9-18-1999

Warning: The characters belong to who they belong to and not me. Don't sue me, I'm not worth your time. Special thanks to Laurell K. Hamilton for writing the Anita Blake novels.

Addtional warning: Characters acting wildly OOC. You have been warned.

Additional Additional warning: Alternate reality fic. Events that have happened or will happen in this reality not necessarily connected to what happened in the real series in any way. Don't wave the time line at me, I am beyond it now. A HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!

Additional Additional Additional warning: Extreme supernatural action. Supernatural abilities are as defined by me in the shadow world, where this takes place.

Additional Additional Additional Additional Warning: Story contains Yaoi, Bad language, violence, and pretty much everything deemed us "unwholesome" by Focus on the Family. (My Arch Nemesis...) If you are easily offended, do not read. Also, extra warning is attached to this due to the "YUCK!" factor during some scenes.

 

Acherontia Atropos Part V

 

My ass was a sorry ass indeed the next morning when it got hauled out of bed. Note that I said "got hauled" instead of "got up." I didn't have the pleasure of waking up on my own. Heero did it for me.

I guess I should have been grateful that he'd been thoughtful enough to wake me up so that I wouldn't oversleep and miss yet another day of class. Instead, I was just pissed. I'd never thought that I could throw a chair with such accuracy, especially right handed. Heero ducked, though, so he didn't get hit. It made a nice dent in the wall.

Heero had woken me up from a nice dream that involved him, a can of whipped cream, and a set of handcuffs. So I had a good excuse to be cranky.

School was the same old stuff as always. Boring teachers, even more boring lectures, and yet another lab in science where the teacher's assistant wouldn't let me have a bunsen burner. Chemistry is only interesting when it's hands on. When you have to sit back and watch everyone else playing with potentially lethal substances, it just sucks. You'd think that after a couple of months, they'd start to let me participate again, but no, the teacher's assistant was being a dork. I mean, geeze, his eyebrows had grown back ok.

As predicted, I was cornered by a group of girls and was forced to endure their distressed cooing over my face until Quatre, who was passing by, took pity and rescued me. Normally, I wouldn't have objected to the attention I was getting from the ladies. Actually, I would have basked in it. But a guy can only take too much "poor baby"-ing before he starts losing patience with it. Especially when the guy has as much on his mind as I had.

"Ne, Quatre, thanks." I said as soon as we were out of earshot of the lovely ladies. I dusted my jacket off. One of the girls had been eating potato chips, and had gotten crumbs all over me. I'm a slob, yeah, but not that much of a slob.

"No problem." Quatre said. We walked along in companionable silence for a few moments.

"Did you hear about the latest incident? Someone broke into our room last night and left us some guns and ammo." It's kind of sad when weirdness becomes so commonplace that it turns into casual conversation. The story of our lives.

"Aa. Trowa heard from Heero, and told me."

I grinned slyly and looked at Quatre out of the corner of my eye. "How go things with Trowa, hm?"

I was awarded with a very cute, pink blush. That's Quatre, all over. He'd admitted to me a long time ago that he had the hots--well, let's be fair to Quatre--MORE than the hots for Trowa. And I was all for it. The two of them were so damn cute together. The only problem was that Trowa was being about as affectionate and open as Heero. Well, maybe not quite that bad, but still, it was a source of endless frustration for Quatre. He and I sometimes got together for several hour bitch sessions (at least they were bitch sessions on my part) over tea when either of us were feeling too frustrated to deal with the men, or, rather, /lack/ of men in our lives. I'd have to say next to Wufei, Quatre was my best friend. I could talk to Quatre about things that I wouldn't talk to Wufei about, and vice versa. It was a great arrangement.

He didn't let the blush stop him from getting me back. "About as well as things with Heero, I imagine." You wouldn't think it to look at him, but Quatre has quite a dry sense of humor and a quick mind to go with all that kindness and patience. But like I said before, looks can be deceiving. He's not just another pretty face.

"Ouch! Stung!" I clapped a hand to my forehead in a dramatic gesture, and immediately wished I hadn't. "Damnit!"

Quatre peered at me with concerned eyes. "Daijoubu ka."

"Aa, daijoubu." I shook my head. "I'm too absent minded."

"Hai."

"You don't have to agree!" I grinned, and Quatre grinned back at me. "Is Trowa still upset about me throwing that cup at him?"

