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Maxwell the Bard


"You can't"

"Yes, I can!"

"You can not."

"I can so!"

"No, you can *not*!"

"I can *so*!! Times infinity!!!"

"Maxwell, there is simply no way you could go any extended period of time without uttering total nonsense, except when you sleep! This pathetic excuse for a conversation is proof of it." Wufei scowled menacingly at the cocky boy in front of him.

"Ha!" Lame comeback, even for Duo, but he was busy trying to find a way to prove he could *so* speak in a more educated fashion. Wufei smirked when Duo obviously started to get a headache thinking about it too much.

"Guys, guys, wait a minute!" Quatre the peace-maker had intervened---finally! He had been trying to stay out of it, but Trowa had given him "the look" that meant "shut them up or no fun time later, lover" and Heero was already fingering the grip on his pistol a little too fondly, so the blond gave in.

"Now hold it, both of you. How can Duo prove to you, Wufei, that he *is* capable of speaking in a more educated fashion?" Wow, déjà vu! All over again, no less!

"Perhaps," Wufei paused to stroke his Invisible Philosopher's Beard (TM), then said, "If Maxwell could quote at least a few lines from the classics of literature, I would be convinced."

Duo blanched, he had no clue what these "classics of literature" were, but he had his pride to maintain!

"And, Duo, are you willing to go along with this?" Quatre could tell full well Duo was in a quandary, a word he doubted Duo could spell much less use properly in a sentence, but wasn't feeling too terribly generous about it.

"Yeah, sure, why not? I'm game!" Duo confidently responded in spite of growing fear.

Wufei chuckled, "Oh, this will be rich! I'd be surprised if you could even come up with quotations, much less their source right this very moment!"

"Hey! Who said it had to be right now? I've, uh, got to, uh, go polish Deathscythe right now!" Duo looked frantic. "How about tomorrow instead?"

"I knew you couldn't do this, baka!" Heero's snide remark was truly uncalled for and pushed Duo way past reason, in other words, not very far at all.

"I am *not* a baka!" Duo stamped his foot like a child. "Starting tomorrow morning, I'll go for a full day proving to you how much classical literature I know! Hell, I'll even make it all *Shakespeare* just to prove how wrong you are, Wu-man!" He stuck out his tongue for emphasis on the insult, but it had other side-effects.

"Fine, fine," Heero muttered, hungrily eyeing the tongue and grabbing a tight fistful of braid. "You might want to go 'bone up' for tomorrow, Romeo." And he drug Duo back to their room, shutting the door tightly to make sure that all Duo got to "bone up on" was him!

Later, during the night, Duo snuck out of the apartment and broke into a nearby bookstore. It was conveniently located near the school they were attending and he stole a handful of Cliff Notes (TM) not even feeling guilty since he planned to bring them back the next night, *after* he had thumbed his nose at Wufei, of course! Realizing *having* the booklets and *reading* them was a whole different problem, Duo traipsed off to the local all-night Krispy Kreme (TM) donut shop. After spending the rest of the night drinking coffee, eating sugar-laden donuts, and reading as much Shakespeare as he could, he literally waltzed back to the apartment right before sunrise since he was so buzzed on sugar.

Sauntering into the kitchen, he boldly leaned over Wufei's shoulder to see what was for breakfast. It was oatmeal. Yuck.

"Double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble!" he cackled. He added a cheeky grin before he ran off avoiding a flying wooden spoon aimed with deadly accuracy for his head. [Macbeth, IV, 1]

He opened the door to the room he and Heero shared and paused to admire the sleek lines of his lover's naked torso as he sat typing at the battered laptop in the early rays of light. Sighing, Duo's comment was aptly, "But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East and *Heero* is the sun!" [Romeo and Juliet, II, 2 (close enough, no da!)] Playing the part to it's fullest, Romeo-Duo kissed his beloved soundly than zipped off to grab a shower before class.

