By: Lyssira
Disclaimer: No miney. `Cept for the story. That miney. Lucky Bandai. ;_;

Guilt Whispers To Me + Part 7

<Quatre's POV>

At first I thought it was the storm that woke me. I loved thunderstorms but they have a tendency to keep me awake. Not that it mattered. I decided it wouldn't harm me to sit and watch the lightning and rain for a while. I shifted on the mattress, which was overstuffed. Then I saw a haggard form looming over me. It had to have been a trick of lightning and sleep, but the form remained. And soon I saw it was Duo. He was soaked with rain and panted heavily. With the next flash of lightning, I saw his pupils were mere pinpricks in seas of violet. A maniac's grin split his pale face.

"Ah, Duo?" I asked. Maybe I was dreaming.

He reached out one hand and cupped my cheek. His fingers were so cold they burned. I tried to pull away but he wouldn't let me. His strength had somehow returned to him during the night. He put his face close to mine. I squirmed, but he leaned closer, ever closer. I couldn't smell alcohol on his breath. But he'd never been drunk, so I wasn't surprised. His eyes enveloped me until I couldn't even see myself in my murky depths. There was none of his usual wry humor in those eyes. There was nothing of Duo at all.

He pressed his lips to mine. His mouth was frozen. It seemed to draw all the heat from me, pulling my very energy out. There was no emotion in the touch. I doubted he even realized he'd kissed me. I struggled against the embrace. He clamped both hands around my neck, firmly trapping me in that position. I stared into his wide open eyes. They seemed to glow red with malevolence. Oxygen failed to reach my lungs, then my brain. I felt dizzy. It took me a moment to realize his hands were tightening around my throat, bruising, closing my air-pipe.

I shoved at him and threw all my weight against his chest. Strong though he was, Duo weighed no more than I did. We tumbled onto the floor. He made no sound. He didn't even move. I lay there gasping like a fish on land, trying to draw water into its gills and finding done. I wheezed. My voice failed me. There was no way to call for help.

He was on me again before I reason out a way to escape. Both fists pummeled my face and arms as I held him off. He pulled at my hair, clawed at my skin. I could not spare a hand to protect myself. Both were firmly pressed against him, to prevent him from strangling me. I brought my knee up between us and drove it into his groin. Somewhere I reminded myself to apologize later. Dirty move, but he was trying to kill me. And I couldn't fathom why.

He rolled onto his side, giving me an opportunity to get to my feet. He rammed himself at me, slamming us both against the wall. I fought him off with both hands. I managed to punch him several times, though he scored just as many, if not more, hits on me. My lip was bloody, as well as my nose. He'd smashed my head against the wall twice. With both feet, I rammed him backwards. His skull connected with the hardwood floor. By then I was soaked, with sweat and rainwater from his clothes.

"Duo. . ."I choked on my own saliva. I couldn't speak to reason with him.

"You'll all die," he said. That was it, before he charged again. We collided with the wall besides the broken window. Trowa and Heero had helped me tape it up earlier. Now Duo ripped the tap away to expose the shards of glass still implanted in the wood. He looked at me blankly, then at the glass sparkling in the rain. He wrapped a hand around it. Blood bubbled up from his hand but he ignored it. It dripped down his wrists and arms. I stared at it, dumbfounded.

He lunged at me with the glass in hand. It was aimed right for my exposed chest.

I rolled out of his way. The glass sank an inch into the wall. He looked at it and at his hands. I saw them shake in the next flash of lightning. Thunder roared while he stared at them. Finally, he smeared both hands across his face, leaving a crimson trail. Rain poured in through the window, dousing the floor, furniture and both of us. Bleeding arms outstretched, Duo walked towards me, as if still dreaming. His eyes held no emotion whatsoever. For the first time, despite all of our battles, I was afraid. The violence I'd welcomed before stared me back in the face. And I was terrified.

His trembling legs barely supported him but he advanced in my direction. I backed into the old rocking chair, which he'd flung through that broken window earlier. It creaked against my weight. Its own supports were barely attached, connected to the base by chewing gum and duct tape. I gripped one of the posts and pulled. Duo was five feet from me now. The chair groaned in protest as I yanked on that post. Four feet. It splintered against the pressure. Three feet. It was nearly off, hanging on by the few good fibers like a rotting tooth attached by a few stringy roots.

Two feet. It was mine. I raised the post over my head.

One foot. It collided against Duo's skull. He faltered, dazed. I hit him again. And again. I don't remember how many times I struck him until Heero and Trowa pulled me off him. I do remember I grabbed Trowa and refused to let go for several minutes while Wufei and Heero moved him into the third bedroom. Wufei said something about handcuffs and ran downstairs. Trowa held me tight. It was much more than I would have expected from him, since he was prone to avoiding physical contact. I hugged him back. God, all I could do was hug him back.

