This is just a little something that we came up with after remembering that scene in the series where Duo asks Hilde to make a steak for him.  As always, we do not claim to own Gundam Wing or the characters within… though we wouldn't complain if we did.  We do not test on animals and this bottle is 100% recyclable… let's get to it, shall we?

Steak

(or perhaps the misadventures of Duo in the kitchen… you decide)

(…or maybe the fated microwave's last stand)

            Hilde shoved an unruly strand of hair beneath her beret and sighed.  There was so much to do today.  "Duo?"  She walked into the living room and found the former gundam pilot/shinigami reclining on an overstuffed chair.  "I've got to go do some shopping."  She informed him as she again forced some hair back in place.  "Man!  I'll probably hit the barber shop, too."

            Duo glanced upward.  "That might take awhile… what am I going to do about lunch?"

            "Don't worry," Hilde responded sarcastically.  "I left that steak you wanted in the refrigerator.  You've just got to heat it up."

            "Really?  Steak?  It's about time!"  Duo leapt from the seat enthusiastically and entered the kitchen.

            "Yeah, goodbye to you, too!"  Hilde shrugged and left the house.

            Naturally, Duo didn't hear her farewell because he was rejoicing after locating the promised steak.  "Dang it… I'll have to stick it in the microwave…"

            The microwave was an old reliable appliance.  Grey and white, with some dents, scratches, and a few stains that were practically impossible to get out.  Duo approached it with the cold steak in hand and eyed it apprehensively.

            "Eh… how does this thing work?  There's so many buttons… complicated."  He experimented a bit and succeeded in locating the button that opened the door.  The steak was joyfully dropped into the microwave's interior and then the door was slammed back closed.

            "Let's see now," Duo rubbed his hands together.  "Power level?  Full blast is always best, I say!  How long?  Well I like my steaks hot so I'll leave it on for… five minutes."

            More button pushing followed.  The microwave screen read: 500:00

            "There!"  He selected the 'start' button.  "That should be perfect.  I'll just go watch some TV while it heats up!"

            Duo regarded his wristwatch as he reentered the family room.  It was about 2:00pm.  "I hope there's something good on," He switched the battered television on and waited for it to warm up.  "How come Hilde's only got one channel?  This is so lame."

            The screen came into blurry vision and filled the room with sounds of dramatic music and horrible over-acting.  That's right: SOAP OPERAS.  (gasp)

            "Blech!  How can anybody WATCH this crap?  But I guess I have no choice."

            "How could you murder my other evil twin sister!  She was the only one I had left and you knew that!"  The woman onscreen dramatized.

            "No Beatrix, you are mistaken!  Because through some amazing and totally unrealistic event I have discovered… you have a twin brother, too!"  Replied the man.

            "How could that be?  Why haven't I ever met him?"

            "You have!  You have!  Because Beatrix, I am your twin brother!"

            Duo grimaced at the further revelation that they were a married couple and then promptly fell asleep.

            BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

            Duo was rocketed from the couch by an unearthly noise in the kitchen.  "What the heck??"  He ran toward the explosion fearlessly, expecting a mobile suit attacking… or remnants of one of the disbanded armies taking revenge… or maybe Wing Zero driving a new pilot to the brink of sanity or… steak slop?

            The kitchen was covered in various portions of the steak, and the microwave… well there's not too much to say about the microwave.  It died so young.

            "Eep," Duo slammed a hand to his forehead.  "I've got to clean this up!"

            He shuffled into the garage and was searching for some cleaning supplies when he heard footsteps in the front yard.

            "Figures," He made a mad dash back inside the house.  "Hilde always shows up just in time to witness the microwave blow."

            Hilde walked through the front door and entered the kitchen to find Duo smiling sheepishly in the middle of the disaster.

            "…" Her expression was virtually unreadable.

            "Hilde… I think we need a new microwave."  Duo glanced around.

            "…"

            "And a mop would help."

            "…"

            "And we need to replace my steak!"

            "WHAT DID YOU DO?"  Hilde broke her silence violently.

            "It's those stupid soap operas' fault!  It put me in a trance and I couldn't save the kitchen!"

            "Oh… never mind.  Just clean this up… NOW!"

            "Eep!"

            "GET!"

            Duo slumped in defeat.  "Oh all right."

