Blood or Chocolate?
Chapter 11: The Death of Alec
Not caring if I was being a crappy host, I darted inside the house. Wufei bent down to pick something up, and followed me inside. I closed the door behind him and locked it, feeling secure. No, the measly little lock didn't make me feel better. Wufei's presence did. Whoever was responsible may be from his Pack, but I felt confident that Wufei would be able to crush whoever it was. I hoped.
I turned around to see Wufei standing behind me, looking scrumptious in loose fitting blue jeans that were barely on his hips, white boxers that peeked out the top of the jeans, and a white T-shirt. He had his hands behind his back, but the muscles in his arms were drawn taut.
"Hiding something you don't want me to see?" I asked playfully, but I was ready to panic. I didn't think he was the murderer, but that didn't mean I was right.
He swiftly brought his arms around to show me what he was holding.
"Beer!" I cried, and rubbed my eyes to be sure they weren't deceiving me. They weren't. It was Shiner Bock. Two six-packs, longnecks. It was absolutely beautiful. "Wufei," I said, and dropped to one knee, gripping his left wrist. "Will you marry me?"
He laughed, loud and robust. "Duo, you are something else."
"So I've been told." I relieved him of his precious cargo. "Please. Sit down, take a load off."
"Thank you." He glided over to the couch and sat down. I went into the kitchen to put the beer in the fridge, retrieved two and went back out to plop down next to Wufei. I didn't sit too close to him, maybe about six inches away, which I considered a nice, conservative distance. Didn't want to appear too eager; at least, that's what I told myself. Either he used pheromones as a cologne, or his mere presence was turning me on. Let's just say he used pheromones as cologne. "So, did you want to start this party off, or should I?"
"You should. I was the one that cut our time short."
"Well, that wasn't your...say, whatever happened to Darlian?" Hell, I'd completely forgotten about that.
"He will be fine. He got one of his paws caught in a bear trap and couldn't free himself."
"Ow! How bad is he hurt?"
"Not bad, but enough. His leg has deep lacerations that needed stitching and close monitoring. It's fortunate that Sally is a doctor, or else we would've had a hard time explaining his injury." He sighed. "He was on the property you rescued Mariemaia from."
"That damn Septem!" I nearly shouted. "He and his entire family are trouble."
He gave me a considering look. "He's related to that police officer. What's his name..."
"Alex," I sneered, then had to take a sip of beer to calm my nerves.
"Alex," Wufei repeated softly, as if trying to instill the name into his memory. Then he focused on me. "How are you feeling?" He gently touched my cheek.
Not of my own power, but disgusting all the same, I leaned into his touch and closed my eyes. "Better now," I said quietly. I opened my eyes to his heated ones. I swear to god there were sparks shooting from them. I guess six inches wasn't enough distance between us after all. Maybe if I moved to Alaska and he moved to Antarctica... "Thank you for asking."
"The pleasure is all mine," he said, voice dripping with innuendo.
I pulled away from him and started to fan myself with my shirt. I didn't give a shit about not appearing eager anymore. The obvious hard-on I was having kinda ruined the image. "Christ Wufei, you're gonna set my house on fire if you keep that up."
"I'm sorry," he laughed, sounding many things but sorry. "I'll try to behave myself." He did that 'eye' thing again. "However, the temptation is very...tempting."
Alright. This was going no where fast--well--I take that back. It was going only to one place, and the only thing stopping me was the food crumbs from Mariemaia's lunch.
He picked up his beer and twisted the cap off. "I must apologize for last night," he started without hesitation. "Both for having to discontinue our discussion early and for what you had to endure because of one of my Were's...protesting."
"Yes." He turned towards me, and I looked into his eyes. The tornado was there. I was able to see it. But this time I wasn't going to try and invade his thoughts. I wasn't going to try and see if what he told me matched up with what I saw in his head, like I did to everyone else. This time I was going to listen, and that was something I've never really done before.
"I know you've been told that we used to live in various countries in Europe. That's true. We roam in our Pack, which is what werewolves do. But America is young and ignorant. Because the European countries are older and have been in existence for so many centuries, they are far more knowledgeable about the supernatural world and the things in it. The governments in those countries hire what we call Hunters. Hunters are young women that are blessed by the Pope to kill our kind."
