Of course I knew the Royal Apartments. Just never actually got a dinner invitation there. Or any other invitation, for that matter!
It was a damn smart building – only a few apartments to each floor, and no clutch of cheap grocery and pawnshops around the entrance. There was a reception desk, though there was no-one there at the moment, just a few glimmering CCTV screens. Heero strode through the empty, quiet lobby with easy familiarity; I tagged along, wondering if anyone’d want to search my pockets. The legacy of a misspent youth, eh?
He started on me even in the elevator. His breathing had been getting heavier all the way here – his hand tight on my leg as he drove, fondling my inner thigh. Pinching at my skin, provocatively. I’m amazed we made it to the block at all. I think he would’ve jumped me at the last set of lights, but they changed too quickly for the chance. Or ‘praps I was too damn wet for him to get a proper hold of me.
I was wincing at the piped muzak in the elevator, and admiring the carpeting that was better quality than Q and T’s bedroom, when he pushed hard on my shoulders so that I dropped to my knees. I somehow knew we were going to the top of the block – but I wasn’t sure quite how far. I mean, the elevator moved slowly – but how long did we have for any fun and games?
I got no chance to ask, because the noise of his opening zip rasped over the tuneless background music, and then my mouth was filled with his hard, erect, greedy cock. I sucked eagerly – even though his pants were damp from the rain, his skin was dry and soft inside the smooth cloth of his boxers, and the inside of my mouth was offering him a wet, hot sanctuary. He gasped with delight as I took him; as I licked fiercely at the threads along its side; as I dragged the sensitive tip in and out of my lips. His hands were grasping at my hair, even as my knees were cosseted by the thick carpet underneath.
He’d obviously learned by now to enjoy my best work, though I was surprised at the speed at which I felt his excitement rising. He’d always shown great self-control, even at his most aroused, even as he fucked me some nights with the groans that told me he just couldn’t wait any longer… Tonight, one hand tight in my hair, and the other clamped flat against the polished metal wall, he hiccuped softly, and thrust with abandon into me. As the elevator gave its quietly discreet ‘ping’ and ground to a halt on floor 12, his knees buckled slightly, he groaned, and he spewed his seed out into my waiting mouth.
The doors opened. Thank God there was no-one waiting to go down! And no pun intended…
Heero thrust himself back into his pants, pulling me to my feet and out of the elevator after him. I was a little over-excited myself. Threads of him were still in my mouth; it had been too long since I’d had that gourmet taste. When he spun me hard against the wall of the corridor, panting, and grinding his hips against my groin, I opened my mouth gladly and took in his thrusting tongue.
He sucked on mine in return; he tasted every nook and cranny of the soft inside of my mouth. I was panting too, by now; and I’d have done it there and then, if he’d wanted. Pulled down my pants and let him fuck me hard against the wall, rocking more ‘n a coupla those tasteful modern prints that adorned the corridor. They were looking down, I daresay, with artistic horror on our writhing bodies.
But he broke away; held me at arms’ length.
“You’re still wet,” he hissed.
Yeah, like I knew that. So was he. We’d stopped dripping wherever we went, but our clothes had been soaked, and were clinging to our bodies. Our hair wouldn’t win any awards; I could feel the weight of my sodden braid tugging awkwardly at my scalp. His suit looked like he’d slept in it.
His eyes raked me up and down, undressing me where I stood.
“You need to get your clothes off. You got anything on under those pants, Duo?”
For the last coupla times I’d met him, I’d worn no underwear. Call me an easy lay, OK? It’s a fair comment. He stared at my crotch now, and I cursed the fact that the habit had stuck. He knew I was hard as a rock, chafing against the denim of my jeans, just from being a foot away from him.
He didn’t wait for any answer. He took my arm and tugged me away from the wall and round the corner towards the final door along the corridor. And as we stumbled on our way, he pulled my head to him, nipping at my mouth, thrusting his tongue into me. I grabbed at his shoulders to steady myself – he shrugged out of his suit jacket, and started fumbling at the buttons of my shirt. I bounced a coupla times off the wall, and when his hands slid into the waist of my jeans and started to tug them down, I nearly fell.
“Wait –“ I gasped, but then the cloth was pooled round my ankles, and I was hopping out of both boots and jeans, even as we reached the door. Surely this was his apartment? He reached a key out of his pants pocket, and slid it into the lock. But he didn’t open the door. Instead, he turned and faced me, flattening himself against the smooth wood. His tie was crumpled and pulled loose from around his neck; some of his buttons were open and I could see the dusky skin gleaming through the damp fabric.
