Category: AU, 2x5, 2x3, 4x3, 4x5, possible 1x2 ^_~
Warnings: AU, OOC, yaoi, language, violence, blood, mystical crap, annnnnnnd
that about covers it. Spoilers: Not really.
Note: Ohhh! Turning point! Still wondering what the hell Duo is? *snicker*
I finally decided to do something about that. Curious?
With the Demons + Part 10
Duo sat in the back of Howard's
van with Trowa, Wufei and Iria. Howard drove, following the directions
the shifters had given him.
"Do you want the Beretta or the Derringer?" Iria asked Duo from
where she knelt on the van's floor.
Looking from the shotgun to the small, one inch wide gun, Duo shook his
head, laughing to himself. "Big difference, don't you think?"
The Beretta shotgun was a semi-auto, 89mm, somewhat shorter than the standard
shotgun. And loaded with Iria's preferred ammunition, which meant that
whatever was in its line of fire was most likely to loose an appendage
or two. The Derringer, on the other hand, was a small, double action Simmerling.
Total capacity of five bullets, with one carried in the chamber. In Howard's
words, the Derringer was loaded with ‘only' .410 Buckshot. Only, he says.
Where in the name of Jesus did Howard manufacture his ammo? Legally manufacture
it, that is.
"Besides, I've got the Glock and the Browning. You really think I
need another gun?" Duo continued. The Glock was in its usual place,
secure in the shoulder holster under Duo's arm, hidden by a coat. The
9mm Browning was tucked in the small of his back in a specially made holster.
Both were loaded with Luger scatter rounds, thirteen in the Glock and
ten in the Browning. Twenty three bullets, plus the two spring-sheathed
knives Duo always carried at his wrists. If that wasn't enough, it was
just as well to forget it.
"Damn, Duo," Howard said from the front seat, "You're walking
straight into a vamp's home. You should have an Uzi in each hand and a
flamethrower for backup."
Duo wisely neglected to mention that he had agreed to meet Heero armed
with only three knives and the Glock.
"I think you should take the Derringer, and replace one of those
knives, or maybe both, with the serrated blades I showed you," Iria
said, looking completely serious.
"What's five more bullets gonna do, Iria?" Duo asked.
"What are five less?" she countered.
Duo sighed. "Fine, fine. Gimmie the Derringer, but forget the knives.
Last thing I want to happen is to get a blade stuck in someone and not
be able to get it out." Helpless because your knife was stuck in
someone's ribs. Not a good idea.
Pleased, Iria handed him the little gun. "Tuck it in that empty sheath
you have in your boot. At least you'll have two well concealed weapons,
since that jacket doesn't hide the Glock much."
"Four," Duo said, settling the Derringer into his boot and moving
it around until it was set for a somewhat easy draw. It dug into his leg,
but what was life without a little discomfort?
"I'd hardly count those little stickpins on your wrists as weapons,"
she said depreciatingly.
Duo flicked his wrist, palmed the knife hilt and threw it in one swift
movement. The blade flew past Iria's head, severing several stands of
glossy hair before it thunked into the van's carpeted floor. It stood
there, quivering in mute testimony.
Iria let out a low whistle. "You've been practicing." Her eyes
had gone a little wider.
Duo grinned to himself. About time he surprised Iria. "If nothing
else, it'll be a painful distraction. Give me enough time to draw one
of the guns if I need it."
"Hmmm . . . ." Iria jerked the knife out of the floor and handed
it back to Duo. "If someone's stupid enough to laugh it off like
I just did, you'd probably be able to take out an eye."
Resheathing the knife, Duo nodded. "Those shark tooth blades of yours
aren't balanced right for throwing. These might not be true throwing knives,
but they're damn close to it."
Wufei was watching Iria curiously, glancing occasionally at Howard in
Iria noticed the look, and asked, "Yes?"
Wufei looked startled, then turned to Duo. "Who are these people,
Duo laughed. "We never got around to introductions, did we? Now's
a good a time as any." He shifted around in his seat, settling back
against the van's wall. "Your driver for this evening, and the owner
of your current transportation, is Howard. A mechanic, arms expert and
supplier, part time manufacturer, and general, all 'round tinker,"
Duo said with a mock flourish.
Howard raised his hand in a little wave, wiggling his fingers.
Duo chuckled and rolled his eyes. "And this vision of loveliness
is also a munitions expert. Though that, I think, was an accident. Her
true calling seems to be the opposite. Wufei, Trowa, meet Dr. Iria, one
of the best doctors I've ever met in an emergency room. And I've seen
an awful lot of emergency rooms."