            Hours passed and between the two of them, Duo and Hilde had restored the kitchen to its former glory… minus one microwave.

            "Ah!  Great job, Duo!"  Hilde was surveying their work proudly.

            Duo complied sorrowfully.  "Yeah."

            "I guess you deserve that steak… just let me set the timer, okay?"

            "Um… sure!  That'd be great!  Thanks, Hilde!"  The gundam pilot forgot the woes of housework instantaneously.

            "It's no problem," Hilde smiled and put her hand on Duo's shoulder.  "Just stay out of the kitchen until it's done."  And to punctuate she shoved him out of the kitchen playfully.

            Duo assumed an air of innocence.  "Sure, Hilde!  I won't get in your way.  I'll go watch TV… I'll bet the football game is on!"

            Hilde sighed fondly and then prepared a new steak.  She took great care to set the timer correctly.  From the living room the TV was heard.

            "Because you are my father's uncle's second cousin's little sister's best friend's grandmother's aunt.  You owe me!"  The TV voice wailed.

            "You were misinformed!  I am not in fact your father's uncle's second cousin's little sister's best friend's grandmother's aunt… I am in fact your father's uncle's second cousin's little sister's best friend's grandfather's aunt… so get off my back already!"  And the argument continued… dramatically.

            "Duo?"  Hilde called from the kitchen.  "It's almost ready!  Duo!"  She set her oven mitt aside in exasperation.  "DUO!!!!!!!"

            She marched into the living room to find Duo asleep on the couch, and a soap opera on the TV.  "Would you wake up?

            "Huh?"  Duo's eyelids fluttered groggily.  "What?"

            "You've gotta get up.  Take the steak out of the oven in a couple minutes okay?"

            "Um… okay sure."  He was a little bit more awake now.

            Hilde seemed to reconsider.  "You can do that, right?"

            "Yeah, yeah.  Get the steak outta the oven.  Couple minutes… I've got it, Hilde."

            "Good, because I have to go buy a new microwave.  Something happened to my old one and I've got to get to the store before it closes."

            "Don't worry!  If I can handle a gundam, I can do this!  You should trust me a little, okay?"

            "I just don't want to come home and find my kitchen… oh I don't even want to think about another mess… look, I've gotta run.  Bye!"

            Duo turned to wave goodbye, but Hilde had already grabbed her purse and dashed out the door.

            "Eh… bye, Hilde.  I'd better go get that steak…" He found his way to the oven and peered inside it.  "Great!  Looks like it's ready to eat!"

            Ding-Dong!

            "The door?"  Duo closed the oven.  "I wonder if Hilde's back and got locked out?"  He turned off the TV as he passed it and opened the front door… but there was nobody there.  "Dang doorbell ditchers!"

            With an air of responsibility, Duo entered the kitchen with full intent to follow Hilde's instructions.

            "Heero," Duo stopped short when he saw his compatriot wandering through Hilde's kitchen.  The window was left mysteriously ajar.  "What are you doing here?  Was that you at the door just then?"

            "Yeah," Heero opened the freezer and looked in.  "You were just too slow.  Are you eating?"

            Duo looked confused.  "Actually… I was just taking a steak out of the oven…"

            "Steak," Heero looked up suddenly.  "Did you make it?"

            "Nope!  Hilde made that steak for me!"

            "Hilde made it?  You fool!!  It's probably poison!!!"

            A look of even deeper confusion passed across Duo's face.  "?"

            Heero rolled over to the oven commando style, snatched the sizzling steak out of the oven and hurled it out the open window.  Then he took out his gun and shot it five times for good measure.

            "Noooooooooo!"  Duo ran to the window in horror.  "What do you think you're doing, Heero?"

            The perfect soldier stashed away his gun with satisfaction.  "Be more careful next time…"

            Rushing through the door, Duo tried to see if he could salvage his steak, while Heero inspected the contents of the refrigerator.

            "Hm.  Everything else seems to check out all right.  Mission accomplished."  He shut the refrigerator door closed and exited through the kitchen window, even though the door was standing wide open.

            "Dang… where is it?  I thought it fell out here!"  The shinigami continued his search hopelessly.

            Heero emerged from the window.  "You should be okay eating the rice in the refrigerator.  I checked it and it's definitely not poisonous."

