see part 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer
Warning: lots of blood in this
the Furnace, Unshrinking + Part 31
You know, I had to
Just to get my voice back
- Smog "The Well"
Any thoughts of Duo's safety and whereabouts fled at the sight that greeted
him upon his return to the room they'd so recently escaped. The muscle
gripping his arm released him as soon as they were inside, but not before
he grabbed the bandolier of knives from across Quatre's chest. He didn't
protest or struggle but dropped down beside Trowa's sprawled figure, ignoring
the activity of everyone around him. He very consciously blocked out the
pained moans of the man Duo had gutted. He didn't look at the body of
the boy Duo had shot. He kept his eyes on Trowa as he carefully rolled
the Frenchman onto his stomach so that he could see his injury. He didn't
think his lover was conscious, but as his body came to rest, he groaned
softly, and very slowly, long fingers slid along the floor and reached
for Quatre's hand.
The boy gasped softly when he found his fingers clenched in an alarmingly
tight grip. He tore his eyes away from the bloody hole in his lover's
back and watched as Trowa pulled his hand closer to his chest, tugging
him down until he could feel Trowa's faint breaths. He brushed soft auburn
hair away from a pale cheek. "Trowa?"
One dark green eye opened and regarded him without focus. Then recognition
hit and Quatre could see the Frenchman's throat working to speak. "What
the hell are you doing here?" He coughed weakly and Quatre thought he
saw the blood pumping out of the bullet wound spurt a little before slowing
again. It was suddenly very difficult for him to swallow.
"Shit," he managed, pulling his shirt over his head and winding in into
a large bandage. He very gently wrapped it around his lover's middle,
sliding it underneath him and tying it securely. He tugged on the knot
and then flinched when Trowa hissed and then coughed again. The sound
was wet. Trowa looked up at him.
"Pieces of a rib in my lung. It's filling up."
Quatre tried to swallow again and failed. He brushed the hair from Trowa's
forehead again and found his skin cold and clammy.
"Why are you here, Quatre?"
Quatre smiled and laid down beside him, twining their fingers together
again. "I came back for you. I couldn't leave you here."
"Where's Duo? Did he..."
"He got away. He's fine. You saved him."
Trowa regarded him with one cool eye. "You don't lie very well."
Quatre slid closer and kissed him on the mouth, tasted metal on his tongue.
"You shouldn't talk. Show me where else you're hurt and I'll fix you up."
Trowa nodded and gestured toward his leg. Quatre sat up and, after a very
short examination, saw the other bullet wound in Trowa's thigh. Fortunately,
it'd missed the main artery by a healthy distance. It'd mostly just gone
through a little muscle and tissue and then out the other side. Quatre
tore a strip from his t-shirt and bound the wound as gently as he could.
He could see that Trowa's left arm was bright red, angry bruising just
beginning to darken to purple. Duo had dragged Quatre from the room before
he could see what Gael did to Trowa after he'd been shot. The last he'd
seen was Gael moving towards him. By the looks of it, he'd probably stepped
on Trowa's arm... not very gently either. Finally, Trowa's dark red hair
was stained brown and matted against the back of his skull. Quatre touched
his head gently and his fingers came away sticky. The wound hadn't bled
much and wasn't bleeding now, though Trowa was probably a bit concussed.
"Nothing you can fix," he wheezed. "If I don't get to a hospital..."
The tile floor was smeared with too much blood. Quatre had it all over
him now, too. He saw that his lover was afraid. Trowa was afraid that
he was going to die.
The lights flickered and then went out, and the room plunged into complete
darkness. There were no windows and none out in the hall. Voices erupted
in surprise all around them. Gael was suddenly shouting for a flashlight
and Cecile was demanding that someone help her up. Quatre couldn't see
Trowa in front of him and he reached out, searching for him. He found
his lover's hand and squeezed, feeling a faint pressure in return. Fear
thrilled through him. What if someone tried to hurt them while they were
essentially blind? What if someone could see them and they couldn't...
He spun around, looking for any sign of danger, one hand out in front
of him. He felt around blindly until Trowa tugged on his hand again and
he realized that the best he could do for the moment was to shelter his
lover with his body.
They heard a cell phone ringing and then Gael's harsh speech. "All
the security cameras are down from one virus? ...And, of course, you can't
get the power back on..."
Quatre heard Trowa drawing a labored breath as he fought to speak. "They've
come for him."
Quatre didn't need to ask who Trowa was referring to. Cecile had an idea
"They're hunting us," she hissed from some unspecified location to their
"Indeed," Gael murmured, as Quatre heard the phone click shut. "Three
of my employees have been confirmed dead, nearly sliced in half..."
