Disclaimer: Don't own anything of Gundam. Fan Fiction of Wing. Nor do I own any afore mentioned products or companies named.

OMG!!! Chapter two, look at that, I really did start it up again. I haven't forgotten it. I swear... anyway, enjoy! This one won't be updated as quickly as the others, but stick it out and I'll do my best! Happy last week of November...or something like that...

Road Kill

Chapter 2: Reverse

Duo was released after another day and a half, but only with the promise of seeing a doctor when he got back to Quatre's, the promise being made by Quatre himself and a reluctant Duo. He had almost fifty stitches total that would need to be removed later, and he was in no shape to do much of anything till then.

They were only releasing him so soon after surgery for abdomen wounds because Quatre was having them flown in a private jet and would probably have doctors ready when they landed to take Duo and confine him to a bed in his huge fucking house. But he tired not to think about it too much since it usually made him slightly sick when he did.

Instead he started to pay more attention to Heero, his presence there still slightly confusing.

He'd been talking to Heero and Quatre the entire time, trying to keep himself from getting bored and picking at his IV's or his dressings. He'd exhausted the TV till Heero had actually gotten mad and made him pick a channel and Quatre had laughed himself to tears when Heero had actually apologized and Duo had gotten a scared expression on his face. They'd gripped over the hospital food and gone to a hotel when he'd finally taken his pain pills and slept through the night. But through it all, he hadn't gotten a chance to ask Heero his question that had been bugging him the entire time, never finding a good time to bring it up. But Quatre was gone right now, left to find a doctor and start to get them all out of there.

"So what are you doing here?" Duo asked blatantly, leaning back on how he'd dealt with Heero during the war. But Duo watched in surprise as Heero's eyes changed dramatically from serious to uneasy and…was that hurt?!

Duo instantly wished he could snatch his words back out of the air and shove them back down his own throat.

"AH! No! Sorry…" Duo ducked his head and tried to figure out a way to ask Heero his question without offending him. He had never really believed Quatre when he'd been told that both Heero and Wu Fei had magically produced personalities after the war, but apparently Quatre had been right. And according to Quatre and Trowa, both of them were good guys, guys he'd get along with, so Duo gave it another shot, thought still trying to get over the initial shock of seeing Heero "perfect soldier made of stone" Yuy display emotion.

"I hate hospitals…" Duo muttered, about ready to make another go at it when Heero spoke, wonder of wonders!

"I remember that about you from the war." One statement, but hey, they were making progress!

Duo cocked his head to the side and gave Heero an encouraging smile. He hated hospitals, and he was damned if he was also going to sit there in silence! If Heero was going to talk, he was going to let him or fill that void himself! As he had been the duration of his stay anyway.

"Yeah? Well, we did end up there often enough!" Duo laughed, and Heero took heart from Duo's enthusiasm in their conversation.

"I remember that it usually took sedatives or a large number to doctors and nurses to get you to stay put for any longer than a day after you regained consciousness. Regardless of weather you needed to be there or not." Duo couldn't help the burst of laughter that practically exploded out of him, Heero was hinting at what was looking more and more like a sense of humor.

But Duo quickly clutched his stomach as pain bloomed around his wounds, making him laugh and moan at the same time. Duo finally lay back, still as he could be and stared at the back of his eyelids. It was then that he became aware of a pair of hands holding onto his shoulders.

Confused, he opened his eyes and looked up to find Heero leaning over him, holding him steady, even now that he was finally still.

"Are you ok now?" Heero asked, something very akin to concern gleaming in his eyes.

"Yeah…I think so." Duo confirmed, taking a few breaths to be sure.

