Disclaimer: Don't own them and Don't make any money off of this.
Warnings: Male/male sex, graphic, violence, language, drug addiction,
Maladjusted Gundam Boys.
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Paths + Part 9
Sighing contentedly, Duo snuggled
into down comforters, a gel mattress, and fresh linen covered pillows.
He ignored the troubled voice inside of himself that said 'this is wrong',
for as long as he could, hiding underneath a flap of comforter from the
rising sun streaming through picture windows. When the sun reached midmorning,
Duo finally began to question the very fact that he was in a bed.
Opening his amethyst eyes, Duo blinked at his bedroom and the bright light
pooling over the well appointed furnishings. He remembered... Duo sat
up, rubbing at his eyes and then pushing his hair out of his face by raking
it back impatiently with his fingers. He had fallen asleep last night
in the solarium.
He still had his clothes on, and for that Duo was grateful. That meant
that someone had carried him to bed, but had not treated him completely
like a child by performing the embarrassing duty of undressing him and
tucking him in. It still bothered Duo that he hadn't noticed those ministrations,
but had slept through it. He was trained to have a hair trigger, conditioned
to wake and respond to the slightest abnormality in his surroundings.
That he hadn't was an indication of his condition. The stressful revelations,
tension, and travel, had left him exhausted to the point where he was
both not thinking clearly and not being alert. Soldier mode, Duo reminded
himself and squinted at the rising sun. He had grown used to sleeping
late, having nothing to wake up to unless it was one of his infrequent
doctor appointments. Laziness, both intentional and a by-product of the
drugs, had to be stopped. Duo didn't have time to sleep. Things were coming
to a head, he felt, and he needed all the time he could get to figure
things out before... before what?
Duo forced himself out of the warm bed and padded across the cold floor
to a table and chair by the window. He blinked at his bottles of pills
lined up there and a glass of water. Sitting down heavily, the ritual
kicked in and Duo had a mindless minute where he accomplished the task
of taking his pills. Ritual completed, Duo's mind took control again as
if it hadn't occurred and Duo picked up exactly where he had left off
in his thoughts.
Duo frowned and rubbed at his eyes, the sun stinging them. He needed to
identify his danger before he could protect himself against it, he reasoned.
That in itself, he knew, was going to be a hard task. There were levels
of omissions, lies, and enemies. Sorting them out, and putting them in
a list of posing the most danger, was going to be difficult, if not impossible,
considering his lack of facts.
Problem Heero had been, or was, part of the Tiger Cell, the fanatic mercenaries
that had given Oz, natives of Earth, and the Colonists, nightmares. Their
past atrocities were a fact. Duo had seen some of them himself. Heero
was claiming that there had been factions and that he had been a part
of the good faction, if such a term could be used to describe the men
who had made the wholesale slaughter of Oz troops their mission in life.
Heero had come to Duo to evaluate him for his superiors. Finding out what
he had been evaluated for, and who those superiors were, went on Duo's
mental list. Until he had the facts of Heero's innocence. Duo couldn't
Duo felt a pang in his heart. He rubbed his chest and bowed his head,
remembering Heero's warm lips on his. In the war, they had all learned
the cost of personal entanglements. When a person might have violently
died at any time, when self sacrifice had been the order of the day, and
subterfuge had been the only way to survive, having to worry about another
individual could, not only cost a soldier his life, but the lives of those
depending on him. Heero had held to that philosophy like a zealot. If
he was still doing missions, for whatever reason, it didn't seem likely
that he would try to advance some sort of relationship with Duo now. It
seemed even less likely that he would ignore his mission, and, perhaps,
his superiors, to take the time to help Duo. Knowing that, the motivation
for the kiss became even more suspect. Duo had found out Heero's secret.
