+ Part 5 (cont)
Heero smirked as he saw Yoshino
nod stiffly. Obviously he wasn't happy that he was Gilmore's personal
slave. Heero doubted that the professor even needed an assistant. When
Yoshino had left, he looked at Gilmore skeptically.
"Assistant?" He tried to make small talk; there was no need to wait for
Duo in silence.
"Yes, and he's all mine.", Gilmore grinned evilly and put his pinky
finger to the corner of his mouth, mimicking the Dr Evil pose. Heero couldn't
help but laugh out loud as he imagined Gilmore in that space uniform.
"What are you two laughing about?" Heero looked up to see Duo eye his
former mentor curiously. Apparently the evil twinkle in Gilmore's eyes
made him reconsider and he rephrased his question. "Whom are you laughing
about? I sincerely hope it's not me."
Heero stood up politely and took the tray out of Duo's hands. Then he
tilted his head. "Has Gilmore ever made you get his food?"
"He should've tried." Duo took one set of chopsticks and dramatically
broke the ends apart. "I wouldn't have done it."
Gilmore grinned. "Oh, you did. Whenever I was bedridden, sick with the
Then the old man looked back at the 'food chain' and thrummed his fingers
on the table. "Duo, it's impolite to start eating before everyone on the
table has something. I thought I taught you all the rules."
"I would wait, but I don't see the point in it. By the time you have your
tofu rolls, I'll be starving and the food will be cold."
"I didn't say anything!" Gilmore held his hands up but was rewarded by
a tray being placed in front of him. He looked to the left and saw Yoshino
walk around the table to sit next to Heero. While Duo was eating, Tsuzuki
looked at him curiously.
"Are you Dr. Maxwell?"
Heero looked up. That he wanted to see. Gilmore put the chopsticks down
too, and turned to Duo as if prompting him to answer with 'no'.
Duo nodded and held his hand out for a formal handshake, but Yoshino grabbed
his hand with both hands and shook his vigorously.
"I'm glad to meet you, I've heard so much about you and I've read all
Heero raised an eyebrow at Gilmore who just winked back.
"Thanks, I guess."
"I want to become a profiler too and catch the bad guys."
Heero didn't think that Duo's _expression could get that dark in such
a short moment. He winced as he heard Duo's cold voice answer.
"Good luck, then."
Another one? Another one of those gung-ho students who thought that profiling
was an easy way to catch murderers, serial killers, kidnappers? He felt
his shoulder sag as he heard his own flat answer. Was this what he was
like, only a few years before? He wanted to stand up and grab Yoshino
by his collar, and yell at him for making it sound like some sort of hobby.
He'd seen death creeping up on the victims because he had been too slow
to find the right connection in the nick of time. He looked at Tsuzuki
and sincerely hoped that that man would choose something different as
career. Happy, outgoing, smiling. He wouldn't keep that smile on his face
for long when he waded in bodies, trying to find a murderer who literally
left no trace. He wouldn't keep that smile on his face and not think of
the taunting cackle of a caught murderer who was laughing in his face.
Duo looked at Yoshino and imagined him on the couch of a psychotherapist,
or 'supervisor' as the business world called them. Would he spend half
of his paycheck on his insurance, just to be able to pay the therapy lessons?
He imagined Yoshino in his flat, with his girlfriend, not able to talk
to her because she wouldn't understand the nightmares. Did he have a wife?
Would she try to understand or would she just pack and walk out one day
because she couldn't cope with his guilt anymore? Would he be there
for himself? Would he drink himself into oblivion every night, or would
he start sniffing drugs to escape the reality?
Duo hadn't. Hadn't started doing drugs, hadn't become an alcoholic. He
knew that there was no way out of his daydreams. He had long since accepted
that he would always see the Nagoya girl in his neighbor's daughter. He
would always wonder what she would do now, what grade she would be in.
Slowly, but surely, Shizuko Yamamura crawled into the picture. What had
been done to her that she was out to kill even after her death? What was
so horrible that she wanted her victims to see? Themselves? Their grotesquely
deformed faces. Masks of their former selves. Would Shizuko end up to
be like all the others? Would he see her, years from now, wondering why?
Or would he die in five days, never even getting the chance to find some
little piece of heaven on earth?
"Duo, everything okay?" Heero looked at him with an unsure _expression
on his face. Had he guessed what was wrong?
