Black, black heart, why would you offer more?
Why would you make it easier on me to satisfy?
I'm on fire, I'm rotting to the core,
I'm eating all your kings and queens,
All your sex and your diamonds.
Chapter 26: All Your Sex and Your Diamonds
by Casey Valhalla
The loud bang of the door to Duo's bunkroom slamming shut was the only sound for a tense stretch of moments, echoing indeterminably in the silence. Duo's posture was defensive and self-conscious at the same time, one hand fisted at his side, the other tugging his shirt down over his stomach. His eyes flickered warily, never moving from Heero's face.
The assassin stood poised, every muscle in his body wound tight. "What the hell have you been doing?"
"What makes you think I've been doing anything?" Duo shot back, his mouth pressing into a rigid line.
Something indignant and furious was boiling through Heero's chest. He wasn't sure where or how it had begun, but it was steadily taking hold of him. "You infiltrated my dreams," he said, keeping his tone level and hard. "You're not supposed to be able to do that. That's not how the Bond works."
"I didn't—" Duo started, and the words caught, his throat flashing as he swallowed. His voice rose to a strained pitch. "It wasn't *supposed* to be *you*, dammit!"
"Not supposed to be me," Heero echoed, almost mocking the demon's words. Another variable ignited the roiling emotions overwhelming him. He distantly identified it as envy. "Who was it, then?" The mocking tone had become a snarl. Heero took two quick steps forward, watching as Duo retreated in kind, until the demon was another pace away from hitting the wall. "If not me, WHO?"
Duo's eyes went round and bright for a moment, then narrowed as a vicious grin spread across his face. "You're jealous," he hissed. "Oh, this is rich."
"When did this conversation become about me?" Heero's voice was steadily growing louder every time he spoke. His arms raised up slightly at his sides, hands clenching, fingernails grating against the chainmail covering his right hand. He wasn't sure what he intended to do with them, but he felt like grabbing Duo and shaking him senseless until the truth came out.
"Fucking RICH!" The demon's voice suddenly exploded with enough force to make Heero lean backwards. "Oh no, the great and honorable Heero Yuy would *never* stoop so low as to take advantage of his demon slave, but let someone *else* touch me and he flies into a fit of jealous rage. Bullshit, Heero. Fucking bullshit!"
Heero held himself perfectly still for a full minute before speaking again, in a harsh undertone. "You're blaming me?" The anger was seeping through his pores now, saturating him, his shoulders rising and falling with deepening breaths. "I thought it was a dream, Duo. A construct of the subconscious in my own private headspace." He leaned forward and took another half-step. "So you see, it couldn't possibly be my fault. I don't have the knowledge or the magical capacity to tamper with the Bond." His voice rose until he was barely restraining a shout. "*You're* the one who's been fucking with it, Duo!"
The demon opened his mouth, teeth clenched for a retort, before the last of Heero's words sunk in. Duo's face drew into a line, his voice sulky. "I didn't mess with it."
"How else would it have happened, huh?" One of Heero's hands found its way to Duo's shoulder, gripping tight enough to make the demon wince, but Heero couldn't seem to stop himself. "I should report you to the Ministry. You want to spend half of the next century in solitary on Torreldaeo?" He registered, through the haze of anger, that Duo was trying to pull away, and shook the demon's shoulder roughly. "Do you?"
"I didn't fucking mess with it!" Duo leaned close enough to yell in Heero's face. "Azrael, Heero, it's a two-thousand year old spell! It's gonna degrade and mutate no matter what, and there's nothing either of us can do about it!"
The assassin's voice was flat and cold. "I'm sure you'll have plenty of time to figure it out in solitary."
For a moment, Duo's face remained in a grimace of fury. It melted in mere seconds as Heero watched, the demon's eyes glimmering and wide. Duo's chin quivered, and a strangled sound escaped from his throat. "You wouldn't…"
"Wouldn't I? What makes you think that?" Heero braced himself as the demon threw an arm out to knock his hand away, and caught both of Duo's wrists to keep him from struggling further away. The ridged imprint of the chainmail glove remained, red on the skin of Duo's shoulder.
"You wouldn't…" Duo repeated, straining against the iron grip around his wrists. His face had gone pale. "…send me away…" the words were a barely audible mutter.
That afraid of solitary confinement, Duo? Heero thought, and frowned at his own cruelty. "Then maybe you should tell me what you were doing." Interrogation. He could play Duo easily, knowing his fears, just as he had played Tzumara.
