What Makes a Monster
Rating: R (references to sex, cussing, gore)
Summary: After walking in on Bancoran with another man, Maraich has gone out into the night to clear his head. Little does he know there had been an escaped experiment from a lab, now there is something stalking him in the night.
Spoilers: Around chapter 55 of the manga.
A/N: I make no profit from this story, it was written simply for love of the series. I'm still new to Patalliro so please excuse any mistakes.
The tap of his high heeled shoes seemed to be little more than a hollow echo in Maraich's ears. His body gave a very slight shiver as he pulled his silver mantle tighter around himself; the shivering had nothing to do with the chilly air. He hardly noticed that the fog's dampness was making his riot of curly red hair frizzle or that the bangs covering his left eye were starting to get soaked through.
In his mind's eye he could see Bancoran, the man he loves, in the arms of another. Again. This time it was some wisp of a thing, hardly older than Maraich, but it was the fact that this time Bancoran had been caught in his own condo, where there were so many pleasant memories of his time in Bancoran's arms, that had been too much of a shock. Instead of his usual screaming, followed by attacking Bancoran with whatever sharp objects were at hand, Maraich had simply given a small sob of surprise and walked out, deaf to Bancoran calling his name.
Just like every other time that Maraich had caught Bancoran's eye wandering, Maraich thought that maybe it was time to move on. Even though he had nowhere to go, anywhere else would have to be better than here with him. Maraich wondered why that, despite it all, he came back to guaranteed pain; he wondered if the good times were worth staying with a man who wandered despite his words of love.
In frustration, Maraich clenched his fist and wished that all of his emotional turmoil could be resolved with the use of his trusty knife. Responding to physical problems was easy: something got annoying he could hit it with a mallet or stab it with his aforementioned knife until it was no longer annoying. His feelings for Bancoran, on the other hand, were not as easily taken care of and it drove him to distraction.
Bancoran glared angrily as he mentally cursed himself. Once again he had hurt his lover because of his inability to turn down a pretty young face. However, this time Maraich didn't just look mad, he looked downright defeated.
"This is your fault!" he snarled at the young man. "I told you once before I wasn't interested so why did you have to come back now?"
"You sure didn't seem to mind that kiss." Alonzo smirked. "You can't tell me that after all of that you are still just interested in one person. After all, you've never been that way before."
"You know very well I never could help myself! Now because of you I have other things to worry about!" Bancoran knew he wasn't being completely fair, after all, he had no intention of pushing his one time lover away. Still, it couldn't be completely his fault that Maraich had gotten hurt again.
Any further conversation was cut short by the ringing sound of a phone. Bancoran shot Alonzo one last glare before crossing the room to pick it up.
"Yes." He responded in a clipped tone.
"Major Bancoran," he recognized the voice to be that of his boss, "your help is required right away. We just received word that an experiment has escaped from a lab set up for genetic research. All reports state that it's dangerous and most likely loose on the streets of London."
"How long ago was this?" Bancoran did his best to keep calm, even though his thoughts immediately turned to worry as he realized Maraich was out there with only a knife to protect him.
"We got the call about ten minutes ago."
"I'm on my way," Bancoran replied before hanging up the phone.
"You better be gone when I get back!" Bancoran snapped at Alonzo before heading out the door.
Alonzo smirked to himself, his expression very smug and left just after Bancoran, though he went in a different direction.
Maraich had been wandering about for several hours. At first he roamed about simply because he needed to try and clear his mind, but soon it became obvious that, in his self-pitying haze, he had gotten quite lost; wandering down streets where he had never been before. On top of that it was starting to drizzle.
Upset, lost and now starting to get soaked, Maraich found himself even more tempted to just plod down and have a good cry. He had actually just dropped to the ground and about to let all of his frustrations loose when he heard something behind him. Instincts from years as an assassin couldn't be denied no matter how upset he was.
However, his normally quick reflexes were slowed by the sheer exhaustion he felt from walking too long as well as his depression at once again finding Bancoran being unfaithful to him. That was why instead of evading the sudden attack with ease he just barely managed to avoid having his back cut open by a sharp dagger only to have it leave a painful gash on his arm. Maraich hissed in pain as he moved to face his attacker.
