3-3-2002

Another Between love and duty fic!

 

And yet the darkness lingers
By Cobaltblue Kitty
Disclaimer: Down't own them, wish I did. Not making any money off this either. Do own the kids, dog, and Beathan though.
Pairings: 1x2x6, 3x4, OCx5
Comments: This fic is set in the Between love and duty universe.Takes place in the years between part ten and the epilogue.

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A.C. 204, Mid Feb.
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The Ledgehorn Institute was one of the most sophisticated and advanced hospitals for the treatment of mental illness in the world. With highly trained doctors and nurses and the latest in drugs and machinery. Their security system was also top notch. They had to be since they took the most dangerously unstable patients. Ones who commited horrible crimes against their fellow humans and would do so again given half the chance.

Naturally, they kept their patient's identities a secret. Many of those residing within these steel reinforced walls had commited crimes which orginally drew a lot of media attention, and a lot of hostility from the general public. There were also people who had followed these poor twisted souls and might try to attempt a rescue should they find out.

So Ledgehorn kept it's secrets close. They took every measure possible to see that no one discovered their list of patients.

But sometimes, no matter how good securtiy measures are, no matter how many people believe in what they're doing, there's always one bad apple in the lot who places the value of money over that of human life.

"Are you positive that this information is accurate?"

The young officer nodded to his regal superior. "Yes Sir. We finally succeeded in breaching their security wall. Everything that the janitor told us was true. The Princess of Sank is a patient of Ledgehorn. She is listed as a level one risk, suffering from delusions, paranoia, acute obsession, and strong homocidal desires."

"Preposterous! This is the Princess of the Sank Kingdom, the daughter of old King Peacecraft himself! She could no more be afflicted with such mudane maladies than you or I."

He kept his peace. It would do little good to remind the old aristocrat of the long recorded history of mental illness that cropped up occasionly in every royal line, including Sank's. The only thing it would do would be to incur his superior's wrath. And right now he'd rather not deal with any form of punishment.

"It's obvious that her enemies have bribed the medical staff to lie about her condition in order to keep her confined. It is up to us as her loyal court to see to her release and reinstatement as Queen of the Sank Kingdom." One fist pounded on the ornate oaken desk. His cold blue eyes narrowed. "And what of her brother the Prince?"

"He lives in Crete Sir, along with his husband and their two children."

"Husband? well, I suppose it's not too out of line. Their union has produced offspring. Two you say?"

"Yes Sir. Fraternal twins, boy and girl." He flipped open a notepad. "Their names are Darius and Alessandra."

"Do we know anything about this husband?"

"His name is Duo Maxwell Sir. There is very little known about his early years. He was an orphan on L2, the sole survivor of the Maxwell Church massacre, piloted the Gundam Deathscythe during the wars. He's still listed as a reserve member of the Preventers with the rank of Captain."

"It is disturbing that we can't track his lineage, but at the moment it doesn't matter. What information have you on the children?"

The young man handed over a folder, watching as the older man sorted through the various shots of the two platinum-haired, violet-eyed children. "Both children show signs of being in the high range of intelligence and social skills."

"They are quite beautiful, every bit the Peacecraft they were born as."

Again, he kept his mouth shut. The twins showed much of their birth parent's bloodline as well as evidenced by their startling violet eyes and mischevious grins.

The old aristocrat set aside the photos, his features once again hardening. "And what of the Princess's absent fiancee?"

"He's been staying with Prince Milliardo and his husband since Princess Relena was admitted to Ledgehorn. Reports listed him as recovering from a bullet wound and severe malnutrition as well as a few other minor illnesses. His health is now perfect and.." He wasn't sure how to say the next part.

"Go on man." His superior snapped.

"Yes Sir. Heero Yui recently became the second husband to the Prince."

"WHAT??"

The young man took a small step back from the desk. "Yes Sir. All the documents are legal. Heero Yui is now a member of the Peacecraft line."

Rage etched every inch of the old noble's face, even his moustache was bristling. "He is promised to the Princess and to the Princess he shall belong! We will just have to convince of the error of his ways."

"Yes Sir." Better not to argue with the man. He and his cronies were almost as unstable as the young woman they blindly followed.

"Order the assembly of the strikeforce. We free the Princess tonight."

"Yes Count Levon." The officer saluted.

 

Relena eyed the door to her cell.

All day she'd had this feeling that something was about to happen.

Something wonderful, something she'd longed for ever since the day she'd woken up in this hellish place. Imagine putting someone like her, a Princess, in an insane asylum! The very idea was preposterous!!

It was all their fault. Those meddling friends of that whore Duo. He probably asked them to see that she was out of the way. The staff here were all obviously well paid for their part in her incarceration. They refused to listen to her story just as they refused to release her. No, they just kept her locked up away from even the other patients here and dosed heavily with drugs.

There were no windows in her cell, no way to tell how long she'd been here. The drugs often times stealing days or even weeks away from her reckoning. Certainly a long time, several years in fact.

This thought disturbed her greatly. Her children would've been raised by Duo and her brother all these years, never knowing their true mother was imprisoned by the street rat they called mother. And Heero, where was Heero? Did he survive her accidentally shooting him? If so, where was he? Why hadn't he come for her? She had a sinking feeling she already knew. Shacked up with Miliiardo and his family.

Relena ground her teeth in frustration. It made her nauseaous just to think about it. Heero, her beloved knight, bedded by that gutter-running bastard. His filthy paws touching Heero's pure skin, his foul cock corrupting his pure body!

She'd made a vow to herself. As soon as she could Relena would see Duo dead at her feet for the shame he'd forced Heero through. If anything had happened between them while she was here Relena was certain it wasn't consensual. She'd make Duo pay for Heero's rape, or she wasn't a Peacecraft.

Faint sounds now came to her ears. It sounded like...gunshots?

The noise grew closer.

And the closer it got the more excited she became.

Her moment of liberation was at hand!

The heavy metal door to her cell burst open and in walked several armed men.

"Your Highness. We're here to rescue you."

And Relena smiled. "What took you so long?"

 

"AHHHH!!" Heero sat bolt upright in the bed, breathing heavily and shaking. That had been the most disturbing nightmare he'd had in years. It was all so real, almost as he were there watching the whole thing unfold.

The bodies, the bloodstained white walls, and worst of all Relena's smiling face as she walked to freedom....He shivered convuslively at the thought.

Two pairs of strong arms came up to encircle him. Two heads leaned forwards to kiss and nuzzle his neck.

"Heero? Are you all right?" Zechs' strong voice whispered in his left ear.

"Was it another nightmare?" Duo asked on his right.

Heero nodded. "Yes, another nightmare...But I can't help feeling that this was something a little more."

"Something more? What do you mean?" Duo pulled him a little closer, sighing as Zechs' long arms gathered them both to him.

"A warning, it was a warning." Heero shivered. "Something's going to happen."

Duo caught Zechs' gaze and saw the same worry there as he knew was reflected within his own violet orbs. "We'll check with Quatre in the morning and see if he had any nightmares too.

"Agreed, now why don't we try to get some more sleep." Zechs urged his two husbands back beneath the warm covers, keeping both still within his protective embrace.

It was a long time before any of them returned to slumber.

 

{{"....news from Italy. The famed Ledgehorn institute for the criminally insane was the sight of a bloody attack. Our roving reporter Jess Sockow is on the scene with the latest. Jess?"

The picture shifted, displaying a slim young lady dressed in a grey suit. "The situation here is very grim Ray, I haven't seem such carnage and bloodshed since the war. As of this moment 14 staff members are listed as dead, another 5 are seriously injured. There are bullet holes all over the walls, ceilings and even the floor, blood is everywhere. Investigators are saying this is definately the work of professionals."

"Jess, is there any information availible as to why the raiders attacked?"

"This attack was in fact a rescue. After a careful check it seems one of the patients is missing. The door to her room has been blown off it's hinges. The staff have verified that she's no longer on the grounds. We can only assume she left with the raiders."

"Do you know who this escapee is Jess? Has Ledgehorn released her identity yet?"

"Unfortunately not Ray. The Chief of staff here refuses to release the patient's name, But he did say that the proper athorities have been notified and she would soon be back in their care."

"Did they say anything about this mysterious patient so that we can pass it along to our viewers."

"They did say she was dangerous, but only to those that get in her way. She isn't a danger to the general public."

"That at least is a bit of good news. We will return to this story when anything new develops. Now, back to our weath-"}}

*Click!*

Une sat in her plush office chairs and thought about how to break this news to the pilots. While she doubted that Wufei, Quatre, and Trowa wouldn't do anything past treating the girl to a bit of rough handling, Heero and his husbands were another matter.

She could already see Duo chasing Relena about with a small hand-sized version of his Gundam's staff, cackling gleefully as he took swings at her head. Heero would be pointing his gun and pulling the trigger, toying with her before he blew her head off. And Zechs, her own brother, would be assisting his husbands in whatever way they needed.

It was going to take a hell of a lot of effort to get them to go into hiding till they could find Relena and return her to her nice padded cell.

 

Quatre was already at the breakfast table when the three men arrived, surrounded by the rest of the house's guests.

He looked very pale and Trowa was actually holding his husband in his chair. Without the green-eyed pilot's support the Arabian would've fallen to the floor. Quatre held a mug of coffee with both hands, sipping a little every so often. It wasn't an easy task with his hands shaking so much.

"Quatre?" Duo knelt by his friend's side. "You okay?"

"Relena's escaped."

All three fell silent.

"She was freed last night after a raid on the facility that was treating her."

"White walls streaked with blood..." Heero whispered half to himself. "My dream, it was in my dream."

Trowa's hearing picked up the Wing pilot's mummured words. "That was Quatre's dream too."

"Oh God! Now what! I swear, this time the bitch is going down for good. I gonn shove a rocket up her p-"

"Duo! Language!!" Beathan snapped. "Remember who's listening.

Four children and two dogs were looking at him and waiting. Calida was dividing her attention between her striken mother and silent father and her uncles. Darius and Alessandra were clinging to Zechs and Duo's legs when they realized the evil woman that almost took them away from their mother was somewhere loose. And Iian was snuggling in Beathen's arms, seeking to hide in his father's shirt.

Shinigami was setting next to Beathan and Wufei's Corgi Shenlong with a canine grin plastered to his muzzle. She was loose and he might get another chance to take care of the threat her being alive presented to his pack.

"Okay. Then what the blazes are we gonna do about this? You all know that the little twit is gonna come looking for her Heero."

"Lady Une had offered a safehouse we can use for the duration of this crisis." Wufei said as he touched his son to reassure him. "I think we should take it."

"I don't like hiding." Duo snapped.

"If it were just us, I would say we get ready and go hunt her down. But we have children now Duo. We have to think of their safety first." Trowa pointed out, calm despite the threat to his family that was even now wandering loose on the world.

Duo sighed in frustration. Trowa was right. Relena warped little mind still probably believed that the twins were really her and Heero's children. She wouldn't even blink an eye as she kidnapped them. He shuddered at the thought of his dear ones in the hands of that twisted bitch. Well, she wasn't going to lay so much as a single finger on their heads. He'd see to that.

And as for Heero, Duo planned to make it perfectly clear to Relena that Heero despised her. Maybe he'd tie her up and force her to watch Heero make love to him before he skewered her on the end of his thermal scythe. The look on her face would certainly be worth a little embarassment.

"Okay, contact Une and tell her we'll take up her offer. Everybody, start packing."

 

Count Levon watched the Princess pace his office as they waited for word on the Princess's fiancee. he couldn't take his eyes off the scars she was adorned with. He'd read the reports of the dog attacking her during the struggle with the Duo and the gun, but thought those injuries were properly dealt with at the hospital. Each vivid red line which marred her pale flesh a constant reminder of her defeat that day, laid low by a dog of all things!

"Are you sure this man is reliable?" She snapped for perhaps the tenth time.

"Completely Your Highness. I'd trust Seth with my life."

Relena bit back a reply. Right now she needed these people as an ally till she regained what was hers. After that, well there were laws in place to deal with terrorists weren't there? And if there wasn't she could always write some. Maybe sh'e keep a few of them, like this Count around on the other side of the desk.

The door opened and a thin young man entered and bowed to both of them.

"Seth, what news have you for me?"

Pale grey eyes studied both of them. Relena shivered, a small spark of sanity returning to her eyes. There was something about this man that litterally screamed danger to her. She wasn't so far gone that she would disreguard all potential threats around her and focus on her target.

But she made a note in her mind to see that this one wasn't one of those left alive after this was over.

"The Preventers have beaten us to the punch Sir. The entire lot have been moved to a safehouse Lady Une has offered them. The position of this safehouse hasn't been found yet."

"DAMM THEM!!" Relena screeched, her voice pitched high enough to break glass. She turned on Count Levon. "YOU SAID WE WOULD HAVE THEM EASILY!"

"We will still find them Your Highness. I will put more men on it immediately."

"See that you do my good Count. Every day that my Heero is in that braided slut's grasp is a day too long!"

"Of course Your Highness. And what are your orders concerning your brother and the other pilots?" The Count asked.

An evil grin spread like a creeping snake across her scared face. "I want them all, alive and unharmed, before me. I want to punish them for their parts in all this, personally." She started towards the door then stopped. "Oh, and that includes that dammed mutt too. I owe him for the scars I now carry. It wouldn't be proper to punish the others and leave him alone."

"Everyone, including the dog. It shall be done Your Highness. You have my word on this."

"I'll hold you to that word Levon." She exited the room, but not before whispering to herself. "For if you fail, I'll have your head!"

 

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A.C. 204, April
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Things were getting claustrophoic.

The pilots and their families had been in hiding for almost a month and a half now.

