"Duo and I thought it
would be wonderful if we took group photos," she smiled brightly,
"So we'll start with....Heero! Why don't you stand over there in
He shrugged and complied, raising an eyebrow at Relena's behavior. She
was usually much calmer...Suddenly, she gave Duo a hard a shove, so he
collided with the dark haired ex-pilot. They tumbled down in the doorway.
Overhead hung sinister mistletoe, bright and festive.
"Okay, you stay right there, I'll go get a camera!" she grinned,
"Who wants to help me?"
Five pairs of eyes blinked at her. The Vice Foreign Minister jerked her
head towards the two collapsed boys, one sweatdropping heavily. Catherine
suppressed an "Oh!" and jumped to her feet, hurrying away with
Relena. Quatre smiled brightly.
"I think I'll go make some tea!" he said.
"I'll go with you," Trowa added, grabbing his blonde partner
by the elbow and going with him to the kitchen.
"And...I left some presents in my car!" Dorothy realized at
that exact moment. Sheelbowed
Wufei hard in the ribs, "They're very heavy."
"I don't think I can manage by myself," the blonde continued.
"I'll help you," Duo mumbled into the floor.
"No!" Dorothy yelled. The three boys looked up at her in surprise,
"No...I think Wufei should show me how strong he is."
"Onna...get them yourself,' the Chinese boy sniffed.
"HELP ME GET THEM NOW WUFEI!" she roared, suddenly becoming
ten feet tall. Wufei blinked very slowly.
"Thanks!" she said, "You're such a sweetie."
Of course, Pagan was no where to be found after the door closed.
Duo sighed, "Errr...Heero?"
"Can you get off me please?" he squeaked.
Heero shifted his weight off Duo, leaning back against the door frame.
Duo cracked his neck back into place and did the same. His feet rested
against Heero's. They faced each other, though the braided ex-pilot still
hadn't managed to look his ex-partner in the eye. He squirmed.
"Well...Relena's certainly different," he said finally.
Ha...when I get my hands on her and Hilde -- I know she was in on this,
I just do -- I'll strangle them.
Heero maintained his trademark noncommital silence. He waited.
"Look, I'm not gonna goof around. I know you've been dying to verbally
beat me into a bloody pulp for leaving. Here's your chance. We're all
alone and, don't worry, I'm not gonna defend myself," Duo said, raising
his hands in a gesture of surrender.
"I didn't come here for that, " his counterpart sighed.
"Then for what? The superb sparkling cider? Pagan's cookies?"
"I needed to talk to you. Seemed like a good place to do it,"
Heero acknowledged, his eyes still on Duo's violet ones. He wouldn't look
"Go ahead. Talk. Talk till you're blue in the face. Talk, talk, talk.
I'm listening," he spoke to the floor.
"Look at me." Not a request. Duo shook his head. "Didn't
anyone ever tell you that it's rude not to look people in the eye?"
"Didn't anyone ever tell you that it's rude to alienate your
"You can leave whenever you want. I'm not forcing you to do anything,"
Heero sighed again.
"Fine. What is it you wanted to say?"
They didn't noticed two sets of eyes peeking around the stair case or
two faces pressed against the window. The kitchen remained silent and
"I really..." he trailed off.
Heero got to his feet, giving Duo a hand up so he could do the same. The
Japanese boy stood a few inches taller than his friend, giving him a good
excuse to continue avoiding his gaze. He had him cornered against the
doorframe, though. No means of escape and Heero moved ever closer. Duo
could feel warm air brushing against his cheeks and nose. Nothing happened.
"You're an idiot," Duo said finally.
"What?" Heero snapped.
"You're a complete idiot. Not mention an asshole. You thought you'd
come here and-and sweep me off my feet and everything would be better!?!
Who taught you to be such an idiot?" He glared, trying to pull away.
Heero's hold on him tightened.
"I believe you know him," he growled, "He goes by the name
of Duo Maxwell."
Duo's cheeks flared, "Why? What the hell did I do to you?"
"It's not what you did. It's what you didn't..."
"I want to be happy," Heero said.
