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08 September 2010 @ 10:11 pm
「Gundam Wing」 Foolish  
Originally posted on January 4th, 2008.

Title: Foolish
Fandom: Gundam Wing
Pairing: Duo/Heero
Prompt: 7snogs; Jealousy (view table)
Word Count: 3,666
Rating: PG
Warnings: Violence and possible spoilers, though you'd have to already know about the events in question to notice them.
Author's Note: This was originally meant to be short, but I had trouble getting the actual kiss into the story.

Duo didn't exactly hate Relena, but it was difficult to like someone who always ignored you when Heero was around. He could understand why she chased him -- he had a really nice ass, and those spandex shorts he always wore didn't help conceal other particulars -- but not why she was so obsessed. He was obviously not interested. Hell, he'd probably be interested in Duo before he wanted to spend any time with Relena; he'd seen her as a threat once upon a time, and Duo wasn't completely sure that he didn't still see her that way (she knew who all the pilots were, after all). So what kept her chasing him?

Duo wondered momentarily if she'd been dropped on her head as a child, but then dismissed the notion. She was a Peacecraft; if someone had even had the audacity to drop a Peacecraft child, chances were that they knew they would never be able to do so again. Pacifists or not, Duo had never met a family that was unwilling to protect their own members.

No, he didn't hate her. He did kind of want to shoot her whenever she was fawning over Heero, but that was natural, right? It wasn't like he was going to give in to those impulses. He was in love, not stupid, and he knew that he didn't have any kind of claim on Heero whatsoever. There was no point damaging people because of it.

At least, that had been his opinion before the ball at Relena's coronation. Heero had naturally been invited, and since he hadn't had any other missions scheduled at that time he had agreed. Duo had been very surprised when the invitation had been extended to him, since he'd had less than ten conversations with the blonde almost-ruler since he'd saved her, ironically enough, from Heero all that time ago. He'd asked the other pilot whether the invite had been serious, but Heero had just looked at him until Duo had started to feel silly.

He'd been quite amused at the idea of Heero in a suit, teasing him about it for the whole trip, but soon after they arrived Relena coaxed Heero onto the dance floor. That alone was bad enough, but then she put her hands on him and waltzed him around and Duo saw red. Grinding his teeth, he stalked over to the other side of the room, took a recently-abandoned seat in the corner and fumed.

Duo wasn't able to enjoy the rest of the ball. At the end of every song Heero would attempt to bow out of the dance, but Relena would flutter her eyelashes and exclaim how long it had been since they had seen each other, and could she have just one more dance, pretty please? and Heero would be trapped again. Duo realised at length that Heero had no idea what the proper way to bow out was, so the only way that he would be able to escape would be if someone cut in. Sighing irritably, Duo waited until the tune was almost over, stood up, pasted a smile on his face and strode purposefully across the floor.

"My lady," he said charmingly as the melody ended and the musicians took a well-deserved breather. "May I have this dance?"

"Oh, I'm not sure," she said, looking sideways at Heero. "Heero and I were having so much fun."

"If you don't mind me saying so," Duo said, eyes narrowing slightly, "Heero looks a little tired. He deserves a rest, don't you think? I'm sure he'll be able to dance with you again later this evening."

He'd deliberately put her in a delicate position. If she refused again, the other people standing within hearing range would start to believe that she was interested, and since they didn't have any clue who Heero was, maybe even that they were already in a relationship. Relena couldn't afford to be seen with a partner at this time; many other kingdoms had offered to participate in alliance marriages, and Duo knew for a fact that she was considering each one carefully. They needed all the support they could get if Relena's plan was to succeed.

Relena was a lot of things, but she wasn't stupid. At length she smiled and signaled the musicians, who took up their instruments again. "I would be honoured to dance with you," she said, and the people around her smiled as the musicians launched into a light, cheerful number.

Duo spent the next few songs spinning Relena around the dance floor, trying to prevent anyone seeing how mad he was. He couldn't help grinding his teeth, so avoided his normal open-mouth smile for a smaller, more intimate one. He knew he'd gotten results when she blushed slightly, looking away from him, and Duo took the opportunity to glance across the room towards where he thought Heero would be. He hadn't expected Heero to be watching them so closely, and raised a questioning eyebrow at him. Heero flicked his eyes to one side of the room, and as Duo stepped around Relena, one hand raising hers above their heads, he saw a flash of black and grey, tinged with red.

