Author: Blue ^__^
Category: AU, 2x5, 2x3, 4x3, 4x5, 1x2
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: OOCness, yaoi, language, lime, violence, violence, violence (got that?), blood, severe gore, generally icky.
Spoilers: Not a one.
Note: Almost there, only two more chapters to go. This one is amazingly violent *points at warnings* and bloody and gory and you get the idea.

Dance With the Demons + Part 18
Darkest Days

"I want Iria in on it," Duo said, stalking down the hallway to Heero’s rooms. He wasn’t at all pleased with the vampire. Walking into a blatant trap was not high on his list of ways to stay alive. It actually wasn’t there at all. "If we’re doing this, and I can’t believe we are, I want another shooter with me."

"She is guarding Lucrezia," Heero said.

"I don’t care if she’s guarding the Pope," Duo snapped, "I want her at my back."

"That’s not necessary," Heero began.

"The FUCK it’s not!" Duo exploded. "Look, Heero, you’ve got us waltzing in there at a severe disadvantage. If Odin agreed to let you bring six people besides the two of us, you can bet he’s going to have twice that many." It always worked that way when you were dealing with the bad guys. They never played fair.

Heero’s eyes hardened, but he nodded. Duo stormed off towards Heero’s desk once they reached his room and quickly dialed the number Iria had given him. The phone rang several times, but no one answered. Shit. He carefully dialed again, silently praying he hit a wrong number the first time. Still no answer.

"Jesus, there’s no answer," Duo said, setting the receiver back on its cradle.

Heero looked at Duo for a moment, then turned back to Quatre. "Send Hilde and Zechs to their hotel," he said. "Wufei, find Relena, Une and Meiser."

Duo frowned at the last, unfamiliar name. He didn’t like the idea of having someone he didn’t know at his back. Not that he knew Relena or Une that well, but there was a difference. A very small one. Hell, he was paranoid. Who wouldn’t be?

"Trowa, open the weapons cache for Duo. He’ll want to be armed," Heero said.

Duo’s ears fairly twitched. "You’ve got weapons in storage?

Heero’s eyes flickered over to Duo briefly and he gave a small nod.

"Maybe this isn’t a total lost cause after all," the braided man murmured.

+

Forty minutes later, Duo felt like he was literally bristling weapons. The Glock was tucked in its second home, snug in Duo’s shoulder holster. The twin blades were strapped to his wrists, hidden under the long, wide sleeves of a black coat. The coat itself hung to the middle of Duo’s calves, concealing the ambidextrous hip-draw holster that both his own Browning and a nice, shiny new Ruger .40 Auto that he’d borrowed from Heero’s stash rested in. Why, exactly, a bunch of shapeshifters and vampires would need a weapons cache was beyond Duo. Far be it for him to complain, though.

The Derringer Iria had forced on him was tucked safely and definitely uncomfortably away in Duo’s left boot, while a heavier blade rested in the other boot. Two extra magazines, one for the Glock, the other for the Browning; rested in his coat pockets.

The word ‘overkill’ never entered Duo’s mind once.

Heero had presented Duo with yet another outfit, and the braided man had asked the vampire if he had a clothing fetish to go along with all the others. A tight-fitting, low cut shirt left Duo’s neck bare for the choker Heero had given him to be seen. His own cross dangled freely outside the cloth. The sleeves were short, allowing the sheaths to fit comfortably under the coat. Black pants made of a very heavy, stretchy material were molded to Duo’s thighs, falling looser near the bottom and covering the top halves his usual boots.

Duo Maxwell, wet dream for those with a death wish.

He drove the Jeep that Heero had conjured up out of thin air, while the vampire himself sat in the passenger seat, cobalt eyes burning with icy rage. A week ago, Duo would have said he was expressionless, but now he recognized the anger that boiled restlessly under the surface. Heero was not happy with Odin. Duo almost found himself pitying him. Almost.

Heero was dressed in a high-collared sleeveless shirt, colored a rich midnight blue. Black leather pants encased his legs, showing the contours of his body. Heavy boots and an odd, intricately curling armlet that glinted silver in the moonlight snaked up his left arm to complete the outfit.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, would be the wet dream of the aforementioned wet dream.

Trowa and Wufei had hauled out yet another leather pants and collar ensemble, dressing in black with solid, blood red accents. Quatre had poured himself into a pair of dark pants, donning a matching sleeveless shirt that he left open. A black and red chain wound itself around his neck. With a start, Duo realized that the chain Quatre wore was a mimic of the stone that rested just above the hollow of his own throat.