Distraction, like an unexpected kiss, and misinformation, would have been
Duo's first choice during the war as well. Duo's hands squeezed his knobby
knees hard and he glared at nothing for a very long time, hating himself,
hating his weakness, and hating his heart that was hurting so much when
he needed it to be hard and cold. He needed to be like Heero had been
during the war. He needed to forget personal entanglements, forget his
heart, and center his entire being on figuring out what the hell was going
on in his life.
Next problem, Duo thought, forcing himself with a tremendous effort to
go on with his mental list. How sick was he, how much was caused by the
drugs, and how much of his health could be corrected after four years?
Those question were almost as anxiety inducing as whether Heero was duping
him or not. What would he do if Quatre's doctors told him that the drugs
were causing his difficulties? What would he do if they weren't? What
might happen if Quatre's psychologist were to make the same diagnosis
as the supposed Oz sympathizer? How would he, Duo, cope if he found out
that he really was paranoid and that Heero was only feeding on that paranoia
for his own reasons? Worse yet, how much could he trust Quatre's doctors?
Duo shook his head sharply at that, refusing to fall into complete paranoia.
At some point, he had to trust, and he felt more comfortable trusting
Quatre and his hand picked staff, rather than any alternative.
Yet another problem; if there was a plot against him, then why? Old enemies
from the war seemed the best bet, but Duo, cringing inwardly, had only
to recall that he had killed most of them. The exception was Milliardo
Peacecraft. Also known as Zechs, Duo knew that the man could be a cold-blooded
killer when the need arose. A soldier through and through, Zechs' honor
and his own morals, had never stood in the way of his duty. Duo recalled
his hot tongue, his searching hands, and his very handsome face smiling
with eager lust, tempered by a commanding, aristocratic bearing. Unfortunately,
Duo could recall little else. His dealings with Zechs had been minimal
to none during the war. It was true he had helped thwart Zechs from harming
the Earth, but so had others. If the man had been looking for revenge,
Heero would have been a more likely target. Duo didn't think that tumbling
the virginity of, what had been, the least known of the Gundam pilots,
much of a substitute or a starting point in any vendetta.
Duo was left with a more reasonable conclusion in the end and one that
he felt inclined to settle on. He, and the other Gundam pilots, had been
a problem for the government. Heero had disappeared. Quatre had been,
and was still, the untouchable head of the Winner name and all that went
with it. Wu Fei had retired to an eccentric, scholar's life. Trowa had
wisely attached himself to Quatre and, therefore, had made himself just
as untouchable. Only Duo had neglected to 'fit in' completely into society.
He had accepted awards, tried to attend parties, and had attempted to
live up to the name of war hero while celebrating peace in a string of
rather wild and exuberant ways. He had been so young, Duo remembered,
and there had never been a time in his life when he had been free, and
monetarily able, to live a comfortable life full of possibilities. It
had been like being drunk, he recalled; happy, full of anticipation, and
ready to stretch his wings and be something great. Duo had wanted to live
up to his reputation, had wanted to be the war hero, and had wanted people
to look up to him and admire him. He had also wanted to forget his terrible
life on L2 and to be the kind of man that children would want to grow
up to be.
Duo put his face in his hands, elbows braced on the tabletop. He felt
black misery overcome him and he wallowed in it, remembering the metal
ward, the endless questions, the drugs, the therapy that had left him
confused and doubting; doubting himself enough to do what ever he was
told, take what ever he was given no matter what it did to him. By the
time they had denied him space, called him a menace, issued their endless
demands, and began creating the false image of an unstable, party-whore,
freak, menace to society Duo Maxwell, Duo had lacked the will or the health
to fight back.
Duo's hands gripped his own face hard, fingers digging into flesh. If
he discovered that they had lied to him, that his paranoia was justified,
that four years of 'treatment' had been a coordinated effort with the
people who had smeared his good name to bring him down and control him,
Duo felt that the sky was the limit for what he would do then. There was
a brief knock on the door and it opened right after that, Trowa pacing
into the apartment without waiting for an answer as Duo looked up from
his hands. Marks from his fingers were livid on his cheeks.
