Author: Kracken
Disclaimer:I don't own them and I don't make any money off of this.
Warnings:Male/Male sex, graphic, violence, language,

Princes and Soldiers, II + Part 4
Dark Corners

Duo was having a nightmare. His twitches woke Milliardo. He supposed it was to be expected, he thought as he slowly sat up in bed and turned on the small light on the side table. Duo had been very pensive after the party, lost in thoughts he didn't want to share. Having been escorted off Relena's property by security guards, and separated to keep them from making trouble, Milliardo had been allowed to rejoin Duo only when they reached their car. He had found his young lover tense and pale. Heero had been closest to Duo, ready to start a fight, no doubt, if anyone had dared to take Duo where he couldn't see him, but they had still been separated by the armed security detail. That small time alone had obviously rattled Duo. It had made Milliardo furious.

"Your measures are excessive!" Milliardo had complained to Noin. "I will speak to my sister about this outrage!"

Noin had looked angry, but had refused to meet his eyes, staring hard at one of her men as if he were doing something wrong. "I am following the security plan that she approved," she had informed him frostily. "I'm sorry if it does not meet with your approval, Prince Milliardo. I am only following orders."

Heero had refused to leave Duo's side after that and Duo had leaned against him in the back seat of the car as Milliardo had driven them home. Milliardo had felt uneasy, even slightly jealous, but then he had stopped that dead in its tracks. Heero was the other half of Duo, he knew, his strength where he was weak. Duo had needed that strength, had needed the security of having Heero there. By the time they had reached their house, Duo had pulled himself back from whatever dark mood he had fallen into. He had smiled and joked, called the party a waste, and had made ridiculous, unflattering imitations of Noin. When it was time for bed, Duo had reassured Heero that none of it had been his fault, that Milliardo had been wonderful, and that he was perfectly all right. It had all been a lie.

Duo began reaching for his back and his breath began to heave in and out of his lungs. He squirmed as if trying to escape. Milliardo whispered to him reassuringly, but was afraid to touch him. Waking a soldier was a bad idea at the best of times. Waking one in the middle of a nightmare was even worse. Duo frowned as if almost hearing him, but then he gasped as if in pain, his entire body shuddering convulsively.

"Duo!" Milliardo called out more loudly.

"Won't talk!" Duo muttered, almost unintelligible against his pillow.

That utterance changed Milliardo's understanding of the situation completely.

"G' head," Duo continued. "Had worse. Knew I was gonna die when I took the mission."

Duo curled up suddenly, arms over his head as if he were defending himself from a severe beating.

Milliardo was tempted to call Heero. Heero had given Duo security earlier. It was his voice that Duo knew best. It was possible that Duo would respond to it now and wake up. Milliardo began to get out of bed and do just that when Duo began a very low, keening cry, punctuated by choking sobs for breath.

Milliardo's reacted instinctively. He pulled Duo into his arms, holding him as if he were a child; cradling him tenderly. Duo's head rested against his heart and Milliardo kissed that sweating, strained face. "Duo, please come back to me," Milliardo called firmly. "That's an order."

Duo jerked, shuddered, and then his eyes blinked open, full of confusion. "Too damned early for orders, sir," he grumbled, but Milliardo could see him struggling to make sense out of what was happening. He was trying to step out of the nightmare and come completely awake. When he discovered Milliardo holding him, he looked embarrassed and groggily tried to pull away.

"It's all right," Milliardo assured him. "Just be still."

"Why you're holding me like this?" Duo wondered.

"Nightmare," Milliardo replied as he brushed sweaty bangs back from Duo's forehead.

Duo frowned, "Yours or mine?"

"Yours," Milliardo replied.

"Ah," Duo suddenly smiled. "This is nice. Heero usually just throws things at me until I wake up."

Milliardo blinked. "I thought..."

"That Heero's all cuddly and huggable?" Duo snickered. "Hell, no! Besides, messing with a soldier when he's out of it is taking your life in your hands. Tossing pillows and slapping me with clothes is a lot better than maybe having me knife him."

