Author: Blue ^__^
Category: AU, 2x5, 2x3, 4x3, 4x5, 1x2
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: OOCish, yaoi, language, lime, violence, blood, gore, minor character death (as in I'm not killing off a character I think anyone might be even remotely attached to).
Spoilers: Lemmie think . . . ah, no.
Note: Well, it's about time I hauled ass and wrote something, isn't it? I've been nudged, repeatedly, by Dacia. Apparently, it's been a slow week for fics. Why she chooses to nudge me, of all people, I just don't know. And this, *gestures at fic* is my birthday present to myself. It's on the seventeenth of September, you know. *grin*

Dance With the Demons + Part 15
Mortality’s Requiem

Duo felt his jaw drop. “What the fuck!? You - ”

/Hush, Duo,/ Heero’s voice echoed in the depths of Duo’s mind.

Turning incredulous eyes on the vampire, Duo choked on his next words. The little shit was inside his head again! Only this time, the words rang clear as if he were speaking aloud. He opened his mouth to tell Heero to get the hell out of his mind when the vampire continued.

/Listen to me for once and be quiet!/ Heero snapped. /For once . . . trust me,/ he finished, the voice in Duo’s head growing softer. He was staring straight at the man, seemingly unconcerned with Duo.

Duo clamped his mouth shut and resisted the urge to snort. He had let Heero snack on him, what was clamming up for a few minutes compared to that. And he was more than a little curious about the stranger.

Heero spoke again, this time out loud and addressing the man. “It has been a long time, though nowhere near long enough.”

The man smiled broadly. “Ah, little Heero, you wound me,” he said.

Duo blinked in astonishment.

“No,” Heero replied, “I amuse you.”

The man chuckled. “Perceptive. You have grown. Perhaps it would be wise to not call you little from now on.”

Duo risked a glance at Heero’s face, amazed at himself for staying quiet this long. His eyes had nearly popped out of their sockets when the man had called Heero ‘little’. Duo wondered idly how long the laughing stranger had left to live.

The vampire’s cobalt eyes were cold, dispassionate. “Perhaps. Wisdom never was one of your virtues.”

The man’s smiled wavered, his eyes glinting in the moonlight. He strode closer. “Be mindful, Heero. Your power has not increased so much that you could face me and hope to survive.”

The Erus had moved closer to Duo, stepping in front of him. Shielding him. Duo bristled at the protective movement. He could damn well take care of himself. Then a rustling from behind distracted him. The shifter had struggled to his knees, his shoulder reknitting itself quickly now.

“Believe what you want, Odin,” Heero said, the man’s name leaving his lips like a curse. “Call back your animal or I will have it destroyed.”

The man called Odin gave Heero an appraising look. “You will, will you? And how do you expect to accomplish that? Will you use your new plaything to drain the life from his very soul?”

/Duo, be still!/ Only that sharp command shouted in the recesses of his mind kept Duo from shooting the man right there and then.

“You cannot control him,” Odin said.

“You’re assuming,” Heero countered, refusing to fall into the formal rhythm of Odin’s speech. “One of the only two worthwhile things you ever taught me was to never assume.”

Duo could have sworn he saw a flicker of unease pass over Odin’s face, but it was gone as quickly as it had come.

“You assume that Death trusts you, do you not, little Heero? Why should he trust you, when you hide everything from him?”

Beside him, Duo felt the vamp’s body go tight with tension as Odin echoed the very thoughts that had been plaguing Duo for days.

“You have done nothing, nothing to gain his trust. You have used him, hidden from him what he is and what he could be with your childish games,” Odin continued, his voice burning icy trails through Duo’s mind. “You have not gained, you have lost.”

The were behind them had struggled to his feet, the wound fully healed. Duo sensed the first tentative brushes of the shifter’s power as he started to change again.

“Call off fur face before I turn him into a bloody pulp,” Duo said, ignoring Heero’s earlier request to remain quiet.

A smile leapt back onto Odin’s face. “Ah,” he said, cheerful once more. “He is not yet completely yours, little Heero.”

Heero’s coldly focused eyes narrowed. “Believe what you want,” he repeated.

Duo’s eyes flickered first to Heero and then to Odin. The two of them were discussing him as if he were a new toy to be claimed. He felt hot rage burn deep in his stomach.

