Last revised: 12/17/99
Last modified: 03/17/00
*** WARNING: alternative-reality, yaoi, semi-darkfic
*** violence, potential lemon in future parts
A Gundam Wing fanfic by Madamhydra
Part 3 (revised draft)
Short Disclaimer: (Full Disclaimers at the end)
Gundam Wing is copyright of its respective creators and all distributors of their work and used without permission.
There's a red fox torn by a huntsman's pack
That's my soul up there
There's a black winged gull with a broken back
That's my soul up there
There's a little black spot on the sun today
It's the same old thing as yesterday
I have stood here before inside the pouring rain
With the world turning circles running 'round my brain
I guess I'm always hoping that you'll end this reign
But it's my destiny to be the king of pain
-- "King of Pain" by The Police
Wufei's breath stuck in his throat as he identified the mysterious visitor sitting in his bedroom.
Although the darkness hid Duo's expression from view, Wufei somehow sensed the faint smile on the Deathscythe pilot's shadow-obscured face.
"Did I scare you, Wufei?" Duo inquired quietly. And again, there was that haunting intensity in his familiar low tenor voice....
"N-No...." The Chinese pilot was dismayed to hear the painfully obvious uncertainty in his own voice. He gritted his teeth and snapped, "Of course not!"
"There's no need to lie, Wufei. I even scare myself at times," Duo murmured with a dispassionate thoughtfulness that seemed more appropriate coming from Trowa.
A shiver ran down Wufei's spine as he stared across the darkened room at his visitor. Unlike of the usual restless fidgeting that often drove Wufei to distraction, the other teenager remained almost uncannily still in the armchair.
"What are you doing in my room?" the Shenlong pilot growled.
"To tell you there's been a change in our mission. New information arrived after you and the others left."
Uncomfortable with talking to a nearly invisible Duo and unable to see anything more than the still outline of the other's leather-clad body, Wufei switched on the room's lighting. But the bright illumination did little to reassure him or make him feel more secure. His instincts had been right -- Duo was smiling ever so slightly at him.
"Well, spit it out," Wufei snapped as he shifted uneasily under Duo's unrelenting stare. As the braided pilot's gleaming indigo eyes seemed to cut right through his bold facade, the Chinese pilot couldn't help feeling like some poor experimental animal who had been pinned down on a lab table and sliced open for all the world to see.
Duo didn't immediately reply. Instead, he rose with predatory grace to his feet and silently prowled over toward Wufei, who had to fight the impulse to cower away from the other teenager's steady approach.
The Deathscythe pilot halted beside the bed and gazed down at the distinctive neck chain carelessly coiled on the bedside table. He sighed softly and murmured, "Well, that both complicates and simplifies things."
Duo reached out and picked up the chain. As he dangled it from a slender finger, his smile widened just a fraction as he examined the small lock on the chain.
Wufei fidgeted guiltily, knowing that Duo was probably all too aware of the neck chain's significance.
"Well, Treize has taste. I'll say that much," the braided teenager languidly commented. "So you've agreed to play his pet for a while...."
Wufei's sense of uneasiness had steadily intensified during their little encounter. The person standing in front of him simply was *not* the Duo Maxwell he knew. Although that Duo could be irritating as hell, he was also exuberant, free-spirited, cheerful, and extremely likable. In stark contrast, this familiar-looking, yet threatening stranger with the braid seemed to exude a disturbing... no, a *frightening* sense of control, both of himself and his surroundings.
He even *smelled* different, with the faintest hint of Duo's usual fruit-scented shampoo blending strangely with the scent of body-warmed leather and... blood?
Unwilling to admit that Duo was making him more than a little nervous, Wufei went on the verbal offensive.
"Maxwell, what the HELL sort of game are you playing at...!"
The Chinese pilot's words ended in a smothered grunt as Duo grabbed Wufei by the throat and slammed him back against the bed's headboard hard enough to make the Shenlong pilot briefly see stars.
As he hovered over the other pilot on the bed, Duo said tautly, "Game? This is no GAME, Wufei. Do you have any IDEA how fucking sick it makes me to force myself think and act this way again? I'm certainly not doing it just for a cheap thrill or a quick lay."
