Author: Kai Michi
Rating: PG-13 for language and allusions to violence
Pairings: None
Notes: No....
Warnings: Language? Long songfic
Spoilers: Up to that episode w/Heero and Duo at school Feedback: I am a fanfic author. I am paid in feedback, which I trade for small portions of ego. Please let me tell me the muses I can put some ego on the table tonight. ^__^


// lyrics //

Partners

"Class, I'd like to introduce you to our newest student, Duo Maxwell."

Heero frowned as the new boy made his way to the front of the room. He had large violet eyes, a sweet, round, innocent face, small shoulders and narrow hips, an overall slender build, multi-hued mahogany hair weaved into a simple three-strand braid and a smile so bright it made his eyes sparkle with light. He was unmistakable. It was the pilot that he had encountered in his first days Earthside.

// Disarm you with a smile //


Heero scowled. Putting two of them in the same place was dangerous, and surely he and the doctor would have to talk. For the time being though, he turned his attention back to the boy, and the teacher, who was talking.

"Recently moved from the colonies? We just got another student from the colonies, Heero Yuy." She nodded in Heero's direction. "Perhaps you know each other?"

Duo turned obediently towards Heero, gave him a slight appraisal, then turned sweet, innocent eyes towards the young teacher. "No, ma'am. We've never met. But perhaps we'll be good friends all the same."

He gave Heero a vague, overly cheery smile, but there was something in his eyes that made Heero want to squirm. "Well you'll be partners," remarked the teacher briskly. "Take your seat at Heero's table, please."

"Sure thing, Miss."

As Duo sat at Heero's table, Heero became increasingly nervous that the boy would try to start up some sort of conversation about their mission or secrets. He need not have worried. Duo almost completely ignored him, focusing on taking notes on advanced biology. When the time came to do labs, Duo offered to perform the more tedious job of taking notes on the labs while Heero performed the actual testing. Heero agreed, and the only words spoken between them were those of science.

When the bell rang, Heero quickly gathered his books, making something of a dash for his next class to avoid any further conversation.

Unfortunately, his efforts were dashed when Duo showed up in his next class. And his next. Then Duo was in his lunch period. Fortunately, Heero was able to avoid the boy during lunch, and Duo made no move to try to force any attentions upon him, instead making friends with the gaggle of girls that had surrounded him. During lunch, Heero sat alone in the courtyard, and over a bowl of plain rice mulled over his options. Oviously the boy had been sent to the Academy for a reason, therefore killing him wasn't quite logical. At least, not until after he had checked orders. The boy had been good about pretending to be complete strangers, but it would be easier if he didn't have all his morning classes with him. Heero didn't want to admit it, but Duo Maxwell made him nervous. He was the variable in a perfect formula. As the lunch bell rang, Heero frowned. For the first time, in his life, he was unsure of what to do, and the feeling of confusion and hesitancy felt as though it were weighing down on him as he made his way to his next class. Life couldn't get any worse.

Duo Maxwell was in class after class with Heero. By the end of the day, Heero thought he must have a giant vein throbbing at his temple. It was mostly due to the fact that Maxwell instilled in him an unbridled nervousness, almost a paranoia, that he would suddenly say or do something that would give them both away. At least that was what Heero kept telling himself. In reality, he didn't understand what exactly made him so paranoid of Duo, and in denial, he chose not to puzzle over it. Heero didn't know what to expect from the other pilot, and such variables had left him new feelings of anxiety.

But at last, the day was over, and Heero could go back to his dormitory room to regroup. He could figure out what to do about Maxwell, check orders with the doctor, and hopefully, be removed from this place as quickly as possible. When he reached his dorm room, he practically kicked it open in frustration, only to be greeted by a lanky, long-haired boy who had just finished making his bed. "Oh, it's you," Duo smiled wanly. "Looks like we're roommates."

Life could definately get worse.

Seething, Heero stepped to his side of the desk (it was really just a long table that took up one wall of the room) and flipped off the sleep mode of his laptop. Banging out a terse message to his trainer and one-time caretaker, he demanded to know why Maxwell was here, and what he was supposed to do about it. There was no instant reply as usual, and after waiting for fifteen minutes, Heero decided that the doctor was purposely being irratating.

There was a small chuckle behind him and he turned to face Maxwell, who was reclining on his bed, a similar laptop on his knees. "Let me guess. You're writing to the good doctor, wondering what in the heck we're doing here together?"

