Golgotha (cont)

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Some people come into our lives and quickly go.
Some people move our souls to dance.
They awaken us to a new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom.
Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon.
They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts,
and we are never, ever the same.

~Author Unknown

Tildon Square was a lot nicer than I had expected it to be. The architecture of the surrounding buildings gave it a neo-gothic appearance, but the large black gates around the 'square' only served to make it look foreboding and dark. As Duo and I walked towards the center of the fenced in area, I caught sight of a brass plaque that read: 'In memoriam to the ones who lived and died in Maxwell Church.' I shot Duo a questioning glance and he gave me a look that I read as 'I don't want to talk about it'.

The rain was still coming down hard and I pulled up the hood to the black sweater Duo had lent me. For a poor guy, he certainly had a variety of heavy sweaters and shirts. He had explained that shop lifting from local thrift shops was almost painfully easy and left it at that.

We had spent a couple of hours just talking in low tones by the fire, exchanging little tidbits of information about each other while kissing every now and then. It hadn't been uncomfortable or overly emotional and I had found myself wondering what my life would be like if I had someone like Duo around all the time. I was more open with him, more talkative and more wittier. Around my co-workers and 'friends' I felt awkward; like an outcast even though I had known most of those people for years. I couldn't connect with them even though they were all in the same social circle as I was supposed to be in. I felt out of place at their parties and the way they spoke easily to each other often left me feeling inept. I had always thought that obviously something was wrong with me. I was the one who didn't fit in and I was the odd ball. I could never seem to string enough interesting words together to hold anyone's attention with them, but with Duo.. it was different.

Every time that line of thought crossed my mind I forced it away and reminded myself that I would be leaving L2, and Duo very soon. I had to get in contact with Une or Wufei before the night was over or I would be in very big trouble. I was supposed to have delivered the disc this morning and I had only had it for about two hours before I lost it; which hadn't allowed me to check out the data for myself before passing it on to Une's hands. All that I had been told was that it was very confidential and that if it were to get out, it could be damaging to Peacecraft's political career. Although I was a high-ranking agent, I was not 'allowed' to actually see any of this data for myself.

I shook my head, clearing away the thoughts and focused on the dark figure that was sitting slumped against one of the benches a few feet away. I could make out grungy green cargo pants, black combat boots and a dark jacket of some kind, but the figure's face seemed to be shaded by overly long bangs. After a moment he looked up and met my gaze evenly; as if he knew I had been watching him all along. Startlingly brilliant emerald eyes studied me and I couldn't help but reach back to touch the reassuring weight of my gun. Something about the way this guy was looking at me didn't sit well and I couldn't help but get the feeling that he was anything but pleased about my presence.

Duo stopped walking and muttered something before turning to me. "Listen, Trowa gets really antsy around strangers... so just chill out for a minute until I talk to him."

I looked over at Trowa again and saw that he was still staring me with a frown. "Fine. Don't take long. I'm going to go use the phone." I watched Duo saunter up to his friend and then turned to the row of vidphones that stood against the wall. Most of them appeared to be busted, but I found one at the far end that actually worked and quickly punched in the number to my credit account. The phone company logo rotated a few times before I dialed my number, accepted the hideously expensive long distance charge and waited for it to go through to Wufei's private line. It rang several times before he picked up and after a moment his flickering image appeared on the small cracked screen."Chang, here." He barked, sounding pissed off and looking even worse.

"I'll be in by tomorrow." I said flatly, not bothering to beat around the bush.

His dark eyes narrowed into slits and he glared up at me from the screen. "Where the hell have you been, Yuy?! Une has been on my ass demanding where you and the damned data --"

"It's a long story and I'm not going into it now." I could practically hear him grinding his teeth through the speakers.

"You should have checked in hours ago but you didn't even call. It was made clear to you how delicate this situation is and how important that disc is. While you were running around on L2 with whores, I was taking the flack for your irresponsibility," he hissed from between clenched teeth.

"Irresponsibility?!" I exploded. "I've been running around this shit hole for twenty four damn hours trying to get that disc back and you want to call me irresponsible?! I've had it with these little errands anyway! The next time Une wants someone to play gofer she can ask you, since you're so goddamned dedicated," I sneered angrily.

Wufei's stared at me for a moment, surprised at my outburst. I didn't normally lose my temper, and when I did I just stayed silent and glared. He opened his mouth, closed it, opened it and then he frowned. "What the hell do you mean 'trying to get it back'?"

Shit. "We'll talk about this later," I said shortly. "Send a car for me in Tildon Square and arrange for the next flight back to L1. There should be plenty of vacancies, people on this colony don't seem to vacation a lot." I wondered if he picked up on the sarcasm I had allowed to ooze into the last sentence.Wufei stared at me incredulously for a moment before he sighed and shook his head.

"I'll have it done soon, the car should be there in no more than an hour. And you better have a damned good explanation when you get back."

I nodded. "Yuy, out."

+

"I don't deal with cops," Trowa said flatly. He stood up and towered several inches over Duo; he was actually a little taller than me.

