Back to Index.
Back to Part 7.
On to Part 9.

Title: The Bone Gate
Authors: Nix Winter and LunarGeography (Amy the Evitable)
Pairings: 1x2, 3x4
Rating: Mature adults only
Warnings: Angst, spooky occult stuff, and boys who are not what they seemed to be. Post EW
Archive: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3244342/1/http://www.therck.org, http://www.gundam-wing-diaries.150m.com/gw/Single_Authors/gwsingleauthors.htm, all others please ask
Disclaimer:
No infringement of the copyright of Gundam Wing is intended. This story is purely for entertainment purposes.
Date: Posted 10 February 2008

Summary: After Endless Waltz, the pilots are separated by the fears of the new government. But all is not well with the G-boys. Old enemies may be pulling strings from somewhere unimaginably far behind the scenes, and old friends may not be what they seem.

*xxx*: Thoughts
[xxx]: Text on screen

Chapter 8

~*Trowa*~

"How long have you been having headaches like this, Quatre? Have you seen a doctor?"

That Quatre was this sick only supported his reasoning that Duo had been killed. Maybe they were both being poisoned. Trowa was a deep cover agent -- often his life depended on finding motives and extrapolating actions on the part of his opponents. It was too much for coincidence that Duo was either desperate enough to stage his own death, or murdered, and Quatre was in too much pain to even hear.

"I'm sorry, don't mean to babble. I... I don't know how long I've had the headaches. The roses help, even though I don't think I like them very much. I couldn't see a doctor. That would give them a vulnerability. That's not a nice thing to think about my sisters, is it? It's not good to think such things about my sisters."

Trowa was thinking that Quatre's sisters might need to see a doctor, but he wasn't going to say it. "I am not angry at you, Quatre, my heart. This is not your fault, but we will follow your heart and if you don't like the roses, then we will have some other flowers at our wedding. I love you and I trust you with my life and heart, Quatre. Whatever is going on, I'm going to find out, and stop it."

"Good." Quatre smiled, eyes fluttering shut for a moment. "I must have drawn the wrong conclusion. But the roses help, you know."

Once they were in the elevator, the intercom kicked in. "Trowa, you bring my bike back in one piece?" a sultry female voice said.

"Yes, Mayonaka, I did. I need a priest and a doctor though, as quickly as possible," Trowa said, rubbing Quatre's shoulder lightly.

"Sure thing. Someone dying in my elevator?"

"Nope. Getting married."

Slightly more squeamish. "Someone giving birth in my elevator?"

Trowa smiled, touched his cheek to Quatre's soft golden hair. "Anything's possible, but no babies just at this moment."

With a sigh of relief, Mayonaka said, "Must be some of each of those running around the casino. Any particular religion?"

"Not for me. Love? Any particular faith you want to get married in? I think a judge might work too. May, you're the best, you know that, right?"

"Oh yeah, you just wait till you get the bill!"

Quatre had fallen silent, but when he opened his eyes, they had lost the glassiness that had snuck into them and regained some focus. "A judge, I think. Any religious official would have to go to the judge eventually to have it legalized. It would be faster to skip that step. Besides, in Islam, a marriage is a legal contract, not a sacrament. We can always have the Al Nikah -- the religious service -- and the wedding banquet afterwards. And Miss? Thank you for your help."

A gentle but shaky hand stroked Trowa's face. "I'm worrying you, love. I don't want to do that. It's just been more difficult than I'd expected, that's all."

Trowa shivered from Quatre's touch, a very warm pleasure response. "To hear you call me love, I would walk on fire. And not the basalt kind that doesn't really burn you. It'll get easier. Then I'm gonna kick Maxwell's ass," Trowa said the last bit with a smile and a wink.

Blushing, Quatre hid his face in Trowa's shoulder. "I'll call you love every day. You don't have to walk through fire. And don't kick Duo's ass. I feel awful saying this, but if he hadn't taken action... I don't know. I was getting so lost. I'm so glad to be here."

The elevator doors opened onto an expensive suite. Trowa set Quatre down in cushy armchair and  knelt to be at eye level. "Do you order roses from the same place each time? What kind of roses?"

