Warning: Violence, death.
Blood in Siberia
Chapter 10: Silver Water's Wish
It was better to die on my feet than to live on my knees. At least, that was what I was trying to tell myself. But in truth, I would gladly be the biggest coward ever known in human existence if it meant I could continue breathing.
My earlier assessment of the Alphagué's height was proven correct, when he straightened and stepped forward. Looking up (and up, and up) at him made my mind short-circuit. There was no reason for a two-legged creature to be that damn tall. He knew it too, and used it against me. Stepping so close that my chin touched his stomach, he stared down at me and smiled. With Silver Water at my back, I felt trapped. "You are not going to give me a hard time, are you?" he said with a smirk. It was more of a statement than a question.
I wished I had the .44 Magnum. With Wufei, Trowa, and the rest of the Privileged, they told you what to do, and that was it. I liked that kind of straightforwardness, even though it pissed me off when it was directed at me. But this Were, I could tell, liked to play games. I didn't like games. And I felt that the best way to express that would be to put a bullet in his ass. "Actually, I intend to be the biggest pain in the ass you've ever known."
He threw his head back as he roared with laughter. The move made me and Silver Water jump. The fact that the move was too sudden for even the shape-shifter to see damn near made me shit in my pants.
"You have already proven yourself difficult, small one," he said, once he finished chortling. "It has taken me great time and energy to find you. I don't expect taking you to be any easier."
"What?!" I squawked, before I could stop myself. "You're taking me? Taking me where?!" I demanded, throwing my hands on my hips like an offended woman on a date. The Were seemed to find me amusing. I wondered how amusing I would be when I shoved my foot up his--
"Alphagué," Silver Water interrupted, before I could really show out. "We still have some unfinished business."
The Alphagué--Otto--stared at Silver Water intensely. He was angry at the interruption. But the shape-shifter didn't back down. Actually, it looked like he could give a shit. "You've made it this long," Otto said at long last, deliberately. "What's another five minutes?"
"Eternity," was the cryptic answer. "Plus, I can make things a hell of a lot harder for you. More so than he can." He nodded towards me.
The werewolf thought it over for a hot second. "Fine."
I was suddenly turned around. Silver Water looked at me with a sad smile on his face. "Goodbye Duo," he whispered, and gave me a gentle, closed-lipped kiss.
Without warning, both men--er--creatures, stepped to the side, and walked away from me. There was a split second where the practical side of my brain screamed, 'Run damn you, run!' while the other, nosier side said, 'Hmm, I wonder what they're doing?' Guess which side won?
I watched curiously as they moved a few feet from me, and stood facing each other. My curiosity turned to concern when I sensed a change in Silver Water. His body went from being coiled with strength to unresisting, as loose as a puppet's. The color of his skin seemed to bleed from him, and the aura about him, dimmed. Taking a deep breath, he slowly let it loose, and my eyes fluttered as his exhale blended with the breeze. The breeze stopped.
Then the Alphagué, lightening fast, ripped Silver Water's heart out.
I froze. It took me a few seconds to figure out what happened. My eyes saw the images, but my brain wasn't computing the information. When I finally put everything in order, I went completely ape-shit.
"SILVER WATER!" I screamed as I ran towards him, but there was nothing I could do. He was already dead. As fast as I was coming upon them, the body was twice as fast disintegrating. Dust was beginning to blow in the wind, as if an hourglass had been shattered. Otto clapped his hands together, ridding them of the black ash that was once a heart. I stopped and dropped to my knees, gingerly touching a pile of clothes. That was all that was left of him.
I didn't know long I was like that. I will never know either. My brain had taken a hiatus, leaving my heart to figure out just what the hell happened. It was such a shock to my system, to know that he was alive, literally, a minute ago, and now he wasn't. I could still smell him, from where he held me around my shoulders. I could still feel his body heat on my back. My lips still tingled from his kiss.
He was dead.
"WHY?!" I rounded on the werewolf suddenly, grief making me insane. "How fuckin' could you?!" I screamed, jumping at him. With all of my strength, I started pounding on his chest. It felt, literally, like I was punching a brick wall. But I couldn't stop myself. I was too far gone. "He did what you told him to, and you killed him so you wouldn't have to pay him! What kind of back-stabber is your Packmaster, huh? How--"
His hand around my neck cut off the rest of my accusation. Without any thought from me, my hands quickly flew to my throat to free it. It didn't do any good. He wasn't going to let go until he was good and ready. It took me a moment to realize that. Once I did, I also realized he wasn't hurting me. He was pissed at me, yeah, but he wasn't hurting me.
"Do not insult my Packmaster," he said, anger making his voice an inhuman growl. "I have killed better creatures than you for less. Do it again and I'll make you beg for your end." I believed him, so I said nothing. "And do not insult my integrity. He completed his part of the bargain by bringing me you, so I granted his desire."
"And his desire was to die?" I asked in a tired, but hateful, tone.
