With the Demons + Part 12 (cont)
To Know the Beginning
Duo's mind was a jumble again. He had never really gotten around to cleaning
it up in the past week, and now it was worse than ever before. Mariemeia
had never been his friend, Mary-Anne was fiction. Someone the red haired
woman had dreamed up in order to get close to Duo. At least Lucrezia had
never lied about who she was, hadn't she? Maybe, maybe not. How could
Duo know? Looking up personal files on Lucrezia was starting to seem like
a good idea. He was beginning to not trust anyone. Soon, he'd be suspecting
Sighing, Duo kept walking. Devil's Bliss was far behind him now. The busy
flow of the inner city was gradually slipping away the further Duo walked.
He didn't even stop to think of where he was going. He just kept walking.
A catalyst. That's what Mariemeia had called him; Lucrezia had agreed.
Someone who could take and amplify another's power -- their life.
And give it to others. If he stole it from one, couldn't he increase the
power and then give it back? The idea gave Duo a measure of comfort. That
might be what he had done when he was with Wufei. Taken the shifters power
unconsciously, magnified it and then sent it back. It didn't seem to have
affected him negatively, quite the opposite, in fact. That wasn't so bad,
Duo looked up, watching the clouds move overhead sluggishly. The night
. . . morning now, was bright. The moon and stars above shone brilliantly
in the blue velvet sky. A slight breeze wafted past Duo, smelling of trees
Why would Mariemeia want to prevent Duo from realizing his power? She
had said he wasn't a threat to her, but one to Sally and Heero. And if
Duo was a threat to Heero, why was the vampire so intent on keeping Duo
both alive and near him? One of those 'keep your friends close, and your
enemies closer' things? That didn't make much sense to Duo. If anyone
was Heero's enemy, it was Sally.
And thinking of Sally, it looked like she and Lucrezia were not really
that friendly with each other. The voodoo priestess most likely left her
home fearing that Catherine and her wolves would come for her next, even
though Lucrezia didn't know it was them specifically out to get her.
Then there was the alliance -- friendship? -- between Mariemeia
and Lucrezia, which, it seemed, had come to an abrupt end. Sally, Mariemeia
and Lucrezia . . . the first two, as far as Duo was concerned, were against
him. Sally downright wanted him dead; she had said as much herself, and
Mariemeia had wanted Duo's power to stay latent. Now that it had shown
itself, Duo wasn't sure where the redhead stood. She had said that Duo's
death would suit her just fine.
Duo snorted, the sound breaking the silence of the darkness. He decided
to go with paranoia and stick Sally and Mariemeia in the same group: 'happy
to slaughter Duo'. But, Duo thought, the two of them weren't working together
-- yet. If Sally wanted Duo dead and Mariemeia wanted Duo's power
contained, the possibility that an alliance would form between them was
very feasible. One little thing kept nagging Duo. Why would Sally try
to kill Mariemeia, if the so-called Wiccan was attempting to keep Duo
from his power? Wouldn't containment serve Sally's purposes as well?
Grinding his teeth in frustration, Duo checked his watch. Almost three
o'clock. Just how long had he been walking? Not that it had done him any
good; Duo had more questions now than ever. He stopped and looked around,
hoping to see something he recognized. He hadn't been paying attention
to where he was going.
Duo sucked in a sharp breath. How in the name of Jesus had he gotten here?
He glanced back over his shoulder, the lights of the city long since grown
dim. It was impossible. There was no way Duo could have made it this far
in the short time he had been walking. Was there?
Closing his eyes, Duo turned his head back around slowly. After a moment,
he opened them again. And it was still there.
The blackened pile of rubble was still visible under the grass and flowers.
Time had almost swallowed up the ruins, along with the help of grief-stricken
people. Blossoms grew over the uneven ground; the seeds of the flowers
once planted by family and friends had spread and multiplied, creating
a startling display of life. Life masking the tragedy.
The Church of St. Jerome Emiliani was nothing more than a mound of burnt
earth and tattered greenery. In the light of the moon, all the color was
washed away, leaving only shadows. Shadows of color, shadows of memory.
