Author: Enchantress101
see part 1 for warnings, disclaimer

Shades of Obsession + Chapter 04
Blind Dates, Blind Fates

It occurred to me while I was showering the next morning how pathetic my life was at the moment. Last night I'd found myself curled up on the couch alone, watching two balding fat guys drywall a room while my two closest friends were upstairs breaking another bed, not to mention the fact that my ex was probably doing the same with a guy I'd once considered a really close pal. I don't think that I've ever felt more alone in my life than at that moment, and it really bothered me.

I guess, after the war, I'd gotten use to having someone, you know, a boyfriend. Heero and I had hooked up almost immediately, to my delight, and shacked up together as we struggled to adapt to the fact that we were no longer soldiers. We'd only been together for a little more than twelve months, but in that time I'd grown accustomed to coming home with him, sharing a bed with him and having someone to spend my Friday and Saturday nights with. And now all of that was gone. I left work each day and came to an empty apartment, I slept on one side of the bed with no one on the other, and the only thing keeping me company on Friday and Saturday nights were my anime shows.

Oh, man. I was really feeling sorry for myself, and that is something that I really don't like to do. I had to get a life, and fast, before I ended up drowning in my self pity.

The car ride to the Preventers building was silent, which I guess shocked Trowa and Quatre. When we reached the office, Quatre pulled me into the men's restroom and gave me a once over.

"Okay, what's wrong?" Quatre demanded.

I didn't want to talk to him about this, because I felt that this was just something he wouldn't understand. He had Trowa. "Nothing. I'm fine." I put on a fake smile.

Quatre wasn't buying it, I could tell. But he knew me better than I probably knew myself, so . . . "You're very quiet, which either means that you're about to blow something up or you're feeling crappy. Since this is peacetime and we work in cubicles, I'm assuming that you're feeling crappy."

I sighed but didn't say anything.

"Oh . . . is this about last night? I'm sorry I ditched you, I didn't mean to," Quatre said.

"Last night? No, I don't have a problem with that. I just hope . . . you know, it wasn't on my bed."

Q laughed. "No, we took it somewhere else, I promise."

"Good."

"So you're not going to tell me what's wrong?"

"Nothing is wrong with me!"

"You're lying." Quatre stared me down, but I just raised my chin and returned his look. "I just want to help. Is there something I can do?"

"Remember that thing I said about you and there being no air in space?" I threw my arm around his shoulders. "You can't fix everything, Q."

"No, but I can certainly try."

Jeeze, he was so stubborn sometimes! "You've done enough. You've set me up on a date, which will hopefully lead to a long, healthy, honest relationship."

Quatre caught on. "Oh, that again? You've got to stop thinking about Heero and Wufei! Come on, let's finish that movie that we were watching last night. That'll help you get your mind off of it."

We left the restroom and we to Q's cubicle, where he popped the DVD into his computer and started up the movie. I pulled up a chair and he took out a bag of popcorn from his desk, and we sat down to watch the movie from the beginning. I know what you're thinking, but haven't I already told you enough times that no one works around this place? Do you believe me now?

"Hey, look, two fags watching fags!"

Okay, seriously. What the hell was wrong with this guy? I didn't even have to turn around to know that it was the jerk who'd shoved me into the fountain the other day. "Go the fuck away, will ya?" I snapped, keeping my eyes on the computer screen.

He yanked the back of my chair and spun it around so that I was now facing him. He looked really pissed, and his fist was clenching a mug so hard that his knuckles were white. "You think you can get away with what you did to me yesterday?"

What I'd done to him? Who did this guy think he was? He'd pushed me first. "Look, ass wipe—"

But before I could finish my witty comment, he dumped the contents of his mug—which turned out to be scalding hot coffee—onto my right arm. Fucking bastard! I cried out in pain and kicked out at him as I jerked back. I'm pretty sure that my heel caught him in the nuts, but I couldn't tell if he was screaming in pain from my well-placed kick . . . or the punch in the face he got from Heero only seconds later. Either way, he went down, only to have Trowa pick him up by the back of his shirt and toss him across the room. Swearing and promising more revenge, he stumbled away.

"Duo, are you alright?!" Quatre exclaimed, yanking on my injured arm to get a better look.

