Do you remember yesterday?
Do you remember what I was like down?
I feel that madness come my way
I must drink to the vicious clowns.
I don't know if they found your ears
But I used to have a lot of names.
Then one so tender pushed me here
And I watched as they fade away.
Again I wake up on the tiles
And it's like I was never gone.
Then just before the pain comes on
Remember this is where I started from...
- "Do You Remember Yesterday?" by Terry Moore
I Started From...
+ Part 1
Wufei peered disdainfully around
the rat hole of an apartment.
"This place ought to be condemned," the Chinese boy muttered
"Yeah, well, sorry it's not up to your high standards, Wu, but it
was the best I could manage on short notice. Now could you please get
the fuck out of the way? Trowa's heavier than he looks," Duo's equally
irritated voice commented from the doorway behind Wufei.
Wufei scowled at being ordered about by the American, but did remove himself
from the entryway so that Heero and Duo could carry their wounded companion
inside. Quatre hovered nervously behind the group, quickly closing the
door and locking it once they were all inside.
"Duo, keep your voice down! What if someone had heard you and come
out to see what was going on?" the Arabian admonished once the door
Duo followed Heero's lead in dropping Trowa's long body onto the dilapidated
couch, then turned to roll his eyes at Quatre. "Oh please, like anybody
around here is gonna stick their head out the door out of freakin' curiosity,"
he said sarcastically.
Quatre frowned. "Well, why shouldn't they? It's human nature,"
he murmured, moving past the American, who was now stretching the kinks
from his body that carrying the unconscious Trowa up three flights of
stairs had created. Heero was carefully checking every inch of the small
apartment for signs of surveillance equipment. OZ knew they were in the
area, and they were all nervous about the ease with which Duo had negotiated
the apartment. It seemed like a trap. Quatre knelt beside Trowa, and began
checking the taller boy's bandages.
"Trust me, they wouldn't Ah, fuck, Quatre! We just changed the
dressings a few hours ago! We're gonna run out of supplies if you keep
pulling them off!" Duo protested, interrupting himself. He stalked
over to the couch and lightly slapped Quatre's delicate hands away from
the bloody bandage wrapped around Trowa's narrow waist.
Quatre frowned up at the braided pilot. "We have to make sure his
wounds don't become infected," Quatre argued sternly.
"His wounds are already infected," Wufei remarked flatly, drawing
Duo and Quatre's attention to him.
"What? Where?" Quatre demanded a bit frantically, even as Duo
shoved a hand into his hair and muttered, "Ah, fuckin' perfect."
Quatre shot a brief glare at Duo, then turned back to Wufei, wide sea-blue
Wufei obligingly lifted the bandage on Trowa's upper arm, displaying a
deep puncture wound that had obviously become infected. The skin around
it was red and puffy, and the wound was oozing a yellowish puss around
the neat stitches. Quatre reached out and brushed his fingers against
the reddened skin, pulling his hand back with a hiss at the heat.
Heero reappeared behind the couch, next to Wufei. He glanced down at the
wound and pronounced, "Didn't get the wound clean enough. Or the
needle or sutures were contaminated."
Duo shot him a nasty look. "Thank you, Captain Obvious," the
braided boy muttered. Heero shot a frown at Duo. The American had been
acting differently since they'd been forced to go to ground here in the
slums. Harder, a bit meaner. Heero shrugged it off and wandered away,
checking out the small kitchen and two bedrooms.
"We'll have to remove the stitches, recleanse the wound, and restitch
it," Wufei added. Duo shot the Chinese boy a look that clearly said
Wufei was about as helpful as Heero. Wufei sniffed in irritation and stalked
Quatre remained on his knees, staring in mute fascination at the septic
wound. Duo looked back and forth from Trowa's arm to Quatre's face, wondering
which pained him more. The arm, probably. Quatre would survive worrying.
Duo reached out, carefully probing at the edges of the wound, assessing
the heat of the inflamed skin and the puss that oozed at his touch. Quatre
made soft noises of protest and disgust beside him, but Duo ignored the
blond, intent on determining how far gone Trowa was.
His conclusion left him both relieved and troubled.
