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Chapter One: My World
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Chapter One

My World

Disclaimer: Nope. Not mine. *shock*


It was hard.

He'd be lying if he said otherwise. Lying wasn't something he took practice in. So, he didn't bother. He wouldn't have believed himself anyway.

He'd fought that war with the other four that had been trained for that very purpose and battled in that last fight just like them. And those last battles only showed him how very alone he was, despite everything. He hadn't put in a million hours of volunteer work into possible friendships or anything, but he'd damn well tried to find some sort of... camaraderie with those other four. He'd tried to find a sort of peace within the madness that surrounded every day of his existence back then. And he'd failed. Miserably, one might add.

After the war, he'd had stuffed all of his hurts back into Pandora's box and locked it tight. But his hope had been locked up as well.

He'd had done everything in his power to bring them all together in one way or another. He really had. He had been himself, then had tried to be Mr. Tough Guy. When both had failed, he had tried to just be good enough of a soldier to at least be good enough for them to at least look at with something other than scorn.

He had ended up being hurt over and over again. It had... gotten old. He didn't need any more of those scars.

At least he hadn't completely failed. Duo had made friends with Quatre. And Hilde liked him, though maybe a bit too much. He'd had that straightened out. He had told her that he was gay and that, though it was a nice offer, and that any other man would've been more than willing to take her up on it, he wasn't interested. He was only interested in men. And one man in particular.

Heero Yuy.

He didn't tell her that. Maybe that was why she took it well. Or maybe she really only had a crush... or whatever. Like he had ever been able to fully understand that girl's mind.

Duo didn't know why he was interested in the guy. Okay, so he was built straight out of a wet dream, but he also had the personality of a rock. His smiles were nonexistent unless the guy was imagining some sort of strategy or victory or... something else mission-related. The guy probably jerked off to mission assignments or something. His emotions were granite-like and difficult to see whatsoever. Duo wanted to liken Yuy to rocks some more, but rocks, at least, could carry on conversations. They listened. Heero couldn't even do that. Whenever Duo tried to carry on a conversation with the guy, he was chiseled ice. Maybe that was a better comparison. Heero was chiseled ice. How did he fall in love with that?

But the fact remained that he had fallen toes over braid for the guy. And Heero hated him back. Oh, what a perfect couple. A match of pure bliss. Right.

So, after the confrontation with Maremaia, Duo packed up the few things he owned and hiked out with Hilde. Together, the two of them built a salvage group. Yup. We picked up debris from the war that couldn't be grabbed during it for all the fighting and the need to save those that were still alive. If he never saw another corpsicle in his life, it would be too soon. But what else could he do? With the amount of skills he had, he could run a business that began a new war. But nobody wanted that - especially not him. So he went into salvage. The two of them did alright, but the thing eventually fell out. How long would salvage last when accidents hardly ever occurred anymore?

Things were rocky for three weeks, and Hilde and he called it quits. They parted amicably enough, and Duo thought she got into business as a secretary to some businessman or another. She was a nice person, and he was happy for her. He, however, was not doing so well. He was going around trying desperately to find some place to build up shop for... something. Anything. He'd grown up on the streets, though, and he had no documentation of his time with Doctor G. He was basically screwed when it came to getting a job. Quatre asked Duo how he was doing whenever he called, and Duo desperately evaded the question. He really didn't wanna lie to the guy. Quatre was just too nice. He doesn't even know you're lying and he makes you feel guilty for it. Sometimes Duo wondered how the guy managed to survive being a politician. Maybe that look actually helped him. How would he know?

So, here he was. On the street. Again. Okay, not on the streets as he was when he was a kid, but close enough. His lack of official documentation of how freaking smart he was somehow made people believe that he was a flaming moron. What the hell did it have to do with anything? But damned if he didn't need proof that he wasn't some... well, bum off the street wasn't a good analogy, but what the hell.

He'd been through the block searching for jobs, but everyone wanted proof that he'd gone to college. The fact that he could do college calculus in his head didn't matter to them; they wanted proof that he knew what he was doing. The fact that he looked so young didn't win him any brownie points, either. And with Une destroying any files that the Gundam pilots were... well, them, he was SOL when it came to getting a job. It was good that she deleted their files, but... it sure as hell made it difficult for him to survive.

So just where had he found a job? Well, he was working at Taco Bell right now. That's right – Taco Bell. Hey, technically, he was around the right age to be working there. And he didn't need any documentation. It was just... humiliating. He was a fucking Gundam pilot, for God's sake. And here he was in a fast food restaurant. A fucking fast food restaurant. And every time he looked around he only saw inefficiency. If he were in charge of the place, food would be getting out to the customers in half the time, at least. Some days he thought he could feel his brain matter leaking out his ears. There was no thought processing necessary for this job.

And what really aggravated him: people come in asking for tacos, nachos, burritos, quesadillas, and other things and he swore he couldn't be forced to explain the difference between the choices. It was ridiculous. Marketing was the victor once again.

But he sucked it up and did it; he needed the money, and he wasn't able to go anywhere else. His background didn't really leave him with a lot of options, after all. He was basically screwed any way he looked at it.