They stayed on the estate's grounds. Buried deep in the old wood forests of Austria it was remarkably well concealed by the surrounding mountains and heavy branced trees. Equipped with top of the line security and heavily shielded electronics there was no way for anyone to track the place down by using any call going in or out. There was enough food in storage to last the whole group and their protectors for several months to come. Water was pumped up and purified from the underground river which also generated the estate's electricity. There was satilite tv, a well stocked library, and even a few board games to play with.

It was one of the best safe houses they'd ever been in.

And right now they'd give anything to be out of it.

The unknown faction that had freed Relena had attempted several times to hack into the Preventers computer in an effort to find the safehouse's location, only to rebuffed each time. And while they weren't skilled enough to break in, they had more than enough to cover their tracks in the matter. Even the Preventer's best hackers couldn't track the enemy back to their lair.

Heero and the other pilots were getting restless. Each of them wanted to be out there, hunting down the threat to their family and eliminating it. But they couldn't leave the children unguarded. It wasn't as if they didn't trust the Preventers assigned to assist in securing the estate. These were their children, and they weren't about to leave them in anyone's hands except family.

And family meant this small band of pilots, one cultural anthropologist, and two willful and intelligent Corgis.

Of all of them Shinigami and Shenlong had adjusted the fastest to their new surroundings. Upon arrival the dogs spent the day, and the next several after that, exploring the grounds and the house itself. Every tree, bush, and rock was checked and sniffed. Every nook and cranny, under every piece of funiture and behind every door was explored. Once the furry pair was satisfied they now knew their temporary home the Corgis settled into a pattern of patrol and guard. Shin preformed a regular patrol of the grounds just has he had back at their home in Crete while Shen kept a watchful eye on the children. And while they did feel some of the tension in the air both dogs were content enough to wait for whatever danger was out there to come to them.

 

Count Levon felt the events around him were slowing sliding out of his grasp. Each day without word of the pilots new hideout was another day he saw the Princess grow more dissatisfied with him. He could see the anger in her eyes each time she looked his way, mingled with something that he had come to realize was indeed madness.

At times her behavior was exactly what he would expect from a young Princess of the realm and heir to the throne.

There were other moments however when she became somewhat...erractic to say the least. She screamed at her servants, destroyed any objects within her immediate grasp, and swore in graphic detail just what she was going to do to the pilots when they were at last delivered to her.

Relena had developed a definite sadistic streak, and woe to any that crossed her.

He gotten several reports already of maids whom the Princess took a dislike to suddenly disappearing. One day they were there, the next, gone. No notice or removal of their private possessions. They were just gone. When he asked Relena about the missing ones she just gave him a sweet little smile and reminded him he should be searching for Heero and the pilots instead of worrying over a few stupid staff.

The missing servants he might've chalked up to desertion and her strange behavior a lingering reminder of her time in the institute. But there was one other thing that he couldn't dismiss, the one thing that set his nerves on edge every time he thought about it.

He had been unable to sleep one night and had wandered out into the garden. Levon was enjoying the soft breeze and starlight when a little sound caught his attention and he moved to investigate. What he saw shocked and nearly made him throw up right there.

There was the Princess setting on one of the garden benches dressed in a pink silk nightgown. A delicate little smile played on her face as she giggled with a child's glee and played with something in her lap. At first he thought they were only marbles or some balls from a child's game. It was only when he crept closer did he realize what they really were.

There in her lap were a pair of eyeballs.

Human eyeballs, trailing little shreds of red flesh as she rolled them about.

She giggled again and raised one up, gazing into the unseening orb's violet depths.

And then she....

He barely made it out of her hearing before he threw up.

The next day he avoided the Princess. It was impossible to see her and not remember the look of absolute pleasure that adorned her face as she devoured her grisly playthings.

And another maid had gone missing.

Anabell was her name.

And if he remembered right her eyes had been violet....

 

Duo stepped out onto the balcony. Without saying anything he walked over to stand by his second husband. Heero glanced over in acknowledgement of Duo's presence. Together they stood there and watched the sunset. As the myrid shades of red, pink, orange, and purple danced across the sky the two young men slid into each others arms.

Heero's hands slowly caressed his beloved's back as he rested his head on Duo's shoulder, breathing in his scent, listening to his heartbeat. This was his comfort position, to be sheltered by either Duo or Zechs' arms, kept safe from all the horrors of the world by their love. Neither man had ever denied him when he sought out this reassurance. Indeed they seemed to need it as much as he did.

Duo pulled Heero a little closer when he felt the other man shiver, placing delicate little kisses on the exposed neck and cheek. Sometimes Heero was so fragile in his emotions. All those long years of training, the war, and his years chained to Relena's side had taken their toll on the Perfect Soldier, stripping away much of the emotional detactment he'd once used to see himself through life. He needed the others to see him through, to help guide him. To keep him from losing the humanity he'd discovered within himself.

"I'm worried." Heero whispered.

"So am I, the others as well." Duo answered him softly.

"I can't stop wishing that something would happen, so this waiting would be over." Heero pulled away. "Do you think that's wrong?"

"No, I think we've all had that thought over the last few days. This waiting is wearing on everyone's nerves. There hasn't been a single sighting of Relena since her escape. No one's is any closer to finding out who sprung her than they were when we came here." Long fingers brushe a stray lock out of Heero's eyes.

"I checked over the files Une sent to us, there's nothing there which I could use to track the hackers, not without returning to headquarters and spending several days there. If they are even half as smart as they seem they must be watching the Preventers. I'd be walking right into their trap." The Japanese boy's hand slid down Duo's back to grasp the end of the swinging braid, fingers toying with the fine strands at the tip.

"They probably planned for you to do just that."

"Then they must very mad by now that I didn't fall for it." Heero chuckled faintly.

Duo smiled. "I love to hear that sound."

"What?"

"Your laughter, soft or loud, it doesn't matter. I just love to hear it."

One hand came up to cup Duo's cheek. The braided man leaned into his husband's touch, closing his eyes and sighing sofly. Heero smiled and kissed him tenderly on the forehead.

"Why don't we go inside. It's getting chilly out here." He suggested.

"You're cold Heero?"

"Not really, I just want to get you into that nice warm bed in our room."

Duo brightened immediately and began pulling Heero back towards the balcony doors. "Well now, we can't have you catching a chill can we? Why don't I take you inside and warm you up a bit."

"I'd like that."

 

On one of the mountains, on an old hiking trail, a man lowered his binoculars and smiled.

Seth had done quite a bit of searching old files to find out about Lady Une's background. Of her own family and her involvement with General Treize. The former leader of OZ had left her much of his personal holdings, both money and property, in his will to the woman who had served him so faithfully. Une had never used the money on herself, having set it aside as a trust for Marimara. And as for the estates, much of these were private areas and weren't listed in many of the local files. It had taken him all this time to discover their exact whereabouts, and to check each one on the list.

They always said third time's a charm, and they were right.

On his third check Seth had hit paydirt.

Right there on that balcony he'd seen them, the ones the Princess wanted.

And where Heero Yui and Duo Maxwell were, the others were sure to be as well.

He walked back down the trail towards where he'd parked his jeep, whistling a jaunty little tune, thinking that after he called in his report he might stop by that little pub he'd passed a get a drink to celebrate.

 

Zechs found himself grumbling under his breath as he walked back to the rooms he shared with his husbands.

He hated it when he did that, it always meant that he was too stressed out over something.

And after spending an hour talking, or more precisely arguing, with Lady Une Zechs had every right to be so.

Une had changed so much over the years since the war. Her two personalities, saint and soldier, had merged, leaving behind a much better person and leader than ever before. But occasionally traces of those old personas reared their ugly heads.

The Lady Une that he was first familiar with, cold and callous, showed her face today. She hadn't been resting too well lately, the need to recapture Relena driving her to cut her sleep short. Stress, lack of sleep, and worry about what the insane woman might be capable of doing had managed to drag the soldier back to the surface, if only for a little while.

She ordered he and Wufei to attend a Preventer meeting tomorrow to discuss the latest lead, the best one they had received yet. Trowa and Quatre were to accompany them as well. Several of the Winner's business associates had arranged to meet with him in the security of Preventers HQ to hammer out a contract they'd been negotiating.

Heero and Beathan would remain behind with the children.

Of course Zechs had argued against it. First of all, they ran the risk of leading the enemy right back to the safehouse if the HQ was being watched. And second, they all preferred to remain together, just in case danger did come along. They were family, and families stuck together. Une just ignored that, reminded him to have himself and the others ready, and cut the connection.

Now he was all upset. He needed to burn off some of this frustration.

Opening the door to their rooms Zechs heard a faint sound coming from the bedroom, a sound he was VERY familiar with, and never grew dull of hearing. He now knew exactly how he could vent this frustration. Easing the bedroom door open he leaned against the frame to watch the two men on the bed who had come to mean the world to him.

Heero was laying on the bed, legs spread wide. His head pressed deep into the pillows as he arched and jerked, long fingers buried deep in Duo's thick hair. Little mewing cries and sharp screams filled the air as the braided man's mouth worked it's wonders on Heero's straining sex.

Duo loved doing this to both of them, bringing them to the very brink of extasy and then holding them there.He loved to hear them beg and plead, loved to hear the raw love and need in their voices. This time was no exception.

"AHHHH!" Heero's whole body nearly left the bed, only Duo's weight and strong hands held him in place.

"HAH! HAH! OH GODD!!" Sweat coated every inch of Heero's lean muscled frame, plastering strands of his brown hair to both neck and forehead.

Duo pulled away and chuckled as Heero screamed in need and anger. "Beg me, beg me Heero." He whispered, the breath from his words ghosting over the head of Heero's cock.

Heero's head thrashed from side to side.

"Beg me, you know you want to." The tip of his tongue lapped once at the thick pre-come leaking out.

Every inch of the Japanese man's body trembled violently. He clenched his teeth, groaning in frustration and desire.

Zechs opened his pants and began slowly stroking his own heavy erection, eyes never leaving the bed and it's occupants.

"Just once Heero, beg me." Duo said before taking the tip of Heero's cock in his mouth, sucking lightly for a second, and letting go again.

That was the last straw.

"PLEASE, PLEASE DUOO!" he sobbed. "I..I..NEEEEDD!! OH!!--YYEEEESSSSS!!!!"

Midway through his begging Duo at last relented and took Heero into his hot mouth once more, sucking him in deep, tongue rubbing hard against the underside of his cock. Teased and tortured, held at the edge of orgasm for nearly half an hour, Heero's release took him with the force of a hurricane. Duo rode it out, drinking down every single drop of Heero's seed that was offered to him.

Finally Heero lay there in a sweaty sated sprawl, chest heaving in an effort to gain his breath, a blissful smile plastered on his face. When at last he had regained enough strength Heero looked down at Duo who was still setting there between his legs, his own cock hard and weeping.

He also saw Zechs.

Duo followed his lover's gaze, a slow sensual smile spreading over his face as he looked at his other husband, half-lidded eyes dark with desire.

"Well hello there," Duo purred seductively, his sleek frame rising in a stretch carefully controlled to display every single inch of him

Zechs' cock jumped at the sound of Duo's voice, the sight of Duo's body.

"Is this a private party, or can anyone join in?"

Duo and Heero both responded to the rough growl that was Zechs' bedroom voice.

"By all means, please join us. Three is so much more fun that two."

Both men watched with lustful appreciative eyes as Zechs walked over to them, stripping off clothes with each step. Thank heavens he had the good sense to wear slip-ons, Zechs would hate to embarrass himself by trying to take off boots while still looking sexy. As soon as he was within reach both Duo and Heero dragged him to them, stripping off his last piece of clothes and tossing to the floor.

Two sets of hands wandered over his body, caressing the firm muscles. This was how there lovemaking usually started; with them touching him and he reciprocating then moving onto discovering what their mouths could do before they inevidibly made love. But Zechs was too keyed up to play it slow tonight. He batted their hands away and reached for the tube on the nightstand.

Duo understood. He took the lube and turned to the man still laying beneath him.

"Heero..?"

Duo didn't need to ask, Heero was very willing to give what he wanted and showed it by lifting his legs up. Grasping them behind the knees he spread them as wide as he could, exposing himself completely.

Duo moaned at the unbelievably erotic sight. Uncapping the tube he squeezed out a healthy dollop onto his trembling fingers. Heero gasped as the cool gel was smeared across his opening, fingers swirling it round and round before one digit slowly pressed it's way past the ring of muscles and into his body. Duo took his time preparing Heero. He knew that it turned Zechs on to watch. A second finger joined the first, moving in and out, scissoring open to stretch the tight walls. Heero began to moan, body moving with the invaders as he sought more of their pleasurable touch.

Then it it was Duo's turn to moan as Zechs began preparing him to receive his aching cock.

Once everyone was ready Duo coated his cock with the slick gel and got into position, feeling Zechs copying his movements behind him.

Heero let out a shuddering gasp as the blunt head of Duo's thick shaft passed through the tight ring of muscles. Inch by inch Duo sunk deeper into his lover till at last his balls came to rest against pale cheeks. Remaining still till Heero adjusted to the welcomed invader was sheer torture. All Duo wanted to do was bury himself over and over in that wonderful tight heat. He jerked as Zechs entered him in one slow smooth thrust, his hips involutarily pressing deeper into the man beneath him.

It was Zechs who set the rhythm, guiding them to what would give the most pleasure. The pace was slow till all three were moving in smooth unison, then the speed picked up till each man was litterly ramming into the others.

Duo was in absolute heaven.

Heero beneath him, urging him on with his wild cries and gripping heat. Zechs behind him, his hard thick shaft pistoning in and out his tight channel with ever increasing vigor. Already near the edge Duo clung to his fading control, determined not to come till the others were ready.