"Of course. Don't mind me, I was just thinking about something." He looked
at Yoshino and smiled a reassuring smile. He had no idea if Yoshino had
said anything, or if he had said anything to the other man. Gilmore seemed
to sense his discomfort and interjected.
"When do you two want to leave?"
Still thinking about where to start with the search for that woman, he
let Heero answer.
"I don't know. Soon, if possible. We found a woman in the files that matches
our profile. Do you know a Shizuko Yamamura?"
"No. Never heard of her. She's your suspect?"
This time, Duo answered. He didn't want a curious psychology student on
their backs, and Yoshino seemed like he was one of those who wanted their
name to be seen everywhere.
"Not really, I just wanted to know if you've heard of her. If you excuse
us, professor, we have to get going. We need to conduct some interviews."
Again, Heero wondered why Duo had lied so blatantly, but jumped in to
assist his partner. There would be an explanation later. He stood up and
shook hands with Gilmore and his assistant, then he turned to Duo and
motioned him to leave first. Duo politely bowed before Gilmore and waved
"Visit again some time, will you?" Gilmore stood up and moved around the
table, apparently not wanting his 'son' to leave without a hug. "And think
about that offer I made you, okay?"
Gilmore wrapped his arms around Duo and whispered "Be careful.". This
was a different case. This visit could be the last one. This hug could
be their goodbye.
They left the canteen and as soon as they had passed a few corners, Heero
raised a questioning eyebrow which Duo immediately caught.
"Yoshino was too nosey. I didn't want to risk him sniffing around."
Heero agreed and opened one of the doors to the outside. "You didn't like
Yoshino, did you?"
"No. He doesn't realize that profiling is not a game you play from nine
to five. I doubt he even knows what responsibility he takes on in deciding
to do it seriously. I don't like his attitude, that's all. He's probably
a real blast to have as a friend. I just wouldn't be one of them."
They continued their walk in silence, each of them lost in their own thoughts.
At the car, Duo automatically got in at the driver's side and started
the car. Heero was surprised that Duo wanted to drive, but didn't say
anything. Maybe Duo just liked to drive. He settled back and looked at
his watch. It was barely two PM. Calculating the drive back they could
think themselves lucky if they got the reports done before their shift
was over. Heero yawned and leant back. His eyes dropped closed and he
was aware that he was about to fall asleep when he did.
Two hours later, he woke up, feeling someone shake his shoulders and whisper
"Heero, wake up. We're back."
Heero blinked dazedly. Had he actually slept all the way through Duo's
cursing about Tokyo traffic? He straightened and rubbed his eyes.
"That's okay. Let's go upstairs, we have stuff to do."
Heero spent a few more moments to wake up properly, then he unbuckled
and opened the door. Duo was already walking toward the lift when the
elevator doors opened and Heero could see Zechs walk out. Duo immediately
went out of his way to not have to pass Zechs. Heero jumped down from
the seat silently and watched the two men interact curiously.
Duo saw Zechs the moment he came out of the elevator and stepped aside.
Zechs, however, went to the right and smiled saucily as he saw Duo approach.
He placed a hand on the other agent's shoulder and leant in, his blond
hair brushing against Duo's face and body.
Duo tilted his head away, feeling Zechs' breath in his neck was not something
on top of his wishlist. He hated Merquise, not only because the man wanted
him in his bed and had never bothered to ask him what he thought about
that. The rumor that he had slept with Zechs to get high up in the organization
had most likely been planted by the tall man himself. Duo had just never
thought that Relena would act with such malice and he suspected that Zechs
was behind Relena's malevolence. Relena loved her brother and would believe
him, whatever he said.
Duo knew that the only reason he was mad at Relena was that she had believed
Zechs. It had never been her fault. He didn't know if Zechs had intended
that. That level of obsession, that accusation, that extreme behavior,
but he had intended something. That something which cost Duo some of his
reputation and a great deal of himself. He had been completely lost those
two years ago, and if it hadn't been for WuFei and Lady Une's interest
in his situation, he would have lost his job.
Khushrenada had been convinced that Relena hadn't lied about the incident,
until he saw her confession, the stuttered words coming out of her mouth.
With one blink she had been transferred and nobody in the department spoke
of her again. The fact that she worked in the media department now and
not at a radar station in Alaska was Zechs' doing, that Duo was sure of.
Without the mighty hand of her brother, she wouldn't have been allowed
to stay at the Tokyo Headquarters.
Duo looked at Zechs and growled. "Leave me alone, Merquise." He took a
step back and pushed his hands up, in case Zechs followed his movements.
