by: Shoori

Marking it Down to Learning + Chapter 21

Heero squinted, bringing the diagram on the large screen in the front of the room into clearer focus.

Not that he really had to examine that particular diagram too closely. It had been the focus of most of his waking hours for months now.

The blueprint.

They finally had it, or at least had enough of it that he, the others and Une had decided it was safe to plan and execute the final stage of their mission against the Order.

The take-down.

And it was about damn time, too.

It had been months. Months and months of planning, detecting, infiltrating, surveilling, and waiting.

Months of Quatre having to go there almost every damn day.

Months of...

Heero sighed, rubbing one hand over his face, trying to concentrate on what Une was saying.

Months since Duo had gone, and turned up there.

What a fucking mess it all was.

First Duo, then Treize.

That had certainly been a surprise. The former OZ general was supposed to be dead; instead, he was languishing as the personal sex slave of the leader of the Order, who had been exposed as none other than Treize's own estranged uncle.

It was... unreal. That was Wufei's term. He used it all the time. Along with unbelievable, surreal, impossible... Heero thought that the Chinese man sometimes half-believed that this was some long, bizarre, convoluted nightmare.

And it was. It was also real, though, and that sucked.

Heero's eyes moved to Wufei. His sleek, dark head was bent as he made quick notations on the pad of paper before him. The Chinese man had been in charge of training the physical troops that were their backup in this mission, and the agents who were to lead them, and he was intent on getting all of them in and out of the building with a few casualties as possible.

Wufei had been their rock through this entire ordeal. Whenever the rest of them had collapsed, complained, or erupted, Wufei had been there to support, comfort and calm them. He had taken quiet charge of operations, had kept Une and underlings away from them as much as possible, and had generally kept them all sane and together through everything. Heero had no doubt that if it weren't for Wufei's serene strength, they'd have broken ­ individually and as a group ­ months ago.

And not only had he managed to hold Quatre and Trowa and Heero together, but he'd also brought Zechs to them.

Heero's gaze moved to the blond, who sat between Wufei and his sister. Relena had been brought into this last planning session, because when they brought it into motion, they were going to have to attempt to isolate that section of Sanc. There was a definite risk that civilians might get caught in the crossfire, and they were doing their best to minimize that chance. They'd been trying, unobtrusively, to cut off civilian traffic in that area ­ road construction, broken water lines and sewer mains, detours that had gone on long enough that people had fallen into the habit of taking alternate routes - had dramatically decreased the amount of people in the crucial area. They didn't dare release information to the police until they were poised to move, though, as they had no idea who in the different law enforcement agencies were being paid off by the Order.

Zechs' face was calm, expressionless even, and he seemed to be concentrating fully on the report. By the look in his eyes belied that false calm ­ in the weeks since he'd discovered that Treize was still alive, Zechs eyes hadn't once lost that expression of fathomless guilt, underlied by steely determination.

Whimsically, Heero wondered which of their operatives was the most dangerous loose cannon at this point.

Zechs was certainly a contender. Since Treize had been discovered, Zechs had hardly slept, barely eaten, and focused on nothing but the blueprint and the plan to bring the Order down. Heero didn't at all believe that Zechs hadn't been committed to the mission before Treize was discovered, but since they had discovered that the other man was alive, his dedication had turned to obsession. Treize was alive, Zechs hadn't saved him, and the prince was determined to rectify that error.

Trowa might have him beat in the obsession department, though, since he'd had longer to whip himself into the frenzy of guilt, fury and reckless determination he was living in at the moment. His anger at finding that Duo had left had never diminished ­ it had seemed, actually, to intensify and broaden in focus. He didn't solely blame Heero anymore ­ in fact, from what Wufei had said, he seemed to blame pretty much everybody: the people who had abused Duo when he was a child, himself for not brining the situation into the light, the scientists for teaching all of them that their needs ­ and therefore themselves ­ were unimportant and inferior, Une for making them be part of the mission and stealing their time in the early days of Duo's disappearance, the Order for capturing Duo, Duo himself for running, Relena and the world for expecting them to fix everything... In short, Trowa was pissed.