            "Oh great, thanks a lot… I HATE rice."

            "Tough."  Heero whistled and Wing Zero appeared to pick him up.  "See ya, Duo."  Pilot and gundam took off with a gust of wind almost strong enough to unearth some trees.

            "Ugh."  Duo moaned.  "He's such a show-off… now WHERE is that steak?"  He noticed something in the road.  "That must be it!"

            Before reaching the treasured edible, Relena's pink limousine tore by and ran over Duo's steak, leaving it stuck to the tire.

            "Heero!  Come back!"  Relena was hanging out the rear window with her hands cupped around her mouth.  The limo continued its pursuit of Wing Zero.

            "Hey!  Come back with my steak!"  Duo proceeded to chase the limo.  Relena didn't even notice.

            "Heero!"

            In a sad realization that the pursuit was pointless, Duo halted in the middle of the street.  "Crap.  There goes another steak."  Glancing around, he noticed he'd stopped in front of a restaurant.  "I wonder if they serve steaks there?  I'll just go have a look."

            The interior of the restaurant was very classy, just the kind of place to find a horde of rich snobs who don't have the time to cook for themselves.  There was a waiter standing at the front of the place, with a cloth napkin draped over his arm.

            "Sir."  The waiter acknowledged Duo's presence with a posh nod.

            "Yeah, yeah, yeah… just one please."  The gundam pilot hurriedly replied.

            "Of course."  The waiter guided him to a small table with two chairs and a pretty floral arrangement on the center.  "Is this acceptable?  Will you be wanting wine with your dinner tonight, sir?"

            Duo sat himself into one of the chairs joyfully.  "Nah… I just want a-"  Before he could finish his sentence, a familiar voice disrupted the peace of the restaurant.

            "Duo!!!!!!!"

            Duo looked up warily.  "Huh?  Quatre?"

            Quatre dashed over to his friend and sat down.  "You're eating dinner here?  I never thought you'd come in here!  Can I join you please?  I'm going to eat here tonight, too, but it's always more fun with a friend, don't you think?"

            "Uh… sure, Quatre."

            "Thanks, Duo!  Have you ordered yet?  Do you want me to?  I'll do that, cause I know what's best here!  Waiter, I'll have the lobster dinner with some caviar!  And uh… my friend here would like some rice!  Isn't that right, Duo?  You always loved rice."

            "Actually, Quatre-"

            "Oh that's right!  And the Champaign, too!  Waiter, we would like some Champaign!  Non-alcoholic please… I KNOW you like Champaign, Duo!  You have good taste in food, you know.  And in restaurants!  This is a great restaurant… but you knew that, obviously… cause you're here!!!"

            Duo opened his mouth in an attempt to say something, but Quatre started up again.

            "I just love the way you get this extra fork when you dine at these kind of restaurants!  Don't you?  I mean, it's a whole extra fork that you can eat with… just in case you lose one, you know?  Have you ever lost a fork, Duo?  I'll bet you have!  Everybody has!  Why are you looking around like that, Duo?  Are you expecting somebody?"

            "No…"

            "Good!  Neither am I!"

            The waiter returned with an extravagant tray and loaded the food onto the table as Quatre chirped on.

            "This looks great!  I love lobster!  It's kind of expensive, but I'm paying!  Don't worry, Duo.  I'll pay for your meal too, okay?"

            Quatre's pager beeped suddenly.  He glanced at it with a serious expression.  "Hm?  Oh no… it looks like Catherine has been throwing knives drunk again.  I need to go for a second, but I'll be right back."  Quatre got up and left the restaurant quickly.

            "Ahem…"  The waiter tapped Duo's shoulder.  "And how will you be paying this evening, sir?"

            "Uh… how much does it cost?"

            The waiter showed Duo a rather devastating bill, printed on nice paper, of course.

            "What!??  I don't have that kind of money!"

            "I see," the waiter responded sternly.  "Then I suggest you come with me."

            Sadly, Duo followed the waiter into the back room and tried to keep a straight face as he was instructed to wash dishes.

            "Man… Quatre's sure gotten me into a lot of trouble."

* Two Hours, 673 Dishes, and 47 Blisters Later: *

            Quatre peered into the washroom timidly.  A horrid sight greeted him.  Duo was slouched over the sink, with a dish in one hand and a cloth in the other… and a frightening expression on his face.

