Disclaimer:I don't own them and I don't make any money off of them.
Warnings:Male/male sex, graphic, language, violence
and Soldiers series + Part 4
torn ligaments, major bruising, and concussion. The rest is pretty minor
for the kind of fall that you took," Sally Po said as she read off
the electronic chart by Milliardo's hospital bed. "I've already given
your field assignment to another group. You can rest easy about that."
Milliardo frowned, "I am not HAPPY about that! This was a ridiculous
accident! It shouldn't have happened! I should be having a report filed
on me for incompetence."
"Which is why you will have to attend a few psych evaluations,"
Sally replied calmly. "Don't give me that story that you were climbing
with Duo. I know that you were climbing by yourself. That's suicidal."
"I am an experienced climber," Milliardo bit back, but then
settled deeper into his blankets, stifling a moan of pain. "It was
against regulations for me to climb alone, though." He eyed her sourly.
"Did you question Maxwell? He told me that he doesn't lie. That's
not a good trait to cultivate in work like ours."
"Duo wouldn't have let you fall," Sally replied stiffly. When
Milliardo looked skeptical, she added, "He's very diligent in taking
care of the people closest to him and the operatives who work with him.
He would have made sure to use ropes. He would have made sure that you
were secure. My report said that you were free climbing." She smiled
slightly. "Duo may not lie, but he doesn't always tell the truth
either. He's a master of evasion."
Milliardo fiddled with his hair, suddenly uncomfortable. Someone had braided
it and tied it off to keep it out of the way of the doctors and nurses.
Milliardo suspected that someone was used to making his own braids. The
memory of his rescue was blurred and uncertain. He remembered Duo hovering
over him and words spoken. Milliardo wasn't sure that he could vouch for
the accuracy of what he remembered being said. It didn't seem possible,
Duo inviting him to join his `game' and compete with Yuy. It had to have
been a product of his concussion.
"Whatever punishment or censure that you care to deliver, I will
accept," Milliardo declared despondently. "I was most definitely
in the wrong."
"Well..." Sally looked at him thoughtfully. "I think you've
been punished enough. It will take you awhile to heal. You very nearly
fractured one leg and some ribs, so it will be painful for you to move
around. Go to the psych evaluations, so the doctors can figure out why
you pulled a stunt like that, and take a leave of absence."
"No!" Milliardo objected strongly. "I will go to the psychiatrist,
but I refuse to let my work suffer because of my stupidity."
Sally blinked and then she shook her head skeptically. "I don't think
that you will be able to get around on your own."
"I'll manage," Milliardo snapped.
Sally looked him up and down, sizing up his condition and angry that he
was arguing with her orders. "I'm reconsidering filing a report."
"I insist that you do file it," Milliardo replied sullenly,
feeling embarrassed and vulnerable.
"Milliardo Peacecraft!" Sally shouted and the man jumped, startled.
"I am your commanding officer and you take orders from me, mister!
Is that understood?"
Milliardo glared and then he relented, shoulders slumping. "Yes,
sir," he replied dejectedly.
"I am assigning you an aide to assist you in carrying out your duties,"
Sally told him as Milliardo's blue eyes widened in confusion. "I
will pick who I think is most suitable and you, sir, will not argue. Is
"Yes, sir," Milliardo replied in a small voice and then, relieved,
"Thank you. I wish to redeem my good name and your confidence in
me as quickly as possible."
"Understood," Sally said and then softened. "Don't over
do it, Zechs, okay?"
Milliardo winced at the old Oz name he had carried when he had worn a
disguise during the war. He hated hearing it. It brought back too many
memories, good and bad. "Yes, sir," he replied simply and Sally
nodded and began to leave. Milliardo called after her, "Do you have
someone in mind already to be my aide?"
"Yes, I do," Sally replied, not slowing her steps, or turning
so that Milliardo could see her smile. She threw over her shoulder as
she walked out of the room, "It's Duo Maxwell."
