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Chapter Five: Crawling
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Fangs of the Wolf

Chapter Five


Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is not mine. Duh.

Note: Has anyone else noticed the slight Death Note-ish feel to this???

Duo just stood there, his door open to the cool fall wind. His hands were trapped where they were; one was holding his hair while the other held the doorknob.

Heero's hair was even messier than usual, as if he'd been raking his fingers through it. His shirt was a bit rumpled, but still immaculate for the hour. His gaze was still sharp and penetrating, still that piercing cobalt.

He felt a flutter in his stomach.

“Oh! Lieutenant Yuy, right?” Duo didn't move to let the man in. He had to remember himself – he couldn't afford to slip up. It was no secret, after all, that the police wanted Shinigami as desperately as they wanted the murderer.


Man of many words, he was. “Uh-huh. Is there something you want?” Oh, shit. That had a hidden message. And not just sexual.

“Mr. Maxwell, there is a question about your safety.”

“My safety?” Duo repeated. He stood still as a stone, gripped the doorknob tighter. “What do you mean?”

“Mr. Maxwell...” Here the lieutenant hesitated. “We have reason to suspect the perpetrator to have an unresolved issue with you.”

Yeah, no shit? Duo thought, but only said, “Issue?”

“Yes. May I come inside?”

“Yeah, sure.” He let go of the door to gesture vaguely indoors. He backed up as the man entered and caught a quick whiff of the man's skin. The scent, completely unadorned, made his gut clench. He carefully shut the door; the room was gaining a distinct chill. Or maybe it was getting a bit too stuffy. “What do you mean, 'issue'? Am I in some sort of danger?”

“We don't know.” The man made a brief survey of Duo's living room. Duo took the chance to finish braiding his hair. He felt distinctly uncomfortable with the man so near – and in his house. His thoughts flicked to his computer.

“What do you mean?” he repeated. “Don't know? Why would someone be after me?”

The man turned back to Duo, piercing him with those hard eyes. Duo wondered if the man even knew what a smile was. “That is confidential.”

Duo huffed and stuffed his hands on his hips. “You're telling me I could 'be in danger' and then you're gonna tell me I can't know why?”


Duo threw his arms up in the air. “Great. Fucking great.” He glared at the man. “What kind of danger am I in?”

“We're placing you in Protective Custody.”

Well, then. The police were truly concerned. “My ass you are,” he said lightly. “I've read the books, remember? You can't force someone into Protective Custody.” (1)

“Mr. Maxwell, it would be in your best interest-”

“No! Absolutely not. I finally have a stable life, you know? I won't let you take that from me.” He turned decidedly away. “Now, do you want a drink?”

There was no sound when suddenly Duo's wrist was caught in a vice-like grip. Duo turned in shock to face straight into those dark blue orbs. “Mr. Maxwell, I'm afraid you do not understand the severity of your predicament.”

“Yeah, you're right,” Duo snapped irritably. “I don't – because you won't tell me!”

“It's confidential,” he said stubbornly.

Yeah. Yeah, it was. Whatever leads they may have gotten, they weren't reporting them to their superior. Apparently Yuy didn't want Shinigami's help. “Fine. Then don't expect me to cooperate.” He tugged his hand free and walked into the kitchen. He needed a drink.

Lieutenant Yuy growled something unintelligible and followed. “Mr. Maxwell-”

“For Jesus Christ, you're in my house being offered a drink. Take the stick out of your ass and call me Duo. Duo. Okay?” He flipped the man a cocked brow before turning back to his fridge. Something about the man set off all sorts of walls around him. He was edgy and uncomfortable and he didn't like it. It was similar to being checked out by a pimp – absolutely horrifying.

Mr. Maxwell,” the man stressed, “it is very important that you-”

He snatched a beer from his fridge and popped off the lid, taking a healthy gulp. He smacked his lips and glared at Heero. “I'm not going into Protective Custody. Why should I? I have nothing to worry about. If those guys want a piece of me, I'm ready.” A strange glint flickered in his eyes, then was gone. He smiled. “Or at least I hope so.”

Heero wasn't impressed. “'Those guys,' as you put it, are not your main concern.”

Duo let his beer crash down on the counter with a thunk. “Then what is?!”

Heero didn't even flinch. Smooth. Heero was smooth as silk. He thought of the ethnicity written on Lieutenant Yuy's files and smiled at his unknowing pun. (2) The man seemed like a samurai, with that rigid stance and that dead face. How did those eyes, so cold and emotionless, call to him?

Heero shook his head. “I cannot tell you.”

Duo huffed again. “Fine.” He turned away and grabbed up his drink again. “If that's all you came here for, then you're done. Leave.” Damn, but he couldn't act nice right now. Maybe if he stopped gazing into those eyes...

