+ Part 11
"What do you have to threaten with, kitty?" he mocked."Your teeth have been pulled."
Heero didn't waste time struggling as he was carried between two weres. The ropes were too tight to escape. Duo walked beside him, head down, and tail almost dragging. What was there to say? He was in danger through his own foolishness, Heero thought, not through any fault of Duo's.
Heero had a long time to contemplate his fate as they climbed the rough mountain road and consider what Trowa and Quatre were doing about his capture. He doubted that they had decided to leave him to his fate. Quatre had too much heart for that and Heero suspected that Trowa's air of unconcern was at least partly false. Heero doubted that they could do anything but watch, though. There were too many weres for them to fight and his own experience with trying to reach Duo had taught him that they were not so careless as to give him a chance for escape.
They rested midday. Heero was dumped into a patch of shade and his two bearers sprawled next to him. Duo settled close by, face tight and unreadable.
One of the mountain weres stroked a hand along Heero's flank. Heero shivered despite himself. He saw the look the two mountain weres exchanged over his body, laughing leers, and then one said to Duo, "You have a taste for were wolves, eh, kitty?"
Duo's round ears flicked, but he didn't look at them.
"Not so soft or so supple as were lions," the mountain were continued, "but maybe you like that roughness; the course fur, the strong scent, the powerful, thrusting hindquarters..."
Duo snarled suddenly and turned on them, ears flat and teeth barred. "Shut up or you die!"
It was then that Duo saw the hand on Heero's flank, a possessive hand that was running back towards Heero's tail. The mountain were grinned at Duo. "Die? Une is looking at you, kitty. She's ready to rip you limb from limb. Are you ready to die to have a piece of me?"
The mountain were was sure of his safety. When he saw Duo hesitate, he snickered.
"Maybe our prince likes mounting were wolves instead?" he continued as he stood up and pulled at Heero. "Is he that good? Is he tight? Do you like that bushy tail against you when you do him? Maybe I should try him for myself?"
The were wolf suddenly grabbed Heero and mounted him, his teeth going into the nape of Heero's neck. His hips began to thrust crudely. It might have been an ugly joke, a sick dry hump, just to lighten the boredom of vicious weres, but Heero was only aware of that bite, that attempt at dominance. Heero discovered then, that he was completely alpha. He reacted instantly.
One of the ropes broke as Heero twisted violently, using every muscle he possessed to throw the mountain were off of him. He needn't have bothered, though. Duo was on the were, catching him before he landed. There was a high, cut off cry and a crunch. Duo's entire body covered the fallen were, his long tail lashing.
"Fool," Une grunted from nearby. "He deserved that. Someone toss him over a cliff. I don't want to smell his stench."
The mountain weres closed on Duo.
"Tamil, you idiots!" Une snarled. "Touch one hair of Prince Duo and you will join Tamil's fate."
Duo backed off of the body. Like the mountain goats, Tamil had been killed swiftly and cleanly. As they dragged the body away, Duo retreated to Heero, eyes concerned. "He didn't...?"
"No," Heero replied through gritted teeth. He felt shame and hatred at himself. He had been helpless. A were had... tried to dominate him. If they would do that, what else might happen to him?
"I won't let anyone hurt you," Duo promised him with pain in his voice. "I... I was too slow this time. It won't happen again."
There was blood on Duo's mouth, on his claws. Were blood. He was looking at those claws in a daze now, coming down from his adrenaline rush and shivering a little.
Still half bound, Heero inched over and nuzzled what he could reach, Duo's knee. Duo bent over almost at once and rubbed against his face, breath hitching. Heero was so glad for his touch, that he didn't consider the blood being smeared on him.
"We'll get out of this," Heero vowed almost under his breath.
Duo nodded, but then he said in a trembling voice, as if needing the distraction very badly, "I-I guess this proves you're... dominant."
"Yes," Heero replied, a mere breath. His eyes searched Duo, but he already knew the answer to his question. Duo, in his own manner, had submitted to him by the lake before he was kidnaped. They were a match at least in that and Heero sighed, feeling warmth in his heart. Unmatched, there would have been fights, reluctant compromises, and... but he was thinking as if they would eventually be a mated pair, Heero thought, and didn't want to acknowledge that it might never happen.
