3-1-2001

Disclaimer: (Full Disclaimers at the end) Gundam Wing is copyright of its respective creators and all distributors of their work and used without permission. Song excerpt from "You Give Love A Bad Name" by Bon Jovi, used without permission.

********** WARNINGS ********* WARNINGS *********

Alternate Universe, semi-darkfic
Mature Themes (violence, torture, abuse, non-consensual sex, etc.)

YAOI (male/male relationships)
LEMON/LIME (explicit/implied sexual content)

********** WARNINGS ********* WARNINGS *********

Pairings: 1x2
Rating: NC-17 (adult content/mature themes)
Archive: www.madamhydra.net/GW-DARK.html, www.fanfiction.net

NOTE 1: Duo's outfit comes directly from the "Stealth Duo" drawing by Kitsune (check it out at www.madamhydra.net/GW-FANART.html) ^_^ Many thanks to RoseArgent and Kenshi for all the great suggestions about Duo's wonderfully versatile hair!

NOTE 2: It has recently (01/31/2001) come to my attention that there exists an old GW fic called "Memories" which shares a very similar basic premise to "Wicked Game". ^_^; I don't recall ever reading that story before 2001, so after a discussion with one of the authors, I'm pretty sure that "Wicked Game" and "Memories" were developed independently. <sweatdrop>

NOTE 3: Because of the addition of a significant subplot, the prologue to "Mechanics of Control" has been revised. You can find the revised version (v2) at my website (see above).

/.../ represents mental and/or subconscious dialogue

~ ~ ~ indicates flashbacks

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MECHANICS OF CONTROL: WICKED GAME
A Gundam Wing ALTERNATE-REALITY fic by Madamhydra
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Part 11
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The world was on fire, no one could save me but you
It's strange what desire will make foolish people do
I'd never dreamed that I'd need somebody like you
And I'd never dreamed that I'd need somebody like you

* * *

What a wicked game to play
To make me feel this way
What a wicked thing to do
To let me dream of you

What a wicked thing to say
You never felt this way
What a wicked thing you do
To make me dream of you

-- "Wicked Game" by HIM
(originally by Chris Isaak)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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[ safehouse, location unknown ]

Acid burned the back of Heero's throat as he clumsily stumbled into the bathroom. His knees landed hard upon the cold tile floor as he crumpled forward and retched long and hard into the toilet. Afterward, he clung to the hard, unyielding plastic for support before rolling off to the side. As he sagged to the floor, he felt the familiar shape of a pistol dig into the small of his back. He sat up quickly and grabbed for it. Fumbling like a complete novice, he nearly dropped the firearm twice as he yanked it free of his waistband. It took both hands, but he finally got a firm grip on the pistol and shoved the muzzle into his mouth so hard that the front barrel sight cut the roof of his mouth.

His finger tightened on the trigger... then he froze in mid-pull. A wave of stark fear and horror flooded through him as he realized the atrocity he was so close to committing... not to himself, but to Duo.

Very slowly, he lowered his hands and allowed the bloodied gun barrel to slip out of his mouth. His grip slackened, then he suddenly flung the pistol across the bathroom. The gun skittered across the tile floor and hit the opposite wall with a loud metallic clatter. For several minutes, he sat still, slumped in the corner as he stared blankly into space.

If he killed himself, what good would that do? Oh yes, it would end his misery nicely, but his death wouldn't do a damn thing to help Duo. His death wouldn't release Duo from slavery. It wouldn't return Duo back to normal.

On the contrary, it would be the cruelest, most brutal torture he could possibly inflict on his poor helpless victim. Because on the day that Heero died or killed himself, Duo would lock himself into his own personal hell and throw away the key.

It would be the ultimate guilt trip.

He had made fucking sure of that.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Shortly before Duo was to leave on his mission to interrogate Treize, he grabbed and flung his slave over the back of the sofa. He yanked both their pants down, grabbed a firm hold of Duo's hips, and forced his penis into the tight slickness of the other pilot's ass. He knew that Duo felt only joy and gratitude at the forceful physical intrusion -- no other response was permitted.

He had the option of using his hand, but instead chose to use the most intimate form of physical contact available. It was the best way to gain access the very deepest levels of Duo's mind and make certain that this new set of directives could not be deleted or modified by anyone else.

"Initiate programming mode. Access core program," he snapped in his highest level command voice.

Violet eyes glazed over as Duo's conditioning took over and ecstasy reduced his slave's mind into a perfectly malleable state, ready to be shaped and manipulated in any manner he so desired.

"Command me, Master," Duo pleaded. The desperate eagerness in its voice indicated how much his slave craved to hear its Master's voice. After several prolonged programming sessions, he had noted that the more he used the upper level command protocols, the more intense his slave's need for such complete and utter domination became.

