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For the best effects, listen to the song posted at the beginning of
each part while reading. ^_^
This part's song is "Give It To You".  ^.^  I think you all know who
sings this one...

Smile.  Turn, wink.  The tinny drum sounded and the bass rolled.
"Anything goes, when I give it to you..."

"Catwalk, catwalk!" the director, a pudgy Frenchman with a megaphone
in one hand and a Krispy Kreme donut in the other, "Dammit, Yuy,
think catwalk!"  The music blaring in the background suddenly fizzled
out as he leaned down and yanked out the plug.  "What ze *fahk* do
you think you're DOing?  You are rooooining my video!"  Several of
the backup dancers, all clad in tight spandex pants and body glitter,
snickered as he waved his hands around frantically, accidentally
bringing the donut up to speak through.

        "Amateurs," he cursed at the unfortunate man standing next to
him.  That man just happened to be Dr. Johnsted, the most sought
after agent on Earth, and Heero Yuy's uncle.  "Your boy! He iz
roooining my video!  Catwalk, catwalk, catwalk!"  He pointed directly
at the impassive Japanese boy who stood examining his nails.

        "Heero," Dr. J said reasonably, or as reasonably as one can
when he is being attacked by a 400 pound Krispy Kreme wielding
Frenchman.  "Why don't you just finish this video and then we can go
home to discuss the Oakdale concert?"  He sounded almost calm, but
Heero felt a momentary shiver run down his spine.  "Or, rather, the
lack of one."  Smirking, thinking Heero was properly cowed, he left
the studio to get a cup of coffee.  Heero knew he'd be watching.  He
was always spying on him, watching him to see if anything he did
could possibly endanger his career.

        Heero reluctantly took his place on the stage, wincing as the
two perpendicular plastic straps that served as his shirt cut into
his skin.  Taking his position in the middle of the troupe of
dancers, the music started again.  He stared at the camera, a little
smirk on his face.  That smirk was his trademark, and there was no
way he was to change that.  Heero wanted one thing, at least, to
remind him of what lay behind the glittery surface.  Everywhere he
went, there were posters with his face plastered all over,
advertisements for his concerts.  He was the hottest music artist in
the universe right now and had the bank account to show for it.

        So he followed the routine and danced for the stupid
Parisian, and when it was over the troupe gave a little cheer and
moved to surround him in companionly love.  He moved away quickly,
wiping the sweat from his bangs, and crossed the divider to the next
studio over, where Relena was shooting a music video.

        As he watched he tugged at his makeshift shirt, feeling a
sigh of relief escape him as it fell away.  He was seized with the
sudden urge to stomp all over it, but stopped himself.  Not pop
superstar material.  Instead, he focused entirely on the green-eyed
boy as he danced with the self-proclaimed teen queen of pop music,
Relena Darlian.  She saw him and gave him a little smile; Heero
forced himself to smile back.  Their agents had devised a little
cover scheme that both delighted and horrified their fans.

        Heero had taken her to the L-2 Music Awards, the hip awards
show for the 20-something-wannabes and the prepubescent screaming
girls and boys, and in return she had gone to his senior prom with
him.  People across the colonies were disappointed to hear that they
were 'going out' (reduced their chances of getting with Heero or
Relena) and delighted, since both had been party to speculation about
gay and lesbians in music.  None of which was true, of course, he
reassured himself.  At least about himself.

        A hand tapped his shoulder and he frowned as he saw Relena, a
devious smile spreading over her red-rouged lips.  "Hello, Heero,"
said Relena, who was clearly going to enjoy torturing the Japanese
boy.  "Want to go out for coffee?"  They looked around to make sure
people were listening, then ducked behind a set piece, a metal
construction that looked like a tree.

        "I thought you'd gotten over me, lover," she teased, poking
his arm.  Heero scowled faintly, but said nothing.  "I saw Dr. J; he
looked fucking pissed.  What did you do this time?"

        "Me?"  He pointed to himself in mock disbelief.  "Nothing!
But he's still fucking pissed, you're right..."  She shook her head,
sending tiny blonde braids flying into his face.

        "Would this have anything to do with skipping the concert at
the Oakdale?  Darling..."  She draped her arms over his shoulders as
a red-headed dancer, the biggest gossip known to the business world,
walked by.  "You can't expect him to handle it well.  He had a lot of
money riding on it.  May I ask why--?"

        "Just needed to think," he mumbled, looking away.       "It's
so fucking loud around here.  Can't think clearly."

        She frowned at him, but said nothing.  At last, pulling away,
she laughed, "Well, try not to get into too much trouble.  And
Heero--"  Relena paused.  "If he does try anything, you come find me
and you can tour with me, baby.  I'm your friend, you know that.
Your very lesbian friend who is very non-threatening," she added,
seeing his expression sour.  He gave her a tight smile, and moved to
walk away.

        "Heero..."  He stopped and cocked his head just so to let her
know he was listening.  "Do be careful.  There's ever so many more
important things going on here, like friendship and love and courage--
don't be foolish."

        He didn't reply but she knew he understood.


        He was lucky, he thought as he held a tissue to his nose,
that he wasn't a bleeder like some people.  He didn't know any
bleeders, but he was pretty sure it had to suck royally.  Either way,
he was covered in blood that had poured from his left nostril when
Dr. J hit him.  He sat on the couch in their hotel suite, listening
with a bored expression to the good doctor rant.

        "...goddammit, Heero!  You're so fucking careless, such a
spoiled brat.  You know," he added, whirling around, "your image has
taken a downturn in the recent months.  You've skipped two concerts,
blown off four interviews, and crashed five cars."  They glared at
each other for a moment, then he continued.  "I was speaking with
Sally Po who works in public relations and she suggested taking you
on a little off-tour trip.  A *secret* trip, which means that every
newspaper of every city of every Colony will know about it before we
even set foot on the plane."

        He paused here, and Heero wanted to roll his eyes, knowing he
was just dying to have him ask where.  "Where?" he asked in his bored

        "To the front of the war, Heero, where real men earn their
keep."  He waved his mechanical arm for emphasis.  "You don't think I
lost this in a thread spool factory, do you?"

        "It was a rubber band factory--"

        "Hush, child, it was in the war, the war of 185.  I should
never have let you pursue this soda pop business."  Heero could feel
his face flushing; he pulled the tissue away and saw that his nose
had stopped bleeding.

        "You are incredibly stupid," he snapped.  "You're the one
that made me into what I am and you loved every second of it.  So you
can go jack off in front of Relena for all I care, I'm through."  He
moved to get up, gulping as a claw closed around his throat.

        "Now you listen to me, you little brat-child, and listen
good."  Heero nodded; he was listening.  "You're going to the
soldier's camp on Sunday.  We leave tomorrow."  Again Heero resisted
the urge to snort or roll his eyes.  "If you don''re
only seventeen.  Eighteen in 10 days.  But that's enough time to move
all your money, all 50 billion credits of it into a personal account
that even you can't hack into.  And then you'll have nothing.  So,
Heero," he said conversationally, his red glass eyes staring at his
neck, "what's it going to be?"

        He swallowed hard.  "I'll go," he said fiercely, Prussian
blue eyes blazing.

        "Good."  He released his neck almost reluctantly, as if he
wanted to choke him to death.  "Now get some sleep, brat-child,
before I do decide to break your neck."  Stumbling out of the room as
fast as he could and hating himself for it, the Japanese boy whose
face had graced every major magazine's cover fled into his bedroom
and curled up into a little ball on his bed and wondered why he
couldn't make himself cry.

This part's song is "What's My Age Again?".  ^.^  I think we all know
who sings that... (Blink182...coughcough)


        A slender white hand reached out from beneath an army-green
blanket, and shut off his copper-colored alarm clock with a groan.  A
few moments later, a disheveled looking boy popped his head out,
violet eyes blinking away the last remnants of sleep.
        His eyes suddenly grew large and he jumped out of the bed,
his long braid tailing after him, trying to keep up to the braided
boy's manic body.  He ran through the tent next door, cheering
insanely, waking up several of the other soldiers in the camp.  They
groaned and rolled over, going back to sleep, not realizing exactly
what day it was...

        A few seconds later, Duo emerged with a blonde boy piggy-
backing on his tee-shirt clad back, jiggling him awake as he ran
through the camp yelling at the top of his lungs.  He streaked by the
mess tent, not noticing as his braid snapped down a pinup poster of a
young man with burning blue eyes, sitting with his shirt open,
clutching a bouquet of roses.

        "He's coming today!" Duo groaned, falling onto the grass
strip that housed the tents.  Quatre, the blonde boy, gave a groan as
he fell from his back and landed on his head.  "Quatre!" he shouted,
giving him a good shake.  His head lolled back and forth in the face
of Duo's energy.  "He's coming toda~ay!"

        Lt. Wufei, looking stern as usual, glared at the braided boy,
but even he couldn't dampen his good mood.  "What are you talking
about?" he barked at Duo.  The American gave his superior a big smile.

        "Heero Yuy is coming today!  Don't you read the papers?" he
asked.  "You know, Heero Yuy?  International pop superstar?"  He
sighed, eyes suddenly going all glittery and love dovey.  Quatre
poked him twice, to no avail; he was off in dream-land.

        A hail of spittle woke him from his daydream.  "No, I don't
know.  What's so great about a musician, anyway?  What does he do,
play the ukulele?"  The Chinese man seemed confused.  Quatre had to
choke back a laugh as Duo's face suddenly grew very red.  His chest
puffed up and he threw his head back, rolling up his sleeves.

        "HOW DARE YOU?!?  Heero Yuy is only the most dreamy guy in
the entire universe," he sighed, clasping his hands in front of his
chest, a peaceful smile spreading over his lips.  "Heero...ah..."

        "Well," muttered Quatre under his breath as Wufei turned
several interesting shades of blue, "there goes the 'don't ask, don't
tell' policy..."


        They were running on a beach, seagulls squawking overhead.
Heero Yuy, the boy he'd secretly (or not so secretly) been in love
with ever since the boy had come out with his first album at the
tender age of 14, ran beside him, the red sunlight playing off his
dark hair.

        "Oh Heero," Duo sighed, reaching out to clasp the Japanese
boy's hand in his, "I love you!"

        "I love you too," replied Heero, but there was something not
right, he seemed...perplexed?


        ""  Quatre looked strangely at Duo, who
was still squeezing his hand like the world depended on it.  "Duo?
Earth to Duo..."  They were getting very odd looks from the others...

        "I love you, Heero..."  Annoyed at himself for having to
stoop so low, he suddenly spun Duo around, pointed at a random
soldier bringing his plate over to the trashcan, and shouted in Duo's
ear as loudly as he could.

        "LOOK DUO!  IT'S HEERO!"  The American's eyes snapped open,
and he looked around wildly, mouth open as he panted, licking his
lips.  All at once, his face fell and Quatre felt his heart rise into
his throat.  Poor Duo.  It wasn't his fault the braided boy was
susceptible to media marketing and a pretty, air-brushed face.

        "Quatre?"  He frowned at his blonde friend.  "Very funny.
But he really is coming here!  And he's staying for two weeks, or
until the cease-fire with Romafeller expires."  That was better; he
was a little more stable now.  "Man!"  He flopped back onto the
grass, tucking his hands behind his head, braid switching like a tail.

        "What I wouldn't give to spend just one day with Heero..."
Duo's violet eyes smiled even as he forced his lips into a flat
line.  "I mean, I know everything about him!  I know what he likes,
what he dislikes; I know about supposed relationships with Relena
Darlian, about his parents dying in that car accident.  We'd get
along real well."  He turned on his side to gaze at Quatre.

        "Wouldn't we?"

        He couldn't help but smile.  "Aa. You would, Duo."
Satisfied, the brown-haired boy sighed and pushed himself to his
elbows.  "But why Heero?  I mean," he added, seeing Duo's mien take a
dark turn, "there's a lot of other guys out there."

        He sighed.

        "I went to one of his concerts before I joined the Sanc
army.  He was...amazing.  And at the end, he sang this one song...It
must've been old or something, 'cause I never heard of it before.
And he looked right at me, picked me out in the audience and stared
at me for like half a minute.  It felt like he was singing right to
me."  Quatre felt a fuzzy warmth in the pit of his stomach.

        "That did it for me.  I know..."  He pounded a fist into one
hand.  "I know that we're meant to be together, somehow..."  Then he
laughed.  "But I mean, I guess every 14-year old girl feels that way."

        "I can't believe he's coming here, though.  When I left L-4,
he was still on tour."  Duo shrugged.

        "Nice guy, I guess.  You know," he said again, turning on his
side, "a long time ago musicians and politicians and dancers and
actors used to go to the soldiers' camps.  Trying to get them through
the boredom of waiting, I guess."

        "That *is* really nice, Duo."  Quatre blushed as his stomach
growled.  "Let's go get something to eat, okay?  You wouldn't want to
faint when you finally meet him."

