Written By: bikkothewriter
Pairings: Main 1x2, others may show up
Warnings: Yaoi, Language, blood, gore, lemon, lime, angst
Disclaimer: I own nothing! Splicing idea borrowed from Batman Beyond.
Rating: NC 17

Preventors' Case #84309: Splicers + Chapter Seven

The rest of the night was thankfully uneventful. Once a helpful nurse had pulled Hannah away, Heero had retired to the restroom to wash his face followed by his entire head, which he stuck under the faucet and relished in the cool water seeping into his hair and running over his skin as well as the sound it made rushing over his ears. Trowa had found him like that and made a tired and lame attempt at a joke about him drowning himself. It had been a long night for both of them.

Shortly afterwards Chase had come by, informing them of the seventy-two people, both men and women, who'd been arrested and thanked them for their help, dismissing them for the night. He'd given his okay for the team to take Kitten into protective custody and the issue with Dr Devereaux had been sorted out without much of fight. Heero wondered if the doctor trusted him to take of care of the boy or if he was afraid of him after the incident in the recovery bay.

Lucas had been stitched up and put to bed with a mild sedative and his parents waiting in the wings to comfort him as soon as he woke. The two had nearly broken Heero's hand, pumping his fist as they thanked him repeatedly. Weber had remarked that it wasn't fair that he got stabbed in the chest trying to protect the children and no one had thanked him. Heero thanked him for doing his job to which Weber stuck out his tongue before remarking that he couldn't wait to show off his cool new scar to Gemmell. The wound hadn't been life threatening although the amount blood left staining both Weber and the room begged to differ and had required twelve stitches. Once the attending had cleared Weber, Heero and Trowa dropped Kitten and Weber off at the Preventor dorms for the night.

Heero had decided for both himself and Trowa that they would spend the night at his apartment. While sleep was not easy to find, they did manage to drift off eventually into a fitful rest. Heero couldn't remark on Trowa's thoughts that night but his own chased around the look on McCormack's face. That moment when the rapist and killer had surfaced looking at him, daring him to shoot. Not many things scared him in life or made him angry enough to lose himself in rage but looking into that man's face and seeing that transformation, knowing that everyday, people just like him walked past Heero on the streets without him knowing. It strengthened his resolve to find Dr M. Somewhere out there was a man taking advantage of innocent people, destroying their bodies for his own personal gain.

He wondered if when he found the man if he would watch the same evilness rise from somewhere deep inside of him or if he wore his madness proudly.

+

Noon, the following day, found all of Heero's team in their conference room rehashing the events of last night and discussing the assignments they'd previously been sent on by Heero.

"There were no matches between Pepper and Trent's phone records. We even went as far as checking their e-mail accounts and found nothing that linked the two to a third party," Price informed the room.

"What about disposable cell phone numbers?" Heero asked from his place at the round table.

"There were several numbers but none of them are active anymore and we also can't get any of the numbers that were made from the phones. None of them were with any type of service provider that would keep a log of all the numbers," Hayers answered.

"So we need to focus on finding the doctor and not his associates. Did you find anything Gemmell?"

"A couple possibles, but none of them stand out as being our bad guy. It'll take a while to go around to each and every one of them to figure out who could be behind it."

"We don't have a lot of time to work with," Trowa said, opening a folder in front of him to pull out a few sheets to hand to Heero. "Those are the results from the lab. The process is accelerating. Where before a person had at least three months after splicing to live, now they only have three weeks."

Heero stared at the paper both shocked and confused, while the rest of the room remained dissonantly silent. They had less than a week, if they were going to try to save Lanie and Emmett, their two interim patients as well as any person foolish enough to go to Dr M in the last few weeks that they hadn't yet caught or had brought in to them.

"Were the techs able to spot a difference between the two sets of DNA?" Gemmell asked.