Zechs just stared, and then he grinned and wrapped his arms around Duo.
"You don't want a scene, do you? There are cameras, everywhere. You wouldn't
want to hit the chief of the IT department, do you? You don't want to
hit the brother of the woman who accused you of rape. It would look awfully
like revenge." He shook his head grinning.
Duo let his hand roam up Zechs' upper body and let it rest on the base
of his neck. He knew enough pressure points there to render people unconscious
in seconds. He also knew the pressure points for pain. He put thumb and
index finger at two points on Zechs' shoulder and applied the right amount
Zechs cringed under the sudden assault and backed off. "Son of a fucking
whore." The tall man held his shoulder, his muscles screaming in pain.
"You'll regret that."
"No, I won't. I would never regret giving you pain." Duo spat and proceeded
walking to the elevator. Had Heero seen him? He turned abruptly and saw
Zechs walking away, and Heero coming from the left.
"Hey, what took so long?"
"What's up with Merquise? He's walking funny."
If Duo wanted to pretend that what he had just witnessed was nothing,
he would play along. No point in aggravating his partner. "I don't know.
Have you heard anything?"
"No. Maybe he tried to come down on some agent and got hurt. That's sexual
harassment, it could be charged."
Heero tried implying that Duo had a witness in case he needed one, but
Duo only shook his head in resignation.
"No, no more accusations of that sort. I'm sure the agent knows how to
keep Zechs away from him."
They waited for the elevator carriage which had gone up again in the meantime,
both pretending not to know exactly what they were talking about. Duo
was the first to break the silence.
"We have to call the mental institution where Amy is treated. If we want
to have that appointment tomorrow, we'll have to make sure it's okay with
her doctor first. Those people don't like surprise visits."
The elevator doors parted and they got in. At this time of the day, hardly
anybody went down to the parking deck. Heero pressed the button for the
homicide department under Khushrenada.
"I told WuFei to call ahead, let's stop by his desk and ask him."
"Oh, okay. I hope it's not too early, I want to get some more sleep tonight."
"You wouldn't guess how many times you have to watch a scene in slow motion
until you're sure that you counted the blinks right. Yes, you could say
tough and long night. I think I kept Kage awake all night."
"You don't keep a chameleon in your apartment."
"Well, I do."
"One foot long, eats crickets, loves to play hide."
Duo smirked. "She's pretty though, you'd like her. The silent killer.
I give her a little bit more character than she actually has, I have to
admit that much." He waited until the elevator doors parted. "I even have
her picture in my wallet, if you want to see her?"
Duo smiled and took his leather wallet out while walking toward WuFei's
desk. Heero saw a flash of the photo Duo had shown him earlier and credit
cards before Duo's thin fingers dragged one photo out and gave it to his
partner. Heero smirked as he looked at the picture Duo gave him. It did
indeed show a baby chameleon sitting on Duo's shoulder. The photo was
older; the chameleon was only a couple of inches long.
Duo waved at WuFei who was looking at them expectantly and walked toward
him, grinning wide.
"Hey, WuFei, my man!"
"Maxwell, when will you stop calling me yours? You know I'm a kept man."
He teased back, then he paused for a moment, frowning. "Is that my shirt?"
"As soon as you find a better reply to it and yes, it's your shirt. I'll
get you a new one tomorrow." Duo took a picture frame from WuFei's desk
and looked at it before placing it back on the same spot where it had
stood before. It showed WuFei with his wife. "What's up with you anyway?
No calls, no flowers, no chocolate. I'm almost afraid you don't care about
Duo took the photo back from Heero and stuck it into his wallet; his eyes
didn't leave WuFei when he tucked it away. He smirked and winked saucily.
A flustered Chang WuFei looked at Heero for help, but Heero did nothing
but watch as Duo grabbed WuFei's chin softly, tilting his partner's head
"Did you call the mental institution, honeymuffin?"
Heero chuckled but didn't keep Duo from his show. He saw Quatre stare
across the room and waved before turning his attention back to WuFei who,
taking a step back to escape Duo, bumped into his desk.
"Yes, Maxwell, I called, but they want to talk to the person who's going
to do the interview. They want to know what you're going to ask."
Duo stopped purring and flirting and took a step back as well. "Chang-babe,
all I wanted was one lousy call, a little help! Is that too much to ask?"
He theatrically tilted his head back and held his hand up. Heero immediately
took the clue and gave Duo a tissue from a box on WuFei's desk. Duo overdramatically
blew his nose and looked at Chang from under his lashes.
