"What do you mean it's not over?" Duo glared at him from across the countertop, croissant dangling in one hand, momentarily forgotten.
"I already told you, Duo. The man who attacked you *was* the serial killer but he *didn't* murder Relena." Heero sighed and absently ran his fingers through his messy hair. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you this yesterday, but I didn't think you were in any condition to hear it."
Duo's shoulders slumped. He suddenly looked very tired. "You're right. I probably wasn't. But dammit! I thought… I thought this whole mess was over."
Heero walked around the island and opened his arms. Duo leaned into his embrace, burying his face into Heero's chest.
"I'm so sorry, Duo love," he murmured, stroking the boy's hair comfortingly. "We - that is, Trowa and I - we had our suspicions that that was the case, but we had no proof until now."
"And that's probably why I only saw Relena's death and not any of the others, huh?" Duo mumbled into the older man's chest.
"Yes." Heero gently pried his young lover away from him. "I hate to have to do this to you, but… I need to ask you about what you saw in your vision again." He felt Duo stiffen. "I'm so sorry to have to do this to you, but what you saw is our only lead at the moment."
For a long moment, Duo said nothing. Then, very slowly, he nodded. "All right. When do you want to do it?"
Heero felt a burst of pride in his chest at the courage his young lover was showing. "Finish your breakfast first. Then we can get started."
"This is getting us nowhere."
Heero glanced up from the untidy mound of papers on his desk to look across at Trowa. The green-eyed cop threw a pen onto his own equally untidy pile of papers in frustration, wincing as he overextended his injured shoulder. Heero frowned. Trowa should not have been back at work after only three days, but his partner had insisted, saying he could get more done just sitting at his desk than he could simply sitting around at home. Treize had reluctantly agreed, but only if Trowa worked no more than four hours a day. Trowa had ranted and raved about not being an invalid, but by the time he was finished with his tirade, he had been so exhausted he readily agreed.
"We've been through these papers with a fine-tooth comb, talked to everyone who ever knew the Peacecraft girl twice, sometimes three times, and have examined nearly every waking minute of that girl's life and we don't have one damn *clue* as to who was responsible for her death."
"No. That's not true," Heero answered. "We have several small pieces of the puzzle."
"Right. That kid's 'visions'." Trowa rolled his eyes. "Even if what he 'saw' was true, without the connecting pieces, we'll never be able to see the bigger picture. And we can't very well put out an APB for a guy with long fingers and a - what was it? - a barbed wire necklace?"
"Barbed wire necklace? Sounds positively masochistic," a smooth voice from behind Heero said. "Hope whoever wears something like that is up on their tetanus boosters."
Heero stiffened and turned to greet the newcomer. "Hello, Merquise. How's the head?"
Zechs reached up to place his hand on the back of his head. "Slight headaches, but nothing serious. Didn't even have a concussion." The taller man looked Trowa up and down. "I didn't think you'd be well enough to be back at work so soon, Barton."
"They couldn't keep me away," Trowa replied. He glanced at the clock. "At least not for another two hours."
"Hn," Heero grunted at his partner's little joke. He looked back at Zechs who was smiling like a cat who'd just caught the canary. He was glad the man wasn't seriously injured, but he still did not like him.
"How's Duo doing?" Zechs asked.
"Fine," came Heero's terse reply. He didn't feel like sharing anything about his little lover's condition with the blonde.
"That's good. I was worried about him." Zechs shifted his stance and looked across the room. "If you'll excuse me, gentlemen, I must speak to Wufei for a moment. Glad to see you up and around, Barton. Yuy."
Heero scowled at Zechs's back as he walked across the room. No, he definitely did not like that man. There was something about him he couldn't quite put his finger on. He shrugged it aside and turned back to Trowa, raising an eyebrow.
"So what do you suggest we do now, oh brilliant and wise one?"
"Glad to know you're accepting me as the brains of our operation, Heero." Trowa sighed as he began to shuffle through the papers on his desk. "I have absolutely no idea where to go from here. I have the girl's whole life right in front of my eyes and there's nothing here." He picked up a few pieces of paper. "I've got everything from credit card statements to phone records… I've even got her damn *birth* certificate and I…" His words trailed off as he looked at the little green piece of paper in his hand.
"What is it, Trowa?"
The green-eyed detective stood up, obviously ignoring the pain in his shoulder. "I think we need to go talk to Relena's grandfather again."
Trowa waved the paper under Heero's nose. "Did you know Relena had a sibling?"
"What?" Heero asked in shock.
"It was right under our noses. On her birth certificate. It lists one other living child having been born to Relena's mother before Relena's birth."
"That doesn't mean he or she could still be living."
"No. But it's a place to start. Let's go, lover-boy."
Heero felt his heart speed up as they left the precinct. It was a long shot, but finally, they were doing something.
"I still think you're making a big mistake."
