By: Kracken
Disclaimer:Don't own them Don't make any money off of this.
Warnings:Male/male sex, graphic, violence, language

Princes and Soldiers series + Part 18
Duty Calls

"Blind side," Heero said as they came to where the doors were. He pointed to the left. Milliardo nodded. That view was blocked by a door and the girl standing outside of it. Unless the dissidents wanted to risk themselves, they couldn't move out far enough to see them.

"Surveillance?" Milliardo wondered. It was possible that there were monitors.

Heero shrugged and Milliardo nodded grimly. It didn't matter, he thought, whether they were seen or not. They were still going to attempt their rescue.

Heero pointed to Milliardo. "Cover fire."

Milliardo began to argue and then didn't and nodded his agreement. He was larger than the ex-pilot of Wing beside him, but Heero was better trained and stronger. If it came to carrying the girl and getting away in time, Heero was the logical choice. Milliardo knew that his role wasn't much safer. He was going to have to move out of hiding and fire as close to the girl as he could to keep the men off balance and undercover.

"Three minutes," Milliardo warned Heero. Three minutes until the weapon was fired.

"Understood," Heero replied grimly.

Milliardo sized up the impossible situation one more time, braced his nerve, and then ordered, "Go!"

It was like a dance, everything seeming to slow down; fluid, graceful, deadly. Milliardo fired his gun and saw the bullets whiz by so close to the girl's face that some of her hair whipped back. She flinched sideways, especially when men began screaming and fire was returned. That movement to the side was the perfect opportunity that Milliardo needed. Whoever had their hands on her was suddenly gone in a spray of blood as Milliardo concentrated his fire on him.

Heero was already sprinting across the small clearing. He was fast, agile, and his body easily cleared underbrush and the few pieces of equipment in his way to reach the girl's side. He grabbed her and didn't wait to see if she could follow him on her own. Putting her in a fireman's carry, Heero immediately sprinted back for the forest as if her weight was inconsequential. Two men leaned out of the hanger door, daring, faces twisted in hate and anger, and began firing after him. Milliardo saw bullets send bits of tree trunk flying all around Heero's head before Milliardo's return fire took the men out.

Milliardo didn't wait to see Heero make it to the safety of the trees. He never doubted that the man would make it. His own safety was in doubt, though, as the last minute ticked off of Milliardo's watch and the alarm went off. Running for the forest, he heard the weapon powering up loudly. He had given orders for the weapon to be fired no matter what and all that Milliardo could do now was to bug out and hope for the best.

Milliardo felt a bullet slice past his shoulder and he flinched and grabbed at the wound as he staggered and lost his balance. He went sprawling into the dirt and bullets splattered all around him. Instinctively, he covered his head.

Milliardo heard the clang of the hanger doors running over their tracks as they opened completely. Rolling to his feet, Milliardo looked back. He wasn't being fired at any longer. Instead, the men, probably hearing the big gun as well, were playing their trump card. They were going to attack with a mobile suit. The hair on the back of Milliardo's neck stood up as the thing, a dull gray and tan model with a pair of beam rifles, came lumbering out, shaking the ground with every step.

Milliardo knew that it was useless as soon as he began running again. The M.S. was already leveling a rifle at his back. It would get his shot off long before the weapon fired. Milliardo couldn't help looking back and then stopped in the shelter of some large trees. The M.S. was moving awkwardly, the arm with the rifle lowering and rising as some inexperienced person tried to make it work. Milliardo found himself grinning. Whoever was inside it, had little or no experience.

A sudden blast threw Milliardo backwards and he felt shrapnel rip into his chest, neck, and already abused arm. He landed on his ass, dazed, a large part of an M.S. hand lying in smoking, hot ruin next to his head. It was more than a second before his mind realized that the big weapon hadn't fired. Pieces of M.S. all around him were the product of an explosion, not the beam cannon his men had been about to use on the hanger.

"Duo!" Milliardo gasped, knowing that man's handiwork instantly.

Another explosion rocked the inside of the hanger and men began pouring out in frantic haste. Milliardo's cell beeped. He whipped it out and shouted, "Why haven't you fired the weapon?"

"Malfunction, sir," his man on the other end reported. "Orders?"

"Move in! Group B , left flank, group D, point, and group C, right flank. Advance on targets, not hanger. I repeat, do not enter hanger. More explosions are probably imminent."

"Yes, sir."

There was another explosion and the ground bucked, the hanger walls resounding with the force. More men ran out, screaming, and some of them were on fire.

"Permission to extract Duo!" Heero shouted as he raced by Milliardo.

Milliardo didn't have time to wonder what the man would have done if he had said, no. He replied, "Permission granted!" and ran after Heero, intent on the same goal, but he threw at the man's retreating back, "Disable mobile suits at all costs: top priority!"

"Acknowledged!" Heero shouted back at him.

Music began blaring suddenly as they slowed and cautiously slipped into the hanger. The rhythm of a dark rock song washed over them. 'Someone's gonna die, d-d-d-die!' The lyrics pulsed with the frantic drum beat. Milliardo glanced at Heero and was startled to see him grinning with almost manic glee.

"Duo," Heero said simply.

Smoke was billowing and fire was licking at the blast points. They seemed random until Milliardo saw tables, chairs, scattered weapons, and corpses. Someone had destroyed the firepower and a number of the enemy very effectively.

