Site hosted by Build your free website today!

There's Something About Quatre

Lady Aria

Quatre blinked sleepily and buried his face on his pillow. He hadn’t slept very well that night and SOMEONE has maliciously thrown open the curtains to his room, letting in the bright desert sunlight. Although he habitually got up at the crack of dawn, this was definitely one of the times when he wished that he could just stay in bed all day.

He pulled the plush comforter over his head to minimize the glare of the light. It seemed like too much trouble to get up and actually close the curtains. The air conditioning in the room made it very comfortable and the fact that the bed was still enticingly warm gave him enough reason not to get up.

He sighed and turned over under the covers. Yes, he would definitely go back to sleep....


A heavy and very much mobile object slammed on top of him knocking the breath out of his lungs. Whatever it was, it was pinning him so closely to the bed that he could hardly breathe. He started thrashing about under the sheets, managing to free a hand and pull at the offending menace. He shoved the form away from him and quickly disentangled himself from the comforter that nearly choked him.

He lifted his eyes warily to face the intruder. His eyes narrowed dangerously at the sight of a pair of shining violet eyes set within a currently very impish face.

Duo Maxwell.

"Rise and shine, Quatre!" Duo said locking an arm around Quatre’s neck and giving him a noogie.

Quatre managed to grab a hold of a nearby pillow and whacked Duo solidly on the side of the head. The pilot of Shinigami let go and scrambled to the far side of the king-sized bed, his eyes still shining mischievously. He was still wearing the white T-shirt and black boxers that he had worn to sleep and they looked like they had more wrinkles than a sharpei puppy.

"Someone suuuure got up on the wrong side of the bed!" he chirped brightly as he watched a seething Quatre sitting in the center of the bed, the top of his blue silk pajamas sliding off his shoulder.

<Someone obviously never told this baka that people who’ve just been rudely awakened are a lot more ornery that angry bees,> Quatre thought as he bunched up a pillow to throw at the smiling boy. <Let’s see how much you like---!!!!>

Quatre never got a chance to finish his thought. He dropped his intended missile as another form tackled him from behind, shoving him face-first back onto the bed.

"Great tackle!!" Duo cried out, laughing. "Quatre, you should have seen your face!"

"WHAT IS THIS??!!!!!!" Quatre screamed to the sheets. " ‘Use Quatre For A Tackling Dummy Day?!’ Get off me!!!"

Quatre managed to turn over and faced his second assailant. The angry look on his faced was replaced immediately by a look of pure incredulity and surprise.

Lying cross-body on him and still in his green flannel pajamas was a smiling Trowa Barton.

The fact that Trowa was actually showing a discernible expression was enough to shock Quatre as the tall pilot rolled off him to join his partner in crime at the other end of the bed. Quatre kept a close eye on the pair as he disentangled his feet from the comforter and sat on it after smoothing it out on the bed. He glared at his fellow pilots and Duo’s impish expression combined with Trowa’s uncharacteristic show of emotion at his expense was enough to send him into a slow boil. After a good five minutes of exchanging dark looks, he sighed and cupped his face in his hands.

"What’s next?" he said, defeated. "Are Wufei and Heero going to jump me as well?"

Trowa and Duo looked at each other and smiled evilly. Quatre was starting to get the creeps just by looking at them when the corners of his comforter suddenly came up and enveloped him in a plush prison.

"Impeccable timing as always, Heero Yuy and Chang Wufei," he heard Duo say in a forced British accent. "Now, let’s get him outta here!!!"

Quatre started screaming when he felt four pairs of hands lift him up and carry him running into the halls of the Winner Mansion. The four other pilots ran in a zigzagging pattern, confusing Quatre and making him dizzy. After what seemed like an eternity, he felt himself being plopped down on the floor. He put on his best I-am-not-amused expression as the others untied the knot used to close the comforter.

Standing in front of him were the four Gundam pilots, Wufei still in his white pajamas and Heero in his usual green tank top and black cycling shorts. They stood firing-line style in front of Quatre and just when he was going to start lecturing them about proper early-morning rousing, they parted to give him a full view of the room.

The lecture died in Quatre’s throat as he viewed the patio-style dining hall.

An exquisite breakfast was set for the five of them and a very large cake was the crowning glory of it all. Written on the cake in large royal blue icing were the words:



Quatre gaped at the pilots standing around him, all of them nodding agreeably at each other. They helped him to his feet and ushered him to the head of the table. He was still in a rather amusing state of shock when Duo snapped his fingers in front of his face.

"Hey, anybody home?" Duo said as he took a seat to Quatre’s left. "Better come back to reality soon, Quatre, ‘cause we’re just getting started."

Quatre snapped to and looked wide-eyed at the long-haired pilot. If the morning’s events were a prelude to the duration of the day, he would have to be on his guard. There was no telling what fiendish plots these guys had planned for him -- especially when it looked like Duo was the root of it all. He sipped the cup of tea Trowa handed him as he ran worst-case scenarios through his mind.

"So, how old are you now, Quatre? Eighteen?" Wufei asked as he ate some scrambled eggs, "in a lot of countries, people are already considered adults when they reach eighteen."

Quatre nodded as he eyed his plate. Although the cook had prepared his favorite breakfast items -- blueberry pancakes and strawberry muffins -- just thinking about the rest of the day made him lose his appetite. Duo, on the other hand, was eating like there was no tomorrow while Trowa and Heero ate quietly. The fact that the only person who seems to be willing to start a conversation could be his tormentor for the day gnawed at him.

