Disclaimer:I don't own them and I don't make any money off of this.
Warnings: Male/Male sex, graphic, violence, language.
Paths + Part 15
"Captain Maxwell, after
looking at your very thick file, and reading your previous doctor's notes
on your appearance and behavior, I have to say that this 'vacation' has
been anything but. I seriously suggest that you return to your home and
see your physician and psychologist there immediately."
Seated uncomfortably in front of the doctor, Duo felt his stomach turn
into a sick knot. After Heero and Wu Fei's strenuous training, Duo was
surprised that he had been able to even walk into the psychiatrist's office
unaided. Every muscle screamed pain and the tension of Wu Fei's intense
mind work, stressful on so many levels, was clear on Duo's face. He was
pale and drawn, cheeks sunken slightly, and his body was pulled in on
itself with his arms held tightly against his aching sides. He had worn
his loose, long, black coat, but it couldn't hide that he was physically
and mentally worn down to the bone.
The doctor was standing, holding Duo's journal, facing Duo as if he were
an Oz interrogator, one hand on his hip and sallow face drawn into a sour
scowl of disapproval. He looked like a gawky bird, Duo thought, complete
with a beak of a nose and long sticks for legs. His office was bland,
just like the man, and Duo wondered if there was a catalog for bland that
all doctor's offices subscribed to.
Duo attempted to diffuse the situation. If the doctor suspected... if
he ordered Duo to return home... Duo tried for a lighter mood, forcing
himself to uncoil and not scream in pain as he made muscles assume a relaxed
pose in his chair. He even managed a self deprecating smile as he said,
"I guess you caught me. I was having way too much fun at Captain
Winner's estate. He has the money, ya know?" he drawled good naturedly
and winked. "Can't blame a guy for taking advantage of his generosity.
I just partied a little too hard."
The Psychiatrist gripped the journal with a white knuckled hand. He made
a small motion with it, scowling even deeper. "I know. I read your
journal, Captain. Let's just say, I didn't believe the stories about you
until now. You are a man of.... excess."
Duo grinned and shrugged. He had always made up every word in his journal.
In the limo, on the way to the office, he had scribbled outrageous nonsense
to account for his time since seeing his last Psychiatrist. He never knew
whether to be amused, amazed, or disturbed that no one ever questioned
his account of his day to day life.
"I didn't realize that Captain Winner was so... progressive in his
activities," the doctor was saying.
Duo winced, realizing too late that he should have reigned himself in
and not included Quatre in his more eccentric, made up, activities. "Well,
he just sort of watched disapprovingly," Duo quickly amended. "I
think I exaggerated a bit."
"I see." The doctor pointed the journal at him. "Is there
anything else you would like to amend, Captain Maxwell?"
It was hard to tell what mood the doctor was in. He seemed eager and moderately
friendly, yet ready to be... disappointed? Annoyed? It was hard for Duo
to figure him out. He felt that he needed to. The man was going to write
a report and submit it to the government. Duo couldn't afford a bad report
so late in the game.
"I'm afraid not," Duo admitted, as if he were proud of being
the perverted, eccentric, ex- Gundam pilot he had described in his journal.
"The pills make me too damn spaced for getting it on with anyone,
so I'm kind of stuck with partying and hanging from the chandeliers instead."
"And other things...," The Doctor added pointedly, eyes watching
Duo very carefully for his response.
Duo smiled impishly. "And other things," he repeated in agreement.
Duo's other doctor had always been pleased when he had admitted to debauchery.
It's what the government wanted, for Duo to discredit himself and make
himself a non threat by ruining himself in drink, drugs, and disgusting
behavior. If he fell low enough, Duo surmised, then making him suddenly
and mysteriously disappear, wouldn't be a hard job for the government.
Duo could imagine everyone breathing a sigh of relief, if the sad, young,
Gundam pilot were suddenly not around to embarrass them, or himself, any
The doctor made some notes on his chart and then handed Duo back his journal.
As Duo took it, the man slid a hand along Duo's arm and gripped him tight
there. Leaning down to be at Duo's level, he said in a very suggestive
voice, "If you promise to take better care of yourself, I won't order
you to return to your own home. You can continue to enjoy Quatre Winner's
generosity. When you visit my office next, if you are agreeable, I can
provide you with some 'entertainment' that might interest your particular
Duo didn't let his burning shock reach his face. His hands tightened on
his journal and he said with a stiff smile and fierce, purple eyes, "Are
you sure that you're up to satisfying my particular interests?"
