Author: Ravengirl
see part 1 for warnings, notes, disclamer

Deconstructing the Myth

Ignorant Supposition #4: The Amoral L2 Slut

"Move your hand, Bradford, or I'm gonna remove it for you."

I paused with my fingers on the access panel of Duo's office door. He obviously had someone in there with him, and I recognized the hard note in his voice. 02's guest had managed to piss Shinigami off. I could hear The God of Death's calm, inhuman fury running through Duo's normally cheerful intonations.

"Come off it Maxwell... I've seen you watching me."

"Sheyeah, right." Duo's scorn was a palpable thing, even through the port's solid obstruction. "Lemme tell ya something, asswipe... you better trim that ego a little or pretty soon you ain't gonna be able to fit both yourself and it through Preventers main entrance. Now back... the fuck... off."

Indecision took hold. On one hand, I wanted to enter immediately and put a stop to this distasteful episode. On the other, I knew Duo would not be happy with me for trying to 'save him'. He likes dealing with this kind of thing himself. If the offending party doesn't get the point the first time, they'll likely be back for round two.

Deathscythe Hell's former pilot is one of the most attractive -- in every sense of the word -- people I've ever met. There is an unconscious sensuality to his movements... an aura of dangerous energy surrounding him which draws personalities of all kinds and both sexes to bask in the warmth that is Duo Maxwell.

He is fire -- hot, pulsing, radiant -- and any number of people are more than willing to immolate themselves within the brilliance of his flame.

Due to his antecedents, however, there are also a great many morons who refuse to look beyond his beauty of face and form. In the minds of such individuals, anyone who looks like Duo and has managed to drag themselves out of the squalor that is the L2 slums must have used their physical attributes to do so.

My friends and fellow partners-in-crime have a phrase they use to refer to 'Quatre in one of his Moods' (note the capital 'm'). They call it 'going Zero'. I'm sure I don't have to tell you why this is.

Honestly, most of the time, I don't see their justification for the description... doesn't everyone find incessant pen-tapping to be an aggravating habit? Wouldn't you want to take said writing instrument away from the person doing so and snap it in half?

But that is beside the point. Because, if ever I felt the urge to 'go Zero' on anyone, it would be those who believe they are free to proposition Duo as if he was a rent-boy trolling for johns instead of a highly-respected field agent and veteran of two bloody wars.

Luckily, Duo himself usually stops things before they pass the point of no return.

Of course, nine times out of ten, Yuy catches the twits, previous to them even appearing on Duo's horizon. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit I enjoy watching the fools go through 01's very short, extremely brutal training course in the art of: 'You-even-look-at-Maxwell-the-wrong-way-again-and-I'll-kill-you-and-oh darn-was-that-your-finger-I-just-broke?'

I know for a fact Une and Noin find the whole thing hilarious. I passed them in the hall after one such incident while they were still leaning against each other, hands stifling laughter, tears streaming from mirth-squinted eyes. A pair of more genteel, more blood-thirsty ladies you will never meet.

Except, perhaps, Doro Catalonia. I hear she's working Homicide, these days. I'm sure it suits her quite admirably.

A flurry of sound from behind the door drew my attention back to the here-and-now. A thud, a sharp crack and a pained groan issued forth in quick succession. I took the subsequent silence as my cue to enter.

Duo had a dark-suited man pinned to his wall. Both the guy's arms were pulled back and up... he didn't look very comfortable. In fact, his facial features were rather interestingly contorted.

Turning his head as I stepped into the office, Duo grinned cheerfully at me.

"Be with you in a minute Q, soon as I finish up this conference with Vice." He turned his attention back to his prisoner. "So Bradford... we gonna play ring-around-the-Gundam some more, or do you wanna be a smart boy and take a fall?"

"Fall," the man gasped as his right hand was jerked higher.

"Am I gonna have to do this again?"

"N-no."

"No what?"

"No sir!"

"Damn straight." 02 released the quivering wrists. "Now get the fuck out of my office. Come near me again, and I'll have you up in front of the Commander on harassment charges faster than you can say 'dishonorable discharge'. Do I make myself clear, Agent?"