"What has that got to do with me?" the former Shinigami snapped.
"You know the answer to that, idiot."
He gaped for a moment. His eyes flickered up the Heero's and the braided
boy couldn't look away. He tried to glare, tried to protest. Duo didn't
have a chance to answer. They were both leaning in, like in an old black
and white, eyes locked. The space between them vanished. Unlike the old
movies though, Heero banged into Duo's nose and Duo missed his mark entirely.
Both of them sighed. Duo grinned sheepishly. Heero slipped a hand around
him, resting it against the base of his braid. There was a bright flash.
"Mission accomplished," a voice said from the staircase. Relena
stood there, camera in hand, smiling.
"Boy am I gonna get you for this one, milady," Duo mock-glared.
Still, he couldn't help grinning when Heero's kisses traveled down his
cheek and neck. He shivered again, wrapping an arm around the ex- pilot.
"Maybe you can get me a date with your friend Hilde," Relena
smirked. Duo stared at her.
Relena hummed mysteriously, sliding down the banister with Catherine close
behind. She beckoned to Dorothy who waited outside in the snow, her pale
face eagerly pressed to the window. She came in, trailed by a slightly
"It's cold out there!" he grumbled, stuffing his numbed
fingers under his arms. Dorothy laughed her cat-laugh at him. She caught
his icy hands between her fur clad ones, rubbing gently.
"So Heero," Relena turned back to the couple under the mistletoe,
who were still glued to each other, "I hear you've borrowed a page
from my book and stalked poor Duo."
"I did no such thing," Heero replied, stroking the boy's hair
with one hand, "I merely trailed him to his social functions. I never
once followed him home."
"Only because Hilde would've castrated you if she knew it was bothering
me," Duo grinned, sliding both hands under Heero's dress- shirt.
Relena's eyes widened.
"Behave yourselves," she smiled indulgently, "Clothing
"Where are Quatre and Trowa?" Catherine asked. Relena stopped
and looked around. They were no where to be seen.
"They were going to make tea, remember?" Duo snorted. The group
of six trooped to the kitchen, Relena in the front. She choked the minute
they stepped through the kitchen's swinging door. It wasn't every day
she walked through that particular door to discover a pair of barely dressed
young men on her kitchen counter. Quatre was about to deprive Trowa of
the only covering he had left, plaid boxers. Relena blushed a furious
"What about them?" Duo asked loudly, "Are you gonna yell
Both heads snapped up. From the chest up, Quatre rivaled Relena's scarlet
flush. Trowa's eye was the size of a dinner plate.
"It's about time," Catherine called. Her brother went burgundy.
"If you two would care to join us," Relena smiled her hostess-
smile, "We're going to exchange gifts now. "
She was last through the door, "Though I daresay, I've already gotten
my best one."
They gathered around the tree, the old-fashioned candles lit. Relena less-than-gracefully
plopped down in front of it, beckoning the others to take seats. Immediately,
without any formality whatsoever, the young Vice Foreign began sorting
through bags and throwing presents at their owners. Catherine was forced
to duck or be decapitated by an oddly shaped package roughly the size
of a large dog. Presents from Wufei were all meticulously wrapped in the
comics section of the newspaper. Relena seemed to have spent a small fortune
There were eight piles with seven presents each. But for some reason an
extra eight was left over, all of them labeled `Pagan.' Relena beckoned
the old man over and handed him the gifts despite his protests. He thanked
them warmly and disappeared again, muttering about this being highly irregular.
Relena smiled after her old friend, more of a grandfather than a butler.
And he'd protected her through everything.
Her guests waited politely. She laughed and waved them off, grabbing her
first present. She didn't open it though, instead watching those around
her. Quatre and Trowa snuggled together in hastily thrown on clothes.
Dorothy and Wufei were pointedly apart, though they kept trading appraising
glances. Catherine sat on her left, Duo her right. Heero, not one to snuggle,
still sat as close as humanly possibly to the braided boy without being
in his lap.
