by Blue Soaring
Pairings: 2x5, 2x3, 4x3, 4x5, 1x2
Category: AU
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: OOC, yaoi, language, violence, blood, and gore.
Spoilers: Nope.
Note: This is it, the end. Well, it was a fun ride. I hope no one is terribly disappointed by this. Then again, if someone is, it's not going to make much of a difference. I loved writing this and I'm very glad it lasted as long as it did. And this is the fic that led Dacia, suz and Pondy to me, so it's special. Thanks to everyone who stuck with this through to the end and gave constant feedback. Yume, I'm amazed you put up with me. Stacy, hurry up with that pic. And devils_copper, you haul ass, too. *laugh* Psyche, there's a spot in the ranks for you, if you'd care to join. That sounded sappy there for a minute, didn't it? *shakes head* I'm never sappy

Dance With the Demons + Part 19
Sunset Fire

An eternity passed, and Heero hadn't moved. Duo would have breathed easier, but that pesky hand still had a death grip on his heart. The others stayed back, commanded by Heero to not interfere. He believed that Mariemeia would go through with her threat and hurt Duo, possibly beyond repair. Maybe if Duo asked nicely, Mariemeia would ease up a little.

"You are wiser than Odin, Heero," Mariemeia said, still smiling. "It would be a shame if I had to destroy him so soon. You seem to have grown so fond of each other."

Then again, maybe not.

"Now, I think I would like to see what he is capable of," she said, mostly to herself. She turned to Duo and the force of the power she shoved into his chest made him gasp. "Locate the one called Wufei and kill him."

Duo would have fallen flat on his ass if he could. As it was, his body was already moving forward, seeking out the shifter. His power coiled and twisted inside him, almost like it was indecisive. He glanced around, grateful that Wufei was out of sight.

"Use your power to find him, Duo," Mariemeia commanded.

Duo cursed inwardly as the link between him and the shifter flared to life. He turned, and Heero was blocking his path.

"Don't, Duo," Heero said, blue eyes burning.

Well, gee, it wasn't like there was much of a choice.

"You're much stronger than this," the vampire hissed under his breath, "that woman can't control you."

She seemed to be doing a damn good job of it.

"Talking to him is useless," Mariemeia laughed delightedly. "He is going to find the were and kill him. Because I command him."

Heero's hands gripped Duo's arms, stopping him from moving forward. This was better. Not moving was an improvement. He couldn't kill Wufei if he couldn't move.

Mariemeia's eyes narrowed. "Destroy Heero. He is in your way."

Duo felt like screaming. He wouldn't kill Heero, not because of a witch's spell. Not for anything. His power surged through him, reaching for the vampire. Silently shrieking in his mind, Duo fought to control it, to swallow it back within him. It seethed, but curled back in upon itself. Waiting.

"Destroy him!" Mariemeia said again. "Kill him and the shifter. Now."

Duo stepped back, and Heero let him go. The vampire stared at him, blue eyes blazing with an infinite fire. He remained incredibly still, the only life he showed was in the fiery blue depths.

Tears stung the corners of Duo's eyes. Mariemeia had said to destroy him, she hadn't said how. Duo drew the twin knives and launched himself at Heero, one blade leading in a backhanded slash. Heero dodged easily, stepping to the side. The other knife came down, slicing. The vampire glided back and Duo missed again. Dropping to one knee, the braided man thrust both knives upwards, aiming under Heero's ribs. The vampire whirled, stepping quickly beside and behind him. Duo jabbed back, aiming this time for the vampire's leg, attempting to hamstring him. He missed again, only slashing cloth.

Why wasn't Heero fighting back? He could have easily disarmed and killed him. Duo almost wished he would. At least attack and break him, stop him from moving. Instead, Heero merely dodged and evaded his strikes. They moved faster, each one beginning to anticipate the other's next move. Duo aimed a slash at Heero's throat and missed, but the other knife was already in position to catch the vampire as he darted out of the way. Heero evaded that one, only to move again and narrowly miss the first knife as Duo swung it back. His injured arm was throbbing. He felt blood pulse from the wound, but he couldn't do anything about it. His body moved forward, ignoring the cries of pain from his mind.

