It gets into everything.
Duo kicked his chair into another spin, and grumbled, "Man, this sucks donkey balls. I thought that trial wasn't until next month."
Heero heaved a longsuffering sigh and nodded. "It wasn't. They moved it up. I think they were trying to catch us unprepared. Didn't work. I'm sorry, but I can't get out of it."
"Ok, we'll just put it off two weeks." Duo pulled his computer keyboard to him and typed rapidly. "Well, fuck. Non-refundable. Now what?"
Heero took his turn typing. When he was done, he smiled at Duo. "I upgraded our two business class tickets to one first class. And changed the room to a single with a kitchenette." Duo started to say something but Heero held up his hand. "I know. But it has a fridge for drinks and a microwave. You can nuke pop corn. And don't look at me like that. I know you really wanted to see that flower bloom. Go. Enjoy. Think of me. Take lots of pictures and email them to me."
Duo kicked the desk then nodded. "Ok. I'll go. Thanks Heero. Just... you be careful. I don't like this. Something's going to go wrong. I just know it."
Heero shrugged. "I'll be careful. Come on, love. We'll go to the airport together and I'll see you off."
Duo picked up his pack with one longing look and Heero's. He let Heero drive him to the airport and boarded his plane. Heero watched it taxi away, vowing that Une would pay sooner or later.
Heero finished testifying in the early afternoon, so he returned to his hotel. If he could get out of here early in the morning, he could catch a Preventers plane and spend some time with Duo. He wasn't sure what kind of flower Duo wanted to see. He hadn't paid that much attention. But Duo said it only bloomed once every five years. Heero shook his head and went to watch the news.
Fetching a soda he plopped down on the sofa and put his feet on the coffee table.
The announcer was babbling on about some discovery in the rubble of an abandoned Oz back that was being cleared away.
"Even as we speak, the bomb squad is preparing to disarm the bomb. It has been here since the base was destroyed by the gundam pilots known as Shinigami and the Perfect Soldier. It seems that it was a dud but our police department is taking no chances. I'll try to get the chief to give me an interview. Cheryl Patterson reporting for station WBCJ."
Heero sat stunned for a moment then grabbed his phone. He remembered this base, Duo had been sure he'd set five bombs, Heero told him four. It seemed that Duo was right. And Duo didn't build duds. He dialed his phone.
"Hello. This is Preventer Agent Heero Yuy. I just saw the news flash about that bomb. Don't touch it! Whatever is keeping it from exploding could shift at any moment and the bomb will go off. Maxwell never made a dud in his life." Heero pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at it in disbelief. "Hello? Hello?" thinking that they had gotten cut off Heero redialed the phone. This time he got an earful.
"Look here, young man. We don't have time for practical jokes. I'm hanging up again. If you call back, I'll turn your number in and you'll be in real trouble. Now ..."
Heero snarled at the dispatcher before she could hang up again. "Look. I'm Heero Yuy, and you better not hang up on me again. Put me through to the head of the bomb squad before they get themselves killed. Trace my ID." Heero heard a click then some electronic noise as the dispatcher did as he asked.
"Special Agent Yuy. I'm sorry. I'll put you right through." the dispatcher made the connection then signaled her supervisor.
"Listen to this. He sounds like he's ... like twelve or something. Only cold."
The supervisor listened for a moment then sighed. "He's the real deal. I did work for the Alliance and I've heard his voice before. I saw him once. Creepy. He's ... probably nineteen by now."
Heero spoke to Captain Nelson for a moment. The captain asked if he would come down to the station and then go out to take a look at the bomb. Heero said he would.
The car was waiting for him when he got to the street. He climbed in and sat back to bite at his lip until they reached the station. If it was one of Duo's bombs, it was booby trapped to the hilt. If it wasn't, he couldn't figure out how it got where it was. He muttered, "damn" and continued brooding until they arrived.
The captain met him at the door to the station and led him to a room where surveillance equipment covered one wall. Heero stood in the middle of the room and swore softly. There was no mistaking that shape. It was one of Duo's alright.
"Can I get a look at all sides? I want to make sure, but it's one of Duo's or I'm sadly mistaken."
The tec fiddled with a joy stick and got Heero a view of each side in turn. Sure enough, there was Duo's signature scythe mark. It was one of Duo's bombs.
Heero nodded, "I'll go take a look in person, but it's one of Duo's." He walked out of the room dialing his phone.
Une picked up her personal phone, she didn't bother to ask if it was important, it had to be. Only a very few people knew this number and they all knew better than to call unless it was a matter of life or death.
"Une here. What is it?"
"A piece of ordinance has shown up."
"Ordinance?" Une wondered what was so important about ordinance that Heero Yuy would be calling her in the middle of the night.
"A bomb, to be specific. One of Duo's. It's a dud."
The only thing Une could think of popped out of her mouth. "Maxwell doesn't make duds."
"Exactly." Heero hung up then dialed Duo's phone.
"Hey, 'Ro. What's up? You know it's nearly midnight here, don't you?"
"Yes. You're needed. Sorry about your flower."
Duo snorted. "Already saw it. It bloomed early. Not at all what I expected. Looks like a giant penis and stinks like rotten meat. Ugh!"
