Gah, this chapter took so long!!! And it was all because I got stuck in the first scene... Talk about writing limbo. (You guys will have to let me know if I did all right on this first scene). Never fear, already well into Chapter Four and it's looking like it will take considerably less time to finish.
Background: This story takes place just hours after the events at the end of 'Walk this World.' For those of you who haven't read that story, I urge you to go read it or some of this might not make sense.
I apologize for crossposting. ^_^
Standard Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing nor its characters. That honor goes to Bandai, Sunrise, and their respective holders.
Thanks to Ryan, SilverNightBlaze, The Vault,and Chele for taking time out of their busy schedules to beta this.
Warnings: Blood (This is a vampire story), angst, language, violence, lime, and the occasional lemon.
'...' indicates thoughts.
Feedback? Puh-leaaaaaaaaaaaze?! <Big chibi eyes> With sugar and a cherry on top of Duo?
Komm Zu Mir (4/?)
"Old times?" Heero echoed, his chest tightening in response to the nuances and images his words evoked.
"You remember, don't you? All those long nights we brought death to anything that crossed our path. And how we danced " she reached out and took his hand, using it to spin herself in a parody of a waltz.
Heero let himself fall into the sway of her movements, the notes of a long-vanished melody filling his ears as his body took over, his mind struggling to catch up. Hilde laughed, just as she had back then, molding her body to his, each mirroring the other's leonine grace. He didn't have to think, so much a part of him this macabre ritual was. It summoned a man he had thought banished forever, a demon slinking out to answer the feral invitation her eyes.
Yes, yes, he remembered this. He remembered the rustle of silk and the way her hair frosted under the light of a full moon, skin bleached beyond the pallor she had always had and retained in her undead state. He remembered the twin stars of his lady, far outshining anything in the sky above and the glint of razor-edged teeth against her rouged lips; lips that had fed and created and kissed and taunted him. He remembered everything from the outward softness of her immortal flesh and the way her mouth felt against his neck, the two locked in a circuit of unending blood and sex, a bond that had sealed them to each other for eternity.
Until Heero had walked away.
"You remember, don't you?" she repeated. The light faded from her eyes just a little. "And then you went away Without a word, or a sign. You just disappeared."
Her eyes refocused on him, a sweet smile blossoming. "But I found you again and none of it matters."
She detached herself from him in a catlike movement that had her spinning around the room in delighted little girl twirls. "So this is your place?"
Heero watched her numbly, watched as she trailed across the room, touching or cooing over his small collection of belongings. Her hands ghosted over the sheathed beauty of a set of katanas on the wall. "Still, my samurai, Heero?"
She moved onto what few knickknacks and souvenirs, a few statues and an ancient phonograph that had seen better days despite all the obvious care that had been lavished on it. The needle squealed as she tripped the machine back into life, a crackling soprano rising from his copy of 'Aida'.
From there, she touched the protective glass surrounding a crumbling volume, a priceless edition of a Bible, a Gutenberg Bible to be exact. She wrinkled her nose. "I can't say as I approve of all your decorations."
"Hilde, why are you here?" he asked.
She ignored him, continuing her circuit, running her hands over the clothes he had deposited on the couch, lifting them to bury her face in. She closed her eyes, a smirk forming as she opened them again, holding the shirt against her. "Smells like someone has been naughty, Heero, and went sewer diving afterwards."
Still holding on to the shirt, she let her eyes drift downward almost passing over the small black hair tie on the coffee table. More specifically, Duo's black hair tie, the one he had left behind without thought, strands of honey colored hair still clinging to it when Heero had pocketed it.
Locking gazes with him, she leaned down, grazing the innocuous black band, then picking it up, toying with the loose hair tangled there. "Yes," she replied slowly, "I'd say someone has been very naughty indeed."
"How did you find me?" he kept his voice even, betraying not a hint of disturbance even though there was nothing he wanted more than to snatch that tiny precious cloth band from her grasp.
"I have my ways," She shrugged, twisting the black tie around in her hand. "It was easier than I'd expected One would think you wanted to be found, my dear."
"I wasn't hiding."
