Title: Can't Help Myself Part 1
Author: Sorceress Fantasia
Pairings: 2+5, 5+S, Solo+2, eventual 1+2 and various others
Warnings: AU, fusion fic, OOC-ness, sappiness at times, some angst, OCs
Archive: Lev's Lair
Disclaimer: I tried to lure Duo over to my place with a trail of food, but Heero lured him away with some strawberries and whipped cream. Currently, I'm trying to lose the weight I got from eating all the food Duo didn't eat, so I don't have the time to come up with another plot to get the GW boys. Therefore, I do not own the GW boys or the anime. Neither do I own any of the brand names mentioned in this fic, or even the drama series this fic is fused with. I own this little ficcy though.
Note: Fusion with a drama serial called 'Meteor Garden', which is actually an adaptation from a manga called Hana Yori Dango. Some names have been changed however.
Thanx to Duo-chan for beta-ing! ^^
Rays of sunshine peeked through the thick foliage, kissing down on the lone person traveling down the road lightly. His motorbike tooted along slowly, disrupting the tranquility of the avenue. But the rider didn't mind. Even though the bike was old and loud, he loved it to bits and had even affectionately dubbed it Deathscythe. After all, he had paid for it, worked on it, and it did its part by ferrying him to his destinations. However, there were times when he absolutely hated the thing, and that 'time' included now.
Deathscythe suddenly stopped moving in the middle of the road, its engine completely silent. When the bike refused to budge despite his attempts at starting it again, he slapped his forehead and groaned out loud, "Not again… It's the third time this week! Deathscythe baby, you can't do this to me!" He got down his bike, and stared at it, willing its engine to rev up again. No good. The bike was probably already immune to his glares. Sighing, he started to push his baby towards his destination.
Just as he was thanking God that school was only a short distance away, he heard the distinctive sound of a vehicle coming. Turning around, he saw a luxurious pink limo driving into view and rolled his eyes. Pink limo. How disgusting was that? And the only person on the campus, and most probably in the whole world, who dared to ride in a thing like that had to be Relena Peacecraft. No one else would risk his or her dignity that way.
The limo stopped beside the unlucky guy, and the window scrolled down to reveal a blonde girl. She was a beautiful girl, Relena. Really. As it was, she was one of the hottest honeys in their school and charmed men to boot with her honey blonde locks and blue eyes. Still, it couldn't make up for her personality enough to make her bearable.
"The bike broke down again, Duo? You should get a new one, you know?" She frowned distastefully at the boy. "And just look at the grease on that thing. It's disgusting!"
Duo sighed, wiping at his forehead with a careless swipe. If he had the money to repair Deathscythe, he would. "Yeah, yeah. I know that, Relena. And there's no grease on my bike. It's probably your eyes."
She shook her head with a sigh, and dug in her handbag. It took a while, but she smiled when she apparently found what she wanted. "Here, have some tissue. Well, I'll be going first. See you in school." She waved lightly at Duo, and was about to instruct her chauffeur to continue to school, when she suddenly turned back to the braided boy. "Oh, I almost forgot about it. Make sure you return the tissue pocket to me later. It's Chanel."
He winced at the brand name, and took a closer look at the mentioned tissue pocket. Still eying it, he vaguely heard Relena complaining as her limo drove away.
"If it weren't for you, our school would have been recorded into the Guinness World Records… Except for you, everyone is chauffeured to school…"
The American boy pouted, glaring at the offending limo driving away. With a deep sigh, he wondered why he had decided to come to this school in the first place. As it was, his family could barely afford the school fees. And he didn't exactly fit in with all the rich boys and girls in the school. He didn't know what they were talking about half the time. He still remembered the last time some of the girls had talked about a Burberry; he thought they were talking about some new fruit cake. Luckily, he had kept his mouth shut so he didn't manage to embarrass himself.
Shaking his head, he continued to push Deathscythe into the school compound.
It was at least ten minutes before he reached his school, and he heaved a sigh of relief as he pushed his beloved motorbike in the school bicycle shed, along with the bikes of the school servants. The weather had gotten pretty hot by the time he was at the school gate, and Duo thought he would dehydrate if he couldn't get something to drink soon. Grabbing his bag, he was about to walk to his locker when he heard a familiar voice call him.