WuFei grunted. "Maxwell, I really wanted to avoid this scene, but I've
Duo's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "Who is it?"
"My physiotherapist. His name is Francesco, he has wonderful hands and
probably as much muscle mass as you weigh."
Suddenly, Quatre's lithe voice surprised them all by adding, "Now, that
can't be all that much then." He appeared at WuFei's side and politely
shook hands with Duo and Heero. "Any good news?"
"Yes, we have a suspect. Now we only need to confirm her death, examine
where she lived, find out where she's buried and what she wants and why
she made the video. Most importantly, we have to find out what the hell
her relationship is to the woman in the video."
Heero winced as his explanation didn't sound very enthusiastic at all.
Duo's facial _expression was nearly unreadable. He looked crushed. Quatre
looked skeptical and voiced his doubt.
"That's good news for you? You really have to be desperate then." Heero
looked at him, stating clearly that that was exactly the case. They had
to be desperate, they had to call that 'good news' because anything less
could mean their death. Quatre seemed to understand because he averted
"I apologize. I'm sure you're doing your best to find the killer."
Duo smiled, but it was obvious that it wasn't completely honest. WuFei
nodded and gave Duo a card with the telephone number of the medical center.
"Will you call Amy Miller's doctor? You can use the phone on Quatre's
desk if you want a little privacy."
Duo took the number and went over to Quatre's desk, leaving the small
group of people behind. As soon as he was out of hearing range, WuFei
looked questioningly at Heero.
"How is he really? He seems... drained."
Heero shrugged his shoulders. "He's tired because he had a long night.
I don't think there's anything else."
"Nothing else? The pressure you're under is immense, I want you
to take care of him. He's not always as stable and sure of himself as
he seems to be."
"I know." Heero paused for a moment, thinking about how to explain. "We've
talked a bit." He looked at Quatre and saw a quiet smile on his partner's
lips. WuFei just nodded and turned back to his files he was working on.
Quatre looked back and searched for Duo who was still talking on the phone.
"Heero, if he's only tired, then that's fine, but I don't think that's
it. Lack of sleep usually makes him think, and then you know there's something
else. Take care of him anyway?"
"Of course; he's my partner."
Quatre smiled and changed the topic when Duo came back. "Khushrenada gave
WuFei and I a new case. A drug dealer was murdered, not very exciting.
We already have a couple of leads and some promising suspects. Along with
the usual eye witnesses of course."
Duo waited until Quatre had finished and then interjected. "Heero, we
have a date with Amy Miller tomorrow morning at eleven, they don't want
us to talk to her earlier, it would put too much strain on her morning
routine. They're a bunch of liars." He smashed his fist against the desk
plate and sighed. "They put a lot of pressure on me. I can't ask this,
mustn't ask that. I have to think about the line of questioning later."
He brushed one hand over his face before turning to Heero. "Let's do the
reports, and then go home. I'm tired."
Quatre looked at WuFei, a worried _expression on his face. He looked at
Heero pointedly and spoke up. "WuFei and I have to get going anyway. Our
case isn't waiting."
Heero nodded, understanding the subtle hint. "Let's do the reports then.
Duo, are you coming?"
"Hm? Where to?"
"To your bureau. It's nice and quiet in there."
"You're just jealous."
Heero indicated a goodbye to their colleagues before gently laying his
hand on Duo's shoulder. He led Duo toward the door and waited for him
to wave his goodbye for the night.
Duo's bureau was comfortable with the large desk and the small couch in
one corner. It was crammed, but Heero wasn't surprised, he'd seen it before.
Duo had not even reached his own chair, when Heero already flopped into
the guests chair and moved aside the calendar and the pen holder in his
way. Then he unpacked and got his writing pad out. Lady Une never demanded
her agents to type their reports. She was so glad that she got the reports
she wanted in time that she didn't ask for more than the necessary. Heero
refrained from any comment as he saw Duo reaching for his glasses. He
thought they looked damn sexy on the other man, but he would never go
and admit that aloud. He sighed and looked down. The reports would take
more than two hours of their time, but they had to be written; they needed
the notes and proof of their work. If they didn't survive, someone else
would have to start the research. Heero saw that Duo was already writing,
shoving his glasses up his nose in an automatic gesture. Heero cleared
his throat to keep himself from smiling and bent over his work. They worked
silently, the rustling of paper the only disturbance.
