Duo bounced through the door with his accustomed flair and enthusiasm, his braid bouncing behind him like an extension of self. "Tadaima!" he called vigorously, posing in the doorway. After a moment of waiting vainly for response, he set down his toolbox and ventured further into the tiny house. "Yo...!"
"Okaeri," Hilde sniffled, turning from the television, a wadded tissue crumpled in her hands. More wads lay strewn around the armchair. "Duo, I'm surprised you're still on the colony."
"Oh?" Duo cocked an eyebrow, trudging over to the fridge through a path of scattered belongings and miscellaneous junk, pulling out a cold beer. "Why's that?"
"Well," Hilde gulped, "A lot has happened recently...you see...Heero nearly went crazy in Wing Zero but Quatre got him out just in time but he's taking him to Earth because it looks like he may have feelings still for Princess Relena...but...but...what Heero doesn't know is that Quatre got rid of Trowa because he was in the way of Quatre's pursuit of Heero!"
"Whu-WHAT!?" Duo reeled, clutching his beer.
Hilde nodded vigorously, eyes shining with sincerity. "And I know you still have feelings for Heero from when you had an affair, and that brief interlude after he rescued you from prison, so I don't want to stand in your way," the girl plowed on. Her face grew determined. "I just don't want to see you lose to that Quatre slut! I know Heero still has feelings for you!"
Duo clutched at his head now and dropped the beer. Fortunately he hadn't opened it yet so it didn't foam over the floor. "Hilde!" he exclaimed, shocked. "How the hell do you know all this!?"
Hilde sniffed again, wiped at her eyes with the abused tissue, and turned back to the television. "Baka. It's all here on 'Gundanium Days of our Existence,' " the girl replied. "Didn't you know? Everybody watches it! That's how OZ always manages to find you!"
"Ohmigod ohmigod kuso whatdoidonow!?" Duo gibbered, jerking his braid. "I can't let Heero fall for Quatre! I love Heero! Well, at least I'm hot for his body...which at my age I can mistake for love... What should I do!?"
"Go after him, baka!" Hilde wrenched her tearstained face from the television long enough to pin him with an earnest look. "We've had fun, Duo, but I know I'm no match for Heero's suicidal-psycho 'frankly-I-don't-give-a-damn' charisma!"
"You sure?" Duo paused, jiggling from one foot to the other.
"Umh!" Hilde nodded vigorously, then her eyes acquired a far-off look. "Besides, there's a handsome young OZ officer at the local barracks I've had my eye on...long, turquoise ponytail...gray eyes...I think we were meant for each other..." Hilde started to drool and Duo prudently stepped back.
"You've been watching too many reruns of Fushigi Yuugi," Duo told her, shaking his head. Then he brightened, a wicked grin spreading over his lips. "Right! You don't have to tell me three times! I'm going to Earth!"
"Have fun," Hilde mumbled, waving a fresh tissue in his general direction.
The door slammed.
Hilde changed channels. "Ah, Tamahome... Tamahome!" she cried happily, her voice leaping up an octave. She clasped her hands and swooned.
The door burst open and Duo leapt back in, looking sheepish, and scooped up a tangle of keys on a little chibi-batwinged-Duo keychain. "Almost forgot the keys to my Gundam!" he grinned, then vanished.
In space......no one can hear you scream.
Unless you have a bandwidth radio and a good supply of oxygen.
Which the boy calling himself Trowa Barton didn't happen to have handy.
"Please...help..." he gasped, before passing out again.
Moments later he regained consciousness. Trowa was morbidly certain he was going to die before anyone recovered his drifting body, main character status notwithstanding.
"Damn you.....Quatre...... I wasted.........my oxygen.....on that last speech......to you......."
"Did I make it!?" the door crashed open and banged into the wall. Pictures hung crookedly jumped straight. Duo leapt into the room, eyes working over it furiously, his braid askew. "Oh, God, Heero! Tell me I made it in time and you haven't been seduced by that hussy Quatre!" He wrung his braid with anxious fingers.
Heero looked up, glacially calm, from cleaning his spare set of guns and spot-checking his personal self-destruct system. "In time for what, Duo?" he demanded coldly.
Duo's gaze arced from him to Quatre, across the room and kneeling in front of a tremendous framed head shot of Trowa's solemn face. The boy's golden head was bowed, his hands clasped. Incense sticks wafted their ponderous fragrance through the room.
