Author’s Note: This fic was on a depressing hiatus until but I always had my mind on the goal of at least finishing what was started Halloween 2001 by Halloween 2002 and had bits and pieces of inspiration all through the year. Thanks to those who encouraged me to continue this story. WARNING: This is a HORROR story, beware of death, blood, the grotesque and angst, I love this holiday and ended up going a bit over the top…3xMU, 2xCB
By Midii Une
Cathrine sat at the kitchen table clutching a sunny yellow coffee mug tightly in both hands. She lifted her head and stared at Trowa through the mist of steam that rose up from the hot liquid and smiled. He was better. She had had no reason to worry after all. She grinned in relief as she saw him pad across the kitchen floor in his bare feet, looking sleepy and normal like any other morning. His cheeks were flushed with health and she grabbed at his hand and squeezed it as he gave her curls a quick, affectionate tug.
“Let me make you some breakfast,” she offered jumping up to pull her skillet from the cupboard, as he walked to the window.
He was silent so long that her happiness soured like a pail of fresh milk on a warm, sultry day and her worry returned slamming into her gut and make her heartbeat stutter with foreboding.
He turned immediately, hearing her desperate little whisper as easily as if she’d shouted his name. He reached back and pulled down the shade.
“No thanks, Cathy. Not hungry,” he answered, but his eyes were distant.
She was still standing holding the skillet thoughtfully when he emerged from his room fully dressed in his Preventer uniform, so intent on his destination that the door slammed behind him.
Cathrine set down the skillet.
He hadn’t said goodbye.
“Please Duo, I told you I went right home last night. It was cold and raining so I never turned around to look behind me,” Midii explained.
“Did anyone see you on the Metro then, just one person,” Duo persisted, this was hard, his heart wasn’t in it and she seemed so sincere.
“It was nearly 2 in the morning,” she said, burying her face in her hands. “I was the only one in the car. I want to go home now Duo, I think I’m going to be sick.”
“Oh sorry,” Duo said, clearing his throat and reaching forward quickly to gather up the crime scene pictures depicting Van Zehn’s remains that he had laid out on her desk. Pretty grisly stuff come to think of it, he admitted silently, hastily pocketing the images as he saw the horrifying white gleam of bone and the wet torn muscles in the man’s mutilated throat.
“Just give me one name, maybe one of your brothers saw you come home and can verify your story--,”
“What are you doing here Duo,” Trowa interrupted, appearing silently between them.
Duo looked up with a mixture of relief and annoyance. He hated the cool, smooth, smug tone Trowa’s voice held sometimes. Once Trowa’d been beating the hell out of him in a game of chess and his voice had been just like it was now, emotionless but if you listened hard enough slightly patronizing.
“Trowa,” Midii gasped, lifting her face from her hands to reveal shining steel-gray eyes and tear-stained cheeks.
He ignored the teary-eyed girl and concentrated on Duo.
“So are you going to tell me what’s going on,” Trowa prodded. “This place is buzzing about something.”
Duo shrugged and handed Trowa the last pictures ever taken of one Willem Van Zehn. His face remained blank as he looked at the images for a long moment before crumpling them in his hand.
“Hey!” Duo protested.
“You showed these to Midii? What were you thinking,” Trowa asked.
“I was thinking what any normal person would think! She was the last person to see this guy alive. She knows something,” Duo answered, his violet eyes snapping angrily. He was really getting tired of being picked on here.
Trowa laughed, the sound was startling and without mirth, a humorless outburst that filled the room with harsh sound.
“I don’t see the joke,” Duo muttered, scowling. He agreed with Heero, who had once said that when Trowa laughed it was more frightening than funny.
But Trowa was ignoring him now, his eyes were fastened on Midii with the same intense light she had seen in them last evening at the club. Her body swayed toward his and he put his arm around her shoulders drawing her close and kissing her, nuzzling the warm skin behind her ear. She shivered with delight and let herself lean into him so he supported nearly all her weight and she felt his arm tighten to accommodate her.
“Why didn’t you tell Duo you were with me last night,” he said, gazing into her eyes. “Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten already.”
“With you,” Midii repeated in a puzzled voice. But it had been a dream, only a dream. She started shaking and he pulled her closer so she could hide her face in his chest.
“Isn’t she sweet,” Trowa said to Duo, mimicking his words from the night before. “And so shy…”
Midii flushed, what was he saying? It was a dream, it had to be, she had been lying on a bed surrounded by candles and misty white drapery, and he had knelt over her holding her in a hungry, needy gaze. He’d trailed the petals of a long-stemmed red rose across her skin until she thought she would go mad with desire. She had whispered the words she had thought in her heart in the graveyard a few nights ago…
“If only you needed me. Needed me or you couldn't live, if I was like your very heart, your very blood.”
