Son of a Sable Night
"Tea?" Wufei asked as he stood up.
"No." I gritted my teeth and wondered how long Wufei had been in the
I shook the newspaper I was reading and folded it back so I could
focus on a particularly interesting article. A few minutes later, I
heard the microwave beep in the kitchen, and then Wufei was back. He
glided around the edge of the couch and pressed a cup into my hand. The
ceramic mug bordered on being too hot to hold and I automatically
brought it to my lips to gauge by the steam how long it would be before
it was cool enough to drink.
"Still thinking about tall, dark, and handsome?" he asked, draping
himself over a padded leather chair that matched the tacky southwestern
motif of the couch I occupied.
"No." I had been right, he had laughed at me when I told him
everything last night.
He smirked. "You're a terrible liar."
I eyed him. He had one elbow propped on the low backrest and his mug
of tea rested on his upper thigh, held in place by his forefinger. He
looked like he always did: catlike, with glittering eyes and a
deceptively languid pose.
I was a magnet for attractive dangerous men.
"You're looking at me as if you're hungry," he said, lifting his
chin slightly and undoing the top button of his black silk shirt.
"No. I'm looking at you and wondering why I put up with you."
"This mystery man bothers you so much, why?" He rolled his head to
the side and peered between narrowed lashes at me.
"Because he knows what I am."
Wufei smirked again. "Exactly." His fingers curled around his mug,
twisting it around until his thumb hooked under the handle.
"Exactly what?" I snarled.
"That's exactly why you put up with me," said Wufei. "And don't tell
me you've forgotten about why _I_ put up with _you_." He lifted his tea
up in a mock toast then sipped from it slowly, dark eyes gleaming over
I amended my earlier thought.
I was a magnet for attractive dangerous men that wanted to kill me.
The article I had been reading, about a recent rash of aggressive
dog attacks, became far less interesting and I drained the tea in two
swallows to calm my nerves.
I stood on Relena's porch and pressed a small white button nestled
beneath a black, flip-top, mailbox. A soft chime sounded inside the
Barking, muttered curses and what sounded like a book falling to the
floor preceded the front door being yanked open. A petite girl with
short dark hair sized me up through the screen and asked me what I
wanted. The little white Pomeranian cradled against her chest snarled at
"Is Relena home?" I asked.
"You must be Heero," she said. I nodded and she pushed open the
screen door. "Come on in."
"No prob. She's upstairs," the girl said. She crouched to pick up a
tattered novel off the floor and settled down in a beanbag to resume
I took the stairs two at a time; it was more comfortable that way. I
wasn't precisely tall or long-legged, but the steps were a bit shallow,
and when I carried Relena up them, three days ago, I had stumbled more
"Heero. I didn't expect you to show up." Relena appeared in the
doorway to her room and surveyed me. She assumed a cool defensive
posture. She was wearing an outfit very similar to the one she wore the
other night: white v-necked sweater with elbow length sleeves, woolen
knee highs and chunky shoes; only this time, her skirt was chocolate
coloured vinyl instead of nice girl plaid and she had a scarf wound
about her neck.
"I would've called, but you didn't give me your number," I said.
"I'm such an idiot," she said and her body lost its rigidity. She
leaned her shoulder against the doorframe and smiled apologetically at
me. "I was upset the past couple days and its all because I flaked out
after that incredible..." she blushed and fingered the fold of her
scarf. "I'm so sorry."
"You don't need to apologize," I said. I stepped closer to her and
pushed her fingers away from her throat. I fingered the soft cashmere
and tugged the scarf loose until the smooth skin of her neck was
exposed. "I could've hunted down your number."
Relena closed her eyes and murmured another breathy sorry as she
twisted to prop her back against the doorframe. I rested my forearm just
above her head and rested my weight on it as I whispered words of
forgiveness into the bangs that were trimmed in a neat line across her
"I've got a SETA meeting in an hour," she said, when I brushed my
lips against her jaw.
"You can be a little late," I replied.
"Just don't leave me so faint I can't concentrate. I don't know what
you did last time, but I mean you had to carry me up the stairs and I
could hardly get myself out of bed the next morning," she babbled as I
pulled her into the room and closed the door. "That was an amazing
orgasm, although things were a little rough. I think we broke one of the
salt shakers and you left a couple marks on my neck that I..."
"It'll be different this time. I'll go slower," I assured her and
shut her up with a kiss.
I didn't lose control this time and Relena gave me a dreamy smile as
I got dressed.
"Your meeting is twenty minutes away," I reminded her.
"If you want me to call, I'll need your number." I tucked the tail
of my belt under the frayed loops on my jeans, then sat down on a padded
stool to pull on my shoes.
