Know Who I Want... + Part 20 (cont)
I shake hands with my lawyer,
nod at whatever plans for tomorrow he's filling me in on, and finally
step out of the conference room. It's after seven o'clock, and I haven't
been out of the little windowless room since lunch. I was about to throw
back my head and howl with frustration when the lawyer finally declared
we were done for the day.
I wonder if the others are done yet. I want to go home and hear Duo fussing
over Trowa's knee, watch Trowa put up with it in silence until he finally
gets annoyed enough to throw sofa pillows at Duo's head, listen to Duo
sing loudly in the shower - just to entertain us... I just want to forget
about this day.
About Marquise. I feel the muscles of my neck and back, already tight
with tension, harden to the point where they are almost painful. I don't
think any of my friends realizes the depth of will it took to keep me
from lunging over the table and grabbing the bastard by the throat, shaking
I jump, startled at the sound of my name. I hadn't realized anyone was
in the hallway with me.
I turn, and the words of irritation I had been about to drop on whoever
had sneaked up on me stick in my throat. Wufei is staring at me, his dark
eyes shadowed and unfathomable.
"I would speak to you," he says quietly. "Do you have a
I nod. I want to turn and run away. I don't want to have this conversation.
But I can't deny him it.
I follow Wufei's neat, spare figure down the long corridors. He's only
about an inch taller than Duo's five foot eight, but he's so compactly
built and always so perfectly in order that he seems taller. Right now
he's moving with his usual grace, but I can see the tension in the ramrod
stiffness of his back and shoulders.
My mind races as I follow him in silence.
What am I going to tell him?
Finally, we reach the room he's looking for. I lose track of rooms in
the Winner Mansion - I have no idea how many there are. Every time I'm
over here I see new ones I didn't even know existed.
This one is much like others I've been in - a small study, with a sofa,
a few armchairs, a few shelves of books and several long tables to work
on. The major difference between this room and others I've seen is the
windows - the whole back wall is made up of several floor-length windows,
set right next to each other. The light from the setting sun floods into
the room, brightening it enough that Wufei doesn't bother to turn on any
of the overhead lights.
He closes the door behind us. "Sit," he invites me curtly, gesturing
at the chairs.
"If you do," I reply guardedly.
He sits stiffly on the edge of the black leather sofa. Quatre is really
into leather furniture. I wouldn't have thought he would be. I seat myself
equally tentatively on the edge of one of the chairs.
A long, uncomfortable silence stretches between us. Neither of us seems
inclined to break it.
"Why are you angry with Marquise?" Wufei finally demands. I
look at him. He isn't looking at me - his head is up, proudly, as usual,
but his gaze is directed downwards, toward the floor.
"I... He has always been my adversary," I stumble. "My
enemy. Since the day I first got to Earth. He... "
"You had made peace with him," Wufei interrupts. "After
the Eve Wars, and at your wedding... Why has your enmity with him suddenly
I swallow. "I will never trust a man who threatened to destroy a
"You're lying," Wufei interrupts me. The words are calmly stated,
quiet even, but somehow still have the effect of a shout. They stop my
faltering attempts at evasion cold.
"Wufei. I... " I can't finish. I don't know what I want to say
"You know, don't you?" he asks me quietly.
I nod, not looking at him.
He stands up and walks over to the window. He places his hands behind
his back and stares out at the grounds for a long time. I stare at the
floor, trying to give him... what? Privacy? Time to himself?
"How?" The words are quiet, but I dreaded hearing them.
"Wufei... " I can't reply.
He whirls, suddenly, glaring at me. "I asked you how you knew,"
he said, and his voice is cold with rage. "I never told you. I never
told anyone, anyone in the world - not even Quatre. I can't imagine
Zechs told you - so how do you know, Heero?"
I bow my head.
"Damn you," he hisses, moving closer to me. I look up and he's
staring down at me from behind the couch, his face white and his hands
clenched into fists. "How do you know?"