But that hadn’t been real, just a dream, a fantasy….
Duo left, slamming the door behind him and making a sound of disgust. As if the sound broke a spell Trowa let go of Midii so fast she had to catch herself on the back of her chair to keep from falling.
“Why did you lie to Duo,” she asked. “Trowa, what’s happening?”
He looked at her briefly, as if he didn’t trust himself to look closer. His skin had gone gray and his hands trembled as he reached for the sunglasses he kept hidden in his pocket.
“He won’t bother you any more,” he said simply, then turned and left.
Midii collapsed into her chair and lay her head on her arms. He was driving her insane, his attitude changing from one second to the next. She lifted her head from her arms and saw the rose from the dream laid on top of the stack of papers neatly piled in her in basket.
“What does it mean Trowa? Am I losing my mind,” she whispered, picking up the flower and trailing the satin petals slowly along the curve of her throat as her phantom lover had done in her fantasy.
Cathrine paused outside the dingy little store front. Guilt assailed her, she had not visited old Agatha the circus’s gypsy fortuneteller for more than a year. When the old lady had retired she had promised to visit often and keep in touch. She had done it only once, bringing flowers and soup to the frail woman who must by now be near 90. It was so selfish to come here now, now when she needed help. But for Trowa, her dearest little brother Triton, she would be selfish, she would do anything.
Dust lay thick on the cluttered curiosities that the old gypsy crone had collected over a long and eventful lifetime. Grimy strands of beads that had once glittered and clicked at the front of a brightly painted booth looked pitiful and deteriorated as they hung now like cobwebs in a narrow doorway and Cathrine shuddered. Perhaps she should not have come. Cathy reached out a hand to touch the beads and a faded voice called out. Swallowing hard, she took a deep breath and ducked through the tangled strands of beads. Cathrine glanced around in dismay as some of the old beads fell to the floor and rolled into the dusty corners of the dark little room lit only by a dim candle.
Agatha sat there in a rocker before a low table. Her long gray hair was swathed in a red veil gaudily decorated with shiny gold coins and she was huddled in a bright purple shawl thick with swaying fringe.
“So you keep your promise to visit at last,” the old lady hissed through nearly toothless gums. “There is something you want bad, isn’t there pretty little Cathrine?”
The young circus performer knelt penitently by the old lady’s knees, feeling the curious touch of the gnarled old fingers on her smooth cheek. “I’m sorry Agatha. I should have come sooner. Forgive me!”
The old lady shrugged. She didn’t mind being alone, her eyes, though almost blind, were far-seeing and she was never really lonely.
“Something’s wrong with Trowa,” Cathrine moaned, laying her head on the old woman’s lap. “I know it. There’s a girl—“
Agatha frowned, she knew Cathrine had a strong attachment to her brother, perhaps too strong. She had known young Triton still lived after the accident claimed Cathrine’s parents, but she had been as surprised as any of their circus family when he came back to them. They all shared the same Romany Gypsy blood that had flowed in the veins of circus people for ages and generations, it was a powerful connection between them. Sometimes the future kept itself shadowed even from her. She did know that the Blooms seemed to attract tragedy, and it seemed now fate was not done toying with them.
doubted she could help, but she would try.
This girl’s love for her brother was a good force. For that she would try.
“Shut your eyes tightly and see them, envision the boy and the girl,” the old woman whispered to Cathrine, her voice was soft but held an air of command that was impossible to resist.
The gypsy’s purple-veined, wrinkled lids closed over her deeply sunken eyes and the mist began to clear until she could see what the young woman before her saw. A tall young man stood with his back to her and there was a girl beside him, she could see the pretty, delicate profile of her face.
“Let me see you now,” her thoughts whispered to the girl, the symbolism of their poses had told her she would be the one more open to her intrusion. Slowly the girl turned to face her fully, an invisible storm wrapping her long blonde hair to shroud her face before it was pushed back revealing the figure’s hidden inner thoughts to the ancient fortuneteller.
Emotions washed over the jaded old gypsy like waves crashing on a rocky beach, the water spreading out and seeping between the dull gray pebbles. Her breath caught with the intensity of the feelings as she saw the familiar boy through the eyes of a young girl. He was handsome, so handsome, his features graced with a wild beauty that made her heart ache. The girl’s desire was so strong, it seemed to dominate her every thought, her every wish. Lust and need pulsed through her veins with every heartbeat. Cathrine winced and gasped aloud as she felt her fingers clenched painfully in the old woman’s grasp.
“Tragedy…” the old woman groaned in a thickly-accented voice. “She is headstrong and impatient, a selfish child who cannot wait for her heart’s desire. So young, so stupid…”
Cathrine’s eyes opened, wide with terror. “No, she can’t hurt Trowa, I won’t let her—
Her words were cut off and she lifted trembling fingers to touch her throbbing cheek wonderingly. Agatha had slapped her sharply across the face with a strength her age had well concealed. Cathrine swallowed the rancid taste of fear as she faced a glowing pair of eyes that blazed with a terrifying anger.