“Get on your hands and knees,” he gasped. “Face back up the corridor.”
I dropped to my knees on the corridor carpet, and stared back up the way we’d come, back towards the elevator. My ass was naked under my shirt, and sticking up at him. The skin was cold and still slightly damp, and I felt every goose bump individually. I knew my cock was singing the joys of being let out of its prison, swollen and throbbing as it was with anticipatory lust for Heero. I could feel his eyes on me; I knew that hungry stare well.
I heard a click behind me, as he obviously twisted the key – I heard the soft whisper of well-oiled wood on thick carpet as the door slid open. I looked back over my shoulder, and saw him stepping back into the darkened hallway. He beckoned me in after him – still on my knees.
Just as I clambered inelegantly back over the doorway, his hand on my butt brought me to a halt. I crouched there, half and half out of the apartment, seeing nothing except the co-ordinating carpet and the dried flower arrangement halfway up the corridor. And then his other hand slipped between my sweaty thighs and tugged them further open. My cock hung down, bobbing and dripping. And not with raindrops.
“Whatever you want, Heero – just get the fuck on and do it…” I whimpered.
He did. I felt the movement of his body, close to mine, as he obviously dropped to his knees behind me. I heard a rustle of cloth, and saw out of the corner of my eye his shirt thrown aside. His fingers were cold, and the flesh of his bare arm was damp on my thighs. He stroked across my buttocks and down between them, to tease at my opening. I think I clenched with the delighted shock; he laughed very softly.
And then I felt the soft tickle of hair against my thigh, and his hot breath on my buttocks, and then the indescribable thrill of his wet, fierce tongue licking around me, pushing at me to get entrance. The clenching stopped at once and I opened like a morning flower. And the tongue slid on in, thrusting playfully into me, slicking its saliva all over me, and all inside me.
I held myself there – God knows how, when my legs were shaking and my arms buckled with the tension – as Heero slowly fucked me with his tongue. The door was ajar; my body was still half in the corridor. If anyone had come round that corner to another of the apartments, they’d have seen me, half naked and on my knees, with my discarded pants in a heap on the floor beside me. I was shuddering with the ecstasy, my head dipping up and down towards the floor; with nothing behind me but the hint of a shadow and a figure that may or may not have been clutching me round the waist and pushing me inexorably towards the brink of a consuming, wailing climax.
“Cold…” he mumbled against my ass. “Tastes like rain…”
It was the final straw. I lifted one straining arm off the floor, and grasped my cock. A coupla tugs, and the climax was racing to escape. Heero’s tongue was faster and harder into my ass, and I bucked back against him, not caring if I hit him or not. My upper body stretched up as the waves ran through me, and I gulped down my scream as I came. Again and again, I spewed seed out over my hand, and my crumpled jeans underneath me. I couldn’t feel Heero anymore; I couldn’t hear anything anymore. Only the thrill through my own body, and the retching of my cock as it gave it all up for me.
I fell to the floor on my elbows, unable to hold anything upright any more.
He pulled me and my clothing inside, and the door slid to a merciful close behind me. But I still wasn’t going to be given the guided tour. I lay slumped against some rather attractively patterned wallpaper in his lobby, as my legs were pulled wide apart and his impatient hand came back to my opening.
“Need you –“
He knelt between my legs, and I saw that his chest was bare, and his pants were wide open. His cock reared out from his lap, well recovered from our antics in the elevator. He hauled my legs up off the floor and over the crook of his arms, and he leant into me, pressing his cock eagerly against me. I was wet from his saliva, but it felt like he’d prepared his cock as well – there was the smooth slickness of a lubricated condom, and the aggressive heat that was the inimitable calling card of Heero’s shaft.
I wriggled to get more comfortable, but I guess he thought I was wriggling away.
“Don’t fight it, Duo,” he moaned. “I know you want it – you live for it. You want me. And I can give you everything you want!”
Every passion I’d ever repressed was shrieking to be let out. And it was Heero who did that to me. Of course I wanted him.
I reached for him, lifting my hips up, almost on to his lap and down on to his cock, impaling myself. He gasped; but I was beyond gasping.
“Fuck me,” I groaned. “Now!”