He'd focused most of that anger on the Order. If Zechs was obsessed with getting Treize out, Trowa was obsessed with getting himself in. He'd spent weeks familiarizing himself with the Order's strange group of leaders, studying the photos of those they'd managed to identify, searching through thousands of crime scene pictures and mugs shots and descriptions, looking for ­ and sometimes finding ­ information to link to the Order and its specific members to different times, places and crimes. He's listened over and over and over to the surveillance recordings of Quatre's forays within the Order. He'd managed to identify a few of the victims who'd been kidnapped and forced into prostitution by the Order. He knew more about them than anyone else, probably.

The hottest part of his rage was focused on the two known as Capaneus and Tydeus. They were the ones who had picked up Duo from wherever he'd been, and brought him into the Order. They, then, were the ones that Trowa had decided, somehow, were most in need of punishing.

He had brooded over them, demanded details and descriptions from Quatre, and relentlessly researched every deal he could think of to determine their identities. Polynices himself had given them the clue to find Tydeus' identity, but Trowa had had to search long and hard before he was able to uncover the sordid details of Capaneus' past.

And he'd found it.

He'd been a wealthy businessman, who owned several manufacturing facilities in different industries. He'd inherited his wealth fairly early, and in just a few years he'd managed to increase the size of his holdings considerably.

Unfortunately, as he grew wealthier and more powerful, he'd begun considering not just his factories, but everything in them, his own property. At first, the young men and women he'd forced to participate in his games had been too ashamed and frightened to tell anyone about them. But word eventually leaked out, and Capaneus found it harder to find silent playmates for his little games.

This had just angered him, and he'd pushed harder, threatening people with loss of their jobs, their livelihoods... eventually, their lives.

The police had come and warned him, and he'd laughed. His money put him, he felt, above the law.

The mayor of the town he'd lived in ­ and whom he paid well to turn a blind eye to both his private and personal business ­ warned him also. He insisted that he wouldn't protect Capaneus if the man was going to actively hurt people.

The mayor's wife was killed the next week.

But Capaneus had gone too far. With nothing left to lose, the mayor confessed his crimes on videotape, sent the tape to a news agency, and killed himself. The story had exploded, and Capaneus had found the he wasn't above the law after all. He ended up jailed, his properties were mostly sold to pay the lawsuits his victims and their families brought against him.

He'd escaped and vanished forever... until he turned up in the Order.

Heero had no idea how Trowa had managed to turn up this identification. Trowa, though, had lived, breathed and slept Capaneus and Tydeus for months. He knew everything about them. It was rather chilled Heero when he thought of it ­ Capaneus and Tydeus had no idea Trowa existed, but Trowa thought about them constantly, investigated them, learned about them, planned how to destroy them. He was dark shadow moving closer and closer to them, and was one of which they were completely unaware [1].

Wufei didn't want Trowa to be able to go in. But none of them dared attempt to keep him out of it. He was a Gundam pilot ­ whatever restraint they put on him, they knew that he would be able to escape, and he'd turn up there anyway, that much more pissed off and out of control. The best that they could do is have him a legitimate part of the mission, where they could keep and eye on him and make sure his single-minded focus didn't get him killed.

Then there was Quatre. Quatre had exhibited three different types of behavior over the last few months: bone-deep weariness, wracking sorrow and guilt, and helpless, frustrated fury. It had been guilt most of the time. Heero thought that they should put a moratorium on apologies ­ if the blond said that he was sorry one more time, Heero thought he should be fined, or slapped, or something. Wufei muttered dolefully all the time about Quatre's mental and emotional stability ­ or lack thereof ­ but despite everything that had happened, the blond hadn't broken yet. Even when it seemed that it was just impossible for him to go another day, he had. But Heero realized that his strength couldn't last forever, and worried about what would happen when everything came to the final stand. Could he withstand that?

Those three, Heero had decided, were the biggest worries. But, they weren't the sum total of the potential for disaster ­ not at all.

Une herself could merrily fuck things up if she decided to. She'd been a pain in the butt for almost the entire mission, and she been a thousand times worse since Treize had been discovered. Trowa had focused his anger on Capaneus and Tydeus, Quatre had focused it on himself, but Une's anger was very firmly fixed on Zechs, and that dissension within their ranks had been incredibly hard on all of them. She hadn't been as aggressive in her attacks on him since that first scene, the day they'd discovered that Treize was still alive, but she'd made it very clear that she considered Zechs responsible for what had happened to the former General. Their spats had never gone beyond that, but on the slightest pretext, she would snipe at him, deliver some snide and indirect insult, or do whatever she could think of to make him miserable. He responded in kind amazingly frequently, considering Zechs' usual attitude of calm, austere restraint, and Heero had gotten the impression that they were merely continuing a round of hostilities that had been going on for years, a furious argument that they could pick up and continue from the point where they'd left off at any time.

