Chapter 4

WAFF, some angst, preventer-ness.

Disclaimer: if I owned Gundam Wing, I would tweeze Dorothy's eyebrows.

Heero's eyes flicked from his paperwork to the dining room table, then back again. A moment later, he repeated the action.

Duo hadn't moved in three days, and now his partner was getting nervous. The boy had been completely unresponsive and hadn't shown any signs of life except for his barely-there breathing and his flicking eyes and fingers when the page needed turning. It was so quiet without his usual ramblings. Sometimes, Heero would find himself sitting by his partner, rubbing his back or tucking his hair away from his face; but the boy remained immobile. When Heero woke from his nightly dozings, he would check to see if Duo had grown, indicating whether or not he fell asleep between reading books. The trance-like state allowed for no rest, though, and he remained the same size for days.

Finally giving into his exhaustion, Heero stood and prepared to sleep in bed instead of camping out on the couch as he had been doing. He pulled Duo's blanket from atop of the coffee table and wrapped it around the unresponsive boy's shoulders. Letting himself fall onto the bed, he was asleep before he could even get under the comforter.

Light danced on his eyelids as he turned his head away. Something heavy was on his chest, pushing him into the mattress. Upon opening his eyes he found the weight was none other than his partner, whose head was currently residing against his neck. Purring puffs of warm air assaulted his collar as the boy breathed.

The tips of Duo's lightly furred ears twitched slightly, tickling his neck. One of his arms was wrapped around the sleeping mynioka, with the other he scratched at his chin. Then he realized how heavy his partner really was. Tilting to his side, he let the boy slowly slide to the bed to see him better.

Duo seemed to have grown to almost double his previous size overnight. Heero estimated the boy's shoulders were now as broad as his own hips and if he were standing he would be as tall as his waist or possibly chest; his hair seemed to grow as fast as the rest of him, if not faster. Only the lower half was pleated in a loose braid that hung over his hip. Apart from his ears and tail, he looked like a 10 year-old boy with the facial features of a teenager.

His face was less rounded than it had been, his jaw more defined. Slightly curved eyebrows with the corners of his mouth upturned in rest gave him a pleased or slightly mischievous look. His dark eyelashes were almost covered by his shaggy hair, which would need trimming; Heero made a mental note to find his hair scissors.

Almost as if he knew he was being studied, Duo's eyelids fluttered open to reveal amethyst irises darkened with sleep. The corners of his mouth twitched upward as his eyes locked into those of his partner before he stretched and snuggled back into the human's neck.

"How do you feel?" Heero asked softly, combing his fingers through his partner's loose hair.

"Sleepy," he mumbled back, his breath warm against Heero's neck.

"Are you hungry?" the human asked, still somewhat concerned about his partner's previous trance-like state. Duo slowly shook his head no, his face still hidden. Heero's brows drew together.

"I'll go make breakfast, and you can sleep," he said, pulling away. Duo's hand latched onto his sleeping shirt and, with a protesting grunt, held on.

"I'll be back," Heero said amusedly, pulling at his partner's hand. The mynioka's ears twitched irritably, but with another grunt of protest, he let go.

Heero swung his legs off the side of the bed and walked around the screens, rubbing at his tired eyes. A nap would definitely be in order for—he suddenly stumbled and nearly tripped over something. Heero glared down at ten empty bottles of Duo's protein drink.

That would explain his sudden growth, he reasoned. He'd been wondering how the mynioka could go without food for days then not be hungry.

His mouth watered as he quickly made a few pancakes and haphazardly drizzled syrup over them. After slicing up an apple and going back to sit on the bed beside his sleeping partner, he cut his pancakes neatly into large pieces. Heero's stomach grumbled with impatience as he lifted the first bite of golden-brown sweetness to his lips.

Suddenly, a breath of air touched his cheek.

Looking to the side, he realized Duo was awake, with his mouth open as wide as it could manage, along with his large, imploring eyes. His open lips curved upward slightly as the fork traveled away from its original destination and into his mouth. He hummed with appreciation and scooted closer, eyes intent on the fork.

