5-8-2002

Title: : Komm Zu Mir, (5/?)
Author: Persephone_Elysian
Email: Persephone_Elysian@yahoo.com
Archive: Elysia http://www.angelfire.com/id2/avalon/

Yet another unfinished fic from way back when. With
some urging I finally slogged through the scene that
was tripping me up and preventing this chapter from
being published earlier. Yay, me. This is the second
story I've picked up again and added another chapter.
I hope the trend continues. I'll go ahead and
apologize for crossposting and excessive tardiness.

Linkage to previous parts (for those of you who want
to play catch up):

http://www.angelfire.com/id2/avalon/komm0.html
http://www.angelfire.com/id2/avalon/komm1.html
http://www.angelfire.com/id2/avalon/komm2.html
http://www.angelfire.com/id2/avalon/komm3.html
http://www.angelfire.com/id2/avalon/komm4.html

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:

http://www.angelfire.com/id2/avalon/walkthisworld0.html

Standard Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing nor its
characters. That honor goes to Bandai, Sunrise, and
their respective holders.

Warnings/Rating: NC-17; Blood (This is a vampire
story), angst,language, violence, and citrus. Lots and
lots of citrus. There are some different character
relations going on in this as first seen in 'Walk this
World.'

Pairings:1x2/2x1

'...' indicates thoughts.

Thank You: To Amet, first and foremost the evil beta.
Yet again, your pushing has brought about results. Now
look what you've done. ^_- And to Chele and Anne
who've been keeping up with this even in its formative
stages.

Feedback is craved and will be adored with the proper
amount of gushing. ^_^

***

Komm Zu Mir
Persephone_Elysian

Chapter Four

Hell, Duo decided, was a locked apartment with an
overly anxious person watching your every move.

His gaze shifted longingly over Relena's head to the
clock on the wall behind her. Just after three and
sunset wasn't until seven. Damn it. This was slow
torture. And it wasn’t like he had a choice. Heero
hadn't given him a forwarding address. If he wanted
to see the other boy, he had to stay put. Which would
have been fine had it not been for Relena following
him from room to room, treating him to wan, tired
smiles and endless tea. He was surprised his blood
hadn't turned to raspberry swirl from all the scones
she kept stuffing into him. It was a nervous habit he
knew so well, something that dated back to their
childhood, when Relena had actually been…chubby. To
look at his slender, statuesque cousin, you would
never know she'd been an ounce overweight in her life.
It was only his memories and photo albums that told a
different tale.

Things had changed over time but there were a few
constants; Relena's love of sweets being one. And her
tendency to resort to eating when she was upset or
nervous was another. She was just blessed enough to
inherit her mother's genes along with her porcelain
skin and wheat-field hair. Anyone else would be
popping after that much raspberry jam. 'I know I
certainly am,' he thought woefully. 'I just hope
Heero will love me enough not to mind the fact I'm
being turned into a small house.'

Love. The word brought him up short. Was that what
he felt for Heero? The word was too intense, too
large to describe something so new but it was the one
that kept coming back, dying to fall off his lips
despite his stubborn pride. He cared about Heero, he
was passionately intoxicated by just the thought of
the vampire, but did that equate love? Part of him
felt it was too soon to make that judgement call, that
he was just letting the afterglow and crush affect his
brain, thereby making him feel irrationally. That he
was moving far too fast… Then again, how fast was too
fast once you'd already had sex with the other person.
Really mind-blowing, hot sex...repeatedly...with said
person. 'Okay, this isn't helping,' Duo thought, in
irritation. If anything, it was only sharpening his
desire for nightfall.

"Duo?"

"Hmm?" He dragged his mind out of its gutter frolic
and turned it toward Relena.

The blond girl gave him a nervous smile, the kind that
put him on instant alert because it usually meant
something was on her mind; something big and probably
related in some way to him. He wasn't sure he was
ready for twenty questions right now. After the
disaster this morning with Dorothy, he found himself
approaching the subject of Heero being broached openly
with a bit more wariness. If Dorothy, who knew about
vampires, had handled it as well as she had, then how
would Relena, who knew nothing of the creatures that
stalked the night, react?

Then again, perhaps Dorothy hadn't been the best
person to discuss Heero with. Yes, she knew about
vampires, but she had made it apparent that she didn't
care for them. Okay, that she hated them outright
and if what he guessed was true, then she had every
reason to. Therefore, it was hardly likely that she
would be receptive to the idea of him sleeping with
one, let alone befriending one. He had seen the signs
but had chosen to ignore them. And as a result,
Dorothy had all but fled his side when they'd
returned. She hadn't even come up to the apartment to
see Relena with him, so shaken had she been by the
incident in the car. Not that he could blame her.
The whole thing had freaked him out, too. Even now he
found himself shying away, too afraid that thinking on
it would summon those horrible images back in full
force.

He put those thoughts aside. 'Best not to give Rel
something more to worry over.' "What is it, Rel?
Something wrong?"

"Oh no… Well, yes… Duo, you know I would never pry,"
she began, her voice coaxing.

'Somehow I have my doubts about that,' he sighed.
"Yes?"

"It's just…" She trailed off, plucking at her skirt,
then reaching automatically for another sweet.

Duo reached out and gently took her hand, stopping her
from wolfing down another scone. "Relena, what? You
can tell me anything, you know that."

"Funny, that was just what I was going to say."

Duo waited, hoping that he kept his face carefully
devoid of all emotion. This conversation could not be
going in any direction that he wanted it to, not when
Relena was trying to be so positively sweet about it.
But, there was no way around it, short of running off
or locking himself in his room, both of which would
just raise Relena's concern.

