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 6
Speaking in Tongues
"You're name is..."
"Carl Randall, sir."
"And... you were the arresting officer?"
"Yes, sir." The big man fingered one arm and looked angry. He
was dressed in civilian clothes and he wasn't part of the police force
"There was backup?"
"Yeah, but they didn't come in time," the man growled bitterly.
Milliardo sat back in his chair, fingers steepled and ice blue eyes almost
hidden by his pale bangs. His computer was booted up with pertinent information
and his desk was stacked with disks and files. He had a notepad as well,
scribbled with brief notations. It had taken only a day to get interviews
lined up. It seemed that there wasn't a shortage of men willing to tell
their story about Gundam Pilot Duo Maxwell. That didn't bode well.
"I would like a detailed account, if you please," Milliardo
ordered as he motioned for the man to sit in a chair in front of his wide
"Is he in trouble?" the man asked with relish as he sat down.
"If you need someone to testify against him, I'm your man."
"It's nothing like that," Milliardo replied. "All Preventer
agents are required to have a thorough back ground check. It seems that
many things were omitted because of this man's age at the time and his
reputation. I am rectifying that error in judgment."
The man scowled. "Let me tell you, sir, he's not the kind of guy
that you want watching over citizens! He's a freakin' maniac and a killer
through and through! If I had it to do all over again, I would have fired
a bullet and put him down like a rabid animal." He cradled his arm
against him. "At least then I would still have my real arm and not
Milliardo sat up, ignoring his aching body and asked quickly, "He
damaged your arm?"
The man nodded, jaw going tight. "He sliced it open with a knife.
He cut through nerves and tendons and then it became infected! They had
to cut it off!"
Milliardo's jaw went tight as well. "A detailed account, please,
" he ordered again grimly.
The man scratched his head, eyes going hard as he remembered that day.
"I got the call that there was a big fight; that some little kid
was getting the crap beat out of him and I'd better hurry if I wanted
to avoid calling for a body bag. I didn't know it was soldiers until I
showed up on the scene..." He paused, brows coming down as he rubbed
at his `arm' again. "It was a mess. That kid had creamed almost all
of them and he was after the ones trying to get away. I got to him just
as he was about to snap one guy's neck. I held my gun on him and told
him to freeze. He was covered in blood..." The man swallowed and
he went pale. "The kid's eyes were dead, flat, like a shark's right
before.. but he was grinning too..... He let go of the guy and turned
to me. The guy didn't have the sense to run. He tried to punch the kid
down, but the kid brought out a knife and sliced him wide open. When...
When I tried to stop him, he cut at me too. Backup came then, but, it
was too fucking late!"
The man cradled his arm bitterly. Milliardo realized that his own hands
were clenched very tight. He relaxed them with an effort and asked, "Were
you there when Maxwell was questioned?"
The man shook his head. "They dragged me away while other officers
brought him down. I was already unconscious."
Milliardo scribbled quick notes. "Thank you, Mr. Randall. I'm sorry
that you lost your job because of that incident."
"Wasn't that," the man grumbled, but refused to elaborate. Milliardo
made a note of that too.
"Jennifer," Milliardo called and the secretary came into the
office. "See Mr. Randall out and compensate him for his time. I would
like to see Mr. Rene Lane next."
"Rene?" Randall said with a grunt. "That's good that you're
asking him about this. He'll give you an ear full too. Are you talking
to just him, or some of the other officers as well?"
Milliardo replied, impatient to proceed, "It's correct to have several
witnesses to an incident interviewed and then to compare their statements."
"Yeah, I guess you're right." The man scowled. "Watch out
though. Some of the men felt sorry for that kid and took his side. Damned
freakin' idiots! If they were here, I'd spit on them!"
"Thank you. Mr. Randall," Milliardo replied calmly and coolly.
"I'll keep that in mind."
"Yes, sir," Randall said respectfully and then left with the
Milliardo rubbed at his forehead and then reached for his pain pills and
a carafe of water. The man was bias, obviously, he thought, but what if
the things he had described were true? If Duo had attacked arresting officers,
that was far more serious than defending himself against attackers.
