the_goldenpath: (Gundam Wing Fics - Heero and Duo)
[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




--------------------------------



Duo happily went outside to visit the thermal bath, while Heero climbed out of the large pool, not breaking eye contact with the tall, tattooed man. Heero calmly put on his bathrobe and slippers and sauntered over to the man’s side of the pool.

“Why were you looking at us?”

The man straightened himself, not perturbed at all by Heero’s direct approach. “What’s the problem?” He spoke without an accent. “I have eyes. I look around. No big deal.”

“I don’t like the way you were looking at my partner. Do you know him from somewhere?”

“Your partner is hard to miss.”

“Don’t tell me, you’re subscribed to Archaeological Weekly?” Heero asked sarcastically. He didn’t like the way the man had stressed ‘partner’. He made it sound rather derisively. The man snorted.

“The magazines don’t lie,” he said. “About your protective streak.”

Heero didn’t have time to keep up with tabloids. “Excuse me?”

“Don’t worry, my interest is purely professional. My name is Klaus Feldschweig.”

“You already know who I am, so I won’t bother.”

“Exactly, Mister Yuy. I had hoped to get into contact with you in a different way. Like at the museum, or somewhere along the road. Something more appropriate. I want to enjoy the spa now.”

“I don’t know why you need to get into contact with either of us,” Heero said, “but it won’t happen today.” He made a gesture with his head, to the man’s shoulder. “We don’t like to affiliate ourselves with those who support the Nazi ideology.”

“Mister Yuy, please. This is hardly the time or place to discuss personal beliefs, don’t you think?”

Heero discarded the dripping disdain, but now he knew why the name Feldschweig had rung a bell, albeit vaguely. “You’re the author of ‘One Nation, One People, One Fate: Why Accepting Imperfection In Our Genes Will Lead Us To Our Demise.’.”

“So you’ve read my book?”

“No, but I heard enough about it.” Heero stared the man straight in his cold, cold eyes. “Do tell me, how many concentration camps did you want to reinstall again?”

“It’s a shame.” Feldschweig dramatically shook his head. “You misinterpreted the entire message of my book. I held you for far more intellectual, Mister Yuy.”

“I don’t mind if I slide down on your list of people of interest.”

“I’m only interested in superiority,” Feldschweig answered. He looked bored. Heero decided not to bother with the man any longer.

“Don’t try to come into contact with either Duo or me,” he said. “We both won’t appreciate it. And yes, you may interpret this as a threat. Those ‘magazines’ you’ve read, have just scratched the surface on what might happen if you come too close. I advise you against trying it out yourself.” He didn’t await Feldschweig’s answer and brusquely turned around to stomp off. He felt incredibly dirty after talking to the man and he quickly hit the showers in a futile attempt to wash off the entire conversation.


--------------------------------------



Outside, Duo inhaled the fresh mountain air before he entered the thermal bath. His body adjusted quickly to the warm water and he sighed with relief when he felt all of his muscles relax. His right leg didn’t give him any trouble, his entire body was completely weightless in the water. He swam to the edge of the pool and added a few laps as a way to exercise. The other guests greeted him friendly and Duo returned the greetings as he finished his laps. When he was done, he returned to the edge of the natural bath to unwind from all the swimming.

Turist?” The woman next to him, lazily floating in the water, showed him a perfect smile.

Britanic,” he answered.

“Oh, thank God!” She immediately switched to English. “I’m so bad at languages, but I love to talk to people. I can’t identify your accent, though.”

“Half American, half British,” Duo elaborated. “Where are you from?”

“York, North Yorkshire. My name is Lauren White.”

“Duo Maxwell.”

“Nice to meet you, Duo.” She closed the distance between them, clinging to the edge of the bath. “So… are you a tourist or are you here on business?”

“Tourist.” He didn’t see why he should tell someone he had just met, his exact reason to be here.

“I’m here for my fibromyalgia.”

“Gesundheit!”

“No, it’s a chronic…”

“I’m sorry, it was a bad joke. I know what fibromyalgia is.”

Lauren wasn’t offended. “I rather hear a bad joke than the inevitable “But you’re too young to have fibromyalgia! You’re too handsome to be sick!” As if age, or appearance, is of any influence on a disease or bad genes. What exactly are you here for? I noticed your slight limp.”

He was impressed with her keen eye. “A complicated leg fracture, recently healed. I’m the kind of guy who puts way too much pressure on it because he can’t sit still.”

“You’re that impatient, huh?”

“Pretty much. Do you come here often?”

“I try to visit this spa at least once a year, but well.. finances and stuff. My health insurance doesn’t cover my trips, because they think it’s ‘too experimental’.”

“Sounds incredibly frustrating.”

“Yes, especially because I can prove to them I feel so much better after a few days here. This mineral water works wonders for my joints. Say…” She batted her eyes at him. “… what do you think about coffee, or dinner? They serve very nice tochiturǎ here.”

“Pork, huh?” Duo shook his head. “I’m sorry Lauren, but the boyfriend would disagree.”

