Blood in Siberia
Chapter 30: Closing the Door Before It Opens
The second that I became solid, I took the hell off. Serafima, may she have eternal village people to eat, dropped me off right between two werewolves who were reloading their weapons. There were lit flares going, and I had to do nothing more than follow them to safety. Safety was a large, shallow hole in the rock formation’s wall that formed a quasi-cave. Everyone else in our little party was already there except for Trowa, who was right behind me.
As soon as I was inside I felt myself up. The blizzard made things terribly difficult for the dragon. The winds pulled her apart, and us with her. I was afraid that I would be lacking some fingers and toes, if not an appendage altogether. Thankfully, I had everything intact. Especially the boys. Thank you, God.
One of the werewolves sent by Otto came into the opening with us, and started speaking into the Prince’s ear. Otto lit two flares and threw them on the ground. As he did, Yelena started pulling artillery out of a bag and passed them out. She gave Otto several guns, as well as the Prince and the unknown werewolf. I could tell that she was about to pass the next batch to Trowa, and intervened quickly. Stepping forward, I took the two Brownings and the Jericho. Efficiently, I took the magazines out, checked them, and slid them back into place. When I looked back up she had already handed Trowa guns. She was turning back with more magazines for me. I took them with a nod and shoved them into my pockets.
The Prince had just finished with the werewolf and dismissed him. The werewolf ran back outside, and seconds later I could hear even more rapid gunfire. It sounded like serious ass was being kicked, but I wasn’t too sure about that.
“Oburi’s here!” the Prince yelled. The torrent winds were making it difficult even for the werewolves to hear. “He has Noin secured in a cave on the eastern side of that outcropping.” At this, I stepped out to see what he was talking about and snorted to myself. I couldn’t see jack shit. The snow was blowing so hard it occluded everything, not to mention that it was night and there were no such things as streetlights. I might as well have been blind for all of the good my sight was doing me. “He has thrown silver into the snow, so monitor your breathing. If you feel its effects, come back here to regroup. I do not think that will be an issue. Otto’s teams have been here for a while and all they have had so far is a tingling in their throats. Now, the teams have split into three groups of four.” I turned back around. I had to squint against the light of the flares. “They are going to cover us. We are going to divide and conquer to enter Oburi’s lair. Shoot to kill!” he yelled. “The fucker has already brought himself back to life once! I am sure he will do so again. When he does, I will make it his last!” The others yelled in a Spartan fashion. I started jumping up and down. Adrenaline was making my fingers tingle and my heart pound. My mortality completely escaped me.
“Otto and Yelena! Come in from his east. He should not see you. Alphagué and Untouchable, come in from the west. I will meet him head on.”
Trowa immediately threw me on his back and took off. I instantly lost sight of the others. The snow and dark made me blind, so I could do nothing more except hang onto Trowa as he wove around objects I had no idea were there. Every few seconds I spotted a burst of color from a shot being fired, but that was all. I couldn’t hear anything other than rounds of ammunition going and the howl of the wind. I felt my heart beating against my ribcage, the heat from my breaths, and the weight of the guns and ammunition in my pockets.
We started going up the outcropping’s wall. I could tell by how steep we suddenly were. The wind was louder, and I could feel Trowa slow down just a fraction. Bullets whizzed by our heads as snow and rock rained on us from the bullets’ impacts. We climbed higher rapidly, and I yawned as I felt the pressure changes in my ears.
The wind suddenly increased more, stopping Trowa completely in his tracks. His grip on me tightened to the point where it became painful, and I realized that being on his back made it harder for him to fight the wind. Throwing my weight to the side, Trowa got my hint and turned me loose. He waited until I had grabbed hold of his ankle before he started to crawl. It was slow going, but we were going.
After a few eternities, I sensed that we were near the top. Trowa was moving faster and faster in his excitement. Figuring that I would probably be a hindrance, I let go of his ankle and slapped his leg twice. Understanding that I meant for him to leave me, he did. I continued to crawl in the direction I felt we were going, and hoped that something wouldn’t run me over in the dark.
Some time later I saw a soft glow of light, the kind I’ve become familiar with at the castle: torchlight. Using that as my guide, I got to my feet in a low crouch and moved as fast as I safely could. It wasn’t much faster than crawling, I’m afraid. I was so, so cold, and tired. It felt as though it had been hours, and it probably had.
