Higher Ups

Chapter 6:Out in the Open


by Kracken


Disclaimer: I don't own them and I don't make any money off of them.
Warnings: Male/Male sex, graphic, language, violence, abuse,talk of non consensual sex.

"I'm sorry," Duo said, hands jammed in his pocket and his head tucked down as he looked at everything except for Heero.

Neutral ground, crowds, a public place. It had all seemed logical when the psychologist had suggested it. The man had been against the meeting, all together, and against Duo blaming himself for what had happened. There was nothing to apologize for, Duo had been assured. There had been no excuse for what Heero had done, no matter what the circumstances. Duo hadn't been able to accept that, though, especially after the long talks that had revealed his loneliness, a loneliness that had led to desperation, and his attempt to have Heero any way that he could. Deep down, Duo knew that he would never be able to move on without confronting Heero, his mistake, and his fear head on. The Preventer commissary had seemed like safe enough ground.

Heero had a tight, closed off expression. There had been anger after Duo's revelation that he had purposely gotten the man drunk and used him in the worst way.

"Tell me what I did," Heero asked in a small voice that barely carried across the small table in the general noise of the large, crowded room.

"What do you remember?" Duo countered, but that was a try at a cope out, he realized a second later. Heero's hot look confirmed that he wasn't going to get away with covering up the worst of it.

Duo swallowed and sunk further in his chair. He gave the room a quick glance, but everyone was ignoring them."We went into a room. We took off our clothes and did a lot of fooling around. I... I got cold feet. You didn't seem... all there."

"Was it your conscience?" Heero wondered bitterly.

"I think so," Duo replied.

The next part was hard. Duo's hands fisted in his pockets and he took a steadying breath.

"You didn't let me go," Duo went on. "You called me a...a tease. You were mad."

Heero frowned. "I hit you," he remembered. "Why didn't you... go then?"

Duo grimaced, "Because you were right.... I thought. I did get you all hot and ready. I guess it made me want to go through with it."

Heero looked as if memory was elusive, then, his eyes turned inward as he tried to remember that night.

Duo didn't want to go on, but he knew that he had to. "Once we started... you know... you didn't want me backing out again, I guess. You were really getting in to it. You made me... do things... you know?" He rubbed hands over his face, scrubbed hard, and then finished, eyes on the table, "After, you pinned me down and just... did me. It hurt. I kept yelling... but,I guess, you just thought I was into it too."

"I raped you," Heero said bluntly.

Duo flushed, panic making his heart hurt in his chest. "No!" he exclaimed, eyes coming up in desperation and seeing Heero's stricken face. "It was my fault! I did that to you! You wouldn't have, not in your right mind!"

"I raped you," Heero insisted and then he was standing up, chair skittering back on the slick floor, as he turned and left, anguish clear on his face.

The words had frozen Duo in his seat. He knew that he should go after Heero, that he should insist that it hadn't been rape, but the word had been said and it bloomed in his psyche like poison. Duo Maxwell had been raped. At last, Duo understood why the psychologist had been so adamant that he not talk to Heero. Duo had still been in denial, still hiding from the truth.

"God!" Duo moaned and was suddenly out of his chair as well and striding away.

It seemed a blur, time distorted and nonexistent, before he came to himself again and found himself in his apartment, sitting in his chair, staring at his fish, and finishing one of many beers. His Preventer tie and his shoes were scattered on the floor, his shirt was open, buttons ripped, and the sack, that had carried the three cases of beer, was strewn all around him along with the empty beer cans.

The knock on the door surprised him. Hilde, his mind supplied, and he decided to ignore her. He wanted to not think, to leave his self knowledge behind in a monumental drunk. The knocking continued, though, firm and hard and not at all like Hilde's little hand could produce.

Let it not be Heero, Duo prayed to himself as he levered himself out of his chair and flicked on the security camera. He was shocked to see Milliardo Peacecraft standing outside his door, in casual clothes, and looking nervous.

Duo wasn't sure why he staggered to the door to let him in. While he seemed to want oblivion and to be left alone, some part of him wanted that man outside his door to... what, Duo wasn't sure. How could his commanding officer make any of this disaster better? How could it be anything but humiliating to let the man see him as he was just then, drunk and on the edge of...

Duo shied away from that last though as he opened the door. He didn't understand it, but he did want Milliardo's presence. Seeing him there, looking concerned, felt almost like seeing a lifeline, one that that Duo had been needing to pull himself to safety.