/Trust me,/ Heero repeated softly inside Duo’s mind. /Please./

Maybe it was the please that did it. Maybe Duo was just feeling generous. Heero’s touch on his mind felt hesitant and unsure, nothing at all like the Heero that he had grown to know. Duo slammed a lid on his anger, stuffing it away into a corner of his mind.

“Prove that you can control this energy, then.” Odin gestured at Duo. “Use him to save your miserable existence; destroy the shifter.”

Silence followed his challenge.

“He is not yet yours,” Odin insisted.

“No,” Heero answered. “I won’t put Duo on display for your twisted games.”

That little declaration earned Heero a few points in Duo’s book. Didn’t look like Odin was too impressed.

“You are naďve and weak,” Odin stated simply. “But very well, use him to protect yourself from me then, if you can.”

Okay, that was it. Duo brought the Glock up smoothly and fired another shot into the shifter, sending him sprawling back onto the ground from a leg wound. At the same time, he drew the Browning from underneath his coat, training it on Odin

“How about we fight to save your life, hot shot?” Duo snarled. “One more hit and your shifter is only so much meat. You wanna try your luck?” One more shot wasn’t likely to take the shifter out, but it would give Duo the chance to empty a clip into him. The math worked fine for Duo.

“Kill him then,” Odin said, unruffled. “He is only a tool, to be used and discarded when he is no longer useful.” He paused, weighing his next words. “Much like Heero has and will continue to use you, Duo,” he added, fixing his gaze firmly on the braided man.

“Bullshit.”

Odin smiled. “So . . . American. Do you honestly think you mean anything to Heero? He is a killer, trained and willing. He is a monster. His only interest in you is for your power, and what he can use it for.”

Duo felt his anger spill out over, engulfing him. “No,” he said, tightening his grip on both guns. “No.”

“Yes,” Odin pressed. “He will defend you in order to keep you for himself.”

“Yeah, like I believe you,” Duo snapped though the cloud of rage that covered his brain. “And you’re telling me this because you’re my friend, right? We’re REAL good buddies.”

Heero remained quiet and still beside him. Duo could taste the vampire’s fury seething just below the surface. Why wasn’t Heero denying it? He was waiting, Duo decided. Waiting for Duo to make his own choice.

The shifter struggled to his feet, lurching towards Duo. Duo angled his body, looking at the blood-covered man that stumbled towards him. Without warning, he fired, dropping the were back to his knees. He fired again, taking out the heart. Dark blood, kill blood, surged from the ragged hole, seeping into the ground. Duo paused, coldly analyzing. He fired a last time, ensuring that the shifter would stay down for good.

“Ya know, that’s the funny thing, Odin. I’m a killer, too. Trained and willing. Now let’s talk about saving YOUR sorry ass,” Duo said through clenched teeth. The stink of fresh death assaulted his nose.

Surprise registered on Odin’s features.

“What’s the matter, old buddy?” Duo taunted. “Didn’t really expect me to off your cat?”

“He is very brazen, isn’t he, Heero?” Odin said, his smile turning wry. “You have deprived me of this evening’s entertainment,” he continued, shifting his focus back to Duo.

“Oops,” Duo said, sounding not at all contrite.

“Enough of your idiotic games, Odin,” Heero said at last.

“Enough?” Odin echoed. This was probably where Heero had picked up that annoying habit of repeating people. Duo considered that sufficient grounds to kill the man.

“Oh, but Heero,” Odin went on, “it is not enough. It is never enough.”

/Is he ever going to stop rambling?/ Duo thought to himself, partly to see if he could speak to Heero in his mind in addition to hearing him and partly out of pure frustration.

/It may take him a while,/ Heero replied dryly.

/What the fuck does he want?/ Duo asked.

/He should get around to telling us that eventually./

/Great. By the way, Heero . . . this is really fucking neat./ It scared Duo more than a little, having the vamp inside his head. Although he did have to admit that it was convenient.

Duo saw the corners of Heero’s mouth twitch.

Odin had fallen silent, looking at them appraisingly. “I am truly surprised, Duo. Truly surprised. You’ve let him inside you.”

“Well, gee,” Duo said mockingly, his voice full of contempt. “Where the fuck have you been, buddy? First you tell me you’re my friend, then you suggest Heero fight your shifter - who, incidentally, looks a little dead - and THEN you’re back to trying to convince me that Heero is using me. Pick a tactic and stick with it, will ya? You’re making my teeth ache.”