It was the young man from before, the one Bancoran had just embraced. Maraich's blue eyes narrowed in anger as he reached for one of the many daggers he kept hidden in the folds of his clothes.
"You again!" He screeched as soon as he had freed his weapon and tossed off his silver mantle to give himself more freedom. "It's bad enough you took my Bancoran, do you have to come and gloat also?"
Alfonso laughed at that, his face twisted in a cruel sneer.
"You're one to talk! The selfish little boy not willing to share Bancoran with anyone else. Before you came along he was free." Alonzo spit in disgust. "Now he hardly even makes time, simply because he's too afraid to hurt his precious, selfish little Maraich."
Maraich lunged only to find that his feet refused to obey him. Instead he staggered to one side and almost crashed into a nearby railing.
"Aw, like my little addition." Alonzo taunted. "Just a bit of poison to keep you from moving. After all, I know of your past and don't want to take any chances."
Maraich fought to move, driven by his outright anger at once again being at the mercy of one of Bancoran's deranged ex-lovers; he hated to be weak yet was powerless to do anything as Alfonso moved closer.
"The best part is that this little poison is undetectable, so they will never know just what killed you." Alfonso's eyes flashed in smug victory. "All they will find is a mutilated body. I plan ahead you see, just before I came to visit Bancoran I made a little side trip to a little installation I had been working at."
"What do you mean?" Maraich's head felt dizzy, as if the surrounding fog had somehow seeped its way into his mind.
"Shush, it's rude to interrupt." Alonzo mockingly reached down to pat Maraich's cheek. "I've taken so long to set this up. As I was saying, there was this strange freak there - some kind of genetic experiment - who was scary as hell to look at. I made sure to set it free not too long ago. I believe Bancoran is with the group to hunt it down so I'm sure it will be found but not before it manages to get one victim. Poor Bancoran is going to be so upset to find what is left if his little love, gutted and with little sign of how lovely he once was."
Alfonso traced the tip of his dagger along Maraich's stomach as he prepared to cut.
"To think all of this could have been avoided if you just chose to share."
Maraich closed his eyes as he felt tears escape. Despite all that had happened he wasn't ready to die, not at the hands of some mad man, not when things were still bad between him and Bancoran.
No finishing blow ever came; instead Maraich heard a strange rhythmic tapping that was getting slowly closer. Alonzo cursed under his breath and then moved away.
"I would have liked to finish this myself but from the sounds of things your death won't have to be staged after all. Now if you don't mind I would rather not stick around."
Maraich struggled to sit up as he heard both Alonzo retreating footsteps and the rhythmic tapping that were moving in on his direction. Through the poison and fog that obscured eyes Maraich saw something approaching. It was slender and couldn't be more than four feet tall its eyes had an eerie glow to them, much like how a cat's eyes would shine in low light.
Maraich felt his breath quicken as it suddenly moved faster, running at a speed not at all normal for anything human. When the figure was close enough Maraich could at last see what caused the tapping sound and the sight caused him to gasp in fear.
In the place of five normal toes there were three claws, two of them flat against the ground and one was curved like a small scythe. It had to have been that curved claw clicking against pavement that caused the tapping he had heard.
Again, Maraich struggled as a head moved down to inspect him. There was something not quite human in its features, the face had an elongated look and its eyes were too large. It was hard to tell what was this thing had in place of hair: it was too coarse and seemed to be more along the texture of quills.
It crouched down then, head to one side and Maraich could see that despite its appearance this thing was thinking. Studying him as he was studying it. Then Maraich noticed a distinctive yet small curve to its chest. It was female then, though hard to tell how old.
"If you're going to eat me, might as well get it over with." Maraich's voice sounded raspy even in his own ears, both fear and resignation evident.
That seemed to make her mad and she gave Maraich what could only be a dirty look before reaching out one arm. Like her toes her fingers were also sharp claws and Maraich flinched as he expected them to gut him.