“What-what happened,” she murmured, dazed.
“You broke the connection,” Agatha scolded, closing eyes that were heavy with exhaustion from her exertion.
“Yes,” Cathrine said, her voice suddenly unrepentant and strong as she leapt to her feet, her slight figure shaking with barely-restrained rage. “But I was right. It’s all her fault, all Midii’s fault. I saw them, you saw them and you heard her thoughts. She is selfish, she is—
“She is a child, a poor tragic child,” the gypsy sighed heavily, shaken by what she had seen, by the powerful devastation that could be caused something as wondrous and beautiful as love itself. “You should not judge so harshly my pretty one. It is a hard thing to wait for love that seems it will never come and the young do not trust time.”
The old woman stared into the flame, she already knew how things would fall out, but her soul shuddered as Cathrine spoke the fateful words. As impatient in her own way as the girl in the vision.
“Tell me,” the younger girl pleaded, her heart in her throat. “Tell me how to stop this thing and get my brother back.”
Hilde found Midii staring miserably out the window when she stopped by to go out for lunch that day.
She put a concerned hand on the other girl’s shoulder, feeling a burst of pity for her friend. Frankly, she had never seen even Midii look quite this dejected.
“Are you upset about Willem? I’m so sorry that happened to you Midii. You barely knew him but still, to have him so horribly murdered,” Hilde said consolingly, trying to coax Midii out of her funk.
“I’m sorry about him too,” Midii sighed, turning at last. “But I can’t stop thinking about Trowa. Hilde what’s wrong with me? A man is dead, a man I liked very much, but all I can think about is Trowa. He was here today and he said things…”
Hilde noticed the rose in her hand, the scarlet petals were lush and opulent as the tightly-closed petals began opening in the warm room.
“Did Trowa give you that,” Hilde asked, touching the rose carefully.
Hilde looked thoughtful. She took a deep breath and took the plunge, when she was wrong she was the first to admit it.
“Maybe he does care for you after all,” she said. “I think he just doesn’t know how to show it. Go find him Midii. Go home and change into something sexy. Push him over the edge.”
A conspiratorial smile passed between the two young women.
“Wish me luck,” Midii whispered fervently. “It’s all or nothing this time.”
Duo brooded, sitting sulkily on the dilapidated sofa. He didn’t like being made a fool of, not by Trowa Barton, not by anyone. Something strange was going on and Midii was mixed up in it, and Trowa too. A man was dead, a Preventer, and Trowa had lied about being with Midii. The guy had always been weird but lately being around Trowa made all the little hairs on the back of Duo’s neck stand up. He paced restlessly and paused by the window, brown leaves skittered past making rustling sounds on the sidewalk, dancing along in the fading sunshine. Even this cheerful autumn scene gave him the creeps. The war was over and he played now at happiness, but he really wasn’t happy.
The doorbell buzzed softly and Duo shook himself out of his uncharacteristic malaise and jumped nimbly over a pile of discarded pizza boxes to answer the door.
Cathrine was framed in the doorway a vision in a tight red sweater and a pair of snug faded blue jeans. She was holding her hand out to him and in the other she held a heavy-looking wicker picnic basket.
And suddenly life was good again.
As they drove along the pretty country road out away from the congestion of the city he glanced over at her , wondering if she was really the answer to the turmoil in his heart. He admitted he had always been jealous of Trowa. What orphan boy didn’t dream of finding a wonderful big sister who loved him and cooked for him and fussed over him? Could Cathrine be the reward for all he had missed in life, family and most of all love? He admired the voluptuous curves outlined by the tight, low-cut sweater. He shook his head and grinned. Cathy was as sweet and wonderful as the only person who had ever truly loved him. But unlike his beloved Sr. Helen Cathrine Bloom had the power to make him think such delightfully sinful thoughts. He didn’t want her as mother or sister that was certain.
As he thought this, Cathrine reached over and curled her hand into his and he closed his fingers gently over hers. For once he had no words, he only squeezed the warm hand he held and turned his eyes back on the road, a genuinely happy smile on his face.
“Pull in here,” she said softly as they approached a quiet, overgrown drive.
“Your wish is my command ma belle mademoiselle,” he grinned, as she laughed at his bad French accent.
He helped her out of the car and looked around. He wasn’t much on scenery but wow, this place was just pretty. Grand old trees, the leaves flaming with autumn color and an endless blue sky. Quatre was always going on and on about he beauty of Earth. Hell, he should see this picnic spot, Duo thought. A little white picket fence surrounded the hill topped with gleaming marble crosses. Marble crosses engraved with names. He did a double-take. She’d brought him to a cemetery for a picnic?
