ME: GOMEN! GOMEN NASAI! I'M SOOOO SORRY!! I had the idea of what I was doing, but with this new story, my sister won't leave me alone about THAT one, so I couldn't write anymore to this one without her yelling and saying how I needed to write more to the OTHER!

Duo: Geez. Which one is this, anyway?

Me: Elemental Melody, for Pretear.

Duo: Wow. She sounds pushy.

Me: GOMEN NASAI!! (hands out cookies for reviewers)

Duo: SWD owns nothing of Gundam, yada-yada-yada...see previous chapters! HA! That's what I can say from now on!!

Chapter 3

Day 3

Duo's eyes cracked open. Aurea greeted him with a morning lick as Duo groaned, "You're heavy...get off...when'd you get on my bed, anyway?"

To Duo, it almost seemed as if she smirked in innocence. Remembering yesterday morning, he peered out the blinds. He sighed with relief. No suspicious men around outside. He sighed and leaned against the wall, patting Aurea before going off to feed her. She wolfed down the food, and Duo saw that he had to refill her water bowl. He did so, and got dressed slowly. He looked at Aurea before leaving, "Hey, watch the place, alright? I'll be back this afternoon. Be a good girl."

Aurea whimpered, not wanting him to leave, but obeyed, sitting in the living room. Duo made sure the door was locked, and he walked out. He looked around sleepily. Where was everyone? There was hardly any people walking around outside. It WAS Wednesday, right...? Yeah... He glanced at his watch. And he swore. He got up almost a whole hour early. 'Oh, well...' he said to himself, 'get to school early, maybe...or walk around...'

Not feeling like going anywhere before school, he grabbed a biscuit from his usual guy on the usual intersection, and went on. When he arrived, the building was almost deserted aside from the teachers and a few students who had to clean the classroom before school. His biscuit was gone by time he got there, and he collasped in his chair. Ms. Greenweld, just noticing he came in, looked up from her paperwork. "Maxwell? What time is it...? Is there a world phenomenon today?"

He looked at her with a grumpy face, and attempted to get some nice shut-eye before everyone came piling in.

No such luck.

--Dream--

Where was he? In town? Duo looked around, everything seeming so white. The people were all black and white, but he was in color...Why? The buildings were just as dull, and everything was happening as if it were slow-motion. He called, "Hello?!"

None of the people even glanced at him. He jumped up, looking for any familiar face. He didn't even recognize the street he was standing in. Duo ran around, trying to find out where he was. He came to intersections, but they didn't have street signs. He tried again, cupping his hands around his mouth, "Hello?!"

He listened to his echo, but he had the same reaction: nothing.

Then, luck! He grinned with relief and ran toward his blonde Arab friend. "Quatre...! Quatre? Hey, Quat, can you hear me?"

BOOM!!

Duo turned in fear. No...no...

His legs ran as fast as they would carry him, leaving his friend behind. No...not again...please, not again...

His eyes widened in fear. His apartment...

It was...

No...was that...faint sounds of...yelping?

--End Dream--

Duo's head snapped up, and he knew that was no ordanary dream...

He looked around and saw that hardly anyone was still there. He grabbed his trench coat and ran out, ignoring his teacher's demands of, "Where are you going, Maxwell?!"

He ran past all the people outside that were heading into the building. He pushed and shoved through the crowd, struggling to get home as soon as possible. Strangely, he passed no friendly faces as he sprinted once he was through the mob of people. However, from far away, Quatre saw his good friend run through the crowd. He called, "Duo?! What's wrong?!"

If Duo had heard him, he showed no signs of it. He continued straight on, running swiftly. Then, suddenly, a boomechoed throughout the colony. Quatre dropped his stuff and ran after Duo, although he found it hard to keep up what with all the terrorized people. There was plenty of screaming and yells of confusion when Quatre actually saw the flames. It was right by Duo's apartment...or worse; that may have been the building...

It took the two about five minutes before they reached the apartment building, completely engulfed in flames. Only when Duo halted in his tracks was Quatre able to stop as well. For the first time, Quatre realized that Heero and Wufei had been following them. He looked back, "How long were you there?"