Although someone of his training could have successfully broken the hold on his throat, something kept Wufei from trying to free himself from Duo's steely grip. The terrifying evenness in Duo's voice did more to convey his sincerity and his seriousness than any amount of shouting.
"As I was saying, after you guys left, one of the assistant scientists defected from Crawford's secret project and came to us with new information. We were right. Crawford is working on a secret biological weapon project, specifically a deadly virus. However, the defector had evidence that the developed viral strain is not only highly lethal, but that it's very unstable. Do you understand what that means?" Duo loosened his grip enough to allow Wufei to choke out a word or two.
"Exactly. Usually, when the military develops these sorts of bioweapons, they do two things. First, they develop vaccines for that particular virus or bacteria, because it would be idiotic to use such weapon without a way to keep oneself from being infected. Second, they usually have a way of making the virus self-destruct after a certain amount of time to keep it from spreading out of control. Got that much?"
When Wufei nodded, Duo continued, "But Professor G and the others say that from the information they have, there's over a fifty percent chance that if that Crawford's virus is released into the environment, it will mutate into a much more dangerous strain. That means the old vaccine won't work. Not only that, but the new strain will be self-propagating and air-borne. Do you understand what that means, Wufei? If they use that virus, there's a better than even chance that everyone on Earth could die."
The Deathscythe pilot paused an instant, before murmuring, "Do you know what it's like to walk through a place decimated by a plague? To see people falling down and lying in the street coughing their lungs out? Have you ever seen your best friend dying because his insides were turning to bloody pus before your very eyes... been forced to kill that best friend in order to stop his suffering? Have you, Wufei?" Duo's voice faded as he seemed to look past the other teenager, momentarily lost in the pain of old memories. Suddenly, his icy amethyst eyes refocused on Wufei.
"I'll do anything... ANYTHING... to stop that from happening again."
"Doesn't Crawford know...?" Wufei whispered hoarsely.
"Crawford and his fellow sadists like Devereaux and Ruderigo all run businesses that stand to reap huge profits from a plague -- medical supplies and research, transportation, food,...."
"That's INSANE! How can they possibly think...?"
"Crawford knows that the virus is unstable -- he deliberately made it that way. Don't you see? Crawford sells the virus to someone in the military or to some terrorist. When the buyer uses it, the virus gets out of control. Crawford and his pack of industrialists step in at the right moment, make tons of cash coming up with a supposed 'cure', and save humanity from destruction. All hail the saviors of the world. Are you starting to get the picture?"
"That... that's MONSTROUS! How many people are involved in this crazy plot!?"
"I believe there are five or six core conspirators, but they're looking for more people to join them." Duo leaned back and said with a dangerously edged smile. "Namely, military people. An OZ general would do nicely."
Wufei impulsively blurted, "Treize wouldn't... I mean, he... that is to say... it's just not his....!" then hastily clamped his mouth shut when he saw Duo raise a mocking eyebrow. With flushed cheeks, the Chinese pilot stared down at the bedspread.
Duo said in a faintly amused voice. "Oh yes, Crawford intended his virus to be defective and unstable -- but he doesn't realize just HOW unstable it really is. Our informant tried to warn him, but Crawford ignored her. Later, he tried to have her killed to keep her from going to the authorities. Since the flaws in the virus were too deliberate to be mere accidents or sloppy lab work, it seems that the scientist in charge of the project is double-crossing Crawford for his own reasons."
"So our mission is now to destroy the virus and all the information about it...."
"And eliminate Crawford and any of his fellow plotters. It's going to be complicated. Just blowing up the lab is out of the question. An explosion might release the virus," Duo said.
"Oh shit...," muttered Wufei.
"No, we're going to have to locate the lab, find every bit of that virus and sterilize the area BEFORE destroying the facility." In a matter-of-fact tone, Duo added, "Also, we can't afford any loose ends, so we need Crawford and some of his associates alive for interrogation. That's my job."
Wufei shuddered at Duo's soft chuckle. Instead of its usual cheerful good-humor, there was a subtly cruel edge to the braided pilot's laughter... and an unmistakable hint of eager anticipation.
Before the Chinese pilot could think of anything to say, the bedside phone rang loudly. Before Wufei could move, Duo hit the acknowledge button.