Duo sighed, resigned to his fate. "You first."

His cousin smiled a bit, and straightened up in her
seat, obviously warmed and encouraged by that simple
statement. "Well, it's just that … you were gone all
night … and that's not like you, Duo. But … well … if
you were … you know … with someone … oh, Duo, you know
you don't have to keep secrets from me. You couldn't
have just told me that there was someone you've been
seeing?"

He exhaled, slowly, feeling breath ebb from every cell
in his body in something quite akin to relief. Maybe
this wouldn't be so difficult, after all. "How did
you guess? About me being with someone?"

"Well, your appearance for one," she smiled at him
gently. "I've known you a long time, Duo and the
first thing you do in the morning, if it’s a regular
morning, is re-braid your hair. And the smell… You
smelled like…"

She blushed prettily, her fair skin, so like his,
turning pale rose with her discomfort. He coughed
meaningfully, hoping that he wasn't turning just as
red. "Oh."

"And then there's the love bite staring me in the
face," Relena continued.

He stilled, mind racing. Had she somehow seen the
bite marks Heero had left him with? He hadn't thought
any of those were in visible places.

"The bruise on your ear," she replied delicately.
"You do have a fairly nice hickey going on there,
Duo."

"I do?!" His hands flew to his ears, unsure of which
one she meant. How the hell had he missed something
like that? He rose to his feet, intent on finding a
mirror and seeing for himself.

She stopped him, pushing him back in his chair. "Hang
on," she rummaged through her purse, tossing him a
small compact. "I've finally gotten you where I want
you and the last thing I need is for you to go
wandering off again."

"Thanks." He snapped the compact open, angling the
mirror. Sure enough, there was a nickel-shaped purple
spot on the lobe of his right ear. He touched the
cartilage with ginger care. 'So much for being
subtle.'

"I'm sure with a little foundation, we can make it
less noticeable," she offered.

"I notice you didn't say 'make it disappear,'" he
replied glumly.

"Duo, I'm good but, " she paused casting a glance at
his ear. "I'm not that good."

"Oh thank you," he replied, sarcastically, tossing her
the compact back. She caught it with a twist of the
wrist. "Nice to see you remember all those afternoons
in the park."

She rolled her eyes, pocketing the item. "Like I
could forget that. After being smacked in the face by
a softball a time or two, you learn pretty quickly to
catch. You were lucky you didn't break my nose."

"Why was I lucky? It's your nose."

"Because I would have killed you if Mom had presented
me a nose job for my sixteenth birthday."

"Point taken."

"So why didn't you tell me?" Relena pressed. "You
could have just said you were going out to see
someone. I would have been far less worried."

"I didn't mean to worry you," Duo admitted. He peered
at her anxiously. "You do know that, right?"

"Of course I do. It's just… Well, I'm not sure you
always think of the consequences, Duo. I do worry
when you don't come home."

"I know that."

Relena sighed, her pale face pinched, the circles
underneath her eyes the bruised flesh of a plum. "I'm
not your mother, Duo. You don't owe me--"

"Stop," he reached out and took her hand. "I owe you
everything, Relena. I owe you my life. If you hadn't
acted so quickly both times, I wouldn't be here."

'And I wouldn't have met Heero,' he added silently.
His hand tightened around her fingers.

"I'm sorry I frightened you. Forgive me?" He made a
puppyish face at her. "Please?"

"Don't be ridiculous." Relena reached out and hugged
him. "I wasn't angry to begin with."

Duo raised an eyebrow.

"Okay, I was kind of angry at first," she amended.
"Good thing we're not seven anymore or I'd have pulled
your hair for this one."

He clutched his braid melodramatically. "Not the
hair! Why is it always the hair?" he mock wailed.

"Because it's such a useful leash," she smirked. "So
this somebody… Anyone I know?"

'Not unless you travel in the same circles as the
blood-sucking undead… Oh, wait. Aunt Charlie is a
lawyer… At least Heero has an excuse,' Duo thought.
"No."

"Uh-huh. So what's this person like then?"

'Heero? Try beautiful, all lithe and tawny… Moves like
a damn cat. Has the most soul-grabbing eyes… I can't
seem to get enough of them… The way they search me,
the way they cloud with passion, or harden to facets
with anger… And when he looks at me… I know it's *me*
he's seeing, not the way he wants me to be. I might
think he was an angel, if angels had fangs…'

"Nice," Duo said noncommittally.

"That cute, huh?" She winked at him, scooting up
further in the chair. "Hot?"

"Yeah," Duo sighed. "You don't know the half of it,
Rel."

"So who is she? What does she do? What does she look
like? How long have you known her? I'm going to keep
asking questions, you know, until you answer."

Duo bit his lip. This was what he had been dreading.
How was he going to tell Relena about Heero? Could he
really trust Heero's secret to his cousin? Sure, he
loved her and would trust her with his life but this
wasn't his life he was putting on the line. And what
if she reacted the way Dorothy had when she learned of
his vampirism? But how could he hide something like
this? It wouldn't take her long to realize that Heero
wasn't … normal. And she'd get suspicious when he
didn't eat with them or only showed up at night.
Hell, he *would.*

"Come on, give me a name. Give me something Duo. Feed
my curiosity."

"Heero," the name spilled out over his tongue before
he could stop it. He knew that he would have to
introduce Heero eventually, and this was not the way
he wanted to do it. But Relena had that look in her
eyes, like a kid in a candy shop, bright-eyed and
eager, and a part of him did want to share.

"Hee-ro." That was exactly how Relena said it, a pause
catching in the middle of the name. "That's an . . .
interesting name."

