Rated PG-13 for a really silly story line, a tendency to 1x2, and a rather
stomach-churning suggestion in the next chapter
Disclaimer: Do you have to make me repeat it? It's bad enough I don't
own them and make no money off of them and have no rights over them whatsoever,
do you have to make me sing it as well?
Talk about singing, I don't own anything to do with Simon and Garfunkel's
50 Ways to Leave Your Lover (yeah, chill man, I know she's not your lover
- "THANK you!")
Ways To Leave Your Lover ("But she's NOT my lover!")
"Buddy!" Duo shouted as he
burst through the door. He grinned at the gun that had jumped towards
his head. "Wow, major flashback. Just like old times, uh?"
Heero stared at him for a second then twitched the gun away. "Duo?"
"The one and only Shinigami, partner." Man, Qat' was right, you do look
terrible, Duo added mentally. But wasn't about to say it while the gun
was still waving around.
Heero was standing in the middle of his spartan office, staring at his
erstwhile partner with eyes a bit wide, the only sign of surprise at seeing
him after nearly a year without much more than the occasional e-mail.
Heero looked very tired, slightly disheveled in his black Preventer's
uniform, and very, very edgy, Duo noticed, since he'd apparently completely
forgot about the cannon still loosely pointed at him. Or maybe he was
remembering all the pranks Duo had played on him during the war. Duo's
grin tried to become even more disarming. It was tickling his ears now.
"So, how's life?" Please don't kill me.
"What- what are you doing here?" The gun was finally lowered.
"I need an excuse to see my old war partner?"
"No, no, I guess not... I'm... sorry."
Duo went and leaned quickly against the desk in case he fell down. "Say
"I'm sorry I never came to see you on L2. You kept inviting me this past
year but... things are complicated here."
"Really? Do tell." Duo sighed. He didn't really want to hear about it,
which was why he'd never tried to come and see Heero either. From the
sound of things, the amount of sugar in Heero's romance was enough to
give cavities to every street rat on L2. But seeing Heero so... so worn
and disarmed, and actually apologizing for something...
The phone rang.
Heero had his gun pointing at it in a flash. Ok, disarmed was probably
not the right word.
Duo had been working for Hilde (aka the Slave Driver) for the past year
and had picked up some automatic reactions to phones ringing, especially
when he was being distracted by men waving guns around. His hand snaked
to the phone without conscious volition.
Duo winced. He made an ‘oops sorry' with his lips. "Sorry, say again?"
He said into the phone.
"Relena? Is that you? Hey, Duo Maxwell here, long time no-... er, he's-"
"I'm not here! I've not been here all morning!'
"Erm lemme check-" Duo hedged. He mouthed ‘I don't lie!' but Heero had
continued his furious hiss.
"I'm nowhere in the building! I don't have my cell or pager, I don't
I don't exist, ok?!"
Duo's mouth hung open for a few seconds until several sharp questions
from the phone brought him back.
"Erm, ‘Lena, sorry, he can't come to the phone right now, he's, er, having
some sort of existential crisis. Call back later, ‘K?"
He hung up neatly without waiting for an answer and was faced with a furious
scowl that made the end of his bangs frizzle.
With a snarl Heero leapt for the phone and punched a number (instead of
Duo, for which the later was thankful).
"Une, code R."
*Oh god not again.*
"I'm leaving while I can."
*(Sigh) OK, see you tomorrow.*
Duo stared at Heero's back and ran after him before the door quite managed
"Whoa, what's up, problems with the missus?"
Heero glanced at him as he walked swiftly down the hallway. "No, for former
enemies, Une and I work well together."
"I meant with the sweetie-pie. Relena." He added as Heero looked at him
Soldier-boy has not lost any reflexes, Duo thought, dazed, as he realized
he was suddenly up against a wall, with his head ringing slightly and
Heero shaking him by the trademark black shirt.
"She's not my swee- my lover!"
Duo was left staring at Heero's back again, and barely managed to follow
him as he dodged down a fire escape.
And so the whole story came out...
"She's stalking you?"
"Yes, she spends every minute she's not working trying to ‘be with me'.
She's not allowed in the Preventer buildings, and she doesn't always know
where I am, but when she finds out she starts trying to follow me. Hopefully
she doesn't have one of her people on the back alley of the building.