Zechs let go, thrusting harder, needing to be as deep inside his love as he could go. With each sharp snap if his hips he drove Duo's cock deeper into Heero; he was making love to both of them, both his husbands. This thought only served to push him closer towards completion. Reaching around Duo's straining body Zechs took Heero's erection in his hand and stroked it in countertime to their thrusts. That was all it took.

Heero screamed, high and long, thick white cum erupting from his cock, coating Duo's stomach and Zechs' still moving hand.

The sudden increase in pressure along his shaft was enough to send Duo over the edge. As always his exstatic cries were very loud as he emptied himself inside Heero.

Seeing his loves reach their peaks, feeling the Duo's orgasm around his cock pushed Zechs into completion. With a rough shout his hot seed filled Duo's channel.

Zechs collapsed to one side, he was the heaviest of the three and it was rather uncomfortable to be squashed by two lovers on top of one. For several minutes the three men just laid there resting from their exertions.

"Wow!" Duo was the first to speak, as always.

"Wow is right." Zechs agreed.

"It was good." Heero said rather calmly.

"GOOD??!!" Duo squawked. "If it was only good then that must not have been you screaming like a banshee just a few minutes ago!"

"Correct, I don't scream like a banshee, whatever that is."

Duo shifted so he could look at Zechs, not seeing the playful little smirk that graced Heero's face. "Do you believe him Zechs? The nerve of the guy to call mindblowing sex like that just good!"

Zechs met Heero's eyes over Duo's shoulders, reading the desire to play with their braided mate, and agreeing to it. "Well, I suppose it could've been better." He sighed dramatically.

"ZECHS!!! What're you talk-" those magnificent violet eyes narrowed. "Oh, I get it. I know what you two want. Well I hope your both ready for this cause here I come!"

"Not yet, but you will." Zechs vowed as he met his beautiful husband halfway.

It was going to be a long night.

But a pleasurable one.

 

Count Levon kept thanking whatever deity he could recall for Seth's methodical skill. Now they knew exactly where the Princess's fiancee and his companions were holed up. Even now a crack team of raiders were being assembled to capture everyone whom Relena had requested.

By this time tommow night the Gundam pilots and their families would be in their hands, or more precisely in the Princess's hands.

May God have mercy on their souls.

 

"Do you really have to go?" Duo whined the next morning as Zechs donned his Preventers uniform.

"Unfortunately yes. Une was very insistant." Zechs fixed the last buttom on his shirt.

"This really sucks, you know that don't you?" The braided man lept off their bed and began to pace. Zechs had to stop dressing and watch the beautiful site of his husband's naked body being paraded before him in all it's glory, anger only serving to heighten his allure.

Duo didn't even notice, he was far too mad at the moment. "First, we get yanked out of our nice homes because your wacko sister gets busted out. Then we're set here to protect us until they get her locked up again, and we haven't left here since. The Preventers aren't any closer to finding her than they were when all this started. And now they want you and the others to leave the safe house and walk right into a building even an idiot would be watching for us to go to!"

Zechs didn't answer, after all their years of marriage he knew better than to interupt his husband when he was in this mood.

"Just how stupid can they be? I thought Une had some sense rattling around in her head but I guess I was wrong." He stopped and glared at the tall platinum-haired man. "And if you get yourself killed going to this meeting don't come running to me to whine about it!!"

The chuckle Zechs let escape now was allowed. Duo always seemed to end these little tantrums with some odd twist. This time was no exception.

Crossing the room he pulled Duo into his arms, brushing feather soft kisses across his forehead. Duo sighed and melted against him, face upturned to receive each touch of his lover's smooth lips. "You will be careful won't you?" He whispered.

"Always, I have too much waiting for me to come back to." Zechs replied just as softly. "And will you be careful as well?"

"Yeah. After all I have to be here for when you get back." And Duo smiled, plucking at Zechs' dress shirt. "I wish we had more time before you go, this uniform really does something for me."

And Zechs could feel exactly what it did for him. Groaning in frustration he pushed the shorter man away from him, but not so far as he had to release his grip on those sleek shoulders. "Well, we don't have time, so cut that out!"

"Awww, you're no fun!" Duo stomped his foot and began to pout, something he knew Zechs could never resist, especially in his current state of undress.

Unfortunately, Zechs' sense of duty overrode his desires this time. But, judging by the tight set of his jaw, it was a very near thing.

"Sorry my love, but I have to attend this meeting. But perhaps, when this is over, I'll wear it again, just for you."

Duo perked up immediately. "Oh, I can't wait. hurry up and go. The sooner you're done the faster you'll come back!"

 

Quatre hugged his little girl and kissed her on the cheek.

"Will you be gone long Mommy?" Calida asked as she sat on her birth-parent's lap.

"Not long, your Father and I should be back by sunset."

"You promise?" Green eyes gazed up into sapphire ones.

Quatre gave her a tender smile. "I promise."

"Okay." That was enough to satisfy the little girl. If her Mommy promised something then it would be done, just like if Daddy or one of her Uncles had said it.

Across the room Wufei was setting on the floor with Beathan and their son.

Iian was a bright child, far brighter than many children his age. He knew about Relena and what she tried to do to Uncle Duo and the twins, and thanks to a little easedropping he knew that the same girl was now loose and that was the reason they had moved here. Iian never told the other kids, he didn't want to upset them. His parents and uncles would take care of the nasty woman.

"You be good now for your Father and Uncle Heero and Uncle Duo all right?" Wufei smoothed back his son's mane of red hair. It never ceased to amaze him, how much their son was a blend of the two of them. Their fiery little dragon.

"Yes Mother, I promise."

Wufei just smiled and hugged Iian close. It no long bothered him when Iian called him Mother. Evidently he'd caught the idea from Calida and no amount of admonishments or instructions had been able to change his mind. Technically it was true, he was the one that had carried and nutured their son, he was the one that went under the knife to bring him into the world. By some definitions those feats alone made him the mother.

The scene was being replayed over by the couch. Zechs was kneeling besides his children and listening to their sweet voices. He stayed there helping the two built their block castles until the sound of helicopter blades caught the attention of all there. Gathering up the children those that would be remaining followed the four who were leaving to see them off. Kisses and hugs were shared. Sweet words and promises spoken between spouses. All too soon however the pilot was calling for them to board. The four men strapped themselves in and waved to their family as the craft lifted off, continuing to look till the safehouse was but a speck in the green forests.

 

That evening three trucks parked in the thick bushes at the base of the trail. As soon as they stopped men, dressed in black body armor and heavily armed, began jumping out. No words were spoken. Each man knew his job. Silently the large group, nearly thirty men, began to make their way up the mountain.

 

Heero was agitated and didn't have the faintest idea why.

Everything was fine. The children were all minding, Beathan was reading a book, Duo was watching another one of those crazy animes, and the guards had nothing unusual to report. The situation, as they used to say, was normal.

So why did he feel like they'd just waltzed into an ambush.

This feeling wasn't new, he'd had them in the war. Battle instincts someone once called it. Some soldiers developed a almost sixth sense about danger, like some animals seemed to posess about such things as earthquakes. Only the war was over, there was no more battles to be fought. Humanity was at peace.

But the feeling continued to build, growing stronger as the sky grew dimmer, until he couldn't stand it anymore.

Beathan looked up from his book as Heero spun around from his post at the window and headed for the comm. He watched as the other man attempted to raise one of the perimeter guards. When no answer came he tried another frequency..and then another...and another.

No answer, to any of them.

By now Duo was watching, his eyes at first widening with a growing sense of alarm, then falling back into the cold look of determination the scholar had only seen once before.

"Duo, Beathan, get the kids." Heero said. "We've got trouble."

Duo didn't hesitate. The braided man was up and out the door before Beathan could even blink.

"Heero what's wrong?" Beathan asked.

"We've got unexpected guests." The former Wing pilot said. Striding over the cabinets Heero unlocked one and pulled out his gun. Checking to be sure it was loaded he pulled out several clips and stuffed them in his vest pocket. Duo came back with the kids in tow, as well as Shin and Shen. Wordlessly he handed another gun to Duo along with some extra ammo which the other man excepted. Then it was Beathan's turn.

The redhead excepted the gun. He knew how to shoot one, even used one a couple of times during some digs. To be truthful he loathed guns, but in the interest of seeing his family safe Beathan was willing to put aside his feelings on the matter. As Heero grabbed a bag and stuffed some explosives in Beathan reached into the cabinet and pulled out his dirk. Duo gave him a quizzical look, violet orbs eying the thin blade with interest as Beathan strapped the sheath to his belt.

"This is for if things get up close and personal." He explained.

"You any good with it?" Duo couldn't help but ask.

"Better than I am with the claymore."

That shut Duo up. He'd seen Beathan use that whopping big sword in training with Wufei. It was scary what the slim man could do with a sword that from hilt to tip was almost five feet long.

Just then the lights went out.

"They've cut the power." Duo whispered to no one in particular.

"Duo," Heero called to get their attention. "You and Beathan take the children out the south tunnel, hide in the forest somewhere. I'll cover you."

"What? No way Heero! You've gotta come with us!!"

But Heero only shook his head. "You know what they're here for. Relena wants me and the twins, and probably everyone else as well who had a hand in sending her away. And we both know she wants you Duo. She hates you and won't stop till she's killed you." He cupped one hand to his husband's cheek. "I don't want to see you in her hands, I can't bear the thought of you getting hurt. Please Duo."

"NO!! I can't...you..you need me!!" The braided ex-pilot tried to protest.

"Go with Beathan Duo, help get the kids to safety."

And then Heero was out the door, sliding down the halls, gun in hand and ready.

Duo tried to go after him only to feel Beathan's hand on his shoulder restraining him. "No Duo, you heard him."

The shoulder beneath his hand slumped and Beathan let go, turning to kneel so the children could hear him better.

"Okay kids, we're going to play a little game of hide and seek. We're all going to go to the library and go down one of the old tunnels and out into the forest. I need for all of you to stay very quiet and stay together. Do you understand?"

The small group of now terrified children nodded, clutching each others hands tightly.

"Is it the bady lady Father?" Iian's little voice spoke up.

"Yes."

That was enough for the kids. They all knew about the bad lady Relena.

"Okay, let's go. Remember what I said, stay quiet and stay with us."

Duo took the lead. He crept down the halls, eyes scanning the dimness for any movement. Once more the old training came to the fore, pulling with it all the instincts Duo had laid aside after the war. Behind him came Beathan, the kids, and the dogs. Shin and Shen had taken up positions on either side of the little group of children. With body nudges and little head butts the two dogs herded the children along, keeping them from spreading out or trying to wander off.

Everyone jumped when the sounds of gunfire and explosions started.

"Faster!" Duo hissed. "We've got to move faster!"

 

Heero dove behind the large chest and came up firing. He could hear more shooting outside. Some of the surviving guards must have run into the attackers. Good, the more that were tied up fighting the fewer there were to hunt down his family. The house shook as an explosion rocked it to it's very foundations. Heero smirked, he hoped his enemies enjoyed the booby-traps he'd laid out with a little explosives and some wire.

Movement off to the left! Without any real thought Heero aimed and fired, grinning with satisfaction at the gargled scream and silently thanked whoever it was that made armor piercing rounds. Another down. One less to worry about.

 

The attackers were more cautious now. They had expected some resistance as their targets were former Gundam pilots, but that was years ago. Surely without proper use the skills that made them one of the most formidable forces in the war had long ago apathied. Such now seemed not to be the case, in truth far removed from it. Their foe's skills were just as sharp and deadly as they ever were, perhaps more so since he was motivated by the need to protect that which he loved.

And he had all the advantages here.

He knew the house, all it's angles and hiding places.

 

And while they were under orders to bring the pilots in alive their prey had no such restrictions, as he had already demonstrated several times.

Still, orders were orders. No one wanted to go back and tell Count Levon, and the Princess, they'd failed. Putting aside their guns each man pulled out a tranc gun and stood ready.

 

Heero saw his chance to advance to a closer position, one which afforded more cover, and sprinted forwards. The air filled with a strange hissing noise that at first Heero couldn't identify. It wasn't until the first dart hit his side that the Japanese man realized what was happening. Several more darts hit home, sending their payload of sedatives into his system. Desperately Heeo huddled behind the couch and yanked out each dart he could reach. But it was already too late, too much of the drug was in his system. His vision blurred and a cold numbness began to creep into his limbs, leeching away his will and his control.

He fought it with every trick Dr. J had taught him, trusting the modifications made to his body would give him the edge.

Not enough, not nearly enough.

After several minutes without any movement from their foe's position the leader advanced cautiously, real gun up and ready if this was a trick. But he needn't have worried.

A thin smile graced the leader's face as he looked down at the unconscious body of Heero Yui laying there, gun still firmly clutched in his hand.

 

Duo fired, taking down one of the men that had jumped them.

Shinigami and Shenlong doubleteamed another, hamstringing him. To Shin went the pleasure of tearing his throat out when he fell to the floor.

Beathan shot one man in the heart. But another came from the side knocking him off balance. The gun flew out of his grasp as he hit the floor hard. Pain exploded across his jaw as his attacker threw a hard right. Beathan snarled, he may be down but he wasn't out, not by a long short!

One knee rammed upwards with all the force he could muster. Body armor may be good against many forms of ammunition but it was virtually worthless against a crotchblow from this angle. The man pinning him down let out a squeal and doubled over.

The dirk made a hissing sound as it was drawn, as if in atticipation of the bloodshed to come. One sharp thrust and the thin blade was buried deep in the man's side. Beathan jerked it upwards and twisted, severing the kidney and slicing through major arteries along the way. Blood bubbled up from the man's mouth and Beathan shoved him away. It wasn't the first time he'd killed but unlike that stormy night at the dig he felt absolutely no remorse. These men had come to kidnap, to deliver every one of them into the hands of a deranged maniac. They deserved whatever they got.

