Blood in Siberia
“Препятствуйте мне пойти!”
I opened my eyes, shocked to find myself back in that black but magically lit room. It was still without a ceiling, floor or walls, but that wasn’t my biggest problem.
“Препятствуйте мне пойти!”
Oburi stood before me, panting like a pissed off bull. His eyes were bloodshot, pupils dilated to the point where I couldn’t see the eye color. He ran his hand through his hair frantically, as if stressed out beyond all reason.
I jumped back, startled. “What the fuck?!”
“Препятствуйте мне пойти!”
He came toe to toe with me, glaring at me with so much heat I thought my eyebrows would catch fire. He wanted something from me, I just didn’t know what. “I don’t understand what you’re saying.”
“Препятствуйте мне пойти!” he screamed, spittle flying from his mouth as he waved his arms up and down like a bird’s flapping wings.
“ПРЕПЯТСТВУЙТЕ МНЕ ПОЙТИ!”
I flung myself upright in bed, gasping for breath like a swimmer out of water. My heart was racing, and I felt sweat on my back. I ran my hand through my bangs, pulling the sticky strands from my face. If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought that that was some sort of wizard-induced nightmare.
I lifted my head to Otto. He was sitting on the edge of the dais, apparently watching over me. I turned to my side and found that Heero was gone. I didn’t know if the Prince came back last night or not.
I turned back to Otto. “Sorry. What?”
“Are you all right?” He crossed his legs. “You went stiff, then shot straight up. Nightmare?”
I exhaled slowly, willing my heartbeat to slow down. “Yeah. Maybe.”
He raised an eyebrow at that. “Maybe?”
I ignored his unasked question. “Otto?” I cleared my throat. “What does... what does ‘препятствуйте мне пойти’ mean?”
He raised his eyebrow again. “Your pronunciation is terrible.”
“And you can suck my balls. Fuck my pronunciation, what does it mean?”
He narrowed his eyes at me. “Let me go.”
“What? I’m not holding--”
“That’s what it means, stupid human. ‘Let me go.’ ”
Leaning forward, I dug my elbows into my knees and dropped my chin into my palms. I replayed what I remembered through my mind. Let me go. He was yelling that in my face, so apparently it was me that was holding him. But how? I certainly didn’t have him chained there.
Or did I?
Silver Water said he couldn’t ignore my Call. I thought he meant that he couldn’t ignore it because he felt he owed me. But what if he really couldn’t ignore it? What if he had to answer my Call, even against his will? G did that to me, when he was commanding his mountain trolls. He held me in his mind, forced me to see his history and desires before he released me. Could I do that as well? Could I force Oburi to come to me, and hold him until I got Noin’s location?
I flew out of the pelts, not giving a damn that I was naked. “Take me to G’s library!” I screeched, running all over the place in a bizarre attempt to find clothing.
Otto was silent. Then, “What the hell are you doing?”
“Looking for clothes!”
“Try not stepping over the pile of clothes you are stepping over.”
“Now, what does ‘let me go’ have to do with G’s library?”
Whether I lied or told a half-truth, he would know. So, fuck it. “If I could figure out a way to get inside Oburi’s mind, I could make him reveal his location.” I slipped easily into the camouflaged snowsuit, and frantically started braiding my hair.
He watched me with unease. “What makes you think you could do that?”
Shit. I didn’t mean to say that ‘I’ could reveal his location. I mentally swore again when, in my distraction, I braided my fingers into my hair. “Me?” I started, trying to backtrack as I stomped into the boots. “I meant G. G could do it.”
“No, he can not. Otherwise, he would have done so already.”
I stopped all movement. “He can’t?”
Otto gave me a hard look. “No.”
Shit, shit, shit! “You sure about that?”
He frowned deeply. “Positive.”
We were still for a second before both of us broke into a flurry of movement.
Otto was fast. Too fast. I barely managed to turn in the direction of the doorway when he grabbed me around my neck. Throwing me back on the dais, he climbed on top of me and pinned my legs down with his own. My arms he didn’t bother with. He held me down with his hand around my neck, the other by my head to support his weight. I punched at his face and arms, and felt like a complete sissy. What I was doing was totally, totally useless.
“You have every intention of doing that yourself,” he spat, spittle landing on my cheek. “You have no intention of telling G anything, nor do you need him.”
It felt like my head was swelling from the trapped blood. I started pulling on his hand in a feeble attempt to get loose.
