Written By: bikkothewriter
see Ch. 1 for warning, notes, disclaimer

Preventors' Case #84309: Splicers + Chapter Twenty

"I can understand his motivation," Duo said the following morning.

"He wants to take your son away from you. How can you be understanding about that?" Heero asked.

They stood outside the less used entrance to the clinic as Heero had decided after a night of tossing and turning that he could not sit quietly knowing that Quatre was trying to rob Duo of his son. He'd arrived at headquarters early in hopes of having a quiet conversation with Duo but Murai and Nellie had not decided to sleep in the next day, opting to go after another agent. Agent Demetri Lawless now sported brown and black spotted fur, clawed hands, pointed ears atop his head and a large mouth stretched across his face resembling a smile full of sharp teeth. A hyena. The sound emanating from his throat mimicked laughter but could be deciphered as pained screaming. His partner, Alicia Pennington, had taken the brunt of both his assault as well as Nellie's and the doctors of Plainsboro were caring for her in the intensive care unit. She suffered from a dozen broken bones, a punctured lung and spleen, and a fractured skull.

It was with some effort that he managed to get Duo away from Gervais and pass the number of agents loitering around the halls like vultures descending on a fresh kill. Having told Duo of Quatre's plans, he expected there to be some kind of blow out. That Duo would go raging across the colony, tether be damned, to confront the man. Instead, Duo stood docilely shrugging his shoulders.

"If you thought I was bad for Rhys, would you let him go into the system or take care of him yourself?"

Heero didn't even take a moment to consider his answer, "I'd take him in."

"Right," Duo said smiling widely at him. "So I get Quatre's messed up idea of trying to save my kid from me. But I'm not unfit and I'm not going to let him take Rhys without a fight, so don't worry about it."

"Someone needs to because if Quatre takes this to trial you stand a good chance of losing Rhys."

"I haven't done anything wrong."

"You told me you were on drugs, Duo. Unless that was a lie. Trowa found a blood test you took a month before you disappeared. You passed."

"Yeah well if I didn't that nurse owes me three hundred dollars," Duo mumbled.

"What?"

"I paid off the nurse at the drug test facility. He got a little cash and I got a new job."

"Duo…" Heero said disappointed that his friend had stooped so low.

"Look, it's not something I'm proud of. Paying off the nurse, or the addiction, or leaving without a goodbye, but I'm a better person now and my kid loves me. That's all that matters."

"That won't be enough to satisfy a judge, Duo. Quatre won't fail to bring the drug use up."

"Let me guess you told Trowa and he told Quatre," he said annoyed.

"I told Quatre trying to defend you," Heero answered heatedly. "He doesn't believe that you're really you, that everything you've told me so far is a lie."

"Why would you even listen to him?"

"Why should I listen to you? You haven't been my friend for the last four years. That was Quatre, Trowa and Wu Fei and others who were my friends while you were gone."

"I said I was sorry," Duo said throwing his hands up exasperated. He walked the few feet to the stairs leading up to the clinic door sitting down on the steps, planting his face in his hands. "Why am I not allowed to fuck up? Quatre blows up a fucking colony and no one bats an eyelash. I go through a fucking nervous breakdown and I'm the antichrist."

He turned to look back at Heero, continuing to vent, "Trowa didn't tell you he was on medication and I bet you haven't lost any trust in him. Everything I've done I've done because I thought it was the right thing to do. I haven't killed anybody. Haven't maimed or raped anybody but you guys threat me like I'm a serial killer."

"I don't think you're a serial killer," Heero said coming closer to lean against the hand rails beside Duo, "but things don't add up and I would be stupid to trust you or Gervais blindly."

"What have we done to make you think that we would hurt anyone?"

"Did you forget what happened last night? You humiliated Trowa. And for what? Because Quatre was mean to you?"

"So I'm not allowed to hold a grudge either? I didn't know that Gervais was going to call him out like that. I told him about Trowa's smell days ago. I didn't know it meant anything but I am allowed to be pissed off about what happened."