Duo didn't pause in taping up a box of kitchen utensils to roll his eyes. He swore if Quatre said that one more time he was going to use the packing tape to tape his friend's mouth shut.
"I know you don't want to stay here anymore," Quatre continued, "but I don't think moving in with Heero Yuy is the wisest thing to do."
Duo sighed. "Look, Quatre, I know you just have my best interests at heart, but you're becoming repetitive."
"But I don't think you've thought things through enough!"
Duo's eyebrow twitched. He threw down the packing tape and whirled on his friend. "I don't care what you think!" he yelled. "I'm a big boy, Quatre and I can make my own decisions!"
"No buts! You don't understand. I *love* Heero. He makes me happy. He makes me feel special. He understands me."
"I'm only trying to protect you, Duo," Quatre replied, his own face turning red in anger.
"No, you're not. Heero tries to protect me. You - you are smothering me!" Duo took a deep breath in an effort to calm down. "I know you love me, Quatre, but I'm not a child anymore. I'm moving in with Heero. It's my choice, not yours."
"Fine." Quatre's nostrils flared. "When he breaks your heart, I intend to be there to say I told you so!" And with that, the blonde doctor stormed out of Duo's apartment, slamming the door behind him.
Duo winced. He hadn't thought Quatre would be that upset with his decision. But Duo wasn't overly worried. Quatre still saw him as that scared little boy who'd just lost his parents. It was time his friend saw him for the adult he had become.
A knock on the door startled him out of his thoughts. Duo glanced at the clock, wondering who it could be. It was too early for Heero to be off work and it wasn't likely to be Quatre coming back. He rose off his knees and hurried over to the door. He was surprised to see Zechs Merquise standing on the other side.
"Zechs! Come in," the younger man insisted, stepping aside to allow the blonde detective into his apartment.
"I hope you don't mind me stopping by unannounced like this," Zechs said, turning to Duo as the teen shut the apartment door behind him. "I just wanted to see how you were doing."
"I'm fine. How about you? I'm so sorry you got hurt trying to protect me."
Zechs waved his hand in dismissal. "It was nothing. Just a little bump on the head." He looked around. "Moving out?"
Duo glanced around at his now stripped apartment. Boxes and personal items lay all over the floor. He was going to miss this place - his first apartment. In a small way, he felt like he was running away. He couldn't bear to go into his bedroom anymore. Heero had had to pack up his things in there for him. But as his lover kept reminding him, he wasn't running away, he was moving in with the man he loved. There was a difference. And Duo was willing to see it that way.
"Yeah. I… don't think I can stay here anymore," he replied.
"Do you have somewhere to go?"
Duo blushed furiously. "Yeah…"
"Ah," Zechs said knowingly. "Moving in with Yuy?"
Duo's eyes flew to the other man's face. "How did you…"
"How did I know? Ah, it's not really a secret anymore. Nearly everyone at the station knows."
Duo felt his face burn. "O…oh. Sorry."
"There's nothing to be sorry for. I can understand why you and Yuy wanted to keep things quiet." He sighed and struck a dramatic pose. "Although I hate it that he found you first."
Duo giggled. "Yeah, well if anything ever happens to change that, I'll be sure to call you first," he joked.
An awkward silence followed as Duo looked down at the ground, unable to meet Zechs's eyes. Thankfully the moment was broken by the shrill ring of the telephone from the next room. When Duo didn't move to answer it, Zechs asked, "Do you want me to get that for you?"
"Huh? Oh… no. Don't bother. It's just a telemarketer wanting me to buy insurance," Duo replied without thinking.
Zechs started at him. "Fascinating. You really do 'see' things don't you."
Duo flushed scarlet. "Uh… yeah."
"Would you mind telling me about them?"
"There's not much to tell," Duo said slowly, not really wanting to go down this particular avenue of conversation. "I can't control them, I don't know what triggers them. It doesn't happen all the time. I knew who was on the phone, yet I didn't know it was you at the door."
"So… do you see clear pictures in your head?"
"No, it's more like impressions, vague feelings… I can't really explain it." He shifted uncomfortably on his feet. "I don't really like to talk about it. Anyway, I need to get back to packing… although my ride has apparently walked out on me." He made a face at the thought of Quatre.
"I've got my truck downstairs and the afternoon off. Want some help?"
Duo looked at him hopefully. He really didn't want to have to wait for Heero to get off work to help him move some of his stuff. "You wouldn't mind?"
"Of course not. Where shall I start?"
Duo smiled and showed him some boxes he could take down to his truck. His heart felt light. The sooner he got his things moved and settled in, the sooner he and Heero could begin their life together.
