The Arrangement

by Maldoror


Part Twenty-Eight: Masks, Part II

"I hate this part. I wish we had some shit," Vielle groaned, for the fifth time.

Nash said nothing; Vielle was a power in the Syndicate. The greasy man wasn't very subtle, or all that smart, but he was sadistic enough for even Nash to respect him a little bit, and he was well placed in the organization's hierarchy. So Nash carefully kept the answer to that - 'if the boss caught us doing shit in here while we're supposed to be watching these guys, he'd rip off our balls and feed them to the guard dogs' - to himself.

Vielle glanced at his watch again. "When did their plane touch down?"

"Six hours ago," Nash answered, managing not to point out that Vielle had only been here the last two. Nash had been the one on watch for the whole six hours since the vermin's plane had touched down at Brussels' shuttle port. He hadn't been given a choice; there'd been nobody around who had the security clearance to relieve him in front of the monitors. The Syndicate were - quite astutely so - paranoid about all their sources of information. Only four people were allowed in the computer room. Nash, since it was his programs and cameras that were doing the job, Vielle, Panagiotis, the Greek computer expert, and Corazon, the other Syndicate lieutenant in this area. And the big cheeses, of course, but Nash had yet to meet any of those; they wouldn't even arrive in Brussels until the plan swung into action.

"Where are they? I hate this part, waiting." Vielle blew out his heavy cheeks and shifted in the flimsy plastic chair. His jacket crunched against the back. Vielle was trying to rise higher in the Syndicate, and he was attempting to dress the part. Somebody needed to tell him that a suit wasn't the way to go about it, not if it was dark blue polyester with a white shirt and rumpled green tie, but he was a violent man and so far no-one had had the guts.

"They're good little rodents." Nash answered Vielle's question and ignored the complaint. "They probably went to report to Une and lick her feet a few times. They'll be back soon."

He hoped so, anyway. A surveillance pro like Nash didn't get twitchy after only a few hours of duty - after a few weeks, then, yeah, but a few hours were nothing... if he had another pro with him. Being stuck with Antoine Vielle was a lot more annoying than a mere stake-out warranted.

Nash stretched, letting his lean muscles play against each other, keeping fit and on edge by force of habit. That and his sense of duty had been drilled into him in the army. He stood up to stretch his legs and do make his round to check the rest of the equipment while he was at it.

The room they were confined to was long, six meters by two, the same proportions as a coffin, Nash had thought on several occasions in the past six hours. Metal shelves lined the long walls. They were loaded with small monitors, dozens of them. Nash walked along the shelves, stepping over ropes of cables, observing scenes of one empty room after another. He'd not put all these spies in, some had been done by the previous specialist, before he had met with an unfortunate accident and the Syndicate had needed a new man. Nash had had to go and redo some of those jobs, actually; he was much better than their previous hire. The bosses were quite impressed with his work so far.

The Yuy-Chang stake-out would be his crowning glory... He glanced back at Vielle, who was cleaning his teeth with a fingernail while keeping a distracted eye on the main monitor. Nothing yet. Nash checked the massive servers recording all the information, whirring at the back of the room where all the cables came to nest. Then he went down the other line of monitors. Anyone on duty at the screens had to check them, to make sure the tracking program was properly following their targets around, as much as possible, and that the audios were working. It was the middle of the afternoon, but Nash dutifully passed his eyes over the dozens of monitors busy filming pictures of empty houses. The only camera feeds that would be worth watching at this time of day would be the ones in the Preventer HQ, the ESUN security chambers and Ops, but Nash had not been the one to hack into those, and their results were recorded in a high security location somewhere else in Brussels. He wasn't even supposed to know anything about them, Trowa reminded himself carefully...

Nash made his way back to the viewing area, where Vielle was carefully observing what he'd fished out from his mouth, now stuck in his fingernail. Any camera feed that might be of particular interest was projected onto a big screen on a metal table. Several small monitors crouched around it like chicks pressing around a mother hen. They showed the rooms that Nash had bugged a couple of days ago. The main screen showed the entrance, waiting for the house's owners to come home. A powerful computer controlled the feed they were receiving from the hidden spies, ready to help Nash track or focus on anything of particular interest.

There was the faintest sound from the speakers in the tripleX room - that's how Pan, that Greek letch, had baptized the computer room after he'd taped Agent Mimelz and her girlfriend rolling around in their big bed. Nash quickly pulled up his chair and started clicking keys, making sure everything was still working.

"They here?" Vielle straightened from his slouch a bit. He apparently hadn't heard the sound of car doors slamming, distant and muffled by the speaker's white noise.

Nash continued to click: all audio and cameras were online, and the pickup unit was broadcasting correctly. He also made sure the kill-switch was ready, to turn every single piece of surveillance equipment off, in case one of the agents did a sweep for bugs when they came home. It was why Nash was here, in the tripleX room; the Syndicate needed him to set up the spies and use the software. But they also needed him to keep his eyes open and spot a sweep, and throw that kill-switch when needed. None of the others had the wetworks experience to do this. By the time they realized something was odd, a pro like Yuy could scan for monitoring signals, track them to their source, walk up to them and stick his gun in their ear while they were still scratching their asses and wondering what was going on. This expertise was going to keep Nash in the tripleX room and on duty nearly constantly until they felt sure the targets weren't going to get suspicious. Nash tried to see it less as a boring imposition and more as a challenge; these two men were his most dangerous prey to date. He had to stay sharp. Trowa, who had put a lot of work into Nash's expertise, and into getting him deep into the Syndicate's confidence, stayed sharp as a matter of course.

"Well? Are they- oh." The front door opened, and Vielle leaned back, small eyes hard as he watched the two men come in.

