Disclaimer:Don't own them, don't make any money off of this.
Warnings: Male/Male sex, graphic, language, violence, NCS Flashbacks
Shinigami's Lover II
Sequel to Devil's Eyes.
Duo freed himself and slowly sat up. His muscles trembled and he felt dizzy. He rubbed at his eyes and took several quick, deep breaths, willing his adrenalin to start pumping. He was weak from not having eaten and from the drugs. It could easily be a combination for failure, he thought, but then refused to think that again. He had to succeed. He had to warn the Preventer's about Richards, save Harri, and get to Heero and the other Gundam pilots before Richards decided to carry out his threat about trying to kidnap them as well.
Duo looked around the room. It was a safe bet that the door was locked. It was also a certainty that there were probably one or more guards outside of it. Duo needed weapons and tools to deal with them. The room, he discovered, was full of them.
Duo opened a drawer in a small cabinet and found gauze bandages, tape, rubber gloves, and several types of long, narrow scissors. He tested the edges of the scissors, smiled, and then pocketed them after bandaging the ragged wound left by the needle in his arm. He also pocketed the plastic tube from the I.V. drip, the bloody needle, and unwound a very long wire after opening the squat machine and unscrewing a protective plate. Next, he maneuvered the exam table under the ceiling light, climbed on top, and quickly pried off the metal cage over the bare bulb.
"Careful, Maxwell....," Duo mumbled as he swayed and felt a wave of dizziness over take him. He was trembling and sweating and his footing seemed very precarious. It made what he was about to do that much more dangerous. If he slipped now, electrocution was very possible.
Duo worked the collar of the bulb out of the ceiling with the scissors insulated by the gloves and gauze. He exposed the wires and used his makeshift items to strip and splice the light bulb wires with the long wire he had taken from the machine. That done, he jumped down from the table, but fell to one knee weakly. Taking several deep breaths, he forced himself back to his feet and then, leaving the wire trailing on the floor, he pried out the container full of the drug solution from the machine.
Duo poured the container out onto the floor in front of the door, hoping that it contained some conductive saline solution as well as the drug. Checking the room once more, and satisfied that he had taken everything even remotely useful, Duo gingerly picked up the live wire with a makeshift tool insulated by rubber gloves. He could still feel a shock though, and it ran up his arm, making him tingle all over painfully as he knocked hard on the door.
"Hey! I gotta pee!" Duo shouted as loudly as he could.
The door burst open and two men rushed in with weapons drawn. As their boots splashed into the fluid on the floor, Duo dropped his wire onto the bare arm of one of the men. As Duo had hoped, the violent shock of electricity made a circuit through the man, into the fluid, and over to his partner. They yelled and then spasmed as the wires sparked and shorted. Duo used his tool to yank the wire away and, as the men began to fall, not knocked out, but dazed and confused, Duo delivered a kick to one man's chin and a hard chop to the back of the neck of his partner. They both fell sprawling into the fluid, completely unconscious.
"Sorry to be a lousy guest," Duo said aloud as he relieved the men of their weapons, their pass cards, a wallet, and two sets of vehicle keys, "but you're lousy hosts." He found a nutri bar in one of the men's pockets. "Well, I guess you're not all bad," Duo said as he ripped it open and began stuffing it into his mouth, "At least you brought me dinner."
Still chewing, Duo changed clothes with the smaller of the men. It was a bad fit, but it was a bland, gray uniform and he thought that it would help him blend better with the installation personnel than the comfortable, casual clothes he had been wearing. If someone looked twice, he knew that he would be spotted, but a cursory glance might allow him to pass unnoticed. He tucked his braid down the back of his shirt and adjusted the dull, gray cap so that the brim hung over his face.
Time was running out. Tying up the men wouldn't do any good, Duo knew. Someone would be coming to check on him soon and they would be found. He had to rely on speed, skill, and subterfuge; three things he was an expert at. Duo caressed one of the guns under his uniform jacket. The thought of Richard's hand on him made him tremble. The child at the back of his mind threatened violence or suicide if caught again and it was hard for Duo to keep those thoughts from making him panic. He had to stay in mission mode. He had to keep his head clear. Most of all, he had to remember that this wasn't the war no matter how bad the men he was confronting were. He was a part of a police force. Killing people without reason, or out of fear, was not an option.
Duo ran the mantra he had learned at the institute through his mind several times and then he began to silently quote Preventer procedures as he left the room and slipped down an empty corridor. He wished more than anything else for the comfort of Soda. With the dog at his side, Duo knew that he could control his fear better, knowing that the dog would help to protect him, but wishing was useless. Soda had been his security blanket when Duo had needed one the most, but now he was being forced to do without that security cold turkey. It was time to see what he was made of. It was time to see if he could control himself. It was time to see if he could really function as a Preventer agent in a worse case scenario situation.
It was simple enough to find a computer terminal. Duo used the needle from his IV to pick a lock and then he was soon crouched in a darkened office, his fingers flying over a keyboard, as he easily hacked into the system. It took awhile to sift through emails and reports, but Duo finally found mention of prisoners. He saw his own name and a termination standby request. It told him how much Richards wasn't sure of him and, maybe, even feared him. Duo was a powerful tool and a soldier would know more than anyone else how a tool could turn on the wielder.