"Down!" he shouted, pushing Relena to the floor just as a bullet ripped through the wood paneling where they had been standing only seconds before. The room erupted into chaos, and another shot rang out as Duo covered Relena with his body. He swore as he recognised the angry pain in his leg; he'd been hit. He probably didn't have much time left before he really started to feel it. "Heero!" he shouted.

"Here," came the soft voice near his ear, and Duo launched into action.

"I'll take Relena," he said, raising himself off her. He tried to keep most of his weight on his arms. "The crowd will be good to get her out. You get the sniper."

"Sure?" Heero asked, already helping up the scared girl on the ground. She was still new at this; Duo's hope was that in time she'd be able to laugh about the many assassination attempts she'd recieve over the years to come.

"I'm wounded, you're not; you'll be better." Duo found himself grinding his teeth again at the prospect of spending time with Relena and mentally slapped himself. This was no time to be petty. "Where?"

Heero thought for a second, and Duo could almost read them through his eyes. "Pantry?" he suggested.

"Yes," Duo sighed, relieved. The pantry near the kitchen was huge, enough room for hand-to-hand combat if needed, and no one would think to look for royalty there. "Good idea. Knock first."

The other pilot nodded. "Good luck," Heero murmured quietly, eyes flickering with something before he disappeared into the crowd. Duo gaped for a second. Had Heero, the unfeeling ice-prince, just wished him luck? Surely not; that would imply that he cared.

"Duo," Relena said, clutching his arm. "We need to leave." She sounded like she was trying to be brave, but her voice wobbled.

"Yes," he agreed, shaking himself mentally. "Come on." He grabbed her hand and started weaving through the rapidly dispersing crowd, ducking low and cursing the fact that he was so recognisable. "Stay behind me," he ordered, and to his surprise Relena actually obeyed, letting him check doorways and hallways before blindly following. Maybe she's smarter than I gave her credit for, he thought.

As he rounded a corner, Relena pulled on his arm, and Duo dropped automatically into a crouch. His instincts, fine-tuned from working alongside a near-silent Heero, saved him as a single bullet embedded itself into the wall. "Fuck," he swore, shuffling backwards to take cover behind the corner. "Goddamn it, I've already been shot once," he murmured as he fumbled for his knives. The guards out the front had been taking weapons from patrons, so he and Heero had buried their guns under a bush around the side of one of the buildings. Duo had had a feeling that would happen, so he'd hidden stilettos in his hair, strapped thin knives to his legs and managed to smuggle them in. Heero, of course, needed no weapon. He was lethal enough on his own.

Judging my the accuracy of the bullet - and the fact that there was only one - I'd guess that there's a marksman here, too, Duo thought. Fuck. Why does this shit always happen to me? He stood up quietly, pressed his front against the wall, and slid one eye over the edge. He had time to notice a table turned over onto its side and surrounded by miscellaneous furniture before he had to pull back to avoid another bullet. "Smart," Duo murmured, thinking furiously. He repeated the same action as before, peering out for mere seconds and avoiding the resulting bullets. He probably thinks I'm waiting for him to run out of ammo. "One more time..." Duo murmured, and this time after the bullet thunked into the wall the pilot let fly with both a stiletto and a knife, thrown precisely from his three middle fingers. The stiletto thudded into the table, tip embedded deep, but the knife was aimed higher, and rived flesh.

Duo looked out from behind the wall again, trying not to grin at the grisly sight. "Not smart enough, my friend," he murmured, slightly giddy from the kill, peering around for more enemies before stalking towards the table. Relena made to follow, but he stopped her. "Not yet," he advised. "Let me... clean up a little." She nodded, face pale, as Duo walked away from her, leaned over the table, and pulled the knife out of the masked man's eye socket. He made a face at the muck left behind on on the blade and wiped it absently on the dead man's shirt before pushing the body over, face towards the floor. "You can come out now, Relena," Duo called softly as he pulled the stiletto out of the table. The adrenaline rush of the kill had not only dulled the pain of the wound in his leg, but also brought out Shinagami, and he struggled a little to get himself under control. They needed to be stealthy right now; charging in guns blazing wouldn't help them in any way, even if he actually had a gun. He felt a sudden affection for his tiny blades.

"How did you do that?" she asked even as she avoided looking at the body. Duo managed to feel a little sorry for her. She was still so young; so naïve. Then again, he was sure he had been too, once upon a time.

"Training," he said shortly, sparing her the details. "Let's go."

