Title: Mud-spattered Kisses - first fic in the Memories Arc
Author: Tanith
Pairing: 1x2x1
Feedback? Yes please!
Warnings: Duo POV, hate, teenage angst, over-protective brother syndrome (OPS), evil 1990s fashion, wild bunny sex of the yaoi kind (but not really)
Notes: Well, people asked for a continuation of the "Perfect" timeline, people asked for an explanation as to why Duo and Heero hated each other, people asked for more fic in general. People, ask and you shall receive.
ExtraNote: I think I edited all the this time, but I don't have a beta so I'm not sure.

This takes place nine years before Perfect.

Mud-spattered Kisses

"Hi, I'm Relena Dorlian-Peacecraft," a cheerful voice said and a hand appeared in front of my face. I blinked, slowly coming out of the daze I had fallen under as I stared up at the slowly darkening sky and waited for my new tutor. I looked at the hand dumbly for a moment before I realized that she probably wanted me to shake it. I'd never understood that kind of greeting. Really, what did anyone gain by pressing palms and moving arms up and down? I humored her anyway, grasping her hand solidly and letting a charming smile creep over my lips as I shook it.

"Duo Maxwell," I replied and finally dragged my eyes up to hers. They were pretty eyes, of that there was no doubt; wide and innocent and one of the brightest blues I'd ever seen. They started to gain a slightly panicked edge. I looked down at where I was still shaking her hand. Oh. I dropped her hand, my expression turning sheepish. I'd been like this all day; dazed, unfocused, absent-minded. I couldn't seem to concentrate on anything, my willful mind always wandering back to the situation I really didn't want to think about.

"So, I was told you need help in German...did you bring your books?" the girl -- Relena, my mind reminded me -- was saying. Her lips were pretty too; plump and soft looking and a shade of pink that had to be natural, even with the sheen of gloss that covered them. They parted as she breathed in, waiting patiently for a reply.

My mother, if she could be called that, had disappeared again. I should have been used to it, I really should have been. She made a habit of disappearing every other month or so. But she'd been gone for a long time this time, a very long time since I hadn't seen her in about two months. I don't know why I was worried. She had made it obvious from day one that she didn't care about me, that she'd only married my father because of me. That, at least, I couldn't blame her for. I wouldn't have married my father either, disgusting drunk that he was. It was a wonder I'd managed to live this long, what with my mother's inattentiveness and my father's constant stupor. Yet here I was, the ripe old age of sixteen, getting tutored for my German class because I needed to pass it if I wanted to get a scholarship for college. Wait...tutor... Oh.

I shook away my thoughts in time to hear the girl ask, "Duo? Are you alright?" Her pretty face was twisted in a look of half-concern, half-confusion. How long had I been spaced out? Five minutes? Ten? Two months? No...

"Yeah, I'm sorry," I apologized, working hard to make my voice sound cheerful. "I'm just a little distracted today. What were you saying..?"

"Your books," Relena -- that name really didn't suit her -- prompted, her pink lips curving into a hesitantly understanding smile.

"Right! Right..." I trailed off, looking down at my feet. Books... "Oh! Right, in the bag," I looked up and grinned, wondering if the grin made me look as stupid as Relena -- really she was more of a 'Lena' -- no doubt thought I was. I bent a lifted my backpack, huffing slightly at the weight. "Did you want to stay here to study or go somewhere else?"

We were standing in the middle of Gregory, North Carolina's largest park and when I finally made myself look at the whole girl, not just her pretty eyes and pretty lips, I couldn't help but wonder if she was cold. She was wearing a knee-length skort in the same shade of pink as her lips.[1] A skin tight white shirt with sleeves that only reached her elbows was tucked into the skort's waistband and other than the prim white socks that barely covered her ankles before they disappeared into cute Mary Janes she wasn't wearing anything to keep her warm against the chill that had come when winter had started to set in.

"Actually, she's not going anywhere with you," a cold voice answered for her and my gaze flew back up, landing on the boy that had walked silently up behind Relena. Relena jumped, startled and turned to look at the newcomer, her gaze darkening slightly.

"Heero, don't be rude," she admonished softly and the boy cast her a brief look before focusing back on me. He was, in a word, gorgeous. Or he would have been if he hadn't been looking at me as if I was some sort of slimy bug that needed to be squashed. He had the darkest blue eyes I've ever seen, even darker for the fact that they had a death-sentence, my death-sentence, obviously lurking in them. Wild brown hair fell over his forehead and his skin had a natural bronze tint to it. Yes, definitely gorgeous.

I may have thought Relena was pretty but she really wasn't my type, being female and all. I was gay and I made no effort to hide it. Yet, I knew as Heero looked over me with that threatening gaze, taking in my baggy jeans -- his gaze lingering where the knees were ripped and shredding -- and my black Metallica shirt, that he didn't realize I'd much rather compromise his virginity than his girlfriend's. And she was obviously his girlfriend, if my very presence warranted that look. Which meant he was straight and therefore off-limits even if he hadn't hated me on sight. Damn.

"We should go, 'Lena," Heero said in that same ice-cold tone and I watched as Relena chewed nervously on her lower lip, her eyes traveling from me to Heero and back again. I decided that no matter how hot he was I was going to hate him as much as he did me. No one talks to their girlfriend like that and stays on Duo Maxwell's good side.

"Heero, I'm supposed to be --"

"Hey, don't sweat it, Lovely," I finally determined that Lovely suited her much better than Relena or 'Lena combined. I gloated at the way Heero's expression darkened considerably. "You've got my number, right? Call me next time you have a free afternoon, 'kay? We'll pick this up then." My words could be taken so many different ways if given to an overactive imagination or a jealous boyfriend. I knew that, reveled in it even.

