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Lone Wolf


They had been preparing for this mission for two months. Tomorrow they would find out if they had thought of everything, or at least enough to make it out alive.

Duo sighed softly as he lay on Heero's back, his legs entwined with Heero's, his head between Heero's shoulders, listening to the strong, steady thump of Heero's heart, the liquid susurration of Heero's breathing matching the faint motion against his arms, cradling Heero's chest, regular, calm, asleep. He loved laying on Heero like this. It made him feel safe.

It didn't now.

Heero had seen he was tense earlier. With gentle insistence, he had helped Duo relax. It had been such sweet pleasure. So had not worrying for a while.

He was worried again.


Heero was staring at the computer screen as if he'd been turned into stone. That wasn't unusual. His mouth hanging open was. Duo knew it was bad when he padded over to stand behind Heero and Heero didn't notice he was there. He read -- an assignment. "Oh -- my -- God," he whispered.

Heero's head jerked around as he spoke, seeing him, angry that Duo had sneaked up on him -- then Duo saw the secret smile. He knew things would change eventually, but right now, their relationship was young enough that neither of them could stay mad at the other for more than a minute. "Ninmu ryoukai," Heero said as he typed the acceptance sequence and hit the send button. Duo heard a heaviness in his voice.

"Well, I guess we should get started," Duo said. He usually liked infiltration jobs, but this one was far more difficult than anything they'd done before.

"I'll take care of it." Heero's cold, soldier voice.

Duo loved and hated that voice. He also loved and hated Heero trying to protect him. "Are you out of your fucking mind? You're gonna need all the help you can get. And I'll be damned if I sit around and wait for you get nailed to the wall by some Oz bastard, koi."

"My mind isn't what fucks."

Oh, that sweet, cold voice. He couldn't resist when Heero came on to him with that cold voice. That was when he loved it best. "Oh yes it is." Duo grinned. "You get that look on your face and I know exactly what you're doing."

"What look?"

"The one you have right now." He chuckled. "Want to get out of dreamland and do it for real, Spandex Boy?" Duo's finger traced a line along Heero's jaw and up behind his ear. That was usually all it took when he was in this mood.


Duo doubted he'd ever understand how Heero could shed those Spandex shorts so quickly. He didn't really care.


He smiled at the memory. For a few minutes more he'd forgotten about tomorrow. Sometimes yesterday was better. He felt Heero move beneath him and found himself suddenly on the bed, then Heero's arms around him, pulling him close.

"If you don't get some sleep, tomorrow's going to be Hell." In the moonlight coming through the window, Duo saw Heero's eyes add, "for both of us."

"Hold me, koi" he whispered against Heero's collarbone, kissing it, teeth closing on it, a soft nip. Heero shifted and rested his chin on Duo's head. He felt Heero nod. That was all he needed. Simply holding him, Heero could make him feel safe -- naked in the middle of a firefight, outnumbered a thousand to one.


"Mr. Maxwell, unbraid your hair."

Duo blinked. "No!" Damned bitch. He didn't unbraid his hair for anyone -- except Heero.

"Mr. Maxwell, this is a dictatorship and *I* am the dictator. Unbraid your hair or leave."

He saw Heero's tiny nod, a whisper of shame on his face for asking Duo to do it. The Bitch would pay for that too. Duo sighed. The mission *was* important. "Yes, Miss Inu." He removed the tie at the end and fingered out the braid. When this was over, The Bitch was going to pay.

"Now... everybody... begin."

He'd been preparing for this. He threw himself into it as if it were the only thing that mattered, ignoring the nakedness he felt as his hair flew around him, loose. It was worse than nakedness. But this was the first, critical step of the mission. There was no other way. If they failed -- well, Heero wouldn't fail, and Duo was damned if he was going to let Heero try this mission alone.

Duo was disappointed when she called him to sit down two minutes later. Over the next ten minutes, twenty other students followed him to seats. Then she called Heero down. Damn. They'd lost their only "in". Heero sat next to him, a discreet hand against his leg offering comfort. The mission was dead. He'd unbraided his hair in front of dozens of complete strangers and for nothing. The Bitch was going to pay -- dearly.

"OK, the rest of you can leave. Thank you for your time." Her voice told them the "Thanks" was merely a conditioned response with no real feeling behind it. She didn't really care about their time.

He looked around him, wondering why the others were still sitting there. As the standing students filed out, some sorely disappointed, he understood. The seated students had made it.

"I want you to know that I haven't chosen you solely for your skill." Her eyes lingered on Duo before moving to the boy on his right -- Tanaka was it? "Some of the others were better than you. I chose you because you obviously spent time researching and preparing. That tells me you're willing to work your asses off. This is a special class and I will require you to work your asses off for your grade. Is that clear?"