Heero hesitated.

Duo made a concerted effort to not throw his beer against the wall. Carefully he took another sip. “So that's how it is,” he murmured. “You're the one with baby-sitting duty, huh? You trying to weasel your way out?”

Heero grunted. Duo figured the man hadn't expected someone to figure it out. He would have to be more careful.

“Yes. I wanted to keep an eye on you.”

It would have sounded suggestive if it weren't for the tightened steel sound of Heero's voice. Duo turned back to him and placed his beer back down. This wasn't good. “What do you mean?” He stiffened. “Me? You think I killed Father Maxwell and Sister Helen and Sister Mary? You bastard!” His fists had clenched hard enough for the nails to bite.

Heero's eyes altered for just one second, momentarily stopping Duo's heart. Sympathy? Regret? “No, Mr. Maxwell, that's not the case.”

“Then what?!” Duo raked hands through his hair, truly exasperated and frustrated. “What do you want from me?”

Heero jerked a bit at that one. “I will be staying.”

Duo looked at him with a snap. “You'll what?” The hell he was having this man in his house! He could hardly breathe as it was!

“In my car.” Heero nodded his head toward the door.

Duo instantly felt bad. “Hey, man, that's not necessary. You can stay in here.”

Heero shook his head. “No. It's better if I stay outside.”

Duo frowned, playing dumb. “It's gotta be uncomfortable. Why can't you just come in?”

Heero's eyes hardened again. It was almost as if he saw beyond Duo's facade into his heart. “It's inefficient,” was all he said. He bowed slightly. “I'll be leaving.”

Duo stopped him before he got to the door, grabbing his shoulder. “Wait – I mean,” he chuckled nervously, “hey – rest easy, okay? And call me if you need anything... or want anything.” He bit his lip. Shit, that had some serious connotations. He wasn't ready for them. Not yet. Not... not with this man. “I mean it. If you're going to be doing this...”

Heero nodded, but said nothing. With practiced grace, he took his leave.

Duo stood staring at the door, still seeing the man's body, still smelling his skin. He clenched his right hand. He could still feel the sinew of those muscles. “Jesus,” he whispered. This was bad.

With a shudder, he turned away and turned off the lights. He needed to get upstairs and work. Now.


It wasn't unusual for a man to be awake for a long period of time after he was told he had someone after him, but this was ridiculous. Heero looked at his watch again, frowning. It was past two in the morning. The man hadn't moved from one room since Heero had left him. The light burned through the night like a beacon.

He couldn't help but think on how the man had seen Heero's responsibilities, then hadn't understood why he needed to be outdoors, where he could see more of the house and surrounding neighborhood. Either the man had a split personality, or he was hiding something.

And despite the fact that Duo Maxwell confessed to disliking cops, he still offered his home to Heero. Sure, he'd been defensive and stand-offish, but in truth, that, too, could be expected. He was told he was in danger, but not by what or who. Heero wouldn't be able to stand it.

But still... still, something nagged at him, pushing his instincts screaming to the surface. There was more here than they could see. More to that man.

He closed his eyes and rested his head. What was it about that man? What was he hiding?

And more, why was it him that had awakened his long-dead interest? What was it about Duo Maxwell that made his chest burn? When he'd felt that smooth skin beneath his hand...

He shook the thoughts off. This was bad. The man was a target by their perp and a suspect in the identity of another. Bad. Impossible. He wasn't one to care for the enemy. He didn't allow it. After all, if he did, it could mean his death. But still...

Gay? Not once had he ever thought that he would be homosexual. Sure, he wasn't interested in women, but he'd never really been interested in men, either. Wufei and Trowa were handsome. Why had he never looked twice at them?

But he hadn't, and now he did, and he wasn't one to mope or fight what was clearly the truth. He would learn to work with his new... interests. And he would not let them interfere with this case.


Duo cursed.

He had all the information he needed – he knew who J was. He knew exactly who the man was. But if he leaked the information to the cops, they might very well defend the bastard. He would have to take care of this on his own. Which was bad, since he always worked in the shadows, never showing his face. How the hell could he protect himself if he showed himself to the Chief of Police?

Jesus. Chief Rome E. Fellur – Romefeller. The Romefeller Foundation – J holds the answer. This was it. R, E, and F equaled out to J. So the Romefeller Foundation was behind all of this. But how? And why? Worse... it seemed that J himself had been the one to kill...

To kill Sister Helen and Father Maxwell and Sister Mary. Dammit. It was him. Duo wanted more than anything to run over to the bastard's house and kill him in his sleep. The desire for vengeance was so great it left a burning, acrid taste in his mouth. He wanted to kill him.

