Chapter 3: "Flirtations"
"You better be careful, man, or someone's gonna think you're stalking him."
Heero glanced towards Duo at the comment, offering a mild frown. "What?"
Duo jerked his chin towards the boy at the other end of the Personal Containment Room, closing his own box and slipping his books into his bag. "Chang, man. It's obvious to anyone with a pair of eyes that you're always watching him and having run-ins with him. People are gonna either think you want to kill him or date him."
"Date?" Heero repeated incredulously.
Duo rolled his eyes, fighting unsuccessfully to keep a grin off his face. "You really need to get out more. Since you're so fond of information gathering, do yourself a favor and look up 'homosexual' on Google. Then maybe you'll quit burning holes in the back of the poor guy's head. That sort of rumor could ruin a guy's rep."
Heero's face blossomed in a dark scowl. "I know the meaning of that word," he snapped. "Don't be an idiot."
"I know, I know..." Duo slung his bag over his shoulder and followed his friend out into the hall. "I've developed this theory about you over the years, see. I think you're asexual, and all the little Heero Juniors will be pod people. They'll pop out of your ass or something in the toilet, and you can grow them in a little greenhouse until there's a dozen little blue-eyed humorless mini-me's running around."
"Do you think you're funny?" Heero demanded coolly.
"You need a girlfriend, my man," Duo sighed, draping an arm over his friend's shoulders and ignoring the way the other boy stiffened at the contact. He let his eye follow a pair of giggling girls down the hall. "We're here indefinitely; might as well enjoy yourself. ...Speaking of which.."
Heero followed Duo's pointed gaze towards the gaggle of girls headed their way. Leading them was a girl with long wheat-colored hair and big blue eyes. "Is that-"
"Yep." Duo removed his arm and gave his friend a pat on the shoulder and a wide smirk. "You really know how to pick 'em. Good luck, buddy." He turned and headed towards his own class.
Heero came to a stop, because it was obvious the girl in front was intent on having a word with him. Her little clique hung back a little ways as she approached, giggling and whispering amongst themselves and sending him coy glances.
The blond girl stopped in front of Heero and offered a warm smile. "You're Heero Yuy, right?"
Heero stared back at her with a face of stone. "You're Relena Peacecraft."
"I'm flattered you know my name," she said, cocking her head a little, still smiling. "You've only been here a couple days."
"You're the Senator's daughter," Heero pointed out. "Everyone knows your name."
He made as if to move past her, but she spoke hastily. "I know Peacecraft High can be a bit intimidating for new students. If you have a question or need any help, don't hesitate to ask. I can show you around sometime if you like."
Heero looked at her in silence. He'd memorized the layout of the school long before he'd even gotten to it. He didn't need a guide. But if Relena showed around every new student, it might seem strange if he turned down her offer.
She seemed to take his silence as an agreement, and smiled once more. "I'll show you around during lunch. That way we don't have to hurry for classes." She bobbed her head politely and continued down the hall. Her group of friends hastily followed, giggling all the way. Heero watched them leave with a slight frown, then put the encounter from his mind and made his way to his class.
Hilde jabbed Wufei in the ribs as they headed outside later that afternoon for lunch. He scowled at her in annoyance. "Stop it."
She ignored him, nodding to their right, eyebrows arched. "Surprise surprise. Looks like Relena's managed to get her claws in the new boy."
Wufei looked over her head. Relena Peacecraft was leading Heero around the school grounds, talking animatedly and gesturing with her hands.
"Uh oh," Hilde snorted. "She's got that Look again. Babbling about her daddy's school, no doubt. And the Peacecraft pascifist ideals if I know her."
Wufei frowned. "Yuy doesn't strike me as the type to attach himself to someone like the Peacecrafts."
"Come off it, Wufei," Hilde laughed, jabbing him again and once again ignoring the glare that earned her. "He probably just thinks she's cute and endearing-- like every other guy at this school except you. And Bruce Thompson, but then, he doesn't walk on that side of the street if you know what I mean."
Wufei chose to ignore that last comment. "Her dream of peace may be admirable," he grunted. "That doesn't make it realistic."
"Funny," Hilde said, squinting up at him. "I had always assumed you two would hit it right off. Both of you frown on the military and detest war. It really surprised me when you blew her off when she tried to get all buddy-buddy with you freshman year."
"I said her ideas were unrealistic," Wufei retorted, sitting down at his bench. "I meant it. Peace is a nice idea, but she expects total pacifism from everyone sometime in the near future. That will never happen." He scowled up at the foliage overhead. "Humans have a history of violence and war dating back to prehistoric times. And that was with clubs and rocks. To think war can be abolished in this day and age, with our technology and politics, is foolish. Maybe someday, but..."
"Not yet," Hilde finished, sitting beside him and opening her lunch box. "You really are a hypocrite sometimes, Chang. There's always going to be war and violence. That's why we need soldiers. Good soldiers. We need a military to patrol the borders, keep the peace, and protect us from the lunatics who want a radical new world order."
