Author: pyrzm
see ch. 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer

Broken Warriors + Chapter 47
Crescent City

It was surprisingly hard to leave the house in the dunes. Heero really had let himself think of it as home. All the same, he was looking forward to New Orleans and it was nice to have a few days alone with Duo in the car. They made good time and rolled into New Orleans right on schedule, wending their way through the outer modern sprawl to the section of the city Trowa called the French quarter, even though Heero's research showed that the primary influence on the area had been a mix of Spanish, white, black and native American races called Creole.

Evening was falling and it was raining. Duo fell in love at first sight with the narrow streets lined with centuries old two- and three-story buildings decked out with bright colors, balconies, and fancy ironwork. Heero's initial impression was that it looked dangerous.

It was damp and chilly, and shreds of fog from the nearby river hung like ghosts in the muted glow of the streetlamps. Too many side streets, his mission voice warned. Too many flat roofs and all those balconies, perfect for surveillance or snipers. And even at this hour, in this weather, too many people, though his rational mind identified them as tourists, locals, drunks, prostitutes. But old reflexes were still there, just under the surface. He was glad they were both armed.

The place Trowa had rented was a traditional Creole-style house on St. Peter Street, just north of the cathedral and Jackson Square. It was a two-story brick house, painted blue with black trim and shutters, and was very plain from the street. There was a simple door and a few narrow windows. In the distance, they could hear music Heero guessed must be jazz of some sort, spilling from one of the clubs on Bourbon Street around the corner. They parked on the street and entered through a narrow wrought iron gate at the side. This let into the small courtyard the house was centered around. Windows and doors faced inward here, with their shutters open and warm light spilling out. Several staircases led down from the balcony that circled the second floor. Good food smells hung on the damp air.

Duo hitched his backpack up on his shoulder and let out an appreciative whistle. Heero knew he'd fallen in love with this place on sight, too. "Oh, Tro, you did good! It's like having our own secret garden."

There was a fountain at the center and towering palm trees and other large lush tropical plants. There were several dark wrought iron chairs and tables near the fountain, and bamboo wind chimes tinkled in the shadows nearby.

This was defensible architecture, Heero thought, relaxing a little. He'd already spotted a number of security sensors hidden among the foliage and along the roofline. Trowa and Quatre were experts at setting up safe houses. Perhaps New Orleans wouldn't' be so bad, after all.

A door on the ground level opened and Tro and Kat came out to meet them, dressed like them, in jeans and sweaters.

"Hey, what do you think?" Quatre exclaimed, arm around Trowa's waist.

"We like!" Duo answered for both of them.

"It looks very secure," Heero said, and saw Trowa smile at that.

Trowa didn't say much as he gave them a tour of the house, but Heero read the pleasure in his eyes. Most of the rooms had been maintained in their original style. They all had incredibly high ceilings and were furnished with dark oil paintings of ancient scenes and disapproving ancestors, fancy antique furniture, and dark papers on the walls. Dusty crystal chandeliers hung in the main sitting room, dining room, and lit the winding staircases that connected the interior levels. The bedrooms had fancy wrought iron fixtures and frosted globes, made to look like old gaslights. The master bedroom had a huge wrought iron bedstead, with a smaller bedroom connected to it by a side door. Both let out onto the upper balcony overlooking the garden.

They would live mostly on the second floor. The bedrooms, main bath, and several comfortable sitting rooms Trowa called "parlors" were all on the second floor. The kitchen and dining room were downstairs, but most of he other rooms there were empty. The largest had been cleared for a practice room and lined with large mirrors and matting on the floor. Another was set aside for a workshop, so that Quatre and Duo could make last minute alterations and repairs. A third was set up with free weights.

"Wow, you've really made yourself at home here," Duo noted.

"All Trowa's doing," Quatre told him.

This clearly was Trowa's plan, his choice, his favorite city. Just from the little bit Heero has seen and researched so far, he realized that this was probably the sort of place Trowa belonged, not on some sterile, gray, atmospherically controlled colony. The house was like Trowa, shuttered and guarded on the outside, full of shadows, color and slightly skewed perspectives within.

"Well?" Trowa asked at last, as they stood on the balcony looking down at the darkening garden. "What do you think?"

"Fucking awesome place!" Duo exclaimed softly. "Heero and I read those Anne Rice books you gave us in the car on the way down. I can see vampires living here."

"Wait until you see the cemeteries. They're beautiful, and dangerous at night, even without vampires."

"No cemeteries tonight!" said Quatre. "If you guys aren't too wiped out from the drive, we thought we'd eat here, let you rest up a little, then do some clubbing." He leaned against Heero and gave him a coaxing little smile. "Will you, Heero? You've never been out with us before. Please?"

