By Midii Une
“Dorothy,” Quatre said, finally tracking down the slender blonde with the flashing blue eyes, his voice quivering with emotion and disbelief.
“So you finally noticed me, I’ve been here all night waiting for you to see me,” Dorothy said a little testily, irritated by the confused state of her heart and her mind. She’d been close enough to hear Duo Maxwell’s words. Words that somehow made so much sense, words that were starting to make her think about throwing caution to the wind and walking out on that dance floor with Quatre right in front of Heero Yuy, Miss Relena and even Trowa Barton. The irritated look left her face and her eyes softened as she gazed at him. Beautiful was the only word to describe him, his face, his soul, those eyes shining with love for her.
Emotions overwhelmed her and she choked back a sob and launched herself into Quatre’s arms and he closed them around her swiftly. He couldn’t believe she was here, he had missed her so much, wanted her with him so much. Everything Duo had said was true, Quatre thought, focussing on the feel of her in his arms, her long, silky hair wrapping around both of them as a strong breeze blew in suddenly from the sea, extinguishing many of the little candles that glowed everywhere. Dorothy needed him, he could help her forget her past mistakes. Somehow he had to make her realize that before something happened that they would both regret. It was so foolish to hide their love, to be apart unnecessarily because of her fears, fears that had no basis in fact. He’d defend his love for her in front of anyone, it was as unchangeable as granite. Quatre knew that the time had come to force her to see that he was only hurting them both by caving in to her demands like he did. He loved her unconditionally and it was time to make her see that. Time to stop hiding.
Soon, he thought, distracted by the heady feeling of her in his arms, the smooth satin of her dress warm from the heat of her body, her arms soft and cool from the breeze off the water. He wasn’t in a hurry to let go of her. It had been so long, days since they’d been together.
She led him to a dark corner and pressed herself closer to him. “Quatre,” she murmured, in a softer, sweeter voice than he’d ever heard from her. “Do you know how much I love you?” They stood face to face, eye to eye, their lips at exactly the same height lit by the glow of the remaining candles and the bright white stars peeking out of the clear sky. In one fluid motion they leaned together and lost themselves in a kiss . . . There was still time to pry her from her self-protective cocoon, to admit to his friends that he was involved with her, that he loved her, Quatre thought. In just a little while, Dorothy thought, she’d talk to him, convince him to leave before the impending danger could pull him away from her. But first, just one more kiss . . .
Heero was silent for so long that Relena was starting to become uneasy. She had hoped that Duo’s words would affect him somehow, but now it appeared he was conquering any feelings that the words had stirred up in him, forcing them down so deep inside that they would never resurface. He was staring out to sea, his face radiant in the tiny glow of the small white lights surrounding them, lost in his thoughts, seeming not to see her or feel her hand in his.
This time he had to realize that they were meant to be together. He had to realize that she wasn’t a symbol, a woman on a pedestal, the personification of peace. She was only Relena now, and her love for this strange, closed-off man was the only thing that mattered. It wouldn’t be an easy road with him, they might never have what Duo and Hilde shared. But they would have something all their own and they would make it special. She needed him, and she wondered if it was true what Duo had said. Did he need her too? Could he need anyone or had that accursed Dr. J forever destroyed the person capable of love who resided in the body of Heero Yuy?
Her heart ached with sorrow and throbbed angrily at the same time. How dare that man destroy him, make him like this.
“Heero,” she said. She repeated his name and he finally looked at her.
“Kiss me Heero, please. I know that we can be happy. You have to believe it too. We can. You’re strong enough to let me in your heart. I know that you are. Please Heero, just one kiss . . .”
He looked at her and again she felt uneasy, if he didn’t kiss her now, after all this, she felt she would never reach him. It was so wrong, so unfair for Heero to have been made to feel like he should have no emotions. It was so wrong. A shimmering tear crept down her cheek, reminding him suddenly of a raindrop on a rose petal.
“Relena,” Heero said, his voice strained and uncertain. “I never wanted to make you cry.”
He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it, closing his eyes. He could swear he felt something, something inside, like pain in his heart, but yet not pain at all. Heero opened his eyes and met Relena’s, the love and understanding in them so plain that the message was clear even to a frozen heart like his. His princess, his love, she was so strong that she could bring peace to the world and love to a soldier without a soul.
