Author: Aya
Warnings: Language, Adolescent OCs, Some Angst
Disclaimer: I have nothing, I own nothing

The Game + Part 4

"We need to go over the plan."

"What's there to go over?"

"There's a lot to go over."

"Pfft. Infiltrate, stay alive, get the dirt on Tech, find out where he's crashing, who's guarding him, get in, kill 'im, get out. Simple."

Heero began to massage his temples as he glowered at the other man. "Okay, it's not going to be that simple, you realize that, right?"

Duo rolled his eyes and lit a cigarette as he lounged on one of the stools at the breakfast nook. "Of course not. There's bound to be a few kinks here and there, but it's nothing I can't handle."

"'A few kinks'? Duo. We will possibly have to fight each other and we will definitely have to fight other people before we get to him. That's more than 'a few kinks'."

Duo exhaled smoke and eyed Heero. "We'll get to that when it comes to it. For now just tell me what you think you know about The Game."

Heero sat back and folded his hands in front of him. "The Game is sponsored by Quinton Thomas, alias Quinton Tech, founded in AC--"

Duo waved a hand to cut him off. "I don't want a fuckin' history lesson here. Just give me the stats on The Game. Who's gonna be there, what kind of security Tech has, how many people go and so on."

"Several key players of the criminal underground attend The Game each year, but we were not able to obtain a credible list of who will be in attendance this year. The Game is big in the underground but only the most elite are allowed to place 'official' bets and collect winnings. The Game goes on for days and consists of no more than fifty of the best street fighters in the world, chosen by each of the players."

Duo raised an eyebrow. "Is that all you have?"

Heero raised an eyebrow in return. "What does that mean?"

"Okay, first of all what the hell was Une thinking sending you here alone? Is she fuckin' going batty again or what?"

"Trowa, Wufei and I are the only ones qualified for this mission and sending three ex-Gundam pilots to The Game is very risky. It is common knowledge that we are Preventers now and it is more likely that three of us would be discovered before one of us would. There will be Preventers stationed on the Island but they will not be participating in the actual game. When I have Tech in custody I'll be contacting them."

Duo shook his head. "Obviously you people don't know what the hell you're getting in to. First of all, Tech is always surrounded by a squad of goons, even when he's in the box watching the fights. He's practically untouchable and if you go in there trying to be all bad ass flashing your gun and a badge, you're just gonna get shot. The Island is a zoo during The Game and it's confusing as hell to find anyone unless you know who you're looking for and where you're going. Lowlifes from all over the world come to watch and place their own little bets with each other. All kinds of shit goes on there and unless you're prepared, you're gonna be overwhelmed. The fighters go after each other even when they aren't in The Cage and if you're a favorite, you better be fucking armed at all times cuz you're gonna be on the hit list of every other fighter and betting man on the island."

Heero's eyebrows knotted and he folded his arms over his chest. "How did you get this information?"

"The Preventers can get their official reports all nice and typed but the street talks and will brag to anyone willing to listen if they think you're one of them. It's the best way to get information cuz you're talking to people who were really there and who really know what's going on." Duo smirked and put his cigarette out in the glass astray that sat near his arm. "So, you still think you're all cocky with your cute little plan and mission outline?"

A low growl escaped Heero's throat and he shoved the empty plate away from him. He was getting angry. Angry because his information had been inadequate, angry because his plan was shot to hell and angry because Duo was making him feel like an idiot. "What do you suggest?" He snapped. "We just go in there and play it by ear? Is that what you want me to do?"

"That's exactly what I want to do, because we won't know exactly what we're getting into until we see it with our own eyes. How were you planning to get there?"

"Wufei wanted me to travel there with the other agents at first but we decided that it was too risky. I was planning to take public transportation, unless you have a better idea."

Duo thought for a moment. "I can get a car and we can drive there, then there's a boat that takes us to Hart Island on the first day of The Game."

Heero raised an eyebrow. "Get a car?"

Duo smirked. "I don't steal everything, you know! Not anymore, anyway. I know a guy. He hooks me up from time to time."

"Uh huh," Heero said dubiously.

Duo hopped off the stool and began stacking dishes in the sink. "Don't worry about people seeing us together; fighters often form alliances with each other even though 9 out of 10 times, they stab each other in the back in the end." He smirked at Heero. "You should know about that."

Heero ignored the comment. "I wasn't worried about that in the first place. According to one of the house keepers, I'm 'your type' so people will probably assume that we are lovers." He watched Duo, waiting to see his reaction and wasn't disappointed.

Duo's back stiffened and he spun around; glaring at Heero for all he was worth. "Well people can think whatever the hell they want, but I'm not pretending to be your fucking lover."

"The thought never crossed my mind."

Duo glared at him for a long time before he turned back to the dishes. He had a peculiar expression on his face but Heero didn't know if was a disappointed expression or an annoyed one, or both. Maybe he wasn't as good at reading Duo as he remembered. There was an uncomfortable silence and Duo finished washing the dishes before he sat down again. "I just want to make something clear, Yuy. When we get a hold of Tech, he's mine and if you have a problem with that, I suggest you say so now, because we can go our separate ways right now."

Heero stared at him for a moment before answering. "Why do you want him dead? If you want this to work out, you need to tell me. I need to be able to trust you."

"You don't need to know that. All you need to know, is that the fucker is mine. All you need to do is trust me to get the job done and you know I'm more than capable of taking out a few scumbags."

"What's he got on you? What's he done to you? You need to tell me, Duo." Heero leaned forward so that their faces were inches apart. "I'm here for you, whatever it is." Their eyes locked and for a moment, uncertainty was visible on Duo's face. His adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed convulsively and his eyes flickered over Heero's face as if he were searching for a sign that he really could confide in the man. "Just trust me, Duo. Please."