Heero let out a little sigh, let go of him and sat back down in his chair. "I'm sorry, I should not have made you laugh; you just had surgery…"

Duo cut him off, "No, its ok. You really surprised me." Heero gave him a lifted eyebrow to show his confusion and Duo elaborated. "I guess I didn't really believe you were my friend. I mean, I tried to get past that layer of Gundanium you used as a way to keep people out all through the war and I thought I might have gotten your respect, but not really your friendship." Duo gave him a big smile and Heero fought to keep the sudden burst of hope that swelled inside him from showing on his face, even as he fought his own amusement at Duo's rambling and run on sentences. "That's why I asked you why you were here, I just didn't believe it, but I guess Quatre's right."

"About what?" Heero asked, he wasn't sure weather to be offended, confused or amused.

"That you and Wu Fei developed personalities while I was off running around the colonies and Earth." Duo teased. He stayed lying down but reached out a hand for Heero. "Glad to meet you Heero Yuy, I'm Duo. Always looked forward to meeting you."

Heero hesitated and then took his hand and gave Duo a rare smile that made him suddenly look younger, more like the age they were rather than the age their roles demanded of them. Well, all save Duo whose work was play and whose play was work.

"Glad to meet you." He replied in kind, a little softer, but it made Duo smile and that was enough for him.

"What's going on here?" Quatre asked, walking into the room with a doctor and a clipboard full of lots of papers. Duo groaned, recognizing the release papers and knew he'd have to sign most of them before he'd get to go. He'd never understood why hospitals made things so complicated for themselves. It should be easy, in his opinion, you get sick or hurt you go to the hospital. When you're better or well enough to leave, you go. All this business with waiting rooms, receptionists and smaller waiting rooms was exhausting, and the ER was just chaos. Then there was this business of checking out, at which point they wouldn't even let you walk out on your own two feet, you had to be pushed in a wheel chair!

Duo thought it was all a big waste of time, but he started signing anyway, anything was better than this too white room with it's too sterile air and too noisy hallways that were always somehow too quiet at the same time.

So Duo rushed through the signing of the papers, declaring that he knew them all by heart anyway when the doctor started to protest. Then Heero and Quatre had to stop him when the Doctor raised an eyebrow and got Duo to start reciting the waver in his hands without looking down at it.

Duo gave the doctor a bright smile as he left to get an orderly with a wheel chair. Duo sniggered and Quatre tried to school his face from giving way to a smile. Heero just waited, watching Duo, watching for any signs, signs he'd learned to look for years ago. Little things, gestures, phrases, signs that Duo wasn't well, thought he was pretty sure Duo didn't hide things like that anymore.

The orderly showed up with a bright smile, his hair tousled and mud brown, but in a good way. He looked friendly and Duo gave him a big smile as he started to get up to get into the chair. Heero reached out, ready to put an arm under Duo's in case he needed it. He didn't see Quatre watching him curiously as he hovered while Duo was put in the wheel chair.

"So, how are we getting there? Helicopter?" Duo asked as they all escorted him to the elevator like some kind of strange entourage

Quatre gave him an appreciative chuckle, "No, we left the helicopter at home, a car is taking us to the airport."

Duo over exaggerated disappointment and joked all the way to the car about the absent helicopter being a sign of Quatre's waning love for him.

Heero stood and walked along side the wheel chair while the orderly pushed with Quatre on Duo's other side. To him, they were more like guards rather than an entourage. But he was also watching Duo again, watching him talking animatedly to Quatre, using gesture and smiles to hide the twitches. The little quirks that bothered him from having to be pushed instead of walking to the car himself.

Heero knew this act, had seen it himself plenty of times in the past. As Duo had said, they seemed to end up in the hospital a lot, regardless of a war going on at the time or not. It would have made him smile, this reminder of the past, but he only smiled to himself, preferring past circumstances as opposed to the present ones.

Duo continued to distract Quatre and himself till they got to the lobby and he was pushed out to the curb. There was a car there, waiting with a driver and a casually dressed doctor. The orderly wasn't going to go further, plainly stating that this was as far as he had to push Duo by stopping, although he looked like he was about ready to break the rule in favor of Duo who had made him laugh.