"I don't think he was ever mad about it at all. We all know what you're like in the morning."

"I am a real monster, ne?"

"Until you get your coffee, yes."

We passed through the school lobby. The school was a pretty nice place. The lobby floor was actual varnished wood, a real departure from the grey-speckled off-white tiles that were in every other school lobby I'd ever been in. It had wood panneling, too, and the main office had actual glass doors. Very impressive. The only school I'd ever seen that was nice was that Relena girl's school, but considering how rich she is and all that, it wasn't that surprising.

I scowled. Why the hell did I have to think of Relena now? God only knows, she might show up. I pushed the thoughts away, just in case, like the devil, thinking about Relena would draw her attention. Instead, I took a quick survey of the lobby. My eyes fell on the pay phones. There was something I had to do with a phone...

The little white card. I pulled it out of my pants pocket. It was looking a little less than white now, more of a kind of dusty gray from all the lint it had picked up in my pocket, and it was half crumpled from me sitting and walking. I grabbed the arm of Quatre's jacket and pulled him over to the phone.

"What are you doing?" Quatre looked at me owlishly, but he didn't bother to resist.

I tossed the card at him. "This was with the guns."

Quatre caught the crinkled little piece of thick paper and did his best to smooth it out until it looked fairly neat again. He turned it over and over until the faint penciling, which had somehow miraculously survived through several hours in my pants pocket, caught his eye. "Who's the number for?"

"No idea. I figure I should call it, though. Someone went to a lot of trouble to get me that number." I started searching my pockets for some change to feed the phone. No luck. Quatre, ever helpful, produced some and gave it to me. "Thanks, man. What's the number on that card?"

He read it off to me, pausing several times so he could decipher the faint traces of pencil. When I had it all dialed, we waited. It rang, which was a good sign, I supposed. And rang. And rang. And rang. After about ten times, I got ready to just hang up so I could save Quatre's change...not like he was hurting for the money or anything, though. I just figured that I could borrow it off of him again some other time.

On ring number eleven, there was a click, and a woman's voice came on the phone. It was a nice voice, fairly low for a woman. A good phone voice. It was obvious that she said that one phrase a lot, though. Her tone had been pretty flat through all of it. "Carmelita's. Tell me what dreams you'd like me to make true."

I’d been expecting a lot of things, but that certainly wasn't one of them.

There was a lengthy pause. "Hello?" she said, with a little more animation in her voice.

I managed to gather up my scattered brain, took a deep breath, and launched myself into the conversation. "Er, hi. Gomen, ojou-san, you caught me off guard." There was silence on the other end of the phone, which could mean that she'd hung up. Just in case she hadn't, I bravely forged on. "Uh...My name is Duo. I was given this number to call and no one told me why, so I'm hoping that you know."

Pause pause pause.

"Ne, ojou-san? Are you still there?"

"Yes." The woman said, with an almost normal speaking voice. "I don't know what you're talking about--wait."

Weird sounds started coming out of the phone. I think she'd put her hand over the mouthpiece, but I thought I could hear muffled voices. Two women. After a moment, someone else came on the line. She sounded a lot younger than the other woman. "Hello?"

"Yes?"

"You said your name is Duo, right?"

"Yep."

"Good. Can you meet with me tomorrow?"

"What?"

"Tomorrow, five o'clock. The store is at the corner of ninth and Bowing, you can't miss it. I'll see you then." The phone went dead. I couldn't help it. I did that stupid ass stare-at-the-phone-in-shock thing.

"Duo, what was that about?"

I hung up the phone. "We're supposed to meet a woman tomorrow at five." I looked at Quatre. "Want to be my backup?"

He looked a little surprised. I don't normally ask for backup, but this was getting past the point of strange. "Sure."

"I want to bring along one more person, too. Do you know if Trowa is free tomorrow?"

Quatre shook his head. "He said he and Heero have a mission tomorrow."

"Damn. Do you know if Wufei will be back by then?"

"He might be." Quatre raised his eyebrows. "It's that bad?"

"Probably not, but better to be safe than sorry. If Wufei's back, we'll take him. If not, we won't. Sounds good to me." I reached over and pulled the white card out of Quatre's hands, then crumpled it up the rest of the way and tossed it at a garbage can. Swoosh. Go me.

