Last revised: 03/17/00

******* WARNING *******
*** extremely alternate universe, semi-darkfic
*** YAOI, a touch of YURI, mature content

*** LIME *** LIME *** LIME *** LIME *** LIME *** LIME *** LIME ***

Here's part 4 and gosh darn it, I barely gotten started on Duo and Heero's little scene. <sulk> Still trying to decide whether to make their scene in the next part lemon or lime.... Same thing with Relena and Dorothy. I have enough trouble with yaoi lemon. I've got no idea if I can manage yuri lemon. <anxious grin>

You probably know the drill -- this is a very rough draft, pardon all the typos, let me know if I hopelessly confuse you, comments eagerly sought after, etc., etc., ^_^;

The other parts of "Dominion Road" and my other GW fics are located at: http://www.geocities.com/madamhydra/GW.html

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DOMINION ROAD
A Gundam Wing fanfic by Madamhydra
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Part 4 (very rough draft)
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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.

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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

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UMBRA - [noun; Latin for 'shadow'] 1. a dark area, especially the blackest part of a shadow from which all light is cut off; 2. shadow, shade; 3. (astronomy) the darkest region of a sunspot.

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After leaving Trowa in the gardens of Roissy, Duo headed back to his suite. His pace was unrushed, yet purposeful, with every movement graceful and sure. When he arrived in the main lobby of Roissy's most exclusive hotel, all it took was a single, cool amethyst stare to make the impatient herd of guests milling around the elevators to clear a path for him. They continued to hang back and allowed him to take sole possession of the next available car.

As he slipped his card key into the slot which granted access to the penthouse level of the hotel, Duo considered his next move. Trowa would undoubtedly brief Quatre as the essential details of Crawford's plot. As for the rest.... Quatre would have to know everything, including the hazards for Trowa,. They couldn't afford to have the Sandrock pilot going off half-cocked or interfering at some critical moment.

(He'll probably think that it's all going to be an 'act', complete with special effects,) Duo thought with a vague sense of amusement.

No matter how much warning the Sandrock pilot received, it was doubtful that he would have any idea just how bloody and brutal the show could and most likely *would* become. Who would believe that Duo Maxwell was capable of deliberately and sadistically torturing one of his own friends? Inconceivable....

(What was the tag line of that old television series? "Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of man?" or something like that?) The name of the show eluded him for a moment, then he remembered. (The Shadow. How appropriate.)

The normal Duo Maxwell would have burst into loud chuckles, but the person dressed in crimson silk and black leather allowed only the faintest of smiles to appear on his lips. Despite Duo's attempts to behave differently, Umbra's habit of exerting total control over himself and others had returned much too easily.

Umbra -- the nickname he had acquired during the months he had spent undercover as a professional dom....

...beautiful, violet-eyed Umbra who inflicted pain with such precise, elegantly savage flair....

....sleek, vicious Umbra who sent chills up the spines up the toughest street gangs and most hardened pimps with his smile....

....seductively cruel Umbra who was barely fourteen years old and yet had the rich and powerful of both sexes grovelling at his feet and offering obscene sums of money, gifts, and favors in return for the privilege of submitting to his will and discipline....

He smiled slightly. What would poor, naive Relena do if she ever found out what her stepfather did while she was away at boarding school?

His job as a professional dom had started out as a simple undercover role, but as the months passed, Umbra had taken on an eerie, unholy existence of his own. By the time the operation had ended, Duo himself wasn't entirely sure WHO he really was. And worse of all, far from being sickening and disturbing, the whole experience had been exquisitely pleasurable and satisfying... for himself, at least, if not for his victims. Nor could he decide which part he found more enjoyable -- the actual act of inflicting pain, be it physical, mental, or emotional pain, or whether it was the feeling of control that pain gave him over others.

After the undercover operation was finished, torn between longing and loathing, he had totally cut loose, drinking and partying like a lunatic... indulging in crazy pranks... anything and everything he possibly could to distance himself from Umbra's seductive and overwhelming persona. But more important than the freedom was his desperate need to know whether he was still capable of caring about other people instead of treating them as toys or mere objects for his amusement. Fortunately, he had gotten his act together before he managed to kill himself or before Professor G decided to hustle him off into therapy.