A sharp snap from behind sent the redhead spinning around, dirk up and ready, only to relax as he saw Duo drop the body of the man whose neck he'd just snapped.

The kids were huddled in a little group, the two dogs once more guarding and soothing their young charges. Too young to really understand that they'd just seen five men die each child nevertheless knew that the bad men wouldn't be hurting them and that was what mattered at the moment.

"You okay?" Duo panted, retrieving his gun.

Beathan nodded and raised his blood smeared blade in salute.

"C'mon, let's go."

Once inside the library Duo led them strait to the far wall where he reached into one of the shelves and triggered the release. The tunnel door slid open and the two adults hustled the children and animals inside before pulling the heavy door shut behind them. Once satisfied that it was sealed Duo pulled a flashlight from a shelf and snapped it on. Beathan took another light and once again took the rear while Duo led them down the dark passage to safety.

 

The truck bounced again as it hit another pothole. The trail wasn't exactly the best but so long as it got them to their destination what did a little discomfort matter. The leader of the attackers gaze shifted from the scenery outside back to the man laying at his feet, out cold and bound hand and foot with the strongest restraints they could find. The sedatives should keep him unconscious for at least six hours but with this one it better to be safe than sorry.

The others would follow as soon as they aquired the rest of their quarry. Right now his orders were to get this one to the Princess as soon as possible. Another two minutes and they'd be at the small clearing where a helicopter waited.

 

Duo and Beathan crouched at the small cave's entrance, weapons ready, eyes scanning the darkness for any signs of pursuit. Shin was laying between the two men, his superior senses better suited to the task at hand. Behind them the children were piled beneath a blanket, snuggled up against each other for warmth and comfort. Shen lay with them, adding her bodyheat and soothing presense to the mix. She too kept her eyes on the small hole they'd crawled thru to reach this hideaway. No one spoke, silence was perhaps their best weapon right now.

 

The sound of advancing helicopters broke the early morning stillness and sent the remaining attackers scrambling to reach their transports. Things were going to be bad when they got back to their base.

They may have captured Yui, but they'd failed to find any of the others the Princess wanted. No other adults and certainly no children. Each man could only hope their superiors would be merciful with their punishment.

Four helicopters crested over the mountains, armed to the teeth and baring the Preventers logo on their sleek sides. Two split off and raced off to intercept the truck that their heat sensors had picked up speeding away as fast as the trail would allow. The remaining 'copters landed on the long yard, men and women in preventor uniforms spilling out, fanning out in a search pattern.

Four men and two women were last to exit, all looking exhausted and battle worn.

Wufei looked around, noting the bullet holes, explosion craters, and dead bodies with a growing sense of anger and absolute terror. Where were Beathan and Iian? Was Duo and the children all right? He gripped his gun tighter, vowing bloody retribution even if so much as one hair was displaced on any member of the family they had become.

Zechs limped forwards, favoring the leg a lucky shot had nicked. Sally had tried to make him stay at HQ and rest but he wasn't about to. It was bad enough that the Preventers home base had been attacked while they were in the midst of the meeting, but they hadn't been able to raise any of the guards posted at the safehouse.

And even if he'd been blown in two Zechs was going to find out what had happened to his family, even if he had to drag his bleeding body there to do it!

Trowa and Quatre were frantic to find their daughter. Images of finding her corpse drove them forwards, totally ignoring everyone around them. Their eyes were only for that angelic face with it's marvelous green eyes. Their ears aching to hear the sweet melody of her voice calling to them.

"MOMMY!! DADDY!!"

Two heads jerked up.

And she was there, alive and whole, running towards them in her little lavendur nightgown, now smuged with dirt.

"CALIDA!!" Broke from two throats as the two men grabbed up their child, holding her between them, running their hands over her to reassure she was real, kissing every inch of her face and head. The little girl clung tightly to her parents and cried as she had wanted to all last night.

"DAR!! ALESSA!!" Zechs shouted. "DUO!!! HEERO!! WHERE AR-"

"HERE!! HERE!!"

And his heart leaped into his throat as he saw one of the men he loved along with their children stumbling out of the bushes.

He forgot his leg, forgot the pain, forgot that stiches that now tore under the stress. All that mattered was his family. Tears stained all their faces as they collied in a flurry of hugs and kisses.

Wufei let out a shuddering sigh of soul-felt relief as Beathan came into view, Iian cradled protectively in his arms. He couldn't help crying as the strong arm of his husband gathered him close. Wufei held onto his mate and child, breathing in their scent, touching and being touched, reassuring each other that this was real, that they were really together and safe.

Duo pulled away and noticed for the first time Zechs' fresh from battle appearance. "What happened?"

"They attacked Preventer HQ. Two carbombs and a suicide squad. The fighting got dirty." Now Zechs had to ask. "Heero?"

New tears stained already streaked cheeks. "We don't know."

Zechs pulled him into another hug. "Shh, we'll find him. He's probably holed up inside someplace."

Meanwhile the two dogs, once satisfied that their charges were in safe hands, had sped off. Shin and Shen raced along the safehouse's corridors, eyes, ears, and noses on maximum, seaching for the last missing member of their pack. With each room they passed without any sign their whines grew in intensity.

Even as the leader of the Preventers sweep team reported to Une and the others of Heero's absence the dogs set up a mournful howl for their lost one, echoed by Duo's fearful cry as he collapsed on the lawn.

 

~Drip..drip..drip...~

It was dark, and cold.

~Drip..drip..drip...~

Groundwater was seeping in through the ceiling, years having taken their toal on the once solid dungeons the castle laid claim to.

~Drip..drip..drip...~

Faint scratching sounds could be heard as the dungeon's rats went about their business. Occasionally one of them would raise it's head and peer with beady eyes at the dark's newest inhabitant before moving on.

~Drip..drip..drip...~

One cell along the old hall was different from it's fellows.

A new door, bright and silver, had replaced the old wooden one which was in the process of rotting away. Reinforcements had been laced through the walls, ceiling, and floor. No vent shaft was bigger than that which a rat could crawl through.

All these changes were made in preperation for one very special 'guest'.

Within the cell a pile of thick hay had been thrown into the driest corner along with a worn blanket; a makeshift bed. The guards didn't feel safe leaving the cot inside. Given the prisoner's reputation each man had no doubts that he'd find a way to dismantle it and cobble together some form of weapon.

They kept their dart guns ready at all times. No real guns were allowed down here on the Princess's orders. Any who disobeyed would find themselves sharing the same fate as those that failed to return with the other pilots and their families. There wasn't a single man that would wish that on anyone, not even their worst enemy.

So they remained on guard and awaited the sick woman's next orders, twitching in silent sympathy every time they heard a sound from the special cell.

 

Heero curled up under the miserablely thin rag, seeking what little warmth it provided.

He eyed the plate of what looked like food setting there not three feet away but thought better of trying to eat it. No telling what drugs the grey slop was laced with, if the unappealing mess was edible at at all. At least the little pitcher of water looked okay. Maybe later he'd try a sip and see if any drugs were detectable. If there were perhaps he could empty the container and place it under one of the leaks he heard within the cell's confines.

This was like a nightmare. All his fears were being manifested into the waking world and he could see no way to stop it.

At least he had the comfort of knowing that he was the only one delivered into Relena's clutches. Duo, Beathan, and the children were safe and no doubt back with the others. If Une were smart she'd have them moved to another location immediately, preferrably some large Preventer base with lots of weapons and personel. Someplace little miss twisted's personal army hadn't a hope in hell in breeching.

He alone lay in her clucthes, and Heero prayed he remained that way till either his rescue, or he could find some way out himself.

Whatever happened first he hoped it would be soon. If not he would be forced to go through Relena's demented plan.

 

Earlier that day.....

Relena smiled as the two men entered, carrying the stretcher bearing her unconscious love. He was here! Count Levon had kept his promise. Heero was once again hers, all that remained was to erase all the damage that stupid brother and his slut husband had done and once more they'd be happy.

She wanted to follow the strecher, wanted to watch Heero sleep, touch the firm muscles that rested beneath smooth tanned skin. But other matters needed tending to. Relena needed to make sure the other prisoners were correctly searched and locked up, and that the children were being tended to properly. Her little darlings and their playmates would no doubt be frightened by this sudden shifting in their world. It would be up to her to see that they knew the real truth. She was their mother, they were her children. The others would be kept here only so long as they provided comfort for her sweet ones. If they got in the way, made her children angry or hurt them, they could join their parents in the dungeons.

Relena waited, and waited, and waited.

Growing impatient she called to one of the raiders standing by the helicopter.

"You there! Where are the other prisoners?"

The man looked perplexed. "Others Your Highness? There are no others. Yui was the only one we were able to capture."

A cold fetid shadow settled over her soul, it's chill seeping deep into her heart, stirring her rage at this failure. Trained to withstand terrors most men would run screaming from the raider nevertheless cringed back, fear knawing at his will. At no other time in his life did he feel closer to death than he did right now.

"Not even the children?" Her voice was surprisingly sweet. It made her visage all the more terrifying.

"N-no Your Highness."

Without another word Relena lunged forwards, grabbed his sidearm from it's holster, and stormed back into the estate, leaving the man to make his way to the barracks. He really needed to change his underwear right now.

 

Count Levon looked up from the raid reports when the Princess stormed in.

"Your Highness," he rose, coming around the desk to greet her. "We have him, we ha-"

He never noticed the gun in her hand till it went off.

It was quite soothing, the sound of his screams as Levon lay there writhing on the floor, hands clutching futilily at the area were his genitals once were.

"You failed me Levon." She snapped and fired into his right shoulder, throwing her head back as his agony doubled the volume of his cries.

"Those men of yours only brought back my Heero! No children, and certainly none of the other pilots!!" This bullet went clean through his left thigh.

"Bu-but.." The man tried to plead but to no avail.

"SHUT UP!!" Another round hitting his stomach. "You've failed me my good Count. I don't like failures."

And with the sweetest little smile she knelt down, positioned the muzzle, and calmly blew the aristocrat's brains all over the pale carpet.

"My, that does look pretty," she mused, studying the gore. "I can't let it stay though, the smell would bother Heero. I'll have the maids clean it up." That settled Relena tossed the gun aside, dusted some imaginary lint from her dress, rose and left, leaving the room and it's grisly scene of cold-blooded murder behind for the terrified staff to deal with.

 

The first sensation to penetrate through the drug-induced fog Heero could discreen was a hand touching him. Slim fingers trailed long nails slowly across his cheek, down his neck, to settle on his chest just above his heart. A sweet scent, gardenia blossoms, assaulted his nostrils, cloying in it's heaviness. Only one person he knew wore that perfume to such a sickly extent.

Relena.

Gathering up his strenght Heero opened his eyes and groaned in dismay and anger. It was indeed Relena who was touching him, a totally twisted look of desire on her scarred face.

"Welcome back my love." She cooed.

He tried to move and found himself bound down to the table he lay on.

"I'm sorry for the restraints Heero, really I am, but they're for your own good. Until we free you from that whore's control the doctor advises we keep you chained up."

Cold fear gripped his heart.

Doctor? Free him from control?

"Don't you worry about a thing. Dr. Hoffwin is the best in his field, he'll have you back to your old self in no time." She turned to the old man with gold rimmed glasses who was standing not three feet away. "Right Doctor?"

"Of course Your Highness. Once the sedatives are washed out of his system we'll begin the deprogramming sessions. Now, given that he was a Gundam Pilot and no doubt trained to resist such treatments, you do understand that it may take a little longer that my ususal cases."

"Of course, of course. So long as you bring Heero back to me." Here her voice hardened. "But keep in mind Doctor, I do not take kindly to failure. If you don't believe me just ask Count Levon."

"I will not fail. I have never taken on a case that has ever ended without my success."

"Good, see that your record remains so and your reward will be very substantial."

"Thank you Your Highness."

She returned her attention to the man straining against the thick metal tying him down. "Be good my love, my Heero. Do as Dr. Hoffwin tells you to. The sooner you come back to me the sooner we can be wed and reclaim our children." Relena whispered his ear before kissing him on the cheek, not even noticing the involuntary shudder of revulsion that went through his frame. "I'll check on your progress later. There are some matters concerning the mission's partial failure I need to discuss with the men."

If the old man saw the sadistic hunger swirling in her blue eyes he gave no notice.

Once the deranged woman was gone Heero turned his attention to the doctor.

"She's insane." He croaked.

"That's not my concern. I was hired to do a job young man, and I mean to do it."

"I'm already married. I have a family."

"As I said, not my concern." He brought in several guards from the hall. "Take him to the cell prepared for him. He can work off the sedatives there, I'll call for him when it's time."

 

Heero checked his internal clock.

Eight hours, he'd been here eight hours.

They'd be coming for him soon, of that he was sure.

(Duo, Zechs, where are you? I need you.)

 

"WHAT'YA MEAN YOU CAN'T DO ANYTHING??!!!"

Preventors walking past the medical ward winched and sped up their pace, not wanting to be in the crossfire should the arguement inside spill into the hall.

"I'm sorry Duo, but we have absolutely nothing to go on." Lady Une kept her voice calm. The tired young man before her, still dressed in his dirt-smeared and blood-splattered clothes, was walking on a razor-thin edge. Worn down by the physical and emotional struggle of the night before, all control stripped raw by Heero's kidnapping. The slightest mistake on her part....

"Duo, Duo, calm down." Quatre tried to soothe his friend. "We just can't rush off. We need information Duo; coordinates to the target."

