Dance With the Demons + Part 11 (cont)
To Find the End

The blonde reached Heero's door first, opening it; Duo close on his heels. Heero was seated in the big center chair that he had sat in that first night, his legs tucked under him. The dark haired vampire was wearing a tight, sleeveless red tee and dark blue jeans. It was the least complicated outfit Duo had ever seen the Erus in. Wufei, now in human form, was stretched out on a couch, clad only in a pair of his black linen pants. Trowa sat, also back in human form, beside Heero, sitting crossed-legged on the other couch. He wore a pair of those tight pants he seemed so fond of, and a t-shirt that stretched across his chest and molded itself to his body, showing the sharp planes of his chest perfectly.

"Trowa . . . ." Quatre whispered as they entered the room.

The named shifter's head snapped up. His green eyes sparkled when he caught sight of Quatre. Rising to his feet with inhuman grace, he met the vampire in the center of the room. Falling to his knees in front of Quatre, he wrapped his arms around the slight man's waist and leaned his head against Quatre's stomach.

Duo regarded the two curiously. There was more to that greeting than either friendship or lust. While Duo was watching them, he missed Wufei leave the couch and, for all intents and purposes, stalk towards him. That is, until he was confronted with black, smoldering eyes.

Duo blinked, surprised by the sheer amount of desire he saw burning in Wufei's eyes. "Wufei . . ." he began, then saw the shifter's eyes fix on his mouth. His words died away when Wufei melded himself against Duo's body, pressing their lips together.

Duo's arms came up almost automatically to hold Wufei close to him even as he deepened the kiss. He pushed past Wufei's lips, dipping deep into the other's mouth and reveling in the taste. Duo decided then that it had been long enough since he had tasted Wufei. Maybe a few hours in bed with his pet would brighten his disposition . . . it was already off to such a good start.

Wufei pulled away first, turning around in the circle of Duo's arms and leaning back into him. Duo groaned softly at the delectable sensation of Wufei's body, and, more precisely, his well-formed posterior, pressing against him. Oh, yes. Much, much too long.

Tipping his head back to rest on Duo's shoulder, Wufei whispered, "You taste like blood, Duo. Blood . . . and Quatre."

Dammit, busted.

Quatre had sunk down beside Trowa, balancing on the balls of his feet. The vampire released the shifter's lips, a slightly fuzzy look on his face. Trowa was smiling at Duo from where he knelt, palms flat against the floor to support his weight. That impish little smile again. As sexy as Trowa made it look, Duo was beginning to grow wary of that smile.

"Quatre tastes of blood and Duo," he said simply.

Quatre actually giggled.

Trowa raised an eyebrow. "He seems a bit . . . happy, doesn't he?"

"Duo tastes like blood, sex and power," Quatre said, rising to his feet and dragging Trowa up with him. Duo was getting just a little sick of hearing the word ‘taste'. Quatre sauntered over to the couch Trowa had recently vacated and lay down on it, pulling the green-eyed shifter down, half on top of him. He sighed contentedly, glancing over at Heero. "I highly recommend you taste him."

Now, that was just a little insulting. "I'm not some fucking new drink for you to pass around, Q!" Duo said, storming over to the couch opposite the blonde and flopping down. Wufei followed, sitting down and leaning on him slightly.

"Ooooh, but you taste so good, Duo . . ." Quatre replied, running his tongue over the tip of his fangs.

Duo gave up. He was just too tired. "Just shut up, Quatre. See if I ever kiss you again," he grumbled.

"You kissed him?" Heero's slightly accented voice interrupted, sounding skeptical.

Duo almost jumped out of his skin. Shit, he had forgotten about Heero. How the hell he managed to do that was beyond him.

"That's what I said, Heero. Or were you too busy wondering about how I'd taste to listen?" Ah, fuck. Duo hadn't meant to say that. Yes, that's a brilliant idea. Taunt the vampire that can rip out your spinal cord.