"Really? Because that was the impression Id had," she gave the tie a brutal yank, expanding it to fit around her wrist like a bracelet, causing a mini-shower as it shredded hair, "for the last one hundred and fifty years."
"If you expect me to believe you spent all that time pining for me--"
She laughed, heartless and sweet. "I hardly gave a thought of you."
That hurt even when he didn't want it to. His male pride took a beating, demanding he take his satisfaction out of her flesh and prove just how forgettable he was. He ignored it. The last thing he wanted was to encourage Hilde.
"At first, that is," her voice became reflective. "Then the centuries passed and I realized just how invaluable you were to me. How much you are a part of me, Heero." This time when she said his name, the word was a caress. It was a caress that called up memories of a time before when his name had fallen from her lips with such sweet reverence, when her hands played upon his skin and her lips upon his lips. Heero took an involuntary step backwards, demanding that his body and soul not get caught up in those memories, in that life that he had left behind.
Moving away made no difference. Her words continued to fall, like honey from her lips, although she made no move to pursue him. Like the whisper of a siren, Hilde's voice touched something deep and primal inside of him. "I need you, Heero, just as you need me. We were made for one another. Why should either of us deny it?"
The words fell and he felt the temptation of taking them up, taking up the sweetly veiled challenge in her voice. He had only to cross the space of a few feet and it would be over. Everything he had fought for and everything he had gained away from her would disappear. He felt the hunger rise in him again, hunger he tried to sate with the few mouthfuls of blood he stole from his victims when what he truly wanted was the entire banquet. The resentment of this half-existence, living in the shadows where once he had strode through the ranks of kings, picking through them as if choosing ripe fruit from the vine.
Hildes lips curved then parted, a pink flash of her tongue darting against her teeth, posture relaxing in open invitation. She didnt have to move, she didnt have to say anything. All she had to do was turn those dark eyes on him, clouded with thousands of shared dreams and memories. He felt himself respond, hands twitching at his sides. This was his maker, his sire and lover. What reason was there to resist the truth of his nature, the truth of who had been and perhaps was still for all his thin veneer of civility?
His eyes fell upon the black tie, Hildes fingers plucking at the cloth. His eyes hardened and he stepped forward, catching her hand. Her smile widened, eyes glowing with victory
--that he snatched away with one fluid motion, reclaiming the precious hair band.
"Get out," he replied, voice flat as her eyes narrowed. "What you say might have been true once. Once, Hilde."
She stiffened, "You don't mean that. I know you, remember?"
"No, you knew me. I'm not that that thing anymore."
He watched, and felt a surge of something else, raw and primal as she flinched as though she'd been struck. It was a deep satisfaction, perhaps not the same satisfaction that came when the kill was complete, but it warmed his cold blood nonetheless. "Now, get out. You're not welcome here."
"Thing?" The word was more mouthed than uttered, Hilde's voice nearly strangled. "That thing is all that you are. It's all that any of us is. That thing is power. It's a gift. Or do you think that you can forget all that so easily? Do you think you can turn away from what you truly are to play at being like them?"
The words stung, probably as much as his had stung her. Yet he managed to not flinch under her coldness, his attention focused on the hair band held in his hand. Heero tightened his fist around it, seeking solace from its presence alone. A single reminder of all the reasons that he did not want to be that creature that Hilde created so long ago. He squeezed until he felt the nails dig into his hand, as though he might be able to wring some of Duo's lingering mortality from those threads and infuse it into himself.
"I think I'm going to be sick," Hilde snarled.
He felt himself tense in reaction to the contortion of her features, the passion of her anger filling the room. He well remembered this, those nights when her anger had ruled them both, sending him out of her presence or to her bed, the fire of her anger fueling them further.
"Do it on your own time," he replied curtly. He tried to stalk past her when her hand came down upon his arm, staying him. He didn't think, he let himself react, jerking her grip off of him and twisting her arm behind her.
"You're hurting me," she purred, undaunted by his hold and letting her body drift closer to his. "Feels good, doesn't it? Go ahead, twist me just a little harder. Maybe even just enough to taste my blood? Remember how sweet I taste? I remember your taste on my lips. Go on, I won't stop you. You know you want to."
