Written By: bikkothewriter
see Ch. 1 for warning, notes, disclaimer

Preventors' Case #84309: Splicers + Chapter Fourteen

Heero seethed.

Sitting on the edge of a clinic bed, his chest cut open and bleeding, he seethed. His thoughts raced around in his head only helping to fuel his anger at the newest development in the Murai case.

When he and Trowa left the Preventors' concourse and headed to the latest crime scene, he expected to find two dead bodies on the ground, another pair of splicers whose time had run out. Instead, he found Preventors' agents Lisa and Leslie Gilliam in the middle of a local coffee shop attacking anyone who came into arms reach.

He thought of them as girls even though the two blonde women were three years older than he was. They were the only set of twins that worked at the L1 branch, made noticeable because they spent all their time together. The image that came to mind whenever Heero thought of the twins now conflicted with what he'd seen of them today. He always pictured them standing close together heads touching as they pointed and giggled at him, not realizing that he could hear them talking about how cute his butt was and how they wanted to run their fingers through his messy hair. Now all he could see was the twins with arms swollen with muscles, hands curled with deadly sharp claws, faces contorted by teeth grown too big and sharp to fit inside a human mouth, and fur and stripes decorating their skin.

Tigers. One white and one orange, both with black stripes. It had been the white tiger that had nearly cleaved his chest in two. If not for fast reflexes, what was a nasty scratch across the chest would have turned into something more serious. The other members of his team had sustained wounds as well and were somewhere inside the clinic being taken care of. He had sent his nurse off to help the others as he had the least severe wound.

Touching his fingers to the blood still seeping from the injury he thought about how close Murai had come to making murderers out of innocent Preventor agents and how it should have been him. The attack both intentional and premeditated was a message to Heero and his team. Murai was taking revenge for interrupting his work and making his face notorious around L1. If he wanted to have his revenge, Heero would have preferred that he come after him and not the flirty twins or any other Preventor who wasn't apart of the case.

Both girls had been their uniforms, so he could only assume that the man was targeting obvious victims but the use of two separate syringes filled with different types of tiger recombinant meant the move was planned. All uniformed agents would need to be on alert for the small man and syringes being stabbed in their backs.

"Heero?"

Heero looked up to the doorway of his curtained cubicle to Duo who stood just outside. Still dressed in t-shirt and jeans, he'd since added a pair of sandals to his wardrobe and braided his hair although it still draped over his chest.

"What are you doing here?" he asked happy that he kept the hostility out of his voice. He had yet to forgive Duo, but he wasn't apart of the current crime and therefore didn't deserve the anger he felt now.

"Collecting samples from the twins. I heard you were hurt," Duo answered and Heero was not happy to note that Weber had let the man out of his sight.

"I'm fine," he answered, pulling the bloody remains of his shirt away from his chest. "Just a few scratches."

Duo hissed in sympathy. "Shit Heero," he said gently touching Heero's chest. Heero was surprised at how warm just tips of Duo's fingers felt against his chest as his nostrils were assaulted by the other man's scent. "I saw those claws, Heero; they could have torn you in two. Where is your nurse?"

"I sent her to help the others. I'm not hurt as bad as some of them."

"Right," Duo said sarcastically, moving into the room and the mobile cart beside Heero's bed.

"What are you doing?" Heero asked watching skeptically as Duo pulled a pair of latex gloves from one of the cart's drawers, sliding them on with a definitive snap.

"I'm going to bandage you up before you bleed to death. Lay back."

Heero didn't move as Duo tore open several packets of gauze laying them on top of the cart. His tail swept slowly behind him as if it too were concentrating on the task. Heero found himself staring at Duo's tail intently, following the long, dark appendage up to where it joined the rest of Duo's body, breathing deeply through his nose taking in more and more of Duo's spicy scent.

"Don't be stubborn," Duo said drawing Heero's gaze from his tail and his ass, back to his face, "Lay back, we need to get the bleeding stopped."

He pushed at Heero's shoulder with the back of his hand, and Heero let himself be pushed flat. He fought the wince that surged at the touch of the scratchy cotton gauze being pressed into the left side of the chest. The wound was worse there, the claws having dug penetrated his side before he moved in time to keep them from digging deep into his ribcage.

"You were really lucky," Duo said softly.

Heero made a noncommittal sound, trying to keep his gaze focused on the ceiling and not Duo.

"I'm sorry."

