Now would be a good time to clarify a few points about the current political situation in this story. It would make a few things easier to explain, anyway.

In the story, J and G head up two rival organizations within the four kingdoms Sank, Yeltneb, Ylloh, and Juki. (Only one of these has anything to do with Gundam Wing, the rest I made up). <looks at herself cross-eyed> <stupid voice> Duh! I'm really thick and obvious!

Essentially, the two organizations each believe that the other was harming innocents, killing children, eating people, all the rest of it, while their organization was doing all they can to stop it. In actual fact, both were doing more harm than good. Those higher up in the ranks of the two organizations knew this, but recognize that it is a personal war between J and G and are not going to risk poison in their food by suggesting to either one that they fight it out another way.

J's organization is known as BG, because of the uniform, which is blue and green. G's organization is known as BR, because of the uniform again, which is black and red. They both have official names which are really long and which no one can ever be bothered to say or remember, so they're known as BG and BR.

Duo and Heero have an identical role in each organization. They are the warriors, the fighters that are at the pinnacle of performance and are simply the ones who do the dirty work. Duo and Heero are pseudonyms they have adopted to prevent people becoming aware of their true identities, which are Duke Maxwell of Irage, a Knight of the kingdom of Yeltneb and Prince Yuy of Ylloh, a Knight of that realm. Neither had met the other in their official capacity, but each has heard of the other as a member of their rival organizations by reputation -- but then, most of the people throughout the known world had heard of them by reputation. They were known as, to put it simply, the best of the best.

It gets a little bit more complicated now, because while these two rival factions are battling it out, the King of Juki was getting more than a little fed up. King Treize (sorry -- you'll understand why he's in this position later on) has been maneuvering those nobles who have not been caught up in the battle between BG and BR into position so that he could force the two to come to an agreement. He hasn't sprung his trap yet, and neither J nor G had managed to figure out precisely what he's doing.

Anyway, Duo and Heero are supposed to be total enemies, never see each other without trying to kill each other, that sort of thing. But neither knows who the other is yet.

by Anria Chiou Lalumin

Past Encounters
Part Two: A Mayonnaise Sandwich

Duo trotted out of the palace, trying to scratch through the thick brocade of the dress. He would never forgive G for talking him into doing this. He'd been one big itch the whole night long, and trying to remember how to eat, how to sit, how to walk and how to talk was a nightmare. He had no idea being a girl was this difficult!

Throwing a cloak over the dress and braiding his hair as rapidly as possible, Duo strode along the street, taking the route through the Royal Gardens, where only nobles were allowed and heading straight for where his horse, Scythe, was picketed at the edge. He intended to grab his clothes from the saddlepacks and change behind a bush. He wasn't going to wait until he got to his house, as he had originally planned. The sooner he was out of this thing the better.

Duo suddenly felt a strong hand clamped over his mouth and an equally strong arm clamped around his waist as he was hauled off the path into a verandah.

"Don't yell for help," a voice, male and impassionate, hissed in his ear. "I don't mean you any harm, I just want to ask you something."

Duo cursed the dress he was wearing, that in his disguise as a girl he couldn't fight the bastard off without being given away and the watch called. He nodded, calming himself. He wasn't afraid; just angry that G's stupid plan could have put him in this situation.

The hand fell away, as did the arm. Turning, Duo saw the noble Princess Relena had been attached to the whole night long, who he had ignored as he didn't know him and he wasn't attached to the King in any way. The dark blue leather breeches[1] were not court fashion, but suited him, as did the green shirt and dark blue tunic. Short, unruly chestnut hair flopped in his face, shading most of it from view. He's cute, Duo realized. Really cute.

"Who are you?"

"What?"

"You're not Lady Diana or whatever. You're a man."

Duo felt his eyes go round with shock. This guy had figured it out! How the fuck -- ? Oh. He had slipped up a few times during the night, he knew.

He decided to play the innocent. "What? Sir, you must be mistaken. I am a woman, I assure you."