Heero watched as his partner's tail dance with enthusiasm. His ears were set forward as he keenly watched the fork move back to the plate. Heero claimed the next bite as his own, watching in amusement as Duo's eyes followed the fork during its journey. As soon as he had picked up the next bite, the mynioka's mouth was wide open again.

"I thought you were tired," Heero smirked, giving his partner the next bite.

"I was," he mumbled back, his mouth full. "What's that?" the mynioka asked, eyeing the fruit pieces.

"Apple," Heero replied, finishing off the pancake in a few bites. Duo's large eyes watched him expectantly as he picked up a piece of the apple. "I'm not going to feed you like this your whole life, you know." Heero's smirk bled through his faux annoyance.

"I know," Duo replied in an almost giddy tone as he leaned forward and bit off half of the slice in his partner's hand. His tail batted the air behind him in a happy rhythm a minute later as he snatched the other half out of the human's now-open palm with his teeth.

Duo's eyes flicked to his partner's face as he swallowed his piece of the apple.

"You're messy," the boy mused, coming closer. Heero realized how close the mynioka was leaning and nearly tumbled backwards when he felt a breath against his cheek. He was ready to fall off the bed when a clawed hand caught ahold of the front of his shirt, amethyst eyes locked onto his lips. The human squeezed his eyes shut as he felt Duo's mouth tentatively touch his face, only to blink them back open in shock as a very wet tongue made a horizontal swipe across his chin.

"Syrup is good," he purred, sitting back casually and licking at the syrup around his own mouth. Duo's attention was soon averted as his eyes locked onto the plate with the remaining apple pieces. Heero was less lucky; his heart rate had skyrocketed, and he wasn't sure if he should feel dizzy, disgusted, or indifferent to the feeling on his chin.

"You gonna eat that?" the mynioka asked, eyeing the plate's contents. The human mutely shook his head, not trusting his voice to be in its normal octave. He watched quizzically as Duo set the apple pieces onto the bedside table then devoured the surface of the plate greedily, licking every drop of the sticky syrup, then cleaning his own hands and face afterwards.

When he finished, he turned back to his immobile partner and studied his face more closely for any more traces of the sugary substance.

"You okay, 'Ro?" Duo asked, leaning even closer to study his partner's pink-tinged cheeks and ears. Heero rubbed his too-warm face self consciously.

"Just thirsty," he mumbled, scrambling off the bed and going to get himself some juice. Being that close to anyone was very uncomfortable…but it was Duo. And yet…it felt like he was someone else. He felt a tug on his shirt.

Duo stood at his elbow, looking up at him with a curious expression. Heero poured the mynioka a small glass of orange juice as well. Duo slurped happily at his glass once they sat down on the couch, while Heero continued to study him. He had changed his clothes probably the night before and had some difficulty, judging by his backwards pants.

Sensing his gaze, Duo looked over at him and sat his empty glass on the table beside his partner's untouched one.

"What's wrong, 'Ro?" he asked, climbing onto the human's lap. Heero looked in his questioning eyes, almost completely violet with the morning sun while he debated whether or not to tell the boy what was on his mind.

"You grew," he stated blandly, looking at a spot on the carpet. "I'm just not used to it yet." Duo's arms came around his neck as the mynioka buried his face just below his ear.

"You know, just 'cause I'm bigger doesn't mean I don't still need you, 'Ro," his partner said quietly. Heero nodded, hugging the mynioka back.

"I'm gonna be your age soon. Will you still want me then?" Duo sat back, his large eyes looking imploringly into his partner's.

"Yes," Heero stated without hesitation. "It'll just take some time to get used to," he admitted. Duo grinned and touched his nose to the human's.

"Have you ever thought that when you grow up you won't want me?" Heero asked quietly, still not meeting the mynioka's eyes.