I woke in Heero’s apartment. I woke suddenly, in the dark, so that at first I forgot where I was. I was full of a nameless fear, sitting bolt upright and tumbling the sheet from my body.
Then I remembered. I remembered being fucked senseless by him; pounded against the wall and the floor until we’d both come again, and then some. I remembered us moaning into each other’s ear; Heero’s keening as he held me tight around the waist. My own groans as I gripped his soft, damp hair, stretching to plunder his mouth with my tongue, again and again.
Then there’d been some vodka, though he didn’t seem to drink much himself. And we needed some food – we went into his kitchen, although it was just to reach the phone and call for takeout. Somehow, between him hanging up the phone and me putting the menu down on the worktop, I found myself face down across the kitchen table, my pants lost again and my legs spread wide. Then there was the warmth of Heero’s hips fitting snugly in between my thighs, the bright snap of another latex package, and the excitement as he thrust into me again. Damn table…the slim chrome legs may have been fashionable but they were ridiculously insubstantial; we rocked together fiercely, and they scraped across the designer tiles in accompaniment. Guess they don’t make kitchen furniture suitable for the purpose we wanted…
By the time the desk guy brought the food up, I was groaning loudly, clinging to the very edge of the table, and Heero was tensing for his climax. As he came, his head dipped to my shoulder, and his teeth marked me – I felt the sudden sharp pain as he bit and sucked. In seconds, I was hearing the angelic bells of my own next – and rather painful – climax, just as someone was knocking on the door and calling something about spring rolls and fried rice.
I just about remembered the staggering tumble into bed. And a lot more aerobic exercise before we finally slept. Together.
And now it was the small hours of early dawn - my eyes blinked, getting used to the dim light. There was some kind of outside lamp still alight that seeped through the thick blinds at his bedroom window. I could see low, minimalist pieces of furniture; a rag rug on the floor. A clock and telephone on a table, his side of the bed; a pile of used tissues and opened condom wrappers on the floor my side. I tipped my metaphorical hat to them, with a wry grin. I moved slightly, to get comfortable; I winced with stiffness and – I had to admit it – my sore ass. Being uke wasn’t necessarily the most comfortable, long-term choice. I wondered if I’d ever suggest anything else to Heero Yuy.
The room was cool, like only good air-conditioning can make it, and the sheet over my legs was thin and soft. I turned to see if he was beside me, and he was. Sprawled across the bed beside me, his sleeping head buried in the pillow. It was a bit of a surprise. But a joy as well – it was the first time I’d seen much more of his naked body than his mouth and cock. He was truly gorgeous, as I knew he’d be – broad, smooth torso; the slightest sheen of sweat dried on the tight muscles. The most perfectly pert ass I’d seen on a man in his early twenties, and long, supple legs. I knew, of course, what they could do – how they could pin me down to the floor; how they could press between my thighs, spreading me just as he wanted. I sat there, staring, wishing for him to turn over so that I could get a frontal view.
He sighed, and rolled on to his back. The front was perfect, too. The silver chain gleamed dully around his neck. There was very little hair on his chest, framing quite large, dark nipples. I wanted, overwhelmingly, to lick at ‘em. Great definition, like he worked out. I bet there was a gym in this building. Bony hips, and strong thighs; a dark bush at his groin, with a half erect cock nestling within it, soft with its morning flush.
And then he was awake, and I was caught out.
“Hi Duo…” he mumbled. “Don’t say you gotta go. You usually do.”
I laughed a little. I knew what he meant, now, when he said I just fucked and ran. It’s my nervousness! I wanted to say. My need to make the decision to go, before you make it for me. Before you tire of me.
And maybe more than nervousness. Maybe some kinda self-preservation…
“You look great,” he smiled, sleepily. “The hair’s fantastic.” My braid had come seriously unravelled as we’d rolled about in the hallway last night. Heero had tugged it out of its binding, and so my hair had lain loose round my shoulders as I slept. He ran his fingers aimlessly through it now, gently tugging out a small tangle. “It feels great. All of you feels great. Wanna fuck?”
His hand was very warm and it was teasing between my legs. I rolled over like a pet dog.
I got up and dressed, at about ten o’clock. My shirt was dry now, though creased beyond recovery; my jeans were awkward to pull on, but I managed. I guessed they’d think I was ill if I didn’t turn up for work. It’s not like I let them down often – I was one of the most reliable workers they had. I padded to the kitchen in bare feet and made tea - the tea and the kettle were the only things I could find in the showroom kitchen. There were a coupla slices of bread, and some exotic jam in a cupboard, but nothing I fancied eating. The taste and imprint of Heero’s cock was still in my mouth.
