Broken Jade

Part Twelve: Rain Falls

Heero put the guitar away, and flexed his fingers. Trowa was staring into the fire, watching the flames lick at the underside of the log. Jade was on the other end of the sofa, Ifrit on his chest, and both were dozing. The day had been spent digging a trench from the generator to the house. Trowa and Heero did the majority of the work, although Jade filled in while either took a break. The cat, Heero figured, was probably exhausted from talking so much about the adventure, from his constant perch on Jade's or Trowa's shoulder.

At least now, the dark-haired man told himself, the power cord is buried before winter, and the study is wired for basic electricity without requiring the window to be open a notch for the cord.

"Bed?" Trowa's voice was groggy, and he stood with a yawn. His green eyes studied Heero for a minute, then swung to consider Jade.

Heero watched, setting the guitar case by the shelves. The longhaired man set Ifrit on the sofa, ignoring the kitten's plaintive cries, and stood, backing up to Trowa. His request was clear: he wanted the braid undone. Trowa raised his hand, then paused, and set his hand on Jade's shoulder. Leaning over to whisper in the shorter man's ears, Trowa glanced at Heero, his expression intent.

"I have a better idea." Trowa guided Jade around the sofa. Heero turned down the living room's hurricane lamp and smiled wryly at Jade's baffled expression.

In the loft, Heero stripped off his sweater, watching as Trowa lowered the flame on the bedside table's hurricane lamp. The tall man turned to Jade, stopping the silent man from kneeling down to pull out the single mattress. Heero unbuttoned his shirt, watching as Trowa set his hands on Jade's shoulders.

"Jade, it's time you start wearing the braid for more than just a half-day at a time." Trowa paused, and Heero could see the taller man slowly let out a breath. Trowa's shoulders relaxed just a bit, and the tall man smiled gently at the downcast expression on Jade's face. "If we take out the braid, you sleep on your bed. Or, if you leave the braid in... you can sleep with us."

Heero raised an eyebrow. They had discussed Trowa's idea, the afternoon before during their private time, but he'd been under the impression that the idea had been tabled until the right time. He frowned slightly, watching Jade hesitate. The silent man pulled his short braid around, rubbing his fingertips against the blunt end as his gaze wavered between the end of the bed, and the head of it. Heero cleared his throat, and crossed his arms when Trowa looked his way.

Now is the time, Trowa's gaze said, answering Heero's unspoken comment.

Jade moved then, flinging his braid over his shoulder as he pulled his shirt over his head, and began yanking down his jeans. Trowa's eyebrows went up, and he moved instantly to halt Jade's undressing.

"We wear pajamas to bed," he said. "Get your sweatpants and a t-shirt."

Decision made, Heero sighed mentally, and dumped his shirt in the dirty clothes hamper, before digging through the dresser for a shirt to wear. Dressing for bed, he thought grimly. This had better not be an every-night routine.

Pulling on some sweatpants, the dark-haired man crawled into bed as Trowa joined him, followed by Jade a second later. Heero turned on his side to face Trowa, as Jade snuggled up on the other side. Heero was disconcerted to discover Jade's hand wrapping itself around Trowa's chest, and he struggled with a flare of jealousy. The feeling was muted almost immediately, however, when Jade's hand continued to seek, falling still only once it was laying over Heero's. Together their two hands rested over Trowa's heart, and Heero smiled to himself, seeing Jade's body tucked up against Trowa's side, his head resting on Trowa's shoulder as the silent man drifted into sleep.


" ...suggest you... pathetic excuse... "

Heero woke up to find the loft shrouded in darkness, but he could hear someone speaking. It was a mumbling sound, and he strained to make out the words. The moon came out from behind the clouds, and the room was bathed in silvery light.

" ...when I'm... take your... "

It was Duo's voice.

" ...have thirty... hit the... "

He raised his head, blinking as his eyes adjusted to the moon's soft light coming in through the window over the bed. Trowa's eyes were open, and focused on Jade, who was lying with his head on Trowa's chest. Heero stared, seeing the intense frown on Jade's face, the lines of anger and pain clearly etched in the moonlight.

" ...get... "

Heero glanced at Trowa, who shook his head, the barest movement.

