Disclaimer: The Gundam boys are only mine to play with in my head!

Pairing: 1x2
Rating: NC-17
Genre: AU, hurt/comfort, angst
Warning: Borderline non-con (don't let that scare you away!)
Please note: This is not a WIP, but it will be posted in installments as time permits. I've spent a year writing this and it's now complete. Yay! I will post a couple of chapters each week. Thanks for your patience!

Summary: Heero Yuy is a genetically altered weapon in a top secret project. When his behavior becomes erratic, his handlers propose an unorthodox solution. Is the cure more than they bargained for?

The Variable
Part 4
by Artemis

Duo's heart pounded. The bedroom door was open, and Heero had disarmed the security system. Or had he? Could he believe Heero? Maybe it was a trap. Maybe Heero wanted Duo to run, just so he could watch him be hunted down. There were too many maybes and nothing concrete to grasp, except for the gnawing desire for freedom in his belly. This could be his only chance of escape. Even if he only made it to the wall, so to speak, it would give him a better idea of his location and what he was up against.

There was no choice. Duo had to make a break. He grabbed the duffel off the floor and flung it onto the bed. With a quick unzip, he was inside pulling out the several changes of clothes Heero had provided. Duo put on what seemed most comfortable for his flight to freedom-a gray hooded sweatshirt, briefs, blue jeans and sneakers. His hands fumbled with nerves and urgency. He had to put distance between himself and this place.

Tying the lace on the last shoe, Duo darted from the room. He crossed the living room, and despite the low lighting had no trouble finding the door. Heero was here somewhere watching him, and that made the hair on the back of his neck stand up. He didn't understand anything about Heero, except that he was dangerous. No one can break wrist cuffs with their bare hands.

Duo reached for the door handle, half expecting an electric shock when he touched it. But there was no shock. He turned the handle and the door opened onto a long corridor lit warmly by halogen lights. The passageway was carpeted and the walls painted a tropical green with the bottom half covered in handsome wood paneling. The pleasantness surprised him. It wasn't cold and sterile like a prison, but welcoming like it would lead to a fancy restaurant.

He jogged down the hallway, always expecting to be stopped or jumped from behind. The corridor curved to the left. No hard angles here, all smooth curves and that continuing rich palette of color. But there were no windows and Duo was beginning to worry that there was no way out until he finally came to an elevator. The corridor continued on, but Duo decided to try this first.

He pressed the call button and held his breath. The lift doors opened immediately. The inside of the elevator was covered in brushed metal, and again lit with halogen bulbs. Stepping inside, Duo's fear spiked. He could be trapped here, caught here, but he had to keep going. He looked to the panel. There were no numbers for floor designations, only symbols. He chose a star, hoping that was for the main level. The door closed and the elevator started to descend. Duo closed his eyes, trying to calm himself. When the elevator stopped moments later, he watched the door open, and slowly stepped out.

His jaw dropped open. He knew this place. The white metal and glass panels, gray stone floor and the sound of rushing water. He had only been in Bremen's Corporate Tower twice, but the clean design of the cylindrical architecture had impressed him. He stepped further into the space and saw the twenty foot high and one hundred foot wide waterfall that dominated the area. He had been on the other side of this waterfall before, not realizing this egress existed behind it. The water separated Heero from the public entrance to the corporate offices, distorting and concealing movement on either side of it. It was a liquid wall, not impenetrable, but deceptive like the true nature of Bremen Enterprises.

Duo exited the building and breathed in the cool evening air. This was as far as Heero had guaranteed his escape. Did that mean the rest was up to Lady Luck? It was night, and depending on how late it was the tram down the mountain would no longer be running. He had no idea who or what would stop him, or the level of security Bremen had. Individuals needed an invitation and an escort to get onto the campus, but once employed the monitoring appeared relatively low key.

He kept out of the light as much as possible, creeping along buildings and between fountains like a criminal. If only his heart would stop pounding in his ears. He knew where he was now, and made his way as quickly and discreetly to the tram station as possible. There were a few employees about, but until he reached the tram he didn't want to risk being seen.

He climbed over a railing and jumped into the landscaping along the main plaza. Crouched, he made his way in near darkness down the hill to the boarding area. It was exhilarating to have gotten this far and to be back on the sprawling campus he loved. But he was also afraid, more afraid than he had been in Heero's room. It all seemed so cold now. The visionary architecture, fountains and plantings that had made him proud to be part of the Bremen Enterprises family now looked like a fašade-beautiful, but devoid of feeling. He had to make it down that mountain and into the nearest police station where he would stay until someone believed that he had been kidnapped.

