Warnings: Yaoi, Vampire, death (not main character)...
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is not mine.
Fangs & Fur
"They say you're the best in the business," the blond man behind the desk eyed me in a way that made my skin crawl.
"I am," I told him, settling one hand on my gun. "And I'm not cheap."
He steepled his fingers and rested his chin on them, giving me the once over again. I was tempted to shoot out one of his big blue eyes, just to make the point that I didn't like the way they were wandering over me like greasy hands, but that wasn't politic. I just pulled my hat down a bit over my eyes and frowned a little. Nothing the guy could take offense at.
This guy wasn't the one to piss off unfortunately. He owned this section of the territories and if he said jump, his little minions did it without asking how high. He'd even adopted a new name- Merquise- just to make himself sound more important- or so the bartender at the saloon had told me. Too bad us Western Americans weren't impressed by fake handles.
"If you can catch the person that's stealing my cattle, you'll be worth the price. I'd even be tempted to throw in a bonus," he leered a little bit. I wanted to tell him that he could shove his bonus up his ass, but the bastard would probably think that I was flirting with him or something.
"I'll catch him. It can't be that hard."
"He's already eluded all of my men and the three other specialists I've called in."
"He won't elude me," I said and the bastard smirked.
"I hope not. Otherwise, I'll have to let everyone out here know that someone managed to best you."
Great, smear my reputation in other words. What a lovely guy.
"I'd better get started then," I snapped and turned on my heel.
"Mr. Maxwell? One more thing?"
I didn't turn back around. "Yeah?"
"Do be careful out there. One of the specialists didn't come back. Well, to be precise, most of him didn't come back. We did manage to give his head a lovely burial though."
At the time, I just shrugged and walked out of the guy's office, not intending to fall prey to his little joke.
Course, that night as I stood guard over the herd, it was hard not to wonder what was carrying off the cattle.
According to the other cowboys the cows vanished one at a time, always at night, and the only clue they had ever found was a bit of blood on the grass.
Turned out that thing about the specialist's head was true too.
They stayed huddled around the campfire, not even attempting to keep an eye on the herd. The dogs stayed close to the fire too, leaning up against their masters.
It was enough to creep me out, just a bit.
I still kept my eye on the herd, circling the cows in the darkness. There were so many of them that it took a few hours to go all the way around. I didn't see anything suspicious, didn't hear any trouble, but in the morning they counted the herd, and sure enough, came up one short.
Not too surprising really. One man is not enough to watch a whole herd. I tried hard to convince the others to patrol with me- earn the money that they were being paid and they flat out refused.
"We don't get paid enough to risk our necks like that," one of them told me.
So for three nights in a row, I walked around the herd and cows got stolen on my watch.
It was pretty damn infuriating. If I did manage to catch the rustler, I was tempted to string him up myself, and not deliver him back to Merquise.
The fourth night I took my blanket and walked through the herd, rather than around. The blanket was the same brownish color as the cows were, so I hoped I wouldn't be too noticeable.
My little blending in trick worked too well. One moment I was walking around the sleeping cows, the next I was lifted off my feet and soaring above the ground.
Was some kind of big bird stealing the cows? Before I could work myself free of the blanket, whatever-it-was dropped me.
Thankfully, I was only a few feet from the ground, and I managed to avoid landing on a cow.
I rolled a bit and then ripped the blanket off to try and get a glimpse of what had grabbed me.
Hovering over me was a man, dressed all in black, with a pair of giant wings.
I blinked again. Maybe one of the cowboys had slipped me something in my coffee?
"You aren't a cow," he said with a frown, his dark blue eyes glaring accusingly at me.
"You got that right- I'm not. What the hell are you?"
The man smiled. "The cowboys think I'm that goat-eating beast from Mexico."
"The chupa-thingie?" I shook my head. "He doesn't look like you."
He nodded. "I know. It scares the hell out of them to think so though." He tilted his head to the side. "You one of the specialists Merquise hired?"
"Too bad," the man sighed. "I guess this means I have to kill you."
"Damn," I struggled to my feet, reaching for my gun. "And I thought we were getting along so well too. You usually behead people on the first date?"