Duo spun around, smiling when he saw who it was. "Oh! Hi, Uncle G!"
The old man gave a gruff laugh. "Hello to you too, young man! Bike problems again? I saw you pushing it in," he asked, pointing at the black motorbike.
Duo nodded resignedly. "Yeah, but it's okay. I'll just fix it after school. By the way, can you take care of my lunch box for me? I'll collect it during lunch period." He dug out his lunch box from his bag, and handed it over to the old man. It wasn't that he didn't like the food at school, but everything was just too expensive and over his budget. If he ate just once in the cafeteria, it would burn a large hole in his pocket and wallet.
G took it without protest. He had, after all, been used to this. "Of course, Duo. I swear, you are the only student here at Gundam University who knows what a rice cooker looks like!"
The boy laughed, thinking that it was possibly true. With a curt 'goodbye', he ran for his locker. Class was starting soon.
Relena's limo finally came to a halt outside the school campus. She stepped out elegantly, and straightened her dress. It had just been ironed and pressed, and she would throw a fit if it had even a wrinkle on it. But there wasn't, and she strutted away proudly. Without so much as a 'thank you' to her chauffeur, Pargan, she walked into the school compound. Relena reveled in the attention she was getting from everyone, knowing that she was looking stunning. But then again, she looked stunning everyday. Suddenly, she saw a flash of yellow in the corner of her eye and she turned to her right.
'Dorothy!' She recognized her best friend immediately and smiled lopsidedly. It was time to show off her new baby and make her friend jealous. Relena gave her handbag a few twirls, and slung it behind her shoulder effortlessly, making sure Dorothy could see the brand logo clearly.
'What? A Prada handbag? Is that all?' Dorothy sneered, lips curled in a winning grin. She grabbed one side of her trench coat, and pulled it backwards so that Relena could see her treasure.
The honey blonde's jaws dropped a little. 'Damn! A Burberry trench coat! Where did she get that? And it must have cost at least a few thousand bucks! Ahh… but all's not lost yet!' She smirked back, and she leaned towards Dorothy. Fingering her diamond necklace fasten around her throat, she laughed mentally as she saw the utter shock on her friend's face.
Dorothy gritted her teeth, recognizing the necklace straight away. It was the limited edition of the newest product from Tiffany and Co. The pendent was completely covered with glittery diamonds, and it came with a silver chain that just accentuated its loveliness. And it was the dream of many girls like herself. However, she had failed to get one, despite her numerous connections to get it when it was first launched. The blonde girl scowled as Relena smiled wider, eyes glimmering with a twinkle of haughtiness as though she was taunting her, 'Don't you have anything else?' For a while, Dorothy could only frown. Then suddenly, she remembered that she did have something else and her face split in a grin again. She beckoned her friend with one long slender finger, and said, "Come closer, 'Lena. Look at my face."
Relena knitted her brows, not understanding why. But she did as she was told, scrutinizing Dorothy's face. However, when she lifted her face higher, Relena saw it. "Oh my god…! Julia Robert's nose!"
"Uh-huh. I just got it for US$50,000 in USA this summer holiday. Aren't you envious?" Dorothy grinned winningly, knowing that she had emerged the victor in their little competition.
"Oh! No wonder I couldn't find you the entire summer! You were in USA, having the plastic surgery!" Relena exclaimed as realization dawn on her.
The forked eyebrow girl smiled triumphantly, crossing her arms. "Right. And where did you try to find me?"
"Paris, of course!" Relena answered as a matter-of-factly.
"Paris?! Don't be silly, my girl!" Her laughter rang out loud. "That place is old already! I've been there at least a dozen times!"
And the two of them started comparing the various places they thought were worthy of vacationing in as they started for their lockers, ignoring the blatant stares their conversation were garnering them.
Duo opened his locker, and skillfully missed the deluge of books falling out. Laughing nervously at his good luck, he picked up his books and stuffed them back. Humming a soft tune, he took out his textbooks for his next lesson. Peering sideways, he saw his good friend picking at her locker. He had just gotten to know her this year, both of them freshmen, but she was such a nice person every time he saw her. Then Duo noticed the book she was holding in her hands and asked, "Hey, Midii. What's that book you're holding?"