“Whoa Cathy,” Duo said, tugging on the slender hand he held in his. “I don’t do picnics in cemeteries. Maybe your brother told you I went by the name the God of Death in the war but this really isn’t my style.”
Cathrine grabbed his arms desperately and pushed herself close, snuggling pleadingly against his chest.
“Come on,” Duo insisted. “We’ll find another place, maybe a vineyard where we can get a bottle of wine. But this place is just morbid.”
He wanted to say it was evil, the word seemed to pound in his brain and she wasn’t moving. She stood her ground as he tried to persuade her to get back in the car.
Her violet eyes gleamed softly in the sharp autumn sunlight. “Are you afraid? I want to stay Duo. Stay with me,” she tiptoed and whispered in his ear, her fingers tangled in his long braid of hair and held him fast as she brushed her lips against his ear and trailed a kiss over his cheek and down to meet his lips with her own.
The wind blew cold around her ankles as she stood outside Trowa’s door indecisively. She pushed experimentally at the door and to her surprise it opened at her touch, as if the very wood knew her, was waiting for her to come. He was standing there on the other side as she’d known he would be. Hilde was so right to make her come to settle things between them once and for all.
They stood staring at each other. She drank in the sight of him, loose pants slung low on his hips, a wrinkled white shirt hanging off his shoulders that he’d hastily thrown on in answer to her timid knock. Nanashi, Trowa, the boy she had always, always loved.
“Go away Midii,” he ordered, his voice strained. He refused to look at her and he barred her from coming any further into the room.
“I love you,” she protested, flinging herself at him, rising up on her tiptoes to kiss his pale lips.
“Get out of here Midii, I don’t want you here,” he said again, but his voice trembled a bit and she shook her head in stubborn refusal.
“Stop playing with me, there’s something happening between us I can feel it. Why are you torturing me?”
He slammed the door shut suddenly and shoved her hard against it, squeezing her wrists in his hands and her eyes welled with hurt, frustrated tears.
“I love you,” she said again as the tears fell, tracing a glittering path down her rosy, wind-kissed cheeks. “Why are you trying to make me hate you?”
He closed his eyes and she held her breath. When he opened them she could see cold green fire burning in his eyes and she was afraid. A cold wind blew in through the open window making the curtains dance and blowing papers noisily around the little room, knocking over Cathy’s fragile glass knick-knacks and crashing them to the floor. Then he leaned forward and kissed her cheek, she could feel his open mouth seeking the taste of her tears and there was a trickle of warmth on her throat and a deep, painful longing as the wound he had made on her neck at Club Crimson started to bleed fat drops of scarlet blood.
Midii moaned hungrily, she wanted him, had wanted him so long and still his mouth lingered on her face until she slumped forward against him as he pinned her back against the door with his weight.
Her tears were hot and salty, so delicious mixed with the taste of her skin. He could smell her blood as he pressed his mouth harder to his face, he was barely still Trowa at all as he let his teeth graze her cheekbone with sudden sharp intensity and fastened his mouth against the wound as a small amount of blood began to flow.
She gasped in surprised shock and pain, he drew back his head and smiled at her; a thin, terrible smile and she opened her mouth to scream but he closed his mouth over hers kissing her roughly until she could taste her own blood in her mouth.
“Stop,” she whispered, her voice stuttering and tiny with fright.
“Why did you come,” he answered, almost regretfully, “I told you to go…
Midii started shaking and whimpering and his eyes hardened, he thrust an open hand over her face and mouth pushing her back against the door, twisting her head and baring her long white throat to his gaze. Drops of blood drew his eye to the target and he touched his tongue to the blood, making her shiver with desire despite her terror as he kissed and bit softly at her throat until finally he drew away from her, holding her close against him for a second.
“It’s over, he’s stopped,” Midii thought with a mixture of relief and disappointment, her thudding heart loud against his still chest.
The crushing force of his hand on her mouth stifled her screams as he bit down again hard, tearing open her throat, ripping the muscles and cracking the thin bones and ligaments. Trowa felt her droop against him and lifted her up in his arms setting her on the couch, he tore his eyes away from her face, from her soft lips opening and closing softly in silent protest. There was nothing left in him but need, he needed her and his fingers caressed the bare, cooling skin of her arm as he fed from the horrible wound he had made in her neck.
Duo lay flat in the grass, listening to the rising wind. Leaves twirled merrily among the shimmering white gravestones as the early purple twilight fell over him and Cathy. Who’d have thought she would be so adventurous and so dominant, he wondered tiredly as he felt her fingers trace patterns on his chest as she caressed his skin.
