Jaded Trade
by Trixie

It was ok. He was really nervous the first time, of course. G told him this guy would be 'safe.' He said he was a regular. It was ok; it wasn't such a big deal. It wasn't like he was selling his soul, or anything. Ultimately, it was just sex. He barely had to do anything.

He had to wear some trashy, disgusting, vile clothes, but it was ok. He was in the back rooms, and no one was really around, no one that he cared about, anyway. The other boys back there were giving him looks and saying things about him, just generally being rude. It was ok, though, because he wasn't trying to make any friends.

They wanted him to do some drugs. They said he shouldn't drink, because that could dull his performance, but they said they had some good stuff that would make it go down easier, but he was nervous enough about everything without adding that to the list. Besides, Solo hated drugs. Duo wasn't sure, but he thought that maybe there was a time when Solo had been using. It was ok, though, because they didn't force him to do anything.

One boy in particular, Josh, was really piqued. He was the john's usual boy. He didn't appreciate Duo horning in on his business. It made Duo feel a little nauseous, that he would want to fight over who got to bend over for money, but he just took Josh's anger quietly.

It was ok, because it was just for a little while. Just until he got them back on their feet. It was for Solo, and Hilde. They had already paid off the loan shark, and everything was going along well. So it was all ok.

G put his hands on Duo while he introduced him to the john. It was ok. It was only skin. It didn't mean anything. The john looked him up and down. He had oily hair, slicked back, and olive skin. His eyes were small and deeply inset. He wore a gaudy suit with a purple pattern, and his pale pink silk shirt was open to the waist, revealing a scrawny, hairy chest covered in chains. His fingers were jeweled with rings, and he smoked thin, long cigars that smelt rancid and cloying.

He asked Duo to take down his hair, his beady little eyes widening as Duo combed through it with his fingers.

It was ok, though. It wasn't so bad. It could have been a lot worse. G left them alone in a dank little room with a bed and a footlocker and a bottle of expensive champagne and one glass.

It was ok. The john touched Duo's hair and his face, and Duo didn't flinch. He couldn't bring himself to talk very much, and he couldn't help watching the other man very closely, but he didn't flinch. The john chatted amicably to himself. He poured himself a glass of champagne and asked Duo to strip.

It was ok. He didn't mind so much. He never really thought much of his body one way or the other. When he was a kid, he knew that he was small, and not very boyish looking, so he acted twice as tough to compensate. He knew that men at the bar liked to look at him, or try to touch him. He knew that his body was all right. And it was just his body. It was no big deal. Everyone had one.

The john drank, and sat in the chair, spreading his legs out vulgarly. He held his hand between his legs, and instructed Duo on what to do, how to touch himself, and how to stand. The john lazily toyed with himself, getting aroused slowly. He told Duo to lie on the bed, and he opened the footlocker. He pulled out some handcuffs, and locked Duo down on the bed, his arms above his head. He took out tiny clamps attached to thin metal wires, like the ones that held down pens in banks, and he clipped them on roughly to Duo's nipples. He flicked the clamps, until Duo became aroused, despite himself, and he slipped a cock ring around the base of Duo's cock.

It was ok. Duo didn't like these things very much, but he put his attention on the details, the sensations. It was just metal and leather, and hands, and thin, slobbering lips. He groaned like a porn star, and closed his eyes when the john stripped bare.

It was ok. He tried for a minute to image his lover was touching him, but the image was so wrong, the sensations all so off, the fantasy couldn't hold. He pictured it as it was, just a random stranger he met in a bar, just him doing a little something different, just a normal college kid, going wild, like normal.

It was ok. It was all frustration and misdirection. The john's cock was tiny, and he hardly knew what to do with it. He didn't use enough lube, despite his small size, and his thin hands grasped Duo in all the wrong places. It didn't feel good, but on the other hand, it hardly felt like sex at all. It was easy to distance himself from it, to divorce his mind from the intimacy of it.

It was ok. The john finished, too damn slow and then all at once. He unhooked the cock ring and pulled the clamps off of his nipples roughly. Duo curled up into a ball, his torso wet with his own semen, and he hid his face from the john, who was petting his hair and cooing reassuring words that sounded like lead bullets to Duo. Duo waited on the bed while the john and G concluded their business, waiting until it was done and he could change into his own clothes again. It was ok. He was fine. It wasn't so bad.

He stood in the alley, his back against the brick, his jacket open. Cold air covered him. He could feel the ice lancing his lungs.

It was ok. He was fine. The worst part was knowing that G had watched the whole thing. He and the john had discussed the fine points of his technique right in his presence. They had laughed about how tight he was. G had put his hands on Duo's naked flesh, running his fingers over Duo's ass.

He was ok. His nipples and his dick were a bit sore, and his ass hurt a little, but he was fine. It was ok. He wasn't *marked*. In the morning, he'd be fine. He just needed to get home.

Each step hurt. He felt like he was drifting; he had to keep reminding himself where he was going, and what he was doing. Streets that were like the back of his hand normally now seemed to loom large and unfamiliar. It seemed to take a long, long time to cross streets, and his eyes kept shifting to keep from looking at anyone. He thought to himself, distantly, that he shouldn't be walking like this, but it was so much *effort*.

