Title: Mr. Agony
Author: Sorceress Fantasia
Warnings: AU, sap
Archive: Lev's Lair
Anyone else, just ask. ^^
Disclaimer: I called up a lawyer and asked him if I owned GW and the characters, and he loaned me a book on copyright laws. So no, I don't own GW or the GW gang. Sad, I know, but it's true. In fact, I have to repay the overdue loan on the book and that practically empties my wallet. So there.
Thanx to Duo-chan for beta-ing! ^^
Duo breezed into the student's publishing office, his book bag half-slung behind his back. Normally, the room was out of bounds to everyone except the students running the fortnightly issues of the school magazine. Somehow though, Duo Maxwell had charmed his way in and by now, at least half the students there had already fallen under his magic. Moreover, he was the editor's buddy, and that gave him an added advantage to get someone to open the door to him. Not that the girls didn't fall over themselves to.
"Hey, Duo!" Hirde, a school reporter and one of his personal fans, waved enthusiastically. "It's been a while since you've come around. Where have you been?"
The braided boy leaned over her desk casually. "I've been busy with school lately. Anyway, is Quatre around? I'm looking for him."
"Oh, he just arrived minutes ago! He should be in the office now!" The girl sitting at the table next to Hirde's chirped gleefully, ignoring the nasty look Hirde was shooting her.
Duo nodded. "Thanks! I'll be going in then! Bye girls!" And he quickly slithered into the office before any of them tried to offer a date again. It wasn't that he didn't like girls, but some of them just didn't interest him at all.
He rapped lightly on the door, and hearing a response from inside, slid inside. Closing the door, he tossed his book bag onto the couch and took the seat directly in front of his friend.
His blonde friend peered up from his work, and smiled. "Oh, it's you."
"Of course it's me. Who were you expecting? A secret admirer? God knows how many you have." Duo teased gently. It was a widely known fact that Quatre Raberba Winner, the editor of the student's publishing office, had a horde of fans. After all, he was handsome, intelligent and rather rich too, something girls found irresistible.
Quatre leaned forwards, smiling slyly. "Not as much as yours though. At least, all the girls in this office are infatuated with you."
Duo gave a dramatic sigh and shrugged. "Dorothy isn't."
Dorothy was the office's secretary, and seemed to be the only girl who managed to remain calm and collected whenever Duo popped up.
"Wanna bet? I saw a picture of you in her wallet the other day."
"Aw, you're kidding me!" Duo laughed, and fell back into the chair. "Dorothy too? I never would have guessed."
Quatre grinned back, shaking his head at his friend's antics. It was hard to not get used to it after knowing him for most of their childhood. "Alright, enough of this. We've got work to do!" He said, fishing out a stack of stack of letters from one of his cabinets. "These just came in, and they're all yours."
The braided boy eyed the stack, and groaned loudly. "So many? And I thought I was going to get some sleep tonight!" He picked them up, and quickly shuffled through them. "Really, Quatre. These people are dumping all their troubles onto me! It's not as if I don't have enough of my own."
Quatre bit back a chuckle. "Yeah right. You're the one who was practically at my heels to let you manage this column. Don't deny that you don't enjoy doing this. Besides, the readers love it."
Duo smirked. He remembered how excited he had been when he had found out that Quatre had been chosen to take over as the editor of their school magazine, and how he had convinced his friend that he needed an agony aunt column. Or rather, a Mr. Agony column. The blonde boy had eventually given in, and Duo got his chance to manage his own small section in the magazine. Small but popular, he decided. And popular it was. The section soon increased in size to take up two full pages due to popular demand, and Mr. Agony became an instant hit with some of the girls. Even though they had no idea what he looked like or even who he was.
"Yeah, it's quite interesting sometimes. Especially when I get to screw with someone's minds with my flippant comments," he laughed, "Still, I'm surprised that no one has figured out that I'm the guy they're dumping all the problems onto."
Quatre raised an eyebrow. "Oh really? What about Relena? Has the matter been settled?"
Duo groaned out loud again. "Don't remind me about that. It just sucks totally. Honestly, it never occurred to me that she's the observant type. You know, from the way she barely pulls through in her exams, she's like a complete loony! But no! Out of so many people in school, she just *had* to be the one to notice it."
"So has the matter been settled?" Quatre repeated his query patiently.
The braided boy rolled his eyes, then finally nodded. "I told her that I'm Mr. Agony's friend, and that he wants to do his job in peace. So I'm not supposed to reveal anything."
"And she just gave up like that?"