"They've been from several different florists. They're Louis the Fourteenth -- that's the name of the variety." Quatre was sprawling in the chair, not in in his usual well-mannered posture. He looked entirely limp, except for the hand against Trowa's cheek, softly brushing it. "Dark, dark red, like blood. The scent is soothing, that's all."

Dark, dark red... that phrase and the way Quatre said it set screaming alarms off in Trowa's head. They came from different florists, though, so unless it was Quatre's asinine executive assistant... The roses were probably just an emotional icon for something in Quatre's soul.

"I think I was dying without you, Quatre. Let's just get married and be together. We'll take care of everything else after that?" Trowa knelt before Quatre, smiling at him, willing this illness just to be depression that would leave now that they were together again.

"Yes. Married first, and no more living colonies apart." Quatre's smile was real and reached his eyes, though there were still pain lines at the corners and between his brows.

He pulled Trowa's head into his lap, and slowly stroked his hair. Trowa drew a deep breath, relaxing under Quatre's touch. Under his calm was a tornado of emotion, but it was just a low hum. Trowa almost couldn't get himself to see past the next moment, to see them married. This type of moment was what he needed Duo for, to show him the happiness and possibility and show him how to express those emotions.

"Later, we'll have a beautiful ceremony too? You'll marry me in front of everyone?" He wasn't sure why insecurity would touch him. Quatre was here. Quatre was so important to him. Quatre was everything.

"If you like, we can invite the L2 media in right now and show this simple little ceremony to the entire Earth Sphere," came the murmured response. "I don't need decorations or fancy flowers and cakes to be proud of pledging myself to you. I do want to have another ceremony later, where we can pledge with our friends by our side, though, and promising to support our marriage. It would be nice to have music, and a banquet, too. I'd love to see you in a tuxedo. You're so tall, maybe one with the long tails? And a pocket-watch, on a long chain."

All the while, he ran his fingers in long strokes through Trowa's hair, over his neck, down his back, as if trying to reassure every inch of Trowa's skin that they were reunited.

Trowa's breathing relaxed and he looked up at Quatre. Only Quatre had ever seen, or would ever see, the deepest parts of Trowa and he was suddenly so happy he could have sang. "I don't care if they're here or not," Trowa said, his smile genuine and open. "I'll have a black tuxedo and you'll have a white one?"

Quatre tapped a finger against his lips, playing at deep thought. "Much better a white tuxedo than a dress, I think."

There was a polite knock and Trowa looked at Quatre for permission to open the door. Quatre seemed unwilling to let him go, though, and called out, "Come in, please!"

Then he winced, as though calling out had hurt.

"Hello boys!" The Lady Mayonaka was Asian, possibly a touch African in heritage. Her hair was a celtic knot of slender braids rising over her head like the coming of a black sunrise. She was tall for a woman, with full lips and pale green eyes that probably weren't the ones she had been born with. She wore long nails and a slinky evening gown in vivid greens and blues and purples. When she smiled, her teeth were extra pointed at the canines, and those weren't likely the ones she'd been born with either. "Boys, I'd like you to meet the Honorable Judge Sausuke Minpole."

Right behind her was a slender figure, short for a man. He was delicate in features, with thin lips, but interested blue eyes. "Gentlemen," he said, giving them a rather formal bow. "I understand there is a rather pressing need for L2's finest judicial services."

Trowa looked at Mayonaka, to Minpole, back again. "We want to get married, legally."

"Well, of course you do!" Minpole said, a wave of slender hand as he pulled a small computer from inside his vest pocket. "Are you both prepared to give genetic samples to establish your identity?"

"Certainly," said Quatre, offering a finger for sample-scraping. "We very much appreciate this, Your Honor, especially on such short notice. And Miss Mayonaka, I hope I haven't put you out too much! We're really in your debt!" Keeping a steadying hand on Trowa's shoulder, he stood to shake hands with their benefactors.

Trowa maintained absolute stillness, feeling the slight tremors running through Quatre, and very much wanted a doctor to see Quatre. One or two would, but this came first.