Relena and Une were following in another car. Both had opted to wear the skintight bodysuits that served as the uniform for Devil’s Bliss. Meiser, the new guy with the crew cut was handsome in a boy-next-door kind of way. He wore dark, snakeskin pants and an open black shirt that had large silver clips on either side to fasten it. Walker had just plodded along with them, looking bored.

"Why, exactly, are we meeting them at a graveyard?" Duo asked, his gaze flicking from road to rearview mirror.

"It’s neutral ground," Quatre said from the back, idly running his fingers over the collar at Trowa’s throat. The vampire had a thing for casual touching.

"How is a graveyard neutral?" It was morbid, that’s what it was. And suggestive. And clichéd. It had to be the biggest damn cliché in the world. A bunch of vampires and co. were heading to a graveyard to try and kill each other. Huge cliché.

"It always has been," Heero said, turning his eyes to Duo.

Duo felt the heat of his gaze burn along his skin. Heero was swimming in power tonight. It was a wonder that the air didn’t shimmer around him.

"How is this gonna work? We have a plan, right?" Duo began tapping the wheel with his fingertip.

"No," the Erus answered.

"Oh, Christ, we don’t have a plan. Heero, are you insane?" Duo hissed.

"We kill Odin and keep as many of our people alive as possible."

Oh, great. Now they were ‘our’ people. "Killing Odin comes first," Duo said, making it a statement.

Heero nodded.

"I want my cats in one piece, Heero," Duo said, his voice low. "You let Wufei or Trowa get killed, and the shit will hit the fan."

The vampire went very still. "You believe I would abandon them?" His voice was cold.

"Sorry," Duo mumbled. The werepanthers were as important to Heero as they were to him.

It wasn’t that Duo was indifferent about what happened to Relena and the others. It’d be bad if something happened to them. Very not nice. But he’d be dammed if he let Wufei or Trowa go down saving one of them. He wasn’t worried as much about Quatre. The blonde vampire could hold his own. Then again, so could the shifters. Maybe he was just feeling protective.

"How much does Dorothy mean to you, Heero?" Duo asked quietly.

"We are going to rescue her," Heero said.

"No, we’re going to kill Odin."

"We are," the vampire conceded.

"So how much does she mean?"

"Not enough that I will let you die for her."

"She’s been with you for longer than I have," Duo said.

Heero turned to him, slanting his body in the passenger seat. "You will not die for her," his tone was firm. "This has very little to do with Dorothy. It’s Odin’s way of bringing you within his reach."

"And it’s your way of getting him close enough for you to kill."

Heero gave him a small nod, cobalt eyes never leaving Duo’s face.

"I hope it works," Duo said, staring out at the night.

+

Trudging through the rows and rows of tombstones, Duo glanced up at the starless sky. It was a warm night, a slight breeze ruffling the hair that had worked loose from his braid. Heero loomed like a hot fire to his right. Quatre walked slightly ahead and to his left while Wufei, Trowa and the others fanned out behind them.

Grave markers reached up from the ground like old broken bones. Ancient roots of the trees that reared above the stone crypts crisscrossed the earth. The monsters surrounding Duo glided over the uncertain terrain with ease. He followed their steps, managing to not fall flat on his face. He almost wished Une or Meiser would go head first on the ground. Okay, he was bitter. So what?

Quatre led them to a clear area, open on two sides and backed up against a sheer cliff face. The final edge was lined with a thicket of trees. Duo squinted and looked around, gauging distances and space. The cliff was a double-edged sword. It could possibly keep the bad guys from sneaking up behind them or provide them with a way to drop right down on their heads. Duo tipped his head back and followed the line of rock. Nothing was getting up that quickly, at least not from this side.

"That’s why you didn’t want to send the site along with Catherine," Duo said, glancing over at Heero and jerking his head towards the rock wall. "You wanted the cliff clear for a back guard."

The vampire joined him, following his gaze. He nodded. "There is a small risk of being penned in."

"Better a wall of stone at your back than an enemy," Duo replied. Last time he checked, stone walls didn’t try to rip your heart out.

"Odin will arrive soon," Heero said.

"How does this work? Do we start shooting right away or sit down and have a cup of tea first?"