As I looked up, I saw something that looked suspiciously like Trowa get shot out of the cave like a cannonball. I couldn’t see anything more as his form was eaten up in the darkness. Confused and terrified, I held my position as I contemplated what to do. If Trowa got his ass handed to him, *I* certainly would. However, I couldn’t see my ass from a hole in the ground. There was no way I would be able to navigate my way back down in the dark. Fuck! I had no idea what to do.
As if to make up my mind for me, the wind carried a voice to me. It was a woman’s. I didn’t understand the language, but I understood the emotions beneath it. Exhaustion. Fear. Pain. Hope. Without my permission, my body started forward. Damn.
There was a break in the wall right underneath the mouth of the cave. It was a tight fit but I squeezed into it, and immediately felt better because it protected me from nearly all of the wind. Inching up, I pulled my goggles up and saw that the light was in fact from a fire that Oburi had burning. He stood with the fire at his back, wearing a white snowsuit of his own. His eyes were closed, and he held his hands out before him as if he were pushing something away. Rolling my eyes around I tried to take everything in. Pelts and other homey odd and ends were scattered all over the place, giving the cave a feeling of being lived in. But for the life of me I could not find Noin.
I turned my attention back to Oburi and studied him. He hadn’t changed since his death. His body was still strong and lean. His skin was beautiful, even with the thin-lined scars from the Prince tearing him apart. His lips were still, unwilling or not needing to chant any spells, and the diamond on his forehead gave off a color that was very, very familiar...
Closing my eyes, I tried to find the thread that bound me to the Prince’s son. I hadn’t consciously been holding it, but luckily I didn’t let it go either. Following the thread, I shook in anger when I realized that the infant was in fact being held as a prisoner in Oburi’s Safe Haven.
That son of a bitch!
Fury that I’d only felt with Alex, Mueller and Tsubarov welled up inside of me, and I allowed it to flow throughout my entire being. After killing Alec when I was a kid, I thought I’d never be able to kill another person again. I was wrong. Maybe it was because I didn’t see Oburi as human. Maybe I had already justified it to myself because he had kidnapped and killed a newborn. Regardless, it didn’t bother me one iota when I pulled out the Browning, aimed it, clicked the safety off and fired.
The target hit true. I got Oburi in his right eye and he dropped like a sack of shit. The blizzard instantly stopped, making it possible for me to move freely. I climbed up quickly and ran to his corpse. Purposely not looking at his face, I dug my fingers around the diamond and tried to pull it from his forehead. It didn’t budge.
I heard a gasp and turned. In a cage of silver sat Noin, arms tied to her body with silver chains. Thankfully, her snowsuit protected her skin from harm. Her hair seemed stylishly messy, her skin as flawless as milk, her eyes so dark they seemed purple. I was stunned by how even in captivity, she was beautiful.
My distraction proved to be a mistake. Oburi’s hand rose up and landed on my chest. Using Air Magic, he literally launched me out of their lair. It felt like I had been kicked in the chest by a horse. I couldn’t even scream as I flew out and down the rocky side, completely helpless. It didn’t even occur to me that I was about to die until Serafima caught me and encircled me, protecting my body from impact. She gently set me down before releasing me, blowing off to help the next creature. I laid there in pitch blackness, listening to my gurgled breathing as I waited for something to happen.
Seconds later I heard what sounded like the loudest crack ever heard in existence and jumped in surprise. Then it sounded as if something heavy and rocky was grinding against something else heavy and rocky. The noise was so loud it was deafening, and I jumped in surprise again when a flare sprung to life beside me.
It was Yelena. She lit a second flare before tossing it to my other side. Dropping to her knees, she peered intently into my eyes before closing hers and touching me. She held my head between her hands, then shifted them down to my cheeks, shoulders, and chest. They remained on my chest.
All of a sudden there was a deafening silence, and I jumped a third time.
“He tried to crush your chest,” she said at last, sitting back. “Luckily, Serafima had already arrived with G and was able to catch you.” Yelena abruptly twisted around before turning back to me. “The necromancer has brought down Oburi’s lair. This battle is over.”
Footsteps came from my right. I couldn’t turn my head to see who it was. If I had moved, my head would’ve fallen off. “How is he?” the Prince asked, standing over me. Trowa dropped to his knees by my side and started to whine. He tenderly pulled my ski mash down, and I caught a glimpse of it. It was saturated with blood. Eyes watery, he whined even more.
