Author: Asuka Kureru
Warnings: weirdness. Shounen ai? you decide. (I like to think of it as
pre-shounen ai in a way, but hey, you're not forced to read innuendos
everywhere my twisted mind says there are...)
Disclaimer: I have a dog. He is stupid, very stupid. He is beautiful anyway.
I have two brothers. They are stupid, very stupid. We can't say they're
beautiful, although the oldest one has pretty, clear green-gray eyes with
long, dark eyelashes and a rather nice body and the second one has been
cute as a button in his childhood (long past, sadly). I have half a dozen
Barbie horses, that I don't put in the trashcan because I like the black
stallion and without his herd, he would feel lonely. I have tons of full
notebooks for my sketches (and none still empty to use, darn it). Take
note by yourself of the total absence of sexy Gundam pilots amongst my
most prized possessions.
Many many thanks to my beta-reader Arabiana whom I make work like a slave,
the poor dear ^___^
Queue de Poisson
It was a classical Brittany
landscape; lands to the horizon, black and steep cliffs descending toward
little hidden beaches, a gray and dancing sea, the wind chasing the clouds.
But the rabbits and the sea birds normally nesting in the slopes of the
seaside had long since run away.
The wind howled on the battlefield, but the three fighters locked up in
their metal armors, didn't hear it. The gundams Wing, Shenlong and Deathscythe
were finishing a pack of mobile dolls to cover pilot 03 Trowa Barton's
retreat, after his infiltration and destruction of an enemy base.
Duo Maxwell burst out laughing, mockingly. It was too easy to fight mobile
Dolls once one had understood the way they functioned. It was not funny
anymore. Wasn't a challenge, not a true fight; hardly a training session.
The true fight had taken place earlier, around the base; Duo had taken
some damage but nothing too serious ... well, not for a pilot like him.
A pack of MS attacked all at once and he found himself driven back to
the shore. He jumped down the cliff and Deathscythe found itself knee-deep
in the salty water, where he continued to fight, straining against the
force of the waves. Well, that made things a little bit more interesting.
Three mobile suits jumped from the cliff, landing on his back, making
Deathscythe falter. He swore.
Wing lashed out a last time and Heero saw with satisfaction the two halves
of the last mobile doll fall around his still moving Gundam. Now that
the battle was finished, he permitted himself to wipe out the sweat rolling
toward his eyes and ran a fast system and motors check, before clicking
the comm on to talk to his comrades.
"Unit zero one, all clear. 05, 02, Report."
Wufei's voice was as controlled and cold as ever, Heero knew he would
be ok before he even finished the first word.
"05 clear. Power level down to 80%. Left arm slightly damaged. Returning
He gave a curt nod to the retreating pilot before noticing something.
Duo had not answered. Duo, the most talkative of the pilots, who never
shut up, not even when he was at odds of thirty against one, had not answered.
Heero turned his head toward the part of the screen where the video communication
windows usually popped up. Duo's window was gray and full of interference.
Heero turned the screen off, then on again, but dropped the idea when
he saw that it didn't change a thing, and decided to use the radar. He
knew that Deathscythe in stealth mode was nearly undetectable, but so
soon after a fight, it probably would not be working. It used too much
... There, bingo!
Heero frowned. His radar clearly showed him the place the Gundam 02 should
have been. His visuals were another story altogether. He only saw a smooth,
gray area of sea before his eyes. The moron had to be underwater.
Swearing, Heero unscrewed a panel and began to mess with the connections,
rewiring some of the components, then turned on the intercomm once again.
He only heard a "hiss" of white noise in answer. Frustrated,
he gave a light punch to the console.
The screen lightened just enough for the Japanese boy to have a glimpse
into his comrade's cockpit, no more than one second. A red, surreal glow
was blinking in the cramped space the alarm light. A problem with
the circuitry, no doubt. And Duo...
He blinked, and his usually fast mind needed a few seconds to catch what
seemed so utterly strange in the picture he had received of the pilot.
The look of... weightlessness...
Duo was entangled in his harness, a pained grimace on his face. His chestnut
bangs were lazily floating around his head like a halo, and a dark red
smear coming from a cut on his forehead was slowly diffusing in the cockpit,
a little like a smoke cloud. Strings of funny white bubbles were dancing
He was underwater. The seals weren't watertight anymore. The cockpit was
full of liquid...
