by Kracken
Disclaimer: I don't own them and I don't make any money off of this.
Warnings: Male/Male sex, Graphic, violence, language Lemon scene/lime scene warning.(That means two guys thinking about sex and having sex) This chapter is nc-17.

Crossing Paths + Part 21
Knights


"I'm okay," Duo muttered. "You can let go of me."

"Yes," Milliardo responded absently, but didn't move to release Duo from his embrace.

"You're humoring me," Duo accused.

"Yes."

"Cut it the Hell out!"

"What would you rather hear me say?"

Duo was leaning back against Milliardo's chest, supported between the man's knees. Milliardo's arms hung loosely over his shoulders to brace him against the sharp jogs of the moving vehicle. It was dark, very little light coming through the flap covering the back of the vehicle. Duo had to imagine Milliardo's expression of irritation; that mass of pale blonde hair falling over a handsome face and his ice blue eyes narrowed.

"You can admit that our chances of getting away are zero," Duo replied at last. "We aren't escaping trained troops in a truck. I can take the truth."

"I'm not such a defeatist," Milliardo told him. "There were many trucks on the runway, all identical. They were ordered to drive in every direction. The government troops won't sort out the decoys for some time. We may escape before that happens."

"Escape where?" Duo scoffed. "If you're going to tell me out to sea, I'm going to give up and shoot myself right here. It won't work."

"I have a plan," Milliardo replied, "and it doesn't involve putting out to sea. Instead, I intend to hide in plain sight."

"Heero thought that he could do that too," Duo replied waspishly. "I didn't have the heart to tell him that they had splashed his photo, along with mine, on the front of a few rag magazines. He'd be shocked by the things that they reported as fact. It had something to do with a pony and a bottle of scotch, as I recall. Point being, Zechs, that, with our hair, I doubt that we could ever `blend' in anywhere."

Milliardo didn't argue and he didn't clarify his plan. Instead, his breath was suddenly warm on Duo's ear as he asked, "Do you love him?"

Duo swallowed hard and admitted, "Yeah, I do."

"No chance that you would-"

"No, no chance, sorry."

It was a blunt rejection, but Duo didn't want any ambiguity. He hoped it wasn't about to cost him Milliardo's help. The man's hands had flattened on his chest, fingers digging in slightly. Duo felt the tickle of the man's hair against his cheek.

"You still don't lie, do you?" Milliardo observed and his voice sounded sad.

"I try very hard not to," Duo replied, still waiting for the axe to fall.

"I'm glad that there are still men in the world who have some honor left," Milliardo sighed. His body shifted backwards and his muscles relaxed. "I need to sleep before we are forced to leave the truck behind."

"Go ahead," Duo replied uneasily. "I'll move over there."

Duo had indicated a pile of duffel bags and camouflage netting. He was annoyed when Milliardo awkwardly took them both to the pile and stretched them both out on top of it. He tucked Duo back into his arms and said, "I thought that I had lost the government troops, but they were able to find us and attack the air strip. I may be wrong about this as well. They may find us easily. I need to be rested and ready to fight and run."

"Zechs..." Duo began in warning. He had lost his gun in the chaos of the airstrip. He was defenseless.

"I have honor," Milliardo whispered wearily, guessing Duo's thoughts. "I'm holding you so that you don't roll about the truck and harm yourself. You need the sleep as well. You've lost blood. You were given an operation under terrible circumstances. You also witnessed the death of-"

"Don't!" Duo breathed in anguish. "I-I can't think about that right now, okay? I-I need to stay focused...."

"You need to rest," Milliardo stressed again. "Trust me."

"I don't have any choice," Duo replied in helpless anger.

"You are a soldier," Milliardo reminded him, as if he were talking to an insubordinate underling. "You can't afford to react to any of this right now. I know your training as a Gundam pilot far exceeded anything I've experienced. Use it. Compartmentalize. We can't be-"

"Don't give me bullshit!" Duo exploded. "I know how you feel about me!"

