see part 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer
Christ, did Quatre make a fuss!
I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd broken more 'n a coupla ribs before
now, and a few bruises weren't gonna make or break any career aspirations
as a male model. But he nursed me well enough, despite my pain and my
anger and my stubborn refusal to tell them what had happened. We established
most of the damage was on the surface - I was assured I'd be eating and
drinking and on my way back to normal in a matter of days.
Yeah, most of that happened. But not the 'back to normal' bit.
It probably took me over a week before I could roll myself easily out
of bed - another few days before I could go up and down stairs myself,
and do all the other things you take for granted when you're fit and able.
I had bruises on bruises. I reckoned a rib may have been cracked, but
I told Q it was just a wrenched muscle. It'd heal on its own, and I didn't
want any further fuss. Spent too long in the last coupla years avoiding
hospitals and the like.
I slept a lot. I brooded a lot.
My nights were anguished; my dreams were wet and frustrated, and when
I woke in the dark with a heavy sweat on, there was no comfort in the
memories of that sudden, shocking beating.
I just wished I knew what the fuck was going on.
I really didn't want to drop the guys off at the club that Saturday. Even
for the chance to drive Q's sleek new car.
Couldn't they get a cab? I argued.
Why was I so upset about it? they countered.
I wasn't fucking upset, I growled.
Why was I growling then? they said...
Anyway, the argument was lost, and I drove them to the end of the street.
Quatre tumbled out of the car, resplendent in black satin sprayed-on pants,
and a shirt that barely covered his nipples. He was already waving to
a coupla friends arriving at the same time. Trowa slid his way out of
the seat to join him. I risked a glimpse at the club, weighing up the
door monuments - two of 'em again, wide guys in heavy black suits and
the ridiculous shades.
I couldn't see the guy I thought I'd recognised. But, then, why should
I? How could I have recognised someone I'd known almost a year ago, in
another city, across state; in another Life, for God's sake? Guess I was
hallucinating, or something.
I felt the pain returning, but it wasn't just my aching ribs. The sight
of the club was disturbing me; the sight of the steps where he'd stood,
leaning insouciantly against the car, waiting for me. The memory of the
alley; of the cloakroom. Of it all. Something else was aching, and it
was fucking annoying me.
I started to pull away from the kerb.
"Duo!" The call was peremptory - it was annoyed. I knew it was Heero.
My heart raced. My cock throbbed. I cursed every nerve I possessed for
betraying me like this. I wondered why he was here again. Why he'd think
it necessary to waste further time on me. Most of all, I wondered why
the hell I couldn't have driven away that little bit faster. God knows,
Q's car had the acceleration. I wondered, I wondered....
Meanwhile, Heero strode quickly and easily to the car, and his hand was
on the open window. I didn't like to drive away and leave him fingerless,
so I stalled it.
Damn, I should never have thought about his fingers at all...his fingers
on my hips... his fingers at my mouth... his fingers sliding into me.
Damn! I missed him.
"Duo, where have you been?"
"I got your message," I said, sharply. I could smell the tang of his cologne
in my nostrils. My damn body reacted of its own free will, and I was immediately,
fiercely aroused. I hoped to God he couldn't see it. "There's nothing
more to say, is there?"
"The postcard with a punch," I spat out. "The warning off. Couldn't you
have just left me a note behind the bar? Tucked a dollar in my pants and
patted me off home -?"
"What are you talking about?" he growled. But he met my eyes, and in that
instant he knew. So maybe it was a sudden realisation. Or maybe he had
known before. Whichever it was, his eyes darkened with even more anger.
"A warning about what, Duo? Who brought you a warning?"
"Some lumps of cretinous concrete like those heavies up there," I snapped.
"Told me to keep my fuckin' fag hands off you. You think I can't understand
my native language, Heero? And as I don't welcome a coupla more bruised
and bent bones, I think I'm gonna take some heed of it..."
"They beat you?" The tightness of his tone jarred on my nerves. I wasn't
sure what was happening here, but I knew I wanted out. And fast.