Milliardo fully expected Duo to show up with Heero in tow. When he came
alone, ringing the bell of Milliardo's well appointed apartment, Milliardo
hated the traitor feeling of relief. It was a feeling completely at odds
with the knowledge that being saddled with Duo as his nursemaid was not
going to be easy or desirable.
Aching and scraped raw in many places, it hadn't been easy to roll the
wheelchair to the front door. Duo had waited patiently though, expecting
that, being injured, it would take Milliardo some time. The struggle to
get the door open, and not tangle with the chair, had been an embarrassment.
"Heya, Zechs!" Duo greeted with a grin and a twinkle in his
amethyst eyes as he leaned down and helped Milliardo push back from the
door again. "Ready for Duo's taxi service?"
Milliardo swatted Duo's long braid aside as it dangled in his face and
then jerked the wheels of the wheelchair back on his own so that Duo stumbled
off balance. When the young man straightened, undaunted, Milliardo growled,
"You are late!"
"Traffic," Duo apologized. "I also didn't expect your place
to be outside the city. I thought a guy like you would live right on Preventer
Duo eyed the wheelchair. "I didn't think that you were that bad."
"What's that supposed to mean, Agent Maxwell?" Milliardo snarled
back, feeling heat flush his face. He hated being weak, hated anyone seeing
him like that.
Duo blinked and then looked sympathetic. "Doesn't mean anything,
sir. I have to readjust things that's all. I suppose I should have known
that you wouldn't be walking away from a fall like that one."
Milliardo took a tight rein on his temper. Letting his temper get out
of control was not a good way to begin. He tried again, taking the tone
of commander; assured and in control. "My briefcase is over on that
table. Get it and then we'll go."
"Yes, sir," Duo replied obediently and Milliardo watched him
walk jauntily over to the table. His hand closed on the handle of the
briefcase, and he began to turn back, but then he paused and looked around,
blinking at the rich, leather furnishings, the oriental carpets, and the
expensive details of a princes's home. "Nice!" Duo said appreciatively.
Milliardo scowled. "I don't see how that is of any of your concern."
Duo shrugged, "Guess not. You just didn't look the type to bother
with matching furniture and wall paper."
"Are you insinuating something?" Milliardo snapped, feeling
an old anger come to the fore. He had never made his sexuality a secret
and he was used to certain insults. The ones who dug under his skin the
most were the ones that questioned his masculinity. He hadn't expected
something like that from someone who shared the same sexuality.
Duo looked perplexed and then he understood. His smile was sympathetic
as he explained, "You're very military oriented, sir, and you travel
a lot. I expected just the basic home in the city near Headquarters. I
figured that you would keep all the plush stuff for your palace in Sanq
That was another bitter point shoved under Milliardo's skin. He bit out,
"It's NOT my palace. It's Relena's. I abdicated in her favor."
Duo nodded thoughtfully. "I remember something like that. Didn't
seem right, putting all of that power into the hands of a girl."
"She's more than a girl," Milliardo shot back and then stopped
himself. Why was he arguing and explaining to someone who was only there
to fetch him coffee and push his wheelchair? "You are not here for
a guided tour, Maxwell. Do your job."
It was Duo's turn to look annoyed, a startling, but fleeting expression
seeping through the sudden cracks in his happy go lucky persona. Milliardo
sharply reminded himself that he was facing, not just a young man, but
a Gundam pilot trained to kill wholesale. Duo had slaughtered scores of
his troops, destroyed his most secure installations, and infiltrated systems
Milliardo had thought unhackable. Unseen on his person, he was certain
Duo was carrying a battery of weapons, weapons that he knew how to use
proficiently and would use without hesitation if the situation called
for it. Duo's annoyed _expression left as quickly as it had appeared,
though, and Duo easily regained his grin.
"My job is to get the bad guys, Zechs," Duo said as he put the
briefcase in Milliardo's lap, opened the door, and then moved behind the
wheelchair in order to push it. "I don't make a very good nurse."