Duo walked slowly up the overgrown path, noticing with a pang of sadness
that the memorial plaque near the crumbling gate was all but invisible
under the grass. The trees lining the path cast dappled shadows over his
face. Duo reached the end, crouching down on the balls of his feet and
looked over the small plot of land. Unconsciously, his hand strayed toward
the cross hanging at his neck.
He could almost hear the laughter of the children. The Father's voice
echoed in his mind.
~"I cannot thank you enough," the Father had said, laying
a hand on the lost boy's head. "His parents will be very grateful."
He had turned to the boy then, and said, "Go inside now, and play
with the others. They were worried about you."
The little boy had grinned
up at Duo, then he took off into the church, yelling for his friends.
"The others?" Duo had asked.
"Orphans. St. Jerome is the patron saint of orphans," the Father
had replied, a sad smile on his face. "He died centuries ago caring
for those who had contracted the plague. We -- the Sisters and
I -- continue his work here. We may not be a true family, but it
is all we can offer."
"The children seem happy," Duo had said, listening to a burst
of laughter and giggles.
"Yes . . . ." the priest trailed off, and had turned to face
Duo. "What of you, young Duo? What brings you here at this time of
the night? Your own family must be concerned for your safety."
Duo had chuckled softly at that. "No, no. I'm my family. Just me."
He had looked beyond the Father then, into the warm glow of the church.
"I guess I have more in common with these kids than I thought, huh?"~
Rousing himself from his memory,
Duo gazed up at the sky. The kids had all scrambled out to meet the unnamed
boy's savior. The priest had given Duo the cross as he was leaving, the
cross that had hung around the Father's neck. The same cross that Duo
now clutched in his hand.
Duo stood, his mind filled with questions and not a single answer. Is
this where it had all begun, the fire only a short few years ago? Or had
it begun long before that, long before Duo could remember? And why? Why
destroy the church? A shiver passed over him. Had the church been destroyed
because of him, were they trying to get to Duo that night? Was he responsible
for the death, the destruction?
No. No, he wouldn't shoulder the blame. The blood, the children's blood,
was on Sally's hands. And whoever had ordered the church burned. Duo would
find them, and he would make them pay.
Duo felt someone at his back. Heero had finally gotten pissed off enough
to track him down. Sighing, Duo started to turn around.
"Do you want to know where it all began, Duo?" a voice asked
What the hell!? Duo whipped around, hand diving under his coat, drawing
the Glock smoothly. "Who the fuck are you?" Duo kept the gun
pointed down, tight against the blackness of his coat. The black matte
of the gun blended into the material. Half of Duo was hoping he wouldn't
have to kill anyone tonight, and the other half was doing a little macabre
dance of joy. Just having an excuse to shoot someone would improve his
A small sound of disapproval. "Such crudity." The figure walked
closer, and Duo could make out the features of his face.
Sharp eyes and a thin mouth, drawn into a small smile. High cheekbones
and a strong chin gave his face a sturdy, angular look. His hair looked
blonde, bleached lighter by the moonlight. Duo couldn't tell the color
of his eyes. He was tall; he walked smoothly and with a proud bearing.
"It is a shame that innocents should die because of the stupidity
of others. Wouldn't you agree, Duo?" the man said.
Duo grunted. He was getting sick of meeting people who ignored his questions.
And sick of people who knew his name, when Duo didn't have a clue who
the hell they were. "I'm pretty sure I asked you a question."
"Yes, you did." The man smiled. He was standing beside Duo now,
looking at the church's foundation. "I think you have many questions,
Duo. Ones I'd be happy to answer for you."
Well. That offer was tempting. First things first, though. "Yeah?
Alright then, we'll talk about that in a second. You gonna tell me who
The man looked at Duo from the corner of his eye. "A friend."
"Uh huh," Duo said dubiously. "And you expect me to believe
"It matters not if you believe me, it is the true answer to your
There seemed to be a surplus of annoying people in Duo's life lately.
He fingered the trigger on the Glock, and briefly thought about tucking
the gun away. The man seemed unconcerned with the bared weapon, and that
prompted Duo to keep it out. He really was getting paranoid.
"How do you know who I am, since I don't know you?" Duo asked
after a moment.
"Many people know who you are, Duo Maxwell, because of your exploits
in monster hunting. Is it really surprising that I do?" He slipped
his hands into his pockets, appearing at ease with the situation.