"So you've discovered the Peacecraft family secret," the old man said dispassionately to the two detectives sitting opposite him in the elaborate drawing room of the Peacecraft mansion. The wizened senator passed them a framed photograph. Trowa took it, looked briefly at the picture before passing it to Heero. The Japanese detective studied the image of two small children. Both had blonde hair and blue eyes, though the boy's hair appeared to be lighter. The girl, Relena obviously, looked to be about two or three years old. The boy looked about five years older.
"Milliardo Peacecraft the third," the old man continued. "He was supposed to follow in the family footsteps. Enter politics like his father and I. But the little bastard didn't want the life we'd laid out for him. He seemed to resent everything we did for him."
Trowa looked at the man incredulously. "Surely if he wanted to do something else…"
"Don't get me wrong, young man," the senator interrupted. "He had every right to want to do something else with his life if he chose. But he didn't want to. He seemed to think everything should be handed to him on a silver platter without having to work for it. He threw money away on nothing, always expecting more to be given to him when he ran out. When we cut off his funds, he took to selling drugs and engaging in other illegal activities. His parents began to fear he might start to influence Relena, so they sent him away to a boarding school. For a while we thought he might be settling down, but then a few months shy of graduation, he was expelled. He and another… boy had been caught… together." The old man's face twisted in disgust. Heero chose to ignore it. "His father hauled him back here kicking and screaming. He enrolled Mill in a program design to cure young people of those disgusting and sinful habits. Mill ran away. When the police found him and brought him back his father said he would refrain from living his disgusting lifestyle or be disowned. Mill didn't say a word. He turned around and walked out the door. We haven't seen him since. No one is allowed to speak his name. He is dead to us."
Heero tried to hide his disdain for the old man as he passed the photograph back to the senator. Milliardo Peacecraft III was no golden boy, but his family seemed just as much to blame.
"Would you happen to have a current address or even a current photograph?" he asked.
"No. I told you. He is dead to us. His father destroyed all the pictures except that one." He paused and looked out the window sadly. "We always suspected he kept in touch with Relena. Though he probably only wanted money from her." He stood up and walked slowly over to a desk. He opened a drawer and withdrew a piece of paper. "This was his last known address. It's several years old, but maybe it'll be of some use."
Heero took the paper and glanced at, eyes widening slightly as he noted the address was in Paris, France.
"Thank you, Senator. If you think of anything else, please call us," Trowa said as he and Heero stood to go.
"Do you really think he could be involved in Relena's death?" the elder Peacecraft asked.
"We don't know. All we want to do now is locate him and talk to him," Heero replied.
"If you do find him… tell him… tell him… No. Don't tell him anything. He is dead to me. I hope he burns in hell for his sins."
Heero and Trowa left the old man staring wistfully at the photograph. Trowa gave Heero a disgusted look as they left the house.
"This information sure would have been helpful back at the beginning of this case," he said dryly.
"Hn." Heero fingered the piece of paper in his hand. "It won't be easy, tracking this guy down."
"No. But it'll at least give us something to do. Tomorrow we'll interview Relena's friends again and see if they knew anything about this brother of hers. I've got a feeling about this one, Heero. I think we're finally on the right track."
Heero nodded in agreement. He felt the same way. His thoughts drifted back to the photograph. It was a shame that a beautiful child like that could grow into such a monster. Though granted, he wasn't all to blame. Still… there was something familiar about the picture. He just wished he could put his finger on what.
Duo slid a stack of plates into an empty space in the cupboard, grateful not for the first time that neither he nor Heero had many kitchen things. His stuff fit in nicely with Heero's, and he was glad he didn't have to do much rearranging in the kitchen. The rest of the apartment on the other hand… Duo bit back a sigh. Finding a home for all his things was going to take a bit of work.
He pushed the cupboard door closed and turned back to the stack of boxes on the floor, wondering what else he could find a home for. Fortunately, at that moment, the door to the apartment swung open, saving him from any more dreaded unpacking for the time being. He smiled with relief as Zechs walked into the apartment and unloaded his burden on the kitchen counter.
"Damn, Zechs, when I suggested you go get us a pizza, I didn't think you'd go all the way to Italy for it," he teased as he moved forward, sniffing the air appreciatively.
Zechs made a face. "Sorry. The idiots at the pizza parlor lost my damn order. That's the last time I go there for pizza."
"Oh well. It's not like there's a shortage of pizza joints near here." Duo nearly drooled all over the countertop as he lifted the lid of the cardboard box. Dear God, he was hungry! He grabbed a piece of the piping hot dish and bit into it, rolling his eyes in pleasure.
Zechs watched him, chuckling. "Would you two like to be alone?"
"Ha ha," Duo said, mouth full of cheese. He swallowed quickly, eyes falling on the other thing Zechs had brought with him. "Oooooh, that's my favorite kind of soda! How did you know?"
"I didn't. Lucky guess?" He grinned at Duo. "Want one?"
Zechs grabbed a can and pulled, trying to detach it from the plastic rings holding the six pack together. "Geh. I hate these things. I can never get them off."