Heero was momentarily confused. Then he realized that Quatre and Trowa had never seen him willingly participate in such social interactions. He glanced over at Duo and gave him a wink, but kept a frown on as he sighed, "Hn. If I must."

A tall woman named Marie came in to do the cooking each day. She had mocha colored skin, a soft, laughing voice, and seemed to enjoy teasing all of them about how thin they were as she ladled out small bowls of something called gumbo. It didn't look like much, just a brown stew over rice. It didn't matter; food was just fuel, after all. He and Duo had lived mostly on canned food, rice and scrambled eggs at the beach house. One mouthful, laden with spices, shrimp and sausage, soon changed his mind. By the time they'd polished off the main course of smothered collard greens and Oysters Rockefeller, followed by thin slices of rich pecan pie, he'd had an epiphany similar to his first blowjob.

Duo lay back in his chair and rubbed his stomach happily as Marie gathered the dessert plates. "OK. I guess we'll stay."

They rested for a while in their room after supper, then showered and changed into the clothes they'd worn to Ma Rainey's. Duo kept his hair braided, but wore all his jewelry for Heero, and painted his eyes.

Heero pulled him close and ran his hands down over his lover's backside, drinking in the sight of him, the way the ocean colored cropped tee complimented his eyes, and the feel of those hard muscles under the dark charcoal silk jeans. "They think I'm going to sit at a table all night, glowering and looking at my watch while you three dance."

Duo gave him a look of mock surprise, and grabbed his ass. "You mean you're not?"

+

The four of them set off on foot at ten o'clock. Trowa and Quatre seemed at ease with this, and Heero had already ascertained that everyone was armed, ankle holsters all around. Their choices of wardrobe didn't allow for anything else. Trowa and Quatre were dressed for action under their matching black leather overcoats, but it wasn't battle.

Trowa's hair was combed back from his forehead tonight and those green eyes burned with a dark, sensual intensity. The smile he gave Heero, taking in the sight of him in tight black jeans and shirt, was rather unnerving. In those skin-tight black leather pants, studded black belt and wristbands, boots, and barely-buttoned black silk shirt, Trowa could have been one of those stylish, deadly young vampires they'd read about in the car.

Quatre had on the black, concho-trimmed Dolchi leather pants he'd gotten married in and an oversized white Oxford, perhaps Trowa's, open with the sleeves rolled, over a form-fitting black tank that left his stomach bare from the bottom of his ribcage to well below his navel, showing off the black sunburst there. He also wore a black leather dog collar around his neck and thick bondage cuffs on both wrists. The heavy silver rings on both showed signs of wear.

Still thinking of vampires, Heero decided Quatre looked like either Trowa's deceptively angelic fellow hunter, or a very willing victim. Heero had thought the story was rather silly and overwrought when they were reading it. Now, walking these dark, cobblestone streets, sounded by alien sounds and smells, he began to see the attraction. He and Duo were both wearing their black leather jackets, too, and fit in with the mood.

Duo slid in under Trowa's other arm and pulled Heero in beside him with an arm around his waist. "Damn, we look like sex on legs."

"Come on, malos muchachos," Trowa laughed. "Let's go cause some fucking headlines!"

Quatre tilted his head back and let out a howl. "Listen up, Crescent City! The Gundam Boys are in town! Owwwwooooooooo!"

Duo echoed the howl and cackled with laughter. "Get yer cameras ready, you paparazzi cocksuckers! Here we come! Owwwwoooooooooo!"

Heero caught Trowa's eye and saw him still grinning that dangerous grin.

"I take it we're not keeping a low profile?"

"Not tonight, 01!" Trowa purred in a voice that dripped pure sex. It was like someone had taken the shutters from his friend's eyes, from his soul. He gave Heero a knowing wink. "Besides, any publicity is good publicity for the proprietors of Circus della Notte."

"Della naughty?" Duo quipped.

"Very naughty," Quatre growled, biting Trowa's on the neck. "That's why we're launching it in New Orleans."

Dup shivered happily. "Oh baby, I love it here already!"

"We're surrounded by death, you know," Trowa said in that same sexy voice. "This city sits below sea level behind her levees. One perfect storm and it all could be swept away. Everyone knows it, and they stay. She's seen war, voodoo queens, slavery, plagues, floods, and death in every form, and embraces it all like a lover, laughs with it, rubs elbows with it every day. Instead of being frightened or depressed, they indulge in music and booze and sex and incredible food."

"You see what he's really like, Heero?" Quatre said. "Get this. I finally talked him into choosing a birthday of his own, like you guys did, instead of that stupid March third date. Guess what he picked?"

