|The Ghost of Me
Author: falconwingdiving PM
RE-WRITE. Trowa is the unamed hero. His past hidden from everybody. Harry is a boy that once was a hero. Now there is only Trowa who must find his way in a world that he left behind and he'll be damned if he'll play the same games. Includes slash/dark th.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Angst - Hannah A. & Trowa B./No-Name - Chapters: 2 - Words: 12,502 - Reviews: 20 - Favs: 84 - Follows: 110 - Updated: 08-13-11 - Published: 12-16-09 - id: 5584949
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Authors note: This has been completely re-written so many things are different. This chapter used to only be seven pages it's now 11 so there's a vast difference. I hope you like the change in the characters and writing style!
The Ghost of Me
Chapter 1: Subtle Grievances
Trowa tried to forget the screams, the begging for mercy. Sitting in the back of the taxi, the worn leather seats cool against his skin, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Immediately he wished he hadn't; he could smell the stale tobacco that the driver must smoke when he didn't have a passenger. Instead he sighed. He thought it was the safer of two options. Trowa hated tobacco. Hated the smell and the taste; having tried it only once he had forsworn ever doing it again. What was the point in killing yourself in such a menial way when you could die doing something worthwhile?
Shifting, his back aching from the uncomfortable seat, he wondered how much longer the ride was going to be. He wasn't patient with menial things. He hated taxis. The drivers always went the longer route to get more money. Prats, the lot of them. Staring through the fogged up window – must be a condensation problem – he looked for a familiar building.
There it was. It was right on the corner, taking up the same amount of space as an entire block, twenty floors and grounds large enough to have three football pitches. Trowa thought of it as an eyesore, but the public saw it as a beacon of hope. The walls were nothing but glass, reflecting the sun when it was up, whilst at night reflecting a myriad of colours from the lights of cars, houses and streetlights.
Armed soldiers who would often salute Trowa when he entered were coming to meet him as the taxi stopped and he paid manned imposing gates. They thought he was a tourist. Wanting to see the famous preventor building. The beacon of hope. Trowa could see the determination and jaded look of each guard. After paying the driver an extortionate amount of money – he was sure he had been ripped off, but was too tired to care – he got out, shutting the door with a resonant click. Maybe the driver would realize how annoyed Trowa, was but it didn't seem to be like that. Instead the driver stared at the guards, put the car into reverse and made sure to get away quickly. The guards saluted and Trowa was led to the main door.
Each door had electrical pass codes, which were always followed by security gates. It was not an easy building to get into, and that was exactly the point. It was tiresome, but after having gone through the routine so many times, it was a habit. He didn't even have to think about what he was doing. The security was important though. This building was the epicentre of nearly every scuffle, war and peace keeping mission. It was a beacon of hope to the people and a symbol of defiance to any who wanted to conquer the new order. New experiments were constantly being tested, new weapons designed. There were no concerns about ethics or morals. The more damage, the more pain a weapon could inflict on a person, the better. It was the cutting edge in warfare and the soldiers were the best. You were not considered a true soldier until you had killed three people without being found out. Before then you were just a grunt. Many of the staff were soldiers, and "kill or be killed" was their motto. Trowa walked through the winding corridors, not noticing how they twisted this way and that. If you did not know your way it would be easy to end up in the wrong place, as was the idea. No door was marked, no floor any different from the other. There was no way to tell an office from a closet and a closet from a shooting range. It was perfectly designed. Trowa couldn't have designed it better himself.
"Oi, don't you soldiers know how to wipe your feet on the rug?" the cleaner exclaimed angrily as ex-Gundam pilot and soldier Trowa Barton walked through the shining corridors with mud caked boots. He could see the old man's face turn an interesting shade of puce, his hands gripping the wooden handle of his mop. It was old fashioned and well used if the dents from where a range of hands had held it were accurate. It didn't matter to Trowa, who waved his hand in apology and continued on, his footsteps even and steady. It didn't matter to Trowa that the cleaner was angry. Trowa did not care about the opinions of others. You could only rely on yourself. During battles, he would listen to Heero, the one with the most experience, but he did not listen to others when they would throw an angry tirade at him. He was used to it from long ago. Protocol was the only thing that mattered to Trowa, so that while he did not care if a commander shouted and screamed at him, he would have to listen and salute sharply, asking for forgiveness as he did so.
All he wanted to do was get to his office, shut the grey metal door behind him, and relax on the chair behind his desk while swinging precariously back. That would calm his mind before having to explain the situation of the mission to Lady Une. A debriefing that, though a little tedious, was a protocol everyone must follow. It was for legal reasons, she had once told him when he had asked what was the point, and didn't she trust him. Legality even had a hand in war. Everything must be up to code, which was why all soldiers had so much paperwork to do. His own pile leaned hazardously to the right; paperwork was not his forte. Having to word it right to make it seem as if he had a good reason to torture a suspect. Not a talent that he possessed. Trowa was better at doing, not writing.