Heero looked quickly to Duo, who was staring intently at his own hands where he pressed down on Heero's chest. He wasn't sure of what Duo was apologizing for and felt strange trying to hold a conversation with the taller man flat on his back as Duo loomed over him.

"I didn't mean…I didn't know that my leaving would cause so much trouble."

"We thought you'd been kidnapped. We thought you were dead."

Duo said nothing, looking off into the distance.

"What did he offer you?" he asked, wanting to know the answer to that question above all others.

Duo shook his head, refusing to answer. Heero rose up quickly then, startling Duo as he grabbed Duo by the elbows shaking him.

"Tell me," he insisted.

"I can't," Duo said blinking, shocked.

"Then why bother to apologize?" Heero demanded.

"Because I don't want you to hate me more than you already do."

"I want to know why. I want to know that I didn't spend all my time looking for you for nothing."

"I don't owe you any answers Heero," Duo said stiffly, pulling away. "What I do with my life is my business. I had my reasons fro leaving. I had my reasons for being spliced."

"And what about me? What about the people who came searching for you thinking you were in trouble? Does no one deserve an answer?"

"I didn't ask you to come looking for me."

"I'll remember that the next time you go missing. I'll be sure to ask for permission first," he answered acerbically.

"That's not what I meant! Jesus Christ, Heero. You found me; I'm safe, let's just leave it at that."

Several phrases came to mind; many revolving around the phrase 'eat shit and die'. Heero was trying to keep his temper in check, but Duo's attitude made it hard. He couldn't simply let things go and pretend that everything was all right, couldn't let himself rejoice in having found Duo without knowing why he left to begin with.

He was saved from giving one of many graphic and vulgar replies that sprang to mind by the presence of a Preventors' agent standing in the doorway of his cubicle.

"Commander Yuy," greeted Special Agent Flaherty.

He looked away from Duo to Flaherty and the woman lived up to her nickname as the Head Mistress, not even batting an eyelash at the fearsome glare he gave her. As the head of the Detention and Detainment department, the auburn-haired woman dealt with much worse from prisoners on a daily basis but Heero would have felt better if she cringed just a little. Instead, she boldly stepped into the same area, a black bag in tow.

"I'm here to serve the orders for Mr. Maxwell's house arrest."

"Good," Heero said nodding. He caught the gauze on his chest before it had a chance to peel away, applying pressure before continuing, "Please, proceed."

"I'm not going to leave again," Duo said looking down at Heero.

"You're under investigation as to whether or not your decision to leave, your splicing and the splicing of your child was done without knowledge of the legality of splicing. You are also under investigation as to whether or not you have been working with Dr. Gervais as his assistant in other illegal splicings."

"Dr. G already told you that the started on me and Rhys before it became illegal."

"And continued to work on you afterwards."

"I didn't know that it was illegal," Duo said and by his inflection, Heero couldn't say that he truly believed him.

"Special Agent Flaherty, please proceed."

"Duo Maxwell, I am Special Agent Flaherty and I will be in charge of monitoring you during this investigation. I am going to attach an electronic tether to your leg that will broadcast your location. You will be allocated a set range to move around in, should you exceed that range for anything other than an emergency you will be formally charged, arrested and confined to a jail cell. Do you understand?"

"Yeah, I understand. Not too hard to figure out what house arrest means," he said dismissively and if Flaherty was offended by his attitude, she didn't show it.

"Commander, the range?" she asked looking to Heero.

"Four miles in every direction with headquarters as the epicenter until we find him temporary housing."

"Can we at least get him bandaged up before you get started?" Duo asked gesturing emphatically at Heero.

Flaherty looked to Heero then, letting him make the call. He didn't want to prolong the procedure anymore than necessary as Duo had already gone missing for over four years and seemed to have gotten away from the three Preventors who were supposed to be watching him. He would make sure that he talked to Weber about the situation.

"I'm fine. A nurse will be by soon."

"Mr. Maxwell if you could take a seat, please, we can get started."

Duo growled in response, snatching the gloves from his hands, tossing them aside. He glared at Heero before turning to hop up on the bed jostling Heero and aggravating his chest. Heero made a note to do something just as petty to Duo when the chance presented itself.

Flaherty set her bag down on a clear spot on the bed and began pulling out equipment. The two-inch black cuff that would serve as the tether and a small PDA were most recognizable to Heero, the rest were miscellaneous tools that he had no name for.