He grabbed a hold of his slave's hair and jerked its head up so he could get a good look at its face. He noted the complete, utter adoration in Duo's bliss-sheened eyes. He shifted his hips slightly and observed as his property moaned and twitched helplessly in response. Another twist of his hips and the rapturous look on its face deepened and intensified. Satisfied that his slave had achieved an appropriately receptive state, he leaned forward and spoke into its ear.

"You serve me. You exist to please me. That is your sole purpose."

"Yes, Master. To serve you. To please you," Duo crooned, its voice filled with abject devotion.

"If I die or self-destruct, it will be your fault and your fault alone. Because you failed to please and serve me adequately. Because you failed to make me happy."

He watched as Duo's statement of mindless contentment instantly shifted into one of shock, horror, and terror. He waited patiently, well aware that his slave's mind was now writhing under a devastating onslaught of misery and guilt. Those emotions would only intensify as time passed.

Soon Duo was whimpering and trembling uncontrollably, incapable of thinking about anything except the thoughts and ideas that its Master had just implanted within its mind. There was no possibility of his slave rejecting or denying any of his statements. In its present programmable state, Duo had to believe, completely and absolutely, whatever its Master ordered it to believe. For Duo, its Master's voice defined reality.

"I am your only protection, your only source of pleasure, happiness, and safety." He pulled Duo's hair harder, forcing the slim body to arch even more. Even in the middle of all his suffering, Duo couldn't help responding to the pleasure caused by the movement of his Master's cock deep within his body.

"Only... from you, Master... only you... make... me...feel... sooooo goooood...," Duo choked out, desperate to express his abject love and devotion.

"If I die, there will be no more pleasure, no more happiness, no more safety for you. All because you failed me. And what happens when you fail me?"

"I... I must be punished. To displease you is sin. Sin must be punished. I must be PUNISHED!" Duo gasped, its eyes no longer glazed by joy, but rather emotional agony. Its body, usually so graceful and lethal, could do nothing more than twitch and spasm feebly in his steely grasp.

"Yes, you must be punished. My death would be your ultimate failure. And the ultimate failure requires the ultimate punishment, correct?"

"Yes... YES, Master. I deserve it! I deserved to be punished!" Duo frantically agreed.

"For such a crime, punishment must be both terrible and long. Without me, you exist only in hell. You will only know pain and misery, loneliness and emptiness beyond measure. You will ache and burn with terrible need that will only grow and never be sated."

Now almost in a state of near convulsions, his slave choked out, ".... please... forgive... please... Mas-ter... PLEA-SE...."

"NO. For you, there will be no forgiveness, no mercy. From your well-deserved punishment, there will be no reprieve and no escape."

"Yes, Master. No escape...," Duo whimpered, its wide violet eyes fixed and unseeing, as if it was already staring into the pits of Hell.

"You must live so you can be punished. Death is mercy. If you displease me, you deserve no mercy."

"I... understand. No mercy...."

"Your sole purpose after my death will be to carry out that punishment. You will use all your intelligence and imagination to achieve the maximum level of suffering possible. You will do anything and everything necessary to ensure that your punishment continues unabated. Under no circumstances will you allow anything or anyone to alleviate or otherwise interfere with that punishment."

Rendered nearly speechless with agony, his slave could only weakly bob its head to indicate its utter submission and compliance to its Master's orders.

"That punishment will be your final duty, your only means of atonement. The diligence with which you carry it out will demonstrate the depth of your devotion and dedication to me," he said coldly, his breath washing over Duo's ear. "It will be the ultimate proof of your... love." He then lightly ran the tip of his tongue along the curves of his puppet's ear as he firmly took hold of Duo's penis and testicles.

Duo thrashed and uttered a strangled shriek of pleasure from the brutally arousing contact.

"....Master...!"

Heero repeated the licking motion, but this time accentuated it with a precise thrust of his hips, wringing a barely audible scream from Duo. He could see the physical ecstasy warring with the emotional agony in his slave's violet eyes. He pumped his hips harder and continued to speak. He accompanied his words with precisely timed thrusts of his penis and stroking motions of his hand, ruthlessly reinforcing his slave's belief that he, Heero, was the sole provider of all good things in Duo's world. When he was satisfied with Duo's response, he moved on to the second stage of programming. He told his slave that it would always bear some blame for any and all bad things that happened to its Master, regardless of what they might be. Naturally, if it was at fault, it should be punished.

Duo agreed completely.

There were more orders, more directives. Despite the obvious distress they caused, his slave eagerly accepted every command and begged frantically for more. This gave him the opportunity to strengthen Duo's addiction. He gave his slave more of what it so desperately craved and made certain that it knew who should be thanked.

Thrashing and moaning, Duo understood perfectly. Between convulsive gasps for air, his puppet mindlessly babbled its gratitude for its Master's attention and kindness until he impatiently ordered it to shut up.

As he continued to modify and enhance Duo's conditioning, he became aware that his movements were producing pleasurable sensations in himself. However, those physical sensations were negligible compared to the satisfaction he derived from perfecting his domination over Duo's mind, body, and soul.