Duo was about to get out of the chair himself when Heero stopped the inner turmoil of the orderly with mud brown hair by deftly putting himself between the orderly and the wheel chair. He also reached out a hand to pull Duo back into his seat, giving Quatre a nod so that the blonde went to open the back door.

Heero leaned down and placed his mouth next to Duo's ear as he pushed Duo down the slight incline to street level. He spoke while also secretly taking in his old partners scent as Duo's long hair played across his skin, escaping coyly from his braid when Duo wasn't looking.

"You're injured," He saw the smile play across Duo's lips and couldn't help a little smile of his own, "Act like it."

Duo stifled a laugh and clutched his side again as Heero held him in place and delivered him right along side the car. Heero helped the doctor strap Duo into the large back seat and turned the wheel chair over to the orderly again who gave him a quick nod and smile and disappeared back into the hospital. Heero trotted back around the car and climbed in with Quatre in the seat across from Duo's where they faced each other.

The trip to the airport was short and uneventful, and when they got there, driving out to the hanger, there were two more doctors waiting to help Duo into the plane. Heero waited for the groan form Duo, but only got a mischievous smile as they got Duo out of the car. He was into the plane and strapped in within minutes with out a peep out of Duo.

"I'll be a good boy." Was Duo's only response to Heero's raised eyebrow over his behavior. Heero smirked, shook his head in disbelief and buckled his seat belt on the plane, stationing himself across from Duo again. He was determined that if this was his only way to help Duo then he was going to do it right.

Duo marveled again at how different Heero was, how real his smile was. He was watching him out of the corner of his eye now as he also looked out the small window not two feet away. But even as Duo thought about it, he could already feel exhaustion creeping up on him, pulling at his consciousness with earnest tugs. He wanted to sleep, needed to sleep, but a part of him still screamed, you didn't fall asleep with someone else behind the wheel, who knew where you'd end up.

But one glance across the way and Duo knew he was being stupid, this wasn't just anyone behind the wheel. This was backup, good solid back up, the kind you took into war with you. The kind he had. Duo gave Heero a little smile.

"Tired." He answered Heero's unasked question.

"Sleep." Heero told him simply, as if there were no other possible answer. Duo nodded and settled back, letting his head loll to one side. Duo gave a passing thought, a fleeting whim of a consideration at making an effort to staying in the hot desert city. He really had wanted to do the casino job. Screw the money; he just wanted to poke around in their security system while he upgraded some things. It was well known how intricate and advanced security was in casinos, heck they almost had Preventors beat. That is, if Lady Une hadn't gone out and recruited ex war heroes and hackers her first day on the job. But Duo let it all go; it really wasn't worth it to fight it now. Quatre obviously had anticipated such a rise out of him and with all these doctors and Heero watching him, he wasn't going to give them the satisfaction. Besides, the city wasn't going anywhere; it'd be there for him, waiting, while he took a few days to get back. So he closed his eyes with a sigh and was gone.

Heero watched Duo fall asleep, keeping vigil while Duo slept, conked out. He glanced over to find Quatre watching him, not Duo, and raised his eyebrows in question. Quatre just smiled and shook his head. Heero pushed it aside and went back to thinking while keeping an eye on Duo. The flight was going to last only a little under six hours; he was hoping Duo would sleep through it, for comforts sake, and for his sanity.

Heero smiled a little at his own joke, but that smile faded as he remembered words Duo had said, a sentence he'd stored away to think over later.

"I guess I didn't really believe you were my friend." What had Duo meant by that? Didn't he think of their relationship as friendship? Certainly that's how he classified all the other pilots. That Duo didn't see it the same way bothered him to no end, in a way that he couldn't even explain.

Duo had been his first friend. Heero knew that was a bit irregular. The first time they'd met Duo had stopped him from killing Relena and had shot him twice. In any other time besides a time of war, that would not have been a good basis for a friendship. Not to mention all that had followed. But slowly and surly the Jester Pilot had worked his way under Heero's skin.