He held tight to the gauze as he watched Flaherty instruct Duo to lift his leg up onto the bed. As Duo leaned back, drawing his leg up, he placed his hand on Heero's bare back to steady himself.

The sudden warmth that spread from Duo's hand across Heero's back, filling his entire body, suffusing him with heat was almost painful in its intensity. He gasped harshly, doubling over, his entire body tightening in response as half-formed visions flitted behind his eyes and the sensual sensation of soft skin and hair rubbing against him confused his nerves.

"Commander, are you alright?" Flaherty asked from her stooped position to his left, her blue-green eyes wide with worry.

He nodded quickly swallowing the sudden lump in his throat, not sure that he could explain what had happened even if he wanted to. Like being dropped, unawares, into the middle of an orgy, burning hot feelings of lust had come on at Duo's touch and had just as quickly left him disoriented. Why a bare hand to his back would do to him what a full-body hug couldn't frightened him. Already he found himself thinking of Duo in ways he hadn't before; he didn't need passing touches bringing him to his knees.

"I'm going to find a nurse," Flaherty said, standing up straight.

"No, I'm fine," he said not wanting to bring more people into the situation and he no intention of telling anyone about the embarrassing reaction.

"Bullshit. You look like you're about to go into shock," Duo said peering into his face, hand still lightly touching his back.

"He's right, Commander. You need to lie down."

Duo moved off the bed, his hand sliding from Heero's back to his shoulder though thankfully the feelings didn't return as Heero let himself be pushed flat for a second time in so many minutes. Seeing him flat and stationery, Flaherty nodded before disappearing outside the curtains.

"Are you sure you're alright?" Duo asked. "What happened?"

He looked up at Duo, studying his face looking for any hint that Duo had somehow caused the reaction intentionally but only saw true concern and worry there. Even with all the mystery behind Gervais, he found himself hard-pressed to believe that sending inspiring lust through touch was something Gervais had mastered and taught to Duo.

"I don't know. Whatever it was it passed."

"Are you in pain?" Duo asked his head canting to the side.

"No."

It was awkward between them after that as they quietly waited for Flaherty to return. When she did, she had a nurse and Dr Anderson in tow and Heero found himself generally fussed over by the group as they tried to determine what had happened before giving up and setting to the task of bandaging him up.

Twenty minutes later found him with twelve stitches, a prescription for antibiotics and pain meds, an over wrapped chest and a promise to find him a replacement shirt. Dr. Anderson and the nurse were quick to move on leaving Heero, Duo and Flaherty alone again.

Flaherty had attached the tether in the time it took to stitch Heero up and was going over a few more details with Duo as Duo looked nonplussed with the entire event.

"The tether is tamper resistant and should you try to remove it or manipulate it I will be alert-"

"And I go to jail," Duo finished.

"Exactly. Do you have any questions?"

"How long do I have to wear this?"

"Until the investigation is over and we determine that you're innocent or formally charge you." Heero answered. He'd never had a problem with getting to the meat of his job and doing it while things were falling apart around him. It made people believe that he was cold and heartless and by the look Duo gave him the taller man more than likely felt the same.

"Dr. G hasn't hurt anyone or done anything I didn't agree to. Hell, he's in there right now trying to save your agents' lives."

"It's still illegal and beyond that we have to look into every aspect of the work he's done and everyone he's had assisting him."

"You're punishing me because I won't tell you why I left."

"No, I'm taking the necessary steps in regards to my case. You've been listed as a missing person for the last four years and now you've resurfaced at the heart of an illegal splicing operation. It doesn't matter if you gave consent for yourself or for Rhys and until you pass a psychological evaluation, we have to assume that you've been coerced into this entire situation."

"You can't be serious. I just told you-"

"It's about what you're not telling me, Duo," he said forcefully, "Why did you leave and what did he offer you?"

Duo looked away, stubborn silence his answer. Though his face was a blank mask, his ears were low, almost flat against his head. The same position Kitten's ears took on when something made him sad. Heero wondered if Duo knew he had such a striking tell.

"Agent Flaherty, I'd like Dr. Gervais to be tethered as well. For now, he's assisting us with working up antidotes for Agents Gemmell and Gilliam. I want him to be relegated to the inside of the clinic."

"Of course Commander, I can take care of it now if you want."

"Good. I can escort you and Duo back to the lab."