Duo looked away from him and they were quiet for a few minutes as Heero processed what Duo said before asking, "Why did you kiss me?"

"Jesus, are you doubting that too?" Duo asked looking up at Heero. "I like you. I want the chance to be with you. I thought you felt the same."

"I do," Heero admitted, "but I can't do this if I don't know the truth about what's going on here. You and Gervais are keeping things from me. You might not be lying but you aren't being completely truthful either."

"I get that," Duo said looking away. "But I can't just come out and spill my guts and tell you everything that happened and why. I promise that when I'm ready to tell you everything, I will. Can you be okay with that?"

When Heero didn't answer right away, wondering if he could continue to wait for Duo to give him the answers he wanted, the other man took his hand pressing a soft kiss to the back of his hand. Duo looked up at him with violet eyes glowing in the artificial sunlight, chestnut ears at half-mast, his face sincere.

"Please?"

"I'll try," was the only honest answer he could give.

Duo sighed, his warm breath washing over Heero's hand making him shiver in response as he answered, "I can live with that."

He stood leaning into Heero, effectively trapping him against the handrail. Heero was once again taken in by Duo's scent, body warming in response as Duo pressed his lips to his cheek. He pulled away slowly looking down at Heero a soft smile on his face.

"I'll apologize to Trowa and try not to punch Quatre in the face the next time I see him."

Heero could only nod, his body tingling with yearning with Duo still so close. He tried to stifle the dozen inappropriate thoughts racing through his head. He reminded himself that he was at work, on the clock, and stripping a potential suspect on the stairs before the clinic was behavior unbecoming for a commander.

"Let's go back inside before someone comes looking for us," Duo said smile widening. He tugged on Heero's hand, pulling him towards the door.

He let go of Duo's hand as they crossed the threshold following him back inside. He felt marginally better about the situation at hand. Duo had made points that Heero could not deny, that he was putting his trust in everyone but Duo given their history of bad decisions. He was also right to say that he and Gervais had not proven to be anything other than helpful.

With all the confusion that Heero felt inside, he wondered if he shouldn't take Director Yates direction and let someone else take over this aspect of his case. Being around Duo, in the middle of the conflict between friends was taking its toll and he was left not knowing who to trust, who to believe in. Everything anyone said now needing to be backed up with facts as he was already making plans to find the nurse Duo had bribed to corroborate his story.

He had to stop suddenly to keep from crashing into Duo's back as the man stilled in front him body tensing. He watched the man's ears swivel atop his head catching on to a sound only he could hear. Whatever it was sent him moving with purpose towards Agents Beckman and Adams, the two men who had talked scathingly about Heero and Duo in the restroom to days ago.

He had to push pass several agents in the crowded hall to catch up to Duo as he raised his arm slamming his fist into the wall, denting the steel plating and shattering the drywall underneath raining dust over the Beckman, the shorter of the two men.

The reaction was immediate as several agents pulled their weapons aiming at Duo as he stood over Beckman, glaring fiercely at the dark-haired man.

"You want to repeat that?" he asked the man hand still firmly planted in the wall as he ignored the agents around him.

"Holster your weapons," Heero ordered, walking in front of Duo screwing the agent's shots.

"Commander, he just punched through a metal wall," one of them argued.

"I won't tell you again, agent," he said and the group complied. "What is going on here?" he asked looking to Duo.

"Tell the Commander what you said," Duo ordered Beckman.

"I didn't say anything," Beckman said.

"Bullshit. I heard you loud and clear."

"So did I," came Agent Flaherty's voice and Heero was surprised to see her pull away from the crowd, walking over to the group.

"What did he say?" Heero asked.

"I didn't say shit," Beckman said loudly.

"I'll tell you," Flaherty said glaring at Beckman. "He told his partner that he wouldn't sell Kitten at an Auction. He'd keep the boy, host parties on the weekends, and let the perverts take turns with him for a price. He said he'd make more money off of him that way."

Heero looked at the man in disgust as did several other agents standing nearby.

