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 7
by Artemis

Late the next day, Heero found himself back in Doctor Po's office correlating the spikes in his readings with sex and other physical exertions. Doctor Po wanted complete documentation of the liaison program for her report to Treize and the scientists.

"And what about the reading from four o'clock?" she asked.

"That was my run."

"Okay, so we've got sex, running, sex, sex, and sex," she said, checking off each spike on her readout with a green pen.

"Yes." Heero swallowed. It seemed the doctor's enthusiasm for this program grew the more sex he had with Duo.

While the doctor typed her findings on the computer, Heero stared out the window onto another sunny day. Things had settled down nicely between him and Duo since yesterday afternoon. Heero couldn't be sure, but he thought that Duo might be suffering from post traumatic syndrome. He hadn't mentioned the knife to Sally, and she hadn't asked about any unusual readings. Physiological data for anger, fear and sex would all be very similar. The only notable difference would be in respirations. During sex, people often held their breath, and since the knife incident had been quickly followed by vigorous sex there was nothing to alert the doctor to anything unusual.

After returning from his run, Heero had taken things slowly with Duo. They spent the evening apart - each having supper in separate rooms, and Heero going to the loft to read while Duo stayed in the bedroom scrolling through the data pad. By bedtime, Heero had worked up a powerful urge to feel Duo's naked body against his. Detention over, Heero joined Duo in bed, taking him from behind.

Maybe it was his own frustration or continued anger that kept him from turning Duo to face him. There had been no kissing that night, only fucking. He had woken Duo in the middle of the night for more good, hard sex, but by morning the edge had worn off Heero's anger. He rolled Duo onto his back, spread his legs, and fucked him face to face, kissing him breathless.

"Oh, my," Doctor Po said.

Heero blinked, coming back to the moment and looking over at her. "What is it?"

"Duo's readings are up. I guess he isn't getting enough."

Heero got out of the chair and came around to look at the computer monitor. A series of graphs on the screen showed Duo's heart rate, blood pressure, brain waves, and respiration.

"Don't feel bad," Sally said. "Masturbation is perfectly natural."

Heero studied the data from over the doctor's shoulder. Something wasn't right. Not that Duo couldn't be masturbating, but his respirations were erratic.

"If he's masturbating, shouldn't he be holding his breath?" he asked.

Sally keyed her computer to enlarge the respiration data. "Yes, that's often the case with sex. So, if he's not masturbating, could he be exercising?"

Duo was physically fit, and he could be doing sit-ups to burn off stress and boredom, but it just didn't add up for Heero. "Check the security logs."

Another screen appeared on the monitor, showing that Heero's quarters had been accessed by the maid less than twenty minutes ago.

"The maid is there. It usually takes her about an hour---"

"The maid and a security guard." Heero stared at the screen, tightness forming in his gut. What was this feeling? Was it merely discomfort at having more people in his quarters? "Duo..."

Heero was in motion, running for the door.

"Heero!" Sally shouted after him.

"Something's wrong," he said as he rushed into Miss Noin's office and then into the corridor.

His heart pounded, blood rushing to his ears. He sprinted down the hall, pushing staff aside without apology. There was no reason for Duo's readings to look like that... no good reason.

~ ~ ~

With the vacuum roaring in the living room, Duo was forced onto the bed. The large security guard leaned over him, a heavy hand on Duo's chest holding him down.

"I know what you're here for, and I want some," the man said.

"But I'm just an old college buddy dropping by for a visit!"

The guard laughed, and flipped Duo onto his stomach. The swiftness of the move made Duo lightheaded. He grabbed at the bed covers, trying to get purchase on anything that would help him pull away, but he couldn't reach anything solid. Duo's shouts went unheard or ignored by the woman cleaning in the next room. He kicked and swung his arms, but any contact he made had no effect. He was at the wrong angle to defend himself and his attacker was three times his size.

A wave of fear rushed over him as his sweat pants were yanked down to his thighs. He thrashed and yelled obscenities, trying to stop this attack.

"No one's gonna notice if you get fucked one more time," the guard said, sounding smug. "How many times has he done you anyway? I'll bet not enough to satisfy a slut like you."

"I didn't volunteer for this!" Duo cried out, trying to reason with the brute. "I'm just a guy from the IT department..."

Duo's face was shoved into the mattress with a firm hand on his neck holding him down. It made it difficult to breathe, and Duo gasped, his breaths coming faster, and shorter. His pulse raced. Then the bed dipped with the guard's weight, and Duo heard the rustle of clothes, and the clink of a belt being undone. Oh, god, was this really happening?

