by: Aoe

Yea Though I Walk

He is standing inside the empty cage when I enter the darkened tent. I almost miss him in the shadows, but the soft creak of leather gives him away in the silence.

"Duo," I greet him quietly. There is something about an empty tent that makes me speak softly. Almost a reverence for the solemn swirling of sawdust on the stale, trapped air currents.

He turns to face me with a smile that goes no further than his lips, a practiced jerk of his head sending his braid flipping over his shoulder, reminding me of the snap of Catherine's wrist as the knife cuts through the air. His violet eyes are sharp as a blade in the shadows.

"Catherine told me you were here," I find myself explaining needlessly, which is odd, because I have never been one to waste speech. But there is something about him tonight. Something that reminds me of a night I had almost begun to believe was some kind of fever dream.

"I wanted to talk to you," he says, in his usual bright, cheerful voice, which is horribly out of place with the shadows, and the heavy sawdust-laden air, and the sharpness of his gaze.

Still, I take him at his word, because I don't know how else to take him, really.

"About what?" I ask, without curiosity. Curiosity is not a burden I bear. I know enough not to take the risk of seeking knowledge. What you don't know, as they say.

Still, I would like to know what he has to say to me that requires a private visit. We were just together a few days ago, when we destroyed our Gundams with Quatre.

Logic tells me that whatever he wants to discuss must then be private, or at least not something he wanted to talk about in front of Quatre.

He shrugs in reply, a careless gesture that makes the battered leather jacket he wears slip off one bare shoulder, the curve of muscle and bone gleaming pale in the dim tent. My mouth is suddenly dry in the humid air of winter in a southern country.

"Come here and I'll show you," he says quietly, his voice gone smooth and deep, his eyes black in the shadows. He flashes a knifeblade smile and I enter the cage and cross to where he is standing, leaning casually against the bars.

I am not really surprised when he strikes like a cobra, pain and darkness washing over me.

When I wake, I know that not much time has passed. There is a soft sort of throbbing at my temple, but he didn't hit me hard enough to really damage me. He simply wanted me knocked out briefly so he could...

I realize I am slumped halfway to the floor, my arm muscles protesting the strain of my body's weight dragging on them. Metal is digging into my wrists.

I look up, already knowing what I will see. Handcuffs, looped around a bar of the cage. The chain is snagged on a crossbar, holding my arms up above my head. With a grunt, I gather myself and stand. The chain of the handcuffs is not long enough for me to pivot my shoulders, so I grip the bar I am chained to with my hands, resting my head against my fingers.

Finally, I scan the darkness of the tent, seeing nothing.

For a moment, I worry. Is it possible Duo has simply chained me here for the lions to find, for some mad reason of his own? Of all the pilots, I'm the only one, I think, who knows the side of him that is not quite sane. But would he kill me?

And since when do I care?

He wouldn't kill me. He may be whimsical, and even sometimes cruel, but he is not wrathful.

This I believe.

"They're good quality cuffs," he says suddenly, his tone conversational and relaxed as he melts out of the shadows. The jacket is gone now, his shoulders white and vulnerable-seeming. I am not deceived.

"I picked them up from a prison guard recently," he continues, walking towards me slowly, slinking almost like the cage's usual inhabitants, eyes intent on his prey. He smiles the plastic smile again. "Right after I broke out of the cell you threw me into," he clarifies brightly.

Despite a sudden sense of self-preservation urging me to stay silent, I protest mildly, "It was Heero's idea."

"And he'll get his," Duo replies, his voice suddenly flat as his eyes narrow, and I find myself glad I'm not Heero. Then the smile returns, as violet eyes like scalpels pierce my skin. "But tonight is special. Tonight is just for the two of us, Trowa," he purrs, reaching out to run cool fingers along my jaw. "We've got so much to catch up on."

"You're angry with me," I observe calmly, even though something inside me twists in not quite fear at the thought. I am not afraid of him, not of Duo.

Perhaps I should be, but I can't be sensible all the time.

"Yes, Trowa," he agrees, matching my tone with a hint of mockery. "And why do you think that is?"

"Why don't you unchain me and we can discuss it?" I suggest flatly. I don't like being mocked.

He smirks at me, looking like a cross between a mischievous child and a malevolent dark angel. "I'm thinking... no," he replies, flicking his hand to toss something small over his shoulder that gleams silver in the dull light and chimes softly as it strikes the hard-packed earth. He crosses his arms and watches me for a reaction.

So I don't give him one.