It was ok, though. He got home. He hadn't realized how cold he was until he went to open the door to his building. His hands wouldn't bend around the handle, and the cold bite of the metal on his skin was more of a faint tingle to his senses. It was six flights of stairs up to their apartment. He could take the elevator, but it was chancy. He sat down on the steps after one flight, his bottom aching as his weight came to settle on the hard edge of the step, and he waited for the chill to leave his bones. He didn't want to fall asleep there, though, so he started to list everyone he had known who had died. He could never remember some of the younger kids that he and Solo had hung with when they were young, but he remembered a lot, anyway.

When he got to Father Maxwell and Sister Helen, he grabbed the railing and pulled himself to his feet again.

It was ok, really. He was cold and tired and sore, but he got home all right, and his debt was a good chunk lighter, and the loan shark was paid off and happy, and Solo had been painting up a storm, and Hilde and the baby were healthy, and everything would be just fine. Just fine.

He hadn't expected his apartment to change. After all, there was nothing that unusual about that night. But everything felt disjointed. Different, but the same. Like everything had been moved, and then put back in almost the same spot. Like the very air that had been there this morning had been replaced by different air.

Duo stood with his back to the door, absorbing it all, for at least five minutes.

He didn't go into the kitchen because he was hungry, but he opened the refrigerator door and stared at their food, unwilling to even think about eating any of it. By the time he closed the door, he had forgotten why he had come in there in the first place. He wandered back out. He passed the master bedroom, only noting that it was closed and the lights were out, and it was quiet. He was about to go into the bathroom to wash himself off, but he saw the light in Solo's studio was on, so he wandered in there instead.

He watched Solo paint from the threshold of the room. Solo had always been wiry and tough, but illness had lent an air of fragility to his frame that, in adulthood, he could not shake. Inky black strands of hair fell over his lean face, but he only cared for his canvas. He wore a thin wife beater and his old gray cargos, his long feet bare. He was covered in sprinkles of paint, a plethora of colors that blended to seem like it was just paint. Solo's hands moved jerkily over the canvas, quick staccato gestures that left thin lines of texture in the paint.

Duo smiled, like light shining up from under murky water. This was balm to his every ache. This was what he suffered for.

Solo evaluated his handiwork critically, frowning lightly. He stepped back from this canvas, and his eyes flicked to Duo. He still looked over the painting, but his focus was now dissipated.

"Hey. Long night?"

Duo stretched out against the threshold. "You have no idea."

Solo nodded. "Go to bed, then, goof."

"Just wanted to watch for a spell..." Duo sighed, and let his eyes fall shut. He heard Solo put down his brush and palette, and wipe his hands off on his towel. He heard the unmistakable shuffle of Solo's stride, the short step and long slide. It was hard to tell that Solo's left leg was a bit gimpy unless you listened for it. Just before Solo got to him, Duo muttered, "Watch the hair..."

"Shut up, brat," Solo laughed, affectionately. He took Duo into his arms, folding him into his tight embrace.

Solo had always been the best hugger. Thin as he was, scrawny as he was, he could make you feel like he had tucked you away from the world just by taking you into his arms. Duo shuddered, feeling how *badly* he needed this release as the tension slipped off his shoulders. He pressed his face into the side of Solo's neck, where the smell of oil paint and sawdust and that scent from Solo's hair that always brought Duo back to when he was just Kid resided the strongest.

"Hey," Solo held onto Duo tighter as Duo just sagged against him. "Hey. What's wrong, Kid?"

Duo shook his head and shrugged, not pulling back in the slightest. "It's ok. I'm fine." His voice nearly broke, and he pushed himself harder into Solo. "I'm just... just so damn tired."

Solo ran his hands down Duo's braid, fingering each plait gingerly. "Yeah. Ok. Here, lay down on the couch, ok? I'll get you a blanket and some tea."

Duo was too wiped out to protest. He said nothing as Solo put him on the couch, and took his feet up and put them on the arm of the sofa. He didn't protest as Solo pulled off his shoes. Solo bundled up a thin afghan, and put Duo's head down to rest on it. He grabbed his thick flannel from the chair behind the canvas, and wrapped Duo's torso in it. "Be right back," he promised.

Duo sank into the flannel, pulling it up to cover his nose. It smelled like Solo's sweat and Hilde's perfumed lotion. Duo sighed, and closed his eyes. He didn't fall asleep, so he heard Solo come back, and felt him tuck the thickest blanket they owned around him. He was sweltering, but content. Solo brushed the hair out of his face reverently, his fingers soothing Duo's skin. Duo listened, his mind blank and empty as Solo went back to his painting.

It was ok. He was fine.

Duo made this little whinnying snoring sound that was really sexy. Of course, Heero was about 35% sure that he would find Duo passing gas sexy, depending on the circumstances. But, even if it was sexy, Heero didn't want to draw any more attention to them than necessary. He was pretty sure the professor had already been glaring at Duo in an accusatory manner. Heero had glared back, and that was the last of that, but it still wasn't necessary to be too blatant.