Heero appeared again, now at Duo's side. Duo straightened up and shared
a look with the stoic boy. Heero quirked one wing-like brow in question,
the flat eyes never wavering as his hand slipped suggestively towards
the small of his back where his gun was concealed. Duo gave a minute shake
of his head, and Heero's hand stopped, hesitated, then dropped to his
side. He'd accept Duo's assessment, but the coldness in his eyes warned,
If the choice came down to Trowa's life or the survival of the rest of
the rebel pilots, Heero's mission was clear.
Still, Duo thought he detected the barest glimmer of relief in those dark
eyes as Heero once more drifted away.
Pushing Heero out of his mind, the braided boy stared down at Trowa's
still form, chewing idly on a fingernail as he tried to figure out how
to help his friend.
The plain and simple fact was, they didn't have enough medical supplies
left to treat Trowa's infection, and even if they did, his other injuries
still needed tending, or they could become infected as well.
"Gotta get more supplies," Duo murmured to himself.
"Now who is stating the obvious?" Wufei demanded imperiously
from his position next to the small grimy kitchen window. The Chinese
boy was not so foolish as to make himself visible. He stood to the side
of the window, hidden in shadow as he peered down at the street. His lip
lifted in a sneer at the rather ragged looking people below. It was mid-afternoon,
when Duo had said they would draw the least attention moving Trowa into
their new home. Indeed, the streets were rather sparsely populated. There
was a bar on the corner, ancient neon less than impressive in the dreary
light of day. One unfortunate drunk was evicted headfirst as Wufei watched,
landing in the gutter. The man remained where he landed, either too drunk
to get up, or unconscious.
Or dead. In this neighborhood...
Wufei's sneer grew as a boy who looked about their age detached himself
from a group of youths hanging out on the steps of a tenement and ran
over to the drunk, quickly rolling the body and running back to his gang,
a wallet triumphantly clutched in his hands.
"Scum of the Earth," Wufei muttered in disgust. Duo suddenly
appeared at his shoulder, also staring down into the street.
"Hey, don't be so anti-social, Wu-man. These are our new neighbors,"
Duo admonished. His grin was as wide as ever, but when Wufei glanced in
irritation at his companion, Duo's violet eyes were intently studying
the group of youths congregated on the steps. He looked like he was analyzing
Duo's sudden serious demeanor made Wufei uncomfortable. It broke the established
pattern of behavior.
"Shouldn't you be out stealing supplies for Trowa? That is one of
your few skills, isn't it?" the Chinese boy demanded haughtily.
Duo shot him a brief glare, then simply shrugged. "Can't risk it,"
he replied with uncharacteristic brevity.
Heero appeared before them both and with a sharp tug, caused the blinds
to fall over the window with a metallic clank, dimming the small kitchen
to near darkness.
"Why not?" he asked flatly, dark eyes fastened on Duo.
Duo crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back against the dusty
yellow Formica counter. "In case you haven't noticed, this is definitely
the low rent district," he drawled.
"Coming here was your idea," Wufei cut in, ignoring Heero's
angry glare at having the answer to his question interrupted. Duo glanced
at Wufei, a look of weary tolerance in his usually laughing eyes.
"Yes, it was," he agreed with obviously forced patience. "And
I stand by that decision. Whatever it's drawbacks, a neighborhood like
this is the best place to hide, because nobody around here is going to
be too keen to talk to anybody who looks like Authority," he explained
yet again. Duo was getting just as tired of saying this as Wufei was getting
of hearing it.
"So why can't we risk stealing supplies?" Heero demanded, obviously
irritated at having to repeat himself.
Duo turned back to the Japanese boy. "Because of those drawbacks
I mentioned. Nobody around here expects anybody to come to their rescue,
Heero. They're used to looking after themselves, and that makes them very
cautious, and very protective of their property. Now, it's possible I
could manage to swipe some supplies from a free clinic or something, but
it's just as likely I'd get caught, and we can't risk that right now."
"What do we do, then?" Heero demanded, his hand once more twitching
towards his gun. Duo let out an irritated huff of air.
