title: Fight Club
fandom: Gundam Wing
characters/pairings: Heero/Duo, Trowa, Wu Fei
rating: Teen
warnings: violence, AU, Quatre is dead
summary: Heero watches Duo fight.
notes: for sunhawk, although i don't think this is quite what she had in mind when she asked for hurt/comfort? also, this was supposed to be under 1000 words, and it swelled to 2464. eep! ah well, gotta do what the story demands, right? ^_~
caveat: it may seem like i'm punishing certain characters here, but keep in mind, this comes from a rather biased, shall we say, point of view.

It got harder to watch the longer it lasted. The sounds alone were enough to make him sick. It was inhumanly cruel to expect a man to watch his lover get beaten, and not do a damn thing about it.

Oh, Heero understood the logic behind it; he understood the logic behind it all. When the universe was 90,000 cubic feet large, and not another damn inch, and you had to share it with seventy other men who had been deemed equally 'dangerous' by the powers that be, you had to organize the violence, the rage, or else they would all be dead.

The fight clubs had been Duo's idea to begin with, based on a book he had read as a child. It was male therapy, he said.

Heero winced as Big Tony swung his open, meaty hand at Duo's face. Heero could still hear the palm connecting with Duo's cheek. He felt his stomach rumble, and he began to count. If Duo wasn't done with this jackoff by the count of 100, he would interfere.

He understood the logic of it all. Camp Hell wasn't the sort of place that everyone survived; there was nowhere to bury their dead, so they stood piled up against the walls of the microcolony, bagged for sanitation, grim reminders of what was in store for all of them, one by one. Quatre hadn't lasted long. He couldn't. That had been the beginning of the end for Trowa. Heero knew that much the same fate awaited him, were Duo ever to die.

But that was why he had to fight. Heero couldn't be by Duo's side every second of every day, and there were too many eyes that watched Duo's braid swing behind him as he walked. Duo needed to be able to take on anyone himself.

It was pure, unadulterated torture for Heero. It would have been easier to have his own hands chopped off and then go into the fight himself, rather than watch Duo get bruised, bloodied, and broken.

All my fault, he chanted as he counted, already at 68. He had trusted Relena, believed that she was invested in the colonies, in their war. But she had hopped into bed with Treize the second she had the chance, and there was no way to expect that. Her brother, yeah, everyone assumed he was keeping the colonel's bed warm. But Relena? Where had all her ideals gone? Where had her father's teachings gone?

He always thought of Relena at times like these. He imagined himself ripping her face off, and snapping all the bones in her body one by one, until he smashed her skull into the ground. She was the reason they had all been sent away as 'war criminals,' why Quatre was dead, why Trowa had become a monster, why Duo was getting beating right now by some great ox with a neck like a damned elephant's leg and why the hell wasn't he at 100 yet??!!?!?!

He blinked. The ox had made a mistake. He hit Duo, sending him flying back, but he didn't spin to follow him. He was taking a moment to savor his 'victory.'

He was showing Duo his back.

There was a gleam in Duo's eyes that could only be described as maniacal. He slammed his foot into back of the ox's knee, bringing the great brute down. He got up, much faster than anyone would have guessed he could have, and spun around, slamming his foot into ox's neck. Big Tony hit the ground face first, his blubber ricocheting off the cement in waves, his jaw twisting and cracking.

Suddenly, a thin, oily man with skinny arms covered in fine, black hairs was motioning the fight over. That was Big Tony's lackey, and without Big Tony, that boy was toast. Duo cracked his neck, rolling his shoulders, and spit out a mouthful of blood.

Heero's whole body ached to have Duo in his arms again, but it wouldn't work here. There were too many people who could spot and exploit a weakness for them to risk it. Heero waited for Duo to come to him, and even then, he didn't reach out to put his arm under Duo. They walked away, Duo waving his arm and calling it a night for the club. Everyone disbanded slowly, dispersing seemingly randomly to the little niches they had carved out.

Big Tony was still on the ground, his nervous lackey fluttering close by his body, trying desperately to wake him up.

Heero didn't even take Duo into his arms as they walked away, even though Duo was limping noticeably. It made every nerve in his body crackle with tension, but he resisted. They weren't on their home turf yet, it wasn't safe.