Duo nuzzled against Milliardo and then asked hesitantly, "Did I... I didn't wig out on you or anything?"

"No, you didn't 'wig out', " Milliardo assured him and held him closer. "I think you were dreaming about the war. You didn't do much except cry out in your sleep."

Duo tensed. "Well, that's a lot more than they got out of me."

Milliardo understood pride. A man could break down during torture, cry, become nothing but a broken mess, but that was only human. It didn't make the embarrassment any less, though. "You didn't tell them anything?"

"Never!" Duo replied fiercely.

"That's what is important, Duo," Milliardo told him.

"I know... it's just..." Duo did break away from him then, stretching out on his back and plucking at the blankets uncertainly. "Sorry for being-"

Milliardo slipped an arm around Duo's waist and pulled him against him, refusing to let Duo close himself off from him. He leaned down over Duo, looking deeply into his eyes. "Never," he stressed, "Never believe that I don't highly respect you, Duo Maxwell, or that I think you are weak for needing comfort. Everyone does. I do. I have my own bad dreams."

Duo was suddenly turning and slipping both arms around Milliardo and Milliardo wondered how someone so small could be so strong and protective of other people. Duo met his eyes, all concern. "I'm always here for you, Mill, okay?"

Mill leaned down and kissed him. "That's my line right now, love. You're the one that needs comfort, not me."

Duo shrugged. "I'm okay." He grinned at Milliardo. "You're damned good at this comforting stuff, Mill. l don't even remember what it was all about now."

Milliardo's hand traced a slow pattern over Duo's back to relax him. Bio skin was slightly different from real skin. It had a texture. Though the scars from Duo's attack were only visible faintly in certain light, sensitive fingers could feel what those scars spelled out. Milliardo wondered, suddenly, if there were any other scars that Duo had covered up. Remembering how Duo had flinched and reached for his back, his fingers itched to search for evidence of more violence. He refrained. Duo would know what he was doing, he was sure, and he didn't want to undo whatever comfort he had given the young man. Instead, he held Duo gently and said, "Rest, love."

Duo snuggled and smiled and they were soon fast asleep again.

Outside their door, Heero listened to the long silence and then smiled in relief. He ruffled Missy's ears and then walked back to his own room, confident that Duo was being well taken care of.

+

Noin sat as if she were at attention, face a study in control. Milliardo sighed inwardly, recognizing that angry glint in her eyes that betrayed her even on a vidscreen. He could guess at her thoughts with some accuracy, he felt. She was saying," I don't understand why you don't have a dozen officers on your staff that equal or surpass my abilities, Prince Milliardo."

"There are few people that I trust implicitly to carry out my commands to the letter," he told her. "This operation begs for that kind of officer."

"I am not a Preventer officer, your Highness," she replied. "It seems to me that morale would suffer, and that there would be resentment, if you brought in a person to command an operation from outside the Preventers."

"It isn't necessary to call me, 'Your Highness', Lu, "Milliardo protested acidly. "Nor is it necessary to pretend that we don't know each other. "

Noin looked at a point in space and said stiffly, "I would prefer that we keep our relationship strictly professional, sir."

Milliardo scowled. "Well, then, if that is the way you wish it, then I expect you to follow orders, Noin. I order you to participate in this operation with the full backing of my sister, Relena, your employer."

Noin barely contained her anger, but she fired off a stiff, "Yes, sir. Will that be all, sir?"

"Yes," Milliardo replied and then sighed and leaned back in his chair. "I will contact you with the details tomorrow."

"Yes, sir," Noin responded with acute correctness.

Milliardo turned off the vid screen and rubbed at his forehead. A hand appeared and rubbed it for him, a calloused hand that was broad and male. Milliardo leaned back and closed his eyes. A kiss landed on his nose and he smiled.