The rest of the trip went smoother. Duo managed to avoid the confused palace guards as they chased the hooded gunmen, and at length they made it to the kitchen. A cursory glance showed that there was no one in there; obviously the kitchen staff had evacuated along with the terrified ball patrons. Duo wasn't very familiar with the activities of a kingdom, but he supposed it was natural for people to evacuate a dangerous area. Kitchenhands weren't cut out for open warfare. "I think it's clear," he whispered, turning to face Relena, "but just to be safe I need you to be absolutely silent from now on, okay?" She nodded and the two of them stalked across the kitchen, avoiding the scattered cutlery on the floor. Someone must have been in a hurry to get out, Duo thought absently.

As they passed the benches near the ovens Duo grabbed the discarded tea towels, then flipped the light switch for the pantry. Relena was waiting next to the door, and a vague feeling of chivalry prompted Duo opened the pantry door for her. When she was through he slipped inside as well, closing the heavy door as gently as he could and stuffing the tea towels along the bottom crack. "What are you doing?" she murmured.

"Blocking the light," he whispered back. "Now shh." Relena allowed herself to be ushered to the back of the pantry before crouching on the floor, and Duo took up his post near the entrance. He noticed that she had gathered her skirts to keep them out the dust, and wanted to laugh. He refrained. Now was not the time.

They had blessed silence for a few minutes before Relena spoke again, just as quietly as before. "Do you think Heero's okay?"

Jesus, Duo thought irritably. Does this girl think of nothing else? "I'm sure he's fine," he said abrubtly.

"But he's all alone out there," she muttered, "with the snipers."

Duo knew he shouldn't be, but he was offended by that remark. It was if she was implying that the Gundam pilots were incapable of action by themselves, when he knew the opposite to be true. "We're trained for this kind of thing," he said shortly. "Obviously you are not, so I'll thank you to keep quiet and not get in the way."

She fell silent, and Duo was horrified to see a tear roll down her cheek. "Relena, I'm sorry," he said quietly, limping over to her. His leg was really hurting now, and he felt blood trickling down his skin with every step. "That was cruel."

"But true," she sniffed. "I know that you and Heero -- and the others -- are the best defenders this world has. That's why I invited you."

"Invited me," Duo said softly, realising that he hadn't truly been wanted here after all. She just wanted someone to watch her back while she danced with Heero, he thought sadly. "Of course."

Before Relena could respond the door started opening, screeching along the tiled floor as it stuck momentarily on the tea towels that Duo had shoved under it. Shit, Duo swore mentally, glancing away from Relena. Quick as thought he drew two knives and hefted them in his hands, stepping forward towards the door as he did so, prepared to defend Relena to the utmost. He felt Relena stand quickly and move away, behind one of the shelves, and thanked God that she wasn't completely daft.

As he was wishing for something to hide behind, any advantage, the tea towels gave and the door was shoved open. A man dressed similar to the one Duo had killed earlier stood in the doorway, gun half-raised. As his eyes widened and the gun started to come up, Duo threw one of his knives into the man's shoulder, twisting the gun sideways as the trigger was pulled.

It was as if everything was moving in slow motion. Duo saw the bullets travelling through the air towards him, and had time to think that this man was certainly no marksman before they ripped into his shoulder, forcing him to drop his other knife. He watched it fall as he stumbled, pushed backwards by the force of the impact. He saw the man recover, raise his gun to the correct level and aim at head. Duo prepared himself for the blinding pain, reaching for another knife too slowly, surely it was all over-

-and then the man's eyes were rolling backwards in his head and he was crumpling to the ground, gun turned harmlessly towards the wall. Heero stood behind him, butt of his own gun raised in a parody of a surrender. "Status," Heero demanded.

"Relena's fine, man," Duo managed to get out, wavering on his feet. "Not a scratch on the little bitch."

Before Heero or Relena could react, Duo felt his legs give out and the floor rushed up to meet him. Everything went black.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Duo woke up quickly, just like he always did, and tried to analyse his injuries. His leg didn't hurt as much as it had, but his shoulder was on fire. Maybe that bastard hit a tendon, he groaned to himself.

"You're awake." Heero sounded exactly the same as usual, voice flat but not cold.

"How could you tell?" Duo asked, not bothering to open his eyes. His head was pounding too. If he hadn't known better, he would have thought he had a hangover.

"Your eyelids twitched." There was a pause, but it wasn't uncomfortable; Duo was used to Heero's silences by now. In truth he was a little confused by the fact that Heero was here at all.

"How's Relena?" Duo asked, remembering that they had been hiding in a pantry. How cowardly, he thought, laughing at himself.

"Fine. Back at work."

"Why aren't you, by the way?" asked Duo. "How long have I been out?"

"Nine hours," Heero said.

