Blood in Siberia
Chapter 22: The Beauty of Necromancy
“Duo, wake up.”
I rolled to my side and tried to snuggle further into my bed. If Ed McMahon wasn’t at the door with a check for me, I wasn’t going to be bothered.
“Duo.” A pause. “Duo.” A hand brushed the hair from my face. “Come now, open your eyes...”
My brain left dreamland as my consciousness limped to the surface, and reality reasserted itself. I wasn’t at home in my bed like I first thought. I was in butt-fuck Siberia with grieving werewolf princes and shit-for-brain wizards. I was supposed to find a missing Alphagué before two werewolf packs annihilated each other for retribution that may or may not be warranted. All of this had to be accomplished before the playoffs started, else there would be hell to pay.
I rolled onto my back and rubbed the sleep from my eyes before I opened them. Wufei was smiling down at me, running his fingers through my hair as if soothing me from a nightmare. Another second passed before I threw my arms around him, clinging to him as if my life depended on it. He held me tight and stuck his nose in my neck, breathing me in like air.
“Fuckin’ hell Wufei,” I whispered, my voice trembling slightly. “I want to go home.”
“I know,” he whispered back, and kissed my temple. “We can’t yet, but soon. I promise.”
I nodded against his chest. I knew that, but I needed to hear the words just to make sure it wasn’t all in my head.
Wufei helped me to my feet, and straightened himself out as I dressed in some black woolen trousers and sweater. I felt immediately better, as these were clothes that I had bought back home. Glancing around, I found that we were back in the room Wufei and I shared while we were ‘guests’ in the castle. “Who washed my hair?” It heavier due to the dampness. Whoever washed it didn’t bother to braid it.
He sighed. “Trowa did. There wasn’t so much silver that he couldn’t tolerate it, but it could cause problems for the weaker members.”
I nodded. After seeing Otto and Trowa’s reactions, *I* was scared of silver! And I certainly didn’t want to be responsible for someone else getting hurt. “Now what?”
“Now, you are to eat. Come. We are expected.” Wufei put his arm around my shoulders, and guided me out into the hall. I immediately spotted a fully healed Sedici, standing at attention as he waited. With a slight nod to me he turned on his heel and started off without us. When I was securely tucked against Wufei’s body, we followed.
When we arrived to the throne room, Sedici gestured us in. Once inside he closed the doors behind us, remaining in the hallway. It did not surprise me to find the Prince, Otto and Trowa waiting for us. The tables were gone, and the doggie pillows were back. The remains of food were peppered around each werewolf as they waited in silence. Wufei guided me next to Trowa, and I immediately plopped down. Wufei settled next to me and launched into a discussion with the Prince. Trowa handed me a plate of roast beef, mashed potatoes, and lord knew what else. I didn’t care. I devoured my food and damn near ate my hand before I finally started paying attention.
“...G is making sure it’s an Air Wizard. Then he’ll call Merlin and see if he knows anything about it.”
My brain came to an audible, screeching halt. “Excuse me?” I blurted. “Merlin? As in the wizard Merlin? That Merlin?”
Otto gave me an askew glance. “Yesss... Is that a problem?”
I could feel Wufei and Trowa’s eyes on me, one in embarrassment and one in amusement. The hell with them both. “No. No no. Heh.” I cleared my throat. “So... Merlin is real?”
Otto gifted me with a beautiful smile. “Yes. Very much so, the fucker.”
Yes. That was exactly how I thought of Merlin.
“He’s a pervert,” Trowa added, smile in his voice. Yep, he was definitely amused. “He’s very arrogant, self-centered, and difficult to deal with. If it isn’t about him getting laid, he doesn’t want to be bothered. I believe he is what you would call, a ‘slut.’ ”
Thank god I wasn’t drinking anything, otherwise I would’ve sprayed it all over Trowa’s face. I laughed so loud it echoed. I clamped my hands across my mouth, but the damage was done. Trowa, Otto and the Prince had a smile on their faces, clearly enjoying my mirth. Wufei, as usual, was doing his humorless, hard-ass Packmaster thing. “That’s enough,” he snapped.