Duo gave a warm chuckle. "Nope. But with a name like Amorphophallus titanium, I should have known."
Heero gave a soft exclamation then laughed. "It's also called the stinking corpse lily. I'll send a plane."
"Um ... Heero? Not that I'm objecting, but why?"
"Damn. Found some of your ordinance. Unexpended."
Duo took the phone away from his ear and looked at it like it was sending a foreign language. "Excuse me?"
"Just get here. I'll explain it all when I see you. I have to get out there before some hero gets himself spectacularly dead."
Heero hug up and made another call while he rode.
When they got to the site, the first thing Heero did was ask for the Captain of the bomb squad. He didn't want to step on any toes but he sure didn't want anyone messing with one of Duo's little presents.
Captain Nelson was glad to see him. He'd taken a long look at his little problem and given up before he'd even started. He was well aware of what he had on his hands. He didn't want to touch it any more than Heero wanted him to.
"Agent Yuy. Glad to meet you. This way."
Heero shook hands and followed the captain.
They crawled over broken concrete, bent steel and crumbled asphalt until they reached a semi-ruined bunker. Heero stopped once to examine a foot print in the asphalt. It was one of Wing's. He sighed.
"Old memories. Nothing to worry about."
The captain gazed at Heero for a moment then nodded to the depression in the pavement. "Always wondered what did that. Looks like a giant foot print."
"It is. It's Wing's." At the captains puzzled look he added. "My Gundam."
"Well, shit. That's huge." The man turned away and motioned to Heero. "This way."
But Heero was already headed for the bunker. The bomb couldn't be anywhere else. The tape was a dead give away.
Heero ducked under it and took one look at the bomb. He pulled out his phone and dialed.
"Duo. It's one of yours alright."
Duo grumbled. "I remember that base. I swore I had five bombs out. But nnnneeeeuuuuwwww, you knew better than me. You swore I only had four. Now look where we are."
Heero snarled under his breath, he wasn't going to hear the end of this any time soon. "Ok, ok. I was wrong. You were right. But it didn't go off. I don't like it."
Duo yawned loudly. "Ok. And why don't you like it?"
"You ever remember having a dud? I don't. You don't make duds. So something is keeping that bomb from going off. What if it shifts, or breaks or dissolves or whatever."
"Oh, shit. Ka-boom comes to mind. I'm headed there as fast as I can. Keep everyone away."
"Captain Nelson is a smart man. He's waiting on you. Bye, love." Heero snapped his phone closed and turned to the captain. "Not much to do until Duo gets here. Any chance of me getting a nap?"
"Sure. I'll have a tent set ..."
"Don't need a damn tent. Just a blanket and a flat place. Don't put your men to the trouble. I'm sure they won't need the extra work."
So the man gave Heero a blanket and Heero settled down in the back of a truck and fell asleep.
Duo arrived by chopper from the airport at 7am. He asked for Heero and got a little runaround until he convinced the perimeter guard that he was who he said he was. He was used to this so it didn't make a dent in his rather unwelcome morning cheer.
He woke Heero by fanning the smell of coffee into his face. Heero levered himself up from the tangle of blankets and took the coffee.
Heero grumbled "No shit." and drank the coffee.
After coffee he was just as grumpy as before but Duo didn't pay much attention to that. He was more interested in the ordinance.
"You sure it's one of mine? I'm not. I swear ..." Duo got his first good look at the bomb. "Well, fuck me sideways. It's one of mine. Damn ... I wonder what went wrong."
Heero crossed his arms over his chest, cocked one foot and leaned against the door frame to watch Duo work.
Duo started out by apologizing to the captain for causing him trouble. Then he asked for some tools.
When the tools were brought, Duo took them and walked into the roofless room where the bomb was tucked neatly under an overhang of concrete. He eyed it for a few moments then shrugged.
"I remember this one. Heero, you helped me with it. Remember? Quatre kept complaining about hair all over the place. And Wufei was sick."
Heero thought for a moment. "Yeah, I remember. You made all the parts and had me assemble it. You said I did a good job, so what went wrong?"
Duo rubbed the back of his neck. "Damned if I know. But we'll find out soon enough. I didn't trap this one."
Duo knelt down and fiddled with the box for a second. He picked it up and carried it out into the sandbagged area set aside for the disarmament procedure. Heero followed a few feet back, just in case.
Duo sat the box down on the table the bomb squad had setup and applied a screwdriver to the first screw. He unscrewed it and pried the lid up a bit. He slipped a dental mirror into the crack and looked around.
"Nope. No traps. I'll just unscrew the lid and we'll see what's what."
He unscrewed the rest of the screws and took off the lid.
After poking around in its guts for a second, Duo snorted softly. "Well, well, well, what have we here?" He fiddled a bit then announced that it was disarmed and asked for an evidence kit.
One of the by-standing bomb squad brought Duo a kit. Duo took a pair of tweezers and plucked something out of the bomb. He put it into a small plastic zip envelope and held it up.
"My reputation is still secure. I never had a dud. This thing would have gone off except for that."
Heero eyed the envelope. It contained several strands of short, dark hair. He groaned.
"Yup. Yuy, your hair gets into everything."