He also wanted to see Quatre for a bit. He knew that the boy would be anxiously muttering about Trowa not telling him about the mission or some rot about not leaving without a goodbye and a kiss. Trowa felt a tiny stirring of irritation just at the thought of the confrontation. Confrontation was not Trowa's idea of fun, nor was it interesting or useful. Quatre seemed to think otherwise.
On the same note, Trowa also knew that Heero would want a quiet word with him. He could just envision Heero's face, the pensive look, annoyance clear in the way he would raise his eyebrow. He would then quietly ask why Trowa had left him once again to deal with Quatre and his seemingly childish abandonment issues. Heero was not good with emotions; Trowa knew that, just like he knew Duo when he popped in would mutter about a lovers tiff or something moronic. Things seemed tedious and repetitive. Maybe he should pre-record his answers, and then he wouldn't have to sit there like the guilty party.
"Trowa!" As if beckoned just by thinking of him, a smaller male came from around the corner. His shirt tucked perfectly into trousers that had been pressed just right, a waistcoat buttoned just so and caramel-coloured hair brushed to perfection. It was darkening from its once white-blonde colour.
"So you finally returned, then?" Quatre said, his mouth pressed tightly together, eyes demanding an answer. Why he was so irate, Trowa didn't know. In fact, Trowa didn't know much about how their relationship worked, or what the dynamics were. It wasn't that he didn't want to be in a relationship; he did. It was just that Trowa sometimes felt like a punching bag for Quatre's own abandonment issues; or so it seemed to Trowa. He loved Quatre; there was no doubt about that. They had been through life and death situations and the bond that they gained through that made this much more then a silly romance. It was unbreakable to an extent, but that didn't mean he knew what was going on or how he should act.
"Yes, Quatre, I'm back," Trowa responded, and that was all that was said. Quatre sighed, biting his lip in frustration, and did not look towards the other as he nodded in response. Quatre could feel Trowa's need to unwind; this was something Trowa knew from experience. It was just that Quatre did not like the fact that Trowa would never talk about it with him. That form of familiarity Trowa would not allow him, and though Quatre knew it, he didn't like it. Quatre didn't mind it with the others; he understood their need, but he had thought that becoming Trowa's partner would allow him that small lenience in anti-social behaviour. Trowa never complied. Walking towards his office, Trowa just allowed the awareness of walking beside the other boy to overwhelm his senses, which were still on high alert. For the past week he had been ready to kill, to hurt, to get information and now he didn't need to. For this moment, it was no death on his mind, but the chance to relax in the company of those who expected nothing murderous from him.
"Penny for your thoughts," Quatre said softly, smiling every so slightly up at Trowa. That small incline at that corner of his lips had bewitched Trowa; it had turned him from the merciless beast, ready to roar and fight for survival at the last second, to a lion that would jump through hoops for the ringmaster.
A twisted, crooked smile appeared in response. One edge of his lips was inclined only slightly, his eyes looking straight out, his eyebrows staying in the same position. There was no comfort in that smile, instead it hinted at a bitter past. A past that had made Trowa unable to smile widely. No smile reached his eyes; there was no twinkle presence, no sign of mischievousness. That innocence had been lost when he was a child. The incline quickly dropped, his thin lips once more a straight line and his face too sombre to be considered friendly to look at.
Quatre shook his head, his hair falling into his eyes that were almond in shape, though the left was slightly wider then the right. Trowa loved the difference as perfection was overrated and he had grown abhorrence for perfection. Acceptance in the need for a perfect strategy, maybe, but no one should be forced to be perfect.
"Shutting down," he responded. It was a weird saying, something not just anyone would understand. Quatre shook his head, rolled his eyes and chuckled under his breath.
At first it had been a joke between Duo and Heero, a saying Duo's. Maybe it was to make it seem that Heero was no better than him, and that there was a reason why he was first-class at being a soldier. Duo had made it seem as if Heero were a computer, with a need for everything to be catalogued, programmed. Duo had stated that Heero would shut down after a mission to reboot his system. It was just a joke, something Duo said in annoyance when Heero once again brushed him off. When Trowa had done the same thing, Duo had said the same thing. From then they all used it to tell others to leave them alone. Let them deal with the memories by themselves. It was useful and Trowa used it with Quatre often. It would make Quatre back off for a little while, letting Trowa refresh and relax, his mind becoming calm once more, Ready for the next battle, the next war. A war that might be their last, yet they were still children.
Between them, Heero and Trowa were the only ones nearing adulthood. Their faces still had that boyish roundness, their figures, though trained to perfection, still had the awkwardness of going from a boy to a man. Long limbs, bony wrists, and jaws just starting to harden at the edges. Many people could not fathom how children could have a darkness in their eyes, have the steady aim and steely gaze of a killer as they stared down the barrel of a gun, shooting calmly, knowing that they could die as well. Kill or be killed, that was the way of the soldiers. It could turn even the most hardened warrior to a whimpering toddler, and the boys were no different. The thought that maybe this next war could kill them often became too much, each mission bringing them closer to the grim reaper's scythe and each time they came back, their minds cracked a little bit more under the pressure. They needed to shut down their minds, allowing their system to reboot. The saying was quite true.
