Blood or Chocolate?
Chapter 19: A Killer Is Revealed
"Goodness gracious," Quatre said, face ghostly pale in the moonlight. "You humans have the worst damn timing, I swear."
"Yeah well, we gotta be bad at something."
"I suppose. Well, what do you want to do? Running out there screaming will certainly get all of us killed. Do you want to risk them making it to the house?"
I could feel the sweat pooling on my forehead. I didn't like what Quatre was asking me, but he was right. Running out there screaming ‘the killer is here, run!' will get us killed, guaranteed. However, the killer had to know by now that we figured out the phone lines were down. Hell, I didn't know if I could do this. These were the lives of my family I was gambling with! "Let's risk them making it to the house," I decided at last when they got out of the car. "If they are attacked, is there anything you can do?"
"If there's no more than one, sure," he told me with confidence. "But if there's four or five of them, that will be a problem. I may survive the fight, but I won't be able to protect all of you."
"And we certainly can't fight a werewolf," I finished for him. "Do you think I should 'call' for Wufei?"
Quatre kept his eyes focused on the area around Hilde and Howard as he spoke. "No, not at this point. They will be killed before he gets here."
Howard and Hilde started for the front door, but they were taking too long in my opinion. Everything seemed to be moving slower than what I wanted. "Maybe you should change into a lion now."
"No, I won't be able to speak. I can do a half-and-half form, but Duo." He looked me in the eye. "That is very hard to maintain. It's easier to be one form or the other, but not both, so I will get tired faster. When I can't hold it anymore, if it comes to that, I will change into a full-lion, and you all will have to run to Wufei's while I defend your escape."
Howard and Hilde had finally made it up the porch. They had to use a special code to unlock the door (Howard wanted us to have a keyless lock on the door) and stepped into the darkened house. As soon as they closed the door, I grabbed Hilde as Quatre grabbed Howard. Howard fought briefly but stopped when he saw me. I had covered Hilde's mouth with my hand and started speaking to her as loudly as I dared, trying to calm her down. My voice penetrated her terrified mind, but not before she bit the shit outta my hand. Ow!
"Duo! What the hell--"
"Hilde, shut up! Stop screaming!" I hissed. "The killer is outside!"
Hilde and Howard stiffened like rods. "Outside?" she whispered, terrified. Howard swore.
"Yeah. He's out there waiting. There's hydrogen cyanide poured all over the place." It would have to be for my cigarette to go bad so fast.
"Oh god," she whimpered. "How are we gonna get out of here?"
"We call for help. Where's your cell phone Hilde?"
"Oh no. I left it in the car."
"I'll go get it."
"No Quatre," I said. "There's no way you won't be attacked when they see you picking up a cell phone. No one is going back out there until we know what we're up against."
"You don't have any guns, do you?"
"No Howard, we don't. You know that."
"What about the Magnum I gave ya?"
"It's in my car," I said in a tiny voice. He was going to be so pissed off.
"And where is your car?" he asked in that falsely sweet voice.
"...at Wufei's," I squeaked.
He was silent. "Duo, when this is over, I'm gonna kick your ass."
"If you survive this," Quatre reminded us, voice all business. "Duo, what do you want to do? We can't stay here much longer."
"Do you have any weapons whatsoever?"
"No Howard. I...I can't explain it. We have no kitchen knives. They all fuckin' vanished."
"Shit," he swore.
"How many are there?" Hilde asked.
"We don't know," I told her, biting my fingernail. What to do, what to fuckin' do...
"Duo, I know how this hurts you, but," Hilde paused, looking me in the eye, "can you, not read their minds, but bump against them? I mean, if there are two minds out there you can't read, we'll know there's two of them."
Shit--on--a--stick. "Hilde, that's a good damn idea." I didn't like it, but she was right. "Okay." I took a deep breath, calmed myself as much as my racing heart would allow, focused, and sent my brainwaves out to find....
Rage. Hate. Disgust. Malice. Grief...revenge. The feelings were unchecked. So were the thoughts.
The coordinating, the planning, the captures, the kills. I saw how everything was done. And I saw who did it.
"Oh my god," I said softly, coming back to myself. I wiped the dribble of blood from my nose and turned to Quatre. "I was right. Darlian's the murderer."
