Teena: *smirks**voice innocent* Now, wasn't there somebody here who said they were an Edward fan...?

Duo: You are so sadistic. Stop drawing things out.

Teena: You're no fun sometimes.

 

Danse Macabre

 

By the time Anita and Quatre were finished, it was hours past dawn. As Anita led the exhausted blond into a bedroom, she saw Heero sitting in a corner of the office, cleaning a gun. Anita tucked Quatre into bed, then walked out into the main office again. She walked over to sit near Heero.

"Beretta?"

"Hai."

"I don't speak Japanese, Taichi."

"Hai means yes."

"Thanks. Beretta's a bit bulky for me. I've got a friend that uses it,
though."

"Hn. My hands are bigger than yours."

"No, really?" Anita replied sarcastically. "What's with you? You were a lot more talkative before."

Heero sighed and put the gun away as he looked up at Anita. "My friends are used to certain behaviors from me. I've been slipping back into my old habits since coming back here, but if I keep acting the way I once did, they'll worry. The only me they know is the icy, silent bastard who cares about nothing but the mission. I can't afford to shake their image of me, because they have to trust me to get them back where they belong."

"It hurts you to act that way, doesn't it?" Anita asked with sharp insight. "I can tell you care about them. You're afraid they'll reject the real you, aren't you?"

"Anita, they are the first friends I've had in a long time. They don't know what I am, so they treat me like I'm human. I'm sure you've been with Jean-Claude long enough to know how much that can mean."

"It's like chocolate, Taichi, too much of it isn't good for you. Sooner or later, YOU'LL start thinking you're human, but you're not. You were human once, but you never will be again."

"I know that. I've known it for centuries. I don't think a few decades of being treated like I'm human is going to rub out all of that."

"Better safe than sorry. You're gonna have to tell them after this. Quatre knows now, I told him like you wanted me to. You're going to have to do things to get them home that aren't normal to them. You can't hide any more."

"I know," Heero said with a sigh. "Everything has to come out now. All because of some fucking accident. I would've had to leave in a year or two, anyway, before they could notice that I don't age."

"Shit happens. Look, I'm exhausted, Taichi, I need some rest. I'm heading home. I'll be back tonight."

"Ryoukai."

"And stop with the Japanese. I've already got Jean-Claude trying to teach me French, I don't need anymore languages."

"Naturellement, ma cherie. I'll try to stop," Heero replied with a wicked smile. Anita huffed and shot him a glare as she headed for the door.

"Why are all the masters I meet bastards?"

"Luck of the draw? Or perhaps it's simply that all masters are bastards."

"I think I'll go with the second one," Anita replied as she walked out. "It seems more likely."

Anita caught Heero's chuckle as she left, shaking her head. Once she was down the steps and safely out of earshot, she let herself laugh quietly. "Charming bastards, but bastards nonetheless."

Anita walked out to her car, climbed in, and started the ignition. With one last look at the club, she drove off. Weaving through the traffic, she took off for home. She had had complaints about her driving, but as far as she was concerned, if you had enhanced reflexes, why not use them? It sure made getting places faster.

Soon enough, she reached the turnoff to her house. It was back from the road a little way, for safety. She'd never quite been sure just WHOSE safety, though. Screeching to a halt in front of her house, Anita climbed out and slammed the door. Rummaging for her keys, Anita walked up to the porch.

"Ha! Found 'em!" Anita exclaimed triumphantly as she pulled out her house keys. Anita unlocked the front door and walked into her house, only to be confronted by the sight of a man sitting on her couch.

"Dammit Edward, can't you ever just wait outside?"

"Why should I? It's much more comfortable in here."

Anita sighed. "Forget it. Why are you here?"

"I'm working."

"What are you after?" Anita asked.

"Wereleopard."

"Edward, I'm Nimir-Ra, their protector, I can't-"

Edward held up a hand, palm outward. "Hear me out. It's not one of yours, it's a rogue from another state. I tracked it here."

Anita relaxed. "Oh. Sorry, but I don't know of any new leopards in town. It's probably hiding."

"Probably. I just thought I'd let you know."

"I appreciate it. I've met another Beretta fan, by the way. I'd introduce you, but you'd probably kill each other."

"Oh? Tell me more. What makes you think I couldn't just take him out?"

"He's a master vampire, for one thing. Old, too."

"A master who uses guns? Unusual. I think I'd like to see that. Would you take me if I promised to behave?"

"Depends. You gonna keep the promise?"

"If he doesn't attack me, I won't attack him. Good enough?"

"I guess. Come back tonight, and I'll take you with me."

Edward nodded. He looked Anita up and down critically. "Get some sleep, Anita. I'll see you tonight."

Anita waved him off with a yawn, and he slipped out the door. She locked it behind him, then went to bed. Slipping between the sheets, Anita dug Sigmund, her favorite penguin, out from his hiding place between the pillows. She'd gotten to the point where she always slept with him. She never knew when someone was going to try to kill her, after all. Besides, he was cuddly.

"Well, tonight should be interesting," Anita said to herself, yawning. Snuggling down into her nest of sheets, she hugged Sigmund and fell asleep.

tbc...

 

Teena: *giggles* I like Sigmund. There's something inherently amusing about the thought of the big bad Executioner sleeping with a stuffed penguin.