Duo could see the wheels turning in her head.
Interesting, for certain. Interesting in this case was
Relena's way of saying "strange."

"Rel? Something wrong?" He would almost swear that
Relena seemed somewhat shocked. 'About what? I
haven't even gotten to the fun part yet.'

She shook her head, her expression melting away into
one of compassion and determined resolve. "No, not a
thing and I want you to know I support you one hundred
percent of the way."

"Relena?" Bewildered didn't even begin to describe
what he was feeling right now. The world had taken
another one of those strange off-ramps without telling
him again.

"No, Duo, let me finish. It doesn't to matter to me.
I mean, love is love, right?" She paused, a tiny knot
creasing her forehead. "Although perhaps you might
want to wait a bit before you break it to Father and
Mother… You know how they feel about surprises and
well, they can be so conservative."

"Relena, I'm not sure--"

Relena caught his hand, squeezing it with utter
sincerity in her sky blue eyes. "Oh, Duo, I'll love
you no matter what. It doesn't bother me that you're
gay."

Duo blinked, somehow unable to find the words to
respond to that. His lips tried to move but his brain
had spent so much of itself trying to follow the
twisting lines of miscommunication of the last few
minutes that task was rendered impossible.

"Ah," was the best he could manage when his synapses
began firing again.

"And I want you to know that not only do I support you
but I'm here for you anytime. Just ask. I want you
to feel comfortable with yourself and if this is who
you are, then hey, I am so there," Relena blithely
continued on. "You and Heero both."

"Ummm, thanks," Duo mumbled.

"And I want to meet Heero. When can I?"

"Well, he's coming tonight--"

"Good," Relena gave him a short nod, then blanched.
"Oh, God, tonight! I've got to clean the house and
order dinner!"

"Relena--"

"And I'm a mess! I can't meet him looking like this."
She ran a self-conscious hand over her immaculate
blond tresses, staring down at her jeans and Guess
sweatshirt with disgust.

"Rel, you don't have to do anything special -"

"What? You are joking right? That shows what you know
about entertaining!" Relena was on her feet in the
next moment, ticking off items on her fingers, "Now, I
think that there are fresh vegetables, but dessert?
What am I going to do for a dessert?"

Muttering to herself, she hurried off, leaving a still
surprised Duo staring after her.

'Maybe I'd better leave off the fact that Heero's a
vampire for a bit. I'm not sure how many more
surprises she can take tonight… Or that I can take for
that matter,' he thought ruefully.

***

Hours later, Duo found himself wondering if his
conversation with Relena hadn't been for nothing. He
peered at his watch, catching the time from a glint in
the light behind him. It was already well past
sunset, the sky having lost its burnt orange edge and
mellowing into a deep blue-violet. The famous New
York skyline lit up before him, a Roman candle gone a
riot. He had always loved the view, if nothing else
about this place besides Relena. The buildings made a
slow light up, the power increasing as the sun sank
lower, until they reached that perfect moment, just
before the sky turned black where they touched deep
blue and the light of those buildings twinkled like
soft stars. They still shone once true night fell,
but there was something terribly harsh and artificial
about the light then.

So he had his perfect moment, the night not too airy
and the horizon the blue of a Rockwell painting, and
no Heero. No lover to wrap his arms around him should
his slender frame catch a slight chill, no lover to
whisper and nibble on his ear. Certainly no lover to
propose all the naughty things Duo had on his mind.
'This sucks,' he sighed, slouching down until he was
on his knees, arms crossed over the railing. Where
the hell was Heero anyway? It nearly an hour into
sunset and there had been no knock at the door. Duo
had even made his way out to the balcony, leaving it
open just in case Heero had decided to be stubborn
about that no front door policy of his.

Duo felt a wave of panic, like a hand gripping his
heart. For no reason at all, without any logic or any
cause, he suddenly wondered if maybe Heero wasn't
going to come at all. What if the words between them
had simply been words. Hollow sounds to fill the
silence and get rid of the mortal with whom Heero had
his night of fun? What if it was no more than a game
with Heero, what if Dorothy's words were true, if
Heero was just biding his time until Duo went from
plaything to hors d'oeuvre?

No, he chided himself. He couldn't think like that. He
and Heero had a connection, they had made a connection
and not simply on the physical plane, although the
physical connection wasn't anything to laugh about.
Heero would be there. He was just late. Fashionably
late. Okay, more along the lines of unfashionably
late, but that would just give Duo a reason to
chastise him. And give Heero a reason to make it up to
him.

As if summoned by his thoughts of chastisement and
reconciliation, Duo heard the sound of feet landing
lightly on the balcony. He smiled immediately, but
resisted the urge to turn around and throw his arms
around his lover. Heero made him wait; it was now
Heero's turn to wait.

"It's about time you got here," Duo remarked, keeping
his eyes focused on the skyline. "The sun set awhile
ago."

Heero said nothing but Duo heard his light tread pick
across the concrete towards him. He closed his eyes,
willing his breathing to slow down, determined that it
would be Heero who made the first move, not him.

Hands touched his back, soft stroking hands that
trailed over shoulder blades, massaging the muscles
between them before moving upward. Duo sighed,
leaning back into that touch, groaning, "Mhmm, God,
Heero. You can be late anytime you want to be if this
is how you greet me."

"I'll keep that in mind," purred a husky female voice
close to his ear, the hands travelling the length of
his body tightening and pulling him back in a sharp,
jerky movement. The air flew out of his lungs as his
back came in contact with body that seemed both soft
and hard, soft in curves that no man could ever
possess but with a strength in the bones that put him
in mind of Heero.