"They tried," I replied. "Like, a coupla months back I'd have given them
a better run for their money. I might've taken a few bones in return.
But I don't need that now, Heero. I got better things to do. And safer
I was genuinely angry, but I knew my words were largely bravado. I didn't
want other guys, did I? And he knew that. He knew I didn't want 'safer'.
Else I'd never have come anywhere near here again.
"I'll take care of it, Duo."
"Sure you will," I sighed. His hand was too close to mine. His breath
curled the hair on my neck. His existence made me vibrate with desire.
Fuck, I told myself again. "Doesn't matter to me. I gotta go."
"You always go!" he spat. I was temporarily stunned. It was like the words
had forced themselves out of his mouth - like he hadn't wanted to say
them. "You fuck and run -"
I didn't know what to make of this. He seemed genuinely disturbed - and
still angry about the attack on me. I didn't know what else was going
on in his handsome, well-groomed head. I put my hand to his, to push it
He grabbed me instead.
"Come with me, Duo. It's been weeks... I want you, you know that. I told
you I'll take care of what's happened... "
No! I thought, fiercely. His hand was strong over mine - he leant into
the window, and his mouth ghosted its words at my ear. Half of my mind
begged me to listen to him. Every instinctive inch of me tried to squeeze
its way out from under the belt and flow against him. His lean, sensual
body; his rich, acquisitive lips...
The other half of my mind - the bloody-minded, masochistic half - won
the battle. "Fuck off, Heero!" I growled. "My hands ain't good enough
to touch you. Maybe those guys'll be down to show you who you can and
can't touch -"
I wrenched my arm away - I wrenched all the protesting inches of my flesh
back under my control. He leant back, surprised - I saw it flash brightly
in his gorgeous eyes. Then I slammed my foot on the gas, and the car lurched
away from the kerb. Difficult to concentrate on the wheel when your cock
is hammering to be let out of your too-tight pants, and there's a strange,
painful tightness in your throat.
I didn't do that corny old thing of looking back in the mirror as I drove
No, I didn't.
So maybe that was gonna be the last time I saw him.
I still didn't.
Two days later, I was still prowling about the apartment and making everyone's
life a misery. Couldn't settle to anything except dragging myself through
work. At break times, I took myself off to a corner of the site, ignoring
the others and hiding behind the local paper; not that there was ever
anything to read in it.
Today, there was only a small paragraph at the bottom of page 4.
Guy found dead in alley - various speculative theories as to who and why.
A guy with several names/pseudonyms. A criminal record substantially longer
than my braid. Recently in the employ of the Club Underground.
Local police thought it was an argument turned dangerously vicious - a
falling-out among villains. No details of the cause of death. Investigations
I read the report with some shock. The words weren't too interesting -
the less-than-complimentary mug shot that accompanied the words was more
so. It was one of the guys who'd roughed me up. It was the guy I thought
You reap what you sow, I thought. Like - I had little sympathy for him.
He lived that life - he died that death.
But it did confirm to me that I had known him. Too well to be mistaken.
Things were getting murkier by the second.
Quatre had another of those looks on his face. I wondered sometimes how
Trowa put up with the exhausting range of emotions that he inflicted on
us all. Then I watched Trowa's calm, possessive hand on Q's ass, and I
knew they had it sorted between them.
But I knew I had nothing sorted out with anyone. I really needed to. And
it was way overdue.
"Tell us, Duo," said Trowa. They sat themselves down on the couch, effectively
cutting off my retreat from the room, where I sat curled up on the armchair.
When Q opened his mouth to add his penny's worth, T hushed him. "Tell
us what happened while you were away. There's something going on that
I don't understand, and I suspect it ties in with your past, as well as
I tried to shake my head, but it hurt.
"I don't see how we can help you, Duo, if you don't tell us everything."
"Don't need -"
"Yes, you do," he replied, firmly. He had a full cup of steaming fruit
tea in his hand. He was in for the duration. Damn friends, I growled inside.
