Playing With Fire
by Razorqueen

Sleet rattled against cracked windows, cold wind creeping through rattletrap wooden frames. Duo shivered.

Feeble winter sun glinted off fences, flashed across the metal plating of idling carriers that fogged the morning air with exhaust. Heero scarcely noticed the meager warmth on his face, his attention divided between Treize's tall, straight figure in front of him and the hesitant, shuffling steps that followed behind.

As they crossed the compound, Heero heard the low-voiced comments that followed in their wake. He ignored them-but then, most of them were directed at Duo. Even tired and dirty as he was, dressed in the shapeless clothing of a service tech, Duo drew admiring stares-and sometimes more-as they trailed behind Treize. When Heero stole a glance back at the other pilot, he met with an unhappy grimace, but whether the frown was due to anger or frustration or pain, Heero couldn't tell.

Duo swore softly as he stumbled again. Heero stiffened, wanting desperately to turn around and offer his arm, some sort of comfort. But an OZ security officer wouldn't pay that much attention to a maintenance worker. He dared not take the risk.

Treize must have heard, too, because he stopped and turned. For a moment, his sapphire gaze bore directly into Heero's eyes. The pilot felt the force of Treize's awareness, as though he tried to tell Heero something without speaking. But what? Heero felt as though something important hovered just beyond his understanding. Treize continued to glare at him, assessing him. Then the OZ commander stepped past the scowling young man and put a hand under Duo's elbow, supporting him.

"It's only a little farther. Can you make it?"

Duo nodded, refusing to look at either man.

Heero felt helpless. He only watched as Treize let Duo lean against him, his arm slipping around the slender waist for support. A little of the tight, pained look left the boy's face as Treize lightly held him, but still he didn't look up.

Heero clenched his fists. I should have helped him. But I was too worried about our cover, about the mission.

Treize briefly brushed his gloved fingers across Duo's cheek, causing Duo to lift his head at last. Heero winced at the softness in Treize's face as a small, intimate smile curved the Colonel's mouth.

That should be me. No one should look at him like that but me.

Even worse was the look Duo gave Treize in return. Heero's throat tightened.

How can I make him look at me that way? What do I have to do?

Heero moved close to Duo's side, taking his arm as if he would drag the other boy away from the Colonel if necessary. "I'll help him."

For a moment, the rivalry between the two men smoldered, threatening to burst into flame. Heero's fingers tightened possessively on Duo's bicep, drawing a sharp hiss from the youth.

Duo glared at both of them, jerking himself out of their grasp.

"I don't need help. From either of you."

"Of course not. My apologies." Treize smiled again and stepped away, obviously expecting Heero to do the same.

"Hn." Heero took Duo's arm again. He opened his mouth to object, but Heero glowered him into silence. "Don't argue."

Heero swore approval glimmered briefly in Treize's eyes before the OZ commander turned away. The Japanese pilot slid his arm around Duo's slender waist, lifted the boy's arm over his shoulders. A sprained ankle might not be a serious injury, but Heero knew it could hurt as much as a break.

"Try not to put your weight on it."


"Shut up."

Treize motioned for both of them to be silent. "Quiet. I don't want you to attract too much attention. Come this way."

Heero eyed him suspiciously. "Where are you taking us?"

"I can't get you out of here for a while. It won't be safe until the uproar dies down a bit. I'm afraid you'll have to hide just a little longer. I thought I would take you back to my rooms. Unless, of course, you found that shed more comfortable?" He raised a single eyebrow.

Heero nearly declared that the shed suited them just fine, but Duo spoke up first.

"No way. I'm freezing. Lead on, Colonel, sir." Duo grinned, tugging on Heero's arm. "C'mon. And stop looking like you ate something sour."

"Hn." Heero studied Duo, seeing for the first time the tension under the cheerfulness. A tic twitched his eyelid, his bright eyes darted back and forth, constantly scanning for trouble. Under the loose coveralls, wiredrawn muscles strained with edginess. "Duo..."