“He is bleeding internally. He needs care now, or you will be responsible for the death of a Primus. We also owe him our success; It was his shot that brought Oburi down.”
The Prince bowed his head. “Then see to it.”
Seconds later, Serafima arrived and whisked Trowa, Yelena, and I away.
The next time I woke I was in professional care.
It was much better than last time. I wasn’t in an ER with bed pans and false appendages being thrown all over the place. I wasn’t being held down and yelled at in Russian. Judging by the torch light, I figured that I was back in the Prince’s castle in yet another room I had never been in before. However, I was caught off guard by how it seemed to be specifically tailored for a human. The canopy bed was large enough for five of me to sleep in, comfortably. The wood was dark and elegant. The sheets were silk, but the comforter was made from a heavy material I couldn’t identify. The sheets, comforter and the gauze of the canopy were in different degrees of the Siberians’ blue. It was beautiful and elegant in a way I would expect a five-star hotel to be.
There was also equipment there that I was happy I could identify; saline bags, IV lines, gauze, tape, bandages, etc. I could also identify that the man sitting on the bed next to me was a doctor. At least, he was before he became a vampire. The white lab coat, scrubs and stethoscope around his neck helped, but his unnaturally bright eyes, white skin and marble posture gave him away. I had a split second where I was about to freak out, but it passed just as quickly. After all, I was alive, comfortable, alive, not a member of the undead, and alive.
“How are you feeling?”
I was almost taken aback by that. His voice was very smooth, very low, very calm. I felt at ease in his presence immediately. “Stiff,” I said, moving slowly about. “And sore,” I added after taking a deep, painful breath.
“Do you want something for the pain?”
I looked into his face. It was completely neutral. “No, thank you,” I said after a moment of contemplation. He continued to stare at me, so I happily continued to stare at him. He was handsome, as I was now expecting of the supernatural. He had a nice medium build, blond hair that was slicked back, an elegant nose, a pointed chin. Yeah, nice. “Who are you?” I asked with a slight... huskiness to my voice. All due to my injuries, of course.
He smiled warmly. “My name is Dr. Cullen. I have been charged of looking after your care, which you seem to need little of.”
I frowned, sitting up. It hurt like hell, but I felt immediately better once I did. “I’m sorry, I don’t follow...”
“Your body was already healing itself when I was summoned,” he said with that same easy smile. “It is obvious to me that you have previously ingested vampire blood. Tell me, when was the last time you needed healing?”
I closed my eyes and cringed. I did not want to tell him about Quinze’s crazy, crack-head ass. “Just about three months ago,” I said, lying back down.
He nodded to himself. “Was the injury just as severe?”
I sighed. I still had nightmares from when Darlian bit me. There were times when I was especially tired, that I saw his canines sinking into my shoulder out of the corner of my eye. “Worse,” I said in a whisper.
“Is that the same injury that caused the scars on your shoulder and back?”
Eyes still closed, I nodded. When I opened them, the look on Dr. Cullen’s face was one of deep concern. “Is there anything you wish to tell me?”
I was shaking my head before he even finished asking. “No.” I took a deep breath and let it out in a whoosh. “So... what’s the verdict?”
“Blunt force trauma to the chest,” he answered promptly. “You had hairline fractures on all of your ribs and had ruptured quite a few varices as well, but all have healed sufficiently enough on their own due to your previous ingestion of vampire blood.”
I didn’t understand a damn word he just said. “What?”
The smile was accompanied by a chuckle. “Your ribs had small breaks in them. The blood vessels in your esophagus were bleeding, but you have had vampire blood recently so your body was able to heal itself without any interventions from me.”
“Oh. Okay. Cool.”
This time he laughed outright as he stood. “On that note, I will take my leave.” He looked down at me. “Rest. I need to report to the Prince. I will assume that since you are... well, he will put you to work shortly.” He frowned, then shook his head.
I frowned up at him. “What’s up, Doc?”
He smiled back down at me. “Nothing. Just not happy with the way of events lately.”
I snorted. “Ain’t that the truth.”
He was silent a moment, giving me a considering look. “I bet you have been on a rollercoaster ride. I would not be surprised if the Shenlong Packmaster decided to claim you the moment he laid eyes on you.”
