Author: Kitsunehi
Pairing: 2+5
Rating: PG ^_^
Warnings: Um... language, smoking... this is a defininte AU, so don't scream about the boys being OOC, please. Angst.
Notes: This is a semi-autobiographical piece, so please be gentle. It's taken a very long time for me to show it to anyone, and she's strong-arming me into posting it... . *waves at Chibi Hentai-chan* This was inspired by the "Storm" series by Bon, Von, and Ravynfire... but don't blame them if this sucks. ^_^
Disclaimer: The boys aren't mine... however, some of the thoughts, feelings and actions written here were mine. A long time ago. Very long time ago. Before this series came out... before the mean men came up with these little nummy treats and won't share, now.
C&C: Oh, please do... I'd love to hear your reactions to my neurotic teenage years...

>>flashbacks<<
*emphasis*
::thoughts::

Plastic Toothpicks! + Part 1

It was ten-thirty on a Wednesday night in mid-August. Thanks to the clouds, it had been just as dark at six as it was at the moment. At noon, it had looked like dusk and the smell of rain was heavy in the air. The humidity had kept most people inside, and although it was dark, the wet heat confined them within their homes, windows still tightly shut to keep out the hot weather. Air conditioners were turned up as far as they would go, fans circulated warm air through stagnant rooms, or occasionally attempted forcing it out into the night.

And for the umpteenth time that evening, Duo Maxwell found himself thinking about cutting his hair. He knew he would never do it; the meter-long plait was his pride and joy, even though his mother found it odd (okay, she always lovingly told him he was weird at least twice a day) and his father merely smiled and said nothing when the topic was breached. He also knew why; one day last July when a tornado watch was in effect and his mother had called from work, begging him to go inside to the storage room rather than watch the funnel clouds churn, as she knew he was, he'd found treasure. Boxes upon boxes of pictures he'd never known existed. There was no order in which they were haphazardly crammed together, so he'd decided on a whim to organize them until the warnings were over.

>> Grinning mischievously, he reasoned that he would, therefore, have to look at the pictures to see the time periods in which they were taken. So, he dug out an old marker crammed into an old shoebox next to the cookie monster costume he wore in third grade and set to work. There were relatives that had been gone since well before he'd been born, judging by his grandmother's neat, stylistic handwriting on the back of the old scalloped-edge 2x3 black and white photos, his grandparents as teens... he'd had to stop staring at his grandfather's service portrait from the Army, slightly wierded out that he was drooling over someone not only *old*, but *related*. After a few envelopes of his own baby pictures, which he'd grimaced at--there were far too many of them featuring him sitting in the sink naked for his liking--he'd struck gold.

He'd had no idea his parents had been so tragically fashionable in the sixties and seventies. He laughed slightly at the bad glasses, the horrid bell bottoms... and nearly cried when he saw himself in a pair of brown corduroy bell bottoms and a russet plaid shirt... and were those Buster Browns?! He twitched and set that group down, grabbing the next envelope. And there it was: his own father, Gregory Allen Maxwell, with deep chestnut hair down to his ass. He couldn't believe it was the same balding man he saw every day in the kitchen on his way to work. But it had certainly explained the man's silent defense.<<

Oh, he'd has his share of good times with those pictures... and the ones from New Year's Eve, 1982. His uncle Tim had nearly murdered him for posting them on his web site, but he just hadn't been able to resist. Besides, it wasn't like they were exactly construed as pornographic...

But at the present, he was sprawled out on his bed in nothing but his excruciatingly hot rope of hair snaked on the pillows behind him. Jonette Napoliano crooned in the background about walking in London and he rolled onto his stomach slowly, grabbing at his cigarettes, frowing when he saw that he was fairly low. But he lit one, drawing the pale smoke into his lungs, exhaling through his nose.

A nearly empty Big Gulp was seated on the small old school desk next to the bed, sweating and creating a small pool of condensation on the bottom on the Snowball Lodge ashtray beside it. He sighed and took a long drink of the watered-down mix, which happened to be a happy potion of all available fountain drinks in the store, surprisingly not too sweet, although WuFei swore he could very probably eat a box of sugar cubes without a second thought. It definitely soothed the raw feeling smoking always left him with, particularly in the summer, so he didn't complain much. Besides, why pick only one kind of pop when you could drink them all for the same low price in one convenient 32-ounce cup of waxed paper goodness?

