Rattlesnakes + Part 6 (cont)

Duo laughed again, and Trowa could feel the reverberations from Duo's back against his chest. "Yeah, ok."

Duo poured the water with the spaghetti out into the colander, which was waiting in the sink. He then dumped the pasta into a large plastic bowl, and poured the sauce in with it. He took the bowl to the table, pushing Trowa back, and guiding him to sit down. He then dumped large piles of Parmesan cheese from the tube on top of the spaghetti.

He pulled off his shirt, and straddled Trowa, sitting facing him in his lap. He pulled the bowl of pasta next to them and caught Trowa's eye with a smirk.

Duo put his hand up next to his face, the fingers spread out just a little so they weren't touching each other. Duo continued to smirk as he deliberately stuck his hand in the bowl of pasta, mixing the sauce and cheese into the spaghetti. If it was hot, Duo didn't show any reaction, his eyes fixed on Trowa's the whole time.

When the spaghetti was sufficiently mixed, Duo pulled out a few strands of spaghetti, held between two fingers. He tilted his head back, and opened his mouth wide, raising and then lowering the pasta into his mouth.

Trowa ran his hands up and down Duo's skin, a smile playing with his lips as he waited for Duo to swallow.

Then, it was Trowa's turn. He obediently opened his mouth for Duo and swallowed the spaghetti in the same way that Duo had. He could not take the waiting anymore, and so he pulled Duo's face down for a quick kiss. He would have feasted on Duo's mouth, but Duo apparently wanted him to have a decent meal before satisfying his hunger.

They ate several handfuls of the pasta before Duo gave in to Trowa's insistence, and the spaghetti was forgotten as they consumed each other. The plastic bowl, still half-full, splattered to the floor as Trowa pushed Duo up onto the table. Duo tugged at Trowa's pants from underneath Trowa, their mouths occupied with the task of tasting each other with fervent discrimination.

Trowa pulled out the condom and small tube of lube from Duo's pocket before he divested Duo of his pants. When he had his prey perfectly bare, he took his time with properly sampling all the various offerings of the banquet Duo had spread out for him. He found the spot on Duo's neck that made the other man's skin quiver, and he took small bites from Duo's nipples.

They were gasping and groaning, enough to give Duo's neighbor a painfully hard erection were he listening in tonight as well, and Trowa had no thought to delay any longer. Duo was as hard as iron under him, and Trowa rolled the condom over Duo's cock easily.

Duo prepared Trowa quickly and completely, and then Trowa speared himself on Duo, rolling his hips as he moved up and down with swift movements, until he had Duo completely encased. They panted and growled as Trowa started to move again, Duo groaning and leveraging himself against the hard surface of the table to push up into Trowa.

It never lasted long enough.

Trowa pulled up, letting Duo fall out of him, and then collapsed on top of Duo. Duo's hand came up and ran up and down Trowa's spine in a comforting gesture. They stayed as they were until they were cold enough and stiff enough to necessitate movement.

They showered together, Duo's hair still in a braid. They mostly just ran their hands over each other's bodies, lathering up their hands with soap before they rubbed with long strokes down each other's skin. The water was cold by the time they had washed each other the sixth time, but it was then that they started to react to each other's ministrations, and they kissed deeply as their hands worked to bring them off again.

Duo didn't even bother to dry off before falling into bed, and as long as Duo was already getting the bed wet, Trowa decided it didn't matter if he did, too. He put his head down on Duo's stomach, and traced lines from Duo's belly button down to his hipbone.

When Duo asked about his childhood, it was such a dissociated question, as if the words had just floated down from the colonies, and Trowa felt nothing when he heard them.

He spoke, the side of his mouth against the smooth, taut skin of Duo's abdomen. He said things that he had never even consciously thought about before, and put an order to things that he had never examined. He would speak for several minutes in a row, and then lapse into silence for moment, but Duo never interrupted him. The only reason that Trowa knew that Duo was still awake was because of the movement of Duo's belly as he breathed, sometimes faster when Trowa spoke of something painful, and because of Duo's fingernails running through his hair.

When Trowa lapsed into a final silence, he felt as if he were not connected to what he had been talking about. He felt as if they were just words, and they had no meaning in the context of his existence. You could not frame experience and pain and sorrow and emptiness with shallow things fixed by definition. Trowa's eyes were open and clear as he stared out at Duo's room over Duo's skin, and felt like he was not really in that room, with Duo, touching him.