The next tram was arriving, and about a dozen employees waited on the platform. Over 1,000 people worked at Bremen Enterprises, so it wasn't a surprise that Duo didn't know any of these. He and two other techs were responsible for the computers in a single building. That was one building out of ten.

Paranoid as he was, it seemed to take the tram forever to come to a stop and open its doors. He rushed inside the moment the doors slid open. The tram was five cars long, and with only a dozen people boarding it was obvious when someone new appeared out of nowhere. It was a guy in a suit and he was walking toward Duo.

"Shit," Duo said. He turned and ran out the next door and smacked full into the chest of another guy in a suit.

The man grabbed him by the upper arms and squeezed. "That's as far as you go."

"No!" Duo yelled. He tried to break free and get back on the tram, but the door closed behind him and the tram pulled away. Duo thought he glimpsed surprised looks on the employee's faces, but it didn't matter.

The man and his partner were both over six feet tall with broad chests and large hands. They were brutes disguised in tailored navy suits. They had probably always been around on campus, but Duo had had no reason to suspect they were security, or what he now considered the bad guys.

He was turned to face away from the man and his arms wrenched behind him. He knew what was next and cried out once more. "Help! Someone please!"

The second man was moving up the platform toward them, a smirk on his face. They were alone. Who could possibly hear his cries and come to his aid?

But Duo wasn't a quitter. All those years he had struggled to make something of his life were not going to end as an anonymous corpse in the local morgue. He twisted his body which turned his left arm at a severe angle, causing him to scream in pain. It was too much. He started to kick and on the third try landed a direct hit to the man's shin. The strike surprised the man long enough for his grip to loosen allowing Duo to stumble forward. Duo looked up, the other man was now running towards him. Like a frightened rabbit, Duo took a deep breath and jumped into the landscaping once again and started up the side of the hill. His instinct was to go anywhere his legs would take him as long as it kept him free.

He fell, scraping the palms of his hands on the ground, but pulled himself back up as fast as he could. He was too afraid to look back. He knew the men would be in pursuit and he had to keep moving. When he'd gone as far as possible through the flora, he ducked under a railing and darted across the campus. The wind whipped through his ears, rushing like water and drowning out everything but his thoughts for survival. His legs moved with such great momentum that it seemed he would never stop-crossing the expanse of the white stone plaza quickly. As he approached the building where he worked, two more sets of men appeared from either side of the building.

"Fuck," he said, putting the brakes on. His eyes darted left and then right. Where to go?

Slam! Duo was suddenly kissing the pavement with the weight of a gorilla on his back.

"Play time's over, sweetheart," the man said, pulling Duo's arms back and cuffing him.

Duo's breath came in gasps. He was winded from the run and being knocked down. "Get... off," he cried between pants. "I can't... breathe."

The plea went unheeded as the other men gathered around, and the gorilla remained on his back.

"Where do they want him?" the man asked his associates.

"Six feet under. How'd he escape, anyway?" another man asked.

"I let him go." It was Heero.

Duo tried to turn his head to see him. "Hee... ro... can't....." Duo gasped one last time and then everything went black.

~ ~ ~

"You fucking idiots!" Heero shouted, shoving the security officer off Duo. He rolled Duo onto his back and put his face to Duo's lips and mouth. "He's not breathing! Call the medics!"

Heero pinched Duo's nose closed, and pressed his mouth to the young man's. He blew in a breath, then another and another. At last, Duo coughed and doubled forward as if to vomit, but he did not.

"You got farther than I thought you would," Heero said.

Duo turned his face away, a tear sliding down his cheek.

"I'm sorry," Heero said, helping Duo to a sitting position. "You had to see---"

"Yeah, I see." Duo looked at him, and Heero cringed at the torn and defeated expression.

Just then the medics arrived, and with them Sally Po.

"What on Earth?!" she asked. "How did he get out here?"

"Some promotion," Duo said with a snarl.

Sally looked to Heero. "You have a lot of explaining to do, but let's get inside before Treize gets wind of this."

"Treize Khushrenada? He's behind this?" Duo asked.

"Take him to my office," Sally said to the security detail. "You can finish the medical examination there."

"No." Heero said, standing. "I want him returned to my quarters."

"We need to talk," Sally said.

"We can do that in my quarters."

Heero and Sally stared each other down. He knew she was unhappy with this stunt, but she would understand his motives soon enough.

"All right, your quarters, but quickly." She nodded for two of the guards to hoist Duo to his feet and for one medic to follow. The rest of the contingent was dismissed, and given orders to keep this incident quiet.

Duo remained silent all the way back to Heero's quarters. The small group went inside, setting Duo on a chair in the dining room. The medic knelt before him, tending to his scuffed hands and knees.