Duo moved first, trudged pass Heero and out of the cubicle and into the hall, leading the procession to the lab. Heero and Flaherty followed though with less vigor. Upon arrival, he was not pleased to note that Gervais had been left in the lab unattended and after parting from Flaherty and Duo, he went in search of Weber and the two agents who were assigned to watch them. He found them, along with several other agents congregated outside of the twins' room.

"Weber, why aren't you with Dr. Gervais?"

"I was escorting Duo to the twins' room to collect samples."

"And where is he now?"

Weber blinked looking around himself. "Shit. I'm sorry, Commander," he said dropping his usual habit of calling Heero boss once he realized the gravity of the situation. "I got caught up with everyone else."

"Grab the agents who were supposed to be on the door and head back to the lab and don't let Duo or Gervais out of your sight again. They both could have escaped while you were here gawking."

"I'm sorry, Commander, it won't happen again."

Heero turned away and was not surprised to find that several pairs of eyes that had been staring at him intently were now looking elsewhere. While he very rarely had to reprimand the members of his team, he wouldn't let what could have been a disastrous situation pass without letting his thoughts be known. If embarrassing Weber in front of fellow agents helped to reinforce how badly he'd messed up then so be it.

He moved though the crowd into the room where Trowa sat in one of the chairs wearing a blood stained tank top his left shoulder wrapped in bandages. It reminded Heero that he had yet to find himself a new shirt.

"What's happened?" he asked gesturing towards the two beds where the tiger-spliced twins lay quietly.

"They're in a drug-induced coma. Normal sedatives didn't work on them and they were in pain. Gervais says with the syringes he'll be able to cure them in a few hours."

"What about Lucy?"

"Her splicing is more extreme and will take longer to correct. He's asking to be relocated to his lab."

"Whatever equipment he needs can be brought here to him."

"I'll have him make a list. We can start bringing things in tomorrow."

"Good. How's your arm?"

"Nothing severed. I've been cleared for light duty. You?"

"Minor wounds," he replied. "Which one is which?"

"The white is Lisa, the orange is Leslie," Trowa answered pointing to each twin in turn.

"Lisa got me," Heero said touching his bandaged chest realizing that he had crossed the clinic and reprimanded Weber in nothing but bandages and blood on his chest.

"Leslie," Trowa said explaining who nearly took his arm.

"How are Hayers and Price?"

"Price is in surgery. One of the twins bit into her thigh and tore several muscles. Hayers' arms were cut up, nothing severe. He's been stitched up and I sent him home."

"We need to make sure that all Preventors are aware of the situation and on the lookout. I don't want Murai to have the opportunity to do this again."

"Wu Fei and Sally are already taking care of it."

"Did they get any information out of Gervais' assistants?"

"I didn't know to ask."

"Head home Trowa. The twins have enough people watching over them. We can start again in the morning."

"What about you?"

"I need to tie-up a loose end and then I'll call it a night."

+

He managed to get a clean shirt before leaving the clinic and heading to the main building and the holding cells, arriving just in time to catch Agent Flaherty as she was relinquishing her post for the night.

"You're dropping the charges?" she asked once Heero had finishing explaining what he wanted down and filling out the subsequent forms.

"Yes, the information she gave us led us to find Duo and Gervais. She had no other association with Gervais besides caring for Kitten."

"You're keeping me very busy lately, Commander," she said jokingly. Heero could only imagine the amount of paperwork involved in pulling people in and out of cells. He'd probably given Flaherty carpal tunnel with his case alone with the number of people he had passed through in the last few weeks.

"It's not my intention."

"I know. Wait here and I'll go and release Mrs. Hughes. Bowman," she said turning to the agent who would take over the night watch. Heero recognized him as the man he'd snatched the keycards from two nights ago. "Will you get Mrs. Hughes' personal effects?"

Bowman moved off to retrieve the articles while Flaherty went into the holding area to release Hughes, leaving Heero alone in the intake. He rubbed absently at the bandages around his chest, wondering at the greeting he might receive from Hughes.

Bowman returned first with keys, jewelry and a small clutch purse, followed by Flaherty and Hughes. The other woman looked tired and haggard, giving Heero a guarded look.

"You're letting me go?"

"Yes. All the charges against you have been dropped and here's a car waiting to take you home."

"You found Eric and Duo then," she said as more of a fact than inquiry, shaking her head sadly.

"Yes."

