7-8-2001

Title: Written in Blood
Author: AstroKender
Pairings: 5x2, 3+4, 1+2 and various combinations there of.
Catagory: action/mystery
Warnings: Bit of blood, bit of angst
Spoilers: None.
Notes: Takes place after the Eve Wars of Endless Waltz. Everyone works for the Preventers.
Feedback: AstroKender@insight.rr.com
Disclaimers: GW isn't mine. I make no money from this. Don't sue me.

 

Part 24

Duo sat silently in the passenger seat as WuFei drove towards their apartment. The morning sun glared into the window of the rental car, causing Duo to feel hot and uncomfortable. Nausea crept into his stomach and he reached over harshly and rolled the window down. The cool air did wonders for his mood.

WuFei glanced over at him, his dark eyes brimming with concern and guilt. "I'm sorry, Duo," he whispered.

Duo waved him off with a sigh. "Fei, we both agreed that you had to go to L1, so it's not your fault. It's not Quatre's fault, it's not anyone's fault but my own. If I'm dumb enough to get kidnapped in the middle of a crowded mall, I deserve what happened to me." Nevertheless, a small shiver shook his frame as he thought about the gore filled restroom. Clearing his throat, he quickly changed the subject.

"So, what did you find out up there?"

WuFei's eyes turned to fix firmly on the road. "It was a diversion. The assassin was taunting me, both with his choice of victim and a written message. There was nothing found that directly links this assassination with the others, but we have already established that this person doesn't just stick to one means of killing."

"Tell me about it," Duo nodded. He suddenly turned towards the Chinese boy. "Did you talk to that botanist? Clarece Something-rather?"

WuFei had the decency to blush. "I admit that she slipped my mind. After looking at the victim's body I knew you were in danger and the only thing I could think about was getting back to Earth. The ebony-haired boy reached into his pocket and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper. "But I did get her number."

Duo snickered while reaching over and plucking the paper from his hand. "You sound like a horny schoolboy, Fei."

WuFei smirked. "I am."

Unable to help himself, Duo broke out into a fit of laughter. But the laughter quickly turned shaky and soon became dry sobs of hysteria. Wheezing, he shook his head. "Man," he murmured. "Why can't our lives be normal for once? Is it too much to expect not to shot at, blown up, or attacked every five minutes?"

"How I wish that we could wash the blood off our hands," WuFei whispered. "But I fear they have become permanently stained."

Duo sighed. "Maybe we should just cut off our hands, then."

WuFei shook his head. "It's that kind of thinking that breeds intolerance. Just because something seems tainted, doesn't give us the right to just discard it in out search for fresher fruit. We must be willing to accept each others faults and blemishes, realizing that a bruised piece of fruit can still taste infinitely sweet."

Duo let out a bark of laughter. "Geez, WuFei. You lament that there is blood on your hands but then you preach about accepting it. Which side are you on? You can't have your cake and eat it too."

"I don't know anymore, Duo," the Chinese boy murmured. "I just don't know."

Duo sighed and sat up a little straighter. "Well, let's be done with this self pity and get on with our lives, otherwise known as work."

WuFei smirked. "All right. I stopped by the Preventer office and was told by Lady Une that you had been found and Yuy took you to his place. Une had a crew over to that grade school less than an hour after you were found. Tell me, Duo. Did you recognize the body that was in there with you?"

Duo shook his head. "It looked familiar but I couldn't place it. You weren't there, WuFei. There was hardly enough left to identify. I'm going to have nightmares for months about that place," he shivered.

"Totally understandable," WuFei nodded. "The body belonged to Harry Mason." WuFei's eyes shifted over to glance at Duo. "He was the drunk that attacked you the night all of this nonsense started."

Duo gasped. "So that's where I've seen him before! I can't say that I'm sad to see him dead after he tried to use my head for a baseball, but why him? I thought you questioned him and determined that he had nothing to do with the murders taking place."

"We did question him. But, supposedly, just as he was due to go to his first trial, he confessed to being hired to hit your apartment," WuFei said. "He offered to give us a description of the person if the court granted him full immunity. But during the drive to the courthouse the police car he was in was hijacked. The authorities believed that it was a well planned escape, but now we know what really happened."

"Damn," Duo shook his head. "This guy always seems one step ahead of us."

WuFei pulled the car into the driveway of his apartment and shut off the engine. "Don't worry," he said. "He'll make a mistake eventually and then we'll have him."

"Yeah, but how many people will be killed in the meantime?" Duo muttered as he hopped out of the car. The two walked wearily towards the front door.

"Christ." Duo moaned. "Tell me that our door isn't busted in."

"Quiet." WuFei ordered as he drew his gun. "Stay here." The Chinese boy slipped into the apartment.