His mind stuttered for a moment, trying to make sense
of what was happening when he felt a pair of lips nip
his ear, the teeth sharp. Decidedly sharp teeth.

‘Shit.’ Duo thrust his body forward, catching the
guardrail before he toppled over the side of the
balcony. Laughter filled the air, falling on his ears
with a ring of malicious pleasure. Dark eyes met his,
staring at him with a spiteful glare that put him in
mind of shark setting sights on its prey. She was
small, certainly smaller than he, dark hair ringing
around her elfin face, willow-like with slender angles
and pale skin. *Very* pale skin. Duo gaped at her,
his stomach beginning to knot in ways and with fearful
suspicions his mind didn't to touch, let alone supply.

Still, he recovered, his mouth glib even as his mind
turned in circles. "I'm not usually this forward on
the first date."

"I don't usually have a first date, so that makes two
of us." She flashed her teeth, small, perfect-pointed
canines jutting out of a sea of white enamel and pink
gum. His hand lifted reflexively as if to ward her
from his neck. He already had several sets of bite
marks and those were from Heero alone.

She cocked her head to the side, arms crossed as she
studied him. "You really are quite lovely. I can see
why he'd be taken with you."

"I'm sorry?"

"Not yet," she said grimly. "But you're going to be."

The words sent a skitter of fear down the nape of his
neck in tiny shocks throughout his body.

***

'You asked for it. You invited this when you took
that boy in, when you told him and still you are
surprised by his betrayal,' Dorothy thought. Bits of
wood flew as she viciously worked to fashion a crude
stake from what was left of one of her kitchenette
chairs that had had the bad fortune to be in her way
earlier. Hell, most of her flat had been 'in the way,'
she acknowledged surveying the short-term destruction
she'd wrought with a grim sense of satisfaction.
She'd regret it later; some of those things that now
lay broken were priceless but damn it had felt good
listening to every splinter and crash.

'Face it, Catalonia, there are some truths that should
not be spoken of, some confidences that should never
be shared because you can't trust anyone. People will
always disappoint given a chance and to expect
anything different is not only ludicrous but
masochistic.' Still, she had trusted...had hoped that
it would be different, that Duo would understand
because of their shared experiences. But no, Duo
hadn't understood any of it, not one word; he couldn't
have and still walked willingly with one of those ...
those creatures. He couldn't have understood and
allowed himself to... The knife whistled angrily as
she suddenly threw it, embedding in the plaster just
above the fireplace. Yeats whuffled, peering at her
from behind her sofa with an expression that was too
akin to exasperation for her taste. He snorted and
turned away, not impressed as she turned the full
force of her glare on him, laying his head on his
paws. 'What am I doing?' she thought rubbing the side
of her head. 'After all, it's not Yeats' fault or the
apartment's. I shouldn't take this out on either.'
Maybe that was true but it was a damn sight better and
safer than taking it out on Duo. She was too worked
up right now to trust herself not take a chunk out of
his hide.

Vampires were monsters, no better than animals and
he'd...he'd gone with one... let one touch him...
Bile and rage rose, a thick soup that choked in the
back of her throat. Her skin erupted in a swatch of
goose bumps, the thought causing the memory of
unwanted touches to come to mind. For good or ill,
whether she liked it or not, her body remembered and
it would not let her forget that she knew all too
intimately the allure of what Duo had experienced.
Yes, her own experience had been hellish and agonizing
but beneath it all, there had been such a sense
of...freedom? It had been grotesque and horrifying
and creepily sensual and she hated herself for
thinking that. Hated herself for even wanting to
sympathize with Duo. A vampire wasn't a person, she
reminded herself. They were parasites who fed off the
living. They were killers, pure and simple. There
was no love to be found there, just a trap of sex and
blood, ending only in death.

Glancing down at the half-carved stick of wood in her
hand, she lifted her arm and thrust forward with it
suddenly, remembering the slide and feel of such a
weapon through flesh. It hadn't taken long after
her...her first time with one of them to learn the
value of a sharpened stake. There was something to be
said for hunting them, almost a perverse sense of
enjoyment to be derived from making them the prey for
a change. Just after Central America and the incident
there, she'd taken a leisurely path back to New York,
stopping in every major spot and clearing out as many
vampires as she could lure in. Being back in New York
had made her feel safer, made her slack off and Duo's
experience had been a wake up call. Should have been
a wake up call for the both of them. You just
couldn't let your guard down, not once or else the
monsters would get you or you would go with them
willingly.

Shit.

This wouldn't be so damn hard if she didn't like Duo.
If he wanted to throw his ass to the wolves, it
shouldn't have mattered to her. Oh, she was pissed at
him, pissed enough to maybe hit him again the next
time she saw him but she couldn't help but still...
What? Like him? Want to help him? 'What exactly are
you after here, Catalonia?'

Companionship? Maybe? Understanding? Hell, yes.
Since his attack, Dorothy had felt more of a
connection to any human being than she had since her
Grandfather's death. Realizing that he too, had been
victimized by a creature that walked like a man but
wasn't, she had reached out to him, whether
unwittingly or otherwise. Maybe that was the problem,
she had reached out and by his very actions, Duo had
thrown it back in her face. And that should have been
it. Dorothy wasn't one to waste time on stupidity and
if Duo chose to ignore common sense then ... Well, it
was just one less person taking up valuable oxygen,
wasn't it?

Except that it wasn't. This was Duo. And it was
different. And she didn't know why yet.