It had been, frankly, annoying.

Apparently, they'd been able to control themselves and be civil when they thought that Treize was dead, but now that he was alive again, all bets were off.

Then there was the paparazzi.

They hadn't gotten wind of the mission, thank God. What they had discovered was that the strong, handsome, noble, single Prince of Sanc had moved in with a bunch of men.

It was enough to make every hopeful young lady in Sanc weep, and weep they did as the exposes came out, fast and furious. There had been story after story after story, speculating on their sleeping arrangements, pairing arrangements, various kinky activities... All of Sanc was wondering what they did and where they did it and who they did it with - and where Zechs fit into all of it.

Reporters and camera crews had camped outside their buildings, and it had seriously imperiled the mission for a time. Quatre hadn't been able to get out to pay his usual visits to the Order, he'd had to explain to Polynices why Zechs was now part of their ménage... It had been an unholy mess. The only blessing was that it gave them a handy excuse to stay in their home, where they had based operations, and even explained why various Preventers might be moving in and out of the building.

But it had sucked. It had been embarrassing for Zechs. It had been difficult for Relena, though it was she who had really saved the situation for them. She had expressed support and love for her friends and her brother, had shown disapproval for those who had pried so mercilessly into their private lives, and a frosty disdain for those who disparaged their lifestyle. She had tied all of that together with a delicate and slightly wicked humor and had helped it all blow over much more quickly that it would have on its own.

For the rest of them, it had been...

Well, it hadn't been as big a deal as Heero had once thought it would have been. Their lifestyle was more or less an open secret anyone, among those who knew them, and they weren't nearly as well-known as Relena and Zechs were. Their identities weren't precisely secret, but they didn't exactly advertise them either. And they had all been together ­ and open about it ­ for far to long for any of them to even consider denying it. It had been... uncomfortable, though. Embarrassing, and... tawdry.

Heero didn't like it.

Duo would have loved it. He would have reveled at being at the center of the biggest sex scandal Sanc had ever seen. They'd managed to hide the fact that he was missing, which was a relief, but Heero had missed him intensely, thinking of the unholy glee that would have lightened those violet eyes as he read all the seamy tabloid accounts of their relationship.

He would, Heero thought, probably have used them for research.

It was, Heero had to admit, a very good story, from a journalist's point of view. He would have read it with interest, if it involved anyone but him.

But it was him, so it wasn't much fun. Not only had it tensed and frustrated and angered and embarrassed anyone, it had also had another extremely detrimental side-effect. Even Heero, after reading long, involved speculations of who did what in his relationship in the papers, and seeing daytime talk show hosts ponder 'who got what where' amongst himself and his lovers, didn't feel much like engaging in any sexual activity.

So. Since that story broke, there had been no sex.



They hadn't even shared beds, though they rarely were off to sleep at the same time anyway.

But... they hadn't had that method of relieving tension.

And more... they hadn't been able to... renew their closeness to each other. Physical touch and intimacy had always been very much a part of their relationship, their way of... of expressing things to each other. And since that had been taken away from them they had grown...

Maybe not grow apart. Heero certainly didn't feel differently for any of them, though he still couldn't articulate exactly what it was that he did feel for them. They had just been...

Distant. There had been a distance that they hadn't had an opportunity to close. Heero didn't think it was a permanent distance ­ he hoped it wasn't a permanent distance ­ but it was there.

It was there, and they were moving out on the mission in fifteen hours.

Suddenly, that was not acceptable.

Anytime they went out, someone might not come back.

They couldn't leave it like this.

Heero scowled at Une, forcing himself to pay attention to what the woman was blathering about, if only so that he could ascertain how long it would be before she was finished.

He'd tuned her out initially when she had started repeating herself for the fourth time.

It wasn't that complex a mission, actually. It was, really, a far better opportunity than any of them had expected.

There was going to be a... well, 'party' was probably the wrong word for it. All the leaders of the Order were in town, which, as it turned out, was actually rather rare. They tended to keep to different locations, for security reasons as well as for business ones. But they were all here, to conduct some business together, and they were having a dinner of sorts as part of that meeting.

Quatre had been invited.

