Wow it's been a long time, the whole updating format has changed. Ok so I'm working on the next chapter of the cursed but I'm taking classes this summer and they move really fast so that's why it's taking me so long. This chapter is short but sweet I think, so I hope everybody enjoys it. I don't even have time to rant or anything so I'll just let you all read. The title is the latest song form U2, I just thought the first part fit Meiran so great that I had to use it, the rest of the song really doesn't work that well. I guess you could kind of apply it to Heero and Duo since I think the guy in the song is supposed to have just broken up with his girlfriend or vice versa, so the not speaking to eachother fits. I do, however, like how the beginning of the song totally fits with Heero and Duo too but in a little different way. Well looks like I found time to rant anyway. Ok now I'll let you read.
These Boots Were Made For Racing
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
"J? This is Une reporting." The woman's face was as severe as her tone. She shut the door to one of Treize's many rooms behind her and dialed her employer. She was unhappy with the way things were going and she failed to see how this was going to get back at Treize for her. She wanted the man to suffer intensely and she wasn't satisfied yet. He would feel the pain he caused her when he chose that male slut over her, how could he.
"Lady Une, how is my assassin doing?" J's slimy voice echoed mechanically over the phone.
"Fine, she's gathering information." She said in a sharp frustrated tone.
"Is there something bothering you lady?" J's voice sounded even slimier when he tried to fake sincerity.
"Explain to me how this is supposed to hurt Treize." She was obviously very angry and an angry Une was a dangerous Une. Even J was a little afraid of her when she was pissed off.
"Lady, do not fear, I promise this will all work out to both of our satisfactions. I've done my homework. I know that the pretty boy was a part of Treize's little charity project and when he hears the boy's sob story he'll march right over here with a renewed thirst for vengeance and it will be the last thing he does." J's cold voice sent thrilling shivers down Une's spine. The cruelty that coursed through those words promised something horrible and painful and she almost smiled at that.
Her smile was even more frightening than her scowl.
"He will suffer?" She asked and her voice sounded hopeful and it made J's flesh break out in goose bumps.
"Beyond imagination, my Lady." He said and she almost giggled.
"Good, I will return to my post." She said swiftly and hung up. She walked back to the poolroom with a new bounce in her step and it was hard for her to keep the grin off her face. J sat in his office, his human fingers tapping happily on his metal ones. Everything was falling perfectly into place. Men were so easy to manipulate, they were like marionettes in his puppet show and they were just as dense as their wooden counterparts.
"You will be mine again Heero." J's mechanical eyes gleamed with an intelligent malevolence and if anyone had been sitting in that room and had seen the twisted grin that curled his lips they would have sworn that devil himself was sitting in there with them. "You will be mine."
Une shut the door to the billiard room with her harsh scowl back in place, it was such a quick switch you would almost swear she had split personalities. Almost nobody but Hirde noticed her entry they were all so absorbed in the pool game. It turns out that Zechs had come up with a strategy for beating Duo since his usual way of standing in front of the pocket that was being aimed at and making seductive gestures didn't seem to be working. He remembered the other night and the way the braided boy had interacted with the shorthaired Asian surfer. So he began listing off all of Heero's obvious assets that had been revealed by the wet swimming trunks he had been wearing yesterday and Duo for some reason had missed the complicated shot he had been lining up. Now it was Treize's turn and he was cleaning up the table easily.
"So Duo I heard about the tie." Treize said while he lined up his shot and sunk yet another ball. Duo cringed when the ball fell perfectly into the pocket.
"Yeah I can't believe it." Quatre commented from the window closest to the pool table. He had been shocked when he had heard about the tie, he was almost positive that stuff like that wasn't possible with the high tech instruments race tracks used these days.
"I heard there might have been some foul play." Treize said and paused in his game to see the effects of these words on his present company. Quatre looked shocked then seemed to consider this possibility carefully, Hirde didn't look like she cared much which increased Treize's suspicions about her, Zechs had already heard this, but it was the anger on Duo's face that surprised him. He expected Duo to be surprised at least or even happy that it wasn't really a tie.
"What do you mean?" Duo ground out and it was clear that Treize had better spill everything he knew or he would have a very pissed off racecar driver on his hands.
"Relena, our lovely fellow coworker at Oz Corp, was spotted near the equipment before your specific race. She's a bit of tricky one. She works directly under J, one of his lackeys." Zechs said and Une seemed to stiffen just slightly though it was only noticed by Treize who knew her mannerisms well. He knew what she had come here for. He knew that she meant his death. She, however, didn't know that he knew and that gave him all the advantage he needed.