Heero had found himself most comfortable around Duo, despite how his training fought against it. He had only assumed that this 'friendship' went both ways since during the war Duo had been just as drawn to be around him. They'd had an understanding. They'd known each other's thoughts without words; they'd grown to know each other's moods and quirks.

Heero had found himself going out of his way to help Duo, to watch Duo, to make sure Duo made it through the war. Even if Duo probably could have done it just fine himself, he still found that need whenever Duo smiled his way.

If that wasn't friendship, what was? He certainly didn't know. Aside from Duo Heero had only ever known Owen, J and the other pilots. It was years later, and he knew a lot more people now, but that old sense of loyalty was still there.

Everything was so confusing whenever Duo was thrown into the mix. If Duo didn't see it was friendship, did that disqualify the years Heero had considered them friends? Heero had known Duo better than any of the other pilots, but not in recent years.

Did that make everything a sham? Heero's brows furrowed in a hard frown, this bothered him. A lot. Heero glanced out of the corner of his eye to make sure Quatre wasn't watching anymore and reached up to run his hand through his bangs. It was frustrating as hell to not have an answer, to not be able to bluntly talk about it like he'd used to talk to Duo about so many things. Duo was much more savvy than him when it came to people. Somehow he just understood about relationships, interaction, and body language. It all came second nature to him, where as Heero had had to learn the hard way, some with Duo's help, most without. It wasn't until after the war that Heero really got first hand experience, but that had been when Duo wasn't close at hand anymore.

But Heero wasn't about to wake up Duo just so he could ask him questions about their friendship. He was loath to wake up Duo for anything less than a full out nosedive and loss of engines. Duo was injured, Duo was sleeping, and he was going to stay that way so long as Heero could manage.

So Heero spent the duration of the plane ride watching over Duo and making sure he didn't wake up. The doctors seemed pleased, if a little wary of Heero's hard stare in their direction whenever they got up to walk around.

When they finally did land Duo woke on his own due to the change in elevation. He groggily sat up straighter and blinked rapidly. He woke up only slightly slower than he used to in the war. But he still put on the play of the sleepy waker for the doctors, which made Heero frown a little.

Duo smiled at him, making his eyes only rise to half-mast and his smile a bit goofy for effect. "We there?"

Heero nodded, Duo's voice did sound a little thick from sleep, but Heero knew well enough for himself that there was no way to shrug off old habits completely. Duo was very aware of everything going on around him, even while he fidgeted and covered the pain. Heero motioned over one of the doctors who sat next to Duo while they landed and quietly asked him questions as to the degree of pain he was in.

Upon landing Duo was given pills for his pain and was helped out of the plane and into another car that would take them to Quatre's home. He was so very quiet and still that for a moment Heero wondered about his decision. Duo didn't like pain medication, he only took it under the harshest of terms and even then he was reluctant.

But Duo perked up when they reached Quatre's home and Heero admonished himself for his brief lapse of judgment. Of course, Duo was still playing the doctors and trying to play Quatre. Heero knew Quatre was no less fooled than he, but the doctors weren't wise to Duo's limits or tricks. They ate up what he fed them and it made Heero worry, he figured Duo would move away from that defensive as the rest of the pilots had learned to. That he hadn't, that he was still using a mask technique made Heero worry about how he'd been living while on the road. There was nothing for it really, he was simply going to have to convince Duo to stay put. Heero set his shoulders and got out of the car to help Duo into the house.

Duo looked up at Quatre's mansion and smiled to himself. It was just what he had expected. A lot of greenery around the whole place, elaborate, wide windows, and all of it pristinely clean. Duo let Heero and the helpful doctors lead him up the front steps and into the entry, down a hall and into a bedroom that Duo had no doubt had been prepared just for him.

He was very glad to see a nice normal bed waiting for him. Despite his active mind, his body was still protesting to the plane ride. Duo hated feeling this exhausted, especially since when it happened he wasn't anywhere that was 'secure'. But this was different, the nagging was still there, that he should stay up and watch his back, that these doctors couldn't be trusted. However, that nagging was being overridden by the mere presence of Heero and Quatre. It reminded him of old times, of a time when if he needed to rest or simply pass out, that there were comrades there who would watch his back for him till he could go on again.