Duo was drowning.
As fast as he could, he made Wing dive, trying not to be distracted by
the short flashes of pictures the comm kept showing up with. Presenting
half-seconds of disturbing images of the American struggling weaker and
weaker against his harness in the red glow, and the trail of blood still
oozing from his forehead; a harness that he had put on this time only
because Heero had reproached him his imprudence- and that would probably
cost Duo his life.
For a few panicky seconds, Yuy lost sight of the black and white Gundam.
When he arrived at it, as fast as he could, he caught it under the armpits
and lifted it out of the water to drag it back to the shore. He let it
fall back half-sitting against the cliff, sprawled on the tiny beach.
Heero refused to look at the little air bubble escaping from his comrade's
mouth, the last of a long string.
The door of his own cockpit wasn't fully opened, yet he was already hurrying
along Wing's arm, toward its palm, which opened just under the other gundam's
door. He only had his incredible sense of equilibrium to thank for the
fact that he didn't slide on the wet metal to finish his mad dash in the
ocean, several hundred feet under him. Using one of the metallic fingers
to propel himself up, he jumped toward the emergency panel and flattened
his palm on it, hoping that the Gundam would still be functional enough
to recognize his handprint.
With a loud hiss, the seals released and the water, only oozing three
seconds ago, began to trickle along the gundanium walls, then just pour
out. He cautiously stepped back to Wing's wrist to avoid being hit by
the tons of water precipitating toward him.
Through the wave, he could see a dark shape was tumbling down with the
running water. It landed on the metallic palm with a loud "THUD"
and stayed there, laying unmoving. Then the shape began shaking, spitting
and coughing violently, expelling water from its mouth, twisting on the
metal, visibly in great suffering, agony.
Heero stayed unmoving, blinking, shell-shocked.
A hoarse intake of breath coming from the American's mouth made him start,
and with little effort, he regained his composure. Giving himself a mental
shake, Heero jumped onto the hand beside the braided boy, who was still
thrashing and twisting in Wing's palm. Visibly, Duo could not breathe,
even if he had just emptied his lungs of all the water they had contained
by a series of awful-sounding coughs. He kept trying to get some air,
but it seemed as if he couldn't inhale more than a few ridiculous lungs-full
that hurt him more than anything else did. A nerve-wracking hiss could
be heard each time he tried to breathe. His hands were clamped around
his throat, in a futile effort to facilitate his own breathing. His back
and shoulders were violently heaving and trembling, and his tail curved
to one side then the other, violently lashing out at thin air.
Heero Yuy wondered for a second it the term merboy truly existed, then
decided it wasn't important. The frayed, pearly gray tail, finished in
long and nearly transparent fins, which was as of now taking the place
of Duo Maxwell's hips and legs, was visibly of the same category as the
ones the rumored mermaids were supposed to possess.
Heero coldly analyzed the situation, before pushing the boy over the edge
of Wing's hand with one foot, into the Atlantic Ocean's cold waters. Then
he returned to his cockpit and grabbed the line, letting himself slide
until he could simply jump in the water, a few meters away from the dark
shape that he could catch glimpses of against the sandy background.
While he was sliding down, he briefly wondered if it hadn't been an error
to push Duo into the water; the boy wasn't moving. Just sinking slowly,
his braid trailing after him, a few tendrils freed from it trying to escape
farther, his long fins swaying as gently as gauze in the breeze.
Then, just as he was beginning to worry, Duo's big gray-scaled tail flexed
once, twice, and he began to gracefully swim forward, very slowly at the
beginning, going slowly faster and faster, with a truly awe-inspiring
ease. His long plait was slowly unraveling, floating lazily behind him.
There were gold and dark red accents in it that had not been there before.
Heero dove into the waves, swimming toward the shore, about 50 meters
away. He wondered where Duo was for a second or two; he didn't see him
Then a dark shape swam up from under him, five-six meters below. It seemed
as if Duo didn't have any problem at all with water pressure, Heero realized,
and he carefully filed the information away. The long-haired teenager
began to follow him, nearly at touching distance, swimming on his back
to face him. Heero couldn't for the life of him figure out what the merboy
wanted with him.
