Author: Kracken
Disclaimer: I don't own them and I don't make any money off of them.
Warning:Male/male sex, graphic, language, violence

Tin Soldiers
Under the Sun

"You're staring," I sighed, and Heero was, wide eyed and walking beside me like something had hit him in the middle of the forehead.

"Duo, what-?"

I've seen fish on a plate with eyes like that. It brought home to me just what a complete idiot I'd been the other day, that and the fact that I couldn't braid my hair in anything less than a three and a half foot long disaster. Why even call it a braid? It was just clumped together somewhere half way down and then left to it's own devices after that. We won't even get into the seven beaded cords that were decorating it and weighing it down along with the half pound of sea salt and tangled microbraids. I looked like a reject from a beach commune, one of those old time hippy artists that didn't know what shampoo and a bath were for. I certainly didn't look like I belonged in the black captain's uniform and tie I was wearing.

"Duo. We have a meeting, with important people. You can't-!" Heero was my lover, my baby, my everything, but he has hair you can run fingers through and have it look sexy and perfect. He doesn't have a clue, really he doesn't.

"I know," I replied shortly. "I'm sorry. There's nothing I could do. You were reviewing a new training facility all day yesterday and I decided to spend my day off at a beach party. I had a few too many drinks, let some giggly girls have their way with my hair, did some bad surfing, and... fell asleep without washing all of this crap out. Now... I'm kind of stuck with it. If you had come over after you got back home..."

Okay, that wasn't fair, so I shut up. This was not his fault or his problem....back up and delete that last. It was his problem. When one of his main captains is about to try and convince some military generals to give command of two crack forces over to us for a mission, you didn't want said captain to look like me. Quatre was going to kill me.

I climbed into Heero's car. He slowly got behind the wheel and started the engine, his eyes never leaving me.

"Heero," I growled. "If you're gonna yell, yell and get it over with!" I crossed my arms over my chest and slumped in my seat, eyes glaring out of the window at the rolling dunes leading to the beach. I felt like a little kid. A bad one. Of all the times to screw up. We were on the verge of moving in together, in the 'looking around for a place we both liked', stage. All I needed was for him to think I was an irresponsible idiot and to make him look like one too in front of important people.

Heero didn't yell, it really wasn't his style. He was more of the crush and pulverize, while glaring, type person."This was extremely bad timing," Heero began, but he didn't sound pissed. Instead, he sounded... I turned my head to look at him, not sure I should trust my ears. He was looking... I think I looked that way the first time that I saw him naked.

"You look..." Heero blushed. "Very handsome... very... If we didn't have to go into work, I think we would be going back to your bungalow."

I blinked, stunned. My brain tried to make sentences, but all it came up with was, 'Huh? Wha-? and nhuh?' So I kept quiet. His hand reached out and touched the mess of my hair and then caressed my cheek. It was my turn to get hot. Suddenly, he was on top of me and I was flailing and going down. His lips locked on mine and he groaned while his very strong hands began pulling at my clothes.

Hey, I'm young, and any chance to tango with Heero Yuy short circuited any common sense. I think anyone passing by was probably confused to see two feet, in dress shoes and socks, flailing in the front seat. We didn't go all the way, but it was close enough and just as thorough. We ended up sated, tangled up together like overheated pretzels, and feeling embarrassment and in pain from our cramped positions.

"Kleenex?" I struggled to say as Heero stuck an elbow in my gut as he tried to get off of me. He was hampered by a tight console and a stick shift. More grunting and struggling, and then we were separating and Heero was reaching under the seat. He pulled out a wad of kleenex and handed it to me.

"Pervert," I growled at him as I took them and started cleaning off, but his looked was so guilty and sheepish that I started laughing. Heero doesn't do either well.

"I..." Heero cleared his throat as he did up his pants. "I'm not sorry."

I laughed again. "I don't think I am either." I groaned as I unbent from my pretzel imitation and sat up. One old man was staring disapprovingly nearby , a little dog on a leash nosing about some beach grass. I waved with forced friendliness. "Uh, Heero, we should go. He's probably called the police."

