Son of a Sable Night
Chapter 5: Without the Torment of the Night's Untruth
Sated, strengthened, suspicious; I took my time cleaning up before I exited the bathroom to get dressed and face the man I had just had sex with.
"You must have questions," said Duo.
He stood by the window with a sheet wrapped loosely around his
waist; the tip of his braid was cradled in the curving fold that
shadowed the base of his spine. We were in a hotel room and I could see
lights radiating out along the city streets below us. Which city and
which streets, I didn't know.
I started with the obvious, "Why aren't you weakened?"
"I wouldn't give myself to you willingly if I didn't know what I was
doing," said Duo. "Let's leave it at that for now."
"The Hunter-" I faltered; I had a thousand questions about that man.
"What was he?" Duo supplied.
I nodded and moved aside an ashtray to take a wary perch on the edge
of a small round table situated in the corner.
Duo turned around and rubbed his neck, "What do you remember before
"What does that have to do with anything?"
The man narrowed his eyes and tightened the sheet as it lowered a
notch, "If you don't _want_ to answer, fine by me, but if you want to
_get_ some answers, I need a place to start. And the beginning is
fuck-all too long ago."
We had a brief contest of wills, eyes burning into one another. He
"I don't remember much. Writing, teaching maybe," I reluctantly told
him. "Then the war started and I was sent to the camps. That was where I met Treize; he was a recruiter. I wasn't fit enough to be a soldier, so he convinced me to work in intelligence as a translator."
"Anything before that?" Duo's eyes gleamed and I worried even more
at the significance of my memories.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.
"A man, with long blonde hair, so light it was almost silver," I
told him. I couldn't summon a clear picture of him in my mind. I never
could. It had been so long ago, but that was to be expected. That's how
childhood memories are supposed to be, distant things that hold more
emotion than clarity; like dreams.
The only problem was, when I thought of the blonde man, I felt
nothing; no connection to him at all. No sentiment, no unease, it was as if I was remembering a photograph of him, unlike the other figure that I could recall...
"A woman, with blue eyes and a throaty laugh. I think her name was
Sara. My mother perhaps."
When I thought about her, it was with fondness, but I had only a
single lucid memory of her and it always played out soundlessly like a
scene from a movie: I look down at her and she's talking and smiling,
then her eyes widen and her mouth opens in a silent scream. I could
never remember what she said or what happened afterwards.
Duo smiled wryly. "She wasn't your mother; and her name was Sally."
Sally... The name felt right and repeating it in my head, I could
almost hear her voice, shaping itself into words instead of the elusive
laugh that rang in my dreams.
"I didn't believe Wufei when he told me you'd forgotten everything,"
Duo said, interrupting my reflection. I watched him as he walked back to
the bed, the sheet trailed along behind him like a bride's train. He
propped a pillow against the wall and sat down, curling one leg beneath
him and leaning back.
"What do you think you are?" he asked me.
"Vampire? Incubus? Hellspawn?" Duo said, echoing my thoughts.
"Treize made me, whatever I am."
He sat quietly for a while, contemplating my answer.
"You know then, that there are beings not entirely mortal," Duo
No shit, I thought bitterly.
"Unlike you or I, there are some that can't be killed... Trowa is
one of those; he doesn't really exist on this plane."
I was curious as to what he knew about Wufei, but more than that, I
wanted to know why Duo had saved me. I asked him and he smirked.
"I've been following you for weeks. If I had wanted to kill you, I
would have already," he said.
"So what are you? My guardian angel?" I snapped.
Duo chuckled and I felt that odd tingle run across my skin, same as
it had when I first noticed him, standing by the fireplace at that
A knock sounded on the door and both Duo and I shot to our feet. I
glanced over and saw he had the same matte black pistol in his hand,
pulled from only God knows where. He held two fingers up, signalling for me to be quiet and stay still, then gently pulled loose the knot of the
sheet and let it slide to the floor.
His legs free of the potentially encumbering material, Duo moved
silently towards the door. He hugged the wall and held the gun aimed at
the patterned carpet; he had one finger on the trigger ready to fire,
and his left hand was curled under the butt for accuracy.
The impatient tattoo of a second knock sounded.
"We didn't order any room service," Duo said, in a light, carefree
tone that didn't match his expression in the least.
"Maxwell, open the door." The voice was Wufei's.
"Are you alone?" Duo asked.
"On my honor."
Duo's lips tightened and he adjusted his grip on his weapon. A few
heartbeats later, he aimed the gun at chest height and reached out with
his left hand to unlock the bolt and stepped back to let Wufei in.