"Relena works for that twice damned company!" Duo shouted, he didn't know if he should tell Heero this or if that was like tattling. He decided Heero was a big boy and could learn from his own mistakes. Okay so he was being a little childish, but he was still pretty pissed off at his rival. Besides after what Heero had said to him Duo felt he deserved this little bit of payback.
"Yes, and my guess is that she was told to mess with the equipment by Dr J. But what I don't understand is what he wanted from it." Treize said and he quickly glanced at Lady Une but her mask was perfect. But in this case her complete lack of affect actually gave away more than if she had reacted. J had been apart of this and Treize had his theories why but he wasn't willing to give away that kind of personal information about that little boy's relationship with the shrewd old businessman slash evil megalomaniac scientist.
Quatre wanted to ask why, he wanted to know if his friend was in danger but Duo's competitive spirit was not to be reckoned with.
"That means I could have beat Heero and didn't know it! Quatre you have to watch the equipment at the next race. This time I will not loose to him!" Duo's vigorous addiction to winning was all Hirde needed. This was her chance to plant the seed of this boy's demise.
"Well that shouldn't be a problem with the guy that invented the zero system on your team." She said casually and happily as if it were a fact that everyone knew, even though she knew that Quatre had tried desperately to cover up his invention and had, for the most part, succeeded. The blonde started choking when those words fell from the assassin's rose glossed lips. Duo looked worriedly at him and ran over to pat the boy hard on the back. Treize looked shocked at the spunky girl, then a dark shadow passed over his face that had Duo wondering how much the guy knew about whatever this chick was saying. Quatre was just getting himself under control when Duo lost his and had to ask.
"What are you talking about?" Duo asked and she smiled internally. The boy was falling right into her hands. She could see Quatre out of the corner of her eyes waving at her to try and get her to not say anymore, but she plowed on anyway pretending to be oblivious.
"Well Quatre's college project of course. The zero system was sure to win, it could take a person's weaknesses and get rid of them and at the same time hone their strengths. I think his original design was intended to help people get over phobias, like people afraid of giving speeches could become nationally recognized orators. But the military got interested in its applications, they thought it could make armies of men that wouldn't fear death and thus would do anything the military asked of them with no regard to personal safety. They wanted to create some kind of super army that was totally fearless. I heard they had been training children and that they thought Quatre's invention was exactly what they needed to make these kids their super soldiers." Hirde perfectly faked a mixture of horror and disgust on her face. Quatre couldn't speak he was in so much shock. "But the military never got their hands on it, you withdrew it didn't you? And its existence was covered up and denied. Good thing too. You guys could put it to good use though, it could make Duo the perfect racer, you know, sharpen his skills to the point of absolute perfection." Duo stared disbelieving at the girl standing before him. It had to be a lie, sweet Quatre would never create something like that. Another part of him whispered that he could use it, he could become the greatest racer of all time. But it had to be a lie, Quatre wouldn't…yes he would, the look on the blonde's face told him that that's exactly what Quatre had done.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Duo asked and Quatre shied away from him.
"I couldn't Duo, I couldn't let anybody know about it. And I didn't think I could face you if you knew. Duo, somebody got a hold of it and I don't think they wanted it for good reasons because usually you don't steal things unless you're planning to do something wrong with them." Quatre looked so full of guilt that it was painful for Duo to see him like that, he knew his little blonde friend was a good person and thought he was doing a good thing when he came up with the invention.
"It's okay Quatre, it took me a long time to tell you a few things about my past so I understand." Quatre smiled weakly, it really did feel good to get that out in the open with Duo it had been weighing down on him. There was, however, still one thing that was bugging him.
"How did you know about that?" Quatre had to ask, he was sure that almost nobody knew about that invention and the few who did had agreed to be sworn to secrecy.
"The company I work for was a prospective buyer and there are records of the development and potential programs for its use." She stated professionally and Duo felt like it seemed a little rehearsed though he couldn't explain why.
"What potential programs?" Treize asked, he knew exactly what Oz Corp had wanted the invention for. Nobody knew this, but he was well aware that the first child who was trained for combat originated from Oz Corp. And in the boy's last months there, the zero system had been a key in developing his almost inhuman abilities. He turned out to be the only child that had been apart of the program but that was purely because he had escaped before they could collect all the data from his body, and without their 'prototype' the army had decided to pass on the idea so no other children were recruited. At least that was the excuse the army used, actually they had passed because there had been a leak in the military and the press were printing things about their operations that enraged the public. That child had been code named Heero Yuy.
