Disclaimer:I don't own them and I don't make any money off of them.
Warning:Male/Male sex, graphic, language, violence, slave situations. AU
The countryside was beautiful, Heero noticed, definitely fit for an Emperor. Grapes were heavy on the vine and olives were plentiful. The rocky ground was still thick with growth, as if the crops defied logic with their bounty.
"I can see why the Emperor covets this land," Heero said at last.
"We feed the cities." Duo agreed. "Without our crops, you would all starve."
"Yet you try to deny us what will keep us alive," Heero pointed out.
Wu Fei gave Heero a disdainful look. "We deny the Emperor the right to devastate our land and allow us nothing. He takes all for his pleasure."
"Your people didn't look as if they were starving," Heero retorted."I think what you are referring to is profit, not sustenance."
Duo glared. "We steal back what is ours or we would be starving," he corrected acidly. He sidled his horse close to Heero's. "Tell me, do you think it is wise to kill the very people who feed you?"
"No," Heero retorted. "Which is why I doubt your words."
"The emperor is mad," Wu Fei said grimly. "He would harvest the land down to the roots, for his own pleasure, and care nothing about the next season. But for our efforts, the cities would soon find their carefree lives ending."
"The senate wouldn't allow the Emperor to do such a thing," Heero argued hotly.
Duo leaned close over the space between them. "Did you care more about your civic duty, or spreading my legs and keeping me out of your Uncle's hands? I'm afraid that there are too many just like you, all too willing to wallow with their Emperor in luxuries, without a care about tomorrow, or the people who bring it to them."
That gave Heero something to think about, but his roiling thoughts were interrupted by five soldiers, and their captain, riding crosswise to their path. Duo and Wu Fei exchanged desperate looks and then both of them looked back at Heero.
"They'll kill you," Heero told them with a smile of triumph. "Give up. This game is over."
Again Wu Fei and Duo exchanged a look and then Duo nodded grimly. They dismounted as Heero rode forward, confident that they wouldn't stop him.
"Captain!" Heero called out as he reached the men. "These two kidnaped me from my estate. The long haired one is my slave, but the other is a known rebel."
The captain, a grim looking veteran, gave Heero a salute of respect, as his men dismounted and began approaching Duo and Wu Fei. "You are well known to me. I'll have you escorted back to your estate, or to the senate for justice, if you wish."
One of the soldiers had a tight grip on Duo's arm as his men disarmed him. He yanked up Duo's tunic, admiring the tattoo. "Look! A pretty one we have here!"
The captain dismounted and approached Duo. His hands were suddenly all over him, stroking down the tattoo as he half pulled Duo's tunic off of him. When his broad hand grabbed Duo's ass, Duo offered no protest except a heated glare of hate.
"He's my property!" Heero protested angrily. "I order you not to touch him."
"He's a criminal," the veteran argued. "He's going to be put to death. We might as well punish him properly for daring to kidnap you, before that happens." He grinned as he looked sideways at Wu Fei, standing straight and cool between his captors. "There's two to go around."
"Are you trained well?" one of the soldiers asked Duo as he rubbed his crotch along Duo's thigh.
Duo replied, as if he were a model slave. "Very well trained. I can suck two off while taking two more behind." He hitched up his tunic completely and turned, bending over gracefully to show the captain his 'attributes'.
The men stared, mouths opening in shock, and then the captain was grabbing Duo with intent as his men began sheathing their weapons and baring their excitement.
"No!" Heero kicked his horse into motion, barreling into the captain just as Duo spun with incredible speed and agility and tried to deliver a powerful kick to the captain's head. He and the captain were knocked to the ground, dazed, as Wu Fei spun and freed himself from his own captors. He retrieved a sword with ease and then men began to die under his skilled blade. Heero killed the captain with the man's own weapon, kicking him and cursing him as he turned to gut a man rushing in to kill him. He and Wu Fei soon dispatched all of the soldiers.
Duo sat up, rubbing his bruised head, and shouted at Heero, "We had it under our control, fool!"
"You were about to be raped by a band of soldiers!" Heero shouted back as he turned from his last kill, blood dripping from his sword.
"Hardly," Wu Fei replied as he found his curved blade and began cleaning it fastidiously. "We are both a match for men with their 'guards down'."
"Then why allow yourself to be captured to begin with?" Heero demanded.
Duo stood and wiped the dirt from his body. "They were about to discover the hiding place of women and children. We were ready to sacrifice ourselves to keep them safe. We had to be sure of distracting them... in case it didn't work."
Heero's jaw worked. "You were willing to risk gang rape...?"