        "Okay."  Duo smiled warmly at him, and a strange shiver ran
through him.  "That's a good idea, Quatre."  Then he grabbed the
blonde boy and tried to give him a noogie, breaking the spell of the
sun and the silence.


        They were all eating when a loud shout outside the tent
alerted them to it.  A small jet plane, touching down on the landing
pad half a mile from the campsite.  A thrill ran through Duo's blood
as he saw the familiar HY inscribed on the tail of the plane.  "He's
here," he squealed, grabbing Quatre and jumping up and down.  Several
of his friends laughed at his child-like joy; it was hard not to be
happy for Duo.

        They ran to the edge of the campsite, straining to see
anything.  A door opened and everyone held their collective breath.
Quatre wordlessly handed Duo his binoculars, since the braided one
always forgot his own pair.

        "I can see him; a black boot..."  Every muscle in Duo's body
stiffened as the boot melted into a jean-clad leg and then...
"YUCK!"  A plump, gray-haired man emerged from the door, climbing
down the stairs with one mechanical hand sliding along the railing.

        And then, sweet mother of God, he saw Heero Yuy.

        Brown Timberlands, baggy dark blue jeans, a skimpy green
tanktop that showed off defined, almost sculpted arms and a perfectly
muscled, but not too, chest. Then that long neck that Duo had
memorized in his dreams, and his face, gorgeous, tanned, lips curved
into that wicked smirk.

        Duo fainted.


        "Is he okay?" Heero asked, peering down at the boy who laid,
passed out in a blonde soldier's arms.  The entire camp was in a
ruckus over the unconscious boy; he'd left Dr. J, against his wishes,
to investigate.  "I mean, he didn't wake up even when we waved the
smelling salts under his nose--

        "He's fine, just in shock, I think," the boy laughed, and
held out his right hand.  "Quatre Winner."  Heero shook his hand
firmly, enjoying his strong grip.  It annoyed him to no end to shake
hands with limp fish.

        "Heero.  Who's your friend?"    He nodded at the boy, who
suddenly stirred, sitting up to reveal a braid that was nearly three
feet long.  His eyes widened involuntarily, then narrowed as the
American moaned.  "Hey," he said, kneeling beside him, "you okay?"

        "His name's Duo, Duo Maxwell."  Quatre smiled as violet eyes
blinked open, still sleepy.

        "You talkin' about me--"  He yawned.  "Quatre?  That's me,
Duo Maxwell.  He runs, he hides, but he never lies."  Heero gave him
a skeptical glance then appeared to shrug it off.  Quatre was
surprised--for meeting the love of his life, Duo was taking it rather

        "Well, it's a pleasure to meet you, but I have to go get
dressed..."  He could barely stop his eyeroll and instead found
himself staring at Duo, who was looking at him in a very unsettling
way.  "Bye."  He left quickly, brushing aside the tent flaps as he

This part's song is "The Rockafeller Skank" by Fatboy Slim.  ^.^
It's the one that goes, "Right about now...blah blah check it out now
blah blah blah right about now..."  Over and over and over.

        The entire camp was humming with barely contained
excitement.  Night had fallen and there was a large black stage set
up in a clearing, strobe lights and colored streamers adorning every
metal support.  Chairs and tables had been set up in a horseshoe
shape, with Duo and Quatre front and center.

        Heero sighed as he pulled back the flap of the tent, still
wearing only his black boxers.  "How can you lose an entire
suitcase?!?" he yelled, pointing accusingly at Dr. J, who yawned.
"It was there when we left!"

        "Brat-child, just wear what you've got on now."  Then he
*really* looked at what Heero was wearing.  Attractive, he mused, but
we don't want to send the wrong message...  "Never mind.  Put your
jeans and your shirt back on.  By the way," he added as the Japanese
boy tugged his jeans over his hips, "Sally said it would be good
publicity if you could make friends with some of the soldiers.  So,
dammit, don't be so fucking standoffish!  And you're going to stay
here in a tent like the rest of them."  Anything for publicity, he
sighed to himself, watching his uncle prune his beard.

        "After tonight, Heero, I have business in Tokyo to attend
to.  You stay here until I come back."  Dr. J slapped his ass hard.
"Now, hurry up!  You're late!"

        "Fine, fine, you fat bastard," he sighed, running backstage.
The dancers were all huddled in a crowd, chewing their nails
frantically.  "Sorry I'm late," he mumbled, then sneezed as he was
hit with a wave of perfume; the frightening thing was, he wasn't sure
if it was from the male dancers or the female dancers...

        "Why aren't you dressed?" Trowa asked, looking him up and
down.  The Japanese boy felt a curious tingling sensation in the pit
of his stomach, but dismissed it as hunger. Heero waved him off with
some speech about Dr. J and luggage conspiracy theories.  "Okay," he
said rather doubtfully, pulling out a tube of body glitter and
smearing it generously on Heero's face.  "What are we starting off


        Things went downhill from there.  Heero had no idea the stage
supports were so weak, or else he would never have done the break
dancing set.  So when the stage suddenly tipped, sending three of the
girls flying on top of Trowa and the green-eyed boy into the crowd,
right on top of some poor, innocent blonde boy, Heero began to get a
very bad feeling.

        They finished "Give It to You" and another pop-type number by
some archaic boy-band with little fanfare, and then, out of nowhere,
dark clouds circled the stage, thunder booming over the bass, pouring
buckets on them.  The lights fizzled out and there was screaming
heard backstage.  "My synthesizer! Blast it!" [2]

        Everyone scattered in different directions.  Heero stood,
frozen on stage, microphone in one hand, eyes bugged out.  This could
not be happening.  It just *could* not be happening now.  The body
glitter was slowly seeping down his cheeks, pooling in the collar of
his tank top, even as the hair gel began to rinse out of his dark
locks, dropping to the ground with a soft 'plop'.

        "Hey," Duo yelled, motioning rapidly.  He and his friend and
Trowa were all huddled under a rather small umbrella, the last of the
group.  Everyone else had ran for their tents, leaving overturned
chairs and muddy boot-prints.  "Come on!" he sighed, grabbing Heero's
hand.  The Japanese boy felt his breath catch as those eyes, darkened
to almost black, tangled with his.  His hand was so warm, his skin
soft like a baby's. "You'll catch a cold and lose your voice."  His
bubble burst with an audible pop.

        Of course, Heero scolded himself.  It's just your voice he's
worried about.

        Duo couldn't help but grin as he crushed the smaller singer
to his chest, wrapping him in his heavy green jacket.  Quatre,
supporting a limp Trowa, steered them towards Duo's tent.  It was the
biggest tent in the camp, and not without good reason.  Sometimes,
the blonde boy thought, he didn't wonder if getting hit with Duo's
whipcord braid could classify as 'assault with a deadly weapon'.
Simply stated, it was dangerous to stand within three feet of him.
The danger applied not only to humans but to tent poles as well.  He
had lost count of the number of times Duo's braid had knocked down
his own tent.

        They huddled on Duo's cot, much to the braided one's chagrin,
and watched as the storm ravaged the camp.  "I didn't know it was
supposed to rain," Duo said at last.  Heero, who was still wrapped in
Duo's coat, spotted a tiny dot taking off in the sky and felt a
shiver run through him.

        "Hey!" he blurted out.  "You're cold."  Heero looked at him
as if he had suddenly grown a knew braid out his nose.  "I mean, you
know, I have a sweatshirt or something you can borrow.  If you want
to," he added quickly.  Quatre had to stifle a giggle as Duo jumped
up from the pallet and began knocking various boxes and bins over in
his attempts to look for the sweatshirt and stare at a soaking wet

        "Sure.  Thanks."  A few moments later, Heero sneezed.  Duo
was instantly at his side, whacking Trowa in the face with his hair.
The dancer blinked twice, then his eyes focused on Quatre, who,
unnoticed by Heero or Duo, let out a little squeak.  "Quatre, Duo;

        "Hi.  Found it!"  Duo yanked out a navy blue sweatshirt with
a hood and tossed it to Heero.  The Japanese boy blinked twice as
something warm and soft landed on his head.  Duo giggled.  "Sorry!"
The warm and soft thing was removed, only to be replaced by the
American's head, not an inch from his. [3]

        "What happened?" Trowa asked groggily, shifting uncomfortably
as he realized he was stretched out across Quatre's lap.  The blonde
soldier slid out from beneath him, edging gradually towards the end
of the bed until he suddenly fell off with a loud "oof".

        "Are you okay?"  Trowa's head appeared in Quatre's line of
vision, however shaky, and he tried a brief smile.

        "Fine.  Could you, ah--"  He held out his hands hopefully.
The green-eyed boy smiled, amused, and pulled him back onto Duo's
cot.  He was lighter than he'd estimated, because they both went
flying into Duo, who ended up sprawled on top of Heero.

        " awkward," Duo laughed, feeling his face flush as
Heero wriggled beneath him.  "Hey guys, wanna let me up now?"
Quatre, though he was secretly loath to move, reluctantly rolled over
and off Trowa. [4]
        "The rain's stopped," Trowa remarked casually.  The blonde
boy's eyes darted over to his slender form and over the pale muscle
hidden by a decidedly evil green mesh shirt.  Heero, who had just
managed to get the sweatshirt over his head, made a face.

        "Guess we can finish the concert now," he sighed as the filed
out of the tent, Quatre and Trowa first, then Heero and then Duo.
The braided one was content to walk behind Heero, watching his jean-
clad butt as the soaked material clung to hard thighs.  Back and
forth, back and forth, clenching and unclenching, turning around...

        Heero almost said something as he saw Duo blush, but then
they were at the stage and there was no point.  His face had already
returned to its normal color.  The Japanese boy filed that one away
to examine later in the privacy of his own tent.  "Well," said Trowa
rather dubiously, "it looks kinda wet--"

        "Nonsense," Heero said, climbing up the makeshift stairs,
"it's perfectly fiII~IINE!"  He took one step onto the black platform
and went flying, his boots slipping on the accumulated water.

~CRACK!~Motion ceased and over 100 pairs of horrified eyes watched as
his neck snapped back and he landed hard on his shoulder.  A tendon
in his arm screamed in protest as he tried to get up, the world
swirling in his vision.

        "Oh my God..."

        "Is he okay...?"


        "Shut up!" BAM!

        "Duo!  Don't--" BAM!  "Oh dear..."

        "Someone call a doctor...!"


        "Ow," he muttered.  "I knew this was going to be a lousy

[2] Can anyone say, "From the dub?"
[3] If you didn't think hentai thoughts...
[4] What the hell.  This entire part is hentai. ^_^

This part's song is "Bring It All to Me".  ^.^  I think you all know
who sings this one...(Blaquecoughcoughcoughsptoocoughcough)...

        "I'm fine," Heero insisted, seeing Duo reenter the tent with
Lt. Wufei in tow.  In truth, he would have liked nothing better than
smacking the braided boy upside the head a few dozen times.  First he
started a fight, saying it was for the protection of Heero's honor,
then refused to let him walk, instead carrying him to Duo's tent
instead of his own.  And then he ignored Heero as he tried to just
get him to give him some ice, saying he was fine.  He smiled
unpleasantly at the boy, but he didn't seem to notice.  "Just got a
little headache.  I really appreciate you doing this, but--"

        "Hush," the braided boy insisted, blocking his exit.  "It
would have been nice if you'd just stopped at 'you'."  Heero blinked
twice and his mouth opened to question Duo, only to have something
round and hard tap his front teeth.

        "Here.  Have a sucker."  Heero nearly choked, but obligingly
took hold of the red lollipop.  Cherry.  "Look up, please," he added
as Wufei knelt in front of the bed, holding a small flashlight.  "A
concussion?" he asked in a low voice, as if Heero weren't even
there.  His superstar pride flinched, but the human part of him, the
part that appreciated the crystal purple of his eyes and the long,
massively destructive weapon that was his braid, cheered.

        Wufei's cold black eyes raked over him and Heero prepared
himself for the barrage of questions.  They always asked questions,
asked more of him than he was willing to give.  Instead, he turned
away, snapping the flashlight off.  Outside, it was so quiet Heero
could hear the crickets, but he could still see silhouettes of
anxious soldiers.  He snorted.  If it was anyone else, no one would
care.  As it was, the cancelled concert and the fall would probably
be all over the news within 12 hours.  He'd better lay low for the
rest of the two weeks, or else he could kiss his money goodbye.

        "Don't let him fall asleep."  Then he left, Heero gaping
after him.  Duo snickered at the befuddled expression plastered on
his tanned face.

        "So, it looks like it's you and me, buddy."  He heard voices,
and then a loud curse.

        A few seconds later, two Hispanic boys popped their heads
into the tent.  "Hey," they said in unison, almost uneasily.  "Duo?
May we speak with you for a minute, man?"  Heavy Mexican accents
marred perfect grammar.

        Duo shot them a cold look, but got up, eyeing Heero as he
left.  He could hear them arguing, and then finally, they filed into
the tent, looking sheepish.  "Hey man," one of the guys said, "are
you really Heero Yuy?"  Duo elbowed him rather obviously in the gut,
undermining the reason he'd elbowed him.