Because there were so many little cameras, the computer had a good range with which to generate the picture. It could rotate the view a few degrees, and follow the targets' movements within a certain area. The image on the big main screen was divided in two, each view identical for now. Nash had his hands on keyboard and mouse, ready to tell the computer to do split tracking if the two men separated.

The two rats - Pre-vermin-ters as the Syndicate joke had it - came in, put down duffle bags, and took off their shoes by the door. The Asian one, Chang, slipped a rifle case from his shoulder and gestured at Yuy.

" ...Is the sound working?" Vielle whispered, as if they might actually be heard.

Nash shrugged a bit defensively, indicating the sound should be fine. Trowa, of course, wasn't surprised at the silence, but he couldn't let his familiarity with these two men show in Nash. He watched Heero pass his armament to Wufei, who went to lock it up in a secured cabinet.

"Fuck. Check out those two pricks. Not a scratch on them, look like they've been at the beach," Vielle growled. He'd told Nash the toll for Mexico; the two agents had single-handedly destroyed an entire missile construction complex. Over ten men dead, by most estimates. Everybody else captured.

Nash grunted and glared in open hostility at the agents. Trowa watched; he noted the poses. The tension in shoulders and backs, the movements too crisp, too controlled. They were still in battle mode. Had probably been for the last four days. Trowa felt a sympathetic ache; he knew how tough that could be. After the first twenty four hours, the adrenaline just ate away at your nerves like acid but you couldn't let it go.

Yuy rifled through the mail they must have picked up on their way home, wandering towards the kitchen counter - Nash quickly clicked a few keys and the view on the screen split, following each agent. Trowa watched avidly from behind Nash's cold, hard eyes, almost wistful. He hadn't seen his friends since the war; they'd all been too busy to get together. Not even in Berlin... they'd both grown... Heero had put on some muscle. Apart from the tension from their latest mission, they both looked good...

Moving around, taking off coats, flipping through a few bills -

Nash settled down, already a bit bored but ready for any important information they might let fall. But behind the mask, Trowa started to watch a bit more closely. There was something... off... Heero was... he was going through the mail but he wasn't putting all his formidable concentration into it. And he never did anything by half. The intensity with which the man made coffee could give Trowa a headache. But Heero was... why was he looking at Wufei like that, out of the corner of his eye... it was... it wasn't very visible, Vielle hadn't noticed, but Trowa had. He was beginning to wonder what-

Yuy tossed the mail on the kitchen counter. Chang had picked up his duffel and turned towards the stairs, but had glanced over at the sound of envelopes hitting the metal countertop.

...Wufei wasn't moving. He was just... standing there, with that odd weighing expression on his face. Trowa's eyes went from one man to the other, carefully. He was an observer. It was his nature, to watch at a distance. He didn't try to analyze or dissect what he observed in an active way. He just watched and matched up what he saw with past instances of the same behavior, letting instinct and intuition take the place of reasoning... and in this instance he was having trouble making sense of what he saw even on that nearly sub-conscious level. What was up with those two...?

Nash was only beginning to react to the tension coming through the cameras. The split view started to mirror themselves again as Yuy walked towards his partner with slow, deliberate - almost predatory - steps, eyes fixed on his face. A hand reached for the duffle bag's strap and slipped it off Chang's shoulder in one spare movement. Chang didn't twitch; he was a coil of dangerous stillness. His hand twisted ever so slightly, catching the strap of the bag as it fell by his wrist, to let it slip more slowly to the ground without ever breaking eye contact, in a move that was so minimalist it was almost a threat, like two great cats watching each other, waiting to see what move the other would pull.

Even Vielle had noticed; he made a quizzical noise that caused his robust jowls to quiver a bit. "What... they about to fight over who gets to shower first? Nash, you sure the sound is work- fuck me!"

On the monitor, the split views reflected the same scene, twice. Yuy had grabbed his partner by the waist, slamming them together; fingers caught in black hair -...

Nash was silent - because, however much Trowa didn't like it, he was Nash, and Trowa was pretty stunned. And horrified. But he forced himself over the shock quickly. The mission. He had to stay in character, or he'd blow the mission. Heero, at least, would understand that much - god I'm sorry Heero I didn't know- concentrate. Even if he had known he'd have still made Nash do it, so now was not the time to get squeamish or lose his focus, or -

"Did-... did you know about this?" Vielle asked a bit weakly, glancing at Trowa.

Shit! Trowa quickly reconstructed Nash over his body and mind, twisting his face into older lines, putting that tell-tale glint in his eyes. Nash cracked his knuckles, staring thoughtfully at the screen.

"No, never had a clue... guess our sources don't know everything. But we should have expected it. After the Swiss bird, Mimelz, and her live-in lay. I mean... we knew these two guys were shacking up together," Nash sneered, eyes fixed on the screen. Yuy's hands had slipped down into his partner's fatigues, kneading his ass, pressing Chang's groin against his own. The Asian man's fingers were firmly anchored in tousled dark hair and he was nipping at the corner of a firm jaw.

"Here." Nash snickered, a crude noise, and clicked a few keys. The split image view disappeared and reappeared on another monitor, while the big screen now had a better and bigger picture of the two. "Something tells me we won't need split tracking for a while."

"Yeah." Vielle laughed, an obscene little gulp. "Hot damn."

On the screen, Chang roughly yanked Yuy's camo jacket and tank-top away, shoving him back a few steps in the process. Nash's eyes narrowed as he compared Zero One's chest to his own and felt a bit inadequate.

