Author: Blue
Category: AU, 2x5, 2x3, 4x3, 4x5, 1x2
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: OOC(I'm running out of add-ons)ish, yaoi, language, LEMON, blood.
Spoilers: Not very likely.
Note: Okay, okay, I know. I'd better address that little Heero trying to kill Duo issue. Dacia should be reeling by now. Her nudging is becoming highly effective. What can I say? I have a decidedly unhealthy urge to appease her. And suzume was getting carried away with the teasing emails, I think. For some reason, I seem to want to defend her from Dacia's wrath. And yes, Dacia has wrath. Don't let her fool you.

Dance With the Demons + Part 16
Sanity's Nocturne

"Tell me, Heero. I don't think I have the energy to kill you right now, so you're probably safe," Duo said. It was only partially a lie.

"Is which true?" the vampire asked.

Duo's throat worked as he tried to speak. "Any of it. What the idiot was rambling about."

Heero was silent for a long time, then he pushed Duo away. He got up, walking away from the bed. Duo let him go, resisting the urge to bundle himself up in the blankets when Heero's warmth left him. Heero turned, leaned back against a wall and crossed his arms.

"Yes . . . ." he answered, still not facing Duo. Instead he gazed out the dark window. "The church. You were supposed to die. I tried to kill you."

Duo froze, slumped back against the sheets. God damn it, he hadn't expected it to be true. "There has to be a reason," he said finally, accepting the vampire's quiet confession with alarming ease. Much more easily than he would if he didn't feel like his entire body had just been run through a trash compactor. His brain was still fuzzy from Heero's energy, but the pleasant sensation that Duo felt when he shared power with Heero was swiftly being buried under the dull ache.

"You were a threat to me, to everyone," Heero said softly. "No," he corrected, "there was the threat that someone would use you against me. I don't believe anymore that you would hunt me without reason. I was careful to not give you a reason."

"Trying to have me killed is a damn good reason."

Heero nodded.

"Then why do it?"

"Humans do stupid things all the time for no reason. Why would a vampire need one?"

Duo shook his head, instantly regretting it. Nausea washed over him in a wave. When it passed, he said, "Not buying it. You're not making sense. How can you say you were careful to not give me a reason to kill you and agree that trying to kill me is a reason, all in the same breath?"

Heero sighed, passing a hand wearily over his face. "You're being amazingly calm about this," he stated.

Surprise, surprise. Duo was fighting to stay calm to keep himself from throwing up or worse. Having hysterics at this point would probably have the same effect as prodding a pissed off badger with a pointy stick. In response to Heero's comment, he just shrugged.

The vampire missed the movement though; he was too busy staring a hole through the window. Silence reigned until Duo decided that Heero was just going to stand there, waiting for him to say something.

"Well?" he prompted. "Where's the logic?"

"I don't think there is any logic," Heero replied. "I watched you hunt and kill, confident that you would leave me and mine be if we posed no threat to humans."

"Something had to make you change your mind," Duo said, a cold chill passing over him.

"Perhaps the rapid decrease in the preternatural population. Something was killing them as quickly as the renegades were attacking humans. I found no trace of interspecies war, private grudges, nothing." Heero finally turned his head, pinning Duo with his cobalt gaze. His eyes were old, sad. They seemed so out of place at that moment on Heero's face. "Only . . . you."

"You think I was knocking off monsters for fun and games?"

Heero shrugged, making the movement graceful and meaningless at the same time. Duo couldn't tell if Heero was denying or confirming what he had said. "Either that," the vampire said, "or someone was using you against us. I couldn't take the chance that it was the latter, and if it was the former . . ." he trailed off, pushing away from the wall to stand in front of the window. Duo was forced to look down the length of his own body to see the vamp.

Heaving himself upright with a grunt of pain, Duo leaned back against the headboard, letting the sheet pool in his lap. He felt better now that he wasn't lying prone on the bed, vulnerable.

"If you wanted me dead, why am I still alive?" Duo asked, trying without much success to ignore the increasing pressure in his chest. Heero had tried to kill him. Forget reason and logic. Heero had tried to KILL him.