“Damnit,” she said. “All right, where is he? I have to see the one who has ruined my chances.”

“He’s inside,” Duo said. “He’s not much of a swimmer. I do think he was up for a visit to the sauna, though.”

“I can really recommend the one with eucalyptus. A heaven for your sinuses and bronchi.”

“You’re a nurse..?”

“Nah, I’ve just been to hospitals a lot, due to my bad health.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

Lauren shrugged. “Not everyone can be in a perfect condition, like that guy over there.”

Duo turned his head into the direction she was pointing at, only to see a tall man with short-cropped hair walking near the edge of the bath. He was indeed in peak physical condition; all ripped muscles and not a grain of fat, his body was perfectly proportioned. He passed Duo and Lauren, walking briskly past them, but not greeting them.

“I think he’s going to dunk himself into that cold water bath over there.” Lauren shuddered at the thought. Duo tilted his head a little, but he couldn’t notice anything extraordinary about the man, not from this angle. Still, there was something… odd about him.

“I’m going to hit the sauna,” he said. “It was nice to meet you, Lauren.”

“Nice to meet you too, Duo.”

Duo exited the bath and put his robe on. The chilly air temperature was quite different from the warm water and he hurried back inside. The sauna facilities were on the ground floor and he used them to his liking: soaking up the heat into his very core, taking a cool plunge bath and repeating the cycle until he was done. Taking one last, cold shower, Duo put on his robe again and went to search for Heero. It was getting late and his stomach growled to remind him that it was probably far past lunch hour. He located Heero next to the indoor pool, comfortably on a chair, a book in hand.

“There you are.” Duo ruffled his unruly hair. Heero closed the book and slipped it into a bag before Duo could read the cover.

“And there you are,” Heero said. “I thought you had melted by now. Did you try out every sauna?”

“Yeah, the dry one, the eucalyptus one, the infrared one, the bio-therapy one…”

“Never mind. I’m glad you enjoyed it.”

“Yeah, but now I’m hungry. What time is it?”

“A little past four. We can have an early dinner, if you like.”

“We totally skipped lunch! Man, I feel like I could eat a horse. I want to sit on a terrace in front of a restaurant, have some wine and a candlelit dinner and talk for hours.”

Heero raised an eyebrow. It was very rare for Duo to drink alcohol, he simply didn’t like it.

“Well, I can see you have made plans for tonight. Care to include me?”

“But of course! You’re such a fundamental element of my life, I didn’t think to name you explicitly. You’re all-included.”

“Lucky me.” Heero got up from his chair and grabbed the bag with the book. “Let’s go.”

On their way to the dressing room, he asked Duo: “What were you and the woman talking about?”

“Who, Lauren? She asked me if I was a tourist and we got to talk about why we were at the thermal bath. She has fibromyalgia, so she’s here for health reasons.”

“Did someone else talk to you?”

“No. I wasn’t in the mood for talking that much anyway. Why do you ask? You already saw me talking to Lauren.”

“Just curious.”

Duo looked at him, the question unspoken between them, but he didn’t press the issue. They finished dressing and left the bathhouse.

“Your cheeks are rosy,” Heero couldn’t help but tease him a little, “you look very relaxed and healthy.”

“I feel relaxed and healthy indeed,” Duo said as he straightened himself. “It’s nice to be back on my feet, though. It’s nice to get pampered for a day, but I prefer some action.”

“What kind of action? Food? Which restaurant would you like, or do you want to eat at the hotel?”

“Smartass.” Duo nudged Heero at the elbow. “I don’t care where we eat, as long as I get plenty of food! All that swimming made me hungry.”


---------------------------------------



“We should get back to the hotel.” Duo tried to hide a huge yawn behind his hand. The waiter had taken away their plates and had brought dessert; for once Duo had indulged into two scoops of ice cream, whereas Heero had ordered coffee. “Tomorrow we’ll get started on the search for the paintings, all right?”

“Fine by me.” Heero sloshed the last of his coffee around in the cup. It was much stronger than British coffee; fortunately his body dealt well with the extra amount of caffeine. “I’ll take care of the bill.”

The restaurant they had chosen, wasn’t far from the hotel and leisurely, they walked back, talking about nothing in particular. The Jankoviç family hotel wasn’t fully booked, so it wasn’t strange to find no one in the reception area. Heero took the key to their room out of his pocket. He suppressed a yawn. Apparently, doing totally nothing could tire one out. He swung the door open and stepped inside, immediately followed by Duo.

“Well, fuck me,” Duo said as he saw the gigantic mess. “Who the fuck keeps pulling this shit?”

Heero dropped immediately into a fighter’s stance, even though the hotel room was devoid of the unwanted visitors. He made sure to check the bathroom, but nobody was there either. Duo picked up the empty suitcase from the floor.

“Someone isn’t pleased with our stay,” he said sourly. “Fortunately, they didn’t cut everything up.”

“Why don’t you sit down,” Heero said. “I’ll clean it up.”

