++Chapter 6++
"Stones and Seduction"

"Is there anything you can do to help an injured friend of mine?" Duo spoke into the outer loudspeaker as Deathscythe shot across the sky. Held carefully in the Gundam's cupped hand, Gable squinted up at the cockpit, hair being whipped by the wind.
"What happened to him?" he shouted.
"Gunwound to the abdomen. Any way you can, um... I don't know, help speed up the healing or something?"
"I can try!" Gable shouted over the wind, nodding. "We need to stop somewhere on the way, though."
"Duo." Duo glanced towards Trowa's face as it flickered into view.
"I'm at the outskirts of one of the towns. The dolls are on edge. It looks like they're ready to demolish the town."
"I didn't do it." Wufei's scowling face appeared abruptly on the screen.
"Wufei!" Duo blinked, startled. "What's going on with the dolls?"
"Relena's prodigy showed up," Wufei growled, "and started shooting the shit out of the dolls in one of the town."
Wufei was cussing? Duo supressed a grin. He must really be annoyed. "Where are you now?"
"I'm taking out some more dolls. Trinity went to do in another town. I think he started a chain reaction, and we've got to stop it quickly. Also, I got a tape. It's recorded from when the mobile dolls first appeared. Listen to this."
Duo's face paled the minute the tape played.
Wufei, who had been watching the screens to see their reactions, straightened abruptly, his voice sharp. "Duo!"
Duo blinked, realizing belatedly that he'd gone completely stiff, eyes wide and breath hitching.
"Duo." Trowa's voice snapped him out of it completely. "You're white as a sheet. What is it?"
"A-ah..." Duo shook himself, trying to get rid of the irrational fear inside of him. "I recognize that voice," he said quietly, avoiding their keen looks.
"Who is it?" Wufei asked quickly. "It must be who's behind setting up the dolls."
"That's...that's Davarius," Duo said, swallowing. "I wouldn't forget his voice. That's Davarius."


"Now what's the matter with you?"
"...Nothing. Why do you ask?"
"You're acting all mopey again. Who are you thinking about?"
"Haha, I don't know what you're talking about, Neo. I'm not thinking about any-- ah!"
"Bullshit. You were never good at lying to me. You need to snap out of it. Now. If you don't wake the hell up you're going to get us both killed."
"..Let go... You're hurting me..."
"Ch'... I know who you're thinking about."
"Do you?"
"You haven't stopped thinking about him since you met him."
"He's a Gundam Pilot. He has nothing to do with us. Forget him. Now come on, we're almost there."
"Do you think Quatre-san will be all right? He looked pretty dazed back there."
"He'll be fine. Hurry it up, will you? I'm starving."