Duo let them tuck him into bed, let them take down his vitals and let them talk him into another pill. But he didn't swallow this one. He feigned exhaustion, well, half feigned, and spit out the pill as soon as he was alone in the dim room. Heavy curtains had been drawn over the windows and let in only a ghost of the sunlight from outside. It was all very convenient and for a moment Duo lavished in the comfort. He toyed with the idea of staying for a couple of days, maybe even a week, of talking more with Quatre and Heero and maybe seeing Trowa and Wu Fei. He thought of sleeping late in a comfy bed and eating three full meals a day. He thought of soaking in a tub till all the seemingly permanent knots in his back were gone…

And then all the nerves in his body sat up and sang. He felt his legs twitch and his eyes open fully. Tension rang through his body and pulled at the little hairs on his arms and at the back of his neck. His eyes drifted to the windows and to his belongs set down in the corner of the room. His stitches pulled when he walked and he was tired, but it wasn't as bad as things he'd worked through before. At least it wasn't snowing.

And who needed all their strength to catch a free ride? All you did was sit there, it was the walking with your thumb out that would tire him, and that usually didn't last too long unless the road was deserted. His braid caught attention and his smile charmed wary travelers.

And just like that Duo was done with thinking it over. He was up and moving. Trying to ignore a part of him that wanted desperately to stay. He could never figure that part of his psyche out anyway, especially when the rest of him was fit to bust if he didn't move right that second.

Duo eased out of bed, dressed in jeans and found his shoes. He grabbed his back pack and bag and jimmied open the window, having a care not to set off any alarms. He slipped out easily from the first story and walked casually across the grass. He made sure to stay out of sight until he was down the driveway and out onto the residential street. The neighborhood reeked of old money and Duo found that he'd have to walk further than he'd gambled just to find a busy street.

Duo walked until he found a cross street that didn't just lead to more houses, this one led to business and restaurants. There were fast food joints and strip malls full of small stores and video rental places. Duo put on his prize smile hoping he didn't look too pale and was glad he'd remembered to put on a sweater before he stuck out his thumb. He was glad to be headed west, which meant using his right arm to catch a ride; stitch free and he only had to worry about his side and his leg.

Duo gave himself a mental pat on the back when a car pulled over to the side of the road a little behind him and he rushed forward to climb in. The driver, a woman in her early thirties smiled at him, "I'm only going two towns over, but there's a big truck stop there, I'm sure you can find a ride if you need to go further."

"Yeah, Thanks." Duo gave her a big smile around the gauze on his face and shoved his bags down by his feet and closed the door.

She pulled out into traffic. "I'm Shelia."

"Duo." Duo settled back into the seat and mourned the fact that he was already feeling the pull of sleep. Not that he would give in, but it did mean that he would need a motel break either tonight or tomorrow night. This trip out was probably going to take longer than it normally would, but he'd get there eventually. Duo smiled and sat back, enjoying watching the people in the cars that they passed.

"You fall or run into a wall or something?" Shelia asked, glancing over at him, smiling to let him know that it was ok if he didn't want to talk about it.

Duo smiled, putting extra charm into it. "It was a nasty slide into home. I was staying with some friends and I guess baseball just isn't my sport."

Shelia laughed appreciatively even as Duo felt a part of his stomach clench. He'd played baseball once. He was better at basketball, but throwing that ball home had been fun, especially when Heero had caught it and won the game. It's just been a high school game, obligatory PE. But Duo still remembered that feeling of cheering and running at Heero who had looked slightly petrified at the sight of Duo running at him. Which of course had only spurred Duo on to run faster and hook his arm around Heero's neck and holler as the other boys joined in by jumping around them.

