Lawless Hearts

Part 21:
by Kracken


Disclaimer: I don't own this and I don't make any money off of it.
Warnings: Male/male sex, graphic, language, violence.

Lawless Hearts


"You're hurt?" Wu Fei suddenly asked.

I looked sideways at him as I continued to tug Mudhopper out of its shed. "Huh?"

"You're limping," Wu Fei told me with a frown.

I wasn't going to kiss and tell. "Must have pulled something," I replied between grunts of effort.

"Perhaps you shouldn't aggravate your condition then by this project?" Wu Fei suggested in a critical tone.

On the one hand, I was surprised that he cared that much, on the other, I was pissed that he felt the need to lecture me. Before I could snarl back that I knew what I was doing, Heero was there and offering his help. He grabbed hold of Mudhopper, took a deep breath, and pulled backwards. Mudhopper slid along the ground as if it didn't weight a thing.

I snorted, feeling like a complete weakling, "Heero Yuy, tractor."

Heero chuckled. "Would you like help fixing it?"

I looked at Wu Fei. "Don't you two have Preventer work to do now?"

Wu Fei lifted an eyebrow as he replied, "I will be leaving to talk to agents. We need to run some contraband through your lot and bring it to the attention of our target."

I frowned. "What if your target thinks I'm too small time and just has me arrested?"

"There is that possibility... but a slim one," Wu Fei replied. "He is very opportunistic."

"And smart," I retorted, not liking his confidence. Both Wu Fei and Heero looked at me curiously and I realized that I was giving myself away. "I mean," I scrambled, "that if he's a big time guy on L2, then he has to be smart. You don't get there, and stay there, by being stupid and making mistakes."

"They were safe during the Romafeller's rule," Heero pointed out. "L2 has always been autonomous, almost a dictatorship considering how corrupt the top officials are and how they keep each other in power. Now that we have a new government and new laws on Earth and in space, it's time to stop them, to make them serve their time for their corruption."

I thought about that, tried to imagine L2 free and under a real elected government. It was very hard to picture and I couldn't help feeling cynical. "Sometimes, when you try and step on a snake, it bites you in the ass," I muttered. I was almost sure that the snake they were after was the snake who had been interested in me. I knew that he wasn't going down easily.... if at all.

"You will be selling this machine for scrap?" Wu Fei wondered, changing subjects as if it didn't concern me, or, maybe, he didn't think I should be a part of the more covert side of the operation.

"No," Heero answered for me. "It can be fixed."

Looking at the bent frame and a wheel stuck up in the air, I was amazed at his confidence.

"You should be working," Wu Fei said disapprovingly.

"On what?" I replied acidly as I bent to look at the engine. "I don't have anything to do until someone shows up to either drop off scrap or buy it."

Maybe he thought that I worked the lots, rode the vid phone, shook hands and tried to make deals... yeah, if I was selling a ship or a dog or... Scrap was a whole different kind of merchandise. Wu Fei grunted, exchanged looks with Heero, and then stalked off.

"Did I hurt you?" Heero asked as soon as Wu Fei was out of sight.

"It stings, but I lost my cherry. That's normal, right?" I grumbled as I worked a wrench into a tight space and tried to get leverage. The engine would have to come out.

"Cherry," Heero repeated as he crouched to start work I heard the warm grin. "That's making me excited again."

I glared at him then and found him looking at me lovingly through an open part of the frame. I blushed and growled, "My ass is off limits until it stops hurting, Yuy, so don't even start!"

"I'll be better at it next time," Heero promised, sounding concerned again.

That made me think. I paused and crouched with the wrench in one hand. I had to ask, "Heero, you told me that you've always slept alone... did that mean, alone, alone? I mean...."

Heero looked uncomfortable and suddenly sullen.

I narrowed eyes at him. A guy just doesn't like to admit something like this, but I really needed to know. "You're... a virgin...," I said slowly, hardly believing it.

Heero blushed furiously and snapped, "If you want me to help on this piece of crap, then we should get started!"

"Nope, not arguing, not getting distracted, Mr. Pissy," I told him firmly. I crept close to him and, since he was crouched too, we were eye to eye. I could almost feel the heat of his embarrassment roll off of him. I felt bad for the guy, but, I was getting my answer. "How did you not go crazy?"

Heero blinked at me and then he said, knowing that he had to confess, "I was confused about what I wanted. I kept... kept trying to..."

My eye went wide in understanding. "You tried it with girls... kept trying it with girls, didn't you?"

