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 5
Basics

"I'm fine, Heero." Duo told him in exasperation. "Mill took good care of me while you were gone. I don't have a scratch on me."

Heero had Duo tight by the waist and was looking him over critically, keeping him from moving while he did his examination.

Standing in the side equipment room of the hanger bay, Duo relented and stopped trying to get away and see past Heero. When Heero had satisfied himself that Duo was all right, he started to step away. Duo hooked an arm around his neck and pulled him down for a tight hug. Looking into Heero's face, almost nose to nose, he demanded, "Okay, now spill it! Mission report, Yuy!"

"Mission successful, " Heero told him as he picked up his duffel bag. Covered in dirt and looking as if he hadn't slept in days, it was just like Heero to forego any complaints.

Duo's thumb brushed over a large bruise next to Heero's left eye and he glared. "What was the shiner for?"

Heero looked as if he were grinding his teeth together. "A misunderstanding," he finally replied.

Duo looked incredulous. "I know you weren't a naughty boy, Heero, so, exactly what-"

Noin came into the room, her duffel slung over one shoulder. She had a bruise under her right eye and a cut along one lip. She glared at Duo and then looked coldly at Heero. "We'll give our mission report together and then I want to go over the details of the mission with you. I think we could have improved our performance in certain areas."

Heero gave her a tight nod of assent. Noin didn't wait for him. She turned on her heel, as if she were at stiff attention, and then walked away. Duo blinked after her and then looked hard at Heero.

"Looks like things went well," Duo said.

Heero frowned. "How did you come to that conclusion?" He looked angry suddenly and frustrated with himself. "Our simple recon mission was anything but that. The situation was far more serious than we were led to believe. We fought the entire time. She demanded that she have the lead position and wouldn't fall back when we drew fire. I was forced to restrain her when she tried to subdue a nest of armed men defending their position."

"And that's when you got the black eye?" Duo wondered, looking amused, "and when she got bruised too?"

Heero nodded hard once. Duo knew he wasn't going to get any more information than that without a long session of forcing his way through Heero's reserve. After work would be a better time, he thought.

"Well, you better get along and go after Miss Noin," Duo told him, releasing Heero and giving him a push. "I don't think she'll appreciate how you're taking your time."

Heero looked suddenly troubled and unsure of himself. "Duo, " he said hesitantly, "we did work very well together... despite the fight."

"Awww!" Duo exclaimed in mock sorrow. "You mean you didn't miss having me as a partner?"

Heero was instantly contrite. "She doesn't compare to you as a partner. I only meant-"

Duo snorted affectionately. "I know what you meant, Heero. I was just teasing. It's like me and Mill. We love each other like you wouldn't believe, but he's not the one I'd rather have watching my back on a mission. They like to call you and me 'The Siamese twins' of the Preventer's, but you know there's truth in that. Nobody works together better than we do."

Heero smiled and nodded, agreeing. "It was hard not having you there. I'm not willing to accept many missions without you, not unless they are absolutely necessary."

"And that wasn't, " Duo replied with a wince, hearing a tone of criticism in Heero's voice. "Well, you know Heero, our intentions were noble. Me and Mill just wanted you two to have some time to talk, to get to know each other better without all of Noin's defenses going into high alert because me and Mill are around."

Heero said, almost angrily, "I understand, but there will never be anything between us if she can't make peace with you and Milliardo."

Duo grunted, not seeing much hope for that. He couldn't imagine Heero going off alone with Noin, though. He couldn't bear even thinking about living life without Heero's presence in it. He would have felt selfish and wrong for thinking that, if he didn't know that Heero felt exactly the same way. "We're a package deal," he told Heero. "All or nothing. We'll have to see how she deals with that."

Duo gave Heero an affectionate push. "Go on and debrief before she gets her combat shorts in a bind."

Heero nodded and left him. Duo pulled out his phone and dialed Milliardo's number. When Milliardo answered, he grinned and told him, "Mission successful. Those guys love each other so much, it's oozing out of their ears."

Milliardo grunted. "Noin is in my waiting room. She doesn't appear to be 'oozing'," Milliardo replied skeptically.

"Trust me, Mill," Duo told him cheerily.

Milliardo's voice came back to him surprisingly warm and confident. "I always will, love."

Duo put his phone away into his pocket, still smiling. He looked up, suddenly feeling watched, and saw someone he didn't know. It was a large man with a crewcut, looking at him with a frown. The man was stowing some gear into a locker. He slammed the door closed, spun the lock, and then sauntered off. Duo felt the hairs on his neck rise, street instincts alerting him that the guy was trouble.

Duo eyed the hanger. Everyone was going about their business. He would never admit it to Heero or Milliardo, but he still had flashbacks to that time when he was attacked. He could play the tough guy all he wanted, but he couldn't help the chill of trepidation, or the almost paranoid way he reacted to seeing any crowd. He had seen, first hand, how men, who might never have contemplated a heinous crime on their own, could be goaded into it by a crowd of peers. Pack mentality, he thought grimly. When it found weakness and easy prey, it attacked.

