Pyractomena Borealis

Once upon a time, there was this guy named Duo. He was perfectly normal except for one teeny tiny little thing, and that was the fact that rotting corpses had a tendency to haul themselves out of their graves and follow him around.

Good beginning. Yeah, right. Kind of the "Sleeping Necromancer" feeling.

I don't think so, but since I've said that much, I might as well keep going, huh?

But other than the entire necromancy thing, he was a perfectly average fifteen year old who just so happened to spend his free time off from school blowing shit up and slicing mobile suits in half with a thermal scythe. Well, that and lusting after his male roommate's body. And, the heads off of vampires with a few well-placed rounds from a .40 Browning Hi-Power III.

Other than THOSE few further details, he really was normal. Honest. Cross my heart and hope to die.

On second thought...uh...


I glared accusingly at the piece of paper sitting on my desk. It just lay there, still almost pristine white with a few smudges on it where I'd given up and erased what I'd written.

Several months ago, when I'd gotten out of the hospital after my first tussle with vampires, I had been forced to go to a few sessions of psychotherapy, because my physical therapist was convinced that my injuries...hell, ALL of our injuries, weren't the result of an animal attack like we all claimed, and that we'd been assaulted. Well, she was right, but I couldn't very well tell her that, could I? So I hemmed and hawed and went to whole three frigging sessions of therapy just to make her happy. It actually wasn't too bad. Better than having my arm broken again, or dealing with an extremely cranky physical therapist, at least. And it was only three sessions.

Anyways...the psychotherapist had suggested that I try to write down all of my thoughts, just so I could get myself organized and back in balance. A diary kind of thing. At that point, I'd had bigger things on my mind, so I hadn't bothered.

But now, half a year later, I needed some help getting on balance. Something was bothering me, and I couldn't put my finger on it, but I was getting some really bad vibes.

Cold, electric type vibes.

I sighed and glared at the piece of paper some more. It was mocking me with my inability to even get started, I was sure. I could almost hear it laughing. It sounded something like Heero, actually. Man, maybe I really did need psychotherapy after all. Paranoid delusions, me?

Finally, I simply wrote one word down. It said "Vampires."

I had a bad feeling that six months ago had only been the beginning. Something was going to happen, and it was going to happen soon.

I scribbled out the word so hard that the tip broke off of my lead pencil with a loud snap.

So much for Duo the normal teenager.

It had been a relatively good day so far. I hadn't killed anyone yet.

Emphasis on the 'yet.'

I was getting pretty damn close, though. I looked at Heero out of the corner of my eye. He had on the normal cold, stolid, Perfect Soldier expression as the Queen of Hel--er--Relena hung on his arm and chattered in to his ear. I'd never understand how he managed it. Not killing her, I mean.

Unless he really did like her.

No, I couldn't believe that, no matter what. I clenched my hands into fists and directed my attention elsewhere. If I ignored the fact that Relena had attached herself to Heero's arm like a giant, mutated leech, it was a beautiful Saturday. The trees still had all their leaves, and the leaves were still a nice dark green, despite the fact that it was getting on toward autumn. The sky was a brilliant, beautiful blue without a cloud in sight.

Actually, it was pretty damn hot. I tugged at the collar of my shirt and then flapped the tails in an attempt to get a little air circulating under it so that maybe my sweat would dry. Damn me and my long sleeved shirts anyway. be more accurate, damn my body-shyness. I still couldn't handle wearing short sleeved things or tank tops or swim trunks without a long sleeved shirt to go over them. Normally, I'm a complete attention hound, but for some reason, I don't care for the kind of attention that involves people staring at my scars. I have a bunch. The biggest one is on my collar bone, but then I also have a fairly large band of puckered white tissue on my upper right arm, where bone splinters had come through when a vampire shattered my arm. Then, of course, there were the lovely, thin little scars on my wrists. So long sleeved shirts it was, no matter how melting the heat got.

Besides, the long sleeves gave me somewhere to stow a couple of knives. They were nice knives. We'd had ten of them made special for all of us to share with the highest silver content possible. Not pure silver, of course, because then they wouldn't hold an edge, but still, enough silver to make any kind of supernatural nasty uncomfortable.

Me, paranoid? Naw. I wasn't carrying my gun, was I?

I heard Relena let out a high pitched squeal as she spotted something that she thought was cool. I considered using the knives, though whether it would be on me, Heero, or Relena, I hadn't quite decided.

It was really my fault, though. That morning, I'd asked Heero if he wanted to go shopping...

"What?" He looked at me like I was speaking a different language.

"Shopping. You know. Buy stuff. Spend money. Check out what's available." I wiggled my eyebrows at him.

"I know what shopping is." he said.

"I wasn't sure," I said defensively, "considering your education in normal-
people type stuff really sucks in some other areas."

Heero glared at me for a moment. I wasn't even fazed; I achieved immunity from his death glares a long time ago in self defense. When I didn't flinch, he let out a small, long suffering sigh. "Baka." was his only comment.

I grinned. "Great, let's get going." I grabbed his arm and pulled him out of the room, and that was that. Really, I was completely surprised that he didn't resist, or hit me, or threaten to kill me. Instead, he'd just come along with a faintly bemused smirk on his face. I wasn't going to object, though. I didn't get to spend much quality time with Heero...well, at least it was quality time as far as I was concerned. Never mind the fact that he almost certainly didn't see it the same way.

