Warning: Death of an infant.
Blood in Siberia
Chapter 19: Almost A Father
After I finished pitching my fit, I sat in the middle of the floor and glared into darkness. I had no idea what to do next, and the feeling of helplessness damn near made me cry. What would happen now? Once the Prince absorbed that a human was the Primus, the same questions would pop up again. Why? What made me so special? This time though, how would they go about forcing me to answer? Would they threaten to cut off my arm again? Threaten to stab me? If they pushed me hard enough (as I felt they would), I knew without a doubt that I would reveal my true secret. If that happened, I also knew without a doubt that I would forever belong to the Prince, and that my former life would become a memory. Howard, Hilde, Meizer, my house, the bar... I’d never see any of them again.
My last thought brought a wave of determination after it. No. I couldn’t let that happen. If I wanted to get the hell outta here, I had to do what I had to do. If I had to polish the Prince’s knob like a Bangkok whore, or swear up and down that Wufei only felt sexy in women’s lingerie, then that was what I was going to do.
I took a deep breath and released it slowly. Calmed, I crawled into my ‘bed’ to try to get some sleep. Whatever happened next, I was certain it was going to be hell.
I woke to the sound of howling.
I sat up and glanced around. I was alone. Rolling my eyes, I laid back down to go back to sleep. After a few minutes of this, I noticed something wrong. The werewolves were howling, but it wasn’t like what I was used to hearing. The yowls were drawn out and full of agony. It held a sorrow so deep it made my chest hurt.
Driven by the need to know why there was this... ache in the air, I jumped up only to stand still. I was told before that the path in and out of the Prince’s den was known only to himself and his Alphagues. It was also dangerous. I imagined myself happily traipsing outta here only to fall to my death from some hidden hole in the ground. Rolling my eyes again, I dropped to my stomach. Heaven forbid I use my brain sometimes. If I got down here before with the gnomes...
“Take me to the surface, please,” I whispered to the ground.
Hm. “Please take me to the surface?”
Still nothing happened.
Uh huh. “Help?”
I was apparently talking to myself.
“Shit!” I swore as I sat up. How the fuck did I do it before?!
Taking calming breaths, I tried to remember what was so different now than last time. Hmm... Well, I was dying for one. Sorry, but I wasn’t going to slit my wrists to get the gnomes’ attention. What else? I was tired, bleeding, and in agony.
“Bleeding?” I thought to myself as I got up, thinking of the Prince’s bayonet. I remembered fighting the bobcat. I had blood everywhere, and the gnomes helped me even though I didn’t ask them. Maybe it was the price of admission? Hell, I may have to slit my wrists after all.
But I wasn’t bleeding when the gnomes and Trowa tried to rescue me from Otto.
I found the bayonet in the corner with some furs. Probably got thrown there when I was in the middle of my fit. Pushing away my doubt, I held the bayonet still and (ignoring the red tint to the blade) pricked my index finger. Blood immediately welled into a ball, and I hoped to hell it was enough. Tossing the knife away, I dropped to my knees and lightly touched the ground.
The reaction was immediate.
The ceiling seemed to open for me as the floor rose. I passed empty floor after empty floor until I was placed at one I had never seen before. It was a throne room of some kind, almost identical to the one we first met the Prince in. There were hallways to the left and right of me that were barely lit with torches. The best part was that behind the dais there wasn’t a wall. The open area lead to a beautiful stone balcony.
The howling was also unbearably loud.
Mentally kicking myself in the ass for not hanging onto the bayonet (a mistake I’ve lived to regret once before), I rose and shakily made my way to the balcony. The wind was freezing, and the light dusting of snow on the floor chilled my feet. But I just needed to peek...
The balcony was barely above the ground, and the close distance allowed me to see everything clearly. The werewolves were in a wide circle around their Prince, howling their lungs out as the wind and snow ruffled their fur. The Prince stood in the center in human form with Otto by his side, staring down at a bundle in his arms. For a brief moment my heart stopped. I could see the problem with the baby.
