Disclaimers and warnings still apply

SHATTERED GLASS
Ryu~Itsutsu

Part Three : Fractured Mirror

"The glass shattered. Shards flew in all directions, embedding themselves in
his wrists and fingers, so that suddenly he was bleeding from dozens of
lacerations. But still he went on screaming and pounding the fractured
mirror with bloody hands; and when I tried to restrain him he bit me . . .
he bit me like a wild animal, that was out of its mind with fear."
~Madeline, speaking of the first time her son Erik saw his own face
reflected
Susan Kayís Phantom (the life story of the Phantom of the Opera)

"You. Didnít. Get. Him."

Winnerís voice was as sweet as ever, carefully controlled, that same
seemingly gentle smile on his face; but the boy before him knew better, and
his hands were twisting into knots behind his back. "Winner, I-"

"You what, Chang? I gave a simple enough job. All you had to do was walk
into the dorm while this ĎWufeií was and *take* the roommate. Youíve
completed more difficult jobs successfully in your sleep. So tell me,
Chang," he spit the name out, voice growing hard even as the angelic
expression remained, "why donít I have ĎDuoí Maxwell here?"

Chang lifted his head, looking straight into Winnerís face but not into the
wide turquoise eyes. He could feel a pressure on the back of his skull,
familiar and terrifying; Winnerís empathy was toying with his emotions,
increasing the uneasy fear that had clung to him since failing his mission
and manipulating it to what was almost a full-blown panic attack. Had Chang
not been a trained assassin and killer, taught to control his emotions, he
would have turned tail and run like a startled rabbit. "I entered the
dormitory after allowing ten minutes to make certain that subject Wufei had
gone to class and wasnít coming back for anything as he often does. I went
to the end of the hallway, prepared to pick the lock on the door, and heard
what could only be his footsteps coming up the stairs. I barely managed to
duck into the bathroom before ĎWufeií was in the hall himself. His classes
had been canceled, as had all classes for the rest of day, because there was
a severe ice storm warning."

"And I also seem to notice," Winner continued, blithely ignoring the excuse,
"that you did not take advantage of any additional opportunities to take the
boy."

"There were none," Chang said, keeping his voice carefully neutral. "The ice
storm came and he was in his room with Duo the whole time."

Winner smiled, a dangerous expression, and Chang felt that whisper across
his mind twist and he almost jumped visibly. "I"m disappointed, Chang. I
want you to know that."

"Y-yes . . ."

"Good boy." That sweet smile again and Winner leaned over to press a button
against the wall. "I"m sending Maxwell with you this time. Maybe between the
two of you you can manage to capture one or the other. Understood?"

Changís eyes narrowed in anger but he nodded tersely. "Understood."

"Good. Maxwell should be in his rooms getting ready." The doors behind Wufei
opened and the Chinese boy heard the soft shuffling steps of Yuy as the
silent assassin walked in. "Go in the school uniform this time. Both of you.
If you incompetents actually manage to catch one of them, you need to be
ready to replace him immediately."

"...Yes." Chang turned at Winnerís nod of dismissal, his gaze meeting Yuyís
for a moment. The mute boyís shirt was unbuttoned halfway down, showing the
top of a thin scar that was a sure sign of Maxwellís usage. Fierce cobalt
eyes looked back and Changís eyebrows went up in surprise. Three days free
of Maxwell because of Winnerís orders and the boy was already recovering?
Amazing. He nodded a cool greeting to the other boy and walked out, hearing
Winner speak as the doors shut behind him.

"Yuy, I need you to check on Nanashi. He hasnít reported i-"

Chang stood in the hallway only a moment before turning and heading for his
loverís rooms with long strides. It had been four days since he had seen the
other boy, in the meeting where their . . . activities . . . had been
interrupted and Wufei had left to capture Duo. His failure would already be
known to the other boy and he certainly didnít look forward to it . . . not
to mention there would be no time to pick up where they had left off and
there was no doubt in his mind Maxwell would want to, especially after so
many days without his "pet."