        "Yeah.  Who're you?"  It came out a little ruder than he'd
wanted and he had the grace to blush.

        "Angel.  And this is Carlos, man.  He doesn't speak much."
They looked at each other, speaking without words.  "We've got this
friend, man.  Like a sister to us.  She loves you.  Won't stop
talking about you.  Nearly blew out our eardrums when she found out
you were coming."  Heero took a long suck on the lollipop to give
himself time to regroup.  Just what he needed; more nervous, shifty
men, looking at him as if he'd deliberately subverted their females'
minds.  Duo wasn't like that, he reminded himself.  He watched as Duo
swatted at flies absently with the tail end of his braid.  But then,
Duo was...Duo.

        "Aa," he said, realizing they were waiting for him to say
something.  "Did you want me to do something for her?"  An
autographed picture, probably.  If Fate was really toying with him
today, a date.

        They wanted an autograph, it turned out.  Sighing, Heero
flopped back onto the bed, feeling his head swim.  Just a few
minutes, and then he'd be fine the rest of the night...  He was
nearly out when Duo's voice cut through the fog, sweet and low.

        "Carlos and Angel are cool, man.  There's a lot of Mexican
guys here; kinda like their own family.  You've gotta meet Jose and
the gang..."  Heero let his words float over him in a strange, watery
beat.  "You wanna get something to eat?"

        He *was* hungry.

        "Okay."  He got up too fast and felt himself start to fall
over; Duo was there, one arm steadying him.  One hand remained
clapped to his shoulder; he glared at the offending flesh and heard a
soft 'eep' as the American withdrew it.

        "This way."  He led them to a large area filled with
laughing, drinking men.  For now, there was no war to worry about and
they were celebrating.  Heero found that a little more than
unsettling; Dr. J had connections to many important politicians and
Heero found many of them less dependable than many of the soldiers
he'd met.  If he knew his future, and possibly life, were in the
negotiating hands of someone like that, he'd be too worried to

        Heero supposed that was what made other people normal.  "Sit
down, I'll grab us some drinks."  Then Duo was gone, lost in the
pulsing, moving mass of green.  No sooner had a strong hand grabbed
his shoulder than he was sitting and he was thrown unceremoniously
into a seat beside two men he recognized as Angel and Carlos.

        There were others, too, that he remembered had booed him as
he took the stage, staring at him with a mixture of curiosity and
dislike.  Like he was a porcupine in a petting zoo.  "H-hi," he said,
berating himself for feeling foolish.  They were just normal people...

        "H-hi," one of the men mocked.  "Little boy.  Come down from
your castle to play with the common folks, huh?  A publicity stunt,
perhaps?"  He was closer to the mark than Heero cared to admit.

        "Go back to your tower, Heero Yuy.  We don't need your pity

        Duo chose that exact moment to come back, two cold beers in
each hand.  Although he missed the man's words, he didn't miss the
look on Heero's face.  All the blood had drained away from his face.
"Hey guys," he said, looking from Carlos to Angel.  "We playing nice

        Heero flinched at the world 'playing'.


        "The best part," Duo sighed as everyone turned to face a
center circle of grass.  "Music and stuff," he explained.  "Anyone
can sing."  He winced as the first singer hit a particularly sour
note.  "Well...most anyone can sing."

        "Yeah, unfortunately," Angel put in, laughing.  "Duo sings at
least one of your songs every day.  We've got to pry the microphone
from his fingers if anyone else wants a turn  Some of us who aren't
so deaf--"  He punched Carlos lightly.  "--Have started to memorize

        To Heero's surprise, all of the songs were old, archaic, and
outdated; and thanks to his friendship with Zechs, he was roughly
familiar all of them.  Duo laughed as the microphone was passed his
way, trying to shove it away, declining politely.

        "C'mon, Duo.  Don't tell me you're shy?"  Quatre, who entered
with Trowa on his arm, blushed as Duo whistled loudly.  "I'm sure
Heero would sing with you..."  He wiggled his eyebrows in an obscene

        Duo groaned as Angel and Carlos started pounding the table in
a familiar beat. Boom.  Boom boom.  Boom.  Boom boom. "You're going
to be the death of me," he sighed, scooping the microphone off the
ground.  "If you know the song..."  He bowed.  "I'd be honored if
you'd join me, Highness."

        "Highness?"  Heero could feel himself blushing.  The
knowledge that he *was* blushing made him redden even more.

        "You *are* the King of Pop, aren't you?  Or at least, you're
dating Relena and *she's* the Queen of Pop, so..."  Duo shrugged.
"Just sing if you know it...  This place likes golden oldies."

        "There you are," Duo began in a slightly nasal girl's voice,
then stopped as he started to giggle hysterically.  He regained
composure quickly, and took a flying leap onto the table, planting
his feet on the bench next to Heero.  "Lookin' as fine as can be in
your fancy car..."

        He snorted.  "I can tell you're lookin' at me, whatcha wanna
do?"  He was really getting into it now, waving his arms and rocking
back and forth.  "You  just gonna sit there and stare?"  Heero wanted
to duck under the table as the catcalls poured forth.

        Duo was in his element.  He could see the faint reddening at
the very tips of his ears; kawaii!  "Baby, talk to me.  Tell me
what's on your mind, baby..."  He dragged one long finger down his
cheekbone, brushing it over his lips.

        Angel and Carlos were beside themselves.  Duo was really
setting himself up for heartbreak.  Although, Angel noted silently,
he doubted Heero had ever been serenaded quite like this.  "Oh baby,"
Duo sighed, tapping Heero's forehead.  His eyes crossed for a moment,
then righted and fixed on the dancing baka.  "Bring it all to me."

        Then he pounced, towering over Heero, one foot planted on
either side of him.  The poor boy looked as if he was torn between
running away screaming or laughing.  "But I don't need no fancy cars
or diamond rings."  He finished the chorus quickly and had his mouth
open to start the next verse when the microphone was snatched out
from under his nose.

        "Baby, what's the deal?"  The soldiers could only stare as he
sang, almost uncomfortably, his voice a good deal lower than they'd
ever heard it.  "Would I be too forward if I told you how I feel?"
Duo could barely stop himself from shaking his head 'no'.  The
performer in Heero took over and he filled in Duo's vacated spot on
the table.

        Duo barely heard him as he finished the verse.  Instead, he
was focused on Heero's eyes.  They were so alive, bright and
glittering.  Duo loved watched Heero sing and dance; he savored every
little moment.  The American had been severely disturbed watching the
concert.  Heero seemed almost dead, like he was dragging heavy limbs
along in the choreography.  Not that every little thrust of his hips
or the way he drew his hand palm out across his face didn't still
drive him wild, but the emptiness had frightened him.

        Now, two little spots of color burned in his cheeks and he
looked like he'd been born with a microphone in his hands.  The
stiffness was gone from his shoulders; even his voice had relaxed,
huskier and more melodic.  Duo blinked twice as he realized everyone
was staring at him; reluctantly, he took the microphone back from
Heero and finished the song.

        The tent burst into applause.  Duo grinned, looking for
Heero's familiar aquiline profile, and frowned as he saw a figure
retreating into the darkness.  Grabbing two beers, untouched, from
the table, he followed him out into the open field.

This part's song is "This Kiss" by Faith Hill.  :D

Heero threaded randomly through the weeds.  Some were taller than his
head; Duo had to crane his neck to see the very top of his head.
And for once, the braided one found that his previous inference had
been right--the top of his head was as sexy as the rest of him.

        The Japanese boy finally stopped, taking a seat beneath a
large, gnarled oak tree. "Hey," he said, settling down next to him.
He held out a beer; Heero shook his head.  "What's the matter?  Don't
drink?" he inquired, taking a sip of his own.  "I don't blame you.
It tastes like shit.  Nothing worse than warm beer."


        "Not very talkative, are you?"


        "I see.  Just don't like me?"

        And Heero said 'Aa,', Duo thought wrlyly.  It was some kind
of punchline, or chorusline.

        "That's not it."  He didn't elaborate, but didn't move to
leave, either.  So Duo stared at Heero to his heart's content,
drawing his features in his mind.  Cute, sloped nose.  Almond-shaped
dark blue eyes.  A very kissable mouth. Duo felt his temperature rise
as he imagined what it would be like to lean over and claim those two
red lips for his own.  To push past his defenses, his image and taste
Heero, explore the mouth that sang so wonderfully.  Most of all, he
wanted to feel the real person that surely hid behind the awards, the
glitter and the little smirk.

        Sometimes he forgot that stars were even human, with bad hair
days and toothaches and tears and holes where they'd punched the
wall.  Suddenly, what he felt for Heero seemed so shallow and raw,
unimportant.  Infatuated with someone and he didn't even know them.

        "It's such a--"

        "Sometimes I--"

        They both spoke at the same time, and broke off, smiling.
"You go first," Duo said encouragingly, resting his head sideways on
his knees so he could stare without craning his neck.  The excitement
was beginning to take its toll on his body; even the short rest made
him want to crawl into Heero's lap and fall asleep with his head on
his chest.  Something that friends did, something that lovers did.

        Heero spoke, and Duo watched, some part of him aching with
every word.  He desperately wanted to belong to this complicated
creature, and wanted Heero to belong to him.  "Sometimes I just want
to give it all up."  He didn't offer anything else and the American
didn't dare ask.  He thought about it, but didn't ask.

        "What were you going to say?" he asked, offering a small
smile.  The braided boy shrugged.

        "Just that it's a nice night out.  Usually the sky's not so
clear anymore; you can see straight to the heart of outer space right
now."  Sighing, Duo flopped back onto the grass, pulling Heero down
with him.  Their faces were almost touching; Duo's words rained
little patters of warm breath onto his cheek.

        "I wanted to be a pilot when I was younger."

        Duo looked at him in, shocked.  It must have showed on his
face, because Heero laughed, a soft sound that kind of bubbled out of
his throat and past his lips.  "But...I don't know...  Things
changed.  Things happened."

        Bad things, Duo added mentally.  "Me too.  I always wanted to
fly.  When I was at the Maxwell Church, I kept trying to build
airplanes.  I'd fly them down hills; with myself inside, of course.
I wanted--"  He stopped and grinned.

        "So, Heero Yuy, what do you really want?"

        The Japanese boy blinked twice.  "Excuse me?"

        "What do you really want?"  Duo shrugged.  "Not a hard
question.  Money? Fame? Relena?"  He made a ghastly visage with his
face scrunched up tight as he belted out the lyrics to "Baby One More

        "No," Heero said firmly.  "I don't want those things."  He
wasn't sure exactly what he wanted, but he knew what he didn't.  And
he did not want Relena Darlian.  He had money and he had fame; they
weren't all they were cracked up to be.  Money bought power and money
could, contrary to the antiquated saying, even buy love.  But he
couldn't buy the personal satisfaction of knowing he'd just hit the
high note of a song straight on without his voice cracking, or the
exhiliration that came with getting up on stage and baring the most
secret part of his soul to a screaming crowd.

        If only that was where it ended.  If only there wasn't the
politics, the videos, the interviews, the camera crews and the green
card-less makeup artists and directors.  That only complicated
things, made him forget the real reason he was in the music industry.


        Tonight had been one hell of a reminder.  He looked over at
Duo, who was stargazing peacefully.  What he wouldn't give for the
simplicity of his cheerfulness, the energy and lust for life.  He was
annoying, yes, but in an ingratiating way.

        Music floated over the hill and into the field, fast and
hard, then melting into a slow song.  Heero felt his pulse slow down
in time to the words, felt his eyes slip shut.  Mm...just a few
minutes of sleep...  He was out like a light.

        Duo looked over at Heero to ask him a question, then froze as
he saw the boy was sleeping.  "Hey!" he said, shaking him.  "You
can't go to sleep!"  Heero murmured something drowsily and tried to
turn over, reaching for blankets that weren't there.  "Heero!  Wake
up!"  Dragging the sleeping figure to his feet, he wrapped both arms
around his waist and jiggled him a bit. No one could sleep standing

        Heero sighed as he felt his head snap forward, eyes opening
lazily.  "Erm...Duo..."  His hands were in a very compromising
position, and slipping lower.  The American couldn't help himself,
and pulled the smaller boy in closer, twirling him around in his

        "What's the matter?  Don't know how to dance?"  He grinned
wickedly as those blue depths flared to life.

        "Is that a challenge?"  Heero was hoping it was.  There were
pieces of him coming to the surface that he hadn't seen for years.
It seemed like the past two years had been a bad dream.  A part of
him badly wanted Duo to do...something.  Anything to make him feel
again.  Lord knew, he was so lonely.  He wanted...

        Heero wanted him to be his friend.  He wanted a real friend,
someone who would have the guts to tell him when he was being a
brat.  Someone who understood why he couldn't cry anymore.  Someone
who could smile at him and mean every little white tooth.

