"Duo." Heero carefully shook the boney shoulder of the sleeping teen, mindful of his wounds. "Come on Duo, wake up."
/Don't want to,/ came the sulky reply in his mind.
"You've been asleep or playing at it for days now and I'm bored. Wake up and talk to me."
/No! They're watching us like lab rats./
/Please,/ Heero pleaded, something he was not used to doing. /There's nothing on the junk t.v. they gave us and I'm going nuts trying to entertain myself./
/I hate it here./ Duo said, sounding petulant.
/Me, too./ Heero agreed with a forlorn sigh as he sat perched on the edge of Duo's hospital bed. His eyes slowly scanned the insipid room he and the other teen had been ordered to stay in since they'd arrived from being air lifted from the Fort Collins base four long, boring days ago. The walls of the room were painted an innocuous pale gray color with a lone picture of the Federation's flag framed on the right wall. Other than that, the four walls bore a lone mirror over the small sink to the bed's left and at the foot and between the two single beds stood the locked security door. To the right of it was a television placed high on the wall, screwed down to a raised metal platform. A boring, dismal place in which they were expected to recover from the traumatic experience they'd just been through.
As to their health, Heero's strength, nearly depleted from being separated from Duo for so long, was returning rapidly with each passing day. But Duo's injuries caused by the sniper's bullet, the subsequent surgery and the added stress to his body while they made good their escape, had taken a toll on his recovery. His smaller lover had suffered a set back and was still weak and recovering from the fever that had eaten away at him during the two days it took for them to be transported from several military installations to where they were now located.
On their second day in this particular hospital, Duo had finally awakened to a more coherent state of consciousness; his fever had finally broken. He had needed and wanted Heero to hold him close, skin to skin and as intimately as possible, desperately needing the extra connection to improve his physical condition and emotional state. It was then that Heero informed him they were in a Federation military hospital and they were being monitored by surveillance cameras designed for quarantined patients. Since that initial information had been given to the braided boy, Duo had become cranky and obstinate. He spent most of his days laying quietly on his bed, moving very little and saying nothing, not even to Heero through their connection. Heero had thought it best to leave him alone to sulk, knowing the other boy needed to rest anyway in order to fully recover. But the long hours and silence had gone on too long. Enough was enough, Heero decided.
/Can we sneak out of here?/ Duo asked, his eyes still closed and his face placid, giving the appearance to anyone watching the feed from the security cameras that he was drifting back to sleep.
/Where can we go, Duo? We don't have a home, money or a job and you're not well enough to even walk out of here yet. Hell, I don't even know where we are./
The braided teen sighed audibly, knowing Heero was right that they had no where to go and no one to turn to. He definitely wasn't very happy about the situation and his frustration mounted with each passing hour that he spent in pain, in bed without Heero lying next to him, and in room locked from the outside.
"Open your eyes and talk to me Duo," Heero urged the other boy. "Come on, you'll feel better if you do." /And I promise I'll make it worth your while./
Slowly, Duo's right eyelid opened and he looked up at the dark hair boy, finding that Heero was watching him with a self-satisfied smile gracing his handsome face. "They're watching," the long haired boy mumbled under his breath, his voice groggy. "What are you gonna do for a reward, brush my teeth or something equally exciting? What I really could use is a sandwich. Can you whip one of those up?"
/How about I take our clothes off and climb under the covers with you?/
The voice in Duo's head matched the wicked smirk on Heero's face and the blue/violet eyes widened in disbelief. /I didn't know you were an exhibitionist, Heero. I hate to tell you this, but I'm not./
"Watch." Heero grinned, then removed himself from off the high hospital bed and went to his own a few feet away and promptly stripped off all the blankets and sheets. Duo watched his movements with one eye open as Heero tied the ends of two sheets together to make one long stretch of cotton. The injured teen then opened both eyes to observe Heero's movements with curiosity as he moved to the bed stand and opened the drawer to remove some push pins. He held them up for Duo's perusal. /Got them from the nurse,/ he told the bedridden teen and looking damn proud of his accomplishment. He then proceeded to tie one end of the extended sheets to the metal fame at the end of the bed, and pulled the fabric taunt and began to pin the top part of the sheet into the smooth, unmarked wall above Duo's head, creating a low canopy that blocked the view of the camera, located above the room's only door, and also the mirror, just in case it was a window masked as a mirror for observation of patients.
