Warning: Grossness that makes you want to hurl. Not much though.
Blood or Chocolate?
Chapter 17: Her Final Moments As Told By Duo
I was Sick with a capital 'S.' I puked right outside of the library, and Heero has had to pull over twice or risk redecoration in his car. Just the thought that I was going to be touching someone's eye was wrecking havoc on my imagination. I just saw this squashed, gory eyeball with blood leaking from it, yanked out of someone's skull. Or it had probably been stepped on, and was squishy with white pus oozing out of it... "Oh god...Heero, pull over. Quick!"
He complied. I kicked the door open, leaned over and immediately upchucked. I thought that this time I saw my shoes come out my mouth. "Oh god," I whined when I finished. "Somebody, kill me." I looked down. Nope, my shoes were still on my feet.
"I doubt it's as bad as you're making it," Heero commented, pulling back onto the road when I closed the door. "Try to relax. If it turns out to be too much, don't do it."
I exhaled, and wiped my mouth with my sleeve. "Yeah, but this could turn out to be the break we need. I don't want to lose it because I'm being too chicken-shit."
"You're not being chicken-shit." He patted me on the knee. "This is hard for you. It's hard for us too. I mean, Mrs. Darlian treated me so kindly when I was first 'made'..."
I felt like a big donkey turd. It was so easy to just think about myself. I never thought that they cared about each other, or that this was hurting them too. "Heero, I'm sorry."
"I know," he said softly. "I'm sorry too."
The rest of the ride was in silence. I spent that time trying to get myself together. If I was able to see three mutilated bodies, then an eyeball shouldn't be a problem. Yeah. Keep thinking that Maxwell, and we'll be as right as rain.
Way too soon for me, we arrived at the cemetery. I could feel the bile trying to rise in my throat, but I suppressed it ruthlessly. Finding my center, Heero and I got out of the car and climbed (well, I climbed, he just jumped) over the gate. As we went our way, I started to feel...different. Something massive happened here, and it was pushing against my shields, trying to tell me something I subconsciously didn't want to know. I stumbled a few times, and after the fourth time Heero didn't bother to let go of me.
My head was starting to throb with my heartbeat, and the strain at trying to keep the forces at bay was giving me a slight nosebleed by the time we made it to the others. My guess was we were in the southeast corner of the cemetery, where the bodies of unclaimed pets were buried. Wufei was there, with Trowa and Sally on either side of him, and Auda was leaning against a headstone, looking extremely put-upon.
I could feel all of their eyes focusing on me, but I couldn't respond to them. Something so traumatic occurred here that it was stealing blood from my brain, forcing me into a natural high where I could hear the trees whisper and the ground breathe. I could see all of them how I saw Quatre yesterday. We were once again in a black void, where they were no longer themselves, but red pulsating energies, and I was able to distinguish each one from the other. Compared to them, Quatre had been the lightest red. Auda was red with white swirls. Trowa and Sally were red with blacks swirls, although Trowa's was a darker red. Heero was the same color as Wufei, who was so red it bordered on maroon, but Wufei had lightening strikes to his essence, and vibrations of what I thought thunder would look like.
I didn't know who said my name. I only looked down at the eye. It was in the middle of their semi-circle, clean and unscathed. What appeared to be a red trail of blood vessels still clung to it. Other than that, it was whole and untouched. Even the ground it rested on was whole and clean. I didn't need to touch it though. Mrs. Darlian's essence had been obliterated, staining itself on everything.
/ ...How could you do this?...
...I love you...
...I don't want to hurt you, but you leave me no choice!... /
Rage. Hate. Disgust. Those feelings had their own pockets in the air.
"She knew her killer," I said in a hollow voice. I could feel everyone's ears perk up. "She didn't know what that person was doing, but she somehow found out. She felt...betrayed." Yes, that was the right word. "The one who killed her killed the others." I searched some more. I could feel the blood running faster down my nose. "This was someone she cared about very much, but she made a decision she felt she had no choice but to make. Both choices were choices of betrayal to her." I turned towards Wufei, although I couldn't see him with my eyes. "In the end, she made the righter one. She tried to kill him or her."
