Blood or Chocolate?
Chapter 14: How Trowa Met Quatre
I stretched, and dug my face further into my pillow. I inhaled, and noticed that my pillow didn't smell like my shampoo. I opened my eyes, and saw that these were not my sheets. I sat up, confused when I wasn't in my own room, but in someone else's. It took me a minute to jog my memory (after all, morning person I was not), but it finally came to me that I was in Wufei's bedroom.
The party last night. Darlian. That kiss.
Shaking myself before my thoughts jumped in the gutter, I climbed out of bed. I noticed that my clothes were neatly folded at the foot of the bed, and glanced down to see that I was now wearing flannel pants and a white nightshirt. As much as I wanted to be pissed that someone took the liberty to change my clothes, I really didn't care. I was a hard sleeper. Nothing short of a tornado--if that--was going to wake me up. So I hopped to the door to search for Wufei and, just as important, food.
After seven tries, I got the door open. Wufei's door was made of the heaviest wood in existence. At first I couldn't open it at all. Then I was able to pry it open by pushing against the wall with my foot as I pulled. I damn near cut myself in half trying to slide through the opening. Finally, I dragged a small (and also heavy) nightstand to the door, and wedged it between the door and the archway. Then I climbed my way out.
I clamored down the stairs, looking around. The house was almost quiet except for the slamming of pots and pans on the stove. I made it down and saw that it was Quatre, cooking breakfast. He stopped what he was doing and smiled at me. "Good morning Duo! You're up early."
"I am?" I asked, scratching my head. "What time is it?"
"Whoa. I am up early."
"Duh. That's what I said."
He smiled. "That's what Trowa says, right before I reduce him to a pile of goo using my-"
"I don't want to know!" I said, covering my ears and looking away so that I couldn't read his lips. When I was sure he wasn't going to say anything, I looked up and uncovered my ears. He was smirking at me. "Smirk all you want to Quatre. I'll get even."
"Humans. So shy about the body." He was shaking his head as if my bashfulness was nonsense.
That brought up a detail from the night before. I came around the kitchen counter to stand next to him, and started to help him chop up some green peppers. "Quatre, what are you?"
He laughed. "I remember when I asked you that question. You gave me a bullshit answer."
"That doesn't count! I had no idea what you meant by that!"
"I didn't believe it then, I don't believe it now."
"But you know what I am now, right?"
"So, now it's your turn." I said with finality. "Now spill it, or the peppers won't get it." I held the knife behind my back.
"Okay okay. You act like I wasn't going to tell you at all. I just wanted to make you sweat a little..." I glared at him. "Oh, you're no fun. Alright." He started breaking eggs. I started chopping up the peppers. "I'm a shape-shifter."
I was confused. "Uhh...so are the werewolves."
"Yes and no. They are shape-shifters in the technical sense of the word. But they can only turn into werewolves. Shape-shifters can change into anything we want, but each shifter has an animal they have a special ‘affinity' for."
"And your's is a lion."
He nodded. "That's right."
Cool! "Have you ever changed into anything else?"
I handed him the green peppers. He mixed it in with the eggs and red peppers and poured them in the skillet to scramble them. "I used to when I was younger. I would change into a goat or whatever animals the farmers had so that they would feed me, thinking I was one of their own." He chuckled at that. "No one seemed to notice that my eyes were too blue for an animal."
I laughed. "Have you ever tried to turn into a werewolf?"
"I can't. No shifter can," he said in annoyance, as if he's tried many times. "We can change into wolves, but we won't look anything like a werewolf. They have a very...distinctive look."
I nodded. "Quatre, how old are you?" Five hundred years Wufei's senior didn't mean jack squat to me.
"I'm not entirely sure on the age, according to your calenders," he said, thinking hard. "They are not in synch with what I remember. But I was born in the year Alexander the Great died." 
If I had a drink in my mouth, I would've choked on it. "Whoa..."
He smiled. "Yeah. I'm getting up there."
I was truly fascinated. "Are there others older than you?"
"Oh sure," he said, sounding as if this conversation was an everyday thing. "I don't know who they are or where they live, but yeah."
That stopped me somewhat. "Have you been...ousted because you're with a werewolf?"
He laughed, light and cheerful. "I haven't been ‘ousted' as you put it. Shape-shifters are nothing like the Were's. Werewolves travel in their Packs and are very organized, if not militant. Shape-shifters are very selfish creatures. If we had a motto, it would be ‘Every Shifter For Himself.' We are not organized, and we could really give a damn what happens to another Shifter. We might organize and work together to accomplish a goal, but the second the goal is accomplished, the alliance would dissolve and hell would break loose over who gets what."
I stopped trying to help him a long time ago. I sat on a stool with my face in my hands, and watched his mouth as if I could see the words tumbling out. "Then how is it that Wufei trusts you in his Pack?"
