++Chapter 16++

"I'd like to thank all the little people for making this happen," Gable was saying sarcastically. "I think I deserve an Oscar for my acting abilities, don't you, Duo?"
Duo barely heard him. He was numb, as if trapped under ice water and unable to break the surface. He stared at Gable- no, *Davarius*, his mind corrected fiercely -with dawning horror. His voice was stuck in his throat.
"All I had to do was have my trusted right-hand man pose as me and have you captured," Davarius was saying. "And then I became your helpful little buddy." His smile was feral. "Of course, the sex was an added bonus..."
Quatre was looking from Duo to Davarius with fear in his blue eyes. "Duo," he gasped, "what's going on?"
"It's simple, really," Davarius said airily. "Your 'friend' took us straight to you."
Quatre's eyes widened as he stared at Duo in shock, betrayal flickering in his eyes, unwilling to believe it. "Duo..?"
"No," Duo blurted, finally finding his voice, turning a desperate look on Quatre, careful not to move too much. The cold barrel of the gun against his skin was a warning that he didn't intent to take lightly. Trinity released him, taking a few steps back. "Quatre, I didn't know- I was just trying to find you! You heard him, he tricked me-"
"Oh shut up already," Davarius said impatiently, reaching out. Duo tensed as the boy pulled the gun from the back of his pants with a smirk. Davarius wagged it at him tauntingly before sliding it into his own pocket. "I'll be taking this, if you don't mind. Remember," he said, grinning as Duo glanced at him out of the corner of his eye, "I don't like guns."
There was a click, and Davarius stiffened, shooting a quick glance behind him. Duo felt something in him jump in surprised hope.
"No." Trinity's voice was steady. "But in our line of work they're necessary."
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Davarius said slowly, turning slightly to stare at the young boy.
Trinity's hands didn't waver as he pointed his own gun directly at the blonde. Lucias shifted, but Davarius stilled him with a glare.
"Let go of Duo," Trinity ordered. "Or I'll put a bullet in your head. And don't think I won't just because I'm young." His gray eyes were as hard as the steel of his gun. "I've killed before."
"Well aren't we the brave little numbnuts," Davarius sneered. "I'm giving you one chance to put that gun away, brat. It isn't a good idea to make me angry."
Quatre was watching everything with wide eyes, looking torn. He staggered a step back.
"Don't move," Davarius warned, his eyes flashing dangerously. "I've worked very hard to find you, Quatre. Don't think you can get away so easily." He returned his attention to Trinity. "Now drop..the gun," he said slowly.
Trinity's eyes narrowed, and his finger tightened just slightly on the trigger.
Davarius widened his eyes menacingly...
and the gun was ripped from Trinity's fingers by an unseen force, wrenching a pained cry from him.
The weapon clattered uselessly to the ground by Lucias's feet, and the older boy quickly picked it up.
Davarius smirked, the same smile that Duo had taken to be sultry on more than one occassion. He suddenly felt physically ill, thinking of how he had kissed this boy, made love to the one who had wanted all along to use him to get to Quatre. To hurt Quatre.
"You bastard," he snarled, his voice breaking.
Davarius laughed loudly, seeming to find Duo's anguish hilarious. "Duo, Duo," he tsked, "you flatter yourself. Did you actually think someone wanted you that badly? You're so vain."
Duo's mind went back to yesterday morning in the jeep- that feeling of closeness, of being *wanted*, when Gable had held his hand and spoken to him so softly. For the first time in a long time he had felt as if he was loved.
And it had all been a joke.
A sick, twisted JOKE.
For a fleeting instant, Duo desperately wished he could see Heero, but shoved that thought roughly aside. Heero didn't want him any more than "Gable" had.
"What do you want with Quatre?" Duo demanded, his voice harsh with supressed emotion.
"That's for me to know and you to find out," Davarius said flippantly, flicking the gun to the side a little in a 'get moving' motion. "All of you follow Lucias. Now."
Duo hesitated, glancing towards Quatre, but decided after a moment it was best for the moment to cooperate. He didn't want these madment to hurt Trinity or Quatre. He shot them each a meaningful look. Quatre still looked a little frightened, but nodded jerkily. Lucias letd the way, with Davarius keeping a rearguard. "Where are we going?"
"Just shut up and go."
Quatre and Trinity stuck close to him, and he reached out, gripping Quatre's hand in a brief squeeze of reassurance. Quatre glanced up at him nervously.
"Daijabou," Duo murmured, attempting a small smile.
Quatre stared up at him, his usual sunny smile nowhere to be seen. He said nothing, looking both confused and scared. Duo felt pain inside of his chest.