Milliardo brought his attention back from his dark thoughts as Rene Lane
entered his office. Milliardo motioned him to sit down. The man looked
wary. Tall and thin, he had a hatchet type face and small, anxious eyes.
He looked as if he had done something very wrong and that he suspected
that he had been found out.
"Everything is all right, Mr. Lane," Milliardo assured him smoothly.
"I'm investigating the back ground of one of our agents. I've been
told that you were one of the arresting officers for Duo Maxwell."
The man nodded, more of a twitch than a real gesture. Milliardo's reassurance
wasn't calming him down. "He was crazy. We did what we had to."
The man said that in a low, vicious tone.
"I wish to have a detailed account from when you arrived on the scene,'"
Milliardo told him as he scribble a few notes.
"What are you writing?" the man barked suspiciously. "If
this is about me and Jim Travers using clubs on that little, Gundam pilot
Milliardo felt a chill, but he didn't allow his emotions to show on his
face or in his voice as he considered strategies. He assured the man,
"I called you here to listen to your side of the story. No one is
being judged or prosecuted."
"That's good!" Lane snarled, "We were in our rights! After
all he did during the war and what I saw left of those officers... "
"You can begin your account," Milliardo told him simply, anxious
to cut off the start of a list of grievances rather than the factual account
he had wanted.
The man fidgeted and then said more calmly, "Well, me and my fellow
officers arrived on scene and saw several men down, including another
officer. We rushed the suspect and separated him from his victim. He refused
to follow our orders. We treated him as a deadly weapon and incapacitated
him by all means necessary."
"How did he appear?" Milliardo asked. "Was he angry, afraid...?"
The man blinked and was quiet for a moment as he looked at a bad memory.
"I could tell that he wanted a pound of flesh. He was vengeful, sir."
"What happened after you took him into custody?"
"We wanted to...," The man rethought what he had been about
to say and said instead, "We were going to take him to headquarters,
but the medics arrived and took him to the hospital. I heard he was canned
in Muraka after that. If you ask me, they should have never let him out."
Milliardo ask a few more questions and then let the man go. His notes
were filling a page. He turned to a fresh sheet and asked his secretary
to let in the next man.
The man who entered was dressed in a medic uniform. He was big and blonde
and seemed overwhelmed to be in the presence of such a famous man. He
was tongue tied and it took Milliardo a few moments of small talk before
the man could answer any questions.
"You treated Duo Maxwell after picking him up from the arresting
officers?" Milliardo asked.
The man swallowed and looked green. "Yeah, what was left of
him. His injuries were extensive."
"Do you still remember what those injuries were?" Milliardo
asked. "I realize that It was some time ago-"
"I don't think I'll ever forget a sight like that, sir," the
man replied softly.
The man swallowed again and he looked down at his clenched hands in his
lap. "Well, the officers didn't want to let him go. They had kicked
and clubbed him, were still doing it when we arrived. The other medics
fanned out to care for the other injured... and the dead... and me and
my partner were on our own." He looked up and his eyes were full
of pain and disgust. "He was just a kid, sir. Just a skinny little
kid. If he had killed some of those bastards getting loose, I say they
deserved it. They..." he paused and then he made motions with his
hands as if replaying his own discovery of the damage. His fingers moved
as if wiping at blood. "They carved up his back. It said something,
I'm not sure what. Big letters all the way across. Burns, cuts, contusions,
open wounds, broken bones. They tortured him, pure and simple."
Milliardo asked in a tight voice, not really wanting to know the answer.
"I checked on him later and read his medical report," the man
admitted. "I just wanted to make sure he had made it through. It
didn't list that, sir, but it listed about everything else. You can say
they weren't such sick bastards, but... the rest...." The man rubbed
at his face with his hands and then sat back in his chair with a heavy
sigh. "Between those bastards that hurt him and the arresting officers,
I'm not sure how he lived through it... or how he fought back hard enough
to kill a few."
"I want a detailed list of his injuries," Milliardo replied.
As the man rattled off a list of nightmarish proportions, Milliardo wondered
at the accuracy of his recollection. Milliardo had seen Duo bare to the
waist and had seen his back as well. His skin had seemed smooth, with
only enough scarring to account for the rough life he had led as a street
child and a Gundam pilot. The things this man was detailing...