Heero rolled his shoulder gently, causing Duo to change position enough to stop making noise. Duo's little nose wrinkled and moved from side to side as he drifted in his sleep. Heero smiled down at Duo while absently taking notes for the both of them.

This was the third time in two weeks that Duo had slept through physics. Last Thursday in lab, Duo had hardly said a word, and had waited for Heero to do all the calculations. He had seen Duo in the club on Monday, but he seemed different, like he was nervous about going out into the thin crowd.

It was worrisome.

But Heero did like having Duo sleep on his shoulder.

Class ended, and everyone immediately got to their feet to get as far away from the classroom as they possibly could. Heero nudged Duo gently, and watched as Duo blinked himself in to a semi-conscious state. Duo blearily looked at Heero as if to ask what they were doing and why he was awake.

Heero smiled, gently, feeling safe because he didn't think that Duo could really see him. "Class is over."

"Oh." Duo nodded slowly, looking around to see what he needed to do about this situation.

"Here, get your stuff together and we'll go copy my notes."

"Ok," Duo sighed. "Thanks."

Heero shrugged, helping Duo shove his notebook and pens into his backpack. Heero walked slowly to the copier on the third floor, mindful of Duo trudging behind him. He hadn't taken many notes, and most of it was stuff that was in the textbook, but notes were always easier to read than a textbook.

Duo smiled at him, filling the narrow hallway with blinding, beautiful light. "Thanks, Heero. I mean it. I've been a pain lately, but you've been really nice."

Heero half shrugged, feeling warm and tight and uncomfortable. "Don't give it a thought."

"But I do," Duo yawned, rolling his shoulder blades against the wall. "You've been really nice. I appreciate that."

Heero hunched his shoulder a little, feeling self-conscious.

"What're ya going to do now?"

Heero shrugged. "Want some breakfast?"

Duo's gaze went faraway. "I'm... not really hungry."

Heero narrowed his eyes. "When was the last time you ate?"

Duo grinned, attempting misdirection. "Hey, you don't need to mommy me."

"Sorry," Heero sighed, turning away. He shoved the copies in Duo's direction, and put his binder into his bag, swinging it over his shoulder so he could get going.

"Oh, wait, no," Duo touched him. He put his hand on Heero's arm. "Sorry. I didn't mean... Sorry. I've just been... It's just, you know, work has been..." He trailed off, his eyes deadening.

Heero wanted to make things better, but he didn't know if he could. "It's ok. I understand. Your job must be... draining."

"Draining," Duo echoed bitterly. "That's one word for it, yeah."

A pang of deep, cutting guilt split Heero in half. "Why don't you take some time off? I mean, money can't be that tight, right? You must make a ton in tips."

Duo flushed, scratching the back of his neck as he turned his face away from Heero. "Ah, yeah, well, I can't, really. I'm the breadwinner in my little family. And with the baby coming..."

The bottom fell out of Heero's universe. "Baby?"

"Yeah." Duo sighed, hugging himself as he watched his feet cover the small, brownish, square tiles on the floor. "Hilde can't work because of the baby coming, and Solo is painting, but even if he does start selling them, unless he gets offered a gallery showing, he won't be able to pull in anything significant. So that leaves me. And we don't even have insurance, and the doctor doesn't take Medicaid patients, so we have all this crap going on about the bills and stuff, and getting loans and maybe paying off enough as we go so that we'll have the baby paid for by the time we start paying for college... Sorry. I must sound really domestic or something." There was stark despair in Duo's voice, and Heero was rapidly assessing too many things at once.

"Who are Hilde and Solo?"

"Oh!" Duo laughed at himself. "Sorry, I forgot, I thought I'd told you about them. They're, well, they're my family. Solo is the first person I ever knew; he took care of me and looked out for me when we were growing up on the street. And then Hilde met me taking the SATs, and then she and Solo hit it off, so now she's with us, too."

Heero nodded. Hilde and Solo had 'hit it off.' That meant the baby was Solo's, right? Heero considered the other possible interpretations of what Duo said, and determined that it was the most likely based on what he knew about Duo. "Well, maybe while he's waiting to take off, Solo could get a part time job to help out?" Heero immediately regretted saying that. He didn't know their home situation. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't be saying anything. It's just, you're wearing yourself so thin..."

Duo shrugged. "It's ok. Solo... See, when we were kids, oh, I don't know, I was about eight and Solo musta been around ten, there was a really bad winter." Duo leaned against the wall next to the exit, looking out at the sky through the narrow window in the door accusingly. "It was fuckin' cold, and wet, too, which totally sucked, and there were about ten million things going around. Ya know, bacteria and viruses and stuff. I stayed healthy, cuz I hardly ever get sick, but Solo... Solo had one thing after the other. And he was still trying to take care of everyone."

Duo's smile was so wistful. Heero could picture the scene all too well. He'd been in it himself too many times. Cold nights, and groups of kids just huddled wherever they could find, out of the way places where no one over four feet tall could find them. Heero felt a strong desire to protect Duo, which left him feeling weak and useless.