"Get your hands off him!"

Duo's eyes widened. He knew that voice... Suddenly, the weight of the man was lifted from him. He rolled over to see what was happening. Like in some fevered dream, Duo watched as Heero pummeled the guard with his fists. The man was on his knees while Heero held him by the front of his shirt, and punched his face like a bean bag. The guard swayed with each punch, groaning, but no longer able to defend himself. It seemed to go on forever, blow after blow until the guard's face was a bloody mess.

And then Doctor Po was standing in the doorway, guards all around her. "Heero! Stop!"

There was no stopping Heero with words, he continued to strike, long after the man had lost consciousness. The security detail moved in, and Heero let the guard slump to the floor. He turned his aggression on the guards who were trying to grab him. He threw one guard against a wall, and the other jumped back not a second too soon or he would've had his head knocked off. More security came into the bedroom and Heero wanted to fight them all.

Duo was scared as hell. The force of Heero's blows, the super human strength he displayed as he tossed the men about like rag dolls, was beyond comprehension. If he hadn't seen it for himself, he wouldn't believe it, and now he was afraid for everyone in the room - especially Heero. It tore him up to see Heero like this.

He got up from the bed, righting his clothes, and stepped toward the brawl. Distantly he heard Doctor Po tell him not to interfere. But he had to do something.

"Heero!" Duo shouted over the raucous of men wrestling and throwing punches. "Heero, stop. You'll hurt yourself!"

The words seemed to have a magical effect. As Duo continued to shout, Heero began to pull his punches, began to stand down. Once Heero eased off, the guards took him by the arms to secure him, but Duo knew they were only able because Heero let them.

He stood before Heero, reaching out and cupping Heero's bruised face. "Are you okay?"

There was a feeling of dejà vu as Duo realized Heero had done the very same thing to him when he had gagged. Heero nodded, but his face was dark with rage, and streaked with sweat and blood from the fight.

By now medics were on the scene, tending to the injured guards. The guard who attacked Duo had a brace put on his neck and was transferred onto a stretcher. Heero jerked away from the guards and went over to sit on the bed. Sally Po came over to sit next to him.

"You beat that man within an inch of his life," she said.

Heero would not look up, would not meet her eyes, instead he sat there staring at his hands. "I wanted to kill him."

The doctor looked at Duo, her eyes showing concern. "Thank you."

Duo blinked. "You're welcome, I think." The gratitude was genuine, but strange coming from one of his kidnappers.

"Were you hurt?" she asked.

Duo shook his head.

The Doctor turned to Heero. "Let's get you to the medical facility. Can you walk there?"

"Yeah, I can walk."

"We'll get you patched up and then we can talk."

Now Heero turned to her with as much intensity as Duo had ever seen in his eyes. "There's nothing to talk about. I was defending what's mine."

Sally looked from Heero to Duo and back again. "All right. But there'll be an investigation, and you and Duo will be questioned."

"Interview the bastard who attacked him," Heero said, nearly growling.

"We will. Once he's regained consciousness." Doctor Po stood, and then left the room, seeming to know that Heero and Duo needed a moment to themselves.

The room suddenly was empty and large without all those people in it. Duo walked over to stand next to Heero. He didn't know what to say. It was as though this fight had changed something.

Heero took a deep breath and stood, facing him. He looked Duo in the eyes and grinned. "You're okay?"

Duo shook his head in disbelief. "What the fuck were you doing?"

"Protecting you."

"What do you mean? Heero, you..."

Heero put his hand on Duo's lips, quieting him. "I did what I needed to do. Leave it at that."

No, he didn't want to leave it at that, but Duo said nothing more as he watched wide-eyed while Heero walked from the room. In minutes, everyone was gone from the apartment - the security guards, medics, maid, Doctor Po, and Heero.

Duo stood in the doorway to the bedroom, looking onto the living room. "What the fuck was all that?" As usual there were no easy answers.

He wrapped his arms around his middle and leaned against the doorjamb for support. He ached inside, but it wasn't because he had been hurt. There might be a bruise on his wrist or arm in the morning from the guard's rough hands, but Duo knew it was a different kind of pain, the kind of pain that could not be requited.

~ ~ ~

Sitting on the examination table, Heero watched as Doctor Po paced in front of him. He wasn't sure why she had followed him into the exam room when a medic was sufficient, except perhaps to irritate him. But it was soon apparent that her anxiety had nothing to do with the minor cuts and bruises on his face and hands.

"I need you to explain this to me," she said.

As far as Heero was concerned there was nothing to explain. He had reacted to the situation exactly the way he had been trained to do.