"Maybe I was bored," the demon replied with a smirk that made his eyes darken. "What does it matter to you?"
"What, you just needed a good lay?" The very idea made Heero seethe. His lips curled into a sneer. "Nothing to do with me, is that right?"
Duo met the expression, leaning into Heero's hold, turning the look into a mocking grin. "Why does it always have to be about YOU?"
The assassin growled and yanked Duo closer. "You were damn eager enough when you were blood-drunk."
The demon's jaw worked soundlessly a few times before he pulled back, trying to yank his wrists out of Heero's hands. His voice fell into a contemptuous banter. "Well, if mister high-and-mighty here would let me go home once in a while, that would never have been a problem, right?" Duo snorted, his arms flailing wildly in his attempt to escape.
Heero let go suddenly, and Duo stumbled backwards before regaining his balance and bristling. The assassin fisted his arms at his sides. "Not about me?" Heero couldn't keep himself from shouting any longer. "Make up your mind, Duo!"
"I have! And it doesn't matter anymore!" The demon met Heero's volume and took it up another notch. "It's not like you care if I'm fucking a shadow-golem of you because I can't get the real thing! Oh, no! You're so wrapped up in your warped sense of honor and morality that there's no space left to give a damn about how *I* feel!"
Heero paused, quivering, watching Duo's shoulders tense as he sucked in lungfuls of air. The demon's eyes blazed furiously. Some of the Heero's anger dissipated, but there was still a nest of boiling emotions, coiling through his stomach like a snake. Heero drew a deep breath and attempted to keep his voice low, but it still came out rough. "Is it so hard to believe that maybe I *do* give a damn?"
"You don't," Duo spat, still glaring.
"What makes you so sure?"
"You don't," the demon repeated, but the conviction of the statement was shaking along with his voice.
Heero squared his shoulders and forced his balled-up fists to relax. His face was expressionless. "I do. But I can't read your mind, Duo, not even with the Bond. You have to tell me…" his voice trailed off for a moment, and he felt goosebumps rising on his skin. His gaze lost focus, his thoughts drifting back to the dream, and the darkness. "Tell me. Tell me what to do."
Duo stood poised, still tense, though he looked vaguely puzzled, the glow in his eyes flickering in contemplation. Heero waited, never breaking his gaze.
Then, in a burst of movement almost too fast to see, Duo darted forward, both his hands grabbing the assassin by the neck, and crushed his mouth against Heero's.
The act sent a minor shockwave through Heero's system, and for the entirety of the kiss he was struggling to figure out what to do, how to react. Duo made a little humming sound in the back of his throat and pulled back slightly, staring at Heero's lips through heavy-lidded eyes. The demon let out a breath, a tiny puff of warm air against Heero's cheek, then he seemed to realize just what he had done.
Duo retreated until his back hit the wall, jerking slightly at the unexpected contact. His eyes went round for a moment before narrowing in defiance, waiting for the assassin to retaliate.
Heero, however, was still trying to grasp what had just happened, staring numbly into the foot and a half of space between himself and Duo. His lips and neck were tingling where Duo had touched, and the pulse of blood through his veins was rising and heating steadily. He was fairly sure this was only partially to do with the anger that had been consuming him until only a few seconds ago. No, this feeling was completely different…
Some unnamed thing in Heero finally snapped.
He barely registered the fact that his feet were moving, only that Duo was getting steadily closer. Much closer. Within seconds he was pressing the demon bodily against the wall, burying his fingers in Duo's hair, tilting Duo's head up and back to meet a pair of startled, parted lips and push his tongue inside roughly.
Everything descended into chaos from there.
Fire burned its way through Heero's body, mingling with the heat radiating off of Duo and spurring the blaze into an inferno. He worked a knee in between Duo's legs and ground against him, hard. The demon tossed his head back with a throaty moan, shuddering and pressing back against Heero's hips.
Heero bent to suckle at the exposed length of Duo's throat, finding the skin just as sweet as it had been in his dreams. His painful arousal had returned with a vengeance the moment he came in contact with Duo's body, and now, grinding relentlessly into that body, he felt an answering hardness against his thigh. His hands slid down from Duo's hair to follow the curves of his trembling shoulders, continuing to rake his fingers down the demon's sides to grab him by the waist, forcing Duo's hips to move in a rhythm of his own design.