"Put that thing down," Wufei said, after he had closed the door; his
eyes were angry and defiant as he stared past the barrel of Duo's gun
into the other man's eyes.
Duo kept his weapon trained on Wufei. "Where's your sword?"
"I didn't bring it, Maxwell. I'm not here to kill either of you."
His eyes narrowed slightly and he said, "You know my word is good."
"I know by reputation that your word is good," Duo said, but he
lowered his weapon.
As soon as Duo's arm was down, Wufei burst into motion. He slammed
himself against the braided man and pinned Duo against the wall with an
arm under his chin. Wufei's other hand had gone to grab Duo's wrist and
he dug a thumb into the nerve; the gun fell to the carpet with a soft
"Why didn't you tell me they didn't send you?" Wufei pressed his arm
against Duo's throat harder with each word.
"Wufei!" I ran over and tore him off Duo.
My body was charged with energy. I hadn't fed so well in years and
the power in my limbs was restored to the same level as it had been when
Wufei was actively Hunting me. He recognized this and backed down,
allowing the tension to bleed from him. His body regained its normal
relaxed posture, although his eyes betrayed his fury and I held him for
a moment longer, before I released my grip.
"Not here to kill me, but you'll rough me up all you want, eh? Some
sense of honor you've got there," Duo coughed. He bent and picked his
gun up off the floor without taking his eyes off Wufei.
"You didn't tell me who it was that sent you."
"You didn't ask."
"I shouldn't have had to," Wufei insisted.
"You shouldn't have been sleeping with the enemy either," Duo
I felt confused and left out, but mostly, I was irritated.
"Will you both shut up and tell me what the hell is going on?"
Both men stopped their bickering and turned equally vicious glares
at me; Duo looked rather less than threatening in his state of undress.
"Stay out of this," they said in unison.
I stayed out of it.
I went to the window and tuned out their arguing after realizing
that listening to it wasn't giving me anything but a headache.
Eventually, they tired each other out and I turned around to find Wufei
collapsed into a chair brooding, and Duo pulling on his clothes.
"I'm taking Heero," said Duo.
"To him?" Wufei asked, then shook his head, "Who else." His
shoulders sagged and I saw him look weary for the first time, "Go. I'll
face whatever consequences there are. I let him live this long already."
I saw a smile of relief on Duo's lips, then he noticed I was
listening again and the smile turned into a grin. He finished tying the
laces on his boots and I caught the hilt of a knife disappear as he
tugged the hem of his pants down.
"You up for a nice long drive?"
I considered my options. There weren't many. They essentially boiled
down to: go with Duo, or, take my chances alone. I didn't precisely
trust the longhaired man, but my entire being still ached with a strange attraction to him. Also, if I went with him, I might have a chance to
learn a bit more about what was going on.
"Who are we going to see?"
"The other person you remembered before Treize," Duo answered. Out
of the corner of my eye, I saw Wufei stiffen.
He recovered swiftly and stood up, then walked over to me, lay a
hand on my shoulder and looked me in the eye. "If you go with him, you
may be placing yourself in more danger."
"Duo, is it still Wednesday night?" I asked. I assumed it was
because Duo had on the same clothes, but I had no idea how long I was
The braided man looked a little puzzled, but nodded. "Well,
actually, Thursday morning, if you want to be specific; it's three past
I nodded and returned my gaze to Wufei. "I'll take my chances and
see you in eighty two days."
Surprise flashed in his dark eyes, then he smiled slightly and
stepped away fluidly. He smoothed the spot on my shirt where his hand
had been and nodded, "Eighty two."
"Don't forget that a second team has been dispatched. And, there are
still others hunting him as well," Wufei said to Duo and I needled at
being spoken about again as if I was invisible or beneath their notice.
"More of Treize's faction."
Duo smirked. "How do you think I found him in the first place?"
When Wufei was gone, Duo asked me if I knew how to fire a gun.
"I may have been military intelligence, but they still taught me how
to shoot," I replied.
"That was fifty years ago," he pointed out.
"I haven't forgotten," I assured him. I sounded more confident than
He hefted a small black duffel onto the bed and opened it. Inside
were neatly folded stacks of clothing and a small bag filled with the
usual toiletries one carries when traveling.
He slid his hand along the side, his fingernails made soft zipping
sounds against the canvas, and then I heard something unsnap. Duo
produced a second gun, identical to the one he carried, and offered it
to me. I took it and weighed it in my hand.
It felt cold, deadly, and fit perfectly in my grip. Out of a lack of
anywhere else to put it, I did what he had earlier and tucked it in the
back of my pants.