"There are games to be played first," the vampire said, turning to face Duo and running his fingers along the column of his neck, stopping at the choker.

"What kinda games?" Even that small touch had sent power singing along Duo’s nerves. Though part of the thrill had nothing to do with power, only desire.

"If it were Sally we were facing, I would know. Odin . . . is something entirely different. He could wish to bargain or attempt to steal you from me."

Duo frowned. He didn’t like how Heero was phrasing that.

"He views you as a possession, Duo. The entire Assembly does. I don’t. I’m trying to tell you what to expect. Getting angry at me is useless," Heero said, withdrawing his hand.

Duo almost told Heero that he didn’t have to stop touching him. He stopped himself short of opening his mouth. Duo enjoyed the feel of the vampire’s hands on him too much. It probably shouldn’t have bothered him, but it did.

"Just because I might not like it doesn’t mean I’m angry," Duo snapped.

Heero gave him a mild look.

"Oh, shut up." Never mind the fact that the vampire didn’t say anything, Duo wanted to tell him to shut up.

"He’ll most likely try to keep you for himself. The energy you have is more powerful when you use it. Failing that, he’ll take it from you and kill you."

"How nice," Duo said, angrily recalling what it had felt like the last time Odin got a hold of him. "What about you? And the others?"

"He will try to kill us," Heero said as casually as you’d say good morning.

"Homicidal little bastard, isn’t he?"

"Suicidal," Heero corrected.

Duo grinned. "Planning on ripping his head right off his shoulders, aren’t you?"

Heero’s eyes grew darker, the cobalt flames heating until Duo felt it on his skin like the blazing sun. "I plan on much more than that."

"Heero," Trowa said, walking towards them. "Odin and the others are arriving."

Show time. Whoo hoo.

Odin came first, flanked by two large werewolves and Sally. Couldn’t be Catherine’s wolves, Walker was standing between Une and Relena. Rashid and Catherine came next, four men, one of them Duo recognized as Otto, with them. Treize brought up the rear, Dorothy standing beside him and two men Duo decided looked petty and annoying on either side of them. Twelve. They were outnumbered, but not by much. Something wasn’t quite right.

/Come with me,/ Heero’s voice echoed in Duo’s mind.

Seemingly on cue, everyone formed up around them, waiting for Odin to come close enough. Duo took his place beside Heero. The fireworks were going to start soon and he had a ringside seat. Lucky him.

"Return Dorothy," Heero said bluntly.

Wow. That was a first; Heero wasn’t spending any time beating around the bush.

"Patience, little Heero," Odin said. "All in good time."

Oh, great. They were back to that again.

"We are quite well aware that this is not about your lamia," Odin continued.

"Regardless what it is truly about, return her to me."

"No, I do not think so." Odin raised his hand, his forefinger extended up into the air.

The man standing beside Dorothy, the one with the sickly blond hair and weird hairband, drew back a fist and punched her solidly in the midsection. Dorothy bent over a little, then straightened. She stared at Hairband Boy. He punched her again, this time knocking her to one knee. Dorothy stayed down a moment longer, then got back to her feet.

"What the hell is that supposed to prove?" Duo demanded. He’d had it with weird vampire shit.

"It gladdens me," Odin said, lowering his hand and turning his full attention to Duo, "that Heero does not have complete control over you yet."

"You need to find a new hobby, Odin," Duo said. "This one is going to get you killed."

"If you want your lamia and Treize back, give Duo to me," Odin said.

"No," Heero said calmly. "Duo is given to no one."

"Not even to you, little Heero?"

"Your games are pointless now, Odin. Duo will never answer to you. His power will never be yours. Crawl back to your master and play with his toys," Heero replied.

Cold anger flashed in Odin’s dirty gray eyes. "I answer to no one."

"Then I was wrong," Heero conceded. "You’re more of a fool than I thought."

"Stupid child!" Odin shouted, clenching his fists at his sides. "Do you forget I was your master once? Do you forget all I taught you?"

Duo felt the backlash of power, not aimed at himself but at Heero. A thin trail of blood seeped from a deep gash that had appeared on the vampire’s cheek.

Ignoring the wound, Heero said, "You are not my master any longer, and I am not a child. Time has snuck up on you, old man."

Odin reined in his anger, shaking with the effort. "You will die, little Heero. You will die by your new lover’s hand."

"Everything dies," Heero responded. "But I will not die today."

[cont]