"Odd combination," Trowa pointed out, the first words he had
spoken in the past hour or so.
Iria shot Trowa a bright smile. "We live in an odd world, Trowa."
Her smile faded at the corners. "The number of deaths caused by preternatural
creatures is astronomical. I learned a long time ago that humans have
little defense against some things." She shook her head, as if she
were trying to rid herself of an unwanted thought. "Most days, I've
learned, it is better to kill a creature before I try to patch its victims
back together." Iria's smile vanished completely, and her eyes once
more managed to look world-weary and cold.
"Hey, little man," Howard called back, interrupting. "You
want me to just drive right up to the front door or what?"
Duo looked over at Wufei. "Well?"
"Doesn't matter. She knows you're coming anyway," the shifter
"Fair enough," Duo said, not even bothering to ask exactly how
Sally would know that. He had a feeling he wouldn't like the answer. Big
surprise there. Then, to Howard he said, "Pull up right by the front
door, Howard, we might as well play nice. For now."
Iria nodded, giving Duo a look of approval. "For now," she echoed.
Howard brought the van to a stop just outside an old warehouse about thirty
minutes from the city. Typical. They piled out of the van, Iria and Howard
still dressed the same as when they had arrived at Duo's apartment hours
before, although Iria had added a red coat in the van. Iria still had
the Ruger under her arm, but had added a long, jagged blade about a foot
and a half in length to a sheath at her back. The only reason Duo knew
it was there was because he had seen her strap on the sheath. She had
taken the shotgun and placed it in an odd holster that hung at her side.
A strap went over her shoulder and it just hung there, like you'd hang
a purse over your shoulder. Didn't make sense that she wasn't making any
attempt to hide it, since she had concealed the blade. Duo snorted to
himself. Figuring out Iria was impossible. Then again, how do you hide
a shotgun? Didn't look very comfortable either . . . but, again, what's
life without a little discomfort? It also looked like a Howard custom
job. Howard himself appeared unarmed, but Duo knew better than that. In
fact, Howard looked like a misplaced tourist.
At both shifters' insistence, Duo had changed into low, tight black pants,
made out of some material Duo couldn't even name. He flat out refused
to wear the fishnet shirt Wufei held out for him, and settled instead
on a matching black shirt that laced up the front. It was cut open at
the waist, baring Duo's stomach. The sleeves, hidden under his leather
coat, also laced up, and were tied tightly to his arms. Duo's main reason
for accepting the shirt was that it was loose enough in the shoulders
to give him a good measure of room to move. The leather coat hit him mid
thigh. Duo buttoned only the center button of the coat, leaving the laces
of the shirt and his stomach exposed.
Wufei and Trowa had, according to them, dressed as Duo's pets. Both wore
form fitting pants, in a color Duo called dark chocolate. The pants were
made of the same material as Duo's, but neither shifter wore any other
clothing. They were even barefoot. Blood red chokers circled their necks,
with matching cuffs at each wrist. Wufei left his hair loose, while Trowa's
fell softly over his face. When Duo inquired about the odd color; dark
brown hardly seemed like a color Wufei would chose, the black haired shifter
had said, quite matter-of-factly, that brown hid dried blood better. Duo
had joked with them, calling them prelude-to-bondage bookends. Truthfully,
Duo thought they looked perfect. And distracting. He found himself entertaining
various indecent thoughts during the ride to Sally's.
Duo stood looking up at the warehouse. The huge doors were locked, but
the smaller entrance door cut into them looked unbarred. Iria had a hand
wrapped around the shotgun, tapping the barrel with her nail. Howard had
his hands shoved into the pockets of his shorts, whistling a happy little
Turning to Wufei, Duo suddenly asked, "By the way, Wu, what the hell
is an animi motus?"
The shifter looked surprised for a moment. "Animi motus . . .? Are
you sure you've got that right? That can mean either - "
"Passion or soul's passion," Trowa interrupted smoothly.
Duo raised an eyebrow. "Really, now? Isn't that interesting . . .
." Overhead, a hoarse cry echoed. "What the hell is that?"
Duo demanded, looking up as his hand twitched in the direction of the
"Raven," Trowa said, nodding his head towards a sputtering lamppost.
The black bird let out another sharp series of squawks.
"Huh," Duo said, "idiotic bird." Duo shook his head
and flicked a stray hair out of his face. "Well, lets get this over
with." He walked up to the door, Iria and Howard a few steps ahead
of him with Wufei and Trowa flanking him on either side. Duo cast one
last, surly look at the bird as it fluttered its wings. "Poetic,"
he mumbled, before stepping inside the door.