The boy's grin faded. In a low voice, he said, "Look, we gotta get back to the other guys and tell them about the mobile dolls. It's only a matter of time before they start rebuilding somewhere else. And...and I'd just as soon get out of OZ's way."

"Since when?"

"Hey, it's one thing to tackle a bunch of Ozzies in Deathscythe. That's fun. But out here, just us and a whole lot of them...they play kind of rough, y'know?"

Unconsciously, Duo lifted his free hand to his cheek, where the security guard's handiwork darkened the smooth ivory of his skin. Heero tightened his arm around the tiny waist as if he would protect the braided pilot from all of OZ if necessary.

"Do you trust him, then?" He nodded toward Treize.

"Yeah." The quick, crooked grin again. "A little."

"Then let's go."

Duo's eyes widened, pleasure lighting them as he realized that Heero trusted his judgment. Heero felt an unfamiliar tug in his midsection. I didn't know my approval meant so much to him.

They followed Treize through an unmarked doorway that opened to the Colonel's touch. A softly lit, obviously private corridor took them to his rooms.

"Convenient." Heero helped Duo to a chair, frowning slightly as the slight pilot sagged back, eyes closed.

"Sometimes it's useful to be able to avoid even my own guards." Treize turned toward Duo as though he were drawn. "We won't be going anywhere for a few hours. You might as well be comfortable. Shall I order food?"

Duo's eyes snapped open. "Food?"

Treize laughed. "I might have known that would get your attention. I'll attend to it. In the meantime, make yourselves at ease. If you'd like to clean up, the bath's in there. Or just rest, if you prefer."

The Colonel left them. Duo stretched, yawning.

"I'm gonna take him up on the shower. You mind?"

"Why should I mind?" Heero felt a sudden rush of warmth through his groin at the thought of Duo in the shower, naked and wet. Mind? God, no...

Duo shrugged, then stood, wincing a little. "I'll be glad when we can crash for a couple of days." A self-deprecating smile plied the corners of his mouth. "Next time I volunteer for a mission, smack me, will you?"

Heero swallowed, his mouth dry. "Smack you? Duo, I-I wouldn't..."

"Geez, Heero, it's just an expression. I didn't mean it. You don't have to take me so literally." Suddenly, a smile lit his tired face. "But it's nice to know you wouldn't."

"Duo..." Heero felt at a loss. He'd never been particularly good with words. And how could he put into words feelings he didn't really understand himself?

Duo looked away, as if Heero's uncertainty embarrassed him. He began shedding his clothes. "Let me know when it's time to eat, okay?"

Heero watched Duo kick himself free of the grimy coveralls, pulling the band from his hair as he did. He tossed his head until his hair cascaded down his back, then headed for the shower, his steps uneven as he favored his aching leg. As the door closed with a quiet snick, Heero realized he'd been staring and that his nails dug into the palms of his clenched fists.

He backed away from the closed door, his breath suspiciously ragged as he visualized slim hands lathered with soap, skimming over planes and valleys of pale skin. He wanted nothing more than to kick open that fragile barrier and drag Duo to the floor, make him squeal, make him beg. Heero wiped his damp palms on his pants.

No. Not that way.

Before his nerve failed him, he strode through the room into Treize's office. The Colonel sat at his desk, staring at a security screen. When he heard Heero, he shut down the viewer and raised his eyes.

"Breakfast isn't here yet-"

"I didn't come to check on the food."

"No?" Treize steepled his fingers and leaned back, waiting.

"I want to ask you something."


"About Duo."

Steel-blue eyes narrowed slightly. "What about Duo?"

"I want to know what you did to him."

"Heero, I should think that would be obvious. You found him in my bed."

"That's not what I mean." Heero stared steadily at the handsome man in his impeccable uniform. "I want to know how to love him. The way that you did. I want him to look at me the way he looks at you."

"And why should I tell you that?"

"Because you can't keep him and you know it. But you can help him to be happy. If you help me."