"Can the crap. You walk like a man, you're too strong for a girl, and when you were muttering to yourself out there your voice was a distinct baritone."

Duo blinked. He had been muttering to himself? He winced. He could imagine precisely what he must have been muttering about, and what this man must have thought of it. "I am going to leave now," he announced, still in falsetto. "You obviously have the wrong person, and I will not stand this for a moment more."

As he was walking to the verandah doorway, the man grabbed him again and slammed him up against one of the walls. Before Duo knew what was happening, the other man's lips were on his, tongue forcing his mouth open.

Duo had melted before he realized what he was doing. Even in the half-light cast by the moon, he had been attracted to the man, and it appeared that he was attracted to him too. His tongue moved against the other man's almost of its own accord.

Then he yelped as he felt the man's hand through the thin layer at the front of the dress, cupping his groin securely.

"Not a man, huh?" the man said against his lips, hand still cupping Duo solidly. Duo shut his eyes, a little too caught up in the firm pressure and unable to control his body's instant reaction. His forehead thudded onto the other man's shoulder in defeat.

"What are you doing dressed as a girl? No, actually I don't care. Answer this instead; do you like other men?"

Duo knew precisely what way he was talking about. "Yes," he whispered.

The stranger planted a soft kiss on his neck. "This is a little unusual, but. . . . Do you want to spend the night together?"

Duo knew precisely why he was asking. By law, any relationship of this kind between two men would automatically result in both being executed, their families cast down and stripped of their titles, and shunned all their lives. This meant that no one with any value for their life or their family's would ever ask another man to be his lover unless he was absolutely certain the other man was also homosexual. This meant that the vast majority of gay men in their society became very frustrated, and so they took what they could when they could.

Duo's lover had returned to France. He wasn't coming back, and Hildie wasn't enough.

"Yes," he whispered. "What's your name?"

"Heero. What's yours?"

Duo blinked. Heero wasn't a name he had ever heard before. "Duo," he said. It was safe: he knew the other man would probably want his true identity kept secret in case enmity ever arose, along with the possibility of blackmail, and no one other that G and maybe a couple of others associated that name with him and BR.

"Duo isn't a name."

"Neither's Heero."

Heero snorted in Duo's ear, and the teasing, comforting pressure at his groin disappeared. Duo groaned, expressing his disappointment.

"Come with me," Heero whispered, and led Duo out of the verandah, then stopped. "Do you have a horse?"

"Yes."

"Get him."

Duo led the way along the path to where Scythe was picketed against the fence. Footprints in the soil and a bit of cloth and flesh clamped in the stallion's teeth testified that someone had tried to steal him, but thanks to Scythe's unswerving loyalty to his master, had got away the worse for wear. He tossed his head and pawed the ground as Duo approached, butting the man in the shoulder as Duo untied his reins from the fence and swung up into the saddle, skirts hardly hindering him for once. He looked down at Heero, and then it was Heero who led the way to his own horse, picketed in a similar manner to Duo's.

The two rode out of town and a long way into the countryside. Duo couldn't stand the silence for too long, and began talking -- not about anything important, like what the two of them had been doing tying their horses to the fence at the edge of the Royal Gardens rather than in the stables as was their right as noblemen, and why Duo had gone dressed as a girl, and how Heero had managed to figure it out when Duo was such a good actor -- oh, no. What Duo babbled on about was how hungry he was, how much the damn dress itched, how his horse was so good that even if someone did try to steal him he'd never go, how spring was coming and soon the roses in the garden at his home would be blooming in vibrant colors, did Heero have any flowers he liked? It went on like that and didn't stop.

Heero was smiling by the time they arrived at his house. Duo's babbling had been irritating at first, but after about half an hour he had become used to it. It seemed to fit so perfectly with his silence and lack of eloquence. He soon found he liked the sound of Duo's voice.

