Disclaimer: Gundam Wing, shockingly, horrifyingly, belongs to someone else.
Heero had only returned home a few days ago, but he'd plunged straight into work.
He'd said it was because he had to help clean up the mess with Caribol, but I think it was to
escape the awkward silences in the house.
Oh, we'd talked about our... problems from the previous, uh, mission. But that didn't automatically
solve them. Imagine your – boyfriend? Imagine your boyfriend freaking out if he sees you drinking something he didn't
get for you. Then imagine yourself freaking out every time your boyfriend left for work or clutched his stomach.
Kind of problematic, huh?
Yeah. Just a little.
We'd been walking on eggshells around each other ever since Heero returned from the hospital.
Our routine had gotten thrown into an immediate standstill. Heero and I just wouldn't talk to each other. But there were times...
there were times when I thought he'd turned to me to try to say something. He just... never actually opened his fucking mouth.
It was driving me insane.
I had absolutely nothing to do, of course. Une wasn't giving me work, and I couldn't go shooting
off into space, seeing as Heero would probably freak. But I was slowly going insane from boredom, so much so that I'd gotten
into an interesting habit of writing random poems on scraps of paper. I'd kept them carefully hidden after writing them, of
course. Thank you very much.
Agh. My life was at a very boring standstill.
I hated standstills.
“Come ooonn,” I groaned, flopping around
on the bed. I'd already done my exercises and fixed up an old poem of mine. I was officially out of interesting things to
do. “I am soooo bored!”
I almost whooped when the doorbell rang.
Racing down the stairs was probably a stupid thing to do, but I made it
safely to the bottom so I didn't care. I did whoop when I looked out the peephole.
“Quatre!” I grinned madly at the blond, then sent
a careful smile over to Trowa, who stood behind Quatre bodyguard-style. “Trowa. Hi. What're you guys doing here?”
Quatre blushed and looked down at his feet.
I blinked. “Uh...?” I turned to Trowa. “Are you going
to enlighten me?”
Trowa sighed, scratched his head, and pushed open the door. Only when he'd
gently pushed Quatre inside did he come in and close the door, effectively making our conversation private. I turned to him
with an eyebrow raised.
“Well?” I pressed.
But Trowa just placed a hand on Quatre's shoulder. “Just say it,”
Quatre cleared his throat. “Uh, Duo, I have some news for you.”
I have no idea where I found the patience not to shake Quatre into just
coughing it up. “And?”
“Well...” He hesitated. “Technically, I'm not supposed
to be telling you this, okay?”
Quatre stepped forward and glanced furtively around. “Heero's at work,
Oh, now if that didn't get me a little concerned, nothing would. “Uh,
“Well, then Une wants to talk to you.”
“And this would make you blush because...?”
Quatre cleared his throat. “And I wanted to ask you something,”
he finished lamely.
“And that would be...?”
But Quatre seemed about done now; he just shrugged and looked vaguely at
the walls. It was Trowa who finally just muttered something under his breath and told me. “He wants to publish a book
of your poetry.”
“What?!” I yelped, so disturbed I actually jumped back a little
bit. Quatre was carefully studying the dragon statuette Wufei had given Heero; the thing had miraculously survived wholly
intact. Apparently he already knew my answer. “Uh, sorry, Quatre, but my
answer is 'no way in hell'.”
Quatre sighed, finally turning back to look me in the eye. “I sort
of figured.” But then he brightened. “But you aren't angry?”
“No,” I said carefully, “just a bit confused.”
Quatre seemed about ready to belabor his point, but unbelievably, Trowa
was the one to grab his shoulder and shake his head, thus ending Quatre's monologue before it began.
“Uh, so does either of you know what the commander wants?”
I think my jaw dropped when Trowa, of all people, answered me. “All
we know is that it's about Caribol.”
I let out an exaggerated sigh and gestured them further inside, ushering
Quatre into a chair while I took the sofa. Trowa chose to continue standing, but at least now he was leaning against the wall.
“I thought Preventors was taking care of that?”
Trowa and Quatre both just shrugged. “We don't know; we were just
told to come 'fetch' you,” Quatre told me. “We thought you might have an idea.”
“None. Heero isn't talking.” I bit my lip then. Heero and I
weren't talking to each other about much of anything these days.
Quatre seemed to catch my mood. “Duo... how are things...? Between
I found myself staring at the carpet before I could consciously tell myself
not to. “Well, I guess you can imagine.” I felt my face flush. “Think about it. After everything that's
happened, it's going to... to be a while... before we can get back on track.”
Trowa snorted. “You were on track before?”
“Trowa!” Quatre reprimanded, but Trowa's words made me
“No... maybe not. But we were at least... I dunno, on the right train?
Now it's like we were trying to get to the train station and both ended up at different airports.”
“Really good metaphor there. I can see why you're a poet.”
I could've punched him. “But you understood it, didn't you?”
It was a sarcastic question; it would e pretty hard not to have.
“But Duo, is it really that bad?” Quatre asked, all concerned
and worried. He leaned forward in his seat. “Heero hasn't been mean, has he?”