Duo wasn't about to let himself be tamed so easily. His hands rose to fist in Heero's hair, pulling the assassin's face back up for a torrid kiss. Once he was certain Heero's lips wouldn't be leaving his any time soon, those hands traveled downwards, snagging at the buttons of Heero's shirt, slipping inside to leave shivering trails of heat over Heero's chest.
The assassin growled low in his throat, trying to force Duo's mouth into submission at the same time as drowning in the multiple sensations attacking his body. One of Duo's fingers plucked at a nipple, causing Heero to gasp into his mouth and jerk against his hips. Heero let out a fraction more of the restraint on the wild need driving him, grabbing Duo's hips, sliding his hands over the round muscles of the demon's butt and lifting Duo off the ground. Heero held him there until Duo complied and wrapped his legs around Heero's waist, squeezing them together hard enough to elicit a long moan from Heero.
Just who the hell is dominating who, here? Heero caught himself wondering, and dismissed the thought in favor of returning to his exploration of Duo's throat. The desire was overwhelming, to devour the creature pressed against him and wrapped around him. Heero wanted to make the lithe body writhe under his hands, to draw whimpers and screams from Duo's throat. The fingers of his left hand traveled around the waistband of Duo's slacks, teasing at the skin of his stomach, dipping to catch the first button and tug it open.
Heero trembled with another shock as Duo tweaked at his nipples again, and he heard the demon chuckle in his ear. It wasn't a pleasant sound, that raspy little laugh. It sounded more like the jeers Duo aimed at his enemies in battle than a noise of amusement. Heero popped open a few more buttons and forced his hand inside, finding and grasping the hard flesh within.
The demon shouted unintelligibly and jerked back against the wall, pushing against Heero's hand and tightening his legs around Heero's waist. The assassin allowed his own evil chuckle against Duo's neck, and bit roughly into the skin there, causing a small yelp. He bit again, not sure why he wanted to cause Duo pain, but the act seemed somehow cohesive with what they were doing, with the mad primal state they were spiraling into.
Duo raked his nails down Heero's stomach, stopping to yank at the lacings of his pants. The demon snarled and cursed in the old language against Heero's hair, ripping harshly at the ties. Heero raised his head to catch Duo's mouth again, unsurprised when Duo bit down on his lower lip before allowing another hungry kiss, moaning into it when Heero began stroking him steadily. At that point, Duo managed to make quick work of the lacings, and returned the favor.
All of reality began descending into a single white-hot point, the touch of Duo's hand against his throbbing cock. The choked moans in the background sounded almost distant, either or both of them could have been making that noise. The question lost importance next to the feel of Heero's blood boiling, his nerves wound into a tight, quivering ball in the base of his spine. Heero flexed his fingers at his own task, pleased when he finally heard it: a deep, needy whimper escaping Duo's lips. He sped up the pace, still rocking his hips against Duo's, though now that was more of an unconscious reaction than a deliberate act. He was aware of his knees trembling, of Duo's body convulsing against him. Heero lifted his free hand and clenched it in Duo's hair, the thin strands of it tangling through the fine chainwork of his glove, holding the demon's head still so he could look directly into Duo's eyes, only inches away.
The light in Duo's eyes trembled, phasing in and out in an erratic pulse. Heero watched, fascinated, knowing his own release was imminent at the moment that light blazed out and refracted, motes of violet seeming to scatter through the air around them. Duo's eyes rolled upwards and a long, keening moan escaped his parted lips, his hips jerking one last time before a hot wetness spilled over Heero's hand. Heero gasped at the sudden pressure around his own member, thrusting unconsciously into the tunnel of Duo's hand before the fire overtook him, blanking his vision into white and purple stars, dragging him down under the surface of the desire that had built up inside him.
He knew his mouth was open. He might have screamed.
For the second time within the span of an hour, Heero found himself lying on the floor. Unlike the previous experience, however, Duo's weight was pressing him down. The demon twitched sporadically and trembled where he lay, slowly catching his breath. Heero blinked senselessly at the tiled ceiling, tracing the seams in the metal with his eyes, waiting for his pulse rate to return to normal. It never occurred to him to push Duo off his chest.
After a span of time Heero couldn't calculate, Duo stopped shaking and relaxed, shifting to prop himself up enough to look down at Heero. The assassin turned his gaze from the ceiling, suddenly struck by the fact that somehow he would have to deal with this situation, that he needed to provide some kind of closure to their argument. Otherwise it would merely fire up again and again.
