Author: Enchantress101
see part 1 for warnings, disclaimer

Shades of Obsession + Chapter 03
Striptease, Please!

I went to work the next day with Trowa and Q. Trowa hadn't said a word about his little foray into fortune telling, but I could tell that it had freaked him out a little bit, because he was reluctant to talk or even look at me. But I was cool with it—after all, he'd predicted me with a hunk of a man! Who wouldn't love that?

We sat down at our desks and I immediately took out a clean sheet of paper and began to do a sketch. This time, Wufei was not meeting a horrible end. He wasn't even in the darn thing. (See, I AM making progress!) This time I was sketching what I thought my dream guy would look like. I tried different kinds of noses, different mouth shapes and hair length until I came up with something I was satisfied with. Then I drew myself with my dream guy, making out . . .

Man, I was sooo horny! Damn Trowa for making that prediction! Now I wouldn't be able to think about anything else for the rest of the day.

I wanted to cry. I was so freaking lonely and desperate for love. All of my friends were heavily involved with someone, and I was being left behind.

Well, at least my stalker thought that I was worth something. But he was crazy, so I guess that really doesn't count.

Okay, I'm taking a break. Screw work.

I got up from my desk and headed outside, down to the ground floor and into the atrium. It was a really nice place where people would go to take a break from . . . um, not working. There was a tree in the center of it, colorful patches of folowers (I'm really starting to hate those things) and a nice water fountain of a naked baby boy spitting out water. I'd spent several hours down here tying to figure THAT one out, but I was still at a loss.

I sat on the edge of the fountain and stared up at the sky. Where was my life going? I was stuck in a job I hated, at least until I turned twenty-one when I'd be allowed to do something more worth-while for the Preventers, I was totally unloved except by a crazy ass stalker, and I was still depressed about Heero leaving me, no matter how hard I tried to deny it.

"Hey, fag boy, turned on by the statue?"

Great. Just what I needed when I was feeling depressed. It was the guy from yesterday, Peters or whatever his name was. He was alone this time and looking pretty ticked off, probably because I'd embarrassed him in front of his friends.

He stalked over and towered above me. "You're lucky that Yuy came by when he did, or else I would've—"

"Would've what?" I sneered back. He dared to threaten me when I was feeling like crap?

He grinned nastily. "Say, how are things with Yuy? He dumped you, right? Decided that he liked Chang better?"

Okay, now that was playing dirty, throwing my sour relationship with Heero in my face. I jumped to my feet, ready to take the bastard on. But then he pushed me. He pushed me (!) and I fell back into the fountain with a splash. He laughed and laughed, but quickly shut up when I sloshed water in his direction so that he was almost as wet as I was.

After cursing me to hell and threatening reveng , he left. I hauled my ass out of the freezing water and swore, tugging at my wet clothes. This was just NOT my day.

I went to the men's locker room where, luckily, I kept a spare set of clothes, ignoring the strange looks that I was getting as I walked down the hallway. The locker room was thankfully empty, which meant that I could shout bad words as loud as I could in an attempt to alleviate my frustration without bothering a soul. I stomped to the back of the room and swiped my Preventers ID card when I reached my locker. It popped open and angrily I yanked my extra clothes out and then watched curiously as a plain white envelope fell to the ground.

What was this?

I looked around cautiously, but the room was silent. Empty. I looked back down at the envelope. Should I open it? Should I get Trowa?

Jeeze, it was just and ENVELOPE, nothing to get worried over. So I opened it.

Oh my god. Oh my god!

Inside the envelope were pictures of me . . . pictures of me changing my clothes last night at Quatre's house. So he had been watching me! I knew it!

But how had he gotten inside the Preventers headquarters? Inside my locker? Was he still in the room? In the building? Was he lurking just outside the locker room for me, waiting for me to come out so that he could whisk me off and have his wicked way with me?