"No," Duo giggled, pressing their foreheads together and catching his evasive gaze. "You're silly. I'll always want you; you're my partner."

Heero just stared into the sincere eyes in front of his own. They sat in silence for a few minutes, both of their minds too busy for talk. Duo studied his partner, sensing more than he could actually see.

"What are you afraid of?" the mynioka asked solemnly. Heero hesitated, his automatic distrust for everyone taking hold of his mind.

"What are you afraid of?" he asked irritably, scowling at the boy.

"Being unwanted," Duo said softly, his large eyes still locked into his partner's. "Being left behind. Being alone," he added as his gaze softened.

"I'm afraid of," Heero's bit at his lower lip unconsciously, "trusting too much. Liking something too much." He paused, his throat tight. "Losing something valuable and never getting it back." The mynioka smiled up at him warmly.

"Yanno, I'll help you find it, if it gets lost." Duo swished his tail happily behind him, his hopeful eyes and ears intent on his partner's face. Heero's lips curved upward.

"I'm glad." He smoothed the boy's flyaway hair.

"What are we doing today, 'Ro?" Duo grinned, his tail swishing behind him with anticipated excitement.

"Well," Heero thought, going over a mental schedule. "I should take you to headquarters and get you into training classes." Duo blinked at him.

"What's those for?" he asked, his tail still.

"For your Preventers training," his partner replied, rubbing at the boy's ear. "But first, you need a good bath. And I'll call Zechs to see if Wufei would like to join you."

Duo slid off his lap as he stood, grabbing the phone from off the coffee table and heading toward the bathroom with the boy in tow.

"What're we doing in here?" Duo asked as the human piled a towel into his arms.

"You're a bit big for the sink, don't you think?" Heero set the phone down and started the bath, then went to get some mynioka soap.

By the time he got back, Duo was crouched in the bathtub, his hands under the faucet and playing with the rushing water, his clothes scattered all over the floor. Setting the soaps near his own, Heero picked up and folded the boy's clothing, then set it in a pile near the door. Grabbing the cup off of the mynioka shampoo bottle, he dunked it in the warm water and poured it over the boy's head.

"Bubbles?" Duo asked him, sitting back in the tub with pleading eyes, his dripping hair hanging limply in his face and the rest either stuck to his body or swirling weightless in the bathwater around him. Heero could feel a corner of his mouth quirk up at the boy's expression. He poured a drizzle of the mynioka soap foam in the churning waters under the faucet. Duo grinned as the bubbles filled the rest of the tub.

Turning off the water, Heero sat back on his heels and poured some more water on the giggling boy. Right before he was about to pour a dollop of shampoo on Duo's head, the phone rang. Heero quickly dried off his hands and answered it.

"Yuy here," he grunted into the receiver, cradling it with his shoulder and resuming the bath.

"You sound preoccupied, is this a bad time?"

"No, Zechs. I was just giving Duo a bath." He began working the shampoo on the top of Duo's head into a lather.

"Ah. I was wondering when you were going to take him in for training. Wufei and I were thinking about going in today."

"I was planning on doing that today, after his bath. Are you going to stay at Headquarters while he trains?" Heero nudged his partner to the side with soapy hands, trying to get at the hair he was sitting on.

"Yes, I was going to check over those files on the Neilson case. Wallace called and said he couldn't find a file, and you know what that means." Zechs sighed over the line, his frustration evident.

"Joel's been digging around in the files again." Heero frowned. That boy was the most disorganized—

"Yeah. And since we haven't been in there to keep him out of the database, I'd bet there's errors in there as well."

"I don't see why he hasn't been fired," Heero growled. "Or reassigned. His desk is a mess, I'd bet he's lost files in those 'stacks' of his. Duo, tilt your head back." The boy giggled, wiping at his sudsy face as his partner poured more water on his head to rinse out the shampoo.

"He has been reassigned, that's how we got him. Then he was reassigned again, if you'll remember. That's how he's got the cubicle instead of that nice office. All I can say is I'm glad he's not on the field with you; he'd probably forget the mission and lose the map on his way." Zechs sounded amused, but Heero snorted.