"Not there," Duo said. He reached around me and pulled it free, then
lifted my shirt and shoved it in the front of my waistband. "You're not
used to it and you wouldn't be able to pull it out fast enough to make
He saw the hesitation in my eyes and chuckled, "Don't worry, it's
not going to go off by accident and shoot your balls off."
I wasn't convinced, but I had checked the safety and forced myself
to trust the mechanism.
Duo had pulled my shirt back down, but it was a tight tee and only
outlined the weapon instead of concealing it. His solution to that was
to pull off his sweater and hand it to me. "Wear that."
I obeyed, thrusting my arms into the tight sleeves and dragging it
on. It smelled like him and the scent of it so close to me made me want
him again. Seeing him bare-chested before me only amplified the feeling
and I stepped forward, searching out his mouth with my own.
"We don't have time for this now," he moaned. I could feel him try
to bury his desire, even as his tongue twined against mine and his arms
looped around to pull me close to him.
We made time and gave each other pleasure by way of hands and lips.
Trusting his words that he knew what he was doing, for the first time in a decade, I abandoned myself fully to pleasure. Still, I found myself
gripped by fear after our mutual release and prayed that his heart
wouldn't falter in its steady rhythm.
"Now that they've gained a half hour on us, shall we decide to take
the scenic route?" said Duo.
He raised his head away from my chest and reached down to pick the
sheet up off the floor and use it to wipe my seed off his hand. I didn't need to do the same, I had taken his body's gift within my mouth.
"Is it any more dangerous?"
"Only if you get hungry in the car and distract me so I end up
driving us off a cliff."
"Then the scenic route is good. It'll keep my hands off you." I
tucked the gun back in my pants and pulled Duo's sweater over it again.
"I have a fear of falling."
He looked about to say something, then just shook his head and
laughed as he zipped his pants back up.
As soon as we got in his car, I started to think about Sally, trying
to make sense of the image of her talking, smiling, then screaming.
I hunched down in the bucket seat and nestled my chin into the
turtleneck of the sweater I wore. I chewed on the inside of my cheek as
I agonized over the shapes of words that grew ever clearer in the haze
of my memory.
The air near the window was cool, and I shifted to rest my temple
against the glass in an attempt to counteract the air blowing out of the heater in the center of the dash. Duo had turned it on, when he turned
the radio on. The music was easy to ignore, but the heat, although
welcome at first, was making the inside of the car uncomfortably stuffy.
Duo apparently thought the same and he switched the heater off
before I did. Distraction gone, I returned to the task of dredging up
Two hours passed, and the sky was starting to lighten with the dim
glow of false dawn, when things clicked and I finally had a sentence to
show for my efforts.
"...Heero, I'm so relieved that you understand my choice..." Sally's
voice reached out to me across time.
An ominous feeling clawed its way into my stomach and I swallowed as
I realized why I remembered her screaming.
"Forsaken no longer," my lips silently formed the words that I knew,
with a sinking heart, I had said to her in response.
We gassed up in a one stop sign town and Duo left me alone with the
car as he went across the street to a quaint grocery store to buy us
I paced back and forth a bit to stretch my legs, then leaned my body
against the car and stretched my arms over the roof as I waited for him
to return. The metal was comfortably warm and soaked into my skin. The
heat made me feel drowsy and I stifled a yawn.
Whatever I was, I still had the mortal failing that required me to
sleep. I discovered that Duo was no different and I wondered if he was
human after all. So far, the only thing he had done, that was truly
extraordinary, was survive my hunger; though his connection with Wufei
and his knowledge made it highly unlikely that he was merely human.
I entertained myself with the possibility until he came back with a
bag full of high caffeine energy drinks. He was already unwrapping a
chocolate bar as we got back in his car and he deposited the bag on the
floor of the car, next to my legs. He bit off the end of the candy bar,
then held it out to me, "Want some?"
I shook my head and grabbed one of the slim cans from the bag
instead. I could eat, my body could process food, but I didn't need it.
Dismissing another myth, I had no fear of the sun, I simply rarely went
out during the day. The nature of my hunger suited itself better to the
night and the emotions coming from large crowds of people were at times, difficult to process.
Duo started the engine and looked over his shoulder as he backed out
of the small gas station. "We'll hit the ocean by the end of the day,"
"We'll find a place to get a bit of rest. After that, it's a
straight shot up the coast."
"What's his name?" If I had a name, maybe I could remember more
about the blonde man also.
"He's got more than one," said Duo. He glanced over at me briefly.
"You'd know him as Zechs."
"Zechs..." I repeated the name, but nothing registered, so I stared
at the ribbon of clouds that hovered above the horizon and contemplated
what the future held.