Title: 'Demon of
Author: Mel, Christy Redcap the Violence Muse & Stormdancer the Angst
Category: AU, Fantasy
Pairings: 1x2, 3x4, 5x?
Warnings: Yaoi, language, angst.
Disclaimer: We write it, we watch it, we love it, we just don't own it!
of Justice + Chapter 19
What would Duo say?
"My name is Krashnark." The
ten-foot-tall, faintly glowing 'man' allowed his arrogant smile to widen
slightly, obviously expecting a reaction.
"Am I supposed to be impressed?" Wufei asked acidly, sword still up in
a ready position.
The smile lost some of its arrogance for a moment, then twisted into a
sneer. "I see Torframos' little pet dwarf hasn't told you much, if you
don't even recognise the name of the God of War."
"We've had more important things to discuss." Wufei's eyes narrowed slightly,
but he didn't flinch. I upset him by not reacting the way he wanted
me to. Good."I had worked out that you were probably a god. The light
show is a little cliched."
He watched as Krashnark bristled, obviously not handling the idea that
a mere mortal would even consider talking back in that manner well. Most
of Wufei's thought processes were concentrated on what to do and say
-- 'keep him off balance' and 'what would Duo do?' were his
two main ideas there -- while a tiny corner of his mind stood off
and observed, amazed that he wasn't gibbering in shock.
I don't have time to gibber. I can do that later... if I have
a later. I know Uthmar said the gods can't interfere directly in the world,
but if that's true, what is he doing here?!
I wish I could ask -- wait
a minute. I can.
"I was under the impression
that gods weren't allowed to do things like this," Wufei continued,
a tiny circling motion of his sword tip indicating their surroundings.
"Doesn't this count as 'interference'?"
Back at camp, Karthan was
giving an informal report to the two Champions and Gunnar.
"-- so we actually
made slightly more ground than we planned for. The camp is completely
"Karthan?! Karthan, what's
wrong?!" Uthmar grabbed at his arm, holding him upright as his knees
threatened to buckle. "Karthan!"
"Is it a brainstorm?"
Arwen moved quickly to take the dwarf's other side, peering into his wide,
unfocussed eyes. He'd seen an old woman die from a stroke once, and this
almost looked like another, but --
"Wufei's in trouble,"
Karthan gasped, eyes flicking from side to side as he looked at something
nobody else could see. "Serious trouble! Can't you two feel
anything? He's talking to Krashnark right now!"
"I suppose you could
think of it that way," Krashnark replied cooly, getting himself back
under control with a visible effort. "Technically, it's not, since
I have no intention of actually harming you."
That does not make
me feel better about this."I'm sure you'll excuse me if I don't
drop my sword, even so."
The arrogant smile returned.
"Why should I mind?
It's not as if you could do me any harm with it."
"You might be surprised.
Let me see now..." Wufei tilted his head slightly to one side, making
a show of frowning in thought. "You're arrogant, it doesn't sound
as if you like Torframos, you're violating the spirit of the noninterference
law if not the letter, and you either didn't realise or didn't care that
you just insulted me. Hmmm. I wouldn't happen to be speaking to the Dark
God of War, would I?"
"They haven't even told
you that there isn't a Light God of War?!" Krashnark looked genuinely
surprised for a moment, then thoughtful. "Well, Korthrala has the
title, but he spends most of his time and energy taking care of his other
areas of responsibility. I'm the only true God of War." A
sly smile. "Perhaps they didn't tell you because they didn't want
a magnificent warrior like you choosing to serve the other side?"
"Compared to some of
the people I've had trying to mind-fuck me, that little attempt at subversion
didn't even rate," Wufei said crudely, and had the satisfaction of
seeing the god stiffen. I think Duo would be proud of me. Thank you
Kushrenada, thank you Une; the lessons I learned from you are suddenly
extremely useful. "Pick something more plausible next time. There
is the small problem of a language barrier that keeps them from
explaining things to me -- speaking of which, how is it that you're
speaking to me in Chinese?"
"I'm not. You only think
I am," Krashnark said in a tight, controlled voice. "A god must
be able to make himself understood to all of his worshippers, after all."
"If you want me to worship
you," Wufei growled, tightening his grip on his sword, "you
are definitely going about it the wrong way."
Krashnark's words weren't
particularly sophisticated -- it had been almost a childish attempt
to plant doubts, Wufei thought -- but somehow he'd sounded so reasonable
for a moment. Whatever he's doing, he wasn't doing it when he was visibly
angry. Perhaps he has to be calm to use it, or at least controlled...?
Making him angry might be a very stupid idea, but the noninterference
rule seems to be real enough, and Uthmar and Arwen are coming...