"Wufei?" Treize's voice was instantly recognizable over the speaker.
With a dark tone of amusement, Duo said in a clearly audible voice. "Hello, General. Checking up on your pet?" and gently jangled Treize's neck chain near the microphone.
There was a brief instant of silence, then the call abruptly disconnected.
Duo turned to Wufei and for the first time that evening, he actually grinned. But like his laughter, the grin was tainted with an uncharacteristic malevolence.
In a near-purr, the braided teenager said, "It takes exactly five minutes to get from the penthouse floor to this room at a very brisk walk. Why don't we see how long it takes for Treize to get here."
"You... you actually expect him to...."
"Oh, I'm betting on it."
Precisely four minutes later, Treize calmly walked into Wufei's hotel room without even knocking.
"Entertaining surprise guests, Wufei?" the older man drawled. Only the most perceptive of observers would have noticed that the young OZ general was breathing just a bit faster than normal.
Duo turned to his fellow Gundam pilot and said smugly, "What did I tell you?"
As the braided teenager languidly rose from the bed and walked toward him, the OZ general said coolly, "I gather that my arrival was... not unexpected? I hope that I didn't disappoint you."
"On the contrary, General. You exceeded my expectations."
Duo picked up a data disk that had been lying unnoticed on a nearby table, and flipped it to Treize.
"Here. That disk contains information on Crawford's plans and the reason why he invited you here. You might find it interesting reading."
Treize's eyes narrowed. "Why give this to me? I thought you Gundam pilots considered me as just another OZ butcher and/or the devil incarnate."
"Maybe, but being a monster doesn't mean that one can't have some sense of honor and morals. I should know."
Treize gazed thoughtfully at the leather-clad teenager standing before him and murmured, "Are Crawford's plans that bad? And what's to stop me from going straight to him with this information?"
Duo said quietly, "If we don't stop Crawford, then millions could die. I don't think you want that."
Treize said quietly, "No, I don't."
"And with Crawford's connections within OZ, it'll nearly be impossible for you to take any official action against him."
"I'm all too aware of that," the general said, tapping the disk against his palm with a slight frown on his face.
Duo added, "It would be good if you were willing to cooperate with us, but I'll settle for your non-interference."
"I see. When do you need my decision?"
"The sooner, the better, of course."
After Treize and Duo exchanged polite nods, the Deathscythe pilot then glanced back at Wufei and said with a slight smirk, "You should be quite proud of yourself, Wufei. Not everyone manages to get an enemy general to come charging to his rescue."
Wufei opened his mouth, closed it, then finally said tensely, "Did he? Need to come to my rescue, that is?"
Duo cocked his head slightly and seemed to give the other teenager's question some serious thought.
"Did he need to rescue you? I don't think so. I'm not at the point of hurting my friends for my own personal amusement. Yet."
With that cryptic statement and a flick of his thick silky braid, Duo Maxwell exited the room, leaving Treize and Wufei behind to stare silently at each other.
Just as he was about to give up his search and leave the club, Quatre noticed a commotion near the bar. Working his way through the crowd, he peered around a vinyl-clad man and froze in shock as he saw Relena Peacecraft sprawled on a husky young man's lap. With her skimpy skirt shoved up around her waist, she squirmed and squealed as the man's hand descended repeatedly on her exposed buttocks. Quatre's eyes grew even wider as the young man said something to the people around him and suddenly no less than a dozen paddles or straps of all sorts were pulled from various bystanders' pockets and purses, to be generously offered for the spanker's use.
As the Arab pilot instinctively took a step forward, an elegant female leg encased in metallic fishnet stockings moved up to bar his path.
Startled, Quatre glanced toward the leg's owner and blurted, "What...? Dorothy Catalonia!?"
"Don't interfere, Quatre Raberba Winner."
"But... but he's HITTING her!"
Dorothy shrugged nonchalantly and took another sip from her exotic looking drink. "So? She's rather enjoying it, I think."
The sound of another loud squeal, followed by a decidedly intoxicated giggle, seemed to only confirm Dorothy's words.
"What is she doing here!?" a blushing and badly flustered Quatre said.
"Oh, I thought it would be nice to get little miss princess to loosen up a little," the girl said with a mischievous waggle of her exotic eyebrows.
