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fic - kd - the, uh, not so wonder years - demons 7 - the turnip patch
version 2.0
turnippatch
turnippatch
fic - kd - the, uh, not so wonder years - demons 7
Series:  Kyuuketsuki Duo
Sub-section:  The, uh, Not So Wonder Years
Arc:  Demons
Part:  7



Kyuuketsuki Duo
Demons -- Part VII


The demon released him and backed away, suddenly unnerved by Duo's abrupt, bonechilling laugh.  The guardian speared the demon with pale lavender eyes through his chestnut bangs, a slight maniacal grin hovering on his lips.

"Shinma energy, eh?  That's what your power is based on?  Tsk, tsk."  His voice was low and dangerous, light and teasing, all at the same time.  It was a cold length of very sharp steel hidden within a deceptively beautiful sheath.  "Didn't you know that that's what my specialty is?"

Doubt sprang into the demon's posture, and it showed.  "I'm the Shinma guardian, you know.  The guardian of the veil between the Shinma realm and the human realm."  The prey-turned-predator's smile became oddly gentle and deadly as his power gathered silently around him, a dark mist that coiled lovingly around his body and pooled obediently at his feet.  "You see, it's my job to take Shinma energy from wherever it's strayed and return it to where it belongs.  The Dark.  And unless I'm mistaken, you have Shinma energy that really doesn't belong here.  It really must be returned."

A small wind stirred out of nowhere, catching the loose dust and swirling it in its lazy eddies.  Shadows from the guardian's power flicked out to join it, mixing in to kick up a strong miniature maelstrom, which drew out the Shinma power from the demon and funneled it away to be returned to the Dark.  The young guardian stood calmly in the center of the whirlwind born of his own power, his long braid and flowing clothes whipping wildly in the fey currents, but he ignored it all, his eyes remaining intent upon the demon before him.

The demon overcame his hesitation at the theft of his hard-won power.  He tried to recall it, to keep it tightly bound to himself, but it responded only weakly to his commands.  Shinma power could never be made truly a demon's, and its binding to the creature was not nearly strong enough to withstand the force of the guardian's call.  Failing that, the demon howled its rage and attempted to charge the guardian and stop the inexorable leeching of its stolen power, but it was beat back by the force of the twister.  Dark tendrils of power reached out from the winds to snap at him and keep him at bay.

The whirlwind slowly dissipated, bearing the last of its retrieved burden to the Dark, although the air around the guardian still crackled with his power.  The demon that stood before him looked much less intimidating, without much obvious physical change.  Approximately sixth circle, the guardian's mind automatically cataloged.  It had lost none of its height or breadth, none of its sharp pointiness, but the aura of power was gone from it, leaving it with only the threat of physical violence, ever the main tool of this hellish subtype.

It was stunned, the totality of its work having been conjured away in under a minute, by the frail, foolish, terrified, or so he had thought, boy.  "How could you have...?!"

The guardian smacked himself lightly on the forehead.  "How could I have forgotten why I'm here?  I really am quite useless, you know.  Useless, selfish, weak, disgusting...."  His sad, whimsical voice trailed off, and he chuckled coldly again.

Suddenly he turned his head and snarled viciously at the surrounding demonlings, and they swiftly scattered far, far away.  Snorting, he returned his eyes to the demon before him, and shrugged.  "So hard to find good help these days, isn't it?" he drawled.  His head tilted back, exposing his slender, pale neck, his eyes never leaving the weakened demon, and a hand raised to sweep his bangs back languidly before it trailed down his neck and chest, fingers splayed briefly on his abdomen before returning idly to his side.  "Well, I guess it's just you and me now."

The suddenly denuded demon was running swiftly out of options, and made a cowardly, desperate, foolish attempt to escape unharmed.  "I can give you what you want, boy," it growled.  "What do you want?  Power?  Blood?"

The guardian rolled his eyes towards the blood-red sky.  How droll.  As if he hadn't heard that one before.  He smiled, and in no way was it a friendly smile.  "You can give me exactly what I want."  The demon bared its teeth, the parody of an accomodating grin, in anticipation of paying off, then betraying, the foolish human.  "I want what's best for my friend," he explained softly.  "I want his freedom.  And you're in the way of that.  So you see, your death would greatly benefit me."

The demon's display of teeth became an angry one.  Bereft of any other possible course of action, it charged the guardian once again.  That was predictable and typically unimaginative : the guardian sidestepped.  As the demon went crashing past him, he turned after it with a deadly calm.  A small, transparent sphere formed in his upturned palm, encasing an unassuming, but coldly burning flame, and with a thought he sent it flying into the demon's broad back.  It hadn't been enough to kill, merely to add momentum and send the demon sprawling into the dust.

'What are you waiting for?  Stop playing with him and finish it!' hissed the voice in his head that Duo recognized as the power.  It didn't speak to him in words, per se, but in compulsions, but the meanings were usually clear enough.  It wanted more control, and it wanted to feed upon another creature's death.

