+ Part 5
Sleet rattled against cracked windows, cold wind creeping through rattletrap
wooden frames. Duo shivered.
Sleep eluded Treize. Of late, he'd become familiar with restless nights,
but this time, neither Romefeller's objectives nor Tsuberov's mobile
dolls caused him to lie awake. Certainly, honor had nothing to do with
his thoughts at the moment, he mused. The thoughts he'd been having
about his prisoner were, on the contrary, most dishonorable.
Stretching across his bed, Treize lay on his back, arms folded behind
his head. He wondered if his captive were sleeping. Or was it possible
that his dreams were equally disrupted? And if they were, could it be
thoughts of Treize that disturbed him, and not the cold, uncomfortable
Why couldn't the boy at least tell him his name? Constant soldier as
he was, he knew that he desired that piece of information, not for OZ,
but for himself. He wanted to be able to whisper a name in the night
when he remembered the silk of the boy's hair. He wanted a name to cry
out in the midst of passion.
But he wouldn't tell, and Treize did not want to force it out of him.
If he had to, he could-- and would--but surely there were other avenues
he could try first. Treize lay perfectly still for some time, reviewing
every moment of their two meetings as if watching a recording. At last,
he came to this evening and their final words. Perhaps, he thought,
that was the answer. If the boy would not talk to Treize Khushrenada,
well, then, offer him another confidente. Treize got out of bed and
began searching through his wardrobe until he found a dark sweater and
jeans. Pulling them on, he left his quarters for the cell block and
his nameless prisoner.
Duo huddled on the hard metal bench that served as a bed. He'd done
it again. Fucked everything up. But how'd they catch him so easily?
Granted, Heero and Trowa were better at the covert stuff, but he didn't
think he'd been careless. He'd followed the plan, done what he was supposed
to do. So how come he was freezing his ass off in an OZ cell?
C'mon, he chided himself, things weren't so bad. He'd been in worse
spots before. Lots worse. Yeah, but he'd never been likely to have a
wet dream about the guy who was holding him prisoner, either. Maxwell,
he thought, you are fucked in the head.
Without warning, the cell door slid open. Blinded by the sudden light,
Duo shaded his eyes with his hand. Squinting, he saw the figure of a
tall man silhouetted in the bright doorway. The man stepped inside,
doors closing behind him.
Duo sat up. When he did, sensors raised the room's lighting to a dim
glow, enough for him to see that the OZ colonel had been replaced by
the image that had troubled his thoughts. Pretty sneaky, he acknowledged.
Good thing he was on his guard. Otherwise, the trick might have worked.
Treize took a tentative step toward the bench. "Are you alone?"
Duo's eyes widened as he recognized the other man's greeting. Play along,
he told himself. See what he has in mind. "Yeah. You?"
"Yes. May I sit down?"
Duo nodded, although he stared at the floor as Treize sat down. This
is bogus, he told himself. He's just trying to get information. He doesn't
mean anything by this.
A moment passed. "Can we talk now?" Treize asked.
"About what?" Duo was finding the floor a safer place for his attention
than the man next to him. Mission, he reminded himself. He had a mission.
"About who you are and why you're here." Treize sat with both hands
clasped loosely between his knees. He continued, his voice casual, as
if the words had little import. "The guards found you in the lab. I
presume that was your goal?"
"You can presume what you want." Duo licked his suddenly parched lips.
"I take it you are either from the Alliance or the colonies. Not that
it really matters. I can't let you report to anyone what you've seen."
Duo shuddered at the thought of those soulless robot suits in the lab.
"Were those things your idea?"
"Mine?" Treize's head jerked up. "Never! Those...things...have no place
in war, as far as I am concerned."
"Yeah?" Duo stretched, folding his hands behind his head. "A weapon's
a weapon. I mean, I wouldn't want to fight one of them. They wouldn't
make mistakes like a human pilot would. Wouldn't be limited by reflexes,
either, so I'll bet they're damn fast. But shit, if you can build them,
Treize opened his mouth as if to respond, but then he looked hard at
Duo, his eyes slightly narrowing. Abruptly, he sighed. "You're a child,
and you know nothing of war."