Heero then took the chair located on the other side of Duo's bed and wedged the back of the seat tightly under the door handle, keeping anyone from entering the room without them knowing of the attempt.
Keenly aware of Duo watching his movements from under the make-shift canopy, Heero quickly returned to his bedside and peeled off the hospital gown cover he wore, leaving him standing for a brief moment in only his boxers before he ducked under the make-shift canopy and slid under Duo's blankets. He pulled the other unresisting boy into his arms and let his hands stroke the bare skin of Duo's back through the large gaps in the back of his hospital gown and the familiar warm tingle radiated through their bodies at the contact as they made the connection they both needed and craved.
/Hold me closer, Heero./ Duo's eyes looked pleadingly to the dark haired teen.
Heero inched closer and untying the two ties in the back, he gently eased the hospital gown from off of Duo's body, leaving him in only his government issued boxers. Cautiously, cognizant of the bandages covering the healing wounds, he pulled Duo close and buried his face into the warm neck of his braided lover.
/Not too tight,/ Duo warned, still a bit stiff in Heero's arms. Though he trusted in the Japanese boy not to hurt him on purpose, Duo was fearful of being accidentally bumped on any one of the many sore places on his body and inadvertently hurt.
Heero once again proved his ability in being careful and tender. The two managed to settle comfortably and enjoyed a few moment of solitude and luxuriate in the warmth of their connection.
After several moments of contented silence, Heero spoke up. /Are you up to talking?/ he asked, pushing some of the long strands of hair away from Duo's face as the other boy's head rested against his shoulder.
The braided head nodded. /Sure. Anything in particular?/
Duo stilled momentarily, the slowly let out a held breath. He turned his head to kiss the skin, so warm and inviting under his cheek. /What about him?/
/I think he loves you,/ Heero replied, and even in his head, Duo could sense the worry behind his lover's words.
/I know he does,/ Duo sighed. /And I love him... as a friend./
Heero's hand, that had been slowly and gently caressing Duo's bare shoulder, paused. /You're sure that's all you feel?/
/Why?/ Duo asked, a frown forming on his face. /Do you have feelings for him other than being a friend?/
Heero snorted derisively. /I only love you, Duo./
/Then what's this about, Heero?/ Duo asked, confused as to why his lover was wanting to talk about this subject.
/The day I kissed him, back in the training school's rec room,/ he paused as if to let the Duo sort the day out in his mind. /Remember I hinted that there might be a possibility in the future, that there might be something more?/
Duo nodded. /I thought you were just being mean,/ he said, remembering the day clearly and the shocked feelings he experienced as he watched Heero kiss his friend, thinking at the time that it was only for the sake of revenge on him for having shared a forbidden kiss with Wufei. He also clearly remembered how Heero looked when he'd learned of it and how his one slight indiscretion had sent waves of hurt from Heero back to him and he vowed to himself to never bring that kind of pain to his lifemate again.
/I knew he was important to you and his reasons for his attraction to you were understandable. Wufei was right, it was my fault that he fell for you. My harsh and cold treatment of you at times did push you two together and he became your comforter. When he charged me with being responsible for his feelings for you, my only thought was that if you had fallen in love with him, that sometime in the future I would have to give in and let you have him as a lover./
If Duo could have gotten up without taking five minutes to do so and suffering a lot of pain performing the simple task, he would have, just to be able to look down at his lover in shock. Instead, he chose the less painful action and wrapped his arm, resting on Heero's chest, as tight as he could around his lover's torso. /I told you, I only love you,/ he replied forcefully.
