To see how the hell to pronounce Alphagué and Betagué, see bottom of page.
Blood or Chocolate?
Chapter 7: Surprise, Surprise
Work has been especially busy today. The news of Luna's bizarre murder got out, and every Tom, Dick and Harry in surrounding counties have come by to see the store he died in. Because I found him, I've been getting phone calls all day from reporters wanting to interview me. People have been stopping by just to shake my hand as if I was some celebrity. It was disgusting. Worse of all, the people of Pike Creek loved the attention and were soaking it up like a dry sponge.
Last night as Hilde drove us home, I told them everything that happened at the convenience store, what happened with Wufei, what I felt at the morgue, and I told Howard what Hilde and I smelled. They were upset, naturally. I was too. Mooney was murdered, but the police had the incident recorded as an animal attack, and I couldn't think of any way to prove it otherwise without getting myself incarcerated or put in the nuthouse. I wasn't going to even tell Meizer. He would be obligated to turn me in and he wouldn't. I couldn't do that to him. So I was going to keep this burden all to myself.
How selfish of me.
But I didn't tell them Wufei wasn't human. Hell, I didn't know where to even begin. I mean, if he wasn't human, what the hell was he?
I didn't tell them that Wufei said I wasn't human either. I was still trying to come to grips with that my damn self. And if *I* wasn't human...what did that make me?
It was almost one o'clock in the morning when we got back last night, and Hilde and I were adamant that Howard stay with us until this thing blew over. I didn't like the fact that he lived alone, that his house was on the outskirts of town, by itself, and I didn't want anyone thinking him an easy target and going for it. He wanted to stay to protect us. So Hilde and I played up the role of weak, orphaned children, and he was determined to pack enough clothes for a month of Sundays so that he wouldn't have to go back home for anything. Mission accomplished.
Exhausted, I tossed the last box outside for disposal. It was nearing ten o'clock. In another hour I would be meeting up with Wufei to ask every question that popped into my mind. Finally, here was someone that could tell me about...me. I was as excited as I was terrified. After all these years, I would know something. Thank you g--what the hell was that smell?
I stepped outside and looked around, again. It wasn't the smell of something rotting, like a dead possum, but I couldn't place it either. It just smelled funny outside. Sour, like you left the milk out too long. It was starting to piss me off.
A car pulled up to the pump, and I immediately recognized Tsubarov's assholemobile. I went back inside and continued to work. My mind was so engrossed in what I wanted to ask Wufei that I was scared nearly shitless when I felt a tap on my shoulder. "Jeez, Tsubarov! Call my name or something next time."
He was looking smug. "I did call your name. Three times." He held up three fingers as if I needed visual confirmation. "You obviously didn't hear me."
My apology ignited something in him. He seemed to have grown a few inches, and his chest puffed out. I guess he was a bloody peacock. "I didn't think you'd be here today because of your...discovery yesterday."
I grabbed the broom and started to sweep. "Yeah well, life goes on," I said, not sure of what I should say. I wanted to take a quick peek at his thoughts, but mine were fried. Literally. Wufei's mind totally trashed mine, and it was going to take some time to heal. I tried to use my ability several times today, but the thoughts came through with static and were blending with others, like a weak radio frequency. When I tried for the fourth time with the same result, I decided to wait a couple of days before any more attempts. But what pissed me off was that I was able to do it last night at the morgue. I mean, I was able to hear everyone at the hospital and...this shit just wasn't making any sense. "Hey, did you smell something funny outside?"
"Faintly," he agreed. "Could be the skunks mating."
Duh. Why didn't I think of that?
I didn't need my mind-reading skills to decipher the tone in his voice. "Tsubarov, look." I set the broom down. This has to stop, once and for all. "I don't want to be an asshole to you anymore, okay? I don't like acting that way towards someone. Lord knows I have enough enemies. But...I am not attracted to you. I don't want to be with you. I could give a shit about your money, and I...I like someone else," I finished, surprised I said that out loud. Hell, I just learned the guy's name!
Tsubarov was really considering my words. "I don't want a relationship. You're too much trouble for that."