Duo didn't seem to notice the blonde's words, but at least his advance towards the seated Preventor Leader had ceased, for which Une was profoundly grateful.

Over on one of the exam tables Zechs winched as Sally rewrapped his leg wound, grumbling under her breath about stubborn idiots and their lack of any sense. He ignored her. All his attention was on his husband.

Duo looked at once both beautiful and frightening. With his stained and torn clothes, skin streaked with blood and dirt, strands of hair escaping his tight braid Duo was ravishing. But the sheer fury burning in his violet eyes, the fierce statement, the tightly clenched jaw and fists, sent cold little shivers through all who looked upon him. Here was power, tightly controlled yet bare seconds away from devastating release. Catching Quatre's eye Zechs motioned for him to start moving Duo towards his position.

Nodding Quatre started nudging Duo's body, slowly pushing him closer to where the taller man waited.

It wasn't easy, Duo didn't want to go backwards. He wanted out of there, wanted to go find Heero before that little psycho hurt him. But Quatre managed. Zechs grabbed Duo and pulled him close, wrapping his arms around the suddenly struggling body.

Duo snarled, fighting against the arms restraining him, succeeding only in making his husband hold him all the tighter. After several tense moments Duo finally gave up and collapsed into Zechs' comforting embrace, sobbing brokenly.

The other man began rocking, whispering soothing words into the thick chestnut hair. Gradually several of the other men added their arms, creating a coccoon of warm loving bodies around their distraught friend and brother.

"What about the attackers Lady, haven't they offered up any clues?" Wufei asked as he stroked Duo's hand, gently prying open his fist.

Une shook her head sadly. "All mercenaries, ex-OZ and Romefeller troopers. Those that were still breathing when we arrived have been taken down to interrogation. I have serious doubts that we'll uncover anything useful from them."

"Give them to me." Duo hissed.

"No, we need them alive." Une replied.

"They'll still be alive. Maybe not all in one piece, but I guarantee they'll still be alive." Duo leveled his gaze at the stately woman.

It took nearly all her will not to flinch. "No Duo."

 

Calida, who was setting with Beathan and the other kids, watched all the goings on with curious eyes. She knew that the bad lady had sent those nasty men to take them all away, at least that was what the adults were saying. They knew the bad lady now had Uncle Heero, but they didn't know where.

"Uncle Beathan?" She looked up at the redhead's bruised face.

"Yes sweetheart?"

"Will the bad lady hurt Uncle Heero?"

Beathan wished she hadn't asked that question, but he couldn't lie to her. "Yes Calida, I think she will, that's why we need to find her quickly."

A little frown appeared in that angelic face. "Can Shinigami track them?"

"No sweetheart, they took him away by helicopter. Shin can only track things on the ground."

Her frown deepened but she asked no more questions.

Beathan turned his attention to Iian, checking to see if his son was all right. The little boy was setting under the table tapping away on the laptop Heero had given him for his birthday. His son had been adamant on bringing the thing. The scholar wondered what he was working on that could bring such a look of determination to his little face. After all Iian was only two years old, even if he was quite intelligent. What could he do on that thing except play some simple games. Darius and Alessandra were with him, occasionally pointing at something on the screen and whispering.

Due to the situation Beathan didn't really notice the hard looks in the twins eyes. If he had the redhead would've been instantly worried. That look meant trouble, with a capital T.

 

"What about accomplices? Surely you've kept track of the people who've been after Relena's reinstatement."

The former OZ Officer narrowed her eyes at the Chinese man, who just glared right back. "Of course we have. But all those that were vocal about their inquiries have been under tight surveilance since her escape with nothing to show for it."

"And the un-vocal ones?" Duo had finally calmed down enough to enter the conversation again.

"Our investigation has only uncovered three men who might have ties to Relena, but I suspect that is but the tip of the iceberg."

 

For the dogs this was a time of great confusion and frustration. Shinigami kept circling the room, checking and rechecking to make certain the rest of his pack was accounted for. He watched and listened, occasionally growling softly.

Why were they still here?

Why hadn't some of his pack went out to search for Heero?

The sick female had him! She would hurt him!

It was up to them as his fellow packmates to free him and kill the female, this Relena.

Shin huffed at that thought. It would feel so good if he were to be the one to end that thing's life. Once before he'd been close, so close, to killing her, only to be stopped by the long-banged one Trowa. Perhaps now they would see reason and allow the Corgi to finish what he started that day in the woods.

Shenlong's brown eyes followed her mate's every movement. He was upset and angry, trying to vent some of those emotions by pacing around the room. She hadn't been around when the sick female had first attacked Duo, Shen only knew of this from easedropping on the humans and what her mate had told her. She understood his desire to kill the sick female. She was a threat to the pack, to the pups, and most especially to his Duo. While still quite young Shen as a female had maternal instincts; threats to pups were to be killed as soon as possible. Two men had found this out the hard way last night.

Shin wandered over to where Iian and the twins were setting. All three pups were intently watching something on the noisy thing Heero had given Beathan and Wufei's pup. Curious as to what it was that held their attention so Shinigami peered over one slim shoulder.

He snorted. Just a mess of colors and shapes.

 

Iian bit his lip as he concentrated on the screen. Uncle Heero had been teaching him all about computers since he gave him this nifty PC. Things like how to read, and how to write, and how to hack into other people's computer's without them knowing. Of course Heero didn't know he was teaching Wufei's son how to be a hacker, he just thought Iian might like to watch the pretty images as he worked on cracking some files open for Lady Une. Like all the others Heero believed the red-headed little dragon wasn't up to that yet. But Iian was a genius, he picked up FAR more than his parents, uncles, and servants ever thought. One day, he'd show him just how much he'd learned just by observation.

That day however would be long in coming.

Right now his main concern lay with turning off the child protection scrambler and finding that search program.

He had an uncle to find.

Dar and his sister set quietly by their playmate and watched as he made the screen do all kinds of weird things. Much of what he mumbled made no sense to them, neither being on his level of intelligence. But they wanted to help, he was trying to find their other parent. They made a few suggestions when screens popped up that were familiar looking to them, having seen one of their parents use them, but other than that their assistance wasn't much.

Now they were bored.

Twins...

Duo as their mother...

Big building full of things to play with, rooms to explore, people to terrify....

All the ingredients for a massive disaster.

Too bad there were men guarding the door.

 

It would be nearly a week before any lead was discovered. But how much can happen in six days? How much can one man endure?

 

Fight.

Stay focused.

Reign in the dizziness that constantly assaulted his senses, robbing his strength and control. Not even his special metabolism could defeat the vile chemical stew that flowed through his veins.

How long had he been here?

He had lost track of time. No windows, no way to discreen whether it was day or night here in this perpetually lit hell.

No use attempting to by the frequent visits of the Doctor either. Heero'd lost count of the injections he had forced on him, the long and often painful sessions he suffered through. Pity he couldn't forget the long torturous hours in that awful room while the Doctor attempted to reshape his mind to suit Relena's twisted whims. The sick bastard never bothered to check if the drugs he was using weren't damaging him. His insides felt like they were on fire.

How long had he been here?

A week?

A month?

A year?

What of the others?

Were they even now searching for him, or had fading belief mired their efforts till nothing remained.

No! They were still searching! That, above all, must be believed. If he gave up and relingushed the faint hope that belief granted the young man might well lose his fragile grip on sanity.

They were searching.

He knew it. Felt it, deep down, bone deep. Duo, Zechs, and the remaining members of his family were hunting for him even as he lay here in this cold cell.

Cold. Why was he always so cold now?

Tugging sluggishly on the thin blanket, he curled up tighter beneath it's meager warmth, trying to collect his thoughts. The drugs may have stolen away his ability to move beyond a few inches also kept him from concentrating. The constant pain, lack of proper food, and the strain the damm drugs were placing on his body were beginning to take their toll. There wasn't much time left before his systems totally collapsed. Maybe he'd get lucky, maybe he'd die before Relena and the Doctor caught on and rushed in to prevent it. No, no such luck. The internal monitor the Doctor had injected that first day would see to that. He'd know the second one of Heero's vital organs began to falter.

Another cramp seized his stomach. He whimpered, tears of pain and frustration coursing down his pale cheeks.

( Why! Why me??!!) He cried silently.

No one answered.

Just when he thought the pain couldn't possibly get any worse the door to his cell opened. Two burly guards entered towing a gurney. Without any consideration for his current condition the men yanked him up off his pitiful bed and dropped Heero onto the cold plastic-covered cushion. He gasped, shedding more tears as their rough treatment of his body reawakened the abused areas that had started to settle down a little. The Doctor was waiting in the hall, Heero could see him out of the corner of one eyes as they strapped him down. The bastard smiled, holding up a loaded syringe.

"Well young man, since the last batch of drugs proved ineffective I've decided to try another approach. Some experimental drugs that haven't officially hit the market yet," he tested the syringe. "Won't that be fun?"

And with that Heero Yui, Gundam Pilot, fighter for the colonies and savior of the world, began to weakly struggle against his restraints, screaming as they wheeled him towards the session room.

 

The young soldier shook his head in disgust as he watched the gurney with it's screaming occupant was wheeled by his hiding place.

This wasn't right.

It had been the dream of restoring the Sanc Kingdom's rightful rulers to the throne that had first drawn him into this. The Peacecraft line was the living symbol of pasifism, a role model for the world to emulate. And Princess Relena the most prominent and visual representative of the family. Her brother had faded back into the shadows, refusing to have any dealings with both his former homeland and his younger sister.

No reason had been given for the Princess's confinement to that mental institution, at least none that had officially been released to the press. After all, why would they put someone like Relena in a hole like that? She was so sweet, so elegant in her words and motions. Her calm nature and intellect had steered the human race away from it's path of self-destruction.

His rather idolized view of her had held him in check till last night.

Last night he'd seen Relena Peacecraft, former Queen of the world, and heir to the throne of Sanc, casually kill a soldier who dared to question one of her orders. She left the corpse dangling from one of the taller windows, a rotting testimony to her mental instablity.

He could no longer follow her. She was dangerously deranged and deserved to be locked away somewhere, away from any innocent whom she might hurt.

He knew who their prisoner was. More importantly he knew what the young man had done for the whole human race that day Libra fell. His conscience would not allow him to leave such a heroic man to die in this manner. Like some damm lab rat!

It was treason.

If the Princess found out his butchered corpse would join that unlucky man's high above them.

But it no longer mattered whether he lived or died. Only that he right this horrible wrong he'd helped create.

 

Sally didn't think things could've gotten any worse that they were already. She didn't know how wrong she was.

Each day that passed since Heero's abductions saw Duo's anger grow. His dark nature that had served him so well in battle, that had lain dormant since the last battle, rose to the fore once more. Preventors went out of their way to avoid the braided man in the halls. Even hardened vetrans, who'd faced hordes of mobile suits with little ammo and no hope of survival, who had nerves of steel, shied away. Some even refused to be alone in any room with him.

His demeanor only changed when he was with his family, especially the children. Darius and Alessandra would swarm all over him the minute he sat down. Hugging and nuzzling their distraught parent till he relaxed. Calida did her best to help, giving hugs and kisses when she could, but her own parents needed her too.

Quatre wasn't doing too good. Ever sensitive, the blonde man was picking up Heero's pain as if it were his own. On several occasions Sally had to sedate him as the sensations he was receiving became too painful.

These times were the worst for the family to bear. One of their own was in trouble, in terrible pain, and they had no way to reach him.

 

The sharp click of her heels echoed off the walls as Lady Une strode down the halls, her aid and the Lieutenant hard pressed to keep up with her. She barely slowed as she passed through a group of Preventors, shoving those aside that didn't move fast enough.

( This could be it, the break we've needed. It just has to be it!! ) The litany repeated itself in her mind. A prayer she dare not breathe aloud for fear it too would remain unanswered.

She, and just about every man and woman at the base, had been doing a lot of praying since Heero's abduction.

Prayers for Heero's safe and quick return.

Prayers for the recapture of Relena.

But most of all their prayers were that Duo wouldn't snap on them.

Just thinking about the braided man made the former OZ officer shudder. He was fine when he was with the children and the rest of his family. It was when Duo went off alone somewhere that things got..scary. Like when he was on the firing range, shooting targets to shreds with cold precision. Or when he spent hours in one loungue throwing a thin dagger over and over again into one of Relena's old publicity photos. These times were when the staff avoided him at all costs.

If only this lead would pan out as legitimate. Maybe then Duo would be able to vent some of this rage inside him.

The guards at the door saluted and opened the door for their commanding officer into the small holding room.

The man setting at the table looked up as Une entered.

He looked quite a mess. Two days worth of beard stubble marred his face, warring with the scratches there. His clothes, a uniform of some kind, was torn and soiled with mud. The man looked as if he hadn't slept in days.

"Lady Une," he rose shakily to his feet.

"I think you have something you wanted to talk to me about?" She walked into the room.

 

Relena paced her room, muttering under her breath.

She couldn't believe the sheer incompitence of the people that had sworn to serve her. First they fail to capture the other pilots and the children. Some had dared to question her orders. And now that dammed doctor wasn't living up to his reputation.

Heero was growing weaker by the hour according to him, and was sure to break soon. Once that happened he could begin restoring his former feelings for her.

But to Relena's eyes he looked only physically broken. She, in all their years together, had never seen him so sickly. He looked little better than a three day-old corpse.

Oh, that reminded her, she'd better get someone to take that dammed idiot's body down from the window. He was really starting to stink, and the buzzing flies bothered her.

Maybe she should wait, give the good Doctor some more time. He did have a such a fine reputation which he was quite proud of. People like that refused to accept failure; it ruined their perfect records.