Heero, aroused, stared at the closed bathroom door in frustration, then went to find someone to take his anger out on. "Wufei, omae o korosu!"

"Nani? What did *I* do?" Wufei pretended to look innocent, but Heero's spandex shorts told way more than they should have and even Wufei knew Duo's new language skills had been put to use on the wrong person at the wrong time, since class started soon.

"Don't *ever* challenge him to something like this again, got it?" he growled, then stalked away wondering how hard it would be to pick the lock on the bathroom door.

"Kisama!" Wufei breathed out hoping Yuy wouldn't hear him. "Kami-sama, what have I done? I may have gone too far."

"You did." Trowa's succinct remark answered.

"Yeah," pouted Quatre. "Now none of the rest of us will get a shower with them in there together for crying out loud! They usually behave themselves during the morning, but, oh, no, Mr. 'Wufei The Perfect' had to start the blabber-mouth headed down the direction of the single most romantic writer in the English language!"

"But, I," Wufei attempted to defend himself but was cut off.

"Did it occur to you how much this could mess things up if we go into battle today? All we need is for Duo to be so busy thinking of the correct Elizabethan insult, that he gets his Gundam blown out from under him! I'm changing the rules, if those two *ever* come out of there, to avoid that happening!" Quatre turned in a huff and walked out the front door forgetting to put his shoes on in his haste. "Ouch! Ow! Itae!"

Trowa went out and brought the red-faced blond back in and helped him find the shoes they had "accidentally" lost the night before. Then both left Wufei to his fate.

Wufei, however, having excellent self-preservation skills, turned off the neglected oatmeal, grabbed his own school gear, and left quickly.

"Hn. Where'd everybody go?" a most-contented Heero Yuy pondered stepping out of a shower that had done more than get him clean. Duo, didn't have an "after sex" quote handy, so he grinned, shrugged, and grabbed his books for class.

At school, Quatre told Duo the change in the rules in case they went into battle and Duo simply smiled and nodded. He had decided he wasn't going to speak at all unless it was a Shakespearean quote or if a teacher called on him. The idea of having a battle sounded really good right then since his sugar-rush had worn off leaving a splitting headache in its wake. Lack of sleep in favor of defeating OZ or being defeated by Heero was one thing, losing a night of beauty rest to memorize stupid quotes was annoying as Hell!

//At least,// he reflected to himself, //this is a shortened school day due to a "teacher's work day" and I only have three classes to get through.//

First up, biology! Dissecting frogs was on the agenda and that sounded like fun. He, unfortunately, was the new student, *again*, and got stuck with a nerd for a partner.

"Hi! I'm Melvin!" the bespectacled little twerp tried to introduce himself. Duo just borrowed a Yuy Death Glare (TM), and ignored him until just the right moment. Poor Melvin had a queasy stomach at best and had let Duo pith the poor creature then dissect it. The frog lay spread open with dissecting needles, its heart still beating. //Ah! Being the god of death has its advantages!//

Holding the dissection tray aloft and striking an appropriate pose, Duo pronounced, "Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him well, Horatio." [Hamlet, V, 1]. Said "Horatio", being Melvin, took one look at the beating heart and fainted.

In the back of the room, Heero stifled a chuckle having crept in without Duo's knowledge just to see if the braided wonder could actually pull this stunt off. Most of the class just laughed, but a few members lost their breakfasts and Duo spent the rest of class in the hallway holding buckets of water for reasons that baffled the American boy.

Next up, art class! A secret talent he'd hidden from his fellow pilots was an amazing ability to draw. He sketched routinely during any class that bored him, in other words almost all day in whatever school they were attending, and had hidden a nice artist's pad and pencils in Shinigami's cockpit for those long boring recon missions.

Today's assignment suited him just fine, sketching a live male nude, //Homina, homina, homina!// his heart raced. He was so entranced by the handsome, dark-haired college student's, um, physique, he failed to notice Quatre was in the same room having the same difficulty focusing on the assignment instead of the model.

