Blood or Chocolate?
Chapter 8: Questions and Answers
"Duo? Duo! Wake up!"
"Huh?" I said intelligently as I opened my eyes. Howard and Hilde were looming over me, and above their heads was the night sky. "What the hell happened?"
"You passed out," Howard said, sounding kinda pissed. "I can't believe you're falling for this shit."
"I said I can't believe," he slid his arm under my shoulders, "that you're falling for this shit!" With a good heave he had me sitting up again. That's when I remembered.
Heero, Mariemaia and Sally were sitting, eating their sandwiches like nothing was going on at all. Wufei was watching me with a smirk on his face. "My god, a freakin' werewolf," I said to myself, shaking my head. "A werewolf," I repeated. Saying the words seemed to make it more real to me. "That makes so much sense."
"Duo," Hilde gasped in absolute shock. "What are you talking about? This is a mental condition called Lycanthropic Disorder. This is where patients actually think they are werewolves. These people are mentally ill--"
I started cracking up. Hilde wanted to be a psychologist when we were kids. Looked like she still kept up with that stuff. "Hilde, Hilde," I said when I had calmed down. "They aren't mentally ill. They are what they say they are. Trust me. I know it now."
Howard got up, cursing them and anyone who looked like them. "I refuse to listen to this bullshit!" he snapped, pulling Hilde to her feet. "Stay away from my family," he growled, pointing threateningly at Wufei. "Or as sure as the sun will rise, I will kill you. Understand?"
I glanced over to Mariemaia in her swimsuit, and understood exactly why Wufei brought her. "Go ahead and change for them, pumpkin pie," I told her. "They won't believe you otherwise."
Hilde and Howard stopped. Howard sneered at me. "Duo, what the hell are you talking about?"
"Sit down." I grabbed their hands and pulled them down when they didn't listen. Mariemaia stood up and walked towards us, stopping a foot away from me. "Watch her. It'll make sense in a minute." Hilde started to say something, but I shushed her. "Go ahead honey."
Mariemaia nodded, smiled at me, then closed her eyes in concentration. She took a deep breath and then exhaled. The only way I could describe the transformation was to say it was graceful. It wasn't agonizing like shown in the movies. There wasn't the horrifying screaming or the painful contortions. No bones cracking, no skin tearing. It was peaceful, quiet, and quick. In the span of three breaths, she had transformed into a beautiful, black furred werewolf cub, wearing a blue and yellow polka dot swimsuit.
"Oh my god," Hilde gasped, backing away. Howard jumped to his feet, murmuring a litany of profanity, unsure of whether to kill them all or to grab us and run. I reached out and started scratching her behind her ears, smiling to myself as she whimpered in pleasure. I thought about yesterday in Septem's field, and felt all of the pieces come together.
"The reason Meizer and I were at their house," I started with my narration, since I never got around to telling why I was there, "was because we were bringing her back. See, yesterday when Hilde and Sylvia went shopping, I went for a walk. I heard shooting, and cut across the field to find out what the hell was going on." She flopped into my lap. Wufei and the others watched us with gentle smiles on their faces. "Septum wasn't shooting at a dog attacking the deer. He was shooting at her." I swatted her on the butt, and she playfully snapped at me. Hilde and Howard jumped. "But he mistook her for a dog. She lost her scent back because he scared her." I hugged her. "And then I came along."
I released her, and she got up and trotted in front of Hilde. Hilde on the other hand, was scared witless. Howard pulled her away from the werewolf and stood in front of her, as if to protect her from the cub. "It's all right, she won't hurt you," I said. "Just think of her as a puppy."
Hilde gave me a dubious look.
"Come on, Hil. She didn't hurt me, did she?"
Hilde still looked doubtful. But when Mariemaia started to whine like a hurt animal, with those large blue eyes looking tearful, Hilde was suckered into it. Still standing behind Howard, she timidly petted the top of the werewolf's head, before growing bolder and scratching behind her ears. When the cub's leg began to tap the ground in pleasure, Hilde chuckled and relaxed. She came around Howard and slowly sat down, still scratching and petting. I glanced at Howard. He was Not Happy, with capital letters. He wasn't going to be petting shit.