"I know what you mean," Duo remarked between bites. "I once had to drink one attached to the others."
Zechs pulled one last time before giving up in defeat. "I give up. Got any scissors?"
"Mm-hmm," Duo replied, swallowing another bite. He motioned his head toward Heero's desk. "Top drawer. Be careful. If you pull it too hard, the entire thing will come out."
Duo didn't pay any attention to the taller detective. He was too busy enjoying his dinner. There was nothing on earth quite as wonderful as fresh, hot pizza, extra sauce, extra cheese, extra mushrooms. Well, okay… perhaps making love with Heero was the most wonderful thing on earth, but pizza was a close second.
He opened his eyes when Zechs chuckled and took the can the older man was waving in front of his face, part of the plastic ring still attached. "I have a feeling I really should leave you two alone."
"Sorry," Duo said, blushing. "Can't help it. Pizza's my favorite food."
"Ah, I can understand that. I am much the same way with just about anything French."
The two continued their light conversation as they ate. Duo was glad he was finally beginning to warm up to the blonde cop. He'd been feeling terribly guilty about the way he'd felt when he'd first met the man. Zechs had risked his life for him. And Duo could do no less than be courteous and friendly towards him. He owed him that much.
Duo licked the last of the sauce from his fingers and looked at the pizza box longingly.
"Want another slice?" Zechs asked, before biting into his own piece.
"Hmm… no, I don't think so. Anymore and I won't be able to move. And I still have tons of unpacking to do."
"I'll just put this in the fridge then," Zechs replied, closing the pizza box and taking it and the unopened soda cans to the refrigerator. He made room for the items and slipped them inside before turning back to Duo. "I should get going as well."
"Thanks for helping me move all my stuff, Zechs. I wouldn't have gotten nearly this much done without you."
"You're welcome." The older man looked at Duo for a moment as if he wanted to add something.
"What is it, Zechs?"
"I just… are you sure you know what you're doing, Duo? Moving in with Yuy like this?"
Duo rolled his eyes. "I really wish people would quit asking me that."
"I'm sorry, Duo." He stepped closer to the long-haired teen and placed a hand on his cheek. "I like you. I just don't want to see you get hurt."
"Heero wouldn't hurt me," Duo said, frowning.
"I don't think he would but… you've never been on the receiving end of his bad temper have you?"
"You didn't know?" Zechs looked worried. "I've seen him lose control on a couple of suspects before. It wasn't… pretty." He rubbed the pad of his thumb over Duo's cheek. "I'm just worried about you."
Duo stepped back, out of Zechs's reach. "I'll be fine. Heero wouldn't hurt me. He loves me."
"I'm sure he does. Just be careful. And if you need anything… even just to talk… you still have my number, right?"
Duo nodded. "Yeah."
"All right. I suppose I'll have to be satisfied with that." He stepped back. "May I use your restroom before I go?"
"Uh, sure. It's over there," Duo said, waving his arm in the direction of the bathroom.
Duo watched as Zechs disappeared behind the door. He stood there, lost in thought over what the older man had said. He'd seen no evidence of Heero having a temper. Even when his life had been in danger, Heero had been almost eerily calm. Zechs had to be mistaken. Even if Heero *did* have a temper and lose control, he'd never hurt *him*. He loved him. Still… he *had* only known Heero for a few short weeks. They really didn't know each other that well yet. And here he was, moving in with the guy. Maybe Quatre had been right… maybe he *was* rushing things.
Duo chewed on his bottom lip, oblivious to everything except the guilt he was feeling over thinking like that. He loved Heero. Heero loved him. They were going to live together. Heero would never hurt him. He was sure of that.
Strong arms wrapped themselves around Duo's waist, startling Duo out of his thoughts. A warm mouth fastened itself on Duo's neck, leaving a wet imprint behind. Duo started to pull away but then caught a whiff of his lover's scent behind him. He melted into Heero's arms, tilting his head to give him better access.
"Welcome home, lover," he murmured as Heero took advantage of his surrender.
"I missed you," Heero whispered into his ear. His hands wandered down Duo's front to come to rest at the top of the young man's jeans. "Mmm, you taste good."
Duo's breath caught in his throat. He was putty in Heero's hands. He reached one arm up to wrap around Heero's neck, maneuvering his head for a kiss. Lips met, tongues clashed for control. Duo moaned into Heero's mouth. He felt his knees growing weaker. Heero's hand moved ever slowly downward. Just another inch or two and…
"Ahem. Am I interrupting something?"
"Oh shit," Duo swore under his breath as he disengaged himself from Heero's mouth. He tried to step away from Heero, but his lover kept a tight hold around his waist.
"Merquise. Do you mind if I ask what you are doing in my… in our home?"
"He came by my old place to see how I was doing," Duo explained quickly, his heart pounding in his chest as he heard Heero call the apartment *their* home. "He helped me move some of my stuff over then stayed for pizza. Hope you don't mind. We managed to get most of my things over here."