Mayonaka smiled, offering her hand, and Trowa very much hoped she didn't go off on his golden-haired angel for calling her 'Miss.'  One could never quite tell with Mayonaka, but her history was her own and Trowa didn't care as long as no one was getting hurt, especially not Quatre.  "My pleasure," Mayonaka said.

Minpole took Quatre's hand after Mayonaka. "There'd be no decent legal system here if you lot had not been there for us. Granted, we're a little relaxed here on in L2, but that's the way we like it. Are we doing a life bond or a shorter period partnership?"

"Life," Trowa said, rising smoothly, so as not to interrupt Quatre's balance.

"Well, now," Minpole said, arching an eyebrow. "Are you sure? Usually people chose a shorter term to start with. Do you have any paperwork done up for legal opt-out clauses?"

"No," Trowa said, looking back at Quatre, to see if he felt the same.

"No, no opt-out clauses. Full joint property, if that's ok with you, Trowa. We're old-fashioned that way, I suppose, but after having been without Trowa for so long, I know I never want to be in that state again."

"No opt-out clauses," Trowa said. If they'd been alone he would have continued with 'I will be with Quatre unless I'm not breathing.'

"Very well," Minpole said. "This is a civil ceremony bonded by the authority of L2 Central. The union of these two lives, here identified as Trowa Barton and Quatre Raberba Winner, is a simple union and indissoluble, including property, both assets and debts. You do both pledge emotional support and should discord arise, you pledge to work with due diligence to resolve said conflicts. The purpose of your union is to support those around you with the harmony and good will that will arise from the intimacy between your hearts and bodies. Is it your solemn and abiding oath to support each other through your relationship and the community around you with good will and good faith?"

Trowa nodded. "I do."

"I do."

"Then by the authority invested in me by the Confederated Colonies of LaGrange Point 2, I pronounce you espoused, until death do you part." Minpole winked. "You may kiss your spouse."

Quatre turned his face up to Trowa, eyes closed, awaiting his kiss.

Joy. Acceptance. Trowa touched Quatre's cheek, fingers caressing gently over smooth skin. Without words, he leaned and touched his lips to Quatre's, tender, loving, joyful.

"I always knew you'd end up pregnant," Mayonaka teased. "Congratulations, by the way. What a lovely couple you make! We should have gotten pics."

As soon as their kiss ended, Trowa wrapped both arms around his mate and turned to Mayonaka. "Now we need to see a doctor. A competent one."

"Love, really, it's ok. We can wait to see a doctor until later. We do have quite a bit to do..." Quatre whispered.

"Will either of you be requesting a name change? I can file that with this order as well," Minpole suggested, his smile warm and nostalgic.

"I... I don't know. What do you think, husband-mine?"

Name..... that was deep in Trowa's heart and he couldn't possibly ask to share Quatre's name. It was a good and sweet name. "We'll think about it." About the other, though... "I will feel more at ease after a doctor has seen you, Quatre. Please? Your health is of great importance to me."

"Dr. Tam is on her way up.  Maybe you should lay down on the bed? Minpole? Maybe we'll leave them to themselves. Wedding night and all."

Trowa blushed, chin tucking towards his chest., and Quatre turned scarlet at the friendly teasing. "Ah... Thank you both so much! I hope we haven't inconvenienced you at all... This makes us so happy, and we app--"

Trowa ended the sincere but rambling gratitude with a kiss. The door closed behind Minpole and Mayonaka, and he wanted to take advantage of the few moments of privacy to catch up on some of what they'd both been missing so badly.


~*Heero*~

"So would wanting to kiss you count as a desire to self injure?"

"Why would that count as...?" Heero's puzzled question trailed off as Duo pressed tight against him, all bone and sinew beneath the negligible padding of clothing, and Heero wanted to pull that wiry hardness against him so tightly that Duo's body would leave bruises on his own, leaving an outline of Duo's form on himself that would last for days. There was an especially compelling hardness pressing at Heero's hip and thigh, and realizing what it meant, Heero growled, a guttural, nearly groaning sound, and pressed his lips to Duo's. He plunged his tongue into Duo's heat, feasting on the taste, and the sensations of the kiss blurred with the feeling of Duo's ass beneath his kneading palm into a firm, richly salty blur of Duo.

