Blood in Siberia
Chapter 15: Zechs
No one went to dinner that night. Because the Prince hit Quatre, the Shenlong were pissed, and were ready to rip out some throats. Literally. But there was no way in hell that the Siberian wolves would take that lying down. Since it was easy to see that getting together would result in a massacre, Wufei ordered his Pack to remain in their rooms, and the Prince banned his Pack from our wing.
After we shagged a... few times, Wufei curled against my back, wrapped his arms around me, and fell asleep. I could only doze because my nightmares kept waking me up. I didn't dream about what happened to Quatre. No, that would've been too simple. My nightmares ranged all over the place, from Harvest's decapitated head on my car, to Tsubarov's breath on my face as he assaulted me, jumping all the way to childhood, as my mind echoed the shot that blew Alec's brains out.
As my nightmares chased me from sleep, my worries kept me there. No matter how many different angles I used, I could not get this shit to add up. The Prince's Untouchable, whom no one knew existed, was missing. So he sent his only other Alphagué all the way to America, where said Alphagué spent an entire month looking for me. When I thought about it, I had to ask myself: Why? What was the purpose in seeking me out if they didn't know I was a clairvoyant? Wouldn't that time have been better spent looking for Noin?
Then, the Prince demanded that his werewolf be brought back with me in tow. Shortly after meeting, he proceeded to hurt Quatre and scared the shit outta me. Now, I wasn't a rocket scientist, but I wasn't the dullest crayon in the box either. Between my intelligence, and my obsession with CSI, the only pattern I could discern was a lack of pattern. But why?! What was the point?!
Wufei's arm tightened around my waist. That was the only sign I had that he was awake. "You're tense, and I smell your anxiety. What is it?"
I blew out a breath, and rolled on my other side to face him. "I'm worried," I mouthed. Quatre told me once that all walls had ears, and I believe it. "I've just been thinking things through, you know? It just doesn't make sense." I ran my fingers lightly across Wufei's chest. His flawless, tasty, beautiful chest.
"What doesn't make sense?"
"Nothing!" My hands flailed slightly as I tried to express myself. "There's little I've been able to figure out."
He pursed his lips in thought. "Well, what have you figured out so far?"
I bit my lip as I thought about that. Revealing what I thought would probably make Wufei mad. But holding back wasn't a good idea either. I was right about Darlian. Every time I thought about that, I felt that if I had put my foot down harder, he would have been found sooner and I wouldn't have gotten hurt. "He thinks we're responsible for Noin's disappearance," I told him at last. "He thought that since we're lovers, I would've overheard, or you would've told me that we had her stashed somewhere. He didn't believe me when I said I had no idea who he was talking about."
"Okay," Wufei said softly, absorbing that. "Now, what's confusing you?"
"In all honesty, his behavior." I sat up on my elbow, and started ticking points off my fingers as I recounted them. "He acts the gracious host, but quickly turns into a pissed-off Godzilla when I can't deliver what he wants to know. That's not good. You're supposed to keep your cool until you get the info you need, not slap around shape-shifters and terrify humans." Wufei smiled at that. "But what bugs me is that he sent his only other Alphagué across the world to get little ol' me, and had me brought back for what? To scare me? Hell, he could've IM'ed me to do that! Why wasn't that time spent looking for her? Why is he lounging about and not organizing search parties? They're werewolves for Christ's sake! Why can't they sniff out where she is?" The thought of hydrogen cyanide flared briefly in my mind before I extinguished it. There was no way they could get that out here. I was sure of it. Darlian was a genius for that, and his ingenuity was safeguarded by all of us.
Wufei shook his head, his expression thoughtful. "You know, that's a very simple but intriguing question." Still looking thoughtful, Wufei rose and padded across the room to get dressed. I felt a tear come to my eye when he finished. It should be against the law for him to wear clothes.
Wait. Why was he getting dressed?
"I am going to tell the rest of the Privileged what you have told me," he said, answering my mental question. "Will you be alright here?"
Shock didn't even begin to describe it. "Now? You're going to see them now? Why not wait 'til morning?"
"The Prince and I have a meeting in the morning. After today's incident, I want all of us to be aware of the same thoughts." He nodded to himself, as if confirming his decision. "Will you be alright here?"
I thought about that. On one hand, I wanted to be included at the meeting. After all, I was Privileged too, not to mention the Primus. On the other hand, I didn't want to get my ass outta bed. Hmmm... "Yeah, I'll be fine," I said, burrowing under the sheets, fluffing my pillow as I went. Nice, snugly and warm. Ahhh. Good decision.
"I'll be back soon," he said, kissing my hair as he left.
Talking out my worries helped. I was asleep within moments.
Someone was in agony.
I shot upright in bed, in so much pain that I couldn't scream. Whatever it was had spread throughout my entire body, but the focus seemed to be coming from my stomach. I was taking shuddering gasps that seemed to take more oxygen from my brain than it gave. Tears were streaming down my face. My hands were contorted like claws; I couldn't uncurl them. I couldn't do anything.