Duo looked slightly ill. "Whatever it takes... yes. When you see them, our people, you'll know why."
They retrieved their weapons and horses, leaving the soldiers to the birds and flies, and taking a trail down into a rocky valley. Duo looked at Heero in a puzzled fashion and then he asked at last, "Do you want my virginity so badly, that you're willing to risk death for it?"
Heero scowled, "I did pay for it."
Duo snickered, knowing it was a lie, and Heero suddenly felt something inside of him give way, a stubborn pride that had kept him from hearing what his heart and mind were telling him. He had been willing to die, to defy the emperor's soldiers, for a slave... for Duo... for an infuriating, long haired, puzzle of a man who had kidnaped and humiliated him.
"Thank you," Duo said softly and Heero looked at him, startled, to see that it was sincere and very serious. "I took a chance on you, on taking you here, because I felt that in you... that you weren't really a bad man."
Heero couldn't think of any reason for Duo to have felt that way. "I've only wanted to have you back, as my slave, so that I can take you. How does this make me a good man?"
"Did you take me, even when you could have, easily?" Duo replied. "You've had all of the opportunities."
Heero still had the smell of dead men in his nostrils, and the stain of blood, not his own, on his skin. He thought of all of his motivations up until then and could only deny Duo's belief in him, "Don't trust in that," he warned bitterly.
"But that, in itself, makes a man trust," Wu Fei said with a snort and gave Duo an exasperated look. "Fools, the both of you..."
They had made a village in the sheltering cover of olive trees and bramble bushes, the citizens of every walk of life. They lived in makeshift tents and had their belongings piled about them, as if ready to move at any moment. Their animals were few, mostly goats, and tended by serious looking children. An old horse helped carry water from a nearby stream. Dogs were absent and Heero could see the wisdom of that. Their barking could reveal their hiding place.
It was eerily quiet. It made Heero nervous as they rode into the center of that place and slid of their mounts, still bloodied from their fight.
"Pene," Duo called out to a pretty girl and she came forward eagerly. "Get water and cloths. You heard the battle?"
"Yes!" She replied excitedly. "We were very afraid. The men went hunting. We would have been defenseless!"
"I know that you aren't soldiers, girl," Wu Fei growled angrily, "but surely someone must know enough to post a sentry?"
The girl went wide eyed in trepidation, but Duo was there to calm her. "Never mind, pretty," he soothed. "We'll have a talk with the men when they come back. It might be that they didn't expect to be away so long."
"Or they've run and aren't coming back," Heero sneered in contempt.
Duo gave him a warning glare and sent the girl on her errand. An older woman offered them water to drink, and another came forward with olives and some rough made goat cheese. All of it was meager, but given without stint to their rescuers. As they settled in the shade to eat and clean themselves, Heero was able to see that the truly aged were as absent as the dogs and that there were many with wounds of one kind or another. A few looked haunted, eyes fearful or vacant and lost in horrors. It looked like a place where war had swept through and left the dregs behind.
"They are guilty," Wu Fei told him, seeing his look. "All of them guilty by the Emperor's decree. Those soldiers would have slaughtered, raped, and looted, all within the law."
"Those sorts of things are not lawful," Heero grated. "Not in the army where I fought."
"Who will stop them?" Duo wondered. "Who will take them to justice? I see a lack of upholders of the law these days."
"They seem too eager to bed slaves and spend their inheritance on foolishness,"Wu Fei added.
Heero was ready to turn and reply in anger, tired of that particular jibe, but a small boy came up with flat bread and more water, struggling under the platter and the sloshing skin strung from one shoulder. He was missing half an arm, the end still ugly and healing; the marks of a hacking blade very obvious.
"Sirs," the boy panted as he poured water into their cups and placed the platter at their center. "Pene says there is more on the griddle, if you've need."
"Thank, you, but this is enough.," Duo told him. "We didn't come to eat all of your food."
The boy grinned. "I want to be a fighter like you, when I'm big enough, so I can bring my mamma back."
Duo looked sad, "Of course you will," he agreed.
The boy looked uncertain then. "Do I have to get marks like you, though? Tattoos?"
"No, not unless you want them," Duo replied, smoothing a hand down his own.
"Good." The boy grinned, nodded respectfully, and then carried his waterskin back to the women.
"His father was killed," Duo explained. "He tried to keep the soldiers from raping the boy's mother to death. They took everything, even the boy's arm, using him as an example to the others in the province. I still wonder how he can... smile."
Heero shivered and looked after the boy. "I..."
Heero choked on words, the stump of the boy's arm having expressed, far more eloquently than anything his captors could have said, the real state of things.