"At this point, Lanie and Emmett's DNA are too unstable to track any distinctive differences, but certain DNA sequences have been altered, ones that affect more than just the appearance."

"What's been changed exactly?" Price asked.

"So far the technicians noticed a change in adrenaline and hormone production. I had them send off samples to Dr Greyson, the geneticist we have on retainer, for further study."

"We need to get a time line for how long Kitten has been spliced."

"Why?" Heero asked, "What have you found out."

"The results from our lab show that Kitten is spliced with Tonkinese cat, Hellbender salamander, bat, Great Horned Owl, panther, polar bear and two other animals that have yet to be identified." She looked up from the sheet she'd been reading from to add, "The techs are still trying to narrow down the exact species for each animal."

"The kid's his own zoo," Weber said astonished.

"How is he even alive?" Hayers asked, echoing Heero's thoughts. There were people who couldn't handle being spliced by regular recombinant while Kitten was spliced with eight different sets of DNA and seemed no worse for wear.

"What has Hughes had to say about it?"

"Nothing," Gemmell answered. "Absolutely nothing. She asked for a lawyer for Kitten when we picked her up and hasn't said a word since."

"That's not all, Commander," Price said drawing his focus again. "I had his DNA run through CODIS and found a match. He has seven alleles in common with Duo Maxwell. We can't prove just yet that he is his father but we do know that they are related."

"He was from our missing person's case, right?" Weber asked.

"Yes and we weren't able to find anything concrete on how or why he disappeared. I'm sure that Mrs. Hughes knows something about both Kitten's splicing and Duo's disappearance." Price answered.

At this point Heero could see the confusion on Hayers and Gemmell's faces. They had not been apart of Heero's original team four years ago and knew nothing about the cold case they spoke of.

"We shouldn't lump all of this on Hughes' head until we have more facts," Trowa said.

"She isn't talking, she obviously has something to hide," Hayers argued.

"Or something to protect."

"Trowa is right. She has an older son, maybe she's covering for him. I don't see a woman that old attacking people and stealing their kids." Gemmell said.

"She could have bought him. At an Auction," Hayers pointed out.

"We won't know for sure until we get either her or Kitten to talk. We need to find out if this investigation has any ties to our case against Dr M."

"With what the techs told me, this kind of breakthrough in splicing would make a person famous. Like Nobel prize famous."

"It's true," Price added, "Like I mentioned before Kitten's splicing isn't just cosmetic, key structures in his genetic make-up have been changed. We won't know the full extent without testing and with Mrs. Hughes locked up and Duo missing we have no one acting as legal guardian to allow us to do the tests."

"Are any of the tests proposed unethical?"

"Some of what those geeks suggested should be," Gemmell said, flopping back in her chair, arms crossed. "They want to see if he can breathe underwater."

"Hellbender salamanders live underwater," Price explained before anyone could question.

"You're telling me the kid might have gills?" Weber asked.

"The ER doctors didn't find anything that unusual, but based on the complexity of Kitten's DNA the techs don't want to rule it out."

"We'll send a sample of his DNA off to Dr. Greyson as well and let him determine what we should do next. Maybe he can compare the two and see if anything looks the same."

"I really don't think that we're looking for the same doctor in this, Commander," Gemmell stated.

"I don't either, but the two could be related. If we find one we might find the other. We also can't rule out that Kitten may have been a success that he's trying to duplicate in adults."

"I see."

"So what should we do now?" Hayers asked.

"If you don't mind Commander I want to keep looking through the list of vets. I have a couple of ideas that might help narrow the search down," Gemmell said.

"Then I'll leave it to you."

"Thanks, Commander," she answered happily.

"Weber, I want you to look into Hughes' son and see what you can find on him. Hayers and Barton, I want the two of you to work on getting information out of Hughes. Price, you and I are going to talk to Kitten."