She has a whole team of aides to keep an eye on me." They'd landed on
the ground after running down the fire-escape. Duo's head was spinning,
and not only from the long, corkscrew stairs down. Not lovers! He'd been
avoiding them for a year, based on all the rumors, and they weren't...
"But you're still her bodyguard."
"Hn. Head of security now. Well, that's not too bad actually, she's all
business while she's working. The problem is that I'm always in the same
town and often in the same hotel, if I can't sleep at the local Preventer
HQ. Makes her hard to avoid."
"Can't Une post you to Mars or something?"
"Relena has a lot of swing in politics, and has made various threats.
Like giving it all up to follow me if I leave."
"The thing is, Une has decided there's only so much we can do about this.
Relena is central to a lot of peace movements and deals. She needs to
stay in politics. And keep her image intact."
"But this is weird, man!"
"Her whole family was killed, she saw her foster father die, she's been
a prisoner and threatened several times, she's been in the midst of many
battles and has survived a war... Une says that if her obsession with
me is the only way her trauma is expressed, it's a small price to pay."
"Well that's damn easy for Une to say, you're the one paying it!"
"That's what I said. So she reminded me about the war-crimes tribunal."
"What war-crimes tribunal?"
"Oh, she so can't hold your
war record over your head!"
"I thought that was pretty ironic too, coming from her, but there you
go. Until Relena gets tired of chasing me, I'm just going to have to stick
Heero dodged out of sight as two people,
a man and women in business suits, circled the
building looking around. Duo had wondered if the pressure had made the perfect
soldier paranoid, but he was starting to reconsider. They did look like they
were searching for someone.
"So you have to leave your lover-"
"She's not my lover!"
you have to get Relena to give up on you. That
shouldn't be hard." Considering you're as friendly as a scorpion and about ten
times as deadly. "Did you talk to her about it?"
"Duo, do you even know the meaning
of the word ‘obsession'? I know it's got more than two syllables, but-"
"Hey, be nice now, I'm trying to
"Help?" Heero was
walking swiftly down the crowded streets. People moved out of the way or
sometimes dived for the street or into dumpsters- at the sight of his scowl.
Duo was following, dodging the people who'd let his friend pass, as well as
parked cars, traffic signs, mailboxes, hydrants and occasionally the gutter,
trying to keep level with Heero.
"You can't help, Duo. No one can
"We could have at least tried, if
you told us what the problem was! Everybody thinks you two are an item! They
think it's sweet the way you two are always together!" Heero
winced. "Quatre mentioned you looked a bit peaky and might
be having girl troubles, that's why I wondered if you were really having a fairy-tale
romance. I didn't imagine I'd wander into a stalker horror flick when I came
here though! So I gather you talked to her?"
"I talked to her, I talked to her
friends, I talked to her foster mother she feels very sorry for me by the way-
I tried everything."
"Well did you try writing her a
"A letter? I told her to her face I want
nothing to do with her, why would-"
"A letter makes you sound colder,
less defensive, and it's harder to work your own interpretation into it when
it's there in front of your face, instead of in one ear and out the other."
"I wrote her an e-mail."
"Hmm, let me guess. I'll kill you?"
"Yeah, except that one bounced off
the security program I'd installed on her e-mail server to scan for death
threats. So I sent a second, longer one."
"'Leave me alone, or else'."
"Yeeees. Ok, what about the green-eyed monster?"
"Her eyes are blue."
how about telling her you already have a girlfriend?"
"She knows every inch of my life,
she wouldn't buy it."
"How about pickin'
up a little fling then, nothing serious but-"
"Baka! I already have two crazy women after me, I don't need-"
secretary at HQ, Carol, Karin, something."
"How do you know-"
"She comes by ten times a day asking
me if I want coffee!"
"Maybe she just wants to know if you
"I don't DRINK coffee. And yes I
have told her that!"
"What after-shave do you use?"
"Why, is this some other kind of
"No, no reason... Ok, what is Relena most scared of?"
"Not me, that's for certain."
"Scandal! She likes her little image of queen
of the world."
"So make a big scene in some public
"I don't like making a display of
"Yeah but I'm starting to think you
like Relena a whole lot less."
"... A big scene, like... breaking a table in a restaurant with my fists?"