The man smiled back, believing that Duo was agreeing to his overtures.
His breath was hot on Duo's skin as he said confidently, "Oh, yes,
Captain Maxwell, be assured that I can meet every need that you can imagine."
"I'd like to see that," Duo replied, but he was slipping out
from under the doctor and standing up at the same time. "No previews
until then, though."
The doctor licked his lips as he straightened and said, "Of course
not. We don't have the time. I'll make certain to clear my schedule at
your next visit."
Duo eyed the chart in the man's hand pointedly. "I don't think I
have to tell you what my price is?"
The doctor laughed and it wasn't a pleasant sound. "There is only
so much that they will allow me to do, but I will write a report that
will keep the authorities complacent.... as long as you play nicely."
"Count on it," Duo smirked and turned so that his braid swung
enticingly against his hips as he left the office and the excited doctor
Once outside the office and down the hallway, Duo found Heero pacing agitatedly
with his hands in his pockets, face scowling in concern. He was dressed
in a loose, dark blue jacket and a black turtle neck sweater. His blue
jeans had a hole in one knee and he was wearing steel toed, black work
boots. He looked like a young punk just then, hair a wild, disordered,
chocolate tangle, but as Duo approached, and he saw Duo's drawn, pale
expression, he looked like a man again in an instant; a very dangerous
man ready to protect someone he cared deeply about.
Duo tossed his journal into a nearby trash can. It hit bottom with a satisfactory,
thud! "Time to burn some bridges," Duo said in a shaky, but
determined voice. "I'm not going back there again."
Heero didn't say anything until they climbed into the limo and began the
long drive back to the Winner estate, then he leaned back into his seat
and looked sideways at Duo. "Maybe you should start with the hospital.
You didn't say anything when you left there either."
Duo grimaced, unconsciously rubbing at his arm where the psychiatrist
had pawed him. "I think that I suddenly don't count," Duo replied.
Heero was puzzled, but he gave himself time to think about that statement.
"Did they hurt you?" he asked at last and Duo heard a threat;
fatal consequences for anyone who dared to harm Duo.
"No," Duo replied, "but, they weren't 'nice'. They acted
like I was fair game and that nobody was going to punish them."
"Duo..." Heero reached out, but Duo avoided his touch and hunched
in on himself. Heero reclaimed his hand, clearly stung by the rejection,
but he asked gently, "Tell me what happened."
Duo looked down at the floor of the limo, at his booted feet and the way
his long coat was worn at the hem from dragging on the ground at his heels.
He didn't want to tell Heero about how the doctors at the hospital had
joked, close enough that he could hear them, about his chances of surviving
the year. They had laid bets on it and upped his medication dosage so
that they wouldn't have to wait too long for the outcome. The psychiatrist...
Heero would go back and hurt him severely, Duo was certain. That would
blow up in their faces. They would have to run if that happened and Duo
didn't have any illusions about their chances.
"I don't understand...," Duo said softly, paused, and then finished.
"I don't understand how so many people can be in on this, or why
they are doing these things to me."
Heero replied, "I am certain that, if I researched the backgrounds
of all of those men, I would find Oz at the heart of their histories.
We made many enemies, Duo, and the reach of Oz is still long even in peace
"It scares me," Duo admitted, "that level of corruption.
It's so much easier just to believe that I'm being paranoid."
Heero was very quiet. Duo looked up at last. Along with obvious signs
of exhaustion, Heero had a bitter expression on his face. Duo tried to
remember the last time that he had seen Heero sleep, eat, or just relax,
but couldn't remember Heero doing any of those things.
"It's a long drive," Duo told him. "I just want to think
about things right now. You can take a nap, if you want." When Heero
began to object, Duo added, "I'll keep watch, don't worry."
He tried to look more alert than he really was and he kept the pain off
of his face, knowing that Heero was still too much of a soldier to want
to sleep in a strange place unless he felt safe.
"I will be more helpful to you later, if I rest now," Heero
acknowledged, but studied Duo skeptically as he asked, "You will
be able to stay awake?"
