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fic - kdtv 14 - bad religion part 8 - the turnip patch
version 2.0
fic - kdtv 14 - bad religion part 8
Series:  Kyuuketsuki Duo
Arc:  TV Series
Title:  Bad Religion Part 8

Kyuuketsuki Duo
Episode XIV - Bad Religion - Part 8

The meeting was held just outside of town, in the sparse woods to the south.  Every step they took towards the clearing in the wood sent another tiny shiver up Quatre's spine.  There was something that felt somehow aware here, as if the trees themselves were trying to tell him something, something that set all his senses on alert.

There was a fire blazing in the middle of the clearing, too small and controlled to be called a bonfire, really.  Its flickering light made the shadows beneath the trees dance eerily as if they were alive.  Around the flames stood whom Quatre assumed were followers of this strange cult they had happened upon by chance.  There were about a dozen of them, looking like average citizens.  For some reason, he was relieved to see that they weren't clad in dark, concealing robes and chanting ancient verse.

Wufei ventured into their midst, but the others held back to the edge of the circular clearing by unspoken agreement.  He spoke quietly to one of the members for a minute, and a moment before they all fell silent, Quatre knew they would.  He sensed someone coming from the other side of the clearing, someone with a very powerful presence, before that person emerged from beneath the low branches.

It was a man, sort of tallish, with a gaunt stature and a weathered face, but that wasn't what Quatre saw first.  Before he blinked, he could swear he saw a nearly skeletal figure, clad in swirls of darkness, with the ethereal crimson fires of hell burning in its eyes.

"Quatre," Meiran whispered to him.  "What's wrong?"

Quatre started at the sound of her voice, and made the conscious effort to untense his muscles.  "I'm not sure," he whispered back uneasily.  "But I think your charm is about to burn a hole through my pocket."

"...That's not good."

Quatre snorted softly in response, but said no more as he saw Wufei gesture at them to come out from their place of waiting.  The three of them exchanged glances with each other before stepping out as one from the protective shelter of the trees.  Wufei and the man, Darcy, met them halfway.

"We want to know about your demon," Quatre began authoritatively, and without preamble, wanting to establish some measure of control over the situation.  Meiran and Trowa were more than happy to let him speak for them, although they stood strongly at his back.

"May I ask what your interest is in the matter?" the man asked in a soft voice.  He smiled in what was likely supposed to be a benevolent manner, but Quatre thought it was more like he was baring his teeth at them, and rather predatorially at that.

Quatre looked him in the eye, trying to discern something of his character, but all he got in return was another chill running over his skin, and the sudden desire to protect Duo from this man.  "He's our friend," he responded, more sharply than he had intended.

Darcy appraised them all with a deep, careful look, and the blonde boy got the distinct impression that he was amused, and then calculating, although nothing showed on the weathered visage.  He almost shuddered again, but this time, from the unrivalled, frightening clarity of his senses tonight.  He had never before received such strong impressions from anything.  Was there something inside of him that was being drawn out here tonight?

"He's no friend of any human," the false reverend countered smoothly.  "He is a demon.  He feeds upon humanity, drinks the blood of humans, relishes in the sins of humanity, even encourages it."

"I've seen him do no such thing," Quatre refuted quietly.

"Of course not.  He would be a master of deceit.  Your friend Wufei could tell you that himself."  With a careless gesture, he indicated the Chinese youth that stood at his side.

Quatre's light blue eyes flickered briefly to his friend, taking in the fiery confidence in his posture, before returning to settle on the man he perceived to be the threat.  "We've spoken."

"I told you of what I saw," Wufei interjected.  "Why do you still deny the truth?"

His steady gaze never left the man before him.  "Because you're wrong," he stated calmly.  "Duo isn't evil."

"And yet there is a being that stalks the nights of this area," Darcy argued, his eyes seeming to be ablaze with the fire of conviction, or perhaps something else entirely.  Regardless, it bored into Quatre's mind, pressing down with a burdensome weight.  "There is something here that does as I claim.  That evidence is undeniable."

"I'm sure there is something responsible for what you propose.  But it isn't Duo."  Quatre wasn't quite sure where this surety came from, but he trusted it, as he had always trusted his instincts, and he used the assertion to push away at the fog that wanted to descend upon his mind and whisper untruths to him.

"Quatre."  He started, and turned to the girl behind him that had uttered his name in a small voice.  Meiran looked back at him with wide, blinking eyes.  "Maybe... what if he's right?"

"Meiran?" he asked uncertainly.  He had been counting on her support in this matter, and hadn't expected her to be swayed.

"I mean, there is something here, we all agree to that.  And no one here is really denying that there's something about Duo that's just funny.  Don't you think that it's just too much of a coincidence or something?"

"Meiran--"  From the corner of his eye, he caught the sight of the cult leader watching him just a bit too intently for him to be comfortable.  Although the man's expression was carefully neutral, it seemed cultivated, unnatural, and did not hide that peculiar gleam in his eyes that had unsettled him earlier.

Another presence suddenly made itself known to Quatre's senses, and he glanced over his shoulder to see Trowa, stoic and strong as ever.  Their eyes met, and Quatre knew beyond doubt that the taller boy was still with him.  He drew strength from the knowledge, and turned back to the others.  Meiran had moved slightly towards Wufei, a visible sign of the realignment of her allegiances, while Trowa took another unobtrusive step closer to Quatre.

"Meiran.  Are you saying you agree with them now?  That our friend is a demon?"  He put a slight emphasis on the word defining their relationship.

