Blood in Siberia
Chapter 35: Todo es de Color
The ride back to the castle was as quiet as the grave. Everyone was exhausted. Haru, Kyo and Yuki were out cold in the back, the hard seats appearing not to bother them. The werewolves had transformed and were running alongside the van. G drove while I stared morosely out the passenger window, seeing the countryside go by without really acknowledging it.
“Oburi, stop,” I mumbled, shaking my foot free from his mouth. The fucker kept biting my boots. I kept his head down on the floor next to my feet to make sure that the baby was safe. It took me a while, but I was able to get the little one settled enough for rest. I didn’t know how the Soul Drain would affect him, and I wanted him to be as rested for it as possible. “Quit it,” I said, shaking my foot free again. I was sure he was snarling at me, but I didn’t bother tearing my gaze from the window.
“You are acting like a child, Oburi,” G said, voice exhausted. “Give it a rest.”
I heard him chomping his teeth in response, and sighed.
As we were leaving Sohma House, Akito figured that if we were going back to Siberia in the middle of a war zone, it would be best if there was a negotiator there that wasn’t affiliated with either Pack. Yuki volunteered to go, as he was a magnificent fighter (Haru told me he was one of the best in the family) with an non-intimidating stature. Kyo and Haru volunteered to go with him to make sure he got there and back safely. As we drove along, we casually threw parts of Oburi’s body out the window. If something happened and he...well...rolled to freedom, we wanted it to take a long time for him to put himself back together again.
“Are we there yet, Necro?” Kyo whined.
I smiled, adjusting the quilted blanket over my shoulders.
“No we are not, you flea-infested kitten,” G growled.
“Wow. You must be tired if that’s the best you could come up with.”
“No thanks. I like my partners with a pulse.”
G had opened his mouth to say something else when I reached over and touched his shoulder. Startled, G looked at me before focusing back on the road. When I felt him relax, I let my hand slid down his arm before releasing him. G was happy from the physical affection. I only wanted him to settle down so as not to give me a headache. “Another hour Kyo, at most,” I said, adjusting the quilt over my shoulders again.
“Better hope so. I gotta shit.”
G swerved violently as something big and on fire shot through the air, heading right for us. The Pixies and I ended up being thrown to our rights, slamming into the doors. Oburi’s head began bouncing around, but thankfully it didn’t roll underneath the seat. I immediately pushed myself upright to look outside, terrified for Heero and Trowa... and Otto, but I would only admit such a thing under excruciating torture. Or free beer. Whichever.
The werewolves were fine. They sped up actually, running ahead of us as if clearing a path.
“Follow them,” I said to G, before turning around to the Pixies. “You guys okay?!”
“Yeah,” Haru grumbled, holding onto his head. The other two voiced the same. Haru met my eyes and smiled. “I broke Kyo’s and Yuki’s fall.”
I snorted in laughter. “I’m sure they’ll thank you later.” I looked to the other two. “Everybody buckle down! It’s gonna get ugly.” I heard them scramble to obey as I faced forward. Reaching down, I grabbed Oburi’s head and held him to my chest. “Bite me, and I’ll shoot both eyes out.” I felt him growl, but he obeyed.
“Hey Duo!” Kyo called. He and ‘that damn Yuki,’ as he referred to his cousin, were sharing a seat and seatbelt. “You don’t need to worry about me having to shit anymore.”
Our laughter followed us as we drove into the eye of the storm.
The next twenty minutes were harrowing. When I thought about the Shenlong and Siberians going to war, I expected werewolves fighting each other with teeth and claws, Wufei at one end of the battlefield with the Prince at the other. I didn’t expect for so much technology, magic, and primitive devices to be used simultaneously. There were guns being fired, rockets launched and bombs exploding, but there was also flaming black tar and boulders being thrown, bows and arrows, and dragons. I recognized Serafima right away, but the gold-colored dragon was a bit of a mystery until Trowa started howling. I sat back in shock. “Is there anything Quatre can’t be?”
“A werewolf,” G said with contempt. “We should have killed him centuries ago.”
I laughed, totally blown away that Quatre could be a dragon. Oh yeah. I was going to have some fun with that.
My laugh cut off abruptly as G stomped on the brakes then threw the car into park. Trowa and Otto kept running, each going in a separate direction. Heero remained with us, walking around the van to cool down. The Pixies sat quietly, looking out at all of the damage. Everyone seemed cool, but... “Why did we stop?”