Trowa looked up, as Quatre said nothing. The corridor they were in was just like all the others except for small differences. In the far left corner was a little scuffmark; on the opposite side at the top just near the ceiling was a pencil mark. This was his corridor, the corridor that led to his office as well as Quatre's. Turning sharply, the just-polished floor slippery, he faced a plain murky grey door. There was no name, just a number; 746. It did not coincide with the floor or number of doors, nor did it match the door next to it, which sported the number 835. Everything was random, the perfect way for a spy to get lost and information to remain secret.
He opened the door, the handle cool under his sweating hand, and walked in, the only light being from the setting sun outside. Flicking the light switch on, the hum of the phosphorescent light sounding enjoyable and comforting to Trowa, he allowed Quatre to enter. He shut the door behind them. The click of the door shutting seemed to be sign to Quatre, who wrapped strong arms around Trowa's waist. Quatre seemed to be a hugger. That was the only way for Trowa to explain it. Trowa often humoured him, though he would rather sit side by side and talk.
"I missed you. Why don't you ever tell me when you're leaving?" Quatre asked into Trowa's chest. Trowa stared out of the window, his own arms wrapped loosely around Quatre. There was a very good reason why he never said goodbye. He just didn't know how, and Trowa was sure he didn't really want to.
"I won't say goodbye Quatre. There won't be any tears, and if anything happens..." here he stopped. He didn't need to say it. They all knew that they would probably not live to see their twenty-first birthdays. Their life expectancy was short. They would either die in battle or by their own guns. It was a common thought running through every soldier in the Preventors.
"Look at them. It's like a movie, the hero coming back from a battle scarred and bleeding. I should film it." The sarcasm was clear in the American accent. Trowa sighed in both relief and embarrassment. He was relieved because the hugging would be broken, as would the awkwardness building up within him. How did you comfort somebody? He was embarrassed and annoyed with how Duo once again mocked their relationship. Trowa knew that he didn't mean any harm, and it was just how he was, but it didn't help that he was already embarrassed about being in a relationship. Also as the other partner was a man.
Although the earth was more tolerant towards gay couples, Trowa had been in many army camps. Being gay was an insult to their masculine views. To be gay meant that you were no longer masculine, no longer strong, no longer a man. As he looked at Duo who smiled widely, he wondered if that was how all of the soldiers saw him, no longer a man, a pouf. Was he something they laughed at when drinking and playing poker? It was a stupid thought, unfounded, as he knew many of the men feared him and his 'dark gaze of murder' as he had heard one trainee once say. However it was still there, festering in the back of his mind, building momentum and strength every time he fell for Quatre's pleading, and when Duo would once more innocently mock them. Was he weak to be in love? Was this what love was?
Pulling back from Quatre he walked over to the metal desk that was chaotic in an organized way. The computer was centre with the precariously leaning pile of papers to the side. The other side had cuttings, pens, pencils and anything else he could think of strewn about to confuse an innocent onlooker whilst making it difficult for a spy trying to find information. Also, Trowa hated cleaning his desk. It was too monotonous, too boring, and the boring grey colour reminded him of people who thought perfection was tidiness. Turning on the computer and hearing it hum, he thought about what he needed to write. A report was needed for Lady Une. Best to get it over and done with now. That way he wouldn't have to think about it later. Quatre could wait a few minutes. Duo had brought Trowa back to the present, making him think about what needed to be done; besides, if he didn't write the report today, he would have to write it tomorrow on top of the endless pile of paperwork. He really hated theory.
"So you stopped just because of me? I could have joined in if that would have made you feel better." Duo winked, flipping his plait over his shoulder. Quatre just smiled, a slight blush appearing on his cheeks. Trowa watched calmly, beyond blushing at the mention of sex or any form of innuendo, Quatre blushed at swear words. It was at times like these or something similar that showed Trowa how young Quatre still was mentally and physically. Trowa, Heero, Wufei, and even Duo had been forced to grow up quickly, their childhood lost because of an important cause, but Quatre never had that happen to him. Others had always protected him. Trowa still didn't know whether that was a good thing or not.
"If you had joined in, not even Lady Une could have protected you," Trowa stated as he typed on his computer's keyboard. It was possession. Quatre was his and he liked that. If others touched Quatre, it would taint him, make Trowa feel not as special as he felt now. Quatre had chosen him to be his first, and Trowa would make sure that he would be Quatre's last. Duo was not allowed to touch Quatre any other way then that of a friend; if he did, it would mean that Trowa had lost his hold of Quatre, the power of being the one in charge.
"I suppose I can go and annoy Wufei," Duo stated with the same smirk on his lips as Trowa rolled his eyes and leaned back in his chair, staring straight at the other boy.
"Duo what do you want? I don't have time for your games," Trowa said, sighing slightly as he spoke. It was often a chore getting a straight answer out of Duo, which was why he usually left him to Heero. Heero put the fear of God himself in Duo.
