Duo dusted off his hands, grinning as he strode out into the sunlight from the caves. "Yosh', all three gorillas are tied up back there. And lookit what I found." He turned sideways and gestured.
Trowa watched as figures emerged from the darkness of the cave. Two young girls, a little boy, and a man staggered out, blinking rapidly at the bright sunlight. They were followed a moment later by a boy roughly Trowa's age. The girls fell to their knees before Duo, babbling their thanks, but Duo pulled them quickly back to their feet, looking uncomfortable. "Oi oi," he said quickly, flashing them a grin, "no problem, don't worry about it. Look, why don't you all get in that car and get yourselves home, huh? Your families must be worried sick about you."
"I'll drive," the man offered quickly, looking towards the car with gaunt, eager eyes. The child seized one of the girl's skirts and refused to let go, finding comfort in her closeness. Trowa frowned slightly. They were all thin and exhausted-looking.
"How long have you been in there?" he asked quietly.
One of the girls- they were sisters, Trowa realized, noting their similar looks -shook her head helplessly. "I'm not sure... days...weeks? I lost track of time."
"Only a day," the teenage boy murmured.
"Thirteen days," the man said grimly with no hesitation. They brought the little kid in about three days ago. The ladies were there before me."
"What were you doing in there, anyway?" Duo scratched his head. "What'd you do to piss off Davarius?"
The sisters glanced at each other and pressed their lips together, saying nothing. The man offered him a solemn look, and after a long moment said, "I don't know why they took the little kid. I know he had his own reasons for myself and those girls. But it doesn't matter anymore. Thank you for.."
Duo tilted his head. "You're not part of a coven he hates, are you?"
They all gave him startled looks. Trowa watched them carefully.
Finally the teenager offered a wry smile. "You seem to know more than you let on, sir," he said in a quiet voice.
"However," the adult interrupted, "under the current circumstances I'm afraid that it's best to keep things to ourselves."
"Aa," Duo sighed. "You have a reason to be paranoid. I guess I can't really expect you to answer any questions I have. You can prob'ly tell.."
"That you're not one of us?" One of the sisters smiled softly, resting her hand on the little boy's head. "Yes. However, we do owe you," she nodded towards her sister, "our lives. And because you aren't ignorant, I'm obliged- no, eager, to offer aid. If you ever need help and your life is at risk, please contact the Red Crystal Coven."
"The Earthfire Coven, as well," the man said quickly, not to be outdone. "It's true we do owe you our lives. We could have died in there."
Duo looked a little surprised, but nodded. "A..aa. Arigato. Demo... You can't answer anything I ask?"
"Why are you so interested?" the blond boy asked curiously.
"A coven took my friend from me." Duo's jaw tightened. "I think they think they're protecting him from something. I need to find him. Davarius was after him, too."
They all glanced at each other quickly. The man arched an eyebrow. They remained silent for awhile this time before the man reluctantly said, "I'm sorry, but there are things going on that you would not understand, and are better off not knowing. More than likely you will find them out on your own anyway."
"Davarius captured you?" one of the sisters was watching Duo strangely, speaking more to herself than to him. "Did he think you're..." she shook her head, blinking, and turned towards Trowa, nodding politely in thanks before following the others towards the car. Frowning, Trowa moved to intercept them, but Duo placed a hand on his arm, shaking his head.
"Iie. They won't tell us anything. Just let them go."
Trowa glanced towards his right and Duo turned to see the blond teenager hadn't moved towards the car, yet, and seemed to be hesitating. After a moment he waved to the people in the car to go on without him, and watched as they pulled away.
Duo and Trowa exchanged a glance. "Hey," Duo called, "don't you want to go home?"
The boy turned to face them, looking a little unsure about himself, but setting his jaw determidely. "She's right," he said quietly. "Davarius never captures anyone without reason. I know the girls and the man defied him, and I think the little boy was the son of someone important. I'm friends with a coven that rebelled against him, too. But why would he try to keep an outsider like you hidden from the world?"
Duo blinked, then shrugged. "Guess I pissed him off," he said airily. "He's interested in getting ahold of my friend, from what I can understand, though I don't know why. I wouldn't tell him, I told him what I thought of him, and he got pissed."
"Ah." The boy glanced sideways at him, looking a little embarrassed to be asking. "Ano.. he didn't... do anything to you, did he? Davarius is known to have a very disturbing way of... belittling people," he said delicately.