He laughs softly and steps closer, fingers reaching out to brush lightly over the skin of my chest, which it just occurs to me is mostly bare. I'm in my practice clothes, and I practice without the shirt so Catherine has a better sense of where not to throw the knives and Duo's fingers are really starting to get a bit intrusive

I clear my throat, wincing internally at the awkward nervousness of the sound. Duo flashes me a look that holds some measure of satisfaction.

So he wants to unnerve me.

Everyone wants something.

"You've made your point," I say flatly. "Being knocked out and imprisoned without warning is not fun, and not nice to do to someone. Now maybe you should unchain me before I become lion kibble?"

He cocks an eyebrow at me, amused. "But aren't you the great lion-charmer? Have all the pussies eating out of your hand?"

I frown, wondering why that sounds somehow dirty. "I respect the lions," I explain slowly. "I don't forget that they're dangerous animals, though. I don't take unnecessary risks."

"Don't you?" he asks coldly, sucking all the stale, humid, heavy air from the room with a look.

And he's right. I do forget. I have forgotten. A fever dream. Something I imagined to fill the long, empty hours, to pretend a connection with someone. A fantasy. It was none of those things. It was real, realer than anything else I have experienced, perhaps.

But I have doubted.

"What do you want me to say?" I choke out, beginning at last to feel fear, beginning to let myself remember that I should.

His eyes meet mine, and there is something ageless and implacable in his gaze. It chills me.

He moves closer, until we stand chest to chest, the zipper of his shirt pressing against my collarbone as he rises slightly on his toes to murmur against my ear, "You know."

I know? I know.

But I don't.

Before I can protest, his arms slip around, those clever, cool fingers once more intrusive, but the sensation is not unpleasant. And it's not as though I could do anything about it if it were unpleasant, is it?

He seems determined. His lips brush my throat, his tongue traces the arch of a collarbone and lingers in the small indent above my sternum. His teeth scrape lightly down my chest, catching with a small, sharp pain on one nipple.

As he explores me slowly, patiently, gently, with hands and mouth, I feel myself responding. It's been so long. Not since...

Well. Not since the last time he bothered to notice me, I suppose.

It wasn't like this, though. That night was all about urgency and skin-tightening lust and gratification. This feels...

Reverent. And I am... helpless against it. Against him.

He is here, with me, beside me, inside me... always... because right now is all I know of forever...

He frees me from my trousers, and I am ashamed of my all-too-evident desperation, my burning need as cool fingers wrap around my straining flesh, promising sweet release, promising a miracle that I know I don't deserve

And then I gasp sharply as one particularly hard, tight downstroke leaves an ache of constriction behind, even as those practiced, ministering hands leave my flesh...

Panting after my breath and half-dizzied by lust and frustration and a very localized discomfort, I look down and study the ring fitted snugly around the base of my erection.

I cannot make sense of this.

"You weren't waiting for me," he says calmly. I look up at him, confused. He cocks his head to the side, smiling rather coldly, and prompts, "On the ship. You said that, remember? That you weren't waiting for me?"

It takes a moment for my brain to process the sounds into words, and longer to give them meaning, and longer still to understand what he is talking about.

Oh, yes. That. So it isn't just the imprisonment I'm to be punished for.

"I remember," I tell him, with admirable calmness considering the circumstances.

"Good," he says, stroking my straining erection with one thoughtful finger. I quiver at the touch, but teeter on the brink of fulfillment.

"I think you'll wait for me now," he observes, tugging gently at the tip of my swollen cock as the discomfort sharpens slowly towards pain, need twisting into a sort of agony with which I am unfamiliar, which is almost surprising enough to take my mind off the matter for a moment.

But then he kneels down and takes me into his mouth and I can think of nothing else.

I want this. So much. To be taken into him...

But of course, it won't happen. Not like this. The constraint of the ring is turning what might have been a rare moment of happiness, of contentment, into a cruel parody, a joke at my expense.

Are my sins so dire as to deserve this?

Perhaps he needs a breath, or perhaps my not-quite-muffled sob of frustrated despair draws his attention. He sits back, letting me slip from his mouth, glistening and engorged. He stares up at me, violet eyes dark and solemn.

"One word from you can end this," he informs me quietly.

"What? What do you want me to say?" I gasp, a bit too eagerly.

He shakes his head sadly. "It won't mean anything if I have to tell you," he chides me gently, fingers continuing the torment while he speaks. I almost sob again as he bends down to nip at the twitching tip with teeth every bit as sharp as I remember...