Treize blinked. He allowed no other reaction to cross his face, but his mind reeled. "Teach you to love him?"

"Yes." Cold blue eyes glared the challenge at him. "Unless you're afraid."

Treize smiled faintly. Heero was still young enough to think that such a taunt would goad him. Young enough to have no idea what he asked.

But if he truly means it, how can I deny him? He's right, I can't keep Duo. But perhaps I can give him a partner who will care for him.

Treize scrutinized the young man. Heero quivered with barely-controlled desire. Small signs gave away his uncharacteristic nervousness-red lines on his palms where his nails had scored his flesh, flecks of blood on his lips where he'd bitten them, his whole appearance a mosaic of desire and confusion.

"Heero, Duo is as capable of using his body as a weapon as you or I. Don't you think I know he slept with me to escape his cell? It meant nothing to him."

"You're lying, Colonel, but whether it's to me or to yourself, I'm not sure."

Treize reminded himself that he must not underestimate these pilots simply because of their youth. He thought back to the night he'd met Duo on the bridge. Duo wanted Heero every bit as much as Heero wanted him. I wouldn't do this otherwise...but this is what he wants. He told me so from the start.

"Why do you need my instruction? It seems to me that he shares your desire."

The Japanese pilot looked away. When he spoke, his voice sounded lost. "Every time I try to love him, I hurt him."

"As far as I know, that's the definition of love." Treize sighed. "Very well."

"You'll do it? You'll tell me?"

"Not precisely."

Suspicion darkened Heero's features. "What do you mean, then?"

"How do you expect me to teach you if I don't show you?" Heero backed away a step, his eyes narrow. Treize smirked at the young man's discomfiture. So na´ve... "Make love to him. I'll help you."

"Both of us?" Heero considered Treize's proposal, clearly uncertain at first. But as he mulled over the possibilities, his eyes widened. "Hn. Easy enough to suggest it. But what if he won't?"

Treize laughed aloud and clapped his hand on Heero's shoulder. "I suspect that won't be a problem."

Duo closed his eyes as water streamed over him in soothing, warm rivulets. He'd finished washing his hair and his body, but he didn't want the sensation to end. Steam clouded the shower doors, the mirrors, the shining chrome surfaces of the bath, and still he lingered.

Clean and warm. God, it feels so damn good.

He'd borrowed Treize's soap, and the steam smelled of it, spice and sandalwood.

Like him...

Treize. OZ commander, confidant, lover-they all tangled in his mind. He couldn't think of Treize as "the enemy" any more. Not the only man who'd ever cared about giving Duo pleasure. It seemed to him that if he concentrated, he could still feel those strong hands on his body, teasing, arousing him like no one ever had before.

Except, maybe, Heero. Heero, who'd promised to make him forget about Treize.

But I don't want to forget!

And Heero. What was he going to do about Heero? What happened in the shed, everything Heero said and did-was that for real? He leaned against the smooth tiles and tipped back his head, letting the water wash over his face like rain.

Ah, fuck, Maxwell, how do you manage to keep getting yourself in shit like this?

Not even Treize had an unlimited supply of hot water, and Duo resigned himself to ending his shower. He shut off the spray, reached for a towel, rubbed his face against the thick, soft loops of terry. He twisted it around his hair, wringing out most of the wetness. Wrapping another towel around his waist, he stepped out of the shower, shaking the remaining water from his long mop.

As he opened the door to Treize's bedroom, the aroma of breakfast greeted him. His stomach gurgled, impatient, reminding him he hadn't eaten in almost two days. He realized he'd been aware of his empty stomach for some time, but he'd ignored it, like he'd done for most of his life. Three years of more-or-less regular meals hadn't erased a lifetime's habit of hunger.

Treize and Heero sat at a small table spread with a cloth that had the sheen of heavy linen. Steam rose from silver serving dishes so abundant they crowded the china place settings. Treize filled two fluted crystal glasses with champagne, handed one to Heero, and sipped from the other himself.