"What do you want me to say, doctor?"

"Tell me what motivated you to beat that guard into a coma."

He looked at her sideways as the medic cleaned the cut on his face with a cotton swab dipped in antibiotic ointment. "He was hurting, Duo."

She folded her arms over her chest and stared at him. "And?"

"And he's in this situation, because of me and while he's here I'm going to protect him."

Sally blinked and stepped forward, silently dismissing the medic from the room. "Heero," she said, placing her hand on his arm. "If the liaison program fails---"

"I know."

"Then you know that Treize will not hesitate to terminate Duo, if it comes to that." She waited for his response, and when he didn't give one she continued, "I'm meeting with Treize and the scientists in the morning. I wish I could say that the outcome will be positive."

"My anxiety levels have dropped."

"They had until you decided to get into a fight."

"That's irrelevant."

"Nothing you do is irrelevant. In fact, your behavior is appearing more erratic than before. Letting Duo escape the other night, for example."

"You said you would keep that quiet."

"If Treize finds out from another source it won't look good." She stood back. "Heero, I believe that something else is going on here... beyond mere possessiveness."

His brow furrowed. "You're reading into it. I've discovered that I like sex a lot, and that I like my privacy. From now on the maid can clean my quarters alone or not at all, and any goods that are requested by Duo will be delivered under your supervision."

He hopped off the exam table, and grabbed his shirt.

"I'll want to talk about this more later," she said.

"Of course," he said, knowing she was only doing her job.

~ ~ ~

Sally returned to her office where she invited Lucrezia to join her for a cup of coffee. She often confided in her assistant, using her as a sounding board for new ideas.

"Is everyone okay?" Lucrezia asked, having been peripherally aware of the situation.

"For the most part, but only time will tell if the guard survives. I have no doubt Heero would have beaten him to death." Sally had never seen Heero's power firsthand, other than in staged demonstrations of him lifting incredible amounts of weight and bending iron pots in his bare hands. "He was angry, Lu, and so lost in his anger that I wondered what we had done to him."

"What we had done?"

"The genetic engineering... there's always been concern it might make him impossible to control. Today, the only thing that stopped him was Duo."


Sally nodded, still amazed and oddly pleased. "It was something to see. I was shouting at Heero and the guards were trying to restrain him, but it was Duo telling Heero to stop that finally got through to him." She sipped her coffee, visualizing the scene once more.

"Do you think that after only a few days together they could have developed feelings for each other?"

"People can fall in love under the worst circumstances," Sally said. "But I hope for both their sake's that is not what's happening."

"But it'd be sweet if they found love in all this."

"I think Heero's new erratic behavior has more to do with possessiveness than developing feelings for Mr. Maxwell. But if it does grow into love not even Treize's romantic side will save them."

"What will you do, Sally?"

"Continue to assess the situation, and do what I can to protect Heero's humanity."

~ ~ ~

Heero carried the foot-long Italian sub, bag of potato chips, and bottled cola down the corridor. They were nothing like the foods he normally ate - all specially prepared for his high metabolism and ultimate health. But this lunch combination had been ordered by Duo, on several occasions, from the Summit Café. It was a sure thing that Duo would enjoy it, and Heero hoped it would ease some of the tension that certainly remained from that morning.

Despite what Doctor Po eluded to, Heero's intentions were wholly selfish. Duo belonged to him, and it was only right that he protect him and keep him happy. The more at ease Duo was, the more pleasant the sex. Heero wasn't a rapist, and he had made it perfectly clear from the start that his bed partner had to be willing. Duo had become very willing.

In the name of science, Heero returned to his apartment for some good, healthy screwing. The more data Doctor Po had to take to her meeting, the better for the program. When he entered his quarters, Heero was not surprised to be greeted with silence. It was Duo's way of protesting his captivity, even though Duo was as eager to copulate as Heero.

Heero set their lunch on the dining room table, and went in search of his mate. He found him in the bedroom, in the chair by the window with the data pad in hand.

"I brought lunch," Heero said, stepping a few feet into the room.

Duo looked up, but didn't say anything. He was wearing a new pair of jeans and a blue and white striped, long-sleeved shirt. He looked fresh and comfortable, sitting in the sun with bare feet.

"It's on the table," Heero said to encourage movement.

Duo followed him to the dining room. Heero sat at the head of the table, and indicated for Duo to sit to his right. He wanted him within reach.

"You're quiet this afternoon."

"Oh...," Duo said as he unwrapped the paper around his sandwich. "This is my favorite, thanks."