But if he did, nothing would be solved. Romefeller was now after something, too. What? And why were they killing these men? Why? What the hell should he do? He can't tell the police. He sure as fuck can't afford to throw himself out there, alone, and show himself for who he was. There were a lot of people who wanted to kill him. He couldn't give those people a face or name. He'd be dead in a week.

Rome E. Fellur. What the fuck was he supposed to do with the man?

Then again... Duo felt vaguely sick at the thought. What if he did nothing? What if he let Romefeller kill J? He sat back and closed his eyes. That, too, was cold-blooded murder. If he just sat back and did nothing as J died... he would be no better than the killers themselves. He was a vigilante, a delinquent, a pickpocket, a street rat, and a thief. But he was not a killer.

He sighed. He needed to sleep – he had to work tomorrow. And he was probably beginning to seem suspicious, staying up so late. He closed down his system and stood. He would worry about it all later.

God. What the hell was he going to do?

He shook his head. No, he wouldn't think about it. He needed to sleep-

And, for the first time in five full minutes, Lieutenant Heero Yuy entered his mind. The man's crazy brown hair, his piercing eyes, his thin lips, his built tan. The bastard wormed his way into Duo's conscious thoughts far too often.

He couldn't be interested in this man. He couldn't afford to be. He was a cop. A cop! The man wanted him arrested. He was also the most suspicious of him. Lieutenant Heero Yuy was a threat to his peaceful life.

He wouldn't let anyone fuck him over.

Hell, he wasn't doing anything illegal – he knew, after all. He'd read the damn books. He was giving bad guys over to the cops, and he was getting paid by those being victimized. The cops would say like a mercenary. He would say like a private investigator.

He turned off the light and walked to the bathroom. The hall was dark, since he didn't feel like turning the light on, only to turn it off again. There was no point in it, and it wasted pennies.

Heero Yuy would have to just get the hell out of his head. Duo was a grown, able man. Surely he could deal with an unnaturally strong attraction to a man he didn't like.

He flicked on the light to the bathroom with determination jerking his nerves.

A painting smeared his bathroom wall.

With a cry of rage and anguish, he stepped forward to rip it down.

No. He stopped on another cry, his eyes trapped on that picture. He gripped the doorjam hard enough to splinter it. It was a crime scene. He shouldn't go inside.

Whoever did the graffiti could paint. And they knew what Sister Helen and Father Maxwell had looked like.

It was a picture, all in red, of their butchered carcasses.

His last cry was of pure anguish, as he pushed himself away from the bathroom. He wrenched his eyes away from the sight and, without thought, without planning, tore himself down the stairs and out the door.

He recognized Yuy's car immediately, being as it was a cop car. He raced towards it.

Heero had begun getting out as soon as he saw Duo running out of the house in a mad panic, and was outside the car. Duo launched himself at the man.

“Mr. Maxwell-”

“No, please, just shut up a minute.” Duo desperately tried to get his breathing to steady. He only then noticed the tears streaming down his face. “Oh my God. Oh my God.” And he sobbed.

Later, he promised himself. Later he would hate himself for this.

“Mr. Maxwell... Duo.” Heero carefully put his hands around the man. Was Heero shaking, or himself? He couldn't tell. He couldn't care. “What happened?”

“Can't,” he whispered, holding the man's uniform in his fists. He'd always hated the copperheads' uniforms, but now... somehow, with this firm chest beneath it, Duo found solace in it. He sobbed again, then quieted himself. No noise. Noise was dangerous.

But God... God.

His knees shook beneath him, and Heero ended up having to carefully sit them both on their knees. “Duo-”

“Minute. Minute.” He managed to breathe deeply a few times, and his voice got marginally stronger. He almost felt like he could speak a sentence. He kept his eyes wide open, hardly daring to blink. But the image was already branded into his brain. Again. Vying for attention with the true picture.

Heero stayed silent then, seeming to accept Duo's need, though Duo could feel the tension in the man's body.

“Dammit,” Duo muttered. “I haven't cried in years.”

Heero was silent at that, as well, not saying anything. Letting Duo get his control back.

“I...” He tried, then had to swallow and try again. “I don't know how long it was there. I haven't used the upstairs bathroom since... since... I don't know when. Shortly after I got back from work. I... I had left for an hour to... to get groceries... that couldn't have been put up in an hour, right?” It had been too detailed.

If anything, Heero got even stiffer. “What, Duo?” His voice was suddenly much gentler. Maybe because Duo seemed about to break apart into tiny little pieces.

“Picture... someone painted a picture.” He had to take one more breath, and hold it. “Of... of the fire.”

Heero seemed to instantly understand. “Do you want to stay here?”

Yes. “No. I'll come.” He wouldn't be a coward – he had to fight this.

