see part 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer
"There is no uncle," he'd said.
Heero had sat in front of me, and told me that everything I'd believed
for the last few weeks had been nonsense.
Things had been falling into place very gradually for me. Heero's arrogance;
his air of authority. He was well used to command. And that attitude came
from a confidence that was deep and secure; not just knowing he was damned
attractive - not just knowing he was in charge of a downtown club.
I remembered Shad's laughter when I asked him who was Mr Y. And it was
obvious now, why he'd wanted me warned off. Presumably the boss could
find casual affairs wherever he liked - but nothing that looked like it
was becoming a fixture. He'd not want anyone close to the boss - to his
boss. He was planning on isolating Heero - on manipulating him as he wanted.
Until he decided to take out the boss as well.
I remembered Heero's own cautious interest in my past - what I might already
know about Shad and the organisation. His cousin's organisation. His
I'd been wrong all the way along, hadn't I? Carried away with my childish,
amateur detective work; my pursuit of the mysterious Mr Y. My misplaced
concern that Heero was only half aware of what was going on - that he
might need protection from his cousin's shady world, nudging its ugly
way into his life.
And why had I been so wrong? It was because I'd been lied to; I'd been
misled. I'd not been trusted with the truth.
Heero Yuy wasn't just a pampered relative. A favourite nephew, given the
gift of a nightclub to run - to keep him occupied. Not just a rich playboy;
a gorgeous man who found lovers wherever he wanted, whenever he wanted.
He was rich, true. And pampered. And damn gorgeous... It was probably
true about the lovers, too. But he was also a man who needed minders.
Who was followed when he went round town. Whose background and whereabouts
were hidden in the shadows, so that no-one really knew what he did, or
where he went. Who probably gave orders to hundreds of people - employees,
advisors and slaves.
He ran the whole damn show.
It was the early hours of the morning, I guessed. I'd left my watch in
the bathroom. There was only a little natural light through the curtains;
no swell of sound from the street outside the block. I felt as disorientated
as if we were on another planet.
I sidled my body back to the other couch; I put my glass down on to the
side table. Very slowly. It still rattled a little as it settled.
"So now I know. Unless that's another lie..."
"No," he said. "It's the truth. I tried to keep you out of it, even when
I knew you knew so much already. I wanted to handle everything, but to
keep you separate. It didn't work."
"No, I guess it fucking didn't -!"
He began to speak - his voice faltered. Then the confident persona that
I knew so well recovered, and he continued, more calmly. "It's nothing
to do with you, Duo - my business. There was no reason you should be involved
- that you should need to know details. You said yourself - you don't
want to be sucked back into that life."
"Nah, no reason at all -!" I stood suddenly, as if to leave. Yet I stood
there, paralysed. Stunned. Angry. What the fuck had I been to him
all this time?
Heero flinched. He musta been able to see my fury - I personally felt
it like a sharp, hot, blue light around me. It was in my eyes; it was
in the tension of my muscles. "It was for your own safety, Duo. Not because
I wanted to lie to you. Besides, I didn't know who you were when we met
- I wasn't sure, even later on. You may have been from Kai; you may have
been - worse. There have been threats to me in the past; there are always
potential enemies. Commercial and otherwise...
"I didn't know, Duo - I didn't know all this would happen to us..."
His voice was as deep and rich as always; it was just the words that were
"Did you think I wouldn't find out? What sorta moron did you take me for?"
"None, Duo. You must believe me."
Why? I almost shouted. Why should I believe you now? You were happy
enough to feed me lies before -
Heero was watching the expressions on my face; he scowled a little, like
he knew what I was thinking. "All right, perhaps I can't ask you for that,
yet - but try to believe that I want to tell you the truth. That
I want to talk to you! It matters a lot that you listen to me - that you
believe me. Eventually." He lifted a hand slowly, as if I were some kinda
skittish animal he didn't want to frighten off. "Sit down again!"
He musta heard the sharp tone of his voice; musta known that it was the
wrong approach. Boy, was it wrong! I saw the flash of horror in
his eyes - very fleeting, but it hit deep. He bit at his lip and tried
"Please don't go, Duo!"