Harri was harder to find. Duo saw several chilling inter office emails discussing his termination and disposal within the next few hours. Escaping, and then bringing back the Calvary to rescue him, wasn't an option. Duo had to save him a soon as possible. He memorized the room number, called up schematics of the building, and then located the area where Harri was being held.
Duo forged fake orders for himself into the computer, printed one copy out, and signed it with a scrawl. He then hacked into the security system and the maintenance protocols. Contacting his home computer, he downloaded a virus he kept on file and set it propagating quickly through the installation's computer systems. Emailing Preventer headquarters, he downloaded the schematics for the building, a map of the area he had found in the system, and shot off an email to Heero.
"Don't mess with the best," Duo grinned and slipped back into the corridor just as the virus took effect. The lights began blinking on and off rapidly, the fire alarms all began to sound, the fire sprinklers began spraying everything, and door locks up and down the hallways sprung open, their pass key systems all triggered.
Duo hunched as he began to get thoroughly soaked. He heard shouts and pounding feet , but the men who began to run up and down the corridors were all confused and looking for orders. Wet and bathed in the strobe light effect of the lights, no one noticed a lithe, out of place figure, moving among them.
There was only one guard at Harri's door, but he was nervous and his gun was out. Harri's door had sprung open with the rest and the guard was on his comlink trying to get a hold of someone to tell him what to do about it. He was getting sprayed with water from the ceiling and he was blinking and miserable. His entire attention was directed solely on Harri and his phone.
Duo slipped along the wall and then, when he was in position and certain the man was fully distracted, he jumped up, as agile as a cat, and landed a flying kick into the man's head. The man dropped like a sack of flour without a sound, unconscious.
"Duo?" Harri stepped forward nervously. "What's happening?"
The man looked bruised and disheveled. Duo's eyes narrowed. "What happened to you?"
Harri shrugged off his concern, "I'm all right. I DEMANDED that they tell me what they had done with you and they told me to be quiet with their fists."
"Can you travel?" Duo asked.
"Certainly," Harri responded promptly and then added worriedly, "Duo, if you have a chance to get out of this, don't wait for me, all right?"
"Keep up and I won't have to," Duo retorted impatiently. "Come on. They must be looking for me by now. The plan is to find a hidey hole until the troops show up." Duo drew his gun and patted the transfer paper in his right pocket. "Anyone tries to stop us, you're my prisoner. Got it?"
"Yes," Harri replied, but he was looking at Duo dubiously. "You don't look enough like a guard."
Duo wiped water from his face with the back of his hand and grinned. "After being doused with water, having their eyes blinded by flickering lights, and listening to fire alarms, they won't be looking at anyone too closely, trust me."
"You're the expert," Harri agreed.
"I don't think you're a light weight either," Duo replied as he led Harri cautiously down the corridor. He reached under his jacket and pulled out one of the guns. "Here, you should probably take this."
Harri shook his head. "No, I don't use guns. I don't need to. You're right that I've had some intensive training. I can manage."
Duo nodded and put the gun back into it's hiding place. "Good. I won't think of you as a liability now."
Harri smiled, but it was full of sympathy. He looked as if he were about to say something, perhaps to lament that someone as young as Duo shouldn't own a military hardness more often seen on old veterans. Duo forestalled him.
"Don't say it. I've never known anything different, Harri," Duo told him matter of factly. "Can't feel bad or miss what you never had."
Harri's nodded sadly, understanding but still not liking it.. He kept close to Duo as Duo turned his attention to finding them their bolt hole.
The floor was getting covered in water. It was freezing and Duo shivered and felt dizzy again as they were forced to walk through it. He put one hand on the wall and slid it along the smooth surface as he walked. He concentrated hard on getting to their destination and staying on his feet, so hard that he didn't see the rushing man until it was too late. Before he could get his gun up, though, Harri was snapping into action.
"You're the one they're looking for!" was all the man was able to say, before Harri was kicking him in the gut. He doubled over with an out rush of air from his lungs and Harri knocked him out cold with a chop of the edge of his hand to a spot just behind the man's ear.
Duo grunted appreciatively even as he felt a rush of embarrassment for having been caught so off guard. He mentally shook himself and straightened, his eyes scanning the corridor quickly. Luckily, it was empty at that moment. He couldn't afford to make mistakes like that one again. He took several deep breaths and tried to get his adrenalin to surge and clear his head.
"Here," Duo said as he found a narrow access door. He picked the lock, blinking through the constant shower of water, and then opened the door, water rushing in from the flooded corridor. Duo went first, eyes scanning a dimly lit area full of pipes going in every direction from the floor, to a very high ceiling. "We need to climb up there. There's a roof hatch to some ventilation intakes."
"Ventilation?" Harri blinked as he wiped the water from his eyes. The room they were in wasn't being sprayed by sprinklers. It was a relief to escape the constant, chilling downpour. "Are we underground?"
