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

A/N : Some major revisions have happened in the previous chapters -- 10, 16, 20, 22, and 23 [ if you're ist reading this story after 01 Nov 10, you don't need to worry about this note. Anyone else? should go back and reread ]

Preventors' Case #84309: Splicers + Chapter Twenty-Six

Heero gasped and sputtered, coming awake at the sudden splash of cold water to his face.

"Wakey, wakey," Nellie sang, her face just inches from his, her voice echoing off the walls. He wasn't familiar with the room but he knew a fall-out shelter when he saw one. There was no bare bulb hanging overhead like in so many bad interrogation/torture scenes, but the ominous feeling remained the same. To his left sat a steel table empty except for a desk lamp and jet injector. The needle-less gun lay prepped with a cylinder of milky, blue liquid that could only be recombinant.

Across from him sat Murai, dressed as if he would be going into work at the veterinary, in pressed slacks, a blue button-down shirt, loafers and a clean white lab coat. With his legs cross and his fingers steepled in his lap, the resemblance to Treize was even stronger. His faithful lieutenant posed just behind his chair at his right-hand side, smiling gallantly. She'd forgone the school uniform for a black halter dress and black high-top canvas sneakers with a white sole. Thin, silver earrings hung from her ears, mingling with the dark strands of her hair. She was no Lady Une, but the insanity and blind devotion were there in spades.

He sat back in the chair, balling his hands into tight fists, "What do you want?"

"Right to the point, then," the older man said with a smile, his blue eyes reflecting his mirth. "Look at you. So tense, ready for the worst. You're a man who knows what it means to suffer." He settled back into his chair watching Heero with a look of fondness. "I like that about you. But let's get to the point, shall we? I want you to bring me Gervais' head."

"Why would I do that?" Heero asked, though he was more concerned as to why Murai cared about Gervais at all.

"Because you want him gone just as much as I."

That was more or less true, but Heero vowed to himself long ago that he would never be used as anyone's assassin. More importantly, he wanted Gervais gone from Duo's life, not the world and the people who truly needed him. "Why do you want him dead?"

"That," he said with a flash of anger in his eyes, "is none of your business. You only need to worry about what will happen if you don't do what I want."

"You'll kill me?"

"That would be counterproductive, don't you think? No, I'll kill the people close to you, the ones you can't live without."

"Hurting the people I care about will only get you killed."

The doctor tossed his head back with a laugh, a happy joyous sound that was disconcerting with the situation at hand. "If it was that easy, you would have killed me by now. Tell me Heero how many people do you think I've killed?"

"At least sixty-six to date."

Murai did a long blink, a smile spreading across his face and a light chuckle escaping his throat. "Sixty-six? Is that it? You must not keep up with missing persons' reports."

Goosebumps ran across his flesh as he could only imagine where Murai was going with this line of conversation. "What do you mean?"

"My numbers are well into the hundreds. Close to three at last count."

"That's impossible," he balked. "We would have known about that number of deaths."

Murai smiled, showing bright white teeth. "Not everyone survives the initial splicing. Some die almost instantly. Like my nephew did."

Nellie sighed softly, "Brandon."

"Then where are the bodies?"

Murai tapped his foot against the steel-plated floor, "I've put many of this colonies fallout shelters to good use."

He looked around the room, barely able to envision the number of underground shelters filled with decaying corpses and the fetid stench of death scarcely contained by the double reinforced steel. This man was no Pete McCormack, hiding his evil behind an unassuming fa┴ade. This man was evil, killing without feeling or remorse, proudly showing his face to the world.

"Why are you doing this?"

"You are ever the dedicated agent, Heero. I can see the gears turning in your head. Tell me, knowing why I do it, my modus operandi, if you will, what will it prove? What kind of closure could it possibly give you?"

"It will help me stop people like you in the future."

"You're that confident that you'll take me down? Maybe you will, but for now I have the upper hand and I have work for you."

"Killing Gervais. I have no leads to go on; I have no way of finding him."

"Of course you do. You just don't know it yet. For instance, Hilde Schbeiker. She's a goldmine of information just waiting to be hollowed out."

"Uh," Nellie grimaced, pulling a face. "Not that ugly girl."

Murai reached back patting the girl's hands. "I know how much she bothers you, having put her filthy hands all over your Heero."

"Once you're done with her," she said to Murai, "I want to kill her."

"Of course, dear."

"Hilde has nothing to do with this. She isn't connected to Gervais."