The uncertainty faded and a bark of laughter escaped Duo's throat and he stared at the other man incredulously. "Trust you? You're kidding, right? The only thing I trust about you, Yuy, is that you won't stab me in my sleep and even that is kind of shaky considering all those death threats you delivered during the war." There was silence for several moments and the tension in the room was practically tangible.

Heero sat back in his chair and cleard his throat, trying to ignore the disappointment that coursed through him. "You can't kill him."

"The *hell* I can't," Duo retorted.

"You're not a Preventer anymore. You're a civilian."

"So say you did it. I don't mind if you take the credit."

"I don't shoot unless shot at."

"So tell them he had a fucking gun, for God's sake. Jesus Christ, Heero use some imagination here!"

"Unacceptable."

Duo stood up and the stool scraped against the linoleum. "You don't get to tell me what to do, Yuy. You're not my superior officer and you never were. I don't give two shits about your badge and you know it."

"You know Duo, you're lucky I don't haul your ass in right now with all the stuff you've been doing in the past two years. Don't push your luck with me because I'm running out of patience."

A slow smirk crept up on Duo's impish features. "Oh stuff it, Heero. The only time you'd cuff me is if it's to your bed and you're practicing your little bondage fetish." A flush slowly made its way up Heero's neck and Duo laughed out loud. "Thought I forgot about that, didn't you?"

Heero glared at the other man and didn't deign to answer.

"Does Relena let you tie her up?" Duo wondered.

The Japanese man nearly choked. "That's enough, Duo."

He shrugged, faking indifference and turned his back on Heero. "Oh, sorry. I should have known better than to talk about the Princess in such a way. You have my humblest apology." He muttered bitterly.

Heero sighed inaudibly. "Duo..."

"Well anyways, you're staying here until we leave." Duo said hurriedly, determined to cut off whatever Heero had been about to say.

Dark blue eyes regarded the other man incredulously. "There's no reason for that. I have a place, a --"

"A motel, yeah I know the place. It's a real shithole. You're staying here."

Heero flattened his palms on the counter and leaned towards Duo. "You don't take orders from me and I don't take orders from you. The motel is perfectly adequate and there is no reason for me to stay here; all it will do is draw unnecessary attention from people and make the situation increasingly uncomfortable for both of us."

"I didn't say you were sleeping in my bed so calm the hell down. I don't trust you, Yuy and I want you where I can see you. I'm sure you feel the same way about me since you probably have it in that head of yours that I'm up to a bunch of no good shit just because I'm not playing confession and telling you every single thing I've been doing lately. Besides, it's more likely that we'll get 'unnecessary attention' if we're traveling all over Chicago to meet up; especially since the Meat Market is near the motel you're staying in. Not only that-- but any dickhead knows that the walls of motels have ears and it's not safe to talk there. I tell you-- you Preventers must be getting sloppy because this is the shoddie--"

"Shut up, Duo." Heero began massaging his temples again. "This is a difficult mission and I knew that when I took it. The informants we had were obviously defective or misinformed and it's very hard to get accurate information on people who don't legally exist; who don't have any government records or information."

Duo crossed his arms over his chest. "Well... I'm not trying to say that the plan was all bad, it's just that you're missing a lot of crucial details that could make or break t--why the hell am I reassuring you?" He shook his head in disbelief. "You staying or what?"

"Not if you're going to be an asshole for the entire time."

"What does *that* mean?"

"If you're not going to be focused and if you plan to badger me about the past through the whole mission, I'd prefer to stay where I am. I don't want to hear your sarcastic comments or whatever you have to say about Relena. What happened between she and I, is between she... and I. It's no one else's business and it has nothing to do with Tech, this mission or you."

Duo clenched his jaw and shrugged stiffly. "Whatever you say, man. No one else is on this floor so we can talk freely. Take the spare bedroom down the hall, but I warn you, the furniture in it is used... including the bed. So if you wake up with a rash on your dic--"

"I get the picture," Heero cut him off with a roll of his eyes. He stood up and looked at the neon green numbers on the microwave clock. To his surprise two hours had already passed and they hadn't seriously argued for the entire time. "I'm going to have to retrieve my belongings from the motel."

Duo smirked and stood up. "Ah... that's being taken care of as we speak."

Heero's eyebrows knotted and just as he opened his mouth to question that statement, someone banged loudly on the front door and an adolescent voice yelled: "Duo! Open the fricken' door already! This crap is heavy!" Duo shrugged innocently at Heero's narrow eyed expression and gestured at the door, indicating that he should go open it. Heero stood up slowly and eyed the other man suspiciously. The grumbles and complaints behind the door grew louder and finally the Japanese man walked over and flung it open.

Jules and two other ragamuffins stumbled in. All of them were extremely scrawny and they were all laden with heavy looking duffle bags. The boys dropped the bags as soon as they stepped foot in the door and something clattered loudly as the bottom struck the floor. One of the boys looked up sheepishly. "Whoops! Ya didn't tell me there was fragile stuff in there..." He trailed off when he saw the murderous look that Heero was sending in his direction.

"Who the hell gave you permission to touch my things?!" His head snapped around and he glared at Duo angrily. "My laptop, my tools... my weapons! You let children handle weapons?! Are you out of your mind?" He knelt down and began rifling through his bags as if to see if anything was missing or broken.

"Children!?" The tallest one sputtered angrily. He put his hands on bony hips and glared at Heero for all he was worth; pale blue eyes flashing. "I resent that! I was hustling before I could even walk!"

Duo snorted softly at that and went to help Heero with the bags. "Isn't that a bit of an exaggeration, Jimmy?"

[cont]