I sighed and decided to ignore him for the time being. I had questions. "Last night, you knew what I was."
Wufei had been watching me. The knowledge sent a prickle of...something, up my spine. "Yes."
"I ran into some of your kind during the Middle Ages," he said, waving a hand dismissively. "Clairvoyants have a very distinctive smell."
"Excuse me?" Hilde said incredulously. Howard sat down with a loud plop.
"The Middle Ages," Heero said, giving Wufei a look of absolute pride. "The Packmaster has been around for some time."
It took me a minute to put my jaw back in place. "Wait wait wait. Werewolves don't live that long!" Or so I thought.
"What are you, an expert?" Sally said playfully.
"Yes?" she said, dripping sarcasm from her lips.
I clamped my mouth shut.
"Werewolves have the ability to virtually live forever," Wufei said, reaching into their picnic basket. I didn't think theirs had a false bottom. He pulled out a slice of cheese. "Our bodies start rejuvenating injuries immediately, and constantly rejuvenates our skin, tissues and organs. But just like vampires, old werewolves are rare because sooner or later something kills them."
"Wait wait wait," I said, and held my hands out in front of me as if that would stop his words. "I just found out that werewolves are not fictional creatures like I was taught my whole life to believe. Please, just one thing at a time."
"As you wish," he said.
"What kills you fuckers?" This was asked by my sweet tempered uncle.
Instead of Howard being eaten alive (which I would've done if I was a werewolf), Wufei actually smiled at him. "The same thing that kills a human, actually. Gunshots, fires, getting crushed, drowning. It just takes a bit more effort to kill us, that's all."
If I didn't know any better, I would've thought Howard was taking notes.
"But what about getting stabbed in the heart with silver?" Hilde asked. She was absently petting Mariemaia, who had fallen asleep in her lap.
Correction. Howard was taking notes. When the hell did he get a palm pilot?
"Well, those would be the same things that would kill a human," Heero explained patiently. "It was said to use silver because at the time our existence was discovered, silver was the only metal that could hold up to kill us. Gold was too soft, and iron too brittle. That's not an issue anymore since the creation of guns."
"Ohhh," Hilde and I chimed. Howard pulled our picnic basket closer.
"Is it true about the full moon?" I asked, remembering that tomorrow night was a full moon.
"Some," Wufei said softly. "If you were born a werewolf, or were bitten by an alpha werewolf, you can resist the change. It's only if you're half-Were or a weak Were that you have to change. Also, if a Were is strong enough, he or she can change whenever it suits them. It doesn't have to be a full moon."
I looked at Mariemaia, shocked. She had changed in broad daylight. "Wow."
"Yes," Wufei agreed proudly. "She comes from a very strong family line. She will be very powerful when she grows older."
I had a feeling my next question would be touchy, but I asked anyway. "You're full-blooded?"
"Yes," he answered agreeably. "I was born Were, not made."
Kinda figured that. I couldn't imagine him being Packmaster and being ‘made' or whatever the term was. "Is there anyone that wasn't...born?"
"That is a question you'll have to ask them, if they exist in my Pack," he said neutrally, but I heard the warning underneath. ‘Don't Go There' he meant, with underlined capital letters.
My heart softened at the hint of danger underneath. He really looked after his Pack. "You're a great Packmaster, aren't you?" I asked, and my voice came out sounding as touched as I felt. I had five wide-eyed expressions aimed at me, each as surprised as I was. I cleared my throat and tried to get their minds off my love-struck moment. "Last night," I started, "when I said you weren't human, I heard you say that...that I wasn't human either."
"Howard, please!" Hilde hissed.
I ignored them both. "How...how could that be? My parents were human."
He took a deep breath and exhaled. He was really thinking hard. "I need to explain that better to you." He looked me dead in the eye. "Technically, you are human. However, my kind doesn't see you as that because of your abilities. You are a magical creature, Duo." I started to say something but he interrupted me. "Yes, there are other clairvoyants. But they are nothing compared to you. They only have hints and suggestions. You have actual power. We wouldn't have been able to hurt you the way we have if you were only guessing at what we were thinking, and not trying to invade our thoughts. See the difference?"