“A cease-fire needs to be called.” G sat back and exhaled. “Trowa will ask Chang to hold fire, and Otto will do the same for the Prince. Then we can go into the battlefield where negotiations can take place.” He leaned towards me. “Stand with your Packmaster. Heero will stand with the Prince because he’s still Collateral. Then we’ll exchange Heero for Oburi’s head.”
I exhaled shakily. “Then... then we can leave?”
G was silent a moment, then he whispered... “Yes.”
I exhaled shakily again, and tried not to cry in relief. “Good.”
G took a deep breathe. “Duo--”
“No G!” I slammed a fist against the arm of the chair. “No! I don’t want to hear it! I want to go home!” Not waiting I turned and kicked the door open. Jumping out, I started for where it appeared the center of the fight was. Heero immediately came to heel beside me. It seemed that the cease-fire had been called on both sides, as I probably would’ve been blown to bits otherwise.
I heard doors opening and figured it was everyone else catching up. I didn’t wait. I started to run, slipping as I went as the ground was wet from either rain or blood. I jumped over or ran around pieces of metal that were on fire, Heero right beside me. Ahead, I could see where the Shenlong and the Siberians were gathering. I was hit with a burst of irony. Where they gathered was the same spot where Quatre had been shot down, and where I vowed to find Noin. How appropriate that this would end where it started.
I slowed to a walk as we reached the two Packs, not afraid of all the weaponry aimed at my side or at their side. I looked into many faces from my Pack, expecting to see joy at my appearance. Instead, I saw horror. They were probably expecting me to come to them terrified and begging to be taken away. What they didn’t expect was for me to look like I’ve run through hell several times... and enjoyed doing so.
Before leaving Sohma House, I had changed back into my snowsuit. Unfortunately, the owner’s wife wasn’t able to get the stains out. So it was still blackened and bloody. At least she was able to sew the holes closed. However, my hair and face still looked like shit, and I was carrying a decapitated head by its hair. Wasn’t the best image.
Plus, all of the werewolves were naked. Being one of the few with clothes on made me stand out. Weird.
Then I laid eyes on Wufei, and I could feel all of my worry and frustration melting away. I smiled softly, expecting him to profess how much he missed me as I moved to stand by his side. Trowa was already to his left. Instead he looked appalled, and the first words out of his mouth were, “What the fuck have you been doing?!”
For some reason, that made me smile wider. “I don’t think you would believe me if I told you.”
Heero had moved to stand on the Prince’s left side. If the Prince was surprised that Heero was not under the lake like he should have been, he hid it perfectly. Otto was on the Prince’s right, with G beside him. The Pixies were standing in between both Packs, Yuki a bit forward while Haru and Kyo flanked him. Right when the Pixies looked to me I coughed, releasing two yellow feathers into the air.
All three Pixies ran their hands across their mouths as if rubbing their jaws to hide their laughter. Otto pressed his lips together and looked down. G raised an eyebrow. Heero and Trowa closed their eyes in exasperation. The Prince looked as bewildered as Wufei, and I heard Wufei’s, ‘What the fuck has he been doing?!’ just as loudly as if he’d said it.
That startled me out of my humor. I’ve never heard Wufei like that. Never.
“Let’s go Rat-boy,” Kyo said, rotating his shoulders. “I want to get home before dinner.”
“Stupid Cat,” Yuki mumbled before turning his attention to us. “I am Sohma Yuki, Rat of the Zodiac. I am here to assist in negotiations between LaGrange Two, the Siberian Werewolves and LaGrange Five, the Shenlong Werewolves.” He paused, turning to the Prince. “Prince Peacecraft, I am to understand that L2 and L5 previously had an agreement. What were your demands or claims of restitution?”
The Prince stared right into Wufei’s eyes. “I was told that Chang’s Primus, who is a... ‘physic,’ ” I almost rolled my eyes. I could hear his air quotes, “would find who was responsible for taking my Untouchable, and for anything else. Until such a time came when they have fulfilled their end, I will retain their Special as Collateral.”
Yuki nodded. “Packmaster Chang. What were your demands or claims of restitution?”
“There were not any. I was obeying the summons of my Prince.”
Yuki nodded and turned back to the Prince. “Do you consider your demands fulfilled?”
