9-5-2001

Title: Desumasuku (Death Mask) 3/?
Author: Sarit (suboshi_yui@yahoo.com)
Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam Wing. Duh! If I did, I'd be living in a mansion, not looking for a job! Nor do I own Elmer Fudd or Bugs Bunny.
Warner Bros. does. So, don't sue!!!!!!
Pairings: 1+2, 1x2 and 3+4, 3x4
Warnings: Angst, death, NCS!!! (graphic), attempted suicide, torture and bastardization of a character (wouldn't you like to know who! ;) )
Rating: NC-17 for subject matter and eventual lemon
Feedback: Hell yes! I accept all feedback, except flames! Do not flame
Archive: Bee-chan, Shinimegami and Jay. Anyone else, ask nicely first! :)
Author's Note: This part may be a little violent.

 

Part 3

 

Time: Approximately 2 months previously

A heavy sigh fell from the lips of the young man sitting behind his large mahogany desk. His blonde hair fell into his eyes and he brushed it away absently. He looked up at the clock and rubbed his temples. As usual, it was well past 22:00. Sighing, he placed the stack of papers to the side and stood. Picking up his long coat, he took his keys and headed out of the office.

Exiting his office, he wasn't surprised to find he was the only one around. Everyone had gone home long ago. Entering the lobby of the large building, he smiled and nodded to the night watchmen.

"Evening, Master Quatre. Heading home?" Officer Karif asked politely. He was in his sixties, easily old enough to be Quatre's grandfather. He was always polite to the young executive, never showing any resentment towards the younger man.

Quatre smiled and nodded. "Hai, Arman. It's been a long day."

Arman grinned. "That it has. And you still haven't broken yourself of that yet."

Grinning, Quatre blushed slightly. "Sorry. I slip sometimes. Can't help it. That's what happens when you live around a Japanese pilot for months. You tend to pick up some of the language. I imagine I'll start using French and Chinese eventually!"

Laughing, Arman nodded. "And American slang, I don't doubt. Well, good evening, Master Winner."

"You too, Arman." Quatre nodded and stepped through the glass doors of Winner Enterprises. Turning, he waved one last time, then headed out. He grimaced, seeing the downpour. Sighing, he pulled out his umbrella and trudged through the heavy rain. Iria had insisted that he bring it, and for once, he was glad that she had. The streets seemed deserted; no one was about.

Quatre huddled in his coat, not paying much attention to his surroundings. The rain pattered down upon him, his thoughts as heavy as the rain. Things were going well, or so they seemed. So lost in his thoughts, Quatre never noticed where his feet took him.

Surrounding him on all sides were tall, dilapidated buildings. The tall structures, made of stone and granite, were in terrible disrepair. Bits of glass and rubble littered the streets. The darkness that emanated from the hollowed out windows was eerie. The entire area was devoid of any sound. Nothing moved, for fear of…something.

The hushed silence fell all around; nothing disturbed it. The crumbling buildings stood bare and quiet, testament to the endless suffering of man. The darkness of the area gave off the feeling of disquiet. The rain continued to fall down endlessly, apparently coinciding with the darkness of the crumbling buildings. Lightning flashed, illuminating the area in small bursts of light.

Looking around more carefully, Quatre started. So caught up in his thoughts, he hadn't realized he had walked so far from his original destination. The past couple of weeks had been strange. He had received reports of a massive coup in the works. But against who, he had no idea. He had forwarded the information to Heero Yuy, who was now working alongside Duo Maxwell and Chang Wufei as Preventers. Trowa had returned to the circus, performing with his sister, Catherine.

Fingering the object in the pocket of his coat, he turned around and headed back the way he had come. His eyes took in everything around him, wanting no surprises. He grinned to himself. Once a Gundam Pilot always a Gundam Pilot. He had tried to relax after the war, helping Dorothy Catalonia discover her true self. She had left, after only a few weeks of being endlessly frustrated. He had been sorry to see her leave; he had genuinely begun to like her.

Then the strange information started to leak his way. First a small battle here or there, then this information on some type of coup. Either someone was planning something big, or they were toying with him. And Quatre Winner did not like to be toyed with. 'Some idiot thinks this is a game. Well, its not. I won't let any of my friend's or family be hurt by war again.'