Yes, she'd give him a little longer. After that, well he wouldn't have to worry about his reputation.

Dead people rarely worried about anything.

 

No one spoke.

Their attention split on the door and the figure hidden by the hanger's shadows.

Une had broken the news to them about the mercenary that had showed up at the base with information on Relena and Heero's location. As soon as her people verified the target they'd all be going to rescue Heero and bring Relena to her new padded cell, provided they could refrain from killing her.

Wufei was up in one of the Taurus cockpits, checking over the systems. Which was better than setting down below with the others watching Duo. The Chinese man shuddered, the level to which Duo had desended to was frightening even to him. How could the American still retain, much less improve, upon the personality he had adopted in battle was beyond his understanding. The wars were over, battles were few and far between and never reached the intensity of even the smallest skirmishes they'd once fought. What could Duo have used?

Or did he have to use anything?

Seeing him so happy and relaxed he and the others oftentimes forgot the bleak childhood their beloved friend had suffered. Losing the ones he loved, one right after another, unable to do anything to stop it. That kind of suffering leaves it's mark on a soul no matter what happens afterwards to soothe it. Of them all Duo had the greatest desire to protect his extended family.

And perhaps that was it.

The driving need to defend all those he loved.

The family he'd built with them, the husbands he loved and cherished, the children he adored.

These were the basis for his increased battle persona.

Below Quatre was pacing, his special gift temporarily numbed by a mixture of drugs. Sally hadn't been sure the last batch would work, and if it did there was no way to tell how long they'd last. She'd been very vocal in her protests when he announced he would be part of the rescue team. Being so close to Heero's pain might overwhelm him, leaving him vulnerable at the worst possible time. But while her arguements were valid ones Quatre would not be dissuaded and eventually even Sally had to back down. That wasn't saying she had changed her mind, just that she like the others had learned that when Quatre set his mind to something there was very little one could do to stop him. At least Sally was coming along with them to give whatever medical attention Heero might need. She could keep an eye on Quatre.

"What's taking her so long?" Quatre eyed the still empty door as if by will alone he could materialize Une there with the order to attack.

"Soon Quatre, soon. We don't need to be flying off on a wild goose chase." Zechs' voice betrayed his own impatience, despite his lazy stance.

 

"What do you mean you can't find any information on this property?"

"I'm sorry Ma'am, but all data concerning that site has been wiped out." The young officer figited under his CO's stern gaze. But there was really nothing he could do about it. The data was gone, erased, and no matter how much she snarled and glared he couldn't retrieve it.

"Do you mean to tell me that all this hi-tech equipment," one hand waved at the computers lining the walls. "The sophisticated programs, the years of training you've taken, all of it means absolutely nothing??!!!"

"Unfortunately Ma'am, it does."

Une fumed, gritting her teeth as she fought down the urge to pull out her revovler and shoot this little idiot. If this had been OZ she would've done it in a heartbeat and spared not another thought for the dead man. No, Une would've just handed the job to the next man in line had hope he had learned from his predessor's failure.

Damm, how she hated peace sometimes!

A sharp tug at her pants leg drew her attention downwards.

"Iian? What are you doing here child?" She lifted the little boy up and set him down on the table.

Wufei's son looked up at her with those fathomless black eyes, a smug little grin playing about his lips. Right now he was the spitting image of his birth-parent and for some reason that thought thrilled Une.

"Here." Delicate little hands held out a data disk. "What you need."

Une took the offered item, staring at it in confusion.

"Password's 'Uncle'." he pointed to the nearest computer. "Try it."

"I'm sorry Iian, but I don't have time to pla-"

"No game," he glared at her. "Play it."

"Very well." Une inserted the disk and called up the only file listed, entering the password. A second later her eyes widened, if her jaw stretched that far it would be on the floor by now. Before her on the screen was everything they needed to know about their target. Geographic maps, floor plans, even possible troop positions. Everything, all right there on the screen before her. But how did Iian get a hold of all of this?

"Iian? Where'd you get this?" She turned back to where she'd left the boy. "Iian? Iian??"

The boy was no where to be seen.

 

Iian ran down the halls back to the playroom, a big smile plastered on his face. He'd done it! He helped find Uncle Heero!

It'd been so easy! Why didn't the adults do he didn't know. Iian simply used one of Uncle Heero's programs to hack into their mainframe and monitor what they were doing. Once he found that out it was simple to go in and retrieve the erased data with another of his Uncle's programs. Stored all the information on a disk and he was done. Still smiling at his accomplishment the little dragon ran back to tell the others. Uncle Heero would be coming home soon.

It was impossible.

Completely, utterly impossible.

Iian was barely more than a baby.

He couldn't possibly have retrieved all this information. No, someone must have done it and asked the child to give it to her. Probably one of the newest batch of recruits, they all acted scared of her. Maybe this person was too shy or nervous to give her the disk face to face.

Shoving that thought aside for contemplation later Une turned her attention back to the now sweating computer technician.

"Wiped out was it? Evidently someone at this base knows what they're doing." her eyes hard as diamonds. "I want this copied for the assault force immediately."

"Ye-yes Ma'am."

Flipping open her comm Une relayed the imformation, ordering the pilot's support group to be strapped in and ready to fly in five minutes.

 

The ground shook, fire blossomed in the night sky.

(Damm them!) Relena swore silently. (Why'd they have to attack now? Another day and I and Heero would've been away from here!)

Watching the destruction of her base play out on the screens Relena gritted her teeth. She knew that many of the mercenaries had fled and those few that remained to fight only did so because they had no other option left open to them. There wasn't a single man outside fighting because he believed in her.

(Fools, scum, incompitent dogs. Why couldn't Levon have hired some real soldiers. Ones with a sense of duty to their posts and leaders.)

They wanted Heero.

His so called friends had come for him and nothing was going to stand in their way.

They were destroying the entire estate, reducing everything to ash and smoldering rubble in their search. Venting long days of frustration and worry on the ones they held responsible for fellow pilot's, as well as their own, suffering.

Relena found herself believing with absolute certainty that should the other pilots find Heero right this instant they would continue to destroy the remaining buildings and all the occupants as punishment for harming one of their own.

Cursing venomously Relena raced from her office, one thought solely fixed in her mind. The estate and everyone there were doomed, but maybe she and Heero could still escape. What did it matter to her if the servants and soldiers died? All she cared for was Heero. So long as her shining knight was in her arms Relena could care less what happened to the others.

 

The dungeon guards and medical staff had long since fled.

Having seen the first explosions they had panicked, evacuating everyone of the non-military staff possible. After all, the house staff and nurses weren't soldiers. No one had mentioned to them the possiblity they'd end up right in the midst of a battlezone when they accepted Count Levon's generous offer. No one gave any thought to their reluctant patient/prisoner, caring only for their own miserable hides.

Heero lay curled up, shivering, barely aware of anything save the cold and pain which had become his constant companions.

Earlier, it had been earlier today, or maybe it was yesterday, he'd overheard the Doctor talking about the next phase of his conditioning. Heero could only catch a few words but those alone were enough to truly terrify the young man.

The things they'd done to his body, the beatings and drugs, he could accept with time. But he was talking about what essentially would be the total rape of his mind and soul. A man is the sum of his memories someone once said. What would he be if the Doctor succeeded in removing his memories and altering his emotions?

The ground shook again. Overhead the lights flickered.

This happened several times before it finally registered on Heero's drug-fogged brain that the estate was under attack. Hope flared briefly within him. Maybe this was it, the others were coming to rescue him! He prayed so.

Prayed with every fiber of his being.

(Please whatever god or goddess takes pity on a poor soul, please hear me. Let my family find me. Please free me from this hell.)

The door to his cell burst open.

For a second Heero thought his prayers had been answered. But that hope was soon dashed as his bleary sight focused briefly and he recognized the man who was the conductor of all his suffering, striding forwards, armed with a gun and a loaded syringe.

Roughly he grabbed Heero's limp arm and injected the sickly green fluid into the already heavily brusied flesh.

"Your fellow pilots have come for you. They're ripping the whole place to pieces." The older man yanked the lighter body to his shaky feet. "You've just become my ticket to freedom. That injection will help you move, but not enough to let you pull any of your little tricks."

And it was true. Already Heero could feel a small measure of strength and control return to his abused frame, but only enough to keep him upright and perhaps to walk. Not nearly enough to put up any kind of fight against his captor.

"You....can't.." Heero gasped, only to reel away as the Doctor slapped him hard across the face.

"If you value your life at all, you'd better pray that I can." He hauled Heero behind him, half-walking half-dragging the man out into the corridor.

Heero gritted his teeth against the pain coursing through his reawakened body and tried to keep up with the desperate man.

 

Duo, Quatre, and Sally made their way down into the dungeons. Wufei and Trowa were up above creating havoc, keeping the mercenaries distracted, focused well away from their true target. Making it all the more easy for their small party to slip inside unnoticed.

Only two guards appeared to block their path. Duo dispatched both easily, the cold brutal efficincy of his actions sending chills up and down his companion's spines. He had'nt spoken a single word since their departure from the base.

Duo was a chatterbox, body and voice in constant motion. A living enbodiment of electricity, beautiful and deadly.

But right now he was acting more like Heero used to.

 

Relena carefully made her way down the tunnel, thanking the old architech who designed the webwork of secret passages that snaked through the estate's walls. There weren't any lights in these old walkways so she was forced to rely on a flashlight.

It was a bit scary. The tunnel was dark, filled with cobwebs and dripping sounds, and she was sure she'd seen a rat at that last corner. But this was her safest route to the dungeons and Heero. Once she had her fiancee they would escape through another tunnel and be long gone before anyone noticed.

"Soon my love, soon we'll be together." She whispered, the familiar promise buoying her flagging spirits.

"I don't think so."

Relena screamed, swinging her flashlight around wildly. "WHO'S THERE??!!!!"

"Heero doesn't belong to you."

Her eyes narrowed, the voice was familiar. "Milliardo? Brother?"

"No, brother no longer," his voice floated out of the darkness. It seemed to come from all sides, she couldn't pinpoint his hiding place. "My sister is dead."

"But I'm right here, you're talking to me." one hand slowly edged towards the gun in her jacket's pocket. "Have you forgotten me so easily?"

"I haven't forgotten, but my sister is dead. She died the day she lost her grip on sanity. The one who wears my sister's face is only a sad, twisted, deranged echo of her bright soul."

The sadness in Zech's voice failed to touch his sister's heart. Relena's eyes narrowed as she caught just the barest hint of movement at the edge of her light.

"Really Milliardo, you've let fucking that little whore of yours eat away your brain. Not that you really had all that much to begin with."

And with that she pulled out her gun and fired several times at the area she believed Zechs was hiding. There was the satisfying sound of something large and heavy hitting the ground.

Relena laughed, the high-pitched sound of madness. "Oh Milliardo, couldn't you at least had the decency to scream?" She scolded him.

A hand grabbed her shoulder and spun her around. The last thing Relena would see was the butt of a gun just a second before it collided with her head.

Zechs caught Relena's unconscious body and slung it over his shoulder. He knew he should've killed her just now. A bullet to the brain or heart and it would be all over. But no matter how the urge to kill her surged in his veins, she was still his baby sister and he felt the need to see her safe and alive. This time he'd see that she never got out.

As he strode back the way he'd come in Zechs' thoughts drifted back to his other husband and their friends.

"Be well my love, find our husband and come back with him, please."

 

A loud thump followed by cursing up ahead caused Duo to stop in midstride.

Alert, weapons ready, the three edged closer to investigate.

"Get up!! Damm you, GET UP!!" Dr. Hoffwin snarled, roughly hauling Heero to his feet only to swear even louder was the young man promptly collapsed again once his hand was withdrawn. Obviously the dose of stimulants he'd given the former pilot hadn't been nearly enough, having only countered a tiny fraction of the multitude of drugs rushing through his system.

Heero felt as if he was teetering on the very edge of some deep black crevice, clinging to edge by the greatest effort of will, will which was rapidly running out.

"You miserable piece of shit!" Hoffwin spat on Heero's chilly skin, kicking him twice for good measure. "I should leave you here, but I still have need of you."

"What you need you sick fuck, is your head blown off!!"

That voice caused the hairs on the back of his neck to stand on end.

He turned to find himself staring down the barrels of three guns trained directly on him. Wasting no time Hoffwin dragged Heero's limp, shivering body in front of his own, held upright by one strong arm around his slim waist, resting the barrel of a pistol he'd taken off some mercenary's body against Heero's temple.

Duo's narrowed eyes burned with a rage unlike any he had ever known.

The mere sight of his beautiful Heero reduced to this..this deathly apparition, barely aware of his surroundings or the fact that his own life was in danger, enraged the braided man into a killing fury, held in check by the merest thread of restraint.

No matter what, he vowed silently, even if it cost him his own life, this man would not leave alive.

Quatre reeled dizzily as Heero's pain washed over him in a sickening rush. It overwhelmed the drugs, etching into the Arabian's mind Heero's current state. It was as if he was the one who was injured. He was the one sick, his body that ached, the taste of chemicals fouling his mouth. Gritting his teeth Quatre shook his head and raised his gun, eyes searching for a clean shot.

Sally felt the bile raise in her throat. To see Heero, of all people, abused and neglected in such a foul manner, was incredibly sickening. Didn't this man, or anyone else here, recognize what a truly remarkable man they had within their grasp? Why hadn't they realized what a travesty they were perpertrating and stopped before beginning to torture the young man.

Heero's ribs showed clearly beneath his too pale and heavily bruised skin. Both arms were heavily discolored from countless injections and IV's. Those beautifully intense eyes, twin pools of rich indigo full of spirit and determination, were glazed and unfocused, blinking owlishly in the hall's lights. Tremors ran through his limbs. The sound of his rasping uneven gasps filled the air.