"Yeah, and I'm glad you're the one at the controls instead of him during missions. He'd tell us the wrong rendezvous coordinates and get his contact frequencies mixed up." Duo laughed out loud as his partner found a particularly ticklish spot under his shoulder blade with the washing cloth. "Hold on a minute, Zechs." Heero handed the washcloth to Duo and dried his hands.

"Duo," the human pulled the phone away from his cramping neck. "Why don't you finish up your bath while I talk to Zechs? I need to ask him something important."

Duo pouted, glaring at the rag in Heero's hands. He liked having his partner wash him; washing himself wouldn't be fun.

"I'll help you dry off, okay?"

"Mmm…okay," Duo agreed after a moment of deliberation. Heero closed the shower curtain and went to sit on the couch while the boy splashed in the bathroom.

"I'm back." Heero hushed his voice. "Have you heard anything on the Sanders welding plant?" he asked seriously.

"Yeah, Wallace and I talked about that as well. They discovered that some private shipments have been made every six months or so."

"With enough to build weapons for a full-scale attack, I'd bet." Heero grimly studied his carpet, his mind elsewhere.

"Yeah, but it's still not enough to confirm what they've got. Someone's working on getting a ground plan so we know what we're working with."

"How much time do you think before they make their move?" Heero asked, his muscles tensing.

"They don't know enough yet to determine. Wallace said someone's looking into if Sanders has record of contact with any other suspicious companies, but he said it wasn't probable. With a plant that size, they could build a good-sized air force or land army, let alone enough weapons to arm a colony."

"Do you think they aim to start a rebellion?"

"I'd doubt it, the civilians are too set on keeping peace. It would make more sense for them to want to attack and destroy Preventers first, then take over the Allied Government."

"Do you think…" Heero ran a hand through his hair agitatedly. "Will Wufei and Duo be fully grown before we make our move?" Heavy silence greeted him on the other end of the line for a moment.

"I…I hope so. And I also don't hope so. We need the backup badly, but…" Zechs's voice trailed off. Heero sighed, listening to Duo's happy splashing in the bathroom.

"They were made for this. We can't protect them forever, Zechs."

"I know… It's just going to be difficult to give Wufei a grenade, or—"

"That's what the training's for." Heero frowned, hearing the water drain out of the bathtub. "I need to go, though; it sounds like Duo's finished with his bath. Meet you at Headquarters around noon?"

"Sounds good. I'll see you then."

Heero disconnected the line and placed the phone back in its recharger, then went to the bathroom. Duo was standing on the rug in front of the sink with the large towel draped over his head and one of his knees on the pedestal sink as he tried to see into the mirror, his wet tail swinging behind him with mischief. Heero caught him before he tumbled to the ground and gave him a reproachful glance before pulling the towel off of his dripping hair.

"Your talk go well?" Duo asked him, holding out his arms and grinning.

"As well as I expected it to," Heero replied seriously, rubbing the towel vigorously over the boy's wet skin. "Bend over and I'll get your hair."

Duo complied, bending himself in half, his hair brushing the carpet as Heero wrapped the towel around it and dried. Afterwards he wrapped the towel around the boy himself and tugged him into the bedroom to dress and brush out his hair.

"You'll need to wear your training outfit today. And put these on." Heero flung a pair of the mynioka's underwear at him while he dug through the mynioka's clothing, as well as his own.

"'Ro, ah, these are not comfy," Duo whined, pulling at them while his partner snorted, amused. The boy's tail was stuck, pressed up against his lower back as he tugged at them.

"That's because you put them on backwards. Your tail goes through the hole." Heero smiled as his partner huffed about unspecific instructions and oddly-shaped clothing. After a few minutes of Heero's amused tugging and Duo's confused hopping, the two finally sat down for a quick lunch of cold sandwiches and mynioka protein juice.