"You know, Quatre," Duo said, waving a forkful of pancake at him, "each of us have prepared a special gift for you." Duo was relieved when he saw the blond pilot smile for the first time that day, even if it was a forced one. <Maybe this would turn into a fun birthday after all,> he thought to himself. <It would be hard enough to make Quatre’s birthday fun without having three silent figures to deal with.>

"Thanks, Duo, guys," Quatre began, "but you shouldn’t have, really...."

"But we wanted to," Trowa said.

"After all you’ve done for us, it’s only fair that we give something in return," Wufei added.

"Trust us."

All heads turned to the end of the table. Heero was looking at Quatre and giving him a half-smile. On anyone else, that smile would have been disarming, even comforting, but on Heero... it was downright ghastly. He could have shown the same smile just before putting a bullet through someone’s head.

"Master Quatre."

All five heads turned to the door leading to the main hall and saw Rashid enter with his arms full of gifts. He set the gifts down on a nearby table and went to stand beside Quatre.

"First of all, Master Quatre," he began, "on behalf of the Maganacs, I greet you a happy birthday. The gifts," he gestured to the table, "are from Ms. Relena Peacecraft, Ms. Lucrezia Noin, Ms. Sally Poe, Ms. Catherine Bloom, Ms. Dorothy Catalonia, and Ms. Hilde Schbeiker."

"Aren’t they here?" Quatre asked him, wondering why the women didn’t bring the gifts themselves.

"Ah, well... you see," Rashid stuttered, "Mr. Maxwell sort of implied that this party was for the boys only."

Quatre looked at Duo questioningly, while Duo innocently sipped his tea. Quatre had a sinking feeling that Duo had a very warped idea of a ‘guys only’ party.

"Relax, Quatre," Duo said, patting his shoulder. "This is going to be one birthday that you will never forget."

"That’s exactly what I was afraid of," Quatre murmured to himself.


After breakfast, Quatre started opening the gifts.

Relena had given him a set of hand-crafted platinum cufflinks bearing the Winner family crest inlaid with jewels. In her letter, she said that she wished she could be there, but being the head of the recovering Cinq kingdom, she couldn’t leave even for a while.

Miss Noin had sent him what appeared to be a leather-bound book. Quatre looked at it curiously and flipped through it with the other four looking over his shoulder. It was sort of like a scrapbook that Noin had put together about him. Inside, it contained pictures of him during the few times they had met. On each of the pages, Noin had written little anecdotes about him. Quatre blushed a bit when he came to a picture of himself leaning on one of the many railings scattered over the Cinq kingdom. It had been taken during one of the more spectacular sunsets in the capital and his face was washed with the dying sun’s gold and rose. Noin had written in how much she loved this particular picture. She said that this was one of the times when she wished that she could have been a teenager still and enjoyed the sunset in the company of this handsome young man.

Sally Poe’s gift was more practical, but then again, what was to be expected from a former soldier turned rebel leader during the war? Inside the box was a new flight suit complete with a helmet. In her letter, she said that she would be honored if Quatre wore the suit whenever he went out on future missions with his Gundam Sandrock. Quatre was amazed at how well the suit fitted him and wondered how Sally got his measurements. His gaze strayed to Wufei and he immediately understood.

Catherine’s gift was a hand-knitted sweater made from the finest material money can buy. From what she wrote, the circus went into a quaint town in Eastern Europe that had the special yarn and since she had a lot of free time when the circus moved from one venue to another, she had taken the time to knit the sweater and managed to finish it in time for Quatre’s birthday. He loved the soft feel of the threads, much like silky cat fur and gave Trowa a smile of thanks for his sister’s gift.

Dorothy Catalonia’s gift came in a long box and was quite heavy. Quatre’s eyes widened at the sight of its contents -- a pair of Spanish dueling swords. The time when Dorothy nearly turned him into Arabian shish kebab was still fresh in his mind. The letter simply said that she hoped to see him real soon and from the looks of it, he would have to squeeze in as much practice as he can before they do.

He opened Hilde’s gift last and was surprised to see a stuffed camel inside. He read the accompanying letter and had to smile when Hilde wrote that she couldn’t think of anything to get the boy. Apparently, she had seen the camel when she went out with some friends and remembered that Quatre lived in the desert. She just hoped that he would like the gift.

Quatre hugged the camel to his chest, loving the soft feel that the stuffing provided. He waved his hands at the gifts and the people around him, at a total loss for words. Duo laughed and helped him off his seat.

"I don’t know what to say...," Quatre began, still clutching the toy camel to his chest.

"You could start by saying that we should all get dressed," Duo said, moving him towards the door. "After all, you still haven’t received OUR gifts."

Quatre nodded and they each headed off into their respective rooms. Duo entered his own room and smiled mischievously. He gathered up some clothes from the nearby closet and proceeded to take his morning shower. He stopped once to look at the clock on the wall.

<Eight o’clock,> he thought. His gift should arrive at about eight in the evening. Avdul had been a big help in planning that gift and he hoped Quatre would appreciate the trouble he had to go through to arrange it. But then again, who knew how Quatre would react?

Duo turned on the shower and enjoyed the feel of the cool water running through his hair and on his skin. It would still be a while before he had to worry about Quatre’s reaction, though, until then, he would just enjoy himself.


Trowa keyed in the final commands into the computer and watched as the mechanical arms in the hangar loaded the rockets into the launchers located in the shoulders of the Gundam Heavyarms. He had spent almost a month preparing the special rockets, carefully formulating the contents so that they wouldn’t accidentally blow up before they were triggered. Trowa heard the quiet beep of his communicator and pressed the button that opened the communication channel.

"Trowa, here."

"Hey, Trowa," he heard Duo’s cheerful voice all over the line. "Where are you, man? Quatre just came out of his room and we’ve better start getting this party together."