"Oh just stuff to sharpen the partners in charge of the company and the guys managing their stock. Nothing big but very important to a company." She stated and Treize frowned. Zechs was practically growling at the girl but Duo saw none of this he was so focused on the realization that this thing existed.
"Quatre do you still have this thing or a copy of it?" He asked and Quatre looked shocked but then nodded guiltily. Hirde watched the friends with intense interest.
"I guess it's vanity but yes I do, maybe I hoped that someday it could be put to good use." Quatre said sadly as though he now realized that his invention would never have a chance to do the good for the world that he had intended. He even seemed jaded or afraid that nothing he ever did would be able change this world for the better. Duo wondered at that, the Quatre he had grown up with had known that this world could be good and he had been determined to find a way to make it that way.
"Here's your chance Quatre, let me use it." Duo pleaded and before Quatre knew what he was doing he was nodding his head. Maybe if they only used it a little it could really help Duo to win, they would have to do something Heero Yuy was just too good. And if Duo won that would make him happy and his best friend's happiness would make him feel a little better about his invention.
"We'll have to be careful." Duo nodded eagerly, he was going to beat Heero Yuy. Treize frowned just a little more and Zechs looked nervous but neither said anything. Hirde looked over to Lady Une and the severe woman nodded imperceptibly. The shorthaired assassin smiled almost maniacally to herself, she was proud of this kill, one of her best to date.
The game ended with Duo winning, after the zero system incident Treize had missed his next shot and Duo had cleaned up the table with a style and flare that only Duo had. His last few shots had been fantastically complicated involving angles and spin. The atmosphere was rather subdued considering Duo had just defeated a man who was considered undefeatable, but they were all worried about the braided driver. The boys got into Duo's car and Treize patted Duo on the shoulder after he had shaken both the young men's hands.
"Your reward for beating me is that you are welcome in my home at any time don't feel awkward if Quatre isn't with you. How about the next time you race at this track you stay here instead of that hotel." Treize smiled. He had really grown to like the kid in the short while he had known him. Duo smiled back.
They were on the road again before long and Quatre had been very quiet, Duo thought that maybe the boy was rethinking using the zero system. He was wrong though Quatre was actually planning out the rest of he and Trowa's plan to get Heero and Duo in one place where the two could resolve their differences. Wufei had come up with the perfect setting and now he just had to make his act perfect so that even Duo couldn't see through it. He knew Duo was the best at knowing when someone was hiding something so he had to be careful.
"Duo I told Meiran that we would pick her up. Do you mind? She the bus to go out shopping and needs a ride back." Quatre said and he knew that he sounded convincing for that part because that much was true. From now on though it would get harder.
"Why doesn't Wufei pick her up? He's not being a very good boyfriend." Duo commented and looked curiously at Quatre. At least there was no suspicion in his eyes yet.
"She'd take the bus but she intended to buy a lot and didn't want to have keep track of it all on public transportation. Plus Meiran doesn't want Wufei to know about her shopping sprees so we'll pick her up and take her home so she can hide all her stuff before he comes home." Quatre said grinning widely and hopefully convincingly too.
"She's already adjusted to married life, they should just tie the knot and get on with it." They both laughed and Quatre turned down a street that would lead them downtown where Meiran would be waiting for them outside on of the Sherwood Shopping Center. Duo watched the people walking on the streets, couples holding hands and friends laughing with each other. He couldn't pinpoint why but he had this sudden sinking feeling in his gut until he saw Meiran and that cheered him up a lot. The little Chinese girl was drowning in overstuffed shopping bags and yet still managed to jump and wave her arms wildly when she saw Quatre approaching in Duo's car.
"Hey guys great timing." She said as she piled all her stuff in the backseat next to her.
"How could you possibly need all this stuff?" Duo asked her and she just stuck her tongue at him and decided that as punishment for his question she would put on a fashion show and tell him exactly what she needed each item for.
"Is that lingerie Merian?" Duo laughed and pointed at a white lacy thing that had accidentally fallen out. She blushed and shoved it back in the bottom of the bag.
"You gonna' fill out the bust with fruit for Wufei to eat 'cuz those," at this Duo pointed to Meiran's chest, "ain't gonna' do the trick." He laughed and she punched his arm hard
"Ow." Meiran smiled at the boy's pain triumphantly.
"My boobs fill this out better than you ever filled out that Speedo you wore when you tried to join the swim team." She laughed hysterically at the sudden drop of Duo's face.
"I must have filled it out pretty well if you still can't forget about it. Eh Meiran, I caught you staring at me that whole week." He laughed and she nearly choked.