+

The Preventors' Headquarters had a special facility made specifically for children who needed to be questioned in regards to a case. This room had quickly become heaven to one boy by the name of Kitten as Heero watched him through the two-way mirror as he tore through room needing to touch and play with everything the brightly colored room had to offer. He spent one minute with the blocks then the next playing with trains before zipping over to the coloring books then over to the costume bin before taking up two dolls, making them kiss as he giggled.

"He's really well-adjusted," Joyanne DeWitt said. She was a child psychologist on retainer with Preventors and would act as Kitten's advocate while Heero questioned him. "He isn't afraid to be alone by himself in a strange place and he's amendable to making friends. That's not the type of behavior you see in a child who's been abused or neglected."

"What about the splicing?" Price asked. "The psychologist at the hospital said it would be damaging for him if we left him like that."

"On any other child I'd say yes. Having your self-image changed so drastically and under those circumstance would be damaging, but from what I've gathered, as far as he knows he's always been like this."

"Is he up for questioning?" Heero asked from his place at the window. He watched as the boy stopped in his frenzy for a moment to run off to the toy bin where he tossed toys left and right looking for something in particular.

"Yes, but I was told that his grandmother asked for a lawyer on his behalf," she said as more of a question than a statement.

"She did," Price said not bothering to correct the woman.

"Well once he or she arrives we can get started."

The boy, having found the toy, a super hero action figure from what Heero could see, headed towards what was a large mirror on his side of the room, climbing on top of the chairs and bins to stand directly in front of Heero

"What is he doing?" Price asked at the same time as Kitten knocked on the glass, waiting.

"Can he hear us?" Joyanne whispered. Heero spared the woman as glance over his shoulder where she stood off to the side with Price.

"The room is soundproofed," Price answered, her eyes trained on the boy who knocked again and waited, although this time impatiently as he put his hands on his hips.

"That doesn't mean that there is no sound," Heero said, watching Kitten's ears turn from the sound of Price's voice to his. "Kitten can you hear me?"

"Yes," the boy sang.

"That's impossible," Joyanne said, moving to Heero's side and Heero saw something else that was supposedly impossible.

"Kitten, can you see me?"

"Yes," he sang again, his eyes and his ears tracking back to Heero, where he looked at the man through the glass smiling. "Mr. Heero, will you play toys with me?" He held the toy up to the mirror for Heero to see.

"Yes," he replied, and watched the boy hop off the bins, cheering.

"Wait," Joyanne called following him out of the observation room, "You can't question him without his lawyer present."

"I know."

"Don't you think you should tell some one about this? He can see through a two-way mirror!"

"Price will make the necessary calls," he said, sure that the unflappable woman was doing just that.

He entered the room to find Kitten waiting just beyond the door bouncing with energy fueled by eagerness. Dressed in a too large t-shirt and jeans modified to allow his tail to wag freely, and bare feet he looked right at home in the large playroom

"This one's yours," he said pushing the toy into one of Heero's hands while grabbing the other to drag him off to the bin. "Sit," he ordered tugging on Heero's hand.

Heero sat, obediently, watching as Kitten dug through the remaining toys to come up with another action figure and a doll. He pushed the doll into Joyanne's hand, ordering her to sit as well and kept the other action figure for himself. Heero thought it somewhat laughable that he was still taller than the boy sitting down.

"What are we playing Kitten?" Joyanne asked him, holding her doll aloft.

"Rescue. We have to save the princess," he said pointing to Joyanne's doll.

"Where's the bad guy?"

"Oh," he said looking around them for a suitable bad guy. "This one."

He chose a large remote control car that was ugly and would have made an inefficient car in real life in Heero's opinion, with its fins, flags and neon decals. He dropped the car in the middle of them and proceeded to wail away at it with his toy. He stopped long enough to tell Heero that he needed to help too, and Heero joined him hitting the car with his toy although not nearly as enthusiastically as Kitten did, while Joyanne laughed at the both them, but joined the game nonetheless.