Duo sat up, and drew Trowa to sit up with him. Duo's hands came out to hold Trowa's face, and Trowa found that he did not want to be looking into Duo's eyes.

Duo's eyes were so beautiful and deep, and Duo seemed to be like a vortex, pulling Trowa in with the power of his blank, unblinking gaze.

Duo leaned in, and kissed Trowa's lips reverently. Trowa's mouth did not move. He remained utterly motionless, allowing the touch, the only reaction the fluttering shut of his eyes.

He did not see as Duo moved to kiss the line of his cheekbone, or the crest of his brow. He did not see Duo move closer to hold Trowa, pressing their chests together, nor did he raise his arms to complete the circuit. He did not watch as Duo kissed his temple, and down his jaw, down his neck, and back up again on the other side.

He only opened his eyes as Duo moved away, slowly taking his hands off of Trowa's head as he put distance between them.

"You have no idea what you are to me."

There was more emotion in Duo's words than in Trowa's whole account.

They lay down together, on their sides facing each other, but it was hours before they fell asleep.

Trowa had Duo's braid in his fist as he closed his eyes and let dreams overtake him. He knew that Duo was still awake as Duo's hand was gently rubbing the back of his head, but he could no longer keep his eyes open.

When he did open his eyes again, he was still holding Duo's braid, and Duo was now asleep, the pale morning light defining their surrounding more starkly than necessary.

A dangerous swelling filled Trowa's chest, but he dutifully ignored it.


It was now too cold to eat in the park, though they kept trying to every day. Duo never seemed to think to wear a thick enough coat when he went out, preferring to bundle up in his trench coat as the weather got chillier.

He would look up at the sky with furrowed brows, and mutter about how the colonies never had this kind of biting wind. Trowa tried to watch him with clinical fascination, but unfortunately, the effort was not a total success.

They found plenty of out-of-the-way corners to eat their lunches, although they tended to consume more nourishment from each other than from their meals. It was this steady diet of sex that enabled Trowa to reach the point where he felt that he reasonably could expect to get laid regularly, as if it were his due.

So, when Duo had to work through his lunch, Trowa felt righteously indignant over the loss of a quickie.

It didn't help that Duo was working on the on-board computer of a covert land vehicle, and therefore was on the network all day.

The last thing Trowa needed in his horny misery was to get email notes every ten minutes with a suggestion of something they could try after work.

Duo was the child of Satan, Trowa decided, fidgeting uncomfortably in his office chair as he reorganized his email so as to infuriate any tech person who might have some reason to look at his email. This decision was reinforced when Duo realized that he could take small pictures with one of the tools he was using to fix the computer.

Trowa was right in the middle of trying to decide whether a picture of Duo's left nipple belonged in his "Unofficial office nonpolicy" folder or his "Regulation of nonoffice sanctions" folder when his boss peeked around the corner of his cubical.

"Trowa? I was hoping I could have a word?"

Trowa minimized his email program without even looking at the screen, his heart pounding a little from nearly being caught. He reluctantly stood up, hitting the keystrokes that would start his screensaver as he did. At least if anyone wanted to snoop on his computer, they would need to have his password.

Duo's nipple was safe.

Trowa's boss walked to his office through a circuitous route around the office cubicles that was either a product of his insanity or because he wanted to parade Trowa around. Either way, Trowa was bored, and he wanted to get back to reading dirty messages from Duo.

When they got to the office, his boss went straight to his computer, checking his email and his voice mail at the same time. Trowa stood impassively in the doorway to the office, eyeing the plaque commemorating his boss' excellence in the field of something made up with disdain. The office could not even properly be called an office; it was simply a slightly larger cubical whose walls went all the way up to the ceiling, and had a door. The desk was a shelf that ran around the border of the office's far wall, and there was a round table behind where his boss sat at his desk, and a large dry erase board with scribbles in various colors, decorated with various acronyms, which would only have made sense to the criminally insane.

"Sit down. Close the door behind you." His boss pulled out a red file folder from the stack on his desk, and he turned his chair to sit at the round table.

Trowa repressed a sigh with some effort which he was sure would not be appreciated, and he did as he was instructed. He sat at the table with his feet flat on the floor and his hands at his side.

