Title : The Killing Tide19/21
Author : Dalton (AngelDalton6@aol.com)
Rating : R
Category : AU only in the fact that this takes place 10 years after Endless Waltz
Warnings : Swearing, angst, violence and death.
Disclaimer : Gundam Wing is the property of Sunrise, the Sotsu Agency, and Bandai. No infringement is intended upon their rights. (4/26/2)

"Miss Peacecraft." Noventa shut the door behind him as his prey fled back into the darker reaches of the room. In no hurry, he took a moment to adjust to the change in light. He shifted his knife into his free hand, letting the cool air lick at his sweaty palm. Despite being nude in a cold hangar in the middle of November, Noventa was more than toasty warm. His body felt white-hot, and the goosebumps that rose on his skin from the room's chill excited his senses.

"Miss Peacecraft," he called out her name again, moving toward the forklift where she had run. "For shame. I thought you would be more challenging than this."

Noventa poked his knife playfully around the grooves in a large tire as he scanned the dimly-lit area. There was a blur of movement to his right: Relena dashing for the abandoned door. Noventa reacted quickly, springing toward the exit with a growl.

"Not yet," Noventa hissed, dashing between the former politician and her escape. His knife slashed through the air, further impeding Relena's progress.

Relena stumbled as she pivoted to avoid him, and Noventa could hear one of her shoes skitter away across the concrete. As quickly as she fell, Relena twisted around to face Noventa, but he only watched her with a beautiful grin upon his face. He was enjoying the sight of a princess scrabbling on the floor like one of the pigs he used to tend. "Twisted your ankle, did you?" he asked, with a pout that belonged on the face of one of Raphael's cherubs. "Well, that'll put a damper on our fun, but no matter--"

Noventa had to dodge Relena's other shoe as it flew toward him. She scrambled up and sprinted away, moving as awkward as a bird with a clipped wing.

Noventa was not as pleased about Relena's sprain as he could have been. Though it was definitely an advantage, he was annoyed that she now resembled a wounded dove rather than the floundering pig he wanted to hunt. Noventa paused in his pursuit between a baggage tram and a wall of fuel barrels. The noises he had been focusing on had stopped. Perhaps his piggy had found a hiding place. Miss Peacecraft appeared to be a smart little one--he knew she was not dumb enough to think she could hide from him forever. Noventa did not mind the delay. As long as she did not move, he could find her safe haven and relish the lesson he would teach her for maintaining foolish hopes. It would be delightful to kill hope where it felt the most secure.

Noventa stood still, focusing on the information his senses brought him. At first he could smell nothing but the old fumes from the fuel barrels and the musty odor of mold that most warehouses carried; then his nostrils twitched as he caught a different scent: a sweeter scent, of lilacs and sweat. He felt each hair on his body come alive as he heard a faint wheezing noise to the right. It reminded him of the sound that had come from another woman's pretty lips during a night of circus fun. Noventa focused on the pathetically controlled breathing. Relena was near. Very near. So near that Noventa could reach out and touch her.

As quick as a cat, he pounced through the loose flap of the baggage tram to his right. He was rewarded with a surprised squeal from Relena, but unfortunately got a surprise of his own. There was luggage within the tram, and one of the hard suitcases met his shin with an unwelcome smack. He scrambled among the bags, nearly losing his knife in the process, while Relena tumbled out the other side, pushing and shoving the luggage between them. She flipped onto her side, grabbing the handle of a large bag, and swung it up at Noventa as he exited the tram. It caught him full in the midsection, momentarily knocking the breath out of him. As he fell against the carrier, his back struck something hard enough to cause him pain. It was only a scratch, but it stung his pride. He had misjudged the up-town girl, considering her an easier piglet than the circus tart or the female cop. It was his own error, but Noventa was a perfectionist, and the idea of being less than the best pissed him off.

"Unacceptable," he hissed, dropping the knife and grabbing the suitcase that had struck him. He lobbed the bag at Relena, who had managed to untangle herself from the cumbersome spillage of suitcases to make a mad dash to safety. The suitcase slammed into the back of her hard enough to propel her forward before she dropped to the floor. She did not get back up.

Noventa bent and picked up the knife before he made his way over to his prey. At his side the blade swished through the air in irritated spurts, as Noventa tried to get rid of the anger that had risen. He had to control his emotions if he wanted to get any fun out of the kill. That was one thing he had learned from studying the man he had yet to best. Discipline and control were keys to victory.

He bent, grabbing a handful of Relena's hair, and roughly pulled her up. It would have been so easy to slit her throat and get on with the rest of his fun, but he had to wait before killing her. He had to wait for someone else to arrive. He released her hair and yanked her over to face him. Her eyes were closed, and there was a jagged cut above her right eyebrow. There was a small compressor nearby, which was likely the item Relena hit when she fell. Noventa flipped Relena fully onto her back and then straddled her. Things would not be as much fun with an unresponsive sow. It was time to wake the sleeping beauty.

Noventa set the dull edge of the knife to Relena's forehead just under the cut and began to push the flowing blood back up toward the wound. When it reached the gash, the knife pressed into the slit, opening it further. As predicted, Relena woke with a cry and an instinctive jerk that caused the blade to press deeper into the cut.