"That's better," Duo said with a chuckle. "You know, you two have really got to talk."

Milliardo tried not to tense at the suggestion.

"You did kind of lead her on during the war, you know," Duo told him. "I know having her loyalty was important, but you broke the woman's heart."

"I know that I have an obligation to correct that wrong, but she has refused to discuss it in the past," Milliardo replied.

Duo wrapped arms around him and rested his chin on Milliardo's shoulder. His breath tickled Milliardo's neck as he said, "We all did things we regret. I'm sure she has too. If we're going to make this work, we have to get her to-"

"Get over her need to see both of us dead?" Milliardo cut in sourly.

"Yeah, something like that," Duo replied, chuckling again.

"Love," Milliardo said, suddenly serious. "I'm not very comfortable orchestrating this 'date' for Heero. It seems as if it is something personal and something he should accomplish on his own."

"A date for someone like Heero and Noin is toting guns and kicking bad guy ass, trust me on that," Duo replied, "They won't even consider being together unless they know they can operate as soldiers together. It was the same way with me and Heero. He didn't even want to be friends until he saw that we could fight together effectively. " He grinned as he nuzzled Milliardo's neck and slipped a hand down over his broad chest. "It's a soldier equivalent of an icebreaker."

"Still..." Milliardo grumbled, but couldn't help a flush as Duo's hand slipped into the collar of his knit shirt and found his erect nipple.

Duo told him in a husky voice, "The operation is simple clean up and she is perfect for the job, so you don't have to worry that you're doing something wrong."

Duo's fingers rubbed Milliardo's nipple. "Bedroom?" He asked plaintively.

Milliardo smiled. "You're displaying restraint."

"I'm learning," Duo replied with a smirk. "Now, reward me and come along, sir. I'd like to accomplish our own mission."

Milliardo followed Duo, feeling a definite rise at the prospect, especially as he watched Duo walk down the hallway in front of him, his long braid swinging back and forth across his rounded ass.

When they reached the bedroom, Duo flung off his oversized shirt and flopped onto his back on the wide bed. He stretched like a cat and the sunshine from a window played across his lithe form. Raising his legs, he shimmied out of underwear and jeans and tossed them aside to join his shirt. His skin was pale, but his erection was flushed red and needy. He stroked it broadly and then smiled at Milliardo.

Milliardo closed and locked the bedroom door and then he slowly took off his own shirt, muscles rippling and broad chest flexing with the motion. Duo watched him appreciatively. "You know," he said, "You'll need to infiltrate the territory deeply."

Milliardo quirked a pale eyebrow. "Sounds like a dangerous mission."

"Not if you have the right equipment," Duo smirked and tossed him a tube of lube.

Milliardo caught the tube deftly and replied, "I like a soldier who is always well prepared."

Duo laughed, surprised by Milliardo's uncharacteristic boldness. "I wouldn't want to disappoint my commander."

Milliardo unsnapped his jeans and let them slide down his hips onto the floor. He stepped out of them with the grace of a panther and stalked towards the bed, head tilted so that his blonde hair shaded his clear blue eyes, eyes that were full of passion for his lover.

"I doubt that you could ever disappoint me," Milliardo told him in all seriousness and then he was flowing onto the bed and on top of Duo. He was careful of his smaller lover, pressing down, but not using his full weight. His knee moved between Duo's legs and tried to slide them apart. Duo resisted.

Milliardo looked down into his lover's face and found a sultry smile there. "Am I straying from mission parameters?" Milliardo wondered.

"Just want to make sure I'm following orders and that I'm not making my commanding officer take measures he doesn't want to," Duo replied and he did look slightly worried. "I know I can make a situation that my commander finds it hard to not engage in if he-"

Milliardo put a finger to Duo's lips to quiet him and his eyes sparkled as he said, "There isn't any operation I'd rather be engaged in right now. Let's proceed."

Duo grinned, "Yes, sir!"