Duo nodded as he looked up for a way to reach the roof. He spotted the metal ladder that led up to small platform positioned under the hatch. Harri followed him to the ladder and began climbing along with him as Duo started upwards. Duo didn't question Harri's protective position. He knew that he probably didn't look well and he was sure that Harri had taken note of it.
"I made sure that the water didn't come on in here," Duo explained as he climbed. He motioned to a bank of boxes attached to a wall and some equipment on the floor below them. "If those had gotten wet, we wouldn't have been able to come in here without getting fried with electricity."
Harri brushed Duo's swinging, wet braid out of his face and said, impressed, "You think of everything, don't you?"
"Experience," Duo chuckled and then froze when they reached the top of the ladder. The platform was very small, too small for two men to sit without being very close together.
"What is it?" Harri wondered nervously.
Duo swallowed in a suddenly dry throat. "We have a problem," he said and then took a firm grip on the ladder and turned to look around them. He tried to find an alternate place to stay hidden, yet near escape.
"I see," Harri said suddenly. "I think I understand."
Duo looked down into Harri's compassionate face. The man's dark eyes were almost comforting as he stressed reassuringly, "You have two guns. Take one out and hold it on your lap when you get onto the platform. I'm well trained, but no amount of training can overcome a bullet, all right?" He smiled gently. "If it helps, you can pretend I'm that large, shedding monster hound of yours. I swear to you, that I'll protect you just as loyally, Duo."
There was something about the handsome man that put Soda instantly at his ease, Duo thought, and he was now feeling the same thing. It was impossible to imagine Harri being anything other than correct and caring. Duo nodded, not trusting himself to speak. He climbed onto the platform and crouched, pulling one of his guns out and caressing it nervously as Harri squeezed into the small space to join him.
"Why don't we just go out now?" Harri wondered in a quiet, soothing voice. Their shoulders were touching. There wasn't anyway to avoid it.
Duo stared at the shoulder, and at the man attached to it, his eyes narrowing and his finger sliding into the trigger of his gun. "They'll expect us to run for it," Duo replied distantly as he struggled with violent reflexes and thoughts. "They won't know that I contacted Preventer headquarters."
"I'm not so sure of that," Harri replied skeptically. "They know that you hacked into their system, so they must assume by now that you also contacted the Preventers." Harri looked worried. "The question IS, will they try and capture us again, or bug out of the area knowing that forces may be descending on them?"
"Richards said that he wouldn't underestimate me," Duo said, "but he did just that. He left me in a room alone, thinking that a drug and straps would keep me his prisoner."
Harri raised eyebrows in surprise and replied, "For most people, that would be a situation that they couldn't escape from. He looked down, seeing the blood stains on the sleeve of Duo's jacket. "Some people wouldn't go to any lengths to get away either. How badly are you hurt, Duo?"
"I'm mobile, just like you," Duo replied. "That's all that matters right now."
"What matters is that you are ready to fight and run if you need to, "Harri told him anxiously "Let me see your arm."
"No," Duo cradled it protectively in his lap along with the gun. "The less you touch me, the safer you'll be. " He added, "If it was bad, I would have bled to death already, okay?"
Harri frowned. "All right, but even if it's not that bad, you still look exhausted. You need to rest while you can."
"I can't do that," Duo snapped back. "Not... Not like this."
Harri looked at a loss, wanting badly to help him, but unsure how to get through Duo's defensive stance and gain his trust. Duo hunched in on himself, shivering with cold, his wet hair dripping into his face. He wiped at the drops impatiently. At least the cold kept him awake, he thought, kept him alert enough to watch Harri.
Duo felt a wave of something that was close to self loathing. He did need to rest, he admitted to himself, and he did need to save his strength for either joining with the Preventers or trying to escape on their own. Resting wasn't an option though. His nervousness and, yes, fear of having a man he didn't know touching him, was almost more than he could endure. When Harri shifted weight, trying to make himself more comfortable, Duo realized that his finger had began to tighten on the trigger of the gun.
Duo took a deep breath and slowly uncurled his finger. Harri was oblivious, staring at the pipes below them and, perhaps, worrying about being found. Duo studied him intently. Harri was small and wiry, and handsome and gentle seeming, but he had a tense, competent feeling about him too. He exuded trustworthiness. If he hadn't, Duo didn't think that he could have ever sat like that, letting the man's arm brush against his own and his shoulder press up tightly against him.
Preventer procedure one, section one, Duo though to himself, desperate for any distraction. Procedures for entering occupied dwellings with civilians. A; Proper paperwork and required signatures. The procedures, that Duo had spent so much time memorizing, served him well once again as a means to keep his mind distracted from his predicament. It took all of his concentration to remember each rule, each regulation, each stamp, signature, and step for enforcing the law in a legal and proper manner. In that way, Duo was able to bury the fear and ignore Harri's presence. Harri sat beside him, oblivious to how close he had come to violence at Duo's hands and how much it was costing Duo to sit still and to keep his hand off of his gun. Duo was glad that the man was unaware. He would soon need Harri to trust him completely if they were going to have any hope of getting out of there alive.
Go to Part 26: Caging The Beast