He and the rest of the pilots had thought Atreusio's 'prophecy' so ridiculous. How could any of them possibly betray their own team mate, their own friend?
Well now he knew.
And he had been the one to betray his own friend.
Guilt tore at him, painful and deep, and his jaw clenched tightly with determination.
Whatever Davarius was planning to do, he wouldn't let him go through with it. He may have betrayed Quatre by revealing him to the man who seemed to want to harm him, but he was going to rectify his mistake.
He glanced back at Davarius with heated, hate-laden eyes.
Davarius merely smiled.


Wufei winced, pushing himself painfully into a sitting position, a hand on his shoulder steadying him. He buried his face in his hands briefly, head throbbing with a dull ache. "Nnnhh... What happened?" he muttered. He felt like he'd been run over by a truck.
"Gable happened." It was Trowa's voice. He was crouching beside him, looking around distractedly.
Then Wufei remembered, in a sudden, short rush. Landing by Deathscythe, all of them running up to Gable, demanding to know where Duo was...
He had smiled... a very cold smile..
"He threw us," Wufei said dazedly, looking at his friend. "Like that shit Neo did when he came to get Quatre."
Trowa nodded grimly. "Aa. He's been playing with us all along. He could be in league with Neo and Atreusio. Maybe even Davarius for all we know." He helped Wufei to his feet, and they turned to where Heero was angrily closing his cell phone, obviously having no luck getting ahold of Duo.
Heero's eyes flashed as he turned fully to face them. "Gable tricked Duo." His tone was chilling.
"Yes, I think so." Trowa glanced around again. "No telling which way they've gone."
"That snake.." Wufei growled. "What the hell is he planning?"
"I don't know," Trowa admitted. "But I think we'd better find Duo. Fast."
Heero gave something akin to a scowl, shoving roughly past them. "Come on. And Trowa.." he glanced back at the other boy with slight hesitation. "See if you can... get ahold of him."
"I already tried," Trowa admitted reluctantly.
"Well keep trying," Heero said sharply. He looked around before picking a direction. "He went this way.. I saw it before I blacked out. Come on." He dashed into the trees without a backwards look.
Wufei and Trowa exchanged a glance and hurried after him.

They hadn't been running long before a taunting voice hailed them from above. "Ladies and gentlemen, the calvary has arrived."
They came to a halt as one, looking around and breathing harshly.
"Who's there?" Wufei shouted, temper rising. He felt ready to shoot the next person he saw on sight. "Come out!"
"If you insist," the same mocking voice said from directly behind them.
Heero whirled, gun already in hand.
Neo held up one hand in greeting, the other thrust in his pocket. He offered a grin. "Yo."
"You.." Heero's eyes narrowed in recognition.
"Let's say we put the gun away, hm?" Neo suggested. "We've already established that those things are useless against me."
"What have you done with Duo and Quatre?" Trowa demanded quietly, his whole body tensed and ready for a fight.
"I didn't didn't do anything to them," Neo shot at him, eyes narrowing slightly. "Didn't we tell you to stay the fuck out of this? Now your stupid little braided friend has gone and fucked things up royally. In fact, I'm willing to bet he's already fulfilled Atreusio's vision and betrayed Quatre."
"What?" Trowa asked in shock at the same time Wufei shouted,
"Shut up!"
"Enough," Heero snarled, silencing them both, his heated glare locked on Neo. "What are you talking about?"
"You see, everyone seems to assume that Atreusio is some kind of seer," Neo said, as if explaining physics to a flunking science student, slowly walking forward. His eyes stayed steadily on Heero. "Someone with all the answers, someone who can see the future." His tone turned bitter. "That's why we left, you know. Too many people thought they could control him."
"What are you talking about?" Heero demanded once more, patience waning.
Neo continued blithely. "But it isn't prophecy. These things he knows aren't something that will happen no matter what. He simply sees visions sometimes in his dreams- things that might be, not things that *will* be."
Heero frowned, unease beginning to churn inside of him. "Then.."
"That's right." Neo's eyes flashed. "When Atreusio had a dream that a blond childe would come to Silverwolf- a very important childe, might I add -he also dreamed that someone very close to him would betray him to those who meant him the most harm."
Something inside of Heero felt cold.
"Now of course things like this have happened before," Neo said calmly. "Atreusio has had dreams showing something unpleasant in the future, and as long as we are quick enough, we can change our actions, thus changing the future and preventing that vision from coming true. Ignorance is usually the best way to accomplish this. Prevent those involved from making the wrong decision without actually telling them the reason. Because you see, if a person knows everything about the future, they will always carry it out anyway. They will be unable to make decisions or let those who are trying to help influence their decisions. So ultimately, they make the same instinctive decisions that bring about the completion of the vision. Or," he added off handedly, "they go mad. Depends on the vision and the person."