Duo laughed as he helped Gable down. The boy's hair was wild from the wind, cheeks red from the air rushing against him. "You look a little ruffled there, Gable," he teased. "Are you all right?"
"Oh, yes," the boy said quickly, grinning right back. "That was great!"
Laughing again, Duo led him around the stack of lumber where he had stashed Deathscythe and glanced up and down the road. "So where to?"
Gable seized his wrist, tugging him in the right direction. "This way."
Duo let himself be dragged, looking around at the sights as he walked. The town was a small one, with old fashioned houses and even a building that looked something like an old general store out of a history book. He spotted the church-- large, impressive, and intimidating --and quickly looked away.
When was the last time he had even set foot in a church?
Gable still hadn't released his wrist, he realized. Strangely, none of the people who passed them on the sidewalk stared or even looked twice at them. It was nice, he realized. He would have to take Heero here some time, he thought, giving a silly grin. He would relish the chance to walk boldly down the street in broad daylight holding Wing's pilot by the hand.
"This is it." Gable stopped outside a small store. It was squished between two larger buildings, looking more like a shack than a shop, with glittering windchimes and feathers spinning lazily in the windows. Gable released Duo and reached for the door, glancing over his shoulder at him. "Try not to seem to obvious," he said. "It's not like she would kick you out of the store if she realized you're an outsider, but it's better for her to think you're interested in the craft and that I've brought you in to show you some things. Otherwise she'll be watching you extra careful, expecting you to steal or break something. Not everyone who comes into these shops has respect for our ways. Several times neighborhood kids in towns have done those things out of spite."
Duo nodded. "I'll behave," he promised with a little grin.
Gable smiled back and opened the door, the bell above it chiming as they entered.
"Irrashai," he heard a woman's voice call.
"Merry meet," Gable offered with a smile, stepping aside to let Duo enter the small shop.
The woman behind the counter gave a more genuine smile, lowering a large dragon statue she'd been dusting. "Merry meet," she returned.
Duo just offered a smile and stuck close to Gable as the boy moved across the shop.
It wasn't bright and cheery, and it was crowded, with the heavy musk of incense on the air, but it wasn't unpleasant. He couldn't stop looking around.
There were shallow troughs on tables filled with multicolored stones, dried herbs hanging from the rafters in big bunches, shelves full of incese sticks and holders, shells, feathers, and little bottles with lables. White and black handled knives, wooden bowls ranging in various sizes, a rack of strange jewelry, leather-bound books with blank pages, inks, and everywhere was the symbol Duo had seen over and over in the Wiccan books he had rented from the library. It had been called... a pentacle? Pentagram? Something like that...
He was fascinated by it all, and had to remind himself with a little shake of Gable's advice. He had to look interested, but not as if he'd never seen these things before. He adopted the face he usually offered Wufei when he was being polite to the other pilot and listening to his opinions on justice- interested, but not overly.
He trailed after Gable, watching him. The other boy had already collected a few things into a basket and was rummaging through the stones, searching for specific ones. Duo couldn't help himself, and dug his hand into one pile of cool, smooth stones, enjoying the feel of them running through his fingers as he pretended to search for a certain stone, gazing at the colors, the hues, the shape of them.
He fisted one large enough to fit comfortably in his palm and lifted it curiously, opening his hand. A yellow stone, faintly transculcent. It fit perfectly in the middle of his palm, and he closed his hand over it again, enjoying the smooth, cool feel of it.
"Citrine," a quiet voice spoke right behind him, and he jumped, turning to see the storekeeper hovering over him. She smiled at him. "Looking for your stone?"
His stone? Since he had no idea what she was talking about, he just nodded dumbly. "Which one is this?" he asked.
"It's citrine," she repeated, reaching out to touch it with a finger when he opened his hand again to stare down at it. "A type of quartz. For energy and physical strength. A lot of Wiccan athletes wear this stone. Does it feel right?"
Feel right? But Duo realized he knew what she was talking about. It was like the stone had been been made to fit his hand. He closed his fist over it again. "Hai."
"I think you've found your stone, then, honey." The woman smiled again, kindly. "You should carry it with you." She turned to Gable as he headed towards them from the other end of the table, dropping stones into a tiny black pouch. "Did you find everything you need?"
"Yes, ma'am." He smiled up at her.
She led them to the cash register and rang up their purchases.
"What's that?" Gable asked, noticing Duo was holding something. "Did you find something?"
"Oh, it's nothing," Duo said quickly, flushing a little. He felt suddenly silly. "I'll put it back..."
"Oh, citrine." Gable took it from him, holding it up to the light to look at it. "You're interested in it, Duo?"
"I think it's his stone." The woman smiled. "He went right for it."
"I'll get it for you, then, Duo-kun." Gable smiled at the other boy, adding it to his purchases. "You might need it."
"A-aa... Arigato," Duo mumbled.
The woman rang up the items and bagged them, handing them over to Gable with another smile.
Duo took the stone Gable handed him and hurried out of the shop, leaving Gable and the storekeeper to say their goodbyes. He suddenly felt very uncomfortable, and wanted to get outside again.
He realized why as soon as he stepped outside. The sun was already beginning to sink; evening was approaching. They had been in the store for a good ten minutes. He breathed deeply, feeling calmer already. Night. Night would be here soon. He grinned to himself. Funny how he felt so comfortable in the dark. That's what you get for being a thief, Duo, he chided himself, and slid the citrine into his pocket.
The bell chimed as Gable exited the store, smiling at him. "It's almost night," he observed. "Did you want to find a place to stay tonight? Your friend should receive as much professional help as he can; it won't hurt him, and it will help me when I do what I need to."
"Uh... sure." Duo didn't really like the thought of leaving Heero alone in a hospital all by himself, but Gable was right, he did need medical attention. And besides, Gable was a nice guy. He wanted to get to know him better. Gable reached out and found his wrist. He smiled back. "Yeah, ok. You know where we can find a cheap hotel?"
In the fading light Gable smiled. "Hai. This way."
They strode down the sidewalk in comfortable silence, the warm night slowly easing over the small town. Loud laughter caught Duo's attention, and he spotted a nearby bar. He grinned at his companion. "Ne, Gable," he said on impulse, "wanna get a drink real quick?"
Gable blinked at him, a little surprised. "You drink, Duo?"
"Sometimes." He waggled his eyebrows. "So whaddya say?"
Gable laughed helplessly. "All right. They probably won't even card us."
They entered the small bar, and Duo hooted with amusement as the strident singing of a girl on stage caught his attention. "A karaoke bar! Awesome!"
"Duo-kun..." Gable sweatdropped, smiling nervously, "Are you going to sing?"
"Hell no, man, I can't sing," Duo scoffed. "Besides, who'd want to humiliate themselves like that? It's just fun to watch."
Gable shook his head, smiling in amusement, and joined his friend at a table.
They stayed for well over an hour, talking, laughing at the singers, and tentatively getting to know each other. Gable purchased a pack of cigarettes and smoked with his drink, smiling as a tipsy Duo told him what he thought was a hilarious story of Heero practically running from Relena when she had caught up to them once at a school where they had been undercover.
He eventually accepted a cigarette Gable offered him, but coughed so harshly that a helplessly laughing Gable took it from him again and told him to just stick to his drink.