The damnable thing was he did want to. His teeth twitched, a small groan escaping his mouth as her slender, curvy form finally made contact with his. Cold, so unlike Duo's warmth. She was cool as a moonbeam and the blood that ran in her veins was spiced with power, frosted with time and the conditionthey both shared.
Hilde lifted her face, standing on tiptoe to whisper in his ear. "Drink me. Join me, my love. It's what you were made for. Do you really think that anyone can ever know you as I do? Could understand all those dark secrets that run through your heart and blood?" She ran her free hand up his bare chest. "Is there anyone who could understand your desires as well as I could?
"I can make them all true, love," she kissed his ear, nibbling the lobe. "Each and everyone. You know I can. Just ask for it. Just ask for me. That's all you have to do."
He stood there, unable to move, more or less unable to think as her mouth traveled from his ear downward, tongue darting tiny tastes against his jaw and neck. His grip on her tightened, but the restraint holding her arm at that awkward angle lowered.
"Oh, yes," she murmured, voice thick with pleasure and pain. If he listened carefully enough he could almost hear the faint lilt of the Germanic tribe she had been born into.
Then she bit him. Or rather, tried to. Her teeth grazed his flesh, cutting him but he thrust her backward before she could clamp down. His hand flew to his neck, the slow trickle of his blood bringing him back when nothing else had been. Rage and shame rose and crested as he clenched the fist holding Duo's tie.
"Get the fuck out," he ordered her, his voice damped with ice and venom. He pointed at the underground entrance she had entered through.
She propped up on her elbows, body sprawled and wanton as she laughed at him. "Or what?"
Heero glanced around, focusing on the broom leaning against the wall next to him. He grabbed it, snapping it in two. Hilde gasped trying to scramble to her feet as he loomed over her, the jagged edge of one end perilously close to her chest.
"You're leaving," he told her. "One way or another, you're leaving."
The sound of flesh cracking against flesh resounded in the car with a rattling smack.
Duo saw her hand fly before he felt it. Hell, his head stayed turned unable to feel much of anything for a few seconds after the impact of her hand with his face. All he felt was surprise, mild startlement that was supplanted in short order by the smarting tingle of his wounded flesh. His hand rushed towards the offended area, tears pricking his eyes in response the throb of his jaw. Violet eyes lifted towards blue ones in pained askance.
Dorothy seemed no less surprised than he. She stared at her reddening hand, fingers curling up. Embarrassment stained her fair features and she glanced away, shy for the first time he had ever known her.
They sat in distressed silence, the panting breaths of Yeats filling the tiny vehicle as the large animal shifted his muzzle between the two. Finally, he whined, nudging at Dorothy's head, licking her ear. She reached out to bury her face in his neck, the hand that had struck with such deadly accuracy now gently slipping through greyish white fur.
Finally unable to stand the silence, Duo tested his jaw, feeling the muscles protest and sighing as he realized he had yet another bruise to his collection. 'Do I have a sign on me that reads 'punching bag'?'
"You hit pretty well for a girl," he winced, rubbing small circles of feeling back into the numb ache. The silence was beginning to unnerve him. It spoke of too many feelings not the least of which was a rage so stifling he felt its bite with every throb of his cheek and teeth. "Dorothy, would you please say something?"
"And what is it you want me to say?" Her voice was sibilant as it whispered through Yeats' fur coat, losing none of its intensity for all her chagrin. "That I'm sorry? That you didn't deserve it? Or how about, 'Oh, are you all right, Duo?' Something your cousin and I spent most of the night wondering while you were playing suck and fuck with the undead."
He reddened, immediately reminded of Heero's scent lingering on him, lacing the air with sex and sweat. "That's not fair, Dorothy."
"Which part? The suck or the fuck?"
"Stop it," he thumped his fist against the car seat, the sound muffled through the leather. There was a gray blur and Duo found himself staring into black eyes, his death written in twin orbs as Yeats clamped down every so slightly on his arm, applying just enough pressure to hold him, teeth threatening to break through cloth and flesh. The wolfhound tried to growl but with his mouth full, it came out as less than threatening.
Duo reached around and took the dog by the ear, tugging its head to the side. The dog glared at him out of the corner of his eye and Duo felt those teeth begin to dig into his skin. He glared in return, twisting the vulnerable pelt in his grasp, wringing a sputtered whimper from the animal. "Let go and I'll let go."
