Blood or Chocolate?
Chapter 22: What To Choose
I ran, ran and ran. I ran so much that for a split second I thought I was Forrest Gump, running for no reason across the United States. I didn't know what this was going to accomplish for me, if anything, but I didn't let that stop my feet from moving.
Just as I was starting to realize how bad an idea this was (after all, I wasn't in shape enough to keep up with Howard) a familiar white DeTomaso pulled up in my peripheral vision, and a familiar mop of messy brown hair was in it. Of course, the smart, sensible thing would've been to stop and get in the car. So it was safe to assume that I decided to keep trucking on my own.
"Duo! Look, I know you can hear me."
"Why isn't he here?" I complained breathlessly. I was steamed that it was Heero here to soothe my wounds and not Wufei. "Why is it, that when I'm feeling completely lost, it's you or Quatre that come to find me?"
"I'll explain Duo, but please get in the car."
"No. I need to keep moving. I...I can't stay still. I can't."
"Alright." I saw the car pull ahead of me, and I was ready to give Heero the finger for leaving me when he pulled off on the gravel side of the road and parked. He got out and waited for me to reach him. When I did, Heero started to jog alongside me. This lasted maybe a minute. I was so physically worn at this point that my jog downgraded to a walk, and a slow one at that.
Heero matched my pace. "I'm sorry Duo. I know you'd rather Wufei be here than me. Trust me, he would rather be here too. But Meizer showed just when you left, and Wufei is acting as Darlian's lawyer, though technically that isn't his specialty. This has to be done very carefully, and there isn't anyone we trust with Darlian right now."
I was ready to burst into tears. "You know Heero, I really like Wufei," I told him honestly. "I fuckin' adore him, okay? And I know he cares about me, but...I feel like I'm always being put on the back burner." He nodded his head in understanding. "Whenever something popped up, whether it was Darlian missing, you all under the full moon, or that secret werewolf stuff with the Prince, he's always bailed on me. I don't like it." I kicked at a rock. "You know, there are couples every day that get divorced because of that. Why would I intentionally walk into a relationship where I know that's how it's gonna be?"
"Because you like him and fuckin' adore him," he said. "Duo, you don't know Wufei as well as we do. So please, believe me when I say that he is absolutely fanatical about you. Obsessed maybe." He met my surprised look. "Duo, we are constantly checking on you and your family. There have been times when he was so worried about you, he would leave himself open to attack by sending his bodyguards out to ensure your safety."
He was doing a great job of making me feel like an ass. "But isn't there someone that can help with his responsibilities? Hell, someone else could speak to the Prince when he calls!"
"Actually no, or else Trowa would be the one to do that." He shook his head. "Or even me." He reached out and grabbed my shoulders, stopping me. He looked me steadily in the eye. "Hear me Duo. As Packmaster, Wufei has many responsibilities to his Pack and to lesser creatures under his care and charge. Because of that, his time is at a premium." He leaned in closer. "There are going to be many instances when you'll be put on the back burner. I guarantee it. But you will always be able to count on him, understand? When you need him, he will be there for you, no matter what. Don't ever doubt that." He released me and stood there, waiting. The ball was in my court.
"What if something like this happens again?" I asked. "What if another werewolf decides that they don't want Wufei with a human, and tries to kill me?"
"Won't happen," he said with confidence. "Your strength is unquestionable now."
Yeah I bet. And it only took me nearly getting shot by Septem, running across a dead body, breaking into a morgue, getting smacked by a shovel, finding a head on my car and a half-dead werewolf in my kitchen, having my back shredded and a fatal shoulder bite from a werewolf who didn't want to kill me, and a sadistic healing from a crackhead, hippie vampire with a troll lover who wanted to skin me alive. Oh, let's not forget to mention the liters of blood I've lost from nosebleeds. "But that doesn't mean there won't be a next time!"
"True," he told me. "But unlikely."