Moving at a steady pace, Quatre stopped dead in his tracks. His eyes searched the area carefully. Something was not right. Someone was watching him. He pivoted, clutching the arm that had just gone around his neck. Pulling the object from his coat pocket, Quatre used his assailant's momentum to throw him onto his back. He clutched the long dagger in his hand, pressing the cold steel of the blade to his attacker's throat.

He stared at this man for a moment, taking in his appearance. He was tall, easily six feet tall. The man's body was wiry, but muscular. All in all, definitely not someone to encounter alone, especially in a deserted part of L4. Quatre's eyes narrowed, gazing at this man. He did not know him. "What do you want?" He pressed the blade to the man's throat for emphasis.

Dark eyes stared at hm, glinting. "I'm surprised. I was told you were the weakest of the Gundam Pilots."

Quatre snorted. "Not weak. Cautious. Now answer my question."

The man shrugged, not caring about the blood that trickled down his throat as the blade nicked into his skin. "I have a message for you, Quatre Raberba Winner."

It didn't surprise Quatre this man knew his name. "What is the message?"

Grinning, the man shrugged. "Take heed, young Winner. Your life is about to change. But whether it is for good or for ill, will depend on you and your decisions in the coming weeks."

"What is that supposed to mean? What decisions?" Quatre queried, his hand clutching the dagger tightly.

The man smirked. "We are aware of your informants, Winner. Take care they do not give you false information or lead you astray. My master thinks highly of you. He believes you to be a great asset to our organization. But take care, young one. He is cold and ruthless and will not hesitate to break you and mold you into what he wants."

Quatre swallowed. "And what does he want? Who is he?"

"Ah, but that would be telling. It would spoil my master's surprise. You will come to know him soon, Quatre Winner. Very well indeed." Then, without warning, he lashed out, his fist connecting solidly with Quatre's windpipe.

Quatre staggered, falling onto his back, his knife forgotten in his effort to get oxygen into his lungs. The man grinned, placing a hand on the scar that the dagger had left on his cheek. He looked down at Quatre. The young Arab shivered at the look. "Soon, Winner. Very soon."

Getting to his feet, Quatre lunged for his dagger. When he looked up to face his assailant, the man was gone. The only evidence he had been there was a small pool of blood where the dagger had bit into the man's neck.

Standing, Quatre replaced his knife in the pocket of his coat. He pulled the garment closer to his shivering body. He headed home as quickly as possible, his eyes wary of any sudden movements. Arriving home, he nodded at the security guard at the entrance. The man nodded back, returning to his post.

Pushing through the gates, Quatre looked up, seeing the large mansion before him. He sighed, almost heading for it reluctantly. It wasn't that he didn't like his home. On the contrary, it held many joyful memories for him. But it was so…lonely. The Maganacs had returned to Earth after the war, once again inhabiting that small village in the Arabian Desert.

Upon approaching the door, he was greeted by the head housekeeper. Zela Lekra blinked, then rushed forward, drawing Quatre inside quickly. "Master Quatre! You shouldn't be out in the rain! You'll get ill!"

Quatre smiled, shrugging out of his coat. "I'm fine, Zela. Really. It wasn't that bad out."

"I wish you'd take a car to work. I worry when you walk home." Zela creased her brown eyebrows in worry. She was very protective of Quatre. He was like the son she had always wanted, but could never have.

"It's fine, Zela. Truly." Quatre gave her a reassuring smile. "I'm going to my study to do some work before dinner…"

"And no one is to disturb you. I know, Master Quatre." Zela smiled, placing a hand on his forearm. "Be safe, Quatre."

Quatre blinked, then smiled and nodded. He moved from the foyer, heading down a long, brightly lit corridor. Multicolored tapestries, paintings and other fine works of art decorated the extensive mansion. Turning to the doors that would lead to his study, Quatre stopped, turning. He gazed at the picture in front of the doors. It was a portrait of his father. He stared at the picture for a moment, silent. His hand reached out, touching the surface of the image. He traced the lines on the face, his gaze sorrowful.

Turning from the picture, Quatre took hold of the doorknob to his office. The mahogany door opened silently, his feet shuffling inside. The door closed, equally silent. A set of large French doors stood at the far end of the room, his desk just behind them. One door was open part way, letting fresh air filter in and circulate around the room. The scent of fresh roses drifted in from the gardens just outside. For some reason, he had always associated the fragrance with his friend Trowa. He didn't know why…he just did.