The blond had expressed surprise to all of them at being included, insisting he wasn't sure why he was, and suspicious of the invitation.

The others weren't sure if his bewilderment was real, or if he was denying the truth.

It was fairly obvious that Polynices saw Quatre as sort of an "Argive-in-training [2]," or something along those lines. He talked often about similarities he saw between himself and the younger man, gave him gifts and preferential treatment... even slept with him himself.

That was the one thing that pushed Heero to the same level of psychotic fury Trowa displayed over Capaneus and Tydeus.

Every time he had to sit there and listen to Quatre have to let that sick bastard touch him, Heero wanted to kill. He wanted it as he never had before. Even in the war, he'd never enjoyed violence. He'd perpetrated one hell of a lot of violent acts, but that was all part of the mission. He'd never really wanted to hurt anyone.

He wanted to hurt Polynices.

He'd probably have to get in line, though. He could concede that other had prior claim.

At any rate, Polynices had included Quatre in this meeting as any CEO would include his protégé in a meeting of the Board of Directors.

Not many Board meetings would go like this one, though. It was going to be held in the large room Polynices kept as his personal playroom. They were all to be tended by their personal favorites, which meant that Duo and Treize would be there, so that they could see to business and pleasure at the same time. The facility was closed to all but the most exclusive of clients at that time, so there would be less people underfoot.

It was eerily, suspiciously perfect. In a way, it was almost as though the Order were being handed to them on a silver platter...

And Heero had learned long ago ­ never trust a silver platter.

But, they were doing the best that they could with the information they had. They'd learned a great deal since they'd found Treize, and he'd thought up his... clever way of communicating with Quatre.

Heero felt himself flushing as he thought of that. None of them really referred directly to that anymore. It obviously humiliated Quatre, and made the rest of them, at the very least, uncomfortable.

It made Une furious.

Heero wondered about Une sometimes. She'd certainly known about Treize's sexual preferences ­ had she thought that he was like Polynices, always on the dominant side of any sexual activity? He'd made Wufei tell him the story of his involvement with the two OZ officers during the war, and knew for a fact that it wasn't that way. Even if Wufei hadn't vouched for the fact that Treize liked variety, Zechs' technique would have told him ­ the blond had definitely had a good deal of practice in all types of lovemaking.

Maybe she didn't want to think of Treize taking the "woman's" role in the proceedings... Heero forced himself to stop thinking about that, and raised his hand to his mouth to hide the wholly inappropriate smile that that train of thought had brought about.

He couldn't help it, though. The thought of Treize in a dress... it was just too much.

He was losing it. He needed sleep. Sleep, relaxation, rest...

"Any questions?" Une's sharp voice cut through his reverie.

No one answered. There shouldn't be any questions, Heero thought in irritation. They'd gone over the plan four million times.

Wait for the dinner. Listen in until they knew everyone was in place. Their forces would surround the facility. The first wave ­ a small, select group - would sneak in and go right for the security center, and take out the alarm system. When they gave the signal that that was deactivated, another group would go to the back, and begin taking out slaves, while others fanned out across the facility and rescue those who were being forced to 'work,' and arrest the paying clients.

The original force would head for the room where the dinner was occurring, and take down the Order.

That was the force they would all be with.

There was more potential for disaster than Heero cared to think about. Quatre, Duo and Treize would all be in that one room.

All their hostages of fortune in the same place.

All their eggs in one basket.

Heero scowled at himself. Brooding on it wasn't going to change it. It might be the only opportunity they got to do this when all the leaders of the Order were in one place. There was no sense in taking the Sanc branch of the operation down if the leaders were just going to start it up again elsewhere.

They had to strike once, strike hard, and take them all out with one blow.

And hope that they all made it through.

"All right," Une said briskly. "Quatre will be leaving for the facility in fourteen hours. Right now, Wufei will go review with the troops, Heero and Trowa put any last-minute refinements on the blueprints, Quatre can review the plans for those within the facility, Zechs...

"No," Heero said sharply.

All eyes in the room turned to him in surprise.

"No?" Une repeated. She frowned. "Is there something we've left out?" she demanded, being to leaf through the sheet of papers in front of her. "I though we'd though of everything... "

"Yeah," Heero interrupted. "You've thought of everything except the fact that you're sending in your central force exhausted." He scowled. "None of us have slept in a day ­ if we spend the whole day going over things we've gone over a hundred times, and don't get any rest, we go in at a disadvantage."

