By: Lyssira
Disclaimer: No miney. `Cept for the story. That miney. Lucky Bandai. ;_;
Warnings: ANGST. Blood. Violence. Horror. Changing POV. Profanity. Not for the very religious . . . including myself.
Pairings: Slight 1+2, 3+4
Rating: Drama/Horror-NC17 (just to be on the safe side)
C&C: zeangstybunny@hotmail.com Please? Call me a sick, mental case if that's your response, just let me know...
Note: For Blue Lightning, without whom this story would *never* have progressed past its first, few hesitant paragraphs.

Guilt Whispers To Me + Part 5

<Quatre's POV>

The bathroom floor was littered with glass, some of it tinted red by Duo's spilled blood. Trowa had gone to buy a new door for the shower stall. Heero stood next to me, silent and still. He hadn't said a word all morning. He'd even hosed the vomit from the front yard without comment. Wufei was in the room I shared with Duo, keeping watch over him.

I began sweeping the jagged shards into a neat pile. The larger pieces I picked up and disposed of. I ran a small vacuum cleaner over the cracked tiles. Any of us could step on a tiny piece of glass and get an infection. Imagine, an infection getting an infection.

Heero joined me after a moment. Together, we unscrewed the sliding shower door from its frame. I stood at the sink, washing my hands. Duo's blood stained them, as it had stained the glass. I stared around the bathroom. A pile of towels were scattered at my feet. For moment, they were soaked through with blood, painted by the crimson liquid. But then, they were white again, only slightly flecked red by the glass. I blinked.

"Quatre," Heero's voice cut through my confusion. The towels were still white.

"Yes?"

"Take this," Heero held out a hand gun, immaculately cared for, as were all of his weapons. I could almost see my own reflection in its polished surface.

The only sound was the soft murmuring of an old house. Finally, I shook my head.

He understood why, that I knew. There was always that trace of sympathy in Heero's expression, if you knew where to look for it. He knew I wouldn't take it. But his glare deepened nonetheless and he continued to offer me the gun.

"You don't know what he'll do next," he told me, "He's unstable."

"I know," I said.

"You need to be able to protect yourself."

"Don't worry about it," a familiar, soft voice broke in. Trowa stood in the doorway, somehow managing to balance himself and the new shower door on the ball of one foot. Heero switched his attention - always focused, like that of a bird of prey - onto Trowa's green eyes.

"Quatre can take care of himself," he told Heero.

Heero grunted. I sighed and turned to helping them install the new door. It'd be nice to be able to take a shower. It was a luxury the five of us had gotten used to in the time we'd been waiting for orders. Hot water and soap weren't often available after a fight. With the Maguanacs, I was luckier than the others; even they experienced shortages, though, and we often went without. When the final screws and springs were in place, we looked at each other questioningly. Had I attended to Sandrock yet again, the finish would probably start to rub off.

"When he wakes up-" I began, studying Heero for a reaction.

"Get answers from him, Quatre," he said.

"And if I can't? He doesn't trust me any more than he trusts. . ."

"Me," Heero stated in the same factual manner he said most things.

"Or any of us," Trowa reminded him.

"Then, we'll have to rely on other methods."

I thought of the gun and glared, "That won't solve anything."

Before he or Trowa could retort, a now-familiar scream echoed from the second-to-next room. We jogged towards the source of the sound, not a question of who it was in our minds. Heero and Trowa drew their guns, in case Duo had somehow threatened Wufei again. I doubted he had. With one good ankle and no weapons, anything Duo did would be ineffectual against the martial artist. Wufei had few equals in hand- to-hand combat.

As if to prove my thoughts, the Chinese boy met us at the door, completely composed. He held a book in one hand, a set of keys in the other. He dropped the keys into my hand. Then, he nonchalantly strode down the stairs, as if nothing had happened in the last two days.

"He's awake," he called back to us. I stepped into the room, closing the door behind me. My heart sank.

If Duo had shouted himself hoarse before, he'd certainly gained his voice back. He arched off the bed, hands clapped firmly over his ears, eyes impossibly large with terror. His skin had been drained of color until the veins beneath it shown dark against the translucent flesh. His unfocused gaze spun around the room. After a moment, his screams began to form words. Streams of profanity shook the walls of the house, mainly "SHUT UP! SHUT THE FUCK UP!" He twisted himself in the sheets and, when completely entangled, clawed against them to free himself.