"No, of course not. If only it were that easy…" He grimaced. "I had to charm her brains out. Do you know just how much I had to sacrifice? I think I'm going to have nightmares."
"I can understand that. Having to seduce the ultimate geek in our school…" Quatre shuddered at that thought. It was just so totally gross.
Duo nodded, making a funny face at that. Then he stood up. "Well, I guess I should be going. With all my assignments and these letters, I'll be lucky if I can get some sleep tonight."
Duo propped his feet onto his table tiredly. He had finally completed his class assignments. At least, he had done all those that he knew. He would have to ask for help for the rest, or maybe just charm the answers out of a female classmate. Then he recalled how he had spent his afternoon charming Relena out, and he dismissed that idea. He was going to steer clear of all female company for a while to come.
Leaning back against his chair, he shuffled the stack of letters in his hand and fanned them out. Closing his eyes, he picked one out. Throwing the rest back onto the table, he opened the one he had just chosen.
It was a plain white envelope, and the only words on it were 'To Mr. Agony'. Duo raised an eyebrow at the neat handwriting. Neat, but most definitely boyish. And it seemed a little familiar, somehow. But he shrugged; he was a sucker at remembering such minute details. He gingerly tore the envelope open and dug out the slip of paper inside. It read:
I don't know why, but I always feel awkward when I'm near this certain someone. My heart beats faster, and I start getting jittery. I want to talk naturally to this person, but my tongue always gets tied up. Is there something wrong with me?
Duo smirked. This was one letter he would most definitely have to reply to. Picking up his pen, he wrote his answer.
The next day, Duo waltzed into the classroom fifteen minutes early. It was nothing unusual, really. Whenever Duo Maxwell arrived in school that early, it meant only one thing: he needed to borrow someone's assignments. All the girls in the class quickly dug out their assignments and laid them on their desks. They were severely disappointed when Duo bounced over to his best friend's desk.
"Hey, Hee-chan! Lend me your math homework, would ya? I've got a little problem with them." He offered a lopsided grin that threatened to split his face, hoping to charm his friend with the infamous Maxwell charm.
Heero, deemed cold and callous by most people, had few friends. He was extremely attractive by the girls' standards, and could easily have his own fan club just with those cobalt eyes and messy hair alone. That is, if he hadn't been so anti-social. Still, even someone like him could not resist Duo. Especially when the braided boy was batting his doe eyes.
He handed over his work wordlessly.
Duo grinned. "Thanks a million! I'll buy you lunch later," he said, and quickly returned to his desk to copy the sums he couldn't do. Suddenly, he felt someone kick his chair from behind. He turned, and noticed Wufei staring at him. "What's up, Fei?"
"Did you complete your section of the geography group assignment? We're supposed to present the answer today!"
The braided boy's jaws dropped. "Oh no."
"Oh my god… Duo, you can't be serious! Geography is the first period today!" Wufei exclaimed. "Ms. Locke is going to kill us!"
Just as Duo was contemplating how to rush through his section within the next few minutes, Heero came over and tossed a few sheets of paper onto Wufei's desk.
"I've done it," he said simply.
Wufei picked it up, and quickly scanned through it. "It's Duo's section."
"I know. He told me he was busy last night, so I did it instead."
Wufei shrugged, and accepted Heero's explanation. "That's good. Looks like you owe him more than just lunch today, Duo."
Duo grinned, and gave his best friend a hug. "Thanks! I'll treat you to dinner later this week!"
Heero shook him off, and returned to his seat. Wufei gave Duo a look, and he shrugged. Unbeknownst to them though, the Japanese boy's face had turned a bright shade of red.
Right after school, Duo dropped by the student's publishing office again. Carefully fending off the swarm of girls, he made a beeline for Quatre's office.
"Hey Quatre. You should seriously lend me a chain mail or something. I'm going to get maimed one day by all those girls out there. Hirde doesn't put down her pen when she comes up to me. When she talks, she flails that pen everywhere. If she's not careful, I'm going to find that pen sticking out of me soon," Duo said, slumping into his seat.
"Anyway, about those letters…" Duo trailed off, fishing out the replies he had written from his bag. "Here. These are the few I've decided to reply to."
His blonde companion skimmed through them quickly. His eyes fell onto one that was addressed to someone with a weird name. "Confused soldier?"
Duo nodded. "Yup. Weird name, eh?"
Without another second of hesitation, Quatre read the reply.
Are you sure you don't feel this tiny, little prick somewhere? Because you've been shot, apparently. Nah, not with a gun, so you don't have to rush yourself to the hospital. Still don't get it? Well, you recall this mythology where you have this little guy with a bow and arrow flying around shooting at people? Yeah, cupid has struck again, and you're just his newest target. Well, congrats! You're in love, and you've found the one that many take so long to find! Don't let go of this special someone, ok?