"Duo," Milliardo said. "Forgive the presumption, but I was concerned when it was reported to me that you had suddenly left for the day-"

Duo grabbed the man's sleeve and pulled him in, noting, even in his drunken state, that the simple shirt was finer than anything he owned, and that Milliardo couldn't even dress casually without showing his position. What did a man like that want with someone like him, he blearily wondered as he closed the door and made a broad motion at his apartment.

"Make yourself at home," Duo told the man and then decided that sitting was preferable to falling down. He half fell back into his chair and watched Milliardo carry a rusted metal stool closer to him before sitting himself.

"You spoke with Heero," Milliardo said. "That wasn't wise."

"Why not?" Duo wondered. "We both got a real good look at what kind of people we are... and we both didn't like what we saw. Did you visit him too?"

"People saw you in the commissary," Milliardo replied carefully. "I haven't seen Heero. He left work as well."

"So, I get first visit from Commander Marquise, then," Duo snickered. "What's my punishment? Writing, 'I will not leave work without permission' twenty thousand times?"

"I would like you to return with me," Milliardo asked him, "and speak with the psychologist."

"So he can tell me that I made a breakthrough?" Duo wondered as he fished for the last beer and popped it open. "Will he give me a lollipop, do you think? Good boy, Maxwell, you finally get that you were raped, and that you deserved every bit of it, and that you hurt a guy who was your damned friend."

"You didn't deserve that," Milliardo retorted strongly and Duo blinked at him.

"Why the hell not?" Duo wanted to know. He took a swig of his beer and then motioned with it at Milliardo. "Do you think getting a guy drunk to take advantage of him is going to get me angel wings? I think the devil got his due a little early is all."

"You're wrong," Milliardo insisted. "You made a mistake, but you didn't deserve what happened."

"What happened?" Duo snapped back. "We just had gay sex, didn't we? It hurts like hell anyway, so what's so bad about Heero holding me down while he did it? Why's that make it any worse?I have to get used to it, anway.I was just a pussy the first time and Heero just made sure that I stayed and took it like a man."

The tears were hot and unexpected. Duo threw the beer away from him and it went sailing in a spray of liquid to hit the further wall. The splat! was loud as he buried his face in his hands and couldn't control the racking sobs.

Milliardo's strong arms around him were a surprise. Duo felt himself gathered into that embrace. "Idiot," Milliardo said in a voice that didn't sound steady. "I should put you in a sex education class. That's not the way it's supposed to be.It's not supposed to hurt, Duo."

Duo couldn't stop the sobs and he forced between gasps, "It's not?"

"No, it's not," Milliardo affirmed strongly.

The man's hair was loose, it covered Duo in long white strands, a shield against his embarrassment and utter relief.

"It's not," Duo echoed and felt a tension in himself loosen, at the same time that his sickness grew.

"No," Milliardo felt the need to say, to reassure the man in his arms.

"I didn't have... I didn't have anyone to talk to," Duo managed. The psychologist had discovered that loneliness, that isolation, and had just begun to uncover the reasons for it. It wasn't something that Duo could explain and he was glad when Milliardo didn't question that statement.

"I want to change that," Milliardo said as he backed off a little, one hand rubbing between Duo's shoulders in comfort. "If you'll allow me to?"

"I think..." Duo sucked in breath, mind trying to be coherent. "I can't think anything, actually... but, yeah."

He should have been defensive, embarrassed, and wanting nothing more than to get Milliardo out of his apartment. His pride was shredded. He was crying, for God's sake, in front of his commanding officer.There was something about Milliardo, though, that made it all right. The man clearly wasn't judging him. The man exuded concern and strength and Duo found that he truly needed both just then.

"Let's go," Milliardo said as he put a hand under Duo's elbow. "I'll take you to the psychologist."

"I'm drunk," Duo complained. "Can't we do that later?"

Milliardo took in all the empty beer cans for the first time and then suddenly became alarmed when Duo went to his knees despite his support. "Duo? How many beers did you drink?"

"Before or after I left the bar?" Duo wondered with a slur and then passed out cold at Milliardo's feet.


"Don't fight it," Milliardo's voice said. "Be calm."

Duo felt the breathing tube and opened blurry eyes to find himself in a hospital room.

"Alcohol poisoning," Milliardo supplied as Duo tried to focus. "You made it to the emergency room just in time."

