authors: Mel & Christy

Key:
minor scene change (from person to person at the same place, someone waking up from a dream, etc): ----------
major scene change (at another place, some time later, etc): * * * * *
flashback starting or ending: ~*~*~*~
thoughts: *Tadah!*
electronics (phone, TV, intercom etc): <<Tadah!>>

Reunion + Part 2

Heero leaned forward over the table, cobalt blue eyes boring into Wufei's. "He was hiding from us."

Wufei sat frozen, face blank and cold, as his mind raced.

He runs, he hides, but he never lies...

"Why, 'Fei, I woulda done this a long time ago if I'd known you were such a good kisser."

"I don't want to be alone!"

"I lo-- I'll, uh, keep in touch, okay?"

Well, he called Trowa... once. Oh gods, Duo, I'm sorry!

Looking at Wufei's cold, uncaring mask, Heero snapped.

<<CRACK!>>

Wufei's chair went over backwards as pain exploded in his jaw; then Heero dove over the table, dragged him up by a fistful of his shirt, and slammed him into the wall.

"What the fuck did you think you were doing, Chang?!" he snarled, twisting his fistful of shirt and half-choking Wufei. "Even if you didn't give a damn about what happened to Duo, you knew he mattered to us! The least you could have done was tell us when you drove him away, so we'd know to go after him--"

"I DIDN'T KNOW!" Wufei screamed hoarsely.

Heero's grip loosened, just a fraction; Wufei choked, coughed and went on.

"I didn't know he'd broken off contact with you," he said quietly. "He was always closer to you three than me, even before I -- I screwed up. Hell, I thought--" He glanced up, saw Relena watching with her hands pressed to her mouth, and changed what he had been about to say. "I was sure he was keeping in touch with you all, just avoiding me. For all I knew, he'd asked you not to mention him to me." He laughed, a bitter, humourless sound. "I couldn't bring myself to ask you how he was, though gods know I wanted to... and you never brought him up, either. Did you?"

Heero glared and opened his mouth to reply, but Quatre beat him to it. "Wufei's right." Everyone turned to look at him, standing next to his chair; he twisted his hands together nervously, but continued. "From what you're saying, Wufei had reason to think that nothing was wrong when Duo didn't contact him, but none of us did... and we still let things slide for eight months. This... this is our fault too."

"Agreed," Trowa said quietly. "But I think we need to know what Wufei did to 'drive Duo away'."

"Yeah," Heero said, releasing Wufei's shirt slowly. "And tell it properly this time... none of that 'misunderstanding' shit."

Once they were all seated again, Wufei swallowed, wincing slightly at the pain from the rapidly swelling bruise. How can I say this?

"Go on," Heero growled.

Wufei licked dry lips, staring almost desperately around the room; then he looked directly at Quatre and just blurted it out.

"At your party for the end of the war... out on the balcony, right before you threw up... Duo kissed me." The next words seemed to stick in his throat, and he paused.

"And you reacted badly?" Trowa asked calmly.

"No! I-- I wanted to," Wufei confessed. "But I thought... Duo was drunk, and so was I, and he'd never said or done anything to make me think he might... anyway, I thought--" His eyes flicked to Heero and Relena and he stopped, blushing.

"Thought what?" Heero asked.

"It's not relevant."

"Yes it is, Chang, if it's got anything to do with what happened! No more keeping your mouth shut!"

"I thought he was... with you," Wufei muttered, looking away.

There was a long, uncomfortable pause.

"Well... they were together," Relena said quietly. "For a while."

Wufei stared at her, mouth open, astonished. Relena was blushing, but met his eyes steadily. "They were...?" he sputtered. "You knew... and you still...?"

"Duo explained it to me," she said, tipping her chin up, determined. "They... loved, yes, but not as lovers, exactly; as friends, and brothers, and... soldiers, I suppose. I had to think about it for a long time, to decide how I felt... but their relationship never threatened ours."

"It was... just a few times," Heero muttered, looking away; Relena covered his hand in hers and squeezed gently.

Trowa cleared his throat. "Returning to Wufei's story...? He kissed you. Then what?"

"A little later, in the study, things went... further." Wufei had his eyes closed now, refusing to look at anyone. Just say it and get it over with!

"How much further?"

"I. Don't. Know," he gritted out through clenched teeth.

"Oh, like you really expect us to believe that--"

"I told you, I was drunk!" Wufei yelled at Heero. "I can't remember! All I know is, I woke up on the sofa with Duo, both of us pretty well naked, I had no idea how far we'd got before we passed out, and I had no idea how to tell! Shit, it's not like I'd had a lot of practice--" He broke off, blushing even harder.

"Couldn't Duo tell?" Quatre put in.

There was a short pause as Wufei struggled with the tattered remnants of his pride. I've told them everything else... why balk at this one last thing? My honour's gone, so does face really matter?

"I don't know," he said quietly, for what felt like the hundredth time. "I panicked. I was terrified that he'd wake up and hate me, or be afraid of me, or... any number of things... so I did the most cowardly thing I've ever done in my life, and walked out while he slept. Then I avoided him, because I didn't have the courage to face him... and then he left, and I've never wanted anything in my life more than to beg him to stay but all I did was stand there like a fucking idiot and call him 'Maxwell'--"

Hot tears slid down his cheeks, and he tried to wipe them away with a shaking hand.