Mean. Trust Quatre. “No, nothing like that. It's more like... well,
look at the two of you.” I gestured to them, making Quatre blink rather confusedly. “Trowa's behind you, leaning
toward you, and you're leaning back, toward him. Heero and I... we kind of walk around each other, you know?”
I twisted my first finger in circles. “Like there are bubbles around us we can't let pop.”
Quatre frowned at me. “Maybe that's really what it is?”
My hand dropped. “Huh?”
Trowa sighed long-sufferingly.
“I mean,” Quatre said, “the two sound like you're being
careful around each other because of what happened... before. Right?”
I nodded slowly. “Uh, yeah?” What did that have to do with bubbles?
“Well, don't you think that might be because you're afraid of being
It was like listening to the gears click into place and watching some ancient
enchanted door creak open. “Oh!” It made me stand, like a spring had been hit. “Oh – shit!”
Maybe Heero and I had an even bigger problem than I'd imagined.
Trowa laughed at me. “You need to do something about it,” he
told me then, serious as a ghost. “At this rate, things will fall apart.”
I flinched. Well, no shit, Sherlock. I'd known that before I'd known the
reason for all this. I turned back to Quatre. “But do you think that's the reason Heero's been avoiding me?”
“Maybe,” Quatre hedged. “It's hard to tell – Heero's
really guarding his emotions right now.”
Which sounded to me like he was definitely feeling emotionally brittle.
“All right. Great.” I sat back down, only to stand again. “I'm sorry to throw you guys out, but I guess
I should go see what Her Highness wants.”
“Ah, Commander Une?” Quatre stood then as well. “That
might be best. She seemed a bit upset when she was talking to us.”
“What she sounded like was pissed.” Trowa pushed himself off
of the wall to stand beside Quatre. There is was again; they were unconsciously leaning toward each other. And when Trowa
looked down at Quatre, that small, almost indecipherable smile crossed his lips. Quatre just freaking beamed at him –
thank goodness, I thought, that whatever problems the two had seemed to be having were working themselves out. “Duo.”
I jumped a bit, blushed. Why did it feel like I just got caught peeping
into the girl's locker room? “Y-Yeah?”
“Did you do something to piss the woman off?”
I immediately opened my mouth to argue, but really, maybe I had. I'd kind
of moved on my own initiative and killed the leader of Caribol, thus effectively losing his testimony. “Uh... maybe?”
Trowa snorted. “Then we'll go so you can get your ass reamed. Come
Trowa put an arm over Quatre's shoulders and began steering him out. “Ah
– but... maybe we should go with him, Trowa. If she's going to...”
But I just laughed and opened the door for them. “I think I can handle
the crazy lady, Qat. I've been doing it for years, remember? Thanks for coming and telling me. Take care, okay?”
“Yeah, okay – but-”
And I very gently shut the door on his face.
Shit. When I'd been complaining about boredom, I didn't really want it to
be broken by the psycho hag's ass-chewing. Good for breaking monotony it may be, but I didn't think my ass would appreciate
“Fine, fine,” I grumbled carefully stretching my arms out. I
would be okay getting there, at least. And if I fell in a heap of pain and suffering, well, that would be all her fault.
It was as soon as I entered her office; I hadn't even gotten the chance
to crack a joke at her yet. Apparently this shit was serious.
She was half-glaring at me as I took my seat, her hands folded neatly in
front of her. She looked like a principal about to reprimand a wayward student. Or at least I guessed this was what angry
principals looked like.
“Make yourself comfortable,” she warned, then slid a thick manila
envelope my way. “And read that.”
That was it; the lady was fucking scary. “Nice to see you too, mon
capitan,” I piped, slipping the folder closer and flipping it open. “Glad to see you all bright and shiny and
bubbly, as usual.”
“Glad to see you walking,” the woman retorted blandly, not even
bothering to look at me as she bent down to some documents laying out on her desk.
I had to give her that little tally mark. Woman was freaking terrifying.
The papers inside were mostly familiar. Here be Caribol Fuckface One, there
be Caribol Fuckface Two. I couldn't help scowling at the pictures of the bastards anymore than I could help the fury building
deep inside me. There were reports on interrogations, interviews (from the surviving cyborgs) and other miscellaneous bullshit,
including stuff on the casino. Finally I dropped the folder back on her desk. “So?” I asked, leaning back and
crossing my arms.
“So. Did you notice the anomalies?” She leaned forward.
I scowled and thought back. “Ah – Fuckface Two's name and profile
was in there before the last reports were in, even though it said there were no records of the guy to be found. Is that what
The woman gave a loud sigh. “You mean Frederick Trudgill, right?”
“Sure. The Fuckface I shot when he picked up his gun.” After
telling the stupid fucker to pick up his gun, I should say. And his stupidly doing it. Dumb fuck.
“So how do you think we got this information?” she asked, even
though anyone could have followed the thread – or at least anyone who'd been trained to almost-death by this old fart
and his younger cronies.
“We'd received the information through a second contact,” I
answered, and my mind whirled. “But the only 'second contact' we had was... Heero.” I snapped up in the chair.
“Are you shitting me? He tried to contact us?”