Finally satisfied that Duo had fully assimilated his new programming, he gave his slave permission to achieve release and watched as Duo was instantly engulfed in a prolonged series of massive orgasms. And as the orgasms brutally hammered his commands deeper and deeper within Duo's psyche, he permitted the first trace of human emotion to appear on his face.

Heero Yuy, the Perfect Soldier, smiled.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Wing pilot slammed his head back against the wall hard. Once. Twice. Tiles broke, the shards cutting into his scalp. Blood began to trickle through his hair and down his neck, but he didn't care. What was a little blood compared to what he had done?

('It'.... I thought of Duo as an 'IT'....)

Not a person with thoughts and feelings of his own, but an 'it'. He had treated Duo as if he was nothing more than a mere object... a thing... a tool, a weapon....

.... HIS weapon....

He could easily imagine what would happen after his death. Outwardly, Duo would probably behave in a seemingly normal manner -- he might even appear to be cured -- but in reality, his mind and soul would be trapped in unspeakable agony. And to make the scenario even worse, Duo would do absolutely anything in his power to survive, for the sole purpose of prolonging his suffering.

And why? To prove how much he loved Heero, of course.

What had Duo said?

No mercy. No escape.

How long would Duo last under this cruelest form of self-abuse? How long before the mind could no longer stave off physical collapse? Weeks? Months? YEARS?

A renewed wave of self-loathing triggered another violent fit of retching. But by now, there was nothing left inside him but stomach acid.

(No, I won't let that happen. I'll kill him first with my own hands, just to make sure he didn't suffer,) he swore to himself.

Maybe that's exactly what he should do. THEN he could self-destruct. However, there was a major problem with that plan.

He didn't know if he could do it.

It wasn't a question of whether he was mentally capable of killing Duo -- if it was necessary, he would force himself to do it -- but a question of whether he was physically capable of succeeding. Duo would resist any attempt to kill or restrain him. He didn't have a choice. He had been programmed to preserve his ability to function and serve his Master at all costs. No matter how much Duo wanted to please Heero, the American was incapable of disobeying his core programming.

Heero wasn't worried about himself. Duo wouldn't kill or seriously injure him -- god knows he knew deserved it -- but Duo would most definitely resist to the best of his ability. And given that Duo was basically now a living weapon, he would be an extremely formidable opponent. With Duo's current enhanced abilities and senses, the chances of catching the other pilot off guard was virtually nil, and he had the nasty suspicion that he had barely begun to scratch the surface of Duo's hidden talents.

But the physical hazards didn't concern the Wing pilot. He was much more worried about the emotional and mental distress Duo would suffer. The American would undoubtedly believe that he was at fault, that he had somehow failed to please Heero in some fashion. And using Duo's own twisted logic, any failure to please his 'master' was disobedience, and disobedience required discipline, correction, punishment....

He had been too fucking thorough. Typical, as Duo would say.

His throat tightened and he buried his face in his hands.

(Duo... god, Duo. I'm so sorry....)

Oh yes, he had been a very busy programmer. Without the slightest hesitation, he had transformed his best friend, the person he most cared for, into the perfect slave. He had locked Duo into a mental and emotional cage, then stripped his prisoner of the slightest ability or remotest desire to escape.

And Duo loved him for it. Then again, he had no choice but to love Heero regardless of how cruelly he was treated.

How do you rescue someone who has no desire to be rescued? How do you cure someone who doesn't want to be cured?

It was all part of Duo's programming. Heero was sickened to realize that he had utilized every bit of his considerable computer expertise in programming of Duo.

Perfect love. Perfect devotion. Perfect obedience. Combine those things with an useful array of offensive and defensive capabilities, and what do you get?

The perfect weapon, of course.

An ugly laugh escaped his throat.

And when he hadn't been occupied with strengthening his control over Duo's mind and body, he had been busy implanting command protocols and other safeguards. All those security features were designed to prevent a very specific person from tampering... namely, himself.

Those precautions meant that he had known from the very beginning that he would later want to reverse Duo's programming. But if that was the case, why had he done the programming in the first place? HOW could he have committed such an unforgivable crime against Duo?

He clearly remembered the external details. He knew the 'what' and the 'how' -- the words he had spoken, the physical actions taken -- but he was much more uncertain about the internal details. What he had been thinking of? What had been his reasons or motivations for damaging Duo so deeply?

Sometimes the reasons for his actions were obvious or easily deduced from the result, but other times....

It was as if there was another Heero Yuy in his head. Not so much a separate person -- he refused to use such a cheap excuse to deny responsibility for his own actions -- but rather a hidden side of himself that was totally unfamiliar. It was a cold, remorseless side who seemed to care about only two things. One was the performance of his assigned mission, whatever it might be. The other was the possession, ownership, and complete control of one Duo Maxwell.

How long had this hidden side, this monster of cruelty existed within him? Was it possible that he had always known of its presence, if only on a subconscious level? Could that explain why he tried so hard to reject Duo's repeated offers of friendship and affection? Deep inside, had he feared that if he allowed himself to respond to Duo, this mad possessiveness would take over? Had he tried, however futilely, to protect Duo by keeping his emotional distance?