"Shit! What... they just gonna... right there?" Vielle did the laugh again, it ended in a breathless swallow as Chang pinned his partner against the kitchen countertop. His mouth was biting the crook of Yuy's neck. Nash - or maybe it was Trowa - felt a bit startled at the lack of emotions on Yuy's face. The camera feed wasn't in colour, so maybe he was flushed, but he didn't show much in the way of joy at the man palming and rubbing his cock through his fatigues. Vielle, who was probably not looking at their faces, hadn't noticed.

Chang muttered something. Vielle shifted forward, but between the echoes from the audio and the fact Chang's mouth was still muffled by Yuy's throat, it hadn't been comprehensible. They broke apart - panting picked up by the mike, fuzzily - and turned towards the stairwell. Nash, caught a bit short, started clicking keys.

They're not even holding hands... that's... odd... That thought belonged to Trowa and he pushed it away, he couldn't afford a distraction. He concentrated - no, Nash concentrated on his keys, following the pair.

He lost them in the stairwell, which like the corridor outside their rooms, had no spies. One of the auxiliary monitors betrayed the two men as they burst into the smaller bedroom, and he transferred that image to the big screen. The kissing - well, technically, it was more like biting, mouthing, chewing on each other's skin - had started again. Chang had lost the military top he'd been wearing and whatever he had had underneath. Zero Five was slimmer than the other ex-pilot, but his muscle definition could have been used on an anatomy chart, Nash noted. Yuy moved to his side, fingers probing beneath the partially loosened fatigues. His mouth was close to Chang's ear. Nash was fiddling with the audio, trying to catch any whispers while Trowa was willing to bet that the audio was just fine and they were saying nothing... For someone who was used to having Duo in bed, that just didn't seem right... .

Yuy's other hand dipped down in the gap between the waistline and Chang's skin, while he swung the slightly smaller man against the wall four feet away from the door, across the room from the bed. Strong hips surged, slamming Chang's body against the plaster and pressing the Asian man's groin between Yuy's and those hard, kneading hands on his ass. That's gotta hurt, Nash thought with a wince, and then stared as Chang's head rolled back and a whispery groan of pleasure brushed the speakers. Yuy licked the neck that had tilted under his lips and surged forward again. Muscles, that looked like they could plough their way right through that wall and into the study next door, tightened and thrust again, and Chang's ragged pants increased; he was writhing and rubbing right back. Vielle swallowed noisily; when Nash glanced at him, he was loosening that ugly green tie.

Yuy leaned back a scant inch or two, just enough to rip open the fatigues trapping his fingers. He followed them down to the ground, dropping to one knee. Chang stumbled a bit and managed to step out of the fatigues. He was staring down at Yuy's bowed head, face unreadable. A few strands of hair had been pawed from the tight ponytail, and fell about his face, not softening it one bit. It just made him look wild and dangerous. Yuy was fishing around the back pockets of his own fatigues, and he finally closed his fist over something. Then he leaned in, fastening his mouth - to Nash's surprise - on the juncture between a lean hip and the groin. The back of his head was to the cameras, but from the sudden way Chang flinched and fell back against the wall, Nash wasn't surprised to see the faint bite mark when Yuy moved away enough for a view. Once more, no protest from Chang. Neither did he make any encouraging noises, to indicate he was getting off on it... Yuy rose slowly, in a whole body surge like a rough caress that forced Chang against the wall. He'd not let his mouth trail near his partner's erection, and Wufei didn't even look surprised or disappointed by this, Trowa noted distractedly.

Yuy thrust a thigh between his partner's legs and pressed against his groin. Chang surged and rubbed against it, arms tight around hard shoulders; he let loose a little annoyed puff of air as Yuy removed his leg to skim out of his own pants and underwear. Nash found himself once more comparing their respective frames and being rather disappointed. Fuck, this guy didn't look like much in uniform, but he was built like a brick shithouse. Looked like you could open beer bottles between his ass cheeks. Yeah, last drink before he pulverized you...

"Turn around, boys... " Vielle's breath of a whisper was audible in the silence only brushed with ragged panting. The big man was shifting in his seat, and sweating in his shirt and polyester jacket.

Yuy was fiddling with something one handed. The other hand was working Chang's thigh, leaving visible marks, dark grey ghosts on the monitor. The Asian man was rubbing himself against his partner again, arching against the wall to get some leverage in a move that should have sent Yuy staggering back. Muscles rippled and the prick didn't budge an inch, Nash noted sourly. Chang's fingers were making their own marks, down a back like a wall, over Yuy's ass, grinding the two bodies together.

A tiny little noise of something plastic hitting the floor and Yuy's hand moved forward, sliding behind Chang's firm ass and disappeared, at least as far as the viewers were concerned.

"Wh-" Chang jerked, and his hands flew to Yuy's shoulders, as if to shove him away. Yuy surged forward in a body block, leg thrust between Chang's thighs, hip twisting to pin him to the wall, and his free hand shot up and covered the open mouth, cutting off the exclamation. Chang's head thumped against the wall.

Trowa half-expected Wufei to kill Heero at that point, but apparently this rough play was the norm. He kept remembering the way they sparred together during the war, the constant edge of competitiveness and provocation between the two. Yeah, how else would those two go about having sex- holy fuck, as Duo would say... Heero and Wufei are sleeping together! The reality was just beginning to seep in. Strangely enough, all that preceded had just stunned him without any real conclusions. But this sudden struggle was just so typical of those two - the air between them was burning with an unspoken, passionate challenge... no contempt, no distance, no barriers, just this ferocious confrontation between equals... Heero... and Wufei... were...