"Well, eventually, we were in this condemned apartment building, fuckin' roof leaking so all the ceilings were covered in icicles, and the whole fuckin' place too damn cold. And Solo was just... he was *bad.* He became incoherent, and he started coughing up blood, and I got really scared, so even though he told me never to go to anyone in a uniform unless I was about to be killed right in front of 'em, I called for help from the payphone down the street. I thought... I thought he was dying, you know?"

Heero wondered if Duo even remembered why he had started to tell this story. He was now trapped in the cycle of memory, his eyes clearly seeing nothing but Solo's shuddering frame and heaving, bleeding coughs. There was a space between them that was wider and colder than anything in Heero's memory, though they were standing less than a foot apart.

"They came, and they took him away, and I swear to god, he was blue and he wasn't breathing. I thought he had *died*, you know? And I should've run away, but I was just bawling and everything. Anyway, they took me into Social Services and I guess they musta taken him to a hospital, but no one told me anything, so I was in foster care and juvie and orphanages, and I always thought he was dead, but he was ok. But he wasn't far from death, then, and he was in hospice for a long, long time recovering, so like, even now, he only has about half the lung capacity that he should, and he gets sick if he isn't really careful."

Duo shrugged, as if he were just shying away from it all, and he turned to smile at Heero.

"Sorry. Didn't mean to go off like that."

Heero leaned against the wall next to Duo, not looking at Duo. "No, it's good. I mean, I like getting to know you better."

Duo's laugh echoed off the metal and stonewalls of the atrium. "You're a really good person, you know that, Heero?"

Heero ducked his head down, shaking it in negation. "No, not really."

"Well, you are, because I said so." Duo nodded firmly, his eyes twinkling. Heero felt his heart jump.

"You... maybe want to get a little something to eat?"

Duo definitely looked like that was the last thing on earth he wanted to do, but he smiled cheerfully at Heero, and nodded. "Sure, ok. Maybe a bit of a bagel or something."

As they walked across the quad to the student union, Heero walked just close enough so that his arm brushed against Duo's arm as much as he could without arousing Duo's suspicions. It occurred to him that he could offer to help Duo out with his financial troubles, but he doubted Duo would let him.

He would have to think of a way to give Duo money so that Duo wouldn't think it was charity.

Duo shifted back and forth in front of the mirror, tugging at his clothes. He didn't like getting dressed in front of G, but the old man said that was part of the deal. No interest loans didn't come for free. "Is my ass hanging out of these shorts? Damn... Are you sure this is ok?"

G leered. "More than ok, boy. You look good enough to eat. Make sure you take your hair down."

Duo sighed, pulling his braid forward. "Who is this guy again?"

"He's a regular in the bar. He's been in the back once or twice... You have quite a waiting list, little boy. He got to go to the front of the line because he offered to pay three times the going rate." G sighed, leaning his chin on his hand. "With the way you're going through 'em, you're gonna pay off your debt in now time. I'm going to miss our private time together."

Duo combed his hair out with his fingers, hiding his grimace. "What a pity," he muttered. "Three times as much? What the hell am I gonna have to do for *that*?"

G grinned. "Just grab your ankles and say 'yessir.' It won't last too long." G stood up, still poking at his crotch.

Duo didn't mind sneering at him, and ducking out from under his arm. "Let's just get on with it."

G chuckled. "Don't tell me you're getting anxious, boy? My, my, how quickly they all change..."

Duo just gritted his teeth and kept going. He didn't care what G thought of him, or what he said. He was just going to pay back the money, and get on with his life. For Solo, and Hilde, and the baby...

He heard the voice before he saw the client. The john. But it wasn't just a john... It was his worst customer. Duo thought his name was George or something. Fred. Carl? This jackass never failed to try to grab or grope him as he walked by, usually purposefully sitting somewhere near Duo's area so he would have plenty of opportunities. He didn't realize that he had slowed down until G put his hand on his back.

"Don't let it show." G was leaning in close, his bushy hair and oversized moustache tickling Duo's skin. "Never let it show. Remember, you know how to hide it all under a grin..."

Duo swallowed hard, and turned the corner, adding a swing to his hips. Show time...

It should be getting easier. He *knew* that it was supposed to be getting *easier*, damn it, but even after six tricks, he was still queasy and anxious. He still hated every second of it.

The jerk... the jackass... the john grinned as soon as he saw Duo. He was practically drooling on his shoes already, naturally. Duo was decked out in tight vinyl hot pants that came up in the back to show off a bit of his ass. His 'shirt' was little more than a few strips of vinyl and some buckles that didn't even cover half his chest. He wore nothing else, and with his hair falling down chaotically over his shoulders, he looked fey and wild.

The john was already rubbing himself. "Mm, just what the doctor ordered... C'mer boy, let me really look you over..."

Duo pasted on a smile and swaggered over to the john. "Like what you see?"

The john grabbed Duo's arm and shoved him up against the wall. "Oh, baby, I like what I *touch* even better. Mm, you are such a little slut, aren't you? I could always tell... The way you acted all coy, like you didn't love every bit of attention you got... You're a whore at heart, aren't you?"

Smile, Duo reminded himself. Don't let it get to you. Don't pull away. Don't scream 'Get your hands off of me, you fat greasy fuckface!' Don't run away. It doesn't last long. Just smile.

