Author: Enchantress101
see part 1 for warnings, disclaimer

Warnings: Duo Humor, Duo POV, um, slight cliffhanger in this chapter (?)

Shades of Obsession + Chapter 21
Kuchizuke

When I woke up the next morning, Zechs was already awake and out of bed. It was way too early, in my opinion, but I had an appointment to keep, so reluctantly I got up and shuffled my way into the kitchen, where he was making coffee. I plopped down at the bar and rested my head against the palms of my hands.

"Good morning," he said way too happily for this time in the morning. "How are you?"

"Bah," I muttered.

Zechs chuckled and began going through the mail sitting on the counter. He took out one envelope from the stack and placed it in front of me before wandering off.

Er, ooookay. I looked at it suspiciously for a minute and then used my fingernail to slide it open. Inside, attached to a piece of paper was a shiny new credit card with my name on it. Now normally, new plastic sends me on a serious high, but for the life of me, I could not remember applying for one, and certainly not a card this exclusive and fancy . . .

Zechs.

I found him in his study pretending to read a book (as usual). "What's this all about?" I gestured to the card.

He didn't look up. "I just thought that you'd like to buy some clothes. You've been going a while with the little bit that you have, so . . ."

Compromise, Duo, compromise. Zechs likes being my sugar daddy, so I figured that I should let him do it once and a while to keep him happy. "Thanks. That was really thoughtful of you. When I get my check from the insurance company I'll pay you back and everything, I promise."

He glared at me. "No you won't. It's a gift. Take it and buy yourself some more clothes."

I made a show of sniffing under my armpits. "Why? Do I stink?"

Zechs laughed and set aside his book. "No, you don't stink. You are, however, running up the water and electric bills by washing your clothes all the time, so it is more economical for you to just go out and get more."

"Economical . . . right. Thanks, Daddy." I fingered the cool plastic thoughtfully. "What's the spending limit?"

"There isn't one. Buy whatever you need, whatever you want, I don't care. You should take Quatre and go and have fun."

"Ah, okay. Thanks."

I went to shower after activating the card. As the warm water ran over my face and down my hair, I couldn't help but wonder if this was like one of those things that you read about rich people doing to their boy or girlfriend--you know, giving them a credit card as some sort of a test to see if they'd charge the hell out of the card or not, to see if they liked the money more than their significant other . . . hmm.

Zechs wasn't like that, though. But to be on the safe side, I'd go easy on it. Right, easy . . .

I left the steamy shower with only a towel wrapped around my waist and went into the bathroom to phone Quatre's house.

"Hello?"

"Hey, Trowa! How's Quatre doing?"

He sighed. "Not too well. He's been moping around the house all morning."

"Aw shoot. Put him on, will ya?"

After a few minutes of shuffling, Quatre came on the other end.

"Q, I have a solution to your bad mood," I said cheerfully as I began brushing out my hair.

"What is it?"

"Shopping! Zechs gave me this new credit card, limit free baby! Time to hit the mall. I'm in serious need of some more underwear."

" . . . the mall? Shopping?" He perked up at that, just as I suspected he would.

"Yes! You up for it?"

"Of course! When should I meet you there?"

I bit on my bottom lip. I had a very important appointment to keep with a certain someone. "How about in three hours? I've got something to do in a little while."

"Okay. I'll be there."

I quickly dried my hair, got dressed and dropped a kiss on Zechs' forehead before darting out to my car.

The ride out to the county prison was pretty short, but the actual process of being cleared for entry into the visiting area took quite some time. It was kind of funny to watch the guards wave a metal detector over my braid. Heehee.

Once the Spanish Inquisition was over, I entered a large, cold room with the other visitors where I noticed that the tables and chairs were all bolted down to the floor. Ah, yeah, a really comforting sight to see. I sat down at a circular table (near the exit, of course) and watched as the inmates were lead in one by one with a guard accompanying them.

I couldn't help but glare when Weston came in. The skinny little weasel was drowning in his brown prison getup and looking down right miserable, which was just what he deserved. I was really quite surprised that he'd agreed to see me. Maybe he had something to get off his chest? Or something that I could rip off of his chest?

He sat down and looked at me hesitantly through his glasses. That's right, dude. Be afraid. "Duo Maxwell."

"That's me, buddy. And you're Gregory Weston, the punk bitch that decided to have his wife put into ground rather than giving her half of your worldly possessions," I said softly and with a pretty smile, remembering that if the guards caught any signs of aggression, our meeting would be over faster than I would be able to blink.

Weston turned red. Since I enjoyed watched watching him squirm, I leaned forward a bit and whispered, "Been bending over to get your soap much lately? No? Why don't you give it a try sometime? It's not that bad."

He glared up at me. "You wanted to speak to me because . . .?"

"Because for some strange reason, you're setting up my best friend." I leaned back and tapped my fingernails on the top of the table. "And I want to know why."

"Who says I'm setting him up? Maybe he really did--"

"That's pure bullshit, and we both know it. Quatre wouldn't ever--"

"Oh? Are you so sure?"