As Quatre tried to figure out what the hell to do about Relena, he suddenly noticed Trowa talking to someone dressed in a strikingly sinister black leather and crimson outfit.
(Who can that be?) the Sandrock pilot wondered... then he caught a fleeting glimpse of a familiar chestnut braid.
(Can that be Duo!? In that outfit!? No, that can't be... could it?)
All thoughts of Relena were shoved aside as Quatre fought his way toward Trowa. He was still trapped behind a mob of jiggling, bare-breasted dancers when he observed the Heavyarms pilot and the leather-clad stranger disappearing out a side door.
As they silently walked down one of the paths winding through the elegant landscape of the Roissy Resort, Trowa couldn't stop himself from repeatedly glancing at his companion.
Duo had appeared out of nowhere, almost as if he had materialized from the smoky, haze-clouded atmosphere of the Meat Market. And while Trowa was still trying to take in the Deathscythe pilot's disturbingly sensuous leather/silk outfit and the even more disturbing changes in his usually cheerful demeanor, Duo had very firmly escorted the taller teenager out the door and into the cool evening air. He wasn't exactly using force, but it would have required obvious effort on Trowa's part to free himself from the other's purposeful grip.
They finally halted in a sheltered corner of the garden where the burbling sound of a nearby fountain minimized the chances of being overheard.
The Deathscythe pilot didn't responded immediately. Trowa patiently waited as Duo continued to stare at the clear water spilling down an artfully arranged pile of rounded river rocks. Finally, the braided pilot started speaking in a cool, precise voice as he informed Trowa about the defecting scientist, the problems with the virus, and Crawford's little conspiracy.
Through the briefing, the sense of 'wrongness' and unnatural restraint steadily increased Trowa's tension. When the other pilot fell silent, the green-eyed pilot hid his growing uneasiness and merely said, "So what's your plan?"
"Crawford and his friends running their own little Hellfire Club. They like to consider themselves connoisseurs of pain, if you will. It also gives them a perfect excuse to get together regularly. From what the informant said, the weapons lab is in the same building as their club."
"How does she know?"
"She said that when she was being escorted blindfolded to and from the lab, she could hear the sound of blows and people screaming. There's just one problem," Duo said.
"No one except Crawford and a handful of guards and servants know where the club actually is. I don't think that even Devereaux or Ruderigo knows."
"Can we kidnap him and force him to tell us?"
"He keeps himself surrounded by lots of bodyguards and whenever possible, crowds of innocent civilians. If we were going for a simple assassination, that wouldn't present too much of a problem, but trying to kidnap him is an entirely different proposition. If we had more time to come up with a decent plan, I'd give it a try, but as matters stand...." He shrugged.
"I see. What about the servants or guards?"
Duo shook his head sharply. "For one thing, we don't known which of the hundreds of employees at Roissy work at the club. Second, the number of people in the 'know' is probably so small that I'm sure they all recognize each other by sight. More importantly, Crawford's bound to know each of them, too, even if his associates don't. A strange face will raise instant suspicion."
"Then how do you intend to locate the lab?
There's only two sure ways for a stranger to get into that private club of theirs. By invitation."
"You said there were TWO ways."
Without turning to look at Trowa, Duo said evenly, "That's right. You're either invited as a fellow sadist or you're 'invited' as a victim."
"I have a plan that will get me and two more people inside the club's perimeter. I can also arrange for Crawford and his cronies to be distracted and isolated from most of the servants and guards. That way, if we need more information about the lab or the conspiracy, we can deal with Crawford and the others in relative privacy."
Trowa frowned faintly as he caught the faintest hint of a smile flash across the other pilot's face.
In a laconic voice, the braided pilot continued, "I've convinced Crawford and the conspirators that I enjoy inflicting pain as much as they do. They apparently like my style because they've invited me to put on a little private show for them. I suppose they're looking for a little novelty and excitement."
"Convinced them? How?" inquired Trowa.
"Why, by giving them a practical demonstration, of course. I caned
the crap out of some moron who tried pulling my hair," came the shockingly
Trowa suddenly interrupted by saying sharply, "Duo, what have you done to yourself?"