A whisper of a smile flitted over Heero's face. "Your stubborn attachment to life?"

A fine tremor ran through Duo, making him shiver in the warm air. "Seriously, Heero."

Heero shook his head as if trying to clear his thoughts. Duo pressed a hand to his side, hoping to lessen the pain. He breathed deeply. Damn. His chest was getting tighter. Heero's face blurred around the edges. He blinked, clearing his vision for a split second before it became fuzzy again, worse this time.

"The fire, I-"

"No, wait," Duo said, stopping Heero before he could continue. "I remember." Duo closed his eyes, blocking out the world. A throbbing pain in the back of his head caused him to mutter a curse. But it was there, buried under years of suffering and pain. Duo remembered that night more than three years ago. And he saw the church burn.

Running, shouting for someone, anyone who was still alive. Wooden beams crashing to the floor, raining sparks and flames down. The searing pain of a beam striking him, sending him sprawling to the floor. Lying still, gasping. Smoke burning his lungs, making him dizzy. Lurching to his feet, only to stumble and pitch forward again, landing on his hands and knees. His vision fading at the edges. Shadows move among the flames, taunting him. One detaches itself, laughing cruelly at his pain.

Another shadow appears, making the first cringe in fear. It snarls something unintelligible, then flees. The new shadow stays, bending low over Duo and murmuring softly. Looking up, seeing twin blue flames dancing before him, making him wonder just how much smoke it takes to cause a person to hallucinate. Then the feeling of strong arms wrapping around him, gently cradling and lifting. A voice reaching him through the roaring of the fire.

"I'm sorry . . . I'm sorry."

Murmuring that one phrase over and over, Heero carefully carried Duo away, out of the flames and the burning church.

"Why?" Duo asked, coming back to the present. "Why save me?" A sharp burning replaced the ache in his chest, making the sting in his side seem that much worse.

A moment of pure silence. "I don't know for certain," Heero answered finally. "Maybe I did think I could own you, maybe I thought I'd never have to deal with you. Whatever it was, I didn't think you were the one causing so much trouble."

"Why contact me years later, and ask me to stop killing? You think I was the problem again?"

"No," Heero answered softly. "I saw the others, vampires and shifters half a world away, become aware of you. If you continued to kill . . . they would take action."

"And when trying to stop me with ultimatums failed, you tried to enlist me to your side," Duo said.

Again, Heero nodded. "If I could convince the world at large that you were with instead of against us, they might have left you alone."

"'Might'?"

"You can't predict what some will do. You simply prepare for eventualities."

"Having me smack dab in the middle of your little fortress would be one of those preparations, huh?"

"Yes."

"Who appointed you my guardian angel?" Duo asked, bitterness in his voice. Some angel; went from trying to sauté him to using him as monster bait.

"Angel doesn't seem a really appropriate word where either one of us is concerned."

Duo couldn't help but smile at that, despite his discomfort. The smile wasn't a truly happy one, though. "You still killed everyone in the church."

"I was careless." Heero held up a hand when a look of pure rage crossed Duo's face. "I'm not trying to place the blame elsewhere, the church burned under my orders. But I was careless with what exactly those orders were."

"Uh huh, and what exactly did you order done?" Besides a well-done barbequed Duo, he added silently in his head.

"I ordered you dead, and I said I didn't care how. It is understood that no innocents are supposed to be caught in the middle of our disputes."

"One of you didn't understand that." Duo said. "Sally." He looked up, certain he was right. "It was Sally's work."

"She set fire to the church, but I'm not certain she was behind it."

"Come again?"

"I think Sally's being used."

"Used . . . ? By who?"

"That, I don't know. But I will find out." A pause. "Life would be simpler if people had never become tangled up with the monsters," Heero stated.

"Yeah," Duo mumbled. "That would've made my life a hell of a lot easier."

