Author: Kracken
Disclaimer:I don't own them and I don't make any money off of this.
Warning:Male/male sex, graphic, language, violence, weres.

Instincts + Part 19
Taboo

His lover was so beautiful, so volatile, and so gentle when he needed to be, Heero thought with awed amusement as he sat quietly, not wanting to disturb Duo at his play with the very young were foxes that had come down from hiding to visit their warrior fathers.

Duo was supple muscle, sharp claws, and teeth. He chased down the fleeing were fox with ease, the child screaming with mock terror as his companions giggled on the sidelines. Duo scooped the child into his great paws and turned into a ball of long braid, tail, and fur as he made the 'killing bite' on the child in his grip. There was a nervous squeal from the child, but he emerged a moment later, unhurt and laughing with glee.

Duo laughed as well, stretched, and began sauntering back to the others with the child bouncing excitedly behind him. Heero's eyes caught a movement past him, something in the tall, sunburnt grasses beyond the clearing. A bird, he thought fleetingly, and almost let his eyes flick away, only to return when his mind registered that something there wasn't quite the color of the grass.

"Duo!" Heero shouted and bolted towards his lover. "The children! Take them away! We're being attacked!"

Duo lifted his head, tail flicking as his nose tested the breeze. Then he was barking, "Run!" at the children and running, not with them, but at the all too familiar forms rushing out of hiding.

Heero shouted, "No!" and increased his speed. He grabbed Duo by the ruff of the neck and jerked the were lion off his feet. He shifted stance, wrapped arms around his lover, and threw them both in the other direction.

Duo landed on all fours, snarling, but seeing the sense of it, as he shook his head from the pain of Heero's bite and kept pace with Heero as they tried to outdistance the enemy and warn the camp.

The were fox scouts were likely dead, Heero lamented mentally as he called his warning and saw were foxes scrambling for weapons. He thought of Duo's young playmates, and imagined them torn to shreds on were lion claws and teeth. The pain blossomed in his chest and he couldn't help thinking that all was lost. What could they do against such strength despite all of their preparation?

Wu Fei appeared with the desert dragons, armed and running to the defenses. Quatre and his father, with Trowa behind him, had suddenly found all personal squabbles forgotten as survival became first and foremost in importance. The chief of the were foxes came racing out with a bow, a glitter with his jewelry and tattoos, calling his warriors to order.

It was hard to think after that. The day had come. The time was now. Bows began thrumming as Heero and Duo stopped, exchanged looks that said everything, and then turned to join the fight themselves.

Were lions were one with their nature. They still moved in their clan groups, maned males growling and angry to be working with half maned juniors who should, by all rights, have been expelled from their sight to join or create their own groups. Zechs could force them together, but he couldn't stamp out instinct and ages old custom. As they came, Heero saw fights blossoming, falling apart, only to begin somewhere else. If there was a head, a commander, Heero couldn't spot it. Zechs himself was absent. Despite such obvious advantages, though, there were many of the creatures, and they were moving steadily towards their line.

"No females," Duo remarked as he raked his claws in the dirt.

"That helps?" Heero wanted to know.

"Yes," Duo affirmed. "Females have more staying power and a better ability to coordinate and work together. See how these males walk? How they keep drifting? They'll kill, but they'll never get their noses bloody. They're already looking for ways to get out of the fight."

"Yes," Wu Fei said on Duo's other side. "Very observant. We may be able to turn them back by keeping up the fight as long as we are able."

Heero cringed, imagining how many were foxes would die to accomplish that. He looked over the calm, and well armed were dragons. There were mostly males there. One he had expected to see was absent. "Sahri isn't fighting?"

"She is with our eggs, in the breeding sands," Wu Fei said off handedly as if it bothered him that Heero had even asked after such a thing.

Heero went wide eyed. "Our eggs?" he repeated, choking.

Wu Fei shrugged. "That is my business, my Prince. Shall we fight?"

Heero shook himself and then nodded curtly. He would get the story later. He nudged Duo in the side and Duo nudged back, and then they were rushing forward to join the fight.

It wasn't a bloodbath, but some did die. The were foxes took many down with their bows, their strategy suddenly becoming clear, and their confidence in their abilities. Heero saw, first hand, just how quick and adept with weapons a were fox could be. They simply overwhelmed or out maneuvered their larger enemy. Their blades were sharp and long, giving the were foxes reach. Teeth and claws were useless when prey wouldn't come in close enough to feel them.

The sand dragons were more forthright, but no less effective with Wu Fei leading them. They cut a swath that allowed the were foxes to get to the heart of the were lion's charge. That charge faltered, stopped, and turned into mindless milling as Duo and Heero struck from the sides with Quatre, Trowa, Quatre's father, and the other were foxes in tight formation. The Chief of the were foxes called a high war cry and came from behind, having circled around with bows. Trapped, the were lions panicked. Duo had been very right when he had guessed that they were reluctant warriors. Many of them fled.

One did not flee. Solo continued to fight fiercely, cursing at the others to stand with him. It was him that Duo finally faced, crouched and knowing that even quick were foxes were no match against such a large were lion who was determined to win. Ears flat, Duo started forward, hoping only to wound his one time brother enough to allow the others to bring him down.

"I don't want you to die," Duo told him over the sounds of dying and fighting.

"That makes two of us!" Solo snarled as his paw shot out and broke the body of a were fox.

Duo rushed him then, furious, and was only dimly aware of Heero shouting for him to stop. This was his fight, he thought, his brother.

They impacted and Duo locked jaws on Solo's throat. He felt claws and teeth lock onto him as well and heard the gurgle that let him know that he had crushed Solo's throat. He tasted his brother's blood, heard his muffle whine, and then felt darkness sweep over him as they both crashed to the ground.



