Author: CalicOcat
Disclaimer: Duo and Heero and the rest of the GW gang aren't mine. This story is. Nuff said.
See Part 1 for warnings

'Thinking'
"Speaking"

************ Time passing or scene change
*~*~*~*~*~* Major POV shift

Mission: Marriage + Chapter 5

"Alright now, Yuy, just what the HELL do you think you're doing?" Wufei demanded, slamming the study door and locking it behind him.

Genuinely puzzled, Heero asked, "What are you so upset about, Wufei?"

"Don't play dumb with me, Yuy. I thought all that flirting and that 'marriage' nonsense was just a joke to get back at Duo for some of those pranks he's pulled on us over the years. Just a little harmless fun. But that cotton candy bit at the circus was really pushing things, and letting him take the marriage nonsense seriously enough that he announced your engagement to Relena Peacecraft herself - and then that - that kiss out there - that's just going too damn far! I will NOT stand by and let you hurt him like that! You're supposed to be his best friend! And here you are, leading him on when you know perfectly well where his preferences lie and that yours do NOT lie in the same direction! You had better break off this so-called 'engagement' FAST before you end up hurting him!"

Furious at Wufei's obvious low opinion of his morals, Heero snarled back, "SHUT THE HELL UP CHANG! You have absolutely NO idea what you're talking about! If you think that I would EVER, EVER do anything to hurt Duo of all people, you are absolutely fuckin' NUTS! Even if you have such a poor opinion of my morals, do you seriously believe that either Quatre or Trowa would go along with something like that? Believe me, Chang, the only one running the risk of getting hurt here is ME."

Surprised at the vehemence of Heero's retort, Wufei took a good look at his face as he spoke. Sinking into the nearest chair, Wufei said in soft amazement, "You're in love with him."

"Give the man a fuckin' prize!" snapped Heero. "Now would you mind telling me where the hell you got the idea I was straight from?!"

"I... From Duo, I think..." the Chinese teen answered, still grappling with this set of revelations. "How long..." he asked hesitantly.

"Probably right from the first time we met up again after me stripping Deathscythe for parts. I was expecting anger and instead I got friendship. But the first I acknowledged it was when I woke up in Trowa's trailer at the circus after self-destructing Wing. I was alive when I hadn't expected to be, I had a second chance at life, and I promised myself that I wouldn't hide from my emotions anymore. But Duo never picked up on any of my hints, and with the war going on I didn't want to risk causing any dissension in our ranks, so I just let things go on as they were." The words came out of Heero in one long rush. Quatre hadn't even asked for the details, just knowing that Heero was in love with Duo had been enough for him. The only time Heero had ever told the entire story before had been to Zechs and Lu nearly two years previously, so telling it now was a welcome relief. "After the war ended, I went back to dropping hints from time to time, but he never picked up on any of them. We're young, he wasn't getting seriously involved with anyone else, so I decided to just bide my time, wait for us both to mature a bit more, and keep dropping hints."

Dragging a chair over by Wufei's, Heero sat straddling the back of it, arms folded along the top of the backrest. Even as he dropped down on the chair, he realized that this was yet another thing that showed Duo's influence on him. 'A few short years ago, I'd have never dreamt of sitting on a chair backwards instead of properly. Now, I have to remind myself not to sit like this at things like Relena's dances and garden parties.'

Meeting Wufei's dark eyes, he continued, "Lately, that hasn't been enough. I feel like a piece of me is missing when Duo's not near me. Email, vid-phone calls, occasional trips to visit, and the annual pilot get-together just aren't enough. Zechs and Lu leaving and Relena's obsession getting worse just provided the final push I needed to take more drastic measures.

"Duo lived up to his motto when Hilde told him she loved him, running from L2 to join Quat and Tro here on L4. I didn't want to chance him doing the same thing with me, so I started with getting him to notice me sexually - which would have been much easier if he didn't have this damn notion that I'm straight! Well, I got him to notice me - but then he wouldn't make a move! He just won't believe I could possibly be attracted to him. Quat's done everything short of flat-out telling him and you've seen what I've tried just in the few days you've been here, but our usually quick-witted Shinigami has proven incredibly dense in this one particular area."

Heero sighed, then continued, "Hopefully that has changed as of that kiss! He's at least made the first move by announcing our engagement to Relena. I just have to take it slow and easy. You know as well as I do that while you can coax, cajole, tease, and tempt Duo Maxwell into doing any number of things, you absolutely, positively, CANNOT push, pull, order, or otherwise try to force him into anything, even something he wants."