"Sit down."

"I'm not dressed," Duo protested weakly as he sniffed the spicy sausages.

"Obviously." Heero pushed a chair toward him with his foot. "Eat."

Duo shrugged and sat, piling his plate with the unfamiliar dishes. Hunger overwhelmed his good manners, always precarious at best, and he ate with gusto.

"Here," Treize said, smiling indulgently. "Try some jam on the grenki." Without waiting for Duo's response, he slathered strawberry jam on the slices of battered, fried bread.

"Where's my champagne?"

"None for you, I'm afraid." Treize laid two pills in front of Duo. "Take these. They're analgesics."

Obedient, he swallowed the painkillers, washing them down with fruit juice. Soon, the nagging misery in his ankle faded and he felt the leftover tautness of pain ease from his body. He ate in blissful silence, savoring the tastes and the feeling of a full stomach.

Heero drained his glass of champagne and Treize refilled it. Doesn't he know he's supposed to drink that stuff slow? He'll be drunk on his ass if he isn't careful. But then, Heero seldom drank alcohol at all. So why was he guzzling champagne like it was soda pop?

Duo felt the other pilot's eyes on him as he spooned a dish that appeared to be eggs in some kind of sauce onto his plate. He looked up, only to be startled by the hot, hungry glare that met his. Confused, he turned toward Treize-and found himself staring into a mirror image of Heero's rapacious eyes.

Tension seeped back into his body, but he felt neither the stress of pain nor the heaviness of fear. This tension began as an anxious flutter in his belly, spread downward to blossom into a warm, aching pulse. Suddenly aware of how little the towel around his waist concealed, Duo blushed.

Heero smirked slightly, and Duo quickly lowered his gaze.

Flustered, he tried to go back to eating, but found he couldn't swallow. His fork trembled slightly as he lifted it to his mouth. Treize cupped his hand over Duo's, squeezing gently.

"What's wrong, pretty one? Are you still cold?"

Duo shook his head, nervously avoiding looking at either of his companions. What's up with them, anyway?

Treize leaned closer to wipe Duo's chin with his napkin. "Greedy. You've spilled sour cream."

Duo caught his breath as the long, elegant fingers lingered on his lips. But when Heero reached across the table, mimicking Treize's caress, he almost choked.


"You missed a spot." Heero rubbed his thumb across Duo's bottom lip.

"You mean this one?" Treize tilted up Duo's chin, then bent and flicked his tongue across the spot Heero indicated.

Duo opened his mouth, but found no sound would come out.

"It's a miracle, Treize. He's speechless."

A chuckled rumbled deep in Treize's throat as he trailed his tongue along the line of Duo's jaw.

Are, it's the drugs. I'm hallucinating. This can't be happening. Can it?

"Duo," Treize murmured against his ear. "Heero wants to know how to love you. Will you let me show him?"

"Sh-show him?"

Duo felt Treize's fingers tangle in his hair. Warm breath poured over his neck as Treize lowered his mouth to suck lightly on Duo's flesh. He squirmed, trying in vain to conceal his immediate, intense reaction.

"Mmmm..." Treize hummed against his ear, his fingers tracing the edge of Duo's towel. "Your body knows what your answer ought to be, pretty one."

Heero had moved close to his other side. He stroked Duo's cheek, smoothed back a damp lock of hair. Duo bit his lip to keep from groaning as the combination of Heero's touch and Treize's continued fondling set him afire.

"Duo? I want to be able to do this right. I know you liked what he did to you. I want to learn how to make you feel that way, too."

Duo swallowed. "You mean take both of you? At once?"

Treize's tongue teased his earlobe. "Yes, both of us. How does that make you feel?"

I don't have to pick one of them? He looked up and met Heero's brilliant blue eyes. The other boy smiled slightly, for him the equivalent of Duo's broad grin.

"Like I've died and gone to heaven."

On to part ten. Back to part eight.