 Duo moaned, his body melting to Heero's as he opened his mouth, welcomed and caressed Heero's tongue with his own. His back arched, offering his ass to Heero.

Heero jumped, a tiny startled motion, at Duo's moan. His lips slipped from Duo's mouth, allowing him to taste Duo's cheek, his porcelain edge of Duo's jaw, the nub and whorls of Duo's ear, and the hidden hollows of Duo's neck, veiled beneath the shortened hair. The harsh scent of the dye was jarring though, and broke Heero out of his sensual trance. He pulled his head up, wrinkling his nose.

"I appear to desire you sexually." Heero blinked, and he could feel the heat in his cheeks heightening.  "Extremely intensely. You don't seem to object, but... I am concerned. I will be extremely unhappy if I damage you. Perhaps we should wait until I resume my normal form. And... why does your hair smell so strange?"

"My hair doesn't smell strange," Duo protested, instinctively defending his pride, then doing a double-take as he remembered the dye. "It smells like I got it bleached and colored. Can't have people recognizing me, yeah?" He tipped his chin towards his chest, perhaps remembering the loss of his braid. The gesture made Heero's chest hurt.

"It wouldn't smell bad forever, I don't think. Can you still be sexually attracted to me?" Duo looked up, the hand that had been in Heero's hair moving back to touch his own hair, a wondering expression on his face at the feel of the very soft shortness.

Heero ducked his head. "I am sorry you had to do that. I shouldn't have let them keep me from you, get between us." His grip on Duo tightened noticeably. "Une will be dealt with. Cromwell will be dealt with. My Pack will be together again, and we will do what is necessary to protect ourselves."

As he realized the force of his grip, Heero whispered an apology, releasing his hold and stroking Duo's hair with both hands. "I can still desire you. I still do. I didn't expect to feel it this strongly." Heero shook his head, looking almost baffled. 

"I guess I had a little practice desiring you. I have for years, you know? Come on, let's get back to the ship." Duo turned, his braid slipping from his shoulders. He caught it and handed it back to Heero. "Here. You can have it, if you want it. And I already dealt with Une and Cromwell. They'll never hear from me again. "

Heero took the braid, carefully coiling it, as though he was fearful of hurting it, and tucked it down the front of his shirt. "The ship? A Sweeper ship?" He caught hold of Duo's hand. "You have run from Une and Cromwell. They are not dealt with. I do not understand what they were trying to do. I do not know why Une threatened you into therapy in the first place. Her diary entries on you bother me. There is something wrong there, and it is a threat to you.

"We will find out what she wanted. We will find out what drugs you were being given. We will find out if it threatens anyone else. And I will make it clear to both of them that they will not be allowed to hurt what is mine." Heero's smile flashed those wickedly enlarged canine teeth again.


~*Duo*~

"God save my soul," Duo muttered, "Those teeth. Those are sexy. You're sexy. God," he muttered shivering and licking a lip as he gave Heero's hand a squeeze. "Yeah, a Sweeper ship. We'll be safe there. I was just taking antidepressants."

He didn't want to talk about it. Thinking about therapy and the drugs, all of it, just brought back Cromwell's words... the way he'd implied that Duo was broken beyond repair, that he was dangerous and poisonous. The feelings that came with that were almost enough to make Duo cry again and he just wanted... to start over. He was likely the only target and they were probably just trying to protect people from him. He wasn't worth enough, not good enough, to be Heero's.

Duo put a hand to his temple, as Cromwell's voice grew stronger in his head. "I'm not a bad person, Heero? Am I? Really? You wouldn't have cried for me if I was a bad person, would you?"