"I was not you idiot, you just looked so ridiculous. I'm glad you chose track instead." They both laughed. Duo knew how stupid he had looked with his long hair and that Speedo. From the back he kept getting mistaken for a girl missing the top half of her bathing suit. Which became a big problem, he almost developed a complex when guys would hit on him until he turned around then they would scream and run.
"Hey Quatre, where are you going? The hotel was on the last street." Meiran asked and Duo looked back to verify that Quatre had indeed missed the turn. That was weird Quatre always knew where he was going.
"Yeah I thought we might go somewhere, we never get to hang out anymore." He said and he hoped that Meiran was enough of a distraction that Duo wouldn't pick up on his nervousness. Quatre was a horrible liar.
"Oh that sounds great!" Meiran said happily and Duo nodded his head in agreement but there was a look in the boy's eyes that told Quatre he needed to get better at acting because suspicion was right around the corner.
"So where are we goin' Kat?" The braided driver asked while he relaxed in his seat.
"I thought we'd go to the park. I know it's getting late but I heard it was really pretty." Much to Quatre's surprise Duo agreed to go without even a second thought, thank Ala for Meiran and small miracles. If Duo had asked any questions about the park Quatre was sure he would have slipped. He really was a terrible liar.
They arrived at the park at the dark side of dusk and Quatre was immediately impressed by how large the thing was. They piled out of Duo's car and double-checked to make sure the alarm was working because Meiran was a little nervous to leave all the stuff she just bought. The path diverged and they took the left one, it was a wide sidewalk path with lots of winds and beautiful lanterns that lit their way. Duo couldn't get over the size of the trees and blood reds and deep oranges of the leaves as night approached. They walked on chatting amiably and laughing, Duo felt better right at that moment than he had felt all day. It was great to just relax with his friend's but there was still this little bittersweet whole in his heart that he knew would always be there until he made peace with Heero. He was starting to really regret how much he overreacted to that little hug, but right now he was just going to enjoy the company of his friends.
The last light of day finally disappeared and night settled over the park and the three friends. The lanterns glowed brilliantly in the darkness and right here the city lights didn't cover up the stars. A little ways in front of them white Christmas lights seemed to light up a directed path that diverged from the sidewalk and disappeared into the center of the park. Meiran noticed it first and Quatre was glad because if he had had to point it out Duo would have known something was up and that he was behind it. Luckily Meiran's natural curiosity had them all following the lights even if they could have been meant for someone else. Quatre of course knew exactly whom they were meant for.
The center of the park was a big round circle of trees and around each of them had been wrapped hundreds of the little white lights. Quatre smiled to himself and Duo realized that the little blonde had fooled him. He was impressed usually Quatre couldn't keep a straight face when he was lying to the braided boy. Except for the whole college project thing, Duo was still a little shocked that Quatre had kept that from him. He understood though, he knew that some skeletons were better left to rot in the closet. He was glad though that somebody had said something, the look on Quatre's face told him that that particular skeleton had rotted and was starting to stink up the place. Now that it was out in the open he was sure Quatre felt a lot better, the blonde's smiles were even brighter if that were possible. Duo smiled with a "what's going on" look in his eyes and the blonde just shrugged innocently but the mischievous grin on his face told Duo there was definitely something going on and Quatre knew all about it. Meiran looked around the circle, entranced by its beauty until she noticed two figures standing at the other end.
Trowa and Heero stood in between two trees in the middle of the city's largest park. They both wore tuxedos and Heero kept fidgeting and brushing his long disheveled bangs out of his striking blue eyes. Trowa smirked at how nervous his friend was and it was surprising to see. He had thought that his friend never lost his cool but lately, since Duo had been around, that had been changing. They waited patiently, well Heero wasn't exactly patient, for Quatre to arrive with Duo and Meiran. It was a little nerve-racking he had to admit. He had never been apart of anything quite like this before.
"Are you nervous?" Trowa asked and Heero frowned at the smirk he caught flashing across the taller boy's face.
"Shut up. I'm fine." Heero stiffened a little and tried to force himself to stop pulling on his jacket or pushing his bangs out of his eyes. He was very uncomfortable in the classic black tuxedo that both he and Trowa wore. Trowa straightened a little and they both stared into the darkness ahead of them when they heard laughing voices getting closer. Heero instantly recognized Duo's deep baritone and it gave him shivers, but he blamed that on the chilly night air.
"Here they come, you have the ring right?" Trowa asked and Heero stared at him like he asked the dumbest question in the world. Trowa shrugged and Heero felt his stomach twist in a couple knots when he heard Duo laugh out loud all of a sudden.
"Yes." Heero bit hack then pushed his bangs roughly out of his eyes and took a deep breath. Trowa smirked a little but he too was starting to fell a little nauseated with nerves.