"Shit, is that all?" Duo opened his eyes and looked over at Heero. "No wonder my shoulder still hurts."

"How's your leg?" Heero asked, and Duo felt another twinge of pain as his body reminded him again that he'd been shot more than once.

"Sore, man," he laughed. "Since it looks like I'm in a hospital, can I assume that the bullets are out now?"

"Surgery results were acceptable."

"Of course; I'm a Gundam pilot," Duo said proudly, and was surprised when the edges of Heero's mouth twitched. Had that almost been a smile...?

There was another brief silence before Heero remarked, "They wanted to put you on morphine."

"But-"

"I told them not to."

"Oh."

"I know you don't like the effects."

"Thanks, man. Explains why I'm thinking so clear." Duo tried not to show it, but he was touched. Heero could just have easily left him to fend for himself, but seemed to have instead insisted on things that would make any normal doctor react negatively. No drug treatment for a gun-shot victim? That was pure insanity. Of course, most normal doctors weren't used to treating Gundam pilots.

"You should get some sleep," Heero said. "It'll help you recover faster."

"Yeah. Oh, this probably a stupid question, but did you get the sniper?" Duo asked as he shifted, trying to get comfortable.

"Affirmative. We managed to extract some information that may prove helpful, but I'll brief you on it later."

"Don't keep me waiting," Duo joked. Heero's only response was more silence, so Duo tried to drift off to sleep. If he listened hard enough he could hear his co-pilot breathing on the other side of the room. "Don't you have something to do?" he eventually asked.

"Nothing pressing. Unless you want privacy?"

He could hear quiet noises that suggested Heero had stood up and was moving, and went into a brief panic. Heero had just offered, in his own way, to stay by his bedside - which was just weird, really - and he'd implied that he wanted Heero to leave? What was wrong with him?

"Wait," he said, twisting towards the door where Heero was standing. As he did so he felt the healing skin around his injury stretch. He winced automatically, and then suddenly Heero was standing next to him, leaning over his bedside.

"Don't do that," he said softly, placing a hand on Duo's chest and applying light pressure. "You'll pull the stitches."

Even after a few seconds passed in silence, Heero still didn't move his hand away. His palm was warm against Duo's chest, even through the thin layer of bandages, and Duo couldn't help raising his own hand to place on top of his friend's. "You seem more concerned about my health than usual," he tried to joke.

"You haven't gotten shot in a long time," Heero murmured. Though his hand was still under Duo's own, the tips of his fingers were vibrating slightly against his exposed skin. "I was concerned."

"I completed the mission just fine," Duo said, abruptly removing his hand from Heero's. "There was no reason to worry."

Heero sighed, but didn't move his own hand. His fingers curled slightly, almost stroking, then relaxed. "It wasn't about the mission. I knew that you would protect Relena to the best of your ability."

"Yeah, she came through okay." Duo frowned. "But if that wasn't it, then why were you worrying?"

His friend made a frustrated sound, and his fingers curled into a loose fist on Duo's chest. "You always require more information," he said at last. "Even now."

"More information?" Duo asked, even as Heero's hand uncurled from its fist and skimmed gentle fingertips upwards. "I don't understand-" He was cut off by Heero's mouth closing the small gap between them at last, both hands fisted in Duo's hospital-issue gown. "Oh," he managed to gasp, and then they were kissing, Duo raising his own hands to thread through Heero's short hair. It was slow at first; Heero seemed uncertain about how kissing worked exactly, but Duo tilted his head and opened his mouth and managed to wrangle a groan out of his team-mate before they both had to pull back for air.

"There were complications during the surgery," Heero said suddenly. "One of the bullets hit your axillary artery. They gave you transfusions, but you died once, on the table." He paused. "It was... very unexpected. The doctor said that, all things considered, you were very lucky to have survived." His eyes met Duo's. "Don't ever do that again."

Duo rested a hand on Heero's forearm in silent reassurance. "Is this gonna to be a one-time thing, man?" he asked softly.

Heero was silent as he pulled himself out of Duo's grip. "No," he said at last, pulling up a chair beside the bed. "Though I'm not exactly sure how to proceed from here."

Duo held out his hand, and after only a second of hesitation Heero took it. "We'll work it out," Duo promised, stroking his team-mate's wrist gently. "For now, I should get some sleep."

"Then sleep," Heero said. "I'll be here when you wake up."

"Only if you don't have more important things to do," Duo joked, his eyes already closing.

"Nothing pressing," Heero said softly.

"Slacker," Duo mumbled, but had fallen into sleep before he heard the reply.