Disclaimer: I don't own them and I don't make any money off of them.
Warnings: Male/Male sex, graphic, language, violence
6x2x1 with Heero ending up as a very good friend.
and Soldiers series + Part 1
Can't Stand You
"I told you that I have
my own, hand picked, agents to assist me, Sally," Milliardo Peacecraft
said as he tossed back his long, white hair, and glared at her from under
his long bangs. His blue eyes were daunting, but Sally glared back and
refused to bend. He sighed in exasperation and slammed two files onto
her table with pique.
"They are experts in infiltrating those old Oz bases," Sally
pointed out, "They know them better than we do. You have two months
to prepare and to learn how to work with them. You can train them how
you like without any arguments from me."
Milliardo narrowed his eyes, "How I like?"
Sally grimaced. "Within reason, of course. I won't allow you to harm
Milliardo's nostrils flared. Sally was not improving his mood by suggesting
that he would be an irresponsible commander. "I'm a soldier, Sally,
a General. They're fly-by- the-seat-of-your-pants terrorists. What do
they know of rank and file and following orders?"
"They've been with the Preventers for two years," Sally reminded
him. "We don't tolerate insubordination or an agent making up the
rules as they go along. We have procedures that must be adhered to."
Milliardo nodded, but his jaw was tense and twitching. "Yuy seems
to have been an exemplary agent. I met him in the war, fought against
him, and learned to respect him, but Maxwell.. I don't know anything about
him except that he called himself the God of Death during the war and
that he was a terror to my troops. His file is thick with warnings and
cases of insubordination... pranks, he called them. If adhering to procedures
is so important to the Preventers, I fail to see why he is still an agent."
Sally smiled. She pointed to her mouth and said, "That's why."
When Milliardo lifted a white eyebrow, she explained, "He keeps the
moral up with his pranks. They're harmless and they don't stop people
from doing their jobs. You'll find out, quickly enough, that he's damned
good at what he does. Sometimes, someone can bend the procedures and still
get the job done. I stress, `bend'. Maxwell never breaks them."
"He has to pass my inspection," Milliardo warned. "I won't
put up with `pranks' or insubordination of any kind. I'll reject the entire
mission if I don't think my men are fit to carry it out."
"That's a given," Sally replied with a sharp nod, but then she
smiled at the proper, at attention, Milliardo Peacecraft in his perfectly
pressed uniform coat of blue, gold, and silver. "You'll find, though,
that both Yuy and Maxwell are absolutely perfect for the mission. I wouldn't
have chosen them if they weren't."
"That will be my judgment call," Milliardo snapped and then,
more carefully, eyes on the two files, "Those two... they stayed
together after the war. They have the same address on their files. What
is their relationship to one another?"
Sally pursed her lips, "I suppose I don't really know. They are like
oil and water, those two, but they are ALWAYS together. They call each
other partner, not friend. Maybe it's just a case of `old habits die hard',
but if you're asking if they're lovers, I couldn't tell you. I know why
you're asking. You don't want two agents who have a relationship maybe
sacrificing the mission for each other, right?" When Milliardo gave
a tight nod, Sally shrugged. "I think you'll have to ask them, or
someone else who knows them. I will tell you that they have proven, again
and again, to my satisfaction, that they WILL complete their orders despite
whatever relationship they have. They don't let it effect them."
Milliardo eased. One worry out of the way. He couldn't imagine someone
in love Not sacrificing for their loved one. Sally's words helped him
to conclude that Yuy and Maxwell were just partners. It was one less trouble,
but the thick file that was Duo Maxwell's didn't bode well. He rubbed
between his eyes, a stress headache beginning. "Where can I find
Sally glanced at the clock on her wall, "Hard to tell, but it is
lunch hour. They do like to work out in the gym at this time when they
aren't on assignments. I can have them sent to where ever you would like
to speak to them."
Milliardo picked up the two files again and tucked them under his arm.
"I'll take care of that. They are my concern now."