(So what do I do now? I can't self-destruct without making sure Duo dies first. And if I try to kill him....)

He gave a passing thought of sending Duo away to a place with experts who might have a better idea what to do, but he immediately rejected the idea. The lack of physical proximity wouldn't reduce his influence over Duo at all.

For a brief instant, he considered asking Dr. J or Professor G for help, but dismissed that idea even faster than the institutional idea. It was all too easy to visualize the scientists sitting around, picking apart Duo's brain without the slightest regard about his welfare.

He knew Sally Po cared about Duo, but she would probably be the first to admit that she was no expert at deprogramming a brainwashed victim.

(Besides, without access to the proper command protocols, there's really no way I could make him stay in any medical facility, or with the doctors or Sally. His core programming would force him to escape and I doubt that anyone would be able to stop him.)

That left only one option -- himself.

(But at least if Duo's with me....)

Heero was painfully aware that Duo was under an extremely strong compulsion to please him.

(He's almost incapable of refusing me anything unless it goes directly against a previous order or directive issued under upper level command protocols. But hopefully I make things a little easier for him.)

Also, having Duo in close proximity would give him a better opportunity to find a way to circumvent or work around Duo's programming. At the moment, he couldn't come up with any obvious loopholes, but that didn't mean they didn't exist. No program was perfect.

He would have to be very careful, of course. Although he might not be able to alter the actual programming, Heero knew he had enormous influence over Duo. The last thing he wanted to do was to have Duo torn between his desire to please Heero and the absolute need to obey his programming.

Nothing he could do would ever make up for what he had done to Duo. NOTHING. But he could certainly refrain from traumatizing Duo any further unless absolutely necessary.

His eyes glittered with determination.

(What happened to Duo is entirely my responsibility. So it's up to me to take care of him. Duo's mine. MINE.)

/.... MINE..../

-------------------------------------------------
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[ Cabin #15, Lake Moginokaq nature preserve ]

Sally's arrival back at the cabin with an unconscious Treize Khushrenada crammed in her truck left everyone, even Dorothy, totally speechless. Although she kept her more subjective impressions to herself, the doctor gave Noin and the others a fairly complete version of her meeting with Duo.

"Wufei, a pyrokinetic!?" Noin said in obvious disbelief. "But that's impossible!"

"You don't know that, Noin."

"Come on, psychic mumbo-jumbo like that? The next thing you're going to tell me is that Quatre can bend spoons with his mind!"

"With these boys, I hesitate to say that anything's impossible," Sally said in a pensive voice.

Dorothy interrupted by saying, "We can argue that issue all day. The important thing is what do we do with Treize? Do we hold him as Maxwell wants or notify OZ?" It was clear from her irritated tone and statement that her rib injuries still bothered her.

Noin gave the blond girl a long look.

"And what do you suggest?"

Dorothy shrugged carefully and said, "It doesn't matter to me. Although I find it interesting that there are no reports of Treize's abduction. You would think that someone would make a fuss if an OZ general disappears."

"Maybe they think he died in the explosion," Relena said a slightly distracted voice.

Dorothy shook her head. "I don't think so. There are certain parties that would be more than happy to trumpet the news of Treize's demise all over the world."

Sally sighed. "Duo said as much. I don't know how much of his story is true, but we all know that Treize has serious enemies within OZ itself. Which means that if we notify the wrong people, we might be signing his death warrant."

Relena said, "What about contacting Treize's own staff, like Lady Une?"

"That's a good idea, but if we decide to do it, we'll have to be very careful," Sally replied. "We would need to talk to her directly. The last thing we want is for some spy to intercept or divert our message."

Dorothy smiled slightly. "So have you've decided to notify OZ?"

"No. I'm just exploring our options," Sally said, shaking her head.

"But it won't hurt to look for a secure way of contacting Lady Une," Noin added.

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[ OZ regional headquarters ]

In the crowded conference room, Lady Une's face filled the main display monitor. She coolly surveyed the participants before speaking.

"I'm sorry, but Lord Treize is unavailable. At the moment, his Lordship is receiving treatment for injuries sustained in the recent South Base incident."

General Bernard Lundquist snorted and said, "So you say, Lady Une."

Une lifted a slim eyebrow and said, "Are you questioning the veracity of my report?"

Lundquist snapped, "The closest military trauma center is located at Felmore Base and I've received no report of his arrival!"

Lady Une said coolly, "Lord Treize opted for treatment at a more... secure... facility."

Her pause was not lost on her audience. General Lundquist pounded the table and bellowed, "Are you implying that there's something wrong with my security!?"

"Why, no, General. I simply indicated that Lord Treize decided that he felt safer in another location. That's all."

"Blah! What sort of trick are you trying to pull, Une? Treize's dead or dying, isn't he? Because if he's coherent enough to express 'preferences', then he's bloody well fit to talk to us instead of sending his personal bitch...."

