Notes: See Part 1 for warnings, pairings, etc.
Must Have Been the Mistletoe + Part 2
"They're what? "
Zechs demanded in disbelief.
"Sleeping," Abdul replied calmly.
"In the library? All of them? At 11:30?"
Relena placed one hand on her brother's arm and smiled up at him. "It's
quite the sight to see," she said. "The first time that they
kept me at a safehouse for protection, it surprised me to walk into the
living room in the morning and find Gundam pilots draped all over each
other and the furniture, sleeping quite peacefully. Rather sweet, really,
though I'm sure they'd all object to that description. Unfortunately,
that particular time they had a rather rude awakening as I ah - expressed
my dismay somewhat vocally at finding Duo sprawled across Heero's chest
in what I thought was a much too intimate fashion." Reading the odd
look that Zechs shot at her correctly, she corrected his assumption, "No,
it's nothing like that. No group orgies, brother dear. Sometimes the nightmares
about all the death and the killing get really bad and they just all find
some relief from them in being near another person. Some of them need
actual physical contact, while for others merely being in close proximity
is enough. I spent a few rather strange nights on various couches or in
chairs myself during the war and even over the years since then when only
one of them happened to be assigned to watch over me and had trouble sleeping."
She broke into laughter at the disbelieving looks from Zechs and Dorothy
both. "Oh come on now, I wasn't that bad all the time!
I could actually be considerate and helpful when circumstances
called for it!"
Stirring slightly, Duo reluctantly decided that perhaps it was time to
think about getting up. Having actually been fed a real meal last night,
his stomach apparently thought it should be entitled to another one and
was grumbling rather insistently. Starting to sit up, he stopped as his
braid resisted movement. 'Damn, forgot about that habit of Heero's. Guess
some things never change. Never could figure out what it was with him
and hanging onto my braid in his sleep...' Resigning himself to staying
put till Heero woke up, he twisted slightly so that he could see the others.
Wufei looked like a pretzel, all curled up in a chair. 'Shit, 'Fei, you're
gonna regret sleeping this long like that... We aren't 15 anymore and
that position would have made any of us pretty stiff and sore even back
then...' Getting his first good look at Quatre's face, Duo was unable
to suppress a low whistle, "Damn Quat, have you ever got one hell
of a shiner..."
"Gee, thanks, Duo, that's exactly what I wanted to hear first thing
in the morning," the blond in question retorted sleepily from the
"Quatre, could you move your head a little? I think I've lost all
feeling in that arm," Trowa spoke up.
As Quatre sat up, Wufei started to stir in the chair. Incoherent muttering
in Mandarin accompanied every move he made.
"Not exactly 15 any more, are we?" Duo observed as Heero finally
woke up enough to release his braid and allow him to get up.
"Ouch," Heero observed, rubbing his back ruefully and glaring
at the couch accusingly, "no, we're not."
Rubbing at his own stiff limbs, Quatre declared, "Not that this was
ever completely comfortable even then... All in favour of turning
a spare room into a dorm for us all so we don't have to go through this
again just to have a decent night's sleep, say 'aye'."
An immediate chorus of "Aye"s rang out.
"We're supposed to what? " Wufei asked in surprise.
"Decorate the house for the holidays," Quatre answered. "We've
spent most of the week so far catching up on sleep, but I think we've
about used that excuse up. I don't know about anyone else, but I
don't want Iria, Une, or Sally showing up to take a more direct hand in
things because we're not following their 'schedule'."
"Good plan," muttered Zechs, digging through the boxes of decorations
littering the floor. "My god, there's enough mistletoe here to carpet
the place in it," he exclaimed in disbelief. "All the boxes
marked 'holly' are full of mistletoe instead! And the couple of boxes
marked 'mistletoe' have holly in them..."
"Great! I call dibs on the mistletoe," Relena said cheerfully.
"Dorothy, want to help?"
"Why my dear Miss Relena, I thought you'd never ask," Dorothy
responded with a sly smirk.
Looking back and forth between the two young women, Zechs closed his eyes
and shook his head slightly. "Not going to ask, don't want to know,
please don't tell me."
Laughing, Relena held a cluster of mistletoe over her brother's head and
gave him a quick peck on the cheek. "Don't worry about it, bro. I'm
a big girl now and my sex life was never your problem to begin
Turning red, Zechs hid his face in his hands, "Too much information,
sis! Go on, get out of here you two!"
Snickering, Dorothy repeated Relena's mistletoe trick before picking up
a stack of boxes and pulling Relena out of the room with her.
"Anybody want a little sister, cheap?" Zechs muttered.