/You're absolutely sure you don't love him? Even if it's different from how you love me?/
The braided teen signed audibly, whether from long suffering or weariness, Heero couldn't tell. Then Duo's voice came into his mind again. /I told you, Heero. I love Wufei as my friend, as someone who has helped us out and accepted me, accepted us as we are, but I'm not in love with him. I am, however, stupidly, unexplainably, undeniably, unequivocally, and hopelessly in love with you, you jerk. I'm afraid you're stuck with me Heero, for the rest of your life./
Heero smiled and kissed the top of his lover's head. /Unequivocally?/ he chuckled. /Where'd you come up with that word?/
/There's something we can also thank Wufei for,/ Duo replied, his good mood tingling in Heero's head. /He was a good tutor./
/Yes, he was,/ Heero said, his relief filtering back to Duo. /I admire and have come to be fond of Wufei... as a friend, but I know that I can't share you with anyone. I just couldn't... bear it. So I guess you're stuck with me, too./
/You'll never have to worry about me turning to someone else, Heero. There's no one else in the world for me but you,/ Duo said, his inner voice warm and reassuring. The rippling of a chuckle sounded in Heero's ears. /Now to top off all that mushy talk, I think you'd better kiss me or I'm going to have to retaliate by pulling the hair out from under your arms./
Snorting with amusement, Heero shifted and complied with his lover's order, carefully moving to take the offered lips and worshiping them with decided reverence with his own mouth. The kiss lasted for only a few moments before Duo pulled back, short of breath. It was obvious that it was going to be quite a while before he would be able to do anything more intimate or strenuous. Heero directed the braided head back down, comfortably nestled against his bare shoulder and breathed in his lover's intoxicating scent.
The two lay quietly in the silent room, bonding and enjoying the semi-private moment nestled together under the hand-fashioned canopy. As his hand absentmindedly caressed Duo's bare back and shoulder, Heero's thoughts turned to their three friends now far beyond their reach. Quatre, he knew, had been shipped out from the base hospital at the same time they were, though they hadn't seen him during their flight. Heero had been told, after they had been settled into this monitored room, that their wounded comrade had been sent to a separate facility to recuperate from his wounds. He was told the blond teen would be kept from going back into the war until he was healed from his injuries. Knowing that would take a while, Heero let his worries for their friend decline and his thoughts turned to the other two. He remembered that as he and Duo were hastily evacuated from the base's hospital, Trowa and Wufei were about to be led to their own A.M.S. and prepared by their new captain for the approaching battle. It was to be their first attempt at fighting for the Federation in actual combat in order to protect the base from the approaching Allied forces.
As his eyebrows drew together with worry, he instinctively drew Duo closer to his chest, relishing the warmth and comfort the other boy unknowingly gave him as he silently hoped their friends, located on the front line of the ongoing battle, were still well and alive.
His mind drifted once again and this time he reflected on his short-lived experience of flying the powerful tools of war, remembering it was both exhilarating and terrifying in the cockpits of the A.M.S. The flying, fighting and wielding of the beam saber had been incredible, there had been so much power vibrating under his fingertips. It had filled him with a heady sensation caused by the adrenaline rush and danger. But seeing his fellow A.M.S. pilots go down, their suits falling to the ground below with trails of smoke, fire and explosions, still gave him nightmares. He acutely recalled, with an involuntary shudder rippling through his body, the feeling of being heavily outnumbered and having to fight with all of his abilities being put to the test, driven by adrenaline and battle successes to act more recklessly than protocol called for, taking lives as he struck down enemy suits and knowing his own life continued on mainly because of pure and stupid luck and his newly tried abilities. The two battles he fought in had been the most terrifying and memorable experiences of his life.
He took in a deep breath and let it out in a long, frustrated sigh. If they would only let him have access to a computer, he could find out the status of their friends in order to relieve his and Duo's worry for them, but they'd been banned from in or outbound communication.
Heero's thoughts of his recent battles began to foster a growing resentment within him. He felt their treatment by the government as well as their demotion was unfair and it angered him to think that the war was going on without him. He should be there, he and Duo. After all, war was what they had been designed for, to fight and conquer. Disgustedly, he reflected on their situation, stuck in a hospital, demoted from flying the A.M.S. and cut off from the outside world. His anger seemed to be stoked to a growing flame, burning within him with each passing day that he spent in this limbo. No sooner had they arrived at the hospital, they were shuffled off to this isolated room, put to bed, and told they were quarantined for their own protection. Their dog tags with their special code numbers imprinted on them, as well as their military I.D. numbers, were taken away and had not been returned.