Heero narrowed his eyes. "Hn."

Duo shrugged easily. "I know, I know. I'm doing the same thing."

Heero scowled, even as he flushed. What, exactly did Maxwell find wrong with him?

// And cut you like you want me to //

Duo (he refused to respond to 'Maxwell') was not a bad roommate. Heero found
that his initial assesment of Duo, based on previous encounters, had pieced together a sketchy form, which he was forced to rewrite when presented with new data. For one thing, Duo was not as loud as Heero had previously assesed. He was flirty, yes, with both girls and boys, but when he and Heero were together in their room, he mostly respected Heero's need for silence or at the very least, quiet. Somehow, though, Heero felt bad about asking Duo to be quiet. He still remembered the first day he and Duo had an altercation about the noise level...

+

"Not like you..t'say sorry. I was waiting on a different story..." Heero looked up from his English homework. That music was irratating. Glaring at the evil stereo that sat on the edge of the bed, his eyes traced the plug back to the outlet against the wall. Leaning forward, he yanked the plug out of the wall.

"Heero!" Duo cut in angrily as the music died suddenly. "What did you do that for?!"

"I need quiet," Heero bit out. "I'm doing my homework."

"Well I'm doing my homework too," Duo pointed out.

"That's not an efficient study method."

"So you say. Haven't you heard of individual study methods? Or do you think the world conforms to your narrow training?"

"There's nothing wrong with my training," Heero said stiffly.

Duo snorted quietly as he pushed in the batteries to his stereo. "Sure... if you're a robot." With a triumphant gleam in his eye, he pressed 'play' once again. "I ain't happy, I'm feelin' glad, I got sunshine, in a bag..." Duo sang along to the song, but he turned the volume down significantly.

But Heero wasn't happy with that. Pulling out his gun from the depths of his school uniform, and pointed it at Duo. "Turn. It. Off."

Hardly sparing Heero a glance, Duo produced a gun of his own, and aimed it almost lackadaisically at Heero. "You're not the only soldier in this room, Yuy," he commented offhandedly. "The music stays. But if you wait about thirty minutes, I'll be done."

Seething, Heero tucked his gun away and turned away to work on his homework. True to his word, though, Duo was done in about half an hour. As he put his homework away, he grinned at Heero. "I guess you want your quiet now, huh?"

Heero nodded tersely. Shrugging, Duo flipped off the stereo and lay back on his bed. It was quiet for a while, which Heero appreciated, but Duo kept making slight noises that distracted him. Angling his laptop so that he could use the glare of the screen to watch, Heero observed that Duo was fidgeting. It was begining to become annoying. Turning, he glared at Duo for a few moments.

"Stop that." A strange look came over Duo's face, but he just shrugged cheerfully as he nodded. After a while, he did stop fidgeting, but the silence begin to annoy Heero. It seemed suddenly unnatural. Glancing at Duo, wondering if the other boy had fallen asleep, he was surprised to see Duo sitting on his bed, hunched up with his knees under his chin, and such a look of utter seriousness and longing that Heero quickly turned away again. He had no idea what that look meant, or why it was there, but he knew he didn't like it.

+

It was that same look every time it got very quiet that slowly prompted Heero into not asking that the music be turned off. In fact, he would often turn the music on; more for Duo's sake, than his own, he told himself, but mostly because of that look. Duo seemed grateful though, and was generally more cordial to Heero when there were fewer periods of silence in the room. Heero paused in thought over his history homework. Duo was always nice to him, even if he was nicer when there was background noise. Why was that? Heero sat still, pondering. Then, as though to awake Heero from his comatose world of thought, his computer gave a low chime. A dialogue box appeared on the screen, flashed the words 'Secure Connection', and was replaced by a message:

J: He's your partner.

Heero sat stock-still, blinking for a few moments, then angrily tapped out a response.

WingOne: What?!

J: P-A-R-T-N-E-R. You know the meaning of the word. I very clearly remembering programming you with an English-language dictionary.

WingOne: I work -alone-

J: My collegue and I have decided you will work with pilot 02, for the time being.

WingOne: But--

J: NO DISSENSION! If I say you will work with him, then you WILL work with him. I hope that I do not have to reprogram you AGAIN

WingOne: No. Mission Accepted.

// Cut that little child Inside of me //

Sulking, (but how can one tell?) Heero flipped his computer back to sleep mode and stormed out. Wing needed to be checked.