(Right. The dear professor's not too concerned about Umbra because Umbra is perfectly capable of piloting a Gundam or carrying out missions, but as for me behaving like a normal reckless teenager... THAT's really had him worried.)

Duo had hoped that Umbra and his twisted desires were dead and buried forever, but he was wrong. Umbra was back to spread his shadow over the world once again. And the sickening realization of just how *easily* he had reverted back to being Umbra....

(Crawford, I think I hate you. And you're going to pay DEARLY for Umbra's resurrection.)

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When the door to his suite swung open to reveal a voluptuous dark-haired beauty dressed in an extremely skimpy French maid outfit kneeling in the middle of the living room, Duo didn't even raise an eyebrow. Striding forward, he approached within a few steps of the woman. As soon as he halted, she instantly prostrated herself on the floor.

"Master," she murmured throatily, "I'm here to serve your every desire."

"Indeed," he said with cool amusement.

Duo slowly circled around the prettily groveling woman, then reached down and pulled her back to her knees by her hair.

"Who sent you?"

She bit her rosy lips and replied, "Master Crawford sent me."

"And how do you expect to serve me?" he whispered in her ear.

She shivered and said in a breathy voice, "Any way that pleases you, Master."

Duo released his grip on her long hair and said calmly, "Very well." Moving to an armchair, he gestured languidly at his ankle boots and said, "I want them cleaned."

She smiled with anticipation and crawled until she was kneeling in front of the armchair, but even as she bent forward to lick his boots, he said in mildly scolding tones, "I didn't tell you to lick them. I said I wanted them cleaned."

The maid frowned prettily in confusion.

Duo cocked his head slightly. "That means I want you to take them off my feet and polish them."

She frowned again. "Pol... polish your boots, Master?"

"Yes. Or is that too difficult for you? You did say that you wanted to serve in any way that pleased me," Duo said in the same mildly admonishing voice he had used before.

"Of course, Master, but don't you think that I could provide you with more pleasure in much better ways...," she cooed huskily, audaciously running her fingers along the crotch of Duo's black leather pants.

Without warning, he grabbed the woman by the hair and yanked until she was bent over backward over his knee. With a decidedly feral grin, he said, "What I think is that you're just a rich bitch who managed to bribe some fool into letting you into my rooms. What were you looking for? An exciting night and a good fuck?"

"OWWWW!!!" she squealed both in pain and in anger. "Let me go!"

In a pleasantly conversational voice, Duo said, "Not quite so submissive now, are you?"

"Stop! That... that really hurts!" she whined as he wrenched one of her arms behind her back.

"This isn't one of your pretty little sex slave fantasies. What were you expecting -- safewords, silk scarves, padded cuffs, and velvet whips? Of course it really hurts. I want it to hurt. If you were actually sent by Crawford, you'd know that."

"Shit!" she wailed as he forced her right arm up a bit further. "Stop it!"

"You're in no position to make any demands. You should think of a more pleasing way to convince me," he said with a malicious purr.

If he applied another pound or so of pressure in one direction, he'd dislocate her arm... a sharp jerk in another direction and he'd break it. A quick stamp of his foot could easily shatter a kneecap. Duo felt the familiar dark pleasure seeping through his brain at that enticing thought and the sound of her increasingly frightened whimpers only served to feed his hunger.

"Oh God!!! Please!!! You're breaking my back! Please!!!" she cried as she wiggled futilely in his grasp.

"Nonsense, you can handle a lot more than that. The human body is wonderfully flexible." And to illustrate his point, he forced her spine to arch a few degrees more.

For a brief instant, Duo considered surrendering to his urge to inflict actual physical damage on the idiotic female. However, if the woman was wealthy enough to bribe one of the hotel employees, her disappearance or serious injury could unduly complicate the current situation.