Heero felt almost naked and vulnerable without the familiar tags around his neck. He tried to dispel those negative feelings by keeping busy during those first few days by taking meticulous care of Duo, even though the injured and recovering boy remained in an exhausted slumber. But when Duo had finally awoke and found out they were being kept under surveillance, he'd refused to give the unwanted onlookers any satisfaction or his cooperation by showing them that he was fully awake and, as a result, he played dead while Heero had gotten frustratingly bored very quickly.
He could sense the worry in Duo's calling of his name, but waited for his companion to go on.
/You don't think they'll do anything weird to us, do you? Experimental things like dissecting or a lobotomy. What will we do if they decide to take us apart to find out how we tick?/
/You're letting your imagination get away from you again,/ Heero gently chided the boy in his arms. /While you were out, Dr. Po came in and asked me a lot of questions pertaining to our health. She's obviously lost and in the dark when it comes to the both of us. I referred her General Noventa and Commander Reid for her answers. They'll bring her up to speed./
/I'm not strong enough to fight them, Heero./ Duo was back to speaking his real fears out loud.
The Japanese boy kissed the top of Duo's head. /I'm strong enough now to fight for the both of us. I won't let them hurt us. Trust me, alright?/ The head on his shoulder nodded, but Heero could still sense worry radiating off the other boy. His words were meant to comfort, but Heero knew that if the government wanted to be unscrupulous in their treatment of them, they were pretty much at their mercy as long as Duo was recovering from his surgery. He was weak, prone to fevers and chills, and in a great deal of pain requiring medication in order to rest properly. It seemed the both of them had to dig deep for some faith and trust in the government that had spent several hundred thousands of dollars training them, even after knowing the secret of their birth.
While he was thinking, he hadn't noticed until too late that Duo had slowly inched his upper leg up and over his thighs, settling it over his groin and between his legs. The slow up and down movement that Duo purposely initiated was having its desired affect. "Duo, what do you think you're doing?" Heero asked in a strained whisper as his body began to respond, his need for his mate being slowly stroked into reluctant wakefulness.
Not for the first time, Heero wondered how Duo managed to sound so innocent when he was anything but that? "You know we can't," Heero reminded him. /You're in no condition to play, and won't be so for a long time. So why are you teasing me?/
/I might not be up to it,/ Duo replied, raising his head in order to look into Heero's eyes, beginning to flare with ignited passion. /But that doesn't mean you have to be deprived./
/It's not right,/ Heero insisted. /If you can't have pleasure, then I shouldn't either./
"Please Heero," Duo's voice was low and husky, showing Heero that he was not unaffected by pressing his own growing hardness against his lover's thigh. /I want to please you./ A slender hand deftly slipped under the waistband of Heero's boxers and gently latched onto his hardening member. One touch and Heero became fully aroused and his hips involuntarily bucked upwards. Against his better judgement and all common sense, Heero let Duo have his way, the able hand urging him towards a completion he had only known with the boy who, with a mere touch, a smile, a frown or even a single word, would always have undeniable control over his mind and body's reactions to him.
Heero fought to remain silent, not to utter a moan or let his rapid breathing be heard over the monitoring devices set up in the room. He didn't know which was the worse torture, having to remain silent, or Duo's hand changing the pace in order to hold off his completion. He turned his head and guided Duo's face to his lips, then he let his tongue plunder the other boy's mouth, pushing it in and out as he mimicked the act of making love, something that his needy member craved to enact on Duo's body but would, by necessity, wait until his lover was healed and well enough to engage in their favorite pastime.
Despite his pained and weakened state, Heero could feel Duo was as affected by what they were doing as much as he was, evidenced by the solid bulge that was pressed tightly against his hip. He wasn't sure, however, what he could do to help his lover under the circumstances. The last thing he wanted was to bring the other boy any more pain.