Besides, it might be the
only way I can keep him from convincing me that he's right! Duo's lines,
Duo's lines, keep thinking of what Duo would say -- insolence seems to
upset him most --
"So," Wufei said,
almost conversationally, "you're a Dark god. Good for you; somebody's
got to watch over all the people who belong under wet rocks. I do
know of another Dark god with an interest in me, you know. Sharna."
lip curled. "That would be my brother." The red glow around
him intensified for a moment.
"Did he send you down
here to run errands for him?"
"Gunnar, Karthan, go
back to camp now!" Uthmar snarled, running beside Arwen as
fast as he could move in armour. "Naiya, you too!"
"No!" Naiya yelled,
running just out of his reach. "Wufei saved my life! I'm not going
to abandon him when he's in trouble!"
"Damn it, that's an order!
You're talking about walking up and defying a god!"
"Exactly. Going back
to camp now isn't going to save me if something happens," Naiya retorted.
Gunnar and Karthan saved their breath for running and let her do the arguing.
"Besides, if he harmed us that would be direct interference. What
can he do?"
Anger blasted outwards from
the small copse of trees they were running towards, a feeling of rage
and power that was almost visible. It lay over Naiya like a smothering
blanket, bearing down, trying to force her to her knees --
Her vision cleared as the
pressure lightened slightly, and she realised that she was cowering, hands
raised to protect her head. The two Champions were still upright, but
had stopped running and were squinting ahead as if they were looking into
"He can do that,"
Arwen said quietly.
"My worthless little
toad of a brother? Errands?!" The power radiating from
Krashnark was beating at Wufei, burning at his mind and will, and he could
almost hear a voice screaming at him to submit as the god took a long
step forward, across the narrow stream.
--kneel bow worship--
He's a god, you
don't defy gods, they give commands and you obey! The tip of
Wufei's sword dropped, just an inch.
--submit obey kneel--
"That fool wants to kill
you," Krashnark snorted. "I want you to serve me. Give
yourself over to my cause, and I'll give you battles worthy of your skill!"
Wufei froze, mind clearing
"Yes! As my Champion
you'll be even stronger than you are now. Compared to you, the Light gods'
Champions will be weak, useless, easily defeated!"
"The weak shouldn't fight,"
Krashnark laughed, grinning
triumphantly. "Not if they want to live. Kneel and swear fealty to
me, and --"
Wufei's sword came around
in a wild, innaccurate swing, arcing past the god's startled face, and
he automatically jerked back out of range. Stupid!
he thought, angry at himself. I reacted as if he could actually
Then he realised that Wufei's
eyes were beginning to glow.
"The weak shouldn't fight,"
Wufei repeated, voice growing stronger. "The weak shouldn't have
to fight, because it's the duty of the strong to fight for them!"
Krashnark took another step
back as shadowy armour started to flicker into view around the small human/demon.
He could feel power gathering, turning his own power aside, and now Wufei's
sword was beginning to glow as well --
Damn, he thought, anger
and arrogance draining away to leave him feeling merely tired. This
didn't go at all how I intended. "I don't wish to fight you,"
he said quietly. "I can't harm you, you know that."
"We could always find
out if I can hurt you," Wufei suggested, lunging forward.
The glowing figure vanished and Wufei's sword stabbed into nothing; he
swore, falling back into a defensive stance and staying alert, turning
slowly to scan his surroundings.
"I didn't intend to anger
you," Krashnark's voice continued, coming out of thin air. "I
certainly didn't intend to insult you. I... apologise." The word
sounded as if it had to squeeze out between his teeth, but it was said,
and Wufei blinked in surprise.
"Whether you intended
it or not, you did it," he said sharply, wary of another possible
attempt to influence his mind.
"I intended to
greet you, give you a gift, and let you think about it for a while,"
Krashnark finished. "It may now be harder to convince you to serve
me, but I haven't given up. So... here."
His hand reached out of nowhere,
right in front of Wufei's face, and touched him lightly on the forehead
before he could react. There was
a sudden, sharp pain behind his eyes, then everything went black.
* * * * *
Heero had told Duo he'd take
a nap after the shopping trip, so he did... but he hadn't said he'd get
a reasonable amount of sleep that night. Instead, after everyone else
went to bed, he started looking up medical databases.
This is stupid, he
told himself, hacking onto a major hospital's records and looking up statistics
on knee operations. Dr. Modi explained the operation and all the possible
complications, so I don't need to look that data up. Duo wants
new crutches, and I'm certainly not going to tell him 'no', so looking
up statistics on how safe elbow crutches are compared to full-length ones
isn't going to change anything... and if he finds out I'm doing this,
he'll probably be annoyed at me. So why am I doing this?
Because I'm an idiot, that's
why, he told himself sourly, following a link to a collection of case
studies. A paranoid, obsessed, anal- retentive idiot who can't -- eh?