Duo grinned at him, the space between his teeth filled with blood, his eyes puffy and his skin glowing with bruises. His pants hung low on his hips, accentuated by his limp, and his boxers stuck out above the waistline. He was still just carrying his boots, his feet tenderly finding their way through the streets. Heero knew that he couldn't bend over to put them on without passing out, but it looked like Duo was just unconcerned.

Duo's bare chest and back had Heero worried; he didn't look, but he could feel the eyes that followed them. No one but no one fucked with him, but some still thought that maybe Duo could be their prey. Heero clenched his hands into fists, and walked just a bit closer to Duo, just a bit behind him, in an obvious defensive posture. Duo rolled his eyes, but didn't complain.

"Tough fight."

Heero narrowed his eyes.

It was hard to walk in any part of Camp Hell that wasn't under Barton's control these days. A large percentage of the body bags lining the walls were filled by Barton personally, as he had cut a vicious swath for himself through the middle of the habitable colony. Quatre's death had hit him hard, and Heero had tried to understand, but Trowa's eyes had been lingering on Duo's skin for a while now, and it was becoming inevitable that, eventually, the two men that never entered into fight club would have to face off.

Heero didn't want to kill anyone, but he would rip Barton in half before he let him put a finger on Duo.

Duo sighed, and smiled. "Ain't no one's getting the best of me, no matter how tough he is."

"Is that so?" Trowa had a way of speaking that made it seem almost as if he were projecting his thoughts into people's heads.

Heero hated that. He put his hand on the back of Duo's neck, rubbing his thumbs into Duo's muscles, and he glared, challengingly, at Trowa.

Trowa smirked. "Someday, I'd like to test that theory with you. But not on the cement... Not very comfortable."

Heero fumed. How could Duo not see the way that Trowa was leering at him? But instead of getting defensive, Duo just laughed. "Nah, I wouldn't try to fight you. I don't think you fight fair."

Trowa posed, considering. "You need help getting home? I can walk with you."

Heero narrowed his eyes. That was a calculated cut. He put his arm more securely around Duo's shoulder, and pulled Duo closer to him. Duo grinned, cockeyed. "Nah, man, we're aces. Ain't that right, Heero? Just enjoyin' the night air, 'sall."

Trowa nodded slowly. He put his hands in his pockets deliberately, and shrugged. "Another time, then."

They waited until Trowa strolled off, Heero glaring daggers into his back the whole time. Duo laughed quietly. "Big man now, ain't he?"

"Not as big as he thinks," Heero muttered. He wanted to get Duo back to their hovel quickly, the faster the better, so he gave up appearances, and slid his arm down to Duo's waist. Duo hissed in warning, but Heero just propelled them along. "Just enjoying the night air," he said in apology.

Duo blew his bangs off of his face. "Whatever. Let's get home."

Heero could feel Duo tiring, and it wouldn't be long before he was at the end of his rope. Bringing down Big Tony was a coup; it would buy them a few days of peace and quiet. Duo wouldn't have to enter a fight for maybe a week, if they were lucky.

Heero hated the fights more and more each time.

They passed the 'tower' that marked the area that Wu Fei kept a watch on, and they were safe. Heero all but picked Duo up in his arms and carried him back to their safe house. Wu Fei never participated in the fights, and was rarely ever seen. He was like a phantom, picking off men who 'misbehaved' in his territory. He had made a katana for himself out of scrap metal, and besides Barton and Yuy, was the most feared man in Camp Hell. They had something like an agreement with Fei, or, at least, Duo did. They lived under his eye, and didn't interfere with what he did, and they shared what they gathered with him. It worked, to an extent, but mostly because Duo acted as a buffer between Heero and Fei. Otherwise, there would have been a situation at some point where dominance was determined. Fortunately, it hadn't gotten to that, yet, although Heero wasn't sure that Fei understood what Trowa had become, and therefore wasn't sure how Fei would feel about Heero taking Trowa down.

That day would come. Now, he had Duo to take care of.

