Author: Aya
Warnings: Violence, Language, Angst, Barely there lime
Disclaimer: If I owned anything I wouldn't be wasting my time writing about it
Note: As usual, coherency has been made possible by my wonderful beta, Sunhawk ^_^

The Game + Part 2

All sound in the room seemed to become hushed and everything darkened around the two opponents as their eyes locked and they both settled into fighting stances. While Duo opted to bounce on the balls of his feet and arrange himself much in the way that old American boxing champs would before a fight, Heero was completely stationary; relying on his martial arts experience rather than old fashioned street fighting. He narrowed his eyes and tried to tell himself that the dangerous glitter in Duo's eyes was for show, for the crowd, but the longer he stared into them, the more he was sure that Duo just wanted to kick his ass.  

He heard the man on the loud speaker announcing that the fight was beginning but it still hadn't fully registered that he was about to face off in a fight to the death with his ex-friend until said friend slugged him.

Everything came rushing back. Once again the sounds of the crowd were as loud as ever and the smell of sweat and fresh blood invaded his nostrils. Heero cursed himself for ever getting in the ring and cursed Duo for hitting him so hard. He regained his footing and ducked as Duo swung another punch that was directed at his face.

Duo fought aggressively, attacking Heero with everything he had. His first punches missed their mark and it seemed to enrage him further. His attacks were becoming wild and uncoordinated, sloppy and very unlike the calculating fighter that he usually was. His face was set in a severe grimace and he looked just about as furious as Heero had ever seen him.

Heero, however, was doing his best to avoid having to physically attack Duo in any way. He could tell that Duo was going for the jugular but he was reluctant to harm the longhaired man. He did know that this could only go on for so long and if he didn't start doing something soon, Duo would get the upper hand and the crowd would get suspicious of why the hell he had gotten in the ring in the first place.

It was only when Duo kicked him in the side that Heero actually fell to the stained mat in agony. As pain blossomed behind his eyes, anger began to radiate from his body. That had been low. He had an old wound from the wars, a deep stab wound that had gone untreated and had gotten so badly infected that the spot was still tender to this day. Duo knew that and had gone for it. The knowledge of that was enough to make Heero want to fight back.

One booted foot swung towards his face and Heero rolled out of the way, jumping to his feet in a movement that was fluid and graceful. He reared back and slammed his fist into Duo's face with all the power he had. The smaller man fell into the side of the cage and the first emotion besides anger shone in his eyes: shock. One lip curled in a snarl and Duo flung himself at Heero, limbs a flurry of movement as he gave the Japanese man everything he had.

Heero tried to block as many blows as he could, but Duo was too fast for him. Another well-aimed punch came flying at his jaw, but this time Heero caught the smaller hand in his own. He squeezed the fist hard, using Duo's own momentum to shove him back against the barbed wire that surrounded the cage. A groan tore itself from Duo's lips as he collided with the twisted edges of the cage, but he didn't stay down for long. He spun back towards Heero, his knees bending slightly as he jumped in the air with ease; executing a perfect drop kick and effectively slamming his steel-toed boot into Heero's face.

For a moment the world spun and the crowd was a kaleidoscope of blurred faces as Heero's eyes rolled in his skull. He spiraled backwards, hands flailing slightly as he lost his balance. Duo rammed into him and they both went crashing to the mat; arms locked around each other as Duo's slender hands found their way around Heero's neck. He squeezed tightly and Heero choked, hands reaching up to claw at the iron like grip. When he couldn't pry them off his neck; he resorted to the only thing he could manage and bit Duo's fingers savagely.

The ex-Deathscythe pilot yanked his hands away and scuttled backwards; glaring for all he was worth as he watched the other man get to his feet. His eyes were now a mix of many different emotions but whatever he was feeling, it obviously wasn't going to stop him from attacking Heero.

The normally boisterous crowd was in a hushed state of awe as they watched.  Normally matches in The Cage only lasted for ten to fifteen minutes tops before someone was killed in a rather distasteful way. This, however, was something quite new. The crowd favorite fighting against a mysterious new opponent who obviously had the skill to match him and put up a damn good fight. It just had never been done before. Newbies to the Meat Market were usually dead before they landed their first punch, and if they did survive a fight they only lived out the week before falling to the champion.