He appeared in the doorway, smoothing his hair down. Smart pair of sweats. No shirt. I wanted to jump him there and then.
“Not much I can do you for breakfast, Heero,” I joked. “What do you offer guests?”
“I don’t have guests,” he replied.
Yo… I was struck silent for a while. I made him a cup, and passed it over the table. We sat down. We both stared, absentmindedly, at the corner of the table where we’d fucked last night. I reckoned I could see a stain from my cum – maybe it was just spilt tea from another time.
“I wanna know more about you, Heero,” I said, eventually.
He was quiet for another few seconds. When he replied, his voice was calm in that expressionless way he was so good at. “That’s not information I share easily, Duo. You don’t need to know anything else, really. You know what I do. What I’m like.”
“I want you to tell me about Peck.” Christ, I knew I was pushing my luck – I didn’t know what was driving me on. “How long had that guy worked for your uncle?”
“Peck?” He shook his head slightly, as if he didn’t know what I was talking about. “Ah – him. I didn’t know him, I told you. I don’t hire the men.”
“How did Peck get to be working here? Do you know anything about a guy called Shad?”
“Shad…?” His eyes were hooded. His hands shook slightly. I think I was upsetting him – the man I thought was always in control. “You mean one of the men? I don’t know all their names…”
“Heero, don’t you ask what’s going on? OK, so you run a club – but is your uncle into anything else?”
“Shut up, Duo,” he said. His voice was tight. He stood, suddenly. “This is unacceptable. Why are you harassing my uncle’s business like this? What has it to do with you?” He paused, suddenly, as if a thought struck him. Damn same thought struck me at the same time, but it was too late to backtrack.
“What do you know about it all, Duo? Seems that you know more about these damn guys than I do – yet you go on about my uncle…”
“Heero…” I began a feeble enough protest. Things weren’t going well. “I just know what sort of guys these are. Trust me on this. But I don’t know if your uncle does. If you do.”
He stared at me. I could see his chest heaving slightly too much for normal breathing.
“Please…” I said, rather desperately. “I knew Peck before, y’know? Other side of the state. He ran a racket for a guy called Shad – drugs, hookers – whatever. I don’t know how Peck turned up here.”
“You knew him? Does that mean you worked for him?”
There was no accusation in Heero’s voice, but I winced.
“Tell me, Duo.” Just for that moment, I thought that I heard the power that he must use with staff or people to do with the club. His voice was strong as always, but it had a sharp vibrancy that made me want to do exactly what he said. To obey him. And not just in sexual matters, when I was already more than halfway willing…
I sighed. “So OK. I worked for Peck, once – and then Shad himself. Not here – in the next city, up north. But I left it all, and came back here because my friends were here…”
“You were a courier?” His voice was low, and still expressionless.
“Well, at first I was. But then I got – I dunno – promoted, I s’pose some sicko might call it. I ran the kids. The young ones; the green ones. The barely-this-side-of-psychosis ones.” The gaunt, fevered face of Baz flashed across my mind, and the scar on my back throbbed.
“You were a pimp, for this guy Shad…I see.”
“No, you fucking don’t!” I shouted. “That’s all behind me now! I got out, and I’m damn glad I did, and I don’t wanna get drawn back down into all that again! I’m gonna make something other than a sewer of my life -!”
Heero sighed. He’d not moved throughout all my explanations. Now he raised a hand, very slightly, as if to appease me. “It doesn’t matter to me, Duo. What you did. What you were. What you were into…”
“Well, it fucking matters to me, OK? And what about you? Is your fucking uncle into all that, too? Why else would Peck turn up on his payroll? ‘Praps Shad’s here, too, doing what he’s best at; distributing death and misery in tablet form to all who’ll take it; fucking up lost little kids, selling ‘em to whatever sick fuck’s got the cash –“ I was swearing far, far too much.
“Duo – listen to me –“
“No, you listen to me!” I was yelling now. God help the neighbours. “You tell me what’s going on with this family business! Tell me something about you, something I can’t fit on the side of a cereal box! How much do you know? How much do you get involved with? Why aren’t you bothered; are you so damn comfortable here that you don’t question where the fucking money comes from for it all?”
