cute sometimes. "Hil, its nothing. We're just friends. She probably has another proposal I could help her with. She's not interested in me that way."
She rolled her eyes and put her hands on her hips. "Yeah, sure, whatever Quatre, and I hang around Duo because he's such a great pilot."
I dropped my chin to my chest, trying my best not to laugh out loud. She is too much sometimes. "What's the next message Hilde?"
The smile fell off her face and was immediately replied with a nervous smirk. "The other message is from....Catherine."
"Yeah," she said wringing her hands, "Trowa's missing. They performed last night, and everything was good, but when she went to his trailer this morning, he was gone and she doesn't have a clue where he could be. She wondered if you knew. I told her you two don't associate much anymore, but she insisted that I ask you anyway."
I sat down heavily in my chair, the news that Trowa's missing hit me square in my chest. Trowa's missing. Oh Allah.
"Uh, no, I–I don't know where he is." I brought my hand up to my mouth in an attempt to cover my trembling lips, but I noticed that my hands were shaking too.
"Uh, let me get you some coffee. Stay here okay?" And without another word, Hilde darted out of the office. On her way out Wufei came in, watching as she hustled around the corner. He came to me quickly when he noticed that I was upset. Picking up his cell phone, he dialed a number.
"Duo, this is Fei. Quatre's office now." He slapped his phone closed and Hilde appeared, coffee in hand, with half and half cream, placed it on my desk, and went back out. Whenever there is business between us gundam pilots, I've noticed that everybody stands clear. That's the only time curiosity doesn't get the best of them.
"What is it Quatre?" He asked, sitting down in a chair across from me.
"Uh, um, Barton's missing." It's been just about a year since I've last spoken to Trowa, and from that time on, I've scarcely said his name out loud. It's too painful. I can't say his first name at all.
Wufei raised a delicate eyebrow. "Barton's missing?" He repeated incredulously. "That's not possible."
I lifted my head up to face him. "What?"
"That's not possible," he repeated.
"Well, he's not superman either Fei." Duo walked in at that time, quickly throwing off his uniform jacket and seating himself on my desk, folding his legs Indian style and facing the both of us. "What happened?"
Wufei answered. "Barton's missing."
Duo scoffed. "Yeah, and I'm a virgin."
I ran my fingers through my hair, my anger started to swell in the back of my mind. "Don't make fun Duo. This is serious."
Duo looked at me like I just claimed to be a ballerina. "Quatre please. Trowa, missing?" He punctuated the last word. "The emperor of infiltration himself, is missing? That's funny." He got off of the desk and retrieved his uniform jacket. "Who told you this?"
"Catherine left a message with Hilde, asking if I have heard from him."
"Oh, the psycho sister? Huh, that's even funnier. She didn't want us around to see Trowa at all, and was rude as all hell when you and I would visit him, like we needed a babysitter. He broke it off with you, and now she is going to call and ask you where he is? Whatever. Besides, there is no such thing as Trowa missing. Call me if you need anything else." Duo then walked out of the office and off to whatever he was doing beforehand.
I stared at his retreating back for a moment before shifting my gaze to Wufei, who was watching me carefully. "I guess he still doesn't like her, huh?" I asked, trying to break some of the awkwardness that suddenly permeated the room.
He shrugged nonchalantly. "Who does he like? He and Odin are the two people I know who love to hate."
I snorted. That was very true. Those two would find a fault, any fault, to fight over. "Quatre?"
I returned my gaze to Wufei, who was still watching me closely. "Duo is right. Barton's not missing. If he is, its because he doesn't want to be found. Send her the message, and go on like she never called in the first place. There is too much going wrong in your life right now that needs your undivided attention." He stood then, lightly squeezed my shoulder, and left me alone in the office.
I leaned back in my chair, and bit on my bottom lip in thought. They're right. He's not missing. He's fine. Just up and left probably. He and Heero have a bad habit of doing that. Worse yet, they never mention to anybody where they are going. Ack. I don't want to deal with this. But if I can't handle this then how am I to lead a corporation? Call her and forget about it. Yeah. Wufei sure knows how to keep my head on straight. I'm almost tempted to ask him to make the call for me.
I stood up and walked across the light grey carpet, the sound of my footsteps absorbed into the thick threading. Closing the door, I paced the length of my room to calm myself down. I don't know why I'm anxious, its not like Trowa's going to answer the phone.
At that thought I relaxed immediately and sat back down in my leather chair, picked up the receiver, and dialed the number to his trailer. I figured she would be waiting for him there. It has been almost a year and I still remember his number. Talk about pathetic–
"Hello?" The sound of a frantic voice answering brought me out of my thoughts.
"Yes, I am returning a call from a Miss Catherine Bloom. My name is Quatre Winner." /That's right, keep it professional./
"Yes Quatre, this is Catherine. I assume you got my message."
"Yes, I did, and I'm afraid that I haven't heard from....Mr. Barton since that last time we spoke in front of the lion cage." /Think business, strictly business./
"Oh no! Is there anything you can do? To help find him I mean?"