"I won't be if you keep pulling on me like that! Ow!" I turned to Tro and Heero. "Man, you guys pop up at just the right times!"

Trowa frowned at the burned skin on my arm. "Lets get you down to the infirmary, okay? I think you need to get that looked at."

On the way down to the infirmary, I had to calm Heero down. He was just itching to hunt Peters down and beat him up, but I persuaded him to leave it alone by saying that Wufei would not be very happy with him if he did. Once I mentioned his boyfriend's name, he predictably settled down. I'd learned that the secret to controlling Heero Yuy was none other than Chang Wufei. Hmm. Maybe I could have a little fun with it later. Oh yes. Definitely.

When we entered to infirmary, Heero rudely shoved past the people waiting in line for appointments and said to the nurse, "We have an emergency here. We need a doctor now."

I rolled my eyes and gave the people who'd been waiting in line an apologetic smile. "Calm down, Heero, my arm isn't going to fall off. It's okay, I can wait."

He whirled on me, and the nurse looked about ready to faint from fear. Oh boy. Here he goes again. "No, Duo, you cannot wait! We need a doctor now!"

"Ahem, someone said they needed a doctor?" A tall man wearing a white coat stepped forward, took one look at me and nodded. "Yes, come this way, we'll get you looked at immediately."

Heero, Q, Tro and I went back to an examining room, where the good doc helped me up onto the chair. As he rummaged around in a drawer for some gloves, I looked him over. He was an okay looking guy, a little too thin with dark brown hair that fell to his chin and strange gray eyes that unnerved me a bit. His nose was a little big and a little crooked, and the thick framed glasses that he wore really did nothing for his face.

"So, doc, what's your name? Never seen you around here before," I said conversationally.

The doctor snapped on his gloves and smiled. "My name is Dr. David Rankin."

"Nice to meet cha. I'm Duo Maxwell. So, what can you do for my ailing arm?"

He took my arm in his hands and stared down at the burn. I was amazed at how soft his touch was—I could barely feel it. It was if he wasn't even toughing me at all. He made strange `hmm'-ing noises deep in his throat as his fingers skimmed over the burn. I shivered, strangely mesmerized by his touch and his voice. Then he let go of my arm and turned to the others and said, "Oh, I'm sorry, you'll have to leave the room while I'm examining the patient."

Heero glared. "But—"

"Heero," I growled. "Just go, its okay."

They left a bit hesitantly. When they were gone, the doctor gave me a smile. "Interesting friend you have there."

"Heero? Oh, yeah, he's . . . erm, interesting all right."

Dr. Rankin went back to his drawer and began digging around in it again. "That's a nasty burn you've got there. I thought you might feel uncomfortable telling me how you received it with them around."

What a thoughtful guy. "That's no problem. Some creep who's been hassling me dumped some hot coffee on my arm, that's all."

"Umm hmm. What's his name? I'll need to write it in my report." The doctor came back with some ointment and a moist pad. As he cleaned my wound and put the cream on it, I told him about Peters and vented to him about the things he'd done.

The doctor gently wrapped up my burn and after checking to make sure it was secure he patted me gently on the back. "All done. Make sure you keep the dressings dry, and try to change it once in a while."

"Okay, thanks." He helped me down off the chair and led me back out to the waiting room.

"I hope I never have to see you down here again, Mr. Maxwell," the doctor said with a parting nod. "Take care."

I waved goodbye and left the infirmary, my arm still tingling from the good doctor's touch.

+

The rest of the work day was rather uneventful, Q and I eventually finished the flick and we even had time to watch two more, and then I went home with Tro and Q again. We ordered a couple of pizzas and sat down together to play Monopoly, which was kind of stupid because Quatre always, always, always won. But it was still nice to spend time with the guys, and it sure as hell kept my mind off of other things.

Buy the end of the day it occurred to me that I had not thought about my stalker at all, and that I hadn't gotten another gift from him either. I wasn't really sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing, but I was willing to accept that. The rest of the week was also relatively quiet. No more gifts, no word from the Detectives, and no Peters, who hadn't shown up for work after the coffee incident.

So Friday rolled around, and it was finally time for my date. Q and I left the office early and set to work beautifying me . . . not that I really needed any beautification, you know. I am always beautiful.