/ ...No, I can't let you...
...Are you rabid?! You'll be killed! Or worst, thrown out of the Pack!...
...He isn't like the others...that was the past...he's different!...
...No, you'// have to kill me first!... /
Rage. Hate. Disgust. Malice...resignation.
"Whatever they were doing would be enough to get them thrown out of the Pack." I was quiet as I tried to decipher what Darlian's mate was trying to say without voicing the words. "She was protecting someone," I figured at last.
"Who?" Wufei asked softly.
I tried hard, but there wasn't a name. She never thought it. Her only thought at the time was her fear of failing her Packmaster. "I don't know who. She didn't think of the name."
"Wufei, this is enough!" Heero almost shouted. "He's starting to bleed from his ears!"
I tried harder, but I still wasn't able find out who it was. "She only said that they would have to kill her first. He or she was going to do something..."
/ ...Ahhhh!... Packmast-- *crack!* /
My concentration broke, and I cried out from the short burst of her pain from when she died. Heero caught me, and swinging me up in his arms, he carried me away from the cemetery. Easily vaulting over the fence, he headed towards the werewolf headquarters, Wufei quickly catching up to us. Once we were on the property, I felt it strange for the place to be empty. The two times I've been here, the house was teeming with energy and presence, even though the first time I didn't see anyone.
We entered through the front door, and as we turned to make our way up the stairs, I saw Quatre sitting on the couch, watching a soap opera. His eyes widened when he saw me, and a look of shock crossed his features. "I'm sorry," I whispered to him as Heero carried me up the stairs to Wufei's bedroom. Once in the antechamber, Heero handed me to Wufei, and held the heavy door open to allow us through. Wufei then laid me tenderly on the bed, as if I costed him a million dollars. He brushed my bangs from my face with his fingertips, and I nearly fell asleep from the soothing motion.
"I'll be right back," he whispered, and in a few seconds he returned with a wet washcloth. As gently as possible, he started to wipe the blood from my nose.
The silence was so heavy it was oppressive, and what I figured out weighed so heavily on my chest that I couldn't keep my mouth shut. "The hydrogen cyanide is being used to kill your sense of smell. That's why you're unable to find any scents."
He sighed softly. "Quatre told me what you've found so far. I didn't know if it would have any relevance, but I'm grateful you and Heero found this out. That is something we would not have solved on our own."
He started to clean the blood from my ears. I still couldn't keep my mouth shut. "She died calling for you." I didn't know why I was telling him this. "When she screamed for you, they...he, broke her neck."
Wufei stilled for a minute, then continued to clean my ears. "Go to sleep," he told me in a thick voice. I closed my eyes and relaxed, waiting for sleep to claim me. I felt the weight of the bed shift as Wufei got up. I laid still, and noticed how silent the silence was. All I heard was the fireplace. I didn't hear Wufei leave the room...I didn't hear him moving around...hm, maybe this room had a secret compartment or something!
I sat up, and saw that Wufei was standing in front of his fireplace with his hands folded behind his back. His head was bowed slightly, and his posture was rigid. I closed my eyes again and tried to feel what he was feeling, allowing his emotions a chance to drift towards me instead of me trying to mentally approach him. With Wufei's powerful mind, that was just not safe.
Unfortunately, that didn't work either. Wufei was so...bottled up that I wasn't receiving any kind of waves from him whatsoever. So, making sure to make noise as I approached (I wanted to keep my limbs) I walked around until I stood in front of Wufei, and wrapped my arms around him. He stiffened, but a moment later he wrapped his arms around me. I kissed him gently on his jaw and neck. "Wufei, talk to me. You're upset."
He didn't say anything at first. Then, "She called for me."
I didn't say anything. I waited for him to continue when he would.
He didn't keep me waiting. "Five hundred years ago, when I first became Packmaster, I told my Pack that if they ever needed me, they were to call for me." He buried his nose into my hair. "I never told you to do that, but last night when you called for me...I came to you. I was so glad that you called for me." He held me tighter. "I failed her. She called like she was supposed to. I just wasn't strong enough to hear her."