The two were completely motionless. Nash - to Trowa's numb self-disgust - was fiddling with the computer's image enhancement, causing the view to sway a bit back and forth. The spies were all over and around the bed, so he could only get the shot from those in the wall opposite the two men, without much camera angle. The watchers got a small glimpse of Yuy's face; his entire attitude was challenging, one silent dare. Chang was glaring at him over the hand on his mouth, fists on Yuy's chest but not shoving him away. His eyes flickered over his partner's shoulder - towards the bed, Nash realized. He huffed in annoyance when Yuy didn't budge.

Finally the battle lines were drawn; Chang shifted his position, still crushed against the wall, and squirmed. Down onto Yuy's fingers, Nash gathered. He must have also bit Yuy's hand, hard, because the agent snatched it away from the mouth it had covered and rubbed the fingers with his thumb absently, before dropping them back to Chang's thigh.

Released, the Asian man's mouth opened slightly, his head tilted back. His right leg slid up slowly, hooking around Heero's thigh, giving his partner better access as he slipped a hand between the wiry body and the wall.

Vielle was breathing heavily, and he was sweating so much Nash wondered if he was about to have a heart attack. The big man wiped his forehead and mouth with the rumpled tie he'd finally jerked all the way off, and slipped out of his jacket, draping the latter over his lap - to Nash's utmost relief. Vielle caught the mercenary observing him and he gave Nash a conspiratorial grin.

"I didn't know you were into guys," Nash found himself saying, and barely managed to keep it neutral, banishing any hint of sneer. Vielle wasn't someone you could belittle with impunity.

"I'm not choosy," Vielle replied slowly and without any defensiveness. "Piece of ass like that can come my way any day. You-... ?" Nash caught a quick glance at his own body and tensed like a wire.

"I don't care what I'm on top of," Nash answered coldly, stressing the word 'top' ever so slightly.

Vielle grunted absently, eyes back on the screen. Chang had hooked his leg over Yuy's hipbone; it gave Yuy a better angle. The thigh muscles and calf tightened, like a noose slowly pulling Yuy in, grinding them together; Chang's slight smile was feral. Nash thought they were going to end up more bruised by their post-mission playtime than by their trip to Mexico, then reminded himself that these guys were professional fighters. They probably knew how much force to apply to make it interesting but not damaging. And they probably didn't bruise easily either. No sir.

Chang's head fell sideways a bit; his eyes were shut and he was panting, open mouthed. His body rubbed against Yuy's, a slow up and down movement. Zero One wasn't moving an inch; his head was turned slightly, he was watching his partner intently. Muscles in his right arm flexed as his fingers moved, dug deeper, twisted, stretched. Ripples flowed through Chang's body; he arched against the wall occasionally, breath strangling into a gasp. Not that often though, and Trowa made a note to have a talk with Heero about the prostate and how it was actually something that could be teased and pleasured, not just occasionally prodded; then he reminded himself that he would never get past the words 'your technique could use some improvement -' before ending up in traction. Bad idea. He resolutely buried himself in Nash again, letting his guilt at what he'd done struggle to hide behind Nash's contempt for the scene before him.

Chang's eyes flew open; he turned his head slowly and caught Yuy's eyes. Yuy stopped all movement immediately and stared back.

Face unreadable, Chang shifted and straightened against the wall. The muscles in his right leg, as corded and defined as the rest, tightened slowly. Black eyes were still fixed on Yuy's in an echo of the earlier 'dare' stare. The watchers could only see the back of Yuy's tousled head and a sliver of his profile, but something in his stance seemed to indicate that he was picking up the gauntlet - he was shifting his weight, bracing.

Nash felt a bit gutted as Chang shifted then slowly dragged his other leg up over those steely thigh muscles and hooked it around Yuy's waist; Zero One hadn't even flinched, or staggered or - Chang wasn't big, but he was all muscle, he must weigh considerably more than a butterfly! He was actually bracing himself against the wall, shoving a bit with his back as he levered himself - against Yuy! - and raised himself higher. Yuy didn't even have to lean back or bend at the knee to carry the weight, though muscles were leaping into sharper definition in his back and thighs. Did they build this motherfucker out of Gundanium?!

They stilled in this new position, Yuy and the wall bearing Chang's weight. Chang was staring at his partner in that odd, challenging way. But they still hadn't exchanged a word. Finally, Yuy moved; his right hand slipped away from Chang's ass - not the slightest flinch or expression on the latter's enigmatic face - and drifted lower. Nash supposed, from the short back and forth movements, that he was spreading the rest of whatever he was using for lube on his dick - wow, the guy was a gentleman after all - and readying it.

The mercenary could have sworn that there'd been no signal between the two, yet Chang suddenly dipped his head, eyes drifting shut in concentration as he lowered himself a bit. The movement slowed, his face tightened, probably starting to press down against- Nash found himself digging his nails into his sweating palms. He rubbed his hands against his jeans in disgust. Man, why did they have to watch this? These guys weren't going to discuss mission details now, were they? A glance towards Vielle, who'd slumped down in his chair a bit, eyes glued to the screen, indicated that the boss wasn't about to leave. And Nash wasn't going to run away like a frightened virgin either, not in front of Vielle. Besides, somebody had to keep an eye on the cameras, and Vielle didn't know how to do it. Fuck.

A small moaning whisper, and Chang flinched. He continued to lower himself, hands anchored over Yuy's shoulders, leaving welts visible in the black-and-white picture. Yuy's back and shoulders were heaving with his tight rapid breathing; Chang's face was tight and as controlled as his respiration, in and out through his nose, a slower counterpoint to Yuy's quicker pants. Leg muscles flexed; he stopped the slow downward movement. A shudder ran through Yuy's frame. The guy wasn't a machine after all, despite appearances to the contrary.