With one small flexing of his long tail, Duo propelled himself a little
bit nearer to the surface, on Heero's side, and offered his shoulder to
him, in a wordless proposal to drag him to the shore. But, still confused
about the situation, Heero refused the tactful offer and continued to
swim, his teeth clenched hard. Big blue-mauve eyes turned away, embarrassed
The he-siren danced a few arabesques in the water, twisting and spinning,
feeling his hair caress his body, and covering with one slight move of
his tail thrice the distance his friend covered with five strokes, but
he didn't feel free enough to really appreciate the moment. He was under
the impression that, as soon as they were on the ground, Heero would skin
At last, Heero felt sand under his feet. He half-swam, half walked until
the water level was at his waist, then turned to see the other pilot.
From under the foaming waves, Maxwell kept glancing at him, his wide and
somewhat intimidated eyes like those of a child caught with his hand in
the cookie jar. Annoyed at his skittishness, Yuy gave a harsh nod toward
the beach and resumed walking toward it again, and Duo, sighing, just
gave one powerful lash with his tail, letting himself run aground.
He had to dig his fingers in the sand not to be dragged back by the waves.
Cool water gently batting against his scales, his hair drifting around
his waist... heaven. Well, would have been if he wasn't feeling the glare
aimed between his shoulder blades strongly enough to want to verify if
there was a burn mark there yet. With a quiet sigh, Duo lifted his head
out of the water and began to revert to air-breathing.
As Yuy was slowly succeeding in joining the shore, he kept looking with
hidden interest at the mighty coughing fits seizing the other boy. It
was...impressive, to say the least. If Heero didn't know, kind of, that
Duo was not in real danger, for after all he had had to make the transition
between water and air from time to time and hadn't been permanently harmed
from that, the Japanese teen might have thought he was in the throes of
His breath stayed ragged and hissing for a few minutes, then Duo decided
he could speak. Shivering with uncertainty and fear under the frozen look
his comrade was giving him, the merboy courageously decided to face his
"Get on the beach," answered the other pilot curtly, picking
up branches and driftwood and putting them in a pile in a little corner
of the cliff.
Duo decided it was probably wiser not to insist on the fact that he was
a tiny-little-bit incapacitated at the moment. Sighing loudly, he dragged
himself up onto the sand with the elegance of a seal, using only his poor
little arms. The sand grated on his fins and stayed stuck to his scales,
not very comfortable, and on top of that, he was fairly heavier as a merboy
than as a human. Moreover, he missed the gentle, cool waves crashing on
his scales. The wind was freezing him to the bone.
Finally, he succeeded in dragging himself far enough from the high tide
mark. He stopped at a few meters from the fire Heero was lighting up and
sighed with relief, happy to be able to stop and rest his arms.
"Hey... why did you...?"
"Night is coming. Deathscythe and Wing are damaged, we can't go back
before tomorrow. I am soaked. They can't see the light from here. Do you
have enough reasons?"
"Err, I s'pose so", answered Duo, surprised at having received
so long an answer when he had not even expected one in the first place.
Whew, Heero was feeling chatty, tonight... Was he feeling so pissed off
about the siren problem? ... Well, true, he was taking it very well. Duo
had been certain that the first person to discover this little secret
would not react quite that mildly. Quite the contrary in fact. He had
been expecting fainting or screams, and total incomprehension... Heero
just looked slightly more pissed than with one of his usual fuck-ups.
Something to give him credit for ... though... perhaps was he still stunned
by the shock and still acting that normal because his training had drilled
it into him... and the screaming part would come later.
Duo shrugged off his black jacket and the priest collar, the remains of
which, he was still wearing, and laid them down near the fire to dry them.
The pants had been shredded beyond all repair, not having survived the
change, and he had rid himself of the strips still hanging on his belt
when he was under water. With a start, he realized that if he were to
change back to human now, he would find himself butt-naked on the sand.
Duo scratched at his neck, crossed and uncrossed his fingers, scratched
at his nose, and stared with rapt interest at a little sand insect jumping
under his nose. His tail was lazily arching back until the tail fin hung
just above his head, like an overgrown umbrella.