"No thank you," Quatre said fervently, "I have more than
enough females in my life as it is."
"Better not let Iria hear you say that," laughed Duo, picking
up a couple of boxes of ornamental candles. "And I don't need one
either - keeping Hilde out of trouble till she got married was bad enough
and 'Lena and Dot already act like bratty sisters around us anyway..."
With that, he wandered off, carefully choosing a different direction
from the two women.
After a full week of relaxing with nothing more demanding than decorating
the house for the holidays to do, all eight houseguests were beginning
to feel much better. Enough better, in fact, that two particular houseguests
had started arguing as they usually did whenever they were in close proximity.
"Zechs, he wouldn't 'get on your case' nearly as much if you'd stop
getting on his!" Relena declared in a decidedly frustrated tone.
"Okay, so I'll admit the crack about blowing up half the mountain
if you get in a 'pissy mood' was out of line, but then again, you
started it with that crack about working for the 'diapered dictator' if
he got bored! And if Maia finds out you called her that, Chang Wufei will
be the least of your worries!"
"Behave yourself, Zechs," Dorothy scolded. "Your sister
is supposed to be taking a break from peace-making, not spending her entire
vacation carrying out peace negotiations between two houseguests! Honestly,
you're acting like a couple of high school kids!" Muttering under
her breath, she added in a voice soft enough to only reach Relena's ears,
"Ones with crushes on each other..."
"Now go find somebody else to bother!" Relena ordered her brother.
"And if you run into Wufei again, kiss and make up rather than picking
Stalking down the hall, Zechs muttered under his breath, "Kiss and
make up, she says! As if that would make things any better! No,
I'd be more likely to get run through with that damn katana of his..."
"Talking to yourself now, Merquise? What's wrong, no one else interested
in what you have to say?" came an insolent sneer from the doorway
to the games room.
That did it. With just one thought in his mind, wiping that insolent look
off of Wufei's haughty face, Zechs pointed above Wufei's head, said succinctly,
"Mistletoe," grabbed the Chinese man by the shoulders, and kissed
him forcefully on the lips. By the time Wufei recovered enough to stop
sputtering and start uttering threats, Zechs had beaten a prudent retreat,
borrowing a car to go to town for the rest of the morning.
"What's Wufei so worked up about this time?" Quatre asked Trowa
Watching the young man in question stomp out of the room, Trowa answered,
"Don't you mean 'who'?"
"Oh dear," Quatre sighed. "What did Zechs do this time?"
"That's the interesting part - he wouldn't say. Though if I didn't
know better, I would almost swear he blushed when I asked him that
"Chang Wufei blushing? Now I'm even more curious,"
the blond said, moving towards the door to see where Wufei was disappearing
Looking above Quatre's head, a small smile crept across Trowa's face.
"Mmm, guess I'll have to keep you too busy to be curious," he
said, advancing on the Arabian in a purposeful fashion. "Mistletoe,"
he explained, pointing upwards, in response to Quatre's curious look.
Pulling his partner towards him, he murmured softly, "I just can't
get used to not having to bend down to kiss you anymore. How did we let
so much time go by?" Not giving Quatre a chance to answer that question,
he leaned forward to bring their mouths together in a warm, lingering
As they drew apart again, Quatre offered softly, "I don't know, but
what I do know is that I have no intention of letting it happen
again." The puzzle of Wufei's odd behaviour forgotten for the moment,
he drew Trowa towards him for another kiss, murmuring just before their
lips met, "I have to remember to thank Iria for all that mistletoe..."
Walking through the cold but snowless countryside, Heero stole a sidelong
glance at his still-too-subdued companion. While Duo's eyes would brighten
briefly at times, they still remained too dull and shadowed to suit Heero.
Duo's hair had regained its healthy shine and the dark circles were gone
from around his eyes; he had even gained a tiny bit of weight back. But
Duo was still far from his old self. And Heero very much suspected it
was his fault. Oh, not due to things he was doing now - those were
the things that would bring that short-lived brightness into those amethyst
eyes - but rather due to his failure to respond in past months to Duo's
tentative attempts to suggest that perhaps it was finally time to begin
exploring that long-delayed relationship they had once both been so eager
to begin. It wasn't like he had intentionally ignored Duo's attempts
- he had simply not recognized them for what they were.
Even though a number of years had passed since the war, Heero realized
that he had not gotten any better at understanding the subtleties of social
interaction. Working 16 hour days seven days a week didn't exactly leave
a lot of time for socializing, and Duo had always been his guide in those
matters in the first place. Now, however, that had resulted in a distinctly
unfamiliar situation. While Duo would eagerly take him up on any offered
time together, it was entirely up to Heero to make that all-important
first move. Duo had been disappointed too many times to risk it again.