He looked out the nearly closed blinds again, hoping for a sign of rain. The scent had gotten stronger and he could tell by the sporradic harder whirring of his fan that the wind had picked up. There was a posibility of it finally being somewhat cooler, seeing as there was actual wind, so he ground out his cigarette, then pulled the window fan out to replace it with the sliding screen, cackling to himself when he realized there was a slim chance he was giving someone a show. Then again, the most likely people to have the best vantage point were the Olavsons across the alley... and it was doubtful they were awake.

He took a moment to kneel beside the low opening and leaned out, inhaling deeply. There was nothing like the smell of a Storm. It was dusty-watery, sweet and sharp; just the way it should be. There was practically nothing he liked more than the smell of the rain.

Except maybe his best friend, Chang WuFei.

He wasn't entirely sure when he'd fallen for the sarcastic Chinese boy; he might have even stuck to the story that it was love at first sight. Merely a glimpse as he was lining up after recess with Heero, Quatre and Hilde in fifth grade when he'd first moved to the city. After asking who the silent boy surveying everyone around him with an aloof expression people still took as arrogant, he learned that WuFei had just transfered to public school at the beginning of the year from a rather exclusive private school on the other end of town after another student there, Ron Meiran, had died pushing WuFei out of the way of a wild spray of bullets from a drive-by targeting the mayor's daughter.

Needless to say, Duo was hooked from that moment on. He'd done everything he could to get the other boy's attention. He laughed at the cynical muttered remarks during choir class their last two years in elementary school; enjoyed playing cello even more when the both of them joined orchestra in junior high school, where WuFei had played the same instrument... he even offered mindless chatter on the way to school in the mornings, since they walked the same route to school and back, having discovered by accident that WuFei's family had moved into a house very nearby his own.

By the time they'd gotten to high school, WuFei was stuck fully, completely and utterly with Duo Maxwell and he was positive there was absolutely nothing he could do about it. At least that's what the hyperactive teen always told him, and there was never any dispute that while WuFei had a tendancy to give Duo a glare upon hearing the statement, he didn't truly much mind the fact. Through the years, the two had created a strange bond that couldn't be explained to their other friends. And the other teens took it as such; it was just the way some people connected. Sort of the same way Heero had taken to being rather protective of Hilde in the past few years. They weren't an item; very probably never would be, but they were inseperable friends nonetheless.

Duo was musing over the friendships he'd made in the big city suburbs and found himself contented, if not entirely happy with the situation. It was his life and until he was eighteen, it was what he had to live with. He liked his parents; in fact he had a much better relationship than most of his friends had with theirs. The Maxwell house became known among them as the Maxwell Orphanage, where any number of parents of teens within the braided boy's social circle could find their kids studying, eating dinner, playing video games, or just hanging out. There was never a shortage of people to talk to there; if anyone needed parental advice, Greg or Helen would lend their ears and experience to the situation.

He was shaken out of his musings by a flash so bright, it appeared to be noon outside in the inky blackness that had taken over the city. A loud rolling crack echoed shortly behind and before he knew it, the pregnant clouds had finally decided to let go of their warm, obese offspring, hurtling large drops toward the wilted earth. A large grin spread over the boy's face and he let out a whoop of joy, dancing around his mostly-dark room, gathering a pair of briefs, shorts and a ratty t-shirt, pulling them onto his sticky frame, desperately trying to keep his hair off his bare back.

Once he was somewhat presentable, he tore out of his bedroom and down the hall, stopping briefly to tell his parents he was going out. Helen looked up form her book and smiled, assuring him that they would very probably be asleep by the time he got back and to have a good time. Gregory merely raised an eyebrow, but said nothing at the moment.

Once he was gone, the older man turned to his wife. "You suppose he's going to that Chang kid's place again?" he asked with a grin.

"Oh, you adore WuFei as much as I do," Helen chided, kicking at him. "And so what if Duo has a little crush on him? It's better than some of the other kids in his class."

"As long as he doesn't date that Catalonia girl, I'm fine with it," he sighed, shaking his head. "That girl is trouble."

"Troubled," Helen corrected gently.

"Either way, at least we know if they start going at it, they'll use protection." Duo's father leered at his wife and began scooting toward her. "But enough about Duo for right now... let's just enjoy the weather."

Helen smiled and set her book down. "Let's do that," she agreed.

[part 2] [back to Singles a-k]