Shinigami's Lover Arc 2

Part 26: Caging The Beast
by Kracken

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 series
Sequel to Shinigami

Caging the Beast

"Get off! Get off of me!" Duo's voice echoed wildly off the walls as he started awake like an uncoiled spring, his gun nosing for a target and his heart pumping frantically. He had fallen asleep and memory had taken hold and twined with a dream of large men holding him down, holding him down and... Duo almost vomited, imagining that he could even smell the reek of that room where he had been imprisoned so long ago and forced to turn tricks for his pimps.

Someone was breathing to his left. Duo jerked sideways, gun whipping to center on the heart of Harri. The man had abandoned the platform and was balanced on the ladder, arms hooked into the rungs as if he had been there some time and was exhausted. He was staring back at Duo as if he expected to die at his hands at any moment.

The dream didn't want to release him. Duo shivered from reaction and chill, his mind half a child and half a man, one terrified and wanting to shoot the gun at the threat so close to him and the man trying to gain control and regain his foothold in the 'here and now'.

"Duo," Harri said cautiously. "It's me, Harri, your housekeeper. You remember where we are, don't you? You're trying to rescue me. You're trying to get us both out of this place safely." He forced a smile and a lighter, almost joking tone, "Sir, bullet holes in my clothes are NOT a fashion statement that I would like to make."

That joke was the anchor that Duo needed to pull himself back into reality. He blinked and shuddered, turning the barrel of the gun aside. "I fell asleep," he said softly, realizing just how much the drugs and his capture had effected him to do such a thing with a man so close by him. He raked his bangs out of his eyes and slumped, the gun coming to rest in his lap. "I was dreaming."

Harri watched him come back to himself with relief, but his voice was cautious and tinged with horror as he said, "You talked in your sleep. Duo... "

Duo waved a hand wearily, dismissing anything Harri had been about to say. "Don't. That was a long time ago."

"Then, it did happen..." Harri looked green.

"Yeah," Duo replied shortly and then apologetically, "We have to find another place to wait. I can't... I can't have you here on the platform with me. Not now."

Harri nodded. He looked down. "Should we go back down to the floor?"

"I think we have to," Duo replied. "I don't like it because it doesn't give us much of a chance of getting away if we're discovered, but... I don't see any other way. You can't hang there forever."

"Perhaps you should stay and I'll go down," Harri offered.

"They'll shoot you, Harri, not try and take you prisoner again," Duo told him brutally. "I saw your execution order."

Harri went white, but he surprised Duo by only nodding firmly and saying, "I'll still go down and take my chances." He shrugged self deprecatingly and added, "After all, you have a far better chance of getting away alone, am I right?"

"Yes," Duo replied truthfully.

"So..." Harri started to climb down.

"No," Duo said, forestalling him.

Harri looked impatient, ready to proceed anyway, but Duo told him, "I'm a commodity to them, Harri. They won't kill me unless I make them think that I'll never cooperate. All that I have to do is go along with whatever they say until Heero shows up with the Preventers. I'll go down and you stay near the hatch. If there's trouble, go through it quickly and maybe they won't realize that you were here with me."

Harri stared at him. A moment earlier he had doubted Duo's sanity, Duo was certain, and had been afraid of being killed by him. Now he was hearing the soldier in Duo and he was realizing that Duo was making sense.

"This doesn't feel right," Harri complained.

"I know," Duo replied, his mind going back into 'mission mode' once more. "But it is the right thing to do, and you know it. Now, let me pass you and you get on the platform."

It was awkward. They moved gingerly around each other and Duo couldn't quite bring himself to holster his gun. He felt a shiver travel over his body when Harri couldn't avoid brushing past his arm. Duo could feel the memories bunch and gather ready to burst out of their mental box. He tied them down determinedly. He had a mission. He was supposed to rescue Harri and assist the Preventers when they arrived. He was supposed to prove to himself, to Sally Po, and especially to Heero that he COULD be a Preventer, that he could accomplish a mission without being effected by his past.

Harri crouched on the platform and Duo climbed down to the floor. He looked around, found a dubious hiding place behind a large piece of machinery, and wedged himself in. It was another thing that reminded him of his time on the streets of L2 and Duo continued to shiver as he recalled numerous times when he had wedged into hiding places, afraid of the roving gangs finding him. That memory was brought home with a vengeance when the door opened and water poured onto the floor from the corridor. The sound of alarms and water spraying came to Duo and then the door was shut again and it's thickness dampened the noise to next to nothing, enough for Duo to hear someone walk across the floor and come to stand close by his hiding place.

