the_goldenpath: made by <lj user="dawnrune"> (Gundam Wing Fics - God of Death)
[personal profile] the_goldenpath
Title: Duo Maxwell and the Amber Room of Gold
Fandom: Gundam Wing
Pairings: established Heero and Duo
Genre: AU, action/adventure with light angst/drama/romance
Warnings: Duo’s potty mouth, some violence. Shounen ai.
Summary: After his adventure in Tibet, Duo Maxwell returns home with Heero and receives a request from the military organization known as The Alliance to retrieve paintings lost during WWII. He travels to Eastern Europe and soon discovers that’s not all he’s supposed to retrieve…
Author’s note: unbeta-ed. Sequel to “Duo Maxwell and the Sword of the Khan”, following the same Tomb Raider-ish concept (not a cross-over), but can be read as a stand-alone. Some references to people and events from the Tomb Raider comics, movies, and/or games. Feedback is a nice thing.

Key: ----------------- = scene change

“Fuckers! Assholes!” Duo walked around the Jeep, staring at the slashed tires. He kicked at one. “Idiots! Morons!” Grumbling, he was about to repeat his walk once more, when Heero stopped him.

“Duo, using strong language doesn’t make the tires any less flat. Calm down.”

“Fucking idiots!” Duo couldn’t resist getting in a last swearword. He frowned. “I can’t believe it. If they want to scare us into leaving, why slash the tires of the vehicle?”

“It’s our Jeep only,” Heero informed him. The big Audi to the right and the two cars with Russian license plates had no damage at all.

“How conspicuous,” Duo said with a sour look on his face. He sighed dramatically. “Oh no! Who could have possibly done this? The fiends!”

“That’s enough, Duo.” Heero drummed with his fingers on the roof of the Jeep. “It’s getting late and something tells me there aren’t any taxi services between Brsiç and Çleçiani at this time of hour... and it’s too far too walk.”

“What do we do now?” Duo asked. “Go back to the girl at the museum… Branka? Maybe she knows where we can get another mode of transportation?”

“I’m not sure, but I think we passed a service garage just before we entered town. Do you have cash on you or did you spend it all on the Jeep?”

“No, I still have dollars, Euros and some local currency.. what’s it called, the Leu.”

“Good.” Heero turned around. “I think we’re going to need it.”

They walked back to the entrance of the town. It was further than Heero had estimated and soon enough, he noticed that Duo was slowing down. He adjusted his pace as to not make it painfully obvious that his speed was exhausting to Duo. When they reached the garage, the windows and door were locked.

Servicii complete,” Heero read the sign on the wooden door out loud. “Închis.”

“That means they’re closed.”

“Let’s give it a try.” Heero knocked firmly. The house adjacent to the garage looked inhabited, hopefully the owner of the garage lived there. He knocked again, louder. It didn’t take long for one of the windows to open; a middle-aged man wearing a woolen cap peeked outside, irritated.

Ce vrei? Ne sunt închise!

“English, please?” Heero said. “I’m sorry to bother you sir, but we need help. Our Jeep…” Before he could finish his sentence, the man closed the window again.

“Well, I guess he wants to help us verrrry much,” Duo said dryly. “Maybe we should show him some money? Perhaps that would be more interesting…”

“Wait,” Heero said. He could hear noises; a brawl of voices and footsteps. Someone was coming and he stepped aside as the door swung open. The same middle-aged man stepped outside and stared at the both of them. He was followed by a younger version of himself; it had to be his son.

“Sorry, my father doesn’t speak English,” he said. “I’m Alexandru! What can I do for you?”

“We need your help, Alexandru,” Heero answered. “The tires of our vehicle have been slashed. We need new ones.”

“All of them? Four tires?” Alexandru asked incredulously.

“Unfortunately, yes. They don’t have to be a specific brand… just whatever you have. We can pay you in dollars.”

“Dollars, yes,” the man spoke up. Alexandru chuckled and patted his father on the shoulder.

“That’s about the only English he understands,” he said. “Don’t worry, mister. Let me get my brothers and we’ll get the truck out, and help you.”

“Thank you so much,” Heero said.