“I love you,” he said, pulling her close and touching his lips to hers, so gently, tentatively. His kiss was awkward as first kisses tend to be, but to Relena it was the sweetest moment in her life. “I love you too Heero, I always have,” she whispered. And the tears on her face were tears of happiness, happiness at last.
“Signor Stefan,” the doorman/bouncer said, grinning at the tall, black-haired man as he appeared at the entrance to his uncle’s nightclub, shoving past the disappointed crowd waiting to get in. He held Cathrine tightly by the hand, reluctant to have to let her go. The memory of their one kiss threatening to distract him from his mission. He had surprised himself, he’d been so gentle, so careful not to offend her, barely touching her arm as he’d touched his lips tenderly to hers. And yet it had been magical, nothing like the kisses he gave other women. There was no other woman like Cathrine, he told himself, fiercely believing it. But she was wrong, he couldn’t change, especially not now. And neither could Midii. Where the hell was she? Cathrine’s brother would certainly show up, loyalty to such a sweet sister was a sure bet, Stefan thought. Besides Anton had been keeping tabs on Midii since she arrived on Corsica, she was sure to be here tonight.
His eyes scanned the room looking for Midii, before pausing to cast another quick glance at the woman beside him, the most beautiful one in the room. Her auburn curls gleaming in the flashing lights and her white dress showing off the best body in the place. His Cathrine, how he wished she could be. Every man in the room would envy him.
Then he saw her. Midii was making out just fine. He grinned at the pun. She was dressed to kill and had Cathrine’s brother totally bewitched. Stefan bet he could blow the place up right now and Nanashi, or Trowa Barton or whatever the hell the guy called himself wouldn’t notice as long as he was holding her in his arms. Probably thought he’d died and gone to heaven and that Midii was some type of angel.
He sighed, this wasn’t going to be easy. Midii was convinced that she loved that guy and she’d obviously made plenty of headway in getting him to love her right back in the short time she’d had alone with him, or at least he looked plenty ready to jump in the sack with her. She wasn’t going to want to leave the party right now. Hell, he’d much rather stay here and dance the night away with his gorgeous Cathrine, but they had work to do. He hoped there was still time to get Midii and her information to the Alliance, he hoped they hadn’t found out that they had compromised their mission.
“It’s time,” he said to Cathrine.
It was so like a dream, Midii thought, his arms around her so tightly and protectively. She felt safe and cherished. Nothing could hurt her tonight, not with Trowa close by. His hands were warm on her skin, his fingers caressing her hair, her shoulders, her back and every time she looked up at him he kissed her. Her body tingled, she wanted him to take her away, somewhere they could be alone together. He felt it too, she could tell from the rhythm of his heart, the way he pressed against her and the look in his eyes.
Words seemed unnecessary, they spoke with touches and kisses. Her eyes so soft and blue capturing his heart, he smiled down at her and tugged gently at one of her sparkling earrings that winked at him under the lights. Her eyes widened and her breath grew ragged as Trowa moved his other hand down from her waist to her thigh, his fingers tugging at the hem of her skirt sliding it higher on her leg. She closed her eyes and pressed her face against his shoulder. He loved her, he loved Midii. Only the thought of Cathrine far back in his mind kept him from taking her far from here. Somewhere they could be alone together.
“My how cozy you two have gotten,” Stefan said, the sound of his voice making Trowa look up and Midii’s closed eyes spring open.
“Cathrine,” Trowa said, startled and dropping his arms from Midii’s waist. How could it be midnight already, he wondered, he had only just taken her in his arms? But his green eyes melted with relief at the sight of his sister. She was completely safe, Midii hadn’t lied about that. “Oh Trowa,” Cathrine said, her violet eyes lighting up in happiness. She flung her arms around his neck and hugged him and he wrapped an arm around her.
“What Midii, no welcome for me? And after all the trouble I went through to rescue you from the bad guys,” Stefan teased. His arm snaked out and caught her by the waist and he pulled her back against him, with his other hand he pointed a gun at Trowa.
“Thanks for the help buddy and the loan of your lovely sister,” Stefan said. “Cathrine, it was a pleasure. Maybe some day . . . well maybe not, I don’t think your brother approves of me.” He flashed a grin, if looks could kill Nanashi would have him down for the count. “We’ll just be leaving now, enjoy the rest of your evening.”
