Maxwell Family Values

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1. Your life is your own to live, but you'll probably fuck it up. Because that's how Maxwells know they're Maxwells.

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The first day of school, three hours in, and Duo Maxwell was already in detention.

About an hour later, Heero Yuy joined him in the nearly empty Room 101 of South City High.

"Beat ya," Duo grinned at his best friend/boyfriend as the other brunet glared and sat next to him, the heavy KLUNK of his bag on the desk already telling the sixteen-year-old what had sent Heero in. "You know, most people wait until at least getting home before hacking into their school's database."

"Most people are morons," he said. To most it would have sounded like a distant, arrogant insult, but Duo knew him too well for that. In fact, he knew Heero well enough to see that he was pouting.

"So who's the not-moron that managed to catch you, then?"

Heero twitched a bit at that. "…Iruka."

Duo winced. "Ooooh, yeah, that'd do it alright." He perked up. "Oh but hey, that means you've got him for fourth period, right? AP World History?"

"We have the same schedule for every class, Duo," Heero stated, a bit tired. Understandable, considering the hours the blue-eyed boy usually kept. Waking up at six thirty must have been a bitch when he usually got to sleep around four in the morning. "We have the same schedule because we have the exact same AP classes for every period for every day for-"

"The whole year, yeah, I get it," Duo huffed. "Just don't see why we can't get, I don't know, married or something so then alphabetical seating would just stick us together."

"Then they'd go by first name."

"Hmmm. Would you mind switching your name to Dheero? Or does Hduo sound better?"

Heero just blinked at him. It was the 'how can you be so intelligent and yet so stupid' blink.

…yeah, Duo probably knew him too well to read that one. But he didn't find himself really caring. Hey, the man had yet to even object to the roundabout proposal, he was in a good mood.

"I'm surprised Rabi isn't in here yet," Heero said, barely covering a yawn.

Duo blinked at him in surprise, indigo eyes quickly turning concerned. "…he graduated last spring, Heero."

His comrade-in-detention's eyebrows rose, and then seemed to furrow in some expression that, for once, Duo couldn't read.

"How much sleep did you get in the past three days, Heero." It wasn't a question, and his boyfriend knew better than to try to dodge this particular streak of his best friend. Some called it 'the Maxwell protective streak', but considering who the Maxwells were, they didn't call it that anywhere one could even potentially be lurking about. And considering the oldest Maxwells' career choices, that wasn't many places at all.

"…five."

Heero was an idiot. A ridiculously hot, intelligent, dryly humorous idiot who couldn't take care of a potted plant, let alone himself. Duo smacked him upside the head. The fact Heero didn't even catch his hand was further proof the boy was about to pass out or die or something.

"Then go to fucking sleep," Duo growled, shoving his own bookbag (packed only with a pillow, because the first day of school almost always ended up like this until his teachers figured out to just put him next to Heero fucking Yuy already) on Heero's desk and not terribly gently pushing the other boy's head down onto it.

It was pretty much an instantaneous reaction, like wincing when you were about to run into a brick wall. One hand wrapped on the tail end of Duo's braid as his eyes slid shut, and he was out, head practically buried in the worn denim fabric of his bookbag. Luckily his braid had gotten long enough over the years that he could still be plenty comfortable with staring out the window or leaning back in his chair.

Time passed. Kanda Yuu, seventeen-year-old last-semester senior and not-boyfriend of Duo's older brother Rabi Maxwell (the youngest older brother, not to be confused with the other two) made an appearance with good old Wufei after lunch, as it appeared they'd gotten in ANOTHER fight or spar or whatever the hell they called beating the shit out of each other for fun nowadays. Kanda got to leave after lunch, but not Chang Wufei. Oh, no. Grumbling, the Chinese boy took his spot in front of Duo, not surprised in the slightest by Heero's near-dead appearance, rigor mortis clutching around the braid and all.

"Nearly had him, right?" Duo grinned, and his friend bristled.

"I'm just too damned slow," Wufei muttered, crossing his arms and scowling. Which, for Wufei, was pouting. Pitch black eyes snapped to innocent indigo. "How the hell does he do it? You know the man better than me, so how is he that fast?"