Black eyes opened again, the same challenging, enigmatic stare. His arms were around Yuy's shoulders; they tightened as he pulled himself up a bit. Only a portion of his back rested against the wall, hips canted forward to deepen the penetration. His leg muscles tensed and strained, and he started to move. Slowly. Nash felt his eyes bug out. Yuy wasn't moving at all. Not swaying under the pressure of that movement, and not pounding into it either. Just-... standing there, letting Chang fuck him. Well, fuck himself, really. Shoulders rigid, head high, staring right back at Chang, probably with the same look of teasing challenge. Chang smirked as he pulled himself up again.

Nash shifted uneasily, and he glared down at his knees, rather surprised to find himself getting a bit hard. He normally didn't let the activities of his targets affect him, and he'd seen some pretty juicy things in his time... men, women, in any combination - it didn't matter. Nash himself had crude, simple tastes; as he'd said to Vielle, a piece of ass was a piece of ass. This really shouldn't be getting to him...

But it was. The open challenge between them; the power in those two bodies; their control. These things attracted and excited Nash more than any two-bit hooker ever could. It was why he liked wetworks, why he enjoyed violating his targets' privacy, watching their lives, getting control of them in a moment of intimacy and freedom. This - this show, raw sensuality and naked power-struggle, was - he shifted again. The worst part was, he didn't even know who to identify with. Yuy at first, since it was obvious who was about to get fucked as soon as Zero One had pinned his counterpart to the wall, plus even a god would be jealous of that build. But now it was obvious that Chang was, well, he was getting fucked but it was obvious Yuy was having to fight for even a shred of dominance. In the back of Nash's mind the thought hovered; that there was no dominance or submission here, that neither was trying to really control the other that way; the challenge was something different, an intimacy he couldn't see, a bond of understanding and strength he couldn't violate. His fingernails were biting into his palms again and he glared at the screen, offended and angry without really knowing why.

Chang licked his mouth, probably to catch the sweat tickling his upper lip, and flexed again, up and down, agonizingly slowly. His eyes still fixed on Yuy, taunting as much as his slow movements. Yuy's hands tightened on the thighs they'd grasped to steady the two during their coupling. Chang's arms released their grip on Yuy's shoulders and straightened languidly, as if he was stretching them, fingers splayed before tightening into fists, and fuck it all he was just using his legs and abs to move! He was barely leaning against the wall anymore either! Someone remind me not to face either of these fuckers in a straight out hand-to-hand, Nash grumbled internally. He didn't like to admit being outclassed, but he wasn't stupid either.

Up, down... Chang's smirk tightened, his eyes narrowed.

Finally the steel frame of Heero Yuy started to show some effects. The shuddering along his back and thighs grew, and he leaned in slowly towards the man riding him. He groaned softly, head lowered, neck stiff with effort and concentration. Chang was still writhing on him, up and down, tantalizing, not fast enough to spark the explosion that had to be building up in that wire-taut body. Yuy tilted his head; in the picture - Nash's fingers flew, twisting the view a bit - he was flushed but his face was still remarkably set and focused in the slice of profile the watchers could catch. He turned his head, placed his closed lips on the Asian man's.

The rhythm faltered. It was slight - it had been so slow it was barely noticeable. Chang froze for a second, mouth to closed mouth, then he jerked his head away, a little twitch. He blinked and turned back almost immediately; lips slightly open... searching for-... but Yuy was licking the side of his neck, before letting his head fall forward, against Chang's shoulder. The slow pulse of movement started again, Nash licked his lips, wondering how long they were going to keep this up.

And Trowa watched. He'd been curled up in a protective ball, trying not to let his own feelings interfere with his mask - without actually listening to what he had to make the bastard Nash think about. But Trowa couldn't help notice the way Wufei's mouth twisted briefly. Heero was nuzzling his ear, but Wufei didn't seem to notice, he looked... hurt? Disappointed? As if he'd expected more from that kiss, just for a moment. The expression was fleeting and vanished almost immediately, as if it had never been, but Trowa was a proficient watcher and noted it automatically, though he wasn't sure what it meant. Then the sphinx-like gaze returned, as Heero leaned back to stare at Wufei again, and Trowa remembered his own mask.

Chang's movements became suddenly more aggressive, legs tightening even further, thrusting up and down on Yuy's cock. Yuy shook, gasped. And broke. His hands snatched at Chang's ass and he started to move, breaking the slow torturous rhythm with hard, rapid thrusts. Chang's breathing hitched, he arched against the wall, then moved his hips forward to deepen the penetration. Yuy thrust into the body, hard. Then he stilled, gasping for breath, pressing his partner to the wall.

"Didn't last long." Vielle tried to sound derisive instead of breathless. Nash glanced automatically at the timer on the upper right side of the screen, milliseconds flickering by, uncaring, and had to agree. The partners hadn't been home more than twenty five minutes.

Yuy was panting against his partner's shoulder. Chang still had that calm, self-possessed look on his face, and if he'd actually come during that, Nash decided, then he wasn't human. A minute passed, Yuy still holding them both up with overbearing ease, though he was trembling a bit now. Chang finally released the deathgrip of his legs around Yuy's waist, and eased to the ground. Without a question or even a glance at his partner, Yuy slowly sank to one knee. Chang's hands rested on his shoulders, and he glanced down briefly. The strong, gripping finger were still on his ass, probably leaving marks. Yuy nuzzled the erection before him. He was still turned away from the cameras, despite Vielle's disappointed whine; the watchers could only see the tousled hair move, up and down, the tip of Chang's erection visible as he concentrated further down. Chang breathed out through his nose, loudly. Yuy leaned back and slightly sideways, catching the tip of the arousal - dark grey in the colorless monitor - between full lips. He slowly leaned forward, inching down over it in an imitation of Chang's previous, slow movement.

