Disclaimer: I don't own them and I don't make any money off of them.
Warnings: Male/Male sex, graphic, language, violence
Soldiers series + Part 7
Turning the Screw
"You know, a priest once told
me, you own up to your mistakes and don't try and excuse them," I said
to that tight jawed, icy face of my partner.
"Then you're confirming it," Heero said and nuclear winter was back in
his voice. "I had verification when I saw you... with that man on your
first day here."
Damned if I was going to take any crap for stuff that WASN'T my fault.
I was in deep enough. "I was suffering from major jet lag," I snapped
back, "I made the stupid decision to look around and walk down the beach.
Well, I didn't do so good and beach bum was helping me back to my place.
I thought he was friendly and I thought he might be nice to get to know.
If you were there long enough, you might have heard me turn down his oh,
so nice offer to show me the inside of his pants. I guess he didn't like
no for an answer and he tried to rape me. How any of that was my doing..."
Heero looked suddenly concerned. "I saw him... groping you as I approached.
I didn't hear what you were saying to each other."
"You're the one who roughed him up," I reminded him, "What was that all
about if you thought I wanted what he was offering?"
"He was being...," Heero paused and I saw him turn a shade of pink that
startled me. He seemed both angry and embarrassed. What the hell was going
on if Heero hadn't realized that Adonis was trying to rape me? Did he
normally go and break up people necking on the beach and rough them up?
"We should have arrested him."
I frowned and rubbed the back of my neck. "I guess you're right. When
it involves other people, I follow procedure, but, for myself... I guess
I'm too used to being outside channels, too used to being in a position
where the law doesn't care what happens to me."
Heero nodded thoughtfully. "I saw you struggle," he said. "I thought he
was being too rough. I needed to step in and stop it."
I scowled. "You didn't give me time to explain. Why?"
Heero looked uncomfortable.
I said, answering my own damned question, "You'd already pegged me as
an easy lay, that's why, someone who likes the wilder side, someone stupid
and irresponsible, so you thought I was just being true to form, right?"
Heero gave a damnable shrug and half turned away. He ran a strong hand
through his dark hair. He looked like he wanted to just leave and not
continue the conversation. That was fine with me, I didn't want to plow
through the muck either, but I knew that we both had to.
I sighed and leaned back in my chair. "Heero, let's start with Filmore."
I picked up a pencil and stabbed at the pad on my desk. I doodled, keeping
my eyes down, trying to keep my nerve. I knew I had to expose a bit of
myself here and I really did not want Heero to think that I was such a
weak little shit, I really did not. "Things, personally, weren't going
so well for me. I was...." Spit it out, Maxwell, I commanded myself. "Lonely."
How pathetic, right? I glanced up, briefly, and saw Heero looking very
puzzled. I lowered my eyes again, flushing. "I'm not.... immune to hormones
and, you know, getting past the point of no return. Filmore is a good
looking guy. We were stuck in a car for most of the day, we got to talking,
and he kind of... came on to me... and I really, really, needed that right
My pencil lead snapped. There was a dark mark on the pattern of interlocking
circles that I had been drawing. I made myself lower the pencil and I
forced myself to finish. "So, he's talking shit about me because he wanted
to keep on seeing me and, when I said no way in hell, I guess he was afraid
I'd mouth off. Looks like he put out 'his' story to give himself an immunity
shot. Now I'm the whore agent who can't keep his hands off his innocent
I pulled the doodle off of the notepad and crunched it into one fist hard,
glaring at it. "You don't know me anymore," I continued, "but I used to
say that I never lied. That's kind of altruistic and really impossible,
but, this time I'm telling the truth, Heero. I made a mistake. I freely
admit it. It was one time though, and I'm not going to repeat it... ever!
Sure, I've been to a few parties and I drink on occasion. There isn't
anything wrong with that. Yes, I do go to dance clubs and bars, but if
you really look into it, you'll see that I go few and far between. My
record has some troubled places. Things happen, ya know? On the whole
though, I'm a good agent and Sally Po, I'm sure, and Quatre, have both
told you so. I'm not a drunken party animal who lays anything that walks
by. I'm not, Heero. If you can't believe that, then you need to tell Quatre
that this partnership isn't going to work."