"You don't always drink coffee." Duo wrinkled his nose, reading the can's contents.

"I do, always, before work," Heero replied, pouring the dark liquid into his plastic, traveling mug. "Especially when I know I'll have to be sorting through misplaced files. It can get rather dull, and I don't want to be the one caught napping because I didn't have any caffeine beforehand."

"So you'll always have this? Every day?" Duo asked, holding up the blue coffee tin. Heero nodded absentmindedly as he stirred in exactly a teaspoon of cream.

"Is the last drop always good?" he asked, looking at the can's logo with interest. His partner shrugged and helped him into his coat.

The drive for Heero was a normal one, but Duo had to point out every interesting or brightly-colored thing they encountered along the way. His face was nearly plastered to the window when he discovered the odd lines marking the road. Heero silently hoped that Preventers training would be thorough in teaching the boy how to drive.

Tugging at Duo's hand, he pulled the boy away from the parking lot and to the main building.

"You have your name on your car's spot?" Duo asked in awe as they passed the unmarked company vehicles.

"Yes," Heero replied, punching in his personal code at the outer fence. "I'm an agent, we all do."

Duo watched the gates open before them with wide eyes before his partner tugged him forward impatiently.

When they reached the training room, Heero stared at the mynioka and his partner who was leaning against the classroom door, relaxed.

"Quatre, Trowa," he greeted them. "What are you doing here?"

"We're going to be training the new Preventers," the blonde smiled, his tail twitching behind him with excitement.

"Gibbs was transferred upstairs." Trowa calmly replied, still leaning against the door.

"They wanted an actual team to teach the new myniokas, as humans tend to understand things differently," Quatre added, smiling at Duo, who was now beginning to realize he would have to be away from his partner and was clasping the human's hand, as well as his pantleg.

"We will need a last name for Duo," the taller Preventer said. "For the paperwork. It is highly advised for him to have a surname different than his partner's, as they are not technically related."

"Maxwell," Duo suddenly spoke from where he was stuck to his partner's leg. The boy quickly buried his face in the material afterwards, not wanting him to leave.

"The class will start in a few minutes," Trowa informed them, standing up and slipping into the classroom.

"We'll see you soon, Duo." Quatre smiled at the shivering boy before ducking into the room and closing the door. Duo whimpered, clinging tighter. He didn't like being away from his partner—the last time was in that motel-hotel place, when he had thought Heero was leaving him for good.

"What's wrong, Duo?" the human asked, picking up the shaken boy.

"You're leaving me." The mynioka clung to his shirt, burying his face in it while his partner rubbed his back.

"Just for a few hours."

Duo whimpered.

"Duo." Heero pulled the boy's face up. "Duo, look at me." The mynioka's teary eyes dragged from the floor up to his face.

"I'll be just upstairs, and I'm sure that Quatre and Trowa will take good care of you. Even Wufei will be in there. All right?" Heero smoothed Duo's hair away from his face. The boy reluctantly nodded.

"If you really need me, just tell Quatre, and he'll come and get me, okay? Otherwise, I'll be here to pick you up at five." Heero tried to smile at his miserable-looking partner. Duo slipped his arms around the human and hugged him tightly.

"Okay," he said, his voice muffled against the fabric.

"Good." Heero pulled him away and opened the door, watching Duo wipe at his face with a determined look. "Now get in there before they think you gave up and went home." The human swatted the boy's tail as he retreated with a parting glance into the classroom.

Zechs was waiting and already looking through files by the time he got up to the office.

"Damage report," the dark-headed Preventer grunted as he sat down at his desk, eyeing the piles of paperwork that had been stacked there during his absence.

"It's not as bad as we thought," Zechs said without lifting his eyes from the folder's contents. "Looks like Joel took some time off and spent more time running errands for Une."

"How helpful," Heero snorted, pulling his completed files out of his briefcase. "Looks like he knows that he messed up."