"I never said that," he argued.

"He also said he'd take Mr. Maxwell home and show him how to be a proper pet."

"I didn't say that."

"You're right," Flaherty said glaring at Beckman, "Your exact words were more vulgar and disgusting."

"You weren't even anywhere near us, there's no way you could have heard…" and Beckman trailed off as Flaherty turned her head, lifting her red hair revealing what looked like a normal Bluetooth headset but what Heero knew to be a very sophisticated listening device. Not the kind of thing a Special Agent over the Detention Facility would need to have.

"You're not going to believe the freak and this bitch are you, Commander?" Beckman said turning to Heero.

"I've been front row center for one of your rants before Beckman, or did you forget?" Heero asked wondering how stupid the man was to turn to the man he'd previously insulted while calling Flaherty a bitch and Duo a freak.

"I suggest you go and turn yourself over to the Director if you want to have any chance of keeping your job," Agent Flaherty said.

"I didn't say anything," Beckman insisted, "Tell them Adams."

Adams who had been silent the entire time looked very pale having the hall of agents turn to look at him. Pale and sweaty, his red hair damp and clinging to his forehead he shook his head refusing to answer.

"Adams, I suggest you decide what side you want to be on in this. He was talking to you. What did he say?" Flaherty demanded, the reason for her nickname as Head Mistress being made known as she stepped up to the man commanding his attention.

Adams looked to Beckman, stuttering, "He did. He said it."

"You son of a bitch!" Beckman yelled lunging at Adams where he tackled him the ground punching the man in the face twice before Heero and Flaherty grabbed him, tossing him to the floor where Flaherty straddled him drawing his arms behind his back cuffing him as he cursed and fought.

"Put him in a cell," Flaherty said standing and two agents quickly picked the man off the floor hauling him away.

The assembled Preventors stood talking and Heero could hear some unpleasant talk from those nearby as some of the group felt the punishment too harsh. Flaherty took one look at the assembled group obviously not liking what she saw or heard.

"If you are not family to one of the patients or their partner then I don't want to see your face. If I see any Preventor agent not associated with this case I will have you written up and suspended without pay," she yelled and Heero was not surprised at how quickly the loitering agents turned to leave the clinic, opinions be damned.

"You," she said pointing a finger at Adams who had been helped of the floor by Duo, "I want a detailed report of everything that happened here on the Director's desk in one hour. Write up everything Beckman has ever said about any agents or civilians or you'll be sharing a cell with him. Do you understand?"

"Yes, sir! I mean sir! I mean ma'am," he said hastily turning to leave.

"You," she snapped turning the finger to Duo, "I don't want to hear of another incident of you punching through steel or I will have you deemed a lethal weapon and thrown into a cell." At Duo's growing smile she added, "I am not joking Mr. Maxwell."

"Yes, ma'am," he said sobering quickly.

"Commander, I'm sure that I don't have to tell you to file a report as well?"

"One hour," he said happy to not have a finger pointed at him.

She walked away heading around the corner, and through the lounge where the other Preventors and exited and Duo, with Heero following him, moved to watch her leave.

"Is it just me or are you totally turned on right now?" Duo asked leaning against the wall, "Nothing is hotter than a woman making you her bitch."

Flaherty stopped just inside exit, turning to look at Duo sternly over the rim of her glasses and Duo waggled his fingers at her smiling lecherously. Heero was more amused than jealous of the harmless flirting. She pointed telling Duo to get back to work just as the door open and because her gaze was turned away she collided head on with Trowa who, to catch the woman, grabbed her around the waist though his hands landed in an inappropriate spot.

The two stood stock still as Trowa's hands were firmly planted on Flaherty's ass, his face coloring a bright red as Duo whistled approvingly. They broke apart and Trowa almost fell over one the lounge's chairs trying to move away from Flaherty and the embarrassing situation. Heero quickly crossed the room to stand at his friend's side touching his elbow to reassure him.

"I'm sorry," Trowa said to Flaherty, his face not losing its bright red color though he looked steadier.