Sally and Heero stood back, watching and not saying a word. Once the medic was done and dismissed, the guards were asked to leave as well.

"You're a lucky man, Mr. Maxwell." Sally came into the light of the Art Deco chandelier.

"Oh, yeah? How do you figure that?" Duo asked.

"Your life doesn't exist beyond these walls, and those guards would've made certain of that," she said, putting her hands on her hips.

"If I'm nothing then tell me what this is about. Obviously, I'm not going anywhere."

Sally looked to Heero who was leaning against the wall, his arms crossed over his chest.

"All right." She pulled up a chair and sat several feet from Duo whose hands were still cuffed behind his back. "Heero is a trained assassin, able to kill with his bare hands."

"I prefer a gun," Heero said from the shadows.

Sally shrugged. "Recently, he has been experiencing high levels of tension."

"Well, we've all been there..." Duo said, seeming to joke.

"I highly doubt when you get tense, Mr. Maxwell, that you run the risk of injuring yourself or killing innocents."

Duo blinked.

"You see, we can't afford for Heero's behavior to become erratic. He's already broken his hand once, and we needed to find a way for him to relax."

Duo blinked again.

"Are you beginning to connect the dots?" she asked.

"Sally," Heero said, not liking her condescending tone. "I've already explained it to him."

"Good," she said with a small smile. "Then, Mr. Maxwell understands what we need him to do."

"Fuck or die," Duo said.

"I sincerely hope you make the right choice. Your tests showed a strong attraction to Heero, so it shouldn't be all that bad."

"You're one fucked up bitch," Duo said.

"No, Mr. Maxwell, fucking is your job and I suggest you get to it as soon as possible. If Treize doesn't see a drop in Heero's anxiety levels in the next couple of days your participation in the Project will no longer be necessary. And no intervention by myself or Heero will prevent your termination."

She stood and nodded for Heero to follow her into the hall. Outside, she sighed heavily. "I can't believe you let him escape."

"I'm glad I did. He's much more subdued now."

"You call that subdued? Your stunt puts the liaison program in jeopardy. I'm not sure I can keep Treize from hearing about this."

"And what if he does? There are no guarantees that having sex will lower my tension."

"Then enjoy it while you can. I had rather hoped that your bed partner would become something of a companion for you. You're far too isolated."

"I'm with people all day long."

"They're trainers and scientists, not friends."

"You want Duo to be my friend?"

She placed her hand on his arm. "I want him to be a comfort to you. Now go back in there and give it another try."

Heero looked to the closed door. "He stopped breathing... I thought I'd taken it too far."

"Please don't share that with anyone else. Sensitivity is not something the scientists' value in you."

Heero nodded and went inside.

~ ~ ~

The sound of the door opening made Duo flinch. It was Heero. Forestalling the inevitable was over. They were alone now.

"So, you're an assassin."

"Yes." Heero crossed the room, his eyes intense and solely focused on Duo.

"How many people have you killed?"

There was no response as Heero stopped just a couple of feet in front of him.

"Do you like to kill?"

"It's not a matter of like."

Duo swallowed hard and looked up at him. Heero was still dressed in browns and creams, a nice compliment to that penetrating blue gaze. Was that the look Heero gave all his prey before killing them?

"Well?" Duo asked, getting more nervous the longer Heero stared. "Aren't you going to break me out these cuffs?"

Heero leaned forward, his hand reaching past Duo and his body brushing against him. Duo sucked in a shivering breath at the contact.

"I'm only reaching for the key." Heero straightened and opened his hand showing the key laying in his palm.

Duo was a bit jumpy, but he had a right to be. He turned sideways in the chair to give access to his bound arms. "Go on."

"I think I like you this way."

"What?" Panic skittered through Duo. Heero couldn't possibly want him this way. "This is damn uncomfortable. You can't expect me to perform like this."

A grin curved at the corner of Heero's lips.

"Come on!"

His captor stepped forward, this time using the key to unfasten the restraints. The wrist cuffs slipped off and were set on the table. Duo examined his hands, pressing his fingers against the gauze bandage and wincing at the rawness of the scraped skin beneath.

"It's rough out there when you don't exist," he said.

"You exist here."

Duo looked up sharply. "Only as long as I please you."

"You haven't pleased me yet."

There was something intentionally threatening in that comment. Like an ultimatum that hung heavy in the air waiting for Duo to acquiesce. "You gonna change that now?"