Shit! Okay, I needed to CALM DOWN, go somewhere where there were a lot of people and find Trowa and Q.

I decided that changing would have to wait. I left my clothes there and clutched the pictures to my chest, dashing outside into the hallway. There were plenty of people milling around, not working as usual. Good.. I avoided looking anyone in the eye and stared at the floor instead—any of the unrecognizable faces could've belonged to the stalker.

Suddenly I bumped into a very firm body. Ouch! The pictures fell to the ground and the person I'd ran into bent down to pick them up, which would've been nice under other circumstances, if the pictures weren't of me getting naked. I scrambled to get the ones that I could, but the Good Samaritan had already grabbed some.

"What the fuck are these?"

HEERO?! I was REALLY, REALLY, REALLY having a bad day! Of all the people to run into, of all the people to see the mildly pornographic pictures of me! Heero!

He stood there, staring down at the three photos he had in his hand, his face balnk but his eyes full of confusion. Oh boy. How could I explain this? Well, I knew I couldn't, so I didn't even try. Instead I yanked the pictures from his hands and did the only thing that I could do—I took off running down the hallway.

"Hey! Duo!"

He was right behind me, I could tell. Trying to run from Super-Human-Heero-Yuy was pretty useless, I guess, and I made it to Trowa's cubicle with Heero on my heels. Trowa was sitting on his desk, feeding Quatre pudding when I found them. They looked pretty mad that we'd interrupted their flirting, but seemed to let their anger go when they saw the panic on my face.

"Duo, what's wrong?" Quatre asked, wiping some pudding from the corner of his mouth. "You're all wet."

"Why the fuck do you have pictures of you undressing, Duo?! Who took those?!" Heero demanded, drawing the attention of the people around us. I could've hit him for having such a big mouth. I didn't need rumors of this floating around the office.

Wufei wandered over, obviously drawn by his lover's loud shouting. "What's going on?"

Jeeze! The two people that I didn't want to know about this . . .

"It's HIM again," I said to Tro and Q. "I got something else."

Trowa's confused look turned deadly. "Let's talk about this some place private."

All five of us immediately headed to the men's restroom. We went inside, and Trowa and Heero rudely shoved two guys who were in the middle of relieving themselves out into the hallway. Quatre locked the door behind them.

I turned to Wufei and Heero. "Do you two mind? This is private."

Heero scowled. "I want to know what's going on."

"We should just tell them," Quatre said to me. "We might need their help. We haven't dealt with anything like this before, and any extra input is valuable."

No! My best friend just turned on me! His bunny slippers are toast. "Fine." I told Heero and Wufei about last night (Heero looked ready to murder someone), and then passed around the pictures. For a while, no one said a word. The looks on their faces, though, would've been really funny if I hadn't been so unnerved. I was in no mood to laugh—I wanted to hurl.

"You're going to the police NOW," Heero suddenly barked as he shoved the pictures he was holding at Trowa, who scrambled to grab them before they hit the ground. He stalked over to me and grabbed my arm—what the fuck?—and stuck his face in mine. "Why haven't you gone to the damn police?"

If we'd still been together, I would've been flattered by the amount of concern that he was showing me. But we weren't, and the fact that he looked ready to chop someone's head off on my behalf ticked me off more than anything. I couldn't understand it. Why was he so possessive towards me now, when he wasn't anything of the sort when we were together?

But I had more important things to worry about than Heero's temper. I was fucking pissed that someone had decided that it was okay to intrude on my privacy. I felt incredibly violated, creeped out, and worst of all, vulnerable, and right then, I sure as hell didn't feel like hearing a lecture from my cheating ex-boyfriend. I returned his dark look and shook him off.

"The flowers were pretty harmless, Heero, unless they were meant to suffocate me or something." I collected each photo and placed them carefully back into the envelope.

"I'd feel better if we went to the police now. Screw work," Trowa said. Quatre nodded.