It was late when Heero got back to the school, and he was tired. He had barely reached the door to his room when he paused. A strange noise was emmenating from the room. It sounded like Duo, but different. Angry. Heero had never heard Duo truly angry before, and it startled him. Cracking the door, Heero listened. "....And I don't care what the FUCK you SAY, G, I work ALONE!!"

"Duo. Give it a chance."

"HELL NO. He tried to kill himself twice since I've known him, and I've only known him for FOUR WEEKS. I can't count on a guy like that to watch my back: he's going to try to kill himself every two weeks!"

"Then don't count on him to watch your back. Just do your job."

Duo sighed quietly. "He's distracting."

There was a long pause.

"He's gorgeous, yes, but I trust you to keep your eyes on your work."

"G, I sooo cannot have this conversation with you."

A low chuckle followed, and Heero chose this moment to walk in as though he hadn't heard anything. Duo's eyes flickered to him from where he was pacing the bare wooden floor, then back to the desk, where his laptop was filled full-screen with a vid of a strange-looking, hook-nosed man. As Heero went straight for the bathroom, Duo let out a resigned sigh. "Fine. I'll do it. But this is not permanent."

"Of course not. G out."

With that, G's face blinked out, leaving only a black screen, and a disgruntled Duo.

In the shower, Heero wondered. Duo thought he was a distraction? Thought he was... gorgeous? Glowering, he stepped out of the shower, squeaky-clean, and stared at his naked body in the mirror. How, he wondered, was he in any way attractive? When he looked in the miror, all he saw was a killer. A bloodstained killer
.

// and such a part of you... //

It had been three weeks since the two had been informed of their status as 'partners'. While Heero no longer suffered from migraines trying to predict the variable that was Duo Maxwell, it unhinged him that Duo had not spoken so much as a word to him regarding missions, gundams, or anything regarding their 'alternate' profession since that time. Their classes were docile, predictable, with Duo and Heero hardly needing to feign mere aqquaintance. In science, they were lab partners, but they quickly found that they made a good team in sports.

In gym, the sport of the semester was basketball, which Heero quickly found out was Duo's favourite sport. And he was good too, Heero recognized. When he had the ball, he was like a dancer, moving up and down the court with a speed and agility unknown to normal teenage boys, handling the ball as though it were some cherished sweetheart. Heero knew he was good in his own right, though. While he didn't have Duo's feline grace to simply twist and dodge by players as though they were slow-moving dancers at a formal waltz, he did have speed, and the power to simply knock through the opposing teams defense with little resistance.

Together he and Duo would shut out all opponents, to the delight of the girls watching the games with hearts and stars in their eyes, and to the chargrin of the other teams who would scowl in defeat. It was after one such game, that the opposing team was entertaining the question of the year: How could someone so short dunk the ball so easily? And Maxwell, fem though he seemed, was so fast and strong to be so skinny. And how did they play so well together when they barely even talked to each other? Even on the court they never said anything beyond a "Heero!" "Hn." or "Ball!". What was it that made them so special? The shoes?

As the other boys were contemplating where to find mustard-yellow sneakers that had gone out of style six seasons ago, Heero glared at the crowd and stalked off to be followed by Duo.

"Wave, do something, they're cheering for you!" Duo commented, waving and blowing kisses to the crowd, or as he called it, 'his adoring public'. Heero scowled and marched off.

// Ooh, the years burn //

Duo found him several minutes later on the stoned terrace that overlooked the beach, relaxed on an abandoned bench. His bangs, dripping with sweat, hung low over his eyes. Beads of moisture sliding down his throat were quickly cooling in the breeze, and he looked absolutely gorgeous to Duo; his eyes closed briefly, his mouth open just a little to take in the fresh, sweet air. Turning to acknowledge Duo's presence, he glanced out over the water to the fort in the distance, his gaze lingering briefly on Duo before doing so. Duo draped himself over the railing with some abandon, smiling lazily. "Nice, eh?" Heero frowned questioningly, and Duo elaborated. "To kind of.. lose yourself. You know. The thrill of competition, the mindless joy of running free. Like being normal kids, you know. That special feeling of knowing you're the best, when you've won."

// I used to be a little boy //

Heero grunted, but silently admitted to himself that Duo was right. Which was a bad thing, when he thought about it. He should be focused on the mission, not.. getting distracted. Heero's taciturnity didn't staunch the flow of Duo's words, however.