“Stefan, no,” Midii said. “I don’t want to go with you. We have to stay here both of us. Listen to me.”
“We’ll talk later,” Stefan said, tightening his grip on his struggling partner. “But right now you’re leaving with me.”
Trowa pushed Cathrine behind him and pulled out his gun, he glanced around. Where the hell was Duo, where the hell were Heero, Quatre and Wufei? “I’ll let you leave,” Trowa said. “But Midii stays.”
“I’ve got the upper hand, Mr. Gundam Pilot,” Stefan said. “I know you won’t shoot at her but I’d have no trouble at all shooting at you.”
“Stefan,” Cathrine said, peeking from behind Trowa. “Please, don’t do this.”
He looked at her and a feeling of discomfort ran through him, he doubted he could shoot Cathrine’s brother, doubted he could bear the look in her eyes despite how much he hated Trowa Barton and how much he’d messed with Midii’s life.
“I’d love to make you happy Gorgeous, but business before pleasure,” he said, his eyes meeting hers before he looked back at Trowa. “Party’s over, lights out.”
Stefan turned slightly and took aim at the fuse box behind the bar. The box exploded in a shower of sparks and the lights flashed once and then went out, leaving Il Ritmo de la Mare in complete darkness except for a few tiny votives that the breeze had spared.
It was virtually as dark as the inside of a cave and women started screaming. Midii shrieked as she felt Stefan effortlessly hoist her over his shoulder, but with all the noise no one heard her. Stefan knew the club like the back of his hand, he’d worked there when he was a kid, before he’d gotten off the island. He’d walked the floors in the dark hundreds of times when closing up, they were out one of the little side doors before half the people in the place even realized what had happened.
“Duo, oh my God, what’s happening,” Hilde said as the room went black. She’d been sitting in Duo’s lap, their inhibitions eroded by a bottle of wine and the romantic afterglow of Duo’s speech. Hilde had wanted to show him just how wonderful she thought he was and Duo had been only too happy to receive her attention. They had forgotten all about the others, Midii and Trowa, Cathrine and Niente.
Hilde shrieked as someone in the panicking crowd tipped their chair over and they hit the floor. They still couldn’t see a thing.
“Come on,” Duo said, dragging her close to him. “Get under the table or we’re gonna get caught in the stampede.”
He wondered where the hell everyone else was.
Wufei heard the shrieking in the building behind him. “Women,” he thought in disgust. “Now what.” He’d had to get out of there. He hadn’t been able to concentrate in there with the smoke and the lights and the noise. Lights, he noticed the lights had gone out.
Heero held Relena close as they felt bodies rush by them and heard the screams all around.
“Heero, what’s happening,” she whispered, clinging to his neck.
He knew what was happening. He had forgotten his duty, forgotten everything because of the realization he’d come to about his feelings for Relena. Those duties would have to remain forgotten. His only mission now was to protect her. His eyes narrowed as he thought harder. He had to get her out of this crush of people, it wasn’t safe. He didn’t know whether it had been Niente or the Alliance that had shot out the lights but either one could still be out there like a loose cannon and with Relena by his side he was taking no chances.
Relena felt him fumble with something in his jacket. Heero pulled her tightly against him and kissed her, more decisively this time. She could almost see him smile at her in the dark. “Do you trust me,” he asked.
“Yes,” she said.
“Then hold on,” he answered and he jumped with Relena in his arms over the railing of the cliffside terrace, the cable he had attached to the railing broke their fall before they reached the rocky beach below.
“Dorothy,” Quatre whispered urgently. “Stay close to me, there’s a back exit not far from here. I’ve got to get you out where it’s safe. I have to stay and find Trowa, he needs my help.”
Quatre was frowning in the dark, he’d lost track of time, in the dim and cozy corner he and Dorothy had found they had felt like they were all alone and time had passed like nothing. He’d forgotten all about Trowa and the others. Anything could be happening now in this dark mass of screaming people.
“Quatre, no,” Dorothy pleaded. “Let the others help Trowa. Stay with me please, it’s too dangerous. Come with me.”
“I’ll be careful,” he promised, kissing her quickly as he found the door and pushed her out. “I’ll find you later, just stay safe.”
