10-13-2001

Title: Written in Blood
Author: AstroKender
Pairings: 3x4/4x3,1+2, mention of 5x2 and Mx2
Warnings: angst abounds
Spoilers: None.
Notes: well, hell. it looks like I can still pull of two chapters a night after all. This is too make up for having to wait so long for the last part!
Feedback: AstroKender@insight.rr.com
Archived: GWA ( www.gwaddiction.com )
Disclaimers: I don't own GW or it's affiliates. This fic is written for entertainment purposes only and is not meant for sale. Don't sue.

 

Part 33

 

Heero glanced up at the clock for the tenth time in as many minutes. Quatre and Trowa should have been back hours ago. Worst of all, when the Japanese boy had tried to call their cell phones, there was no answer. Heero entertained the brief thought that maybe the two had decided to work out their differences in a local hotel room, but quickly discarded that idea. Neither one would willingly stay out all night without contacting someone.

The blue eyed boy glanced down to where Duo was slumbering against his shoulder and his expression softened. His callused hand reached up slowly and ruffled the other boy's bangs. How WuFei could die and give up such a treasure Heero swore he'd never know, but the Japanese boy vowed to never let anything hurt the American ever again. Like Relena, Duo was someone Heero now devoted his life to protect.

Heero tensed as the doorbell rang and dropped his hand from Duo's hair to the gun resting comfortably on his lap. Sliding effortlessly out from underneath the sleeping boy, Heero stepped stealthily to the front door and threw it open, his gun up and ready to shoot.

But no one was there.

"Show yourself." Heero spoke, taking a few daring steps out of the house. Only the wind answered him.

Sharp blue eyes zeroed in on a box lying innocently on the doorstep. Bending down, the Japanese boy quickly scanned for a bomb or some other booby trap. Finding none, the former Wing pilot boy lowered his gun and fired, shooting a hole in the center of the box. When nothing exploded Heero finally picked the package up and backed back into the house, ignoring the bullet now lodged in Quatre's concrete walkway.

Heero shut the door behind him and locked it firmly before taking the package and walking past the couch where Duo lay and into the dining room. Setting the package on the table, Heero disappeared into the kitchen in search of some rubber gloves. Minutes later the Japanese boy reappeared and snapped his newly acquired gloves into place before approaching the box and cautiously opening the lid.

"What's this?" Heero's eyes widened.

Scrabbling for purchase inside the slick surface of the box's interior was a rat, which somehow missed being struck by the bullet that pierced the center of the box. The white rodent inspected its new surroundings; it's whiskers twitching. Frowning, Heero stared at it.

Dismissing the rat for now, Heero scanned the rest of the box, finally coming across a crisp, white envelope. Pulling it out, Heero eyed the name scrawled on it and scowled. Duo Maxwell. Heero violently tore open the envelope and scanned the contents.

/To the pathetically catatonic Duo Maxwell,

For a month now, your friends have tried to pull you from your self-induced hell, the hell caused by your own actions, but they tried in vain. Even now, someone else must be reading this letter for you, for you are as helpless as an old man. Know this, I could have killed you at anytime during this last month, but I have been delighting in your suffering.
However, the time for games has long ended. Now is the time for revenge. You shot and killed your own lover, that lover who was MY husband. So in return, I have acquired two of your friends. I'm sure that by now you are familiar with the effects of the poison I carry. If not, you need only to look into the box, by which now the rat within is now dying a tormented death after being injected./

Heero looked up quickly and glanced inside the box. His eyes narrowed as the rat began to stumble around as if drunk before suddenly collapsing. The rat convulsed for a few minutes while vomiting blood, before finally falling absolutely still. Heero swallowed back his revulsion and fear before turning back to the letter in his hands.

/This same fate will happen to your friends, though trust me, theirs will be all the more agonizing. If you wish to prevent this, face me for one finally battle at the national museum in the Sank Kingdom as the hour approaches five o'clock this morning. If you are even five minutes late, your friends will die. And if you are five minutes early, they will die. If you bring anyone other than the one who reads this letter for you, they will die. Do you see the pattern here? I will be frank. You friends will probably die regardless, but only after I take care of you. But if by some chance you defeat me, they will go free.
To the one who is reading this: I suggest you snap the American out of it soon, you don'' have much time left if you want to save your friends. If he doesn't show up with you at precisely five am, both of your friends will die, then I will once more go after the Vice-Minister, and this time I will not miss.

Eagerly awaiting the dawn,
Chang Meiran

PS: Though your friends were not conscious, I had them give a personal seal to this letter./

Heero cursed. WuFei's wife? The Japanese boy didn't understand. Sighing, he began to tear the letter in half but paused as he lifted it for a closer look. The letter wasn't written in normal ink. Heero would recognize that rust color anywhere. The former Gundam pilot collapsed in a nearby chair, the letter that had been written in the blood of his friends still clutched in his hands.

***

Lady Une sighed heavily before laying her head on the pile of papers in front of her. Relena's staff had greatly helped in lightening the burden towering over the Preventer headquarters, but things were still far from fine. Two great holes seemed to have weakened the strong foundation of the Preventer system, and so far Une hadn't been able to find replacements for the two people that created those gaping holes.

"Like those two could be so easily replaced." Une murmured. "They were more that two of the best Preventers on the force, they were my friends."

"I'm glad you hold your employees in such high regard. I'm sure the sentiment is returned.

Une sat up swiftly. "Who?" Peering into the shadows, her eyes widened. "It's you-"

"Yes. Preventer Night is reporting back for temporary duty."