"I am positive. What I'm trying to figure out is what could possibly be the reason why you'd lie about this? Is the DA offering you some kind of deal? Are they offering a special plea bargain?"

Weston had the nerve to look smug. "It's much better than that. But if you think that I'm telling you what it is, then you're sorely mistaken."

"Then why the hell did you accept my request to see you?"

His face turned serious. "When you asked for me, I suspected that you were going to try to figure this all out. I'm telling you to back off. Or you'll be sorry."

I couldn't believe it. This guy was telling me to back off? The nerve! "Are you threatening me?"

"No, I'm warning you. In case you haven't noticed, you've got some enemies in high places, and if you keep poking around, you're going to wind up--"

"Let me tell you something. You're messing around with the wrong man, got it? I'm not a push over, and I don't take crap like this lightly. Now either you recant your lie or I will make you one very sorry individual. Do I make myself clear?"

He raised an eyebrow. "And just how will you make me one very sorry individual? In case you haven't noticed, I'm safely behind bars. You can't touch me here."

Complacent bastard. I smirked at him. "You're right about that. I can't touch you, but I have some buddies on the street, who have some buddies in here, and believe me, these guys aren't anything to fool around with. One call is all it takes. One call."

He just sat there squirming, so I continued. "So you've got two choices here. You either tell the cops that you're lying and clear Quatre's good name, or you can keep doing what you're doing and have one hell of a time in the showers. Take your pick." With those parting words, I stood up and left the stricken man sitting on that cold, hard bench.

Haha. Sometimes I loved being a bit bad.

+

Quatre was standing just outside of the food court's entrance, sipping on something warm when I found him a little later that day. I couldn't help but wonder why the hell he was standing outside when just a foot away was the door to the mall, and coincidentally, warmth.

That was the first thing that I asked him when I got close enough.

He shrugged his shoulders and stuck his face in the steam that was rising from the Styrofoam cup in his hand. "I didn't enjoy being photographed and stared at by everyone inside."

Oh. Jeeze, I should've known, with Quatre being so high profile and junk. "Damn, I'm sorry. Should we go--?"

"No!" He looped one arm in mine and dragged me inside the mall. "I want everyone to know that we're still okay, that we're still friends. I won't let them scare me away."

Atta boy, Quatre! Sounds like a good idea to me.

We walked past all of the gawkers confidently and approached one of our favorite stores. That card was beginning to burn a hole in my pocket, and those blue jeans sitting on that rack over there were calling my name . . . not to mention all the shoes and shirts and accessories. Let's just say that when Quatre and I walked out of that store an hour later, the store employees were wearing bigger grins than we were.

Next, it was time to visit the electronics store to replace my laptop that had turned into a melted heap of junk during the fire. Quatre and I were like kids in a candy store as I tried to replace the things that I'd lost, as well as . . . ahem, getting a few things that I hadn't even owned in the first place.

We decided to call it quits after that and parted ways in the parking lot. I'd barely gotten all of the day's purchases into the back of my car when the phone rang. The caller ID indicated that it was Heero . . . what could he possibly want? I got into the car and flipped the phone open.

"Yeah, Heero?"

" . . . where are you?"

"At the mall. What is it?" I started up the car and began to back out of the parking space.

I heard him sigh--he sounded a little agitated. "What?" I demanded.

"Come over to my house. There's something that I need to give you."

And that was it.

"Freak," I muttered to myself, deciding to drive really slowly and to take the long way to his place, but about halfway there, my curiosity got the best of me and I ended up speeding . . . and getting a ticket. Yeah, I know, damn. After the cop held me for ten freaking minutes, I rushed over to Heero's place.

As you probably guessed, Heero and Fei were living in a condo in Perfect Suburbia Land, where all of the lawns were a healthy green, the hedges were perfectly trimmed, and there wasn't a late model car in sight. There were even white picket fences!

I tried to avoid coming over here as much as possible, because it made me gag. Gah!

I'd just stepped up onto the porch when the door flew open and Heero beckoned me inside. Oh, boy, something was up. He had this awful scowl on his face as he entered the living room and stared down at a shoe box that sat on the glossy wooden coffee table. After we both stood there staring at it for a few minutes, I shifted my feet and asked, "What exactly is in the box?"

He picked it up and shoved it at me. Carefully I pulled back the lid, at which time I'm sure my eyes exploded out of my head just like in the cartoons.

I sat down on the couch and began rifling through the mound of photos that the box contained. Tons and tons of them, all photos of me and Heero during our relation--ah, yeah. Our thing.

" . . . you kept these?" I whispered. Heero had a Shoe Box? A memento Shoe Box? What planet was I on?

I glanced up at Heero just in time to see his cheeks turn a little pink. "Well . . . yes."

" . . . why?"

"I don't know."

"Oh."

He sat next to me and gave me a dead serious look. "I will understand if you do not believe me, but I did . . . we had a lot of . . . good times together. I didn't want to forget them."

What? Was I dreaming? Heero was--why . . . why this, why now? "Heero--"

"I can't keep them."

"Why not?"

He frowned at the box in my arms. "Wufei found them."