And I think the only thing that's kept me sane for the last eight months was the belief that Duo was out there somewhere doing fine, that at least he still had his friends, and now--

"-- and now I find out that he did mean it, it wasn't just the damn drinks, he was afraid I'd hate him if he let me know and it looks like that's exactly what I made him think, and I--"

-- I love him --

Relena stood, tears streaming down her face, and moved towards Wufei, but he waved her away and stood, trembling.

"I hope Duo's found someone else to love, because I sure as hell don't deserve him."

And he turned and walked out.

* * * * *

Lady Une looked up from her paperwork with a sigh as, for the second day in a row, the door to her office slammed back against the wall. Zechs and Noin skidded to a halt in front of her desk, panting.

"Lady Une!" Noin gasped, wide-eyed. "Please tell us this isn't true!"

Zechs held out a sheet of printout; Une peered at it. "Ah. That." She didn't have to read it -- the photo was unmistakable. "Unfortunately, it's accurate. Duo Maxwell is missing."

"Oh god... Excuse me, Lady Une, I've gotta go protect my Taurus!" Noin ran out.

"Er... yes." Zechs suddenly looked even more uncomfortable. "I, ah, might look in on my mobile suit as well..."

Une waved her hand dismissively, looking back down and picking up her pen. "Shoo. Shoo. Close the door as you leave."

As the door closed behind him, she began to hum quietly.

"On the first day of Maxwell, my enemy sent to me... white roses and stephanotis. On the second day of Maxwell, my enemy sent to me... hm. I wonder what he did to them? And do I get three panicked visitors tomorrow?"

- - - - - - -

Zechs skidded into the hangar and sighed in relief as he saw his mobile suit in pristine condition. Externally, anyway... I'd better run a few checks.

As he settled into his seat and activated the computers, his mind went back to the last time he'd encountered Duo's 'handiwork'...

~*~*~*~

"Sir! Sir! Tallgeese-- it's--"

"What is it, Otto?"

Otto looked pained. "You'd better see for yourself, sir."

Zechs stopped short just inside the hangar, staring aghast at his Gundam. Silly String dangled from every possible location, it was holding a banner that said 'DEATHSCYTHE ROCKS -- I SUCK!', and large bumper stickers had been plastered all over it. Slowly, he read his way down.

'MY MIND NOT ONLY WANDERS, IT SOMETIMES LEAVES COMPLETELY'

'I USED TO BE SCHIZOPHRENIC, BUT WE'RE OKAY NOW!'

'I SUFFER FROM OCCASIONAL DELUSIONS OF ADEQUACY'

'HAVING AN OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCE, BACK IN FIVE'

'WANTED: MEANINGFUL OVERNIGHT RELATIONSHIP' (Zechs thought it was a bit much putting that one on Tallgeese's *ahem* crotch.)

'NO SHRED OF EVIDENCE EXISTS TO SUPPORT THE IDEA THAT LIFE IS SERIOUS'

'I HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO PROCRASTINATE!'

And then, on the feet:

'GUNDAMS: CHLORINE IN THE GENE POOL' and 'MEDDLE NOT IN THE AFFAIRS OF GUNDAMS, FOR YOU TOO CAN GO *GISH*!'.

"Otto," Zechs murmured faintly, "please tell me that's red paint all over the floor."

"We think so, sir. It's not changing colour as it dries."

"Oh, good."

"Ah, sir... there's a packet on the seat inside. It's, ah, addressed to you."

As Zechs stepped into the open hatchway, ducking under 'BACK IN FIVE', he realised why Otto had been blushing faintly; the white envelope had 'To Sexy Zechsy!' scrawled across it. Scowling, he opened it.

Inside, there was a single sheet of paper and a disk; Zechs felt the first tremors of apprehension as he saw that the disk was labeled 'Sexy Zechsy Pics'.

Hey, Zechsy!
I had sooooo much fun getting these little
holiday snaps. You've got quite a bod! There's only one
more copy of this disk, and I haven't got it. Have fun
guessing who I gave it to!
Love ya,
Duo Maxwell. :-)
--P.S. If you're wondering why I gave you a
copy, well, I figured I had to give you something in
return for what I took!


"Otto," Zechs snapped as he climbed out of the cockpit, "have the mechanics start cleaning all this off. Alert the base commandant; tell him we've been infiltrated and I believe data has been stolen. Start the computer techs checking to see if he planted any viruses. And for God's sake, beef up security
in here!"

"Yes, sir!"

"I'll be in my quarters if you need me."

With the door safely locked behind him, Zechs slipped the disk into his computer and started his virus checker. As it worked its way through the files, he found himself fretting.

'Holiday snaps'. The only holiday I've taken recently was that weekend-- shit. There's a lot of files. Who could he have given the copy to?! Treize-sama? Otto? UNE?! General Septum-- no, hang on, he's dead. Phew!

The virus checker finished its run, and the first picture flashed up on the screen. And 'flashed' was a good word for it...

"MAAAAXWEEEEELLLLLL!"

~*~*~*~

Zechs shuddered. I never did find out who got the copy.

- - - - - - -

[cont]