"I... I'd like to explain it to you, but... I don't know where to
start. If you have questions, just shoot'em."
"... Does professor G know about it?"
Duo began to laugh, a bitter kind of laughter. It was so like him to ask
that kind of question. To wonder about what their controllers would say
"I didn't say anything to him, if that's what you're asking. If he
doesn't... well too bad. I don't especially want to find myself on a dissection
table, thank you very much. Before I left for Earth I didn't even know...
It could even be totally new."
The Japanese pilot lifted an eyebrow to push him to elaborate a little.
"On L2, we're lucky when we have enough water to drink ... so, to
take baths with... at the church, we washed ourselves with a soapy cloth,
once a week. We had showers each time it rained ... it happened often
enough that when it did, it was considered a public holiday. You can imagine.
So, to find enough water to drown in... Before I came to Earth, I had
never seen more than a basin of water all in the same place..."
Duo sighed and let his handful of sand slowly slide between his fingers.
"I see..." answered Heero in a low voice, staring pensively
at the dancing flames.
"And I don't see how it can be considered a problem," added
the braided boy with a hint of desperation. "It gives me an advantage,
if ever I found myself near a great body of water, whether I needed to
hide underwater or to cross it, or to find something under the surface...
after all, it only happens when I stay underwater long enough that my
human body can't keep me alive by itself."
Heero thought about it for a few seconds, then nodded pensively.
Meanwhile, Duo's long tail had entirely dried out, and Wing's pilot followed
with attention the inverse process. The pearl scales slowly dissolved
into gray skin, which became rosy once again. The two legs emerged from
the tail, beginning from the fin, the membranes disappeared as if dissolving.
Duo squirmed a little. It was uncomfortable; it always itched as much
as if fire ants had taken residence under his skin. But when, on top of
that, he had someone, namely his partner and probably best friend ever,
staring at him, now, THAT put him ill at ease.
Especially considering that Heero didn't look elsewhere one second when
Duo finally found himself totally nude before him, only covered by his
skin, with his hair to save his dignity.
Finally, Yuy took his black jacket and held it out for him. His face scarlet,
Duo caught it and tied it around his waist, hiding himself the best he
They stayed silent and unmoving for a few minutes that seemed to last
a very long time. Finally, the Japanese's voice broke the silence.
"You know, Duo... I think professor G is well and truly aware of
"What makes you say that?"
"Would be too strange a coincidence that he didn't. Because..."
Heero took a big breath and began to talk again.
"On a colony, there isn't much in the way of heights, be it cliffs
or just skyscrapers..." answered the Japanese boy, taking his eternally
present tanktop off with a smooth movement. "I didn't know either."
Duo blinked when he saw the smooth, muscled chest appear from under the
"I don't see what you 're talking about..."
"I mean that if Relena and you hadn't been here to look at me when
I jumped off the hospital building, I probably would never have broken
my leg..." he added while shrugging off his holster. "I'm actually
grateful that she screamed when she did, I had forgotten that you and
probably half the hospital's surveillance cameras were looking."
Duo understood less and less. What was his comrade doing? A strip-tease?
And what the fuck was he talking about? What would have happened if there
hadn't been anyone there to witness his fall?
The Japanese boy got up and stepped back from the cliff, then bent over,
facing Duo as if he was stretching. He stretched his arms, rolled his
shoulders, and looked at his comrade. Bewildered, Duo understood less
"Heero, it ain't like you to refuse to give a straight answer! What
the fuck are you talking about, no broken leg?? And what makes you say
that the doctors are probably aware of it?"
Still laying on the ground as Duo was, Heero was dominating him, seeming
taller, his face and his chocolate bangs flickering with golden and orange
accents from the fire, giving it a warm tint contrasting violently with
the night blue sky behind him.
"... Just an intuition", answered Heero, opening as wide as
he could his immense, snowy-white-feathered wings.
The title of this fic is a part of a French proverb, "finir en queue
de poisson", which roughly translated means "to end like the
tail of a fish", that is, in a surprising, ironic and abrupt manner,
often not giving much satisfaction or closure. Fitting, ne? ^___^
to Asuka Kureru's fic]