"We need money," he muttered, almost to himself. "And not
just for medical supplies. Trowa's hurt bad, and even if he wasn't, OZ
knows we're here somewhere. It could take a while before they ease up
enough for us to slip out. We're gonna have to pay rent, utilities, buy
food... " he glanced at the rusty faucet in the sink and winced,
"probably water, too... " The violet eyes glazed over as Duo
considered the list of expenses.
"We don't have any money," Heero reminded him flatly.
"I'm aware of that," Duo muttered, grabbing his braid in one
hand and dusting the loose end against his chin. "I had some cash,
but most of it went for the security deposit on this hole," he added,
glancing around at the dirty little apartment.
"So what do we do?" Wufei demanded.
Duo shrugged. "Well, obviously, one of us is going to have to go
out and rifle up some funds," he replied.
"We can't all go out. The fewer of us that are seen, the better,"
Duo nodded. "I'll go," he announced quietly.
Wufei frowned. "You're the one who had your picture on all those
wanted posters, Maxwell," he reminded the other boy harshly.
Duo frowned, but only shrugged again. "Maybe, but that was up on
the colonies. They probably won't know about it around here."
"Until OZ starts posting them again," Heero cut in. Duo shot
him an unreadable look.
"Yeah, well, until that time, I've got the best chance of fitting
in out there. This is my turf, and I know how to deal with these people.
You guys would just get us found that much quicker," Duo argued.
Wufei opened his mouth to protest, but then considered the scene he had
just witnessed below. He stared assessingly at Duo for a moment. Maxwell
was a street rat, born and bred. True, he was a colony brat, but some
things ought to be universal...
"Well, I suppose you are best suited for the job," Wufei decided
with a sniff.
"Thanks," Duo muttered, and Wufei wondered why the American
had argued so firmly to be given this responsibility if he didn't want
"Medical supplies and food are our main priorities," Heero stated,
as though he were listing off mission objectives. "How you obtain
them, or the money to purchase them, is up to you. Just don't endanger
yourself or the rest of us."
Duo smiled grimly at the pilot of Wing. "Ninmu ryoukai," he
commented acerbically. Heero scowled and walked away. After a moment,
Wufei followed the Japanese boy. Duo remained in the dim kitchen, staring
"Hey, I need to borrow
some clothes," Duo declared a few hours later. He glanced around
the little group congregated in the living room. Three pairs of eyes looked
back at him in surprise and confusion.
"What for?" Quatre asked warily. Duo's wide smile faltered for
a second, then he shrugged.
"I don't exactly blend dressed like this," he commented, running
a hand down the front of his black priest's tunic. Heero frowned.
"True, but it's never stopped you before," the Japanese boy
Duo stuck his tongue out at Heero and rolled his eyes. "Just give
me a pair of your shorts," the braided boy demanded. Heero's frown
deepened, but he obligingly dug one hand into the duffel bag that still
lay at his feet and produced a pair of spandex biker shorts, which he
tossed to Duo. "Thanks ever so," the American gushed sarcastically,
earning a snort from Heero.
Violet eyes scanned the room's other occupants, and Duo sighed. "Not
much to choose from," he muttered. Quatre appeared embarrassed, and
Wufei relieved, that they apparently didn't have any clothing suitable
for Duo's foray into the streets. Duo shrugged. "Guess I'll wear
my tee shirt to the thrift store," he muttered, padding back into
the small bedroom he and Heero would be sharing to change his pants.
Wufei raised an eyebrow at Quatre, but the Arabian had already returned
his attention to Trowa. Heero was amusing himself by disassembling and
cleaning his gun, then putting it back together. He'd done it three times
already. Wufei was beginning to wonder if it was some sort of compulsive
Heero's laptop sat quietly in a corner. It was plugged in, but they didn't
dare try to send any messages out. The small computer was simply waiting
for an incoming message from one of their superiors, letting them know
it was safe to break cover.
Duo wandered back into the room, now wearing only a pair of tight spandex
shorts and the short-sleeved black shirt he usually wore to bed. The shirt
was old, and repeated washing or a growth spurt had left it just a bit
too small for general wear.
