Disclaimer:I don't own them and I don't make any money off of them.
Warning:Male/male sex, NCS in past, but not described. Violence, language.
From Duo Maxwell's recorded voice journal:
When you're a scrawny kid, just out of a war, who's been tossed into an Oz lockup and forgotten about, there's only one thing you can do... go crazy. No matter how much of an easy piece of ass you look, they'll usually give a psychopathic killer a wide berth, unless, of course it's the psychopathic killers who are trying to get a piece of your ass. They had nailed me twice, before I had learned the layout of the place, the hierarchy of the prisoners, and had managed to get under the wing of someone who was willing to watch my back. He hadn't wanted a piece of me in return either, he had just felt sorry for me, if you can imagine that. I remember feeling bad when they had ripped him to pieces to get at me during my last day there. We were all rescued shortly afterward, which was a good thing, since they had messed me up badly enough to die. Was that luck? Depends. There are different kinds of luck, and, sometimes, the bad stuff comes at you disguised as good luck..
I spent time in a hospital before I was committed and put in a padded room. After a year of running, hiding, and fighting to save my life and my ass, I couldn't put aside the craziness that had kept me alive and, relatively, in one piece. Ever see a dog that's been beaten too much? Sometimes, they get scared. Other times, they get mean. I got mean, nasty, violent, and hair trigger as hell.
What had Heero thought when he had opened the door of my cell that day, to take me into his care, and I had attacked him like a wild beast? What had my face looked like when I had bared my teeth like fangs, snarled, and attacked him with as much violence as I could manage wrapped up in my restraints? Had he wondered if he'd made a mistake? Had he wanted to turn his back and pretend he'd never had the impulse to get involved? I don't know the answer. He had hit me right behind the ear, one karate chop, and knocked me out.
I'll never know what those renegade enemy soldiers were thinking of doing with the fifty odd prisoners they had managed to roundup after the war. Revenge? Maybe. Bargaining chips to save their own asses? Likely. They caught me almost passed out at a bar, happily celebrating the end of the war and thinking of my great, new, peaceful future. If I ever find the bartender that let them take me out of there, they won't be able to identify the body.
The place I had been taken to had been a very good prison satellite at one time, probably run by efficient men and women who had kept order. When they had tossed me in there, the inmates were definitely running the place. The guards had been gone, the cells had been open, and there had been no where to go except among the cell blocks, exercise yards, and down underneath into the mazes, catwalks, and greasy machinery of the interior. The strongest had taken over the hanger and the guard rooms. Their trusted hanger ons, were given the cells. The rest of us had hidden in the interior, making our beds under dripping grease, hot, forever running machinery, and playing a nonstop game of cat and mouse; a game you never wanted to lose.
We had all been in the same boat. We had all been kidnap victims and on the same side of the war. We should have worked together to escape, to communicate with the outside and let them know that we were abandoned there, because, after our drop off, we never saw our kidnappers again. Instead, the men with me had turned suspicious, then paranoid, and then violent. Maybe it was knowing that it was possible that no one would ever find us, or the toxic, overloaded, air filtration system that had made everyone constantly ill? It could have been the food processor, making endless chunks of something from some unreachable mechanized hydroponics/bio project atop the dome. It had dispensed everywhere, thank god, so hunger hadn't been an issue. Getting the things eaten, had been. They had tasted bad and smelled worse, like three day old fish and spinach. The predators had tended to hang out by the dispensers as well, like lions waiting at a watering hole.
I had tried to be the hero. I had tried to help my fellow inmates who needed it. That's what got me raped twice, protecting what really couldn't be protected. It was everyone for themselves and the people I had been protecting had turned out to be just as paranoid and as violent as the rest of them. Why attack me? Maybe they had thought that I was too strong and too in control? Maybe they had started thinking that I could just as easily turn into the bad guy? 'Get them before they get you', that was law number one.
What had been my own mental state? Tooth and nail, kill or be killed. When Heero had come for me, he had been just another enemy and my mind hadn't been able to wrap itself around the fact that he was an old war buddy and that getting out of that padded room was a good thing. Hide. That had been law number two. Hide so the bad guys didn't get a hold of me. You could see why I had panicked when I had awakened in a unfamiliar bedroom, with an open window and Heero Yuy standing by my bedside.
