see chap. 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer
Lost Souls + Chapter 40
Quatre's lavish Qatar house was ten miles out from Doha, and was surrounded by a huge walled garden with security cameras everywhere, and guards. It was part of the Winner family compound, all centered around the WEI corporate headquarters, with a view of the ocean in the distance.
"What gives with all the security?" asked Duo as Quatre gave him a tour of the grounds.
"My family is convinced that someone will kidnap me for ransom," Quatre said, pausing on a clipped green lawn where a flock of white ibises were hunting for insects in the grass. Outside the walls it was desert. This was his oasis. "They chose the house. It's wired up like an OZ base, and Rashid and his men are my personal bodyguard now."
"Like you can't take care of yourself?" Duo scoffed. "You're a fucking war hero!"
Quatre opened the front of his tailored linen jacket, showing him the side arm he carried in a shoulder holster. He'd taken it off while he'd been at the hospital. "Yes I can, but it makes them feel better."
Quatre was actually pleased with his friend's outburst. Duo had been far too quiet on the flight down from L-2. Since he'd been hospitalized, he'd developed a habit of biting his nails and nibbling at the end of his long braid. It was getting a bit ragged. When he sat down he crossed his legs and jiggled his foot nervously, too. He radiated anxiety and a dull depression that gave Quatre a headache if he wasn't careful to shut those feelings out. He was still too pale and too thin, too, and the clothing Wufei had bought him hung loose, meaning that the clothes they'd replaced had been too big on him, too. Quatre was having the same problem with his own wardrobe.
Taking Duo inside, he showed him the sprawling two-story layout, with the billiards room, swimming pool, library, a music room that Quatre hardly ever went in, a huge sunken living room with a state of the art entertainment center, and of course the bedrooms upstairs, which were all large and beautifully appointed in Arabic style. Everything was done in gilt and silk and colorful abstract designs. Millions of dollars of art hung on the walls.
"Holy shit!" Duo gasped when Quatre showed him the room that was going to be his. A balcony looked out over the desert and the corporate headquarters in the distance. "Kat, this is way too much. You could practically fit Hilde's trailer here! I don't need this much room."
"They're all like this," Quatre told him. "But I think you'll like this." He led him to a side door and opened it, showing Duo his own room. "This door will always be unlocked."
"So your homophobe family doesn't know that you're hanging out at night with queer Duo Maxwell?" Duo suddenly looked tired and sad again.
"I'm sorry, Duo. I can't help how they are," Quatre told him. "But it's not just that. I don't have very much privacy in my life, so I take it any way I can get it. I just want things to be like--"
"Like they were at that base during the war?" said Duo. "Yeah, me, too, Kat. But everything is different now."
He looked so sad that Quatre went to him and put his arms around him. Duo was half a head taller, but he bent a little so he could rest his head on Quatre's shoulder and hugged him back. "I don't belong here, Kat. You don't have to do all this."
"It's going to be OK, I promise," he said softly, then led Duo to a silk upholstered sofa and sat down. Duo slumped beside him, looking miserable. "Listen to me, Duo. I told you before, you're my friend and I love you."
Duo let out a sad laugh. "I never get tired of hearing that, you know. But still--"
"I'm helping you because you need help right now to get back on your feet, not because I think you're crazy or that I pity you. You are smart and strong and you're just going through some tough times with PTSD. You're getting good care and it's going to pass. You're going to have a good life!"
"Doing what? I never even finished school. The Preventers won't take me with my psych file, either, even if I did."
"You could finish school. That would be a start. I had tutors, and Heero and Wufei completed a GED course in no time."
Duo shrugged and said nothing.
Quatre spent the next week ignoring his own work and trying to keep Duo's mind occupied. He made sure he took his meds and had his daily vid phone session with Dr. B. Gradually Duo became more at ease with his surroundings and seemed to enjoy the pampering, like he used to. He let Quatre take him shopping for more and better clothes and didn't complain too much about Quatre paying, except to insist that he'd pay him back one day.
Quatre even got him to go for a massage. Quatre had come to rely on them; he told his sister it was for stress relief because of the long days he worked. In a way it was; it was the only socially acceptable way he could experience a man's touch. After the first mortifying time, his masseur, Lars, had assured him that it was not unusual for his male customers to become aroused. It was just a physical reaction. The massages left Quatre terribly horny, but it was worth it, just to feel large, strong hands moving over his skin.