I didn't know how long I sat there and suffered. It felt like hours, even though it could've very well been a few seconds. I wished reverently that Wufei would come back, then I wished that I had gone with him. But it only took me a couple of minutes to realize that help wasn't going to walk through the door. I was going to have to go through the door to find it.
It took an eternity to get out of bed. Every movement sent spasms ricocheting throughout my body. When I did manage it, I fell face-first to the floor. The intense pain in my stomach wouldn't let my legs move, no matter how hard I tried. So I started to crawl. With my hands curled as they were, it was damn near impossible. I was also naked, and as I crawled, I was scraping my skin something awful against the stones.
It took me ten minutes to reach the door. When I did, I realized I had another hurdle to jump: opening it. The knob wasn't all that high, but stretching to reach it caused me to have convulsions. Not seizures, but my muscles would spasm and contort so strongly, I was afraid it would break bones.
Opening the door took longer than it did for me to crawl to it. But when I did, I was elated. That died instantly when I faced Heero's door. No light shone from under it. They weren't meeting there, then. Shit! As painful as it was, I mentally pushed out, trying to sense someone nearby. I didn't. In fact, I was the only one here. The rest of the Shenlong were placed closer to the surface of the mountain, according to their station. Only the Privileged stayed where I was.
What a hell of a pickle I was in.
I pushed out further, and sensed two beings. They were far, but they were the closest thing to me. Desperate, I started to crawl as quickly as I could (which wasn't fast, but faster than I had been), and managed to make it a few feet before I stopped. I laid my pounding head against the cool stone. Sweat stung my eyes, and ran rivulets down my back. The torches lined the walls, sending shadows jumping as they flickered. The shadows reminded me of scary, faceless monsters with evil smiles. I wanted to go home.
"...help..." I tried to shout. But it came out quieter than a whisper.
I struggled on, and it took hours. Sometimes I had to stop to catch what little breath I could. Sometimes, the convulsions were so bad I thought I blacked out. I could see in the snatches of light that I had scraped my palms raw, and slightly bloody. I was afraid to think what my chest, stomach, penis, and legs looked like. Probably ground meat.
Without warning, the pain started escalating in a frantic crescendo, and it overwhelmed me. My nose twitched, and I felt blood run down my chin. I tried to pinch my nose closed, but it wouldn't stop. I started choking on it, and let go to breath. I kept repeating the cycle, hoping for a break. Since I wasn't catching one, it wasn't long before I had a pool of blood deep enough to drown myself in, if I chose to.
I chose to.
I couldn't take it anymore. This was a thousand times worse than when Darlian bit me. Five hundred times worse than when Wufei had to lick the wounds to keep me alive. A hundred times worse than when Quinze had to drain me dry. I had nothing left.
The blood continued to pour, collecting about my face. As much as I wanted to die to stop the pain, I couldn't. I still kept trying to get myself to move. To get to help. To Wufei. He'd come any second to my rescue. I just had to hold on. Hold on! Hold ON!
Lips to the floor, I gurgled my final plea. "..help me."
I was suddenly rolling. It felt like someone had picked the floor up by the edges, and shook it. I tried to cover my head, but I was too exhausted to put up much of an effort. After I hit my head for the second time, the stone floor seemed to... rise, decreasing my speed. I was handled almost gently as I came to the end of the hallway. Then the floor gently wrapped around me, took me to the floor underneath that, and the one underneath that, and so on.
I didn't know how many floors I descended. Fifteen, maybe twenty. But soon enough I was placed carefully on a floor, smooth and cold. Both were pleasures against what skin I had left. The floor (now the ceiling) morphed back to the way it was supposed to be. As I tried to collect my breath, block out the pain, and figure out what the hell just happened, two faces came into my view. Both were looking at me in shock, and in awe. The low light nearly hid their features, but they were no less recognizable.
Otto was standing over me, to my left. The Prince, to my right.
I thought I was in a pickle before. That wasn't shit compared to this!
Frantic, I was going to say something, anything, when I got a crushing, squeezing pain in my stomach. It was so intense that I curled into a ball, and hollered in agony. The sound startled Otto and the Prince into jumping back from me, but they immediately recovered and stood over me again. The expressions on their faces told me they had no idea what was going on.
At once the pain shot up, and I couldn't control myself. I flailed about, hitting and kicking both werewolves in their legs. Blood started to jet out of my nose like a fountain. I felt some of it land on my face. Worse yet, clearer than anything else, was my clairvoyance. I could feel how open it was, and realized that since I came here I haven't had my shields up. I couldn't focus my energy to close them, either. It was too late. In all the time it took to get here, it never occurred to me that this could be something telepathically related.
My last flail turned me towards Otto. In that instant, I could see something akin to sympathy in his eyes. He wasn't happy that I was suffering. I was going to use that.
"End it," I whispered, feeling my last breath choked out of me. "Please!"
Quick as lightening, Otto reached down and tapped me lightly on the forehead.
The force of it rocked my head to the side as my body went limp.