"And on that note, I believe I shall take my leave, now. Nice seeing you again, Duo. Until next time."
Duo watched Zechs leave the apartment still ensconced in Heero's arms. Was it just his imagination, or did Zechs look at Heero oddly before he left? Duo had no time to dwell upon it. Heero's mouth and hands resumed their explorations, driving all coherent thought out of his mind.
"I… I take it you're glad to see me here, Heero?" Duo said breathlessly, pressing back against his lover's body.
"Aa. I didn't get to love you properly the other morning. I intend to rectify that situation tonight." He popped the button on Duo's jeans open as he slid his tongue along Duo's ear. "Let me make love to you, Duo."
Duo groaned, his sensed overloaded by the feel and smell of his lover surrounding him, holding him. "Like you have to ask." He twisted in Heero's arms and took a step back. Catching the older man's hands in his own, he drew Heero towards the direction of the bed. "Come on, Heero. Love me proper."
Duo bit down on the pillow beneath his face, eyes clenched tightly shut as he rocked his body against Heero's. Tears began to leak out of the corners of his eyes from the intensity of the moment. He could feel Heero's breath on the back of his neck, his lover's breathing coming as hard and as labored as his own. He felt Heero's lips brush against his shoulder, felt his hand searching out one of Duo's own. He pried Duo's fingers from where they had been twisting the sheets, replacing it with his hand, twining their fingers together. Such strong hands, bigger than his own…
Duo let go of the pillow to start panting. He needed air. The strain of the exercise was beginning to deprive his brain of oxygen. Not that he minded much.
"Oh fuck, Heero," he cried out, squeezing Heero's hand tightly as his lover continued to move inside him. He knew he'd never be able to get enough of this - this feeling of Heero filling him, possessing him, completing him. He could live a thousand lifetimes and never feel the same about anyone other than Heero.
"My Duo," Heero murmured into his ear as he changed the angle of his hips slightly.
Duo screamed, forgetting for a moment to muffle his voice in the pillow. It was still early… and he didn't think Heero's - no, *their* downstairs neighbors would appreciate being woken up by their early morning… activities.
Duo was amazed they even had enough energy left after last night's loving to be doing it again so early in the morning. He'd woken to the delicious sensation of Heero's mouth around his cock and fingers deftly teasing the opening just below. At first he'd thought it was just a dream, but the sensations kept growing more and more intense. No wet dream he'd ever had in his life had felt like that. When one slickened and ready finger slipped inside him, Duo's eyes had jerked open… and he'd known it was no dream. He tried to protest - he was still tired and a little sore from the previous night. But his protestations died the moment they'd passed his lips. Heero's talented mouth and fingers were just too damn persuasive.
Whereas the previous night's session had been slow and tender, this morning, Heero was like a man possessed. He'd wasted no time preparing Duo before flipping him onto his stomach and entering him, sliding home as if Duo's body was meant for him and him alone.
Their joining was fast and rough. Duo's blood was near the boiling point. He writhed on the sheets, the combination of his arousal rubbing against the soft cotton and Heero touching that part deep inside that made lights dance in front of his eyes was almost too much to bear. He wasn't going to be able to hold out much longer.
"Heero, please," he begged, not quite knowing exactly what it was he was begging for, only that he had to have it - now!
"Yes, koi. Come for me," was the only reply given or even needed.
Duo arched his back, face buried in the pillow as he screamed Heero's name. Pulse after pulse of liquid passion spread across his stomach and the sheets below. He felt Heero stiffen above him, felt the white hot jet of his lover's release so deep inside, warming his body and soul. They hung together at the height of orgasm for a perilous moment before crashing back down to earth. Heero collapsed on Duo's back, all but smothering the smaller teen.
For a long, long moment they lay there, entwined, joined. Heero rolled a little to the side so he wasn't crushing his smaller lover. Duo rolled with him, not wanting to break their union just yet. He squeezed Heero's member internally, causing the older man to moan. Heero covered every part of Duo's skin he could reach with small butterfly kisses. Duo snuggled against Heero's broad chest, completely content and happy. He wished the moment could last, wished they could stay like that forever.
But wishes fade and moments don't last. He felt Heero soften and slip out of his body. Duo moaned in protest but otherwise was too sated to move. He felt Heero brush a kiss against his ear and heard him mumble something about a shower before the warmth was taken away. Duo groaned, immediately rolling into the spot Heero had just vacated. He burrowed beneath the covers, burying his nose in his lover's pillow to inhale his scent. His body still thrummed from the loving, but he was painfully aware of Heero's absence. He wanted his lover back next to him. Damn real life for getting in the way…
Heero switched off the water and stepped out of the shower. He loathed to wash the smell of Duo from his skin, but he had to be clean and presentable before going into work. Treize would never let him in the office otherwise, and Trowa would never let him live it down. He quickly toweled himself off and completed his necessary morning hygiene routines before pulling on a pair of pants. He glanced at the little bathroom clock and swore. He didn't have time to dry his hair. He was already going to be late enough as it was.