"Duo," Trowa sighed, "this was all your idea in the first place. Some of us have got better things to do than follow Quatre around the mansion all day."

"And here I thought you were his best friend." Trowa could almost swear that he could hear Duo pouting over the comm link. "Do you really think that we should call it off?"

"Don’t you think it’s a little too late for that now?" Trowa said after logging off the computer. "You’ve already told Quatre that we have something special planned for him. I don’t even have any idea what you’ve actually planned for today."

Duo giggled over the link. "Just promise me one thing. When I do deliver my ‘surprise,’ help me keep Quatre in his seat. Anyway, get back here quick. Later."

Trowa’s eyes narrowed as he eyed the communicator. ‘Help me keep Quatre in his seat?’ Just what did Duo mean by that?


Quatre had changed into a pair of light blue jeans and a white shirt. His hair was still a little damp from his shower and the way the cold air within the mansion filtered through it made him feel refreshed. He had received a communiqué from his sister Iria greeting him a happy birthday and telling him that the Winner family space mining facilities are okay. He clicked off the monitor and smiled wistfully. He missed his sister, but there were a lot of tasks to be done with him being the new head of the Winner family and he knew that as much as he wanted Iria with him, he needed her to oversee the operations in the Winner space facilities.

He had just started going through the paperwork that Rashid had neatly stacked on his desk when Duo bounded in. His bounce was visibly minimized when he saw the stuff on the desk.

"What are you doing?" he asked incredulously.

"Working?" Quatre said as he gestured to the stacks around him.

"You can’t be serious."

"Duo," Quatre sighed, "unlike you and the other guys, I can’t really rest in between missions. I am the head of a very influential family and a lot of people rely on me to keep everything in proper working order."

"But-but today’s your birthday..." Duo stuttered.

"Duo, if I don’t finish this, I won’t have time for whatever you guys have planned..."

"But this would take you all day!" Duo reasoned.

"Actually," Quatre said smiling, "this would only take no more than two to three hours if," he stressed, "if I am left to do it in peace."

"Oh, all right," Duo said reluctantly and left Quatre’s office.

Quatre sighed as the door clicked shut. He’d finally gotten rid of Duo. Thirty minutes later, he had finished signing the last contract. He’d overestimated the time he was going to need. Apparently, Rashid had mistakenly put the day’s work in with the ones that Quatre had been poring over last night (which was why he’d been so drained in the first place). There had only been five new proposals and contracts to be looked over and they had taken only twenty minutes. The other ten minutes had been spent sorting through the mixed-up paperwork.

Quatre poured himself a glass of water from a pitcher and looked out the large picture window behind him. His office was located on the elevated first floor of the mansion and provided him with a good view of the garden that his mother always loved. It was protected from the harsh desert sun by a sophisticated climate control system that regulates the passage of sunlight with sliding glass panels that open and close when the temperature gets too hot or too cold.

Outside, he could see Wufei doing taichi exercises in the gazebo while Duo was preparing to destroy his concentration by sneaking up to him through the numerous bushes that surrounded the open structure. Quatre laughed as Duo’s attempt was thwarted by Heero who had appeared out of nowhere and dumped a bucket of water on the unsuspecting boy’s head. He laughed even harder as Wufei took a break from his exercises and watched Duo screaming at Heero that he’d already taken a bath. Duo trudged back into the house dripping wet and Quatre smiled in understanding as Wufei nodded at Heero and gave him a thumbs up sign in thanks with the Japanese pilot returning the nod and going back into the building, empty pail in hand.

<Looks like Duo’s played one too many jokes,> Quatre thought as he arranged the paperwork into their respective stacks and paperclipping instructions on what to do with them to each. He looked at the stacks and returned his pens and other supplies to their respective places and decided to do some spying of his own.


Duo stepped out of the showers for the second time that day and frowned at the mirror. Thanks to Heero, he’d gotten mud, leaves, flowers and pollen into his hair and it took him nearly an hour to get all of it out.

<Geez, if things keep going like this, my gift’s gonna arrive and I’ll still be in the shower,> he thought as he brushed his hair. <The surprise’ll be ruined.>

He was still brooding when Wufei popped his head into Duo’s room, a wide smile on his face.

"That’s what you get for putting that dye in my mousse," Wufei said as Duo finished braiding his hair.

"Aw, c’mon Wufei," Duo whined, "it was water-based dye! It washed out when you took a bath!"

Wufei looked at the American menacingly. "Do you realize how humiliating it was walking around the base with green hair and having everyone do double takes as you passed?"

Duo rolled his eyes and faced Wufei. He’d played that prank about a month ago and it was the first time he’d heard Sally laugh, although it was at Wufei’s expense. He watched the Chinese boy get even more irritated as he laughed and walked out of the room as if nothing had happened.

<That guy has absolutely no sense of humor,> Duo thought as he strolled through the corridors, his braid swishing behind him. <I wonder what he’ll think of the surprise I have planned?>

He stopped at the kitchen and grabbed a tidbit off a platter while the chef just shook his head as he watched a brown braid rounding the door. Duo was munching on a handful of raisins when he glanced out a window and saw Trowa come out of the hangar. He raised his eyebrows quizzically when he saw what the tall pilot held in his hand.

<That thing looks like a self-destruct initiator!> Duo thought, alarmed. <What the heck is he gonna do with that?> A firm tug on his braid brought him out of his musings and he turned to look at a pair of wicked blue eyes.

"Heero!" Duo said as he freed his braid from the Japanese pilot’s grasp. "Don’t do that! It hurts! Don’t cha think that you’ve already tormented me enough today?"