He was dead.
I clapped my hands over my mouth as if that would negate my disbelief. I continued to watch what was obviously a newborn, hoping he’d show a sign of life. Hell, I felt myself taking deeper breaths as if I could breathe for him. But as the minutes passed so did my wishful thinking, and when it became too much for me I turned and reentered the throne room.
Oh my god...
Still in shock, I sat on the edge of the dais and just... stared. It was only a guess, but I felt that the baby was the Prince’s. And with a clarity that only hindsight could give, I finally understood that Zechs’ desperation to get Noin back was because she was pregnant. With his child. Whom was dead. I couldn’t even think about escaping because my mind was so wrapped up in what ifs! If Wufei had just relented, if the Prince had outright asked for help, if I pushed harder, if if if...
I didn’t know how long I sat there with my mind chasing its tail before I realized I wasn’t alone. Turning around, I found the Prince and Otto staring down at the baby, which had been placed behind me on the dais.
Leaning forward, I found myself staring at a beautiful baby boy. His hair was as blond as his father’s, with round and kissable cheeks. His limp arms were chubby, and had five perfect fingers. I could only imagine that his toes were just as perfect. His eyes were cracked open, and that was where I was able to see the werewolf in him. The blue was slitted like his father’s, with tiny dots under his eyes, around his face, and on his forehead that would’ve grown into stars.
I swallowed thickly. I could feel my eyes burning and my jaw trembling. I wanted nothing more than to breathe life into that child, even if it took my own. It was one thing to lose my parents. They were adults, and had enjoyed some semblance of life. But this... this was a god damn, unfair tragedy. It made me want to destroy the world, even though it wasn’t my loss.
“The zombies found him. He was buried along the road you and your subjects,” he sneered, “were taking. He had not been... gone long.” Without taking his eyes away from the baby, the Prince asked, “Did you have anything to do with this?”
I looked at him in horror. “What?!” I whispered harshly. “No! Who the hell would do something like this?!”
“Apparently someone!” he screamed at me, rage making his voice inhuman. Otto had to hold him back. At that point, the Prince would’ve gladly ripped my head off. “He sure as hell didn’t bury himself!”
And with that comment, the Prince let loose with a scream that was full of loss and grief and pain. The room shook from the power of it, as the sound dominated the air. The force of it knocked Otto from his feet and blew me across the room. My mental shields shattered and blew away like exploding glass. Blood erupted from my nose. Without a word from me, the ground wrapped around me and carried me deep into the mountain, away from the Prince and anything resembling his. Cradled in what felt like a stone womb, I shook from my seizure as a gnome sang to me. Its voice was unfamiliar and heavy with an Russian accent, but it was welcomed all the same.
When it was finally over, I forced myself to take deep breaths. With darkness all around me, I closed my eyes and tried to take comfort from the small hands that wiped away my tears, and ignored the tremors and howls from a father who has lost his cub.
I jumped up as quickly as I could, rubbing my left butt cheek where something with sharp teeth bit the living hell outta me. Glancing around, I could see that I was back in the Prince’s den. How I got back here I didn’t know, and didn’t have the mental alertness to find out. Kicking at the furs I was resting on, I jumped back quickly when a rat ran from the pile. Before I had a chance to scream like a girl, the rat transformed into a very familiar, and very naked shape-shifter. “Quatre!”
We embraced quickly and tightly, then were back to business. “Get on my back,” he told me as he squatted down. I did, and immediately we were piggybacking our way outta here.
“Christ Quat, didja have to bite me so hard?” I grumbled, rubbing the abused spot. “Hey, wait! We don’t need to do this. We can use the gnomes!”
“The Earth is holding them,” he said over his shoulder. “I smell them, but they are not free to help us.”
“Why?” I asked in confusion.
