7-30-2001

Title: Written in Blood
Author: AstroKender
Pairings: 5x2, 3+4, 1+2 and various combinations there of.
Catagory: action/mystery
Warnings: angst a poppin!
Spoilers: None.
Notes: Well, some suspicions will be confirmed in this chapter, but not everything is answered right away! You're gonna have to wait for the next chapters to find out what is really going on. ^_^
Feedback: AstroKender@insight.rr.com
Disclaimers: GW isn't mine. I make no money from this. Don't sue me.

 

Part 26

 

Duo stood behind the head of table, struggling not to shift his feet or tug at the tie of his Preventer uniform. Dinner had started about a half an hour ago and Duo had been forced to watch as a dozen aristocrats and diplomats stuffed themselves with delicious smelling delicacies. Gods, he was hungry! He only prayed that his stomach wouldn't growl too loudly, and cause him further discomfort, this time in embarrassment.

Sighing inaudibly, the American's gaze roamed about the room. This dinner chamber was as big as a house! Rose-colored marble floors glowed under the lights of a half dozen chandeliers. Stark white walls rose elegantly up to the second floor, pooling out to an indoor balcony where lush plants got the full advantage of a well-placed skylight. Duo peered through the glass and into the night, trying to pinpoint a colony floating amid the sparkling stars.

Duo heard a discreet cough behind him and forced his gaze down. He could feel Trowa's disapproving stare pounding into his back. Waving one hand behind his back complacently, he resumed his vigil. Duo's eyes roamed from one dinner guest to the next, sizing them up for possible threats.

Such chubby dignitaries, he nearly snorted, none of them skilled enough to handle anything more sinister than a steak knife. Obviously, their killer was not to be found among this lot. But Duo made a point to examine ach of them in turn, Trowa thought he was slacking off enough as it was.

Reaching the end of the table, his eyes connected with piercing blue ones staring out from unruly bangs. Heero watched him calmly, making no pretense of eating. He seemed entirely comfortable in his tuxedo, like he wasn't going to be taken in as a suspect of murder shortly after dinner. Swallowing, Duo forced himself to nod, his eyes striving to show the other boy that he knew he was innocent. Heero's eyes softened and he nodded back, before turning his attention to his plate.

Duo felt a different pair of eyes on him and shifted his gaze to WuFei, who sat uncomfortably next to Heero. He looked striking in his suit, though he didn't seem nearly as comfortable in it as Heero. The Chinese boy shot him a disgruntled look before switching his gaze to Heero. Sighing, Duo looked away and forced his shoulders not to slump.

The American turned his gaze to the girl in front of him. Relena sat delicately in a high backed chair, conversing with her guest politely as she ate. With Duo's help, she decided on a simple white gown that offset her skin and made her blue eyes seem even more intense. She really did look wonderful, very grown up. As Duo watched, one of her slender hands slid behind the chair and into his vision. The fingers and thumb curled into an O as she made a few short jerking up and down motions, all while still talking to the man on her right about the foreign trade of soybeans.

Biting back a bark of laughter, Duo's hand slipped into his pocket, pulling out a rubber band and flipped it at the traitorous hand. Jerking in surprise, Relena drew her arm back, but not without giving him a lovely view of her middle finger. His smile widened and he had to resist the urge to reach over and playfully muss her hair. So much for grown ups.

Unconsciously, his gaze traveled back up to the balcony. He really needed to talk to Relena about that particular architectural wonder. The balcony gave whoever was on it the dominant position over anyone located below and it was a big threat to Relena's safety, as well as the other guests. Duo wondered idly if Heero had already mentioned it to her.

A flash of motion caught his eyes and he stiffened. On one of the balcony's plants, a single leaf shifted. Acting on instinct, Duo pointed, shouting to the others in warning before taking Relena's chair and flipping it backwards. He felt something thump into his back just as he threw himself on top of the Vice minister. His arms stretched out, making sure he was covering her from ears to ankles as he listened to the pandemonium around them.