"You are nervous aren't you?" Trowa asked, as the voices got steadily closer. Heero frowned but admitted defeat.
"A little I guess. I did just meet the guy." Trowa smiled at his friend, in the past he would have never gotten a response from Heero and he was sure it was all Duo's influence. He couldn't help but think that those two were the matching pieces to some puzzle just for them.
"Yeah but he knows he can trust you." Heero watched nervously as three figures materialized into the clearing of the park, one of them with a long braid gently bouncing in the night breeze. They all stared at each other with different expressions. Duo and Meiran's were of confusion since they both had no idea what was going on. Duo opened his mouth to speak but Meiran beat him to it.
"What are you guys doing here and why are you dressed like that?" She asked with barely controlled mirth. They all looked around at each other and in the distance a song started playing. Heero and Duo locked eyes and the Asian driver took one hesitant step toward the braided boy. Duo smiled just at Heero as if to say all was forgiven and the shorthaired driver continued on his path with renewed courage. He smiled when he reached the braided boy, the music in the background continued to get louder until they could all just barely make out the tune. "Tough, you think you've got the stuff. You're telling me and anyone, you're hard enough. You don't have to put up a fight. You don't have to always be right. Let me take some of the punches for you tonight."Bono sang and you could feel the words trying to reach out and touch you, pinch your heart to wake it up. Heero's eyes were locked on the braided driver's and he leaned in just slightly.
"Duo…" A sudden gasp from Meiran stopped whatever it was that Heero was going to say. Duo looked at her but he didn't see anything and nobody else seemed worried that the girl had just inhaled air like it was her last breath.
"I know this song, it's…" She stopped suddenly and stared hard at the tree immediately to Duo's right. The braided boy whipped around and looked over Heero's shoulder and to his surprise Wufei was now walking out from behind the tree in a pure white tuxedo. There were tears gathering in the corners of Meiran's eyes and she had the biggest grin on her face.
"Wufei what's going on?" Duo asked with a know it all smirk on his face.
"Just following your advice." Wufei said glibly and smiled. "The classic."
Duo grinned wide at his friend as he watched the Chinese youth walk over to the woman he loved and sink to one knee right in the mud. Meiran laughed a little at this but she was still trying to stop her tears from bursting and flooding. Duo felt a small prickling in the back of his eyes and his throat got a little soar. Heero took the boy's hand and squeezed it briefly with a smile on his face just for Duo then he let it drop and went over to stand next to the teary couple. Duo watched this all with wide eyed curiosity as Heero stood next to the couple and took their hands, Wufei's right hand and Meiran's left. He slowly reached into his tuxedo pocket and drew out a long red silk ribbon. He wrapped around the couple's wrists as he pulled it out of his pocket.
"In Japan it is believed that you are connected to all of your loved one's, past present and future, by a red string that cannot be seen. This red string is so thick because even though I have only known you for a short while, I know that there is nothing in this world that could sever it." Heero said and Meiran smiled at him as he continued to wrap the couple's hands together.
"And since my life would never be complete without you in it, Meiran will you marry me." Right when Wufei said this Heero had gotten to the end of his string and he held it above the couple's now joined together hands. He let a little bit of the string he held drop from his fingers and dangling at the end of it was a beautiful silver ring with a glittering diamond set high and sparkling in the night. "Listen to me now. I need to let you know. You don't have to go it alone." The alternative singer crooned on in the tense silence of the night.
"Oh Wufei, of course I'll marry you." Meiran said and finally lost control, tears now streamed freely down her face but she was still smiling. Wufei turned his hand over so it was palm up and Heero dropped the ring into it. Wufei then took Meiran's hand and slid the ring onto her finger before he stood up out of the dirt and kissed his fiancé. Quatre was sobbing, Trowa's eyes looked just a little shiny, Duo felt a renegade tear escape down his cheek but it never finished its journey. Heero brushed his thumb along the boy's cheekbone and wiped the tear away, Duo smiled up at him and it was like the world made sense again. In the back ground U2 just finished their song and a teary eyed group of friends went out for a late celebratory dinner.
And a scared longhaired kid reached out and took the the hand of another scared lonely kid and together they felt they could take on the darkest night.
So that was it, I told you it was short. I really want to thank everyone personally for their reviews but I can't this time. I got some really good ones too, I'll just have to thank you all twice next time. Well I guess I'll see you next chapter. Keep an eye out for the cursed no more, it should get a new chapter very soon. 'Till next time, same Infected time, same Infected channel! Dude I totally need to be a superhero.