Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Acherontia Atropos (Part 15)

I was standing in Yan's cemetery again, underneath one of the statues; this 
one was of an angel. [1] The angel was looking a little worse for wear; the 
wings were broken badly and one of its hands had been severed. It still 
reached out its good hand in a gesture of supplication, though, and the 
carving's face was serene, still and unchanging. It couldn't feel pain; why 
should it care if one of its carved hands was missing? There was rusted 
barbed wire wrapped around it, I guess to hold it together. The rust had run 
and stained the stone beneath it dully. It looked like blood in the moonlight.

Someone was laughing, giggling quietly in a high pitched, child-like kind of 
way. I looked up, and saw Trowa and Quatre, sitting on the shoulders of the 
angel. They were both smiling. Wufei was now laying at the statue's feet, 
curled up in a ball like a faithful dog...or someone that was very, very 
frightened and withdrawn completely from reality. I could see his shoulders 
trembling, ever so slightly.

The earth beneath my feet shifted, and I fell to my knees. Dew that had 
collected in the grass immediately soaked my pants legs, and I was 
suddenly very cold. The ground shifted more, sliding around like something 
was moving under began to flow outward, like water, and a hand shot 
up from the grave. 

I stared in horrified fascination as the person struggled from the grave until 
the were half laying out of it. The person--no, boy--turned toward me, and I 
let out a soft, whimper. He had bright red-orange hair, but his face was 
Heero's, and he stared at me out of flat, dead, cerulean blue eyes. Heero was 
panting for breath, as if he had just finished a long, long race, and he simply 
continued to stare at me, his eyes filled with need.

My hand stung. I looked down, and saw blood welling up from between my 
fingers. Slowly, I held my hand out toward Heero. It was right. He was 


"Drink, Heero. Take the offering and walk again." A large, fat drop of blood 
fell from my hand and hit the grass. I could feel energy dance along my skin 
again, seeking a home. Heero grabbed my wrist and sucked the blood from 
my fingers, tugging at the power I could feel deep inside of me. Darkness 
washed over his hair, changing it to crimson, then black, and I smiled softly, 
my eyes fluttering shut...


Strong hands grabbed my shoulders roughly and, my eyes flew open. I let 
out a loud, very high pitched yelp, flailing wildly. I was hopelessly tangled 
in the sheets. Immediately, Wufei let my shoulders go and backed off, 
rubbing his ear with one hand and directing a grimace at me.

When I finally freed myself, I sat up, carefully pulling the sheets up over 
my lap. God, that had been weird. Especially taking in to account the way it 
was effecting me [2]...I managed not to blush through sheer force of will, 
and I looked Wufei in the eye. Either he hadn't seen anything or he was 
being tactful. Considering that Wufei was normally about as subtle and 
tactful as a rhinoceros horn up the backside, I was going to vote for option 
one and hope I was right. "What?" I said, somehow managing to keep the 
confusion and disgust I was suddenly feeling towards myself out of my 
voice. Point for me.

"You were moaning in your sleep." Wufei said. "Bad dream?" [3]

I shifted uncomfortably and cleared my throat. "You could say that." I 
murmured. Hey, Heero crawling out of a grave certainly qualified as 
nightmare material! I'd just forget about the rest of it. I glanced at the 
window, deciding that a change of subject was in order. Dull light was 
slowly trickling in through a crack in the curtains. It was still pretty early, 
then. "What time is it?" I asked.

"About 7:30 in the morning." Wufei said.

I nodded. That felt about right, according to my (faulty) internal clock. 
"Have the guys come back yet?"

Wufei shook his head. "Not that I know of. I haven't heard them come in."

"Were you awake the whole time?" Great, now came the guilt.

He shook his head again, smirking slightly. "I slept. I simply remained alert 
for any activity occurring outside the room. No one has come in or gone 
out, as far as I could hear." He rubbed his ear and shot me a nasty look. 
"Though I can't say how much I'll be hearing, now. Someone could 
probably march a Gundam down the hall and I wouldn't hear."

"That's what you get for startling me." I said, and stuck my tongue out at 
him. "Excuse me if I've been feeling a little more high strung than normal, 

Wufei shrugged, and I shifted uncomfortably. My life was weird enough as 
it was, and now I was getting turned on by dreams of Heero as a zombie. 
Too frigging strange for me. "Ne, Wu-man, mind if I use your bathroom?"

He shook his head. "Go ahead."

