author: trixie
see part 1 for notes, disclaimers, etc.

notes: well, i realized recently that i've been misspelling 'Preventors' in this fic. it should be 'PreventERs.' d'oh!!! oh well, it's too late and i'm too lazy to fix it now. so, watch trixie screw with canon as she wantonly declares that she's changing the name to 'Preventors' for the purposes of this fic. bwah-ha-ha!!! excuse me, i'm just a little drunk with power. ^_~

Rattlesnakes + Part 3

His boss called him in to talk to him at 11 am. Trowa stood up heavily and trailed after his boss listlessly. Trowa worked under a man whose name he purposefully never spoke aloud, and who was nearly a full six inches shorter than Trowa. Being male, this seemed significant enough to Trowa that he could not have respected the man, even if he weren't an idiot.

Trowa sat down in the squeaky chair in his boss' office to listen to the lecture on attitude. Trowa didn't think he had a bad attitude. He was fairly certain that anyone who worked in a cloth covered cube with no door and no soundproofing and managed to stay upbeat was a danger to themselves and others.

Even worse than he was.

His boss talked for a total of thirty-five minutes. Trowa didn't even stop at his desk after his boss was done. He headed straight for the elevator, and left the building. He had never gone out the back to the yards before. The guards were very suspicious of him, trying to intimidate him as they scrutinized his identification. Unfortunately for their need to assert their masculinity, Trowa wasn't impressed. It just seemed a little sad to him, that they even needed a security guard inside a guarded building to grant access to a limited restriction zone.

The yards themselves were very impressive. In the middle of the city, surrounded by high rises, the Preventors kept their best mechanics to maintain, repair, and even build most of their best transportation vehicles. Most of their space worthy vessels were kept in the Preventors' Space Station, in high orbit around the Earth, but all their ground and air vessels were kept here.

Of course, the Preventors' compound was five square city blocks, and although the buildings were architecturally designed to give the appearance of a dense, three-dimensional mass of buildings, the entire center of the compound was empty, so the yards were large enough to fit several hundred vehicles, including aircraft. That didn't even include the garages, most of which were below ground.

Trowa should have looked up exactly where Duo worked before heading out here. The yards were complex, large, and most of the maintenance workers were in garages.

Sticking his hands in his pockets, Trowa walked diagonally across the yards to the main entrance of the garages, kicking up gravel as he did. He loved the smell of jet fuel. He loved the way planes caught the light on their windshields. He loved the sound of mechanics working on big machinery. He loved the sound of engines.

He kept his eyes straight ahead, and walked with precise steps, slowly, through the yards. He didn't want to get distracted. When he was just a boy, working with the mercenaries, he used to really apply himself to the machines they worked with; there was simply nothing in the world as cool as a mecha.

And the best mecha of them all, bar none, was Heavyarms. He was sure the other pilots felt the same way about their Gundams; they were wrong. His was the best. He had helped assemble it, helped maintain it, and when he became Trowa Barton, it was because it was right. He had earned it. He deserved it.

He hated driving cars. Motorcycles were better, if you had to be trapped on the land. But the best thing of all was being totally free, being in the air, falling fast. Heavyarms was such a large Gundam, aptly named as the center of balance was never in the center of it, so in order to operate it properly, to operate it well, you had to be able to understand the way gravity affected it, you had to be able to move *with* it.

You had to be able to fly.

Trowa was an acrobat. No one ever taught him. No one ever sat him down on a mat and showed him how to do anything, but he was. He could fly. Being on the trapeze, and being in the cockpit of Heavyarms, it was the same thing. He was free.

He almost never thought about how chained down he was when he wasn't surrounded by aircraft.

He wondered, in order to keep his mind off the itching distraction of flight, how Duo did it. How did he work with all these machines, and stay sane?

Trowa almost smiled.

