Promises Under the Influence
by Uru-Chan

"Enough! You're gonna kill him, man!"

"Just a bit more--I wanna wipe that smirk off his pretty face." The soldier's boot cracked against the boy's chin, baring the white throat, arching the naked breast with the force of the blow. "You like that Pretty Boy? You like it rough? I'll teach you to mouth off to me!"

Trembling fingers groped for leverage, smearing scarlet patterns in their wake. Duo's wrists threatened to buckle as he thrust himself upward, breath squeezed from his lungs in a keening whine. He crouched before the bristling soldier, clenching his ribs with one hand, and steadying himself with the other. His lips curled in a grimace of pain, eyes glazed, blood oozing liberally from his mouth. Duo coughed, his body retching, spattering the floor with crimson.

"That's more like it," the raven-haired officer sneered, fumbling in his pocket for a cigarette. "You'll learn to respect me, you little bastard--if you know what's good for you!" Duo responded foolishly, instinctively, his mouth twitching in a pathetic parody of Death's grin. One hand clenched into a trembling fist, and he jerked the middle digit suggestively.

Slate colored eyes narrowed in fury, and the man's large, blood-slicked hand clenched at his shoulder, steadying him for the blow to come. Duo's skull cracked against the tiles, the bulk of the soldier's body crushing him, fingers clenching his throat with irresistible pressure.

"C'mon Man, you better stop now, you're gonna get--"

"Shut the hell up!" the officer bellowed, returning his attention to the boy pinned beneath him. "I'm gonna fucking kill you," he hissed, breath scalding his cheek, the handsome face contorted with rage.

Do it then, the American challenged. Shut up and do it, you fucking asshole! Beat me, kill me, put me out of my misery!

"That's enough," a quiet, aristocratic voice issued from the doorway.

"Sir," the officer replied, glancing up from the broken body of the pilot. "I was just interrogating him -- "

"I can see that," the blonde commander replied, strolling leisurely into the chamber. He thrust his hip against a nearby table, eyeing the boy appreciatively. "Put him back where you got him, at least for tonight. I have something else planned for the two of you."

"You got off easy this time," the man whispered, leering into Duo's blood-streaked face. The raven-haired officer clenched his chin, running his tongue discreetly along the boy's cheek. "Mmmm," he whispered lecherously, scooping the American from the floor. "Back in my arms again, eh? Rest up, Pretty Boy." Duo's eyes squeezed shut, his bruised and broken body shuddering against the muscular torso.

There has to be a reason, he rasped, violet eyes raw with unshed tears. Solo, Sister Helen...Heero. Kitto, there must be something wrong with me. I should take it, then, shouldn't I? That makes it all OK. This -- this must be what I deserve.

The shrill scream of un-greased metal startled Wufei from his slumber. His arm leapt to shield his eyes as the door swung to, and chill light flooded his cell. Two soldiers blotted the entryway, the larger man clutching a shapeless bundle of hair and soiled black cloth. In a flurry of motion the boy pitched forward, whimpering faintly as he crumpled to the pavement. The metal door ground shut, massive bolts sliding oppressively into place.

Wufei peered at the shuddering thing, pupils dilated, affecting cool disinterest. The dull crimson of emergency lighting sparked russet in a chestnut braid, white fingers kneading blood-stiff fabric. The heart-shaped face jerked into view, cracked lips turning in a bitter smile.

"Oi....Wu-Man. You don't look so bad."

"Unlike you, Maxwell," the boy replied harshly, "I had the prudence to keep my mouth shut."

"Heh...Prudence. Had'ta ration that on L2. Gomen, Man; guess I got shorted."

"I fail to see the humor in my statement," Wufei grumbled irritably, glaring at the braided boy. "You manage to amuse yourself in everything and at the expense of everyone, don't you? Prudence is a valuable asset, and you certainly were shorted, otherwise -- are you listening to me?"

"H -- hai..." Duo wheezed subtly, eyes squeezed shut, drawing his knees into his chest. "Hai....I'm listening." A low, keening cry issued from the boy's throat, trembling fingers clenching his knees tightly against him.

"Maxwell?" Wufei's cheeks flushed with an influx of concern, hands limp and uncertain in his lap. "Maxwell," he continued, bullying his limbs into motion, "kitto you didn't push them so far? Iie, Baka, let me -- "

"Daijoubu, I'm OK...."

"Iie. It is dishonorable to lie, Maxwell," the Chinese boy interrupted. Hesitant fingers clutched at Duo's shoulder, rolling him into the red-hued light. "How badly are you injured?" The braided boy protested, thwarting the hands that snaked along his breast, examining him.

"What difference does it make?" Duo hissed, yelping as fingers stroked cracked ribs. Wufei gathered the boy's wrists in one hand, yanking them free as he completed his task.

"You must be suffering from delirium," the Chinese boy murmured, gazing inquisitively at his comrade. "Duo Maxwell would never say such a thing. Besides," he continued distantly, "I'm certain that Yuy will come for you." A bitter cough of laughter escaped the American, the bundle of bloodstained cloth wriggling from his grasp.

"Oh, he'll come," Duo chuckled bitterly, fingers stroking his battered cheek. One hand formed a pistol; he cocked it at his head and mouthed a silent "bang!"

"Nanase, Maxwell, kitto Heero will come for you, he cares for you -- "

"Is that what you think?" Violet eyes narrowed with contempt, mouth quirking bitterly at the tips. "Heero loves me, just 'cause we kept you up one night? Heh. Well, that's OK, Man; I thought so too." Duo grimaced, one hand clenching at his ribs, the angry laughter fading.

"Just a score," he explained to a dumbfounded Wufei; "he just got drunk and fucked me, K? Just that once--nothin' else to it, nothin' else." Duo's eyes glazed as he embedded himself in the agonizing memory, gnawing at his thumb in shame. Oh, God, please, it hurts, just make it stop! The keening whine returned, moisture cleansing streaks along smudged flesh as Duo wept. The Chinese boy flushed with embarrassment, lips parted in shock, fingers outstretched but motionless.

"I---Maxwell, stop, I don't---" Wufei clenched his bottom lip between his teeth. Treize...That night I wept, what was it he did? Such warmth and security, it made me feel...loved. The Chinese boy grasped awkwardly at the American's limbs, gathering the trembling boy to his breast. Duo stiffened briefly in shock, but Wufei's hands ran a soothing coarse along his back, and gradually he relented. The American buried his face in the Shenlong pilot's shoulder, rhythmically clenching his shirt.

"I'll bet your koi's really somethin', huh," Duo mumbled against Wufei's throat.

"Not really," he replied quietly, lacing his fingers in the loosened chestnut braid. Velvet-dark eyes gazed pensively at the crease of their cell.

"Sometimes," he continued, more to himself than Duo, "sometimes I wish the dawn would never come." The American drowsed quietly in his arms, head tucked beneath his chin. "Asahi....that first ray of light shatters the illusions of the night before."

So we creep by night to those we love, and offer ourselves for debasement. Oh, Nataku...I am so unworthy... Duo wriggled in his arms, the whispered name of an absent boy lingering in the air. Heero no baka, Wufei sighed dejectedly. You're a fool to throw this away.

On to part nine. Back to part seven.