The guy made a face. "No. That one just made me mad. I promise I won't get that messy this time."
"Gee, that makes me feel so much better."
"You brought this on yourself," he took a step towards me and I backed up, running into a cow in the process. Great- I had managed to trap myself. Maybe I should just duck under the cow and run like hell. "Working for a bastard like Merquise."
"Well, a guy's gotta eat," I said defensively and he smiled revealing some sharp looking canines.
"Very true." He stepped closer. This was not good.
I pulled out my gun but before I could fire it, the guy had plucked it from my hand. "Hey!"
"Look, it can't hurt me anyway, and I really don't want another hole in this shirt. Just relax- it will make it easier." He leaned against me, pinning me in place. I tried to struggle but he was too strong.
"Look, I can quit. I don't like the bastard anyway..."
"Really? You look to be just his type." The guy's tongue lapped at my throat and I shivered. I should've been disgusted, but... my body reacted a different way.
Wait a minute- wings, sharp teeth, supernatural strength, speed and now this... crap, I knew what this guy was.
"You're a vampire!"
"Very good, I can see you were classically educated," he laughed against my throat. "So I don't have to tell you what happens next?"
"Why are you going after me?" I protested. "Why not Merquise if you hate him so much?"
The vampire leaned away for a moment and I felt a sliver of hope.
"Because," he sighed. "While your writers get a lot of details wrong, the one about being invited into a home is true- and Merquise knows it. So he stays inside his house where I can't reach him. So all I can do is steal his cows- one a night."
"You eat a whole cow every night?"
The vampire frowned. "No. I drink a little blood and then return them to their rightful owners. The ones Merquise took them from in the first place if I can tell who they belong to, a poor family who could use a cow if I can't."
Well, what do you know- a vampire Robin Hood.
"Look, then wouldn't it make more sense to get me to help you? And I could you know. I can walk into Merquise's offices. I can make him think I drove you off. He'd get careless and then you could grab him."
The vampire frowned, considering. "And what if you double-crossed me?"
He would think of that.
"I wouldn't do that." I wouldn't either. Crossing something that could rip my throat out without half trying was not a safe thing to do.
"You're double-crossing Merquise."
"He only threatened my reputation. You have my life in your hands. One is more important to me."
He nodded. "I see your point. Very well. I'll leave the cows alone for a bit, you convince Merquise that you got rid of his cattle rustler and then you either invite me onto Merquise's property or see to it that he's careless. In return, I won't kill you. Is that our deal?" He smiled, revealing his fangs again.
It sounded a bit one-sided to me, but again, I wasn't going to argue with someone who had teeth like that.
"Very well. I am Heero Yuy." He let me go and I lifted a hand.
"Duo Maxwell, at your service." A moment later and I was flattened on the ground, Heero's mouth on my throat again. "Wait! What are you doing?"
"I'm not an idiot. You might decide that betraying me is the better option. I'm going to make sure you stick to our deal." His mouth touched my jugular. "Besides, you offered. 'At my service' you said. And I'm hungry."
"That's not what that means!"
"Yes, it is." He chuckled. "Relax, it won't kill you." His voice deepened. "In fact, I think you will really enjoy this... come to crave it in fact."
His teeth sank into my throat and I reflected that I was in deep trouble.
Even more so when after a moment, he moved his mouth away from my throat and started licking his way down my chest, pulling my shirt open.
"What are you doing?" I protested- but it came out as a whimper rather than the demand I had wanted it to be- his bite was affecting me already.
"I told you- I'm hungry- and you can give me a satisfaction the cows can't...."
"No... I didn't..."
"But you want it, I know you do... you can't hide your desire from me..."
He was right, damn him. I desired him... I wanted him... and so I gave in...
I woke up the next morning, my back stiff from sleeping on the rocks and dirt. I sat up and groaned as every muscle in my body protested.
I was lucky it was early and that the cowboys hadn't decided to come looking for me now that the sun was on the horizon. I got to my feet and scrabbled for my clothes. Damn vampire had been hungry for more than my blood... funny how he hadn't mentioned that as part of the feeding... he'd spent more time on that than on drinking my blood...
Still, a deal was a deal, and Yuy had made sure that I couldn't renege on it.