"You are never any fun, Trowa. Well, the lady herself wants to talk to you." Duo bowed motioning to the door, his back bent, arm over his waist. It was an obnoxious move, one that caused Trowa to roll his eyes in annoyance and tedium. Quatre was smiling behind his hand. Trowa was sure that Quatre was a bad influence on Duo, because it almost seemed that Duo was obnoxious just to make Quatre smile. Trowa thought Quatre should stop encouraging him.
Trowa clicked the button on his mouse. He had only written one line but that was often the hardest part of any piece of writing, so he saved it. Not saying anything to Quatre, who was laughing as Duo danced around, Trowa stood and walked out of the office, shutting the door behind him.
He was sure that Quatre would be despairing over Trowa's attitude. It had often been said on nights when he and Quatre would sit and drink a glass of wine over a meal while Quatre would ask him questions. They would always be leading, trying to find out something about Trowa. He never answered and preferred instead turning the conversation back to Quatre or some nonsensical drivel. Quatre would often bemoan that he knew nothing, that Trowa was an enigma. Trowa would often shrug and turn away. It was clear that Quatre was fed up, and Trowa had often heard him talking about it with Duo, explaining how even Heero was not even an oddity. It was annoying that Duo knew about Quatre's grievances with Trowa. Those should be private. Trowa always claimed amnesia, that he couldn't remember being anyone other than no name. It was the safest option, the safest strategy, and Trowa was happy to die with the secret still buried.
Letting his footsteps echo, he tried to make his mind go silent. Recently it had been constantly spinning, his memories resurfacing, old habits coming back. It was an annoyance and a danger. To be lost in your thoughts could mean that someone might be sneaking up on you. Everything was a strategy, even keeping things about his personal life a secret from everybody. That included Heero and Quatre. It couldn't be used against him when he went to the other side. When he became the enemy, the spy. Information couldn't be tortured out of the others. He had to protect his own neck first before anybody else.
Walking through the building, he thought about Quatre and the sigh he had heard. Reaching the lift, he pressed the button, the doors opening with a ding that echoed in the empty corridor, and he entered, pressed the top button and waited before being transported to the upper levels.
In the upper level corridor lined with portraits of preventor leaders, Trowa walked until he could see the imposing black door that was of stark contrast against the white walls. They had once considered a more neutral colour, plum or a caramel brown, but Lady Une had foregone any arguments and made the walls white. That way, no one could say they did not like the colour.
Her office was one among other important figures. The pilots had been offered a position in this corridor; they had been offered titles and medals, which, respectfully, they had declined. They were not meant for paper pushing moreso then they did already, instead preferring to be out in the field. Squaring his shoulders he raised his hand, knocking on the door sharply. Just one rap of his knuckles, no more then that.
"Enter," was the stern reply from behind the door. Straightening his back, he walked in, shutting the door behind him. Saluting the woman sharply, he stood with his hand to his head waiting to be noticed, as was propriety. She waved her hand in response, a bemused smile on her usually stern face.
"Barton, you know that saluting is not necessary," she said, but she gave a resigned sigh as Trowa sat down gracefully in the chair in front of her desk. She said the same thing every time he came to her office, but he never changed his actions. She was his superior and was to be treated as such.
With a face aging quickly from stress, it was often difficult to determine how old Lady Une was. She was not old, which was made certain by her hair, which was not greying, but it was clear she was no spring chicken either. Stern, a stickler for the rules and dominating: that was why Lady Une had every important figure from the last war under her control. Many cowered before her under her steely gaze, knowing instantly that she was in charge. Power often attracted more power.
Having once worked for Treize, she had been feared even more so then she was now, just by the people instead of the enemy. Treize had wanted complete control of everything, including people's lives, their spirits, and their freedom. She had been crue,l brimming with resentment, though over time she had changed, learning that Treize was not a man to be followed blindly. She realized that the people needed to be protected by those who were strong enough to do it, which was why she had started the Ppreventors.
"Status?" she asked, understanding the need for formality.
"Target found and destroyed," he replied, his tone monotonous as usual when addressing Une.
"Good. What about the other one? What did you find out?"
"He was also disposed of. The target was planning to overthrow the Preventor building so there would be no resistance. After the Preventor building had fallen, he would then kill the president and become leader of the World Alliance. When the time was right, he would then set his sights to taking over the colonies and becoming the ultimate ruler."
"The rebellion was squashed, yes? Nobody else to take over his plot?" Lady Une was shaken. Her tone of voice was not level. It was reminiscence of Treize and of the war they had just survived. Nobody wanted to return to times like those.
"Yes ma'am. All rebellion was squashed and anyone who resisted taken care of," Trowa responded. Staring straight at Lady Une, he tried to focus on her and not on what he had done...