He set Duo down on the hammock, ignoring Duo's glare, and then went back to secure their door. Duo already had the medkit out by the time Heero got back.

Duo grimaced. "Not much bandaging left."

"It'll do."

"I guess tomorrow you could get more."

Heero nodded shortly. Supplies were extremely limited in Camp Hell, as it was entirely self-contained. There was no entrance or egress to or from the outside world. Supplies were stocked in the uninhabitable parts of the microcolony, and getting to them and getting back was always a risk. Heero had a pattern, but he always refused to let Duo go with him, after that third time. He rubbed the ointment over Duo's cuts, and cursed himself, again and again, for letting all this happen to them.

"You know, it's possible that Trowa was just trying to be friendly. I'm jus' sayin' is all. We were his only friends, once upon a time."

Heero grunted. "I'm not going to make the mistake of trusting someone again."

"Heero..." Duo was scowling at him, and Heero sighed.

He put his hand on Duo's bruised face, gently caressing the line just under the puffy region of Duo's left eye. "There is only one person in this universe who I trust, who has never let me down. Everyone else, I'm going to suspect their motives, no matter what."

Heero lived for the warmth that filled Duo's eyes, for the tender way he said his name at moments like this, for the feeling of having Duo in his arms, clutching at him. His heart thumped inside his chest, and he closed his eyes to make the moment last forever.

Duo sighed, and brushed his cheek against Heero's. "It's never going to happen, you know. I'm never going to go out there on that cement unless I know that I can win."

Heero sighed, silently. "I know."

Duo ran his fingers over Heero's lips. "I'll always be by your side, Heero."

Heero could only nod, because it was just so true.

He couldn't resist opening his mouth to Duo's kiss, even though he anticipated the coppery burn of Duo's blood on his tongue. He indulged for just a second, because his heart was pounding so hard in his chest. "We... we need to clean you up..."

Duo shook his head. "Get me out of these pants, first."

Heero nodded, but he was slow to respond. His fingers felt thick, like they were moving through molasses. He unbuttoned Duo's pants, and waited for Duo to lean back. Duo pulled out the band that held his braid in place, and shook his hair out so that it tumbled all around him. He reached back, holding onto the top of the hammock, and pushed his shoulder blades into the mesh of rope, angling his hips up so Heero could slip his pants off.

Heero was mildly aroused, but it was the sort of slow burn that didn't have to lead anywhere, and now that Duo was naked, his bruises and cuts bare to the eye, Heero felt no desire at all to be inside of Duo. They could take the time tomorrow, when Duo wasn't so sore, so aching. Tomorrow night, maybe.

He picked up the jar of ointment again, but Duo whimpered in protest. "Aren't you going to take your clothes off?"

Heero nodded slowly, still feeling like he was in slow motion, in viscous liquid that was resisting his every twitch. He undressed piece by piece, methodically, very aware of Duo watching him. When they were both naked, he pushed Duo's shoulder, rolling him onto his back, so that he could finish applying the ointment. He cleaned Duo's cuts, salved his bruises, and bandaged his torso. Duo's hands were all cut and swollen, and Heero massaged each finger as he applied the ointment, all the while watching Duo watch him.

Duo grew tired of the ritual, and took the jar and the medkit from Heero's hands, tossing them carelessly to the ground. Heero relented, and leaned against Duo's side as he positioned himself in the hammock. As soon as he got himself situated, Duo rolled over on top of him, putting his head on Heero's chest. Heero threaded his fingers through the impossibly long strands of Duo's hair, and sighed.

"We should finish washing you up."

"I'm just so freakin' tired."

Heero couldn't argue with that tone of voice, the one that spoke of such deep weariness, and he let it go, putting his hands on Duo's back, and gently massaging him, doing what little he could to make Duo's rest easier.

It didn't matter, after all. It didn't matter that Relena was a two-faced whore, or that they lived in this hell, or that Quatre was dead, or that everyone they lived with circled them like scavengers, seeking the slightest weaknesses, or that their best friends had become their enemies... As long as Heero could hold Duo like this, touch him and help him to rest, and fall asleep with the scent of Duo's sweat and hair filling his senses, with the sensation of Duo's skin on his, then everything was all right, everything.