Author: Caroline
see chap. 1 for warnings, notes

The Medallion: Part the Fourth
Of Dragons and Virgins

He awoke slowly, stretching languidly against the Egyptian cotton sheets. He opened his eyes and blinked wearily at the clock. It was just after four in the afternoon, and Duo felt decadent as he lounged in the king-sized bed, staring up at a ceiling that didn't need to be respackled.

A few phone calls and a credit card were all it had taken to ensconce Duo into a suite at a five-star hotel in the middle of the city. Duo had protested the expense, but Zechs had insisted, saying he could take it out of the family expense account he and his sister had shared after the deaths of their parents. Knowing that Relena was paying for part of his "exile" had made Duo feel infinitely better about taking the room.

"Room" was a misnomer. The place was bigger than his little studio apartment. There was a sitting room off the bedroom with a bigger television than he'd ever dreamed of owning. The bathroom was bigger than his kitchen, and came complete with a Jacuzzi and separate shower. He had more closet space than he knew what to do with, and best of all, a nice lady came by in the mornings to clean the place. Duo decided he could get used to this kind of lifestyle.

Deciding to get up even though he'd only been asleep for a little over six hours, he took a long shower, marveling at how he didn't need to worry about the hot water running out. He dressed and rebraided his hair, then plopped down on the couch in the sitting room to make use of the pay-per-view features. He wanted to go out and explore the rest of the hotel, but he wasn't feeling very sociable at the moment. He thought perhaps a movie and some room service would help him adjust to his new digs.

The medallion was laying on the coffee table. Duo picked it up and traced the image of Heero on the divan. He sighed, still not knowing what to do about it all, half convinced it had all been some kind of weird, psychotropic dream. And yet, here he was, in a hotel room hiding out from a nightmare in pink. He tossed the coin back onto the table and lay down on the couch, intending to drown his problems in some action/adventure violence.

The events of the previous night caught up to him, however, and half an hour into a recent box office smash, he fell asleep.

He awoke sometime later to find himself pleasantly squashed between a warm body and the back of the couch. He breathed in the unique, exotic scent of the other person, and snuggled down into the crook of a neck. An arm wrapped around him to allow fingers to drift up and down his back. Duo wrapped his own arm around the warm body to cuddle closer, only to freeze when he realized the other person wasn't wearing any clothes.

"Gah!" he cried out, coming awake instantly. He tried to scramble off the couch, but he got tangled in the other man's limbs and sent them both crashing to the floor with Duo lying on top of a very naked and aroused man.

He sighed and let his head drop to Heero's chest. "You've gotta stop waking me up like that. My bruises are gonna have bruises."

Heero grunted from underneath him, then slid his arms around Duo, smiling up at him. "Well, as long as we're down here..."

Duo opened his mouth to protest but his thought was lost as Heero's eyes captured his own. A dark, fathomless blue, they shimmered with heat. Duo found he could easily get lost in those eyes. He moaned softly, letting Heero's eyes draw his face down, down until Duo could feel Heero's warm breath against his lips. He let his lips brush against Heero's and he contemplated going in for more when his stomach intervened, letting out a growl that more resembled a lion's roar.

Duo blushed and scrambled off Heero. "Ugh, sorry. Haven't eaten anything since last night."

Heero sat up. Duo could feel the man's warm blue eyes on him as he walked across the room to fetch the room service menu. "Um, can you, like, conjure some clothes to wear or something because... well, it's really distracting to have you sitting there, you know... naked."

Heero leaned back on his elbows, smirking at Duo. "No. I cannot ‘conjure clothes.' I don't have any magical powers and I can't grant any wishes. What you see is what you get."

Duo took a good long look, swallowing hard. He crossed quickly to the bathroom and grabbed one of the plush terry-cloth robes hanging behind the door. He returned to the sitting room and tossed it at Heero. "Could you put that on then?"

Heero stood, slid the robe over his arms and belted it before taking a seat in one of the plush chairs beside the couch. "As you wish."

"Thanks." Duo sat on the couch, flipping through the room service menu. He was trying to decide between lasagna and steak when he noticed Heero staring intently at him. "Stop that," he snapped, frowning.

"Stop what?"

"Staring at me."

"But I like staring at you."

"Well, I don't."

"What should I stare at then?" Heero's eyes dropped to Duo's lap. Duo blushed and curled his legs under him. He looked back down at the menu, then back up at Heero.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be rude. Do you want something to eat, too?" he asked, feeling guilty because Heero hadn't eaten anything the night before.

The incubus shook his head. "I do not need to eat."

"Oh." Duo's brow furrowed. "Can you eat?"

"I can, but it is not necessary and few of my former lovers ever bothered to feed me."

Duo made a face. "That's not right. Doesn't matter if you don't need to eat. You enjoy it, right?"

Heero inclined his head. "It is one of the pleasures I miss."

