Blood in Siberia
Chapter 32: The Man in Red
I stared into the fire for a long time, seeing the flames but not registering them. The warmth nor heat were able to comfort me. I was getting a migraine from how tense my shoulders were, and my jaw ached from being clenched. In an effort to relax, I would try to drop into a trance without focusing my thoughts on any particular being. I had limited success. My mind was so full of turmoil that I was unable to sense anyone’s power. Unfortunately, the reverse wasn’t true.
/ Вы будете смертью меня... Duo. /
I was so startled that I nearly ‘woke up.’ / ...Oburi? /
/ Я знаю это и принимаю его. /
/ Wait, stop. I don’t understand. /
/ Я люблю ее. Я всегда буду. /
I snapped into alertness and looked around to see that it was Chris who called me. Ignoring him for the moment, I tried to reach back out to Oburi. I couldn’t. I was too alert to drop back into my trance. Shit!
“Duo? I am sorry for distracting you, but you scared us.”
That caught my attention. “What? *I* scared you?” I asked stupidly, pointing to myself.
Chris nodded vigorously. “Yes. You were so... involved in whatever you were doing that you were shaking.” He bit his lip. “We were not sure if you were doing that yourself or if a spell had been placed on you.”
Looking around, I could see that all of the zombies had extremely concerned looks on their faces. Even Edward’s brows were drawn down, and he was the calmest of the bunch. “I’m alright. I was just in a trance.” I shook my head to myself. “Sorry about scaring you guys. I didn’t realize I was doing that. I was just very... distraught.” To say the least. There was no way in hell I’d be able to repeat what Oburi said and have it translated. It was lost to the point where he may as well not have said anything, for all the good it would do me.
The zombies seemed to relax after that, and we all went back to our thoughts. Unfortunately, mine were despairing. It was an impossibility to find out who the traitor was unless they did something obvious. Reading their mind would be useless, if I was able to enter their thoughts in the first place. The reason it was useless would be because the traitor would have to be thinking about their betrayal right at the time I was in their head.
Fifty bucks that I’d fry my brain on the first attempt.
It wasn’t too long after that that I settled down and was once more mentally cruising. Thankfully, Oburi didn’t bust in this time. Nor anyone else. That made me wonder if clairvoyance operated like a radio wave. So far, I had been able to get into Oburi’s and Noin’s (in a round-about way) heads. If that was the case, the frequency I was on sucked. And if it did operate like that, was it possible to change frequencies to one I’d prefer--
Suddenly, I was seeing the outside of G’s library from a left angle. The person’s thoughts were in a language I didn’t understand, but I did understand that the weapon being hefted over their shoulder would be enough to blow us to kingdom come.
I immediately came back to myself. “Outside!” I yelled, hauling ass to the door.
One of the zombies had grabbed the baby and made it out the door just before I did. Chris, Logan and another zombie brought up the rear. We dove into the surrounding trees and shrubbery right before the rocket was launched. The last zombie remained behind, standing in front of the library with his arms out. As the rocket came within range he allowed it to hit him, detonating it. I clamped my hands over my mouth in absolute horror as bits of zombie rained down on the area. The sight of blood and guts on white snow would be seared into my memory, forever.
I sat there in brief shock until rage consumed me. I could feel Chris’ eyes on me as I started to shake again, but this time he knew exactly why. “The rest of you stay here,” I growled, pulling out my guns. I clicked the safeties off and held them up by my head, channeling Clint Eastwood. “Edward, you’re coming with me. We’re going to kill this mother fucker!”
As deadly as tigers in the wild, Edward and I ran silently between the trees and shrubbery with a speed that I knew should not have been possible for me. I shoved that thought away to focus on the task at hand. The person that had launched the first rocket had already reloaded and prepared for the second. As the second rocket was fired, Edward broke cover and ran towards it. Amazingly, he caught the damn thing! He had his arms tightly wrapped around it, feet creating deep groves in the ground as it continued to its destination. I could hear the other zombies breaking cover to help him. I kept going.