I didn't want to stare at him - I didn't want to lose my righteous anger
into the dark, vibrant depths of his eyes. What I wanted, was to
see my face reflected in them, as I did when we were held close. I wanted
to see that hint of nervousness, the softening of the arrogance that had
been gradually disclosed to me over the last few weeks. I wanted that
truth, at least...
I sank down on the couch again. My legs felt weak. My mouth was dry. I
Heero moistened his lips - guess his were dry, too. "Thank you. At first,
I lied for my own protection - as I lie to everyone, Duo. No-one
must know who I am, until I know their true position. And then I lied
for your protection. Because then I knew you had met Shad before
- that he wanted you out of the way. And I wanted to guard you until I
knew how to handle him-"
"You treated me like a fool -!" I spat out.
"No - never that!" he sounded angry, now; distressed. It did, indeed,
sound genuine. "I know you're no fool. And I never wanted to hurt you,
Duo. Never! From the moment I saw you, you took me unawares. I
- I never thought you would be so attractive. I've never spent any time
with anyone, you see - never built anything beyond a night's company.
I never wanted that - I never needed that. But you..." His
face twisted in real pain. "I know that I should have realised the danger
much earlier. And as a result, I put you in real danger; from Shad.
From his lunatic child assassin."
"Crap!" I hissed.
"I would have told you about it all. Soon."
More crap! I shook my head, angrily trying to scatter the shock from my
sight and mind.
"Duo - listen -"
"No! None of that counts a piece of shit against the fact that
"What?" He was frustrated - angry himself. He leant forward towards me,
his face grim.
"You lied to me!"
He sighed, then. And he gave up the attempted justifications. "Yes. Yes
I did. Plenty. Happy, now?"
Funnily enough, I admired him more for that than for continuing to argue.
"Was everything a lie?"
"No. Not everything - of course not! But perhaps now you can see a reason
why I lied. What would you have done in my place, Duo? I knew how
you would be towards me, if you'd known earlier who I was - what I represented.
I can see that so clearly, now, in your face."
We glared at each other.
"But I won't be labouring that point, obviously," he finished, his voice
sharp and deep. Like Baz's knife. "I see that you've made up your mind,
already; you know what you think about it. I don't expect you to be influenced
by me. By what you now know of me." He was a proud man, Heero - I knew
that. But so was I, in my own quaint, unique way.
I let my gaze fall.
Some more time passed.
Why the hell was I still there? In his lounge, on his couch? Feeling him
staring at me? Wishing...
I should've called the cops by now. Or I should've left. Or I should've
hit him again, and this time I'd make sure I did a proper job.
Heero Yuy was some kinda mysterious mafia boss, and he'd fucked me so
many, sweet times, and yet he'd never actually mentioned it. Hideous,
frightening lack of pillow talk...
I couldn't tell which had more power over me - my anger, my nagging, feckless
curiosity, or my heartache...
"How much of it is true, Heero?"
He started. He'd been gazing at me, but I'd kept my eyes turned away.
I was aware of his hand gripping the couch cushion. The tension in his
"What do you mean?"
"The business. Your business. I can't guess at how much you control,
Heero - how much of the city. How many Controllers you have out there;
how many Shads, and Pecks, and probably even more Bazs. How dirty your
hands are, even at second hand. How many kids have died on your drugs
- how many protection rackets there are, how many frauds, how many brothels
"Christ, Duo, haven't you listened to a single damn word? It's not like
that here -! "
"It is to me," I hissed, and he fell silent. "It was to
me, down in the worst gutters of your cousin's sordid little empire. Years
on the receiving end - years of shadowy guys in charge, fucking us all
up, in so many more ways than just selling our bodies." Losing my friends
- losing myself. "That's something you need to believe about
me, OK? How do you think I feel - finding that you're from the
same family? From the same mould?"
There was a silence, as I struggled with myself, and he appeared to give
me the time to do that. Then he spoke.
"I don't know how to answer that, Duo - I've never known those feelings.
That life." His wary look seemed to be saying - that's your problem,
Duo; those are your issues... And he was damn right they were.
"But what I said was the truth - that the business here is not the same
as Kai's. I'm the same family; but not the same mould. Those are
not my behaviours; my objectives. Your anger is - it's - Duo, please,
so much of it is unfounded! Let me explain it to you." He took a deep
breath, as if he were going to try a new, radical approach. As, indeed,
it might have been - for him.