            "Hi, Duo…"  Quatre smiled a little and waved.

            "Quatre…"  Duo didn't really look up.

            "Sorry 'bout that Duo.  But somebody had to pay Trowa's doctor fee… Catherine was a little upset, but… she's alright now."

            "Well," Duo sighed.  "Do you wanna pay what's left on the bill so I don't have to stay back here anymore?"

            "I would, Duo," Quatre almost took a step backwards, but thought better of it.  "But I left my Visa card at the hospital.  Tell you what, though!"

            "What…"

            "I'll help you wash the dishes!  I'd love that!"

            The defeated shinigami sank into an all-new low.  "Fine then… would you start drying that stack there?"

            "Sure!"  Quatre cheerily dried three dishes before the waiter came back.

            "All right.  Your debt is paid.  You both may leave."  The waiter accepted the towel from Duo's wrinkled hands.

            "Cool!"  Quatre set the third plate down with a 'CLINK.'  "I only had to dry three dishes!  I'd better go make sure Trowa stopped bleeding.  See ya, Duo!"

            "Yeah sure…"  Duo made a fist as Quatre skipped away.  He then began the walk home… in the dark, all alone, starving, and completely broke.  The waiter had taken all the money he had.

            "I'll bet Hilde's wondering where I went to.  I'd better hurry."  The gundam pilot cheered up at the thought of his girlfriend, and how happy and considerate she would be when he got home…

"WHERE WERE YOU!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!  Why was the oven left on?!  I left you with a simple task, but could you do it?  NO!!!!!  What is wrong with you?  Now I'll have to buy a new oven, tomorrow!  What do you have to say for yourself?"

            "Uh… Heero did it…" Duo explained meekly.

            "Oh sure… we both know Heero is MUCH more responsible than that.  Don't try to blame this on HIM!"  There was invisible steam coming from Hilde's ears.

            A little later, the lights went out and Hilde was in bed… and Duo was on the couch… watching late night soap operas:  "The return of EVIL TWIN #3!"

            "Duo, I'm off to buy a new oven."  It was the next day, and Hilde had cooled off a bit.  "Why don't you get out of the house for a while… that way you can't ruin anything."

            "I said I was sorry.  Geez!"  Duo wailed.

            "Yeah… I know.  Go on now.  I'll see you later."

            "Fine then."  Duo left the house, with a distinct craving for steak.  "Maybe I can get some breakfast at a less expensive restaurant… where Quatre will not find me."

            Conveniently, there was an oriental restaurant nearby.  A hungry Duo entered and was shown to a table with two chairs on the balcony by a punky waiter.

            "Will you please get rid of this extra chair?  I don't want anybody joining me."

            The waiter shrugged.  "Yeah, whatever, dude."

            "And while you're here, I'll place my order.  One steak.  That's all."

            "Dude?  You're eating that for breakfast, dude?"

            Duo glared evilly.

            "Whatever dude.  Hey dude, how do you like your steaks cooked, dude?"

            Shinigami raised his eyes slowly and shot sparks at the punky waiter.  "Why don't you surprise me… dude?"

            "Dude, absolutely.  Dude, that'll be right out, dude, in a minute, dude."

            Twenty uneventful minutes passed as Duo day-dreamed about his upcoming breakfast.

            "Dude, dude!  Here's your steak, dude and just let me say… dude!"

            "All right!!  Finally I get my steak!"  Duo pounded the table with his fork and knife, and the steak flew off the dish and off the balcony…

            "Nooooooooooooooo!"  The evil pilot raced down the spiral staircase, checking the floor for his meal.  He ducked under a couples' table.

            "Eeeek!"  Exclaimed the couple.

            "Sorry," Duo rubbed his neck in embarrassment.  "It's not there."  He looked around some more and eventually found his way to the tables outside, and noticed…

            "Injustice!  Flying food!"  Wufei was berating a steak that had apparently just landed in his Bucket O' Rice™.  "Well… steak does go well with rice."

            "Hey!  Don't eat that!  It's mine!"  Duo charged toward Wufei's table, waving his arms frantically.