It wasn't love. Not of the kind that might have
proved a real problem later on. Dorothy had stopped
believing in that Hallmark induced hallucination years
ago. She was painfully aware of the fact that she was
not a lovable person. She was not the kind of person
to receive flowers or chocolates from shy admirers.
Hell, she didn't want any of those things, even if the
occasional sonnet might be amusing. Most of the time
she sensed any interest, she took pains to stamp it
out. She didn't want that kind of entanglement,
wasn't sure she could handle it. She had too much of
an independent streak for one and for another... For
another, she wasn't sure she could ever let anyone,
man or woman, touch her in an intimate way ever again.
What had happened in the jungles had been too close
to rape. The thought of letting down her walls and
letting someone touch her like that made her skin jump
and her heart rate pick up...and not in a pleasant
way. Before, before she'd realized that there was
more to the world than glittering soirees, she might
well have been attracted to Duo. And why not? He was
funny and bright and definitely not hard on the eyes.
Even with his somewhat tawdry background, his
connection to the Peacecraft family would have
overcome any of her grandfather's objections. Dorothy
grimaced. She'd been pretty shallow back then, so
self-assured that the world revolved around her and
her money. More than that, she'd been one of those
stupid, silly people who tried her patience so much
nowadays. That seemed so long ago now, as if she was
remembering another person's life and feelings but it
still made her cringe. She hadn't been lying when
she'd remarked Duo that she'd rather have the
knowledge of dark things, to be one of the wolves
instead of the sheep, but she did regret the price
with which that knowledge had been purchased.

There was no help for it now. That bridge had been
crossed, broken, and washed away with blood and
whatever innocence she might have once possessed. She
could only move forward and that was what she had done
for so long. One step forward and then another and
another until she was no longer moving forward, she
was running headlong away but from what she was never
sure of. 'Good Christ,' she rolled her eyes, 'I've
visited one too many shrinks, now I'm starting to
think like them now.'

Brooding was all very well and enjoyable but it wasn't
solving anything and it was only serving to further
piss her off. The problem was Duo, his actions and
... his words. Dorothy shivered, skin rippling as she
fought hard not to think of his words, of how close
they were to memory. It was as if Duo had been there,
had seen... She shook her head. 'You're reading too
much into this, Catalonia.' And yet... and yet, the
pain in his voice, the sheer terror in those few
suffocating moments back in the car, she had
recognized those all too well. She had only to glance
in a mirror after one of her nightmares to see his
horrified countenance reflected back sheathed in her
own features. Those fears that plagued her, walked
her dreams, and threatened to paralyze her, Duo had
spoken in just a few broken sentences. Hearing those
things given life, given form by his wavering voice
had roused the beast slumbering in the back of her
mind. Perhaps that was what made Duo different; he
frightened her because she suspected that they might
not be so dissimilar. And the fact that a vampire had
gotten so close to her home, just mere floors below
this very room, was enough to make her want to pack up
every scrap in the place and find somewhere new to
hide. It stripped away whatever sense of security she
might have given herself the illusion of and left in
its place the dry, harsh taste of fear. She hadn't
been well and truly afraid since... well, since
Central America. She had taken down vampires, yes and
mostly what she'd felt in those moments was something
akin to a rage, an icy anger that seemed to add to the
adrenaline rush and carry her through. What if the
next time she encountered a vampire, she froze up, the
fears Duo had resurrected in her causing her to
hesitate? She'd be dead, worse than dead. She'd be
lunch and she wasn't ready to be on anyone's menu yet.
And...

And what was that noise? A low snarl hit her ears,
dropping heavy and hard with menace and alarm. She
looked over in time to see Yeats rising to his feet,
his back ramrod straight in a position that only a cat
could possibly imitate. His ears were almost flat
against his skull and enough white teeth were showing
to make a piano envious.

Dorothy having the seen the signs before, tensed,
clutching tight the wooden implement in her hand.
"What is it, boy? Who's here?"

True, her place was locked up tight, by both
conventional and mystical means but that might not be
enough if something was really determined to get in at
her. 'A crossbow and a few axes might give it pause
though,' she thought, slipping towards the side wall
and grabbing a few bolts followed by weapon itself.
It was difficult to hold the crossbow with bolts and
the stake, even more difficult to try to load it
without letting something go, but she kept at it,
feeling more security in the crude weapon she'd
fashioned than without it. With the task managed at
last, she stalked towards her French windows, cursing
herself for not having removed the damn flimsy things
sooner. Leaning forward, she reached out with one
hand, lifting away the veil of cloth obscuring her
vision outward and held her breath.

Nothing. The balcony appeared empty. She switched
sides, attempting to take in the ledge. Still
nothing. Perplexed, she turned and found Yeats not by
her side as was his wont but scratching furiously at
the front door. As if realizing he had her attention,
he craned his head, whining in the back of his throat,
the sound of worried eagerness causing her blood to
rise. Pausing long enough to slip into the jacket
hanging by the door and slip the stake into a coat
pocket, she peered out the spyglass. Still nothing
visible and Yeats’ growls were becoming louder, more
frantic each passing second. Her heart thudding in
her ears and throat, she worked each lock, nearly
shaking as the deadbolt unsnapped. 'Some fearless
vampire hunter,' she thought. It made her furious,
both the shaking and the thought. She wasn’t some
sniveling little crybaby and she’d be damned before
someone, human or otherwise, got the better of her in
her own home. That decided, she counted to three then
threw the door open, crossbow rising to track the
outward swing.