"I'm sorry," I gasp, and the mouth pulls away, the eyes look up at me with interest. I lose my grip on the bar and my knees melt. I slump to the ground in front of him, kneeling, slouching slightly so we are the same height. He stares curiously.

"I'm sorry," I repeat, desperately, searching his face for a reaction, but his usually mobile features are blank and expectant. "For... for putting you in that cell without telling you... for saying... I wasn't waiting for you... for... for... b-blowing up "

"Shh," he quiets me, placing a finger against my lips before I can confess my oldest, festering sin. Desperate, I take his finger into my mouth as sweat rolls down my cheeks. His skin tastes of me.

Violet eyes study me thoughtfully as I breathe heavily, sucking on the tip of his finger like a baby. Finally, he pulls his finger free and leans in to brush his lips against mine lightly.

"I forgive you," he murmurs, and...

I want, just for a moment, to weep.

I have never been forgiven. There has never been anyone to apologize to, for my crimes.

"But that's not what I want you to say," he continues regretfully.


I stare at him in baffled astonishment as he leans back and pulls something from the pocket of his leather pants. Two somethings. They look a bit like clothespins, or Catherine's hair clips...

With gentle but precise fingers, Duo positions the small device over my nipple, and slowly eases it shut.

It bites.

I hiss at the pain as metal teeth grind into sensitive flesh. A knife of pain spears through me, straight from my chest to my throbbing erection. For a moment I hope that this new torment will lessen the other, but whimper as I realize the pain is only compounding my arousal.

So I learn something new about myself.

Despite the preparation of the first, the second clamp is no less of a jolting shock as it pinches my other nipple. I curse softly under my breath, and hear Duo's near-silent chuckle. I yank at the cuffs for the first time. There is some pleasure in the sensation of the cold metal teeth in my flesh, but they also hurt! I want my hands free, I want to pull them off, and pull off the damn ring keeping me from finding at least one sort of relief...

But the cuffs are good quality, and the position I am chained in gives me little leverage. I hiss and squirm as Duo thoughtfully tugs at one of the clamps, drawing my flesh out, a bead of blood forming slowly.

I am wracking my brain to think of what he might want to hear that will end this.

Last time was nothing like this. Last time was quick and simple, even, in its way, fun. This is... this is torture.

But then... in a way, last time was torture, too. Last time, Duo casually ripped apart my agnostic viewpoint and made me a believer in his own personal religion.

I've cursed him for that as often as not. Faith is a burden I never wanted, even faith in destruction. It's easier not to believe in anything, because then nothing is real.

Because then I'm not even real.

But I am real. He made me real that night, with his talk of faith. With his claiming of my body in the most basic method mankind has of assuring himself that he exists.

One of the most basic methods. As for the other...

He twists one of the clamps gently, and leans in to lick up the thin trail of blood that oozes down my chest.

"Thank you," I murmur breathlessly.

"What was that?" he asks curiously, looking up with my blood staining his lower lip vivid crimson.

I swallow past a dizzying wave of lust and croak again, "Thank you."

He cocks his head and frowns. "For what, exactly?"

I search for words as he watches, fingers still absently tugging at the clamps although his eyes stay fastened on mine.

"For... for be... fore," I finally manage to gasp out. "For what you... my name... "

Understanding dawns in his eyes. He has beautiful eyes, right now they are as deep and dark as the space between the stars on a clear night.

"For saying that you're Trowa?" he prompts, smiling softly at me. "That your name is your name?"

I manage to nod, trying to smile back past my clamoring nerve endings. So hard to focus... I want to explain what it meant to me, that moment when he told me I was Trowa. What it means that I have a name in his eyes. That I exist to him as Trowa Barton, as a person with a name and identity... I try to convey this with my eyes, as my mouth doesn't seem to want to form words.

I watch him hopefully. I need release, relief from the overload of sensations. I can barely even process them all, and pain is getting all muddled up with pleasure.

"Well," he says, finally leaving the clamps to simply hang from my flesh, "you're welcome, I guess. I mean, it was a perfectly good name, and no one else was using it, after all. And besides," he adds, finally a hint of warmth reaching his eyes, "it is your name. You've made it your own, you know."

The words bring a smile of pleasure to my lips, despite my torment. I'm real. I must be, if I have a name.

If I have a name in his mind, I must be real to him.

"But that's not what I want you to say," he says again, sounding regretful.

I stare at him in incredulous dismay. Two heart-wrenching admissions, and still he's not satisfied? What does he want from me?

I must have muttered that thought out loud, because he frowns slightly at me and says firmly, "The truth."