I looked at him. He looked at me. Neither of us moved, and he raised an 
eyebrow. I reeeeeally wanted to blush. "Would you mind doing me a huge 


"Would you mind grabbing me some fresh clothes out of my room so I don't 
have to streak across the hall in a towel?"

For a long moment, I thought he was going to argue. His eyebrow cranked 
up to nearly his hairline, and he gave me an extremely hard, skeptical look. 
I smiled winsomely. That's me. Duo the lost, cute little waif. "Fine." he said. 
Go me. I'm so cute that not even Wufei can resist my charms. Right.

As soon as Wufei had left the room and the door was fully shut behind him, 
the blush I'd been holding in for the last few minutes suddenly manifested. 
My face felt like it was on fire, but then again, I was feeling a bit warm all 
over. I scrambled out from the tangle of sheets on the bed and hurried to the 
bathroom, shutting and locking the door behind me. I needed a cold shower. 
Yeah, that was it. The cure for all ills, even weird ass dreams.

As soon as the freezing water hit me, I yelped and forgot how off balance I 
was feeling.


Almost immediately, someone was pounding on the bathroom door. I 
cursed and turned the shower off with a shaking hand. "What the hell is it?" 
I yelled as I clawed my soaking hair out of my eyes with one hand and felt 
along the wall, attempting to figure out where the towel rack was with the 

"Duo, get out here now! We have a problem!" 

I paused for a moment. Wufei sounded really upset. Shit. Something bad 
was going down. I managed to find a towel to wrap around my waist. There 
wasn't an extra one for my hair, so I'd just have to drip on the floor. Oh 
well. It was Wufei's problem to deal with, considering that he was the one 
hauling me out of the bathroom. After slipping on the tiled floor of the 
bathroom and almost cracking my head on the edge of the sink (only a 
desperate grab at the towel rack saved me) I managed to get the door open 
and stumble out into the safer, carpeted portion of the room. 

Wufei was staring at me incredulously. I knew that I had to look like crap; I 
was shivering hard, and I was most likely white as a sheet. My hair was 
trailing all over the place, dripping icy trails of water down my body 
wherever it touched me. It was nice to know that the exterior was mirroring 
the interior. 

"What?" I demanded crankily.

Wordlessly, he handed me something. "Huh?" I looked down at the little 
object. It took a minute for what the thing was to sink in. "Oh god!" I 
dropped it on the floor and covered my mouth with my hands.

It was hair--three locks of hair, black, light brown, and blonde, tied together 
in a little bundle with a ribbon that used to be white. Used to be. It had rusty 
red stains all over it. Dried blood. The bits of hair were splattered liberally 
too; they were stiff, and the only reason I could tell the blonde hair was in 
fact blonde was that the ends of the lock were still relatively clean. "Oh 
God..." I said again, stumbling back until I hit the wall. I leaned gratefully 
against it.

Wufei crouched and picked up the hair, a look of revulsion on his face. 
"This was pinned to the inside of your room's door with Quatre's butterfly." 

"Oh shit." I laughed, and it had a very frightening edge to it. "Can't they 
leave a NORMAL calling card? How about a note that says 'Yo, I have your 
buddies, play nice or they'll be wearing cement overshoes.' or something 
like that!" I trailed off into a giggle. I was scared. It had to be the vampires. 
There was no one else it could be. They had the guys now. I'd told Heero I 
wouldn't go with him. I cut down their fighting strength. Oh shit. I slid 
down the wall and put my face in my hands. The towel rode up a great deal, 
but I didn't care. Quatre and Heero and Trowa might be dead, and it was my 
fault. All my fault...

"Stop that!" Wufei growled and grabbed me by the upper arms and hauled 
me to my feet, banging me roughly against the wall. "What the hell are you 
doing?" He hissed. "The others have been captured and you have a mental 
breakdown?? Are you really that WEAK?"

I got banged against the wall again. Wufei's face was only inches from 
mine. I couldn't escape the anger in his eyes...or the fear. If they could get 
three of us, including Heero, we didn't have a chance...

Wufei smacked me against the all once more. "Didn't you listen to a 
goddamn thing I said last night, Maxwell?" He snarled. 

That, more than the violence, hit me like a slap in the face. Wufei had been 
calling me by my first name for over a year, since we became friends. And 
now, we were back to being strangers. What he'd said last night...