Chang's head fell back against the wall. Eyes open wide. Staring - staring right at the viewing cameras, giving Nash a nasty jolt before he realized the eyes were dazed with pleasure.

Nash zoomed out a bit. Yuy stayed on one knee, half crouched as if unable to let himself be fully vulnerable and relaxed even in these circumstances. Chang continued to stare straight ahead, not looking down, his hands fisted against the wall behind him. He was panting, mouth slightly open, eyes slowly closing.

Vielle made an appreciate noise. Nash tried to dig up some of the coarse jokes he was known for from his repertoire. It wasn't easy - Trowa's mask had cracked, and besides, he still wasn't entirely sure of Vielle's proclivities, and that restrained him. Vielle was not someone you wanted to insult, even accidentally. The man could keep Nash from going further into the Syndicate, where Trowa wanted to be. But this silence was unlike Nash; he would not want Vielle to think he was getting off on this. Nash didn't mind taking a man if there was nothing else available but he didn't like the idea of letting anyone know what turned him on. Besides, he preferred to humiliate his targets, rather than see them as objects of desire. He desperately cast around for something to say.

"Nice. How much do you think it'd cost to get him to go down on me like that?" He finally managed. A bit weak, but then Vielle wasn't really listening. It'd been easier when he was watching the two girls the other day with Pan and Corazon... Now that had been funny, any tension defused by the coarse heckling and encouragements.

Yuy quickened the movement. Chang stiffened against the wall and jerked his head to one side, in half profile on the picture. Nash was frozen on the keys and didn't even react. The wiry body shuddered, the fists dug into the wall, then jerked and thumped back against it. Black eyes fluttered shut, the young face softened, vulnerable for a few breath-taking moments. His deep, even breathing partly covered the sound of Yuy swallowing between his legs.

Chang started to slip down along the wall but he stopped himself from sitting down with a grimace and moved onto his knees instead. Yuy, wiping his mouth, leaned back, let him crawl past. Chang grabbed their clothes on the floor. Trowa, the careful observer, noted a slight hesitation, minute, maybe even subconscious; it made Wufei's choice - of laying his butt on his own fatigues, to catch any stains, but using Heero's as a pillow - maybe more significant than it was. Trowa focused on Wufei burying down into the cloth, a hand clenching and kneading Heero's fatigues almost absently... maybe not a coincidence after all.

Heero had sat down, back against the wall, and was leaning against it, eyes closed. Trowa didn't think he'd noticed Wufei's slight hesitation and choice - Heero was very focused on what he did and anything that could threaten him, not small details.

//The bed-// the sudden words made both watchers start, //-is seven feet away, Yuy.//

Trowa noticed the slightest smirk on Heero's face. He looked pretty pleased with himself. You had to know him very well to tell though.

//I'm almost afraid to ask.// Wufei's voice hadn't changed since the war; the slight raggedness of passion didn't cover the delightful contrast of the scholar's precision and the warrior's roughness that had always fascinated Trowa. //What did you use?//

One of Heero's eyes opened a slit, then he reached towards the floor. He tossed what he picked up gently onto the strong abs laid out before him. Wufei started and caught the tiny plastic tube before it tumbled to the ground.

// ...the nice stewardess who handed out earphones, blankets, water and complimentary lip balm did not intend you to use the latter in this fashion, Yuy.//

Heero just smirked again. Trowa, who knew Heero was not the kind to worry about lip balm, realized he must have squirreled it away with the express intent of-

"What? What did he say?" Vielle sounded puzzled.

Trowa stiffened. He'd forgotten himself! He'd understood what Wufei had said - despite a couple of Japanese words that had slipped into the languid sentences. Trowa - and Nash - had picked up Japanese and a smattering of Chinese in his days, but it had been Trowa's familiarity with the pilots and their way of talking more than his ability at languages that had helped him understand Wufei. Nash should be as perplexed as Vielle. He'd been too intent on watching his friends, trying to understand - he'd have to watch that. His mission, and his life, were at stake.

"Donno. Sounded like Japanese, but I didn't catch it. They're Asian, probably some lingo from the East." He carefully brought Nash back, drawing him over his mind like a man donning a mask.

"They're colony crud," Vielle countered, standing up. "Most of that was in English, but I didn't catch it all-... shit, if they're gonna talk like that, it'll make things difficult."

"Xian's Chinese. He's Corazon's second. We should get him to review the records of anything that looks important," Nash said, dragging yet another man into Heero and Wufei's private lives and Trowa let him. Vielle was looking at him out of the corner of his eye. Probably judging how excited he was or something - Vielle had his jacket still hanging in front of his groin - but Trowa couldn't take the chance that that momentary slip-up had shown the cunning brute anything that might make him think twice about Nash.

"Yeah. Good idea. We'll call him later. Watch the screens, willya? I've got something to do." With a loathsome, conspiratorial smirk Vielle walked out, heading towards the building's washrooms, it was to be supposed. Nash - and Trowa even more so - was just thankful the fucker hadn't jerked off during the performance. Now that would have been uncomfortable. Nash was only comfortable with intimacy when he was spying on it, unseen.

The door closed and Nash crossed his arms over his chest, and Trowa took a deep, long breath, discreetly. He schooled his features into blankness which was unusual for Nash, but was better than showing what Trowa really felt.