Holding his head in my hands, I gently kissed him on the lips, and looked into his eyes that were so full of pain. "I'm so sorry for your loss," I told him. "But remember that this wasn't your fault. If you had gone to her, you could've been killed too."
"No, I couldn't. I am the Alpha. There are none here that can defeat me."
I didn't know what to say to that, so I didn't say anything. We held each other for a little while, swaying slightly with each other in a tiny dance. After that, I coaxed him to lie down with me, and some time later, he and I fell asleep.
I jumped awake to the sound of howling. It was long and drawn out, scaring the tar out of me with the sound of its chilliness. Light was shining in my face, but it was pale. Moonlight. (Shit, it was night?!) I looked up to see something that I never noticed before. Wufei had a skylight in his room, but it was slanted sharply, only allowing moonlight to shine in when the moon was directly overhead. This would happen for a few days once a month. Clever.
I jumped again. Looking around, this time I noticed that I was alone in bed. Well, damn, did I snore or something? Jumping a third time, I climbed out of bed and scrambled for the door. The howling was louder, numerous, and intense. It wasn't just one wolf, or ten, or twenty. Whatever they were about to do, this was the warmup. And if this was the warmup, I didn't want to stick around for the grand finale.
Just when I darted back to drag Wufei's handy night stand to the door, it opened. Quatre was standing there, looking decidedly nervous. "Come on Duo." He gestured for me to follow him. "I don't think you should stay here for this."
Curious (but not enough to kill the cat), I followed him downstairs. Instead of taking me to another room like I thought, we went outside, and stuck to the shadows like spies. All around us were the werewolves, and they were in their alternate skins, howling with vigor at the moon. I could make out Wufei's gigantic form standing towards the back of the gathering, posture strong and proud as he looked over his wolves. Our eyes met, before he bowed his head to me in apology and returned his attention back to his Pack.
"Come on," Quatre said in agitation. I turned around and saw he had jumped into his car. I did the same. Then Quatre slowly backed the car up and drove away from the house. We slipped out of there quieter than a ghost.
"Hey, what's going on?"
"They're grieving," he told me in a thick voice. "They all know that Darlian's mate is dead. Even though they know one of their own is responsible, they all will grieve together. It's not customary for members outside of the Pack to be there."
I studied Quatre. He was upset; a lot more upset than I thought he would be. "Quatre, what's wrong?"
He took a shuddering breath. "Who would do that to her? Of all of us, why her? She was the weakest. What threat could she have posed? Hell, she wasn't strong enough to hurt anyone, not even Mariemaia! Why?! She...she was the kindest of us all. Why?!" he shouted, and banged his fists against the steering wheel.
"Quatre, pull over," I demanded, and was relieved when he obeyed. Making sure he put the hazard lights on, I reached over and hugged him. He hugged me back (painfully so) and although he didn't cry, I felt a lot of hot, shuddering breaths against my shoulder.
"This may not be my Pack," I heard him say into my shoulder, "but I care. This is Trowa's family, so I treat it like my own. When he hurts, so do I."
"I understand," I told him, and I did. I had taken Wufei's loss as my own. I was going to make it my personal mission in life to find the werewolf responsible, and shave his furry nuts with a rusty, broken, sharpened plastic spoon. "We're gonna catch him Quatre, just wait and see."
He pulled back from me. "No, you're gonna catch him. Then you'll be held in the highest esteem."
I shook my head. I didn't care about stuff like that. "Let's go to my uncle's. You can spend the night there too, but it'll be better if he doesn't see you."
"Understood," he said, and we took off into the night.