Heero’s mouth opened; he looked shocked. I never let him reply. I gripped the side of the table and leant towards him, menacingly.
“Who hired Peck? Why? Is Shad here somewhere, too? Is he still running his own little empire – still got kids, whoring for him? Does he tell you about that time? Does he mention a guy called Wufei Chang?”
“Christ, Duo, that’s enough!” Heero grasped at my wrist, and I’d never known such sudden, shocking pain. It felt like his fingers broke through my skin. But it had the right effect – it shut me up; it halted my growing hysteria.
We stared at each other. My hair fell down on my flushed forehead; my chest was heaving with the agony of my memories and the fury I felt because they were returning. I wasn’t even sure anymore if it was anything to do with Heero, or not. I was absorbed in my own horror.
Maybe he saw my breath slowing. Maybe he felt my muscles relaxing. But he let go of my wrist, and I resisted the urge to wince, and rub at the red weals there.
“Sorry,” I gasped, not sure if I wanted to be apologising. Or what I was apologising for. “So that’s that, then! We all know I’m the talker, eh? Not you – God forbid, not you…I’m OK for a fuck, but nothing more. Praps your guys had it right; it’s better I leave you well alone –“
He caught my arm, even as I drew away. He was gentler this time, though not much.
“Dammit, Heero, let me go –“
He didn’t. Instead, he stood up, and drew me nearer to him. His mouth pressed firmly on to mine. I accepted it, my dry lips soaking up the moisture from him – it was rich, and the flicker of desire in the pit of my stomach had been heightened by my passionate outburst. Despite my anger and confusion, I wanted nothing more than to thrust my tongue back into his mouth…
He pulled away first, leaving my lips quivering, searching for his; reaching shamelessly for him.
“I never met anyone like you, Duo.”
“No, you’ll listen to me now!” He gripped the back of his chair. His voice was very harsh, and I surrendered a little. “That night at the club – when I first saw you. I wasn’t looking for anyone, y’know? I was just looking out for the club; my manager was away, and someone needed to be there. And then I saw you.”
I was silent. It was a revelation, hearing him talk. What was he trying to say? Did I believe him?
“Yes, I know,” he growled. He could see the taint of cynicism on my face. “You’d believe that I cruise my own club every weekend. That I call partners to me every night, to fuck in some dim, silent alleyway, with barely an exchange of names.” It was a frighteningly accurate description of that night – of my opinion of that night. “I won’t deny it, Duo - I don’t hold back when I want something. Someone. And I am rarely refused. But that’s not what I was seeking – not that night. Did you see me with anyone?”
No, I thought.
“Believe me, I could have had company several times over.” I believed it, because I’d been amazed at the time that he was alone. That he’d beckoned to me. “I have always had choice, Duo… plenty of choice, and willing players for whatever game I suggest. But you appeared at the other end of the bar and that was it. I had to have you. I was due to sign in the temporary manager, and then go to some party or other. Or go home, which was looking more likely.”
“You were bored of the evening, then?” Had I just been a diversion?
“I was,” he replied, his voice level. Only the flashing, narrowed eyes gave away a hint of other emotion. “But you changed that. Something in you challenged me. It’s not something I’m – used to. I wanted to know you – I wanted to find out about you.”
“You wanted to fuck me,” I ground out.
“Yes.” He just wasn’t fazed – whatever sarcasm I threw at him. “And you wanted me to, didn’t you? I saw that in you, Duo. But that’s what attracted me – not just the desire in you; but the passion barely held in check. The need. The self-control that you must have had, to act as a different person other than the one you sleep with at night.”
“Shit,” I whispered. I felt as if I’d been laid bare before him – and far more than physically.
“Don’t pull away from me now, Duo. Don’t let this strange obsession you have spoil things. Each time I see you, I feel… it’s different.” He shook his head, a little impatiently. Impatient with himself, I think, not me. “Remember how good we are – how much we pleasure each other. I – I don’t have that from anyone else. I never have had.”
“No guests, Heero?” I looked round the sparse apartment. Anywhere, rather than at those intense eyes. “No lovers?”
“Yeah, there have been lovers,” he smiled back. “What do you think? But not here. I like my sex fast, immediate, and sometimes dangerous. There’s an added excitement to creative locations, don’t you agree? But I don’t invite people back here. At all.”
There was something more here – we weren’t just talking about lovers. There was little enough evidence of Heero’s personal tastes and belongings in this apartment, let alone the influences of anyone else. I’d joked once, asking if he had friends. ‘Praps now I had my answer.