"What makes you think I don't already know how you taste, Duo?" Heero was smirking slightly, the corners of his mouth turned up.

So, that's what the urge to shit your pants feels like. Duo felt his eyes widen. He was joking. He had to be joking. He had better be fucking joking!

"Lay off on the mind games until later, Heero. I'm tired, really confused, and really, really fucking cranky." There. That was his new word. Really. Duo smiled to himself. Christ, he felt like a simpleton.

Heero nodded, his face once again blank. Sweet Jesus, how Duo hated that. Heero was a hell of a lot easier to deal with when he wasn't doing his best impression of a wall. Or playing mind games. The hell with it; Heero was never easy to deal with.

Settling back into the couch, Duo said, "So, what do you wanna do first? Hear what I found out, see if we can figure out what the fuck is going on, or drill me and Quatre on our little make out session?"

Heero quirked an eyebrow. That was a little better. At least it was an expression.

"Tell me what you know first," Heero said, resting his elbows on the arms of his chair and lacing his fingers together in his lap.

Duo saw that one coming. He held up a hand, ticking items off on his fingers. "Kay, first off, Mary-Anne isn't dead, she's with Lucrezia. Where, I don't have a fucking clue."

"Alive? That's a surprise," Quatre said, sobering up a little.

"Oh, and her name isn't Mary-Anne, its Mariemeia," Duo added.

"Are you certain?" Heero asked, his eyes narrowing.

"Yes, I'm sure. Jesus, Heero, do you even pay attention to what I'm saying? Her name is Mariemeia." Duo looked from Heero to Quatre and back again. "That mean something to you?"

"Possibly," Heero said. Yep, Quatre was right. Prudent was exactly what Heero was. "Go on," the Erus said.

"Catherine isn't crazy. At least, not as crazy as she makes herself out to be," Duo continued. "She had a few sane moments."

Trowa moved his head, shifting his gaze from Quatre to Heero. "I agree. She was entirely too lucid at times."

"In summary, Mary-Anne, who is still alive, is in actuality Mariemeia, and Catherine is not a raving lunatic," Heero stated.

"Well, yeah." It really didn't seem like much when Heero stated it like that. Oh, there was Duo's new word again. Duo revised his earlier debate between sleep and food to sleep, food, sex or drugs. Maybe all four . . . oh, wait! He was forgetting alcohol. Can't forget the alcohol. Let's see; sleep, food, sex, drugs, alcohol . . . sleep ­

"Duo."

There it was again. That subtle little ‘fuck me' that Heero always hid behind Duo's name.

"Yes, Heero?" Duo said, slurring slightly.

"Are you going to be alright?" Heero asked, something that sounded suspiciously like genuine concern in his voice.

"Fuck no, I'm never going to be alright again," Duo said, his eyes bright. "Think about it, blood breath. I don't have a fucking clue what the hell is going on anymore. No, forget that. I didn't have a clue what was going on in the first place. Then, there's that nasty little problem I have with the uncontrollable urge to shove my tongue down Quatre's throat; and every time you say my name, Heero, it sounds more and more like ‘fuck me', so pretty soon I'm just going to say the hell with it and do just that! Oh! Let's not forget that for some great," Duo held up his hands, his voice going up and octave or two, "UNKNOWABLE reason, I suddenly decided to leech a vampire's energy, or power, or WHATEVER the fuck it was, out of her, and send it along to you guys, like some preternatural United Postal Service!" Duo stopped, catching his breath.

All four of the others were staring at Duo.

"WHAT!?" Duo exploded.

" . . . ‘fuck me'?" Heero said, his expression mild.

"Yes!" Duo shouted.

Duo clamped his mouth shut, blinking. Wait, that wasn't right. "No!" he said quickly, trying to head off the wrong idea. Duo covered his face with his hands. This was getting him nowhere. Right then, he didn't know if he'd prefer to get some answers or just shoot himself. Maybe he should just shoot everyone else. What he wouldn't give just to find the end of this mess.