“It’s like the whole goddamn cavalry,” Duo mumbled. Heero was about to say something but he understood why Duo’s mood had soured so much. He hated being in physical pain, and he hated not being able to take care of the problem himself. But in his condition, he wasn’t fit to change a Jeep tire, let alone four of them - and Duo hated standing on the sideline. Heero didn’t care if the elderly man was looking or not, he put his hand on Duo’s cheek, cupping his face.

“We’ll be back at our hotel soon,” he said. “Just hold on.”

“I’m not a baby,” Duo pouted, but he didn’t shake Heero’s hand off. He gruffly stared into another direction until Alexandru returned with his brothers, Dragos and Ferenç. They hauled a truck out of the garage, the vehicle looked as old as if it had seen WWI itself.

“I can’t believe it’s still working,” Duo said, flabbergasted. “It has to be a zombie truck!”

Alexandru didn’t mind the comment. “It’s old, yes! But it works! You get in, we’ll take you to Jeep!”

Both Duo and Heero got inside the truck, if only to escape the heavy, thick exhaust fumes. The brothers also climbed in and with Alexandru at the wheel, they drove back to the large square with the bronze fountain.

“It’s sure is quiet at night,” Duo said.

“No tourist town,” Alexandru commented. “Not many people come here.”

“And when they do, their car gets mangled?”

Not understanding the word ‘mangled’, Alexandru answered: “Mayor Silivaç tries to get tourists here, but we don’t have a spa like Çleçiani, or an university like Braşov. Most people come here for quiet and silence, nature.”

“Nature is a good tourist attraction,” Heero said. He raised his eyebrow when Alexandru shook his head. “It’s not?”

“Hunters,” he growled. “They kill our nature. Tourists aren’t always good. Not many people here like tourists, but they bring money. We need it. The fountain needs a reservation.”

“I think he means ‘restoration’,” Duo said, after giving it a good thought. “You speak English, Alexandru. Why don’t you move to the big city, instead of helping out your father?”

“I went to university in Braşov, for a year. Engineering. But my parents couldn’t afford it. We have food, a home and a business, but that’s just about it.”

“And the other candidate for mayor, Djurdjevic?” Heero asked. “What’s his stance on tourism?”

“No tourism.” Alexandru parked the truck next to the Jeep. Dragos and Ferenç got out and started unloading the tires.

“No tourism at all?”

Alexandru looked a little uncomfortable. “No. Just for us. You know, the people who live here.” He jumped out of the truck and grabbed a large toolbox from the back of the truck. Duo gave Heero a puzzled look.

“You go sit in the Jeep,” Heero said. “I’ll help the guys out. The sooner we’re done, the sooner we can leave.”

“But,” Duo protested.

“Your leg,” was all that Heero said. He heaved a sigh of relief when Duo went to sit in the Jeep, settling into the passenger’s seat. Together with the three brothers, Heero changed the wheels, not disturbed by the young men talking to each other in their native language, snickering every now and then. He paid them in dollars, adding some of the national currency as well. Alexandru thanked him profusely; they said their goodbyes and Heero went into the Jeep, taking the driver’s seat.

“Finished?” Duo asked.

“Yes, we’re done. Let’s go back to our hotel.” He turned the car keys and the engine choked and
coughed. “Oh no!”

“Try again,” Duo encouraged him. After a few more tries, the engine came to roared and Heero put the Jeep into reverse.

“Thank God,” he muttered as he exited the parking lot. “For a moment, I thought they killed the engine as well!”


Back in Çleçiani, Heero shooed Duo into the shower first. After checking the entire hotel room, he joined Duo. He didn’t mind the small shower stall at all, enjoying Duo’s close proximity. It worried him though, that Duo was all but leaning on him, using him as a support.

“Are you all right?”

“I think I overexerted my leg after all,” he muttered. “I can barely stand up.”

“Hold on.” Heero moved him under the water spray to rinse off the last of the shampoo and soap, then turned the showerhead off and hauled Duo out of the stall. He wrapped a towel around him.

“I’m not a baby,” Duo protested again, half-heartedly. That told Heero more than enough and he focused his attention on Duo, ignoring Duo’s hand conveniently sliding over his naked lower backside. He made Duo sit down on the bed and handed him more towels, before wrapping one around his own hips.