***

Ceilings have got to be just about one of the most boring things in the world to look at. They're blank, white, unadorned, and totally uninteresting. So why the hell was I laying in bed, staring at mine?

Easy. The answer was sitting at the desk, typing on that damn laptop. I was really starting to hate that stupid machine.

"Ne, Heero?"

"Aa."

"I'm bored." Yes, it sounded childish, but what else could I say in that situation? 'Heero, I lust after your body?' I think not.

He didn't even bother turning around. "Do your homework."

I curled my lip at that particular suggestion. The homework in question was laying in piles on the floor around my bed, a nice, pretty scattering of books and papers. I hated homework. I didn't figure that I'd need it anyway, considering I was probably going to get killed before I saw graduation. Besides, the homwork was all chemistry and calculus, not stuff that I cared about...and if I don't care about the subject, it's almost impossible for me to buckle down and do actually work on it. "Ne, Heero...."

"No." He said, very flatly.

That annoyed me. "You didn't even know what I was going to ask!"

"You should do your homework."

I stuck my tongue out at his back. "I was going to ask for your help, jerk."

"You're smart enough that you don't need my help. You're just being lazy."

I could have gotten a little more pissed about that comment if I'd known it wasn't true. But really, it was. I just wanted an excuse to get Heero close to me. Though considering how he was acting, I had no idea why. Whatever bug had crawled up his ass lately was really starting to wear thin. "Ne, Heero?"

"What?"

Still no emotion. For all I could hear, I wasn't even annoying him. Fine then. The real question. "Why didn't you tell me you were going on another mission tomorrow?"

He actually stopped typing. Will the wonders never cease. "I didn't think it was important." He said, very quietly.

"You didn't think it was important?" I was suddenly on my feet and stalking over to Heero, and I couldn't even remember getting up. "So you were planning to just go off on the mission tomorrow without even telling me?" I could hear my voice getting a little louder with each word, but at that point, I didn't care. "Did it ever occur to you, that as your friend, I might get a little worried???"

Heero shrugged. "Quatre would tell you. He obviously did."

"It's not the same if you hear it from someone /else!!/"

Heero shrugged again. That was it. I turned around and stalked out of the room, slamming the door behind me.

***

So I found myself outside, taking a walk. Again. Without a jacket or a gun. The jacket wasn't that big of a deal, since it had warmed up even more in the last couple of days, but the gun was a real pisser. I wasn't going to go back to the room and get it, though. No way. I might be tempted to shoot someone, and that would waste the silver bullet.

So I shoved my hands in my pockets and slouched off along my normal walking route, toward the trees at the edge of the woods that lined the teacher's parking lot. I was feeling unaccountably jumpy, even taking in to consideration the fact that I had been attacked several nights ago. It wasn't so much a jumpy feeling as the sensation that my skin was too small. My hands itched like they were collecting static electricity, and my head felt fuzzy with it. I cautiously felt my bangs to see if they were standing on end. They weren't. I had no idea what it was, but being outside, under the night sky with the full moon was making it a hell of a lot stronger.

I'd been feeling that way all night, which was probably why I had been so quick to jump on Heero. Not that I was sorry about getting on his case, lord no. I was just kind of mad at myself. The way I'd been going after him, I'd sounded more like a scorned girlfriend than an angry friend. Not good. I didn't think Heero would notice, though. Quatre would have, and maybe Trowa or Wufei, but Heero was way to obtuse when it came to emotions to get it. I hoped.

A flash of light color against the dark grey tinged world caught my attention. I wasn't the only one walking out to the trees tonight. There was someone else, but I couldn't quite make out their face, so I sped my pace and moved to intercept. I reached the kid pretty quickly. He was one of the boys from my class, Yan. He was still half dressed in his school uniform. He'd just taken off the jacket and the tie.

"Ne, Yan! Matte!" I sped up a little more so that I could catch up with him. He didn't even pause or stop, like he hadn't heard me. He did stop, though, when I grabbed his arm. "What are you doing out here?"

Yan blinked a couple of times, like I had just woken him up, and looked at me with surprised eyes. "Maxwell-kun?" Yan was a nice kid, and a real refreshing guy to get to know after having spent some time with the other pilots, because he actually acted his age. He was pretty good looking too; golden skin with a permanent tan, dark sloe eyes, very classic oriental features. Hell, he and Wufei could have been distant cousins, they looked enough alike. He had something Wufei didn't, though; he was still innocent. Completely and totally. "Duo?" He said again. "What are you doing out here?"