        "It just might be."  With that, Duo grabbed Heero's arms and
looped them around his neck.  The lengths of their bodies were
pressed together, warm and soft.  He never wanted the moment to end;
to his delight, Heero moved in closer.

This part's song is "Witness" by Sarah McLachlan from "Surfacing".
It's a very solemn, sweet, almost melancholy piece.  It has a slow
beat, the most repeated phrase in the song is "we burn in heaven like
we do down here".

        Never in his wildest dreams had the American ever thought
that he would find himself slow-dancing with Heero Yuy. Duo thought
he was going to pass out again, his fingers twitching nervously as
they rode low on his hips.

        "Don't pass out on me now," Heero teased, chuckling as Duo
blushed crimson.

        "I won't.  I want--"  Duo stopped abruptly.  Maybe you could
tell some stranger in a nightclub that you wanted to kiss them and
screw them senseless, but he had a good feeling Heero would be pretty
annoyed.  Or worse.  His mind refused to picture the 'or worse',
however.  You've already got more than you have any right to, he
chided himself.

        "Want what?"  Their bodies swung in unison, not noticing as
the song speeded up into a faster one.  "C'mon, I won't laugh."  He
pulled one hand away from Duo's neck long enough to hold up two
fingers.  "Scout's honor."

        "I can't tell you."  Now Heero was really curious.  "I
can't!  It's impossible to tell you properly."  Duo's heart was
pounding wildly in his chest.  Oh Duo, he thought to himself, what
are you doing?

        "Why?  Show me, then."  That imperious attitude that Duo
loved and hated.  You set him up, he realized sadly.  Then Duo

        "You really want me to?"

        "Hai!  Hurry up, Duo!"  He was almost whining; it was
adorable.  The desire to glomp him and never let go battled with his
need to feel those lips under his.  Shrugging, the American leaned
down, slapping himself for not being able to bring himself to make
eye contact with the Japanese boy, and brushed his mouth over
Heero's.  He could taste something sweet on his lips, like cherries
or apple slices.

        The response was almost automatic.

        Eyes wide, he broke out of the circle of Duo's arms, the
blood draining from his face.  "D-Duo..."  He nearly tripped over the
forgotten beer mugs, but steadied himself, backing away from the
braided boy with a wild look about him that spoke volumes.

        Crossing the grass between them, Duo captured his lips again,
ignoring Heero's struggles to free himself.  So sweet, it was almost
dizzying.  Heero's hands were pushing at his chest, fingers digging
into his flesh.  One errant hand strayed over his nipple, that
singular touch sending electric shocks through his body.

        He pulled away, panting, long enough to see that some of the
resistance had faded, but that spirit he loved was still kicking,
still fighting him.  Duo crushed Heero's body to him, letting the
slender popstar feel his arousal through his jeans.  Then his mouth
descended again.

        Heero wasn't sure when resistance turned to passive
acceptance, but he found himself slumping forward in his arms.  A
thousand warning bells were going off in his head, it wasn't right,
he was a guy, Duo was a guy...

        Duo's heat burned him.

        Never in his whole life had he ever felt so close to anyone.
Never kissed, never touched.  A very tiny part of him was convinced
that there was something about him that was utterly unlovable,
disgusting and crude.  But then how could the braided boy just stand
there and kiss him like he wanted to devour his mouth?  Who could
want him so much?  Heero wasn't sure, since no one had touched him
like that before, but he thought Duo was a very good kisser.
        Almost timidly, he began to kiss back.  He could feel Duo's
pleasure radiating through his entire body in the little tremors and
shudders, realized he too was trembling.  Two fingers split in a 'v'
touched his cheeks lightly, barely grazing the skin.

        He watched with strange detachment as Duo pushed him onto the
grass with one hand, his own watchful gaze never leaving his large
violet eyes.  Slowly, inching up under his shirt, over his muscled
torso, agonizingly, his hands moved lightly over his chest, barely
touching the skin.  Yet the lightest caress made him ache more than
the kisses had.

        The American boy kissed him again, deeply, his tongue moving
in long strokes against the roof of his mouth, against his own
tongue.  "Heero...we can't," he groaned, eyelashes fluttering against
Heero's face in more of those not-quite-touches.

        "Why?" Heero whimpered, feeling those white teeth nip at his
neck, trying to drown himself in pleasure again.  Duo was giving him
the gentlest bites, long enough to leave red swollen traces of their
stolen kisses.  He was beginning to feel quite delirious, and if Duo
didn't hurry up and do something about it he would go mad.  He was
sinking slowly into a world of red, and the braided boy was his

        "'Cuz," said Duo breathlessly, running his hands up and down
the smoothness of Heero's back, knuckles tenting beneath the cloth of
his shirt.  "Let's wait until your birthday."  He knew he was taking
a chance, counting on the belief that Heero wanted him for more than
a one-night stand.  But he really wasn't looking forward to getting
court-martialed for sex with a minor.  Thinking fast, he added, "18
is a special number.  You're an adult.  Not," he added shyly, "that I
don't l-like you as a little boy."  Love.  He'd almost said love.

        Duo could feel himself walking a tight rope, balancing
between Heero's own emotions, which must be running rampant through
him, and his own desires.  Love.  He might not have been a
wonderfully seductive young man, but he knew that if you wanted to
bed someone, the last thing you spoke to them about was love.  Love
spoke of commitment and trust.  It seemed like a trap.

        "I--"  Duo leaned down again and ravaged his mouth, cutting
off his words, thrusting his tongue in and out, catching lightly on
Heero's teeth.

        He froze in horror, one hand still sliding up and down
Heero's back, as a bright light passed over their bodies.  "Duo?
That you?"  Heero blinked twice as the warm hands suddenly slid away
from his skin, a flashlight's beam shining into his eyes.  He
suddenly felt the chill of the night air across his body.

        "Gomen!"  Duo saw a flash of blonde hair, and then a figure
retreating into the darkness.  Quatre.  Gomen.  The blonde boy's
feelings for him had been growing steadily as of late.  No matter
what he did, it was like banking hot coals; they glowed with their
own strength, refusing to die.  He'd thought, with this dancer--

        Had he been terribly wrong?

        Duo didn't realize that Heero was moving until he stood and
moved to walk back up the hill, out of the field.  "Hey," said the
braided one, "where you going...?"

        The longer he stood there, looking at Duo, the harder his
chest constricted.  How could he have done that with another boy?
His first kiss.  The first time anyone had touched him, and it was a
guy.  Repulsion grew in the pit of his stomach, tightening as he drew
closer, staring at him with perplexed eyes.
        "I have to go," he said at last, and barely kept himself from
running away as he left the field--and Duo--behind.  He watched the
Japanese boy go, wondering what he would have to do to get Heero to
trust him again, wondering if he had blown his chance.  He knew he
should go after him, should pester him to keep him from falling
asleep.  But he didn't.  He sat on a  hard stone, so cold after lying
next to Heero's warm body, and drank warm beer.


        God didn't give gay boys second chances, it seemed.  Or,
rather, he took his time about it.

        Heero avoided him for most of the next three days, eyes
dropping as he passed, turning so Duo wouldn't have to brush against
him.  Which was fine with Duo; he was happy to admire from afar.

        So what if that wasn't really the case?  Duo was good at
pretending.  He'd tasted heaven, had touched the one he'd fantasized
for years.  And not just his hand, but his mouth and his neck and his
flat stomach and the curve of his elbow and the softness of his bird-
like wrist.

        He was passing by his tent, thinking evilly cruel and
delicious thoughts about its inhabitant when he saw a long leg emerge
from beneath the blanket on his pallet.  A long, pale white leg.
With blue polish on his toenails.  And little glitter stickers on the
littler toes.

Looking around, to make sure no one else saw him, Duo ducked inside
with the inconspicuousness of a loud, quacking duck.  Even Lt. Wufei
saw him, his long braid snapping at the cord holding the tent flap

        "You!"  He pointed, horrified, at the young blonde DJ who
emerged from Heero's bed.  "You slept with Heero?!"  He was supposed
to be mine first...

        "Huh?"  Zechs yawned.  "What? No, I just slept in his bed.
He sleeps in mine sometimes too--"  That set Duo off even more;
sleeping in his bed but not with Heero? Preposterous.  He was about
to tell him so, and by virtue of the tent's position, the rest of the
camp, when Zechs' eyelids lowered bashfully and he pulled the blanket
up to his neck.  "You wanna sleep in his bed too?" With a low growl,
Duo began to throttle him, the DJ's blonde hair flying about his face
like a whip.

 Heero entered his tent, looking mildly annoyed to see Duo, one green
blanket thrown casually over his shoulder.

        "See?  We didn't sleep together," Zechs complained.  Heero
made a faint choking noise as Duo glared at Zechs.  They were
inexplicably tangled in the blankets, long limbs and that long
hair...  Duo's braid was slowly unraveling with every movement of his
head.  Heero was half-tempted to pace from one side of the tent to
the other, if it would get Duo to move his head enough to let his
hair fall free.

        But he still didn't like guys, he reminded himself sternly.
There was just no possibility of it.  He was attracted to Duo because
he looked like a girl--He was attracted to Duo?!?!?  Since when?

So he was attracted to Duo.  There, he'd said it.  So what?  As if to
spite him, his traitorous mind filled with images of Duo going down
on him, humming merrily as he went.  Silently, Heero told his
hormones to shut up and leave him alone.  And to take their porn
videos with them.

        "Heero," laughed Duo nervously as he fell from the bed in his
haste, "this isn't what it looks like."  He tried to pick himself out
of the dirt and fell again, banging his shin hard against the
bedpost.  "Shit! Ow..."  Rolling his eyes, the Japanese boy reached
down and held out a hand to him patiently, as if he were a small
child, though he was 2 years older than him.  Duo took it
suspiciously, expecting him to pull back at the last instant.  The
physical contact sent little sparks through him, daring him to grab
Heero and kiss him again.  He'd already decided that if the
opportunity arose again, he would just screw him silly and deal with
the consequences later.

        He'd given Heero time to think, that was what had gone
wrong.  Really, Duo thought as he dusted himself off, giving his firm
butt a pat, the boy thought too much.  It wasn't healthy.

        They looked at each other cautiously, waiting for the
inevitable harsh words both had been dreading.  Instead, Zechs
cleared his throat.

        "If you don't mind taking your lovers' spat outside?  I'm
trying to sleep here..."

This part's song is "Superhero" by Ani DiFranco from her album
"Dilate".  (It's really good, pick it up some time when you're in a
recordtown or strawberries.)  Here's the lyrics:


sleepwalking through the all night drug store
baptized in fluorescent light
i found religion in the greeting card aisle
and now i know hallmark was right
and every pop song on the radio
is suddenly speaking to me
art may imitate life
but live imitates t.v.

cause you've been gone exactly two weeks
two weeks and three days
and let's just say that
things look different now
different in so many ways

i used to be a superhero
no one could touch me
not even myself
you are like a phone booth that
i somehow stumbled into
now look at me
i am just like everybody else

if i was dressed in my best defenses
would you agree to meet me for coffee
if i did my tricks with smoke and mirrors
would you still know which one was me
if i was naked and screaming on your front lawn
would you turn on the light and come down
screaming, there's the asshole that did this to me
stripped me of my power
stripped me down


yeah you've been gone exactly two weeks
two weeks and three days
and now i'm a different person
different in so many ways
tell me what did you like about me
and don't say my strength and daring
cause now i'm at your mercy
and it's my first time for this kind of thing

i used to be a superhero
i would swoop down and save me from myself
you are like a phone booth
that i somehow stumbled into
now look at me
i am just like everybody else


Their impromptu friendship picked up where it had left off; right
before Duo had kissed him.  That part of that night was never spoken
about; hinted about, perhaps, but they skirted the edges of it,
growing bolder, then flitting away.

        And life continued as normal for another four, blue-skied,
sunny, happy days.  Even Lt. Wufei was losing that jumpy edge,
growing used to peace.

        Duo thought that he'd either gone crazy or gone to Heaven.

        At first, it was little things.  Heero's hand accidentally
brushing against his leg.  Or those blue eyes, watching him with a
coy, lidded stare.  If he hadn't thoroughly declared himself
straight, Duo would have thought he was flirting with him.  And that
didn't bother him in the slightest; in a way, it was easier for him
to pretend. Only six more days and then Heero Yuy would be out of his
life and his grasp forever.  He silently thanked God for the little

        Duo noted with some satisfaction that Quatre had dark
undereye circles at breakfast, although he wore a slight smile on his
lips at all times.  Trowa, Heero had noticed also, seemed a little
more tired that usual.

        "You think--?" Duo whispered, bowing his head close to
Heero's.  The Japanese boy, while not entirely comfortable with his
proximity, made no move to slide away.  Heero watched as the blonde
boy and Trowa flirted with each other around pieces of burnt toast.

        "Yup.  They're good for each other."  He felt Duo's eyes
boring into his back and shifted.  I could be good for you, Duo
thought, and he knew Heero heard his unspoken words.  I really could,
Heero...  If you'll let me.  He raised a hand to touch his cheek,
then stopped as Heero grabbed his hand, placing it palm down in
between Duo's legs.

