Blood or Chocolate?
Chapter 16: Heero's Secret
I woke up slowly. So slowly in fact, that I thought I had been drugged. After blinking a couple of times, I was able to take stock of my surroundings. The room was white with blue curtains. A small dresser was to my right. I was in a twin-sized bed. My old bedroom.
I was at Howard's house.
I sat up, and had to wait a second before the dizziness passed. Once I was steady, I stood, went to the bathroom to take care of business, then came out into the living room. Howard was sitting on the couch, watching cartoons but not really seeing them.
"Hey kid," he said, and held his arm out to me. I plopped down next to him and curled up in his embrace. He sighed. "How do you feel?"
I didn't answer right away. "I don't know." I snuggled closer. "What happened last night?"
"I was hoping you could tell me," he said tiredly. "Hilde got a call from Meizer saying something happened, and for her to get her ass home. I went with her, and when we got there, you were completely unresponsive to everyone except Meizer and...Wufei." I almost smiled. Howard was never going to like him, even if the end of time came. "Once Meizer got what he needed from you, we bundled you up and brought you here."
What about my sister? "Hilde's in her old room, isn't she?"
"Yes. Like hell I was going to leave you two there with those freaks so near by. Fuck that."
This time I did smile. Howard didn't use the F--word often. "There was somebody dead in the kitchen."
He sighed, and his hold tightened on me. "Duo, he's not dead."
I jerked away from him. "What?!"
His eyebrows raised. He didn't have his shades on, so I was able to see the tan-lines around his eyes. "He's not dead."
I felt like my head was spinning. I couldn't believe what I was hearing! "He's not dead?! Why the hell not?!"
"Gee, don't be mad or anything," he said sarcastically. "You know, the guy's only in ICU at Medina Hospital, fighting for his life!"
"Howard, he isn't just some guy. He's one of the werewolves!"
He leaned towards me in a very threatening way. I backed up. "What?" he said.
I was suddenly very afraid of my uncle. "He's not a man. His name's Darlian. He's the best tracker of Wufei's Pack."
He ran his hand over his face. "Then why the hell was he unconscious in your kitchen with his chest crushed?"
I gave him a very exasperated look. "How would I know?"
"That's my point. We need to find out." He got up and went into the kitchen. I followed him. He had poured himself some coffee. "Shower and get dressed. Wake your sister too. We're going to spend today finding out what the hell is going on."
"Yes Master," I said dramatically. "I will do as you say, Master."
He threw a dishtowel at me. "If you're up to being a pain in the ass, you must be feeling okay. Now go wake your sister, then get dressed."
I chuckled to myself. I figured I could wake Hilde by jumping on her bed. It's been a while since I've done that. Then I could shower, eat, and get ready to grab this murder mystery by the balls. Yeah.
You know, this might sound strange, but hearing that Darlian was alive did make me feel better.
However, that opened up a whole new can of worms. If Darlian wasn't the murderer, and I was willing to bet my life that he was, then obviously someone else was, and that someone was a werewolf.
I felt like Quatre neglected to mention a detail that I thought was very important. Wufei's Pack may follow him blindly, and wouldn't lift a paw to hurt him, but I didn't think the werewolves had any problems hurting each other and dumping the evidence in someone else's house.
I mean, no human could've crushed his chest like that, or tossed his heavy ass through an open window.
"Howard, the word ‘inconspicious' means that you blend in, not stand out," I was explaining as we were locking up. "Wearing a bright yellow Hawaiian shirt isn't going to work."
"For me it will!" he shot back. Can you believe we were actually having a ‘heated discussion' over this? "It would seem odd that someone of my taste and beauty would go out in anything but!"
"Whatever," Hilde said as she turned away from us. "I'm not even going to--Heero!"
Both Howard and I snapped around at the familiar name.
Yep, there he was. Heero Yuy. I almost started salivating. This was the first time I had seen him in broad daylight. I knew he was gorgeous, but shit--on--a--stick! He was hot enough to turn a straight man gay!
He nodded. "I'm glad to see that you're better, Maxwell."
I started to bow, but remembered what Quatre said. I just nodded in his direction. Boy, did I feel like the Lincoln Monument! All important... "Thank you. How is Wufei?"