Quatre glanced up at Trowa, shock evident on his face. "‘Fuck me'?" he mouthed, the corners of his mouth curving into a smile.

Trowa's impish smile was back.

Wufei tucked a piece of Duo's hair behind his ear, smoothing it back with his hand. "One problem at a time, Duo," he said quietly, resting his other hand on Duo's thigh.

"Wufei is right. Attempting anything more than that would be foolish," Heero said.

Duo took a deep breath, then looked up to meet Heero's gaze. "Right," he said, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees. He plopped his chin down on his hands. "So which problem do we tackle first?"

"If I suggest you sleep first, you will ignore me, won't you?" Heero asked.

"Yep," Duo agreed.

"And something to eat?"

"Well," Duo drawled, a pang in his stomach reminding him that he really was a little hungry, "I could REALLY use something to eat." There. He was putting his new word to good use.

+

"I can't explain what happened, Duo" Heero was saying as he watched the recently fed and now calm Duo pace across the floor. They had been discussing the entire series of events for the last two hours or so.

"You don't seem all that surprised or upset by it either, you know." Duo turned on his heel, making his way back to the other side of the room. Pacing wasn't very productive, as Heero had pointed out earlier, but it helped Duo think.

Quatre and Trowa were still on the couch, although they were now sitting up and watching Duo. Wufei had just returned from the upstairs kitchen. The shifter had removed the remnants of Duo's impromptu meal. He settled down on the floor in front of Heero, also watching Duo pace.

"There were hints that you could do something like this before, Duo," Heero said.

"Yeah, yeah." Duo was remembering what had happened during one of his and Heero's little talks. Apparently, he had tried to absorb some of Heero's energy then. And, of course, he was going on Heero's word. Again. What Duo wouldn't give for real proof.

"So," Duo pressed on, "how come you didn't mention this to me before?"

"It wouldn't have made a difference, we weren't even sure," Quatre spoke up. "Would you have been able to stop it, or even believed us, if we had brought it to your attention?"

Probably not, Duo thought, but still. "That's not the point, Q. I could have killed her -"

"You regret not killing her?" Heero sounded amused.

"Would you let me finish?" Duo demanded. "I could have killed her, but I didn't. And I wanted to. But that . . . that . . . sucking the life out of her, that was . . . ." he trailed off.

"What, Duo?" Heero quietly prompted.

Duo whipped around and landed a solid kick on the wall. He flung himself around, leaning back on the wall and slamming it with his fist. "Inhuman," he said almost inaudibly, sinking to the floor and drawing his knees up. He rested his forehead on his knees, closing his eyes.

"Duo," Heero said, his voice coming from directly above the frustrated man.

Looking up, Duo saw that Heero was standing above him. The vampire crouched down slowly. "You can't take back what happened."

Duo snorted. "Is that supposed to make me feel better?"

"No, but it is true nonetheless." Heero reached out and tipped Duo's chin up. "Now that it is done, we have to find out how you can control it."

We? Where'd he get the ‘we' concept? "I don't have time for fucking around with that shit, Heero! I'm not one bit closer to finding out WHY there are so many killings. I've got to track Catherine down again. I should have killed her when I had the chance."

"Yes, you should have," Heero agreed.

Duo narrowed his eyes at the vampire.

"But," Heero continued, "it is just as well that you didn't. We may need her again."

There was that ‘we' thing again. "She killed ­ tried to kill ­ Mary-Anne! Mariemeia." Duo snorted in frustration. "I don't even know who she is anymore."

Quatre spoke up next. "You should forget about her for now. We don't even know where she is."

Huh, even Quatre was hung up on the ‘we' concept.

"Quatre's right," Wufei said. "You should concentrate on figuring out what happened and if it had anything to do with the attempted sacrifice."