“Strike – Maxwell. Is that language necessary?”
But I couldn't have cared less if the building were tilting like the fucking
leaning tower. “So did he?”
“That's what it seems like.”
I huffed and slumped back, my mind racing. “So if he tried to contact
us and someone kept it quiet-”
“We have ourselves a mole.”
I tried to think about all of the suffering we all went through thinking
Heero was dead. Then I tried to think about Heero, out there on his own thinking we'd have his back when in reality he was
being fucking from the inside. I tried to think what the guy looked like so I could pound his face into a meat grinder.
Then I stopped myself. “But wouldn't Heero have mentioned it?”
It was highly unlikely, after all, that Heero would just let something like that slide when he returned.
I sighed. Sometimes the woman was just freaking annoying – but she
could get away with it. Because she was terrifying. “In other words, you want me to find out.”
Well, I was certainly curious enough. I rolled my shoulders and stood. “Fine.
And I suppose I'm expected to keep this a secret from Heero?”
“Turn around's fair play,” she noted.
“Right.” I chuckled darkly. “Well, it's not like we're
on that great of speaking terms right now,” I mumbled, half to myself. I definitely wanted to know why this information
hadn't been sent out. Or why Heero had failed to mention it yet. Heero wasn't the type to let something like this slide; there
was a fucking mole in our midsts, after all. And Heero was certainly a stickler for loyalty.
“Is that something you want to go into more detail about?”
I gave her a dirty look. “No.”
“Just thought I'd ask.” She shrugged and stood, as well. “In
any case, I want you to get started on this first thing. Your wounds have pretty much healed, correct?”
“Yeah, that's right.” I could even go a whole day without feeling
any pain sometimes.
“Good. Then get started.”
“Yes, O Mighty One.” I bowed to her and made my escape, the
woman's half-glare at my back the whole way.
Of course I went on-line first. I went straight back to Heero's place and
hooked myself through the Preventors' databases and checked through records. Of course there was nothing, at least not on
the surface. Heero would have been extra-cautious.
I sighed after about two hours and rolled my neck around, working out the
kinks. Heero would be back soon; I had to erase everything and close down. The real search would begin tomorrow.
But why? Why would Heero try to get in touch with everyone? Hell, he'd said
that he specifically hadn't tried to get in touch with us because he was suspicious of my acting skills. It had been what
had gotten everything... what had led me to...
I shook my head violently. No. Couldn't let those images suck me in again.
They were clear enough each night.
I shut down my computer, stood and stretched. I'd begun studying how to
cook, and so far I'd managed to make fairly decent meals, all of which were carefully balanced for Heero's health –
though I'd assured him I'd been doing this since I left the hospital in order to gain my own health back. It was just easier
to let him think that.
The truth was that I was just plain afraid to let anything enter Heero's
mouth that I wasn't aware of. As long as I knew what he was eating, I could be fairly certain that he was clutching his stomach
due to pain from his wound and not from poison. Although I'd warned him that my food may end up being about as edible as said
I sighed. Heero and I weren't... why were we even living together? We said
we'd try to get through this together, that as long as we were alive we could move through this. But we weren't going anywhere.
I heard the door downstairs open and cursed. I'd been so busy freaking out
I hadn't gotten my ass downstairs to start dinner. I hurried to the stairs to rectify that mistake.
Heero was standing just in front of the door as I started down, a stricken
look on his face. His Preventors files were scattered all over the floor.
“Heero?” I called, quickly coming down the stairs. “Heero?”
He turned to me like a gunshot. “Duo,” he breathed, and then
he was on me, pulling me toward him, door wide open and files still laying forlornly on the carpet. His arms were around me
before I quite knew he was intending anything at all.
And then he pulled my head to the crook of his neck and I got to listen
to his heartbeat hammering away, his fear beating a fierce tattoo into my eardrum.
He'd been scared.
And I realized that this was the first day since he returned to work that
I hadn't been in the kitchen cooking something when he returned.
“Sorry,” I whispered, and his arms just tightened around me.
I felt pain bloom up my back, but I shrugged it aside. “I didn't do anything – I was spacing out and lost track
of time, that's all. Quatre came over,” I told him, thinking up an excuse as quickly as possible. “He said he
wanted to get my poems published – it just freaked me out a little bit.”
Heero's chuckle was a little wired.
We just stood there for a few minutes, him holding me and getting his shit
together, me hating myself for having attempted suicide and thus making Heero constantly worry about me. I didn't like seeing
him like this. It made me feel helpless.
“I'll get dinner ready now,” I told him. Then, knowing he wouldn't
be able to leave my side, I asked him, “do you want to help?”
“Yes.” He seemed to jump on the opportunity to keep me in his
sight. “I'll help.”
“Great. Then you can take the fat off the chicken. That shit
Heero chuckled again, and this time he seemed a bit more in control. “I'm
sorry for that.” He slipped his arms from my back and stood away from me, looking a little shame-faced.
“It's fine,” I assured him, and proceeded into the kitchen before
he could see the self-hatred in my eyes. It would only worry him more – an emotion he equated with suicidal thoughts.
At this point, could we really manage to make it through this?