Her passion had been wild and desperate and he had quickly forgotten his aversion to the location she’d chosen. She lay quietly in his arms now but his misgivings were starting to return. It was growing colder and the wind was really kicking up. She had to be cold, he thought tenderly, as he reached around with his arm to find his jacket and pull it over her. It was growing darker quickly, the purple light deepening until it was nearly black at the eastern edge of the sky. Where they lay on top of the hill among the dead seemed a magic place halfway between good and evil. As the darkness started winning over the light he somehow knew this place was totally evil, light or dark it was evil and Duo was suddenly sure of that, there was no goodness here. A fading cloud seemed to brighten in response to his thoughts, the thin wisps of it were the like the pale strands of Sr. Helen’s hair at night after she removed her wimple. She leaned over his bed and asked him to say his prayers…deliver us from evil. It was evil, this place was evil. Instinct told him to get up and run. But the girl he held in his arms seemed to weigh him down against the cold earth so that he could not move. But why wasn’t Cathy, warm, loving Cathrine, afraid of it?
He felt her move restlessly beneath his jacket and he chuckled uncertainly in a show of bravado he really didn’t feel.
“You got an itch you need Duo to scratch baby,” he drawled, circling her waist with his hand, trying to will away his crazy fears.
Cathrine sighed as her hand found what it sought. A hot tear slid from the corner of her eye but she forced her sorrow back, she had to be strong, had to save Trowa.
Even if she had to sacrifice the one she loved.
“You must buy him back with blood,” old Agatha’s voice urged her from far away.
With a sharp, strangled cry she rose up on her knees, a knife gleaming in the dying daylight.
Duo stared in disbelief as Cathrine raised the knife over her head and started it plunging down toward his heart. At the last second he rolled away and she fell to her knees, crawling toward him , sobbing desperately as he got to his feet and stared at her.
“No WAY! You’re crazy,” he shouted, backing away from her. He pulled a gun from a hidden pocket in his pants and pointed it at her, holding her off.
“I’m sorry,” she sobbed, still clutching the knife in her hand and stepping hesitantly toward him. “I had to. He’s my brother! Don’t you understand? He’s my brother!!”
“I understand you’re nuts lady! I loved you, I could have loved you and you were using me as some insane sacrifice?”
“Loved me?” Cathrine repeated, dropping the knife and wrapping her arms around herself. “Duo—“
He turned and ran from her.
He paused a second, she was calling him back.
“You got the wrong guy, I’m not going to be your sacrificial lamb,” he yelled back, never turning to look at her. He walked rapidly, his heart thudding with the shock of what she had tried to do and the horrible hurt she had inflicted on his soul with her betrayal. Lost in his thoughts he tripped over a tangled piece of wreckage that had been hidden in a pile of brush. Duo saw something rising up to meet him as he fell and only a quick, instinctual move kept him from being impaled on the handlebar of what had once been a motorcycle.
He lay on the ground a moment, catching his breath. He looked over at the bike, studying it. He knew that bike, knew it well. He’d helped Trowa work on it sometimes on lazy Saturday afternoons. Afternoons when Tro hadn’t been behaving as bizarrely as he was now. The bike had been about the only ‘normal guy’ thing about Trowa. He loved that machine almost as much as he’d loved his Gundam.
The bike was a mangled piece of hardware now, fit only for a junkyard. It looked like it was covered with rust, thick in some places and very lightly in others. Terrible brown stains spread all over the twisted metal. Duo touched the bike and it clattered into a heap, he saw something horrible, shiny and red brown like a piece of somebody’s insides clinging to the opposite handlebar and a torn jacket lay under the wheel covered in that same rusty red-brown that stained the bike.
Duo made an irritated sound and pulled out the small penlight he kept in the pocket of his leather Preventer jacket. He studied what he saw beneath the wheel, a jacket like his own and embroidered on the pocket the letters BAR. The rest of the letters were lost beneath the exploded tire but Duo knew what it read.
This had been a fatal accident. Whoever’d been riding Trowa’s bike and wearing Trowa’s jacket was dead. But where was the body? No one could have walked away from this mess of blood and glass and metal.
He remembered Trowa’s white face appearing out of the darkness the night before and heard his own joking voice.
“You look like death warmed over buddy,” he had teased.
Some thing was walking around out there in Trowa’s body, that thing should be lying here rotting in the woods but it was walking around.
Walking around killing people, Duo thought, remembering the images of VanZehn’s throat.
He jogged quickly back to where he’d left Cathrine but she was nowhere in sight, the car was gone.
The Preventer pulled out his gun and ran down the road, he stopped the first car he saw with a desperate shot in the air and a wild look in his eyes. The driver pulled over and Duo yanked the stunned man out and left him on the side of the road.
“Mon Dieu,” the man said, crossing himself carefully. “That boy looked like he was being chased by Death itself.”