"Will you sleep all day?" Trowa wondered softly. "I have been waiting."
"Waiting?" Duo echoed, trying to come out of his own thoughts and almost
prevented from doing so by the growing haze of the drugs.
"To apologize," Trowa clarified as he went to a large window and looked
out, a strong hand holding back the curtain as he continued nonsensically,
"Quatre has set up tea on the gazebo. He would like you to join us there."
Trowa looked like a poem, Duo noticed as he tried to fathom those two
trains of thought, a poem about soft angst and young men in love. Trowa's
soft eyes were unaffected by the strong sunlight and he was seeing something
that made them fairly glow with emotion. Quatre, of course, Duo guessed.
The Gazebo must be in sight of the window.
"I shouldn't have judged you so quickly," Trowa said regretfully, but
explained, "Quatre is too soft hearted most times. He doesn't, or won't,
see that some men are too reprehensible to help. I try to protect him,
now, by keeping those types of people from taking advantage of him."
Duo glared. "You thought that I was trying to take advantage of Quatre?
It wasn't even my choice to come here!"
"I know that now," Trowa admitted. "Quatre and Heero explained that you
truly are in need of help of one kind... or another."
"I'm glad that someone else isn't sure what kind of help I need," Duo
sighed and stood up. He scooped his pills into his duffel bag and zipped
it up. It was a nervous motion. He didn't trust his new accommodations
enough to leave them just lying about. "Heero is convinced I'm a dupe
and Quatre is convinced that I'm shell shocked from the war."
Trowa gave a slight shrug. "You look like a starved monkey with big purple
eyes," he said as if it wasn't anything personal. "You're all thin arms
and legs. You look nervous and your skin twitches once in awhile. I also
heard about your... episode in the foyer. Many things could explain your
condition, but I chose the most obvious, that you were what every news
vid and story painted you to be, an out of control, perverted, drug addict,
who had a penchant for graveyards, corpses, and attacking decent people
Duo snorted in sour amusement as he levered himself up from his chair.
He needed a shower, clean clothes, and a clean bill of health from Quatre's
doctors, not to be sipping tea and enduring doubtful looks and potentially
upsetting conversation, even if Trowa was deciding to be nice now.
"I'm not going to tea," Duo explained. "I have too much to do. Thank Quatre
Trowa simply inclined his head and headed for the door without arguing,
without trying to persuade a too thin Duo that he needed to eat. Duo felt
a bite of anger, until he caught a glimpse of Trowa's relaxing shoulders
and a brief expression of relief. He hadn't wanted a tense brunch in the
gazebo any more than Duo.
Duo let out a small sigh as Trowa quietly closed the door behind him.
Duo felt relief, and a bit of gratitude, as the anger slipped away. Sometimes,
silence and acceptance worked wonders and Duo wondered how long it had
been since anyone had so quietly accepted his will about anything. It
felt good. Duo's gratitude towards Trowa deepened as he tucked his pack
where he could easily get to it and then went into the bathroom to shower.
He needed to hold onto that good feeling as long as he could, Duo thought,
knowing that anything Quatre's doctors could tell him was probably not
going to be news he wanted to hear.
After his shower, Duo found sweaters and coats in a closet purposefully
left open to catch his attention. Taking a cue from Trowa, Duo slipped
into a black, close fitting turtleneck and a pair of dark blue jeans.
Putting on his low cut boots, Duo ignored the wall of mirrors in the bathroom.
They were always going to be his enemy, he felt, and he wasn't going to
spoil his mood by being confronted by his reflection; a stick figure wrapped
in clothes, an over meter long, chestnut braid, it's only saving grace.
"Hate you," Duo whispered to the mirrors as he passed them, feeling foolish,
but needing to reassert himself, even if it was to inanimate objects.