Heero watched as Duo took a large bite of the sandwich. Something wasn't right. Maybe he was still upset about the guard attacking him that morning.

"I've requested that Doctor Po supervise the deliveries. There won't be any more guards coming here without my permission."

Duo nodded, and took another bite of the sandwich.

"He didn't do anything, did he?"

"No," Duo said, swallowing and taking a swig of soda.

"Then what's wrong? You're usually chattier than this."

Duo shrugged. "Just don't feel like talking."

Heero gritted his teeth and turned his focus on his meal. The sandwich was tasty with its blend of deli meats, and oil and vinegar. He decided not to have any of the high calorie, high fat chips and sugary cola. Instead, he got a glass of water from the kitchen. When he returned to the table, he gave the conversation another try.

"Why did you call me, Mr. Kaplan?"

"What?" Duo blinked his large, blue eyes at him.

"When I'd see you across the campus, like that last time at the fountain, you said, 'Hello, Mr. Kaplan.'"

Duo laughed, and Heero felt relieved at the sound of it.

"You can read lips?" Duo asked.

"Yes, and body language. I knew you were attracted to me."

Duo's eyes shifted back to his sandwich. "I didn't know who you were, so I pretended you were a secret agent." He looked up again. "Turns out you're an assassin."

"That still doesn't explain Mr. Kaplan."

"It's from Alfred Hitchcock's movie, 'North by Northwest'."

Heero shook his head. "Never seen it."

"You gotta be joking. It's only my favorite movie, and a classic on top of it. I'd think a guy like you would enjoy a movie about espionage and mistaken identity."

"Duo... what is it that you think I do?"

"Kill people. That's what you and the doc told me, anyway."

Heero considered this a moment. He knew a great deal about Duo from his tests and personnel file, but Duo knew almost nothing about him. Not that he needed to know anything, but Heero suddenly felt the urge to share a bit of himself.

"I'm what's called an operative," he said. His tone was so matter-of-fact that it prompted Duo to stop eating and listen. "This organization and others like it have operatives all over the world, but I'm different. I'm the first to be genetically engineered."

Duo set his sandwich down and stared at Heero. "You mean you're bionic?"

"No, I'm flesh and bone just like you, but my DNA has been altered to give me super human strength, and a higher threshold for pain."

"So, you're a genetically engineered killer. Makes you more efficient, huh?"

"I have killed people, but I've also completed missions without harming anyone."

"And those missions are for the Project?"

"Yes and no. I'm the Project or rather the result of it. Some very important people, including Treize Khushrenada, selected a group of scientists to develop a human to be the ultimate weapon."

"And you're that weapon?"

Heero nodded.

"What are you... a test tube baby?"

"No. I was eight when I volunteered."

"That's crazy. No one volunteers to be a guinea pig when they're eight."

"I did."

"Why would you do that? And why would your parents let you?"

"Because they were dead. It was my decision to make."

Duo's cheeks flushed. "Dead? Just like..."

Heero reached his hand across the table, placing it over Duo's. "Just like what?"

Duo looked at him, and shook his head. "It doesn't matter."

"Come here," Heero said, giving Duo's hand a tug. Enough with the chit-chat, it was time to get to business.

Only a bit more coaxing, and Duo was out of his chair and sitting across Heero's lap. Heero ran his hand up Duo's chest and began unbuttoning his shirt, inch by inch exposing fair skin. He pushed the shirt back to reveal a nipple, and put his mouth around it. Duo arched into his touch, and Heero put a hand between Duo's legs, rubbing him to hardness. He wondered how he should take Duo next. Should he lay him back on the table, spread naked under the warm light of the chandelier, or bend him over a chair?

His explorations and planning came to an abrupt stop when the door chimed. He so rarely had visitors that the sound startled him. He pushed Duo off his lap and stalked to the door. Opening it, he saw Lucrezia Noin, Clementine the maid, and a cart of groceries.

"What's this?" he asked, feeling very unwelcoming.

"Duo's order," Lucrezia said. "May we bring it in?"

"Have you ever heard of calling first?"

Lucrezia's eyes widened and she shared a look with Clementine. "Sorry. Are we interrupting?"

His gaze narrowed. "We were about to fuck, but I suppose it can wait."

The women blushed.

"We can leave the cart here, but Clementine wanted to speak with you," Lucrezia said.

By now, Duo was standing several feet behind him. Heero looked over his shoulder, admiring the disheveled progress he had made on Duo's clothes. How much longer would this interruption go on?

"Fine," Heero said, folding his arms and staring at the maid.