Sally smiled in relief. "Good. I'm glad that you'll at least give
them a chance."
"One chance," Milliardo told her icily. "That's all they
would have gotten during the war."
"On the Oz side, maybe," Sally muttered as she watched Milliardo
Milliardo strode down the halls, eyes looking angrily at his own inner
thoughts as his long legs took him towards the gym. Men and women stepped
quickly aside, not only wary of the `Lightning Count' by reputation, but
also because he was a striking figure amid the Preventer personnel. His
flashing coat, and rippling pale hair, made him a bolt of light in a sea
of drab olive and khaki uniforms.
Milliardo had been in the military for as long as he could remember. He
had not spent long in the lower ranks, his star rising quickly with Triez's
tutelage. He was used to being in command and used to making most of the
decisions. Now that he had been placed in a special ops position, he chafed
constantly under the orders of people who had never even been in the war
and who knew everything about tactics, but nothing about the dynamics
of the men and women who were supposed to implement their plans. His rank,
his experience, and the fact that even with Relena in control of the Sank
Kingdom, he was still a prince of a well respected family, allowed him
to argue and call most of the shots where his superiors were concerned.
This mission, though, was unusual, so too was Sally Po's instance on ignoring
Milliardo's express wishes and saddling him with two live cannons once
known as Gundam Pilots.
The clanking and whir of exercise machines and weights alerted Milliardo
that he was closing in on his targets. Gripping the two files hard in
unconscious irritation, he stepped into the very large, open room of the
gym. Men and women were sweating and straining in every direction. Milliardo
scowled impatiently. He motioned to an attendant and the man nervously
approached, wiping his chalked hands on a rag.
"Maxwell and Yuy," Milliardo asked, "Where are they?"
"Over there, sir," the man said, his voice almost cracking with
his nerves. He cleared his throat in embarrassment as he motioned to a
far corner of the room, a corner not occupied by anyone except two young
men standing close together and talking.
Milliardo only nodded in acknowledgement and strode through the exercising
throng, not caring as people stopped to stare and wonder what the usually
standoffish Prince was doing among them.
Milliardo stopped a few yards from his goal and simply watched the two
men for a few moments, knowing that he would have more success in evaluating
their personalities when they were unaware of him. He noted the familiar,
serious face of Heero Yuy, head bent as he listened to what the other
man was saying. He had grown, shoulders wide and rounded, but body still
long and lanky with well developed muscles. His hair was still a dark,
rough-cut, and it hung in his pale face as his blue, intense eyes glared
at the man next to him. Milliardo was startled, thinking that Yuy was
still wearing his green tank top and black spandex shorts from the war,
but then Milliardo saw that it was a one piece, skin tight, body suit
that was black with an olive green v design at the top.
Duo Maxwell was a startling contrast to his `partner'. There were several
photos of him in his file, but they were static and old, not a proper
depiction of the live version in front of Milliardo. This man was constantly
in motion, hands moving, body turning this way and that, face a study
in a hundred different expression, most of them lively smiles, grins,
and open mouthed laughs. His eyes were large, like a child's, and they
were sparkling and crinkling at the corners as he grinned. They were also
the most unusual shade of amethyst Milliardo had ever seen. Dressed in
an overlarge, white shirt that hung off of one bare shoulder, the slogan,
`Life's a bitch and then my Gundam steps on you.' emblazoned in red across
the front, and a pair of black shorts that almost looked like boxers,
Maxwell still looked fifteen. He was much shorter than Yuy and all wiry
arms and legs. His hair was a deep chestnut and a thick braid swung with
his motions in a very long tail down his back. Milliardo remembered an
old story about an irreverent boy who refused to grow up. Peter Pan was
the name, he recalled. Maxwell embodied that character.
"Heero, I told you, it doesn't matter that mice don't talk, it's
what the mouse is saying that's funny!"
"It's not that, " Heero said as if he were contemplating what
Maxwell was saying with the same seriousness he would have given to atomic
theory. "I can accept that the mouse IS speaking, and that the dog
can have a dog for a pet, but..."