Lady Une sat back in her chair numbly. "How many times can I be surprised like this in one lifetime?" she mumbled dazedly.

The figure standing across from her smirked. "Surprises keep one from becoming accustomed to the comfort of conformity. It keeps you on your toes."

"Or it'll put me in my grave." Une sighed. "I suppose you already have a mission?" the figure nodded. "I see. Well, then, tell me what you need and get out of her so I can have my nervous breakdown."

Preventer Night flashed her a small smile. "As you wish, Lady."

***

The figure walked down the darkened hallway of the Preventer headquarters, deep in thought. A long gray trench coat with matching fedora hiding his identity from any curious passerby. Dark eyes swirled with emotion as memories ran through his head like rain.

Preventer Lightning. Preventer Thunder. Preventer Ice. Preventer Rain. And Preventer Night. The figure smiled sadly. It had been so long since any of them had used those names, deemed by Une to be a necessity, and regarded by the others as an endless joke. He could still vividly remember Duo leaning playfully over the stoic Heero, teasing him about how lightning always cums before thunder. And the blushing Japanese boy had only replied that Thunder suited his former lover well: all noise and no action.

The figure shook himself grimly. Now was not the time for mindless fancies. Time was drawing short; he had to get back to his post before Meiran returns. He'd have only one chance to stop the Chinese girl and he wasn't about to blow it by strolling down memory lane. Running his hand through his shortened hair, Preventer Night turned to step back into the shadows that surrounded him, heading unerringly towards the Preventer's weapon room.

***

Heero paced back and forth in front of Duo's sleeping form, trying to figure out how to go about this. As the letter stated, time was running out quick, and once Duo was himself, they would still have to prepare for the fight. Taking a deep breath, the Japanese boy let it out shakily. What he was about to do could very well kill him, if not physical, then emotionally.

But this won't hurt me half as much as it will him, Heero thought with regret. I'm so sorry, Duo, he whispered mentally before bending over and shaking the longhaired boy awake.

"Duo, wake up." Heero watched as cobalt eyes opened sleepily. "Quatre and Trowa have been kidnapped." He waited a moment to let that statement sink in. "The person who took them is the killer you faced before. She is WuFei's widow and she wants revenge."

Duo's eyes widened and Heero nodded to himself. Here it goes, he told himself mentally.

"This is your fault so it's up to you to fix it! Get up you coward!" Heero snarled, grabbing Duo by the shirtfront and hauling him to his feet. Duo just stared at him in confusion. "Don't look at me like that, damn it! Do you want Quatre and Trowa to die like WuFei?"

Duo's hands shook as the raised up, futilely trying to pry Heero off his clothing. The longhaired boy's head, denying the Japanese boy's words.

"It's time to face the facts. WuFei is gone, Duo. He's dead." Heero took careful note of Duo's wince and smiled grimly. "I don't know what happened that night, but I have my suspicions. You killed him, didn't you?" Duo recoiled; jerking out of his grasp and stumbling back a few steps. Heero let him go.

"Just like you killed all those at the Maxwell Church," the blue eyed continued mercilessly. "Just like you killed Solo. And just like you're killing Quatre and Trowa right this minute, by wallowing in your own self pity rather than going out to save them."

Duo's back was now pressed against the wall and he was shaking his head furiously from side to side. Heero watched this for a moment, before reaching back and drawing his gun. Here is goes, he whispered to himself. Raising the gun, he aimed it right between the cobalt eyes he loved so much.

"You were right, Duo, you are the God of Death. Maybe I should shoot you now to prevent you from killing anyone else." Heero paused for a moment, before uttering the word that might forever destroy his friendship with the longhaired boy.

"Murderer."

Duo's head snapped back as if he was hit, banging into the wall hard enough to dent it. Clenching his fist, Heero spoke the word again.

"Murderer."

"SHUT UP!" Duo roared. Carefully masking his shock, the Japanese boy continued ruthlessly.

"Murderer."

"Stop it! Stop it.... Go ahead and shoot me, just-shut the fuck up...." Duo whispered brokenly as he slid to the floor in a pathetic heap.

Heero threw the letter down at Duo's feet. "See this? This will tell you everything. You have two choices. Get up and help me go after this Meiran or do nothing and be shot." Heero clicked off the safety pointedly. Duo scanned the letter restlessly, his head cradled in his hands. "I...can't...."

/Almost. He's almost back. I just have to keep pressing, no matter how much this hurts both of us./ Ignoring the blood that now trailed down his clenched fingers; Heero forced himself to keep the act up for a few more minutes. "I knew it. Your nothing but a cold-hearted murder that doesn't give a damn about the people who care about you. If I shot you now it would be a mercy killing. WuFei would be sickened by what you have become." Heero sneered.

"Enough!" Duo surged to his feet, death in his eyes. Heero took an involuntary step backwards as the American stalked forward till he was nose to nose with the Japanese boy.

"I have never hated anyone so much as I hate you now," Duo whispered harshly.

"Welcome back," Heero smiled faintly. I did it, he thought. He's back.

"Fuck you," Duo muttered, reaching up and snatching Heero's gun out of his hand. The Japanese boy tensed, but Duo only checked to make sure it was loaded and then slammed the clip home, before sticking the gun into the back of his pants. "I'm going to Howard's to pick up something. Be ready to go by the time we get back. You'll get your answers, then we are going to go kill that bitch." Duo strode out the door, slamming it behind him had enough to splinter the frame.

Heero stared at the door for a long moment, until he was sure Duo had left. Then he slipped to the floor, wishing that he knew how to cry.