"As soon as you left the school," Wufei replied.

Quatre returned his attention to Duo. The former Gundam pilot was about to jump in the flames to rescue his dog, but Quatre leapt forward and grabbed his arm, "Duo! There's nothing you can do!"

"Yes, I can!" Duo knocked the Arab to the ground. Quatre quickly got up, and Heero repeated it, "Duo, there's nothing you can do."

Duo turned to face them, and, when they'd seen his eyes, they were glazed over with fury. His eyes began sparkling, as if he were ready to let tears loose. "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND! I CAN'T LOOSE HIM AGAIN!!"

"Who, Maxwell?" Wufei frowned in confusion.

Duo turned to run into the burning structure, but Heero grabbed his shirt and punched him across the cheek, knocking him down, "Damn it, Duo! Calm down! Can't you tell that bomb was meant for you?! Normally, at this time, you would actually be leaving, right?!"

Duo rubbed his cheek, and muttered, "It was him...the...God of Death. He took away my only family...and now...I can't...let that happen...Not again..." When Duo peered up, Heero wasn't there in front of him. Instead, he was running out, Aurea clasped in his arms. His eyes widened once more, with horror. "Is she okay?!"

--

"...and so, if she rests for a long while, she'll recover."

Duo sighed with relief, "Okay, thanks."

He collasped down beside Heero, Quatre, and Wufei at the vet's. Heero observed, "Knife cuts and torn fur...sounds suspicious to me. Aside from the whole fire."

"I'll bet anything it was those damn men. They were outside two mornings ago...and yesterday morning...they had the whole flashy black sunglasses, hat, and jacket. Idiots. I'll just bet absolutly anything that it was them," Duo growled, his mind filling with hatred.

Wufei sighed, "Of course something would happen within a week of the school year."

Quatre patted Duo's back out of sympathy, "She'll be fine, right? For now, we should see if we can find those guys who-"

"I don't really think you're allowed to," a voice rang out.

The four looked up and saw Sally Po, standing in the doorway. She glared at them, in a fierce, yet somewhat playful way, "You're supposed to be blending in, right? So, leave this to the Preventers. I've already contacted Trowa Barton to take the job. He's heading over here this afternoon."

"Trowa is?" Quatre peered up.

"Yeah. So, if the Preventers find out that you've gotten into this, they'll have you out fo even longer than a hundred and eighty days," Sally pointed out, glancing at three of them. (Wufei, then Heero, and lastly, Duo)

Grumpily, Wufei grumbled, "A hundred and seventy-seven."

Duo scoffed, not really able to laugh at the moment, or even make a stupid remark. When he caught sight of the vet, he raised from his seat again, "Do you have an estimate of when I'll be able to take her back and rest at...my place?"

"I'll keep her for about four days, and we'll see within that time. It all depends on her."

"...Okay."

"Speaking of which..." Heero said, "...Where ARE you going to stay now?"

Duo glanced hopefully at the three. Wufei and Heero glanced up hopefully at Sally, who shook her head, "It'll take time to get money from the Preventers to get him a new place."

Quatre offered, "You can stay with me, Duo."

"Thanks, Quatre," Duo grinned small.

"Yeah, no problem. It's okay. I just hope-"

"That I don't bring my trouble with me?"

"...Exactly."

"Heh. You never know..."

--

Day 4

The next morning, Duo said he was going to skip, and Quatre was going to tell the teachers that Duo was being treated for some burns from the fire. And so, when Quatre had left, he picked up his cell phone and called the main Preventer's office. Noin picked up, "Hello, Preventers main desk; how may I help you?"

"Hey, Noin...it's me."

"Duo?!"

"I'm guessing you guys heard about-"

"Yes, we did!" Duo held the phone away from his ear, "Are you all okay?"

"Yeah...yeah, we're fine. Just fine."

"Doesn't sound like it."

"It's nothing," Duo chuckled lightly, "Don't worry about it."