Duo finally got it under control enough to pull out an impressive array of Grumbacher (TM) pencils and proceeded to choose his #2B, his favorite one. "To be, or not to be, *that* is the question!" [Hamlet, III, 1] he recited aloud, giggling a bit at the shocked look of some girl with stupid looking hairballs on her head and truly unreasonably long pigtails. The girl looked at where Duo's eyes were apparently glued and protested, "Darien!"

The college student glanced at her and suddenly realized she was there in the first place and almost passed-out at the embarrassment of having his girl-friend's entire class discover there was a relationship between them not to mention he was buck naked.

Smirking, the Deathscythe pilot went ahead and got to work on his drawing which was quite well done if not a touch over detailed in one particular area.

On his way to gym, he realized he had somehow gotten a little too carried away in art class and needed to rinse a tiny wet patch off his boxers. "Out damned spot! Out, I say!" [Macbeth, V, 1] he growled, rinsing his favorite smiley faces clean before climbing into his gym clothes. //Ah, dryer *is* better!// he thought to himself; failing to hear Trowa's classic silent laughter at his Shakespearean antics.

In gym, he finally felt much better, because Wufei had no choice but to face off against him in one-on-one basketball, something he was particularly good at.

Smirking evilly, he warned, "These violent delights have violent ends!" [Romeo & Juliet, II, 6] attacking the other pilot in savage fury.

"What the hell?" was all Wufei got out before he crashed into the floor. Reaching a hand to the bruise-to-be forming on the side of his face, Wufei glared at Duo, then accepted a hand up from the floor. "All right, all right, Maxwell, you win. You've accounted for yourself quite well from what I've heard, so drop the Shakespeare. It's distracting." He grumbled a little more finding himself benched with a bag of ice.

Duo just shook his head, no, and kept his mouth shut except for the occasional Elizabethan challenge for other unfortunate classmates. He did pretty well for awhile until a tall brunette girl knocked him to the ground and he, too, landed on the bench with ice. Glancing at a smirking Wufei, Duo drolly remarked, "A hit, a very palpable hit." [Hamlet, V, 2] and left it at that.

The school day over, Duo gathered up his still damp smiley shorts and was getting ready to go home for a much needed nap and some aspirin, when a steely voice whispered in his ear, "Mission. Now."

Under ordinary circumstances, that particular voice in that particular tone would have prompted remarks about various sexual innuendoes from Othello, but not now. He was very tired but still dedicated enough to simply nod lethargically, then head to where he had Deathscythe waiting for him.

Slowly, Duo climbed into his pilot's chair and started preparing for whatever battle awaited. He didn't have to wait long. Heero's face appeared on the comm screen and informed him that the two of them had to go take out the first wave of incoming mobile suits descending on the nearby town. Duo suddenly recalled his plan to return those Cliff Notes (TM), but assumed saving the store in the first place was a good idea.

Soon, Wing and Deathscythe confronted roughly a dozen Leos, not much of a threat, but saw an additional battalion on its way in. Heero informed him the others were on their way, so Duo just donned his traditional maniacal appearance and shouted, "Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war!" [Julius Caesar, III, 1].

He took out three Leos with a single sweep of his scythe then laughed in a horrifying tone, "Screw your courage to the sticking-place, and we'll not fail!" [Macbeth, I, 7]

"Maxwell!" Heero's voice came across the open comm link, "Shut up! You're distracting as Hell!"

Laughing, Duo responded, "Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier and afeard?" [Macbeth, V, 1] teasing Heero that perhaps he needed a bit more courage himself.

Shinigami was rammed from behind by a Leo which was rapidly destroyed, "Seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come." [Julius Caesar, II, 2] was the only comment heard.

"Damn it, Duo!" Heero shouted at him. "Cut the Shakespeare crap! We've got more important things to do than deal with your stupid war with Wufei! Pay attention or you'll get yourself killed!"