"Yeah, right before you were permenantally pickled, asshole!" Hilde snarled and a punch landed on Duo's shoulder. "What were you thinking?!"

Duo frowned as Hilde leaned into his line of sight. She looked as if she hadn't slept, her dark hair spikey, and her eyes shadowed.

He hadn't wanted to think, Duo remembered. He had wanted it to all go away. It seems that he had almost succeeded. It made the pit of his stomach go cold. When a hand closed around his, and squeezed tightly, he turned his head to look at Milliardo. The man's blue eyes were full of concern.

"I don't think beating Duo will help him recover," Milliardo was saying to Hilde, "though I am tempted to try the method myself."

Duo tried to protest, but the breathing tube felt as if it were trying to strangle him and he subsided. He squeezed Milliardo's hand, trying to say how much he appreciated the man saving him and being at his side. Hilde deserved as much, he supposed, but he couldn't tear his eyes away from the big man beside him to do that. It was just too amazing that Milliardo Peacecraft was by his bedside, as if he cared, as if there was something between them. When Duo recalled a long span of time, being forced to stay awake, to respond to numerous entreaties, the voice he remembered was Milliardo's.

"The breathing tube will come out soon," Milliardo promised him. "The alcohol hampered your ability to breathe. A few days of observation and treatment, and then you will be released."

"And then you're going right to the damned psyche ward!"Hilde broke in, hitting Duo on the shoulder again and looking fierce.

He really did need a psyche ward, Duo thought as depression gripped him. He should never have let it get that bad. He wasn't a quitter. He never let anything defeat him.He wasn't about to let his own mind bury him.

Duo suddenly remembered Hero and the man's anguished expression. If he had been ready to drink himself to death, what would happen to a man on anti depressants already?

Duo pulled Milliardo closer by his hand and tried to mouth around the breathing tube, "H-Heero? W-Where?"

"I did find his whereabouts," Milliardo assured him. "Luckily, he had left work only to visit his therapist. I'm afraid that you upset him a great deal.He took a leave of absence from Preventers."

Duo's reaction to that was mixed and he couldn't sort out which feeling was wrong, or if any of them were wrong. Guilt shouldn't be mixed with relief in equal proportions.The thought of wanting a man dead, shouldn't go hand in hand with the concern for a friend. He was seriously in need of that psyche ward if he couldn't think any clearer than that.

"Why didn't you say something to me, Duo?" Hilde wanted to know. "I'm your friend, dammit!"

Duo felt the blush. Just the idea of talking to Hilde about gay sex was enough to make him want to pull the sheets over his head. To him, she was still the skinny kid he'd met during the war, the one he had tried to protect from the worst of it.

"I think that Duo's problems need more than a friendly ear," Milliardo replied for him, "and I think it's time to forget his mistakes and to help him with his recovery."

"I'm here for you, Duo," Hilde told Duo intensely. "Don't forget it ever again, asshole, okay?"

Duo nodded and managed a weak smile.

"I think visiting hours are over," Milliardo pointed out. "And you do have work to return to, I believe?" Milliardo arched a perfect white brow at Hilde.

She scowled at him and Duo realized that she was feeling defensive for his sake, not sure about the man's intentions towards her friend. She wasn't about to be intimidated into leaving first. "Since you're going back to Preventers as well, could you please give me a lift?"

She looked proud of her ploy, but Duo was irritated, actually wanting the time alone with Milliardo, the time to figure out exactly what intentions the man did have towards him.

Milliardo was frowning and it was clear that he had wanted that time alone as well. He gave in gracefully, though. "Very well."

Milliardo turned to Duo and, before he released Duo's hand he leaned in and said, "It's more than friendship that I want, but I am willing to be your friend until you are ready for more."

If he was ever ready for more, Duo thought bitterly, but kept his feelings off of his face as he nodded his thanks and understanding. Milliardo looked ready to kiss him and Duo squirmed, wanting it and too nervous to want it at the same time. The man refrained, though, as he moved towards the door with Hilde.

"Later, Duo," Hilde called back. "I'll be here again as soon as the hospital lets me."

"I will as well," Milliardo added and Hilde shot him a hard look.

Duo waved goodbye to them both. The silence in the room, afterward, wasn't complete. A hospital was never truly quiet. Still, it was quiet enough to allow him to think, to wonder what the hell he had tried to do, and to wonder what he intended to do now.






On to chapter seven

Back to chapter Five


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