A/N: God another cringe worthy late update. I need a day planner. Or a PA. Or a better work ethic. Or to win the lottery. Or-

Well, you get my drift.

This chapter is dedicated to Cristalake for her lovely reviews that got my ass back in gear!


Chapter Four: Hell-Quat

Contrary to my somewhat- alright extremely- girly appearance might say, I have fallen victim to one of the most common male stereotypes ever known- I love my mode of transportation.

I wasn't as protective of it as Chang Wufei, or as committed to it as Heero Yuy and Trowa Barton, hell, I wasn't even as fanatic about my Gundam as Duo but it was known among the Maganaucs that Sandrock belonged to me and anyone who touched my mobile suit without permission would regret it.

Funny how nobody ever passed that little tidbit onto Duo.

It'd been just over two weeks since the scene in Siberia and only yesterday since I found out my braided comrade was harboring yummy feelings of lust for my body. I had an inkling of what I wanted to do, and an even fainter idea of how to achieve that but anything past that stage of my self-imposed mission was stuck at 'no-go'.

With breakfast out of the way, and another dark blue cotton tee on, I decided that working on upping Sandrock's maximum speed would be the best use of the day.

I should have figured out something was wrong when five of my Maganucs turned back around and ran the other way at my mere presence. Like I'd said before, I wasn't the scariest looking guy around, so my intimidation factor was sort of non-existent.

The last few corridors towards the hanger were oddly deserted, considering the fact that our little base held two Gundams and a little over forty mobile suits. They all needed regular maintenance to work at full efficiency against OZ.

With trepidation and a healthy amount of anxiety, I crept towards the hanger door and cracked it open.

Silence.

My brows crinkled. Well, nothing seemed to be wrong with the picture, bar the complete lack of sound, and just enough tension left my shoulders as I eased the door open and slipped in.

My eyes scanned the large space quickly, finding everything in place before something bright caught my glance.

No….

I froze at the sight before me, mouth open and eyes wide, as the image before me finally caught up with my brain.

Someone- three guesses who and the first two didn't count- had painted splotches onto Sandrock. Fuchsia splotches- in exactly the same spots as my healing sunburn.

Only one person had seen my whole sunburn. Hell, only one person was crazy enough to paint my Gundam a specific shade of pink.

I growled a growl that seemed to echo loudly in the spacious hanger.

Duo Maxwell was in Deep Shit.

I should have seen this coming, it had been nearly two days since his last prank and I had suddenly become one of his favorite targets.

But this was going too far.

I approached my defiled suit in a state of moderate shock. The paint had been left open on the floor, right beside a bucket of soapy water and a few tools. Evidence to the crime.

My very skin seemed to tingle as my body became hyper-aware of the area around me and my ears picked up on the soft brush of boots against concrete.

I turned around sharply to see the manically grinning Pilot Zero Two just fifteen feet away.

"Hey-ya Quat! How do you like the new paint job?"

The shit-eating grin slid of Duo's face as my blood-pressure skyrocketed.

"Duo Maxwell." I growled lowly.

My braided friend held up his hands as if the motion of innocent surrender would save him.

I chuckled darkly at his panicked expression. "You are in so much trouble-"

"Now Quatre, it was only a harmless joke."

I threw the bucket of water at him.

Duo yelped as the harmless plastic contraption flew over his head, dousing him with cold soapy water. The bucket landed some ten feet behind him with an echoing thud.

"Okay." He said nervously. "I can see that you're angry."

I threw the near empty paint can next.

Duo jumped away from the flying paint, breathing heavily with anxiety. "Okay perhaps angry isn't a strong enough word…"

"You think?" I demanded, almost shaking in suppressed fury. "I have no idea what in the hell goes through you're mind whenever you think up stupid shit like this Duo, but touching Sandrock was the last damn straw!"

A spark of anger lit Duo's eyes as he stopped trying to find somewhere to hide.

"It was just a harmless prank, Quatre. You don't have to be such a tight-ass."

I could have cheerfully kicked his ass at the moment. "Just like taking all of my shirts was harmless? I was perfectly accepting of your methods of easing your tension when these…pranks began. I've even stopped a few of my men from acting on their homicidal urges in the last two weeks. I even let it slide when our jokes caused me bodily harm! But this….you do not mess with my Gundam."

Duo crossed his arms angrily, rolling expressive violet eyes. "I'm sorry! I didn't know that the nasty little street rat wasn't allowed to touch Master Winner's most wonderful Gundam."

I glared. "You know that isn't the reason. I cannot believe you're even bringing that up against me when you know I could care less where you came from."

Furious at my friend's childish attitude, I kicked Sandrock's massive foot. Stupid idea but pride wouldn't let me cringe at the pain.

I turned back around to face him, stomping a bit away from my Gundam. That left me without anything to throw. It was very fortunate that Duo was looking distinctively contrite.

"What if I had a mission?" I snapped angrily, out of ammo. "The fear our Gundams create is a very large part of our collective strategy. A soldier's worst fear is that fear will cripple him on the battlefield. How will anyone take me seriously if I have a pink polka-dotted Gundam blowing up their base?!"

Duo raised his hand slightly in the air. "Technically, he's not polka-dotted."

I miraculously found a socket wrench at my foot and hurled the thing at Duo's stupid braided head.

Unfortunately he ducked.