Anyway, Q called in some hunky masseuse guys and we had a grand time letting them rub us down. After that, we headed off to the sauna for a half an hour and then showered (separately, you pervs). Then we sat down together and did my hair, making sure that it was the shiniest that it could be. Next we squeezed into our clothes, Quatre in a pair of tight jeans and a tight shirt, and me into a pair of tighter jeans and a tighter shirt, and headed down the steps together where Trowa was waiting to give us a once over.

He gave a cat call and kissed Q, and then turned his attention to me. Tro grinned. "You look good, Duo. You pulled out all the stops, I see."

"This is my first date since Heero, and I want it to go well."

"You mean you want to get laid," Trowa said.

"Of course."

He laughed and shook his head before returning his focused to Quatre, whom he showered with comments and little kisses.

Yeah, okay, sometimes I make a pretty big deal out of getting laid, but I'm just . . . curious. I haven't told anyone this, not even Q, but one of the reasons that I have a problem with Heero is that he refused to sleep with me, no matter how much I begged or pleaded or dressed scantily to get his attention. He refused to, yet he'd sneak around and bang Wufei behind my back. And that would make me . . . yep, you guessed it, a virgin. Sad, isn't it? Yes, it is.

When the door rang, my heart began to race. My date was here. This was my first date in a year, a date with someone I didn't know, hadn't ever seen . . .

Oh. Okay, so it wasn't my date.

When Q opened the door, Detective Benito stepped in, much to my surprise. He stared at me for a while, no doubt thinking about how sexy I was, and then seemed to come back to reality as he blushed. "I'm sorry, you all look as if you're about to go somewhere. Is this a bad time?"

He was just as hot as he'd been when I first met him, and you can't blame me for wanting to spend some time with him. I smiled and said, "No, if you've got news about my stalker, I'd like to hear it." As far as I was concerned, he could stay for as long as he liked. Forever sounded good enough.

"Actually, I'm here on another case," he said, "but I have a sneaking suspicion that it could have something to do with . . . you. I'm looking into the disappearance of a George Peters. I've heard that you've had some altercations with him."

"Disappearance?" Trowa asked, his eyes narrowing. "And you think that Duo had something to do with it?" He crossed his arms over his chest and stared at the detective threateningly.

"Er, I'm not saying that he did anything," Benito clarified quickly. He looked a little nervous, but I could understand that. Sometimes Trowa could be just as scary as Heero. "Look, I'm just following procedure." He returned his attention to me. "Some of your coworkers said that you and Peters have a problem with each other."

I briefly explained to him what Peters had done to me. "It was all petty, really. I mean, I sure as hell don't like the guy or anything, but I wouldn't hurt him."

Benito took some notes and nodded. "To be honest, I'm not really considering you as a suspect at this moment. Our investigation has shown that you guys were probably the last ones to see him before he turned up missing. Besides, there could be a link between . . ."

Oh, man. I really wanted to believe that this was just a coincidence, but I couldn't shake the feeling that this was somehow connected to me, and it appeared that the detective was feeling to same way. Just how far was my stalker willing to go for me?

"—may need to contact Heero Yuy. Do you know where I can find him?" Benito was saying.

Oh, he'd been talking? Oops. I snapped back from my thoughts. "Umm, what? Sorry I kind of . . . spaced out for a moment."

The detective's eyes twinkled a bit as he grinned. Urk, have I mentioned that this guy is sexy? Oh, yes. "That's all right. I was just saying that several individuals witnessed Mr. Yuy threatening Mr. Peters with bodily harm, and that I'll probably need to contact him."

Jeeze, hadn't I tried to get Heero to shut his big mouth? I knew that his hot temper would get him into trouble someday, but I'd always thought that it would be Wufei coming down on him, not the cops. Insert the saying about rocks and hard places here, ya know? I mean, although I wasn't too fond of Heero at the moment, I certainly didn't want to see him in the slammer. But I couldn't say no to Detective Benito, who had the law on his side. After all, I had no desire to end up behind bars myself for hindering an investigation. Er . . . do you know that the other prisoners would do to someone as beautiful and as alluring as me?

Exactly.

