Blood in Siberia
Chapter 11: Control And Choice Are Illusions
"Are you satisfied?"
I ignored Howard, and continued to fold my clothes. I needed to get this done.
"Are you fuckin' satisfied?"
I stuffed what I thought was suitable into my duffelbag. Jeans should be good enough. And sweaters. Lots and lots of sweaters. Unfortunately, Texas didn't produce sweater-wearing weather. Shit. That meant I was going to have to buy some, ASAP.
"Well, are you?"
I walked around my bed, dropped to my knees, and dug underneath it for my boots. I knew I had a pair under there somewhere... hmmm. I heard Howard follow me, and I could feel his glare burning into my back. I ignored that too. Hilde was in the living room, watching TV, and trying to shut out the huge fight that was about to go down.
I jumped to my feet. His screaming in my ear was the last straw. "Jesus fuckin' Christ Howard! What the hell do you want from me?!"
"I want you to be god damn sensible, that's what!" he shouted back, so enraged that spittle flew in my face. "I don't fucking believe this! You're going to Siberia for Christ's sakes! Siberia, Duo. That's more than a hop, skip and jump away." 
"It'll be fine--"
"You don't know that! How many creatures are dead because of this werewolf? Oh, let's not forget that he's here in the name of the Prince!" he screamed. I stared at his face, undecided. He was so red, I didn't know whether to laugh because he looked like a tomato, or to call EMS before he had a stroke.
"Let's also not forget that I'm an adult," I said, dropping back to my knees to find my boots. "I can make my own decisions, ya'no."
"Booooy, watch your tone. It's taking everything I have not to kick the living shit outta you. Don't tempt me."
I raised my ass higher, in silent challenge.
"You know what? The hell with you," he said, right before he walked out and slammed the door.
"Howard," I said tiredly to the empty room. Finding my boots I dragged them out, cursing myself the entire time. "Howard!" I called louder, in the same tired voice. Sitting on the edge of my bed, I let the boots dangle between my knees. "Howard!" When I didn't get a response, I looked up to the ceiling and let out a watery sigh.
I was tired, confused, and above all else, scared. I didn't know what to do! I didn't know what to think! I was so frightened of the future, that I was willing to hide under my bed for the next ten years! These past few days made me realize, painfully, that I didn't have control the way I thought I did. No, I didn't expect to be able to fight an Alphagué or a shape-shifter, but I couldn't even protect myself against Alex, Mueller and Tsubarov! Tsubarov! He was older than my uncle! I bet if I went down to the elementary school, I'd get my ass kicked by first-graders!
A knock at the door made my thoughts scatter. Without giving me time to respond, Hilde entered, quickly closing the door behind her. The waves of fear, concern and love rolled off of her so strongly it made me dizzy. I closed my eyes to gather my shields. When I opened them, she was sitting next to me, nearly face to face.
"Duo, what's going on?" she asked. I didn't say anything. "Duo, please?" she pleaded, hand rising to touch my cheek. "What's happening to you? Why are you leaving?"
I took a deep breath to gather my thoughts. Even *I* wasn't totally sure what was going on. My mind was still in a whirlwind. "Last night, Wufei and the Prince... argued."
"I know," she said, a bit nervously. "I could hear him from where we were. I even felt the ground shake." She shook her head slowly. "What were they arguing about?"
I sighed. "Me."
She raised her eyebrows. "You?"
I sighed again. "The Prince is the Packmaster of Packmasters. He's also the prince of all werewolves. Because of that, all werewolves must obey him, including Wufei."
She nodded. "Yes, that makes sense. But you're not a werewolf." She crossed her arms. "So how do you fit into this?"
My hands clenched into fists. "In all honesty, I don't know. All I know is that when I woke up, Wufei told Trowa to escort all of us here, and have me pack because I was going with them to Siberia." I shrugged. "When I asked Wufei why we were going, especially me, he said it was because he was ordered to bring me. He was also ordered to escort the Alphagué there, or else the Prince would declare the disobedience as a failure, and a declaration of war."
She nodded her head slowly. "Wufei doesn't want the Prince to know about you."
"No, he doesn't. He's told me that before. And..." Silver Water said the same thing too.
"But for which reason?"
The question made my thoughts scatter again. "What?"
"Which reason would the Prince want you brought along? I'm certain he shares the other werewolves' prejudice against humans." She started ticking points off with her fingers. "Maybe he doesn't know yet that you're human." I thought about that. It was possible. "Maybe he wants you brought because you're the Untouchable, or because you're Wufei's mate." True, true. "Or he might be trying to assure Otto's safety." I didn't ask how she or Howard knew about Otto. I had a feeling though, that Quatre or Heero told them. "Or maybe he wants you because you're a clairvoyant. Don't you think that, as Prince, he can order Wufei to give you up?"
Ohhhh shit. "No, he can't do that. It's my choice!"
"No it isn't," she told me harshly. "Not anymore. You haven't had a choice since the day you laid eyes on Wufei."
"That's not true!"
