By Midii Une
Trowa stared at the earring in his hand, he didn’t even feel the sharp little pain when the back dug into his palm as he closed his fingers tightly over it. He could see her smiling up at him, still feel her arms around him, saw his own fingers playing with the earrings she wore. Not half an hour ago she’d been safe in his arms and now he had no idea where she was. Just like this afternoon but worse. Midii needed him and he couldn’t find her, how would he ever be able to find her . . .
Duo and Quatre were talking to him but he didn’t hear them, the two other pilots exchanged looks. Duo wondered what the hell they were gonna do. Trowa was silent and faraway, thinking God knows what. Heero was missing in action and Wufei had a wounded wing. And the only witness was lying there at their feet in an ever-widening pool of blood.
“All we can do is split up, start asking questions,” Quatre suggested, he was anxious to get off on his own for a minute. He wanted to find Dorothy, make sure she was safe, this was turning into a nightmare. He felt so responsible for what had happened to Isabela, he’d promised her their protection, promised . . . they had to find her, it couldn’t be too late. They would have killed her here if they wanted her dead, he had to believe that.
“Wait,” Hilde said suddenly, lifting her white face from Duo’s shoulder and peering into the alley once more. “I think I heard something in there.”
Duo hugged her protectively. “You’re hearing things, baby, there’s no one down there.”
Then they all heard an unmistakable rustle and a boy appeared from out of the shadows. Trowa’s eyes widened in recognition, it was that kid, the one who’d met them when they stepped off the ferry. He must have seen everything.
“Anton,” Cathrine gasped, running to him and hugging him to herself, fresh tears running down her cheeks at the dismal sight of Stefan’s young cousin.
“Signorina Catalina,” he whispered, stiffly accepting her embrace. “Stefan is dead.”
The boy’s face was pale but tearless, in shock from the horrible things he had witnessed, trailing after the cousin he worshipped and the young woman he adored from afar. And he’d seen the results of a lifestyle he had once admired. He’d been too afraid to step in and save her, even though he kept a gun tucked in his coat pocket. He’d hidden in the shadows and watched as that man hurt Signorina Midii. Stefan was so much braver than he had been, but he was dead. He could still see her sobbing over his cousin’s body but the man hadn’t had any pity for her sorrow, tormenting her with his sneering voice and hurting her so viciously.
He looked over Cathrine’s shoulder at Trowa. “Hurry,” he choked out. “He’s going to kill her. He said he was going to kill Signorina Midii.”
Quatre knelt down beside the boy. “Where are they,” he asked urgently, trying to get an answer. “Did you hear? Did they say?”
Anton nodded. “They took her to the old Corsica Base. Do you know where that is?”
Mezzo held her limp body in one arm and with the other he swept the clutter off the old desk in the abandoned headquarters and laid her on top of the filthy surface. She looked dead, but she wasn’t, under the harsh lights he could see the slight movement caused by her shallow breathing. He looked with satisfaction at the dark bruises on her face and arms where his fingers had pressed into her. Only the beginning. Tearstains streaked her dirty face and her dress was stiff and dark with Niente’s blood.
He lifted Midii’s shoulders and slapped her twice across the face, she moaned faintly but didn’t regain consciousness. Mezzo shook her. “Wake up you stupid little bitch,” he ordered, cursing himself for setting the voltage so high on the stun gun. He wanted her awake for this, but when he let her go she dropped back with a thud.
A sudden commotion and the sounds of struggle behind him made him turn angrily to face the unwelcome intruders. He had waited so patiently to get to her over the past few days, interruptions would not be tolerated.
“We got her,” one of his underlings said proudly, he and his partner trying desperately to hold onto a tall, struggling blonde girl who was cursing them and protesting.
“Got who,” Mezzo said, glancing at the girl on the desk and the woman, angry as a spitting cat, who glared at him murderously.
“I told you idiots a hundred times,” she said in a low, furious voice. “I am not Midii Une. My name is Dorothy Catalonia.”
“Boss,” the younger man questioned, his gaze flickering between the unconscious woman laying there like a corpse under the lights and the girl with long blonde hair they had grabbed.