“Something’s bothering me,” Duo said.

“Yes, me as well. Apparently you can’t walk for too long without your cane-”

“No, not that.” Duo looked up at Heero and grimaced. “Well, I know I should use the cane, but… I was talking about something else. Those war cemeteries, Heero. Something’s wrong.”

“We’re not here for war cemeteries, but for paintings,” Heero reminded him. “You’re seeing ghosts, Duo, excuse the lame pun. We’re not here for Septem’s shady past, but for the paintings. So far, we haven’t found a single lead.”

“True, true…”

“You better rest up, all right?”

“Do you think they really wanted to scare us?”

“What do you mean? The tires?”

“Yeah. It wasn’t a coincidence.”

“No, I guess not. But I doubt it was about scaring - more like a warning.”

“‘Look out, you’re digging too close to the secrets kept in Brsiç?’”

“Something like that.” Heero flicked Duo’s nose. “Now cut the sarcasm, dear. We should take this serious.”

“I am. Don’t forget to write it down. The Alliance will have to reimburse the tires.”

“They rely on donations for their educational programs, Duo. What makes you think that they can possibly reimburse our expenses…”

“Just kidding, just kidding.” Duo made a waving gesture with his hand.

“Why don’t you lie down instead of joking around?” Heero brushed the towel along his body, drying himself off.

“Fine.” Duo snorted. He threw the wet towels on the floor and left his slightly damp hair loose, not bothering to braid it. He grabbed his smartphone from the nightstand and checked for messages. “Hilde asks if we’re having fun,” he grinned and he composed a message back.

“So much for fun, with four slashed tires.” Heero joined Duo on the bed. He felt fatigued as well. He plucked the smartphone out of Duo’s hands as soon as he had finished.


“No more exertion for you, mister.”

“Heero, typing on a smartphone is hardly exertion… or do you want me to save energy for something else..?”

“You know me well. But you really need your rest, and I need to protect you from yourself. I wouldn’t do anything that inconveniences you.”

Duo kissed him on the lips. “I love your choice of words. You’re such a gentleman.”
“Your leg is still bothering you?”

“It’s a dull, annoying kind of pain. It’s all right, Heero.”

“We could go to the spa tomorrow and relax. After all, this is our holiday also.”

“You’re right.” Duo nuzzled Heero’s neck, wrapping his arms around his torso. “I’d love a visit to a thermal bath.”

“We agree, then.”

“Very much so...” Enjoying the attention, Duo made sure to return the loving gestures. Kissing, touching, stroking… his hands went through Heero’s hair, his fingers traipsing over his back, tracing his skin. No more talking, just pure attention and love, exploring each other passionately, holding, caressing and cradling… They lost track of time, completely absorbed with each other, sharing another heated kiss before falling asleep, wrapped in each other’s arms, protective, possessive, wrapped in all-encompassing love.


At the breakfast table, Mila was all but happy to give them directions to the local spa. “It’s a natural, mineral spring,” she explained. “Good for body and mind!”

“Sounds like a plan.” Duo smiled at her, as she had given him another International New York Times, only one day old. “We should check the Jeep first,” he winked at Heero. The quip flew over Mila’s head, obviously, but she beamed at him nonetheless.

“No Jeep! Walking distance!”

Heero looked at Duo, asking him silently if he was up for another walk. He nodded in approval when Duo said that he was going to take his cane with him.

“You have walking problems?” Mila tilted her head. “Warm water is good for limbs!”

“Thank you, Mila,” Duo said. The girl tugged at her fotã and dawdled a little. “Is there something you’d like to ask?”

“You American?”

He was taken aback by the question. “Why do you ask?”

Mila took the pot of coffee on the table and leaned forward to grab Duo’s mug, even though he hadn’t asked for a refill. She lowered her voice to a whisper. “Not many are fond of Americans here,” she said. “Be careful.” The coffee sloshed into the mug, and she quickly put everything back on the table, before turning around and returning to the buffet where she started to rearrange the items, movements a little clumsy.