His eyes widened and he sniffed harshly. "Are you certain?"
I have never been more certain in all my life. "Yes."
He exhaled. "Okay, I believe you. How many are there?"
I shook my head. "Just him."
Quatre sighed. "Then he really means to kill you," he said in resignation. "Werewolves do not attack an enemy alone. It's always done in their Packs. But I can handle him," Quatre said with a smirk in his voice. "Darlian is the weakest in the Pack now that his mate is gone. I'll go out and get the cell phone." He started for the door.
"No Quatre," I said, and grabbed his arm. "I have a bad feeling about this."
Quatre grabbed my arm back. "So do I," he told me honestly. "But I also have the feeling that you all will die here unless I force your hand, Duo." He smiled. "I can tell you're not the type to move offensively, but that has to change. You're dealing with the supernatural now. You have to kill them before they kill you." Gently disengaging my hand, Quatre kicked out his legs, and the material of his pants tore and fell off. I saw in the glimpses of moonlight that he had changed into his half-and-half form. He had the powerful legs of a lion with his tail swinging lightly, his hands were claws, and he had two fluffy ears. He looked back at me and smiled. Awww... he looked so cute with his ears...
Howard jumped back with a curse, and Quatre quickly opened the door. Once he was outside, Howard grabbed my arm and pulled me close. "Why the hell didn't you tell me he wasn't human? You know I don't want any creepy-crawlies in my house!"
"You didn't ask?" I said with a slight shrug and a nervous smile. Forever cute, that's me!
Howard was looking down at me, shaking his head back and forth. "Duo, I'm really gonna kick your ass when this is over."
"Oh my god, he's there!" Hilde screeched. Howard and I snapped around, and pasted our faces against the window. Hilde looked over my shoulder.
Sure enough, Quatre was reaching into the car to get the cell phone, eyes alert and searching. He palmed the phone in his hand, and backed out of the car. I started to breathe easier, when he suddenly gasped and jumped on top of the car. He leapt off of it, and just before he touched down on the porch, a car (I could not believe my eyes) hit him in mid-air, as if it had been thrown. Quatre went crashing to the ground. The werewolf--Darlian--landed on top of Howard's car, crushing it like a soda can. He then got off of it and picked it up as if it was not a car, but a book. Quatre was quickly wiggling free of the debris of the first car, which was yellow in color--WHAT?!
"That son of a bitch threw the Toyota at him?!" Howard screamed. "How could he?! It's such a beautiful car!"
"Focus Howard!" I snapped as I watched Darlian move to stand over Quatre. The blond worked himself free enough to change into his alternate form. Howard and Hilde gasped when he was a full fledged lion.
"What the hell is he?" Howard asked, both fascinated and terrified.
"He's a shape-shifter, but we can't discuss that now." My mind was working overtime as Darlian hit Quatre over the head with my uncle's car again, and again, and again.
"Shit Duo, we have to do something!" Hilde screamed, jumping up and down.
"What Hilde, what?!" My uncle screamed back. "Look at that! What the fuck can we do about that? Huh?! Rip out a tree and shove it up his ass?!"
"We have to leave while he's distracted," I decided at last, my heart going out to Quatre. "We can't fight him, and Quatre's down right now." Not having anything else to use as a weapon, I ran into my sister's room and dug through her bottom drawer. Vibrator in hand, I ran back out into the front room. "Come on, out the back door!" The three of us quickly skimmed through the kitchen and onto the back porch. Once our feet hit the grass, we took off like we were in the damn Olympics. As I watched my uncle out of the corner of my eye, I figured that a couple of workouts every now and then would do me some good. I was kinda pissed at myself since I was having a hard time keeping up with Howard of all people! Damn, that old man can run!
I felt Hilde's eyes on me as she tried to make out what was in my hand. "Duo, what's...DUO! Oh god, how could you?!" I could feel her embarrassment rolling off of her.
"I'll. Explain. Later," I said between gasps. "Now. Not. Time. We. Need. Weapon."
We had just reached the gates of the cemetery when I heard the pounding of feet on the ground. Shit! But to go around the cemetery would be the longer way around. It was best to go through it. "Jump the fence!" I yelled, and the three of us cleared it as if we jumped it every day. It wasn't even ten seconds later when I heard the werewolf clear it, and a shadow passed over us as his body flew over our heads. He landed hard, and came to a halt right in front of us, blocking our path to Wufei.