What came after made me wonder if the man hadn't been as crazy as I was then, but that was some time ago and now I know at least why he did it, why he saved me when everyone else had decided that I had been beyond redemption. They had it all on vid tape, you see, the system hooked up to the cell blocks and maintenance runs. They knew all the down and dirty things I had done to survive. They knew how many people I had killed. Call it whatever you want, space madness, toxic poisoning, or despair, people don't really get past watching you slice people up with a length of jagged metal. Maybe that was why they hooked me up to a stun monitor and gave me a one acre perimeter around the house Heero had taken me to. I knew all about fear, knew all about paranoia. I was also used to being betrayed. Trust came later, and understanding, but then I had been the beast and Heero had been my keeper.
He's found his limits, Heero thought as he sipped his tea, and leaned against the door jam. Staring out over the unkept fields surrounding the back of the house, he could see Duo collapsed by one of the perimeter poles, stunned and hurting from the charge. He counted to three and Duo, miraculously, levered himself up and hid in a taller patch of grass. He was good at that and Heero was impressed as his white clothing faded behind the brown weeds. He was perfectly still, nothing giving him away.
Let him wear himself out and then try to talk, Heero had decided early on, when Duo had first awakened and attacked him with a fury that had left marks. He had an offer to make and intentions to spell out clearly to the ex pilot of Deathsycthe. He couldn't do that until Duo satisfied himself that he was safe and calmed down.
A bundle of muscle, bone, and violence, Heero thought, that's all Duo was now. Survival had made him a weapon and nothing more. Everything else of humanity had been jettisoned. He had not broken, he had turned into whipcord and steel and had spat in the eye of his fate. Remembering the young boy who had fought at his side with a fierceness in his eyes, Heero had expected nothing less.
Duo was suddenly there and Heero blinked, wondering how he had managed to creep through the grass and take him, of all people, by surprise. Duo's hot glare didn't acknowledge that he knew Heero at all. Heero readied himself to fight, his tea cup flexed in one hand and poised to smash into flesh. He wasn't willing to die for this cause he'd taken up and Duo's eyes promised death.
"Let me out of here or I'll cut your balls off and make you eat them," Duo grated dangerously. His voice was rough and low. The bad air on the satellite had taken it's toll physically.
"No," Heero replied simply and then added, "Don't fight me. You won't win."
"Try me," Duo hissed.
"No," Heero replied. "Come into the house. I've made breakfast."
"Fuck you!" Duo snarled.
Heero shrugged and slowly backed up into the kitchen, never taking his eyes off of Duo. "Eat or don't eat. That's your decision." He motioned to the food set out on the farmhouse style table and then left to go into the living room, so that Duo would feel safer. The clatter of plates and a fork told him that Duo was eating.
He speaks, he thinks, he reasons, Heero thought with some relief. Now, all he had to do was to turn off that switch that had been turned on during Duo's stay on the satellite, the one that had awakened everything primal that man kept safely locked away under a thick layer of civilization.
The back door slammed shut. Heero sighed as he looked out of a window. He saw Duo briefly before the man expertly hid himself. There were several low outbuildings; an old barn, where Heero kept several machines, and a two car garage that had probably held farm wagons in the long distant past. Both of them were obvious hiding places and Heero knew that Duo wouldn't choose either of them for that very reason.
Heero considered whether it was wise to go after him, but then decided against it. He couldn't let Duo stay out there and entrench himself like a hunted animal, but he wouldn't stumble about blindly, either, and risk Duo attacking him. Food was the key. If he wanted to eat, Duo had to come to him. Since he couldn't hope to devise a lock that Duo couldn't pick, he had to take up a guard position in the kitchen. Food would come from him, or not at all. Hopefully, that would foster trust, eventually.
Heero's cell phone rang. He pulled it out of the pocket of his denim jeans and answered it. "Yuy."
"Everything green?" Une asked.
Heero frowned. "He's secure. If you were hoping for more, your mission parameters need re-adjusting, Commander."
Une sounded frustrated. "My top psychologists were of the opinion that familiarity might bring about a change in his mental state."
"With me?" Heero was impatient with stupidity. "We worked several missions together during the war, but I would not say that we are on 'familiar terms'. I fail to see why I was chosen for this assignment."
Une's voice turned crisp, "It seems that Duo did not share your opinion. At the end of the war, all of you were required to fill out paperwork for your repatriation into civilian life. Duo listed you as his next of kin in his personnel file and listed you as his beneficiary when he was offered a health card in the Sanc Kingdom." She made an impatient sound. "Yuy, the time to question your orders was when they were given."
Only, he did not question orders, Heero replied to himself, and was well aware that Une knew that too. Why he was doing it now, puzzled him. He could handle Duo on any physical level. The psychologists had made it plain to him that, quiet, reassurance, and trust, would bring Duo back from the high strung, kill or be killed, state that he had fallen into during his captivity. Heero didn't have to try and implement therapies that he wasn't trained for. He only had to be patient and keep Duo from escaping or hurting either of them.