Duo's hands cupped Milliardo's ass and his legs slid apart, offering himself. He urged Milliardo by pulling his hips in a suggestive motion and trailing kisses along his lover's neck. He suddenly lapped with a broad stroke of his tongue right beneath Milliardo's chin. That sent Milliardo past the point of no return. He had to have Duo, right then.

Milliardo moved Duo onto his side. Duo looked back over his shoulder as Milliardo spooned up behind him. When his coated erection slid between Duo's ass cheeks, Duo made a sound almost like a purr and his skin flushed warmly. Milliardo rubbed there and that purr turned into a groan. Bracing Duo with one arm around his slim waist, he very carefully entered him, pushing his erection in past tight flesh.

Their motions were powerful and rhythmic after that, the quiet of the afternoon punctuated by their moans and pants of pleasure. The sun washed over their striving bodies like a blanket of silken light.

It was hard for Milliardo to describe, even to himself, the pleasure he felt holding his smaller lover against him; the almost overwhelming surge of possessiveness that over came him that spoke of primal instincts to mount, mate, and claim his lover in the most basic of ways. He felt dominant, alpha, stronger than he had ever felt in his life, yet Duo was hardly submissive. He was strong as well, taking as much as Milliardo, hands and body possessing as he was possessed despite their positions, yet Milliardo still couldn't help feeling as if he were 'taking' his mate, even with that show of strength. Duo was his and, when he pumped hot seed into the striving body against him, he felt as if he were sealing that claim forever.

Milliardo cried out as he spent his passion, but he was reaching for Duo's erection as well, meeting a hand already pumping frantically there, and joining with that rhythm to help his Duo reach his own climax. When Duo tossed wildly and shouted in release, Milliardo held onto him tightly, riding the force of that storm, still buried deeply in his lover and feeling the orgasm pulse against his organ.

Milliardo and Duo finally relaxed, spent and exhausted, both of them panting. Milliardo kissed the nape of Duo's neck and then gathered him close in his arms. "Mission accomplished," he breathed.

Duo laughed shakily. "And you should get a damned medal for it, lover."

After a time of relaxing against each other, Duo tried to move. Milliardo restrained him. He had been quiet and thoughtful, but now Milliardo stirred himself and said, "I'm still enjoying myself."

"We're being cemented together," Duo grumbled. "Clean up first, cuddle after."

Milliardo sighed, but released his hold on Duo. Duo turned in his arms and their bodies finally separated. Duo swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood. He swayed and grinned at Milliardo. "Damn! My legs don't want to work, Mill!"

"You're wounded, then, soldier," Milliardo told him as he rolled from the bed and stood up as well. "I had best administer first aid."

Duo's grin turned sexy and he winked, "You can administer it in the shower."

"Where else?" Milliardo returned and smiled as he began to follow Duo into the bathroom, his lover walking unsteadily on legs weak from their love making. Suddenly, Duo turned and jumped onto Milliardo, facing him with legs wrapping round Milliardo's waist.

"Carry me?" Duo asked plaintively. "We don't have a stretcher."

Milliardo smacked Duo on the bottom. "You are incorrigible! You are trying to start another mission and we may not have the time for it."

"I'm not the one who wanted to stay in bed," Duo reminded him archly.

"That was the exhaustion speaking," Milliardo told him, "Not the voice of reason."

"Well," Duo tempered, "What's on the schedule for today? It is our day off."

Milliardo considered it, both of his hands cupping Duo's ass now. His eagerness to forget reason rose up against Duo and Duo smirked like a tempting devil when he felt it.

"Your choice," Duo said, sounding serious despite his expression. "You call the shots."

Milliardo had a small voice inside that sniffed at decadence, that told him behaving so unseemly in the middle of the day was wrong, that even being in that position in front of a window that had the curtain drawn back was the height of perversion. He looked down into Duo's laughing, purple eyes and then he said roughly in rebellion, "It's my day off, dammit!" and he carried Duo into the bathroom.

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