“No.” The Prince was looking at Oburi’s head, which was swinging gently by the hair I held in my hand.
The Prince looked to Yuki. “They have not yet brought me the one responsible for taking Noin.”
Yuki was completely neutral. “I am aware that your Untouchable has been returned to you by the Shenlong, correct?”
“It was a joint effort, but yes.”
Yuki didn’t let that stop him. “Who found her?”
The Prince sighed. “The Shenlong Primus,” he started, but rushed to say, “but it was my Alphagué who learned that the Air Wizard was heading for Sohma House.”
“Yes, but it was the Shenlong Primus who first found the Air Wizard and attacked him at the train station.” He held his hand out to Oburi. “It is also the Shenlong Primus who is in possession of the one responsible. The fact that the Air Wizard appeared at Sohma House was a foregone conclusion. Your Alphagué’s efforts do not matter in that respect.” Yuki dropped his arm. “LaGrange Five has fulfilled your demand. A refusal to adhere to your end would void the weight of your word.” Yuki paused, and it was the first time as a negotiator that I heard emotion come out of his voice. “You would be weakening your position as Prince, Your Highness. Your word is bond. With this refusal, it would be broken.”
The Prince bared his teeth, but no snarl came out. He lost and he knew it. However, that didn’t mean he wouldn’t try to find a way to exact revenge later on. I wanted to nip that in the bud, now. “Sohma Yuki,” I called.
Yuki turned toward me, gesturing with his hand for me to speak. “Primus.”
I didn’t know how to phrase what I wanted properly, so I said what I thought would work. “We have fulfilled our end of the Prince’s demand, but I would also like to assist in the Soul Drain of the Safe Haven.” I looked to the Prince. “I would do this as a token of good will, and to void all... antagonism that occurred from this situation.”
Yuki squinted at me as he deciphered my words. “You are calling for a truce?”
I nodded sharply, once. “Yes.”
The Prince was quiet. It seemed as if calling for a truce was painful. I didn’t care. I refused to spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder, waiting for the moment when they would try to get revenge.
“If a truce were to be declared,” the Prince asked Wufei, “would you uphold it?”
Wufei didn’t hesitate. “Yes. But there will have to be guidelines in place.”
The Prince hesitated. With a deep breath he said, “I... accept.”
Things moved quickly after that. It didn’t even take an hour to hammer out the details, as there were very few details to deal with. Neither Pack would cross into the other’s territory without permission. Since we lived on two entirely different continents, that wasn’t going to be a problem. Neither Pack would support any uprising of the other, either financially or with supplies. Any contact with the other Pack would have to be done through a neutral party. Both sides agreed on the Sohma’s. My eyes nearly bugged out of my head at the fee the Sohma’s would charge for such a service, but if it would preserve the peace then so be it.
“Negotiations are complete,” Yuki announced, once the contract was signed. “This will be duplicated and sent to each of you within the week. Now.” He gestured to me and to Heero. “Please exchange what is desired.”
I stepped forward, as did Heero and Otto. We met in the center. Heero kept walking and I handed the head over to Otto. He grimaced, and this time *I* had to press my lips together to keep from laughing. Nodding, I nervously turned my back to him and walked to stand next to Wufei. It was when everyone was in place that Yuki spoke a final time.
“A temporary truce is in effort until such time when the Soul Drain is complete. Once it is deemed that the Primus has done all that he could to assist, the truce signed here and now will be in effect indefinitely or until broken.” He paused. “We will meet here at twilight for the Soul Drain. Until then, no contact with the other Pack is permitted.” Hands held out, he announced, “We are adjourned until twilight. Your Highness, we will need to be provided housing. Packmaster Chang, we will need to be provided sustenance.”
Both sides suddenly turned and walked away, the Siberians back to the castle and the Shenlong to their camp. I was immediately tossed into Wufei’s tent as he, Trowa and Heero had a debriefing. Sally was charged with bringing the Pixies food. I saw that Sedici brought some expensive looking tent equipment and started setting it up for them. I watched all the activity through the folds of my tent.
Catherine came in after a moment with a plate of food, clean clothes and a hug. “Jesus Duo, what the hell did they do to you?”
I held her tightly. I didn’t know what it was, but being held by a woman gave you comfort like nothing else in the world. “Cathy...” I choked.
She didn’t say anything. She just held on.