"General Lundquist! Be so kind to remember the courtesy owed to a fellow OZ officer," a distinguished looking officer snapped. "Is there some personal reason you're so eager to declare the General dead?"

Another gentleman, dressed in civilian clothes and bearing a singularly hostile statement, interrupted by saying, "Never mind that! You have other things to worry about, namely the Mobile Doll attack at Glencoe! Would you care to explain how your so-called perfect weapons happened to run amok in the middle of a populated city? My cousin Antoine is dead, his son is still missing, hundreds of others have been killed or injured, and I WANT ANSWERS!"

Lady Une did not allow any hint of her satisfaction to appear on her face as she heard the angry mutters that went around the conference room.

-------------------------------------------------

Duo grinned happily as he roared down the expressway. Any observer would assume that the American was just another teenager enjoying a ride in a fast car. However, Duo was smiling for a completely different reason.

He was going to see his Master.

He drove with both hands on the wheel -- it wouldn't do to have a policeman stop him for reckless driving -- but that didn't mean that he couldn't obey his Master's orders, too.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

".... you will keep yourself constantly aroused, stimulating yourself as necessary, until I give you permission to orgasm. And whenever you touch yourself, you will remind yourself that you have no right to release, just as you have no rights at all...."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A thick strand of his hair lay innocuously across his lap. No one could tell that it moved with a mind of its own, lightly brushing and caressing Duo's crotch.

He wriggled in the driver's seat like an eager puppy.

He was going to see his Master.

Duo cranked up the volume on the CD player and started to sing at the top of his lungs.

" An angel's smile is what you sell "
" You promise me heaven, then put me through hell "
" Chains of love, got a hold on me "
" When passion's a prison, you can't break free "

" You're a loaded gun ... yeah "
" Oh, there's nowhere to run "
" No one can save me, the damage is done "

" Shot through the heart, and you're to blame "
" You give love a bad name "
" I play my part and you play your game "
" You give love a bad name "

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[ a safehouse, location unknown ]

Wufei roared up the gravel driveway and brought the car to a screeching halt outside the safehouse. As the dust settled, he sagged forward to lean his forehead against the steering wheel clutched in his white-knuckled hands.

He stayed in that position for several moments, barely aware of the soft pings and creaks of cooling metal of the stolen car. It was a continual struggle to ignore the knot of rage, hatred, and loathing -- all directed to Treize Khushrenada -- in his head. The anger seemed to prowl and slither around the edges of his consciousness like a hungry beast, ready to pounce at the slightest sign of weakness.

(Control. I will stay in control. I refuse to be ruled by this mindless fury!)

He finally sat up and glanced at his watch. Exactly on time for his 'chat' with Heero. And he had plenty to say to the Wing pilot.

During the drive to the safehouse, Wufei had become steadily more convinced that Duo was anything but 'fine'. More disturbing was his growing belief that Heero had done something to Duo. He had no idea what it could be, but the memories of Heero's evasive behavior back at the clinic several days ago did nothing to reassure the Chinese pilot.

(He acted guilty and ashamed, but why? Damn it, I don't understand! I could swear that he loves Duo. So why won't he explain what he did? And why on earth did he risk using Duo, who was obviously suffering some gross mental trauma, on a dangerous mission?)

He owed Duo a great debt and he would do his best to repay it. Someone had to look out for Duo's best interests and Heero was obviously not the right person to do it. Besides, concentrating on Duo's situation kept him from worrying uselessly about his own problems.

Wufei inhaled sharply, then stalked into the safehouse.

-------------------------------------------------

He found Heero sitting on the living room sofa. The Wing pilot failed to react to the Shenlong pilot's entrance. Instead, Heero remained eerily still, staring at nothing in particular, with his hands resting slack and empty on his knees.

"Heero," Wufei demanded sharply, but got no response. The barely controlled knot of hatred and frustration in his head made a notoriously short temper even shorter. He stormed across the living room to stand in front of the sofa. Hovering over the Wing pilot, Wufei snapped, "Damn it, Heero! I want some answers! Why did you abduct Duo and drag him off on a mission? And what the HELL did you do to him while the two of you were alone!?"

Heero's shoulders slowly began to shake, then Wufei heard the Wing pilot start laughing. It was a dark, ugly laugh. Distracted by the chaotic emotions threatening to run rampant in his own head, Wufei unfortunately missed the undertones of disgust and self-loathing in Heero's low chuckles.

"Do to him? You should be asking what I didn't do to him."

"How DARE you treat this as a joke!" Wufei shouted furiously.

Heero's head slowly swiveled in the other pilot's direction. Still chuckling darkly, he said, "Oh, it's no joke. Definitely not a joke. More like a nightmare, I'd say."

"I want to know exactly what you did to Duo and I want to know NOW!"

Heero slowly rose to his feet.