She stared at him, her mouth open. "You want a nap?" she demanded, sounding amazed.

He scowled. "I realize that you think we're all just handy little machines you can switch on when you want us, but believe it or not, we need to eat and sleep too in order to perform at peak proficiency," he snapped sarcastically.

"I don't need... " Quatre began.

"You do need to rest," Wufei corrected.

"I can skip it," Trowa insisted, his jaw set stubbornly.

"I don't think that would be the best idea," Relena murmured, shaking her head at him.

"We all need sleep," Heero insisted.

She reddened and glared at him. "You don't want to sleep," she accused sharply. "You just want to... "

"I would think before finishing that sentence," he said evenly, feeling his temper begin to simmer.

Two bright red spots appeared on her cheeks. "We don't have time... "

"We don't have time for mistakes," Heero interrupted ruthlessly. "Look around, Une," he demanded, waving his arm around at the others. "We've been working this case for over six months. Quatre went out last night. We were all doing the backup here. We've been going over tonight's move for the last four hours." He shook his head. "You'll have to see to the preliminary details for a while. I seem to remember you got to sleep last night," he added, cuttingly.

She glared furiously at him. "I can't do all of this on my own!" she snapped.

"I'll help," Relena said calmly. "We'll do what we can, so they can sleep until... say three-thirty, Heero?" she asked, turning her attention to him.

He glanced at his watch. Seven hours. Plenty of time.

"That's acceptable," he said, his voice flat, nodding at her. She nodded back, winking at him on the side of her face turned away from Une.

He felt himself blush.

Damn. He hated when Relena understood that he was going to do something sexual.

She always did, too. And she winked at him. Or smirked.

Damn it.

Une sighed, loudly and theatrically. "Three-thirty. Back here," she ordered. "And God help me, if you're late... "

"You're free to fire us," Heero assured her facetiously.

He stood, as did the others. He was amazed with how little argument they were giving at the idea. But then, looking at their faces, he saw how tired they all looked.

Damn. Maybe they did need sleep.

He followed them all out of the room, to the wing of the house with the big beds, where they'd all been sleeping lately.

Their private bedrooms, even the ones Trowa had redone for himself and Duo, had been taken over for use by Preventer agents stationed in the house.

Trowa had been the first out of the room, and he moved down the hall, opening one of the doors randomly. Quatre had been behind him, and he hesitated when Trowa went in the other room, then slowly moved past the open doorway.

"Wait!" Heero called. They all turned to look at him, frowning.

"I want to go in together," he said, flushing when he heard how inane he sounded.

They were all just staring at him.

"We don't have to... to do anything," he managed. "If you don't want," he added, flushing more as he realized how clearly his tone had conveyed his own wishes in the matter. "I just... I mean... "

"We have that big mission tonight," Quatre said a little reluctantly. But Heero saw the hunger in the blonde's aqua eyes. Quatre didn't want to go to sleep alone, either. And if the lack of physical contact had been difficult for him, how much harder it must have been for Quatre, who had only the tawdry, demeaning encounters he had within the Order to remember, and hadn't even been able to replace them with newer encounters with his lovers.

"Exactly," he nodded. "The mission. We're all going in tonight, and... "

His voice trailed off, but he saw the others flinch as they finished the sentence in their own minds.

And we might not all come out.

It was a danger every time, one that couldn't be lightly dismissed.

Zechs cleared his throat. "It will... it will be all right," he assured the others, a little awkwardly.

Heero nodded. "But I still... I don't want to be alone," he forced himself to say, cringing away a little from the weight of eyes on him.

That had been... a difficult admission. He didn't know if the others had heard what he wasn't saying. If this gesture was rebuffed...

"That room ok?" Quatre asked, nodding toward the door Trowa had opened.

Heero nodded, trying not to grin foolishly with relief.

Trowa glanced over his shoulder into the room, then turned silently and entered, Quatre following him.

Wufei glanced at Zechs. "After you," he said politely.

Zechs looked away uncomfortably. "I... I think I'm just... I would to just go sleep... " he began hesitantly.

"Why?" Wufei asked bluntly. "You don't wish to be with us anymore now that you have rediscovered Treize?"

Heero blinked, startled at the bluntness of that query. Wufei had become uncomfortably direct lately.

