Dance With the Demons + Part 7 (cont)
Rules of Play

+

"That house is deceptively small on the outside," Trowa observed.

The sun had long since set and the world outside buzzed with the drone of city night-life. The three breathed deeply of the somewhat cleaner air outside, relieved to be out of the voodoo priestess' home. Searching the house had been a somewhat harrying experience for them all. Blood and gore was one thing, various animated body parts and organs casually strewn about were another. Duo had just witnessed a multitude of disturbing things, and he didn't think he'd want to see anything even mildly gross for months. In fact, he was pretty sure he didn't even want to be alone after seeing what Lucrezia had lying about in her house.

Wufei looked back at the quiet building. "Wasn't that nice?" he quipped.

Trowa followed the other shifter's gaze, then said, "And just what are you using as a basis of comparison?"

"Enough!" Duo cried exasperatedly. "Let's just get the fuck out of here, okay? That is one sick woman, and I'll be delighted if Mr. Happy Head was right and Lucrezia is gone poof for good."

The two shifters looked at each other, then at Duo. "Good idea, Duo," Wufei said softly, "getting out of here sounds very good."

They left the back garden, shutting the gate securely behind them. The further they walked away from Lucrezia's, the better Duo felt. By the time they were crossing through the park, he was almost feeling good again.

Beside him, Trowa tensed. Duo opened his mouth to ask what was wrong when Trowa whispered, "Quatre . . . ."

The named vampire laughed softly, emerging from the shadows of a grove of trees. "You always could tell when it was me, pet," Quatre said softly. The blonde stepped fully into the light, and Duo let his eyes run over the vampire briefly. He was wearing black tonight, and it contrasted sharply with his pale coloring. A soft-looking shirt moved in the evening's breeze, making no sound as Quatre walked closer. His pants were of the same deep black, molding tight to his hips and falling looser as they passed his thighs. The night bled all color from his eyes, making then appear gray. Quatre felt Duo looking at him, and a small, knowing smile ghosted his lips.

"Come to collect us, have you?" Duo asked.

Quatre laughed, the sound cascading over Duo's skin like the quiet brush of the wind. He stopped in front of Trowa, capturing the shifter's lips in a deep kiss, then pulling back, watching the shifter's eyes. Trowa's eyes fluttered open, and he made a small sound of disappointment. The vampire traced the line of Trowa's cheek with his thumb, then ran it over his lips before kissing him again, open-mouthed.

Duo watched with morbid fascination, wondering how you could get that much tongue involved without cutting yourself on the vampire's fangs. He heard a sharp intake of breath beside him, and glanced over at Wufei. The werepanther was staring fixedly at the other two, his eyes glazed as he watched their tongues plunge into the other's mouth. Duo was just about to say something when Quatre stepped away from Trowa. Smiling, the vampire turned his eyes to Wufei, who immediately went to him.

Trowa was breathing heavily, both from Quatre's greeting and from watching that same greeting being offered to Wufei. Duo's sarcastic inner monologue was silenced as he felt himself become aroused. Quatre broke the kiss with one last nip on Wufei's lip and turned to face Duo.

The full force of the blonde vampire's gaze struck Duo and left his mind reeling. Quatre's eyes burned into him, searing though him in waves. He took a hesitant step towards the vampire before he realized what he was doing. Then Quatre was close, and the heat coming from his body blended with the heat of his eyes. Duo let out an involuntary moan. Pleased, Quatre pressed his body to Duo's and tilted his head. His tongue darted out to lick his already moist lips. Duo's sluggish mind dully registered the fact that Quatre was about to kiss him.

"What did you find at the mambo's home?" Quatre asked softly, his lips only centimeters from Duo's.

". . . what?" came the dazed reply.

"The Vodoun priestess, what did she tell you?"

Duo blinked, trying to get his mind to focus on something besides the feel of Quatre's lithe body against his own, or the tempting softness of his lips, so close to his . . . so easy to move just a little more, and taste them . . . .

Then Quatre was gone, standing beside Trowa with an expectant look on his face, awaiting Duo's answer. Duo cursed softly under his breath, though no doubt everyone was able to hear him with their heightened senses. Then Quatre's question finally clicked in his brain.

"Did you say 'Vodoun'?" he asked, still a little unbalanced. Then, "What's a mambo?"