That never happened. Instead all she did was reach for his wounded arm and turned it over for closer inspection, pulling up his torn and bloody sleeve as she did so. Surprised by her gentleness Maraich allowed her to inspect the wound.
"Do you have a name?" Maraich wasn't quite sure if he could trust this thing, but other then the fact she looked scary as hell there seemed to be no real malice in her.
Though she met his eyes and blinked no response was forthcoming and Maraich then felt a little foolish, if she was some sort of escaped experiment it was unlikely anyone had given her a name or even took the time to actually talk to her and Maraich found that the thought made him sad.
"How does Krieg sound?" Maraich asked and was surprised to see upturned lips. So she could understand, just not speak. "Since you don't seem to mind, that's what I'm going to call you."
He received one nod in response and Krieg went back to treating his arm. Maraich watched as she located his dropped dagger and cut away his ruined sleeve, then, using what had not already been stained with blood, she bound the wound.
That taken care of, she looked at him expectantly then nudged at his side with her head much in the way a large animal would in an attempt to get their young to stand. The sudden change from human to animal behavior startled Maraich and it took him a few moments to figure out that all Krieg was trying to do was get him to stand.
Though his movement was shaky because of the poison, Maraich was able to do so. Though he refused any help from Krieg, partially because she looked too small to do any good and also because, despite her help, Maraich was still more than a little unnerved by her appearance.
"Yes, well, thanks for your help," Maraich said once he was on his feet and no longer felt like he was going to fall over, "but I need to go now. I can't stay out here much longer and I'm sure that you want to get back to getting away."
Deep down Maraich knew it might be safer to stay with the strange female, but it wasn't easy to get past the fact she wasn't quite human and, despite her help, part of him was afraid she would turn and attack at any moment.
It was clear that Krieg would have none of that as soon as Maraich started walking; she fell into step right behind him giving him a dirty look as he attempted to chase her off. After a few blocks Maraich had had enough and turned to face her again, doing his best to keep his temper down in fear of making her mad and getting gutted.
"Can you go away? People will notice you if you keep following me. Besides, I need to get home and I have no need for a pet."
Maraich winced as Krieg responded by showing a freighting set of sharp teeth, and Maraich questioned the wisdom in his words. His hands went up and he backed into a wall, wondering just when this day had gone straight to hell.
"I just mean you stand out," Maraich's words became rushed, "and as soon as someone sees you I'm sure they are going to try at catch you again, or worse." Hopefully he could appeal to her sense of self preservation because surely she had that.
Krieg looked at him, crossed her arms over her chest and gave a dismissive snort. Maraich questioned the wisdom of arguing with someone who couldn't argue back and whose best points in an argument were quite sharp and deadly.
"Fine! You can stay with me until I find my way back to my apartment. Just try to not be too conspicuous."
Even as he said that Maraich couldn't help but wonder if it was that was even possible. Someone was bound to notice him being followed by a naked female that looked like she had escaped from some bad fantasy novel.
"Is there any news at all from any of the teams?" by this point Bancoran was beyond just a normal state of worry. It was almost dawn now and there had still been no sign of the escaped experiment. To make matters worse, Maraich had yet to be located and Bancoran was starting to suspect the worst.
"One team found a torn and bloody sleeve about three blocks away." a voice, though no one Bancoran recognized, responded over the radio.
"And no one thought to inform me about this?" Bancoran all but screamed over the radio. His worry for Maraich being enough to shake the usually calm and suave air he liked to display for others.
"It was just found, sir." even over the speaker the voice sounded quite afraid.
"I'm on my way." Bancoran snapped as soon as he had received directions.
Maraich woke up alone, cold and uncomfortable. For someone use to sleeping in a soft bed and being wrapped in a warm body, awakening in a storm pipe wedged just above the water level was not a pleasant experience.
Waking up to questioning yellow eyes was even less pleasant. Maraich gave a small scream, pushed himself back and wound up falling into the thin trickle of water.
Krieg blinked at him, an apology on her expressive face.
"I take it you didn't find anything?" Maraich grumped, so irritated at being woken up in such a manner he forgot to be afraid for a moment.