Heero was on his feet within seconds, his gun out and firing into the direction that the American had pointed. A large planter fell from the balcony onto the floor below with a shattering crash. Momentarily distracted he stood motionless as something shot towards him. Unable to dodge such speed, he froze, his eyes widening. A silver platter flew up inches from his face and the projectile clanged against it harmlessly.

The Japanese boy turned to stare at WuFei as he stood before him, the now dented platter in hand. WuFei gave Heero a cursory glance before dropping the plate and running towards the balcony stairs, followed closely by Trowa's swiftly moving figure. Heero gazed after them, numb, before the shocked cries of the guests drew him back to the present and he dashed to the other end of the table.

Relena's wide eyes peered up at him from between the safety of Duo's knees. The American huddled unmoving over the blonde's upside down form, his forehead pressed into the edge of the seat cushion. His heart in his throat, the Prussian eyed boy knelt down and touched Duo's arm as he scanned for tell tale signs of blood.

"Duo? Are you all right?" both he and Relena spoke at the same time.

The American shifted slightly before murmuring, "Black lace panties? Relena, you surprise me."

Shocked, Relena's face flushed red as she struggled to push Duo off of her. Smiling slightly, Heero assisted the laughing boy up. But as Duo straightened, Heero's eyes flashed and he tensed. "Don't move," He ordered.

Startled, Duo did as he was told and the Japanese boy carefully pulled a brightly colored tuft from the American's braid. A dart. And from looking at the make of it, it probably held some sort of lethal poison. Sighing, he nodded to Duo, who of course couldn't see him. "Okay," Heero croaked in relief, "You can turn around now. I'm glad I never carried out those threats to cut off your braid. It just saved your life."

Duo turned and, spying the dart, shook his head grimly. "Everyday I beat my own previous record for number of days in a row I've stayed alive." Glancing down, he helped Relena to her feet. "Are you okay?"

The blonde nodded shakily and turned to face her guests, struggling to calm them. Duo looked around the room quickly, his gaze moving up to the seemingly empty balcony. "Have everyone get under the table," he told Relena.

"Where is WuFei?" he asked Heero.

"He went after the killer."

Duo nodded and removed his gun, preparing to follow his lover when Heero halted him.

"Duo. I want...to apologize," Heero said slowly. "That day you called and I accused WuFei of being the murderer, I-I was jealous. WuFei would never do anything like that. He saved my life, just now and many times in the past. I was wrong to accuse him. Duo? What's wrong?"

Duo stumbled backwards, his face pale. "It--it wasn't a dream?"

"What are you talking about?" Heero grabbed his shoulders.

"Duo! Heero!" Quatre came running up. "Are either of you hurt?"

"We're fine, Quatre," Heero muttered. "I am, at least. Duo! Answer me! What is going on?" He punctuated the question with a firm shake.

Duo shook his head violently, muttering to himself. "No, no, no, no...."

"Duo? What's wrong?" Relena started to crawl out from underneath the table.

"Stay under there!" Heero barked.

Duo's shaking worsened and he knocked Heero's hands away. Shoving past Quatre, he stumbled over to the table and supported himself on its solid surface. "No damn it. I won't believe it. I won't!" Clenching the tablecloth in his fists, he jerked it from the table, causing the expensive China dishes to crash to the floor and shatter. "NO!"

The guests cowering under the table cried out in alarm and Quatre could only stare at him with wide eyes. But Heero strode forward in determination. "Duo! Get a hold of yourself god damn it!"

Duo's hands ran through his hair as his head tilted back! Closing his eyes in anguish he roared at the top of his lungs.

"WUFEI!" the name echoed though the mansion.

Pulling his gun from its holster, the American started for the balcony only to crumple, boneless, to the floor after a sharp jab to his neck.

"Did you have to hit him so hard? Quatre reprimanded.