“You don’t let people in…” I whispered.
“No, I don’t. But I will for you. I’ll fight for you, Duo. I’ll fight to have you, for as long as I can…”
His hand slid inside my shirt. It was a shock to realise how close he’d come to me, while we’d been talking. While I’d been listening, fascinated, to his deep, rich voice. Talking about himself in a way I’d never heard before.
“There are still bruises on you,” he murmured. There was a strange tone to his voice. He nipped gently at my neck.
“They’re healing fine,” I replied. My throat was constricting – I knew he was distracting me. His fingers were travelling gently around my waist. Probing at the flesh; kneading it. His fingertips were rough yet smooth at the same time.
“And this? Is this from the beating as well?”
His hand had paused, the fingers tracing out the long, jagged mark of my knife scar. It ran from just under my ribs at the front to a point above my waist at the back. Not more than seven, eight inches – but the skin was still vibrant red as it healed; the marks of the stitches were still to be seen.
It had been a long time since I’d been fully naked in front of anyone. And not since the stabbing. Somehow, it had never occurred to me that, of course, he’d see it. We’d slept together, hadn’t we?
“Duo, what is it?” he breathed into my neck. I was trembling very slightly. “Is this something to do with your questions? With your obsession with my uncle’s men? Did one of them hurt you before?”
“Leave it!” I snapped. “I don’t talk about it –“
He wanted to take me again, I could tell. I could feel his breath, coarse on my cheek; the hot, bulging flesh at his groin. But I didn’t think that was gonna be the way – not now. Not yet.
I reached for my socks, tumbled in two small piles by a deep, leather couch in the lounge, and next minute I was laid out on my back on it, and he was kissing me fiercely. I wasn’t against it, in principle, y’know – he still didn’t have a shirt on, and my whole body was responding in some kinda fascination with that smooth, dusky skin… But when he ran his hand into my jeans and flipped the button open, I flinched. My damn ass was so sore, I was scared I’d not be able to work all week, let alone go back tomorrow. I’d be walking like John Wayne, and trying to explain that to the other lusty, very hetero guys…
He took note of my reaction – that was another surprise. He withdrew his hand, and he just kissed me, long and hard, until I could feel both our hearts hammering in our heaving chests. Then he drew his mouth away, saliva trails drifting a silver thread between our faces. He sat back, and sighed. His lips were moist and plump; they shone an invitation that my cock thought I was mad to refuse.
“You taste so good, Duo. I’m gonna shower now – what about you join me?”
My head swam. What a vision that conjured up! I must get back to the apartment, I thought, in some panic – call in sick or something… I felt pretty sick, in all honesty. Sick, and thrilled at the same time.
He stared at me, as I clambered off the couch, resisting the urge to adjust my groin inside my jeans. I put on the socks, and scrambled under the furniture for my boots.
“Duo… you’ll remember what I said, won’t you? I – don’t say that sort of thing every day, that – sort of –“
“I know,” I replied. “I understand.”
“Go, then. It’s fine. I’ll see you again soon.”
I paused at the door. I felt I had to say something else, because I wasn’t sure where I’d last left my confused, anguished thoughts. Somewhere down inside my pants, and that wasn’t necessarily the right place at the moment…
“Heero – I will find out what’s going on.”
“Sure,” he smiled slightly. The flash in his eyes spun in my head. He stood up and faced me; still half-dressed. Very assured, very calm. And very damn handsome.
“You…” This was gonna sound so ridiculous… “Heero…You will be careful, won’t you?”
“You’re being melodramatic again, Duo. Of course I will!” He laughed, lightly. His hand was wavering at his side – as if he needed to touch something to anchor himself. “But must you go straight away? Let’s eat something – let’s go back to bed –“
Oh, Christ, I groaned. I had to go – I could feel my irresponsible body responding to him again. I mustered up a grin, evaded his outstretched hand before it reached me, and I left the apartment. He didn’t follow me.
The elevator crawled all the way down to the lobby; I swore I could smell Heero’s seed in the claustrophobic air of it. It was a heady, erotic thing. I strode out of the building as confidently I could. The temptation to flip a finger at the desk guy as I left was strong; but I resisted.
I went back to Trowa and Quatre’s apartment. Where else did I have to go?