Duo's hand began to speed up as Heero's kisses became more desperate and insistent. As a thin layer of sweat began to coat his body, and the heat in his belly began to spread through him, Heero felt himself finally being taken over the edge and he dropped the final shields in his mind completely, sharing his completion with his lover while gasping loudly as his orgasm came, his body arching upward into the hand that pleasured him while his tongue froze, stiff and deep inside Duo's mouth even as his seed spilled over the talented hand and his own stomach. His world spun with the powerful sensation his completion brought him, and he was dimly aware of a rippling reflection coming from off of Duo's mind and body, followed by a similar feeling of climax and a shared, deep sense of being sated. As he came back to some coherency, he continued kissing the mouth he could never get enough of, yet more gently than he had in the throws of passion. Slowly pulling back, he allowed Duo to take in the air he was now gasping for.
The braided boy breathed heavily as he lay still against Heero's body as he recovered. His hand, resting on his lover's chest, felt the rapid heartbeat under his hand, a rhythm that matched his own. Though Heero hadn't intimately touched him, his own release came as a result of Heero's climax. Those heady feelings had flowed from Heero's thoughts and his body's reaction when he let his barriers down completely and they had surged through his own mind and rippled down through his body. He had been too afraid to move much as his hand pleasured Heero, fearful of aggravating his wounds and causing more pain. But when his surprising release had come, it had been gentle, only momentarily overwhelming him and not the usual gasping, mind blowing climax he had when Heero brought him over the edge.
/You too?/ Heero asked, surprise filtering through. "Are you alright?" His hand cupped the heart-shaped face, searching Duo's eyes to make certain he'd done no harm to the other boy.
Duo nodded and felt his lover's hand slowly leave his face as Heero leaned back slightly. The braided boy was aware of Heero's deep blue eyes watching him as he reach down and wipe some of the messy white substance from off the caramel colored skin of the flat, exposed stomach. Duo chuckled. /You're an absolute mess, Heero. I can't take you anywhere, can I?/
/No, but I can obviously TAKE you anywhere,/ came the double innuendo reply.
Duo would have laughed out loud, but a sudden knock at the door startled the both of them into silence and action. Heero instantly shot out of bed and dove for the box of tissues. He then hastily pulled up his boxers and put on his discarded robe that was lying on the floor.
Throwing the tissues at Duo, who was righting his hospital gown, Heero quickly covered the other boy up with his blanket then went to the door and remove the chair that was blocking the entrance.
Dr. Po stepped cautiously into the room and gave it an observant glance. Her eyes went from the odd fashioned tent to the dark haired boy putting the chair back in its place against the wall. "What's going on here?" she asked.
"Duo and I needed some time to bond and we don't like an audience," Heero said, nodding to the camera above the woman.
The doctor looked appropriately contrite. "I'm sorry. I know it seems intrusive, but surveillance of patients is mandatory for this room and it just happens to be the most secure room in the hospital." She moved forward and past Heero to Duo's bedside. "And how is Mr. Maxwell today?" she asked peering under the cotton sheets to glimpse the boy laying on his back with his eyes closed.
"Come now, Mr. Maxwell. I know you're not sleeping."
"He doesn't like the cameras either," Heero explained.
"What can I do to get you to cooperate?" She asked the unresponsive boy in bed. "I really would like to examine you with your input," she continued. "Is there anything I can get you to make you feel more comfortable here?"
"I'm hungry," Duo said softly, eyes still closed. "Get me some food and I'll play along."
A sigh came from the woman. "I'm afraid I can't do that, Duo. Do you mind if I call you by your first name?" When no response came, she continued, mindful that Heero was moving to the other side of the bed. He ducked under the make-shift tent and climbed under the covers with the other boy. "Your intestinal system is basically playing dead. It was injured when the bullet traveled from the point of entry at your ribs and exited from your thigh. The damage the bullet caused was repaired during your surgery but has yet failed to start functioning properly, that's why you're on intravenous fluids. This is very common in wounds such as yours. As soon as you have a bowel movement, we can begin to give you some soft food."