He made a twitching shrug. "Yes... not that anything... happened."

"Because you're gay," I finished. He nodded. I laughed. He scowled. I tried to make it better for him. I calmed enough to say, "Well, aside from some mutual masturbation, I haven't done anything either... so... I guess we were each other's first time." I reached out and squeezed his hip hard. "Or we will be when I get my chance in the pilot's seat."

He leaned forward and kissed me hungrily, but I was pushing him back in the next moment and laughing as I turned back to Mudhopper. "Not now! Mudhopper needs us. Try to get your mind out of your pants and pick up a wrench."

"Actually, my mind was in your pants," Heero replied a he dug through the box of tools.

We worked side by side and there was a calming quality to it. Of course, Mudhopper didn't get fixed, but it didn't look as hopeless when we called it quits a few hours later.

"Customer," Heero said as he looked over my shoulder and nodded towards the front gate.

I turned and saw someone I knew. I grinned and hurried over to him, wiping my hands on my pants before I extended one to shake his. "Ben! Long time no see!"

He smiled back, the smile of a cat sizing up mice. His eyes roved over my lot. "Cleaner than last time."

"I have some new help," I told him.

He was a heavy set man in overalls and a dirty tank top. He looked like he lifted trucks for a living. His shaggy head of black hair made me think of bears. "Been talk," he said shortly and that said a hell of a lot with so few words.

"Yeah?" I played dumb, of course.

"Maybe we can make a deal and help us both out?" Ben didn't beat around the bush. At least he scalped people in plain sight instead of behind a man's back.

I saw Wu Fei suddenly standing behind the man's shoulder. He was looking very serious. He nodded once, meaning, I suppose, that I should look desperate and make the deal. Okay, I could play what I really was pretty convincingly, I thought.

"Things have been pretty rough," I told Ben. "The jerk in the next lot keeps stealing my customers and my deliveries. If you can see your way to buying some scrap, I think I can give you a good deal on it."

"Good man," Ben said and made a laugh, like a bad engine turning over, deep in his throat. He leaned close... He was like a mountain with bad breath. "We should go inside, do this in private."

Ooookay... I did deals out in the lot. Anyone who wanted differently... made me want to draw a gun or call the police. Everything I've done hasn't always been on the up and up. I've burned people... people who deserved it, granted, but still... I know I had enemies. I didn't know if Ben was one, but I wasn't giving him the chance to enlighten me one way or the other.

"Well, Ben.., " I rubbed at the back of my neck and was about to launch into, 'All the scrap is out here..' when I saw Wu Fei scowl and make a gesture towards my shack. He wanted me to go through with it. I almost gave him away, almost told him to mind his own damn business, but then he pointed to himself and then off to where, I guess, Heero was standing by. I got it. They were my backup. I re-evaluated the situation.

"Guess it is damned hot out here. Come on in." I motioned Ben to follow me as I led the way to my shack. Going inside, I left the door open. Ben didn't protest. That was a good sign.

I sat at my desk, just to keep some space between us. Ben leaned on the desk, on his knuckles. I thought about gorillas as he said, "I need points for extractors, twenty five of them."

I sat up. They were worth good money and I had them, though not in the best shape. "I've got them, some with rust, some with burns, but they do work," I replied.

"Acceptable," He grunted and then leaned in, eyes intense. "200 credits each."

I blinked and then laughed. "200? Try 600."

"Rusted? You're drunk!' Ben growled. "250."

"I'm cold sober," I retorted and glared. "550."

"Drunk and crazy!" Ben snarled and leaned so close he rained spit on me. "300."

"Not as crazy as you!" I snarled back, wiping at my face in disgust. "500."

He glared, nostrils flaring, breath going in and out like a bellows. A vein throbbed at his temple. "350."

I stared. He stared back. "450 and that's it."

"450?" His dark eyes looked like they could kill. "450..." he repeated. "450..." Those eyes suddenly looked me up and down. I knew that look. You didn't live with soldiers and rebels, who were mostly men, for a long stretch without seeing that 'look' a few times. This look had an added dimension to it, though, one that gave me the impression that he had planned to say what came next all along, that he had wanted privacy just for his next offer.

When he said it, I was suddenly on top of the table and throwing my weight behind my fist for all I was worth. It caught him on the point of his chin. His head snapped back and he went flying backwards right through the open door. Maybe I wasn't working out anymore, but I was still a man who could fly a Gundam. That took some spectacular physiology.