Zechs had the grace to blush. "It's not like that, Wufei," he insisted. "I... I am grateful to you all, and... but... "

"But we've outlived our usefulness?" Wufei suggested.

"No!" Zechs insisted. "Not all, Wufei, it's just that... "

"Now that Treize is alive, you need to resume your vow of celibacy?" the Chinese man finished calmly.

Zechs paled again. "Wufei, I can't... "

"Things are different," Wufei conceded calmly. "When Duo returns, and Treize, things will change. I don't know how it will be," he admitted. "But it will be different from these past months. Perhaps you will decide you don't wish to be with us anymore. Perhaps not. But Zechs... " Wufei shook his head as Heero uncomfortably shifted his weight from foot to foot. He wished he'd gotten into the room after Quatre and had been spared witnessing this confrontation.

"Zechs... you cannot resume the same relationship you had with Treize," Wufei said calmly. "He cannot be all that there is for you... or the end will be the same as it was last time."

"Wufei," Zechs began tensely. "You don't know... "

"I do know," the younger man interrupted. "I know how much you cared about him, and how hurt you were when you were not the only thing in his life. I know how confused he was when you left ­ you had never told him you needed anything from him, and so he was honestly shocked when you left and he realized he hadn't provided you with what you needed." Wufei shook his head. "I don't know if you ever shared the way you felt for each other, but I know what it was," he said, very gently. "And I also know," he continued just as carefully, but relentlessly, "that if you try to tie yourself only to him again, you will both fail again."

Zechs stared at Wufei, shaking his head slowly from side to side.

"Your friends need you, Zechs," Wufei told him softly. "They are people who care for you, and I know you care for us. Accept our comfort, and give us yours. There is no disloyalty in that," he promised. "It is permissible ­ even preferable ­ to care deeply for more than just one person."

Zechs stared at him for a moment, then looked rather helplessly at Heero.

The Japanese man shrugged, still uncomfortable. "Just come on," he demanded awkwardly. "Everyone'll be upset if you skip out." He barely registered the look of surprise in the blonde's eyes as he turned away and shouldered past both of them into the bedroom.

Trowa and Quatre had started without them. They were both unclothed, and lay together on their sides in the bed. They were kissing ­ slowly, deeply ­ their hands gently roaming over each other's bodies. Heero shuddered, feeling himself become instantly aroused at the sight. He began pulling his clothes off, throwing them to the side with an utter disregard for orderliness. He heard the door close behind him, and saw both Wufei and Zechs standing there. He smiled at the blond man, pleased that he had decided to come in with them after all. Zechs stared back, the expression of his face growing startled at he looked at Heero.

The Japanese man's smile widened a little ­ Zechs was damn attractive, and somehow ever more so when he was confused.

"I can't believe you all started with the door wide open," Wufei lectured without heat as he neatly and efficiently removed his own clothing. "Half the world could wander through, and... "

"At least then they'd have some pictures to go with their articles," Quatre gasped. Heero looked back to the bed ­ Trowa had rolled the blond onto his back, and was moving his lip across the other man's broad chest. He growled at the joke, and bit one of Quatre's nipples, causing the other man to cry out and jump.

Heero licked his lips. He really liked watching Trowa and Quatre together ­ they were both so tall, so long and lean and muscled... he loved watching the long limbs flex and contort and twine together...

He staggered a little as he was pushed from behind. "Considering that this was your idea, you're awfully slow," Wufei criticized as he moved past him and climbed onto the bed.

Heero felt himself harden further as Wufei crawled next to Quatre, leaning over the blonde's body to capture Trowa's lips in a hard kiss. The paleness of Quatre's skin emphasized the warm gold of Wufei's, and the Chinese man's sleek hair gleamed blacker when locks of it mingled with the shimmering auburn of Trowa's...

Wufei was right. He was definitely too slow. But first...

He turned around, and frowned when he saw that Zechs had kicked off his shoes and was unbuttoning his shirt, but was still mostly clothed.

"You're overdressed," he announced simply, turning and walking to the older blond. Zechs looked at him, surprised, but the surprise in his eyes started deepening to passion when Heero began undressing him. He drew in his breath sharply as Heero ran his fingers down his bare chest, and the muscles of his stomach contracted as he continued to caress his skin as he undid each button.

Carefully, Heero pushed the shirt backward, drawing it off Zechs' shoulders. The prince was a few inches taller than he was, so he had to reach up to push the shirt back, and he felt Zechs shudder as their bare chests pressed together.