So I told him. It was a relief, to be honest. I told him about Rik, and
why I left school, and that's when I discovered that he and Quatre had
known all along. Or guessed, at least. It was a large school, but not
so large that rumours got lost. And Q was already developing his spooky
empathy, even then. We were close, y'know. Close enough for him to know
what was running through my body.
"And then?" prompted T.
"From bad to worse..." I smiled. But the joke seemed to have lost its
humour somewhere along the way. "I was on my own, y'see. Wanted to be
the great Independent - the great Man. Making my own way - making my own
success. Instead, I had no money, no food, got hit on whenever I tried
to sleep on a park bench..."
Q leant over and touched my shoulder, and for once I didn't mind. It was
"So I got offered a job, didn't I? This guy would protect me from the
jackals if I did some couriering for him. At first I just did some low
level running - some messages; some packages. Drugs, probably, I dunno.
I didn't care. My guy got me regular food, somewhere to sleep - " OK,
I thought, quickly editing the story. So I had to sleep with him
a few times, but he was never that keen on the whole thing; it was over
real quick. "And then he gave me more to do, and I had a band of kids
to run wherever they were needed - I sorta looked after them."
"Yeah," I sighed. T was no innocent - he was getting the picture. "So
I was foolin' myself, I know. They were whores, of course they were, and
most of 'em from homes like me. No-one gave a fuck what happened to them.
But I thought I could ease the way a bit. And then I got real good at
it - I got put in charge of the whole lot. I didn't have to run for my
guy anymore - got good money, my own apartment, though it was never anything
I had a feel for it, y'see - for the sex trade. Never had many inhibitions,
did I? And morals weren't my strong point then, either. These guys found
that there were no places in the world of sexual pleasure that Duo Maxwell
couldn't go - couldn't service one way or another! I had a smart mouth,
and fast moves - I moved them out of trouble; moved myself into
the way of opportunities; moved my poor little brood around so fast no-one
ever had to challenge me. So they trusted me more and more. And I honestly
thought the kids would be better with me than without. I knew what
each of 'em could do - what their limits were. And I could tell on the
other hand what the johns were like - how safe; how stable. So I made
good matches. I kept most of the kids alive and uncut.
Most of 'em.
I didn't tell the guys that on occasions, the kids couldn't do it, for
one reason or another - fear; illness; whatever. I'd been known to put
myself forward instead. I was tall, and older than most of 'em, which
was never a good selling point. But I was skinny, and boyish, and the
braid used to be a real attraction. Felt like they were getting a boy
and a girl, all rolled into one...
My mind shied away from the memories. I did it to save the kids.
Most of 'em.
"I ran around with the gang for a long while. Hung around the clubs all
the time - did a smattering of drugs. Never got that interested in 'em,
And, to be honest, it was a heady, exciting time - I was someone important,
albeit in the strange, warped world of the street. Guys looked up at me
with respect. They feared me. They admired me. I had my choice of lovers,
then - lots of 'em wanted me. And many of the partners I had were like
me - quite decent people, but caught up in an indecent business. We might've
stayed together longer in a different life. I might've found someone special.
"But I knew it wasn't gonna last. I was the liaison - I was never in control.
I just made contacts for the dealers. They were the Controllers."
"Friends?" Q was very pale.
"Controllers," I repeated. Rather harshly. "Dealers. Contacts. I had no
real friends there, Q. When it came down to it, it was a life of complete
and utter solitude. Full of sudden, unexpected violence. Sickness; drug
abuse. Pain. Cold, wet, fucking misery. No honour among thieves, that
was all crap. That first guy fucked me, he beat me, and he made me work.
And when I found the time and the appetite to beat him back, and take
my own cut - well, he just did it to someone else. The cycle continued."
"Was he the man? In the paper?" T's voice was low. He musta seen me clutching
it to me, ever since I came back from work. He musta read the story himself
- made the connection. He seemed calm, but he clutched his cup like it
was a lifeline. I saw how Q had eased his way up closer to him on the
couch. Like I said - our lives had begun to compare less and less.