I sigh, rubbing my hands on my knees. "After I married Relena, when
I joined the Preventers, I got a lot of jobs that Une felt couldn't be
trusted to most people. Some were jobs she felt unable to do herself,
even. One of those was to go through records left over from OZ."
"OZ?" he frowns. "You married Relena in '98. OZ had been
gone for years. You mean to tell me that she never... "
"You know Une's mental state," I tell him. "She does too.
She knows her own weaknesses. She had gone through some of the records,
but others she felt unable to go through herself. Those included... Treize's
He pales even further, and his eyes cloud with pain at the name.
"She turned them over to me. I was to preserve what needed preserving,
and destroy what I felt should be destroyed, ever with a mind to preserving
the ‘glorious legacy of Treize-san.'"
I can't keep the bitterness out of my voice at that. Wufei flinches.
"It took months to go through Treize's official records. His personal
records were harder - lots of them were encrypted, routed to different
places, protected by passwords and firewalls."
I pause. Wufei looks up at me, his dark gaze challenging me to continue.
"Some of the records - in both his private and official files - were
audio and video files - security camera clips, recordings of important
conversations. Most of them I destroyed. Most, I imagine, didn't have
any meaning to anyone other than Treize."
"Get on with it," Wufei orders me tersely.
"I'd been on the project for about a year, when I unlocked a vid
file. It took me two days to open it." That's a long time for me.
Experimenting later, I found that I could open the Treasury files for
the Sanc Kingdom in twenty-seven minutes. That's been quite a temptation
"What was it?" Wufei snaps. I look at him and see that he's
trembling, he's so rigid with tension. I'm being cruel by prolonging this.
My discomfort and pain are nothing compared to his.
"It was a vid of you. You and Zechs." I reply simply.
His jaw tightens, and I see his eyes close - involuntarily I'm sure -
before he spins around to face the window again.
"Me and Zechs," he says flatly.
I can't make him drag this out of me. I must be strong, for him. "You
were... shackled to a bed," I manage. "You asked him - told
him - to stop, not to touch you, but he did," I say quietly, trying
to establish that I realize that Zechs had forced the encounter.
Wufei is silent. His back betrays nothing.
"Did you watch the entire transmission?" he asks, and his voice
I wince. I run my hand along the arm of the chair, feeling the supple
material beneath my fingers. "I was... surprised," I admit.
"I... I watched it before I realized... Yes," I finish, forcing
myself to stop hedging, to stop making excuses for myself.
I hear a soft sound, immediately stifled, and Wufei's head drops, bowed
down into his chest.
I know why he asked. Eventually, Wufei's fifteen-year-old body had betrayed
him, and from shouting for Zechs to stop, he had moved to shouting for
him to continue. And now, Wufei is shamed that I saw that.
It wasn't his fault. I saw the recording. Zechs had coldly and systematically
sought a particular physical response, and he got it. Even Wufei's fierce
self-control couldn't stand up against such a determined onslaught. His
surrender was purely physical, and he couldn't help it.
"Well, I hope you enjoyed the show," Wufei spits bitterly after
a moment, not moving from his spot in front of the window.
Anger spurs through my veins at those words. Why in the Hell do we say
things like that to each other, intimating that we somehow would feel
anything other than sorrow at the pain of one of our friends?
"I didn't enjoy it, Wufei," I half-shout back, surging to my
feet. "How could you think I would? How could you say that?"
"You watched it through," he accuses, still not turning around.
"I was shocked. I was horrified," I admit, "by Zechs,"
I qualify quickly, before he can decide that I mean that I was horrified
by him. "I wasn't... I wasn't trying to watch it because I wanted
to see it," I struggle to explain. "I just didn't... react in
time to turn it off."
He's silent for a long time. "I apologize for accusing you,"
he says, and his voice is formal and remote again.