Duo throttled those kind of thoughts before they could go any further. He was in Preventer headquarters. These were his comrades. They fought together. They trusted one another. They were all keeping the peace. If anyone could be trusted, he thought, it was these people.

Duo had an appointment to demonstrate at a self defense course. He checked his watch as he veered towards a bathroom, pleased that he had time for some lunch as well.

Whistling tunelessly under his breath, Duo pushed through the door of the bathroom and went up to a urinal. Opening his pants, his thought wandered as he relieved himself

The door swung open not a moment later and the man with the crew cut strode inside. In a very vulnerable position, Duo tried to finish, telling himself not to panic. The man was alone and, Duo reasoned with himself, the man may not like him, but he doubted the man would pick a fight in a Preventer restroom.

Duo tried to make the man uncomfortable. It was always best to make a potential enemy the one on the defensive. "How ya doing?" Duo greeted, keeping his eyes on what he was doing.

Two stalls squeaked. Duo started and craned his neck to look, not having seen anyone else enter. The man stepped up to the urinal beside him and ground out, "Not as well as you, it seems." Bringing Duo's attention fully back on him.

Duo puzzled over that and then asked, "Yeah? How's that?"

The man opened his pants and began urinating, but he was looking at Duo as he talked. "Letting a Prince bang your ass. That's a big step up. What's he give you? A car? A house? Money? Or is he THAT good at ramming you?"

Duo felt his face go hot. "Do I know you?" He managed sarcastically. "Cuz, I have to tell you, not even my friends get to say shit like that to my face."

The man grunted. "I don't think it's your face they see the most of," he replied in disgust.

Duo zipped up his pants and stepped back, furious. "I don't know who the hell you think you are, buddy, but it's obvious to me you don't have a clue who I am!"

The man shrugged as if Duo's threats were funny to him, a smirk on his face. "I'm new on staff, but everyone's talking about you and Prince Pedophile. I'm not much for rumors, but I saw you talking to him on your phone." He shook his head, sadly. "I'll have some juicy gossip to tell when I return home to Sanq. Milliardo Peacecraft, molesting young boys." He zipped up his pants and turned to Duo. His eyes swept Duo up and down arrogantly. "Common boys at that."

"I'm not a freakin' boy!" Duo shouted at him, fists clenching. "There's only a couple of years difference between me and Mill and... Shit! It's none of your business, guy! If you're smart, you'll shut the hell up right now and take your ass out of my sight!"

"That Heero Yuy, too," the man went on, as if Duo hadn't said anything. "Is he banging you both?"

It was so much like the taunt at the party, that Duo froze and his mind managed to switch gears. He was still seething, but he tightly controlled his anger and said, "Why do I get the feeling that you're not Preventer personnel?"

The man smiled coldly as he moved to the sink and washed his hands slowly and methodically. Duo approached him, demanding, "You might as well admit it right now, because I'll-"

Duo heard a sound behind him, the creak of a stall door, just as the man in front of him suddenly pressed lewdly up against him, pinning him to a sink basin. He jammed hands down Duo's pants and kissed him deeply. The shock of that gave another man the time to hook hands into the waistband of Duo's pants and nearly yank them off of Duo's hips.

It was only a few heartbeats before Duo reacted, driving his knee up towards the first man's crotch while his elbow was arcing sideways to take the second man in the gut. That man sat down on the tile, hugging his stomach and trying to get air back into his lungs. The first man had avoided the knee, though, and he was motioning to Duo to get his attention, even as he backed swiftly towards the door of the bathroom.

There was a third man sauntering out of another stall and waggling a digital camera at Duo. "Now, Now!" he exclaimed. "This is feeding live to every vid news station in the Earth Sphere. Wouldn't want them to see any Preventer brutality. Bad enough they got an eye full of Duo Maxwell sucking lips with Prince Pedophile this morning and now, having a threesome in the restroom. Seems our ex Gundam pilot is a bit of a whore, right guys? How embarrassing for the Peacecraft's."

Duo felt a powerful hot and cold feeling run up and down his body. His hands opened, closed, and then opened again. He let out a very slow breath and then he grinned. The men stared at him, startled. The man with the camera joined the first man at the door, watching Duo warily. "Go on," Duo told them in a tone that sounded strangely happy. "I'll take care of all of you... eventually."

The men bolted almost in unison, the door to the bathroom hitting the wall hard as they shoved through it. Duo glared after them and then he looked down at the man they had left behind.

"Seems you don't have a camera to protect you any longer," Duo said icily. "Nice friends you've got there."

That man looked terrified, still unable to catch his breath enough to escape. Without warning, Duo kicked him hard, making the man collapse sideways onto the floor. He wisely stayed down as Duo calmly pulled out his cell phone and dialed.