Duo almost let out a laugh remembering how Heero had extricated himself from the mess of arms and bodies and walked silently towards the changing rooms with his shoulders hunched and tight. Duo had stayed to celebrate and brag some more, but he'd glanced back and had been the only witness to see Heero turn back around. At which point Duo had held up his hand in a 'thumbs-up' gesture. Even now, Duo could still swear that he'd seen Heero smile back at him that day.

"I was never much for sports myself." Shelia brought him back and Duo chuckled to make her happy, but his thoughts were lost on that day and he felt a tinge of guilt for leaving Heero and Quatre like that, no doubt by now they had found him gone and were either going to come after him or just be really mad and write him off.

"He's gone!?" Heero demanded, he didn't believe it; he pushed his way past Quatre to check for himself. But, just as Quatre had told him, the room was empty. Heero stood in the doorway and stared at the empty bed where Duo was supposed to be resting and felt the bottom of his stomach drop out. The far window was open, a breeze making the curtains dance, like little flags showing him how Duo had given them the slip. It felt like he was spinning, falling.

"He's in no condition to…" Heero said, mostly to himself.

"You would think one ax murderer would be enough to teach him, but no. Duo just goes busting right back in as if nothing happened!" Quatre spat at the empty room as if Duo were still there. He silently cursed his hardheaded friend and tried to push away his anxiety at the thought of Duo back out there with his thumb out along side the road where anyone could just pull over and pick him up.

Heero stood, staring, remembering how well Duo had behaved on the plane, how quietly he had come. It had all been farce. He'd been playing them all, even him. Once again Duo's masks had fooled them all. Heero tried to ignore the piercing pain in his heart, because the only other image that came to mind was Duo lying in the hospital bed, looking so pale and weak. Stitches covering half his face and a wan smile on lips as he ignored the pain.

"I'm going after him." Heero made up his mind and turned, going to his own room that Quatre kept here for him to pack a small duffle bag. He'd unpacked, had planned to stay as long as Duo was here, but now he was repacking and chasing after Duo, Duo who was on the move again. It was if he were physically unable to stay put for more than an hour.

Quatre chased after him. "It's no use Heero, by now he's probably miles away, we don't even know when he left or where he's going." He felt for his friend, he too wanted Duo to stop, but there wasn't anyone, earth bound or otherwise, that could ever talk sense into Duo Maxwell.

"He's going back to do that casino job he was talking about." Heero said simply as he grabbed extra clothes and toiletries from the bathroom. Duo's face flashed through his mind, how excited he'd looked when he'd been talking about his reason for being so far west.

"Heero, you can't mean to chase him across the country." Quatre reasoned, briefly forgetting just who he was talking to.

"Yes I can, he's in no shape to travel and he can't hitchhike anymore." Heero put his verbal foot down and slung his bag over his shoulder and picked up his car keys as he walked out the door. He already knew where Duo was headed, that was a start, he could really only hope to get lucking and find the same path that Duo was using to get back.

"Oh Heero." Quatre whispered to his back and then went to call Wu Fei.

"Here you are honey." Shelia turned on her blinker and turned off the road and into the parking lot of an all night truck stop. "It was great talking to you, I hope you get to where you're headed." She smiled for him and waved as he pulled his bags and his ass out of the car, hiding just how much effort it took him to do so.

"Thanks again." Duo waved and closed the door, letting her pull away easily; it didn't do to get attached. That's why he seldom used his last name, that and he was just easily recognized.

Duo looked around, he could go into the truck stop, get some food and talk to some truckers and get back on the road again… Duo cringed at the thought, his body telling him how sore it was. Or he could find a cheap hotel and crash for a few hours and come back. Duo liked the sound of his second choice a lot better, so he picked up his bags and started strolling down the street. It was a small town, he could already see the signs for the hotels that had stationed themselves along the highway for optimal availability to customers driving by.

Duo's back eased up a little as he walked and he realized that part of his soreness was just sitting in one spot for so long. He could already feel his muscles loosening up as he walked, the kinks leaving him as he stretched those muscles. Duo grinned and found a nice cheap hotel that wasn't likely to be too run down. He checked in and dumped his bags into the room he was assigned, stuffing the key card into his pocket.