Heero gave a slow nod and bent down, grasping Duo's upper arms. Duo tensed at the firm grip and the lust in Heero's eyes. Despite his fears, he didn't pull away as Heero drew closer and his lips pressed against his. He let Heero kiss him, finding a maddening pleasure in this reluctant game. But Heero seemed impatient, and suddenly the pressure on Duo's biceps tightened. He was lifted out of the chair like a rag doll and set on his feet, toe-to-toe with Heero. Duo gasped at the easy show of strength, unwittingly giving Heero an opportunity for an even deeper kiss.

At last, Heero pulled back allowing Duo a nanosecond to breathe. Duo's cheeks were warm and his body a little weak. He tried to tell himself it was from the lack of oxygen to his brain and not the fact that he liked the way Heero kissed. Break time over, Heero's mouth was on his again, this time rougher, forcing his tongue inside. Duo's hands came up needing to hold onto something before he fell over, but he was afraid to touch Heero, afraid to react like a lover would. Heero's hands on his arms ensured that he didn't move or fall.

He was guided away from the table, forced to step backwards as the kisses continued. His heartbeat pounded in his ears, louder and louder as they moved toward the bedroom. And then Heero released one of Duo's arms, his hand settling on Duo's groin, rubbing it through the jeans. Duo tried to push the hand away only to have Heero shove him against the wall. Pressed between an immovable barrier and Heero's hard, demanding body, Duo was trapped. Add to it, Heero's eager kisses and the way he was grinding his hardness against Duo's, and it was a dizzying cocktail.

"No," Duo said, trying to wriggle free.

Heero snatched his wrist, pressing him harder to the wall. "We're compatible," he said, licking around Duo's ear. "Relax."

But there was a difference between being compatible and attracted to each other, and being in a forced situation where people told you to either fuck or get ready for your Last Rites. But Duo's body betrayed him each time Heero touched him. He could say "no" all he wanted, but his damn body was telling Heero, "Yes!"

The urgent grind of Heero's hard sex was primal, hypnotic and addictive. Duo pressed back in an instinctually male response. The contact was heated even through their clothes, but Duo wasn't entirely ready for this. He had never been an easy lay even those few times in college. Heero was nothing like immature college boys. He was self-assured, fine tuned and singularly focused. That focus was now concentrated on Duo-his lips and his cock to be exact. Each kiss coincided with each thrust in a rhythm Duo could easily match, but continued to resist. If he didn't maintain some control, hold back something of himself he would become exactly what they wanted. Just a fuck toy.

Duo mustered all the strength and will power he could and pushed away from the wall, shoving Heero back. The unexpectedness of the move gave him a temporary advantage, separating him from his jailer by several feet. Duo's breath came hard as if he'd just run a marathon, but this was the only reprieve he would get, and that trick wouldn't work a second time.

He made a dash for the bedroom, swinging the door closed behind him. But it didn't catch in the jamb. It didn't close at all. Heero was right there, pushing it open. Duo needed to close the door, lock it and barricade himself in. He put all his weight and energy into pressing against the door, but it was like fighting the force of a hurricane. The door swung open, causing Duo to jump back out of the way. Heero stood in the doorway, seeming unaffected by Duo's so-called defense. They stared at one another, the hunter and his prey, and Duo knew all he could do was run.

He turned to make his escape and was instantly tackled and thrown to the bed. They landed with a thump, Duo face down and Heero yanking his arms behind his back.

"Don't hurt me," Duo said, cringing in anticipation of pain.

Heero rolled him onto his back, covering him with his body. His sex was hard and hot against Duo's thigh. "I told you I wouldn't hurt you, but you have to stop running from me."

Duo's arms were held down at his sides, making him vulnerable and even more open to attack. Heero could do anything he wanted to now. Hell, he could all along. The fact that he'd held back for a day was a curious comfort to Duo. He forced himself to calm, to relax his muscles, and as soon as he did, Heero released one of his wrists. He could strike at Heero, make a fist and punch him in the face, but he already knew better. The futility of fighting back would only make matters worse. So, he lay there, feeling every bit of Heero from the nuzzle of Heero's nose in his hair to the man's hot breath on his neck. But when Heero ran his hand up and under Duo's hooded sweatshirt, Duo shivered-the warm touch of Heero's hand on his belly too intimate.

"Easy," Heero said.

Duo nodded, but his lower lip trembled. He wasn't afraid of sex, and until yesterday he hadn't been afraid of this man, but the people behind the Project had made him afraid. He would die if he didn't perform, but might he die if he didn't perform well?

"What if..." Duo hesitated to finish the question, because he wasn't entirely sure he wanted to hear the answer.

"Mmm?" Heero was preoccupied with exploring his body. He had raised Duo's sweatshirt and was licking him, mapping a slow course north.