He hadn't meant to initiate anything this morning, especially after the late night they'd had. But Duo had looked so damned irresistible in the early morning light he couldn't help himself. And now he was going to be late. Not that he minded terribly. Duo was far more important than his job - which just went to show Heero how much his little lover had changed him. A few weeks ago, his job had been everything to him. But now… now Heero didn't care about being late or about showing up with wet hair. If he had the option, he'd have stayed in bed with Duo all day. But he couldn't. They were getting closer to finding Relena's murderer. He could feel it. He had to see it through, if only to assuage his own feelings of guilt for the young woman's death.
He grabbed his shirt off the vanity and exited the bathroom. A quick glance at the bed told him Duo hadn't risen yet. He smiled to himself at the sight of his young lover hiding under the sheets, that glorious mane of hair spread out over the pillows behind him. Work be damned. He was going to kiss his lover goodbye before he left.
The lump under the covers stirred as he approached the bed. Heero sat down on the edge and pulled the sheets down low enough to see Duo's face.
"Mmmm, Heero, come back to bed," Duo purred sultrily, holding out a hand to him.
Heero took it, then leaned down to give Duo a very thorough kiss. "I can't," he murmured against his lover's lips as the kiss ended. "I have to go to work."
"But today's my day off. Skip work today," Duo pleaded. "I'm sure I can find *something* to entice you to stay… a little pre-breakfast nookie perhaps?"
Heero smirked. "I think we already did that," he replied, allowing Duo to draw him down onto the bed.
Duo blushed. "Well… there's always post-breakfast nookie," he said, placing a kiss on Heero's collarbone. "And midmorning nookie… and just-before-lunch nookie… and just-after-lunch nookie… followed by early afternoon nookie… which if done nice and slow can lead right into mid-afternoon nookie…" He punctuated his words with wet kisses along Heero's bare chest, toying with a rosy nipple when he came to it. Heero groaned, his own hands wandering invisible trails against Duo's skin. He was tempted… dear God, he was so very tempted.
With a whimper of protest, he gently pushed Duo away and sat up. Duo stuck out his bottom lip, pouting at the loss. Heero leaned down, snagging it between his teeth, giving his little lover one last kiss. The kiss lasted longer than he planned. It took every ounce of willpower to pull himself away from Duo.
"Gomen, koi. I'm sorry," he translated when Duo gave him a confused look for dropping into his native language. "I have to go. I… we may have found something significant about Relena's murder."
Duo's eyes widened. He sat up on the bed, fully awake and alert. "What did you find?"
Heero told him about Relena's older brother and about how they were trying to track him down. "Our last known address for him was in Paris, France. Trowa is going to call Interpol and the American Embassy in Paris today to see if we can find him, though the address appears to be a few years old. It's a long shot, but somehow I have this feeling…"
He trailed off as he watched Duo. The young man's eyes had gone completely blank, as though he were somehow looking *through* him rather than at him. Heero shuddered.
"Thirty-second," the long-haired teen murmured, still trance-like.
Heero blinked. He'd never seen Duo actually having a vision before. He really did appear to be looking at some far off image Heero couldn't see. Cautiously he approached the bed. "Duo? What is it? What do you see?"
"You'll find him at the thirty-second," Duo said in that far-away voice.
"Thirty-second? Thirty-second what? Street?"
A thought dawned on him. "You mean the thirty-second precinct? On the other side of the city?"
"Yes. I… what?" Light returned to Duo's eyes as he looked around in confusion. "Heero?"
Heero didn't say anything, almost too stunned to move.
"I had a vision didn't I?" Duo asked, shoulders slumped forward.
"Duo, I need you to tell me exactly what you saw," Heero said, finally finding his voice.
Duo swallowed, brow furrowed in concentration. "I… no, I can't really describe it in words. It was more of a feeling than an image."
"But you said I'd find him at the thirty-second precinct. Do they have records on him? A location? Is he a prisoner there?"
Duo looked up at him, eyes haunted with fear. "No. I… I saw a badge. I think… I think he works there. I think he's a cop."
Heero frowned at the phone as if the smooth, beige object could give him answers if he stared at it long enough. This case was getting more and more complicated, convoluted, and just plain frustrating. He *had* to see it through… but he swore to himself after Relena's murderer had been caught and brought to justice, he was going to take a long vacation. With Duo. Preferably some place warm and near the ocean. He idly wondered if he could talk Duo into wearing a thong…
"Lord, what has that poor phone done to you now, Yuy?" Trowa's voice broke through his daydream. Heero shifted uncomfortably in his chair to watch as his partner sat down opposite him.