I had been soaking in the tub for maybe ten minutes when Wufei barged in. Before I could get a word out, he climbed into the tub. The displaced water sloshed over the sides, but neither of us cared. Wufei had grabbed my face and kissed me like he was starved of it. I kissed back, needing it and more.
The sex was hard and desperate. I knew they heard me screaming all the way to the castle, but I didn’t care. Unfortunately, all of my adventures had me exhausted so I didn’t last long. Spent, I dropped off right in his arms.
When I woke, it was pitch black outside. I was laid out and covered up in pelts. The greatest warmth was at my back from where Wufei had curled up, holding me tightly around my waist. I took a deep breath and stretched. Wufei rubbed his body against mine and I groaned at the sensation. I didn’t want to get up. Even though we were in freezing-ass Siberia, I was full, warm and sexed. I didn’t want to move. “Is it time to go yet?” I said through my yawn.
“Almost,” Wufei whispered, releasing me to run a hand up and down my side. “What the hell have you been up to, Duo?”
I snorted. “I thought you did a debriefing with Trowa and Heero.”
“I did,” he said. “But there were times that they were not with you, such as the time after you jumped off of Heero’s back and when you were in the Sohma House club with the Pixies.” I heard the displeasure in his voice. “They should not have left you alone with them.”
“Please.” I snorted again. “The Pixies wouldn’t have hurt me. In fact, they worked hard to protect me.”
“Yes, but I know their Head of House. Akito is very vicious.”
“Yeah, I noticed,” I laughed, remembering Otto running in fear of a Pixie a foot-and-a-half shorter than him, and over three hundred pounds lighter. “But did they tell you what his last words to me were?”
Wufei nodded. “ ‘Remind me never to fuck with you.’ ”
I stretched again. “Yep.”
“That does not mean he fears you.”
“Oh, I know he doesn’t fear me,” I agreed. “But that doesn’t mean that he can’t have a healthy respect for me, like I have for him.”
He was silent. “Did any of them... touch you?”
Angered, I pushed his hand off of me and tossed off the pelts. “Do you think I have no control over myself whatsoever?” Okay, standing was a mistake. I couldn’t see shit. “And where’s a fucking light?”
I heard the flick of a match. The dark lightened somewhat from an oil lamp beside Wufei. I walked over to my clothes and began to dress. “Duo, you do not understand.” He stood as well. “There are creatures out there that can make you want them, whether you really do or not.”
“Yeah, I know. I met a Plant.”
He suddenly grabbed me by the arms, bringing me so close we were nose to nose. “Plant? What Plant? Which one?”
I was confused. “What do you mean?”
“Which Plant was it?”
I tried to shrug. I couldn’t. “I don’t know. He was tall and blond.”
“They are both tall and blond!” He shook me. “Who was it?”
“I don’t know!” I yanked my arms out of his grip. “We didn’t exchange names, okay? He just told me that all of the Hunters were dead and then he left.” I stared at him in angry confusion. “What the fuck is wrong with you?”
He was silent for a moment. “Just tell me if anything happened.”
Pissed Off, I finished stuffing myself into my snowsuit. “Tell you what.” Angrily zipping myself up, I stomped up to him and got in his face. “Tell me what you did to Oburi, and I’ll tell you what happened.” He was silent. “You didn’t pay for her abduction so how did you do it, hmm?”
His eyes narrowed at me. “You shot her.”
“Damn straight,” I agreed. “I’ll own up to that. Will you own up to what you did?” He remained silent. “I didn’t think so.” Shoving my cap onto my head, I flung myself out of the tent.
The vibe in the air was intense. Yuki was there with Haru and Kyo. Wufei, Heero and I represented the Shenlong. The Prince, G and Otto represented the Siberians. I found our choice odd. I was expected to be there and so was Wufei. Trowa would have been a more apt choice, but as I walked passed their tent I could hear that they were... busy. Heero being here struck me as dangerous. Knowing his past relationship with the Prince and that this was the Prince’s first child... I felt as if Heero was really here for the Prince than to bear witness to the truce.
I was afraid that Wufei knew that too.
In the Prince’s arms was the body of the baby. I didn’t know why, but the baby seemed smaller to me. More defenseless. I had to take a deep breath to get control of myself.
The Prince was struggling as well. I could see him shaking and holding back tears. Otto stood next to him with an arm tightly around his shoulders. Feeling my eyes on him, Otto looked up with a strained expression on his face. I got the idea. If this didn’t work, we wouldn’t have to worry about the truce. The Prince would be too devastated to become a problem.
