Title: Darkness Kiss

Author(s): RS & NC

Pairings: 1+2, 3+4

Warnings: Angst, death, yaoi

Disclaimers: GW doesn't belong to me or Kaliforniaroll.
We're just borrowing them for fun. We don't make any
profits.

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A light breeze ghosted low over the ground, scattering leaves in a swirling pattern of color around a still form on the leaf-littered ground. A few dead dry leaves caught in the long chestnut braid snaking around the motionless figure. The braid seemed to slither as the dark-clad person turned over onto his back. Deep irredescant purple eyes stared into the dark fathomless sky above.

On his pale cheeks, tears glittered in the pale moonlight, like star dust. Ragged breathing escaped his chapped lips in uneven sobs.

In the distance, purple mountains loomed with clouds, crowning their unrivaled heights. Soon, a faint orange glow enveloped the mountains, blending the purple into a grayish blue. A bright yellow white sphere began its steady rise from the horizon. As the sun slowly rose over the mountains and valley, the light shone onto the heart shaped face, visibly revitalizing the trembling form. Something light and delicate, far different from the musky dark energy that pulsed through him in the darkest of night, flowed through him now. Those amethyst eyes closed and the sobs passed to a deep sigh. Duo always relished the sun. The moon gave him that thrill of power, but the sun always filled him with the brightness and cheeriness that people noted him for.

He shuddered with the thought of his dark self piloting Deathscythe. He opened his eyes again and forced his tired body to sit up. Deprived of sleep all night, his dayself protested with aches and pains all over.

Shaking the dust and leaves out of his hair, Duo stared at the sunrise, watching its slow ascent. Memories of last night reentered his mind and soon his body wracked with sobs anew. With fresh tears in his eyes, he reached for the gun that he always kept with him. Closing his eyes for what he hoped was the last time, he pressed the cold barrel against his temple.

He could almost feel the bullet ripping a path through his skin and bone, lodging into his sick, twisted brain. His slender fingers wrapped tighter around the handle and the trigger. One twitch would send that metal torpedo ripping though his skull.

//Goodbye Heero...//

His hand gripped even tighter around the gun and slowly began to pull the trigger hairswidths at a time. He shut his eyes even tighter, trembling hands gripping the gun in a sweaty grip.

Before the gun sent the bullet his way, he hurled the gun to the ground. Sobbing into his hands he cursed himself for his weakness.
He punched the ground and blood began to pour from the cuts on his knuckles. On the dusty earth beneath him, blood and tears began to mingle, all his own.

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Cerulean blue eyes watched the motionless dark haired pilot lying on the stark white hospital bed. The gaze lingered on the bandage, stiff with dark stains of dried blood on the seemingly fragile neck. The face was still pale, but an improvement over the past few days.

Heero had regained some of the energy and blood that he'd lost, from spending long days in the hospital enduring the life-giving but somewhat revolting tubes running in and out of his body. Still weak, he had no choice but to stay in the hospital in various states of consiousness, sometimes drugged, to relieve the pain. The bones in one shoulder had been all but shattered where Duo had....gripped. The other shoulder was merely fractured, having been subjected to less pressure. He also had received a mild concussion from when Duo had dropped him, barely concious, onto the hard pavement.

The ex-Wing pilot's eyes, when awake and undrugged, had become distant and unemotional. He was shutting out the pain, by withdrawing into the cold exterior of the Perfect Soldier again, a facade that he hadn't used since the war.

Quatre could feel his pain. //If only I could help you, Heero....but only you and Duo can resolve this together.....//

But they didn't know where Duo was, or if he was even alive. Duo could obviously take care of himself, however. He didn't need Quatre to worry about him.

//Duo...a vampire...// Quatre mused, absently watching Heero. //He must have been pretty good, to have kept it from all of us during the war...even Heero. It wasn't until they got together that Heero noticed him slipping away every night. For all we know, he could have been doing it on a regular basis for years.//

The blond pilot could understand why Duo had kept it a secret from his fellow gundam pilots. //He must have thought that we'd reject him and call him a monstrosity. I accept him for what he is. I wonder if Heero does.//

But that was none of his business. If Heero chose to hate Duo, then he would do nothing more than hope that Duo would choose someone worthier next time. //But if he simply didn't care, he wouldn't be in so much pain. Perhaps they still have a chance.//

The door opened unexpectedly, startling Quatre out of his thoughts. His expression of surprise quickly turned into a warm smile as he realized that Trowa and Wufei had come to visit. Quatre noticed that Wufei had a puzzled, faintly shocked look as well as one of weariness on his face as he came in. Trowa looked tired as well.

Trowa and Wufei came often, but not as frequently as Quatre, who had a leave of absence from the Preventers for 'personal reasons'. Trowa and Wufei had not yet visited Heero during work hours for fear of raising suspicion, instead coming at night to fall asleep on hard plastic chairs at Heero's bedside.

Suddenly realizing that it was 10:30 a.m. and both of the pilots should have been at work, Quatre blurted, "What did you tell Sally?"

Trowa's face was expressionless, as usual, as he replied, "We told her everything."

Confused, Quatre asked, "What did she say?"

