Part the Twelfth: A Mouthful of Sock
Relena stepped into the room, completely ignoring Duo being pinned to
the wall like an overgrown butterfly specimen, her eyes focused
solely on Heero. While Duo concentrated simply on breathing - the
lug's arm was still happily digging itself into his trachea - he saw
Heero take a step away from the woman, his face as pale as it had
been the night he collapsed. Relena didn't seem to notice. She
latched onto Heero's arm and pressed herself to his side.
"I'm overjoyed to have found you at last," she bubbled, batting her
eyelashes at him. "You have no idea what a state I was in when I
found you'd been taken from me." She shot Duo a sharp glare. "But
I've come to take you home."
"Glarg!" Duo struggled in the thug's grip, but where he was slight
and wiry, the guy pinning him to the wall had muscles the size of
large Christmas hams. He concentrated instead on trying to pry the
man's arm off his throat, at least so he could breathe.
Heero managed to disentangle himself from her grasp and stepped to
the side. He cleared his throat and Duo could see him regain some of
his composure. "You've no hold on me now, Relena. I do not have to
obey you anymore."
"Blurgle!" Duo agreed emphatically, scratching at the lug's arm, to
Relena gave Heero a crestfallen look. "But our time together was
interrupted! You said yourself, you have to be with me for one month.
We barely had a week!"
"It was two weeks, and that works only if you have the medallion in
Relena's face curled into a snarl. "That's not fair! I was cheated
out of my time, and I want it back!"
"Then you should have kept a better eye on your possessions, witch."
"Hugar!" Duo was beginning to see spots in front of his eyes, but he
couldn't help but cheer Heero on.
Relena again focused on Duo. She walked slowly over to where he was
pinned to the wall. Heero moved as if to follow, his expression
belaying his need to rip the thug's arms off, but Relena held her
hand up to him, stopping him in his tracks.
"You know, Pookie, I wasn't sure what I'd find here. I'd been looking
for this little gutter rat for weeks. I knew he'd taken you. He was
the only one at the party who would have."
"Flurg!" Duo resented that. Never mind that he *had* stolen the
medallion, he resented the implication that he was a thief.
"Imagine my surprise when I opened up the monthly account statements
last night and found a rather expensive hotel room being charged to
the personal family. Of course, knowing that neither I nor my brother
had any need for such a room at present, I called the hotel. Imagine
again my shock at learning the room was registered to one 'Zechs
Merquise.' I wondered to myself, why would my brother need a hotel
room when he had a perfectly adequate apartment downtown?"
"Let him go, Relena," Heero demanded through clenched teeth.
"Not just yet, Pookie. I'm not finished." She turned back to him,
pouting. "Though I must say I'm a little surprised to see you out of
the medallion. I thought only a woman could set you free." She
sneered in Duo's direction. "Though I guess it was an easy mistake to
"Firgen!" The bitch was dead... just as soon as he could move the
wall of muscle.
"Do not say such things about Duo!" Heero snarled, moving towards him
Heero turned to look at her, disgust etched on his face. "Your time
is over, Relena. Accept it and leave peacefully, or I will make you."
Relena blinked at him. "You can't possibly want to stay with him!"
she cried, flinging a finger at Duo, who was doing his best gasping
fish imitation. "He's... he's a man!"
"He's also a better lover than you'll ever be," Heero replied.
Relena's face turned purple. It was not a good color on her. "Jan!
Mueller!" At her call, two more identical-looking muscle men entered
the room. Duo had to wonder if they got their suits on special by
shopping from the same store.
The thug holding Duo jerked him away from the wall, pulling him into
a choke hold. Tears formed in Duo's eyes - the man was in serious
need of some deodorant.
"Here's what's going to happen, Heero," Relena said calmly. "You will
return with me and do whatever I wish for the remainder of Duo's
month. In exchange, since I'm already paying for this room, Jan,
Mueller and Kato will stay behind with Mr. Maxwell. If you go
peacefully, well, nothing untoward will happen to him. But if you do
not agree..." She trailed off, a sadistic grin on her face.