"I beg to differ. In fact I think she's working right beside him. How convenient is it that the only person on your team with an alibi for Gervais' escape is fired? That she recommended it to your Director? Yet she seeks you out to help her find me."

"Coincidence."

Murai snorted at that. "They need time to undo my work and they won't get it with you after them. She cut off your resources then worked to distract you from them."

"And this isn't a distraction? You send me after Gervais so I can't come after you?"

"You all but have me, Heero," he said spreading his hands wide. "My most loyal supporter is in love with you. My face is plastered all over the earth sphere with every government agency looking for me. It was only a matter of time before you caught up to me, so we need to move quickly, don't you think? Before I'm shipped away into whatever little cell you think appropriate for me, I want to know that Gervais is dead."

"You don't really think you'll be caught. This is all just a game to you."

"Very perceptive, Heero. I don't think it'll take you long at all to find him. Now," he said with flourish, "I want to know everything Hilde knows about Gervais."

"I've told you already..."

"Yes, yes," the doctor said waving Heero's complaints away, "but what I haven't told you is what I'll do if you don't question her."

"You'll kill someone I care about."

"Hmm, yes, but who? I thought we should start slow and work our way up, don't you think? You'd lose all your motivation if I killed the top prize first. Your mentor, Commander Chase, seems like a good place to start."

"You're playing with people's lives and for what? Because you're jealous that he's better than you?"

"Better than me?" Murai asked coldly, "Yes, I do wish I could cure the world's problems with splicing. I wish I could take a man who's at his limit, trying desperately to keep from burdening others while dying on the inside and use splicing to make him my toy. I'm sure you wish the same. Then it could be you with Duo as a mindless slave and my nephew would still be alive. But they didn't come to us. He didn't come to you, now did he Heero. So tell me, are you jealous because Gervais is better than you?"

With each word Murai spoke, Heero's insides twisted in knots. It was as if Murai were pulling Heero's thoughts deep from within his subconscious and forcing them into the light of day. He was jealous of Gervais. Jealous that a once nameless and faceless man had the key to Duo's happiness whether real or manufactured through brainwashing. He possessed something that Heero did not, something intangible that made Duo choose the older man over Heero time and time again. The words stuck in his craw leaving a bitter taste in his mouth.

"You don't know anything about him," he forced through clenched teeth.

"And you didn't answer my question. I want him dead, Heero, or I will kill everyone around you and it won't be by splicing, Heero. I will simply kill them."

"Like Trent dead," Nellie elaborated.

"Yes, like Trent dead. You have until seven tomorrow night to bring me word on what she knows. We'll work our way up from there."

"And what if she doesn't know anything?"

"She will, and like I said, we'll go from there. A new task for you and a new target for me should you fail. I've already decided who's at the top of the list."

"Who?" he asked fearing the worst.

"Who else, Heero? Rhys Dilandau Maxwell, or Kitten, as you like to call him."

He rocked in the chair, pulling against the manacles with all his strength. "Leave him out of this! He hasn't done anything to you. He has nothing to do with any of this."

"You see? I threaten to kill your friends and you don't bat an eye, but him, him you fight for."

"He's just a child."

"And I would hate to hurt him. Nellie," he questioned turning his head towards the girl.

"Hmm? Oh, right!" She dashed away leaving out of the small room's one, visible exit. Murai and Heero sat in silence waiting until the girl returned with a small bundle in her arms.

"No," Heero breathed. There in her arms sleeping, as if peacefully, was Kitten. His head rested against her shoulder, his small body curled against her chest. His face was smoothed and calm, his arms limp at his side. He could have been dead for all Heero knew. Kitten was an animated boy both awake and asleep. Even while deep asleep, he fidgeted and moved, whispered and giggled.

"What did you do to him?"

"A light sedative, to keep him under control. Can't have him running away or drawing too much attention, now can I?" The smug grin sobered into something more somber and soft. "I don't want to hurt him, Heero. He doesn't deserve it, but I'll do what it takes to get what I want."

"I'll bring you Gervais, just let him go."

"He's our leverage, our insurance that you won't fail. Because you won't fail him, will you Heero?"

Heero scowled, huffing through his nose, "No."

"Good. We'll meet here tomorrow night. And it goes without saying that I want you alone. No Preventors. If I get so much as a hint of blue and green when we meet," he paused lifting his arm to take Kitten's hand in his. He looked pointedly at Heero as he spoke, "I will break him. One piece at a time."