He carefully disentangled Duo's bangs from his glove, sliding his hands around to cradle Duo's face, keeping the demon's glowing gaze fixed on him. "I need you to tell me something, Duo, and tell me the truth. That's an order."
Duo nodded incrementally and swallowed, his breath releasing in a small burst against Heero's chin.
"Have you been tampering with the Bond?"
"No." The response was immediate. Duo shook his head a few times to emphasize his answer.
"Okay." Heero rubbed the pads of his fingers gently against Duo's hair a few times before sitting up. The demon skittered away from Heero, bending his knees up and ducking his head. Heero caught a glimpse of him fastening his pants, and snickered mentally. He leaned his elbows on his knees, suddenly weary, and reached out to touch Duo lightly on the chin. "Go back to bed, okay?"
The demon merely nodded, watching through his bangs as Heero stood, rearranging his own clothing before stepping towards the door. Duo spoke up suddenly. "Heero?"
The assassin turned at the plaintive tone, waiting for Duo to continue.
"Would you really have turned me in?" Duo was still curled on the floor, hugging his knees, one hand tugging absently at his braid. "Would you do that? Put me in solitary?"
Heero's eyebrows rose. I said that, didn't I, he thought, mentally berating himself. He should know better, but still… "No," he said simply, turning back to the door. "I'd die first."
The cockpit of the Delta mothership was a massive control room, a maze of consoles and high-backed chairs centered around a floor-to ceiling viewscreen that displayed the contrails of passing stars. Hilde sat at the internal systems station, rapidly scanning all twenty-six main levels of the massive ship and entering data accordingly, rerouting power here, adjusting life-support systems there, trying to squeeze the basic necessities down to the smallest possible fraction for the purposes of conserving power.
Unfortunately, someone was thwarting her efforts.
"Why the hell is hydraulics routed through the backup generator?"
Naki craned her neck from her position at the nav console, swiveling her chair slightly with her feet, which were propped up on the edge of the panel. She swirled her steaming mug thoughtfully. "Is it routed via the CPU?"
"No!" The spry girl exclaimed, typing excitedly at her station. "It's being trained manually. What the—"
"All systems online except the main power supply?"
"Yes," Hilde started, blinking at the screen in disbelief. "Primary generator does not exist?"
"Are the lights flickering?"
Hilde frowned and brushed her bangs back, glancing around just as the fluorescent lamps embedded into the ceiling died and flashed back to life, repeating the process sporadically. "They are now, yeah."
"He's—" she started, and paused, opening and closing her mouth a few times. A low chuckle sounded from the nav console. Hilde shook herself and pounded on the com controls with a fist. "Nanashi, report!"
"Trowa here," the soft voice responded almost instantly. Something metal clattered against something else that was also metal in the background. "Is there a problem?"
"Would you like to explain just what the *hell* you think you're doing?" Righteous indignation was flaring up easily. Damn elves, wandering in and doing whatever they damn well pleased…
"Rebuilding the main generator," Trowa replied conversationally. As though that should be obvious. "It wasn't operating at maximum efficiency."
"Rebuilding…" Hilde echoed, her eyes glazing as she stared at the screen. "Maximum… efficiency… WHAT?"
"Is there something wrong with that?"
"Oh nothing, Barton," she exclaimed, throwing up her hands in defeat. "Folks go around rebuilding mothership generators all the time. Sure. You want to reconfigure the hydraulics system next? Wire the hyperdrive? Maybe carry a snowball through the Fifth Hell…" her voice trailed off into incomprehensible muttering.
Naki appeared at her elbow, quivering with ill-restrained laughter. "Trowa, you're priceless."
"I live to serve," the voice over the com link deadpanned. "Can I get back to work now?"
"Do that. I'll give Officer Schbeiker a sedative."
"Roger that. Nanashi out."
"You know I didn't touch anything, right?"
Chea twisted around on his back, the upper half of his body buried in a maintenance panel. He pushed a dangling wire out of his line of vision and peered out at Quatre, sitting on the floor with his back propped against the pilot's chair, trying vainly to see what Chea was doing.
"Wasn't your fault, boss-man," the former cadet reassured him. "Hand me that probe—yeah, the blue-handled one. Corellian hyperdrives have a bad habit of dying unexpectedly. See, here's the problem." Chea pried a half-melted chip away from the motherboard above him. "Damn. Hope there's a replacement for this."