Duo rose to his feet and effortlessly hauled the now sobbing woman across the room. After placing a phone call, he then proceeded to teach the woman an unforgettable lesson about inviting herself into a complete stranger's hotel room.

There are many ways of inflicting intense pain on a human being without leaving marks. Umbra knew most of them.

When someone knocked a few minutes later, he flung open his door and casually tossed the now hysterically sobbing woman out into the hallway like a discarded wad of tissue. Ignoring her soft whimpers and groans of pain, the two impassive hotel employees accepted a liberal tip from Duo before scooping the woman up and carting her away.

After he shut the suite door, Duo leaned back against it and took a few slow, deep breaths before staring down at his partially gloved hands.

They didn't shake. Umbra's hands never shook.

Duo stared at the large plate glass mirror lining one wall of the suite's entranceway. There was no sign of his inner turmoil to be seen in his reflection. Instead, all he could see was Umbra's usual cool, controlled facade -- always watching, always evaluating, always hunting for the next piece of meat for his table... showing just enough hunger to make the prey nervous and unsettled, but never desperate... never sloppy. Quality, not quantity.

Umbra was mastery incarnate... a manipulative, heartless bastard who existed to control others. Dominion was what Umbra hungered for -- dominion over the body, the heart, the mind, and soul of any person unfortunately to attract his attention.

And whatever Umbra wanted, Umbra got.

With almost a conscious effort to break free of Umbra's mannerisms and speech habits, Duo gritted his teeth and said angrily, "Nothing bothers you, does it, you son-of-a-bitch? Everyone's just a toy for your damn games!"

His voice dropped to a whisper, but lost none of its steely determination as he continued to glare at his own reflection.

"I know what you want, but you can't have him. I won't let you have him."

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At that moment, in his hotel room, Heero finished reading his revised orders for the mission.

"Ninmu ryoukai," he said with a slight frown as he shut down his laptop.

(So he's now in charge of this operation....)

Despite Duo's often frivolous and casual attitude, Heero knew that the Deathscythe pilot was perfectly capable of planning and carrying out a complex mission. But Heero still found his new orders was puzzling and a bit disturbing. They basically boiled down to one simple thing -- do whatever Duo tells you to do.

A copy had been forwarded to Duo, so the braided teenager was undoubtedly aware of the change in Heero's orders.

(What the hell is that long-haired idiot going to make me do?)

Knowing Duo, it could almost be anything, ranging from the deadly serious such as assassinating an OZ officer to the highly annoying such as making Heero to go shopping for women's clothes to the utterly humiliating like forcing him to *wear* those women's clothes....

However, sitting around wasn't going to make the situation involving Duo any better and Crawford's damn plot was definitely no joking matter. Heero snorted irritably when a quick check told him that Duo was staying on the exclusive penthouse level of the hotel. Access was restricted, but the Wing pilot already knew several ways to get around the hotel's security.

Rising to his feet, Heero muttered, "I better find out what Duo wants from me," and headed out the door.

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[ Wufei's hotel room ]

After Duo's departure, a thick, oppressive silence settled over Wufei's bedroom. As he rubbed the sore spot on his skull where his head had been slammed against the headboard by Duo, Wufei watched Treize as he sat pensively in the very same armchair that the Deathscythe had occupied so recently.

Unsettled by the quietness, Wufei said abruptly, "Why did you come rushing down here, anyway?"

The general remained silent for a long moment, then quietly said, "I came because I thought I recognized him."

"Him? Are you talking about Duo Maxwell?"

Treize settled back into the chair and murmured, "You really have no idea, do you?" He shook his head ruefully. "You associate with dangerous people, Wufei."

"Are you counting yourself?" came the teenager's sharp retort.

"I admit that I could be considered dangerous by some, but I never...." Treize paused for a moment, as if reconsidering his words. "Your 'friend', if he's the person I think he is...."

"And who would that be?" But when the older man remained silent, Wufei growled impatiently, "If you have an accusation to make, then make it!"