She blinked, and glanced at him. Following his line of vision, she pointed at her book. "Oh, this one? Well, I referred to this book for my essay. The economics essay we're supposed to hand in today? Remember?"
"I know. But I thought the professor told us to use this one." He held up his copy.
Midii nodded, shutting her locker gently. "Yeah, but I think that Doctor S has got very high expectations of his students, so I referred to his books instead. The one he recommended us doesn't have enough contents, I think. But don't worry, Duo. Maybe I'm just overly suspicious."
"I guess so. You must be. Doctor S told us to use this one," Duo replied, more to assure himself than Midii. She had been admitted into the school on a prestigious scholarship, and she was still getting good results in university. He, on the other hand, had barely made the mark. Studies weren't exactly his strong suit, he told himself. Again, he found himself wondering what he was doing in a university as good as this one.
Gathering their books, they walked to their classroom together just in time for their civics class. When they reached there, however, they were confused as to why was everyone standing outside the classroom. To make their curiosity even harder to bear, everyone was peeking inside and whispering among themselves. Shooting each other a perplexed look, they quickly squeezed their way through the crowd to see a lone boy inside, packing his bag. He looked scrawny and frail under his pale face that was framed by wispy locks that seemed as lifeless as the boy himself. He was ghoulish even, moving with slow and almost limp movements that vaguely reminded Duo of a zombie.
He frowned, recognizing the boy inside, and he elbowed Midii lightly. "Hey, isn't that Alex? What happened to him?" Duo whispered. If it weren't for the boy's bleached hair, he wouldn't even make out whom it was. Duo had remembered Alex as an energetic young man who was forever sporting and laughing, and he shuddered to even think what had made this boy to become what he was now.
Midii gave said boy a sympathetic glance, and answered just as softly, "Haven't you heard? He's been forced to leave Gundam University." She bit her bottom lip and frowned. Then she added in a whisper, "Actually, he offended W4."
The American boy looked at her in disbelief, unsure of whether he had heard wrongly. Surely it wasn't that! "He offended W4? And that's why he's leaving? Good grief!"
Then he remembered that a while ago, Alex had publicly condemned the actions of W4, a troupe of four boys who were unmistakably the most influential people in the school. He had thought that they were just a bunch of bullies who didn't know how to treat a human being like one, especially after they had forced one of his friends out of school as well.
'So what if you're W4? I'm not scared of you!' Alex's voice echoed in Duo's mind, sounding exceedingly hollow now.
The second day, Alex had received a distinctive red note from W4, stuck firmly on his locker door. It was like time had frozen when he saw that red note glaring at Alex, and the boy's face had turned ashen. Whispers rang out softly around him like a mantra asking him to leave immediately, and then, the pranks started.
Duo gazed at the undeniably pale boy stumbling out of the classroom, and he felt Midii pull him back. Then he noticed it; everyone was avoiding Alex like he was the plague, as though one would die if one came into contact with him. Or be at the receiving end of another of W4's red note, Duo thought angrily. Just who were they to do this to a fellow schoolmate?
But Midii pulled him into the classroom quickly before he had a chance to go talk to Alex.
"Now class, it's a shame that Alex had to leave us now that we've finally gotten to know each other," the teacher, Mr. Roberts, started. He usually droned on the most boring of topics, and everyone slept in his class. But today, Duo felt that at least this teacher knew what was wrong and what was right. It was obvious that Alex was just a victim, but everyone just happily ignored that fact.
"But really, maybe it's better that he left us. Otherwise, he would have polluted your minds with his silly ideals. Now, while I'm not entirely sure what he did, but it must have been a very bad thing to incur W4's wrath."
And Duo's face fell. Standing up, he stared at Mr. Roberts unwaveringly. "I don't feel well. I need to go to the toilet," he said monotonously, and he promptly marched out of class.
Midii stared at his retreating back, apparently flustered. But she didn't quite dare leave class now. Already, the tension created by Duo's interruption was rather thick.
Duo ran up the stairs to the rooftop, and gazed at the skies above him. It was clear blue, and the freshness of the air made him feel free again. Compared to the school he was in, the skies were indeed the heavens. Suddenly, Duo wanted to fly away and never come back. Then he recalled the trouble his parents had gone through just to secure a spot for him in this godforsaken university, and he gritted his teeth.