Heero drove the car out of the parking lot and then he glanced at me and winced. "I don't think I... improved the situation."

"No shit!" I snorted as I tried to get my hair to at least stay behind my shoulders. Tendrils were escaping at every point.

"It's just that you look... very... native," Heero said hesitantly. "Natural... sexy... primal..."

I pulled up my pants and zipped over a renewing hard on. "You can stop now. Having a 'tent' and wild hair is really not going to inspire confidence in the meeting." I couldn't help smirking at him, though. "So, you have a thing for surfer boys?"

"Surfer men," Heero whispered under his breath, but was smiling too.

We pulled into headquarters and I felt like a sideshow freak as I walked down the secure halls and had every eye looking at me, at my hair, at my...

"Maxwell!" Wu Fei came out of nowhere and grabbed me by an elbow. He turned me away from the wide eyed men and women, looking furious and embarrassed as he whispered harshly, "I think that you need to change your clothing."

"My..." I looked down and turned eighteen shades of red, some, I was sure, had never been seen before. I think that I reached a whole new level of embarrassment. Okay, so I didn't get entirely cleaned up and Heero had managed to christen my pants.

"Locker room," I gritted out and Wu Fei and Heero were my cover as we hurried there.

We were late. Some God was on my side for once, though. My cell phone rang as I opened my locker and found a folded up pair of fatigue pants. It would have to do. I slipped out of my shoes and dropped my dirty pants while I fished out my cell and answered it.

"Duo?" Quatre's voice was both annoyed and anxious. He's a sweetheart, until you mess with his organized schedules. "First, you and Heero are late. What's your ETA?"

"We're here at headquarters, " I replied as I started to pull on my fatigues. "Just had a small accident and had to change pants."

The reason why was obvious to me, but it wasn't to Quatre. He let that go, though, and said, "The generals will be a half hour late, but I do expect you in the meeting room at that time."

"I'll be there," I replied.

"And Duo?" Quatre seethed.

"Yes?" What now?

"When you doodle, please don't do it on stat forms that I have to present to important people?" Quatre complained. "I don't think they would understand that you are only joking when you draw me being strangled by paperwork." I was feeling five years old again, but I deserved it. "Sorry. We'll be at the meeting, don't worry."

"All right, Duo," Quatre said with a long suffering sigh and hung up.

I pushed my pants back down.

"Maxwell?" Wu Fei had reluctantly joined Quatre's organization. I'm sure I wasn't making him feel as if he'd made the right decision.

"Duo?" Heero looked just as confused.

"Meeting's been pushed back a half an hour," I told them. "I have time to shower and try to get this crap out of my hair."

"Shears would accomplish the task very easily," Wu Fei sniffed disdainfully.

"I'll try shampoo first," I shot back and grabbed a bottle of that and some heavy duty conditioner.

Hero helped me, god love him, but it was useless. We both pulled, separated, scrubbed, and tweezed at the stubborn strands of braided cord and hair. I ended up sitting, naked, on a bench, my hair strung out everywhere, and Heero and, surprisingly, Wu Fei trying to figure out how to at least make the mass look presentable.

"You are going to be my commanding officer on this mission," Wu Fei told me, "I will not be shamed in front of our men or at the meeting we have to attend."

Ah, I was a disgrace. My dishonor was his. Very medieval. "If you have any suggestions, beside cutting it off, I'm all ears," I growled back.

"This is a woman's hair," Wu Fei announced as he let his two handfuls of it drop. "Let women deal with it." He walked away purposefully.

I looked at Heero. "Any ideas?" He shook his head, no. I checked my watch. "We're running out of time.

"Hey, Maxwell!" a male voice laughed. "You look like a candy cane."

A shift was over and men were filling up the locker room.

"Shove it, Perkins!" I snarled and dropped a towel into my lap to cover at least some of my nakedness. I had been wearing a half shirt and knee length shorts most of the previous day. My red tan was banding with the pale skin that had been covered. Okay, so I did look like a candy cane. Screw him, anyway. They laughed at my hair. I endured the usual ribbing

"I have a meeting in ten minutes!" I groused. "If you want ground support for this new mission, you better stop laughing and hope I look presentable by then."