+

<Heero's POV>

Trowa may be a restless sleeper but he's always a heavy one. I doubted that Wing's beam cannon would rouse him from sleep if I fired it right next to him. I heard the collisions against our wall. It sounded as if Quatre was either sleep-fighting or confronting an intruder. There were whimpers of pain, grunts. I finally managed to wake Trowa after several minutes of shaking and prodding. I was tempted to slap him a few times as well. Damn him for looking so peaceful. Damn him for being able to sleep so soundly.

We broke in Quatre's door. I mused that it was becoming a common occurrence. Quatre leaned over his attacker and struck him hard with the leg of the rocking chair. The person - most certainly Duo - collapsed and lay still. Yet Quatre continued hitting him. I watched him for a while for no reason while Trowa approached the blonde. His eyes were wild with terror and anger. Duo had looked that same way this morning. The same blind, mindless pain clouded their eyes. I joined Trowa in prying Quatre's hand from the wooden post. He didn't want to let go. Not that I blamed him. Blood ran sluggishly down his face. And I knew what Duo's punches felt like from experience.

Duo was soaked through. Apparently he'd taken a walk in the rain before entering the safehouse to murder Quatre. He too had a split lip and growing lump in the back his head. His hands also bled sluggishly. I struggled to lift him from his sprawled position. He was surprisingly heavy for someone so lean. Wufei arrived, as if by magic, to help me carry him through the open door. Trowa was occupied with `other things'.

We left Duo in Wufei's room where he could do less damage. The window in there was too small to escape through. There was little for him to throw or destroy. Wufei carried few possessions, mostly extra clothes and his katana, which was safely stowed at his side. He left me, muttering something about handcuffs. I nodded. It wasn't a bad idea; I slipped Duo's lock picks out of the second twist in his braid. He groaned his sleep at my touch, as if he realized his imprisonment. I ripped a strip from his undershirt and held it against his lip. I used a similar piece to bind his hand.

I sat back to watch Duo. Even in sleep his face was slightly mocking; the lines of pain had faded with his unconsciousness. His eyes were too big. His nose turned upward obnoxiously. His lip, split and swollen was hardly attractive. What was it that most people found so captivating?

"I knew what you were from the beginning," I told him softly. "You're like the rest of us. You have no soul, no heart, no worth. You're cheap. None of us mean anything in this war, except for Quatre maybe. Is that why?"

He stirred.

"Here," Wufei said, from behind me. He held out the handcuffs, watching Duo warily.

"You can put your stuff in my room," I told him, "Trowa will want to stay with Quatre tonight."

"And you?"

"I'm going to make sure he doesn't go anywhere. We can decide what to do with him in the morning," I fastened the handcuffs around those bony wrists. How he ever managed to handle a Gundam was beyond me.

"If you need anything," Wufei murmured, "Just let me know."

I nodded and leaned against the wall. My gun rested in one hand, the safety clicked off. It would only take one shot to end it at this range. One shot and he'd be dead. I could prove him wrong on that count. No worries, Duo. I can kill at close range. This time I'll be happy to do it.

+

<Quatre's POV>

I unbuttoned my shirt, revealing the darkening marks on my chest. They twinged in response.

"He did that to you?" I could almost taste the edge in Trowa's voice.

"Yes­and no," I said and slipped the fabric from my skin. It was darkened with blood. Mine and Duo's.

"And no?" He handed me the cream. I spread it over the injuries.

"I don't think he meant to do that."

"Quatre­"

"Honestly, that wasn't Duo. That was someone else."

"He just happened to have Duo's body," he said dryly.

"You don't have to help me, you know," I snapped. I wished I hadn't broken down in front of him. I was tired of being taken for an innocent, little child. My father and sisters did that for thirteen years. Now my only comrades were mimicking their overprotective, all knowing ways. I gritted my teeth.

"It's far-fetched; you know that," His patience irritated me. He was re-taping the window with the calm competence I'd come to associate with Trowa. He'd also insisted on staying with me tonight.

"We shouldn't be blaming him," I said.

"I was open before, Quatre, but now it's different."

I glared, "No, it isn't. It's the same thing that happened to Wufei."

"That could have been an accident. Now, we have to assume now that he's betrayed us. He's not acting."

"No, he's not. But he didn't mean to hurt anyone," I protested.

"He tried to strangle you."

I pulled a sweater on to cover up the marks, ". . . ."

"There's nothing we can do anyway. Heero's not going to listen to anyone on this," Trowa pointed out.

"I know," I slid back into my bed.

"And what happened just now? That wasn't nothing," he continued.

"I know." The mattress accepted my weight and cradled me against its padded springs. I sighed.

"Then do me a favor and don't scare me like that again, okay?"

I turned to look at Trowa. Both eyes were on me, even as he was halfway into the other bed. His hands clenched the coverlet until the knuckles went white. I blinked, startled, at his reaction. Then, I nodded.

"Okay."

+

[part 6] [part 8] [part 8b - alternate ending (angst)] [back to Lyssira's fic]