“Stefan,” Midii pleaded trying to make him see reason. “Stop it, put me down. We need to get back in there. It isn’t safe you don’t know what I’ve done. They are going to come after us, they’re probably already here.”
“That’s your body talking, not your mind,” Stefan insisted, setting her on her feet. “You just want to get back to that guy, but it’s not going to happen. Just forget it.”
Midii’s eyes blazed with anger and frustration, she raised her hand and slapped Stefan across the face leaving the red imprint of her fingers behind.
“I’m going back,” she said, running back in the direction they’d come. Stefan hesitated an instant, startled by her anger before following after her.
She could see Il Ritmo de la Mare up ahead, Stefan hadn’t gotten too far with her kicking and hitting at him. Trowa, she thought, relief flooding her. Suddenly a tall figure stepped in front of her, blocking the sidewalk. Midii gasped and backed away a few steps but he grabbed her roughly spinning her around and twisting her arm up painfully behind her back and clamping his other hand tightly over her mouth. She struggled to get away and he viciously pulled her arm up higher and a soft whimper escaped her from beneath his hand and her eyes widened in agony and terror.
“Try anything and I’ll snap your skinny little arm like a twig,” he threatened and she didn’t dare to move. Mezzo? The name flashed in her brain. They’d heard he’d died during the war and she’d been glad. A horrible man with an evil reputation. He twisted her arm a little more, as if in answer to her silent question and sharp pain shot up through her shoulder.
Stefan slowed down and went more cautiously, the sound of the click of her heels had ceased suddenly and he frowned and drew his gun. What did she mean that they weren’t safe? What had she done? She couldn’t have said anything to place them in jeopardy. She couldn’t have been that stupid. Instantly he remembered the soft, adoring look in her eyes when she looked at Cathrine’s brother. Oh yes, she could be that stupid. He closed his eyes in thought, he should run, get away himself. But he’d been responsible for her for so long that his choice seemed already made, he could never leave her behind. Damn Midii for this, but then again he should have listened to her earlier.
He grinned suddenly. Maybe Cathrine would be able to love a hero. Stefan heard a sound in the alley up ahead and rounded the corner carefullly, gun drawn but his bravado dropped at the sight that met his eyes.
Mezzo had her, he could see tears of fright and pain rolling down her cheeks. He had Midii and he had backup, no fewer than six guns were trained on him, they’d been waiting, knowing he’d follow her straight into this hellish nightmare. A nightmare with no way out.
Mezzo’s amused smile erupted into soft laughter as he saw Stefan’s face.
“And so Niente, you blunder right in after your foolish little partner.” He dropped Midii’s arm and tangled his fingers in her long hair instead, twisting it around his palm and pulling it tightly, forcing her head back against his shoulder and Stefan saw her close her eyes from the pain.
“I’ll kill you if you don’t let her go this instant,” Stefan said, his voice steady but his mind telling him it was all useless. This was the end.
“You were nothing without her, you knew that,” Mezzo continued, ignoring Stefan’s idle threat and adding insult to injury. “And you coddled her right up to the end. You should have showed her who was boss, kept her under control. Then both of you might have avoided this.”
“You sick bastard,” Stefan said softly. It was all over, their luck had run out. He should just shoot her, better that than leaving her in Mezzo’s hands. God knew what he would do to her, it made him queasy to think of it. He couldn’t let him hurt Midii like that. He had heard things, things he would never even talk about in a woman’s presence. And maybe somehow he’d get lucky and plug Mezzo instead. Forgive me Midii, he thought, it’s the only way out . . .
Mezzo read his intentions in his face even before the hand holding the gun started moving.
“Kill him,” he said softly.
Instantly the six silenced weapons fired, emptying their cartridges as Stefan’s single shot rushed harmlessly past Mezzo’s arm. He didn’t even flinch.
Midii looked in disbelief as Stefan fell his body riddled with bullets dead before he even reached the ground. Mezzo could feel the change in her body, the defeat and he dropped his hand from her mouth and untangled his hand from her hair. She fell to her knees, and the pain in her arm when she tried to push herself up was excruciating.
“Stefan,” she sobbed, crawling over to where he lay in a pool of blood, his eyes staring up into the sky. She put a hand on his chest and lifted it off again, staring at the blood as if it couldn’t be real. “Stefan, please, don’t be dead. Please,” she whispered despairingly. “Don’t leave me.”