Milliardo felt the injustice himself. Sally was making a mistake, he felt,
in using Duo for such a purpose, and he had to wonder at her motivation
for doing it. It didn't seem logical for her to take a skilled agent out
of the field for something so mundane. Punishment wasn't a good enough
of an excuse.
"Sally has me on call, by the way, so you may end up with someone
else from day to day, depending on whether I'm needed for a mission, or
not," Duo told Milliardo, laying to rest Milliardo's disquiet as
if he had read Milliardo's mind.
Duo wheeled him towards his waiting car. The driver, caught looking impatiently
at his watch, hurried to open the door of the car and help Milliardo move
onto the seat. It was awkward and it was embarrassing, especially when
Duo added with a grunt of strain, "I'll make sure my replacement
has some strong biceps!"
"This will only last few days at the most," Milliardo replied
stiffly as Duo slid into the seat beside him and the driver closed the
door. "Then you will be back to your proper duties."
Duo snorted, amused. "You're a strong man, sir, but take it from
someone who's been there enough times, these things take time to heal
. You won't be in any marathons soon."
"I do have some experience as well," Milliardo grumbled as he
dug into his briefcase and pulled out papers to look over. He didn't remember
that Duo's file was in the case until some papers from it slipped out.
Duo snatched at them as they fell towards the floor of the car and then
he began handing them back. He paused as he noticed his own photo.
Duo fingered the photo and his face did an odd, undescribable thing. His
face turned dark red and his lips tightened into an almost feral grin.
Milliardo couldn't tell what emotion that expression was portraying, but
he could see that it was a very strong one. It was manic, frightening
even, and Milliardo felt his blood chill. Milliardo felt the need to defend
himself as if he were being threatened.
"Sally Po gave me your file, along with Yuy's, to see if you were
qualified for my assignment," Milliardo said, trying to make his
voice matter of fact. His embarrassment was deepening and he hated it.
He was always in control. That he had failed to return the file to Sally
showed him how off balance he was, how badly Duo had affected him. "I
forgot that I had it in my briefcase. I'll have you return it to personnel
Duo's jaw worked. He shoved the photo into the briefcase along with the
papers. "Guess that particular stigma is on my permanent record.
I never thought about it, I guess," Duo said and Milliardo understood
that he was talking about his detention.
Milliardo thought about his own past, about some of the things that he
had done. At the time, he had been insane, so sure that what he had been
doing had been the right thing. He kept those memories locked tight, refusing
to acknowledge the terrible things that he had almost done during the
war. Next to his crimes, Duo's detention seemed an insignificant thing.
"We all have our dark pasts," Milliardo found himself saying
and then he found something outside of the window to stare at, unable
to meet Duo's gaze.
"Wonder why no one blames you?" Duo replied bitterly and Milliardo
inwardly cringed. They did, he thought as he sank into a deep depression,
but it was his title, his reputation, and his bloodline that kept people
from demanding that he pay for his attempted crime against the people
"Good thing Heero stopped you," Duo added angrily. "He
almost died, you know?"
"I know," Milliardo replied bleakly, but then said coldly, trying
to lock it all back into it's mental box, "Let's not have this conversation.
I have Preventer business to think about."
Duo said nothing, but Milliardo could feel his searing anger like fire
on his skin. If Duo had even remotely felt anything for him, Milliardo
thought, he had just crushed it under his heel, yet, at that moment, the
pain of the uncertain feelings in Milliardo's heart didn't equal the intense
pain of his guilt.
Milliardo did try to think of Preventer business, but the drive was a
long one and the war kept trying to bleed through the cracks in his determination
not to think about it. At last, he turned to the one distraction in the
"I thought that you never went anywhere without Yuy."
There was a silence that stretched. Milliardo continued to stare out of
the window, making it seem that the thought had been just a random off
shoot of something more important that he was thinking about.
Duo spoke at last, sounding unsure of what Milliardo wanted to know. "It's
true that we're close, but we aren't joined at the hip," he replied.