" ...the knife, get the knife... "

The two men were perfectly still, and Jade's right hand began clenching and unclenching, fisting in Trowa's shirt. Heero raised a hand, ready to reach for Jade, but pulled it back, uncertain.

" ...get the knife, get the knife, get the knife... "

The mutterings grew stronger, the face contorted in concentration. Heero wasn't positive, but it wasn't the tone of someone begging or crying. It was a strong, insistent whisper, as though Jade were urging someone on.

" ...get the knife, get the knife---"

Jade's voice went up, from the monotonous whisper to a speaking tone, and past that.

"Get the *knife*!"

The longhaired man's shriek split the air and his eyes came wide open. Jade threw himself backwards off the bed, screaming as he reached for his braid. Trowa was out of the bed after Jade instantly. He wrapped his arms around the twisting body, pushing Jade's head against his shoulder, trying to calm the terrified man. Jade's legs kicked, and his anklet bells clamored with every movement. Heero followed a second later, stunned to see Jade get his arm away from Trowa's grasp, waving it around as though trying to reach behind him.

"The braid, the braid," Trowa yelled, grabbing for Jade's free arm.

Heero nodded, yanking the hair-band off the end of the braid and unraveling it as quickly as he could manage. Jade continued to shriek; struggling against Trowa's hold while Heero ran his fingers through the man's hair. Only once the braid was completely undone did Jade start to calm, his shrieking dying into sobs as he clung to Trowa. Heero knelt down behind Jade, hugging both of the other men tightly as they huddled on the floor.

Finally Trowa pulled back a little, wiping Jade's tear-stained face with his fingers. "Jade... you were having a nightmare."

Jade nodded, backing away as he stripped off his shirt and pants. Confused, Heero looked over to see a flash of pain across Trowa's face as the longhaired man knelt, his forehead pressed to the floor, clearly seeking forgiveness.

"No, no," Trowa said. "Put your pajamas back on. It's not your fault you had a nightmare. We're not mad... we're worried." Picking up Jade's shirt, he pulled it over the silent man's head. "Jade, you were talking in your sleep."

The longhaired man moaned and knelt again. His forehead cracked against the floorboard, he bowed so quickly. Trowa winced and reached out, lifting Jade up, keeping him from bowing again.

"Why won't you talk to us?" Heero crept forward, his gaze intent on Jade's averted face. "You can talk. We heard you. We *want* you to talk." Never thought I'd say that to Duo, the dark-haired man thought, and pushed away the sudden urge to laugh bitterly. Before he could say more, Trowa interrupted.

"Let's deal with this in the morning." His tone was weary, and he gave Heero a sad look over Jade's head.

Jade nodded slowly, and reached for his sweatpants. Pulling them on in a soft chime of bells, he moved around Heero to begin pushing at his mattress to pull it out from under the bed. He paused once, wiping at his nose with the back of his hand as he sniffled. Heero frowned, and jerked his head at Trowa. The taller man raised an eyebrow, but climbed into bed.

Heero yawned, and decided to forgo the pleasantries, at a loss as to what to say. Instead, he grabbed Jade around the waist. In one swift move, he deposited Jade on the bed and yanked the covers up over the longhaired man. "You wore the braid tonight, so this is where you sleep tonight." Giving Jade a stern look, he did his best to ignore the way Trowa's startled expression was melting into amused satisfaction. Trotting around the end of the bed, Heero crawled under the blankets, taking up his place on Trowa's other side.

"Have I mentioned recently that you're sexy when you're forceful?" Trowa's tone was dry.

"I'm sleeping now," Heero informed him stiffly. "If you don't mind."

"Not at all."

The room fell silent, except for Jade's sniffles, which soon died away as the longhaired man drifted back into sleep. Trowa followed soon after, his breathing evening into a long, shallow sound, but Heero remained where he was, watching the sleeping faces of the two people most dear to him. Only once the moon set behind the trees, plunging the room into deep darkness, did Heero let his own dreams take him.