If Duo's eyes weren't already bugging out of his head from lack of
oxygen, they'd have been wide open. Surely Relena wasn't suggest they
snuff him out? Would she sink so low?
"You would have him killed over this?" Heero asked, echoing Duo's
Relena snorted. "What kind of woman do you think I am? And don't
answer that if you value his health," she said as Heero opened his
mouth. "A Peacecraft does not stoop to murder. That is for peasants
and Mafia dons. No, there are other ways to keep people in line. Such
as informing them that Peacecraft Corp. makes several large donations
to a certain engineering firm's R and D department. I'd say a threat
to cut them off would be enough to make a person's job future... less
than optimistic." Her eyes narrowed. "Also, Jan has a taste for
pretty boys. And I can only keep him on a leash for so long."
Duo went cold. He glanced up to see the man in question leering down
at him. He tried to swallow, and turned his gaze back to Heero, who
was looking at him intently.
There was a long moment of silence.
"If I go with you, you promise not to hurt him?" Heero asked
eventually, through clenched teeth.
"Nurgh!" Duo began struggling again. He wasn't going to let Relena
get her hooks into Heero again!
"My word of honor as a Peacecraft," Relena replied, once again
slipping her arm through Heero's.
"Then I have no choice. I will go with you."
"Hee...!" The thug holding Duo grabbed him by the braid and dragged
him into the bedroom, kicking and grunting. He could hear Heero in
the next room, yelling at Relena that she'd promised not to hurt him.
Relena laughed and said, "Don't be ridiculous. As long as you obey
me, he won't be harmed."
The stranglehold on Duo was abruptly released as he was pushed down
on the bed. He opened his mouth to scream for help, but his oxygen-
deprived body betrayed him, bending him double, coughing. While he
was busy trying to hack up his lung, Thug grabbed the terry cloth
belt from Duo's robe that he'd left carelessly on the floor earlier,
and tied his Duo's hands together behind his back. Duo grunted
between coughing fits, as the belt cut off his circulation.
He managed to take in a breath and lifted his head off the
bed. "Heero! Don't do it! Don't go with that bit-- *mph*!" Duo choked
as Thug shoved a sock in his mouth. His only saving grace was that it
was a clean one.
"Don't wait up boys!" he heard Relena call out from the other room
before he heard the door open, then close ominously behind them.
He tried to struggle with the belt wrapped around his hands, but Thug
backhanded him hard enough to send him sprawling to the other side of
the bed. He choked on the sock again and decided to lie still and
concentrate on trying to breathe around it.
"Stay there and be quiet," Thug said, moving to the door. "Behave and
we'll let you eat later. If you don't... well, Jan's been feeling
pretty antsy lately."
Duo shuddered and Thug walked out of the room, laughing. He sighed
around the sock in his mouth and decided to behave... for now. His
cheek stung and even though the sock was clean, it still had a
lingering taste of feet. Relena was so going to owe him a giant
bottle of mouthwash when he got Heero back.
He glanced up at the clock beside the bed. He could wait for now.
After all, Zechs and Wufei were due to arrive within the hour.
Zechs fell behind his boyfriend as they stepped off the elevator,
heading for Duo and Heero's room. Not because he was a gentleman to
let Wufei get off first, but because 'Fei was wearing a new, sinfully
tight pair of jeans and Zechs wanted a better angle from which to
appreciate the view.
And what a view it was. Zechs licked his lips and half a mind to call
the evening off, take Wufei home and strip those jeans off, inch but
"Zechs, if you could tear your eyes from my ass for five seconds and
knock on the door?" Wufei asked, without turning around.
Zechs blinked and looked up, realizing they were standing outside Duo
and Heero's door. He wondered how long they'd been standing there. He
reached over Wufei's shoulder and rapped loudly. "Something wrong
with your hand that you couldn't knock?"