He shivered and pulled his coat closer as the slim white birches twitched in the wind and he walked slowly in the direction of home. He walked in the middle of the road, the local people knew that there was something bad in the cemetery on the hill and avoided it. No place that held the tormented souls of so many angry dead could ever be safe for the living.
It was not so horrible to die. The pain was part of her now she felt merely like she was flowing into him, becoming part of him. Light and sound were fading away and she was blind and deaf. Only the sense of touch was left to her, his body covering hers, the cold fingers on her skin and his lips hot against her open throat taking her to unearthly heights of pain and pleasure that were killing her as surely as the vast amounts of blood loss. She couldn’t hear the door shudder in its frame or the faraway shouts that filtered in.
Then there was nothing, his presence was gone. The unwanted intruders were dousing the golden light left by Trowa’s touch with a little hiss like a bucket of cold water striking rosy embers.
There was only the pain, terrible and unbearable. And then even the pain was gone and she floated on the darkness to a place even more black, into a void of nothingness of non-existence and she felt immediate sharp terror as it drew her into itself. Visions tormented her and one in particular, a scene from a future that would never happen now, she could see through a mist, a day some years in the future, he would have seen that he loved her, they might have had a life together instead of this terrible dependency they now shared. She was given a glimpse of her hell, she had made him need her and she was dying. And her death would kill him.
Suddenly Midii fell to Earth with a sick jolt, thick alien liquid pulsing in her veins pulling her back from the brink of the dark void. Powerful lights, bright and hurtful, shone down on her face. Strange voices and urgent movement surrounded her.
“I think she’s going to make it.”
There were no secrets, despite the efforts of the top Preventer brass to hide what had happened it was whispered about in the hallways and people passed around the story embellishing it and retelling it, shivering with vicarious fear and thrills.
Trowa Barton had tried to kill Midii Une. Duo Maxwell had burst into his apartment and found him tearing her throat out, drinking her blood. He’d killed Van Zehn too, horribly mutilating him and letting him bleed to death in the street outside Club Crimson.
And he was still out there, disappearing into the night as Duo worked desperately to keep Midii from dying, pressing Trowa’s discarded white shirt over the gaping wound in her neck to keep her from bleeding to death.
They walked past her office as often as they could once she returned to work. Heavy white gauze bandages covered the repairs doctors had made to her mutilated throat. They were curious but they avoided her, a thin, pale woman with terrifyingly empty eyes. She spoke to no one and no one knew what she did in her office each day. No one dared to ask. The superstitious would sneak in when she was out and leave crucifixes and holy water on her desk and make the sign of the cross when her shadow crossed their paths.
Midii saw none of this nor heard the gossip that centered around her, she was searching for him. The black void he had led her to called out to her and her blood sang and buzzed in her veins as she longed for him. He was out there somewhere and he needed her. She had felt his terrible need, cherished his need as he took her, tried to swallow her very life into his. She had started this and it could not be stopped. She knew he wanted her to come to him so they could finish what they had started even if it meant their deaths.
After weeks of searching something odd caught her eye. Abstract bits of information concerning a strange incident and disappearances at an abandoned space refueling station in a remote area of LaGrange Point 3. A shuttle had stopped there after a sudden systems failure. A refueling had taken place out of the unmanned station’s diminishing supply but it was cut off before enough fuel had been deposited in the shuttle to allow it to take off. Computers monitored these transactions. The unfortunate shuttle had never arrived at its destination. The 16 people that had been on board had disappeared.
These were the coordinates, she knew that this was where Trowa had gone.
Midii frowned in concentration before a slow smile touched her lips. It wasn’t over, she tipped her head back, her fingers caressing her neck lightly, the healing scars on her throat throbbing with a dull ache and becoming wet with blood that smeared on her fingertips.
“I’m coming,” she whispered, gasping as her body jerked with a violent spasm of remembered pleasure and fear. This was all they would ever have and now she wanted it with a need as great as his. They had resurrected her body so he could have her again.
Midii’s contamination of the information files concerning the situation at the refueling station took weeks to untangle. It was nearly a month then after Midii’s discovery that the Preventer Agency caught on and made the refueling station incident a priority. A team, headed by Heero Yuy and Duo Maxwell, was sent out to investigate.
It was a cold and lonely place, inhabited by eternal darkness and ageless rocks, sharp and ugly. It was a place of desperation, constructed when the colonies had been new on a rather large but stable asteroid that circled the earth in a haphazard orbit. It was all but obsolete, hardly necessary now with the increased shuttle traffic made possible by the freedom and ease of movement from one colony to the other.
Heero glanced at the photos taken of Van Zehn’s wounds and the clinical descriptions of Trowa’s attack on Midii. He studied the middle-aged woman who lay lifeless in the small rest lounge at the abandoned station. He straightened her glasses and tugged her blonde hair down to cover the wound in her throat. There was nothing he could do about her staring eyes that communicated the terror she had felt at the point of her death. There was no way to close her mouth and silence the permanent scream that was fixed on her face. Rigor mortis had set in.