Monday morning, the three woke at nearly the same time, with Jade excused to start breakfast while Trowa and Heero remained in bed. They said nothing, but simply held each other closely, silently seeking and granting forgiveness for the change in the sleeping arrangements. Heero was certain Trowa was also considering the nightmare - and Jade's speaking voice - but neither broached the subject. It was Trowa's turn to head into town for a laundry run and groceries, while Heero spent the day with Jade. It took the first half of the day to trim back the overgrown hedges ringing the small field in front of the house. Heero worked diligently while Jade collected the branches and dumped them in the woods. After lunch, the two donned gloves and pulled down the ivy infesting the back of the barn.

When Trowa returned at mid-afternoon, he came with a scythe for Heero to use cutting the long grass in the front yard. There was a moment, when the tall man unloaded it from the back of the Jeep, when Heero realized he was waiting for Jade to fade into Duo. He was waiting for Duo to laugh and grab the scythe. But Jade hadn't moved, simply watching Trowa's hand on the long crosspiece. The longhaired man shifted as Ifrit crawled from his chest to his shoulder, then moved past Trowa to pick up the basket of laundry and carry it into the house.

It took Heero several minutes to get the hang of the scythe, but soon he was sweating freely in the late September sun as Trowa and Jade rocked together on the hammock. Stopping to catch his breath and regard the chopped area with satisfaction, Heero glanced up to see Jade's head resting on Trowa's chest, and he was shocked to find a sense of completeness, rather than jealousy.

As Heero watched, the auburn-haired man turned and planted a gentle kiss on Jade's forehead. The longhaired man returned the action by hugging Trowa closely for a second. Trowa smiled, leaning his head back as his hand continued to stroke Jade's braid, laying across his shoulder and down his arm.

Heero smiled and turned back to finish the yard. It no longer felt acceptable to resent any attention Jade might receive from Trowa. Instead, it felt right, as though having Jade close by, attentive if silent, was simply part of the days. Since Quatre's visit four days ago, Trowa had begun encouraging Heero to lay with Jade on the sofa while reading the next chapter of their current book, or to kiss the silent man goodnight on the forehead before climbing into bed. The auburn-haired man's jealousy at being left out seemed to have subsided, and Heero realized his own jealousy was fading, as well. They'd both done their best to explain to Jade, as explicitly and gently as possible, that sexual attention would be rare, but Jade seemed to be content with what they were willing to give.

And I am willing, Heero realized. He smiled, pleased at his quiet epiphany. Sharing love didn't diminish it.

The thought of sharing made Heero contemplate the sleeping arrangements again. Trowa had mentioned in passing, while unloading the Jeep, that he had spent several hours giving serious thought to the conversation they'd had about the trunk. He had some ideas, and seemed to imply they were related to Heero's explanation that the trunk was a type of security blanket for Jade. Heero had been about to ask for details, but refrained, deciding merely to grant Trowa silent permission, trusting his lover's instincts. At least tonight they would sleep without Jade, and give the silent man a break from wearing the braid before trying again.


Tuesday after lunch, Ifrit threw up.

Trowa was measuring for shelves in the kitchen, and Heero was noting down the measurements of the cabinets, which were rotting on the walls. They'd moved a number of the dishes to stack along the counter, rather than risk the shelves collapsing under the weight. Heero heard the noise first, and dropped what he was doing, heading into the living room to find Jade hovering anxiously over the kitten. He was pushed aside by Trowa, who'd grabbed paper towels.

Heero pulled Jade out of the way, hugging the longhaired man as he whimpered. Trowa cleaned up after the cat, and was silent for a moment before standing up, his face pale. The cat was cradled in his arms.

"I've got to take him into town," he said quietly. "There's blood in the vomit. He's probably okay, but I'd rather have the vet check him out." He smiled at Jade, but the expression was strained. "I'd bet that Iffy ate something that didn't agree with him. I'll be back soon. I'll call from the vet's and let you know." He disappeared into the kitchen, putting the cat on his shoulder as he transferred the bundle of paper towels to a plastic container. Pausing only to grab the car keys and give Heero a quick kiss, Trowa was out the door.

Jade moaned as the door closed behind Trowa, and Heero sighed, hugging the longhaired man tightly. "It's okay, Jade, it's not your fault. Cats sometimes get sick, but I'm sure he'll be okay. Trowa's going to make sure he's okay." The longhaired man shivered in his arms, and Heero hugged him closer. "Here, let's sit down and read while we wait."