"Oh, Trowa," Quatre murmured, obviously heartbroken. "If only Heero hadn't been trying to kill me...I could have saved you... And I never even got to tell you I loved you! I mean, we never even-" He blushed furiously. His voice dropped. "We never even...kissed."
"D'oh...!" Duo crashed to the floor.
"Duo, what are you doing here?" Heero prompted, getting up to tower over the fallen American, hands fisted on his spandex-clad hips.
"Waah! Heero!" Duo bounced up and attached himself to the Japanese pilot's thighs. Heero's face turned flat and grim and he experimentally tried to shake the babbling braided maniac off his legs. "I missed you sooooo~o much! I thought you were going to throw me over for Quatre! I mean, he was more readily accessible! Or that Relena chick! She's waaaay persistent!"
"So are you," Heero observed, pulling a crowbar out of the seat of his shorts and trying to pry Duo off by force.
"Duo, what are you doing here?" Quatre inquired in astonishment, turning from his devotions and noticing the braided boy attached securely to Heero's thighs.
Heero shook his legs one by one.
Duo's teeth chattered but he clung harder. "I thought I was going to LOSE Heero!" he wailed. "I mean, I couldn't let that happen! Heero's the best sex I've ever had!"
"I'm the only sex you've ever had."
"And I think I like him, too!" Duo continued, ignoring that. "Hilde was watching 'Gundanium Days' and she said..."
"Oh, Duo," Quatre said, looking amused. Heero snorted. "Don't you know that soap operas are complete and utter trash and that stuff never happens in real life?"
"It doesn't?" Duo sniffled, unconvinced.
"Of course not," Quatre assured him. "Why, can you imagine any of us sleeping around with each other like that...? Swapping partners? Trading off? And goodness...Wufei, with Treize?" The Arabian pilot chuckled, obviously mirth-stricken.
"Nooo~o..." Duo replied, hesitant. He peered up fearfully at Heero, his eyes wide and imploring.
Heero stared back down at him, mouth set. "What do you want, Duo?"
"Your love!" Duo beamed up at him.
Heero's nostrils flared. "What can I offer you to make you get off my legs?" he phrased the question more specifically. Duo pulled a long face, then considered it.
"C'mon, I know it's a lot to ask, but you're one of those 'all or nothing' guys anyway!" Duo wheedled. "Think about it! The way you pull those suicidal stunts, you're not going to last long anyhow!"
"True," Heero conceded, face grim.
"So you might as well be getting some on a regular basis before you kick the bucket!" Duo concluded persuasively with impeccable Maxwell-logic. He beamed up at the Japanese pilot, tightening his grip on the black-clad thighs.
Heero frowned. "What if I say no?"
Duo's face crumpled. "I...I..." His expressive mouth pursed. "I'll withhold your explosives and firearms!"
Heero considered it, face cold and expressionless.
"All right," he said finally. "Does lifelong fidelity mean we have to get married?"
"No, stupid," Duo bounced to his feet and threw his arms around him. With a low growl the Wing pilot pushed him away. "Two boys can't get married, silly! Whatever were you thinking? I'll just settle for a signed, witnessed contract."
Heero started to look suspicious.
Duo pranced over to Quatre, beaming. "You'll witness it, won't you?"
"Of course!" Quatre smiled back.
The ink was barely dry, with Duo blowing on it frantically, before something occurred to Heero.
"What about Relena?"
Duo regarded him with wide, too-innocent violet eyes. "Oh, that's in here, too," he assured the Japanese boy, pointing to the fine print. "It's in one of the little subclauses. After we consummate our relationship you have to tell her about us."
Duo leaned back from the somewhat violent shout and looked like he might cry. "It's too late to take it back; you already signed the contract!"
Heero scowled at him, face dark and grim. "I didn't read it."
"Whose fault is that?" Duo inquired cheerfully, skipping over to him and throwing his arms around him again.
Heero punched him. "I need reading glasses. Dr. J never got around to making them for me."
"Ah...I see..." Quatre lifted a finger, eyebrows raising into his hairline.
Heero gave him a murderous icy look.
Duo rubbed at his stomach mournfully and stood a safe distance away from Heero. "I'm sorry, lover," he apologized. "I guess I suckered you but I couldn't help it. I want you to be mine! All mine! No one else's! So I'll cheat and I'll kill and I'll even make sure that Relena-missy knows who Heero's really with..."