"Jesus," I murmured.
"And because of that many werewolves hate and fear humans, especially women. The men oftentimes used themselves as bait so that their sisters can bring them and their family honor by killing a werewolf," he said in a mocking voice. "Hunters look like ordinary people. Your sister could be a Hunter and I wouldn't know it. And my Pack has been together for many decades, if not centuries. Much of their contact with humans has been very limited, and with some of them, the only human contact they've had has been with a Hunter. So, seeing their Packmaster trying to court a human with a sister has some of them...upset."
I snorted. Upset didn't even cut it, I was sure. "By why kill? Did the victims offend the killer in some way?"
"That is irrelevant," Wufei said coldly, scaring the tar out of me. "The most important thing is to avoid discovery. Whoever is doing this is doing it for their own pleasure, not because of hunger or necessity. Besides, I've declared all killing forbidden, unless under certainty of death."
Well, shit. What could I say to that?
"I promise you Duo," Wufei said, smile feral as his voice slipped back into that slight purr that came with being a werewolf, I guess. "I will find out who is doing this, and end their existence."
I smiled and took a good swig of my cold, crisp, beautiful beer. "Not if I find them and end it first, Wolf-boy."
If anything, his smile turned more feral.
Question, teacher. "Why is your Pack called Lagrange Five?"
His smile turned sweet. He enjoyed my interest. "Thousands of years ago, the world between the werewolves was divided into five lagranges: they are what is now Europe, Siberia, India, the northern countries of Africa, and China. China is where my Pack is originally from before we roamed and mated with other races of werewolves. We are the Shenlong Werewolves."
"Wow," I said. It was strange how the Lagranges were divided up though. "But there are seven continents. Why aren't there more Lagranges?"
"Antarctica, Australia and America weren't in existence yet. You have to understand that it took many centuries for people to realize that the world was not flat, but round. So travel was very limited for fear of falling off the earth. It took me just as long to accept it too."
Oh wow! "I can not imagine that."
He shrugged slightly. "You'd be surprised how ignorant the world used to be."
This was blowing my mind. "So, for fear of falling off the earth, you would travel only through known Lagranges."
"That, and we tried to stay in areas that weren't heavily inhabited by humans or other Packs. When the food supplies ran short, or when the population increased to uncontrollable levels, we would leave and move to another Lagrange."
I was confused. "Didn't other werewolf Packs live in those Lagranges?"
Animals were territorial, weren't they? "Wufei, if another Pack or a lone wolf came into your territory, what would you do to them?"
"We would kill them," he told me bluntly. "We are very territorial. You do not come into another Pack's territory unless you have strength that overpowered theirs. And werewolves do not leave their Packs. They are either tossed out because of a traitorous crime to be killed by other Packs, or they are rabid in some way."
I was appalled. "Damn, that's rough!"
He shrugged again.
"But Wufei...you traveled into other werewolves' territories. Why isn't your Pack destroyed?"
"We did lose some," he said regretfully. "Mostly the weakest. But my Pack is one of the two strongest in existence. So we dominated every Pack there is but one. We would kill whoever lived in that Lagrange, keep their cubs as our own and raise them to keep our numbers strong."
I didn't know whether to be shocked or sickened, so I settled for angry. "That wasn't right."
He raised an eyebrow. "Oh? And was it right for the Indians to be chased off their lands, or for Texas to be taken away from Mexico?"
Shit. He had me there. "No, it wasn't."
"Then what's the difference?"
He made me mad, I made him mad. We were even. "Wufei, I don't want to argue."
He calmed down. "Neither do I."
We dropped it. "What Lagrange is the other Pack from? The one equal to you?"
"Lagrange Two, the Siberian Werewolves," Wufei nearly growled. "I lost many wolves in my Pack going around their territory instead of through it. I lost many more in our battles for dominance." He sighed. "And we're still considered equal in strength, but not in stature because of him..." He trailed off, lost in thought.
Okay. New topic! "How long have you been Packmaster?"
He grabbed his beer and drank half of it in one gulp. Now that's my kind of man! "Not long. Last month made it five hundred years."