Minutes ticked by and before long both of them were bruised and bloody, sweat dripping down their faces although neither of them appeared to be tiring any time soon. Heero knew that it was too late to stop and that he either had to get Duo down, or be killed. He had Duo pinned against the mat and was staring desperately into the blood smeared face; cursing himself for what he was about to do, when suddenly the speakers crackled to life and the spell that had transfixed the crowd was broken.

 "The match is over!" The voice announced.

A series of boos and jeers were heard among the crowd and Heero looked up in confusion. Duo shoved him away and shakily got to his feet.

"It's been decided that this match is a draw!"

More boos and curses were shouted in the direction of the boxes.

"This has been the most... exciting match that the Meat Market has seen in awhile and it would be quite a shame for both of these talented, young men to not attend The Game."

Relief spread through out Heero, but he didn't know if it was because he was accomplishing his mission or because he wouldn't have to seriously hurt Duo. Maybe it was both. He looked over at the other man and blinked back his surprise at the dark glare he was receiving. He had hoped that Duo would be a little pleased that they wouldn't have to kill each other, but Duo looked even more pissed off than he had earlier. If that was even possible. They stared at each other and Heero only half listened to the rest of the commentary. He knew all he needed to know. The Game was in two weeks and it was on Hart Island in New York City. The only thing he needed to worry about in the mean time, was Duo.

"Fuck you, Yuy," Duo snarled angrily and stormed out of the cage, pushing through the crowd as he hastily exited the club.

Heero stared after him and decided against immediately following. Instead he pretended to look interested in what the announcer was saying and only left the cage after the crowd's attention had left him.

He strode over to the same housekeeper and grabbed one scrawny arm. "Do you know where he lives?"

The housekeeper grinned up at him. "Nice fight, you two prob'ly have a great sex--"

Heero shook him violently, cutting off the rest of the sentence. "Where does he live?"

The dwarfish man heaved an exaggerated sigh. "He's from Southie like most of the idiots who come here. S'far as I know he has a place in Trumbull Park, over on Bensley Ave." The black eyes peered at Heero curiously. "If I was you, I'd take a few weapons before headin' off in that area. Worse than it is around here, but I'm sure ya can--"

Heero didn't stick around to hear the rest of the warning. He released the man and grabbed his coat from where it had fallen on the floor. He was going to talk to Duo whether the stubborn asshole liked it or not.

+

A normal person might have been disturbed by the state of the neighborhood, but Heero wasn't exactly a normal person and had seen far worse in his time as a soldier. He bypassed the broken street lamps, graffiti covered buildings and garbage littered streets without giving them a backwards glance. There was obviously gang activity in the area and their tag names and slogans were written on any surface available. Despite all of this, the streets were practically deserted except for a small group sitting on the stoop of one of the buildings and an older man who was fiddling with an old model, hydrogen powered car.

Heero stopped at the corner and looked up at the rows of brick buildings. The buildings were obviously extremely old because no one built with brick anymore and they would have been an attractive link to the past if they weren't covered by spray paint.

He was on Bensley Avenue, but didn't know where to go from there. He looked at the old man and began to walk in his direction. "Excuse me?"

The man's head snapped up and his eyes flitted over Heero quickly. He looked down at the car, towards the group on the stoop and then back to Heero again. "What is it? I don't have any money." His eyes shot to the group again and he shifted uncomfortably.

One dark eyebrow rose. "Do you know where Duo Maxwell lives?"

The man seemed to get even more nervous. "Why? Are you going to kill him?" Another look was shot in the direction of the group.

"Um. No."

"Do you want him to do a job for you?"

Heero stared at the man for a moment. He thought back to what the housekeeper had told him and felt slightly sick. Maybe Duo really was a mercenary. "I just want to talk to him. I knew him a long time ago."

The man shifted and wrung his hands together. "Third building on the left. He has the only apartment on the fourth floor. But you didn't hear that from me, got it? Not from me."

Heero nodded and looked at the building in question. "Thanks." He dug in his pocket and pulled out a few bills, tossing them on the hood of the car. "Don't smoke it."

The man snatched the money quickly and shot him a small grin, before going back to work on his car.

Heero looked over at the stoop and saw that the group was gone. He frowned for a moment and looked around, but shrugged it off when they weren't anywhere in sight. He wasn't there to worry about petty gang activity. He had bigger things on his mind. He strode down the street and approached the building, deciding against going through the front. He walked around the side and hopped the metal gate that led to a backyard, eyes seeking out the windows on the fourth floor. When he got to the south side of the building he caught sight of a light shining through one of the windows. Without thinking twice Heero began to climb the fire escape, feet moving silently on the rusty, metal stairs. The bruises and cuts from the fight were still fresh but he ignored them; it wasn't anything he hadn't dealt with in the war.