Unfortunately, I wasn't out for long. My body was too tense to stay asleep. I woke slowly, blinking every few seconds until my blurry view became clear. It wasn't much use. It was kept so dark in here, there was nothing to see beyond the torches anyway.
That was when I began to take stock of my surroundings. I wasn't on the stone floor anymore. I was laying on something very warm, and soft. In fact, I was covered with pelts. Some white, some black. I was still naked, but the covers made me feel infinitely better. Carefully, I raised my hand to my face and felt around. My nose was crusted over with blood something fierce, and the skin was raw. It was like when you had a cold and blew your nose too much, except it felt a bagillion times worse.
"You were telling the truth."
I was startled, but too tired to accidentally shit from it. My head whipped around to the voice, and I grunted from the pain it caused. The Prince was stretched across his own pelts, his in black, white, gray, and a beautiful red. His bed, nest, whatever, was a black stone dais that was chest high, roughly square, and big enough to seat a basketball team. The walls in here were uneven, as if they were left as they were after the excavation. Chunks of rock jutted out here and there, which were used to hold the torches. There were cracks in other places, and I could hear water dripping in the distance. Actually, I thought it was pretty damn cool.
Then what he said caught up to me, and I had to backtrack. "What?" I whispered, expecting a raw throat. But it wasn't. Truth be told, my throat was the only thing that felt okay.
"You were telling the truth."
I shook my head. I had no idea what he was talking about.
"About Noin," he clarified. "You had no idea who I was talking about. You were telling the truth."
I didn't know what to say to that. I knew what I wanted to say, but it would've probably gotten me eaten. So I simply said, "Yes, Your Highness."
"Hmm," he grunted, his glass of wine still in his hand. How the hell did werewolves get wine down here anyway?
He gave me a suspicious look. "What are you?"
Oh. Well, I've heard that question enough to know how to answer. "I'm human."
"Outwardly, yes," he agreed patiently. "But I smell the magic in you. You're no ordinary human. You can't be, if you are Chang's lover, his Untouchable, and are served by the gnomes."
That last part had me confused again. "What? The gnomes?" I was completely taken back. "I'm not served by them. They have a king." Shit, I forgot to add, "Sire."
"I know what I saw, Untouchable," he said, condescendingly. "The Earth opened and allowed you entrance. Earth manipulation can only be done by the gnomes, and they do not help surface creatures unless they feel some affinity for them." He smiled. "They must like you a great deal."
I was totally speechless.
"Also, there is only one way into my private chamber. It is a perilous path, known only to me and my Alphagues." He swirled his glass. "You are the only other being that has ever been in here."
I dropped my head back to the floor. This sucked. This totally, completely, enormously, sucked.
I could feel his stare. It was... curious. "How much do you know of our world, Untouchable? You seem very... ignorant."
I sighed. Ignorant didn't even begin... "Not much. I've only known of your existence for two months, Your Highness."
"Oh," he said, obvious shock in his voice. "You are very green then."
No shit. "Yes."
"Hmm. Has Chang told you anything, Untouchable? About our politics--"
"My name is Duo," I interrupted, my American-ness getting the better of me.
He paused, and gave me a glare worthy of Heero. "Excuse me?"
"My name is Duo. Duo Maxwell, not 'Untouchable,' " I said as snottily as I could.
He looked at me just then. It wasn't hateful, sexual or disrespectful. It was... thoughtful. He was trying to figure me out. And as he watched me, I looked him over. Now that I've gotten a good look, I could see the strain in his face. He was exhausted. The bags under his eyes made me tired, they were so dark. He had a hot body, but his body looked thinner than it should. He hasn't been eating. I see him with these glasses of wine, but he's not drinking them. At least, not in front of company. All in all, he seemed so defeated. Despite how much I hated the guy, I could feel my compassion coming up to the surface.
Christ. Wufei was gonna be so pissed. "How can we help you find her?"
My question shocked him out of his thoughts. "What?"
I cleared my throat. "How can we help you find her?"
He tilted his head. "You can't. Your Packmaster has refused to loan me his best trackers. Mine are unable to follow her trail. I'm unable..." he drifted off.
Well, hell. Wufei refused to loan his trackers? But why? Did he hate the Prince that much, or was he getting even for something in the past? "I'll talk to him," I promised.
The Prince raised an eyebrow at me, a smirk on his face. "You do that. You can possibly persuade him in... other ways that I can't."
I snorted. "I doubt withholding sex will do it."
This time he laughed. It was a rich baritone, and quite sexy. "True, true."
I smiled. I couldn't help it.
The Prince's smile dropped off his face as he stared into the darkness. I turned in that direction to see (or not see, as it was in my case) what he was looking at. But Otto's huge form eventually came into view. "They have returned," he said.
"Good." The Prince turned to me. "Otto will return you to the guest wing, since your Privileged are back from wherever they were." He shrugged, but I could tell he was pissed about it.
Pelts and all, Otto scooped me from the floor. He'd only taken a step before the Prince stopped us. "Duo."
I turned my head to face him. "Yes, Your Highness?"
"Call me Zechs."
After that, Otto and I left.