"I'm not a child!" Duo sat up, his hands balled into fists. "And war
is all I've ever known."
Concern quenched the angry blaze in the sapphire eyes. "My apologies.
I had no right to assume anything about you." He gave Duo a long, considering
look. "I see, in fact, that I've been quite wrong in some of my assumptions.
You spoke as though you've fought against mobile suits yourself. You
think like a pilot."
Goddamnit, Maxwell, Duo cursed at himself, you and your mouth. "Do I?"
he asked, trying to sound innocent.
"Yes. You are a pilot, aren't you?"
"Damn." Duo pouted. "That's twice today that hasn't worked."
A reluctant smile twitched at the corners of Treize's mouth. "Am I correct?"
"Guess there's not much point in lying about it. Yeah, I'm a flyboy,
all right." Duo saluted, grinning sardonically.
"And what do you fly, my nameless pilot?" Treize leaned closer. Duo
caught a whiff of masculine scent, a melange of spice and warm skin.
"As I said, it really makes no difference. You aren't going anywhere.
But I'm curious. You seem rather young to be a pilot."
"I'm old enough to fly a Gundam!"
Treize raised an elegant eyebrow. "A Gundam? I see my presumptions about
you have been most incorrect."
Goddamnmotherfuckingsonofabitch. Way to go, Maxwell. Why didn't he just
rattle off a list of all Quatre's safehouses while he was at it? Sullen,
he clamped his mouth shut, crossed his arms, and stared at the floor.
"Which one are you? Heero Yuy?" Treize continued to study him, as if
he were looking for something.
Duo snorted. "Me? The Perfect Soldier? Not hardly." Heero would never
have given himself away like that. Shit, he was making a mess of the
whole mission, and Heero would never speak to him again after this.
Assuming the other pilot didn't kill him, of course.
Treize reached out and brushed Duo's hair away from his face. "Then
The butterfly touch startled Duo. His voice trembled when he protested
faintly. "You're not playing fair."
"No, I'm not, am I?" Treize's caress became less tentative, his fingers
tracing the outline of Duo's cheek and chin.
"What else do you want from me?" Duo bit his lip. Treize's touch burned
through his body. "Stop it," he whispered.
Treize withdrew his hand. "As you wish."
Confusion racked Duo. He felt worse when Treize quit touching him. Closing
his eyes, he wrapped his arms tightly around himself. What was wrong
"Please," Treize asked, his voice gentle, the OZ colonel completely
eclipsed. "Won't you at least tell me your name?"
Without opening his eyes, he answered. "Duo. Duo Maxwell."
"Duo," Treize repeated, saying his name the way Duo had dreamed of hearing
Heero say it. "I have one more question."
Treize hesitated as if choosing his words carefully. "That night, on
the bridge. When we parted, you said, 'Thank you.' What were you thanking
"You remember that? Wow," Duo said, amazed. "I guess for listening.
And for not trying to pick me up. I thought that's what you wanted to
do at first. No offense, but I was pretty glad you didn't."
"What's the matter, Duo? Don't you enjoy making love?"
"Dunno. Never done it before." The walls he'd built around his memories
began to crumble. Change the subject, his mind begged. If they kept
talking about this, Duo knew he'd be sorry. He never spoke of these
things to anyone. He couldn't survive any other way.
Treize stared in disbelief. "You aren't going to try to convince me
that you're a virgin."
"Virgin?" Duo laughed, but it had an ugly sound. "Hell no, not since
I was, like, eight or nine." A dark flood of memory rose up in his mind,
and he trembled with the effort of holding it back.
Something that looked like shock and pain twisted Treize's sculpted
mouth. "Then what do you mean?"
Duo shrugged, trying to pretend he didn't care. "I meant that no one's
ever made love to me." His voice betrayed him, breaking suspiciously.
"Just fucked me, that's all."
