Author: Blue Soaring
Disclaimer: How many disclaimers do you think you've read by now? I won't insult you by repeating it, and if you don't know it by now, you never will.
Note: Like I said before, I'm having fun with this. I have only a vague idea where it's going, but it is going somewhere. I'm still amazed that I have something that resembles a plot. A plot! ME! Can you believe it? Didn't think so.
See part 1 for warnings

Dance With the Demons + Part 5
Genuine Lies

Duo came awake slowly, then his eyes flashed open when he couldn't move his left side. Remembering his injuries from last night, he assumed the worst. He turned his head and saw Wufei curled comfortably beside him, his leg thrown over Duo and using his chest as a pillow.

Smiling, Duo brushed a stray strand of hair back from Wufei's face. He was still confused about the entire situation, but he wasn't really complaining. What was there to complain about? Oh, yes... Heero. Duo's smile faded, replaced by a slightly troubled expression. A vampire. A vampire that wanted his help. Supposedly, his help in stopping whatever was killing off people. Duo sighed. His life had gotten much more complicated in the past two days.

Then there was the lingering feeling of Heero's power, his touch on Duo's mind. He could still feel the icy blue fire of the vampire's gaze on his skin. A small shiver ran over him; he remembered what it felt like when Heero had spoken to him. He had said that Duo would be his, would belong to him. And that he would belong to Duo as well.

Closing his eyes, Duo burrowed under the blankets, unwilling to let his thoughts follow that path. He inhaled deeply, catching the clean scent of Wufei's skin. He breathed in again, wrapping his arms around the sleeping shifter. His life certainly had gotten complicated.

Wufei shifted, drawing Duo closer. He rubbed his cheek against Duo's chest, letting his eyes open lazily.

"Morning, Wufei... " Duo said, brushing his hand through Wufei's black hair again. He trailed off, forgetting what he was going to say. He ran his hand through the black locks, amazed at the soft, warm texture. Then, it struck him. Wufei's hair was like his fur, slightly silky to the touch. It was nothing like any hair or fur that Duo had ever felt before.

Wufei was watching him, a small smile playing on his lips. "Whatever happened to 'Jesus, Wufei, what are you doing in my bed'?"

"Jesus, Wufei, what are you doing in my bed?" Duo said, carefully keeping his face blank.

Wufei grinned. "At the moment, nothing... but if you give me a second, maybe I can do something about that."

Duo chuckled softly, then quickly bit back a yelp of surprise when Wufei quickly grasped his arms and rolled them over so Duo was on top of him. Duo's eyes were wide, he hadn't thought of Wufei's strength before. He knew that shifters were inhumanly strong, but Wufei's submissiveness did a good job of making Duo overlook that one simple fact.

Wufei was smiling evilly. He knew he had surprised his master. He wrapped his arms around the braided man, bringing him close. Parting his lips slightly, he snaked his tongue out to lick at Duo's lips.

"See?" Wufei said playfully. "Now I'm doing something in your bed."

Duo arched an eyebrow. "And what is it exactly that you are doing?"

"Playing."

Duo rolled his eyes. "Cats..." he mumbled.

Wufei pulled away a little, looking into Duo's eyes. "What's wrong?"

"Huh?" Duo said intelligently.

"You seem... troubled," Wufei said softly, unconsciously grasping Duo's braid in his hand.

"Nope, not me. Just trying to figure out what to do about Heero."

"Well, before we tackle the day, might I suggest a shower, and some breakfast?"

"Demanding little pet, aren't you? And who said anything about 'we'? I don't remember inviting you along for the ride... "

Wufei was smirking. "I invited myself."

Duo let out a deep sigh, his face assuming a long-suffering expression. "My pet seems to be developing some rather noticeable un-submissive like qualities," he complained to himself.

"Must be your bad influence. Now, about that shower... perhaps I can bully you into a bath instead. Baths have so many virtues that make them much more fun compared to showers."

Hoping to prod Duo's thoughts along the same lines as his, Wufei pulled Duo down for a deep kiss, opening his mouth to Duo when he felt his master's tongue run purposefully over his lips. Rocking slowly against Duo's body, Wufei dipped his own tongue into the braided manís mouth, reveling in the touch.

Losing himself in Wufei's kiss, Duo forgot about Heero and his words, at least for the time being.

+

Wufei was feeling a little grumpy. Even though Duo had taken him to the bathroom, he hadn't tried his idea of sex in the bath. In fact, they hadn't done anything along those lines for the rest of the day. Duo had dragged him around town all day, taking care of minor business, which to Wufei was as boring as hell. Except for the one stop at the Atkin residence. They had a problem with ghosts.