Duo nodded confidently. Heero nodded back, choosing to believe him, and
then simply composed himself and fell quickly asleep. The speed of it
amazed Duo. He almost thought that Heero was faking it, but Heero's slow,
even breaths, and slight eye movements under his eyelids, told Duo that
he had slipped into REM sleep.
Either he was that exhausted or he absolutely trusted Duo. Duo felt a
warmth spread through him, pleased by either reason. He had been feeling
completely helpless, almost an invalid. During the war, he had prided
himself on being tough, on being resilient, and on pulling his weight
among the group. It gave his self confidence a slight boost to be able
to watch over Heero, to guard his sleep, and to give him a chance to be
cared for. Duo knew that, in the very near future, he was going to have
to ask for that favor to be returned to him in spades.
Duo tried not to move too much. He didn't want to set off Heero's hair
trigger defenses. Instead, he leaned back into the car seat and stared
out at the scenery passing by. It was rocky and bright with sunshine,
but the grass was bitten by cold. A few fat cows and goats grazed alongside
the sharply rising road. In a beautiful place like that, dark government
intrigue seemed an impossibility; the mad dream of mad Gundam pilots.
Duo looked sideways at the bag at Heero's feet. The man had taken it from
him after he had left the hospital and Duo knew why. He suspected that
the pills the doctors had given him, with their deadly increased dose,
were already gone and lining a garbage bin just like his journal. No turning
back now? That wasn't true. It was too easy for Duo to slip away from
his would be lover, and Quatre's estate, to get more of the same. As Wu
Fei had told him, it was all up to him. The decision was entirely his
to make. Heero could put pressure on him and help him to succeed in kicking
his pill habit, but, ultimately, the task was in his, Duo's, hands.
A few more days, Duo thought anxiously. Not much time to learn to control
his body, not much time to tone it to the point where it burned energy
quickly and, so to, the effects of the pills. He had tried to stop taking
the pills before and had failed. The government had found out about each
of those attempts and Duo's doses had risen with his rebellions. This
time, if he failed, knowing what he knew now, that they didn't fear him
or retribution any longer, he could imagine what his fate would be. Increasing
his pills to another level, he felt, wouldn't even be a consideration.
In the corner of his eye, Duo saw Heero twitch. His breathing had grown
a little ragged. Duo turned his head, concerned. Heero was obviously dreaming.
"No," Heero suddenly muttered, almost angrily, "work isn't
more important than you, David, it's just... it's just that I don't love
you." A pause, as if Heero were listening to the ghost of his dead
lover, and then, "I can't produce feelings that I don't possess.
Nothing you can say will change my mind, least of all threats." Another
long pause and then Heero frowned as he continued, "I'm taking an
assignment on Earth. I think a permanent separation is in order. Please
remove your personal items from my apartment. I shall be vacating the
premises in two days.... David... I will not talk about this matter any
longer. There is nothing more to say. Yes, I will miss you. I hope that
we can stay on speaking terms. Though I don't love you, I do consider
you a friend."
Duo was shocked. If what Heero had just said was true, and not just a
dream, then 'David' had killed himself shortly before Heero's arrival
on Earth and his appearance in Duo's apartment. Duo felt his stomach clench
tight and his heart ached with a pain fiercer than the pain already radiating
throughout his body. If Heero could shrug off the suicide of an ex lover,
and start pursuing a new relationship within days of it, then what kind
of cold hearted, stone man was he?
Duo had thought that he had seen compassion, sympathy, gentleness, and
, yes, even love in Heero, but what if he had been wrong? What if his
own loneliness, his need for help, and his own feelings for Heero were
clouding his judgment? Duo suddenly experienced doubt and that was the
last thing that he needed to feel when he had to be able to trust the
people closest to him.
There was a an all too familiar click. Duo froze and his eyes focused
on Heero again. The man, passing into another dream, had clutched at his
gun reflexively, half pulling it out of a waist holster and its hiding
place under his dark blue jacket. Duo had automatically reached for his
own gun, a gun he hadn't carried since the end of the war. He cursed when
his hand touched only empty air.
Heero was still a soldier for the Preventers, probably still killing men
on occasion. One wrong move, Duo felt, and he would be the next man to
fall under Heero's gun. Duo thought quickly. He had mostly worked solo
during the war, but even he had learned a few tricks about waking comrades
with deadly reflexes. He took a soft, un-threatening tone and said something
familiar to any soldier that had been out in the field on the front lines.
