Teena: *looks at the length of the chapter, giggles madly* This is longer than some of my one-shots...

Duo: *snorts* No shit. Just get on with it, you've got writing to do.

Teena: *watches Heero suspiciously* He's not gonna pull a gun on me again, is he?

Heero: Only if you push me.

Teena: *glares* Slave-driver.

Heero: *rolls his eyes* You hadn't written ONE word in weeks. I hardly consider that slave-driving.

Teena: *embarrassed sweatdrop*

 

Danse Macabre

 

 

Heero groaned softly as he came back to consciousness. Sitting up in his Gundam, he quickly unfastened the safety harness and opened the hatch. As soon as he stepped out into the cool night air he gasped in shock.

"What the HELL am I doing back here?! K'so, this is NOT my night."

The only response to his uncharacteristic outburst was the whistling wind and the rustle of leaves. Heero glared at the unoffending forest as he closed the hatch and scrambled the lockpad so only he could get back in. A quick scan of the horizon revealed lights in the near distance, hard to see through the trees, but there. Heero scowled, jumped down from his Gundam and dashed off through the underbrush towards the lights.

In less than an hour, Heero had reached the outskirts of the city. He cursed under his breath as he realized his normal clothes would stand out more than usual here. He slipped into the shadows of an alley and watched the passersby carefully. Soon he had picked out someone that looked like they would have a fair chunk of cash. Quietly exiting the alley, he followed the person until he moved to a less populated street.

As soon as he and his target were pretty much alone, Heero sped up and moved in front of the man. Meeting the man's eyes, Heero reached out and rolled his victim's mind, controlling him. With a sour look on his face, Heero walked up to the man and took his wallet. As he'd thought, the man had quite a wad. Heero removed most of the money and put the wallet back, then slipped out of sight before releasing the man.

"I hate doing petty crap like this," Heero muttered to himself as he put the cash away. "But I don't exactly have the local currency on hand anymore."

Staying to the shadows, Heero located a clothing store and walked in. A cold glare staved off the salespeople as he wandered through the racks. Quickly making his selections, Heero walked into the changing rooms to try them on. Checking the mirror, he nodded in satisfaction.

Tight black jeans that looked like he'd been poured into them, and a loose black shirt pulled in at the tight wrist cuffs and belted at the waist. A pair of low black boots and a plain black choker finished off the outfit. He looked like he'd just stepped out of a wet dream, and that was exactly the point. It was petty, it was spiteful, and it was mean, but Heero had spent centuries showing other vampires exactly what they couldn't have anymore.

Not bothering to change into his old clothes, Heero walked up to the counter.

"I'll wear these out," Heero told the cashier firmly. The woman at the desk smiled at him.

"No problem, sir. Could you just pass me the tags?"

Heero stripped the tags off and handed them to her. She quickly scanned the tags and added it up, then presented the total. Heero passed over the money, smiled at the woman, and walked out. He was getting stares, but they were 'Wow, he's hot' stares.

Heero frowned as he examined the other people on the street. Humans and vampires were openly mixing, there were even a few couples walking together. Obviously, things had changed while he was away. Well, the first order of business was to find out what was going on. The Master of the City seemed a good place to start.

Picking a bar with darkened windows, Heero walked in. Looking around, he noted that the bartender was a vampire. He walked up to the bar and sat on a stool.

"What'll it be?" the bartender asked indifferently.

"Vodka on ice, and information," Heero replied with the cold tone in his voice that made people sit up and pay attention. It worked admirably. The bartender quickly put together Heero's drink and set it down in front of him.

"What do you wanna know?"

"I'm looking for the Master of the City."

"Huh?!" the bartender said, obviously startled. Heero sighed and showed the vampire his fangs quickly.

"I've been passing for human too damn long," Heero muttered quietly as the bartender blinked at him. The other vampire managed to get his act together quickly, though.

"What do you want with the Master?" the bartender asked, polishing a glass.

"It IS still considered polite to ask permission of the Master to hunt in his city, isn't it?" Heero asked icily, tapping the counter lightly.