"Taking a walk. What about you?" I didn't relinquish my hold on his arm. Something was bothering me, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

"I was taking a walk too?" Yan made it sound more like a question than a statement. He waved his free hand vaguely toward the woods. "I told some friends that I would meet them out here tonight."

The hair on the back of my neck suddenly stood on end, and I glanced toward the woods. There was a light shape there, shining in the moonlight. It looked human. As I watched, it was joined by another. Something told me, though, that they weren't human. Not by a long shot. All of a sudden, I really, really, really wished I had my gun. I started slowly backing away, pulling Yan with me. "Yan, those aren't your friends."

"Yes they are." He looked back at them. "I've been meeting them here for a couple of days."

I just stopped in my tracks, doing my best to keep an eye on the two...wait, no, there were three now...figures at the edge of the woods. With a slightly shaking hand, I reached up and pulled down the collar of Yan's school uniform. He had two sets of neat puncture wounds, already starting to heal, on his neck. Without really knowing why I was checking there, I reached down and pushed up the cuff of his right sleeve. Two more punctures on his wrist. "Oh shit." I said, very quietly. "Yan, come on, let's go back inside. Now. Please." I started to pull him back toward the school again. There were four figures at the edge of the woods, now.

Yan did something totally unexpected. He glanced back toward the woods, and then his face twisted with sudden, inexplicable fury. And then dear little innocent Yan yanked his arm out of my grasp, kneed me in the groin *hard*, and took off running toward the woods.

**********

Enjoy :)

--
Katsu "O-ka-ne" no Miko
"Erst wenn die Wolken schlafen gehen
kann man uns am Himmel sehen
wir haben Angst und sind allein...
Gott weiss ich wil kein Engel sein..." (~Ramms+ein~)

 

Warning: The characters belong to who they belong to and not me. Don't sue me, I'm not worth your time. Special thanks to Laurell K. Hamilton for writing the Anita Blake novels.

Addtional warning: Characters acting wildly OOC. You have been warned.

Additional Additional warning: Alternate reality fic. Events that have happened or will happen in this reality not necessarily connected to what happened in the real series in any way. Don't wave the time line at me, I am beyond it now. A HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!

Additional Additional Additional warning: Extreme supernatural action. Supernatural abilities are as defined by me in the shadow world, where this takes place.

Additional Additional Additional Additional Warning: Story contains Yaoi, Bad language, violence, and pretty much everything deemed us "unwholesome" by Focus on the Family. (My Arch Nemesis...) If you are easily offended, do not read. Also, extra warning is attached to this due to the "YUCK!" factor during some scenes.

 

Acherontia Atropos Part VI

 

I hit the dirt in an undignified heap. Suddenly, nothing much mattered except for the fact that Yan, who I had thought wouldn't know violence if it smacked him in the face, had kneed me in the groin. Really really hard. Tears tried to squeeze themselves out of my eyes and I forgot to breathe for a couple of minutes while I just lay on the ground and curled up into a little ball.

There was a surge of that weird staticky feeling that I'd had all night, and it came up through the ground and hit me like a spark. I was on my feet and feeling a hell of a lot better before I could even think about it. Yan was almost to the woods, and I limped after him as quickly as I could. Yeah, Duo, real smart. Run toward danger.

But I couldn't just leave him to those monsters. I had the feeling that Yan wasn't the one that kneed me, not really. Tamlin had said that vampires could roll an ordinary human's mind with their eyes. Yan was as ordinary as it got, and he was sweet, and innocent, and damnit, like everybody's little brother. So I followed him right into the jaws of the beast, armed only with my little gold cross and my dubious amount of faith.

Not one of the brightest things I'd ever done.

By the time I reached the woods, there were five vampires, and Yan had already gotten to them. There were three females and two males, and all of them, and I mean all of them, looked like walking wet dreams. Nothing at all like the thing that had attacked me before. I knew they were vampires, though, no matter what they looked like. It's like how I knew the words I said over Heero's body a year ago. No explanation...I just knew.

Just like I knew that there was a sixth vampire further back in the woods, the one that was controlling the other five.