Mariemeia was laughing. She watched with glee as they waltzed around each other, silver blades flashing in a macabre dance. Duo wanted to scream his rage and frustration. Heero could either kill or incapacitate him, why wasn 't the idiot doing it!?

Duo's vision blurred suddenly. Heero turned into a vague shadow, a wraith that had to be eliminated. He attacked with frenzy, whirling and spinning around the vampire, slashing savagely and always aiming for the fatal blow. Heero balked, faltering slightly under the new assault. Mariemeia shrieked joyously, her eyes alight.

Hot blood seared into Duo's skin. A thin red line trailed down his arm, dripping from the red-stained blade in his hand. His mind jerked and cleared. He saw a deep gash running diagonally across Heero's chest. The blood was dark red against his clothing but bright against Duo's pale skin.

"Do not stop!" Mariemeia shouted. "Kill him!" They had moved further and further away from her and the others, heading towards a copse of trees at the edge of the graveyard.

No no no! No! He wouldn't kill Heero. He couldn't kill him. But he pressed forward, trying to end the vampire's life with the glittering blades. All of a sudden Duo was flat on his back, both knives spinning away into the darkness. He heard the dull clink as one hit a broken tombstone.

"Stop," Heero hissed, pinning Duo to the ground with his body and holding both wrists above his head.

He didn't have a choice! Was Heero deaf? He didn't have a choice . . . .

"The witch is nothing compared to you. Her tricks and rituals can't contain your power."

Duo twisted, trying to dislodge him. He kicked viciously, but Heero kept his place.

"Use your power, Duo," he whispered furiously. "She's blocking you from me, but you can reach me. She wants you to take my life away. Take it."

What fucking good would that do!? Why kill him?

"Stop doubting me and listen," Heero insisted as Duo still tried to fight him off. "I can't reach you with her interfering. She wants you to use your energy to kill me. It appeals to her. Do what she wants and free yourself."

"Duo! Obey me and destroy the vampire." Mariemeia sounded impatient for them to finish it.

Duo felt his body go slack. He stopped fighting Heero. The vampire released him, slowly backing away. The braided man lay still, staring up at the blank sky. The tightness in his chest returned, making him scream silently in his mind. It felt like his heart had stopped beating completely and was slowly being ripped to shreds inside him.

Slowly, Duo got to his feet. He looked at Heero, then at Mariemeia. The power roiled, surging upwards like a flood. Duo felt it explode from him, straining towards Heero. He felt it wrap around the vampire, caressing like a lover's hand. It flowed around him, then plunged through him, touching him almost gently. Heero's eyes widened, the flames dimming then flaring up, brighter than before.

Duo felt like his skin had disappeared, leaving every nerve bare and exposed. He walked the fine line between pain and pleasure, not sure which side he was falling towards. Heat suffused him, penetrating to the core. Power filled him, flowing through his veins. It brought with it the fire of Heero's life. There was no circle this time, the power flowed into Duo and remained. He couldn't complete the cycle and return Heero's energy to him. Through black-veiled eyes, he watched Heero falter and fall.

The vampire sank to his knees slowly. His eyes dimmed again, going dull and glassy. He stared at Duo, the life draining from him until his eyes were dead. He made no sound, no scream of pain or rage. He simply watched Duo and let himself die.

Tears were streaming down Duo's face. Mariemeia was laughing triumphantly, her cries of merriment echoing sharply in his ears. He felt the others far off, watching with unconcealed horror.

"No!" Duo screamed, lurching forward with an outstretched hand. He fell in front of Heero, catching him as the last of the vampire's strength vanished.

"Oh, excellent! This is wonderful!" Mariemeia said happily. "For you to have killed a vampire of his ability . . . !" she trailed off, too delighted for words.