There had been children with the soldiers; there had been wives and daughters, sons and brothers. He had killed them all. He had been silent, using the night to hide him. They had all been sleeping, the children cuddling their soft toys, feeling safe with their parents. Trowa had killed them first; children were a remarkable bargaining tool, yet also they could be a hindrance. They could get in his way, could cause him to hesitate. They had to die. After that, the men would become bitter, all rational thought lost, and it would be his victory. Nothing else had entered his mind as he had silently killed each child. It had been quick, a shot to the head so they would feel no pain. He allowed them that small mercy. The last child had woken up and screamed, alerting the adults to his presence before Trowa swiftly shot him down. The blue eyes still shone in his mind. The battle had been fierce but the enemy had been too emotional to truly think up a good strategy. There had been no challenge; with enough skill, most of the men had killed their own side thinking they were hitting him. When the rebellion had been squashed, he had allowed himself a small respite, the silence ghostly. It was a battle though, and emotions were not rational. Saying a small prayer for the children, he had turned his back before returning home.
"Well done Trowa. I'm glad that you were available to take the mission. Dismissed." Trowa knew the first part had been a lie. She had originally wanted Heero to go. The perfect soldier for a mission involving the death of children. A circus clown was not the first one to jump to mind. Heero had been sent on another mission and Lady Une had had to settle, so Trowa had been chosen, being the only other that she could rely on. If he could not have gone, she would have waited for one of them to return. To kill children needed all emotions to be shut off. Heero did that naturally, and Trowa with some effort.
He saluted sharply before walking out of the room. Allowing the door to click sharply behind him, he sighed. He wanted to go home, go to bed, and sleep. Exhaustion had settled on his bones, and his eyes were suddenly feeling heavy as he pulled a hand through his hair. He stopped the action sharply. It was a habit he had not indulged in for such a long time. He had almost forgotten that he had had that habit. Maybe he was overworked, but he'd noticed recently that old habits were resurfacing. Habits were dangerous, so he would have to make sure he didn't do it again. Taking a deep breath, he started to walk back to his office, forgoing the lift for the stairs. More exercise meant he would be more exhausted and would sleep better.
"Well, how did it go?" Quatre asked as soon as Trowa had re-entered the office and shut the door.
Quatre frowned. Lately, Trowa had become withdrawn and secretive. Quatre didn't know what Trowa was thinking or feeling because Trowa wouldn't let him in, pushing him away when he tried to care, when he tried to ask. Thinking that music would cheer Trowa up, he would get out his violin and lovingly stroke the strings with his bow, hoping that the sound would bring Trowa out of his stupor. It never worked. Trowa never went to his glistening flute placed lovingly on a stand in a glass cabinet, he never once stopped and listened, his foot tapping against the floor a small smile on his lips.
Quatre didn't know how to get through to him. Once he had thought that confrontation would be the best plan, and yet when he had asked, Trowa had said nothing. Instead he would distract Quatre, kissing him soundly, fingers causing all thoughts to fly from his mind, and the only thing that mattered was that Trowa continued. It would only be when Trowa left the room straightening his clothes that Quatre would realize the other had once more manipulated him.
He would be fuming, stalking outside to find Trowa talking on the phone to Heero. Angry, jealous and wanting to know what was going on, Quatre had contacted Heero, who had stated bluntly that the issues between the two were of no concern of his, and that Trowa's secrets would remain his. Quatre knew that Heero didn't even know what was going on. It caused him to lose sleep, tossing and turning, trying to figure out what would cause Trowa to withdraw from him. He hated not knowing things.
"I would ask what's wrong but I know you won't tell me." Quatre shrugged indifferently. He was hiding his annoyance about the situation. Trowa nodded, kissed him softly on the lips, and stretched heavenwards. Quatre sighed as Trowa grabbed his brown leather jacket and slipped it on. Once more, he neglected to answer the question.
"How about we go home?" Trowa said, pulling the car keys out of his breast pocket. Quatre nodded, pulling on his own black duffle coat, making sure all buttons were fastened and his hood straightened just so. Trowa played with the keys as Quatre once more took his time to make sure he looked tidy.
Once again he had submitted to Quatre, allowed Quatre to have his way. He longed to go home alone. He longed to have that feeling of freedom, as he would ride home on his motorbike, mocking the cars coming the opposite way, the wind in his face and playing with his hair. Quatre hated motorbikes. Stating that they were dangerous and that he would never ride one, he had folded his arms over his chest and adamantly fought every step of the way as Trowa tried to make Quatre ride with him. He had known it would only be a matter of time before Quatre once more used his money to get his own way. Arriving home one day, his insides had tensed as he'd seen the soot-coloured Porsche on the drive. It was brand-new, no scratches and no stains from rain or pollution. The wheels had no tread to them showing that the car had not even been driven here. Trowa had never been able to say no to a gift, so with a heavy heart and a feeling of having been manipulated once more, he had taken the keys. The car was too confining, too flashy, too expensive, and just too perfect. It was Quatre, through and through. Trowa hated it.