The john ran his hands over Duo's body. "Oh, yes, you want it, don't you, you slut... You want it hard and fast... Damn it, raise your hands over your head..." He licked his lips, his dilated eyes watching Duo hungrily. He slipped his hands up Duo's bare tummy, pulling up Duo's shirt and tearing it off of his body, tossing it aside. He ran his hand over Duo's chest, rubbing his scar with his thumb, tracing the cross, and tweaking his nipples.

Smile, Duo told himself. Don't let this fucker see how much you want to rip his skin off. It won't last long. It's for Solo and Hilde and the baby...

"God, you make me hot..." He leaned down over Duo, and ran his hands over Duo's crotch. "I bet you fuck like a minx, don't you, you little slut? Let's see you..." He popped the button on Duo's shorts. "You like this, don't you? Out here, in the hall, everyone watching... You love having everyone want you... Whore." He slid the short zipper down, shoving his hand in to fondle Duo. "Keep your hands above your head, but shimmy those tight little shorts off."

Duo swallowed hard, hiding his trepidation behind flirtatious eyelashes. He wiggled and he shimmied, rubbing against the wall to inch the shorts off. If he moved too far forward, he would touch the jackass... the john... and the john would grin and breathe heavily on Duo. There were too many people milling about. People who didn't need to be there... like the bartender who was always asking him out, or the accountant whose glasses were too small. Why were they there?

The shorts were tight, and the vinyl clung to his skin, but with enough work, they started to budge, and soon they were sliding down, to the john's delight. He licked his lips, and started to paw at Duo's legs and dick. "God, you are fucking hot. I want you. Right fucking now."

G chuckled loudly. "We have many rooms ready for your pleasure, with all the accruements you could possibly desire..."

"What I *desire* is a table... like out on the floor... Right here in the hall..." He took Duo's face in his meaty hand, grinning down at Duo, like a lion contemplating his meal. He leaned in, very close, and spoke into Duo's ear. "I've always wanted to strip you bare and take you right there... That's what they all want, you know. They all want to fuck you raw up against a table... They're all picturing you naked, all the time. And you love it, don't you? You little slut."

Not all of them, Duo thought, desperate for some space, some air to breathe. Not all of them...

"Say it, you pretty little whore. Tell me how much you want it."

Duo swallowed. He swallowed again. "Fuck me. Right here, big boy... God damn it, fuck me..."

The john growled, and pulled Duo up, pushing his leg between Duo's, shoving his tongue into Duo's mouth. Duo nearly choked, the foul taste of the man making him ill, but the john interpreted his struggling as grasping, and he pulled and twisted one of Duo's nipples until it started to harden. He grabbed Duo's dick, rubbing his thumb over the tip. To Duo's great horror, he started to harden. "Fuck, you are one hot 'n' ready little slut, aren't you? God damn it... Open up my pants. Start sucking on my cock."

He shoved Duo onto his knees, grabbing Duo's hair to hold him in place. Duo did as he was told, despite the man's interference.

It was like swallowing a year old hot dog that had been left in the back of the fridge. He had to close his eyes and keep his hands on the john's feet to keep himself from reeling. He had to remind himself to groan when the john grabbed his hair hard and pushed himself forward. It wouldn't last long, Duo reminded himself. It never lasted long.

Someone brought the table in. Duo didn't see who, because his face was being pushed into the john's crotch, but it brought an end to the horrific blowjob. It was almost a relief. For the next part, he didn't have to do anything but try not to clench up.

The john pulled him up by the hair and tossed him down on the table. His chin hit the table hard, and he was dazed for a moment, leaving him weak and vulnerable as the john shoved him into position and swabbed some lube over his hole.

It was going to happen too fast, right there in the hall, with Kyle the bartender watching and jerking off, and half a million other people just staring. Duo put his forehead down on the table and tried to spread his legs out a bit, but the position wasn't going to get comfortable no matter what he did. Thank god the jackass was at least taking the time to put on a condom; fucker probably had at least a dozen diseases on his prick.

The first slam nearly took Duo's breath away. It hit him like a Mack truck, slamming into his body mercilessly. He made some noise, but he wasn't in control of it. His hips banged into the edge of the table, just above his dick, jellifying his legs. The john laughed and groaned at the same time, pawing at his hips and his back. "You fuckin' love it. God yes, you love it..."

Duo wished the fucktard would just shut the hell up and get his business done. Each time he shoved his dick into Duo's ass, Duo's hips hit the table. If this lasted much longer, he would literally puke his guts out right there.

"Oh, yes, god, yes, so hot..." The jerk just went on and on. He was panting and groaning like he was running a fucking marathon. He was just about all the way in when he pulled out entirely. Duo whimpered, which made the bastard laugh even more, but he was just protesting the prolongation of the activity. The jackass grabbed Duo's arm and turned him over roughly, flinging Duo's legs over his shoulders before diving back into it.

It fucking *hurt*. He wasn't using enough lube, and he was jerking into Duo erratically. He pawed at Duo's dick, teasing him with futile half-gestures.

Everyone was watching. Duo preferred the other way; it hurt about as much, and he couldn't see the bus boy leering at him before. He closed his eyes and tried to turn his head away.