I immediately learned two things from this: One, whoever this was attacked us at the castle, and two, this person was human. His thoughts were broadcasting so loudly that it drowned out my own. He wasn’t scared, but he was determined to finish the job.
I tightened my grip on my guns. Guess what, asshole? That made two of us.
I had just come within sights of this person when... she saw me. There was a slight hesitation on both of our parts. Shock didn’t begin to describe what I felt. The woman was beautiful. Her snowsuit only accentuated her curves instead of hiding them. Her hair was mostly hidden by her hood, but I could guess it was black and short. When her bright blue eyes locked onto mine, I felt the click of her recognition of me. I saw the mental picture of me she had in her mind, and felt her elation at being able to kill me in service to God.
It was then that I realized two other things: One, she was a Hunter. Two, *I* was her target.
Knowing that she wouldn’t be able to shoot the rocket before I shot her, she dropped the rocket launcher and took off running. I caught up to her quickly but did not let myself get too close. Good thing too. She suddenly stopped and turned towards me with a large gun in her hand. She fired. I dodged, barely, and returned fire. She dodged, twisting her body in such a way that she was able to turn and run through the trees. I followed.
I couldn’t have gotten further than three hundred yards when I heard a boom that could only have been the rocket detonating. Dropping down behind a tree, I took a second to breathe a prayer for the zombies. Using the next second to catch my breath, I focused outwards to find my target. I smiled grimly when I did, and charged off to her hiding place.
What felt like the next year of my life was an intense battle. Although I had some... mojo that leant me speed, the Hunter had real stamina. She was used to fighting things that were faster and stronger than her, and it showed. I would slip into an area where I sensed she was hiding, only to go on the defensive as she would be ready for me. She didn’t know the terrain but she knew how to navigate it, running up trees and flipping off rocks like she was a Jedi Knight. We had given each other plenty of bruises, scraps, scratches and cuts. One was on her temple from where my bullet almost got her, and one was on my cheek from where she let a knife fly.
The night air was filled with the sounds of our fight; discharging guns, bullets embedding into trees, the grunts of our efforts. The thought crossed my mind several times that tonight may be the night that I died, that these moments were my last, and that I was rapidly heading to my end.
Eventually we ran out of bullets, but there was so much going on that I didn’t try to reach for my Jericho for fear of getting a knife in my back. So in true fighting style, she and I launched ourselves at each other. We collided with so much force that we nearly knocked each other out. As we laid there stunned, I could feel another presence enter our ‘battle arena.’ I was startled to find that not only was this person not human, they were something I had never felt before. This person was intoxicating in a way that spoke strongly to the libido. I didn’t understand it. I--
My senses screamed at me to get up. Now.
Kicking my legs out in a sweep, I knocked the Hunter off her feet. Her knife went skittering across the snow and out of sight. With nothing else, she and I started to fight hand-to-hand. She was strong and certainly skillful, but that wasn’t enough against a lifetime of fighting against people who only wanted to hurt you.
The third presence was getting closer and I was starting to panic. The zombies were probably blown to smithereens, the Siberians were trying to handle their own problems, and now a third unknown entity was here. I was going to be overwhelmed if he was out for me too.
I had to kill the Hunter. Now.
Using every last bit of energy I had, I punched harder, kicked harder, screamed harder. So did she, recognizing that the end was coming and soon a victor would emerge. With a final kick to her chest I gained enough distance to reach into my pocket and pull out my Jericho. I raised my arm, aimed, and jumped in surprise as the side of her head exploded. I watched wide-eyed as her body dropped like a stone. Moving on automatic, I grabbed her hand to try and get some knowledge of her as she died. “Who are you? Why are you here? Where did you come from?” I yelled, hoping the questions would trigger thoughts. Lucky for me, she understood English too.
Her name was Menace.
She had to kill me because I was an important asset to the Siberians.
She hails from Cairo.