"I don't know. I just...I-I don't know what I want anymore." I sighed, and thought about Meizer and his tender kiss. Like Wufei, he was a good man, who was strong, honest, and sexy...but we would have our problems too. He was a cop. With him, I would have periods of being put on the back burner, just like I would with Wufei. Also, my two hopefuls had what I termed 'target' factors in their professions. Meizer will always be in danger because of what he was, just as Wufei will always be in danger because of what he was. I could lose one in the line of duty, or I could lose one in a werewolf coup de tat.
You know, that was my true dilemma: did I want a lover that preferred blood or chocolate?
"Let's continue walking," Heero said at last, pulling me along with him. "It will help clear your mind."
"Okay," I agreed, just for the sake of argument.
So Heero and I walked. And walked. And walked. And walked some more. We finally came to a point in the road where it was a four way stop. I was ready to turn back, but all of a sudden I felt something weird...
"Someone died here," I whispered to Heero.
He grabbed my arm. "Someone died here? Who?"
"I'm not sure. Wait." Heero remained where he stood as I tried to squat over the area with the most emotion. My hand was raised over the ground as I tried to flush out the memories trapped under the dirt. There was a feeling of possession that I didn't understand. So I started with what I did. "The deceased was human," I said softly, retracing the steps of the murdered in my mind's eye. "He couldn't see what was happening. He heard the guards talking, a short cry of pain, a shout of alarm, and then silence." I realized then who it was. "Oh my god...this is where the hobo died."
"Yes, the man that attacked me the night of Harvest's murder," I said automatically. I stood up. The ground was too scared to give up all of its secrets. "The police can't explain his murder. His head had been twisted around ninety degrees."
"Shit," Heero laughed. Werewolf humor was something I was not understanding. "Darlian must've done that too."
"But why?" I asked. It didn't make sense to me.
"Why not? He killed the other humans."
"Yeah, but he did that to scare me."
"And didn't the hobo's death scare you?"
"No," I answered immediately. "No it didn't."
He shrugged it off. "Then you're even tougher than I thought." He checked his watch. Wow, werewolves wore watches? "We need to get back. You're tired, and we have a celebration to prepare for."
"Jeez, what is it this time?" I joked at last when we were away from the residue of the hobo's death. "Is it because the sky is blue?"
"No, that's next week. It's been a month today since we came to be here, and we're celebrating our new homes. Oh yeah, you're the Guest of Honor."
"Oh wow, big surprise there."
He smacked me upside the head. "Smartass."
I snorted. We kept walking, but I continued to look over my shoulder, expecting to see the answer pop up from the ground. Heero was wrong. Darlian didn't kill that man. Darlian's feelings were so intense and in such turmoil that they stained everything around them. I didn't detect a hint of hydrogen cyanide either. Darlian's crimes were well thought out, even though they were hastily done. Whoever did this devised a quick plan, but there was no preparation. No emotional staining. Just in, done, and out. This person...er...werewolf I should say, had complete control over himself, and enough power in his steps to scare the earth into silence forever.
"Wow," Hilde said, smile breaking across her face. "These wolves know how to party!"
Howard merely grunted.
As usual, the party was full swing by the time I arrived at Wufei's. This time I came really late, about eleven o'clock in the evening. The moon was so bright overhead that I thought it was leaning on the house, and the werewolves seemed to be...glowing. Tonight was special. I didn't know why, and as far as I could tell, none of the wolves had something special planned. But I knew something significant was going to happen. I could feel it.
Going with an impulse, I dressed as nicely as I thought appropriate. I had dark gray slacks that I wore, with a silver blue pressed cotton shirt. I didn't put my hair in a braid. Instead, I used a hair tie to hold it at the base of my neck, and let the rest hang free. When I couldn't choose what shoes to wear, I went with another impulse and decided to go barefoot.