"It's okay," she answered adjusting her glasses, needlessly fluffing her hair and Heero was taken back by how quickly she had gone from domineering to coquettish in front of Trowa and he wondered if she too wasn't spliced with a cat. "I'm not mad. It was an accident."

"Trowa," Duo cheered approaching the group, "Way to cop a feel!"

"Duo," Heero chided.

"What?" he asked. Turning to Flaherty he said, "Can I touch?"

"That's inappropriate, Mr. Maxwell," Flaherty said sobering, "I'll see you later, gentlemen. Commander, don't forget that report."

"I won't," he said watching her walk away. She left the clinic without another word and Duo continued to track her hanging out the door as she walked away from the building.

He sighed, "There she goes. Bouncing off sprinkling flowers."

He stayed in the doorway a moment longer before laughing aloud.

"What?" Heero asked.

"She said she doesn't bounce, she skips and it's napalm not flowers. Definitely my kind of woman."

From the look on Trowa's face, he was not amused by Duo and his antics or his presence and Duo quickly caught wind of it, his demeanor changing as he turned to Trowa.

"Hey," he said, "I'm sorry about last night. I shouldn't have sent Gervais after you. I'm sorry that you were embarrassed."

Trowa just nodded noncommittally and Duo sighed as he shrugged shaking his head, "I tried."

"Greyson sent over the results for Trent," Trowa said ignoring Duo.

"Good. Duo, don't forget you have the evaluation with Dr. Walker in an hour."

"Yeah, yeah," he said waving his hand, "I remember the threat. See you later."

Duo walked off, turning the corner to head back to the lab and Trowa moved to the exit. Heero looked between the two, feeling as if he had to decide between them. He followed Trowa out the door and on to the concourse as he headed towards the man building.

"What was in Greyson's report?" he asked knowing to avoid the subject of Duo and whether he would be able to forgive the man.

"He confirmed our guess with why Trent is stable because of the number of recombinants but he doesn't see a way to undo the damage done to him."

"Gervais says there's nothing he can do for him or the others without his tank."

"We'll have to figure something else out. I can put together a list of geneticists known for their work with splicing and see if any of them would be able to help us. The Director will only wait so long before he insists that Gervais is locked away."

"You're right. I'll leave it to you to get the list together. Have you seen the others?"

"Hayers is attached to Wu Fei somewhere in HQ along with Sally. I haven't seen Price or Weber today. Do you want me to find them?"

"Please. I need to write an incident report. We can meet in the conference room in an hour."

"I'll see to it. Anything else?" Trowa asked looking down at Heero.

"Yes," he said looking up slyly at Trowa, "Was Flaherty's ass as soft as I imagine?"

"Asshole."

+

"Come in," Heero called at the knocking on his office door looking up from the screen as Taylor came to him papers in hand. He handed the top sheets to Heero and he looked them over quickly confused.

"You're resigning? I'm not your direct supervisor, Taylor; you shouldn't give this to me."

"I know, but I have this as well," Taylor said passing the second set of papers to Heero.

He looked leafed through the sheets, gaze narrowing as he read.

"How long have you known about this?"

"Since yesterday. After I searched through the results of the syringe purchases, I made the connection."

"Why are you resigning?"

"I don't think I should stay. People will think I was a part of it."

"I'll make sure that you stay safe in this Taylor. If you want to take a leave of absence until things settle, I can arrange for it."

"I don't want to quit. I like working here."

"Good. I've always considered you a part of my team and this will not change things."

He stood, clicking send on the computer before walking around to Taylor putting his hand in the man's shoulder. The young tech looked both miserable and happy at the praise, and Heero could only begin to imagine the betrayal he felt and how hard it was for him to come to him with the damning information he had.

"Go home, Taylor. You don't need to be here for this."

"Commander, I'm so sorry."

"You have nothing to apologize for Taylor. Go home."