I swallowed the rest of my laughter, and used my irritation at Wufei to settle down. If it weren’t for the fact that we were in front of the Prince and Otto, Wufei would’ve received an unpleasant response. Namely, a plate thrown at his head.
Just then G walked in, grabbing our attention. Plopping down next to the Prince, he picked up a glass of wine and took a couple of sips. After a deep breath, he said, “Merlin says he doesn’t know who it could be, or why. He also says he doesn’t care, and not to bother him with this bullshit.” G rolled his eyes. “Apparently, he was in the middle of judging a wet t-shirt contest when I called.”
A surprised snort escaped. Wow. I have to hang with this dude sometime. “Where is he where he can judge wet t-shirt contests?” Hell, it was going to be winter soon everywhere else.
Yeah, definitely need to hang with this dude. “Ah. I see.” And I did. If I was in Tahiti judging a wet t-shirt contest, and someone called me about some shit going on in Siberia, I’d be pissed too.
“What of the Air Wizard?” the Prince asked. Now, it was his turn to do his humorless, hard-ass Packmaster thing.
G sighed. “It is as the Primus stated.” This statement made me jump. I didn’t like being brought into the conversation. I wanted to be invisible. “It is definitely an Air Wizard. And if he attacked Noin how he attacked the Alphagues, then I can’t help but believe that he is the one that has taken her.”
Something strange happened then. I was looking into G’s eyes as I listened, and got the distinct impression that he was holding something back. I was about to coast my way into his head, when I was... stopped. It didn’t hurt, but the sensation was similar to landing on a pile of pillows. Then I was gently pushed back. When I reached forward again, a stone-wall had erected around G’s mind. I damn near threw up.
He blocked his mind from me.
He knew what I was. He fucking knew!
I could feel the panic attack from hell coming. I looked down and saw my hands shaking. My stomach was churning. My breathing sped up, and my blood rushing was making my head pound. If I didn’t get out of here soon, I was going to go Completely Ape-Shit, with my capital letters.
A hand brought my face up. It was Wufei’s. He glared into my eyes as if that would reveal the source of my anxiety. “What is it?”
“I can’t breathe,” I wheezed. “I-I need, outside!”
“G, take him to the balcony,” the Prince ordered, looking at me in concern.
“Just tell me where it is!” I said, hysterical. “I can get there on my own!” I jerked quickly to my feet in stubbornness, and nearly fell on Trowa. The Alphagué caught me and got me back up. The look in his eyes begged me to tell him what was up, but I couldn’t. I’d get us all killed if I did.
“Let me take him out,” Trowa asked, glancing from Wufei to the Prince. Whoever told him yes first, won.
“No,” both Packmasters said, then glared at each other. Wufei took over. “A search for the Air Wizard must begin immediately.”
Down but not defeated, Trowa got up and wrapped his cloak around me. G walked a little ahead of me, and waited as I stumbled after him. We went through the doors to the right, which led us to another throne room. In fact, it was the same one where I first saw the Prince’s son. That thought made me hyperventilate.
“Keep going. You’re almost there,” G encouraged. I could tell he wanted to physically help me, but knew that touching me was out of the question. Yet he touched me the night of the ghoul attack. This Untouchable stuff was a bunch of bullshit.
All too late I reached the balcony rail. I braced my hands against it and arched my back, breathing as deeply as I could. G stood to the side, and watched every inhale and exhale. I felt his eyes trace the lines of my body. I sensed he could taste my lips in the air, and enjoyed doing so. God. I wanted nothing more in that moment than to push his ass over the balcony and watch his head explode from the impact. But I didn’t understand how necromancy worked. He’d probably bring himself back to life and rat me out to the Prince.