"We're coming with you," Wufei quickly added, and I assumed `we' meant Heero and Wufei.

I really wanted to tell them to take a hike, but fine, whatever, I was not in the mood to argue. The five of us left the bathroom together, which I guess looked kind of weird, now that I think about it. I knew we looked scary—the looks on Tro and Heero's faces were not very . . . erm, friendly to say the least. Wouldn't want to meet them in a dark alley, that's for sure.

We made it all the way to the parking deck without incident. Heero insisted that I ride with him to the police station, but I said that I needed to go back to Quatre's to get some other things that Stalker Boy had left for me, so I should ride with Trowa and Q. He paid me no mind and just grabbed my arm and shoved me into the back seat of his giant SUV. Wufei got into the passenger seat and Heero got behind the wheel, which kind of bothered me because he was so mad that he probably couldn't even see straight.

"We'll meet you at your place," he grunted to Trowa, locked the doors and sped off.

I quickly secured my seatbelt and slumped down in my seat. This was so not cool. I was in a car with my controlling maniac former boyfriend and his current lover . . . just perfect. I pouted, and glanced up from the floor just in time to see Heero staring at me through the rearview mirror.

"Keep your eyes on the road, will ya?" I said. "Stalker Boy won't get the chance to drive me to an early grave if we crash and burn."

"I wish you'd take this a little more seriously, damn it!" yelled Heero angrily. His foot slammed on the gas and we began to weave in and out of cars.

"I am fucking taking this seriously, okay?! I am seriously worried about this, but your crazy ass attitude isn't helping!" I shouted back at him, gripping the seat as we whipped around a corner. "And slow the fuck down!" He totally ignored me and kept speeding.

"Heero." That was all Wufei had to say, and the maniac driver slowed down to a more reasonable speed. Fuck! How the heck did he do that? I guess they were really made for each other . . .

"Got him whipped, don't cha, Wufei?" I asked with a small laugh.

Wufei just nodded. Huh. I wondered how that had happened.

We arrived at The Fortress way before Q and Tro, and had to wait outside for fifteen minutes for them to arrive, since they had the key. Once they joined us and unlocked the door, I went inside and upstairs to my room. I found the note and the cards and went back downstairs.

Quatre was on the phone and Trowa was handing Wufei a cup of something. Heero was sitting on the couch, breathing heavily like a raging bull hyped up on steroids. Uh, not a pretty sight, that's for sure.

"What's going on? Aren't we going to the cops?" I asked, joining everyone in the living room.

Quatre shook his head. "I'm on the phone with them now. We thought that it would be a better idea if they came to us. We want to keep you away from as many crowds as possible."

Trowa was staring at Heero, who was now being forced to drink from the cup by Wufei, as if he'd never seen him before. "Besides, we don't want Heero to snap and massacre some innocent officers if they aren't as . . . cooperative as we'd like them to be. Take him upstairs, will you?"

Wufei nodded and lead Heero to the second floor. "You drugged the drink?" I asked.

"With a mild sedative. Hopefully he'll calm down." Trowa turned to look at me. "What's wrong with him? Is there something going on between the two of you?"

I sat down on the couch and tossed the stalker's notes onto the coffee table. Funny how things kept coming back to my past relationship with Heero. "What are you asking me? Are you implying that we just might be trying to get back together?"

"He's being very irrational," Trowa said, sitting down next to me. I leaned against him, resting my head on his shoulder. He began stroking my hair as he'd done the night before. "I just don't understand why he's getting so upset over every little thing that has to do with you. He loves Wufei, right?."

"Yeah. I'll ask him sometime, when he's not ready to kill someone." I closed my eyes. Suddenly I was freaking tired. Now I had to worry about Heero on top of Stalker Boy, and my mind was still buzzing from the scares of today and the night before. Like I said, dealing with a fanatic, obsessed freak was new ground for all of us. We were the Gundam Boys. We were supposed to be able to handle any and every situation thrown at us, but this . . . we were all at a loss, and I guess my friends (even Wufei and Heero) were scared too.