Opening the front door of his room, Duo found Rashid standing outside
as patient as the mountains, face unreadable and burly arms crossed over
his barrel chest. He nodded to Duo sternly, his desert weathered features
so commanding that Duo knew better than to argue his presence there. He
was only following orders after all, Duo thought bitterly, Quatre's orders.
"So," Duo asked tightly. "Were you the one who found me last night?"
"Everyone was ordered to search," Rashid replied in his deep voice, "but
it was Heero who told me that you liked the stars and that he would search
outside. I took his information and deduced a different outcome. Knowing
your weakened state, I surmised that you might have gone to one of the
solariums or the observatory."
"There's an observatory?" Duo replied. When Rashid nodded, Duo made a
note to visit it. Turning his mind back to his growing embarrassment,
prickling anger, and bitterness, he felt the need to ask, "You carried
me back to my room and put me to bed?"
Rashid nodded again. "I also informed Quatre that you didn't look well
and that it might be wise to stand by in case you needed assistance-"
"A guard," Duo interrupted, riding over Rashid's last word. "You thought
that I might be crazy and dangerous. I bet you're about to follow me around
today, aren't you?"
Rashid inclined his head yet again and said nothing. There definitely
was not going to be an argument about it, Duo understood from the look
in Rashid's stern, black eyes. Duo decided not to press it, not to sink
any lower into depression by having Rashid show him just how powerless
he was. Trowa's silent kindness was even more appreciated now that Duo
was given a refresher of how things really were for him.
"I'm going to the doctor today," Duo said quietly, looking anywhere but
at Rashid. "I hope that you're not intending to go into the examination
room with me or sit and listen in while I talk about my personal business
with the psychiatrist. I would really...," he swallowed the bile of disgust
at himself for the slight, begging tone to his voice, "I would really
appreciate it if you would trust me and not- not do that."
Rashid developed a small crease between his eyes. It seemed forever before
he said, "I will stand at the door as I did here. I will not go in."
Duo let out a small breath of relief, but he didn't thank Rashid. The
man was granting him a small favor, but that didn't rectify that he thought
that Duo was unstable and a danger to his Master Quatre and others. Stiffening
his shoulders, unconsciously trying to stand taller next to the large
man, Duo decided to ignore him and continue with his business. It was
hard not turning around though. Rashid was silent for such a large man
and, just knowing that he was a trained soldier, was enough to set Duo's
awakening soldier instincts on edge. Those instincts were sending warning
alarms, reminding him that a man who wanted to live to a ripe old age
didn't turn his back on a potential enemy.
Some of Duo's nervousness seemed to communicate itself to Rashid. He suddenly
lengthened his stride and moved ahead of Duo saying, "I'll show you the
way." Duo noticed that he didn't rate an honorific even as small as Sir
or Mr. Maxwell. With Rashid and his men, such honorifics had to be earned.
It told Duo where he stood in Rashid's estimation.
"I want to see Heero first," Duo told him. "Is he out having tea with
"No," Rashid replied. "Trowa informed me that he had declined."
"Are you having him watched as well?" Duo wondered.
"Not as closely as you are, but he is at odds with Master Quatre," Rashid
replied with a patient, 'of course', tone to his words.
"Over me," Duo clarified all on his own and Rashid gave another one of
his too noble nods; condescending to answer. "Let's see if Heero is in
his room then."
Rashid adjusted their direction, backtracking to another hallway and then
pacing sedately while Duo had to hurry his steps like a child to keep
up. It hurt. It made him tired. Gravity pulled at Duo and his joints protested
every step. Duo endured it, unwilling to ask Rashid to slow down and suffer
worse than pain, more embarrassment.
When they reached Heero's door, Duo had to lean against it and catch his
breath, the sickly sheen of pain and exhaustion clear on his face.
"S-Stay out here," Duo told Rashid, mustering enough temper to try to
make it an order.