Heero grunted. "He was hysterical."

Quatre stared down at the prone form of his friend. "He was pissed."

A gun went off somewhere up in the balcony and Heero threw himself of Duo protectively. Quatre had his gun out and was looking around watchfully. After a minute Heero sighed and slammed his fist into the marble floor. "I wish I knew what was going on."

"Me too. But someone has to watch of Relena and her guests," Quatre said. "We are just going to have to believe in Trowa and WuFei."

Staring down at Duo's profile, Heero suddenly found that belief hard to muster.

***

WuFei and Trowa reached the top of the stairs in under a minute. Their guns drawn, they glance both left and right nervously. Lush plants covered the walls and floor, making a simple balcony seem like a tropical rain forest. Trowa took one careful step forward.

"I'll go right," he offered. "You take left. We'll meet in the middle by that big fountain."

WuFei nodded and they both separated, soon loosing sight of each other. Dark eyes watched smugly as the Chinese boy walked further and further away from his friend. Jumping soundlessly from a giant planter to the floor, the figure slowly trailed after WuFei.

WuFei could feel someone watching him. Keeping his gun pointed out in front of him, his eyes darted from side to side nervously. Minutes ticked by slowly as he walked, his steps echoing in cadence with his unsteady breathing. Shaking his head slightly, he struggled to get control of himself when he heard a shout reverberate up to the balcony.

"WUFEI!"

"Shit!" The Chinese boy cursed. Running to the edge of the balcony, he peered down just in time to see Duo crumple to the floor from Heero's powerful blow. "Yuy...." He growled, as he turned to run back to the stairs. But as he turned his eyes caught sight of a dark figure hurtling towards him. He raised his gun to fire but the weapon was kicked from his hand. The gun clattered to the floor and went off, shooting harmlessly into the wall next to him.

"I detest the use of guns. I do not see how you can bear to touch one of the vile things."

WuFei's eyes narrowed as he stared at the dark orbs inches from his own. A ceremonial dagger rested calmly against his throat and the Chinese boy's fist clenched upon seeing the Dragon Clan's sigil embossed on it's serrated surface. Shifting his gaze back to his attacker, he growled.

"Who are you?"

"I told you," The figure said, his chuckles muffled by the black mask fitted over his head. "I am a member of the Dragon Clan."

"Nonsense! I am the sole surviving member of that clan!"

"Perhaps you did not look hard enough, Chang WuFei." The dagger pressed closer, drawing a single bead of blood from WuFei's throat.

"You are not from the Dragon Clan. No one from my clan would have acted so dishonorably."

The figure laughed harshly, his fingers wrapping around the front of WuFei's tux. Lifting the Preventer of his feet, the attacker pulled him closer. "Then you should very well strike your name from the list of the Dragon Clan, for all the dishonor you immersed yourself in to be with that American. I do not think he was worth that sacrifice, but I helped you anyway. And for doing that for you, the only thanks you offer is to turn on me. You do not hold much to your word, Chang WuFei."

"You were the one who broke our agreement, that night on the cliffs! You tried to kill him!"

"Bah," he released WuFei, but still held the dagger carefully to the Chinese boy's throat. "I was only trying to divert him. He was beginning to suspect you, after all, isn't that why you shot yourself, to keep him from discovering the truth?"

WuFei was silent. A single tear trailed down his cheek and his attacker growled and slapped him. "That boy is not worth your tears! Forget about him!"

"Why are you doing this?"

The dagger was removed and the dark figure started backing away. "You really want to know why? Then meet me at the Chinese restaurant on the edge of town, The Chawan*, tomorrow night at around nine o'clock. I'll tell you everything." The figure disappeared into the shadows.

WuFei slipped down the wall and into a heap on the floor. Cradling his head in his hands, he allowed the tears to fall.

"What have I done?"

 

 

*Chawan- Rice bowl.

In the next chapter, some pieces of the puzzle will fall together. Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more! ^_^