Duo felt energy retuning to him, coursing through him. And even if he wasn't sure if it was a second wind or if he was really feeling better, he needed to burn some of it off before he tried to sleep. So Duo found himself wondering back out of his room five minutes later and strolling down the street again.

Duo found a bar easily; it had a dance floor, raised booths lining the walls and a bar off to one side. Duo grinned as he walked in, his face shining with anticipation. Here, here he could work off some steam. Here he could dance till all this energy stopped buzzing around inside him. Duo walked in with purpose and jaunt in his walk alone was enough to turn heads.

Duo threw himself into the moving bodies on the dance floor and began to sway with the music until he could feel it thrumming down his spine. He danced and felt women and men move up against him, dancing briefly and then moving on to someone who showed more interest. Because, though Duo was a flame they were drawn to, he paid little attention to whom he burned. He just danced as a fire would, merely because it existed.

Duo danced until he was out of breath and sweat was making his shirt stick to his back. He danced through the crowd over to the bar, grateful for the gauze over his stitches and knowing just how much it would sting if they weren't there to protect his wounds from the sweat. Duo was aware of someone following him off the dance floor, but paid them no attention. Usually if he didn't then they would get the message and just leave him alone, avoid confrontation, avoid bad situations.

Duo went to order a drink and reached for his wallet to pay. But a hand landed lightly on his forearm, giving just a little weight to keep him from pulling out his wallet. Duo instantly stiffened and brought his eyes up to a man standing over him, smiling down at him. "Let me get that for you." He said, completely unaware of just how close he had come to losing his hand.

Duo tried to get his nerves to relax, tried to slow the sudden pumping of adrenaline into his system and ease up on his shoulders. "Yeah, ok." Duo wasn't above taking free drinks, but he was hoping this one didn't come with expectations as they so often did.

"I noticed you dancing, you're very graceful, beautiful." Duo stifled a laugh and just smiled up at the guy.

"Thanks." He managed to squeeze out. Then he took his drink form the guy, wondering just when it had arrived, probably while he'd been trying not to laugh. Duo took a big swig of beer and downed almost half the glass. He contemplated going out to dance again, but felt his leg twitch at the mere thought and decided to call it a night.

Free drink guy had other plans in mind. "I'm Mark. What's your name?"

Duo could already tell where this was going; he took another drink from his beer while he tried to decide how he wanted to handle this.

"Duo." He said quickly, looking the guy up and down, seeing what he was dealing with. Mark was tall, dark and brooding. He wore all black, very monochromatic, and a light trench coat that hung off him, looking almost tailor made. He had short hair with long bangs in front that hung into his dark eyes and he stood almost a full head taller than Duo.

Duo smiled at Mark, but this was a smile that Mark couldn't read, one that said plainly, I know you, I can take you down. And when Mark's smile wilted a little at the edges in the face of Duo's manic smile, Duo knew that here was a man who had never seen battle, had only watched it form the safety of his own home. Here was a man who didn't do anything unless it benefited him, and something that put him in harms way was completely out of the question. He wasn't Duo's type at all, well, not in the sense of personality.

"It's kind of hot in here, want to step out and talk a bit?" Mark asked him, smoothly and suggestively, but not overly aggressive. Mark defiantly knew what he was doing, a regular at the bars, always searching for another body to fill his bed. Duo wasn't fooled by that.

Duo finished off his beer and set down the empty glass on the bar, he chuckled to himself but agreed. He'd play Mark's game, but only until it bored him, then he could just walk away. They'd be conveniently outside. And he was hot.

"Yeah." Duo led the way out the front doors into the parking lot, the doors closing behind them cutting off the music and dulling the bass that was trying to sneak out through the ground. Duo swayed a little at the temperature change, but kept walking, ignoring it.