"Yeah..." my voice seemed to fail me a little. It had been a long time
ago. Not long enough, obviously. "Peck, he was called. Pretty much on
the lowest rungs of the scum scale. He reported to another guy called
Shad. He was our personal Controller, I guess you'd call it. Though I
don't think even he was the top man. God knows how many other layers of
'management' there were above him..."
"You - dealt with him?"
Trowa was pale, too, but there was a sturdier look to him; he knew more
of the life I'd led than he told Q, I suspect.
"Yeah. I dealt with Shad. In drugs; in kids. Peck tried to keep control
over me, but I was faster 'n sharper than he'd ever be. Finally I bypassed
him, and dealt direct - I was Shad's main contact." The memory of the
other man made me shiver, against my will. Peck had been a gross, ugly
bastard - but Shad was a whole different matter. He was a lot smarter
than many others in the organisation. There were times he vanished for
a day or so, I always assumed to collect his orders from the top guy -
but the rest of the time, he ran his own personal empire around us. Staffed
by us. He creamed off the best of the kids and added his own percentage
to everything I did - I wondered sometimes how he got away with it. "We
never saw anyone more important than him - than Shad. Most of us were
terrified of 'im. There was talk sometimes, between him and other Controllers
-" Yeah, I'd been a great eavesdropper. I could crawl around the alleys
like a snake, and had ears as sharp. "They talked about a guy called Mr
K, who was in charge of the whole city. But Shad never seemed afraid of
him. He seemed to be invincible then."
And then Peck himself had turned up here, months later, to beat the crap
out of me. Was he still working for Shad? Were they both here?
What had happened to the shadowy Mr K? Had it been him - or someone else
- who'd helped Peck on to his just desserts, a coupla days ago?
T's quiet, strong voice brought me out of those thoughts and back to my
sad little story. "And who was Wufei, Duo? Where was he in all this?"
Ahh, I thought. Here was somewhere I did not want to go. But I
"He was something unusual, y'know? He came round the parks at night; at
first I thought he had some kinda death wish. I think he may have been
looking for someone. Then he gave up on that, and started looking out
for the kids. Like I did - but not like I did. He was some kinda counsellor,
I think. The kids used to hate 'em - the do-gooders. Never did them
any good. But he was different..."
"Tell me, Duo."
"No..." I sighed. "Don't think I can. It hurts too much. What he did for
some of 'em - it hurts too much to remember. He took Joe in. He got Luce
a place at some canteen. Got some medical help for others. He got sucked
in, I guess - my area was around his apartment block, so I saw him often.
He caught my eye once - talked to me. Tried to get me on side. Tried to
get me to get out of the business, and find something else."
"Yeah," I smiled. Christ, it was hurting! And that was just talking
He caught my eye more 'n once, of course. Wufei Chang - Mr Care Extraordinaire.
He worked on me, all right - especially once he saw who I was; where I
stood in the management myself. But he never blamed me - he was never
aggressive. That wasn't his way. He'd let you know what he thought, and
what he thought of my job was that it was shit, and I should stop it.
Stop it, and find something else.
I was gonna do it, as well.
I told Q I didn't have any friends then, but Wufei was the nearest I got.
I learned that he had been looking for someone, but they weren't in that
city anymore, and he was gonna move on. But then he watched some of the
kids round his block, and he didn't turn that disgusted-but-blind eye
to it all that other folks do. No - he wanted to do something about it.
"He had something that I should have protected. I should have recognised
the decency for what it was, and treasured it. Not shit on it." Like I
did with Rik, I thought. Destined to fuck up whatever and whoever was
good, and show the same, stupid response throughout my life...
We hung around together for weeks - I still did some of my job, but I
was easing myself out gradually, hoping they wouldn't notice I was moving
on. Wufei was in some kinda talks with the cops - with the social services.
I dunno - I'd have told him how fucking stupid he was, if he'd asked me.
That nothing would change; that only the kids would suffer either way.