Une was wrinkling her nose as she glared at them. "Get Prince Heero tied up again and separate the love birds before they stink up the entire area! It's time to move out!"
The weres didn't know the meaning of loyalty. Tamil was dumped unceremoniously and no one seemed overly upset by his murder. In fact, as Heero was bound tighter and carried, he heard dirty jokes about the were and his preference for a prince's backside. It made Heero seethe with anger, but there was nothing he could do.
Duo kept by Heero's side while they climbed. The weres carrying Heero were afraid for their lives, and they made sure not to hurt Heero in any way, but he was still suffering from being bound so long and being taken into unfamiliar heights. He struggled to breathe and he felt as if the leather ropes were biting through his arms and legs.
Une was suddenly there, pacing on the opposite side of Heero from Duo. She gave Heero a sideways look, her stripes making it difficult to read her _expression."You have two options," she said as if she were having a pleasant conversation with him. "You can continue to fight us and, perhaps, become permanently damaged, or you can cooperate, bow to the inevitable, and walk only lightly bound."
Heero ignored her, willing to suffer rather than admit complete defeat.
"Let him go," Duo begged. "You have me. If you are telling the truth, and I will be a prince, then you must obey me."
"Prince," Une said with a sigh. "I am not one of your subjects. I belong only to Zechs."
Duo suddenly faced her, coming around Heero with his short mane stiff with temper. His purple eyes were glowing. She looked down, her much larger body making his confrontation almost comical. One of her paws was larger than Duo's head and her claws were razor sharp. She tensed for a fight, her tail lashing.
"I won't go another step like this," Duo threatened.
She eyed him, looking Duo up and down slowly. "Are you so willing to die for this spotted dog? If you are loyal to Zechs, he and all his people will soon be your enemy."
"I will ask Zechs for his life," Duo replied.
Une sneered. "So naive," she said and then shrugged. "Untie him, but keep a tether around his neck," Une told Heero's guards. She showed her fangs and they cowered. "If he escapes under your watch, you will both die, understand?" She called ahead to the other weres. "Take a rest while Prince Heero regains the use of his arms and legs."
The weres didn't complain. It was obvious that they were reluctant to reach the plains and leave their mountain home. Une glared at them as they all found comfortable places and fell asleep, some of them snoring.
When Heero was untied, he could hardly move. A whimper escaped his lips, despite his attempt not to, as an agonizing 'pins and needles' sensation proceeded the return of his circulation. Duo rubbed at his limbs anxiously and the feel of his hands on him was almost worth the pain to Heero and the humiliation of having a lead tied around his neck.
"Do as she says," Duo urged Heero as he crouched next to him, warm fur and scent. Heero burrowed into it. Duo stiffened in surprise and then relaxed, growling at Heero's guards to step back and not interfere. Duo licked one of Heero's ears as if unable to help himself, his rasping tongue strangely soothing. His breath thrummed in his throat.
"I'm following you, not her," Heero breathed, eyes closed as he relaxed against Duo and tried to ignore the enemy watching from all around them. He was too tired and in pain to think sexual thoughts. He was in a place of contentment instead.
"If Zechs wants me to be his 'son', he will have to set you free," Duo told him. "He will have to bargain."
"You will not sell yourself for me," Heero growled, but then didn't want to discuss it any longer. He was too weary. He fell asleep with Duo cleaning his other ear and had a fleeting image of a mother and a furry cub that was himself. He almost chuckled at the ridiculous image, but it gave him so much warmth that it was better to let it lull him into resting.
He wasn't given long. "Heero," Duo said in his ear far too soon. "We have to go. Can you walk?"
Heero shivered at the cold. The temperature had dropped sharply. He felt slightly ill as he opened his eyes and realized that Duo was almost wrapped completely around him.
Duo's eyes were concerned. "You don't look well."
Heero shook his head. It didn't matter how he felt. He had to walk. He levered himself slowly to his feet and felt his arms and legs protesting. They held him, though, and he took slow steps to prove to himself that going further was possible. Duo hovered anxiously. Heero rubbed his cheek against Duo's briefly and then turned to face Une. She was watching him appraisingly. She nodded as if in respect and then called to her weres.