"Give me a chance, Duo."
I was still silent. Guess he took that as agreeing. Guess I did, too...
He reached for my glass with a request in his eyes - I nodded him on.
He took a long drink of the water. I tried to ignore the soft whisper
of fabric from his sweats as he moved from the couch; the breeze of warm
flesh that followed him as he put the glass back down on the table beside
me. He made no other move to come nearer me, and sat back in his place
on the opposite couch.
"I was always expected to succeed my uncle, Duo, but he was a difficult
man to follow. He kept so much to himself; and he had a festering jealousy
of Kai's apparent success. I was rather intolerant of him, and the types
of business he encouraged, even when I was younger; we didn't always get
on. I tried to be involved with more, but it was usually only as a spectator;
and he had no interest in my suggestions. I suppose that he had doubts
about my succession, because in the end, I was - genuinely - only trusted
with the club. I had the good apartment, and the high salary, of course
- and always the respect that was accorded to the family. I've grown accustomed
to that all my life. There will be - a certain arrogance in that. Perhaps
I can see that more clearly now. I was also complacent, I suppose - and
I've always got what I wanted. But I had little more than that to occupy
"He died suddenly. My uncle. Nothing sinister; just a cruel, fast-growing
little cancer that finished him off within the month. It was, of course,
unexpected, and many of the existing management didn't support me. But
I didn't give them time to find anyone else - I knew enough of the organisation
to step in and take over. And gradually they found that I ran the businesses
well. I've pulled some of them round from uncle's mis-management; I'm
proud of that. And there is so much more that I had planned..."
He stared at me. For those few seconds, there was a light in his eyes
that was nothing to do with me, or the shocking night we'd had. It was
an excited light; a passionate one. I suspected that he was bloody good
at his job. If he was given the chance to be.
Did that make things better or worse, in my view?
"I don't need the illegal business to succeed, Duo! I have talents, and
I've learned to use them. I admit I've discovered that I'm not an easy
man to work for - I have no patience for stupidity or laziness. I sack
people; I strip assets from unprofitable subsidiaries. Changes have had
to be made quickly and firmly - it's been only a matter of months that
I've been in sole charge; I've had little time to make some decisions.
I've had to watch my back every step of the way - and that's far beyond
the protective presence of a couple of minders. So I don't suffer fools
gladly. And yes, I like a good, rich life. Does that make me irredeemable?"
"But you and Kai -"
"He and my uncle went very different ways," said Heero, tersely. "Dammit
Duo, I know a damn sight more about Kai's business and the opportunities
there than you can ever imagine! We've been in occasional contact for
the last few years, despite the rift between him and Uncle. Yes, you and
I had very different experiences of him and his world - but credit me
with the same intelligence you ask for yourself! Let's not be na´ve about
this, shall we? We all know what goes on. My uncle was easily led; the
legal niceties were never going to distract him from promises of quick,
fast, generous profits -"
"Which you benefited from -" I hissed.
He obviously couldn't help himself - he slammed a hand down on to the
couch beside him, the angry palm slapping loudly against the taut leather
"I'll say again - what would you have done in my place? That was my role
- that was my family! I inherited the whole damn lot, and I've had mere
months to be up and running. I haven't even seen some of the companies
that are out there, even now...
"But it's not the way I intended things to continue!" His voice rose,
almost passionately. "I don't want that trouble - I don't particularly
want to be involved in that. So maybe I'm not like your Wufei - I don't
seek to devote my life to looking after others. But neither do I want
to spend my life ruining them!"
I watched how passionate he looked - how his strong shoulders shook with
the fervour of trying to explain himself. How his throat clenched after
each few words. I knew how I felt about him. And he was trying to persuade
me - to explain to me that he wasn't the scum I'd assumed
I watched the performance from outside of myself, thinking that I oughtta
be cynical; I wanted to nurse my anger at the position he'd put me in.
My head wondered how much of this was true, and how much was wishful thinking.
While my heart followed every word. Hoping...
"I was talking to Kai about closing some of the businesses here, Duo -
the less reputable ones. I know he wasn't interested in cleaning up his
own organisation - it served him too well for that. But he might have
been interested in helping me out of a few - let's say - awkward situations.
He cared enough for family to do that. And I would have made sure he was
- compensated adequately."