"It's pretty smart to switch schools when you have to leave. It's only natural for people our age to be in school, after all." It was the first time in three weeks that Duo had said something about their 'alternate personalities', and Heero immediatly relaxed. It was even ground, now. He knew where he stood with this.

He snorted a response, and Duo grinned. "Just trying to be normal, y'know."

Normal. Right. Heero felt there wasn't a single normal thing about Duo. From his pale skin, to his delicate and enchanting feaures, to his too slender build, and too narrow waist, and the braid! Well, the braid was a dead give away, not to mention those luminous eyes... how could you possibly forget eyes like those? And the way those sweat-damped bangs clung to the sides of his face and the nape of his neck in such intimate stickiness.. He shook his head ruefully. What was he thinking?

"You stick out," he accused.

Duo chuckled. "You wouldn't be so obvious if you didn't try to avoid the world. You know everybody talks about you."

"Leave me alone," Heero grunted grumpily. He didn't know why Duo's words bothered him. Maybe because Duo was right. What did Heero know about fitting in, after all?

// So old in my shoes //

Duo just gave him one of those little smiles that said that he knew something Heero didn't, and nodded out to sea. "We're going after the same thing, here."

Heero glanced out over the water.

"First one to destroy the base wins?"

They both studied the fortress for a long moment, then Heero narrowed his eyes. "What do I get, if I win?"

Duo shrugged. "What do you want?"

// And what I choose is my choice //

Heero jerked back from him as though stung. "What?"

Duo shrugged. "I offered the challenge. It's only fair you get to pick the prize. What do you want, flyboy?"

Heero looked down. "I-I.. don't know."

// What's a boy supposed to do? //

Duo smiled as he gazed out over the water again, his violet eyes lighting up at the prospect. "Nevermind that, then. If you win, we'll leave it as a raincheck. If I win... well, I want all of Deathscythe's parts back."

Heero growled, suddenly defensive of his beloved mechanical partner. "If I win, I get to keep them."

Duo shrugged easily. "Sure thing. The race is on, tonight, at ten."

"Acceptable."

The both turned to glare at the fort that was to be the deciding factor in their "friendly" wager.

// The killer in me is the killer in you //

+

After the base was destroyed, Heero began to feel more comfotable around Duo. And it wasn't just because Wing didn't have to be dismantled. It was as though assured that they really could work together in more than just science and basketball, Heero had quietly accepted Duo as his partner. And it seemed like maybe Duo had too. He would talk about missions more frequently, he laughed and talked more if that was possible. For some reason, Heero didn't mind. And for some further unknown reason, this made him feel good.

This comraderie could work.

However, with the mission came a flood of memories and emotions that Heero had not let himself experience since the night at Lake Victoria. And with the memories came the nightmares.

+

"Well," Duo said, waltzing into their dorm room, a sappy little grin on his face. "That was invigorating!"

// Disarm you with a smile //

Heero looked up from a notebook containing a number of calculus equations. "Hm?"

"Soccer," Duo explained cheerfully, peeling off his sweatshirt. "I've never played before, but Dara and Kimmie showed me how. It was lots of fun."

"Aa."

Duo frowned as he stepped forward, slender fingers pushing mops of brunette silk away from cobalt eyes. Heero flinched away from the touch, glaring at Duo.

"What?"

"You don't look well. You haven't been sleeping."

"Hn."

"Heero.."

Heero pulled away from Duo's touch and turned back to his work. "Hurry up and shower. You're going to miss dinner."

// And leave you like they left me here //

Shrugging, Duo shuffled into the attached bathroom, shedding his clothes as he went. Heero looked back down at his notebook. Kuso.

// To wither in denial //

When Duo came back from dinner, Heero was already huddled beneath his blankets, asleep. Duo shrugged and crawled under his own blankets, tired out from his experimentations with soccer, and quickly fell asleep. It was after midnight when Heero bolted straight up, still trembling, his eyes wide open, blood and death still playing in his mind. With a shuddering breath, he tried to relax his deathgrip on the sheets, but it wasn't happening. Calm down, he told himself. Just a dream. Just a dream. Release your sheets and lay back down.. But he couldn't. He was frozen, paralyzed in fear. Fear of his failures, past and future, assaulted him until he could only tremble under their weight.

// The bitterness of one who's left alone //

"Heero? You okay?" Duo's sleepy murmer cut through the silence.