He looked at the screen again. Wufei and Heero were close to each other, but not touching or saying anything. Trowa started to fiddle with the cameras, trying to get a better look at their faces, and even bringing up the split screen view again. He was still centering the cameras when Wufei stood up in one smooth, graceful movement. He didn't say anything. Trowa thought he caught the barest glance down at Heero, who was still sitting against the wall, legs loosely clasped, face perfectly unreadable, eyes closed.

Wufei stepped away without a word, and the eyes - black on the monitor but Trowa knew them to be a rich, startling blue - flew open, following Wufei's progress to the door.

Trowa looked into those eyes and the vague feeling of concern he'd had since Wufei and Heero had climbed the stairs without touching each other suddenly crystallized.

It was only a flicker. And the spies could record that and chisel it into the hard-drive's electrons for posterity, but it didn't matter one bit because no-one, maybe not even Wufei, would be able to spot and read that expression in those deep blue eyes. It needed a dispassionate observer, and someone who knew Heero very well. Wufei was a good observer - Une sang his praises, he was noted for being the detective of the team - but Trowa knew him; Wufei was very good at observing things only if he wasn't emotionally involved in them. At the slightest hint of that passion he was capable of, his eyes went blind, and he filtered everything he saw through his own interpretations, emotions tamed and warped by his intellect as if they were dangerous things to be rigorously controlled... Trowa had been there when Treize had beaten the young man. He knew how deadly Wufei's emotions could be, trapping even their owner into a glass maze where nothing was quite what it seemed.

Trowa was struck by a sudden realization: he had also been the one watching Heero after the latter had self-destructed. Both times, for each of these men, he'd been there. It was the distantly compassionate mercenary who had picked up the pieces after both these pilots had had their reason for living put into question. He'd seen both without their masks, and he wondered if they'd ever seen each other so intimately as he, a stranger to their relationship, had.

He thought not.

He might be the only one who could understand that brief, naked look in Heero's eyes, because he'd seen it before.

It was a faint echo of what Trowa had seen after New Edwards, when Heero had been contemplating what he'd done, the fact that he'd survived, and that he still needed redemption.

He's hit a limit. Trowa didn't try to analyse or think or ponder. He just let that look sink into his memory, triggering the associated feelings. Heero has found himself backed up against something he doesn't know how to cope with, a failing he can't undo. And... he's worried. Not about himself - he probably doesn't understand the concept. He's concerned about Wufei. The way he'd followed Wufei to the door with his eyes, trying to say something he couldn't begin to put into words... Trowa had seen that look before too, and it had been directed at him, Trowa. When the young mercenary had told Heero -calmly, for Trowa had nothing to get excited about at the time - that he and Heavyarms were going to have their last performance that night, and that Heero had better get clear while he could.

Why was he worried? Okay, granted, that mindjob of a screw had not been the most... normal thing Trowa had ever witnessed. But everything indicated this was routine for them and had been going on for - shit, those looks on Peacemillion, and the way they- hell, of course... this had been going on for a long while, if Trowa's eyes did not deceive him. If he'd had any doubt, the fact that Wufei could easily walk after that rough fuck rather illustrated he was used to this treatment. Trowa's first time, pretty recently, had been gentle and slow, and he'd still moved a bit funny afterwards, much to Duo's considerable amusement.

No, he didn't think Heero was worried about the way they were having sex, or anything obvious to Trowa... and he doubted Heero had the ability to put his concerns into words.

The shower noises in the background stopped. Wufei came back into the room towelling his hair, and Trowa watched with a sinking feeling as every trace of what he'd observed disappeared from Heero's eyes, stance, and, probably, his conscious mind as well. He could almost see Heero just... change, become the soldier who was assuming his partner was all right because Wufei was, obviously, just fine, moving around the room, getting out clothes... He'd seen that before, too, when Heero had not been able to find the words to dissuade Trowa from suicide. No words; nothing he could do; not related to his mission anyway; go on, good luck, take as many as you can with you - it was a sideways movement of the mind that only Heero was capable of. It was what gave him his magnificent focus, his powerful concentration - his ability to blow himself up without the slightest hesitation or trace of regret. In contrast, Trowa had to fade, hide behind Nash. Wufei fled and twisted away from his own emotions, but they still marked every aspect of his behaviour. Only Heero could just not feel, on command.

//What do you want to eat tonight?// Wufei's voice brought Trowa's attention back to the present in black and white.

//You choose.//

It had the sound of a ritual. A comfortable rut. A routine to hide in. Trowa watched Wufei move around, trying to pinpoint what had worried Heero, but he couldn't see it. Wufei seemed fine and matter-of-fact, getting dressed, picking up clothes, chasing Heero out to go take his own shower, shouting at him to pick up the duffel bags downstairs afterwards, maybe learn a little patience and forbearance in the accomplishment of menial tasks while he was at it. Trowa smiled slightly at the snort from the hallway. That was something else he remembered from the war; Duo dared to tease the hardened killer, but Wufei was the only one who could ever get a rise out of him.

Trowa sighed, silently and without movement, still deep in hiding. What was up with those two... was nothing he could do anything about. Because he was deep under cover, on a mission, and that took first priority. And because Trowa knew first-hand how difficult dealing with your own emotions could be; a stranger had no chance of affecting this complex relationship except by blindly barging in and taking the chance of doing more harm than good.

And of course, if he tried to talk to his friends about this, he'd first have to admit to having watched this scene. He almost laughed out loud at how utterly suicidal that would be; Heero might kill him, or not, it was hard to judge, but Wufei would do something to him that would make even Nash's notorious threats pale in comparison.

He heard Vielle's heavy steps in the hallway, and reluctantly returned to Nash, with a shudder of revulsion that showed Trowa how deeply he'd been caught off-balance by all this. He'd think about all this later. Now he had to make sure he didn't slip up and die before he had the opportunity to make some amends to his friends.