He finally turned to face Trowa and gave the Heavyarms pilot the same dangerously edged smile that so unnerved Wufei. But underneath the surface of that mocking amethyst stare, Trowa detected more than a little self-loathing.
"Only what was necessary. This isn't something you can fake, especially not in front of experienced people like Crawford and Lady Devereaux. Make no mistake, my enjoyment and enthusiasm were quite real."
"It didn't take any real effort to convince Crawford that I was just like him and his associates. And do you know why? Because I *AM* just like them. I derive pleasure and sexual satisfaction from inflicting pain on others. And if that's not a textbook definition of a sadist, I don't know what is."
A stunned Trowa whispered, "How...?"
"How did I find out? During my training under Professor G, there was an incident involving a traitor. He had to be interrogated and we didn't have any drugs laying around, so I had to use good, old-fashioned physical torture to get the man to talk." Duo raked a hand through his long bangs and exhaled heavily.
"That's when I found out I had a real gift for that sort of thing. It seems that when I'm seriously involved in hurting someone, I have a sort of 'truth-sense' -- I can tell if that person is telling the truth or lying. I can even tell if he or she is withholding information. And you know the doctors -- waste not, want not. Professor G considered this little 'quirk' of mine to be a terrifically useful asset and made sure I was thoroughly trained to make optimum use of it. And then there was this undercover job...."
Duo took a deep breath and clenched his fists. "I hoped I would never ever have to do anything like that again, but now.... If the situation was any less serious.... Trowa, I don't like to hurt people, but I enjoy it. I enjoy it a lot."
The brown-haired teenager struggled to somehow reconcile the Duo Maxwell he thought he knew to this near-stranger, with all his undercurrents of cruelty and pain. Then the Heavyarms pilot's thoughts suddenly returned to something Duo had mentioned earlier.
"You said that you could get two other people into Crawford's club. You're not suggesting...."
Duo nodded grimly. "That's exactly what I'm proposing. It's my 'performance', so to speak, so I get to pick my subjects. One of you is going to help me distract Crawford and his gang as the 'victim' of my little show, leaving the other one free to locate the weapon lab and call in the others."
Turning away from Trowa, Duo waved his hand and added, "Who's more likely to survive this sort of treatment and give me the ability to draw my little performance out if I need to -- some poor slob out off the street or one of us? I can ensure that the experience won't be fatal, but it has to be real... all of it. I won't be able to distract Crawford and the others with a fake show. Whoever I pick as my victim is going to get hurt."
"Why are you telling me this?" Trowa whispered, but in his heart, he had already figured it out.
"You know why. I'll arrange for you and Heero to be brought into the club as my two chosen victims."
"And you intend to use me as the distraction for Crawford while Heero takes care of the lab."
Duo gave one sharp nod. "You and Heero are the only real choices for that role. I can't use Wufei because Treize doesn't want him anywhere near Crawford and his gang. The general is keeping a close eye on Wufei and he's bound to interfere if I get him involved."
"If Treize knows about the virus, he won't allow Crawford to get away with his plans, no matter what the cost," Trowa said flatly.
"Maybe. But even if Treize didn't interfere, I don't think Wufei or Quatre is capable of dealing with what I'm going to be doing to them. I'm not talking about the pain -- I know they can both handle that -- but getting hurt in combat is very different from being deliberately tortured. And I think you know that as well as I do," Duo said fiercely.
The Heavyarms pilot thought a moment, then said quietly, "I understand your reasoning, Duo. Torture not only leaves one scarred on the outside, but also on the inside. You want to spare Quatre and Wufei that experience. As for Heero... you don't want him involved because you love him."
Duo hunched his shoulders and muttered in a tone that sounded much more like his normal self, "He'll be furious if he finds out I'm trying to protect him from something like this. I can just hear him saying that love is a bloody idiotic basis for making a tactical choice. And it must sound like a pretty lousy reason for making YOU into the sacrificial scapegoat."
Trowa shook his head slightly. "I understand your reasoning perfectly well, both in regard to Quatre and Wufei, and in regard to Heero. As for love... knowing what I do, there's no way I am going to allow you to hurt Quatre like that."
The Heavyarms pilot's voice became even more distant than usual as he added, "I've survived this sort of ordeal before. I can do it again."