I shucked off my shoes and curled up on the couch. "Would you call me a girly wuss if I told you that I was scared out of my mind?"

Trowa laughed quietly and tickled my face with the end of my braid. "Only if you don't call me a girly wuss. I'm scared too."

Aww. What had I done to deserve such great people as friends?

Trowa suddenly stiffened and removed his hands from my hair, and the bonding feeling that we'd been sharing was now gone. Confused, I sat up and opened my eyes. Oh. Wufei had come back from putting Heero to rest and was standing at the foot of the stairs, looking at us very suspiciously.

Wufei came closer. "I hope you two know what you're doing to Quatre."

I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. I'm not dumb or anything, okay? But you can't blame me for not being all there. My brain felt totally fried, and I still had that feeling of wanting to puke up my breakfast.

But evidently Trowa caught on, because he got this totally frightening look on his face and got to his feet. He stood there imposingly, his arms crossed over his chest as he towered over Wufei.

"You're one to talk, Chang. Did you know what you were doing?" Trowa said. His voice was calm, but I could detect a hint of malice there.

Wufei drew himself up to his full height, ready to do battle. But before he could say a word, Quatre came into the room. At that point, the tension was so thick that Deathscythe Hell wouldn't have been able to hack through it. Q hesitated, took some time to stare at each of us, and then went over to Trowa and forcibly moved him away from Wufei.

"Um, I don't know what's going on, but yeah. Here's the deal. The police are on their way, and they've already got someone out to take a look at the Flower Shop," Quatre informed us, eyeing Trowa, who was still looking very upset about whatever Wufei had said. I'd have to ask him about it later. The two were engaged in a heated glaring contest . . . I had my money on Tro. "Where's Heero?"

YES! I won! Wufei looked away at the mention of Heero and turned his focus to Q. "I put him upstairs to calm down."

"What the hell is his problem anyway?" I demanded. "He's not my boyfriend, my brother, and he sure as hell ain't my dad, so why is he so pissed off?"

Wufei sighed and sat on the couch across from me. "He's just scared. He doesn't know how to handle his fear, so he goes off." He looked me straight in the eye. "He may not love you in the way that you love him, but he still cares for you."

Right. How many times was I going to have to hear that one? And who said I was still in love with him anyway? "That's nice," I said nonchalantly. "Tell him to back the fuck off."

Trowa stepped in front of me, blocking my view of `Fei. His face was still marred by anger, but he seemed to have calmed down a bit. "Do you need something? A drink, something to eat?"

"We've got 7-Up," Quatre added. "A six pack."

"Bring the entire thing here. I need some caffeine." Trowa went into the kitchen and came out with exactly what I'd asked for. Ohh, they were nice and cold. Tro handed me one that was already open and I began to guzzle it down.

Everyone else just sat quietly, watching me either outright (Trowa and Q) or out of the corner of their eyes when they thought I wasn't looking (Wufei). I was on my third can when the door bell rang. We all jumped, and Quatre ran to get the door.

Two detectives dressed in suits joined us in the living room, and both were actually kind of hot, which definitely grabbed my attention. One was really tall like Trowa, and his hair was midnight black and cut short. His eyes were just as dark, which looked really cool against his olive skin. His partner was shorter by about a head, and his hair was flaming red, accompanied by vibrant green eyes. Wow. My day just got a little better.

"I'm Detective Benito," the dark haired one said, "and this is my partner Detective Walker. We got a call about a possible stalking?"

I nodded, trying to imagine how I looked at the moment. Eww, probably really bad. I still had on the muddy and wrinkly clothes that I was wearing when I fell into the fountain, and I'm sure that my hair, my strongest selling point, was not looking very nice at the moment. But I always had a backup, which were my eyes. No matter what, they were always the same unusual, gorgeous purplish color. "I'm Duo Maxwell, the guy who's been stalked."