Wufei blinked in surprise. It was not often that one saw Duo in such revealing
clothing. For some reason, the American always seemed to go to great lengths
to conceal his body as much as possible. Wufei knew Westerners tended
to have more body modesty than Easterners, but Duo could be a bit obsessive.
Wearing double shirts in the middle of summer, for example.
He'd always just sort of assumed that for some reason or another, Maxwell
was ashamed of his body.
Studying the elegant lines of firmly muscled yet slender legs and torso,
Wufei decided that Maxwell had nothing he could see to be ashamed of.
The Chinese pilot glanced over at Heero to see if the Japanese boy shared
Heero appeared entranced.
"What are you going to a thrift store for?" Quatre asked as
Duo knelt and began rummaging through Heero's duffel, not bothering to
ask permission. Heero was now studiously ignoring the longhaired boy.
Wufei wondered at the slight note of accusation in Quatre's voice, then
realized what caused it. Of course. If Maxwell is going to a store,
that implies he still has some money, which Winner feels could be better
spent on Barton. Feeling a sharp pang of hunger, Wufei reflected that
he thought any money they had could be better spent on food.
Duo paused in his digging and glanced up at Quatre, apparently also having
caught the slight edge to the blond's tone. "Working clothes,"
he declared finally, a strange little half-smile twisting his lips.
"Oh!" Quatre said in surprise. "You... you mean you're
going to... get a job?" he asked in confusion.
Duo frowned slightly, turning his full attention to the contents of Heero's
bag, which he began emptying on the floor. "Yeah, something like
that," he muttered. Suddenly he picked up the bag and slammed it
back down on the floor, turning to glare at the Japanese pilot. "Damn
it, Heero, where's my freakin' knife?" he demanded.
Heero turned his cold gaze away from his gun for a moment, staring down
at the kneeling Duo, then calmly reached to the small of his back. One
smooth motion and a little clicking sound, and he held a nasty looking
short blade against Duo's throat.
Quatre gasped in surprise, and Wufei tensed slightly. He always wondered
if Yuy might just snap someday...
Duo just smirked at the other boy. "Cute," he remarked sarcastically.
"Are you done yet?" Heero held the pose for another few seconds,
then shrugged and hit the button to retract the blade with another little
click. He tossed it into Duo's lap and turned back to cleaning his gun
as though nothing had happened.
"Headcase," Duo muttered to himself as he picked up the knife
and reached with both hands to fumble with the thick braid at the base
of his skull. After a moment, he drew his hands back, and the knife was
gone. Wufei's eyes widened slightly. So there actually was a use for all
"Try not to get captured," Heero growled, apparently in reply
to Duo's insult. Duo bounced to his feet, still wearing his familiar clunky
black boots. He stretched his lean body, the tight black clothing leaving
little to the imagination. Suddenly, he leaned forward, a mischievous
gleam in his violet eyes, and gave Heero a small kiss on the cheek before
dancing back out of range. Heero, not to be baited, simply ignored the
gesture. Duo pouted dramatically, laughed at his own expense, and gave
them all a brief wave before disappearing out the door.
After Duo left, Wufei watched Heero for a few minutes. Sure enough, the
Japanese boy's face finally did a slow burn in reaction. Wufei smirked
to himself. Maxwell had been teasing Heero for months now, and it looked
like the stoic boy was finally starting to react. Where that would lead,
and what Maxwell did it for, were anyone's guess.
"I wonder what kind of job Duo plans to get?" Quatre wondered
aloud. Wufei frowned, but he wondered the same thing. Surely Duo wasn't
planning on going job hunting now? The workday was over! Of course, he
had noticed that the noise from the street below had only gotten louder
over the past hour...
Perhaps Maxwell was seeking some kind of night job, where he would be
less likely to be recognized and blow their cover. Wufei had to approve,
if that was the American's reasoning.
Probably he just doesn't want to get up early, the Chinese boy
thought to himself. Shrugging off the whole question, after all, Maxwell
had volunteered for the mission, Wufei turned back to the book he was
Seeing his companions' lack of interest in discussing Duo's possible plans,
Quatre sighed and turned his attention back to Trowa. Everything will
be all right, my friend, he promised silently, gently enfolding one
cool, long-fingered hand in his own. Trowa's cheeks were taking on a noticeable
flush, and Quatre hoped that Duo could get some more bandages and medication
Heero methodically disassembled his gun for the fifth time, laying the
parts out on the rickety coffee table in rigid order.