"If there were no militaries," Wufei pointed out in a growl, "there would be no war."
"Now who's being unrealistic?" Hilde demanded, pulling out a banana and peeling it with excessive force. "Where do you think the militia came from back in the old days? There doesn't have to be an official military force, Wufei. One day someone will rise up with grand ideas and gather followers for himself. To combat this, people will take up arms-- whether it's pitchforks or laser guns doesn't matter --and unite to stop them. In time, to prevent such a thing from happening again, this militia turns into an actual military. There's no stopping it. As they say, history has a habit of repeating itself."
Wufei glared at his sandwich. He was angry; partly because he knew deep down inside that his friend was right. And also...
Hilde knew him well enough to guess what he was thinking. She lowered her fruit and offered him a sympathetic look. "Though in your case," she amended quietly, "I hope it doesn't. You lost your real family in the Rebel War; I don't want it to happen again."
"Don't," Wufei snarled. He hated pity in all forms, especially from his friends.
Hilde got the hint and dropped it. "Anyway, about Saint Peacecraft..." she took a bite of her banana and let her gaze wander towards the girl in question, who was leading Heero into the building. "Call me crazy, but if I didn't know any better, I'd think she's giving him goo-goo eyes too."
"Quit saying that," Wufei muttered in disgust, unwrapping his sandwich.
Hilde grinned at him. "What? Goo-goo eyes? I could say doe eyes. Look of adoration. Stars in her eyes--"
"It is kind of funny, isn't it?"
Hilde gave a yelp and dropped her banana in surprise. Wufei kept himself from jumping just in time and turned his head to glare at the boy standing behind them. His heart sped up a notch. He hadn't heard the boy-- or even sensed his approach. His wariness of the new student kicked up a notch.
Duo was grinning like the Mad Hatter, looking in the direction Relena and Heero had gone. "Poor Relena. She might as well bang her head against a wall for all the good it will do her. Heero's not too smart when it comes to human emotions." He nibbled thoughtfully on a cracker.
Wufei scowled up at him. "I don't remember inviting you into this conversation," he said coldly.
"Duo.." Hilde turned on the bench to look up at him quizzically. "You're his friend, right?"
"Yeah, we go way back." Duo grinned down at her. "He got the brains, I got the looks. Anyway..." He stuffed the rest of the cracker in his mouth and dusted his hand off on his pants before thrusting it out towards her. "I see you already know my name, but I don't know yours, miss...?"
"Hilde." She shook the proferred hand. "Hilde Shreibaker. This is.."
"Chang Wufei," Duo interrupted, eyes flicking towards Wufei briefly. His smile twisted into something a little more darkly amused. "Yeah. I heard of him. Number one in the school, right?"
Wufei's eyes narrowed. All his instincts were screaming at him that this was a boy he couldn't trust.
Duo didn't seem bothered by his unfriendliness. "Well, I'd better go rescue Heero from Miss Peacecraft before she tries to drag him into a broom closet or something." He flashed Hilde a charming smile. "See you around."
"See you..." she muttered, staring at her lap. Wufei peered at her suspiciously. He decided he would rather blame the sudden flush on her face as a reaction to Maxwell's sudden appearance than something else.
Women, he thought scornfully, and returned his attention to his sandwich.
Wufei had ignored Hilde's comment about Bruce Thompson because he was fully aware of the fact that the older student was gay, as he had found out first-hand during the summer. Bruce had cornered him at the public pool, said a few things that had made it quite clear that he found Wufei attractive and wished to do things with him, and gotten a fist in the stomach for his trouble.
Needless to say, they had not parted on good terms.
Bruce had spent the first few weeks of the school year talking trash about Wufei to his face and behind his back, but when Wufei had simply acted as though he didn't exist, he had backed off, and Wufei hadn't gotten much more than a scowl from the other boy since. Evidently Bruce-- who was not bad looking according to the female population --was not used to being turned down. He was on the basketball team, and had the physique to prove it: tall and athletic. His size was probably the only thing that had saved him from mass ridicule. That and the fact that Relena would not tolerate any student hazing another, and carried enough weight with her status and popularity to quickly put a stop to any such behavior.
But Wufei had not really given the jock a spare thought until Hilde's smartass comment during lunch. Later he wondered grimly if she'd jinxed him.
PT had been dull; no more running today, just a lot of cardio stretches and a quick game of kickball. Wufei had managed to avoid Heero and his unnerving stare when two members of the track team had pounced on him right after the game, having witnessed his triumph on the track the other day. He made his way to the locker room to nab a shower before the rest of the class finished their stretches and claimed all the shower heads.
He took a quick rinse-off shower; he could hear the coach shouting at a few boys for horsing around, which usually meant the rest of them would retreat to the locker room to cool down and change before the bell. He came out, towel wrapped around his waist, just as the rest of the boys from the class entered the room, their loud voices echoing off the lockers and the shower walls.