"Okay," Relena said a little uncertainly but I was already walking away. I didn't turn around when I heard Relena start to rip into her boyfriend but I caught a few random words as the distance grew. "Such a jerk" and "his tutor" being among them. I smirked and cheered her on as I stuffed my hands into my deep pockets and left the park, boots thudding heavily on the sidewalk with every step.

***

"Guten Morgen, Klasse!"

"Hallo, Frau Peters,"
the class replied as one like little drones, programmed for the correct response. I refused to add my voice to them.

"Jetzt... Gesetzt alles weg. Keine Bücher, keine Hefte. Ihr habt einen Test heute!"

I sunk into my seat when groans started to fill the classroom, positive that the teacher was a sadist. She had to have been. Her voice was far too cheerful, perky even, at seven o'clock in the morning every day, but the tone she used when she told us to put everything away so we could take a test was absolutely gleeful. She stood away from her desk, waving a great big stack of test packets in one hand enthusiastically and literally bounced around the room, plopping one on every desk as she went.

Pausing in front of my desk she stared down at me for a moment with a small smile. "I hope you pass this one, Herr Maxwell...” she said, not unkindly. She really wasn't a bad woman...just inhumanly hyper. I nodded a little half-heartedly and opened the test packet. If I failed this time, it wouldn't be because I didn't know the material. Relena and I had been studying together for two weeks now and she was coming to be the best friend I've ever had, despite her boyfriend's obvious disapproval. After the first day Heero hadn't been verbally against me, probably because of the argument he and Relena had in the park. Relena could be a vicious lady when she set her mind on something. Lawyer blood definitely streamed through her veins.

Her father was the infamous Jack Dorlian-Peacecraft, prosecuting attorney of the illustrious Dorlian-Peacecraft law firm. The firm had first been established fifty years ago by Relena's grandfathers, Henry Dorlian and Nathan Peacecraft respectively. Dorlian's son had married Peacecraft's daughter and Relena had resulted from that union. Jack already had one leg in the judge's bench at 42 and it was obvious even now that Relena would follow closely in her father's footsteps.

I breezed through the test and the rest of the day passed in a bored daze. Really, if they wanted you to learn something, they should at least make it interesting. But no, it seemed that all of my teachers except for Frau Peters had speaking in monotones down to an art form. When the bell rang at the end of seventh period I practically sprang from my seat and ran to the door. It didn't strike me as ironic that I was actually excited to be going home until I got there.

It was raining outside, but I didn't care. I loved the feel of the cold drops pelting down on me as I walked home, there was just something so refreshing about it. The hair that wasn't held back in a thick rope of a braid was clinging to my face in soaked curls, just like my clothes were stuck lovingly to the admittedly narrow planes of my body by the time I had reached the small apartment I shared with my father. And Mom when she's actually here, I thought, not a little bitterly. She still hadn't come back.

"It's about time you got home, boy," my father's slightly slurred voice broke through my good mood as soon as I'd opened and closed the front door. His name was Bill Maxwell and it was safe to say I hated him. My shoulders stiffened but I didn't turn toward him, taking the time to bend and unlace my boots so I wouldn't track mud all over the house that I had to clean. "Out with your little fag friends, playing in the mud?" he snorted then belched loudly.

"Believe it or not, I was at school," I replied dully, good mood completely vanished, and turned around to face the fat old slob sitting in the Lazy Boy across from the TV.

"Don't know why you bother," he scratched his belly through the thin and sweaty t-shirt that barely fit over it and stared that the TV, hardly acknowledging my presence except to scorn me.

"Maybe because I want to get away from you?" I offered, shaking my head and walking into the tiny kitchen to get a glass of water.

"That ain't ever gonna happen, boy. You're a friggin' fairy, what do you ever expect to amount to?"

I leaned against the counter and endeavored not to drop my glass while I drank the slightly rusty liquid. "Nothing more than I've ever wanted to amount to," I replied, after a moment. After sixteen years of living with Bill and four years of living with him while knowing I was gay, I'd become immune to his insults. Or so I liked to tell myself.

"You still want to be a fuckin' teacher, kid? Hah! They'll have your fairy ass in jail for molesting those little boys you'd 'teach' before you could say 'shit stick'," he took a loud swig from his trademark bottle of Red Dog, belched again and swiped wetly at his mouth.

"Listen, Bill, I'm going to my room now --" I started walking toward the cramped room in the back of the apartment, tired of hearing him talk.

"Renee's dead," Bill said almost idly, switching the TV off with an audible click.

"What?" I stopped in my tracks, turning slowly to face him.

His watery, red-laced alcoholic eyes stared back at me with an expression I'd never seen from him before. He was almost...sad. Impossible. "I said the bitch is dead," he half-shouted, slamming his bottle down on the foldable dinner table beside him. "The fucker she left with this time, he was a smart sonuvabitch, did the whore in before she could leech him into bankruptcy."

"How do you know?" my own voice sounded strangely distant. I don't know what was wrong with me; I think might have been in shock.

"Heh, the porkers came and visited," he sneered the word. "Thought they'd let me know. Thought maybe I'd know something. Friggin' idiots. Like I'd kill my wife," he scoffed, turning away from me again. No, you'd just wait until she brought a paycheck home then smack her around a bit.

I walked toward the door, slipping into my boots. I didn't bother to lace them, just opened the door and stepped out. Bill didn't comment; I hadn’t expected him to. I walked aimlessly, the rain driving into me, chilling me to the bone. I didn't flinch when thunder began to rumble loudly above me, I hardly noticed when lightning flashed, my mind was blank. Completely and totally void of thought.

[cont]