"Hn. How did the phone call with the French authorities go?"
As neither Trowa nor Heero spoke a word of French, Treize had insisted on contacting the local authorities in Paris himself, as he spoke the language fluently.
"Fucking Frenchies!" Trowa swore, looking pained. "Get this, Milliardo Peacecraft lived in Paris until about two years ago. The local cops remember him as a small time hood, dealing in drugs and other smuggled goods. Got himself arrested a couple of times but all the charges were inexplicably dropped."
"He probably bribed his way out of them."
"Most likely. Anyway, one of the locals there remembered he had his name legally changed right before he left Paris. But they wouldn't give out his new name. And diplomatic red tape bullshit being what it is, it'll take at least three weeks to get the courts to release that information to us."
"Damn." He resumed glaring at the phone.
"I don't know about you Heero, but I hate the idea of sitting on my ass for three weeks. The killer could be long gone by then, if he isn't already gone by now." He gave his partner a skeptical look. "Did you have any luck with your… lead?"
Heero sighed, his shoulders slumped in defeat. He'd told Trowa about Duo's vision, and although he knew his partner still didn't quite believe in his lover, he at least was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
"Yes and no. The desk sergeant on duty said that no one by that name had ever worked there, but that the name did sound familiar. He's going to check into old case files and ask around. Maybe we'll get a break yet."
"I hope so, Heero. God, I hope so."
Duo looked around and heaved a satisfied sigh at a job well done. The apartment looked a lot less messier than it had been for the past few days. He still had a lot of boxes to unpack, but everything that could be put away without consulting Heero about where to put it had been done. What was left had been stacked up neatly against one wall. And aside from a chair or two, he'd left the remainder of his furniture at his old place to be used by whoever rented it after him. He wasn't attached to any of it. Everything he really cared about was in this apartment. His and Heero's apartment. His toes tingled at the thought.
His stomach rumbled, reminding him he'd skipped lunch to continue unpacking. It was just after three in the afternoon, and Heero wouldn't be home until close to five. They had plans to go out later that night for dinner, but he didn't know if he could wait that long. He thought about the leftover pizza in the fridge and decide one slice couldn't hurt.
After indulging his hunger, he pottered around the kitchen, cleaning up his crumbs and throwing the remaining pizza and paper plate he'd used in the trash. Leftover pizza was only good for so long, and this particular pie had apparently reached it's shelf-age limit. It had been tough and chewy but fortunately still edible. It had taken the edge of his hunger pains long enough until dinner anyway.
He straightened up the apartment as best he could. He wanted Heero to see how well he'd been fitting himself into the older man's life. And he didn't want his lover to come home to a messy apartment.
He glanced around. Not a bad job if he did say so himself. A gleam of metal from one of the kitchen counters caught his eye. It was the scissors Zechs had used the previous day to cut the cans of soda free. That seemed to be the only thing out of place. He hurried over and grabbed them, intent on returning them to their proper place.
He reached Heero's desk, smiling in pleasure at the little picture he saw there. They'd had their photo taken together in one of those little photo booths in the mall on one of their earlier dates. Heero had had his framed and proudly displayed it on his desk for all to see. Duo couldn't wait to make more picture memories. He wondered if Heero would mind dedicating a whole wall to photographs of themselves. It was something to discuss at least…
So lost in his decorating daydreams, he forgot about not pulling the drawer too hard. The wooden drawer flew out of the desk and crashed onto the floor. Duo cursed and jumped back, barely avoiding getting his toes crushed. Papers and other objects flew across the floor. Duo leapt at them, stopping them before they could slide too far away. He sighed. Just when the thought he had the place cleaned up. He hoped the papers hadn't been in any particular order. They were scattered now.
He lifted the drawer itself. It had flipped over in the fall, so he righted it and began shoving papers back into it. He was reaching for the largest pile when something cold and sharp sliced through his finger. He yelped, sticking the injured appendage in his mouth to quell the bleeding. With his other hand, he reached down and drew out a black-handled knife from underneath Heero's personal papers.
<< FLASH >>
<< FLASH >>
Duo cried out and dropped the knife. His heart was pounding, skin damp with cold sweat. He gasped for air, trying not to be sick all over the floor. Taking a few deep breaths, he slowly turned his gaze back to the knife.
He'd seen it before. It haunted his dreams. It was an exact match for the one he'd seen slicing Relena's throat. He'd relieved the girl's death when he'd touched it. He had no doubt it was the same knife. It even had what looked to be a speck of dried blood on the handle.
"Oh God," Duo breathed, unable to move. He sat down heavily, dislodging some of the papers in the process. The edge of a photograph peeked out. With a trembling hand he reached down and drew it out.
Relena's face stared back at him, disfigured by a black marker, and a tear drop drawn under her left eye.