"Don't," Heero warned his eyes locked on Kitten, willing the boy to move, to fidget, to give any sign that he was alright if not unharmed. Murai knew this game all too well. Threatening Heero's life would do him no good and even as he threatened Chase's life Heero thought of ways around the situation, but he couldn't risk Kitten. He could do nothing less than bring Murai the doctor's head if it meant keeping Kitten safe. Just the thought alone pained him. That he could so easily choose one life over another, but he couldn't endanger Kitten more than he already had. The boy was the center of his life now and Heero couldn't bear to think about a life without him.

"Any questions?" Murai paused, but Heero said nothing. "Good, let's leave Heero to his work, then, shall we, Nellie?"

He rose from his chair following Nellie to the door. Heero darted a quick glance to the injector left abandoned on the table with no small amount of relief filling his chest. His eyes went back to Murai, as the man paused turning back to him with an arrogant smile firmly in place dashing what little hope he'd managed to muster.

"I almost forgot." He glided to the table, lifting the forgotten injector into his hands. The small, needle-less injector too closely resembled a gun for Heero's liking and he tensed, rearing back as far as the chair would allow as Murai approached him.

"Don't."

"Now, now, don't fidget. You don't want to go through this twice." He grabbed his jaw, forcing his head up and to the side leaving his neck stretched long and clean.

"Stop," he said realizing with no small amount of fear that he did not want to be spliced. There was too much death and suffering that went along with the two ounces of colorful liquid and he didn't want to be anything other than what he was. He looked to Nellie where she watched. He let her see his fear as he tried to fight off Murai. Of anyone, she could understand what it meant to forced, to have his body taken against his will.

"Don't do this. I'll bring you Gervais," he argued struggling against Murai's strong grip. He pulled against the manacles with all of his strength, but the angle was awkward and he only managed to bleed himself against the metal.

"And I want to help you. This will help get rid of that iron control of yours."

"No!" The last thing he wanted was to lose control like the Gilliam twins, the interns and other Preventors who Murai spliced. The way they lost control of themselves snapping and biting at everyone in sight like wild animals, that couldn't be him. He knew that where the others failed to cause serious harm, he would succeed. He would be danger to everyone around him, everyone he cared for. He fought harder, jerking his head out of Murai's grasp.

"Gabby," Nellie said hesitantly, stepping close to Murai.

Murai turned to her, pausing, "I know. It's hard for you to see me hurt him, but this is for the best."

Her face calmed and she nodded for him to continue. "Just...hurry."

With a nod, Murai grabbed him again, taking his entire jaw into his hand to keep him still. His heart raced, pounding loudly in his ears as he watched the injector approach from the corner of his eye. He fought not to panic, to stay conscious as Murai pressed the tip against his neck. His pulse beat against the gun, stilling for a split second as the doctor pulled the trigger shooting the recombinant through his skin. At first, the pain was a sharp sting of the initial injection but quickly became a burn as the recombinant chased through his veins, seeping into the rest of his body. He gasped, seizing up in his chair to keep from screaming.

The pain spread through Heero, as if razor blades traveled along his blood stream scouring him from the inside. Moving up through his cheek, then through his temple, the milky liquid attacked his brain, shaving away what little sanity he had left. He arched back into the chair screaming as his nerves were shredded apart.

"The first time is always the worse," Murai said.

He whined through his teeth, his body contorting not only from the pain but from the twisting and pulling of his muscles. The wet sound of bones popping reached his ears as he began to convulse, his body tearing itself apart as he fought to hold on. The chair's manacles were the only thing that kept him in place even as they dug into his wrists, bloodying him.

And like that it was over, the pain receding just as quickly as it had marched over him. He collapsed in a boneless heap, trembling and panting. He was soaked in his own sweat, which did little to cool his overheated body. He could feel the comforting darkness of unconsciousness trying to settle in over him but he forced his eyes open watching Murai turn Nellie towards the door. The old man captured his gaze and Heero barely caught his words before passing out.

"Tomorrow."

+

He felt hot and dizzy. His stomach rolled and complained inside him. Splicer fever. He was not a doctor but he knew the signs. It was typically non-fatal; a common side effect after a major splicing as the body adjusted to the change. However, 'typically' meant that some did die from the fever and with Murai as part of the equation, Heero did not have high hopes.

He felt stretched thin, as if his skin and muscles were pulled too tight against his bones. He looked down at himself, afraid to see fur, stripes, or spots covering the skin of his arms but found nothing but his own skin. He stared at his hands transfixed at the way his bones pressed against his skin, wondering if his hands had always been so big. His nails were dark and curved, ending in sharp tips. His feet matched his hands. Long and thin with blackened nails arching upwards to mimic an animals hind leg.