        Duo gulped as Heero gave him a sweet smirk, then marched from
the mess tent.  He was torn between following him, thus interpreting
a possibly innocent action as a 'come hither' gesture, or he could
just sit there and wonder.

        Duo Maxwell was a man of action.  "Hey, Q, save me a piece of
toast okay?"  The blonde boy nodded absently, then went back to
playing footsie under the table with Trowa.  He rushed by, snapping
Lt. Wufei in the face with his braid.

        The Chinese man sputtered and grabbed for the long cord of
hair but missed.  Duo was already long gone.


        "What was that about?" Duo demanded as Heero led him down
into that treacherous field.  "Heero!  Dammit!"  He reached out to
touch him, then thought better of it.

        Heero shrugged, turning his head just so in order to peer at
the braided soldier following him with one wide, Prussian blue eye.
"Did you want something, Duo?"  That *voice* again, his video voice,
his stage voice.  It got him so hot, it had to be illegal in at least
40 states.

        "What--you're--"  Duo sputtered for several moments before
realizing he sounded exactly like Lt. Wufei, bumbling and foolish.
"WAARG!"  Throwing long arms up into the air with abandon, he stalked
off to sulk or get drunk ...or preferably both.  Oh yes, the kegs
would be pouring tonight--

        Heero waited until the braided boy was at the top of the
slope.  "Duo!"

        He was tempted to just walk away.  He really was.  Instead,
he found himself trotting back down the hill, stopping a few meters
from the Japanese boy, arms crossed in obvious annoyance.  "What?"
asked Duo, rather suspiciously.

        "Don't you want to know?"

        "Know what?" Duo sighed, mildly angry with himself for
letting Heero play with him this way.  The boy had a sadistic streak
the size of California if he really thought he was being cute.

        "Why."  It wasn't a question, and Duo blinked twice, then
comprehension dawned.

        "Yeah, I want to know why."  He studied the dirt intently,
crushing little ants as they moved to and fro, across the savannas of
grass, carrying bits of leaf on their backs.  "Doesn't mean you'll
tell me.  It's okay, though.  I'm used to it."

        "Duo..."  He looked at him with that little pout that told
him he was trying not to laugh.  Duo wanted to grab his nose and
pull.  Either that or just skip the nose and grab *him*.


        His heart gave a miserable little jump, until he realized
that Heero was staring at the bodies of the dead ants.

        Duo paused mid-step.  "'Don't?'"  He sounded almost
hysterical now.  He felt like Heero was deliberately toying with
him.  "Don't what, kill the ants?  Don't act self-deprecating?  Don't
stand so close?  Don't look at you?  Don't touch you?"  He poked
Heero in the chest, delighting in the way he wobbled and nearly fell

        "Don't treat you like you're a normal person?  Isn't that
what you wanted, Heero?  To be like everyone else? Well," he spat
out, close to screaming now, "this is what it's like!  It's not
knowing!  It's not being able to touch--"

        "What?  I thought we understood, I'm not like that, Duo!"
Heero exploded.  "I'm not like that," he said, more to himself than
to anyone else who might have coincidentally been standing in the
same field.

        "Then why do you do these things, Heero?" the American
begged.  "What was that back at the tent?  What, is it fun to play
with little gay Duo?  I bet you like it when people fawn over you.
You're a self-centered, spoiled BRAT!"

        The Japanese boy gaped at Duo, opening his mouth to say
something, but he'd forgotten what it was.  'You're a self-centered,
spoiled BRAT!'  His words rang hollow in his ears and Heero turned
and brushed past Duo, not saying a word.  Where his hand had touched
Duo's tan arm a strange warmth was slowly working its way up his arm
and into his heart.


        The night came slowly, creeping along at a snail's pace.
Heero sat on the grass watching the sunset for what seemed for hours,
not understanding why he saw Duo's face superimposed on the red and
orange streaks.

        He felt very cold.

        When dusk fell, he got up and went to find his friend, hoping
that maybe he would have the answers he sought.

        He found him sitting in the mess tent, drinking himself into
a stupor.  His nose wrinkled as the scent of beer, gone bad from
sitting in the hot sun, wafted through the air.  Duo poured himself
another mug, and raised it in acknowledgement of Heero's presence.

        "What brings you here, Mr. Yuy?" asked Duo.
        "I need to talk to you," said Heero urgently.  The American
laughed drunkenly, brokenly.  It was so close to a sob of despair it
hurt him.

        "You said enough, Yuy.  You meant it, too.  That hurt--"  The
braided boy gave a shuddering sigh, head slumping down against his
chest.  Duo's little black cap fell off unceremoniously so Heero
could see--

        "Your hair!" he cried, horrified.  "Oh Duo..."  Heero ran his
hands through the silky threads, now no longer than his own hair.  It
felt so soft; Heero looked around.  There was no one else in the tent
except for Quatre and Trowa, playing footsie again.  What was the
point of playing footsie, Heero wondered absently, if there was no
one around to catch you?  Wasn't that the appeal, the threat of
discovery?  They should get a tent...

        Either way, no one would notice if he did it again.  Or
again.  Duo suddenly grabbed his wrist; the strength of his hand
surprised Heero.  He looked deceptively thin, not as slender as
himself, but lean and soft, even.

        "You're dancing on thin ice," he said huskily.

        When Heero didn't pull away, Duo did, releasing his hand
gently, but not without one last squeeze.  "See you around, Yuy."  He
barely managed to extricate himself from the bench without falling

        "I don't like that," said Heero quietly before he could quiet
himself.  "You're supposed to call me 'Heero'."  It sounded
ridiculous, but he couldn't stop the words from spilling over and out.

        Duo paused, then kept walking, one hand smoothing over where
Heero had touched his hair.

        The Japanese boy sat there for a long time, watching Quatre
and Trowa, drinking the rest of Duo's beer, and thinking.  It was
nearly midnight when he came to his decision.


        Somehow, he had always known this was the end destiny was
pushing him towards.  His life had been too charmed for the perfect
love affair.  Heero stood outside Duo's tent, wiping moist hands on
his jeans, pacing back and forth slowly, kicking up dust clouds.

        Gathering the small bits left of his nerves and courage, he
pushed through the tent flaps and froze.

        "...OH MY GOD!"


        "I swear, I didn't know what I was doin' until you came in,"
Duo pleaded, eyes sober now.  The shock of having Heero walk in on
him with three other men in his bed did very frightening things to
his heartbeat.  Heero looked angry enough to kill, an extreme
reaction for a rather passive boy.  One of the soldiers, a tall,
broad-shouldered man with cornflower blue eyes and ginger colored
hair nodded.

        His voice was smooth, like water flowing over stones.  "He's
right.  My dragon and Zechs and I took advantage of him."  Lt. Wufei
looked like he was about to combust with shame.  The blonde DJ smiled
genially and wiggled his fingers at Heero.

        "Then why are you in *Duo's* tent?" Heero demanded.

        "His tent is the biggest," Zechs supplied helpfully.  "And
there's a lot of us here," he added, as if it weren't obvious.  He
looked invitingly at Heero.  "Wanna join us--mmph!"  Wufei wrapped an
arm around his mouth, looking somewhat delirious.  The poor man
probably didn't know whether to be angry at being interrupted or
embarrassed at being outed.

        "Heero," Duo said, making puppy eyes at the Japanese
popstar.  "You believe me, don't you?"  Heero looked at him in mock
skepticism, then nodded, schooling his face into seriousness.

        "I need to talk to you.  Alone," he added, as the ginger-
haired man, who was busy applying rose stickers to Zechs'...naughty
bits, perked up visibly.  "ALONE!"


        Quatre and Trowa both exchanged glances as three very naked
young men raced out of Duo's tent and across the camp, clutching
jeans and uniforms in front of important parts.
        "Should I ask?" the green-eyed boy asked, slinging an arm
over Quatre's shoulders.

        "Maybe later," purred Quatre.  Trowa smiled slightly, and
allowed himself to be pulled inside the blonde boy's tent and out of
view of the three naked bishounen. [5]


        "I tried to hate you."

        Heero stood at the tent flap, the thin rays of moonlight
filtering down, casting a blue shadow over his face.

        "And when that didn't work, I tried to just be your friend.
Dammit Duo," laughed the Japanese boy, "do you know how hard it is to
just be friends with you?  You can't hide anything.

        "Especially not from me.

"You think you've got the right, Duo, to just waltz into my life and
turn everything upside down?  I had it all planned out.  Tomorrow's
my eighteenth birthday; I was going to take my money and run as far
away from all *this*.

"I won't ask for what I want, Duo.  Just what I need."

        Heero turned away from the light, prowling in the darkness,
creeping closer and closer.  Duo counted his breaths, one, two three,
and then he was there, sitting on the bed beside him.  The American
could feel his breath whispering over his lips.

        "I'm asking."

This part's song is "Put Your Lights On" (? Is that the title?!?) by
Santana, with an appearance by the guy from Everclear...


         "Care to dance?" he asked, pulling Heero to his feet.
Wrapping two arms securely around his waist, he gave a little
contented sigh, burying his nose and mouth in Heero's hair.

        "There's no music," said the Japanese boy, yet he began to
sway to the same beat as Duo, the rhythm twining around them, filling
the air.  His hands rose of their own accord and cupped the
American's face.

        "There is," disagreed the formerly braided one.  One hand
slid from its comfortable place on his hip and pressed against
Heero's chest, feeling the quick, light patter of his heart.

        "That's hopeless romanticism for you."

        "Is it so hopeless?"

        "No," decided Heero.  "I guess not."

        Then, they undressed each other and let the past week's
tumult and hurt submerge in the idle pace of their love.  They came,
crying out the other's name into the darkness, falling into a
dreamless sleep.


        Lazy green eyes fluttered shut.  "When did you know?" Quatre
asked, resting his head on the rapidly rising and falling chest of
his lover.  "That you loved me?"

        "I can't give you a specific moment," said Trowa after a few
moments of silence.  "It wasn't like a revelation.  Just...knowing."
His eyes opened fully, fixing on his anxious love.  "Why?"

        "The cease-fire's almost expired," he said slowly.  "And
we've no word from anyone of further peace talks.  When it's over,
you'll have to leave."  He shifted uncomfortably, then leaned against
Trowa, careful not to put all of his weight on the slender dancer.

        "I know."

        "You'll wait for me?"

        "Of course."

        "I could be killed."

        Trowa snuggled him closer, letting his hands graze lightly
over his chest.  "No, you won't.  You could, but it won't happen."

        "You sound certain," said Quatre.

        "I am."

        That makes one of us, thought the blonde boy silently, but
there were no more words that night.


        Duo woke first, squinting through the damp shadows to the
smooth form of Heero's body.  One teasing hand brushed the bangs
covering his eyes to the side, exposing two darkened eyelids and one
pert nose that wrinkled as his hand accidentally brushed it.

        "Wakey wakey love," he said in a sing-song voice.  Heero made
a strange groaning sound that came deep from within his chest, and
tried to tug the blankets over his head.  Duo smirked; so that was
how he wanted to be...  He knew there was a reason that he loved the
Japanese boy.  Other than his hot body and pretty face, of course.

        Staring disdainfully at his recalcitrant lover, he ripped the
coverings away in one swift, jagged motion. For one single,
horrifying moment, Heero thought they'd been discovered.  Then the
soft laughter floating down to him on a slight breeze began to
register and he punched Duo lightly.

        "What was that for, Duo?  I'm cold," said Heero with the
expression and tonal qualities of a fourth-grader.  The American
pulled other, shivering, boy on top of him so the lines of their
bodies were pressed together, rubbing with delicious friction any
time either of them shifted slightly.

        They were both panting, eyeing the other, trying to
anticipate their next move.  The previous night's joining had been a
torrential journey down a volcano's pit; hot and furious, desperate
in the need that had consumed them both.  Duo was determined to make
it slower this time, not that he was adverse to a fast, hard fuck.

         It seemed God was against him...again.  No sooner had he
flipped Heero onto the rough cotton sheets than a loud roll of
thunder rang out, exploding with frightening intensity into the
skies.  A few seconds later, the rain began to pour in through the
slit of the tent, soaking everything within two feet, including
Heero's clothes.

        "Shit!"  Duo stopped molesting the Japanese boy long enough
to shove all of their now soaking stuff out of way of the rain.  With
a displeased grunt, he tied the flaps shut using all of the little
plastic straps.  He watched with a critical eye as the storm
burgeoned against the canvas, but it held.

        Heero sighed as Duo pounced on him again, relaxing into his
gentle kisses and soft arms, running his hands over Heero's hips,
caressing the sides.  "Uhm..." he said, distracted by the hot mouth
skimming lightly over one hard, wet nipple.  "That feels..."