"Duo?" Heero looked at his partner curiously. They had been writing on
their reports for two hours but Duo had been silent for a few minutes
now. Slowly, Heero leaned over the desk and looked at Duo's slack face.
The black glasses were halfway down his nose and his lashes lay softly
against his cheeks. Heero suddenly remembered the information Duo had
given him that morning; he had obviously worked late last night. Silently,
he stood up and moved behind the other man.
He pried the pen out of Duo's fingers and put it aside. Then he stood
behind his partner and pulled Duo's upper body back by crossing his arms
across the other's chest. When he heard Duo murmur he waited for a moment,
not wanting to wake his partner. He softly pulled the glasses from Duo's
nose and placed them on the table. The frame left a red imprint on the
bridge of his nose. Having moved Duo's body away from the table, he knelt
and wrapped his arms around the other man's knees and shoulders.
"Here we go," he whispered and lifted his partner up in his arms. Surprised
that his partner wasn't as heavy as he had imagined, he carried the sleeping
man to the couch in the corner. That Duo didn't wake up was just a sign
of how tired he was.
As soon as Duo was on the couch, he twisted and curdled up in an almost
fetal position. Smiling, Heero pulled a blanket over him and crouched
down low. Surprised at his partner's youthful looks, he studied Duo closer.
A small scar grazed his forehead, half covered by a lock of hair. Heero
subconsciously whisked the irate strand away before abruptly standing
back up. Shaking his head, he went back to the desk. He had, after all,
work to do and since the other obviously wasn't up to it, he wanted to
finish them alone.
A while later, a low grumble disrupted the silence Heero was working in.
"Heero, what-?" Duo turned, pushing the blanket off his shoulders. "Oh
God, I'm sorry." Heero watched as Duo struggled awake and sat up, still
groggy from sleep.
"It's okay, you wouldn't have gotten much done anyway in the state you
were in." Heero cocked his head and deemed his partner awake. "I finished
our reports; if you're ready we could go home. I don't think either of
us is much up to the shooting match we had planned."
Duo rubbed his eyes and swung his legs off the couch. "You've finished
"Then I'll treat you to coffee and sweets." He stood up and went over
to the desk to pick up his bag.
"Not tonight. Coffee always keeps me awake way too long." Heero thought
about it for a moment. "If we have to be at the institution at eleven,
we could meet at eight thirty and eat breakfast on the way."
Duo grabbed a few things and put the glasses into their case before replying.
"I'll pick you up, then we don't have to go to the office."
Heero shuffled the reports together and put them loosely in a binder.
"We have to drop them off in Lady Une's office before we go."
They shouldered their bags and left the bureau for the night. The blanket
lay discarded on the couch; nobody had bothered to pick it up and fold
it. Duo didn't like the idea of some stranger rummaging around his office,
one of the reasons why he never let the cleaning staff clean it at night.
He locked the door, waiting for the red light before he turned and followed
Heero to Lady Une's office.
There they were coming again. Mitsuko sat behind her desk and smiled at
the two men entering. The longhaired man in one of Agent Chang's sexy
shirts, the shorthaired one with a bunch of files under his arm. She groaned
as she saw the reports. Yuy's scary writing style and his sharp handwriting
were sure to give her grey hair some time soon.
Maxwell was stopping at her desk and smiled politely, if a bit unsure
of himself. She waited until handsome and muscled man had disappeared
in the bureau before she turned to him.
"Hi, Agent Maxwell."
He seemed more nervous now that she was talking to him.
"Is everything okay?"
"Mitsuko, about that date..." She raised an eyebrow as he trailed off,
uncomfortable. Date, what date? She voiced her surprise.
"The date Agent Yuy promised you." His gaze seemed to fall on the picture
frame on her desk because he frowned.
"Yuy didn't promise me a date. He offered to buy me lunch for a week for
the trouble I'll have to go through. I have a boyfriend."
She stared at him. What had Yuy told him? She watched his _expression
change into a mischievous smile and backed away."
"Mitsuko, could you do me a favor?"
She nodded cautiously and gave the man standing opposite of her a questioning
"If I brought you some terrible flower perfume, could you spray the car's
upholstery with it before returning it to Heero?"
"With delight." She smirked. She had always liked the agent with the long
hair. Ever since he appeared in the doorway the first day, she had imagined
him in Calvin Klein ads. Preferably with the dark haired other agent who
was now in Une's office. She loved her boyfriend, but a little fantasy
at the workplace had never hurt anybody.