"How were they able to send him to the detention center if his injuries
were that severe?" Milliardo finally asked.
The man scowled. "I wondered that myself. That's a rough place even
with maximum security. Putting someone in there who can't defend himself...
course, he probably spent the whole time in the med lab healing.
"I will have to inquire," Milliardo replied, "about his
"He's a war hero, but people were afraid of him then," the medic
told Milliardo. "Some had a grudge too. I think the court took all
of that into consideration when they let him out again. Those men he murdered...
it was self defense, plain and simple."
"That is what I've been able to discover so far," Milliardo
replied. "He was exonerated and released. Most of the records of
that incident were sealed, though. I only have personal accounts to fall
The man stood, sensing the interview was over. He scratched his head and
said, "Did you talk to Mr. Maxwell about all of this?"
Milliardo was patient with the man's naivete. "When investigating
a case, it's wise to get the facts from eye witnesses. The subject of
the case is most likely to tell a false account if he is facing
censure or prosecution."
"But...," the man flushed and then said, "I heard that
he doesn't lie."
Milliardo blinked. "It seems that you know a great deal about Duo
The man looked uncomfortable. "After I knew who he was, and I was
following his progress, I got curious. I read up on him."
Milliardo replied as he shuffled his papers, "Then you know that
he was a terrorist who murdered many, many people. I wouldn't attached
altruistic traits to such a man."
The man scowled. He seemed to fight with something unpleasant and then
it burst forth, "That's strange coming from a man who almost destroyed
the Earth! If you're talking about blaming him, or cutting him out of
a job because of what he did in the war, then, I can't figure why you
are where you are... sir."
Milliardo gripped the edge of his desk hard and his gut went into a knot,
his mind reeling. Always, when he least expected it, he was reminded of
the horrific thing he had tried to do. "I was damaged by a mind enhancing
machine, sir. The court judged that I was clinically insane at the time."
"The court cleared you both," the medic ground out. "A
lot of people wouldn't agree with them, I'm sure, but there you are. You
get to go on as if nothing happened. Maybe this kid should get the same
treatment? If you're looking for a smoking gun from me to keep him out
of a job, or get him in trouble, you aren't getting it from me. I saw
what I saw. They tortured him, pure and simple, and he fought back and
saved himself. Afterword, our good police force beat the crap out of him
and attempted to do more before I rescued him. Again, he defended himself.
When I had him in the transport vehicle on the way to the hospital, he
woke up. He didn't lay a finger on me while I worked on him. In fact,
he grinned and said, `Sorry `bout the mess. Your cleaning lady is going
to want a raise.' What the fuck, right? He's dying while I'm trying to
hook him up to machines to save his life and he cracks a joke about the
blood he got all over my vehicle."
The man looked distant as he remembered the episode. He came back to himself
and went pale, suddenly realizing that he had said strong words to a powerful
man. What was it about Maxwell, Milliardo wondered, that caused men to
give him their loyalty so quickly? He recalled the field test and how
his men had given Duo the lead position and followed him gladly. Knowing
his own reaction to the man, Milliardo knew the feelings they had experienced.
Maxwell was a strong personality, but his easy going, joking mannerism
were tempered by an underlying confidence and strength that cued people
in that he knew exactly what he was doing. It was that, Milliardo thought,
that had bothered him the most, that such insubordination was combined
with such skill and that it worked when every book said that it shouldn't;
that such men should be corrected or expelled from operations.
"Sir?" the man prompted and he sounded uncertain.
Milliardo came back to himself. "There's nothing wrong with speaking
plainly. I will take everything you've said under consideration. Thank
you for your time."
"Uh, yes, sir, you're welcome sir." The medic didn't wait for
the secretary. He let himself out with the anxiousness of a man escaping
a tiger's den.
Milliardo looked over his notes, entered some into his computer, and then
sat back in his chair and sighed. Of all the people he had interviewed,
the medic had seemed the most honest and the least likely to falsify his
account for his own reasons.