He seemed to be weighing his words carefully. Finally, he said, "Unhappy."
I couldn't tell you why, but I started cracking up. That just seemed like the funniest damn thing in the universe. I could feel Howard and Hilde looking at me funny, and that made me laugh even harder. It took some time, but I finally started to calm down. I was sure I was certifiable at this point. "I'm sure 'unhappy' doesn't even begin to describe it Heero."
He smirked. "Hn."
"This is all well and good," Howard interrupted, his tone sarcastic, "but what the hell are you doing at my house? I want you all to stay away from him!"
"That is not wise at this time," Heero said with a growl. Where Wufei and Sally had a cool demeanor when it came to my uncle, Heero did not. He had no problem showing his dislike for Howard, and my uncle was quick to stick his chin out at the werewolf. Those two were so similar in attitude it was ridiculous.
I gave them two weeks before they became best friends.
"This is a second offence." Heero's voice brought me back from my mental wanderings. "The incident with the head was unforgivable. This time..." He shook his head. "...I don't know how to describe this." He looked at me. "Quatre has brought me up to speed." He looked pointedly at my clothes, then back at me. "Where are you going?"
I flipped a mental coin. Tell him, not tell him...tell him. "I want to find some information on 'hydrogen cyanide' and its uses." He nodded. Good. Apparently Quatre really did bring him up to speed. "And if Darlian is conscious I want to talk to him."
"Not possible," he told me curtly. "The police, as well as Wufei, are certain someone within our household has done this to him. We are not allowed to visit."
"But I bet we can," Howard said.
Heero's eyes flickered as he considered this. "Then we should split up."
"Yes," I interjected before Howard could start beating on his chest and demanding otherwise. "Howard and I can hit the hospital. Hilde and Heero can do the research--"
"No," Heero broke in. "It would be better if a...female, questioned him."
Hilde looked to him, me, then him again. "Excuse me?"
"Hunters," I whispered, and a smile broke over my face. "You're right." I turned to Hilde. "I'll explain it to you later Hil, but he'll answer your questions because he'll be afraid of you."
She looked herself over, purposely, to point out her small stature. "He'll be afraid of me?"
I nodded. "Yes. Trust me."
"Howard should go with her," Heero said. "Duo, you're badly bruised. You would be drawing too much attention to yourself." He shrugged apologetically. "Also, you have an idea of what you're looking for and what you want to do once we finish with that. Your uncle won't. So you and I should do the research." He gave Howard a bored look. Howard looked at me, saw that I agreed, then threw his hands in the air.
"Whatever Duo. But if you lose an appendage, it's your own damn fault."
"I know," I said, feeling excited to finally be doing something. Hot dog! "Anything we need to clear up now?"
"One more thing," Heero said. Snapping his fingers, Quatre's Toyota came popping out of some dense bushes and onto the gravel road. It stopped right before it entered Howard's yard, bumping into the metal pole that held the mailboxes. Howard and I flinched. That was no way to treat such a gorgeous car. I recognized Abdul's grinning face as he waved at me from behind the steering wheel, and I waved back, chuckling to myself. Another man was in the passenger seat, snoring. I could hear him from the front porch. Dear god, this was going to be an interesting day.
"Take the MRS," Heero told Howard and Hilde. "Two Maguanacs will accompany you to ensure your safety." He met my eyes head-on. "I will ensure yours."
He had something important to tell me. "I agree. Anything else?"
"Alright," I said, and clapped my hands together. "Let's get this show on the road!"
"I'm driving!" Hilde announced, and flew down the stairs so fast she created a whirlwind. Howard followed at a more sedate pace, making sure to accidently--on--purpose bump his shoulder into Heero's. Heero only smirked, and waggled his eyebrows suggestively at Howard. Howard snorted and kept walking, but I could see the slight upturn of his lips.
At Hilde's announcement, Abdul had jumped into the back seat and bounced excitedly. My sister slid into the driver's seat, and squealed happily at the different...whatever she was touching. Howard climbed in next to Abdul and buckled himself in. The Maguanac in the passenger seat slept on.
"Be careful!" I shouted as Hilde shot onto the road, the sports car zig-zagging before she gained control of it. I thought I heard her triumphant shout with Abdul's, and Howard's cry of 'Jesus Christ!'