Carelessly entering Maxwellís personal code, Chang walked straight into the
apartment. Voice flat and controlled despite his recent humiliation, he
called, "Maxwell, get a move on! Weíre losing time!"

A ball of energy emerged from the bedroom, already dressed in the uniform
pants, the usually half loose hair pulled back into a braid. "I"m ready.
*Youíre* the one whoís not dressed. Get your ass in gear."

Chang smirked as he caught the bundle of clothes Maxwell tossed at him and
started stripping. "Arenít you looking cute and innocent?" he asked
mockingly, voice muffled as he pulled his shirt over his head.

A flash of silver and Changís hand struck like lightening, catching the
Americanís wrist in a deathgrip. "Nuh-uh," he said. "You know better."

Maxwell grinned at him and pressed closer, the razor-edged knife that had
been his greeting still held in his right hand, the wrist of which was tight
in his loverís hand. "Good. One day youíll miss and Iíll have no use for you
anymore . . ."

"I seriously doubt it. Youíre not fast enough, and youíre too predictable.
Itching for it, arenít you?"

Maxwell pouted, his free hand pressing on his loverís stomach and slipping
down to absently undo the button on his pants. "Youíd be itching for a fuck
too, baby, if you were me."

"So Iím not, since Iím not you?" Chang took the knife and Maxwellís right
hand, now freed, was set to the task of stripping his lover.

"Not like me, lover, never like me." Maxwell hissed as the cold metal passed
over his back, the dull edge against his skin with the promise of that sharp
edge so close. Only Chang was allowed this kind of license . . . only Chang
was allowed to hold the weapon. "Mmm..."

Abruptly, the Chinese boy pulled away and laid the knife against the
Americanís cheek. "Let me get dressed. We have work to do."

"Fuck you," Maxwell bit out.

Chang smirked. "Later."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Chang and Maxwell passed through to the other universe with no problem, and
found their targets easily enough. All five ex-pilots were gathered at an
outdoor cafť, celebrating Duoís birthday, or at least his declared birthday.
Well disguised, they settled at a fairly distant table and listened with
ears augmented to make them more effective killers.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Duo sidled a little closer to his roommate, trying not be obvious about it.
He was down to his last package for his "Birthday," a day set aside when
they were in high school. It had been Wufeiís idea, in fact, that he declare
a birthday for himself. The insistence that Duo deserved a day just for him
was one of the many things that intrigued the American boy about his dark
friend. Since the end of the war, Wufei had never ceased surprising him with
the seeming contradictions of his personality; shy and distant, not good
with people, Wufei was also a good listener who didnít seem to mind having a
chattering American for a roommate at all. The two had become friends in
high school, and Duo was afraid that he was in danger of feeling something .
. . a little more than friendship for the other boy. He liked to be close to
him, liked to make him talk, liked to touch him and watch him and . . .
Okay, so he was way past just being afraid he would *develop* deeper
feelings for the other boy, but there was no way he was going to tell Wufei
that! He couldnít afford to botch up his friendships with any of these
pilots who understood him, least of all Wufei.

"So whatíja get me, Feeeeei-kun?" Duo asked, practically bouncing in his
seat. Wufei rolled his eyes and Quatre laughed.

"If I was going to tell you, I wouldnít have wrapped it," Wufei said
logically.

"You didnít. Putting a bag over it upside down doesnít count as Ďwrapping,í"
Duo said, and grinned when he caught sight of the very tip of Wufeiís tongue
sticking out at him before the Chinese boy could stop himself.

"Well, if you donít want it . . ." Wufei reached out and started to pull the
package away, "Iím sure Quatre wouldnít mind having it. Would you?"

"Not at all," Quatre said with a wink.