I did a perfect imitation of a sprinkler. My uncle would've kicked my ass if he saw me waste good beer like that. "Ack! Sorry about that. Ahem! Went down...wrong pipe..." He smirked. I rolled my eyes. "Alright oh infinite one. How old are you?"
He stopped smirking. "I'm not entirely sure. I stopped counting around the Middle Ages." His smile turned sad. "That is a story for another time, I'm afraid."
He wasn't ready to tell me. My curiosity went through the roof, and so did my endearment for him. Damn. He was makin' me soft.
"Now I have to ask you something."
I cleared my throat again and smiled, curious as to what a gazillion year-old Packmaster would want to ask me. "Shoot."
"That night at the convenience store...that cop..." His eyes lowered and darkened, and the tornado worked itself into a frenzy. "After you fell asleep, his behavior towards you was crude...and unhelpful. I smelled hate for you rolling off of him. It was very genuine and strong." He looked at me. "Why?"
Of all the things he could've asked...but if he wanted to be with me he would have to know. Hell, the whole town knew, he might as well too. "Right." I finished my beer, got up, snagged a new one and halfway finished that in a few gulps. I looked in his face and saw his attention. He really wanted to know. "That cop and I...we have a bad history from when we were kids. My parents died when I was ten. See, what happened was one day we were in school, and I...saw in Alex's mind that he had wet the bed the night before and got the shit beat out of him by his Dad. He started talking trash about my hair, and I threw out an insult like ‘at least I don't wet the bed' or something like that." I shook my head, realizing the humiliation I caused. "He was devastated. That afternoon, he and his best friend, Mueller, and his twin brother, Alec, set the teacher's garbage can on fire, and the three of them said I did it."
"And your teacher believed it?"
"Well, yeah," I shrugged. "It was the three of them against me. No one was able to say I didn't do it. As you can guess, I got in trouble and had to come to a parent-teacher conference. That night, we got into a bad car accident and my folks were killed." He closed his eyes, as if he felt my pain. "I blamed him. Still do." I took another gulp, finished that beer and got another.
"What happened next?" he asked gently.
I took a deep breath. I didn't want to talk about this. I really, really didn't, but I owed him a debt for everything he's told me. "Four weeks later, me and my friend, his name is Meizer, were walking down the street. He was helping me with my rehab because of the accident. We were at my uncle's house. I went to the shed to get something...I can't remember now what it was. But Alec, Alex and Mueller were in the shed, drinking beer." I smiled. Drinking beer was such a big deal back then. "They stole it out of my uncle's house. I recognized the brand. I told Alec and Alex that I was going to tell their Dad. Their father was Chief of Police back then, and a mean bastard. He couldn't stand Alex, and would beat him at every turn." I shrugged. Whole lot of good that did. "Alec told me that he was going to shoot me if I told." I looked at my beer bottle, and lost myself in the memory. I could still hear his awful, prepubescent voice. " ‘I'll fuckin' shoot you Maxwell. I'll fuckin' do it.' Then he pulled out the gun." I mimicked how Alec held the gun, eyes now focused on the far wall. "I was going to tell them never mind, just to get out of there and I'll tell my uncle I drank it, but he started shooting. He was slightly drunk, and wasn't holding the gun tight enough. He damn near shot Meizer's ear off."
Totally engrossed in the past, my breathing was coming out faster as the ten year-old version of me tried to run with two fractured hips and a left arm strapped to my chest. "I ran to the back porch and tried to hurry into the kitchen. He kept shooting. I heard the bullets land in the ground beside my feet and a window shatter. I was hurting so bad I started to cry." I put my beer down. "Under the stove was my uncle's shotgun, Shinigami. That's what he named it. I picked it up, but it was too heavy for me, so I tried to hold it under my armpit. I heard Alec laughing as he came in, and I panicked. I accidently squeezed the trigger." The sound of the gun discharging rang in my ears. "I blew his brains out all over the place."
Wufei just watched me.
"Alec was the golden boy in that shit--for--brains family. He was a smart and good-looking kid, traits that no one could believe existed in their genes. Hell, if it wasn't for Alex, I would've said he was adopted." I chuckled ruefully. Hell, Alex could be good-looking if he wasn't such a hopeless alcoholic. "But he was a rotten apple, just like his folks. I'm sure he would've grown up to do something awful in the world." I sighed. "At least, I try to think of it that way."