“What are you?”
I ignored him.
His grip tightened. “What are you?”
I took a quasi-breath. “...psychic...”
My eyes were watering. “...Pri-mus...”
“Tell me!” he yelled. “I smelled the magic in your blood yesterday! The Prince tasted it!” He still held on tight, but his voice quieted. “He said it was so good. Decadent.” He licked my face. “Like the finest wine.” I was so startled by his change in temperament that I forgot about being afraid. “I wanted to fuck you,” he growled in my ear as he shifted above me. I gasped, turned the hell on. His grip around my neck loosened, but I didn’t care anymore about getting away. “I still want to fuck you,” he whispered against my lips, eyes lustfully shining millimeters from mine. Feeling that impossibly strong, hard body above mine made me shiver. His hot breath across my lips made me want to beg, and that turned me on even more. “I can smell your want,” he groaned, face twisting in tortured pleasure. “Yield to us, Duo. Yield to the Prince. Then we can enjoy you, and you, us.”
Oh my god. I wanted to. I wanted to. So much it hurt. “I--”
I didn’t get to finish. The ceiling lowered itself, simultaneously pushing Otto off of me and picking me up. I was completely disoriented, blind and deaf from being held by the Earth. Then I was gently spat out. I rolled a couple of times before I stopped, and laid still to catch my breath. I had been tossed outside. The snow on my skin and the cold breeze helped me focus.
“God damn,” I murmured to myself, and thumped my head against the ground. “God damn.” To say that things had spiraled completely out of control was putting it nicely. Sex and violence really did go hand in hand, and once again I found myself too willing to go along for the ride.
I didn’t know how long I stayed there, but soon enough I heard the sound of crunching snow. Lifting my head, I saw Otto approaching, carrying with him the rest of my clothes for the day. Looking around, I saw that I had been dumped in the courtyard outside of the throne room. The spot the Prince occupied before was vacant, no sign of him having ever been present. I thumped my head on the ground again, and thanked the gnomes. I wasn’t exactly happy with them, but I was more unhappy with myself.
Sighing, I stood up as he came to stand in front of me. Reaching out, I grabbed the coat, hat and gloves, muttering “thanks” as I slipped them on. He stood there dispassionately, watching me as I distracted myself zipping up the coat and patting the snow off of me. I was totally humiliated by my behavior, both as a man and as the Primus. Wufei would be hurt, not to mention furious. He’d have my ass if he knew that that was the second time Otto and I had almost gone for it.
The Alphagué ran his hand through his hair as if he was as frustrated with the situation as I was. I felt sure he was frustrated, but whether it was from almost having me again or from his desires getting the best of him, I couldn’t tell. Wasn’t sure I wanted to know, in all honesty.
I cut in before he could say anything more. “Is it more important to know what I can do, or to get Noin back?”
He didn’t hesitate. “Getting Noin back is my priority.” He stepped forward, looming over me. “Knowing what you can do is a very, very close second... Psychic.” I could hear the quotations in the air.
“Why?” I stepped back. “What does it matter to you?” In a pleading voice, I said, “I’m not a threat!”
He seemed to be mulling that over. “You are not?”
“No!” I shook my head emphatically, calming down. Was that what this was all about? “No. Far from it. I’m about as threatening to you as a pebble.” He studied me, still mulling it over. “Look, I can guess people’s thoughts, okay? Or... or see things from their point of view. That’s it!” I threw my hands up. “If you expect me to be able to turn you guys into mindless drones to be controlled by Wu--by Chang, you’re mistaken!”
He sniffed, trying to ascertain the truth of my words. I waited patiently. In the end, he sighed and pointed to his left. “His library is that way. Follow the trail and do not leave it. Do so and you will be sorry.” He turned and started to walk away. “You will be met halfway and taken into the library itself by one of his minions.”
“Oh. All right,” I sighed, running my hand over my face. I was both relieved and nervous that he wasn’t coming with me. “Umm, yeah. Hey, Otto? Umm... G can’t know about this.”
He stopped and twisted around to face me. “I had no intention of informing him.”
“Oh.” Well, shit. That was easy. “Umm, thanks. Hey--wait. His minions--”
“--hate his guts and would keep your visit a secret.” He didn’t bother to turn around this time. “Hurry up! I am giving you until nightfall. If you are not back, Heero will suffer for it.”
Without another word I took off.