Quatre huddled over Trowa's body, wishing that his eyes would hurry up
and adjust to the darkness, so that he could figure out who was where
and what would happen to them. This would be the ideal time to get away,
disappearing into the dark, just two more shadows. But Trowa couldn't
go anywhere, so Quatre sheltered him with his body, hoping that he'd sense
an attack long enough before it came to be able to protect Trowa in some
way other than just being a human shield. "We have to get Gael out of
here," Quatre whispered. "So that I can get you out of here."
"What about Maxwell?" Cecile asked.
Silence hung heavy for a moment. "He'd dead, shot through the back of
the head. I wish I'd seen it."
Quatre's heart thudded to a halt and then froze to a chunk of ice. He
hung his head and squeezed his eyes shut. He felt Trowa's cold slick fingers
on his face, and knew that he now had blood streaked across his cheeks,
like war paint. He pictured Trowa smiling faintly up at him, sending him
off to battle. He pictured. Heero and Wufei ghosting through the mansion,
silent angels of vengeance and murder. He squeezed Trowa's hand and leaned
down to kiss his salty mouth again.
Then he raised his head. "You'd better find them before they find you...
Finally, a flashlight clicked on and Quatre shielded his eyes from the
bright beam as it came to rest on him. He could only vaguely make out
the shape of his boss, but he could hear the man grinning.
"Right you are, Mr. Winner. If it's me they're after, I'd best go out
to meet them and see if there's anything to be salvaged from all this."
He paused, looking Quatre up and down with a considering eye. "You'd better
stay out of trouble. Mr. Barton's fate is very easy to reproduce. I advise
you to stay put while I take care of this."
He whispered a few words to one of the remaining muscle and then tossed
him the flashlight, heading off into the dark hallway alone. Quatre could
see Cecile watching him, holding her side, and scowling. Quatre looked
down at Trowa, who'd manage to roll onto his side. The Frenchman's eyes
were glazed, his expression distant. He knelt down again by his side and
again, green eyes focused and bloody fingers grabbed for his hand.
"Easy," Quatre murmured. "Don't move."
"Now, Quatre," he whispered. "It has to be now."
"What does, Trowa?"
"You have to finish it. I brought you here, brought him here. I did this
to you... before. When you learned you were sick, when you couldn't work
with us anymore, I begged him to give you more responsibility, so that
you were useful in this family. Otherwise, if you'd... you were too volatile."
"He wouldn't have let you stay here unless you were working and I didn't
want you to be here in the mansion, away from us - we couldn't protect
you here- so I asked him if he would give you a better job. I needed you
to be with us, with me, so I got you the job as a hunter. I made you kill
people. You killed that girl because of me. I did all this to you. I'm
Quatre could barely hear his lover, even leaning down by his ear. "Sshh,"
he soothed. "It's okay."
"And Duo... tell Duo that I didn't give away our secret. It's safe. I
just... Gael wanted to know what was happening in the flat, as a price
for getting you the job. It was the price and I said yes, and so I've
been telling him everything. He thinks he knows it all, but he only knows
that Duo and Wufei are lovers. And that Heero doesn't know they're together
and... I betrayed that trust and..."
Quatre's voice caught in his throat as he ran his palm over Trowa's forehead.
"Duo's dead, Trowa. He's dead. I can't tell him. I left him in the stairwell
Trowa shook his head. "Gael was lying. I know he was."
"That's why you have to finish it, Quatre. I brought you here. And I brought
him here and you have to finish it for me. Find the others and..."
Quatre caught movement behind him and turned to see the muscle with the
flashlight approaching. He looked uneasy, and he was fumbling with something
on his belt. "What are you doing?" Quatre asked sharply. "Stay away from
us." The man continued to approach. Quatre turned his back on Trowa, getting
to his feet. "What do you want?"
"Get out of the way kid. Hurry up."
"Look, I don't want to hurt you, and neither does the boss. Now just get
out of the way." The man had a gun. He was aiming low and to Quatre's
right. He was aiming for Trowa. "That kid screwed up. He tried to hurt
the boss. That shit doesn't fly around here. You know that."
"Back off," Quatre gritted, reaching for throwing daggers that weren't
there. "Get away from us."
"I can't. He told me to do it. Now get out of the way."
Quatre shook his head, balling his hands into fists. "No."
The man hesitated another moment, and the weapon briefly lowered. Quatre
surged forward and the gun came back up, firing in the same instant. Pain
blossomed bright and hot in his right bicep and he staggered. He fainted
to the left as the gun fired again, and then he tackled the man to the
ground, landing heavily on a muscled chest. His knee pressed firmly on
the man's right arm, he heard the gun hit the tiled floor a moment before
he grabbed a hold of his chin and the back of his head and twisted sharply.
The sound of his neck snapping echoed wetly around the room before silence
fell again, Quatre had the gun and flashlight in hand, the beam darting
in a jagged pattern around the room as he searched for anyone remaining.
He quickly found Cecile resting by the door, one arm in the air in surrender,
the other held against her still-bleeding side. He stepped backwards over
Trowa's body and put his back to the wall, again flashing the light around
the room. Two more men that he could see, both afraid.