He didn't pull away, just slid his hands between them to work at the fastening of Zechs' pants. The older man moaned softly as Heero ran his fingers lightly over the bulge in the fabric then moaned again as Heero moved his lips down the column of his neck. Heero continued to lick and nip at the sensitive flesh as he fumbled with Zechs pants, finally managing to push them down so they pooled at the former OZ officer's feet.

He grinned against Zechs' neck. He wasn't wearing any underwear.

Heero heartily approved. He hardly ever wore any. It was just a distraction, usually. Much more efficient to go without.

He pulled away a little grabbing Zechs' hand and pulling him toward the bed. Trowa was on his back now, Quatre kneeling between his legs, the taller man's length buried deep in his mouth. Wufei knelt over Trowa's chest, and the auburn-haired man was pleasuring Wufei as Quatre pleasured him.

Heero heard Zechs groan softly behind him. He turned and looked up inquiringly, and saw the older blond staring at the trio on the bed. Heero felt his mouth twist into a grin.

It did take awhile to get used to sights like that.

He tugged on Zechs' hand again, intending to push the man onto his back on the bed. He cried out a little in surprise when he found himself on his back, with Zechs looming over him.

The older man bent down, pressing his lips to Heero's without preamble. Heero moaned at the firm pressure of the kiss, parting his lips easily to welcome Zechs' questing tongue. He moaned again into the other man's mouth as he felt Zechs' hard chest pressing against his, and his knee firmly pressing his legs open wider.

Back in the idyllic days of their relationship before everything had exploded around him, Heero had almost always been on top ­ or at least, in the middle ­ during sex. He had ­ for years ­ been so amazed by the wonder that was physical intimacy that he had often initiated it, and was so eager to touch and be touched that he hadn't waited for someone to seduce him.

But now, Zechs was clearly in charge of this encounter, and Heero found himself extremely excited by his more vulnerable position.

Zechs continued to kiss him as he pushed his thighs still wider apart, and Heero cried out and jerked away, breaking the kiss, when he felt the man's strong hand wrap around his straining arousal.

Wufei echoed his cry, and Heero slowly turned his head to see the Chinese man's back arch, and saw Trowa's throat work as he swallowed the first of Wufei's release.

Heero's attention was brought sharply back to Zechs, as he slipped his other hand beneath Heero and began prodding at his entrance.

The Japanese man moaned loudly, lifting his hips high in the air as Zechs' fingers slid slowly inside him, stretching him carefully. His fingers were slick and there was no pain, and some part of Heero's mind distantly registered that Zechs must have found some of the lube they kept in all the bedside drawers, but he didn't really care. All he cared about was the hand inside him, and the hand wrapped around his arousal, and the one teasing his nipple and...

That was too many hands!

Heero forced his eyes open, and saw that Wufei had recovered and joined them. He was kissing Zechs and caressing him, as Zechs continued to prepare him...

Quatre cried out loudly, and Heero peeked past Wufei. The blond was positioned over Trowa, and they were both moaning loudly as Quatre slowly lowered himself on the other man's shaft. He let himself slide down until Trowa was fully seated inside him, then slowly began to move up until only the tip of his arousal remained within him, then slammed down hard.

Heero moaned just watching and imagining the sensation ­ Quatre shrieked and Trowa shouted his name, reaching up to firmly clasp the blond man's hips.

"Pay attention," Wufei whispered in his ear before the Chinese man's lips captured his.

Heero gasped as Zech's lifted one of his legs, and braced it over his shoulder. Wufei grasped the other and pulled it back, and Heero shuddered as he felt himself spread wide open. He cried out in complaint as Zechs' fingers slid out of him, but caught his breath in anticipation as the blond positioned himself overtop him.

Heero cried out softly as Zechs slowly, carefully pressed into him, shuddering at the feeling of the blond taking him, filling him. Wufei leaned over and kissed him. The Chinese man threaded his fingers with Heero's, and a moment later, Heero felt his hand placed against something soft and slowly hardening at the same time. He wrapped his fingers around it and stroked, and was rewarded with Wufei's soft moans of pleasure. He hardly heard them, though, he was so focused on his own sensations as Zechs thrust in and out of him, more quickly and more forcefully all the time. The other man's length was thick, and filled him totally, the friction of his thrusts enflaming Heero's senses. The blond moved slightly, changing the angle of his penetration, and Heero screamed, pulling his lips away from Wufei's as Zechs hit the spot inside him that gave him the most pleasure.