Rashid stared, stared until Duo had to look away and back down, but Rashid
didn't take advantage, he simply said, "I will wait here, just as I said
"G-Good!' Duo panted and felt the need to get away from Rashid's dark,
appraising stare. He couldn't tell what the man was thinking, but Duo
was imagining disgust, disgust that a simple walk had exhausted Duo. Duo
fumbled for the doorknob and let himself in. It was mid morning. Heero,
always an early riser, wouldn't be undressed or in bed at that hour. Duo
didn't even have much hope of finding him there. After closing the door
behind him, Duo reconsidered his unannounced entrance. He should have
knocked. Heero was still in active duty of some sort and his hair trigger
response might include accidentally shooting men who surprised him.
Duo almost called out, opening his lips to do so, but then he heard a
moan come from the bathroom and he closed his mouth on it. The moan had
definitely come from Heero.
Duo crouched, every muscle tense. He didn't wait to get Rashid. If Heero
was ill or being attacked, then Duo was going to the rescue immediately.
Still, even as he moved quickly and silently to the bathroom door, he
memorized everything in the room, noted possible weapons he could use,
and thought of several ways he could disable an attacker even in his weakened
state. So, it caught him completely off guard when he saw that Heero,
far from being attacked or ill, was naked and bent over the washbasin,
pleasuring himself with intense motions.
Blood scalded Duo's face as his eyes went wide and his heart thudded down
to his toes. He had frozen in the doorway, breath sucked in and still,
shocked witness as Heero, eyes closed, face frowning in concentration,
and tiger tattoo rippling across his shoulder, was saying with deep, growling,
passion, "Oh, Duo, you are so tight! I knew you would be. I just knew...
That's it. Move with me. Spread yourself wider. Let me in. Let me in all
Duo backed up, biting his lip and breaking skin. Tasting his own blood,
his mind tried to deny what he had just seen, unable to comprehend that
Heero Yuy was masturbating and fantasizing about him. Duo didn't consider
love or even passion as a reason for Heero's inexplicable behavior. Instead,
his thoughts wound down darker roads. When he caught a reflection of himself
as he passed a mirror, Duo couldn't help but glare at it.
Big, purple eyes. A big eyed monkey; all arms and legs. That's the way
Trowa had described him and Duo thought that it was a fair description.
A strong, handsome, competent man like Heero Yuy shouldn't have been fantasizing
about him. unless... Duo thought of all the men who had tried to crawl
into his bed, the ones who had been fascinated by his notoriety, by his
long braid, by his purple eyes, by the very fact that he was still as
small and as slim as a fifteen-year-old boy. None of them had cared about
the whole package, least of all the mind, of Duo Maxwell, and he had rejected
every one of them. Duo thought that it had to be that. Heero was fascinated
by some small part of him, not Duo as a whole. The whole package was too
unpalatable for anyone.
Face burning again with reaction, Duo thought that he knew what might
be fascinating Heero just by the way the man had been masturbating, taking
the dominant role, imagining Duo captured beneath him, and that opened
up an entirely new avenue of understanding for Duo. His weakness hadn't
seemed to bother Heero. If Heero 'got off' on that weakness in Duo, then
it all made much more sense.
Duo went through the door of Heero's rooms and closed it very softly behind
him. Rashid raised an eyebrow. Duo didn't explain his quick return, only
swallowed hard, knowing he was red to his ears, and said, "Doctors."
Rashid left his post by the door and led the way without question. He
didn't look back at Duo, seeming to understand that Duo needed some time
to regain his composure. It didn't take Duo long to begin to be angry
and to feel abused, even though Heero hadn't really touched him. The idea
that Heero was perverted, wanting a weak and small vessel for his passions,
set itself firmly in Duo's mind. Heero hadn't really touched him, but
Duo had the feeling, especially after the man's too forceful kiss, that
he might be leading up to it.
"Keep fucking yourself, Heero," Duo whispered angrily under his breath,
"You won't get a chance with me."
[part 8] [part 10]
[back to Kracken's fic]