"Move out!" She took the lead, tail like a banner behind her.
Heero limped and ignored when one of his guards tugged on his lead when Duo wasn't looking. He braced himself to endure the humiliation. There would be retribution, he promised silently.
It was then that he smelled it, faint, but familiar. Some faint hint of musk that had nothing to do with either Duo or himself. He kept himself from smiling. Trowa was out there somewhere, following them.
"You are not going anywhere," Trowa said through a mouthful of ruff fur. His arms and legs were wrapped around the smaller were fox's body and he was holding Quatre down. Despite their danger, Quatre's wriggling and bucking attempts to dislodge him and rescue Heero were beginning to have their effect on him. He wasn't an untried were wolf Prince, but his arousal scent was still on the air despite his best efforts. It was hard to ignore that he was so close to the tantalizing underside of Quatre's bushy tail with a part of his anatomy that was more than willing to take advantage of it.
"Trowa!" Quatre whined. "He's hurt! I have no honor if I let him suffer!"
"You sound like that were dragon," Trowa grumbled. "You should have as much sense."
"At least enough sense not to mount each other within a stone's throw of the enemy," Wu Fei's angry voice said from behind them.
Trowa stifled a yip as he sprang from Qautre's back and whirled defensively on the were dragon. He blinked in surprise. Wu Fei looked haggard and he was covered from head to toe in furs.
"You're alone!" Trowa snarled, sensing no one else. "Why did you come yourself? You were never meant for high places like this."
"Tales of Prince Heero's preference for a were lion are known now," Wu Fei replied dryly."Warden J called the council together and Trieze backed him up. As soon as I realized that they were suspending Heero's title until the sex of his heir is known, I knew that a rescue party would not be mounted.. He has made himself expendable."
"There isn't any heir," Trowa growled.
Wu Fei snorted. "Tell me something that I don't know, mountain were. Even if Heero were attracted to females, he wouldn't have chosen Relena as a consort."
"Heero is still the only heir," Trowa persisted. "You should have argued that."
Wu Fei glared as if Trowa were very stupid. "Relena rules, as does Warden J and the council. They are in the middle of a power struggle. None of them are concerned about a Prince who has shown himself unworthy of the title."
Quatre shook himself as he sat up and said, "Heero never really wanted to be Prince. He just didn't want Warden J to rule."
"His people suffer," Wu Fei replied angrily. "They wait in unrest for someone to lead them and protect them. If we stand divided, arguing over a throne, then Zechs will find it easy to conquer us."
"Then shouldn't you be there instead of here?" Trowa snarled. "Shouldn't you be leading the army? What about your duty?"
"My duty is to Prince Heero," Wu Fei replied, but then he looked almost anguished as he said, "My loyalty to all factions was questioned. None of them trust me not to betray them. My leadership of the army was suspended. Trieze has full command now."
Quatre suddenly cut in, "Heero is hurt! Let's not argue any longer and rescue him."
Trowa tensed as if to jump on him again, but Wu Fei's voice was enough to keep the were fox from running to help Heero. "We bide our time," he said strongly, his long rows of teeth showing in a fierce _expression. "We get Heero out when they grow lazy and complacent."
"They are already lazy," Trowa pointed out. "They've hardly moved down the road. They take every advantage to eat and sleep. I'm surprised Une hasn't eaten them all in disgust."
Wu Fei nodded as he gripped his long knives. "We are trained. We have the advantage." He skewered Quatre with his reptilian black eyes. "As long as we are not foolish, we will rescue Prince Heero."
"And Duo," Quatre reminded him.
Wu Fei looked disdainful. "He is not my concern."
"He's Heero's," Quatre told him. "He's... they're... almost... bonded... I think. "Quatre blushed to his earrings.
Wu Fei was livid. His scales seemed to stand out from his skin and his eyes were slits. His dark crest was standing straight, like knives along his head and neck. Very slowly, as if Wu Fei was taking great pains to calm down, the crest lowered. When it was all the way down once more, he said tightly, "We will see."
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