“The lady is right,” Mezzo said, his eyes, a frightening shade of pale blue, flicking disinterestedly over Dorothy. “Terrible mistake. I have no use for her. Kill her.”
“What,” Dorothy protested, fear pulsing through her veins as she stopped struggling against the bumbling fools who had mistaken her for Midii.
“No witnesses,” Mezzo said coldly turning back to his prey, searching for signs that she was regaining consciousness. A door slammed open and he turned again, this was getting annoying, he restrained his anger as General Soixante stepped into the room.
“What’s going on here Agent Mezzo,” the man said, glancing around the ruined room, at Midii and at Dorothy.
His eyes widened at the sight of Dorothy.
“Can it be Miss Catalonia,” he said, shock apparent in his voice. “I knew your grandfather, Duke Dermail.”
His eyes narrowed thoughtfully, a representative of the defunct Romefeller Foundation could add credibility to their cause, once it got off the ground.
“There are some things I’d like to discuss with you, Miss Dorothy,” he said, taking her arm in a gentlemanly manner. “Perhaps you’d like to see exactly what we’re trying to accomplish here. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
Dorothy nodded, anything to get away from these madmen and their threats of death. Her glance fell on Midii lying helpless there, she hated her, hated the way Quatre had always talked about her, her own predicament was all the other girl’s fault. But still, he thought she was kind, what would he think of her if she did nothing?
“What about her,” she ventured.
“Who is that Mezzo,” the General asked, a flicker of recognition appearing suddenly in his eyes, it had been a long time since he’d seen the girl. “Is that Agent Une? What happened?”
“She betrayed the mission, sir,” Mezzo answered, clenching his fists, he was fast losing control of the situation. “I was going to report to you sir. I’ve already eliminated Agent Niente and . . .”
The General looked at Mezzo with disgust evident in his face. “I’ve heard about your little peculiarities,” he said, glancing at Midii again. “If what you say is true Agent Une will have to be questioned by me when she regains consciousness. Until then lock her up somewhere and stay away from her. After we talk she’ll be executed if the offense warrants it. That’s an order.”
Mezzo nodded tersely veins popping in his forehead. He looked at her, he’d find a way, she wouldn’t get off so easily.
Trowa put his hand on Anton’s shoulder.
“But Midii’s alright for now, isn’t she,” he asked. “They didn’t hurt her?”
The boy turned his head away and his skin turned a shade paler. “I wanted to stop them,” he whispered. “I couldn’t. Stefan couldn’t. He-he tried, but they shot him. They shot him so many times. She was crying.”
“Trowa,” Cathrine said, patting the boy’s back soothingly, trying to protect him from their questions. “That’s enough.”
“Well, let’s get going,” Duo said, alarmed by the look on Trowa’s face. “Wufei, I hate to ask you this man, but someone should stay with Cathrine and Hilde and the kid, we can’t be sure there’s not still some of those guys out there. You’re injured, you’re the best one to stay behind. Plus someone needs to wait for Heero and fill him in. What a time for him to kick the ‘perfect soldier’ habit, shit.”
Quatre moved to quell the situation as Wufei looked about ready to explode into a rage of anger and Trowa looked ready to go off on his own. “Duo’s right. Please Wufei, this is no time to argue. It’s a good plan. When Heero comes you two meet us at the base. Please.”
Wufei grumbled but listened to Quatre’s sensible words. He glanced at the women and the boy. He was no babysitter. He clenched his fists, ignoring the tightening in his wounded shoulder.
Hand in hand Heero and Relena explored the tiny, rock-covered beach at the base of the cliff. A soft glow from above indicated that the lights had gone back on at Il Ritmo de la Mare.
“Heero,” Relena questioned softly, nearly afraid to break the mood. “What do you think happened up there?”
He turned to her and pulled her into his arms, his assurance growing by the second. It wasn’t so hard, not hard at all, to be tender with Relena. She tucked her face into the curve of his neck.
“We’re on a mission,” he explained. “There’s a faction of the old EarthSphere Alliance trying to get something going.”