The general paused to gather his thoughts before replying. "Very well. You will recall that you made some disparaging remarks about a deviant sexual subculture." When Wufei nodded slowly, Treize continued, "In this subculture, like in many others, there is an unwritten hierarchy of sorts. On the very lowest end are the curious people simply looking for a vicarious thrill. Moving up the scale you have the casual experimenters, followed by various levels of amateurs, then the usual assemblage of pretentious dilettantes. And finally, there are the serious devotees, and at the top reside the hardcore elite."

"And where do you fit in?" Wufei inquired sarcastically.

With a casual shrug, Treize murmured, "Oh, I suppose that I fit somewhere between the amateurs and the experts."

The Chinese pilot scowled at the deliberately vague reply, but let it go for the moment. "All right. There's a hierarchy. Fine. But I don't see what this has to do with Maxwell!"

"Patience, my dragon." He gave the teenager a serious glance. "And among the elite, there are certain... persons who are both respected and feared for their exceptional talents. One might even call them notorious. One of these persons is an individual simply known as Umbra."

"Umbra...?" Even the sound of the name felt strangely ominous to the Chinese pilot. He hastily shook off the odd mood and snapped, "Is that supposed to mean anything to me?"

With a hooded glance, the general said, "Be thankful that it doesn't. Like the shadow that is his namesake, Umbra's an elusive sort. Although many have heard of him, surprisingly few people have been... privileged... to encounter him in person." A corner of his elegant mouth quirked upward. "I am told that it's quite an unforgettable experience to encounter him, regardless of whether you're a dominant or a submissive. And he's unpredictable. One night, he could attend the most exclusive of high-class parties. Another night, he could appear at the most sordid nightclub imaginable. However, the rumors seem to agree on a few points, namely that Umbra is a master in every sense of the term. He is a dominant who wields profound control over his slaves and who is generally knowledged in the sexual underworld as a nearly unmatched master of discipline and pain."

Wufei gave Treize a look of disbelief and blurted out, "You don't mean to say that you think DUO is this... this Umbra person!"

"I'm almost certain that he is."

"Wait a moment! Have you ever met this Umbra person before?"

"No. But I have seen a very short video clip of him. He is a male in his mid-teens, with dark violet eyes and long, dark gold hair worn in a braid. Quite distinctive."

"Duo's hair is brown!"

"A minor discrepancy easily explained. Besides, I believe Maxwell's hair is chestnut brown with golden highlights."

"And how can a teenager possibly be this... this...," Wufei sputtered and groped for a suitable phrase

"This... super-dom?" the general suggested helpfully.

"Whatever!"

"Physically, he may be a teenager, but the strength of his personality makes the issue of age quite irrelevent. You saw for yourself how politely people like Crawford and Lady Devereaux treated him. They recognized a fellow predator immediately."

Wufei grabbed at his aching head. "Hold it. Hold it! This doesn't make sense! I know you've seen pictures of Maxwell before, so why did it take you all this time to identify him as this Umbra person!?"

Treize shook his head and said, "Because I've never seen Duo Maxwell *act* anything like Umbra. Oh, your friend Maxwell and Umbra may look the same, but the differences in behavior and personality totally overpower the incredible physical resemblance. Even now, I'm finding it rather difficult to understand how Maxwell and Umbra can actually be a single individual."

The general gave Wufei a sympathetic look. "I know that this is hard for you to believe, but you don't have to take just my word for it. You saw his behavior for yourself. Don't try to tell me that you didn't feel nervous, anxious, and more than a little intimidated when Maxwell focused his attention on you."

Wufei stared down at his hands in silence. He desperately wanted to believe that it was all an act... that Duo was simply doing a superb job of playing a role....

(But what I saw tonight... that was no act! The control... the hunger... the cruelty lurking inside... it was all real. REAL. But that still doesn't prove that Treize's story is true....)

Finally, the teenager whispered, "You said... you had a videoclip...?"

"I said that I *saw* a videoclip of Umbra. Just once. In the clip he wasn't quite as... overwhelming as he was in the Meat Market tonight, but I imagine that he had his reasons for wanting to make an immediate impression on Crawford."

