Marking it Down to Learning + Chapter 16 (cont)
Alone Again in the Dark

Then everything had gone black, and he wasn't aware of anything for a long time. How long he never knew, but when he woke up he was sweating, his stomach was churning, and he was conscious only of his need. He needed his fix, his drug. He felt hot and cold at the same time, and his head pounded and he thought he was going to be sick.

He felt like he couldn't move, like he didn't have even enough strength to pull himself up and go beg Krantz for just a few lines, but he gathered everything he had and poured it into the attempt to roll over...

And that's when he realized he was tied down.

His arms were pulled up and over his head, and tied together and to something he couldn't see. His legs were splayed wide, and they too were tied down.

He was lying on some kind of bed, but the room he was in was completely dark. He moaned, as he felt the tangible weight of the darkness pressing down on him. He couldn't see anything, not the bed he was tied on, not a wall, not his own skin... nothing. There was no light in whatever room he was in, he couldn't see anything, and the darkness was heavy. It was so heavy, and it was suffocating him, and he couldn't breathe and he couldn't see and he needed his fucking drug...

Duo opened his mouth and screamed, poured his hunger and fear and confusion and need into a tormented shriek for help.

No one came.

Even when he managed to put his torment into words, and he begged to be released, begged for help, begged for anything... Even then, no one came.

He screamed for what seemed like hours, as weird beings and shapes seemed to take form in the darkness, swooping down on his bound, unmoving form.

He screamed over and over again as birds and monsters dove from nowhere at him, talons and claws bared, ready to rake over his unprotected face and form and chest.

He screamed again as his body revolted, tremors wracking through him as he screamed and cried for relief from the twisting pain that consumed him.

Finally, a brief flash of light swept through the room. It was gone almost instantly, so quickly that Duo didn't even know if he had been real or if he'd imagined it, but suddenly he felt the hard form of another body against his, and he almost wept with relief at the realization that he was no longer alone in the horrible, heavy, treacherous darkness.

The relief didn't last long. The person didn't speak to him, didn't soothe him or comfort him, didn't provide him with the drug that he needed to live. They just settled over him, and Duo screamed as he was invaded again, another sharp pain adding itself to the others that tormented his beleaguered body.

The faceless person thrust into him over and over, for a long time, for an eternity, before it finally emptied itself inside him with a small groan the only sound the man had made since he entered the room.

Then he had pulled himself out of Duo, and the braided man felt him move away. He opened his mouth and screamed again, desperate surely he wouldn't leave without giving him some relief, without providing him with what he needed...

But there was another flash of light, and the man was gone.

And Duo was alone again in the dark.

And he screamed until unconsciousness took him.

When he woke again, he was tied in a slightly different position his arms spread out wide but again, he was alone in the utter darkness.

And again he screamed, and waited, only to have someone enter in the darkness, and use him.

But this time another man came when the first was through, and another, and another, and it was much longer before unconsciousness came to save him from the pain and the tremors and the insanity that threatened.

Duo lost track of the number of times the pattern repeated itself. Each time he awoke, he'd be tied a little differently, so he would know that someone had been there, someone had done... something to him while he slept.

And each time he woke, the hunger would attack him even more fiercely then before.

Until eventually, it began to fade, to lessen a little in intensity...

And still, the men came in the darkness.

They didn't speak to him, didn't respond to any of his pleas, just used him and left.

Finally, the time came when Duo woke, and felt only weakness and nausea and exhaustion.

The hunger was gone.

The next time he awoke, he opened he eyes and cried out in surprise, quickly closing them again against the painful brightness that speared him.

The lights were on.

He carefully opened his eyes again, blinking until they adjusted to the light.

He was sitting up this time, his arms pulled back behind him, his wrists and elbows bound to the high bedpost, as he saw when he craned his neck around to look behind him.

His legs were pulled apart, and tied securely to each of the bottom posts of the bed.

The room he was in was tiny, hardly bigger than the bed he was in. The walls were beige, and the only feature was the door cut into the wall at the foot of the bed.

There was only one lock, in the knob of the door.