Heero gave him a derisive snort and leaned on the wall still giving him THAT look. Heero knew that Duo hated it when he looked at him like that, but he enjoyed it when Duo lost some of his mischievousness and even got a little paranoid.

"Great, make me feel like I’m talking to myself again! See if I care!" Duo snapped as he waved his hands in the air in annoyance.

"What were you doing anyway?" Heero said quietly.

Duo sighed and gestured at the window. "I was looking outside when I saw Trowa...," he looked at the window and craned his head left and right. Heero stood by his side and looked out the window.

"I don’t see Trowa."

"Well, he was there!" he said in frustration. "He was carrying something that looked like a self-destruct initiator. I don’t know what Trowa...."

"You don’t know what I what?"

Duo nearly fell flat on his face when Trowa appeared out of nowhere behind him. He looked accusingly at Heero who just gave him a Cheshire cat smile.

<Someday, I gotta teach these two a lesson,> Duo thought as he eyed the two quiet pilots.

"Well?" Trowa prompted.

"Never mind." With that, Duo turned his back and stalked away.

Heero waited until Duo was out of earshot before interrogating Trowa. "Duo said something about a self-destruct initiator."

"This?" Trowa said pulling out something that looks like a joystick handle from his back pocket and handing it to Heero.

Heero turned it over in his hand before handing it to Trowa. "So this’s what’s been keeping you busy all month."

Trowa nodded and returned the gadget to his pocket. "I didn’t want Duo to find out, but chances are, he’ll try to worm it out of someone else."

"Who else knows about this?"


Heero smirked and headed for the library to finish the report he needed to give Dr. J. "Best of luck to Duo, then," he called back to Trowa. "I know for a fact that he’s never going to divulge anything to that baka even if his life depended on it."


Quatre sat in the surveillance room and sighed. He’d been perusing through a week’s worth of security videos and he still hadn’t been able to spot anything remotely suspicious in any of them. He’d seen Trowa tinkering with the Heavyarms in the hangar; Heero tapping away at his laptop in the library; Duo talking the Maganacs to death; and Wufei talking to his Gundam -- not that he needed to see THAT! It was just plain frustrating. He knew that Duo had a tendency to overdo any sort of preparation and he needed to have even a small clue of what the long-haired pilot had planned for him so that he could brace himself in case Duo’s plan blew up in his face -- again.

<This isn’t getting me anywhere,> he thought as he looked at the video disks that were arranged around him. <I wish the cameras could pick up the conversations better.>

He leaned back on his seat and looked at his watch as he slid in a newer video disk.

<Twelve o’clock already and still nothing,> he brooded.

He’d been at this for two hours already and even in the high speed mode, he’d be lucky to find anything worthwhile. He was about to close the screen when a movement caught his eye. He stopped the disk and clicked the video to an earlier part -- there! Quatre’s eyes narrowed suspiciously as one of the Maganacs looked left and right as he darted through several hedges.

<What could this guy be up to?> The Arabian thought as he leaned on the desk.

He saw the man stop at a small secluded grove and pucker his lips in a whistle. Quatre watched in interest as a figure wearing a cloak emerged from out of the bushes to stand beside the man. Their heads came close together apparently whispering to each other and the great eavesdropper nearly fell out of his seat when the man kissed the cloaked figure passionately. The cloak fell to reveal a woman -- a very well-endowed woman -- who was grinning slyly at the man. Quatre’s face turned a brilliant shade of red as the two fell through a gap in the hedge in a tangle of arms and legs and he knew that he’d done enough spying for the day.

He was still red-faced when he arrived for lunch and he shook his head rapidly when Duo asked if something was wrong.

<I wonder what happened?> Duo thought as the servants brought in the food. <Quatre looks like a kid who got caught doing something he’s not supposed to.> Duo nearly laughed out loud when he imagined the prim and proper Arabian doing anything remotely out of the ordinary.

Trowa and Heero chose to come in at that point and Duo’s attention shifted to the two pilots who looked at each other knowingly when they felt Duo’s gaze upon them. Trowa and Heero were barely able to keep themselves from laughing as Duo turned into an unhealthy shade of purple.

<If there was ever a case of someone dying of curiosity,> Heero thought as he sat beside Trowa, <Duo would definitely be a prime candidate.>

Duo was about to start pleading with both Heero and Trowa when a servant placed a platter of food before him. One look and he’s forgotten about the incident in the hallway.

"Roast beef! My favorite!" Duo said happily as he dug in.

"Duo, any food becomes your favorite," Wufei sighed.

"I’m a growing boy," Duo said between bites, "I need to keep my energy level up."

"What we need is a way to keep his energy level down."

Duo stared at Heero coldly while the others at the table laughed. Heero just gave him an innocent smile -- weeellll, as innocent as Heero could get.

Quatre looked at the exchange with amusement. Duo was the principal joker in the group and almost all of them have become victims to his pranks at one time or another, but Heero has practically appointed himself as Duo’s official tormentor. Trowa was eating quietly to his right while Wufei sipped his tea to his left.

They continued to eat to the tinkling of silverware upon china and Duo’s ranting. They were all surprised when Wufei did the unexpected -- he picked up the end of Duo’s braid and shoved it into the American’s mouth, thus, effectively stopping the chatter.

<Thank you,> Quatre thought as he looked up the ceiling. This was definitely turning into one of those days.


Quatre went to his room after lunch and eyed the box with the dueling swords. The war was over, technically, and he and Dorothy had parted on friendly terms. The Gundams were still used, though, but mainly for special investigative missions and for protecting state representatives. He hefted one of the swords and tested the weight.