That clinched it. I understood. I understood perfectly. "But how did this happen? Why am I able to do this but not my twin sister, or a million others?"
"You're an anomaly Duo, just like we are," he said with a shrug. "I'm afraid I don't have an answer for that."
"No, Wufei. You've given me more answers than anyone ever could. Thank you."
I hit the mark. Heero and Sally were very happy with me. No, scratch that. They were bloody ecstatic! I thought I'd have to borrow Howard's sunglasses to protect my eyes from their smiles.
Suddenly I thought about their cars. I couldn't tell you why that popped into my mind, but it did. "Well, what do werewolves do for a living?"
"Whatever we want," he said with raised eyebrows. I got the impression no one ever bothered to ask him that. "Nearly everyone in my Pack runs their own private business in order to set their own hours, for obvious reasons," he explained, gesturing to the moon.
Good point. Hard to return to work the next day after being on all fours the night before.
"The man with me yesterday, Rashid, has his own construction company that many of us work for. Darlian and his mate have their own cleaning and gardening business." I raised an eyebrow at that. Sally hid her smile behind her hand, and Heero smirked. Darlian just did not seem like a gardening person to me. I guess that part of the business belonged to his ‘mate.' "Heero works for a computer company in Austin, Sally is a doctor, and Trowa and Catherine work at Sea World in San Antonio. I'm a Labor lawyer."
Wow. I never thought about werewolves having jobs. The more he explained, the more they seemed like normal people.
Just then a dark form ran up, and I probably did shit on myself. It was a werewolf, but it was fuckin' Huge with a capital H, and ruined the image of them seeming like normal people. If it weren't for Mariemaia in her lap, Hilde would've taken off screaming like the insane. Howard jumped back, and I knew he was scared when his sunglasses fell off and he didn't bother picking them up. I felt how wide my eyes were and stayed still because...I really thought I had a load of shit in my pants.
The form fluidly dissolved into a bear of a man. It was Rashid. "Packmaster!" his voice boomed, making us mere mortals jump. "Darlian has not returned from his run. And there has been another murder." His eyes were frantic. He wasn't worried about the murder. He was afraid for Darlian.
"Round his mate, she is the next best tracker," Wufei commanded, voice all dictatorial...and sexy. Out the gutter! Out the gutter! "Split the Maguanacs into four groups: Trowa leading one group westward, Heero, you're east, Rashid, go north and send Mrs. Darlian with a few Maguanacs south. Quatre is to roam on his own, and Catherine is to be at my side."
"Packmaster," Rashid said reverently. He changed back into wolf form and thundered away.
Heero immediately dissolved, easily shaking the clothes off of him. He was just as big of a werewolf--dear god--as Rashid. Sally roused Mariemaia from her nap, and the cub took off in a blue and yellow streak of fading color. Sally then pulled her dress over her head, and I had a glimpse of her nude body before she changed. She was around the same size as Rashid and Heero. Then both Heero and Sally took off in different directions.
"I must be going," Wufei said, standing fluidly. "I'm sorry for this. I would like to talk more tomorrow, Duo." He looked dead at me.
Oh. He didn't want Howard and Hilde along. Interesting. "Sure. What time?"
"That remains to be seen," he said with slight regret. "I will end up appearing unannounced."
"That's okay. Just come whenever you can," I said, feeling worried for Darlian my damn self.
Wufei just looked at me. My hackles were rising, and I mean that in a very fun way here.
"Tomorrow then," he said, and his voice was dripping with promises. What those promises were I didn't know, but I couldn't wait to find out.
Wufei kneeled gracefully, and stretched into a werewolf, shaking his clothes free just like Heero had. This time I was sure I had shit all over myself. Wufei was the biggest friggin' werewolf in existence, I was willing to bet my life! Rashid and Heero were mice compared to him. He was as tall as me on all fours. His body was nothing but a wall of muscle, so taut it quivered. His eyes matched his fur, and I couldn't tell where he was looking, if his eyes were even open! He pawed at the ground, and I felt the earth underneath my feet shake. If he stood up on all fours, I knew without a doubt that I would drop dead from fear. This was going to take some serious getting use to.
He purred and took off, leaving a small earthquake behind.