"What did I do to Duo? I broke him, Wufei. I ruthlessly exploited his sexual and emotional vulnerabilities, and then I broke him. And once that was done, I reprogrammed him to obey my instructions. It was just like hacking an enemy computer."

The Wing pilot's voice started to rise in volume from his initial conversational tone until he was shouting.

"In short, I created a perfect slave for myself! A perfectly devoted, perfectly happy, perfectly obedient SLAVE whose only purpose in life is to serve and please ME! And you know what? I made him LOVE me for it! WHAT ELSE DO YOU FUCKING WANT TO KNOW!?!?"

Heero uttered those last words in an near scream, his fists clenched so tightly at his sides that blood began to ooze between his fingers. A thick silence filled the room, broken only by heavy breathing and the faint plink of Heero's blood hitting the hardwood floor.

Finally, Wufei breathed, "Why?"

Blue eyes glittering from inwardly directed rage and loathing, Heero replied just as softly, "Because a perfect soldier needs a perfect weapon. I am the soldier and Duo's the weapon. And now he's MINE, to use or abuse as I see fit."

The two pilots stared almost blindly at each other... then Wufei calmly reached up, wrapped both hands around Heero's throat, and began to choke him.

Heero made no effort to fight back.

"You BASTARD. You fucking, heartless bastard," Wufei said with deadly calm as he continued to throttle Heero.

-------------------------------------------------

The first hint of someone else's presence came when Wufei felt the cold mouth of a gun barrel pressing against his right temple. The Chinese pilot abruptly froze. His dark eyes glanced sideways to see who was holding the other end of the gun.

"Let him go," Duo said with a casual smile, the pistol rock steady.

"You'd do it, wouldn't you?" the Chinese pilot said with an eerie sense of calm. He didn't attempt to dodge, but he didn't release his grip on Heero's throat, either.

Still dressed in his sleeveless black turtleneck, Duo shrugged his bare shoulders and said, "I'd really hate to blow your brains out, Wufei."

"But you won't let your personal preferences won't stop you."

"Afraid not." The long strands of Duo's unbraided hair flicked back and forth, like an inquisitive cat's tail.

Moving deliberately, Wufei opened his hands. Duo's gun continued to rest lightly against his head as the Shenlong pilot slowly stepped away from Heero.

As for Heero, he sat down abruptly on the floor, Not from a lack of oxygen, but from sheer shock. All he could do was stare mutely at Duo, who in turn gave him a decidedly worried look before turning back to Wufei.

"Are you going to behave yourself now?"

The Chinese pilot gave Heero a brief, inscrutable stare, then said, "I won't do anything reckless. For now."

In a hoarse voice, the Wing pilot finally managed to ask, "How... how much did you hear, Duo?"

"Oh, pretty much everything."

The careless nonchalance of Duo's reply managed to completely wreck Wufei's fragile calm. His eyes first widened in disbelief, then ignoring the gun pointed at his skull, he shouted, "Heero admits that he deliberately and coldbloodedly tortured you, then brainwashed you into becoming his SLAVE and that's ALL you've got to say!?"

Duo pondered the question thoughtfully for a few seconds, then said with a shrug, "I guess so. What do you expect me to say?"

Wufei could only gape in horror at the Deathscythe pilot, before turning to Heero and sputtering incoherently in outrage.

"You... he... how... why....?"

Coming to the conclusion that Wufei was no longer an immediate threat, Duo slid his gun back into its shoulder holster, then disappeared into the kitchen. He quickly returned with a damp hand towel and knelt down beside the Wing pilot.

As Duo started to wipe the blood off his hands, Heero looked up at Wufei and said dully, "It's all part of his programming. You've just told Duo what I did to him. I just told him what I did. It doesn't make a damn bit of difference to him. He just doesn't care."

Duo gently stretched out the Wing pilot's fingers to get a better look at the cuts left on his palms, then leaned back and gave Heero a rather annoyed look.

"Heero, sometimes you can be a bloody idiot."

The American paused, turned his head slightly as if sniffing the air, then immediately began to examine the back of Heero's head.

"And how the hell did you do that?"

Duo's statement, tone of voice, and behavior was so typically Duo, Heero could almost persuade himself that it had all been a horrible nightmare. He could almost believe that he hadn't really done those horrible things to Duo. It would mean that he was mad and delusional, but he didn't mind being insane if that meant that Duo was all right.

Unfortunately, he knew better. It wasn't a dream. He HAD tortured and broken Duo. Duo was acting normally simply because his 'master' had ordered him to do so.

Wufei watched as Duo carefully cleaning the dried blood from Heero's scalp and neck, then turned to stare hard at the Wing pilot.

Heero answered Wufei's unspoken question and wearily said, "That's part of his programming, too."

With a snort, Duo said, "Treat me like I'm just part of the furnishings, why don't you?"

The American's seemingly innocent quip made Heero shudder visibly.

"Did I hurt you?" Duo said worriedly.

Heero looked away and whispered, "No."

With an awful forced calm, Wufei said, "All right, if you programmed him, then why don't you DE-program him, Heero?"