They rode up to a huge mansion. There was no one around; Heero liked to be alone, and so he had not employed any servants. Heero told Duo to go change out of the dress while he stabled Scythe and Wing. Wing was Heero's horse.[2]

When the two horses were stabled, partially groomed and chomping happily on some hay, Heero went into the house so he could change out of his uncomfortable court finery into something easier to wear. His favorite was tough blue cotton breeches and a top which had started life as a green shirt and now more resembled two pieces of clothes sewn together with a hole on top for a head and two holes either side for the arms. There were no sleeves.

He came out of his room and down the stairs in time to see Duo come out of one of the downstairs bathrooms. Heero stopped, breath catching in his throat.

He had known for a long time that he was not attracted to women, but nothing reinforced what he knew of his preferences so much as the sight of Duo dressed as a man. The long hair was now confined in a braid that fell to his waist, the long legs in black leather breeches, the lean torso in a red shirt and black leather jacket. For a moment all Heero could do was stare at the gorgeous vision before him. He looked even better without the makeup on, he decided.

Duo looked up and saw Heero standing on the stairs, and his face broke into a wide grin at the sight of him. Heero looked away. Dammit, how was it that the sight of someone he had only known for a few hours could do this to him? He was better trained than that!

"Hey, man, you got any food in this place? I'm hungry!" Duo said brightly, calling his attention back to him.

"This way," Heero said, jogging down the couple of steps left and leading Duo through the mansion to the kitchen. He threw the cupboards open to reveal large amounts of every food imaginable, from beef to elephant, carrots to kumquats. "Help yourself."

"Hehe! Look out food, here comes Duo!"

The braided boy launched himself into a frenzy of food. It took Heero about ten minutes to figure out that he was making a sandwich -- with a running commentary.

"Hmm . . . chicken, lettuce, peanut butter[3] . . . Bengal tiger? Never tried that -- I'll put some in . . . strawberry jam, ground-up stock, chilies, mayonnaise . . . banana plus skin -- it's always a good idea to leave the skin in," Duo said to Heero, who was staring at the monstrosity Duo was concocting. "It gives more flavor. Hmm . . . kumquats . . . here, bunny, bunny, bunny. . . . A-ha! Rabbit! Now all it needs is some basil, and we're done!" [4]

How Duo managed to slam that lot between two pieces of bread then actually get it in his mouth, Heero would never know. All he knew was that his body was preparing itself to stop Duo choking -- and, from the looks of the thing he was eating, it looked like he would need it.

"Do you want some?" Duo asked around a mouthful of the sandwich. He swallowed and said, "It's actually quite good, even if it looks gross."

Heero shook his head, staring, suddenly captivated by the sight of the lean boy in black, cobalt eyes smiling up at him where he sat on the counter top. Duo had a smear of mayonnaise across one side of his mouth, and before he knew what he was doing, Heero had jumped off the counter and pulled Duo close, taking the sandwich from his hand and placing it on the wooden table, leaning in close and licking the white sauce off the boy's skin. Duo sighed and his eyes fluttered shut. Heero licked from where the mayonnaise had been to his lips, lips that parted readily when he flicked his tongue across them, and then Heero was kissing him and being kissed back. Their mouths met with bruising force as their tongues played tag, twining around each other and falling away, to explore the deep recesses of each other's mouth.

Heero took his mouth away, both panting a little. "You were right, it does taste good," he said.

Duo grinned. "Nah, that's just me."

"Are you sure?"

"Why don't you find out?"

"Why don't I do just that?"

They were both teenage boys, even if the society of that time considered both men. You can guess what happened next.

+

Oh, crap, I'm doing an endnote. Never mind. I couldn't be mean enough to make you wait to find out what those silly little numbers were for.

[1] Pants (for those of you who don't know already)

[2] Surprise, surprise

[3] I don't care if they had peanut butter in the Dark Ages or not. I'm using it, okay?

[4] Please do not actually try making this sandwich. I just made it up, and I think it would taste totally vile. Not that you could get Bengal tiger meat anywhere I know of.

[part 1] [part 3] [back to Anria's fic]