Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing nor the Parent Trap.
The Maxwell Trap
by Dorothy Winner
Duo went downstairs the next morning to check out of the hotel only to spot Hilde already at the front desk. He nearly turned around right at that moment but forced himself to keep walking. 'Don't be irrational, it's only Hilde,' he told himself. He went up to the front desk and stood next to her. "Good morning," he said. "Where are the girls?"
"They said they'd be down in five minutes," said Hilde. She tapped the bell for the desk clerk. "Yes, I'd like to check out, please."
"Checking out already?" asked Duo.
"Yeah," said Hilde. "There's really no point in my staying here any longer; my place is only twenty minutes from here. Besides, I've got to get over to Preventers; Une has some codes for me to break, plus there's some kind of orientation program for new trainees and I'm scheduled to present. It'll probably take me the rest of the day as it is." She signed her name at the bottom of the checkout notice. "What about you?"
"Melanie wants to go ring shopping before we go off to the airport," said Duo, signing a checkout slip as well, "so we're checking out early."
"Oh." Hilde pretended to look through her purse for something; it was easier than trying to maintain eye contact with Duo and keep her composure while doing so. "So, um… when's the wedding?" she asked, trying to make her voice as casual sounding as she could.
"July 30th," said Duo. "I'll remember to send you an invitation."
Hilde abruptly dropped her purse. "No! No, that won't be necessary… um… um, I think I'm scheduled for a Preventers mission around that time, so I probably wouldn't be able to make it, anyway." She knelt down and began to pick up the contents of her purse.
"Oh, okay then," said Duo. "Here, let me help you with that," he said, kneeling down and reaching for a makeup compact.
"No, it's okay, I've got it," said Hilde, reaching for the same compact. The two of them knocked heads. "Ow!" they exclaimed at the same time. They looked up at each other and started laughing, and then, realizing what they were doing, quickly stopped.
Both of them stood up. "So, I'll send Sydney back to you over Christmas," said Duo.
"And I'll see that Heidi spends Easter with you," said Hilde.
The elevator doors opened and Sydney ad Heidi stepped out, looking very happy about something. "Good morning!" they chirped, far too cheerfully.
"Hey, are those new clothes?" asked Duo, noticing their identical jeans and t-shirts.
"Yep," said Heidi. "Do you like them?"
"Yeah, you look nice," said Duo, realizing the conundrum their identical clothing presented. He peered at Heidi. "This one's Sydney, I'm positive."
Heidi grinned at him. "I hope you're right, Dad. You wouldn't want to bring the wrong kid back all the way to L2."
Duo looked to Hilde, hesitating.
"Oh for goodness' sake, we've been living with one of them for eleven years, we should be able to tell them apart. This one's Heidi," she said, grabbing Sydney's arm.
Sydney smirked. "You sure, Mom? After all, you've been living with the other twin for a week and you never noticed any difference."
"Well, what about their crosses?" said Duo. "They've got their names on them."
"What makes you think we haven't switched our crosses too?" said Heidi.
"Here's our proposition," said Sydney (or was it Heidi?). "We go to Dad's house, pack our stuff and the four of us leave on the camping trip."
"The four of us?!" exclaimed Hilde.
"And when you bring us back, we'll tell you who's Sydney and who's Heidi," said the other girl.
"You must understand, the four of us have barely been together for twenty-four hours, and you're already splitting us up again. It really isn't fair."
"No, what really isn't fair is this underhanded stunt you're trying to pull," Hilde said angrily. "Now look, we all have lives to get back to and your father still has a wedding to plan."
Heidi shrugged. "We can stand here and argue about this all day, Mom, but we're not going to crack."
Hilde crossed her arms. "I refuse to negotiate any further with the pair of you. Now, you will do as we say and I will take one of you back with me whether you like it or not…"
"So much for Preventers tactics."
Duo threw another duffel bag into the back of his pickup as Hilde shot him a nasty look for his comment. "What?" he shrugged. "You weren't able to negotiate with me; what made you think we could negotiate with our kids?"
"Our children are not terrorists!"
"Is it really all that different though? We succumbed to their demands, didn't we? We had no choice."
"It's exactly that kind of thinking that'll make them believe they can keep getting away with the kinds of things they are doing!" Hilde exclaimed.
"Well then we're just terrible parents, aren't we?"
"We? We?!" Hilde shoved him in the chest. "Oh noooooo, Duo, not me, it's you. They sense your weakness. They can tell—they know you'll give in first. That's how children work, when they sense a moment of weakness, they'll exploit it to the fullest extent."
"Sheesh, you sound almost like Heero. Look, why are you getting so worked up? I don't see what's so bad about this camping trip, anyway."
"Ahem. I do." Melanie got out of her car, which seemed to have arrived during Duo and Hilde's argument without their noticing. "Look, I'm not sure I'm so comfortable with the idea of the four of you going on this little camping trip."
"I agree," said Hilde. "The ex-wife in the next sleeping bag is a little weird…"
"Exactly," said Melanie.
"I insist you come with us," Hilde abruptly added.
"What?!" Duo and Melanie exclaimed at the same time.
"This would be a really great trip for you to take, Melanie," Hilde went on. "It'll be a wonderful opportunity for you to get to know the twins. Because starting next month, they're half yours."
Melanie almost looked more afraid of that prospect than the idea of camping. "I—I'm not really the camping type…"
"Oh, we'll be more than glad to help you learn the ropes," said Hilde. "I just know you'll find it enjoyable."
Duo looked thoroughly bewildered. "Hilde…"
Hilde smiled. "Duo, I messed up your entire weekend. It's the least I can do to pay you back." She took Melanie's arm. "Let's go, Melanie, we need to find you some clothes…"
Sydney and Heidi walked out of the house with Howard, dressed and ready to go. As they climbed into the pickup, Melanie's car pulled into the driveway. Hilde and Melanie got out, Melanie now dressed in tight black workout gear.
"Dad, what's she doing here?!" exclaimed Heidi.
Duo got behind the wheel. "Your mom invited her. Be nice."
Sydney and Heidi exchanged horrified glances with each other as Melanie got into the front seat, smiling at them.
Hilde shut the door after Melanie. "All right, have a fun trip, everybody!"
Duo looked at her. "Hilde, what's going on?"
"I think you and Melanie really need some time alone together before the big day," said Hilde. "You wouldn't enjoy yourselves with a third wheel hanging around, anyway."
"Mom!" Sydney burst out. "Come on, that's not the plan!"
"Oh, I'm sure you'll have much more fun without me," said Hilde, waving her hand modestly.
Melanie suddenly looked like she was having second thoughts. "Look, if you're not going… I don't really have to go… I'm not exactly a big nature girl…"
"Nonsense, I absolutely insist." Hilde smiled.
"Well, alright then…" Duo started the engine and began to pull off the driveway.
"Mom, what are you doing?!" the twins yelled, hitting their fists on the windows.
Hilde waved. "Be sure to have fun on my behalf, okay?" she said, winking.
As the car disappeared out the front gate, Howard turned to Hilde. "There is no way she is going to make it through the night…"