"Like hell I will," Duo muttered as he slipped in behind his lover. He went in unarmed, as his gun had been left in the car along with his clothing and cell phone. The American was entering a potentially dangerous situation armed with nothing but a T-shirt and a pair of spandex shorts but he wasn't all that worried. After all, it worked for Heero.

Creeping through the dimly lit apartment, he almost crashed into WuFei's back not ten steps from the front door. Peering over the Chinese boy's shoulder, he gasped. The apartment looked worse than his own had been after his infamous New Years Bash. Which meant it looked pretty damn bad.

WuFei's black leather couch had been overturn and torn into shreds. Fist sized holes decorated the walls in random patterns. Half the furniture had been turned into kindling. Duo slowly walked over to the shattered remains of WuFei's desk, while the Chinese boy scouted the rest of the house.

WuFei's laptop was in shambles. Duo hoped it was issued by the Preventers and therefore replaceable. Papers and office supplies were scattered everywhere, covered in tiny brown spots. Frowning, Duo knelt down and studied the russet-colored blotches. Blood.

"Shit."

Duo sighed and began to stand when something shiny caught his eye. Moving aside a few pieces of paper he uncovered the smashed picture frame that had once held a photo of himself and WuFei. The back of the picture frame was missing and Duo found the photo crumpled into a ball about a foot away.

Duo reached out and picked up the photo, carefully trying to smooth out the wrinkles. Biting his lip, his fingers slowly caressed the proud image of his lover. He looked around the room dejectedly.

"I'm just bad luck all over, aren't I?" he asked the Chinese boy's image.

"Duo," WuFei called from the adjoining room. "I think you should come look at this."

"Now what?" Duo muttered as he slipped the photo into his shirt. Walking into the study he saw WuFei staring at his hand carved chessboard, his eyebrows furrowed in thought. The American stepped closer and saw that the elaborately tiled surface was smeared with blood. The soapstone pieces had all been swept from the board, and now lay scattered across the floor. All but one isolated, blood covered piece.

"The Queen." Duo murmured.

WuFei continued to stare silently at the jade colored carven figure. "It's in the wrong place," he said after a moment. Duo looked at the chess piece. Sure enough, it had been moved over two spaces to the left of its normal position. It now sat in the Knight's position.

"It could just be random," Duo said hesitantly. The Chinese boy shook his head.

"It's a message."

Duo sighed and concentrated. Queen. Queen of Hearts, Queen of England, Queen of the World...." The American jerked. "Relena is the next target!"

WuFei nodded. "That is my conclusion as well. But the question is when? Are we already too late?"

Something about where the Queen was placed tickled the edge of Duo's brain. Two spaces over to the knight's position. "How old would you say this blood is, Fei?"

"Hmm?" WuFei's eyebrow rose. "Not even a day, I would say. The blood is still sticky. I would say it had been done sometime this morning."

Today. Two spaces. The Knight. Two to Knight. Duo's eyes widened. "It's tonight. The killer is going after her tonight."

WuFei stared at him. "Are you sure?"

Duo's face hardened. "I'm positive."

***

Duo drummed his fingers on his armrest impatiently. He and WuFei had taken the first shuttle available that was headed towards the Sank Kingdom. They were to rendezvous with Trowa and Quatre, who had at the Sank airport in a little over an hour. Heero had stolen a private jet and was probably at that moment walking through the palace to resume his position of guarding the former Queen.

The American sighed and unbuckled his seat belt, preparing to stalk up there and pilot the slow moving shuttle himself. WuFei's hand stayed him.

"Calm down, Duo. Trowa, Quatre and Heero are already on site. We are just going in as back up. We will arrive there in plenty of time, so relax. You are lucky Lady Une let you go at all."

"I think that those idiots who don't deserve the name pilots are purposely going as slow as possible," Duo growled. "We should have stolen a plane like Heero did."

The Chinese boy opened his mouth to berate the American yet again on his impatience when his cell phone rang. Duo watched him with barely veiled curiosity as he answered it.

"Chang here. Une? Is Relena still safe? Yes? Fine, then what do you need?"

WuFei was silent for a moment as he listened to the head of the Preventers. Duo watched his face turn gray with growing alarm.

"No," The dark haired boy's answer was clipped. "To my knowledge he has never entered my apartment. Neither Duo nor I have ever invited him. Yes, I'm sure."

More silence.

"Are you sure about this, Lady? He won't surrender easily. Duo will not agree to that. Just for questioning, then? Fine. We'll do it after the banquet so as to not cause a scene. Chang out."

"What?" Duo asked frantically. "What's wrong? WuFei! Answer me!"

The Chinese boy looked at him dully before taking a deep breath. "There were fingerprints found on some of the items in our apartment. Prints that belonged to neither you or I."

Duo felt a cold lump settle in his chest. He stared at WuFei silently as the Chinese boy grabbed his hand firmly and stared pointedly out the window.

"The prints belonged to Yuy, Duo. It was Heero that broke into our apartment."