"Duo, let him go," Dorothy sounded outraged.
"No," he snapped, "This is between me and him. When he let's go, I'll let go."
Yeats yanked at his arm and Duo held fast, giving the animal's lobe another sharp twist.
Dorothy blinked, then her forehead knotted. "Yeats, let him go."
The dog whined in protest. Dorothy's expression hardened in displeasure, her voice picking up in volume with each word. "Would you two please let each other go!"
Duo exchanged glances with Yeats, seeing the mutual agreement in the animal's dark eyes. He let go as the wolfhound dropped his arm, backing up a few steps, regarding Duo with something so humanlike he would have named it respect. Duo ringed his already bruising forearm, rubbing at the tiny indentures there. "Quite a grip you've got there."
Yeats woofed an affirmative, setting himself across the backseat, his tongue lolling out in a puppyish grin.
Duo turned just in time to catch Dorothy rolling her eyes. "My God, I think I need roll down a window. The smell of testosterone is overpowering in here."
"It's a guy thing. You wouldn't understand," Duo replied, returning her sarcasm with admittedly less skill.
"That's for damn sure. Probably for the same reasons I don't understand why you let yourself become the soup of the day. Or should I say evening?" she sniped.
"It wasn't like that," Duo retorted.
"Then you were coerced?"
"Then you let yourself get bitten willingly?"
"Look its complicated, okay," Duo replied, defensive.
Dorothy stared at him and then laughed. The sound was one infused with pain and anger and perhaps a frenzied note. "You let yourself become a vampire's main course and then you fuck him and it's complicated?"
"It isn't funny."
Her giggle stopped so abruptly, he found himself stumbling to keep up. "No," she hissed at him, her eyes flashing. "It isn't funny. It's revolting. They kill us, Duo--"
"They're not all like that--"
"We're nothing but walking meals to them. I don't know what this vampire told you but he is not your friend. Given the chance he'll kill you," she spat out.
"Heero isn't like that," he protested. "He had his chance and he didn't kill me."
"Maybe because he was bored, maybe because the moon wasn't right, or maybe just because he felt like a white wine instead of something in the O positive vintage. You're missing the point. Their world is not our world," she said.
Duo felt his temper rise with each vitriolic word. "You don't even know him."
"Know him? Why does that matter? They're all the same," she replied, cupping his chin and forcing him to look at her.
There was something in her touch He felt it, a slimy spiking up his spine, the feeling of ghostly hands touching him, caressing him in ways that might have been pleasurable if they hadn't been so terrifying. A cold lick touched his skin, the feel of teeth hurting hurting And blood The air seemed thick with its life and coupled with the scent of smoke nearby by, it became a cloud. Those teeth clamped down harder and he felt himself going weaker, mentally screaming his displeasure and agony. Multiple sets of eyes winked out of the flickering darkness at him and just out of the corner of his eye he saw the body of an old man, limbs twisted at odd angles and skin ashen
He inhaled sharply, reaching out blindly to grasp Dorothy's shoulders. She caught him, holding his arms to prevent him from toppling out of his seat. He leaned forward, resting his head against her collarbone, moaning, "Oh shit, shit, shit."
"Duo, what the hell was that all about?" Dorothy sounded bewildered and not a little frightened.
"Saw something. You touched me Oh, God. There were so many of them. So much blood biting me everywhere and the old man," he babbled.
Through his rambling, he felt her body stiffen, arms tightening around him. He sensed her distress as though it were his own and the feeling caused him to shudder, burrowing his head protectively into her neck.
"Make it stop."
The words were spoken and it wasn't until they hit the air that he realized that pitiful voice was his own. He pulled away from her, pulling his knees up and hugging them to his chest, trying to draw in every particle of warmth he could. Anything to banish the feel of those phantoms touches, his side and chest aching as if he been kicked--or bitten--there repeatedly. The scent of charred blood lingered, soaking his clothes, his skin, and hair, causing the bile in the back of his throat to rise. He clamped down, determined not to ruin the upholstery.