            Wufei was in the middle of pouring about a gallon of soy sauce into the Bucket O' Rice™, when he looked up to see who was making all the noise.  Shrugging, he mixed the concoction together.  "Ah, perfect!  Hm… is that DUO?"

            Duo arrived at the table, breathless.  "Stop… don't… eat… that!"

            "Why not?"  Wufei glared at the piece of meat in the Bucket O' Rice™.  It was covered with soy sauce and rice was sticking to it.  "What is wrong with you, Maxwell?"

            "That's my breakfast!"

            "Are you asking for it back?"

            Duo peered in the Bucket O' Rice™ and saw the current state of his steak.  "It's ruined now.  Rice is disgusting."

            "Why don't you just pick it off?"

            "Because the flavor's mixed.  It's completely ruined."

            "Then get lost, you weakling!"

            Hungry, breathless, and pretty angry with Wufei, Duo begins to leave the restaurant when…

            "Dude!  Credit or dough, dude?  Why're you splitting so soon, dude?  Dude, pay up, dude!"  The waiter had located him.

            In exasperation, Duo tossed a twenty at the punky 'dude' and exited hastily.  As he distanced himself from the oriental eating-place he heard a mournful wail.

            "Dude!  Where's my car?"

            Duo felt now was a good time to run.  During the desperate dash, he passed Relena's mansion.  He could hear laughing coming from the backyard.  "Hey!  I wonder what they're doing?"

            Upon walking around the house, Duo witnesses a little group sitting outside on a picnic blanket.

            "Hey!"  Duo neared.  "A picnic?  Why wasn't I invited?"

            The gathering looked up at him.  Heero, Relena, Quatre, and Catherine all smiled… and Heero was eating a steak!

            "Good day, Duo!"  Relena stood up and curtseyed.  "Would you like to join us?"

            "Yeah!"  Duo eyed Heero's meal.  "Do you have anymore steak?"

            "Oh, I'm sorry."  Relena frowned.  "I only made enough for Heero."  She batted her eyes at the Wing Zero pilot dizzily.  Heero looked back at her in disgust.

            "Man."  Duo snapped his fingers.  "Where'd you get it?"

            "Well," Relena scooted over towards Heero.  He scooted further away.  "I found it under my tire yesterday!  Lucky, huh?

            Heero's eyes bugged out and he threw the remainder of the steak violently.

            "What's wrong, Heero?"  Relena clasped her hands together.

            "#^#*$&#^#^*$*&@#" Heero walked a short distance away.  Everybody could hear barfing noises.

            "Oooh!  Poor Heero."

            "You probably shouldn't prepare food you've found on the ground, Relena."  Quatre explained politely.

            "Oh."

            "Well… what else do you have?"  Duo spoke over the barfing sounds.

            "Duo!"  Quatre spoke sternly.  "Don't be so rude!"

            "Wha-hat?  I'm hungry."  He then eyed Catherine's dish.  She hadn't touched her food at all.  "You gonna finish that?"

            "Duo, please!"  Quatre slapped a hand to his forehead.

            "It's okay."  Catherine sniffled.  "He can have it.  I'm not hungry today."

            Duo snatched the food in a famished manner.

            "Are you still feeling bad about Trowa?"  Quatre was trying to sound concerned, but it was a little difficult with all the noise Heero was making.

            "Yeah… he wouldn't talk to me this morning."  Catherine looked depressed.

            "Well that's nothing new."  Duo announced.

            "And then he just disappeared.  And he took that lion with him, too!  I hope he's okay."  Catherine seemed to be near tears.

            "Don't worry."  Quatre comforted.

            "I wouldn't!"  Duo said through a mouthful of croissant.

            "Duo!  Be nice!"

            "What?  Wha-hat?"

            A little green in complexion, Heero returned.  "Omae o koroso."

            "Again?  I love it when you say that!"  Relena swooned.

            Heero looked positively exasperated.  He whistled for Wing Zero, which arrived in a gust, blowing away the picnic blanket and the picnickers.  Upon boarding his gundam, he took off.

            "Heero!"  Relena struggled to her feet amongst a surprised group of windblown guests.  "Come back to me!"

            Wing Zero disappeared into the distance.

            "Oh, he's so romantic!  Driver, prepare my limo!  We're going to take chase again!"  Relena left her tumbled friends in a heap and skipped away.