Heero didn't say anything. He seemed to be thinking very hard, eyes on
the floor. After a full two minutes passed, I demanded, "Are YOU a virgin,
then, that you think you can judge me for -"
"I..." Heero interrupted, but paused for another moment. At last, he looked
up and I saw... relief. Heero was relieved and a tension left him, a relaxing
around the eyes and mouth, that I hadn't realized, up until then, had
been there. He looked different, suddenly, younger, less like a block
of granite to bang your head against. "The facts didn't match your personality
as I knew it. I should have questioned Agent Filmore more thoroughly.
It was inexcusable of me to accept the testimony of one man as a bases
for a decision."
"Well," I found myself replying, "He was my partner. No reason to think
that he would lie about something like that, especially when he admits
to fraternization with his partner." Heero nodded, accepting the excuse
that I gave him.
I suddenly laughed and tossed my wadded up doodle into the trash. I checked
my watch and then stretched as I stood up, suddenly feeling like a free
man. It was all out and maybe it was all going to be good after all. "If
we are done with this torture session, why don't we have an early lunch,
and then maybe you can help me find the stats on all the men so I can
catch up, okay?"
Heero blinked. He gave me a slow once over, as if seeing me for the first
time, and then he frowned and shook his head. Suddenly, he was 'all business'
Agent Yuy again and his emotions were tightly in check. "I appreciate
your candor in giving me all the facts, and revising my estimation of
you, but you don't help me improve that estimation by then trying to interrupt
our schedule on the first day. We have a great deal of work to do. If
you wish to eat, then I suggest that you supply yourself with a nutri
bar and drink so that we can continue to work uninterrupted."
Heero leaned to begin typing on my keyboard, bringing up the stat chart
that he had made and explaining it to me. His after shave washed over
me and some hint of masculine, Yuy scent. It was, okay, dammit, kind of
tingly, having him so close to me. He was a powerful man and he definitely
had a 'presence' that hit all of my buttons. I had just claimed that I
wasn't the slut he had thought I was and he had believed me. Getting a
hard on now would have blown all of that out the window. Oh, Duo! After
I bit my lip hard and concentrated on being annoyed. Heero wasn't going
to be relaxed and easy, he was going to be a stickler for the rules and
a workaholic. That was bad, really bad in my 'laid back attitude' book.
I knew that having him think that I was a lazy, undisciplined agent was
almost as bad for someone like him as being a wild, party animal, slut.
Heero, I could see, still prided himself on being perfect and doing exactly
what he was told by his superiors. Lunch was at twelve?. That's exactly
when it would be, then, and not a second earlier... unless he chose, like
the perfect agent that I think he imagined himself to be, to not to have
it at all. If I wanted to earn his respect, and get in the Yuy book of
people he could depend on, I had to follow his lead... yeah, and I knew
that I was going to hate every minute of it!
I finally nodded my understanding of the stat chart, Heero showed me several
places where I could download information, and then he retreated back
to his desk to finish up his work.
I worked like a maniac to catch up... okay, at least I did AFTER I snagged
a candy bar, a bag of chips, and a soda from a vending machine down the
hall. My stomach was growling at me and making it clear that it wanted
more than a pasty nutri bar and a rancid nutri drink. Sugar, carbos, fat,
caffeine, and the red dye 42 coloring my soda are what makes brain cells
gyrate, my friends, so no speeches about the questionable health ramifications.
When I tip over the downside of the big four- 0, I'll start thinking about
I guess I was on... agent sixteen of my team, when I felt a nerve twitch.
It told me that I was being stared at. Call it hyper senses or second
sight, I don't care, but I knew, without a doubt, that I wasn't wrong.
Since me and Heero were the only two in our office, and mister secretary
was on the other side of the door... I concentrated on my peripheral vision,
trying to connect the blurs and make an image I could understand.