He stood awkwardly on the balls of his feet beneath the open hatch that would lead him back into the warehouse. It was one room removed from the shelter he was held captive in and easily navigated to as if Murai had wanted to make his escape or rescue as simple as possible. Murai, for now, was lost to him deeper in the maze of shelters having hacked into the door's override commands to keep Heero from following. With time and equipment it would be easy to get the doors open but would cost him Kitten's safety if he didn't follow the plan. He would play by Murai's rules long enough to take the man down and save Kitten.

He gripped the closet rung, being careful of his strength. He'd ripped through the manacles with no amount of effort, shredding the arms of the chair in the process. So far he seemed in control of himself and not overly affected by the splicing, but he was wary of joining the voices above him. By the sounds, there were only Preventors agents left inside the building. Could they stop him if he attacked? How many would he kill before they put him down?

No, he told himself, I'm stronger than that.

He made the climb gripping the rungs of the ladder with both fingers and toes. He emerged inside an empty room, cautiously following the sounds of yelling back into the main room where the party was held. He stood back in the shadows, just inside the doorway watching Preventors' agents and police officers mill uncomfortably, waiting for their commanding officers to give them purpose. The sounds of arguing and soft whispers blended into one conversation he struggled to make sense of.

"While your men stand here and gawk, my guys could be searching the tunnels for Yuy. Unless your men actually let Murai waltz out the front door."

"What a bitch."

"Dude, she took your idea again."

"What do you think Doctor M will splice Heero with?"

"Your assistance is unneeded and unwanted, Lieutenant, now get out of my crime scene."

"You have no idea."

"Maybe a wolf?"

"I know."

"I better be getting paid overtime for this."

"Did you hear about Agent Barton?"

"We're never going to get anywhere with the two of them."

"Did I leave the stove on?"

He gripped the doorjamb, squeezing his eyes shut to try to block out all the random whispers and focus. It worked too well as all the talking ceased and the sounds of guns being cocked followed. He opened his eyes to find the room at attention with over a dozen agents and officers with guns pointed at him.

"Come out slowly with your hands up," Denvers ordered, crossing the room.

He let go of the splintered pieces of wood in his hand, dropping them like broken toys to the floor. He berated himself, his mind flashing to incidents in his past. Losing control would only get someone close to him killed and he needed to be in control and focused to save Kitten.

He moved, one pensive step after another, watching as the guns before him wavered and shock came over most of the faces in the room. His heart beat against his ribcage, begging him to put the adrenaline in his veins to good use. Fight or flight, it yelled, because watching like a docile lamb was unacceptable.

"Heero? Is that you?"

It was Hilde who recognized him, wading through the bodies separating them. He stood before her like a giant, his splicing making him over a foot taller than most of the room. She stopped within touching distance of him, her navy ears pressed flat against her head, arms tucked into her chest. He could smell her distress as he watched her fight to come closer to him. He could see it; her body if not her brain knew a dangerous predator was in its presence.

"Jesus, Yuy," Denvers said, her voice grating on his ears, "What the fuck did you do to yourself?" She didn't hesitate to approach him while holstering her weapon. Her scent filled his nostrils; men's cologne and forced bravado. She reached up, grabbing his chin, digging manicured nails into his skin.

The sound he made, like a rumbling engine, started low in his chest working up his throat and out through clenched teeth. Her arm felt fragile in his grip as he yanked her hand away. He held her, tightening his hold as she glared at him with eyes full of hate and malice. She jerked against his grip with a growl of her own.

"Let go of me or I'm charging you with assault, Yuy. You're not the Preventors' golden boy anymore."

"Denvers, now is not the time," Yates said.

"I'm not afraid of you," she hissed, leaning into him, "You're just like every other piece of trash walking the streets. No badge, no authority."

"Lieutenant," one of the officers said. It was hard to tell which with the sound of his own growling and Denvers words echoing in his ears.

"Heero, just let her go," Hilde begged.

"Right. Let me go so you can get back to working for Murai."

"Denvers!"

"You think I'm not the only one who's noticed that it's taking you way too long to solve this case? You're working with them aren't you?" The last came out as a pained whimper as he tightened his hold on her. She was reaching, but the truth was too close to home now that he did in fact work for the killer.

"Denvers, for once in your life, back down before he hurts you."

"Is that why you fired him, Yates? You found out he's been covering Murai's tracks?"

"You're so full of shit Denvers," Weber said, "I almost hope he breaks your arm."

"What is he paying you, Yuy? You keep him out of jail and you get to fuck that girl?"