Duo pretended to think about it for a minute, brow furrowed as he made thinking-ish noises. "Hmmmmmmmmmmm…I think, maybe…dodging Rabi?"

Wufei snorted. "All you Maxwells are alike, I swear. Find the most contrary person you can and latch onto them."

"Heeeey! Heero's not contrary! And I'd like you to note who exactly is being latched onto right now." He paused. "And don't go around saying shit like that, or my brothers will eat you alive."

"Reno and Axel are scary," Wufei glared. "You and Rabi, however, are not."

"Reno and Axel scare me sometimes," Duo said good-naturedly. "But they're NOTHING compared to the Wrath of Rabi if you walk into his libraroom without knocking. He has hammers."

Wufei's eyes widened, and Duo nodded, deadly serious.

"HAMMERS. Give me electrocution or fire any day over a fucking HAMMER to the FACE. Really good aim for a guy with one eye, too."

"…you really weren't kidding about that 'dodging Rabi' bit, were you?" Wufei asked, a bit unnerved.

Duo just grinned. "What can I say? Life in the House of Maxwell is a special, scary place."

Which was when the door opened again and two more kids – these were sophomores, Duo guessed, although from the Ouran Prep-School uniform on the dark-haired one and the unrecognized face on the blond (who had SCARS on his face; Duo was immediately pissed off) they were both brand spanking new to good-old South City High. Iruka, who stood behind the two, practically shoved them through the doors.

"NOW STOP FIGHTING, DAMN IT!"

The dark-haired kid took that as his cue to punch the blond in the face, which ended up with them rolling around punching each other on the tile floor. THAT ended up with Iruka bodily prying the bloodied-up blond off the slightly less bloody Mr. Happyface, Iruka looking about ready to blow a gasket.

"…I'd step in Wufei, but, uh." Duo motioned to the death grip on his braid. Wufei gave him one of those 'WHY AM I YOUR FRIEND' looks, and Duo just did his best to smile winningly. "Get one of them near enough to me and I can take them off your hands."

"I'm taking you up on that," Wufei grumbled, and hurried forward to pull Mr. Happyface to the side of the room. The kid even managed to get a punch in on Wufei, which was damned impressive all things considered, and Iruka quickly hustled the (ABUSED) blond over to Duo.

Iruka wasn't the most respected and admired teacher in the school for nothing. The man could read a situation better than a general. Freshman swore by the eyes in the back of his head. Seniors swore by the scar across his nose.

Maxwells swore by his perceptiveness.

"Duo, do me a favor and be a positive influence for once," Iruka growled, Duo giving him an innocent 'who, me?' look. "Naruto, behave or next time it's to the principle's office, understand?"

"But HE STARTED IT!" the kid – Naruto, Duo reminded himself while trying to decide between laughing at the young teen or cheering him on – hissed out, but Iruka was already gone.

"And yet he looks the cool, quiet, conceited type to me," Duo commented, slipping carefully out of his chair and grabbing the kid's shoulders. The movement earned some muttering from Heero as the braid shifted, which in turn got Duo stares from both parties in the fistfight.

When it looked like Naruto was about to snap out something about the situation, Duo's glare managed to slice the words in half before they even got out of his mouth.

"Alright kid, I know I sound like a cheesy cop movie, but we can do this the easy way or the hard way," he said. "And by 'hard way' I mean knocking you unconscious and kicking you awake when the bell rings. Easy way is you sit down and we have a little chat about why to be more discrete when trying to beat the crap out of people."

Naruto stared at him some more, clearly too flabbergasted at the situation to really even try to start screeching. Duo sighed.

"If someone really deserves getting the snot punched out of them, they don't deserve a chance to fight back either," Duo said, practically quoting a speech he'd received from his eldest brother the day he and Axel picked a bloody little purple-eyed thief up off the city streets. "And if you really feel like giving them that chance to fight back you're either being an idiot or a fool, or it's just not worth it. Only pick a fight you know you'll come out of better than the other guy."

Naruto squinted at him. Duo hated that the kid was already about the same height as he was. "I thought you were supposed to tell me to not pick fights, not hit them when they're not looking."