"Shhh." Noventa's knife moved from her head to rest lightly against her lips. He caught and twisted her resisting hand until he had her wrist firmly within his tight grip. "The more you struggle, the worse it's going to be. We've got plenty of time to have fun, unless you spoil it, and I assure you this is something I don't want to rush."

The knife left the fullness of her lips to trail lightly around the tip of her nose. Relena was as still beneath him as if she had turned to stone, but her eyes were alive--very much so--and they spoke volumes. Noventa had seen eyes like that from other piggies he had skinned, but those were mere animals. This was a human being, and he was already anticipating the way her eyes would change when the flesh began to peel from her beautiful face.

Noventa flipped the knife onto its flat side and let it slide down her chin and along her neck. Relena kept still, but her free hand twitched as he slipped the blade under the collar of her blouse. "William."

"Hm?" Noventa's brows rose in semi-interest, but his attention remained fixed on the mesmerizing play of his knife beneath the smooth material of her blouse.

"People will know you--"

"Will they?" Noventa lost interest in the rippling affect of his knife running up her collar and began to slice through the material. He smiled as the blouse melted away from the knife like warm butter. "The truth is, people do ~not~ know me. Anything else you have to say doesn't matter."

"William, please, you're making a mistake. There are those who will not stop till you're found and punished."

"Like Preventers Noin and Wind? Miss Peacecraft..." Noventa chuckled. The little lady was truly precious. He toyed with her blouse buttons as he toyed with the thought of relating what had happened to the two Preventers. It didn't really matter if she learned their fate. If Noin and Wind had not already shot each other out of suspicion, then the police would keep them far from this area of the spaceport--long enough to finish his business. "They won't be bothering us."

"You can't..." Relena's voice was calm, though Noventa could feel her fear pumping like a river between her body and his. "William, don't do this. If not Noin or Miliardo, someone will eventually find out. You need help... I would like to help, if you'd let me. There's nothing you could gain from--"

"Oh, but you see," Noventa paused as his knife snagged a button and broke it free, "there is so much I could get out of this. There's the pleasure." A second button found release at the edge of the blade. "And then there's Heero."

Relena's gasp could have come from the bite of the knife as it cut into her skin, but it could also have resulted from his last statement. Noventa liked to think it was both.

"He'll kill you."

Noventa looked at her in confusion, letting the knife slip out of her blouse. The woman sounded...apologetic. That reaction was not only unexpected, it was undesirable.

"What?" Noventa's knife and hand slapped against the floor near her head as he leaned forward, his face so close to hers that he could smell the scent of his mouthwash bounce back at him. "What did you say?"

Relena flinched at his nearness. "No one should have to die because of this, not even you. Let me help--"

Releasing the knife, Noventa wrapped his strong hands around Relena's throat. "Shut up!" There had been many things he had heard from his past victims: horror, despair, anger; but never pity. Sympathy was one thing he would not accept from anyone.

He shoved her head back as he tightened his grip. "Is it pity? Is that what I hear? Pity? Do you think yourself so far above everything that you aren't touched by it? Tossing scraps of selflessness to the scum beneath you? You've made a huge mistake placing me at that level. I am beyond you and your pity." His hands increased their pressure, and he was pleased with the tinny gasp that came from her. Relena's hands grabbed at his wrists then flailed helplessly out to the side. "That's better. Squeal. Squeal like the pig you really are. Know your place in this tide of events." Noventa released the pressure on Relena's throat, wanting to hear the noises he demanded of her, but what came out was not what he expected.

"I'm sorry."

A bright searing pain suddenly flared up Noventa's thigh to his groin, and he howled like a wild animal as he fell to the side, clawing at the nail imbedded in his leg. Relena kicked at him, getting him off of her, as she brought the nail gun up for another shot. Coughing from the renewed rush of air to her lungs, Relena only managed to graze Noventa's arm with the second shot, but it was enough of a warning to make him move away.

Noventa rolled to avoid another hit and struck the side of the gun's attached compressor. Noventa spotted the knife and his arm shot out for it, heedless of the danger from the nail gun's third blast. The anticipated nail struck through the soft area between his fingers and into the concrete floor. Without a thought to the pain, Noventa tore his hand from the floor and grabbed the knife. As another nail slammed through the top of his shoulder, Noventa brought the knife down on the coiled tube, cutting off the air from the compressor to the gun.

Relena tried to fire the nail gun several times before she realized what had happened. With a desperate cry, she flung the gun at him and took off running. Noventa tried to stand quickly, but faltered, momentarily crippled by the damage to his leg. He forced himself to push the pain away, like he would do when testing the limits of his tolerance--as Heero would do. It took only a moment before he could rise without his leg buckling, but he was too late to catch her. Even though she might have had a good enough start to make it to the door before him, Noventa was charged with a new rush of power and was sure he would catch her first.

Noventa trotted awkwardly, then broke into a faster pace barely marred by his limp. He did not slow until he caught a glimpse of movement within the shadows ahead. Rushing quickly to bar his prey's progress, Noventa ran around the other side of the forklift, raising his knife to strike her down and return a bit of the pain she gave him. If the blow was fatal, so be it. Noventa would not wait for Heero any longer. This time the pig would die, and the finality of it thrilled through him like wildfire as he finished his circle.

And stopped in front of Heero Yuy.