Walker raised an eyebrow. "Duo Maxwell, former Gundam pilot?"

"Yes," Trowa supplied. "We're all Gundam pilots."

The two detectives looked impressed.

"This stalker must have some really big balls if he's stalking a Gundam pilot," mused Detective Benito as he smiled handsomely. Ohhh, he uses my kind of language! Very nice.

"Sit down," Quatre urged. They did, and they sat next to me! Benito sat the closest, and his partner was on the other end of the couch. I hope I don't stink . . .

"So what's been going on?" Benito asked, taking out a note pad and a pen. I filled him in, with the guys adding their opinions and confirming the things that had happened. I showed them the notes and reluctantly gave them the pictures.

"I hope they're not going to circulate around the precinct," I said with a laugh to hide my embarrassment as the detectives flipped through the pictures, "or show up on the internet or in a tabloid or something. I mean, I know I'm fine and all, but . . ."

Benito smiled at me (what a hunk!) and said, "I assure you, these photos will remain locked up tight. No one will see these unless it's absolutely necessary." He stared down at one picture that had me stripping off my shirt. "You're right though. You are fine." He winked at me.

Wow. Are you single? Can I have your number?

His partner cleared his throat, rolling his eyes. "Can you show us the room you were in when these pictures were taken?"

I jumped to my feet. "Sure, follow me."

I led the detectives, along with Wufei, Q and Tro up to my room. On the far wall were glass doors that led to a balcony. The glass doors had no blinds or curtains, which Q had deemed unnecessary since the mansion-fortress was pretty far out from the rest of civilization. About ten yards away was a big tree, which. I guess it was safe to say that the stalker had chosen to hide there and take the pictures.

The two detectives looked around, eyed the tree, and them went into a corner and whispered amongst themselves, probably trying to decided if my case was worth perusing. I sat on the bed and watched anxiously as they talked. Then Walker flipped open his phone, showed something to Benito and then nodded. They turned back to us.

"Well," Walker said, "the street cops we sent to check out your apartment just sent us some photos on my cell phone. This guy is pretty serious."

I nodded. "So what are you going to do?"

"First we're going to go out and take a look at the tree," Benito said, giving me a reassuring smile. God, he was so hot. "Maybe he left behind some clues. We'll look into this, but to be honest, there isn't much that we can really do unless he threatens you with bodily harm or attempts to kidnap you. It's the law."

"We can get him for a relatively minor charge for taking these pictures," Detective Walker added, "but other than that . . . The stalker laws, what few of them there are, aren't really very effective."

Trowa nodded. "I figured that might be the case. Should we be doing anything in particular? What kind of person are we dealing with?"

Benito thought for a minute. "It's hard to say what kind of stalker you're encountering." He turned to me. "Have you recently broken up with anyone? Rejected an advance from someone?"

"I haven't had anyone try to ask me out at all. I broke up with someone a year ago, but he's not . . . I mean, he wouldn't . . . he's not a suspect."

Walker raised an eyebrow. "How do you know?"

"He's with me now," Wufei said. "And he's a friend. He wouldn't do anything like this."

Hmm, Heero? I'd never thought about that possibility. He was a little crazy, and seemed to be hung up on me for some reason. But could I believe that he was secretly stalking me? He and Wufei were great together. It didn't make any sense for him to do something like this to me.

"I think it's pretty safe to rule him out," Quatre said. "He's one of us."

"Oh, a pilot?" Benito asked. I nodded. "Well, alright. We may need to speak to him though. Well, if the stalker isn't someone you've rejected, then he's probably what we like to call a delusional stalker. You've probably never met him before, but despite that, he feels like you have some sort of connection that more than likely doesn't really exist."

"Your break up could be just that," Walker added. "Sometimes these delusional stalkers like to attach themselves to someone who seems to need companionship or affection. They feel that they can provide it for you. He may have been recently rejected and feels lonely, and sees that similarity in you."

