The intense music filled the club air, making it sharp and brittle, even as the smoke from countless cigarettes dulled and muted the sound. The scintillating lights twisted and turned, illuminating and shadowing the swirling mass of bodies moving beneath their lofty auspices. The air smelled of lost inhibitions, of desperation, and of sex.
Duo eyed his hunting ground with an approving eye, moving easily through the crowd. He glanced over the throng of smoking, drinking, sweaty men with the focused attention of a predator. He felt completely at home and in his element, a sensation he hadn't experience in quite some time. He didn't usually patronize gay bars; the chance of getting busted was too risky. But, surprisingly, it was a prime locale to pick up johns.
Certainly there was plenty of free sex to be had in the shady back rooms that were de rigor in such clubs. But, there were also dozens of lonely men, tired of the passion plays, tired of rejection, tired of trying. It was they that the young prostitute sought. There were always those willing to pay.
Duo spotted the bar, which offered a strategic vantage of the happenings in the club. Plus it would allow him to be seen as well as to see. He moved skillfully through the press of bodies, pausing to let a glance linger here, an accidental touch there.
'All too easy,' he smirked in silent derision, noting the phalanx of eyes that tracked his passage.
Duo let his braid drape over a bare shoulder as he propped his narrow hips on an empty stool. He leaned back with his elbows against the bar, affecting a practiced come-hither pose. A full-length mirror, decoratively lining a support beam, faced him and he let his gaze travel over his own form.
Chestnut hair gleamed under a random, steady light, bestowing upon him an undeserved halo. His face was pale in the shifting dimness, the exposed skin of his arms and legs advertising its availability. His shirt was sleeveless and had no buttons, being only a simple drape of shimmery black that was tied high across his torso. The teasing hints of a toned, bare chest were as enticing as the blatantly naked midsection. Tight, low-riding shorts, clearly showed a luscious lack of anything underneath. His long legs traveled down and down until finally ending in a pair of black combat boots. He treasured the boots, knowing they gave him a dirty-little-boy look that men always drooled over.
Duo's full lips turned up in a mockery of a smile as he regarded his image. No one would be able to resist him.
Then, he froze, peering at the reflection of someone standing by his side. The young man was simply beautiful, all exotic, Asian features and stunning, deep-blue eyes. Dark hair brushed across his brow in an untamed mass and he peered out from beneath the fall with an expression that sent a stab of pure terror straight through Duo's chest.
The braid thumped against his shoulder as he jerked his head to the side. His body had tense, ready to confront the intoxicating stranger, but Duo was left staring at empty air. Nothing but a ghost. He shook his head and closed his mouth, parted from the effort of filling his lungs. Calling himself all sorts of fool, he pushed away the unaccountable feeling of fear.
"I've never seen you here before."
Duo looked over at the man who'd delivered the tired line. His initial glance was followed by a quick, but thorough, professional inspection. Nearing middle age, dark-blond hair beginning to thin, the substantial beginnings of a paunch. The man had the pasty, sun-deprived complexion of an office-worker and had propped his left arm on the bar to display the band of a gold watch. The patent tan-line of a hastily removed wedding band streaked the man's left ring-finger. Given the man's age - the colony's wave of tolerance towards gays being a rather recent development - he probably had a wife, rather than a husband.
Duo's blank expression morphed into something more welcoming. He subtly turned his body towards the man, silently communicating his interest. He pulled his lips away from his teeth, bearing the pearly surfaces in a sultry smile that made the mark's temperature rise.
"That's because it's my first time." The reply dripped with innuendo. The john responded beautifully to the implication of corruptible innocence.
"Can I buy you a drink?"
The first rule of picking up a guy in a bar was to never have a glass in hand. Men on the make always tried to used alcohol to tame a prospective fuck. Duo turned his head to speak to the bartender standing behind him.
"Shot of bourbon, water back."
"The same," the man said, never taking his eyes from the expanse of smooth skin revealed by the loose shirt. Duo watched the man watching him, alternating between fascination and disgust at how quickly the man was becoming aroused. His balding pate gleamed with sweat and his pallid skin was growing flushed. A surreptitious glance below revealed a burgeoning bulge in the man's tacky-but-expensive jogging pants.
"Here you go."
The bartender set the glasses on the bar. Duo lifted his in a brief toast and, throwing his head back, drained it in one swallow. The john looked on appreciatively at the display before following suit. Emboldened by the drink and Duo's continued attention, he leaned closer to the younger man's ear.