Mark followed him out and Duo leaned against the wall with Mark standing almost over him, but not invading his personal space. A wise decision, even if it hadn't been a conscious one.

"What happened to your face?" Mark asked, staring intently at Duo, eyes giving just a hint of sultry, wicked things done in the dark.

"Box fell on me." Duo lied easily.

"Must have been heavy." Mark smirked, "What you need is someone tall and strong to do things like that for you."

"Someone like you?" Duo cut through all the pretense as his arm ached with a throb and reminded him that there was a bed waiting for him just down the road. And it wasn't much cooler out here, Duo was still sweating.

"Well, I am tall." Mark smiled down at him and leaned against the wall over Duo. Putting himself right in Duo's personal space, and Duo was just about to push him away when a wave of dizziness washed over him. "Strong too." Mark was whispering against his neck.

Duo had a moment to mentally curse and then he was pushing past Mark and stumbling over his own feet. His head felt water logged and his thoughts were slow to come to him. His mouth tasted of cotton and everything was spinning around him.

Mark was there to catch him, to pull him close against his much wider chest. "Watch yourself, wouldn't want you to fall and get hurt again. You're so light." Mark breathed into his hair, smelling it. "So Beautiful."

"What'd you do to me?" Duo demanded, suddenly letting his mind make a jump and link Mark's words with his actions. This wasn't his wounds, this wasn't exhausting making him stumble and slur. This was something else, something Mark had done to him.

"Why don't we get out of here, I have a room at the hotel just up the road. You'll be more comfortable there." Mark soothed, whispering it against his ear.

"No." Duo said and tried to pull away, towards the sidewalk that led back to his hotel. He hated the feel of Mark's hands on him, of the way he felt dwarfed by mark. Of the way he kept pulling and pushing. He had to get away, and he had to get away now.

"Come on." Mark grabbed his wrist, a little tighter than Duo had been expecting, too tight. "Don't be like that. Just a few minutes, just until you feel better." There was force behind his voice now, a force that said it wouldn't by just a few minutes, and Duo stumbled when Mark pulled at his arm, luckily it was his right. Too clumsy, too foggy, too hot. Still sweating.

"You drugged me!" Duo accused him, finally recognizing the signs. Date rape drug in his beer, when he hadn't been looking. He pulled away harder and when Mark went to grab his other arm, his left arm. Duo stopped resisting and used the momentum of Mark pulling him close to bring his fist around and hit Mark in the throat as he fell into the man. He would've liked to go for the face, but Mark was tall and Duo was off balance, already tripping again.

That and his perfect shot into Mark's Adams Apple was more effective. Mark let go instantly and started coughing, holding his throat and breathing in short, shallow breaths. Duo used his freedom to break away towards the sidewalk, the sign of his hotel not far off now.

But the drugs in his system fogged his eyes and Duo couldn't see where his feet where going. He got turned around and suddenly found himself falling into the gutter over the curb. Duo overcorrected himself, taking more steps to compensate for his mistake. He walked right into traffic and right in front of an oncoming car.

Heero had pulled over to put gas in his car wondering if he should keep going tonight, if Duo had, or if he should stop and rest. That was when he had heard the shout of 'no' from across the street during a lull in traffic and had instantly turned his head towards the sound of Duo's voice. Heero had started running towards the street, seeing the tall man struggling with Duo, trying to keep a hold on him while Duo fended him off. Anger had filled Heero instantly, his hands going to fists at his sides even as he ran determidly towards the street.

Heero was just about ready to cross despite traffic when he saw Duo punch the man and stumble away. His moves were so erratic, so jerky and clumsy, something was wrong. He stood transfixed as Duo walked quickly, too quickly, towards the road and then he was falling, tripping over the curb. Heero held his breath as Duo tried not to fall, tried to keep standing. Walked sideways over the solid line of white on the side of the road and out into the first lane.

Heero cried out as he saw the car strike Duo, saw Duo's body fly backwards as the driver hit their brakes and Heero was running as the world burst into chaos. Because his had just stopped.