"I have ten men waiting outside that door," Richard's said. "I want you to toss out your weapon and give yourself up."

Duo stepped out of his hiding place, but his gun was leveled at Richards. "If that's true, then why did you come in here alone?"

Richards smiled tightly at him. "I want you alive. I didn't want a fire fight."

Duo seethed as he looked at Richards. It was hard to keep his anger in check, to not remember the man's hand touching him. "If you think that I'm going to go quietly..."

"That's exactly what I think," Richards retorted.

"Why?" Duo wondered as he twitched the barrel of his gun at Richards. "I have you as a hostage."

"I have a gun too," Richards pointed out. "You don't have the upper hand, Maxwell, only a stalemate."

Duo grinned. "Not a stalemate, Richards. I'm willing to bet that you don't want to die."

Richards looked skeptical. "And you do?"

"What do you think?" Duo tossed back.

Richards looked him slowly up and down and Duo shivered when his eyes lingered for a second longer than any where else at Duo's crotch. Richard's ran a tongue over his bottom lip. "You deserve a lot more than to rot as a desk bound agent of the Preventers."

Duo narrowed his eyes.

"After your last mission, Sally realized that you were a wild card," Richards told him. "Setting off explosives in proximity to volatile fuel machinery, and other agents, and choosing to kill your target while endangering your own life, were not actions of the type of man she wants as an agent." Richards paused, trying to read what effect his words were having on Duo. Duo was frowning, but his gun didn't waver as it pointed straight at Richard's head. "Sally's written recommendation was that you have periodic psychological therapy and be regulated to a desk position. You were about to be booted from field training, Duo Maxwell, when I kidnapped you."

"So," Duo said blandly, "Being booted off field work is supposed to make me turn to evil? I think I have prospects, even if I don't get to be a field agent. Got anything else you want to throw at me?" His gun inched downward to Richards' crotch and Richards suddenly looked tense. "I really do hope that the next thing that comes out of your mouth isn't a proposition to have sex with you," Duo warned, "That would really piss me off like you wouldn't believe."

Richards smiled tightly. "You are a handsome man. You can't blame me for taking liberties when you were incapacitated." He shrugged. "I won't mix pleasure with work though, be assured of that. If you join with me, I promise I won't step out of bounds again."

"Now that I'm not strapped down and I have a gun, you mean?" Duo interjected angrily. "I'm not stupid. I know all about guys like you. You've got nothing I want, Richards. Put your gun down or I'll be forced to blow your head off. You know I'll do it."

"And my bullet might kill you too," Richards pointed out. "Or the bullets of the men waiting outside."

"They don't seem very worried about you, " Duo observed. "They haven't even checked on you. You must not be very popular, or maybe getting water down their necks for a solid hour is beginning to get on their nerves?"

"The water is destroying valuable equipment," Richards growled. "One of the things that I intend to find out is how you infiltrated the systems to lock out any overrides to shut the system down."

"One of my many talents," Duo replied. "Now, put your gun down."

Richards lifted the barrel of his gun and it pointed towards the ceiling. He said, "Maybe you don't give a damn about your own life, but what about his?"

Duo kept his face expressionless even as his heart stopped. The gun was pointed at Harri high up on the platform. It was too much to hope that the bullet would miss it's mark.

"He's just my housekeeper," Duo said in a cold voice. "What the hell do I care what happens to him?" He added impatiently. "What's your plan now anyway? I'm not going to join you and you know you can't force me too. You know I'm willing to die to take out an enemy. That's why I was chosen to pilot a Gundam in the first place."

"I think you're lying," Richards said confidently. "I think I can force you to do what I wish. I think you'll do everything I want to keep innocents from getting slaughtered for your disobedience." His finger started to squeeze on the trigger of his gun. "Put your gun down," he ordered, "and he lives. It's as simple as that."

Duo blinked at him. "How do you get people to follow your orders? You are completely crazy. You have to be to think that any of this is going to work. Nothing you're doing is making any sense."

"Crazy?" Richards snorted. "I don't think it is in the best interest of your 'housekeeper' for you to insult me." He suddenly fired his gun. It pinged off of metal high over head and Duo heard Harri's audible exclamation. "Think the next one will kill him?" Richards asked with a cold smile. He fired again and again it pinged on metal.

Duo glanced quickly upward and then down again. He could see that Harri was huddled, making himself as small a target as possible. Why he wasn't trying to get out of the access hatch, Duo wasn't sure.