Krieg shook her head, not that Maraich had expected much, after all if he was lost there was no way some escaped lab experiment would know how to get back to his condo. Meanly, Maraich found he wishing to be rid of her. Things would be much quicker without the odd looking female tagging along. For one thing, he could ask for help without fear of anyone he approached running away.
"Well its going to be dawn soon. I'll have to find the place on my own." Maraich felt disgusting. Never before did he have to wear the same thing twice, not to mention that his hair was a mess of tangles and his arm hurt.
Krieg looked at him and gave an annoyed chortling sound.
"Look you might have helped me, and I appreciate it, but I'm not waiting around for it to get dark again before getting home." Maraich stood, shook himself and then attempted to wring the water from his hair. "And don't try and follow me this time. You're smart enough to know how easy it would be to spot you during the day time."
Krieg got the stubborn look on her face again and once again crossed her arms over her chest. She then moved to stand right in front of Maraich. Everytime he attempted to get past her Krieg would move with him. Even in his irritation Maraich wasn't quite brave enough to attempt to pick her up and toss her, something he was sure would lead to pain if not death. Pushing was also out of the question for the exact same reason.
"I just want to get home!" Maraich cried out in frustration. "I'm sure even you can understand that; now please just let me go."
As soon as Maraich said those words and saw the look on Krieg's eyes he became aware that he went too far. If Krieg was an experiment she wouldn't understand that concept, and even if she did it would be a low blow.
Krieg made a low sound deep in the throat then turned away from Maraich, walking into the underbrush. Despite the fact Maraich knew he was now free to go his own way he found he couldn't. Thinking back he realized just what this strange being had done for him, so, gathering up his courage, he went after her.
Krieg was crouching down when Maraich found her and didn't react when he came up behind her. For a few moments Maraich just stood there as he attempted to find the words. Nothing came so instead he simply placed one hand on her shoulder.
It felt strange, not quite like human skin but not at all an unpleasant feeling. For a moment Krieg seemed to shiver, then looked at Maraich in surprise, then moved a bit closer, then the next thing he knew he was almost flattened by a hug. Maraich realized something else he had missed; Krieg had most likely never felt a kind touch before, but like all people craved contact. Maraich silently cursed himself for being so blind.
Though there was very little of the sleeve left Bancoran was almost certain it belonged to Maraich. The parts of it that had not been stained with blood were the same color as the outfit he had been wearing and its soft texture was much like the tops that his lover preferred.
"Was anything else found?" Bancoran asked as he caressed the torn clothing, hoping against hope it wasn't all he would have left of Maraich.
"A silver mantle was also found close by. No blood on it though." one of the officers responded to Bancoran's inquiry. "In fact, other than the sleeve you are looking at, there is very little blood."
Bancoran released the breath he had been holding. No body and very little blood meant there was still hope.
As he stood lost in his own thoughts, Bancoran noticed something off to his left. In a side alley, someone that looked a good deal like Alonzo was watching them with an angry look on his face. Bancoran watched as Alonzo took out a device, looked it over, then quickly ducked out of sight.
Bancoran waited just long enough to give Alonzo a head start, drew his gun and moved to tail the young man.
Krieg tensed in Maraich's embrace and then gave off a low warning rumble. Maraich pulled away and grasped his small throwing knife as he turned to where Krieg was facing. He could hear rustling sounds from above as someone negotiated the steep incline leading down to where they were.
"Out of sight." Maraich warned Krieg in a low whisper. "Don't take any chances."
For once he got no argumentative sounds from Krieg; instead she simply seemed to melt into the thick foliage. Maraich stood his ground, his knife at the ready. Soon the figure was in sight and Maraich's eyes narrowed, it was Alonzo again.
"Why didn't you just die like you were supposed to?" Alonzo's eyes narrowed. "It would have made things so much easier. Now I am going to have to hurry before anyone has a chance to find you."
Alonzo rushed at Maraich, large knife cutting through the air. This time the former assassin was ready so he easily dodged the blade. Just as Alonzo's knife hand went past, Maraich snatched his wrist and squeezed. Alonzo whimpered in pain and dropped his weapon.