Relena clenched her fists, almost biting her tongue.
“They’ll need you Heero,” she whispered.
He sighed, the pull of the mission still strong inside him, the automatic reaction urging him away from her. But the delicate warmth of her body curved against his was starting to have its own influence, pulling his mind and heart in other directions.
“You’ve seen this beach,” he said softly. “We’re stranded for now.”
“If it wasn’t for me you could swim around the cliff,” Relena guessed.
“If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t even be alive Relena,” he answered. How many times had a vision of her face called him back from the brink of destruction?
They looked into each others eyes, the mission, the others, forgotten for the moment. The crash of the surf added to the romance of the moment. It had been coming for so long, but the relationship between them was as inevitable as the tide.
The tide, dictated by the moon. The tide, that unnoticed by the two lovers, was starting to rise.
The memory of pain. Burning, endless pain. It ran through every muscle, every vein it seemed, it washed over her in punishing, crashing waves. She didn’t know if it still hurt or if it was just the remembering. Would it ever go away? Midii opened her eyes but it was just as dark as it had been when her eyes were closed so she shut them again. Even the sensation of her lids against her eyes was painful so she tried to be still.
Far away a part of her urged her to move, find the lock pick she’d stolen from Duo and try to escape. But the voice was far away, the voice didn’t know how she felt, the agony in every movement. Try, the voice came again, attempting to motivate her. Trowa will come, he will, you have to stay alive. No, she wanted to scream. She saw Stefan falling, endlessly falling, saw the puddle of blood. Stefan became Trowa. “No,” her own voice whispered, pleaded in the dark. “Don’t come here.”
Divisions of mobile suits, glowing under dim lights, just like on the Libra, just like the tours she’d taken with her father, her grandfather. Dorothy’s throat ached. Wasn’t it over? Hadn’t someone told her it was over? But they were still here at this base, the shine of the titanium alloy had its own beauty, she thought. Everything as it was, a perfect recreation of her painful past. Stop it, she commanded herself, but her heart took up a slowly measured pounding.
“Join us, Miss Dorothy,” General Soixante said, watching her face carefully to gauge her reaction. “When Agent Une wakes up and divulges her information we’ll be able to attack successfully. The upstart colonies won’t know what hit them and as for the World Nation, our sources tell us that the widespread disarmament that’s been occurring since the end of the war leaves us with the largest combined force on the planet.”
“We will be victorious,” he assured her as she continued to stare at the array of armaments gathered in the underground factory. “Despite the bad blood between us and Romefeller in the past we’d be willing to have you on board. You, Miss Dorothy, could draw the support of the organization’s leaders, widespread as they are now. We could use their backing, in a subordinate role of course, as we strengthen our takeover.”
“You guys really did a job on this place,” Duo said, whistling softly and looking at the dark and crumbling ruins of the EarthSphere Alliance’s vast old Corsica base. “Hope that kid heard right. This place looks deserted and there’s hardly two stones on top of each other.”
Had the boy been wrong, Trowa wondered. His heart clenched painfully. She wasn’t here, nothing was here anymore. It had been too easy, hoping to find her so quickly. She could be anywhere by now. She could be . . . dead.
“Look over there,” Quatre said. “That could be something.”
It was the burned out shell of a headquarters’ building. Something huge had sliced the building diagonally in half. A Gundam. But part of it was still standing. Starlight shone through the empty husk and the windows without glass looked at them dully.
“You’re dreaming, buddy,” Duo said, shaking his head. They were on a wild goose chase. There was nothing here. Nothing but ghosts of a past that should have stayed buried.
Cathrine stood by the open window that led to the balcony. The breeze blew the sheer white curtains in ghostly shapes around her, the sheer panels of her white dress molded to her curves and moved softly in the breeze as well. She looked down, there were splatters of his blood on her dress. It had been everywhere. She looked up at the stars, choking back sobs, trying to get her feelings under control. Would she ever wake up from this nightmare?