That was almost a compliment. Almost. His tone of voice was all wrong. It was too... bitter. “What makes you think that?”
“I do not know how the wolves see you, but to us vampires your aura is the color of your eyes. The glow surrounds your entire being. That does not begin to explain how your blood smells like nothing I have ever smelled before. It is simply heaven to be near you.” I could feel my blush run down my neck. He sighed, then shook his head to clear it. “I will tell the Prince that you genuinely think you are human. But a word of warning? Get back to your Packmaster as soon as you can. It would be better for you to die trying than to stay here.”
I was too shocked to say anything, so I watched in silence as the vampire left. It was after the door closed that I thought of a question to ask him.
What the hell did a vampire need with a stethoscope anyway?
I couldn’t have been dozing for more than twenty minutes when I felt the bed sink. It took a good two or three minutes for my eyes to open, but when they did I was startled to see who my guest was. “Noin?”
She gave me a sharp nod. “Maxwell.”
She seemed to be back to work. She had on the trademark military uniform of the Siberians. It blew me away again how stunning she was. I was stumped that the Prince wasn’t madly in love with her. Hell, I was interested and I was gay! “How are you feeling?” I asked, at a loss of anything else to say. I tried to sit up, but screaming muscles made that not happen.
She was silent a moment. “Empty,” she said at last. Her eyes flickered over me. “You are doing better than expected.”
I didn’t say anything to that. I didn’t know why, but I was sensing a tinge of... something. I didn’t understand. It was annoying, like a fly buzzing around your head. I mentally batted the sensation away. “What is it I can do for you?” I asked instead.
She gave me a very confused look. “It is my... understanding,” she frowned, as if unsure of her word choice, “that it was you who discovered Oburi’s lair.”
I searched her face. It was perfectly poker-faced. “Well, I found his lair by finding him.”
It was obvious she didn’t understand, but she wasn’t going to dwell on it. “The wizard escaped,” she said, tears slightly in her voice. “It is also my understanding that my cub’s soul is with him. Is that correct?”
“Yes,” I whispered.
“Find him,” she demanded. That fly sensation started again.
“I will,” I told her in confusion. Something wasn’t right about this. This shit wasn’t adding up for me. One and one was giving me five thousand and two.
She stood. “Get up. We are leaving now.”
Screaming muscles or not, I sat up. “No, I’m not. I’m staying right here until I can get up without feeling like my back will seize!”
She looked at me in complete shock. “I thought you agreed to find him.”
I was tempted to get up just to kick the shit outta her. “I did, and I will. But I will do so in my time, not yours.”
“I am the Alphagué. You are to obey me.”
“You are one of the Alphagues. Otto is the other, so don’t try to make yourself seem better than you are. Besides, the only one to bark orders at anyone around here is the Prince, and that ain’t you.” She opened her mouth to say something, but I talked right over her. “Furthermore, if you wanna get into a pissing contest with me, then I got something for you. You’re the Alphagué, but I’m the Primus of the Shenlong.” Her mouth dropped open. “So don’t try barking any orders at me, bitch!”
The door opened. I recognized Otto’s presence entering the room. “What is the problem?” he asked without preamble.
“Your girl pissed me off, that’s the problem,” I said, crossing my arms. “I was perfectly fine before she showed up.”
Otto turned to Noin. “Why are you in here? You were given specific instructions to be in the throne room in case the Shenlong attacked.”
The look on her face said it all. With a snarl at me, she quickly left, slamming the door behind her. “Bitch!” I yelled, just to make sure she heard me.
“Maxwell?” Otto’s voice was half amusement, half concern. “Are you... alright? The vamp said you were, but...”
I laid back down. Sitting up was a mistake. “I hurt, but other than that I’m fine.” I frowned up at him. “Why?”
He was surprised, but pleased. “Just making sure,” was all he said before he sat in the spot vacated by Noin and Dr. Cullen. “We need you to find Oburi again. He has escaped.” I groaned. “Noin said the Air Wizard used some type of cyclone to drill a hole into the ceiling to leave. Thankfully, he didn’t have the power to take her with him.”
“Yeah. Thankfully,” I said with a pout.
Otto looked me over. “You really are okay.”