I stopped about six meters away from the vampires and stood. I could feel the electric energy almost rolling off of them and brushing past me, raising the hair on my arms. I didn't know what the hell it was, but it was fascinating, and it felt almost...nice. But I'd worry about that later. Right now, I was worried about the fact that there were six vampires, they had Yan, and I was completely unarmed.

/Damnit, Heero, why'd I leave the room without the gun. What are you guys doing? I need you!/ I thought angrily. I knew that there was no way they could know that I was in trouble, but it felt good to be able to mentally curse someone. For a long moment, the vampires watched me, and I watched them right back. Yan was being held by one of the female vampires, a tall red head that looked like she could have been a fashion model or something. She was wearing an actual dress, something white, thin, and almost see through. She had Yan cradled in her arms, with his face pressed against her breasts. Like she could feel my attention on her, she smiled, flashing her fangs in the moonlight.

I licked my suddenly dry lips. "Let him go." I said with a lot more authority than I felt.

"No." The red headed vampire clutched Yan a little more tightly. He made a soft, very contented sound. "The little one is quite happy where he is."

There was a tiny flicker in my peripheral vision, and I transferred the main part of my attention to the vampire that had moved. He was also very tall, with pale blonde hair that looked white in the moonlight. He was dressed relatively normally, in jeans so tight that they looked like they were painted on, and a t-shirt that appeared to be more holes than anything else. He smiled at me as well, somehow managing to not show any fang. "You could join him in our arms." He licked his lips. "I promise to be gentle."

"No thanks. I just want Yan." I took a step back as the vampire took a step forward.

"Look into my eyes."

I suppressed the urge to laugh. Talk about B-movie vampires...I really wanted to ask the guy where he got his dialogue. But I had the feeling it would piss him off. So far, they seemed to be content just to play with me. Which was fine. I didn't really want to get attacked by five or six vampires. "I'd rather not, if you don't mind."

He took another step forward. I took another step back. He laughed, and it was actually a pleasant sound. "You smell interesting, human. I just want you to look me in the eye."

"Really, that's ok."

The red head had obviously had enough games. "Do what he says, or I will kill this one." She stroked Yan's cheek gently with one hand. He giggled softly. He was totally out of it.

/Never look a vampire in the eye./ Tamlin had said. Well, it looked like I didn't have a lot of choice. I had the funny feeling that the vampire wasn't joking when she said that she would kill him. Shit. So I did it. I looked the blonde vampire in the eye, expecting at any moment for my mind to get torn apart or sucked away or whatever happened when vampires rolled someone under.

It was completely anti-climactic. His eyes were just eyes. Pretty, I'll admit, an crystalline, icy blue vaguely reminiscent of Tamlin's, but nothing more.

"What is wrong, Paul?" One of the other vampires, I think a female one, asked.

Paul. Somehow, it didn't seem right for a vampire to be named Paul.

Whatever the vampire saw in my eyes, he didn't like. He frowned, and his eyes took on a faint glow. "I can't roll you." he said, sounding faintly surprised. I was guessing that it didn't happen very often. "Why?"

I shrugged. "I don't know." I couldn't help it. I grinned. Hey, I'd just made a major victory, as far as I was concerned. I was still in control of my own mind. Good sign. "So now what?"

I don't think that was what he wanted to hear. He surged forward, and I managed to take a step back and grab the chain of my cross. He was fast, faster than a normal human, but not that fast.

He was fast enough, however, to punch me before I could dodge. He was sure as hell a lot stronger than a human. His fist connected with my ribcage and I went flying. I hit the ground hard and he was on me, fangs bared. I yanked the cross out from under my shirt, and it flared into life.

Immediately, the vampire was gone. The others were shrieking loudly. I pushed myself up to a sitting position and clutched my ribs. Something was broken. Shit.

It took me a couple seconds to gain my feet, and they were the longest seconds of my life. I still wasn't sure about the entire cross thing against vampires, and I was waiting for one of them to shout "Just kidding!" and leap on me. But it didn't happen. They were actually cowering away. The red head and the blonde were just shielding their eyes, the other three were actually shrieking and slowly backing away. I took a step forward.

They all took a step back. Damn, it felt good.

The good feeling didn't last long, though. The red headed vampire wrapped one of her hands around Yan's throat, still shielding her eyes with the other one. "Take the cross off and throw it away."

"The hell with that!" I yelled.