"I'm starving," Duo moaned, and opened his eyes, his thin face expressing his misery. "I haven't been this hungry since I lived on the streets," he complained. "I'm going to waste away to nothing, Heero." His eyes looked pleadingly to his partner.
"You really can't give him anything?" Heero asked, a look of deep concern on his face for his companion's very real discomfort.
"If he eats before then, it could cause some major problems. I could maybe have some broth brought up from the kitchens, but that's all."
Duo sighed, thinking it was better than nothing.
"I'm going to examine your stitches and the area of incision, Duo," Sally said before she began to pull back the covers.
"Wait!" Duo and Heero both called out in alarm at the same time and blushed as the woman's eyes rested at the wadded up tissue clutched in Duo's hand and the wet spot on his boxers. She sniffed the air, taking in the musky scent and frowned.
"You two should not be engaging in any kind of sexual activity," she scolded them, lifting up the hospital gown and began to remove the loose bandage running from Duo's side down his left side. She studied the clean, healing wound, and put the bandage back in place. "Your wounds could easily have been aggravated." She finished her delayed thought with a disapproving frown.
"I would never do anything to harm Duo," Heero replied adamantly. "And we need to bond." Heero's face flushed with suppressed self-righteous anger while Duo's cheeks blushed crimson with embarrassment.
"Does bonding always mean sexual interaction?" she asked with a skeptical expression on her face.
"Not always," Heero replied. "But it has proven to be more effective and quicker than mere touching."
A blond eyebrow rose in question. "Really?"
Both boys nodded.
The doctor gave them a small smile. "Interesting."
Now that Duo was truly looking at her, the doctor continued with her exam and with its completion, announced that he was healing nicely. Then surprising both boys, she sat down in the chair Heero had recently put back in place and looked at both boys thoughtfully. "I've been informed that as soon as Duo is well enough to be released, the two of you will be transferred to a new, more secure location."
Duo turned his face from the doctor and looked to Heero, his anchor. "Where?" Heero asked, his eyes never leaving the doctor's unreadable expression.
"I wasn't told the specifics, but General Noventa assured me that you two will be put in an area of high security with jobs to occupy you until the government can figure out what to do with you."
"They could let us go," Duo said testily, turning his head to look back at the doctor.
"You're considered too much of a security risk at the moment," she told them.
Duo's hand sought out Heero's under the blankets, and finding it, squeezed it tightly. /They're going to make us disappear, Heero. They'll either kill us or take us apart a piece at a time./
"Do we have any assurances that we will not be harmed, that no experimentation will be performed on us and against our will?" Heero continued, his frown fierce as he glared at the woman.
Dr. Po looked surprised for a moment. "I have been told by the general himself that you are to have only the best of care. I have not been led to believe that any of your fears are justified. I would be shocked to find such treatment possible within our government." Heero could see from her expression and the sound of indignation in her voice that she was truly put off by his suggestion that the government would harm them.
"This is the same government that took us as fetuses and manipulated our minds and bodies to be what we are today," he reminded her. "It is only by a lack of foresight that our inseparability has made us unfit for military duty, otherwise the government could do almost anything they want with us within the system of the military. Only the tags and special orders that we wore protected us, and they took those away when we arrived here, leaving us with only someone's word that we won't be harmed."
The woman indulged him with a smug smile. "Ah, yes. But isn't it that same General Noventa that issued you that special order that allowed you some autonomy within the system, some control over your destiny?"
Duo's eyes shifted again to Heero who looked back at him. /She's right,/ Duo said. /Maybe we can continue to trust this general, that he won't harm us. Do you think we can trust him to do as he says?/
"I don't see where we have much choice," Heero replied out loud, then looked back at the doctor. "How long until this move happens?"
"Two weeks," she answered. "I wouldn't feel comfortable releasing Mr. Maxwell until that time." She rose from her chair with Duo's chart in her hand and continued. "Besides, the good general has said he wishes to pay you both a visit before you leave here. I'm sure you can ask him all the questions you have then."
"You should have said that in the first place," Heero said, looking unhappy.
"Slipped my mind," the doctor gave the boy a sly smile. She moved to the door. "By the way, it's against fire regulations to block a door with a chair, don't do it again."