Reaching the car, Quatre surreptitiously watched Trowa. He knew that the boy hated the car, knew that he longed to ride the death-trap, but Quatre had been adamant. He had visions of getting a phone call informing him that Trowa had been in an accident. Maybe it was selfish, but Quatre would not allow that to happen, and so he had brought him this car. Maybe it was too flashy, but Quatre had been brought up to have the best of everything, and this car was the best.
Trowa hated Quatre's need for flashiness, but Quatre would not change; why should he settle for less when he didn't have to? He would not allow Trowa to drive something like a Ford or a Renault. That would look bad on him, and maybe it was vain, but Quatre didn't care.
Sliding into the car, stroking the leather seats, he looked over at the driver's side. Trowa's seat was starting to wear away from where he kept his wallet in his back pocket. It was a habit that Quatre had also tried to squash, but Trowa had been adamant. He would not start carrying a bag. It would be detrimental if the enemy caught them out. He was so paranoid, but he was Trowa, and had accepted the car, so Quatre had let him off. He was still planning on buying him some trousers with no back pockets, though.
"Penny for your thoughts," Trowa stated as he slipped in, shutting the door behind him with a loud slam. Quatre winced. Such a car needed to be treated with tenderness, not heavy-handedness.
"Nothing. Just wondering what we shall be having for dinner," Quatre responded. Trowa said nothing as he turned the keys in the engine. Quatre smiled as the car purred.
Trowa drove through the wet streets, the cars lights reflecting a myriad of colours on the road. The car was quiet, the radio playing some popular song from a singer that was the superstar of the moment; Trowa had no idea who the singer was. He liked classical music, liked the sound of violins chasing a cello and the flutes. From any good orchestra, one could get the sense of scenery and feeling. Popular songs didn't do that. Still, Quatre liked listening to the radio, and out of the corner of his eye, Trowa saw Quatre tapping his fingers to the beat and humming along. They were so different from each other. Turning his focus back to the road, he turned the lights on brighter. Trowa thought about his living conditions. He now lived with Quatre.
To begin with, it was because he hadn't a penny to his false name. There was no way for him to afford an apartment, and in the circus he had always been on the move. When it had come time to settle down, to work in the Preventors, he had started looking. Apartments were expensive, and without any formal documents, no one would allow him a mortgage or allow him to rent. Quatre had offered him the spare bedroom, and Trowa, wanting to protect his new relationship and make sure that Quatre didn't change his mind, had agreed. He had settled. Now, though, he wished he had allowed Heero to invent an identity for him, wished he had ignored his longing for a home and a loving family, that he had gone on his own. His freedom was gone, every waking hour concerned with keeping Quatre happy. He wasn't even allowed to cook for himself.
Turning into the street that the entrance gates of the manor were on, he allowed his thoughts to quieten. He longed to get home, lie on the couch, and rest. He wanted his tense muscles to relax and his mind to be soothed by a heavy dose of alcohol, the only vice he allowed himself. He pressed a button on the keys hanging from the engine and the large Gothic-style gates opened inwards, the cameras moving automatically to catch sight of the intruders. Driving through the entrance, the gates shut close behind, clanging together, the golden designs glistening slightly in the moonlight and rain.
The drive to the house was only a minute, ten if one was walking. It had been built hundreds of years ago, when there was no need for humility. In those days, it had been important to show the commoners who was rich, but now Trowa felt oddly embarrassed about living here. He was not of the pure blood to live here. Never had been. It was annoying when Quatre would bemoan that the trees had not been trimmed just right or that he was not allowed to use as much water for his daily baths because of the water shortage. Maybe that's how people became when they had nothing to worry about. He knew others like that.
Pulling up to the house, he stopped the engine and just sat there. His hands slid over the steering wheel just for the moment. Taking a deep breath of leather and strong cologne, he closed his eyes. He was home. His muscles started to relax, his mind started to calm, and the screams started to fade.
"Trowa?" Quatre placed a hand on his. Quatre's pale hand contrasted with Trowa's tanned one. He had small hands, almost like a child's, but it was something that Trowa liked about him.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Quatre asked one final time, hoping that when Trowa was relaxing he would let something slip.
"I'm fine. Lets go in." Trowa lifted Quatre's hand to his lips and kissed it softly before stepping out of the car. Quatre allowed his hand to drop to the leather seat, which was warm under his hand.
Taking a steadying, breath Quatre got out the car, jumping slightly at the sound of the car locking. There was no need to lock it. Quatre knew that no one could get on the premises, yet Trowa would often lock the car, stating that one never knew what might happen. It was a quirk of his that Quatre often humoured.
Entering the house, the marbled floor shining from being cleaned recently, Trowa and Quatre removed their shoes, putting on the auburn slippers that Trowa hated and Quatre had lovingly bought for both of them. Trowa wanted to walk around in his shoes or socks, but Quatre said that showed bad upbringing. Stepping up into the hall, the marbled floor continuing through, the lighting soft and inviting, James the butler stepped forward, his black suit pressed, his white gloves still fresh and pure, black hair stylishly brushed back.
"Dinner will be ready soon," he said as he bowed, his tone deferential. Quatre dismissed him with thanks as Trowa walked into the lounge.