Duo, unfortunately, was beyond hearing him, caught in bloodlust and his head swimming from lack of sleep, Deathscythe continued to destroy any suit it could get close enough to. The other three suits showed up, evening the odds substantially, but the battle lasted much longer than any physical reserves Duo had left.

He'd never realized memorizing all those quotes would leave him so tired, or was it just a lack of sugar? Of course all the sex and lack of sleep shouldn't have effected him, so he didn't even consider those as possibilities. In the end, it didn't matter when his own misjudgment brought him into Heavyarms' firing line and his cockpit was riddled with bullets. Deathscythe fell backwards and landed in a sprawling heap, its pilot unconscious from the blow suffered on impact with the ground as well as the dripping hole in his shirt. If he had been able to think it, he would have undoubtedly been angry he was going to die wearing some pansy-assed school uniform instead of his traditional priest's garb.

The other pilots were furious, especially Trowa who knew full well it wasn't his fault but Quatre was mad at him anyway. After another agonizing period of battle, the enemies that had lived had left the area and the Gundams set down to retrieve one of their own.

Heero and Wufei sprinted over to Deathscythe, jamming the emergency door release. The cockpit door opened part way before jamming due to damage, but the two teens were able to squeeze through to release Duo's bloodied body from its harness. Blood still oozed down the side of Duo's head, covering his face and obscuring his ability to breathe easily. Heero smeared it away with a rag as best he could, and Duo's breathing became clearer though it sounded water-logged. The hole in his chest, however, was making an absolutely sickening sucking noise each time he inhaled, and the two boys looked at each other knowing there was little time for a strategic withdrawal.

Heero gathered Duo up and passed him through the opening in the door to Wufei. With the grace of a dancer, Wufei leapt to the ground running to Heavyarms for Trowa to get Duo to medical aid. Sandrock literally gave them a hand up to the cockpit which was open and waiting for its patient. Heero simply climbed Heavyarms to check on his lover. Just as they got Duo situated for transport, his violet eyes blinked open then scrunched tight in pain.

"Duo? How are you feeling, other than crappy?" Heero asked tactlessly. Duo moaned and clutched at the hole in his chest.

"'Tis not so deep as a well, nor as wide as a church door; but 'tis enough. They have made worms' meat of me" [Romeo & Juliet, III, 1], was the last Shakespearean quote he pronounced before passing out from the pain.

Heero and Wufei jumped down as Trowa threw a disgusted look at the Chinese pilot and took off; his Gundam closely followed by Sandrock.

Standing alone on the ground, Heero looked at Wufei both of them covered in Duo's blood; the Chinese pilot reminded him of the frog from biology class. Wufei sighed, knowing full well what was foreordained would happen.

"Omae o korosu!" Heero seethed, lashing out with a brutal right upper-cut.

Wufei flew backwards to land on the ground, still conscious to his great surprise. He stayed put and looked up at the Japanese pilot wondering what else he'd have to pay for starting this stupidity in the first place.

"Get up," Heero grumbled. "I can't kill you right now, we've got to get Deathscythe out of here before OZ comes looking for leftovers."

He pulled Wufei to his feet, then did something very strange, he laughed!

"Actually, Wufei, that's the quietest he's been the entire time I've known the baka! But don't *ever* challenge him like that again or it may get all of us killed waiting for him to come up with just the right line, got it?"

Wufei, trying to keep from laughing, grumbled back, "Ninmu ryoukai."

As they headed back to where the last three Gundams were arrayed, they discussed different options for hauling Deathscythe out between the two other suits.

"Well," Wufei offered thoughtfully, "Yours has better flight capacity than mine, so why don't we lash it to the front of Wing and you fly back that way while I cover you. That is unless," then he snuck a quick look at Heero before jumping onto Shenlong, "You are afraid of 'the beast with two backs!' [Othello, I, 1].

Wufei, scrambling into the cockpit to avoid being shot, heard Heero roar, "I *hate* Shakespeare!"


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