Not that I wanted to- Merquise was a bastard, and I was highly tempted to blame him for my present predicament.
Not fair? Think I gave a damn?
I went back to the cowboys' camp and spun a story about some large beast that came up from the South. I told them how I chased it around the cows and finally scared it off.
They weren't too inclined to believe me until the next morning when they counted the herd and discovered that no cows had vanished. I stayed with them for three more days until one of them was willing to go back with me as 'proof' of my story.
Not that any of them had gone with me on my nightly rounds- good thing too since it would have been hard to explain the guy with the bat wings who stopped in every night for a meal- and more.
That might have been awkward.
I wasn't really sure which plan Heero favored- having me invite him into Zechs' house or trying to get Zechs to do something stupid. Since he wasn't hanging around the doorway when I got to Zechs' spread I figured I'd have to convince Zechs to do something stupid. How hard could that be?
Then again, it was about a half-hour til sunset- and I hadn't found out if that stuff about sunlight was true or not.
What- you think we spent all that time talking? Heero didn't seem inclined to talk much- I guess it was difficult to think about conversing with your meals. I'd never had a heart-to-heart with one of my steaks, or even greeted a piece of cornbread, after all.
Course, I'd also only used them to assuage my stomach's hunger- not the other parts...
Zechs was waiting for me up in his office, but being the big boss he was, he made me cool my heels in his hallway for twenty minutes or so- jerk. He deserved whatever Heero was going to do to him.
Eventually I was back in his office and he was running that greasy gaze over me again.
"Well, my man says that no cows have been stolen the past three nights. What happened?"
Again I told the story about seeing some giant beast- chasing it out of the cows and seeing it head South. Zechs listened to me, nodding.
"It seems you have done your job well. There is just one more thing I would like to ask you." He got to his feet and stalked towards me. I backpedaled since I didn't like the possibilities that came up at the thought of his last question.
I hit the door and had to stop. Zechs reached out a hand to me and traced my cheek.
"Don't touch me," I spat at him.
He smiled and then yanked at my collar, popping the buttons open. He gasped and backed away.
"You've been contaminated! He got to you!" He yelled and reached for his gun.
I stepped forward and slugged him, sending him sprawling across the desk. Casting a quick look outside and noting the night sky, I yelled.
"Heero, you're invited! Get your ass in here!"
Zechs pulled himself to his feet, his gun now clutched in his hand. His finger squeezed down on the trigger even as I ducked.
He didn't have a chance to fire a second shot. Heero burst through the window and pounced on him like a bat on a very fat rat.
I covered my eyes after the first minute. There are some things I just don't want to remember.
"It's over." I opened my eyes. Heero was standing in front of me. Over his shoulder I could see a bloody lump on the desk, and I quickly adverted my eyes.
"You are surprisingly squeamish," he said and raised his wings to block my view. "Considering what you are."
My head snapped up. "What do you mean?"
He smiled. "You don't think I could taste it in your blood? And on the first night you said that I didn't look like the chupacabra- and no one mortal sees one of those and lives."
"I'm mortal!" I protested. "Somewhat..."
He slid his arms around me and I tried to escape his grasp. "Why so shy now?" He asked, nuzzling at my neck.
"Hey- our bargain is over," I pointed out, even as my knees weakened a bit. "You got Zechs. You don't need me anymore..."
"Yes I do," he said and I felt the nip of his teeth. "I can feed from you forever and you'll never turn. That's more valuable than you know... I have no plans to let you go."
He sucked lightly at my neck, making me dizzy. "Besides... you enjoy this. You want it..."
I pushed at him, catching him by surprise. "That doesn't mean I'm just going to roll over for you!" I snapped and leapt towards the hole he had created in the wall. A moment later I was off and running.
"Run all you like," I heard his voice whisper in my ear. "I'll catch you eventually. You'll need my help and crave my company and you'll call for me. In the meantime- enjoy your freedom..."
I wanted to snarl back that I'd never call for him, but something stopped me. I don't know what- his mark on me, or the fact that my body craved his, or something else all together- the ancient bond of his blood and mine. I knew I'd cave eventually.
But in the meantime, I'd run.
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