Duo moaned and groaned with pleasure through the whole massage, and his face was flushed by the time it was over. "Damn, Kat!" he exclaimed as they headed back to the car. "I thought I was gonna come right there on the table! Now I'm all charged up. I gotta do something."
"Duo, we can't--"
"No man, I mean we need to go dance! Didn't I promise I'd take you out to a club someday? Do they have clubs here?"
"We have dance clubs." Quatre wondered what Fatima and Uncle Ahmed would have to say about it. But so long as they kept to the tamer clubs, the straight ones. . . "We could go."
"All right! But we're going to need to do some more shopping. Neither one of us has the clothes for it."
So they did a bit of research and found stores that sold tight low-cut jeans and snug silky tops that left their flat bellies bare, worn under open, loudly colored shirts. Looking at himself in the store mirror, Quatre hardly recognized himself in dark gray Italian jeans made from some microfiber flecked with silvery threads and a sea green tank top that showed off his thin frame and nipples.
"Very sexy," Duo told him with a great big Maxwell grin. He looked amazing, too. He had on black jeans and a red tank.
They bought black Italian boots and wide black leather belts, too. When they were through they stood together at the mirror, with the sales people looking on with obvious admiration.
Duo grinned at him in the mirror. "Oh baby, we are hot! Look out, world!"
Duo had no illusions. There was no question that Rashid disapproved of him as much as he ever had, and didn't think much of their evening plans.
"Master Quatre," the big man said, taking in their outfits with evident distaste. "Are you sure you won't reconsider?"
"I'm tired of being a bird in a gilded cage," Quatre told him firmly. "You are going to drive us to the club and wait outside and then you can drive us home. That is my wish."
So Rashid had followed orders, and driven them into Doha in a long silver limo. Quatre's one concession to propriety had been to wear a long coat over his club clothes when leaving the house, and had provided one for Duo, too. Duo had shed his as soon as he got into the back of the enormous car and couldn't help rubbing around on the butter-soft leather upholstery as they set off.
"Oh man, this is sweet! Jesus, Kat. How rich are you, anyway?"
"It's all family money," Quatre told him, looking a little embarrassed. "But we are one of the richest in the world."
"Wow!" Poking around, Duo found a built-in bar behind a panel, but all it had was chilled sparkling water.
Quatre checked the black screen that separated them from the driver's compartment and made sure the com link was off, then pulled a flask from his pocket and handed it to Duo. He uncapped it and took a pull. Vodka burned down his throat and he choked a little as he handed the flask back.
"Not too much," Quatre warned, and the way he took a pull told Duo that he was no beginner at this.
Quatre shrugged. "You probably shouldn't have too much, though. Not with all your meds."
"Oh, that's OK. I don't need them anymore. I feel fine."
"You stopped taking them? Oh, Duo!"
"I told you, Kat, they fixed me up. I'm good! Besides, I couldn't get it up on them."
Duo grinned and mimed jerking off. "Bad case of limp dick. You know me; if I don't get off at least once a day I can't function."
"Does Dr. Batoosingh know?"
"He said it was up to me." Duo didn't tell him that the doctor had been less than pleased when he'd told him he'd stopped taking the pills. "Talking to the doc really helped, Kat. I think I got a handle on this whole post traumatic thing. If I get feeling low again, I'll just call him up."
"You're not having sessions with him any more, either?"
"Don't need 'em." Duo slid over and draped an arm around Quatre, recapturing the flask. "Besides, hanging out with my best bud is better than any pill. And dancing? That's gonna fix me up just right!"
The entertainment district of Doha was a far cry from the L-2 dives Duo was used to, more like the pleasure zones on the moon he and the Sweepers used to go to. There was a line of pretty people behind a velvet rope waiting to get in at Club Blue. As he and Kat climbed from the limo, heads turned and the paparazzi spotted them at once and started snapping pictures. Of course they were recognized; their faces were plastered everywhere 24/7. Girls squealed and guys waved. Camera flashes half blinded them as Rashid escorted them to the head of the line.
"Quatre! Are you dating Duo Maxwell?" one of the paparazzi shouted.
Quatre made a face at the man. "Duo is like a brother to me!"
There was some clapping, but someone yelled, "Yeah, right!"