But my breakup had been a long time ago. Could he have been watching me for an entire year, since the breakup? I shuddered at the thought.

"You'll want to be careful. Lots of times these guys have some kind of mental illness," continued Walker.

"He may try to contact you pretty soon, maybe in person or over the phone. He could even use the internet. You want to be very careful about how you speak to him. If he does have a mental illness, angering him could cause him to do harm to you or someone close to you," Detective Benito advised. "You all should just continue with your everyday activities. Stalkers often thrive on attention, and if he notices that he's getting to you, he'll try to increase his contact with you in order to get more."

I warily rubbed my face. "Thanks for the advice."

"No problem. Take my card," Benito said, handing one to me. "Make sure that you keep us updated, and contact us if you get anymore gifts."

Alright, a phone number!

We said our goodbyes and once they were gone, we sat in the living room to discuss what we'd heard. Despite the detectives insisting that I need to act like everything was okay, I was unwilling to move back to my place. I was still creeped out, and in no hurry to return. Despite the fact that Stalker Boy had gotten some racy pictures of me while I was on Quatre's estate, it was a hell of a lot safer than my place.

As for my blind date, that turned into a double date with Trowa and Quatre. Since I refused to let Stalker Boy run my life, I was not going to give up my date. Besides, I needed to relax and unwind.

After laying out our plans, Trowa took me upstairs and urged me to go to sleep. He shoved a pair of sweat pants at me and I pouted. "You just want me to sleep so you guys can talk about me behind my back."

Tro gave a small smile. "Of course. Can't hide anything from you." Then he turned serious. "You look exhausted. It's been a long two days, and we're all more than a little concerned for you."

I gave him a quick hug. "Alright, alright. Fine. I'll take a nap. Just don't say bad things about me, okay?"

"You got it." He left me alone, closing the door behind him.

I sighed and rubbed my face. I was pretty tired, my eyelids were drooping, and a nap sounded pretty good at the moment. I unbuttoned my jeans and began to pull down the zipper, and then froze. Damn. I had to start remembering to undress in the bathroom.

When I woke up, I was a little unsure of where I was. The room was very dark, and it wasn't until I looked over to the glass doors did I realize that it was nighttime. I looked over to the alarm clock that sat on the dresser. Nine minutes past eight.

What the hell? How had I slept away the entire day?

Then it hit me. Trowa must've slipped something into my 7-Up, the dirty little sneak. I'd get him later for that one. "Jerk. Traitor," I mumbled, getting out of bed. My stomach rumbled loudly as I stretched. Oh, man, I was hungry. I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast, so I decided to go down to the kitchen to get something to eat.

"—can't believe you did that!" Heero was practically shouting. He was standing toe to toe with Trowa in front of the refrigerator. Both men looked very annoyed with the other, Heero more than Trowa, and I momentarily thought about intervening, but then decided against it. I wanted to see what Heero had to say about his behavior.

"I had no other choice. You were being irrational."

"I'm sorry that I showed some concern for a friend," Heero growled. "I was just worried about him."

Trowa stepped away and sat at the kitchen table. "You have to let him go, Heero. You've made your choice and it wasn't him." Trowa gave Heero a level gaze. "Or do you want him back?"

Heero seemed to deflate. His shoulders drooped uncharacteristically and he joined Trowa at the table, slummping down in his chair.

I held my breath. What would I do if he said that he did want me back? Would I take him back? Could I forgive him for betraying me? Could I—

"No. I don't want him back."

Well. Guess I wouldn't have to answer those questions after all.

"I want to . . ." Heero's face twisted with confusion. He seemed to struggle with what to say, and after a few minutes, he sighed. "I cannot put it in words, the feeling that I have for him."

"You have to find a better way to deal with those feelings. Maybe you should talk to him," suggested Trowa.

"Hn."