"Open your eyes, bitch," the son of a bitch commanded. "Watch me fuck you. Look at me. Touch yourself. I want to see you come."

Duo forced his eyes open. He forced himself to look into the pervert's wide, vicious eyes. He forced his hand down to work his cock. He forced himself not to think too much about it, forced himself not to hate it all quite so much.

Everyone was watching. G was fucking laughing at him off to the side. Derek, one of the dancers, was slowly masturbating Jack, another dancer. They were all looking at him, leering at him, taking a chunk out of his flesh for themselves, all of them...

"Harder! Fuck, damn it, do it, do it, do it..." The bastard was pumping into him as hard and as fast as he could.

Duo let his vision go blurry, and he tried to distance himself from everything. He imagined that he was at home, and that welcome hands were caressing him. He pushed the image aside, and used every trick he had ever learned since he was young enough to fantasize to get himself to come fast.

It never lasted long. Only so long it *could* last. The sweaty pig was heaving over him, his elbows down on the table on either side of Duo, his face just inches above Duo's. Duo felt trapped there, cloaked in this fat pig's stench. He wanted to push him off, just to be able to breathe clean air.

The jackass started to laugh. He only spoke loudly enough for Duo to hear. "Damn, that was good. You are hot, baby. Hottest I've ever had... Admit it, you loved every second of that. You loved it. Say it."

Duo licked his lips, and lied through his teeth. "Yeah, I loved it. It was fuckin' hot."

The fucktard put his mouth on Duo's again, sucking on Duo's tongue before he even knew what was happening.

Duo was panicking. He felt like he was going to suffocate here under this animal. He pushed on the jackass' shoulders, but he didn't have the right angle, and he couldn't even get him to budge an inch.

The sucking kiss lasted as long as the john wanted it to last, and he was laughing about it when he was done. "You really are a whore, aren't you? I bet you live for this. Slut." He dragged his fingers through the semen on Duo's chest, and shoved his fingers into Duo's mouth. "Eat it, bitch."

Duo sucked hard on the john's fingers, just wanting him *gone*.

The john grabbed Duo by the hair and pulled him up for another terrifying kiss, breaking the contact with a loud smacking noise. He stepped back zipping up his pants, and for some reason, the action made Duo feel terribly used.

He picked up Duo's shorts and tossed them at him. "Put these back on, whore."

Duo blinked, looking from G to the john. He was done, wasn't he? Guy like that wasn't likely to get it up again any time soon.

"Hey, bitch, don't take so fuckin' long. I paid for a night's entertainment. I ain't done with you yet. I feel like dancing a little, getting a drink." The john's smile was pure evil.

Duo's heart froze. "No..."

The john grabbed a chunk of Duo's hair and pulled him off the table. "That word isn't fuckin' in your vocabulary, bitch. Now put those on and let's go."

Duo's heart was slamming into his chest. There was no way... he couldn't be expected to... But when he looked at G, the old man just indicated that he should get a move on.

Colder than the deepest waters of the ocean, Duo shimmied back into his hot pants, to the great amusement of his audience, and got ready. He reached for his shirt, but the john batted his hand away, grinning.

"Didn't say you got to wear that."

Duo said nothing. There was nothing to say, was there? He should have told G no. Should never have agreed to do someone who he was used to seeing in the bar. But he was paying three times...

The john put his arm around Duo's waist, pulling him possessively against his body, and dragged him out to the bar. Duo had no shoes on, even, but he didn't see the point in complaining. His body was being rented, from his feet to his hair. What choice did he have? And now everyone would see him like this... practically naked, just fucked, being pawed by some fat jackass...

The noise was unbearable. The lights were dizzying. And the crowds... Duo was shoved around as they wove through throngs of people, walking around the dance floor before going onto it. Of course, they couldn't just dance. No, of course not... that would be too easy. They had to go up on one of the platforms that were usually reserved for dancers, but were sometimes left for patrons. They stood on the edge of the platform, and the john held Duo out in front of him, his gut and his crotch grinding into Duo's ass, his hands all over Duo's body, his tongue running all over Duo's neck.

Duo wanted to die. He just wanted someone to put a bullet through his head. This was the worst humiliation anyone could suffer, and he just wasn't the type to *suffer*, damn it!

The john seemed to like to play with his nipples, and grab his crotch. Duo pretended to melt against him, not really knowing what he was doing. He just didn't want this to continue.

They got off the dance floor, and Duo was paraded around. People leered at him, and people grabbed at him, and the john held Duo's arms up so that people could paw him and touch his body and his ass and his crotch.

He just wanted to die. Wanted his blood to freeze and slice open his veins. Wanted his heart to just stop beating. Wanted his brain to just implode.

They sat down, and the john dragged Duo down to sit in his lap, pushing Duo's legs around so that he was straddling the john's legs, facing out. The john's hands were everywhere, and his friends and all the men who had ever ogled Duo were forming a crowd. Duo looked from one leering, grotesque face to the next. The whole club was filled with perverts and sex maniacs. Duo could feel himself panicking, which caused him to shrink into the john's arms. The john laughed in his ear and called him a pretty whore.

Duo looked up, and saw Heero staring at him.