“Calm yourself,” he whispered, stepping closer to me. Almost too close. He did a funny movement with his fingers, then said, “Look.”
I looked down at the railing. In between my hands, he... magicked a message in the snow. ‘Your secret is safe with me,’ it said.
I tried one last ditch effort, even though I knew it was in vain. “What secret?” I mouthed.
He did his finger deal again, and I looked down.
I squeezed my eyes shut and gritted my teeth. I swept my hand through the snow, erasing the word as though it were poisonous. “What do you want from me?” I whispered when I got half my breath back.
“I want you.”
I flinched. God. How could three words be so painful? “I am the Primus of the Shenlong, and their Untouchable. Am I supposed to piss that away?”
“I am the strongest necromancer in existence, Mr. Maxwell. I serve the Prince of all Werewolves, as does your Packmaster, and am the Second of the Five. Am I to piss that away?”
There was that ‘Five’ again. Was that the same as the Mad Five I heard about earlier? Trowa and Otto never got around to explaining what they were. “Fuckin hell,” I muttered, dropping my face into my hands.
“What I would give to hold you right now,” G whispered, coming closer. I stepped away. “No. You will never need to fear me. I would never hurt you. Never.” He moved towards me again. I moved away again. “You could have a knife to my throat, and I would not raise a hand even to defend myself...”
“G, stop!” I whispered harshly. Looking anywhere but at him, I wrapped Trowa’s cloak tighter around me. The smell of him comforted me, and reminded me of where my loyalties lied. “I’m sorry, but I don’t feel that way for you.”
“Not right away, no,” he agreed. “But that would change with exposure.” He paused. “We should head back.”
That sounded ominous like all hell. Exposure? What a strange word choice.
Strange or not, it didn’t stop me from following him back inside.
Wufei and the Prince were not playing games. When G and I returned to the throne room, it was crammed full with the Shenlong and Siberian werewolves. Both Packmasters and Heero were standing on the dais. Heero stood calmly to the left of Wufei, dressed in a robe in the signature blue of the Siberians. Wufei and the Prince were naked, as were a majority of the wolves. But because of how fit they were, the Packmasters’ nudeness exuded power instead of lust. They screamed at their Packs, punctuating statements with a fist or a stomp that rattled the room. There was a great deal of teeth-baring, snapping and barking. Insane smiles graced the werewolves’ faces, and brutality shone in their eyes. The atmosphere was one I would expect had I been a spectator in Rome’s Coliseum.
It also made me smile. Hell yes! This was what the fuck *I* was talking about!
“Bring me my Untouchable!” the Prince yelled at the same time as Wufei screamed, “Bring me the Air Wizard!” Both Packs transformed and shot out of the castle, the ground trembling in their wake. Wufei and the Prince raced after them in human form, cackling in blood lust. The shape-shifters took on a bird form and flew over my head, shooting out over the balcony I’d just come from. One of them, a falcon, dipped low enough to brush my cheek with a wing. Quatre.
I stood in a daze as I took note of the handful of us that remained. G left me as soon as we entered the throne room, so I had no idea where he was. Heero was coming towards me, and so was Trowa and Otto. “I’m surprised to see you guys still here,” I said when they reached me.
“I am Collateral.” Heero shrugged, as if that explained everything. Maybe it did.
“I am to watch over you and Heero,” Trowa said in his monotone way.
“And I am to watch over all of you,” Otto said in his threatening way. That started him and Trowa sniping at each other, then spitting. Oh boy. Loads of fun here. Not wanting to get spat on, Heero and I stepped away from the fighting duo. He followed me out to the balcony where we watched the nearly invisible snowfall, while bird silhouettes darted across the moon.
I turned to tell Heero of my suspicions, but ended up staring. Heero was painfully beautiful. Against the waning moon and the intense blue of the robe, his eyes popped. They seemed to command your attention, even if you weren’t willing to give it. And his skin seemed so caramel, it looked edible. He was a perfect example of masculine beauty. No wonder he was Special. “That color looks too good on you,” I told him at last.