The bartender flinched slightly, barely perceptible. "Uh... Yeah, it is. Well, the Master's been working out of Danse Macabre lately. That's his new dance club. The taxi driver'll know where to go."

"Arigato," Heero replied with a cold smile. He finished his drink with one quick swallow, then walked out the door. Behind him, the bartender breathed a sigh of relief, and the atmosphere seemed to lighten.

Outside, Heero hailed a cab. As soon as one pulled up to the curb, he slipped inside and leaned forward. "Take me to Danse Macabre. By the quickest route, I don't feel like playing fare games."

The cab driver gulped and nodded. The taxi pulled away and took off, going barely below the speed limit. Expertly weaving his way through the streets and side streets, the driver quickly stopped in front of the club. Heero passed forward enough to cover his fare and the tip, then got out. Looking up at the front of the club, Heero's eyebrows went up. With a quiet snort of derision, he walked inside.

"Any holy items or weapons to check?" A girl asked him just past the door.

"Holy items? Doubtful," Heero replied, showing her the tips of his fangs. "Weapons, no," he lied smoothly. The girl flushed and stepped back.

"Sorry, sir, I can usually tell a vampire. Go right in," she said.

Heero flashed her a small smile and walked into the club. Ignoring the masses of people, he looked around for the manager's office. He quickly noted the stairway at one side of the club, and worked his way around to it, deflecting a few invitations to dance, and one or two propositions. He was blocked at the bottom of the stairway.

"Sorry, no one goes up there," the man in his path said.

"I'm here to see the Master," Heero replied. "I just got into town."

"Oh, alright, then. How should I announce you?"

"Don't. I'll introduce myself. Just let me through."

"Yes, sir," the man responded, stepping aside. He pressed the button on an intercom as Heero started up the steps. "Visitor for the Master on his way up."

Heero made his way quickly to the top, then opened the door that said Manager. He walked in to face the Master of the City.

"Welcome to my city," Jean-Claude began, but cut off sharply as he saw who was in his office.

"Yare, yare," Heero said, one eyebrow on the rise. "You're the Master of the City, Jean-Claude? Quite a step up for you."

"Many things have changed while you were absent, Ishida-san. You were believed dead, you know," Jean-Claude replied stiffly.

"A frequent occurrence for me, it seems," Heero said, smiling at a private joke. "Your manners have obviously deteriorated, Jean-Claude. Who is the lovely young necromancer?"

"My name's Anita Blake, and if you want to know about me, you ask me, not him," Anita remarked. A verbal slap on the wrist.

"Gomen nasai, Ms. Blake. I see women's lib has sprung up in my home dimension, as well. A pleasure to make your acquaintence." Heero bowed politely, then straightened to examine Anita carefully.

"Impressive arsenal. Silver bullets?" he asked, moving his gaze to her face. To his surprise, she met his eyes without flinching.

"Naturally."

"Interesting," Heero murmured. His power reached out to Anita through his eyes, probing. An instant later, she had her Browning out and pointed right at him.

"Lay off, or you'll be spending some time healing."

"Just testing, Anita. I'll stop. Now put it away, you're not the only one packing. Nice reflexes, by the way."

"Appreciate the compliment," Anita replied wryly, holstering her gun. "Jesus fucking Christ, how old are you? You're powerful."

"I'm older than I care to think about. And you have no idea what a pain in the ass it is to be a teenager your whole life. Nobody wants to take you seriously."

"I take you seriously," Jean-Claude said.

"That's because I made sure the vampire community understood I wasn't someone to be fucked with anymore," Heero replied with a predatory smile. "It's amazing how many fucktoys rise high among us, don't you think?"

"It's a very good incentive," Jean-Claude agreed dryly. "Tell me, Ishida-san, why have you resurfaced?"

"Call me Taichi. I didn't return intentionally. Right now, I need your help. I was with others when I was transported here. We were separated by the rift. It would take too long to find them on my own. As Master, you can have all the vamps in the city keeping an eye out."

"True. And what would I gain from this?"

Heero smiled viciously, flashing fang. "Your life, Jean-Claude. I'm not going to play games with you, I don't have time. My companions don't know the rules here. I want to find them while they're still alive, and hopefully still human."