"You're lying." Heero heard the deadpan words come from his own lips without his consent. He realized belatedly that he had lowered his gun.
"Am I?" Neo sneered at him, eyes narrowing as he came to a halt a mere two feet away from Wing's pilot. "If we had told you that Quatre had a very important part to play among the scheme of things concerning witches, what do you think you would have done?"
"Shut up." Trowa's voice was very quiet.
"You sure as hell wouldn't have believed us," Neo said scathingly. "And so of course never would have let us take him."
"Shut up," Trowa repeated, voice louder.
Neo bulled on mercilessly. "And so even if we had taken him against his will and then let you know 'he's safe, he's secure, don't worry', you would never have believed us. Also, that would have opened contact between us, and you would have found us much faster. If any of us had tried to establish too much contact to try to persuade you or comfort you, you would have found us too fast and carried out the vision. So we stalled, keeping him on the run. All we needed was until tonight." He scowled. "But your friend Duo has messed that up royally. You can congradulate him later on his betrayal."
Heero's gun snapped up once more, his eyes hard. "Now I know you're lying," he snarled. "Duo would never betray Quatre."
Neo's eyes mocking. "Of course he wouldn't," he agreed. "Not willingly. Not knowingly. The vision never said any of you would betray him out of simple malice."
Heero's mouth twitched. "What are you saying?"
Instead Neo recited in a quiet voice, "And when the blond childe comes to the Priestess Silverwolf, he will be followed by his companions. And one of his companions will then betray him to the one who means to hurt him most; tricked by his own trust of another, the betrayer will lead the wolf to the sheep, and all will be lost." He smiled disparagingly. "You see, we couldn't even tell you that one of you would betray him because of your foolish trust towards a hidden enemy. Then of course you would trust nobody. And what help would that have been to Duo when Trinity came to help him today in the woods, or when Atreusio and I healed your sorry ass? Or, to be truthful... you wouldn't have trusted each other, either."
Wufei's eyes were dark as stormclouds, his breathing harsh and irregular as he fought to control his temper. "This is bullshit," he hissed.
"Is it?" Neo's voice was sharp as he turned a glare on the Chinese boy. "Do you want to hear something that I found very interesting? Maybe you can clear this up for me." He tilted his chin slightly. "Why was Duo travelling with Davarius?"
Heero felt as if he was submerged in icey water. For a moment he almost forgot to breathe.
Dimmly in the back of his mind he heard Trowa's reluctant voice. 'I think Davarius tried to rape him.'
"What are you talking about?" His voice was low and dangerous even to his own ears.
"Atreusio and I had a run-in with Duo and some little kid with dark hair," Neo said, looking towards him. "We were at a stand-off when Davarius appeared out of nowhere and rescued Duo. And you know what's funny?" His smile was humorless. "Duo seemed to know him. As if they were...friends."
"That's impossible," Wufei spat, feeling something akin to panic roiling in his gut. "He hates Davarius. That psycho tried to-" he cut himself off.
"Wait a minute." Trowa's voice was very quiet, and he looked like he was going to be sick. "You know Davarius? You've seen him before?"
"That snake?" Neo's lip curled in unconscious distaste. "Oh yes. I know him very well." His tone was laden with barely muffled hate. "He had some.. *fun* with Atreusio right after we left Silverwolf's gaggle."
Trowa's eyes were hidden by his bangs as he asked very carefully, "What does he look like?"
"Just some kid," Neo sniffed, flicking a few stray strands of hair arrogantly over his shoulder. Despite his flippant attitude, his eyes were burning. "Blond hair, brown eyes... good looking. Uses that to his advantage, might I add."
"Masaka," Wufei gasped before he could stop himself.
"Gable." Heero's voice was eerily calm.
"Mm?" Neo cocked his head, frowning. Then his face lit up with understanding. "Ahhh... well, then. That explains it." He smirked darkly. "Davarius is a very clever boy... and a very good actor. Well, then... Duo is your betrayer. You have him to thank when Davarius finishes with Quatre."
Wufei leapt for him. "Kisama!!"
Neo merely glanced at him, and Wufei froze in mid air. "I didn't come here to play bloody knuckles," he said coldly, flicking his eerie dark gaze towards each boy. "Since Duo has royally fucked things up and Atreusio's vision has already been completed, I came to explain and put a stop to this mess. The vision only led up to Quatre's betrayal. The catastrophe that could occur is up to us to prevent."
"What catastrophe?" Wufei snarled, struggling against invisible bonds. "What is Davarius going to do to him??"
Neo wasn't smiling anymore as he turned dead eyes on the enraged pilot. "Nothing good."

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