The case studies listed all
had short summaries on the index page, and one noted 'patient recovery
rate increased noticeably after purchase of custom-made crutches'. Heero
went for that one first. Twenty seconds later, he had the URL for
the homepage of the company concerned; two minutes after reaching the
site, he knew the proper name for 'elbow crutches' was 'forearm crutches',
that most people with decent upper body strength found them easier to
use, and that they were available in a wide variety of colours, designs
"Now this is the
sort of thing Duo would like," he muttered, eyeing a picture of a
silver-and-black pair of crutches with what looked like racing stipes
running down the shaft.
At five-thirty AM, Quatre
yawned his way into the kitchen and started making coffee. We have
to get Duo into the hospital by seven, so that gives us an hour to get
everyone up and ready to go, he thought blearily, watching the coffeemaker
as it began to make gurgling noises. Normally, that wouldn't be any
problem, but Duo's not going to like having to do without his usual three
coffees with breakfast... And he really won't like going without
And that's odd. The way
Heero's been acting lately, I would have expected him to be up by now,
and getting ready...
He found Heero slumped over
the desk in his room, in front of his laptop. What's so important that
he'd fall asleep in his chair trying to finish it? Quatre wondered,
carefully tiptoeing across the floor. If that's a spreadsheet titled
'Mission: Duo' or anything like that, I swear I'm going to wake him up
by breaking another laptop, only this time I'll smash it over his head
Peering suspiciously at the
screen, Quatre blinked, then smiled. Not 'Mission: Duo' material,
he mused, sneaking out as quietly as he'd entered. More like 'Show
Duo I Really Care' material. It looks like he's really learning!
The second time Quatre entered
the room, he was walking normally and carrying a large mug of coffee.
Heero blinked awake as the mug clacked down next to his head, and would
have jerked upright if sudden muscle spasms hadn't stopped him after moving
less than an inch.
"That didn't look like
a comfortable position to be sleeping in," Quatre observed, watching
as Heero slowly levered himself off the desk to the accompaniment of several
loud cracking noises. "Got a crick in your back?"
for 'a' and you'd be closer to the truth," Heero gritted out, managing
not to groan out loud. He was more surprised that he'd managed not to
snap back a rude retort to Quatre's mildly sarcastic comment; the wonderful
smell reaching him from the mug probably had something to do with it.
"...Thanks for the coffee," he muttered.
Quatre muttered back, on his way out of the room. The three other pilots
had decided between themselves that it was probably best to let Duo sleep
through breakfast, since he couldn't have any, and Heero was pretty sure
that Duo hadn't set his alarm... so he was rather surprised when he knocked
quietly on Duo's door and peeked in to find that the braided teenager
was already awake and dressed, sitting on the edge of the bed and staring
blankly out the window.
Shit, he looks depressed...
Without really thinking about it, Heero found himself climbing onto the
bed behind Duo and gently pulling him backwards to lean against his chest,
carefully wrapping his arms around him in a loose hug. "Ready to
go?" he asked quietly.
One hand came up to rest on
his as Duo took a deep breath and shrugged, forcing a small smile. "Well,
I'm packed," he said wryly. "I don't know that I'm ready,
but sitting here isn't going to make me any readier!"
Heero tightened the embrace
for just a second before releasing him and standing up. "I'd be willing
to bet that you're tougher than anyone else Dr. Modi's done this operation
on," he said awkwardly, looking around for Duo's crutches. "You'll
"...I've never had an
operation before, you know," Duo said quietly, fiddling with the
end of his braid.
"Hn?" Heero bit
back an automatic 'Sure you have', and thought about it for a moment.
I don't know of any since I've met him... and from what I know of his
past, he would have been very lucky to get one if he needed it...
"Yeah. Plenty of stitches,
a few broken bones and stuff, sure, and I've had a few bullets dug out
of me, but no honest-to-god, general anaesthetic, lie-down-on-the-table-please-sir
genuine surgery. I mean, I've still got my appendix, for crying
out loud. Tonsils, too."
Heero was silent for a moment,
struggling to think of a response, and Duo sighed. "Pass the crutches,
"I don't have my appendix
or tonsils," Heero told him. "Dr. J decided they were a possible
liability, so about half-way through my training I had surgery to remove
It was Duo's turn to be silent
for a while; then, "What's it like?"
admitted, sitting down next to him. "I didn't like the idea of being
in such a vulnerable position, even though I was among allies, and after
I woke up I was fairly uncoordinated for a while. So, no, it wasn't an
experience I'd care to repeat, but... Sally wouldn't have recommended
this hospital if she thought it was dangerous, and..." His voice
dropped almost to a whisper. "And you won't be alone. I promise."
Before Duo could respond,
Heero had bounced up from the bed, face reddening. "I'll get your
bag and crutches downstairs first," he muttered quickly, grabbing
them up and heading for the door.
"Yeah?" He paused,
not looking back, knowing he was blushing.
* * * * *