For one long, long instant, everything inside me froze, every emotion that 
I'd been directing at myself. Then it exploded. Suddenly, I was angry, 
angrier than I'd ever been in my entire life. They were playing with me 
again, I knew it now, trying to break me so that I couldn't be a threat to 
them any more. They were using the others to mess with my mind. Hot rage 
flooded through me like molten metal. I grabbed the collar of Wufei's shirt 
roughly and pulled him close with sudden, manic strength, until our 
foreheads were touching. His eyes widened as he looked into mine.

"I," I said very carefully, "Am going to fucking KILL them." My throat 
hurt; I could feel myself biting back a low growl. I was breathing heavily, 
and my arms were so tense that I could feel them shaking.

Suddenly, Wufei smiled. "No." he said. "WE are going to fucking kill 


I had never been so angry before in my entire life. It was a unique 
sensation; I was so hot with anger inside that I had transcended rage. All 
that was left was a malevolent, deadly calm.[5] All it took was one look at 
Wufei to see that he was feeling exactly the same way, and I knew for a fact 
that it was just as unusual for him as it was for me. 

The vampires hadn't just invaded our lives and turned our worlds upside-
down. They hadn't just screwed with my head until I was reduced to a 
pathetic, scared little wreck. Now they had struck at the very foundation of 
our lives; the other pilots, the only people the Wufei and I had that we could 
trust, or count on, or love. 

More than friends. More than families. More even than our reflections in a 

They were OURS. This happening in war was one thing, but this wasn't war 
to the monsters. This was a game. Play with the funny little humans. Step 
on their anthill and watch them scramble. Poke them with a sharp stick. 

I was going to rip Cheree's head off and force feed it to her. That was just to 

Before I even knew what I was doing, I was down the hall and into my 
room. There was a blood stain on the back of the door, and a crack in the 
word where the knife had been stuck. I ignored it. Instead, I pulled on my 
clothes, grabbed my shoulder rig, wiggled into it, and shoved the Browning 
into its holster after I got the safety back on. The black windbreaker went on 
next, I shoved some extra ammo in the pockets, and I was good to go. The 
guys had taken the other guns, so I didn't have a back up weapon. After a 
fast stop to use the phone, I walked quickly back to Wufei's room. 

"Do you have a gun?" was all I asked.

Wufei shook his head. "No. I prefer other weapons." He pulled the mattress 
off of his bed. I let off a low whistle. It looked like he was keeping an entire 
damn cutlery catalog's inventory under his mattress. And I'm not talking 
about the friendly fork and spoon kind of cutlery, either. "Go grab the coat 
out of my closet." He said.

I did as I was told like the good little boy I am. Right. There was only one 
coat in his closet. It was a grey trench that I'd never seen him wear before. I 
grabbed it off the hanger and took it over to Wufei. He was pushing down 
his pants legs--he'd just gotten done putting ankle sheathes on for knives. 
Wordlessly, I handed him the coat.

"Do you want a couple?" He asked, jerking his head toward the still large 
selection. Then he grabbed a knife that looked more like a really short word 
than a knife, and tucked it down his back. The coat went over it, and he 
looked like little, innocent Wufei again, not the walking one-man knife 
show. Little innocent Wufei after he joined the mafia, that is. I snorted and 
grabbed a knife to tuck up my sleeve. You never can be too careful these 

"Where's the hair?" I asked. Wufei handed it to me, and I tucked it into 
another of the convenient pockets in my windbreaker. I had to resist the 
urge to wipe my hand on my pants afterwards. The thing felt very strange in 
a not nice sort of way. "Ok, Wu-man, ready to go?"

He nodded. "I assume that you have a destination in mind."

I grinned. "But of course." 

Half and hour later, we were standing out in front of Carmelita's. Wufei 
looked less than thrilled. I felt about the same. I was still too pissed to care, 
though. The wave of anger that was still burning me took me through the 
doors and up to the front desk. Hara was there, waiting for us in her usual 
state of undress. Fancy that. I grinned my best, most pleasant company 
smile for her, then cut right to the chase. "Where's Carmen?" 

"Carmen's getting ready to entertain a client." Hara crossed her arms, her 
eyes quickly taking in the store around us, to make sure there was no one 
there to overhear us. There wasn't. Maybe no one felt like buying porn so 
early on a lovely Sunday morning. Imagine that. She glared at me. "Carmen 
told me what you wanted her to do. I refuse to allow it."

I never stopped grinning. "Why?"

"We can't afford to antagonize the vampires."

"Bullshit. They're messing in your territory, too."

She shook her head. "No way in hell."

