Tap Tap

Jason Langlois

Quatre sighed, his pale blue eyes peeking out from blonde bangs. His fingers stroked lightly through the brown hair of his companion, and he whispered the words, soft and sweet.

"I love you..."

His companion's eyes glittered as they looked down at him. "I love you, Quatre."

He sighed, laying his head on the shoulder that was so close as they held each other. "Oh, Catherine..."

Catherine stroked his hair, marveling at the softness of it. She sighed, happily, as he snuggled to her. "You've been so kind, Quatre... Ever since Trowa was com-"

He put a finger to her lips, eyes troubled. "Please, Catherine..." His voice was troubled. "Don't think badly about your brother... it wasn't his fault."

Catherine Bloom nodded, looking into the pale blue eyes that had been a part of her life since her older brother had been committed to a criminal institution. Trowa alone, always holding his emotions, had been the only one among the five Gundam pilots to finally snap after peace had settled between Earth and the Colonies.

Quatre had been kind enough to see that he'd gotten the best treatment the Winner Foundation could afford, and had taken great pains to make sure that she was well cared for as well. After months of almost daily visits, the two had grown closer, and finally he had confessed his real reasons for still coming around.

Catherine had felt the same.

Now they sat in a car on a darkened path under a tree, enjoying each other's company, enjoying each other's kisses, and enjoying time alone. Truth be told, Catherine had never thought of the effeminate Gundam pilot in a romantic way, but... oh, he had his charms.

The foggy windows attested to that.

The wind outside began to blow heavily, and Quatre looked out the front windshield before realizing it was fogged. He turned on the radio for a weather report.

"-storm coming from the east, and it's a big one! But we won't need our umbrella's until tomorrow, for the most part the storm will be over the bay. Expect high winds and clouds, though."

Quatre sighed, almost immediately after Catherine, and they laughed. "We should probably go in, hmm?" Catherine nodded and slipped the key in the ignition, turning it.

There was a clunk, and a rattle, but the engine wouldn't turn over.

"What the...?" She tried again, but only got a loud grinding noise.

Quatre leaned in, and sighed. "I think your starter's shot..."

"Oh, no..." Catherine sat back and put her face in her hands. "What are we going to do now?"

Quatre looked on the clock in the dashboard. "Catherine, I'm going to walk to town... I'll get someone to come and get the car, OK?"

"I'll come with yo-"

"No. It's cold, it's windy, and it will probably rain soon. I can cut through the woods, and I'd rather know you were safe and warm in the car."


He turned his true power on her, more powerful than his Gundam Sandrock, more powerful than the Zero System.

His liquid blue eyes pleaded with her.

"... OK."

He smiled and opened the door. "I'll be back before you know it!"

The first hour, she waited patiently. By the third, she was worried out of her mind.

Just like the forecast had said, strong winds had moved in and were blowing the trees around. There had even been a little bit of rain, just enough to add a chill to the air and keep her from rolling down the windows to let them defog. Instead she huddled in her seat, arms wrapped around her chest, trying not to think about how cold it ad gotten.

Where was Quatre anyway?

She had turned the radio off after the hour so she could hear if he approached, but she heard nothing. In truth, she knew she shouldn't worry. He was, after all, a trained soldier, but something about him, his trusting eyes and giving nature, made her afraid for him.

What if he'd gotten hurt? What if someone had taken advantage of him?

She'd started to get out of the car, to find him, when a loud noise on the roof made her jump. She looked up, heart thudding against her chest, and released her hand on the handle.

*tap... tap*

The wind whipped through the forest, a low moan echoing through the branches. Catherine scrunched lower in her seat.

She knew what had happened, of course. A branch had fallen down from the tree and was being blown against the car top by the wind.

*... tap.... taptap...*

She should just get out and move it, if she was going to be stuck here. But Quatre would be back soon, and there was no use in going out in the wind.

*tap.... tap.... taptap...*

She looked up, heart hammering. It was nothing... but she wasn't about to go outside. Truth be known, thinking about her brother had unnerved her more than she'd let Quatre know.

*tap... taptaptap... tap...*

She curled up on the driver's seat facing the window. Quatre would be there soon... she'd wait.

*tap... taptap.... taptatap...*

Despite the noise, the howling wind, the tapping branch, she drifted off to sleep.

She was awakened hours later by a light rain. The branch still tapped on the car's top.

And someone was shouting...

The fog had cleared off the windshield, and she could see a police officer with a bull horn. He brought it to his lips and spoke into it, his voice penetrating the windshield just enough for her to hear.

"Ma'am... I need you to listen to me very closely and do exactly what I say."

*tap... tap tap tap... tap...*

Catherine looked behind her. No one else around. Where was Quatre?

"Ma'am, please, just do what I say."

The officer was obviously trying to stat calm about something. Catherine nodded, exagerrated so that he could tell.

*tap tap... tap... tataptap...*

"Good. I want you to open the door and walk quickly to us. Don't close the door, and whatever you do, don't look back."

She pulled the handle, and the door opened. She began to walk, slowly, to the policemen. Why hadn't she noticed there were more? Was Quatre with them?"

Something, the branch, snagged her blouse, then let free. The officer put out hand to her.

"Don't look... just come here, quickly."

*tap... tap tap tatap... tap tap tap.*

She walked faster, just to get away from that sound, and reached the officer. He pulled her in, tried to get her into the waiting hands of the others, but she pulled back.

There was no wind.

But why was the branch still hitting the car?

She turned. And screamed.

Squating atop her car was her brother, the man who had been committed a year ago. He was looking intently at a stick he held upright in both hands, tapping it against the car roof.

Impaled on the other end of that stick was Quatre's head.

This legend was looked up at Castle of Spirits!