When he reached the window, he ducked down and flattened himself against the side of the building. He could hear low sounds coming from the apartment and he quickly figured out what they were as an almost painful feeling blossomed in his chest.

Bed springs, creaking noisily as the headboard knocked against a wall. Low, feminine moans and the wet sound of skin hitting skin.

Heero closed his eyes briefly and groaned inwardly. Great. Just what he needed to hear.

Slender fingers gripping tanned skin. Muscular thighs wrapping themselves around a narrow waist. The feel of tight, moist muscles surrounding his erection. Finger nails scraping across an already scarred back. Wet moans spiraling into wild cries of pleasure.

Heero's eyes snapped open and he gasped softly, hands tightening around the railing; ignoring the feel of the old metal bending under his grip. Where the hell had that come from? He really didn't need this shit right now!

The low rumble of a deep, male voice drifted out the window and the odd feeling in his chest grew as he heard Duo's unmistakable voice. He couldn't believe the other man still had this effect on him. Even after two years..

"--wonderful as usual," The female voice purred, satisfaction evident in her tone. She sounded... familiar.

Duo didn't respond, but the sound of him flicking a lighter could be heard through the screenless window. Heero could hear the soft padding of bare feet on the creaky wood floor, followed by a low sigh.

The bed springs creaked again and another set of footsteps began to move across the floor. "What's wrong tonight? You ain't yourself, baby,"

Duo snorted softly. "Like you know me enough to say that?"

Heero's lip quirked and he shook his head. Same old sarcastic Duo.

The girl sighed softly and recognition sparked in Heero. It was the blue haired girl from The Meat Market. "So..." She trailed off, obviously struggling for some kind of conversation. "How about that Newbie tonight, huh? He was some kind of fighter!"

"Yeah. Some kind." The words were spoken in a cold, emotionless voice and Heero winced. Yep. Still holding the grudge. Even after two years.

"The Regs are usually sloppy compared to the way you get down, but this guy was somethin' else! And that kung fu shit he was doing... Geez."

Heero could hear something tapping rapidly against a wooden surface.

"And the body on that guy!"

The tapping grew louder.

"I've never seen someone better than you in The Cage before to---"

Something clattered to the floor. "If you're so impressed, why don't you go fuck him!?" Duo snarled coldly.

Heero tensed.

"I-- Duo, I didn't mean nothin' by it! I was just--" The girl stammered desperately.

"Get out."

"But Duo--!"

"I said GET THE FUCK OUT!" Footsteps stomped across the floor and the girl gasped as she stumbled backwards. "Take your shit--" The sound of the door opening and cloth hitting the floor. "--and get out of my face!" The girl cried out and then a door slammed.

There was silence for several moments and Heero began to seriously reconsider confronting Duo so soon. He really wasn't in the mood to get--

"You can come out now, Heero."

Shit.

The Preventer sighed softly and steeled himself for whatever Duo was going to throw at him. He moved out of the shadows and slowly climbed into the window; eyeing the other man warily. Duo was leaning against a small, battered vanity dresser and smoking a cigarette. His slender body was covered by a sheen of sweat and every muscle in his body seemed to be coiled tightly. He wore no shirt and the same baggy pants. His pale skin was a mottle of bruises and jagged cuts. The worst of his injuries appeared to be on his face judging from the deep gash above his right eyebrow and the ragged wound on his cheek. Heero winced, momentarily feeling guilty, but quickly consoled himself with the knowledge that he had at least two bruised ribs, a busted lip and enough bruises to most likely cover his entire upper body.

"Hi." Heero said lamely.

Duo glared at him. "Yeah."

"Uh. Nice place."

The pissed off look in his eyes began to steadily grow. "What are you doing slumming in this part of the world, King Yuy? Palace life stifling you?"

Heero sighed and crossed his arms over his chest. "Do we have to have this conversation? It's been two years."

Duo scoffed and took a long drag off his cigarette. "Yeah. Two years and I still can't stand the sight of your self-righteous face."

Heero fought the urge to flinch; instead keeping up his nonchalant attitude. "I thought you would have gotten over this by now."