"What if you don't like it... with me?"

Now Heero looked up. "I will."

"But how do you know?" Duo's anxiety was evident in his worried tone.

"I like it already." There was a flash of a devilish grin on Heero's face before he ducked his head to suck one of Duo's nipples.

Duo arched under him. Shit, the nipples were his G spot. With that his brain stopped functioning, and his libido took over. When Heero pushed the sweatshirt up further still, Duo moved to take it off. Heero released his other wrist and watched as Duo pulled the sweatshirt over his head, baring his upper body. Heero grinned and removed his own shirt before lying on top of Duo again. The press of their naked torsos sent an electric shock through Duo's entire body. How could he resist? This could be a good fuck all around.

They rubbed against each other as they kissed, until the friction threatened to ignite their clothes. Heero put his hands on Duo's jeans, finding the button and then sliding the zipper open. His hand dipped inside, cupping and stroking Duo through his briefs to the point where Duo thought he would come.

"Slow down," Duo said, breathing heavy.

Heero pulled his hand out and grabbed Duo's waistband, tugging on his jeans. Duo levered off his shoes with his feet, and lifted his hips. With Heero's help, he wriggled out of his pants, the briefs coming with them. Heero slid from the bed, tossing the clothes aside, and stood staring at Duo's nakedness. Duo's self consciousness returned and he scooted further onto the bed, putting a bit more distance between them.

Heero grinned, and began to disrobe. His clothes came off, piece by piece, in an unexpected show of sexiness. When he stood naked before him, Duo was reminded of the ancient Greek statues he had seen at a museum. Heero's body was muscular, but not pumped, and he was perfectly proportioned down to his jutting erection.

Heero knelt on the bed and then crawled across it to where Duo rested against the pillows. He parted Duo's legs, rubbing his hands up Duo's inner thighs. Heero was between Duo's legs, kneeling. He reached to the nightstand and pulled a tube of lubricant from the drawer. He pushed Duo's legs up, knees nearly to Duo's chest and squeezed the gel-like substance onto his fingers. He scooted forward, his knees bumping Duo's ass, and pressed a finger to the opening.

"Wait." Duo's fear spiked again.

Heero's brow knit as he slowly rubbed his fingers over the opening.

"Don't you want me to blow you first?" It was a diversionary tactic. Maybe if he sucked Heero that would satisfy him for awhile?

"Later," Heero said, slipping a finger inside Duo.

Duo moaned with the not entirely unpleasant invasion. Okay, so Heero wasn't a Neanderthal when it came to sex. He knew what he was doing, but was a little over eager. The finger felt good, moving deeper and pressing against him in its exploration. Then a second finger filled him, and a third. It was even better tighter, and Duo realized that he wouldn't be satisfied until Heero fucked him with that happy cock of his.

As if reading Duo's mind, or merely in a rush, Heero removed his fingers and grabbed the lubricant. If Duo wasn't so afraid of liking this, of touching Heero, he would've slathered the gel over Heero's cock. Bandaged hands or not.

Heero pressed one of Duo's legs back against his chest as he nudged Duo's opening with his slicked cock. Duo flinched at that first push of hard flesh. It wasn't that he didn't know what to expect, but that this was it. They were going to fuck. He was going to fulfill his new, sole purpose. It was time to concentrate on screwing and making it the best he could-to save his life-at least for one more day.

With an impatient thrust of his hips, Heero slipped inside, halfway to home. Duo gasped at the fullness, and wished for the return of the fingers... just for a little longer. But there was no turning back now. Heero pulled out to the crown and then shoved himself back in, fully sheathing himself inside Duo.

"Uhnnn," Heero moaned.

His body continued to move, the thrusts coming quickly and enthusiastically. Duo tried to match the rhythm, but it was hit and miss. They weren't completely in sync, being their first time together, and the sprint Heero seemed to be making toward the finish line.

Heero kept Duo's legs spread and knees to his chest. It wasn't the most comfortable position, but he had a hunch Heero wouldn't last long at this pace. Duo continued to try to meet each thrust, adjusting to the fullness inside him and feeling the beginnings of his own pleasure.

When Heero came it was too soon. He leaned forward, pulling Duo into his arms in a tight embrace as he thrust several times more, moaning as the orgasm washed through him. He collapsed fully onto Duo, breathing hard in his ear. Their bodies were a tangle of limbs and covered in sweat. It was done.

Duo stared up at the ceiling, feeling oddly relieved despite not having climaxed. Every cell of his body, every inch of his flesh was focused on Heero and the way he felt on him and in him. In spite of his better judgment, Duo put his arms around Heero and held him close.

on to part 5

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