“For their protection.” He sidestepped something I couldn’t see. “The Prince is... enraged at them for helping you,” he stated, but there was a hint of a question in it. “He would harm the Earth to get to them, so they have been called deep into the mountain and will be held there until his temper cools.” He sidestepped something else I couldn’t see. “What happened? He seems angry at the entire universe.”
I wrapped my arms tighter around Quatre. “The zombies found his newborn son dead.”
The shape-shifter stopped, and turned his head almost ninety degrees to face me. The irises of his eyes were completely dominated by his pupils. He was nearly owl-like in this position. “He doesn’t have any cubs,” he whispered.
I was surprised by Quatre’s reaction. He seemed very upset. “Quat, I saw the baby myself. Sat close enough to see his slitted eyes.”
He blew out a breath. “Shit!”
He shook his head, as if denying my words. “We have to go.” Without another word, he took off.
I saw what the Prince meant when he said that the path to his chamber was perilous. There weren’t any nicely paved paths that led to his den. Sharp rocks jutted from the ceiling, poking me or Quatre brutally if we got too close. Water was heard dripping in the distance, which explained the wet ground. When we weren’t at risk of slipping to our deaths (which was a short, but pointy fall), there were sections of path that were missing altogether. At these Quatre had to jump several yards to make it to the other side, one time nearly losing his footing. Throughout all of this I didn’t speak, ensuring that Quatre wouldn’t lose his concentration.
This went on for hours. During that time Quatre explained how he snuck in as a rat and spent hours looking for me. We weren’t taking the path the Prince and Otto would take, but one that would lead us almost to the outside. Getting there though, was proving to be a bitch and a half. At several points we came to dead ends and had to double back, then we had to double back again to face the correct direction. I didn’t think shape-shifters could get tired, but I couldn’t help noticing the way Quatre’s hair stuck to his neck, nor his panting. It was at that point that I knew we had to take a break.
“Okay,” he agreed, carefully settling me on my feet.
Bending over to rest his hands on his knees, he started to catch his breath. As he did so I looked at everything except him. Sorry, but I’ve seen more of my friend than I cared to. Ye gods. “What next?”
“That,” he told me, nodding behind him.
I looked up, up, up, and up. Nope, couldn’t see the ceiling. “You’re shitting me.”
“I can smell the air outside,” he said. I thought he was trying not to laugh at me. “We’re very close. We only need to climb the wall.”
I examined the wall. There were many pits and outcropping rocks to make it an easier climb. But it was a long, long way up. “Right.”
“It’ll be fine,” he told me with a smile. Standing, he took a last deep breath. “Alright. Let’s rock and roll.”
Facing the wall, Quatre waited until I had my arms and legs firmly wrapped around him before he started to climb. And climb he did. He was moving like a spider, dodging loose rocks and maneuvering from right to left fluidly. Despite how high a climb it was, we reached the top in a matter of minutes. But it was at the top where we met our next problem: there was a lacking of a human-sized hole in the wall.
Reaching up, Quatre pushed. Almost immediately the large rock moved outward like a door. I reached out to help him, and in short order there was an opening large enough for me to squeeze one side of my head through.
“You’re shitting me,” I said again.
“This is the best we can do,” he said. “Make it work.”
It took a lot of effort and swallowed screams, but after a while I managed to painfully squeeze through. I didn’t get a chance to get my breath back in the whole second it took for Quatre to change back from a mouse. His whiskers weren’t even gone yet when he grabbed my wrist and started pulling me after him. “We’re close to the entrance, and we’re being followed.” My heart jumped to my throat. “There’s nothing to be done for it. They’re following your scent. I’m going to change into a cat and lead you out. Once you get out, run like hell! The Shenlong are surrounding the Prince’s stronghold. Someone will see you and get you!”