The man of the house, one Sean Atkin, insisted that Duo banish the ghost immediately. Duo refused, reminding the man that unlawful extermination of ghosts was strictly prohibited. Unless the ghost was making a severe nuisance of himself or causing any damage to the premises or the people who lived there, the ghost was to be left alone. While Duo argued with the man, Wufei had a quiet chat with the ghost, whom he learned was a very young girl named Karen.

"So, do you talk to them? Or just hang around?" Wufei asked the hovering shade curiously.

As soon as Karen had found out Wufei was a shape-shifter, she was happy to talk. "Oh, no. The only thing I'd have to say to those two would be that the poor woman married a butt-head."

Wufei laughed. He liked Karen.

"Hey, who's the cute guy with the long hair?" Karen was sizing Duo up, noticing the nice curve of his ass.

"That's Duo, my master. Keep your spectral hands off," Wufei said, noticing the slight gleam in her gray eyes.

"Sorry, sorry. But there's something about him..." She trailed off, floating close to the unaware Duo, fading out of sight. She reached out, not touching Duo, but held her hand hovering only inches from his face. She snapped her hand back, appearing next to the flustered Wufei.

"Where'd you go?" he demanded.

"I ... I ..." she stammered, glancing nervously at Duo as he rolled his eyes behind Sean's back. "I was just curious, that's all! I didn't mean anything!! I don't want to go, don't want to go ..."

Wufei gaped as Karen started crying. He lifted his hand to touch her, then remembered she was a ghost. "Karen, what's wrong? It's okay, it's okay... shush, stop crying."

The girl hiccupped, then said between sobs, "He's, he's not human! He's not like butt-head or you! He's not a ghost or a zombie or a shifter or anything!"

"What are you talking about, Karen? Calm down and tell me."

The ghost swiped at her eyes. "I tried to touch his face, and I couldn't. Nothing, no life or power or anything! It was like he wasn't even there, like he doesn't exist!" She glanced nervously back at Duo, who was now talking to Mrs. Atkin. "He wasn't there," she repeated, "it was like nothing was there."

+

"Well, that was a waste of time," Duo said sourly as he and Wufei left the house of Senora Lucrezia, local voodoo priestess and private lawyer. The Senora had taken one look at Duo and flat out refused to help him. Duo tried to convince her to help, using all his tricks to lower her guard. She decided to sic her zombie butler on them.

Wufei blew a stray strand of hair out of his face. "What now, master?"

Duo stopped short, and Wufei almost banged into him. "Would you please stop calling me that?" He whipped around, throwing his hands up in the air.

"You don't seem to mind when we're having sex."

Duo glanced down at a little boy who was watching them with wide eyes. He grabbed Wufei's arm and continued stalking down the street to his apartment complex.

"That's different," he mumbled.

"Oh. My mistake." Wufei wrenched his arm out of Duo's grasp. "It's not like I'm trying to get in your pants in public or anything... oh, wait, that's what you do."

Duo slowed his pace. "I'm sorry, Wu. It just makes me feel weird, hearing you say it."

"I don't feel strange when you call me 'pet'."

"I know, I know." Duo raked his hands through his bangs. "Maybe I'm just pissed off that we haven't been able to track down any information. And Lucrezia's never refused me point blank before, usually she at least LISTENS to me before she kicks me out. I didn't even know she HAD a zombie for a butler."

Wufei chuckled, remembering the look on Duo's face when the six foot zombie had shambled into the room. Of course, he would've liked to see the expression on his own face. The undead man had cut quite an impressive figure. Like the classic Frankenstein monster, only worse. He was real.

"Maybe Mary-Anne will help. She's Wiccan, I've never seen one of them turn down an offer to help anyone," Duo said, trying to convince himself as much as he was trying to convince Wufei.

Duo was still turning over in his head the small bit of information they had been able to turn up. The majority of premature human deaths were due to monsters, the second was attributed to suicide. Most natural causes of early death had been controlled or eliminated in the last fifty years or so. Of those deaths caused by monsters, most victims didn't have enough left of them to pinpoint the exact beast that killed them. Oh, you could tell if they were claw marks or teeth marks, or if the victim had been ripped apart, but the exact monster or exact cause of death? Not a chance. Usually the police said the victim was either munched or squished and just left it at that.

Duo sighed in frustration. They had spent the whole day searching without turning up anything remotely useful. He hoped Mary-Anne would have better luck, if she agreed to help.

They climbed the stairs to the second floor, and Duo knocked lightly on the witch's door. He waited, then knocked again. Wufei touched his arm.

"I smell blood, Duo. Fresh," he said, nodding when Duo pointed towards the door.

Duo tried the knob. It turned in his hand. Mary-Anne didn't usually lock her door, but Duo felt uneasy. He opened the door slowly, and the fresh copper smell of blood assaulted his nose. He resisted the urge to call out to his friend, instead letting his eyes focus in the dim light offered by the few candles in the room. He saw the slumped figure of a woman in the center of the living room.