Oh god, not now. Just go to sleep. Duo, just go to sleep..

"Heero?" Duo propped himself up on one elbow, and blinked sleepily at him. "Nightmare?"

// Ooh, the years burn //

Heero hesitated. His muscles were still not properly responding; he still wasn't in control. J would have a damn fit if he knew he had lost this much control... All he wanted was for Duo to go to bed. He closed his eyes, sending mental signals to Duo, despite the knowledge that he didn't have such gifts.

'Go to sleep.. go to sleep.. go to sleep..'

After a long silence, Duo's dark form went flat, and Heero let out a mental sigh, until he saw Duo rolling out of bed. What was he doing? Oh god, not now!

There was a slight pause, and Duo stumbled the few steps between their beds to sit heavily on Heero's bed.

'What is he doing ?'

Duo, eyes still a bit sleep-blurred, studied Heero intentle. "Heero..?"

Gently, he wrapped his arms around Heero's trembling form, and nuzzled the side of Heero's neck. If anything, Heero went stiffer, muscles drawing tighter, coiled closer. The feel of being crushed ever so gently against Duo's lithe form, sharing warmth, threatened to chip away at carefully built walls. There was something in this.. embrace. Heero never thought that a hug could be so powerful. That this mere physical touch could convey to him such feelings... feelings he couldn't name, couldn't dream of..

// I used to be a little boy... //

"Heero."

Duo's lips were moving against his skin. No, not on his skin, but over it, so close that with his heightened senses, it was so easy to feel every whisper of a touch as Duo's lips moved. Suddenly, Heero squirmed. "What... what are you doing?"

"Giving you a hug, silly." Duo's voice was warm, rich, and sleepy, uninhibited by his daily pretenses. This, Heero realized, was pure Duo. And it scared him.

Heero was officially panicking. He couldn't lose control! There were still missions to be completed, peace to be obtained, and he was the soldier for that job. He couldn't lose it so early; there was too much to do! Walls against his feelings suddenly slammed down and he tensed further.

// So old in my shoes //

Suddenly (he didn't know how it had happened) he was on his back, Duo straddling his waist, pinning his arms above his head. And he was a vision. All pretended traces of sleep gone, his violet eyes ablaze, hair half undone and almost floating in a cloud-like haze in the gentle glow of the moonlight: it was something Heero would never forget. And then Duo growled. Heero jerked back in surprise; such an animalistic sound he never would have expected from Duo.

"You have to stop doing this to yourself. Shutting it out won't work. It will just eat away at you from the inside."

// And what I choose is my voice //

"You don't know. You don't understand."

Duo grinned sourly. "Don't I?"

// The killer in me is the killer in you //

Heero froze suddenly. The light, the recognition in Duo's eyes was almost too much. The barely concealed pain, glimmering just below the surface of infintesmal good nature, was so like himself, yet so different.

// The killer in me is the killer in you //

"You're not the only one with a past, Heero. You think you're the only one that's ever killed somebody?"

'Follow your emotions...'

"But it.. I... I failed. I FAILED so MISERABLY!" Angrily, Heero railed against Duo, but Duo was strong, solid; absorbing his physical anger with barely a flinch.

"You have to talk about it. It doesn't work if you don't talk about it."

"Talk...?"

"Just say it... recount it. Say it out loud, just as it happened in your head."

For a moment, he thought he could refuse. But something forced him to look into Duo's eyes, and when he saw the mirror-image there, his resolve crumbled.

// The killer in me is the killer in you //

Duo let one hand slide down Heero's arm to his white-knuckled fist, and gently stroked it. Heero took a deep breath, and began talking, murmering really, so low that Duo had to lean very close to Heero to hear. "At the Lake Victoria base..."

Almost two hours later, the setting moon found Heero tightly clutching Duo's shirt, shedding his first tears against Duo's slim shoulder. "And I only found... the puppy..."

"Oh, Heero..."

With a gentle touch, Duo wiped away his tears. "I do understand."

"But I don't."

"What?"

Heero looked up with confusion in his eyes. "I don't understand why you did this for me. Why you let me cry on you--" he flushed. "You let me make a fool of myself. But you didn't criticize me. You understood --"

// Send this smile over to you //

Duo smiled gently, smoothing down Heero's unruly locks.

"Baka. We're partners aren't we?"

// The killer in me is the killer in you //

+
end

[back to Singles a - k]