Milliardo dug into his pocket and took out Duo's picture. He felt a wave
of disgust at himself for having made a copy of the original. Why? Why
did he keep looking at it? Those lost eyes, that tight mouth, that look
to the side as if he was begging for something... help? Knowing what he
did now, Milliardo could now see the reason why Duo's skin had seemed
so pale and his face distorted oddly. Someone had touched up the photo
to hide the extent of his injuries. The why was obvious. They had put
a severely injured man into detention, out of fear for his abilities and
uncertain state of mind, Milliardo was certain, but it didn't excuse the
fact that it had been criminal to do so.
"Sir?" Duo Maxwell leaned into the office, one hand balancing
him on the door knob. Milliardo turned the photo face down hastily.
"What is it?" Milliardo asked and couldn't help looking at Duo,
trying to see scars, some outward mark that he had suffered the injuries
that the medic had claimed. There was nothing though, just smooth skin
and a bright _expression that seemed unclouded by such a terrible past.
"I wondered if you needed me for anything," Duo replied. "You
haven't called in awhile."
Milliardo covered the photo with his hand. It was strangely warm against
his palm. "Yes, I do need you," Milliardo replied, and felt
something deep inside echo that sentence and give it an even more personal
meaning. He stifled it and growled, "I have a meeting to go to, but
I need to eat first. Take me to the commissary."
"All right!" Duo grinned. "I haven't eaten either. I didn't
want to take off and eat in case you needed me and Heero was too busy
to drop something off."
Milliardo blinked and felt a chill. "You've been waiting for me to
Duo laughed. "Yeah, right out there." He pointed outside the
office. "I didn't have anything scheduled today, so I decided to
wait on your beck and call. Interesting guests you had today."
Milliardo saw the glint in Duo's amethyst eyes, letting him know that
the man wasn't amused at all. Milliardo tried to regroup, too many questions
firing in his brain. He started with the most obvious. "Did they
"No," Duo replied. "I was in the secretary's room, sitting
in a chair and watching the soap operas on the vid screen she keeps back
there for her breaks. Did you know Frances didn't really have Kile's baby?
It was his evil twins!" He scowled and then said, "The secretary
came in to get something and told me she didn't like any of those visitors
you had scheduled. Being the good agent that I am, and having nothing
better to do, I did back ground checks on all of them using the room's
video recognition program." He shrugged and looked bitter and puzzled.
"Seems I know all of those guys, even though I don't remember any
"I needed to know about that incident with the Oz soldiers,"
Milliardo replied defensively. The photo under his hand burned. "It
is my opinion that an error in judgment was made by not investigating
that incident thoroughly when you joined the Preventers."
"I was under age," Duo told him. He had stepped into the room
as they talked and now he was facing Milliardo across his wide desk. "That
incident was sealed. I gave Sally permission to look into it so that I
would have a clean file when I joined. I'm kind of pissed that she included
any of that stuff. That's not what she promised me."
Milliardo found his shield and he took it. "Sally gave me permission
to investigate your files to judge your fitness as a Preventer. I had
serious doubts." His shield turned into a sword and he suddenly had
a weapon to put between himself and the inappropriate feelings he was
having for a subordinate. "I still have doubts, Agent Maxwell."
"That is was self defense?" Duo wondered and he grinned. His
eyes gave that grin a demonic quality. His eyes were a window straight
to his true feelings if anyone cared to look, Milliardo thought with a
chill. At that moment, Duo was seething and ... hurt. There was pain there,
a pain that made Milliardo's sword of words dissolve into nothingness.
He ached for that hurt and felt wrong for having cut the man and caused
it. "The court sided with me," Duo continued, "The court
even prosecuted some of the people in that incident on my behalf."
Milliardo hadn't known that. He hadn't been able to get that much of the
court filings. "I needed as many facts as I could gather to prove
that you weren't at fault in that incident."
"Proof?" Duo suddenly stepped forward. "Listening to those
guys won't give you that kind of proof. Do you want to see the proof that
I showed the court, the proof that convinced them to let me out of that
hell hole detention center?"
Milliardo looked at Duo's smiling face, the pained, angry eyes, and nodded
cautiously, suddenly unable to speak. When Duo came closer, Milliardo
briefly felt in danger, but then Duo was turning his back and pulling
his shirt up to his shoulders.
