Author: Merula
see part 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer

Reckless + Part 3

Quatre and Trowa were standing on my doorstep. "Uh, good morning guys."

"Morning Duo," Trowa replied. "We brought your car back." My car? Ah right- I had left it at Quatre's. He tossed me the keys and grinned. "I'm off work today, I'll see you tomorrow, all right?" I raised an eyebrow at him.

"You aren't scheduled?"

"I'm taking the day off."

"That's a first. You must have tons of vacation piled up." I grinned at him. "Why today?" Trowa tilted his head towards Quatre and grinned. The meaning was unmistakable. I grinned back and Quatre blushed.

"See ya Duo."

"See ya Trowa, Quatre. Have fun."

The sight of the two of them going off to spend the day together was enough to get me into my car and headed towards work. It was about time, I thought to myself happily.

I made it to work with minutes to spare and spent most of my morning typing up a report for our good commander. Like I said, avoidance is an art form. I was interrupted when Sally called for me to come up to medical.

"It's really fine," I protested as she tugged the bandages off my arm.

"Uh huh," she muttered, her eyes examining the wound closely.

"It doesn't really hurt," I tried and she poked me gently with her finger right near the exit point and I winced.

"Uh huh," she said again. "You're off fieldwork for a week at least."

"What?" I protested.

"Don't argue with me Duo," she rebandaged my arm. "Or I'll make it two. You need to let this heal."

"Oh all right," I conceded, knowing that Une would gleefully follow whatever Sally recommended.

"Right. I want to see you back here in a few days to check your progress."

"Yes ma'am." She smiled then and tugged the end of my braid.

"I'm glad you made it back to us Duo. Now scat. I have work to do."

I turned in my report and at least managed to get Une to assign me a net scam assignment. It wasn't much, but it beat being sent to records for the next few days to file paperwork. I picked up the file I needed and retreated to my office to study it. I was halfway through when someone tapped on the doorframe. I looked up to find Heero there.

"Yuy," I greeted, my brain still focused on the file.

"Where's Trowa?"

"He took the day off." Heero blinked and I smiled. "He's out with Quatre."

"Ah," understanding flickered in his eyes. "Lunch?"

"Okay." I closed the file and stood up.

"How's your arm?" He asked me as we went down the hall.

"It's fine, but of course Sally won't let me back in the field for a week." I complained.

"Good. Maybe you'll be more careful next time."

"Hey!" I made a face at him. "I wasn't trying to get shot you know! I really was being careful." The elevator doors slid open and we stepped inside. I was proud of myself so far. Despite knowing that Heero had read my confession, he wasn't treating me any differently than usual and I was able to treat him the same too. Maybe he just wanted to forget it. That thought hurt like a razor slash, but then I reminded myself that I did NOT want to lose my best friend. Nor did I want to die. Better to simply pretend it had never happened. Right?

"Hn." The doors slid shut and Heero looked over to meet my gaze. We were alone in the elevator. For some reason I started to get nervous.

"Wufei meeting us there?"

"I hacked into the security system," he replied and I blinked.

"What? Uh, why?" He gestured toward the camera in the corner and I realized how close he was standing to me.

"So this won't be recorded." Ah, shit. He was going to kill me. In the middle of Preventers headquarters no less. I backed myself into the wall.

"Uh, please don't kill me?"

"Baka." Heero stepped closer, neatly pinning me to the wall. Where the hell were the other people who should be using this elevator? Heero reached out and took a firm hold of my braid, his eyes glinting. I was dead. This was it. He was going to kill me.

"I'm really sorry, Heero!" I blurted out. "You weren't supposed to read it until..."

"Until you were dead." He finished flatly. Oh Christ. So he was just abiding by my terms? "I'm a bit upset by that, Duo." He might have just said that he was in a killing rage- that was a bit upset for Heero.

"I'm really, really sorry," I tried again. Why was this the only line my brain was supplying? Where's my goddamn gift of gab when I need it? Why the hell weren't we at the right floor yet?

"You had better be." Heero moved closer until our foreheads were touching and all I could see were those steely blue eyes. I wanted to close my eyes, I wanted to try and push him away. But his eyes pinned me in place like a rabbit in a snare.

"I am! Really! I'll do anything..."

"Really?"

"Yes!"