Speaking of Dorothy He glanced out of the corner of his eye at her. The blond was sitting very still, her face pale under the harsh reflecting sunlight. Her ice colored eyes weren't frozen any longer. Instead they were running, not with tears but rolling with some memory or emotion that held her in its embrace. He unfolded in the seat, reluctant to move or speak.
In short, telegraph movements, she reached over and grabbed her seatbelt, tugging it over her body, then turned the key in the ignition. In the back, Yeats was complaining, his growl nearly a sing-song whine for attention.
"Relena's waiting for us," Her words were simple, her tone unreadable. "We should go."
He settled against the seat, suddenly tired as he readjusted his belt and let his face rest against the glass. He felt very small, and very frightened. He wished Heero were here. He wished Dorothy would say something even if only to yell at him for being an idiot. This silence was too like the silence of those eyes he had seen in his vision.
Yeats whuffled again, this time next to Duo's ear. The young man reached out and buried his face against the dog's silky soft fur much as Dorothy had earlier, listening to the sound of that rapid heartbeat, letting it seep in and fill the silences that terrified him so. The animal understood without words what was needed and slipped over the seat to sit in Duo's lap, laying his head on top of the boy's in comfort.
And the silence, much diminished, continued on.
'Duo called. Have gone to pick him up. Be back soon.
Relena re-read those matter-of-fact words, damning their conciseness. While she was relieved that Duo was all right, she wished Dorothy had woken her to give her the news herself. A note made her feel left out. Unwanted. Although Dorothy hadn't said as much, Relena knew she had annoyed the other girl last night with her hysterics. She sighed, rubbing her eyes. She rose up off the pillows of her bed, sitting up and tugging one knee underneath her, her other leg slipping to the floor, the crumpled note resting across it.
She hadn't meant to be such a bother. She hadn't meant to fall apart last night. And maybe she wouldn't have--if Duo hadn't been involved.
Her hands found the note again, squeezing it against her damp palm, seeking in it some comfort. If Duo had called that meant he was okay. Didn't it? It had to. If Duo wasn't all right
She got to her feet, feeling the need to move, to do something, anything. God, how she wished Dorothy had woken her. They could have gone together to pick him up and then she could have assured herself that he was okay. That he hadn't been mugged or hurt or worse. Although what worse was, she didn't dare contemplate. Not and keep the calm she had managed to regain.
When Duo hadn't come home last night, she had written it off to his usual tardiness. Or perhaps he had run into someone he knew and they were talking. And that excuse had segued into 'perhaps they're having dinner.' However, as the hours slipped on, no amount of excuses could displace the crow of panic settling on her shoulder. Duo wasnt just late. Duo was not there. Duo was gone.
Then the phone calls had begun. Those terrible, unrewarding rings that got her hopes up then crashed as each one turned up nothing. With each failed attempt, her fear had grown and she couldn't help but think back to that day where she had nearly lost him. If Pargen hadn't been there Her fingers flew to her mouth, feeling vaguely ill. That day her idyllic little world had been crushed, perhaps even more so than when Aunt Helen and Uncle Liam had died. Oh, she had loved them--both of them, despite what her family thought. But they weren't Duo; Duo with his lively amethyst eyes and bright smile, a smile that had always brightened for her, Duo who had always had time for her, even when her own mother and father hadn't. They had grown up together, spent nearly their whole lives together The thought of not having Duo there more than just hurt, it numbed and crippled her thoughts, it tangled and tore at everything she felt.
And when he had tried to kill himself
Over and over all she could see was the memory of Duo lying in that tub, scarlet ribbons streaking over alabaster flesh, his honey-colored hair floating kelp in a reddening sea. It was an image she would carry with her until she breathed her last, a shard that broke her heart and strengthened her resolve to protect her cousin.
She touched the glass door, staring out over the balcony, her eyes resting on the spot where she had found Duo, again bleeding again hurt. This time not of his choice. She at least had that comfort. He had given her his word that he would not attempt to hurt himself again. If he had reneged on that promise No, she told herself, Duo Maxwell never broke a promise. Certainly not to her; she had to start trusting him or else he was going to start pushing him away, no matter what her intentions.
"Duo, please be safe," she whispered.
***End of Chapter Three