I sigh. I don't know what to say to him. "I traced the file back
to every computer system it had ever been on," I tell him finally,
trying to offer him something, some kind of comfort. "I scanned those
systems to check for any sign of it, and then traced all the systems that
had connected to those systems to be sure there were no copies of it there,
and so on."
He actually turns around and looks at me. The expression on his face is
incredulous. "You traced all those systems... there must have been...
you couldn't have!"
‘I did," I insist. "It isn't as big a deal as it sounds - the
only systems it had been on, and there were only two, were highly classified
- it wasn't like I had to check every computer that ever linked into OZ."
"But how did you... " He shakes his head. "That's still...
how did you break into all those files? Weren't they encrypted?"
I shrug. "Some of them." Most of them. "I hacked into what
I could. What I couldn't... " I trail off.
His eyes narrow as he stares at me. "What?" he asks suspiciously.
Damn. Too much information. "If I couldn't get in, I erased the systems,"
His eyes widen as realization dawns. "It was you!" he
sputters. "Damn it, Yuy, do you know how much time... "
I ended up erasing several systems. I created a program that erased them,
and any systems that they'd come in contact with. Some of those contact
systems turned out to be rather important. I might have gone a little
overboard. The hue and cry that had ensued when several thousand systems
were eradicated had actually become a Preventer case.
It was never solved.
Wufei had worked on that case, hunting down the hacker who had destroyed
I thought that that was rather ironic.
"Anyway, once I had finished tracing it down, I destroyed it,"
I finish, before he can get all worked up lecturing me about computer
He stops, his eyes darkening again. Damn. Maybe I should have let him
lecture me. It would probably have made him feel better.
"Was it... " He stops, swallowing. "Was it the only one?"
I look away from him again. "No," I admit hoarsely. "There
were four more."
"Four more," he repeats dully. "I didn't know that he had...
" He stops speaking, and I look up at him, but he doesn't bother
to turn away, just lets me see the shame that twists his features. "Did
you watch them too?" he asks, no bitterness, no anger in his voice.
Just... resignation. That upsets me more than anger would.
"No, I didn't," I lie. "I just watched enough to see what
I did watch them. I didn't want to. I hated seeing them. But I had to
know what happened. I had to know who I had to kill.
It's been a source of never-ending frustration to me for years that Treize
Kushrenada is beyond my reach.
The first tape I saw had just been Zechs and Wufei. Three of the others
contained Zechs, Wufei and Treize, and one showed just Wufei and Treize.
I never knew how sick and twisted a man Treize Kushrenada was.
And Wufei was fifteen. A boy, who'd led a very sheltered life, surrounded
by books, taught to be honorable.
Nothing he'd ever known, seen or heard of had ever prepared him for the
likes of Treize Kushrenada.
And Treize knew that, and took advantage of it. And recorded it, so that
he could relive it again and again.
I know what Wufei is afraid of now, what he worries that I saw.
The last of the tapes, the one I determined was last in chronology at
any rate, displayed all three of them.
It was the only one in which Wufei was not bound. He had, in some measure,
It wasn't the informed consent of an adult. It was the tormented confusion
of a boy, who didn't understand his own reactions, who believed himself
disgraced and shamed.
Looking at the man in front of me, I realize he still doesn't really understand
that, still doesn't believe that he wasn't responsible for what occurred
then. He believes that the boy that he was was a willing participant in
what happened to him, rather than a coerced victim.
I watched the recordings. I saw it, saw what he did, saw what they did
Then that bastard Treize left the recording going after he left, and after
Zechs left, leaving Wufei alone on the huge bed where they had taken him.
I saw that too. I saw him left there, alone. I saw him cry, saw him weep
out his rage and humiliation and fear. I heard him curse Treize, and Zechs,
and finally himself, in abject pain and shame.
And Treize taped it. And watched it.
I can only hope he's in Hell.
"I traced all of them too," I say finally. "And then I
destroyed them. I never found traces of them on any other system,"
I admit. "I just wiped the systems as a precautionary measure."