"It was an accident."
I smiled tiredly at Wufei. "Yeah, it was. Doesn't stop them from blaming me though, just like I blame them for my parents."
We were quiet then. I was absorbing all the new information Wufei told me, as well as putting that childhood horror back into the box I kept for it in my head. Wufei was just thinking. I thought we would sit in silence for the rest of the night before he changed the topic again.
"Duo, I'm afraid I had two motives tonight."
I raised an eyebrow. "Oh? And what were they?"
He looked at me levelly. "One is that I wish to court you. Do you understand what that means?"
I shrugged. "Yeah. You want me to be your boyfriend."
He smirked. "Something like that, but not quite. What I want is your fidelity only to me, so long as I provide you with everything you need."
I felt myself blanch. That was similar to what Tsubarov was asking me. "Look, if we are to be in a relationship, there are certain things that have to be there or else it won't work for me." I was really bothered by this whole scenario. "I want a relationship where we're both partners, not you provide everything while I sit around and wile about you all day. Is that what you're expecting?"
"That's how it's done," he said simply.
"Not with me it isn't," I said firmly. "I want us to be partners. I don't want to be an object you care for."
He gave me another considering look, nodded, then smirked. It was...unsettling.
"Are you really interested in me, or do you just want me because I'm a clairvoyant?" Howard's words from last night were haunting me. Could it be he only wanted to use me?
"No," he nearly shouted, offended. "I..." He growled, but met my eyes head on. I saw the faint blush on his cheeks, and softened immediately. "I must admit that you would be a powerful ally to me, but..."
The fact that he acknowledged it was more than enough for me. He was attracted to me, I was attracted to him, he was a big bad wolf, I had a red hood in the closet...this was going to be an interesting relationship. "What was your other motive?"
He welcomed the change. "I want your assistance in finding out who is doing this. I know that with your 'talent,' you will be an invaluable source to me."
Well, he was being truthful. "Alright, I'll help you. This can't keep going the way it has been, and I'm especially pissed at whoever scared the shit outta my sister with that head stunt." I glared. "That is something I'm not going to tolerate."
"Then we are in agreement," he said with a smile. He was genuinely...happy.
I smiled back. "Yeah, we're in agreement."
The sun had finally left the sky, leaving its opposite to reign until dawn. There was a deep throated howl just then, followed by another, and another, and another, and even more. It was all in perfect harmony. The sound chilled me to the bone, and I thought I was shaking slightly from its awesome power.
Then I remembered that tonight was a full moon. Shit!
"I should go," Wufei said in a hollow voice. I peered into his eyes and saw the tornado whipping around furiously. I remembered he said that they could resist a full moon, but now I could clearly see that just because they could didn't mean that they should, or that it was easy.
"Go be with your Pack," I told him. "And...see you tomorrow?"
He stood. "Yes," he said, voice and mind further away from me. "Tomorrow night, my place?"
"Sure." I nodded towards the kitchen. "The back porch will dump you right into the field."
He bowed swiftly, then took off so fast he sucked the air out with him. Once my head stopped spinning, I went outside, stood next to my house, and watched the incredible view in front of me in awe.
There were nearly a hundred of them, and they were all beautiful under the moonlight.
I pegged Wufei immediately, and pegged Mariemaia as she darted in and out of the crowd. I saw one werewolf to the side, lying with his head on his paws as he licked an injury. Must be Darlian. I noticed another werewolf sitting protectively at his side, and figured it was his mate. The rest of them played, rolled around, chased each other or just thundered up and down the field wildly. I jumped in surprised and had to cover my mouth to stop my scream when I saw this gorgeous lion prowling across the field, maintaining constant eye contact with me. Another large werewolf ran up to him, lightly bit him on the butt and ran off. The lion followed.
Deciding that I had enough excitement for the night, I went back inside, eyes still wide and round by what I saw. I noticed Wufei's and my unfinished beers on the floor, and sat down to help myself to both.
I was wrong. Saying my relationship with Wufei was going to be interesting didn't even begin to describe it.