"Is it?" She stood, and planted her fists on her hips. "It should be your choice to go to Siberia. But you weren't asked, were you? You were told to pack, and here you are, packing. And I bet if you had refused, you would've been thrown over someone's shoulder and taken kicking and screaming!"
"That's not true!" I shouted, jumping to my feet.
"Is it?! Duo, if Wufei didn't have that choice, and he's one of the most powerful beings on this planet, then what makes you think you do?!"
My mouth snapped shut. She was right. She was absolutely, disgustingly right. "I'm tired of fighting with y'all!"
"And we're tired of fighting with you!" she shouted back. "And guess what? We're also tired of worrying about you. Every time you walk out that door, I'm afraid some creature will come out of thin air and snatch you away. I'm tired of looking over my shoulder for something out there that may hurt me because they can't get close enough to hurt you. And I'm tired of being tired!" She paused, collecting herself. "Howard and I aren't going to put up with this shit for much longer," she said quietly. "We can't. We have lives too." She turned abruptly and went to the door. Once there, she stopped. "You know what? Wufei is not worthy of your love. He's brought you nothing but pain and trouble since you met him, but you've just about turned yourself inside out for him." Without another word she left, closing the door quietly behind her.
I stood there in shock until my anger overwhelmed me, moving me into action. Forcefully, I shoved my boots into the duffelbag. I opened drawers, grabbed handfuls of shirts, socks and underwear, and shoved those in there too. Anything else I thought I would need got the same treatment. Done with that, I opened my window and tossed my bag out. I didn't want Hilde and Howard to see me leave any more than I wanted to see them. Clumsily, I climbed out the window and dropped to the ground, damn near breaking my legs. Only Trowa's quick hands saved me. Bag in hand, I went stomping off, leaving the werewolf to either catch up or be left behind.
We were halfway through the pet cemetery when I tripped for the twentieth time. This time, when Trowa grabbed my arm, he didn't let go. Knowing that I wouldn't be able to get him to turn me loose, I pretended that he wasn't holding me up, and he pretended not to notice how many times I wiped my face.
"Trowa?" Great. My voice sounded teary.
"If I had refused to come, what would've happened?" I couldn't help asking. Hilde's words, no matter how hard I tried, kept ringing inside of my skull.
"You would still be coming," he said neutrally.
"Meaning, I would've been tossed over someone's shoulder, and taken kicking and screaming?"
He sighed. It was very regretful. "Yes."
The rest of the walk was made in silence. I mean, what could I say after that? My control over my life slipped away days ago, and now my choice was taken too. Me voicing my opinions or wants wasn't going to make any difference, so I saved my breath.
You know what? I wished I was being taken kicking and screaming. At least that way, I would be fighting back, however futile.
The rest of the day went by in a blur. Quatre, Trowa and I tromped off to the nearest store for sweaters, coats, and anything else that represented warm clothing. After a quick dinner, we raced back to Wufei's to pack up my new stuff and to go to the airport. Once there, we did the usual security checks and boarded our plane. Wufei, as it turned out, had a lot more money than I thought. When I said that we boarded our plane, I meant that it was our plane; it was Wufei's private plane that he used for his dealings as a lawyer. Now he was using it for his dealings with the supernatural.
I liked how it was designed. Form truly followed function. The carpet was a strong but very pretty blue. The boldness of the color was softened by the grey walls and seats. The arrangement of the seats were very functional too. There were two columns, each column with two rows of seats. Each row had four seats, making a total of sixteen seats available. Each row faced each other, so that you could talk to the person face to face in front of you, or all seats could be angled so that everyone could talk to each other. I didn't think anyone was in the mood to talk though.
Trowa, Quatre and I were the last to arrive. When I boarded, Otto was sitting in the very back, with Wufei and Heero. He nodded his head to me in acknowledgment, but said nothing. I nodded back, but didn't bother looking at Wufei and Heero. I took the first row of seats, and sat next to the window. Trowa and Quatre sat in front of me, and stared me in the face. Catherine and Sally were a row ahead of Heero, Wufei and Otto. Rashid sat dead in the center, to keep an eye on everything, and Auda and Abdul were piloting. Mariemaia stayed at Wufei's house, but she was in charge until he returned. I thought that was a bit much for a little girl.
I sat in my seat, and stared at the ground as the plane sped up. I watched the earth fall away, and yawned to release the pressure in my ears. I waited patiently as we climbed the atmosphere, failing to push away memories of the time I flew in the sky. When we were above the clouds, the sun was setting, glowing beautiful oranges and reds that I once felt at my fingertips. Tears ran down my face. Silver Water's death was still too fresh in my mind.
"Leave me alone." I cut Quatre off before he had a chance to start.
"Duo, please! Talk to me!"
I ignored him.
"Let him be, Quatre," Trowa told him gently. "These last few days have been hard for him, and he had a fight with his family. Don't pry."
When Quatre refused to leave me alone, I got up and moved to sit at the other side of the plane, away from everybody. I curled myself into a ball and leaned against the wall, staring outside. I didn't know how it happened, but without my doing, I fell asleep.