"Halloween!" Duo laughed, guessing correctly. "So, Heero's is in January, Wu man's in May, unless he's changed it, Kat and I are in September? Guess that makes you the baby, huh, Tro?"

"Wrong, Maxwell. I had a dental resonance scan done at my last physical. Looks like I'm about to turn twenty."

"No fair!"

"It's true," Quatre laughed. "I've got myself mixed up with an older man and *I'm* the baby!"

"My baby!" Trowa growled, scooping him up in his arms. "And I've finally got him in this wicked place, where little girls picnic in the graveyards and whores sing in the church square, and some of the hottest, wickedest gay clubs in America are all within a few blocks and they rock all night!"

"And so do we!" Duo laughed, jumping on Heero's back for a ride and licking his ear. Leaning around to do the other ear, he whispered, "You OK with this, baby?"

Heero hoisted him a little higher, gave him a kiss and whispered back, "I'm good, but thanks for asking."

He was still feeling a bit leery and over exposed, and kept a sharp eye on the shadows around them as if he was on point, but under all that, yes, he was very fucking fine with this. Some part of him had wanted this for a long time. Maybe this was what it felt like for normal guys, to be not quite nineteen.

Heero had already agreed that Duo could drink tonight, so long as he kept it within reason. At the Voodoo Lounge, a dance club decorated with skeletons in top hats and formal dress, ragged cloth dolls, and dried alligator heads, Trowa ordered them a round of bittersweet, milky green iced drinks called absinthe frappes. Absinthe was illegal in most of America, Quatre informed them, but not here, where it was made and served in a variety of forms. They downed them quickly and the world went smooth and golden around Heero. He didn't feel drunk so much as very relaxed and a bit horny. Duo wanted to order another, but Trowa shook his head. "One's plenty for now, mon petit papillon. Let's dance!"

Heero had the pleasure of shocking Trowa and Quatre for once as he and Duo slipped out of their jackets and took the floor. Heero had left the silk shirt behind. His arms were toned again, and he'd picked up a light golden tan on the beach. They'd been out dancing a few more times since that first date, and Duo had given him some private lessons, too. "Just think of it as sex in public standing up with your clothes on," he'd told him, and Heero had gladly taken the advice to heart. Halfway into the first dance, he looked over to see 03 and 04 both staring at them as they danced. Quatre grinned and gave him a thumbs up of approval. Trowa said nothing, just licked his lips and reached for Quatre, grinding their hips together.

Heero knew a challenge when he saw one. He did the same, letting his hands wander over Duo's bare midriff and hips. Duo and Quatre both guessed what was up and joined in the fun. By the middle of the second song, a slower one that allowed for even better bumping and grinding, they were getting stares from the crowd.

Heero saw a few people pointing, and caught a few startled exclamations.

"Hey, that looks like . . ."

"Isn't that . . .?"

"Jesus, are they . . .?"

"Is that really Heero Yuy with them?"

"Here we go, baby," Duo whispered, draping his arms around Heero's neck and undulating against him.

Cameras began to flash. An open space on the floor opened around the two famous couples, just like it had that first time. But this time Heero wasn't going to bail out. Let them look. It was about time he made the papers for something like having fun.

The others were obviously used to it. When the song ended the DJ called for a spotlight and introduced them. "Gentleman, and you ladies who are gentlemen, we've got something special in the house tonight. Those bad Gundam Boys are here, and they've got a new member, looks like!"

Applause broke out and the other three laughed and waved. Heero kept his arm around Duo's waist, hoping everyone would go back to their own business and they'd get that damn spotlight out of his eyes. He flexed his left ankle, assuring himself the gun was still there.

"Hey, we're just here to have some fun," Trowa announced, playing up the sex voice and stroking Quatre's hip as he talked. "For those of you who haven't heard, we're here in town for a *very* special event, the premier of Circus della Notte. I think you all would like it, too." His left hand traveled lower, cupping Quatre's ass, while his right performed a subtle slight of hand, producing a thick deck of silvery cards. He flexed it, and then riffled it as he waved his hand, showering the crowd with them. "Free passes, good any night. And it's only at night, because some things are better in the dark, yes?" His tone insinuated all sorts of sins. People scrambled for the passes. "Directions are on the back, mis pequenas palomas. Come see for yourselves, then tell your friends! Now how about some more music, maestro? Something slow and hot?"

The DJ was only too happy to oblige and he and Quatre gave the crowd their money's worth, going into a slow, erotic sway that had half the men in the crowd drooling. Not one word had been said about whether they were actually in the show, or even what it was, but people were still scrambling to find fallen passes and everyone was abuzz.

"He's good, isn't he?" Duo chuckled, pressing up against Heero and swaying to the beat.