And the kids themselves were getting a bit restless - I was losing control
over 'em, I guess. I guess I'd have been dumped pretty soon, myself, as
soon as the Controllers saw I wasn't delivering anymore.
Wufei said he'd get me a job. Wufei liked me, I know - but he never made
a move on me. It wasn't like that. Christ, I sorta wished it had been...
I liked him in return. He was a damn good-looking guy. I wanted to give
back whatever I could for his attention and care. And what else did I
have to offer?
"But then -?"
It was another night when I'd been with Wufei, instead of on the street,
fixing up appointments. A night like the other hundred-odd nights that
I'd been Mr Big in the world of Bartered Bodies. I thought it was gonna
end the same way - me rounding up the kids, collecting the money, crashing
on my mattress and wondering when I could peel off enough to buy a fare
to somewhere Wufei was going. Then...
"This kid lurched out from nowhere -" We'd been laughing at my clumsy
attempts to do up his winter coat for him - he had arms full of papers
and files, and I was just glad to touch his warm body, his clean, comforting,
civilised body with my thin fingers, trying to help him out in the cold
night, to keep him warm. Then there was the flash of a blade, the cold
slice into my back, even as I saw someone out of the corner of my eye
and twisted out of reach. It was so cold I never felt the pain for a minute
"God, your back!" Trowa gasped. "The scar -! And he attacked Wufei as
"Yeah," I said, harshly. "Knifed four times, one cut an artery, one half
severed his neck. Blood everywhere. All over his new suit, and that damn
coat - all over the sidewalk. All over me. He gargled a bit - it
all bubbled out so damn fast I couldn't believe it. Only ever seen someone
die from cold before. And once when I was new on the streets, I heard
how Shad strangled a bony little kid who'd gone mad. But this was horrific.
And by the time I'd started yelling for help, the blood had stopped flowing
so fast, and he'd gone."
Except for me.
"No last dying words or all that shit. Just shock and blood and mess."
I turned away from my friends, because I couldn't trust the stinging in
my eyes, and the disgust and horror I knew would be in their faces.
"So - what about the boy with the knife? you say. He was rifling through
Wufei's pockets when I recovered enough to grab him. I broke his wrist,
probably his arm. But as soon as I turned back to Wufei, he ran, the little
bastard. Paramedics were real quick, y'know, considering the neighbourhood...
they patched me up in the van, and wanted to take me in for observation
- and statements, of course - but I skipped as soon as we got to the hospital.
I could see Wufei was off to a body bag. They wouldn't be patching him
"Duo... if we'd known..." Q is the only guy I've ever known who could
sob and still look OK with it. Which he was doing, right now. Trowa's
eyes were wide and fierce, but I was surprised to find that he didn't
seem to be directing the anger at me.
"You got out, then, Duo. Didn't you? That's when you came back here?"
I didn't answer him directly. I was still away on that sidewalk. Weeping
myself. "The wound - I just keep seeing the wound. Never seen anything
I let my head hang back. My eyes closed, and I wailed soundlessly against
the world's injustice. It was vividly raw - the way I felt then. The stirrings
of hope in amongst the cynicism and the sagging self-esteem. I was gonna
do it right, this time, I'd told myself - another guy wanted to help me.
I was gonna be a friend to him. I was gonna live up to what he wanted.
But I never got the chance, did I?
"Yeah, I got out then, Trow. I didn't have anything of my own, so I took
a night's takings, and there was enough to get a coach fare across a coupla
cities - to get back here. I wanted nothing more to do with it all. That
world of pimps and that so-fucking-dangerous desire. It's the worst in
men, Trow. The worst and the best - and the strongest. I fed it - fed
it with my kids. With me. I despised the power it had - the power it still
"Only in the wrong hands, Duo..."
Why would I be interested in listening to him now? To me, the memory was
of another person I'd destroyed - another life ruined -
T's hand was on my shoulder, and he was none too gentle. "Duo, you're
too harsh on yourself! I know what you're thinking, and you've got to
snap out of it! What happened to Wufei - it was hideous, but it was a
mugging; it was pure chance. How could it have been your fault?"