It only took two minutes for Jade's nervousness to get to Heero, and he set the book down with a sigh. The silent man was perched on the edge of the sofa, his fingers clutching the hem of his shirt as he started at every little noise outside. Heero ran his fingers through his hair, and wondered what to do. Sighing, he smiled ruefully at his own forgetfulness.

"Jade, go get your pillow, and have a seat."

Security blanket, Heero reminded himself. Jade's anklets clattered as he dashed into the study, returning in a moment with the pillow and settling it down by the fireplace. As Jade sank gracefully into his standard kneeling position, Heero was startled see the silent man calm down almost instantly. The dark-haired man was quiet for several minutes, his fingers tapping on his knees as he leaned back on the sofa. Pondering Trowa's comment about spending time one-on-one with Jade, he smiled ruefully.

Duo would never believe this, he thought, and pushed away the pang stabbing into his heart.

"It all started when you set us up on that double date," Heero began. "Remember? You told us it was just friends getting together, and then you and your boyfriend kept pouring shots down our throats and left us at the bar without a ride home. I never did thank you for that, did I." He chuckled. "I'm still not sure, since I woke up with a killer headache, but at least I wasn't alone in the headache. I bet you even found a way to bribe the forces of nature to pour down rain on us, the whole nine-block walk back to my apartment."

A thin line formed between Jade's brows, but his head was tilted forward, as he listened intently.

"After you... disappeared... I took some time off from Trowa. I just... I needed to find you. I was your contact, and I kept thinking if I could just look hard enough, dig a little more, I'd find you. I thought maybe being back on L2 was too much for you, seeing all those kids you couldn't save. That would be like you, to head off to take care of them, and see it as a higher priority, because it was your priority. I'm not sure, now, if that's true, but that's what I told myself. I couldn't think of any other reason you'd walk away from a promise you'd made, unless you found a promise even more important. I wasn't willing to accept that you'd gone down with some shuttle when I had no proof you were on it."

Jade cocked his head to the side, frowning.

"Trowa was pretty lonely, I guess. We saw each other once or twice a week, but I was distant, too preoccupied. So Quatre... " Heero leaned back and stared at the vaulted ceiling, staring at the buttery-cream color Trowa had selected. "He was out somewhere, he said, and he just found this kitten. I'm not sure precisely his reasoning, but he dropped it off at Trowa's. His eldest daughter was with him. She'd named the cat. I heard she would have been crying for giving the cat away, if her allergies hadn't made her eyes swell up so badly they were nearly shut."

The silent man shifted a little in place, his hands behind his back as he leaned forward.

"So Trowa took in Ifrit, and got him checked out. The kitten wasn't even weaned yet, and all the hours I spent at the computer, trying to find you, Trowa was spending with a bottle in one hand and a kitten in the other." Heero sighed, remembering his friends' attempts to get him to walk away from his self-appointed task. It took Trowa, showing up with the cat and refusing to leave, to get him to stop neglecting the rest of his friendships out of guilt over Duo. "He had a bag of cat food in one hand, and a bag of human food in the other, and the kitten on his shoulder. He said if I shut the door in his face, he'd wait outside." Heero smirked. "Said he had enough food for a week, for both of them. So I let him in... "


Trowa called two hours later, with good news. It was blood, but the kitten's vitals had checked out, and the vet felt the cat would be fine, as long as they kept an eye on him. It was a considerably less tense pair that awaited Trowa's return, despite the fact that Heero felt like he'd gone hoarse from the constant talking.

When the Jeep pulled up in front of the cabin, Heero met Trowa at the door. A fine rain was starting to fall, and the drops caught in Trowa's hair and matted the kitten's fur. Ifrit was deposited onto Jade's shoulder, and the longhaired man smiled happily, nuzzling the damp kitten as he headed into the kitchen to start dinner. The kitten was already meowing repeatedly, and Heero smirked to hear Jade returning the conversation quietly. Trowa's first words were the last ones Heero expected.

"Would you mind getting the trunk from the barn before the rain gets worse?" The sound of dishes clattering in the kitchen sink made it clear he was overheard. The auburn-haired man winced, and lowered his voice further. "I did a lot of thinking about the stuff I've been reading, and the nightmare the other night. Put the trunk in the study, and turn on the computer. There's a document on the desktop with my notes. I'll help Jade with dinner while you read."