The receptionist for the garage was a woman in her thirties who wore a lot of makeup. So much so that Trowa found it distracting talking to her. He was a little concerned that maybe a giant chunk would fall off, and he would have to pretend not to notice. She also had hair that was brilliantly red, which really would have been flattering if she hadn't feathered and crimped it.

She smiled at him, and when he asked for Duo Maxwell, she smirked at him. He stared back at her blankly. She called him 'honey.' Trowa disliked her with a casual intensity.

She called the wrong number first. Then she called another wrong number. Then she made a snide comment about Duo 'getting around.' Then she called the right number, but Duo had already gone to the locker room. Trowa continued to stare at her blankly until she directed him there.

Duo was at the sinks. He looked cute in his jumpsuit, his braid trailing down his back, and his cute little rear sticking up.

Trowa blinked. He was uncomfortable with how often he thought about Duo's ass.

Duo was scraping the grease off his hands with Lava soap. He was bouncing his head to something that was playing inside his head.

He looked tired. Trowa wondered how late Heero had stayed last night. It certainly hadn't seemed like he wanted to stay long...

"You brood well." Trowa inclined his head toward Duo. "Thanks."

Duo grinned. "So, is this a turnabout thing, or what?"

"Work sucks." Trowa sounded bored. "Boss was being a jackass. And I..." Trowa's eyes slipped down to the tile below the sinks. There was a black slime that was so thick, it disgusted Trowa long enough to stop him from saying something he would regret.

Duo shook his hands over the sink, and turned the water off. He wiped his hands over his thighs. "So, let's get some lunch."

Trowa nodded, still staring at the slime. He wondered if it was sentient. He wondered if sentience was an actual, scientific determination, or if it was just a sci-fi thing.

"Hey, what happened to your fingers?"

Trowa was so consumed in his observation of the slime, he hadn't even realized that he had put his hand on the sink closest to him. He lifted his hand as if it were a scientific specimen, and regarded the band aides with a small air of derision. "Oh. Nothing."

"You just decided to just put a bunch of band aides on?" Duo's eyes were narrowed, his gaze determined.

Trowa just blinked at Duo.

Their eyes met, and Duo slowly became more and more rigid. "Why?"

Trowa didn't truly acknowledge Duo's question, but he silently sighed.

Duo clenched his teeth, and lowered his eyes. He threw out his paper towels with more vehemence than the task required. "This way."

Duo led the way out to the street, not bothering to change out of his jumpsuit. He put his hands in his pockets, and as he walked, his braid swayed back and forth, like the pendulum of an organic clock. Trowa walked a step behind him, his eyes on the braid at all times.

He acknowledged to himself calmly that he wanted to feel Duo's hair against his skin.

They stopped at a deli, and got paper bowls of soup. Going to a table in the corner, they sat down, putting their bowls and plastic spoons down before they sat across from each other. Trowa carefully kept his eyes down, watching the soup as he stirred it, absently wishing that he had some crackers or water so he could avoid the actual eating part of eating. Duo watched Trowa wish unabashed fascination.

"You have plans for the weekend?" Duo asked, with conversational stiffness.

Trowa lifted his spoon hesitantly, uncertain of its intentions. "Not really. You?"

Duo shrugged. "I don't like plans much. I'll probably hafta work tomorrow; have a big job that has to be done by Sunday."

Trowa nodded slowly, opening his lips as he raised the spoon the rest of the way to his mouth. "You like working in the garages?"

Duo slurped a spoonful before he considered answering. He swirled the soup with his spoon as he smiled at Trowa. "It's a job. There's a certain... gratification. Things don't work - I fix them - they work. But repair and maintenance has never been my strong suit. I prefer to be behind the wheel."

Trowa nodded, his face drooping lower and lower with each dip, until his chin was practically on his chest. He could still see Duo through his long bangs, but he wasn't sure that Duo could see him. From the small smirk at the corner of Duo's mouth, Trowa suspected that Duo could see right through him. "I don't think I could work in the garages; I try not to think about being grounded too much."