I heard Trowa and Quatre coming back home, just as I was ramming my last pair of boxers down the side of my bag. They’d been out when I got back, which was fine by me. I’d washed, body and hair, and dressed in comfortable T-shirt and sweats. I’d called work and made my excuses. Then I’d packed up my pitiful wardrobe, and a coupla personal items. I was sure the guys would let me come back and pick anything else up later.
I’d thought I might just be gone by the time they got back, but never mind. I probably owed ‘em for some food this week, anyway, so it was better I settled up before I went. I wondered where I’d left my wallet, patting around my pockets to find it…
“What the hell are you doing, Duo?”
Fuck – Trowa at his most assertive. Standing in my door. Well – the soon-not-to-be-my-door. It’d be their spare room again, like it was before I came back and disturbed their life all over.
“Don’t make a fuss, T. I’ll pay what housekeeping I owe, then if I can just get going, there’s a room going at the same place as one of the guys at work, I can bed down there for a coupla nights. Then I’ll look for my own place, and I’ll come back and collect anything else. While you’re at work, if you like –“
“No, you won’t,” he replied. He looked a little shocked.
“Look, please, I know I deserve the hassle, but just let me go quietly –“
“Go?” Now there was Q in the doorway as well. I’d have to be a damn shadow to get out between the pair of ‘em. I was trapped here. I sighed; were they looking for some kinda fight?
“You can’t go anywhere yet!” snapped Quatre. “The food’s on the table, and I only buy the sticky BBQ-sauce spare ribs for you, neither of us likes ‘em -!”
“Christ, Q!” I spluttered. “I’m happy to be thrown out, but don’t expect me to eat a hearty meal before I go! Stick ‘em in a bag, and I’ll take ‘em with me, if you’re that anally retentive to care either way –“
“What’s he talking about, Trowa?” Q had turned to T, and there was genuine surprise on his face. “Thrown out? I thought we were having supper then watching that sea-battle movie…?”
“He’s not going anywhere, period,” said Trowa, in that quiet, firm voice that I reckon he uses at work, that they can hear over the thrust of many a jet engine. He stared at me. “You’re not going anywhere, Duo. Well – only if you want to! But we’re not throwing you out. Jeez, why would we do that? You’re our friend – we like you here –“
“Trow certainly does! He watches you in the shower, y’know,” grumbled Quatre, but there was a wicked smirk on his face.
“Yeah…” grinned T back at him. “And don’t you just rise to the bait, every time…!” His fingers reached out, and ghosted over Q’s groin. There was unambiguous, lustful greed in their expressions, and I envied them for their devotion – but they still weren’t getting out of my way.
“I’m not what you thought, guys –“ I began. I was confused – I’d steeled myself to leave them. I wasn’t sure what was happening here. “All that stuff, about what I used to do… I can’t expect you to accept me the same way. I’ve fucked up my life ever since Rik, and I need to get outta here and sort things out for myself.”
“Ahh, shut up, Duo,” announced Q, quite cheerfully. “We know who you are, and we say that what’s past is past. You’re no different today than you were then. Just a bit taller, and with an attractive muscle definition that I can’t, unfortunately, compete with.” He smirked, to show it was a joke. “Just come ‘n eat, and keep T company through the movie. Then you can put all those damn things back in your drawers and take an early night, so’s I can drag Trowa to bed and screw his provocative little brains out…”
“Not so little, you damn bimbo,” growled T in response.
I stood there, as they moved away from the door and back to the lounge, laughing, and gasping dirty little promises into each other’s ears that I doubted would wait to be honoured until after the movie. My boxers were still in my hand. I was more than a little stunned.
T stuck his head back round the door, and his expression was serious now. “We meant it, Duo. We want you to stay. This is your home, now.”
“What happened –“
“Drop it,” he said, firmly but not unkindly. “Move on. We know your life now, and it’s good. It’s sound. You always were, Duo. We’ve all come different routes – still got some more to take. And we’ll watch over each other, OK?”
“…but not in the shower!…” came a mournful wail from the lounge, and with a rueful grin, Trowa’s head dipped back out.
After I’d demolished the ribs with a – not unsurprisingly – healthy appetite, I took the plates out, with Trowa following. Q was struggling with a pile of DVDs, and discarding them across the couch as he searched for the right one. Trowa fetched out the dessert for us, but he paused as he reached the kitchen door, about to take it through.
“I asked at work about that guy,” murmured Trowa. He looked uncertain – as if he weren’t sure if it would upset me.