She had been starting to really care for him and now he was gone. Stefan, a vision of his midnight hair and warm, admiring eyes appeared as she closed her eyes. And now Trowa was gone again too, straight into the heart of danger. She glanced at poor Anton, the boy slept fitfully on the couch as Hilde kept an eye on him. She was curled up in a nearby chair, wrapped up in her own worries.
Cathrine felt eyes on her. She moved her violet eyes in a sideways glance and met a pair of deep black ones, studying her with an unfathomable expression.
He felt something strange when he looked at her, not what he felt when he looked at other women at all. He thought that she was what a woman should be, gentle and soft in her white dress. War wasn’t a business for women and she had the sense, unlike these others, not to get herself mixed up in it. Strangely he remembered her from long ago, her gentle acceptance of him and his silences. She didn’t poke and prod at him to talk like other women did. The emotions of others rarely touched him anymore, really they never had. But somehow her sadness was making itself known to him now. Made him feel like he should go out and do something about it.
Where the hell was Yuy, he wondered, dragging his thoughts away from the unusual paths they were starting to take. He glanced at Cathrine again and at Hilde and the boy. Nothing was amiss here, they were just waiting. He’d be much better occupied elsewhere.
“I’m going to find Heero,” Wufei announced shortly and slammed out of the room.
“It’s about time,” Hilde commented as his footsteps faded in the hall. “I’m surprised he stayed around so long with us ‘women.’ He really should be out there helping Duo.” She paused, a faraway look in her sea-blue eyes. “I-I wish I was there too.”
Cathrine looked at the door. “There’s something so sad about that man,” she said, almost to herself.
“I’m disappointed in you Miss Dorothy,” the General said. “But I haven’t given up hope. Think about my offer.”
He turned and walked away. The guard holding her by the arm unlocked a padlocked iron door and pushed her inside. “Do your thinking in there, Romefeller bitch,” he muttered, slamming the door behind her.
Dorothy breathed a sigh almost of relief, she was still alive and she had resisted it. Resisted the lure of war. Her love for Quatre was stronger than that. He and the others would put a stop to this, she knew it. She believed in him, his goodness was enough to stop any evil scheme they could attempt.
“Just stay safe, my love,” she whispered, a worried frown furrowing her brow. She couldn’t bear the thought of losing him now.
It was so dark in the cell. She carefully put her hand down to find a place to sit. The floor was disgusting, covered in grit and God knew what else, probably dead bugs and other debris accumulated over the years of disuse. Her seeking hand brushed against something solid and she screamed. It was a body. She scrambled away from it in horror before getting hold of herself and going back to investigate.
Her eyes were becoming adjusted to the dark and she saw that it was the body of a woman, lying face down on the floor, her golden hair gleamed a little in the dark room, her hands were pulled behind her back in metal handcuffs. She touched her arm carefully and pulled her hand back, her skin was so cold. She must be dead. It was that girl, the one she’d seen when she came in. Midii Une. The cause of all her problems. How dare she be dead! Being with her would have been better than being here alone, Dorothy thought.
“You can’t be dead, damn you! Wake up,” she said, pushing her over onto her back and watching her carefully for any sign of life. She was rewarded by a small, soft moan of painful protest. She could almost hug her, she thought with a wry smile.
She pulled the smaller girl up by the shoulders and shook her. “Wake up,” she pleaded. “Wake up. You have to get me out of here. This is all your fault. Wake up and help me.”
Her voice penetrated Midii’s pain-clouded consciousness and finally, slowly, her lids fluttered open.
“Water,” Midii croaked.
“I don’t have any water, we’re in a prison for God’s sake,” Dorothy said impatiently. “This isn’t a restaurant.”
She’d been drifting in the blackness, almost forgetting who she was or where she was. But it was starting to come back to her.
“Who are you,” Midii asked, wincing as she tried to reach up and brush the dirt off her face but found she couldn’t. “And where are we exactly?”
“I’m Dorothy Catalonia,” the other girl said. “We’re at an abandoned military base. At least it was abandoned. They’ve made quite a bit of headway in rebuilding it underground. But I’m sure you knew that, Isabela.”
“Dorothy Catalonia,” Midii said in disbelief, her eyes getting used to the dark and focussing on her companion. “What are you doing here?”