"Stay back!" The old man snapped. "Stay back or I decorate the walls with this man's brains!" He pressed a little on the trigger to emphasize his words.

Immediately all three rescuers backed down, continuing to glare, weapons still held ready.

"Let him go." The braided man hissed, scowling violent death.

"No, he's coming with me." Hoffwin tightened his grip. Heero whimpered at the increased pressure on his sensitive abdomen. "As long as he's with me you don't dare touch me."

Duo growled, an utterly animalistic sound of fury tearing from his thoart. The old bastard was right, so long as he held Heero's life in his hands not one of the pilots would so much as lift a finger against him. But he couldn't hold the Japanese pilot forever, sooner or later there would be an opening. Duo just had to be sure he was ready when the opportunity arose.

Quatre saw Duo tense, shifting his balance, out of the corner of one eye.

"Now, we're just going to take a little stroll. Don't try to follow us." Hoffwin began backing down the hall, dragging the nearly unconscious Heero with him.

Sally raised her gun. She'd rather see Heero dead than leave him in hands of this vile monster. Long fingers slowly began to squeeze the trigger.

 

"Let him go."

That voice, it came to Heero as if from across a great distance.

Duo. It was Duo's voice.

He was sure of it, at least he didn't think he was hallucinating again. The Japanese man could pick that annoying, beloved voice out of a crowd of thousands.

Blinking, he attempted to focus on his surroundings. The sudden pain rushing up from his stomach actually helping to clear the fog briefly even as he whimpered under it's onslaught. Heero could feel the heavy rumble of Hoffwin's voice on his back, smell the sickly tang of fear permeating his clothes. This man was afraid, terribly afraid, and desperate. Well, he should be. It was sheer suicide to enrage Shinigami, the God of Death's retaliation was always lethal.

There! Just to his left. A familiar shape, dressed in black and white. Duo, Duo had come for him. Duo...

"Now, we're just going to take a little stroll. Don't try to follow us." Heero felt himself being dragged backwards, away from his rescuers, away from Duo! No! No! He didn't want to leave, he wanted to stay with Duo!

Gathering up what scattered shreds of his failing strength remained Heero threw everything into a final desperate ploy.

 

Dr. Hoffwin's concentration was directed towards the three before him, sparing his hostage nothing. The young man was virtually a corpse, so attention would've been wasted on him. This line of thought was to prove the doctor's greatest, and last, mistake.

Duo saw a sliver of intelligence flare in Heero's eyes and quickly laced his fingers around the pommel of his hunting knife.

Heero moved.

Hoffwin gasped, doubling over as Heero jabbed him sharply in the ribs with one elbow. His grip on the young man's waist loosened and he fell bonelessly to the floor.

Before the Doctor could recover Duo was on him.

Quatre and Sally saw Duo leap over Heero's prone form, knocking the older man back and away from the incredibly vulnerable man. The braided pilot roared, venting days of worry, frustration, fear, and anger in a flurry of blows and kicks. Kept off balance by the continuing attack Hoffwin barely managed to defend himself. Duo was ruthless, never giving his opponent even a moment's respite.

Pulling the long blade from it's sheath Duo slashed the sharp edge along Hoffwin's arm, reveling in his scream. Again and again he struck, savoring each new cry, each new stream of blood. Finally tiring of this game Duo moved in closer to finish it.

Hoffwin saw the blade shift it's arch, watching in stunned horror as his belly was slashed wide open, spilling his intestines down his legs to pool in a bloody pile at his feet. Already in shock from both bloodloss and the beating Duo had delivered Hoffwin barely felt anything, even when Duo slashed his throat, going so deep as to nearly sever the head completely. The American watched in smug satisfaction as the man who'd tortured his beloved Heero fall backwards, blood fountaining from his severed jugular, the contents of his abdomen twisting about his body as it twitched in it's death throes.

Sally was already at work on Heero by the time Duo turned away from the cooling corpse.

The young woman cursed as she worked furiously to stabilize her patient before attempted to move him.

It was so hard. She had no idea what drugs were currently floating about in his system, save that one of them must have been a powerful sedative to keep Heero controlable. But what else? Anything she tried ran the risk of causing a lethal reaction of some kind.

"Quatre, give him some oxygen," she made her decision. "I can't risk giving him anything till I know what drugs were used on him."

Quatre did has Sally ordered. Together they watched and sighed in relief as Heero's breathing steadied and deepened, just slightly. But that was the better than nothing.

"Can we move him?" Duo knelt besides his husband's prone form, long fingers lightly stroking along Heero's jaw, trembling as they brushed across recent bruising.

"We haven't any choice." Sally looked him strait in the eye. "Duo, Heero needs to be in a hospital. The sooner the better."

Duo's eyes returned to Heero. He lay on the cold floor, shivering uncontrollably. Pulling off his own jacket the braided man gently wrapped his husband in it's warm folds. Once satisfied Heero was covered as best as possible Duo gathered Heero up into his arms.

He felt so light!!

How much weight had Heero lost? Rage flared within him once more and was ruthlessly squashed down. He didn't have time to waist on such matters.

Mindful of the possiblity of internal injuries Duo rose carefully to his feet, cradling his precious burden to his chest.

"Okay, let's go."

Sally remained close to the pair as the group began retracing their steps. Duo's hands were full, leaving both young men vulnerable, without any way to defend himself or his husband. This left Sally and Quatre to shoulder that burden. Neither would allow another injury to be visited on the fragile bundle which Duo so lovingly clutched to his breast.

 

Quatre, tray balanced in one hand, eased the door open, peering inside the darkened room towards it's only source of illumination.

The soft light built into the headboard gave the bed's occupant a false appearance of health, casting color, warming what the blonde knew to be marble-pale skin. Heero didn't move. No shifting in his sleep. No twitch in response to some dream or nightmare. Air barely stirred the other man's lungs, the rise and fall of his chest almost invisible to the naked eye.

The only clear indication that Heero was indeed alive was the steady beep of the monitors and Duo's gentle grip on one limp hand.

Slipping silently within, the little Arabian deposited the tray of tea, sandwiches, and soup on the nearest flat surface. Once free of his burden he crossed the room to stand by Duo's side.

It hurt on so many levels to see Heero reduced to this..this inert shadow of his former self. Pain at the thought of what Heero endured at the hands of that Doctor and that twisted freak Relena. Pain for not being able to reach Heero sooner than they did. But perhaps the deepest pain was the sight before him now, and the days and nights before this; having to watch Duo and Zechs' agony.

Both Sally and Doctors here at the hospital held out little hope that Heero would recover after receiving a full breakdown of the drugs loaded into his system. Abuse, stress, malnutrion, and the heavy drugs had severly taxed his body to it's limits and beyond. All they could do was filter his blood periodically with a dialysis machine to assist his kidneys in flushing the drugs and pray his famous resiliancy pulled him through.

Duo and Zechs didn't take this news well. Duo practically fell to his knees and begged Sally to do something, anything, to ensure Heero's recovery. Zechs kept asking if there was anything they could do, anything that Heero needed that they could retrieve. When they were told no more could be done the braided man broke down and cried, curled up in his husband's arms, releasing a week's worth of pent up emotions in one earth shattering three hours of tears. After exhaustion finally claimed him Duo wasn't even aware of Zechs carrying him to Heero's room and tucking him into the other bed. Not a single person present believed for a second that they could possibly keep Duo away from Heero's side once he awakened.

Time proved them right.

The moment Duo awoke he positioned himself by his beloved's bedside, sitting in the chair, moving away only to shower, use the bathroom, and check on his other husband and children. He spent hours talking to Heero, telling him of all the things they'd do together once he was well again. Duo diligently assisted Sally in massaging and stretching Heero's limbs to encourage the remaining drugs out of the muscles. Duo bathed Heero, clothed him, and monitored the IVs and various machines which were supporting the Japanese man's faltering body. Each day was a trial for the close family, the constant threat that Heero's body would fail in it's uphill struggle for survival loomed large in their minds.

As the days passed into weeks the others began to worry about Duo as much as they worried about Heero. The braided man was worn thin by the stress. He barely ate, barely slept. In a nutshell, Duo looked like death warmed over, almost as bad as Heero did. The nurses on duty avoided coming into the room unless they knew one of the others was within. It seemed that several had been frightened when Duo came out of the shadows unexpectedly after visiting the bathroom.

Everyone took turns watching over Heero with Duo, using this time to urge their friend into eating a bit or taking a nap.

Trowa entered the room, having stepped out momentarily to check on Calida, and came to stand by his golden angel.

"How long has he been out?" Quatre slipped one arm around the taller man's waist.

Duo's upper body rested on Heero's bed, head pillowed on one arm. Sleeping in a chair wasn't as good, or as comfortable, as sleeping in the room's other bed but Duo flatly refused to leave his position at his husband's side.

"He fell asleep shortly after I arrived." Trowa drew the other man closer, nuzzling his sweetly scented locks.

Quate added it up. "That makes six hours sleep for him. Wufei reported he slept two hours in his shift and Beathan said the same thing for his turn. At least he's trying to rest."

Trowa shook his head. "That's not it. Duo's exhausted. His body's reached it's limit so he hasn't any choice but to sleep."

"Has he eaten anything yet?"

"No," Trowa replied, voice muffled by Quatre's hair. "And he didn't eat on Wufei or Beathan's shifts either."

Quatre sighed and Trowa drew him closer, sheltering his smaller husband in his warm embrace, offering silent comfort. For a few moments Quatre allowed himself the luxury of accepting the taller man's soothing before reality returned and he reluctantly pulled away. "I'll make sure he eats.

Soft lips brushed his forehead. "Call if you need anything."

"I will. Goodnight Trowa."

"Goodnight Quatre."

The door clicked shut. Quatre remained frozen for a moment then turned to his duties. As much as he loathed to wake the American, Duo desperately needed rest, but he needed to eat just as badly.

"Duo? Duo, wake up." Quatre's voice was soft, laying a gentle hand on one shoulder.

Duo frowned, shifted, and mumbled something too low for the other to hear.

"Wake up Duo." He shook him lightly. "Wake up, I've got something for you to eat."

Blinking owlishly, beautiful violet eyes glazed with sleep and still shadowed with exhaustion gazed up at him. A pale imatation of that famous Duo smile graced his heart-shaped face.

"Hey Quatre," Duo yawned as he sat up, winching as muscles protested the abuse sleeping in this chair was putting them through. "Whatcha doing here? Your turn to babysit?"

Quatre relaxed a little. It was reassuring somehow to know that not even the events of these last few weeks couldn't completely quell Duo's spirit.

"I've brought you something to eat Duo, you really need it." He sat the tray on the bedstand.

Duo eyed the tray's contents dubiously. Okay, he knew he really needed to eat something. He couldn't remember when was the last time anything other than coffee had passed his lips. Zechs had tried to entice him with some sandwiches the last time he was here but Duo only managed to nibble a little. He just couldn't get an appetite up.

"Quatre...I don't think.." He began.

"No, don't say anything." The Arabian man waved an admonishing finger. "You have to eat Duo. You're not taking very good care of yourself right now. Just how do you expect to take care of Heero when your confined to the bed besides his? Zechs has his hands full with worrying over the two of you and the kids. You're not being fair to him either."

"Quatre.." Duo tried again.

But Quatre was not to be denied. "Duo, eat!"

Admitting defeat Duo sighed and reached for the mug of soup. Under the other man's stern gaze Duo ate. After the first swallow his appetite began to return with a vengeance and he found himself devouring the simple fare quickly. Blinking in surprise when there was nothing left but small crumbs. He hadn't realized he was so hungry.

The blonde smiled delightedly. "There, now don't you feel better?"

Duo leaned back, patting his full stomach. "Yeah, I do. Thanks Quatre."

"You're welcome." Quatre settled into the other chair.

Duo's contentment lasted only a brief moment more before the worry settled on his soul again.

"Do you really think he'll make it?" He whispered, reaching for Heero's hand again.

Quatre couldn't lie, not about this. "I don't know Duo, really I don't. We just have to wait and pray. Sally and the staff here have done everything they can. It's all up to Heero now."

"Whata I do if Heero doesn't..." Duo couldn't bring himself to say it.

Quatre couldn't think of anything to say on that matter.

 

The first thing he became fully aware of as he came to was the familiar sensation of honey-tinted silken strands sliding across the back of his hand. Gradually other things intruded into his awareness.

Aches and pains gained during his torturous incarceration were numbed, and he basically ignored them as he was trained to.

The room he was in was dimly lit and comfortably warm, such a blessed change from that harsh cell. Heero could clearly feel the IV lines running into his arms. An oxygen tube was positioned beneath his nose, providing much needed support to his weakened lungs. Soft clean sheets covered his gowned frame. The bandages over his various injuries fresh and clean.

A soft rythmic buzzing caught his attention.

Heero's lips quirked into a faint smile. Duo continously swore up and down to him and Zechs that he never snored. If only he could hear himself right now. A regular little buzzsaw.

Moving his head wasn't quite as painful as the Japanese man had feared. At this new angle Heero could quite clearly see the source of those regular snores.

Duo sat close to his bed, upper body leaning forwards to rest on the mattress. His head lay close to where their hands rested clasped together, loose strands of hair escaping from his usually neatly plaited braid.

( He looks so worn down.) Heero noted the shadows beneath those beloved violet eyes. ( Hasn't he been taking care of himself? Where's Zechs? Surely he wouldn't let Duo get like this.)

Just to Duo's right Quatre slept peacefully, curled up like a contented cat in the soft chair.

Duo twitched, a frown marring that heart-shaped face, as he slipped into another of his nightmares.

