By TJ Dragonblade
Pairings: 2x5x2; passing mention of past 3x4, current 1+3, 4+Abdul, 6x9,
AudaxSally & possibly others...
Warnings: Various spoilers for series, EW, & Preventer 5; language, yaoi
citrus, angst & sap...
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is created by Hajime Yatate and Yoshiyuki Tomino,
copyrighted by Sunrise/SOTSU Agency, and distributed by Bandai entertainment.
In other words, I am merely playing with the boys for the entertainment
of myself and hopefully others; in so doing I mean no disrespect or copyright
Credits: Inspired by four lines from 'Mary Jane's Last Dance', by Tom
Petty & the Heartbreakers, available on their 1994 Greatest Hits album.
Lyrics appear at the beginning of chapters I & II.
Feedback: Greatly appreciated, as always
Setting: July AC201, roughly four years after the Preventer 5 Manga &
four and a half years after Endless Waltz.
Notes: This is a project I undertook last December; I'm going against
force of habit and posting chapter one before the story is complete. Why?
Well, 'cause I've been at it for 'bout a year now; I'm eager to share
and I'm hoping that it'll help push me to finish the fic. Why are they
in Phoenix? Eh, I dunno--guess I was feeling homesick.
& Found + Chapter 1
//I don't know, but I've been
You never slow down, you never grow old//
Duo Maxwell sighed in acute relief as the sun finally sank below the western
horizon. Whatever had possessed him to visit this place in the dead of
summer, he didn't know. Phoenix was a nice enough city, but the heat was
something else entirely. Yet here he was anyway, and for what? 'Cause
he'd gotten sick & tired of his mundane life.
It had started about four years ago, a couple months after he'd joined
his former teammates as a Preventer to retake the Sank Kingdom palace.
With that skirmish resolved, Heero and Trowa had stayed on as Preventers
while he'd gone back to the salvage yard and Hilde, his business partner
for all intents and purposes. But he'd grown steadily more restless as
the years passed; a few months ago, he'd finally gotten too restless to
stay. He was young, after all; and life seemed to be passing him by all
too swiftly. His childhood had been shot to hell long ago; he'd fought
in and survived a year-long war and found peace only to have it briefly
taken again. In the years since that conflict had ended, growing old had
become a much more probable possibility than it ever had been before;
he was beginning to realize that there were things he wanted to do before
he actually became a senior citizen.
So Hilde, who had recently come into a rather sizable inheritance, had
bought out his half of the business quite generously and sent him off
to chase his dreams. He'd decided to begin by traveling the world, seeing
everything Earth had to offer. Being of American descent, he'd started
in the land of his ancestry, beginning on the east coast and working his
Which is how he came to be standing on a street corner in Phoenix, marveling
at the fact that even though it was dusk, the temperature was still at
least a hundred and ten.
Removing his sunglasses, Duo wiped the sweat from his brow with the back
of his hand and looked around him, searching. Someplace to get a cold
beer, that's what he needed. Someplace with air conditioning. Evening
or not, it still felt like a furnace out here, especially in the middle
of downtown where there was plenty of concrete and metal to reflect the
heat. It didn't seem to phase the few passers-by he saw; but he figured
they were more accustomed to such temperatures than he was.
Good thing he'd slathered on plenty of sunblock before he left the hotel
or he'd be a nice shade of shiny red right now instead of his usual creamy
white. And that would be painful.
Damn, but this place truly was hotter than hell.
Beer. He was after a beer.
Looking across the street in hopes of spotting a pub, Duo was surprised
to see a familiar insignia on a small office building.
"A Preventers branch office," he mused aloud. "I wonder..."
On a whim, he crossed the street and stepped through the front doors.
The evening receptionist glanced up and flashed him a smile. "May I help
you?" she asked politely.
"Could you tell me if you've got an agent named Heero Yuy workin' here?"
It was a slim chance, he knew. He hadn't been in contact with anyone since
he'd begun traveling; but both Heero and Trowa had previously mentioned
upcoming transfers out of HQ though they hadn't known where they were
But it'd be nice to see his old friends again; there was no harm in asking.
"Yuy? Like the famous pacifist?"
Duo nodded. "Uh huh."