Duo was careful to keep some distance between him and Kat as the bouncer ushered them through the door into the club.
Club Blue catered to people their age, with lots of lights and loud music, but there was no alcohol, no drugs, and there were no back rooms for making out, Duo soon discovered. There were bouncers in the bathroom, too, making sure nothing happened there, either. Shit!
And it wasn't like he couldn't have scored, either. They both could have. Everybody wanted to dance with the Gundam boys--guys and girls. Luckily this was a panic club, where everyone danced with everyone, so it wasn't too obvious that he was favoring the boys. And after a while, it didn't even matter. Stomping panic was a primal, tribal kind of dance, lots of stomping and jumping and head tossing. People loved to see Duo's braid fly around when he danced. He, in turn, was amused to see some of these goody goody rich kids with L-2 colors in their hair. He wondered what their parents thought of that, until Kat explained that the color streaks were actually just hanks of dyed hair that clipped in so they could take them out before they went home.
All the same, it was dancing and Duo made the most of it. By the time Rashid drove them home, just after two, they were both sweaty and totally exhausted.
Quatre had no choice but to go back to work the following day; he'd fallen terribly behind, thanks to Duo. Well, thanks to having fun with Duo. When he was with him, he felt his age for the first time in his life. The club had been amazing! As he sat over the first batch of paperwork that morning, he ached all over from throwing himself around and had a few bruises from people crashing into him, but it had been exhilarating, and nothing compared to what he'd experienced in battle.
His euphoria dissipated considerably, however, when Fatima marched into his office with several newspapers and a dire expression on her face. Dark eyes flashing, she slapped them down in front of him one by one: two tabloids and the entertainment section of the Doha Daily News. All of them featured pictures of Duo and him dancing wildly. The Daily News headline read: "Winner Heir Hits Night Spot", while the tabloids led off with the increasingly familiar "Gundam Boys" and speculated on his relationship with Duo.
"You see?" Fatima cried. "No good comes of you being with that Maxwell boy!"
"Sister, it was a teen club. All we did was dance, like anyone else our age," he assured her. "It was perfectly innocent."
"Not in the eyes of the world! You see what they are saying already?" She stabbed at a tabloid headline with one long polished nail. "He is damaged goods and he's dragging you down with him!"
Quatre didn't even remember standing up, but suddenly he was on the other side of the desk, face inches from his sister's, hissing, "Don't you EVER call him that again, do you hear me? He is my friend, NOT 'damaged goods'! He was willing to give his life to protect the colonies and you will give him the proper respect for that! Do you understand me?"
Fatima fell back a step, shocked. "Quatre, what is this? You've not spoken to me like this since your breakdown at Father's funeral! Shall I call the doctor?"
"I am not breaking down!" Quatre shouted. "I am just sick and tired of having my every move watched and judged! I do my job here. I do every thing you ask of me. Can't I have a little fun on my own time?"
Uncle Ahmed hurried in from his office down the hall. Quatre's secretary, Yusuf, was peering in at the door, clearly worried and equally shocked.
"What is going on in here?" his uncle demanded. "People can hear you, Quatre!"
Quatre leaned back against his desk, surprised at how heavily he was breathing. "I--I'm sorry. I lost my temper. Forgive me, Sister. I shouldn't have spoken to you that way. But please try to understand; I need down time, too."
"He's my friend!" Quatre tried to keep the anger from creeping back into his voice. "As a matter of fact, Duo is about my only friend, except for Wufei Chang, and I never see him, either. I will do my job. You leave Duo alone."
"You mean to go out to these sorts of clubs again?" asked his uncle, looking over the papers with distaste.
"I do. And so long as I do my job here, what I do with my own time is my own business."
"That is not true, little brother," Fatima told him. "You are a Winner, and everything you do reflects on the Winner name, the Winner honor. Disgrace yourself and you disgrace all of us. I should not have to tell you this, at your age."
Quatre gripped the edge of the desk so she wouldn't see how badly his hands were shaking. "I will not dishonor the family by having a little innocent fun."
"See that you don't, Nephew," his uncle said, shaking a stern finger at him. "But Fatima, the boy is right. He must have a little fun, too, as hard as he works. Just behave yourself, Quatre, and remember who you are. Come, Fatima, let the boy get back to work."
Yusuf hovered nervously at the door when the others were gone. "Can I get you anything, sir? Some fresh coffee, perhaps?"