I shot Duo an annoyed glance and he shrugged at me helplessly. "He knew right off the bat! There was no point in lying about it."

The green eyed man glared at Duo. "I can't believe you wasted my time on this. I'm outta here." He turned to leave but my arm shot out and I grabbed him.

"Wait a goddamn minute!"

He spun around and dropped into a fighting stance. "Keep your hands to yourself, Preventer."

"Wait a second guys--" Two angry glances in his direction made Duo shut up instantly."I don't care what grudge you have against Preventers but I'm tired of the bull. That's government information and I will arrest your ass on the spot if you don't hand it over." The words came out flat and cold. I could feel Duo's gaze burning into the side of my face but I didn't allow myself to turn in his direction. I had put up with enough games and I wasn't about to let this punk jerk me around.

Trowa continued to glare at me. "Have you seen what's on the disc?"

My eyes narrowed. "Have you?"

His face remained expressionless except for the hostile look in his eyes. "The files are so heavily encrypted that I didn't have time to get far," he admitted and began to stand up straight, easing out of the slight crouch.

"I had the disc all of two hours before Duo stole it," I snapped. Why the hell was I explaining myself to him anyway?

He glared at me and I stared back coolly. After a moment he shrugged to himself and made a soft sound in the back of his throat. "Fine." One slender hand disappeared into the thick black coat and he whipped out the disc. I reached out to snatch it but he yanked it out of reach at the last minute. "One more thing." I glared at him impatiently but his fingers clenched around the disc. "If I were you, I would wonder long and hard as to why someone went through so much trouble to hide the contents of that disc." He shoved it at me and my hand closed around it automatically. Trowa glanced at Duo and frowned again. "Bring a cop to me again and I won't deal with you anymore."

Duo rolled his eyes and shrugged. "Whatever, man."

With one last glare in my direction, Trowa walked away; moving with the speed and grace of a panther.

"God, that dude has a serious fucking attitude problem," Duo grumbled.

I grunted and stared after Trowa; telling myself that I would figure out his cryptic comments when I was home, decently showered and in front of my own laptop. I tapped the disk against my palm a couple of times before shoving it in my pocket and looking at Duo. He was staring at me with an _expression that was curious and irritated at the same time. I got the feeling that he didn't like being uninformed. "A car is picking me up in a little while."

He frowned slightly and turned around, walking out of the gates and towards the street. He stopped in front of an ancient looking jeep and hopped up on the hood. His long legs dangled down, allowing his booted feet to scrape against the damp ground. "So, you're leaving huh?" He leaned back against the windshield and sighed, obviously not bothered by the rain. "Kinda sucks, you was startin' to grow on me."

"You act like we'll never see each other again."

He rolled his eyes and pulled the hood of his sweater up. "You're kidding, right? No one comes back to L2 unless they have to."

I sat next to him and stared at one of the puddles that had formed on the rusted metal. My fingers skimmed the water and I shrugged. "Maybe I'm not like those people."

Duo face turned upwards and he opened his mouth to let the cold water fall in. After a moment he turned towards me again and there was a small smile playing around his lips although it didn't quite reach his eyes. "Don't kid a kidder, Yuy. I stopped believin' in fairy tales a long time ago.. Actually I don't think I ever believed in 'em."

A ghost of a smile touched my own lips. "Neither did I."

We didn't speak for several moments and the only sounds were the rain splashing against the concrete and the swish of his pants as he swung his legs back and forth lazily. I cleared my throat after awhile and looked at him. "I can't stay. I have things to do, a job, people that need that disk..."

He shrugged. "It's not like I was askin' ya to stay.."

That stung. It shouldn't have, but it did. "Will you be okay? With Cappy and everything?"

He sighed and sat up. "I dunno. I doubt he'd do anything too stupid. There are a lot of people who would be very unhappy if he did and the last thing he needs is a real gang messing with that little rag tag band of his. 'Sides, I can take care of myself."

"I wasn't trying to imply that you can't."

There was another silence but this one was far from comfortable. After awhile he let out a long-suffering sigh and turned to face me. "Look Heero, we just met and you seem like a nice guy even though you're a Preventer.. but I don't mess with strangers; simple as that. I'm not that kinda guy. Don't get me wrong, I am startin' to like you and all and I did really like kissin' you.. but I don't wanna get attached to someone I ain't ever gonna see again. So don't be expectin' me to start bawlin' and beggin' you to stay."

I cocked an eyebrow at him and shoved my hands into the pockets of my worn leather jacket. "I didn't expect you to, Duo. I don't know what I expected. The last thing I thought would happen when I took this damned assignment was that I --" I stopped and stared at the ground, trying to gather my thoughts.

"That you what?"

I raked a hand through my tangled hair and sighed raggedly. "I don't even know... I'm not good at expressing myself."

He grinned at me and winked. "S'ok, I think I know what you're getting at."

I raised an eyebrow dubiously. "Do you?"