<Perfect,> he thought, as he swung the sword experimentally. He was trying some experimental thrusts with it when he heard someone knocking on the door.

<This had better not be Duo,> crossed his mind as he opened it and was a bit surprised to see Wufei there. He gestured for the Chinese pilot to come in and shut the door behind him.

Wufei saw the inquisitive look on Quatre’s eyes and said, "I am avoiding a certain long-haired cyclone that seems to be romping around in the mansion." He saw Quatre nod once in understanding and looked at the swords lying on the blonde Arabian’s bed. He picked up one of the swords and scrutinized the intricate details molded into the hilt.

"From Dorothy," Quatre said as Wufei continued to turn the blade over in his hands. "She also included a note saying that she couldn’t wait for the next time."

He understood what Quatre must have felt right then. He also had his duels with Treize and the fact that he never did beat the older man using swords gnawed at him for a time. <But then,> he said to himself, <I will never have a chance to find out who is the better between us, but Quatre could sure use all the help he could get.> He turned to him and saw his friend looking gloomily out the open window.

Quatre looked up at the sound of Wufei’s voice, realizing that the latter had just asked him a question. "Hn, sorry, Wufei. I must have spaced out. What were you asking me?"

"I said I could help you train for your up-coming not-so-secret duel with Dorothy," the Chinese boy repeated, "in fact, I could get Yuy to help. Consider it our birthday present to you."

"Honto?" Quatre whispered looking hopeful.

"Hai," Wufei laughed as he picked up the box after replacing both swords in their beds. "Come on, we might as well get started before Duo finds out where we are."

Ten minutes later, Heero, Wufei and Quatre were gathered at one of the indoor practice rooms in the mansion. Wufei had taken a seat near the door while Heero and Quatre warmed up. Heero walked over to the box and hefted one of the swords and tried some practice swings while Quatre was sitting on the wooden floor warming up.

"We’d better be very careful with these things," Heero said as he held one of the blades in his hands. "The swords Dorothy sent are pretty sharp."

"How sharp?" Quatre asked from the floor.

"Wufei," Heero called, "could you bring me that rag?"

Wufei glanced at the direction Heero was pointing at and grabbed a polishing rag off its table. He was about to hand it to the Japanese pilot when he stopped him. Heero then held the sword perpendicular to his torso, sharp edge pointing up, while Wufei looked at him curiously.

"Let the rag drift down."

Wufei shrugged as he tossed the rag and watched it float down on the blade. Quatre visibly paled as the thick material split upon contact with the sword’s keen edge. Wufei arched an eyebrow at the entire scene.

"Still want to practice?" Heero asked the blond boy.

"I-I...," Quatre stammered, "I think, it would be better if we used the old swords for practice."

"Ninmu Ryoukai."

Three o’clock PM...

Quatre was heaving and he felt like his arm was going to fall out of its socket. Heero and Wufei had been taking turns, teaching him how to properly handle a sword not to mention that they’ve been at it for almost two hours. Trowa had come in at about two thirty and was watching in earnest as Heero used the flat of the dull blade to whack Quatre’s bottom each time he let down his guard.

"That’s it!" Quatre exclaimed as he sat down on the floor, wincing a little from the pain. "I don’t think I’ll be able to sit comfortably for a month!"

Wufei snickered and shook his head as he tossed Quatre and Heero each a towel. Trowa had just finished putting away the equipment when Duo suddenly bounded into the room.

"There you are!" he said happily. "I’ve been looking all over the mansion for you guys!" He looked at Quatre who was now lying flat on the floor and eyed the three other pilots in irritation. "What’s the big idea tiring out the birthday boy? How’re we all supposed to have fun when the celebrant is dead on his feet?"

Quatre rolled his eyes and looked at the pilots assembled all around. "Okay, I guess I have been putting off the celebration for far too long. What do you guys want to do?"

"Well, seeing that we’re all hot and sweaty from all that exercise...," Heero began.

"Pool?" Wufei asked looking at the Japanese pilot.


Wufei and Heero both turned to look at Duo who was by now edging towards the door, evil light glittering in their eyes.

"Now, guys," Duo warned as he stepped closer to the exit, "I’ve already taken two baths today...."

He never got a chance to finish his sentence as Heero and Wufei pounced on him. Trowa and Quatre followed the three with Heero carrying Duo on one end and Wufei on the other. They reached the deep end of the poolside and on the count of three, tossed the long-haired pilot into the water, clothes and all. They were congratulating themselves and both fell into the water, their arms flailing, as Duo gripped their ankles and dragged them in. Quatre and Trowa stood at the patio doors as they watched Heero and Wufei trying to hold Duo under.

"I hate to be the one to break your fun, but don’t you guys think that it would be a lot easier to move when dressed in the appropriate attire?"

The three pilots looked into the eyes of a laughing Quatre who was crouching on the poolside. Almost immediately, three pairs of hands pulled him in and he came up sputtering.

"Now, all that’s left is Trowa..." Duo said just before he heard a splash behind him.

In the short time it took for the three pilots to pull in Quatre, Trowa had managed to change into his swim trunks and was now doing laps around the pool. He stopped and started treading water as he came closer to the others.

"Now would be a good time for you guys to change into something more appropriate," he said quietly with a touch of amusement in his voice.

The others grinned sheepishly and started climbing out of the water. Heero was the first out since his movement wasn’t hampered by his clothing. Duo, on the other hand, was wearing about two layers of clothes and slipped back into the water twice before Quatre and Wufei were able to pull him out. He looked mournfully at his second set of soaking clothes and looked for all the world like a drowned rat. Trowa laid his arms on the edge of the pool and watched, shaking his head in amusement, as the four boys left wet trails leading from the pool into the house.