"You thought wrong, buddy."

"That was selfish of you, Duo--"

"Selfish!?"

"--disappearing like that, making everyone worry. The others still aren't sure that you're not dead. Quatre and Hilde--"

"To hell with Quatre and Hilde and all the rest of them, including you! I wanted to get the hell away from you people! I wanted to get away from the fucking expectations and disapproving looks when I didn't reach them!"

"No one expected anything from you, Duo."

"Bullshit. None of you knew me during the war. You all just expected me to mold myself into the cookie cutter fucking image of ex-war hero that you wanted me to be. You thought I would go along with anything you did or said, just so that everyone would be happy. You all thought wrong!"

"This is not what I came here for!" Heero growled, frustration evident in his voice.

"Then why did you come? To step on me again? To humiliate me in front of new people in my new life? To once again show the world that Heero fucking Yuy is better than me!?"

"Life?!" Heero exploded. "You call this a life?! Fighting like an animal in a fucking cage? Letting people bet on you like you're in a goddamned horse race? Killing and selling your body--" He broke off abruptly and clenched his hands into fists. He hadn't meant to say that. He hadn't meant to start this argument yet again.

"What did you say to me?" Duo asked coldly. He had an ugly, black look in his eyes.

The Japanese man sighed and wiped a hand across his face. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean that."

"Like hell you didn't."

"Look. I don't know what you're doing here, I don't know why you're doing what you're doing--"

"You don't know and you won't know. So kiss off and go find someone else make you feel better about your own pathetic life. Go home to Relena and you can both have a wonderful discussion about the gutter rat Duo and his illegal activities and maybe you can even send Wufei to arrest me."  

Heero rolled his eyes. "I'm not with Relena anymore."

Duo blinked and for a moment the anger was gone, replaced by surprise. "Not with Relena?"

"I haven't been with her for eight months now."

A smirk began to creep up on Duo's handsome face. "Finally realize you couldn't fit in her cute little peace wrapped bubble?"

Heero smiled wryly. "Actually I think she figured that out before I did."

Thin eyebrows shot up. "She broke up with you?!" Duo nearly choked on his laughter.

Heero nodded. "Yeah. Glad to see that it amuses you so much."

The smile faded and the laughter died. "Did you think I was gonna feel bad for you? You dumped me because of her and now she dumped you because of her own common sense. Go Relena."

The taller man scowled at Duo. "Go Relena? I thought you hated her."

Duo snorted and pulled another cigarette from his pack. "Everyone thinks I have something against her. You all thought I was jealous of her cuz she had the money, the sophistication.. And then, well then she had you. Believe it or not, I never had nothin' against the girl. She did what she had to do and if the guy I had been wanting for four years jumped in my bed, I woulda took the chance too."

"I didn't jump in her bed! Why the hell do you keep saying that?!"

"Okay, Heero. You walked slowly to her bed. Is that better?"

Heero growled. "It wasn't like that."

"You know Heero, whatever the hell BS reason you wanna give me for it, you're still the fucked up one. You're the one who cheated on me with Relena for God only knows how long, you're the one who made sure I was humiliated in front of all of my so-called friends and co-workers and then you're the one who added insult to fucking injury by requesting a new partner and making me look incompetent so that I eventually got fucking demoted." Duo glared at him hatefully. "God, why are you here?! I never wanted to see your fucking face again! Don't you understand that I fucking hate you?!"

It felt like someone had knocked the wind out of him. That's how badly it hurt. He had always known, always figured, that Duo hated him for the ugly way their relationship had ended... but he thought that the scars would heal with time and the hurt would go away. In the past two years his own anger had faded and he had hoped that some day he and Duo could be friends again. Be close again. But now as he looked into Duo's eyes, eyes that shone with unshed tears, he knew that would never happen.

"Fine. I'll be back when you're ready to talk rationally." It was amazing how steady his voice sounded, although he felt like screaming at Duo and making him understand that he truly was sorry for what had happened. He started for the window, figuring he would leave the same way he came, but at the last minute he looked back at Duo.

One of his pale hands was gripping the edge of the vanity while he struggled to hold his cigarette with his trembling fingers. His long bangs were covering most of his face, but Heero could hear the sound of his harsh breathing. For some reason out of all the things he had found out tonight about Duo's new life, it hurt to see him like this the most.

[part 1] [part 3] [back to Aya's fic]