That was true enough, Duo supposed. It wasn't like he'd never had strangers
recognize him before. But this guy made Duo jumpy, and he wondered why
that was. Probably the fact that he was having a conversation next to
the ruined foundation of St. Jerome's at a decidedly ungodly hour in the
morning with a man that plucked the thoughts right out of his head.
"You mentioned answers," Duo said, eyeing him. Yet another reason
to be wary; the almost casual statement that he could provide Duo with
answers to his questions.
"I did," the man said simply.
"How would you know the answers? Better yet, how would you know the
questions?" Duo said, not bothering to hide the doubt in his voice.
"Heero is keeping many secrets from you. It is very unfair of him,"
the man said, turning his full gaze back to Duo's face.
"No shit," Duo said, keeping his tone neutral. Was this guy
even listening to what Duo was saying? "I want to know how the hell
you seem to know so much."
The man smiled again, thinly. "That is unimportant; be satisfied
that I know. Do you want the answers, Duo? Or will you let the monsters
Alright, enough was enough. He was starting to piss Duo off with all this
mystery shit. "No one controls me," he ground out.
"No, I suppose not," the man looked amused. "No one will
ever control you." The amused tone in his voice was replaced by one
that was wistful.
Duo had the suspicion that the man was going out of his way to be an annoying
prick. "Look, buddy, you're really starting to piss me off here.
What do you want, and where the fuck did you come from?"
"Direct," the man said, nodding. "Very well, come with
me." He turned to leave.
"Wait just a damn minute here. I didn't say anything about following
you anywhere," Duo said, frowning. None of this felt right, either
the man or the way he was acting. No matter how much Duo wanted answers,
he wasn't about to buy into what some nameless man told him. And the man
was doing nothing to make Duo feel one little bit inclined to trust him.
"No offence, whoever the hell you are, but I don't think I trust
you enough to blindly plod along behind you."
"But you trust Heero, do you not?" the man asked.
Hell no. "What do you care about that?"
The man sighed. "You are being difficult, Duo."
Shrugging, Duo said, "Probably, deal with it."
"I see," the man said. He faced Duo again. "Return to your
Erus and ask him your questions. Perhaps he will even answer them."
He started walking down the path, his words floating back on the night
air to Duo. "But when you truly want to know what is happening, I
will find you. I will see you again, Duo."
Duo watched him leave, his words adding to the jumble in his head. "Crazy
fuck . . . ." he mumbled under his breath. And how many fucking times
did he have to tell people that Heero wasn't HIS Erus? Slumping against
the nearest tree trunk, Duo leaned his head back and closed his eyes,
resting the gun in his lap. He was suddenly aware of how tired he really
was. Weird was the perfect word to sum up what just happened. Duo almost
regretted not going with him. Yeah, he wanted answers, but not like that,
not from him. With a start, Duo realized that he really did want the answers
from Heero. Maybe Duo was just fooling himself, and he actually did trust
the vampire. God knows he didn't trust creepy men that materialized out
of thin air.
Several minutes passed, and once again Duo felt a presence nearby. This
time, however, it was familiar to him and he instantly knew exactly who
it was. Opening his eyes and smiling, Duo said, "Hey, Wuffie. How'd
you find me?"
The shifter was standing about ten feet away, a surprised expression on
his face. "I followed your scent, Duo. Now, how in the world did
you hear me?"
Duo laughed. "Followed my scent, huh?"
Nodding, Wufei walked the rest of the way to Duo. The braided man reholstered
the gun, and Wufei settled down on the grass beside him, using Duo's thigh
for a pillow. One of his favorite places to be when they were talking,
Duo noticed. Duo admitted to himself that he was fond of it too. Wufei's
eyes were so expressive when he spoke, and Duo could see them clearly
with the shifter facing him directly.
"I didn't hear you," Duo said after a moments hesitation. He
combed his fingers through Wufei's hair, marveling again at the texture.
"I just kinda . . . knew you were there." He laughed. "It
the damnedest thing, Wu. Seems like I always know when you're around,
The black haired man leaned into Duo's hand, making a little sound of
pleasure. "It's because I'm yours, Duo."