The inside of the warehouse was dimly lit and cold compared to the outside
air. A musty smell assaulted Duo's nose as he looked around, waiting for
his eyes to adjust.
"Welcome," came a deep voice from the shadows. The tall, bulky
man that Quatre had beaten to a pulp at Devil's Bliss stepped closer as
he spoke. "We have been waiting for you. Trowa, Wufei," he greeted,
nodding at the two shifters. Then he turned to Duo. "Duo, and your
two friends." He had the oddest hair Duo had ever seen. Stuck off
on the top sides like little horns. He would've looked really cute with
a tail and a pitchfork.
"Rashid," Wufei said, acknowledging the greeting. Trowa remained
"Delighted, I'm sure. Now, if you don't mind, Rashid, you can stop
right where you are," Duo said, shifting his weight forward. "We've
only just met, you see. Wouldn't want to get too close and cozy, huh?"
Rashid frowned, but he stopped moving forward. "Mistress Sally is
waiting in the back," he said, turning on his heel. "Follow
me if you wish to see her." He moved away from the small group, winding
his way through the boxes and crates scattered around the warehouse.
"Do we wish to see her?" Howard asked, leaning negligently on
a crate three times his height.
"Yeah," Duo answered, "we do. C'mon."
Duo trailed after Rashid, glancing back and forth in front of him, trying
to penetrate the deep shadows between the crates. His skin was crawling,
and for some reason the area between his shoulder blades started to itch.
This probably wasn't going to be pleasant. Maybe he should have invited
Sally out for coffee instead. In the park. At noon.
They reached what looked to be the back of the warehouse. Rashid ran his
hand down the wall, searching for something. Duo heard a soft ‘click'
and a portion of the wall was pulled aside, disappearing into the side
of the warehouse. The light was brighter here, and Duo could see that
Rashid was wearing casual dress slacks and a light coffee toned shirt.
The big man stepped aside, waving Duo ahead.
"No, that's okay. You go right on ahead," Duo said, peering
into the opening.
Rashid's frown deepened, but he went inside first. Duo followed with Trowa
and Wufei at his heels. Iria and Howard came last.
The back of the warehouse went far beyond what could be seen from the
outside, and Duo realized that it was carved into the face of a mountain.
Suddenly, the millions of tons of rock above him pressed down, and Duo
felt a twinge of unease. A feeling of oppression. He quickly pushed it
aside and surveyed the spacious room.
Cushioned couches were arranged in the middle of the room, around a table
laden with a selection of cut fruits and wine. Sally lounged on one of
the couches, a glass of dark red liquid in her hand. Hopefully wine. She
was dressed in a green pantsuit; the jacket cut low enough in front that
you could tell she wasn't wearing a shirt under it. And look at that,
she was a blonde. Catherine sat in a chair beside her, with two men at
her feet. Probably her wolves. One was an older man, with odd, short curling
dark hair and sharply chiseled features. It gave him a rough, angular
appearance. The other was a young man, his face smooth and light brown
hair cropped close to his head. He looked to be a few years older than
Duo. Catherine wore some odd concoction of clothing that Duo tidily labeled
an insane woman's idea of a ball gown. The riot of colors clashed painfully
with each other. The men at her feet were dressed much like Wufei and
Trowa, only their pants were colored a burnt orange with black collars
and wrist bands. They didn't look too impressed with the color scheme
Rashid kept moving into the room, settling in a chair to the left of Sally.
Duo stayed by the door, quirking an eyebrow when Sally shook her head
"Duo, you come into my home and don't even take a seat? After all
the trouble I went to, preparing for your visit," she said. "Sit.
Drink with me. And we'll talk."
"If its all the same to you - " Duo began.
"No. Its not. Sit, or you can consider this meeting over," she
snapped, her eyes hardening.
Well. Couldn't argue with that logic. Duo made his way over to the couch
with its back to one of the walls. He was well aware that the door was
the only obvious way out, but he was pretty sure nothing was going to
come through the mountain and kill him. The door was chancy. Wufei and
Trowa followed him, settling at this feet. Iria also followed, but she
leaned on the wall behind Duo's couch. Howard stayed right where he was,
hands still shoved deep in his pockets.
"I meant for all of you to sit," Sally said, looking first at
Howard, then Iria.
"Hemorrhoids," Howard said with a perfectly straight face, shrugging
his shoulders. "They're a pain in the ass."