"Not so easy when your target is ready, is it?" Maraich whispered in the man's ear and then neatly flipped him.
Alonzo crashed into a tree, sneered and pushed himself up. This time in his hands was a gun.
"Pity it had to be this way, but there is no time for games. I'll have to figure out someone else to blame."
Just as he squeezed the trigger Krieg pounced, both of her scythe like claws raking down Alonzo's back and drawing blood. Maraich gasped as the bullet grazed his side, his hand clutching the fresh wound as blood welled between his fingers.
Alonzo was howling in pain as he staggered, trying to take aim at Krieg despite the gaping wounds on his back. She looked at him and snarled, her sharp teeth glistening and her eyes wild. Then she rushed forward, Alonzo got a shot off but it wasn't enough to slow her; this time his scream was cut off in a gurgle as Krieg kicked out, one of her claws neatly cutting him open from the top of his ribcage all the way down to his groin.
Alonzo looked down in shock, so quick was his disembowelment that he didn't even register the pain. He simply looked down at where his intestines were hanging out and attempted to push them back in. He gave another gurgle and dropped still clutching at his guts.
Krieg gave Maraich one concerned look before she also collapsed a pool of blood seeping from her shoulder.
Maraich called her name and attempted to dash forward, only to hiss in pain and look down at his own wound. Though it was a shallow wound it still stung.
"Maraich? Maraich are you there?" He would recognize that voice anywhere.
"Ban! I'm down here please hurry!"
Maraich's voice was shaking from the pain as well as from exhaustion. He leaned against a tree as he fought against an urge to just close his eyes and let oblivion take him.
Bancoran skidded down the steep incline, his long black hair wild as he rushed to get to his lover. More then once he had lost sight of Alonzo. In fact that he would still have been searching if he hadn't heard the gunfire and screaming.
Bancoran almost forgot to breathe when he saw the sight before him. To one side was Alonzo, or what as left of him. He was lying on his side with his back torn open and his insides lying in a wet pile in front of him. There was a small naked figure a couple of feet away breathing shallowly and Bancoran recoiled at its strange arms and feet.
Then he caught sight of who he was looking for. Maraich was leaning against a tree one hand clutching his side. Bancoran could see blood seeping between his fingers as well as notice a makeshift bandage wrapped around one arm.
For the moment, all of his concern was on his wounded lover. Maraich looked so small with his long red hair a mess of tangles and his normally pristine clothing torn and blood stained. Gently Bancoran placed a hand on Maraich's cheek and called his name.
Maraich's eyes opened and those deep blue orbs met with Bancoran's own expressive eyes.
"Why is it I always get hurt when one of your exes get pissed off?" Maraich's smile was sardonic.
"No more," Bancoran vowed. "I'm never letting any of them near you again. I honestly thought I'd lost you this time."
"No such luck, it's just a graze." Maraich assured him. "Krieg was hurt worse; please don't let them take her back."
"Do you mean the escaped monster?" Bancoran asked, only to get a weak glare from Maraich.
"She's no more of a monster then us! It was your pretty boy, the one that did all of this and wanted her to take the blame, who was the monster!"
Bancoran looked down at his trembling hands and gave a sigh of resignation.
"Very well, love." Bancoran assured Maraich. "I'll talk to Sanders and see what he can do."
Maraich smiled up at Bancoran then, and the redhead could feel his heart melt at the sight.
Maraich had been getting restless. It had almost been a week since the night that Alonzo had attempted to kill him and still Bancoran kept him confined. Assurances that his wounds were only minor seemed to fall on deaf ears and even threats of violence didn't sway his stubborn lover.
"You can't keep me locked up forever." Maraich's voice was muffled against Bancoran's neck as he attempted using a less violent means of persuasions. "I understand now that we were both manipulated by Alonzo, so you don't have to worry about me walking out on you."
Maraich gave Bancoran a soft bite on his neck and then licked at the sore spot. Bancoran hissed in appreciation and tightened his grip on Maraich.