"I know where he is," Richards informed Duo with sadistic smile. "Just a little to the left."

The building suddenly rocked. Duo staggered. Richards didn't miss the opportunity. His boot caught Duo on the chin and Duo went down, his gun falling from his nerveless fingers and skittering across the wet floor. Richards then threw himself on top of Duo and pinned him, an elbow in Duo's throat, almost crushing his larynx, and his knee in Duo's gut, knocking the air from him. The gun pointed at Duo's head.

"Looks like I'm running out of time," Richards said and his eyes suddenly looked fevered. "I thought the blast doors would hold, but it looks like your Preventer comrades have better firepower than I anticipated. "Still, I'll have what I want before they find out where I am... where you are... and I'll use the roof to get away afterwards." He leaned close to Duo's face and he seemed almost childishly unhappy. "I was really hoping that you would join me. Since you are so stubborn though, you'll have to suffer the consequences of my displeasure."

"You ARE alone, aren't you?" Duo managed to choke out. "You were trying to escape getting captured and you ran in here. It's the most logical escape route, which is why you knew we would be here too."

"I sent men to capture you, but they're all cowards," Richards snarled angrily, "They were frightened by your sabotage and they ran at the first sign of Preventer forces. Men like that don't deserve to be under my command! I'll get away and find worthier soldiers to pursue my cause. You should have agreed to join me. Once I'm in charge of Earth and Space, I'll eliminate everyone who opposed me."

Richards rubbed his crotch against Duo. Duo felt a bulge. "I've been wanting you since I first saw you, for my operation and for my pleasure."

"You ARE crazy!" Duo hissed and then shivered as the gun barrel entered his right ear.

"Crazy?" Richards chuckled. "I'm getting ready to fuck a Gundam pilot against his will. I think there isn't any better testament to my skill as a soldier."

Duo felt his heart race and he couldn't help glancing upward to where Harri was sitting. He couldn't see the man now, but he hoped that Harri had made his escape. Richards saw Duo's look and sneered.

"I don't really want someone to watch." Richards said as he raised his gun, aimed without looking, and grinned down at Duo as he fired.

There wasn't a ping of metal and there wasn't a shout from Harri. Richards began to look up to see if he had hit his target, but Duo punched his rising panic down into a deep mental hole and distracted Richards by saying, "So, you've been wanting to stick it in my tight as since you first saw me?"

Richards blinked down at Duo in confusion.

"You could have just said so," Duo continued. "I used to be a whore. For a little money, I would have done you. It would have saved all of this trouble, bringing down your entire operation, just to get off in my ass."

"Whore?" Richards mouthed and then snarled, "You are the one that destroyed my operation. I intend to-"

"I don't think it was your operation to begin with, so you might as well cut the crap," Duo retorted, ignoring his danger. "I'm sure you were a good enough of an actor to make someone believe that you had all of your marbles, and that you could manage things, but you're far too stupid to have thought up this kind of operation. So, who's your buddy? What's the name of the guy pulling your strings?"

"Don't you know?" Richards sneered. "You're the one who blew him up with a bomb."

Duo's eyes widened in sudden understanding. "THAT guy? No wonder things are falling apart then. You took over after he died."

"Shut up!" Richards snarled and his gun lowered to Duo's head again. "I am a military genius. I will triumph in the end. I will command Earth and Space. First, though, I'm going to command you."

Duo felt the madness beginning to wash over him, especially when Richard's elbow left his throat so that the man could start pawing at his belt. Richards was going to rape him, the child's voice in Duo's mind screamed and cried, while the adult in Duo raged and began to uncap a molten fury as it frantically searched for a way to get free and kill Richards.

Richards sensed something of Duo's metal turmoil. The barrel of his gun prodded Duo's head painfully. "Don't, unless you want me to paint the floor with your brains."

"Don't unless you want me to paint it with YOURS," Harri's voice said and the man placed the barrel of Duo's gun against Richards' head.

"Stalemate again," Duo said in relief.

"Hardly," Richards sneered. He twisted, lightning fast, and knocked Harri's gun aside with his own arm while he began to rise and aim his gun at Harri.

Duo was in motion instantly. As Richards raised his knee from its crushing position in his gut to turn and deal with Harri, Duo thrust himself upwards and grabbed Richards around the throat with both arms. Throwing his weight backwards again, Duo pulled Richards back with him. They sprawled and Duo was on the bottom, but he hadn't relinquished his hold on the larger man. Instead, he shifted his grip expertly and began to crush the man's windpipe.