He looked up at Duo, sighing dreamily. "First love… It's always so romantic."
Duo sighed as well. "Yeah. I just wonder when will we find that someone. We may have our fan clubs, but they're just infatuated with us. Just when will I find a girl or boyfriend?"
"Who knows?" Quatre shrugged. "Maybe tomorrow. Or maybe next week. Or the week after."
"And after, and after, and after…" Duo sighed louder.
A week later, Duo received another letter.
Why are you so sure that I'm in love? Is it because I've shown the signs of being in love? But what is love anyway?
P.S. Please reply to me through my e-mail. It's wingzero@L1.com
Duo frowned, then realized that the things they were going to talk about was probably too private to let others know. Quickly, he set up a new email account for Mr. Agony. Reading the letter again, he typed into his computer.
You're right. You do show signs of being in love.
And well, I can't actually tell you what love is, because it's something that you have to feel and understand for yourself. If I tell you what it is, then it wouldn't be real because everyone has a different definition for that. You should ask yourself: How would you feel if this person just disappears one day? Would you miss this person? Would you be upset? And is this person in your every waking thought? Does it hurt to think of this person sometimes? If your answer is 'yes' to all of these questions, chances are, it's love.
Think about it.
And write to me again if you need help.
Duo didn't know what had prompted him to write that last sentence, but his mind told him that it was the least he could do for some boy who was dealing with unknown emotions. Even if he couldn't have that love he wanted himself, he wanted others to have it.
A few days later, Duo found the next letter sitting quietly in his mailbox.
I'm still unsure of whether I love this person. I'd admit that my answers to all of the questions you posed are 'yes', but still, how can I be sure? It could be friendship, or just brotherly love. I don't want to mess up. And yes, he's a boy. But his gender doesn't bother me. I just want to know what to do now.
The guy had quite a temper, Duo thought. And he was damn frank too. Didn't his mother teach him something called 'tact'? Apparently not. His own reply was straightforward and just plain frank as well.
Well, gender doesn't bother me either. I firmly believe that if you love someone, then nothing else matters. Besides, with the population boom currently, I think we could do without a few more babies.
I can't tell you what you should do because after all, I don't have all the details. But you could try kissing him. Just one kiss, and you'll know if it's love or friendship. Kisses between friends are just that. Kisses. But kissing someone you love is different. It's like flying. You'd feel free, and a tingling feeling in your spine.
Duo stalled, but decided to send the reply anyway. He'd never forget the one time he had kissed Quatre, back when he had been contemplating whether he loved the blonde boy as a friend or as a lover. The kiss was… nothing. There was no burst of feelings inside in, nor was there any fireworks behind his eyes. That was when he knew Quatre was just his friend, and nothing more.
He watched the computer screen load, indicating that his reply had been sent. With a sigh, he shut down his computer and went to bed. Vaguely, he wondered just who was the Confused Soldier.
The weather was marvelous, and the breeze was just cool enough to keep him comfortably and still not mess up his hair. Duo flipped his braid behind him, skipping around.
"Woo hoo! Weekend! I'm gonna go home and hammer on all these computer games I've just bought!" He cheered, readjusting his book bag on his shoulder.
"Don't forget about the geography mock paper next Tuesday," Heero said simply, slowly trailing behind his friend. Both of them lived in the same neighbourhood, so it made sense that they always traveled home together.
Duo turned back, pouting. "Aw man! But well, you said Tuesday. So that means I can study on Monday! Yeah! I'm going home to play now! Besides, it's just a mock paper."
Heero rolled his eyes, and continued walking. Duo just kept yapping on about how he was going to enjoy his weekend break, short as it was. Soon, they reached the intersection where the two boys would have to go in different directions.
"Oh, we're here already," Duo noted. "Well, I guess it's 'bye bye' then. Anyway, are you free on this Sunday night? I did say I'm going to treat you to dinner later this week, didn't I?"
The Japanese boy nodded. "I'm free."
"Well then, my parents aren't around that night, so I was thinking that I could fix dinner. Or maybe we could just call pizza and catch a movie together. How's that sound?"
"Great. Then I'll come over at around seven on Sunday. Is that ok?"
"Definitely." Duo nodded. "Well, then… see you on Sunday!" He replied, and was about to run off in the general direction of his house when he felt a tug on his braid. "Oww! What was that for, Heero?"