I turned large eyes on to him, and from the way he flinched, I knew that
my expression reflected the slide back to that world - it happened all
too easily. My voice sounded frighteningly calm; it sounded like someone
"But you don't have all the facts, my dear T, do you? You should know
that the guy who knifed Wufei... he was one of my boys!
"Baz was ill, he was mad - I dunno what he was. Dammit, there were times
I nearly strangled the little bugger myself! He was no good on the street
except for the simplest of errands - he hung around Shad when he saw who
was really in charge, and I guess he found jobs for him, because I
couldn't. I should have run him out long before. I'd not seen him for
days - I wasn't fucking looking for him, to tell you the truth!
I hoped he'd run off - even hoped he'd turn up in a gutter and he'd be
no trouble to me anymore.
"And so he turned up OK, didn't he? 'Praps he came looking for me, I dunno.
Baz was so dumb he probably couldn't feed himself without help - he needed
me, or someone, to keep him this side of lunacy. And instead he found
someone who offered more. A watch and a wallet more - that was all."
That was it - I'd had enough confession for the night. I threw off their
touch and the cloying air of their concern, and I lurched towards the
door, holding out my hands to keep them away from me. T and Q - great
guys. Guys who'd found their best friend had been a pimp - had been the
worst kind of parasite. Tomorrow I'd face them. Tomorrow they'd tell me
to move out. But tonight I had demons to keep me company instead.
"Offered more, that's what Wufei Chang did. It was just up to us whether
we took it or not."
I lingered as long as I could outside the club. It was a coupla days after
I'd spoken to the guys about Wufei, and my past life. A coupla days when
I avoided Trowa and Quatre like I had the plague. A coupla days when the
bruises had finally almost healed, and I could get about again without
the inhibiting pain. And now I had to attend to some personal business.
There was a fine sheen of rain spattering on my shoulders and head. I
hadn't bothered with a coat. Damn, I remembered - but I hated the rain!
It was early evening, and despite the grey clouds, there was still plenty
of daylight. But I'd seen enough things happen in daylight to realise
that was no particular protection.
The club looked blank and harmless at this time. There were no guys on
the door - just a weedy little management type. Even so, my ribs ached
in memory. I clutched the daily paper in my hand.
Finally, I marched up to the door and asked for Mr Yuy. I stood my ground
when the Weed tried to tell me he didn't know anyone called that name.
I know what I do with weeds, and it ain't anything to do with gardening.
Heero was there. I knew he would be. Things were starting to click together
in my mind. My angry mind.
Weed made some mumbled call into his radio, and I stood for another ten
minutes in the rain. He pulled back into the relative shelter of the doorway.
I scorned it. Things had changed, y'see. For whole minutes at a time I
slipped in and out of another world - a far less comfortable one. A world
where rain was no kinda trouble at all.
Heero came out, a few minutes after that. He stared at me, and I stared
"Duo." He inclined his head in welcome, like he often had before. He was
dressed in a full suit today - like working gear. He looked spectacular.
It was obviously hand made - a soft, charcoal grey fabric that hung from
his broad shoulders with perfect grace, and hugged his narrow waist and
hips. The plain white shirt shone with an expensive glare that I'd never
found in the stores myself. His tie was subtly and richly understated
- silk, I expect. The damn clothes didn't matter, of course, because all
I could think of was the body underneath, though I'd seen little enough
His eyes flared at the first sight of me, then settled back into a dark
wariness. It had been a coupla days since we'd seen each other. Since
I'd pushed him off and driven away. It'd been a coupla weeks since we'd
last fucked. Did I wish I could forget that particular statistic...
"I knew him, Heero," I blurted out. I could feel trails of water running
down my collar - the rain was getting heavier.
He didn't answer - just waited for me to say more. His eyes were slightly
hooded; they seemed to look straight through me, but it felt like they
dragged my entrails as they went.