"Stupid school… What's with everyone here anyway? Who do they think W4 is? God?" he muttered, punching his fist in the air. Taking another deep breath, he looked imploringly at the skies again.
By the time the night blanket had fallen over the sky, draping the world in a shroud of darkness, Duo was still pretty much irritated by the entire issue. In fact, it bothered him so much he grumbled it all to his ex-classmate, Hirde, at the cake shop where they were both working. It was just fortunate that the shop was situated at a quiet district in the city, and there weren't a lot of customers even at their busiest. Probably because the place offered only a small variety of cakes and tarts, almost like it was the doing of a woman who had too much time to kill in her own kitchen. And their boss wasn't around most of the time, giving the two of them, the only ones working there, all the privacy they needed.
"Wow, so this W4 is really kinda something, huh?" Hirde commented offhandedly, wiping the countertop. A customer had placed his coffee there earlier, and there was a dried brown ring there now. She swabbed harder at it when it wouldn't come off, and added, "Even the teachers are afraid of them."
Duo nodded, still huffing. He still found it hard to swallow the events of that afternoon. The nerve of it all! Replacing a spoon in the basket that held the cutleries for their customers, he answered, "I heard that their families are the founders of this university, and right now, they're the main source of funding, I guess."
Hirde promptly did a double take. "Funding? They've got to be really damn rich to fund a place that big and luxurious!"
"If I'm not wrong, their families have got a ranking in the top ten richest families in the entire country."
"WOW!" she exclaimed, tossing the cloth aside in her shock. "So now they're not only handsome, but filthy rich too?"
Duo raised an inquisitive eyebrow. "What gives you the idea that they're handsome?"
"It's how the stories go. Rich, young guys are always handsome," Hirde stated smugly, her arms akimbo. "Maybe you should go seduce one of them and you'll never have to work again." She sniggered, thinking up all the scenarios that involved a sexy Duo and a completely enraptured rich young man. It was lucky that she remembered to pull herself back to reality or get teased to death for drooling.
Duo groaned, slapping his forehead in sheer disbelief. He thought Hirde had more sense than this. "Good god! Why would I want to date someone like that? They're arrogant, rude, and insufferable jerks that think that they can do anything they want just because they've got money to throw in your face. And besides, all that money don't belong to them! It's their parents'! They're all just leeches, leeching their parents' hard-earned money like that!"
Hirde gulped, staring hard at her friend. It wasn't that Duo was the most docile guy she'd known; in fact, Duo had never been one to suffer in silence and would do anything to right something he felt wasn't correct. Still, it had been a while since she had seen such an outburst from Duo.
"Hey, I was just kidding. You don't have to take it so hard," she said, hoping to ease the tension that had just built up. "Who's W4 anyway? I mean, what's their names?"
Her smooth change of topic did indeed placate Duo somewhat, and he scrunched up his eyebrows to recall all the names. It wasn't as if he knew them on a first name basis; in fact, he hadn't even met them mano e mano yet.
"Erm, there's this one called Trowa Barton. He's the sporty one. You know, the type that just seems to scream actions, always moving around here and there. Haven't really heard a lot about him, but I do know that he's got this trademarked hairdo that's got half his face obscured by his bangs. And they're really spiky, kinda like porcupine quills, if you ask me," Duo said, eliciting a giggle from Hirde.
"Then there's Quatre… Quatre something Winner, can't remember his full name. Anyway, he's the blonde one, and supposedly, the 'Mr. Nice Guy' to girls. There's a whole horde of girls who are his personal fans, but I don't think a lot of them actually has the guts to go up to him for a real conversation because he's always with the other three."
Hirde nodded, apparently a little enraptured by the description of the blonde guy. She was already imagining Brad Pitt in her mind.
Duo ignored her dreamy gazes, knowing that she'd come back to earth once he started talking again anyway. Having known her for so many years, he'd come to accept the way that she was.
"And there's this Chang Wufei. Jet black hair tied into a short ponytail, almond-shaped obsidian eyes…" He shrugged. "Good looking, I supposed, but he always looks as if he's not there. He doesn't talk much, as far as I can tell, so he just kinda fades into the background with the other three around."
"So you admit that at least one of them is attractive, huh?" Hirde teased.