She looked back towards the cells, "Did you arrest them?"

"Yes," Heero replied.

"He isn't a bad man, he wouldn't hurt anyone."

"We're still investigating it. I'll show you to the car," he said moving to escort her, wanting to be done with this line of conversation as soon as possible.

He waited while she gathered her few belongings, signing them out, before she turned to follow Heero.

"What about Kitten? Can I see him first?"

"He may be asleep by now," he said glancing towards his watch, seeing that it was after 11, "but I'll take you."

The short walk from the hold to the elevator and up the several stories to the dormitory was painfully quiet as the two had little to say to one another, He felt guilty about his behavior just days before and how he had all but attacked the older woman though he felt justified under the circumstances. He had to admit that Zechs was right. Janet Hughes had been trying got protect her loved ones. She had done, from what Heero could tell, the best she could to raise Kitten like a normal child and kept him as safe as possible. While he would have acted differently, had he been in her place he could understand her reasoning. She wasn't a bad person, just a woman who had made a bad decision for the sake of a child and the man she once loved.

The woman behind the desk seemed more than happy to sign over the keys to Kitten's room when they arrived letting them back without any fuss. Unlocking the door to Kitten's room they were greeted by the three year old dressed in light blue pajamas.

"Nana!"

"Oh my little kitten," Janet cooed gathering the boy into her arms, petting his hair, "Oh I missed you."

"I missed you too. I heard you comin' and I can't sleep by myself and I wanna go home and are you mad at me?"

"No, sweetheart, I'm not mad at you. I'm so happy that you're alright."

"I'm sorry I took the hat off."

"Shh, it's alright, I'm not mad," she said again peppering kisses along his face as she moved, carrying him to the twin bed that sat against the right side of the room. Both beds in the small dorm were turned down, the sheets rumpled and Heero imagined Kitten moving from one bed to another trying to decide which one he liked best.

"Mr. Heero, are you bleeding?" Kitten asked suddenly, pulling him from his musings.

"What?" Heero asked confused. He hadn't expected to be drawn into the conversation so suddenly. "No, I was hurt earlier but I'm fine now."

"I didn't even realize," Hughes said, looking as if she'd done something wrong by not noting the injury and doing something about it.

"It's alright I'm fine," he said for what seemed like the millionth time that night.

The woman nodded, looking to Kitten, asking, "Commander, can I take Kitten home with me?"

Heero was taken back by the question. He had hoped that she wouldn't ask, as he couldn't let Kitten go with the woman and knew that it would upset her to know.

"I'm sorry; it's for a judge to decide who gets custody of him. He has to stay here for the time being."

"I see," she replied crestfallen. She looked to Kitten, running a hand over his head, "I have to go now, but you're going to be a good boy for me aren't you?"

"I'll be good."

"No running away in the middle of the night. You're going to stay in this bed and sleep."

"But I can't sleep by myself and its dark," Kitten pleaded his ears drooping.

"He usually sleeps in bed with me," Hughes said looking to Heero. "He's spoiled I know, but do you think you could stay the night with him. If you just slept in the other bed I'm sure it would help him sleep."

He felt uncomfortable and yet pleased by the request. He'd never been asked to keep a child company and that Hughes had asked given their past made him feel better about her. She trusted him with her child, no longer treating him like some molester off the streets. He looked to Kitten and his hopeful smiling face tucked against Hughes' chest and couldn't help but to agree. If it would help Kitten sleep and keep him form terrorizing the neighborhood in the middle of the night while he got some sleep, it would be a win for everyone involved.

He escorted Janet to the waiting car after she'd tucked Kitten in with meticulous care and said her goodbyes to the boy extracting more promises of good behaviors than Heero was sure the small boy wouldn't keep. On he curb outside of the building she asked Heero to take good care of her kitten before climbing into the car to be delivered home.

Back inside Heero cleaned up in the public bath, changing into clean pair of sweats and t-shirt he kept in his locker before returning to the room where Kitten lay in bed grinning. He turned out the light, climbing into the bed on the opposite side of the room with the feeling of eyes watching him in the dark.

"Good night Mr. Heero," Kitten whispered loudly.

"Good night Kitten," he replied smiling.

The pain meds did their job wonderfully; easing his pain and helping him ease into a peaceful, dreamless sleep, though he was not surprised when somewhere in the middle of the night a small body curled up beside him, though the purring was distracting until he let it lull him back to sleep.

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