"The guy who died. Peck, or whatever he may've been calling himself now.
He worked here - but, of course, you know that already. I knew him before
he beat up on me. Dammit, he's been a regular visitor to my whole life
of being beaten up on!"
Heero spoke at last. The rain was beginning to make sodden patches on
his shoulders. "You're still talking away, Duo, aren't you? But it's OK,
because I want you to talk to me. Yes, he was called Peck. He'd only worked
here for a few weeks, as part of the security team - I didn't know him.
But he's gone now, anyway. I assume that he beat up on someone else, and
it was one too many for him. I don't know what happened - the police don't
know. How do you know - people like that?"
I was suddenly, insanely angry. I was wet; I hurt all over; I wanted to
hit the very man I wanted to caress. "I don't think it's me who should
be answering questions, do you? Was he one of your guys, Heero? Who the
fuck are you to have such guys around you?"
Weed was hovering in the background, and I saw Heero raise a hand and
wave him back. There were a few people about, but the rain was sending
them scurrying back to shelter and to home.
"My guys?" His voice was cautious. Almost expressionless. But there was
a spark in his eye, and it looked like he was in pain. "What are you saying?"
"Don't fuck with me any more!" I hissed. "You move about here like you
own the place. And when we've gone away from the club, I know of at least
one occasion we've been followed. Probably by some of these guys."
He stared. I tried not to think any of the water running down my face
had the salt of tears. I was being caught up in something that was developing
around me, too fast, too hidden. Too vague for me to catch it - to bring
it under my control. I was so very, very angry!
He took a deep breath. "OK. You say I move about like I own the place
- well, I do, in a way. I run this club, Duo. It's owned by my family
- it's owned by my uncle. I have managers, but I'm essentially in charge.
I never used to come here myself, but as you know, I have been visiting
recently. And when I do, it seems - well, my uncle's men see a necessity
to look after me."
It explained a lot. It explained his familiarity with the place. The way
that no-one ever questioned him. The fact that I'd never seen him pass
money over the bar for anything.
He shrugged. That elegant, sensual movement that set up warning bells
in my damp, shivering body. "They work for him. They look after the family."
"Christ, Heero, it sounds like the mob! What other sort of rackets is
he involved in?"
He shook his head impatiently. He'd moved a little nearer me. "Don't be
so melodramatic! He's just a businessman. And this is the only thing I
know about - the only thing I do. It's just a nightclub, you see; it's
nothing sinister. And the protection..." he sighed. "It's not what I want,
Duo! I don't need it, for God's sake, and I tell my uncle so. And you
should never have been threatened by any employee of ours. It's
unforgivable. I've spoken to - to my uncle. It won't happen again."
"Too fucking right it won't!" I gasped. "Damn guy's dead, now!" Rain ran
into my mouth. I brushed the wet hair out of my eyes, angrily. "You know
what Peck was into, Heero, before he was here - you must do! And
it was a hell of a lot more than security! What connection does
it have with you?"
"Come into the dry, Duo -"
"Fuck off!" I looked into his face, blinking against the rain, and for
the first time, I saw his confidence waver. That superb, sexy arrogance
that had attracted me in the first place. Was that how I wanted to see
"Why won't you listen to me, Duo? I don't know anything else about it.
Is there something else bothering you?"
I backed away, very slightly. I heard the squelch of a shallow puddle,
as I stepped into it. He put out a hand to hold me; to help me. All I
could see were his eyes. Bright; fevered; almost scared that I was moving
away from him. I wanted him; oh by Christ, I wanted him!
"Don't go, Duo. I don't want you to be scared off. It's the last thing
I want. But you must tell me if there's anything else between us; anything
that's troubling you."
"Why?" I gasped. And his hand touched my arm. All I could feel was the
wet fabric of my shirt; all I could feel was the heat of his body, flowing
"I want you, Duo," he hissed. His face was close to me now. "I don't want
any misunderstanding. And if you tell me everything, then I can protect
I hit him, then. Or else, I tried to. I was prepared for a fight, this
time; and Heero and I were more evenly matched. I'd had months of life
on the streets as my training ground - there was no way I shouldn't have
been able to lay him out. But he dodged, eyes widening sharply, and his
hand came up with astonishing speed to catch mine.