"Duo!"

A tongue lapped at Duo, teased his ears, and a nose nuzzled under his chin. He was enveloped in warmth and strength, a throbbing all encompassing pain radiating from his shoulder and half his back.

"He'll live," a gruff voice said. "Keep the wounds clean. Feed him fruit and liver to get his blood back, and don't let him stretch the stitching."

"Duo?" Heero's voice whispered anxiously.

"Let him sleep, Heero," Quatre's voice said weakly.

"And you rest as well," Trowa admonished. "That bite on your thigh needs healing too."

"I want that were lion's hide on my floor," Quatre growled, but he sounded half asleep already.

"Our floor," Trowa chuckled."But I'd rather have a white one."

"Duo?" Heero said in Duo's ear, barely to be heard.

Duo managed a small noise. He rolled one eye open. "Alive," he breathed.

Heero felt acute relief and curled tighter around his love in their blankets. The battle over, they were all licking wounds and hoping that their enemy would not regroup and fight again.

"Solo is dead," Heero told him very quietly.

Duo squeezed his eye shut in pain. As much as he had felt betrayed, he still remembered looking up to his foster brother and feeling like a true family in his company. That he had been forced to kill him, when they could have ruled their own clan together as brothers often did, was a pain he was certain he would never lose.

"I don't...?" Duo managed.

Heero nuzzled him. "No, you don't have his blood on you. We cleaned you up."

That was a relief. It was bad enough that he could still taste Solo's blood in his mouth. "You?" Duo asked. Sudden concern made him want to turn, but his back shot livid pain in warning against moving again.

Heero was quiet.

"Heero?" Duo wondered weakly, trying to keep his mind from falling that last step into unconsciousness.

"My tail," Heero murmured, sounding embarrassed.

"A were lion bit half of it off," Trowa said for him. "It was the only thing that kept him from tearing Solo apart and saving you; a were lion attached to his tail."

Duo took a sharp breath. He tried to imagine Heero with only half a tail as he finally succumbed to sleep.

"Eggs," Heero tried as he looked out of the sands of a carefully marked off area of desert. "When did you..?"

"Sahri and I came to an... understanding," Wu Fei said in a very stiff manner, his crest shivering a little.

"A very good understanding," Heero muttered. "Didn't it seem an odd pursuit before a battle?"

"No," Wu Fei shot back and glared. "She was clutching and I was the highest ranking male. She wouldn't suffer another and she wouldn't lay without...encouragement. Foolish creature."

Heero eyed his friend. "When will they hatch? Can they be moved, if need be? Our position might become dangerous."

Wu Fei gave him a slow, reptilian blink. "They will be left, with the others. I doubt that they are of any interest to were lions."

Heero didn't look sure of that. His tail ached. He kept it protectively close to his side, the end stitched and still bandaged. He had lost one of his spots, but that one had been dear to him. Duo was still resting and recovering, from his wounds as much from sadness at the loss of his brother. Questioning Wu Fei about his coming parenthood had seemed like a humorous distraction. Now, it was becoming clear, that it was only a means to highlight just how alien the were dragon could be. Heero would have protected his with life and limb. Wu Fei was ready to abandon them to their fate.

"I wish I was home," Heero sighed, more to himself than anyone, suddenly wanting the familiarity of that.

"Do you? With so much to lose?" Wu Fei questioned with a snort. "We protect it here, by meeting the enemy on this battle field, but it's no longer our home, my prince."

Heero smiled, but it was sad. "I'm just weary, Dragon. I want peace."

"Then fight for it," Wu Fei replied as he turned back for cooler shade among the rocks.

Heero followed him, limping. "And if they win?"

"Will we be alive to know it?" Fei shot back over his shoulder.

Heero found some amusement in that. "No, I suppose not." They would die, he knew, to protect the were foxes, yet victory, he felt, would only come with the death of a certain white were lion. Without him, the rest would scatter.

"We need to kill him," Heero growled.

Wu Fei didn't need to know who. He nodded. "He doesn't stay with his army. He leaves them to bleed and die for him. To reach him, we will need to get past them."

Heero frowned as Wu Fei threaded through a group of talking were foxes. They grinned at Heero, but offered Wu Fei respectful space. "I can't take Duo, he's too badly wounded."

"I won't be left behind, my Prince," Wu Fei warned, as if, somewhere in their conversation they had formulated a plan. He knew Heero well and approved.

Heero felt warmed by that trust. "Together, then, we'll go. Tonight."

Wu Fei inclined his head and left him. Heero steeled himself as he entered his tent, the tent where Duo still stretched out on cushions, asleep, and in pain. To not tell him was as good as a lie, but Heero knew that the were lion would attempt to go, and die trying. He would be a liability, however treasured his presence would be. Better to take his anger, than to allow him to commit suicide by coming on his mission.

Heero tried to imagine a fight with Zechs and felt his hackles rise in trepidation. Even with a very well armed and able were dragon, it would be a miracle if they succeeded. They would have to surprise him and take him when he was most vulnerable. It was dishonorable, and Heero knew that Wu Fei would be apposed to it, but he would follow Heero's lead in the end. Zechs had to die. The prides had to return back to their old ways or there would be blood as far as the eye could see in Zech's mad lust to have everything under his paws.

"Heero?" Duo murmured sleepily, catching Heero's scent.

"Sleep, love," he urged. "All's well."

Duo slurred something else, about food, then was sleep again.

A last gift to his love, Heero determined as he left the tent again, a fat desert buck wouldn't take long to hunt.

[part 18] [part 20] [back to Kracken's fic]