G placed Oburi’s head on the ground. Oburi was still raising hell as best as he could, attempting to bite G’s fingers. “Stop it you little fucker, you are beaten.”
“Okay,” I said to myself. “Okay.” Taking another breath, I calmed myself down. Crossing my legs, I plopped down on the ground and rested my hands on my knees as if meditating. Closing my eyes, I slowly dropped into a trance. Really, really slowly. I was so aware of what was going on around me that it took a while to relax. When I did, I opened my mind. The baby was awake, and wondering why the hell we were outside and not playing. Delighted by his innocence, I chuckled.
I felt everyone’s alarm at my seeming to laugh at nothing, but no one questioned me.
Really taking the time to study the situation, I was able to see them. There was some threading that attached the infant’s ‘life force,’ for lack of a better description, to Oburi and to the diamond. I knew right then that performing the Soul Drain would fail. Oburi would continue to live on. We had to remove those threads.
“Wait,” I said softly. G had been chanting some spell in a language that was older than he. I could feel the age in the words. “It won’t work.”
“Now you tell me,” G said, grumbling. “I have been trying for over an hour. The soul refuses to be released.”
“No, it can’t be released. It’s tied down. I stood slowly and walked towards them. “I can see it,” I whispered. I carefully kneeled down beside the head. Opening my eyes, I kept my mental ones open as well as I gingerly reached for G’s hands. I positioned his thumb and forefinger around one string that held the baby to Oburi, and the other thumb and forefinger that held the baby to the diamond. G gasped each time I got his fingers on the connections. “You feel them?”
“Good. Pull, gently.”
When G tugged the string holding the infant to Oburi free, I knew we were correct. Oburi’s jaw went slack and his eyes vacant. In under several seconds, the head turned to dust. G then pulled the last string, releasing the infant’s soul. Quickly, he said the words that would send the soul where it belonged. I mentally watched as the baby’s soul shot into its body, and snapped out of my trance as the precious thing opened its mouth and cried. The Prince burst into tears, holding his wailing son to him as if he’d never let go.
Startled, everyone stood there in shock. Tears running down my face, I crawled over to the baby and tried to calm him. “Shhh, shhh.” I mentally reached out as well, attempting to comfort both father and son. “Shhh, it’s alright.” Forgetting for the moment that we were enemies, that we had harmed and hurt each other, that one of us would probably cause the death of a loved one of the other’s in the future, I leaned forward and kissed the baby repeatedly. He quieted. “That’s right, precious boy. You are now where you belong.”
“The truce has been sealed with a kiss,” Yuki said, startling all of us. I looked at him in surprise. He nodded at me. “This contract has been signed in blood and sealed with a kiss, as so witnessed.” Yuki bowed to us, as did Haru and Kyo. “I wish you all well.” Turning as one, the three Pixies stepped from the firelight, immediately vanishing into the dark.
Surprised at their abrupt departure, I turned back to the Prince. My eyes watered anew as I watched the father/son couple.
The Prince stared down at his child in complete adoration. The child was snuggled up against his father, awake but quiet. He was staring into his father’s eyes as if they were the most beautiful things he had ever seen.
They had immediately fallen in love with each other.
An arm wrapped around my torso and pulled me against a warm body. I wrapped my arms around the arm that held me. “I think it is time we left,” Wufei whispered.
“Yes,” I said, but made no effort to move.
As Wufei stood and pulled me away, Heero stepped forward and kneeled. Reaching out slowly in full view of Otto, he ran his fingers through the baby’s tuft of hair. Leaning forward, he rubbed his nose against the tiny head, before bestowing a kiss. Slowly standing, he nodded to Otto and faced the Prince again.
Turning on his heel, Heero briskly made his way in the direction of camp. As soon as he was out of the fire’s perimeter, the darkness swallowed him. I felt Wufei hold me tighter as he backed us away, heading towards camp as well. “Congratulations, Your Highness,” he said softly.
“Thank you,” the Prince said absently.
I stared as Wufei carried me away until I couldn’t see them anymore, but the image of that beautiful scene was burned into my retinas. I felt a lightness in my chest that I haven’t felt... ever, and it was because of that child.
My mind flashed through my entire experience in Siberia.
That child was worth it.
All of it.