"If you don't, I will rip his throat out." I saw her hand tighten, and Yan giggled. He actually giggled. I guessed Tamlin was right, and he must have been totally under. "I am not joking, human, and you know it."

Shit. I reached up and grabbed my cross. It was faintly warm in my hand. That was the problem with being the good guy. You can't let another good guy get killed in front of you. You have to do everything in your power to stop it, no matter how obvious the trap is. So I jerked the cross and snapped the chain, then threw it away. Hopefully, I'd be alive to get it back later.

I really really really really wished that I hadn't left without my gun. I also wished that the guys were here. I really did.

The light of the cross died as soon as I pulled it off, and the vampires stopped cowering. "There, happy?"

"Very." Paul the vampire started moving toward me again. One of the other female ones, this one with black hair and dressed in more leather than I've ever seen in one place, slunk along with him.

"Woah, woah, stop there." I backed away. "What the hell do you want?"

"Stop moving." The red head commanded. "Or I will kill him."

Shit. I stopped. Paul and the other vampire took a leisurely walk up to me, and slowly looked me up and down the way you'd check out a horse before you bought it. The female vampire leaned in and blew softly on my ear. I flinched. There was something about them, that energy that I'd felt earlier, and it was almost dancing across my skin. I felt damn uncomfortable, and I was starting to get very scared.

Paul stopped on the other side of me and grabbed my braid, stroking it gently. That bastard. I suddenly decided that I would kill him first, as soon as I got out of this situation and managed to get a weapon. NO ONE touches my hair. Especially not stupid vampires with B movie dialogue. "He is pretty, isn't he, Victoria."

Victoria. So that was the leather queen's name. It just seemed too perfect. Gag me.

She breathed softly in my ear. "I like you."

"That's nice." I said. "I don't think I like you." Me and my big mouth.

It was definitely not the thing to say. She laid a hand on my chest, somehow finding exactly the same spot where Paul had hit me, and pushed. I fell to my knees, gasping for breath. Victoria giggled. I decided that it was a sound that I didn't like. Paul hauled me to my feet like I didn't weigh anything when I couldn't manage to stand up right away on my own. Great.

Victoria blew on my ear again, and then there was a quick wetness that could only be her tongue. I couldn't help it, I shivered. I had to close my eyes and imagine that it was someone else, because I knew I couldn't give her the satisfaction of whimpering, which is what I really wanted to do. No, better to pretend that it was Heero, or, hell, anyone else.

She giggled. Again. It was really setting my teeth on edge. I concentrated on the annoyance and anger, anything to keep myself from thinking about the fact that she was nibbling on my ear...and then my neck. My eyes flew open.

"Just relax, pretty one. I just want a little taste." she whispered.

I had to try twice before I found my voice. "Something tells me that with you, it's never just a little taste." I said.

"True." She licked my neck, and I did my best to flinch away.

"Victoria just wants a taste, pretty one. She won't hurt you, too much." Paul whispered in my other ear. Oh God, I had both of them after me, now. "If you fight, Cheree will kill the boy. You're a much more interesting toy than he is."

"What do you want?" I asked, very quietly. My voice didn't shake or crack. Point for me. God, I hate being powerless more than anything else.

Cheree, the red head, laughed. She must have practiced her laugh or something, because it was very, very pleasant, like a warm blanket that you could almost wrap around yourself. Not the kind of laugh that comes naturally. "I want your fear, pretty one, and your anger. I want it to wash over me."

Ok, I definitely did not like Cheree, either. I don't think I've ever been so thoroughly trapped before in my entire life. And this time, this one was wholly my fault. I decided that when I got free, Paul would be second. Cheree was going to die first.

Victoria nuzzled at my neck, drawing my attention back to more immediate problems. "Tell me I can taste, pretty one." She whispered. In another situation, it would have been seductive.

"Why?"

"There is something about you, pretty one. I can't drink unless you say I can."

Hot dog. I'd figure out what later. The important part was that right now, I had a little power.

"Tell Victoria that she can drink, or--"

"--yes, I know I know. You'll kill Yan." Damnit damnit. Shit. I licked my lips. "Victoria, you can...drink." Those simple words took a lot more courage than I frankly thought I had. Point for me. The bad news was, I'd just told a vampire that she could have a drink. God, I was in trouble.