"That's because most people are stupid or lying to you," Duo said simply, grinning, and ruffled the blond's hair, only to have his hand smacked away. "Oooooh, feisty." He glanced over at Wufei, one arm still around Naruto. "Did Mr. Puppy Fun Time calm down enough to release?"

"My name is Sasuke," Mr. Puppy Fun Time bit out, nearly getting out of Wufei's hold.

"I say we lock them in the closet and let them kill each other," Wufei hissed at the little demon.

"Or I move my braid and let them wake Heero up," Duo grinned viciously, and Wufei paled.

"Christ, Maxwell, we want them to BEHAVE, not DIE," he snapped, and Duo shrugged.

"Hey, just an idea, alright? Brainstorming, it's called," he laughed easily. The only bad thing was that Wufei knew he'd been serious, and knew what usually happened when a sleep-deprived Heero Yuy was woken up. That was something out of a Chuck Norris joke but with more screaming and less laughter. "If Kanda was still here we could just sic him on them."

By now the two boys were too busy trying to follow the conversation to pay each other any real attention aside from occasional glares, and Wufei knew it too.

"You can't sic Kanda Yuu on someone."

Duo grinned again. "You can sic Kanda on someone if you can sic Rabi on Kanda."

Wufei just shook his head. "All Maxwells are fucked up in the head."

"Naaah, we're just kinda sociopaths," Duo shrugged, and pushed Naruto into the seat previously occupied by Wufei, sitting himself back down in his original desk.

"You're a Maxwell?" Mr – no, no it was SASUKE, right – SASUKE asked apprehensively. "I thought they were redheads."

"Yeah, well, most are, but only two of us are biologically related," Duo shrugged, leaning his chin on the palm of his hand. He paused, an intrigued smile on his lips despite himself. "You just got here and you've heard of us?"

Sasuke made a disdainful sound, brushing off his baby blue uniform (no wonder he was defensive, wearing something like that). "First thing I was told about was to watch out for Maxwells if I went to South City."

"Hey, hey, you're a famous family? Like the Hyuugas?"

Duo shuddered at that. "No, we are NOT morticians."

"Autopsy physicians," Sasuke and Wufei corrected him.

"WHATEVER," Duo snapped. "They're creepy. Even Hinata's creepy, even though I bet QUATRE could beat her up."

"Quatre Winner has extensive hand-to-hand combat training," Wufei deadpanned.

"But he looks like a wimp, that's all I'm saying really," Duo defended. "I love Quat, you know I do, but JESUS do Hyuugas give me the creeps."

"But that's not what I was asking!" Naruto sighed irritably. "Why the hell does that bastard know your family? ARE you guys famous?"

"We're more infamous, actually," Duo grinned. "Very bad people to get to know, really. Vicious sense of humor, kick people when they're down, eat kitties, punt babies, all that."

Nobody in the room was impressed in the slightest.

"Geez, tough crowd," he muttered to nobody in particular.

Wufei made a noise suspiciously like an amused sigh. "The Maxwells are a family of orphans, picked up by the original biological Maxwells, who take in those that…mesh with their…lifestyle."

"…thanks?" Duo asked. Wufei just shrugged.

"So what do you have to do to get into your famous orphanage, huh?" Naruto asked, bright blue eyes huge.

"Well, uh, being a Maxwell means you have to fit a few criteria." Most of which Naruto already fit, even before Duo had recognized the kid would be a knock-out when he'd done a bit more growing up. Thinking of which, both kids seemed to fit it, really. With a bit of Maxwell family time, they could fit right in. But Sasuke…Sasuke was more a Kanda/Heero/Rufus type. And if Naruto DID end up a Maxwell, Duo had a suspicion that Sasuke himself would end up on that list.

…hell, Duo had met Heero by shooting him, and Reno had met Rufus after killing the man's mother. What was a fist fight compared to either of those?

"Alright then kid, you feel like trying out for the Maxwell family?" Duo asked. Horrifyingly enough, he was actually serious.

"Duo," Wufei warned, but it was already too late.

"HELL YES I DO," Naruto, the idiot, grinned at him, those scars on his face creasing with the force of it.