"I'm not in his Pack," he corrected. "I'm like an extra alliance. I follow Wufei's rules because I don't want Trowa to suffer the repercussions of my actions, and by doing so I can go where Trowa goes. As long as I don't jeopardize the Pack, I can stay with him."
Wow. Talk about having a hold over somebody.
"Plus, I genuinely like Wufei," he said with a smile. "He's a honest, strong Packmaster, and a good one. He isn't cruel to lesser creatures, and he thinks before he acts."
I nodded. Wufei did seem like a good guy. "Hey, what does 'Privileged' mean?"
"It means that you are able to call the Packmaster by his name and not his title." He looked up at me. "Where did you hear that term?"
"Darlian told me."
I shrugged. "They were surprised that I bowed to them."
"Oh, yeah." He shook his head. "You're Privileged, so you don't do that. Just nod in their direction. That's all you need to do."
"Damn. You really have a lot to learn."
"Tell me about it." I muttered under my breath. "Hey, who else is Privileged?"
"Everyone you saw in the antechamber last night, and me."
I drew my eyebrows together in confusion. "But I've heard Heero call him 'Packmaster.' "
"It's a safety issue," he explained. "In public, we don't want Wufei's favoritism to show. If it got out who was Privileged, they would be attacked to hurt Wufei, or taken for ransom."
I felt my heart sink. "All of a sudden I don't feel too happy being Privileged."
He gave me a sad smile. "If you are to be with Wufei, that is something you have to consider. By being his mate, you would be the most Privileged of us all." He gave me a stern look. "Think about that." He had long finished with the eggs and was making quick work of sausage and bacon. He directed me to stir up the pancake mix.
Wait. If Quatre's a shape-shifter, then how... "Quatre, how did you and Trowa meet?"
He beamed at me, and I knew without a doubt that I was in for a hell of a story. Quickly finishing with the pancake mix, I sat the bowl near his elbow and scooted up to the counter, elbows planted firmly on its surface while my hands held my face. I was ready.
"Oh gosh, where to begin," he said, smiling both shyly and excitedly. "It...it was a summer day, around 401 A.D. in August, if I'm translating the calender correctly. I was in what you know in the bible as Canaan." I gasped. It didn't matter that he told me when he was born. Hearing him say that name, with the accent that was used back then, made me realize how pointless all of the history books were. The history was standing right in front of me.
"During that time there was a massive drought, so everything was starving. Thousands of people and creatures, from Jews to vampires, were leaving for Egypt. So was I. Humans were becoming fewer and farther in between, and there was nothing for me to feed on. Everything was dead..." He trailed off before shaking himself out of the past and continuing his story. "I could tell I was being followed, but I was too hungry and thirsty to care. Worse yet, I was being followed by Hunters," I jumped at the familiar word, "and I realized that they knew I was a Shifter. Then one day I dropped to the ground, too starved to carry on. The Hunters surrounded me, and were ready to kill me for His glory," he said in a sarcastic tone, waving the spatula around, "when, out of nowhere, the biggest werewolf I had ever seen seemed to fall out of the sky." A smile eclipsed his face. I smiled too. He poured the pancake mix into another skillet.
"There were three of them against the werewolf, but it didn't matter. Furious, he attacked them, killing each of them quickly by biting off their heads." Quatre's smile got bigger. I felt a little queasy. Sorry Quat, that didn't turn me on. "Then he turned around, and I thought he was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. I only wished at that point that I wasn't so starved. I wanted to be a filling meal for him." Quatre's smile turned wistful. "Then he dropped into his human skin, and he was just as beautiful in that as he was as a Were. I dropped into my human skin as well, and he picked me up and carried me all the way back to his Pack. When I later asked why he rescued me, he told me it was because he thought I was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen." He looked at me, and I saw the extra moisture behind his eyes. "I was starved, three quarters dead, and hadn't bathed in months, yet he thought I was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen." He started shaking his head. "How could I not fall in love with him?" he whispered to himself.
Damnit to hell, I was gettin' teary--eyed. Now that was a love story. "Quatre, stop. You're gonna to make me cry." A tear managed to escape. "Shit!"
He chuckled. "Sorry Duo."
"Yeah, I bet you are," I said, wiping my face with my hands. Bastard.
He shrugged, and dished out some food on a plate for me. "Breakfast is served."
"Thanks." He handed me a fork and we started to dig in. "Say, where is everybody?"
"It's Tuesday morning. Everyone's at work." I smacked myself in the forehead. "I know Duo. You're used to going to work too. I know when Trowa doesn't, I lose track of the days."
"Where's Mariemaia? School doesn't start for another month."
"She's at SeaWorld with Trowa and Catherine. She'd raise hell if they left her behind."