She slid out of bed and scrawled the number on a slip of paper torn
from the edge of a magazine page.
I took it from her and stuffed it in my pocket, then remembered to
give her a kiss and a promise to call and make arrangements for
something substantial like a dinner date.
Her dark haired friend glanced up as I descended the stairs. She was
still holding the dog, petting it with one hand while holding her book
up with the other.
'Interview with the Vampire.'
I almost laughed.
"Some guy came here looking for you," she said, and my foot
hesitated for a second before I regained my composure and stepped off
"Was he Chinese?"
"Didn't look it. Tall, good-looking, long hair in a braid," she
gestured with the hand holding her book, "I told him you were _busy_
"He said he'd call you later tonight," she said. Having given me the
message, she propped her elbow on her thigh again, splayed her book
open, and went back to ignoring me.
"Actually, Hilde's wrong," a quiet, but decidedly not soft, female
voice floated into the room as I headed to the door. A slim girl with
light blonde hair sauntered in and lit up a cigarette; she put it to her
lips and spoke around it, "He said he'd call _on_ you later tonight."
"Whatever," the girl with the book muttered.
I thanked both of them before I left.
I spent the rest of the night holed up in a diner and when I did
head back home, a few hours before sunrise, I waited for a long time
before I walked in.
I didn't feel safe until I was in my room.
"Your stalker is a nice guy."
"Shit. Wufei." I spotted him half leaning against the window with
both legs crossed at the ankle and his palms resting on the windowsill.
"How long have you been there."
"Long enough to watch you get undressed."
I snatched a fresh pair of underwear from my dresser and glared at
"As I was saying, nice guy. You weren't kidding when you said he was
easy on the eyes."
"So he did show up. When?"
"Showed up around nine and left long before you slunk back in."
"What did he want."
"We didn't talk much."
"What do you mean?"
"He came for me and settled for you," I sneered to hide the
irrational surge of jealousy that flared up in me.
"No, actually he came for me," Wufei stretched. As he pushed himself
to his feet, I tried to dissect his words to see if he meant that
entirely as a lewd pun or was serious. The blinds covering the window
returned to their original position with a wobbling snap and the feeble
light of pre-dawn ghosted around the surrounding wall.
"You were right, Heero," the Chinese man padded over to me and
leveled his gaze with mine.
"Maxwell will probably kill you."
I narrowed my eyes and waited for Wufei to dole out more
information. As much as I wanted to wring it out of him, I'd learned
long ago that he only did things on his terms. At least now I had a
"Orders are I'm back in business again too," he said.
Well shit. I shifted my weight as I prepared to defend myself. I was
wearing socks and the smooth hardwood floor was not going to be very
cooperative if I wanted to try and kick Wufei's legs out from under him.
"Don't worry, our bargain still holds," he said and reached behind
his head to tighten his ponytail. "You've got ninety eight days until
you meet my sword."
Nine years ago, when Wufei had me pinned to the wall of a warehouse
with the blade of his sword at my neck, we had made a deal. I'd pay him
a hefty sum, play nice with the boys and girls I fed on and allow him to
observe me at his discretion; in return he wouldn't lay a finger on me
for a decade.
At some point we trusted each other enough to become lovers and he'd
told me that it might not look like he'd have to kill me at all. At
first I took it as the kind of empty promise one says when they're
vulnerable and would come to regret. Over the years I concluded that
Wufei was never vulnerable and I doubted he could feel regret. Until
yesterday, I'd also foolishly concluded that he really was off the hunt.
I had been lulled into a sense of false security, when, after he decided
to stop coming to my bed, he never dropped back into the same routine of
tracking my every move and casually pointing out how many more days I
had to live.
It had been nice while it lasted.
"The enemy of my enemy is my friend," Wufei said, cupping my cheek
and letting his fingers slip across my chin and land momentarily on my
naked shoulder before he bared his teeth in a grin and left.
The bastard was always so cryptic.
As I lay in bed, I thought about what Wufei had told me. If there
was such a thing as mental indigestion; I had it now.
This was the first time he'd ever mentioned that he had been hunting
me for anything other than his own personal pleasure.
'Ninety eight days...'
God. Had it been that long? The years had passed so quickly.
'The enemy of my enemy...'
Was he referring to me? Or to this 'Maxwell' person?
I can't pinpoint when I stopped worrying and started falling asleep,
but my descent into slumber was broken by a full body jolt. My eyes
flared open and my teeth ached as I sucked in a quick breath of the
chill, early morning air.
Nine years ago... It had been nine years ago that Wufei and I had
made our bargain.
I certainly looked no different, but neither did he.
Why hadn't I ever noticed before that time affected him the same way
it affected me, which is to say, not at all.