Uh oh. And let me guess, he'd probably gotten the wrong idea. "Did you two fight?"

"Yes."

"Where is he now?"

"I don't know."

"Jeeze . . . I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault. Besides, I know that you regret burning your copies, so I thought that--"

"Woah, woah, woah! Who told you I burned them!" I demanded, blushing a bit. Yeah, after I found out that Heero had been cheating on me, I'd tossed each and every one of them into Quatre's fireplace and used the flame to make smores (which I ate until my stomach nearly imploded), and yeah, later on, I kicked myself about it, but I'd never told him that. Because just like he'd said, we did have some good times, despite it all.

"--you might like to have them."

I gapped at him. He looked and sounded so reluctant to give them up that it made me want to go awww. I put the box back in his lap and firmly placed the lid on it. "No, I'm not taking these."

He looked flustered. "But--"

"No! It's not fair that you should have to give these up just because Wufei can't seem to get the fact that you and I are just friends past that thick skull of his. Tell Wufei that he and I need to have a little talk, okay? You tell him that the second he gets his bony ass through the door, because I have a few words for him. He can't expect you to--the nerve--I'll--"

"Thank you."

I stopped mid-rant to look at Heero. He was holding onto that box as if it were a life preserver and he was stranded out in the ocean. This meant that much to him? I hadn't realized that those times we'd shared had really been special to him . . . but then again, that had been his first attempt at a normal life, to be something other than the Perfect Solider, so I guess . . .

"Hey, no problem," I replied with a tiny smile. "Put them some place safe until I can talk some sense into your boyfriend, alright?"

I was almost out of the door before I added, "Oh, and Wufei owes me seventy-five bucks for making me get a speeding ticket. You be sure to tell him that one, too."

I was at a red light not too far away when I got the call. I made sure that I pulled into a parking lot to park, so that I wouldn't get another ticket for road rage . . .

"Now, listen here, Wufei. I was having a pretty damn good day until I got that call from Heero, so now I'm kind of pissed off. Did we already talk about me and Heero? What the hell--"

"I realize that I made a mistake, okay?"

Oh. Well, that kind of took the wind out of my sails. "Good. Because he looked like a kicked puppy when I got over there."

"I'm sorry. I over reacted and didn't think clearly. I just saw those pictures and I--What would you have done if you'd found pictures of Zechs' ex in the back of his closet?"

Er . . . good point. I would've flipped out for sure. Hmm . . . maybe I should check his closet when I get back?

Focus, Duo, focus!

"But this is different, Wufei. You know me, and you know that it's over." He didn't say anything in return. "Did you ever consider that maybe, just maybe, he hadn't even looked at the darn things in a long time? I mean--"

"The box was not covered in dust like a few other items that were with it, Duo," Wufei muttered. "I think that he's been looking at them."

Has he now? That was . . . ah, interesting to say the least. "Well, apparently, they mean a lot to him," I replied dryly. "Even I didn't know . . . did you apologize?"

"Yes."

"And he can keep his pictures."

" . . .yes."

Now, why didn't that sound convincing? "Wufei!"

"I said yes! I'm not going to do anything to them, alright? What do you think I am, some jealous female?"

Uh, maybe. "Okay. Stop being an asshole and get over it."

"I will."

"That's better." I hung up and rolled my eyes up to the sky.

What the hell was happening to the five of us? Since when had all our love lives and non-existent love triangles (squares?) become the source of so much tension between us? I guess that was consequence of being so close to each other--now our lives were tangled up, quickly spiraling down the toilet bowl down into the septic tank full of crap. Maybe we needed to take a break from each other to work out our respective messes? Would that be for the best?

This filled my mind as I drove back to Zechs' place and struggled to get the first arm load of bags up to the top floor. I managed to kick the door open and dropped the bags at my feet where I stood.

From the couch, Zechs looked up from the book that he was reading. "Why didn't you call me? I would've helped."

I flashed him a smile. "You can still help. There's plenty more in the car."

I could see that this made him happy, and without any griping he hauled the rest of my stuff up to the flat all by himself. The living room floor was barely visible, and I sat in the middle of it all and began searching for the laptop I bought.

"Are you hungry?"

"Am I ever," I replied, snagging the laptop box from under a pile of shirts. "What do you want?"

"Is pizza fine?"

"Pizza is always fine. Get my usual, daddy."

Zechs ordered the food and watched contently from an armchair as I went though the things I'd bought. It was like Christmas all over again, baby, but only better. Just as the smell of new stuff began to take over the room, there was a knock on the door. Oh, the pizza was finally here! As Zechs got up to answer, I could hardly wait to be smelling that rather than--

What the hell?

I stared wide eyed as Relena, who was wearing a big, bright grin stepped into the room, followed by Sally Po and Lucrezia Noin. Zechs looked equally stunned. "What--?"

And then the unthinkable happened. Noin stepped forward and threw took Zechs' face into her hands and leaned in to kiss him. On. The. Mouth.

On my man's mouth!

Could things get any worse?

Oops. Now that I'd said that, they surely would . . .

Damn!

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