"Maaatte, matte Fei-kun, now donít go making hasty decisions!" Duo caught
Wufeiís hands rather than the package, seeing no reason not to take
advantage of the situation if he had to keep his growing infatuation to
himself. He smiled his best "Arenít I Adorable?" smile and tugged. "You were
nice enough to find something for me, I might as well open it!"

Wufei seemed to consider for a moment before nodding. "Logical." He let go
somewhat reluctantly, not wanting to lose that contact, and leaned back. "Go
ahead."

Duo clapped his hands together and rubbed them briskly. This was all still
so new, having a family gather in celebration of his existence if not of his
exact birth, and he reveled in it. Reaching out slowly, he traced the length
of the colorful bag, toyed with the rim..and ripped his hand up with a
flourish.

His jaw fell open. On the table in front of him was a one-gallon tank lined
with crimson stones, complete with a small plant swaying gently in the
bubbles from the aerator and a beautifully full-finned fish that swam
gracefully through the water. It was amazing, midnight black and lined with
splashes of bright red.

"I know itís not much of a pet," Wufei said, sounding a little
uncomfortable, "but you said weíd never had one, and fish are the only
things weíre allowed to have in the dorms-"

Duo store his eyes from the pretty fish and laughed, throwing his arms
around the other boyís shoulders in a quick, spontaneous hug. "Arigato,
Fei-kun!" he chirped as he released the now flustered Chinese boy and went
back to fish-watching. It was lovely, and heíd never had a pet before!! And
Wufei had *remembered* that Duo had always wanted a pet - damn him! He just
kept getting cuter! Like Duo wasnít in deep enough already . . .

Wufei blushed faintly across his nose, earning Trowa a little elbow in the
ribs from a delighted Quatre. "Thereís food in the other little package . .
. itís a Siamese fighting fish, so heíll be easy to take care of . . ."

Duo grinned like an idiot, absolutely delighted, and Wufeiís blush darkened.

Across the restaurant, Maxwell laughed softly and clasped his hands in front
of him, purring, "How adorable!"

Chang rolled his eyes at his lover. "What are you going on about now?" he
hissed. "You canít afford to be distracted! If we donít catch him this time
itís both our hides!"

"Oh, but donít you see?" Maxwell asked, eyes dark with passionate need as he
ran thoughtful nails down Changís arm. "Itís painfully obvious to everyone
but the two of them - theyíre in *love* with each other! And they donít even
know it!"

"How...cute." Chang said, annoyed and somewhat nauseated by the thought of a
relationship based on the giving of fish for birthdays. "Maxwell, we donít
have time for this. We have to catch one to interrogate-"

"Youíre not thinking, baby. This is *for* the interrogation" The American
turned to look at his lover, nails digging in to the bronze skin and faintly
drawing blood in his excitement. His voice was hushed and heavy with the
sound of sex and a shiver ran the length of his body. "Itís so
delicious...why choose one...when the other can *watch.*"

"What?"

"What better way to find out youíre in love?" Maxwell leaned close,
unmindful of their being in a public place, his hand sliding down to his
partnerís lap as his mind filled with images of one or the other underneath
him, crying out in pain as the other was held motionless, screaming for
mercy for them both . . . "This is perfect...the only thing that could
replace my beautiful mute pet..."

"Maxwell," Chang said sternly, catching the wandering hand. "Our orders are
to catch *one,* not both."

"For now, lover," Maxwell said, eyes resettling on the little group, sharply
aware that his double was once again scooting carefully closer to his crush.
"For now." Oh, this would be truly delightful...

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Three tables away, flat green eyes looked out from under a black wig and
Nanashi shook his head. "Morons. If anyone will ruin this mission, itís
them..."

//You havenít killed the Winner double// his mind whispered. //Just watched
him, just kept him in your sights every waking moment . . .//

The nameless assassin shook his head and tried not to let his eyes resettle
on the little blond. "Thereís nothing to that," he muttered, "Iíll kill him
yet . . ."

~END PART THREE~