Duo's face settled into a serious blankness. "Well, there's that. Yeah."

For the space of several spoonfuls, there was silence at their table.

Trowa's eyes drifted to a small family at the table closest to them. The mother was trying desperately to control her brood long enough to feed them, but they were rebelling mightily. The woman wore a red sweater and blue jeans, and her hair was pulled back into a tight, but messy ponytail. She looked exhausted.

"Are you gonna ask me about last night, or can we skip that shit?" The question was so abruptly out of place, for a moment, Trowa continued to watch the woman with her children, as if the question had simply been something he had overhead, instead of directed at him.

"What is there to ask?"

Duo slumped in his chair just a little, which only caused Trowa to notice how straight Duo had been sitting. "Nothing, I guess."

Trowa lifted the spoon again. He noticed that Duo had hardly eaten anything. He thought about Duo's back, and how the vertebrae were visible under his skin. He thought about Duo's skin, and how his hand had very nearly been over Duo's groin yesterday. "Do you love him?"

Duo laughed, his eyes cold and tired. "Would that excuse it?"

"I don't understand." Trowa set his spoon down in his soup, and folded his arms in his lap.

Duo didn't need to question Trowa on the layers of his statement. "I don't know if I can explain. I'm not sure I'd want to."

"You don't need to feel you owe me anything." If there was a slight accusation in Trowa's tone, he was nearly certain it wasn't his fault.

Duo pushed his soup away irritably. "There are things that Heero can give me, Trowa. There are things that I can give him."

Trowa nodded, in a mockery of comprehension.

Duo stilled. "I can give as good as I get, you know."

Trowa frowned. "Do you?"

Duo stood up, startling Trowa. "I'm not scheduled for therapy for another six days."

Trowa got up slowly behind Duo. After dumping their soup, Trowa stopped Duo from walking away with a hand on Duo's shoulder. "It just seems to me... that you could do better."

Duo turned to look at Trowa, Trowa's hand still on his shoulder. In a rush, Trowa became completely aware of Duo's proximity to him, and the contact that he was maintaining between them.

When Duo smiled, it made the blood pound in Trowa's ears. "Are we friends now, Trowa?"

Blinking, Trowa only smiled a little in response.

Duo laughed out loud, a piercingly bright and happy sound. Trowa didn't control the urge to squeeze his hand a little, and Duo's hand came up to rest on Trowa's forearm in response.

"You shouldn't worry about me, Trowa. You have your own problems to deal with." Duo spoke and smiled so utterly sincerely, it was endearingly charming.

"My problems bore me," Trowa replied with a shrug.

Duo smiled, shaking his head, and they headed out of the deli.

They walked back to the Preventor's headquarters slowly, taking time to pause and let other people work their way through the masses of humanity trying to get from one place to another. Duo walked with his chin up, his bright face up and his hands behind his back. Trowa kept his hands in his pockets, and watched Duo from half-lidded eyes.

As they were waiting for the light to change, Trowa considered the ugly darkness that choked him whenever he considered Heero's hands on Duo's body. He had told himself that it wasn't jealousy, that it was his nearly nonfunctional sense of morality that informed his reaction to Heero being able to be with Duo. That wasn't entirely true, though, and he couldn't deny it when he was standing close to Duo like this.

He hadn't felt this kind of desire for someone since Quatre. That made him nervous. He didn't want to want anyone like that again. It was too... involving.

The light changed and Duo took off from the curb like a racehorse. Trowa kept up by virtue of his long legs.

Trowa was ready to separate from Duo when they got to the main entrance for the garages, but before he just as he opened his mouth to speak, Duo started to talk.

"Damn. I left my cigarettes in my jacket. Well, I don't really have time anyway... You have another minute?" He wasn't looking at Trowa as he spoke, nor did he wait for a response. Duo was half way through the checkpoint before Trowa caught up. He followed Duo back down to the locker rooms, but this time, Duo led them to the showers.