After all, he knew what it was – J was telling him to join with the other policemen, Heero and Wufei and Trowa and Quatre. It was a call for a united front.

Had J chosen them to defeat the Romefeller Foundation? Was that what this was about?

He wouldn't be forgiven. No matter what his intentions.

Heero led the way back to Duo's house, though Duo tried to be brave and take the front. Heero wouldn't allow it.

“I... I didn't step inside,” Duo said softly as Heero opened the door.

Heero grunted, then paused for a second. He turned back to Duo. Those eyes were still just as assessing as before, but now they seemed to be looking at him somewhat differently. “I understand.”

He did, Duo realized. Just like that, Heero had placed himself in Duo's position, wondering what he would have felt and done if he'd seen, say, Lowe's picture splattered on a wall in his home.

Duo just nodded, and they continued inside and up the stairs.

Duo was glad that he'd shut the door to his computer room – he didn't want Heero to see Duo's massive computing equipment. They passed the computer room, then the next room on the left – Duo's bedroom. The bathroom was still lit, the door hanging open. In the still darkness, it took on an air of malice.

“You should stay here,” Heero cautioned, but Duo didn't listen.

He wouldn't hang back and let that bastard fuck with him. He wouldn't cower in fear.

No. The terror was past, just as the killings were past. There was nothing to be changed – so there was nothing to fear.

He stared at that picture. It was detailed. To a fault. Every single cut and wrinkle in Sister Helen's habit, every single crinkle in Father Maxwell's skin. The picture started at the floor, with burning pieces of timber, and ended touching the ceiling, with the ceiling of the church crumbling slowly to the ground.

Now that Duo looked closely, there was something wrong. “Those boards had still been intact,” he murmured quietly as Heero studied the painting. Heero looked at him sharply, then turned back to the painting.


Duo pointed, though Heero wasn't looking at him. “Those, on the left. The two lying criss-crossed on-top one another. They were still standing. And the right side of the church had begun to fall. And Father Maxwell's cloak had been caught on down at the end.”

“So this isn't that exact moment you'd been there.”

“I don't think the man knew what the fire looked like,” Duo explained. “But... he definitely knew what the bodies looked like.”

He'd left out Sister Mary. Because he and the Sister hadn't really gotten along? Or because he'd just run out of time?

“Something else I don't think he knew,” Duo continued. “Sister Helen... had still been alive.”

This time when Heero turned to him, he didn't look back to the picture. “She was still alive?”

Duo nodded. “She stayed alive just long enough to plead for me to live a good life, and to say that she was glad I was safe.” He didn't cry now. These tears he had already shed. “Then she died.”

Heero cursed resoundly. “The rest of us... were not there when the deaths occurred. Would you have joined the police force if you hadn't witnessed this?” Duo shrugged, but Heero had already shaken his head. “No, nevermind.” And he raked a hand through his hair.

“Does... does that matter? That I'm... not a cop?”

Heero's eyes twitched for a second. “Maybe.”

Duo huffed, even as he carefully kept his eyes away from the painting. “Fine. Lemme guess – 'it's confidential.'”

Heero hummed what could be termed an agreement. He took another look at the painting. “Then that's the way you found them?”

Duo forced himself to look again, to study it. Sister Helen was turned slightly toward Father Maxwell, as if she'd been trying to get to him. Father Maxwell's arm reached out for Sister Helen. He lie flat on his stomach, Sister Helen the opposite, on her back.


Heero nodded. “I'm going to call in Wufei. Is that all right?”

Duo wondered why he'd chosen Wufei. Were the man's skills needed, or was the relationship between the two what precipitated Heero's decision?

Duo only nodded and went back down the stairs. His legs gave out at the bottom, and he let himself fall onto the last step, managing to sit and not stumble down to the landing. He put his face in his hands and tried to regain control.

He'd faltered. Hell, he'd broken. He'd run from his own house and jumped into the arms of the most dangerous man to be near. Heero Yuy. Lieutenant Heero Yuy. Somewhere in there, Duo had forgotten that one very important label.

Enemy. The man was an enemy.

Duo was tired of having enemies.

He continued to sit there, unable to see anything but the past, until the doorbell rang. He looked up hollowly. Wufei was here. Wufei would lead him away while cops came into his house. They would search all the rooms, and they would find his computer system. They wouldn't find anything on it, but just its existence would deepen Heero Yuy's suspicions of him.

For now, he couldn't work himself up to caring. He would later. He would fix everything later. Later.

He would have the strength later.

(1)I hope that's true...

(2)Silk is actually a symbol for samurai's, along with sakura (cherry blossom) petals.

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Every story unless otherwise claimed is Kayura's, and is copyrighted 2006 under her name.