"That I knew already." The blond doctor appeared in the door after them. Apparently, she'd been right behind them, but Quatre hadn't noticed. He blushed; he'd been focusing on the dark rings under Trowa's eyes instead.

Under Quatre's questioning stare, Sally elaborated. "During the war, Duo came to me, explaining his situation. When he had night missions, I supplied him with the blood that he needed to keep his hunger sated during missions."

From the look of shock on Trowa and Wufei's faces, she had obviously not told them this bit of information.

"But....if Duo really is a vampire, then how can he go out during the day? Wouldn't the sunlight kill him?"

Sally shrugged at Wufei. "My guess is that is only a myth. Maybe vampires really aren't afraid of sunlight, garlic, or stakes."

Behind them, another voice spoke. "How long has he been a vampire?" Four heads swiveled to look at a wide awake, slightly frowning Heero sitting up in the bed.

"I'm not sure," Sally replied, quickly recovering from the shock of seeing the blue-eyed teenager concious. "He probably was one before the war, but I'm not sure how long. If the ageing myth is true, that vampires don't grow physically older, then Duo could be very much older than he looks."

Heero leaned back against his pillows and closed his eyes, still frowning slightly. Apparently he hadn't completely regained his energy, for that small movement of sitting up drained him. Eyes still closed, he spoke again.

"Where is he?"

Quatre frowned, eyes shadowed. "We don't know. He... left after Wufei got him off you. We...haven't seen him since."

"How long have I been here?"

"About a week and a half."

Heero was silent for a very long moment, the only thing indicating he was still awake being his white knuckled grip on the white sheets. His face, still expressionless, betrayed no emotion, yet his eyes spoke of the deep turmoil he faced inside.

Feeling a slight pang in his uchuu no kokoro, Quatre's crystal blue eyes clouded over. Trowa's hand found its way into his, giving it a tiny squeeze. Quatre smiled, but the expression didn't quite reach his eyes.

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Over the next few days, Duo wandered around the slums and ghettos of L2. As soon as he'd regained his senses, he'd realized that he needed to get away from Earth--and Heero--as soon as possible. Taking the first shuttle available to L2, the only place he could think to go, he'd spent the days thinking about the....incident. Alternately cursing his dark self for what it had done to Heero--or perhaps what it had made him do--and mourning the death of his relationship with Heero, he'd attempted to keep his dark side supressed. Maybe, if he was lucky, he'd manage to starve himself to death and put an end his own grief.

He knew that he looked horrible. Restless nights spent locked up in cheap motel rooms had resulted in dark shadows beneath his eyes, and his skin became even paler.

//I guess I finally look like the creature I am....//

He stole what he needed to survive, or at least keep his dayself alive. He managed to make ends meet without lowering himself to filthy practices, although he'd gotten many offers. At least he could still keep some part of himself pure.....

But by the fourth day, the night hunger began to taunt him even in the full light of the noonday sun. He stole what he could and ate as much food as his body could process, but the hunger for blood would not be satisfied so easily.

From the flimsy, dirty motel window he watched in fear and dread as the sun slowly sank into its earthen grave, and the cold moon rose, too quickly, out from beneath the shadows. As the last rays of the sun slipped beneath the horizon, the unearthly transformation began.

He crumpled to the ground, screaming, as he attempted to fight the relentless, merciless dark power within. In vain, however, were his attempts; four days of starvation had drained him of what strength and willpower he had remaining. The darkness within pushed his humanity into a small corner of his mind, where he could only observe, as if from a faraway point of view, his body once again being possessed by his hateful, tainted self.

Duo watched helplessly as he--no, IT--forced the window open, then jumped easily three stories down into an abandoned alleyway. He watched as it ran down the dark streets, still crowded with late night dwellers, peddling underhand merchandise.

He could feel as its senses threw out a tendril, searching for a strong life force, a worthy meal. Even half starving, his vampiric self wouldn't settle for second best.

Duo prayed to whichever deity was listening that it wouldn't find its meal. Maybe, just maybe, it'd succeed in starving itself to death.

Too much to hope for.

His heart sank as he realized that it had found its prey. Without a second thought, the starved vampire leaped into the milling mass of people and grabbed the unfortunate soul it had singled out. Latching onto the neck, it began to drink greedily, ignoring the screams of the mortals mingling with his own husky pants.

His world was perfect; it consisted only of him and his victim. There was no conscience to trouble him now, no soul. He was one. He was whole. He was content with his meal.

He was in bliss.

The long-haired vampire grinned as he noticed his victim was dying. He was nearly sated, so it didn't matter. Nothing mattered anymore. He was at peace with himself.

He dropped the corpse onto the dirty ground, pleased. The sharp hunger no longer troubled him. He felt full, satisfied. And more alive than he had in a long time. The minute changes of the wind, the smell of fear in the air; they were all known to him.

As his senses sharpened, Duo's mind did as well. The dark influence withdrew from his mind bit by bit, satisfied for the moment, and he was finally able to process what had just happened, albeit a bit slowly.

Horrified, he stared down at the body lying on the ground. Although the face, clothing, and all physical features were different, the scene was still too familiar.....

He choked back a sob and staggered back, first a pace, then two. Tearing his eyes away from the pale corpse limp on the dark pavement, he turned around and ran, into hell for all he cared.