"Save me, save me," she said in a high-pitched voice, shaking the doll as if her voice were really coming from it.

Heero couldn't remember ever playing with toys before and wondered if this was the silly way that all kids did it. Nevertheless, he found himself enjoying it, glad to have the playful moment to break up the monotonous feeling of the day. He was also glad that Trowa was not here to make fun of him.

"Commander Yuy, I hope playing with dolls is all you've been doing with my client," a familiar voice said behind him.

"Ms. Rains," he greeted without turning around, "Join us. You can be the car."

"It's already dead," Kitten said in a loud whisper and Joyanne laughed in response.

"I'm not here to play games, Commander," said walking around them to Kitten's side. "I'm here to take this young man back to his Nana."

"She's in jail and withholding information. He's been released into Preventors' custody, namely mine once the branch Director approves it."

"But it hasn't been approved yet and Janet Hughes is still his legal guardian."

"Not if she kidnapped him."

"Nana didn't kidnap me, those men did."

"What men?" Heero asked, now able to ask his questions with Rains there.

"Don't answer that sweetheart," Rains said trying to put a restraining hand on Kitten's head but he easily dodged her, moving closer to Heero.

"The ones from the room." Heero knew instantly which men he spoke of; Pete McCormack and Conner Falls.

"Tell me what happened."

"Nana told me don't take the hat off. That bad people would take me away but it itches!" He reached up to scratch at his ears even though he wasn't wearing the hat and his ears more than likely didn't itch. "They pushed Nana over and took me away. Is Nana okay? Does she hate me?"

"She's fine and she's looking for you," Rains answered, soothingly. "I'm going to take you back to her."

"I don't wanna go with you," Kitten grumped.

"Kitten, have you always had cat-ears?" Heero asked.

"Yep! My Nana says they make me special and that's why I gots to hide them."

"Commander Yuy, that's enough, you're forcing him to implicate his grandmother."

"I'm not doing anything but finding out the truth," he said looking up at the woman from his spot on the floor. "Janet Hughes may very well be an innocent bystander in all of this but she refuses to talk. What he tells me may very well set her free."

"Or she could end up thrown in prison or some penal colony and he'll spend the rest of his life as a lab rat. I'm here to protect him just as much as her."

"I'm not a rat," Kitten said angrily but was ignored.

"That won't happen to him and you know it."

"But she doesn't and I was asked to protect his best interests."

"Giving him back to her isn't in his best interests," he said, then paused as a thought struck him. "She knows. She knows who did this and exactly what was done to him. If she knows something about this-"

"She won't talk. I've already tried to convince her to make a deal."

"Then why are you here?"

"To make sure that he doesn't talk and make things worse. You have no evidence of wrongdoing. The most you can charge her with is accessory to child splicing after the fact. She has no criminal background, she'll walk with probation."

"Not if I charge her with kidnapping."

"They're no grounds for that. We've already established who kidnapped him for the Auction."

"That isn't what I meant," Heero said. He dug into the inside pocket of his coat, removing a picture. He held it up for Kitten to look at. "Kitten, do you know this man?"

"That's my daddy!" He exclaimed ripping the picture from Heero's hand to hug to his chest.

"Who is that?" Rains asked gesturing to the picture. Her face had gone pale and Heero knew that he had something he could use against them.

"Duo Maxwell. He's been missing for over four years now. Kitten, how old are you?"

"Three," he said beaming, the picture still held tightly to his chest.

"I don't think Mrs. Hughes is Duo's type, so how did she end up with his son in her care."

"Maybe she's his mother."

"Duo was an orphan and we checked Kitten's DNA against hers. There's no match."

"That doesn't prove anything," Rains said defiantly. Heero held back a smug expression as he could just imagine Rains watching her entire case fall around her ears.

"Kitten," Heero said turning to the boy again, "Do you know where your father is?"

The boy opened his mouth to speak and Heero held his breath in anticipation.

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