Black.

The absence of color.

It was all he saw for the few seconds it took to attack Denvers. Her arm gave under his hand and he tasted blood in his mouth. The foul, copper taste brought him back to a room full of screaming, to hands pulling at him desperately.

"Commander, let her go!"

"Heero, stop!"

"Shoot him!"

His teeth, sharp and lethal were locked in the juncture between her neck and shoulder tearing through the flesh and digging into the bone. The hands fighting him only made him tighten his grip forcing a pained scream from Denvers. He stepped back, forcing Denvers with him as he moved to cover his back and keep the others in sight.

"Everybody! Everybody back up!" Heero rolled his eyes to the officer pushing at the crowding bodies. No more than twenty-two and fresh from the police academy, he commanded attention and obedience with ease. The room as a whole moved, creating a circle around Heero, Denvers, and the young officer.

Dark, liquid brown eyes stared into his then dropped to the floor as the young man moved, hands up, fingers splayed. He moved with slow, steady steps, drawing close until he was able to out his hands against Denvers back. He waited for his fingers to curl into her dark suit, for the officer to try to pull her away from him.

"Lieutenant," he spoke softly, keeping his hands flat against her back, "stop fighting him."

Denvers jerked, as if slapped, pulling against Heero. "What the fuck are you talking about, Davis?"

"He isn't trying to hurt you and he won't if you submit."

"I'd rather let him rip my throat out."

"Lieutenant, I suggest you do what your officer says and relax. If Yuy was going to kill you, you'd be dead by now."

He didn't like Yates presuming how quickly or thoroughly he could kill someone, but found that he couldn't disagree. The way Denvers arm broke so easily under his hand told him that he was capable of much more. If he wanted to, it would take little effort to end her life.

He closed his eyes, listening for the steady thump of his own heart. It was one of many techniques he'd used during the war and after to calm himself when a situation became too intense, when his emotions threatened to overtake him. His own heartbeat was even and strong, but not Denvers. Her heart beat in her chest like a caged bird desperate for escape. It excited a part of him he didn't know existed and made it hard to do anything other than bite down on the pulse jumping against his tongue.

"Why can't you just shoot him?"

This time when he dug his teeth in, it was on purpose.

"He could rip your throat out before we could take him down. Just relax lieutenant. He's not going to let go until you do."

"And what makes you the fucking expert?"

"I read the case file. All of Murai's other victims became primal after being spliced, more animal than human. This screams dominance fight."

"Shut up, Davis."

"The kid's right," Weber spoke, "Either that or the boss has finally decided to show Denvers just how much he likes her."

"Fuck you."

"You got yourself into this mess so you can get yourself out of it."

"Agent Weber, you are not helping," Yates said, though the reprimand was ignored.

"You got in his face and accused him of shit you know he wouldn't do." Heero was surprised to hear such anger in Weber's voice. The level of calm he could exude rivaled Trowa's at times. Whatever the reason for such hostility, it had an affect on Denvers as slowly the tension eased from her body. "If any one of us said something like that to you, you would have shot our balls off. So why don't you listen to the kid and relax."

It took some time before she relaxed, the muscles in her body going lax in stages. It wasn't until her hand went lax, her fist unclenching, fingers dangling that he loosened his jaw. He lifted his head from her throat, taking in the perfect imprint of his teeth and the blood flowing from it. He dropped her arm backing away in disgust. He could have killed her. He'd lost control so easily, too easily. What if he was confronted by Duo or Gervais? Would he even hesitate to hurt them irrevocably?

He covered his face, stomach rolling at the taste of blood in his mouth. The loss of adrenaline left him shaking and cold, while his skin felt as if it were on fire. Hands touched him, supporting him, as useless words washed over him.

"It's okay. It's alright."

"We're going to get you to the hospital."

"You're going to be okay."

It was enough to distract him from the medic. He felt her move in behind him, lifting his shirt but was too late to stop her from injecting him with a sedative. He tried to fight it, even as it brought him to his knees, falling unconscious with Kitten's face at the forefront of his mind.

+++

Sorry for the delay and the deletion of two whole chapters but i hated 27. i hated it when i was writing it, hated when i posted it and hated it when i thought about it. and on top of that I couldn't figure out how to get myself out of the hole i dug with it. so i decided to go back and make Murai a true villian because when i thought about it, he was sorely lacking in evil. Everything from 27 will not go to waste, certain parts will come back, others will change. So please please review and let me know if this is working better and again i'm sorry for the delay and any confusion.

bikko

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