Duo had almost forgotten about that. Maybe that was tied to what happened. Duo hadn't asked Sally about that. After he brought up the church fire, Duo had lost it and . . . .

"Sally was the one who destroyed the church in the suburbs," Duo said suddenly.

"What?" Heero looked sharply at Duo.

"The fire, you remember." Duo lifted the gold cross in his palm. He hadn't tucked it back into his shirt in all the commotion, then he had forgotten about it. "I found out Sally was the one who set fire to the church."

"Did she tell you this?" Quatre asked.

"No," Duo laughed bitterly. "She didn't. But I know it's true. But one thing I don't know, Heero," Duo said, looking straight at the vampire, "is why you didn't tell me. 'Cuz you already knew."

Heero opened his mouth to speak, but Duo held up a hand. "Ah ah ah, Heero. Forget your excuses. Make it up to me by telling me who ordered the church destroyed. And don't tell me you don't know."

There was a sharp rapping on the door to Heero's room. Quatre rose from the couch and answered it, talking briefly with someone. Surprise registered on his face, quickly replaced by anger. Scowling, he nodded once curtly, then shut the door.

"Heero," the blonde said, "Lucrezia and the one called Mariemeia are here. They want to meet with Duo."

"Not now, Quatre," Heero started to say.

Fuck that. Duo surged to his feet, causing Heero to rise and take a quick step back. "I'll see them, and I'll see them now. Alone."

Heero's expression shifted instantly to one of anger. "Duo, if you want to meet them now, fine. But not alone."

"Why the hell not alone, Heero? Huh? It's my choice. I'm in the middle of your club, underground, surrounded by God only knows how many vamps, shifters and whatever the hell you've got lying around. What in the name of Jesus could happen?"

"Did you forget it was at this Mariemeia's apartment that you were taken from the first time, Duo?" Heero said in a calm tone, despite the anger evident on his face. "You will not meet them alone. I don't trust either one of them."

"Too bad, Heero, 'cuz I don't trust you." Duo jabbed a finger in Heero's chest. "Now you either let me talk to them here, by myself, or I'm going to cart my ass right back to my apartment and serve them coffee there. Your choice."

Heero looked pissed. Extremely pissed. To his credit, he didn't rip Duo to shreds on the spot. A fact that Duo was quite grateful for. Instead, he just looked at Duo.

"You are certain of this?" the vampire asked.

"Yeah." Duo crossed his arms. "I am."

"Heero, the Wiccan, maybe, but surely not Lucrezia. Her evident relationship with Sally . . . ." Quatre said, shaking his head.

"Be quiet, Quatre. If Duo wants to meet them alone, he will. But he will meet them here." Heero closed the distance between himself and Duo so quickly that Duo didn't even see him move.

Duo broke out into a cold sweat. At that moment, faced with Heero and his anger, Duo felt afraid. Real, heart stopping fear. Even the firm metal of the gun at his back did nothing to dispel it.

"It would be a good idea, Duo, to remember that however little you trust me, you should trust her less," Heero's voice was cold, but his eyes burned straight into Duo's brain.

At that moment, Duo wasn't sure if Heero was referring to Lucrezia or Mariemeia. Something in Heero's eyes, though, made Duo believe that the vampire was talking about Mariemeia. And that did nothing to quell the tight knot of fear that had rooted itself deep in Duo's belly.

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

Duo: I spend too much time being scared shitless in this fic.
Heero: No, you spend too much time running your mouth off.
Duo: That's a matter of opinion.
Blue: I think he has a point.
Duo: You stay out of this!
Blue: *glare* You had better watch it Duo . . . .
Quatre: *warning voice* Don't piss off the author, Duo.
Blue: *smirk*
Duo: Why the bloody hell not!?
Trowa: *whispering something quickly to Duo*
Duo: *wide eyed* Oh.
Wufei: Yeah. Oh.
Blue: *narrowing eyes suspiciously* Just what did you tell him? Hey! HEY!

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