"I... can't."

"And why not?" Wufei said in that same deceptively mild tone.

"Because... because when I programmed him, I also added a failsafe mechanism to keep anyone, including myself, from undoing or modifying his core programming!"

"You WHAT!?"

Heero brushed away Duo's hand and glared up at the Chinese pilot.

"You heard me!"

"But only a complete idiot would completely block his own access! You MUST have a way to access that programming!"

"I do!"

"Then why don't you fucking well USE IT!" Wufei roared.

"Hey, calm down, Wufei," Duo protested.

"Oh, be quiet, Duo. I want Heero here to give me an answer and it better be a damn good one!"

"Yes, I can access his programming, but only if I use the proper... protocols. Call it a... master command mode."

"And what's the problem? What's stopping you from using this... this," Wufei looked like he wanted to spit, "master command mode?"

"Damn it, Wufei! It's not that simple!" Heero said between gritted his teeth. "I'm not talking about reading off the right combination of letters or numbers here! It's much more complicated than that!"

"Then what are these damn... protocols, then!?"

"It's... it's more like a certain mindset...."

Wufei turned to glare at Duo, who threw up his hands and gave the Chinese pilot a completely clueless look. Turning back to Heero, the Wufei snapped, "Oh, so you're basically telling me that you supposedly can't access Duo's programming unless you FUCKING WELL FEEL LIKE IT!?!?"

Heero jumped to his feet and yelled back, "Do you really think that I WANT Duo to stay in his present condition!?"

"To put it bluntly, YES! It certainly looks that way!"

"That's not true!"

"Then prove it by undoing whatever you did!"

"And I told you that it's NOT THAT SIMPLE!"

Duo said, "Hey, guys, calm down!" but was completely ignored by both Wufei and Heero.

"All I can tell is that you WON'T release Duo from your control just because you're not in the right goddamn MOOD!" Wufei's voice dropped to a vicious near-hiss. "Oh, you pretend that you hate what you've done, but I bet that's all an act. Don't tell me that you don't get a thrill from making Duo grovel and beg at your feet!"

"Shut up, Wufei!" Heero growled dangerously.

"And what other perversions have you forced him to do?"

"I said SHUT UP!"

"You might be able to compel Duo to shut up, but not ME. You don't control me!" By now, the two pilots were standing chest to chest, nose to nose, and were nearly spitting into each other's face.

Heero's eyes narrowed and he snarled, "Then who does? Or are you going to tell me that you let Treize fuck you stupid purely of your own free will?"

Wufei's face went stark white with rage. But before the confrontation could escalate further, Duo forced his way between them and shoved them apart.

"Whoa, whoa! Time out, here!" He turned to Wufei and said sharply, "Whatever's happened is not Heero's fault! Don't try to make him feel worse than he already does!" Turning his attention to Heero, Duo said in a much gentler voice, "I don't know what's went on between Wufei and Treize, but yelling and flinging accusations around won't help matters."

Wufei was about to continue yelling at Heero, but the sudden statement of anguish on the Wing pilot's face as he looked at Duo made the words stick in his throat.

"Despite everything I've done, you still defend me," Heero whispered. He lifted his hand and lightly touched Duo's face. "But then again, you really don't have a choice, do you?" He abruptly turned and started to walk away.

Duo moved to follow, but Heero glanced over his shoulder and said in a tight voice, "No, I... need to be alone."

"Well, shit," Duo muttered as he watched Heero disappear through the door. He then gave Wufei a sour look and said, "I hope you're satisfied. I know you haven't had an easy time of it, but can't you cut him some slack?"

"Cut him some slack!? After what he's done to you!?"

Duo gave Wufei an exasperated look. "And what horrible thing has Heero supposedly done to me?"

"He's made you...." Wufei suddenly stopped in mid-sentence as he thought of another possible explanation to all these bizarre events. He abruptly said, "Is it true?"

"Is what true?" the American retorted with a quizzical look.

"Is what Heero said true? About what he did to you?"

Duo gave Wufei a long, thoughtful look. "Well, I could say that it wasn't true, but then that would mean that Heero's gone stark raving bonkers."

Wufei muttered, "I think it would be more acceptable AND more believable if he was insane."

"And why's that?" Duo inquired, then he grinned. "Oh, I see. It would neatly explain why I'm not throwing some sort of hysterical fit about being tortured, being turned into a slave, and all that. Instead of being a mindless puppet, I'm simply humoring Heero and his delusions."

"Well... yes! Damn it! I saw how Heero looked at you while you were suffering in the clinic, Duo. I saw how much he cared about you! But if that's the case, how could he possibly commit such a vile atrocity to someone he supposedly loves!?" shouted Wufei.

Planting his hands on his hips, Duo said irritably, "Ex-CUSE me, but do I look like someone who's been brutally victimized here?"