Heero gave the taller man a pointed look, then nodded as he left the house. He could hear Trowa reassuring Jade, and picked up the sound of Jade's whimpers. He sighed and headed to the barn, returning several minutes later with the trunk on his shoulder. It wasn't heavy, but definitely bulky, and he grunted as he set the trunk down under the window. He ran his hands through his wet hair, and wiped them on his jeans before seating himself at the desk in the corner of the study. He clicked on the laptop, listening to the sound of rain patter against the tin roof. It sounded like Jade's anklets were dancing over his head. Heero smiled at the image, and when the screen flickered into life, he clicked on the waiting document. Leaning his cheek on his fist, he began to read.


Heero entered the study once he finished cleaning up after dinner. "Ifrit's asleep. Should I close the door?"

"Please." Trowa looked up, giving the dark-haired man a tense smile. "Test those, would you?" The auburn-haired man scooted back, out of the way, revealing a series of eyebolts sunk deep into the studs in the corner of the room. Heero knelt and grabbed a hold of one, exerting a good deal of strength before releasing with a grunt and trying the next.

Settling back on his haunches, Heero turned to study Jade, who was waiting in the corner. The longhaired man was on his pillow by the desk, his head down, his entire body quivering. He was naked except for his anklets and the silver pendant around his neck, and white-knuckled, gripping the edge of the pillow.

"I can't get much leverage on them," Heero told Trowa, pulling his attention back to the task at hand.

Trowa turned towards the window, feeling along the lid of the trunk for several seconds before finding the clasp. Over his head, Heero noted the water streaking on the panes as the rain continued to fall. Lifting the first tray out of the way, Trowa pulled out one of the chains. There was a clasp on each end, and Trowa hooked it on the bolt, handing the chain to Heero. "Try now," he said.

Heero was able to move the bolt a quarter-inch before Trowa stopped him.

"That's good enough," Trowa said. "Jade, come here, and bring your pillow."

"Tro," Heero warned. "Are you... "

A single look from Trowa, and Heero raised his eyebrows, setting his jaw as he thought for a moment before giving his consent. Backing out of the way, he watched as Jade crawled into the corner, pushing his pillow into place before settling down on it, facing Trowa. The auburn-haired man took a deep breath and pulled out the wrist cuffs, fiddling with the buckles for several minutes before strapping them closed around Jade's wrists. Next, he placed a collar around Jade's neck, making sure the silent man's hair and pendant were both out of the way.

"Here," he said, handing Heero the ankle cuffs.

Heero nodded and bent to the task, remembering the directions Trowa had culled from several sites. He slipped the cuff under Jade's pliant ankle, and buckled the strap. Trowa had Jade come up on his knees, and was buckling the thigh straps on. As Heero finished tightening the second ankle strap to a good fit, Trowa began hooking chains to various points on the cuffs, and then to the wall. Heero sat back, curious, but unwilling to interrupt Trowa's concentration. At each touch of the chains against his flesh, Jade shivered visibly but didn't make a sound. Jade's chin sunk down farther when Trowa dug around in the tray and brought out a blindfold. Buckling it at the back of Jade's lowered head, he took a minute to pull Jade's hair out of the way, tucking it over his shoulder.

Jade stirred, the chains clattering for a second, but he had little mobility. His wrists were hooked to each other behind the small of his back, and chained in turn to the collar and from there to an eyebolt just behind Jade's head. Heero observed the chains attached to the ankle and thigh cuffs, but made little effort to study the exact pattern Trowa had devised for rendering Jade stationary.

This is not the same, he reminded himself, and took a deep breath. This is Trowa. I trust him with my life. I will trust him with my best friend's life. Heero closed his eyes, forcing himself to relax, and waited for Trowa's lead. There is safety in knowing... Heero corrected himself automatically, as the thoughts sped through his mind. Jade will feel safer, knowing he's unable to move, unable to do anything but obey.

"Now, Jade," Trowa said, turning the lamp down until it was just barely enough to light the room. The auburn-haired man sat cross-legged on the pillow in front of Jade, his knees against Jade's. "Everything comfortable? Do you feel okay?"