        "Hmm?"  Duo sat back and went to work on his own erection,
letting the Japanese boy watch as he fisted himself, callused white
hands tightening over his red, throbbing erection.  "Feels good?
Unbelievable?  Incredible? Terrific? Ama--Mmph!"  Heero glared at
him, silently rebuking his rapidly deflating ego.  He allowed himself
one last touch before hurling the thrown pillow back at Heero.  It
caught him unawares in the face, before falling limply into his lap
as a cover for his arousal.

        Then Duo laid down beside him, running his hands through his
short hair ruefully before sighing.  "Heero..."  He cleared his
throat again, looking pointedly at the pillow.  "Shouldn't we remove
the obstacle?"  Heero clutched the white feather pillow defensively,
sticking his tongue out Duo.  "We~ell, if we're not just feeling a
little cranky today," he teased.  "Baby need a fuck?"

        "...No.  I'm sore," he sighed, giving the cutest little
growl.  He pushed the pillow onto the ground, then granted Duo an
excellently angled view of his full-body stretch.  "Later," he
promised, eyes smoldering.

        Duo pouted.  "Can't we just--"

        As he spoke, a loud boom rocked through the camp, sending
something suspiciously man-shaped flying into the side of the tent.
"What the--That was not thunder," Duo said aloud, exchanging looks
with his lover.  "I wonder what's going on."

        Less than a second later, four soldiers bearing Romafeller's
red cross insignia burst into Duo's tent, overturning the small table
on which sat Duo's laptop.  It all seemed to go in slow motion to
Heero; first, the men dressed in black uniforms grabbing Duo and
pushing him to the ground, a booted heel on the back of his neck.  He
made a low choking noise as they turned their attentions to him--the
ceasefire!  It wasn't due to expire for another three days!  That

        "You broke the ceasefire," he said steadily, Prussian blue
eyes flickering from his limp lover to the men that were slowly
advancing, gloved hands outstretched.  "You're not supposed to--"

        "*They* broke the ceasefire before we ever did," one of the
men, a bulky looking football type, snapped.  "They sent an aircraft
here 9 days ago carrying top secret documents for air weaponry.
Blame your own, boy."

        "Hey!" another soldier added.  "You look like--"
        "It doesn't matter who he looks like.  Search him; he might
be the one carrying the documents."  Heero looked at the man as if he
were insane. He wasn't wearing any clothes!  How could he be carrying
the--oh.  Realization flooded his mind as every muscle in his body
froze, whited out with shock.  He watched distantly as they pried
open Duo's mouth, feeling around the roof of his mouth and throat,
then pushed him back onto the ground, long fingers pushing between
creamy white cheeks and inside of him.  To his credit, the American
made not a sound the entire time, but when they started on Heero,
stretching him out onto the bed, he cried out in protest.

        "Leave him alone!  He's--" The American collapsed as the
tallest soldier punched him hard, snapping his head back.  Heero
thought for one agonizing moment that he was dead; the slow rise and
fall of his chest showed he was only unconscious. The man that had
recognized Heero looked as if he would have liked to done something
*else* to the Japanese pop star, but refrained, instead licking his
lips as he watched.

        "Put some clothes on," he snorted, looking at the naked
bodies of the two boys.  Heero swallowed hard, then pulled on Duo's
army fatigues, and dressed the unconscious boy in his jeans and
tanktop.  <I never told you.>  They were close enough in size so they
fit, though barely.

        "This boy isn't a soldier," he informed them from beneath
brown bangs.  The man that had searched him stared into his eyes, as
if looking for some sign that he was lying.  "He's just my boyfriend,
visiting me during the ceasefire.  If you have any honor, you'll let
him go."

        There was a long pause, and Heero feared that he'd been found

        "Fine," the man said, shaking his head.  "Let's go, then."
With that, he found himself pushed outside, where the other soldiers
were being herded.  Three of the soldiers departed, but the last
paused, long enough to break Heero's wrist with one quick twist of
his hand.  "That's for the honor crack, bitch.  You'll go first."  He
finished with a hard right hook, sending him flying into the ground.
He had to brace himself on his broken wrist and let out a loud curse.

        Heero found warm arms wrapping themselves around his form,
and the scent of flowers invading his nostrils.  "Duo," Quatre
whispered.  "Are you all right?"  Heero turned, just enough to let
him see who it really was.  "What are you doing here?" the blonde boy
demanded, aghast.

        "I took Duo's place.  He's unconscious in the tent."  He
still felt numb; this couldn't be happening to him.  It was his
eighteenth birthday...

        "You can't do this, Heero," Quatre said urgently.  "We could
all be killed for breaking the agreement--"

        "You'd do it for Trowa," he said simply, and there was no
arguing with that kind of logic.


        Trowa watched from his hiding place in the tree, Quatre's
binoculars in hand.  He hated himself for his cowardice, for his
weakness.  He should be out there, trying to help Quatre...

        But he was a dancer, not a soldier, and wouldn't be able to
hold his own against even the most crude and unskilled the enemy had
to offer.  All he could do was watch, and hope that help arrived
soon.  As soon as they moved out, he could call someone...

        Who would he call?  Heero's agent?  He laughed at the
thought.  He knew no one in the military, had no idea what he was
doing.  And here he was, planning a rescue from over two hundred
Romafeller soldiers all by his lonesome.  And Heero, if he was still

        Trowa surveyed the crowd again; he'd lost Quatre for the
sixth time.  The blonde boy had been swallowed up into the crowd.  A
few minutes later, he spotted him, hanging over Duo.  Then Duo
turned, and he saw that it was Heero, dressed in Duo's clothes.  They
hung a bit baggy on his skinnier frame, but still were a good enough
fit to pass him off as a soldier.  Was he insane?!?

        Trowa watched for twenty minutes and still couldn't see Duo
anywhere.  Which meant...

        He was probably still inside the tent.

        Heero had taken his place.  He cursed the boy for his
foolhardiness and misplaced courage.  He was endangering his own life
for an American soldier he'd known for barely over a week.

        Trowa only wondered why the idea hadn't occurred to him first.


        "Ooh..."  His head ached like a motherfucker...  Duo grabbed
his head, massaging his temples gingerly.  His mouth tasted like
dirt...  "Heero...Heero!"  He sat bolt upright and then wished he
hadn't; nausea stomped thoroughly over his tender stomach.  Duo
leaned over and vomited violently, noting the blood with mild


        Heero was nowhere in sight.  He searched under the bed
futilely; he knew where he was.  They'd taken him.  His traitorous
mind supplied him with dozens of images of Heero, being tortured for
information, raped by soldiers, crying out in pain.  Those blue eyes,
glassed over in death.  It was like a glass in his mind shattered.
He let out a despaired, animalistic cry that tore straight from his

        He flew out of the tent; nearly dusk.    It had been morning
when he'd been knocked unconscious.  There was no one else in sight;
all the other soldiers were gone, supposedly captured.

        Okay.  Breathe.



        In.  He was alone in a camp; a quick check into the bays
proved that they'd taken their tanks and Jeeps.  Alone in a camp with
no mode of transportation.  The tire tracks pointed north, but it
would take forever to follow them on foot; they had almost a twelve
hour head start.

        The supplies had been ransacked.  Most of the blankets were
gone, as were the first aid kits and various guns were missing from
all the tents.  There was--Jesus!  There was a bleeding man stuck to
his tent, the blood congealed and crusted onto the canvas painfully.

        "Hey," Duo said, crouching beside the soldier.  Careful not
to jar him, he lifted his chin and swore as Carlos blinked at him,
disoriented.  "Carlos, man.  You--"  He swallowed a lump in his
throat.  It was pretty stupid to ask if he was okay; he had a bullet
buried in his stomach.

        "Duo," Carlos gasped.  "Man, I saw Heero.  They took him with
the rest of the soldiers."  He coughed, shuddering dry heaves that
sent chills down Duo's spine.  "He was wearing your uniform; why
would he be wearing your uniform?"

        "I don't know, Carlos," Duo said softly.  "I really don't."
His eyes darted back to Carlos, who was still supporting himself on
the tent pole, and wrapped an arm around his shoulder.  "Let's get
you inside the tent.  It's going to be a cold night."

For the best effects, listen to the song posted at the beginning of
each part while reading. ^_^
This part's song is "Kitto Ok".  I don't remember what CD it's from...

        Duo's heart stopped as a hand reached into the tent, drawing
aside the flaps.  On his bed, Carlos whimpered as his hand
accidentally brushed his wound.  "Who's there?" Duo called, reaching
under the bed for his gun.

        "It's Trowa," a soft tenor announced.  A green eye appeared,
unblinking as Duo jumped up and crushed him into a bear hug.
"Duo...?" he squeaked, trying to free his arms.

        "Man, am I glad to see you!  No offense, Carlos," he called.

        "None taken."  The Mexican boy gave a low moan as he shifted
on Duo's cot.  "This hurts like a--"

        "Now now," Duo said soothingly, motioning for Trowa to
approach the bed, "we don't want to frighten our friend here.  This
is Trowa--Trowa, Carlos."  They exchanged awkward greetings and sat
in silence for a long moment.  "So, Quatre got taken too."

        "Yeah.  I saw Heero."

        Duo cleared his throat.  "And?"  His voice came out clipped,
almost anxious.

        "And they took him too.  He was dressed in your clothes,
Duo.  You're wearing his."  The American looked down in surprise,
running his hands over the dark denim.  It still smelled like the
Japanese boy, even.  Something metallic and sexy that reminded him of
nightclubs and beer and dancing.

        "This makes no sense."  Duo began dressing Carlos' wound
systematically, wrapping thin strips of cotton around his middle.  "I
don't understand...I'm the soldier.  *I'm* the soldier, damn it!  And
they took him."  He tore off the end with a loud sccrip and tossed
the ball of dressing under the bed.

        "We've got to get them back," Trowa said reasonably, and Duo
found himself praising the day the level-headed boy arrived at camp.
"I've found a phone in Lt. Wufei's tent, but I don't know who to

        "There's no use calling any of the other camps," Duo said
slowly.  "I'll bet anything they've been hit too."

        "What about the Specials?"

        Duo stared at Carlos in disbelief.  "Are you insane?!?" he
asked, clenching his hands to keep from shaking the Mexican boy.
"The Specials?  Yeah, they'd get us inside their camp, and they'd
blow up half of our own men in the process!"  He snorted.  "The
Specials indeed."

        But he was persistent.  "It might be the only way, man.  They
could be here by midnight if we called them now."

        "Who're the Specials?" Trowa demanded.

        "The Specials are a bunch of raving lunatics, piloting these
huge mobile suits called Gundams.  You can't trust any of them.  They
claim they're on our side, but they do as much damage to us as they
do to Romafeller.  Careless children, that's what they are."
Satisfied, Duo crossed his arms over his chest, daring Carlos to
disagree with him.

        "But if they're our best option--"

        "Our best option?  The Gundams should be our *last* option,"
Duo disagreed.  "We need to get Heero, at least, out of enemy
territory.  Can you imagine the publicity if Heero was killed?
There'd be an outcry against Romafeller so big--"  He paused.

        "How long have you been here, Trowa?"  The green-eyed dancer
blinked twice, counting silently.

        "Nine days.  Why--"

        "Can you think of anyone that would want Heero dead?  Think
like a detective, not like a dancer.  Do you remember what happened
to Dorotea Catalonia?"  Trowa frowned.  "The Latin pop singer?"

        "Yeah--her mother murdered her for her money--"  Trowa
stopped short, shaking his head.  "That's insane, Duo.  Why would Dr.
J want his own nephew dead?"

        "The same reason--money!  And a hell of a lot of it, too.
The soldiers that came into our tent said that an aircraft was
spotted that was supposedly carrying top secret documents.  Nine days
ago!  Have any planes landed here in the past month except for
Heero's?"  He looked at Carlos expectantly; the wounded man shook his

        "See!  It all fits!  Today is Heero's eighteenth birthday;
all the money in his accounts used to be in care of Dr. J because he
was a minor.  But now he controls his money!  That's the way the
world works!  But if Heero dies after the ceasefire is broken, even
if it is by J himself, his only next of kin is--"

        "Dr. J," Trowa finished severely.  "If it didn't work, there
would be nothing to incriminate him.  And if it did... The world
mourns for the kind uncle who lost the apple of his eye.  But that
would mean he was working with Romafeller--"

        "Not exactly," Duo said, really getting into it now.  "The
world knows where both camps are stationed; it would be relatively
easy to leak information like that and not get caught doing it.
Notice how he high-tailed it out of here less than a day after

        "Knowing is all very well and good, but you have no proof,
Duo." Carlos grunted in pain as he sat up, propping his elbows on the
pillow.  "You have to get Heero out of there alive; he's the only one
that knows what's really going on.  Call the Specials, damn it."
Trowa handed Duo the cell phone wordlessly.

        "I--"  Unbidden, an image of Heero's not-quite-smiling face
rose in his memory.