+

He stood in the doorway of the conference room watching Hayers as he laughed and talked entertaining the room at large with an offhand anecdote. Trowa stood beside him face a harsh mask as he had caught up to him before coming to the meeting, showing him the file that Taylor had delivered. To say that either of them was angry was an understatement and it showed clearly in Trowa as he grabbed Hayers by the back of the neck slamming him into the table.

Sally yelped startled, while Weber, Price and Wu Fei looked on confused.

"Benjamin Hayers, you're under arrest for assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder and third degree murder. You have the right to remain silent-"

"I know my rights," Hayers said quietly as Trowa forced him off the table with his hands cuffed behind his back.

"Heero, what's going on here?" Wu Fei asked.

"We were right to assume that someone other than Murai attacked Agent Northman. It was Hayers."

"Boss, you can't be serious. Hayers wouldn't do something like that. Right, Hayers?" Weber asked looking to the man. Hayers didn't answer, staring solemnly at the carpet and Weber slumped into his chair shocked. "Shit."

"You did that to Northman?" Price asked, hands balling into a fist against the table as she glared at her partner outraged. She rose, pushing her chair away walking in a fast limp around the table and Trowa must have known what she planned to do as he turned Hayers toward her flying fist. She punched him once, then twice, snapping his head back breaking his nose, bloodying his face. "You son of a bitch. She killed her own son because of you!"

She reared back to punch him again but Weber was there, grabbing her around the waist lifting her from the ground, turning his upper body to keep her away from Hayers. She went limp in his arms, though her face was a mask of anger.

"Let's go," Wu Fei said and grabbing one of Hayers' arms while Trowa took the other leading him out of the room and down to the Detention facility. They led him into an interrogation room, cuffing Hayers to the chair more roughly that necessary. Hayers sat quietly refusing to look at the three men around him and Heero felt absolutely no pity for him.

"I want answers," Wu Fei said and Heero pulled the folded sheets from his inner coat pocket, handing them to Wu Fei who briefly looked them over. "Who put this information together?"

"Taylor Hayers," Heero answered and Hayers flinched but didn't look up.

"It's too late to clam up," Trowa said from where he stood his arms crossed as he glared down at Hayers, feeling just as betrayed as Heero and Wu Fei. "We know how you did it. Tell us why you did it."

Hayers shook his head.

"You weren't very smart," Wu Fei said tossing the papers to the table before Hayers. "You bought the syringes on your credit card after the first attack. You should have known that your name would show up when we searched through the receipts from the local medical supply stores."

"You also know better than most that we have cameras in the evidence rooms. We have you on film sequencing the recombinant from Murai's mixes," Heero added. "And again at an intersection a block from the school an hour before Major Chang got the call to mobilize."

"Then you insisted that you come along," Trowa said. "Why?"

"I wanted to impress Major Chang," Hayers said quietly.

"Why?"

"I wanted to be a part of the HRT."

"You put innocent children's lives in danger for a new job?" Trowa asked, hands dropping as he looked at Hayers in disbelief.

"I've applied a dozen times and was rejected just as many. I thought if I proved myself to the Major, showed him what I could do, I would get the job."

"That's why you chose an eel. Then you could suggest the boots and show you were a quick thinker," Heero deduced aloud, wondering why he hadn't questioned Hayers motive for wanting to tag along on the mission.

"You idiot," Wu Fei said to Hayers, "I only seriously considered you for a position after your commander recommended you. Did you ever think that a letter of recommendation would have just as easily have gotten you a job?"

"I'm sorry," he said.

"Save it. Tell Northman you're sorry for what you did to her and her family and all the parents whose children died that day."

"It wasn't supposed to get so out of control."

"Yes it was or else there wouldn't have been a call. It happened exactly the way you planned except you didn't intend for your own brother to turn you in," Trowa argued.

"Did you think he would overlook the evidence? Let you go free knowing you'd killed innocent people?" Heero asked.

"Yes."

"Then you are an idiot," Heero said. Looking at Hayers, realizing that the man really believed that his brother would sit back knowing that he had caused the deaths of dozens of innocent people. While Heero didn't know Taylor very well he had once believed that he knew Hayers.