Duo blinked, looking up from his glass.
"It's almost ten," Gable pointed out, glancing towards a clock and pulling a long drag from his cigarette before crushing it against the wood table. He exhaled the smoke and rose. "We should get some sleep so we can set out early tomorrow."
"Early..." Duo sneered, sliding from his own seat. "Yeh right. I'm gonna have a helluva hangover tomorrow, buddy."
Gable helped his friend steady himself, then they each took a bag of their purchases, paid the bill, and left. Duo hummed one of the songs that had been playing in the bar, leaning slightly on Gable for balance as they approached a nearby hotel.
"You wait here," Gable offered, pointing to the parking lot ground firmly. "I'll be right back."
Duo sat down right on the asphalt, looking around, dazedly cheerful as Gable hurried into the hotel office. He returned a few minutes later with a key and helped Duo struggle to his feet. "Oof," he grunted. "You're heavy. No more drinking for you, Duo."
Duo muttered his defense as he followed Gable into the small room, sagging back against the door to close it and smiling dopily at Gable. "I'm not tot'ly fucked," he slurred. "I still know what I'm doing."
"Do you?" Gable did not look convinced as he set his bags on the dresser and dropped the keys beside them. He moved towards Duo. "Excuse me, Duo. I need to lock the door."
Duo would not be budged. He grinned at the boy playfully. "I tink I'll sleep right here," he decided.
Gable smiled into his face, leaning past him to lock the door. "I think the bed would be more comfortable, Duo," he said. "You're going to hurt your back if you sleep on the floor."
Duo's eyes drifted downwards as something caught his eye. Gable was wearing a red stone on a chain around his neck-- he hadn't been wearing it earlier in the day. He must have bought it at the shop. He reached out to touch the stone. "That's pretty. What is it?"
"Just a stone." Gable was watching his face carefully. "Duo, you're really drunk."
"Am not," Duo said indignantly, tracing the stone. His fingers missed on the second stroke and ran down Gable's clothed chest instead. He watched in fascination as his hand continued its lazy track down a firm chest and down towards abs that tightened suddenly at his touch.
Gable took in a quick breath, eyes widening slightly. "Duo..."
Duo grinned sleepily to himself. Gable was such a nice boy. He reminded him a little of Quatre, actually. Especially with that golden hair... He watched as his hand rose as if by its own will, running through feather-light strands of sunlight colored hair. Gable was watching him with wide eyes, unmoving. "Duo?" he asked, very quietly.
"Y'r pretty," Duo mumbled.
Gable blinked, then smiled, leaning forward slowly, resting his body weight gently against Duo's. Duo's interest sparked, a bit of his sleepiness falling away, and he reached up with his other hand to grasp the other boy's side. "Am I?" Gable murmured, staring into his eyes, his hands on Duo's shoulders. "So are you."
"Mmm..." Duo grinned at him, letting his hand tangle in golden locks as the other boy leaned more heavily against him, at just the angle to make something in Duo twist hotly. He leaned forward, and Gable met him halfway, crushing his lips against the other boy's.
Something hot and insistent slipped inside Duo's mouth, and he moaned at the sensations as nimble hands dug into his pockets, grinding their hips together. He reached up, wrapping his arms around the lean boy and pushing away from the door.
Things became very hazy and heated very fast. Lips moving over him, leaving a fire-hot trail behind, hands pushing at his clothing impatiently, finding their way to slick skin and muscle. Then they were down. Duo was pinning Gable under him, and he couldn't seem to stop kissing him, feeling him, and the sound of the other boy's pants was driving him wild. Something in the back of his mind flickered. A memory. Of a boy- who? But the alcohol was coursing in his blood, mixing with the lust, and the feel of Gable writhing under him, the sound of him moaning into his open mouth, overruled those flickering regrets. He bore into the other boy, grinding his hips against him, and then hands were yanking at his pants frantically, and he was shifting, allowing cloth to slip over skin.
Something clattered from his pocket as his pants hit the ground. His stone. Oh, well... He kissed Gable again and again. He tasted like cigarettes, but underneath that he tasted so sweet... He wanted this, Gable wanted this... hell, Gable was acting as if he'd been *waiting* for Duo to do this. What a little flirt, he thought with muffled amusement.
Then everything became very unclear, save for the sliding of skin against skin and mind-blowing pleasure.

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