The girl frowned slightly and brought up what Duo assumed was a personnel
roster on her monitor. "No; I'm sorry, sir, no Heero Yuy."
He hadn't thought so. "How 'bout Trowa Barton?"
The girl checked her screen again. "No; no Barton, either. If you needed
to see someone, I could set you up with one of our available agents...?"
Her eyebrows and her voice lifted at the end of her statement, turning
it into a question.
Duo shook his head, offering up his own smile. "Naah. Thanks anyway; I
was just lookin' for a couple of old friends. Goodnight."
He turned and stepped back into the oven outside, letting the double doors
close behind him, and started walking down the street again.
"Old friends, huh?" he said quietly, talking to himself. "So why didn't
you ask her 'bout 'Fei?"
Duo's smile turned softly bitter.
For one thing, Wufei was no more likely to be here than Heero or Trowa.
He was probably running a branch office out in the colonies by now. And
Duo wasn't really sure Wufei would welcome a visit from him anyway. The
last time they'd met had left him with the distinct impression that the
Chinese boy considered him to be lazy and unmotivated in addition to being
a general pain in the ass. Which hurt. A lot.
All the more so because at that point, Duo had finally come to realize
that the sun did indeed rise and set on Wufei. Thank god he hadn't told
the boy; it would have been just one more thing to earn him Wufei's disdain.
And there he'd thought they'd been developing a very pleasant friendship.
Duo didn't see how they ever could have worked out as a couple given how
Wufei seemed to feel about him. But he wished that he had been given the
chance to change the other's mind. It hurt to love with no hope of return.
The steady passing of time had muted the immediacy of his feelings, but
they persisted nonetheless. Somehow, Duo knew, they would never truly
go away. Even after four years, hardly a day went by that thoughts of
Wufei--however fleeting or lingering they might be--did not cross his
mind. He did a lot of wondering--where was Wufei now, and what was he
doing? Did Wufei ever think about him? ("Ha--not likely!" his inner voice
would interject) What might he have done, should he have done,
to earn the other's admiration and respect instead of his dislike?
He scowled and kicked at a loose pebble on the sidewalk, remembering for
the billionth time what Wufei had said back then. The conversation was
branded on his memory, each word a tiny little scar in his psyche.
~"You should have joined the Preventers, Duo. It's the best place for
people like us."
~"Mebbe you're right, Wu; but right now I'm damn tired of this whole peacekeeping
gig. I just wanna do something normal for awhile."
~"So you plan to spend the rest of your life blissfully buried in scrap
metal and junk on a backwater colony at L2?" The rich voice was ripe with
~"I dunno. Maybe. It's working so far, and Hilde sure does like it." Duo
tried to keep the defense in his tone under control.
~"And I suppose that girl's happiness should dictate yours? That you should
be willing to settle for whatever pleases her?" Wufei snorted and shook
his head. "What a waste, Maxwell. I thought you had more sense than that."~
He hadn't spoken to Wufei since.
Four years later, the words still stung. Particularly since they'd come
from Wufei. Duo sighed and looked up, finally spotting a bar on the corner
up ahead. "Sorry, 'Fei, that was such a disappointment to ya," he said
softly aloud. "You'd probably still think I'm wastin' my life, but at
least I'm doin' what I wanna do. I hope you can say the same, wherever
you are." Rounding the corner, he pulled open the door and stepped into
the blessedly sweet coolness of the pub.
God, did that ever feel good.
He made his way through the crush of people at one end of the bar and
stepped up to the counter. Ordering his drink, he scanned the crowded
room for a place to sit. There--an empty seat a bit further down, next
to a man in a black ponytail and Preventers jacket...
Duo did a double-take.
Christ, but that guy looked almost like 'Fei at glance. Musta just been
the hair and the uniform; Duo knew he'd never find Wufei in a bar,
of all places. Besides, like he'd figured earlier, Wu was probably out
in the colonies somewhere. ~Get a grip, Duo,~ he told himself firmly
as he paid the bartender and downed most of the beer in one gulp. ~You've
gotta get over that boy. You're startin' to see him everywhere you go.
You'll ever find happiness with anyone else if you can't let go of what
never was, what never would have been.~ He slid into the empty seat,
frowning, moody, and did his best to ignore the look-alike next to him.
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