"Duo!" Harri called fearfully.

Duo ignored him, all of his attention on the man at his mercy. His mind seethed, shouting silently, 'Kill him! Kill him for touching you!' Duo felt a sick satisfaction in feeling Richards jerk and twist, trying to free himself. He ignore the hard jabs of Richards' elbows thrusting back at him and the man's weight bearing down on him as Richards tried to slam him against the floor. Nothing was going to make him let go, Duo thought, he was going to make sure that Richards never put a hand on him again.

"Regulation nine, subsection alpha, sub text c: Fire arms are to be used only as a last result. Suspects and targets are to be taken into custody with minimal amount of force. Agent brutality will be dealt with severely and immediately with dismissal and appropriate charges," Chang Wu Fei's voice said quietly and calmly.

Duo's mind latched onto those words, that voice, and his hands stopped squeezing. He blinked, frowned, and then came back from the place where he had fallen; the place of darkness where the anger, disgust, and his hate for all men who would dare to try and use him, resided.

"Time to take him into custody, Agent Maxwell," Wu Fei ordered.

Duo swallowed hard. Richards had run out of air. He was almost limp in Duo's grasp, only struggling feebly. Duo released him reluctantly and then thrust him violently away. Richards sprawled bonelessly on the wet floor, gasping hoarsely for air and hands coming up to his throat as if someone was still trying to choke him. The imprints of Duo's hands were livid against the pale skin of Richards' throat.

Wu Fei tossed his handcuffs to Harri. "Can you cuff him?"

"Y-Yes, sir," Harri stammered, moving shakily forward. He handed Duo's gun to Wu Fei gingerly. Wu Fei handed him the cuffs. Harri dropped them, bent, picked them up, and then crouched to attach them to Richards' wrists. "Sorry," Harri said to Wu Fei in embarrassment, "it's just that I've NEVER come so close to dying so many times in so little time. I'm a bit rattled."

"Understandable," Wu Fei replied and gave Harri a nod of respect before turning and reaching a hand down to Duo.

Duo stared at the hand and then up at Wu Fei in dazed confusion. "How did you find us?"

"We used the computer," Wu Fei explained. "It pinpointed this room as the most likely escape route. We do have agents fanned out all over the complex looking for you though, in case you were forced to chose a lesser hiding place."

Duo avoided Wu Fei's helping hand and stood on his own with difficulty, feeling the effects of the emotional and physical battering on his body. His mind was beginning to pull back from the brink, but he couldn't help looking at Richards angrily.

"Duo?" Wu Fei said, concerned. "Are you injured? If not, we need to take the suspect to the main operations room." When Duo continued to look at Richards, Wu Fei snapped impatiently, "Pull yourself together, Maxwell, or stand aside and I'll have an agent come back here to collect you!"

Harri said, sensing a judgment in Wu Fei's voice and wanting to defend Duo, "This man tried to rape Mr. Maxwell, sir."

Wu Fei hissed an oath, dark eyes wide with shock, and then he said to Duo soothingly, as if he thought that he was calming a wild beast, "Heero is in operations, coordinating the search for you. I'll call him for you. He can come here and-"

Duo held up a hand and then let it drop. He took a deep, shuddering breath, let it out slowly, and then said wearily, "No, we'll go to him. I'm... I'm all right. Richards can't hurt me. I'm not- I'm not a child. I'm a Preventer agent. I'm a Gundam pilot." His voice grew stronger, "I'm better than he is; faster and more skilled. He tried to hurt me, but... I didn't let him. I'm not weak. I'm not helpless. I don't have to be afraid of him. I don't have to- to hurt him to keep him from hurting me."

Wu Fei listened to Duo speak and nodded at each affirmation that Duo made about himself. Wu Fei realized what Duo was doing, realized that he was triggering lessons learned at the institute and maybe even triggering lessons learned recently during his new training.

"If you are all right," Wu Fei said tentatively when Duo ceased to speak at last. "Then arrest the suspect, Agent Maxwell."

"Yes, sir, Agent Wu Fei," Duo replied. He walked forward, shoulders slumped and feet dragging with pain and weariness. He stood over Richards. Richards glared up at him, beginning to come back to his senses. Harri looked ready to intervene in case Richards tried to attack again, but Duo motioned him to stand back.

"I'll have your ass yet," Richards promised viciously.