“They mistook me for you,” Dorothy said between gritted teeth. “Can you believe it? This all your fault. You had no business involving Quatre in your schemes, no business getting any of us involved. You have to get me out of here. You have to help me.”
“Quatre,” Midii repeated, trying to concentrate on Dorothy’s rapid speech.
“Yes, Quatre,” Dorothy repeated. “You betrayed him, you have to help me.”
“He loves you,” Midii said, remembering his intense feelings for this girl and her odd reactions to them. “Why are you so unkind to him? Why won’t you marry him? It hurts him so much.”
“What,” Dorothy sputtered. “What are you saying?”
“Nothing,” Midii said, struggling again to free her hands, sharp pain shooting through her left arm. “I think my arm is broken.” Her teeth started chattering. “It’s so cold in here.”
“You’re not making any sense,” Dorothy sighed, wondering what she’d meant when she said those things about her and Quatre. “You’re delirious. How badly are you hurt?”
“Dunno,” Midii whispered, leaning her head against the wall, her lids fluttering heavily.
Dorothy looked at her in horror. She grabbed her again and shook her. “You have to stay awake. We’ll die if you don’t. We need to get out of here.”
“My shoes,” Midii said, trying clear her mind, trying to think what she had to do.
Dorothy looked at her as if she were insane.
“In the heel of one of my shoes there’s a hairpin,” Midii explained, her voice strengthening a little. “Help me get these handcuffs off.”
As Dorothy worked on the handcuffs, Midii asked about the lock on the door.
“It’s a padlock on the other side,” Dorothy said. “That’s not a problem is it?”
“Of course it’s a problem,” Midii said, they knew her too well, they’d taken every precaution to keep her here. “It’s impossible, we can’t get out of here.”
“I’m sorry,” she added, knowing that Dorothy was in no way prepared for this type of situation. She’d never been in worse trouble herself but she at least had thought about the possibility.
“There-there has to be a way. There has to,” Dorothy said, her confidence in Midii slipping vastly. “You have to get us out of here. They’ll kill us.”
“Probably,” Midii said, but her eyes had adjusted fully to the dark and having something to think about had brought her back to herself. Finally her eyes lit on an air vent on the wall a few feet from the ceiling. She stood up shakily, one hand clinging to the wall and stood under it, thinking. She could never make it up there. There was something very wrong with her arm, it throbbed unbearably where he’d twisted it, he’d broken it or torn tendons or something. She bit her lip to keep from crying out as she tried once more to move it.
She looked at Dorothy and softly said, “up there.”
“You go first,” Dorothy said, looking up at the hole in the wall that hid the unknown. She wasn’t exactly afraid, nervous was a better description. It was darker in there than it was in the little room they were in and she had no idea where the vent led to.
Midii shook her head. “You have to go alone,” she explained. “I can’t do it.”
“You want me to leave you here,” Dorothy gasped.
“There’s no use both of us dying. I’d only slow you down anyway,” Midii said.
“Alright,” Dorothy said. “But I’m sorry for what I said before. Thank you for helping me. When I get out I’ll find help. We’ll get you out, I promise.”
“No,” Midii gasped, grabbing Dorothy’s arm and digging her nails into her skin. “You can’t do that. Promise me you won’t let Trowa come here. He can’t. He can’t. Please, promise. Promise me. Say I’m already dead. Don’t let him come here.”
“You’re crazy,” Dorothy insisted. “They’ll kill you. You didn’t see that man’s face, Isabela. Midii, you’re in big trouble.”
Desperate tears streaked the other girl’s face. “Please promise, please,” she said.
“I can’t promise that,” Dorothy said, looking at her aghast. “Just hold on.”
She disappeared into the dark vent.
Trowa kicked over a pile of debris and tried to restrain himself from throwing a nearby table against the wall. So far their search had been fruitless. Quatre was insisting that they had to keep looking here. He was starting to agree with Duo that they should consider looking somewhere else.
“Trowa,” Duo’s voice called from outside the shattered headquarters’ building. “Come take a look at this.”