"Jesus, Mary-Anne!" Duo cried, rushing to the fallen woman's side. He touched her arm, and she felt warm. Hope bloomed in Duo's chest. "Mary-Anne?" he said, rolling her over.

"Christ!" Duo shouted, jumping away. The woman's throat was torn out, blood and bone shone wet in the light. Duo looked down, felt bile rise in his throat. Her entire chest and stomach were gone, her ribs gleaming in the candlelight.

Duo backed away, shaking his head. "Mary-Anne, oh, God... " His eyes burned with unshed tears. Angrily, he glanced around the apartment.

"Wufei, we have to... " he looked again, but Wufei was gone. Then he heard a crash in the dim hallway of Mary-Anne's apartment. He felt the rush of Wufei's power, laced with anger and fear. Duo took off towards the hall, reaching blindly for his gun.

The hall was quiet. Shards of a mirror littered the floor, dancing in the reflection of candle flames. Candles burned everywhere. Mary-Anne must have been busy, worshipping or casting a spell before she died. Duo's mind jerked him back to the present. Mary-Anne was dead, and now the thing that did it was toying with Wufei.

Foregoing stealth, whoever was here already knew of their presence, Duo raced down the hall listening for struggle. Why hadn't Wufei called out? Where was he, why was it so quiet? Duo ran past a door, ducking to peer around the corner. No light, no sound. Empty.

He rose, turning when he heard a pained roar further away. He spun on his heel, running to the end of the hall. He burst into the room, almost tripping over the prone form of Wufei. Or what he thought was Wufei, transformed into a panther. Duo knelt, scanning the room. The panther was slick with blood, most of which looked like his own. Its chest was crushed, rising pitifully with each ragged breath. Duo couldn't see any evidence of it healing. Fear crashed over him in a wave. Could they heal something this bad? What if his heart was crushed? Duo didn't think a shape-shifter could survive if it didn't have a heart. Only the truly undead could do that. Like zombies.

Duo heard the attacker too late, turned his head too slow. Pain washed over him as he was flung into a wall. He slid to the floor, blinking madly and clutching his head. Duo pushed himself up to his feet, attempting to scan the room even as light flashed in front of his eyes. He heard a soft laugh as something picked him up and slammed him repeatedly into the wall. Then the world went black.

+

He smelled forest and blood. Animal and death. Light speared into Duo's brain when he opened his eyes. He saw a tall figure and a woman standing next to him, arguing. Then he drifted back into his dreams.

+

He dreamed of a boy and of death. They were the same, but they were different. He saw ghosts, hundreds of them, whispering. He saw Wufei in human form, torn, bloodied and broken. Mary-Anne was talking quietly to him as he dreamed, unmindful of the fact that her throat and most of her body were missing. He saw vampires, dragons, zombies ... gnomes and demons, imps and tiny sprites. He felt the touch of their power, saw themselves reflected in it. He saw a mirror in front of him, but he had no reflection. He reached out and the mirror wavered like a reflection on a pond. He could see it, knew it was there, but it warped and bended, just out of his reach. Then there was nothing.

+

Duo woke again to the low murmur of a voice. He felt a warm body pressed close to his.

"Wu... " he breathed out before he succumbed to the darkness again.

+

Someone was talking to him, hushed and comforting. He felt warmth flow over his body, tinged with a consciousness, like it was alive. Then it was cool, brushing over his fevered skin, the way a summer breeze hits you, just for a moment. He saw twin flames burning fitfully. He remembered Mary-Anne's apartment, the stench of violent death. But the memory was whisked away on the breeze, and the flames changed color. They shifted to a light violet, the color of Duo's eyes. The color deepened until they were a deep blue, then the flames stopped dancing, frozen in time. Light reflected off the now shiny surfaces of the frozen flames, and the blue ice began to melt, dropping tears of fire and ice into the darkness.

+

The third time Duo woke, he opened his eyes long enough to take in his surroundings. He was in a bed, warm and comfortable under black satiny sheets. He blinked, clearing the fuzziness from his eyes. Turning his head, he saw the gauzy curtains dividing the large room in two. Duo blinked again, his mind fumbling. Heero's room, he was in Heero's room. How did he get here?

A warm hand touched his face, and he turned toward it. "Wuffie... you... " his voice cracked when he saw the face of Heero staring down at him, his blue eyes filled with sorrow.

"Where's Wufei?" Duo croaked, sounding much less threatening than he had intended.

"He's safe, healing. You should worry more about yourself." Heero withdrew his hand when Duo jerked his head away.

"How did we... you... Mary-Anne's... " Duo felt his stomach churn and his mind started reeling. He passed out again, and Heero settled down to watch over him.

+

[cont]