        He pressed the power button, and began to dial with shaking


        Heero choked as blood filled his mouth; he spat it out onto
the sandy floor, barely missing his interrogator's shoe.  Damn it,
Duo, he thought angrily, why didn't you tell me you were a
lieutenant?  The double black bars on his sleeves had marked him as
possibly important, and he and Wufei had been taken away from the
rest of the group upon their arrival at their camp.

        Well, he thought, since I'm not really Duo and I don't know
anything of consequence I don't have to worry about giving anything
away.  Another blow, another mouthful of blood.  He would have
bruises marring his stomach and face for months.  Dr. J would kill

        He wondered if he would ever see the old man again.

        "And you're telling me," the man continued, "that you know
nothing about the plans that were secreted into your camp?  Plans for
a mobile suit?"  He stuck his face in front of Heero's, almost
menacingly.  Heero, tied down to a chair, could only close his eyes.
"You're a liar."

        He tried to speak, but found his throat too dry.  The man
mistook his silence for rebelliousness and struck him again. "A
Gundam, perhaps?  We found the blueprints: this Gundam would have
enough firepower to wipe out an entire Colony."

        "I don't know," Heero croaked.

        "You know."  He motioned to two guards standing by the thick
metal door.  "Bring him in."  Heero watch with a growing sense of
horror as Quatre was thrown onto the floor, landing with a sickening
crunch.  "Now...tell me, Quatre, what did you do before the war?"

        He mumbled something unintelligable, wringing his wrists.
When he looked up, Heero saw that he had red burn marks marring the
perfect white skin of his neck and arms.  There was a wildness to his
blue eye that had not been there before.  Broken.

        "Speak up," one of the soldiers commanded.

        "I played the violin," the blond boy whispered.

        "See?  He played the violin, Lieutenant.  Now, for every time
you refuse to speak we will break one of his fingers.  And I don't
mean snapping them or anything clean like that; I mean crushing them
beneath a four hundred pound weight."  He looked pointedly at the
heavier guard.

        "No!"  Heero looked around desperately.  There had to be some
way around this, something he could say that would save Quatre's
fingers.  Relena had once played the viola, beautifully she claimed.
A child prodigy.  She'd gotten her fingers crushed in a door hinge
and had never touched another string.  He supposed that was why she
sang now; music was ingrained in her blood.

        "I-I..."  Quatre looked at him with a strained smile.

        "Make your decision, Lieutenant, before we crush his thumbs."


        They touched down ten minutes after midnight.  Five dark
shadows, flitting across the moon's face, landing in the field behind
the mess tent.  Their pilots emerged silently, wearing black body
suits and black helmets, saying as little as possible.

        There was space in two of the Gundams for an extra passenger;
Carlos stayed behind, resting.  Duo climbed in after the pilot,
noting the way he moved gracefully, but dangerously.  A fighter.

        They followed the tracks of the tanks one hundred miles into
the harsh desert, circling over the camp.  It was lit up with bright
lights and small bonfires circling the edges.  There was a large,
abandoned fortress surrounded by several tents; he could see small
black dots that were undoubtedly Romafeller soldiers.

        "We're going in," the pilot informed him coolly.  He nearly
had a heart attack; the voice was female!

        "O-Okay," he stuttered, although he had the feeling it
wouldn't have mattered if he'd agreed or disagreed.  With a loud
battle cry, they swooped down into the camp.


        Heero stared in disbelief at his fallen friend.  The blonde
boy sat rocking back and forth in his cell, clutching his broken
fingers.  After breaking all of Quatre's fingers, they had apparently
decided that Heero didn't know anything and released both of them.
He hissed as he felt the bones in his wrist slide back and forth;
broken.  At least they weren't sticking out of the skin or anything.

        "Quatre," Heero said softly.  "I'm sorry."  He looked at the
Japanese boy with such a lost look about him it wounded him more
deeply than any mortal weapon could.  "They're going to rescue us,

        He nodded slowly, but said nothing.

        "They are," Heero said again, staring at the small window
that shed bits of moonlight into the cell.  <Where are you, Duo?>

This part's song is "Thriller" by Michael Jackson.


        Relena lifted her hand to her mouth to bite her nails, then
stopped, swallowing hard.  "Are you sure?" she asked softly.  "He's
just...gone?"  Sally nodded slowly, folding her hands loosely in the
lap of her wool knit skirt.  "But...that's impossible.  A man as
influential as J can't just fade away into the sunset!"

        Sally shrugged.  "He'll turn up, I'm sure."

        The blonde Queen of Pop stared at the nonchalant woman.
"What is *that* supposed to mean?" she demanded.

        Sally patted her on the head.  "Trust me, Relena.  If Heero
also turns up missing, he'll swoop down and collect the money as his
next of kin.  I've seen it happen before."  She sighed.  "When
there's billions of credits involved, relatives are like crows to

        "Which means what?  You're just going to sit there and let
Heero die just because you've seen it before?  I knew you were jaded,
but I didn't know you were apt to let yourself become an accessory to
MURDER!" Relena hollered, slamming one pale fist onto Sally's desk.

        "What am I supposed to do, Relena?  I work for these people!
I'll be ostracized if I try anything.  It's easy for you to say, Miss
1,000,000 Credits a Day Relena Darlian."  Sally sniffed and opened
the door for the blonde girl.  "I don't want to hear from you until
this blows over."

        "But--"  Relena stopped as Sally shoved her outside and
slammed the door in her face.

        "Well, if YOU won't do something about it, maybe I will!" she
screamed, then stomped down the stairs, her black knee-high Prada
boots clicking menacingly.


        Something was happening.  It was obvious from the voices and
boots pounding the sand, running around in distress, and several
banging noises, like doors being thrown open and closed.  Several
loud explosions rocked the row of cells, and then a soft murmur began
to ripple through the prisoners.


        "...attacking...Specials are here..."

        "Who're the Specials?" Heero asked Quatre, careful not to
move his hands.  "Quatre?"  The blonde let out a ragged breath, but
there were no tears in his eyes.

        "They're the criminally insane pilots of a squadron of
Gundams.  If they're really here, I suppose we'll either die in a
mass execution by Romafeller or from the falling debris of their
careless aim."  Then he curled up in a little ball and refused to say
another word.  Heero stroked his hair gently, wishing shamefully that
Trowa had been taken instead.  At least he would have known what to

        That was before the roof of the cells was completely blown
off by a high-powered laser.


        "Hey, watch it!" Duo hollered at the pilot as one of her
blasts nearly decimated a building.  "The prisoners could be in

        "They are.  That's why I did it," she replied tersely, and
steered her Gundam down to the ground.  Duo's opinion of the
Specials' brand of insanity skyrocketed as he saw dozens of soldiers,
looking a bit bruised, but none the worse for wear, pouring over the
low walls.  He looked for his friends, for Angel and Quatre and
Heero, among the fleeing crowd.  Nothing so far, but...


        Trowa saw the shimmer of that blonde hair and his heart
nearly ceased pounding in his rib cage.  Then he noticed that Quatre
was cradling his hands against his chest, almost as if they were
hurt.  He hoped not; the boy had enjoyed relative fame in Europe as a

        "Hey," he called out to the pilot, "could you touch down
here?  My friend's hurt."  There was no reply, and for a moment Trowa
thought he was ignoring him.

        Then they landed.  The Gundam seemed to have been put on auto-
pilot; it continued firing at various targets, never ceasing its hail
of bullets.  "Tell him to enter through the foot; there's a ladder
there."  The voice seemed too high--a woman?

        "He won't be able to hear me--"

        "You are more than friends, *aren't* you?  Call him."  With a
sigh, the woman tugged off her helmet to reveal a slender girl with
too pale skin and glittering eyes.  They reflected as she moved,
masking the true color.  "We don't have much time.  Romafeller is
regrouping quickly; most of the prisoners have already escaped in
tanks and trucks.  Hurry, now!"

        Trowa took a deep breath.


        His smile had been big enough to split his lips as he saw the
blonde entering the Gundam gingerly, as if it pained him to open the
hatch.  And then he saw Angel, driving a truck into the desert.  It
would take them better of four hours to reach the camp, where
reinforcements and planes were no doubt waiting to take them away.

        But there was still no Heero.  The flow of men trickled away
into nothing and he could feel something inside of him dying.

        "Hey," he said as the thrusters began to crackle with energy,
"what are you--Stop!  Heero's not out yet!  He didn't make it out!"

        The reply was short and muffled, but it rang out loudly in
Duo's ears.

        "Then he's dead."


        Inwardly, Heero the Popstar with a Bad Attitude was laughing
hysterically.  The entire situation was ridiculous.  Shortly after
the blast that had opened the cells, one lone guard had begun
executing the prisoners with brutal efficiency; Quatre, flying out of
nowhere, took his down and started to beat the shit out of him with
his broken fingers.

        It had taken Heero almost five minutes before he could get
Quatre to move.  The blonde boy had made out in one of those Gundams;
he'd watched as he crawled into the foot.  The Japanese boy began to
run, darting around various pieces of mortar and stone.  He fell flat
on his face as a hand reached out and closed around his ankle.

        One of the soldiers. He had a small bullet hole in his leg,
nothing life-threatening.  Yet he was making the most desperate
wheezing noises.  Heero looked around, seeing only the emptiness of
the cells.  The Specials had mostly obliterated the camp, but even as
they spoke Romafeller guards were trying to shoot the Gundams down.


        The Japanese boy paused, hands clenching into fists,
releasing as pain flared through his wrist.  Someone's
lover...someone's Duo...

        It hurt that the American hadn't come after him, hadn't even
looked for him.  Which meant he was going to have to survive so he
could give the baka a piece of his mind the next time he saw him.

        "Come on," Heero said encouragingly, bending down in the dirt
and dust.

        Looping one arm around the man's waist, he dragged him
outside and into the bay, where trucks full of prisoners were jetting
out of camp faster than any car was ever meant to go.  Grunting with
the exertion, he shoved the man into the backseat of a smaller cargo
vehicle and took off.  It was, he reflected absently, a good thing
he'd learned to drive during his tour on L-2.

        They were barreling down the desert, sand flying everywhere
behind them.  He could see several of the other soldiers' cars ahead,
and started to press down harder on the gas.

        An explosion rocked them from behind.  The soldiers back at
the camp were firing the guns meant to destroy mobile suits at the
fleeing vehicles.

        "What the--SHIT!"  He began trying to drive and put out the
flames at the same time, swerving dangerously near the rough.
"SHIT!"  He smelled gas leaking and stopped the car, about to jump
out when the Jeep burst into flames, sending him and the other
wounded soldier flying.

        Heero landed face first with a mouthful of sand.  "Hey," he
coughed, wiping the small particles out of his eyes, "you okay?
Hey!"  He crawled over to the man, trembling violently as he checked
for a pulse.  None.

        He was dead.  His eyes were closed, thankfully, and there was
no blood, at least.  Drawing a deep breath, he pulled himself to his
feet and began to walk.  He had only gone about ten steps when he
heard an engine behind him, far in the distance.  A ball of laser-
based energy flashed by his ear, turning the sand into black

        Heero started to run, as fast as his skinny legs would take
him.  He was by no means slow, but he was tired and he was hurt and
hungry and despairing of ever seeing a certain violet-eyed boy again.

        Choking down a breath of sand and cold night air, he darted
to the left, then doubled back and threw himself into the bushes just
as another shot rang out.  A minute later, the car drove by, carrying
four soldiers and Heero's blood pressure with them.

        "I swear," he growled as he navigated the small weed-like
plants that kept trying to tangle in his hair, "I'll kill Duo the
next time I see him."

        Four hours later, he was no nearer to the camp.  His feet
ached, with blisters forming rapidly on the ends of his toes; Duo's
feet were bigger than his and he kept sliding forward as he walked.
His back ached and he was beginning to see spinning stars.

        Duo. He had to keep thinking of Duo.


        "Maybe you missed him," Trowa said as Duo paced back and
forth in the tent.  "I mean...Okay, no," he finished as Duo turned a
glare on him that Heero would have envied.  "Did you look away at
anytime during the assault?  Heero could have slipped by then--"

        "No!" Duo yelled.  "For the tenth time, no!"

        They stared at each other, Duo panting slightly, then turned
away.  Trowa had to go look after his own lover and Duo still wanted
to run around the camp, looking for anyone who might know what had
happened to Heero.

        But they both knew it was getting darker, and colder, and
things were getting more and more desperate for their missing friend.


        Heero grunted as he burrowed under his makeshift bed, a pile
of reedy looking weed things.  He tucked his hands behind his head
and stared up at the moon.  If Duo was here...

        He didn't allow himself to finish that thought.  He couldn't
stray from his mission, couldn't let what-ifs and maybes keep him
from making it back to the camp.  Instead, he rested his head on his
hands and tried to ignore the calls of the coyotes as they circled
somewhere nearby.

        He woke the next morning to find a huge, black, hairy spider
sitting on his chest.  His shout shook through the desert, swallowed
by the mountainous hills of power-like stones ground to dust.
Swatting hastily at the thing, it crawled away, red eyes still
glowering at him as it walked away.  Its movements were almost
jaunty; it sauntered like an affronted cat.