Heero didn't answer; he just kept staring at Duo in an unnerving way, almost like he was possessed. Then he bit his bottom lip, and scrunched up his brows.
"What is it, Heero?" Duo asked curiously, walking closer to his friend. Heero still had not let go of his hair. "Is there… something wrong?"
Finally, Heero answered, "There's something on your face." And he moved closer, one hand cupping Duo's cheek and his thumb wiping something off.
"What's that?" Duo asked, voice almost in a whisper. Heero was awfully close to wipe something off of his face… He could feel his breath already. Suddenly, Heero's face swam out of focus, and Duo felt a little pressure on his lips. It took him a while to register the feeling, but he forgot how to breath when he finally realized that Heero was kissing him. His best friend was kissing him!
When he tried to protest, Heero took that as an opportunity to slide his tongue in. Duo had a fleeting memory of his kiss with Quatre, that dry peck of a kiss on the lips, and he wavered. But the memory was just that, a memory. So different from the reality now, so different from this kiss. A thousand emotions welled out of him, and his eyes fluttered shut.
And it was over. Heero quickly moved away, his face flushed, and ran off after a curt 'goodbye'.
Duo stood at the crossroad, blinking at his friend's retreating back. What had just happened?
That night, Duo couldn't sleep. He just lay quietly in bed, staring at the ceiling above. Streaks of light streamed in through the half-closed curtains, and sounds of cars slowly maneuvering around the road beside his house.
All his thoughts centered around the incident that afternoon. That kiss… Duo touched his lips again, and he could still vaguely feel Heero's lips on his. Could still vaguely taste Heero's breath, mingled with his own.
Just what had gotten in Heero?
Duo sighed. He had befriended Heero two years ago, when the Japanese boy had moved into the neighbourhood and transferred to his school. The cold and callous boy had frightened away many potential friends with his frosty stares and icy words. He remembered that he first talked to Heero at the rooftop garden of their school, and how he was quickly brushed off. But Duo had been undeterred, ignoring everyone else's advice to leave the boy alone. It was difficult, but he eventually befriended Heero, albeit against his will. Still, their friendship had improved over the months they knew each other, and Duo knew that he was Heero's best friend in school. In fact, he was probably the only one who Heero would voluntarily talk to for over five minutes.
When had Heero… gotten interested in him, that way?
One of the reasons why he had refused to give up befriending Heero was because he had a crush on the boy. Ever since he had laid eyes on the messy mob of hair and those soulful eyes, they were imprinted onto his mind. He could never forget them. But he had never dropped a hint about his crush, always believing that Heero would probably not accept him as anything more than a close friend.
Was he wrong?
Duo snuggled deeper into his covers, and the memory of the kiss that afternoon returned to him again. With a huff, he threw off the covers. It looked like he wasn't going to get much sleep anyway. Trudging over to his computer, he switched it on. Maybe he could find someone to talk to online.
Still, he decided to check his mailbox first. Maybe Quatre would have something interesting for him. There was none though, but he wasn't completely disappointed. At least, the Confused Soldier had written to him again.
I did what you told me to. And now I'm sure that I want him. Although you did not really help, but I appreciate your advice. Thank you.
(Not) confused soldier
Duo smiled at the parenthesis. "Not confused anymore, are you?" He muttered, and quickly typed a reply to say that he was glad to have helped. As he watched his computer screen load, his mind returned to the problem at hand. And he wondered if it would be so easily solved.
Duo was on his toes all Sunday. He was getting jittery, but who could blame him? Heero was coming for dinner, and they would probably talk about the kiss the other day. At least, Duo knew that he wanted an explanation.
Heero arrived at exactly seven o' clock, and Duo quickly found himself avoiding Heero's eyes. It was an awkward moment, inviting him to sit on the living room couch and getting him a glass of water. If it weren't so embarrassing, Duo would have laughed at how easily a kiss was changing everything between him and Heero. In minutes, Duo had dialed up the pizza place and placed their orders, and was assured that their pizza would arrive in another forty-five minutes.
'What are we going to do for forty-five minutes? Damn… I should have called the pizza place earlier,' Duo thought to himself.
He nearly jumped, but he just turned to face his friend on the couch. Slowly, he peered up. "Yeah?" He almost whispered, feeling the weight of Heero's smoldering gaze. It was a look he was familiar with, the one he always had when he was pissed off at something. But Duo was sure that he had done nothing wrong to raise Heero's ire. Besides, he should be the one to be mad. After all, he was the one who had been kissed out of the blues!
"I'm sorry. For kissing you that day. I shouldn't have done that suddenly."
"But I needed to know."
"Know… what?" My voice is being really uncooperative today, Duo thought. So soft.