"And I trust you," he admitted gently as he traced a hand down Maraich's slender back, "but it scared the hell out of me how close I came to losing you. You are safer here."
"I don't give a damn about being safe!" Maraich snarled. "I can look after myself just as well as you can! You have me in a prison. It might have soft beds and pleasant rooms, but I can't go where I want and I can't stand it. I love you, Ban, but I refused to be kept simply because you worry."
Bancoran moved so that he was on top of Maraich, his long back hair a waterfall that engulfed them both. His eyes were at full force as Bancoran attempted to use his powers to win over his younger lover.
"What would you have us do?"
"Live as always." Maraich responded. "I might feel pain again, but it's worth it to live a life of freedom."
"Very well, my stubborn Maraich." Bancoran's eyes lost that intense gaze. "I should know better than to argue with you. Now let's get back to having fun, and tomorrow I have a surprise for you."
Maraich wanted to know the surprise, but it was hard to think too long about that when he had a very excited and very naked Bancoran looking over him. With a smirk Maraich reached up with his slender arms and pulled Bancoran down into a passionate kiss.
It turned out that the surprise that Bancoran was talking about was several hours outside of London. No matter what Maraich tried he couldn't get any information about where they were going. Even a quick grope had just resulted in Bancoran pulling his hand up into a kiss and a giving him a warning to behave. Maraich gave him a pouting look but finally gave in.
Finally they arrived at a large enclosed area. As Bancoran drove past a guard tower he flashed his badge and was waved past.
"This is a top secret training area for wilderness combat." Bancoran explained the security measures. "So they need to keep it secret from any unwelcome visitors."
Still unsure of what was going on, Maraich remained silent, even as they drove to a small encampment about half a mile past the gated check point. Bancoran parked and then indicated that Maraich should get out.
"Are you going to stop playing around?" Maraich finally spoke up as Bancoran moved easily to his side. "Or do you want to make me guess?"
"Just wait." Bancoran responded with a smug look and Maraich found himself wanting to drive a fist through that pretty face of his.
"Mar aich." A voice called, as if not use to using words.
Maraich turned and spotted a familiar figure running towards him and inhuman speeds.
"Krieg?" Maraich couldn't help the surprise in his voice as the small female gave him a huge hug.
Someone had managed to talk her into dressing, though it was a simple brown tank top and a knee length skirt that had been slit on both sides to allow movement.
"Better now?" Krieg move closer to where Bancoran and Maraich were standing and looked up at Maraich expectantly.
"Yes. Bancoran just made me stay at home until he was sure I was better."
"Alpha choose. " Krieg nodded knowingly.
Maraich just blinked at her odd choice of words. Then decided it was simply because she wasn't use to talking.
"Okay, Bancoran, just what's going on?" Maraich turned to face his lover and put his hands on his slim waist.
"I told you it would take a while but a few strings were pulled and Krieg was sent here. It's out of the way so she should be safe from recapture. There is also plenty of space for her to move around in." He reached over and gave Maraich's hand a loving squeeze.
"You're not the only one who needs freedom, and there are people here that can help her. As you can see she's actually quite quick at picking up speech, considering about a week ago she didn't talk at all."
Krieg glanced over to Bancoran and looked up at him, almost straining her neck to do so.
"Alpha hurt Maraich, alpha get hurt." She warned.
"That's right," Bancoran assured Krieg. "You took care of Alonzo to protect my Maraich; I want to thank you for that."
Maraich saw that exasperated look cross Krieg's face and she gave a snort. Most likely she was just frustrated at not getting her point across. This time she pointed a clawed hand at Bancoran.
"Hurt Maraich before, not again." This time the point was clear or at least clearer than before.
"Don't know how she knew that." Maraich responded. "I never talked to her about you."
Krieg just nodded knowingly and declared.
"Well whatever it is she does, Krieg will be safe here and you'll be free to visit her."
Maraich slid close to Bancoran and rested his head on the taller man's shoulder.
"Thank you, love." He said in a low voice. Bancoran didn't respond, he simply reached a hand around Maraich and gave his young lover a soft squeeze around the waist.