“Oh my god... oh my god... oh my god...”
It was unfortunate, but McDonald’s was about to lose its most valued customer.
I was panting like I was running for my life, except I was just walking. The trail was clear and easy enough to follow, it was just uphill. Very uphill. Very steeply uphill. My thighs were burning, I was wheezing, and the sweat on my back was making me colder than the wind itself.
It wasn’t until I was about to drop dead when I noticed a human shape further up. Knowing that that was G’s minion, I gave all that I had left to get to him as fast as possible... which didn’t happen. By the time I reached him I had been reduced to crawling.
“Oh... my... god...”
I looked up sharply, recognizing the voice. “Edward?” I gasped.
The zombie smiled with a nod.
Edward hated G’s guts? You know what, I could totally see it. “You’re... taking me... to the... li?”
His smiled widened. “Yes, if you can make it.”
I dropped my head to the ground, ass up in the air. “No.”
He laughed and I grimaced, attempting to breathe through my pain. It was odd, but seeing Edward again lightened my mood. It also explained why Otto didn’t come. He wouldn’t need to put on his Hazmat getup to follow me here, and the zombies were just as adept in protecting (and capturing) me as the werewolves.
Turning his back to me, he squatted down. I climbed on, and wrapped my arms around his shoulders. I’ve been snuggled up against Edward before, but the solid, toned feel of his body still surprised me. His smell surprised me too. He didn’t smell of something rotting, thankfully. Instead, he smelled earthy, like decaying, fallen leaves. It was nice.
I didn’t say anything. I patted his chest--again, shocked by the solidness of his body--and dropped my head onto his shoulder.
Then we were off.
G’s library appeared as unassuming as I thought. It was built into the mountain like the Prince’s castle, with a round door that looked like something out of the Lord of the Ring’s movies. Edward pushed through the door, and put me down as soon as we were over the threshold. As he turned to close it, I walked forward and stared in awe at the sight before me.
Silver Water wasn’t kidding when he said that wizards kept libraries the size of cathedrals. The bookshelves, and the books in them, rose so high that I was unable to see the top. Everything was squished together and stacked on top of the other, only for more stuff to be squished together and stacked on top of that. I could see the spines of books, pages from manuscripts, skulls, glass globes with lit candles in them, a fireplace, and the rug of bear skin with its mouth open and eyes glassy. There was a small, black table and chair that had some books and papers precariously balanced on it, with a tray of grapes, wine and cubes of cheese.
I shook my head to focus and found that the remaining five of the zombie group were standing around in the chaos, watching me taking everything in. I blushed at the attention. “Er... hi.” I was surprised when they said “hi” and “hey” back. One of them even waved at me. That was when I remembered that the last time I saw them, they had several limbs and a face torn off. I was happy to see that they were, well, fixed.
“Otto has instructed me to have you back by nightfall,” Edward said as he walked past. I scrambled to follow. “That is for the best. The presence of the Shenlong has displaced many creatures, all of them nocturnal. It will not be safe for you to remain here after nightfall, especially if they find out you belong to Chang. The more aggressive species may try to harm you, Untouchable or not, or kidnap you for ransom.” I snorted. Fat lot that will do them. Then they’d have a pissed off Wufei and Prince on their ass. “That doesn’t leave you with much time. Tell us what you seek to know, and we will do our best to help you.” He turned to face me. “All of this will be kept in confidence.”
Once again, I was thrown by Edward. His eyes were so clear, so real looking... I had to stop myself from leaning forward to touch them. In fact, I had already raised my hand to do so. “Uh... thank you.” I ran my hand through my hair and gave myself a mental shake.
“This does have a... price attached.” He looked me steadily in the eye.
I swallowed. “Oh yeah? What?” Shit. I didn’t think the zombies would want something in return. I should have though.
“Yes.” I could feel the air about him tense, as did the air about the other zombies. “We ask that if there is ever a way to force Gerald to set us free, we want to be free.”
Somehow, I didn’t get the feeling that he meant they would be turned loose to roam the Siberian countryside. “You mean, if I find a way for you to be... dead again, you want to be dead again?”
He nodded once, and simply said, “Yes.”
I will never be able to describe the pain that flared in my chest at that. Humans valued life, and fought death with everything we had. To be running across creatures that wished for death... it just boggled my mind. “I... I...” Without thinking about it, I looked at them.