Heero faltered for a moment, but he bit his lip and moved closer to Duo. "I needed to know what I feel for you. Duo, I've known you for two years. And after this much time, you're still the only friend I want. But lately, I've started to feel that it's not enough. I want to be closer."
He nodded, taking Duo's hands in his. "I want to be closer to you, Duo."
Duo felt like he was dreaming. How else would he feel so lightheaded? And the way Heero was looking at him with those smoldering cobalt eyes… no, it wasn't anger. Was it… determination? Was it… passion?
"I love you."
A thousand words swam in his mind, each struggling to be spoken, to tell Heero how he felt. But they were so insignificant compared to a kiss. Duo leaned in, gently pressing his lips to Heero's.
It was like the kiss had triggered a reaction, and suddenly, Heero's arms were around Duo, holding him tighter and tighter. He grabbed onto the rope of chestnut hair that had first caught his attention, and then his heart, wrapping it around his fist. Duo's hands wove into Heero's dark brown hair, messing it up further. But they didn't mind. It didn't matter.
The kiss turned deeper, and Duo felt like he was flying. His heart had grown wings, and the kiss was lifting him further and further away from the ground. It was like a thousand fireworks had set off behind his eyes, and the light-streaked sky told him that he was where he belonged.
Finally, they broke off the kiss. There was only so long one could go without air.
For a long while, they just stared at each other. And then they smiled.
Duo leaned into Heero's arms, snuggling into his warmth. "Not that I'm complaining, Heero. But what brought this on?"
Heero held onto his new boyfriend tightly, stroking his back soothingly. "Nothing much. I just wrote to someone for advice. Like I said, I already knew I was feeling something for you. I just wasn't sure what."
"Oh? And who did you write to?"
Heero stiffened, and Duo thought that he had asked a wrong question. He looked up. "What is it?"
"Promise me you're not going to laugh."
Duo frowned. "Okay, I promise."
"I wrote to Mr. Agony. You know, the guy who runs the agony aunt column in our school magazine?"
If there was anything that could stun Duo after the kiss, it was this. Everything clicked into place. The sudden kiss that day, then familiar handwriting… "Confused soldier?"
Heero's eyes widened. "What? How did you know? Wait, how could you know?"
"I…" Duo faltered, then decided that Heero had the right to know. "Promise me that you won't tell anybody, but… I'm Mr. Agony."
"You know Quatre?" At Heero's nod, Duo continued, "He's the editor for the school magazine. When he took over the post, I just sorta… convinced him that we needed an agony aunt column, and that I wanted to run it. So…"
Realisation dawned on Heero. And he laughed.
"Heero?" Duo asked worriedly.
"So all these time, I've been asking my best friend for advice on what I feel about him," he replied, still chuckling. Nudging Duo's shoulders, he added, "No more. The next time I want to know something, I'm coming to you directly."
Duo sniggered. "Yeah, but make sure you make an appointment first. I'm pretty busy, you know?"
Heero leaned in. "I'm your boyfriend now, aren't I? I get priority."
Before Duo could protest, Heero caught his lips in another kiss.
A few days later…
"Hey Quatre!" Duo bounced into the office gleefully, Heero following silently behind. They quickly slid into the seat in front of his desk.
The young blonde looked up from the pile of work on his table and smiled. "Hi Duo! Hi Heero!" His smile widened when he noticed the tightly clasped hands. Duo and Heero's relationship was made known to the whole population just a few days ago, right after the last weekend. It had come as a surprise to everyone; the most popular boy in school was hooked up with the quietest boy in school? Duo's fan clubs were heartbroken, and many spent hours wailing before glaring at Heero. Heero, of course, took that in stride. But well, the school population would learn to accept their relationship in time.
"So, any new letters?"
"Of course there are. Don't you think of skiving!" Quatre teased, and handed him a stack of letters.
Duo took them, and scanned through the letters curiously. One of them apparently caught his attention, for he suddenly tore it open. The letter read:
I am having some problems with a certain someone in my class. My heart starts pounding at my rib cage when I see him, and I lose my voice when he talks to me. I feel like running my fingers through his blonde hair, cup his fair cheeks and just gaze into his searing pools of aquamarine. Am I supposed to feel this way for a fellow classmate, who also happens to be a boy? Thank you in advance.
P.S. Please reply to me via my email heavyarms@L3.com
Chuckling, Duo turned to his boyfriend. "Heero, I think it's happening again."
Sorceress Fantasia @ 25th March 2001
Last revised 20th September 2003
Last beta-ed 22nd September 2003