Wufei ignored them all and made a beeline for his locker to change into his uniform, intent on getting to his next class early to avoid the rush in the halls.
The kickball banged into the locker right next to his, missing him by a hair, and bounced off, rolling across the room. A few boys laughed rudely, and Wufei glanced briefly over his shoulder to see if it had been an accident or not.
Bruce retrieved the ball, sneering at Wufei in challenge. "What?" he demanded. "Do I got something on my face?"
The others-- most of whom knew about Bruce --stopped laughing and hastened towards the showers. There could only be two outcomes to this confrontation: a fight or another attempt by Bruce to put the moves on Wufei. Either way, violence was forthcoming, and none of them wanted to be in the coach's line of sight when he came storming in to break it up.
Wufei offered Bruce a bored look before turning back to his locker. Bruce was big enough for his presence to make anyone's back crawl instinctively, and Wufei stiffened when he felt the other boy come up right behind him. His grip on the locker door tightened until the metal creaked, but he refused to turn around and give Bruce the satisfaction of acknowledging him.
"What, think you're too good for me?" Bruce whispered harshly right in his ear. Wufei had to fight not to drive an elbow back into the other boy's face. "You stuck-up shit. You think you're real hot shit, don't you?"
"Get away from me," Wufei intoned, glaring at his uniform, his entire body humming with tension.
Fingers plucked at his hair, let down for the shower, and Wufei jerked his head away. "You're worse than the bitches in this school," Bruce growled. "Nose up in the air, thinking your ass is made of gold. That no one is good enough to so much as look at you."
"I'm not interested," Wufei said flatly, reaching for his uniform. "Or didn't I make myself clear last time?"
"Don't dick around with me," Bruce muttered, his breath on Wufei's ear making his skin crawl. "I know you got to be gay. You got this damn long hair, and you never had a girlfriend. I asked." He shifted his head so that he was whispering in Wufei's other ear. "I bet that new guy is your type, huh? That fruitcake with the braid? You think he's better'n me..?" His hand slipped around Wufei's waist, long fingers splaying against Wufei's bare stomach.
Wufei jerked his arm back and slammed his elbow into an exposed throat. Bruce gagged and stumbled back, clutching at his throat. Wufei turned around to glare at him, fists clenched at his sides. "Back off, Thompson," he said quietly, voice hard.
Bruce coughed a few times, eyes watering, then his face twisted into something ugly and primal. "You... little fuck..." He lunged forward. Wufei was ready for him, and ducked the first swing. He brought his palm up sharply to drive it into the taller boy's chin and knock him back.
His hand struck nothing but air.
Heero Yuy had appeared out of nowhere and come up behind Bruce, face a mask of cold stone. He seized the athlete by the back of the shirt and yanked him back so quick and fast that Wufei's blow missed and Bruce stumbled back into the other lockers with a bang.
Wufei gaped at Heero, too stunned at first to be angry.
Heero glanced him over once-- checking for injuries, Wufei realized in confusion and more surprise --before turning back to Bruce.
Bruce shoved himself away from the lockers with an animal howl of rage, murder in his eyes. Heero didn't even give him a chance to lift his fist fully. He put a foot against one of the benches and kicked it hard. The bench flipped and slammed into Bruce, sending him crashing into the wall lockers. The noise was loud enough to bring the rest of the boys running from the shower. They stood gaping at the scene, looking from Bruce-- groaning and pinned under the weight of the bench --to Heero, standing slightly in front of Wufei and glaring down at his opponent with a face like a thundercloud.
Wufei realized his mouth was open and snapped it shut. Belatedly his anger rushed up to elbow his shock out of the way. "What the hell do you think you're doing??" he exploded.
Heero turned to look at him, blinking. His dangerous look faded into one close to bafflement.
"I can take care of myself, Yuy," Wufei snarled, glaring furiously at the other boy. "Just stay away from me!!" He snatched his uniform from his locker and pushed roughly past Heero, storming off to get dressed in one of the bathroom stalls. The other students hastily stepped aside to let him through. Heero stared after him, face blank.
One of the boys finally gave a low whistle, arching his brows at Heero. "Man, you really need to learn how to pick your fights, man. Chang's gonna kick your ass."
Heero glared at him, obviously confused. "That man--" he pointed towards Bruce.
"Look, I don't know-- and don't wanna know --what Bruce was doin'," the boy said hastily, hands raised to ward off Heero's explanation. "But Chang's right. He can take care of himself. He's one of those kung-fu guys, y'know? Anyway, the coach is gonna have your ass. You just fucked yourself two ways, man."
Some of the other students snickered or nodded in agreement, then they all retreated back to the shower room. Heero stood glaring down at Bruce in frustrated silence until the coach came stomping in a few moments later to see what the hell all the noise was about.
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