As soon as they were gone, Trowa flipped out of the water and grabbed a towel off one of the racks beside the cabana. As he toweled himself off, he walked over to where he’d left his clothes in a heap and made sure that the remote switch was still there. He nodded, satisfied that Duo hadn’t managed to somehow palm off the instrument, then started arranging his clothes in a neat pile and grabbed the bottle of sunscreen off a shelf in the cabana.

<No sense in turning myself into toast,> he thought as he rubbed the cream onto his body. <If that happens, I’ll never find out what fate Duo’s planned for Quatre.>

He stepped out of the cabana and leaned on a tree as he waited fifteen minutes for the sunscreen to dry. He watched idly as several servants came out bearing mops, efficiently eradicating the wet trails left by the four soaking boys while another two set out a silver tea set and goodies. The younger of the two maids, easily twenty-one years old, took one look at Trowa and blushed a delicate shade of pink before she followed her companion back into the house, sneaking glances from the corner of her eye back at him. Just as she was five paces from the door, Trowa executed a perfect somersault dive and blew a kiss in her direction when he came back up for air. Catherine had always commented that girls often stole glances at him despite his often cold demeanor towards other people. He’d been working on changing that when the war had finally ended for real and it looks like he was succeeding.

He was brought out of his musings as a figure cannonballed into the water, sending great gouts of water flying all over the place. Trowa flipped his soaking bangs to one side as Duo came up for air, his braid floating on the water behind him.

"Aaahhh," Duo sighed contentedly, "nice cool water on a hot day. This is the life, ne, Trowa? Say, what was that thing you hand in your hand earlier today?" He continued flipping around to face him. "It looked a hell of a lot like a self-destruct initiator, you know."

Trowa narrowed his eyes and gave Duo the coldest stare he could manage. He watched Duo squirm under his gaze all the while wondering whether he should tell him about the rockets. He was able to postpone his decision as the other three came out of the house. He heard Duo sigh in relief and felt, more than saw, the long-haired pilot edge away from him. They both rose out of the water to join the others.

Quatre rubbed himself thoroughly with the sunscreen Trowa had left on a deck chair and watched Heero and Wufei do the same. He spied Duo sneaking up behind Trowa, obviously meaning to push the boy back in, and managed to hide his snickering as Trowa moved at the last minute and tripped Duo in one motion back into the pool.

Duo came up sputtering and was about to start ranting about the unfairness of it all when he spied the tea tray on the table. In one movement, he was out of the water and was making a beeline for the spread. By his reckoning, if the others were going to keep tormenting him for the rest of the day, he’d better have enough energy to respond in kind.

They’d been swimming for a couple of hours already when Avdul popped out of the house and made his way to the pool, avoiding the many wet patches that the boys had left earlier. He stood a good seven paces away from the pool’s edge as he’d pieced together what had happened earlier when he saw a fully-clothed and dripping Wufei making his way up the stairs to the bedrooms.

"What is it, Avdul?" Quatre asked as he ran his fingers through his wet bangs to get them out of his eyes.

"Master Quatre, I, uh," Avdul stuttered, "I-I need to talk to Duo Maxwell, sir."

Quatre’s eyebrows quirked as he looked at the Maganac. He was definitely uncomfortable about something, and was about to ask him when Duo dragged the man out of earshot, a towel wrapped around himself. Quatre watched curiously as the two exchanged words, both looking occasionally at him.


"I don’t think Rashid is going to take kindly to us doing this, Duo," Avdul said, pushing his shades up his nose. "It’s not too late to back out of this, you know...."

"Avdul, my man, will you just relax!" Duo said, patting his shoulder. "If Rashid starts to give you the evil eye, tell him it was my idea."

"But still," Avdul said, glancing towards Quatre and reverting his eyes when he saw the blond looking at them. "Don’t you think Master Quatre’s a little, well... young for this?"

Duo nearly fell over at that comment. "What do you mean young?! He’s the same age as me!"

"But still, I don’t think he’d be able to take it."

"Avdul...," Duo began sighing, "are you here just to tell me that you are having second thoughts or did you have another purpose in mind?"

"Actually, I came to tell you that they called."

"And are they coming?"

"Yes, they just called to confirm. They’re going to be here at eight so that they could start at nine. They said they needed the hour to prepare themselves."

"Great," Duo said happily as he patted Avdul on the back. "I’m pretty sure that this is going to be one birthday that Quatre’s not likely to forget."


Dinner was served at seven in the evening at the dining hall of the mansion. Among those in attendance were the Maganacs and the Gundam pilots. Although Quatre would have preferred if they had just kept it simple, the others would have none of it, wishing for nothing but the best for the young blond pilot who had been their comrade in arms in the war.

The light bounced off the cut crystal chandeliers that hung in the hall and sent rainbow flashes throughout the room. The air was heavy with the scent of fresh cut flowers from the gardens and the aroma of food. White embroidered tablecloths were spread over each table and each place setting had polished silverware, crystal stemware, and fine china plates. Delicate piano music was piped in from the speakers further heightening the elegance of the setting.

Everyone was dressed in casual elegance and showed their best behavior, even Duo.

Quatre looked appreciatively at the gathering and smiled. He was accustomed to this type of setting, but was finding it a little awkward especially since he was a much more used to the noise and friendly camaraderie whenever he was with them. He sat with the other four Gundam pilots and glanced at each marveling at their respective transformations.

Duo had changed out of his perpetual black outfit into a pair of cream colored pants and a deep purple shirt unbuttoned at the top. Wufei was wearing a black and gold formal Chinese outfit. Heero had opted for a white shirt and brown pants while Trowa had traded his usual turtleneck for a green shirt and black pants.