"I expect that it was one of his 'jokes'," Heero finally replied. "He was always... unprofessional in that regard."
Une said, "I almost had him terminated during the war. Everyone thought that I was heartless, executing a young boy, but you and I, Heero Yuy, know what the both of you are capable of. You are too important to waste, too important to this fledgling government. It may want to discard all weapons, but the wolves are still out there, the White Fangs that think Relena and her high ideals must be crushed under their brand of truth. She needs defenders. She needs soldiers. People like us don't get to have peace, Heero. You know that. We will be fighting, always, because that's all we know, that's all we are good for, and we are needed for those very things so desperately. Quatre Winner, Trowa Barton, Sally Po, Milliardo Peacecraft, and Heero Yuy. I need to add Duo Maxwell to our ranks. I need you to succeed."
Heero felt a coldness wrap around him as he listened to her words. Yes, the eternal soldier. All that he was good for. All that he would ever be required to do in his life. It rang through him like drumbeats. He stood in the house of his failed attempt to live in peace and knew that the soldier that was Heero Yuy didn't have any place there. There was only one use for it now, to give Duo solitude and healing, but they would both leave it in the end.
"Succeed," Une said harshly, a clear order wrapped up in desperate hope.
"I will," Heero replied and heard the phone disconnect. He pocketed it absently as he looked out of the window again.
Where would he hide if he were Duo? In plain sight, Heero decided. He winced. The days were warm, but the nights on that large, flat prairie of grass could be very cold. Heero went to get a thick blanket from a linen closet. Cautiously opening the back door, he tossed the blanket out towards the tall grasses as far as he could. It landed with a flutter, caught on the ends by a breeze. He didn't wait to see whether Duo would take it or not. He knew that Duo wouldn't move while he was watching.
Why was he questioning the mission? Heero wondered, staring out over the waving brown grass and the sun shining as it moved towards the horizon. The answer was tantalizingly close to the surface, but Heero shied away from it. They had all joined Preventers, had all given up their peace to fight for it for others, and now Duo needed to be brought into their fold as well. Duo's hard won peace had lasted one evening. Une wanted to make certain that was all he ever experienced.
That bothered him, Heero decided, without delving any deeper, but he couldn't let it affect him.
Duo snatched the blanket, balled it up next to his chest, and changed his hiding place entirely. He knew, on some level, that the man who shared his new prison was Heero, but it was a peripheral realization overwhelmed by baser impulses. Yes, he knew him, but, no, he wasn't about to let the scattered shards of his old self interfere with survival.
Stashing his new blanket by in a slight depression in the ground, hidden by tall grass, Duo curled up on it and tested the edge of his new weapon, a blade from a grass cutter that he had acquired from the larger of the outbuildings. The place had been a treasure trove of machinery and tools, but he hadn't found anything that could break through his leg shackle or the poles of the perimeter. He suspected that Heero had the control device. He would have to kill the man, he was certain, to get to it. Duo tested the balance of his weapon and thought of likely strategies.
A rustle in the grass had Duo ducking down, every muscle tense to flee or fight, brain dropping even lower into primitive instincts. He peered cautiously to the right of him and saw a large field mouse chasing an insect to the ends of some long, tough, tufts of grass. His mistake. Duo was a flash as he caught the creature and stabbed down into it with his knife. Checking cautiously for Heero, he waited until he was absolutely sure of his safety before returning to his hiding place. If there were enough mice and other creatures, he wouldn't have to risk himself getting food from Heero. Offers like that carried heavy prices, he had found out. Usually they were traps, but sometimes they were enticements for alliances. Having seen the rise, fall, and destruction of such alliances, and the fatal consequences to his one time protector, Duo had decided that alone was best.
Memories stung and fought to gain clarity. Duo wrestled them back into submission with a seething anger that was blinding. He didn't want the images of violence plaguing him, distracting him, or making him weak. He didn't want to remember his helplessness when they had hurt him and he didn't want to remember the long days of enduring until he had healed himself. The grinding struggle each day had blurred the edges of most of it, as had his own furious refusal to let it overwhelm him. To allow that would be to lose, he thought, and he had determined, from day one there, that he would come out of it alive, that he would win and spit in the eye of who ever had put him there.
Duo looked out past the blur of the perimeter field, to the long stretches of brown plains grass. He thought about being free, of going where he liked, but it was a brief thought. Hope could kill too, he knew, and drowned it in a numbing anger that was his cloak of protection. Survive. It was his mantra, his body, mind, and soul. Survive, no matter what.