Besides . . . who's to say that Heero really didn't do something to the sorry ass bastard?

So I gave the cutie cop Heero's address. My ex would just have to deal with the police himself. Detective Benito thanked us and left just as my date was coming up to the door. I tried to hide the fact that I was watching the cop's butt as he walked, and snickered as Benito and my date, a short and compact guy with flaming red hair, stared each other down as they passed by. Men!

Once the detective was gone, my date flashed me a gigantic grin (probably trying to impress me with his perfectly straight pearly whites) and pulled . . . erk, a rose from behind his back. Ew. If I never saw a rose again in my life, I could die a happy man.

I could hear Quatre giggling as I went up to greet him. I returned the red-head's smile, mine less show-offy but definitely sexier, and plucked the rose from his hand. Q, being the best friend on the entire planet came by and took it from me and took it to the kitchen, where hopefully it met the garbage disposal.

"Hi, I'm Duo. You are . . .?" I held my hand out for him to shake.

The guy's face turned as red as his hair as he stammered, "A-Adam. I'm A-Adam." Instead of shaking my hand, he grabbed it and pulled me into a bear hug. Umm, okay. That was different.

When we parted, I swear that his face was even redder than it had been before. Cute, I'd made him blush. I grinned and hooked my arm in Adam's, then turned to Q and Tro, who were bother struggling to not break down in a fit of laughter. "Let's go already . . . before my date spontaneously combusts."

They did laugh at that, and we left together in Q's SUV to start our night on the town.

Man. You know that saying about hindsight being twenty-twenty? Boy is it true. Looking back . . . looking back on that night and on everything that happened after it, I can honestly say that I wish I'd never gone out on that date. How I wish I hadn't gone out on that damn date.

+

All in all, I suppose it really wasn't that bad of a night. First we went to this ritzy, upscale restaurant. You know, one of those places that gives you six forks and twice as many courses. I'm still puzzled over the six forks thing. I mean, one fork for each course, maybe . . . nah, doesn't make sense if you've got twelve of `em. . . hmm. Just another one of life's little mysteries, I guess. Anyway, Adam and I spent the majority of the meal teasing Trowa, Quatre, and the other patrons about how proper they ate.

No elbows on the table? C'mon, that's just ridiculous!

Well, it turned out that Adam was a pretty cool guy who didn't seem to be used to the lavish lifestyle of Tro and Q (just like me), and we were able to feel totally out of place together. Talk about a bonding experience.

Next we went to see a movie, which had just the right mix of sap and explosions to satisfy all of us. About halfway though the film, I noticed that Adam kept raising his arm to scratch the back of his neck, where it lingered suspiciously for a while before quickly falling back to his side. I was just about to ask him if he'd been bitten by a bug or something when I finally figured out what he'd been trying to do.

I smiled and whispered to myself, "How cute." Then I reached over, put his arm around my shoulders for him and leaned against him. Peering up into his face I could tell, even in the dark, that he was blushing. I just laughed and he didn't say the word. It was pretty obvious that Adam wasn't a slick mac daddy or anything.

When the night was finally over we returned to Q's place, where he and Trowa quickly said their goodnights to Adam and darted into the house, leaving me and my date alone on the front porch.

Adam was already blushing furiously and he focused his eyes on everything but me.

I cleared my throat. It looked like I would have to start the goodbye. "I had a good time tonight."

His eyes snapped up from the floor and locked with mine. "You did? R-really?"

"Yeah. You're a pretty cool guy," I said honestly.

"R-really?"

"Yep."

"Oh, um, that's good. Really good! Say . . ." Adam shuffled his feet a bit. "Does this mean that you'll go on another date with me?"

I couldn't help but laugh. The man looked absolutely petrified that I'd say no and send him packing. "Of course I will."

Adam's face relaxed as he released the breath that he'd been holding. "Good. Great!" Then, to my totally shock and surprise, he reached forward, grabbed me by the waist and kissed me full on the lips. Wow! I hadn't thought he'd had it in him!

The kiss didn't last very long, however, just a couple of seconds, and it wasn't very intimate, no tongue action, and then he let me go. He looked embarrassed as he walked backwards off of the porch. "Umm, er, so . . . I'll call you later?"