"Maybe you were drunk that night long ago at Quatre's party," Milliardo replied softly, deciding to be truthful, "and maybe you did think that it was Heero you were with and not me, but you are with me now and I am determined to help you. If being close to you like this is an unintentional reward, then I will take advantage of it, I`m afraid, and every other opportunity that arises to be close to you."

Duo trembled, disgusted and afraid of what Milliardo intended and hating himself for being too weak to even try to get out of the man's arms. He remembered some of that night at the party, flashes of a hot tongue searching his mouth, hotter hands sliding under his clothes, and a body moving against his, eager, urgent, and ready to take what Duo had offered like a drunken whore. Duo hadn't thought of Milliardo as being Heero. Perhaps he had when things had become hot and heavy and the drink had sunk his senses into confusion, but at the beginning, Duo had wanted the hands of the handsome `Lightning Count' on him and his raging teenage libido had wanted to be rid of virginity.

It was different now that he was sober and older. Milliardo was still sexually enticing and very handsome, but Duo's libido was nonexistent and his mind needed more than sex. It cringed at the very thought of giving to Milliardo what he had hoped to save for Heero. He knew thoughts like that were outside the norm for a man his age, who would have had sex with dozens of partners gladly and not given a second thought to such feminine ideals as `saving one's virginity for love', but Duo didn't have the luxury of a fully operational sex drive. His mind wasn't clouded by `need'. He didn't want Milliardo to be his `first'. He wanted that to be Heero.

A soft snore alerted Duo to the fact that all of his anxiety had been for nothing. Milliardo, far from being a plundering opportunist, had wanted something simpler from Duo; physical contact, not actual sex. Duo would have laughed if he wasn't in such pain and suffering the greater pangs of guilt and sadness over the death of the doctor. He thought about slipping out of Milliardo's arms, taking the man's gun, and taking back some control of what was going on around him, but Duo found himself closing his eyes instead, lulled by Milliardo's soft breathing and steady heartbeat. The operation, the blood loss, and the shock of the doctor's violent end took it's toll. Instead of winning his freedom, Duo fell asleep as well.

The time that Duo was asleep felt shorter than a blink, but Duo's stiff body told him that he had been sleeping much longer. He sat up, eyes tearing and breath catching in a groan as his leg scraped against rough netting. Clutching at his ankle, Duo tried to bring his mind into focus.

He was alone on the makeshift bed, but Milliardo wasn't far away. The truck had stopped and Milliardo was leaning out of the truck, the back flap raised, and speaking with someone, probably the driver.

"Understand?" Milliardo asked loudly enough for Duo to hear.

"Yes, sir!" was the sharp, confident response.

Milliardo dropped the flap of canvas and returned to Duo in darkness. He placed clothes in Duo arms and said, "Put these on."

Duo felt a heavy knit sweater, a cap, thick soled shoes, and a loose pair of pants. "They must know what's going on by now," Duo said as he began changing without question, glad that it was too dark to worry about Milliardo seeing him naked. "Jeez! These clothes stink like fish!"

Milliardo was changing as well, and Duo uncomfortably began to imagine what Milliardo looked like nude. At Quatre's party, he couldn't recall if the man had taken off his clothes and that absence of memory bothered him. "You are wondering why my men don't turn us in to the government?" Milliardo asked.

Duo blushed as he sat with the second shoe in his hands, not about to tell Milliardo what he had actually been thinking about. "Yeah, why don't they?"

"They are refugees from the destruction of the Sanq kingdom," Milliardo replied tightly, voice betraying that he was thinking of something unpleasant. "They have every reason to mistrust governments and every reason to follow me. I am their Prince, after all."

"Oh," was all Duo could find to say. He knew what it was to follow blindly. He had followed Dr. G's orders without question throughout the war. He could understand dedication like that.

"Are you having trouble?" Milliardo wondered.

"The shoe... I'm not sure it's going to go on. My ankle and upper foot are swollen," Duo replied.

Milliardo's hands found his ankle. They were gentle as they felt how large the swelling was. "It's not abnormally swollen. I don't think that there are complications, but there might be after such a dangerous field operation."