Heero winced at the realization that, had he caught on sooner to the real
meaning of that sudden spate of notes left on his desk for him to find
on his return from assignments, neither of them would have ended up in
sufficiently rough shape to be forced into a prolonged vacation. He certainly
didn't regret the vacation time together, but he did regret the
lonely, nightmare-filled nights and too-long workdays that had led to
it. And he was beginning to have an awful, sneaking suspicion that the
real fault on his part lay even further back than that.
Over the past week, Heero's efforts had been directed at simply re-establishing
his friendship with Duo. They had spent so little time together outside
of work in the past five years that he had expected to find changes. The
degree of change in Duo, however, was disturbing. From happy, laughing,
and full of energy, Duo had become very solemn, quiet, and subdued. Heero
knew that he hadn't been around very often to spend time with Duo,
but was shocked to discover that months had frequently passed without
Duo seeing any of his closest friends. The other pilots had all
been working ridiculous hours as well and Hilde had gotten married and
caught up in her own life. That left Une and Sally - both too busy to
spend more than a brief lunch break with him occasionally, Dorothy and
Relena - also too busy for more than an occasional vid-phone call, G,
and Howard. While Howard had dropped by from time to time, months
tended to pass between his visits as well. Which left G. And while G took
a very paternal interest in Duo, he was more likely to challenge Duo to
a game of chess than a game of basketball, more likely to discuss a potential
invention than the hassles of working with someone years your senior who
was nevertheless your junior in rank. And, as Heero himself had discovered,
it was virtually impossible to make even casual friends with the other
Preventers. Even Duo had finally given up in the face of continual resentment
and mistrust, both stemming from the dual causes of his past as a Gundam
pilot and his current high-ranking status as a very, very youthful Preventer.
'No wonder he said he was tired of being alone... For all intents and
purposes, he's been alone since I suggested putting our relationship "temporarily"
on hold five years ago... And while I've spent the time alone too, I've
never craved social interaction the way that Duo always has... My request
five years ago was made with the best of intentions, but I guess that
old saying about the road to hell being paved with them is right...'
After returning to the house, Heero decided that since Duo was far too
serious lately, he was going to have to do something about that. And since
Duo also seemed to be waiting for him to make the first move towards advancing
their relationship... Patiently, he waited till Duo passed under a clump
of mistletoe. It didn't take long, Relena and Dorothy had put some over
every doorway in the house and numerous other locations besides. Catching
Duo by the shoulders, Heero directed his attention upwards. "Mistletoe,"
he said simply with a grin. Duo's eyes drifted shut as Heero leaned forward
and - dropped a light kiss on the tip of his nose. "Mistletoe tag,
you're it!" Heero whispered with a smirk.
"Why, you..." Duo's eyes snapped open and danced with surprised
laughter as Heero took off for another room. Cheat him out of a proper
kiss then make a run for it, huh? Well, two could definitely play at that
game. Tearing down the hall in chase of his elusive partner, Duo collided
with Relena. "Oops, sorry, 'Lena," he apologized.
"What on earth are you up to, Duo?" she inquired.
"Mistletoe tag," he explained with a grin.
"Mistletoe what? "
"Mistletoe tag. Speaking of which..." he pointed up above their
heads, then gave Relena a quick peck on the cheek, "Tag, you're it!"
On that note, he took off for another room.
Laughing, Relena headed off in search of someone else to pull into the
When Zechs walked into the house half an hour later, he wondered what
on earth all the shrieks and laughter were about. The sound of running
feet echoed through the mansion. Shaking his head and deciding that he'd
probably find out soon enough, he took off his coat and bent over to remove
Having been quite literally dragged into the game of mistletoe tag, Wufei
was currently stalking Duo in an attempt at retaliation. Spotting Zechs
bending over to take off his boots, a distinctly evil smirk crossed Wufei's
face. Here was the chance to get back at him for that kiss earlier. Ignoring
the part of his mind that was demanding to know just how kissing Zechs
qualified as "getting back at him", Wufei waited till Zechs
started to straighten up, then pounced. He pressed his lips to Zechs's
in a kiss just as forceful as the one Zechs had planted on him earlier,
then pointed above their heads, explained, "Mistletoe tag - you're
it!" and took off running before Zechs had a chance to gather his
Taking pity on the stupefied form of her brother, Relena reminded him,
"You're 'it', brother dear. Now you have to catch somebody else
under the mistletoe and give them a kiss to tag them!" before taking
off again herself.