He continued to thrust, slamming harder and harder inside Heero, and he hit that spot with every thrust.

The Japanese man was barely coherent ­ he could only feel, glorying with the intensity of the pleasure that pulsed inside him with every thrust. He couldn't hold on for long ­ within moments, he felt the sharp tightening between his legs, and he shouted Zechs' name as he felt his release spatter between their bodies.

A moment later Zechs tensed above him, and he opened his eyes, seeing the blond man's perfect features clench as Zechs shouted his own pleasure.

He closed his eyes again, focusing on calming his ragged breathing as Zechs collapsed to his side. He felt Wufei climb over him, pushing in between himself and Zechs, but he couldn't even open his eyes to look at the other man.

Heero jumped as he felt a light, tickling sensation against his stomach. He opened his eyes and looked down, and saw Quatre's aqua eyes staring into his own as the other man slowly, delicately licked the remains of his release from his stomach. Heero felt himself instantly begin to harden again as he watched Quatre lick his seed from his bare skin.

Quatre smiled. He sat back on his heels, and smiled at Heero. With a growl, the Japanese man sat up and pushed the blond over on his back, looming over him.

He let out his breath in a surprised oomph as he was suddenly pushed firmly down against Quatre's chest. He glanced to the side, and saw that Trowa had matter-of-factly climbed over him to join Wufei and Zechs. The blond was kneeling between the Chinese man's legs, teasing him with his mouth as he carefully prepared him to be entered.

Heero glanced down at Quatre, and they both watched in amusement as Trowa knelt behind Zechs, and, without preamble, began to carefully lubricate and stretch the older man's own entrance.

Zechs jumped, startled, and Heero and Quatre chuckled at the look on his face as he whirled to face Trowa.

The auburn-haired man only smiled pressing his lips to Zechs' as his the fingers of his free hand slid carefully through the other man's long, blond hair.

Heero returned his attention to Quatre, carefully caressing, stroking and teasing all parts of the other man's body, drawing Quatre to an arousal that was ­ for once ­ truly pleasurable for the other man, mentally as well as physically.

He tried to pour all his feelings for the other man into his touch, showing Quatre as best he could how important, how desirable and attractive and good Heero felt his ay by the way he touched him.

Finally he was poised over Quatre's body, barely able to control himself. The younger man jerked his head over to the side, and Heero turned his head and looked in the direction he'd indicated. Wufei lay on his back, his eyes closed in ecstasy. As Heero watched, Trowa thrust hard into Zechs, the force of his thrust pushing the blond man deep inside of the Chinese man impaled on his arousal. They all cried out together, then moved back and forward again. Heero moaned, his own hardness throbbing painfully as he watched Trowa take both men at the same time.

Quatre writhed beneath him, and Heero turned to look at him. He smiled down, then thrust lightly into Quatre, giving the blond just a bare inch of his arousal before pulling up again. He continued to thrust just as shallowly, teasing Quatre, until the other man grabbed his hips, hissing out his demand for more.

Finally, Heero gave Quatre what he asked for, thrusting as hard as he could into the other man, glorying in the feel of Quatre's body, tight and hot around him. He kept going until he thought he couldn't bear anymore, and the slid his hand between their bodies to pull firmly on Quatre's arousal.

The blond screamed, his hips bucking around Heero, and the Japanese man felt Quatre's arousal pour against his hand. The other man's muscles contracted around his shaft, and that was all Heero could stand. He buried his face in Quatre's neck, his buttocks flexing as he emptied himself in the other man.

Dimly, he heard Wufei's cry, and heard Zech shout, and Trowa growl both their names. He felt the bed bounce, and then there was no movement.

He lay there, his eyes clothes, sated for the moment, waiting to get his breath back. No doubt there would be another round or two before they slept, or maybe they would sleep first...

Heero didn't care. All that mattered was that they were here, together, warm and comforted.

They would go out tonight, and they would, he vowed, return ­ all of them, including those of their number who were missing.

He wouldn't let it be any other way.


[1] Foreshadowing! Foreshadowing! Mythological foreshadowing!

[2] Argive is another name for the Greeks, the ones who joined in the armies of the Seven when they went on the road against the Greeks

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