Duo didn't know what he was waiting for.  Granted, he didn't know if he could have blasted the demon with enough fire to kill it -- he vaguely recalled that this particular subtype was no stranger to flame.  But it went deeper than that.  He was reluctant to put an end to it.  He wanted Heero to be free, of course, he had come all the way to hell, albeit accidentally, to see that it was done.  But now that the moment was upon him, it was very, very difficult to let go of the only person in the world he had, the only one who could possibly understand him, the only one who had stood by his side time and time again.

The demon had regained its feet and tackled the guardian in the midst of his musings.  'Tsk, tsk, guardian,' he thought to himself as he automatically tucked, rolled, and flipped the errant demon over his head, although earning himself another set of scrapes and bruises.  'The middle of a battle is no time for doubts.  There are no more Heeros to cover your back, to come to the rescue, this time.'

Autonomic response took over, and unconscious analysis of his adversary began with dreadful focus.  It was obvious the creature was stronger than he was, and would maul him if he let it get in too close to him.  Fire from afar would not do.  He would need a weapon to extend his reach and defend himself.  Swiftly following the thought came action.  The long shaft of a staff sprang into existence in his waiting hand, crafted once more from shadows made solid, a contoured grip automatically forming to fit his hands perfectly.

'All this physical fighting lately,' he chided himself.  'Why did Heero go through all that trouble to teach you to use your powers?'  He readied himself to meet the next attack, glad there had been at least a few lessons in hand-to-hand, in case of emergency.

'He taught me because it was his duty to teach me,' Duo mentally answered his own rhetorical question.

Sidestep.  Block.  Sweep.

'He taught me because he cares?' a small voice suggested.

'No.  He taught me because it was his mission,' he reminded himself.

Wait.  Parry.  Dodge.

'He taught me to survive.  I can survive.  I can succeed.  Without him.  I am proving that now.'

Block.  Strike.  Strike.

'There is nothing more for him to teach me.  It is time to let him go.'

'But I want --!'

Ouch.  Missed a block.

'It doesn't matter what I want,' he cut himself off harshly.  'This isn't about me.  This is about him.  He doesn't want to be tied down for an eternity to human frailty or human corruption.  He was meant to be so much more, and only I can give him the opportunity to be so much more.  I'm the one who got him punished.  I'm the one who got him exiled.  If I ... if I care anything at all about him, then I have to let him go!'

A standstill.  His weapon had come sweeping down in an overhead blow intended to crack open his target's skull, only to be blocked by an upraised forearm of corded muscle.

The demon was grinning, confidence regained during the long physical battle.  It was something it knew it was good at.  "Still think you can defeat me, human?"

Doubts erased during his discussion with himself, hesitation overcome, Duo thought, 'Time to end this.  For Heero.'

He grinned back.  "Yes."  Another idle flexing of his power, and his weapon reshaped itself.  It was something Duo recalled using once, when some of the older kids at the orphanage had had to help a nearby farm bring in the harvest before a large storm hit.  A large shadowy blade extended itself swiftly from the high end of the staff, slicing through the demon's arm.  Before the appendage had even hit the ground, before the demon had even had the time to howl in outrage, the guardian smoothly twisted his impromptu scythe's downward motion back up with a flick of his wrist and took off the demon's head in an effortless backhand horizontal sweep, the nearly weightless, terribly sharp shadows sliding easily through the demon's fibers.

"And the moral of the story is: cheaters never prosper."  His statement fell on dead ears.

Duo straightened himself and caught his breath.  As an afterthought, he again summoned the cold fire at his command and sent it towards the steaming body.

'Oh, look.  It does burn.'  Shrugging mentally, he filed that little fact away for future reference, and turned his regard towards his scythe.  He waved it experimentally in the air a few times.

"Ooh.  I like."

He fixed the contours of the makeshift weapon in his head and stowed that, too, away in his memory, ready to be recalled at a moment's notice.

So now the deed was done, there was nothing left to do, and there was no going back.  No sense in delaying his own plans any further.

He sent his thoughts winging through the planescape, aimed at his Shinma superiors.  When he had caught their mercurial attention, he emphatically showed them what he had done, scenes from the old man's house, the destruction of the stone, himself standing over the corpse of the defeated demon, and he awaited acknowledgement, demanding repayment without giving the thought form.  Agreement came, and swift on its heels, he felt the Shinma conglomerate fulfil its half of the bargain.  There was a sudden, painful wrenching sensation in his head, a displacement and shifting of powers, and even though he had shut his mentor out of his thoughts, even though he no longer needed to, he knew that it was over, that Heero was gone now, to do bigger and better things, and he told himself sternly not to cry.

"Well, now that that's over and done with," he said around the lump in his throat.  "How the hell am I going to get out of here?"  He asked nobody in particular, for there was nobody left around.  He stood, solitary and alone, in his own, deserted little corner of hell.




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