We leant into each other, arms straining against each other's lock. I
tried with my other arm to get purchase around his waist - he gasped with
the grip, because I'm deceptively strong, but he stood firm. His free
hand pressed against my shoulder, putting hideous strain on my already
And the rain continued to pour down on us.
It was all I could hear - It won't happen again. I can protect you.
Heero - a pampered child, who had obviously never been crossed, never
been refused anything. Who had wealth and power and people to watch over
him. Who wanted me. Who didn't want me to leave him this evening. Who
had no idea of my life, and what I'd lived through in the last years.
"Duo - please -"
I was shocked. I didn't think I'd ever heard Heero use that word like
that. 'Praps when I'd been at my most teasing with sucking him off; when
I'd challenged him before he took me - held myself apart from him, even
if it was only for brief, charged seconds. It had never been true begging;
it would only have been a game - he knew I'd always surrender, and be
glad to do so.
But this didn't feel like a game anymore. I felt the energy drain from
my body. I'd not seen this side of Heero before - the desperate, supplicant
touch; the faint plea in his vibrant voice. My face was chilled from the
rain, the skin aching with the tension - but I felt the soft heat of his
mouth even before it touched me.
He was damp all over as well; his face shining with the trail of raindrops;
his hair was flattened to his head, and pasted over his forehead. I wanted
to wipe it away - gently. I just wanted to touch him. To hold him that
way. I accepted the kiss because - in all truth - it was my dearest wish.
My arm relaxed, and I let him fold it down to my side. The hand around
his waist became enfolding, rather than aggressive. I held him to me,
wet cloth against sodden skin; I kissed him back fiercely, tongues battling
inside our mouths, when we'd been almost fighting with fists a moment
"Relax, Duo, please. I want you!" The hiss was deep inside my head. My
body was throbbing with the sudden remembrance of what I'd been missing.
Of the touch of him.
"I want you..." my voice was echoing. Or was it begging?
"Come to my apartment."
"What?" Had I heard right? Was the noise of the hammering rain confusing
He scowled. His face was so close to mine that when he licked his tongue
out of his mouth to catch the fall of drops beside his nose, he licked
at my lips as well. I moaned.
"You wanna fuck, Duo, don't you? And this is not the place or time to
do it, even I can see that. Even though I wanna drop you to the sidewalk
now and fuck your tight ass into the wet, slippery concrete..."
His breath was heavy and a little hitched. His eyes were wild. I think
I just stared.
"Christ, Duo..." he hissed. "I want you now, and I don't like to
wait, remember? Besides -" his laugh was small and tight - "I know how
you hate the rain! Come with me..."
His voice was insidious - our short, passionate tussling had exhausted
me. He was tugging me with him, over to where he had his car, I guess.
He kept his eyes on me, very close; like he was afraid I'd run. In the
other direction. The arrogant smile was sliding back, like the first time;
the possessive spark flared in his eyes. But there was that same hint
of nerves that I saw earlier; he wasn't so sure of me, perhaps.
Was I sure of myself?
And I was clutching at his jacket, leaving creases that I knew the cleaners
would struggle with, but just wanting to be up against him; to hold him.
No-one followed us to the car. Weed seemed to have scuttled back indoors;
there were no more of Heero's uncle's men to contend with that I could
see. Heero pushed me into the passenger seat, my boots pooling water all
over the thick carpet and brushed upholstery; his hands were up under
my shirt, picking at my flesh like I was a gift; like he wanted to unwrap
me. With a sharp, irritated gasp, he tore himself from me and swung round
to the driver's seat.
I coulda jumped out then, if I'd wanted to. Made my way home. Broken away
But what did I really care about guys following me, when I could follow
[part 3] [part 5] [back
to Fancy Figures' fic]