He wriggled out of the tight space and stood, motioning for Quatre to follow him back to the cargo bay. The blond followed sedately, his brow creased in thought. Abruptly, he spoke. "Sen'Darven is your home planet, isn't it?"
"Yup, haven't been back in years." Chea tweaked the hatch and swung it open, dropping lightly down the high step into the darkened room. His voice began echoing hollowly in the large, empty space. "The family wouldn't be happy to know I was around, that's for sure."
"What's it like?" Quatre asked, wandering into the center of the room as Chea moved off to the side, opening a small closet. "I've read books, but I want to hear a firsthand account."
Chea shrugged, and his head disappeared into the opening, a light flicking on within. "It's not so great. I mean, sure, the whole damn thing is essentially a resort, but living there isn't all it's cracked up to be."
"Have you ever been to a dragon race?" Quatre paused next to a stack of crates, reading over their contents and storing the information for a later time.
In the closet, Chea let out a disgusted grunt. "I was required to. My father's a high roller, we went to all the races at the arena in Saskana. I never thought much of it, until we went to Janico one year."
"Dakovar Arena is famous," Quatre mused, squatting to examine a few cloth bags.
"And deserves every bit of notoriety it gets," Chea snorted, and flicked the light in the closet off. He waved a plastic packet idly in Quatre's direction. "This should do it. Let's go."
The blond opened his mouth to say something, but was suddenly interrupted by a series of repeating thunks that echoed metallically throughout the entire ship. Six in total. Quatre ducked instinctively, covering his ears, and Chea, jumped, pressing against the wall. "Belfaida's scales, what now?"
Quatre blinked. "Did you just swear by the dragon goddess?"
Chea grinned. "She responds well under pressure." He grabbed the Prime Operative by the shoulder and hauled him back through the hatch.
In the cockpit, three separate warning lights were flashing, one notifying the crew that their speed was being compromised, another informing them of foreign objects on the surface of the cruiser. The last was an incoming call. Chea frowned, bending over the console to tap at the viewscreen controls, panning the cameras all around the ship. "Where are they?"
Quatre slipped into the co-pilot's chair and tugged at the restraints self-consciously. "They who? Wait—" He pointed at what looked like a thin wire strung along the outside of the ship. He traced the image through the air with his finger. "See, it goes—"
"Up," Chea breathed, punching another button. "They're above us."
In response, the viewer jumped to a full view from the top of the ship, displaying the vast metal belly of a ship several times larger than their own. The screen didn't even show where the bulk of the ship began or ended. A few multicolored stripes of paint marred the shiny surface.
"Oh shit," Chea said.
The light on the console began beeping angrily. Chea flipped a toggle with a resigned motion, the com screen flaring to life on the viewer with a crackle of static.
The picture that popped up was contained within a large cockpit, the camera poised over a broad console. Several of the buttons were broken and taped over, a few switches labeled with punch-tape or black marker. A pink stuffed pig sat on the edge of the console, smiling serenely at the camera.
Three figures were gathered around the console, peering intently through the com. The first, on the left, was a teenage girl with short, blue hair that spiked out in back, wearing a brown bomber jacket and a tiny silver ring through the side of her nose. She looked bored, her large brown eyes milling about between Chea and Quatre and random places beyond them.
In the high-backed seat, centered on the screen, sat a disgruntled gnome, arms folded over his chest with an unlit pipe gripped in one hand. His lips pursed under the scraggly white fall of his moustache and beard, and his beady eyes stared hard, straight forward, occasionally darting to take in one of the operatives, after which he muttered to himself and harrumphed, settling himself back into the chair.
The last figure, leaning casually against the right side of the console, was a half-elf; Chea could tell by his childlike features and pointed ears. And his height, since half-elves had the strange tendency to be short. His hair was long, blonde, and streaked green and purple, pulled back into a ponytail that swished at the back of his head. Long hanks of it framed his fiercely grinning face, his eyes stark black and startling in his soft face. He was wearing nothing but a rough vest of dark red leather, the laces undone, and baggy tan pants tied at the waist with a violet sash.
"Oh, shit," Chea repeated.
The half-elf leaned forwards over the console, his grin widening as a chuckle escaped his throat. "Yo ho ho, dudes!"