There was a pause, and Jade nodded several times, a little hesitantly.

"Are you sure?" The taller man's voice dropped to a coaxing whisper.

Jade nodded again, more firmly this time.

"Good. Can you get free?" Trowa threw Heero an indecipherable look. "Try," he said.

The chains clattered as Jade pulled against them, and wriggled in place. He couldn't move more than an inch in any direction, between the chains on his thighs pulling his legs apart and forward, and the chains behind him keeping his ankles and wrists back. Jade's chest was forward, his stomach sunk in, his hips tilted up a little, and Heero closed his eyes, bracing himself as he reminded himself sternly that any conflict between himself and Trowa would have to happen outside of Jade's presence.

"I'm your Master, Jade," Trowa said, his voice a lulling but strong whisper. "Everything you do, I control. In this way, I keep you safe. Nothing can hurt you. Surrender to me, and let me decide for you."

Jade quivered, and Heero winced as the silent man's erection began to harden between his legs. He could see Jade chew at his lower lip before dropping his chin with a sigh. At that single movement, all the tension seemed to drain from Jade's body, and he visibly relaxed into his bindings.

"When I tell you to do something," Trowa continued, watching Jade closely, "you do it because pleasing me is your only goal. Focus on my pleasure, Jade. Focus on what I want."

Jade didn't nod, but his muscles tightened in his chest, as he seemed to lean into the sound of Trowa's voice.

"I want... " Trowa paused, and took a deep breath, slowly letting it out as he watched Jade. His hand crept towards Heero, who grabbed it, surprised at how tightly Trowa clung to him. "I want you to tell me your name."

Heero blinked, and looked at Trowa, who was studying Jade intently.

The chains rattled as Jade took a deep breath and shrunk in on himself, caving his chest and stomach in. He began to bow, but couldn't do more than lower his head, due to the chain attached to the collar around his neck.

"Focus on me," Trowa murmured. "You're safe here. I'll protect you. Tell me your name."

Jade began to shiver, his mouth moving soundlessly.

"Tell me... "

Jade shook his head, then stopped, terror radiating from his body. Heero winced as Trowa's hold on his hand became unbearably strong. Acting on impulse and instinct alone, Heero moved to sit behind Trowa, embracing the taller man from behind, and pushing him towards Jade. Trowa understood immediately, and reached out to run his hands up and down Jade's arms, down his chest, and across the tops of his thighs. Jade's breathing evened out, and he raised his head to reveal tears leaking out from under the blindfold.

"Tell me... "

Jade opened his mouth, his lips moving haltingly.

"Nothing will hurt you here," Trowa said, his voice a honeyed balm as he continued to stroke Jade's arms and shoulders. "You can speak. It's safe. I'm here."

The only sound was a long hiss, and Jade moaned, his entire body shaking.

"Did someone else tell you that speaking is a bad thing?"

The silent man shivered, then nodded several times.

"Have I ever told you that I prefer you silent?" Trowa never stopped his hands' motion, up and down Jade's arms. His voice was pitched low, the tone almost monotonous.

There was a pause, and Jade shook his head, just once.

"I'm your Master. My rules are the only ones that matter."

When Jade didn't move, Trowa ran his fingertips down Jade's thighs, and the silent man arched into the touch. Heero loosened his hold on Trowa, granting the taller man space to open his legs, moving forward until Jade's knees were against his thighs. Heero moved forward as well, keeping contact between his chest and Trowa's back.

"My rules, Jade," Trowa repeated. "My pleasure. Forget what others told you. Listen to me." His fingers danced across Jade's arms, and up to smooth the silent man's hair back. "I want you to tell me your name."

Jade's mouth opened and closed several times, before he made a choking sound.

"Tell me."

"Ja... de," the longhaired man said, his voice cracking. "Mas... " he added, and sobbed, his head hanging forward as his body shook.

Trowa didn't flinch, nor did his hands stop. He continued to stroke up Jade's arms, down his chest, across his hips and down his thighs to his knees, before shifting his fingers to Jade's elbows and beginning again with the repetitive motion.

"Yes, good, good," the auburn-haired man whispered in a soothing tone. "Focus on me. Focus on my touch. Focus on my words. Tell me... what do you want?"