Heero was used to this.

In this he and his husbands were very much alike, all three plagued by reoccuring nightmares of their past that sometimes cropped up when they least expected it. Old horrors tearing apart their quiet slumber, robbing them of precious rest and peace. When these terrors came Heero could always count of Zechs and Duo to soothe them away, just they could count on him to do the same when it was their turn.

Duo gasped, the nightmare was getting out of control. Heero tried to reach out, lay a conforting hand on his husband's head, only to be shocked and scared at how little strength he possessed. Well, he'd just have to try talking.

"Duo.." Kami! He sounded like a sick frog!

The braided head stirred slightly.

"Duo.." There, a little louder, but it hurt like hell. His throat was bone dry.

Duo's head twisted and his eyes opened, looking blearily at his beloved even as Quatre began to stir.

"Duo.." He tried again.

Duo's head snapped up, eyes owlishly wide. "He...Heero??"

"Duo."

"OH GOD!! I thought I'd lost you!!" Duo sobbed, raising Heero's hand to his lips in a loving gesture which brought unexpected tears to Heero's eyes. Quatre's eyes were brimming with tears of joy as he stood silently by and watched the two lovers reunited before leaving to wake the others and Sally. As much as he wanted Duo to be alone with Heero right now he knew the other man needed to be examined.

"Heero? Oh hey man, don't cry." He gently wiped the teardrops from those pale cheeks. "It's okay, everything's gonna be all right."

Heero coughed painfully.

"Here, hold on a sec." Duo laid his hand down and reached for the cup on the nightstand. Holding it steady he watched as Heero drank the water from the offered straw.

Heero swallowed slowly, savoring the clear liquid like it was the finest wine, feeling the dry flesh of his throat and mouth soak up the blessed moisture. Releasing the straw he closed his eyes, sighing in contentment.

Duo replaced the cup.

"How long have I been out?" Heero asked.

Duo reclaimed Heero's hand. "Heero, I really think you.."

"How long?"

"Almost three weeks." He murmured. "You were so full of drugs Sally had to use dialysis to clean your blood, you're kidneys almost shut down."

"Three weeks?" Heero couldn't believe it.

"We've all been working with you. Taking turns setting and talking, exercising your arms and legs, keeping you clean. Me, Zechs, Trowa, Quatre, Beathan, and hell even Wufei did some rounds with you. He knows a lot about old chinese medicines and massages."

"But..."

Heero was interupted as the door burst open and the whole gang came tumbling in, followed by a more sedate, but no less pleased, Sally Po.

"Heero's awake! He's okay!" Quatre sobbed happily as Trowa hugged him.

"It's so good to see you Heero." Trowa said with a soft smile.

"Welcome back Heero." Wufei's smile was wide and warm, a perfect echo of his husband's. Beathan was even crying as he hugged Wufei close from behind.

"Heero, Heero.." Zechs was there besides the bed, tears falling from his blue eyes as he bent down to place several soft kisses on his husband's face.

The children were milling about their parents, peering excitedly at the bed, hopping up and down in an effort to get a better look at Heero. Darius and Alessandra climbed up into Duo's lap and were now trying to climb up onto the bed to hug their other Papa, only Duo's arms around their waists restraining them.

Sally refrained from adding her welcome as she was busy checking her patient's vitals and the readouts from several of the machines. Finally she seemed satisfied and at last turned to regard the pale man in the bed.

"Well Heero, you gave us all quite a scare, you know that?"

"Sorry."

"Don't be kid, wasn't your fault."

Heero smiled. "When are you going to stop calling me that? There's only a few years difference between the two of us you know."

"I'll stop calling you kid on the day I die. Consider it a blessing Heero, there's so many other things I could call you."

Heero snorted. "Have I truly been here three weeks?"

"Hey!" Duo looked insulted. "I don't lie remember?"

"Yes, you have." She sat on the bed's side reguarding him thoughtfully. "Heero, I hope you understand you might be in here for while, you're a long way from recovered. Even with you remarkable resiliancy and recuperative powers, it's going to be weeks before you regain your full strength, maybe even months."

"Months? No, two weeks." He said. "Then I go home."

"Two weeks? Impossible." Sally shook her head. "You're going to be difficult aren't you?"

"Of course."

"I think I'll just sedate you, at least then my nerves would get some rest."

"Oh no you don't!" Duo shot back. "He just woke up!"

"Just kidding Duo, I prefer him awake anyway. All right, we'll try for two weeks. But you're going to have a few rules to follow. Don't glare at me Heero, this is for your own good. If I don't lay down some restrictions you'll just go and push yourself right into a relapse."

Heero remained silent. What could he say when he knew she was right.

"Good," Sally now glanced at the sea of concerned faces around the bed. "All of you listen up. Duo and Zechs can't watch Heero all the time so I expect you to keep helping them out."

"We intended to anyway Sally." Beathan replied for them all.

Everyone nodded in agreement.

Duo nearly cried again. "Thanks guys!"

 

Heero didn't care for the rules Sally laid out very much. She'd confined him to the bed for the next ten days, put him on a soft and bland food diet, and refused to remove the catheter. That last one really annoyed him. He hated those damm things.

And his family was driving him crazy. He had thought they'd be on his side. Let him up out of this damm bed to test his feet, maybe slip in a hamburger or something. But no, they followed Sally's rules to the letter. He couldn't so much as slip a foot out from under the covers before one of the others was there tucking it back in and admonishing him for disobeying his Doctor. And the food tasted absolutely awful, when it had taste at all. Most his meals consisted of a bowl of cream of wheat that had the consistancy and flavor of wallpaper paste. Bleah!

He chaffed at being confined in the hospital bed. It might've been at least tolerable if there had at least been a window to look out of instead of these four white walls. His only bright area in this white prison was his family, as infuriating as being stuck here was at least he had them to support him, no matter how frustrating they could be.

Duo and Zechs were there every day, talking to him, or just setting with him as he slept. Occasionally they'd bring the twins but it wasn't often. As much as he loved the two little terrors their enthusiam was tiring. Trowa and Quatre often read to him or watched the vid with him. Wufei was attempting to teach him the finer points of poker, and Beathan had managed to somehow hook him on archelogy. He listened as the redhead discribed various digs he'd headed. Heero was especially interested in the one that ended up giving Beathan that scar on his shoulder and Wufei accepting his proposal of marriage. That was certainly something he wished he could've seen.

With his family to keep his mind from dwelling too much on his condition Heero improved faster than Sally had anticipated. He was up and walking before ten days were up, and soon was up to eating more substantial food. Heero nearly kissed Quatre when the blonde brought in some meals that Beathan's mother had cooked especially for him.

One day Duo showed up carrying a large duffle bag which occasionally moved.

"What have you go there Duo?" He laid his book aside as the braided man sat the heavy bag on the bed with a thump.

"Oh, just a special little visitor." Duo smiled and unzipped the bag.

With a growl Shinigami's head popped out. Heero chuckled as the Corgi pulled himself free of the bag and came bouncing up the sheets to tackle the Japanese man. Delighted laughter filled the air as the tri-color Corgi began licking his face.

Shin stayed with Heero the whole day, occasionally hiding out in the bathroom or under the bed when a nurse or Doctor came in.

"Duo, I need to ask." Heero said round lunch time as they waited for Beathan to show up with the latest home-cooked meals. Shin lay draped across his lap, a silly grin plastered on his muzzle as long fingers kneaded his back and shoulders.

"Whatya need to know Hee-chan?" Duo replied as he cleared away Heero's books.

"What happened to Relena?"

A frosty statement crept over his husband's face, violet eyes going cold and hard. "Not what that bitch deserved if you ask me." He growled.

"What happened?"

"Zechs got to her first, knocked her out and shipped her out to a special ward for the incurably insane. Top notch according to him, a real black hole of a place. Built specifically for the highly umbalanced and dangerous patients. You know the type, homocidal mosters with a thirst for bloodshed just like little miss pink psycho princess." He smiled then. "The only she's leaving that place is in a body bag. Only those with no hope at all of recovery are housed there. The guards have standing orders to kill a patient before they allow anyone to take them outta their cells."

"Oh Zechs," Heero shook his head sadly. He knew his platinum-haired husband still had some feelings for Relena, after all she was his sister and only other member of the original Peacecraft family left alive besides himself. How it must have hurt him when he realized there wasn't any hope for his sister's recovery from this madness.

"Yeah, he was really down in the dumps about it for days. It didn't help none with your condition still up in the air."

Heero lay back, silent now safe for the soft sound of his breathing. His fingers continued to move through Shin's fur, the motion soothing. Shin certainly had no complaints about Heero petting him. The only thing the dog objected to was the fact the female still lived. But seeing that at the moment there was nothing he could do to alter that fact the Corgi wasn't going to brood over it.

Both men turned when the door opened, expecting to their red-headed friend carrying the old picnic basket his mother packed for them. Instead it was Sally and one of the staff doctors.

The instant the man's eyes saw Shinigami draped over his patient a frown settled onto his already pinched face.

"What is that filthy animal doing here? Get it out of here immediately before I call security!" He snapped, pointing at the Corgi who was now up on his feet and growling.

Shin snarled, planting his paws wide apart, ears partly laid back. Who was this male? Why was he saying he had to leave? And what was the remark about being filthy? Shin smelled much better than this new male.

"Luther, I'd be very careful what you say to that dog," Sally warned her companion. "He's much smarter than any other dog I've met. He might decide to respond to your insult."

"He's an animal Sally, it's unsanitary." Luther insisted. "And what could that little dog do to me?"

"Kill you, if he felt so inclined." Sally reached out and patted Shin's head. "He has killed before in defense of his Masters. You remember the photos of Relena I showed you, the ones with all the scars?"

"Yes, of course I do," he eyed the still angry dog with loathing. "You never did tell me what caused those wounds."

"Well here's your answer!" Duo beamed proudly. "Shinigami here was the one that messed up that bitch. All by himself!"

"This..this little dog did all that?" Now a small glimmer of fear crept into the doctor's eyes.

"Yes he did. Now I don't think he'd do that to you Luther for just insulting him, but it's better to be safe than sorry as the old saying goes." The woman smirked at her companion's obvious discomfort. "Why don't you apologize to Shinigami? I'm sure he'd feel more inclined not to eat you if he knew you were sorry for insulting him."

"Apologize? To a dog!?" Luther began, thinking that maybe his colleague was a little unhinged, only to stop when Shin's growls rose in volume.

"All right, all right. Look, Shin, I..I apologize for my words. I'm sorry."

Tilting his head Shin listened to the male. It wasn't a very good apology, but for now it'd do.

The Doctor sighed as Shin stopped growling and settled once more into his former position.

"Have I ever told you Doctor Po that your taste in friends is a bit bizarre?" He shot her a cold glare.

"Have I ever told you Doctor Milian that you are a rude, short-sighted idiot?" She replied before either of her male friends could come to her defense.

Doctor Milian left in a huff.

"The man's an imbecile, but he had one redeeming skill. There's no one better than he is with an analyzer. Heero, I've got some good news for you. Your latest bloodtests show the level of drugs remaining in your system has dropped to almost below measure. Congratulations, you'll be heading out here in another two days."

"YES!!" Duo whooped with joy, lunging forwards to grab Heero in a hug.

"Frankly, I'm rather glad to get rid of you. Not that I have anything against you Heero, but Duo here has frightened some of the floor nurses into requesting shifts in the morgue."

"The morgue?" Heero was puzzled. Duo however was snickering.

"Yes, they say that at least in the morgue the corpses stay on the slabs, they don't walk around frightening ten years off your life by popping out of the shadows right in front of you."

"It was only a couple of times." Wide violet eyes pleaded his innocence.

Sally shook her head. How could he look so innocent? Duo innocent? Those two words definitely didn't go together when she thought of the braided man. If he was innocent she was the Duchess of Spain.

"Promise me you'll stop terrifying the staff Duo, this place can't afford to have nurses run screaming from the wards. It upsets the other patients."

Duo pouted but finally agreed. It should've been enough to soothe her nerves but the devilish glint in the man's eyes didn't bode well for the hospital staff's peace of mind.

Sally sighed, it was going to be a long two days.

 

-------
A.C. 204 August
-------

"Congradulations Heero, you're pregnant."

Sally watched the three men hugging, sharing their joy.

"Are you sure this is okay Sally, I mean after all he went through.." Duo began to ask the same old question as soon as he was back in seat.

"Relax Duo, As I've told you a dozen times before Heero's fully recovered. With care and proper monitoring I haven't the slightest doubt he'll deliver two beautiful healthy babies."

"But twins put such a strain on the body," now it was Zechs' turn to be doubtful.

"Heero's up to it." She laid a soothing hand on the platinum-haired man's shoulder. "I want both of you to relax. You know that I never would have agreed to this if I thought for one minute that Heero wasn't capable of handling it."

"We know Sally, it's just so hard to stop." Duo blushed.

"I can understand that Duo." She smiled at the three men. "Now why don't you head home and spread the good news. I do have other patients to see."

After receiving three kisses and hugs Sally saw them out.

Outside in the car Heero was setting in between his husbands, a tender smile on his face as he gently stroked his stomach, daydreaming of their happy future.

 

The end!

 

Hah! Done! Done! I hoped you all liked it.
I thank all of you that gave me your opinions on this story and it's predecessor. I promise there will be other stories in this universe. I have ideas for some short stories and another long one about how Beathan purposed to Wufei. I'm not sure if it's okay to post to this site, since it deals with a period of time before Heero returned to Duo, and it deals with a OCx5 pairing. I'll find out when I'm ready to post the first part. Maybe I can work it so that it's Beathan telling Heero and the family about it at Christmas or something.

Enjoy,
Cbc