"Yes," he answered, slowly releasing me. "When I arrived here, I told any creature willing to help me find you, that I would grant them any wish within my power to give. Since I am so powerful, my words were not doubted." He frowned. "The bobcat and the lynx each requested precious jewels." He shrugged. "Their desires were unintelligent. There isn't any use for such things in America, especially in a place like this." Then he looked over my shoulder, at Silver Water's remains. "His wish was to join his beloved. Since her death, his existence has turned sour on him."
I didn't hear anything else he said, if he said anything at all. I was through. I dropped to my butt and braced my elbows on my knees, as my head fell into my hands. I felt like my heart had been ripped out along with Silver Water's. The shock of his death took the last of the fight out of me, and I was at the point where I didn't give a shit about anything. I just wanted to be left the hell alone, but I couldn't even have that. I was so tired that I was having a hard time keeping my shields up. Thankfully, we were out in the middle of nowhere, so no one's thoughts intruded into my head. But the presence of the werewolf was encroaching on me, giving me a headache. If I didn't get relief soon, I was afraid my head would explode.
I felt Otto suddenly stiffen, and heard him sniff. I lifted my head, but remained still. The werewolf sniffed a few more times, then silently turned to look into the darkness. Throwing a glare in my direction that clearly said 'be quiet,' he strode forward and sniffed some more. I was watching him in detachment, when I felt I had... sunken, into the ground. Confused, I looked down to see what caused that sensation. When it happened again, I jumped, and tried to scoot back. Before I could move an inch, I was suddenly grabbed by Otto. He held me to his chest and jumped. When he did, I saw the ground cave in on itself, as if the earth suddenly opened its mouth. It happened right where I was sitting.
When we touched the ground, I could've sworn we were flying. Otto was running so fast it was nearly fatal for me. The trees whipped by in a blur that I've only seen from my car when I was driving over a hundred miles an hour. The wind the speed created was a crushing force against me, stealing my breath. He wove in between trees, and jumped over the holes opening up in the ground. All through this, I held on as tightly as I could. The air vacuum being created was trying to tear my arms off my body.
Through my haze of hair, I saw another form. Trowa. He was running so fast, his legs looked like hummingbird wings when flapping. He was running after us, dodging the holes and weaving through trees just like we were. I wanted to call for him, but I didn't have the breath. And when I tried to reach for him, my hand was almost taken off by a tree.
Suddenly, the ground shook. The earthquake was strong enough to trip up both werewolves, but their speed never wavered. So when a hole opened up right in front of us, Otto couldn't avoid it. He jumped it, inadvertently dropping me as he changed into a werewolf. Trowa jumped also, claws and teeth out as he changed too.
I screamed in horror when I was released. Gravity was pulling me down, and I knew that I was about to become a pancake. Then the earth opened up, and I had a view of a black hole before I fell into it. A strong wind blew around me like a tunnel-wave, it became pitch black, and I realized that I wasn't falling anymore. In fact, I couldn't move. There was a weight pushing against me at all sides, as if I was buried. It wasn't painful or crushing. In fact, it might have been comforting, if I had been in the right frame of mind. As it was, I was full of terror, and nothing was making sense to me anymore. So I screamed, and screamed, and screamed.
As my voice cracked and became raw, I distantly heard a familiar, high-pitched voice, singing. It was a sweet song about Mother Earth, meant to comfort. But I was beyond comforting. I kept on screaming.
I screamed until... I didn't know when I stopped. I had completely lost my mind.
I woke up in bed. More specifically, in Wufei's bed.
I wanted to be angry. I really did. But I was so worn out, physically and mentally especially, that I didn't care. I was in a bed and it was warm. I was found and safe. I was away from Silver Water's remains, the holes in the ground, and Otto. That was all I cared about.
Wufei's drapes were so thick and heavy, that it was impossible to tell night from day. But the skylight in the ceiling didn't let any light in. It was still night.
A loud... bark? And the sound of something being smashed made me sit up. A light flickered on, and I jumped in surprise. Trowa was sitting in a chair next to the bed, watching me. He didn't look his usual self either; claws had obviously ripped his clothes, and left their marks on his face, chest, and arms. He had one black eye, and his hair was mussed to the point where I didn't think a comb would ever get through. But he was breathing fine, and didn't appear to be in any pain.
"How do you feel?" he asked softly.
I thought it over. How did I feel? "Awful," I told him at last, tears in my voice.
He took a deep breath, and exhaled. "I'm so sorry Duo," he said quietly, agony coloring his voice.
His answer, and the way he said it, floored me. Even though I couldn't feel what Trowa was feeling because of his power, I didn't doubt his sincerity in the least. But I was snapped back to reality when I heard something even bigger break, and a very... dangerous-sounding growl.
"Wufei is back," he said. "He arrived while Otto and I were fighting for you, and stopped us." He sighed again. "But the damage has been done. You were very... distraught, and you couldn't be talked down. Wufei had to... make you go to sleep."