"Fuck me!" I shouted, and the three of us came to a dirt-digging halt, five feet away from the werewolf. His eyes were bright with the desire to lick the skin from our bones, and his fangs dripped with saliva at the thought of killing me.
"Darlian!" I shouted, my voice trembling. "Get away from us!" I pointed the vibrator at him in the most threatening way possible. God, this was humiliating. "I swear to god if you don't, I'll jab this fucker right in your eye!"
He didn't seem fazed. In fact, he took a step forward. We took five steps back. "I'm warning you!" I yelled, and turned it on. I had hoped the whizzing noise would mess up his hearing or something. I was wrong.
Instead he purred, and I got the distinct impression that he was laughing at me. Well, how could he not? Here I was, his Packmaster's probable mate, a strong clairvoyant, and the reason for the deaths of four people, and I was threatening him with a twelve-inch turquoise and silver vibrator. Oh yeah, real scary that was. He should've been trembling in his fur.
"Duo?" Hilde whimpered, her fingernails digging so hard into my arm that she was leaving bruises in my bones.
Since this was the worst time possible to get philosophical, that's exactly what happened. I knew deep down that all of this was my fault. Howard and Hilde were innocent. I got them into this because I wanted some excitement of the ‘supernatural' kind. They didn't have the choice to become involved. I made it for them. "Fine then. If you want to kill me, kill me. Just let them go." I pulled Hilde's hands from my arm (which wasn't easy) and stepped away from them.
"Shut up Howard." I took a couple of steps from them. I stopped when we were separated a few yards. Then I turned my 'weapon' off and dropped it on the ground. "There. Now, let them walk away."
"We're not leaving you," Hilde said with vehemence.
"Yes you are," I told her as lovingly as I could in my hoarse voice. "Go on Hil. It'll be okay."
"No it won't!" she screamed, but Howard was pulling her behind him, backing them up.
"Nice and easy," I said softly to them as they were gaining some distance. "That's it. Nice and easy."
Darlian didn't like nice and easy though. He wanted them the hell out of there. So he made a swipe at them, and in a panic both of them tripped and fell. I thought he screwed me over, so I started to run to them but stopped short when I saw that they were okay. Darlian, not liking that I moved, took a swipe at me. I turned, trying to run away, and cried out as I felt a searing pain start at the back of my right shoulder, which extended all the way to my left hip. I hit the ground face first, and gasped from having the wind knocked out of me, my senses knocked out of me, and in pain.
"Duo! Oh god no!"
Darlian jumped at me, claws and fangs out. He landed over me, his paws on either side of my head and legs. Then he bit the shit outta me on my right shoulder. Thinking I was about to die, I started to yell Wufei's name. What the hell, I had nothing else better to do. At least this way I could make my death the last one. Darlian then reared up on his hind legs, and looking over my shoulder I zeroed in on his caved-in chest. I remembered Wufei's speech about how it just took a bit more effort to kill his kind. I made a mental note that if by some miracle I survived this, I was going to smack the shit outta him. A bit more effort my ass!
Dropping my head to the ground, I closed my eyes and prepared myself for that painful, fatal blow. Instead, I heard what sounded like two planes colliding, and looked over my shoulder to see that the lion had plowed into the werewolf, knocking him to the ground. Quatre, on top of Darlian, started to claw the living hell out of the werewolf. It was disgusting. There was skin, blood, and chunky stuff I didn't want to identify flying everywhere. The lion roared and started biting him. Darlian seemed to be helpless, crying out in pain as Quatre attacked him.
"Duo!" Hilde screamed, and she and Howard tried to drag me away from the two fighting animals.
"Run!" I told them, gasping. "Get the hell outta here..."
I heard a bad squawk, and turned to see that Darlian had kicked Quatre right in his lion's jewels. Darlian then flipped to his legs and started to charge at me. Quatre gained his feet and chased him, but the werewolf's body was twice as long as the lion's. I looked Darlian in the eyes, ready to face my death head on--
Out of nowhere Wufei appeared, in human form! I panicked, and threw a coronary because I just knew Darlian was going to crush him. But before I could scream out in fear, Wufei charged right up to Darlian, drew his fist back and punched him right in the snout. Darlian flew through the air as if he had been catapulted, and landed heavily on the ground. Two other werewolves appeared just then, one going over to Quatre and the other standing guard beside me and my family.