Duo turned his head, violently hoping Treize wouldn't notice the tears
collecting in his eyes. Maybe he'd leave now that he'd found out what
he wanted to know. No such luck. Treize reached over and tilted up Duo's
"You have the loveliest eyes I've ever seen," Treize said, drawing his
forefinger between Duo's brows, down the abbreviated bridge of his tiptilted
nose. Duo blinked, sending two large tears rolling down his cheeks.
"Get outta here," he said in disbelief, his voice quavering. Christ,
he hoped Treize meant it.
It's true." Treize brushed his fingers over the boy's eyelids. "There's
a wildflower that grows in my country that's precisely this color, one
that blooms in early spring, when the farmers are plowing. It makes
drifts of purple across the brown earth. I shall never see it again
without thinking of your eyes. And your hair." Treize lifted the long
braid to his lips. "You are beautiful, Duo Maxwell." He tugged gently
on the braid he held in his hand, pulling Duo closer to him. "I cherish
Duo let himself be drawn into Treize's arms, allowed his head to rest
in the hollow of his captor's shoulder. He didn't return the embrace,
but neither did he fight it. Through the knit of Treize's sweater, he
felt the hard muscle of the arms that held him, but it was a gentle,
cautious strength. Powerful hands stroked his hair, careful not to snag
errant strands that fell from his braid.
"Duo," Treize murmured, as if he took pleasure in saying the boy's name.
"I'm so sorry..." His voice trailed off. "That sounds terribly inadequate
and condescending, and I don't mean it to be."
Duo lifted his head so that he could see Treize's face. "Hey," he said,
managing a weak imitation of his usual bravado, "don't feel sorry for
me. I'm still here. I survived."
"Yes." Treize nuzzled lightly against Duo's tousled hair. "But I'm sorry
for what survival has cost you. Can you ever forgive the Universe for
what it's done to you?"
How was it that this guy seemed to know exactly what he felt? Duo pressed
his face against Treize's chest and spoke softly. "Not always. But sometimes
it's easier than others."
Strong arms tightened around him. "What about now?"
"You're making it easier."
Treize shifted, pulling Duo onto his lap. Slightly surprised but not
troubled, Duo cooperated, snuggling into the older man's embrace.
"Duo," Treize began. "You know that I want you."
In his new position, Duo could feel the heat and hardness of Treize's
erection pressing against his hip. He nodded, wondering if Treize were
as aware of his similar condition.
"But I won't take you unless you wish it. And I won't take you here."
Treize gestured to include the cold bench, the dull metal walls of the
cell. "I don't want this to be another fuck." The word sounded strange
in Treize's mouth, as if the coarseness of it were unfamiliar to him.
Duo whispered, "I want you, too." It's a chance to escape, he told himself,
a way out of this cell. So I can finish this mission. Thoughts tumbled
through his head with such chaos that he wasn't sure himself which was
"Then come with me." Treize put his hands on Duo's slender waist, lifting
him easily and setting him on his feet. Standing, he motioned for Duo
to follow him.
For a moment, Duo felt a pang of disappointment, until he realized that
Treize could hardly walk out of the cell with his arm around his prisoner.
Willing to go along with whatever charade Treize intended, he took a
step toward the door. Pain shot through his leg. His injured ankle had
stiffened while they'd been talking, and it refused to support him.
He stumbled, catching himself on the endge of the bench.
"Duo!" Treize lifted him, made him sit. "You're hurt. Why didn't you
say something?" He knelt, pulling up the cuff of Duo's coverall. As
he gently prodded the swollen ankle, he glanced up in mute apology when
his probing caused Duo to hiss with pain.
"Right," Duo said through clenched teeth. "Tell my jailer that I'm hurt.
Great strategy, that one."
Ignoring Duo's sarcasm, Treize stood, offering his hand to Duo. "Do
you think you can walk if you lean on me?"
"Lean on you?" Duo's voice cracked as it hadn't done in a long time.
"You mean out there, in front of the guards?"