Duo rolled his eyes and tossed the menu to him. "Then pick something, for god's sake. I don't like eating alone in front of company." When Heero hesitated to open the menu, Duo paused. "Uh, do you know how to read?"

Heero nodded his head. "I have been able to persuade a few of my lovers to teach me over the years, and I am a quick study. I can read several languages."

"Oh, good." When Heero still hesitated, Duo sighed. "Look, just because you don't have to eat doesn't mean you shouldn't. Order a hot fudge sundae or a milkshake or lobster. Whatever you want, it's on me."

Heero raised an eyebrow. "Do you wish me to eat it off your body?"

Duo felt his face turn bright read. "Uh, no. I mean, I'll pay for it. Or rather, Zechs and his wicked sister will pay for it." He grinned. "There are some perks to knowing a prince!"

"This Zechs... he is a prince?" Heero asked.

"Well, no," Duo replied, grinning. "Actually he's a pastry chef. But his family is, like, exiled royalty or something. They have more money than God, and your party is a social failure if neither Zechs nor Relena attend. Zechs is springing for this place."

Heero looked around and eyed the large bed through the double French doors that led to the bedroom. "I approve."

Duo snorted. "Glad we could help you out, buddy. Now pick something to eat so I can order. I'm starving!"

***

Duo let out a small, satisfied burp before flopping back against the pillows, licking ketchup off his fingers. He looked over at Heero who was sitting with his legs crossed, eyes closed, licking the last bit of hot fudge from his spoon. His breath caught as he watched Heero's tongue move over the spoon. But the moment was shattered when Heero frowned at his now-clean spoon, lifted the bowl to his face and began licking the sides of the bowl. Duo did the only thing he could. He laughed.

Heero looked up, a spot of whipped cream on the end of his nose. "What?"

Duo only laughed harder.

Heero scowled and put down the bowl. Duo struggled to sit up, still giggling. "So..." he gasped, "I take it you like hot fudge?"

Heero shrugged. "It is the first time I have tasted it. I have had ice cream before, and have heard about ‘hot fudge,' but had not tried it."

Duo immediately sobered up. He'd forgotten, for a moment, that Heero had been locked inside the medallion for over two thousand years. He still had a hard time believing the story, but what other explanation was there? Heero had appeared - and disappeared - out of thin air. Duo may have stolen him from his last mistress, but how long had he been trapped inside the coin before Relena had released him?

"What's it like?" Duo asked impulsively.

Heero frowned. "I didn't like the way it stuck to my teeth, but it tasted good."

Duo smiled. "No, I meant trapped inside the coin. Can you feel? Are you aware of time passing?"

Heero was silent for a long moment. "I can hear. I cannot see or feel sensation, but I can hear the world going on around me. Sometimes it is decades before I am released again. There is no light or dark. It's very... lonely."

"Oh." Duo felt for the man. He couldn't imagine what it must be like, trapped in a sightless void, listening to the world pass you by while you waited for those precious moments of freedom, only to be trapped in a different kind of prison when you were released. He looked up and made a face. Leaning over, he brought his hand up to Heero's face. "You have cream on your nose," he said, as he wiped it clean. He moved to draw his hand away, but Heero grabbed his wrist, pulling him closer. Duo stopped breathing.

Heero hovered in front of him, letting their breath mingle. Duo wanted more than anything to move that last inch, to press his lips against Heero's, taste the hot fudge on his tongue. But he hesitated, too long, and Heero let go.

Duo pulled away. "Um... I think I'll go have a shower."

"Do you need help washing your back?"

"No!" Duo turned away and bit his lip. He didn't need help, but he sure wanted it! "No, I'll be okay. Can you amuse yourself?"

Heero raised an eyebrow.

Duo sighed. "I mean with the TV or something? Do you know how to use that?"

"Yes, though I have not seen any programming in some years. Is 'The A-Team' still on the air?"

Duo blanched. "Uh. No. It went off... some years ago."

"That's too bad. I thought Murdock was hilarious," Heero replied as he slipped off the bed and headed for the living room.

Duo stared after him, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. He decided, instead, to take a shower and try to ignore the sexy man channel surfing in the next room.

***

When he was clean and dry, pulling a brush through his long hair, he emerged from the decadent bathroom wearing the other plush robe. He found Heero sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the television, engrossed in whatever it was he was watching.

Duo sat down on the couch behind him, tugging the brush through the tangles. "Find anything good?"

"I do not understand this show," Heero said, perplexed. "A group of people are stranded on an island and they hold a some kind of competition to determine who the weak member is before kicking him off the island. What is the plot?"

Duo laughed. "That is the plot. Welcome to the world of reality television." When Heero still looked confused, Duo explained, "It's a game show. Last one standing wins the money."

Heero made a face. "And you people called my civilization barbaric."

Duo shrugged, standing and tossing the brush onto the coffee table. "I don't pretend to understand it. But it's popular."

Heero reached up and turned the television off. Duo made a note to show him how the remote worked later. He reached the closet and pulled out some clean clothes. He slipped his pants on under the robe before shrugging it off to pull on the shirt. He turned to find Heero staring at him. He blushed. "What?"