"Where is that videoclip now?"

Treize said evenly, "It probably doesn't exist anymore."

Wufei's head came up sharply. "What do you mean?"

"Umbra seems to have an aversion to being caught on video or in pictures. It's almost impossible to find any images of him at all. God knows, I've tried."

"Why were you so interested in Umbra, anyway?" Wufei inquired with a frown. "It's not mere curiosity. You don't strike me as the... submissive... sort, Treize."

"I'm not." Treize took a deep breath. "I became interested in Umbra after a childhood acquaintance of mine... disappeared."

"Disappeared?"

"His name was Siegfried. His mother wanted... no, she *craved* strong discipline. After her husband died under mysterious circumstances, she was free to satisfy her own sexual desires. However, a hunger for bondage and discipline is not the type of need that a wealthy, powerful woman could admit to having. There are too many people willing to exploit that weakness. But she eventually found someone who satisfied her particular needs... someone outside her normal social and business circles."

"So what happened?"

"Siegfried found out somehow. One night, he staggered to my quarters utterly drunk and babbled out the whole story to me. He was disgusted, horrified that his mother, whom he worshipped and idolized, could willingly degrade herself like that. Then he started to rant and rave about killing the bastard who corrupted her. That's when he showed me the videoclip of his mother's new master... Umbra."

Treize shook his head. "I tried to talk him out of it, but...." Shrugging helplessly, he continued, "He stormed out of my quarters the next morning. That was the last time I ever saw him. I made several efforts to locate him, but I couldn't find any trace of Siegfried. That's when I became interested in Umbra."

"You think that Duo... Umbra had something to do with your friend's disappearance."

"Not really a friend. Just... someone I grew up with. The timing of his disappearance was certainly suspicious, but there really was no evidence of foul play. With other projects requiring my attention, I chose not to pursue the matter."

"But surely his mother would have demanded an investigation...!"

Treize drawled, "General Ilsa Vulfenstrag stated that if her son chose to dishonor himself and the family by going AWOL, she would not waste her time or OZ's resources to find him and drag him back just so he could be court martialed."

Wufei's jaw dropped open. "General... Vulfenstrag!? The head of OZ's Logistical Support division!?"

"The one and the same. The dreaded Iron She-Wolf herself. She's definitely *not* someone you want to cross. Anger her and pay vouchers get lost, supplies are mysteriously rerouted, and paperwork gets misfiled."

"And you're trying to tell me that General Vulfenstrag was... that she actually WANTED to be Duo's... I mean, Umbra's slave!? As in 'can I lick your boots and please whip me' type of slave!?"

"Exactly."

Somewhere during the last few minutes of their conversation, Wufei had begun to truly believe Treize's wild story... but it didn't seem quite so wild now. Suddenly, certain odd incidents made a horrible sort of sense to Wufei... like the time Duo managed to get the timetables and cargo manifests for a secret shipment of experimental weapons... or the time when Duo somehow found those special explosive charges for Heero on such short notice... and then there was all that cash....

(How does he do it? Is he blackmailing her? And if he's somehow got a hold on HER, just how many influential people does Duo have under his thumb!?)

Wufei desperately hoped that it was simply a matter of blackmail. That was much easier to stomach than the other possibilities he could think of....

"Boggles the mind, doesn't it? To think that one of OZ's top generals is at a Gundam pilot's beck and call," Treize said with a sardonic smile as he watched the various expressions of shock, disbelief, and revulsion flitting across the teenager's face.

Wufei's hands twisted and knotted the bedsheets as he muttered, "She... she covered up her son's disappearance... to preserve her own reputation...."

"Or she acted on Maxwell's... or I should say, Umbra's orders. For all I know, he could have commanded her to dispose of Siegfried personally."

"That's... that's an obscene suggestion! To order a mother to kill her own son...!"