Heero was instantly awake, hand still on his gun, cobalt, blue eyes looking
out from that cold, inner place that he had lived in all during his childhood
and the war. Duo knew that look well from the war. It was like suddenly
seeing an old friend. "Ready," Heero said automatically.
Duo waited until Heero slowly realized that he wasn't on the edge of some
bloody confrontation between soldiers, that he was safe and comfortable
in a plush limo, that his hand was on the trigger of his gun, and that
Duo was uncomfortably close to having a hole blown into him. Only when
Heero released his gun, set the safety, and let it slide back into its
holster, did Duo allow himself a sigh of relief.
Heero started trembling, a lost, terrified look on his face. Duo found
himself in Heero's arms without consciously deciding to do so, holding
the man, reassuring him that he was all right. Heero held Duo so tight
in return that Duo thought that his bones would crush under the pressure.
Heero rained kisses on the top of Duo's head and then pulled his chin
up to softly kiss his face as he looked anxiously into Duo's eyes.
"If I had- If anything- I-" Heero stammered and then held Duo
tightly again, burying his face into Duo's neck and just clinging.
It didn't make any sense, Duo thought as he tried to calm Heero down.
How could Heero ignore the death of an ex lover and then break down completely
now when nothing had happened? Heero's emotions, his entire demeanor,
told Duo that he wasn't lying, that he was genuinely terrified at Duo's
close call. There were questions that had to be asked, more layers of
Heero's history that Duo felt that he needed to peel back before he could
take that final step, trusting Heero completely to keep him sane and alive
when he stopped taking the pills. Any doubt at that point could be as
fatal as Heero pulling the trigger of his gun during a nightmare.
They reached the Winner estate after some time. Heero calmed down, though
it was clear that he was ashamed of what had happened. Duo could see 'what
if' thoughts running behind his eyes during the rest of the limo trip
and Duo, wisely, decided it was better to talk later when the episode
wasn't so fresh and troubling to Heero.
A servant was waiting just inside the front door of the estate and Heero
and Duo were informed that Quatre and Trowa were waiting to speak to them
in one of the many solariums.
"Let's not," Duo protested. He felt fragile, exposed, and raw
just then and he didn't feel that he could survive any type of questioning.
Too late, he realized that he had said 'Let's' as if they were a couple.
He quickly amended, letting real weariness and pain seep into his voice
at last, "I mean, you can go and tell them what's going on, but if
I don't take my pills and get vertical soon I'm going to fall to pieces."
Heero dismissed the servant with a polite excuse. "We'll join them
for dinner and , afterwards, you can tell them as much about our trip
as you feel they need to know."
There was an unspoken plea in Hero's tone. Duo understood and assured
him, "We all went through Hell and back in the war. We all have our
problems because of it. I know that the other guys would understand, Heero,
just like I do, that you couldn't help your reflexes. The rest, well,
that's our business and not anyone else's. I won't be telling anyone,
Heero relaxed almost imperceptibly. "I'll help you to your room,"
he said, but there was gratitude in his voice.
"I always thought that I was the one with all the troubles, that
I was weak, or stupid, or something," Duo said as they limped up
a flight of stairs and moved down a hallway. "Everyone else seemed
to have their act together. Wu Fei was teaching. Quatre was the rich,
respected, business man. Trowa was the entertainer, and you... well, you
disappeared, so I just assumed that you had found your niche in society
"Quatre showed you that even he has trouble coping from time to time,"
Heero replied. "We all have our demons and we can't always exorcise
"Yeah, and some of us have more demons than others," Duo agreed
as they entered his room.
Heero helped Duo to sit down on the bed. Duo couldn't help a hiss of pain
as he slowly allowed his knotted up body to lie back on the gel mattress.
It hardly helped. His muscles seemed permanently tensed, unwilling to
relax and give up the pain.
Heero worked off Duo's boots and then snagged an afghan blanket from a
chair back and spread it over Duo's body with care. Duo watched him go
into the bathroom and then come out with his pills and a glass of water.
Duo used the mattress to line the pills up and take them one at a time.
As he finished, Heero took away each bottle.