It would be so easy to get out of... but he couldn't pull his arms free from the bonds.

He tried, wrenching the muscles of his shoulder and back, screaming in frustration as he failed again and again.

He couldn't get free.

He tried screaming again, cursing, threatening, daring any unseen watchers to come in, to face him. He'd almost given up, when suddenly, the door opened.

Duo snarled when he saw the two men standing there. Capaneus and Tydeus, the two weird guys who'd picked him up, the last people he'd seen before the nightmare of darkness began.

"You seem in high spirits," Capaneus remarked wryly before Duo could say anything.

Tydeus carefully closed the door behind them, then turned to smirk nastily at Duo. His scar pulled his upper lip even higher, exaggerating the gesture, making it that much more threatening.

"What the fuck is going on?" Duo raged, glaring at them with all the power he could menace. "Let me go, you crazy fucking assholes, or I'll... "

Capaneus laughed. "You'll what, Tiny?" he demanded, amused, emphasizing the hated name.

"I'll fucking rip your head off, you perverted wacko," Duo spat.

"Perverted wacko," Tydeus mused, smiling slightly.

The other man's expression darkened. "You'd best watch how you speak to me," he warned in a soft voice, heavy with menace.

"Or what?" Duo demanded recklessly. "Or you'll kidnap me and tie me up and keep me in the dark and... "

"Yes," Capaneus interrupted, his voice still soft and even. "But this time the people who come to you in the dark won't show you as much care as they did before. They'll come in the dark and they'll mark you, and cut you and brand you and make you wish you had never been born, and all the time they'll never make a sound, and you'll never see them, and... "

Duo shuddered. He wasn't afraid of pain he'd experienced it plenty of times before. But the thought of the pain coming from nowhere, from a faceless, silent source that struck from that awful dark...

"We've come to share your new status with you," Tydeus informed him gravely.

"My new what?" Duo demanded, trying to recover himself enough to hide the fear Capaneus' words had struck into him.

"We," Capaneus continued, "are representatives of a very powerful... "

"Establishment," Tydeus supplied when the other man hesitated.

Capaneus considered the word for a moment, then shrugged, apparently accepting it as adequate. "Establishment," he repeated. "We are known as the Order."

Duo forced himself to make a noise of disgusted confusion, to hide the start of surprise he couldn't repress.

The Order!

He'd left his home, he'd left the Preventers as they were beginning their investigation on this organization, he chose for the site of his downward spiral the very place he'd gone on his last Preventer's job to investigate this very group...

And now he'd been pulled in as one of their whores.

Un-fucking-believable.

"You are part of the Order now," Tydeus told him softly.

"We have taken you... and we own you," Capaneus informed him, his voice equally soft.

"We will feed you, and clothe your body. We will house you, and bathe you, and keep you safe," Tydeus promised.

"Because," Capaneus continued, "the Order values its property."

"It takes care of it."

"And you are ours."

"In return for what we give you, you will do what we instruct you to do," Tydeus said, his voice harsher.

"We will loan your body to others, and they'll use it as they will," Capaneus instructed, his voice hard.

"And you will allow them, and you will do whatever it is that they want you to do to bring them pleasure."

"You will not fight them," Capaneus demanded.

"Unless they want you to," Tydeus clarified.

"You will stay with us, and do as we order you to do for the rest of your life," Capaneus concluded softly.

"The fuck I will!" Duo bellowed, instinctively lashing out at those who were so coldly, so firmly stripping him of his freedom.

"You will," Tydeus said with finality.

"You can fight it," Capaneus began.

"Please feel free to fight it," Tydeus invited, his dark eyes gleaming with hunger.

"But in the end, you will realize that you are now ours," Capaneus finished. "You will become reconciled, and you will give up, and you will do as we tell you to do. In time," he said, his voice softening again, "you will not even think about disobeying any of our instructions."

"Fuck you," Duo spat. "You'll never get me. You'll never break me. I'll never... "

Tydeus laughed. The sound startled him so much that Duo stopped speaking, and stared in amazement at the scarred man.