It was really just another similarity between them. If Duo had been in Heero's position, he probably would have reacted the same way. Eliminate the threat. Of course, Duo would have just shot him, no fucking around with burning buildings and sending out lackeys to do the dirty deed. But he wouldn't have saved Heero. He would have let the vampire burn. He accepted that realization coolly. Now, he knew, he wouldn't, couldn't, sentence Heero to die. He couldn't picture Heero torn, broken, bloody. Dead. Not by his own hand, not by anyone else's.

But what did you do when you couldn't tell the difference between the monsters and yourself?

"I should kill you," Duo said then, taking a deep breath and wincing when pain shot through his left side. So much for posing a threat.

"Will you?" Heero asked mildly, his tone not quite concealing his apprehension.

"No I don't think so," Duo said. "Mostly because I can't walk right now. I'll get you later, when your guard is down." He started to laugh, but the sound rapidly dissolved into a tearing cough.

Heero was kneeling on the bed again, alarm showing in his eyes. "Duo?"

Duo waved him away once the fit had passed. "Nothing, it's nothing," he said, clutching the sheets to his chest. He didn't want Heero near him right now. "Go away."

Heero stayed right where he was. "You're a terrible liar."

"Yep," Duo said, breaking out into another fit. Suddenly he stopped, gasping. "This is getting bloody damn annoying," he said when he got his breath back. "Next time, you be the one who nearly gets their head handed to them."

Heero's eyes were once again drowning blue, vibrant with life. “That sounds fair,” he said softly, absently caressing Duo's flushed cheek with his thumb. "Zechs will be here soon."

"Yeah," Duo said. "Hope he hauls ass. I don't want to pass out again. It's embarrassing."

Duo refused to look Heero in the face. He wasn't sure if he hated Heero right now or not. The vampire had tried to kill him, then saved him. What was the point? He was leaving out something . . . a whole shitload of somethings. Duo felt the world slipping away again, the pain in his chest stealing whatever energy he had left. He'd get the whole story, even if he did have to kill someone.

An odd smile emerged on the vampire's face when Duo finally closed his eyes, turning his head into Heero's touch.

+

"Why am I the only one who always feels like shit!?" Duo demanded. Once again, he was bundled up in the middle of Heero's bed. Quatre sat beside him, calmly listening as Duo finished up his latest rant. Both of them were beginning to believe that Heero had a severe hang-up with having Duo in his bed.

"How am I supposed to know?" Quatre asked mildly.

"Oh, shut up, Q."

Quatre grinned. "Do I have to threaten you to keep you in bed?"

Duo refused to dignify that with a response.

"And don't think I won't go through with the threats, either," Quatre continued happily, passing Duo a hot cup of tea. "Here, drink this."

It was childish, and more than a little stupid, but Duo turned his nose up at the steaming mug. "No, I'm not thirsty."

"Being thirsty has nothing to do with it," Quatre said, still holding out the mug.

"Look, Q. I'm fine. Perfect. Zechs fixed me right up. I don't even know why I'm stuck in this damn bed."

"So we can entertain lurid fantasies about you. Drink it."

"No."

"Yes."

"Bite me."

Quatre's face lit up with a teasing grin. "Certainly.” He put the mug back on the nightstand and leaned down over Duo, turning the grin into something feral. "Where? Do I get to choose?"

Duo couldn't help but smile back in response. Shaking his head, he pushed Quatre away. "No, you can't. Go away.”

“I can't pick?”

“You can't -bite-, now go away!”

Quatre sighed dramatically, levering himself up. "Oh, well. You really shouldn't tease me like that." He picked the mug back up. "Drinky, drinky," he said, jiggling the cup a little.

Duo snorted. "I'm going to pretend you didn't just say 'drinky'. It ruins your vampiric image. And no, I'm not drinking it."

"Drink your fucking tea, Duo," Quatre growled, fangs glinting.

Duo blinked. Yikes. "Okay, okay." He grabbed the mug and took an experimental sip. Hmmm. Wasn't too bad.

Quatre smiled smugly.

"What's with you?" Duo asked sourly over the rim of his mug. He took another sip. Nope, not too bad at all.

Quatre shrugged and somehow managed to make the movement look sexy. "I ravaged you while you slept. Now I'm basking in the afterglow."

