Usual Disclaimer: Don't own Gundam Wing.
For those of you that have read my fic 'Deliveryman' this Duo is going
to sound familiar. What can I say? I like writing from Duo's POV. (Whew,
what does that say about me??) Yes, I have other fics written from Heero
and Quatre's POV, but I'm a little worried about posting those.
+ Part 1
I sighed as I studied the plans
in front of me. Of course the damn building had to have a ventilation
system that looked like a huge maze. My partner caught the sigh and looked
up at me through his bangs.
"I'll be lucky to get out of this place in the time required," I told
"You'd better get out of that place in the time required," he told me
matter of factly. "Or have you forgotten the rest of the assignment?"
"How does guarding Quatre have anything to do with a sneak assignment?"
I raised my eyebrows and Trowa chuckled at me.
"Because if you aren't back, he's going to come looking for you." I groaned.
"He'd damn well better not, Barton. Your job is to keep him in one piece."
I tossed the plans down on the desk. "I still can't get over that someone
is trying to take out Quatre!" My partner shrugged. He had lightened up
considerably after the war and during our years as partners in the Preventers,
but he still didn't talk much. Which made him a good match for me, since
I talked all the time.
"Winner Industries is high profile," Trowa pointed out.
"I know. I know." I waved my hand in the air. "Are all the other arrangements
"Almost," Trowa bent over his keyboard again and I picked up the damned
blueprint again. We worked silently, caught up in making sure that this
assignment would go smoothly. I nearly leaped out of my skin when Wufei
leaned in the door and said my name.
"Jeez, Chang! Don't do that!"
"I was getting worried," Wufei raised an eyebrow. "It was too quiet in
"Maybe Barton's finally rubbing off on Maxwell," Wufei's partner quipped
as he entered the room.
"Shove it Yuy." I mock-frowned at him. He smirked back at me.
"When do you leave?" Wufei asked.
"Tomorrow," Trowa answered, finally looking up from the keyboard. "I'm
finished over here, Duo."
"I'm going to be dreaming about this damn thing." I frowned at the blueprint
in my hands. Heero leaned over my shoulder to study it.
"That looks more like a maze than a ventilation system." He stated flatly.
"I know it." I looked up at him and grinned. "If I don't come back, you'll
take care of my cat, right?" He smacked the back of my head lightly.
"Don't joke like that."
"Well then," Wufei changed the subject smoothly. "If you are free, come
have lunch with us. That was why we stopped by in the first place." I
looked at Trowa and he nodded at me.
"All right." I rose to my feet, rolling up the blueprint.
We walked through the familiar hallways of the Preventers. Damn, had it
really been four years already since I joined up? I looked at the people
rushing around me, the familiar signs of chaos and grinned to myself.
I hadn't wanted to join the Preventers, I had wanted to go back to salvage.
But a month or two of the old life had shown me that I wasn't fit for
it anymore. When Trowa had come hunting me and asked me to join with him
I had been more than willing to say yes. He had tried going back to the
circus and it hadn't worked for him either. He had wanted a partner he
could trust at his back, and that had meant convincing either me or Quatre
to go back with him. Quatre was tied up in his father's business, so I
guess it hadn't been much of a choice.
Wufei and Heero of course had joined right up. They never faltered, never
seemed to have any doubts at all. Of course, time had changed my old friends
in some ways- most of them good. Wufei never complained about 'onnas'
anymore- Sally, Noin and Une would kill him if he did. Heero had actually
developed a sense of humor, which was pretty damn amazing. They both were
a lot more fun to be around and hardly ever threatened to kill me anymore.
I almost missed it sometimes.
As we stood in the elevator I caught Heero's eye. He was frowning at me.
"What? I haven't done anything bad today- honest!" I protested. The frown
lightened a bit.
"Is something wrong?" He asked me.
"Yeah, Maxwell, you do seem a bit quiet today," Wufei added. "Is something
"No, just thinking." I smiled for them. "That building is going to give
me some trouble."
"Can you handle it?" Heero asked as the doors slid open.
"Hey now, Yuy, of course I can! Aren't I the stealth expert?" I smiled
wider. He scowled at me. We entered the cafeteria and got our food, retreating
to a table in the corner. It was funny how we still did that- found a
strategic place to sit, arranged our offices so that no one had their
back to the door. The doctors had been pretty through in their training.
"So, the Commander managed to get two assignments out of you for this
run?" Wufei asked as we sat down.
"Yeah. Rashid filed for extra security for Quatre, since he's working
on some government contract for L4. I guess there have been a few attempts
made on him already. Amateur, and nothing that he or the Magunacs couldn't
handle, but better safe than sorry." I replied. "And of course, there
just so happens to be some kind of drug ring headquartered near L4 that
the locals want the Preventers to look at."