"We are taking you away," Tydeus told him. "We're going to another country, to one of our elite facilities. We think that you're going to become quite popular among our more exclusive clientele."

"We're taking you to our main facility," Capaneus told him. "Where we can oversee your training ourselves."

"We think the other heads of our Order will also be very interested in you," Tydeus added.

"Whoop-dee-fucking-do," Duo sneered. "I get to meet all the head freaks... "

"I suggest that you refer to Hippomedon as a freak, when you meet him," Capaneus suggested. "I'm sure he'll like it very much."

"I'll get away," Duo threatened. "I'll get away, but before I go I'll destroy you all, you fucking... "

"You won't even get out of this bed until we want you to," Capaneus interrupted, his voice amused. "You can't do anything to us. Not a thing," he emphasized smugly, smiling cruelly as Duo snarled in the face of his own helplessness.

"But we will do whatever we want to you," Tydeus told him, advancing toward the bed.

And they did. And they took him to their 'elite facility,' where many others used him and hurt him and repeated again and again and again their litany of ownership, and told him of his own worthlessness and filth and powerlessness to resist them.

In time, he fought less, and they brought him to Polynices.

Duo had fought in wars. He'd seen death since he was a child, he'd lived on the streets, and been hurt in ways most people never imagined.

No one he could remember scared him as much as Polynices did.

The man hurt him like he couldn't remember hurting, and didn't leave a mark on his body.

After that, Duo stopped fighting.

He hadn't given in, hadn't given up... but it was easier not to fight.

It hurt less.

And it occurred to him that the Preventers must still be after the Order.

If the Order thought he was broken, he might be able to uncover information to help bring them down, and maybe the Preventers would send in an operative, and maybe Duo would recognize him, and perhaps he could pass some of that information on somehow...

Maybe. Perhaps. Might.

So many variables.

So unlikely.

But it was the only thing that Duo could hold on to, the only possibility for salvaging something from this mess his life had become...

Then, it had happened. His first damn 'job'...

They'd told him he'd be servicing a very wealthy man, who had an enormous appetite for sex, and who liked it rough. He would probably hurt him, use him hard, they told him. This man, he'd been told, was rather a favorite of Polynices, and so he was to do whatever he could to please this man as much as possible, and was to do everything he said. If the man hurt him, Duo was to moan, to shriek, to cry... this man liked that. He got off on the realization that he was hurting the person he was using.

Duo felt no fear, felt nothing but disgust. He would please this asshole, do whatever he wanted... And he'd take notes on him, learn his name, and pass his identity on if he ever found a Preventer liaison.

The last thing he'd ever expected when he'd been led naked into that room was to come face-to-face with Quatre.

He knew then, knew that he'd found the Preventer's infiltrator.

And he was furious.

Damn Une, damn her to fucking hell for making him do this.

Damn all the others for letting him.

And damn Quatre, for doing this.

The last person in the world that should be in this filthy, stinking hellhole was Quatre Raberba Winner.

Never for a second did Duo believe that Quatre was what the Order thought him. Though he'd realized when he left that Quatre could never... care... for him the way Duo wanted, he knew that Quatre would never hurt anyone willingly.

He was doing it for the mission, to save the very people he was hurting.

And, for the mission, Quatre would hurt Duo too.

And he did. He held him down, he used him, he hurt him just as the members of the Order had told Duo he would.

But Duo felt the pain, the anguish radiating from his former lover, and he knew that every wound Quatre inflicted on him, the blond felt more bitingly.

But, he did it.

Quatre saw him in this place, and used him as a whore.

And Duo knew then, with absolute certainty, that he had finally hit rock bottom.

He curled up more tightly in his bed, unable to stop the hot tears flowing down his cheeks.

They had known before, all of them. They had known what he was.

But now, they knew first-hand. Quatre had been there, and Duo knew that there was no way the Preventers would have let him in this building without some kind of recording devices on him. So the others had heard.

And Une, probably, and who knew how many other agents his colleagues, his friends...

They all knew that Duo Maxwell was nothing but a whore.

And he cried in the dark, and no one came to comfort him.

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