The braided teenager whirled around to face Trowa. "You shouldn't have to endure that sort of shit again! Believe me, if you've got any alternative suggestions, I'm dying to hear them! Do you think I WANT to do this, torture one of my closest friends? It's like one of my worst nightmares come to life!" His voice faded to a whisper. "If this mission wasn't so bloody important...."
Duo took a deep breath. "You're partially right about love being the reason that I don't want to pick Heero. Sure, I hate the idea of him suffering, just like I hate the idea of any of you guys suffering because of me. But with Heero, it becomes even more messy. There's love, all right, but there's also fear -- my fear. I'm a coward, Trowa. I'm scared of what I'll become if I had to hurt Heero...." He briefly paced back and forth as if gather his courage before continuing.
"Damn it, I'm already insanely in love AND in lust with him, Trowa! Whenever I'm around Heero, I have to constantly fight to keep my words and my feelings from showing too much. I always have to remember to take things slowly in order to give Heero a chance to deal with emotions and situations he's never experienced before. Have you got any idea of what could happen if the sick, pleasure and hunger I feel when I hurt someone gets added on top of the emotions I already have for Heero? The desire, the passion, the frustration.... I could drown SO easily...." Duo closed his eyes and hugged himself as if attempting to hold himself together.
Trowa's eyes widened as he began to comprehend the depths of Duo's dilemma. He whispered, "You're afraid of losing control... of losing yourself... of not being *able* to stop if Heero's involved."
Duo nodded sharply. "And I can't allow that to happen. I... WE can't take that risk. I HAVE to stay in control for this mission to succeed. The pleasure I get from hurting someone... you can't... it's worse than any drug, Trowa. It would be so easy to get hooked on it. I'm afraid that one day, the hunger will take over... that one day, I'll become a monster that only exists to feed off of others' pain, regardless of whether they're an enemy or a friend."
"I see. The less you care, the easier it is for you to stay in control."
Duo reached out and grabbed Trowa's arm. "It's not that! I care about you, Quatre, and Wufei as if you were the brothers I never had. But Heero... he's so much more to me than just a comrade-in-arms or a buddy. It's the...."
"It's the sexual attraction you feel for him. I've always known that, Duo, and I do understand. You're frightened that your feelings for Heero -- your love, your desire, your need for him -- will get blurred and consumed by your darker hungers and desires."
"Yes. Exactly." Duo turned away from Trowa's sympathetic gaze and said softly, "I would be a hell of a lot happier if *I* was the chosen victim. If any of you had the necessary expertise and experience to carry out this sort of role...." He glanced over his shoulder at the other pilot. "After all this is through, you can put a pistol to my head and blow my brains out. I won't stop you. I'll probably deserve it a hundred times over."
The Deathscythe pilot stepped close and said quietly, "So, Trowa, shall we both take a short trip into Hell together?"
There was a long silence, before Trowa whispered, "Yes."
From his location in a concealing thicket, Quatre was unable to make out any part of the long, intense conversation going on between Duo and Trowa. Suddenly, he stared in mingled shock and bewilderment as Duo leaned forward and kissed Trowa on the lips before abruptly disappearing into the shadows. The Arab pilot felt a painful knot grow in his chest as he watched a dazed Trowa put his fingers first to his cheek, then to his lips.
Duo closed his eyes briefly when he heard Trowa's soft assent, then whispered, "I don't want to do this." He leaned forward and brushed a gentle kiss on Trowa's lips, then looked away before adding softly, "But I *will* enjoy doing it."
And with those words, Duo turned and quickly vanished into the darkness.
Trowa suddenly became aware of a dampness on his cheek. Curiously, he touched it, then tasted it. The saltiness instantly told him that the moisture was a tear... but it was not his own.
It was Duo's.
Keeper and Mistress of Duo's Dark Side
Co-Keeper of Duo's Scythe & Bat Wings
Duo no Seishi ~~~ Saitoh no Koibito
The Full Disclaimer
All rights and privileges to Shin Kidousenki Gundam Wing are trademarks and property of Sunrise, Bandai, Sotsu Agency, and associated parties. The characters of these works are used WITHOUT permission for the purpose of entertainment only. This work of fiction is not meant for sale or profit.
Original portion of the fiction included here is considered to be the sole property and copyrighted to the author.