Peering at his face in concern, Heero pulled Duo close by his side. "I... I don't know if there are good and bad people. People just do things. Sometimes the things are good, and sometimes bad, but... it's complicated." He spoke slowly, trying to put into words the conclusions he'd come to at the end of the war, when enemies had become allies, and allies had tried to destroy the planet. "You can do something that seems good to you at the time, and it turns out to be bad in the long run. All you can do is follow your feelings, and when you make mistakes, try to make amends.

"I've seen you do many good things. You saved Relena from me. You fought and were hurt because you thought it was the only way to protect the people of the colonies. You take care of the people around you, like paying for your neighbor's lease. You hurt so much when you see people hurting around you, that I think you are unlikely to hurt other people unless you have to. I think that makes you a good person, or at least a person who doesn't do many bad things.

"But even if you started to do bad things, you would still be my Duo. And because you're my Duo, I would have to stop you, and then help you. The others would come help, too. Because you're ours." He blushed again, ever so slightly. "You four are all mine, but you are... special to me. Even before, during the war, when J had me on the drugs, you were special. Now that I'm not on the drugs, there are more things I want to do with you, and things I need to do with you, but it was always about you. I would not be well without you."

"I'm special?" Duo rubbed his cheek against Heero's chest, thinking about that. Somehow even  despite Heero's kiss, he'd thought that Heero would have done this for any of them. It was just.... Heero being more emotional than Duo had expected, it wasn't about Duo.. but ... Duo's arms tightened, holding Heero with all his heart.

"Heero! You're special to me too. You're everything! I don't know how, how to be a good lover, but I'll try. I'll do my best, Heero, to be a good partner for you. So like, will you be my boyfriend?"

Duo tilted his head back, grinning, feeling terrified. This was too good, too sweet, too normal, and he had no right to something this sweet and good. Yet he wanted it so badly that he could cry just for the nearness of Heero, and Heero actually liking him as more than just a friend. Seeing him as more than a tool. Incredible.

"Your boyfriend?" Heero sounded as though Duo had asked him to perform brain surgery. Perhaps brain surgery would have made him less apprehensive -- after all, there were books to be read and experts to be interrogated on the subject of brain surgery. "I will try. I'm afraid I will not be good at it. Even if I am bad at it, I do not think I could let you go. I admit to some qualms about the ways I have felt recently. I do not seem to be entirely normal. Unfortunately, I do not know a way to recreate the drugs that J gave me which  suppressed these feelings."

Then, in an almost shamed whisper, "I am not sure I want to. It seems wrong to change myself so I no longer need to protect my Pack." 

"You're better at it than anyone else could be," Duo said, fingers reaching up to touch Heero's lips. "I don't want you to go back to being not who you are. I want to know you as you really are. You're beautiful, Heero. I love you."

"I..." Heero's hands clenched, and the fangs again emerged to bite his lip. "I am very happy that you said that. I feel more whole. I feel... I want to... I am not sure..."

"Let's get back to the ship and get that chip out of you... Unless you want to keep your place at the Preventers? Then I have a room and it's safe, private and we can really talk, okay?" Duo's fingers reached for Heero's ears again. "So soft. Gods, such a turn-on." Duo grinned, feeling as though his heart was opening and warming, like brand-new butterfly wings.

"After I speak with Une, the absence of my chip will be be the least of her problems with me. You need to see her files concerning you." Heero's hand stroked down Duo's neck, and rubbed gently above his collarbone. "Before we go to your ship, can I... mark you? With my teeth? It will hurt. I don't want to hurt you -- but I want to mark you, very badly. I think it will help settle me back to normal. I do not think the Sweepers would be comfortable with the tail. Or the ears."

Duo blushed, a hand moving from Heero's ear to his own hair, tucking stray flyaways behind his ear. "Mark me, Heero? I'd like that. You're gonna hold me while you do it though? Oh man, Heero, where do you want to mark me at?"

Something perilously like a smile flashed across Heero's face. "I like it when your face is pink like that. You are very attractive." He continued to rub along the arc from neck to Duo's left shoulder, the skin warming under his touch. "Here. It will usually show, though you could hide it if necessary. And I will hold you."

Duo pressed closer to Heero, making no attempt to hide his excitement.  He pushed his shirt down a little, exposing pale spacer skin. "I can take my shirt off, if you want?"