Jean-Claude studied Heero's face carefully before smiling. "I will need descriptions."

"I can do better than that," Heero replied. A moment later, Jean-Claude recieved a set of mental images, along with their names and what their voices sounded like. He blinked, then took a moment to clear his head before speaking.

"Yes, that will do quite well. You've gotten better at your mind tricks."

"Age and practice, koibito. I suggest a certain amount of haste in passing the word."

"One moment," Jean-Claude closed his eyes and concentrated, then opened them again. "I've given the information to several of my servants. They will... 'start the ball rolling', as the saying goes."

"Now that business is taken care of," Anita spoke up, eyes narrowed suspiciously. "What, exactly, does koibito mean?"

Heero gave Jean-Claude an amused look, then made a 'go ahead' gesture. Jean-Claude glanced at him sourly before turning to Anita.

"Simply put, ma petite, it means lover. That was long ago, however. Itwas during the period when I was anyone's who wanted me. Those days are long gone."

"I never once forced you, Jean-Claude," Heero said, voice hovering between amused and offended.

"True, and you were one of the few who did not. However, I am currently exploring the joys of monogamy."

"Damn straight," Anita remarked acidly.

"Considering that I've been exploring the miseries of celibacy lately, I doubt it will become an issue," Heero replied dryly.

"So, who are you courting?" Anita asked with a wicked little smile.

"What makes you think I'm courting anyone?" Heero replied with an air of nonchalance.

"The only time I've encountered celibacy in a master vampire is when said master was after somebody specific."

"Jean-Claude celibate. What a concept," Heero remarked. "Perhaps there's simply a lack of willing partners."

Anita shot him a clearly disbelieving look. "If I weren't against casual sex, I'd be after you in a second. I don't buy the idea that you can't find a willing partner."

"Is your koi always this outspoken? And this nosy?" Heero asked Jean-Claude.

"Oui," Jean-Claude replied, obviously amused at Heero's attempt to change the subject.

"That's what I thought," Anita remarked smugly. Heero glared at her, then turned to look at the dancers below.

"Jean-Claude, do I have your permission to hunt in your city?"

"Of course, mon ami. There is something you should know first, however."

"Nani?"

"Vampires are now legal in America. I'm sure you realize the implications. You will find any number of willing victims, however."

"I haven't worried about legality in years, Jean-Claude. Why should I start now?" Heero asked with a snort.

"Because of me," Anita replied coldly. "I'm a licensed vampire executioner. You step out of line, you answer to me."

"Tell him how many vampire kills you have, ma petite," Jean-Claude ordered, his eyes never leaving Heero's face.

"Over thirty, and I swear, if you don't stop calling me that..."

"Impressive," Heero said before chuckling softly. "You know, Anita-sama, you sound just like me when I'm argueing with Duo. He insists on using an absurd pet name for me."

"Now there's an image that's gonna stick with me the rest of the night. A human calling a master vampire by a pet name," Anita replied with a grin. Jean-Claude sighed.

"Go feed, Taichi. We can talk more later."

Heero nodded and walked down the steps, effortlessly working his way into the milling crowd. Anita and Jean-Claude watched him go. As he disappeared into the throng, Anita turned to Jean-Claude, wearing a cheeky smile.

"I think you're in danger of losing your title of cutest butt I've ever seen on a dead man."

tbc...

 

Teena: *staring off into space, eyes glazed* I need to start pestering a fanartist. I'd like to see Heero in that outfit outside my own head. *sighs* God, he looks hot in that.

Heero: *taps her on the shoulder, smirking* I appreciate the compliment, but didn't you want to say some things?

Teena: ...Oh, yeah. *blinks* About the end line, I couldn't resist. You probably won't get it if you haven't read Anita Blake. *grins* And I just LOVE having apparently 17-year-old Heero Yui be a master vampire a decent bit older than Jean-Claude. Anou... Heero, age?

Heero: Somewhere over a thousand, remember?

Teena: Oh, yeah. *snickers* 1xJ-C.... I may write a prequel PWP...

Duo: Don't you DARE!!