"My little dragon. For all your maturity and training, you're still so innocent in many ways. You don't understand how people like Umbra think, but I do. My entire family has been intimately involved with sexual sadism and dominance for generations. I grew up surrounded by people like Crawford or Lady Devereaux. To you, a mother killing her own child is a horrible crime. But that act also represents the ultimate proof of a slave's obedience to her master's will. After all, didn't God command Abraham to sacrifice his own son Isaac?"

A long silence followed.

"What a fine world you live in, Treize," Wufei finally said in a cold, bitter voice.

The general met the teenager's icy black gaze without flinching.

"I know. That's why I've tried to leave the darker aspects of it behind. Unfortunately, I haven't been entirely successful," Treize said quietly as his blue eyes shifted to the softly gleaming slave chain on the bedside table.

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[ inside the Meat Market nightclub ]

Dorothy's expression of scornful amusement sent another amorous male scurrying away. She was having too much fun watching Relena. After getting her rump nicely warmed up with a playful paddling, the thoroughly intoxicated Peacecraft was now sprawled wantonly in her spanker's lap, giggling happily as the brown-haired young man tickled her.

(What would those old moronic politicians say if they could see her now?)

Sipping her drink, Dorothy smiled appreciatively as Relena's gold lame dress was pulled up around her waist, exposing her elegant legs which were sheathed in cream-colored silk.

(I'm glad I managed to talk her into wearing stockings and a garter belt. Pantyhose is so constricting,) Dorothy thought smugly to herself. She delicately licked her perfectly painted lips as one of the young man's hands slid up Relena's inner thigh, while the other hand busily pulled her strapless dress down to expose her breasts. There was a hearty roar of approval from the drunken crowd watching the entire scene.

The Catalonia stepped off the bar stool and sauntered over toward Relena and company. She nudged several people out of her way, reached into her tiny evening bag, and pulled out a camera. As Dorothy leisurely took a whole series of photos of the near-naked Relena, the brown-haired young man looked up and cheerfully greeted her.

"Yo, Dorothy!"

"Enjoying yourself, Reggie?"

The young man chuckled and said, "You sure can pick 'em! Underneath all that prissiness, she's one hot babe!" as he casually fondled one of Relena's breasts. The Peacecraft responded by leaving a trail of wet, sloppy kisses along his neck.

"She did chug down two Pink Pussy Zingers in the space of less than ten minutes."

"Whoa! No wonder she's acting like a bitch in heat!" He gave Dorothy a sly glance. "Betcha you didn't warn her about those pink drinks they serve around here."

She gave him a malicious little smirk. "Well, Relena's the stubborn sort. Once she's got her mind set on something, she hates backing down. The bartender did try to warn her, but she wouldn't listen."

Relena writhed provocatively on Reggie's lap and complained, "I've got an awful itch... help me scratch it, dahling?"

He leered at her, then glanced up at Dorothy. "Well, wanna make it a threesome?"

Dorothy grinned dangerously. "Still trying to get me into bed, Reggie?"

The young man gave the Catalonia, clad in her sleek dress of electric blue silk and glittery fishnet, an admiring look.

"Hell, can't blame a guy for trying, you know."

"I suppose not. But like I said before, I'm not interested in you. Nothing personal."

As Reggie's face fell, Dorothy reached out and stroked a long-nailed finger along his cheek, "But I thank you kindly for warming Relena up for me."

He gave her a good-humored shrug. "Oh well. Want some help getting her back to your room?"

"How gallant of you, Reggie."

"It's no big deal. I can always come back here and look for another playmate. What are friends for, anyway?"

The young man grinned and stood up with Relena slung over his shoulder. In that position, Reggie had the perfect opportunity to squeeze and fondle the drunken girl's nicely rounded buttocks, which were still flushed red from their earlier spanking. Once outside the club, Relena lifted her head and peered a bit cross-eyed at Dorothy who was walking behind Reggie.

The Peacecraft extended a hand in Dorothy's direction and said with a silly grin, "Coming? Don't wanna be... alone...."

Taking hold of Relena's hand and lacing their fingers together, Dorothy said smoothly, "But of course! You don't think I'd let you get away from me so easily."