Odin sighed wearily. “Very well, Duo. Heero cannot control you, though he is steadily chipping away at your defenses. You did not trust him, yet you find yourself beginning to. You distanced yourself from him, yet you somehow always find yourself back in his questionable company, most often times alone. He is inside your mind. Where do your thoughts end and his thoughts begin?”

Duo was floored. His mind balked at what he was hearing. Then he stopped, halting his rambling thoughts. What Odin had said rang true, but it was just the way things were. You meet someone you didn’t trust at first, and then you either grow to trust them or you don’t. That was life. He glanced over at Heero, willing himself to believe his own thoughts. It was his own thought, wasn’t it?

“Consider it, Duo.” Odin continued.

Duo felt something brush through his mind, blurring his vision. He blinked, trying to clear it. Heero looked at him suspiciously. It brushed through him again, matching the rhythm of Odin’s voice.

“You know what I am saying is true, Duo.” Odin said. “He is inside you, distorting your thoughts, bending them to what he wants. He knows you.”

Odin walked closer, bringing himself very near Duo. Heero opened his mouth to speak, but no sound came out. His eyes widened, then narrowed with barely contained fury. Odin smiled at him once, then dismissed him, focusing all his attention on Duo.

Duo saw Heero fall slowly to his knees, eyes unfocused now. A look of intense pain crossed his features, making him clench his teeth. He looked up, searching for Duo’s face. A strangled gasp was wrenched from him as he collapsed forward, catching himself on his hands.

“What . . . what the fuck are you doing!?" Duo said to Odin, forming the words through the haze that threatened to swallow him.

“Listen to me, Duo. Listen to the truth. He wants to claim you for himself.”

“He can’t,” Duo managed to say. “He . . . can’t.” He tried to say more, but the words caught in his throat. He tried to squeeze the trigger under his finger, but his body didn’t respond. Desperate, he reached for the power that simmered just below the surface of his skin. It swirled inside him, answering his call. But it stayed coiled within, refusing to flow outward. A fine sheen of sweat broke out over Duo’s body with the strain.

“Shush, Duo, shush,” Odin said, his face inches from Duo’s. “Calm yourself. Let me show you the truth.” He lifted a hand, grazing his fingers over the shiny scar on Duo’s neck. “He has marked you. Your blood flows through him just as his mind taints yours.”

Searing pain shot from the place where Odin’s hand touched him. Where Heero’s touch had given him pleasure, Odin’s caused pain to travel through him as if his entire body was raw and stripped of skin. Duo’s mouth worked in an attempt to scream his agony, but only a strangled whimper escaped.

Heero’s ragged breathing reached Duo’s ears. The vampire was gasping in pain, his hands digging into the earth. Duo made an effort to move, unsurprised when his body again refused to obey.

“He fears you. Yes, you knew that, he told you as much. Remember the fire, Duo. The heat and the death. It was meant for you. You were supposed to die in that fire. He meant for you to die. He knew he could never control you; he envied your power.”

A heavy feeling of darkness enveloped Duo’s mind, and yet his power remained caged inside him, raging like a trapped animal. It was a lie. Heero had helped preserve his life when Mariemeia tried to destroy him.

“Ah, but Duo . . . when he could not kill you, he once again tried to own you. He has taken your mind. Ultimately, he will claim all of you. Mind, body . . . soul. You will be a husk of yourself, Duo. A toy . . . a pawn . . . a plaything for him to use as he wishes.”

No, no, no! Duo’s mind screamed under the blanket Odin had cast over him. For all that Heero had done, for all that he was, Duo had seen inside his mind. He had held Heero’s life in his hands, given to him of his own free will. He could have crushed Heero easily. He could not make the vampire completely his own, but he could have killed him. Heero had known that. Heero had trusted him.

“What . . . are you doing . . . to him?” Duo rasped finally.

“Preventing him from interfering.”

“You’re . . . kill-killing him,” he gasped, forcing his mouth to form the words.

Odin looked down at Heero where the vampire curled in on himself, struggling. “He is trying to reach you, use your life to heal himself.” He curled his fingers in the hair at the base of Duo’s neck.

“Get the fuck . . . outta my head,” Duo said, the threat sounding weak in his ears. He fixed his gaze on Odin’s eyes, seeing for the first time the color of the empty depths. They were a dirty gray, the shade of foul water and soiled clouds.

A throbbing ache spread throughout Duo, making his legs weak. His muscles protested supporting his body. He trembled, fighting the urge to give in and fall to the ground.