Duo blink, shivered, and then made a visible effort to keep himself in control. "Commander Richards," he began shakily, but then firmed his voice as he continued. "You are under arrest for violating the ban on mobile suit manufacturing, kidnapping, attempted rape, attempted murder, attempted rebellion against the lawful government, and various other crimes to numerous to list at this time. You will obey all of my commands and come quietly or I will be forced to subdue you by any means necessary. Do you understand?"

Richards gave a short nod, his jaw tightening angrily. When Wu Fei and Duo helped him to his feet, he jerked roughly out of their grasp and stood on his own. Wu Fei fingered his gun, but Richards didn't make any other sign of trouble. Wu Fei patted him down for other weapons and, not finding any, he motioned Duo to take the lead. Wu Fei motioned Richards to go next, so that he walked between them, and then Wu Fei signaled to Harri that he was to bring up the rear. "Stay close," he told Harri, "There might still be some resistance."

Harri's eyes widened in trepidation, but he nodded, doing as Wu Fei ordered. In single file, they left the room and entered the corridor. They were relieved to find that the sprinklers and the fire alarm had been turned off. Heero had probably discovered Duo's virus and had nullified it..

Wu Fei's cell phone rang. He answered it, keeping his eyes on Richards. Wu Fei snorted, "I found Duo and he seems fine. We also have a prisoner and a civilian that was abducted by them as well." Wu Fei paused, frowning, and then snapped, "Yuy! Roaming corridors is not staying in command position! You are supposed to be coordinating... yes, I see, all positions checked in? Still, it isn't exactly command protocol to run off-" Wu Fei stopped, listened, and then gave a long suffering sigh as he said, "Two corridors to the left of that one," he said to the phone. "There's an intersection up ahead." He hung up on the caller and said to Duo, "That was Heero. He'll be here shortly."

Duo felt a warmth in his heart at those words and he couldn't help a small smile. There was a part of his mind that wasn't ready to relax or believe in his rescue until he saw Heero standing before him. He limped down the corridor in exhaustion, determined to meet Heero on his feet and absolutely determined to hand over his prisoner himself.

"Duo!" Duo whipped around at Wu Fei's cry of alarm. A wild eyed Richards, launching himself with a small razor knife in one hand, filled Duo's sight.

"Kill you, you little bitch!" Richards screamed and the knife arced downward towards Duo's heart.

A hand closed around Richards' wrist with a bone crushing grip. Richards howled and tried to free himself, but to no avail. He was forced to drop the knife as Heero Yuy twisted Richards' wrist at an unnatural angle. Catching the falling knife, Heero then shoved Richards backwards and snarled at Wu Fei. "Would you care to explain why he wasn't disarmed?"

"Belt knife," Duo observed. "It looks like a buckle. It's easy to miss."

"I'm going to kill every last one of you!" Richards promised and it was clear that he was quickly losing whatever sanity he had possessed.

Heero studied him for a moment and the said to Wu Fei, "Keep your gun on him. We'll have him scanned for more weapons when we reach operations."

Then Heero turned to Duo. It was in both of their minds to keep their distance, to finish mop up, and to wait until after they were free of their duties, but looking into each other's faces, and seeing the naked need for reassurance there, they couldn't keep their resolve for even a second. Duo fell forward, arms outstretched, and Heero was there to catch him and pull him close. He buried his face into Duo's neck and shoulder and Duo pressed tightly against Heero's collar. Their arms wrapped around each other and Duo wasn't afraid, wasn't wary, and didn't feel even a slight urge to pull away from the man he loved. What he wanted, instead, was to pull himself inside of Heero and never come out again. From the way that Heero was holding him so tightly in return, Duo guessed that Heero was feeling the same way.

Wu Fei gave them their moment and then he was clearing his throat and ignoring Harri's tisk of annoyance for his interruption of their reunion. "We still have a job to do," Wu Fei reminded them. "You have a prisoner to deliver, Maxwell, and Yuy has many men waiting for him to give orders."

Heero looked into Duo's eyes in amazement. "You made the arrest?"

"With help," Duo admitted as he reluctantly let go of Heero.

Heero caressed Duo's cheek, smiled lovingly, and then stepped back, suddenly becoming official and stern, "Then finish the job, Agent Maxwell."

Duo smiled, feeling pride and love decimate the last of the darkness roiling in his mind. Shinigami retreated. The frightened child in him went back into the past and closed the door to Duo's painful memories behind him. Duo squared his shoulders, ignored his aches, pains, and exhaustion and nodded firmly to Heero as he replied, "Yes, sir, Agent Yuy."

Go to Part 27: Epilogue

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