His boss opened the file folder and rummaged through the papers, keeping his eyes down and his hands busy. "Trowa... Trowa, how long have you worked here? It's been about two years, right? ...No, it's been eighteen months. You came to us highly recommended. Commander Une herself placed you here. Do you feel you fit in here, Trowa?"

Trowa blinked. He had no idea at all what his boss was getting at. "Yes."

Trowa's boss blinked several times, and then he looked down at his papers again. "Yes, well... I see that you have been written up six times. Six times. Six times in eighteen months. Does that seem proportionate to you?"

Trowa had no idea what was proportionate. He supposed that if your boss didn't have the slightest clue how to do his job and wanted to blame someone who did, then getting written up only six times might be considered an accomplishment.

"I just can't help feeling like you don't really want to belong here."

Trowa was certain that he didn't. He was also certain that anyone who did want to belong was under the influence of the kind of drugs that no one enjoyed being on.

"It's your attitude, Trowa. You have an air about you... Do you know what I mean? Do you know what your attitude tells me?"

With any luck, his attitude was telling his boss that he was an ex-mercenary and that dicking around with him like this was a stupid thing to do.

"Your attitude tells me that you think you are above this work. And that is truly distressing, because you know that nothing in the Preventors organization could get done without what we do. We facilitate the processes that make justice and peace possible. Do you know how important peace is, Trowa?"

Trowa narrowed his eyes. He had fought and nearly died for this peace. He had killed for this peace. If this fat-assed piece of shit moron thought he was going to sit and be lectured about peace, then he was going to have to lower his estimation of his boss' intelligence even further.

"Peace is what all right-minded people want out of life. Isn't that what you want out of life, Trowa? I mean, I'm sure you discuss this with... er, with your mental health professional, but I think we can both agree that peace is the best goal anyone can work toward."

Trowa straightened himself up in his chair. "Peace isn't a goal."

His boss had to bite off what he was going to say next to respond. Sputtering, he stared at Trowa. "What?"

"Peace isn't a goal," Trowa reiterated, calmly.

"Of course it is! What do you think the wars were about?" His boss narrowed his eyes and stared at Trowa as if he were examining something on his carpet that may or may not have been a bug.

"The people of Earth, represented by Oz, were fighting for dominion of resources in the colonies. We were fighting for self-determination. The goal I fought for was the elimination of Oz. Peace was a by-product." Trowa spoke calmly and determinedly, his arms crossed over his chest casually. He stared directly into his boss' eyes. He didn't feel any need to emphasize his role in the war relative to his boss'.

Mouth opening and closing like a fish, his boss stared at him, unable to meet Trowa's gaze entirely. "But... What... Do you think you deserve preferential treatment for the... for what... for your role in the...?"

Trowa was immensely bored. "Of course not."

"But you think you are above regulations!" His boss accused, even pointing a finger at Trowa.


"But you come here with an attitude, act superior to your co-workers, and flagrantly ignore regulations and standards!" His boss was actually sweating. If the room wasn't so small and close, it might have been humorous.

"Everyone has an attitude. It's impossible to go anywhere without one. I don't act superior to anyone. And I follow regulations and standards." Trowa wished right then that he had died in the war more than anything, and he wished that when he had died, that this fat little man had been standing under his Gundam, and that the last thing that he had seen in the world would have been the blood spurting as his boss went splat under Heavyarms.

Slapping a pink form on the table in front of Trowa, his boss accused triumphantly, "You've been told repeatedly that you need three authorizations for any non-compliance remediation action, and you've even been written up once for it, but again we're behind on our NCRAs because of your negligence!"

Trowa leaned over the form idly. "I do have three signatures."

"You have a technical legal representative and a quality advisor, but you also need a process manager's signature." His boss leaned back in the chair with obvious satisfaction.

Trowa frowned. "You signed it. Here. I left it on your desk a week ago. I think you signed it in the wrong place, though. Isn't it supposed to be over here?"

His boss blinked, and then turned bright red.

By the time Trowa got back to his desk, he had seventeen messages from Duo. He didn't bother to open any of them. He just replied to the most recent one.

To: Duo.Maxwell@Preventors.org
From: Trowa.Barton@Preventors.org
Subject: re: Missed lunch

We both missed lunch. I think we should take a coffee break. Now. In the shower rooms near you.



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