Just then, the door opened and Heero came back out. Duo grabbed the opportunity
and smiled at Mitsuko openly.
"Mitsuko, that would be great. Your brother would really want to-?"
The secretary immediately caught on the lead. "Yes, of course. He'll love
you madly." Heero paled, something in that picture was not right. Had
they talked about the date? He looked at Mitsuko closely, but she only
smiled at him honestly. Duo equally, looked sincere.
Mitsuko couldn't help but smile her most innocent, honest smile. In her
imagination, Heero would be jealous. He would confront Duo and... She
looked down at the screen of her computer, but only saw boring mission
status data. Life was just not a gay porn.
"Duo, are you coming?"
"Of course. Mitsuko, tell your brother I said 'hi', will you?"
Mitsuko winked and watched the two men leave the office. As soon as the
door was closed, she let out a sigh. They would look good together in
a Calvin Klein ad. Before she could delve deeper into her fantasy, Lady
Une beeped her and she had to go in.
"What was that all about?" Heero questioned, pointing back at the bureau.
"Oh, I think there was a misunderstanding. I explained the thing about
the date to Mitsuko and she said that she wasn't interested, but her brother
would be." Heero looked up, surprised by that change in events.
"Anyway, was Une pleased with the reports?"
Heero snorted. "Of course. She was glad she even got them, almost wanted
to make a positive note in your file. You seem to never get them in on
"WuFei usually makes sure I don't bring them too late. I heard Quatre
talk. You're really lax about reports too and they usually sound like
Rambo trying to write short stories. I won't go into imitating the example
"Thank you." Heero tried to look sincere, but the smirk wasn't helping
much. They went to the elevator and waited in silence for the carriage
to arrive. When the doors parted, Heero entered and turned.
"Does Mitsuko even have a brother?"
Duo stepped in and pressed the button for the parking garage. "Of course,
he's half Chinese and his name is Hung Long."
Heero raised his eyebrows. "Must be a real treasure then."
"I sincerely hope so."
The parking garage was pleasantly cool and they made their way to Duo's
car which was now closer to the elevator since their trip to the university.
They didn't rush to the car, both being tired from the long day. The laser
remote opened the doors for them before they even reached it.
The drive to Heero's home was quiet with no music playing; Duo didn't
even have to curse the traffic. Heero watched Duo lead the car elegantly
through the streets of Tokyo and thought about what Quatre had told him
earlier. He hadn't seen any other odd behavior, Duo was just tired and
probably needed a good night's rest. He wasn't aware of the car coming
to a stop in front of his apartment building and Duo had to remind him
with a subtle cough.
"You're welcome to sleep in my super-comfortable car, you know that, don't
Heero snorted and opened the door before unbuckling.
"Your car isn't comfy. It's... just big." He thought about that for a
moment before adding, "You know what they say about men with big cars."
"The same what they say about men with large feet?" Duo waggled his eyebrows
playfully, and tried to look hopeful, waiting for Heero's answer.
Heero opted to say something biting, but when he saw Duo's twisted face,
he theatrically answered, "Why yes, how did you know?" He stuck out his
tongue and hopped down onto ground level. "Your car just has big tires.
Otherwise it wouldn't be more than a Micra."
Duo's eyes widened. "Take that back!"
Heero just waved and slammed the door shut. Duo stared at his partner's
retreating back. He had not just exchanged innuendos with Heero. He had
not just joked with Yuy the Serious. Smiling, he pulled out of the parking
They were definitely on the road of becoming friends. Somehow, he didn't
want to leave Tokyo anymore. Not before he had the opportunity to get
to know Heero better. He wouldn't let that chance slip away again. He
steered the car toward his home and parked it in the lot reserved for
His home wasn't nearly as comfortable as his bureau. It was in an anonymous
apartment building, the only person he knew was the housekeeper, Sanako.
The woman insisted he use her first name, even though she was twenty years
his elder. She was always outside, tending to her flower garden. They
had a ritual together and he would hate losing her. Another reason to
stay in Tokyo. Shaking his head, Duo realized that the reasons to stay
were building up the more he thought about moving.
She straightened her back and waved at him as he jumped out of his car.
He jogged up to her and greeted her with a kiss. She was the most unusual
woman he had ever met. She was a widow and yet, she was full of energy.
He envied her for her happiness and soaked up as much as he could whenever
"How have you been today, Sanako-san?" He loosened their embrace and sat
down on the stairs to the building. The sun was still up and he didn't
really want to see his own four blank walls yet. He would wait until sunset.