"Don't you dare rise!" Wufei hollered, rage making his fur sprout and his voice half-human, half-werewolf. "Do so and you bring dishonor to your Pack!"
Darlian laid still a moment before he dropped into his human skin. I gasped in surprise at his face. His nose was completely smashed in, and his eyes were nearly swollen shut from the force of the blow. He was pawing at the ground in pain, but he didn't whimper or make any vocal noise. Hell, maybe he couldn't.
The werewolf beside me dropped into his human skin. It was Heero. The other werewolf did too. It was Trowa. Trowa was looking at me with wide eyes. Wow, I must've looked bad for Trowa to react. My gaze was torn from his when I was jostled by Heero. He was tearing my shirt away, and Trowa trotted over to help. Quatre changed into human form, and was holding his head.
"Ow. You have a hard car Howard," he said with a grimace. "Getting hit with that thing hurt."
I mentally rolled my eyes. I couldn't believe that Quatre got hit upside the head with a car, and all he had to say for it was 'ow.'
Wufei kneeled in front of me and gently took my hand in both of his. My fingers felt like ice in his warm palms. "Darlian did it," I told him tiredly. "The night Harvest was killed, I thought I smelled something sour in the air. I didn't know what it was, but now I do. It was the hydrogen cyanide." Wufei raised an eyebrow. "You told me he and his mate were in the cleaning and gardening business. He did the cleaning. Fumigations. Hydrogen cyanide is one of the chemicals used in fumigation. That's where he got it."
"I see," Wufei said softly, caressing my face.
I licked my lips, trying to get some moisture on them. "That's how he buried his mate too. She knew how to toil dirt but leave the top layer untouched. Then he poured the cyanide over everything to erase the scent. He did that to hide her body. To hide it from you." I blinked back the tears. "It was me she was protecting."
"Oh my god Duo," Hilde whimpered, dropping to her knees beside my head. Howard was right beside her, rubbing her back. She gently brushed my hair from my face. "Your back..."
I ignored her. "She was protecting me from him. She crushed his chest, trying to kill him, but he was stronger. She died, saving my life. I was home alone. All he had to do was crawl through the kitchen window and finish it."
"This was purposeful," Trowa's quiet voice interrupted. He was touching specific places on my shoulder. The bite. "Even if he failed to kill him, the bite will in a few hours unless we do something."
"Get him to a god damn hospital!" Howard shrieked, voice bordering on hysteria.
"No," Wufei boomed, silencing human and werewolf alike. "No human medicine can fix this. He's been bitten."
"So?" Hilde said, voice soft and uncertain. "Why does that matter?"
Wufei ignored her. "Quinze is in a nest nearby. Where?" he asked everyone.
Heero answered. "Yantis." 
"Yantis?!" Quatre shouted. "That's four hours away!"
"That's the best we can do," Wufei announced with finality. "Let's go." Everyone stood, even Howard and Hilde, although I knew they didn't know what the hell was going on. Well, shit, neither did I. So I looked over my shoulder, and was about to demand answers, but I forgot what I was going to say at the sight that greeted me.
Heero, Trowa and Quatre were as naked as the day they were born.
One would think this would be an occasion to celebrate or be happy about. Try as I might, I couldn't be. One reason was because I was in horrible pain, and the other...I was just in absolute shock that they were walking around naked and perfectly fine with it. No no, no problem here, just swingin' in the breeze. That's all folks.
Too bad Wufei wasn't naked. Humph.
My mental wanderings short circuited when Wufei picked me up and draped me over his shoulder. I shrieked like a banshee at the pain, and despite my best intentions, I started to tear up. This was the worst pain I have ever known. "It feels like my skin is burning off." Well, at least I had a nice view of his ass. Too bad I was in too much excruciating pain to enjoy it!
"In a way it is," Wufei said quietly. "You have been bitten. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem. It would take several small bites over a long period of time to turn you into a werewolf." My eyes shot wide open. Oh my god... "But Darlian shredded your back to pieces with his claws and teeth. A large bite like that from a weak werewolf all at once has...fatal consequences."