Twenty-two heads nodded. "Yes, Miss Inu."

"Mr. Maxwell. Mr. Yuy. Your strengths and weakness complement each other. You will eliminate each other's weaknesses." She didn't ask if they understood. "Mr. Tanaka. Miss Sakura. Ditto. Mr. Osama and Mr. Mashita. Miss…." She continued through the twenty-two chosen students, pairing them up as she saw fit.

They were in. Time for step two. Maybe it had been worth it. At least The Bitch had put them together.

But she was still going to pay.

"And Mr. Maxwell, your hair will always be unbraided in my class. Is that clear?"

Duo nodded. He could feel Shinigami in his eyes, though. The Bitch is going to PAY!


Heero woke him with a kiss. He opened his eyes to find the bottomless wells of blue waiting for him. He smiled. This was how he always wanted to wake up. Then he remembered.


Today they would find out--

"Relax, Duo-koi," Heero whispered. The violet eyes melted that beautiful way they always did when he called him, "Duo-koi". "We're ready for this." His lips closed tenderly no Duo's nose.

"How can you say that? God, Heero, there's a hole in the plan big enough to drive all five Gundam's through side by side, arms stretched out, with room to spare. We don't know anything about the layout of the place or exactly what we're looking for or even where the Hell it is. And--" Heero's finger on his lips silenced him.

"You sound like me, now." He smiled the precious invisible smile that was all in his eyes. "You've always improvised us through the holes in the plan before. I know you'll do it this time too."

Duo wasn't so certain, but Heero's confidence softened his fear, if not the weight of the responsibility. "Well, we'd better get, uh, out of bed." He smiled, knowing that "getting up" would delay them. "The Bitch is holding the final 'briefing' in an hour. You know how she gets if anyone's late." It would be worth it, though.

Heero shook his head. "You shouldn't call her 'The Bitch'." Duo knew that in his heart Heero called her the same.

"The Bitch is gonna pay, Heero. I just haven't figured out how -- yet."


"There is evidence of a secret Oz research facility near your location. We believe they are developing a next generation mobile suit. Locate the lab. Infiltrate it. Gather as much information as possible on the new suit.
Delete the data from their systems. You have three months to complete this assignment. This will be your only assignment during that time."

It was still there after their little frolic. Duo had hoped it would disappear. Heero set about assembling a piece of code to analyze satellite images of the area looking for the lab. They both knew it was a waste of time. Oz controlled the satellites. Heero hacked into a system in Russia and ran the program on the machine, concealing their true location. An hour later, the results came back as they expected -- nothing.

"What now?" Duo asked.

"I can hack their logistics system and find the supply routes."

"If it's that secret, they'll fake the manifests and front the routes through the base across the bay. You'll never find it that way."

Heero tried it anyway while Duo searched his memory. The assignment was teasing something he'd heard and half-ignored. If he could just find it. "I'm going for a walk. I'll be back." Heero nodded, but kept keying away.

Three hours later Heero's search came back empty. Duo raced into the room. "I've got it!" He held out a piece of paper. Heero read it, skeptical. "C'mon, Heero. If the lab is that secure, they'll keep everyone on site. They have to do something like this every now and then or the geeks go crazy. And why the Hell else would they do a background check for a class?" He pointed to the small print at the bottom of the class description.

"So this is how we find out where it is?"

"And get inside for three whole days and nights." Duo pointed to the dates on the paper.

Heero nodded. "This isn't going to be easy." He began typing notes for a plan.


They had expected the luggage searches, frisks -- they'd even been prepared for body cavity searches, but that didn't happen. Duo was relieved even though there was nothing there for them to find. Their big gamble had been that the Oz security officers would let them keep their hand-held video games. They'd won that bet.

The bus windows were painted over. That made things more difficult. As they rode through the city, Heero watched the tiny opening in the driver's side of the front window, trying to catch a glimpse of any landmarks. At each turn, he whispered seconds since the last turn and the direction. Duo punched the information into his "game". It wasn't the most accurate way to make a map, but it was the only method that might not be discovered.

"Tunnel," Heero whispered. "It's underground." He pushed buttons on his own "game", pulling Duo's data across the link, reviewing their path. "Forty or fifty kilometers northwest of the school."

"The middle of nowhere," Duo muttered. "Well, we're in the hole now." He sighed.

"Up for a game of 'AriesPower'?" Heero asked. They switched cartridges and spent the rest of the ride flying Aries suits against enemies that outnumbered them twenty-to-one. Easy odds, but it distracted Duo from the pressure of finding their way through the hole.