Marbled floors gave way to lush blue carpets. The furniture was the colour of a frosty morning and comfortable. Trowa loved to throw himself onto the couch and let himself sink into his dreams when Quatre wasn't there to see him allow himself that small form of immaturity. Trowa sat himself down, his head leaning back almost automatically as his eyes closed. The sofa seemed to mould to his shape as he sat there, his arms spread and shoulders aching as they were pulled at uncomfortable angles.
Sitting there he allowed himself to forget, allowed himself that small amount of respite as the large grandfather clock standing in the corner of the room comforted him with its deep ticking. The sound of the staff rushing around in the kitchen lulled him into a sense of security. No screams, no begging and no pleading. He could make himself believe that it was another lifetime; another person who had killed those people, and he once more filed away the memories. Filed them into a place where they would not bother him. Where they would not cause him problems later on.
Quatre had stood in the doorway watching as Trowa stretched out his long legs that were sheathed in the tight green trousers of the Preventor's uniform, his feet slipping from his slippers. Quatre watched as Trowa's arms tensed, the fine muscles bulging under the khaki sleeves of his shirt. Trowa was gorgeous. It had started to hit him lately. Trowa was becoming more of a man, an adult, whilst Quatre still looked like the child he was. Stepping forward, Quatre noticed the stubble starting to appear on Trowa's chin, though Quatre knew Trowa shaved closely every morning. He eyed the hard jaw line and the pronounced Adam's apple working as he swallowed. Trowa was becoming further out of reach as he aged, and Quatre often felt he was racing to catch up.
He sat down next to Trowa. Noting the way his eyes raced behind closed eyelids, he placed his head on Trowa's shoulder. Maybe it would distract him from his thoughts. Without opening his eyes, Trowa wrapped an arm around Quatre, the fingers scarred and burned from making bombs. Quatre knew this; he knew that Trowa also had no fingerprints, having shaved them off repeatedly every three months. It was to keep him undetectable. He wouldn't exist; Trowa was often blasé about it. Quatre couldn't imagine putting oneself through such pain.
Quatre allowed the ticking sound and Trowa's heartbeat to soothe him. He closed his eyes. Just a couple of minutes sleep. He was sure it wouldn't hurt. A sharp trill rang through the room. Trowa's eyes were instantly open, his free hand instantly reaching down to his pocket to pull out the mobile phone that he always kept on him. It was a private number one that only Quatre and the others knew. They all had private phones; it was their form of private contact, away from prying ears. Pressing the answer button on the sleek touch screen covered in marks and scratches, he placed the phone to his ear.
"Get your arse here Trowa. Duo has been taken down already," Heero's voice was calm on the other end, though his breathing was laboured. Almost pained. Heero said nothing more and hung up. Probably to deal with the enemy.
"What's wrong?" Quatre was concerned, eyebrows low and lips pursed.
"There's an enemy at headquarters. Duo has been taken down already," Trowa had already stood up, pulled his belt tighter on his trousers, and walked out to the entrance hall. Quatre followed him.
"How would that happen?" Quatre asked as he slipped on his shined shoes.
"I don't know. Heero didn't have enough time to tell me. I just know that even Heero is concerned." Trowa grabbed his shoes slipping them on and tying the laces.
He slipped on his leather jacket. The days were getting bitterly cold, with a cruel wind blowing through the area. Zipping it, he stepped out of the house, Quatre following as he buttoned up his own coat. His weapons were in the boot of his car. He had slung them there when he had come back from the mission. Going there now, because it would cause him to lose time later, he unlocked the boot and opened it. There, the black sports bag sat innocently. Opening it he took one look at the weapons and knew which ones he could use and couldn't. The knives still had the blood of the men he had killed earlier. He pulled out some pistols and checked the chambers. They were heavy in his hand, the grey dull in the fading light. The chambers were full, he had changed them earlier. Placing one in the back of his trousers, he took another and handed it to Quatre, the grey contrasting against his pale skin. It seemed too big for Quatre's hand; it was almost comical. Quatre was solemn as he checked his own cartridge and then, holding it loosely, moved the passenger's side of the car before slipping in. Nothing was said. It didn't need to be.
They arrived at headquarters in a short amount of time, with Trowa using the car like he would a motorbike. He noticed the large amount of soldiers milling around, their uniforms of black, white and khaki making a form of camouflage. Pulling to a stop, he stepped out of the car, Quatre following, and heard the anthrax alarm screeching through the quiet neighbourhood. The public had turned up at the gates, their eager faces interested and wondering what was happening. Camera phones were held up trying to capture an important moment to sell to the press. Money was hard to come by at the moment, what with the world ravaged by war.
"Status," Trowa barked to a young grunt whose black uniform shone in the harsh floodlights.