"Have I told you tonight how gorgeous you look?"

Duo felt himself go redder. "Stop that. You don't have to say those things to me."

"But it's true. It is the first time I've said that since I was cursed and meant it."

Duo his head might explode if his face got any redder. "Uh... hey. Do you want to go for a walk with me?"

Heero smiled, going along with the abrupt change of subject. "Are you sure it's safe? Zechs told you to lay low for a while."

"Sure. My apartment's across town, and the hotel is in his name," Duo explained. "Plus, I could never afford this on my own. She won't look for me - us - here."

"Won't she look under her brother's name?"

Duo shook his head. "Nah. Zechs changed his name to Zechs after his parents died and he decided to make his own way in the world rather than live off the family legacy. Relena refuses to acknowledge the fact that he's become his own person. She might check under his real name - Milliardo - but she won't look under Zechs." Duo laughed. "Although if she did ‘look under' Zechs, she'd probably have an aneurysm from who she might find!"

"So I take it she does not know that her brother prefers the company of men?" Heero asked.

"No. And as much as I'd love to be the one to throw that in her face, it's Zechs' decision whether or not to come out to her." Duo shrugged. "I know he doesn't care what she thinks, but I think he keeps it quiet just so he doesn't have to listen to her rant at him about keeping the Peacecraft name pure and unsullied and virginal and all that bullsh..." Duo's eyes widened as an epiphany smacked him across the back of his head. "Wait a sec. Relena's been your ‘mistress' for the past two weeks, right?"

Heero nodded, suppressing a little shudder.

"And I take it she didn't have you play croquet with her for those two weeks?" Duo continued.

"No. And if you don't mind, I'd rather not talk about it," Heero said, crossing his arms in front of him.

"That... that... hypocrite!" Duo cried out. "I mean, what the hell? She goes on and on about the dignity of the Peacecraft name and saving sex for marriage and shit like that and she's been fucking *you* - sorry - for the past two weeks?"

"She also knew exactly what she wanted. I've bedded many, many... many women through the centuries and I can tell you, she was no inexperienced lover," Heero replied.

Duo was so pissed he couldn't even vocalize what he wanted to say. A string of unintelligible syllables dropped from his lips. He wanted to march over to the Peacecraft manor and throw Heero in her face, letting her know that *he* knew what kind of woman she really was. A hypocrite, a liar and apparently a little slut. Guess she took after her big brother more than she cared to admit. Oh, wait till he called Zechs! Or maybe he ought call the tabloids. It'd be the scandal of the year. He wondered if she had taken pictures. Though they would probably scar him for life, it might be worth it...

He felt Heero looking at him and he took a deep breath. Of course, he couldn't do any of those things, not now, no matter how much he wanted to call the girl out. He had to keep himself and Heero as far away from Relena as possible until they could figure out what to do.

"I've got to think, and I can't do that here," Duo said, trying to calm himself down. "I need some air." He looked at Heero. "Will you come out with me?"

Heero stood and held out his arms. "Like this?"

"Oh." Duo had forgotten Heero didn't have any clothes. He was broader in the hips and shoulders than Duo was. He turned back to the closet, looking for his old pair of sweatpants. "Um, these are loose enough on me that they might fit you." He pulled his favorite baggy shirt out as well. "Try these on. I'll get you something more appropriate later."

Heero took the clothes from him. He undid the belt of his robe and dropped it to the floor. Duo tried to look away and found he couldn't. He was sad when Heero pulled the pants up.

Heero slipped on the shirt. Duo looked him up and down, trying not to grimace. The clothes were horribly mismatched, but it was all he had. He had to remind himself to pick something up for Heero to wear later. He glanced down at the other man's feet and swore.

"You need shoes." He turned back to the closet, chewing on his bottom lip. He pulled out the complimentary slippers provided by the hotel. "These are all we have."

Heero took them and slipped them on. "They'll do, but I don't need them."

Duo snorted. "You don't walk around barefoot in the city, pal. You could end up with tape worm or ring worm or... other kinds of wormy diseases."

"I can't get sick."

"Oh. Well. Just wear those. Maybe we'll find something better. It's not even ten yet. There have to be some stores still open."

"Duo..." Heero placed his hand on the small of Duo's back. Duo leaned into the man unconsciously, breathing in Heero's unique scent. "You don't have to worry about me so much."

"Can't help it," Duo said after a moment before pulling reluctantly away, grinning. "I rescued you from the clutches of the beautiful princess. I gotta look after you now."

"Isn't the hero supposed to rescue the princess, not the fiendish creature of the night?" Heero asked.

"What can I say? I'm not that kind of hero. No job too easy, no fee too large." He grabbed Heero's arm and pulled him toward the door. "Come on, fiend. We've dragons to rescue and virgins to slay."

[part 3] [part 5] [back to Caroline's fic]