Heero folded his arms and regarded his rant steadily. He scowled. He turned his head and raised an eyebrow at Quatre. "He's really dead set on this idea," he observed.
Quatre blinked. "Hai."
Heero shrugged his muscled shoulders. "Mission acknowleged," he intoned without inflection, then stepped forward, and seized the braided maniac who was dancing around chanting "mineminemine!" with a gleeful air. Duo had time for a surprised yelp before he was swept off his feet and carried into the bedroom. The door slammed shut behind them.
Quatre blinked again as the lock clacked shut.
In the peaceful idyllic Sank Kingdom, foremost advocate of Absolute Pacifism, the princess and ruler Relena Peacecraft was taking a walk with one of her most difficult classmates, Dorothy.
"Look at this beautiful landscape," Relena gestured with a smile, the wind playing softly with her long golden tresses. "Doesn't it make you think of peace? The happiness of those who look upon it?"
Dorothy tossed back her even longer white-blonde tresses and smirked sidewise at Relena. "It makes me think of war, Relena-sama, and how with a few well-placed missiles everything could be destroyed."
Relena's blue eyes widened. "How cruel!" she gasped. "But I didn't ask you to walk with me to discuss our radically opposing ideals, Dorothy. I need to ask you something very important. You're much more forward than I am so I decided you're my last hope."
"Eh?" Dorothy stopped and faced the beautiful young princess. She raised one long spidery eyebrow. "What is it, Relena-sama?"
Relena blushed a delicate shade of pink. She twisted a fold of her skirt in her hands. "Uh...well..." She leaned forward, resting one hand on Dorothy's shoulder, and whispered urgently into the taller girl's ear.
Dorothy's eyes widened in shock. "Relena-sama! Are you sure? I don't think Heero Yuy will like that very much..."
Relena's smooth regular features were set in a look of determination. "I'm tired of waiting for him to come to me, Dorothy," she declared. "I've decided it's time to take more drastic actions."
"I think I could manage to help you, then," Dorothy gave the young ruler of the Sank Kingdom a sinuous smile.
"Oh, Heero..." Duo moaned. "OH, Heero! Heero! HEERO!"
"Will you shut up, already?" Heero demanded irritably.
"I can't get over it! It's so BIG!"
"It's not that big," Heero declaimed modestly.
"IT'S THE BIGGEST STUFFED TEDDY BEAR I'VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE!" Duo exclaimed, glomping onto it and rubbing his cheek against the soft fur. "Yay!! I love it! You got it just for me, didn't you?"
Heero scowled at him, his expression stony. "No."
Duo shoved out his lower lip. "Well, fine then."
"Can we get this over with and go confront Relena, already?" Heero demanded, traces of impatience breaking through his otherwise expressionless features.
"Huh? Oh, yeah, sure," Duo looked up from the teddy bear, lifted a hand, fingers hesitating...then made a decisive move. "Checkmate!"
Heero glared at the board, nostrils flaring. "You did NOT just beat me."
"Wahahaha!" Duo leapt off the bed, braid flouncing behind him. "I beat you! Ha! This means I get to be top next time!"
"I will kill you," Heero uttered in deadly tones, getting up and starting to stalk him.
Duo blinked at him innocently. "You really didn't read that contract," he said, giving him a broad smirk of a grin. "Subclause #2. 'Thou shalt not kill the Duo.' 'Cause if you killed me, man, where would the fun be in that? For me, anyway."
Heero growled something incoherent and grabbed his jacket. "Let's get this over with."
As they passed through the living room on the way out, Quatre was still kneeling earnestly by the large head shot of Trowa. Incense laid a thick gray track in the air. Duo regarded the young pilot with wide eyes.
"Oi." He poked Quatre in the shoulder. "Oi, I say. D'you even know if he's dead?"
Quatre looked up, his eyes bright with unshed moisture. "Nani?"
"I said, do you even know for sure if he's dead?"
"Well...no..." Quatre admitted.
Duo tsked. "You should make sure, y'know. Before you give it up as a lost cause."
Quatre leapt to his feet. "You're right! You're absolutely right! I suppose I was just swept away by the tragedy of it all... Trowa, here I come! I'll save you if it's the last thing I do!" He charged out of the house. "I'll set the entire resources of my family to finding you..." His voice trailed off in the distance.