"Half an hour ago security caught sight of a stranger in the lower depths of the building. When confronted, the cameras suddenly went crazy and when they resumed working, all of the guards were taken down. Level 2 soldiers went to sort him out, and the same thing happened. Pilot general Yuy and Maxwell were finishing on the training field and decided to investigate, calling Pilot general Chang to help them out. Soon after, the anthrax alarm went off and we evacuated. We haven't heard anything since." The grunt saluted him after he finished speaking, his brown hair shaggy, though soon to be shaved off. By the epithets on his shoulders it would soon be time for him to be upgraded to level 2.
Trowa grabbed some more weapons. One of the nearby soldiers, level five by the look of the white uniform with no epithets, had an automatic rifle, freshly cleaned and best in a battle should he need to kill from a distance. Ignoring the looks from the other soldiers and the flashing of cameras as people recognized one of the pilots from the war and Quatre Winner the billionaire, he pulled the safety off, feeling the click as a bullet entered into the main chamber. The gun was loaded and ready. It would kill soon. There was no doubt about it. No stranger would be allowed to survive after taking down so many soldiers.
The entered the building stealthily, the anthrax alarm covering any sounds they would make, and Trowa looked around for any signs of disturbance. He noted that his muddy footprints had been cleaned from earlier; he also saw that there were no other footprints. The alarm suddenly stopped. The silence seemed to roar in his ears. There was nothing for them to hear except their own breathing, and Trowa tried to slow his as they entered the lower depths. The staircase was charcoal grey, the only lighting a dull bulb letting off an orange yellow glow. There was no other light and the concrete stairs were steep. Their footsteps were unintentionally loud in the silence and Trowa motioned for them to stop. Was there any other sound? It was just a whisper. Easy to miss if he wasn't trying his hardest to hear it. The sound of papers rustling. The stranger was in the vaults.
The vaults were the part of the building off-limits to anyone apart from the pilots and Lady Une. Yellowing metal filing cases stood in long aisles and corridors, holding details about every war, every staff member, every weapon designed and everything that the Preventors knew. The information was dangerous, and in the wrong hands could bring destruction to the world. Even the pilots' information was in the cases, in brown paper folders with only their names to show any importance or any difference from the others surrounding them. The rustling continued. The stranger was looking through the files trying to find some information.
Other than that, there was no other sound. It worried Trowa. That would mean that the pilots had not won, that they had been taken down as well. He stepped down once more as he thought about the consequences. This meant the stranger was powerful, dangerous, and Trowa allowed a predatory grin onto his face. Finally, a challenge.
Reaching the plain wooden door, Trowa softly touched the cool metal handle and turned it, pushing the door inwards. A strong damp smell hit him. There was no smell of blood, which was strange. Whenever a person was taken down, there was usually blood and the smell was strong, almost overpowering, yet there was only damp.
Pulling his rifle tight against his shoulder, he stepped over the threshold. The bodies on the floor would be an obstacle. Among them, the pilots stood out, their khaki uniforms crumpled and stark contrast among the uniforms of white and black.
There was silence. The rustling had stopped and Trowa narrowed his eyes. Where was he? The intruder was using the shadows to his advantage. He stepped softly forward, Quatre behind him, the rifle held with two hands in front of him. Time seemed to stop, the atmosphere tense with anticipation. Something would happen.
"Stupefy!" a voice shouted. Trowa did not think, did not wonder, and did not allow his memories to resurface. Instead he pushed on the floor and flew upwards. Kicking his feet from below him, he jumped out of the way. The spell brushed his hair, each strand moving as if a wind blew through it.
He rose the gun to his shoulder, tucking it tight against his shoulder, and as he straightened, his finger pulled the trigger. He aimed in the direction of the spell. No spell could curve, it would always go in a straight line. The flash of light from the spell had illuminated the face of the caster and Trowa did not allow shock or recognition to show. He knew the caster, but he would show him no mercy. As the gun pulled back into his shoulder, the loud gunshot echoed harshly in the silence. A groan broke the silence after the gunshot. The intruder had been taken down.
Trowa quickly moved forward, his gun trained on the man crouched on the floor trying to stop the flow of blood with his hand. Crimson dripped in small rivers over his fingers as he lowered his head. Trowa watched the slight movements in the figure's body, the twitching in his right side, his fingers tensing slightly on the bullet wound. Trowa kicked the wand far away from the intruder just as he lunged forward. Instead of reaching the wand, he fell forward, his hand outstretched. Looking upwards, his lined face looking for mercy or recognition found nothing but the barrel of a gun.
"Who are you?" the voice was soft and weary. Trowa did not answer for a second, and instead motioned for Quatre to pick up the wand, who, while looking confused and skeptical at the stick, did as he was told. Trowa took it from him.
"Ennervate." Trowa's voice was soft as he waved the wand in the direction of the fallen pilots. He did not wake the other soldiers. That would cause complications which he couldn't afford. Not at the moment. As the soldiers stood, Trowa turned back to the man staring at him in hope. Trowa hated that expression.
Trowa raised the gun and went to pull the trigger. Trowa thought nothing about killing him. He just wished that he would stop looking at him with that expression of hope and wonder. It was distracting. He spoke the only words that he could.