Relena snickered hazily. "Niccce...."

With her free hand, Dorothy patted Relena on the head like a pet dog and said, "I'm even going to teach you how to be a good girl. Would you like that, Relena?"

"Sssure... alwaysss wanna be a good... girl...," came the other girl's slurred and complacent response. "Good girlsssss... do... what... they're... told...."

"Excellent," Dorothy purred with a predatory glint in her blue eyes.

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Unlike normal hotel rooms, the penthouse suites at the Roissy resort were accessible by a set of small service corridors that were designed to provide an inconspicious way for servants and other items to move in and out of the suites.

Heero used these service corridors to make his way unobserved to Duo's suite. The servants' entrance was locked, but an access code hacked from the resort's computers easily took care of that problem.

The Wing pilot stepped inside the luxurious rooms. In sharp contrast with the other rooms in the resort, the suite was decorated in almost excruciating good taste. It made both Quatre's and Relena's houses look positively cheap in comparison. For a brief instant, the sound of opera music playing softly in the background made Heero wonder if he was in the right suite. The idea of Duo listening to opera made him snort softly as he continued his exploration.

At first, the entire suite seemed to be unoccupied. It was only when he reached the master bedroom when he found any traces of someone's presence. A long thin case and a briefcase, both locked, sat on the floor. From the adjoining bathroom came the sound of a running shower. The only thing disturbing the exquisite tidiness of the room was the rumpled heap of leather and silk clothing laying in a corner of the room, as if carelessly tossed there.

Heero moved stealthily over to the bathroom and peered through the barely opened door. The sight of a familiar mass of long wet chestnut hair confirmed that this was indeed his teammate's suite.

"Duo," the Wing pilot said with his usual curtness.

There was a surprisingly long pause before Duo responded.

"I'll be out in a few minutes."

The dark-haired teenager frowned at the oddly cool tone in Duo's voice, then shrugged and sat down on the bed to wait.

Five minutes passed before the bathroom door fully opened and Duo appeared in the doorway, dressed in a white bathrobe. Strangely, he said nothing as he continued to towel his long hair dry.

Heero's lips thinned briefly in annoyance before he said tersely, "I received my new orders."

"I see." Duo finished drying his hair and hung up the damp towel with uncharacteristic neatness.

"What's going on? Why the sudden change in plans?" Heero demanded.

The Deathscythe pilot walked further into the bedroom and smiled slightly, "Aren't we in a bad mood today."

"I'm not interested in playing any of your silly games, Duo!"

The long-haired pilot's muted look of amusement faded. With no particular emotion in his voice, he said evenly, "No games. What did your new orders say?"

Heero said irritably, "You know what they said."

"But I want to know what you think those orders mean."

The Wing pilot glared at Duo and said flatly, "That the original plan is inoperative. That you're now in command of this particular operation and that I'm to obey your orders."

Heero suddenly felt a chill of unease as Duo finally smiled. There was something wrong with that faint smile. It had a dark, menacing edge that simply did NOT belong there.

"Excellent." The Deathscythe pilot continued to move closer to Heero until he stood only a few feet away. "But tell me. Do you intend to follow those orders?"

"Of course," Heero snapped.

"Really? Are you going to obey me fully and to the best of your ability?"

"Yes! Duo, what the hell's wrong with you?"

"I'm fine." The long-haired teenager reached up and lightly grasped the back of Heero's neck. When the Wing pilot instinctively lifted his hand to brush Duo's hand away, the Deathscythe pilot's dark violet eyes narrowed ominously.

In a cold, steely voice, Duo said, "Don't. Move."

"What the...?"

"That's an order, Yuy."

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Keeper of Duo's Dark Side ~~~ Duo no Seishi
Co-Keeper of Duo's Scythe & Bat Wings
Co-Keeper of Little Grim Reaper Duo
Keeper of Saitoh's Sex Life ~~~ Saitoh no Koibito
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madamhydra@aol.com /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/:E
http://www.geocities.com/madamhydra/
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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.
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