"Yeah. Hopefully that'll be enough of a warning for him to keep his nose out of our files," Zechs groused, rearranging papers within the folder.

Needless to say, the next few hours went rather slowly as the two filtered and rearranged paperwork.

Waiting in the lower hallway with Zechs, Heero was surprised when his partner suddenly bounded out of the classroom laughing loudly while being chased by a red-faced Wufei. Duo spotted his partner and was gleefully lifted up, safe in the human's arms. The kalocti was likewise picked up and stuck his forked tongue out at his offending friend as the two pairs parted. Other Preventers were filling the hall, ready to pick up their own partners.

"You shouldn't make Wufei mad, Duo," the human chastised lightly, pulling the clinging boy away from his neck and setting him back on his own feet. "You two will have to get along in the future."

"I know." Duo's tail swung merrily behind him as he clasped his partner's hand. "He's just so fun to annoy. Wanna know what we did today?"

"Sure." Heero watched the mynioka jump animatedly as they stopped at the outer gate, ready to enter the parking lot.

"First we read some books—they were about the early wars. Then we got on the computers and read some more stuff with better pictures—it was about the later wars. Then Quatre showed us how to use swords. Well, he called it fencing with foils, but they were close enough to the old rapiers that European countries used to use." The boy bounced into the car as soon as his partner unlocked it.

"Wufei's better than me at sword fighting, but I had better aim with the axes and scythes." Duo absolutely cackled.

"So you started out with history and simple weapon training today?" Heero asked, pulling out of the parking lot.

"Yup. Trowa says we'll get to learn guns when we grow up a bit more. And Quatre said it would be soon." Duo grinned, fingerprinting at the window when he spotted a motorcycle.

When they got home, the boy declared he was starving and decided he was going to help his partner make dinner, now that he was tall enough to see over the countertops. Heero set him to cutting vegetables to be steamed while he made pasta with chicken. The mynioka reluctantly drank his protein juice, making faces the entire time.

Afterwards, Duo challenged him to a game of chess, which lasted most of the evening. Heero managed to win, but it was a struggle throughout the game, as Duo seemed to be adept in making moves that were unconventional, such as taking one of Heero's knights with a forgotten rook.

Duo's ears were set forward, twitching along with his eyes for any escape. His tail was tensed behind him as he tried in vain to formulate a plan.

"No fair!" he pouted, glaring at his smirking partner.

"Too bad. Checkmate." Heero flicked the dark king off the board and into the mynioka's lap. "You're the one who wanted to play this." The boy began to clean up the game moodily while his partner stretched.

"Why don't you take your bath tonight so we won't have to worry about it in the morning?" Heero asked, standing by the boy's chair. Duo perked up.

"With bubbles?" he asked, turning to get to his knees in the chair and grab the human's shirt.

"Sure." Heero lifted him, feeling Duo's face find its favorite spot against his neck. "You're getting a bit big for me to carry you." He complained, walking to the bathroom. Duo just giggled and held on tighter. After setting the boy down, he started the bathwater.

"Why don't you go get some sleeping clothes?" he told Duo and watched the boy dash out the door. He came back a moment later, then piled his clothes on the rug and began to undress.

"How come you never take a bath?" Duo asked, climbing into the soapy, warm water.

"Because showers are faster," his partner replied while adjusting the water temperature.

"Come on," Duo tugged at his wrist. "Take a bath with me. I wanna wash your hair." The boy grinned.

"It's not big enough for both of us." Heero frowned; he'd never liked bathing in front of other people…but it was just Duo.

"We'll fit. Please?" The mynioka drug out his last word, blinking at him piteously.

"Fine," Heero sighed. Duo gleefully splashed with excitement, making room.

"Why are you so eager to wash my hair?" Heero asked, undressing.

"'Cause you always do stuff for me." Duo grinned at him. "But when I get bigger I'm gonna wash and cook every day, just like you."

"That sounds thrilling," Heero deadpanned, pulling a towel off the rack for himself.