"I won't take the pills away in secret," Heero told him. "I've
seen how you constantly check for them. I'm going to put them back into
"Good," Duo sighed, trepidation fading. He licked dry lips and
took another sip of water. He knew that he couldn't wait to ask Heero
some very important questions, but he didn't want to hurt Heero either.
He took his time with the water, trying to sense Heero's mood and an opening
Heero took the water glass from Duo, after he had finished with it, and
put it aside on a table. "Are the pills reducing your pain?"
"Yeah, well, not all of the way, but enough to convince me to go
on living," Duo replied, "You and Wu Fei sure know how to torture
a guy. Between you two, and the doctors, I feel like I'm going to shrivel
up and blow away."
"It's necessary," Heero replied grimly, but there was a hint
of compassion and regret in his blue eyes. "You know there isn't
any other way."
"I do know," Duo said and then, seeing his opening, he continued,
"In the limo, and a couple of times before that, you showed me that
you can be something other than a piece of frozen granite in the personality
department, Heero," Duo began. "But, I guess you aren't completely
cured of that super soldier mentality."
Heero paused in placing Duo's boots and socks under the bed to get them
out of the way. He straightened and blinked at Duo. "I do care for
you," he said seriously. "It's true that I still have a great
deal to learn about relationships and 'normal' living, but I think that
I have improved a great deal from the way I was programmed to act in the
Duo nodded and said, feeling as if he were poking a sharp stick at a bear
that might be vicious, "I guess that programming still takes over
once in awhile, like when you were sleeping and reaching for your gun,
or when your ex committed suicide."
Heero went very still, a look of consternation on his face. "Explain,"
he finally asked and his voice sounded on the verge of being either very
sad or very angry.
"I hope that you didn't talk in your sleep to Oz, when you were their
prisoner, the same way that you did to me in the limo," Duo said.
Heero was quiet. He couldn't be tricked into giving information. Duo had
to tell him what he knew. "You acted as if you were talking to David,"
Duo told him, "You were telling him that you were splitting up and
going to Earth. I suspect that he killed himself shortly after that, right?
The old soldier mentality must have kicked in big time for you to show
up in my apartment, talking about getting together with me so soon after
something awful like that happening." It was a question, one Duo
hoped Heero could answer in a way that was both understandable and acceptable
"He was a good friend," Heero admitted slowly as he sat on the
edge of the bed. He frowned as if trying to work something complicated
out in his head, "but he wanted more than that. I thought that I
had made myself clear..."
"He was just a fuck, then?" Duo wondered.
Heero's head snapped around and his jaw tensed as he glared blue fire
at Duo. "No! That was not the extent of our relationship!"
"If you're saying it was more than that, then I have to wonder why
you didn't seem to mourn," Duo persisted bravely. "I have to
wonder if you're telling the truth."
Heero stood up abruptly and turned away from Duo. He sank his hands into
his pockets and stood stiffly. "I still don't understand David's
motivations, why he committed such acts and blamed his emotional state
on my actions, but you are mistaken, Duo, if you think that I don't feel
sad or regret what happened between us. We were friends and he was a mentor
to me. I didn't love him, though, and I never pretended otherwise. David
was an independent man with a full life. We moved in together only to
be more efficient in our work, not out of a shared desire to spend our
lives together... or so I had thought. I never suspected that David considered
our relationship to be deeper than that of friends."
"Heero..." Duo fiddled with the afghan, trying to find the right
words for what he wanted to ask. Finally, he decided to be blunt. "I
want to know that you gave a shit about this David, that you were upset
that he killed himself, that you felt SOMETHING when he died, that coming
to me and trying to start a relationship wasn't- well, wasn't because
he never counted and you could forget about him like a light switch going
on and off." Duo gritted his teeth and added, "Because that's
not the kind of man I want with me, or want to trust when push comes to
shove with my pills."
"I had planned to come to Earth, to find you, long before David's
suicide," Heero explained. "The Preventers wanted me to evaluate
you for the mission, that was true, but I knew that I was going to try
to use what David had taught me to initiate a relationship with you at
the same time. I planned to tell David, to explain that I had always felt
strongly about you, that he had given me the skills and the confidence
to believe that I had something to offer you at last, besides a cold,
emotionless, soldier. I was never allowed to tell him. He started an argument
about work and then he revealed to me his hopes for a relationship between
us. I was forced to reject his overtures."