/You can't give in, make the partners agree to your terms./ "No, I'm afraid not."
"Are you sure? I know you have contacts or somebody that could track him down."
The worry in her voice broke my heart. "Miss Bloom, I want to help, but I can't, and this is why. Mr. Barton is an ex-gundam pilot, and his expertise was in infiltration. He could virtually disappear if he wanted to. Therefore, it would be impossible to track him down."
"But you know that he does this!"
"I know he has the capability to do it, not his aliases."
"Are you sure you can't help?"
I gritted my teeth to keep from crying out. "Miss Bloom–"
"Catherine! Call me Catherine. I'm not one of your clients!"
I gritted my teeth again, except this time more out of frustration. I can't call her by her name. It would become too personal. "Look, he will return home when he is ready. You above all people should know this. I'm sorry to upset you, have a nice day."/Hang up hang up hang up!/
"Quatre?" /Ack! Not fast enough!/
There was a slight hesitation before she answered. "You know, I only acted the way I did to protect him. I didn't want him to get hurt. You know that, right?"
I slumped back into my chair, feeling drained. Letting a deep sigh escape, I wrestled the receiver between my shoulder and head, playing with the phone cord in my hands, staring at the desk but not seeing it. The pause ran its course as I considered her confession. Deep down inside I knew the truth. I always have. "Yes, Catherine, I know."
There was dead silence on her end before I heard the phone click softly, signaling that she hung up. She didn't need to say anything more. I sat there a moment longer, waiting for the ‘doo doo doo' chime to begin so that I was sure she hung up and that it wasn't my imagination. Soon enough, it rang loudly in my ear and I hung the phone up, not able to see anything except for a black void in front of my eyes.
I sat back into my chair and twisted my ring, trying to gather some comfort from the mundane action. My entire life has turned itself upside down in one week. Not even a complete week. Five days. Not to mention that things weren't exactly going great to begin with. Sally is right. We all need a break. Even though I'm suppose to be going to Sanc to help Relena, I'm going to set some time aside for relaxation. Yeah. Maybe some swimming will do the trick. Sanc is a beautiful country, with amazing ponds. That would be great. Or maybe her and Noin would love to go shopping. That would be fun, of course it would take the two of them to help me drag Heero and Zechs into a store that sells clothes instead of guns, that's for sure. And I should call Sylvia and set up a dinner date with her and her grandmother. Its been a while since I spent time with both of them. If not that, Dorothy and I can go bowling again. Maybe this time I'll actually score.
Even though I'm thinking happy thoughts, my anger continues to boil. I place my hands against my desk, trying to steel myself against this. I don't get angry, I mean truly angry very often, but when I do, I tend to lose control. Howard thinks it's a backlash from the zero system. Out of all of the pilots, I reacted the most violently. It just means that out of all of the pilots, I can be the cruelest.
Suddenly, I lose control. I hopped up to my feet, picked up the phone, and threw it on the floor, where it landed with a very unsatisfying thump. Angrier, I searched out the cord and yanked it out of the wall, where I picked up the phone again and threw it against the wall, breaking it into several fist sized pieces. Moving to my desk, in one big heave I pushed each of the boxes off of my desk, hearing them land heavily on the carpeted floor. The last box flew off the desk, spitting several pictures in the air before landing on its side, where the remaining pictures and books spilled across the floor. Seeking out my last victim, I kicked the chair, with as much strength as I could muster, into the far wall, where it stopped sharply, pulling some of the curtains with it.
My anger left as quickly as it came, and I stumbled back, trying to catch my breath. A tingling sensation began in my chest, and I sat down on the floor, clutching ineffectively at my shirt, willing the pain to go away. Hilde came in just then, sporting a .22 caliber, making sure that I was destroying the office instead of killing somebody. Needless to say, she figured that one out fairly quickly.
"Jesus Mary and Joseph Quatre, what the hell happened?"
I didn't answer her. I only sat on the floor, staring at nothing, trying to get my wits back together before I have a heart attack. Hilde didn't wait though; she ran off yelling for Wufei almost on par as when she asked the question. I kept mentally kicking myself though, for losing control like that. It's been a while since it last happened, but that's not the point. I can't keep doing this. After all this time, after everything's been said and done, I can't believe I do this to myself.
I can't believe I still love him.
I turned on the radio as I toweled dry my hair, slipped into some boxers and a t-shirt, and plopped on the bed. After the excitement at the office, and the determinate of how the phone ‘broke' was solved, Hilde, Duo, Wufei, Iria and I decided to go to the movies, where we saw the all time classic film ‘Terminator 2.' What people call classic is scary. The only good I saw in it was that the robot from the future came back in time to prevent a war from occurring. Everything else was just plain gory. Duo, Hilde and Iria seemed to get a kick out of it, while I was completely at a loss for words, and Wufei seemed downright bored.