The way the ghouls had been held to Oburi was a pathetic joke. They were bound by what looked to me like yarn, weak and soft, held in place only by the wizard’s will to succeed. That wasn’t the case here. The zombies were chained to G, bluish white, thick, unbreakable links that could not ever be removed until the necromancer wished it. The chains were wrapped around their necks several times over, then trailed off into the distance to where I guessed G was. They were being held as prisoners in this world, but unlike the ghouls, they were aware. They knew what was being done to them, and wanted to be free of it. “Oh my god,” I whispered.
Edward tilted his head to the side. “You can see it?”
I nodded, too shaken to speak.
He was surprised, but didn’t stop. “Do you agree?”
I nodded again. What the hell else could I say?
“Thank you,” he breathed, putting an arm around my shoulder and drawing me into the circle of zombies. “Thank you.”
I took a deep breath. “You tried to help me. The least I can do is return the favor.”
He gave me a nod, but let the subject drop. “Now, what are you looking to find?”
I started to shake. There weren’t many that knew what I could do, except for family and a friend. And mate. And said mate’s Pack. And a necromancer. Okay, so quite a few people knew. Anyway, I couldn’t recall the last time I even said what I was out loud. I took another deep breath, and said, slowly, “I am a clairvoyant.” I got surprised looks from everyone. Apparently, G didn’t share his knowledge with them. That made me feel a little bit better about the necromancer. He was still a cunt, but at least he was a cunt that kept his mouth shut. “I need to find out what I can do, and how to do it intentionally. I keep... accidentally doing stuff, and being unable to control it.” I looked to Edward. “Please, help me.”
Without another word the zombies broke off and started to tear the library apart. I jumped back, shocked at the violence of their search. I could tell they were truly looking and scrutinizing every book they came across, but they didn’t seem to have any care. Spines of books were torn, pages stepped on or balled up, entire shelves of books knocked to the floor... whoa. I jumped back again when a page of some schematic caught fire. One of the younger looking zombies put it out unintentionally when he stomped past me. I laughed, having a blast.
Some time had gone by before I realized that this was probably going to take a while. After all, there were hundreds of books, if not a thousand. Making myself comfortable (and safe) at the table, I picked up a goblet, poured some wine into it, and grabbed a handful of grapes. When none of the zombies ran towards me in horror, I figured that it was safe to eat and drink. I sat back and amused myself watching it rain books, pages, and the occasional item as the zombies climbed their way higher up the bookshelves. The idea of helping crossed my mind since *I* was the one who wanted the information, but then I decided that I would only be in their way. That, or I could possibly get bonked on the head by a falling skull. Yeah. No thanks. I’ll just chillax here. After all, I had good wine, good food (the cheese was great), and entertaining company.
This was the happiest I had been in days.
“Wake up, Untouchable.”
“Huh?” I said, wiping the drool from the corner of my mouth, then from my arm from where I pillowed my head on it. I rubbed my eyes, yawning hugely as I woke up. When I did, I realized I wasn’t at the castle but in G’s library. I meant to just rest my eyes when I put my head down, but apparently I fell asleep. I looked around, seeing only the zombie’s expectant faces. The library was in even bigger shambles than before. Ye gods. “Sorry, what?”
“This is all we found. I am sorry.” Edward moved his hand into my vision, and that was when I caught up.
He held a book. A very thin, yellowish, nondescript book. In a library the volume of the Titanic, this was all they found. That scared me as much as it comforted me.
I reached out to take it and let go almost immediately. There wasn’t magic infused all through it like G’s manuscripts, but this was just as disturbing. Maybe even more so. The cover of the book was made from skin. The skin was old, dried and stretched, giving it its yellow appearance.
I stood up and paced a few steps, rubbing my hands along the pants of the snowsuit. Quickly thinking, one of the zombie’s reached into the coat that was draped on the back of the chair, and pulled out my gloves. Handing them to me, I thanked him and slid them on. Taking a few deep breaths to control my nausea, I sat back down. I reached out and took the book again, setting it gently down on the table. The zombies plopped themselves down around me, except for Edward. He sat one butt cheek on the table, regarding me.
I shook myself. “Thank you,” I said to him, before I faced the others. “Thank all of you.”
Taking in a shaky breath, I opened the book and cried out in shock. The first line gave me an answer I would never have been ready for, not even if I lived a million years.
Clairvoyance is the ability of speaking to the dead.