"So, when he died...," Duo prompted when Heero fell silent.
Heero turned and faced him and Duo saw that his face was pinched and full
of confusion. "David decided, not simply to commit suicide, but to
'punish' me by trying to destroy part of the Preventers building. He wanted
to destroy the thing that he thought was keeping us a part, but he killed
himself along with several other people as well." His hands clenched
into fists. "Duo, I asked people why he would do such a thing. I
wanted to understand what he had hoped to gain. If he did it to force
me to begin a relationship with him, then why kill himself? Why destroy
innocent people along with him? Why destroy buildings as if they mattered
in the conflict that we were having?"
Duo thought about it, but David's actions were shocking and he felt himself
almost as confused as Heero. "I'm not sure why he did that,"
he replied at last, but then a reason occurred to him. He offered it tentatively.
"It's possible that David knew that you would never love him or want
to be with him. It's possible that he wanted revenge, that he suddenly
hated you instead of loved you; wanting to destroy what he considered
important to you."
"People do that?" Heero wondered in a small voice. "The
war was easier. Being an assassin with Odin Lowe was easier. We were paid,
we killed. We needed peace, we killed. Killing for spite, because I refused
to return emotions that I didn't possess, disturbs me." He looked
at Duo like a naive child suddenly given a taste of a cruel, confusing
Duo knew what Heero was asking without asking. "Don't worry, Heero,"
Duo reassured him. "I'm not that kind of guy. Most people aren't
like that. I think you were right when you said that David was mentally
unstable. You have to remember that and not go sour on the human race
"I hated him," Heero admitted suddenly.
Duo blinked, "What?"
"I hated him for killing those people," Heero explained. "That's
why I didn't mourn his passing."
Duo asked carefully, "But you were sad, sad that someone who had
been a friend, had died in such a terrible way?"
"Yes," Heero replied and sat on the edge of the bed again, hands
lax between his knees. "I want to deny it, but I can't. It hurts
when I think too deeply about it. I don't understand that feeling either.
Why should I feel anything, but hate and contempt, for him? Why should
I wish that he were still alive, that I could have said something that
would have prevented him from taking people's lives?"
Duo let out a small, sigh of relief. Heero did care. Heero was hurting.
He had just covered it up and locked it away like a good soldier, until
now, until Duo had been able to pry the box open and make Heero face his
neglected emotions. "It's all right to be sad, Heero. It's all right
to care for someone, even though they did something terrible. You don't
have to deny those feelings and feel guilty about them."
Heero stood again, running a distracted hand through his chocolate colored
hair while his other hand remained deep in one pocket, as if he were chilled
suddenly and needed to be warm. "I am not in control," he said
self deprecatingly. "I need to be if I'm going to help you. I can't
let my personal life distract me."
"You forget," Duo said with a nervous smile, giving Heero something
back for his revelations, "I'm your personal life now. You're supposed
to work things out with someone you care about. Besides, it's better to
get it all out now, rather than when I need you so badly that I won't
be able to help you with them."
Heero nodded, "This HAS helped, Duo, though I'm still confused about
"It's a fact, Heero," Duo told him, "that we can never
understand other people, and their motivations and actions, completely.
Everyone is wired differently. You can't understand or predict people
with one hundred percent accuracy, so don't beat yourself up about it."
Heero nodded again. "I have to be alone and think about what you've
said... and about David."
Duo sighed and pulled the afghan up to his chin. "Don't worry about
me. I need some sleep. You go get your head on straight, Heero."
Heero considered Duo for a moment and then asked, "You will be here
when I come back?"
Duo sighed. Why couldn't Heero just come out and ask him things? That
last question was so pregnant with deeper meaning that it hung thick in
the air between them. "Yeah, yeah!" Duo replied, making a tired,
shooing motion., "Get out of here! And don't worry, the door is always
open for you, Heero."
Heero managed a smile, but it was heart weary. As he left, Duo thought
to himself, 'Who am I kidding? I hide in my words just as much as he does.'
It helped that he had managed to peel back more of Heero's history, but
Duo was beginning to suspect that he wouldn't completely trust Heero until
he had uncovered the man all the way down to the bone.
[part 14] [part 16]
[back to Kracken's fic]