The longhaired youth nodded. "Yep. You was thinkin' that you never expected to meet a guy who was so charming, that he can rob ya and still make you want to get in his pants."

A laugh escaped my throat and I couldn't help but smile. "Something along those lines, yes."

Duo grinned and leaned forward until we were nose to nose. "Too bad we probably ain't gonna see each other again. You'll probably forget all about me."

"That's not very likely," I retorted with a snort.

Before he could respond, a sleek black car appeared from around the corner, the Preventer insignia was clearly visible on one of the doors. "That was fast," Duo muttered. "Guess they couldn't stand the thought of one of their own consortin' with the street trash."

The car slowed to a stop beside us and the driver's window slowly rolled down. A young looking guy stuck his head out of the window and eyed the two of us. "Mr. Yuy?" His eyes narrowed as he took in my scruffy appearance. "What happened to you?"

I grunted and stood up, straightening my jacket over Duo's sweater. I had met the driver a few times the day before and I had learned that he was a new agent with the bad luck to have been stationed on L2. He was nice enough if not a little arrogant but I couldn't remember his name for the life of me. "Nothing. When's my flight?"

The agent stared at me oddly and shot a suspicious glance at Duo. "Maybe we should talk about this in the car, sir."

Duo snorted loudly. "Yeah, cuz if I found out what shuttle he's on I might go sabotage it an' all." He rolled his eyes. The driver's eyes widened and he looked at me again, alarm clearly visible in his _expression. Duo snickered. "Geez, you guys have no sense of humor. It was a joke, hot shot! Don't get your dungarees in a cinch."

I cleared my throat. "I'll be with you in a moment." It was an obvious dismissal and the rookie took his cue hurriedly, shoving his head back in the car after shooting Duo an uneasy glare. I couldn't help but pity the poor guy; he'd probably heard horror stories about the people of L2 and it must have been a surprise to see me with one. "It was nice meeting you, Maxwell." The words came out stiff and impersonal; the jibes and retorts no longer coming easily as I quickly fell into Preventer mode at the sight of another agent.

He smirked, usually expressive eyes showing nothing as he crossed his arms over his chest. "That's pretty cold, Yuy."

I raised an eyebrow at him. "What's that supposed to mean?"

The longhaired teenager leaned back against the truck and shrugged. "You had your fun playing kissy face with the street kid and now it's back to 'Maxwell'. Tsk, and I was beginnin' ta think you was a cool guy. Shoulda known better."

I faltered and dropped the stoic facade for a moment. "I didn't -- That's not what --"

"Geez, you guys really don't have a sense of humor! It was a joke, Yuy. Lord.. and I thought you was just loosening up." He shook his head and threw me a lopsided grin. "Don't worry about it, Heero. No hard feelings."

My brows drew together and I stared at him in confusion. If he had been joking why would there be hard feelings? Something told me that he wasn't as okay with everything as he was pretending to be. The thought made something in my chest ache but there was nothing I could do to change the situation. I shifted uncomfortably, aware of the fact that we still had an audience in the black town car behind me. "I have to go."

"Yeah, yeah." The violet eyes rolled again and Duo stood up straight, leaning towards me with a mischievous smirk.

I leaned away from him nervously, eyes flitting to the side as I fought the urge to look over my shoulder at the rookie. "Uh, your sweater -- "

"Keep it, think of it as a souvenir from your adventure on L2." He continued to advance towards me and I resisted the urge to stumble backwards to escape him; part of me noting that I didn't really want to anyway. Before I could evade him, thin hands were pulling me forward by the collar and soft lips were pressing against mine. I stiffened, my mind whirling at the idea that a fellow agent was witnessing this spectacle. Duo grinned against my mouth and sucked my lower lip into his own; nibbling on it before he pulled away. He winked again. "Another souvenir to remember me by."

I knew I was gaping and his delighted laugh made my face burn. "Good-bye, Duo," I said, my tone clearly stating that I was really leaving this time. He hopped up onto the hood of the truck once again and smiled. I shook my head and turned, getting in the car and shutting the door resolutely behind me. The rookie was gaping at me through the rearview mirror and I scowled. "Just drive the damned car," I growled.

He nodded jerkily. "Yes, sir!"

"Is there a phone in here?" I asked testily. He fumbled around for a moment and handed me a tiny cellular phone; it was about the size of my index finger and only a little thicker. I glared at it until I heard his almost amused voice tell me that I had to orally tell the phone what numbers I wanted it to dial. I grunted a 'thank you' and muttered Quatre Winner's private number into the tiny speaker, which automatically processed the call. I glared at the back of his head; somehow annoyed by his little toy before looking over my shoulder; out the window. Duo was still sitting on the truck, legs swinging as he waved jauntily. I couldn't help but smile at his antics, amused despite myself. A closer look might have clued me in to the wistful _expression on his face; but I turned away just as Quatre picked up. "Quatre? Yuy, here. We need to talk about the situation on L2..."

The rookie started the car and I looked behind me again, but the longhaired street urchin was already gone.

end x_x

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