Laughing softly to myself, I clamored down the steps to Heero. He started to walk to the left, and I could see just out of sight, his car. It was a white DeTomaso. I couldn't tell what type or year.
I held my hands up. "Whatever you say dude."
We got in. Heero took off, but he did so in a more controlled manner than my sister managed. Once on the road, we were going at a comfortable sixty-five miles an hour, with the windows rolled halfway down. I laid my head back and was going to follow that other Maguanac's example, when this whole thing dawned on me. "Hey, why did you come here?"
He shifted gears. "I came to talk to you about yesterday."
My eyes were closed, but I raised an eyebrow. "What about yesterday?"
He exhaled a deep breath. "You upset Quatre. He really likes you." His voice held no emotion. He was completely nonjudgmental.
I thought about that. "Well, I was upset."
"No reason to take it out on him." Voice neutral. Factual. "Whatever you saw in your vision...you shouldn't have exploded the way you did."
This time I sat up and turned to him, ready to fight fire with fire. "What do you know about it? Huh? I saw and felt that man's death, okay? Excuse me if I feel that it's ya'lls fault because you couldn't control one of your own!"
Heero was still calm. "No leader has complete control over their subjects Maxwell. Wufei can't control every doing of his wolves, just like the police can't make everyone wear a seatbelt. Only so much can be done."
He was right, and this argument wasn't going to accomplish anything. So I changed the subject. "How is it that none of you can find a scent?"
"We don't know," he said, a slight tinge of frustration in his voice. "But that's where we're really going to need you."
When they said that flattery will get you nowhere, they were wrong. I puffed up like a damn peacock. "What is it that you need to tell me?"
He smirked. "I knew you'd figure it out." The smirk went away. "Darlian is alive and in the hospital. His mate is nowhere to be found."
I gasped. "What?"
"She is the police's prime suspect," he continued. "And she's our prime suspect too. Her scent was all over Darlian's body."
I nodded. "But was her scent in my house? Or around it?"
"No, it wasn't." He shrugged. "But we do know her scent stopped outside the gate of the pet cemetery. It vanished from there."
I felt something cold land in the pit of my stomach. This did not feel right. "Something's not adding up."
Heero agreed. "I know. We could use the computer at your house to look up some things."
"No no, I don't have a computer," I said absently, chewing on a fingernail as I thought.
"You don't?" He sounded as if I asked what a bathtub was for.
"No, sure don't."
"Hmm...we'll have to go to my job then, but I called in sick today. So I don't know how I'm going to pull that off."
"Well, if we're heading into town anyway, let's go to a library. They have public computers."
He snorted. "Duh."
"Damnit, I could give a shit what the melting point is!" I nearly shrieked at the computer screen. A few people turned my way, but a severe glare from Heero sent them back to minding their own business. So far, we didn't find anything on hydrogen cyanide that could link together why someone would pour it over three dead men. "This is starting to piss me off."
"That's what you said half an hour ago," Heero said, completely nonplused.
He had the patience of a marble statue. Guess being an old werewolf did that to you. Speaking of old... "Hey Heero, how old are you?"
He was looking at something on another computer. "I was made in the year the Fujiwara Clan controlled Japan."
"Oh wow, that was--what?!" This time my exclamation was met with a few angry ‘shhh's.' I glared, which wasn't nearly as effective as when Heero did it, and tried to use my inside voice. "You were ‘made'?"
He gave me a shocked look. He was so caught up in what we were looking for that he answered absently. "Yes," he said after a while. "I was made Were, not born."
Wow! "I would've never guessed. You in wolf form is not something I'd mess with."
He smiled. "Thanks."
"No problem." I shook my head and tried to focus on what I was doing. I couldn't. "Is that why you're Special?" I blurted out.
He gave me another shocked look but didn't hesitate to answer. "Yes, that's what being Special means. I was chosen by the Packmaster to take his place should he die."
"Shit. Talk about your ‘destiny.' " Then an idea curled from my head, and I couldn't help but put it out there. Darlian's mate was missing, so I was going to treat everyone as a suspect until I knew that they weren't. Heero was going to be the first I interrogated. "God, you've been waiting to be Packmaster for a long time. You could be waiting millennia more." Okay, the hook's been baited! Could Heero be doing this to become Packmaster?