"Now you've done it," Heero remarked, eyes indifferent. "On 'Gundanium Days' we learned that Trowa has lost his memory, after too much oxygen deprivation. Quatre will be trying to make love to a vegetable."
"HEERO!" Duo goggled. "I thought Quatre said that stuff wasn't true..."
Heero raised one dark brow. "Believe what you want to."
"D-Dorothy...I'm not so sure about this anymore..."
"Don't be a sissy. It's too late to back out now, Relena-sama."
"B-But... It seems so wrong..."
"Nonsense. I'll bet those Gundam pilots do it every day."
"I-wait! Stop, I've changed my mind..."
Smirk. "Not for long."
Duo pulled to a screeching stop in front of the Sank Kingdom's biggest building. Being that it was also the only building in the entire kingdom, he'd had no difficulty in finding it. Which was lucky for him, being directionally challenged.
"Are we there yet?" Heero inquired with icy composure, his face squashed against the side window, his legs tucked up against his chest, his bottom griding against...well, you know.
"Yep!" Duo replied cheerfully, powering Shinigami down. He opened the cockpit and Heero spilled out, sprawling on the hatch. Duo yanked The Club out of hammerspace and affixed it very carefully to the controls. "We're not parked in a yellow zone, are we?"
"This is A.C. 195, Duo," Heero informed him stoically. "There are no yellow zones."
"Good!" Duo hopped onto the hatch, plucked Heero to his feet using the straps of his green tank top, and surveyed the giant building. He cracked his knuckles. "Right! Let's go 'out' to Relena!"
Heero frowned. "Isn't that 'go in to Relena'?" he suggested with indifference.
Duo frowned back. "No, because we're coming out."
Heero frowned harder.
"Just let it pass," Duo sighed. He grabbed hold of Heero's hand, who didn't punch him for once, and dragged him inside.
"We're looking for Relena-missy!" the American cheerfully informed the nearest black-uniformed servant-looking person.
"Lady Relena?" the man echoed, then his eyes fell on Heero. "She's in her room. Follow me, sir."
"Ha! I rate a 'sir!'" Duo crowed. "Boy, he sure doesn't know me well..."
"I believe," Heero returned, trying to extract his hand and failing, "he was referring to me." He eyed their intertwined hands. Apparently he would have to gnaw digits off to escape. An unacceptable loss at this point, since Dr. J was unavailable to get replacements.
"Here we are." The man paused in front of a dark wood-paneled door. "Lady Relena's room."
Duo tossed him a snappy salute and the man faded away. He lifted his hand and knocked.
"Hmm." He knocked again, harder.
"Wh-what is it?" a female voice quavered.
Duo pushed open the door. "Relena!" he announced, dragging Heero with him. "We're coming out!"
"We're coming in..." Heero corrected in a monotone.
Relena let out a shriek and tried to drag the sheets up over her head. Dorothy remained where she was and gave the two intrusive Gundam pilots an annoyed glance.
"Do you mind?" Dorothy demanded. "We are in the MIDDLE of something." She made a languorous wriggle.
Duo blinked several times. His jaw crashed to the floor. Relena blushed furiously and tried to dive under the sheets, and Dorothy clamped a hand on one bare arm and kept her where she was. "Re-re-re-re..." He couldn't quite seem to get his mouth synchronized with his racing thoughts.
"Relena, you're in bed with Dorothy," Heero observed with his usual detachment.
Relena blushed harder and succeeded in dragging the sheets up over her head. Dorothy was looking smugly satisfied about something. She tightened her arm around the Peacecraft girl's waist and gave Heero a challenging look.
"I got here first," she taunted.
"That's fine," Heero shrugged. "Duo conned a lifelong fidelity agreement out of me."
"He WHAT!?" Relena exclaimed, cornflower blue eyes wide.
Dorothy's eyes narrowed dangerously.
"That's right!" Duo proclaimed with satisfaction. "I conned Heero into signing away his life on a little piece of paper, and all because I was attached to his legs and he wanted to get me off." He leered for a moment, infatuated with his own double entendre, then extracted the piece of paper from his wide black pants and waved it around with a smirk.
Heero eyed him with suspicion. "What do you mean, signed away my life...?"