The incongruous gallantry was accompanied by a hand sweeping outward towards the dance floor. The music changed, hardening into a driving beat that could be felt through the sticky, wooden boards of the floor.
Duo started out towards the dance floor but was paused for a dizzying instant as the sounds and sights of the club coalescing into a disquieting scene. He saw himself dancing, pressing and grinding against a solid figure. The image slowly rotated until he had a frontal view of the scene. He saw his own face, lost in rapture as his partner's hands caressed him. Looking beyond himself, Duo's breath froze in his throat as he identified his companion as the blue-eyed vision who'd haunted him earlier.
He blinked and the image was gone, leaving him confused. It had seemed so much like a memory, but he didn't know anyone like that gorgeous, dark-haired man. Even though the sight had been only in his mind, he could still feel the emotion pulsing between him and the queerly familiar stranger. He tried to shake off his disorientation as he followed the john out onto the floor.
The music throbbed, sending the gyrating throng into a frenetic orgy of motion.
Are you ready for a good pounding, baby? (Get down)
Are you ready to get it on? (Get down, get down)
Don't pretend you're not fuckin' freaky, baby? (Get down)
I will spank that ass just for fun! (Get down, on the ground)
Duo positioned himself in front of his prospective customer, facing away from the man's leering smile. He grabbed the man's hand and placed them on his swaying hips, easing his body back into the other man to achieve as much contact as possible.
Ass up high!
Make a mother fucker cry!
It's so good that I could die!
Help me stay alive!
The man's gut pressed distractingly into his back, soft and formless like so much blubber. The john's body enveloped him in sweaty folds, like some foul, devouring monster. Duo closed his eyes, losing himself in the raunchy words to distance himself from the feeling that he was sinking in quicksand.
Are you ready for a good flogging, baby?
Come on, ream my ass just for fun!
Don't let up 'til my ass is bleeding, baby!
Don't let up until you are done!
The man's hands had moved from their innocuous position on Duo's hips to travel over him, leaving a trail of invisible slime. Pudgy fingers dug into the taut flesh of his sides before arrowing down towards his crotch.
Duo turned quickly in the man's arms, lest the mark discover that his dance partner wasn't as appreciative of his skills as was being intimated. The braided man brought his face as close to the older man as he dared, careful to prevent any inadvertent lip contact.
He had three rules: one, he never took down his braid in front of a john; two, no kissing; and three, no names. The code of conduct came to him suddenly, floating up from the hazy sea of his past.
Past? Surely the rules applied to his present. He survived by putting himself at the willing service of perverted assholes like this one. The tenants kept him safely detached from what he couldn't escape.
But he had escaped, once. He could remember an apartment, filled with plants and art, suffused with delicious smells and loving warmth. And he could hear a child's laughter ringing out like a tinkling bell.
Duo looked over his partner's shoulder, knowing that the blue-eyed man was watching him. He was there, gazing towards him from the sidelines, his attention unwavering. The sadness and disappointment on his handsome features was so intense that it twisted the braided man's gut.
The thick tongue that began to forage in his ear was a most welcome distraction. Duo tightened his arms around the older man, almost glad for the support while his legs regained their steadiness. A pair of hands grabbed his ass, squeezing the firm flesh.
"What do I have to do to get in here?" The question, growled against his ear, was join by thrusting hips.
Duo smiled again, already calculating the cost of this little encounter. "For four-hundred, I'm all yours to do with what you want." He pushed back against the man. "Whatever you want."
The john moved back a bit, surprise on his face. "You mean, you're a hustler?"
"I prefer the term 'entrepreneur.' Just think of it this way," Duo continued, leaning forward to blow in the man's ear. "Now, you won't have to keep buying a shit load of high-priced drinks to get some guy to let you fuck him."
The man clearly understood the concept of comparative economics and Duo was summarily dragged from the dance floor by a preemptory hand on his arm. As they neared the notorious back room, he caught a flash of dark hair in the corner of his eye.
They managed to find a surprisingly vacant corner, hidden behind a cleverly constructed wall. The man wasted no time with words. Duo winced as he was pushed against frigid concrete, the rough texture grating against his skin. Well-trained, he moaned appropriately as his shirt was parted and thick lips latched onto his nipples.
"Yeah, that's good," he whispered, grasping the man's shoulders. "Just like that."