Wufei looks up at me. His eyes are expressionless - not the purposeful
blankness Trowa hides behind. This is the lack of expression that is born
of shock. He doesn't really know what to feel, and his mind is protecting
him by supplying him with nothingness.
"They are gone?" he asks listlessly.
I nod. "Completely eradicated." I promise him.
"You didn't watch the others?" he asks again.
I shake my head.
"Do you swear?" he asks fiercely, a spark of life reviving in
"I swear," I tell him firmly, staring him straight in the eye.
I'm not Duo. I have no problem at all lying.
"Did you tell... "
"I told noone," I stress. "Noone, Wufei. And I won't,"
"Not Duo... "
"Not Duo, or Trowa. I won't, Wufei. Not unless you want me to. I
I'm not lying now.
He shrugs, looking away from me. His shoulders slump. "It doesn't
matter," he says flatly. "Why shouldn't they know? They have
a right to know the sort of person they're... "
"Shut up," I say harshly, immediately regretting the tone when
I see him flinch. Smooth, Heero.
"You did nothing wrong, Wufei," I tell him forcefully. "You
know that. You're the smartest of all of us. You know the truth. Don't
let yourself... "
"You don't know all you think you do, Yuy," he spits at me.
"You were a kid, Wufei," I tell him sharply. "Do you ever
think about how god-damned young we were?" I shake my head in amazement.
"We're not old enough now to do what we did then." I
shake my head again. "You were a kid, and you were used by adults
who should have known better. Who did know better," I amend,
"but who didn't care."
"Treize... " he begins, stumbling over the name.
"Treize," I agree. "And Zechs." My voice hardens at
the name. Treize is beyond my reach. Zechs, suddenly, is not.
"Heero." Wufei clears his throat, visibly, trying to pull himself
together. "You must not... We must all work with Zechs," he
says, his voice strained. "You must not hold him responsible... "
"The Hell I won't," I interrupt incredulously.
He shakes his head. "You don't know, Yuy," he reiterates heavily.
"Treize was... ." He closes his eyes. "Zechs was as much
under Treize's sway as I was. What he did, he did not of his own volition.
"He was an adult," I argue. "A commander. He... "
Wufei laughs bitterly. "He was a child too, beside Treize. Zechs...
" Wufei sighs. "Zechs was... I cannot discuss him," he
stops himself abruptly. "But he was not responsible for... "
"He is responsible for his... "
"No!" Wufei shouts. "I do not want you to seek him out!
It is not your place. Do you hear me, Yuy?" he demands. "Do
I stare at him for a moment, knowing my eyes are smoldering with the same
frustrated rage I see in his. Finally, I jerk my head in the affirmative.
The choice is his.
"I will not seek him out," I say finally. But if he says anything
to me, he's fair game.
"Thank you," he says stiffly.
I stand there, staring at him, feeling awkward.
"Thank you for coming to speak to me," he says, with that same
formality in his tone. "I am... " he stops, struggling to finish,
"I am sorry you had to view... my weakness... "
I sigh softly. "Wufei." I say his name quietly and wait until
he looks up at me, almost wincing when I see the turmoil in his eyes.
"You are not weak," I tell him simply, hoping he can sense my
sincerity. "I had always believed you to be strong, but I never realized
how strong you are until I saw that recording. I am... honored... to have
you as my comrade... and my friend. Please, Wufei - please never believe
that you are unworthy."
I turn then to leave, knowing that Wufei is even more uncomfortable with
anything that smacks of sentiment than I am, knowing that it will be very
difficult for him to answer me and trying to spare him any more pain.
I hope he doesn't take my leaving as a sign of disgust. I don't... think...
I pause at the door, and glance back into the room. He's staring out the
window again. "Good-bye... oniisan," I say softly, and close
the door behind me.
I don't close it quickly enough. I hear the soft, tormented sound echo
in the empty room.
Wufei is crying.
[part 19] [back] [part
21] [back to Shoori's fic]