They were bunked four to a room with Osama and Mashita. Duo hated it. He had to constantly guard against any hint of intimacy that might alert the other boys to his and Heero's relationship. They sat on the edge of Duo's bunk, "playing games" while the other two boys did stretching exercises. Some people have no life, Duo thought.

Their "game" was reviewing the pictures Heero had captured with the camera cartridge as they walked to their room. Duo didn't know how Oz security had missed that, maybe because it looked like an off-the-shelf cartridge. Hell, it was an off-the-shelf cartridge. They'd bought it when they bought the games. He stared at the picture on his screen, trying to decipher it, then realized it was a closeup of his ass. He knew he shouldn't have worn his too-tight black jeans. He thumbed the button for the next picture and glared at Heero.

Heero had that look on his face again. Damn! It wasn't fair.

The door opened. "Gentlemen, our hosts have offered a tour of the facility. You may come or you may stay in your room." No knock. No warning. They could have been naked for all she knew. He could feel her looking. He hated it when she looked at him. The Bitch was going to pay for that too.

"Great!" Duo grabbed Heero's arm. "Let's go." Heero had the game with the camera cartridge. Maybe they could get something useful. And hopefully The Bitch wasn't coming.

She didn't. It was a lame tour. None of the parts of the lab they really wanted to see, but they hadn't expected this much. Fate was smiling on them, Duo decided. At least he had a better understanding of the security situation -- the cameras, the contacts on the doors they went through, the keypads and swipe cards. It wasn't going to be easy. He wondered if they were paranoid enough to put motion sensors in the ventilation ducts.

Oh, yes! There was a computer room. Someone had even put a label on the door. Thank you, God! He glanced at Heero. He'd seen it too. Swipe reader beside the door. Damn! Well, they needed a card to get through all the other doors, he'd just have to find one that might work on this door too.

The tour guide -- a.k.a. security officer -- eventually led them back to the guest quarters and left them. As the students broke up, heading back to their rooms, Duo felt a tug on his beltloop. "Did you enjoy the tour, Mr. Maxwell?"

Yes, Bitch. "Yes, Miss Inu," he said, turning to face her. "It was kind of you to arrange it." Thank you for not coming.

She glanced up and saw Heero waiting a few meters down the hall. "Good. I like my students to be happy." She sauntered away, nodding at Heero as she passed him.

What the Hell was that about? He walked to where Heero stood glaring after her and heard the tail end of a soft, "Hnnn." Heero turned to him and the glare softened. "Cafeteria," he said, hooking a finger in Duo's belt loop. "We need a plan." Duo went with him. He always planned better when he was eating.


They walked into the darkness, taking positions, waiting. Duo could hear the murmur of voices before him. Only a thin piece of fabric separated them from the voices. He waited, trying to resolve Heero in the darkness. "Right two steps," came the soft whisper beside him. Heero had excellent night vision. He moved to the right and felt the tape beneath his bare right foot.

A soft rustle. Darkness still. Then bright lights illuminating them for the watchers to see. Duo ran. The spotlight followed him.

"When the moon is in the seventh house."

Duo stepped out the choreography, he caught a glimpse of Heero through his flying hair. Good. They were both on beat and on step.

"And Jupiter aligns with Mars."

Heero had a singing voice to die for -- a rich tenor. It had surprised Duo. When they researched OC (old-calendar) 1960's musicals before the audition, Heero had been able to sing the songs perfectly after one hearing.

"Then peace will rule our planet."

He had finally decided it must be because Heero's hearing was so good. Pitch and tone could detect lies, estimate distance and closure speed, identify mechanical problems and do any number of other useful things -- besides being handy for a singer. Duo leaped. Heero's strong arms caught him and Duo's voice joined the song.

"And love will steer the stars."

Duo omitted the "our" he'd inserted the first time he tried to sing the song. He knew his voice wasn't as good as Heero's, but Heero had helped him -- enough that The Bitch didn't complain. She didn't complain about Heero's dancing either. He had all the right ingredients. Duo had simply helped him put them together, combining the grace with the strength in the proper proportions.

"This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius."

Heero lowered him back to the stage, their bodies sliding against each other. Duo felt the changes. Heero had always been deliciously strong, but the weeks of stretching and dancing had leaned him, made him a creature of pure skin, bone and sinew, powerful, lithe. It had shown in their love making. Duo forced his thoughts back to the show. Once had been enough to teach him that popping a bone in a dance belt was a bad idea.