"Well, we're going to try and get some more money to you ASAP."

"Alrighty. Thanks."

"We'll keep in touch about these guys you told us about."

"Huh? I didn't tell you."

"Oh...oh, yeah! Quatre told me something about two guys. Did you get a good look at them?"

"Nothing out of the usual. Both were tall, black top hats...black jackets, brown shoes...Totally taking MY look..."

"Haha. Well, I'll have to talk to you later, Duo. Someone else is here."

"Kay. I'll let you go."

"Alright. Bye."

"See ya."

Duo hung the phone up and sighed. There was really no one to talk to. He could go and walk out in the streets, but it wouldn't be long before someone asked him if he should be in school or not. He flopped down on the couch and turned on the TV. Of course, on almost every channel, they were doing a report on the explosion. He flipped the television off, rubbing his head with a free hand. "Man...this freaking sucks. What am I supposed to DO?"

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Duo's head snapped towards the door. He stood up slowly, tip-toeing to the door. He got his gun out of his jacket, and looked through the peephole.

What the...? Why is she here?

Duo put his gun away, and opened the door to see Raechel there. Her eyes were wide with shock, "Oh, Duo! Are you okay? Quatre told me you were staying with him! Oh, are you okay?!"

"Yeah...yeah, I'm fine. Umm...why are you here?" The former Gundam pilot frowned.

"Why do you think?! To make sure that you were okay! Kelda was worried, too! And...besides..."

"What?"

"The school board committee said that if we wanted to, we didn't have to go to school. But everyone's required back tomorrow."

"Tomorrow, huh...?"

"Yeah...what about it?"

"Do you wanna come in?"

Raechel blinked, not understanding why Duo was asking her to do this.

"Please, Rae...? I'm just really looking for someone to talk to. That's it."

He moved out of the way of the door, offering her entrance. She nodded, "I suppose...I could...for a little while, anyways."

"...Thanks, Rae."

--

Just as Duo finished telling a joke, Raechel laughed, clutching her stomach, "Oh, man! Hahahahaaa! That was a good one!!"

Duo laughed with her, "Yeah, I know! And then, the girl told the tree-!"

Knock, knock.

Once again, Duo was on his toes. He motioned for Raechel to stay where she was, then he swiftly went to the door, one hand in his jacket in case he needed his gun. When he looked through the peephole, his eyes widened. Just as he was about to open the door, it swung open in his face, pushing him against the wall. A familiar Trowa Barton walked in, sighing, "Geez, Duo, could you be any SLOWER-?" He caught sight of the clueless and startled Raechel on the couch.

Behind him, Duo growled and slammed the door behind Trowa, almost catching him in its path. "What the hell, Trowa?! Just open the damn door in my face, come on in, it's okay!!"

"Nice to see you, too, Duo. Who's this?" Trowa gestured to Raechel.

"This is Raechel, a friend from school. Rae, this is Trowa. No doubt you've heard of him, too."

She nodded, Trowa nodding his head back. Raechel then stood, and pointed at the door, "Oh, should I, uh...go?"

"No, it's fine. This won't take too long. Duo, c'mere." Trowa led Duo to another room.

Once in the kitchen, Duo grumbled, "Well, what's up, Trowa? I know you're not here just to see how I'm doing."

"Well...that is part of the reason..."

"What's the other part?"

"The Preventers sent me to get a sketch of the men."

Duo muttered something under his breath, but grabbed two pieces of paper and a pencil. Along the sides of each one, he wrote down estimated guesses about the men's weight and height. Then, he moved onto sketching. Even though it was supposed to be a quick drawing, Duo took him time doing it, wanting to make sure that it looked EXACTLY like the men who were responsible for all of this damage and destruction. He eventually got it the way he wanted, and gave it to Trowa, telling him to tell whoever he gave it to that to, that he was sorry it didn't seemed like much help. "Thanks," Trowa took the pieces of paper, stuffed them into his pocket, and commented, "So...is she-?"

"NO." Duo quickly responded.