“You’re . . . hurting me,” Duo said. “Let me go.”

“I am helping you,” Odin told him. “You were never meant for the likes of Heero. He is too weak, too immature to ever deserve you. No, Duo,” he said, “you were meant for greater things than being the possession of one such as he.”

The ache grew more pronounced. Duo’s chest tightened, he struggled to draw breath into his abused lungs. He felt his eyes roll up into his head as the pressure increased.

“Who . . . .” Duo’s throat closed over. He swallowed convulsively, gasping for air. “You said . . . friend.” His brain refused to work. Duo’s thoughts were fleeting, passing from one to the next with no coherency.

“Mine,” Odin said, his eyes gleaming with an inner light. “He tried to take what is rightfully mine. You are meant to be mine. Your power.” He reached up with his other hand, smoothing Duo’s hair back from his sweat-soaked face. “Your power,” he repeated, “you. Beautiful. I will take what is mine, Duo.”

Duo choked on a gasp. His body was cold, wracked with tremors. He tried to shake his head, to say no, to hear Heero in his mind. Inside him was a deep chill, tightening around his power and his heart. He coughed violently, blood speckling his lips.

“Killing . . .” Duo tried to say, weakly grabbing at Odin’s hand.

“Yes, Duo,” Odin said regretfully. “I may have to kill you. And him as well. Such a pity. But I will have what belongs to me.”

“. . . called yourself . . . friend,” Duo gasped.

Odin nodded again. “I did say I was a friend.” He smoothed his hand over Duo’s hair and smiled. “But I never said I was your friend, Duo.”

Trying to focus on something, anything, Duo thought first of Heero’s eyes; the way they burned into his mind, the searing heat of the vampire's gaze. The image was swept away by the icy feeling inside him. He labored to find the image again, franticly searching for an anchor.

“Don’t fight me, Duo. It will only hurt you more. I will have what I want, regardless of what you attempt. And Heero will die along with you. He was always more trouble than he was worth.”

Duo felt Odin lift him, gently turning him around and cradling Duo's tortured body against his chest. In front of him, Duo could see Heero curled on his side, his dark skin washed pale. The vampire shook with pain, then managed to jerk his head up, catching sight of Duo facing him. His normally vibrant cobalt eyes were dull.

Odin twisted his hand painfully in Duo’s hair, forcing his head to the side, exposing his neck and the scar Heero had given him. “You thought he was to be yours, little Heero,” Odin said mockingly, stroking the pale column of Duo’s throat. “You thought you could take him.”

Duo locked his eyes on Heero’s. He felt his power rage madly inside him, snarling viciously at being confined. It strained towards Heero, tearing great fissures in the suffocating blanket enveloping Duo’s mind.

A flicker of cold fire smoldered in Heero’s eyes. He lurched to his knees, not breaking the link with Duo. Another slash ripped through the darkness. Duo felt the energy build, burning away the ice.

Odin jerked back from Duo. “What are you doing?” he hissed.

Duo’s lips curved into a smirk. Another tear appeared in the swiftly shredding blanket. His body was still shaking, sending pain shooting through him. Odin spun him around, angry eyes boring into Duo’s. Blue-violet depths stared back at him, laughing and threatening at the same time.

“Too late,” Duo rasped as the black veil descended over his vision. He saw a look of pure horror spread over Odin’s face. Then the energy exploded from Duo, tearing a scream of animal rage from his raw throat.

Gleefully, Duo clamped his hands down on Odin’s wrists. He felt the life pour into him, flowing over him, washing away the revolting feeling of cold violation. Duo turned the power over inside himself, filling him up until he felt his very skin would split.

Nerves singing with the rush of power, Duo reached out for Heero with one hand, loosening his grip on Odin. A cold hand tentatively touched his. Holding onto Heero tightly, more for comfort than necessity, Duo let the energy spill out of himself and into the vampire. Heero’s hand jerked in his grasp as if shocked, then relaxed.

Odin was making inarticulate screams of pain and anger. With a great heave, he wrenched away from Duo. He stood there for a fraction of a second, then abruptly gathered himself together and cut off the flow of power. Heero and Duo remained joined, sharing the stolen energy.

“You!” Odin shouted, his careful speech and manners lost. “Y-y-you, you idiots!!” He drew himself up, holding tightly to the energy he managed to save from Duo’s grasp. “Don’t fool yourselves into thinking this is over,” he growled. “I’ll have what’s mine!!”

[cont]