“Just throw the clothes on the bed so I can fold them.” Duo sat down and checked the inside of his suitcase. He was relieved that the burglars hadn’t found the secret compartment with the Sig Sauer. Whoever had ransacked the place, had been sloppy; they had just tossed everything upside down and thrown everything through the room. It didn’t look like they, whoever they were, had been searching for something in particular, or so he thought. Heero checked his digital camera.

“They took the memory card,” he said. “They’re going to be surprised when they see nothing but innocent pictures of houses, churches and some landscapes.”

“Anything else missing? Cash? Fine china? Jewelry?”

“I don’t know what you brought along,” Heero said dryly, “but I left the Rolexes and the keys to the Rolls at home.”

“You’re so funny.” Duo started folding up their clothes, albeit messily, and put all of it back in the suitcase. “Is this another kind of warning? Another ‘Get out’, ‘You’re getting to close’?”

“I don’t know. I have to say this region displays quite some hostility, especially after we asked in Brsiç about the hospital. What do you think?”

“I’m not sure. I don’t feel at ease around here, but not unsafe either. What should we do? Go back to Bucharest, or move to another hotel?”

“We haven’t finished our investigation; more so, we barely started. We stay. We’re not going to allow others to chase us away!”

“Bloody hell no!” Duo had only just finished his sentence when a knock on the door startled them both. Heero balled his fists while Duo’s hand slipped into the secret compartment in the suitcase, his fingers curling around the trigger of the Sig Sauer.

“Who’s there!” Heero barked. The door went open, slowly.

“Please, forgive me,” a trembling male voice with a heavy accent spoke. “It’s Grigore Jankoviç, owner of the hotel.”

He had to be Mila’s father. Duo motioned at Heero as he let go of the gun. “Come on in, sir.”

The man showed himself, carefully, slowly, holding up his hands as if he was afraid of getting shot - which befuddled Duo. Did the man know they concealed a weapon in one of his hotel rooms? He could clearly see the stress on his face, and his eyes darting back and forth. The owner didn’t mention a thing about the mess, though.

“Please,” he said again.

“What is it you want?” Heero asked crudely.

“My family,” Grigore stuttered. He was hard to understand, but Duo got the gist from those few words already.

“Did they threaten you? Whoever did this,” he pointed at the scattered furniture, “has threatened you?”

The man swallowed. “Yes. Yes, please, you have to leave. You can get money back. Family will get hurt when you stay.”

“Who did this? Did you see them?”

Grigore shook his head wildly. “Please, no questions! I have daughter, I have sons… my wife…”

Heero was about to ask him again when Duo cut him off: “Leave him, Heero. Can’t you see he’s scared out of his mind? We better leave, or something will happen to the Jankoviç family.”

“You get money back,” Grigore insisted and took out a white envelope. Duo raised his hands as if to fend the man off. “Take it.” He pressed it into Duo’s hands.

“Just keep it. It’s no big deal.” Duo tried to give it back, but as soon as his fingers touched the envelope, he suddenly halted. He had paid the hotel in cash - and this envelope was way too thin to hold the same amount of money. A check, perhaps? Duo made eye contact with Grigore, just for a second before the elder man averted his gaze. Something else was in the envelope and Duo tucked it inside his own shirt, to keep it safe.

“We’ll go now, Heero,” he said. Heero didn’t protest. They trusted each other’s instincts, and Heero never questioned Duo’s decisions, and vice versa; without another comment, he grabbed his own suitcase and put his belongings in it. Grigore looked awful, a pale face with bloodshot eyes, and he kept wringing his hands as Duo and Heero finished packing their belongings.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” he whispered when they were about to leave. Duo put his hand on his shoulder in passing.

“It’s not your fault,” he said. “Say our goodbyes to Mila. We don’t want you to get into any kind of trouble.”

“Thank you,” Grigore said and Duo let him be. He followed Heero outside, who opened the backdoor of the Jeep to slide both their suitcases in. Duo didn’t look back at the family hotel, instead he hopped into the driver’s seat. Heero followed suit.

“So, what are we going to do now?”

“Bucharest is at least a four hour drive,” Heero said, frowning. “We’re both tired, but if we switch places every hour..?”

“We can go back to Brsiç,” Duo said, “and ask Branka for help. Maybe she knows a place where we can stay.”

“It’s late, Duo.”

“What happened to ‘We’re not going to allow others to chase us away!’? Someone is trying to get us out of the way, and you know what happens when someone tries to do that.”

“He awakens Duo Maxwell’s pit bull terrier-like tenacity,” Heero sighed. He had to admit though, that all these strange circumstances fascinated him. His reaction was to dig his heels into the sand and stick around too; this wasn’t about picking on Americans or tourists. Something deep was buried in Brasov county, and they hadn’t even started to dig yet. He looked at Duo, the man he loved so much, at the same time Duo looked at him. They kissed.

“Let’s get these motherfuckers,” Duo breathed into the kiss.

“Just fuckin’ drive,” Heero answered.

--------------------------------------









Previous chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |

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