Author: Mair
Disclaimer: I own nothing

Love Potion #9 + Part 8

The heat of the desert nearly bowled him over as he stepped out the door onto the stairs. Never mind that his sunglasses didn't do a damn in the late afternoon light. Duo raised a hand to shield his eyes from the desert sun. He glanced up then around to see if he could spot Rashid. Quatre contacted him and told him to wait for his plane. He spotted the tall Maganac leader behind the gate and Duo smiled. He shouldered his bag and exited the plane.

When he reached Rashid, Rashid gave Duo an odd look. "Master Quatre didn't explain why this voyage was necessary."

Duo's smile turned into a bitter smirk. "Relena. Look, I won't be here long. If I can I'm going to fly back tonight. Can you drive me to the bazaar?"

"Of course Master Duo. The car is waiting outside."

They walked in silence through the airport. Duo still couldn't believe Relena, of all people, found the love potion. Why couldn't it have been Trieze? Or Zechs even? They, at least, would tire of Heero and let him go.

One of the Maganacs opened the car door and he tossed his things in the back seat and climbed in after them. Duo settled on one of the seats and glared out the window.

The silence continued the whole way to the bazaar. When Duo finally stepped out of the car, still without saying anything, Rashid really began to wonder what was going on.

Duo stalked down the cluttered spots of the Bazaar. It was weird comin' back to a place he never thought he'd see again this soon. His eyes searched the busy street for the alley.

Bodies bumped into him as he walked. He slipped between two men just as the call to prayer began. People around him began to pause in their haggling.

Duo dodged a figure next to a stall, looking around. He should be near Zorah's by now. His eyes darted along the walls and down the alleys as he moved.

People around him started to pray as he moved. It was extremely difficult to move on the crowded street as people prayed. Shit. The smell of spiced meat caught his nose. A vendor sold meat near Zorah's place. Duo looked around for the direction of the smell.

People praying, people praying, more people praying, rug vendor, cloth salesman, food stall! Duo jumped over a praying figure and hurried toward the stall. Half hidden behind it was the door of Zorah's shop.

He darted behind the stall, ignoring the dirty look he received from the vendor. Duo knocked on the door and it swung open.

Duo spared a glance back at the devout filled street and stepped inside the dimly lit room. He shut the door behind him and looked around.

"Why are you here? You received what you wanted, Duo Maxwell." The cigarette roughened voice struck out from the darkness as Zorah parted the beaded curtain to step into the room.

Duo blinked, then frowned. "Not really. Heero and I had one night, he got pissed the next morning and the love potion went missing. We straightened it out and had a really great time that evening and I never knew what happened to the love potion until yesterday after school. Relena Peacecraft stole it and now she's using it to marry Heero." He sighed in frustration. Zorah's expression didn't change much, just a sole raising of an eyebrow.

"You told me that Love Potion number ten is permanent. I want to know if it overrides love potion number nine."

Zorah stared at him. She pulled a cigarette out of somewhere and gestured to the table they'd sat at the last time they met. "Sit." She walked over to the table.

"Answer."

Zorah turned back toward him, then sat. "Don't toy with me boy. Sit." She replied, slightly louder.

Duo glared at her then sullenly trudged up and flopped down in the empty chair.

"Love potion number ten would work as you expect it does. Heero would be free of the effects of love potion number nine if he truly loved you. If not, love potion number nine would continue to hold him and he would hate you." Zorah replied as she lit the cigarette.

Duo closed his eyes. He hoped the potion would break Love potion # nine's hold completely. "We need Heero. I need Heero. Relena needs to be out of the picture."

"I will not give you the potion unless you intend to use it. It will only work for two people: the giver and the receiver. You cannot have three people partake in hopes of creating hate. It will only effect two."

He bit his lip. Did he love Heero enough? Did Heero love him enough? How would he get Heero to take the potion? Walk up to him and suggest a shot of Binaca for the church kiss? They would get married in Vegas if he couldn't stop them. Duo frowned and opened his eyes. "Is number ten taken like the others?"

"No. Love potion number ten is taken in liquid. You must each take a sip and then a kiss must be exchanged. Then the potion will take a few minutes to activate." Zorah answered.

"That's a little easier." Duo thought a moment. "Since Relena stole my love potion, does that mean I could buy another one?"

"No."

"Damn." That meant Love Potion #10 was the only hope. Duo took a deep breath, marshaling his feelings and determination. "Give me potion ten."

"No."

"Why not!"

"You aren't determined. Maybe if you explain."

Her words hit him like a punch in the gut. "Look. The Gundam pilots need Heero Yuy. He is our partner and friend. To me he's more than a friend. Christ! I know he wasn't a virgin two days ago but that was the first time he ever made love. Same as me. He told me he loved me and he gave up control to love me. I know I love him and when the guy's told me about Heero and Relena I couldn't believe it. I know I wouldn't believe it except I fell under the control of the love potion too so I know that's why he proposed. He gave up his mission for the colonies to marry her. Because of that stupid potion he loves her. Never mind the fact that I'm the one he dreams about. Never mind the fact that... " His breath hitched as tears welled up. "Never mind that he loves me enough to give up control. I have no doubt that if I asked him, even though I never would, he'd give up the war for me just to make me happy. But it's important. As much as I hate the war I know it's something that only we can do. I want Heero Yuy back."

Zorah watched him calmly. "Leave. Don't come back unless it's to thank me."

Duo studdied the woman angrily, his glare worthy of Heero. "Fine." He jumped to his feet and stalked across the floor. He threw open the door and ran out into the bazaar. He didn't notice that prayers were over or that the bazaar was nearly empty.

+

Something woke him. Pain. He heard a spritzing sound. "What's the matter Heero?"

"Nothing." Nothing at all.

+

The plane landed with a soft bump. Duo woke up and looked around the cabin, wondering where he was. Memories. Zorah refused to give him the potion. Pain. He glared at the empty seat in front of him.

The plane taxied to a gate and came to a stop as Duo stood to retrieve his things. He blinked. Sitting on top of his luggage was a small clear vial with a clear liquid in it. Duo moved the vial and picked up the note.

"Duo, I never said you couldn't have the potion. I just told you to leave. Remember what I told you. Love Potion #10 is permanent. Pour this into a drink and take a sip. Offer it to Heero at any time and kiss him. There isn't a charge for #10, true love is free. Whether yours is or not, that remains to be seen. Zorah." He read aloud. Slowly, Duo smiled.

He picked up the vial and it and the note in his pocket. Duo shouldered his bag and looked out the window. Las Vegas. He shook his head. He had about five hours to find Heero and Relena, shove the potion down his throat and get out with Heero. If it worked.

Shinigami grinned. Nothing like a dead line.

+

[part 7] [part 9] [back to Mair's fic]