As soon as the shirt was pushed aside, Heero had his lips against Duo's neck, nibbling and sucking at the skin. His arms were wound tight around Duo's waist and shoulders, and they were trembling with Heero's excitement.

Duo moaned as Heero's kisses moved over his skin. Heero was his boyfriend!  He hadn't thought that would ever be possible.  One leg hooked around Heero's, even as his hand slipped under Heero's shirt, working to get near his boyfriend's skin. "Heero!"

Fangs broke skin at Duo's cry; teeth set into Duo's neck to pin him still. The sharp spiking pain of the bite on sensitized skin was quickly replaced by searing heat, as though Heero's fangs were molten metal, and were melting into the soft flesh.  The heat spread across the rest of Duo's skin, losing the fierce intensity as it expanded across his body. A ripple of chills and gooseflesh played harbinger to the flush of heat from Duo's neck, up to his face, and down his torso, spreading across his extremities until even his fingers and toes felt as though he'd spent hours curled in a sunny window, or had slid into a deep, hot tub. The sensation was incredibly relaxing. Aftershocks of lesser heat pulsed from the bite across Duo's body, slowly subsiding into a blissful warmth.

Duo felt like he floated in Heero's arms, so strong, and he trusted him, with all that he was. His head tilted back and he faintly remembered screaming at the moment of the bite, but maybe that hadn't been him. A sense of belonging flooded him, lifted him, and he didn't fully understand magic or what Heero was, or anything more than just the dead spirits that came around to talk to him from time to time, and this... this was life. His voice was soft, fluttery. "Heero. You're mine, too."

With a shudder, Heero unclamped his mouth from Duo's skin. He rolled his head to the side just a little, still resting it against Duo's shoulder and his sigh of contentment blew the short strands of hair in a tickling caress. "Yes."


~*Wufei*~

He'd pulled himself together shortly after they'd boarded the shuttle to L2, and had been surprised by how well his Commander had done the same. She'd stayed with him, without speaking a word, until he'd excused himself to the shuttle facilities to clean up. Then she'd gotten on the line with the L2 office and had begun to organize the situation as efficiently as ever. It was as though the breakdown in her office had never occurred.

The coroner's office had been able to confirm that the DNA on the body matched Maxwell's, for the most part. The impact site had not been precisely clean prior to the impact, and the technician who had performed the analysis speculated, quite irately, that not only had the officers on site failed to follow proper evidence handling procedures, but that the scene had been contaminated by non-Preventer personnel.

At the very least, there were DNA traces of 8 individuals aside from Maxwell -- and aside from the Preventer agents on site -- on the remains. 

But it was Maxwell, to a 99% certainty.

The condition of the remains made finding identifying marks -- in Maxwell's case, scars and a few birthmarks -- extremely difficult. None had been concretely identified yet. The technician was willing to  try to assemble enough bone fragment to match dental records -- if, of course, the Commander thought it an appropriate use of Preventer funds.

The Commander had given him a sidelong glance and said she would think on it.

She interrogated the agents on the scene. They'd been alerted to a possible problem by the neighbor, who had been alarmed by Maxwell's offering of perishable food and announcement that his lease would transfer to her upon event of his death. She'd contacted the office, as she'd been asked to do if he ever demonstrated any signs of instability.

Later interrogation of the woman had revealed Maxwell talking about a "long mission" that was "dangerous," and about "wanting to be with the person he loved."

He'd exchanged a long look with the Commander at that comment. He was certain he'd seen her flinch.

All reports agreed that the scene had been a chaotic disaster, and Une had chastised the agent for multiple failures to follow proper procedures. Wufei had a sense that proper procedures were a rare beast at this branch. Reconstruction of the scene had, in the end, required the timestamp on media footage. The agent proudly announced that they were able, now, to completely refute statements in the media that Maxwell had been pushed to his death by a  fellow agent.

She interrogated the officer assigned as Yuy's liaison. Wufei vaguely remembered ordering one to be assigned when he'd found out that Yuy was already en route. Agent Parks was able to confirm that Agent Yuy had, in fact, been responsible for leaking the suicide note to the media. Even worse, he'd handed over the original, though steps were being taken to get it back.