He had taken notice of the man during a shuttle hijacking. Riding as a civilian going to Earth on vacation to visit family, Hayers had taken on the hijackers single-handedly, with no weapon, saving all the passengers onboard. His bravery had impressed Heero and he had immediately offered him a position. Now with his deviance brought to light he couldn't help but wonder if the attack had been staged too.

Feeling utterly betrayed, he turned leaving Trowa and Wu Fei to deal with Hayers. He couldn't look at the man's face anymore without thinking of all the children he'd killed for a promotion and if he stayed, he knew he would act on the rage building inside of him.

+

The day had continued to go down hill for Heero and as he sat behind his desk long after the other Preventors had gone home for the night. Director Yates had wanted to meet with not long after Hayers arrest wanting to know every detail. The man had not been pleased to find that an agent of his could do something so devastating for something so petty, pulling the rest of the team into question. Each member of his team including the hospitalized Gemmell had to give statements. The ordeal was hardest on Price who had worked almost exclusively with Hayers as his partner. Heero couldn't imagine what she felt having spent long stake-outs enclosed in a car with the man, working till all hours of the morning, putting her life and trust in him.

Sally and Wu Fei were supportive though Wu Fei felt affronted that he had not realized sooner, playing into Hayers plan offering him the job and then working beside him growing to know him. Gemmell and Weber were generally in shock over the situation not knowing what to say having never expected something like that from their teammate.

The bad day had continued with another attack from Murai and Nellie later in the afternoon. The location being the mall where the pair had attacked two interns who were dressed in Preventor polos and slacks, working in the mall as part of a job fair. Cliff Rashad and Theo Ingier were now a pair of leopards, one black and one spotted. The two young men had rampaged through the food court clawing and biting anyone within their reach. Six people had died and several others had been severely injured. Blood had been splashed across the area coating the tables, floors and counters and people gawked as Heero and team wrestled with the two. To make matters worse Lieutenant Denvers had been the first on the scene and had made a point of berating him and the others, blaming them for the many deaths. For a moment, as Heero pinned the spotted intern to the ground, he wondered if he could call it an accident if he released the leopard man and let him maul Denvers.

Later when trying to find a peaceful moment for himself he'd received a call from Nana Janet telling him of a blond man at her front door who insisted he be let in.

Quatre had decided to make an unwanted house call to Janet's home to meet Rhys and Heero was forced to pull rank on his friend, ordering him away from the woman's house. He reminded Quatre that he had no legal right to Rhys and if he continued to harass them, he would have a restraining order set against him. Michael had not been happy to hear that, glaring at Heero for all she was worth and Heero reminded her that he didn't need her laptop to hack into it in a moment of pettiness.

He had managed to spend some time with Rhys after Quatre had gone, having dinner with him and his Nana and was tempted to stay for the sleepover Rhys had insisted on, wanting to rest after a long and trying day. Instead, he had come back to the office, updating files and researching on the computer. It was almost midnight, he was emotionally and physically exhausted, and the knock on the door was completely unwelcome until it opened revealing Duo.

"Hey," the tall man said peeking his head in the door. "Can I come in?"

"Sure."

"I heard about what happened today. With Hayers," he said closing the door behind him before he crossed the room to lean his hip against Heero's desk. "Sally told us about it."

"I didn't think anyone on my team capable of something like that," he said, leaning back in chair, deciding that he could take a small break to talk to Duo.

Duo moved further around the desk, coming to stand before Heero, "I think everyone involved was surprised about it."

"Hm."

"I heard that you threatened Q with a restraining order," Duo said smiling triumphantly. He pushed Heero and his chair away from his desk surprising him as the taller man flopped into his lap wrapping his arms around his neck. "I bet he loved that."

Heero could only blink up at the man as Duo leaned over him his smile decidedly wicked. Having Duo's warm body draped over him, pressing him into the chair, his intoxicating scent overwhelming him, he forgot what they had been talking about focusing on the man before him.