"I suppose, if this was more than just a pick up the boss trip, Heero
wouldn't feel comfortable letting me go alone. We're a team. We watch
each other's backs. He's my partner. We know each other's moves. All of
That last sentence could have meant many things. Milliardo closed his
mind to the most obvious and continued doggedly, "How can you operate
effectively when you have that kind of dependence on one another? I don't
understand why Sally allows it to continue."
"She gets us both or none at all," Duo replied matter of factly.
"If you're wondering if we can do a mission separate, we can and
have. We just don't like it." He paused and then said carefully,
"We aren't a liability. We both know the mission comes first. We
made that decision when we signed on. We've been put to the test. We passed."
There was the sound of cloth rustling. "Look."
Milliardo turned his head and saw that Duo had lifted up his shirt. That
close to him, Zechs could see many scars crisscrossing his slim, wiry
torso. Milliardo found himself swallowing hard as he caught sight of a
pink nipple and realized that there was a thin, silver loop through it
that twinkled with a tiny amethyst.
"There," Duo pointed to a scar up under his arm. It was the
thickest one. "I took that on a mission and almost bled to death,
but Heero left me where I fell and didn't come back for me until he had
completed his infiltration mission. A lot of lives had been depending
on us. We didn't let them down."
Duo let his Preventer shirt fall back and he tucked it back into his pants
as Milliardo said, "I see." It was all that he could manage
to say without his voice breaking. The image of that pink, erect nipple,
with it's delicate ring, was burned on his eyes. His blood was flaming
through his veins and he could feel it burning his face. He turned back
to the window and hunched away from Duo, hating himself, his body especially,
for wanting what his mind disliked intensely.
"People say-" Milliardo began, but Duo cut him off.
"People say a lot of things, sir, but my personal life is my business,"
Duo said stiffly. "Heero is my best friend, he's my partner, and
together we do our job and we do it well. That's all you should ask."
"You are correct," Milliardo replied, just as stiff and then
couldn't think of anything to follow up with. He shifted uncomfortably,
wishing that the ride was over with and not relishing the fact that there
would be more of them if he continued to be so incapacitated.
"Look," Duo said as if feeling the need to relent some. "A
lot of people don't get me and Heero. Sometimes, I don't know what we
got either, but I do know that when we first met we just `connected' instantly.
We're like two parts that don't work unless they are together. When we
work together, we get through life like we're supposed to, but when we
are alone, we screw up. On a mission together, we don't even need to talk
most times. We gel completely, ya know what I mean? We're a force to be
"I need to verify that," Milliardo heard himself say and he
sounded harsh and judgmental in his own ears.
"I can understand that," Duo replied. Milliardo looked at him
in surprise and Duo chuckled and grinned. "We are an odd couple.
I'd be thinking just like you, if I was in your shoes, that two weirdo,
war babies like me and Heero couldn't possibly do anything together. We'll
show you, though. You'll understand, then."
Milliardo didn't understand at all and didn't really want to. Duo had
said that he and Heero had a special relationship, end of story. Milliardo
swore at his thoughts, reminding himself that fraternizing with subordinates
was against regulations, especially if all that he had in mind was relieving
tension, boredom, and sexual frustration. He needed to get his questionable
libido under control and to get well as quickly as possible so that he
could extricate himself from a possibly messy situation. When Duo was
out of sight at last, mission completed, then Milliardo was sure that
he would forget all about the young man.
"Penny for your thoughts?" Duo quipped and then laughed as Milliardo
stiffened. "Maybe not, huh? You need to learn to relax, sir."
"Maxwell?" Milliardo said sternly.
"Sir?" Duo replied with raised, amused, eyebrows.
"Do you know what insubordination is?"
"One more word and I will put you on report."
There was silence.
"Well?" Milliardo demanded.
He glared at Duo. The man stared back with an innocent expression. Milliardo
repeated his own words to himself, and then felt a flush of temper as
he realized that Duo was doing exactly as he had ordered. Milliardo growled.
Duo barely suppressed a laugh.
[part 3] [part 5] [back
to Kracken's fic]