"The Doc was good," Duo whispered and fought back a wave of guilt. Not now, he told himself, later, when he was safe and could afford to hate himself. Unconsciously deciding that he needed a distraction, and some punishment to assuage his growing anxiety over the doctor's death, Duo took hold of the one shoe with both hands and then jammed it onto his foot.

The world came back into focus again after a pain filled few minutes. Duo heard himself gasping and felt Milliardo gripping him tight. "What the Hell was that?!" the man demanded.

Duo pulled away roughly, but it was hard to sit up, harder still to lace the shoe with shaking hands and questionable mental faculties. "Had to be done," he grated. "We need to get out of here. Mind telling me the plan now?"

"We are now fisherman." Milliardo replied simply. Duo hissed in anger. "I told you, no boats! They're sitting ducks! Any flying transport or satellite can see them."

"A boat suddenly traveling away from the coast, all alone, would be suspect," Milliardo agreed, "but that's not the plan. I have an acquaintance who owns a fishing fleet. Every few days, they go out, fish, and then sail back in to port. We are getting on one of the boats and going out with the rest. We'll hide among the men until the government troops decide that we've given them the slip and then we'll take transport to another safe location."

"The leg locator-" Duo began.

"Is only effective at close range now, " Milliardo reminded him. "A plane doing a low fly over might be able to pick up something, but a fishing vessel has enough radar and radio equipment to at least partly jam the locator's signal. We are taking a chance, but we don't have any options at this point."

Duo was incredulous. "Did you come up with this stupid plan at your estate or did you scribble it on the back of a piece of toilet paper just now, because it sounds like a bunch of crap!"

Milliardo was seething and silent. He let Duo stew in that silence, let him feel his helplessness, his dependency, and his lack of a better plan, before he asked, "Ready to go?"

Duo flushed, knowing that he had to do whatever Milliardo ordered. He didn't have a better plan. He didn't know where they were. He didn't have the strength to go anywhere on his own. "Yeah," Duo replied angrily, "Ready."

Milliardo scooped him up as if he weighed as much as a feather, muscled arms flexing and showing his strength, as he carried Duo to the opening of the truck and gracefully slid out and onto the ground. Kicking the fender of the truck, the vehicle pulled away at once as if it were a signal. Duo never saw the drivers. In the light of day, Duo blinked and ducked his head, eyes stinging, as he tried to shade them with the brim of his dirty cap.

"Hair," Milliardo warned and Duo tucked his braid into the back of his sweater to hide it, certain Milliardo had already hidden his own trademark length. "The men are loyal," Milliardo explained, "but we should still go as incognito as possible. " A soldier's mistrust. A man learned to develop it early on in his career or he didn't live long.

"So," Duo said as Milliardo began a smooth stride through a sparse stand of trees, "We're going to be hauling nets and gutting fish? I'm not in real good shape to do that, Zechs. Won't people grow suspicious to see a crew member in their bunk instead of working?"

"You are ill and you had an accident," Milliardo explained as he told Duo his cover. "It will have happened after we put out to sea."

Duo wanted to bang his head against Milliardo in frustration. "How plausible is that cover going to be when we return with a haul and then set out again?"

"We will put out that you are the lover of the captain," Milliardo replied in a deadpan, "and so good in bed that he is loathe to be separated from you even though you are useless as a crew member."

"Don't you fucking dare!" Duo ground out angrily.

Milliardo scowled down at him. "Where's your dedication, your self sacrifice for the cause?" He shook his head, giving up his mockery suddenly and saying more seriously, "You want absolutes, Duo. You didn't have them in the war. What makes you think you're going to get them now?"

Duo was quiet, feeling the sting of that criticism. His weakness was making him stupid, he thought, and he replayed his own words in his head. He hated himself when he realized that he had been sounding like a whining child.

"Sorry," Duo said stiffly.

"Understandable," Milliardo replied, "but not acceptable."

"I just need to rest, really rest, where it's safe enough to take painkillers" Duo sighed, "and I really need..."

"What?" Milliardo prompted, concerned suddenly.

Duo blushed uncomfortably. "I hate to ask."

Milliardo snapped impatiently almost fearfully, "If you require something important, Duo, please tell me at once!"