Next thing I knew, we were out of the dorms and in the bright sunlight. I grinned and whipped out a pair of silver mirrored shades. I'd...borrowed...them from a store after I saw how good they looked on me. Hey, just because dead people tend to follow me around doesn't mean my coolness factor should suffer.

I glanced back at Heero from out of the corner of my eye. He was still looking bemused. It was a nice expression on him. As stealthily as I could, I slid my grip on his arm down until I was holding his hand.

Damn, sometimes I am just to subtle. If he noticed, he must not have minded, because he didn't say anything. I tightened my grip on his hand a little, and he squeezed my hand back, real gently. I grinned as we kept walking along, me in the lead and Heero trailing behind.

That's when disaster struck.


I stopped in my tracks, and Heero ran into my back. "Fuck." I said.

The girl screeched again. She was getting closer. "HEERO!"

"Why did you stop?" Heero hissed at me.

I quickly let go of his hand. "Because she's obviously already spotted us." I muttered. "And she's probably like a dog. She can smell fear, and her quarry running away will only excite her." I sighed. "Just be nice, okay? I don't feel like dealing with a pissed off girl."

"Hn." Heero snorted.

Then she was on us. Relena grabbed Heero's arm. "Heero!" she squealed. "I found you again!"

"We hadn't noticed, really." I muttered.

Relena glanced at me...well, to be more accurate, she glanced right THROUGH me, then turned her attention back to Heero. "What are you doing?" she asked.

"We were going shopping, Ojou-san." I said as soon as it became apparent that Heero wasn't going to answer.

"Really?" She smiled brightly. At Heero. "Can I come along?"

I sighed internally. "Yeah. Sure." I said. She didn't look like she was going to let go of Heero's arm no matter what the answer was. And there was always the possibility of losing her in the streets of downtown Tokyo.

We started walking again. Relena was chattering at Heero, who was being silent, as always. Of all the times he picked to actually listen to me and be nice, this had to be the one. I sighed again, this time out loud. Damn me and my belief in being nice to girls anyway...

I sighed and flapped my shirt again. If the annoyance didn't get me first, the heat would. I needed to cool down, badly. "Hey there, missy," I said, waggling my fingers at Relena.

She stopped chattering at Heero for a moment and looked at me. "Yes?"

"I'm frying, here." I said. "Mind if we head out toward the park? Get some ice cream or something?" /your treat.../ I added mentally.

"No, go right ahead." she said. I grabbed Heero's unoccupied arm and pulled him through the crowd. I have to admit, sometimes I feel sorry for Heero, the way he gets stuck between me and Relena with both of us pulling on his arms. Then again, considering that it's pretty much all his fault as far as I'm concerned, I can't feel too sympathetic.

It took a while to get through the crowded streets; it was Saturday, after all. We eventually made it to the park, though. It was pretty crowded there as well, all lovers holding hands (be still my jealous heart) and kids with their parents or chasing after each other. Still, it was pretty nice. There was unoccupied shade all over the place under trees and umbrellas, and the ground was nice and soft. I strongly considered taking my shoes off. The grass looked like it would be nice and cool to walk barefoot in.

For a minute, I entertained the rather funny mental image of me and Heero, walking barefoot in the park. As the years go by, I swear, I only get more masochistic.

I glanced back at Heero and Relena. Heero was still devoid of expression, but Relena looked pretty happy. As much as I hated to admit it, they both looked extremely cute together. Better than two boys, I supposed...

God, life just wasn't fair. It was enough to make me want to chew my fingernails off.

Those thoughts weren't getting me anywhere, and they were really ruining my day to boot, so I firmly shoved them aside. There was a hill up ahead with some vendors on it. One of them was selling sno cones, and another one had hot dogs. I could was pretty sure that the one next to the sno cone guy was selling ice cream. "Yo, your Peacecraft-ness, what kind of ice cream do you want?" I asked.

"Strawberry, please." she said.

I glanced at Heero and raised an eyebrow. He shrugged his free shoulder. As always, he didn't care. I smirked as I walked away. I'd make sure to get him the weirdest flavor. That would teach HIM. Me? Petty? Never.

While I was waiting for my ice cream, I watched Heero and Relena. She was walking along a path that took her away from where I was. Obvious tactic there. I sighed as I watched them move further away. Sometimes I just didn't get it. I was pretty sure that Heero didn't like Relena, not in the boy/girl, bump and grind, hormones kind of way.

But then again, what did I know about Heero, really?

I knew that if I was him, and I didn't like Relena, I wouldn't be letting her hang on my arm like that. Definitely not. Yet there he was, walking along with the Queen of the World hanging on his arm, and while he didn't look like he was having a lot of funny, he didn't look overly angry, either. He looked his normal amount of angry, really. Maybe he was bottling it all up inside if he was getting pissed. I had no idea how he would manage that, though...I mean, after a while, you get pissed off enough inside that you explode, right? I'd never seen him lose it, at least not like that.

Or maybe and half brushes with death had mellowed him a bit. Right.

Shit. I sighed and took the ice cream from the vendor guy and started eating mine right away. Espresso ice cream...cold treat and caffeine fix all rolled into one. Yum! I had to walk pretty fast so that I could start catching up with them. "Oi! Heero!" I shouted. I saw Relena glance back at me, then say something to Heero. His shoulders stiffened for a minute, then relaxed. I couldn't help but wonder what she'd said.

Then the hot dog vendor's cart, which was only about seven meters away from me, exploded in a large ball of flame, which gave me other things to think about.