"Okay, okay...just wondering. Well, take care, Duo," Trowa walked out of the kitchen, showing himself out. Just as he was about to shut the door, he leaned back in and told Raechel, "Oh, Miss Raechel...if you don't mind...watch this troublemaker for us. Nice meeting you."

He swiftly left before Duo could chase after him. Instead, all the former shinigami could do was stare at where Trowa had stood moments ago, a vein throbbing in his head. Raechel blinked, "What was that all about?"

"I have no idea," Duo growled, "Without so much as a 'I'm sorry' for pushing that door in my face!!"

Raechel laughed. Then, thinking that she never got to hear the end of that joke, brought back up, "So, anyways...the girl said to the tree..."

"Oh, yeah! So, then, the girl told the tree..."

--

Trowa handed the papers to Noin, "This is what Duo gave me. He said that he's sorry if it can't be as much help."

Noin stared at the papers in amazement, "Wow! Duo has no idea how wrong he is! These are great; they can help a whole lot! Thanks for getting them, Trowa."

"No problem. Didn't you say that there was something else you wanted me to do?"

"Ah, yes. About that one...you'll have to go and see Sally."

"Roger."

--

When Heero and Wufei met up with Quatre later on in their gym class. Wufei asked, "So, Maxwell didn't come to school today?"

"No. He's staying at my place. He said he was going to skip. I managed to work my way into saying to Ms. Greenweld that he was getting treated for burns. It was pretty hard, but...I managed it somehow..."

"It must've been pretty good. No one could work their way through THAT onna," Wufei commented.

Heero looked around at the empty gym. Whoever was there was just simply walking around, listening to music, since a couple of the girls sweet-talked their teacher into letting them do that. "Everyone's scared. Scared that this school would be next."

"It very well may be. Do you think that it's a good idea for us to stay?" Quatre frowned, "We may drag more civilians into it."

"It's not the best of ideas, but maybe whoever blew up that apartment meant it as a warning." Wufei brought to light, "Since they've been watching the apartment building for two days, they should know when he leaves to go to school."

The other two nodded in thought. Then, the blonde Arab said, "Well, let's just concentrate on getting through the day. Maybe the people will give a slip up, letting the Preventers catch them."

"I still don't like this...making us finish high school...who's stupid idea was it, anyway?" Wufei grumbled.

--

The school day ended quickly, the students mostly just being able to talk in class. Since hardly anyone was there, it was pointless to go on with teaching. Teaching would resume the next day. Heero and Wufei split off from Quatre, heading their own way home, in case anything were to look suspicious at their places. When Quatre opened the door to his apartment, he heard faint music from one of the rooms, followed by muffled yelling. His face contorted in confusion. He shut the door and walked to the-

Oh no.

Duo had found it...

His...

His...

Quatre opened the door, and saw Duo and Raechel sitting on bean bags for chairs, gasping for breath. Duo looked back, hearing the door open, "Yo, Quat! What's up?! Why'd you hide this Wii from me?"

"How many times have you had to change batteries?" Quatre asked slowly.

"Only about three. Rather annoying, really, keeps interfering when I'm kicking her butt at baseball."

"Sorry about this, Quatre," Raechel smiled apologetically. "As an apology for putting up with him-"

"Hey, now!"

"-I can cook tonight."

"Cook?" Duo's eyes lit up. "Man, I haven't had a female's cooking since..." His lit eyes suddenly darkened, and Duo fell silent.

"Duo?" Raechel waved a hand in front of his face.

"Oh, sorry. What?" Duo blinked.

"You spaced out. Something wrong?" Quatre frowned.

"Ah, no...just...remembering something. Anyway, what are you cooking us, Rae?!"

"Raechel, you don't have to..." Quatre protested.

"It's no bother! I should, since I've been in here all day with him!"

"If...if you say so...but what about your parents? Won't they wonder where you are?"

"Oh, they're on vacation, no worries!"

Duo suddenly stood, pressing the button on the Wii to turn it off. He announced, "I'm gonna go to the guest bedroom until dinner. Would you call me when you're done?"

"...Yeah, sure." Raechel nodded.