“Who sent you?” At this point, she was beyond hearing me. She had died. Shit.
I stared at her corpse in confusion before I felt something else vying for my attention. Turning to my left I saw a very tall man wearing a well-worn red trench coat. His dark, leather boots went up to his knees. His blond hair stood straight up, and his sunglasses and earrings glinted from the shine of the snow. His hands were protected with black gloves that made his silver gun appear even shinier.
I didn’t move. I didn’t want to do anything that would force him to attack me. At the same time, I realized that he was what I was sensing earlier. I opened myself up to understand what I could, and closed it quickly. Again was that intoxicating sensation, except now it was clearer. This man was a sexual creature. In a sense he was like a Siren. He wasn’t. He was a... Plant. I didn’t understand what that was, only filed it away for later.
Many would be drawn to him, just like I was being drawn to him. I didn’t sense that he was doing this intentionally though, so I relaxed. “Are you here to kill me?” I asked, standing.
He gave me a long, hard look. “No,” he said, in a surprisingly friendly voice. He gestured in the body’s direction with the biggest handgun I had ever seen. How the hell had I not heard that go off?! “She was trying to kill you.” He returned his full attention to me. “Why?”
I flipped a mental coin. Tell him, not tell him... It landed on, ‘Fuck if I know.’ “I am the lover of a powerful werewolf.”
“Hn.” He shifted his weight. “You must belong to one of the Privileged if a Hunter was sent.”
So he was aware of the werewolf chain of command? Interesting. “Yes,” I said, not giving away any details. “How did you know that?” He didn’t move, but I sensed his confusion. “The pecking order of the werewolves,” I clarified.
“I have to deal with the Sands of Rock more than I care to.” He tilted his head. “You are no Siberian.”
I tilted my head in mimicry of his. “Neither are you.” His accent was odd. He sounded British, but something told me he wasn’t. I was at a complete loss for the ‘Sands of Rock,’ whoever the hell they were. They sounded like a band that would tour with Def Leppard.
He put his gun away. “The rest of the Hunter’s group that were deployed are already dead. She was the last one.” He turned his back to me and started towards the trees. “Be safe, American.”
I couldn’t let him have the last word, a complaint Wufei frequently showers me with. “I owe you one!”
With a lazy wave of farewell, the man in red was gone.
I sat with Menace for a moment as I touched her hand, trying to discern any fragment left on her body. As I did I felt an overwhelming sadness. I remembered how beautiful she was, and now her brains were all over the ground. One eye was swollen shut from the force of the tall man’s bullet, but the other was perfect. It stared unseeing at the sky, and I couldn’t help but feel that this was all a waste. What a waste of a very intelligent and strong woman. What a waste of a man who had killed without compunction. What a waste of me, how I was becoming a killer in order to save my own life.
“What did I ever do to you?” I asked her, throwing her hand to the ground in anger. Did she come to kill me just because she was told that I was an asset to the Siberians? Did that mean that I had to die? Who made that decision? I wanted a word with them, especially since the assholes didn’t even have my alliances straight!
Disgusted and pissed, I began the long trek back to whatever may remain of G’s library. I kept the Jericho in my hand in case anyone attempted to catch me off guard. I tried to move as quietly as possible, but my exhaustion increased with every step I took. Before long, I was sure I was making more noise than a herd of elephants. I stopped along the way and sat against dead trees to rest, each time fighting back the urge to pray to be saved, to plead to the skies to get me out of this, to scream in wonderment of how I got into such a fucked up situation in the first place. I stared up at the moon between the branches, begging Her to reach down and pluck me out of this nightmare. But she didn’t. She couldn’t. Only I could help me.