Wufei shrugged and looked away. "They're your friends. Besides, I was
not... on my best behavior, the last time I was here."
"Water under the bridge." When Wufei didn't answer, he placed his
hands on the shorter man's shoulders and leaned down to rest his
mouth next to Wufei's ear. "Don't worry, 'Fei. Duo likes you. He told
me so himself. And we've both told you that you have nothing to worry
about. What we had is in the past, and we're both in love with
someone else now."
Wufei sighed. "You're right. I know." He turned his head and smiled
up almost shyly at his lover. "And I love you, too. And I want to get
to know your friends."
"You'll love Duo, trust me," Zechs replied, knocking on the door
again. "He's just like me, only shorter and not as horny."
Wufei snorted. "The entire population of Wisconsin combined is not as
horny that you, idiot."
Zechs grinned at him. "True. But then again, they don't have you in
"Thank god. I can barely walk straight as it is some days."
"I don't hear you complaining," Zechs replied, knocking again. "Hey!
Put your clothes on and answer the door!" he called out, beating
harder on the door.
"Maybe they were waiting for us down in the lobby?" Wufei suggested,
shifting from foot to foot.
"I don't think so. Duo was pretty adamant about staying in tonight."
He leaned in and pressed his ear to the door.
"Zechs! You really are a dirty old man!" Wufei hissed, trying to drag
him from the door.
"Shh!" he whispered, pressing his ear closer. He listened for a
moment, frowning. He pushed back from the door, grabbed Wufei's hand
and dragged him down the hall to the elevator.
"Zechs? What are you doing?"
"Going to see the manager," Zechs replied, punching the button to
call the elevator. "Something's not right."
"So they didn't answer the door. They've probably just gone out to
the store or something and lost track of time. Try his cell phone."
"I did, when I was parking the car after dropping you out front. It
went straight to voice mail. And Duo doesn't really lose track of
time, not when he's expecting company." The elevator dinged and Zechs
dragged Wufei inside. "And I am not old!"
Duo tried not to sob when the knocking on the hotel room door ceased.
For one thing, sobbing only caused the sock to catch in his throat.
And for another, he was really too pissed off to spend his time
crying. He was pissed off at himself for letting Relena manipulate
Heero into going with her. He was pissed off at Relena for her
audacity. He was pissed off and Thugs One, Two and Three for keeping
him here. And he was pissed off at Zechs for giving up and leaving.
It wasn't like him to stand his friends up, especially not after
making plans only hours ago. The man should know better than that!
Duo drew his legs up underneath him and, with effort, managed to flip
himself over on his stomach. He lay with his head turned outward,
concentrating on breathing for a few minutes, before he began again.
The headboard rocked against the wall as he moved and Duo froze,
listening for sounds that the Three Stooges outside had heard him.
When no one came, Duo pressed his face against the pillow, and after
a couple of failed attempts, managed to pry the sock from his mouth
by scooting his head up the pillow.
He spat out a couple of loose threads, then managed to flop over onto
his side. He lay panting against the comforter, smacking his lips in
an effort to get some moisture into his now-dry mouth, and to get rid
of the taste of sock.
He didn't allow himself to rest for long. He began working on the
knot holding his hands together. He couldn't quite get a grip on it,
as his fingers had gone numb from lack of circulation. He stretched
and strained against the belt, but the terry cloth was of good
quality, and stretching it only seemed to tighten the knot. He grit
his teeth and yanked, biting his lip in pain.
So focused was he on trying to free his hands, he didn't hear the
commotion outside the door until a body hit the floor.
Then he heard his name.
"Zechs! I'm in here!" he called out, his heart racing as he struggled
to sit up. His eyes lit up as his friend burst into the room. "Oh
God. You didn't give up on me," Duo murmured with relief, turning so
Zechs could pull the belt off him.
Zechs snorted as he worked on Duo's bonds. "I knew something was
wrong when you didn't answer the second time. You never make plans
and break them. Also, I heard the TV through the door. 'Desperate
Housewives' was on. I know you hate that show."