Jade's sobs caught in his throat. The chains rattled as he shifted, trying to lean closer to Trowa.

"Tell me," Trowa said.

Heero realized he'd been holding his breath, and buried his face in the back of Trowa's neck. He could feel Trowa's body swaying forwards and back as the other man continued to reassure the sobbing Jade with physical touch. Heero moved with Trowa, letting the rhythmic motion relax him as he fought to keep from panicking. He knew Jade needed Trowa's voice and presence as a focus, but memories were pushing their way up to the surface, and he felt like he was choking, unable to speak, unable to protest. Please, no, he thought, I'll do it right the next time, I promise. He pressed forward, clinging to Trowa as a shield against the blow he was certain would land any minute.

"Heero," Trowa whispered, pausing to twist in place. "Heero... "

"I'm here," Heero finally managed to say. He swallowed hard, and kept his face against Trowa's shirt. "I'll be okay," he said, his voice muffled. "He spoke... keep going."

"You can---"

"I'm staying," Heero hissed, his fingers tightening around Trowa's waist. "Keep going."

There was a movement as Trowa nodded, and turned back to face Jade. "Jade... it's okay, it's okay, you're doing well," Trowa whispered.

Shit, now Jade knows something's wrong, and thinks it's his fault, Heero berated himself. Taking a long breath, he forced his muscles to relax, releasing some of his tight hold around Trowa's waist and focusing on the sound of rain on the roof to distance himself momentarily. After several deep breaths, he blinked, raising his head to look over Trowa's shoulder to see Jade's body calming as well. The longhaired man sniffled, and hiccupped, but continued to lean into Trowa's touch.

"Tell me, Jade," Trowa whispered. "What do you want? You're safe. Nothing's going to hurt you. I'll protect you. Tell me what you want."

Jade's mouth opened and closed several more times, and he shuddered.

"That's right... "

"Plea... se... my... Mas... " Jade's voice broke off with another sob, and he twisted violently in the chains. They rattled with his movements as he thrashed, unable to move more than a few inches in any direction. "Please... " Jade moaned again, shaking harder.

Trowa lunged forward, wrapping his arms around Jade, tucking the crying man's head under his chin. Heero nearly fell backwards from losing his grip on Trowa, but caught himself in time, watching as Jade sobbed against Trowa's chest. The taller man was up on his knees, straddling Jade's thighs as he cradled the crying man against his chest.

"Tro," Heero murmured. "Should we... " He didn't finish the sentence, as Trowa sat back down, his hands returning to stroke Jade's chest and thighs. "Are you... "

"Yes," Trowa said, turning his head to glance over his shoulder. He twisted a little and gave Heero a quick kiss on the cheek. "Almost there," he said, and his green eyes were bright in the lamp's glow. "Jade, one more... just one more question. You're doing really well. Focus on me, focus on my touch. You're safe here. You can speak, and nothing will hurt you."

Heero could feel Trowa's chest rise and fall as the man took a deep breath, held it, and slowly released it.

"You've done wonderfully, and you deserve a reward," Trowa murmured. "But if you want a reward, you'll have to tell me what you want."

This is it, Heero thought, watching over Trowa's shoulder as Jade's crying faded. Tears continued to drip out from under the blindfold, and the longhaired man bit his lower lip, apparently deep in thought. Trowa repeated the gentle orders as he continued to run his fingertips across Jade's arms and shoulders. Heero watched intently as Jade opened his mouth, closed it again, and then took a deep breath and opened his mouth.

"Mas... ter... " Jade's voice was barely a whisper. "Wan... to... "

"Tell me," Trowa urged gently.

"Give... " Jade flinched, seemingly shocked at the sound of his own voice. He twisted for a second in the chains, quieting down only after several more seconds of Trowa's touch across his skin.

"Give what, Jade?"

"You... pleas... .ure... " Jade pulled his chin up, arching his body forward.

The chains were taut behind him, the collar pulling at his throat as he leaned towards Trowa. His entire body was quivering, and Heero glanced down to see Jade's muscles firmly defined in his stomach and arms, and his erection dark red and weeping. Heero gritted his teeth, and closed his eyes, listening to the rain dancing on the roof as Jade and he waited for Trowa's response.



End Part 12


On to Chapter Thirteen

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