After two long eternities and a short one, I knew I was close. There was light in the distance that could only come from fires, and a great deal of noise which meant a lot of people and movement. I sighed, feeling my body start to shut down as it reached the end of its rope. Closer and closer I stumbled, until I neared the tree-line. There, with their backs to me, were G, Otto, Trowa and Noin. G was directing the zombies. Otto and Trowa had a map between them, and were apparently arguing over something. I couldn’t tell because of the gas masks, but the aggressive gesturing gave me that impression. Noin, curiously without a gas mask, seemed to notice me first. She stared at me with an expression I couldn’t decipher. Then an impulsive wave washed over me, so strong it took my breath away. There was no mistaking what she wanted me to do.
I suddenly had the desire to shoot myself.
Furious, absolutely furious, I aimed at Noin and fired. My shot rang true. I hit her right between the eyes.
G, Otto and Trowa whipped around at the sound. Their eyes went to me then locked onto Noin. Everything froze as Noin stood there, staring at me in shock. Then she dropped to her knees, her shocked expression still on her face. G and Otto immediately jumped on Noin. They threw her on her back and clawed at her face, attempting to remove the silver bullet. Trowa had no such compunction. He raced to me, snatched me up, and hauled ass out of that clearing. He ran so fast we passed the blur of Menace’s corpse in a manner of seconds. A few minutes after that we were completely free of the mountain range. We were unfortunately going in the opposite direction of our Pack, but in the grand scheme of things that didn’t matter.
We were free.
I know that I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again; my sleep schedule was screwed.
When I woke the sky was dyed in pinks and purples, indicating sunset. At least, that was what I was able to see from between the leaves of the bush I seemed to be buried under. On the ground around my head were various fruits and nuts. Considering that my bush was food-free, I figured Trowa placed them there. After I ate dinner, I attempted to climb out. It was when I was halfway free that I bumped heads with Trowa, literally. He was buried under the bush next to mine.
“Are the bushes carnivores?” I asked in bewilderment. “I’m getting a workout just trying to get out of the damn thing!”
“Softly,” Trowa said. I immediately quieted. “We both needed rest, so I hid us under the bushes. I do not doubt that the Siberians are looking for us. I just do not know if it will be them or someone under their command.”
Like the witches or one of the shape-shifter packs. “Ah. I understand.” I huffed, which blew my bangs up. “Well... what do we do now?”
Trowa looked at me as if the answer should have been obvious. “We get you out of Siberia.”
I wasn’t expecting that. “What?! No, we can’t! What about Heero?”
“We can not help Heero. We do not know where he is.”
“He’s buried beneath Lake Baikal.”
“...how the hell do you know that?”
“I got it out of one of the zombie’s minds.”
“...oh. Good job.”
“We still can not do anything about Heero’s predicament.”
“Out with it, Duo.”
“Well, maybe I can ask one the gnomes if they can get him out.”
“...that is brilliant, actually.”
He sighed, blowing up his bangs. “Okay. We head for Lake Baikal, get Heero, and then get out of Siberia.”
“But what about Wufei?”
Trowa sighed again, and this time I had a bad feeling about it. “He and the Prince have gone to war, Duo. To take you to him may get you killed, especially after...”
Especially after I shot Noin. Yeah. I was sure that probably created some hostility. Maybe. “Is she dead, you think?”
“Doubtful,” he snorted. “But a silver bullet to the head of any werewolf, no matter how powerful, would cause some problems. She most likely is not dead. However, she will not be of any use to her Pack. For those of us that are Privileged, that is worse than the wound itself.”
“So she’s brain-damaged?”
“No, nothing permanent unfortunately. The healing process will be very slow, though. She will not be able to do very much any time soon.”
I laid my head back down. I was still worn out. “She wanted me to kill myself,” I whispered. “That’s why I shot her. I was so mad at her for wanting me to do that.”
I heard Trowa rustling around, although I didn’t know if he laid back down or not. “Then you acted in self-defense, Duo. Nothing more.”
“No thanks needed. I have heard of others doing harm to themselves when she has been present. The fact that she tried to do the same to you, and I was there but oblivious... well.” He cleared his throat, and I smiled at the thought of the stoic Alphagué getting all teary-eyed over me. “I am glad that you shot the bitch too.”