The lights came up on the stage and the rest of the students joined them. Duo still hadn't figured out how or why the lab geeks had gotten hooked on OC 1960's musicals or why they had insisted that this song be part of the repertoire. He did know they had wanted a professional troupe to give them a concert. Oz security had agreed to students from the local school, assuming they would be a better security risk. He loved it when Oz ASS-umed.

The audience roared as they finished the number. Duo and Heero moved back into the chorus as Tanaka and Sakura moved forward to lead a song from "Jesus Christ, Superstar." It wasn't Duo's favorite, but...


"A good show, class." The Bitch's hand brushed briefly against Duo's butt as she walked past the line of students that looked more like a line of soldiers standing for inspection. He didn't understand why, but it made him feel dirty.

"Thank you, Miss Inu," they said in unison.

"Go to bed and get some rest. We'll start rehearsal at 9:00 AM. Mr. Yuy, you need to work on your timing. You were off a quarter beat at the beginning of 'Aquarius'."

Like Hell he was, Duo thought. Heero had been perfect. Heero was always perfect. Especially in bed. He quashed the thought. Damn! Three nights roomed with Osama and Mashita. He didn't know if he could take it.


They got their break after the second show. Some VIPs were in the crowd and insisted on a backstage party. Duo zeroed in on the computer geek. It was easy. He just listened for the keywords Heero used that he didn't really understand, like "deterministic network", "parallel hypercube topology" and "NP complete algorithms". He spent half an hour talking to the man, waiting, not understanding most of what he said.

After the party broke up, Duo detoured Heero into a broom closet. "Duo, I don't think--" He stopped when he saw the card Duo held before him. "So that's what you were doing."

Duo pulled him close and kissed him deeply, sliding his hand to Heero's ass, grinding against his pelvis. "When we get out of here, you'd better be ready for me, because I'm gonna want a Hell of a lot more inside you than my tongue," Duo panted, squeezing the hard muscle under his hand. "And vice versa."

Heero nodded.

That look. Damn! He was doing it again. It wasn't fair.

"How do we get to the computer room without being seen?" Heero whispered.

"Easy," Duo said. "We don't." He grinned. That had gotten Heero's mind back on the mission. "If we get caught we say we found the card and were trying to return it. We're just dumb students, remember?" He led Heero out of the closet.


Duo found it funny that, as much as Heero claimed to trust his improvisational skills, he was always amazed when Duo's crazy ideas actually worked. Of course, the tiny hole in the camera coverage in front of the computer room helped. He'd spotted it on the tour. It was just a matter of perfect timing, and after all the rehearsal for the show, they had timing down pat.

The room was packed with hardware. The only light came from flashing LED's on rows of rack-mounted computers and network hubs sprouting more cables than a millipede had legs. Duo didn't recognize the rest of the equipment. That was Heero's job.

While Heero went to the only terminal in the room, Duo searched for surveillance devices. An hour later he had convinced himself there were none. Apparently Oz security wasn't quite as paranoid as he'd thought. They might have been able to use the air ducts after all.

Hands grabbed him and turned him around. He felt lips against his face and opened his mouth, hungrily accepting Heero's plundering tongue. They should be safe here for a little while -- long enough. He began unbuttoning Heero's pants, reaching for the thing he craved. Then paused, pulling away. "Uh, if we leave a DNA sample--"


The obvious solution. He felt stupid, but only for a moment. His hand slipped below Heero's waistband, drawing a soft moan. Heero dragged them to the floor in the narrow aisle between the blinking systems.

As they dressed, preparing to return to the room, Heero explained that someone had left a card printer attached to the terminal. Probably one of the computer techs -- any good tech had back doors into the systems he maintained. He'd made a copy of the VIP's card. They dropped the original in the hall near the computer room. Someone would find it and assume the owner had been a little careless. Heero had guessed right about the type of systems the lab would be using, but he needed to tweak his code to handle the data he'd identified. They would need to make the trip one more time.

Duo didn't mind. Another hour or two on the computer room floor with Heero was fine by him. Six-nine wasn't his favorite, but it was a Hell of a lot better than just looking and wanting.


They were on the bus, heading back to the school. They'd found what started the old musical craze. The new suit was code named Aquarius. Someone had been bored and stumbled across the ancient history in an old archive on the Net. In three days, the fad had taken the lab by storm. Duo remembered seeing the Oz security officers cringing during the performance. They hadn't been part of the storm. Let 'em suffer, he thought.

It was just a matter of waiting now.

In a week, the worms Heero had planted would finish copying data from the lab into nooks and crannies of empty space on systems around the world. One would leave them a treasure map showing how to reassemble it all. Then, the worms would turn on the system, eating the data until there was nothing left. That was how Heero explained it.

Duo just knew he hated waiting. Not just for the data.