Duo was quite proud of himself at that moment. He managed to not break
out laughing in a fit. He didn't even chuckle once. The younger man at
Catherine's feet smiled broadly, his eyes sparkling. No one else seemed
to find it one bit funny. Pity, that.
"I see," Sally said, not the least bit amused. Howard didn't
look like he cared. She turned to Iria. "And you?"
Iria smiled, that unfriendly little twist of her lips that she was so
fond of. "I just don't like to sit."
"Humans," Sally nearly spat, saying the word like a curse. Nice
to know she was oh so fond of her primary food source. Then again, she
could be snacking on Catherine's wolves for all Duo knew.
"I'd take it as a personal favor if you left Iria alone and let her
hold up the wall," Duo said to Sally, knitting his fingers together
over his stomach and getting comfy on the oversized couch.
Sally looked just a little incredulous at that. Just a little. Her eyes
didn't bug out nearly as far as they had when Duo had called her a bitch.
Whoops, forgot about that. Sally probably wasn't too happy about that
Duo shrugged. "I'm the one who's going to have to listen to her moan
and complain later if you make her sit now."
A slow smile crept across Sally's face, and she let out a peal of laughter.
Duo could feel Iria's icy gaze boring into the back of his head. Catherine
looked from the laughing Sally, to Rashid, to Duo, and then back to Sally.
She hesitantly grinned, then joined in Sally's laughter. Great. Even the
crazy woman was afraid of Sally. Or . . . she didn't have a very good
sense of humor.
Sally eventually calmed down, resting her chin in her palm. "Cute,
Duo, very cute. Fine. Your little girlfriend can stand behind you and
look menacing, since it means so much to her."
"Thank you," Duo said, pretty sure that he wasn't that grateful
"Now, to business," Sally continued, nodding her head at Duo's
thanks. "Rashid, would you please get our guest a drink?"
Rashid got to his feet smoothly, despite his considerable bulk. He poured
a glass half full of the same red drink Sally had, setting the decanter
back onto the table and handing the glass to Duo. Duo looked down at the
glass, uncertain. It had better be wine. Rashid sat back down, looking
like he didn't really enjoy being asked to be the serving man.
"Chianti," Catherine said, her eyes still dancing with laughter.
Sally's head whipped around, leveling a deadly glare at her. Oops again.
Looks like the lackeys weren't supposed to speak until spoken to. To Catherine's
credit, she didn't spontaneously combust under that heated gaze. She just
tried to make herself seem two inches tall. In the back of his mind, Duo
seemed to recall hearing something about Chianti and liver . . . eating
someone's liver with a nice, red Chianti. That wasn't a very helpful thought
to have right about now. Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if the drink
hadn't been wine after all.
Sally was looking at Duo again, Catherine forgotten. "What do you
want from me?" she asked shortly. Well, thank you very much Catherine.
The crazy woman's interruption evaporated that good humor Duo had worked
"Information," Duo said simply, tipping the glass to his mouth.
He let the liquid touch his lips and made a swallowing movement. He didn't
really want to drink anything Sally gave him. Here's to hoping she didn't
see through his little deception.
Sally looked curious. That could be a good sign. "Information,"
she repeated. "About what?"
"The meaning of life?" Duo said, making it a question.
Sally narrowed her eyes, then she realized that Duo was joking again.
"I'm beginning to see why Heero keeps you around," she said,
smiling at him with a hint of fang showing.
"Really? Why's that?" he asked lightly.
"If nothing else, you're amusing. Then again, Heero always did have
a peculiar sense of humor."
Duo almost choked. Heero had a sense of humor? Well, Duo thought, remembering
last night. He might: deadpan sarcasm. "Hmm . . . thank you. I'll
take that as a compliment," Duo said, tipping his glass at her.
"What is it you really want information about, Duo?" Sally had
leaned back into the couch, resting her head on a pillow.
"Quite a few things, actually," Duo answered. "First of
Sally's eyebrows shot up. "I don't think I'm the right one to be
asking about him."
"No," Duo disagreed, "I think you are. Everyone else available
to me seems to be a bit . . . biased." He felt Trowa tense at his
feet, but Wufei's demeanor didn't change. Reaching down, Duo brushed his
fingers through the soft hair at the nape of Trowa's neck, trying to calm
him without words. Duo was dealing with Sally now, and he had to appeal
to her character. Duo wasn't sure if Trowa understood that, but he did
relax, leaning back against Duo's legs and keeping their bodies in contact.