I ran after Ben. He was on his back on the porch, hand on his chin. Heero was there, standing ready, and so was Wu Fei. Fuck me for thinking I could trust someone else to back me up, for letting myself get talked into a situation that I had known was wrong. I'd always looked after myself. Today wasn't any different I could handle an asshole like Ben. I grabbed Ben by the front of his shirt and yelled into his face, "450 or get the hell off my lot!"

Ben turned his head aside and spat blood, then he looked at me and grunted as he sat up. I let him go and backed up. "Guess some of the rumors are wrong."

"What the hell does THAT mean?" I demanded.

"Said you were paying for things in bed." He sneered at my 'help'. "Or... maybe I'm just not your type?"

My hand balled into a fist again and he winced. "450," I repeated. "Or get the hell OUT!"

"450," Ben agreed. "Done." Then he sneered at me. "At least they were right about you being desperate."

I felt as if a volcano erupted inside of me. I was proud of myself that I didn't beat the shit out of him. He could say crap if he wanted, as long as he transferred the damned credits. I panted and trembled, holding myself back, as Ben stood and keyed in the transfer to the computer pad Wu Fei offered him. He looked Wu Fei over and licked his lips, then he looked back at Heero and found the eyes of a killer. He started and then said, as he beat a hasty retreat to where ever he had parked his vehicle, "Those aren't damned scrapmen..."

I seethed and said tightly, "Get pervert there his 25 points."

Heero demanded, coming up at my elbow, "What did he do?"

"Wanted a fringe benefit along with his points, that's all," I ground out. "Nice to know I have a reputation as a whore now. Thanks a lot!" I walked into my shack and slammed the door closed. I locked it and spent the day feeling sorry for myself.

Heero was smart. He waited until nightfall, when the temperature cooled down and so did my temper. When the knock came on the door, I was ready to at least look at him. I wasn't sure what I was going to say, though.

Heero was a stark shadow in the overhead lights as I opened the door. The scrubbers went into gear and we waited, staring at each other. It seemed to take forever this time, for them to retract and leave the place in silence.

"Wu Fei returned safely," Heero began.

"Yeah?" I wasn't helpful.

"Duo," Heero said, sounding anguished, "We didn't intend for any of this to happen to you."

"Maybe I would have done better locked up," I growled, crossing my arms over my chest and glaring. "Then I could have had some sort of reputation once I got out."

"You don't look very well," Heero replied, as if he were changing the subject.

"Losing everything I worked for does that," I retorted. I left the doorway and went into the bedroom, not caring whether he followed or not. I sat on the bed, looking at nothing very hard, my hands lax between my knees. I wanted to smoke. I wanted something to drink. I wanted something to take the edge off. I told myself that I wasn't going to do any of that, though, the same way I told myself that I wasn't going to punch Heero in the face.

Heero sat on the floor. He leaned to get coffee, pulled the tabs, and handed me one. It steamed in the cooling air as I cradled it in my hands. "I was coming anyway," Heero said, as if he was choosing his words carefully, "but Wu Fei wanted me to ask you something as well."

I watched Heero fiddle with his coffee cup from under the cover of my long bangs. I just wanted him to go away. I'd been, mentally, trying to gnaw off the leg caught in the trap Heero and Wu Fei had set for me. I hadn't come up with any solutions, nothing to get me out of it, so I was depressed now. I wanted to curl up in bed and pull the blankets up over my head. I wanted to forget all about my crappy life, about scrap, about credits, about Ben, and about everyone on L2 who thought Duo Maxwell bent over to keep his business running.

I know I needed to say something. I loved Heero. I could salvage that, keep that at least, but that made me think about how much he didn't need me, how much it was all one sided. Here I was, a complete loser, and there he was, the best and brightest in the Preventers. He wasn't going to drop all of that and deal scrap and I wasn't going to... I put a stop to that. I was depressed enough as it was. My relationship with Heero didn't need more reasons to fail, it had enough of them already.

"So, what did Mr. Chang Wu Fei want to ask?" I growled after I discarded everything else as too crude.

Heero's hands tightened on his coffee. "He wants to know... why our target already knows you."
Maybe I wasn't feeling sick before, but I did now. I know the blood drained out of my face. How was I to know that Chang hadn't just gone to meet with Preventer agents, that he had actually gone to feel out their target.

"I can explain," I blurted, looking up at last, feeling the iron cuffs going on my wrists already.

Heero sounded completely confident in me when he replied, "I know you can."