Wufei buried his face in his hands.

With no small amount of trepidation, Agent Parks went on to state that Agent Yuy had removed a second piece of critical evidence from Preventer custody. Upon viewing the remains, Yuy had removed the severed braid from the sealed bag. Her narrative increased in speed and decreased in volume and clarity, and Wufei only caught scattered words -- "screamed," "photograph," and "missing."

The last one commanded his attention. "Yuy is missing?"

"Sir, we didn't think he'd just run off like that! We didn't have enough agents to begin a proper search pattern, and I couldn't find him by myself, he had a huge head start. Anyway, it's against protocol for an agent to pursue without backup."

"And you didn't want to be the one who found him," he said without rancor. He couldn't blame her for that.

She shuddered. "You didn't hear him scream. I've never heard a noise like that in my life."

Une had called up another news feed window. He groaned. The media field day was continuing -- there was a shot, grainy and poorly focused, of Heero on his knees. He was clutching a chestnut-brown bundle to his chest, and his face was thrown back, caught in the midst of the scream that had so unnerved Agent Parks. There appeared to be tears on his face.

"The morgue attendant had a camera on his cell phone. I suppose he made a tidy profit selling this picture," said Une distractedly. "Thank you, Agent Parks. You're dismissed." 

She continued her search, headlines coming up. Yuy was well on his way to having created an urban legend. People, even some who were over a mile away, claimed to have heard the scream. Some of them claimed to have heard the howl of a wolf instead. There were reports that dogs all over the colony had simultaneously begun barking and baying. One breeder claimed all her animals were behaving fearfully, hiding and whimpering, with one bitch having gone so far as hiding her litter in the water reclamation unit.

"This is a nightmare," muttered Wufei.

Une's hands faltered at the keyboard.

"No," she said, with a strange quaver in her voice. "No, it isn't."

She opened a communications window to the L2 Branch, and spoke to the Branch Commander. She snapped out a series of orders. "Confirm our revised ETA. Accommodations for me only, if you please, as Agent Chang has made other arrangements. Schedule a private meeting with me to go over the multiple mistakes made during this process, and a later one with all active Agents. We're going to make it clear that following protocol is mandatory."

"I understand that Agent Yuy is missing." She sighed, and gave another uncomfortable sidelong glance at Wufei. "Can he be located via the subcutaneous tracker?"

"No, ma'am. We're having massive interference with the datastream. I have technicians working to resolve the problems."

Une nodded and closed the communications window.

"Subcutaneous tracker?" Wufei was very proud of his control. The question came out in a conversational tone and volume.

"The Senate committee couldn't be talked out of it, Chang. I'm sorry. Relena and I were able to overrule the demands to include anything active -- there were officials who did not want to be dependent on the rest of you to take one of you out, should it become necessary. There aren't any incapacitating agents in the chips, I made certain of that. But you were all implanted with tracking chips, and I was not authorized to inform you.

"In all honesty, Chang -- are you really surprised?" She looked tired.

"I..." He was surprised. Not that the government had insisted upon it, but that she hadn't told him. He'd counted upon her candor with him and the betrayal felt uncomfortably personal. "I will have to think about it. I will inform the other pilots."

"Good." She seemed sincere. "I think... you all have some decisions you have to make. I will support you in whatever you choose, Chang. You all deserve better than what you've gotten."

Her voice soothed a little of the turmoil in his heart.


~*Heero*~

"Mine," Duo said, possessively, the kind of tone he would never back down on. In the back of Heero's head, where his instincts ruled -- the part of him that had wanted to bite Duo and mark him, needed to do it, however strange it might seem -- Heero basked in a deep contentment that his mate understood the relationship.

Then there was another shudder, and suddenly Heero wasn't bearing his own weight terribly well as his entire body trembled. Duo's arms went around him, holding him. He felt hollow -- more than hungry, more than exhausted, a total emptiness that demanded he plummet into unconsciousness. The last time he'd felt like this was right before he'd tried to shoot that little girl... Actually, it felt a lot like he had in the months after self-destructing; the parts of it he'd been even marginally awake for, at least.