I shook my head right back at her. "That's not the way it works, Hara. Either 
Carmen is going to do this for us, or you will. Either way, someone is going 
to tell me where I can find those assholes before I leave this store. I'd prefer 
it was Carmen instead of you, because I like her better, but you'll do just as 
well." It struck me that it might not be a good idea to piss off one of the 
local witches. Then it struck me that I really didn't give a shit. I'd probably 
get myself killed tonight, anyway. 

"No." She said again. "Get out."

Wufei cleared his throat. "You might want to reconsider." He said, very 
calmly. It stuck me as kind of funny. Normally I'm the good cop.

I leaned toward her, over the counter. "That's not one of the options, Hara. 
Look, the line's in the sand now, you're going to have to pick your side. 
Either your going to help me find the vampires so I can kill them, or you're 
going to be my enemy." My grin broadened. "And trust me, you don't want 
to be my enemy. All the vampires can do is screw with you, then kill you. I 
can do worse." I hadn't thought of it before I said it, but yeah, I guessed I 
could. If I could just figure out how I'd managed to call Yan to me last 
night, I could do a LOT worse.

She stared at me, and for one moment, her eyes went completely white. 
Something almost like a physical blow hit me, and it was all I could do not 
to take a step back. My entire body started tingling with that pins and 
needles feeling.

I gritted my teeth. "What was that?" I said "Are we going to get into a 
pissing contest now?" My eyes narrowed, and I fumbled around internally 
for the power that I had felt last night, hell, every night for almost a year. It 
was sleepy and protested when I nudged it; the sun was out and it didn't 
want to play. But I woke it up anyway and did the only thing I knew how to 
do. I threw it at Hara.

She DID take a step back. Her face was pale, and she was shaking. Oh lord, 
she was trembling all over. What the hell had I done?

"Get Carmen now." I said. I hoped she would do it. I hoped that what I'd 
done would be a good enough bluff for her. I was out of mystical shit, and I 
was afraid that the next thing I'd have to do was go for my gun...and I 
learned a while back that you don't go for your gun unless you truly intend 
to kill someone. Heero still hadn't quite figured that one out on a 
subconscious level. "I don't have time for this shit. If we go into another 
round, I'm going to end it."

Wufei stepped forward and gently touched Hara's arm and smiled politely at 
her. Damn, he's a good actor...or maybe he just didn't like the way I was 
treating her. We'd hash that out later. I knew I was in the right--she'd started 
it! "Get Carmen, please." Was all he said.

Hara jumped when he touched her arm, but she immediately relaxed. She 
nodded stiffly, just once, her eyes still wide and round in her face. "I'll go 
get her." she said. "She'll have my permission to do the spell if she can."

Alright. Now for the easy part. I hoped.

I'd worry about how I managed to scare the piss out of a high witch later.

If there was a later.

[1] I have been known to hang out at Riverside Cemetery, which is one of 
the oldest, largest cemeteries in Denver. Yes, I admit it, I am a strange one. 
The angel statue that I have described is actually real. One of the best 
pictures I've ever taken in my life was of that statue with the light shining 
down on it. Just as a point of interest (this has no significance to the story) 
the angel was broken several years ago by vandals, whence the barbed wire 
and missing parts. It stands over the grave of a prostitute who either ran 
away from home or was thrown out by her parents, I forget which. The 
inscription on the marker says "Beloved Daughter." Nicely ironic, no? If 
any of you are ever in the Denver area, drop me a line and I'll be more than 
happy to show it to you. :)

[2] Forgive me if some of this isn't sounding quite right. I am, after all, a 
girl. And I'm not about to call up one of my guy friends at four in the 
morning and ask them if I'm being accurate or not. Hell, I don't think I'd call 
anyone up and ask no matter WHAT time of day it is. ;)

[3] Yes, I know this line is kind of trite, but...oh well.

[4] No, I don't mean butterfly as in the cute little insect. I mean butterfly as 
in my favorite kind of knife, which happens to be illegal in two states. ;) I 
have decided that Quatre shall own a butterfly knife--either a Jaguar or a 
Balisong, since both are nice knives, though I'm partial to original 
Balisongs. I can just see Quatre sitting there, flipping it open and 

[5] This is one thing that I have drawn from my own experience, the feeling 
and the wild leap from despair to hatred. I'm making Duo's temper a lot like 
mine in the respect that it takes a lot to piss me off, I mean REALLY piss 
me off...but once I am that angry, I will level buildings. (Well, not 
buildings have gotten knocked down quite yet, but you get the idea)

Return to Reiko-chan's Dirty Books