He was surprised. That concerned me. “Yeah. Why wouldn’t I be? Serafima caught me when--”
“No, I mean, Noin,” he interrupted. “She did not try anything with you, did she?”
“Actually, she did!” I slapped the bed with my hand. “She tried to order me around like I was some damn slave! I know she wants her child back, but I’m only...” Dr. Cullen’s words flashed through my mind, “human.” I looked into Otto’s eyes, and that was when I saw it. “Otto, why are Noin’s eyes dark?”
His smile took my breath away. He was going to have to stop doing that. “What an excellent question.” He stood abruptly. “That subject is forbidden.”
I had to shake my head to clear it. “Wait, what? Forbidden? It’s forbidden to discuss why Noin doesn’t have silver eyes like you all do?”
He beamed. “That’s correct!”
I huffed. What a weirdo. “Bye Otto.”
He laughed cheerily as the door closed behind him.
/ Is he there, Silver? /
/ He was, briefly. /
/ Damnit! /
/ What happened? /
/ I shot him with a silver bullet, but a minute later he kicked my ass. I was hoping the silver would wear him down eventually. /
/ I am afraid that would not work for a wizard. Good try, though. /
/ Humph. /
/ ... /
/ ... /
/ Is there something else on your mind, Duo? /
/ Have you ever heard of Noin? /
/ Lucrezia Noin? Alphagué of L2? If that is whom you are referring to, then yes. /
/ What do you know of her? /
/ Besides the obvious? Only rumors. She is different from her pack-mates in sight and in scent. Due to these differences, she is kept on a tight lease by her Packmaster. /
/ He needs to make that a choke chain. /
/ ...Duo, has something happened? /
/ I’m not sure. I just had this odd sensation when she was talking to me. /
/ Odd how? /
/ I felt like there was a fly buzzing around my head, but it was mental, not physical. /
/ Hmm. That is odd. Did it feel invasive? /
/ No, not really. Actually, it was annoying. I can’t help but feel that it was from her. She was probably doing... whatever it was, intentionally. /
/ I do not know what to tell you, Duo. I am sure that she has a secret of some kind. We all do, but I could not begin to guess what hers could be. /
/ That makes two of us. /
/ Did you try to read her mind? /
/ No way! She’s a werewolf. I’d cream my brains in... in... /
/ Duo? /
/ Holy shit Silver, I think I just had an effigy. /
/ I think you mean an epiphany. /
/ That’s what I said. Anyway, how much do you want to bet that she is not a full Siberian werewolf? /
/ ... /
/ ... /
/ That Duo, is fucking brilliant. /
/ It has to be if you said a curse word, you big potty mouth you. /
/ Hush. /
/ Seriously though, that has to be it. When I asked Otto about her eyes, he said the topic was forbidden. Why would it be forbidden unless it was something that wasn’t on the up and up? The Siberians seem to like flaunting their superior-ness everywhere. If they’re not announcing it on the radio waves it can’t be kosher, but it can’t be too terrible if she is an Alphagué and an Untouchable. /
/ You are right. So the bigger concern is not with her werewolf half, but with the other half. /
/ Could she be half vampire? /
/ No. That is not possible. Organic life and death could not coexist in a manner like that. /
/ Then I have no fucking idea what she could be. /
/ Is it that imperative to find out? /
/ ... /
/ ... /
/ Damn Silver, that is a good question. /
/ I am curious to learn more about this as well, but now would not be a good time to investigate. Noin is a dangerous adversary, and incurring her wrath over something that she may not want anyone to know would only make the situation more hazardous for you. Especially since you have your own secret you are trying to keep, yes? /
/ ...yeah. /
/ Duo, do what you need to do to be out from under the Prince’s thumb. That is the task at hand. There are things that you are better off not knowing, and this is probably one of them. /
Silver Water’s words followed me back to consciousness. I laid there in bed and thought about what he said. Was it imperative that I knew what Noin was? Would doing so help me get out of here faster? Would it help Trowa and Heero? Would it stop this war from happening? Would ‘incurring her wrath’ as Silver put it, do me any good?
The answer to all of those questions was ‘no.’
Tossing the comforter and sheets aside, I got up. Throwing on a fresh snowsuit, I completely locked away my thoughts of Noin’s heritage.
Her business was her business.
Yes, the Dr. Cullen in this chapter is the same Dr. Cullen from Twilight. He's the perfect vampire doc.