Wufei spoke up, moving to slide his arm behind Duo's waist. "Mambo is the Dahomean word for a female Vodoun priest, and Vodoun is the true name for what you commonly call voodoo."

"Oh . . ." Duo said, feeling more than a little stupid. So much for being the intelligent monster hunter. "Lucrezia's skipped town, and her message boy decomposed a few hours ago. You missed him."

Quatre's brow creased in annoyance. "That's inconvenient."

"Yeah, she sends her apologies for that, too. Not that I'd believe her," Duo said as they started walking again.

Trowa walked close to the blonde vampire, and although he was slightly taller, by looking at them you would know Quatre was the one in charge. Trowa's body language was submissive, and he didn't even seem aware of it. Curious, Duo glanced to his left where Wufei walked close by. He was doing the same thing. What 'it' was, Duo couldn't quite put his finger on, but there was, no mistake. Wufei and Trowa just FELT submissive. Duo was so lost in his thoughts that he didn't even notice when the air grew noisier and the press of people going about their lives surrounded them.

The heat and noise of Devil's Bliss struck him full in the face when the bouncer opened the door. Looking up, Duo saw Dorothy smiling at him. A grin formed on Duo's lips. He had hardly expected to see the woman act as a bouncer. Then again, he had no clue what Dorothy was, she could have been a vamp for all he knew. Duo made a mental note to ask someone about that later.

Dorothy nodded once to Trowa and Wufei, then lowered her eyes when Quatre walked by. The blonde vampire gave her a hard look and then turned away, dismissing her. Duo's smile faltered. He'd have to ask about that, too. Heero had said that Dorothy had been dealt with, but that did nothing to comfort him. If anything, it made him feel worse. Duo glanced back towards the main entrance before opening the door that lead to the basement quarters. His list of things to confront Heero about seemed to be getting longer everyday.

+

Duo wearily trudged down the hallway, wondering why it was always so cold. He opened the door at the end of the hall without thinking and walked into Heero's rooms. Duo had decided that 'room' didn't describe the chamber accurately, so he opted for rooms instead. Heero had merely raised an eyebrow as Duo had discussed it with Wufei.

The door closed behind him, and it was only then that Duo realized he had lost the others somewhere along the way. A quick glance around revealed no sign of Heero.

"Heero? You in here?" Duo called, walking past the fire pit and through the gap in the transparent drapes to the bedroom area. "Odd . . . ." Where the hell was Heero? Duo thought he would be anxious to find out if his theory about Lucrezia was right or not.

Stopping beside the marble dais, Duo blew a puff of air in irritation. Now what was he supposed to do? His eyes wandered to the bed . . . maybe . . . no. He was tired, perhaps even exhausted, but sleeping in Heero's bed was not an option. Duo prudently ignored the fact that he had been sleeping there for the past week or more. Then Duo thought of the couches. A quick nap, then maybe see if he could find Heero. Quatre probably knew where he was.

Decision made, Duo turned around and caught sight of the huge marble bath on the raised dais. Instantly he thought of where he had been. A bath sounded perfect. Heero wasn't around to complain, and he probably wouldn't object anyway. Duo eyed the bath; it was certainly large enough for two, more than two, actually.

Duo caught himself before that thought went any further. What the hell was he thinking? Why should he care if two people could fit into the bathtub? He snorted, disgusted with himself. Things were starting to get to him.

He shook his head as if to clear those thoughts from his mind, and glanced towards the door. Duo was certain no one would enter uninvited, never mind that he had just sauntered in. Well, Wufei, Trowa or Quatre would. And of course Heero. But they had seen him naked before anyway. The first three had seen something a little more than just nudity. Besides, Duo wanted to clean himself of the dirt from Lucrezia's house. He looked around again, searching for towels or a robe. Seeing what looked like a partially hidden cupboard on one end of the dais, he climbed the three steps leading to the bath itself.

When he reached the final step, he knelt to open the cupboard. As he did he noticed the bottom of the bath was carved in an intricate pattern of vines, complete with leaves and thorns. Curious, he reached in to touch it. That had to be hard on the ass to sit on. Then again, maybe Heero was into that kind of thing . . . .

Duo felt a jolt of surprise when his hand encountered a smooth surface. Knitting his brows in confusion, he ran his hand over the entire length of the bottom. Nothing! It was completely smooth to the touch, no bumps or ridges anywhere. Now where in the name of Jesus did Heero find a bathtub like this?

