Title: Wisdom and Pain
Author: Becka
Pairing: None.
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing does not belong to Becka; characters are used without permission for a non-profit purpose. No infringement is intended.

Note: A short character sketch on Duo and Lady Une during the war. Something that I wrote a while back and never had the time to expand on, though I do love their strange relationship.

o

"Une, baby, how's it hangin?"

Commander Une feels her mouth curl into a frown. A small frown, one that tugs the corners of her mouth down. It makes her hate the boy, because it reminds her that even chained to a chair with guns trained at his head from every angle, even bound to the point where his wrists chafe and bleed, he still has power.

Restrained, outgunned – even so, she cannot think of him as defenseless.

Now, he smiles at her, a comfortable, jovial smile that doesn't look out of place on him. One of his eyes is bruised shut, but the other still twinkles with mirth, as though he is privy to the world's greatest joke.

"Pilot 02," she greets him, and she hooks her foot around the bottom of his chair and jerks it quickly. The momentum causes the chair to topple forward, the grinning boy still attached. His face hits the floor with a crack, and she noticed one of the soldiers wince.

She makes a note to have the man switched off the roster for future interrogations.

"Aw, Une," Maxwell says, voice muffled, "always with the love taps. Careful, sweetheart –"

Une kicks him in the side, and he lets out a little wheeze. The chair rolls to the side, and he looks up at her with a smirk.

"Careful, sweetheart," he repeats. "I might start to think you like me."

She waves her hand in his direction and one of the soldiers steps forward to set the chair upright. Another gesture and a second chair is moved from the corner of the room so that she can sit face to face with the boy.

"Give me the codes to your Gundam," she says simply.

Maxwell laughs. "A magician doesn't reveal his tricks, baby."

She backhands him, her ring, an emblem of OZ, catching skin. His face snaps so sharply to the side, it's a wonder his neck doesn't crack. Blood drips from the fresh cut and he turns his head to her.

"I can see you're a lady who doesn't like to joke around," he says. "Gimme a rabbit and a hat and I'll see what I can do."

She backhands him again and this time he spits blood onto the floor. Onto the floor and not at her as so many prisoners have done before. She marvels at the strange courtesy, a gift from captive to captor.

"I'm going to hurt you, 02," she states flatly. There is no anticipation in the words, no matter how much she may hate him. She will do this because he has information, and because she loves Treize Kushrenada more than she loves her own soul.

"What's it gonna be today, lady?" he asks, mouth still quirked up in that infuriating smile. "'Cause I gotta tell you, that thing you do with the cattle prod is a hard act to follow."

The same soldier who winced earlier turns a little green at Maxwell's statement, Une notices.

"I'll do what I have to," she tells him, and she pulls out a bundle from one of her coat pockets. She places it on the floor, and gingerly unrolls it. The needle tips, taken from the infirmary earlier that day, shine brightly, reflecting the florescent lights overhead.

Maxwell's unswollen eye drops to the sharp implements, and for a moment, she sees the smallest flicker of something on his face. It's gone quickly, masked behind the twinkle of his eyes and his blinding smile; she is unsure if it is fear.

"Tell me what I want to know and spare yourself this," she says. "Tell me the codes to your Gundam. Tell me about your comrades. Tell me the frequencies used. Tell me how orders are passed. Tell me what I want to hear, Maxwell."

"Treize Kushrenada loves you," he says, and for a moment, Une's heart stops in her chest. Then he continues, "I run, I hide, I never lie, but hey, for a lady like you, I'll make an exception."

"I'm going to hurt you," Une says, her teeth clenching. Restrained, outgunned, her mind whispers, but never defenseless.

"We all do what we have to," the boy replies quietly, and he grins. "Do your worst, sweetheart."

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fin

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