I rubbed the back of my neck. It was sore from Wufei's... putting me to sleep. "What else happened?" I asked when I heard something else break.
"Otto killed the Twins."
"What?!" I gasped, horrified. The Twins were twin cubs that had just been considered adults. They were the upcoming trackers for the Pack. They were good too, destined to be better than Darlian and his wife. "Why?!"
"Otto wouldn't say, but I know it's because they were close to finding where he was nesting. They told me so. He didn't have a choice." He shrugged. "Their bodies were found forty-five minutes from Temple. Quatre confirmed it was them."
I covered my face with my hands. There has been too much death today. "When did this happen?"
"They were found at the time the police were at your uncle's house."
Ah. That must've been when Quatre got the phone call. "Trowa, I'm sorry."
He smiled sadly at me. "Me too."
There was a crash, and a loud roar. Wufei sounded positively pissed.
"Where's Howard and Hilde?!" I asked in a panic.
"They are housing with the Maguanacs. They are fine, don't worry. They were more concerned about you. You didn't look well when we brought you... and you still don't."
I chuckled. That was the first laugh I've had all night. "Yeah, well, I'm glad the outside matches the inside." There was another crash, a roar, and some unintelligible growling. "What the hell is he doing?"
"He is speaking with the Prince," Trowa said, voice so cold I was surprised icicles didn't fall from the air. "He is very... unhappy."
That got a real laugh out of me. Saying Wufei was unhappy was like saying the sky was big. It didn't quite describe it. "Yeah, I bet."
Suddenly, for some reason unknown even to me, I started to cry. At first, it was just gasping, and some eye-blotting. But then the dams broke open, and I started to cry like I wouldn't stop. I felt the bed dip, and strong arms wrapped around me, holding me against a warm chest. That made me cry harder. So Trowa held on tighter and rocked me back and forth, growling what sounded like a werewolf lullaby.
This went on for hours. The only reason I stopped was because I didn't have any more tears left. I truly didn't. But Trowa still held me as I wracked from dry sobs. I was waiting for my body to realize that I had nothing left to cry with. When it did, I exhaled, and was content to stay right where I was.
Trowa, on the other hand, had other plans. "Duo, what happened to you? Tell me."
And I did. I started from the night Wufei and I made love for the first time. "All I wanted to do was tell him something, and he wouldn't even listen!" I whispered at one point, thumping Trowa's chest with my fist for emphasis. "He wouldn't listen!" Then I went on to tell him about Mueller, Alex, and Tsubarov. I told him, again, about Darlian's visit, and when I went to Yantis. My fight with the bobcat made him growl, but when I told him about Gus Gus shooting him, he laughed. I did too.
A good chunk of my tale was told quickly, because it was things Trowa already knew. Instead, I skipped ahead to when Silver Water found me under my uncle's shed, the flight to Temple, and his death. At this point I started to choke up again, and it took several stops and starts for me to finish it. The rest, again, Trowa knew. Probably more than I did.
"What happened out there?" I asked after I rested. I didn't realize how much I talked. Sunlight started to stream in through the skylight. "Why did the ground shake, and what were all of those holes?"
"The gnomes," he answered simply. "They were trying to get you away from the Alphagué so that I could step in and handle him. But he was able to smell them, so that changed things."
"Oh." Now everything made sense. "That scared the shit outta me."
"I know, and I'm sorry." He ran his hands over my hair. "It was not my intention to scare you, but to get you away from him. I didn't know what his intentions were, and I didn't want to risk it."
"I know, and I'm glad," I whispered. Snuggling up to him, I realized that I didn't want to snuggle up to him. "I want Wufei."
"As you wish," he told me, laying me down gently and covering me up. Then he rose, crossed the room in three strides, and used the intercom on the wall. Wufei had it installed for me when I complained how hard it was to open the door after he left in the morning. When I felt especially lazy, it worked great for room service too.
"Yes?" answered Heero's tired, but stressed voice. I could understand why. In the background, Wufei's rage was even clearer; his roars were so thunderous it made the walls shake, and it turned out it was the floor cracking beneath his feet. If I was able to hear all of that through an intercom, then what Heero was dealing with had to be a nightmare.
"Understood," Heero gasped, then the intercom went silent.
Wufei was there in the time it took to take a breath. I rolled into his chest as his arms circled me. Burrowing my head under his chin, I exhaled, and reveled in the warmth of his body. Despite how pissed I was that he got me into this situation, I was thrilled to be in his arms again.
Was this why you wanted to die, Silver Water? Was the need to be held so strong, that you would rather die than live without it? Did love do that to you? Will love do that to me?
You were trying to tell me that, weren't you? I didn't understand then. I didn't understand now. But I was beginning to see it. I wasn't there yet, but I was on the road, heading in the right direction.
It was better to die on your feet, because living on your knees wasn't living.
Silver Water, you've made a coward out of me.