His hands performed the simple, routine task without the aid of his brain.
Which was a good thing, because Heero Yuy was not thinking about the assembly
and cleaning of his firearm at the moment.
The single thought that occupied his entire mind, and fueled the light
blush across his cheeks, was: Duo Maxwell is wearing my pants.
Duo browsed slowly through
the racks of the mostly deserted thrift store he'd located three blocks
down from the apartment building. He wasn't really looking for anything
specific, but people donated the weirdest shit to charity sometimes, and
he was hoping to find something eye-catching. Failing that, he'd settle
for something tight and a little less grungy than his sleeping tee.
He'd already plundered the 'extras' bins, which were generally filled
with useless crap that nobody could quite find a place for. Duo had wondered
in amusement if some local biker gang had made a charitable contribution
considering all the worn, studded leather bits and pieces he'd discovered.
Then he'd reminded himself of where he was, and realized that probably
the stuff was looted off bodies left behind after a gang war or skirmish.
This store was one of those that bought used clothing, so either the winning
gang or some lucky opportunist had probably cashed in big.
Shrugging, he'd carefully selected a few belts that he could cut down
to his size and two thick wristbands with heavy snaps to hold them on.
The wristbands were a bit loose, but that was all to the good. He'd gone
for the heavy, metal-spiked leather because he knew it would emphasize
and accentuate the delicacy of his frame and features. It made a nice
contrast that would make him look more like the sweet innocent he hadn't
been for so very long.
But it wasn't quite enough.
Finally, in the girls' section, he found it. It was meant to be worn over
a tank top, but he decided he didn't really need one. It was summer outside,
and hot enough to fry an egg, even at night. Besides, the more skin he
flashed, the better.
It was a purple mesh shirt, the weave wide enough to stick the end of
his smallest finger through the holes. It was a bright, vivid purple,
with metallic threads woven in that made it sparkle in the dim light of
the store. It had long sleeves, but those could be easily cut away, and
being made for a young girl, it ought to be skin tight on him.
Smiling in satisfaction, he draped the flimsy thing over his arm and headed
for the bin of discarded makeup and hair accessories near the register.
Just a few more things and he'd be ready... for work.
The smile slipped slightly at the thought, but he settled it firmly back
in place, forcing himself to focus on his current task. Time to think
about why he was doing this later. Actually, best if he never let himself
think about it at all.
Just do it. Don't think about it.
Duo grinned at the bored middle-aged woman behind the counter. She snapped
her gum at him and turned back to her magazine. Duo pawed through the
junk bin, happily fishing out some shocking violet eyeshadow and an almost
full tube of iridescent body glitter.
"Boy, I sure am lucky tonight," he muttered to himself, ignoring
the clenching in the pit of his stomach as he dumped his selections on
The shopping trip was finished. Next came...
He shuddered, fishing money out of Heero's shorts as the bored woman rang
up his purchases. He supposed Quatre did have a point, they could have
spent the remainder of his cash on medical supplies, but...
"Sometimes you have to spend money to make money," he muttered
nervously under his breath. The woman shot him a curious glance, but when
he didn't say anything else, she just told him the price, and he paid.
She wished him a nice night with a strange smile on her face and he wondered
if she'd heard what he'd said. He threw her a dazzling smile, at which
she complacently popped her gum, then turned back to her magazine.
Duo shrugged and shuffled back out into the night, looking for someplace
convenient to change. He could hardly go back to the apartment and put
this get up on. Wufei would die from blood loss, Quatre from shock, and
Heero... Heero would die when Duo finally killed him for never reacting
to anything he did.
Smirking to himself, Duo scanned the surrounding neighborhood, searching
for a condemned building. Hopefully he could find an unclaimed room and
be able to stash his night clothes there during the day. They might get
ripped off, but he could always buy more.
After all, he shouldn't be hard up for cash for very long.
[part 2] [back to Aoe's