Dorothy tore into her gift, along with Quatre and Trowa. Wufei, with great
precision, began unwrapping the package so as to remove the paper in one
piece. Catherine pulled out a rather large knife and sliced the paper
open. Duo only shook his gently, watched by a curious Heero, who's gift
remained neglected in his lap. She pulled tape and ribbon from her own
present, letting the wrappings fall into her lap. This one was labeled
`From Quatre' in neat calligraphy. In her gloved hands sat a snow globe
the size of both her fists. Inside glittered a crumbling castle, covered
in moss. A unicorn grazed on the overgrown lawn, its azure eyes staring
into her own.
"Oh! It's beautiful!" she smiled, running both hands over the
Duo had chosen Catherine's gift: a sweater, this one the deepest ebony.
Quatre examined the calfskin wallet Relena had given him with a smile.
Trowa fingered a new watch from Heero, its band inscribed with lions.
Catherine received a small ceremonial dagger from Dorothy. Heero discovered
a substantial gift-certificate to his nearest computer store from Wufei.
Wufei actually laughed out loud, discovering Duo had given him a Twister
(TM) board and mat. Dorothy eyed the tweezer set from Trowa with something
less than amusement.
They each closed their eyes and selected another gift. Relena smiled over
a set of earrings from Wufei. Heero wrapped a new scarf from Catherine
around his neck, laughing. Catherine shrieked with joy when she found
the several yards of rose-colored silk from Relena. Duo grinned at Dorothy,
threatening her with another hug. She'd given him a brand new portable
CD player. Trowa raised an eyebrow at the collection of circus movies
from Duo. Heero gave Dorothy a certificate to Tiffany's, just as considerable
as his own to the computer store. Wufei blinked rapidly at a sculpture
of a two-headed dragon from Quatre. Quatre however, was not at all thrilled
to find his gift from Trowa was a bottle of platinum hair dye.
"That was before the kitchen," Trowa shrugged sheepishly.
Dorothy squealed over her opera tickets from Relena. For a minute, the
honey-blonde foreign minister thought she was being strangled not thanked.
Catherine sniffed slightly, but accepted Wufei's recipe book. Heero exclaimed
at the fencing sword and mask Dorothy gave him. She smiled wickedly. Quatre
giggled and blushed, unwrapping a large stuffed camel from Duo. Duo was
delighted by a brand new pair of boots from Relena. The formal practice
outfit from Heero brightened Wufei's normally blank expression. Trowa
looked even more sheepish after receiving a carved set of bookends from
Quatre. And Relena burned red the moment she opened Trowa's gift, labeled
Victoria's Secret (TM).
Pagan's disapproving cough rattled across the room. Duo and Heero domino-ed
after Relena tackled the braided boy. Her gift was a shuttle ticket to
Greece to visit her brother and sister- in-law for New Years. Heero returned
the tackle shortly, despite the fact Duo sat between them. She'd given
him a new printer. Duo grinned maliciously, raising the practice sword
from Wufei out of its shredded wrappings. Heero sweatdropped. Dorothy
cried actual tears, discovering Catherine had made her a new dress --
just perfect for the opera.
Trowa's reaction was somewhat less dramatic, discovering she'd made him
a hat, mittens (lose-proof string attached) and bang-warmer. Catherine
smiled over her statue of back flipping clowns from Quatre, saying he'd
make a great brother-in-law. Quatre reddened. He thanked Heero profusely
for his vacation to Tahiti for two. Wufei was somewhat less thankful for
his copy of "An Idiot's Guide to Getting Laid." They dove into
the piles again, though not before an errant paper clip found its way
into Trowa's famous hair.
Dorothy began suspecting her fellows of conspiracy when Duo's present
turned out to be opera glasses. She accepted his hug. He was equally grateful
for Quatre's jade carving of a church, though his throat tightened slightly.
Relena squealed like a little girl, having just opened the pet carrier
from Heero. A sleepy puppy crawled out, having spent the last few hours
tranq-ed. He was immediatly taken out for a quick walk by Pagan. Heero
had a hard time breathing. Wufei and Trowa were given gift-certificates
to a music store by Dorothy. Quatre laughed at the carefully coiled escape
rope from Wufei, saying he'd use it well. Catherine happily found a whetstone
and polish in Duo's present. Heero received a sack of practical jokes
from Trowa, including one foot long plastic penis.