She didn’t even consider running, her body was wracked with pain and her mind nearly insane with terror and grief. She fell forward onto his bleeding body and cried.
They waited by the back entrance. They had their orders, if Niente was with her, shoot him, but grab the girl, Mezzo had business with her. Eventually a slender but well-built girl slipped out the back door, her hair was long and pale blonde, she wore a blue satin dress and when she turned toward them and they saw that here eyes were blue as well.
It must be her. Midii Une.
Dorothy screamed as the two men grabbed hold of her arms and forced her into a waiting car.
Mezzo smirked, how satisfying he thought, and the night was just beginning. He walked over and pulled Midii up by her bruised and injured arm. He could read the fear and hopelessness on her beautiful little face.
He shoved her up against the brick wall of the alley and leaned in close. “Save your tears,” he said succinctly. “Soon you’ll be wishing you were as dead as he is. You’ll hate him for dying first, when I’m done with you.”
He held something in front of her face, she could barely make it out through her tear-blurred eyes, black with silver prongs. She wanted to scream, but her voice was choked with heartache and fear.
“Do you know what this is,” he said softly, his breath against her cheek. “I could kill you with it.” He pressed the stun gun against her temple and a sob shuddered through her. “I could send a shock through your brain.” He moved the device slowly down the side of her face and pressed it into the soft skin over her heart. “Or I could use it to stop that treacherous little heart of yours from beating. It would hurt Midii, imagine that shock of electricity burning through your body. But I want to keep you alive a little longer so I’ll just give you a taste of what it’s like.”
He kissed her forehead almost tenderly.
“Good night,” he said, swiftly sliding the stun gun away from her heart and shooting the current into the opposite shoulder, catching her effortlessly as she fell forward, her body convulsing slightly from the electrical shock.
The lights flickered then came back on, one of the employees had managed to get outside and activate the emergency power system.
At first the light was as blinding as the darkness had been. Trowa blinked, it had seemed like hours but it had only been perhaps 10 minutes since Niente had shot the lights out.
Midii was gone. Niente would have known how to get out, would have made it his business to know. A cold feeling swept over him, she was gone.
He turned to Cathrine, remembering her there beside him. “Are you alright Cathy,” he asked.
“Come on let’s get outside, it’s a mess in here,” Trowa said, but his eyes scanned the room even though he knew she must be gone. He spotted Duo and Hilde crawling out from under the table and Quatre was pushing his way through the crowd in their direction. There was no sign of Heero and Relena however, or Wufei.
Once they all got out it was just as chaotic outside as it was in but they bumped into Wufei.
“She got away, hmm,” Wufei said looking at the group of them. “And where’s Yuy?”
Quatre put a hand on Trowa’s shoulder. “We’ll find her Trowa, they couldn’t have gotten far.”
Duo spotted an alley close by. “We can’t talk here, it’s crazy,” he said. “Let’s go down there where it’s quiet.”
He led the way, Hilde’s hand in his and stepped into the dark, deserted little alley. “Oh geez,” Duo said, looking and turning pale. Hilde screamed and buried her head in Duo’s shoulder.
“Niente,” Trowa muttered, peering into the darkness and then looking at the ground. He couldn’t look, couldn’t look to see if she was there somewhere too. Tears streaked Cathrine’s face. She couldn’t believe he could be dead. Stefan had been so full of life, full of compliments and teasing. But when he’d kissed her he’d been so sweet, so gentle. And now . . . she looked at him lying there, his eyes staring up at the sky, unseeing and the blood, so much blood.
Quatre forced himself to look, if she was there he couldn’t let Trowa see, it would be too awful. But Niente seemed to be alone, as Quatre turned his eyes away from the grisly scene something caught his attention, a faint sparkle in the puddle of blood at Niente’s side. Wufei saw it too and went over and picked it up.
“Trowa, do you recognize this,” he said, dangling the blood-stained earring in his hand.
He nodded. “It’s Midii’s,” he said, taking it in his hand and clenching it tightly.
TO BE CONTINUED . . . . Duo, Trowa and Quatre track Midii to the Corsica Base . . . Dorothy has to make a choice.