Yeats shot past her, his voice raised in a full bark
now. She scanned the hallway, fingers taunt and only
a bit damp as they wrapped around her weapon, the
stake in her long coat slapping against her thigh, any
damage it made have caused blunted. The wolfhound
barked again, beckoning her towards the elevator as he
lunged and jumped upwards, snout beating against the
controls. She stopped short, trained on the slow
opening of those mechanical doors. The compartment
was empty but she entered with caution anyway, eyeing
the overhead hatch. It seemed reasonably secure,
nothing rattled and the elevator remained still. The
doors chirped then closed, awaiting a destination. It
was then she directed her attention to the dog, now
raised on his back legs near the inside control panel.

“Yeats…” She trailed off, the adrenaline high wearing
off just enough for her to catch a breath. “If you’re
trying to tell me you need a walk-“

He yipped, sounding almost insulted as he dropped down
to tug on her jacket. “What?” she asked, exasperation
coloring the word before a thought occurred to her.
“Duo?”

The dog barked, dragging her forward. “Shit,” she
swore, a jab of her hand bringing the elevator to
life. ‘I’m coming, Duo and if you’re not there, I’m
going to kill you myself.’

***

“Ex-excuse me?”

Hilde watched him stumble backward, the stench of his
fear and dread making her almost as giddy as the dread
glittering in those amethyst eyes. Such pretty eyes.
She wondered if they'd look just as lovely adorning
the ground as in that damnable head. It would be so
easy, so easy to just reach out and sink her fingers
into soft membrane and tissue, lapping at the blood
that would rain in tears down his face from the act.
After a moment of consideration, she decided to wait,
far more entertained by the notion of a show before
dinner. Especially as his movements served little
purpose, save to bring his back in contact with the
guard railing, reminding them both that there was
nowhere to go save down.

She smirked as he realized it as well. “Problem?”

“Not a one,” he replied through gritted teeth. “I’m
gonna go out on a limb here and guess that Relena
didn’t let you in on her way out, did she?”

She didn't reply, almost but not quite seething as she
raked her eyes down him. So this was the mortal Heero
thought to replace her with, thought to threaten her
life over? He was little more than a child; a lithe
scarecrow of skin and bones, a ridiculously long braid
flapping over one shoulder in the night air. True,
there was some beauty in his violet eyes, each
changing hue mirroring early twilight and in his skin,
so soft and pale. A clumsy grace and charm as he
fidgeted, as nervous as a new colt. Pretty, yes.
Enough to kill one's sire over? Definitely not. And
that was exactly what Heero had tried earlier.

Whether it had been some semblance of old feeling he
claimed not to possess or if he'd finally become as
pathetic as the mortals they stalked, Heero had let
her go. He'd scared the hell out of her and she
thought she'd detected a glimmer of dark amusement
from her childe/former lover during the proceedings.
Had it not pleased her to see that, to realize that
despite his words there was some glimmer of the man
she had once loved still there, she might well have
killed him on the spot for his insolence, him and his
little mortal whore. No, Heero could be salvaged, she
had reasoned upon calming down. The boy though, he
was already proving more of a hindrance than she'd
anticipated. 'I should have killed him when I had the
chance,' she thought, watching him with open dislike.
No, dislike was too tame a term. Hatred was closer,
hatred and envy and frustration bubbled, seething
through her as she wondered if he could read from the
weight and poison of her glare her very real desire to
kill him.

“No, I guess not,” he continued, gripping the railing
as his eyes searched over her head.

"No," she agreed. "I do hope I'm not being forward by
just dropping in like this. I wasn't sure when I'd be
able to catch you alone, you see, and there's so much
you and I need to discuss."

She paced, short quick breaks of movement that came
and went so swiftly he had no chance to even think of
getting past her should he be foolish enough to try.
She hated the confined space of this deck, limiting
her movements even as it did his. The streets
below... A smile curved her lips. Put them both on
equal ground in this city, with all its people and
places to hide and she would run him to ground in
under an hour. Bitterness tempered her pleasure at
the thought. Once, long ago, that had been a favorite
game of hers and of Heero's. Picking a victim, giving
he or she just enough knowledge to realize they was
being hunted then let them run, giving ample
opportunity to hide or flee or gain aid. Between the
two of them, they had never been outwitted or lost
one. Until now. Until this one who threatened to
come between her and her chosen.

“Wonderful view,” she sauntered ever closer, her
movements serpentine with just enough of a gentle sway
to keep his eyes glued to her. She could see his mind
racing, wondering where or when she would strike, if
she would strike at all. “There’s something about the
city at night, wouldn’t you agree?”

As if he didn’t trust himself to voice his opinion, he
nodded, huge eyes still tracking her. At this point,
he reminded her as nothing so much as a small child,
the fear rollicking off him in waves so thick she
could wrap herself in them. It was heady and add to
it the increasing thrum of his heart, the way his
blood began to actually race through his veins and she
could feel her teeth prick with hunger. She had
already fed once this evening but she was a firm
believer in seconds.

“I have to admit I was quite put out with you earlier
this evening,” she continued. “Do you know why,
Duo?”

“Lady, I don’t even know why the fuck you’re here, let
alone what you’re talking about.”

“And so the mouse finds his tongue at last. And such
a vulgar tongue at that,” she tsked and shook her
head. Her hand moved and she had him by the jaw,
fingers clamped hard enough to keep his mouth cracked,
low gurgling sounds pouring forth. “Have a care to
speak more politely to your betters in the future or
someone might rip that talent tongue out of your
head.”

She applied a bit more pressure, listening to the
pleasing sound of his jaw straining, popping in
release. If she pressed a little harder, she’d break
his jaw. And as pleasing as the thought was, she
wanted his attention and she would lose that the
moment she gave him something besides his terror to
think of.