Duo stared at Heero's dead eyes. The blue flame was gone, drained away like his life. The blackness veiling Duo's sight grew deeper, stealing away the remaining light of the world. The vampire's eyes slowly closed.

"You," Duo growled, turning to Mariemeia, "I will destroy you." He stood slowly, letting Heero fall completely to the ground. "I will end your life; rip it from your body and watch it die."

Fear sparked behind the witch's eyes. "Stop," she commanded. "I control you now."

"No, you don't, bitch. You can't. No one controls me!" Duo screamed, lashing out with the energy still coiled inside him; the energy he had stolen from Heero.

Mariemeia shrieked, falling backwards as the full force of the power hit her. She clutched at her chest, her mouth open in a continuous scream of pain. Blood trickled from her eyes, mixing with her tears. She tried to fight him, tried to block his power with her own. Mariemeia struggled, holding her head in her hands. A tiny hint of something battered against Duo. He brushed it away and ruthlessly tore her life from her body.

A gurgling rush of red liquid cut off her screams and she coughed violently, choking on thicker things than blood as her body was ripped apart from the inside. She fell, hitting the ground heavily on her side. Her face was a red mask, eyes flashing impossibly white through the gore.

"You . . . can't . . ." she whispered hoarsely, fingers digging into the dirt.

"You people have an attitude problem," Duo said. "You're all too negative." His voice was cold and dispassionate as he watched her blood soak into the earth.

Mariemeia's body convulsed once, her eyes rolling back into her head. Duo stared at her, waiting until the very last of her life trickled away. He waited until her heart stopped beating. Slowly, he turned away from her, gazing down at the prone body of Heero.

Instantly, the black veil receded, replaced by the vibrant blue of Heero's eyes. Duo drew on the power, gathering it until he thought his skin would melt from his body. He thrust it forward, pushing it back into Heero. Duo knelt by his side, watching his face intently. He felt the power flow through Heero, touching him, almost reveling. It coiled like something alive, coaxing life and breath to return to the vampire.

Heero gasped. His eyes opened, shining dully in the sparse light. He blinked, then focused on Duo's face. He pushed himself up on his elbows and Duo reached out, helping. Once Heero was sitting up, Duo pulled the vampire towards him, tipping his own head to the side. He pushed up one side of the choker, baring the tiny marks.

A soft sound escaped Heero's throat. He sank his fangs into Duo's neck, piercing the skin. Duo sucked in a sharp breath, feeling wave after wave of pleasure wash over him. The cycle of energy continued, brushing like silk and satin across his nerves.

Heero reared above him, thrusting him back onto the ground. He covered Duo' s body with his own. His strength returned, filling him until his eyes were fiery cobalt once more.

The power grew and broke, engulfing them both. Duo cried out when it flooded over him, drowning him in its intensity. It flowed out, reaching for Wufei. It found him and moved on, both finding and filling Trowa and then Quatre. Tinier threads touched the others, brushing past them and then returning to where Duo and Heero lay, completely swallowed by the rush of power.

"You should listen to me more often," Heero said in a rough voice, sitting back on Duo's legs. His lips quirked up at the corners.

"Where's the fun in that?" Duo asked, raising an eyebrow. His power had quieted, content to curl and rest inside him, waiting for his call. Immense relief filled Duo as he stared up at the half-smiling vampire. He felt something wet trail down his face and ignored it.

"Duo? Heero?" Wufei said, standing above them.

Duo glanced up and saw everyone who was still able to walk, Walker and Rashid included, looming above them in a circle. He started to laugh.

"That's not good," Wufei muttered to Trowa.

The green-eyed shifter shook his head solemnly.

"Oh, piss off," Duo laughed. Then, on impulse, he grabbed Heero's head and drew him down for a fierce kiss. Heero complied after a moment's surprise, greedily plunging his tongue into Duo's mouth.

"I hope we all get a victory kiss," Quatre grumbled.

Trowa leaned in quickly, bracing himself on the blonde's shoulders and obligingly gave him a kiss, complete with tongue and little nips. When the shifter broke away, Quatre blinked and gave him a strange look. Trowa merely shrugged. And Duo laughed harder.