"You son of a bitch!" A voice shouted furiously. Shots rang out. "You blow that and we'll all die, including you! What are you, crazy?!"

"Hey, man! You're the one shooting at a guy setting an explosive charge!" Duo's voice called back raggedly. "These suits are going down and nothing's going to stop me!"

The music was coming from a high scaffolding along the side of one of the M.S. A man was standing a level beneath that point, looking furious and pointing a gun upwards with both hands. He fired his gun again and wood from the upper platform flew as bullets peppered it.

"Missed me!" Duo called out in a gleeful singsong voice. "No wonder you guys are losing! You're crappy strategists and even crappier shots!"

"Hold it right there!" Milliardo shouted as he and Heero pounded up to the platform and trained their guns at the man. The man looked down in defeat and then his _expression firmed. Milliardo wasn't surprised when he leveled his gun at them. The man was committing suicide, unwilling to live with failure.

"Duo!" Heero shouted even as Milliardo and the man fired their weapons at the same time. "Area secured!"

"Too late, buddy!" Duo called back regretfully. "Three minutes, mark! Bug out now!"

The man jerked and shuddered as he was filled with bullets. He fell backwards and took the long fall to the concrete floor of the hanger. Milliardo and Heero flinched as several bullets passed by them closely, but none hit their targets as they both shouldered their weapons and began climbing the scaffolding.

"Duo!" Milliardo shouted, refusing to let his wounded arm slow him. "Status?"

"I told you to bug out!" Duo almost screamed it. "They caught me and managed to beat me up some before I got away. I'm wounded, down for good! You don't have time for extraction! Get the hell out!"

"Heero!" Milliardo shouted, wanting with all that was in him to reach Duo and save him, but knowing that the man beside him was far more capable. "Extract Duo, now!"

Heero nodded grimly and shot forward, his muscles bunching and flexing noticeably as he pushed them to their limit and climbed the scaffolding with incredible speed. Milliardo continued to climb, knowing that Heero might need help, but feeling helpless in the face of Heero's super human abilities. He couldn't help the awe that he felt and wondered, not for the first time, just who and what Heero was. A normal man couldn't have made it to the top of the platform as quickly as Heero did, or slung a wounded man, however slight, onto his shoulders and climbed down again. Heero did it all easily.

Duo clung to Heero, cursing him profusely and so foully that Milliardo blinked in shock. His hair was half out of his braid and a very large bruise was coloring one side of his face. His lips were bleeding and Milliardo could see a large, dark stain on his side. Blood dripped down from that wound in steady droplets.

"Duo!' Milliardo exclaimed in fear and shock, realizing that Duo was bleeding to death and that they couldn't halt and stop it. They needed to get down and get him to a medic as quickly as possible. Milliardo longed to help accomplish that, but all he could do was climb down with Heero, ready to offer a steadying hand if Duo lost his balance on he precarious perch.

Heero didn't need his help, though. The young man was climbing down quickly, Duo balancing as securely as a cat across his shoulders and managing not to move despite his continuous verbal assault and his injured condition. Through it all, music was still playing, throbbing through the air. It was coming from Duo's hip, a player of some sort.

"Music. Off!" Heero snapped, his only reply to Duo's tirade.

Duo reached down and slapped the off button without argument and the crackling of the fire came loudly to them then. Smoke was choking them and visibility was quickly fading.

"Milliardo, Sir!" A voice called from below and Milliardo knew that his men were in the building and that the dissidents had been defeated.

"Retreat!" Milliardo shouted instantly. "There's a bomb!"

He heard barked orders and there was no one to greet him when his feet touched the concrete floor. Heero was down shortly after and he didn't acknowledge Milliardo's offer of help, but began a steady trot towards the hanger doors.

Duo looked over at Milliardo and grinned uneasily as he bounced on Heero's shoulders. The grin looked manic though and Milliardo could see that Duo was frightened, not for himself, but for Milliardo. Duo reached out a bloody, grimy hand and Milliardo touched it briefly without breaking stride. It was all the closeness that they could manage in that situation.

"You two are fricken' idiots, if you don't mind me saying so, sir!" Duo growled, but his heart was in his eyes, taking the sting out of it.

Milliardo smiled and he would have laughed if he wasn't so afraid that it would sound hysterical. "For you, yes, Heero and I are idiots!" he replied.

"And you try and blow us up for our trouble!" Heero snorted, managing to express grim amusement even as he ran under Duo's weight.

Duo blinked at them both and then he laughed and it was... Milliardo tried to understand it. The laugh sounded amused, happy, surprised, but all wrapped up with an intensity that made the hairs on Milliardo's neck stand up. It came to him then, that Duo didn't think that they were going to make it.

"Move faster!" Milliardo shouted.

"No, damn time!," Duo lamented and then looked back at Milliardo as they cleared the hanger doors. "I love you, ya know?" and then put his face next to Heero's as he jolted on the man's shoulders, "and you're the best damned friend anyone could ever have."

"Shut up, baka!" Heero panted back angrily. "Your talking is making wind resistance!"

"Hah!" Duo snorted. "A joke from Heero Yuy in my last moments!"

And then the blast hit their backs and Milliardo realized that Duo was right, they weren't going to make it. As he felt pain rifle over his back, and he was thrown into the dirt, he sourly wondered at himself for doubting a bomb expert and hoping that, for once, Duo was wrong.