Hilde and Howard were off for the night, and when they saw how I was dressed (and they couldn't talk me out of going), they decided to come with me. Hilde wore her 'Hello Kitty' pj's, and Howard wore his usual loud stuff. I felt like a Packmaster myself with both of them flanking me as we walked over. Hilde didn't seem to feel the aura about me, but Howard did. He kept giving me questionable side glances, as if he suspected I had something up my sleeve. But I didn't. I didn't have any plans or intentions. He must've felt that same vibe in the air too.
After Heero dropped me off at the house, I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening thinking about what he said. During that time, Meizer called to let me know that formal charges have been pressed against Darlian for the deaths of four people. He couldn't give me other details (he wasn't supposed to tell me what he did in the first place), but he wanted to make sure I would be okay. After all, Darlian was my neighbor. Once he was assured that I was fine, we hung up. I've been brooding ever since.
Wufei killed that man because he harmed me. I knew it, inside and out. But I was upset with myself. When I thought about it, I felt...happy, that he did that for me. Someone hurt me, so he killed them. But I was angry at myself for feeling that way. I shouldn't want anything more to do with the werewolves. I should've tried to move as soon as I learned what they were. I should've called Wufei to yell at him for killing that man and not letting the police do their job. I should've called Meizer and told him that Wufei killed the hobo, go arrest him. I should I should I should.
But I didn't. I wasn't going to either. Ever.
Because...I loved him.
"Hey Duo! Glad you finally made your appearance!"
"Shut up Abdul!"
"Leave me alone Auda!"
I didn't know when this happened, but some time during these crazy two weeks, I fell in love with him.
"The Packmaster's on the porch, doing his 'Packmaster' thing."
"Abdul, you're asking for a bite."
"Who's going to give it? You?"
I didn't know his favorite color. I didn't know his birthday. I didn't know his turn-offs. But I knew I loved him.
"Hey Duo, where are you going? Don't leave me and Uncle Howard with these crazy wolves!"
"Oh Auda, she wounds me!"
I went through the crowd without seeing it, and heard greetings without responding. I was intent only on making it to my destination.
His black eyes found mine as the sea of bodies parted. Heero and Trowa, who were on either side of Wufei, seemed to drop back into the shadows. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Quatre grab Mariemaia to put her on his shoulders. There was the sound of shuffling as Abdul and Auda brought my uncle and sister to the front of the crowd. Then silence fell, making the fall of my bare footsteps ring out like thunder. It seemed to take forever to walk up those small few steps of the porch. But once I did, I stopped in front of him, and gazed into his otherworldly eyes.
"Packmaster," I said softly, and with my head bowed I kneeled at his feet. The air seemed to hold still as Wufei waited a few beats, before placing his hand gently on the back of my head. I didn't hear any gasps of surprise, but I felt the hands of a few werewolves fly up to their mouths in shock. Then we waited, and waited, and waited.
Wufei's voice, when he spoke, sounded like it came from the center of the earth. "Rise Duo Maxwell, Primus Privileged of the Lagrange Five Pack, the Shenlong Werewolves!"
Hilde and Howard's screams were absorbed in the eruption of the Pack's cheers and howls. With Wufei's hands on my arms, I stood. He brought his hands up to my face, where he caressed my cheeks with his fingertips. "Duo," I read on his lips. The werewolves were making so much noise there was no way I would've been able to hear him.
He brought my face forward and kissed me. His arms wound themselves around my waist, and my hands reached up to rest on his shoulders as if we did this everyday. He pulled me closer as the kiss intensified, and I held on harder, not willing to relinquish the most exotic moment of my life. At the same time, we pulled back to gaze at one another. The moon gave us both a glow that could only be supernatural, as if She was giving us her blessing.
"Thank you," I mouthed. I didn't know why I was thanking him. Maybe it was for killing the hobo. Maybe it was for making me feel the most alive I've ever felt in my life. Maybe it was because he made me feel important. Needed. Wanted. Desired.
Wufei smirked at me, that sexy, cocky smirk, and we dove back in. The werewolves continue to howl on and on as we kissed under the moon.