I felt like a shit as I told him, "He sent someone to the yard. I turned him down when he offered me a job. I get that, sometimes, people who think they can get a Gundam pilot on their payroll."

"Did you suspect he might be our target?" Heero wondered.

"Yes... maybe... " I took a sip of my hot coffee, trying to gather my scattered wits together. "It was possible, I guess, but.... I told you... I'm not handing people over to you unless they freakin' deserve it."

"Is that why you were on Wu Fei's computer?" Heero asked."Finding out?"

"Why, Mr Yuy, that would be illegal," I said, but it wasn't funny and he didn't laugh.

"So, any conclusions?" Heero wondered.

"He's probably your guy... but I don't know for sure. I'm still not going to say until I know." I scowled and said angrily, "It's not like you've been trusting me! You haven't shown me anything on anyone. I know my part, but I don't know yours."

Heero slipped his computer out of his pocket and booted it up. He tapped keys with fine precision and then turned the screen where I could see it. 'This is the man we are after."

It took me only one glance to know it was nearly the same information that I had hacked. "Okay, so it's the guy. Now what?"

"This is classified," Heero impressed on me. "We may have only this opportunity to catch this man before he perpetrates a much larger crime."

"Selling contraband for suit manufacturing?" I surmised. Heero blinked at me, shocked. "I'm right, aren't I? Weapons and suits, equals terrorist candy, and they pay a lot to get it. "

"So are Gundam pilots," Heero pointed out.

"Gundam pilots, with weapons know how and connections in the business," I added. "He didn't want me to sell him points and a picture of my tush, that's for sure."

Heero almost crushed his container of hot coffee, understanding my reference to Ben. "I want to kill that man!" he snarled in a way that made me think of relocating to China or melting from knowing how much he cared. "If I had heard what he said to you..."

I growled back, "I've got a dick, too, remember? I took care of it."

Heero closed his computer and put it away, trying to control his emotions. He said, calmer, "Now that Wu Fei knows that our target is interested in more than contraband scrap, he wants you to be our undercover man and accept his offer."

"That' reasonable."

"I told him, no," Heero continued as if I hadn't said anything. "I will contact him and offer my services instead. I'll be the undercover agent."

I snorted. "He won't believe you and I don't need protecting, Yuy!"

"We've ruined your business, disrupted your life," Heero told me. He was struggling with strong emotions. "I told Wu Fei that this sting has moved beyond trying to sell scrap to our target. We don't need you any more. We have to change the plan."

"This guy won't believe you," I repeated, but then I shrugged and put my coffee aside. Exhaustion was making me stupid. I needed to sleep before I could think it all through, my anger, my depression, this turn of events that made everything that had happened to me a waste of time. I was...I couldn't even describe how that made me feel or how I wanted to find a nice strong rope and a place to hang myself... or maybe everyone else.

I think I went numb. Maybe I was having a nervous breakdown? All I know, is that everything went blank and... I didn't care, didn't want to think. I managed to say. "I don't want to do this now. Later. Wait until I wake up again to make any moves. You're a goldfish. He's a shark. You'll be sushi." I'm surprised that I was still thinking of him at all.

"Duo." Heero wanted to say something, I'm sure, but what the hell was there to say? 'Sorry about that whole rest of your life thing.' 'Sorry, we cut your dreams to pieces.' 'Sorry you'll have to leave L2 and find some more credits and another place where they don't know you.' 'Sorry we made a mistake and he wants Gundam pilots, not scrap runners.'

"I'm fucking going!" I snarled, suddenly, finding a last burst of emotion. It erupted from my aching gut and I hardly recognizing my hoarse voice as I collapsed on my bed and turned my face to the wall. "I'm going to be the stoolie! I'm going to be your undercover whore! I'll be freakin' fucked if all of this is for shit! You tell Wu Fei I'll get this guy wrapped and sent to him special delivery."

There was quiet on Heero's side of things. I closed my eyes tightly, feeling like my chest was going to implode with the pain of... getting completely and thoroughly fucked over. I realized that every other though contained 'fuck' now, but it was just too ... fucking appropriate.

Heero didn't reply. He was very smart. He wasn't going to argue with someone in my mood, not someone as deadly as I could be. Instead, he continued to sit quietly, maybe thinking we were through, that he had driven the last nail in our relationship coffin. Maybe he had. I didn't know. Didn't want to know. I went to sleep like I had passed out and I was glad that I hadn't needed to resort to anything chemical or alcoholic to get there. At least I still had that dignity.



on to Chapter 22

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