"Yessir!"

The minute Duo's attention left him, Bradford slunk by me and through the port with all due haste. Heaving a gusty sigh, Duo dropped into his chair and used his foot to shove another in my direction.

"Close the door and have a seat, Quat. I've got the specs on the Di Paloma operation around here somewhere; I just didn't have time to find 'em since Preventer Dipshit decided to grace me with his presence. I swear, half those guys over in Vice think they're God's gift to the undeserving populace."

"Tough morning?" I asked cautiously, watching him root through his files.

He stopped suddenly and scrubbed a hand over his face. His eyes, when they met mine, were dark-circled and weary.

The care-worn expression sparked a pang in my chest. Duo was far too young to wear such a look, but it was one I had seen etched on my own features, from time to time.

You can't fight the way we did and come away unscathed, and one of the first prices war exacts is youth. Once you pick up a gun with intent to kill, you age quickly.

"No more than usual," he said tiredly. "I just get sick of it all, you know? When do I get to let down my guard and stop fighting? Will my damned training even allow me to? I dunno, Q... sometimes life seems futile. It's like we run around in circles trying to get somewhere impossible to reach... then we die. What's the fucking point?"

I opened my mouth to respond, though I'm still not sure what I would have said. I only knew that leaving him in this frame of mind was unacceptable and I intended to stick around as long as was needed to bring him out of it.

As it happened, though, I wasn't the one to accomplish that task.

Before I could get a word out, the door slid open again and a wonderful cinnamony smell wafted in. Behind the delectable scent came Heero, white paper bakery bag in one hand, foam cup in the other. His head was turned as he spoke quietly to someone behind him and I caught a quick glimpse of my better half's long bangs before they vanished.

Then Heero looked at Duo and suddenly that shining happiness was back in 02's eyes. The generous mouth curved gently as Light strode over and carefully placed his bag in the middle of the paper-strewn desk.

Duo snatched it up immediately, unfolding the top and practically burying his face in the sack to inhale the fragrance of whatever it held.

"Here, 04. Compliments of 03."

Startled, I took the covered cup Heero held out to me. Cracking the lid a little, I sniffed. I know my smile must have been as wide as Duo's. Pure, 100% gourmet Arabian roast, hot as hell and sweet as love. Ahhhh... Trowa knows me way too well.

I sipped my treat and Duo proceeded to devour his fresh apple scone, little moans of pleasure escaping him every so often. No doubt he'd forgotten breakfast, as usual.

Heero stayed, leaning against the desk with arms crossed as he watched his mate from under unruly chocolate bangs.

"Saw Bradford in the bullpen on the way up here," 01 said in his abrupt manner.

Duo licked a crumb from one thumb.

"Yep."

A coffee-dark brow rose.

"The Chandler case?"

02 studiously avoided intent cobalt eyes.

"Yep."

"Hn."

I hid my smile in the cup.

Leaning forward, Heero brushed his lips over Duo's before turning briskly on one heel and marching out. Shade watched him go, a little grin of sleek satisfaction on his face. Then he looked at me and the grin turned sly.

"So, how'd Tro know you were here?"

I could feel the flush rise in a scarlet tide from my neck to my cheeks. Damn my fair complexion, anyway. Aren't Arabs supposed to be swarthy?

"I -- um -- stopped by his office earlier," I muttered, knowing Duo and his deviant mind would put their own spin on things.

He snickered, as expected, then shot from his chair like a coiled spring to attack his file cabinets with more enthusiasm than I'd seen from him in a while.

"Okay, buddy, most of the stuff you want'll be in the Ds, but I just know I shoved some of it in the Ps, so why don't you check over there, while I look in here?"

"Why the Ps?" I asked idly, pulling one packed drawer out.

"P for prick... 'cause Giovanni Di Paloma is one," he replied succinctly and I snorted with laughter.

As I leafed through surprisingly well-organized files, I mused on the benefits of afternoon scones and fractured bones. I couldn't help the small smile that formed as I thought about what was most likely going on one floor down.

The day was shaping up nicely, indeed.


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