So... he'd worked there for a while. It had been about a year or so since Maremaia was stopped and Dekim Barton got his ass kicked. He'd worked there for a few months. Salvage had gone on for a while, about half a year, and he'd searched for a job for a couple months... that left four months. He'd met some of the stupidest and... most interesting people here. At least he was far enough away from the guys' supposed hangouts (he's subtly pulled that info from Qat) that he didn't get any Preventors or anyone in there. Talk about combustion due to inflamed embarrassment.

So, when Heero Yuy stepped into the restaurant, he was beyond humiliated.


"What can I order for you today, Miss?" Duo asked politely, shining his I'm-a-defenseless-idiot grin. The smile managed to calm the woman down enough for her to smile in return. Duo could take one look at the blond was tired and nervous. Her entire body was tense, her legs and arms locked to her. Her arms actually wrapped around her body – a sign that she was trying to defend herself from something. He wondered just what was going on with her.

"I'm sorry," she said, blue eyes twinkling. He let himself smile in return. The woman seemed nice enough, and he knew that the quickest way to calm someone's fears was to be kind to them. Show them you mean no harm and people will pretty much ignore you. He wished he'd been able to explain that to Heero and the other pilots. He never drew attention, and he was just as good as them. Why didn't anyone accept that? And why did he care? Why was he thinking about that? He forced thoughts about that part of his past away. "I'm meeting someone today and I just feel so nervous," the woman told him. See? The woman gave him information without his even having to ask. Friendliness went a long way with the human race.

He was thinking about the past again. Dammit.

"It's quite alright, ma'am," Duo said politely, waiting patiently for her to give him her order. She seemed to just then realize that she was supposed to order something, and looked up to see the menu.

"I would like... uhmm... a number three, please. With a Coke."

"Of course." Duo rung it up, accepted the money, and went to grab the food from the shelf, making sure the food was warm in his hand. She needed good food, not the shit that had been waiting for over fifteen minutes. She was a nervous wreck. Something was wrong. It was more than obvious... at least to him. He wished again that he knew what was bothering the lady. Oh, well. It wasn't like he could do much.

It was when he turned around to put food in front of her that he saw him. He walked through the doors and scanned the room. That cold cobalt gaze noted everyone, just as they always did. Searching for threats. Duo shamefully hid behind the cash register as his gaze went by him and... stopped. His heart froze, then jackhammered. Did Heero see him? It would be more than a little humiliating if he did. Duo wished praying would save him, but didn't dare call a deity's attention to him, just in case the deity decided to fuck with him. They usually had way too much fun at his expense.

He walked towards the counter in front of Duo.

His breaths came in shallow jerks, fear messing his training up a bit, but the woman was thankfully preoccupied. Gods only knew what the other customers were thinking as he hid with the tray still in his hands. His body flushed and he could feel his face flame. Just what he wanted Heero to see - him with this gay hat and apron on. Shinigami tossing tacos. So manly.

That was when Duo saw him pause in front of none other than the woman he had just served. His first reaction was a sigh of relief that would have been outrageously stupid of him. The second was a tiny little jolt of insight. It all clicked. The meeting. Why she was so nervous. Heero, Duo knew, was with the Preventors. She was probably a witness or something. That was why Heero was here. That was why she was so seriously scared... why Heero wasn't scanning the room with his usual fervor. He had been scanning the crowd for the woman, not for anything out of place... like an ex-Gundam pilot in a Taco Bell uniform.

Thank you, God... or whoever. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Heero paid no heed to the other people in line. "We need to move," he said in his short, clipped voice. Duo's heart fluttered. His churning stomach made him want to puke. He remembered that voice, remebered all of the times he'd wanted that voice to soften. He felt the joy and agony slam into him yet again. He wanted to run. He wanted to form into a puddle and melt through the cracks in the floor. He wanted... well, he wanted

He kept his sorry ass hidden.

"What's wrong?" she asked nervously. Shit, everything about her screamed “nervously”. Her voice was just no exception.

"We need to go. There's no time for questions."

That had to have been the longest explanation Duo had ever heard come out of Heero Yuy's mouth. It had only been a year since Duo had last seen him. How did he increase his vocabulary so much in so short a time? Heero would've stayed silent or simply said, 'move, baka' to Duo. Or maybe a 'hn'. Those had been popular, too.

Maybe... maybe he just hated Duo more than the others. That wouldn't shock him whatsoever. Heero did only point his gun at him how many times since they'd met? He'd only pointed it more to Relena than to Duo. Maybe. Maybe. And it was a damn shame he didn't pull the trigger any of those times, either. She may be holding us all in peace, but she still needs to be shot, in Duo's opinion. Maybe not killed, but definitely shot. Na´ve twit. Irritating brat. Rude little-

"Have they found me?"

"Let's go," was his answer, and he grabbed her arm. Duo barely managed to think, 'so his vocabulary hasn't greatly improved' before all hell broke loose.

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Every story unless otherwise claimed is Kayura's, and is copyrighted 2006 under her name.