"Come on, get in already!" Duo giggled, reaching for the plastic washing cup. Heero complied and was immediately doused with bathwater.

"Duo!" he sputtered. "You're supposed to tell me before dumping water over my head." Heero glared at the grinning boy, closing the shower curtain around them so as to not get water all over the floor.

"But that wouldn't be any fun," the cheerful mynioka groused.

"Of course it wouldn't." And with that, he splashed the boy, bubbles flying everywhere. An all-out water war commenced and only ended once Duo got water up his nose and started sneezing.

"Are you critically wounded?" Heero asked, smirking.

"Very funny," the boy sniffed, glaring at his partner and the mound of soapy fluff stuck to his short hair.

"Turn around and let me wash your hair before the water gets cold," Heero instructed, reaching up to grab the shampoo. Already slick with soapy water, Duo's hair didn't take long to wash.

"My turn!" The boy cackled, standing on his toes to get Heero's shampoo. "My turn! Turn around! My turn!"

"All right already," Heero grumbled, awkwardly bending his legs and trying to turn towards the back of the bath.

Duo had to stand to be able to look down on his partner's head to be able to wash it but had much fun doing so. Heero caught him giving it a second washing, but Duo was indignant when he had thought that "it was just for fun."

"Your hair needs washed twice, since I haven't washed it before." The boy cackled, dumping more water on his partner's head.

"Okay, sit down. That's enough." Heero soaped Duo's washing cloth for him. "Here, wash up."

"Will you wash my back?" the mynioka asked, blinking at him.

"Sure," his partner replied, soaping his own washing cloth.

After a few moments of Duo naming each of his limbs and toes as he washed them, Heero declared him clean and told him to turn around so he could wash behind him.

"How come Wufei doesn't like baths?" the boy asked as he stepped out of the bath, behind his partner.

"I don't know," Heero replied, brushing Duo's hair then toweling off. "Maybe it would bother his fire…breathing…system if he inhaled water."

"I don't know anyone that it wouldn't bother their system to inhale water." Duo wrinkled his nose distastefully.

"Come here," Heero instructed him, tying his towel off at his hips and reaching for the hair-cutting scissors in the medicine cabinet. Duo complied until he saw what he was holding.

"No!" The mynioka shot out of the bathroom with his partner in close pursuit.

Heero chased him around the house and finally caught him in the kitchen. He lifted the wriggling boy over his shoulder and headed back to the bathroom. Duo tried everything to get away, but finally succumbed to tears once his partner smacked him once, on his bare behind.

"It's not that bad, Duo. Just behave and it'll be over in a minute." He sat the boy on the floor, keeping a hold on him as he grabbed the scissors from the sink. Duo's teary eyes wouldn't look at him as he snipped away hair in front of the boy's face and trimmed around the back.

"There." Heero set the scissors back in the cabinet and crouched, flicking a snip of wet hair off of the boy's cheek. "That wasn't bad, was it?"

"You're done?" Duo sniffed, running his fingers through his still-long hair.

"Yes. That didn't hurt, did it?" Heero asked, wiping the boy's tears away with his forgotten towel. Duo shook his head.

"I thought you were gonna cut it all off," he said, blinking up at his partner.

"No. Why would I do that? I know you like your hair."

"I dunno." Duo crawled over to his partner and climbed into his lap, feeling chilled.

"Let's get dressed. It's not very warm when you run around without clothes." Heero picked him up and headed to the bedroom. Duo's response was muffled against the human's skin.

Heero pried the boy off of him long enough to braid his hair and dress him in some stretchy pajamas, noting that there was only another pair left. He would soon have to buy Duo normal clothes, when he was fully grown.

Once they were both dressed, Heero had them both brush their teeth and carry out their nightly routine before curling up in bed.

"You think I'm gonna be big tomorrow?" Duo asked from his favorite place against his partner's neck.

"Maybe," Heero replied, sleepily blinking at the city's glow against the lightly-colored paper window blinds. "We'll have to see."