I just nodded and waved, watching as he got into his car and drove off. Once I was alone, I did a little celebratory dance, composed myself, and went into the house, where, of course, Tro and Q were waiting anxiously for me to give them all of the details.

Do I kiss and tell? Hell yes, you better believe it! I see no shame in that.

Quatre grabbed me by the arm and pulled me into the living room where Trowa was helping himself to some tea. I gave him a goofy grin to signify that things had gone well.

"Did you kiss? Did he kiss you?" Quatre demanded as he nearly shook me to death.

Trowa was sitting on the couch doing his silent laugh thing. "Yeah Duo, did you kiss?" He made obnoxious smooching noises.

I gave him the finger. "Real grown up, Barton. And yes, for your information, he did kiss me. But he was so damn nervous that he didn't even give me a chance to kiss him back!"

Quatre giggled. "Maybe next time, then?" he asked hopefully.

I saw what he was getting at. "Oh yes, next time. For sure." I winked at them and wiggled my hips for effect. "I'm going up to bed, you guys. I'm beat." I hurried up the stairs and into my room before they could ask me any more questions. I flopped down on the bed and snuggled up with a pillow as I thought about the date.

It had been pretty successful, I guess. Adam was a good guy, sweet, funny and really down to earth. I liked that a lot about him. But he lacked . . . I dunno, something special. He was just an average Joe kind of guy, and there'd been no spark between us. He was definitely friend material, but probably nothing more.

That was okay, though. This date had served as a test, and it proved to me that getting back out there wasn't as scary as I'd thought it would be. There would be good dates and bad dates, but putting yourself through all of that would be worth it in the end, when you found the person you were meant to spend the rest of your life with.

Erk, that sounded totally sappy and mushy, but I guess I've got that side to me too.

I got up from the bed and went into the bathroom. I quickly showered, dressed for the night and went to sleep, feeling strangely and uncharacteristically optimistic about what the Fates held for my future.

+

Knock knock knock knock knock

"Hzaat?" I mumbled as I removed my face from my pillow the next morning. What the fuck? I grabbed my bedside clock and stared at it. 5:12 am. Who the hell thought that it was okay to disturb me at such an ungodly hour? Who the hell was awake at such an ungodly hour?

"Duo! Open up!"

It was Quatre. Okay, now his kitten slippers are toast!

I got out of the bed and yanked open the door. "What do you want?" I growled, glaring at him.

. . . and then I noticed that Detective Benito was standing behind him, and I thought about how I must look, with my hair sticking up and coming out of its braid, and how funky my breath must have been . . . ARGH! I refused to look at the hunky cop—maybe if I ignored him, he'd go away, and he wouldn't have to see me like that.

"The detective needs to speak to you," Quatre said pleasantly. "And I'll disregard the fact that you just growled at me, your best friend, okay?"

I turned to Benito. Still there. "Come back at normal business hours, kay? I'm not all that hospitable before eight am."

His face was stern, and for once, he didn't smile at me. Suddenly I had a horrible sinking feeling that something was wrong. "I'm sorry, but this can't wait. Meet us in the living room as soon as possible." He left abruptly.

Oh. Okay. I guess I was seeing his business side. Not good.

Quatre just shrugged and went after him. I quickly brushed my teeth and tamed my hair before I joined Q, Trowa, Detective Walker and Detective Benito in the living room. I perched myself on the arm of the couch that Tro and Q were sitting on. "What's this all about?"

Walker flipped open his notebook. "Did you have a date with an Adam Hurwitz last night?"

"Erm . . . yeah. Yes, I did. Why?"

Benito's face was grim as he gave me a sympathetic look. "I'm sorry. Adam Hurwitz is dead."

Quatre gasped and Trowa got tense, but I just stared dumbly and slack jawed at the detective. "What? No, that's impossible. I mean, I just saw him last night. I . . ."

"His body has been positively identified by a family member," Walker said softly.

Oh, no. No, no, no! This was so crazy. Although I'd dealt with death before, although I'd taken so many lives and seen so many lost, this hit me like a ton of bricks, I guess because it was peacetime, and we were all so young. People I knew didn't die anymore. The war was over. "What . . . A c-car crash? Is that how he died?"

Benito shook his head. "No. He was murdered."

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