"But?" Duo prompted.
"It's just not funny," Yuy told him with a wince.
Duo gaped and then he giggled. Milliardo blinked. For a moment, Duo looked
like some mischievous elf with his large cheeks and wide grin, and then
he was putting on a hurt expression that was patently exaggerated for
effect. "Are you saying that my joke isn't funny, Yuy?"
"No, " Heero replied calmly as he turned to adjust an exercise
machine, "I'm saying Randell's joke isn't funny. He's the one who
first told it early this morning."
"Hm," Duo replied, stifling another laugh and trying to continue
his `hurt' act.
"Tell your own jokes, Duo," Heero advised him.
Duo raised eyebrows, startled, "Are you saying MINE are funnier?"
Heero paused as if considering and then he replied, "They are less
Milliardo chose that moment to walk up and announce his presence. "Gentleman."
It was interesting, Milliardo noticed, that the diminutive Maxwell stepped
almost protectively in front of Yuy and then blinked and grinned at Milliardo
as he easily recognized the Lightning Count, his superior. "Sir,"
he said cheerily.
Yuy came almost to attention, looking grim and respectful. "Sir,"
he echoed. "Do you need assistance?"
Milliardo paused and looked them both over slowly. It was a test that
he often used to gauge how nervous a man was. Heero stared back steadily,
unaffected, simply waiting for an order, but Duo fidgeted and grinned
"Forget what you were going to say, sir?" Duo wondered impishly.
"Happens all the time to me."
Milliardo scowled, choosing to ignore the remark. "I want you at
Medina barracks at six a.m. tomorrow morning," he ordered sharply.
Duo blinked. "Both of us?" he wondered.
Milliardo narrowed his ice blue eyes. "Would there be a problem if
I was speaking only to you?"
Duo made a face, one that was perplexed and curious at the same time.
He scratched his head with one hand and then said, "Well, no, sir,
but usually we are paired together for assignments. That's why I'm asking.
If you don't want us together, then which one of us do you want? It wouldn't
do for just me to show up if you just wanted, Heero, or for Heero to show
up, if you just wanted me, or for us to get really confused and have no
one show up-"
"Both of you!" Milliardo snapped, cutting Duo off irritably.
Duo smiled. "Okay, we'll be there, sir, bright and early."
"We will be there on time," Heero promised, "What will
be our objective? Is there a list of preparations and equipment?"
"Yeah, some info would be good," Duo agreed. "Will we need
black stretch suits and repelling equipment for night ops or bunny slippers
and jammies for a sleep over?"
"It will be morning," Heero reminded Duo, deadpan, and Milliardo
couldn't tell if Heero was joining in Duo's insubordinate behavior or
"Oh, yeah! That's right!" Duo chuckled. "Silly me."
Milliardo stared, thinking that silence on his part would warn Duo that
he wasn't amused and that he was about to be in trouble. Duo didn't take
the hint. He continued to smile, though Milliardo could see some very
small signs of nervousness.
"You won't need anything but training suits," Milliardo replied.
"We have several weeks until the operation. I want to know all of
your strengths and weaknesses before that time." He gave Duo a hard
look. "I will be judging whether you are fit for the operation. I
have been given complete authority in that area."
"Wow!" Duo exclaimed cheerfully. "Go you! Sally usually
isn't that kind of an accommodating commander. She must like you."
"She respects me and my opinion," Milliardo corrected Duo harshly
and then decided that Duo wasn't going to respond to anything except bluntness.
"According to your file, Maxwell, you are a bit of a prankster; a
clown, to be exact. I won't tolerate that. This will be your only warning.
If you use any of the tone, and lack of respect, that I have seen here
in the last few minutes, I will not only dismiss you from the operation,
but I will put a mark in your file and suggest that you be dismissed."