"Well, no..." she trailed off, uncharacteristically uncertain.  "I'm just saying, it's possible.  That's all."

Quatre tried to catch her gaze, but she seemed to be avoiding eye contact.  Feeling, somehow, that she had been influenced by something beyond his ability to detect, he turned back to the leader of the movement, prepared to argue the point all night, if necessary.

"Okay, well that didn't work."  They had found a nice lady Shinma who hadn't fled at their coming, and was actually willing to say a thing or two to them, but all she could tell them was that there was someone the strays were trying to stay out of the path of, but even they didn't know who it was, or where that one could be found.

"Then we'll try something else," Heero responded calmly.

Duo gave his partner an even look from his place on the pseudo-wooden floorboards of the back porch of their previous home in the place between places.  The house had, of course, not changed since last they had been there, seeing as how they carried it with them in their heads.  They had retreated there in the hopes that they might be able to sense something in that place that they could not otherwise sense in the mortal realm.  "Look, I'm sure you're good at this whole patient waiting thing.  In fact, I'm usually pretty good at the slow hunt.  Thank you for keeping a level head through all this, by the way.  But this is only starting to piss me off.  I don't like being played with like this.  This is personal."

Heero stepped out of the field of grass that they had willed into existence in the back and onto the verandah, circling around the guardian and settling down behind him.  He enfolded Duo within the warm circle of his arms to take the irritating quality away from his next words.  "That shouldn't change the way of the hunt," he spoke softly into his partner's ear.  "And you know it."

Duo closed his eyes and leaned back into his lover's heat.  "I know it."  He sighed, not quite as content a sound as he could have wished.  The hunt for the troublemaker was still yielding them practically no results, and while he recognized the truth and the aid in Heero's words, he didn't necessarily like to be reminded to be reasonable and clear-headed.  Right now, he felt a terrible desire to destroy a few things, maybe extract answers from the innards of creatures still living, but he knew it didn't work that way.  "This is still driving me nuts, though."

"At least we know for sure that there's something out there, now.  I didn't even have that much when I came looking for you."

Duo chuckled weakly.  "Yeah, but I wasn't out to get you.  I just get this horrible feeling that every hour that slips by, someone's evil plans to destroy me are advancing.  It's unpleasant, to say the least."

Heero said nothing for a few long moments as they tried to just absorb the clean, silent whisper of the otherwinds.  The search for the unknown had not left him as complacent as he seemed to be.  It was true, most of the time he had been on the hunt, he had been the one in control, he had been the predator seeking his prey.  He didn't like being one step behind, didn't like unknown threats, and most certainly didn't like people threatening Duo.

When he finally judged that Duo had relaxed as much as he would for the moment, he reluctantly broke the silence.  "We should begin again," he said, bringing Duo back to the present with a soft tightening of his arms and his presence around his former charge.

Duo didn't open his eyes, but nodded and took a deep breath, prelude to the light trance he would invoke to surf the ether.  He didn't expect to find much more than he had in the human plane, but still, he hoped.  He reached his mind out to Heero's once more, as he had done before, and Heero met him halfway, again serving as anchor and support.  Duo took a moment to drown in the vibrant embrace of deep blues and silvers before steeling himself for another mental trip.  The plan this time was to open himself to the currents, the currents of this place from which his powers were born, in the hopes that his power would respond to his need, and tell him something of its own accord.

He emptied his mind completely and gave his self to Heero for safekeeping, before 'concentrating' on being only a vessel for those unique energies that marked him as a guardian.  The othercurrents tore at his being and tried to sweep him away, but Heero held firmly to his core and prevented his loss.  Freed from having to worry about losing himself, trusting Heero to see to that, he laboriously both listened to, and paid no particular attention to, the whispers in the wind, sorting through them without losing his carefully blank focus.

Inside the protective shielding of Heero's sharp vigilance, Duo began to feel restless and frustrated after a long while of nothing, but Heero gently soothed him back into an appropriately sedate state of mind.  With a purely mental sigh, Duo reapplied himself to thinking about absolutely nothing, and just when sweet nothing swallowed his awareness once more, he was startled by the appearance of something.

Biting back a silent curse before it became a reality in his thoughts, he cautiously tied his consciousness to that thread of something that he had almost lost, and after a wordless pulse of reassurance from his partner that resonated so deeply within his soul that it did not disturb him in the slightest, he slowly tugged himself towards that faint spark until it became the centerstage of his perception.

Curious.  It was somehow already connected to himself, a little string that had just been plucked ever so softly, but vibrating clearly all the way down the line.  As carefully as if he were walking down the wire as on a tightrope, he made his way to its source, and encountered a lively, restless mass of turquoise and gold.  He recognized it.  It was Quatre, or his aura and power, at any rate.  He inspected it from all sides, but could see nothing wrong with it, save that it was perhaps not as placid as it was wont to be.  Something had stirred it from its quiet sleep.  Divining all he could from the sight, he carefully withdrew himself from it, reclaimed himself from his partner, and opened his eyes.

Heero's chin rested comfortably on his shoulder, and Duo could feel it when his partner tilted his head inquisitively to the side.  He gave the arms wrapped around his midsection a reassuring pat.  "Something's better than nothing, I guess.  Even if I have no clue what that something is."  He made a sour face at the air before him.

"We will," Heero responded, quietly confident as he skimmed the surface thoughts of the youth in his arms and gleaned the pertinent information.  "Something disturbed that power, and it has something to do with you.  Let's go find Quatre and see what's up."

Duo rested the side of his head briefly against Heero's, gathering his strength before answering.  "Yes.  Let's."

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