“Peck – the one who was found dead. Are you angry?”
“No…” I said, slowly. “What did you find out?” Trowa had a bunch of contacts through work, in civilian life; in the military; in the police… his sources of information were deeply in the know, and usually very accurate.
“They knew nothing about him, or this Shad. But one guy had heard about the – about the attack on Wufei Chang...”
“Yeah – the murder. My friend has a relative in the force, across state. They reckoned it was wrapped up with the whole gang situation – like you told us about. The organisation over there is very strong; there’s been trouble for years. It’s a family-run thing; your Mr K has representation in every kind of business there.”
I felt cold, suddenly. Though the apartment was warm enough. “But Wufei was nothing to do with it…”
“No, I know. No-one said he was. But they think he probably got in the way. He was talking to the police about the situation with the kids. He meddled…”
Was that what they called it? I thought, sadly. Saving some kids from tyre-track arms and hideous sexually transmitted diseases? From illegal abortions – from pathetic, doomed little street crimes? From broken limbs and cold, sad little deaths…?
“So – maybe not just a mugging?” My voice was very low. Wary.
“No, maybe not. How are you with that, Duo?” His voice was tentative, but gentle on me.
“I dunno…” I murmured. What did this all mean?
“And…” T still stood poised in the doorway, the Ben & Jerry’s in his hand.
“It’s continued, since then, Duo. And escalated recently. More violence – more killings. There are stories of a young kid run amok; it made me think of your own story. It all might have come across as random, drug-related cases – but there’s been a pattern to the choice of victims. It’s been men prominent in the criminal world – gang lieutenants. Drug dealers. It‘s all happening up north – in K’s territory. But there’s concern that it’s being initiated from over here; in this city.”
T shrugged. “They don’t know exactly who or how. But there’s a branch of K’s family that split away years ago – and the police think they came here. To this city. And set up their own organisation. There’s never been much evidence here of the same sort of organised, criminal activity as K’s – but now there’s speculation that the family are somehow moving together. That one side may be trying to take over the whole thing. That the killings may be the beginning of a family feud – a damn dangerous one.”
Another branch of K’s family…was that why Peck turned up here? I thought.
The second thought came hard and fast on its heels; working for Heero’s uncle? What sorta sick coincidence was that?
T looked uneasy; like he regretted talking to me. But I would’ve told him not to be so stupid – I’ve never said there’s any pain in knowledge. Just in ignorance.
“No-one can catch the killer, it seems – no-one ever seems to see this boy. They’re thinking now that he doesn’t exist - that it’s some kind of urban myth…” He smiled at me, but he knew now that neither of us believed that. “Anyway, there’s some sympathy with letting the mob guys fight it out between each other, if that’s all it is – unless it threatens to spill over into civilian life.”
I knew that Baz existed. Or had done, months ago. Was he still being used? I thought. He was always fast, like me. Fast; and possessed of an acute sense of self-preservation that had always saved him from being caught and blamed for anything he did wrong. Despite his dangerously low IQ. He’d sneaked past me enough times… It was a shocking thought, but I wasn’t, perhaps, as shocked as I should be. Was he still around as well?
Wufei was suddenly very sharp in my memory – I could almost hear his voice in the room. Smiling at me – grappling with those files. And then the streak of death and decay that was Baz…
“Don’t they have –“ my voice stuck in my throat. “Don’t they have any idea who’s behind it, here in this city?” It was the sort of thing that Shad would have taken on – positively enjoyed. And Baz had been his little gofer for a long time. But I didn’t even know that Shad was around – I’d only seen Peck. I had no other evidence, except for a mind that was leaping suspicions from one to two to twenty…
And considering where it all ended up, I wasn’t sure I wanted to think about it.
“No idea yet,” replied T. He peered at my face, and I hoped it hadn’t gone too pale. “Duo…”
I nodded to him. I couldn’t trust words.
“I don’t know if it’s reaching back out for you, Duo. Your life in the other city. Your other life. It would be damned unfair, wouldn’t it? But don’t let it, OK? And keep away from – from anyone who might be involved. Who might take you back to that world…”
My friends were something else. Never once had T mentioned either Heero’s name, or asked for the connection between the dead man and my beating. Or with my lover. Or any other awkward question that he had every right to raise.
“OK, T,” I said. The voice that came from my mouth was strange and echoed in the kitchen. “Sure. As if I’d want to lose myself back to that now, eh?”