"But the killings? There've been more, you know - across state."
We were thinking the same thoughts - I could see the sudden, vivid shock
mirrored in his eyes. The cold, still air around the dead boy in the next
room - the fictional call from Heero's cousin, that would never come.
Another relative gone - probably murdered. The sudden escalation of violence
across state. Shad...
"I was never involved in any of that, Duo! That was Shad - it always was.
And just him. Christ, I wish I'd realised earlier his strength,
and the ruthlessness of such a singleminded ambition! Revenge against
Kai; taking out the opposition - I don't know what the hell his motive
was. I was only just finding out the extent of his work. Kai - Kai would
have spoken of it tonight, I'm sure. I was just trying to find a way to
get Shad out of the organisation that wouldn't lead to worse trouble -
He saw the cynicism twist across my face. "Yes, I know now, that was never
going to be possible. You obviously know that side of the business so
much better than I -!"
He was still angry, too - his words hurt me.
But - sighed a small voice inside me - not as much as other things had
done, in the past. And I was a big boy now, wasn't I? There was a soft-seeping
thread of understanding springing up within me. Growing like a shoot out
of a seed - one of those you grow on a school windowsill in a jar, y'know?
All green and new. I resurrected a long-buried memory - all three of us
had grown one of those seeds, when we were kids in school. Mine had shrivelled
and cracked. Trow's had grown steadily and modestly until we planted it
outside. Q's had lain dormant for the longest time, then burst up six
inches overnight and sprouted a flower or whatever - he'd been the talk
of the class for days. I tried to get him to admit he'd dosed it with
something, but he never 'fessed up...
I was rambling in my mind. I missed the guys. I wished I had their help
Heero was trying to catch my eye - trying to gauge my mood. "I won't discuss
how I have a gun - why I have a gun. But you'll have to believe
me that it's for my own protection - not for any assassinations, or murders.
Dammit, Duo, I've never wanted anything like that!"
"And Peck? Shad?"
"Peck arrived just as an employee. Then Shad arrived in his wake - thrown
out by Kai. Everything I told you about him was true - his plans for our
organisation; my dismissal of him. You know everything else, now. He'd
thought that uncle's organisation would be a better chance for him. When
he found out that uncle was dead, and that I was in charge...well, he
thought I was just a boy; that I'd either be keen to follow his lead,
"- or that you'd be easy to intimidate."
Heero inclined his head, in agreement. I looked at him there - sitting
ramrod straight on the couch, eyes concentrated on me. Talking about his
astonishing world. A wealth of amazing family history, and warring relatives,
and the inheritance of crime, commerce and cruel violence - all there,
in his eyes. And on his shoulders.
Shad would have expected Heero to be drawn into whatever he, Shad had
Heero would have expected to be able to control Shad. To dismiss him when
he disagreed with his methods.
I wondered which one of them had been the true fool.
"You aren't easy to intimidate, Heero..."
"No," he replied, softly.
"In fact, I can't see you being scared of anything..." I sighed.
His next words shocked me. "I'm scared of you, Duo."
"Of the look in your face now," he almost whispered. There was a ragged
edge to his voice. His eyes had genuinely widened - it did, indeed, look
"Of your - withdrawal from me."
I hauled myself up from the soft luxury of the couch and went silently
to fetch more water. I had to pass in front of him, to get to the kitchen.
His hand clenched even tighter; his body tensed. He was holding back from
reaching out for me.
I knew that Heero wanted to touch me; I suspected that he wanted to use
his desire to influence me. He might have used it deliberately; it may
just have been instinctive. How would he know otherwise? That had always
been his way in the past. He himself had said that he couldn't change
And - for once, in this mad night - I agreed with him on that. Because
I'd felt the same arrogance about myself - for so long now, that it'd
become more me than my fucking braid. 'I am as I am', I boasted,
to anyone who'd listen; there was no room for discussion. Not with the
baggage there was around me, dragging of my arms to the floor like a fucking
gorilla. Jeez - I was almost proud of it, I think.
But things change, don't they? Whether we want 'em to or not. Like - we've
all got baggage. From the day we're born - from each minute as it limps
on, and the Lumps of Life bounce off us like tiny meteors - well, we all
gather baggage, don't we?
How far do you let it drag back your progress into the future?