Vielle opened the door, and Nash nodded at him, eyes still fixed on the screen. "Nothing new," he informed the other as the big man sat down again. Nash had thought up a few good ones, some crude, barbed jokes that would take the scene they'd witnessed and use it to cut his quarry into little chunks, diminishing these men. Nash had watched them lose their control, he knew something about them that they would want to hide; he had power over them, and he intended to use it. He'd wait for just the right moment - Nash knew his delivery was superb - and he'd have Vielle laughing and in awe of his cruelty, one fellow sadist to another.

Nash was, after all, and by his own defiant admission, a bastard.

Trowa, planning the next steps of his mission, wasn't too happy about himself right then either.


Pinned against the wall by his lover - who'd grown up considerably in the year since the war and could now pin him pretty easily - Trowa didn't say anything when he thought he saw a figure move away in the hallway outside. It could be only one person: the Syndicate thugs couldn't move that silently; the Preventers would hail them from outside the door. And Heero would stride in, grab them by the scruff of the neck, and haul them both out of there, telling them to grab a gun and start shooting.

Trowa watched the flicker of a shadow as it disappeared towards the stairwell. After observing Wufei during the war, he thought he could read him pretty well. He could have sworn that the Chinese Preventer had nothing but scorn for Nash, and possibly for Trowa, who'd betrayed him, as well. The Wufei he remembered wasn't so good at hiding his feelings. Must have picked it up from Heero... Well, if he was still the proud, reclusive person he was, he had been hurt, even if he hadn't shown it, or taken this opportunity to let it be known. Trowa was hardly in a position to complain about Wufei's inadvertent eavesdropping on him and Quatre.

His lover stirred in his arms. Trowa didn't want to let go. When he let go, he'd have to be that bastard Nash again. He... didn't want to ever let go.

Quatre sighed, and Trowa's arms dropped of their own accord.

"I have to-"

His words were interrupted by the sound of several feet in the stairwell. Quatre motioned him to stay put and ghosted towards the door.

"Who's there?"

Trowa watched the way Quatre held the HK lightly, no tension in his arm to hamper a swift aim-and-fire. Blue eyes calm as he waited for an answer to his hail... Trowa's memories were precious to him now; he curled up with them at night, putting Nash away for a few minutes... these memories he snatched and kept from the precious lives he watched kept him whole, helped to define him, remind him who he was and who he was fighting for...

"Preventer." A voice rapped from near the stairwell. "Identify yourself."

Quatre mouthed 'I love you', then grabbed the canon of his HK in his left hand and put it slowly on the floor in view of the man near the stairwell.

"My name is Quatre Winner. I'm coming out. I'm unarmed." He took a step out the door, hands in the air.

"Oh, right... " The Preventer said slowly. "The Old Fox did tell me to look out for the blond bit downstairs."


"Ah, I get it, you were the hostage! Though the Fox said you were actually a spook."


"Need an escort out of here?"

" ...the blond bit, huh?"


"Yes, I need an escort, please. I have to talk to Une or Grecko."

"You and half of Brussels," the man muttered. "Well, pick up your weapon, and you can help me bring these two down." There was the sound of a shove and the clink of manacles, and somebody swore. Captives, apparently.

"Anyone else around?" Trowa heard the man ask.

"No, Agent Chang and Yuy cleared this floor. There's no-one here."

"Huh, trust that pair. Surprised they didn't take the whole gang down while they were at it." The man sounded good-humoured about it. "Well, come on, and watch out for-" The rest was lost in the stairwell.

Trowa waited, listening to the fading steps. His exit was planned - he'd go out a window, crawl to the fire escape, go down the building, find the group of three mercenaries he'd left to defend one of the hangars near the garage, tell them the gig was up, and escape with them by that little dip that led to the canal between buildings.

His mind wandered as he counted down the seconds, reluctant to resume his Nash personality just yet... He hoped Quatre could get the information to Wufei before the Preventers isolated the system. Wufei and Heero had enough problems with their private lives as it was, he suspected. And maybe Wufei might actually check the records, just to see what needed to be deleted; and maybe he'd catch that look in Heero's eyes and confront the man and break the silence, and when did you become such an optimist, Nanashi...

It would be interference, anyway, he told himself with an inward shrug. A new, fairly concerned Trowa, who believed that emotions, his own and other peoples', were worth fighting for and protecting, was immediately disgusted by that callous dismissal, and insinuated that outside intervention might be just what the doctor ordered. He didn't trust himself to say and do anything, though.

So he'd leave that to Quatre. Those were their respective natures. Trowa would rather leave alone than do harm; Quatre would rather try than do nothing.

For now he had to forget about all that. Forget his friends, and his lovers. Forget the look in Heero's eyes as he watched the only man he'd ever let close to him walk out of the room in a silence he didn't know how to break. Forget the scorn on Wufei's face as Nash dropped his bombshell about the spies. Forget the mess he might have made of their relationship. Forget the worry in Quatre's eyes, the way his lover had held him fiercely as if he never wanted to let go; the way Quatre had let go, finally. Forget... who he was and concentrate on making sure Nash continued to hide him a little while longer.

Just for a few more weeks. He needed to nudge, prod and cajole Nash a bit further, into a few more of the Syndicate's inner circles. Leads and plots were near fruition, he just had to stick it out a while longer. With the abnegation that was once second-nature to Nanashi, he buried himself once more into the role.

A few more weeks and he'd be able get rid of Nash.

Good riddance. He'd bury Nash with considerable pleasure. The deepest grave he could find. Weigh it shut with a massive tombstone.




End Part 28


On to chapter twenty-nine

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