As Duo walked off, Raechel called, "Uh, Duo?"

"Hmm?" He turned around, "What is it?"

"Are you sure you're okay?"

"Yeah! I'm fine! I'm just...tired, you know?"

He walked into the bedroom and shut the door. Duo sat on the bed, and stared at his hands. They slowly raised to his face as he murmured, "No...stop this."

"Oh, Duo! Will you come on?! It's time for dinner!"

"No! Your food is horrible! I'm not about to eat it! I'm not forgivin' you this time!"

"Oh, fine then. I suppose I'll have to give all this chicken and pasta and pizza and mashed potatoes to Father Maxwell."

"H-hey! That's not cool! He can't eat all that!"

"Well, come on down, then, and eat it all yourself."

"...Okay. I'm sorry, Sister. I lied. Your cooking is awesome!"

"Why, thank you, Duo."

"I hate fighting with you."

"Me, too."

Why can't the past...just leave me alone? Duo thought harshly. They're all gone, and they're not coming back. I don't want to forget them, but I also don't want to remember...about that.

He flopped down on his side, his feet still touching the floor, and fell into a deep thinking trance.

A little later...

"Du-o! How many times have I gotta call you?! If you don't come soon, I'm gonna give Quatre all the food!" Raechel called from the kitchen, holding a ladle dangerous.

Quatre took a bite of her home made food, and said with awe, "Wow! This is great, Raechel!"

"Why, thank you, Quatre. Okay, seriously, what is taking him so long?!"

"Maybe he fell asleep," Quatre offered.

"I'll go see."

She put the ladle down, and Raechel walked to the guest bedroom. She knocked quietly, "Duo?" When she received no answer, she opened the door. "Duo-?"

The shinigami was snoring quietly on the bed, laying sideways. His breathing was heavy, but extremely quiet. Raechel smiled somewhat before shutting the door. When she emerged in the kitchen, Quatre asked, "Well?"

"He was asleep. You made a good guess, Quatre!"

"Well, I imagine he hasn't slept at all since yesterday. His fatigue may've finally caught up to him. We can save him some food."

Raechel displayed an evil grin. "MAYBE..."

"Oh, come on, Raechel," Quatre grinned weakly, "Spare him. However...not to impose, but...do you make...brownies?"

"Oh, do I ever! Just you wait! In about thirty minutes, I'll have you drooling! I'll make you Montana-style brownies!"

"And how are those?"

She gave him another evil grin, and he shivered.

Later that night...

Duo's eyes slowly opened, and he glanced at his clock. It read 11:35. He shot up. Why didn't anyone wake him up?! His eyes narrowed in the dark. He would bet almost anything that they didn't leave any for him. He got up and waltzed to the kitchen, and was a little surprised to find Quatre up, reading something. He heard footsteps, and Quatre turned in his chair, "Oh, you're up. Raechel wanted me to wait until you were awake. There's leftovers in the fridge, along with some wonderous brownies."

"Brownies, huh? How bad are they?" Duo grinned, opening the fridge.

"Oh, don't even kid. They were making me so hungry that I wanted to eat all of them," Quatre smirked, "Better be thankful that Raechel stopped me."

Duo laughed, and looked upward with big eyes, and said sarcastically, "Oh, bless you, Rae!!"

"Well, now that you know, it's bedtime for me. Night." Quatre stood, walking off to his bed.

"See ya." Duo said subconsciously, thinking of what he should eat first.

Me: I'm sorry. It was rather short, wasn't it?

Duo: Just a little. Man, those brownies...they were heavenly.

Me: I want brownies. (runs and makes some)

Duo: Write more soon! I am shinigami! I am more fearful than your sister!

Me: ...

Duo: Damn. Is it...THAT bad?

Me: ...(nods head)

Duo: Ouch. Well, then, she'll apologize in advance. She hopes that she can get the next chapter posted sooner. Please drop a line on the way out. You know the button calls your name...it's calling...

Me: AHHH!!

Duo: What?!

Me: Nothing. Someone just called me.

Duo: ...