"Why do you smell so good?" he asked breathily.

"I do? Really?"

"Yes. Every time you're close I can't think about anything else besides touching you."

"That doesn't sound like a bad thing," Duo said, pressing himself closer. He shifted in Heero's lap, moving to straddle him, rubbing persuasively against him.

"Duo," Heero breathed his head falling back, pants becoming tight as he clutched onto to Duo's hips, body shifting against Duo.

Duo leaned down capturing his lips in a hot kiss that topped the kiss from two days before as Duo nipped, licked, and sucked at his lips and tongue leaving him breathless. He ran his hands underneath Duo's tight tee, running his hands over his smooth back pulling Duo closer. He moaned as he thrust his hips up against Duo and the taller man echoed him.

He pulled back gasping for air as Duo continued to move over him, his mouth trailing down his face and neck. Duo's hands were as busy as his mouth pulling Heero's shirt from his pants, running over his stomach before dipping down to his belt.

"Ah…stop Duo," he whispered grabbing at Duo's long-fingered hands.

"Why?"

"I can't. I can't do this. I want it to last," he said panting softly.

"I can make it last," Duo said lowly, rubbing against Heero and he almost forgot why he wanted them to stop.

"No, not this," he said planting his hands on Duo's hips, holding him firmly in place away from where he wanted him most. He looked up at Duo, staring into his beautiful eyes. "I mean us. I want to know that you're going to stay around. That we can take our time."

"Is it bad that I want to fuck you even more now?" Duo asked cradling Heero's face in his hands.

"Promise me," Heero said ignoring the question. "Promise when this is all over you'll still be here and we can take our time."

He watched Duo's face as his smile softened and his ears lowered and he looked at Heero seriously, "I promise."

+

Heero left the office soon after that, first straightening his clothes and willing his erection away with Duo laughing at him all the while. They rode the elevator together down to the parking garage where Heero's company car waited. Duo had insisted on coming home with him wanting to see his apartment having never seen the space seen Heero had moved.

Stepping off the elevator, Duo followed him his sandals slapping rhythmically against the pavement. It was when the noise stopped that Heero turned to look back at Duo who looked indecisive, his ears flat against his head.

"What's wrong?" he asked walking back to Duo.

"I got caught up," he said offhandedly.

"What?" Heero asked confused.

He smiled, "I got caught up with you. G is expecting me back and I almost forgot."

"You're not coming home with me?" Heero asked disappointed and jealous of Gervais all over again.

"Not tonight," Duo said sadly, "but I'll walk you to your car."

They continued to walk with Duo beside him playfully holding his hand, swinging their joined hands back and forth. The moment reminded him of Rhys and how alike the two cat-boys were. When they reached his car, he was saddened to find that they had made the trek across the parking lot so quickly and he tried to stall taking his time with his keys, manually unlocking the door.

Duo leaned in against his back, one arm wrapping around his shoulders as he breathed in his ear, "Heero, you'll take care of Kitten won't you?"

"Of course, Duo," he answered wonder first why Duo had used the nickname he seemed to dislike and second why he would ask him when he already knew the answer. "Why would you- ah!"

Heero jerked at the prick of a needle sliding into his side. In the car's reflection, he could see Duo, syringe in hand injecting clear fluid into his side. He tried to struggle away but Duo held him tightly as his legs went numb beneath him.

He found himself panting, gasping for air and was afraid that the injection was paralyzing not just his body but his organs as well. He clung to Duo as he tossed the empty syringe away sound of the shattering glass sounding distant to Heero's ears.

Wrapping arm around Heero's waist, Duo slowly, gently, lowered him face up to the ground and Heero distantly wondered why he even bothered. He looked up at the man who he was claimed as friend, seeing the blank expression and his ears pressed flat against his head. He could distantly feel Duo arranging his body, then something being pressed into his hand. He managed to tilt his head enough to see the black tether and his fingers wrapped it.

"Duo, why?" he spoke, before his vision went dark and he was unable to speak.

"Because he told me to."

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