He grimaced, but didn’t comment. “You alright? Air wizards can be brutal.”
It was my turn to grimace. “Yeah, I’m alright. Not an experience I want to repeat though.” I leaned a hip against the rail. “I want to talk to you about that, actually.”
He frowned, but nodded his assent.
“The more I think about it, the more I realize something’s wrong with the wizard.” I shrugged. “When he was trying to pick me up... he kept dropping me. It felt like he knew what to do, but couldn’t control it. Yet he had no problem bowling Trowa and Otto over. How would he get Noin if he had trouble controlling his powers? Hell, how would he be able to keep her?”
“He must have help.”
“Maybe,” I conceded. “But I don’t think so. Whoever keeps doing this... ‘feels’ the same. If he has help, his help is keeping their hands clean.” I shrugged. “There’s something else...” I didn’t know how to phrase it, so I decided to spit it out. “G is holding something back,” I whispered as low as possible, glancing around to see if anything with ears was listening. “Me, Trowa, Otto, the Prince and Wufei were talking about this earlier, right? Well, when G was talking, I got the impression he was keeping a secret.” Then I mouthed to him, ‘He knows I’m a clairvoyant.’
Heero’s eyes closed as if in extreme pain, but he said, “What kind of secret?” Then he mouthed, ‘Fuck!’
I rolled my eyes. So helpful he was. “I don’t know. But I bet he’s keeping it so that he can be the one to find Noin, or the Air Wizard, and get me as his prize.”
So much for the whispering. “Edward told me. He’s one of G’s zombies. Said to stay away from him unless I wanted to be his lover.” I didn’t mention G telling me flat out he wanted me. That would cause... problems.
Heero only stood there and looked at me blankly. I figured his brain melted.
“What’s with the secret meeting?” Otto asked as he came onto the balcony, Trowa at his side.
For some unfathomable reason, I felt a rush of trust for Otto. I didn’t know why. Maybe it was the way he was standing, or the way he announced his presence before I noticed he was there. Maybe it was because despite this crazy situation, he has always been straight with me, even when it would’ve probably been better for him if he wasn’t. Or it could be that if it was a choice between having Otto by my side, or G, I would rather have Otto.
“Gather ‘round guys.”
“It is most likely as you say,” Otto said as I finished. “I have suspected in the past that he has withheld information to ensure that he is the reason for our victory. So long as we are victorious, the Prince will not care about the manner in which it is achieved.”
I nodded thoughtfully. Otto had known of G’s request for me, but said he couldn’t do a thing about it. That was between G and the Prince. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop Trowa and Heero from spitting nails. I was just having too much fun tonight.
A light breeze blew, gently ruffling my hair. I closed my eyes and shuffled closer to Heero to steal some of his body heat. It was then that I caught a mental flare, despite my shields being up. The best way I could explain the sensation would be to say it’s like light shining into a room from underneath a closed door.
“What’s that?” I asked, inhaling. There was a scent in the air that was sweet but dark, and its presence made a forbidden pleasure ripple up my spine. I imagined this was how Adam and Eve felt when they ate from the Tree of Knowledge.
I felt Otto stare intensely at the back of my head before he answered. “Earth Magic.”
“Really?!” I closed my eyes, and inhaled deeply. This was the smell of magic? It smelt fantastic!
“Yes. G is creating ghouls to protect the castle.”
“Ugh.” I shivered at the memory and waited. After a few minutes I saw these... things, walk underneath our balcony. “Is that them?” I asked in surprise. No one answered me, but they didn’t need to. The ghouls appeared to be made of soil, snow and rock. We could hear the grinding of the rocks as they walked, and I chuckled at one whose head was the size of my fist. The dust of snow that fell off as they moved made them more comical to me than frightening, but they meant business all the same. I could hear their cries of /hunger/ and /want/ against my shield, it was just under tight control.