"Yes," Heero agreed, amazed. "I didn't think he ever talked this much, not in public anyway."

"He can when he wants to. If there is really a devil, I'm betting he's a lot like our 03."

They had another absinthe and danced some more as it took hold and loosened up more inhibitions. Heero found himself torn between watching Trowa make love to Quatre on the dance floor and observing the effect the sensuous way Duo was rolling his hips had on the shape of his navel. Both were mesmerizing. Duo's bellybutton won out.

Duo laughed. "What are you staring at?"

"I'm trying to decide if I'd like you with a tattoo like Quatre's."

"Oh, so you get to decide that, do you?"

Heero grinned and pulled him close again, squeezing his ass as he rolled against him. They were both hard now, but he didn't really care who saw. "What was that, 02?"

"What?" Duo moaned and let his head fall back, exposing his throat and the Shiva's Eye necklace he always wore, just for Heero. "I dunno. Whatever you want, baby!" His long, shining braid swung free behind him, and Heero captured it and twisted the end round his wrist.

They repeated the pattern at four more clubs that night, dancing, drinking, attracting attention and distributing the shiny free passes. The cameramen loved them and Trowa even granted a few brief, cryptic interviews. His years with the traveling circus had taught him showmanship; he knew how to pique interest, and to use sly innuendo to promise much while giving away little. Duo and Heero fell in with the game. When people asked them if they were in this show, they just shrugged mysteriously and went back to groping each other on the dance floor.

Trowa allowed them all one more absinthe for the road, and the golden flow dragged them under.

"We're flying with the green fairy now!" Quatre giggled, staggering along between Heero and Trowa.

"Absinthe. Green fairy. The poet's drug of choice," Trowa explained, sliding his fingers up across Heero's back and tickling Duo on the other side.

They headed home around three a.m., giving the crowds and the paparazzi the slip and taking a long, meandering route home. Absinthe was currently Heero's drug of choice, he decided; he was ready to fuck Duo up against the nearest wall. Trowa and Quatre beat them to it, dropping back into the shadows between two shops on the Rue Royal. Duo caught Heero by the hand, gave him an irresistible look, and they followed.

It was too dark to make out the others as more than dark, moving shapes across the narrow alley a few feet away. Heero felt Duo's hands on him, pressing him back against the damp bricks, undoing his belt and jeans, yanking them down just past his hips. Then his fingers were being directed into a thick mass of hair at waist level and a hot mouth was closing over his erection. He heard the sounds of another blowjob being given and Quatre's muffled whimpers. His eyes had adjusted to the darkness and he could just make out Trowa kneeling there, fisting his own cock while he went down on Quatre. Quatre's hands were clasped behind his head-"Like a captured soldier" Heero's mind filled in.

The image brought on a sudden, irrational stab of fear that made his erection flag a little. He hastily pushed that thought away. No prisoners, no force, just good clean dirty outdoor sex, that was all that was happening here.

He let his head fall back against the wall, surrendering to what that mouth and those hands and those sounds were doing to him, and fighting not to make any noises that might attract unwanted attention. For a long moment there was only the sounds of sucking and heavy breathing, then Quatre let out a soft, shivering moan and Heero came fast and hard, in a hot rush that left him breathless and weak in the knees. He let Duo lick him clean while he got his breath back, then hitched his pants up, dragged his lover up against the wall, and returned the favor, this time to the accompaniment of Trowa whispering obscenities in what sounded like Greek and Duo's choked, half sobbing laughter.

They staggered out of the alley together a few minutes later, laughing like crazy men, clinging to each other and dangerous with pheromones, like that day of the intervention. Trowa threw back his head and let out a very realistic wolf howl and the others joined in. Lights came on here and there and someone shouted angrily at them to shut the fuck up.

"Veni, vidi, veni!" Trowa snarled back as they laughingly dragged him way and Heero guessed the misquote was intentional.

Back at the house, the four of them double checked the security settings, then fell into the big bed together in a drunken tangle of bare arms and legs.

Odd, Heero thought as he dozed off enveloped the warmth and smell of the others. He didn't know if he'd actually like New Orleans when he sobered up, but this room already felt like home.

++

Notes:

The Crescent City is a nickname for New Orleans. I'm stating the obvious here, right?

Absinthe is currently illegal in the US. In its 19th century heyday, imbibers called it 'the green fairy' because of its color and supposed effect. The active ingredient is supposed to be wormwood extract, which makes it quite bitter, but it was probably as much the alcohol content. It's legal in AC 198 Louisiana, though. A very civilized place.

"Veni, vidi, vici" Julius Caesar "I came, I saw, I conquered." Trowa's misquote is, of course intentional.

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