"I hope it never happens," he said, and looked me dead in the eye. "I don't ever want that position. I'd rather be at his side than in his place."
I could feel the sincerity rolling off of him. He worshipped Wufei with an intensity that was unquestionable. Nope, it wasn't Heero. "I understand."
He hesitated, then turned back to his own computer terminal. I turned back to mine and we worked in silence for a long time. Finally, he broke it. "I understand too, what you're going through Maxwell." He kept his eyes on the computer monitor. "I remember what it was like being human, and first learning about all...this." He ducked his head a little. I found the gesture sweet. "It's confusing, and so much to absorb that you feel like your head will explode."
"Yes," I agreed. He was so right about that.
He frowned. "I hated that feeling. I'm sure you do too. It keeps you off-balance." I nodded in agreement to that too. "It was hard to talk to someone because no one understood what I was going through. Human values are so different from a werewolf's that I had a hard time reconciling the two. I don't want you to go through that. So...if you ever want to talk, or need to, find me and we'll talk."
I smiled, and reached out to place my hand on his shoulder. I hoped he wouldn't decide to eat it. "Thanks. I will on one condition." I squeezed his shoulder. "You have to call me Duo, okay?"
He smiled beautifully. "Okay...Duo."
"Good." I patted him on the shoulder and we got back to work.
I felt...rejuvenated after that. I felt as if a bond had been formed between myself and Heero, and I think he felt the same way too. Here was someone that could understand exactly what I was going through, firsthand, and I was someone he could relate to.
I leaned over. "What?"
"Nothing important, just interesting," he said, pointing at something on the screen. "Listen to this: ‘Hydrogen cyanide forms a foul tasting compound when it combines with tobacco smoke. For this reason, some chemists choose to have a lit cigarette in their mouth while working with it, as they receive an early warning against possible cyanide poisoning.' "
"Cool," I said, smirking to myself. "I guess I need to become a more serious smoker." All of a sudden I felt like I had an epiphany. We were close to something. "Hold on Heero." He sat quietly while my mind ran through some hoops. I nodded to myself when I was certain what to do. "Okay, go to Google, and type in 'Hydrogen Cyanide' and 'respiratory.' "
He did. We got a lot of hits. "Okay."
I saw the website for toxic substances on top. "Wait, click on that link."
He did, and we waited for the page to load. Damn slow ass computer. "What are you thinking Duo?"
I was ready to smack the monitor. "Yesterday when Quatre and I were looking for clues, I smelled someone barbequing, but he didn't." Heero raised an eyebrow. I threw my hands in the air. "Exactly! I'm thinking that this shit is why you all can't find a scent! Humans can smell that almond odor, sure. But we don't have your sensitive sense of smell. Something this potent will affect our sense of smell eventually, but a dog or a werewolf," I emphasized, "will probably be affected immediately!" The page had loaded. I skimmed the article, pointed to the sentence on screen that validated my point, and read it out loud. "Exposure causes olfactory fatigue!" I jumped up and smacked myself on the ass. Yes! "Who's hot shit?! I'm hot shit!" I twirled where I stood, and began my 'I'm Hot Shit' song and dance. I ignored the looks thrown my way. They were just jealous.
Heero snorted as his cell phone began to ring. Answering it and saying something curtly in Japanese (I guess), he closed the phone with an audible snap as his intense eyes found mine.
"That was Quatre," he said without preamble. "They found a part of Mrs. Darlian's body. You need to touch it, if at all possible."
I stopped my song and dance. I thought about a mutilated, skinless, decapitated body, and felt myself turn green. But Heero made it sound like they found something small. "What did they find, her hand?"
"Nope," he said, slipping off the stool.
"Her finger?" I squeaked, following behind him.
"Oh no," he said, gesturing me ahead of him. "They only found her eye."
 My roommate used to wake me up every morning by jumping on my bed. I didn't like it. She didn't care. >.<
 Pic of Heero's car here.
 The Fujiwara Clan began control around 858 A.D., which I decided will be the year Heero was made.
 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (online).