Wufei snorted, "That's for sure. I thought the world must be coming to an end that time during the war when I handed him the grocery money and ordered him to be sure to bring back chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. I couldn't believe it when he came back with everything else BUT that - it was his favourite! Then Quatre walked in, checked the freezer, mournfully observed that he'd really been looking forward to a nice bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, and went back to the living room. Half an hour later, Duo had been to the store and was back again, this time with TWO tubs of the stuff, both bought with his OWN money. Lesson learned - never, ever, order Shinigami to do anything you actually wanted done."

Heero rolled his eyes, nodding in agreement. "I've been patient this long, I can wait a little longer. Once I've got him safely married to me, I'll feel a lot more secure. When Duo commits himself to something, he doesn't quit. Once he's said 'I do' and signed that marriage license, he'll stay even if the going gets rough. That's when I'll pull out the big guns and start working on making him fall in love with me. Till then, I'll settle for friendship and a healthy dose of lust."

************

Duo woke the next morning to the soft sound of paper sliding across carpet. Rolling over in bed, he realized a note had been pushed under his door. He couldn't actually read the note from there, but Heero's distinctive handwriting was unmistakable. Staring at the piece of paper as if it were liable to bite him, he thought back to the previous evening.

Evidently, whatever Wufei had needed to speak to Heero about so urgently had been settled, since the two of them had appeared to be on good terms when he saw them again in the hall outside their assigned rooms. He had retreated to his own room, claiming weariness after the long and hectic day. Heero had looked for a moment as if he would protest, then had simply given him a small smile and wished him good night, much to his surprise. 'I didn't think he'd let me get away without talkin' things over last night. Guess he knows me well enough by now to know that tryin' to make me do something when I'm not ready won't do him any good.'

Reluctantly, Duo slid out of bed and picked up the sheet of paper gingerly. "Gone to run a few errands, back for dinner. Better talk to Q, he's making wedding plans. Only stipulation: same surname - don't care which or if combined, but SAME. Heero."

Duo re-read the note again, hoping he had misread it the first time. Nope, that's what it said. "Wedding plans? Q is making wedding plans! ALREADY!! Oh shit! He'll invite half the colony plus everyone else we know in the entire Earth Sphere!"

Unbraiding his hair as he went, Duo took off for his fastest shower ever, cursing Heero's cowardice in leaving him to bring Quatre's grandiose ideas under control without hurting his feelings.

************

Dorothy Catalonia slipped into the hall and pulled the door shut behind her. Closing her eyes for a moment with her hand still on the knob, she shook her head in disgust. Relena could delude herself as much as she liked, but Dorothy knew that the Peacecraft girl had never stood a chance with Yuy. She had known that the first time she saw Yuy and Maxwell together during the war. Heero Yuy, ice prince extraordinaire, capable of chilling your blood in your veins with a mere glance just for standing too close to him, leaned into the carelessly draped arm that Duo Maxwell flung over his shoulders. He stood close enough to the other boy even after the arm was removed that Duo's casual gestures caused him to brush against Heero. His eyes narrowed with anger when Relena ignored Duo's existence, and when Heero turned to walk away, he caught the other boy's arm and took him with him. No, the fact that the two of them were together now was no surprise to her - she was only surprised that Yuy had not made his move sooner.

"Miss Dorothy? How is she this morning?" Pargan inquired worriedly.

"Delusional as ever," Dorothy answered grimly, re-opening her eyes to meet Pargan's gaze. "She's decided that the whole thing was one of Maxwell's pranks and nothing that I say will convince her otherwise."

"Perhaps that's all it really was?" the elderly butler offered.

Dorothy just sighed and shook her head. Pargan never would accept that his beloved employer was anything short of perfect. But it was becoming increasingly clear, to her at least, that Relena Peacecraft was nothing but a spoilt child that had never learned the meaning of the word "no". 'Her adoptive mother should never have allowed her to go her own way after Relena found out she was "royalty".'

"Since Yuy has already gone out for the day, she would like her breakfast brought to her room," Dorothy told Pargan. "I will be eating downstairs, then I intend to find a quiet corner of the garden to read in. If she needs me, send someone there to find me."

"Certainly, Miss Dorothy."

Dorothy headed down the stairs for breakfast. At some point in her stay, she intended to see if either Lady Une or Quatre Winner could suggest an alternative position for her. It wasn't like the money mattered - she simply needed something to challenge her, to keep her active mind occupied. No matter what Relena Peacecraft seemed to think, Dorothy Catalonia was no man's - or woman's - lapdog. Interesting as the girl had been at one time, "Miss Relena" had a lot of growing up to do before Dorothy would have any further interest in her. If she even did then. For now, it was time for a change.

And perhaps a word of caution in the ear of a certain braided young man would not be a bad idea. Heero was too much of a gentleman to realize just how low a desperate girl might sink, but she had a feeling that Duo would pick up the hint quite nicely.

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