AN: Er, for those of you that got my earliest upload of this chapter, please forgive me. For some reason FFN just didn't like my word documents lol. *THIS* is what it's actually supposed to look like.



"My friends all tell me go to him,

run to him,

say sweet lovely things to him, and

tell him he's the one.

Deep in my heart I know

but it's so hard to show it

'Cause it's easier

Easier said than done"

-Easier Said than Done by The Essex

"I just don't know how to proceed from here." came the dejected sigh from Maxwell & Schbeiker Salvage Yard vidphone. Hilde tapped her chin in thought.

"I know it sounds crazy, but have you ever considered getting over the Spandexed One?"

"Tried it." Came Relena's immediate response. "It just made things worse." She grinned sheepishly from her Presidential estate in Brussels. Hilde let out a dejected sigh of her own at this disheartening news.

"And you say he hasn't spoken a single word except when absolutely necessary for the past six months?"

Relena nodded slowly. "It's almost like he's putting *effort* into keeping this barrier up. I mean, there was always something keeping us at a distance, but ever since my election it's gotten much worse. I'd have to handcuff him to me now to get him to talk to me."

"Well," Hilde announced, with an air of self assurance, "I think he's a big jerk, and that he just needs a good seducing to get him to turn around."

Relena rolled her eyes. "Oh sure, that'd go over *really* well with him. Not."

"It might go over better than you think." Hilde quipped with a wicked grin.

"Hilde! I don't know how Duo doesn't see this side of you!" Relena laughed, her normally serious expression dissolving into one of mirth.

"He hasn't been around to see it." the black haired girl remarked dryly. Relena wrinkled her nose in a very un-Presidential manner.

"Still locked away in that room?"

"He's *convinced* that he's got this genius formula to produce a new alloy. 'Stronger than Gundanium' he claims." Hilde gave a short snort. "He's been at it for months now. I see him *maybe* if we run into each other on our way out of the bathroom in the morning."

"Sounds like Heero isn't the only one in need of a good seducing." Relena raised one eyebrow, expression deadpan.

Hilde was about to open her mouth to give a smart retort when a loud explosion shook the very structure of the building. Hilde grabbed onto a beam to keep her footing as the rumbling swept through the room. She blinked in confusion as tools, sheets of metal, parts, shelves, all came crashing down around her. Quickly as it had come, it died down. The dust settled as a stunned silence permeated the atmosphere. Several minutes had elapsed before an unholy, manic cackling rang out through the unnatural quiet of the compound. Hilde's eyes went wide.

"What was that!?" Relena looked utterly bewildered.

"Relena, I better call you back. I think that bastard finally got it right."


"Duo! Duo, are you alive?" Hilde called, waving away a thick mist of foul smelling smoke, pushing various pieces of scrap metal out of her way as she worked towards Duo's self-built lab.

Suddenly, a monster of legendary proportions emerged from the cloak of blackness; freakish arms outstretched, it's hideous face contorted in a look of terrifying glee as it shuffled toward it's startled prey.

Hilde let out a little shriek before socking the figure in the stomach. It doubled over with a small groan. A familiar, and slightly singed, brown braid swung into view. Hilde sighed in relief, realizing that her attacker was just Duo in his lab gear.

"God dammit, Duo, don't scare me like that! Are you okay?" She bent over him, thumping on his back a little since he seemed to be choking on the smoke worse than she.

"I'm better than okay!" Duo grinned broadly through his pained expression, looking up long enough to shove a slightly blackened ore of a strange silvery metal into Hilde's hand.

She turned it over, surprised at its' lightness. Experimentally she bent down and tapped it against the concrete floor. It made a clear ringing sound. She shot Duo a questioning look as he straightened. He beamed, his teeth glowing a blinding white in comparison to his soot-darkened face and clothes. Safety goggles were set slightly askew as he plowed a hand through his hair in his excitement.

"Lighter than gundanium, stronger than gundanium, and easier to come by than gundanium. This is gonna replace the metal they use in heavy machinery, babe. We're gonna make a fortune!"

Hilde turned the alloy over in her hands, slightly awed. "And that explosion just now?" She asked, eyes still glued on the metal rod in her hand.

"I was testing its' strength. I've got it right this time, for sure! The only thing that can make this baby lose its shape is extreme heat and a pretty wicked high-density laser. It's indestructible! They can use this in colony development, construction, new technology. Hell, they'll probably even be making *handcuffs* out of this stuff!"

Now some say it was fate that prompted Duo Maxwell to list that particular use to his on-again, off-again girlfriend. Others would insist it was merely a bizarre twist of fate that we can never hope to see the likes of again. And there are those that still claim that it was merely a convenient plot device deployed by an author who should learn that speculative narratives can't just pop up any old time.

But whether it was fate, or a badly concealed plot device, this comment got the wheels in Hilde's head turning. In fact, said wheels practically went into overdrive. Mini Relenas danced across the ex-Oz soldier's vision, as the phrase the young politician had uttered minutes before danced across Hilde's mind. "I'd have to handcuff him now to get him to talk to me"

"Handcuffs, huh? Say Duo, what if we could combine this little experiment with your favorite pastime?"

"What does getting the best of Heero have to do with my new alloy?" Duo frowned in confusion.

"I'll tell you in a minute, but how 'bout it? It'll take some work, but if we manage to pull this off, it'll definitely be your greatest prank ever. Not to mention it'll provide a true test for your new alloy."

The boy blinked once before deciding. A devilish grin of true demonic quality lit Duo's smudged face, all the answer Hilde needed.

"Babe, if it has anything to do with making Heero's life more difficult, I am *always* up for the challenge."

Hilde flashed her housemate a smile as evil as his own. 'Oh Relena, you don't know what you got yourself into...'


AN: Here's where I'm gonna list the songs I listened to while writing this chapter ^_^ It shall hereby be known as the "soundtrack." I thought it might be cute for people to see what kind of music was inspiring my writing.

The Soundtrack

Ghostman by Bush

Land of the Living by Bush (this song's guitar riffs during the verses gave me the whole mood I wanted to set for this story)

Easier Said Than Done by The Essex