"Well," Duo blushed even deeper and then bit out in extreme embarrassment. "I need to pee, okay, and you have to help me do it!"

Milliardo stared in shock and then he began to laugh.

+

The ship was larger than Duo expected, but, he supposed, the ship the captain was expected to live on and coordinate from would be more spacious than the norm. Duo and Milliardo were stowed away in a cabin no bigger than five paces square, the rough bed made with rougher bed sheets and blankets. It was luxury compared to the crew, who had to hole up together and take shifts sleeping.

Duo was given the bed. He was never sure where Milliardo slept, whether on the floor, or somewhere else on the ship. He never asked and Milliardo didn't presume to curl up with Duo again. The intimacy of the truck was over.

Duo spent several days slipping in and out of consciousness, pain lulled to a bearable throb by painkillers and his own exhaustion. He hardly said three words to Milliardo, simply accepted whatever help the man offered and the food the man brought to him.

The sway of the ship reminded Duo of space. Far from being seasick he was, instead, able to relax in a way that he hadn't experienced for four years. Born and raised on a colony, the disorientation of the movement of a space station had formed his mental and physical matrix. He had never felt right in the pull of a planet's gravity and everything, from digesting to sleeping, had continued to be affected. A nervous stomach and sleepless nights had been the norm and yet another unintentional punishment, besides the aching of his gravity stressed joints, of his sentence to remain on Earth.

The captain of the ship, a weather worn, older man in a battered cap and a thick, black coat, attended Duo on occasion, simply sitting in a chair and going over weather and fish locator maps in silence. Milliardo was always gone during these visits and Duo, barely conscious most times, could only spare a few thoughts to wonder why the captain was there.

When the captain finally took off his cap, the reason why he was there ceased to be of importance. The man had a lined and leathery face, but his eyes were a dark blue and his stern expression and rough cut, chocolate colored hair reminded Duo sharply of Heero. Duo became eager to see the captain after that and he found himself watching the man covertly, indulging in a fantasy that it really was Heero Yuy sitting beside him. That fantasy, fueled by the painkillers and Duo's own desire to see Heero again, spawned a dream different than any Duo had ever experienced before.

"Duo," Heero said, suddenly there and sitting beside Duo on the bed. He looked as intense as ever; expression hungry, yet loving at the same time. Duo stared in amazement as, without another word, Heero began unraveling Duo's hair from it's braid with confident hands.

"Heero?" Duo murmured, feeling slight trepidation. This was wrong, wasn't it? He was supposed to wait, suppose to deny his emotions, suppose to make Heero see that Duo wasn't right for him. He would never be anything but a broken down, skinny, ex pilot who couldn't muster enough libido to get `it' up and Heero deserved better, he thought. At that moment, though, as Heero smoothed out his hair and simply sat marveling at it with his deep blue eyes, Duo felt something respond, and it was as strong and as needy as he remembered it being when he had been a young man fresh from a war.

"I... Heero," Duo murmured and closed his eyes as Heero peeled back the rough blanket and wordlessly slipped in beside him. Heero was strangely naked now, though Duo hadn't seen him undress.

Heero kissed Duo's neck and his tongue came out to make a hot trail down to Duo's collar bone. His hands, rough from callouses, were still capable of being gentle and eliciting moans of pleasure from Duo as they smoothed along Duo's lower body sensually. He ended by taking hold of Duo's hands and, still saying nothing, guiding those hands to his impressive erection.

It felt.... Duo didn't want to analyze it too closely. A part of his mind derisively told him that he was dreaming and that sex with a man, aside from the fumbling attempts earlier in his life, was outside of his sensory experiences. Duo was still able to pretend, though, and he did, playing with Heero and imagining a soft sheathed hardness.

"Please," Heero begged, speaking at last. "Let me be the first, Duo. Be with me, and only me, for the rest of our lives."

Soap opera drivel, that derisive part of Duo's mind canted, but Duo told it to shut up as he accepted the dream, hook, line, and sinker. Pushing away reality, Duo pulled Heero against him and wrapped his thin legs around Heero's strong torso. He rubbed his cock against Heero's in a wanton, primal motion, as Heero's hands cupped his ass and kneaded there, both of them groaning in appreciation.