I strode towards my annoying friend, silently daring him to step back from me. He didn't, even when I was inches from his face. My anger was still there, pulsing underneath the calm exterior my father had forced upon me at a young age. It was harder to keep out of my voice as I spoke to him. "Let's get this one thing straight, you can pull all the pranks and jokes and whatever else pops into your head on us. You can even target me solely if it'll make you feel better- but you never ever defile my Gundam like that again. Or next time it'll be Deathscythe that's a certain shade of pink."

Duo held my gaze, his expression slack and unreadable. For a moment, I was sure he was going to smack me, even as I watched a startling flush rising in his cheeks.

Then my mind finally took the time to register the feelings that were swirling through my empathy and my own temperature began to rise.

We were still inches apart, practically breathing the same air, soaking up each other's warmth in the big, empty hanger. I licked my suddenly dry lips, and Duo's gaze snapped to my mouth.

My head tilted slightly as he leaned in with a groan and said, "I'm so going to hell….."

Hell was probably the furthest thing from my mind at that moment. The same could be said for basic body functions like breathing and keeping up a pulse. The swirling tendrils of lust flowing from Duo's body increased tenfold at the touch of skin on skin. Or rather, lips on lips.

A part of my mind distantly kept track of how close we were, the increase in body heat and our quickening breaths. A larger part of my mind was crowing with glee and slobbering for more in a very demanding way.

I didn't even realize I had my hands fisted in the damp, black material of Duo's shirt until I heard fabric strain and the arms around my waist tightened wonderfully. My lips parted slightly, my lungs burning for O2 and Duo took that as permission to deepen our spontaneous kiss.

Not that I was going to complain. He tasted faintly of the bitterness of black coffee and the sweet flavor of my favorite strawberry jam. My temperature continued to rise as his slick tongue began to slowly coax mine into movement.

My fingers locked together in the loose hair at the base of Duo's head as his hands slipped up and under my dark t-shirt. Even with my already alarming rise in temperature, Duo's hands burned.

Hotter than the heat of the desert, everything we shared was warmth and passion- the kiss, the touches, the emoti-

I pulled back with a sharp gasp, forgetting about my fingers curled in Duo's hair. His head jerked forward suddenly, bringing our foreheads together in a brutal smack. Surprise and pain had Duo's hands leaving my skin to clamp on his face.

Guilt flooded through my veins as I realized what had almost happened. I had practically fed of Duo's most private emotions, without any filter at all. Lust still tingled and burned under my skin as I tried to get my head together and stop panting.

"Quatre? What's- you okay?"

Damn, the huskiness in Duo's voice was enough to make my knees weak. I swallowed and tried to explain…something. "We-we had to stop."

The hand he had on his forehead was quickly removed as I watched Duo rub the back of his head sheepishly. "Heh, we were kinda getting out of hand."

How could he be so calm about this? We've only known each other for two weeks straight, and were barely acquaintances before that. Now we're making out in the middle of empty mobile suit hangers.

The silence between us stretched, and even though I couldn't see the tension in Duo's form, I could feel it, and it was setting my own nerves off balance.

Finally, I huffed and ran a hand through my surprisingly tangled hair.

"Duo…." I began, frustrated. "What in the hell…?"

Violet eyes blinked once, twice, three times before my question registered. A half smile quirked his lips. "It's just, you were pissed man…. And it was kinda hot."

A surprised giggle escaped my lips at the very thought. My pissy mood swings turned him on? Was anyone else confused?

Oh good.

I struggled to find my center, my calm in the storm as Duo smirked that sexy smirk at me. I caught sight of the dented paint can just over his shoulder and fought a blush.

"I'm sorry I threw that paint can at you. I'm not usually so….irate."

Duo laughed loudly, pushing some of his wet bangs out of his face.

"God, imagine if you were- I'd have jumped you ages ago." He glanced over his shoulder too before turning back. "Besides, it's the socket wrench I was worried about."

I couldn't stop the burning in my cheeks or the shame that welled up inside me. My father would have been so shamed……

Duo bounced forward, obviously not fearful of any metal projectiles anymore, and grabbed my shoulders in a steady, reassuring grip.

"Quat, there's nothing to be embarrassed over. It's actually kinda awesome to know there a Hell-Quat buried underneath all that nice guy."

A strange emotion overcame Duo's face as I watched him let go and back up a bit. He was suddenly uneasy. "Unless you didn't like- um, I mean if you don't plant on that side of the fence…"

I saw where this was going, feeling more than a bit stunned. Duo was nervous. Nervous! About kissing me.

I laughed- I couldn't help it- and touched his wrist gently. His uncertainty relaxed me oddly enough. I wasn't the only clueless one here.

What a relief.

"I assure you, Duo I liked it. Very much."

His grin was infectious. I was practically giddy from his sudden surge of happiness, excitement and relief.

Quick as a snake Duo darted in and pressed a chaste but firm kiss on my lips before pulling back and flipping his hand over mine, linking our fingers.

"Come on man, let's clean up my mess before anyone can see your defiled Sandrock. And I swear, no more pranks."

I let him drag me along, baffled by his sudden turnabout. And skeptical.

"Really?" I asked, letting my doubts color my tone. A wicked gleam lit Duo's violet eyes as he turned to look at me.

"Hey, now I don't have to show off to get your attention."

I couldn't help but gap.

That son of a-


A/N: Probably just a few more chapters- maybe 2 or 3 tops- then I'll be starting 'Medical Leave' the next arc in this series. The Wufei/Sally installment if you will.

Thanks for the reviews!

S. Tangerine