They hadn’t seen Trowa since helping him move over the weekend. It would have been logical to assume he had been reveling in again occupying a home of his own, though he’d only been in theirs for just over a week — Heero and Duo had certainly thoroughly celebrated their renewed privacy — but, unfortunately, the email Heero had received last night indicated that Trowa’s solitude had been short-lived and his time in the new house, thus far, unhappy.

It had begun by informing him that Quatre, before he’d disappeared for his ‘vacation,’ had sent a message to La Confrérie de la Lune Révéré letting them know that he had been the one to destroy the artifact. Trowa had tried divination after divination, apparently, hoping to find out for sure where Quatre might be and whether La Confrérie was involved in his disappearance, but something (or someone) was blocking his attempts.

The second half of the email, though perhaps less worrisome — even, possibly, somewhat reassuring — was more thought-provoking still:

I was talking to that exorcist, Hajime (he is staying at my house for the moment because the police want to question him and he would rather avoid that), about what I was trying to divine, and I realized he was under the impression that we must have known all along where Quatre is and were only trying to determine how to get him back or how to get to him.

He was surprised when he learned we don’t know where Quatre is at all, because apparently your coworker Dorothy, who refers necrovisual cases to him, is an accomplished diviner. All of my divinations regarding La Confrerie and Quatre’s whereabouts are being blocked, so I don’t know if she can do us any good, but since she knows Quatre personally, she might be worth a try. Would you ask her if she would perform some divinations for us?

This information conjured some guilt in Heero for a couple of reasons. First, he might have prevented the necessity for Hajime to hide out at a near stranger’s house (and destroy that near stranger’s newly attained privacy) if he had thought to say something about the exorcist on a couple of different occasions. The police must have heard that Hajime had visited Quatre’s office on the last day Quatre had been seen, and it wouldn’t be a lot of fun for Hajime to explain what he’d been doing there with a sword. Heero and Duo had told the police they’d been waiting for Quatre on Friday to join them for dinner with some friends; if they’d mentioned the names of those friends, Hajime might never have been sought for questioning.

Next, Heero had long been aware that Dorothy was a diviner, but that awareness had always stayed in the back of his head as something he didn’t need to care about. If he’d remembered it earlier, they might be three steps ahead of where they were now. Of course he couldn’t know how ‘accomplished’ she really was, and, as Trowa had mentioned, something was blocking divination on this subject… but it was an avenue worth exploring. Any and every avenue was worth exploring with Quatre’s safety potentially on the line.

So, for a second time, he kept a sharp lookout for Dorothy on Wednesday morning as they pulled into the parking lot. There was no sign of her all the way inside, and Heero had already parted with Duo (with the same promise as last time: to tell him all about it at lunch) before he encountered her — at her desk, and in the middle of a professional conversation even at 7:59.

Heero waited impatiently nearby, passing the time by working through surrounding thoughts, cataloguing them as he’d been actively practicing lately. Of course many of them were about Quatre, to match his own, so this wasn’t much of a distraction.

It still irritated him that his connection with his best friend provided no concrete way to assist in this situation. He’d glanced at the website Hajime had referred him to, and noted that it would probably, as the exorcist had suggested, be very profitable — but that first glance had told him nothing about the specific things he would like to accomplish right now with this ambivalently useful power of his. He needed to look through the site more thoroughly and see if there was anything on there about helping someone close to you with nightmares or telepathically connecting from afar with someone else close to you.

Finally Dorothy finished her conversation. It occurred to Heero that he’d now wasted nearly ten minutes doing almost nothing, and that, if Quatre had been here, he might have faced some trouble for it — but it didn’t matter; that Quatre wasn’t here was the entire point. Purposefully he advanced on the Sales Manager, noting her expectant and somewhat amused expression at his hovering.

“Yes?” was all she said. How much she knew about what was going on Heero didn’t know or really care.

“Quatre’s missing.” He spoke quietly, not wanting to contribute to the chaos of gossip that already existed in the near vicinity. “He disappeared before we could get him exorcized.”

Dorothy looked a little surprised. “Oh, I thought he must be taking some time off to recover,” she said. “Where has he gone?”

“We don’t know. There’s a possibility he may be in some trouble, and we were hoping you could do some divinations for us to help figure out where he is.”

“Of course,” she replied immediately with a sharp smile. “I’m quite interested in Quatre’s condition.”

Heero let out a relieved sigh. “Apparently there’s some divination-blocking going on.”

“Excellent!” As usual, she sounded far more intrigued — and in this case anticipatory regarding the challenge — than concerned or sympathetic.

“Can you stay late tonight?”

“Much as I’d like to, no,” she replied. “I have to pick up my niece immediately after work and keep her all night.”

Heero took a deep breath. Why did they always have to wait for people to help them on this? But he couldn’t demand that Dorothy rearrange her schedule for them, and it wasn’t exactly guaranteed she would be able to assist them in any case. “I’ll tell Trowa,” he began. “Maybe–”

“Trowa?” The edge in her voice suggested sudden engagement.

“Trowa Barton,” Heero confirmed. “Quatre’s boyfriend.”

The Trowa Barton?”


For a moment she was silent, and for Heero to say he could practically hear the thoughts racing in her head was less a figure of speech than it would have been for many others. “He must have been the one who cursed Duo,” she said at last, almost to herself. “That explains why it was so powerful and long-lasting.”

Heero nodded.

She fixed him with an accusatory look. “You never mentioned that.”

“No,” Heero agreed. He was tempted to ask why her divinations on the subject of Duo’s curse hadn’t informed her of this, if it was something she would be that interested in knowing, but he held his tongue.

“Well!” She seemed a little annoyed with him now, but her next statement was actually more promising even than if she’d been particularly happy with him. “I could go pick up my niece and bring her back here. She’s interested enough in magic that it shouldn’t hurt to have her here for a few divinations.”

Heero wondered a little how old this niece was, and whether her parents knew that the babysitting aunt didn’t mind exposing her to serious situations involving magic, but he doubted it was any of his business. He just said, “Thank you,” very sincerely. “I’ll let Trowa know.”

Dorothy’s eyes glittered.

“We’re going to meet after work in Quatre’s office. We’ll tell you all the details then.”

“Don’t let the team know you have a key to Quatre’s office,” Dorothy smirked with a slight gesture at the room around them. “It’ll just be more evidence that you were dating him.”

“I don’t have a key to Quatre’s office,” Heero replied somewhat coolly, not entirely appreciating her attitude about all of this even if he was grateful for her promised assistance. “I have a command magician.”

“Of course.” Dorothy’s smile widened. “Trowa Barton can probably get into anyone’s office he wants.”

“Like I said, Trowa is actually dating Quatre. This is very important to him. And to me. And Duo.”

“Well, you can tell Mr. Barton I’ll be there.” Again her eyes seemed to sparkle with extreme interest as she said the name. Despite the emphasis of Heero’s words, she didn’t acknowledge the seriousness of the situation. It reminded him of how Duo had behaved at first — but in Dorothy’s case, it was probably more that she lacked natural sympathy than that she didn’t respect potential negative outcomes. “It will probably take me about forty-five minutes to pick up my niece and get back here, so expect me just before six.”

“Thank you,” Heero said again, and the irritation she had impelled didn’t lessen his sincerity. “I’ll see you then.”

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