"Then go tell Sasuke about beating people up in dark alleys while I call my brother," Duo said.

Naruto glared at him.

Duo's glare beat it bloody in a back street, and Naruto reluctantly moved over to talk with Sasuke and, coincidentally, Wufei.

"Kid, trust me when I say nobody should volunteer to be a Maxwell," Wufei said quietly as Duo tried to figure out how to get his phone out of his bookbag without waking his sleep-deprived (and homicidal) boyfriend in the process. "Saying they have no morals is being polite. The oldest is in so deep in Shinra that his name doesn't even technically appear anywhere but the bankroll, the second is…hell, even DUO doesn't know that one, and the third lost an eye when he was in elementary school."

"And Duo?" asked Sasuke warily.

His face was suspiciously blank. "…you just don't cross Duo. Ever."

"What if you do?" Naruto asked.

As tempted as Wufei was to snap about how this was DETENTION and not horror stories around a campfire, he simply glared. "Then you disappear."

He couldn't even remember their names anymore. A part of Wufei felt guilty about that, but he was mostly grateful. Because with names came faces, and with faces, questions.

"You just don't cross Duo," he found himself saying again, quiet as he watched Duo tenderly cradle his lover's head in his arms and pickpocket his own bag for the cell phone at the same time, and the contented little sound Heero made at the contact as Duo ghosted a kiss on his best friend's jawline.

"And he's gay?" Naruto asked. No malice, just an inquiry.

Wufei snorted. "I have yet to meet a single person in this city who wasn't at least bi. Welcome to sexuality in the city."

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Meanwhile, in a warehouse on the west side of the city, Reno Maxwell was casually wiping blood off the white collar of the shirt underneath his uniform- a black suit, "regulation" sunglasses propped in his hairline, and two weapons, a gun in a shoulder holster and his beloved, innocent-looking little iron rod in hand – when his phone rang.

His partner Rude looked up from where he was looking through the recently vacated office's file cabinets, only for Reno to wave his caution aside, rolling his green eyes as he recognized the ring of his phone.

"Yo, Duo, I'm at WORK you know," he said a bit caustically into his cell. "This can't wait until I'm off in--" he checked his watch, and frowned. "Aw, Christ, don't tell me you're suspended already or some shit like that. It's the first day of the school year, can't you and Yuy keep yourselves in check for eight fucking hours?"

"Yeah, love you too, Reno," Duo's sarcasm traveled down the line. "And I'm in DETENTION, not suspended. Fuck, you and Axel are the only ones who've managed suspension on the first day."

"That teacher was just ASKING for it though," Reno defended.

"Listen, I'm not getting into this right now. I made a new friend here in detention, and wanted to bring him over for dinner."

Reno froze.

"Maxwell material, I mean."

"…let me get this straight," Reno said, twirling the rod like a policeman with his riot baton. "In five hours, you found a pretty, abused, potentially sadistic, physically able kid with a partiality towards pranks and pyromaniacism."

"Actually, yeah. Nice alliteration, by the way," Duo said.

"Thanks, Rufus had me give my whole fucking briefing requiring the letter p in practica – STOP avoiding the QUESTION, dammit," Reno hissed. His younger brother laughed. "Is this kid seriously worth our time, Duo?"

"He wants to be, so I'd say yes."

Reno sat on the suede couch, away from the red wet spot.

"…name?"

"Naruto. Blond hair, blue eyes, scars on his cheeks. Looks like fingernails." The fact Duo got quieter and quieter during that bit of conversation wasn't lost on him one bit.

"Well, fuck," Reno said cheerfully. "Have Rabi make some pasta."

"Later, Reno."

"Yeah, later."

The line went dead, and the Turk hung up.

He turned to his partner, grinning, and held out his arms. "Look at me, I might be someone else's big brother role model."

Rude just shook his head. "Poor kid."

---

"Looks like you're coming with me to dinner, Naruto," Duo said, setting his phone down on the desk.

"AWESOME!" Naruto cried, elated.

Nobody else in the room seemed to agree very much with that, but was smart enough to shut their mouths.

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A/N: Where have I been? WELL! I've been writing this! And expect to be swamped with what I've got so far, since I've decided to post it.