"Take out?" Heero asked.
"No. Recon. Apparently it's guarded pretty heavily, and since it's on
a private satellite we need real solid proof to go in there officially."
"What if you get caught?" Wufei asked.
"I'm just a too-curious Preventer who went without permission, of course,"
I replied with a lifted eyebrow.
"Which means no backup," Heero pointed out.
"Exactly." I shrugged. "Relax Yuy, I used to do this kind of thing all
the time with no backup." Heero exchanged a look with Trowa and they both
looked at Wufei. Something was up. "What?"
"Duo," Wufei leaned over the table and I blinked at his use of my first
name. "We've been a bit worried about you lately."
"You've- been a bit reckless." I raised both my eyebrows. This was just-
weird. Complaining about me being reckless? Wasn't that the whole reason
I had been chosen as a pilot in the first place? Just like they had?
"What? Like how?"
"The car chase you stopped by pulling your vehicle in front of the perps."
Wufei said dryly. "I'm still amazed you walked away from that one."
"The drug dealer you chased down without waiting for me," Trowa pitched
"The black market gun dealer you held up with his own guns?" Heero pointed
"Not to mention the suicide squad on L2 that you stopped from taking out
the consulate building. How did you manage to remove 50 pounds of C4 hardwired
to explode if tampered with?" Wufei added.
"The minesweeper operation..." Trowa continued.
"And that was just so far this year. Shall we go back farther?" Heero
asked. I raised my hands in surrender.
"Okay, okay, I get it." I hadn't thought I was being reckless, just doing
my job. But maybe to them it had looked a bit reckless- they'd all changed
since the war. Maybe I hadn't?
"We just want you to be careful," Wufei studied me intently. "We're a
little- concerned." He hesitated over the last word and I finally realized
what they were getting at.
"Relax guys. I don't have a death wish or anything." I tried to be reassuring.
"Maybe it's you." They tensed. Okay, that was not the right way to start
"Us?" Heero's eyebrow matched Wufei's, Trowa frowned and I swallowed.
In for a penny...
"Well think about it," I said. "You all have things that are more important
to you than this job, right? I don't. So, I may look reckless to you,
but really I'm not." It made sense to me.
"Duo," Trowa shook his head at me.
"Look, once you get something that's more important to you, something
to live for, you become more cautious, right? During the war none of us
had anything to live for. We were all reckless. I wasn't the only one
who hit that self-destruct button." I spread my hands with a glance at
Heero. "Since then, you've all found the things that are important enough
to live for. Trowa has found his sister, Wufei has found Sally, Heero
"If the word 'Relena' crosses your lips, I'll kill you." Heero looked
angry- not a good sign.
"Uh yeah." I moved away a little from Heero. "The peace to protect. So
you've all gotten more cautious. I just seem reckless by comparison."
I was proud of my reasoning. But then, I was expecting them to be reasonable
in return. Yeah, it was stupid of me, I admit it.
"You don't have anything to live for?" Heero snarled at me.
"Duo Maxwell, you are an idiot." Trowa snapped at the same time. Wufei
"Whoa!" Okay, I had obviously managed to piss off all three of them at
once. Hadn't done that for a while! "Maybe I'm not explaining this well
enough. Let me start over." I paused and rubbed my forehead wondering
what in the hell to tell them. When in doubt- stick with the simple stuff.
"Look, I'm sorry I've been scaring you. I didn't realize it. I promise
to be more careful, okay?"
"Swear it, Maxwell," Wufei leaned over the table.
"I swear it, Chang. Okay?" He sat back, still frowning. It was with relief
that I saw Sally bringing her tray over to join us. I smiled and waved,
welcoming her as the much needed diversion she was.
After lunch, Trowa went to the supply office to check out our 'toys' with
Wufei and Sally. I headed back upstairs with Heero. He's not the most
chatty of guys in the best of times and I didn't feel like trying, so
the ride was silent until we were almost at our floor.
"Do you really have nothing to live for?" Heero said into the silence.
"I didn't mean it quite that way, I guess. More like no one to leave behind?"
I ran my hand through my bangs. "Ah, hell. That doesn't quite sound right
"It shouldn't, as you would be leaving all of us behind." Heero shook
his head. "Baka."
"I know, but-" I paused again. Heero's hand clamped down on my arm. Hard.
"No," his eyes met mine, the blue turned to ice. "Don't devalue yourself."
"Uh- okay?" His eyes softened slightly and he let go.
"Hn." The doors opened. "Let's go see how well you memorized the blueprints."