            "So much for that food."  Duo wailed.  "I think it's in the fish pond."

            "Oh my head…"  Catherine complained.

            "Are you all right, Catherine?"  Quatre was dusting himself off.  "Duo, I'm gonna take her to the hospital.  We'll see you later, okay."

            "Um… sure.  Bye, Quatre."

            "Oh and Duo!  I'm still sorry about the dish washing last night… but things happen!"  Smiling, Quatre helped Catherine to her feet.  They left.

            "I hope I'm welcome at home by now."  Duo sighed.

            "Hilde?  You back yet?"  Duo peeked around the corner, ready to bolt in case the need should arise that he dodge some wrath.  Fortunately, there was no answer.  Instead, there was a handwritten note on the table, next to a freshly cooked steak.

It read:

            I'm sorry I got so mad last night. I realize you were having a bad day now.  So I decided to make you THIS!  Enjoy, Hilde

     "Now I finally get my steak!"  Duo did a victory dance reminiscent of Chris Rock and then unearthed a fork.

            CRRRRAAAAASSSSSSSHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

            "Hmm?"

            A huge lion broke through the window, and approached Duo menacingly.

            "Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!"  Duo backed against a wall and held up a hand defensively.

            The lion sniffed the contents of the table with interest.

            "Don't you DARE!  That's mine!

            "Grrrrrrrr."  The lion replied moodily.

            "I mean… help yourself!"

            The lion snatched the steak and started chewing on it playfully.

            Ding-dong.  Duo snuck out of the kitchen, keeping his eyes on the lion while it scarfed down the steak.

            Ding-Dong!!!

Duo opened the door grumpily.  "You're too late.  My steak is already gone!!"

            Trowa looked at Duo oddly.  "Have you seen a lion?"

            Duo put a finger to his chin.  "No, can't say as I have… WAIT!  Is a lion, maybe, that huge creature in the kitchen eating my steak?"

            Uninvited, Trowa marched into the kitchen.  "Yeah, that's Fluffy."

            Fluffy had finished the steak and was licking his paws like a housecat.

            "Come Fluffy."  Trowa called with a bored expression.  The pair left without a word or a glance.

            "And just how are you going to explain this?  My kitchen has been destroyed AGAIN!"  Hilde had her hands on her head and was obviously trying to refrain from pulling her hair out.

            "Like I was saying, it's Trowa's fault!  I swear."  Duo had his hands together in a pleading fashion.

            "Yeah sure.  Weren't you blaming all this on Heero earlier?

            "Yeah!  But this time… it was Trowa and Fluffy!"

            "Who's Fluffy?"

            "Trowa's lion or something…"

            Hilde made an exasperated sound.

            "Wha-hat?"  Duo approached her nervously.  "Do you think I'm making this up?"

            "Trowa and his lion… Fluffy…"

            "That's what I said!  Now anyway, let's forget about the repairs for now.  That lion stole my steak, and I'm starving!  Wanna go out to a restaurant?"

            "For steak?"

            "Yeah!"

            "Duo, do you know how many steaks you've eaten in the last couple of days?"

            "I haven't-"

            "Don't interrupt!  I'm worried about your cholesterol levels!"

            "What?!"  Duo leaned in to her face to see if she was joking.

            "In fact… I'm putting you on a rice diet!"

            "Hilde!"  He grabbed her by the shoulders.  "You know I HATE rice!"

            "And you KNOW I hate having my kitchen trashed."  Hilde glared as she pushed his hands off her shoulders.  Duo nodded sadly.

            Duo is sitting on the couch.  There is an untouched bowl of rice sitting on the armrest.  There are soap operas on TV.  "Hmm.  I wonder what Ken is gonna do now that Meredith is in that coma?  What am I SAYING?  We NEED ESPN!"

Elly:  Phew!  We finally finished it… poor Duo!

GWFan:  Yeah, really!

Elly:  I know this fic was a long time coming… I want to thank everybody for their patience.

GWFan:  Yeah!  We hope you liked it, dude!

Elly:  Don't you dare start that, Fan…

GWFan:  Sorry… dude.

Elly:  Argh!  Anyhoo… all questions, comments, etc. are readily accepted at DancingMoogle@hotmail.com

GWFan:  And just let me say… dude!