My laughter echoed through the air, startling birds from their nests.
“So, she was sent to kill you because she believed you were Siberian?”
“Yeah,” I said, tightening my arms around Trowa’s shoulders as he slid down some rocks.
I was being carried on Trowa’s back for speed’s sake. We were nearly to the area directly above where Heero was buried. The gnomes left a scent for Trowa to follow. As we made our journey there, I told Trowa about what happened at the library and what followed.
“That is really strange. It is not like the Hunters to make such a mistake in allegiances.”
“Well, we’ve been with the Siberians for a while now. In their defense, I could see why they came to that conclusion.”
“Maybe, but they should have recognized me from their Catalog and should have known that something was up.”
He didn’t speak as he sniffed the air. Nodding once to himself that he was still on track, he explained. “Hunters have what is called a ‘Creature Catalog,’ or in supernatural terms, a ‘Shit List.’ ” I guffawed. “It is a book that lists the members of all species and packs, our ages, and our abilities. It includes photos taken of us, allegiances, our allies, who belongs to or is owned by whom, and any that may have been killed or died. It doesn’t include every supernatural creature on earth, but it contains more detailed information than I am comfortable with on a large number of us.”
“Wow.” I was completely blown away. “I had no idea. I wish I would’ve known. I would’ve searched her body for it. Hell, I probably should’ve searched her anyway.”
“It was better that you did not. She may have had her body booby-trapped with a bomb. It is a common practice for Hunters to do that.”
Fuckin’ hell. These chicks weren’t playing!
“That was probably why the African did not search her either.”
I was brought out of my musings. “The African?”
“Yes.” He hopped over several gaps in the ground. My balls weren’t happy with that. “The man in the red trench coat? You said he said he worked with the Sands of Rock? The Sands of Rock, or Sandrock as they are sometimes called, are the Pack of La Grange Four. They reside in the northern countries of Africa.”
“Ah! That explains his accent!”
Trowa stopped and looked over his shoulder at me. His expression clearly stated that he thought me strange. “We are here,” was all he said.
Sliding off of his back, Trowa and I circled around the ‘X’ that the gnomes had been kind enough to mark. “Okay,” I said. Holding out a hand to Trowa, he took it and gently bit my finger. Releasing a breath of anxiety, I tried to drop into a trance. I didn’t know why, but something in my mind told me to. When a good amount of blood welled up, I fell to my hands and knees and ran my finger along the ground. Softly I spoke to the gnomes, my lips in the snowy dirt. “Bring the werewolf to the surface.” Sliding my hand along the ground almost lustfully, I continued. “Release him from his confines. He is an unwanted guest in your home.”
A sensation of agreement flowed through me from the gnomes, and the ground rattled. The mound of dirt and rock rose higher and higher until Heero’s body surfaced. Then the mound collapsed in on itself, sinking back into the ground until Heero’s body was laid on the flat surface. As soon as the earth stilled, his eyes flew open and he inhaled as if it was his first breath after drowning. Trowa and I went to either side and helped him sit up. He coughed up dirt and hacked out water. When he began to breathe normally, he looked up. Seeing it was only Trowa and I, his eyes widened in disbelieve before he grabbed us and crushed us to him. Trowa and I wrapped our arms around him and each other, and just held on.
“Thank the moon you two are okay.” He squeezed tighter. “Thank the moon...”
I squeezed harder, as did Trowa. Things were in a bad way, certainly, but for now we were alright.
A/N: The fight scene where Duo and Edward charge after Menace to where she was shot was inspired by 'To Victory' from the 300 soundtrack. I don't know why I was listening to it on YouTube, but as soon as I heard it I knew what to do. A week later and then the whole chapter was done.
Menace is a real character. (That sounds strange, doesn't it?) She is actually from another anime called Queen's Blade, one of the few animes I actually hate the living hell out of. Expect many characters from this show to die. Just warning you in case you like the show.