They slipped into a private shower, and Duo pulled the curtain closed. The lights were dim, but they reflected against the pale green tiles brightly.

Duo unzipped his jumpsuit and pulled it down, all the way to his knees. He was wearing a thin wifebeater underneath, which had black splotches of grease ringing the collar. He hooked his thumbs in the waistband of his black boxers, and suddenly Trowa was standing in a small, poorly lit shower atrium, looking down at Duo Maxwell's cock.

"See? I have some bruises, yes, but they aren't that bad. It's just, sometimes, if you let go, these things happen, you know? Rough sex can be good. The pain... the pain can be good. If anyone should understand that, Trowa, it should be you."

Duo turned so that Trowa could see his bruises. There were long, thin, blurry, yellowish black and blue marks on Duo's hips, and a round mark on Duo's left ass cheek. On his left flank, there was an oblong-shaped bruise. Duo even spread his legs a little, so Trowa could see the marks on his inner thighs.

Duo's words washed over Trowa like water, and he felt like he was drowning. He was critically aware of Duo's cock, and the mass of dark brown curls messily decorating its base. His balls hung behind, looking more than a little loose. Duo's cock wasn't exceptionally long, but it was thick, and it's crown looked weirdly appetizing. Trowa stared blandly down at Duo, and his naked cock and balls, and felt the blood slush loudly though his body. He felt like he could feel his pulse in his wrists.

Duo displayed himself, and Trowa was dimly aware of things other than Duo's cock enough to realize that Duo was looking for benediction. He was waiting to hear that it didn't look that bad. Trowa didn't know Duo well enough to know whether he was looking for assurance or reassurance.

Trowa felt his tongue in his mouth. It felt too large for the space it was occupying. He wanted to put his nose in those curls licking Duo's cock. He wanted to put his tongue underneath it and lick his way up the vein, all the way to the slit at the top. His craving was so specific and detailed, he felt off balance.

He put his hand on Duo's hip, and moved his thumb back and forth over Duo's hipbone, tracing the edge of the finger bruises there. He dragged his eyes up, and found Duo hiding behind his bangs. His other hand came up to brush away the hair falling over Duo's face.

The taste of Duo flooded his mouth, and he badly wanted to take Duo's lips. He gently pulled his hands away from Duo's body. "You don't need to justify yourself to me, Duo. I'm not going to judge you."

Duo weighed things, and Trowa could see his thoughts behind his eyes. He slowly pulled up his boxers and jumpsuit, his eyes still on Trowa. "Yeah. Well. I don't... I don't want you to think that..."

Trowa crossed his arms over his chest. "I still say you can do better."

"Can I." It wasn't a question or a challenge, but there was something in Duo's eyes that made Trowa think of blushing. "Well maybe. And maybe not. It's sorta up to me, isn't it?" Duo zipped up his jumpsuit, and leaned against the tile behind him.

Trowa nodded, tucking his hands under his elbows to keep them from reaching out. "Yeah."

Duo nodded. He seemed to half move away and half stay where he was, an animated movement slightly aborted. "So, what are you doing on Sunday, then?"

Trowa inclined his head to the right. "You don't like to make plans."

Duo smiled and almost laughed. "But I like to know what I'm getting into."

"Call me Saturday night, and find out." It wasn't flirtatious, although Trowa realized that he could have made it sound so after he had said it.

Duo grinned, and nodded.

When Trowa got back to his desk, he opened a few documents that he was supposed to have been working on, but instead he just saw Duo's cock, resting in the curls, and the balls behind them. He dug his fingernails into his thighs right above his knees, and felt the sluggish burn of arousal permeate his flesh. He considered briefly masturbation, and the thought of touching himself, much less touching himself in the office, was enough to repulse the sensation.

At least the image of Duo's cock in his brain kept him awake all afternoon. His boss even commended him for taking his lecture to heart.