"Truth?" I murmur in confusion.

He grins, that old spark of madness lighting his eyes from within. "It shall set you free, you know," he observes.

He rises to his feet and walks over to where his discarded jacket lays, pulling an object from one of the pockets. As he turns back to me with a smirk, I swallow nervously. I can identify this device easily from one highly embarrassing encounter and subsequent discussion with Catherine about the sanctity of a girl's nightstand drawer and its contents.

I'm not sure I can handle much more stimulation of any type without just passing out from sensory overload. And I'm quite certain I can't stand on my own at the moment, so I don't know where he thinks he's putting that.

As if he's read my mind, Duo smirks at me and bends over me, yanking my hands up by the chain that links the handcuffs. Then he is pulling on a length of chain, and I slowly feel myself being pulled into the air. When I am almost completely upright, arms stretched high overhead, almost to the top of the cage, he wraps the chain around a cross bar and snaps a padlock onto it.

He certainly came prepared for this.

I hang limply, my pants puddled around my ankles, my penis painfully, throbbingly erect, the tight ring feeling like it's about to castrate me, sharp-toothed metal clamps fastened to my nipples and slowly oozing blood to mingle with the sweat that beads on my chest...

I ache. I burn. I hurt. I want so badly to just be... released...

Duo twists something at the base of the dildo and it emits a soft hum as it begins to vibrate. He grins at me, and I can't hold back a moan of desperation.

How much can I stand? How far will he push me, to get what he wants?

What does he want?

I am dimly aware of the sound of my quiet whimpering as he presses the lubricated latex into me, the added torment of his body pressed tight against my front, my aching erection trapped between us barely registering at this point.

What does he want?

Not an apology. Not gratitude.

One word.

The truth shall set you free.

The truth.

One word.

What is the truth?

My vision is beginning to tunnel, my body unable to cope with the sustained stimulation without release, but I know... I know what the truth is. I know the only truth I cling to, the truth I have held in my heart since that night in the storage shed...

I have faith, in destruction. In death.

I have a god.

Entropy is my god.

Chaos is my truth.

Chaos, death, destruction...

"Shinigami," I gasp, almost inaudibly.

He stiffens against me, then pulls back slightly, to meet my hazy stare with sharp violet eyes. Whatever he sees this time pleases him.

He leaves the dildo lodged inside me, buzzing away at my insides in a manner calculated to drive me mad, leaves the sharp clamps in place in my sensitive flesh... but with a sharp, painful tug removes the binding ring.

I come immediately with a ragged shout, splattering his leather in a mortifying display. But he only laughs, and I am already hard again, the stimuli too much to bear.

He shucks off the semen-splattered leather and grabs the bars to either side of my head, lifting his feet up and bracing them on the crossbar at my back, wrapping his legs around my limp body.

With a hiss of his own, he slides himself down onto my throbbing length.

It's almost enough to make me sob again, finding myself encased in his slickened heat. I've dreamed of this, fantasized... never allowed myself to believe it could happen, because faith is one thing, but hope is definitely not my personal demon.

Yet, here I am.

I cannot gather enough control of my muscles to thrust, so he does the work, using the bars of the cage to support his weight as he drives me deeper inside of him.

This is what I have wanted. What I have needed. What I have waited for.

I have been shriven of my sins, and I have made an offering and been accepted.

And now. Enter. Into.

Darkness washes over me, and when it recedes, I am still hanging limply, with Duo wrapped around me, both of us panting and shuddering in reaction. He is kissing the side of my neck in a lazy, satiated fashion that makes me smile with a sort of pride.

"You're mine," he murmurs firmly, just below my ear. "I claimed you that night. You belong with me. To me. Understand?"

"Yes," I agree muzzily, not even wanting to fight. He's right, after all. He did lay claim to me. It was I who lacked faith in him, not the other way around, after all. But though I doubted, still he came back to me.

"Good," he murmurs. "I'm glad we got that settled. Now you can help me teach Heero a lesson or two."

I can't help laughing, despite the sharp edge of hysteria in the sound. Duo doesn't seem to mind as he untangles our bodies and bends to pick the padlock with the tool concealed in his hair.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of Death...

The same one he used just days ago to free himself from a prison cell I helped lock him in.

I will fear no evil...

The lock opens, and I slump to the ground. The handcuffs swiftly follow, and I am free.

For Thou art with me.

I can feel his eyes on me, watchful and proprietary, as I slip into the blackness. In the shadow of Death. For a moment, I understand what burns within missionaries.

My Shinigami.


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