It was all a blur after that. There were too many hands touching him, and too many mouths sucking on him. It was decided that drinks were needed, so Duo was dragged up to the bar, where he was laid out like a buffet for body shots. Icy vodka was poured into his belly button, and the john leaned down to suck it out, undoing the button to Duo's shorts as he did. He stood aside, toying with Duo's nipples, and a friend of his leaned over for the next shot. He pulled down the zipper to Duo's shorts, and toyed with Duo's curly pubic hair. Shot after shot was poured, and a new set of lips would suck out the liquid while hand after hand would slip inside his shorts, until his shorts had slipped down on his hips, and his genitals were just sticking out. With the hands and sometimes the lips on his nipples, and the hands in his pants, and the mouths sucking on his belly button, Duo's dick began to harden a bit, and everyone laughed and petted him, calling him names like slut and whore. He was accused of being a cock tease, and of being a wolf in schoolboy's clothes.

The talk and the petting got to the john, and Duo was dragged off back to the back rooms, where he gave the john a blowjob on his knees just inside the door.

The john rubbed his thumb over Duo's lips after he came all over Duo's face, rubbing his come over Duo's sore mouth.

"You are fucking beautiful, little whore. You know that? Fucking beautiful."

Duo wanted to die.

The commotion would have been hard to ignore, even if Heero hadn't been looking around anyway. Another Saturday night that Quatre had dragged him off to the club. Only this time, Heero didn't even have the pleasure of watching Duo work. It was no fun without Duo, even if Heero didn't have the slightest clue what he was supposed to say to him now.

The ruckus started on the far corner of the club, near the bar, and it seemed to move like a wave onto the dance floor.

Quatre was trying to drag him off to see what was going on, but long before Heero wanted to, he saw for himself what was going on.

Some big fat loser was dancing with Duo. Duo was naked, for all practical purposes. Duo's hair was down, flowing over his shoulder. The man was touching Duo.

Heero's blood pressure went through the roof.

They watched as Duo was dragged off around the bar, and as dozens of people pawed at him, and as he was molested in the fat man's lap.

Heero didn't hear or feel anything. The plastic glass of coke shattered in his hand. Quatre was saying something. He couldn't hear though, because Duo was looking at him, and he was dead in his eyes.

Heero became very angry.

"Isn't that the waiter? The one you like? Looks like he's in the trade after all. Hm." Quatre should not be speaking right then. Heero had no way of expressing to Quatre *how much* he should not be speaking right then.

Duo was dragged up to the bar, and forced to lie down while strangers sucked at his body.

Heero was livid.

"Hey, it looks like just anyone can go up there. Why don't you go? It might be your best shot."

Heero glared at Quatre. Quatre *should* *not* be speaking.

"Better yet, if he's on the market, why don't you let me talk to Leon again? You could have him for yourself for a couple of hours."

Heero didn't remember grabbing Quatre's throat, or tossing him to the ground. He didn't remember trying to choke him to death. Fortunately, he did manage to stop before Quatre actually died. But he didn't completely let go of Quatre's throat. Heero snarled as Quatre gasped for air. "Shut. Up. You do *not* talk about Duo like that. Understand? In fact, it would be better if you didn't talk about Duo *ever*."

"I'm sorry," Quatre wheezed. "Sorry... Heero... don't be mad at me... I didn't... I didn't know you were in love with him."

Heero blinked, shocked enough to loosen his grip.

Quatre rolled over on the ground, gaining enough purchase to slip out from Heero's hand. "Don't be mad, Heero... It's... It's not his fault. He probably... he probably needs the money..."

Heero leaned back, allowing Quatre to sit up.

"I'm sorry, Heero..." Quatre rubbed at his throat. "Sorry... I didn't mean to make you so mad."

Grunting Heero picked himself up. "You shouldn't do that. Treat people like things."

Quatre blinked. "I don't!"

Heero snorted. "You just suggested I rent out a friend's body for a night, Quatre. You're rich. Buy a fucking clue." Duo was being dragged off again, in the direction of the back rooms. Heero felt thick rage uncoil from his belly, the likes of which he'd never even dreamt of in his worst nightmares.

"I don't... I'm not..." Quatre stared up at Heero. "I don't mean to, Heero. It's just... It's just sex."

"No," Heero muttered under his breath. "It's never *just* sex, damn it." He picked up Quatre's drink and downed the heady concoction in one gulp. He walked around Quatre to leave.

"Wait! Where are you going?" Quatre tried to grab Heero's hand, but Heero was moving too fast.

"I need to be somewhere else," Heero called back.

He had an Objective again.

It was cold outside, but he didn't feel the bite of chill in his lungs. The back alleys were lit up by sporadic floodlights, but Heero stayed invisible, inside the shadows, behind the dumpster. He waited. His fury chilled in the night air to a frosty hunger for revenge. He calculated and plotted, keeping his body loose and ready for action. He wished he had some weapon, anything, even a broken bottle, just something to hold in his hands, something solid that he could inflict damage with, but it was hardly necessary. His hands were weapons enough for what he needed to do.

His fractured heart delighted in the idea of hands-on violence, and he had been told to follow his heart.