Walking across the plush Chinese carpet that had been a gift from Wufei, he sat behind the large desk, not bothering with the lights. The storm outside had passed, leaving the garden wet and fresh. Quatre loved the smell of the garden after a rainstorm. It was so fresh and new. He closed his eyes, relaxing against the comfortable chair behind his desk. He thought back to his encounter with the strange man in the ghetto. Someone knew of his informants, which meant someone also knew that Quatre knew of his upcoming plans.

The trouble was, he had no idea who this person was. Who they were or what they wanted. Power was the obvious answer, but was that it? They wanted power, but power over whom? Or what? Gritting his teeth, he massaged his aching temples. That was when he went rigid. Every nerve was on alert. The instincts he had acquired while training and fighting as a Gundam Pilot came to him full force. Something was off…something was wrong.

He turned, only to be slammed against the wall in a crushing blow to the temple. He gasped, his vision blurring. He shook his head, trying to clear it. He froze, every muscle tensing at the hideous laughter that filled the room. Once his vision cleared, he looked up. He stared at the gloating man above him. It was the same man that had attacked him in the ghetto.

"Long time no see, eh, Winner?"

Quatre growled, getting to his feet. Immediately, he was restrained by two other men from behind. He struggled, but the men held him fast. The man in front of him grinned, the wound from Quatre's dagger still bleeding slightly from earlier. He shrugged and balled up his fist and slammed it into Quatre's stomach.

Closing his eyes, Quatre gasped, his body going limp from the force of the punch. If he hadn't of been held up by the other two, he would have collapsed. He struggled to breathe, for air to get past the knot in his chest. Wheezing, he looked up at his assailant. "What do you want?" His voice was a whisper, raspy from the lack of oxygen.

"Me? Oh, I'm just doing my job, Winner…"

"Enough."

Turning, the assassin smiled and snapped off a salute. "Master! You've arrived sooner than expected!"

"Obviously." Quatre looked in the direction of the new voice. It seemed familiar but he couldn't make it out. Some voice synthesizer was disguising it.

"Who are you?! What do you want with me?!" Quatre growled, his eyes flashing.

"Who I am is not important right now, young Winner." The man came out of the shadows. He was covered in a large cloak, which hid his whole body. He was tall, but that was about all that Quatre could detect. His face was covered with a dark mask. Nothing was visible behind the dark mask. The darkness of the crystal that made up the mask seemed to flash.

Quatre shook his head as he looked at it. It was…pure evil. This person exuded nothing but evil intent. He swallowed, waiting.

The masked man's head tilted to the side. "As to what I want with you, young Winner…You will provide me with a great many things."

"Forget it. I won't help you. You and your goons can just leave. I will not be intimidated!" Quatre growled, struggling in the grasp of his captors.

The masked man chuckled. "Ah, but you will, Winner. You will. One way or another." He moved forward and grasped Quatre's chin in his hand. He looked Quatre up and down, taking in the body before him. A tongue slid out, licking the metallic lips of the mask. "Yes…you will cooperate one way or another. If you do not give me what I want willingly…" He shrugged his shoulders, turning his back on the Arabian. "Then it will be all the sweeter when I break you to my will."

"Never! I will NEVER give in!" Quatre snarled, then stopped. The door opened, and his heart fluttered in fear and hope. Fear that one of his servants would be caught. Hope that it would be someone checking on him that could call for help.

Three dark figures walked in, carrying with them a squirming burden. Quatre bit his lip, recognizing Zela. She gasped and tried to break free and go to Quatre. One of the guards hit her across the face, bruising her cheek. She let out a scream and Quatre fought once more against his captors. "Let her go! Leave her alone! It's me that you want!"

"That is true, young Winner." The masked man approached the older woman, causing her to shrink back in fear. His dark eyes took in everything about her in a glance. Her pale complexion, her dilated eyes; all showed her fear. Not just for herself, but for Quatre.

Nodding, he reached out with a gloved hand gripped Zela by the chin. "Now, my dear. You and I shall have a little fun. Something to persuade young master Winner to cooperate with us."

 

TBC....