Without waiting for a response, Quatre shifted into a silver tabby and hauled ass. I ran after him, and knew right then that I wasn’t going to make it. I had gone through telepathic agony yesterday, I was just dead hours ago, where after my revival I had been kidnapped by zombies. All of that in a matter of two days, and that’s not counting the mini ass-kickings I’ve had in between. The bit of energy I did get back was sucked outta me hanging onto Quatre. I’ve heard of those amazing survival stories where people have hung upside down from a tree branch for a year to escape a flash flood. I now knew I wasn’t one of those people.
My vision wavered several times in as many seconds before I expelled a deep breath and crashed. Quatre immediately shifted back into human form, scooped me up and continued to run. He blew through the front doors and down the stairs, moving at such speed that he launched snow dozens of feet into the air. I closed my eyes and basked in the feeling of feeling safe, just before it was ripped away from me.
I didn’t know why, but suddenly Quatre gasped. As he fell I was thrown from his arms. The momentum kept me rolling for several yards after I hit the ground, far enough to put a healthy distance between us. Both of us laid still for a moment, too stunned to do anything else. Then a gust of wind got my attention, and reminded me that I’d better get moving if I didn’t want to freeze to death.
“Quatre...” I rose to my hands and knees, pausing to let the dizziness pass. When it did, I started crawling towards the shape-shifter. “Quatre, wake up.” When there wasn’t a response, I looked up and felt my heart stop again. There was no mistaking the red liquid surrounding him.
“Quatre!” I ran to him as quickly as I could, which wasn’t very quick. I only wore the caftan given to me by Otto, and that wasn’t doing jack shit against the cold. The only thing forefront in my mind though, was Quatre. Shape-shifter or not, his body could only hold out against so much.
Dropping to my knees, I was able to see the wound. He had been shot. An entrance hole the size of a fist was at his lower back, to the right of his spine. Turning him over, I saw that the exit hole was just as ugly. The outer edges were charred, and steam was rising from the wound. Without thinking, I balled up the edge of the caftan and pressed it against the wound. Looking at his face, I swore. He was alive, but in excruciating pain. Well, no duh. “Quatre, what the fuck?! I thought bullets didn’t affect you guys?!”
‘Silver,’ he mouthed to me, blinking back tears.
“What, you were shot with a silver bullet?”
Fuck! What was I supposed to do now?!
“Leave me,” he whispered. I briefly wondered if and when he learned to read thoughts.
“You have to.” He closed his eyes. “They’re coming.”
Looking behind us, I could see the Siberian werewolves coming, the Prince in the lead. As I turned back, I saw the Shenlong heading our way with Wufei at the front. I released a sob of relief before I realized that both Packs would make it to us at the same time. Shit!
“Help us,” I breathed to the ground, ignoring the red snow as it collected on my face. “Help us, please!” I begged of the gnomes.
The two Packs were close enough to where I could see the expressions on their faces. Both sides had murder on the mind.
“Please, help us. Help us!” I screamed. “If not me, then help him! He’s hurt!”
Without warning the ground cracked and opened, swallowing Quatre. The ground had halfway swallowed me before the Prince grabbed the back of my head, forcing me to arch my back. Wufei grabbed me at the same time, his hand wrapped firmly around my neck. With my hips and forearms buried in the ground, this put me in a very awkward position.
The Shenlong and Siberian Packs halted along some invisible line I was the source of. A majority of them had changed over and were roaring, growling and snapping their jaws. The Privileged of each Pack had not changed over. Instead they aimed their machine guns and whatnot at their enemies, waiting for their Packmasters to say the word.
It was right at that moment when I realized what had happened to me yesterday. The pain I had experienced was not mine, but Noin’s. I was experiencing her birth. Somehow, despite being a werewolf, she was able to mentally reach out. More amazingly was that somehow, I was able to reach back without turning my brain into mush. All I needed was a taste of her, which I had.
Without thinking, I spoke first. Looking into the Prince’s cat-like eyes, I said, “I can find who’s responsible for taking Noin, and for everything else.”