Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam Wing.

Warning: Violence, language, possible mild religious themes, sexual situations

Notes: This story was originally published under an old penname as a collaboration with Sanyu-kumiko. I found the first nine chapters in a box in my closet while unpacking during winter break and decided to revise/retool it. I'm posting it now as my own work, with consideration to Sanyu for her assistance with it back in 2005. This is my first foray back into the world of Gundam Wing, so pardon me if I sound a little rusty.

Raising Hell: Prologue

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January 2009

To say the place was cliche would have been an understatement.

Hiirou glanced around at the oriental dragons glaring at him from tacky pastel wallpaper and low, chipped black lacquer furniture that might have been older than some of his college professors. He gave an imperceptible sigh. He supposed that the setting didn't really matter so long as the food was up to par, and he tried to convince himself of that as he sulked inside, all the while ignoring the tone-deaf squawking of what he guessed was Chinese pop music.

The place was deserted and that couldn't have been a good sign. Shuffling past an oddly-placed booth the Japanese youth made his way towards the main counter. He peered over skeptically, squinting past the antiquated cash register, a set of beaded doorway curtains, and a thick layer of steam and into the kitchen.

"Hello?" he called.

A clatter of pots and pans was Hiirou's response, followed shortly by a shout. "One second, buddy." There was a low muttering in a foreign language, and the situation was almost comical as a harried-looking young man shoved his way through the curtains, raking a hand through his hair. "What can I get for you?"

Definitely Chinese. Hiirou smirked at the accent-laced voice and the irritated tone. "I need food," he chuckled,"but you seem a little preoccupied."

The owner--he assumed--rolled his eyes, practically seething. "Look, guy. My delivery boy called out for the seventh time in as many days, we just fired our last cook, and I have to pick up my kids from school in..." The frustrated youth glanced at his watch and groaned. "Ten minutes ago." He ran his hand through his shoulder-length black hair in what Hiirou guessed was a stress habit and sighed defeatedly. "If you need something, make it quick. Your stomach is of no consequence to me."

Hiirou arched an eyebrow, clasping his hands on the counter thoughtfully. This place held more promise than he'd originally anticipated. He was in need of employment, and this young man could obviously use reliable assistance. How hard could it be to cook rice? "I've got a better idea," he said. "Why don't you give me that apron and I'll cover you while you get your kids."

The Chinese youth blinked owlishly at him. "Are you serious?" Hiirou nodded, extending a hand. His counterpart smiled, a little too excitedly, and fumbled frantically with the ties to his apron, handing it over. "Excellent! You're hired!"

He began rushing to the door, patting himself down presumably for his car keys, and paused. "Hey, wait a minute. Do you even know how to cook?"

Hiirou gave him a one-shouldered shrug. "I can make ramen and easy-mac."

Rolling his eyes, the darker-haired young man gave him a wry snort and was out the door, shouting a hurried, "Don't burn down my shop!" Hiirou heard the distinct sound of tires screeching over gravel moments later.

As he shuffled into the kitchen, he absently hoped that the man didn't drive like that with his kids in the car.

Before anyone corrects my spelling of 01's name—translated directly out of the katakana for his name, Heero is actually spelled "Hiirou." That's how I prefer to spell it. Sue me.