"I wanted to apologize to you and to Mr. Maxwell," Clementine said. Her eyes were wide and honest.

Heero stepped back, so that she could address both he and Duo.

"I swear that I didn't know what that man was doing. You see..." She reached into the pocket of her uniform pants and withdrew an iPod and ear phones. "I always listen to music when I clean. It makes the time go faster, and then I can't hear the vacuum so much."

"I don't blame you," Duo said. He came forward, but seemed to understand that he was not equal here, and stayed behind Heero. "Guys like that can't keep their pricks in their pants."

Clementine laughed, and Heero gave her and Duo a hard look.

"I also want to say that if it's okay, I'll continue cleaning here... alone. I can see that Mr. Maxwell wouldn't hurt anyone."

"Just call me, Duo. And yeah, you don't need to worry about me. The only person I'm likely to attack is Heero."

When Lucrezia chuckled, Heero had had enough.

"I'll take the cart," he said, pulling it inside his apartment. "Now, if you don't mind..." He closed the door on the ladies.

"Hey, why you'd do that?" Duo asked.

"Because I can."

"Well, that's just wrong. Didn't anyone teach you manners in all that so-called training you've had? Man, talk about rude!"

Heero pushed the cart toward the kitchen while Duo continued his rant.

"You've got to be the most self-centered person I've ever met. Clementine came all the way down here to apologize and you slam the door in her face!"

It didn't surprise Heero that Duo followed him and the cart of groceries into the kitchen. Duo's cockiness had kicked into high gear.

"It must be nice having everyone kiss your ass. Like your shit doesn't stink..."

That was enough. Heero turned on his heel and in a flash grabbed Duo around the neck, just under his jaw, with one hand. Duo's hands automatically came up and tried to pry him off.

"What the..." Duo choked out.

Heero let go.

Duo stumbled back, putting a hand to his neck, and looking wide-eyed. "Bastard! Why'd you do that?"

"You talk too much."

"Oh, and I wasn't talking enough before. What the hell do you want from me?"

"Something in between."

"Huh?" Duo straightened up.

Heero turned once again to the cart, smiling. "Now, are you going to help me with this?"

A few heartbeats later, Duo was standing at his side, grabbing groceries. The variety of items surprised Heero. Besides the abundance of dairy products such as milk, ice cream, and several kinds of cheese, Duo had also ordered olives, chicken filets, fresh fish, eggs, and fruit and vegetables.

"You plan on eating all this?" Heero asked. It definitely looked like enough food to feed several people for a week.

"I'm a decent cook," Duo said with the toss of his head.

Heero stood back and watched Duo organize the perishables in the refrigerator. It was like Duo was moving in, but in a normal way, not the way they had moved him in.

"This isn't easy for you, is it?" Heero asked.

"What?" Duo peeked over the refrigerator door.

Heero didn't repeat the question. It was best that Duo hadn't heard or it would start him yelling again, and Heero preferred Duo like this. The domesticity of the scene made Heero warm inside. There was something remarkably compatible about the two of them together. And not just during sex. But since they could never share a normal life, it was pointless to get all sentimental like a girl.

He grabbed Duo by the hand and yanked him away from the refrigerator and into his arms. It was always good surprising Duo. It made him gasp, and kept him off guard. He wrapped his arms around Duo, weaving his fingers into the braid and covering Duo's lips with his own. The kiss was deep and meant to make up for the earlier interruption. When Duo was nearly breathless, Heero retreated to his neck, licking and nipping it. He wished that Duo would do this to him, but maybe that would come in time.

Heero put his hands to Duo's waist and began to unfasten his jeans. When they were loose, he slid his hands inside to find that Duo wasn't wearing any underwear. He groaned and hardened instantly. He pushed the jeans down over Duo's bottom and thighs, and turned him around to face the counter.

"Here?" Duo asked, looking over his shoulder.


Heero unzipped his pants, and reached past Duo to the peanut oil sitting on the counter. He opened the new bottle and poured the oil onto his hand, and then slathered his cock. Spit worked in a pinch, but it was better with more lubrication.

The prep work was bypassed for a speedy entry. Slicked and ready, Heero pressed himself to Duo's bottom, finding entrance immediately. In he went, nice and slow. He closed his eyes to focus on the sensation of Duo's warmth and tightness. Duo gripped the edge of the counter top, steadying himself as Heero thrust in and out. It was an easy, incredible ride. And it didn't last long. Eight, nine thrusts and Heero was coming, and already planning where he would fuck Duo next.

He grunted and shoved hard one last time as he collapsed onto Duo's back.

on to part 8

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