"Unlike you who could name every episode by season and title," Duo
said, then jumped as it sounded like a body hit the wall outside the
bedroom. "What's going on out there?"
"Wufei is taking care of your new friends," Zechs replied, pulling
the belt off. "Did I fail to mention he owns his own dojo?"
"How convenient," Duo said, shaking his hands to get feeling back in
them. "Look, we've got to get to the estate. Relena took off with
Heero not more than an hour ago. I need to get him back and give that
bi... er, your sister a piece of my mind."
Zechs helped him stand. "How did she find you?"
Zechs sighed. "Damn. I forgot she goes through those personally."
They both looked up as Wufei walked into the room. "All taken care
The Chinese man brushed his hands together. "I managed to convince
them to leave."
Duo stared at him. "You took on three at once? Damn." He then turned
his head to stare at Zechs. "Did you just say 'love'? Double damn."
"Marvel later, move now," said Zechs, with a faint tint of red
gracing his cheeks. "We've an incubus to rescue."
"Incubus?" Wufei asked, looking from one to the other.
"Long story, I'll tell you in the car," Duo said, striding quickly to
the door. His heart hammered inside his chest as he punched the
button for the elevator. He heard Zechs and Wufei behind him, but his
thoughts were on Heero... stupid, caring Heero. He bit his lip and
punched the button again. And again. He kicked the elevator door.
"I don't think that's going to help," Zechs said dryly from behind
"Hurry up, you slow ass piece of crap!" Duo shouted at the doors,
which remained stubbornly closed.
"Just give it a minute," Wufei added.
Duo glared at the doors. Just when he was about to give up and take
the stairs, the elevator gave a cheery 'Ding!' and the doors slid
open. Duo dashed inside and quickly pushed the button for the lobby.
Wufei barely had time to get inside before the doors whisked shut,
nearly taking his pony tail off.
"We'll get there, Duo. Don't worry," Zechs said, placing a hand on
Duo's shoulder. "And you know she won't hurt him."
"It's not that..." Duo said, watching as the numbers descended. "It's
just... I don't... Heero was forced into this and I..."
Duo ducked his head. "Yeah," he whispered softly. "I do. And I'm
scared. That bi... er, your sister is eating into what little time I
have left with him!" He swallowed around the lump in his throat.
"My offer still stands," Zechs said.
"I haven't talked to Heero about it. But I will. Just as soon as I
get him back from that bi... er, your sister."
"And I think it's about time I had a little chat with that bitch,"
Zechs replied. When Duo looked at him with a raised eyebrow, he
shrugged. "What? She's my sister. I get to say it."
The elevator finally ended it's long journey to the lobby. Duo
launched himself through the doors and crashed into a man wearing a
uniform of the hotel, sending them both to the ground.
"Oh god! I'm so sorry!" Duo said, picking himself up and offering his
hand to the man.
The hotel employee's face and turned red and Duo braced himself for
an outburst. But then the man saw who was behind Duo. He cleared his
throat, straightened his tie, and inclined his head toward Zechs.
"I trust everything was well, sir?"
Zechs frowned. "No, everything was not well. But I don't have time to
go into it at the moment. But trust me when I say we will discuss
The man went white, stammered an apology and backed away.
"Jeez, he looked positively terrified," said Duo, blinking after
him. "What did you do to him?"
"He's the manager," Wufei explained. "He refused to let Zechs have
the key card to your room, so Zechs bought the hotel."
Duo skidded to a halt. "You bought a hotel?"
"To make sure I was okay?"
Duo turned to Wufei. "Never let this man go."
"I don't intend to," Wufei said solemnly.
"Good. Now that that's settled, can we get going already?"
"Your white charger awaits, m'lord," Zechs said, pushing Duo toward
the hotel entrance.
"That's only funny because you really drive a white Charger, you
"Why do you think I bought it?"