"C'mon, Heero, get up," Duo said, wiggling his legs a little. "Someone gimmie a hand here."

Wufei reached down, hauling Duo to his feet after the vampire had stood.

"I want a victory party," Duo said. He turned to Walker and Rashid. "I don 't think you're invited."

"They are," Heero said. When Duo gave him a shocked look, he continued, "Mariemeia had created bonds around both them and several of the others. I felt them break."

"Oh, well . . . you WHAT?"

"You didn't drain me completely," Heero said, his voice softer now.

"I know, but I wasn't sure . . ." Duo trailed off. He was lying, both to Heero and himself. When he saw Heero fall, he was sure the vampire was lost.

"We have to check on the others," Heero said. The gathering around them melted away, searching out the dead and injured.

"You could have killed me, Heero," Duo said, staring blankly at a crypt. "You could have fought back."

"I didn't."

"No, you didn't." He paused. "I could have killed you. You would have let me take everything from you to break free of Mariemeia," Duo said. He resisted the urge to wrap his arms around himself as a cold shiver ran down his spine.

"But you didn't, Duo. Both Odin and Mariemeia are dead, Sally is no longer a threat and we are alive. Nothing else matters."

Duo was sure there were a lot more things that mattered, but right now, he couldn't think of one. He'd think of them eventually.

"Come with me," Heero said, stepping up behind Duo.

Turning, Duo faced the vampire, focusing on the blue flames of his eyes. Duo breathed in the vampire's scent. His body ached and his head was pounding. His eyes burned and his ribs felt like every single one of them were broken. And all he could think was that Heero was alive and standing close enough to kiss.

+

Mariemeia had been busy indeed. She had been working for years, weaving layer upon layer of spells around anyone within her reach. Sally had reluctantly acknowledged Heero as Erus, but continued to defy him in a thousand tiny ways. Heero was losing patience. He should bleed her a bit. That would shut her up. Or let Duo shoot her a few times.

The only casualties were Catherine, Alex and two werewolves that no one could identify. Apparently, Mariemeia had brought those in. Duo had felt guilty about Catherine until Heero assured him that she was helping Mariemeia on her own, no spells needed. Walker, Otto, Rashid and three other men were free. They had all sworn loyalty to Heero. Duo still didn't trust them, but Abdul, Ahmad and Auda, three werejackals, were slowly getting in Duo's good graces. The three of them were impossible; they teased each other relentlessly, their banter filling the hallways of Devil's Bliss. Dorothy and Treize were fine, the containment spell having been broken once Mariemeia had died.

Lucrezia was missing again. Howard and Iria had been attacked at the hotel by another bunch of Mariemeia's flunkies. Both were relatively undamaged, the flunkies were currently pushing up daisies. Howard was pissed off that Lucrezia had gotten away, Iria even more so. It didn't help that some werewolf had chewed up her shiny new Ruger. She sent Heero the bill.

+

Duo woke slowly, blinking into the darkness. Heero slept beside him, his face relaxed. He idly brushed a hand through the vampire's dark hair, twisting a lock around his finger. Rolling quietly out of bed, he wandered out to the main section of Heero's rooms.

Trowa was asleep, his head resting on Wufei's thigh. The black-haired shifter looked up questioningly at Duo. Duo leaned down behind him, softly inhaling the clean scent of his skin. Wufei tipped his head to the side, rubbing his cheek against Duo's shoulder.

"What time is it?" Duo asked. He guessed it was about sunset.

"Five to nine," Wufei answered.

"Thanks," Duo said, brushing his lips softly over Wufei's ear. He picked up the matching top to his pajamas and hauled it on over his head. Opening the door as quietly as he could, he walked out into the hall, closing the door behind him.

Duo climbed the stairs leading to the roof. He opened the door as the final blaze of bright red and orange sunlight disappeared. He blinked several times, clearing the spots from his eyes. Walking to the edge of the roof, he gazed silently as the sun sank below the mountains.