Absently grabbing a towel from the cabinet, he stood and began to undress, flinging his clothes down the few stairs onto the floor. Halfway done, he bent again to start the water running. After a moments deliberation on how exactly to do that, he had a steady stream of hot water filling up the bath.

Duo started humming happily to himself in anticipation. He ran his hand through the water, and then straightened up, tugging off his boots and socks. Left only in the black pants, he unwound his braid, and sat down on the bath's rim, laying the tie next to him. As he waited for the tub to fill, he looked over the various bottles and containers scattered around.

He was still humming several minutes later when he crawled into the steaming water. Sinking to his neck in the heat, Duo's little tune changed into a small sigh of pleasure. He felt ten times better already. He lay back against the slanted wall for a few minutes, closing his eyes and just letting the water soak into him and loosen his muscles. Eventually he realized he had intended to wash, not parboil himself. Opening his eyes, however, was a challenge at this point. He chose instead to just reach blindly for the soap and the washcloth he had laid out.

When blind groping didn't work, he opened his eyes in frustration. Mumbling a few choice words under his breath, he grabbed the soap and, working up a good lather, started washing his neck.

Now that felt good. The dirt and grime rinsed away by the soap was heaven enough, but his tired muscles screamed in pleasure from the small massage. Duo leaned back again, continuing to wash as his thoughts began to wander errantly once more.

Strangely, at least to him, the first thing he thought about was Heero. Where was he, anyway? Duo wasn't really surprised though. Heero had a tendency to do as he pleased. And that brought Duo's mind back to Heero's odd behavior. It was clear what the vampire wanted. His voice and the words he spoke still echoed in Duo's mind. Give yourself to me, he had said. When they had fought, Duo was honestly trying to kill him. But was Heero? Did Heero really try to kill him? No doubt he could have, easily. He hadn't tried to kill him then. Heero had tried to own him.

A shiver ran though Duo's body at the thought, and it wasn't entirely out of fear or hatred. Heero had tried to own him. He wanted Duo to give in to him, and let Heero possess him. Anger quickly welled up inside Duo. No. No fucking way was he going to give in to a vampire. But hadn't he already given in to the shifters?

No, that was different. They were his, not the other way around. Wasn't that the way it was? They belonged to him, but he was still his own, no one owned him but himself. Duo closed his eyes again, this time in frustration. He was lying to himself. The shifters did own him, at least a part of him He had already given himself away.

Without warning, Duo thought of Quatre. No, not just Quatre, but the way he had looked at him. The memory was very fresh, and so were the feelings that accompanied it. The blonde vampire wanted him. And at the moment, Duo had wanted to give him what he wanted. Duo realized with a start that if Quatre had asked, he would have agreed without a thought. Had Quatre known that? Is that why he had pulled away?

This was a bad line of thought to follow. Duo switched gears quickly, deciding to try and figure out what to do next. With both Mary-Anne and Lucrezia out of the picture, Duo was stumped. He supposed that they could try to track down the priestess, but he severely doubted he'd have any luck with that. If Lucrezia wanted to disappear, no one would find her.

Duo's hand went to the glittering cross that rested against his chest. He had forgotten to remove it. Was there any connection between the fire and the killings? And why was the cross at Mary-Anne's? Duo stopped. How did he know that the cross had been there? Only because Heero had told him it was. What reason did he have to trust the vampire? A realization dawned on Duo then, and he didn't like the implications of it. Didn't like them one bit.

A small whisper ghosted through Duo's mind, so small it was almost lost in Duo's thoughts. He wasn't even sure why he did notice it, but there was no mistaking what it was. The touch was so familiar, comforting almost. Without opening his eyes, Duo smiled.

"Hello, Heero," he said quietly, his hand still wrapped loosely around the gold cross at his neck.

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

Wufei: That was disgusting.
Trowa: I already said that.
Quatre: What the hell were you thinking!? Why didn't I get Duo? You didn't even let me KISS him!
Duo: Yeah! What the hell is up with that?
Blue: *thinking* Uhh . . . anticipation makes everything so much better!
Heero: Not a good cover up.
Blue: Shut up.
Heero: What?
Duo: She said mmph!
Quatre: *whispering to Duo* If he kills her, there's no more fic.
Duo: *glaring*
Blue: S'right! No messing with the author.
Wufei: Power abusive onna . . . .

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