Duo felt his face harden and his skin crawl at the memory, ignoring the look Trowa shot him. "He tried," he said in a low voice. "It didn't happen. Anyway, it's really none of your business."
"A-aa! Sumimasen," the boy mumbled quickly, flushing.
Duo shrugged, forcing his feelings into the back and offering a tight smile. "So, kid... why'd you stick around?"
The boy hesitated, chewing on his bottom lip, and Duo found himself studying him.
He was maybe a little older than himself, now that he looked, and just slightly taller. His hair was blond- almost as golden as Quatre's -and very fine. His eyes were a beautiful chocolate brown. In his khaki shorts and soccer shirt, he was trim and fit, with a runner's legs and wirey arms. When he tilted his head just so to offer Duo an apologetic look, Duo caught himself staring. He was attractive- and perhaps he knew it, because the sideways glance he tended to throw at Duo seemed like habit, almost a coy glance he'd become accustomed to giving. He noticed with a twinge of unnecessary amusement that he did not offer Trowa this look, or even pay much attention to the other boy.
"I'd like to help you, if I could," he said hesitantly. "I am a solitary practitioner, so I have no coven's rules or secrets to keep."
"A solitary what?" Trowa repeated.
"Oh- a Wiccan who does things themself, right?" Duo asked. "One who isn't part of a coven?"
"That's right." The boy offered Duo a small smile.
"So you're saying you'd help us get Quatre back?" Trowa's eyes narrowed in sudden interest.
"If I can help, I'd be willing to, yes." The boy ran a hand through his hair, flicking Trowa a look. "I'm afraid I don't know what that coven or Davarius wants with him... the others seemed to have some idea because of their covens, but I'm not privy to information such as that. Still, I could find these things out easier than you outsiders could, and it looks like you could use all the help you can get."
"Sounds great." Duo grinned. "Besides," he said quickly at Trowa's look, "Wiccans have a harm none law, right? So it's not like you can betray us or anything."
"That's right." The boy looked at him with a little surprise. "You seem to know more and more than I first thought you did, mister..."
"Duo." Duo shook his hand firmly. "This is Trowa."
"I'm Gable. Happy to help."
"Great. Oh- Trowa.." Duo turned on his friend with a perplexed look. "You showed up right in the nick of time. Not that I'm not glad you did, but I thought you were supposed to be looking up on those mobile dolls."
"You're a long way from where you started off from, then," Trowa said quietly, arching an eyebrow. "There's a town being held under seige by a few of them about a mile from here."
"Geez... they really did drive to the middle of bum-fucked egypt." Duo made a face. "But... then what made you come out here to the woods? Were you parking your gundam here?"
Trowa seemed to hesitate, glancing away, looking decidedly uncomfortable.
Duo's eyes shot up to his hairline at Trowa's distinct show of his unwillingness to tell him. Trowa was an honest person, he did not usually look so discomforted at telling his partners something. If he had a secret, one would never know it. But in this case he looked almost as if he wasn't sure whether what he was about to say was accurate or not. "I heard you."
Duo blinked, nonplussed. "Huh?"
"I heard you," Trowa repeated slowly, still not looking at him, jaw set. "Calling for help."
"Calling...?" Duo flicked a puzzled glance towards Gable, who was watching them both with polite confusion. "I don't get what you're saying."
Trowa's eye twitched. "I heard you call for help," he repeated firmly but quietly. "You were terrified."
A strange, cold feeling was coiling in Duo's gut. "Calling for help," he repeated woodenly. "What...did I say?"
Trowa met his eyes at last, looking as if he'd rather not. His voice was inflectionless. "Most of it was dirty. But the last part was..."
Even as he repeated it in a monotonous tone, Duo was taken back to an hour earlier, his stomach lurching, his heart jumping like a cold stone into his throat, beating impossibly loud.
Oh god not this not this anything but this... somebody fucking help me...Heero..
"Are you a virgin, Duo?" Davarius hissed in his ear.
"Impossible," Duo whispered harshly, stumbling back a step and staring at Trowa as if confronted with Davarius himself. "How could you..have...."
Trowa's jaw tightened, but he said nothing. He looked as if he'd rather not believe it himself, but in the face of Duo's obvious horror he couldn't deny it.
He had heard Duo's cry, all right.
He had heard Duo mentally scream for help and had come to save him.
Trowa... how had he heard him?!
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