Duo opened his mouth to ask what he meant, then abruptly closed it without
speaking. Remembering the slight warmth that had passed through his mind
when he vocalized his ownership of both Wufei and Trowa, Duo discovered
that he already knew what the shifter's words meant.
Wufei's eyes partially closed as Duo brushed the hair back from his face.
"Mmmm . . . what are you doing all the way out here, Duo?"
"Trying to sort out the mess that's supposed to be my brain."
"No luck with that, I take it?"
Duo lightly slapped Wufei on the shoulder. "Thanks a lot, Wu,"
Wufei shrugged. "You walked into that one."
"Like a brick wall, huh?" Duo said, twirling a lock of Wufei's
hair around his finger.
"A very large brick wall," the shifter replied with a smirk.
"Howard and Iria arrived soon after you left. They took Lucrezia
back to Iria's hotel room. I think they're both staying there for a while.
Oh, and Howard said to tell you that you've got three jobs and one hunt
It was Duo's turn to look surprised. "When did that happen?"
"I didn't get the details. I think Howard was hanging around your
apartment. He didn't seem to think you'd mind."
"He's going to eat every scrap of food we have left," Duo moaned.
The shifter made a sour face. "Better him than me. When was the last
time you cleaned out your refrigerator, Duo?"
Duo actually had to think about that. "Probably never," he said
finally. "I've been busy."
"Right." Wufei rolled his eyes.
"Hey, did you see anyone out there?" Duo asked as an afterthought,
indicating the tree lined path.
"No. It's almost four in the morning, Duo. Who would be out here
now?" Wufei said. "Besides us," he added with a laugh.
"Nothing . . . nevermind," Duo said absently, his fingers stilling
in Wufei's hair.
Wufei sat up with a snort. He leaned over Duo's legs, supporting his weight
with one arm, and moving his face close to Duo's. "You don't really
think I'm going to believe that, do you? I know you better than that."
He had a point. "But you're going to be a good pet and let it drop,
aren't you?" Duo said in a low voice, smoothing Wufei's lower lip
with his thumb.
"Maybe," Wufei said, letting his eyes drift closed to narrow
slits and wetting his lips.
Tangling his fingers in the shifter's hair, Duo brushed his lips gently
over Wufei's. His warmth wrapped itself around Duo, filling the air with
the shifter's scent. Wufei sighed, resting his hand on Duo's chest.
That simple kiss was far from enough for Duo. The braided man caught Wufei
in his arms, dragging him onto his lap until the shifter straddled him.
Duo brought his mouth to Wufei's again, much fiercer this time. A small
sound of desire escaped Wufei's throat, and he opened his mouth to Duo.
Duo delightedly plunged his tongue deep inside, tasting Wufei again.
Firmly pushing Duo back against the trunk of the tree, Wufei forced his
own tongue into Duo's mouth. He felt a surge of pleasure when Duo moaned
loudly and moved his hands lower to cup Wufei's ass.
Wufei explored every corner of Duo's mouth, running his tongue along the
other's teeth and then once again returning to tangle their tongues together.
He pulled away, trailing his lips along Duo's jawbone, up to lick at the
shell of his ear. Duo felt a shiver course down his spine. He buried his
face in the crook of Wufei's neck, nipping at the soft skin.
"Duo," Wufei whispered into his ear.
Duo made a sound somewhere between a grunt and moan.
Wufei moved his hands behind himself to grasp Duo's wrists. "Let's
go back, Duo," he said, getting to his feet.
Somewhat reluctantly, Duo stood. With everything still a jumble in his
mind, he wrapped an arm around Wufei's waist and began walking back to
Devil's Bliss. Duo pushed the troubling thoughts of the nameless man out
of his mind. He didn't want to think about the mess he was drowning in
now. He was much too busy entertaining both himself and Wufei with the
various naughty little ideas his brain was supplying him with.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Duo: Finally! There's lemon in the next one, right?
Blue: Uhh . . . .
Wufei: *mumbling* There had better be.
Quatre: *snicker* I heard that.
Duo: So did I, Wuffie.
Wufei: What!? I said nothing!
Heero: Yes, you did.
Blue: Yep, you said mphff!
Wufei: *clapping a hand over Blue's mouth* Onna! Silence!
[part 11] [back]
[part 13] [back
to Blue Soaring's fic]