        Heero got up and started to walk.

        One foot in front of the other, he reminded himself.  You've
done it thousands of times, millions of times, without trouble.  But
this was different, somehow.  It wasn't just one step staring him in
the face, or half a dozen.  It was an endless amount until his lover,
until he reached camp and could safely collapse.

        The midday sun beat broadly on his back, soaking his fatigues
with sweat. Eventually he tossed his shirt away, leaving it behind in
the sand, a white flag.  He could feel its malicious fingers dragging
red burns down white skin, but he didn't care.  He couldn't think
about the burns, only Duo.  And one foot.  Then the other.


        "What the--?"  Relena sprinted down the stairs, nearly
tripping as the heel of her boot caught on the edge of the red
carpet.  "Hey!" she said, pointing at one tired-looking boy.  "What's
going on here?"

        "We're in a war, Miss Relena.  You might want to turn around
and get back on that plane," he advised solemnly as another soldier
patched up his wounds, minor for the most part.  She rolled her eyes;
where was Heero?  If she knew him--and she did--he would be in the
middle of the fray, doing something to make a nuisance of himself.

        "I don't think so," she said smirking.  And she began to
speak, as eloquently as any politician or peace leader.  When she was
finished, some began to clap.  Not everyone, as many had ignored the
blond girl as she jumped onto a make-shift soapbox. "In short, I am
here to see that justice is served."


        Duo heard her before he saw her.  Relena Darlian--he looked
skeptically at his CD, strewn on the ground, then headed out.

        "Heero's missing!" he announced.  She stared at him for a
moment, miffed, then called out to Duo.

        "Isn't he here?"

        "No!  He didn't make it out of the camp.  We have to go back
and look for him."  The boy's violet eyes pleaded with her to save
him.  Sighing, Relena crooked a finger.

        "Come here, sir.  What's your name?"  He grinned; cute smile,
she noted.  He'd be good for Heero.  Having received the Relena
Darlian Seal of Approval, the American seemed more at ease, shoulders

        "Duo Maxwell, ma'am."

        "Well, Duo Maxwell, let's get back on the plane.  We're going
Heero-hunting."  Duo smiled wanly; he could almost picture the added
cackle at the end.


        Sometimes he didn't wonder if people that got lost and had to
trudge through the wilderness survived the environment, or the
boredom.  Oh yes, he remembered, pick foot up.  Set foot down.

        He was terribly sunburned; he felt dizzy, but that was
probably because he hadn't had a drink of water in two days and no
food in longer.  Feverish red dots began to explode in his vision and
he faltered.  Pick foot up. And then....what?

        It seemed like everything was moving in slow motion; the
plane flying overhead, the low growl of its engine as it passed over
him, its shadow cooling his body.  Feeling sand clench in between his
fingers, Heero fell onto the warm white granules, letting his head
pillow amongst the sand beetles.

        He was still wondering what else he'd forgotten when he
blacked out.


        The movies had it all wrong.

        Heero opened his eyes, but saw nothing.  Sound was the first
thing to return; he could hear the faint blip of machines.  A
hospital.  Or he was dead.  He preferred the latter.

        Then the world emerged from darkness, blurring into focus
gradually.  There was no one hovering over his bed.  He could smell
medicine, sterilized metal and plastic.  And something else.

        He tried to sit up, but collapsed back against the pillows,
his body screaming in protest.  He gave in...for now.

        And slept again.


The second time, he blinked the sleep from his eyes and found he
could sit up, kind of.  He had to use his elbows to prop his thinner
body, but at least he could see past the metal railings now.

        That other smell was present too.  He stretched his neck a
bit, wincing as he heard something crackle and pop.  How long had he
been sleeping?  His Prussian eyes strayed towards a sleeping figure,
covered by a fleece blanket.  Against the odds, his heart leapt.
Duo...? The blob shifted and the blanket fell in a puddle at the
person's feet.

        A female figure.  Her face was turned away from him; Relena,
probably, judging from the red Prada boots.  Swallowing his
disappointment, he tried to speak but found his voice inaccessible.
That was bad, he thought mildly.  He needed his voice, for something
that his incoherent mind wouldn't tell him just yet.

        He needed Duo.  His mind supplied him with a plethora of
images of that baka, braided and de-.  But the American was nowhere
to be seen.  Maybe it would be better just to go back to sleep and
never wake up.

        Heero closed his eyes.


        With shaking fingers, Duo punched the little button next to
10 and watched as it lit up.  In one hand he clutched a vase of
daisies; the field they had kissed in was full of them.  Not that
he'd gone back to the camp for an armful of daisies.

        He could still hear Relena's voice on his answering machine.
Petulant and almost whiny, but still right.  "Duo Maxwell, I believe
you're hiding."  He chuckled at the thought; so he had been hiding.
>From Heero or from himself, he wasn't sure.

        The war was over.  It had been over the first week after the
Japanese boy had entered his comatose state, and remained there for a
three weeks.  A global outcry was raised against Romafeller for
kidnapping a civilian, let alone a rich and famous and loved one.


        He hadn't visited his former lover, not even once.  What was
there to see?  The prognosis had been bleak.  Did he want to see
Heero, emaciated and frail, sleeping in a bed, his face peaceful,
destined to sleep his life away?  More than once in a bleak state Duo
had wished that he'd never met him.  That if all he was destined for
was a life confined to a bed, then maybe Heero would be better off

        "He's awake."

        Those words had cut through the bubble of a life he'd erected
for himself, right through the tickertape parade of a job he'd gotten
as a stage manager for a troupe of mimes.  Through the junky
apartment with the boxes that remained packed, and the overdue rent.

        So he'd taken the train to the Sanc Kingdom, stopped at a
florist for something, anything, that might help his pitiful
excuses.  Because he knew Heero well enough to know that his Japanese
boy would be relatively pissed off that Duo hadn't been there when
he'd woken up.

        Then he'd made a detour in the bathroom on the first floor
and thrown up his lunch.  Which meant another detour at the gift shop
for some extra-strength mint gum.  He supported the Sanc Kingdom
Lion's Club and bought some peppermints too, just in case Heero
wanted a kiss or something.

        So now he was on an elevator to the tenth floor, to the boy
he'd sworn to love no matter what, and he was frightened to death.

        The metal doors opened ominously and he started to step
through, then hit the 'close doors' button and rode all the way back
to the ground floor.

        Now that he thought about it, he was sure that Heero would be
*really* pissed.  Once they'd had some down time, he and Trowa and
Quatre had sat down and talked things over, trying to figure out
exactly what had happened.  The Japanese boy had changed places with
Duo, for what reason the American still couldn't figure out.  And
had taken off for parts unknown without even visiting him.

        Poor Quatre.  He felt terribly for the blonde boy; his
fingers had been irreparably crushed.  Quatre refused to speak about
it; he just couldn't, and started to vomit violently whenever he
did.  Whatever happened, it never stopped *him* from visiting Heero.
In fact, according to the visitor's log, he stopped by at least once
a week.  On Thursdays.

        Today was Thursday.  He was hoping to see his friend, hoping
to catch up.  The end of the war had come as a terrible shock to
everyone, including himself, if he was being honest.  It was a day
for honesty.  They'd scattered; he hadn't seen Quatre since that day
at the train station, when he'd walked away with Trowa into the
proverbial sunset.

        He'd reached the bottom.  Taking a deep breath, he punched
'10' again, and vowed that this time he would step through once the
doors opened.


        It took him another two tries and four skipped heartbeats,
but he found himself knocking at room 1021 half an hour later.  He
peered in through the glass; Relena was sitting bedside, reading a
newspaper aloud.

        Duo pushed the door open, surprised by its weight.  Four eyes
trained on him, and he grinned sheepishly.  "Hi..."  He stopped,
unsure of how to continue.  'Hi Heero!  how's it going?'  Or no, he
liked this one better: 'Hey there, recovering from your coma, I
see!'  He cursed his mind's inability to come with anything
appropriate and instead moved beside Relena, avoiding the burning
blue eyes that were making Heero-sized holes in his head.

        "Duo."  Relena held out her hands, and for a moment the
American panicked.  "The flowers?"  He laughed easily, all too aware
of the sweat beading on his upper lip, and handed over the daisies.
She set them on the windowsill next to a dozen bouquets of red
roses.  He should have bought roses, he thought worriedly.

        Relena broke the silence first.  "I'm going to get some
coffee," she said.  "You want any?"  It occurred to Duo several
moments later that she was talking to him.

        "No thanks," he said quickly, eyes darting away from her
knowing smile and accidentally falling on the reason for his visit.
He felt his breath catch, and scolded himself for being silly.  He
still looked good, only a tiny bit thinner than the last time he'd
seen him, in the plane as they flew eight hours back to the Sanc
Kingdom, and the hospital.

        If he could have laughed, Duo would have laughed for all he
was worth.  "This is kind of awkward--" he began.

        Heero waved him off and motioned for him to come closer.  Duo
leaned down, inhaling the soft scent of his body, and smiled as Heero
held up the headlines in that day's newspaper.  His uncle had been
indicted on charges of fraud and attempted murder, thanks to the
efforts of teen pop queen Relena Darlian.

        "Doesn't that make you sad?" he teased.  The Japanese boy
shrugged, crossing his arms over his chest casually to hide his
trembling hands.

        Duo saw right through him, and captured his long, thin
fingers in his hands.  "You can't fool me, Heero Yuy.  Remember, I
was in infatuated with you for almost six years."  Heero eyes widened
abruptly; Duo held a finger to his lips.  "Don't say anything."  That
provoked a smile.  "I know the difference, I think."  He leaned down
to kiss him, that stopped, confused, as Heero shook his head.

        "What?"  Heero growled in frustration, grabbing him by the
shoulders and spinning him around until he faced the windowsill where
all the flowers were displayed.  He heard him shifting in bed behind
him, and nearly melted into a big Duo-puddle as he felt the barest
touch of lips on his neck.


        Almost gingerly, Heero dislodged the metal bars, and swung
his legs over the side of the bed.  He nearly fell as his knees
threatened to give out, unused to the weight of 110 pounds of boy.
But he hadn't been in a coma that long, and in a few seconds he
worked up the courage to walk over to the windowsill and extract a
single daisy from the bouquet Duo brought him.  Wrinkling his nose at
the heavy scent of rose that permeated his clothes, even, he stood in
front of the ex-soldier and urged him to lower his head.

        "You grew," Heero noted huskily, even as he tied the flower
to his hair.  It bounced up and down as Duo chuckled.


        Heero smirked as he avoided another one of Duo's kisses, the
American nearly falling over.  "I know the difference too, baka."
One sweeping gesture at the identical rose arrangements said it all.


        Well, Relena thought, bristling as she passed a few gawking
fangirls, she'd drank over four cups of coffee.  She sincerely hoped
they were done reacquainting themselves.  Of course, if they were
doing that other thing, it could be a while before--

        She cut off her own hentai thoughts and peered in through the
window.  Duo and Heero were sprawled out on the bed, the Japanese boy
occasionally ducking any attempts to push their relationship in a
physical direction, more for the look on Duo's face than for anything
else, she suspected.  Heero was known for being a tease.

        She opened the door and her jaw dropped as she got a *really*
good look at Duo.

        The handsome man had almost every daisy from the bouquet
braided or twisted into his hair.  When he giggled, his daisy wig
bobbled up and down like a Weeble.  Combined with his elfish looking
ears and violet eyes, he looked like a fairy straight from a child's

        Smirking, she excused herself, noting that neither of the
boys even looked up.  Their laughter followed her down the hall and
elevator, out the rotating hospital door, and into the car.  Even as
she drove away, Relena fancied that she could still hear it.

        "Oh SHIT!"  She swore as she nearly ran into a tall, thin
blonde wearing pink Prada boots.  As subtly as she could, she checked
herself out in the rear view mirror, noting with distaste that her
eyeshadow had smudged.

        She jumped over the driver's side door of her pink
convertible and said, "Oh my God!  Are you all right?!?"  The blonde
steadied herself on the hood of the car and nodded slowly.  Relena
noted a strange resemblance to Dorotea Catalonia, but said nothing.
When you were in the business long enough, you become savvy to the
fact that it was annoying to always have people asking you, "Hey, are
you related to...?" or "Hey, you look like..."

        Instead, she held out her hand.  "I'm Relena."  The girl, a
gorgeous thing with long, forked eyebrows, smiled.

        "Dorothy.  Daughter of," she sighed, and Relena nodded.  They
appraised each other for one long moment, then Dorothy began to
laugh.  It appeared they understood each other perfectly.

        "I'm in the mood to go shopping."

        "I am too!  That is--"

        "Of course.  Get in, the guy driving the ambulance behind us
looks ready to have a heart attack himself."

        "Why, that's rather senseless.  No provocation or anything."

        "I don't think--"

        "Provocation would be this."

        "What are you--MMPH!"

        And somewhere, Heero and Duo laughed.

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