"Two men in the hanger are probably running for an exit right now. See them on the security feed?" Duo asked the person on the end of the line. "Yes? Good. Lock this place down and take them into custody for impersonating Preventer personnel. Do me a favor and make it real uncomfortable for them."

Duo pocketed his phone, pulled his pants back into order, and then looked down at the frightened man, "You messed with the wrong people, buddy." He thought of the news stations. If the men were telling the truth, then the scene from this morning, and the scene that had just played out, was now showing on every station. The brother of Relena Peacecraft scandalized. Relena herself forced to explain. Duo's integrity now in question. The Preventer's embarrassed. "Not going to work," Duo growled and gave the man a hard nudge in the ribs. "You're not dealing with just anybody. We don't go down easy. I'll find out who you and your friends are. Maybe people won't think nice things about us, but you're not going to enjoy it. You're not going to get any power out of it and I'm going to make sure of that."

Duo put the man into the hands of other Preventer agents and then he braced himself for the worst and walked to Milliardo's office. Noin and Heero were standing outside with the secretary, looking confused. The secretary was wringing her hands.

"Duo?" Heero asked in concern, seeing Duo's stern _expression.

"He knows?" Duo asked the secretary as he gently touched Heero's arm to reassure him. The secretary nodded, knowing what he was talking about.

"It started playing several minutes ago on almost every vid station," she told him.

"Please, Heero," Duo pleaded, ignoring Noin's almost accusatory glare. "Wait here. I... I should talk to him alone... explain."

"Duo, what's going on?" Heero demanded.

"I'll come out and explain to you too in a few minutes," Duo promised. "Just, just don't watch the news until I do, okay?"

Heero nodded and Duo released him. Taking a deep breath, Duo walked into Milliardo's office. His vid screen was on and a news woman was talking at low volume. A picture of Duo, sandwiched between two men who were obviously molesting him, was positioned on the screen on her right. A picture of Duo and Milliardo kissing, in what they thought had been a private moment, was on her left.

Milliardo looked furious, his jaw clenched and his hands fisted before him on his desk. Duo felt a pang in his heart. His _expression went sad, but then he did the thing that Milliardo had always marveled at; Duo turned light hearted all in an instant.

Duo smiled and said, "At least they got my best side."

Milliardo thought that he understood his lover, then. It was Duo's way of saying that, since circumstances couldn't be changed, he was ready to take what was coming and ready to survive and move past it. The brittleness at the corners of his eyes, told Milliardo that he wouldn't survive entirely whole, though.

"Agent Maxwell," Milliardo snapped. "Would you please explain to me how those two men were able to attack you like that? Must I schedule you for retraining in your own self defense classes?"

Duo grin grew wider. "I'm glad you realized that they weren't my type. I prefer leggy blondes, you know?"

"I know," Milliardo replied softly. "I told you that I will always trust you, love. Now," he asked, sterner, "Answer my question."

Duo looked at the vid screen, grin fading and his _expression turning pensive. "I guess... I guess I decided to get my head out of the war, and my past, at the wrong time. I thought the restroom of Preventer Headquarters was a pretty safe place to be." He nodded to the men. "I have them in custody. I'm sure they didn't realize that the restroom has a security feed just like the rest of the building."

Milliardo nodded. "I'm pleased that you decided to let them live and let other Preventer agents handle the capture. They'll make certain that the men remain in one piece. We will be able to charge them with assault and impersonating Preventers. We can also charge them with trespassing. We will be able to clear your name and we can also save the Preventer's some embarrassment."

Duo nodded to the other picture. "Nothing we can do about that, though. Cat's out of the bag. If people didn't know before. They do now."

Milliardo frowned. "I don't care who knows, Duo."

"You'll care about the angle they're taking on it," Duo replied. "They're going to be calling you 'Prince Pedophile'."

Milliardo started and he felt physically ill. He regained his composure with difficulty. "You have legal status. You are not a minor."

"Legally," Duo sighed. "But pictures are stronger than words, Mill. I don't look as old as I am..."

Milliardo's jaw worked. "We will deal with that later, Duo. First, we need to find out who these men are. Perhaps if we can root out who's behind this campaign to discredit me, we can cause the rest to fade away."

Duo reached out suddenly, placed a hand behind Milliardo's head, and then pulled him in close for a kiss. Ending the kiss, he looked deeply into Milliardo's eyes. "That's to get the taste of that bastard off me," he said and then kissed Milliardo even deeper. Breaking the kiss yet again, he said intensely, "That's for trusting me." He kissed even deeper.

"And that one?" Milliardo asked breathlessly when he was allowed too.

"That one was for you being you," Duo replied and laughed in pleasure when Milliardo pulled him into his tight embrace.

[part 4] [part 6] [back to Kracken's fic]