“What was that all about?” Duo asked when they wandered outside. Heero rubbed his chin. He too had been wondering about Mila’s sudden… change. He had figured the girl for fairly happy-go-lucky, but there had been a sad, downcast tone to her voice that didn’t match her character at all. What was bothering her?

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that there are many WWII sentiments lingering in this part of the country,” Heero said. “Conflicting ones, confusing ones. The younger generation wants to move on, the older generation is stuck in the past. It even has a big influence on nowadays society.”

“I don’t get it why the sentiments should be anti-American. The Russians liberated the country, not Americans,” Duo objected.

“Yeah, but after the war ended, the Americans didn’t acknowledge Romania’s support because the country had chosen to collaborate with Nazi Germany first. It took a coup to put them back on the allies’ side, remember?”

“The allied forces were comprised of more than just Americans. Why single one group out?”

“It’s how the people feel, Duo.”

“I know, I know. Well, why don’t we put politics aside for today and just enjoy the spa?”

“I was hoping you’d say that.”

The spa was located in a grey-stoned building with large arches on the front, looking like a medieval mansion. Heero bought two entrance tickets and a young girl who could be Mila’s twin sister, gave them a quick tour. Duo was impressed by the modern baths and the large swimming pool, aching to get into the water. The girl showed them the facilities where they could change, shower, or rest. She asked if they had booked or wanted any special treatments, like massages or therapy, but Duo declined. He just wanted to enjoy the thermal water and he was excited to hear that he could also visit a sauna. They changed into bathrobes and slippers, Duo balancing the footwear on his toes before putting them on. As they entered the pool area, he made some heads turn; people stared at his long braid as he walked by. Heero didn’t mind, as long as those looks didn’t turn into something else. But the way he comported himself, walking behind Duo like a bodyguard, made those looks quickly redirect themselves to elsewhere.

“Oooh, amazing,” Duo said as he entered the water. “So lovely and warm! Get in, Heero!”

“All right, all right.” Heero dipped his toe in the water. Silly of course, he knew it was warm, but he wasn’t very fond of swimming. He preferred an assault course, running or playing an intense game of soccer to something as silly as floating in a huge tub of water. Duo’s enthusiasm was contagious though, and he joined him in the water, occasionally greeting other guests with a curt nod. Duo was already on the other side of the large bath, clinging to the edge.

“I want to go outside,” he said, pointing at the large row of windows, offering a wonderful view of the thermal spring, nested between the building and the foothill of the Faragas mountains.

“You can take your time,” Heero said. “We have all day, Duo.”

“I know, and I plan to enjoy every minute of it!”

Heero wanted to kiss him, but they had decided a long time ago to keep their affection private, not public. Duo knew what he wanted and batted his eyes extra seductively, just to tease him. Grinning, he said: “I know you don’t like swimming that much, Heero. You don’t have to stick to my side all day, if you don’t want to.”

“I brought a book with me, just in case I get bored.”

“Excellent.” Duo turned around. “I love this! I don’t feel any pain or discomfort. And no, Heero, I’m not going to install a thermal bath in Maxwell Manor. The leg issue is temporary, remember?”

“It’s not if you keep overexerting yourself,” Heero said severely. “You have the bad habit to ignore your own limits, Duo Maxwell.”

“Yes, nanny Yuy.” He rolled his eyes. “I’m going to go outside, then visit the sauna, then back to the pool and then I’m going to do it all over again until it’s the end of the day. You’re welcome to join me, and if not, have some fun yourself.”

“I’m certain I will,” Heero said, but he didn’t mean it the way Duo thought he did. He had already spotted the tall man on the other side of the pool, who was taking longer than necessary to undo his bathrobe. He’d been looking at Duo, who had his back turned to him. Heero locked eyes with the man briefly, just to let him know he had spotted him. To his dismay, the man met his gaze heads-on and showed a small smile. His bathrobe came off, revealing a tattoo on his shoulder. Heero’s eyes went wide. Two stylized lightning bolts. The man had some nerve to sport the Siegrune in public. It made his stomach tie itself into knots. Who wanted to show his admiration for the Waffen SS so openly?


Previous chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |


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