I thought about Wufei slipping out of bed this morning as he left for work, to make sure he didn't wake me. I was feeling kinda sad that I missed him leaving, but I shrugged it off by focusing on what we were talking about. "Don't you work Quatre?"
"Heavens no!" He looked at me as if I asked him if he drank babies blood. "As if I would get up early every morning to work my ass off and miss General Hospital." He snorted. "Trowa is the dominating male in our relationship. So he provides for me, while I make sure everything else runs smoothly."
"Like the house?"
He grimaced. "Yes and no. I'm basically the Pack's public relations person...or...Shifter, whatever you want to call it. I'm very diplomatic. If something's broken, I fix it. If there's a dispute or property damage because of a Were's carelessness, I handle that too."
"It has its days," he said with a shrug.
"Yeah, but it must suck."
"Not necessarily. It's one of the few things that puts me on even ground with the werewolves. In a nutshell, if I said the expression correctly, I control nearly everything until Wufei returns."
"Ohhh," I said, waggling my eyebrows. "Sounds like the power of authority goes to your head."
He grinned back. "You bet your tasty ass it does."
As if to prove Quatre right, Darlian burst through the front doors (which scared the tar out of me), followed closely by his nervous-looking mate and a handful of others that were dressed as if they were from the desert. Must be more Maguanacs.
Quatre jumped to his feet, walking quickly around the counter to meet the others head-on. "HOLD!" he boomed, his voice vibrating in the air. Everyone stopped right where they were, as still as stones. I was afraid to move because of Quatre's abrupt change in mood. I felt his disgust for Darlian rolling off of him, and his anger was so strong it smelt like a tree after lightening struck it. "How dare you enter the Packmaster's dwellings in such a manner! Have you so little respect for him?!"
Darlian took in a deep breath, puffing himself up and out. "How dare a Shifter," he spat out the word, "try to criticize me!" The others shrank back at his words. Whatever Darlian was all huffy about, the others didn't agree with, not even his mate. And when his gaze found mine, I swear his face turned green. I was able to read on his face that he was disgusted that a human was in his Packmaster's home. But he didn't comment. Instead, he returned his gaze to Quatre. "You're not even a member of this noble Pack!"
"No I'm not. But I am stronger than you." Quatre emphasized, stepping forward. "And unlike you, I am Privileged!"
Darlian apparently wasn't going to let that stop him. He started to take a step forward, but a warning growl from Quatre stopped him. "I wish to have first audience with my Packmaster," he sneered, sounding like a stingy two-year-old, "this evening."
"Denied," Quatre answered right when Darlian pronounced the 'g' in 'evening.' "You will have an audience with him when he deems it, if at all."
Darlian released a breath, obviously trying not to run head-first into a battle he was sure to lose. "I request to have an audience with the Packmaster as he deems fit."
Quatre released a breath as well. "I will see what I can do."
"I am in your debt," he said in a voice that made me sure he'd rather eat glass than be indebted.
Quatre frowned sharply. "Get out."
As one, the werewolves bowed to Quatre, then to me, before turning and leaving. Quatre stood there for a few more minutes, trying to calm himself down. I spent that time trying to force my heart out of my neck and back into my chest, where it belonged.
"Yeah Quatre, real diplomatic that was," I joked, now that I was able to speak again.
He rolled his eyes at me and started to clean up. I helped. "Actually Duo, I was being very polite and forgiving. I was well within my rights to eat him."
I nearly dropped the plate I was holding at his words. Werewolves were real...vampires were real...shape-shifters were real... "Oh my god..."
Quatre could see I wasn't being my usual, pain--in--the--ass self. "Sit down Duo. I'll bring you some tea." He whisked away, and when he came back he handed me a pretty blue and white patterned teacup, that he poured warm tea in with some honey. After a few sips I felt immediately better, and started to mentally berate myself on...everything. "Sorry, all of this excitement is, well, exciting."
"I can't imagine," Quatre told me honestly. "This is all I've ever known. I never realized how much there is until I've had to explain some things to you."
I was shaking my head, still sipping on the tea. "Yeah. Wow," I murmured, thinking about how Darlian was quaking in his fur at a pissed off Quatre. "I can't believe I thought Darlian was the murderer--"
"Quiet!" Quatre nearly screamed, causing me to jump and spill some tea on the flannel pants.
"All walls have ears!" Quatre said, sounding thoroughly pissed with me. He huffed, then snatched the tea out of my hands. "You and I are going for a drive. Rashid!" Quatre hollered, trying to find the giant. When that didn't work, he called the construction office and told him to come immediately, no exceptions. I remained on the couch as Quatre did whatever he needed to do, and within thirty minutes Rashid was there.
"Keep watch," Quatre told him, snatching me off the couch by the wrist. "Any problems that come up will wait." And with that we jumped into the Toyota and took off in a trail of dirt and burnt rubber.
 Alexander the Great died in 323 B.C.