His life had never been normal. Hell, ask anyone, and they'd have a hard time coming up with what exactly 'normal' was. Right now, though, his life was the farthest from any definition of normal he'd ever heard. He took an occasional case, but mostly accepted requests from the police for help. Sometimes he took private requests. But always, Heero accompanied him on the hunt. Wufei did too, more often than not.

The majority of Duo's things had been moved to Devil's Bliss, even though he still paid rent on the apartment. The Assembly had sent another representative, this time inquiring about the Mariemeia incident. Gwinter was pleasant, if a little anal. Anal for a vampire, anyway.

Life with Heero and the others was good. It was comfortable. Wufei managed to corner him at least several times a day, mostly when Duo was already conveniently naked. He slept with Heero, although it was questionable how much sleeping actually occurred. When the vampire was busy elsewhere, playing vampy politics and whatnot, the shifters slept with him in his and Heero's bed. Quatre usually found his way into their bed, too. Oddly enough, the blond vampire had a habit of cuddling. Then again, given his fondness of casual touching, maybe that wasn't so surprising after all. It was almost cute, watching Quatre snuggle. He was more than a little indignant when Duo had said so. Which just made it cuter.

Yeah, Duo's life was still fucked up. But this time, he was enjoying it. It probably wasn't forever, and it sure as hell wasn't happy-white-picket-fence contentment, but it suited him. Maybe Fate had finally stopped laughing at Duo and had moved on to pester another poor idiot.

Duo was hauled out of his reverie by the familiar brush of Heero's mind. The vampire walked up behind him, his bare feet silent on the hard roof. He wrapped his arms around the braided man. The sleeves of his robe were warm and soft against Duo's bare arms. A shiver ran down his spine, and it had nothing to do with being cold.

"Hiya, Heero," Duo greeted softly, unable to stop his voice from sounding husky.

"Hello, Duo," Heero said, burying his face in Duo's hair. The vampire had unbraided it early that morning, running his hands though it while they lay naked together in bed. "You were watching the sun set," he said, nuzzling the crook of Duo's neck. His tongue darted out, swiping a hot line over the tiny scar.

"Yeah," Duo said breathlessly, leaning back into Heero. The stars had appeared, peeking out one by one while he had been lost in his thoughts.

Heero's black robe flapped open in he breeze. Duo tugged on the sides, baring the warm, soft skin of Heero's chest. He leaned back again, tipping his head back on Heero's shoulder and watching the stars twinkle. The bottom of the robe fluttered around his legs, flowing out in front of them like a raven's wings as it touched the ground. Heero was warm and smelled of sandalwood and spice. Underneath, the dark promise of heat, desire and sex ran strong. A promise that Heero never failed to keep.

He was content. Wrapped in Heero's arms, Duo felt more content than he could ever remember feeling. Inside, Wufei and the others waited, completely happy with Duo and his life. The monsters were more comfortable with Duo than any humans he'd known. It should have bothered him. Instead, it made him smile. Today would probably be a good day. He was having lots of those lately.

Owari

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Blue: That's it.  I'm finished.  *sigh*
Duo: This is one of those bittersweet moments in life, isn't it?
Blue: I HATE bittersweets moments.  I'll really miss writing . . . .
Quatre: You sound as if you're not going to write anything else.
Blue: Well, I-
Wufei: Not another word, woman.
Blue: *quirks an eyebrow*
Duo: Yeah, shut up.  You know you've got another fic ready to go.
Heero: We all know it.
Trowa: *nods*
Blue: If you'd let me finish?  *pauses*  Right.  As I was saying.  I'll really miss writing THIS.
Duo: Oh.
Blue: Yeah.  Oh.  *sarcastic grin*
Trowa: Well?
Blue: Yes?
Heero: What are you waiting for?  Post it.
Blue: Pushy, aren't you?
Duo: It's all in the company you keep.  *grin*

[part 18] [back to Blue Soaring's fic]