"No, thank you," Quatre said, still holding on to the desk. "Hold my calls for the next hour, please."
"Very good, sir." Yusuf went out and closed the door softly behind him.
Quatre ran to his office's private restroom and fell to his knees in front of the toilet with its gold plated fixtures. He'd eaten a fairly good breakfast today, the best in weeks, but he lost every bit of it, and kept heaving long after his stomach was empty. He was soaked in cold sweat by the time he was finally done. Dragging himself to his feet, he rinsed his mouth out and staggered out to the couch in his office and stayed there, curled up in a miserable ball, for the next half hour, praying Yusuf wouldn't come in to check on him. He must have, though. Quatre woke from a restless doze to find that someone had pulled the woolen throw over him, and left a carafe of water and a plate of crackers on the coffee table next to him. He nibbled a few, drank some water, then went to his desk and unlocked the bottom drawer where he kept the fifth of vodka that got him through days like this.
He finished the morning's paperwork, got through a meeting about a merger with a Bahrain solar energy company, had lunch with his sister Jasmine, who as usual was worried about his health, then went back to work. Midway through the afternoon, however, he pushed the dossiers aside and turned to his computer. He had a mission to plan.
When he got home that night around eight he found Duo in the living room, watching a basketball game on the widescreen TV.
"How was your day, honey?" Duo asked with a grin.
Quatre tossed his briefcase on a chair and pulled Duo to his feet. "Have you eaten?"
"Yeah. What's up?" Duo asked, following him upstairs.
"We're going out."
Rashid dropped them off at Club Blue, as before, and they caused the usual stir. They danced for an hour or so before Quatre grabbed Duo and snuck him out through the kitchen and into a back alley. There was a man on guard there, but a couple of large bills from Quatre shut him up.
"Here, you'll need this," Quatre said, handing Duo a small black mask, the kind that covered the face down to the nose. Duo didn't ask any questions, just grinned and put it on.
Another couple of bills got them in through the back door of a nearby place called Masks, one that Rashid and Quatre's relatives would definitely not have approved of. Upstairs it was very much like the Blue, except that everyone was wearing the same sort of masks. But that wasn't where Quatre was headed. Another sizable bribe got them past the bouncer guarding a nondescript door in a shadowy back corner. Beyond that, a dimly lit staircase led down to the real club, a dark, pulsing cave of a place where scantily clad masked people writhed and bumped against each other to darker music, and the air was thick with sparkling particles of a mild, mood enhancing drug called Glitter. There were hookahs, too, with or without drugs, as the customer wanted, and lots of incense burning.
Duo's eyes went wide behind his mask, then he grabbed Quatre and kissed him on the cheek. "Oh man, how did you find this place?"
"Wasn't I always good at recon?"
They danced for a few hours and smoked rose-scented shisha spiked with a little hash, then made their way, laughing and stumbling a little, back to Blue and walked out to meet Rashid looking as innocent as they could manage. If the big man noticed anything different about them, he didn't say so.
As they settled in the back seat, Quatre pointed to the privacy screen and held a finger to his lips. Duo clamped a hand over his mouth, then fell over with his head in Quatre's lap, shaking with silent laughter.
It was after two when they finally got home. They both went straight up to their rooms, but Quatre immediately used the inner door to join Duo in his room.
"Oh man, that was good!" Duo exclaimed, kicking off his boots, peeling his sweaty shirt off, and flopping down across his bed.
Quatre did the same and stretched out beside him, still flushed and glowing. "What do you think, Duo? Want to do that again?"
They both smelled of incense from the club, and the Glitter still had them buzzed. Quatre's heart was beating fast and his whole body tingled. It was like his skin was super sensitized. The feeling of the silk spread under his bare back, the cool breeze from the open window, Duo's musky scent and the way a few silky hairs had escaped from Duo's braid were ticking his arm all felt so good! It was like being under a waterfall of sensation. "I feel--"
Duo stretched and yawned widely. "Mmmmmm! Me, too!" Reaching over, he buried his fingers in Quatre's thick blond hair. "Nice! Soft!"
Quatre rolled onto his side and picked up Duo's braid. "I love your hair. What's it look like, when it's not braided?"