"Ha." A joke, a joke, it was just a little joke. No reason to get excited. The simultaneous thought of 'Quatre' and 'ravage' conjured up quite a few ideas, not all of them unpleasant. Actually, all of them were quite the opposite.

The blonde ran a hand through his hair. "I'm concerned," he said, his face turning serious. "On top of everything else, Lowe has shown up again. It causes problems."

"No shit."

"Big shit," Quatre corrected.

Duo chuckled.

They sat in companionable silence for some time, then Duo said, "You think some of it might be connected?"

Quatre slid fully onto the bed, rustling the black silk. Heero had changed them again. He stretched out on his stomach sensuously, then folded his arms and rested his head on them.

"Do you HAVE to do that?"

"Do what?" Quatre asked.

Duo gestured vaguely with one hand. "Make everything . . . sexual."

Quatre shrugged again. "Probably not, but it's fun watching how it affects you."

"That's funny, really funny."

"Tell me what you think might be connected, or I really will ravish you," Quatre said.

Duo spent a split second trying to decide if that was a threat or a promise. He was tempted to keep quiet and see what the vampire would do. One look at Quatre's sparkling blue eyes told him everything he needed to know.

"Ah," Duo said quickly to head off his impending ravishment. "I'm thinking maybe Mariemeia has a schedule of her own. Something about her makes me think she's not working for anyone. Sally, on the other hand-"

"She seemed confused when she came here looking for Lucrezia."

"Yep," Duo agreed. "Who would be strong enough to trick her into doing that, without her even knowing?"

"You think Odin had something to do with it?" Quatre guessed, then he paused, considering. "That's possible. He would be able to cloud her mind. Why would he though?"

"Not exactly sure," Duo admitted. He had a few ideas, though. "Mariemeia wanted my abilities to stay latent, even if it killed me. Odin wants them for himself . . . even if it kills me." Christ, a lot of people were willing to kill him. "Lucrezia was involved with Mariemeia, and both of them went poof." He held up a finger, forestalling anything Quatre had to say. "Poof just before Catherine went to kill Mariemeia. I'm guessing that someone else went to Lucrezia's. Then Sally showed up here, looking for the voodoo chick once she had gone missing. If they were working together, Sally wouldn't have done that; she'd have known where they both were. If they had nothing to do with each other, why would Sally care? That would put Odin and Sally together on one end, Lucrezia and Mariemeia on the other."

"That makes sense as far as it goes, Duo, but it leaves a lot open."

"Yeah," Duo said, stretching. He was wearing new pajamas again, only this time red and made of something that seemed like satin. Heero really liked to have everything match his decor. But he wasn't complaining, it was much easier to concentrate when he wasn't naked. "It does. But still, why would Sally care what Mariemeia did, unless it threw a wrench in her own plans? If she wanted me dead, honest to God dead, why go after them? Mariemeia would have been content if I died, so they can't be allies."

"Are you sure Sally wants to kill you?" Quatre rolled over onto his side, interested in Duo's theory.

"Oh, yeah, she WANTS to kill me. Think she said she'd like to rip my heart out and feed it to me."

"Awww, how sweet."

"Precious," Duo said, rolling his eyes. "Anyway. Wanting to kill me and actually killing me are two different things." Not by much, but still. There were lots of people Duo wanted to kill, but he never got around to most of them. "It just makes sense to me that Odin was the one behind Sally's actions. He'd kill Mariemeia for trying to stop my powers from surfacing." Duo still tripped over the word 'power'. It sounded so weird when he was talking about himself. "And since Lucrezia was involved with Mariemeia, he'd have tried to kill her, too."

"Alright," Quatre said. "Odin could have been working through Sally in order to conceal his presence here. One glimpse of him, and any of us would have told Heero. Heero would have suspected him of something right away. But Sally seemed to want Lucrezia alive."

Damn. "Okay . . . I forgot about that. Lucrezia's involvement is a big unknown here. A good reason to not trust her. But now what?"

Quatre gave him a questioning look.

[cont]