And now, Heero sat as if he were welded to the seat, and there was more
'n one stick up his ass. The morning light was creeping across the lounge;
it dappled gently on the couch cushion beside him.
But I kept to my own side of the room. I stood in front of the other couch,
drinking more of the cool water, and trying to make sense of it all.
"You've kept me at bay as well, Duo." He spoke quietly, and I was startled.
"You didn't like telling me about your past, either. Anything about you.
From the time we met - I think that you saw me as just another john."
"No -!" I protested. "Christ, I don't do that any more -!"
"Not as a job, maybe," he agreed. "But your attitude is still in those
times. As if that's the only way you can be with me. Don't you think we
can be together, just as ourselves? For ourselves?"
I stared at him, stunned. Was he right? Had I seen him as the one in control,
whereas I'd been just as guilty of calling the shots? Hours ago, I was
bandying words like love around, to describe the draw I felt towards him;
the fascination; the hollowness of not being with him. But what had I
let him know about that? Why was I hiding it? To protect myself - or because
I was sure that it wasn't for me?
Oh fuck...I didn't do introspection. It was too close; too painful.
Damn! Damn him!
He was watching me drink. It was that way he had - his eyes dark and steady,
and devouring my movements like I was his oasis in an enormous desert.
I remembered the feeling of his hands on my hips - the sweet smell of
his body in bed. The soft threads of his hair in my hand; the taste of
his mouth as he opened it to take in my tongue.
I knew he was thinking similar thoughts. He stood up, slowly. His body
uncurled like a cat's; supple - elegant. Totally desirable.
"You look so good..." he whispered. "May I touch you?"
I just stared. This was the man who'd taken me on his every whim since
the day he met me. Using such gentle words; to appeal to me like that.
Showing an unusual respect for me...
As if I deserved it.
Why was he treating me like this? What was happening to us?
"We can be so good together, Duo. Be with me. I want things to be good
He stepped forward, and I stepped back. It was instinctive; and it shocked
"Yeah," I gasped. "Like - I'd thought the same myself. But then there
was all this confession, and your secret life - and the killing of stupid,
pathetic Baz -"
"So you're not going to accept it?" he growled.
"The fact that I lied - the facts of my life. You won't accept it. You
won't come past it."
"No," I said, quite clearly, though I wasn't sure my mouth was listening
to my body. To my hammering heart. To my twitching cock. He was close;
we wanted each other, no doubt about it; and he was vulnerable to me.
It was a heady combination. "It ain't that easy, Heero..."
He searched the look in my face - guess he found something from deeper
than I thought I went. His eyes went suddenly dull - like a wisp of cloud
passed over the evening sun.
"No. I suppose not."
I bit my lip, trying to say what I didn't understand myself. "You live
that life, Heero. You are that man. You belong there..."
"Yes, it's my world, Duo. What can I say?"
"I don't want it to be mine."
"No..." he murmured. "You said. More than once. What do you want me to
do about it?"
"I dunno," I replied. "I wish..."
"What do you wish?" He'd moved a step nearer me, again. I reckoned I could
feel the heat off his body. The chill horror of the night in the bedroom
had passed into a warmer morning. It was welcome cheer, whatever the circumstances.
"I dunno," I grumbled again. Seems my vocabulary had deserted me, along
with my wits. I wanted him to touch me, now. Didn't know how to say yes.
Didn't know whether to say no.
Heero sighed. "I see."
"No," I sighed. I just seemed weary now - the anger was dissipating. The
mess remained. The pain was throbbing. "I don't think you do. I'm just
trying to say that this isn't exactly what I want, Heero."
He raised a thin eyebrow. "What do you want, Duo?"
I hadn't expected Heero to ask the question. Who ever gave a fuck what
I wanted? Your friends, my tired brain sternly reminded me. Past and present.
Grow up, Duo Maxwell! You can't be a self-appointed victim for ever. Things
"I want to know," said Heero. "Would you want to go back to the time before
you met me?"
Christ, what a thought...!
"Yes, I would," I said, brutally honest. "I was starting out all over
again - a new life, good friends. Job was OK - nothing special, but legal.
I'd escaped that miserable time. I was gonna make something good of it
Heero's face was pale. His hand clutched at the fabric of his sweats.