Duo pulled the tie from the end of his braid and shook out his hair into a shiny, rippling mass that spread out around his head. A long, heavy lock fell across Quatre's arm. He picked it up and twirled it around one finger, mesmerized by the texture. "Soft."
"Like your tummy." Duo smoothed his hand over Quatre's belly, fingers dancing over the taut muscle there.
Quatre burst out laughing. "My what?"
"This!" Duo suddenly grabbed him and blew one of those obnoxious farty raspberries on his stomach.
Quatre stifled an outraged shriek and struggled to get away, but Duo just did it again, lower this time, just above the low waistband of his jeans. Unable to get away, Quatre grappled with him and managed to hold him down long enough to blow one on the side of his neck.
"Gah, you're a dead man!" Duo laughed, flipping him and pinning his hands. Quatre bucked under him, trying to throw him off and suddenly realized that they both had erections and that they were, for all intents and purposes, dry humping each other.
They froze like that for an instant, staring into each other's eyes, then Quatre wrested his hands free and grabbed Duo's head, pulling him down into a fevered kiss. Duo moaned into his mouth and rolled them onto their sides, groping and tangling their legs together. Quatre gave himself up to those hands, those lips, currently working their way down his neck to his over sensitized nipples. He reciprocated by shoving a hand down the back of Duo's tight jeans and kneading the hard, flexing muscle of one buttock while his other hand found one of Duo's nipples and gave it a pinch. Duo moaned again, squirming against him, eyes squeezed shut. "God, so good!"
"Yeah!" Quatre closed his eyes, too, and felt a hand fumbling with his belt and the zipper on the front of his jeans, freeing his aching cock and stroking it hard through his underwear. "Oh, yes!"
He found Duo's belt and got his pants open. Duo didn't wear underwear. His cock was hot and swollen and silky in Quatre's hand. But--
It wasn't the right cock. It wasn't Trowa's cock. It was Duo's and Duo was his best friend and Duo wasn't thinking of him, he was thinking of Heero touching him and--
He jerked away so fast that he fell off the edge of the high bed and landed hard on his back, banging his head so hard he saw stars for a moment, but not so hard that he missed Duo's ragged groan. Or was it as sob?
He slowly got to his knees and peered up over the edge of the bed, cheeks ablaze with shame, unsure what to expect. Was Duo going to take a swing at him? Was he melting down?
But instead, he found Duo red faced and struggling to get his pants zipped without hurting himself. Tears were coursing down his cheeks, but he was laughing, too. Quatre's erection was long gone, but Duo was still hard.
"You--ah-- Can you give me a few minutes alone, Kat?" he asked, going a shade redder.
Without a word, Quatre fled to his own room and crawled under the covers, head buried under the pillows, trying hard not to think about what had almost just happened. But his cock was hard again and the dull ache was too much to be denied. Grabbing the box of tissues off the nightstand, he wrestled the tight jeans and underwear down and jerked off, whispering Trowa's name between clenched teeth, not Duo's, as he came. As he lay there afterward, gasping and spent, he heard the shower go on in Duo's bathroom. That seemed like a very good idea. He dragged himself into his bathroom and stood under a hot shower for a long time, washing away the cum and smoke and sweat. When he felt human again, he pulled on a pair of clean pajama bottoms, turned out the lights, and climbed into bed. It felt bigger and more empty than usual.
A few minutes later, however, the door to Duo's room opened and his friend stood there a moment, one hand on the doorknob as if expecting to be told to go away. He was dressed in pajama bottoms and a tee shirt and his hair was braided again. When Quatre didn't say anything, he came in, checked to make sure that the door to the corridor was locked, then climbed into bed with Quatre. He lay down with his damp head on Quatre's shoulder, pressing up against him, trembling.
For a moment Quatre panicked, thinking Duo meant to pick up where they'd left off, but the way Duo snuggle up to him, Quatre could tell he wasn't hard. He opened just a little to him; there was nothing sexual in Duo's energy. No, he was just scared and guilty and desperately in need of reassurance that they were still friends. Quatre hugged him close and kissed him on top of the head. With a heavy sigh, Duo hugged him back, radiating relief and gratitude now. All the same, he whispered, "Still love me?"
Quatre hugged him again. "Of course!"
Duo nestled in a little closer. "Q-ball, my man, we gotta get ourselves laid."
Quatre sighed. "I copy that."
[ch. 39] [ch. 41] [back to Pyrzm's fic]