"What?!" Howard yelled.
"Oh god, Duo!" Hilde broke into tears.
Oh god. Oh god oh god oh god...
"We are taking him to someone who can heal him," Wufei explained. "However, it will be a long and painful trip for him, and the healing process won't be pleasant either."
Wufei had to step over a hole in the ground, and the jarring movement made me cry out. "I'm not walking further. It's hurting him," he called over our small group. "Quatre, bring your car around. It's the fastest."
"I can't. It's a paper weight."
"Then we'll have to take Duo's. Hurry!" I didn't hear anything, but I was certain Quatre ran off to do what he was told to. "Trowa, contact the Maguanacs. Let them know that Darlian is here. They are to watch him only," he emphasized. "I do not want to come back and find only pieces of him, despite...this." I heard the unclasping of a phone and a brief conversation. Considering that Trowa was naked, I had no idea where he got a cell phone from. Probably out of his ass.
"I know you want to go with him," I heard Wufei say. I guess he was talking to my family. "And I know that if I refused you he would not be happy. So you may come. But," and this was where I started to worry, "I'm going to ask you to stay. You are going to see something you will not like."
"We're coming," Howard said firmly. Hilde didn't say anything, but I could feel her tight nod.
"So be it then."
"Oh god, Howard!" I flailed, trying to reach for him as panic ran through my mind. "God, please! I can't believe I did that!"
"What Duo, what?!" Howard was right in front of my face, fear on his features.
"I left my beer in the car!" I almost cried. Somehow, being thrown over Wufei's shoulder triggered the memory. "This afternoon, when I arrived at Wufei's...I was so distracted by all the construction that I left my beer in the car!"
Howard was silent. Then... "WHAT?!" He yelled so hard he blew my bangs back. "Duo, you scared the shit outta me! Who gives a damn about beer?!"
"I do!" I whined. "It's all hot by now!"
Right then my car (I guess Quatre hot-wired it) came crashing through the fence, and I winced at the rough treatment. Without hesitation Trowa grabbed Howard and Hilde, shoving them into what little of a back seat there was. Wufei laid me gently across Howard and Hilde's lap. At this point, I could tell this was going to be the longest drive I will ever have. Hilde was basically holding my knees, my feet resting against the side of her head because of my height, and my face was nice and secure in Howard's lap, my nose pressed right against my uncle's nuts. Wufei was squeezed against the front seats, with his 'master of ceremonies' digging into my hip. Yippee skippy.
In a squeal we took off. I held on as tightly as I could, and despite my best intentions I couldn't control my breathing. My breath was hot and fast against Howard's...you know, and I could feel a telltale twitching. We were all pretty much squashed against each other tightly, so Howard was having to shove his hand between his body and my face in order to squeeze his hand through to cover his...you know. Unfortunately, my asshole uncle kept jabbing me in the eye, and Wufei's elbow was planted on the other side of my head, so I couldn't turn away. Dear god. The only reason I didn't die right then and there was because I didn't want my last breath to be of crotch.
"We are going to Yantis," Wufei said.
"Who's there?" Hilde asked.
"A vampire named Quinze. He has a talent for healing. He will be able to suck out the blood that is tainted. He will also give Duo some blood, and that will heal the wound."
"Yantis? I've never heard of it," Howard jumped in.
"It's a small town like Pike Creek. It's a vampire nest."
I felt my blood run cold. Vampire nest? Why didn't I like the sound of that?
"A vampire nest?!" Howard asked incredulously.
"Yes. It is not safe for humans so please stay close to us. Wander away and I can not guarantee your safety."
"Duo." I felt him squeeze my shoulder. "I need you to stay awake."
I would have nodded, but...you know.
"And I also need to keep cleaning your wound. That will slow down the tainted blood." He paused. "This is going to hurt you very, very much."
I reached out for his hand and squeezed it. If it had to be done, then I wanted it done.
"Okay." I felt him brace himself against me, holding me down. I took a deep breath to prepare myself for the pain. Suddenly, I felt what I thought was his tongue go deep into the cuts and bite, licking from one end of the gashes to the other. He did this again, and again, and again.
Not even my face in Howard's lap drowned out my screams.
 Yantis is a town of 321 people, about 222 miles NE from Austin.