Duo gave him a serene smile. "Subclause #3. 'Thou shalt not ever attempt self-destruction, ever again, nor perish in the pursuit of fighting.' You're mine for life, Heero baby."
Heero's calm facade shattered. "WHAT!?" he roared. "You-" He lunged at Duo.
"Yikes! Number two! Remember subclause #2!" Duo yipped, dodging.
"That's great!" Relena clapped her hands together. "That's wonderful, Duo! I'm so happy for you and Heero. I've discovered that I like girls ever so much better!"
Duo and Heero crashed to the floor, halting their mad wrestle for the contract just long enough to facevault with incredulity.
Dorothy nuzzled Relena's cheek, content once more.
Relena blushed but put her own arm around Dorothy. "That's right. What did you think?" she continued self-righteously. "With how many times you two are paired together, that I would never seek companionship myself?"
Duo jumped to his feet, made the contract disappear again, and dusted his hands off. "Wonderful." He beamed at Dorothy and Relena. "I'm so glad I don't have to go through another death scene! Or get maimed! Do you know how many times my nose has been broken...?"
"Can it," Heero told him, getting to his feet and stalking him with a soft tread.
Duo gave him an injured look. "Well, I'm just relieved, is all." He squeaked as Heero threw himself at him again, then hastily dashed out the door. "Waaahh! Shinigami, help!!"
Relena and Dorothy eyed the vanished Gundam boys with faint skepticism and no little relief.
"Pargan!" Relena called out. "Would you shut the door again, please?"
Dorothy pulled up the sheet.
Quatre ground to a halt before the thirty-secondth circus he had encountered on his search and hopped out of Sandrock, his face alight with hope. He poked his head through the flap of the red tent. "Trowa? Trowa, are you in here?" he called.
A long, thin young man in wide checkered clown pants stood in the middle of the ring, juggling three glittering knives. He turned at the sound of his voice, looking inquisitive, hands still busily catching the sharp metal, twisting them, and tossing them in the air again.
Quatre threw himself at the tall boy. "Oh, Trowa! You're alive! I knew in my heart you couldn't be dead!"
The young man hastily tossed the knives at a wooden target before Quatre could bump into him and cause him to drop them, injuring one or the both of them. Clumsily his arms closed around the golden-haired boy as Quatre gave him an ecstatic hug.
"Trowa! I missed you so much!"
"Who's Trowa?" the boy returned, frowning.
Quatre blinked up at him. "You are!"
"I am?" The brown-haired boy looked confused. "Cathrine told me my name was Triton Bloom."
"Oh, you've lost your memory..." Quatre mourned. His mouth pursed. He looked crafty for an instant, then his expression resumed its normal cheerful innocence. "I'll take good care of you, Tro-er, Triton."
"But...my life with the circus!" Trowa protested.
Quatre gave him a sweet smile. "I'm rich, remember? Oh, no, you wouldn't."
"Are you my friend?"
Quatre nodded vigorously. "I'm your lover, Triton."
Trowa frowned. "But you're a boy."
"You never complained before!" Quatre blinked piteously. "Does that mean you don't love me anymore...?"
Trowa considered it. "How rich did you say you were, again...?"
"Yaaay! Heero!" Duo gushed, sitting on his chest and plastering him with a big sloppy kiss. "I'm so glad you've finally accepted this."
Heero glared at him. "A mission is a mission."
Duo grinned happily.
"But you still cheated like a dirty, underhanded OZ soldier," Heero continued.
Duo's face fell. "I'm sorry, Heero. There wasn't any other way. You just would've killed yourself or gotten blown up or shot or dropped off a cliff or spaced or..."
"All right, that's enough," Heero interrupted, face set. "So what do you want to do now?"
Duo sidled close to him. "What do you want to do?"
"I suppose you're going to suggest we screw tirelessly like minks."
Duo blinked at him. "That is SUCH an unromantic way to put it, man."
"What would you say, then?" Heero asked coldly. He folded his arms.
"Ask me what I want to do tonight."
Heero regarded him with a frosty, uncompromising expression.
Duo poked him. "Subclause #12..."
Heero twitched. "What do you want to do tonight, Duo?" he asked, looking as if his face hurt.
"Same thing we do *every* night, Heero!" Duo gushed, throwing his arms around him. "Try to take over the world, in the name of the colonies!"
Maniacal laughter filled the air.