"As always, my back hurts, my parrot was mocking me and the flowers complain
about the lack of water. But everything's right with the world, isn't
"Of course." He tilted his head and grinned. He didn't know if it worked
with her, he just hoped it would.
"You shouldn't smile when you don't mean it, Duo. Something is bothering
He lost the grin and resorted to smiling, this time far less intense,
but it was honest. "How do you always know when something is bothering
"I just know. You remind me of my son, that's all. He used to hide his
Duo didn't ask. He had never asked her about her husband, and she appreciated
it. She had never asked about his family either.
"I just had a bad day at work, nothing serious."
"Something bad happened?"
Duo had never told her about his job, but she somehow had guessed. Or
just read the newspaper. Whenever he came home, crushed, and would not
leave his apartment for days, she would come upstairs with some cooked
dinner and would talk him out of his guilt. He wasn't at fault, it wasn't
him slaughtering prostitutes and ripping their hearts out. It wasn't him
raping and killing underage boys. Their deaths weren't his fault.
It never worked. She would try and talk to him, knowing that sometimes,
he didn't listen at all, that sometimes he would drink himself into oblivion.
He hadn't become an alcoholic, he hadn't become a drug addict. He simply
coped. Coped by sometimes sloshing himself. One night without decayed
faces staring at him, asking why he hadn't saved them. Just one night
of dreamless sleep.
Sanako knew that sometimes it was best to leave him alone.
"No, nothing bad. Just no progress. I'm okay." He propped his face up
on his hands and stared at her work. "You know that I appreciate everything
you've done for me in the past years, don't you?"
It was an unexpected 'thank you', Sanako didn't know how to react. She
just straightened again and went over to the steps where he sat. She sat
down next to him and wrapped an arm around him, drawing him closer to
"I know, Duo." She sensed that this wasn't at all the casual gesture for
him. He had never said that before. It sounded like a goodbye.
"Duo? You're not okay at all, what happened?"
He couldn't tell her that he would probably die in five days. He couldn't
tell her that she was the closest thing to a mother he ever had. He couldn't
tell her that the daily talk at night was like an anchor to him.
"Really, it's nothing." He drew away and looked at her skeptically, trying
to distract her from that serious topic. "You wouldn't mind me bringing
a friend home, do you?"
Sanako smacked him across the back of his head. "Not if you introduce
him properly." She smirked. "Are you in love?"
"No, I just found somebody who might become a really good friend."
"What does he do for a living?" Duo gaped for a moment. He had no idea
how she had guessed about his sexuality, but maybe it was obvious. Maybe
she just had a feeling.
"He catches bad guys."
"Yes." Then Duo smirked and waggled his eyebrows. "He has handcuffs and
lots of muscles."
"Sanako!" Duo shook his head, as if devastated by her dirty mind. "I hate
to disappoint you, but my partner is married and they're very happy together."
"Sorry. What's his name then?" She was curious, but considering the fact
that she had nothing to do all day, it was predictable. Duo smirked.
"I wouldn't tell you, you'd just embarrass me if you met him one day."
"I thought you were going to introduce him."
"I might. If you behave yourself."
Sanako snorted and stood back up. "I still have some tulips to plant.
I'd ask you to help me but I don't want you ruining Chang's shirt."
Again, Duo wondered if she was a secret agent. She was very attentive
and soaked up information like a sponge.
"I'll have to be careful then. Or undress."
"As much as I would appreciate the view, I think it's getting rather cold.
The sun is setting too." She wrinkled her nose and took her basket. "The
tulips can wait till tomorrow."
"You want to get rid of me, don't you, Sanako-san?"
"Never. I just don't want to miss my daily dose of soap opera."
Duo rolled his eyes and pouted dramatically. "So, now your soap opera
is more important than me?"
"It has always been and it will always be. You know, you're welcome to
join me. Jenna will tell Rob about-"
Before she could explain the plot line more, Duo interrupted her with
a surrendering hand gesture.
"Sitting between you and your cat on that terrible flower sofa or my nice
and cozy bed - hard choice." Duo yawned and realized that it hadn't been
the first time he had done so in the last few minutes. "It was a long
day, sorry Sanako-san."
"That's okay, honey. Goodnight and sleep well."
"I always do, when dreaming of you." He waved a goodbye and opened the
door. He heard a silent "Prince Charming." bidding him goodbye and ascended
the stairs. His apartment wasn't at all nice and cozy. He had put extra
effort into decorating his bedroom, but that was the only room he had
put time and money in.