That was serious business to them. The laughing stopped. I was surrounded. Heero suddenly had a lot of help untangling my hair. They talked behind my back and I sat uncomfortably as they tossed suggestions back and forth. My hair was stretched out wide to give them room.

"Someone get a camera!" A female voice laughed.

"Hey!" I pulled my towel up more closely and stared, wide eyed, as Wu Fei came into the locker room with several women. They joined the men and I felt things being poured onto my hair. They smelled like flowers and fruit.

"Don't worry, honey," an older woman reassured me. "I had a passing fling with a beauty salon before I decided to pick up a gun instead."

"Your hair is so thick," another woman complained. "I don't think this is going to work."

"It needs to soak," yet another woman suggested. "For hours."

"I have five minutes!" I complained loudly and started to stood up, dragging my towel around my narrow hips. I started to turn and then heard the last voice in the world that I wanted to hear just then.

"And this is the locker room," Quatre said. "We're having shift change right now so..."

He trailed off and I dared to look. Heero looked sick to his stomach beside me and that gave me fair warning. Three generals stood arrayed behind Quatre, making him look small and young. They were all taking in the sight of me, the supposed shining star of Quatre's force, the man they were supposed to trust to lead their men, with his hair filled with god knew what, almost naked, and surrounded by what, by now, looked like a frat party gone terribly wrong.

"I think I will go now," Wu Fei said in a strained voice. Everyone else took that as their cue to scatter. Only Heero was brave enough to stand with me. See why I love him?

"Tour?" I managed to ask, trying my best to look innocent... no, don't ask me why. It's my fall back defense.

"Yes," Quatre replied tightly. "That was why the meeting was pushed back. They asked to see the installation."

"Captain Maxwell?" One of the general's asked. He looked like something out of an old movie, brass on every point of his dress uniform, square jaw, squared off haircut, and a mean scar along his jaw line.

"Yyyeeees..." That sounded stupid. I winced and hunched into myself as I hitched up my towel. "Uh, this looks bad, doesn't it?"

"Yes," the general replied, but then he laughed. I blinked at him and then looked at Heero. He was as perplexed as I was. Maybe this was just a really bad dream.

"Lorimar?" One of the other generals asked, probably confused to.

The general wiped at an eye and then said, "I've read you record, in and out of the war, Captain Maxwell. I think someone with that many brilliant successes, is allowed a bad day... or some eccentricities."

"Bad day," I affirmed. "Some young girls and too much sun and beer."

The general laughed again. "Been young myself once. You serve hard, you play hard too."

Duo found a smile, Heero stopped looking like death, and Quatre remembered to breathe. He took a deep one, held it, and then let it out. "Captain Maxwell... if you could clean up and join us in the meeting room?"

"Yes, sir," I replied as formally as I could.

"Gentlemen?" Quatre motioned for the generals to proceed him back out of the locker room.

The general held up a clipboard without turning and yelled back, "Keep your damned doodling off my paperwork, though! Your beef against the requisitions master shouldn't be on my infiltration scenarios!"

"Yes, sir!" I called after him and then sat down heavily on the bench. Heero sat down beside me.

"Duo..."

"I know. Why say it?" I sighed. "I'm a screw up."

"Unconventional," Heero amended, "but still damned amazing at getting yourself out of impossible situations."

I grinned. So I wasn't going to have a cold bed and a hunt for a new boyfriend. I guess Heero was getting used to me and my... bad timing. Hey, I'm not going to chew myself up. I had enough people around me who wanted the job. I was just glad... very glad... that Heero wasn't one of them.

"I need to rinse this stuff out. " I stood up again and headed for the shower.

"Wait!" Heero called after me and I stopped and looked over my shoulder. Heero looked uncertain, but determined as he said, "Since they've already seen it... and everything seems to be all right. Could you leave the braids and the beads in... at least until tonight?"

You gotta love him. I know I do.

end

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