"Unless you'd prefer to crawl, I believe that's your only option." Treize
slid an arm around Duo's waist, carefully lifting him to his feet. The
top of Duo's head barely reached the taller man's shoulder. Treize smiled.
"I hadn't realized that you're so small."
Duo found a flirtatious grin. "Not where it counts!"
Treize chuckled and playfully swatted Duo's behind. "Behave yourself.
It would hardly do for the commander of OZ to be drooling with lust
as he escorts his prisoner for further interrogation."
Heero shoved the body of the OZ security man, now dressed in maintenance
coveralls, into a dark corner. His uniform fit Heero well, although
not with the usual precision of OZ tailoring. Still, it would be sufficient.
He needed more information than the computer logs had given him. His
guise as a maintenance worker no longer served, so he adopted the persona
of a security guard. Sometimes it almost frightened him how easily he
was able to assume the roles his missions demanded of him. Callow student
or disciplined killer, it was all the same to him.
Heero strode through the corridors toward the cell block. One prisoner,
the log read. Apprehended at 2100 on Level 9. Assigned to cell number
001. No other data.
Heero required no further data to know that the prisoner was Duo. His
fists clenched as he recalled how OZ treated captives, especially those
suspected of espionage. But Duo had great physical courage. Although
the motormouth frequently teased Heero about his own stoicism, Heero
had seen Duo shrug off pain that would have rendered most men unconscious.
Their enemies would not have had time to apply enough coercion to make
him talk. Talk about anything important, he corrected himself. He could
not imagine that Duo would be a quiet captive.
The idea of Duo in the hands of an OZ interrogator twisted his stomach.
Ignoring the churning in his gut, Heero approached the detention level.
Rescue must be his first priority. Duo was too valuable a pilot to sacrifice
unnecessarily. Too valuable a friend, he admitted to himself.
Heero automatically counted the guards in the corridor. Two at the control
desk, four at the cell door, he observed, his mind coldly calculating
the odds against him. The sentries' shift would change soon. Better
for him to wait and present himself for guard duty then. He eased back
around the corner where he could wait and watch.
The door of the cell opened. Heero's eyes went immediately to the slender,
braided figure, assessing his condition. Duo leaned heavily against
the side of a tall man in dark civilian clothing. He took a few hobbling
steps, clearly in pain. Heero's mouth hardened.
The man in dark clothes spoke. "I am taking the prisoner for additional
questioning. You are dismissed until further notice." The guards saluted
him and withdrew. Heero rocked forward on the balls of his feet, ready
to launch himself at the tall man, when recognition wrenched him to
Cold hatred flooded Heero. He despised no man on Earth or in space as
much as Treize Khushrenada. Others had used and tricked him, but he
would never forget nor forgive the events at New Edwards base, nor Colonel
Treize's part in them. "My enemy," he said softly, his hand twitching
toward his gun. But Duo stood between him and his foe. He could not
shoot one without shooting the other.
Duo shuffled forward a few more steps. Treize bent over him. "Duo, this
is ridiculous. You can't walk."
Heero's eyes widened, his hatred deeper, if possible, than before. That
viper played some sort of game, and with his Duo. Rage choked him.
Duo looked up at Treize and grinned. "Guess this means I'm gonna have
to crawl, huh?"
Heero felt as though the floor tilted under him. He reached out to steady
himself against the wall.
"Nonsense." Treize scooped Duo into his arms with easy strength. "While
the thought of you on your knees has a certain appeal, I'd prefer to
see you in that position in private."
The roaring in Heero's ears drowned out Duo's answer. Treize bent his
head over the boy in his arms, capturing his mouth in a passionate kiss.
Duo's arms stole around the Colonel's neck as he returned the kiss with
Heero drew his gun, but found his vision too blurred to allow him a
clear shot. By the time he could see, the two had disappeared, although
their laughter still echoed in the empty corridor. He slumped back against
the wall, staring blindly at the vacant cell. His fingers convulsed
on the butt of his gun. "I will kill you," he growled, not completely
certain which enemy he threatened.
[part 4] [part 6] [back
to Razorqueen's fic]