“As I was saying, I’m very cross with you. You took
something that didn’t belong to you, something you had
no business dabbling in. Do you know what I’m
referring to?”

He gargled at her, his eyes as confused as they were
frightened. Mortals were so tiresome, she sighed.
“Think, Duo. Think very hard about where you’ve been
in the last twenty-four hours.”

He went still in her grip and she cooed at him,
recognizing the flashes of understanding for what they
were. “That’s right, baby. I know all about that,
about everything you’ve done. More than that mousy
little cousin of yours could ever dream of.”

“Tell me, did it feel good when he fed from you?” Her
lips brushed his ear, licking his sweating skin. “Did
you enjoy it as he fucked you? I remember what it’s
like. How he sounds and the way he bites your skin,
his mouth pulling at every fiber, every cell as if he
can’t taste enough…”

Her hand slipped down to wrap around his throat,
pulling him close enough that her lips were lightly
touching his when she spoke. Mouth free, he somehow
managed to form words. She wanted to laugh at the
bewildered pain she felt in every word. “How…? Who
the hell are you?”

“Such soft skin, Duo,” she whispered. “I’ll bet he
devoured every inch of it, making you feel as if you
were a feast set out for his soul benefit. You see,
I’ve been where you were. It was mine. It is mine
and you’ve trespassed where you shouldn’t have, little
one.”

Her teeth were elongating now, cutting through the
soft tissue of her lower lip. “Heero and I like to
share, Duo. I don’t think he’ll mind if I take a
taste, do you?”

He pushed at her, fists pounding against her
shoulders. She pushed him backward, almost tilting
him over the side. “I wouldn’t. A fall from this
height… Well, there wouldn’t be enough of you left to
identify. And it would be such a shame to spoil all
that lovely hair with so much blood.”

Going limp, he stared at her then beyond her, a minute
warning coupled with a soft displacement of air that
caused her to half turn… a second too late.

“I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t give Relena back
her key, isn’t it?”

Hilde hissed, fingers tightening around the boy’s
windpipe even as her leg screamed in pain, a short
wooden bolt sticking out just below the underside of
her knee. From the balcony door, a slender woman, her
wheat blond hair stirring around her like a cloak in
the night air was reloading her crossbow with
equitable calm, a large dog snarling as he crept a few
steps ahead.

“Who the fuck are you?” she bared her teeth.

“Nobody much,” the woman replied, the crossbow’s
double barrels steady as they trained on the
vampiress. “As much as I’d like to wring Duo’s neck
on occasion, I really suggest you let him go. Now.”

“I think that should be the other way around. You put
the crossbow away and send the dog back or I’ll rip
out his throat.”

The woman thought about it. “All right. If you must.”

“Dorothy!” Duo gasped out around her chokehold, still
somehow managing to sound aggrieved.

“I’m sorry, Duo but she’s set to kill someone
regardless. If I put down my weapon then both of us
will die,” the girl, Dorothy, spoke casually and Hilde
felt a flash of grudging respect for this one. This
one was no weak child to the slaughter but a predator
in her own right. A grim smile played at her lips as
the blond continued. “Of course, the moment you try
going for his throat, I’m going to shoot you. You’re
fast but then so am I and I have two bolts in this
plus Yeats here. So I have to ask you if you think
taking out Duo is really worth your while.”

Hilde considered it, uncertainty loosening her grip.
“Are you offering me a trade? The boy’s life for
mine?”

“What I’m offering you is five seconds. You let him
go and you have five seconds to get your scrawny
blood-sucking ass off this terrace and out of my
building before you find out what the words ‘magnum
force’ really mean.”

She glanced between the three of them, the boy
half-hopeful as the dog half-crouched, ears flat and
back stiff as he prepared to launch himself forward.
And then here was the girl…

As a rule, Hilde feared very few things; you lived
long enough and it was bound to happen. She certainly
didn’t fear mortals who were stupid and slow, content
to believe the world as bad as it might seem contained
no more than mundane terrors. Most mortals, that was.
Every once in a while, you ran into one of them who
were a little smarter, a little tougher than the rest
of the sheep. They were dangerous; sheep trying to
wear wolves’ clothing, dangerous because they saw
beyond the veil of ignorance that protected her kind
from prying human eyes. Hunters of the hunters,
vampire killers who made it their self-appointed task
to save the rest of the herd. Many of them were more
than a little crazy, having been made aware of
vampires by less than pleasant means. This one was
like that--she could see it already. She burned with
hatred, as much a killer as Hilde was, with only the
choice of prey differing. The bolt in her leg,
unnoticed until the second it hit, was a testament to
her skill. The fact that she was able to sneak up on
Hilde without sound or warning was equally
infuriating. Given the opportunity, she would happily
slaughter the vampiress, even if it meant sacrificing
her friend to do it. That she was offering even a
little time was an indication that the boy meant
something to her. It was five seconds more than she
was likely to get alone. ‘Fuck,’ she let out a
frustrated growl.

“We’re not done yet, boy,” She shoved Duo forward,
causing him to trip and tumble into the dog. She
leaned backward over the ledge as a set of bolts
whistled free of their chamber.

***

“Son of a bitch,” Dorothy cursed, skirting around the
tangle of fur and limbs to clamber over to the
railing, the crossbow dropping against stone,
discarded in favor of the stake in her coat pocket.
She peered out, the wooden implement taunt and ready
in her hand as she gazed downward, careful not to put
her hands on the railing for fear of being suddenly
pulled over. Open air and the fast moving glare of
headlights winding down the street below met her
searching eyes. Of the vampiress there was no sign.

Behind her, Duo was struggling to his feet, his voice
rasping. “Goddammit, Dorothy. What the fuck were you
doing? She could have killed me!”