"Or maybe you should help Quatre find someone for Duo."

" . . . What would that solve?" he demanded angrily.

Trowa sighed. "Maybe you'd stop worrying about him so much . . . if he had someone to take care of him."

It was then that I began to wonder if Trowa really possessed some kind of powers, because it was if he had uttered some kind of magic word—a look of shock and acknowledgment dawned on Heero's face. It was strange, because I'd never seen him look surprised before. He slowly turned to face Trowa. "You are right. You are absolutely right. That's it."

Tro nodded and leaned back in his chair. "It's worse than Relena, then?"

"Yes." Heero rubbed his face rather roughly. "Much worse than the feeling I had with Relena. I want to protect him so much that it is nearly driving me insane."

"He's a grown man, Heero, and a former Gundam pilot just like the rest of us. He can take care of himself."

Heero grunted. "I'll have to disagree with that one. He's always getting himself into all kinds of trouble. He needs constant supervision."

Hey! Okay, that was cruel. I wasn't a child, you know. I could take care of myself—I had my own place, a job, I paid my bills on time . . . So what if I went crazy now and then and did off the wall stuff? Secretly, the guys love it when I do weird things. Keeps them amused and on their toes. Since I was fed up with them talking about me, I waltzed into the kitchen and grinned at them.

"Hiya, guys! Funny how I slept for the entire day." I gave Trowa a look. He just smiled at me in return.

"It was for your own good."

"Nope, it wasn't. That's okay, though. You'll just have to pay the price—I won't be able to sleep a wink tonight. You know what that means . . ."

Heero winced. He quickly got up and said, "Good night. I'm going home."

Good. He was gone. I leaned against the sink and stared at Trowa. "Relena? He feels for me like he feels for Relena? Eww, under NO circumstances do I want to be grouped with her. That's just degrading."

"Maybe that's a sign. A sign that you and Relena should try to get along, because you really have more in common than you think." His face was blank, but I could tell by the look in his eye that on the inside he was laughing.

"Erk, no. Not in a million years." I shuddered. "Okay, let's talk about something else. Where's Q?"

"He's checking the alarm system. I think he's calling about getting the place fenced off."

"Gee, for me? That's nice."

"Not just for you. We've been having some problems with the Paparazzi. They seem to find our relationship so fascinating . . ."

I laughed. "I bet."

I was still giggling when the phone rang. Trowa answered it, then handed the phone over to me. I gave him a puzzled look and he muttered, "Une."

Oh great. Just great. What the freak had I done now?

"Hi, Une. How ya doing?"

"I just called to ask you the same thing. I heard that you're having some . . . issues."

Issues? I guess you could call it that. "I'll be in for work tomorrow anyway."

"Don't worry about it. It's not like you actually do anything." She laughed.

Oops! I'd been found out. "Sorry. It's just that I hate paperwork . . ."

"I know," she said. "I'd love to have all five of you guys doing something more challenging for us, but the Preventer guidelines say that you can't until you're twenty one."

"You wrote the damn guidelines, didn't you? Can't you just change them?"

"Not without going through a lot of people first. Sorry. Look, I plan on making you useful in about three years, and I can't have you disappearing on me, okay? Watch your back. Although, I am considering taking a few . . . measures to ensure your safety."

I momentarily wondered what she'd thought up, but what ever it was would be rather useless. "Don't worry. Heero's made it his new life mission to fight back anyone who seems remotely interested in me in any way. Stalker Boy doesn't stand a chance."

"Good." We said our goodbyes and hung up. Quatre came into the kitchen just then and smiled at me.

"You're awake!"

"Yeah, no thanks to your boyfriend." I fixed Trowa with an evil glare. He just looked innocent.

Quatre grabbed my arm and took me upstairs. "I've got a little project for us to do. We're putting some curtains up in your room."