Trowa found Duo on his hands and knees in the middle of an old dirt supply road. “What is it,” he asked. Duo held something up to the light.
“Titanium alloy,” he said triumphantly, as the moonlight glimmered off the highly polished metal. “It’s new stuff too. No way this could have been here since you and Quatre tore the place up. Someone’s been transporting the stuff here very recently.”
Trowa’s eyes narrowed. They were in the right place after all. “Underground,” he said.
“That’d be my guess,” Duo agreed. “But where’s the entrance? Maybe we’ll have better luck come daylight.”
“We can’t wait that long,” Trowa protested, his voice tight and restrained. Midii, he thought, tell me where you are. He felt like digging through the dirt with his bare hands.
“Well, we’re not having much luck in the dark,” Duo said. “Plus I thought Heero and Wufei would be here by now too. What else can possibly go wrong?”
They must have moved closer to the beach somehow, Relena thought, her eyes fluttering open. The water was lapping at her feet and ankles. She shut her eyes again and snuggled her head against Heero’s chest, listening to the slow, steady beat of his heart. A smile of pure happiness lit her face. He was hers at last and she was his. Even with a new danger calling and a mission to accomplish he was here beside her.
Another wave hit, this time lapping over her calves and dampening the hem of her skirt. Relena’s eyes flew open. Heero was still sitting with his back against the cliff, his arms snug around her. It was the water itself that was moving closer.
“The tide,” she whispered. “The tide is coming in.”
Quatre continued searching the building. He admitted he’d been starting to lose confidence in his absolute belief that something was hidden here. But Duo’s find had restored that. Now something else was bothering him. When Trowa was outside with Duo he’d called Dorothy at the hotel and hadn’t gotten any answer.
He sighed. Where could she be? Had getting her out of that nightclub and its crush of people been the right choice? The hint of dawn was starting to appear outside, the darkness was fading to a charcoal gray and a line of rosy pink was showing at the horizon. It was taking too long. Isabela, he thought. Midii, hold on, for Trowa’s sake. Thoughts of Dorothy kept haunting him however, even though he had plenty of other things to worry about. The titanium was a clear signal that someone was constructing mobile suits again. Still, he kept thinking about the two girls. How alike they were, both so hurt by the war and its losses that they’d been driven to make the wrong choices. He knew Midii could be like Dorothy and change if she got the chance, if Trowa helped her find some kind of peace.
“Quatre,” Trowa called, his face pale and tired, but very determined. “We have to look somewhere else. This can’t be it, we’ve been here all night and haven’t found a thing. Duo’s contacted Sally. She’ll be here with backup soon and a mobile suit carrier.”
As he turned to leave, Quatre heard the clatter of metal scraping in the corner near the floor. He grabbed Trowa’s arm and the sound came again. They both heard it this time.
Trowa rushed toward the sound and aimed the beam of his flashlight at the spot, the light setting aglow a silken veil of pale blonde hair. “Midii,” he said, reaching out to pull the girl out of the vent.
“Dorothy,” Quatre exclaimed, realizing who the girl was.
“You,” Trowa said, his heart dropping with disappointment. Then his eyes hardened. “Where did you come from? You’re involved in this aren’t you? Didn’t you learn anything from the last war Dorothy Catalonia. You’re still the same, still . . .”
“No, she isn’t,” Quatre explained, pulling her away from Trowa’s grip and touching her dazed face softly. “Dorothy, how did you get here, what happened?”
He held her close in an embrace that was practiced and familiar. Trowa stared as his best friend hugged their old enemy and kissed her softly and with obvious love and adoration. Quatre and Dorothy Catalonia?
“What’s going on in here,” Duo called, swinging his flashlight around the room and catching Dorothy and Quatre in its beam. “Hey you found her!”
“No,” Trowa said flatly. “It’s Dorothy Catalonia, I think she’s involved in this, but . . .”
“Trowa, I told you she’s not,” Quatre insisted. “Dorothy talk to me. Are you alright? How in the world did you get here.”
She was filthy and there were long scratches on her bare arms, and on her face as well.