Duo scrambled up off the floor. He couldn't think. The vision of Relena being murdered replayed itself over and over in his mind. Why would Heero have something like that in his desk? Unless he…
No! That wasn't possible. Heero would never do something like that. But… the evidence was right in front of his face. It had been hidden in Heero's desk. Why??
He couldn't think. The walls were closing in on him. He knew he was beginning to panic. He had to get out of there, had to go somewhere where he could think. But where? Quatre? No, the doctor was still mad at him. He swallowed, the very air of the apartment feeling too constricted. He had to call someone.
He bolted for the closet, throwing open the door and grabbing a small wooden box from off the top shelf. He rummaged frantically inside for a moment before finding what he was looking for, a phone number written on a cocktail napkin. He dropped the box and ran for the phone.
He had to re-dial the number three times, his hands were shaking so badly. Finally the phone on the other end began to ring.
"Please be home, please be home," he chanted under his breath as he waited for the line to pick up.
"Oh God, you're home," he half-sobbed into the receiver.
"Who… Duo? Is everything all right?"
"No. No, everything's not all right," he stammered as he slid to the floor, knees giving out on him.
"What is it? What's wrong?"
"Please… I need to talk to someone. I… Zechs, I need to see you."
"Duo? I'm home," Heero called through the darkened apartment as he closed the door behind him, slipping off his jacket. He hung it on the hook beside the door, then turned to peer around the loft. "Duo?"
He flipped on a light and frowned. Duo hadn't said anything about going out today. He hadn't called and from the looks of things he hadn't left a note. They had plans to go out later. Maybe Duo was just running an errand or picking something up for their evening together. Still… he didn't like not knowing where his little lover was.
He flipped on another light and looked around. Duo had done an amazing job at settling in, especially only having a few days to work with. His things were mixed evenly with Heero's in such a way that it seemed like Duo had always been there. He'd never thought of his apartment as being bare or lonely before… but he realized now that before Duo, it had been. Just like his life.
His eyes swept the room again. This time, he noticed the mess on the floor next to his desk. He hurried over, noticing that his top drawer had come out and all the contents had been scattered on the floor. The glittering of light off metal drew his eyes. He knelt down to take a closer look.
"What the hell?"
He gingerly picked up the knife between thumb and forefinger, and held it up to the light. He could see the small speck of dried blood on the handle. He carefully set it on top of the desk and stared at it. It's existence in his apartment baffled him.
A sharp ring broke him out of his thoughts. He dug into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone.
"Detective Yuy? This is Sergeant Dyson at Thirty-second. We spoke earlier about Milliardo Peacecraft?"
"Yes. Did you find anything?"
"Yeah, as a matter of fact I did. The night duty desk clerk remembered finding a watch with that name engraved on the back a couple of years ago. The person who claimed it was a rookie cop. Told her that he'd changed his name for privacy reasons several years ago."
Heero's blood turned cold. A cop… dear God, Duo had been right. He glanced down at the floor and saw what appeared to be an upside down photograph. He bent down and picked it up, eyes widening in horror and surprise at what he saw when he turned it over.
"Can you give me this cop's name and tell me if he still works over there?" he asked, feeling numb.
"Actually, I think you know him. He transferred to your precinct about a year ago. Name is Zechs Merquise."
"Yeah. I remembered him as soon as the night duty clerk mentioned him. Never liked him much. Shifty eyes. Slimy attitude."
"Well I'm just about to get off work. If you need anything else, just call."
"Thanks," Heero murmured, before hanging up the phone. He was stunned. Absolutely stunned. He walked over to the kitchen counter in a daze. It didn't make any sense… and yet, it did. He now knew why the picture of seven-year old Milliardo looked familiar. He could see Zechs's face staring back at him. He marveled that he hadn't picked up the similarities sooner.
The knife and that horrible picture disturbed him. The knife looked to be the same kind described in Duo's vision and in the coroner's report. And the picture… that teardrop drawn in the exact place it had been carved into Relena's skin… How the hell did they get into his apartment?
Several things fell into place. Zechs had always been interested in the Teardrop case. He'd heard the man discussing it with Wufei several times over the past few months. And Zechs had been in his apartment the other day with Duo.
Had he found the knife and the photograph? He must have since the drawer had been pulled out. But where could he be?
His gaze drifted to a wadded up napkin on the counter. He picked it up and smoothed it out. Zechs's address and phone number were written on it. Heero stopped breathing. Surely Duo hadn't… he didn't think *Heero* had anything to do with Relena's murder… did he? And he'd gone running to Zechs??
"Shit!" He grabbed his phone and dialed Trowa's number.
"Barton residence," the sweet voice of Mariemeia answered on the other end.
"Marie, it's Heero. I need to speak to Trowa. It's an emergency."
"O…okay. Just a moment."
Heero held his breath and closed his eyes. 'Duo, please be okay. I need you.'