At 1:46, the man stumbled out into the alley. His limbs were loose, and languid. Heero ground his teeth, not wanting the mental pictures in his head of this... this *thing* touching Duo, being touched *by* Duo. He was laughing to himself, trying to light his cigarette.

There was no justice, none at all. The tribal pounding of his heart ratcheted up the need for him to get his hands on this *thing* and break it, break it *hard*.

Heero melted with the shadows, following silently. Opportunity was key; it had been his first lesson. Preparation allowed one to capitalize on opportunity, but it was the sharp eye that found the good window of possibility that succeeded most often. Heero's eyes were sharper than eagle's, and when the moment came, he could taste it on his tongue.

He had turned down another alley, and Heero knew where he was headed. There was a parking lot down behind a cleaners that was mostly unguarded late at night. There were few enough that frequented the club who knew of it, so it was generally a good place to park if you knew what you were about. Halfway down the alley, and he was still trying to light his cigarette.

The moment had arrived.

"Hey," Heero called out just loudly enough to be heard by his quarry, but not by anyone else. "Can I bum a cigarette?"

There were two desired responses to this. The first was that the man stopped. The second was that it allowed Heero to advance toward him without making him nervous. Like a marionette on a string tied to Heero's finger, the man did exactly as Heero wanted him to.

"No, kid, sorry, I just got the two left. I'm trying to quit, you know... And you shouldn't smoke anyway, kid as young as you..." He wore a sloppy grin across his face, and Heero looked forward to ripping it off of him.

"C'mon, man," Heero replied, upping his pace just enough so that if the man decided to turn, he would still get to him before he got too far. "Just one, man."

"Look, I told you, I don't have one to spare. Go back to the club. I'm sure you could find someone to buy 'em for you." He looked Heero up and down appreciatively before turning to go, but he had given Heero just enough time to catch up.

Heero slammed his fist at full force into the man's face. There was a satisfying slug of flesh meeting flesh, and then the sickeningly sweet sound of flesh hitting pavement. The man made some sort of guttural glub noise, but Heero put his foot on the man's throat before he could yell out.

"Do you think it's fun to demean someone? To degrade someone?" A quick, sharp kick to the gut. "Fat, ugly slob like you, the only fuckin' way your hands are getting anywhere near that body is if you paid him, you degenerate waste of flesh." He balled his fists together and slammed then, full force, right down on the man's right knee, right in the center of the patella. He could feel it shatter. "Did you think you looked hot, did you think you looked special, putting your greasy paws all over him? Do you think he's some sort of *plaything* for your sick, perverted pleasures?" A kick to the chest, angled to crack at least three ribs.

He rolled on the ground, in the alley, in the filth, spitting out blood as he helplessly tried to react to Heero's words. His jaw was cracked, and he could barely speak, and it probably would have been better if he hadn't tried, because all he could think to say was, "Because of some whore?"

Heero's blind rage unleashed itself.

It was a quick, clinical burst of anger, and when it was spent, the man on the ground was certainly not going to be speaking any more. Something glinted, catching Heero's eye, and he bent down to pick up the man's hand.

"A wedding band. Color me shocked. You probably live out in the suburbs, with your perfectly arranged house and wife. She has no idea you come down here to ogle the boys, does she?" The man whimpered. "And you have children, too? Any boys? Were you thinking of your son while you were fucking *my friend*, you filth?" Disgusted, Heero took the man's ring finger in his hand and crushed and twisted it, the sharp, brittle cracks sounding very loud and sharp. The man howled in pain. "Explain this to your wife. Tell her you got bashed. Tell her you got beaten because you fucked some pretty boy whore. And never, ever come anywhere near here, or him, again."

Heero stepped over him and walked away. He walked all the way home, his fists still balled up at his sides. It didn't seem to take any time at all to get from the alley to his apartment. Everything in between was just a single breath. He had nothing to fear; there would be no retribution. He knew the look in the man's eyes. There was no chance of ever seeing him again.

Restless, Heero paced from one side of the apartment to the other. He wasn't sure what to do with himself now. There was still the juice of anger pumping through him, and his mind spun in circles.

Why? Why was Duo selling himself? He had mentioned financial problems, but to go to that... Duo, having sex for money. Heero felt his throat constrict. Why?

He flicked the switch on the stereo for noise. He stared at it for a minute, feeling that there was something wrong. A small speck of dark red liquid on the switch. Heero looked down at his hands.

Of course, there was blood on his hands. On his knuckles, mostly, which were a little sore, now that he was thinking about it. He walked into the washroom, leaving the radio on to blast out hard rock music. He flipped on the cold water tap, and ran his hands under it until the water ran clear. He looked himself over, looking for signs of anything that might bring back his night. His eyes were bloodshot, his pupils tiny. There were lines all around his eyes. His lips were tight and thin. His brow was furrowed.

There were some specks of blood on his clothes, so he stripped to his boxers and left everything in the bathtub to soak in the cold water. He didn't want to play at violence just then, so he jacked the stereo all the way up, hung the heavy bag from the hooks in the middle of the room, and started to whale on it until he couldn't even hear himself scream anymore.

On to part five. Back to part three.