Heero broke away at last and moved down Duo's body. Duo twisted fingers into Heero's wild, chocolate hair as the man's mouth closed on his weeping erection and began sucking with strong up and down motions. Duo cried out, threw back his head, and humped Heero's mouth. When the climax came, it exploded from Duo's groin so powerfully that Duo hunched over himself and Heero, grasping with bruising force at his lover's back.

"Duo!" Hands shook at Duo while a familiar voice shouted into his ear.

Duo started awake, shaking still from the remnants of the orgasm, to see Milliardo crouched by the bed, his face full of concern. "Wha-" Duo looked quickly about them, but he was back inside the familiar four wooden walls of their fish reeking cabin. Heero had never been there.

Duo became aware that his hand was locked around his own cock under the blankets and that something sticky, cum he suspected, was drying on his skin. A wet dream. He wanted to laugh and die of embarrassment at the same time.

"It's okay," Duo mumbled as he propped himself up on his pillow, making sure to keep the blanket in place. Milliardo didn't miss the covert movement of the blanket though as Duo surreptitiously removed his hand from himself.

Duo expected disgust or at least a quick withdrawal of masculine understanding, but he was surprised to see a pensive look form on Milliardo's face. "It seems that you are getting better in more ways than one," he commented. "That is very good news. It means that the Oz drugs are gone from your body at last, allowing your body to recover and begin producing hormones again."

"You mean I can `get off' again, " Duo said more bluntly, but he was blushing as well. "Yeah, it's good news to me too, so can we just drop it now and talk about something else? When the Hell do we get off of this stinking boat?"

"That is what I came to speak to you about," Milliardo replied, but his ice blue eyes seemed riveted on Duo's crotch. "We should be able to leave the ship some time in the next few days. The government is still searching for you, but they have all but given up in this area."

"No," Duo suddenly said. When Milliardo finally raised eyes to his face, Duo continued harshly, "You don't have a chance, Zechs. I already told you. Hormones or no hormones, I'm not fifteen any more. I'm not going to lay just anyone and that includes you."

Milliardo looked angry, but he didn't deny Duo's interpretation of his thoughts. "Desire is not something that can be turned on and off easily," he replied, but then he did as Duo had asked and began outlining a plan of escape to a remote bungalow owned by the captain of the ship. A few crewmen would go along, doubling as both guards and servants while they waited until Heero and the others returned from space.

"The sooner we leave the better," Duo said at last, though he would regret leaving behind the familiar roll and pitch of the ship. "That captain is giving me the creeps. Why the Hell does he come in here and sit with me? Can`t you trust me to be alone?"

Milliardo cleared his throat as he straightened from the bed. "He is only validating our cover story."

"What?" Duo said, confused.

"You're his lover, remember?," Milliardo clarified. "He has to pretend to come in here and make love to you."

"You son of a bitch!" Duo exploded. "I can't believe you went through with that!"

"I would never hurt you intentionally," Milliardo replied seriously, "but that was necessary." He narrowed eyes at Duo, not able to help a flash of anger as he cruelly pointed out, "If you think Heero would have treated you differently..."

Duo's face tightened, knowing that Milliardo was attempting a bit of revenge for his rejection. Milliardo's words didn't have their desired effect on Duo, though. Remembering Heero from the war, and the sacrifices they had all made, Duo said, with the pain of past violence coloring his voice, "Heero would put a bullet in my head if he thought that I was about to be captured by an enemy. I would let him do it too. Don't make the mistake of thinking that peacetime has mellowed soldiers like us, Zechs."

"If you want me to think that, then stop complaining about the simpler sacrifices you have to make to keep our cover!" Milliardo snapped back. "Or at least refrain from criticizing until you can present me with a better plan of action. I grow weary of suffering through your irritating protestations!"

Milliardo left Duo alone to stew in his anger then, both of them knowing that Milliardo was right, but both of them also knowing the pride, and the past between them, that was keeping Duo from admitting it.

+

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