His breath came in harsh gasps and his heart pounded in his ears, as with
a remarkably steady hand, he pulled the trigger twice more. A flash of
white and he saw Cecile escape through the open door, disappearing into
shadow. The two men slumped to the floor and again, he searched the room.
The man Duo gutted wasn't moving anymore. He'd stopped moaning several
minutes ago, Quatre realized. He'd most likely died, but just to be sure,
he stepped forward and kicked the man onto his back. His hands were still
clutched over his stomach, where Quatre could see guts trying to fall
out. He gagged and quickly looked away, returning to Trowa's side, senses
screaming for any sound that might be a threat, hating the thick darkness
that hung around them like a shroud.
His lover's eyes were closed. "Trowa, wake up." He put down the flashlight
so that the beam shown directly on Trowa's face. He patted the Frenchman's
cheeks lightly, and called his name again. "Come on, Trowa, open your
eyes." He looked around the room again, eyes bouncing over the lumps on
the floor that were four dead men and one dead kid. One of them had to
have a phone. He needed to call an ambulance.
Searching through their pockets made his skin shiver and all the hair
on his arms stand up, but he quickly found what he was looking for. As
he flipped open the phone, he glanced up, startled out of his concentration.
Was that... sirens? Just then he heard voices and the sound of feet on
carpet coming toward them. He had the flashlight off in the next second
and had backed over to where Trowa lay when he heard them in the doorway.
He took a few steadying breaths and raised the gun again, keeping himself
between the men and Trowa. Then four flashlight beams found him and shouts
of "Police! Drop your weapon!" assailed his ears. "Drop it now! Put your
hands behind your head!" He did as he was told, watching as the officers
carefully approached him, weapons trained on his chest.
"Please," he said softly. "You have to help us. He's been shot. So have
I. Please help us." He looked up at the officers standing around him and
put on his best wide-eyed, innocent face. They glanced between each other,
mouths dropping open in surprise.
"... Quatre Winner? Are you Quatre Winner?"
Relief began to flood through him. "Yes, I am."
"You've been missing for almost a year. Have you been here this whole
Now he was weak with it. "Yes. Held against my will. But I'm fine. You
have to help my friend. He's lost a lot of blood."
And then, everything was happening very fast. An officer radioed down
for a stretcher as the rest searched the room and examined the bodies.
Quatre leaned over the body of his lover and found a weak pulse, but he
was still breathing and, after a few more times calling his name, he opened
his eyes and took a shuddering painful breath. He coughed and bright red
blood sprayed from his mouth, some of it getting on Quatre. The fear and
panic were back in his eyes as he tried to breath and found one lung full
"It's okay, Trowa. You'll be okay. We're safe now. There's a stretcher
on the way. I'm not leaving you."
Three paramedics entered the room then, pushing a stretcher ahead of them.
Quatre was gently moved aside as his lover's vital signs were checked
and then he was carefully lifted onto the stretcher. Glazed green eyes
sought him out as they headed for the door and Quatre pushed his way to
his side, gripping icy fingers in one blood-stained hands, grabbing up
his bandolier of knives in the other.
"You have to finish this, mon petite," Trowa mouthed to him. "Finish
it for me."
Quatre jogged with him a few more paces, ready to protest, to say that
he was coming in the ambulance, but he saw that Trowa was utterly serious.
He saw the guilt and suffering that his lover had been weighed down by
for the past months fresh and raw and finally visible, and so he nodded.
"I will. And then I'll find you." He stopped and watched the paramedics
disappear around the corner, leaving him alone with the police.
"Mr. Winner, we'd like to ask you a few questions when we get to the station.
If you'd like to have your lawyer present that's understandable. " Quatre
spun around to see a kind-looking officer with glasses and a bit of a
belly standing in the doorway, pointing a flashlight toward him. His mind
flashed forward to how that would go. His family's lawyers. Would they
know that his sisters had sold him to Gael and his Family? Would he even
be safe meeting with them? His father hadn't died yet. If Quatre were
to suddenly reappear, the future of the Winner fortune would again be
in question. His sisters' plan would have been foiled. They would be ruined.
He could get his life back. He could go home and maybe still go to school
in the fall. Unless...
There were five bodies in that room and a gun with his fingerprints on
it. The men he'd killed... his lawyers could certainly get him off on
self-defense, but he wasn't sure he could even talk to the Winner's lawyers.
"I, um. I have to..." He looked over his shoulder down the dark corridor.
The weight of his knives was familiar and comforting against his body.
At least two of his friends were somewhere in the building, dealing death
with glinting blades. He hoped for three. He hoped Gael had lied about
Duo, though why he would about something like that was unclear. And he'd
promised Trowa... "There's something I have to..."
The officer blinked and the boy was gone.
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