"Duo," I said.

He should not have been able to hear me over himself. But he did. The screams were stifled, abruptly, as if swallowed. He turned to look me, his eyes somehow immediately back to normal. Color returned to his face and hands, so rapidly I began doubt they'd ever been corpse white. His normal, slightly amused expression fixed itself on his lips and brow. He pulled the terror back into himself.

"Hey, Quat. What's up?" he grinned.

+

<Duo's POV>

Upon waking, I realized I'd missed my shower. Yesterday's grime clung to my skin like a film, leaving it clammy. Bile had staled on my tongue, creating a sickening, acidic flavor. I lay in a bed I didn't use, in the room I didn't share with Quatre. The walls were clean, their simple wallpaper patterns untouched by blood. Wufei sat in a chair next to me, reading a book. Looked like someone's journal. Or maybe it was his. Interesting idea, Wufei having a journal. I would've commented, made some smartass remark as was my way. But, I stopped, my mouth open.

I could hear them.

They were everywhere, whispering to me, talking to me. I could barely understand them at times, their voices were so faint. But they were always accusing, always mumbling about my betrayal. Had I forgotten what I did to them, they asked? Had I forgotten what I was? How dare I think I should be allowed to roam free, with people who didn't have such a mark on them. They knew what I did, though. They'd always known.

I didn't believe in ghosts, only memories. But now my memories had voices, words, things to taunt me with. Too late. I was always too late. I didn't even realize I was screaming. Didn't realize I was begging them to stop, for them to shut up, to please just shut up.

"Duo."

I wasn't alone in the room anymore. Quatre stood there, his surprise so evident, it must've been written across his features in ink. No question about it: he'd heard my screams. If there was ever a time for running and hiding, it was now. The window was on the opposite side of the room. My blonde companion blocked the doorway. Besides, I'd managed to hurt my ankle this morning. It was bandaged now, tenderly cared for by the young murderer in front of me, no doubt. But it was still as effective as a pair of leg-irons.

I was caught.

I steadied my pulse, relaxed my breathing until it felt as though I wasn't breathing at all. The whispers died down in my ears, still there, but barely so. I summoned my alter ego, who knew nothing about whispers or zombies or walls that bled. I regarded Quatre with a cool gaze, as if he'd walked in on me reading porn or jacking off. My lips were eternally quirked in a slight smile. My eyes held the soul of an easy-going, lazy teen; I was a worriless child.

"Hey Quat," I said, "What's up?"

He frowned, "I was going to ask you that."

"Oh, not much. Just hanging out in bed. Can't do too much, ya know," I shrugged.

"What's going on Duo?" he asked. I saw his patience draining away.

"You tell me," I said. I was going to win this. I knew I would.

"I was hoping you'd explain this morning. You shattered a glass door, risked jumping down a staircase and puked on the front lawn," Quatre said, deadpan, in the true Heero Yuy style. His expression was even bland like Heero's.

"What can I say? I'm a party animal," I put both arms behind my head, grinning widely. I was a Cheshire Cat in my own right.

Quatre stayed silent for a moment.

"You're saying you were drunk?" he asked me.

I shrugged, "And a few other things."

"What about just now? What happened?" he persisted.

"I saw Wufei when I woke up. Wouldn't you panic?" I smirked.

His eyes bored into my like blue lasers. They urged me - begged me - to tell the truth. If he could have reached into my soul and pulled out an answer, he would have. I could tell. I stared back, dumbly. You can't win Quatre. You never could. This is years beyond you. You'll never know. No one will ever know, except for me. That's the way it is. That's the way it has to be. Go find someone worth saving because it isn't me. Save Trowa. And Wufei. But I'm beyond your help, so go mind your own goddamn business.

"Duo."

I looked away, "There's nothing else to tell."

He was quiet again. I felt the temperature drop a few degrees.

"Fuck you," he said.

The door clicked shut behind him. I listened to him insert the key in the lock. A real smile, my own twisted smile, touched my lips. They were whispering again, but I didn't hear them. I settled back into the pillows. I knew I'd win. None of them could ever beat me at my game.

"It's about time, Quatre."

+

[part 4] [part 6] [back to Lyssira's fic]