When I woke up, it was night. All of the lights were off, but small lights lighted the walkway. I could see outlines of the others wrapped up in blankets, sleeping. I could hear Wufei's muffled voice talking to someone in the cockpit. I was wrapped up in blankets, and surrounded by a small mountain of pillows. I smiled slightly to myself, and turned to look outside. The view made me lose my breath.
The moon looked phenomenal at this height, and for a moment, I totally forgot my anger. I stared in amazement as the clouds sailed in front of it, wispy and thread-like. It was so bright I had to squint, and I couldn't imagine how bright it would've been if it was a full moon! It seemed to be hovering in front of me too, watching me like I was watching it.
"Beautiful, isn't She?"
I jumped and turned towards the voice. It was Otto, leaning over the row of chairs in front of me, watching the moon. His washed-out eyes, and the stars on his face, glowed. When he smiled, his fangs seemed to glisten. His dark clothing made his white teeth and eyes look whiter.
When he faced me, I jumped again. His pupil-less eyes stared hard at me, but I couldn't look away. It felt like he could see through me, and was doing so, finding all of my weaknesses and fears and cataloging them.
"You are new to our world, are you not?" he asked, leaning closer. I thought it was obvious, so I didn't answer. "Hm. I thought so. You are brave, but you are unraveled easily. That will change... if you live long enough." Satisfied with his assessment, he backed away a bit. "I have been meaning to ask... what are you?"
I listened and glanced around. Wufei was still talking to whoever, and the others slept on. "I'm human," I answered quietly.
"So you say," he began, leaning forward again, "but that is not it. Not all of it, anyway." He smiled beautifully at me. Strangely, it made me relax. "Your body is human, but you have a... scent, that says otherwise, and it has nothing to do with being around werewolves." He leaned forward more. "In fact, I do not think I have ever smelled anything like you. That is saying much, since I am almost three thousand years-old."
Despite my best intentions, my jaw dropped. He chuckled quietly, reached out, and closed my mouth. He held my mouth closed for a moment, then gently caressed my jaw. His fingertips were surprisingly soft, and warm. The temptation to lean into his touch slapped me across my face. I jumped, once again, and leaned into my seat, coincidentally, away from his touch.
He held his hand out a moment longer, before letting it drop to his side. His pupil-less eyes stared at me again, but this time, there was heat there, not the reverence he had while looking at the moon. "Have sex with me," he whispered.
I exhaled a shaky breath. The temptation was so strong, I was surprised at myself. What the hell did he do to me? Why did I want to? "No," I breathed.
He didn't give up. He reached out again and touched my face. I could only tremble as his fingers skimmed my face, lips, neck... "I will pleasure you until you are screaming," he told me. I had to bite my lip to stop my moan. "And even then, I will not stop."
I whimpered, and shakily turned to my side, pulling the blankets over my head. Otto still didn't give up. He started speaking to me, but it was in a language as archaic as he. I didn't understand a word of it, but its context was clear by the tone of his voice, and the tone of his voice made me want to see if his lips could do the things I thought they could.
Suddenly, there was a low, menacing growl, as a wave of protectiveness washed over me. Otto stopped, and I felt him pull away and stand off. I waited a beat, then raised my head over the blankets. He was gone. I rolled to my other side, and saw Trowa watching me from his seat. His eyes glowed, and his fangs were out. He was Not Happy. Quatre stirred beside him, but a few pats from Trowa had him back to sleep in no time. Then he looked back at me, and I smiled apologetically. He nodded, and went back to staring at Otto, a frown on his face. I almost laughed.
I tossed and turned after that, unable to get back to sleep. I was so rattled by Otto's proposition. I loved Wufei! How could I even consider sleeping with someone else? But even as I thought that, I thought about how pissed off I was at him for getting me into this shit, and how sick and tired I was of getting my ass kicked on his account.
Then I thought about all of the money he's spent on me, all of the things I've seen that no one else ever will, the friends I've made, the comfort and attention he's given me... shit.
Irritated, I threw the covers off and grabbed a pillow. Hustling across to where Trowa sat, (it was cold!) I crawled in between him and Quatre, and curled up with them under the covers. Trowa jumped in surprise, but didn't try to stop me. Instead, he tucked me in, and threw his arm over both of us. The heat of their bodies calmed me down enough to rest. After a few more moments, I was teetering on the edge of consciousness and sleep.
"Don't ever touch him like that again." I faintly heard Trowa's whisper.
"You are being awfully protective over a human," Otto purred. He sounded amused.
"Don't ever touch him like that again," Trowa repeated. "Or the next time we fight, I will succeed in ripping your throat out."
"Who do you think you are fooling, Barton? I am not stupid, nor is my Prince. What is he? Your Packmaster would not brand a human as an Untouchable, no matter how beautiful he is." There was a pause, where I felt Otto's eyes on me. "The longer it takes for us to find the truth, the more he will suffer." His whisper became menacing. "I will personally see to it."
Trowa whispered, just as menacingly, "Over my dead body you will."
I fell asleep after that, dreaming of Otto ripping out my heart over Trowa's corpse.
 'A hop, skip and a jump away' is an American expression that means something is pretty close by.