"You have to feel with your fingers," Duo explained. "I
had surgery done to cover up the worst of the scars, especially that one.
It's good to have rich friends."
Quatre Winner he meant, Milliardo thought distantly as he cautiously reached
out and touched Duo's smooth seeming skin. It was like an electric shock,
touching the man. Milliardo felt himself tremble and go hot from the top
of his head down to his toes. He felt sixteen years old suddenly and fumbling
through his first time, trying not to embarrass himself; trying to figure
out what was right to do. It was an uncomfortable feeling, but Milliardo
couldn't stop feeling it... until his fingers encountered a roughness
that his eyes could barely see. Then his insides turned cold and he felt
a wave of nausea as he traced the roughness that ran all the way across
Duo' upper shoulder down to his tail bone. The letters must have been
cut deep, must have looked horrific when they were fresh, and must have
scarred terribly and remained permanently for anyone to see. They spelled
out `Oz's Bitch'.
When Milliardo lifted his fingers from Duo's skin, as if he had been burned,
Duo dropped his shirt and stepped away as he tucked it back into his pants.
"Can't get any better proof than that," he said, and added,
as if he had been forced to say it many times. "I wasn't by the way.
They didn't do THAT at least." Duo paused for a long moment and then
turned, one cinnamon eyebrow arched. "Do you get it now? You should.
People hate us. People want to hurt us. They're always waiting for a chance,
waiting for you to drop your guard. I was stupid that day. I was moping
around, hating how Heero wasn't with me and feeling like half a person,
and not paying attention. They jumped me, dragged me off, and decided
that a slow, painful death was the order of the day for Duo Maxwell. They
got their's, sir, and I'm not sorry about it. I don't know if I blame
you for looking into it, but I really don't like it. You push me much
more and I'll take Heero and find a nice swat team somewhere who isn't
so particular about my pedigree."
Milliardo had a great deal to say, all of it profuse, unprofessional apologies.
He could feel that deep, emotional, needy part of him uncoiling and wanting....
he knew what it wanted. He controlled it with an iron will and he said,
almost coldly, "I think that I have all the information that I need.
Once I compile it, I'm certain that everything will be to my satisfaction."
He bent just a little, letting a small part of his true feelings out of
the box to add, "I'm sorry if my investigation has caused you any
Duo blinked. "Discomfort?" He grunted sourly, ran a hand through
his unruly bangs, and then shoved both hands into his pockets, rocking
slightly from heel to toe. "You need to broaden your vocabulary,
sir, `discomfort' really doesn't describe it." He cocked his head
and gave Milliardo an appraising look. "Well, if you are done causing
me `discomfort' for the day, should I go ahead and take you to the commissary?"
Milliardo felt the tension and it made all of his soldier's instincts
prickle and warn him. "I can have my secretary bring something here..."
he began, but Duo was already taking hold of the back of his wheel chair
and pulling him away from his desk.
Duo's voice was cheerful again as he said, "It's my job, sir. Let
me do it."
Milliardo heard another meaning in his words, a plea, maybe. "All
right," he said against his better judgment. "Do your job, but
I will be observing you closely."
"That's YOUR job, isn't it?" Duo chuckled and it sounded genuine.
Milliardo didn't hear any anger in his voice. It was as if Duo had mentally
erased the past few minutes. He seemed happy and ready to please as he
wheeled Milliardo to the commissary.
As Duo joked and called out to the people he knew in the hallways, Milliardo
began to wonder at the man's sanity. It didn't seem possible to forget
such a troubling episode so quickly and thoroughly. It opened up an entirely
new line of questioning in Milliardo's mind, one that had nothing to do
with Duo's competence or his innocence in a long ago murder case, but
everything to do with his mental fitness.
"I can hear wheels turning," Duo suddenly said in Milliardo's
Milliardo started and looked up at him. Duo was smiling almost gently.
"Sorry I confuse you so much," Duo said in all earnestness,
"When you have me completely figured out, I'd like to see your report,
Milliardo suddenly laughed. It was a half strangled eruption, that he
quickly stifled, mortified. Duo patted his shoulder as they entered the
commissary, as if in sympathy for Milliardo's corrupted control.
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