After that, we went to IHOP, one of our favorite restaurants, (and the only one we don't get kicked out of), for a late night snack. Truthfully, there is nothing like a chocolate Sunday after a movie that can make everything okay. I was in heaven. From there, we came home to Iria's house, where the others are downstairs playing a dangerous game of twister, while I showered up and got ready for bed, since I have to head out early tomorrow for Sanc.
My ears perked up at the familiar notes dancing across the room. As quickly as I could, I rolled off of the bed and slapped on the record button, taping the next song that played.
// On a dark desert highway
Cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas
Rising up through the air //
Satisfied, I turned the radio up, one of my favorite classic rock songs playing. I don't normally listen to that stuff, but Duo does, and one day while we were on assignment, flying around L–1 looking for some docked pirate ships, I heard this song and instantly fell in love with its sultry melody and playful lyrics. Its called Hotel California by the Eagles, I believe. Yeah, that's it. Anyway, ever since then I've always kept an ear out for it, since I love the song, and getting a copy of it is pretty hard to do because it was made so long ago. The discs manufactured nowadays doesn't really do the content of the music justice. Everything is basically digitally remastered.
// Up ahead in the distance
I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night //
I swayed back and forth with the music, while I finished squeezing the rest of the water out of my hair, but left the towel draped around my neck, in case excess water dripped. Moving around the bed, I picked up the suitcases from my house and threw them on my bed, intending to unpack the things I don't need to take with me.
// There she stood in the doorway
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself
This could be heaven, or this could be hell //
Rashid brought over many of the things he thought that I would need from my home. That was the easy part. He, on the other hand, was the hard part. It took about an hour to calm him down when he found out what exactly happened to me on the train, then another half hour to get him to speak coherently, then another twenty minutes to get him to speak in English.
// Then she lit up a candle
And she showed me the way //
I basically ended up taking out many of my formal suits and tuxedos, settling for a few nice suits, in case I see Sylvia, my uniforms, and the rest consisted of casual clothes and Adidas sneakers. That should do it.
// There were voices down the corridor
I thought I heard them say //
I stopped, threw my arms over my head, and sang along with the chorus.
// Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (any time of year)
You can find it here //
The next verse played on while I tucked my two suitcases under the bed, and stuck the Bowie in a night stand drawer that sat right next to the bed. That was also a little adventure. With the amount of blood on it when I put it back in the sheath, there was no way to get it out. We had to cut the sheath away, which wasn't fun for any of us. Especially when Wufei nicked himself. To be such a warrior, he can sure whine about a tiny cut. My ears are burning just thinking about it. Anyway, as early as possible tomorrow morning, I need to buy another one before I leave.
// Some dance to remember
Some dance to forget //
Standing in the middle of the room, my hips started to sway on their own accord, and my hands started to travel up an down my arms. I let my eyelids slide closed as the music consumed me. It has been so long since I danced, I mean really danced. Jumping around with Duo in a club is not what I mean. I want to abandon my soul to the music, let the words become my movements, have someone look at me and understand completely what I am saying without me breathing a word.
// Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
They're livin' it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
Bring you alibies //
My hands ran through my hair, down the back of my neck, and over my t-shirt clad chest. While crossing my arms to hold myself, it felt as though another pair of hands covered mine, moving them for me. I ended up uncrossing my arms, grabbing my shoulders, and started raking my fingernails across my chest. I then moved my hands along the sides of my waist, elating a slight laugh from me, since I'm ticklish in that area.
// Last thing I remember
I was running for the door
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before //
Suddenly, I was laying on the bed, still swaying to the music. My mouth was opened wide as I became completely intoxicated. The hands that covered mine moved them in a jumbled pattern across my hips and stomach, seeming unable to find a destination.
// Relax said the nightman
We are programmed to receive
You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave //
And just like that, it was gone. A loud buzz sounded throughout of the room, breaking my trance. I sat up fast, breathing heavily, as if someone had dunked my head in ice cold water and held it there, before finally releasing me. Furiously, I searched the room with my eyes, trying to find whatever of whoever could have done it. A bright light then blinded me, causing me to cover my eyes and squeak in pain. It didn't even take a full minute for my eyes to adjust to see Wufei standing in the doorway, looking slightly worried.
"Quatre, you alright?"
I was confused. "Yeah, why wouldn't I be?"
He shook his head. "Nothing. Duo just had a funny feeling, so I decided to check up on you."
"What is everybody else doing?"
"Ha," he laughed, "they're done playing twister. Hilde and Iria are on the balcony, flashing cars as they drive by while Duo makes out with the cook on the couch. Both things make me want to bleed from both eyes before I see it a second time, I assure you."
I laughed. Poor Wufei, I don't even want to try to imagine. "I'm sorry Fei. Good night."
He returned my smirk. "Good night Quatre." Turning around, he left, closing the door quietly behind him. By this time the song has ended and I reached over and turned it off, ready to fall asleep.
/You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave/.
The last verse of the song played itself in my mind again. Even though I've heard it a dozen times before, I went ahead and opened the dresser drawer to retrieve the Bowie, and stuck it under my pillow, even though its unsheathed. I don't know why, I just felt better with it in my hand.
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