I thought I could see the sweat drops on his forehead. I knew how they'd
taste... a salty-sweet appetiser...
He said again, "I see..."
I threw my head back in frustration. "But - shit - I can't ever do
that, Heero! Not now! Meeting you has turned the whole fucking show up
on its ass. I'm different, now - you've changed me! I can't remember a
time that anyone disturbed me so much; that I was ever so absorbed in
someone. That I was ever so alive!"
"Not even... Wufei?" he asked, softly. Like the words hurt him to say;
like they were something sharp in his mouth.
I felt the swell inside me; the need to talk. The need to tell him how
I felt. The overwhelming feeling that it was now or never! Caution got
hurled to the winds - I could be as honest as he professed to be, couldn't
"That was my old life, Heero. He was my old life - my old friend. I'll
never forget him - but I came here to move on, didn't I?" I felt Heero
tense, only a foot or so away now. "But it was a sham, I think - my *
It was never gonna work like that, not long term. D'you remember - you
once said that I lived for the sex? That ain't exactly the case, either
- but it was honest. You've made me realise I was just hiding it all inside.
Just hiding the way I am - the true nature of me; the passion in me. I
thought it was the only way to make my new start; to mould the new me.
To keep it all buttoned up; ignore it all. After all, those were the feelings
that always got me into trouble; the passions that could be manipulated,
and twisted, and sold...
"But it was damn awkward! And then I met you, and it all just burst out
- so wild, that I thought I'd lost control. It felt fucking good,
but I didn't welcome all of it, and I've been fighting against it, even
as I leapt right on in with both feet. But although I feel like shit right
now, I know that I feel more comfortable in my skin than I have for a
long time. I've let you drag it all out of me - all the things I thought
I wanted buried. Perhaps it's just that I should have controlled 'em a
"That's - good, then -?" he said, tentatively. Christ, I was a constant
surprise to him, I knew...but that was what made us good together, perhaps.
Could make us good together. I agreed with him, there. Painful
though it was to face.
"Yes - and no," I sighed. "Because now I want more, y'know? Or else, I
did, before all this happened. Not just more fucking and crawling about
in corners, though that's been so damn exciting I have trouble walking
straight at times, just thinking about it all -
"But more of you."
He looked wary again; the deep whirlpool of his eyes caught me and held
me, and churned up every sense beyond sense. I think I was gabbling.
The words spilled themselves out of me.
"I wanna sit and hold you and talk to you. Play cards with you - make
meals together. I wanna watch a movie with you. I wanna take you back
to meet the guys, and maybe go out for a drink together - just sometimes,
cos Q's social expectations can be a little overwhelming for long periods
I ran my eyes over his body - the smooth, softly heaving chest. The muscles,
clenched along his upper arms. The tasty little hollows between his neck
and his collarbone. The juicy, lush little pads of his earlobes...
"I want more of your body, Heero, but I wanna do it without condoms. The
fantastic, impulsive sex! I wanna be around you long enough so that we
can check each other out, and know enough about each other to be clear.
Then we can give everything - truly spontaneously."
I smiled, a little nervously. "And I guess I wanna be seme - just once
in a while! With you. I can't describe how much that thought nags at me
"I want... I want...all sortsa things..." All sortsa things that I'd never
realised. That I'd never allowed myself to think about.
He let out a small gasp that brought my attention back to him. He was
swaying very slightly. He was staring hard, like he seemed to have been
doing for aeons, and his expression was pure astonishment. I was flushed,
and breathing heavily with the rush of words, and when he put out a hand
to steady both of us, I let it rest on my shoulder.
For a soft, silent moment, we leant into each other. Nothing more than
a hand on a shoulder; the warmth of a palm on my knotted muscles. A fingertip's
gentleness, ghosting across the taut skin of my neck.
"But that's not gonna happen for us, is it?" I whispered. "Not the way
things are. Not after last night."
"Let me touch you, Duo..." he breathed. That's what it was like; he was
a breath, seeping into my pores. They opened for him. I opened
for him. My hands came up from my sides, and they slid underneath his
arms, and I let him gather me in to him. His torso was warm under my touch;
my chin rested gently against his chest.
He held me there and we breathed together.
I'd told him, hadn't I? Not in so many words, but...I'd be eternally grateful