Wufei stepped back and gave Duo a long hard look. The Deathscythe pilot had a definite point -- he didn't appear the least bit traumatized. In fact, the American looked better, both mentally and physically, than Wufei could ever remember. It was almost as if Duo had a sort of inner 'glow' that came from a combination of self-confidence and contentment.

To put it bluntly, Duo looked happy. It wasn't the brittle, artificial happiness that came from drugs or alcohol, but something much deeper and powerful. It was the quiet, profound joy and fulfillment that came from discovering one's true purpose in life.

And at that moment, the Shenlong pilot came to the sickening realization that Heero HAD been telling the truth all along.

"By the Great Dragon...," Wufei choked out in a horrified whisper.

Duo gave the other pilot a worried look and said, "Now what's wrong? Come on, I don't need both you and Heero freaking out on me."

"Heero...," Wufei said in a low, furious growl as he turned and stalked toward the door.

Duo didn't need to be a mind reader to determine the Chinese pilot's intentions. He grabbed Wufei's arm and brought him to an abrupt halt.

"Let go of me, Duo," Wufei growled, his voice cold and determined as he futilely tried to shake the other pilot's grip loose.

"No way, man, not in the mood you're in. Heero's feeling bad enough as it is. He doesn't need you ranting and raving at him!"

"Damn it, Duo! How can you possibly keep defending him!?"

The American retorted angrily, "Because it's only natural to try to defend and protect the one you love! You, of all people, should understand THAT!"

Like a slap in the face, the words snapped Wufei out of his cold rage. Unlike Heero, Duo didn't mention Treize's name, but there was no need to do so.

"Yes, it IS natural to try to defend the person you love... but NOT if that person hurts and abuses you!"

"How many times am I going to have to repeat it, Wufei? Get it through your thick skull! He DIDN'T hurt me! He DIDN'T abuse me! Heero hasn't done a damn thing to me that I didn't want or ask him to do!"

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Sitting on the bottom of the stairs, just outside the living room, Heero could hear every word of Duo's and Wufei's argument. Of course Duo was aware of his presence, but Wufei probably didn't have a clue. When he overheard Duo's last statement, the Wing pilot dropped his head into his hands, then suddenly clenched his fists in his hair. He yanked hard, welcoming the pain, no matter how small.

(Yes, what I did to you... you wanted it... you asked for it... you begged for it... but only after I violated your mind, after I made you feel the way I wanted you to feel.)

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"THAT doesn't reassure me in the slightest!"

"Wufei, you can be the stubbornest jackass at times! I said it before and I'll say it again -- Heero didn't DO anything wrong! He's simply helped me sort out all the confusion and misunderstandings that was making my life miserable!" Duo made an exasperated sigh before continuing. "Although for some inexplicable reason, Heero now feels incredibly guilty about it. And you're only making things worse with all these irrational accusations, Wufei!"

"Irrational accusations!? Don't you understand what's happened to you!? What he's done to you is infinitely worse than rape! Don't you get it!? He's tortured you AND completely reworked your mind to suit his own sick fancy! You won't accept the fact that you're a victim of a horrific crime because he won't allow you to believe it! You say you're in love, but that's only because he programmed you feel that way! And while all that tampering is inexcusable enough, what I find most disgusting of all is the fact that he admits he has the ability to undo your programming but HE WON'T DO IT!!! In short, IT'S ALL HIS FAULT!!! I know it and he knows it!"

"Wufei, you are SO way off base, it isn't even fun." Duo snapped irritably. "It's NOT his fault!"

Wufei jumped as Heero suddenly appeared in the doorway and said flatly, "Yes, it is."

Unlike the Shenlong pilot, Duo was completely unsurprised by the Wing pilot's sudden reappearance. He merely looked resigned and rather frustrated as Heero continued, "Face it, Duo. What's happened to you... it's all my fault... my responsibility."

Wufei quickly recovered and sneered, "Well, how gracious of you to admit it."

The Chinese pilot was about to lash out with even harsher words, but the profound pain he saw lurking in Heero's eyes made him soften his tone considerably. He took a deep breath and said quietly, "All right, I can see that you very much regret what you've done to Duo. So... what do you intend to do about it, Heero?"

The Wing pilot flicked a quick look at Duo. The tightness in his chest increased as he saw only concern in the other pilot's statement.

"I don't know, Wufei. I just... don't know."

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(end Part 11)

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Author's Notes:
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"Mechanics of Control" is the title for the overall alternative-reality storyline, with sub-stories for each pilot. ^_^ The sub-stories are titled as follows:

"Wicked Game" - Heero and Duo
"Brilliant Disguise" - Trowa and Quatre
"Dragon's Fire" - Wufei

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Keeper of Duo's Dark Side ~~~ Duo no Seishi
Co-Keeper of Duo's Scythe & Bat Wings (w/ Death)
Co-Keeper of Little Grim Reaper Duo (w/ Kitsune)
Saitoh no Koibito ~~~ Corruptor Extraordinaire
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madamhydra@aol.com /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/:E
http://www.madamhydra.net/
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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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