"(Sigh.) Yeah, I guess that might
work. You can throw in a lot of yelling too."
"There certainly was a lot of
yelling, though I didn't stick around for it."
"Restaurant. Political rally.
Ran out of chairs."
"... and so you broke
a table?" Damn,
his temper has not improved!
"She tried to sit on my lap. I swear
Duo that if that smile actually reaches your lips, I'll break your spine as
easily as that goddamn table."
"OK, time for the big guns. Lemme see. I know it's a bit extreme, but... "
"Well, you could tell her you're, erm, now remember, this is just a ruse, so don't kill me,
but maybe you can tell her you're gay?"
"I am gay."
Heero turned back with a snarl and a
glare at a recumbent Duo, and then he glanced at the Stop sign still vibrating
under the shock of the full frontal tackle the braided man had involuntarily
subjected it to.
"Look where you're going, baka! We need to keep moving! She'll be circling the
streets around the building by now."
"Yes I told her that too, and she
said that love shouldn't be a matter of gender. I told her in my case it was,
and she said that I was a bigot and she would help me get past that."
"Man... you er
you really are-"
"Any other bright
won't get me a sentence for first degree?"
"So are you seeing someone?"
"I don't think that would work; if I
rub her nose in my relationship that would just make her jealous as well as
"... so you ARE seeing someone-"
"-and I refuse to subject anybody to
that kind of stress."
"So you're NOT seeing someone."
"How can I see someone when I can't
go anywhere without running into her or one of her people? I spend my time
ducking behind cover instead of making acquaintances! And I refuse to get
interested in anyone I work with. I've got enough problems. Any
other bright ideas?"
"... I'm sorry my head is still
spinning... You tried a restraining order?"
"I wanted to. But Une buried that before it could fly, because of the
"OK too extreme. Did you try
sleeping with her?"
Duo slammed into a rigid,
well-muscled back as Heero screeched to a halt.
"Well you know, some girls, they
call it romance but really when you get down to it they lose interest after the
point is reached and-"
Old stony-face actually looked
nauseous. "... maybe I could fake my death... we have a witness relocation
"Let's not panic yet. Have you tried
developing a habit she finds repulsive?"
"Like, for instance, being a
terrorist?" Heero started walking again, his scowl
acting like a cattle-prod to the people on the streets who were foolish enough
to get in his way.
"... OK yeah. Well actually, no, you
see, that's something she thinks she can ‘save' you from, in her romantic
"Maybe if you stopped taking a
shower for a few weeks-"
"It wouldn't work."
"I'm almost afraid to ask how you
"I ran into her just as I was coming
back from my last undercover mission. My clothes were in tatters, I hadn't
washed for a week, hadn't slept in three days, hadn't eaten in two, and I'd
just slogged through a sewer."
"... What did she say?"
"That she understood why I neglected
myself, that it was obvious I didn't take care of
myself when she wasn't around, that she would take care of me from now on. And
that she'd got Une to agree to no longer let me take
"... I'm surprised you didn't clock her
"She forgave me."
"I've known tattoos that were easier
to shake off."
Duo looked at his friend as they
dodged down an alley, across a street and into a small park.
"Right, well, time for the Extreme
Measure I guess."
finally slowed and glanced around suspiciously. No one was around. He relaxed a
fraction and leaned back against a planter. He didn't have much hope for Duo's
extreme measure, despite the capitalization, but he was willing to listen. It
was nice to see him again. Just listening to Duo somehow lifted his spirits,
though this wouldn't be visible on the perfect soldier's face.
He'd... missed the baka. He would have liked to visit him on L2, especially
after he'd heard that he was only employed by Hilde and not-... but that
would have been complicated, since Relena would have followed him and...
"So what's the extreme- sorry, Extreme Measure?"
Duo was uncharacteristically serious, eyes resolute, jaw firm, shoulders
squared. He looked like he'd been handed a particularly arduous mission,
one that would cost him both physically and mentally. Heero felt a touch
of sudden anxiety.
"First, you're gonna promise me not to kill me for any part of
"Very well." How could it be worse than what he was going through with
Relena on a daily basis?
On the face of it, it certainly was. Heero found himself flexing his hand
on his gun at several points during Duo's explanation.
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