Said foot long, plastic penis bounced off Trowa's forehead and rolled
under the tree.
Quatre smiled over a potted plant from Dorothy. It would look great in
his office, the card said. Relena admired a new blouse and skirt from
Catherine, again hand-made. Heero regarded the carving of a labrador from
Quatre. He shared a secretive grin with the blonde. Dorothy immediately
began fiddling with a Zen garden from Wufei. He got up to show her what
the symbols along the sides meant. Trowa added another gift certificate
to his stack, this one from Relena for a speciality shop. Wufei's face
fell, discovering Catherine gift consisted of several packages of dried
soup. Just add hot water. Catherine immediatly donned soft, leather
gloves bestowed upon her by the Perfect Soldier. Duo caught Trowa in the
back of his head with the padded bras in his package.
The wrapping paper piled high around them (except for Wufei, of course,
who neatly stacked his). They were all grinning, all laughing. Carols
continued playing on the stereo, the conversation never died and it was
Christmas. Not a thing was wrong with the world. Even the foot long plastic
penis under the tree. Each took his or her last present, saluting their
friends with it.
Catherine received the last gag gift, several pairs of control top pantyhose
from her brother. Dorothy smiled at the porcelain scene from `Phantom
of the Opera', labeled in Quatre's neat calligraphy Yes, we planned
this. Relena immediately tried on the sapphire necklace (from Dorothy)
which matched the earrings Wufei had given her perfectly. Wufei picked
up the ancestral sword from his clan with a sense of awe, the look in
his eyes all the thanks Relena needed. Quatre rubbed a soft wool blanket
made by Catherine against his cheek. Trowa admired the lion-head ring
from Wufei; it was the same golden color (bottled or not) as Quatre's
Duo's eyes tripled in size when the tissue paper fell away from his last
gift, this one from Heero. A brand new leather jacket lay there, one that
-- upon testing -- fit him perfectly.
"I know you have one but-" Heero began.
"Are you kidding? I got that at a pawn shop! It's a wreck. But Heero,
c'mon this must have costed a fortune!"
He flung both arms around the Japanese boy and kissed him soundly, much
to Heero's surprise. His eyes opened wide, a warm blush spread down his
cheeks. He opened the last gift, his heaviest, by far.
Inside was a laptop, also brand new.
Heero returned that kiss and added many others, much to the entertainment
of the others.
They gathered around the doorway, some gifts in hand, all of Quatre's
statues carefully wrapped in discarded paper. Duo slipped his new jacket
on. Heero added his scarf to his wool coat. Trowa reluctantly put on his
mittens, hat and bang-warmer. Relena, wearing an cover-up now as the temperature
had dropped, hugged them all, thanking them for coming.
"No," Duo grinned his easy grin, "Thank you, milady."
"Want a ride?" Heero asked him, planting a chaste kiss on Relena's
cheek. Her puppy, named Pepper after his dark color, lay collapsed in
the leftover paper.
"Sure," They shared one last embrace beneath the mistletoe.
"I know a place we can go," Quatre purred in Trowa's ear.
"I can drive you home," Dorothy told Wufei. He somehow missed
Trowa's frantic mouthings of "Don't!"
Catherine sighed, "Some brother I have."
"You are, of course, welcome to stay here, " Relena smiled.
The red- head nodded finally.
She walked her guests out to the vehicles. Somehow, a ball of snow found
its way into her hand. The blonde smiled again, this time for the stars
glittering above. She caught Trowa in the face with the loosely packed
projectile. Of course, this meant a return fire...
The neighbors thought it odd there were groups of children chasing each
other around the Dorlian's yard with snowballs. Each could've sworn all
of their children were grown. They didn't complain, though, remembering
their own antics in the snow in years past. The eight of them played far
past midnight, their only chaperones an elderly butler and puppy who remained
And they all lived happily ever after.
[back to Lyssira's fic]