"Good." Heero released me. "You'll be at my apartment at 6 then. Tonight." He stepped away just as the doors slid open. There was a crowd waiting by the elevator. He stepped out and turned to look at me. "Aren't you coming Duo? Wufei and Sally are waiting." I followed him into the cafeteria, heart pounding in my throat. What the hell was going on?

Lunch was... normal. As if that little incident in the elevator had never happened. I listened to Wufei and Sally discuss their wedding plans- okay so Sally talked and Wufei grunted- but that was normal. I explained to Sally where Trowa was, and agreed with her assessment that it was 'about damn time'. Wufei and Heero wrangled over who had misfiled the paperwork on their last mission. Like I said- normal stuff. Heero didn't even so much as glare at me. If he was trying to psych me out- it was working. I left lunch early and headed back upstairs to work. I had to focus on my case- not on the fact that Heero was more than likely planning something awful for me.

Just as I was packing my things up for the day, Wufei leaned in the door. "Can you drive home okay, Maxwell? Sally was a bit concerned about your arm."

"She's just over-reacting," I grinned at him. "I got here okay, right?" My arm was aching a little, but it wasn't bad yet. "Besides, I only need one hand to drive."

"All right," Wufei gave me a small wave. "See you tomorrow." He vanished and was replaced by Heero. I was given an appraising look.

"Your arm hurts."

"It's really okay." I protested automatically then almost slapped myself. I had just given up my best excuse to get out of tonight.

"I'll come to you. Six." And he was gone. Okay, so he wouldn't let me off the hook either way. I looked at the clock. An hour left.

I went home and did my normal things. Changed out of my uniform and into jeans and a t-shirt. Fed and played with my cat. Checked my email. Wondered what in the hell was going to happen when Heero showed up. At 5:50, my phone rang.

"Maxwell here."

"It's Trowa."

"Hey man!" I grinned. "How was your day?"

"Well, it's the old good news/bad news thing."

"Oh?" At that moment there was a knock on my door. "Hold on," I went and opened the door, phone cradled next to my cheek. Heero stood there, unarmed as far as I could tell. He walked in and I gestured for him to sit down. "Okay, so what's the good news?" I said into the phone. Heero raised an eyebrow at me and I mouthed 'Trowa' at him.

"Quatre and I decided to try and make this work."

"Great!" I crowed. "What's the bad news?"

"He has to move around all the time, so..." I knew where this was going.

"So you're leaving the Preventers," I finished for him.

"I'm sorry Duo," he sounded upset.

"It's all right, Tro, honestly. I'm happy for you, I really am."

"But then you're left without a partner..."

"I'll be fine. I'm sure Une will let me solo for awhile."

"That's not a great idea..."

"Ah, c'mon. I'll be fine." I made some more reassuring noises at him and hung up.

"So Trowa is leaving the Preventers?" Heero asked from his place on my sofa.

"Yep," I said, still hovering nervously by the phone. Heero seemed calm- maybe he just wanted to talk to me? But when had 'calm' ever been a good indicator with the Perfect Soldier?

"Duo, come sit." Heero said firmly and I went to sit on the opposite end of the couch. Heero regarded me thoughtfully. "Will it help if I tell you that I'm not going to hurt you?"

"You aren't?" Surprise, surprise.

"No. I am upset with you, but I won't hurt you. All right?"

"Okay," I responded and relaxed a bit. "Isn't that good news about Trowa and Quatre?" Maybe I could keep him off the subject. He frowned at me, recognizing the ploy.

"Good for Trowa, bad for you- maybe."

"Maybe?" Heero had narrowed his eyes at me.

"Did you know Sally wants to get back into field work?" Huh? That was a non sequitur if I ever heard one.

"Wufei would have a cow."

"Not if he was her partner."

"What about you?"

"I'd be yours." I blinked.

"You'd want to be?" Heero closed his eyes for a moment.

"Of course, baka. You know that I'd want someone I could trust at my back, and you need someone to watch yours."

"Hey! I promised I'd be careful."

"And you will be, with me watching you." Well, this wasn't the way I had seen the evening's conversation progressing, but I wasn't displeased either. "I will inform Chang and the Commander, though I'm sure Une's already thought of it with Trowa's resignation and Sally's request on her desk."