Aha! Gotcha! I could see Heero turned in his chair, hands still on his
keyboard, as he stared at me. He wasn't being covert about it. I weighed
options and possibilities and then growled at myself that I was being
an idiot. If he wasn't worrying about my seeing him, then he wasn't doing
anything that he was afraid for me to see.
More confident, and feeling a bit sheepish, I glanced up to ask if Heero
wanted anything... and then realized that Heero was doing something that
I'm sure he was totally unaware of. He was staring at me with a look I
knew as well as the back of my hand. It was the same look that I had captured
on my vid clip. A dose of thoughtful, a peck of longing, a tinge of sadness,
and a dash of ... someone caught in a pleasant daydream.
I stared back and my mouth was hanging slightly open. I was mesmerized,
unable to say or do anything. That 'look' had shared the ups and downs
of my life for many years. It was... I can't even describe what it was
like to see it in the flesh and right in front of me.
"Heero?" I said cautiously, not trusting my voice.
Heero blinked, coming back to himself with some embarrassment that he
hid by turning in his chair so that he wasn't looking at me any longer,
and saying in a voice that rang with complete correctness, "Are you ready
to review our group yet?"
"Almost," I whispered and then cleared my throat and said louder, "Give
me another half hour." Heero inclined his head, but he was frowning now.
I wanted that other _expression back in the worst way. I wanted to know
if he was thinking of me when he looked that way, even though I thought
it was pretty damned unlikely. Someone like Heero probably had a guy waiting
at home. Maybe that's who he had been thinking of?
You might think I'm a bit unstable... yeah, laugh... but I hate that 'not
knowing' game. What we were forging between us was a huge land of 'not
knowing' that seemed to be expanding its borders by leaps and bounds.
This part of the growth I could stop, though, right then and there, with
a simple question. Yeah, I know, guys don't usually ask this question
unless they're angling for something, but... oh, hell! Of course I'm angling
for something! Who am I trying to kid? Myself? I want Heero and checking
to see if I had any competition just seemed wise... well, it did!
"If we stay late..." I began and Heero turned to regard me with a disappointingly
neutral _expression, "I was wondering if you have someone waiting for
you to get home?" I waved at my computer screen. "I can see right now
that we seriously need to compare notes. It may take a long while."
That 'look' almost came back again. Heero shook his head and turned nearly
away from me to retrieve something from a scanner. "I don't have anyone,
but my cat," he said over his shoulder, "and she doesn't require an explanation
of my plans or whereabouts."
"Cat?" I raised eyebrows in surprise. "Yes," Heero replied. "A stray.
It was either take it in or let it die in a storm."
"Is it a good pet?" I wondered. I wasn't sure how we had ended up talking
about personal things, like Heero's pets and the fact that he didn't have
anyone permanent in his life either, but I desperately wanted to keep
the channel open.
"She is affectionate," Heero admitted. "Good company." He closed the channel,
but not abruptly, so I wasn't too disappointed when he said, "I'll give
you my notes so that you can see my observations about each agent. If
you think that we will have to stay late, then we should use our time
efficiently. I'll make out a quick schedule."
Heero Yuy was going to share notes with me and make us a schedule! We
had talked about his cat. He had 'looked' at me. There was a real person
under all that hard granite and Heero was finally showing it to me. Did
that mean that he forgave me making the mistake of getting in bed with
my partner? I wasn't going to hope for that much, but maybe he wasn't
going to judge me so harshly now that he knew more about what had happened
on the beach.
Heero was staring at me again and I realized that I was grinning, hell,
glowing like an idiot light bulb with anticipation of getting chummy with
Heero. I coughed, tried hard to look more serious, and then lamely said,
"I can't think of anyone more expert to do it, do the schedule and help
me, I mean."
Heero stared and I saw, damn, the smallest smile touch one side of his
lips and then he was nodding firmly and going about his new project. Did
he think I was funny? Did he think I was a complete idiot? I did, why
shouldn't he? I wished that I had paid more attention to his eyes in that
second, but the smile had floored me. His eyes would have told me a lot.
Still... I had made Heero smile.