He had painted the walls orange, ignoring the warnings in his lease that
he would have to pay for the paint job that would have to be done when
he was moving out. If having a warm and cozy-looking bedroom for three
years meant losing the cost of the rent for one month, then so be it.
Duo unlocked the door and switched the security system off. He didn't
bother calling out a greeting to Kage; the chameleon had already looked
at him with its small, black eyes. He pushed his black shoes off with
his feet and let the bag drop to the floor. Smiling at his pet, he went
over to the terrarium and opened the lid. The chameleon immediately turned
its head toward the opening and tilted its head. Knowing that food was
awaiting it, it softly stuck its tongue out, as if licking its lips.
"One moment, honey."
He grabbed the box of crickets and opened it. He didn't like how the crickets
were chirping for their life. They reminded him of victims, begging their
pursuer not to hurt them, not to kill them. He took one out and looked
it in the eye. Then he dropped it into the terrarium. Two more followed,
then he closed the lid again. He left before Kage ate the first one. He
didn't really need to see that. However, his thoughts wandered to the
video tape, remembering the maggots crawling in the mud and the disgusting
scene of the monkey coughing something indefinable up. He shuddered and
went toward the bedroom, unbuttoning his shirt on the way. These were
not thoughts he needed before going to bed.
He threw the shirt onto the dressing chair and made a mental note to buy
a new one. If he had had a secretary he could have sent her to the boutique
in her lunch break and not worry about it. He looked at the brand name
and swallowed. He would have to look more carefully the next time he borrowed
one of WuFei's shirts. He couldn't afford to buy a new Daniel Hechter
shirt whenever he scrounged one. He absently wondered if WuFei's sense
of fashion had become elegant when he had married or if it had always
been that exquisite.
He shook his head and stripped down to his boxers. Yawning, he took a
fresh pair of sweat pants and went to the bathroom where he turned the
water in the shower on. It would take a while to get warm and he used
the time to brush his teeth. Frowning as he saw his image in the mirror,
he brushed harder. He had to eat more.
By the time the water was hot enough for his taste, he had spit the toothpaste
into the sink and stripped off the silken boxers. He tested the water
again before stepping into the shower stall and closing the door. He let
the hot water caress his body and slowly unraveled his hair. He lost himself
in washing his hair, finally able to forget all that had bothered him
that day. He didn't think about the case, didn't think about Heero, didn't
think about moving to America. He forgot the troubles of trying to find
the killer, forgot the fight with Relena and Zechs. After he had thoroughly
soaped himself, he just let himself being soaked by the hot water. Minutes
passed, he didn't care how much water he used up, he just wanted all those
troubles washed off. It was another ritual.
When Duo felt the water growing a few degrees colder, he shut it off and
squished the water out of his hair. He stepped out of the stall and wrapped
one of the black towels around himself, the other he used to dry the long
tresses. When he had dried his skin, he pulled the sweat pants up and
went back to his refuge - the large bed in the bedroom, with its freshly
changed sheets, just waiting for someone to fall into. Duo threw the wet
towel to the floor and grabbed another fresh one to place on the pillow.
Then he let himself sink into the cushions and draped his hair onto the
towel. Nothing would keep him from thoroughly enjoying this night's rest.
Before he sank into his own personal dreamland, he casually wondered what
Heero's bedroom looked like; a thought never to be thought through.
End Part 5, to be continued
Nengraphy/nensha/psychic photography/thoughtography: those are all expressions
for impressing mental images on photographic plates; modern Japanese experimenters
use the relatively new term 'nengraphy' which is why I'm using this one.
'Nensha' just sounds a little bit more 'creepy' and 'mysterious'... (hey,
I don't have sound effects, I have to work with something here!
Dr. Tomokichi Fukurai: famous Japanese professor who gave nengraphy its
name and experimented with it.
For more information on his person and the Fukurai Institute of Psychology:
Dr. Joseph Murphy: not the "Murphy's Law" Murphy
For more information on Dr. Murphy and his books visit http://website.lineone.net/~cornerstone/murphy.htm
Poltergeist originally a German word which is stuck together from the
words 'poltern' - which means 'to make a lot of noise/ a racket' - and
'Geist' - which means 'ghost'; even though poltergeists usually don't
cause serious physical injury, they can do so by breaking objects or setting
[back] [part 6] [back
to Singles a - k]