I was tempted to smack the shit outta him with the broom. At the same time, my feelings were a bit...stung. I've had people telling me my entire life I was trouble. I didn't need to hear it from this jerk too. "Well, I do want a relationship. And I don't want it based entirely on sex. That's what whores are for." I stopped and waited. If he dared to insinuate that I was a whore...oh, there was going to be a fight.
"So you wouldn't consider a physical relationship only with me where you could be...financially benefitted?"
That was a pretty way of saying ‘fuck me for money.' But he said it in just the right way to keep me from getting mad. "No, I wouldn't." I picked up the broom again and swept the small pile of dirt outside. I put it back in the corner I always kept it in, and started to pack up. "Whatever you need, get it now. I'm closing up."
I was suddenly spun around, and crusty lips were pressed harshly against my own. I pushed Tsubarov away and started punching at him. I was in complete shock, and the only thing I wanted was distance between me and him. I got my distance when he pushed me across the room (he was an asshole, but a strong asshole), and he quickly opened the door to leave.
I didn't know what happened to me, but all of a sudden I couldn't take it anymore.
I ran after him and pushed the bastard back, causing him to fall. As he rolled on his back, I stood over him and started punching him in his face. He tried to kick me, but I jumped out of the way, and landed a swift kick to his stomach. He howled and curled up in pain, and I started punching him all over again. All of my anger at him, Septem, Alex, Mueller, the death of my parents, and Mooney and Luna's murder drove me on. I couldn't stop myself. In fact, I thought that I was going to beat him to death.
Somehow, the thought of Wufei crossed my mind and I stopped. I grabbed Tsubarov by the collar of his shirt and dragged him to his car, calling him and his mother every awful name I could think of, as well as creating a few. I threw him into his car and slammed the door closed. After a few attempts he got it started, and drove away with his head bowed. I continued to stand where he left me and shouted after his car, just in case he didn't hear the first three times how big of a fuckin' prick he fuckin' was. Then I stomped back to the shack and closed up.
I was Exhausted, with a capital E.
When my anger burned out, it took all of my strength with it. I sighed as I started the car, and thought about calling Wufei and telling him the hell with tonight, I was going to bed. But I remembered that he had questions too, and probably wouldn't hesitate to break down my door to find out what he wanted to know.
That smell was starting to really bug me. Skunks didn't usually get that bad.
"Fuck it," I said to myself and drove home.
"Duo, what happened?!" Hilde shrieked as I walked in the door.
"Eh?" I looked down at myself and saw specks of blood all over my clothes. I didn't even notice. "Oh. I got into a fight."
"With who?" she demanded, checking me over for injuries. Howard watched me from the couch. If I wasn't missing a limb, he wasn't going to worry.
"Tsubarov?!" they shouted in surprise. Hilde looked horrified. Howard looked happy.
"Yeah. I stink. I'm hitting the shower," I said as I dashed into the bathroom. As I passed, I saw that there was a picnic basket as well as a red and white checkered blanket. But the picnic basket was one I recognized as having a false bottom. Howard must have his handguns in there.
I tore off my clothes and jumped in, yelping from the spray of cold water. As I started to wash up, I heard Howard come into the bathroom. "What happened?"
"That son of a bitch kissed me!" I shouted, feeling all of the anger coming back as I scrubbed my arms. "I can't believe he had the nerve to put any part of his body on me."
"Oh yuck!" I heard Hilde shout from somewhere in the house. "I would've kicked his ass too!"
"Then what happened?"
"I pounded him into the ground." I was making fast work of my chest.
"I threw him into his car, and he drove away."
"That's it. I came home."
I heard Howard chuckle. "Good job Duo."
It was now my turn to puff my chest out and grow an inch or two. "Yeah, I know."
"Somebody's cocky!" Hilde shouted from somewhere. Again.
I finished and jerked the water off. Grabbing the towel from over the showerhead, I dried myself off as fast as possible. I flew out of the bathroom and jumped into my pajamas. (Hey, we were going to get back late). The pants were in zebra print which I wore with a black tank top. Howard was dressed in his usual loud clothing, sunglasses and all, while Hilde dressed in some black leggings, sleeveless shirt and her ‘ass-kicking' shoes, which were her black Nikes. We gathered up all our picnic stuff and at ten minutes ‘til, walked to the pet cemetery.