Duo's eyes went wide as if he were shocked, but there was a twinkle of
laughter in his eyes as well, as if he doubted the ability of Milliardo
to carry out that threat. That caused Milliardo to seethe inwardly, but
he kept it under control. There would be time enough to discipline Maxwell,
he thought as he said, "I will see the two of you tomorrow morning.
Be prepared for hard training."
Milliardo turned on his heel, the interview over, and began walking back
through the gym.
Duo's voice floated after him, "Do I get breakfast?"
Milliardo paused almost misstep, stiffened angrily, and then decided that
he didn't trust himself to answer with restraint. He continued walking.
"Guess not," Duo sighed. "We'll have to grab a bite in
the morning, Heero. What should we have?"
"Something high in protein," Heero replied.
"Eggs and bacon?" Duo wondered hopefully.
"Hn." Whatever that meant, Duo seemed to take it as an affirmative
from Heero. As Milliardo reached the exit door of the gym, he heard Duo
babbling on excitedly about eggs and bacon.
I will not have someone like that on my team, Milliardo thought angrily.
Duo was as good as gone. He would allow Duo a first day with his own handpicked
men, for appearance sake, and then he would inform Sally Po that he was
definitely unsuitable. Satisfied with that decision, Milliardo looked
back. Heero was speaking to Duo in a low tone, but Duo, surprisingly,
was watching Milliardo leave. When he caught the man's eye, Duo waved
cheerily. With a growl of irritation, Milliardo's grip tightened hard
on the two files still tucked under his arm and he stalked away.
Once back in his office, Milliardo sat down heavily behind his wide desk
and slapped Duo's file down in front of him. He opened it and scanned,
once again, the reams of complaints about his mischief. Underneath, were
his mission reports, all done in a very slangy, unrefined language and
written in a sloppy handwriting style that was almost illegible. Flowers,
a swarm of bees,Gundams, various caricatures of people, some sort of parts
diagram, a note to meet someone at a dance club, and various stains from
food and coffee, littered the margins.
Heero's file was a sharp contrast. it was slim and neat, no complaints,
no marks against him, and his mission reports were typed and read with
a painful exactitude. There was a bland photo of the almost sullen looking
Preventer agent. Milliardo stared at it, recalling their battles and their
rivalry during the war. He had learned to respect Heero the hard way.
Duo's photo was strange. He wasn't smiling. He looked lost and worried,
as if someone had taken the photo of him unawares. He seemed to be looking
off to the right at someone. Looking at the photo, Milliardo found himself
intrigued. It was almost like a mystery and he felt compelled to solve
it. Who was this man? He didn't seem to bear any relation to the young
man Milliardo had just met in the gym. This person... Milliardo touched
the photo with a long finger and traced the outline of the face. The eyes...
they looked haunted; purple wells with a tightness around them. Milliardo
looked closer, trying to see everything possible in the small photo.
The photo was too small, too vague, too full of answers to a single question,
answers that Milliardo didn't know were true or false. The question was
simple, why was he, Milliardo Peacecraft, attracted to that particular
image of Duo Maxwell? He didn't want to admit how many times, since receiving
the file, he had taken out that photo and looked at it. He had read through
the pages in the file many times and had tried to reconcile that photo
with the profile of a irreverent prankster. The two hadn't matched. Seeing
Duo in person, finding out that the file was far more accurate than the
photo, had caused something inside of Milliardo to feel more than simple
disappointment. That too, he didn't want to admit.
Milliardo put the photo back and purposeful closed the file. He put Heero's
file on top and pressed it down, as if that could stop his odd compulsion
to look at the photo. It didn't.
"What the hell, Milliardo," he said out loud to himself, "he's
just unusual in every way and you've been bored and alone with your thoughts
too much lately."
Milliardo stood up and left his office again, leaving the files behind
and hating how it took an effort of will to leave that photo, the mystery,
and those thoughts behind to concentrate on the task at hand, a task that
could costs men's lives if he allowed himself to be distracted now by
a pair of purple eyes.
[back to kracken's fic]