All chances of sneaking in like teenagers were shot when we pulled up and my uncle was on the porch, having a smoke. He had his 'Where The Hell Have You Been' speech memorized and ready. But when he saw how pathetic I looked, and especially Quatre, he reigned in his temper long enough to get the facts. He invited Quatre in, and I got the blond shape-shifter situated as my uncle and Hilde heated us some leftovers. As soon as we were all armed with food and drink, Howard and Hilde explained that Darlian was healing very rapidly from what they understood, but that they were unable to visit because he was off limits to everyone, not just his family. I then went into what Heero and I found to be the purpose of the hydrogen cyanide, and I told them about what happened at the pet cemetery. I explained that we left because the wolves were doing their thing, and that brought us up current, gossip-wise.
"And what is your relation to Wufei?" Howard asked Quatre, not unfriendly but not nicely either.
"My name is Quatre Raberba Winner. I am mate to Trowa Barton, Alphagué Bodyguard to Chang Wufei."
"Oh yeah, I've been meaning to ask about that," I said, trying to head off on Howard figuring out that Quatre wasn't human either. He was so innocent-looking that I knew it wouldn't occur to my uncle to think otherwise. I wanted to save that ass-chewing for another time. "What is Alphagué and Betagué?"
"It's the order of rank," he explained, tiredly but happily. "You have in your militaries different ranks: lieutenant, sergeant, captain, et cetera. We have similar positions. Betagué is second in rank. They are the second strongest under the Packmaster, and that position you have to fight for. The Betagué you know of is Sally. Alphagué is the highest rank, which is the strongest werewolf under the Packmaster. That rank you have to be born in. Trowa and his sister, Catherine, come from a family line where every member has been an Alphagué, and Mariemaia will do the same. Not even the Prince of Werewolves has that distinction in his entourage."
Ohhh, now there was a subject I wanted to sink my teeth into. "Quatre, who is the Prince of Werewolves?"
He paled, and I could see that he regretted mentioning that tidbit of information. "I probably shouldn't--"
"Quatre, please, okay? It will probably take all year for Wufei to get around to telling me. He only refers to him as a 'blond piece of troll shit.' "
"Oh my!" he gasped, but I could see the slight smile he was trying to hide behind his hand. Then he sobered. "Okay Duo, I will tell you, but don't repeat anything I say. The air is treacherous, and it will carry your words to him if you're not careful."
I thought that was a weird thing to say. 'The air is treacherous?' But I wanted to know, so I agreed. I made Howard and Hilde agree too. They were soaking this stuff up as much as I was, although Howard was the professional at hiding it. Dork.
"The Prince of Werewolves is Milliardo Peacecraft. He is royalty of the werewolf species, literally. His family were the first spawned, and his fathers have been the kings of the Lagranges since its conception."
"I'll explain the Lagranges later," I told Hilde and Howard right when they opened their mouths. "Keep going Quatre."
He nodded. "He also has his title as Prince because he is the Packmaster of Packmasters. No one has higher rank than him."
Ohhh shit. No wonder Wufei couldn't stand his ass. "And that's what keeps him elevated above Wufei; his title."
"Yes," Quatre answered. "His Pack, the Siberian Werewolves, are one of the two strongest in existence. I could give you three guesses who the other Pack is, but you'll only need one."
The three of us nodded. After all, rocket science this was not.
"So you understand that it's not just strength between us and the Siberian Werewolves. Over the centuries, all battles fought between them and us were tied. The two Packs are equal in every way. The only separation has been the Prince's title." He sneered. Heh, I saw what he thought of that! "It is Wufei's wish though, that you'll never see or hear of him." He gave me a firm look. "He is dangerous and not to be trusted. He is old; so old that many Master Vampires fear him. Do not speak of his name, okay?"
I nodded even though I didn't understand. But I learned not to argue. If it was enough that some kick-ass vampires were scared of this dude, then it was enough for me. "Got it."
"Good." Stretching, he gave a big, jaw breaking yawn. Because yawns were contagious, it spread between the three of us like wildfire.
"Okay, off to bed everyone!" Howard announced. "Quatre, you can sleep in Duo's room. He has an extra sleeping bag in there." After I got my guest situated, I stretched out in bed and went over today's events in my head, mentally retracing my steps to see if I missed anything. I did.
I had felt another set of emotions in the cemetery as Heero was carrying me out of there.
I had a bad feeling about this.