"And the sheets?" Heero asked, no longer seeing the woman as she moved into an area where the sheet effectively hid them.
"I'll leave you to deal with housekeeping?" She chuckled, and left the room.
Two weeks later, Duo, looking thinner and decidedly pale, was pushed out of the military medical hospital in a wheelchair to a black car waiting at the front curbside with a uniformed Federation soldier acting as chauffeur. The two teens, dressed in civilian clothing purchased by General Noventa's aide, got into the back seat, having no other personal belongings than the toiletries given to them by the hospital along with Duo's pain and antibiotic medication.
Having been kept in isolation, they didn't know where they were, but it was quickly evident from the back seat of the car and the signs that graced the roadways that they were in the state of New York, far away from the fighting and the training school. The journey in the car took several hours and with no radio to keep them company and the soldier driving the car seemed disinclined to conversation. Both boys dozed off and on to pass the time, with Heero holding Duo close to his side, ready to protect him if needed.
Once within the capital city, the car came to a final stop in front of a large, stone building. The white/gray large stone blocks that comprised the building's outer walls had carved into the arch above the edifice's pillared entry Historical Archives. They exited the vehicle when the door was opened for them and were met at the bottom of the granite steps by a strange looking little man wearing a military uniform, his hat held under his arm.
"I'm General G," he said in way of an introduction. "It's nice to finally meet you boys," he said, surprisingly charming.
/Get a look at his hair./ Duo said, and Heero shared the ripple of amusement that came from his companion at the mushroom style hair cut that accentuated the man's large, pointed nose.
"You're last name is G?" Duo asked, fighting a smile.
"That's all you need to know," the man replied. "There is a panel of men that have been selected to make decisions regarding your security and your future. Any requests you have will come to us and will be decided by the group as to whether or not they will be granted. I want you to know that we have only your best interest and the security of our country in mind," he assured them with a thin-lipped smile.
Heero looked up at the large and very old granite building. "What are we to do here?" he asked the man in front of them.
"You will work and live within these walls. The building is closed every Sunday and Monday, and during that time you will be allowed out into the back gardens. Otherwise, I'm afraid you'll be secured inside, safe from any prying eyes or snooping reporters."
"Is this really necessary?" Heero asked, a dubious eyebrow raised.
"We can be unobtrusive, almost invisible," Duo added, looking anxious. "You really don't need to lock us up."
The man looked suitably apologetic as he answered them. "I'm afraid that your very existence is a threat to the Federation at the moment. Public opinion and confidence in the government is at an all time low, the war continues and young men and women are dying. In order to keep a stable economy and the government functioning, we need to hide you and the information of your conception from the public. That knowledge would put us at the Allied Forces' mercy. We can't afford any type of scandal at the moment. I'm sorry."
Both boys knew the man was right. It was the same argument and rationalization they had been given by almost every person in the government that had visited them over the last few weeks.
"This won't be our home forever, will it?" Duo asked despondently, staring up again at the cold yet stately facade of the large, uninviting building.
"Not if I can help it," General G stated, then turned and led the two teenagers up the stairs. Heero put his arm around Duo's waist, offering the recovering teen his support at they faced the stairs together. The recovering boy was still weak and the many stairs they needed to climb were bound to cause him pain as the doctor strictly told them that Duo was not to climb stairs or ladders or life anything over three pounds for a month. But under the circumstances, neither knew what to do. Their new home happened to be through the doors at the top of thirty some odd stairs. Together the slowly made their way up, counting the stairs to be thirty five stone hewn steps. Duo was deeply winded by the time they reached the top, his eyes pinched with the pain caused to his aching wounds. The general and Heero waited for the braided teen to catch his breath and gather his wits about him before the boy looked up and studied the solid wood, double-door entrance to the building. With no little trepidation, the two teenagers exchanged a wary glance at each other, then clasped hands and bravely stepped through the front doors just behind the general, both teens knowing that it would be quite a while before they walked down those steps as free men.
Epilogue to follow
On to Epilogue
On to Chapter twenty-one
Back to Chapter nineteen