By eight fifty, they had all finished dinner and were exchanging pleasantries at the great hall. Rashid was telling Quatre a story when Duo, dragging a reluctant Avdul, appeared out of nowhere and started ringing a small silver bell set on top of an ornamental fireplace.

"Gentlemen, on behalf of all of us here, I would like to wish our friend and gracious host, Quatre Raberba Winner a happy birthday," Duo paused as he raised his wineglass in a toast to cheers coming from the crowd of men in the room. "If you would all follow us to the next room, I would like to present Quatre and the rest of you the night’s entertainment."

Quatre glanced at Rashid who just shrugged as they followed the surge of people through the doorway. Quatre stared wide-eyed at the scene that greeted him.

He knew that the ‘next room’ was a smaller hall that was used for meetings and the like, but he barely recognized it as he looked at the decor.

The walls were cover with what seemed to be several bolts worth of rich, red cloth. A small ornamental tent of silks had been erected in the center of the room and filled with plush pillows with many more scattered in the room, for the others to sit on. The lights in the room were all turned off and what must have been hundreds of beeswax candles burned brightly all over the room. The scent of incense permeated the air heavily.

Quatre was staring quizzically at Duo as he led him to the tent and seated him on the pile of pillows, making sure that Trowa took the pillow seat to Quatre’s left while he himself took the one on his right. Duo wanted to laugh out loud when he saw that Avdul took a seat at the opposite side of the room from where Rashid was. It was quite obvious that Avdul didn’t want to be within the huge Maganac’s reach when the show started.

Duo had taken the bell with him into the room and rang it loudly. Immediately, a pair of valets wheeled in two large packages into the room and set them before Quatre. Duo sighed as Quatre eyed the packages suspiciously while glancing at him.

"There’s nothing in there that’s going to eat you alive, Quatre," Duo said, reassuring him. <At least I hope not!> he added to himself.

Quatre spied a twined cord attached to both packages that said ‘pull me’ and he pulled at them. Almost immediately, the sides of the package collapsed and two cloaked figures stepped out and pushed the packages to the sides of the room. Quatre thought that his ears were playing tricks on him because he could swear that he was hearing bells. He was about to ask Trowa if he also heard them when a whoop rose from the Maganacs around him and he saw Trowa’s eyes narrow and he shook his head. Wondering what could have caused Trowa to react that way, he looked to the front and nearly fainted.

Standing before him were the two figures, now minus their cloaks, and revealed to be twin women dressed in nothing but an assortment of sheer veils with a multitude of gold bangles and tiny bells attached to their ankles and wrists. As one, they approached the blond boy in his little tent while Duo used his forefinger to push Quatre’s jaw shut.

Quatre felt as if his heart was going to pound its way out of his chest. He gulped audibly as one of them ran her fingers through his hair while the other whispered seductively into his ear.

"Happy birthday, little desert prince."

Quatre was still feeling more than a little faint as the two women made their way to the center of the appointed stage. They twirled on their toes to shouts of approval from the gathering. Music wafted in from a speaker hidden within the room and they performed little dances while Quatre struggled to regain his lost wits.

"Are you enjoying this so far?"

Quatre turned to look accusingly at Duo and hissed, "I knew from the start that you had some demented idea up your sleeve, Duo, but this takes the cake."

"Wait a bit, Quatre," Duo said, his smile getting even wider. "It gets even better."

Quatre was about to offer a retort when one of the women clapped her hands, effectively getting the attention of the men in the room.

"We would now offer the dance of dances to young Master Quatre, the desert prince," she said, "it would be an honor to perform the ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’ for someone like you."

Quatre heard Rashid sputter in protest while he looked at Duo quizzically.

"Duo, what’s the dance of the seven veils?"

The music had already started before Duo could answer. He was about to explain to Quatre what it was when Quatre got an even more direct answer as something very soft and smelling delicately of perfume landed on his head. He picked up the item and noted that it was a veil. He glanced up in alarm to see the two women dancing to the steamy music as they took off the veils they were wearing one by one. He knew that he must have been trembling or had started turning pale because in the back of his mind, he heard the faint voice of Trowa asking him if he was alright and the shouts of Wufei at the indignity of it all.

The women had seen it fit to deposit the veils one by one on Quatre who was, by now, shaking from the effort of keeping himself composed through it all, when all he wanted to do was bolt. The Maganacs were all hooting, mindless of the dark looks that kept crossing Rashid’s face. One of the women waved her veil lightly across his neck and he just scowled deeper. The bolder of the two women used one of her remaining veils to pull Quatre to his feet and they proceeded to dance around him, draping their veils on him like a Maypole.

Quatre was too shocked to object as the women continued their whirling, occasionally stealing light touches. It was then that he noticed that they had managed to bare his chest and that they were down to one veil each. One of the women took hold of the back of his head and kissed him passionately that his eyes bulged in shock before fluttering shut. In that time, they had taken off the last of their veils and they were naked for all to see. The Maganacs around the room began giving Quatre catcalls as the woman deepened her kiss pressing herself to his body. Wufei was turning purple from shame while Heero and Trowa just shook their heads at the spectacle. All the while, Duo had been sitting comfortably on his cushion eyeing the proceedings.

"So, Quatre," Duo began as the woman’s kiss was ending. "What do you think of my gift?"

The woman reluctantly let the Arabian’s lips go so that he could answer his friend, only instead, he collapsed on the floor in a heap.

Quatre had fainted.


"Master Quatre...."

"Yo, Quatre, are you okay?"