"Oh no, not one of your little quizzes, Yuy! We're not in high school
anymore!" I protested as I followed him to my office. Not that I minded.
Having Heero quiz me on the building would definitely help.
The rest of the day flew by. Trowa returned with our equipment and we
went to one last final debriefing with Commander Une. I promised to pick
my partner up nice and early the next morning. Heero had reluctantly agreed
to watch my cat, so I made sure to give him a set of my keys before I
That night I updated my files, making sure that my 'last words' files
were complete. It sounds morbid I know, but hey, being Shinigami, I'm
a little type A about being prepared for death. My last will and all that
had been completed only a few months after I joined the Preventers. My
'last words' file was exactly that. I had created little files for each
one of my friends- the guys, Hilde, Howard, and updated them occasionally.
Some parts were apologies, some parts were thank yous, some parts were
things I had always thought or felt, but never had the nerve to say. Funny,
huh, when you think about how much I talk, right?
In the letters, I told Wufei how much I respected him, Quatre how I had
always enjoyed his company, Trowa how much I had liked being his partner,
and Heero-- how much I loved him. Nothing that I could say to them face
to face without total embarrassment, or in Heero's case- getting shot
and/or losing my best friend. But the idea of dying without letting them
know how important they were to me was just wrong. As I was adding some
things to Howard's file, my phone rang.
"It's Yuy. Are you prepared for tomorrow?"
"All set," I replied cheerfully. It's kind of funny how Heero always calls
me right before I'm supposed to go out on something big like this. I guess
it's a habit he got into during the war. I don't mind- hey, it maybe the
last time I get to hear his voice. "Any last orders, 01?" He snorted.
"Just be careful 02. Remember your promise." I smiled.
"I doubt Trowa will let me forget." I looked at my computer thoughtfully.
"But, Heero, just in case something does happen to me- can you do me a
"I'll take that as a yes. If something does happen to me there's a file
on my computer I want you to print up and put the parts in the appropriate
"It's called 'last words'."
"Duo," he sounded angry.
"For goodness sakes, I've had it on my computer since the war. I just
realized that I never told anyone to check it, which is kind of stupid."
I took a deep breath. "So, will you?"
"Yes." I relaxed. If Heero said yes, then it would get done. He's the
best and most dependable friend I have. I needed to add that thought to
"Thanks man. I appreciate it." I laughed and changed the subject. "So,
what have you and Wufei got for the next few days?" We chatted for a few
more minutes before he hung up after reminding me one more time to be
I picked Trowa up on time and spent most of the ride going over the plans
we had for Quatre's security. He had managed to work with Rashid and fit
us in to the usual bodyguard routine without offending him. Trowa could
be very diplomatic at times.
"It sounds good Trowa. I'll be doing my run the last night out, so you'll
have Quatre all to yourself for a night." I gave him a wicked grin and
"Shut up Maxwell."
"Oh, so you aren't interested?" Trowa frowned at me and I laughed. "C'mon,
I have to tease you sometime and I can't do it with Quatre right there."
I knew how Trowa felt about Quatre- had known for years now. Trowa had
never told me, but he didn't have to, I knew the signs of pining after
someone you knew you couldn't have. Hell, I had been doing it for years
"Why do you have to tease me at all?' He asked as we got out of the car.
"It's what partners do," I told him cheerfully.
"Then I'll have to remember to tease you about Heero," he said blandly
and watched me choke.
"I know you Duo. Give me some credit." He was grinning as we mounted the
steps. I shook my head.
"Score one for Barton," I made an imaginary mark in the air. "As long
"No. I think I'm the only one who noticed." He rang the bell and grinned.
"So far..." He paused and waited. I mimed zipping my lips shut. He nodded
at our unspoken pact. Rashid opened the door and let us in.
Quatre greeted us warmly, as he always did, hugging both of us and exclaiming
how happy he was that we would be joining him. Then, in that lightening
quick way he had, the charm got turned off and he was all business. We
went over the bodyguard plan with him and he insisted on knowing why I
was not on the plan for the last night out.
"Preventer's business," I told him.
"Just recon. I'll be back in time to catch the shuttle home with you the
next morning." I tapped his schedule and he glanced at Trowa.
"Hopefully not," Trowa said smoothly. Quatre frowned slightly. He knew
us very well.
"I can free Trowa up to go with you," he said to me and I shook my head.
"No. I'll do better on my own. Don't worry about it. Let's concentrate
on getting you through this in one piece. Who do you think is responsible
for these attacks?" Subject changed, Quatre ran down his list of maybes
for us and I arranged to fax them to HQ. A few hours later we were on
the private shuttle to L4.
[part 2] [back to Merula's