She ignored him, making a quick check of the balcony
both above and below before leaning down to retrieve
her crossbow. Yeats was wuffling around Duo, butting
his head against the boy’s leg, his lupine face slack
with almost human relief. And still the boy ranted
on. “Are you listening to me?”

“It’s somewhat hard not to,” she replied dryly, “I’m
sure the whole building is enjoying listening to you
screech like a fish wife.”

“It’s not funny! She could have ripped my throat out,
she-“

“Duo?”

“What?”

“Are you alive?” She asked, impatience dripping from
every word. ‘Honestly, men are so idiotic about some
things. Don’t they ever take time to take stock of
the important things? He’s alive, what more does he
want?’

“Well, yeah,” He admitted, rubbing his neck with
ginger care. There was a fresh set of hand marks
there now, already darkening under the patio light.
Her chest tightened at the sight of them, aware of
just how close they had cut it. A few seconds later
and he might have been dead-either drained or pitched
over the side.

“Then shut up, please. I didn’t have to rescue you,
you know? You should think about getting a dog by the
way,” She kept her tone conversational, almost light
in spite of the knots of tense excitement unwinding in
her stomach, longing for a target, something to strike
out. “If it hadn’t been for Yeats, you might be
kibble now. Which reminds me…”

She squatted down in front of the wolfhound, rubbing
vigorously behind his ears and head as she cooed at
him. “I know someone who’s going to get a nice, juicy
steak for dinner tonight. Who’s a good boy?”

“I’m good too, you know,” Duo sounded indignant. “If
you care.”

She barely spared him a glance. “Duo, if you’re
stupid enough to play with vampires then this is what
you get. Just because she didn’t kill you when you
were fucking her earlier -“

His face turned a horrified shade of red. “I did not
sleep with her!”

“Oh? And you didn’t invite her up here, did you?”

Duo waved a hand in front of her face and she fought
hard not to smack it and him out of her way.
“Hellllllllllllo? Did you just miss out on the last
five minutes of my life, terrifying as they were? I
did *not* invite that psycho bitch up here. I just
stepped outside for a few minutes. I didn’t realize
that I’d be taking my life in my hands by doing that.”

“You take your life in your hands every time you wake
up in the morning, Duo,” she rolled her eyes. “You
really don’t know who she was?”

He went quiet, his gaze focused inward, and the sudden
distance unnerved her. She reached upward and grabbed
the tail of his braid and tugged. “What, Duo?”

“It was something she said,” His voice was still a
whisper, more hollowed than before. There was
something curious about his blank expression,
something that revealed more than was hidden. It was
disturbing on Duo’s normally mobile features, enough
to raise her hackles. “Duo?”

Whatever might have been said was lost as Yeats rose
to his feet again, a low whining keen, a sound laced
with suspicion drew both their attention. The dog
sniffed the air and then turned, loping back the way
he’d come, nearly throwing himself at the door. The
behavior was all too reminiscent of his earlier
warnings and Dorothy touched her lips then Duo’s arm
before retrieving the last of her bolts from her
jacket, passing the stake to him. They slipped across
the floor, Dorothy reaching both dog and door before
he could. She rested her palm against the wood,
closing her eyes before reaching for the chain and the
bolt, not really giving a damn enough to peer out the
spyglass. Duo slunk around to the other side of the
door, clutching the stake close to him. She wanted to
chide him for not having it ready, for holding it like
he was going to club someone with it instead of going
for the heart. She held her tongue. There would be
time for lessons later on, after they took care of
this and she yelled at him properly for scaring the
shit out of her.

Her throat caught and she bounced as whatever was on
the other side had the common decency to knock. ‘Nice
to know that even the soulless bloodsucking undead can
have manners,’ she thought grimly, waiting for her
heart to gain steadier ground before throwing the door
open, stepping forward and thrusting the crossbow
outward.

A pair of sapphire blue eyes widened and the person
belonging to them stilled as she rested the tip of her
bolt against his chest, her fingers curling around the
trigger as she caught a brief glimpse of pointed teeth
brushing his lower lip, confirming her suspicions.

“Dorothy! No!” Duo yelped, smacking the weapon to the
floor.

“Duo, what the fuck are you doing?” she nearly
screamed in outrage, going for her stake.

He yanked the weapon back, playing an impromptu game
of keep away, holding it just above her head.
“Dorothy! Stop it. It’s okay.”

“Fuck it’s okay. That’s a vampire and-“

“Is this a bad time?”

They both cocked their head towards the door where the
man was now leaning against the frame, watching them
with interest. He made no move to come further in,
seemingly content to watch the scuffle in bemusement.
Yeats poked his muzzle forward and the vampire
extended his hand, letting the dog sniff at him. The
wolfhound appeared puzzled, his tail half-wagging as
he leaned his head forward, allowing himself to be
petted.

“Yeats,” She snapped, vaguely scandalized. The dog
graced her with a guilty grin, allowing the vampire to
scratch behind his ears a few moments more before
retreating to his mistress’ side. She stared back and
forth between Duo and the other boy, noting Duo’s
sudden rise of color and the semi-embarrassed grin
playing at the corner of his lips before stiffly
concluding,“Your friend?”

“Uh, you could say that.” If it were possible, his
expression became even goofier and more apologetic
than before. She didn’t even bother to feel bad about
rolling her eyes.

Dorothy rubbed her forehead, taking the time to snatch
her stake back and holding it loosely at her side.
“Imagine my excitement. I swear to God, Duo Maxwell,
you are going to be the death of me.”

 

***End of Chapter Four