“Wow,” I said, fascinated. We all watched as they moved into formation and stood guard. “That is so much better,” I said in awe. “Why didn’t the Air Wizard make them solid like that?”
“Air Wizards can’t make ghouls,” Otto said as he threw a snowball at one. He threw it hard enough to knock the ghoul’s head off. Said ghoul calmly reached down and picked its head up, spiking it back on the twig that served as its neck. Trowa and Heero were making little snow werewolves on the rail. “Necromancy is Earth Magic, and only done by Earth Wizards.”
I whipped around to face Otto. “Necromancy is Earth magic?!”
He sneered at me. “Didn’t I just say so?”
That clinched it for me. “That’s it!” I shouted, turning to the werewolves.
“What did you figure out, Duo?” Heero had a shit-eating grin on his face.
“The Air Wizard is an Air Wizard,” I started, then waved my hand at how stupid that sounded, “but he’s trying to do Earth magic.” I turned to Trowa and Otto. “Didn’t you two tell me that if a golfing wizard tries to bowl, he’ll kill himself?” The look on Heero’s face was priceless, but I couldn’t focus on that. “That’s what he’s doing! He couldn’t create ghouls using the Earth since he’s not an Earth Wizard, so he used air instead! The mist!”
It took a second, but I saw when the werewolves got it. Their brains made an audible click in my mind. Without thought Otto leaned over the rail. “Where is your Master?!” he shouted to the ghouls. As one unit, they turned and pointed. “We’re leaving,” he announced.
Heero immediately stripped out of his robe and changed into his wolf form. Trowa and Otto undressed as well. I was about to wish them a safe journey when Trowa picked me up and flung me on Heero’s back. Heero’s robe was similarly tossed over my head. When I got my breath back I shrieked, “What the hell?!”
“You are coming with us.” Otto punctuated his statement with a Glare of Death, capital letters. I straddled Heero’s back, flung the robe around me and decided to do what I was told.
It took no time at all to reach the entrance of the castle. The werewolves were moving so fast I had to close my eyes, or else risk upchucking on Heero’s head. Because my eyes were closed, I was totally unprepared for the sudden stop.
“Shiiiit!” I shrieked, the momentum nearly pitching me ass over tit off of Heero. I opened my eyes so that I could see who I was about to cuss out, and instead got my voice stolen from me.
“Mountain trolls,” I whispered to myself as the word popped into my head. I didn’t know where it came from, but I knew that was what they were. The trolls were as tall as windmills, groaning with the effort it took to climb down from their slumber in the mountain. The ones already on the ground were taking up positions to protect the Siberian’s home. Directing all of this was one hell of a necromancer.
G had removed his ever-present coat, and stood in the middle of all the activity. His arms were outstretched to the sky, his feet planted apart, his head thrown back in concentration. He again seemed half alive and part dead, his legs and feet wrapped in black linen strips that reminded me of mummies, with the chiseled upper body of Superman. He glowed a mixture of a blue that was not quite white. His power caressed the ground, its strength creating a wind around him, its voice encouraging souls to take flesh form. It was beautiful. Tantalizing. Sexual.
Suddenly we lurched forward, carefully dodging the trolls. Doing so brought us within a few meters of the necromancer. I noticed the werewolves treading carefully around the glow of his power. I guess it would not be good if we were to touch it. But as we passed, G lowered his head and looked right into my eyes. He allowed me to see the powerful enemies he’s conquered, the depth of his magic in the Earth, his wealth, and his desire for me. His lust was so potent, I couldn’t breathe.
I gasped as I tore myself out of his mind, and nearly lost my grip on Heero. I buried my face into the fur, taking choking breaths. G had held me captive in his mind, mentally touching me, his whispers like a tongue on the back of my neck. Tingles ran low low low down my body, and my toes curled. I enjoyed the feel of his magic so much I wanted him to do it again. Hell, I wanted him in the nastiest, freakiest way possible.
Fuck. What was happening to me?