Victoria actually kissed me. Full on the lips, open mouth, tongue and everything. I didn't respond, and after a long minute, she pulled away. "Thank you." She whispered, and then her lips moved to my neck. “You must be the one that Thomas got himself killed trying to take. Are you worth it?” I felt sharpness that could have only been her fangs, and I shut my eyes tightly. I would not scream. I would not scream. I would not scream. Oh God...

I heard a sound behind me. Running footsteps, getting closer. Hot damn. Victoria pulled abruptly back and hissed...and whoever it was (I was praying that it was the guys) started shooting. A bullet hit Victoria in her arm, and there was an explosion of blood. She went down clutching her arm, and I think that's the only reason it stayed attached to her body. Whatever kind of ammo that Tamlin had given us, it definitely was not for play. I wanted to cheer.

That happy thought got cut off when Paul grabbed me by the throat. Suddenly, time slowed down for me, like it sometimes does in the middle of really intense fights. The electricity I'd been feeling all evening jolted through my body like cold black lightning, and I sent it blasting outwards, down into the ground, and, most importantly, through Paul's arm and down into his body. It's hard to find the words to describe how it felt. My nerve endings were on fire, but strangely enough, it was almost pleasant. I felt like I was filled to the brim with cool, dark water that I could manipulate at will. When it went flowing into Paul, the spark that was him retreated before the rush of power, and then he was mine.

He was mine, and I could feel him hating me.

"Let me go." I said, a lot more calm than I had any right to be. I could feel things happening around me, more bullets flying through the air, the vampires beginning to retaliate...then beginning to fall back as the power that was filling me up swept over them. None of it mattered, because for that one moment, I and the power were all that existed. It was like the feeling I got sometimes when I was in Deathscythe, when I felt like I was floating in my Gundam's darkness like a diver in the deep ocean.

Paul let me go. I fell to my knees, clutching my ribs and trying to start breathing again. "Back away." I wheezed. He backed up two steps, and I could feel a line of power stretching between us like a rubber band. One more step, and it snapped. Paul was free from my control, though I could still dimly 'feel' him. He shot me a look of pure, utter hatred, and fled with the others, disappearing into the woods.

The guys were right behind me, I could hear them, and I could feel them sending ripples shuddering through the dark power that was still filling me. Trowa and Heero ran past me toward the woods, though Heero paused long enough to give me a quick once over with his eyes, to make sure I wasn't bleeding profusely or anything.

"Duo!!" It was Quatre. I turned to look at him. There was an almost tangible bubble of energy around me. He touched the outlying edges of the energy carefully with the tips of his fingers, and then quickly jerked his hand away, shaking it as if it had stung.

Abruptly, the bubble popped and all the energy dried up. I found myself laying on the asphalt of the parking lot, again, gasping for breath. I was completely empty.

"Duo...Daijoubu ka. What was that?" Quatre was on his knees beside me, helping me roll over. I jerked when he touched me, and rolled away. "Duo!"

"Don't touch me!" I screamed, and struggled to my feet, rear-end first. It wasn't terribly dignified, but it was the quickest way to get up. I stumbled toward the woods, half running.

There was blood, so much blood, all over the asphalt and in the dirt by the trees. I knew some of it belonged to the vampires; Trowa, Heero, and Quatre had managed to wound most of them. That wasn't what I was interested in though. There, under one of the huge, ancient trees, the ground had turned into black, sticky mud. The air was chokingly full of the coppery tang of fresh, cooling blood. There was so much blood, too much blood.

I knew where all the power had come from, though not why it had come to me, or why it had even existed.

Yan was there, laying in the middle of the sea of mud. His head was thrown back and one of his arms was carelessly to the side, like he was just sleeping or something. There was even a soft, innocent smile curving his lips. His formerly pristine white shirt was now shiny, wet black in the moonlight. Where his neck had been, there was only a gaping hole, gleaming dully in the dim light.

That bitch had said she wanted my fear and my anger. She could have my anger, all of it. I wanted to give her as much as I could hold. But not just then. Then, I grabbed a tree for support and started throwing up until I was empty and I felt like I was going to vomit my toenails. When I was done, I looked back. Yan was still laying there in the moonlight. He wasn't a hallucination, like I'd half hoped.

I fell to my knees in the mud by him and let the cooling blood soak into my pant legs.

I knew where all that power had come from.

Oh God, I wish I didn’t know.