The mark lifted his head and moved upwards to lap at Duo's neck. "You like that, baby?"
'Oh,' Duo thought, 'so, he's one of those.' Rolling his eyes unseen, he squirmed becomingly. "Yeah, daddy. I like it."
The man clearly enjoyed his answer, reapplying himself to the tempting pink nipples peaked atop the toned, young chest. The braided man continued his verbal performance, increasing his volume as the mouth traveled lower over his body.
Though it didn't happen often, occasionally, the john wanted to blow him rather than vice versa. This seemed to be one of those occasions. Duo tensed, wondering what the man would do when he saw how flaccid his play toy remained even after his enthusiastic efforts.
Luckily, the john was too caught up in his own desires to notice the younger man's total lack of genuine response. He licked and sucked, taking pleasure in the fake approbation that washed over his ears.
"Yeah! Yeah, daddy. Suck it. Ohh, yeah!"
Duo looked vaguely at the ceiling as he thought about what he would do with the money he was going to get from the guy slobbering on him. He heard the man slurp and felt the sudden rise of bile in his throat. He forced himself to push away the wave of nausea that assailed him, striving for his professional demeanor.
Then, he experience the distant impression of warm, soft lips moving against his heated skin, sucking him with a mixture of softness and hardness that sent a frisson of sensation arching through him. The feeling was so clear that, for a moment, he found himself responding to the john sloppy manipulations.
Duo blinked as his face was suddenly pressed flush against the hard wall. The man was apparently finished with the foreplay and was ready to get his money's worth. A thick glob of spit landed wetly in the crack of Duo's ass, making him flinch, even as he silently thanked the man for the consideration.
The man stood and pressed against the younger man's back, stroking his cock up and down the proffered furrow. "You ready for big papa? Huh? You ready for me?"
Duo opened his mouth to make some suggestive retort. 'Give me your thick cock, your throbbing meat.' He meant to say these words, but all sound, all breath, all thought stopped as he found himself less than an inch away from a handsome Asian face and beautiful, sad blue eyes. As terrifying as the previous sightings of the stranger had been, Duo almost screamed as the man spoke, his voice as hollow as glass.
"Why did you leave me, Duo? Come home. Come back to me..."
The screamed forced it's way free as memory, knife-edged and full of pain, flooded his mind. Heero. The man was Heero, his husband, his lover. And the silvery laughter that had echoed in his ears was the joyful sound of his little girl. His Laura. Lost to them forever because of his sordid past. A past he'd been trying so desperately to reclaim.
But no longer. Duo's dissociation came to a screeching halt as a hard cock began to force its way into his ass. The scream turned into a yell as he jerked backwards, dislodging the leech on his back. He whirled around, pressing against the wall, eyes wide and wild as he stared at the man sprawled on the floor, his chest heaving.
The john looked up at him, his mouth gaping in incredulity. The disbelief quickly became anger as he realized that he'd just been rejected, once more. And this time, by a no-account whore.
"You little bitch! You think you can do that to me?!" He leapt up, the move belying his bulk. He stalked towards the pale man who was trying to mold himself into the wall. The younger man started to pull away but was stopped by a vicious slap that left a red mark on his cheek and the beginnings of an ugly bruise.
Duo blinked, the smack jarring him from his shock. His cheek throbbed, bringing back other memories of another blond man who'd favored track suits. Smoke's homely visage rose up before his eyes. Rage and pain, both past and present, united into a maelstrom of emotion so intense that his braided swayed on the eddies. He looked up at the man, amethyst eyes nearly black with hatred. He saw Smoke and he saw Delia. And he wanted to destroy them. But, even more, he wanted to destroy himself.
The man's own anger had cooled, to be replaced by a growing sense of fear as the hustler seemed to grow larger, a nasty shadow swimming in the depths of his gaze. The john started to back away, hands held up in a warding posture.
"Hey, I'll tell you what. Why don't we just forget about this?"
The young man moved from the wall and stalked towards him. He fumbled for his wallet. "Hey, I'll even pay you for the blow job, just..."
Duo stopped inches from the man's face. He stretched to his full height and leaned so close that he could smell the other man's fear.
"Do yourself a favor," he whispered, low and menacing. "Go home to your wife. Go home to where you belong."
The john was left swallowing and panting as the taller man suddenly moved away. As he watched the lithe figure walked back towards the main room of the club, soft words drifted back towards him.