Work, Maxwell, I told myself sharply. Don't lose ground by being what
Heero hates more than anything else, a screw up on the job. During the
war, I remember that he hadn't thought much of my cheerful attitude, but
MY expertise on missions had earned his respect. I can't say I was much
of a disciplined agent, and being in the command position of trainer is
a new thing, but I had to harness that ability, that genius inside of
me, that knew how to be a soldier/hacker/bomb expert better than most
men, and teach it to these men to the best of my ability. No screw ups,
I promised myself. I couldn't afford any more, not when I was finally
getting somewhere with Heero.
And where exactly was I going?
I pondered that as I finished up my chart and compared it to Heero's.
I was surprised that we had made many of the same recommendations and
really surprised when some of mine were better ones.
"Finished," I told Heero and stood up as I hit enter on my keyboard to
download to my clipboard. Heero stood as well and gathered up his own
clipboard. "Are you going to change before we see the men?" I asked.
Heero nodded. "They're waiting in gym number five. We'll stop by the lockers
and I'll get you some issue workout clothes. We won't be doing any exercises
today, but it will be best if we make an appearance-"
"Looking like part of the team instead of like the suits in the office,"
I finished with a grunt of agreement.
"Yes," Heero replied and then, "Did the stat chart give you any trouble?
I'd like to see yours, if I may?"
See yours? Okay, so I thought something dirty. So sue me, I'm a guy. "No,
I don't mind you seeing mine at all," I replied, but I was trying so hard
to sound bland that he blinked at me. I saw a blush creep up from his
collar, but it didn't get any higher as he took my chart and downloaded
the stats to his own.
"Thank you," Heero said briskly, and handed my clipboard back to me. "Looks
good," he added as he walked away.
Okay, it was my turn to stand and blink, watching my partner walking away
and wondering if HE had meant something by that. Don't start, Maxwell,
I snarled at myself. You're doing what you know you shouldn't. Duo Maxwell
does not fraternize with his partners... only Heero really wasn't my partner
in a soldier/ police type of organization. We were just trainers in an
organization put together by Quatre Winner, so technically... yeah, but
would Heero see it that way or would he think the same standards applied
now? My brain was spinning. My 'I want and I'm going to have it.' was
doing a battle royal with the 'see sense, we want respect, recognition,
and to do our job right' side of my brain. I wondered if I could have
it both ways. There just had to be a way to do it.
I followed Heero. He kept his nose in my charts as we walked and wove
unerringly through crowds of personnel in the hallways while he did it.
Now that he wasn't so close, I started thinking... maybe I was just trying
to justify myself the same way that i had justified going to bed with
Filmore? That was like a face full of cold water, thinking that I was
about to screw up again and with the one man... well, maybe I could keep
my pants up and wait for things to happen this time instead of ruining
my life by jumping in head first. No more stupid jokes, I told myself,
no more smelling Heero's cologne. This was business. If more happened
later, in an above board and appropriate manner, then it would. God that
was a hard decision. I'm impulsive, I'm definitely 'head first', and I
really, really wanted Heero in every way. I wasn't going to get him, though,
if was even possible, if I showed him that I was exactly what he had thought
I can do this, I told myself, I can be responsible. I can be no nonsense.
I can keep my wanting Heero to myself.... well, for now.
We entered the locker room and Heero finally looked up from his clipboard.
He gave my body a once over and then left me standing while he went to
supply. When he returned, he had a neatly folded stack of clothing with
him. He handed them to me along with a locker key and pointed across the
way from his locker. "Your locker is over there."
"Thanks." I put my clipboard down on a bench and then straightened to
see Heero undressing matter of factly to put on his workout clothes.
It was the hardest thing on Earth or in Space for me to turn my back and
start undressing myself. I didn't peek, not even once. You can nominate
me for sainthood now, thank you.
"Ready?" Heero asked as I picked up my clipboard again.
I had my clipboard positioned strategically as I turned. "Yeah, I'm ready,"
I said. "Let's go see the men."
Stop laughing. It's NOT funny! This isn't a job, this is torture!
[part 8] [back to