"You should talk, you were the one who caused all this."

"I knew he wouldn’t be able to handle this."


Quatre regained his consciousness to see Avdul take cover behind Hamil as Rashid screamed for him to explain himself. He wrinkled his nose at the strong smell of the ammonia that Heero was holding under his nose. All the Maganacs, with the exception of Avdul, Hamil and Rashid, and the Gundam pilots were gathered around him along with the now-decent women.

"Master Quatre, are you alright?" One of the women asked.

Quatre nodded slightly as he struggled to sit up. He was lying inside his ‘tent’ while the others used smelling salts and fanned him until he’d regained consciousness. "What happened?" Quatre asked as he looked at the people crowded around him.

"Well," Heero said as he plopped down on a pillow, "you fainted after she kissed you," and pointed at a blushing woman.

"Geez," Duo said as he plopped down beside Quatre, "if I’d known that you were faint-hearted when it came to this, I would have just gotten you a card!"

Quatre managed to bring down a pillow on Duo’s head before he could duck. He looked at the many concerned faces and told them all that he was fine as he looked around the room. Duo was being dressed down by Wufei, Heero was trying to help calm down Rashid.... <Waitaminute,> Quatre thought, <one... two... three Gundam pilots. Where the heck is Trowa?>

As if to answer his question, a valet practically crashed through the door and dropped heaving at his feet.

"Master Quatre," the man wheezed, "I am so sorry, but he wouldn’t listen to us...."

"Who wouldn’t listen?" Quatre prompted. The man was very agitated. Something really bad must have happened.

"You friend, sir," the man said as he caught his breath. "The one with the long, spiky bangs. He left in his Gundam and he had a small black rod with a red knob on top in his hand."

Quatre’s eyes widened and he was running as fast as he could for the door with Duo, Wufei and Heero close behind. The only thing that came to mind that looked relatively close to the man’s description was a self-destruct initiator and since he’d seen Trowa fiddling with the Heavyarms in the security video, he knew that Trowa could easily blow himself to kingdom come.

Quatre cursed himself as he jumped into the cockpit of Sandrock with the other three pilots getting into their respective mobile suit units. He was out of the hangar fast and his monitor could still detect the heat signatures Trowa’s flight had left in the air. He was heading northeast and Quatre knew that that was the least inhabited part of the region and if Trowa decided to self-destruct there, the chances of him killing anyone else were practically none.

The outline of Heavyarms came to his monitor after ten minutes of searching. There was no sign of Trowa anywhere which would only mean that he was still in the mobile suit. Quatre breathed a sigh of relief as a familiar face popped into his visual monitor.

"Trowa!" Quatre practically shouted. "What’s going on?!"

"Don’t come any closer, all of you," Trowa said as he lifted the rod to eye level for all of them to see and pressed down on the red switch.

"NOOOO!" Quatre screamed. He watched his monitors in horror waiting to see his best friend blown to bits and was surprised to see all the rocket launchers on the Gundam open and fire in an erratic sequence. The missiles all shot up towards the sky and exploded in a brilliant display of light.

Quatre opened his cockpit and stepped out to look at the clear desert sky. The fireworks had managed to create the outline of the Winner family crest and he smiled as he realized that Trowa must have staged the entire routine so that he could get all the Gundam pilots in the desert.

He looked down from the cockpit’s open hatch to see Trowa standing at the foot of the Heavyarms holding a bottle of wine and a package of glasses. He latched onto the guide wire of the Gundam and lowered himself to the sand where the other pilots also waited.

"I’m sorry," Trowa said as he filled the glasses and handed them one each. "I know I must have scared the living daylights out of you guys with that routine."

"Trowa, you nearly drove me crazy this morning!" Duo complained as he held his glass. "I mean, do you know how scary it is seeing a person who is known to be suicidal at times with a self-destruct initiator?"

"We weren’t scared," Wufei said and Heero nodded his agreement.

"Why weren’t...," Duo began and he flushed in irritation. "You knew! Both of you knew and you didn’t tell me!"

"I told you his day would come," Heero said as he looked at the furious Duo.

Quatre laughed as he accepted the glass Trowa handed him. "I must admit, Trowa, you did a fine job in acting."

"It wasn’t that hard," he replied. "After you fainted, it was pretty easy to slip out without being noticed."

"Speaking of fainting...," Quatre said as he eyed Duo, "you have got the world’s worst sense of humor, Duo!"

Duo shrugged helplessly, and said, "hey, can’t blame a guy for trying."

"Anyway, I propose a toast," Trowa said as he lifted his glass in the air. "To Quatre, and may he have more birthdays like this to come."

"I don’t think I would be able to live through another birthday like this, Trowa," Quatre grimaced as he looked at Duo

"Hey! It wasn’t totally my fault!" Duo said defensibly.

"To the continuing peace," Trowa sighed as he watched the exchange.

"Will you two cut it out!" Heero said as he stepped between Duo and Quatre.

"They’ll never grow up," Wufei sighed.

"And most importantly," Trowa stressed, and breathed deeply when he saw that he’d once again regained everyone’s attention. "To all of us and our continuing friendship."

Duo looked sheepishly at Quatre. "Sorry about the scare."

"No offense taken," Quatre said as he patted the long-haired pilot on the back.

"I agree with Trowa," Wufei said as he also raised his glass, "to us and our friendship!"

The other pilots smiled as they clinked their glasses together and drank down the wine. Overhead, the fireworks had cleared and the clear night sky revealed the twinkling of the stars and the more steady light of the planets and, more importantly, the colonies that they had fought so hard to protect.


------------------------ The End --------------------------

Return to Reiko-chan's Dirty Books