"You'd really want me as your partner?" I asked again, without meaning to, and mentally kicked myself. Heero merely raised his eyebrows at me, his patented 'you're being a baka' look. "Okay then. Thanks Heero. I do appreciate this- I don't like working by myself."

"I know. And since I'm doing this for you, you can do some things for me." Easy enough- maybe.

"What are they?" Heero reached out and grabbed my arm.

"First, explain to me why you wrote that letter." He knows me too well. I couldn't run with his grip on my arm. I wanted to lie, say it was a joke, but I couldn't. I don't lie. Sighing in resignation, I closed my eyes.

"I wrote it- wrote all of them, because I didn't want to die never having said any of it."

"Why wait until you were dead to tell us those things?" I opened my eyes, feeling my face turn red.

"Heero, c'mon! If I told Wufei how much I admired him he'd either shrug it off or think I was hitting on him or something. Okay, Quatre and Trowa would probably listen, but I'd still be really embarrassed. Hilde would think I was interested in her that way again and after all the convincing I had to do to make her think I wasn't in the first place I wouldn't want to do that again. Howard would just kind of wave a hand and blow it off as nothing he wouldn't do for anyone else. I figured if I was dead, you'd all take me seriously at least."

"Hn." Heero's all-purpose comment. "And me?"

"I figured you'd kill me, or I'd lose my best friend." I replied honestly.

"I'm not going to kill you, and I'm still your best friend." His grip tightened slightly.

"Really?"

"Yes, really. Why is that so surprising?"

"I honestly didn't think you'd take it this well."

"Why not?" I just gaped at him. His mouth quirked in a faint smile and he glanced at his watch. "We need to go or we're going to be late for the next thing you are going to do for me." He got to his feet and pulled me up with him.

"Where are we going?"

"Relena wanted me to meet her tonight at a coffee place." He tugged me out the door and down the stairs.

"And why are you bringing me?"

"You're my partner. I need backup."

"I wasn't your partner this afternoon..." I got in his car.

"True, but you are the backup I need."

"I am?" Heero started the car. "How is that?" He sighed and shot me a dark glance.

"Look Duo, she is driving me crazy. She calls me at home, at work, on the cell. She asks me out all the time and I can't always think of a good excuse."

"Dr. J didn't put declining invites from pretty blondes in your training?"

"I wish he had. You should've let me shoot her that night, Duo."

"It's that bad?" I was surprised. I knew Relena called Heero a lot- Wufei always teased him about it, but I didn't know he disliked it.

"Worse." The word was bitten out and I felt a surge of guilt. I should've noticed how much this was bothering him.

"You should've said something before- I'd have gladly helped you out." Yeah, I owed him now, but I still would've done it before if he'd asked. "Do you have a plan, or am I going along to run interference?" Heero flushed a bit.

"I was hoping you could convince her that we're involved." I sat in stunned silence for a moment.

"What?" Maybe I heard him wrong.

"If she thinks we're together, she might leave me alone." Nope. Heard him right the first time.

"You want me to pretend that you and I...?"

"Yes."

"Why me?" I paused. "Wait- because I can do it convincingly?" I think I was mad. No. I know I was.

"Yes and no," Heero replied calmly. "I know you would be convincing- because you wouldn't be lying about your feelings." His voice dropped and he added softly: "But, you're also the only one I trust and feel comfortable enough with to ask to do this with me." That sentence made me bite back my first response.

"Ah..." I thought about that for a while. Heero pulled up next to the coffee shop and parked the car.

"I am sorry, Duo, but I can't think of anything else!" That made me blink. "I've run through numerous scenarios, tried to dissuade her in many ways but she still doesn't give up!" The frustration and anger in his voice was obvious. "At this point I'm ready to just shoot myself in front of that god-awful pink palace of hers- but then she'd claim that I did it 'for' her or something!" I reached out a hand and placed it on his shoulder.

"I'll help you," I said quickly- I had no idea it had gotten this bad. "Are you sure you can do this, Heero? We're going to have to be damn convincing. I mean, this is Relena. I'm going to have to have to practically be in your lap if she's as dense as you say." He pulled the keys out of the ignition and leaned across my seat. His hand reached out and grabbed my braid as he pulled me into a light kiss that managed to overload my senses.

"I think that I can manage," he said after he released me.

"Uh..yeah..." His mouth quirked into a grin at my speechlessness.

"She's waiting."

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