They’d found all sixteen of the shuttle’s passengers. Something had stalked them and killed them. Heero narrowed his eyes in annoyance as Duo walked a step behind him, muttering about vampires and the undead. Heero Yuy did not believe in such nonsense, there was a logical explanation to this and he would find it. War did strange things to people, it could happen during the conflict as it had to Quatre or someone could break years later. That had to be what had happened to Trowa.
And if he found him here he would kill him.
One last door remained unopened. According to the plans Heero had obtained of the refueling station it was a small sleeping quarters constructed for repairmen who had occasionally come out during the war to maintain the mechanisms and computers.
Duo hung back, ridiculously clutching at the cross he had taken to wearing, as Heero kicked in the door and held his gun before him as he entered the room.
“There they are—sleeping,” Heero whispered, nodding his head toward the couple lying on the bed in a tangle of sheets and blankets. He and Duo could see Trowa’s spiky bangs and the mess of Midii’s wavy blonde hair as she slept in his arms.
Duo wondered why Heero didn’t think it odd that Trowa hadn’t heard them. He’d been a Gundam Pilot like them; he should have heard them long ago…
Heero was approaching the bed now and Duo tagged behind, something sick twisting in his stomach. He didn’t want to go there, something was wrong. Couldn’t Heero sense it?
Heero reached out and whipped back the blankets. They were not sleeping. Duo saw the thing, the thing that had been Trowa, wrapped protectively around Midii’s corpse, which was curled in his arms in a semi-fetal position. He and Heero stared down at the bodies for a long, silent moment before Heero reached out and grabbed Trowa’s shoulder, turning him on his back. The shoulder he’d touched started to crumble like dust and like a tower of cards his entire body collapsed in on itself, a dry, desiccated heap of bones and dust.
“Oh Jesus!,” Duo screamed, calling at last on the God of life instead of death.
Midii fell back without the support of Trowa’s body, her skin stretched tight and dry like antique parchment against her bones. There was nothing left of her but the skin and bones. He had totally consumed her.
Winter had passed and it was springtime again. Duo sat nursing a drink at Hilde Schbeiker’s wedding to Jamie Hunter, former OZ colonial unit commander from L2. He found himself looking up into her pretty, joyous face and he forgot his woes for awhile. He was really happy for her, happy she had found a good life, the best, with someone who loved her and who she loved in return.
He accepted her invitation to dance and teased her by holding her slight body too close for good manners and trying to feel her up.
“Stop it Duo,” she said playfully. “It’s too late now, you had your chance with me but you blew it.”
“That I did Hilde honey,” he said softly, with just a touch of regret. He had given his love to Cathrine Bloom and it had been the wrong choice. Her betrayal haunted his dreams almost as much as the sights he’d seen on that abandoned station. It still hurt so bad, like it had happened yesterday.
As if she read his mind, Hilde tilted her face to Duo’s and spoke.
here you know. I really wanted her to
come. She’s been so lonely since Trowa
died. We were never friends but I wanted her here. It’s like she’s the part of us that Trowa was, a link back to
what we all went through in the war.
Don’t you think you should talk to her Duo, she’s so alone and I thought
you cared about her once?”
“You have no idea,” he muttered, but his eyes of their own accord began to search the room for Cathy.
She was very pale and seemed to have lost a lot of weight. Her bouncy curls were pulled back in a tight chignon that revealed the beautiful lines of her face, the high cheek bones and the mysterious almond eyes that betrayed her gypsy heritage. She sat at a table with people Duo didn’t know.
Heero had written up the report about the whole incident. He and some crazy psychologists had diagnosed Trowa, post-mortem of course, as have Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome as a result of the war. It had sent him on a killing spree. The report said he’d hated Midii for what she’d done to him so long ago and it had sent him over the edge. His hatred for her had driven him to murder VanZehn, the shuttle passengers and finally Midii herself.
Duo knew that wasn’t true. They hadn’t hated each other, he had seen them lying there on that bed, Midii curled up against Trowa’s heart. It was love, a horrible, terrible all-consuming love. But Heero saw things differently and so that’s how the story had ended with an easy diagnosis. Case closed.
But there were still casualties, still people suffering. Cathrine was alone, she had lost Trowa and Duo knew damn well how much he’d meant to her. Midii’s three young brothers were truly orphans now, he’d heard how they were being shuttled from foster home to foster home. Hilde had told him she’d loved those little boys as much as Cathy loved Trowa.