"It... isn't right," he finally managed.
"Ah," Duo sighed as he handed him some more dates. "Wisdom at last." Their hands touched, the wet olives sliding between their palms. Heero found himself clasping both olives and Duo's hand. He pulled Duo in close, the young man unresisting. With Duo half resting in his lap, looking into his eyes, begging for what, he didn't know.
It was too sharp in Heero's mind, the images of the mayhem those soldiers would have caused, if they had been allowed to find the tent city. That boy may have had his life ended in a very horrible manner, along with everyone else. Who was there to protect them? Foolish men who left without posting guards and handful of ex-slaves and dubious others?
Heero ran a hand roughly over Duo's cheek, down his slim neck, and over his long braid. "What is your plan, to hide and hold them off?"
Duo snorted. "That wouldn't work for long, would it?"
"What then?" Heero demanded.
"To bring our plight to the people," Wu Fei told him, looking disdainful. "We are hoping for a popular uprising, a revolt in the senate if enough pressure is brought to bear on their precious supplies."
"So," Heero said as he took hold of Duo's braid. "You want to choke them until they bring the Emperor to heel... or... topple him altogether?"
"It's been done before," Duo pointed out.
"You need a general," Heero said, "I'll volunteer, because... I don't think I can sleep at night unless I do... that boy..." He shivered. "He needs justice and this madness of the Emperor's must end. It endangers everyone, even myself... and my property."
"Is that your price?" Duo wondered, ready for temper, hands braced against Heero's chest.
"If there is to be a payment, yes," Heero told him. "I want you and my freedom."
Wu Fei said something angrily in his own tongue, but Duo was glaring and squaring his shoulders as he pushed lightly back from Heero. "I was willing to lie down in the dirt with the enemy for the lives of my people," Duo replied, "I won't hold back now, not when we need you so badly. I'm yours and you'll have your freedom."
"Beware of treachery, though," Wu Fei warned, a hand on his sword. "Nothing will save you from my blade if I suspect it from you."
"Or mine," Duo added, purple eyes dangerous and a bit fearful.
Heero stood up, ignoring the threats and brushing off dirt. "When the men return, I'll teach them the error of their ways, and then we'll return back to the villa. I want at least some comfort when I first take what is mine."
"Maybe I should make you prove yourself first?" Duo suggested, standing as well and looking like a cat with its back up, very tense and unsure.
"You might die in the fighting and cheat me of it," Heero grunted. "I won't take the chance. You'll give me what I want tonight."
"You want to do what's right, but you also want payment," Wu Fei said. "That is reason not to trust in your sudden conversion."
"Did I ask for payment?" Heero wondered blandly. "It seemed as if you offered it to me."
Duo became even more uncertain. "What? I..."
"You offered." Heero reminded him with a smirk. "I only took what I was given."
Duo scowled. "You... Then why should I give it, if you're not demanding it?"
"Because, it's what you want to do," Heero replied, "Because we both don't want to die... never knowing... never having been... together."
Duo blinked, hands fisted, and then he threw up his hands in exasperation, "You're as mad as your emperor!"
"Certainly more determined and single minded," Wu Fei snorted. "Your freedom you have," he told Heero, "and your sword is most welcome. Any other payment is clearly Duo's choice and not something that I wish argued over in my presence."
Wu Fei stalked away and Heero and Duo were left staring at each other.
"Will you really fight for us?" Duo wanted to know. "This isn't some... trick?"
"Nothing I say will help you believe that," Heero replied. "I can only prove myself."
"I will give myself to you, if that's what it takes to keep you on our side," Duo offered.
"Tonight," Heero insisted. "If that's what you want to offer me."
"No promises or oaths?" Duo wondered bitterly.
"They are worth only as much as the man who gives them," Heero replied as he reached up and caressed Duo's shoulder.
Duo pulled away, shivering. "Maybe the ghosts of the murdered in Castor's home will help you keep the oath you give to me?"
"Or maybe you will," Heero replied, very serious."Or maybe that boy, who's suffered so much, will be enough?"
Duo reached and pulled a bit of black leather from Heero's tunic. He looped it about his neck and knotted it, eyes narrowed and determined. "There," he said. "I'm yours... until you prove false... and then I'll become, not your slave, but your executioner. That's my oath."
"Accepted,"Heero replied as he grabbed Duo's braid, pulled him in quickly for a mouth devouring kiss, and then released him just as abruptly. Duo staggered slightly, touching his mouth with a face growing red. "Tonight, I'll take what is mine."
Back to chapter five
on to chapter seven