"Is this normal?" Duo asked. One hand moved up to cradle Heero's head, holding him safe. As his hand moved over Heero's hair, it became clear to both of them that the pointed little ears were now gone. Heero knew the tail was gone again, too.

"I do not know." His voice was back to a monotone. Hopefully Duo would know that the cause was exhaustion, not emotional distancing. "I have never done that before. It feels right to have done it to you."

There was a sudden surge of panic as Heero realized what he'd done -- he'd bitten his mate hard enough to draw blood.  No matter how right it felt to him, that had to have upset Duo. "Are you well?"

"I'm fine. I want to get you back to the ship and have Doc check you out though. Get some food and rest for you. Gonna bite me again if I carry you?" Duo smirked, blue hair falling in his face as he tilted his head to look in Heero's eyes.

Heero did a double-take, nearly tripping himself. "Your hair is blue!"

"Uh, yeah," Duo said, grinning like his face was stuck that way, half grimace. "I said I didn't care what color, and I was thinking, you know red or something, but I either had to get my hair bleached and stuff again, or just come get you and you were more important. I hope I don't look too awful... And gee, Heero. You're just now noticing?"

"No. Not awful Just... blue." A shaking hand reached up to stroke the blue locks. "Blue. Hn.  It appears that I do not see color very well in that state. I have never had the ears or the tail before, but when I was close to it, I suppose, I did notice that things appeared mostly in black and white." Heero found himself unwilling to pull his hand away. "Blue," he repeated.

Duo shivered from the gentle touch of Heero's fingers in his hair.  "Yeah. I like you touching my hair. It feels really different than when it was long. You touching my hair makes me shiver. Wanna make love? Here and now? How are you feeling? Do you feel okay?" Duo blushed -- was he ashamed of his desire? Why? Heero wanted Duo to desire him.

"I would like to. Unfortunately, I do not think I would be able to move for at least an hour afterwards. And this is... not the best setting." Eyeing the stark metal of the shaft, Heero considered it against the way he wanted to thrust and pound, and remembered how easily his strength bruised other people, even when his control was perfect. Which it hadn't been for weeks. "No. Since I am not capable of supporting you right now, we cannot make love here. I will touch your hair again somewhere else, if it pleases you."

"It pleases me," Duo said, cautiously moving so his arm was around Heero's waist, "Come on. What are we going to do with the braid? If we leave it, someone might look at this place like a crime scene or something, but we can't be seen with it either. Man, we would have been harder to recognize with you in your fuzzy form."  Duo's smile was teasing, playful, welcoming, and Heero used it to find just a little more energy to begin moving.

"We would have attracted unwelcome atten.... You are teasing me." Heero wrapped his arm around Duo's shoulders, leaning heavily on his boyfriend. "I put your braid down my shirt for safekeeping earlier, remember? I will not let it be lost." He paused. "Will it need regular care? Washing? Brushing? Hot oil treatments?"

"What? My braid? No, just shove it in a bag and then in a drawer. It used to be important to me, but when I realized I couldn't be near you without giving it up, it didn't matter anymore. You matter, and Heero, have you ever been in downtown L2? Ever hear about old Tokyo? As you're Japanese, I'd think you'd know about Harajuku, and trust me, ears and a tail, some places on L2, you'd fit right in.  Hungry?" Duo asked, his hold on Heero firm but gentle as he propelled them both towards the entrance. Heero let his mate guide them, and focused his attention on not falling over. "I bet Une's chewing on her tongue because she can't find you."

"I was trying to tease you. About the hot oil, at least. I will have to practice more; I do not seem to be very good at it." Heero let Duo guide him to where Howard's ship was waiting, and he let Duo's voice guide him away from the edge of rage, where he'd perched all those long lonely months, and toward a strange and lovely place called contentment.

Back to Index.
Back to Part 7.
On to Part 9.
Send feedback to Amy the Evitable.
Send feedback to Nix Winter.