Finally the groom cut in on his dance with Hilde. He didn’t find Duo’s flirtations with his new bride at all humorous and shot the braided Preventer a rather nasty glare. Duo Maxwell had come between him and Hilde for far too long from the moment he’d escaped their transport to the Moon he’d been a fascination for her. But that was finished now and she was his.
“The jealousy’s kinda cute Jamie. But don’t forget Chief, you’re the one I love, the one I want to be with,” Hilde whispered in his ear, pressing herself close.
She was really his, the brave girl he’d met so long ago. So beautiful now with the white veil frosting her blue-black hair. He bent to kiss her and forgot about Duo, forgot everyone but her. Yes there were definitely happy endings in this world, he had his right here with him.
Duo walked off the dance floor with his head down, intent only on getting back to the bar and drowning his morbid thoughts in more liquor. There was a thud and a small shriek and he looked on the floor and saw Cathrine there, sitting on the floor looking stunned. He’d knocked her over in his hurry to get back to his drinking.
“I-I only wanted to talk with you,” she said. “Please Duo, no one’s ever told me what really happened to Trowa.”
“Always Trowa isn’t it,” Duo answered, his voice more bitter and cold than any she’d ever heard.
“I don’t think I can move on unless I know,” she whispered. She held out her hand to him and automatically he reached out to help her up.
His body tingled in response to the touch of her hand but his voice was sarcastic.
“You’re not gonna knife me if I don’t tell you, are you,” he asked, looking into her wide pale purple eyes.
“Please Duo, walk with me outside. We can’t talk in front of all these people,” she pleaded.
“Think you can tempt me again babe? No one fools Duo Maxwell twice. I guess you just want to lure me out and kill me in some insane attempt to resurrect your dead brother. He’s really dead this time okay, nothing but a pile of dust,” he said, shaking her off.
Rage and sorrow raced through Cathrine’s body, making her knees tremble and her fingers shake. She wanted to deny what he said but it was true, she had hurt him. But in the time since Trowa’s death she had come to realize she could never have stabbed Duo, never spilled his blood on the cold cemetery earth.
She followed after him as he stalked out of the reception.
“I could’ve killed you if I’d wanted to,” she called out. “Don’t you think I could have thrown that knife at you and had my Trowa back? I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t kill you to save my brother’s life.”
He turned to face her and it struck her to the heart when she saw in his eyes what she had done to him with her betrayal. Dear God, he had truly loved her and she had taken his love and desire and turned it against him. But still she pushed on.
“Please Duo, tell me,” she begged.
Wordlessly Duo walked away from her and sat on the far edge of an iron bench placed beneath a flowering crabapple tree. It was dusk again, the late springtime dusk fragrant with blossoms and punctuated by bird song. As far away from that night in the cemetery as could be imagined.
Slowly, Cathrine sat on the opposite end of the bench, leaving space for nearly two people between her and Duo. They sat silently for a time, Cathrine staring at the tips of her shoes and Duo staring off into the sky, watching the first few stars appear on the horizon.
“Heero’s official conclusion was bullshit,” Duo said finally, looking at her. “Are you sure you really want to know what I saw up there.”
Cathrine shivered but she nodded.
When Duo finally finished talking, they had pieced together a story from an awful puzzle of the existence of the supernatural and the powerful force of love gone wrong. Cathrine spoke at last, her voice hopeful.
“Do you think they’re together up there somewhere,” she asked, sliding her hand across the space on the bench in the darkness.
“Don’t know for sure,” Duo said. “I pray they are, I hope they have at least that much.”
He reached across the void and took her hand in his.
AN: Thanks to the Great Saiyagal, my co-author on such works as The Great Romance Debate and The Real Quatre Winner for beta-reading this late last night. Since it was late we were silly and came up with some rather funny outtakes on Insatiable: Life and Death to share with you and hopefully lighten your mood after reading this! Happy Halloween ^_^
#1 . She drank in the sight of him, loose pants slung low on his hips, a wrinkled white shirt hanging off his shoulders that he’d hastily thrown on in answer to her timid knock. He was really hot!! Trowa tenderly reached out and wiped the drool from Midii’s lower lip. GS: Were those like flannel jammie pants he was wearing? MU: Not really, but if they were they would have had little Counts from Sesame Street on’em ^_~
#2 There was nothing left in him but need, he needed her and his fingers caressed the bare, cooling skin of her arm as he fed from the horrible wound he had made in her neck. GS: Fed from her? MU: Yeah, he like took a little curly straw and popped it right in her vein!
#3 After fic discussion: GS: They’re dead! You killed them! MU: Well it was kind of justice for Duo and Hilde who died in The Gundam Pilots Wives, they wanted their revenge. Besides it worked out good for Trowa here because Midii got the transfusion and he got to drain her twice ^_^ GS: I can just see Trowa eternally dragging Midii around by the hair to hospitals and such trying to get a refill O_o