He mock-glared at her. "Fine, but good looking doesn't mean a great personality," he huffed, crossing his arms and lips almost caught in a pout. "Anyway, the last one of them is called Heero Yuy, and he seems to be the leader of the gang. He's also the most vile one of them all, I've heard."
Hirde blinked. "Yuy? As in, *the* Yuy Corporation?"
"You've… you've heard of them?" Duo asked guardedly, already narrowing his eyes. There was something in her tone that he didn't really like.
"But of course! If he's from the Yuy family I'm talking about, then he is really, friggin' rich," she said, punctuating her last few words with emphasis. "The Yuy Corporation has got businesses in just about everything there is to do in the world. If something can make money and reap profits, they've got a share of the market." She snapped her fingers, looking solemn for once.
Duo cocked his head. "How… How in the world did you know all these?" Hirde wasn't always the most informed of people, that much he knew.
"Read it somewhere. I think it was daddy's 'Business Times'."
"So he's that rich? I didn't know that…" he trailed off thoughtfully. At least now he had an inkling of an idea just why the people in school were that afraid of Heero Yuy. Being rude and violent was just one thing. The guy probably had enough cash to bribe himself out of just anything and still have some left to drown someone in.
She nodded. "You'd better not do anything funny to offend them. Rich guys like them never lose," she said seriously, jabbing her words with a poke of her finger.
For a moment, Duo wanted to prove her wrong. But the logical part of him surfaced, and he found himself agreeing with his friend, however reluctantly. It just wasn't worth all the trouble he'd undoubtedly get into. And then maybe he'd get expelled from the university too, just like Alex.
"By the way, why W4? What does it mean anyway?" Hirde asked, scrunching her brows in concentration. "Don't tell me it stands for Wallflower Four?"
Duo gave her a look that clearly indicated how absurd that guess was. After all, how could the four richest, most well known guys in the university be wallflowers? Wolverine Four would probably be more appropriate, if you were referring to their social behavior… what with Heero Yuy always trying to snap someone's head off…
"I would say that they're Wally Four, Wise guys Four… or something else too vulgar for a lady's ears, not that you're one, mind you…" he snorted, and quickly dodged a smack. "But well, I heard that it stands for Wing Four."
Hirde frowned in distaste. "Wing Four? What, they want to flap their arms and start flying? They'll probably break something. And that name sounds like it's taken from some cheesy cartoons… Eww… that is so gross, for four guys their age."
"I know. They're just a couple of wacky, silly blooming idiots, in my *humble* opinion."
"Right. Still, even if they *are* flowers, they're probably snapdragons, so it's best if you steer clear of their way."
Duo dusted off his shoes, and took them off. Placing them on a small shoe rack beside the door, he yelled, "Dad? Mom? I'm home!"
There was a shuffling inside the kitchen, and a muffled response to welcome him home. His mother was probably cooking dinner, he reasoned. But a glance at his watch told him otherwise. It was far too late to be making dinner now. Supper then? Maybe his dad and gotten hungry again, just like he was. Duo sniggered as he recalled all the times his mother had compared their stomachs with bottomless pits.
Then his mother came out of the kitchen.
"Hi, honey. How was school today? And work?" she asked, gently smiling. Mrs. Maxwell was a petite woman who looked younger than she actually was, with golden hair and azure eyes. Seeing her, Duo felt the last of his day's fatigue fade away.
"Fine to both, mom. You cooking something?"
She rolled her eyes, letting out a pseudo sigh. "When am I not? I swear you and your dad are always hungry. You two can eat nearly anything."
"And everything!" he added cheekily, and followed her into the kitchen. Seeing the few slices of pizza on the table, still piping hot and smoking, he quickly grabbed a slice. It was probably leftover from dinner, but it could still satisfy his tummy that was threatening to revolt soon.
She gasped. "Slowly, Duo! It's still hot! You'll burn your tongue!" Then she noticed that it apparently had no effect on her son, and she sighed, "Just leave some for you dad, would you?"
He nodded as she left the kitchen. Despite his mother's slight admonition, he smiled, feeling the warmth of the pizza seeping into him. Sure, his family wasn't the most well off of families in the world, especially so when compared to that of W4, but he had the best parents one could ever ask for. The lack of money didn't really matter that much, after all.
Sorceress Fantasia @ 30th September 2003
Last beta-ed 9th October 2003