“Oh Quatre,” she sobbed, burying her face in his chest. It had been totally without light in the vent, she’d been afraid she’d be trapped in there forever, in the cold, claustrophobic blackness. She trembled and clung to him as if she would never let go.
“Dorothy, you’re safe now,” he said gently and reasonably. “Tell us where you were, what happened.”
She gulped in the fresh air. “When I got outside, they thought I was her,” she said. “Midii.”
She looked at Quatre. “We all have to get out of here now,” she insisted. “They have mobile suits, close to a hundred. I don’t know about the pilots, but the suits are ready to go. The three of you can’t fight that many. Please Quatre. We have to leave.”
“Wait,” Trowa said. “How did you get away and where were you?”
Dorothy paused, she remembered Midii desperately asking her to promise. But she couldn’t lie, Midii was still alive, or she had been.
“She helped me,” she whispered.
“Midii,” Trowa said, advancing toward Dorothy and Quatre, firing questions at the dazed woman. “Where is she now then? Why isn’t she with you? You couldn’t have just left her there? Where is she?”
“I had to climb up to get out,” Dorothy explained. “She couldn’t, she was too badly hurt. Barely conscious, I could hardly wake her up. At first I thought she was dead.”
“Trowa, wait,” Quatre called, as the other man disappeared down the air vent without a word.
Midii was haunted by visions of Stefan. Dorothy had been right, this was all her fault. Especially Stefan’s death. She had broken the rules and he was dead. “Stefan, I’m sorry,” she whispered, the memory of his death playing over and over like a movie in her mind. She was so selfish, she hadn’t taken his life into account for a second. She’d only worried about Trowa and what he thought of her. But Stefan had been the one who had been there for her most of her life, taking care of her and even risking his life for her. They’d been through it all together. And now he was dead because of her. He could have left her behind but he didn’t.
She remembered Dorothy’s promise. “We’ll get you out.”
“No,” Midii said softly, over and over again. She knew that if Trowa came they would kill him, exactly as they had killed Stefan.
A chill ran through her and her heart skipped a beat. The lock on the door was rattling. Fear made her forget the pain in her arm momentarily as she scanned the dark room for a weapon, anything. She glanced up at the air vent, impossible for her to reach it alone, with her injured arm. Then her eyes fell on the discarded handcuffs.
Midii held her breath and waited, ready to strike anyone who came in with the restraints in her good hand. The door flew open, letting in a blinding shaft of light. She groaned and stepped back instinctively, covering her eyes with her hand.
“Well,” Mezzo said, a smile in his voice. “Our little patient is recovering very nicely. You seem much better.”
“Stay away from me,” Midii said hoarsely, backing away farther.
“Or you’ll what? Step on my foot? Don’t make me laugh Une, you’re offensive skills were never your strong point. That’s what you had Niente for. You do remember him?” Mezzo said, prowling into the dark after her like a cat after a mouse.
“Stefan,” Midii whispered, her eyes misting, then hardening with anger and thoughts of revenge, her fury eroding her common sense. She rushed at Mezzo and swung the handcuffs at his face with all her force but he easily caught her arm and pinned her to the wall. Midii hit at him with her other arm and almost fainted from the pain the automatic movement caused, as it was she doubled over and would have fallen to the floor if he hadn’t been holding her up.
“Temper, temper,” he chuckled, reaching to brush the grit off her cheek and pull her up straighter against the wall. He could see her chest heaving with anger and pain, but she’d stopped struggling for the moment.
Midii closed her eyes, she could feel his hot breath on her cheek and turned her face away. He was permeated with the smell of cigarette smoke and she could taste the cologne he wore in the back of her throat, choking her with its heavy odor. She felt his fingertips trail from her face down to the neckline of her dress and catch there. Mezzo pressed against her crushing her between himself and the wall.
“Such soft skin,” he whispered, suddenly tightening his hold on the material and ripping downward.
“Nooooo,” Midii wailed frantically, her eyes flying open, the dim light from the outer room eerily illuminating the grim, pale blue eyes so close to her own.
To be continued . . . Next time on Alone/Together . . . the action-packed conclusion!