"Yay! Interior decorating, my favorite pastime, just like any other gay guy!" I said this sarcastically, of course. Q just rolled his eyes and dragged me into my room. Well, at least he hadn't picked out something frilly. The curtains were black and simply cut. Good.

It took us ten minutes to put them up, and once we were done, I felt ten times better. Now I didn't have to try to remember to go to the bathroom to change. Q decided that we should spend some time together to help me forget some of my troubles, and went to get some popcorn and a couple of movies. I plopped down on the floor and turned on the tv. Just great—there was Relena Peacecraft in all her pinkness, smiling daintily and basking in applause as she stepped up to a podium. I gripped the remote, and was just about to change the channel when I stopped. Oh, God. Who was that?

I scooted closer to the tv and stared. Standing just behind Relena was a tall, blond hunk of a man with really nice hair, almost as nice as mine. He was wearing sharp, perfectly suit black suit, and his face was impassive as he stood there imposingly just daring someone to even breathe at Relena the wrong way. Wait, hadn't I seen his picture before? Oh yeah! That was Zechs or Milliardo or whatever he liked to call himself, Relena's brother. This man was fine. My Dream Man, in the flesh.

At this point, I think I was drooling because Q came into the room and began to laugh. I snapped back and had the decency to look embarrassed. Quatre came over to see what I'd been goggling at.

"Ohhh, Zechs Merquise. He's hot," Q said with a knowing wink.

I felt my face getting even hotter. "Yeah, well, I don't think I'd touch that with a ten foot pole. He's related to Miss Pretty-in-Pink." Huh. That was a lie.

"Lair!" Of course. Q knew me too well. "Someone would have to pry you off of him with a ten foot pole if you two ever met." He put a disc into the DVD player, and my Dream Man disappeared, replace by a blue screen.

"Hey!" I cried. "Jeeze, I was watching that!"

Q snorted and dropped a bowl of hot, buttery popcorn and a can of 7-Up in my lap. "You mean you were watching Merquise. It's not like he was going to do a striptease, Duo. He looks like her body guard, so he'll just stand there looking scary for a while."

I glared as the movie started up. "How do you know he wasn't going to strip? If it comes up on the news tomorrow morning, I'll kick your ass."

Quatre laughed as he flopped down on my bed. "If it's on the news tomorrow, I'll let you kick my ass. I would've liked to see that myself."

After giggling like girls for a few minutes, we settled down and focused on the movie, a gay love story. Man, I'd rather be watching a good ole shoot-em-up movie with plenty of explosions and car crashes and gore, but Q was a big sap at heart. I could deal with it—I'm sure there will be plenty of make out scenes.

We were about a half an hour into it when Trowa joined us. He snuggled up with Q on the bed. "What are we watching?"

"Well, we could be watching Zechs Peacecraft or Milliardo Merquise or whatever his name is do a strip tease, but . . ." I glared at Quatre.

" . . . What?" Trowa muttered. Q and I just laughed. "Never mind, I don't want to know."

After a few minutes, I could hear some giggling coming from Q, and husky whispering from Trowa. Okay, eww. They're my friends and all, but I don't really want to hear or see that. "Hey! Keep it clean up there, that's my bed!"

Well, hell. It didn't sound as if they were going to let up anytime soon, so I took my soda and popcorn and left. I went downstairs and flipped on the tv. Yes! For once I was glad that Miss Pinkness was still talking, because that meant that her totally hot brother was still standing behind her. I continued to stare, and eventually it occurred to me that Trowa had seen me with a hot blond . . . could it be?

I snorted. Yeah, right. For us to end up together, we'd have to meet. That would be impossible because as a bodyguard he followed the Queen of the World around, and the Queen wasn't going to come anywhere near me, a poor L2 street rat, and I wasn't going to go anywhere near her, with her suffocating, nauseating perfume, so . . .

I changed the channel. No use lamenting over what you can't have.

If only my stalker knew that.

[chap. 2] [chap. 4] [back to Singles a - k]