He felt Heero's hand on his leg. They'd made it out alive. Now if they could just make it to their room before Duo lost control. And, dammit, Heero wasn't helping. No one else would notice it, but Heero's little finger had slipped along his inner thigh and was teasing against his crotch. Duo didn't have to look at his face to know what he was thinking. It wasn't fair.


They walked down the steps of the bus. Three nights of imperfect or no satisfaction -- and Heero's wayward finger -- had left Duo wanting more -- much more. "When we get back to the room," he whispered over Heero's shoulder, "I'm going to--"

"Mr. Maxwell! Come here."

It was The Bitch, standing at the door to the faculty office building. "Grrrr." Duo didn't want anything to do with her right now. He wanted to be in the room with Heero, pulling off his clothes, kissing him, tasting his tongue, his skin, feeling his body, sliding a finger into that tight, warm--

"Mr. Maxwell!  Now!" There was no arguing with her when she pulled that tone. He still needed a grade out of the class. He went.

"Wait for me?" he whispered.

Heero nodded.

"Yes, Miss Inu?" He walked up the steps.

"I have something for you in my office, Mr. Maxwell," she said. "Come."

Like he was some kind of dog. The Bitch. He followed her down the hall and waited as she unlocked and opened the door to her office. He walked in behind her, his mind straying ahead to what he was going to do to Heero when they got back to the room. He didn't understand what was happening until she had him back against the wall to the right of the door, pressing her lips to his, pushing her tongue against them. Her hand reached for his crotch, gently massaging. In a rush, all the little touches and glances came together to form a clear picture. He shoved her off. "Get away from me, you bitch."

"I've had my eye on you for weeks." She moved toward him again, brandishing a pair of handcuffs. "I know exactly what you want. You're mine."

He spat, trying to get the taste of her off his mouth. "Like Hell! I already have a lover."

"And I'm the jealous type."

Duo's head snapped to the left. Heero stood in the doorway. His face -- Duo had only seen that particular glare in battle. Part of him was afraid, but part of him was gleeful. The Bitch had just met her match.

"Him?" The Bitch asked, looking at Heero as if he were a questionable piece of fish. "You can do better than that, Duo-koi."

"I'll kill you if you ever call him that again!" Heero snarled at her. "*I* am the only one who calls him that!" Heero pulled Duo into the open doorway and pressed him back against the frame, being certain she had a clear view of what was about to happen. "Kiss me, Duo-koi," he whispered, setting the anger aside, as he bent towards Duo and watched the lovely melt of violet.

Their tongues twined before their lips met. Duo felt Heero's hand sliding up under his shirt, tweaking the nubs of flesh, drawing soft groans of pleasure as he tasted Heero's mouth, felt Heero's body against his. His left hand slid down Heero's back to the firm butt, fingers clenching. His right hand squeezed the door frame behind him, threatening to crush it. They were alone with each other for long minutes.

Heero pulled away slowly, a glistening string of saliva joining their open mouths for inches before it broke. He turned to glare at The Bitch as Duo leaned against the door frame, panting.

"Interesting fact about the camera cartridges for these games," Heero said, holding up the video game. "They don't make any noise when they take a picture." Her face twitched as Heero thumbed the buttons showing her the images of her and Duo. "Enough for A's for the whole class and no more trouble for us -- or to get you fired and maybe arrested -- don't you think?"

Hatred burned in her eyes, then defeat and humiliation. "Yes." The kiss had been enough to prove she had no chance with the choice morsel named Duo Maxwell, but the pictures put her in their hands. She hated being controlled. She hated having defeat rubbed in her face.

He saw it in her eyes. "Good. I'll send you copies so you won't forget."  He kissed Duo again, passionate, but less intense than before, and slid an arm around his waist. "Let's go."

Halfway down the hall Heero asked, "What were you saying before we were… interrupted?"

"Huh? Oh." Duo grinned. "I was saying that when we get back to the room, I'm gonna rip of your clothes and fuck you blind." He frowned when he looked at Heero's face. "Hey, no fair. You've started without me."

Heero pulled Duo tight against him as they walked. "Don't worry. I'll save plenty for you."

"Can we hurry anyway?" As he opened the door, Duo grinned and whispered, "Hey, Heero. I told you The Bitch would pay."

"Yes." They walked down the steps, separated in public, their fingertips brushing against each other in an electric touch. "And if she ever calls you Duo-koi again, I *will* kill her." It was the cold voice. Duo knew the cold voice never lied.

He broke away from Heero, laughing, running toward the room. Heero waited exactly eighteen seconds and raced after him. That gave Duo enough time to get the door unlocked.


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