I didn't know what Einstein thought it was a good idea to build a pet cemetery in the middle of nowhere, but oh well. My house and Wufei's house were the only houses for miles. Howard was ten miles away to our east. The field Septem owned was a half hour walk west of here, but his house was miles inward from there. I think it took a good half hour to get there by car. So it was quite a shock (and unfortunate) that I ran into him yesterday.
Anyway, the cemetery was between our houses. My back porch led to a path that went through what felt like a miniature forest of Deodar trees before opening into a bald spot. That bald spot was maybe thirty feet, give or take, and that lead to the north gate of the cemetery. That was the only entrance. The black wrought bars that were the fence were only four feet high, and I remembered during our youth how Hilde and I would jump that fence and scare the little trick-or-treaters on Halloween to steal their candy. Heh heh heheh...
Wufei's back porch faced it also if I remembered correctly, but their path was longer than ours. It went under an absolutely huge Honey Locust tree and wound around the side until it came to the north gate. Their house also sat on a slight hill, which made it easy to jump the fence on their side by using the slight hill for leverage, or by simply swinging from a branch of the Honey Locust tree and flinging yourself over. (I'm telling you, the tree was THAT freakin' big). There were other paths here and there, but since they haven't been used in years, they were pretty much overgrown.
So basically, my back porch and Wufei's back porch faced the pet cemetery, where both of us had blocked views of cutesy-fartsy headstones with birdshit on it.
The moon was bright tonight, great for lighting the paths without our flashlights. We climbed over the fence and continued on the path until we came to the center of the cemetery where there was a clearing. Already there and waiting was Wufei, Heero, and a woman I didn't recognize. Wufei wore a white tunic that was a size too big for him, and matching linen pants. Heero was dressed the same way, in brown. The woman was dressed in a flowery print sundress. All three were barefoot. Stepping from behind Heero was Mariemaia, holding his hand. She was wearing a blue and yellow polka dot swimsuit. I raised an eyebrow. Wasn't it a little past her bedtime?
The woman, who was tall with her hair in twists, picked up the blanket they brought and laid it out. It was black and white checkered. Hilde mimicked her, laying our blanket out as well. All of us then sat down at the same time, while Mariemaia crawled into Heero's lap. "I said to bring two eye witnesses with you. Why did you bring her?"
"I brought her to show you something," Wufei said. "But first, I believe introductions are in order."
I decided to humor him, for now. If this turned him on, so be it. "Alright." I gestured to my left. "This is Howard Maxwell, my uncle." The three of them nodded to him in greeting. He didn't return the gesture. Thanks Howie. I gestured to my right. "This is my twin, Hilde Maxwell." The three nodded to her. She nodded back, and smiled at Heero and the woman. They smiled back. That's right, they've already met. "And I'm Duo Maxwell."
"I am Heero Yuy," he said, and I noticed for the first time his slight, Japanese accent. "This is Sally Po, Wufei's Betagué bodyguard." The three of us shot up at that. What the hell was a Betagué? And bodyguard? Heero definitely had our attention. "This is Mariemaia Barton," he said, kissing the top of her head, "niece to Alphagué bodyguards Trowa and Catherine Barton." She smiled. I however, was ready to scream at him to say words I damn well understood.
Heero then got on his hands and knees, facing Wufei, and bowed with his forehead nearly touching the ground. Sally and Mariemaia mimicked Heero's position. What the hell?
"Lastly we have Chang Wufei, Descendent of the Chang Clan and Packmaster of the powerful Lagrange Five Werewolf Pack, the Shenlong Werewolves."
No one said anything. The breeze stopped, and the crickets quieted. I stared right into Wufei's eyes, and that was when I saw it. Heero's, Trowa's, and Quatre's eyes, along with Rashid's, Darlian's, and Sally's eyes, glowed from the moonlight. But Wufei's didn't. Instead, his eyes absorbed the moonlight, creating its own glow from within. That made him the most powerful of them all. He was the Alpha. He was Packmaster. He was a Werewolf.
The world tilted on its side, then went black.
Betagué and Alphagué are pronounced like the city "Prague." So it's two syllables: Be-tagué and Al-phagué. (Ignore the accents, I only put them there to make it look fancy).